Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Too Much Credit

Yesterday, I posted about my friend who was struggling with the comparison between her "perfect" mom and how she views herself. Luckily, I didn't write anything that offended her, but she did make an interesting comment about the post - she told me I gave her too much credit.

And to that I say:

That's crap.

Come on Moms!

And Dads, too. I know I say "moms" all the time, but that's simply because I am one. Please, Dads, know that I speak to you too. Our experiences as parents are different, but based in the same daily happenings.

But I digress.

Come on Moms! We need to support each other here. We need to stand up for each other and cheer each other on! We need to congratulate each other when we do something great with/for our kids. We need to provide a shoulder to cry on when our kids get sick. We need to provide listening, non-judgmental ears for our fellow moms.

But, most importantly:

We need to give credit to ourselves.

We are the only moms our kids will have. And 99.9% of us are doing the best we can. (I don't know if that's an accurate stat or not, but I need to believe it.) Sure, we have our moments. We slip up. We yell. We get frustrated. We cry. We curse. We do all sorts of things, in our momentary lapses, that make us feel like we're bad moms.

But it's the moment to moment things that determine who we are and who are children see. It's the cuddles on the couch; it's the owies we kiss; it's the dirt we scrub out from under fingernails; it's the hair we comb out of eyes; it's the foreheads we kiss to check for fevers; it's the vomit we wipe off ourselves after the kids, once again, fail to get even a drop on themselves; it's the macaroni and cheese we prepare for the ten billionth time; it's the classes we take them to; it's the recitals we watch; it's the specific item we madly search for so our kids can sleep at night.

On a daily, hourly, minute-ly basis, we do all these things.

And if we cannot give ourselves credit for a job well done, then we can't expect anyone else to do it either.

So, Parents, give yourselves some damn credit. Easier said than done, I know. But give it a try and see how it goes. Really, it can only make you feel better.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Code of Silence

In the mornings, once the kids are fed, I let the older ones watch cartoons for a little while, the little one usually goes back to sleep for a while, and I go upstairs and check my email. I'm not a morning person, at all, so a little coffee and a chance to start the day with some grown up connection is how I like to start my day.

This morning, I had an email from a dear friend I met at my last job. It was just your typical "hi, how ya doin' " email and I mentioned I needed a topic for today's posting. She said she'd think about it and get back to me. My friend has 3 children at home and works full-time. She's incredibly patient and loving with her children, great at her job and I'm always amazed how she gets it all done. Her house is clean, her kids are happy, and she's just doing her thing. Sure, she's got hard days, and lately they're crazier than usual (works is crazy busy, she's had to do some traveling for work and her youngest child is just 4 months), but to the outside observer, she's doing a bang up job as a working mom.

Anyways, she said pumping and breastfeeding were really the only things on her mind these days. And then, as an aside, she said the other thing that is always on her mind these days is how her mom did it. She also questioned whether she was "selfish" because if she doesn't get any "me" time, she goes nuts. Now, I'll be perfectly honest here...I've never seen the girl go nuts. She says she does, but I don't believe her. And I certainly don't think she goes nearly as nuts as I do.

But I digress.

So, how did our mom's do it? My friend's mom had 6 kids and apparently never snarked at her husband and provided every single drop of attention her children needed/wanted. And she never got any "me" time. And I remember very similar things about my mom...My mom only had 2 kids, but the woman did freaking everything. She stayed home with my sister and I when we were little and then went back to work once we were old enough to handle being on our own for a couple hours after school. My mom cooked, she cleaned, she did laundry, she gave us our baths, she cut our hair. She did all the stuff that moms do. I once asked her when she cleaned the house and she told me she did it after my sister and I went to bed. You know what I do when my kids go to bed? I sit on the couch. I don't clean anything. You know why? Because I'm tired. And I could care less that there are crumbs on the floor or dirt in the tub. I'm tired people. I just want to sit down.

So, what's the deal? Why were our moms so perfect and we feel like we're being selfish if we want to get out of the house and away from our kids for a while?

I have a theory on this:

The Code of Silence

There was this sort of code of silence among our grandmothers' generation that got passed along to our mothers. And our mothers picked that up. Our mothers didn't complain or get "me" time because they didn't even know such a thing was an option. I think our mothers were fully aware that certain parts of motherhood sucked, but they didn't talk about it...because their mothers didn't talk about it. Motherhood was flowers and rainbows and sweet smells and all that gushy stuff - not crabby toddlers, poopy diapers and extensive amounts of caffeine, followed by the more than occasional glass of wine.

