The Ultimate Pass/Fail

After seeing a blog post titled “My Kid is a Shitty Sleeper” one of my friends who has not yet experienced the joys of parenthood expressed a growing fear regarding the path. The blog posts that I share most often do tend to make motherhood seem daunting. It places the majority of the blame on the children and their behavior and little of the responsibility on the parents. It’s tickles a funny bone that only someone with children has and it can seem slightly heartless to those who don’t have children.

I want to break this down for just a minute though. To have a child is to have an enormous amount of responsibility placed on your shoulders. It is a parent’s responsibility to raise a human being that is a productive, hopefully kind member of society with the potential for success that no one has achieved prior. That is no joke. Commercials and sitcoms have led us all to believe that children are blessings, that never tantrum, are hardly heard from unless they have a witty one liner. Yes, children are blessings. Yes they have the potential for a perfectly timed witty one liner. Tantrums though? That happens in real life. Unsolicited advice, judgemental looks, and a combination of guilt and embarrassment so thick you could spread it with a knife. That’s not what the commercials show. That’s not how the kids behave on TV. Sure, this could be all part of the rose colored glasses that not everyone wears but let’s complicate things further, shall we?

In addition to a child being a child (precocious, curious, boundary pushing creatures), let’s add a developmental delay to the mix. My child was delayed in walking and now, is delayed in her speech. Most kids her age are speaking in full sentences but mine? No, she can say about 45 words now (adding more everyday, thanks for her speech therapist and wonderful teachers at school) which adds to the pressure. It adds to the worry that perhaps that goal that you have been tasked with upon receiving said baby in the hospital, may not be a productive, kind and successful member of society. Please don’t mistake that sentence as someone waving the white flag and giving up. That’s absolutely not that case, just wanted to give an example.

Now parents reading this will understand everything that I’ve said and perhaps, may even be nodding their heads in agreement. Everyone else? Probably still fuzzy. So let’s put it this way. Having a child is like cramming for finals on 3 hours of sleep every single day. It’s the ultimate pass/fail test but rather than get your grades back in a week, you won’t actually receive them for 18 years. Scary right?

My daughter is one of the smartest, happiest, well adjusted (sort of) toddlers on the planet. I love watching her grow. She sings my favorite song (the mama dada song) and has the sweetest smile and goofiest sense of humor. I don’t regret her in the least. I just mourn the things that I lost when she came into my life: like sleep, chewing my food and not knowing the words to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. My hope is that in reading this, some of my friends who aren’t parents (yet or by choice) will understand that these blogs that I post on Facebook are my way of coping, of keeping my sense of humor and retaining some sense of myself before becoming Izzi’s mom. Please don’t fear adding the role of mother or father to your resume simply because some harsh words are written regarding the subject. Chance are, you’ll be great at it.

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Sticks and Stones (& Ottomans) Will Break Your Bones and Shoot Your Nerves to Hell

At the tender age of almost 3, my little one has broken her first bone. Luckily for us, it’s one of the most common bones broken during childhood. While playing on the ottoman, Izzi fell and broke her collarbone. An x-ray at Urgent Care and a discussion with her pediatrician revealed that it wasn’t a severe break (so no surgery) and would heal itself within a few weeks. A broken collarbone requires no casting and no real follow up so that a bonus and I’m so glad that it’s not worse.

However, trying to convince a toddler that a sling has to stay on ALL the time is exhausting. Lifting her into the car seat, buckling her in and watching her clumsily walk everywhere is nerve-wracking. To make matters worse, she’s no longer allowing her dad to comfort her. Only I will do. Combine this with good ole fashioned sleep deprivation and you can see why my nerves might be shot.

I thought motherhood was challenging enough, having dropped Izzi off for her first day of school (which she loves) and purchased her potty to begin potty training but now I fear her tantrums because I’m afraid she might re-injure herself. I’ve always been fairly comfortable in my parenting, knowing that I’m going to suck at something along the way but my confidence is shaken. Yeah, she’s a kid, she’s going to break bones but that doesn’t make it any less scary. I always thought my kid would break something when they’re 8 and it would be something that we could cast, throw some Tylenol and markers their way and let them have it. (Meaning a dose of Tylenol and decorate their cast. Jeez people.)

