Tag Archive | motherhood

What I REALLY want for Mother’s Day. Really.

Peace.

Not world peace. That would be nice.  Just peace. And quiet. It’s not hard really. Is it?

I will admit, my children are older now. They are very good at entertaining themselves. They usually are off at a friend’s house, stuck in a book, watching a show, at school, whatever. So I have it good. But sometimes on weekends when the whole family is together, it gets a little dicey. There’s bickering. Snide remarks. Insults under the breath (ARGH, I hate that!) and sometimes tears. Usually by the boy after the girl tells him he’s a stupid boy that needs to go away. She can get a little nasty sometimes. She’s in training to be the perfect mercurial moody woman. But there’s also times when they are the best little angels. I mean really. They can be so sweet to each other. Mostly on my special days- like birthdays and Mother’s day, they know to be nice. They have even written a contract some years. I’ll be pulling out the contract again this year.

But back to Mother’s Day. MY Mother’s Day. I will not let myself feel guilty for wanting a real Mother’s Day. Why not?? I deserve it dammit!

I’ve learned over the years how to play the Mother’s Day game. I am so blessed and lucky to have my mom. I have my mother in law nearby as well. So in the years of early motherhood, I was the pleaser. I tried to please them and try to have it all but in the end, just got frustrated. Mother’s Day sucked. So now, I spread it out. I have the ability to have time with my mom on one day. And then usually the Saturday before Mother’s Day Sunday, we can all go down to my in-laws and do the grandma thing where she can revel in the children, they can make her feel special, and everyone’s happy.

So I’ve come up with some Mother’s Day options to pick from for myself:

There’s the Fantasy Mother’s Day; Daniel Craig brings me tea on a tray while he’s wearing Speedos and tells me I’m the new Bond girl and he needs to take me to the set in Istanbul the next morning on the studio’s private jet. Hmmm, not sure about this one. That would confuse the children greatly why James Bond is barely clothed in our house and daddy’s scooping the cat box. They might need therapy.  Maybe scratch that idea.

There’s the I’m Tired of Being Around My Kids Mother’s Day; You spend the whole day at a spa and don’t come home until they are tucked in bed. As great as this sounds,  this is hard since it’s on a Sunday and I don’t know many spas around with those hours. Also- very confusing to the children. It is, after all, the day I’m celebrating my motherhood which only is because of their existence. Probably another reason for therapy in their adult years.

There’s the I’m Such A Wonderful Mommy I Want To Spend The Whole Day With My Kids Making Flower Pots and Ceramic Tiles and Go to A Petting Farm Mother’s Day. Well, this just wouldn’t do because it would drive me batshit crazy and I would be exhausted and one of us (me) will end up in tears.

Then there the balance of the second and third choice. The Please Just Pick Up Your Shit, Be Nice, Let Me Sit And Drink A Cup of Tea Without It Getting Cold and Make Me A Meal Mother’s Day. YES!! Ding ding ding ding. We have a winner!

This is the Mother’s Day I want.

It’s not that hard. It just takes a little pre-planning.

It will go something like this-

Wake up to smiling faces and a hot cup of tea brought to me in bed. I don’t even need a gift- just the hand made cards will do. Oh wait- I already took the kids to Target to buy my Mother’s Day cards, so all they have to do is sign them. How easy is that?? I didn’t look at the cards, in case you are wondering. Just for that fabulous gesture on my part, my husband should really buy me a yellow diamond pendant. Because when I say I don’t want a gift I am totally lying. I always want gifts. Who am I, a monk?? Gifts. Please!

We will get ready and go to church. On time. No fighting. No whining about shoes that don’t feel right. No rolling eyes because church is boring. Just get in the car, keep your mouth shut and sit in church dammit!

