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Yesterday, a random woman on Twitter felt the need to educate me on my hypocrisy regarding breastfeeding in public.  According to her, moms should be allowed to do it wherever and however they see fit.  This stemmed from a comment I made earlier in the day on Twitter.  It was not directed at her or hashtagged, so I assume she was just bored and searching for people to annoy.

What I said was “This whole right to breastfeed in public thing drives me nuts thanks to moms who have no respect for others & think they’re entitled.  Yes, you should be able to breastfeed in public, but YES you should cover up your jugs & not be an obnoxious twat about it.”  This was in reaction to a news story about mothers who harassed a business owner after he had requested a mother cover herself in his restaurant while breastfeeding.  The mother in question, according to all accounts, made no effort to hide her bare breast in full view of the patrons.

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There is a big difference between a mother trying to feed her child and a woman using her child to make a point to whoever happens to be watching.  Just because you are still breastfeeding your child doesn’t mean you are entitled to be disrespectful to others.  Having your breast fully exposed in public, especially in places with a captive audience such as a restaurant, is not okay.  I’m not suggesting moms go hide in the restrooms or in their cars to breastfeed, but I do feel they should make an effort to cover up.

My sister-in-law used one of those massive tent-like covers that completely masked everything.  I’ve seen other moms carefully use a blanket to hide certain areas so you can tell what is going on but it’s not in your face.  My issue is with the women who feel that breastfeeding is something that needs to be announced to the world.  A child should not be used as part of some twisted statement.  Even if a business owner wrongly shoos you away while you rightfully feed your child, you should have enough decency to not react by turning your child into a tool for revenge.

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Feeding your child does not make you special.  Providing the most basic of needs doesn’t make you better than anyone else or entitled to receive all sorts of special treatment at the expense of others.  Why should I have to hide my son’s eyes because some woman decides to whip out her breast at Applebee’s?  Why can’t she have respect for those around her and do it discreetly?  Why am I wrong for wanting mothers to make an attempt to not flash their milk jugs to the world?

I’m not a prude, but I’m also not okay with seeing random tits everywhere.  The “it’s natural” argument is lost on me, as a lot of things are “natural” but shouldn’t be blatantly done/performed in public.  If your true goal is to feed your baby in the best possible way, then do it.  But when your breastfeeding becomes not only an inappropriate public display, but a tool to shame mothers who choose formula and a tool to harass businesses, you’ve crossed a line.  Your baby is not a prop.

29th April 2014 PHOTO CREDIT SHOULD READ: MATTHEW PAGE Sports Direct Clumber Street, Nottingham.  Mums held a protest at Sports Direct after a woman was asked to leave the shop for breastfeeding her child.

I suppose I was called a hypocrite by random Twitter lady because I support breastfeeding in public, but I don’t support certain ways it is done.  What needs to exist is a mutual respect for each other by mothers and business owners/patrons/etc.  Mothers need to make an effort to cover so we’re not seeing nipples galore and everyone else needs to be understanding about the fact that babies need to eat on their schedule, not anyone else’s.  Moms should not be forced to hide in a dirty public restroom to breastfeed and I should not have to see nipples and giant engorged bare breasts while shopping at Target.  It’s give and take on both sides.

According to my new Twitter BFF, covering hinders lactation.  So because a small percentage of babies don’t like any type of cover whatsoever, all mothers should be able to skip using it?  I have yet to hear a good argument as to why I shouldn’t demand a bit of modesty from nursing moms.  I have yet to hear a rational reason why this angry group of breastfeeding mothers insists that frontal exposure is not only necessary to properly breastfeed, but is something the rest of us should simply deal with.  I have yet to hear a good reason why breastfeeding has to be an odd political statement instead of an act of providing nourishment to a baby.

