I Hate the Word Hate

I read an article this morning regarding the Westboro Baptist Church holding a protest at the Wilson High School in Washington DC regarding the new principal being gay.  As I read the article and looked at the pictures that went along with it many thoughts came to mind for me.

First of all, no matter what side you stand on in this issue there is something extremely upsetting about children holding signs that use the word hate in it.  HATE.  The Merriam-Webster defines the word hate as:

a :  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

b:  extreme dislike or antipathy :  loathing <had a great hate of hard work>

Do kids really hate?  Or do we teach them to hate things?  Liam doesn’t have in his vocabulary the word hate.  I do not use that word nor do I like that word.  However he has told me he doesn’t like tomatoes .  He came to this on his own by trying it (an educated opinion).  On the other hand Liam has also told me he doesn’t like pork chops (which I have never made because I do not like them).  Since Liam has never tried it before I have to assume his aversion to them is because he heard me say I do not like them (a bias opinion).  I can’t help but wonder if these children “hate” a certain sect of people or is it because that is what they have heard so much.  There is something to be said in regards to the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears.”  So much of our children’s reactions and feelings about things are learned from watching how we respond to things.

I really really dislike snakes.  I am scared of them.  However, I have run into the situation twice now while on walks that we came across one.  I don’t want to teach Liam and Ava this fear, so as calmly as I could muster I let Liam and Ava take a look.  We are shaped by our surroundings and the experiences we have.  Without getting into a religious debate because that is not the point of this post, I can’t help but come to the conclusion hate is learned and is that not the opposite of what any religion would want?

I guess my whole point to this is we really need to be cognizant of the message that we are sending our children.  Without throwing out too many cliché lines, our future is based on the children of today and I for one would rather live in a future of tolerance and love than prejudice and hatred.

 

 

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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.

 

It’s Ok Not to Go to College

So what I am about to say I think is going to anger some of you, but as my kids get older, if appropriate I might say to them, “It’s ok, you don’t have to go to college.”

I want my kids when they become adults to be happy, successful, and do something they enjoy.  With that being said, college might not be the answer.  As I have mentioned many times in the past I value education. However, I do realize not everyone fits in the same box or mold.  Some career choices a four year degree would not be helpful.  For instance, to become a beautician a BS or BA degree would not be beneficial.

Then there is the other side of it. In today’s high pressure for children to succeed we have forgotten one important thing, not all kids are built for college.  In recent years we have begun to put unrealistic expectations on our children.  Not only does not every profession require a college education, but not every child is built for it.  Today’s standard for education is quite frankly unattainable for some.  In some ways I feel as though we are setting up our children to fail.  To make every child feel like he must go to college when maybe that is an unrealistic road for him to take is not right.  I think it’s very important to push our kids to try hard, however we have lost sight on the fact that not all kid’s definition of success means college.  In doing this, we have set our children up for failure and disappointment instead of finding an appropriate avenue for them that they can achieve at.  Furthermore, we have created a feeling that may reside in our children if they do not go to college it is shameful

I read an article recently that said the freshman college dropout/flunk out rate in the last 10 years has gone up 30%.  Part of it I believe  has to do with social promotion (which is a discussion for another day) but the other part has to do with the fact that nowadays it’s assumed that everyone goes to college whether equipped for it or not. As parents I think part of our job is to help our kids focus on an attainable goal for them. Just as not every kid likes the color red, or likes chocolate cake, not every kid is meant to be a doctor. That in part is what makes the world go around. Our differences are how we learn new things and develop new ideas. If we were all meant to do the same thing then not only would this world be a very boring place but there would be no individual. We need to embrace these differences and help our children achieve what is best for them.

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.

 

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

There’s Never Enough Time

Last night after work I had to run some errands before I went home. By the time I got home I was tired and hungry. I walked through the door to be greeted by the barking dog, Ava hugging my leg, and Liam yelling, “Mommy you’re home”. I tried to make my way through them to the kitchen to unload all of the things I was carrying and halfway there my husband met me and took it all out of my hands. Almost immediately Ava began crying and made the motion to be picked up, Liam asked if I wanted to play trains with him, and all I was thinking was I have to go to the bathroom.

In the end Ava melted down (it was almost 7:30 bedtime for her), Liam watched Thomas (which he asked me to watch with him), and I am not sure if I ever ate. My husband and I often talk about how there is never enough time to get everything done. Play with the kids, clean the house, take care of the yard, go grocery shopping, etc. I am always about finding balance (maybe it’s the Libra in me) but when it comes to time in a day there is no balance. There quite simply is never enough time.

I always feel like I did not get enough done and did not do enough with the kids. Last night when Liam asked to watch Thomas with him I said no because I had to get a few things done. From the moment I said no I felt guilty, however I had to remind myself of all of the things that I do, do with him. Then I went downstairs to be instantly reminded that the cat litter needed to be changed, which I took care of while my husband began the bedtime process with Liam. By the time the night was over there were still things swarming in my mind of what I need to get gone but just ran out of time.

