Tag Archives: being a mom

Letting Go

6 Mar

30 Days.

What the hell?

It was a completely unintentional a 3-hour-tour-Gilligan’s-Island disappearance on my behalf. I had no idea where my motivation fell off the ship, but with the help of The Professor and MaryAnn and rest of the S.S. Minnow Crew I’m able to tap away at the keys again.

It might have been the fact that our family kept up our New Year’s Resolution and tried something completely new that inspired this post and sent me on the most anxiety-mom-crazed-roller-coaster ever. Feelings like that tend to spur inspirational writing moments.

Growth is what people call it. Parenthood, I guess.

Our new adventure last month?

Away From Home.

Letting go.

Normally my people don’t do sleepovers. It’s something that I hear other families talk about and moms share stories over the preparations, fun times, and lack of sleep. But us?

Nope.

Unless it’s family, my kids have never slept over anyone else’s house. Aunts’. Grandma’s. Cousins’.  If you’re not a blood relative my kids were not sleeping over your place. Their Dad and I are both on the same page with this. And I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we’re just like this and we’re O.K. with it.

That was until the annual Fifth Grade Outdoor Science School field trip where everyone in the fifth grade goes away for three nights and four days, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones. My son was excited to go. Looking forward to this all year. All. Year. And then neither their Dad, nor I got selected to be chaperones.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

Huge dilemma for me. BIG.

For most people this was an easy decision. But I struggled with it for weeks. Now I didn’t want to be that crazy parent … the one… that didn’t let her kid go on this trip. I didn’t want to be that one, where the kid is on lockdown and never experiences anything because the overprotective parent is watching them like a hawk and protecting them like SuperMan everyday. I didn’t want to be that parent. Even though every fiber of my being was like nope, you just CAN’T let him go. You can’t. You can’t!  

But I didn’t want to be that parent. I know that with the best intention they have sometimes this kind of parenting does more damage than good. I know this. I do.

His Dad and I discussed it.

And I opened the gates.

It’s been the hardest thing I had to do as a parent so far. First time ever.

Let go.

It felt like the first time he went to preschool or kindergarten and I was that parent peeking through the fence, making sure that one kid didn’t push my kid off the tricycle. That was me. I had flashbacks. But I let go.

Letting Go

🙂

 

He was so excited when we gave him the news that he could go. I got that thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-hug-you-so-tight hug. His sister was not that thrilled as they’re pretty close buds. And me? I was wrecked with anxiety and filled with summer camp 80’s movies and wondering if some jackass kid would scar my kid for life. Other moms seemed to have it so together, while I was losing it inside.

When the day came, we walked to the front of the school and waited. All I wished for was positive vibes and good things. I hugged him goodbye, waved as the bus drove off.

I felt the ugliness in the pit of my stomach and hoped for the best.  His sister was having a hard time with it, although I put on my Mom face and told her everything would be fine and he would get the secret letter she put in his sleeping bag and he would love it and be fine.

After she fell asleep, I completely lost it.  I felt like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption the last night Andy Dufrane was there. One of the longest nights of my life.

The next morning I realized I’m completely unprepared for when he leaves for college. I’m gonna be a complete wreck. Sobbing. Weeping. Heartbroken. I can totally imagine it. It’s going to be a disaster and this in no way prepared me. Sure I wasn’t that parent that kept her kid home and deprived him of an awesome learning opportunity, I wasn’t keeping him locked away from the world. I know he has to grow and learn and get beat up by life a little bit. But inside I soooooooo wanted to be that parent.

It was a serious internal struggle.

And in the midst of this internal battle and complete breakdown he came back early. Snowstorm in the mountains. Freak storm closing down the roads forced them to come home earlier than expected. Gone just two days instead of four.

I felt like an idiot afterward, just two days. But the anxiety was real, the worry was real, the stress, the emotions. I was battling my Motherhood worst-scenarios and he came back smiling and full of hugs.

Best hug ever.

He was disappointed that the trip ended early but grateful that he at least got the chance to go.

I ended up being NOT that parent, but I struggled every minute of it. I’m gonna need some advice from the parents out there about letting go, because I know I’m gonna have to do it again and I know I’m not prepared for it. I might be better at it the next time it comes around but I’m for sure not going to be emotionally prepared for it.

The college years will be here before I know it and that part of Parenthood is going to suck. But I guess until then I’m gonna make sure to instill lessons of strength, empathy, kindness, responsibility, resourcefulness, and humor. If I’m missing something I’m probably gonna pick it up along the way, but veteran parents out there feel free to let me know.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

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Kids … I Guess Some of Them Need Leashes.

