Buzz kill

There are brief moments in time, usually when the kids are asleep, when I feel like I have this parenting thing figured out. It has happened about 4 times now in 7.5 years so I kind of feel like a pro.

If I’m being honest, most days I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m stuck in survival mode. They are fed, in one piece, happy and their basic needs are met, so I’m doing a dandy job if you ask me 😉  Of course to them, it’s not enough. They want chocolate at 7am, the ipad for 4 hours a day, and can’t seem to understand why it’s inappropriate to sit on the couch with no pants on and pretend their genitals are joysticks. I say no to these things, so to them, I’m no fun. To them, I am a total buzzkill.

When they are chasing one another around the house and I calmly ask them to stop 456 times, it’s when I finally lose my cool and yell that one of them runs head first into the wall. And of course, it’s my fault. Not only am I mean for yelling but I put the wall there just to make sure they couldn’t have fun. Buzz- Kill.

On school mornings, all they want to do is play. But I have to get them out the door for school so I can get to work on time, and they don’t understand why it’s not a good time to paint. Nor do they feel the need to help me out by doing anything I ask the first time. So toast gets cold, milk gets spilled, toothpaste dries up and half the time I forget to comb their hair because I feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

“Aiden, eat your breakfast buddy, come on! Camryn, Camryn stop. Put that away. Don’t touch it. Because I said so. Where are your glasses! Now you have peanut butter all over your glasses….don’t touch your shirt! UGH! Go change!!! Grab your socks while you’re there. Aiden! Aiden put the ipad down. Fine, forget it, I’m leaving. Have fun home alone. Call the police, I don’t care! I’m gone………Camryn PUT ON YOUR SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

This is me, every morning. EVERY morning. I give them the same lecture all the time on the ride to school about not wanting to fight to get out the door. They sit and listen (or ignore). Camryn dancing in his seat to the newest pop hit on the radio (he gets that from me) and Aiden promising that tomorrow morning will be better and he really believes it will be (he gets that from me). And I pull up in the kiss and drop lane and I let them out and I give them each a hug and kiss and send them on their way, forgetting that I feel like I just punched a full day before 8:07am. I fight tears every damn time as I watch them walk into the school, side by side with their little book bags on their backs. Just like that, I’m snapped back to reality as someone beeps the horn behind me, reminding me that after you kiss and drop, you keep going. Total buzz kill, Mr. Green Toyota.

It’s like a viscous cycle. One minute they are driving me insane, so much so that I threaten to sell them on Kijiji for 1 dollar each. I tell them that too!! But because they don’t know what Kijiji is I don’t feel I am scarring them too much. Yet. The next minute they do something so sweet or cute that I radiate with pride. One minute I tell them they don’t listen to a word I say, and the next I realize that they listen even when I think they are not.

For example, Aiden was coloring at the kitchen table and I could smell the permanent marker so, being the buzz killer that I am, I went over to remind him that he knows better than to color with permanent marker. When he showed me what he was doing, I shut my mouth. I was speechless. He had colored a rock for my sister, and on it he had written ‘You can do this’ because he knew that she needed the encouragement. He used permanent marker because he said he didn’t want it to fade.  That moment was one of those special moments where I realized that maybe I AM doing something right after all.

Fast forward 5 mins and Camryn is throwing the word butthole around like it’s going out of style. Two minutes after that he’s telling me that I am L-O-V-E.  His bath time always starts off fun and ends when buzz kill Mommy shows rears her ugly head, yelling about water belonging IN THE TUB and not as a puddle on ceramic tile. By bedtime I’m threatening that I’ll be cancelling his birthday party if he doesn’t listen and 5 mins later he is calling me in for one last bedtime hug because he just wants to feel my arms around his neck. The cycle continues.

At the end of the day, as we cuddle on the couch and I feel like maybe the day wasn’t so bad after all, Aiden reminds me that we didn’t do his homework and Camryn says I sent him to school with the wrong lunch. *sigh*

While I may not have this figured out (and if you’ve ever read any of my blog posts you’ll know I’m the first to admit that),  I have to believe that within this cycle there are just as many things that I am doing right as I am wrong. They may not always listen. They may be so loud that you need to carry Advil in your back pocket when they are around, and they may have more attitude than a group of 15 year old teenagers (and the eye roll to boot) but they are good kids. They are kind (not always to one another, or me! Lol) but they have good hearts, fully bellies (except for Camryn, the kid eats nothing) and big smiles.