We will then go somewhere to dine. It doesn’t have to be a fancy schmancy four course brunch or super uber expensive brunch buffet. Which I never eat my money’s worth anyway. It just needs to be someplace that isn’t IHOP or Applebees. If they wanted to cook, I would be okay with that. (Again, another lie. I would SO not be okay with this)  My husband doesn’t cook and then I would end up doing the cleaning up or getting annoyed with how he’s using the wrong spatula on the non-stick skillet. You know what I mean? So just getting out of the house is probably best for all.

After we’ve dined, I might just read a book for the rest of the afternoon. Curl up and watch James Bond DVDs with the boy. Maybe it will be sunny and I can lounge out on the deck.

There will be no last minute scramble to get homework done, PE uniforms in the wash, rushing out to buy poster board at the office supply store, scrambling to make a video for math class that needs to be uploaded to YouTube or any other hasty hurried spur of the moment thing forgotten by either offspring.

Dishes will be put in the dishwasher. Toilet paper will be replaced on the roll- squares going OVER, not under. Towels will be hung up on towel racks after showers not to be found later in a mildewy damp pile. Socks will be put in the hampers.

This isn’t too much to ask. It can be done. The other 363 days (my birthday is the other ME day) I will handle the chaos, messes and emergencies. But not Mother’s Day. It’s just one day. One day. That’s all I ask.

Thank you.

The happiness of being a mother. No- really!

We are celebrating my daughter’s 12th birthday today. And it happens to be Easter. One of the perks of being born in April, there’s a chance your birthday falls on Easter. This is the second time we have celebrated the two together. The last was five years ago. We were at Disneyland for spring break. I don’t think a 7 year old could have had it any better!

This year, Emma is on the brink of teenagedom. She has always been mature- beyond her years. She was uber sophisticated at the young age of 2 when she said very clearly- “Aunt Edna broke her pelvis” to everyone she met on the street. This was true. Aunt Edna had, in fact, broken her pelvis. She also would lay on our family room carpet with the clear plastic toy bin over her head pretending she was Snow White in the casket the dwarfs had made her. And we would have to take turns playing the Prince. Getting on bended knee, lowering our head in sorrow, then lifting the toy bin to kiss her. She would open her eyes and play the princess off to be with her prince. Oh gosh, how I miss those days. Sort of.

Emma was never really a good sleeper. She gave me trouble even in-utero when she decided she wanted to start coming out at 25 weeks. I was hospitalized and on strict bed rest for 10 weeks. When she was born, we couldn’t get her to latch on. Breast feeding was hell. I think this is what caused her to not sleep. Her poor sleep patterns continued until she was about 5.

Now, what do you know? I can’t wake her up in the mornings. She would sleep a solid 12 hours if you let her. Which is hard when you have to get her out the door for school at 7:15 am and most activities and homework keep her up until 9pm. She probably needs as much sleep now as a toddler does, but life doesn’t allow for that.

Well, let’s get back to my original point. Happiness in motherhood. Seems like a paradox huh? Just kidding!

But truly, I wanted to be a mom so badly. I wanted Emma to be born safe and well. I willed her to be healthy. Don’t patronize me. I know that it’s not my thinking that made her. But I prayed hard, I meditated, I focused all my energies to gestating that healthy baby.

When she came out- oh lord, that was something. I had the best epidural known to modern medicine. This was after two hours of my uterus being hypertonic in a contraction that was ‘off the charts’. I thought I would die. When they finally let me have the epidural, the anesthesiologist- Dr. Fritz- performed magic. I didn’t even feel the needle (this could be because I was in such a fit of pain, you could have cut off my toes, and I wouldn’t have noticed it for the pain in my midsection) and then he said that my legs would start to feel warm like in a bathtub of warm water. Oh. He was right!! I could breathe. The pain subsided, my legs went heavenly numb and warm. My thoughts returned to the room I was in and the people around me. Like my darling husband, McSweetie, my mom, and my doula Peggy. The labor nurse, Ruth, was awesome. She got me comfortable and we let everyone go get some breakfast since it had been such a stressful morning of watching me writhe in pain.

