The Hard Days

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You know those days where you are so utterly exhausted as a parent because everything seemed to work against you from the moment you woke up? I had one of those not too long ago (chances are good it was a Monday). I don’t even remember the details of the day except it’s likely the morning began in the 4 or 5’oclock hour, which happens oftentimes with my youngest. I’m sure the rest of the day involved an argumentative 5-year-old, siblings fighting over every little thing, errands that needed run, and maybe a sickness or two. I honestly can’t even recall. But I do know it was one of those nights where my husband had an event that would go past bedtime. So I was on my own with the kids and the day seemed to last an eternity. Continue reading “The Hard Days”

Savoring the small moments

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As parents, at the end of a long day we want nothing more than for our kids to just go to sleep easily. We may sometimes hit a breaking point and it isn’t pretty. Well, last night thankfully wasn’t one of those times. But I was definitely ready for my daughter to go to bed. My son has been waking really early for a couple weeks and I’m just not a morning person. I had let my daughter stay up later than her brother and she and I were watching a show on my iPad together before her bedtime. Continue reading “Savoring the small moments”

Happy Every Day

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I was all set to write a Mother’s Day post that included sentimental thoughts on parenting as well as my hopes and dreams for my children.

Then today happened.  And I found myself wishing that maybe I could spend Mother’s Day alone.  I know…awful.  But not.  Because this job is hard.

By 8am they had both tested my patience so badly that I almost cried trying to get the three of us out the door and by 8pm, I felt like I had run a marathon.  Ok, maybe a couple marathons since my husband pointed out that a marathon would take me around five hours. Continue reading “Happy Every Day”

The Perfect Mother

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece on modern mothers looking for perfection in all the wrong places.  From elaborate birthday parties to home-made, organic, free-range meals on the table, the author hits the nail on the head describing the ways modern moms are missing out by focusing on the near-impossible.

In the past we had nothing to showcase our meals and projects and birthday parties.  Now we have Facebook and Instagram to share every detail.  And no one is posting pictures of a bad moment or a terrible day.  We post the amazing ones – often mountaintop experiences of kids sharing or holding hands or trips with 5-course meals and breathtaking scenery.  Perfectly dressed children seemingly well-behaved in the most precarious situations.  Every meal is made from scratch – or at least the ones we post pictures of.  Now we also have Pinterest which has great ideas, but then there is this desire to go deeper with our kids and prove we are Supermom, which typically leads to feeling like an utter failure.  At least for me.  I’ve mentioned my Pinterest kid project fails before and opted to go a simpler route instead.  These ‘in your face’ posts make you wonder if these mothers ever need a break?  They seem like they have it all together, all day, everyday.

As for the motivation behind this desire, I’m not sure if it’s to keep up with the Joneses as the article says?  Or is it our wanting to control and be perfect with our kids – pressure we put on ourselves?  Maybe it’s societal influences?  Regardless of the root, we live in an age of unattainable perfection, it seems, aimed at pleasing our offspring.

What I believe it comes down to – at least for me – is information overload.  It seems like the internet and all of this technology complicate life too much.  We have to read articles on screen time and handheld devices and if they’re okay for our kids.  We research organic vs. GMO and feel guilty if we can’t afford to give them every single thing organic or hormone-free.   We overthink discipline constantly – you can find a justification for any and each way of doing it these days.  Articles float around email and Facebook that sway you one way and then you google something and see the other side of it and feel conflicted once again.  We have to get on online portals for checking kids’ homework and due dates.  Our relationship with technology is never-ending.

For me, information overload also means googling my child’s symptoms when they’re not feeling well and let me tell you, this never ends well.  I will self-diagnose them and think the worst and worry until the doctor tells me otherwise.

My older friends and relatives will talk about all the modern conveniences we have such as pre-cut and peeled veggies and pre-shredded bagged cheese and the internet at our disposal.  While I am in total agreement and am so thankful for these conveniences, I sometimes long for a simpler time where we don’t have constant information surrounding us.  We have to drown out the outside noises and focus on family days and screen-free times.  Wasn’t it easier in some ways when parents didn’t have access to so much?

It is hard to resist the temptation to throw the perfect Pinterest birthday party or the made-from-scratch meal every single night.  For me, doing these things would mean choosing to not sit down and play the legos or to not hold my clingy little one-year-old when he’s feeling like he needs me.  I have to be okay with that.

I guess what it comes down to is what we choose to do with the information we have around us.  We can use it to drive us to do better or feel competitive.  Or we can still be who we are without the bells and whistles and know we are giving our kids the best version of ourselves.  We can choose to not log on social media sometimes or to not google the symptoms our child has.  Sometimes shutting out the noise is the best choice we can make.

