Mommy Falling Short


image

I know I’m not the only parent who has moments where I feel like I am completely failing my child. Those moments where everything I give seems to be just not quite enough.  I often have this nagging suspicion that I should be doing more. That I should be teaching him more. That I should be exposing him to more. It feels as if every opportunity missed is a failure. Why is that?  I know it is completely silly. I’m not so far gone to believe that this is the absolute reality. The notion that his development is solely based on my interaction with him is completely foolish, I know. Nevertheless, it is very hard to shake the idea that, where it concerns our O, I should be doing more. More. More.

I understand the importance of taking care of myself. I understand the importance of having my own “thing” outside of caring for O. And I do. I pay attention to my husband. I give time to my aging parents.  I take care of our home.  Yes, I am spread thin. But not so thin that I feel like any one area loses out. Except where it concerns O. (Enter nagging feeling) Because the truth of the matter is, that I would do anything and everything for my child and even then it would not seem like it was enough, in my own estimation. I swear, I am not getting all crazy on you. But If I am being totally honest, I can’t escape the feeling of (maybe) coming up short. So a question is….is it my type A personality or do other Moms feel this way?

I am well versed in the phrase, “I am doing the best that I can.” And I am. Aren’t we all? But what happens when your best isn’t cutting it? What happens when you know you should bring your toddler to the park for some outside time, but you really have to take care of some pressing business? Or imagine….you just don’t feel like it? Or what about when you let him watch The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because you really want to blow dry your hair and put on some makeup to look like some semblance of a lady rather than the gal who cleans the floors? Is that me really doing my best? Or is that just the crap I tell myself to make my selfishness seem more palatable?

There is no shortage of support in this web of deceit. Pretty much everyone is ready to tell you what a great Mom you are. How you are, in fact, “doing the best you can”. We all talk about how hard it is. And it is. We are all very human, as we are compelled to be. I don’t ruminate over this to find a way to be a better mom.  I, like every mom I know, is being the best mom she knows how to be. What I am acknowledging is the layer of guilt that wants to float to the surface every now and then. The guilt that permeates logic and reason. It lingers deep in our consciousness. And even though we are doing everything “right,” it pops up. Ready to take us down.

Now there very well may be some fathers who feel the same way. I’m not sure. I actually didn’t ask my husband. But something tells me that men think differently about parental guilt. I could absolutely be wrong. But for some reason, guilt tends to be a trait overwhelmingly known to females.  I have an amazing dad, but I have a hard time thinking of him laying awake at night wondering if he could have done more to further my development. I know, for a fact,  my Mother (where it concerns her four children) believes she fell short.

So where are we? Well, I’m not sure.  I suppose I will have to squelch the rising guilt when it decides to rear its ugly head.  It really has no place in my everyday life.  None of us have the time for that wasted energy.   I guess I will keep trying, as we all will.  Everyday… to do my best and to make my best better.  The truth is that everyday comes with new challenges. Some days I rise to meet the challenge in front of me and some days I can’t seem to navigate through the unknown without falling on my face a little.  Or a lot.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading. Xo

 

Sneaky Mommy

image

The following nugget I am about to share with you is not one I can claim as my own brainchild.  It is a Pinterest find, but an absolute gem in the picky toddler eating games I am currently eye ball deep in.  If you are in my current predicament, you also have a toddler who refuses to eat many things put in front of him or her.  I could take the path of eat it or go hungry.  He has gone hungry.  And then I thought, why don’t I get creative and,  dare I say, sneaky?  Yes, I decided to trick my son into eating healthy fare.  Thus far,  it seems to be working out deliciously!

Here is one of the super healthy and super sneaky picks! Spinach muffins! I have changed the recipe to suit our tastes, but it is essentially the same.  They are awesome. And they freeze beautifully!

image

Serves: 12 muffins

Ingredients
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup mashed banana (from about 1 to 2 bananas)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F and line one 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a blender, place oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

These days, I call most everything cake, apple sauce, yogurt or ice cream.  Yes. I do.  These muffins are now affectionately called “breakfast cake” in our house.  O gobbles them up.  Now you could certainly change out the sugar for apple sauce.  I already reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup. The key is to have really over ripe bananas.  There is no denying it is a great way to trick your toddler into eating some very healthy spinach packed “cake.”  Right now, that is what is working for me.  Complete and utter trickery.

