Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

A Brief List Of Things I Have Yelled At My Children Reccently

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

1. Stop feeding your brother like he’s a dog!

2. Please stop shouting “Weasel-town! Wesselton! Weasel-town! Wesselton!”

3. Caroline, stop crying about your dinosaurs being dead. They are plastic, they cannot be dead!

4. NO you cannot use the potty in the basement because there IS NO potty in the basement!

5. Neither of you is a horse!

6. Evan, YOU are upside down! Stop telling your sister she is upside down, you’re making her cry!

7. Falling down is GRAVITY’s fault, not your sister’s!

8. No you cannot look in the toilet leave it alone!

9. Don’t eat candy you found under the couch!

10. No, you can’t eat candy you found under the couch EITHER!

Bonus thing I yelled as I was about I hit publish: Guys, I’m serious! I don’t want your boogers on me!

 

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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.

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Filler

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

I feel like my head might explode with all the things I am trying to remember. Wednesday morning I realized at 7:30 am it was Caroline’s turn to bring snack to school, so we drove to the grocery store for Goldfish crackers and milk, drove home, put Evan on the bus, dropped Caroline off at school, drove down to the beach for a Christmas photo shoot, drove home to meet Evan’s half-day bus (since the LAST half day I totally forgot him – Mother Of The DECADE!!), threw him in the car, drove back to Caroline’s school for pick up, drove to the post office, drove to BJ’s for essentials (Diet Coke, cheese and milk), then finally stopped at Moe’s for lunch. LUNCH. Because all of that was before 12:30 pm.

The rest of this week is also half-days which means more racing around to make it to pick up, plus my parent-teacher conference on Friday. I have two newborn clients I’m just waiting to become outside babies so I can schedule their sessions, a handful of families to do Christmas photos for, a cool press event in NYC on Monday and a husband who is about to go into shift work that will last probably the rest of the year. ALL OF 2013. I’m not sure I’ll survive it with my sanity, let alone with a house that doesn’t look like a tornado hit it, because that’s what it looks like now. Like a storm of boxes and My Little Ponies and couches rained down on my family room. I made the mistake of building Evan a “city” out of empty Amazon boxes and now I can’t throw any of them away or he freaks out. Smooth move, genius. Let’s turn trash into something we have to keep!

Because posts about how I am SO BUSY and don’t have time to blog are boring, I will make it up to you with a video of Caroline from a couple weekends ago. The kids are obsessed with the Cups song and E is pretty proud of himself for knowing how to do it, so this actually happens a lot around here. And don’t try to tell her she’s doing it wrong, she won’t believe you.

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Life Lessons And Other Skills I Do Not Have

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

This past week has really testing my parenting skills. I don’t mean in a “care and feeding and keeping them mostly alive” way – that I can handle. I mean in a “Mommy, who is God?” kind of way. Those question make an alarm go off in my head that blares: WARNING WARNING! Code red question alert, run away or distract with candy immediately! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised this stuff is starting to come up, since 4 1/2 and almost 3 are ages known for ALL THE QUESTIONS but it doesn’t change the fact that in the moment I freeze up and I never know what to say.

The first one was at the park last weekend, while I was taking pictures and Evan was supposed to be helping but wanted to pout instead. Evan is an expert flouncer – he would win the gold, silver and bronze flounce medals in flouncing and the Flounce Olympics – and was trying to flounce himself away from me…right into the graveyard at Fort Shantok, which is part of the Mohegan tribe’s sacred burial lands. NOT A GOOD SPOT FOR FLOUNCING. (For the record, the graveyard is 100 feet from a playground and a baseball field, it’s not like we climbed a fence to go tromping through it on purpose.) I hissed at him not to go in there but he kept inching further away from me until I said “That is a GRAVEYARD. Stay OUT.”

Stupid, stupid Suzanne. Of course then he wanted to know what a graveyard was and WHY do they put dead people there and are there STILL dead people there and what HAPPENS to dead people once they’re in the ground and does that mean HE is going to turn into dirt TOO???

I managed not to mention zombies.  HIGH FIVES.

We both survived, and I think I’m the only one of us who’s still concerned about it, so it wasn’t the worst conversation ever. But it certainly wasn’t a shining moment in using my words.

The second one, which is way harder, is Evan’s bus situation. His best friend since before he was even capable of having friends is on his going-home bus, but there have been some problems with teasing. The good news is Evan isn’t the ringleader and after I found out he was involved we had a good talk and he apologized now he knows he’s supposed to tell people “Those are not kind words, be nice to my friends!” The bad news is four year olds forget stuff and some parents are more involved and some are less involved and when the only adult there is a bus driver whose job it is to DRIVE the bus it’s easy for someone to get their feelings hurt.

In an attempt to separate the troublemakers, Evan ended up with an assigned seat next to a kid he doesn’t know. The bus driver – who is very nice – told me Evan was upset the first assigned-seat day, so I asked him why he couldn’t be friends with the girl he was sitting with. He said,”I don’t want to sit with her, she has yucky boo boos on her face!”

My brain said: “Aaaaaaagh alert alert, your child is a jerk! Fix it! Fix it now!!!”

My mouth said: “Evan! That is not OK! You be nice! To everyone! Even people with…who…different! Everyone is different! We are friends with everyone even different people!”

“OK Mommy,” said Evan.