As I type this out, my mind is racing. Now I see it. It’s not according to plan. THE PLAN. That phrase is killing me. I’m not sure why I continue to cling to THE PLAN when nothing seems to go that way. Not a bad thing. Just an observation. I guess it’s time to let go. If I’m not flexible, then how can I expect Izzi to be. I want her to heal and be able to bounce back, like her collarbone but if I’m not setting the example, I can guarantee that she’ll never have that opportunity.

Today, though my patience is thin, and my body is tired, I’ll try to be more flexible.

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Ch-ch-change is Scary.

For a long time, my identity was based on me, and what I wanted to do when I grow up. I still remember answering that question every year during our annual trip to the beach and it stayed consistent for a long time. I didn’t want children and I wanted to live in a high rise in New York City so I wouldn’t have to do yard work.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Izzi started school a week ago and today was the first day that I didn’t feel like a huge jerk when I dropped her off. She dropped my hand in favor of the teacher’s and there were no tears shed when she realized I was leaving. Strange feeling.

As we bought her first back pack last month, I was sad, panicked and overwhelmed by the fact that this little creature, my little buddy would no longer be glued to my hip every day. No one was more confused by this reaction than I. I’d put up a tough front, said “I can’t wait for her to go to school, so I can have some peace and quiet!” While the introvert in me stands by this, the mommy inside me, (and on the outside) ugly cried the first day that we dropped her off. I worried about her not fitting in, being totally miserable, hating school, hating me or worse. I worried about outside dangers. Things that I don’t worry about when she’s with me. What if there’s another very sick person who decides to … I struggle to finish sentences like this because let’s face it, things like Newtown cross my mind repeatedly when she’s at school. I’m trusting these women with my most prized possession and it is the scariest thing that I’ve done to date.

There’s little I can do but say a prayer to keep her safe everyday and hope that our destiny isn’t hurtling without brakes towards an unknown predator. The control freak deep within has to suck it up. Today, I will be thankful that my little one hit such a huge milestone and that I am allowed to be the very person that I didn’t want to be 10 years ago.

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Stuck in the Middle with You

Back in January, I made a pledge to take care of myself by doing all that I can to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers and was successful until April, I’d worked off almost 20 lbs and was finally somewhat comfortable with my body. Then I finally started to mourn. (I am an emotional eater. Happy or sad; angry or glad, I eat. Not my favorite part of my personality.) Many of you know that I lost my grandfather back in December and his advice was the catalyst for the my last post and in all honesty, my quest for exercise. Back in April, we had his memorial service and until then, I don’t think I’d actually processed his passing. That wasn’t the only thing though. I was angry. When you’re smack dab in the middle of a weight-loss journey like I am, you come to realize that you’ve purged clothes of smaller sizes that you were sure would never fit again because GOD forbid you add-on to your bad habits by keeping things for no reason. So there’s that. Nothing was fitting correctly. As you’re losing this weight, you’re gaining more confidence and you want to show off everything you’ve accomplished but as stubborn as I was, I didn’t want to add to my collection of clothes by purchasing clothes for this middle stage. I only wanted celebrate when I was perfect, and complete and through with this challenge.

Boy. What a joke. I stopped doing Weight Watchers from mid-May to late-June thinking that I would put that money towards clothes that I could buy when I was finally perfect. Let me say this again: WHAT.A.JOKE. Part of this challenge is learning to take care of myself. Instead of continuing with the plan, I went crazy. My falling of the wagon coincided with a trip down to Georgia (a state with Chik Fil A), lots of splurging and VERY few trips to the gym. Not exactly taking care of myself or working towards my goals. Disappointed didn’t even begin to describe the emotion I felt when I stepped on the scale and saw that I’d gained some weight back. I danced with depression over my failure and hoped for change.