7 Nov

We were out and about at the zoo, and I saw it. I didn’t think anything of it. I’d seen it before …  at the park, at the aquarium, at  the supermarket. Maybe I’d become immune to the insensitive nature of this new parent gadget. Maybe I was too busy trying to make this zoo adventure more exciting for my own kids to care what someone else was doing. But then I heard it.

The lady.

“What the hell is that?”

“What?”

“That. That thing  … Is that a !#%^*! leash for a kid?”

“Um. I guess. I don’t know what it’s called. I think it may be called a harness.”

“It looks like damn dog leash and it sucks. That’s just wrong. It’s wrong. The kid is not a dog. Don’t ever buy that.”

Now usually when someone tells me “don’t do this,” or “don’t do that,” I usually raise an eyebrow and tend to ignore them.

But this was pretty amusing. My dude was irate. He went on and on about the leash. He couldn’t believe it. He was getting pretty upset at this lady’s parenting skills.

Now as a mom, I try not to judge another mom’s parenting skills. We have it hard enough judging ourselves we don’t need the extra outside help. What we need is to stick together. So I really didn’t say anything. I just took a quick glance.

Every parent has a different rhythm, a different style, something that suits them, and maybe she needed this so-called kid leash to let her kid run around, instead of wanting to chase after him. Maybe she wore the wrong shoes for that. Maybe she’s suffering from arthritis in the knees and can’t make a mad dash for her kid. Maybe her kid liked the furry little back pack and it kept him mobile. Maybe it was a compromise, being able to walk around, but still having a little control over him. Maybe it was just a way of avoiding a tantrum. Maybe she didn’t want to lose her kid, although it wasn’t crowded at all today. Maybe he wasn’t feeling like cruising in his stroller. Maybe she was just being lazy. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. All I could say was that every parent is different.

We all have good decisions and bad decision, but we do what we think is best for our kids and our families. Now with that being said, would I have bought something like this? Probably not. The kid leash isn’t really my thing.

My kids run around a bit, but they always stay close. I put the fear of “the stranger” in them so when we’re in a I-can-lose-my-child-if-I-look-away-for-a-second kind of place, I usually wear running shoes and keep both eyes wide open. They’re usually holding onto my hand, but if they’re not, they tend to respond quickly to the get-over-here-right-now look or to my “mom” voice when I call their name. You know …  that “mom” voice. Most kids in our family and our friend’s families respond to this “mom” voice — even the really “energetic” ones. That’s just how we roll. So we’re not the kid leash kind of people.

But I guess it is kind of a weird thing to see, especially for dog people like ourselves. The only time we see leashes is when we’re out walking the dog. But, hey if it works for some people, it works for some people.  I tried sharing that mentality with my dude, but he just wasn’t having it. It looked like he needed some chocolate to calm down. Luckily I’m always packing.

The Initiation of the Little Guat

13 Jul

I didn’t get there last time and believe me, it wasn’t because I didn’t try. We were making all kinds of traffic infractions, but I just didn’t make it. The process happened so fast so I missed the window of opportunity.

Even though people tell you, you forget the pain, they lie. Because you recognize it when it hits your abdomen. Then comes your back. Your aching back. It’s so excruciating that profanity constantly fills the room. You try not to, but it just comes out. Even in a Catholic Hospital.

Granted everyone’s experience is quite different, but everyone feels pain, even a little. If they say they don’t, that’s probably because the drugs are working.

These pains caused me such agony that I was calling on all Gods and Powers that be to make sure I had made it in time — made it to the window of opportunity. The Epidural Opportunity.

Now I’m not a wuss, and my pain threshold is pretty high, but there was no need to test my limits. Really there wasn’t. I had gone through that entire process before and let’s just say that I’m not a fan pain. Just because I can take it, doesn’t mean I should do it again.

And yes … yes this time, the window of opportunity was still there.

But all that pain, agony, swearing, and needles shoved into my veins brought me the joys of motherhood once again. A year ago today my daughter was born, and we celebrated her initiation into The Guat Family with a little cake, a little bouncer, and a few games. Her big party, along with my son’s is on Sunday, but the memory was created today.

Trying to play some games

One year of limited sleep.

One year of 2 a.m. feedings.

One year of 6 a.m. wake up calls.

One year of washing 20 Doctor Brown baby bottle parts a day.

One year of dirty Huggies diapers.

One year of random screaming.

