What Motherhood Teaches Me about Me

Obviously, I suck at blogging.

I’m a decent writer, but thank God this isn’t my bread and butter or my family would be emaciated by now. I love writing; in fact, I think of at least 10 things to write about a day. But in the day-to-day functions of my family, they get pushed aside. I’m ok with that. I’m also a lot more OK with a lot of things. So here goes.

* The house can be a mess and the world goes on. Obviously, my goal is that everyone has clean underwear or diapers, work clothes are accessible, and there’s at least some semblance of clean utensils to eat/drink on. Everything else is a bonus.

* I will never stop worrying. I know Jesus was talking to the world at large when he said, “Don’t worry about what you will wear, etc.” He wasn’t talking to moms: he knew we would keep worrying. In the last ten months, I’ve never thought a second about what I would wear. I have worrying a billion times about having something for the baby to wear, if anything would fit him, if he was warm enough, if he was comfortable, if he didn’t look like the orphans or poverty stricken photos of children because his shirt is stained and won’t come out.

* Banana stains. Who the hell knew that before you have a baby? You don’t. You know why? Because before a baby, you just ate the banana.

* I haven’t thought this much about what I was eating since loooong before rehab for my eating disorder. Seriously: is it ok to drink coffee? Is this too spicy? Does this have any nutrients that are really good for milk? Is any of this an allergen to a new body? What about dairy? What about hormones?  Sheesh… Now, fortunately, I’ve almost always eaten very well. Blame it on 30 years of dance training and knowing that food=fuel and you will get out of your body what you put in it, but we don’t buy junk food. Ever. But it kicked into high gear when I was building a human from scratch and then feeding a human with everything my body intakes.

* I absolutely HATE to watch the news. I didn’t like it before, but now, everything from news articles on Facebook to local news has some article on child abuse, a rabid daycare center, or a child death. It’s enough to make me want to run to my sleeping baby, and just hold him for the rest of his life.

* I’ve become more judgmental and then less judgmental of every parenting practice you Sock Monkey Selfiesee. As I’ve said before, I live in a very rural city. There are things that I see that I will never, ever, EVER, do. And then there are things that I see occasionally that I will never, ever, ever, do – and then promptly do them.

* I haven’t purchased new clothes in months; my son has a great wardrobe. I’m totally fine with that. I have purchased new shoes for a body that cannot walk.

* I am obsessed with cloth diapers. Sorry-not-sorry.

* I’m the mean mommy; he doesn’t get junk food, cookies, or ice cream. His newest love is mom’s fruit smoothie and all natural peanut butter. He will probably not know what a crappy McDonald’s chicken nugget tastes like, Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, or Kool-Aid will taste like for a very, very long time. I’m fine with that. He loves momma’s mac n’cheese, mom’s nuggets, and applesauce. He’s ten months, and over 22 pounds. I think he’ll be ok.

* I’ve never been this bonded or in love with something that beats the crap out of me, bites me, yanks my hair, yells in my ear, scratches my eyes, and keeps me awake for days at a time. If anyone else did that, they wouldn’t stay around long.

* I’ve never questioned my beliefs, values, or sanity like this in my life.

* I’ve never been this in love with my husband. Seeing him as a father is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.

* I only blog when I’m procrastinating folding the laundry🙂

See you guys soon.

 

Enough Self Love

A site that I absolutely adore posted this link about self-love. So you don’t have to open if you don’t want to, a 250lb woman strutted down Hollywood Blvd in a bikini. People then stared at her. Then she stated she wanted “to promote body confidence.” Now, what I understand about this is she’s aware that she needs to lose weight, but she wants to love herself now.

That’s absolutely awesome.

But can’t she do that wearing a pair of skinny jeans and a freaking shirt? The comments on the post made it worse that it should be. Everyone wants self-love. Everyone preaches self-love. But like it or not; how we dress matters. How we present ourselves matters even more.

I agree that so many need to have some self-love. No one should feel so terrible about themselves that they walk around in an outfit with their buttcheeks hanging out of the pant legs, and the sisters hanging out in the front. That is absolutely sad. Regardless of size.

We’ve gone way past self-love. Now we’re just using it as an excuse for selfishness, and calling it something to justify it. Below is my original comment, followed by the replies I received by some other followers.