Another act of misrepresentation is my veggies and fruit purees I put in re-usable pouches.  The pouches are sold by WeeSprout and are fantastic.  They come in different ounce sizes.  I ordered the medium size of 5 oz…they are perfect.  I steamed a bunch of carrots, spinach, pineapple…..puréed it and added some organic unsweetened Apple sauce.  I do the same with beets, greens, etc.  Any combo of veggies and fruits is spectacular.  My son is none the wiser.  We can add proteins, grains, you name it….and I get to decide the nutrition he gets.  He thinks he is having an apple sauce or yogurt pouch.  He is happy.  And I know he is getting the nutrition he needs.  For now it is a win….I’ll take it. So I can still serve him new things and not worry too much that he doesn’t touch it.  Eventually he will.  My doctor says it can take up to 15 times for a child to try a new food.  (Oye!) So while we navigate that bumpy terrain, I’m sneaking in the vitamins, fats and minerals he needs to develop.  Sneaky Mommy.  :))

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo

Back 2 School

image

As the end of summer approaches and the days become shorter, my Facebook feed is overflowing with posts rejoicing in the fact that children are finally heading back to school.  There seems to be a collective sigh of relief among mothers of school age children, as if the school year couldn’t start soon enough.  As a first time mom of a two year old, I am not there yet.  The back to school fervor is obviously not on my radar.  But it makes me wonder what it’s all about.

I am sure there are mothers out there, who adore having their children home with them for the summer.  I just haven’t caught their posts about it.  Maybe they are too busy making homemade organic Popsicles to spend time on Facebook?   I mean, there are moms who enjoy their summers with their kids at home, right?  When I was growing up, my Mom always looked at Summer as magical.  Didn’t she?  At least she seemed to enjoy it.  Perhaps even loved it.  There is no denying that it was a different time then.  The world was a simpler place just some thirty years ago.  I’d like to hold onto my illusion that my mom actually enjoyed having us out of school for the summer.  When I think about it, most of the neighborhood kids would spend summer days at our house because we had a pool.  My mom would essentially be the den mother to all the kids on our street.  There was never a complaint from the other mothers.  Huh, that’s not surprising.  I think the back to school sigh of relief was around back then as well.  I also surmise that my mother was a rarity among her friends.

The thought of sending my O to school for full seven hour days at the age of five, sends my head into a spin.  And then I hear moms of older children talking about the failing education system and lack of emphasis on the children being active, and it makes me want to homeschool our guy.  I want to take him away to some Nordic country and have him schooled there where they play outside for hours each day.  When did the idea of learning through play become invalid?  Maybe this is why some parents seek out Montessori schools? Maybe regular public schools are mostly a type of glorified government daycare?  They shove them through, make sure they pass a specific state test, and mind them for nine months out of twelve each year. Could that be true?  And if it could be, don’t we want more for our children?  Oye! I’m digressing.

I guess what I want to say is that I can’t imagine a time when I will want to send O away from us for seven hours a day.  I understand the importance of doing so, but I can’t imagine liking it.  But then again, I am a newbie.  You seasoned moms are rolling your eyes at me about now, and that’s ok.  I admit I don’t know what it will be like down the road.  I just know that even now, when the days are tough, I don’t will them to pass any quicker.  Time is going by fast enough, thank you very much.

I say it again and again.  I feel that being an older mother gives me an advantage on contentment.  I am not wishing the time away so that I can get back to my life.  This is my life.  I am living it.  Perhaps it took me living so much of my life to know that this time is the best time.  Every choice and action of my life has led me to this place and time.  And I guess I am wise (and old) enough to be oh so grateful.

Until next time, remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo

 

 

 

It’s The Best

image

Like with anything in life, there are positives and negatives.  This week I want to focus on the positive. The topic: Having children over 40 and why it is the best (in my opinion).  Don’t worry, I’ll also share with you why it is a drag (in my opinion)….just not this week.  This week it’s all about how incredible it is to have a child when you are in your 40’s!

Let’s face it, if you have had a child at 35 or over, you’ve most likely heard all the terrifying warnings and reasons not to.  My first prenatal visit at age 43 was colored with all sorts of possible doom and negative what ifs.  I chose to filter out the gloom.  While I was educated about the risks, I kept the information out of my mind and body.  One of the best things about having a baby in your 40’s (in my opinion) is that you can.  So many women struggle with conception.  If you can get pregnant naturally (or with help) over 40, well, that’s something to celebrate!