What more could you ask for as a parent?

Except chocolate at 7am.

Fine lines and Selfies

I’ve never been much into selfies. Since having my kids I find I take more, not of myself but of me and the kids. My sister and I actually invented the selfie years ago, we just didn’t know the name. haha. But on my phone there aren’t many pics of just me. And of those that exist none were taken in a bathroom and I guarantee there are no ‘duck lips’.

Kudos to anyone who loves taking selfies. I wish I had that confidence! But I generally don’t need to see myself that close up. Any time I do take a pic of myself, if I’m having a good hair day or like my new eye makeup, I tend to not like the pic, blame the lighting and delete. Snap. Delete. Snap. Delete. Snap *gasp* DELETE!!!! I recently wanted to update my facebook profile pic and considered a selfie. I took 24 I’d say. 3 were maybe’s. I was so unsure, I sent the one I hated least to a friend to ask her if I looked weird. Then I sent the same pic to my husband and also asked my kids for their honest opinions. Despite getting approval from all of the above, I still haven’t posted it.

What I did post recently on Facebook was a trip down memory lane. I put up 30+ pictures from the last 20 years. I generally don’t like myself in pics so of course I chose the ones that I didn’t hate. In fact, some of them I actually liked and I couldn’t help but wonder if at the time the pic was taken did I like what I saw or did I pick myself apart (like I do now). We are all our own worst critics after all.

There were two things I noticed about these pics. 1) My hair hasn’t changed in two decades (give or take an inch or side bang versus full) and 2) I looked younger. Keep in mind these pics spanned 20 years so in some of them I was in my teens. But even the ones from 10 years ago, I looked like a baby. I was completely carefree, had no real responsibilities, lived at home with my parents, worked full time, had someone cook all my meals (thanks mom!), do my laundry (thanks mom!), and I slept well. Frig, I used to come home from university (okay and work) and take a nap for an hour before supper. So no wonder I looked younger. I also looked relaxed and rested.  Because I was. Why the hell didn’t I take more selfies back then??? Lol

Recently (even months before I had this trip down memory lane) I have become obsessed with something about myself that seems to have changed over the last few years. It was something I noticed in pics. I looked different somehow. My eyes, they looked tired (and not just during the 2 year zombie stage when Camryn refused to sleep at night). From what I could tell, my dark circles were more prominent and I had these little lines that weren’t there before. Hmmm……how did that happen? When did that happen??

In reality, of course I don’t look the same as I did 20 years ago! I’m not the same person. How could I be? I’ve had so much more life experience. From graduating university and getting my first car and job to moving away and starting over, getting married, buying a house, pregnancies, kids, miscarriage, and struggling with post-partem and anxiety. It turns out the everyday stress of life, love and motherhood has a funny way of wearing on your face. I guess in my mind, it was that somehow my eyes were revealing my truths.

And the biggest truth of all was that I’m getting older. It was like I was suddenly announcing to the world that I was not 20 , or even 30 years old anymore. So I started spending way too much money on creams and serums designed to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. When I bought an Oil of Olay anti-aging cream at the drugstore last summer I was hoping the young perky 20 year old serving me would ask me if I was buying this cream for someone else because SURELY it wasn’t for me! Of course she never, but I was just glad she didn’t ask me if I needed a pack of Depends to go with my eye cream. What I did need was 8 new under-eye concealers. Yes, 8! I bought any concealer (any price) that promised to brighten my eyes and conceal dark circles. You know the ones that give you the instant ‘awake ‘look!  Well, I call bullshit. It turns out if you don’t sleep well and you’re not in your 20’s, no cream or concealer can make you look rested (or younger). It’s a fact of life.  Suck it up and deal with it.

I’ve decided to do just that – to stop worrying about stupid shit like my under eyes (which, when compared to friends my age are no worse than anyone else’s. Sorry ladies, I’ve been Zooming!!) Why? Because the reality is, in this day and age, I’m lucky that I don’t have more serious issues to deal with. There are women my age with breast cancer and other diseases who have to worry about such things as how their kids will manage if something happens to them. This realization makes me feels so foolish and yet so lucky. I work in a job where I’m reminded daily how blessed I am to have the life I do. I have the luxury of getting wrinkles and I hope and pray I get the opportunity to have a face full of them. I want to earn each and every one.