I’m sorry, but… No. There’s self-love, and then there’s just being inappropriate. You CAN love your shape and dress for your shape at the same time. When we, as women, wear this nonsense, what message are we sending to our kids? Are we dressing like the women we wish our sons to marry? I doubt it.

ca——aw^^^ffs. What is so hard to understand about what @birthwithoutfear is trying to say? Every time someone gets all high and mighty. And wth would I dress ‘like the women we wish our sons to marry’? I dress for myself and occasionally for my husband. And I want my son to marry whoever steals his heart and loves him fiercely- what she (or even he!!!) is wearing has nothing to do with it. Shallow.
k—-dc Inappropriate for who?? Your eyes cause it’s something you don’t want to see?? Get over yourself. There are lots of men and women who love curvy women, why… because we have a confidence about us. We are at home and comfortable in our own skin. I personally think girls with a less than curvy figure that wear shorts up their ass or their breast falling out are inappropriate but that’s my opinion. I don’t tell them that because maybe they felt very sexy and confident that day. Good for them!! Don’t bring somebody else down cause it’s not to your liking or what you think is inappropriate.
jenntwilleySo, by that argument if your son walked in with someone who dresses like a prostitute, you’d be totally ok with that? Really? How we present ourselves *does* matter. I’m not saying don’t love yourself, but if you’re going in to a job interview, you really going to wear a lowcut top so the interviewer gets a good luck at the ta-tas? What’s shallow is doing everything for yourself and just expecting the world to cater to your whims.
jenntwilleyAnd I do agree that shorts up the ass and boobs falling out are inappropriate for skinny girls: because they are inappropriate *for everyone*
k—-dc There is a difference by going to an interview dressed skimpy abd messing a point as this lady was doing. Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they are all different.
k—dc*and making
I could have gone on, but it’s basically pearls before swine at this point. This site is dedicated to mothers. And that’s my point. As a wife first, I dress so that my husband doesn’t have to apologize for me or be embarrassed by me. As a mother, I dress so that my son knows what a woman should look like. He thinks I’m wonderful already; but he needs to know what to look for. And if I don’t teach him something: everyone else will.
I am all about self-care and loving who you are. I’m more about making better decisions and self-awareness. If you want to only do something for yourself – and there’s nothing wrong with that – then don’t get married. And sure as hell don’t ever have kids. The day you commit to someone you are saying that you will never again make a decision that doesn’t only affect you. Having a child says that you will never again put yourself first.
Maybe this makes me an old-fashioned jerk. But I don’t think you should ever have to dress a certain way to show self-love.

Family Feud

source: Huffingtonpost
source: Huffingtonpost

I do it. You do it. And it has to stop.

Ever talk to someone about something, and their response is so condescending, so pious, and so unrealistic that you just want to punch them in the face?

Then you hear them say something about everyone being “so judgmental” and “not as spiritually mature” as they are.

This is total crap. It has to stop.

It goes like this; you watch a cool show on Netflix, or on TV, or catch the news, and you ask someone about it, trying to make conversation…

You: Hey, did you see that thing on the Colorado blah de blah? It had Blah de Blah from So and So… very cool.

Them: Well, we don’t watch Blah de Blah. Actually, we don’t watch TV at all.

You: (in your head) Oh that’s right, I forgot you had the perfect family and never do anything that us simpletons do. Your three-year-old will most certainly get into Harvard by the time they’re 10. Thank you for opening my eyes to the truth about everything. You know what? Maybe I should just follow you around for a day or so, and just write everything down that you do…

Ok, maybe I took that last sentence a bit too far. But not that much.

Two mothers are at a playground. The kids are all being kids; playing in the dirt, swinging on the swings, and making up a game where only they will understand the rules.

Mom 1: Which one is yours?

Mom 2: One in the red shirt. Yours?

Mom 1: One in the green shirt. They look like they’re playing really well together!

Mom 2: Yeah, well ever since we removed gluten, dairy, red dye no 5, cartoons, puppies, and peanut butter from his diet, as well as limit his screen time, got him a private tutor for his brown-belt in jujitsu, he seems like a different child. I mean, who would have thought that only using purely organic essential oils on his solely organic, non-gmo steamed vegetables would have such an effect? 

