Necessary Change for Happiness

baking

Hoping to bring a little more of this FUN back in our lives!!

Quite a few weeks ago I woke up and realized something. I’m not sure how it happened really, but I was unhappy. At first I wasn’t sure exactly what was bringing me down, so I took some time to really assess what was going on. I felt like the life was slowly getting sucked out of me. It was such a gradual happening, that I guess I was even lucky that I realized it at all. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that there were a few contributing factors.

First off was my job. I work as a graphic designer in the funeral industry. I was starting to find it very stressful and emotionally draining. I would come home from work and found that I just had nothing left to give to my family. I lacked patience and was just missing that enthusiasm I once had with my kids. I really thought that I was going to work in this position for the long haul, so I have to admit that my sudden realization came as a bit of a shock to myself. My job was no longer a good fit for myself or my family.

Beyond that, our schedules were taking a huge toll on all of us. I was working long hours every other weekend and afternoon shifts. My husband works twelve hour shifts and also works weekends, both days and nights. I found that I had become a full time scheduler. I felt I was always on edge and worried that I was forgetting to book a babysitter or make sure someone was at the bus stop. I couldn’t ever sign the kids up for sport leagues that would run on the weekends. I was always declining birthday parties and unable to attend family events. I felt like our schedules had taken over and I was completely drained by them. I was never finding the time to do the things I love like running and baking, and I was becoming stressed that I didn’t have time for myself.

So… I decided to do something about it. If there is one thing I’ve learned from working in the funeral industry, it’s that life is short. I decided to actively seek freelance design work that I could do from home. In less than two months I had enough clients and contract work to meet our budget. It felt so good to take control and change my life. I quit my job. Yup… you heard me. It was hard to leave a secure job for often unpredictable freelance work.. but I gave my two weeks notice. I started making time for myself, even when it meant saying no to my kids. It’s so easy to get sucked into the mommy guilt that comes with taking time for yourself. But I have prevailed. I now run three times a week again, am in a curling league and even make it out once a week with friends for a beer or two.

I have made the huge leap towards happiness. The choices I have made, and the actions I have taken in the last few months, I hope will be the start of a new path with a positive direction. I’m really not sure when I fell off track, but I am so happy to be back to doing what is right for me. So, to all you moms out there who feel like the life has been sucked out of you… don’t wait to do something about it. We have all heard the saying, ‘lead by example’. I know that I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy. I feel so good that I had enough sense to change my life so that I could be an example for my kids, and show them how important it is to be… happy.

A Shocking Reflection…

So I’m sure many of you have noticed lately that my posts have been few and far between. We have had back to back deaths in our family that have impacted us tremendously. Every time I wanted to write something, I would open my laptop and just stare at the screen. I felt like I had nothing helpful, inspiring or motivating to write. All I wanted to do was write about how sad, stressed and consumed I was… and I just didn’t feel like anything I had to write was worth reading. For the first time in a long while, I had nothing to say.

So here I am, ready to write again. I want to jump in with both feet and write something really great that will let my readers know that I am back from my little hiatus. I thought I was going to write about some of my experiences these past few weeks and the lessons I’ve learned… but instead I think I will just share a funny story. Because, after all, I did originally start this blog as a simple hobby and stress reliever. So here we go… no stress… no pressure… just me sharing a funny story.

The other day I woke up and felt like someone had punched me in the face. I figured that maybe one of my little monsters had poked or hit me with some toy or flying weapon of some sort. I was expecting to maybe see a little bruise or scrape on my face when I dragged myself into the bathroom to get ready in the morning. Instead, I looked into the mirror to see what looked like some sort of giant sore of my cheekbone. What is that? I looked closer. Holy shit. Is that a pimple? It couldn’t be. Yes… it was the biggest zit that I had ever seen… EVER.

Being that I have never had a pimple like that before on my actual cheekbone, I was mortified. I tried everything to cover it up, only to make it angier and way worse. Yes… you heard me correctly, my giant oversized zit was angry. It was so big that it definitely could be defined as having a personality of it’s own. My husband claimed that it was indeed, ‘alive and breathing’. I would have probably just stayed in and avoided all public interaction, however being that we had funeral arrangements to go to, that was not really an option. So I carried on my day, and pretended like I didn’t have an alien lifeform growing off of my face.