All new mothers hear the polite advice from well wishers, time and time again.  My son is 2 and I still get it.  “Enjoy every minute! It goes so fast!”   Well, the main reason I think having a baby in your 40’s is the best (in my opinion), is that you actually do enjoy every minute.  Even when it’s hard, there is a baseline of joy that just can’t be beat.  There is a patience I possess that, for me, has come with age.  I’m certainly not saying that women having children in their 20’s and 30’s don’t enjoy their children.  I can only speak from my experience as a 20 and 30 something.  In my 20’s and 30’s, my life was all about me.  The pace of my life was all about me.  The choices I made were basically all about me.  And I wanted it that way.  I lived my life fully and with purposed abandon.  I travelled the world, fell in and out of love and enjoyed freedom from most responsibility.  It was how it should be for someone at that stage of their life (in my opinion).  Conversely, with the birth of my son came profound responsibility.  And at the age of 44, I welcomed it wholeheartedly.  Someone younger might think my life now is a bore.  The Veuve doesn’t flow as freely (or at all, come to think of it) and my bedtime is often before the curtain used to go up.  The things I possessed and the adoration I sought are not barometers for bliss.  My god! I thought a new pair of Gucci shoes equaled happiness.  Silly girl.  All those things are well and good, but they are not the stuff of life.

I get to do this parenting thing with a full awareness that it goes far too fast.  I don’t wish time away like I used to.   I get to be mature enough to share with my baby, my patience and my understanding of what true happiness really is.  I get to not only enjoy his process, but have the emotional maturity to understand that he is his own person, and that while he is our whole world now, we will not always be his.  I am old enough to know he will have to fail to succeed.  I understand there will come a time to let go.

Anyone who has hit the 40+ mark understands what I am saying.  I’m not saying you don’t have moments of doubt anymore or that you don’t feel like you are screwing up a lot of the time.  That is the nature of parenting in a nutshell. But there is a level of surety and confidence that I bring to my parenting, to my life, that I did not possess in my 20’s or 30’s.  It makes me a better mom.  And THAT is the best thing about having a child over 40 (in my opinion).

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up! Thanks for reading! Xo

 

Bon Appetit Baby

image

That’s it.  I’ve had it.  It is time to reign in my picky eater and broaden his horizons.  I will expand my child’s palate or die trying.  Ok, that is a bit dramatic.  But I mean, come on! I refuse to accept that I must only give him pasta,  PB&J, or yogurt, as these are the foods he eats willingly. In my short sightedness to get him to eat, I started giving him only things that he liked.  Day after day….and now it has turned into my toddler refusing to even try anything that looks different.  It is ridiculous. It is my own fault.  And it is time to end this craziness.

I’m not supposing this will be easy.  It is learned behavior on his part, that I have indulged.  He does seem to have an issue with textures, but instead of helping him through that, I let him avoid it.  I could kick myself.  (Hindsight, right?). Now that he is well over the two year mark and in the throws of being a toddler, he can absolutely eat anything and in my opinion, should.  My husband and I are adventurous eaters.  We enjoy different foods, spices, wines and whatnot.  It is unacceptable to me that I will raise a child to be a pedestrian eater.  It just won’t jive with our rhythm at home.  He will need to learn to eat what we eat, and it starts now.  Did I say I know this is going to be difficult?

When O was a baby, the doctor, and pretty much everyone, said, “He will know when he isn’t hungry.  He’ll stop himself.  Babies know when they are full.”  Well that may be true, but I’m not convinced a toddler knows.  My son would eat as many graham bunnies as I gave him.  He would also prefer them for dinner, if I’d allow it.  His new tactic when he doesn’t want to try something is to say “All done.”  So I’ve now started to say, “OK, all done.”  I’ve stopped offering anything else.   Down he goes from the table.  Dinner is over.  No second chances.  He will go to sleep with an empty stomach.  My hope is that he won’t let himself go too hungry.  Right? Harsh, I know.  But I refuse to be a slave to a finicky child.

Last night, we had roasted summer vegetables and turkey kielbasa over brown rice.  It was actually very nice.  O only ate some of the rice.  I wanted him to at least taste the meat and vegetables.  Mind you, there were sweet potatoes and carrots in the veggie mix, which he likes, but because they were in chunks he would not even try them.  Really? It’s maddening.  So, once the rice was picked over, he asked for apple sauce, which was denied.  He followed up with a wail and an “All done!”  I make no fuss over it.  I simply say “OK, all done.”  I take him out of his chair and send him on his way…hungry. Eventually, the stubbornness will yield to hunger, right? Are you thinking that I am a horrible mother now?

