PEOPLE!

 

I knit scarves. I crochet afghans. I bake delicious cakes. I sew dresses. I can decorate a pretty sweet family room and make some mean hospital corners on bedsheets…. but the thing I am best at making is children.

When I was five I wanted to be a veterinarian. And I wanted to have two children. A boy and a girl. The boy first. Because girls should have big brothers.

When I was 10 I wanted to be a lawyer. And I wanted to have two children. Twins. A boy and a girl. Because twins are cute.

When I was 15 I wanted to be a veterinarian. And I wanted to have two children. I wasn’t sure when or what kind. But I knew I wanted two. Two. Because I was an only child until I was 14 and I wanted nothing more than to have a sibling.

Some things do remain constant. Though I may have changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up I knew one thing all along.

 

Mother’s day makes me sentimental not because there is breakfast served in bed or flowers or gifts or cards. It makes me sentimental because it reminds me that the only thing I ever REALLY wanted to do was be a mother.

And I am.

kids , mother , mothering

Recently (ok, today) the 11 year old got an award at school for something. I wish I could tell you what the award was actually FOR but to be perfectly honest I’m not really sure. And the reason I’m not sure is it seems like kids get awards for just about anything these days. Like if you showed up and didn’t punch anyone in the face… CONGRATS you get an award for Citizenship. You sir, are a good Citizen. Because you went to school and when some kid made a joke about yo mama you didn’t kick him in the man business. Well done.

Don’t get me wrong…. I’m a big fan of positive reinforcement. I firmly believe in Shamu Parenting. Serious. But COME ON. Must kids DO nothing to get awarded for just existing? Have we reached the point of such desperation that we now award people for just showing up? I made the honor roll EVERY FLIPPIN QUARTER When I Was A Kid. Most of the time with a 4.0. AND furthermore I never punched anyone in the face (ok once I punched Vernon Avila because he told the entire school I wasn’t a virgin after he kissed me inside a tractor tire. Which was NOT TRUE. Cause I was 8. Turns out he didn’t even know what a virgin was. And I only threatened to hit him with a rock. So… bygones.) Anyway I didn’t cut school. I came almost every day (like it or not, cause I had to be bleeding from my eyes to miss school). I even managed to get good grades while my mom was getting married and divorced and married and divorced and not even home… and you get the idea. And no one ever gave me any kind of award for any of that. My award was… wait for it… an EDUCATION.

While I don’t begrudge the kids their ‘Citizenship’ and ‘Merit’ I’m really just kind of jealous that those kind of awards don’t exist for adults.

For example:

Did you get out of bed this morning? Was it DESPITE having been up all night with a teething baby or someone with a fever or someone throwing up on you?

BAM. You get the ‘I Didn’t Want To But I Did Anyway’ award. Cause I’m THAT good.

Did your toddler poop on the floor? For the third time today? Or did your 12 year old spill yet ANOTHER glass of juice on the couch because he was watching tv instead of looking at his glass? Did your 15 year old take your blush? AGAIN? And through all of this did you manage to not scream? Or maybe you screamed, but it was just a little bit?

Oh SNAP. For you, the ‘I Can Get Through a Day Without Strangling Anyone or Running For The Hills Screaming’ award.

Did you look in the fridge and concoct something for dinner out of some tortillas and a couple of wrinkly apples and some half molded cheese? Because you wanted to get to the store but you just couldn’t on account of the fact that you couldn’t bring yourself to get out of your pj pants? Because of the aforementioned vomit/teeth/fever?

Well ALRIGHTY. For you, the ‘I Make Food Magically Appear’ award.

OK lets say it was a REALLY bad day and ALL you managed to do was keep the cranky baby fed and changed and you never got a shower or got to brush your hair or teeth but that’s ok cause the baby didn’t die?

AMEN sister. You get the ‘SHUT YO MOUTH HATERZ I kept the Baby ALIVE’ award. Well done. Mission accomplished.

I had a 10 and half pound baby. In MY KITCHEN.

I’m giving myself the ‘HOLY SHIT You Had a 10 and Half Pound HUMAN BEING in YOUR KITCHEN’ award. I deserve it. Totally. If that was all I did ALL YEAR, it really should suffice.

My husband? He worked 16 hours a day almost every day this week (and actually every day of the last 3 weeks). The majority of it away from his family, eating food he concocted in a microwave with two day old french fries and sitting in an office until 10 pm, usually alone, and he didn’t get any kind of award. (Though he did get his paycheck which is LIKE an award but somehow seems inadequate in the face of a zillion hour workweek.) What he got was hearing his crying wife say she was going to pull her hair out. Oh AND to sleep in an uncomfortable bed.

I’m giving him the ‘I Have No Idea What You Did But WOW You Did It’ award. You’re awesome honey. You survived.

