The Potty Fights

james_potty

Sometimes you just need a helmet to get you through potty training.

I remember when my son started potty training. I was bound and determined that he was going to be fully trained at two years old. At the time, I thought I wanted him to be trained so that I could do away with the diapers, wipes and disgusting clean ups. Looking back I realize that I had another objective. I wanted to be able to proudly tell other moms that my son was only two and fully potty trained. What is wrong with me? Why would this be one of my objectives? Could it be that I was just trying to keep up with the competition?

Seriously, now we compete with one another when it comes to our child’s poop. This is a whole other level of absurdity. And I have a hard time believing that I am the only one that has been sucked into the competitive sport of potty training. When you give birth you get asked almost immediately, ‘Are you breastfeeding?’ When your child turns two, you get drilled with the dreaded ‘Are they potty trained yet?’ question.

So there I was thinking that I would use my ‘oh so amazing’ mommy skills  to persuade my son to poop on the potty. The prize basket failed. The bribery system ended in disaster. The ‘sit and wait’ plan was just ridiculous. My son was just not ready to be potty trained. He was too busy crapping all over the rest of the house. And then of course there was the moment of truth when he finally knew he had to go… and went outside to dump behind a bush.

How could I face all the other moms? My son was now 2.5 and not trained. I stressed about it. I got angry and frustrated and then I came to the realization that my son felt the same way too. How did I get sucked into the potty fights? I get that as mothers we are proud to tell everyone about our child’s first steps, their early words and other monumental milestones. But when it comes to potty training, save that pride for your child… they are the ones that benefit the most from it.

When I stopped stressing about potty training everything seemed go so much smoother. We eventually got my son to use that annoying talking and singing potty, because we put a tent over it. Yes..you heard me right, my 2.5 year old wanted privacy and more importantly no pressure. I honestly don’t think that the eventual success of the potty training had anything to do with our parenting skills at all. The more relevant fact was probably that it was too cold to use the trees in the backyard as urinals and the bushes as dumping grounds.

Next time you are feeling like you are upon the next big ‘bragging trophy’ amongst moms… know that its never ending. If you choose to compete you will eventually make the mistake of putting unnecessary pressure and stress on your child. I no longer compete with other moms because it doesn’t help me or the other parents, and it certainly doesn’t teach our children the right message either. So next time you talk ‘potty’ with another mom, share your struggles instead of boasting your success. Tell another mom that bears crap in the woods, and sometimes kids do too.

Listen to your kids… sometimes.

mistakes_madeSo awhile back my son informed me that he had put a rock in his ear. For five months the doctors argued that there was no rock present. Eventually the truth came out… literally. That large pebble he managed to fit into his ear canal finally made its way out. Lesson learned… listen to you kids.

So I’ve been trying to listen to my children and really take into consideration what they are saying. Honestly, it’s amazing. If my son says he knows where something is… he does. If he says he can do something… he can. It’s great. He hasn’t mastered the art of lying yet, so it seems like what he says is always refreshingly true.

So this past weekend we were all riding to the park when we came upon a slight downhill part of the trail. My son rides very confidently and never has any issue on this part of the trail, but this is my daughter’s first time riding the whole way. I insist that everyone stops before we start the downhill portion. I catch up to them while pulling an awkward wagon full of snacks, coats, trucks and a football (seriously I thought as they got older you needed less stuff!?!). Our conversation plays out as follows:

ME: ‘Jocelyn, maybe you should walk your bike.’

JOCELYN: ‘I’m a big girl. I can do it. I can ride like James.’

ME: ‘Are you sure you know how to use the brakes?’

JOCELYN: ‘Yes. See… I can do it.’ (she shows me how to put the brakes on)

ME: ‘Okay… but put your brakes on when you get to the bottom of the hill.’

JOCELYN : ‘I will. Let’s go James.’

And off they go. James brakes the whole way down. Jocelyn however flies at the speed of light with sparks flying up behind her tires. Oh no. She’s not braking. Even worse… if she flies through the bush far enough there is a small creek ahead. ‘BRAKE JOCELYN! BRAKE!!’ I run after her with the ridiculous wagon banging against my heels as I try to catch up to them. She jumps off and her bike goes flying into the bush. My son says, ‘Mom, I don’t think she knows how to brake.’

