Tag Archives: Moms

But you just seem so normal!

13 Aug

Fair warning – this post is equal parts ranting, judging, whining and pontificating. I even swear.  Enter at your own risk.

Remember when Joaquin Phoenix was doing that “documentary” movie about becoming a rapper and no one knew exactly what to think?  He went on Letterman and people were all “what the heck” and after it was revealed to be hoax people laughed and were like “typical” and smiled indulgently?

I feel like Joaquin a lot of the time.

On the outside, I look relatively “normal”.

On the inside, I get the sense that people think of me, more specifically my parenting, as an odd anomaly that is best smiled at and overlooked due to my relative normality in other aspects.

Case in point:

A friend was over and somehow Alicia Silverstone came up in conversation.  There was a video a few weeks back of Alicia feeding her kid chewed food from her mouth.  I don’t know about anyone here, but I don’t know enough about this practice to label it “good” or “bad” but anyone who hasn’t worried about their kid choking and grabbed food, chewed it up, and then handed it to their kid is lying.

So we then get to talking about Mayim Bialik’s new book which said friend says is because “sleeping with your kid is falling out of favour”.  I reminded friend that that’s what we did and I got it.  THE LOOK.  And the “oh Jenn”.

I interpret the “oh Jenn” and THE LOOK, both which I have experienced many, many, many times from many, many, many different people to mean “you seem normal, so we’ll forgive you this odd eccentricity”.

The funny thing is, I don’t particularly consider co-sleeping to be eccentric.  I consider it normal.  Moreover, I consider it the right thing to do.  Oh, I get it, some people can’t due to various reasons, but there are degrees to co-sleeping, going from side by side, to side car sleepers, to crib beside bed, to crib in room, etc.  Eventually, people sleep in their own beds.

Co-sleeping wasn’t something that I set out doing, it was something I fell into.

I had every intention to be the most “normal” parent who ever existed.  Then Alex was born and I wasn’t much interested in what was “normal” and a lot more interested in what was “right”.

I research the crap out of my decisions.  When all those “co-sleeping is unsafe” advertisements came out, I renewed my research vigor and was completely satisfied with both my research and the safety.  These crib people really are biased let me tell you.  😉

I get why conventional wisdom is so popular and prevalent.  It’s NORMAL after all.

What I don’t get is why people who think I’m otherwise intelligent and well read, think I’m a fucking idiot or “crazy hippie” when it comes to parenting.

If I had a dollar for the amount of times someone has said “you totally don’t seem like someone who would breastfeed that long” to me, I would have somewhere between 20 and 50 dollars. 😉

The thing I hate the most?  When people make comments about my breastfeeding or co-sleeping or anything, and when those comments are uneducated, and borderline rude – I say almost nothing.  I FUCKING hate that I let people say dumb shit to me and I do the indulgent smile right back.  UGH.

I am well researched and confident in my decisions,why do I become a bumbling idiot when it comes to defending my position.

As my kids get older, it doesn’t get any easier. The argument turns from breastfeeding and co sleeping, to homework and playdates, dating and alcohol.

Gah!

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Tips for (working) moms. In a list no less!

18 Apr

I love lists.

I also love attempting to be organized.

Thus, I have combined both of my “loves” into …

Jenn’s tips for getting things done in a good way as a working mom who needs more time and hours and wants to spend as much time as possible with her kids:

1.  Do everything the night before.  By everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  Make all the lunches the night before. Pick out clothes the night before. And that’s for you too, not just kids.  Pack backpacks the night before.  Make sure shoes, and coats, and hats, and sunscreen, etc, are all ready and easy to grab. Give kid’s baths and showers if they are young enough. Comb out long hair and put in a braid while sleeping so it’s easier to “do” in the AM. Does this list sound daunting?  Yeah, I think so too. So do it the night before instead of when you’re half asleep at 6AM.