Yikes. Then I had an epiphany: hoping for change is going to accomplish diddly. So back on the wagon I go. The plan is easy to follow, and lucky for me, WW was running a great special so I was able to afford it this time and I’m covered for 3 months. I’m telling this story because I found something out about myself. Waiting to buy clothes until I’m perfect is silly. It is absolutely ridiculous. If I can’t accept myself while I’m in between goals, how in the world can I expect anyone else to accept me? This weekend, I found the perfect little black dress. It is stunning and I feel gorgeous in it. Thankfully, it gave me the confidence boost I needed to buy shorts yesterday. For the first time since college, I have shorts that don’t touch my knees. How’s that for a victory? Right in the middle of my journey too. Who knew?

Hopes and Goals

Hello all, 

  I recognize that it’s been a while since my last post (exactly 8 months) and some of my friends have been encouraging me to re-enter the blogging realm (looking at you Shanelle!) so I decided to give it a try. 2013 was not my best year. I’m not saying 2014 will be perfect but I have hope for this year. That said, I set some specific goals for myself and they are as follows:

1. Find a church, meet new people and learn from them. {So far, I’ve visited one church and was impressed with the service. I’m hoping for a return visit to make sure that it’s a fit before I take the munchkin.}

2. Volunteer in places that you know will change your life. The people who may not share the same experiences that you have will certainly provide you with perspective. {Wise words from a man that I miss terribly.}

3. Get healthy. Start a workout routine. {So this has more to do with the fact that my best friend is getting married this fall. She deserves the best me that I can provide for those wedding pictures. Also, I was tired of feeling so tired all of the time.}

4. Forgive yourself daily and ask for help. { Anyone that you ask will tell you that I am a perfectionist when it comes to Motherhood. I have always wanted to be the kind of mom that bakes cookies while their kid is napping so that they awaken to something special for absolutely no reason at all. I never want to make the wrong choice for my daughter. Ever. This is the goal I’m struggling with the most. }

5. Don’t hold others to the impossible expectations that you set for yourself. {Life happens and gets in the way, so its important to remember that it’s imperative to be comfortable with yourself and your partner. Ultimately, y’all are going to be stuck when everyone else is too busy to think about you.}

6. Be more positive! {(Yes, I’m serious.) I recently went through and removed people from my life that were causing stress. Between this and exercising, I have become MUCH happier.}

7. Realize that it’s ok to be yourself as long as you NEVER GIVE UP. {For as long as I can remember, I’ve been terrified of expressing any real emotion for fear that it could cause me to fail in some way. This year, I’m going to be happy, sad, and mad. I’m going to grieve for the loss of one of the most influential people in my life while at the same time honoring him the best way I know how; by taking his advice. }

 

Maybe it’s silly to write down ideas and call them goals in the hopes that if you call them something other than New Year’s Resolutions that you’ll be more successful at them but I’m doing my best. My hope is that if nothing else, I continue to have hope this year. At the end of the day, as long as you have hope, you have almost everything.

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Marathon

The city of Boston has long represented our nation as a symbol of freedom, defiance, and strength. The Boston Marathon is comprised of runners that personify those very characteristics; the best of the best, able to go the distance despite the obstacles placed in their way on the way to the finish line. Today was a test of the endurance of the Boston Marathon, the city of Boston and the United States but rest assured, it’s only a test. As we weep for the young boy we lost today, and pray for his family and the other victims, it’s important to remember that we are united. Our country will stand behind Boston and the runners as they struggle to find peace tonight but we will ALL work together to ensure that everyone finishes the marathon, no matter how long it takes because we are ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE.

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Turning 1.

We’ve survived.

It’s almost an anthem for new parents. Bringing home that sweet baby from the hospital is single-handedly one of the most challenging things a person can do. All you can think about is sleep, the fact that it seems to slip through your fingers like sand at the beach. While you’re missing sleep, perhaps at times the life you had prior to parenthood, the days are passing quickly. Pretty soon baby is 1 week old, 1 month old… a year old.