Breastfeeding alone does not make you more woman or more mother than anyone else.  You might be the loudest person in the room but volume has nothing to do with your value.  If you want to be a good mother, be a good mother.  If you want to be respected when you feed your child in public, do so in a way that doesn’t also make you a public nuisance.  If you just want to get your knockers out and yell at passerby, no one is going to respect you or listen to a damn thing you say.  There is a way to make this whole thing a nonissue, once people get off their soapboxes, quit using babies as protest signs, stop shaming mothers, and start acting like decent human beings.

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Dear “Mom”

To my “mother,”

Since you apparently come here to read my words and frequently visit my Twitter page (in spite of your claim of not caring one way or the other about me), I figured it would be appropriate to write you a letter.  And no, it’s not slander as you say.  I’m not writing for a newspaper or a magazine.  I write for myself and welcome anyone who wants to take time to read it.  This is an editorial, if it is anything at all.  I don’t give out your personal information, I don’t post your email address so that people can harass you, and I don’t harass you myself.  If you choose to be here, it’s not my problem if you don’t like what you see.

It amazes me that someone who doesn’t care, as you say you do, is willing to spend so much time obsessing over me.  Do you know what I say to people I don’t care about and who I don’t want in my life?  Nothing.  Jack shit.  Unlike you, I don’t go out of my way to contact people who mean nothing to me.  Your hateful email was not only filled with poor grammar, but it was filled with emotion.  YOU can’t let ME go, not the other way around.  You hate that I’m doing so well.  You hate that I’m raising an amazing kid without your help.  You hate that I’m flourishing and growing.  You hate that I’m not an overweight slob like you were at 32.  You hate that I’m not 100% dependent on a man for my survival like you are.  You hate that I still matter to you, so you seek to bring me down so I’m just as miserable as you are.

You can consider me your godless whore of a child if you wish.  Funny, because I’m fairly sure that as a Christian, you are meant to have the belief that only God can judge.  You have no business damning me to hell as you do.  How well do you think you’ll be judged at the pearly gates for the way you treat me?  Where in the Bible does it say that it’s acceptable to throw stones at your own child?  Your faith is so twisted and perverted that it can hardly be called faith at all.  Luke 6:37 states “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  For someone who claims to be so religious, you sure as hell have no clue what you’re talking about.  Maybe you should read the Bible a tad more closely before you think about writing me another letter.

You have treated me like garbage for as long as I can remember.  You love to project this image of being a loving mother and devoted wife, but we both know the truth.  I can remember being three years old and having you yank my hair back and tell me “this is all your fault” after you got into a verbal altercation with my father.  I remember you slamming a door in my face, causing one of my teeth to fall out.  I remember all the things you try to deny and have probably forgotten about.  You never wanted me as your daughter, and that’s fine.  Pushing someone out of your body does not make someone a mother.  You didn’t become a mother until you had your son, your shining star.  You made it obvious that he was the golden child and I was a mistake.  And no, I’m not bitter.  I am lucky enough to have a mother in my life now who loves me to pieces.  My mother-in-law is a saint and I am endlessly thankful to have her.  She has shown me what a mother truly is.

Your threat to me to share all my dirty secrets with the world is such a silly threat.  Feel free to lie away.  Try and convince the world that I am a terrible person.  Open the closet and let all the skeletons out.  I don’t care.  If anyone wants to believe the words from a bitter old woman, let them.  I know the truth and deep down, so do you.  Anyone who chooses to believe your bullshit is clearly as unstable as you are, and therefore their opinion does not and will not matter to me.  If telling people how awful I am cures your loneliness for a moment, have at it.  If sharing stories about what a mess you think I am makes you feel better about yourself, go for it.  The only people who will buy into your crap are people who are just as damaged as you are.

My son is finally old enough to see what lies underneath your mask.  When he returned from his summer visit, one of the first things he said to me was how mean you are.  Without me even bringing you up, he told me how little he enjoys being around you.  He expressed his desire to never see you again and to only see my father.  He doesn’t understand why you speak so cruelly about me.  And no, before you throw another accusation at me, I do not tell him what I really think of you.  I have no desire to put my child in the middle of a petty battle.  YOU have put him there.  You carelessly threw my child in an uncomfortable place and now I have to try to pick up the pieces and make him understand that everything is okay.  Your spiteful attitude is affecting my child, and I’ll be damned if I let that continue.

