Tag Archives: moms

That time that I was made to feel worthless…

(Image via Yahoo)

I’m not sure why I have to write this,

I don’t even know why or how this can still be a thing.

But I recently saw a comment regarding this topic on Facebook, so I guess it is, so here we go.

Let’s just clear this up right now: being a stay at home mom IS a job. According to Merriam-Webster, a job is:

  1. 1a :  a regular remunerative position *got a part-time job as a waiter *she quit her job :  a specific duty, role, or function *The heart’s job is to circulate blood.c (1) :  something that has to be done :  task *was given the job of delivering the bad news (2) :  an undertaking requiring unusual exertion *it was a real job to talk over that noise

Did you catch that?  Or did you just skim over it?  NOWHERE in the description does it say “only paid positions”.  It DOES say “remunerative” (meaning financially rewarding or lucrative), but it doesn’t say ONLY those jobs.  Actually, though, it also says “an undertaking requiring unusual exertion”, and if THAT doesn’t have “parenthood” written all over it,then I don’t know WHAT does.

Now, I get that many people ARE willing to admit that being a Stay At Home mom IS a job, but now that we’ve made sure to establish that, I want to address the latest conversation I saw on Facebook on the “worth of a stay at home mom.”  Someone chose to go off on one of those videos that gives a run down on what SAHMs do, what each of those jobs would cost, and then gives a grand total of what a SAHM would be paid in a perfect world.  This person took offense to that figure- apparently they get paid less than that “imaginary perfect world” number, and they needed to spout off their dissatisfaction at the ludicrousy of even the mere THOUGHT of a stay at home mom getting paid for each of the jobs they do every.  single.  day.

(Image via Yahoo)

But can I ask you a question?

Why?

Why would ANYone get offended at giving a WORTH to someone?  Why is it SO horrible to look at ALL that a stay at home does; take into account what it would cost for someone ELSE to do those jobs; and give a grand total?  To my knowledge, this video NEVER said that 1 job is harder or more important than the other.  Neither was it a call to action for all SAHMs to go on a strike (EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK!).

Nope.  All that video was doing was giving stay at home moms, like myself, that sometimes get depressed, think their job isn’t important or that they’re failures or that they aren’t contributing to society -or their families- at all, and they’re saying,”See?  You’re worth WAY more than you give yourself credit for,”

I ask you- is that bad?  Does putting a worth on the job of a stay at home mom cause YOUR boss to say,”Well, this has made me see that I’m paying you WAY too much”?

Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW there’s envy and difficulties on both sides.  I’ve been the mom who had to drop my kiddo off at daycare, worked a full shift (sometimes overtime), cried that I was a horrible mom for leaving my child, picked my kiddo up, and then had to put on the “mommy hat”- and it was HARD.  All of it.  And now I’m the stay at home mom who can’t even hide in the bathroom, and tries to talk the ear off solicitors at the door just to have some adult conversation, and cries because she worries that she made all the wrong choices that day.  Its ALL hard.

I’ll never say that 1 job is harder or easier than the other.  Every job has its perks, and every job has its pitfalls.  My perk is that I get to be around my kids all day, every day.  Unfortunately, that’s also a pitfall.

Another thing, if someone STILL thinks that putting a worth on my job is stupid-

Do you ever say to yourself,”I’m worth more than they’re paying me”?  Have you ever demanded a raise?  Have you ever gone through  a performance review and gotten less than you thought you should have for the job you do?  How about this- do you ever scoff at foreigners that get paid in a different currency?

I know I don’t receive a paycheck.  By society’s standards, I’m broke, but this job I’m doing allows my family to be what it is.  Its not worthless just because my paychecks don’t get deposited in the bank.  I get paid in kisses, hugs, messy-handed high fives, pictures of dragons, rocks, bugs, and dandelions.  No, I couldn’t exchange any of that at the bank for cash, but the money we DON’T spend on a cleaning service, fast food, a chef, ride service, nanny, day care, etc., can certainly be pulled from our account and spent on other things we need.

