Posts Tagged ‘mom’

Doing My Best (Question Mark) (Exclamation Point)

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Once a week or so my Facebook, which skews heavily towards moms, blows up with a post or article from the interwebs about being a better parent. Posts about putting down your phone and paying more attention to the present, posts about why you should never yell at your kids, posts about how teaching your children patience means letting them take 45 minutes to put on their coat, posts about all the ways you are probably scarring your children and ruining their lives because you aren’t perfect.

Basically, posts about how someone else lives their life better than me. I suck.

I made the mistake of reading one of the posts about yelling on a particularly bad day. I had just been hit with pregnancy symptoms, I had been solo parenting for weeks, the holiday planning was making me feel overwhelmed and stressed and instead of providing me with a hilarious list of animals that look like characters from Downton Abbey the internet punched me in the face with guilt.

Of course, any day is probably a bad day to read parenting advice. I cannot remember a single day since having kids where I was perfect. Pre-kids no one was really expecting me to be, you know?? As long as I didn’t commit any major crimes no one cared and the majority of the advice aimed at me was how to build a work wardrobe for under $200 or how to plan a dinner party for 12. But once you biologically become a parent people suddenly expect you to be a great parent all the time, although no one can even tell you what that means. There isn’t a handbook. There isn’t even a PAMPHLET. And even if there was, I’d still be doing stuff wrong.

Even on days where the kids are angels and I’m a saint, we probably didn’t eat all-organic, locally-sourced, home-cooked meals. We probably ate McDonalds. On the days when we eat a real, fully-balanced meal made with ingredients from the farmer’s market the kids probably watched 4 hours of iPad so I could make the damn thing.

Some days, I toss something in the trash, miss, and then just stand there staring at it on the floor, hoping it might pick itself up. I make sure my children are not physically suffering and then lie down on the couch. The kids eat Pop Tarts for dinner with a side of Pop Tarts for dessert. I yell. I am unfair. I cannot wait for them to go to bed.

As far as I am concerned, both of those days are my best effort. I am giving 100% of myself. All the parts that aren’t being used to keep me alive are going to my children. But I’m a person too, and some days I need all of my own energy to function. I need an extra hour to sleep instead of doing a craft or to watch House Hunters instead of PBS. I need 10 minutes of silence instead of breaking up another argument so I just let them argue. I need to lock the bathroom door so I can pee my pants while I throw up privately instead of with an audience. Again. I NEED those things, the same way I need air and food.

I assume if my life circumstances changed, I would find more to give. Working moms do way more than I do and survive. Single moms do way WAY more an survive. Literally a billion other mothers do more than I do and survive. But right now, at this moment, in my own life, I am giving 100%. You are probably also giving 100%, whether that means making those all-organic meals every night or taking even more naps than I do.

It’s not as hopeless as it sounds. Most nights I go to bed feeling like I had a successful day and not beating myself up over my mistakes (I figure in another four and a half years I might stop doing it all together). Even when I am totally drained I am lucky to have this life – and I really do feel lucky instead of just saying I’m lucky. My kids are great kids, despite my mistakes, and so far show no signs of permanent damage from either cheeseburgers or Disney Jr binges. Since I realized I cannot do everything – and don’t even WANT to do everything – I have gotten much, much happier. Just don’t show up unannounced or I won’t let you in to see my messy house, screaming children, and wet pants.

Happy (Redacted) Birthday Mormor!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The kids an I made you a super cute present, but as usual I didn’t make it to the post office in time for you to get it on your actual birthday.

I bought cards for the kids to sign, but they decided to run off with the pens and  write on each other so I had to take them away.

We’re going to try to FaceTime you tonight, but I’ll have to convince Evan to stop watching PBS Kids on the iPad so I can borrow it long enough to connect.

But you’ve been a mom for half you life now, so none of that comes as a surprise to you.

Thanks for being a wonderful mom and a fantastic Mormor. Happy Birthday!

