Two Children and a Headache

There is nothing worse then being home with two kids and a headache.  In the past there have been times I have showed up to work with headaches, bad colds, and just not feeling well.  My co-workers would ask, “Why are you here?”  My reply is always the same, “It’s easier being here then at home.”

The truth is being at home is hard when you are feeling good, when you are sick, it is unbearable.  When you are sick and at work people tend to leave you alone because (1) they know you probably don’t feel very sociable, and (2) they do not want to catch your germs.  But at home there is no lenience, no break, and no timeout.  Your kids still need breakfast, and baths, and running around outside and it really doesn’t matter if you feel like you have been just run over by an 18 wheeler.  Their little minds and legs are still running.

On top of it all even if I do get to veg out a little bit, I quickly guilt ridden myself into getting up and doing something with them because I feel bad.  Last week I was home with them and I had a headache.  I was lying on my bed and the kids were being quiet in Liam’s room (which is never a good sign) and instead of enjoying the couple of moments of quietness I pushed myself to get up and do something with them because I didn’t want them to be bored. It is times like those when I think, “Man I wish I was at work.” I could just type away at my computer and not have to worry about anyone crying, getting hurt, needing anything from me.

And then it happened. Liam asked, “Mommy why are closing your eyes?” I told him my head hurt and I was trying to make it feel better. He climbed on my lap and kissed my forehead. I smiled and melted all over. My head still hurt but I didn’t care anymore.

 

In With the New Out With the (Sniff) Old

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Ava 7 Months old
Liam 16 months old
Liam 16 months old

 

It happens several times a year and it never gets easier for me.  I love watching my kids grow and learn new things.  I am excited to be able to do more and more with them.  But every once and a while there is a sharp reminder that my kids are growing up fast!

I remember the first time I sorted through Liam’s drawers to weed out the clothes that didn’t fit him and I found a newborn onesie among the clothes.  There was a small part of me that could not bear to put it in the give away pile and I held onto for a while longer.

Each and every time I go through this process two things happen; (1) Elicit tears come as I remember certain memories when they were wearing those outfits; and (2) Inevitably some clothes will remain in the drawer because I cannot stomach to part with them yet.

Little after Liam’s first birthday I knew I was pregnant with Ava and for a short period of time this purging of clothes was made easier knowing that there was another baby on the way.  But now my “baby” is 20 months old.  I am so proud of both of my kids.  They are truly little sponges learning, speaking, doing new things every day but a small part of me mourns what has past.  Everyone says enjoy these moments and don’t look too far ahead because it goes fast.  There in lies the problem for me.  I truly did enjoy all the moments leading up today (and I know that will continue) so it is hard for me to let one moment go for another moment.  I know each one will bring an amazing experience for both me and them, but in the still of the night when they are both sleeping I go into their rooms and check on them and think, “Wow they have gotten so big.”

So today I have two bags full of clothes that Liam and Ava have outgrown. Giving them away is the best part of the process. Knowing that someone else who needs them will get to use them and maybe just like me will remember good memories as they fold and put the clothes away.

 

It’s the Little Things That Count

On a daily basis, multiple times a day, I hear Liam say, “Mommy (or Daddy) can I tell you something?”  Our answer is always yes.  Sometimes he tImageells us he is hungry, other times it’s to ask if he can watch a show, and other times it’s to tell us a story.  Regardless we always listen.  Here’s the thing, if our kids know we are listening now they can trust us eventually when they get older and the issues turn from watching Thomas to being tempted to try to smoke.  The things they tell us now may seem small but it isn’t to them and they need to know we care.  I always encourage Liam to talk to me not just because I like to know what he is thinking but because if he gets comfortable doing it now there is a greater chance he will come to me later on when the big issues are happening.

All too often I see parents on their cell phones while with they’re completely ignoring them.  My husband is always saying, “You are missing it.”  You are missing those moments that you can never get back.  Ten years from now it will not matter what level of Candy Crush you got to or who said what on Facebook but it will matter what your kids are thinking and saying.  In today’s technology filled society we all do it.  We all check our emails, update our Facebook statuses, etc. but if you can put down your phone for a minute and see what your kids are up to, you might just learn something.

It’s like creating the foundation and the framework of a house.  If you create a solid foundation and a strong framework, the house will be able to weather the storm.  So often in our busy days listening gets brushed aside, but trust me give them the time.  Not only will you find out entertaining and fascinating things about your kids now, but you are doing the homework for the final exam later on.