One last thought before you go on about your day: giving my job worth doesn’t diminish yours.

Now, go be nice to each other.  We’ve all got it hard.

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Coming to Grips with Who I’m Not

Before Pinterest- I was AWESOME.

I mean, I don’t like to brag, but I was crafty, creative, made amazing meals, was able to entertain my boys, was an amazing wife- heck, I was even pretty good and knowledgeable at running.

And then Pinterest came along.

Now, I don’t know if you know this, but unless you’re able to recreate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel using the items from your kiddo’s lunch, you’re doing a sub-par job as a mom.

I have well over 20 “boards” on Pinterest, all designed to make me a better EVERYTHING.  By all accounts, if you were to look at my page, you’d probably think,”Man- that gal is like Wonder Woman”, and you’d be wrong.  I’m a Sortasupermom, but I digress.

The funny thing was, for a long time, I spent more time “pinning” the life I wanted, and less time LIVING that life.  5,296 pins (give or take) on how to entertain my boys, and for what?  They’re currently “cleaning” their room by throwing the items at each other, and using the pillows as weapons and fort material (another thing to clean up later).  They don’t care that I pinned how to make yet another craft using hands and footprints.  Pins about new meal ideas?  They like all the old ones (plus, there are only so many mealtimes in a lifetime- I’m pretty sure I have more than I need to justify more pinning).  Pins about hairstyles?  Oh, good grief- my standard go to is the Mommy-tail, and if I EVER have any time on my hands, and I use it to style the perfect updo on myself, I give you all permission to have me committed.  Pins on how to decorate my home (ok- holding onto those) using nothing by pallets (I might have a problem there)- we don’t make enough money to even afford all the hundreds of pallets I’d need.  Oh- and pins on how to make myself a better, more informed runner- because pinning about running is JUST as beneficial as running itself, obviously.

Its hard, because I compare myself to others a lot as it is.  Facebook doesn’t help in that area, but Pinterest is the “friend” that says,”You can be that awesome, too!  Just follow these simple 6,235,728 steps (pins)…”

Everyone thinks about who they are.  Little kids are always asked what they want to be when they grow up (for the record, I’m still not an astronaut or a rock star, but I DID become a mom); adults are asked what they do for a living (for the record, the next person who tries to tell me that being a Stay at Home Mom isn’t a job, well, I might slug you- or better yet, have you watch my boys for a week and see if you need a vacation… which I won’t pay you for any of it).  And you can read articles all over geared toward teaching you how to be who you want to be.  One of the slogans for a military branch is even “Be all you can be”.

But its not often that someone is told to embrace who they AREN’T.

Coming to grips with who I’m not designed to be is kinda freeing and a tad on the terrifying side.  Its hard, because- especially as a mom- I’m told I should be able to have it all, do it all, be it all, but I’ve found that that mindset just breeds discontent with what I have and who God created me to be.  Its scary, though, to ask the questions: What if I’m NOT supposed to be the crafty mom?  What if I’m NOT supposed to be the wife that always has the perfect conversation starters and is able to “complete” her husband (answer: I actually CAN’T complete him- that wasn’t God’s design for wives, otherwise, why would we need God?)?  What if I’m NOT supposed to be Julia Child in the kitchen?  What if I’m NOT supposed to be the next Flo Jo?

What if all I’m meant to be is all I am right now?  Is that enough?

I’ve told my boys too many times to count that they shouldn’t compare their lives and our family to their friends, so why am I constantly trying to achieve perfection based on what I see according to Pinterest and Facebook?

Hopefully no one started reading this, thinking,”Oh!  She’s going to tell us her secret!”, because that isn’t going to happen, otherwise the title would be ‘How I Came To Grips With Who I’m Not- And How You Can Too!”  Even as a Christian, its hard to accept that I was lovingly made a certain way, with certain gifts, and that I don’t have ALL the gifts.

And, I most definitely don’t have the gift – nor the patience- to create lunch art.