2.  Run errands during the day.  This can be anything from buying groceries, to picking up prescriptions, to mailing letters, to getting your nails done, to having coffee with a friend, to going to the dentist. If you can fit it into a lunch or break from work, do it. If you can do it before picking up the kids, do it. A fun for the kids trick I have is trading off with another mom. Usually one Thursday I take her brood  the following Thursday she takes mine.  This gives me a about two extra hours to get stuff done.  Instead of always taking full days off from work, I often take an hour or two toward the end of the day once every few weeks and use that time to do a big grocery shop, or something else that needs to be done.

3.  Grocery Shop on Wednesday or Thursday.  Strange, right? I just discovered this one.  I used to shop on the weekends and that is all kinds of crazy. When I shop on Wednesday or Thursday, I always have food for the weekend, I avoid the crowds, and my weekends are less stressful.  Wednesday my kids have an after school activity so I get them an hour later and I use that time to shop. Or, if I wait until Thursday, my son and I go when my daughter is at dance.

4.  Meal Plan. Everyone says it, but seriously do it. Do it. I meal plan for six suppers a week, knowing we will either eat out or just scavage for the seventh.  I also plan for lunches (left overs or otherwise).  I am not tied to doing one thing on any night, I just know that we are having x, y and z at some point in the week depending on what I feel like that night.  Saves extra grocery trips and makes sure I have enough food.  It also saves money.

5.  Go out for dinner. I have a few busy nights each week where cooking is tough.  I pick the hardest night and grab dinner out. My healthy “fast foods” are pitas and subs.  Kids have some a relatively health dinner of turkey, veggies, cheese and bun/pita, and I have a salad with chicken.

6.  Kids can be like mini slaves if you train them well enough. 😉 Making lunches is a lot more fun if you do them at night with the kids involved. Same goes for planning outfits.  Even the littlest kid can be nipping at your ankles, standing at the table, and helping you prepare dinner. Make doing laundry into a game.  If your kid is a toddler, give them a towel to “fold” while you fold the laundry. My son is four. He turns on the machines and helps moves clothes from the washer to the dryer.  My nine year old daughter folds towels and her clothes.

7.  If you can afford occasional cleaning help, get some.  I have a woman who come every two weeks to clean.  I love her.  She does all the deep cleaning so I can spend my weekends focused on my family and not on scrubbing my house.  It makes day to day cleaning/tidying easier.  The housekeeper doesn’t have to come often.  Even a monthly deep clean cuts down on a lot of weekend cleaning.

8.  Clean a little bit every day.  Sweep, put away dishes, wipe counters and toilets and sinks every day.  It takes barely a few minutes and then your house is clean and tidy.  If you don’t have an occasional cleaner, keeping up day to day cuts down on that huge weekend clean.

9.  Do one load of laundry a day.  I don’t do this one.  I should. I want to. I don’t.  I hear it works really well and I keep trying.

10. Spend the weekends with your kids.  From Friday night to Monday morning, my kids have me 100%.  Sure, I occasionally go out at night, but the weekend days are reserved for my kids as much as possible.  If you don’t work on the weekends, do what you can to make the most of those days when you aren’t working.  Go out, stay home, just hang out and have fun.  If you have things to do, bring your kids. Some things may take longer with the kids, but it’s the weekend so who cares?!

And that’s my list.  

Don’t get me wrong. I often scramble in the mornings, and grocery shop on the weekends, run errands with two kids climbing on me, etc, but when I do my best with the list, I find that life runs much smoother, my kids get more of my attention, and I am happier overall.

I want to know what you do!  I am always looking for tips to make life easier so please share!

I am freakin’ exhausted

19 Feb

I use the word vomit about five times in this post. You have been warned!

Last night TJ got sick. 

Dave was going out with friends so Alex, TJ and I decided that we would have a “sleepover”. We set up our living room with blankets and pillows and stuffed toys. We got yummy Kernels popcorn and picked out a few movies (and by “a few movies” I mean Footloose the old one and Footloose the new one). 😉

Just as Ren and Ariel started planning their outside of the town line dance, Tj stood up and announced “mom, I feel sick”, and promptly threw up.