I reach her in a matter of seconds. She gets up and says, ‘Did you see that? I jumped off just like you taught me.’ We’ve always told the kids that if they are in trouble while tobogganing its very important that they ‘jump off’ before they hit anything. With my heart still pounding I demand, ‘I thought you knew how to brake?’ Her response, ‘I do know how to brake… just not when I’m going down a hill.’

So, I had beaten myself up because I hadn’t listened to my son when he told me about the rock in his ear. Now, I will criticize my own parenting decisions for listening to my daughter about her riding abilities. The fact is, I don’t know what I’m doing… I’m still trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. Sometimes I’m right and often I get it wrong. It’s okay to make mistakes but if we beat ourselves up about it, we’ll miss out on some of the best moments with our kids. I’m so relieved that my daughter didn’t go flying through the bush and into a shallow creek of mud and marshland. And next time, I’ll probably not listen to my daughters promise to ‘brake’. But at the end of the day, every decision we make isn’t going to be the right one, and the best thing to do is learn from our wrong decisions. Tell another mom… it’s okay to make mistakes. If you always get it right it must mean you are the perfect mother. That’s an awfully hard title to live up to.

Who am I?

“I’ve given up so much of what made me who I am. But I can’t say that because… I’m a very bad person if I say that. But I feel it. I really do.”

deserve_loveI have been trying to write an article for weeks now about why it’s so important for moms to take time for themselves. I was really struggling with it until I was inspired by a part of the movie Marley & Me, when an exhausted mother of three sobs about motherhood. If you haven’t seen it, you should… or at least the part where the quote above made my eyes gloss up.

The thing about motherhood is that it can make us feel both happy and helpless at the same time. Does that make any sense at all? I love spending time with my kids and even though I write about some of the crazy times we have… I wouldn’t change a thing about our moments together. What I would change is the time I spend focusing on myself… or should I say not focusing on myself. I’m sometimes so tired and stressed from the pressures of motherhood, I lose track of who I am outside of being a mom. As mothers, are we so focused on our family that we forget to take time for ourselves?

I have gained so much from being a mother that I feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I think of what I have given up. But the fact of the matter is that when I don’t take time to focus on myself I feel like I have forgotten who I am. I fill my days making sure everyone else is enjoying themselves, yet I feel guilty about going out for a quick run or doing something for myself. I looked in the mirror the other day and wondered, who is this person? My hair is beyond what I would call a disaster, my eyebrows are bordering on becoming part of the amazon jungle, and the dark circles under my eyes remind me of something you’d see off of a zombie horror movie. I keep telling myself that I don’t have time, but really I think I just stopped noticing. I spend my days so focused on getting everyone put together, I never take the time to do the things that make me feel good about myself.

I think its important for all moms to take time for themselves and even better yet… stop feeling guilty about it. The one thing that I do make a point of is making it out to do something I enjoy once a week. I get that not all moms can get outside the home, but I still think its really important for there to be that time, even at home, where a mom can do something that she loves to do. Something that reminds her that although she is a ‘MOM’, she is also a woman who loves to learn, exercise, relax… or whatever is unique to what makes her who she is.

Something I wish more moms did for one another is encourage each other to take time for themselves. It seems like we’re all so busy trying to outdo one another that we don’t want to admit to each other that we really do need that time for ourselves. We should be able to focus on ourselves every once in a while without feeling any judgment from other moms. We’re supposed to be supporting one another… not setting each other up for an emotional breakdown. The best advice I give other mothers is to take care of themselves the same way they do the rest of their family. You don’t need to lose who you are when you become a mother… you just add to who you are.

Tell another mom to take time for herself. Its so important for us to encourage and support each other, especially when it comes to our own health and well being. And if you know anyone like me, tell them to go out and get their haircut, trim their eyebrows, get some sleep… oh and maybe fit in a quick run!

I won the Mom of the Year Award

Mom of Year TrophySince I reference the ‘mom of the year’ award so often in my posts, I thought it only fitting to review the criteria for nomination from two different perspectives

ME: A mom with an immaculately clean home. Her kitchen floors are always sparkling and there is a keen understanding of how to utilize the laundry basket.
KIDS: My mom, because she lets us use the broom even though we just send the dirt flying everywhere. She also lets us pretend the laundry basket is a pirate ship.

ME: A mom who never yells at her kids and has endless amounts of patience. Nothing fizzes the perfect mom.
KIDS: My mom, because she only gets mad when we do something REALLY bad. She does this really cool thing where she counts out loud to ten and takes ‘yoga breathes’. When she gets really mad we know we’re going to get yelled, be given a timeout… and then probably get some big hugs afterwards too.