I also have a husband who loves me, and has since I was 17 years old. While he may have contributed to some of my wrinkles (from both laughter and tears), he doesn’t look at pictures of me and suggest we try from another angle because my face looks fat (he’d get a punch if he did!! Lol). My kids don’t look at pictures of me and say ‘wow mom, your dark circles are really noticeable in that shot, can we re-take it?’. They don’t notice if my hair desperately needs to be cut (or washed, depending on the day). They see me as I am and they love what they see. They see ME. And I want to see myself the way they see me.

So from today on I vow to criticize myself less. I plan to take more pics, maybe even selfies, and to be less concerned with my new found ‘fine lines and wrinkles’. I will take more and delete less. While I still find it weird to think that I am closer to 40 than I am 30, I plan to take care of myself (and not in the form of expensive eye creams) so that in 20 years time when I look back at pics the only thing I will think to say is, ‘my goodness, look how happy I look”.

Take care of yourself. From the inside, out.

 

 

 

 

All by myself

This weekend, my husband had to ‘go home’ (to the city we grew up in, which is 2 hours from where we live now) for a sporting event. At first we had all planned to go- me, hubby and the kids.  I usually welcome such weekends away to see family and friends, and shop in a mall that has more than 4 stores.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I’d send the kids in with their dad (to stay at Nana’s) and I’d stay home. Alone. All weekend. I repeat: ALONE. ALL. WEEKEND. 2 nights and 2.5 days all by myself.

And here I am. Aside from the howling of the wind outside and the growling of my stomach (because I’ve been eating nothing but peanut butter and cheerios since yesterday), I’m sitting here in silence. It really is golden.

I’m one of those mothers who spends pretty much 24/7 with her kids (outside of my working hours). If you see me somewhere in town, 9 chances out of 10 my kids are not far behind. I live in a small town with no family support and my hubby works shift work (thus works and sleeps at weird times) and has more extra-curricular activities than me, so it’s just me and the kids a lot. And I’m too cheap to pay a sitter while I run to Sobeys, so we go together or we do without 😉

The idea of having a weekend alone excited me far too much. I was told I was worse than a kid at Christmas. It was true. It’s truly the little things that bring me joy and for me yesterday it was coming home from work to an empty house. I had no one to cook for, no one giving me attitude, no one to referee, no one to bathe, no one to discipline. No legos to step on or toys to help clean up. I was free.

So naturally, I ate a crappy supper, did my exercise videos in peace without almost smacking one of my kids in the head with my dumbbell or having them crawl under my legs as I do my squats or hold plank. I danced around my living room with music on bust, curtains open (sorry neighbors), and I sang along and danced like no one was watching. That’s what they say to do, right? Well, I did it. Then I binge watched my shows and crawled into bed an hour later than usual (party animal, I know!).

This, ladies and gentleman, was the moment I was waiting for. SLEEP. Not broken sleep like I get every damn night, but true sleep. Consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep. You see, I live on broken sleep and I can’t blame my kids. My husband is loud. So when he’s coming and going at midnight (from hockey) or 4am (from work), I wake up. When he’s making popcorn or nachos or deep frying French fries at midnight or 4am, I wake up. When he gets in bed and says good night and starts snoring, I wake up. Add to this the odd time my youngest wakes for a) his blankie to be placed over him or b) to tell me he loves me, it makes for a lot of broken sleep. Of course my oldest wakes up at 5:15am on the regular so I can’t catch a break. I’d never wear my Fitbit to bed to track my sleep because it would depress the shit out of me.  So last night I got in bed and I slept for 10 solid hours straight. I don’t even know if I woke once. I never rolled out of bed until 8:45am. That may as well be noon for me. I felt rested for the first time in, well, 7 years.