Corinthians 13:4-7 states “Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; is not proud; is not conceited; does not act foolishly; is not selfish; is not easily provoked to anger; keeps no record of wrongs; takes no pleasure in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”  I’m sure as an avid reader of the Bible and a good Christian, you’re familiar with those verses.  (Yes, that is laced with sarcasm)  You don’t know what love is.  You have perverted and twisted the meaning of love to fit your warped view on the world.  You don’t love my son, you see him as a tool in your arsenal.  You use him to try to hurt me, just as you use everyone else in your life.  On the positive side though, knowing that you don’t have the faintest idea what love is makes me feel a hell of a lot better about the fact that you never loved your own child.  Monsters aren’t capable of such deep emotion.

I don’t hate you.  I nothing you.  The only reason you ever enter my mind is because my son has the unfortunate luck to be stuck with you a few times a year.  If not for that, you would never be so much as a whisper on my lips.  You are damn lucky that you married such a wonderful and understanding man, otherwise you would be doomed to die alone in an empty room with no one around to mourn the loss.  I have tried so many times to repair our relationship until I finally realized that there is no point in reasoning with a soulless person.  I will wake up tomorrow and the next day with a clear conscience.  You are the one who has to wake up and fight against the weight of the terrible things you have said and done.  Good luck with that.

Mother Of The Year

My parents and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on much.  My relationship with my father has improved over the years, but my mother refuses to make any effort to reconcile with me and seems content in acting as if she does not have a daughter.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the luxury of severing ties completely, as they have grandparent visitation rights to see my nearly eight year old son.  This is generally not an issue, as most visits are local ones with just my father, but two or three times a year, my son goes down to Georgia to visit with them both for an extended time.  Recently, they had their two week summer visit in Georgia and my son came back with quite a few stories.

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The first story was one I’ve heard before.  My mother has been telling my boy that I am going to hell.  My mother was never big into church until my little brother got very religious and started playing drums in the church band.  Since then, she began reading religious texts and talking about God quite frequently.  A few Christmases ago, she sent me a letter with a bit of scripture and notes describing what a terrible person I am.  It was something she also did before I moved away; highlighted bible verses with notes on why those words meant I was a bad person.  It was something I just had to get used to and learn to ignore.

My son recently let me know about her now telling him that his mother will be going to hell.  In his words, “Grammy said that you’re going to the bad place downstairs because you’re not a nice person.”  I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was.  For a grown woman to tell this to an impressionable child simply blew my mind.  This is the same woman who gave me all my baby photos and memorabilia about a year ago with a note about how she didn’t “need this stuff” anymore, so I definitely get that she despises me, but I could not believe that she stooped so low as to bring my child into this.  This resulted in a very uncomfortable conversation with my boy.

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Thankfully he understands (I think) that she is talking nonsense.  My mother-in-law is very religious and by comparing her to my mother, my boy was able to see that no one who believes in God should be talking in that way.  He was able to see the difference between a loving person and one who is just confused and bitter.  I hope that he truly does get it and isn’t walking about thinking that his own mother is doomed to burn for all eternity.  At this point, he is old enough to see that she isn’t the nicest person in the world and he has expressed freely that he doesn’t enjoy his time with her; he prefers visits with just my father where he doesn’t have to listen to poisonous words about his parents.

This morning, my boy let me in on a bit more of what my mother says when I’m not around.  According to him, my mother says that I “stole him from her while she was at work” when he was a baby.  It’s pretty damn difficult for me to steal my own child, but I know that she is referring to the time when I decided to leave Georgia in order to begin a life with my husband in Indiana.  We packed up my belongings and hit the road while my mother was at work in order to avoid her interference.  The stealing part is odd, as both my parents knew about my husband and my plans and knew exactly where I was headed.  They simply didn’t like it.