And me? Well I kept the kids alive while he was gone. Despite getting very little sleep (see: teething up all night award), having a few moments of tears (ok maybe a few more than a few) and eating cereal for dinner. Twice. There should be points for all that too. Even though nothing earthshattering happened. I didn’t get the toilets scrubbed but I did mop twice because of Mange-y Dog hair. Oh AND I made the bed. THREE TIMES. Award for me.

I think you get what I’m saying. There are days when I get up and I have really good intentions. Like I MEAN to make a dress or headband. OR I WANT to bake something really yummy. Or some days I just aim to get my sheets changed. Some days I want to go shopping. Some days I want to write a blog post or call an old friend (you Holly).

Some days none of those things happen.

Some days I just keep the kids alive.

And some days, that’s enough.

Points for participation people.
For the love of motherhood,

j-diddle

children , mother , mothering , OVERACHIEVERITIS , parenting , whine

I am.

I am a wife.

A sister.

A daughter.

A nurse.

And I am a mother.

So I’ll be honest with you.

Ready?

Yesterday I felt suddenly like I had no identity. Maybe you know what I mean? Maybe not. I’ve been a mom for a long time now but the sudden realization that I’m no longer identified as “nurse” made me question what I am at all. What do I have to contribute to any conversation? Am I interesting at all? I won’t go into what brought this feeling on. I’ll just say it was there.

I’m not a doctor. I don’t have a masters degree. I don’t live in a big or interesting city. I don’t play an instrument and I barely sing (it’s pretty bad). The Victoria’s Secret catalog came in the mail yesterday. Swimsuit edition. Ack. Two years ago I was picking bikinis out of that catalog. This year… that catalog goes straight to the recycling bin. Funny thing is I don’t really want to be that size ever again. (To those of you who knew me at that size I think you know what I mean.) In any case, I WAS that size. Now I’m not. Also I’m just plain old jiggly. All over. I tried to read a book to expand my mind. Ella had other ideas. She would have no part of this indulgence. I felt like a blob. I was feeling pretty pathetic.

It’s ridiculous I know.

But my sweet husband said I should talk about hard things so here you go.

I’m not always sure about everything. Despite my tough exterior I sometimes feel like I’m not sure about anything.

So I said to my friend Staci (who is one of the few real friends I have)… is it weird that I feel boring and inadequate? (You don’t have to answer this question in your mind but feel free to if it applies to you as well.)

And she said, “You my friend are not boring, you are an adult. You had a baby in your kitchen. Has that lost it’s power?”

Pause for reflection.

Then… “You helped people birth their children and then you helped people transition into death and then you CHOSE to stay home because YOU are the best choice for your family.”

Oh. Yeah. I’ll shut up now.

I am a wife.

A sister.

A daughter.

A nurse.

And I am a mother.

I have given birth 4 times, once in my kitchen.

It was pretty frickin awesome.

And that’s enough.

children , kids , mother , mothering

Disclaimer: These are just things MY 15 year old says (or has said at some point over the last year or so, give or take). I make no guarantee that every 15 year old will say all (or any) of these things. There is a pretty good chance you’re going to hear some of them though. Repeatedly.

a. Mom, I can’t wear the black Uggs with the brown belt. Ohmigawd (yes, it’s one word). You just don’t KNOW.

{No, clearly I do not.}

b. Mom, you are NEVER going to believe what (insert any girls name here) said today. She said she couldn’t believe (insert any other girls name here) even LIKED (insert any boys name here). He’s such a JERK. He was totally flirting with (insert yet another girls name here). He doesn’t even deserve (insert 2nd girls name again).

{Things used to be so simple.}

c. Mom, I’m hungry.

{Why am I not surprised?}

d. Mom, we don’t have ANYTHING to eat.

{Except that cabinet full of food.}

e. Oh. Em. Gee. Mom. Your boob is totally bigger than the babies HEAD.

{Gee. Thanks.}

f. Mom, don’t worry, it’s ok for you to get big when you’re pregnant.

{And. Again.}

g. Mom, are stretch marks inherited?

{Yeah. In reverse. I got mine from you.}

h. Mom, I have the BEST idea. Let’s go SHOPPING!

{Wow. That sounds super fun. Let me ask my huge human head sized boob if it wants to go too.}

i. Mom, my room IS clean. No, it’s clean. I swear.

{By the standards of? A homeless guy? Oh, ok. As long as we’re clear.}

j. Mom, WTH, why can’t I have a facebook. Come ON. PUH-LEASE.

{Ask your father.}

k. Mom, how do you know when you’re in love?

{If you have to ask, you aren’t}

l. Mom, what if you like a boy but he doesn’t like you? Ooooor what if he doesn’t even KNOW you?