The house was empty. Quiet. It was so weird I had to turn on the radio to drown out the silence. But with my fellow mama’s in mind, I took advantage of it, soaked up every moment……and I cleaned. My sister said ‘fuck cleaning, do whatever you want’. I laughed because that’s what I wanted to do -clean.  I cleaned my house from top to bottom. In peace. Not a rushed job because someone needed me or my attention. You could eat off my floors today, and not because there is dried food stuck to it. I cleaned the bathrooms and 5 minutes later there was no pee on the floor or toilet seat. My house stayed clean. And when I was mopping the floors I didn’t have to be a walking, talking wet floor sign, warning small feet to be careful not to slip. I also didn’t have to curse at big feet for walking right across my freshly mopped floors with dirty ol’ work boots. It was glorious.

I ran errands (alone!!) because tonight I am getting together with a few friends for drinks (something else that doesn’t happen very often, let me tell ya). Because I had a decent sleep, I imagine staying up past 10pm won’t be a problem. And I can stay out late because I won’t have anyone waking me up throughout the night or at 5am. I’m gonna have some drinks, eat too much junk and enjoy myself. Even if I do have to pay for it tomorrow.

The truth is, I do miss my kids, I swear. I’ve called them 3 times since they left. I’ve texted with my mother, mother in law and my hubby to check in on them about 25 times. To make matters worse, to my surprise Aiden cried to break his heart yesterday because he didn’t want to leave me. I honestly felt sick to my stomach as they pulled out of the driveway, regretting my decision to send them in. I felt guilty.  Even though I knew that I need this break, that I deserve this weekend alone, I felt greedy for wanting this time to myself. I shouldn’t, but I did.

I learned the hard way that I need to make time for myself, to do things for myself. While I’ve gotten better at doing that (Zumba, walks (alone or with my buddy) and occasional movie or dinner dates), its weekends like this that help give me the true break I need. Not only do I feel recharged, it’s also a nice reminder of how lucky I am to have my family. To have kids that I get to tuck in at night and tell me they love me. It gives us a chance to miss one another. It also gives my kids a chance to spend time with their grandparents and cousins. So there are pros for all of us, not just me.

Tonight, I’ll put on something other than my yoga pants or work clothes and I’ll do my hair and makeup like I’m 25 again (only this time I’ll have crow’s feet to try to cover up the best I can (haha)). I’ll enjoy my kid free night. Then I’ll come home late and hopefully sleep late tomorrow morning. I’ll need the rest because tomorrow is back to reality.  I know the second I wake I’ll sit and stare at the clock, waiting for my little men to arrive home so I can give them a weekend full of hugs and I’ll kiss their faces until they tell me to stop. And even then I won’t. I’ll go back to being a referee and will likely be back to wanting to pull my hair out 10 mins after they get back. But that’s it! That’s life! That’s motherhood. You take the good with the bad. There’s no way around it.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

P.S. That’s bullshit- I’d totally change Aiden’s 5am wake up time for sure. But that’s it, I swear. I don’t want to be greedy, right? 😉

No more Ketchup

Hi,

I figured it was time to write a blog. It’s been a while and lately it seems I have enough material to work with. Between the kids dropping F-bombs, smacking, and talking non-stop about poop, bums and farts, I could write a book. 

I have 3 siblings, two older sisters and a younger brother.  The only one I remember fighting with is my brother. He’s 5 years younger than me and I remember when he was a baby, I’d sit outside his bedroom door and rock back and forth while he cried, fighting sleep. I also remember being excited to help him print his name. Turns out I had no patience and the first time he didn’t get it right, I deemed him a lost cause and left that task for his teachers. When I was a teenager he drove me nuts. We’d be sitting at the kitchen table and his breathing would bother me. True story (sorry bro if you’re reading this). As I grew older, we fought less and got closer. I’m hoping my kids have the same fate.

My boys started in on the fighting much earlier than my brother and I. They go from one extreme to the other in 10 seconds flat. They could be sitting quietly on the couch side by side, or playing Mario and Luigi, having a blast, and 10 seconds later one of them must turn into Bowzer as the laughs and smiles turn to screams and slaps.   

They will fight over everything, from where they sit at the kitchen table to who pees faster when they play ‘swords’.  They fight over their identical placemats. It doesn’t help that Aiden likes to act like Camryn’s parent and scold him when he thinks he’s doing something wrong. Just recently, I had put Camryn’s ketchup on his plate and he wanted more. Not a big deal (or so I thought) but Aiden didn’t feel Camryn needed more as he hadn’t used what was on his plate. Valid point, but unlike Aiden I have learned to pick my battles so I put my hands on the ketchup bottle, ready to squeeze. Aiden yelled NO, so Camryn started to cry, begging for the ketchup. Aiden yelled “YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME!’. Then he started to cry too. I was dumbfounded. What the F*** was going on? Why in the world did Aiden care that Camryn wanted more ketchup? If I didn’t care, he sure as hell shouldn’t! It’s not like he was paying for it out of his birthday money or something!