ME: A mom who has the morning routine down to a science, without forgetting anything and experiencing no major meltdowns.
KIDS: My mom because she makes every morning a fun game of ‘lets get ready’. Sometimes we get to race to see who gets ready the fastest. If she’s feeling really fun she’ll even hit the curb when trying to back into the school parking lot. She likes to make us laugh.

ME: A mom who looks amazing even after the dreaded morning routine. She makes white pants look easy and her perfectly straightened hair reminds me that a ‘bun’ is not an acceptable hairdo.
KIDS: My mom because she doesn’t get mad when we spill our chocolate milk all over her pants. She also lets us help her get ready by putting all kinds of awesome pink flower clips in her hair.

ME: A mom who always knows what’s for dinner before 5pm. Her meals are planned out for the whole month and groceries are purchased with a perfectly organized list.
KIDS: My mom, because sometimes we get to decide what we want for dinner. We even get to help make it. When we grocery shop, our mom lets us each pick out something special if we promise not to tear the store apart.

ME: A mom who knows how to accomplish the perfect ‘15 minute’ bedtime routine.
KIDS: My mom, because we get to pick out which books we want to read all by ourselves even if it takes us a REALLY long time to decide. Then, she always does really fun stories and if we ask enough times we always get more than three. Sometimes she’ll even rub our backs until we fall asleep.

ME: A mom who never has to get up in the middle of the night with her kids, because she broke the bad habit at a young age.
KIDS: My mom, because she always comes in just before my bad dream gets SUPER scary. She always understands that sometimes we just want someone to walk us to the bathroom to pee. Oh.. and if we forget to wake up, she never gets mad about wet sheets. She does get upset if we wake up more than three times in one night though….

Okay, so I could go on for days. But the moral of the story is that as mothers, we are always WAY too hard on ourselves. If it were up to our kids, every mommy out there would win the ‘mom of the year’ award. So next time you hear another mom being hard on herself, remind her that in the eyes of her children… she wins the award of ‘BEST MOM’ hands down. There’s no need to even show up to compete. Tell another mom that the kids… I mean the judges… have come to a decision… and that she wins the  ‘Mom of the Year Award’.

A Thankless Day in Mommyville

I didn’t have children so that I would constantly receive thanks and praise from them, but every once and awhile the thankless days get to me. For the most part our days are filled with rewarding moments and cherished memories. I know… barf. Seriously though, most days are great. Yesterday though… was not. It was one blow after the other that just made me feel beaten by the end of the day.

Our day starts at 5am. Because the clock in my room is broken I don’t realize how early it is until I hear my husband come home from work at 6am. We have already been up for an hour. The kids apparently decide they don’t like each other anymore and I have to get out of the shower three times to separate them. My son refuses to get dressed. We have no groceries left. My daughter informs me that she doesn’t want me ‘bugging’ her and that I didn’t make her toast the right way. My son tells me that his lunch isn’t as good as the other kids at school. He demands to know why he doesn’t get cool stuff in his lunch. Sigh.

I get my son off to school, only to realize he has left his gloves in the car. I hurry and bring them to him before the bell rings. He’s annoyed, and its obviously my fault that he forgot them in the car. My daughter and I  get to our scheduled playdate and I have forgotten her blankie. When I leave to go home, I forget her sippy there.

I have a staff meeting to attend at 2:30. I rush from there to pick up my son at school. Phew… I get there just in time. The door opens and he immediately starts screaming hysterically. He wanted his Dad to pick him up. He doesn’t want me. It doesn’t help that all the other parents are witnessing my son’s meltdown. I must be the world’s worst mother.

Jocelyn_Gymnastics

Jocelyn getting ready for gymnastics… before the meltdown

We eat quickly so that we can get to gymnastics on time at 4:30. We are almost there and my daughter says, ‘I have to poo’. We get there and I rush her to the bathroom. Her hair is a disaster, she must have pulled her pony tails out at home. I rip the elastic out of my own hair and tie hers back. Now I am the disaster. After the class is done, my daughter has the tantrum of all tantrums because she doesn’t want to put her boots and coat on. After a struggle, she does what I call the limp limb maneuver and ends up face planting on the concrete floor. Now I really win mother of the year award. I get the kids in the car with Jocelyn still screaming hysterically. The whole way home I’m grinding my teeth…trying to keep my cool.