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I didn’t leave them behind due to some selfish reason or out of spite.  I left because my son and I needed to be in a healthy environment so we could flourish.  I needed to get my child away from the woman who tried multiple times to get my son to call HER mother instead of me.  The woman who physically abused me and might do the same to my son.  The woman who fights with poisonous words as she seeks to make others as miserable as she is.  The woman who refuses to take medication to fix whatever is mentally wrong with her as she falsely accuses me of being bipolar.  My life has been fantastic since leaving and she hates that.

I don’t consider myself to be a bad person, especially not in the way my own mother views me.  Yes, I’m an atheist, but I’m not trying to mold my son into a godless person as well.  He believes in God and likes the idea that we go to heaven when we die, and I don’t try to break that belief, I simply tell him about all the various things that people choose to believe in so he can make his own decision.  I’m not on drugs or drinking to excess, wasting my life away on substance abuse.  I sure as hell am not bipolar and “off my medication” as she claims.  I’m not damaging my son, who is at the top of his class, incredibly curious and eager to learn, and one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet.  I’m not the best mom, but I’m a damn good one and my son knows it and loves me for it.

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Every child needs to choose their own path once they reach adulthood, and there is a pretty good chance that the path won’t be one that the parents imagined.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If my mom had her way, I’d be married to this little shrimp of a guy (because his parents are rich as all get out), living in Georgia as a housewife and raising two or three children, going to the salon weekly, and prancing around town like a little princess with my gorgeous children and my wealthy husband.  The fact that I passed up Mr. Money Bags in favor of a man I love who doesn’t make six figures is incredibly confusing to her.  The improvements I’ve made in my life mean nothing to her because I didn’t do things her way.

Right now, I’m not sure what my next course of action is in order to get her to stop trying to confuse my child and make him think his parents are terrible people.  Reasoning with this woman is next to impossible and due to her health issues, my father is reluctant to interfere and stress her out.  Going back to court is definitely an idea in order to get visitation reduced so that he has less time around her, but that is complicated and timely and sure as hell didn’t go my way the first go round.  I just know I’m going to have to do some serious thinking to solve this because I do not want my son caught in the middle and forced to listen to lies out of the mouth of a broken woman.

Growing Up

There comes a time in every child’s life where they have to step away from their parents, leave the safe haven under their wing, and truly become an adult.  It doesn’t happen when you graduate high school and turn 18; leaving the big yellow bus behind and acquiring the ability to buy cigarettes does not make an adult.  It doesn’t happen when you move out; one can get their bills paid and hold down a job while still relying heavily on good ol’ mom and dad.  It doesn’t happen when you snag a highly successful and well paying job; money and success are both great, but they don’t always go hand in hand with growing up.  In order to fully enter adulthood, one has to stop using mom and/or dad as a crutch to lean on for every little problem that comes their way.

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That isn’t to say that a child must cease to rely on their parent(s) for everything ranging from a bit of emotional support to getting a ride to the airport before a vacation.  Grandmas are great babysitters, moms are fantastic listeners, and dads are incredible problem solvers; it makes sense to go home and get help when needed.  The problem arises when you’re picking up the phone every single time your car breaks down and calling only one number:  mom and/or dad.  Because you know they will not hesitate to help, they become the solution to your problem of having a junker for a car.  You don’t see a reason to repair the vehicle because mom is a few button pushes away and she’s 100% reliable.

As a teenager or a broke college student, it’s perfectly fine to take advantage of your parents a bit and let them bail you out of bad situations.  As an adult, you need to be able to bail yourself out.  Dad should not have to “loan” you gas money every time you come to visit because you forgot your wallet, overdrafted your account, or forgot to factor the cost into your weekend budget.  Mom shouldn’t be used as your personal (and free) daycare service while you work your night shift.  They shouldn’t be doing your laundry, packing your lunches, running your errands, or paying your bills.  When you reach adulthood, you have to stop using your parents as the solution for all that ails you, and you definitely have to stop with the “poor me” routine that makes every soft-hearted parent cave to your wishes.