{Introduce yourself. If he still doesn’t like you, he’s a idiot. At least temporarily. Move on. Wait 20 years. Call him up. See what happens. Maybe you’ll get married. :)}

m. Mom, why is your hair like so awesome and stays curly and mine won’t stay curled at all. It’s LAME.

{Genetics. Learn to love the hair you’ve got. There is a no exchange policy on hair.}

n. Mom, does this purse look ok with this outfit? (always say yes. Always. You’re going to be wrong anyway) . NO, it does NOT. You just don’t KNOW.

{No. Obviously not. Oh see h. We should go get another one. :-|}

o. Mom, when did you lose your virginity? Were you like married? Or what.

{How about we talk about my stretch marks again?.}

p. Mom, what is sex like?

{Fun. Or it should be. Next topic. }

q. Mom, you are like (btw, insert the word ‘like’ randomly in any sentence for 15 yo effect) SO good at being a mom. No mom, really. You’re like (there it is again) GOOD. How did you get so good?

{Years of practice. Mostly on you. Sorry about that.}

r. Mom, Ella is the luckiest baby ever to have you for a mommy.

{Thanks honey. I love you too.}

kids , mother , mothering , teenagers , things kids say

Disclaimer: I use a curse word in this post. Twice. The word is shit. I apologize. It was for effect.

My friend Val over at Val McCormick Photography linked my blog on her facebook yesterday (I’ve know Val since I was a snotty preteen, btw, and so has my husband. He wasn’t snotty in 7th grade though, just cute.). She suggested moms read my blog which made me think about…well, being a mom, and blogging.

Once I actually did write part of a book. It was more just a bunch of stories stuck together in what I thought might become a book someday (in the spirit of David Sedaris), but it didn’t make any real sense, my rambling about whatever that wasn’t really connected. The only common thread of the collection being I was a mom of 3 small children at the time and some of my days were so sitcom comical that I felt like I had to write about them (again, David Sedaris). Then one day, in true sitcom style, my computer crashed and it was all lost, because, in true sitcom style, I hadn’t backed any of it up. I thought that might have been the universes way of telling me I ought not to be telling my stories to the general public. In any case, it was funny, if I do say so myself. Tales of me gardening in the nude because I was so frantic to water the tomatoes that I forgot to get dressed, of grape juice containers exploded upon white kitchen walls and freshly mopped wood, of cheerios spilled on grocery store floors with 3 crying children and other things about being a mother (PS I really love David Sedaris. You don’t have to read his books but if you don’t you’re missing out. I’m just sayin’.).

In that light I want to tell you 10 things I wish I’d known about motherhood (you know, before I had a crying real live baby on my hands at the ripe ol’ age of 20). Some of them I learned 15 years ago and some of them just in these last weeks, since I became a mommy to another sweet soul. Life is a journey, not a destination. So here it is…

1. You can live on less sleep than you think. A lot less. Chances are when you look at your baby you won’t really care that you haven’t seen the inside of your eyelids in what seems like an eternity. You’ll sleep again someday. Probably. I should add that the combination of lack of sleep + having not enough hands or time to do all that needs to be done (like look at yourself in the mirror) you will eventually walk out of the house with your hair in total disarray/your teeth not brushed/a stain on your shirt/a booger hanging out of your nose. Possibly all of those. On the same day.

2. Alternatively, you might feel like you’re going out of your mind from lack of sleep. If this is the case, you probably are and you should get some sleep. Like… now. A sleepy, grouchy mom is ineffective and just plain miserable. Ask my kids. Even with a full nights sleep, no guarantee on the booger thing though.

3. Having a baby will change your body in ways you can’t imagine. Women don’t tell you this. By your 5th pregnancy (and in truth it probably won’t take near that many) your stomach may act as a curtain for your pubic hair and your breasts might resemble something like a tube sock with a rock in the end. On the other hand, if you are one of those women who can fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans and look like she’s never been pregnant at two weeks postpartum, I’m sorry, the rest of us hate you. Well, not hate so much as envy. In any case, your husband, if you’re lucky like me, will love your body even more than he did before it carried and birthed your baby. I suggest you try to love it too. It’s the only one you’ve got. It’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixing, it’s just new and improved. And squishier. (Note to self: have husband write a guest post on this)

4. Your house is going to be a mess. That’s ok. Laundry will pile. Floors will be dirty. I promise you it won’t be messy forever. Well it might, but whatever, it’s just a house. When your kids leave and it’s tidy, you’ll just wish they were there to mess it up again. Trust me, I might be the most obsessively clean person I know (next to my mother), the day I let it go was the day I was freed from the prison of my own misery. When the 3 big kids leave to go to their dad’s house I madly clean the messes they’ve left behind, then I sit on the sofa and cry, wishing they’d just come back home and make it a mess again. It’s just a house.