We get home and start bedtime. The snack I make is no good. The milk I warm tastes bad. The books I read are boring. My bedtime stories are apparently not fun ones. I say my ‘goodnights’ and ‘I love you’s’. I plop myself down on the couch and think to myself… what a crappy day. In my head I had pictured it going so much differently. I feel beaten and drained.

 
If you know a mom who’s had a day like this, tell her that tomorrow will be a better day. Every so often it’s almost like we are due for a day that makes motherhood feel like a thankless job. The fact of the matter is, we all have bad days, but its knowing that there are good days on the horizon that keep us going. To all the moms out there that had a ‘thankless day’… you’re doing a great job. On behalf of your kids, ‘Thanks for everything you do.’

The Impatient Mother… I’ve been one

I am impatient. I yell at my kids. I get frustrated. I use threats and often resort to bribery with my children. I am a mom who makes mistakes daily, and I feel bad about it. There are so many books and websites out there that encourage all sorts of lovely parenting philosophies about how to be the perfect mom who never yells and has endless amounts of patience. Hmmm… perhaps if I had actually read them entirely I wouldn’t writing this post right now. This is my way of telling all you moms out there who have lost your patience… you’re not the only one.

Scenario 1. I am trying to clean up from dinner, after working all day and rushing home in time for my husband to go in for his night shift. The kids are doing laps through the kitchen and living room area. I try to get the last few dishes into the dishwasher when I realize that the footsteps have stopped pounding and it’s a little bit too quiet. I go into the living room to find the laundry, that had been folded earlier, sprawled across the floor and all over the couches. The kids are nowhere to be found. They are in the bathroom and have poured the bath soap onto the floor and are buck naked rubbing themselves with the soap. They think it’s hilarious. This may seem cute to some, but I am exhausted and patience is the last thing that I have. There are no deep breathes, or moments of reflection… just yelling. I send them to their rooms and start the cleanup process. I so wish I had a personal clean up crew of imaginary little gnomes that would just show up when I needed them. Why gnomes? I have no idea, perhaps I have officially gone delirious.

Scenario 2. A necessary trip to the grocery store leads me into my next outburst of mommy weakness. My three year old daughter is very strong willed and when she decides that she wants to do something… there is not much room for negotiating.This particular day, Jocelyn decides that she wants to push the cart, which is against the rules. So when I tell her that she needs to get in the cart or walk and hold on to the side, she decides that these options are just not suitable for her. After multiple attempts of putting her in the cart, I get hit, kicked and my hair is pulled. I put her down and she starts knocking things off the shelves. I so wish those little clean up gnomes would show up and carry my daughter kicking and screaming back to the car. I know.. I’m delirious. I leave the cart. I carry my daughter in a football hold out of the store while I threaten her with taking away her favourite blankie. Meanest mom ever.

Scenario 3. I normally would never rent those overpriced strollers you see at the mall, however this particular day I’ve forgotten ours at home. So there I am pushing this ridiculous oversized double-decker fire truck stroller through the mall while the kids fight over who gets to sit on the top. After taking the kids to the bookstore, out for lunch, and to an event going on, it’s now  time to head home. I get them out of the enormous stroller, and push it back into line to get my deposit back. I look at my son and I see a meltdown happening in real time. I have no idea what’s going on… he’s crying too hard. It turns out that he never got a turn on the top level of the double-decker disaster. I refuse to rent another stroller just to give him a ride on the top, and it turns into a total war zone. I end up carrying Jocelyn in one arm, and dragging him with the other arm screaming the whole way to the car. I tell him we are NEVER coming back the mall ever again. He is devastated.

Kids Finger Painting

The kids testing my patience with finger paint.

The fact of the matter is that all moms have their own scenarios they deal with daily and we all handle things differently. I have showcased the times that I have handled situations poorly, because its important to me that as mothers we are honest with each other. Does that make me a bad mom.. maybe… but I can’t take it back now can I? Should I try to be more patient… probably. But the reality is that, all mothers have faults, and we all parent differently. And while I’m not the most patient mother in the world, I am probably one of the most honest ones. When I’m wrong I admit it… to my kids. When I’ve lost my temper… I apologize to my little monsters. When I get angry… I explain my emotions to my children. When I’ve been unreasonable… I correct my mistakes. And while I always work on being just a little more patient… I’ll probably still spend more energy on teaching my kids what it means to love unconditionally. That’s the one thing I know I can do effortlessly. To all the moms out there who have ever lost their patience… you’re still a good mom and you’re not alone.