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It makes me sad to see someone I care about get taken advantage of by their child, who is older than me and who carries themselves as a very mature and well-adjusted individual.  I’ll be 32 soon and I spent quite a few of my earlier post-18 years relying heavily on my parents for certain things.  I put my first car in my father’s name to keep payments low and stayed on his insurance so my rate was low as well; even though I made the payments, I was still being carried.  I didn’t start paying my own cell phone bill until I was 20, then got back on my parent’s plan after I had my son and couldn’t afford a plan on my own.  I let them buy me groceries, gas, and other things I either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to spend my “fun” money on.  But eventually, as it always should, the time came to cut myself off and learn to live without using their help as a backup plan for everything.

I got criticized for putting my son in daycare when he was slightly over a year old because it was “too soon,” but it was necessary.  Not only did it help him socialize, but it allowed me to stop waiting tables and bartending at night and go out to get a real job with the normal schedule I would need when he eventually started school.  Having him in daycare meant I was no longer relying on my mother to play babysitter while I was away.  My husband and I currently ask his mother to take the boy here and there (we have a three day Chicago trip upcoming where she will be watching him) but we would never ask her to become a scheduled caretaker for him, be it full or part-time, because it’s unfair, inconvenient, and not something a responsible adult would put on a parent’s shoulders.

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Most people would put their foot down after a while and tell their kid to knock it off and deal with it on their own.  Unfortunately for the person in my life, she is far too kind to even consider this so she is at the mercy of her demanding child.  Today, she was making phone calls and doing research for her child (who is sitting at her house and doing nothing) days after her child screwed up royally and had her chauffeuring her around town to deal with some other nonsense brought on herself.  She has been sleeping on the couch for over a week so her child can have her bed.  While her child’s spouse is at work (working 24/7 apparently), she is bending over backwards and then some for her child and has been working double overtime for nearly two years now.  She does her child’s laundry, packs lunches, cares for the kid, does the grocery shopping, cooks every dinner, loans out her cars, and caters to every whim (be it as small as wanting chicken for dinner or as large as fixing a legal situation for her child).  It bothers me tremendously.

An adult doesn’t ask these things of their parent.  An adult may take up their mom’s offer to provide full time help when a baby is born, but they must say enough is enough after a couple of weeks and give their mom a break.  Dad can treat you to lunch once in a while, but he shouldn’t be your go-to meal ticket.  As an adult, YOU should be treating your parents here and there; pay for their lunch, cut their grass, get the oil changed in their car, or offer to buy on the next shopping trip when they try and pay for the whole purchase.  Growing up means a lot of different things, but one of those things must be to let go of the dependence on mommy and daddy and truly become your own person.

Baby Boy No More

My boy turned seven years old back in August, started first grade this year, and has a new fact learned daily from either school or from simply being curious and observant.  He’s begun rushing upstairs as soon as we get home from school to dive into a project with his Legos, something artsy while hovering over his desk, or a game on his Sega.  He’s getting to the point where I can trust him to eat breakfast unsupervised while I try to make myself look somewhat decent for work and getting much more vocal about his morning preferences.  He’s funny, opinionated, clever, and growing up fast.

It seems so recent that he had a binky in his mouth and was afraid of just about everything, reluctant to try new things or venture off on his own.  On the 12 hour drive when we moved, he screamed so loud during the last stretch that I half expected my husband to leave us by the side of the road and run for his life.  A gate was installed by the stairs so he wouldn’t tumble down as he ran around the house like a crazy person.  He pooped in the bathtub.  He was a handful and needed constant supervision.  Now, I can mostly trust him to take care of himself so long as I’m nearby.  His birthday was the first time I allowed him to roam free (for the most part) in Chuck E Cheese as opposed to shadowing him nonstop.  It’s an odd adjustment.

