Friday, January 28, 2011

"Peeing with the Baby"

Picking your child up from the sitter or daycare can go one of two ways. A mom can receive a good report or a bad report. At times, the bad report doesn’t even need reported when you lay your eyes on your child…they look like they’ve moved to the top of Santa’s naughty list.
I personally have yet to encounter the “bad report” pick up, but I know some of my fellow working mommies have. Some of my favorite stories are from colleagues or friends of mine who have gone before me in many of the paths I am walking or soon to walk and can laugh about the chaos that often characterizes their existence.
However, on more days than not, picking the kids up and seeing their sweet faces brings a flutter to a mommy’s heart. Nobody is able to evoke the smile like mommy can! Oh to hear the words, “She was so good. She had a great day. She is such a delight.” What mother wouldn’t want to hear this?! You listen politely thinking to yourself, “Of course. I’ve scheduled her since she was 3 weeks old, I make sure she gets a proper amount of sleep, AND I make my own baby food.” You get in the car, and begin driving home.  You’re on a high, patting yourself on the back and thanking the Lord your kids aren’t like so and so’s!
You walk into the house, put your things down, and the terror begins - high pitch screaming for no reason. Do they want to be held? Are they hungry? Is their diaper dirty? I tested this one-day. I’d place my daughter down and she’d scream…then I’d pick her up and she’d stop. The first few days she did this, I loved it. She wanted mommy…awwwwwwe. After about a week, my house was a wreck, we were further in debt due to eating out, and I had peed while holding my daughter 5 times.
Inevitably these meltdowns are on the days you thought to yourself the night before, “I’ll do that tomorrow after work.” Children know this. I’m convinced that there are certain activities that children are bound and determined never to let their mothers complete uninterrupted: cleaning, showering, cooking, eating, peeing, and sleeping. Nothing major…right?
What in the world? Why is it that kids will act one way with you and another with others? I work in a middle school…it’s inevitable that it happens, this much I know.
What is the lesson? What is God trying to teach me? I could exhaust a list of qualities that God could strengthen in me via my daughter’s after work meltdowns…but I’ve decided to boil it down to one. Just one lesson I believe God is teaching me through this particular behavior…LAUGH. Of course it happens on the days your “to-do” list only has “make a to-do list” checked off. Laugh, laugh, LAUGH. Easier said than done, yes…believe me, I know. But, If we don’t laugh, we cry…and if we cry, we won’t be able to see clearly when we need to wipe while peeing with the baby!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Isn’t it amazing how prior to becoming a parent, any sort of baby talk or voice or tone was absolutely ridiculous? And by ridiculous, I mean that you’d never stoop to doing such a thing or talk to your future child in such a manner.  You knew that you wanted your child to be reading by the time they were two and baby talk certainly wasn’t a medium to achieving such a goal.  *insert foot in mouth*
Now that I’m living parenthood, the words and phrases that pour from my well educated self astound me. If I say “Whattaya doin’ silly gal” (pronounced girl without the r) or “Nanners” for bananas or “Is you hungry?” one more time in a high-pitched voice, I’m going to slap myself. Further more, “Is you hungry?” isn’t even correct grammar.  
Another favorite is tickling my daughter while repeating….”diggy, diggy, diggy.” My husband and I actually now use this to irritate one another. If he’s making me mad, I state, “I’m going to diggy you,” and I then proceed to tickle him while saying diggy three times. What’s even more startling is that my daughter won’t really laugh unless I am saying, “diggy, diggy, diggy” and “diggying” my husband makes him laugh just as much as our baby!
In addition to the baby talk are the songs I now sing to my daughter that are highly inappropriate. Some I change the words and others I don’t. Some examples of my playlist include:
1.     “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like mine?” –changed to- “Don’t you wish your baby was as cute as mine?”
2.     “Shake that Booty”
3.     “Baby got Back” - with the words changed of course!
4.     “Rump Shaker”
5.     “Poker Face” – changed to – “Slobber Face”
Don’t get me wrong…I sing lots of appropriate songs as well. I love to sing songs in an opera voice and dance around. Everyday after work, we have a little routine. She sits in the kitchen with me as I wash her bottles, prepare her diaper bag for the next day, and cook dinner. I sing, dance, and sing some more! I adore her laugh and smile so I’ll do just about anything to get it!!
I’ve always enjoyed being goofy, but nothing compares to being goofy for your child. In the last 7 months, my husband and I…who are goofy as it is…have turned into lunatics.  We’ve danced and sung until it hurts. What joy it brings…to both of us and our sweet baby girl!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

“At least you can get them up!”