In France, children O’s age, sit down for a three course meal, daily.  They eat all sorts of fish, fruits, vegetables and cheeses.  When I say vegetables I don’t mean brocolli with cheese sauce, either.  There are no special dinosaur chicken nuggets sold in grocery stores.  And there aren’t special kid menus in every restaurant featuring the same items: pizza, mac and cheese, and a hotdog.  They are taught from a very young age how to eat and how to appreciate food.   International data collated by the International Association for the Study of Obesity show that 15% of children are overweight in France compared to a whopping 30% in the U.S.  So who is doing it right?

I believe that food is part of our education as people of a civilized society.  To appreciate different tastes and textures is one of life’s pleasures.  Sharing a meal with family and friends, is to be part of something.  It is a learned sense of community and belonging.  Eating is something we need to do for the rest of our lives.  Perhaps it should be something we are educated about and learn to do well.  Anyway, that’s this mama’s two cents.  I’ll let you know how my struggle goes.  Did I mention I don’t anticipate it is going to be easy?

Until next time, while I’ll be rocking in a corner back and forth, keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Ah, my life story!  Bon Appetit!

Divided We Fall

 

image

It is becoming abundantly clear that there is a significant division in American society.  Huh.  Not everyone thinks like I do.  What a revelation.  Ha.  I believe there has always been a certain amount of disagreement between folks.  The difference is, in today’s internet addicted world of 2016, we have social media to put those views on display.  Facebook, Twitter, and the likes are not often places for healthy debate, but rather, they are a forum to basically state your case, politicize (excuse me, express) yourself, or in some cases, bash, bully and taunt the opposition without having to actually face someone.  It has occurred to me that these forums are not helping us as a society, but polarizing us even more.  We are not listening to the other side.  We are not engaging in conversation.  We are posting and deleting.  Posting and de-friending.   But there is no discussion.  It is pretty one sided, on both sides.

I realized that I have a tendency to not read opposing articles.  I have, at times, erased people from my feed so as not to have to see their viewpoint.  I am wrong.  If I am to understand how we have gotten to this place of such discord, I must first understand where the opposition is coming from.  I can’t just assume that I know.  I must hear the other side’s story.  Because no matter who you are, we all have a story that informs our views.  It has just become so normal for us, as a people, to not have to listen.  We post.  We know how and why we feel the way we feel about the issues.  But what about someone who doesn’t think like me? How do they feel? And why? Everyone’s personal story is a window into those questions.  And I don’t mean the “story” we post for the world to see.  I’m talking about our real personal story.

What I don’t want to happen during this election cycle is to exacerbate the feelings of hate that are festering.  I have many many people whom I love who feel very much the way I do about most of the issues.  And I have dear dear loved ones who feel very differently.  I might not love their views, but I love the person.  Can’t we love the person regardless of their stance on guns or same sex marriage?  That was actually hard for me to write.  The point is, can’t we agree to disagree?  In the pre-Facebook era, we didn’t necessarily know what someone thought about the issues.  We could be blissfully ignorant of someone’s position and simply enjoy them.  Or at least tolerate them.  We aren’t only made up of the thoughts and feeling we have on the issues.  I would venture to say we have more in common than not as human beings.  Things like love of family.  The love of our children.  The sorrow of losing a loved one.  These are commonalities we share.  These are the real things in life.

I am certainly not saying I will turn a blind eye to racism, hate or bullying.  I will not.  There is no place for that in world I want to live in or raise my son in.  As I say to him, “that is unacceptable behavior.” When confronted with someone expressing those views, I will denounce them every time.  Face to face.  On that, I am firm and unmaliable.  I believe it is important to speak up when faced with or being witness to bullying, racism or hateful behavior.  That is an example I need to set for my son.  What I will do though, is listen more. I can try to understand more why someone feels so strongly about their right to own a gun.  Or I can try to understand what is motivating someone’s anti abortion stance.  We all have a right to our opinions and views on the issues.  That is a principle our nation was built on.  We can’t forget that just because our views might be different.  Being racist, hateful a bully or all the above,  is not a viewpoint, it is a failing in character.