Speaking of which, do you know the first thing Aiden bought out of his birthday money? Something for his brother. He bought Camryn a fidget spinner. It didn’t matter that he already had one (apparently you can’t have too many fidget spinners but you can have too much ketchup), it’s what he wanted so it’s what Aiden bought him. I was so proud of him, I almost cried in Walmart (wouldn’t be the first time). Same as when we visit a doctor’s office, Aiden will take a sticker for his brother (and vice versa).  They miss each other when they are apart. Even after a recent screaming match where Aiden told Camryn he needed a break from him, 5 minutes later in the car (just the two of us) he looks over at Camryn’s empty car seat and says “I wish Camryn was here’.  If we see a toy or a movie preview, one will instantly think about the other. So the love, it’s there. I know it.

In addition to trying to parent, Aiden also tattles. Camryn can’t fart and Aiden is telling me. If Camryn says a bad word or is rude (which is common lately since he blossomed early and has the 4 year old attitude at 3), Aiden tells me, most likely just so he can repeat it. One claims the other smacked, the other denies it. It’s never ending. Until they are asleep of course when they look so sweet and innocent that you almost doubt that all the fights from that day even happened.

But I know they happened. I know it’s real. But sometimes I feel like the only mother livin’ the dream of moonlighting as a referee. Is it because I have two boys? Is it because they are close in age? Is it because I’m falling down on the job and have no control? I know it’s not, but sometimes it feels that way.

I know Facebook is not the real world; people post their best on Facebook (except for me apparently seeing as I recently posted a pic of my beautiful smiling boys and warned not to buy into the smiles as I wanted to sell my kids on kijiji for $20 that day). The truth is, you post the smiley pics because it’s easier. It’s easier to show people the happy, and it’s easier to take those pics. Seriously, when my kids are in the midst of a screaming match and fist fight, I can’t ask them to pause while I grab the camera. “Hang on a second Camryn, hit your brother again so I can capture the full effect of the blow to his face’. That may not go over well and let’s be honest, it probably wouldn’t be received well by most people. I also know I’d get a few ‘likes’ (you know who you are. Haha). So we wipe away the tears and when the fight is over, we smile and take a pic because that’s what we want people to see. That’s what we want to remember and take away from the day. That’s what matters most.

The rest, the non-smiles, is like ketchup. You know you’ll have some, you just don’t want too much as it can spoil everything.

Sonya

Dear Abbey

I was never one of those people who knew at an early age that I wanted to be a Mother.  I would never swoon over or ask to hold a newborn baby.  I had no interest in touching a pregnant belly, it seemed so alien to me and honestly freaked me out (even now). I didn’t even like babysitting. I wasn’t a kid person. As I grew older, I figured that more than likely I’d have kids but I was in no rush.  Then it happened- my Abbey was born. I say ‘MY’ not because I’m her mother, but because she’s my girl, my niece. She was the game changer for me.

I had to wait 3 long weeks after she was born to meet Abbey. I was engaged at the time but in no rush to pick a wedding date. Days after I met her and fell in love I was planning my June wedding. For the first time ever I couldn’t wait to have a baby. In my mind, I couldn’t imagine the love I would feel for a child of my own if I felt this much for Abbey. I was ready! So I thought.

No doubt I was ready for the love, but I hadn’t thought about everything that came along with pregnancy, delivery, and being a Mother. The stress, worry, anxiety, fear, emotions and pure and utter exhaustion to name a few. My pregnancy was far from smooth sailing, nor was my delivery or Aiden’s decision to stop breathing when he was born. Once we got past all that, I’ll never forget the shock to my system from sleep deprivation. My body was tired. I was emotionally and physically drained. But with a husband working shift work, family in another province and not many friends to call on, it didn’t matter how tired I was, this little guy needed his Mommy. He didn’t start sleeping or stop crying or pooping because his Mother needed a break. I wish.