Mormor
Mormor and Caroline

p.s. With your face right up there next to my face I don’t think ANYONE is going to say I look like Dad :)

Preparedness

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Our vacation is quickly approaching – 19 daaaaaaays!!! – and although I am insanely excited about it I’ve started to think about the practical aspects of leaving the kids and house in someone else’s hands for a week and I’m freaking out.  My reasons are two-fold, and I will of course tell you about them now in great detail.

Reason 1 is because how can anyone besides me take care of my beautiful, special, magical snowflakes? They are delicate flowers! Fragile angels! Helpless babies! No one besides me can give them the care and love and constant attention they require to blossom and grow on a daily basis. I am their Mother, giver of Life, completely Irreplaceable.

Of course on a daily basis my love and life-giving mostly involves handing them cheese, playing trains, pouring juice and making sure they don’t kill each other. Not exactly rocket science.

But on the other hand, there ARE a lot of small things that matter an enormous amount to two toddlers but other people wouldn’t know. At bedtime, Evan wants me to sing his songs in a specific order. Caroline likes different sippy cups than Evan does. Her favorite games are hard to understand unless you realize punching you in the face is playing. When Evan asks for a “chocolate bar” he means a granola bar. Are their lives going to be RUINED if someone else does things differently for a week? No, of course not. And because my folks are coming here to our house the amount of change really is minimal. I just want things to be as easy as possible for everyone.

Reason 2 is because there are going to be PEOPLE in my HOUSE and I won’t be here to help them find things which means when they need extra towels or more toilet paper they are going to be opening closets and looking under beds and oh God it’s giving me heart palpitations just THINKING about it. Despite my best efforts and intentions, I am not a well-organized person. Yesterday I “cleaned” the guest room, which consisted of ten minutes untangling yarn, three minutes staring hopelessly at the giant pile of stuff still left to organize and thirty minutes of shoving craft supplies under the bed. Success! Or…not. At least it looks better than the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Or the pantry. Or our bedroom. Or – OH GOD – the basement. THE BASEMENT.

Then there’s the tiny issue that my mother is the kind of person who cleans my microwave every time she visits and my father is the kind of person who builds a new patio every time he visits so things need to be CLEAN and projects need to be FINISHED. Of course, I’ve known about this trip for a year so obviously my anxiety levels aren’t at the level of “get off my butt and do something” yet.

So here is my question for anyone who has left their kid(s) before OR hes watched someone else’s kids for them: How many pages of instructions are helpful vs. crazy-pants obsessive? Evan isn’t helpless, he can ask for the sippy cup he wants, but no one’s going to know what he means when he asks for the “camp-it hoot show” (Captain Hook show = Jake and The Neverland Pirates). Do I need to catalog our exact bedtime routine, or just “Bathtime at 7, in bed by 7:45” good enough? The most stressful part is I’m going to be virtually unreachable, so if I forget to write down “We usually ride the elevator a few times when we go to the mall, even if we don’t need to” I’m imagining the kids sobbing on the floor while my parents look on helplessly.

I don’t think there’s any advice for the house-mess situation, unless you want to come over and clean it for me. Ok, thanks, see you soon.

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Dear Mom,

Today is Mother’s Day, and,  just like birthdays, I never really understood how special a day it was until I had my own kids. It’s not about breakfast in bed or preschool craft projects or a card Dad bought and I just wrote my name on because I was too busy planning how to best get into trouble with my friends to remember which Sunday in May was supposed to be for you. It’s about saying how much I appreciate everything you did for me.

Thank you for all the homemade cookies and for never telling me I probably shouldn’t eat another one because I needed to be thin to make people like me.

Thank you for reading to me and for doing funny voices when we read The Hobbit. You were a better Gollum than that guy in the movie ever was.

Thank you for being so strict, because without your rules and boundaries I might have grown up too fast.

Thank you for telling me it was OK to change my mind if I didn’t want to be a marine biologist anymore after I went to college, because Holy Cow did I NOT want to be a marine biologist anymore after I went to college and it was such a relief to switch majors without worrying you’d be mad.

Thank you for showing me what a good marriage looks like – it’s amazing you and Dad are still so strong even though you got married at 22.

Thank you for being excited when I told you I was engaged, even though I was only 22.