I’m planning my daughter’s birthday and I’m struggling with how fast time has gone. Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish) sings a song* about how time flies during parenthood, a song I loved right up until this moment. Until I realized, he’s right. This doesn’t last forever. Hold your breath, savor every bit of babyhood. The midnight feedings, sleep deprivation, her falling asleep in your arms as you lightly pat her back and whisper comforting words. I feel guilty that I wished for the days when she would just get bigger! Just big enough so that she would sleep through the night – so I could sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, so I… (finish the sentence with whatever you please, you get the point.)

So, she’s turning 1. Maybe this will be enough to remember to savor every snuggle, every time her little hands reach for me, or she leans her head to rest it on mine because a stranger has said hello. Maybe this will be enough to remember to celebrate her, to celebrate our family daily. Maybe this will be enough to remember that the best rewards are the ones you work the hardest to accomplish. She’s turning one.

*It Won’t Be Like This For Long – Darius Rucker

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(In)Divisible

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which is stands, One Nation, Under God, Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.

I don’t know about the rest of you but every morning, no matter which school I was in, the entire class always stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance. To me, it was a ritual that symbolized more than just the beginning of the school day, it was unity. It was a few minutes where everyone was the same and stood together, no assumptions about the person next to them, and certainly no room for hatred or patronization.

There’s a point to my story. This election seems to be one of the more brutal, and isolating ones. Social media hasn’t provided relief from the circus and has become one in its own right. Friends that have been friends for years have distanced themselves from one another over platforms that will never come to fruition because for any candidate to follow through on every policy would be a miracle. 99% of what politicians say is lip service (aka bullshit) and the other 1% might make sense. We’re  allowing “promises” to divide an indivisible nation. Our houses are so partisan that it’s a surprise that anything can pass. To those of my friends who actually work in DC and have helped pass certain bills, I applaud your efforts to create a bipartisan environment. Let’s be honest though, in order to create change, you need fresh blood in all the houses. No more of these hardline righters/lefters. You need a little bit of common sense and moderation in there.

Recently there has been an image making its way around the social media platforms entitled “The Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart”.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151071223110493&set=a.61232960492.81458.7292655492&type=1&relevant_count=1#!/photo.php?fbid=10151071223110493&set=a.61232960492.81458.7292655492&type=1&permPage=1

In my humble opinion whoever created this is just as close minded, judgemental and ill-informed as Todd Akin (the gentleman who began the debate about legitimate rape.) I am conservative and I certainly don’t feel that way. In fact, every single conservative that I know is sickened that there is someone like Todd Akin but as sickened as we feel about him, we are saddened by those who choose to forward the image along. I wholeheartedly believe in free speech, anyone can post what they want, etc. but the idea that I have friends who are willing to generalizestereotype the entire Republican Party as people who are insensitive, uneducated, and desire to step on the civil rights of others is just plain wrong.

I’m tired of the animosity between everybody. I tired of people thinking that they’re right and everyone who doesn’t share their beliefs must be wrong. I’m tired of the divisiveness over two children (yes, I mean children) who MIGHT follow through with the words they’re touting as policy. You can’t predict the future and for them to make promises on what they will do the minute they step into office is ridiculous. I’m a person who spent lots of money on a degree in Political Science and I’m tired of the election.

The election is fast approaching and this is my plea. Investigate the issues. Choose the candidate that best represents what you feel is the best course for the NATION. And don’t ridicule the person who voted for the opposite side. It’s their choice; you had one, so they get one too.

 

(As a side note: I wish people would stop saying they want everyone’s voices heard. You do not. I can guarantee you that you don’t want a convicted felon to be able to chime in on policies that affect your everyday life.)

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Motherhood and the Millennial

(I apologize in advance to my non-parental friends. This is about kids so if you are queasy or bored with the subject, stop now or forever hold your peace.)

