Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mom Guilt...

There it is again, that sinking feeling in my stomach, tears burning my eyes, and a general feeling of inadequacy and failure. This can also be defined as mom guilt. Upon becoming a first time mom almost five years ago I have suffered this more than I'd like, and anticipate it to come my way many more times. Today the guilt was laid upon me by a complete stranger. I receive daily digest emails of the top questions from mothers of children my age. I usually don't read them, but hey it's summer, I had some time to kill, so I clicked on one that caught my attention. A mother was distraught over her 20 month olds potty training struggles. I thought, "what the crap, already potty training?" Now I know there are several kiddos out there that potty train early. The thought of mine being able to do it is enough to send me rocking in a corner. Anyway, after reading the poor woman's post I decided to throw in my two cents. Mind you I did not at all attack her. I think I quoted something I had read that some pediatrician said about the possibility of training too early which can sometimes lead to regression. I was not not at all prepared for what happened after that. I immediately started getting responses to my posts, not kind ones either. Things like, "just because you don't care enough about your child to spend the time potty training," and "your most likely a selfish mother." Then, even though I should've known better, I asked, "Do you stay at home? As a working mother I have to be careful when I choose to potty train. I have to choose a time when I will be with my child for an extended period." Then it really got ugly because the attacks turned to the fact that I "let someone else raise my children." I know this shouldn't bother me. Again, these were strangers that I will never see or meet in my lifetime, but it got me thinking. The worst people that bring on mom guilt are other mothers. I'm aware it's not always intentional. When moms get together we are bound to talk about our children and share war stories, but sometimes those "stories" come across wrong. For example: Stay at home moms to working mothers. I work for two reasons, 1. We couldn't survive if I didn't. We are teachers for goodness sake. It's not like we're rolling in money. I do prefer my children be fed and clothed. 2. It makes me a better mother. There I said it...I know there is someone out there that read that statement and let loose an appalled gasp. Don't get me wrong, I love my girls, but if I spent every waking moment with them I would lose my mind. I prefer to fully enjoy and treasure the moments I do have with them, instead of feeling like I need to go lock myself in a closet just to have five minutes to myself. This brings me to another mom guilt issue, leaving my girls to go out with friends. Seriously people, as women we need that social time. I recently had someone tell me, she just couldn't bear to be without her children, so she declined an invitation to hang out with a group of gals. Are you kidding me? You'll wake up 18 years later and realize your baby didn't care enough about you to stick around. Then you'll be the lonely one. Oooo, I might've caused someone a little mom guilt. Sorry, it wasn't intended. Public school vs. private/home school...I think I'll leave that one alone for now. That's a whole other post in itself. Let me leave it at this, 1. I teach public school so it would be weird to send mine to private school. 2. Whatever you choose just make sure to socialize your kids. The world is a cruel place no matter what. Your job is to prepare them for it, not hide them from it. Moving on... This last one is one that might strike a chord with more than one person, all the flippen Facebook, Twitter, emails, Pinterest etc. posts! I am sure those posts of what you're doing, where you're going, what you're buying, or what you're making are all intended to show how proud you are of your little ones. It's also a great way to share ideas with others of things to do, make, and or buy for other children, but it is also a way to bring on HUGE amounts of mom guilt. It seems to be this constant reminder that I'm not doing enough "stuff" with my girls, or spending enough money. It screams at me "if you didn't work you would have time to do those things," or "if you had a different job you could buy more stuff or go on more trips." Then I have to wonder are all those posts really wanting to show proud moments, or is it a way to brag about how wonderful and perfect your life is, and "don't you wish you could be like us?" Just think about it... This is no way pointed at one particular person in particular, just some quiet observations I make in society as a whole. I could easily post picture after picture, and video after video of all the great things my kids do, but I choose to spare everyone for fear of it being held against me. Now I just threw more mom guilt at the people who post stuff all the time. Again, not intended, just think about how it might come across. I could go on and on, which I already have, but let me leave you with one final thought. As a mother just stop and think before the comment comes out of your mouth. We are all mothers. Motherhood by far is THE hardest job on the planet. We can all attest to that. Our mission should be to support each other no matter what. We are all different, and yet we have one common goal, raise children that are loving,kind, and ready to conquer this messed up world. The way we go about it, aside from causing harm, should not be up for discussion. Let's fight for each other as mothers. We are/I am working as hard as I can. I don't need anyone to make me think/feel otherwise. Put an end to mom guilt!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What if you knew?