Mom 1: (in their head) I would kill myself.

Two parents are talking in the lobby of a crowded restaurant. It’s a family friendly place: lots of kids, lots of noise.

Parent 1: Oh my goodness, she’s so cute! How old is she?

Parent 2: Seven months.

Parent 1:Oh, wow… so she/he’s on solid foods, talking, crawling, and playing the bass?

Parent 2: Uhh… actually, we’re breastfeeding, so no, he hasn’t had anything solid yet. He’s definitely trying to crawl, though! nervous laugh…

Parent 2: Oh, I guess I don’t know what the norm is for kids these days. I’m sure he’s fine.

Parent 1: (In their head) Well, golly, I’m so freaking glad we got that out of the way.

Every family does things a little bit differently. I don’t think most of us are trying to offend someone when we respond the way we do, but at some point we really do have to take a step back and reflect. If you’ve been friends with someone for years, or you just met them, or you have no idea in the Sam Hill who they are, take a second to realize the reality that their situation is going to be different from yours.

And besides that, unless they ask you for your stance on TV, fast food, global warming, the Presidency, books, or child development;

Shut up. Just shut up. No one cares about your stance on food, GMO, breastfeeding, child rearing, or yoga. No one cares unless they ask you what you care about. It’s not you; it’s them. They have a life too and are doing what they need to for their family.

Not everyone has a dairy/gluten/peanut/puppy/allergy, mmmkay? Are there those of us that do? Yes, and I have a family of them. Ironically, we’re all allergic to different things. But I am trying, and I think we all need to try a little harder.

No, I didn’t see that show. I should look that up.

Yeah, they are really having a good time!

Aren’t babies so beautiful?

Is it that hard to lift someone up without lifting yourself up higher than they are? Is it that hard to tell someone else that they, too, are doing a great job rearing their children? Is it that hard to be positive, without a political spin on your own praise?

Tell me I’m wrong.

When Mommy is sick…

I have learned something momentus about family life…

When Baby is sick, Mom stops the world as she knows it, and cares for the baby. Lots of hugs, nursing, snuggles, nursing, naps, and definitely some nursing. I can’t even promise that the nursing does anything, but it makes us feel like we’re doing something to help besides singing the itsy-bitsy spider for the umpteenth time.

When Daddy is sick, he is immediately quarantined. Mommy pushes fluids, soups, and medicine from a distance. She loves Daddy. Just not enough to catch what he’s carrying.

But when Mommy is sick…

Houston, we’re totally screwed.

Mom is SickBaby still needs to eat, and be changed, and eat. Baby doesn’t understand that you’re so weak you may drop him. Baby doesn’t understand that now may not be a good time to use your nipples as a teething ring.

Poor Daddy.

In our case, Daddy actually caught it also. We spent the day tag-teaming who got to sleep, and who had to deal with the also-sick-but-certainly-not-sleeping Baby. My sweet husband moved the changing station to the floor so we wouldn’t have to stand to change a diaper, knowing that if we were vertical for more than 30 seconds, we’d be puking on our son.

I was up every hour; either to throw up myself, to change a seriously hazardous diaper, or to nurse the very cranky Little One. Hubs took the day shift full of ‘lower GI problems’ and it was all we could do to make it across the house.

Fortunately, it was short-lived for me. So, for now, life has gone back to the world as we know it. Hubs went back to work. It’s been snowing like crazy here (for those of you who live in warmer climates, please comment with your home address.) so I’ve been locked inside the house anyway for weeks.

Thank heavens the Facebook Fast is over. It was interesting and partially hilarious to hear the feedback coming from my friends. The Mom friends I have seem to understand. Mom friends with young kids are sympathetic, but we all understand that this is the ship we cast off of daily. Just as other bloggers have pointed out, no one throws us a parade for being a mommy.

What is hilarious, are the sweet friends who either do not have children, or their children are grown. I know. Because five short months ago, I was one of those annoying hipsters… with their spiffy clothes, full-time jobs, spare income, and nights of sleep.

They look at you. In the eyes. And in their most well-meaning tone they say…

Get some rest.