Mommy Bullying… this has got to stop.

gossiping_women

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So another mom recently revealed to me that her five year old son was being bullied at school. I was shocked that bullying would start at such a young age, and began to wonder when and why this happens. I know bullying happens everyday to people of all ages, but it still bothered me to learn that children think that bullying is acceptable.

Later in the week, I began my usual routine of commenting on other blogs and searching out online mommies that I felt needed a little support. It didn’t take me long to notice how many awful and mean comments were coming through online sites, especially from other mothers. I think it is shameful that an adult would perform the act of bullying. The idea that mothers are bullying one another is infuriating. We are supposed to be the role models for our children, the ones our kids look up to and learn from. If you want to do a quick test for yourself, just search a story about a celebrity mommy and review the comments. It’s sickening.

So I began to look beyond the online aspect of bullying, and was appalled to see that there are just as many mommy bullies in the flesh, as there are online. I found real life stories of mothers who had been bullied by mommy cliques and been ostracized from school organizations, sports teams and religious groups by other moms. I have a friend that can’t even bear the thought of going back to work because she’ll have to deal with being judged by other mommy colleagues and talked about within social circles. Since when did we start up mommy sororities that required a seal of approval to get accepted? We’re moms… we should all be in one big freaking sorority that shares secrets and offers endless amounts of support and encouragement to one another.

When I looked up the definition of bully, there were many variations that came up but one stuck out to me. It was the one that referred to a bully as being  ‘a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people’. Cruel. This is the word that sticks with me. We all know how hard being a mom can be, whether we admit it or not. When I wrote the article on how hard being a mom is, I received an overwhelming response from moms both publicly and privately because everyone could relate. So if motherhood can be so hard, why are there moms out there picking on one another? Can’t we all use a little help and support from one another? It seems just plain cruel to knock another mom down, especially if she might already being feeling overwhelmed.

Jealousy. Competition. Judgement. I am not a mommy bully, but I have to assume that these three words might describe what fuels such a person. I just can’t understand why any mom would think it’s okay to treat someone so terrible, unless they were just so blinded by their own insecurities. I can tell you that some of my biggest fears when I meet up with new moms is that they will want to compete, that they will be judgmental and, if I’m having a really good day, they might be jealous. I am a confident strong woman and mother, yet I still sometimes fear being bullied by other mothers. I never realized what an overwhelming problem bullying has become in our society, until I recognized that I often fear being a victim.

So, getting back to the five year old that gets bullied in the schoolyard. It kind of makes me understand now why kids would think that bullying is acceptable. Children look up to adults, especially their mothers, for guidance and they learn from example. I remind myself this every day when I get out of bed, because I realize that my children look up to me. They look up to me to teach them right and wrong. They observe how I treat others, and how I am treated. If we lead by example, maybe one day there will be an end to such horrible behaviour. I’m not sure if putting an end to bullying is in the horizon, but we have to start somewhere… and ending Mommy bullying seems like a pretty good place to start.

My 15-month old just fell off the couch.

Meredith_and_kidsMeredith is a native Texan, recovering perfectionist, and mama to 3 kids living in Utah. She has been blogging for over 5 years, but just recently decided to make her blog public and get real about motherhood. Her tag line is “far from perfect, but blogging about it anyway”. Because that is exactly what she wants to do. Her goal is to be honest and not just blog all the happy, pretty moments. You can find her over at Faking Picture Perfect.

There is something I would have never admitted 6 years ago when I became a Mom and
the same exact thing happened to my first-born daughter. I remember, I was mortified. I
had feelings of guilt in my head like, “You are such a horrible mom!” and “Why weren’t
you just watching?” and “You are so stupid to put her on the couch”.

I also cried the first time I cut her fingernails when she was just a few weeks old and I
accidentally cut her. I cried a lot in those first few months of her life. Later,
when she was about four months old and I magically felt better, I realized that I had been
suffering from Post-Partum Depression. If only I had a mama friend at the time to say to
me, “It’s going to be OK. We all make mistakes. It will get better.”

But, truth be told. I still cry a lot. I’m not suffering from PPD anymore, but motherhood
is no joke. And, although some things I feel like I have down and mastered, like
breastfeeding in public, and feeding three kids at a restaurant (wait. That last one is a lie),
I cry because motherhood has me on my toes every. single. day.