The next day was even worse, seeing as I had poked and prodded at it so much the night before. This was a day that I really didn’t have anything I HAD to do. So, I dropped my daughter off at her preschool class and hurried home to try to get some housework done. I hadn’t slept well the night before and felt like a stressed out zombie, yet I decided to stick to my guns and actually accomplish something. I pulled my unwashed fuzzy hair back, threw on one of my daughter’s headbands, cranked the tunes and got to work. Figuring that I would change before I went to get my daughter, I just threw on some old scrubby clothes to clean the house in.

After a few hours of cleaning, I got distracted with a some side projects and ended up fielding a multitude of phone calls. Next thing I knew, I looked at the clock and it was 11:23. Shit. Double Shit. I am going to be late picking up my daughter. I flew out the door like a raging lunatic with just my keys and purse with me. I managed to get there only a few minutes late, and was greeted by the instructor at the door. She kind of looked at me funny. Naturally I figured she saw my giant welt on my face and wondered if I had some sort of contagious disease. I avoided eye contact and headed back to the car.

My daughter insisted that we go to the dollar store to get some halloween decorations. I was feeling so bad about being late that I just caved and entertained her request. As I walked up and down the aisles, I felt people’s eyes following me. They are probably wondering if someone burned my face with a cigarette. Okay… I may be exaggerating slightly, but seriously this thing was and still is huge. As I checked out the cashier was extremely friendly and she stared at me like I had a third eye. Well… I kind of did, but it all seemed a bit strange.

reflection_final

Okay… so here is my ridiculous headband and monster pimple.

We got home from the store, and I walked up to the front door. As my husband greeted me, he asked me where I had been. When I responded he looked at me like I was crazy. ‘What?’ Then I realized what he and everyone else was looking at. As I stared at my reflection in the glass door, my jaw hit the ground. I had been so stressed and consumed with phone calls and tasks, that when I realized I was late I ran out of the house with no concern regarding my appearance. No one was staring at my giant pimple… they were staring at the crazy woman who was wearing bright pink sweatpants, a ripped and stained turquoise undershirt and a bright coloured star designed headband pulling back my unkept hair. And while I’m sure they may have wondered about the giant sore on my face… I’m pretty sure they were more focused on whether or not I was in the right mind to be out in public at all.

This is for the mom’s out there that have ever gotten so wrapped up in their ‘stress’, that they forgot to look in the mirror before dashing out the front door. To all you moms out there who have shocked themselves with their own reflection a little too late in the day… don’t worry, you’re still a good mom. I promise not to stare at your ridiculous appearance as you walk obliviously out in public, because I’ve been there too. So there it is… a simple story to get me back to writing, sharing and listening to all the moms out there.

Be Sure to Think Through Those Little White Lies.

When you have kids, you realize quickly that ‘free time’ dissipates quickly. You no longer have time to do any of those simple things that were once just part of your daily life. There is no time to watch your favorite tv shows, randomly surf the internet for hours, or go for a leisurely walk. If you are lucky, you may be able to put on some half decent cartoon and fold some laundry. That is now the definition of ‘free time’… laundry and Dora the Explorer. And forget about ‘adult time’. If you are at all thinking that you are going to keep up with your pre-child bedtime romps… you are sadly mistaken. This is where all my dear ‘family’ readers can step away from the computer and do us all a favor and not read the rest of this post.

I regularly take advantage of my children’s innocence for just a few moments for myself. I will bring out an impossible puzzle for them to work on, just to get an extra half hour of sleep. I have told a white lie about doing some sort of boring chore, just so I can sneak out for a quick run. The thing about being a mom, is that for whatever reason, our children seem to ensure that ALL of our time is spent with them. So… every once in a while I think a little white lie or a cruel and impossible puzzle, is just what we need to keep our sanity. Up until recently, I have gotten away with my little tricks and sneaky deceptions.

We are a shift working family. So on the off chance that hubby and I are both off together, we are normally either exhausted from working a twelve hour shift or grumbling about working early the next day. Every so often we are both off, well rested and enjoying being home together. Last week, we were experiencing one of these well needed days. Naturally, all we could think of was carrying on with one another like we used to before kids…in the middle of the day, wherever and whenever we wanted. Obviously, this wasn’t an option. Unless of course, I pulled one of my little white lies that seemed to always work when I just wanted a bit of free time to myself. This wasn’t any different really. I could pull it off.

