Thursday, July 26, 2012

Underachieving moms of the world: Unite!!

When I was pregnant with Bebe I FREAKED out, and found myself on an "expecting club" run by iVillage, where I met other moms due the same time as I was. We gabbed and groaned about pregnancy pains and strange cravings, and delighted in first kicks and hiccups in utero. I was really, really glad to be "surrounded" by other women experiencing what I was.

Eight years later, there are still a handful of us (about 30) who still keep in touch. I also joined a similar group (but not through iVillage) when I was pregnant with Dois, and I have since joined a few messageboards related to specific parenting interests of my own (cloth diapering, car seat safety, etc.). What I'm trying to say, is I'm out there in the interwebz quite often, chatting it up with other moms.

But eight years later it still amazes me how one-upmanship reigns supreme. "My son's a black belt." "Oh yeah? Well MY daughter is joining the boys' football team." "Well, my child just won the fourth grade spelling bee (in second grade)."  Bragging on occasion I tolerate, but this sort of stuff makes me roll my eyes.

And when the kids are too little to compare much about THEIR accomplishments, then the focus is entirely on mom. "Well, we babywear, and my child has only had organic clothes touching him, and I spray essential lavender oils in his room nightly so he sleeps for fifteen hours." "All our babyfood is homemade, and we don't believe in pacifiers, circumcision, or letting Uncle Al hold the baby."

God forbid a person bring up a concern about their child. It's actually humorous. A few months ago I posted about how DD was going through a whining phase. She still is, but we're managing... a few months ago it was TERRIBLE. Anyway, so I posted asking for help on getting her to stop. And the responses? "Ask her to stop." (Yeah, soooo helpful. Why didn't I think of that? Let me go do that now.) "We run a tight ship in our house. That would never be tolerated." (Gee, thanks, now could you give me some tips?) There were like 18 responses and only 2 were helpful!

I've brought up concerns about Dois and his behavior at times, too, only to be informed that their children NEVER behaved in such a manner. And if they did, a simple "no" would solve all the world's problems.

I try my best to be a good mom. But I'm a works-all-day-long-and-sends-my-kids-to-daycare mom. And I'm an I-need-to-eat-dinner-for-five-minutes-in-peace mom who will gladly plunk my kids in front of the TV just so I can.  I'm a chore-list-is-too-long-for-me-to-do-much-during-the-week mom. I'm an I-try-my-best-but-not-living-up-to-my-full-potential mom.

Every now and then on a weeknight, I will do something cool with the kids like time at the park or art. But most of the time, it's just about survival mode. Do what I have to do to get the night over with.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a lot of faults when it comes to being a parent. I wish others would, too!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Follow your heart"

That's the lovely piece of advice that people are always giving me. It sounds all right and good, but sometimes I loathe that phrase.

My heart is very confused right now. :/

Ten months ago, D and I no longer liked our childcare situation for Dois. So we set out to find a new daycare arrangement. We phone interviewed over 20 places, we visited a handful, and we were discouraged out of our minds because we didn't find any that felt "right." And then, lo and behold, the heavens opened, and we visited a daycare where the angels sang! Okay, they didn't sing, but we walked out of the daycare and said, "We love it!" Our hearts were screaming, "Yes! This is the place!" We enrolled Dois immediately.

Fast-forward to eight months later, and my heart is now saying, "No, this is not right. You need to find somewhere else for him." Wait, what?!

Let me tell you...

Dois is almost 20 months old. This daycare is amazing and wonderful in that it's small (2 adults, 6 kids), it's clean, it's organized, it's loving (as in, it's like having 2 bonus grandmas), it's Christian. So what's the deal? Well, their discipline style is not one that we agree with. We had no idea going in that this is how it would be. He's almost 20 months old and they're putting him in time out multiple times per day. He's "testing boundaries" and disobeying rules (some which are really, really petty rules).

What upset me today, though, is when I went to talk to them. I prayed to the Holy Spirit en route to open my mind and my heart and help me to speak my concerns, and help them to be open to what I had to say. Unfortunately, when I talked to them, everything they said only dug their hole deeper. They said he's so cute that they don't put him in time out as often as they should. Some of their rules (that I had NO IDEA about until today) include "no crying outside" (my guess is the neighbors complain) and "no touching the walls" (because touching the walls makes them dirty). And he's being given time-out for not complying with such rules when told to.


So now we need to resume our search, it seems. And I am dreading it. And doubting we'll find someone who will measure up.

I did a ton of calculations tonight, and we could get by with me as a SAHM if D just kept working his 2 jobs. We'd even be able to bank some money still... just not as much as we are now. But I know he won't go for it.

This sucks.

Sometimes God places things where we need to see them...

After I wrote my last post, I was still feeling the struggle I feel in my heart regarding NFP. It's very... confusing. I feel we're making the right choices, but at the same time, our perspectives are so different.