So, you’ve accepted the fact that life will be different now that you will be returning to work. The tears have moved from that reality to the reality of your new body. Granted, you’ve been thinking about this new body of yours since the moment you saw the positive sign, but it was easier to deal with when your baby was growing inside of you or when you were told, “you look great” as each person looked right through you into the face of your precious newborn.
You’ve been living in yoga pants, sports bras, nursing tanks, and jogging pants. Work starts in a few days…what are you going to wear?
Of course you figure you can slap on those pants you were wearing at about 8 weeks pregnant and go…and then you realize that the yoga pants you’ve been living in have disillusioned you on what a pair of pants is, let alone your true size.
For me, I pulled out about three pairs of pants thinking that surely they’d fit…they might be a little snug, but they’d do. I began by looking in the bathroom mirror, turning to the side, sucking in my gut, spinning around a few times, holding the pants up, and eventually and reluctantly placing my left leg in first.  My husband, sitting on the toilet, watched me. I then placed my right leg in. Great…they’re both in.  A little pull on the left, now on the right…jump, jump, pull. I say a little prayer to God and I attempt to button them, but the 6-inch separation between the button and the buttonhole proves even too much for God!! I glance at my husband with a defeated look. In an effort to make me feel better he says, “At least you can get them up!”
Oh, this new body of mine. I hate you and love you at the same time. I hate you because I again have to figure out what looks good on me. I hate you because my breasts go from supermodel to granny 6 times throughout the day and my nipples feel like they’re going to fall off. I hate you because I now understand the appeal of “mom jeans.”
fsl;dfkjas;dlfkasjdf;lskdf – that is my daughter grabbing the keyboard as I write….she reminds me of why I also love you,  oh body of mine.
I love you because the markings I now bear show the signs of a precious and unique gift sent from above. I love you because I am a mother and you helped me get there. I love you because it was worth it. I love you because…why shouldn’t I?
The unrealistic idea perpetuated by our society/media that we should look a certain way or have the body Heidi Klum had after giving birth is preposterous. Yet, we all buy into it. WHY? Let’s stop buying into it. Let’s embrace the 6-inch separation between our buttons and buttonholes and love the battle wounds of motherhood. We are mothers. Without us, the world would be nothing!! Without our guts, how would Weight Watchers survive and employ so many? We’re actually supporting the economy. So here’s to stretch marks, incision scars, muffin tops, and to just being able to “get them up!”  

PS To those of you who are adoptive mothers, your body may not bear the physical marks of pregnancy, but I know your soul does. You’ve experienced labor pains, trials, tears, hormones, and the sadness of leaving your little one as you head off to work…just as much as any mom who had the opportunity to carry her baby.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Mommy Loves You"

The alarm clock rings and your heart sinks. Never did you think you’d dread this day as much as you do. The thought to lay in bed an extra few runs through your mind, but this morning is unlike the others you’ve experienced in the past…for today is the first day back from maternity leave. You must get up NOW for there is much to do!

You begin getting ready, trying to ignore that sick pit in your stomach. It’s not like the sick pit you felt about a year ago when you were rejoicing after peeing on that stick…6 times just to be sure! At that time, the sick pit was ignorant to the turmoil you’d feel when the reality of being a working mother came true.

The moment has arrived to leave your baby, your eyes well up as you kiss that precious cheek and whisper, “Mommy loves you.” I cry as I write this now. I still kiss my daughter every morning about a million times and repeat over and over, “Mommy loves you.” It’s like I want her to know that my leaving her has nothing to do with my love for her. I have to say, however, I am blessed because I am a teacher and have a schedule that is ideal for a working mom. It doesn’t make going to work easier, but it eases my aching heart. To those who work all day and all year…I salute you.

Whether you’re a teacher or in another profession, the return to work is bittersweet. Of course we enjoy the mental stimulation and challenges we face at work, but we long to be the one whose face our sweet baby sees when they wake from a nap to eat. Some may experience guilt, whether self-inflicted or brought on by other well-meaning mothers who consistently talk about the rewards of being a “stay-at-home mommy.” I swear I’m going to flip if I hear one more time, “Being a stay at home mom is the hardest but most rewarding job on earth.” What about just being a mom in general?? Each path, whether stay-at-home or stay-at-work (a term taken from the book “How She Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-at-Work Moms”) has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. We, as mothers, do ourselves a great dis-service when we choose to judge and critique the paths of those who are simply trying to be the best mommy they can be. Whether one chooses to work or not work, breast-feed or not breast-feed, schedule or not-schedule…who cares? It is about supporting one another and lifting each other up in the face of a difficult, but rewarding job….raising kids in today’s world.

But this blog is specifically meant to speak to working moms because this is what I am. I invite, however, stay-at-home moms to read and comment. I value your input as well. I’ve been contemplating writing a blog for a while now, but was inspired to start today when a colleague of mine brought in a book called, “Milk Memos” to put in my school’s pumping room for the new nursing mommies. This is a must read for any new working/nursing mother. So, I write this blog as an outlet…a place to hear encouragement from other working mommies and to give encouragement where I can. I acknowledge my fellow working’s a hard thing to work and balance motherhood. Whether you work because you have to or because you choose to, it doesn’t matter…we all whisper, “Mommy loves you.”