All I needed to do was put a movie on, get some good snacks, turn the shower on and lock the door. Simple. As hubby rushed to get some treats put together and ended any debate over the movie choice, I quickly disappeared just to avoid any unwanted questions. I was convinced that this was a foolproof plan. I was a genius. Why had I not thought of this before?

And about ten minutes later I found out exactly why this was not as genius of a plan as I thought it was.

‘Mom?!?!’ yelled James.

‘What do you need James?’ answered hubby.

‘I want a different movie. Where’s Mom?’

‘Check downstairs. She’s doing laundry,’ hubby replied, buying us about two more minutes.

‘Daaadddd… she’s not downstairs,’ he stated as he frantically wiggled the door knob.

‘Just go watch the movie. I am in the shower… I will be out in a minute,’ hubby pleaded.

So, we pulled off a secretive afternoon romp. Or did we? As I tried to sneak out of my bedroom with a towel wrapped around me, there standing in front of me were two little detectives.

‘Where were you mommy?’

‘I… um… I was… cleaning the closet out.’

‘But we looked for you in here and we didn’t see you. Dad was showering and you weren’t in here.’

‘Ummm… I was cleaning out the back part of the closet. The really dirty hard to get to parts. You must have just not been able to see me because I was way inside the closet.’

I know. Worst answer ever. Seriously, why did I not think this lie through a little bit better? Sometimes a little white lie never hurt anyone. Other times, we need to think them through a little bit better, so we aren’t having to have that conversation earlier than necessary. So to all you moms out there that have ever gotten a little carried away with your little white lies, just to have a little time for yourself, or your marriage…. you are not alone. I am beyond guilty… luckily my kids haven’t figured that one out yet!

A Reminder of All There Is to be Thankful For

turkey dinner

So this is clearly NOT what my Thanksgiving Dinner looks like, but one can dream.

As mothers, sometimes it’s easy to let life overwhelm us. I am guilty of getting so wrapped up in our jam packed schedules that I forget to just stop and take in all that I have to be thankful for. With Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, it’s a good reminder for all of us moms to stop and recognize how much we have to be thankful for.

It’s so easy to focus on the negativity and stress in our lives, even when there is far more positive things happening. Why is that? I think sometimes moms become so concerned about everything being ‘perfect’, that they end up using their energy thinking and worrying about everything that is not going as planned. And seriously, I don’t know any mom who has any extra energy to be wasting. When we focus on everything that we are not happy about, we overlook all the amazing things that make life worth living.

There are many moms out there that are experiencing unthinkable hardships, and dealing with very difficult circumstances. And I recognize that there are many situations that may seem impossible to feel thankful for much of anything. For most of us, we are lucky that this is not the case. When I think of some of the families this Thanksgiving that may feel like they have little to be thankful for, I remind myself how lucky I am.

When I stress about schedules and loads of laundry waiting to be washed, I remind myself how blessed I am to have such petty worries. When I am consumed with frustration and lacking in patience, I stop to listen to those amazing belly laughs and watch those precious moments that only happen once. I wish I never felt stressed or frustrated, but the fact of the matter is that it comes with the territory. It’s being able to take a step back and still be thankful for our blessings despite all of life’s ups and downs.

To all the moms who’ve ever got so wrapped up in life, they’ve forgotten to recognize all they have to be thankful, you’re not alone. This Thanksgiving I will forget about the schedules and all the challenges put in my way. Instead, I will focus on those great smiles on my kids faces and amazing laughs. I will embrace life’s little moments that we often pass by in all the busyness of the day. I will acknowledge all the wonderful love and support I have in my life.  I will be thankful for all of my blessings. I will be a mom who is thankful for my life, and everyone in it. Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

Am I just another Generation Y Mommy Whiner?

mommy whinerI recently had someone call me a, ‘Generation Y Whiner’, when responding to one of my articles. I am a firm believer that if you post ANYTHING on the internet you need to be completely prepared for ridicule and negative reactions, and so I certainly don’t take anything too personal. Furthermore, some of the most negative reactions I’ve had helped me write some of my best pieces yet. So, I’m not upset at the whole ‘name calling’ response in the slightest. To be honest, I was kind of excited to hear that anyone assumed I was a Generation Y’er to begin with. Especially after someone said to me this month, ‘Oh… I didn’t know you were that young!’ Since I am born slightly after the Generation Y 1980 starting point, I will take any ‘assumptions’ I can get.