 

When parent’s pressure to achieve becomes too much

About a month ago I saw a news segment about a father who pushed his son down a skateboarding ramp because he was taking too long.  The boy was six and the ramp was high and he was scared.  As a parent there are times that we need to gently nudge our children, whether its coaxing them to practice a little more piano or letting go of the bike as a kid learns to ride.  Regardless, there is a line that seems to be crossed more times than not that the coaxing turns nasty and it isn’t fun anymore.

Now I never have skateboarded, I know nothing about it.  However, if I saw my kid was scared, I would have never just pushed him down (this child ultimately fell off the skateboard and hit the bottom on his knees).  I know instead I would have cheered him on saying, “You can do it.”  But at the  end of the day, if he didn’t want to go down I would have never forced him down.  How is pressuring your children and pushing them to the point of being uncomfortable going to establish a trusting relationship, let alone create an eager environment to try that task again?

I can’t help but wonder if these pushy to the point of destructive parents aren’t living vicariously through their children.  They had their chance to be kids and whether it was all of what they wished it to be or not, it’s not their turn anymore.  Now the focus should be on the betterment of their children.  These parents also need to realize that their children’s interests may be similar to theirs or it may be very different.  We need to embrace and encourage those new interests because it really doesn’t matter what you are interested in, its what’s interesting to them, what will motivate them forward.  It’s like the “Little Engine That Could”, if we can teach our kids the “I think I can. I think I can,” mantra, you and the child will be better off than the lesser known but often taught, “I’m scared but I better do it.” mantra.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the awesome Moms out there. Some of us do it with a partner, others do it alone, but regardless we do it everyday. We hug and kiss our kids, we make and clean up after meals, and make sure all of their daily needs are met. We do the best we can and we do it selflessly. We get excited in seeing our kids grow and accomplish things and we are more thrilled about doing things for them then for ourselves. We work hard and play hard with them. We don’t often think about it but we are truly molding the future.  We encourage our children to try new things and we motivate them not to give up.

I am truly blessed as I have two amazing grandmothers, one outstanding mother, and a wonderful mother-in-law.  I have learned so much about being a mother from these women.  Our first lesson in love comes from the love of a mother.  Celebrate today and enjoy. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Mothers-Day

I am a rock. I am an island

Since I decided to share a very difficult moment previously about my postpartum depression with Liam I have decided to write about another very difficult moment for me.  It was during a time when I felt very lonely, sad and confused.  I figured if only one person reads and feels comfort in knowing that they aren’t the only one that went through what I went through, then this would have done some good.  I know I wish I had had that at my moment of darkness.

Eleven months after Liam was born as the fog had begun to slowly roll away and I saw specks of sunshine I began entertaining the thought of having another child.  I always wanted two kids and to have them close together in my head was ideal.  I also thought that “if I could get this part over with” then I could actually begin to enjoy having children.  Please understand it isn’t that I was so negative about babies and pregnancy, however my first experience was not exactly a perfect scenario and I was looking forward to being a completed family and progressing from there.

Some people I am sure think it would be crazy to get pregnant so quickly after coming out of such a difficult time but quite honestly I also didn’t think I was going to get pregnant so quickly….but I did.  I was very excited and to be honest a little scared.  I had “What did I get myself into moment.”  Unfortunately unlike my pregnancy with Liam where I slept and ate all the time, the only thing I was successful in doing the first 5 months was throwing up and losing not gaining weight.  On the upside I had a lot of energy, shocking for someone who felt so ill.  With that said I cried … a lot.  But who wouldn’t if you spent most of your day hanging over a toilet or sink.  It wasn’t until I spent a day with a dear friend of mine that my husband picked up on something not being right.

I came home from my day of shopping, chatting, and even successfully eating lunch, and Will asked me how it was.  I remember looking at him and saying it was fine and then bursting into tears.  He looked at me shocked and then I blurted out, “I am sad all the time and I cry all the time.”  He looked at me and without saying a word knew we were right back where I was 5 months ago.

Well maybe not right back where I was.  With my postpartum depression I felt numb and emotionless.  This was exactly the opposite I felt horrible, sad, depressed and on top of that I felt ashamed.  This is exactly what I wanted, how dare I feel anything but happiness.  It was a two day battle between my well intentioned husband and me to get me to call the doctor.  I remember the nurse asking why I was making the appointment and in a small embarrassed voice I uttered, “I am depressed.”

I was so humiliated and I could not bring myself to look at the doctor when I explained everything I was feeling.  The only other people I even dared to share a small portion of what I was feeling were my parents and even that made me feel terrible.  Everyone around me was so excited about my pregnancy but I just cried.   When we found out that we were having a girl ( my dream was complete) I felt indifferent and that kills me now.

