Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "Those Moms" Myth

So often we, as mothers, heck as women, base our feelings about ourselves on a quick comparison to the other women and mothers around us. We view that ten minute interaction with them, and then continue to compare ourselves to it (typically negatively) for the rest of the day. Why do we do this to ourselves? Surely we know that what we're seeing can't possibly be the real them? Don't we? I realized during a conversation with my sister the other day, that I just might be one of "those moms" to a few women I know. Heaven forbid anyone think I'm a Super Mom. I'm here to tell you it's all crap. C-R-Aaaaa-P. To prove it, I'll be the first one on the chopping block:

Things That Other Moms Might See:
*I make my own bread.
*I sew.
*I cook a real dinner everyday, basically from scratch.
*My girls always have bows in their hair.
*I always have makeup on and my hair mostly done.
*I celebrate the minor holidays with my kids. St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras, that sort of thing.
*I blog regularly.
*When the need arises, I can do all sorts of other crafty things.

Now, let's take a look at that list again...

*I make my own bread.
(and somehow manage to under-cook, over-cook, or otherwise bungle it up regularly.)
*I sew.
(and would be lying to say I haven't cursed at my machine more then once while doing it.)
*I cook a real dinner everyday, basically from scratch.
(and somehow manage to burn, over-salt, under-salt, or over-garlic it regularly, not to mention it doesn't really matter what I put on the table, my kids aren't touching it with a ten foot pole.)
*My girls always have bows in their hair.
(and scream the entire time I'm putting them in, causing me to scream back at them. Oh, and if you ever see us at home versus out and about, chances are not only will they not have bows in, but they'll most likely be naked too.)
*I always have makeup on and my hair mostly done.
(that would only be because I reeealllly don't like how I look otherwise. That and I have the skin and hair of a greasy, mid-puberty teenager)
*I celebrate the minor holidays with my kids. St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras, that sort of thing.
(which, really, is only to give me something to fill up my very blank schedule with. My husband has his work projects to work towards, I have Cinco de Mayo.)
*I blog regularly.
(and spend waaaay too much time on the computer doing other things that don't fit in the "it's okay because it's an electronic journal" category.)
*When the need arises, I can do all sorts of other crafty things.
(and my house, routine, and children go entirely to pot for the week of said craft.)

...not only all those other things, but I yell at my kids...a lot, actually. Not only do I yell at them, but some days I long to return them to the counter in exchange for my pre-baby boobs, belly, and schedule. In fact, (dare I say it?) there are a lot of days where I really don't even like them, like at all. My house is nearly always a mess. Not just the "oh, don't look close, because I swear I have cookie crumbs on my spotless floor" sort of mess, more like "it qualifies as a national disaster, let's call in the National Guard" sort of mess. I nearly never dust and only scrub my bathtub when it's really, really gross. I live on string cheese during the day because I'm too harried to eat. I never exercise (and only manage to lose the baby weight because of the aforementioned string cheese diet). My kids are picky brats who manage to get away with murder all too often. In fact, during everything on that silly list up there, there's a good chance that my house is a mess and I'm yelling at my kids while doing any of them. Let's look at a few of the other moms I know:

Mom 1:
Has absolutely gorgeous kids that she dresses to the nines. Hair combed, curled, the whole she-bang. Not only are her kids gorgeous, but she's gorgeous. In fact, her house is gorgeous too. Yep, she's definitely one of "those moms".
(and her kids watch too much TV, she hates cleaning, spends a heck of a lot of time getting her and her kids ready to leave the house, yells at her kids a lot, and doesn't like to cook dinner if it involves more then 3 ingredients.)

Mom 2:
Manages to beat us all with having 4 fabulous children. They're adorable and always put-together. Oh, and her house...absolutely spotless.
(and she sometimes daydreams of stuffing all her children in a small box under her bed....and then leaving for the beach to go lay in the sun and read a book. The occasional
curse word? yep, she says it. And you guessed it...she yells at her kids too.)

Mom 3:
Has an adorable child, is always unruffled and patient, just a very put-together, on top of it girl. Not only that, but she's writing a book and has a small online business.
(...actually, I haven't figured out Mom 3's weaknesses yet...but because she's human, I'm absolutely positive she has some of them).