Alright, so on with the topic of debate. Am I really just a big whiner? Are mother’s in this generation just whiny and spoiled with a side of entitlement? My article, ‘No one tells you being a mom is going to be this hard’, is what sparked the comment of me being nothing more than a whiner. I guess we’re all supposed to pretend that sleep deprivation and blood curdling crying is AWESOME. Oh, and that we all bond immediately with our bundle of crying, pooping and spitting up bundle of joy.

With that being said, why is it that being honest about our feelings and struggles deserves any sort of name calling at all? I think there are thousands of moms out there that are not only struggling with motherhood, but perhaps are afraid to voice their feelings because they may be called ‘whiners’ or some other guilt crushing name. It’s bad enough we are bestowed with guilt at childbirth, now we have to be afraid to have a voice with fear of being labelled. No wonder so few mothers actually show up at the support groups, they’re probably worried the mother next to them has a bunch of name tags with ‘whiner’ written on them ready to slap them on the back with it. Realistically, most mothers just need a HUGE pat on the back, and nothing else.

And this whole thing about generations is ridiculous. All the past generations of mothers have had their own struggles and demanding responsibilities, just as GenY mothers have. The difference isn’t that any GenY mothers think we have it harder or complain more. The difference is that this generation of mothers, and of women have a voice. We want to be heard. Mothers in this day and age voice our opinion for change. I am not a complainer or a whiner. I am an advocate for honesty amongst mothers. I am a supporter of all moms despite what their challenges might be. I am a voice and I am lucky enough to have a platform to share it. Do we all really think that the mother’s from the baby boomers era and earlier were that different? They too had struggles and thought motherhood was hard. Back then it wasn’t socially acceptable to publicly announce that, ‘Motherhood is hard.’ But guess what? Today it is.

This is my post for any mother who is feeling like she can’t voice her feelings without being called a name or thought of in a negative way. Let’s not move backwards because of a few name callers. There will always be those negative forces that intimidate us all, but today I will tell you that I refuse to question who I am and what I believe. I believe motherhood is hard, and that we should be honest and support one another. And if that means that I am a ‘whiner’, than I will happily wear that name tag, along with something that tells everyone that I am indeed a Generation Y’er (and yes… despite the wrinkles I am that young!).

photo credit: charamelody via photopin cc

Returning to work after doing the whole ‘MOMMY THING’

job-interview-momI have written articles about my struggles when I was a stay at home mom. I have also expressed the chaos that has taken over since I started working outside of the home. What I’ve failed to discuss was how hard it was to transition back into the career world. Now, this is going back a few years ago, but I thought I would share my experience and thoughts with all the moms out there who have struggled to get back into the workforce and also for those who are about to embark on this new challenge. The biggest advice I can give is to NEVER apologize or make excuses for the time you spent at home caring for your family.

After my youngest was born, I decided that I would stay home for 1-2 years while I cared for our two children. When I was ready to go back to work, I updated my resume and sent it off to a bunch of contacts I had within the industry. Within a few weeks I had an interview lined up, and I was ecstatic. I felt confident, talented and ready to take on any challenge that was put in front of me. And then… I experienced my first post baby job interview.

‘So I notice here that you’ve just been doing freelance for the past few years?’ asked the man interviewing me, while his feet sat on the desk in front of him.

‘Yes. I have a portfolio of the work I’ve done recently, including the companies that I’ve done both contract and freelance work for,’ I respond as confidently as I can manage. I reach for my portfolio.

‘So, were you at home doing that whole mommy thing or something?’ he snarked back at me.

I had no idea what to say. Suddenly my confidence had dissipated and I was lost for words. I fumbled to pull my portfolio out while I searched for the right response. I wasn’t sure what the right response was. I felt like I needed to apologize for the short lapse of time I didn’t have a so-called job title. Looking back, I wish I had been angry. If I could go back in time, I would have responded as such,

‘Yes, I am a mother. I have been caring for my children in a full time capacity for the past year and a half. I manage the schedules of four people, multi-task with my eyes shut, and balance a budget that is tighter than any ship you’ve ever sailed. I run my household successfully and I make it look easy. I believe the available position at this firm would give me the perfect opportunity to show how I could accomplish all the tasks at hand, while making it look easy.’

How I wish I would have had that response in my back pocket. The fact of the matter was that I just wasn’t ready to be defending my stay at home mom status, or ‘mommy thing’  as that arrogant prick put it. Oh yes… I almost forgot, I totally would have thrown in a little name calling at the end of my speech too, just for dramatic effect.

