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Category Archives: Life as a Mom

Life of a Mom: installment fourteen, sh… Poo happens

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It’s probably happened to most of us who have children, at one time or another. Or so I tell myself. One of my children had a tonsillectomy three days ago and hasn’t been able to eat. So she wanted me to make some instant potatoes, much smoother than my mashed potatoes. No problem! I didn’t have much interest in peeling potatoes today, anyway. My dear husband asked me to make a salad and he headed out to the grill to cook the meat. He was even sweet enough to change the two-year-old’s poopy diaper before going out. Awesome! As I sliced a cucumber into the salad, the milk and water heating on the stove, the two-year-old came into the kitchen, held up her right foot and said, “Poopy, Mommy.” Oh no! That poopy diaper Daddy changed must have been a doozy. One look at the floor where little Miss stood with her poopy foot revealed several splats of icky stinky brown. Kitchen and dining room floors, both peppered with splats. It looked like a war zone, if poo was a weapon. I think it could be an effective one. Anyway, I cleaned the poo off the two-year-old and the floors and returned to the kitchen, where the milk and water for the potatoes had, of course, boiled over. What a mess! The family seems to be enjoying the meal and no one is covered or walking in poo at present, so I guess all’s well that ends well.

Life of a mom: installment thirteen, WAITING

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We await their birth eagerly, counting every day, every kick. We wait for them to say “Mama” and melt our hearts. We wait for them to walk, to be out of diapers, to start school. I’m in the waiting stages on potty training and school starting with one of my children. With the other, I’m waiting with dread boy-craziness, first dance, first date, drivers training… I’m so thankful for every stage and wait more patiently than when I was a young mother, when my firstborn was little, but today I’m not feeling so patient. Today, I’m waiting for my ten-year-old as she has a tonsillectomy. I know she’ll be fine. That doesn’t make waiting any easier. This waiting does make me grateful for my children’s overall health, when I know their are mommas out there whose babies are in hospital with less routine problems. My heart goes out to those mothers.

Life of a Mom: installment twelve, summer fun

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I vaguely remember what I loved about summertime before I was a mom.  As a child, playing in the sprinkler or the hose or even the kiddie pool, and on very lucky, happy occasions, at the lake, were all happy summertime activities.  As a young, childless adult, the lake was one of my favorite places to be.  I’ve never been a super beauty, so it wasn’t me to lie on the sand catching some rays, no way!  If I wanted to lie in the sun, I’d do it in the privacy of my own backyard.  At the lake, I swam.  I love water.  I love the way it feels around my body, the way it moves when I move and the surface ripples, its coolness on a hot day; somehow, in water, I feel more myself.  I feel more like the me I want to be, carefree, happy, content, peaceful, without anxiety.

Of course, that was before kids.  Now the lake is a danger.  My ten-year-old swims well so I don’t worry so much about her, but my two-year-old, yesterday evening at the lake, kept up a steady speech:  “Me do it.  Me fim too,” and tried repeatedly to walk herself out into the water above her head or escape from my arms in the deep part of the lake.  Oh my!  I didn’t get to swim, needless to say.  Thank God for the distraction of a playground near the beach, at least we managed to leave without any meltdowns!

Life of a mom, installment eleven: finding peace

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I’m a mom with a spoiled ten-year-old (my fault) who has a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder, which translates into an angry, sullen child who is a mere two inches shorter than myself who has such little respect for me and my husband that she regularly breaks things belonging to us and is physically violent toward us. We had about a six-month reprieve, a time of relative peace and fewer outbursts. When my husband lost his job in April, tension rose in our household. I am well-paid for a receptionist, but let’s face it, I’m still just a secretary and it’s not easy to support a family on my income alone. I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to make ends meet, to try to be my husband’s cheerleader and the stress is making me feel physically ill. So it’s no surprise to me that the child who has always been overly attuned to my emotions is back to her old ways. In the past week alone, she has nearly caused us to crash by kicking my husband while he was driving on the highway, punched my forearm hard enough that I lost feeling in my left hand for several minutes, broken a lamp in our living room and threatened both suicide and homicide (verbally only).

I’m tired. I won’t lie. In the midst of all of this drama, my stomach churns, my head aches as badly as my heart and I can’t even cry anymore. I’m trying very hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude, as well as my sanity, but I’m not sure anymore where to find peace. If I cannot find it, what hope have I of teaching my children the art of inner peace despite outward chaos?

I am just so very tired.

Life of a Mom: Installment Ten, Who’s Teaching Who?

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Good to remember; easy, in our rushed lives, to forget, the importance of listening to our children.  Remember when you were little & the world was a great, big, amazing place & every day you really did learn something new, and you yourself were new enough that you didn’t know all the big people already knew it, and you couldn’t wait to share your astonishing discovery?  Well, our little ones are the new ones now and when they talk, we need to listen! 

I still learn from my kids, every day; we think we’re teaching them, but I think it goes both ways!