I’m excited that he’s growing up and I’m thrilled to have him acting more independently and discovering the things he loves to do, but it’s strange to me to not be needed as much as I once was.  I don’t have to dress him, to sit in the bathroom while he plays in the tub, to panic about his safety when he’s on the playground, or brush his teeth for him because he has yet to figure it out.  I barely even have to fight him to go to bed now; when he is ready to go, he tells me it’s time.  The mommy jobs I’ve gotten used to are no longer necessary.

I think this is the time I’m meant to go baby crazy and beg my husband to get me pregnant so I can have another little tiny helpless being to care for.  However, with as much as my sister-in-law overloads me with baby information, I don’t have baby fever.  I don’t want to pop out a kid because I miss my son being little, I just want to know that I still matter now and will continue to matter when he’s a teenager and hates me for being lame and annoying.  I want that little dude to love me now and in the future as much as he loved me when he couldn’t speak.

I worry because of how well he picks up on things now.  When I’m tired and fed up with work, he’ll ask for something by first saying, “Mommy, I know I’m annoying, but….”  I don’t want him to think I’m annoyed at HIM.  Though I sometimes am, I hate the fact that he’s picking up on my stress and assuming it’s because of him.  I don’t want him to think I don’t love him and only think of him as a chore that is never complete.  I want him to know how much he has made my life better; compared to the way I was living prior to him, I have found incredible success.  While he’s too young to fully understand everything now, I hope that a part of him knows what a positive effect he had on my life by being born.

Part of me doesn’t believe he’s been with me for seven years now.  That I (with the help of my husband and momma-in-law) managed to raise an intelligent, loving, sensitive, and hilarious little boy who is somehow not screwed up like his crazy mom and his off the wall dad.  For all his mistakes, he is incredibly well-behaved; I see kids in public acting like animals and am so grateful that I don’t have a feral child who is out of my control.  I’ve learned from the mistakes of my parents and have refrained from trying to buy his love or be hateful like my mother with horrible words and cruel punishments (not that it crosses my mind to treat him that way) or to push him into activities he wants no part of.  I’m nowhere near being a perfect parent, but I’ve managed to make it for the last seven years.  I just hope he knows how much I adore him and that even when mommy is mean, it’s out of love and a desire to make him into a great man one day.  But not too soon.

Mother’s Day The Right Way

The first mother’s day I can remember involved me getting up extra early and sneaking down the hall to our kitchen while my parents were still asleep.  I grabbed a platter from the cabinet and stacked it with napkins, a handmade card from the night before, and a fake flower I borrowed from the floral arrangement sitting on the dining room table.  With all the culinary skill of a four year old, I constructed a cheese sandwich on white bread, cut into fourths, and a cup of tap water, bringing it to my mother for breakfast in bed.  In the years following, mother’s day was always a day centered around mom with my brother and I doing the bulk of the work in order to show mom how much we love and appreciate her.  There were school projects and crafts that were brought home, allowance that was spent, and a lot of whispers of “I hope she likes it” between my brother and I.

In 2005, I became a mom and had my first real mother’s day in 2006, although my son was still too young to realize what it was.  As he got older, he began bringing home various works of art for me from school and started working on homemade cards and other cute gifts for me with the help of my husband.  This year I asked him to please behave himself at school as a gift, so hopefully I receive that for the remainder of his school year.  My husband participates as well in the gift giving, getting me little things that will be marked from my son that he’ll be able to give to me.  He never goes overboard, which I greatly appreciate, and always skips the flowers and jewelry.