Motherhood was harder than I thought it was going to be. Why didn’t anyone tell me (other than my sister, Abbey’s mom, but she was hormonal so I wasn’t going to believe her, right?). Why didn’t anyone warn me that while there would be immense joy, there would also be tears? Tears that were falling from my own eyes, not Aiden’s. I didn’t see these realities in the pictures that my friends were posting on Facebook. Were they feeling the way I was? Were they tired and overwhelmed and scared, like me?  I didn’t know, so I started a blog about Motherhood. I needed an outlet. I wanted to be a voice for other Mom’s to let them know they weren’t alone, to say things out loud that most people don’t say. I was grasping at straws hoping that I wasn’t alone in this. That the challenges of Motherhood weren’t reserved specifically for me.

Fast forward 18 months and I was more settled in my role as Mommy. I was less exhausted and more into a routine, so due to what I can only assume was temporary memory failure, we decided to try for a second child. Luckily (and thankfully), I had no issues with getting pregnant. Literally, as soon as we entertained the idea of getting pregnant I was out buying a pregnancy test that tested positive. Sadly, 8 weeks later, I miscarried. One month later, I was pregnant again on Camryn.

Pregnancy hates me so carrying Camryn posed even more risks and stress than when I carried Aiden, so I should have known that when he came out I wouldn’t be let off the hook from the challenges of motherhood. Turns out, I had a harder time with Camryn.  Apparently, I had no idea what exhaustion truly was until Camryn was born. Boy, did he show me! I swear he was trying to destroy me. He hated sleep. For 2 full years he barely slept during the night. Couple that with Aiden waking up most mornings at 6am or earlier, and I was barely functioning. I don’t even drink coffee so I don’t know how I got through most of the days to be honest.

Not only was I tired but I found myself taking solace in dark bathrooms, crying. Before he was even 1 year old I graduated from crying in the dark to crying in fully lit rooms, usually the kitchen. I’d find myself thinking and saying aloud, ‘This is not my life’. Wondering how in the world I got here. I was completely overwhelmed.

I was finding Motherhood very lonely and I attribute that to the fact that being new in town (when Camryn was born), I had no social connections and my family was 2 hours away. I spent every waking moment with my kids, caring for them, seeing no one but them (and my husband) day in and day out for days. And days. I had no life. I lived and breathed my kids. PPD came knocking on my door and because I didn’t recognize her, I invited her in for coffee. 

I openly admit that I had a hard time transitioning from one child to two. I had a hard time adjusting to the demands of Motherhood, period. My biggest fear is loneliness, and unfortunately I found myself living a world engulfed by it. This blog helped me feel less alone, reminded me that I’m not the only one who finds being a mother hard work. It tests you, pushes you, and ultimately changes you (in some ways good, some ways bad). But that love that I mentioned earlier? That’s what gets you through. That’s what keeps you going. The smiles, those eyes, the outreaching of arms, the cuddles, the kisses and hugs and I love you’s. The knowing that how imperfect you are as a mother, in their eyes you can do no wrong. Even though at times you feel you are doing it all wrong.

My kids are 3 and 5 years old now and I won’t lie, I enjoy this stage much better than the baby stage.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed them as babies, they were adorable, but I had a hard time with two kids in diapers. It was so demanding, I couldn’t keep up, not without the support I needed from family and friends. But I’m on the other side now, for the most part anyways. I feel less exhausted (but never truly feel rested, if that makes sense) but just as challenged- but in different ways. And the love? It’s only grown. My god, I couldn’t love my kids more than I do. If Camryn could, he’d probably call for help if he woke at night and saw the way I stare at him. And Aiden, he may test me with his attitude, but I swear I near break his ribs every time I hug him because I can’t get enough of him. I don’t want to let go.

To those of you who have ever wondered (and you very well may have, I’ve been asked by strangers working at Walmart in the past), no, I don’t wish I had a girl. I don’t long for a daughter. I don’t feel like I’m missing out. That miscarriage I had between the births of my boys, I can’t help but think that she was my girl and she wasn’t meant to be. I was meant to have my boys.

Plus, I already have MY girl. Her name is Abbey.

 

Sonya

Storm

I feel the need to redeem myself after my last blog (Flip the bird). Out of all the blogs I’ve written, it was the hardest for me to post because it seemed very raw and personal. I knew I’d be judged. It felt like the equivalent of admitting publicly that you pee in the shower. Some people think it’s gross, some don’t. Some do it but still pretend they don’t.