I guess I need to have faith that the goodness in people will prevail.  I need to believe that hate won’t win.  I need to believe that the commonalities we share as people and countrymen will pull us through this divide.  I need to believe the world my son will grow up in will be more tolerant, more generous and filled with more brotherly love than the world we live in today.  I will try to make this my last politically charged post.  I will try.  Soapbox busted.  Peace out.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who,is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo

 

 

A New Day

image

I have been grappling this week with what to write about.  It is a familiar struggle, but sometimes it proves tougher than other times.  I’m usually blocked because I have something on my mind that I feel perhaps I shouldn’t write about.  Or maybe I don’t think anyone else would find it interesting.  But censoring myself has never been a productive strategy.  So here goes.

I have been very affected by the politics in our country lately.  It feels as if the country is divided in a way that I have never seen in my life time.  And it scares me.  The hate filled, fear mongering rhetoric of a certain tiny hand candidate is appalling, divisive, and small minded.  In my opinion, it has no place in the leadership of our country.  The parties hateful sentiments do not represent my feelings.  Not at all.  But rather than write about The Ego with the bad comb-over, who already gets far far too much press, I want to talk about what inspires me.  This past week, something amazing happened that moved me greatly, as a woman, a mother and a citizen of the world.

I know I am pretty sappy and have a tendency to get emotional over a Hallmark commercial, but I have to tell you that I was genuinely moved by the remarkable speech from our country’s First Lady, Michelle Obama at the DNC in Philadelphia.  I know as a liberal it is assumed that I would be a fan of the First Lady, so I will skip the list of admirable traits I believe she embodies.  (There are many).  But what really got me was when she said how her daughters, and all our sons and daughters, could now take for granted that a woman could become President of the United States.  That struck a chord in me.  I realized, quite seriously, that history is being made before our very eyes.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to see Hamilton on Broadway.  Beyond it being an incredible piece of theatre, I couldn’t help be struck by the poetic justice of watching an incredibly talented, racially diverse cast, portray our founding fathers. I suppose this must really ruffle the feathers of the David Dukes of the world.  It’s funny, but the color of any actors skin didn’t really dawn on me until after the show.  It made perfect sense that George Washington should be played by a handsome strapping black man.  I was reminded that for all intents and purposes, we are all really immigrants.   To say you are not is just inaccurate.  I was reminded of the limitations women had to endure regardless of their intellect.  In the words of the character Angelica Schuyler, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, and when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m gonna compel him to include women in the sequel. Work!”  The point is, we have come so so far.  Why would we ever go backwards?  It defies logic.  At least to this mommy it does.

This morning I was watching the highlights of the democratic convention.  I watched, and re-watched, a woman of 102 years of age, who was born before women could vote, officially report Arizona delegates for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.  It doesn’t matter what you think of Secretary Clinton.  You can love her.  You can hate her.  But the shattering of that glass ceiling is undeniable and has changed us forever.  I suppose if you are against her, you might deny its significance.  But in my opinion, you’d be denying reality.  I will not get into a debate with anyone regarding Hilz.  I won’t change your mind and you won’t change mine.  But this is my blog and #ImWithHer, if you hadn’t noticed.

The future of our society, that will be our children’s and their children’s society, is changing.  My son will not know of a time when a woman could be considered less important or less capable…and that’s huge.  It is so much bigger than Bozo the Clown’s ego.  I have a friend who has a daughter who is O’s age.  She is especially energized about this new day and all it will mean for her daughter.  But I truly think it is something for parents of girls and boys to celebrate.  There is hope this week.  There is a beacon of light shining through.  And as things seem to be going these days, I’m gonna hang onto it.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading. Work!

P.S. I ordered my Hilary For President shirts for Me and O. Watch out world! Photos to follow.

 

Slow Down, Mommy

image

Do you ever feel like things are just moving too fast? Like you just can’t keep up the pace?   Does your “To Do” list overwhelm you? We all have legitimate things that keep our bodies and minds on the go.  I have been in that mode lately.  Add to it the crazy things happening in our world lately and it’s enough to make anyone go into hiding.   I handle it, until I just can’t anymore.  And that’s what has happened.

In a rare moment of quiet (at yoga class, which has been a challenge to get to lately) I realized the frantic pace I have been maintaining.  It took the merry-go-round stopping for me to really understand how severe my situation gets at times.  I set my intention for the class.  I decided to commit to slowing down.  I focused on my breath.  Simple.  Slow.  By the end of the class my teacher reminded us of the intention we set for ourselves at the beginning of the hour.  She urged us to try to carry that with us into the world for as long as we could.  So that is what I decided to do.  I am slowing down. This isn’t some silly lark juice fast here, but rather a serious necessity.  If I don’t slow down I will hit a wall.  And that can’t be good for me or my family.