Mother’s day is a day for moms to be appreciated by their children.  It’s not a day for dad to rush out and drop big bucks on diamonds and roses, not a day to make reservations at some fancy restaurant where you’re never sure of which fork to use, and not a day for the entire family to put mom on a pedestal and kiss her ass for 24 hours.  It’s a day for the kids to step up and do some chores to give mom a break, for dad to allow her to sleep in an extra hour or two, to say thank you for the countless things she does that she generally is never thanked for.  It’s not about how much cash you can drop on her gifts, but about the gestures you make throughout the day to show you care.

No holiday out there is safe from being over commercialized, especially not mother’s day, but that doesn’t mean you need to fall prey to the Jared ads and expect to receive an overpriced heart pendant to say “Hey, thanks for popping out my offspring and putting up with their nonsense.”  You don’t need to compare notes with the other moms at work or school on Monday to see who got what from their family and you definitely should not feel jealously or envy if you didn’t receive a giant bouquet like mom-of-the-decade over there or a huge diamond ring like Miss Prissy down in accounting.  If your kids woke up and hugged the hell out of you, then did their own laundry and made their beds without being asked, take that as a major victory and put a smile on your face.

Any idiot can spend money, so the dollar value of whatever you end up receiving or giving on mother’s day shouldn’t matter at all.  What matters is what you do with your day.  Treat your mom (or the mom of your kids) with love and respect, give her a break, handle the dinner preparations, keep the kids from fighting, let her do what she wants to do, and say thank you.  Don’t complain when she wants to watch her favorite movie for the hundredth time, give her some Xbox time, and walk the dog so she won’t have to.  Make her feel like the luckiest mom on the planet and make sure it’s centered on the kids doing things for their mom.  I promise it can be done without overpriced bracelets, a dozen roses, and a five course meal at some stuffy restaurant.

Early Retirement

Kids are funny little creatures.  They come into this world as tiny bundles of love and joy, little beings that people will call adorable even if they bear a closer resemblance to a frog than they do a human child.  Behaviors we find offensive in adults become cute when performed by a baby; who hasn’t let out an AWWWW at a baby’s burp or fart, or at least heard someone else do so.  We marvel when their tiny fingers wrap around one of ours, we stare intently at their eyes as they wander around the room, and our vocabulary becomes reduced to wittle cutesy baby words.  Oh yes it does!

And then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, they begin talking to us as an actual human being.  The “mama” is replaced by “mommy,” little grunts and moans become “I want juice” or “give me that.”  The terrible twos are upon you and your little bundle of joy suddenly becomes a screaming banshee worthy of their own horror movie.  Parenting websites and magazines will give you all sorts of advice on how to handle your child, fellow parents will give you a ton of advice as well, and almost all of it will fail miserably.  Questioning your worth as a parent happens far too often than it should.

Somehow, by some miracle, you get a handle on things and it seems to be smooth sailing.  You review all the ways your own parents succeeded and failed and promise yourself to never repeat the silly mistakes they made.  You will do it better because you are determined to learn from their mistakes.  If only it were that simple.  I was once told that I would have a child twice as naughty as I was to my own parents and I always dismissed it as one of those silly things old people say to make themselves feel better.  Little did I know that my cutie pie would be biting, hitting, throwing chairs and toys, and driving his poor daycare providers up the wall.

It seems as though every time we overcome one obstacle, such as the biting, we are presented with a new one.  I never would have expected my little man, who everyone compliments on his wonderful manners, to be calling his kindergarten teachers annoying and insisting he doesn’t have to listen to them.  I never would have pictured him stomping on boxes or knocking his chair over because he doesn’t want to go to the library or clean up his mess.  Things he wouldn’t dream of doing at home have become common activities in school and I’m at a loss as to what to do to fix it.

I’m one incident away for filing for early retirement from motherhood.  I feel torn in two; one part of me wants him to enjoy his childhood as much as possible and not endure the horrible groundings I endured, but the other part of me wants to be strict and raise him right so he can be the best he can be as an adult.  I can’t seem to find a middle ground that is satisfactory and covers both areas sufficiently.  At the end of the day, I feel as though I failed.