I’ve had a few jokes/comments referencing my habit of giving my child the middle finger behind his back. I need to clarify that this isn’t a habit. It’s not something I do regularly- it’s just something that has happened, once (okay twice, three times max) in my life. I’m sure you have all done something that you’re not proud of, something that made you feel better for 30 seconds, and then after it was over you knew it wasn’t your proudest moment. Well, that was my moment. I just decided to post it publicly in a blog for the world to see (ok, for the 50 people who read my blog), thus opening myself up for judgement. I don’t regret it, I just need to say to those of you who have knocked it before you tried it that it’s not something I do all the time.

So I am going to write a sappy post about how much I love my kids in hopes of reminding everyone that I am actually a sane, good parent. I didn’t say perfect, because there’s no such thing, but I am a good mother. I know this because I am trying my best and I am trying to give the best of myself to my kids. Do I sometimes fail? Sure. That’s because I’m also human. But one thing I can reassure you is that my boys are my life. Literally, I have no social life, they’re it 😉 They just happen to be my world too.

I live in a small town where I am not surrounded by my family and friends (add to that a husband who works shift work and plays too many sports), so I spend a lot of time alone with my kids. By a lot I mean every waking moment outside of my workday. 7 days a week, I’m the primary parent. I rarely get a break (which is probably why I run out the door to work). As you can imagine (and many can relate to), this is tiring, exhausting and overwhelming. It’s impossible to ‘enjoy every minute’, as many people encourage. For example, when your 3 year old is having a meltdown because you stuck the straw in his drinkable yogurt when he wanted to, while your 5 year old is pissed off for a reason unbeknownst  to you, giving more attitude than a room full of 13 Justin Bieber’s, it’s hard to enjoy every minute.

But you take the good with the bad. Five minutes after the tantrum ends and the attitude fades to silliness, there are the smiles, the hugs, the playing and I love you’s. I love random I love you’s. Not just from my kids, but from my husband too. I don’t want to hear it every time we end our telephone conversation because it would be too habitual, like saying hello and goodbye. I like to hear it at random moments when you least expect it. Camryn, being at that adorable age of 3 when you want to kiss his face off because he is so squishable, he’ll tell me at random times. Like when he’s pooping. He likes for me to sit and watch him poop (dear god I hope he grows out of this soon, let me tell ya). He’ll be having a poop and he’ll learn forward, almost falling off the toilet, and wrap his arms around my neck and sigh, saying “I love you, mommy”. It brings such joy to my heart- and tears to my eyes, but that could be the smell of his poop, not sure. Either way, I’ll take it.

Or Aiden, when we’re curled up on the couch watching a movie or Mario (the child watches videos of other people playing Super Mario bros, I don’t get it), and he’ll lean close and touch my hair and tell me he loves me. It’s so sweet. So random. Those are the moments I don’t want to end. I know someday my boys will be too big to be fighting over sitting on my lap. On a full sized couch, you’ll find three of us snuggled up in the corner, sharing one cushion, because they can’t get close enough to me. I’m nuzzling Camryn’s neck while stroking Aiden’s arm- trying to soak it all up because I know any minute, actually any second, things will change. Camryn will accidentally kick Aiden and Aiden will yell at him and tattle to me and then they are down on the floor, stealing one another’s toys, trying to piss the other off.  It makes sense though, this viscous cycle, because there is always calm before the storm. End even though storms are temporary, they can seem long and horrible and frustrating while you’re in it. The good thing is they end…..and once they do, you get to enjoy the peace again while you wait for the next one. And we all know there’s always a next one. In order to truly appreciate the peace, you need to have the storm. That’s what I keep telling myself anyways.

So contrary to what my last post may lead you to believe, I am not an avid flipper of the bird.  Sometimes I don’t use my finger at all and just drop an F-bomb.. I’m KIDDING!! Or am I??

Sonya

Flip the bird

When you don’t have kids, you think you know what kind of parent you would be. And you honestly believe that you’d be that parent- until you actually have a child.