Don’t Let Me Forget

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(Image via gagaoverbabies.blogspot.com)

As I sit here, holding your perfect little 9lb 1oz body, a million thoughts run through my mind: “Holy cow- he’s mine!” “You seem so small, but 9lbs is big- isn’t it?” “I’m a mom!  Wait- I’m a MOM?” “How am I going to do this?  I can’t even keep a plant alive.”  And then you yawn and stretch and you grab my finger as if to say,”Don’t you DARE go anywhere mom- you’re mine, and I’m yours.  We’re in this together.”  And I pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget this moment.”

I hear laughing (which is sometimes suspicious with boys), and I look in your room to see the two of you acting like whales- stretching up high while standing on the bed and “diving” onto the floor while making splashing sounds.  I grab the camera to record the moment, but deep down I know that watching a video of this years from now won’t be the same, and I pray,”Please- don’t let me forget.”

Its been a long day- it usually is when you’re a stay at home mom, or a mom at all, for that matter- and I’m watching the clock intently, willing it to move faster.  I look over to the living room and I see your 3 year old self, rocking out to The Backyardigans, complete with fantastic break dancing moves.  I think to myself,”This is what keeps me from selling you on EBay.”  You look at me, smile, and say,”Bee boop- I am a robot!”  I sigh, and pray,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

You’ve had a long day- we both have, but somehow it seems to have been harder on you.  I guess its tough being a toddler.  15 meltdowns, no nap, and a world record cry-fest, and you’re looking like you’ve gone a few rounds with a prize fighter- drained, red eyed, snot nosed, and ready to collapse.  What I wouldn’t give for you to finally pass out so I can relax!  You look at me, take take my hand, lead me to the rocker, and say in a shaky voice,”Hold you.”  I pick you up, gather your once-smallish body onto my lap, and listen as your breathing gets deeper.  I stare at your perfect face with the freckles I love sprinkled across your nose, much like your brother’s.  I can practically see the moment when your tired body finally gives in to the exhaustion, as a small smile creeps onto your face.  I breath deep, knowing that tomorrow will probably be the same as today and I pray,”Please, PLEASE, don’t let me forget this.”

You’ve got 3 older brothers with busy schedules; a busy mom and dad; and yet you smile through it all.  I can tell you’ve been watching me intently today as I’ve been cleaning the disaster that is our home, and suddenly I hear your tiny voice say,”Sit with me.”  I’ve still got floors to vacuum and counters to clean, but as I’m about to say,”In a little bit”, I realize I’ve been saying that to you all day.  Cleaning IS important, but I realized that all day I had been saying,”Cleaning is more important than you”, so I sit down.  You grab hold of my hand- much like your oldest brother did those many years ago- as if to say,”You aren’t going anywhere.”  And I don’t.  And I pray again,”Please, God- don’t let me forget.”

8 Ways to Help a Grieving Parent (and 3 Don’ts)

October-infant-loss-month-2013-e1381331575122

The 15th is Pregnancy/Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I thought about not writing anything since I’ve already written a couple of posts on my losses (HERE & HERE), but since its something I’ll never likely ever forget, I don’t see a problem with posting something again.  My losses- my kids that went to Heaven- they’re a part of me and they always will be.  Regardless of if everyone else has forgotten about them and figured I should have already moved on, I haven’t and I won’t ever “move on”.  That’s like telling an amputee,”Oh, come on- aren’t you over it yet?  Suck it up.”  People would look at you like you were insane or, at the very least, insensitive beyond belief, but for whatever reason, when you lose a child, you’re expected to learn to “deal with it” even sooner than someone who’s lost a limb.  Why do we accept the difficulties that come with learning to cope with the loss of a body part, but we give a time limit on how long it takes to get over losing a part of your heart and soul?

Every single day I wish I wasn’t a part of this club.  I think about my boys all the time ( I knew the gender of one, and -considering I have all boys now- I’m just going to guess that the other was a boy, too), and, years later, it can still feel as fresh as when I heard the doctor say,”I’m sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.”