Great.

Am I being condescending? Yes. Yes, I am.

Am I jealous of them? A little. I miss being able to sleep in. I miss being able to take a shower and leave the house without the logistical planning of the conquest of Saigon.

But it’s a small price to pay for being a Mommy.

The bear is waking… see you all soon.

Feminism… You’ve Screwed Us Again.

You’ve turned women against women; for the very reasons we are both fighting for.

I’m a little tired of the Mommy Wars.

It’s total bullsh!t.

I posted on a Facebook site the other day how happy I was that my city (that isn’t known for its class and quality) is getting a cloth diaper store! Finally, I don’t have to drive an hour for things like diaper cream that’s CD safe. If she sells cold-pressed coconut oil, I may just move in to the store.

FORTY-FIVE COMMENTS LATER… I deleted the post.

It went from everything about the lingo of cloth diapers, and some of the negative connotations they can have, to the political stance of tax dollars going to SAHM’s instead of to the military….

I just about lost it.

This was a site dedicated to doing things in a positive way, for Christ’s sake. Where babywearing, cloth diapers, and a delayed vaccination schedule are the norm, not the anti-Christ.

And they tore each other to BITS.

Some are working moms; others stay at home full time. Some exclusively breastfeed; some pump, and others use formula. Some have hospital births; some have homebirths with no medical assistance whatsoever. And everything in between.

And, somehow, one choice is better than all others. Really?!

I work two different part time jobs. I am both a counselor, and a dance teacher. Three days a week, I’m a counselor. One evening per week, I am a dance teacher. The rest of the time, I get to be at home with by beautiful 5-month old baby boy. On the days that I’m working with my teens and building them up, I come home exhausted, fulfilled, and accomplished. On the nights that I teach 3 different disciplines of dance, I come home exhausted, fulfilled, and accomplished. On the days where I get to spend some beautiful time nursing my son, doing laundry, and cleaning my home, I end the day exhausted, fulfilled, and accomplished. It’s not a “better life” to work or to stay at home, in the end, you have to decide that you will be fulfilled in the role you have chosen: to embrace it, and to fill it to its core.

Just because we live in a society where women can be anything, doesn’t mean we have to be everything.

If you are unhappy with the role you have taken, I’d advise you to take stock of yourself first. Are you unhappy with something simply because You Are Unhappy? If that’s the case, then regardless of your job or role you decide you play, You. Will. Stay. Unhappy.

A fellow blogger wrote recently that regardless of your role, you don’t owe the world an explanation of how hard your job is. I love it. I do have to work. The money that I make doesn’t do anything but put gas in our cars and food in our bellies. That’s why I have advertisements on the main site and on the cooking site, because it off-sets the cost of keeping the site up.

But in the end, if I didn’t love doing it… I wouldn’t be friggin doing it.

But in the age of Women Can Be Everything a Man Can Be, we’ve forgotten that only women can be Mothers. Only men can be Fathers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… someone just woke up.

So, I’m not the only one?

messagewithabottle.tumblr.com
messagewithabottle.tumblr.com

So, this article has just surfaced about a SAHD that put little sticky notes all over the house so he could tell his wife what he does during the day.

I call BS.

First off, I’ve seen these little notes before; in little articles, in a Reader’s Digest, Cafemom, whatever. They’re not original.

Secondly, if a SAHM did this, it would just be noted as a plea for sympathy.

Well, at least I’m not the only one who has this desire?

A desire to be noticed.

In one of my favorite movies of all time, Susan Sarandon is talking to the PI that she’s hired to follow her husband. Turns out, Mr. Gere is not having an affair: he is taking ballroom dancing lessons. But she’s trying to talk to the PI about why people get married; she says,

 Because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things. The bad things. The terrible things. The mundane things. All of it. All the time. Every day. You’re saying, “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.”

Is that what Facebook does? Does it give us the opportunity to notice each other and be noticed – or just, as I’ve written before – give us an outlet for sympathy. A way to say, “I have it harder than you.” or “I have it better than you.”

The days I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom are just as tiring as the days I’m seeing clients and running around town. However the differences are stark: I make money when I’m seeing clients and teaching groups. I turn in an invoice for what I did, and notes for what we talked about, curriculum we’ve covered.