There are a lot of things looking back that pains me but I try to remember that this wasn’t my fault.  I did not bring it on myself and it did not dictate what kind of person I was or even what kind of mother I would be. I guess if anything it taught me a lot about how lucky I am to have the wonderful husband and family who supported me.  I am also very grateful for how I feel now and can enjoy my precious lovely children and most of all, our family is complete.

Another One Bites the Dust

I have worked at my job for eight years but as I have mentioned in past posts this year has been especially difficult.  In the past year one of the partners of the Firm whom I worked closely with left, two attorneys in my department, my sister-in-law whom I had the privilege to work with, and now my good friend, commiserating pal, gave her notice this week.  Its hard not to feel a little deserted.

I am happy for these people as they have gone to better and happier situations, however I can’t help but want to have a pity party for myself.  It was in my moment of wallowing I thought of my son.  The other day he was upset that he was not getting his way ( 8:00 AM and requesting a lollipop) and  sulked and walked away.  Besides feeling slightly guilty (As I always do.  Gotta love mommy guilt) I was also slightly annoyed with him.  Why should he get so upset and sulk over it? He should just get over it.

That’s when it hit me.  We all have our pity parties.  Big or small it doesn’t matter.  Its our moment to let ourselves feel bad over whatever it is.  If I should be entitled to have my pity party he should too.  Its funny how a three year old can be a mirror to our own lives.  Liam was just feeling sad that he was told no.  He really wanted that lollipop, and although as the song from the Rolling Stones says, “You can’t always get what you want.”  I need to remind him and myself, “But if you try sometime you will find you get what you need.”

Narcissistic

I love to write.  For me it’s a creative outlet that I don’t normally get to indulge in.  However, I have always been very uncomfortable with the idea of having a blog.  I used to think that they were very narcissistic.  Part of me still does.  I can’t help but think how self-absorbed a person must be to think that their “Dear Diary” entries would be enlightened and informative enough for others to care enough to read about.  However, my opinion slightly evolved after having my son, Liam.  He was my first and like many first time moms my head was spinning and could not comprehend what was going on.  I remember searching sites for ideas and tips on how to deal with sleep deprivation, unable to breastfeed, postpartum depression, the list goes on.  I found those blogs to be useful as moms would retell their trials and tribulations and sometime I would cry or laugh as I related to it.

Shortly before returning to work (part-time, three days a week, 10 hours a day) I turned to the internet once again hoping to get some encouragement and support as a part-time stay at home mom and part-time professional.  There are blogs upon blogs regaling in the joys of being a stay at home mom and giving advice on how to make your own puree organic baby food, while washing the cotton diapers and knitting booties.  There were endless blogs from mothers who rejoiced in being full-time professional but still found the time to tuck their kids into bed at night and bring them to the park on the weekend.

However, what I didn’t find was any blog to help the mom who was stuck in the middle.  The mom who enjoyed being a professional but probably would never hit the level of success as the full-time working mom did because she was not in the office enough.  There were no blogs telling the stories of the mom who stayed at home two days a week but never had time to make organic anything because she was always trying to play catch up with her kids, the laundry, the doctor appointments, etc.  There were no blogs to offer advice to the mom who was working part-time because she enjoyed the mental stimulation, the adult time, and quite frankly the time away from the house, but the minute she walked out the door she wished she was home with her kids.  On top of this, these two species of mothers who were polarized also seemed to be opinionated about the other type.  Full-time stay home moms would ridicule the full time working moms for not making the sacrifice of being with their children 24/7 and full time working moms would stick their nose up in the air to stay at home moms for not respecting themselves enough to using their college degrees and becoming powerful business women.

I was neither.  I was in this weird limbo that could not fit into either mold.  I was just hoping someone could offer me some advice on how to get some spit up out my new Calvin Klein dress I wore only once to work.  I grew increasingly frustrated and more and more lonely.  It didn’t help that in my own personal life I was only surrounded by the two mother types I described above.  I had some people question my income, my values, and my parenting skills because I did want to work.  I had others make passing comments that true success could only be achieved if I was in the office 50 hours a week.

So that is what brings me to today.  I am now a mom of two still trying to figure out the balancing act of professional and stay at home mom and being happy doing it.  I have come up with some ways to make it easier for myself and mantras to tell myself when I am down.  Maybe this blog is a little narcissistic or maybe it’s an answer to huge gaping void for the “limbo moms”.