I promise, if you listen, you will learn too and, more importantly, you may rediscover some of the wonder that is a child’s gift.  As an added bonus, your listening will show your children that you care for them, that you value them as individuals and that you respect them enough to focus on them when they talk, making them more likely to keep talking as they grow.

I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to hear about a child’s perspective on this old world and I really want my children to talk to me when they start thinking about boys and broken hearts and drugs and college and… well, you get the idea…

Life of a Mom: installment nine, all that glitters… has value


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I’m not the best mother.  I’ll be first to admit that.  When depression or anxiety get the best of me, it’s hard for me to be physically close to anyone, even my kids.  I pray daily that my problems aren’t ruining their lives and that they know how much I love them.

That said, one mistake I made with my firstborn, who I raised on my own until she was six, was in not helping her to develop her imagination.  I’m sure she had opportunities while I was at work, and I’ve always worked full time so that’s a lot of time, but when we were together, I was her playmate.  Tired from working and wanting to read to her and build memories with her, I wasn’t usually game for make-believe.  Not that she was ever very into pretend play even without my reluctance.  She knew that I’d entertain her.  That’s not to say we never played dress-up or with dolls, we did.  We also explored parks and spent time painting, dancing and singing… and while she’s often “bored” these days, less than a year ago, she filled a jar with what adults would call rubbish:  soda pop caps, rocks, pop can tabs, etc., and called the jar her “treasure” – so maybe I didn’t fail entirely, or maybe she learned to use her imagination despite me… at any rate, with my second child, I’m much more able to stand back and let her do her thing.

There is a lot involved in why parenting my second child is totally different from the early years with my firstborn.  First, I’m married to my two-year-old’s father, so she has always had two parents.  Also, much of her life, her father has been a stay-at-home dad, so she has been raised mostly at home.  Finally, I recognize that she is learning pretty well without the structured play I enforced on her sister at that age; without my interference, she plays with her friends even when they aren’t around (two of her friends’ names, especially, I hear regularly… she has pretend play down to an art and although sometimes it means an even messier-than-usual house, she can entertain herself for quite awhile). 

I’m happy to say that whatever I didn’t do to nourish one child’s imagination, both of them yet can see the value in objects of unimportance to adults; for that, I’m thankful.  All that glitters is not gold, it’s true, but is there any good reason why our children shouldn’t pretend it is?

Life of a Mom: installment eight, MOM GUILT


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If you’re a Mom and have not ever experienced any MOM GUILT, you should write a book and speak at parenting conferences (unless you’re a sociopath incapable of feeling remorse; no one in this society needs lessons on how to be self-centered and -serving).  I may be predisposed to experience guilt-feelings because of an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with my mom I while I was growing up, and often felt guilty as a child for even having any needs, and didn’t allow myself ‘wants’.  Now, as a Mom, the burden of guilt lies even heavier on me.

Feelings of guilt began early, while I was still pregnant with my first child. I miscarried and felt it must somehow be my fault. When I learned I was still pregnant after the miscarriage, I was overjoyed but spent the rest of the pregnancy fearful. When I was ordered bed rest about eighty days before I was due to deliver, I felt guilty for not working, because with no income, how was I going to take care of a baby; I felt guilty for not preparing the apartment for baby’s arrival, because unless I was really at rest, lying on my left side, my blood pressure skyrocketed.

When, 8 1/2 weeks before baby was due, she was taken by emergency c-section, I felt like perhaps I hadn’t rested well enough and her premature birth was my fault. I felt guilty that I had not given birth naturally. I felt immense shame at my own weakness: I was so sick still that it was two days before I could get out of bed to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and hold MK for the first time; I was afraid we wouldn’t bond.

I can see this would become a very lengthy post, if I continue to detail every guilt I carry, so it’s time to switch to list form…

During the first few months of MK’s life, she did receive breast milk because I pumped, but she was not able to latch on, so after those first few months, my milk dried… a source of great shame to me.

I felt guilty when I was on maternity leave because I had no money and couldn’t adequately provide for us.

I felt guilty when I returned to work and had to leave MK at daycare.*

I felt guilty when I missed milestones because I was at work.

I felt guilty that, even though I have always had a job, it’s never been quite enough and I’m always broke… I feel like a failure because my kids wear secondhand clothes out of necessity and ride in a car that isn’t safe because I can’t afford a new one.

I felt too guilty to leave MK when I wasn’t at work for several years, so until she was five, I didn’t go out with friends or date or spend any free time away from her.

I felt guilty for starting to date; I even felt guilty when my husband and I got married, for changing her life so drastically.

I felt guilty for having a second child, when we were broke with only one.

I feel guilty, still, for the lack of time to spend with both kids because of working full time.*

I feel guilty because my house is a mess… because the kids don’t have all the ‘stuff’ their peers have… because I lost my home and moved them to a new city, a new school and another huge change for my firstborn… the list goes on and on.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings of guilt. I’m sure most parents feel a twinge at least from time to time. Do you?

*This subject, guilt of a working mom, is one for another blog, as it’s a pretty big part of my life as a mom.