I was thinking about my post last night, long after I should have been asleep and I felt ashamed and confused. The latter emotion isn’t abnormal but the former was a little concerning. I was struggling to figure out why being a stay at home Mom is so difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my little girl grow up but I’m drowning in bottles and nanas. I always thought that staying at home with my baby would be so great, I would be the June Cleaver of the millenials and it would all be perfect.

Wrong. So wrong. There are days when I’m lucky if I shower, and am able to sit down and focus on things that make me feel like myself again. By the time the end of the day rolls around and it’s time to make dinner, all I want to do is curl up in bed. I felt BAD about this. I felt guilty about my inability to do the one thing for which I thought I would truly have a gift. Then I stopped and thought about it. My whole life everything has been measurable and tangible. If you did your homework, you received good grades. If you went to work and did your job, (normally) you received a paycheck. If you communicated with others, you had successful relationships. (Still following me? Good.)

Motherhood, specifically stay-at-home motherhood is probably one of the least tangible, measurable jobs that exists. This may be a selfish statement but it’s true. I can tell you that my daughter is happy and healthy and that’s hugely important and satisfying but somedays, it’s hard to get the big picture where you feel like there’s no end time. My job as a mom is 24/7. After she’s in bed, there’s still laundry to be done, bottles to be washed and filled, usually dinner to be cleaned up and that’s under the assumption that she napped and I was able to get cleaning done then. I’m not saying my life is horrible. Contrary to what this entry sounds like, I’m merely wondering if I’m the only one who feels this way. I suspect that as more of my friends find their way down the same path, I won’t be the only one.

So what do I as a millennial mother do? I wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for others to come my way. I know that this phase is temporary and I just have to keep reminding myself that my daughter needs someone who’s well rounded. How do I translate the big picture into something smaller so that I can remind myself daily? That is the big question. Child rearing is a marathon, certainly not a sprint and anyone that considers it to be the latter should have their parenting privileges revoked. Oh and on a side note, the technology that has created us as a generation and our expectation that everything be delivered right this very second hasn’t helped my notion of feeling lost in all this.

I guess that’s what my point is – as millennials we need to understand that the best things take time to grow. The best things aren’t delivered instantly. There’s a quote that floats around on Facebook (yes, another reference, Mark Zuckerburg should hire me to do PR) that says “God only has 3 answers; not yet, yes, or I have something better in mind.” In other words… BE PATIENT.

Ok, well if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and I appreciate any feedback you have on the subject. If you’re a mother and you’re a millennial, how have you coped with this or have you not felt this way at all and think I’m just crazy? Let me know!

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Me, Myself and I

It’s come to my attention that I spend 97% of my time by myself. With Isabel but let’s be honest, a 5 month old isn’t the best conversationalist. This time alone has given me time to reflect on where my life has gone and I’ve decided that I could write a book filled with all of said reflections. Operative word: could. The ability to write a book would mean that I would have the time to write something longer than 3 paragraphs. Or energy.

I’m not sure I realized just how important social interaction was until I wasn’t seeing people on a regular basis. There are stretches when I don’t leave the apartment for days at a time, mainly because it’s a hassle to go anywhere with an infant and dealing with some of these people exhausts me. Let’s be honest, some days, just dealing with Isabel exhausts me. I digress. While I may not leave the apartment everyday, I’ve come to savor smallest interactions with people. I check Facebook and Twitter like it’s my job in the hopes that someone, anyone may have said something to me. I have become THAT person. That person that I made fun of way back when because THEY had nothing better to do than to check Facebook. How’s that for Karma?

Social networking has never been as important to me as it is now. I miss my friends who have all gone on to do great things, get jobs, and are busy with their lives. I miss laughing with other people in person. Such is life though. We all grow up and get involved with things. I’m certainly involved with things…er…thing. My point in writing this is not for everyone to pity me. My point in writing this is to remember that I can do something other than check Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes.

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