This is not an easy thing for me to do.  My usual mode has me spinning several plates at a time while I plan my next 20 projects.  When I get over done….you can just imagine the hyper speed I am functioning at.  Or failing to function at, which is what brings about a crash.  So, anyway, the strategy is small simple steps for me.  Breathing.  Taking my time.  Doing one thing at a time (very challenging for this type A mommy).  Enjoying the moment (especially with O and my husband).  And remembering that there are things that I like to partake in, not because they have to get done, but because I enjoy doing them.

So I am making jam.  Raspberry jam from our garden.  You might laugh and think how ridiculous.  Go ahead.  I’ve made several pies already, but the jam is my favorite. It is something to savor into the autumn and winter.  It is a gift to give neighbors and friends.  And for me, this summer, it signifies my struggle to slow down.  I realized the other day that summer is half over and I don’t feel like it even started yet.  What kind of deluded fog have I been in? To say my husband and I have a lot our plates is an understatement. But it is all the more reason to slow down when we are faced with challenges.  It’s things like working in the garden.  Or listening to the rain hit the skylight.  It’s sitting on the kitchen floor reading to O in the middle of making dinner.  It’s the smell of our babies hair and the warmth of his breath when he cuddles next to us.  It’s looking into my Love’s eyes after a long day and really seeing him.  It’s letting him know without words that he is loved and safe in our relationship.  All these things require slowing down.  They take time and connection.  Without these moments of meaning, our lives are just moments that are unacknowledged.  A kind of going through the motions.

It’s funny…the older I get the clearer it becomes to me.  The moments in my life that speak out to me as defining and full of passion and truth, are the simplest ones.  I have a vivid simple memory from years ago that I look at now and know it was a defining moment.  It was years before my husband and I got married.  We were visiting as friends, and I remember him driving me in his jeep.  We were listening to music, just driving to nowhere, and he put his hand in mine.  I remember looking down and seeing our hands together and knowing that it felt so right.  I knew then, it was right.  So much in that simple quiet moment.  Life is funny like that.

So….slow it is.  For as long as I can do it.  Who knows, maybe it will become habit for me.  A way of life, even? And if I fall off the wagon, well then I’ll just have to get back up on the slow ride.  Cause it’s not just me anymore.  I have a husband and child who need me there.  Fully present.  Fully focused. And happy.  Oh yes, happy.  Covered in raspberry jam happy.

Until next time, I’ll be moving at a snail’s pace.  Keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thank you so much for reading.  Xo

 

 

 

 

Love Letter

image

I imagine, like most children, my son will someday ask me what he was like when he was a baby.  Kids love hearing stories about themselves.  I think these little anecdotes give them a sense of assurance and comfort. Although I have a blog full of posts and a website designed to share the journey of mothering my little O, most posts are about me and whatever trial or tribulation I am navigating any given week.  So this post is different.  I want O to be able to read this in years to come and know exactly what he was like on a particular day he shared with his Mommy. This post is a love letter to my O.

Dear O,

Days at the beach with you are just the best.  The packing up of snacks, towels, buckets and shovels among countless other things are totally worth it.  The hike up the dune, with you in my arms, to get to our little spot of heaven can be a workout.  But again, totally worth it!  The word “beach” comes from your perfect mouth.  I put you down and you immediately run your fingers through the sand, taking it all in as quickly as you know how.  I fill up a bucket with water as you plop yourself down and begin to dig.  You are so happy.

We have your cousins with us today.  You watch Will and Chris with idolization.  Their young teenage selves splashing about in the ocean.  You take my hand and say “ocean.” You want to be where they are.  We wade in the slight surf and you squeal with delight as the water tickles your legs.  You are laughing.  Smiling.  1…2….3!!! We jump the waves with the help of Uncle Paul.  He is taken with you, too. Who wouldn’t be? You are wonderful.

Our exodus from the beach must be highly planned.  Everything must be pretty much packed up and ready to go prior to getting you rinsed off in the ocean.   Once the sand is semi off of you, there is no putting you down.  As we leave the beach you call out, “Bye Ocean!” “Bye Bye Sandbox!”  I smile, as I climb over the dune because your sweetness is noted.  I make the decision then to stop for ice cream at Handy Hill.  Ice cream is your favorite and a treat is in order.  You’ve been so good.