I did respond to the question that day. I made excuses. I emphasized how much design work I had been doing while I was at home. I feel like I probably ended up apologizing for being a mother. I assured them that I was ready to do the job. I left that day feeling like I had left that confident and talented women behind.  I ended up not getting the position, and it was the best decision that was ever made for me.

I learned something really important that day, to never apologize for being a mother. I have had many job offers since that day, and I’ve gone into each interview ready to give my awesome response to the question, ‘Were you busy doing the whole mommy thing or something?’ Naturally, I’ve never been asked anything like that ever again. So to all the moms out there ready to get back into the workforce, be ready for the mommy question and even more prepared to say, ‘you’re damn right I was doing the whole mommy thing!’

They Fail to Mention the ‘Annoying Toys’ in the Parenting Handbook.

When I was pregnant I read ALL the books about the do’s and don’ts and what to expect through nine months of wonderful bliss. You would have thought that after I realized how deceiving and downright wrong these books were, I would never pick up another ‘advice’ book again. And yet I have read many books cover to cover about how to be the best parent I can possibly be. Hmm… I’m sure you can already see where this post is going. In case you have yet to pick up your first ‘self help’ parenting scripture, I am going to do you a favor and just tell you to pass that aisle all together.

After reading one of these great books, and a few motivating websites, I decided I was going to sport a brand new attitude. I wasn’t going to yell or even raise my voice the slightest. I was going to have infinite amounts of patience. I was going to be the best mother I could possibly be, and nothing was going to stop me. And then my day started. As my three and five year olds stampeded into my bedroom to wake me at 6:24 am, all hell broke loose.

‘I’m hungry. Can I have breakfast?’

‘No… go back to bed.’

‘I want to shower. Can you turn on the shower? Can we shower together?’

‘No… and no… go back to bed.’

‘You have bad breath. Like really bad mom. You smell like a stinky monkey.’

‘That’s it… everyone out of bed. Shower then breakfast. No more talking.’

I still totally had control of the morning. I got everyone showered and ready for school, and then sat down to have my tea. This is one thing that is non-negotiable in the morning… I need five minutes to drink my tea and have a bowl of cereal. I cannot function without food and caffeine.

‘Mommmm!! James is sitting on my favourite couch!’

‘Owwww!!! Jocelyn bit me!!!!’

Okay, seriously… where is the so-called expert that wrote the ‘know it all’ parenting handbook now. Deep breaths. Serenity now. I send them each to their rooms to think about their behaviour while I make lunches and try to slurp back my tea. Forget about breakfast. Where’s that chapter in the parenting handbook? Moms don’t get to eat breakfast in the morning. EVER. I am determined to stay calm and have a ‘normal’ morning routine.

As I try to keep my ‘zen’ attitude about everything, I find myself grinding my teeth extremely tight and not really being able to pinpoint what is bothering me so much. The kids aren’t fighting. The lunches are finally packed. What is it that has me ready to go off the deep end? Oh yes… it’s the annoying noise that is bellowing down the hallway. What noise am I referring to? It is the sound of every annoying toy that was ever purchased by friends and family. I use the terms ‘friend’ and ‘family’ lightly, because I am pretty sure whoever purchased these satanic toys may in fact be working with the ‘so-called’ parenting experts to sell more of their amazing books on being a ‘calm’ parent.

So as the ‘barking puppy’ continued to make high pitched yelping noises, the piano played repetitious renditions of awful musical ballads and the pinball machine loudly chorused the most obnoxious jingle in history… I naturally lost my patience. It wasn’t just the noise though. No. The last straw was when I went into to see if they were ready for school, only to find them with their clothes off, a yogurt drink spilt and crust from their raisin toast thrown all over the hallway. It wasn’t until that moment did I totally lose my ‘zen’.

No one ever writes chapters or articles on ‘how to survive annoying sounding toys… while pulling off supermom’. Because, after all, any mother who listens to toys like that all day long, is definitely a supermom. So, this is my chapter. This is my article. I am not a parenting expert, and I don’t have any degree in… anything really. But I am a mother and an expert at taking out batteries of those annoying toys that will put you over the edge. This is my chapter for all the moms out there who lost their ‘mommy zen’ today, and will inevitably lose it again in the near future.

Is Lazy Parenting Irreversible?

‘You can’t make me!’

‘No. You’re not the boss of me.’

‘I’m not coming inside.’