When I’m “just at home” with my son, my biggest accomplishment is laundry, dinner ready at a decent time, or clean floors. Rarely is any of that noticed because it’s just a day at home with my son. I love doing it. If I could make decent money and just stare at the baby all day, I’d do it. But I’d miss out on getting to help broken families put the pieces back together and learn how to ‘do life’ together.

I don’t leave sticky notes all over the house explaining “oh my word, this diaper is FOUL” or “Wow! Did you know we literally could make another dog from all the hair under the sofa?” because honestly, it’s not anything that a billion women all over the world do every single day.

I guess that’s why it mystifies me as when a Dad does it, it’s a big deal. He needs to be noticed for what he’s done for the family.  Just like all of us.

But seriously… just clean the damn wall and shut up.

Sympathy Fast.

FluThe Flu has struck the House.

Not just any flu: the H1N1-hide-your-puppy-crawl-into-a-corner-and-pray-for-death flu.

Fortunately, only one of us is sick.

Really fortunately, it’s not me.

Hubs is dying. He’s gone from mildly feverish to bordering hospitalization twice in the last few days. We don’t live near a decent hospital, so taking him to the nearest one would be an impressive task. Load up the dog, the baby, and the completely worthless Hubs. Drop off the dog at MIL’s, make sure I’ve pumped enough breastmilk to last the baby for several hours, and take Hubs to doctor. Only for them to prescribe something that we could have just called the doctor for on Monday.

It’s like having a second child at this point. A really big, cranky baby that refuses to be comforted and prattles random words together that don’t make a coherent sentence no matter how you rearrange them. You can’t trust him with anyone younger; in fact, he can’t help you in any way. To do so would mean certain death to those with whom he came into contact.

He’s quarantined to the bedroom. He has commandeered my pillows. My favorite pillows. He’s coughed on them.

After a week of having terrible hours thanks to the holiday break, nowhere to go, and snowed in part of the time, I had a serious case of cabin fever. I was generously blessed with a gift card, and was able to go get groceries and things for Little Man.

Except Little Man wasn’t having any of it. He took one morning nap, and that was it for an entire day, minus the drive into town. The entire grocery trip was crisis management; I would have just gone home, but MIL wanted to get him an Excersaucer, and wanted me to take it home with him. I didn’t really want to go home either, and ended up going to church looking like death warmed over.

I finally get home, and it’s already snowing. I get everything into the house – which was a nightmare. Hubs needs stuff, baby is SCREAMING, and I’m trying to get everyone happy, including the dog which no one managed to let outside even once while I was gone all day. I check mail; bills I can’t pay, stuff reminding me again of the sacrifices we’ve made to have a child.

And no one wants to go to sleep. Everyone is hungry; and it’s ten o clock. Apparently, I’m the only one that knows how to heat up leftovers. I’m totally exhausted. I sit down to nurse the LM again. Rock him to sleep again. He cuddles up to me and slowly goes to sleep. We couldn’t find a pacifier the first time, and that was cause for emergency. He’s finally out. Like, OUT, by 11pm. Humidifier is turned on, making beautiful white noise for him to sleep to. And then I realize something:

Umm….. Where am I sleeping?

I make the sofa into a bed, but can’t find my duvet that is the pride and joy trophy of my last marriage. I got two awesome things from my divorce: my dog and this duvet. I can’t find it. It was shoved into a corner, and I fluff it out. I grab the baby monitor from the bedroom, and pray everyone just stays asleep.

No luck.

4am comes way too early. Not as early as 5:30am and 7:15am, though. Finally, I get him out of his bed, feed him for what seems like the 10th time, and let him snuggle with me on the sofa. Now he does what he does best: hog the covers. I’m amazed at how this little guy manages to take up so much room and so many covers. He finally goes to sleep again. I finally lay down again.

Ten minutes later he’s screaming. That’s when Hubs says he’s sick of water and would I make some tea.

I am a single mom to two children at this point. And one of them is about to catch a beatin’. One can’t stop sleeping. One won’t take a nap if I duct-tape him to his swing.

I get several well-meaning text messages saying the same thing: make sure you take care of yourself.