You are only in a diaper and your swim shirt.  No shoes.  Your sun hat still atop your head of long curls.  I take you out of the car and you know where we are.  You are excited.  I order peanut butter Oreo ice cream in a cup for us to share.  I carry you over to a picnic table and sit you down next to me.  Your little legs swinging.  Your eyes big with delightful anticipation.  With one spoonful you smack your lips.  “Dewicious!!”  you say.  We rub our noses together when I ask you for a kiss.  And I know I am the luckiest Mommy in the world.

Days like this are wonderful and abundant.  You make me laugh and fill me with moments of pure joy each and every day.  Thank you,  my sweet boy.  I tell you, “I love you.”  I ask you, “how much?”  Sweetly and softly, as if in love yourself, you say, “So much.”  I am undone.  I am forever Yours.

Love, Mommy xo

 

Until next time, friend, keep fighting the good fight.  And remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo

WE DON’T DO THAT

image

I have finally sat down from a day of days.  Trying to get O out of the house this morning to get to a car service appointment was like pulling teeth. It’s hot and muggy, so THAT doesn’t help matters. We get to the Kia dealership and for a second time, the playroom for use while you wait with your child, was filthy.  Nasty filthy.  Sorry Kia, not impressed! Anyway, O was being really good, so I figured while I was on the other side of hell’s creation, we would go to an indoor play area that he loves at the Mall.  This is where my rant begins.

As a parent, when I take my child to a play area, playground, you name it, my first priority is to watch my child.  On occasion, I have met a friend at a playground, and while we try to chat and catch up, we both have our eyes on our children. We are consistent with guiding our children in play.  You know, the basic stuff.  Wait your turn…no pushing…no grabbing.  This is the mom I want to be friends with.  You know why? Cause this Mom understands that a trip to the mall play area isn’t time off for her.  It’s not “let’s check my Facebook on my phone and tune out for a few minutes.”  Trust me, I know how much we all want some time to ourselves.  I am the first one to say it.  But this isn’t the time.

Taking your child to a group play area is an opportunity to teach your child how to interact socially with others, through play! I am not talking about helicoptering.  I’m talking about guiding when it is clear your child does not know which road to take. If I saw my son push past another child to go first down the slide, I would take him aside and explain that we don’t do that. By WE I mean, a civil kind society, does not do that! If my child just grabbed a toy from another child on the playground, I would explain, yet again, that we don’t do that! We do not just take from others.  We can ask if we may use the toy…or if we may take a turn. But we do not just take! What hope do our children have in this world without some guidance?

I have taught O to wait his turn.  I have taught him not to go down the slide until it’s all clear.  I have taught him that we don’t grab or push.  I am under NO illusion that these “rules for play” won’t need to be reiterated time and time again with him.  Of course they will. He is two.  And he is a child.  It is not any child’s fault for their behavior, lack of manners or lack of restraint.  They are children.  It is not their job to remember the things that will serve them as they grow up in this world.  It is the job of the parent to remind them (again and again) until it becomes the child’s second nature.

I was so freaking annoyed at the play area today.  Countless parents tuned out, letting their entitled children push past others.  Some Moms were hovering, but more engaged in chatting with their mommy friends.  I get it.  We are starved for connection with another adult.  Especially one going through the same trials and tribulations.  But your child has decided to continuously walk up the slide and block it while other children are waiting to go down.  He is completely disregarding other children; ones that are much younger and smaller than he is.  He is now lying on the slide completely blocking its path.  This is going on now for a bit of time.  You do realize that you can say NO to your child, right? I’m not saying you have to go all Joan Crawford on your kid, but at least a gentle reminder that we don’t do that!  Do you really think you are helping your children by not giving them guidance? Do you somehow think you are letting them find their way organically on their own? Or…are you just so unaware and ignorant that you think pushing and taking are good?  I tell you, I am still shaking my head.

I have been alarmed at the behavior of parents of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds.  This epidemic of lack of respect is a wide spread problem.  This sense of entitlement being embedded into children’s minds is happening right there on the playground.  It’s plain as day to anyone tuned into it.  And parents are just sitting back, checking their phones and letting it grow like the social cancer it is.

Yes, I’m pissed.   Cause it’s right in front of me.  The problem and the solution.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks for reading.