She assured them it would be a few more hours before it was time to push.

Tick tock. A whopping 30 minutes went by (tee hee, I kid) and I sheepishly told Ruth I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. You know- I mean, number 2. She’s like, uhm, I don’t think so, let me examine you.

Sure enough- she’s in there with her whole hand. “Oh yeah, I feel the baby’s hair- you’re 10 centimeters”.

Me- “So I don’t have to poop?”

Ruth- “Nope. You’re gonna have this baby!”

In walks husband and mom with lattes and smiles on their faces thinking, la la la, this is a piece of cake. Then I say, “Hey, guess what? I’m ten centimeters so we’re going to start pushing, and by we, I mean ME.”

So up my legs go in the stirrups, Dr. Johnson, the best ob/gyn known to woman,  comes by with all the paper gowns and masks, I’m sure they put something on the floor to catch the mess. I had my Mozart CD playing in the hospital CD player, the sun was shining and I didn’t feel a thing. Anything that registered on the pain meter anyway.  I did what they told me and in about 10 minutes, I could see Emma with her eyes wide open staring at the doctor! She was covered in stuff that looks like what babies look like on TV and the movies when they pretend it’s a newborn. The doc was a little concerned. Emma had had the cord around her neck and the fetal monitor showed a morbidly low heart rate. They wanted to get her to oxygen right away. The Dr. didn’t even ask if one of us wanted to cut the cord. My mom with tears in her eyes, is holding my leg in the air, cheering, “She’s here, she’s here!”

I started to cry. But in a good, relief-happy cry sort of way.  I hadn’t heard Emma make a sound yet, but since I saw her color and saw her eyes wide open, I knew she was going to be okay. Within a few minutes they had her wiped off and on my chest. When I placed my hand on her, I thought I put my fingers in a warm bowl of butter. I had never felt anything so soft. It was literally, ‘like buttah’. I could smell her, I don’t know how to describe it, but it was HER smell. I cried and cried for my baby. The universe shifted and my heart opened up to a big giant surge of power. Infinite power that I could never imagine. This is truly what LOVE feels like. I get it. THIS is what everyone talks about.

Bliss lasted for a few hours. Once the epidural wore off and I could help myself to the toilet- that’s a winning moment for post partum moms. You DO NOT want a catheter if your bladder is ‘injured’ in any way. I remember feeling fabulous that I could breathe, my lungs weren’t squished, my pelvis didn’t have 10 pounds of baby weight pushing on it, I felt incredible. Until the next day when my hoo ha, swelled up like a grapefruit and I had to sit with frozen maxi pads. But that’s another story…

The latching on- not so good. The sleeping that night- not so good. The sleeping the next 45 nights- not so good.

Both hubs and I were bleary eyed, happy parents. But we knew we were screwed.

I remember looking at her in her bassinet. She was about 4 days old. I was still miserable. My boobs hurt like mo fo’s and I didn’t know whether to, as my dad says, ‘shit or go blind’, I was so tired. But I looked at her perfectness, and started to weep. I was so grateful she was here and safe. I had this perfect child. Of course, now, I was immersed in worrying all about the things that COULD happen. Is she going to stop breathing? Is her bassinet safe? What if there’s a fire? What if we get in a car accident on the way to a pediatrician appointment? What if she gets a fever? And the worrying never stops.

Now my worries are- who is she hanging out with after school, who is she getting a ride with to the movies, is her school campus safe, is she safe in her friend’s parent’s car on the way to a camp-out… ??? and on, and on, and on….

But today is her birthday. And even while she is right this very minute making a spoof video on her new Flip camera with her brother about murdering a cereal box- she is the apple of my eye, the sun in my day, and the peach in my fruit basket.

YOUR kids make videos about murdering cereal boxes and stuffed animals too, right?

Happy Easter. Happy Birthday Emma. The world is better with you in it.

High tea and scones, with a side of James Bond.