Well, somewhere along the line, mostly when we started having babies, our mothers started opening up a little more. They started acknowledging that it's hard to be a mom, that we always love our children but we don't always like them, that we may not love our children upon first sight, that there are days when all we want to do is hide under the covers and get away from all the noise.

And our mothers help us more than their mothers helped them. My friend's mom watches her kids for her while she and her husband are at work. My mom will pretty much drop anything to watch my kids for me when I ask her.

And I expect we will, in turn, do the same for our kids when the time comes. Until then, I think we have to be real with ourselves and break that code of silence. We need to be able to talk to each other, about the fantastic stuff and the fantastically horrific stuff. If we need to leave a room because our kids are being naughtier than we ever though possible, then it needs to be ok to leave that room and we need to be ok with that decision. If we need to take a weekend to ourselves, to refocus our efforts, then we should take that weekend and appreciate it for what it is - a chance to get recentered so we can be that mythical "perfect" mother that our children will remember.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Improvements upon the Original

Yes, motherhood brings about changes - some of them drastic, some of them small. And while some of these changes are a huge pain (see and, in many ways, motherhood is a good way to improve upon the original you and the life you led before the kiddos entered the picture. Take for example:

Caffeine intake:

BC: Caffeine was imbibed, but not fully appreciated for the legal wonder that it is.

AC: Caffeine is now a staple in my house. And while most mornings, until I get some sort of caffeinated beverage coursing through my bloodstream, I am a beast not to be reckoned with, there are the glorious moments I can occasionally steal away, in a quiet coffee shop, sans children, sans responsibilities and truly appreciate the goodness of a simple cup of coffee...or a super fancy half-caff, skinny mocha chocha latte supreme...or whatever those things are called.


BC: As I've said before, I'm a napper. I love to sleep. I love my bed. And all of this was true before I had kids.

AC: I still love to sleep. I still love my bed. And while most days I am deficient in some level of sleep, there are days, glorious days, where I can get in a nap. And not just any nap. The kind of nap where I wake up with lines on my face, my hair is a disaster, I'm the perfect temperature, there's nary an ache in any muscle and I wake up refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. Now that, my friends, is a nap.


BC: Sure, I laughed. Sometimes really hard. Sometimes so hard I lost my breath and cried hysterically.

AC: Holy crap, do I laugh now. Sometimes because the kids are being silly. Sometimes because they've gone and done something so completely out of control, I have to laugh or I'll be hauled away to the loony bin. I mean, really, how can you not laugh when your 2-year old comes down the stairs buck-ass naked because she just pooped on the floor and when you go upstairs to survey the damage, said floor poop turns out to be leprechaun green? Seriously people, does it get any funnier than that?


BC: I hardly ever cried. And when I did, I was either at a funeral, stressed to the gills or so tired I could barely see straight.

AC: I cry all the freaking time. Not all out bawling, but I'm constantly tearing up. Sometimes it's a hormone thing. Those suckers are out of control once you've been pregnant. Sometimes it's because my kid just head-butted me in the nose. Sometimes it's because I'm at a funeral, stressed to the gills or so tired I can barely see straight. But more often than not, it's because my baby is smiling and talking to me, or my 3-year old just wrote "Mom" for the first time, or because my little angel-demon just made me laugh so hard I couldn't take it anymore.

So, yes, motherhood changes you. It certainly changed me. But I don't think it's changed the essential me I've always been. Some days I just have to look a little harder to appreciate the improvements upon the original.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Every one and a while, the stars align, the heavens open, the angels sing and the impossible have a lovely dinner with your children.

I know! You've all heard of the mythical "perfect family dinner" scenario, but as much as you wished for it, you weren't sure whether or not it truly existed. Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you, it does exist. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can make even the most cynical mother all gooey inside.

Picture it: A weekend at the cabin. Dinner time on Saturday night. The menu (an integral component of the "PFD"): mesquite rubbed t-bone steak, grilled to perfection; seared scallops with a Chardonnay butter sauce; wilted spinach; mashed potatoes; and for dessert, peanut butter M&M cookies. The food turned out perfectly. The children sat at the table, looked at their plates, grabbed their forks and...wait for it...ate. Not only did they eat, they tried everything; they did not whine; they did not complain; they were utterly pleasant; they said "please"; they said "thank you"; they finished their food; they asked for more food; they did not spill anything. It was absolute dinner nirvana.