All over the blanket. All over the pillow. All over the floor. All over himself. 

You know that moment when you wonder if you can make it to the bathroom with your kid in a football hold before they throw up again or if you should just use the already dirty blanket to catch the rest of the vomit? I chose the latter. Wisely, I believe, because there surely would have been a trail of vomit from the living  room, through the kitchen, the hall and into the bathroom.

Instead, TJ stood there vomiting while I tried to comfort him and catch the vomit in blankets.  And with my hands. /gross

Once he was done with the throwing up, I stripped him down and brought him up for a bath. I also tossed all of the dirty linens in the wash. Alex laid towels all over the room in case of another “situation”.

Bathed and cleaned, we all went back to our sleepover.

I was up at least every hour. Tj dry heaved several times. I did three loads of laundry. He took several baths.

4AM baths with a sick kid are not that fun. Strange that.

Today?

TJ is feeling better. Still tired and a bit glassy eyed, but much better. 

Me?

I feel like crap and I am tired times infinity.

But now my little snugglebug is permanently glued to me and taking care of me.

 

Panic Attacks. Post Partum Mood Disorder

8 Feb

My son was around 6 weeks old when my friend panic returned with a vengeance. I was getting on so nicely and I thought I was in the clear. I really did.

Then Santa brought me the gift of more panic attacks for Christmas 2007.

I could not sit still. I could not relax.

I remember being at the dinner table in my mom’s living room on Christmas day literally willing the minutes away. I just wanted to be somewhere under a blanket without people talking to me and asking questions.

And then it happened again at New Year’s. And again. And again.

And it was spectacularly awful.

All panic attacks are spectacularly awful for people who have them. For me, I felt like I couldn’t breath. I could not physically get in a breath, no matter what I did. I would bend over in the hopes of getting that air in. My heart pounded. I wanted to ask people around me – “can you hear that pounding? Can you SEE my heart beating really fast in my chest?”

I twitched, involuntarily. It is as though my jaw and lips moved of their own accord. My muscles were always tense as though I was on guard for something. I was nauseous and had stomach issues.

One night I tried to “sneak out” of my condo with my son by telling my husband I was going to the walk in clinic due to a sore throat.  I was really going to the hospital. His friend was over and our daughter was sleeping so we left his friend to watch our daughter while we (and our son) drove to the hospital and sat outside. And waited. I was really concerned about what his friend would think of me. I still wonder.

“If anything bad happens, we are right here at the hospital”, my husband told me.

You are a fucking asshole, I thought. “You don’t know how I’m feeling”, I would scream at him.

“I know I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I know what’s happening to you, and I’m here for you”.

I really hated my husband in that moment.

We ended up going for a walk around. And then we got ice cream. And then we went home.

Two days later I went to the hospital for real. I went with my son, sure that something was terribly wrong. They ran all the tests and they were all normal.

I followed through with my doctor and it was clear to him and to his resident that I was not well. He increased my meds (I had checked with mother risk for breastfeeding compatibility) and I had an appointment to return the following week.

I was back at the ER before that next appointment. This time, after all the tests had been run, they asked if I wanted to speak to the people in psychiatric services. I’m not sure if it was the baby, my hysterical crying, or the fact that I was begging for help that tipped them off, but needless to say, I said yes.

I remember saying “please don’t take my baby, I’m really not that bad”. The thought of removing me from my child made me feel so much worse.

The nurses and doctors were AMAZING. They took me to a room in the ER that was quiet and private and let me talk and they adjusted my meds and referred me to a group run in the hospital. It was really a turning point for me. They were totally non judgemental and not frightening in any way. It was validating to me that despite the fact that I was sick, I wasn’t alone.

I realized at that point, that while I did not have post partum depression, I did have a Post Partum Mood Disorder (anxiety and panic).

Part 6 coming soon.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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