Thank you for totally agreeing with me on every detail of my wedding and for laughing at mother-daughter pairs who fought over things like flower arrangements and plated appetizers.

Thank you for coming to help when I had my babies – I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you.

Thank you for being an amazing grandmother to Evan and Caroline and for always respecting my parenting choices.

I’m sorry for all the times I made you worry, the times I yelled at you, the screaming and crying and throwing myself on the floor (both as a toddler AND as an over-dramatic teenager), the broken curfews, the secrets I tried to keep, and that time I stopped speaking to you (even though I don’t think you even knew about it). I had to be a mom to understand how much your children can hurt you and how much it means to hear them say they didn’t mean to.

Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my mom.

Love, Your Daughter,

Suzanne

She’s Having a Baby

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Not right now, but probably before the weekend is over. My blood pressure was still high today, combined with some elevated numbers for my liver function (I should really pay more attention to WHAT exactly those numbers are and/or mean, right? But when the doctor is frowning at me my brain goes blank) means my OB was concerned enough to send me up for a couple of hours of monitoring in L&D. I have absolutely no other symptoms of pre-eclampsia – no swelling, no headaches, no blurred vision, no protein in my urine – and my blood pressure STILL isn’t quite high enough to be official pre-e (at least according to Wikipedia) so I managed to talk them into letting me out of labor & delivery tonight. If there was a record speed for getting your pants on, I totally broke it on my way out the door.

As long as I keep feeling fine, I’m free until 5 pm tomorrow, at which point they’re starting my induction.

That’s right, I said 5 PM TOMORROW. SATURDAY. Which might even be TODAY by the time you read this. SOON. My mind is having some trouble processing this time frame, in the same way my mind would have trouble processing the entire room turning upside down and all the furniture sticking to the ceiling.

The baby, for the record, looks FINE and still doesn’t care that her mama might be sick. Girls, I tell ya, trouble right from the start.

But now I have approximately 22 hours to finish up my Super Important List Of Things To Do Before The Baby Comes, including getting these boxes of Goodwill donations out of my kitchen, organizing baby clothes, finishing the nursery and picking my mom up from the train station. Because I CANNOT have this baby until she gets back, despite the amazing collection of frozen meals now filling our basement freezer thanks to my awesome friends from Stroller Strides and E being on stand down from work. I need my mom here to feel prepared and relaxed and calm and all of the good things one should feel when bringing a new life into the world. I’m already nervous enough just hearing the words “induction” and “pre-eclampsia”, I don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the huge pile of unwashed laundry and the dirty bathrooms and the fact that I STILL haven’t been to the grocery store since I was sick. E is helpful and all but really? His idea of a clean house means you can walk from the front to the back without tripping. Mom understands CLEAN.

So, internets, wish me luck for Saturday night/Sunday. And no more guesses in the birthday pool, since it looks like the weekend is for sure. But the 19th is my mother-in-law’s birthday and also the day E and I got engaged 7 years ago so not a bad day to have a baby overall. If you want to follow along on Twitter I’ll be over there as much as I can & you don’t need to have an account. Just look at my page here and try to focus on the tweets that don’t have an “@” somebody in front of them, since you’ll only see half the conversation. That is, if you’re interested in live birth updates. If not, come back Monday or Tuesday for fresh-baked bebeh pictures.

P.S. I would really appreciate happy, it-wasn’t-so-bad induction comments since the majority of the stories I’ve heard are not so good. Even with the drugs everyone’s labor seems REALLY long and hard – not to mention my mom’s induced labor with me which was long & hard and DIDN’T involve drugs.

P. P.S. I thought I had more time to ask for these, but if anyone would be willing to write & share their own birth stories while I take a few days off that would be awesome. You can be a blogger or not a blogger or have it written already and send me a link or write it now or write it in the next two days. Just send me an email at bebehblog@gmail.com so I can post it here. It doesn’t have to be rainbows and butterflies or involve meadows and wheat fields (although if it does PLEASE sent it), I just want to hear your story and take a few days off to, you know, give birth myself. And everybody loves a birth story.

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