I suppose that is all part of being a parent and I suspect that I really am doing all that can be done.  I know my husband is right when he says I can’t give in and let him off easy just because I feel like a jerk because then he learns nothing, but I still feel like a jerk.  I keep hoping things will get easier and I’ll figure out the big mystery behind being a successful parent and raising a child the right way, but if I’m being honest with myself, chances are there is no big mystery.  Every little kid is different and brings about different challenges and different victories.  I often feel as though I have it worse off than anyone, always forgetting that there are millions of moms feeling the exact same way I do.  I’m hoping I can stop blaming myself, take a few deep breaths, and wake up tomorrow ready to face whatever nonsense my son comes up with.

Angry Wives Society

I was browsing CNN.com yesterday when this articlecaught my eye.  The heading read Why We Get Mad At Our Husbands.  As someone who is happily married to a sometimes difficult man, I couldn’t resist checking it out.  The article stated that “46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more” and mothers “with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent).”  It also states that mothers get angry that their husbands seem unable to multitask when it comes to the kids, don’t help with the chores or create even more work when they try to help, take too much time for themselves and not enough time for the family, and don’t act like an equal partner.  44% of mothers are reported as saying that “dads often don’t notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids.  We hate that we have to tell them what needs to be done, that they can step over a basket of laundry on their way to find the remote control.”

I will admit, I found myself relating to a few bits of this article.  I expect my husband to know what needs to be done and to help without asking while he expect me to ask for assistance if I feel overwhelmed and want him to give our boy a bath or throw something in the washing machine.  I wouldn’t consider myself a part of the 44% who think their spouse doesn’t notice what needs to be done, but I can sympathize with the frustration of having to ask for help or point out things needing to be done.  It’s a problem that doesn’t need to be one though when you marry someone responsible and who exists on the same page as you.  I may find myself annoyed that my husband can’t sense when I’m overworked and doesn’t automatically jump up to help me, but is that really his fault if I’m too busy storming around the house to ask for a helping hand?  On the surface, moments like this make me feel anger towards him, but in reality I’m angry at the pile of various housework facing me and I’m willing to bet that a good deal of women who reported anger towards their spouse can say the same if they’re being honest with themselves.

Women and men are wired quite differently and it definitely shows when you put my husband and I side by side.  We tackle chores differently and choose different orders and ways to do things.  I prefer to come home from work and immediately tackle what needs to be done so I can get it out of the way while my husband likes to take some time to relax and get in comfortable clothes, unwinding before getting his hands dirty.  He likes to write down a list of everything he wants to accomplish and I choose to play it by ear and hopefully remember all that needs to be done.  We have different ways of washing dishes and clothes, different methods to bathe and feed the boy in the best manner possible, and different directions in which we tackle cleaning and disinfecting various rooms and areas.  If you haven’t guessed, the key word here is different, not unequal or unbalanced, just different.  The key to a peaceful household isn’t being with someone who does as you do but to be with someone who succeeds in the areas you fail and who fills your gaps, allowing you both to operate at 100% as a unit.

It comes as no shocker that the article reports about half of the mothers out there find themselves getting irate at their hubby at least once a week and I’m sure the men can say the same about their wives.  Marriage and parenthood have its downsides that come with all the good and one of those includes being fed up with the person you’re with.  My husband will freely admit that he sometimes goes out of his way to drive me a little batty, mainly because it’s pretty easy to do, but it’s one of those things that will happen whether you intend it to or not.  The best thing us females can do is to ensure we’re picky about who we choose to cohabitate with.  I married someone who is even more germaphobic than I am and who only knows what lazy means on Sundays, someone who doesn’t slack off or procrastinate (too bad) and someone who is committed to getting the most out of life.  It’s the reason I’m a member of the happy half of wives and the reason I have little sympathy for the angry ones out there.  Know what you want and make sure you have it before you even think about adding marriage and children to the equation, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for many upsetting days in your future.

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