In jest of one of my favorite mommy bloggers, Lady Goo Goo Gaga, and her post on bragging on Facebook- I’m going to brag about my fabulous afternoon with my favorite precious child that was spent having High Tea. I’m so blessed. (I threw that in for you Lady GGG!)

Yes, an 8 year old boy spent his Saturday afternoon in a fancy hotel dining room having Afternoon High Tea with his mom. And liked it!

The lobby set the tone. Owen was amazed at the splendid structures and sweeping staircases. He compared it to Bruce Wayne’s mansion. (There will be constant comparing of movie scenes throughout this post.) We entered the dining room and were seated at our lovely table set for two with fine linens, china and crystal. Two little pots of tea were brought to us. There were silver strainers in little silver cups by each cup and saucer. Little jars of honey and sugar cubes in a little bowl with silver tongs. The tower of goodies arrives with little tea sandwiches, scones, mini cups of custard, petit fours and macaroons. I almost forgot about the little fancy dish of berries we had to start with. Owen ate each berry individually with his fork. He was conscientious of his manners. He almost put his elbows on the table and stopped himself. So precious. And yes, I’ve used the word ‘little’ about a dozen times.

He loved the whipped cream to spread on the scones, he drizzled honey in his tea cup. He said how fantastic it would be if this was our house. If we had a butler to bring us tea. But then he said it might not be special anymore and he would get used to it and that would be sad. He mentioned the train station in Hugo and how quaint it all was to have a cafe, toy store and book store all in one spot. His idea of heaven.

Nothing could ruin our little day. Not even the crazy lady in the corner laughing to herself with great enthusiasm. We thought she was on her blue tooth or something, but no. Your bona fide crazy lady and all her grand illusions.

Conversation throughout tea with Owen went something like this:

Owen- “Mom, do you think James Bond drinks tea?”

Me- “Yes, I do. He’s English, he enjoys a cup of tea like the rest of us.”

***

Me- “Owen, tell me about the girls at recess that chase you. Do you like any of them back?”

Owen- “Yeah, there’s two.”

Me- “Do they know you like them?”

Owen- “Yeah, one of the boys in our group told one of the girls in their group so they know.”

Me- “Oh, like a messenger. You didn’t actually speak to these girls?”

Owen- “(laughs) No mom!”

***

Owen- “This is like Hogwarts, but really different.”

Me- “Cozy, but brighter. Hogwarts is pretty dark.”

Owen- “Yeah. Do you think this place is old? Do rich people come here? Are we rich? Hagrid wouldn’t fit in this chair.”

…you get the idea.

My favorite quote though from him between his sips of tea and nibbles of bite size peanut butter and jelly, “Being in this fancy place makes me want to be polite.”

Perhaps this is an idea for some reform idea for delinquents. Just the classical music and chandeliers encourage civil behavior.

Now, just so you guys don’t think I’m completely disillusioned in my blessed perfection of motherhood.

The tea sandwiches were tiny, the macaroons dry,  the staff could have brought more hot water sooner for me, and the whole thing cost a ridiculous amount of $$. But- was it the same as I would spend going to a 3D movie with the kids and buying popcorn and slurpees, suffering through an afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese? Probably.

Time spent with favorite son one on one: priceless.

And if you’re wondering- yes, this was Owen’s idea of what to do for our Mom/Son day. I didn’t thrust this on him and bribe him with Pokemon cards.Which makes it even sweeter.

Look at that tower of goodies! (And yes, the boy STILL needs a haircut.)

The custard was perfecton and the chocolate bars were fabulous.

As if it wasn’t hard enough.

They say staying at home raising kids is hard work. Really? I must be doing it wrong because I think it’s the easiest thing in the world! There’s no TPS reports, no budget meetings, no politics or backstabbing. I sit around all day drink Gin and Tonics and watch TV. Oh wait… that was a dream I had. Never mind.