I know I am not the mother that I had planned on being. Not in some ways anyways. You think you know yourself until you have kids but you don’t, you can’t, because you change as a person when you have a child. Even more so when you have a second child (much more when you have a second child). You have to be re-introduced to this new version of yourself, which for me, was in some ways pretty scary.  

When I became a mother, I lost my patience and gained a new voice. A voice that, every now and then, yells. I had no intentions of yelling and lately I try hard not to, but sometimes it just sneaks out. I’m a pretty mild mannered person, at least I thought I was, but it turns out the joke was on me! Since becoming a mother, my appearance has also changed. I’m not talking about widened hips, a belly pooch or the permanent bags under my eyes. I’m talking about the way I can distort my face. When I’m pissed off, I give my kids this look that I swear resembles that of a hungry lion. A look that I never knew I could make 6 years ago. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make it even if I tried. Even after 4 Smirnoff Ice coolers.  Now I find myself praying the wind doesn’t change so my face doesn’t stay like it.

If my pre-parent self could see me now, I fear she’d be disappointed. And you know what? I’d have a few choice words for her judgmental ass. I’d tell her she had NO clue what she was talking about. Sure, it’s easy enough to say you’d never give your kids sugar too early in the morning and that an iPad would never enter their hands. But the reality is, there are days when your kids have sugar for breakfast because that’s the only thing mommy is serving.  And that iPad you swore you wouldn’t let your child touch has been used as a babysitter more times than you can count because for the love of all things holy you needed 10 minutes to yourself to relax, breath and regain composure. That iPad can be a lifesaver. End of story.

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that implied you are not officially a parent until you have given your child the middle finger behind his or her back. I cracked up laughing because I have done this. More than once. I have jumped around my kitchen waving both middle fingers enthusiastically in the air at the back of my child’s 5 year old head.  It felt good-  a stress reliever in a way- which is why I’ll probably do it again.  The pre-parent me probably would have said ‘no, I would NEVER ever do that’, thinking to myself ‘what kind of parent would DO that’? Well, it turns out, I would. I am the type of parent who would do that.  Surprised? I surprised myself when I did it but trust me, the shock value wears off fast.

There are those who have flipped their child the bird before and won’t admit it. There are those who have done it and are snickering right now (right sis?) and there are those who haven’t done it before but now, after reading this blog, may give it a try. Of course there will be those who will judge me for this action. But trust me, no one can judge me harder than I judge myself. I find myself crying some evenings after the kids have gone to bed because I am overcome with guilt over not being the mother I want to be. For not handling situations the way I wish I had. For having good intentions that fail. Contrary to how this post makes it seem, I am not a monster who flips her children the bird and snarls at them all the time. I am simply a mother trying her best. A mother who loves her kids, does everything for them, but gets overwhelmed and tired and wore down after being told one too many times that I’m mean for asking for teeth to be brushed before bed. Or being told by my child that he doesn’t like me because I turned off the video game he was playing. I try to stay calm. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I break. And those are the moments I regret. When I yell or curse or say something I don’t mean out of pure frustration and then get slapped in the face with the reality that I am no better than the child I am trying to discipline. Cue guilt. Tears, you’re up!

It’s hard not to get frustrated when every time I turn around there is fighting, one punched the other because the other tripped him up. They both want the same red marker when there are 412 red markers in the bag. While one slams a door, the other one cries. While hugging one to comfort him, the other says ‘you love him more than me’. I can’t keep up. I can’t win.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. But most times, it certainly feels like it is.  I’ve often gone looking for support in my Mommy FB groups. We’ve all been there (or maybe we haven’t, but I’d like to think we have)….we make a post to vent about how crappy our day was and then we sit and wait to see if anyone liked our post, or better yet commented that they can relate. Maybe they had a crappy day too, heck maybe it was even worse than yours! That’s all you need is one person who ‘gets it’ and you feel less alone. But if 2 minutes have passed and no one has liked or commented, you take that post down because then you feel guilty for exposing yourself like that and admitting that you feel like a crappy parent and you wonder how many people have read it and think you are crazy? This has happened to me, I swear.

All it takes is talking to a few of my real (non-Facebook) mommy friends and my sister (who totally gets it) and I am reassured that there are in fact others like me who are just trying to be the best they can be….. even if they find they disappoint themselves every now and then.  It happens. What’s most important is that we brush ourselves off, wipe away our tears, put down our middle finger and try again.