5. The things you said you’d never ever do in a million zillion katrillion years like give your kids candy for bribery/take them to McDonalds/beg borrow and steal to get them to eat ANYTHING green/let them sleep in your bed when they are 4, you will do. People will judge you. If you have to give your 3 year old a sucker to survive the grocery store, oh well. That might be the only way you both make it out alive. Those teeth aren’t permanent anyway.

6. Your children will make you cry. When they are babies you will cry along with them because you can’t get them to stop crying/don’t know why they are crying/are just realizing what you signed up for. When they are toddlers you will cry because you can’t get them to mind you/eat anything that isn’t macaroni or comes from a box/stop crying for every toy in the store. When they are school aged you will cry when they scrape their knee/don’t make the football team/get left out of whatever circle of bratty kids they wish they were part of. When they are in high school you will cry because they tell you you’re the worst mother ever because you won’t let them have an xbox/cell phone/boyfriend/black eyeliner. When they are in college you will cry when you drop them off at the dorm and then again when they get their heart broken/fail a class/move into their first apartment/graduate. What happens after college, I can’t say yet because I don’t know but I’m sure there’s just going to be more crying. When they get married/have their own kids/cry because of said kids. You’re going to cry, with them, for them and sometimes because of them. If you’re not a crier like me then you’ll just do whatever thing you do. I cry. I just keep tissues around.

7. Your children will also make you crazy. Batshit, looney tunes, going out of your flippin mind crazy. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they’ll enter a whole new phase and make you crazy again. Just when you think your baby is going to sleep all night long they’ll start teething or having separation anxiety or having nightmares. Just when you think you’ve figured out how to get your 3 year old to eat veggies, they’ll go back to eating peanut butter and jelly. Every. Single. Meal. Just when you think you see eye to eye with your 11 year old because you have a reasonable conversation, they’ll hit puberty and turn into a hormonal monster. And just when you’ve got the teenager all figured out they’ll move away and you won’t know what they’re doing or where they are and that will drive you crazy too. It’s helpful to recognize this before it happens so you don’t commit yourself to an institution.

8. Your first child will get a full baby book with a million photos and every milestone recorded, brand new un-spitup on clothes, lots of attention from family near and far and every minute of time you have. Your fourth baby (or 2nd or 6th or whatever) probably won’t get all that. At least not the full baby book. I’m just keepin it real. You just won’t fill out the book when 4 (or 2 or 6) small people are trying to get your attention. Bottom line: If you only have one child you’ll be worried it’s going to be spoiled rotten/self-centered/unable to share. If you have 4 children you’ll worry they are going to feel left out/ignored/abandoned. You can’t win either way. Accept this now. If you are a mother who has kept a full baby book for every baby, please email me now, I need lessons and then to award you the Nobel Prize for Peace AND Literature.

9. Whatever kind of parent you are, someone will tell you you are doing it wrong. If you are an attached parent (like me) people will say things like you’re spoiling your baby/your baby is never going to learn to walk/you’re going to be sorry you let your baby sleep with you/I can’t believe you’re STILL breastfeeding etc. etc. It’s bullshit. You have to parent your kids. You might be doing it wrong, it’s possible, but if you love your children and you aren’t abusing them, the person criticizing you is probably just an opinionated jerk. You have my permission to tell them so, or at least just to nod politely and completely ignore them.

10. Along those lines you will continuously question your parenting. If you think you’ve got it all right, all the time, there’s something wrong with you. Or you’re Jesus. Or you should write a parenting book. Or you’re one of the people mentioned in #9. You will worry that you’re spoiling them/not spoiling them/hugging them too much/not hugging them enough/being overprotective/not being protective enough. You will worry that they are going to grow up to hate you for what you did “to them”. Don’t worry, they will. They’ll probably go to college and then need therapy and then call you and tell you it’s because you never bought them an xbox/cell phone/black eyeliner that they are so terribly dysfunctional. Then they’ll have their own kids, call you, apologize for being a jerk and ask you how you did it. At this point you should write them a list of things you think they should know about parenting, like this one. Start the list with #6, just to make them feel guilty.

11. (oops, turns out there were 11) Until you are a parent you won’t believe how much you can love another person. Other parents will tell you and you’ll nod and agree but you won’t really know it until you feel it first hand, until you gaze at your baby and see the future through their little eyes and realize they are your heart, your soul and your everything. And you’ll probably cry. Just keep some tissue around.

Theses are my four hearts. :)


(FYI: The one in the blue shirt is thinking about how I am ruining his life by making him take pictures. As far as I can tell the other 3 are just hoping it’s over soon.)

mother , mothering , parenting