Anyway, as I closed my entry, I went to my Google Reader and the first post was linked to this post. The first picture just says it all:

D and I have been married for almost 9 years now. Yet, I'm not sure I'd define our marriage as strong. It's survived, but like my parenting, it seems as if our relationship is all about flying by the seat of our pants. We get by. We love each other. But "strong"? I'm not sure...

I just felt very comforted knowing that I'm not alone in being on board with NFP but yet still struggling at the same time.

Will 1+1=2 or 3??

When D and I first got married, we agreed that we wanted three children. We are both the middle children of three, so three just seemed "right" to us. Four would mean a bigger car, haha. Three you can still survive in a sedan. (We did!)

Then Bebe arrived 9.5 months after we were married. SURPRISE! And she was very high needs. Still is. D said NEVER AGAIN. People would say, "When are you going to have another?" and he would say, "When it's been long enough to forget." Me, I was crazy. When Bebe turned one I felt ready for another, even though I knew the timing wasn't right. It took years (obviously) for D to come around...

When we had Dois, we couldn't believe how EASY he was as a baby. He's still pretty mellow now, too.

So, two down, one to go... right?

Or maybe not.

I don't feel like our family is complete yet. As for D, I can't quite figure out what's going on with him. A few months ago we started practicing NFP. We never liked the idea of using artificial birth control, but the fear of having another child when we weren't ready was just too strong. We're currently avoiding pregnancy, but the whole point of NFP is that you're "open to life." So I felt like we were on the right path... until D made a comment the other day about how having another child right now would be "disastrous." It made me really mad, and I told him that. I told him having another child wasn't fatal, it wasn't something that would ruin our lives.... But his phrasing made me wonder if we're not on the same page entirely. Then, two nights ago, during another conversation, I can't even remember what I said but instantly he stonewalled and got upset, saying, "Why don't you just come out and say it?! You want another baby! All of this is because so-and-so is pregnant and just bought a house and you want those things!" My jaw dropped. Because our conversation was just simple, nothing-too-serious talking... and that felt like it came out of left field.

Last night I was going through pictures and found the most adorable video of Bebe and Dois together from a year ago. He's sitting on her lap and trying to kiss her and babbling and there's lots of laughing and sweetness involved. I left the video up on the computer to show her when she got home with D (I knew she'd love it), and as she was watching it she started saying, "Mommy, I want you to have another baby! Another boy baby! I want you to have another baby!" and then all the sudden I hear cabinets slamming and dishes being roughly handled in the background...

I know we get overwhelmed as parents. I know that our schedule and lifestyle sucks at the moment and it feels like we'll never catch a break. I know we're not where we wanted to be at this point. But a baby wouldn't kill us, either.

People marveled at my patience when it came to having baby #2. I wanted Dois so badly for so long, but I waited for D to get on board. I'll do it again this time, too. I just hope it doesn't take so long... I refuse to have one in 12th grade, one in 6th grade, and one in K someday....

(Edited to add: Yes, we have discussed D's fears and reasons for wanting to postpone a pregnancy at this time. While some things I agree with, others I don't. So I pray for him that his eyes will be opened just a little bit more.)

Monday, July 23, 2012


I always have a full plate. I'm always stressed. I'm always overwhelmed. I'm TRYING to find more of a balance to my life, and in the past week, I really felt like things were turning around. I felt like a better, stronger, more confident parent. I felt like I was more attentive at work. My faith felt stronger and I just felt more driven every day.

And then I don't know what happened, but yesterday it all fell apart. I could feel the agitation and stress mounting, and Bebe was engaging in her normal Sunday whinefest (I have tried EVERYTHING to avoid this, but every. single. Sunday. she whines, complains, etc. It's our only whole day as a family and she's always complaining and whining). And, fed up with it all, for the umpteenth week in a row, I said something that I shouldn't have said. I didn't say it directly to her, but I said it nonetheless, and she heard it.

The second I heard her small voice pipe up from her room, "I heard that." I was crushed. I was crushed because I knew that SHE was crushed. And in that moment, I felt like such a complete and abysmal failure. (I am tearing up just writing this.) I feel like I am going to never be the kind of parent I want to be. I can puff my chest out and tell you I feel proud of my "whatever works" method, but what I don't tell you enough is that I fall short a lot. It's not about being GOOD ENOUGH, sometimes it's just about being GOOD. I apologized to her, I let her know that I was genuinely sorry, and our day went on... but the fact of the matter is, I should've never said what I did. I should've never THOUGHT what I did.