With each new stage, comes a new challenge. I never thought I’d be talking about
bullying issues in Kindergarten. But, I was. I never thought I would have kids with
complex food allergies, but I do. I never thought I would be able to handle three kids, but
I’m still alive. Sometimes, I feel like it is just barely, but I’m alive, people. I’m muddling
my way through motherhood every single day. Some days, I excel. Some days, I cry
myself to sleep.

Truth be told, I don’t think any of us have it completely together. And, if you are looking
at a Mom and you think she does, just think again.

I had a friend tell me once that I made being a Mom to three kids look so easy. I laughed
almost a little too maniacally. I felt so not together that her comment really
made me laugh. But, I had perfected one thing. Faking it. And, now I’m on a mission to
stop myself from faking it. I’m tired of showing all the perfect moments. I want to be real.
But, let me let you in on a little secret. It’s hard.

Because being real means…

Swallowing your pride and saying you need help.

It means being open about your feelings even if they hurt someone else’s feelings.

It means sometimes saying no.

It means accepting that you have faults and forgiving yourself.

It means being as nice to yourself as you are to your friends.

It means owning up to the fact that you just screwed up royally and then moving on.

It means letting someone see your house messy.

It means sharing your whole self with someone, not just the parts that you want people to
see.

It means not trying to keep up with the mom that does seem “perfect”.

It means letting go of the image in your head of what kind of mom you should be.

It means looking at another mom and seeing her for who she might be on the
inside.

I could sit here and write all day about the mistakes I’ve made as a Mom. I have 3 kids
and all 3 have fallen off the couch. So, there. You’d think I would have learned, right?
But, some days we are just on survival mode.

But, should this get us depressed? That perfection is impossible, and we are never going
to get it right? I don’t think so.

I read an article once called, “When You Feel Inadequate As a Mother” that shared this
quote, “We all seem to measure ourselves by what we see in others, and that’s others at
their best, scrubbed and polished physically and emotionally. Yet we judge ourselves by
how we feel when we’re at our worst. Consequently, we’re sure to come out on the short
end of the stick, always inadequate.”

Let’s just stop comparing. Stop trying to live up to. Stop trying to perfect this thing that
is impossible to perfect. There is no right way or wrong way to do things when you’re
a Mom. So, stop pretending that there is. We are evolving and changing every single
day. We are screwing up, starting over, and resolving to do better tomorrow. We are
imperfect. And that’s OK.

You think my kid is ‘weird’… I get it.

I love descriptive words. They are a great way to be creative and add flavour to a story or conversation. Why I don’t love is when anyone thinks it’s okay to use adjectives to describe how they feel about my children or their actions. The word I despise the most is ‘weird’. It seems crazy that anyone would think its okay to refer to my child as ‘weird’, but believe me it has happened on more than one occasion.

I know what you’re thinking… I am super sensitive when it comes to comments about my children. Your damn I right I am. I think any mother would agree that we go to bat for our kids every day, and advocate daily for their well being. So, when someone says, ‘oh, that’s weird’, or ‘he’s kind of weird’ or ‘that’s not normal’… in reference to my kids, I get annoyed. I really don’t think that anyone is saying it to be hurtful… I’m just saying it’s not helpful in the slightest.

Now many of you may have not experienced this, but if you have a child that struggles with anxiety you probably have a specific ‘word’ or ‘phrase’ that bothers you just the same. If you’ve had a chance to read about my son’s first dentist appointment or swimming lessons, you’ll know already that this post is largely in reference to comments made about his anxiety. And while he is slowly overcoming this struggle, it has not been without many raised eyebrows and unwarranted comments.

What I want to know is why everyone thinks that my son is so ‘weird’ for being afraid of some of the things that we as adults fear. He doesn’t like kids running at him or in a small clustered pack all around him. ‘That’s weird that he wouldn’t like soccer.’ Really? Why is it so weird that he doesn’t want other people crowded in his personal space pushing and shoving?

‘That’s weird that he won’t participate in swimming lessons.’ We tell our kids over and over again how dangerous water can be and how they need to have a life jacket on and be within arms reach. Yet my son’s behaviour is labelled ‘weird’ for not wanting to participate in a pool with no floatation device and a bunch of strangers.

James with Santa

This may be the moment James began to fear Santa.