They don’t ask for perfectly displayed meals or a craft to do each day.  Our kids will be just fine without all of the extras.  I imagine what they want is a whole person – not a burnt-out mother drowning in information with nothing else to give.

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Not So “Super”market

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Twice last week while at the grocery store with my children, a stranger who had less items to buy approached me to ask if she could cut in front of me in line.  Both times I said, “Sure, go ahead.”  The first time didn’t bother me and even the second time I wasn’t too phased – but that time, I only had about 8 items in my cart, not a whole week’s worth of groceries.  And what was more perplexing is that the woman said, “Thanks, I’m in a big hurry” and then proceeded to slowly count out her exact change to the cashier.  Not to mention, right before her request, my son started crying and I picked him up.  When it was my turn to check out, the cashier said she was appalled at the woman’s behavior.  She said she can’t understand when people ask someone with children to cut in front of them.  And she pointed out that I had a fussy baby in my arms, which made it even more rude.

Not gonna lie, a few minutes into the customer’s coin-counting antics, I did think to myself, “No problem, lady – you go first and take your sweet time while I hold my son and do everything one-handed!”  I was glad the cashier seemed equally, if not more, annoyed.

I can’t say I was surprised these two customers asked such favors of me, as I’ve noticed a pattern these past few years of post-baby grocery shopping.  I’m finding I’m the regular recipient of not-so-nice glares from kidless customers.  It’s already a challenge to please two children while I mentally note what I still need and what aisle it’s in.  And then to deal with rude strangers on top of it?  Not fun.

One time maybe 6 months ago, I had the baby in the Ergo and my toddler in the cart at a grocery store I frequent often.  I remember both of my little ones were having an off day.  I reached down to grab a 6-pack of soda and one slipped out and fell onto the floor, exploding all over me and a tiny bit went onto another shopper’s ankle.  The look of disgust and horror (instead of sympathy) on the woman’s face made me cringe.  I mean, it was clearly an accident, and my hands were full.  Of course I didn’t expect the woman to help clean it up or anything but I just felt she could have acted a little bit nicer.  She would not even look at me so that I could apologize – she turned around and left the aisle as quickly as she could.  I leaned down to grab the can to stop it from spraying and then tried to clean it while keeping one hand on my baby who was practically upside down in the carrier.  I told a store employee about the mess so no one slipped and fell and he didn’t seem too thrilled either.  It made an already challenging morning feel even harder with all the small obstacles adding up.

I hate that a trip to the store feels like I’m a burden to others, when in reality, I’m just doing what everyone else is there to do:  buy food to feed my family.  I just happen to have my children in tow.  Sorry, they’re not old enough to be in school and I’m not going to get a sitter every time I need to run an errand.  I’m not sure what to think…are people just rushed?  Self-centered?  Simply focused on their own agendas?  Are their kids grown and they’ve forgotten what it’s like?

Whatever the reason, it has made me more mindful since becoming a mother to hold doors for parents with strollers and pick up the item a toddler throws from a shopping cart for the baby-wearing mother.  Sadly, I know I wasn’t perfect at going out of my way to help out before I had kids.  But, as this blogger so eloquently put it, it’s actually worse when the parent of grown children behaves in this way.  I couldn’t agree more.  The entire blog post is perfection, but here’s that excerpt:

Fine. Ignorant non-parents, who don’t know what they’re talking about, imposing ridiculous standards on actual parents because it makes them feel superior. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. As bad as you people are, you’re not nearly as horrible as the second type: actual parents with grown children who judge other parents, as if they haven’t been in the exact same situation many times. I had an older guy complain to me recently about babies that cry during church. He said: “Back when our children were babies, you didn’t have this problem.” Interesting. Apparently babies didn’t cry in the 50’s. The whole “crying baby” thing is a new fad, it would seem. These folks who had kids a long time ago seem to have a rather selective memory when it comes to their own days of parenting young kids. 
Read more at http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/09/15/dear-parents-you-need-to-control-your-kids-sincerely-non-parents/#jzUzVWSzQ0sML0Mx.99

Non-parent, parent with grown children, parent with children present, it doesn’t matter.  We are all doing what we can.  Please, please know that I am not trying to bother you or ruin your shopping experience by just ‘being.’  I’m just trying to get through my list too.  I would appreciate your patience at times and please excuse me if I move a little slow through the aisles.  And if we make eye contact, you could actually smile back at me.  That may be the bright spot of my morning.