I am sure I am not the only person who feels this way. Actually I know for a fact I am not. I constantly hear people listing the things they need do but haven’t gotten to. There is also the fact that you need to take time for yourself, hence this blog or for my husband his drumming. It might seem indulgent but if you don’t ever take the time for something for yourself, you are going to burn out and no one wins with that. The truth of the matter is that there is no real balance to this particular not enough time in the day problem. The good news is that we are all in the same boat. So maybe instead of berating ourselves for what we have not gotten done we should congratulate ourselves for what we did do. We got through another day.

What’s so wrong with getting away?

Being a parent at times can burn you out. Its long hours, exhausting work and no paid overtime. However the rewards outweigh all the sleepless nights and tiring tantrums, and that’s why we do it. Even so sometimes we all need a break.

The decision to go away without the kids for me was quite easy. Besides figuring out the logistics of who would take care of the kids to me it was a no-brainer. My husband and I never wanted to become the parents who once their children are out of the house no longer have anything in common with each other. We have gone away twice without our kids for long weekends since they were born. I missed them a lot and checked on them regularly but it was also very nice.

I remember sleeping in to 7:30. My body naturally now just wakes up and has a very hard time falling back asleep; however to lay in bed in the quietness was wonderful.

I read. I read for more than 15 minutes without being interrupted or falling asleep. I actually got to finish two magazines and a book that I had picked up many times before but never got to complete. It was so nice to get lost in a story.

It was nice to reconnect with my husband and be able to have a conversation without being interrupted and inevitable lose our train of thought. A lot of people around us said good for you for getting away but then there were others who were not so supportive. They were actually downright rude. Making comments such as, “How can you leave your kids behind?” and “Aren’t you going to miss them?” and “What if something happens while you are gone, wouldn’t you feel terrible about that?” and my personal favorite, “Why do you need a break?” At the time it really hurt my feelings and I wish I had said something back to them. However I thought maybe I was doing something wrong and used their judgment as a form to judge myself. I pondered about this a lot because these strongly worded comments came from parents themselves who I am sure could use a break.

So here is my challenge to all the parents out there who have the support and have never done it.  Go away, even if it’s to your own home.  Take a long a weekend with your spouse and really enjoy your time together.  Indulge yourself in something just for you because you deserve it.  After all don’t we all need a break once and a while?

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.

Babies vs. Professionals

Within my first 10 minutes of being awake today Liam demanded milk, asked for oatmeal in which he ultimately never ate, and pleaded with his hands clasped together to go downstairs to play with his trains.  Simultaneously, Ava began crying which meant she needed a diaper change, warm milk and something to eat, and on top of that the dog was barking at the door to go out.  Mornings in our house are very busy.  Our “routine” is move as fast as you can to get all of the crying, screaming, and barking to stop as soon as possible.  There are some mornings as I am flying out the door to work I think, “Thank God.”

And then I get to work…

I work in a Law Firm.  A building filled with educated, motivated, hard working professionals, and yet sometimes when I am there I feel like I am at home doing the 10 Minute Morning Sprint.  Without fail there is someone always complaining about something or someone.  There are my superiors who have nothing better to do than monitor my cell phone usage, but rarely notice that I have done everything that they asked of me and beyond.  I complete all my work all while I was speaking with a client on the phone to schedule an appointment and typing an email to another client following up regarding the drafts we sent them last week.

It’s hard for me sometimes to decipher which situation is harder to deal with.  On one hand I have my two wonderful children who I love very much even when they are having their first temper tantrum of the day at 6:05 AM and on the other hand I have my colleagues and bosses who allow me to have a conversation that consists more of “Thomas The Train”, but sometimes whine more then my two year old.

Lately at work our new HR department has been cracking down on everything.  Dress code, internet usage, cell phone violations, lunch breaks, the list goes on.  The morale at work is low and people are quitting every day.  There are days that I am afraid to sneeze in case that would be considered a “Noise Violation” and I would be written up about that.  I think in my head, Liam is probably watching “Paw Patrol” and Ava is napping.  I start wishing I was home and count the minutes till it’s 5:30. Finally when the time has come to clock out I usually have a very frustrating drive home to look forward to.  And then I get home. I walk into what could only be described as a battle scene as my husband tries to catch Liam before he smears his tomato sauce stained face and hands on our furniture.  Ava is none to happy. She is cranky and tired but we try to keep her up till 7:00 in hopes that she might sleep to 6:00 the next morning and Jackson (the dog) has greeted me at the door with a very high pitch, persistent bark.

Yeah I am not sure which is harder, which is better.  Maybe there is no answer to that.  Maybe that’s part of the balancing act, dealing with both worlds.  But at least as I am scrubbing the crayons marks off my son’s walls before I go to bed I can look forward to wearing the cute new Kensie dress I bought for work.

 

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”.