Yeah, I’ll get right on that. My house is a disaster, I haven’t even washed diapers yet, and no one will stop moving for more than 10 minutes. I am exhausted, but there’s no one here to help me.

And then it hits me. It hits me like a ton of bricks to the chest: You’re still standing. Shut up. Keep going until it’s over, and make it happen. Millions of women do this: it’s called being a mom. Millions of women are never thanked, never recognized, and never get a day off either. Shut up and do something.

Stop having a pity party and just do it. In the time that you’ve taken to feel sorry for yourself, you could be done with it already!

I hate life lessons. But it’s true. I’d had a pity-party for myself all day because I’ve been so stressed. If I’d just have done what needed to be done in the first place, I’d have more time. What else didn’t I get to do?

I didn’t get to post everything on Facebook making myself out to be a hero, and gain sympathy from unsuspecting friends and family. I didn’t have an outlet: I had to just sit there with my emotions and actually deal with them instead of putting them on everyone else. Now, I understand that venting is a healthy habit. But playing the victim in your own story gets pretty old. Here, there was no story; just life happening, and I couldn’t put it out there for everyone to feel bad for me.

So, feel bad for me, dammit.

Notifications?

So, I’m fasting Facebook.

I went on once last night to post about this and my cooking blog, and people went a little nutzo. Not in a bad way, but I was in a bad mood and pretty much took it as one.  One friend was just mad because this is the best way we talk to each other, and, well, she didn’t want to miss me.

But, honestly… most people I don’t think even noticed.

How DARE they?!

Popular on FacebookDid they not notice how awesomely awesome I am? How the world should hang on every handily-crafted word of mine?

Oh, wait… yeah…. So, the world doesn’t actually revolve around my FB status. Not even my Motherhood stuff. Well, poo.

I only had a handful of notifications, mostly people posting stuff in groups. Then it dawned on me: I’m only creating this universe on Facebook from my interactions. If I stop interacting, my computer stops blipping. And I’m forced to make actual connections.

So what’s the point of the fast? The point is to take what you  would normally be doing (i.e. checking FB) and pray instead. It’s not about not eating, it’s about letting go of a distraction that’s keeping you from something greater.

I’ve prayed more in the last 24 hours than I’ve prayed in a normal week.

The New Addiction.

 

I sat there. Crouched down on the padded mat, my sweet boy is grasping for toys during tummy time. He’s prattling happily and I quickly whip out my cell phone to snap a few pics to send to the Hubs and the Gparents. I get a great shot of him with a toy in his mouth, another smiling, and a few are blurry. While he’s occupied, I “share” a few on Instagram, brose through the digital modifications until I see one that makes him look even more brilliant, and post. Then post to Facebook. Then, while I’m on Facebook, I check messages, then comments, then a few posts on a few of my groups. A mom needs prayer, so we talk for a bit. Someone has a question about breastfeeding, and we talk for a bit. What is that sound?

It’s my son. He’s not in his “happy place” any longer, and is trying to let me know. Whups.

I look down at my phone again. It’s been 15 minutes. And all I did was take a picture of how cute my kid is…. And I got distracted.

Now, little man is fine. He just gets frustrated that he’s not mobile yet, and lets me know when he wishes to move. But that’s when it hit me: I am wasting my life, fifteen minutes at a time.

antifacebookEvery year, my church does a fast. Not in the “We’re not eating sunup to sundown” sort of way, but in the “this has become a distraction, so I’m putting it away for a while” sort of way. Putting away the distractions at the new year builds a new habit, or gets rid of an old one.

This one may just kill me. Normally, I just give up… something I don’t really miss, honestly. But I want to be a better person for my son. I want to be more connected to people – not just a digital image of them. I want to have the image of my son laughing as I sing “changing a diaper” to the tune of whatever song is playing on Pandora. He thinks I’m amazing. I don’t have the heart to tell him I’m stressed about finances, the house is filthy because I took a nap with him, instead of cleaning the house, and that he hasn’t pooped in a few days and I’m dreading what is going to come out of him in the tub. I also don’t want to tell him that a glowing little box is more important than he is. He needs to have my attention.

So, I’m fasting Facebook. We’ll see how this goes.