I composed myself and we talked about it again later. I must not have done too badly, since the next day he told me he sat with (that same girl) and they were new best friends and the bus driver reports that he’s been good. It’s only a 15 minute bus ride, I don’t want it to be the most stressful part of his whole life. It’s crazy to me 4 year olds even know HOW to be mean to each other on the bus – at home the meanest thing Evan ever does to his sister is not share toys. He wouldn’t have any idea how to hurt her with just words and it scares me that pretty soon he probably will. I’m going to need to read a book or watch a YouTube channel or get in touch with Mr. Roger’s ghost somehow to help me navigate this life lesson stuff.

Can we just go back to babies that never sleep and when to introduce finger foods? That seems less likely to cause permanent damage.

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This Post Was Supposed To Be Happier

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Last week, I was pregnant. It didn’t stick, which I feel I need to mention right away so no one jumps to congratulate me only to feel bad about it later. I’m not pregnant now. I was pregnant, now I am not.

I had such a great reveal story, too. We’ve been trying for a long time now, almost a year, and after another month of negative tests at the end of August I decided to just give up until October. October marked 12 months of no babies, so my doctors would finally talk to me about fertility testing. With E’s crazy work hours the chance of getting pregnant without charting and calendars and schedules were almost zero…but that didn’t stop me from bringing a couple cheap pregnant tests to Atlanta just in case I was late. Even though I wasn’t trying my brain has been automatically keeping track of the days and….maybe…?

On Sunday morning, just before breakfast at the Type-A conference, I peed on a stick. I stared at it for 30 seconds but only got one line. Of course I only got one line. I’m doomed to only get one line forever. I set it on the counter and left. When my roommate Miranda and I came back up to the room a while later I picked it up to throw it away (because ew, what was I thinking?!)…and there was a second line. TWO LINES. I screamed “Miranda!!!” and threw the door open and she was standing there smiling at me.

“I know!” she said. “I saw!”

“But there was one line! There was only one line this morning!” I said.

“Right before we went downstairs, I saw it and though ‘Hey, that an HCG test, not an ovulation test’! I didn’t want to say anything!” Miranda said.

“Aaaaahhhhhh! You saw! You didn’t tell me! Oh my god! Two lines! But we gave up – I’ve been trying for so long, we gave up!” I rambled and laughed and cried and she hugged me and I was so so happy.

My roommate knew I was pregnant before I did. I called E and informed him he was actually the THIRD person to find out, but not to feel bad since I was the second.

Isn’t that a cute story? My own mini 2-hour version of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. I couldn’t stop myself from telling a few friends (and a few strangers) right away, but promised myself I’d wait a respectable amount of time to announce it officially, since the books tell you to wait. Now I know why people wait.

On Monday I got another positive at home, with a fancy digital test. I took a picture of it, just to prove to myself it was real. On Thursday morning I wasn’t feeling particularly pregnant – which is pretty normal, it happened with both of the kids – so I peed on another stick to reassure myself.

One line.

I tried the digital test. Not pregnant. I started to worry, but with no symptoms one way or another I couldn’t do anything. I called the doctor to ask if they could confirm, but the office on base won’t even test you until 2 weeks after your period is due, so I had another 8 days before I could go in. I asked Dr. Google, I asked my Facebook chat friends, but no one had a magic crystal ball that could tell me anything. So I waited and crossed all my crossables and prayed and wished and tried to lie as still as possible, as if just NOT MOVING could make this pregnancy stick.

It didn’t work. It unstuck, and now I am back where I was at the end of August, with one line on the test. I don’t feel like I lost a baby – at not even 5 weeks I think it’s only considered a chemical pregnancy and I didn’t have enough time to absorb the news, let alone get attached. It wasn’t a baby, it was the promise of a baby. Or may the suggestion of a baby, since no one is promised anything, especially by their own bodies. I didn’t pin any pregnancy reveal ideas or make any lists or imagine nursery themes or browse Etsy for cute hats or think of clever ways to put it on the blog. There wasn’t any time. I haven’t lost a pregnancy before, and I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to feel, but it’s mostly just kind of disappointed. I was really looking forward to being pregnant. Those 4 positive days have thrown my hormones and emotions totally out of whack though. All I really want is a couple of hours of alone time to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself and eat a pint of ice cream, but I haven’t had the chance. E is stuck at work close to 100 hours a week – that’s not a typo or an exaggeration – so he barely even knows what’s happening and can’t be here to talk or help or keep things together. He’s under so much stress already dumping all of this on him seems completely unfair.

And as if that disappointment wasn’t enough, I have a slightly horrifying, extremely personal medical thing that flared up again the second I got a positive test and by Saturday was almost unbearable. I’ll spare you the details but it involves a scalpel and stitches in a very sensitive (not thoroughly numbed) area and possibly major surgery in a few weeks, which I don’t know how I’m going to schedule since E can’t even get out of work to watch the kids for my urgent appointment, let alone something that’s not considered an emergency. Throw in the government shutdown and the threat we might not get paid (and the reality that the reenlistment bonus installment E gets each October is nowhere to be found) and I’m sort of stressed out. All of THAT on top of the non-pregnancy means I feel like everything sucks right now. I wish I’d never taken that test. I never would have known and the status quo of no baby never would have changed.

It’s all just…shitty. It’s shitty. I feel shitty.

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