‘You are the meanest ever’

‘I’m doing what I want anyways’

Lately, our five year old has been testing the boundaries, and we learned the hard way what happens when you give a child an inch. James honestly thinks he is in charge around here right now. After some serious discussions, hubby and I realized that we had become extremely lax with discipline while we were both working full time hours over the summer.

I will be completely honest… I was just exhausted. I was tired and didn’t want to have to be the ‘bad guy’ after working all day. I would try to make the effort at home, but when we were out at the park, with the neighbours, out for dinner or away on vacation, I thought that being lenient was the best thing for all of us. I was wrong. And now, I am seriously paying for it the hard way.

The other night I decided I was putting my foot down. I always thought that I wouldn’t have to deal with rebellious children until I hit the teenage years. How wrong I was. I blame myself for being such a lazy parent. I guess I just unwittingly took a break from one of the most important parts of parenting… discipline.

James totally lost his shit the other night when Jocelyn told him that the ‘one eyed monster’ was going to eat him. Instead of telling his three year old sister to shut it, he decided to scratch her back. When I separated the two brawling banshees, James went into meltdown mode and I decided that the lack of respect needed to be addressed. I put him to bed an hour early without bedtime snack.

He was hysterical. I took away his bike for the next day. I wanted to give in… but I didn’t. I felt like screaming… but I refrained. I was calm and stuck to my discipline. He told me how mean I was. He questioned if I loved him. He informed me how unfair this all way. It was unfair. Had I not been lazy about discipline three months ago… this wouldn’t be happening. Regardless, it needed to happen. We had to start somewhere.

I went to bed feeling like I had accomplished something. I don’t know what really. I gave him a kiss before I went to sleep, and hoped that this emotionally draining night had actually done him some good. In the morning, we started all over again with timeouts and disciplinary action. I felt like I had failed as a mother. Maybe my few months of lazy parenting was irreversible.

Tonight bedtime routine went awesome. There was no yelling, hitting or arguing. Everyone listened, went to bed and had plenty of hugs and kisses to give out. Tonight gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going, to continue disciplining despite wanting to quit and just take the easier route. I guess it will just take time before I have reinstated the important boundaries that once existed. I’m confident it will be well worth it in the long run, but right now it is just so hard. This is for all the moms who have ever felt like they accidentally became a lazy parent. To all the mothers that are trying to reinforce some sort of discipline in their home… you’re doing a great job, and it will get easier.

 

‘It’s no fair. I don’t get to do ANYTHING!’

sulking child

photo credit: theloushe via photopin cc

The phrase, ‘I don’t get to do anything!’ makes my blood boil. My kids seem to throw this one around a lot lately. I’m not exactly sure what gets under my skin more, the fact that they say it or they actually have no idea how blessed they are.

Today my son got off the bus and I knew from his attitude that we were all in for a long night. If you are wondering what a five year old’s ‘attitude’ entails, it’s not pretty. There is a lot of stone kicking and backpack whipping on the short walk from the bus stop.

I always know we are in trouble when the following occurs: a) one word answers are yelled b) ‘I don’t know’ is the best alternative to yelling one word answers c) there are other children on the street that have clearly been partaking in ‘fun’ long before his bus arrives d) the entire population gets to continue having fun while we have to come inside for dinner.

We are a shift working family so our schedules are difficult to say the least. The one thing I am very adamant about is eating dinner together. So today when James got off the bus, it was imperative that he came inside so we could have a quick bite to eat before hubby went off to work. You would have thought that I was indeed Satan himself. Seriously, one minute I’m trying to have a nice family dinner together, and the next minute my kids are picturing me with a pitchfork and horns… oh yes and engulfed in flames.

Just in case I was the slightest bit confused with the disgusted look on James’s face, or the hysterical sob fest he was partaking in, he made his feelings known when he belted out, ‘It’s no fair. I don’t get to do ANYTHING!’

If you are wondering how I didn’t lose my shit… wonder no more. I totally flipped my lid and demanded answers from my oblivious son,

‘Is having dinner to eat unfair?’

‘Is riding your bike doing nothing?’

‘Did you not get to go camping ALL summer long?’

‘What about gymnastics and swimming… are you sure you don’t get to do ANYTHING?’

Okay, so maybe I was a bit dramatic, but I can’t help but feel like I had done something wrong for my kids to have this sort of attitude. Maybe my guilt about not having a ‘typical’ schedule has made me lax when it comes to discipline. I do feel bad that the kids miss birthday parties on the weekends and can’t do certain activities because we just can’t manage the scheduling. Has my guilt about having an atypical schedule, allowed my kids to get away with an ‘ungrateful’ attitude?