Yeah, I know that there’s some that will point out that if I had the ones I lost, I wouldn’t have the ones I have now, but can I tell you something?  Telling me that doesn’t help- if anything, it can make me feel even more guilty. (Mom guilt is a real thing and it sucks.)  Besides, I’m a mom- I can multitask.  I can be thankful for what I have and grieve the ones I lost- AT THE SAME TIME.

I know.  Mind.  Blown.

The funny thing about the comments well-meaning individuals will say after you’ve lost a child (or anyone, for that matter) is that, most of the time, they aren’t very helpful.  So, in honor of this month, I’m going to give you a list of things you can say (and do) when someone has lost the most important thing to them in this world:

  1. “I’m so sorry.”  Simple.  Straight forward.  No frills.  No BS.  Timeless.  Its like the Little Black Dress of consoling phrases.
  2. “I’m here for you.”  And then ACTUALLY be there for them.  They need you.  Whether its a shoulder to cry on, someone to vent to, or to just sit in silence to not feel alone, they need you.
  3. “I love you.”  I’m not talking about professing your undying love and devotion during their time of grief- I’m talking about letting them know that they’re loved, even when they might be unlovable and pushing you away because they just want to hide away from the world.
  4.  “Is there anything I can do to help you out?”  And then, like #2, follow through.
  5.  “I’m bringing you dinner- what do you want?” They might say they aren’t hungry.  That’s ok.  Bring them a freezer meal (in a container they don’t need to worry about getting back to you).  They will be at some point.  Studies have shown that humans need food to survive.
  6.  “Do you want company?” Be ready to visit them if they say yes.  Don’t just say it.  If you aren’t able to, don’t offer.
  7.  If their child was out of the womb when he/she died, share memories of things you loved about him/her.  Don’t shy away from mentioning the loss.  Their child was real and alive and breathing and a part of their world.  Their child was there, and then one day, they just weren’t.  They’re feeling that loss.  Don’t ignore it.
  8.  Buy them a gift card for dinner for them to go out once they’re ready to leave the house.  A freezer full of meals is nice, but the ability to leave the place where all the memories are- words can’t express how much that meant to my hubby and I.  The loss of a kiddo- no matter how old- is hard on a marriage.  I dare say, it could be the hardest thing your marriage can go through.  A date night away to be a couple again where you aren’t surrounded by ghosts, well, its more important than you could ever realize, unless you’ve been there.

I need to point out that these suggestions can be combined in any number of ways.  Do some, all- the possibilities are endless.

Ok, mathematically, maybe not, but you get the point.  Also, grief isn’t a timeline with a point A and a point B.  A lot of people will stop checking in on them after a while (because those people feel the parents might have “gotten over it” by now), but, the thing is, that’s when things tend to get a little lonely and when you should make an effort to check in.  See how they’re doing.  Let them know you’re thinking about them.

Things NOT to say and do:

  1.  Don’t say,”He/she is in a better place now.”  Sure they are, but I wanted him here.  Are you telling me that being with me WASN’T a good place?
  2.  Don’t say,”Everything happens for a reason.”  No.  Just, no.  Now is not the time to wax philosophical.  If you say this, be ready to be slapped and watch them say,”Do you know the reason I did that?”
  3.  And, finally, do not- under any circumstance- contact them or attempt to go over there if you can’t keep yourself together.  Their loss is not about you.  This situation is not yours.  I don’t care if you’re the grandparent- it wasn’t your child so you don’t have a CLUE what they’re feeling.  They don’t need to be trying to console you and keep you together when they’re feeling lost and confused and falling apart themselves.   If you love them, get a straw, suck it up, and keep it under control.  They need you to be the calm in the middle of their hurricane.  To do anything else is selfish on your part.  Its ok to shed tears with them, but when it reaches a point where they’re telling YOU that its going to be ok, there’s something wrong there.

These are just my thoughts on it all, but considering I’m speaking from experience, I think I’m a pretty reliable source.