So I meant to write this over Christmas, but I never got the chance. The thoughts still weigh on my heart and with Easter going to be here before we know it I wanted to share.
One evening a couple of days before Christmas I was holding Chloe as she slept. The house was finally quiet so I just sat in the silence staring at the precious gift that the Lord had blessed me with. I decided to listen to some quiet Christmas music and my favorite Christmas song, "Here With Us" by Joy Williams came on. As I listened to the song it began to take on new meaning for me, especially considering I was the mother of a 2 month old.
Looking down at my sleeping child I began to think of Mary and her roll in the Christmas story. Of course she was the mother of Jesus, but what great emotions did she feel as she held him for the first time? I am sure she experienced the feelings of most new, young mothers. She was most likely engulfed by feelings of love and joy, but what about fear? Not the fear of being a new mom, or the fear of giving birth as a virgin, which again is all true, but the fear of who and what Jesus was. You see Jesus was born to give his life to save the world. Can you imagine the fear Mary had as she held him for the first time and new the magnitude of his birth? In her eyes he was her son. She had to rock him, snuggle him, and feed him. As he grew she had to bandage his scrapped knees, and wipe his tears of hurt and sadness. Although he was God's son he was still a human child that experienced most everything our children experience, but with one exception. He was destined to die a horrible death to save mankind. How did Mary feel when she first looked into his small eyes and held his tiny hands? Did her joy quickly turn to fear?
What if we knew exactly when and how our children would leave us? What if we were in Mary's position? We would most likely hold our children even closer, and love them even more. For Mary her time with her son was limited, and she knew it. I imagine that first night holding Jesus tight and rocking him to sleep for the first time was even more special. As Mary held him close and smelled his sweet baby smell she soaked everyting in.
Mary was a truly special girl. I think even stronger than we give her credit for. As you hold your children don't forget Mary. What if you knew what was to come?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Where has the time gone?

As today comes to a close we are wrapping up the celebration of our beautiful baby girl's third birthday. As I kiss her goodnight and close her bedroom door I can't help it as tears fill my eyes. Where have the last three years gone?
It seems like yesterday that I first heard her tiny cries. I can still feel her in my arms and remember her sweet baby smell. Then the moment came when she opened her eyes and looked at me. Our eyes locked together and there was a peace and calm I had never felt before. In that moment she had complete trust in me. She was completely dependent on me. My life was no longer my own, but 100% hers. It was that moment that my heart was captured in a way I never thought it would be. I would never be the same again. She has had my heart ever since.
Now her tiny cries are very clear, and at times, very sassy words. Her dependence has turned to independence as she explores the world around her, and she is all to quick to let me know she can do it, and she doesn't need me. She faces everything with wonder, excitement and curiosty. It amazes me how she has changed in such a short period of time.
So as I hug her and she says, "I love you mommy, see you in the morning," my heart begins to ache. I hold her just a little tighter and I don't want to let her go. I can't help but start to pray to God, "Please slow time down." I want to savor this moment just a little longer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy and Glowing...NOT!

Throughout life I have always heard that pregnant women are beautiful.  Their skin is glowing.  There is an abundance of energy, hair and nails looks fabulous...blah, blah, blah.  So my question is, where is it and why has it skipped over me?  I am not seeing or feeling ANY of these things.  For starters it's 8,000 degrees outside.  That alone in itself makes me miserable.  Then you add on the fact that I ache constantly.  My back hurts, my ankles hurt, and everyday at about the same time I get a headache.  I am make that exhausted.  My skin is a mess and my nails are just as brittle as before.  I do not feel beautiful.  One look in the mirror reminds of that.  I overall feel angry about the whole thing.
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way angry towards the little girl that is causing me to feel this way.  I know that once I see her face all of my ill feelings will melt away, and I will most likely go through all of this again one day.  I am just saying that at this moment in time I despise pregnancy and all it brings with it.   
Right now as I type this there is one thing I am thankful for.  Thank the Lord I am not an elephant because then I would have to be pregnant for 22 months.  22 months!?  I have never felt so sorry for an animal in my life.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Worry, Worry, Worry...

One of my favorite books is Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes.  It's about a little girl that worries about EVERYTHING.  Most people would say her worries are over insignificant things that she can't change.  I find myself very connected to this book because I too worry about EVERYTHING.  The things I worry about in most people's eyes are small compared to the real problems of the world.  While people worry about "logical" things, I find myself worrying about things like nap mats and lunchboxes,.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Pretty crazy huh?  My husband worries about things like getting a new job and paying the bills, but I have more important things to worry about. 
     We have made the desicion to move our little girl Cadie to a preschool.  She has been in a small home daycare for almost three years now.  Three years which is her whole life!  This change has brought a bit of anxiety into my life.  I am filled with questions like: Is it the right choice?  What if she cries?  What if she doesn't nap?  What if she doesn't eat lunch? What if she doesn't make any friends?  Worry, Worry, Worry, too much worry. 
     On top of that I have to buy a nap mat and lunchbox for her.  Now this should be an easy task, but for me it just piles on the worry.  I want to get just the right one at just the right price, but it still has to be cute and be of good quality.  I have spent who knows how long looking at stores and on the internet for just the right one.  My husband calls me obsessive.  I call myself thorough.  It has gotten so bad that last night I tossed and turned thinking about it, and then had weird dreams of walking nap mats and luncboxes.  I am going to blame that on pregnancy hormones. 
     So my worry continues.  I'm sure that Cadie will be just fine, and in the long run she will not remember the preschool switch, or the nap mat and luncbox she has.  But what if...only time will tell.