After dinner, we sent the kids downstairs to watch cartoons for a little bit. My husband, the baby and I sat in the living room, reading our books and basking in the PFD afterglow.

It was good. It was great. I can only hope it happens again...sometime in the next 3 1/2 years.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Changes

I don't know about you, but my life changed drastically once my kids entered the picture. I went the traditional route in many ways: grade school, high school, college, work, momentary panic about what I was going to do with my life, grad school, wedding and kids. But no matter what path you take, I'm fairly certain that when kids enter your world, you're in store for some major life changes. We looked at a few changes yesterday. Here are a few more:


BC: I worked constantly. All the time. It was rare that I wasn't working at least 2 jobs. And I had money.

AC: I still work constantly. All the time. I'm not really sure how many jobs I actually have on a daily basis, but I do know this...I have NO money. For some reason, nobody pays me to be a mom. Something is very wrong with this picture.


BC: Because I worked constantly, I had money. Money to pay my bills and money to buy what I wanted, when I wanted it. I had a savings account. I had a credit card that wasn't maxed out. I had cash in my pocket on a daily basis and didn't blink an eye at buying that 2nd latte at the local coffee shop.

AC: I have no money. I now have to consider whether or not I REALLY want something and if it's going to be worth the purchase in the long run. Money used to be fun - it got me stuff I wanted. Now, money is no fun - it pays the bills. Bills are for the birds.


BC: Milk was something I was supposed to drink to make me grow big and strong.

AC: Milk is something I produce after I attach myself to the milking machine several times a day.


BC: Food was something I enjoyed. I liked to go to new restaurants and cook new recipes. I considered myself a foodie and wasn't one of those girls you took on a date and watched eat a salad with no dressing.

AC: Food is something I pick up off the floor. And wipe off faces. And clean from hair and ears. Food is something I rarely eat at the temperature at which it was intended. Food is something I have to be careful not to make condemning statements about, for fear the children will not eat it. Food is akin to money these days.


BC: I babysat in grade school. I thought babies were cute, but they never really did anything for me. I had no intentions of having children.

AC: Not only did I have children, I had 3 of them! And as crazy as they can make me on a minute to minute basis, I honestly (and, yes, I know everyone says this) can't imagine my life without them. I haven't been a mom for very long (3 1/2 years), but I feel like I've been one for my whole life. My kids are beautiful, hysterical, difficult little geniuses.

And every word of that last sentence is the god's honest truth. Just ask Nana.

Friday, March 26, 2010


The other day, I asked if any readers had any topics they were interested in reading. One reader, Nana, (my mother, for those of who hadn't already figured that out) wrote in about wanting to know how motherhood has changed me. I'm willing to bet my mom wants the mushy answer to that question, but we'll just see what happens, shall we?

My Hair:

Before Children: My hair was dark blond.

After Children: My hair is dark brown with more gray than I'd prefer to see on a regular basis. The children, throughout 3 pregnancies, literally sucked the blond out of me.

My body:

BC: In high school, I was a size 2. In college a size 4-6. I was in pretty good shape and could wear pretty much anything I liked.

AC: I have stretch marks. I'm familiar with the term "muffin top" on an intimate level. I've gotten to know my lady bits in new and terrifying ways. And I have to work, and I mean WORK, to get back into quasi-decent shape.


BC: I would nap when I wanted for as long as I wanted. I reveled in napping. I would wake up on a Sunday morning, eat breakfast and go back to bed. I was known to get a little pissy if someone interrupted my sleep.

AC: I revel in my children's nap and bedtimes. I miss naps. Whereas before I was known to get a little pissy if someone woke me up, now you better run for it if you interrupt my sleep and plan on continuing to breathe.


BC: I never watched cartoons. "Adult" or otherwise.

AC: I can sing the theme songs to Curious George, Little Einsteins, Dora, get the picture.


BC: I answered to Maegan, Maegan Ellen, Meg, Megs and occasionally Babe (although that was sure to get you a dirty look and a snide comment)

AC: I answer to Mom, Mommy, Mama, various cries, screaming children, other people's children and if someone calls me Babe, chances are good I'll be flattered.