In closing, if you’re readng this and you’ve lost a child, my heart goes out to you.  As a nation, we only recogize the heartache bereaved parents go through for 1 month out of the year, but I know that you don’t just feel that empty feeling during October.  I wish there was more I could do than just offer up kind words, but I also know that unless I could give you back that piece of your heart you lost, there really isn’t much more I could do.

But, boy, do I wish I could give that to you.

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The “Ultra Super Secret” Secret to Parenting

Confession #305: Sometimes I want to prove to those that “know it all”, that they actually know NOTHING by giving them my kids for a week.

I’ve figured it out!

I have figured out the secret to parenting!

Do you want to hear it?

Ok, I’ll tell you.

Listen VERY carefully because if this secret gets around then grammas will lose all power to give “advice” and mothers in law will never again be able to torment their daughters in law with the “correct” way of doing things.

Now, seriously, pay attention because I have 3 kids and I grow weary of repeating myself:

The secret is to stop. 

Stop thinking there’s a secret that every other mom out there got and you were left out.  I’ve got news for you- there’s no secret club, no secret handshake, and the closest thing to a secret password is “Good night”.  Your mom and mother in law DO NOT know more than you.  Sure, they’ve had their kids- and one of them must have been amazing enough to either have grown up to be you or to marry you, but seriously, that’s where their insight stops.  Every child is different, and although they might have gotten their newborn to sleep through the night right after coming home from the hospital, breastfed effortlessly, had all of their children potty trained before they could put two words together, and were able to train all of their children to say “please” and “thank you” by the time they were 2- months, that is- it doesn’t mean squat.  #1, memories fade, and just like fishermen describing the fish that got away, mom stories tend to take on a life of their own the older their children get.  (Need more evidence about that?  Read HERE.)

Ya know, when my boys were born, they latched on the moment they popped out.  Practically jumped on the boob!

Ya know, when you were a child, I had you potty trained by the time you could walk- in fact, you took your first steps on the way to the potty!

You’re going to run into trouble if you don’t get that child to start sleeping through the night.  All my boys slept through the night from the first night they were born- 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.!

Seriously?  Lets stop the madness, shall we?  The secret to parenting- like I said, I’ve cracked the code, people- is to stop denying that its hard and to just deal.  I’m not going to continue to listen to all the advice- if you can call it such- of those that have gone on before me, for a multitude of reasons (not the least of which being that I think most of my forebearers are currently on crack).  Its usually not advice at all, but degrading comments wrapped up in a pretty packaging that shines brightly on their own parenting history.

#2-I’m my kiddos’ mom, and I know my kids and what they are and are not capable of- although someday I’ll probably come up with my own wacked out stories… oh, I’m sorry, “Mommytales”.  I know that no matter how much fun I make his bed seem, the Mini Master will still see it as a punishment and will fight with every fiber of his being to keep out of it. I know that Bug is, well, Bug, and he’s bright and funny, but he also fails to understand that his brothers are his BROTHERS, not his maids.  I know that Camo is a boy- not a patient with ADHD- and no amount of drugs is going to change that.

Well, maybe an amount, but nothing that would be good or legal.

In fact, if I was to pinpoint the ONE thing they ALL have in common?  Its that NONE of them are cookie cutter versions of either of their brothers, and I’ve had to change up my parenting style to fit each one.  Well, that, and I think the exhaustion level has increased.

These are the things that I know.

I think the main issue with parenting is when you have “those that have been there” coming to tell you everything you’re doing wrong.  It begins to make you question your own parenting skills and you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with your kids-or yourself- which actually CAN cause major problems.

I’m just all fired up because, apparently, I know nothing as a mom.  I’m doing it all wrong because my 2 1/2 year old still insists on sleeping with us and the other two are boys- active, forgetful, and rough.

And, to my amazement, not allowing any of them to die thus far doesn’t win me a mommy award.  Heck, it doesn’t even put me into the running for one!

Oh, btw, sorry if you only started to read this because you thought I knew it all.  I don’t.

However, if you’re still searching for the secret, I’m sure there are a multitude of moms, mother in laws, and Grammas out there just DYING to tell you their “secret”…