One year of purchasing multiple pacifiers.

One year of people trying to give me pink things even though they know I hate pink.

One year of baby-proofing stuff that is never really baby proof.

One year of vaccinations and the crying that goes with it.

One year of crying because she’s sleepy.

One year of crying because she’s hungry.

One year of crying because she’s teething.

One year of crying for no reason.

One year of losing my mind.

One year of giggles.

One year of enthusiastic screaming when I enter the room.

One year of baby dancing when she hears music.

One year of watching a brother love his sister.

One year of smiles.

One year of puppy-dog eyes.

One year of ten tiny toes and ten tiny fingers.

One year of another little Guat hanging around.

One year today.

Bedtime Battle Showdown … My Salvation: Framboise

16 Mar

Normally I’m not a raging alcoholic, but after two weeks of consecutive 13-hour days with both kids and minimal “me” time, other than the two-minute “time-out” sessions I took for myself in the bathroom, I was about to drink the two bottles of Lambic Framboise in hopes of relieving the stress from Friday Night Bedtime Battle Showdown. Normally I’d drink Patron, but I thought that’s a little too raging, Framboise a little more subtle.

When exercise doesn't cut it ... my stress reliever

In that corner: 36-pound basketball-pajama wearing three-year old accompanied by his 21-pound onesie-wearing sibling with sneaky smiles.

In this corner: The Guat, usually an upbeat sporty-spice who’s become a worn-down mom that’s accumulated more gray hairs and wrinkles this week.

If you have kids you may be familiar with battle of the bedtimes. Prior to being a guest at my mom’s house this wasn’t really an issue … maybe once in a blue moon my three-year old would act up, but I wouldn’t say it was a problem. However, recently bedtime has become such a frustrating battle  that the vein in my neck has a permanent imprint from where it bulges out.

It’s not like he refuses to go to bed. We have our routine. Always been the same. Eight o’clock comes around he’s showered and ready for some Dr. Seuss, Laura Numeroff, Sandra Boynton, Tony Mitton, Ant Parker, or Eric Carle books. After we’re done, he gets into bed all comfy, cozy, but it just takes longer for him to fall asleep.

And if I don’t get him showered on time … forget about it … He’s watching Dave Letterman. A few times he stays there awake, moving around, talking to his teddy bear until ten o’clock, sometimes later. Thus leaving me with little time to wash dishes and bottles before trying to relax in front of the television.

It’s not like I like to wash dishes. In fact it’s the chore I hate the most. Some might say just leave a dirty kitchen and let it go, but I’m the type of person that needs to have an empty sink and clean kitchen before I can relax. If only my mom believed in dishwashers, but apparently those are for lazy asses. So my hands aren’t too supple, more like the hands of a carpenter who’s been on the job twenty years.

It’s been difficult to say the least. I felt like breaking down like those mom chicks from Sex & The City 2. Have you seen this?

Yeah … but they have nannies. I have myself. I am the nanny, the cook, the diaper changer, the milk producer, the bottle-go-getter, the bath time giver, the baseball pitcher, the funny-face maker, the golf caddy, the Play-Doh creator, the dancing partner to the “I Like To Move It, Move It” song, the Lego’s construction builder, the co-pilot on my son’s imaginary airplane/fire engine/submarine that fights crime, and the dog walker. That’s me … all before lunch. No nanny. No cleaning lady. Just The Guat. 

So by the time I get to bedtime I’m just ready to have them pass out and go into a deep, deep sleep so that I can somehow enjoy television or just enjoy a quiet moment where nobody says anything … just silence.  Quiet is awesome.

So when bedtime becomes a battle or either of them just gives me issues I get so frustrated. I don’t want to be that mom that constantly tells their kid if you don’t go to sleep right now, you won’t be able to play with any cars, monster trucks, trains or sports stuff ever again! I mean it! I’ll take them to the trash.

I tried that … it doesn’t work.

I was so desperate I was about to Google “bedtime problems with three-year olds and seven-month old babies” and hope some self-help answer would come slap me in the face.

But alas … there was no super-secret answer other than some crazy note about slipping some Children’s Benadryl into their night-time sippy cups. I don’t like having crappy frustrating endings to pleasant days. Sometimes it just sucks the awesomeness out of the day.

It has to be a phase.

That’s what I tell myself, or at least that’s what I’m hoping. After the Framboise, I tell myself tomorrow will be better and he’ll get back into his normal sleeping pattern.

I hope tomorrow gets here soon. The stores are running out of Framboise.