Those are just a few of the changes I've experienced with motherhood. More to follow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goin' Buck

Ok, I realize this is a totally, utterly and completely un-PC posting, but I feel that it must be said. I say it as a matter of humor and not to belittle or make light of those with the diagnosis. I say it because it's partly true and because part of me wishes it to be true. I say it because it must be said and because I'm probably not the only one who wishes it. So, here goes:

I wish I had multiple personalities.

Now, before you get all up in arms, hear me out. We don't have cable in my house, so we have a subscription to Netflix. Recently, we rented United States of Tara. If you haven't seen it, the show is about a wife and mother of 2 teenagers who suffers from DID. Now, in order to suffer from this, you have to have suffered a horrible trauma in your life. Something so bad that your brain splits into different personalities in order to help the original person deal with said trauma. That's an over-simplified explanation of the condition, of course, but you get the general idea.

Now, you would think a show about a woman with DID would be totally disturbing and make your heart bleed, but I've gotta tell you...the show is freaking hysterical. I mean, it's funny, it's honest, it's heartbreaking, it's a whole lot of things wrapped up in a not-at-all neat package. But the part I've really come to appreciate is the humor of show. And while I'm happy to report I've not suffered any horrendous traumas in my life, there's a certain appeal to having different people hidden within your personal recesses.

My favorite character is Buck and he's the reason I want to have multiple personalities. Or maybe it's really that I already have multiple personalities (because, really, don't we all?) and I just want to be able to really utilize them productively and, quite honestly, more often. I want to use them in the outside world, where they'll do me some good, and not just in my head. Sure, they're entertaining to me, but shouldn't I really share them with the world?

But I digress.

Buck is Tara's alter who is basically the ass kicker. And when he comes out, you can bet some asses are gonna get whooped.

I have an inner Buck. But he doesn't come out to play nearly often enough. I think that's why I get headaches and achy shoulders at the end of a long day.

Instead of just whoopin' some ass and takin' names, I grit my teeth when the deli clerk at Wal-Mart takes 20 minutes to simply locate the sliced turkey, while my infant wails in his car seat, the 2-year old starts pulling bread off the racks and the 3-year old whines about the doll I told her she couldn't get.

Instead of getting on the phone and reaming out the customers who've decided they don't need to pay my husband in a timely manner for the floors he so kindly installed in their houses or stores, I wait quasi-patiently for the mail man to arrive with a handful of junk mail and NO CHECKS.

Instead of telling the people who refuse to hold the door for a woman with 2 toddlers attached to one hand and a car seat slung over the other arm what I REALLY think about them, I sigh, mutter obscenities under my breath and sigh some more.

Now, I have a very dry sense of humor, and I realize not everyone appreciates this. I've also been known to speak my mind a time or two (hundred thousand), and again, not everyone has appreciated this. I can be too blunt. I can be too forward. I can be a lot of things. But by and large, I'm a head talker. If you could hear the arguments I've had (and won) in my head, you'd be amazed.

But if I had a Buck, all my head talking would come to light and boy would that be a day of reckoning.

And it would feel good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

30 Days

So, they (whomever they are) say in order to make something a habit, you need to do it for 3o days.

Therefore, as of today, I'm taking on the challenge. As of today, I'm going to blog every day for 30 days.

I'm doing this for several reasons:

1. I need a break from the children every once and a while throughout the day (like every 17 minutes or so) and this is a productive way to do it.

2. I feel like I'm supposed to be a writer, but in order for that to actually happen, I actually need to write. Physically write and not just in my head. Apparently, the good ideas in my head need to be placed on something concrete in order for other people to partake of them. Who knew?

3. I'm actually starting to get some energy back into my post-pregnant body and with that energy has, amazingly, come some quasi-coherent thoughts!

4. Did I mention needing a break from the kiddos?

5. It gives me a chance to drink my coffee while it's hot...or at least reheated.

6. I've got some sass in me that desperately needs to get out...otherwise my husband will really start complaining. And the kids aren't quite big enough to truly appreciate my sass-ness. Although something tells me they'll be getting it, and dishing it, sooner than I may like.

7. Caffeine is a very important component of my day...see #5.

8. Again...MUST have a rug rat break!

9. If I can get the hang of writing every day, perhaps I can get into the swing of exercising? Dare to dream I say!

10. Just because it's good to have a goal.

So, there you have it. 30 blog entries in 30 days. Have a topic you'd like addressed? Let me know! I'm always up for suggestions. Talk to you tomorrow...Day 2!