I'm so disappointed in myself. But Sundays have become awful, and I feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel--they're never going to get better. We follow the same pattern every week, it seems. We get up and go to Mass. At Mass Dois fusses and Bebe is always trying to play with him (which pisses him off so he screeches), D and I spend most of Mass telling her to calm down and pay attention, or stand up straight, or sit right, or follow along, as we're handing crackers, crayons, tissues, WHATEVER to Dois to keep him occupied... We come home for lunch... and it's during this time that the whining kicks in full-force. She's bored. She wants a playdate. She doesn't want to do whatever we have planned (we always plan something for Sunday afternoon/night--a trip to a museum, the beach, etc.). She drags her feet and refuses to join us for whatever, protesting nonstop, etc. Then D gets frustrated and I get upset and we all wind up fighting... And then miraculously everything is resolved because we drag Bebe along and she always winds up enjoying what we're doing.

I just want a happy family--I want Sundays to be enjoyable and to SKIP those blow-ups. The thing is, I don't know how....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thoughts and ponderings

I'm not sure how many readers I have, but I thought I'd post this for anyone who cares. Last night I had quite the in-depth talk with The Man. (No, not D, the bigger man LOL) I'm feeling this strong internal conflict--it's like one part of me is eager to strengthen my online presence via FB, Twitter, this blog, etc. while the other half of me is really really eager to get "back to basics" and try to narrow my field of vision to the people and things around me. It was a really good, really fruitful prayer session. I don't feel like I made any concrete decisions, but until I do, I think I'm going to just take a break... from here and from Twitter at least. It might be a few days, or a few weeks, I don't know. But I told myself that if I'm going to continue here, there, and everywhere, then I'm going to have a purpose. And I'm not sure what that purpose is just yet. To be continued....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hey, jealousy....

Yesterday I got to experience the joy of grade-school girl drama. It was quite amusing, but also sent alarms screaming through my head, "I'm not ready for this!!"

Bebe's friend who lives behind us came over yesterday. She's a year older. We were planning a trip to the swimming pool, so we asked her to join us and her parents said yes. So Bebe got ready and D took Bebe and her friend to the pool. Dois and I were going to follow when he woke up from his nap.

A half an hour later, Dois and I arrive at the pool to see the girls playing happily together and D swimming around just keeping an eye on them. Well, I have no idea what happened at that point, but 5 minutes later Bebe said her friend wasn't speaking to her. Bebe would swim over to her and the friend would swim away. At one point the girl went to the jacuzzi and Bebe followed. In such a small space the girl just REFUSED to talk to her. What the heck? I admit, after 10 minutes of listening to Bebe be upset because her friend was ignoring her, watching her friend swim away whenever she got close, etc. I decided to pipe up and say, "Hey, do you want to go home?" I think I stunned the friend. I asked her if she wanted to go home because she didn't want to play with Bebe. She tried to make excuses and say that when she comes to the pool with friends they don't usually play together, etc. but then she said the reason why was because she felt like Bebe was more interested in playing with Dois. (Which she was, for like a minute, then she tried to go back to her friend...)

Whooo-boy. Friend is 9 years old and mom is expecting a baby very soon. My guess is that she's starting to wonder if, like happened yesterday, when the baby shows up, she'll be forgotten. By the time Dois and I were ready to leave the pool, she had come around again and was talking/playing with us a little more. I went to take Dois home, and D promised they'd be leaving "in 10 minutes." FORTY minutes later they came home. He said once Dois and I left, the girls went back to playing like before and they were having so much fun he didn't want to bring them home.

Friday, July 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (work edition)

 A few weeks ago I was approached at work and asked if I'd be willing to "help the team out" by taking on a task that I had no experience with, using a program I'd never used before. This "7 quick takes" is dedicated to what I learned in the process.

Being a perfectionist in my normal position (proofreader) is a good thing. Being a perfectionist with this new task (writing) is not. I would write two sentences, read them, delete them, write two or three more, be satisfied, come back later and delete them, lather, rinse, repeat.

I really enjoyed working with a new program. I've never used InDesign before. I have been rather bored with just reading constantly (I've been at this position for 5+ years now). I felt like working in a new format really made things interesting for me.

I gained a sense of perspective that I desperately needed. I've been too judgmental of our writers. Now that I have experienced the process, I can see how easy it is for something to get botched.

I hate asking for help. Every time I needed to ask for help or had a question about something, I felt bad because I was "bothering" someone else and interrupting their work. I think this is also why I'm bad at delegating work, because I feel like everyone has something more important to do.

As much as I enjoy being a writer, I don't want it to become a full-time job. It actually gave me a renewed appreciation of my proofreading job.

I want to take a class or two in Adobe programs. I already know Photoshop pretty well, but I think it would be cool to learn about the other programs Adobe provides. Besides InDesign, any recommendations?

I can't wait to see what I wrote in print!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

To thine own self be true...

That Shakespeare guy had a good point.

It's been another few weeks since I last posted. I've got a lot on my mind lately, and I'm trying to come up with a "master plan" for this blog. So if you don't mind hanging in there, I promise I'll be back soon.