My point is not to point out the flaws of other moms, but to remind us all that they have them in the first place. Chances are, that those women that you're comparing yourself to are comparing themselves to half a dozen other women that too. Heck, you're probably one of the moms she's comparing herself negatively to too. None of us are perfect, none of us are Super Moms...actually, scratch that last statement. We're ALL Super Moms, simply because we show up each morning (especially if it's at 2:00am for nursing) and give ourselves to our children all day long. We breathe, sweat, cry, live for our children. We have the single hardest, most important job on earth because their world really does depend on us. So, instead of beating ourselves up, let's just try to build each other up, remembering that we're all in this together and we're all just trying to do our best. So, next time you see one of "those moms," instead of making faces at her in your head, give her a big ol' hug because she's probably having a bad hair day and has spit-up down her back.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I've decided my body is a defect. I lamented to my husband that he should return me. He just looked at me like I'm crazy. Why am I defect? I can't nurse, and as you've learned from previous posts, I can't give birth either (not without the wonderful technology of c-sections). Maybe I should back up a little bit.

I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding. Besides the obvious convenience and savings (my milk is free versus formula), breastfeeding is so good for your baby. When my son was born we wasted no time in breastfeeding. I hadn't even been removed from the surgery room when we tried our first attempt. I'll admit, as many first time Moms will, that it was rough at first. He wasn't latching on right and I was completely unprepared. Nevertheless, I trudged through it. After a couple of months I was a nursing-pro. Then the crying started. He would just cry and cry. I was already on a no-dairy diet, the pediatrician had prescribed Zantac for his acid-reflux, and I was doing everything I could think of. My friends reassured me that it was just a growth spurt and it would soon pass. His 4 month check-up proved something else. My little boy was losing weight - I was unknowingly starving him. Now it was my turn to cry. By six months old I had completely dried up and my son was exclusively on a bottle.

This time I promised myself it would be different. I called in the lactation nurse while I was still in the hospital to make sure my baby girl was latching on right and I remembered everything correctly. I promised my husband I wouldn't exercise for the first six months and I would keep my calories up. If I was hungry I ate, even if it meant going for yet another cookie. It might not be the best option, but it was at least calories. I would force myself to have a snack before bed. My husband bought me an electric pump so I could pump when she decided to sleep for long stretches of time. By one month I started seeing the signs... I was drying up. My OB prescribed medicine, I sought out natural remedies. I've done it all. Increased calories, water, taken marshmallow root and sarsaparilla, tried pumping in between feedings, and eating potatoes and celery (a remedy I learned from my French friend). Still, yesterday found me close to tears as my little girl cried for more and I had nothing more to give.

I found myself spilling my frustrations to a friend, who reassured me that it was not my fault. Turns out, she has the same problem. It's so hard watching all of my other friends nurse for as long as they want (or the child wants). It's hard hearing the comments of "well, I nurse my baby" or seeing the judging looks as I hand my child a bottle. It's hard hearing that I just need to try harder and receiving advice from people who have simply read some article on the internet. As I spoke with my friend I realized that I wasn't the only one out there who has this problem. I've also realized that there is no reason to fight the course my body is naturally taking. Maybe I'm not a defect after all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

my favorite celtic crap

In honor of my very favorite green day (sorry Earth Day), I'm sharing you with my favorite Irish* band, Flogging Molly. I know, I know, to many of you U2 fans *cough*spencer*cough* that's blasphamy...but still true. I love 'em because they're fun, they're fresh, I have a thing for accents (what girl doesn't though, reeeally?)...not to mention the fact that, growing up, I was forced to listen to hours upon hours of my dad's favorite music, which I fondly referred to as "celtic crap," so I suppose one could say it's influenced my musical preferences. Without further ado, I give you two of my very favorite Flogging Molly songs:

ps-sorry, there are no actual videos, just the song.

*yes, I realize they were actually formed in L.A., but their lead singer and founder is Irish and they're recognized as a Celtic band, so that's good enough for me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Time Management

I've always been an amazing time manager. It's pretty much the one talent I possess. In college I balanced a full class schedule, 30 hours of work per week, being the president of two student organizations, and a social life. Granted, I always had rings under my eyes and was super stressed all the time - the point is I did it.

But now, it seems like time gets away from me. You would think that being at home all day I could manage to get things done, but the opposite seems to happen. Whoever knew kids were so time consuming?! Seriously, I spend all day changing, feeding, holding, wiping, playing with kids. I'm not complaining - I love my children and would rather them grow up with memories of a mother who took the time to play with them instead of a mother who ignored them to clean the dishes. But, the dishes need to be done sometime. I look at other mothers and they seem to be able to do it all - and look freakin' fabulous while doing it. How?!

The worst part is that I measure my success by how much I get done. So, at the end of the day when the kids are tucked happily into bed, I look around at my dirty house with dishes in the sink, bills waiting to be paid, clothes needing to be folded, and I feel like a complete failure. I hear the voice in the back of my head saying "but you spent time with your children, and that is what really counts." However, all I can see is failure. How do you get past that? Or am I the only one who feels this way?