‘I wonder why he’s so afraid of the bus? That’s just weird.’  Every time we get in the car we tell our kids to put their seatbelts on. We also enforce how important it is they never go with strangers. Hmm…. and you wonder why my son is afraid of the bus? I think it’s more normal than anything else that he would be reluctant to ride a school bus with no seatbelts and driven by someone he doesn’t know. I’ve asked him before why he is scared, and he will flat out tell me that he is afraid that if the bus is in an accident that he will fly through the windshield and that I won’t be there.

And last but not least, ‘It’s weird that he’s scared of (Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy etc.)’ Seriously? I think if I didn’t know that these were indeed imaginative figures, I too would be scared of them. Just for the record, all these mystical beings sneak around the poor kids house at night while he is asleep. That is scary enough.

So, next time you have a descriptive word on the tip of your tongue ready to fire off at another mom… just take a moment to think of a helpful comment instead of a random adjective. What we as mother’s need, are words of encouragement that help us through our children’s struggles, not make us feel bad about them. Tell another mom to keep up the good work… even if they have a ‘weird kid.’  🙂

Career Mom vs. Stay at home Mom… Why the fight?

working momSo I could be crazy, but I always feel like there is this invisible line that has been drawn in the sand between stay at home moms and career moms. In my head I picture a boxing ring, and that loud obnoxious announcer yelling through the speakers, ‘…and in this corner we have the full time Career Mom. Challenging her in the opposite corner we have the Stay at home mom. Good luck. Let’s get ready to rumble…’

Why does one have to be better than the other? Do we really need to be doing the whole ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’ competition? Okay, I realize that we are all wearing shirts…well most of us… but you get what I’m saying. Going to work and staying home each have their benefits and drawbacks and I could write pages about each. What is more important than anything else is that we respect one another and our choices as mothers. What’s great about this day and age is that we have the choice to do what we want and what is best for ourselves and our families.

There seems to be a lot of ridiculous stereotypes that come along with being a stay at home mom. Like that it’s somewhat an easier task than going to ‘work’ all day. I remember reading once that if they looked at all the job duties of a mother from morning until night, it would be deemed worthy of a $120,000 salary. I have no idea how they came up with these numbers, but I found it entertaining. So, just in case anyone out there reading was under the impression that there was any ‘bon bon’ eating and ‘soap opera’ watching going on… I’m pretty sure most stay at home moms would disagree. One thing I struggled with the most while I was at home was the lack of interaction with other adults, and feeling unmotivated and uninspired during the day. I didn’t have an outlet for my ideas, goals or opinions, especially in the early years when there was no time to do anything except care for my young children.

I’m not sure if there are as many assumptions about career oriented mothers, but regardless, this too is a very difficult job. For a mom that works outside of the home there are many challenges that I feel get overlooked. For instance, the meal planning and household chores are forced to be done at night when moms are exhausted, or in the morning when chaos is at its peak. And then of course there is the whole scheduling and morning routine to contend with, in addition to trying to look somewhat presentable for a day at work. Not to mention that many families deal with shiftwork and crazy schedules for sports and other activities. The biggest hurdle for me was guilt. I felt guilty about wanting to go to work. I felt bad about missing out on milestones or important events. My kids never seemed to be bothered by any of it, but I certainly was.

So, I know… I’ve missed a million and one things for each type of mother. But here’s the thing, we’re all moms and that’s all that really matters. We need to be united and always playing on the same team. There are so many obstacles for moms to contend with, that the last thing we need is to be contending with each other. I remember someone saying to me that I wasn’t ‘raising my children’ when I went back to work full time. When I was at home exclusively, it was also stated many times that I should have lots of time because I was ‘just a stay at home mom’. Are you kidding me? Both comments are absolutely ridiculous.

I think at times, a lot of the comments and tension between mothers comes down to jealousy. I know when I was staying home exclusively I was so jealous of not having that interaction with other career driven adults. When I worked full time, I was always envious of the moms who got to be home with their kids all day. Jealousy is a very powerful force and sometimes we don’t even realize that it leads us to say hurtful things or treat others badly. As mother’s we need to recognize our own insecurities and be sure not to react with judgement towards others. For me, I’ve found what works best for our family and that’s all that matters. I don’t assume what works for us is what every other mom should be doing. To all the Career Moms and Stay at Home Moms alike, you’re doing a great job and try to stay out of the boxing ring.