Today I had to put my foot down. My kids may have looked at me like I was a green eyed monster, especially after I threatened to ‘garbage bag’ everything left on their floors tonight, but it needed to be done. I don’t think they understand yet what it means to be ‘grateful’, but now I know how important it is to discipline ungrateful behaviour. To all the moms who have let their kids get away with bratty attitudes… I totally get it. And if you lose it just a little bit, and ask a few too many rhetorical questions… I get that too.

Supermoms Who Survive the Flu Season

I used to brag all the time how ‘my’ kids never got sick. There was a whole year that passed a while back where neither of our kids even had a case of the sniffles. I honestly was ignorant enough to think that I was completely responsible for this run of shear luck. These days I’m happy if we go a whole month without someone being sick. And if I brag… it’s normally more along the lines of, ‘you’ll never believe the household plague I survived’.

sick kid

This is James on Christmas morning with a 103 fever. He said, ‘Mom, sorry I’m sick on Christmas.’

As moms, we go through it all when our kids get sick. We wipe fluorescent coloured boogies from noses, sleeves, fingers and sometimes ourselves. We catch vomit in our hands when our child unexpectedly throws up in the restaurant. We make mad dashes to the grocery store bathroom when our child says they might have a ‘bit’ of diarrhea. No one ever has a ‘bit’ of diarrhea.. We clean carpets and change sheets after those long nights when we learn to never say, ‘there can’t possibly be anything left in them’. We wait hours upon hours at the walk-in clinic. I can’t believe that I ever was dense enough to brag to any mother who has gone through all of that…. that my kids never get sick. Let’s be clear here, any mom who survives the cold and flu season, after countless rounds of sickness, is by far the one who deserves bragging rights.

Last year felt like an impossible year for us. It seemed like when James started school, the germs started to set up camp at our house. Every single week someone was sick. Being that I was working part time, I would spend all night up with at least one of the kids, and then turn around and go into work on little to no sleep. And just when I thought we had made it through and survived yet another cold… I would end up sick. It was like the universe was giving me a sick cruel gift. I was able to stay healthy and on top of my game just long enough to nurse everyone… and I do mean everyone (husband included) back to health, only to start with that too familiar sore throat.

We all know that moms don’t get sick days. So the least we can do is cut each other some slack when it comes to the subject of our children being sick. I remember being asked on more than one occasion if I kept hand sanitizer with me in my purse. Or better yet, I was asked if I washed their hands when they got home from school. It was like it was assumed that my kids were getting sick because I wasn’t up and up on basic hygiene. I remember being asked if I made sure they got enough sleep and if they ate lots of fruits and vegetables. I often wanted to respond with, ‘No, I let them stay up all night long eating marshmallows and gummi bears… do you think that’s why they’re sick all the time?’ And I can’t even get too annoyed at any of this, because before last year, I assumed I was some type of supermom that protected my kids from getting sick. Now I know better. I know that despite taking vitamins every day, washing hands, carrying hand sanitizer, getting enough sleep and eating properly… my kids still get sick.

I will never forget the time we all went out for dinner and James looked at me with eyes the size of saucers and said, ‘I’m going to throw – ‘ Yup. He threw up alright. And I cupped my hands and caught it making sure it didn’t go all over the table and the floor. I will always remember the moment when Jocelyn put her hand on her butt and scurried as fast as she could to the bathroom at the grocery store screaming, ‘I have to poo… really, REALLY bad.’ Both of these times I had people ask me why I would take my sick kids out in public in the first place. Okay, seriously? Obviously no one in their right mind would take their flu stricken child out for cheeseburgers or to the market for some produce, if they KNEW they were sick.

I used to think I deserved bragging right because my kids were never sick. I thought I was super mom because I never had to drag my children out to the clinic or experience spontaneous outbursts of the stomach flu in public. But guess what? Now I know who gets to wear the cape. It’s the moms who tirelessly wipe boogery noses and soothe sore throats. It’s the moms who wait those ridiculous hours at the clinic to have a doctor look at their sick child. It’s the mothers who rush to bathrooms and deal with spontaneous vomit both in their homes and in public. To all the moms out there already dealing with this year’s cold and flu season… put on that supermom cape, because you deserve it.