This is where I introduce an acronym for my new (not new, just new to us) phrase of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (AYFKM?) My family says I’m swearing too much lately, I think it’s some leftover hostility from my 20s I never released, so I’m trying to use curse words less often, even in print.

Parenting is hard work. No shit.

Now the ‘experts’ say that raising children full time at home, makes you less healthy than if you go off and work in some actual paying job, according to the American Psychological Association’s “Journal of Family Psychology” article.

AYFKM? Yeah. DUH.

Thanks. So now I have the guilt of, “oh, I never pursued my career past the  rearing of my children, and devoting all that time to them is going to shorten my life span so now I won’t be able to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Let’s rewind a little shall we?

I’ve always wanted to stay home and raise my children. My mom did this for us kids. She was completely there for me. She packed my lunches, made dinner, did the laundry, sewed our clothes, everything. My dad worked hard at his job Monday through Friday. It was pretty much your traditional 70s/80s upbringing.

After college, I fell in love, got married and had a kid. Well it took 5 years, but still, I didn’t take the option of running away to Hollywood or Broadway to pursue my acting career. Something deep down told me to stay put since love and family was probably going to prevail longer than any waitressing acting jobs that might come.

I have no regrets about this. None.

My job at the time of getting pregnant with Emma was a glorified administrative assistant for a start-up company. What am I saying? It wasn’t glorified. It was hard ass work. I did the job of 3 people and was paid the salary of an admin, but it was good experience and great medical benefits, if I remember. So I stuck it out and counted the days until my maternity leave. (I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks of my pregnancy, but that’s another story altogether). Lucky for me the company went under while I was on maternity leave, so I didn’t have to leave my sweet pink bundle of joy and diapers called Emma, for my stingy, troll of a boss that micromanaged every trip to the bathroom I took. Now I took my boss (Emma) with me to the bathroom!

So staying home with her was a blessing. BUT, GEEZUS it was HARD. I mean, really HARD. No adult interaction, no showers, no make up, no cute clothes, saggy engorged boobie bags that looked like a cow’s, nursing bras that had been leaked through so many times I didn’t care anymore. Feeling like a zombie. Rinse and repeat….

The idea of pulling myself together enough to leave the house to look professional, spend 8 hours away from her and then to come home and have to spend half the night up breast feeding, just didn’t sound like a party.

So I admire those that do this! Being a mom is hard. A mom of a newborn especially. Heading off to work must be painful.

But, and I mean a big BUT, I can see the rewards. To get paid for what you do is a good thing.  Intellectual stimulation from peers and colleagues- good. Going out to lunch- good. Looking like a human with clothes and makeup- good.

I found this excerpt of the article to sum it up: “After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids’ needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed.” AYFKM?

And therein lies my problem. I’m depressed and don’t share household duties. Okay, I’m not really depressed. I take my meds and do fine. But I know a lot that are, and I’ve been down some dark times myself. And I always feel like I’m doing all the household duties myself. Not very well, but still.

Then the kicker later in the article:

“Additionally, mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms may have more difficulty seeking employment or keeping a job.” AYFKM?

Fantastic. Now I’m just screwed if I did choose to go back to work. Who wants a whiny, not employed in a decade housewife to come work for them? Apparently, no one.

Here’s what it boils down to:

I chose not to work. I never regret staying at home with my children. In fact now it’s the greatest. They go off to school, I pretend to get stuff done around the house, they come home from school and I’m in a good mood since absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m not getting paid, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. My children are fine individuals. I’m raising them real good.

I don’t need an article to tell me I’m depressed and overly sensitive- my husband tells me this all the time.

Pretend I never wrote this blog. I could have started with the last three sentences and have been done. But alas, I just wanted other depressed, pill popping, gin and tonic drinking moms to feel empathy with me.

(borrowed from Bluntcard) Look how happy she looks!

Here’s that full crappy article if you want to read for yourself:

Working Moms are Healthier