Category Archives: Family

Mothers are Lame

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Being a mom is boring. Its just lame. Its not interesting. It is about as exciting as watching paint dry. And before you start commenting up a storm about how untrue this is, how mothers are unsung heroes and need all the props in the world – well, I actually wholeheartedly agree with you. But still, in the eyes of the world, when a mother starts talking about her day, said world’s eyes glaze right over. And you know I’m right.

Here’s the irony. While a mother’s day might be considered lame, it is actually fast paced and filled with action.  A typical day might include learning how to change a poopy diaper while using every one of your limbs to pin that child so they don’t get up or take a swipe at something they shouldn’t. Or how about making 2 lunches at the same time while piercing shrieks are directed right at you. Cold sweat anyone? Or many don’t realize that mothers play goalie many afternoons, keeping balls from rolling into streets or going over fences. Or try shopping with kids. You want excitement? I’ll give you excitement.

But when a friend or family member or even someone who does technically care very much asks you “How was your day?” Just try and rehash what you did. Try and explain how tough that poopy diaper was. How many times you had to put your two year old back into time out. How you had to pick grapes out of the speaker. No matter what adventure you had been on that day that challenged you to your wits end, one thing remains true…

It’s boring.

Yup, rehashing a mother’s day just does not get anyone’s pulse racing. I don’t know why but its the truth. Its as if something is lost in translation.

“And you should have seen him, writhing around, I had each of my feet pinning his legs and the wipes in one hand and I was leaning on his body, he kicked me once in the head (luckily the bleeding wasn’t too bad) BUT I got it all, I got ALL the poop off his ass! Amazing, huh?”

*Crickets*

Boring. Lame.  It’s not interesting.

So where does that leave mothers? When that’s all they do? When all that they have accomplished is simply reflected in clean, fed, healthy, sleeping children at the end of a day? Well, its leaves them with just that. Clean, fed, healthy sleeping children. And expecting some kind of award, or oohing and ahhing for this achievement, just won’t get you anywhere. Don’t be bitter. It’s your gig now. There is not a lot of positive feedback and there are no bonuses for extra time put in. The reality is folks don’t really want to hear about every single detail and I’m afraid that makes it pretty damn isolating. Sorry. I know we deserve red carpets and gold trophies – but that’s just the way it is.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love being home with my kids. I know how lucky I am to have this time with them. Its just, well, I can’t expect anyone who wasn’t there next to me changing that poopy diaper to really give a crap (so to speak).

Mothers are lame. Healthy, clean, fed, sleeping children certainly are NOT. But mothers and their adventures are, no bones about it, *yawn*, next subject please, laaaame.

And you know what’s even more lame? A post about moms talking about their days and how lame that is. Is anyone even reading this? Bueller? …Bueller?

(Oh and one more thing. If you think you get crickets telling people what you do home with your kids all day, try telling them you blog. *Blink* Maybe my next post needs to be titled “But Bloggers are REALLY Lame.”)

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Filed under Children, Family, Mothers, Parenting, Reality check

Inauguration Day: Proud, Patriotic and Pantsless

So here I sit, under a blanket, with a cup of tea steaming on the coffee table. My laptop, with about 10 separate windows open (CNN.com, twitter, various blogs, email, etc.), is sitting on, well, my lap. CNN is on the television in front of me and my two year old son is napping (finally).

And Barack Obama is President of the United States.

Wow.

He’s been president for almost two hours now. And I could not be more grateful.

Someday my sons may ask me where I was the day President Obama was inaugurated. And so I think it seems only right I post today to “archive” it in some way. But I hate to disappoint them. Even though my parents live in the DC area, we are not there. We are home in Florida. Or I am, with C., doing dishes, making dinner and folding laundry. My 5 year old went to school today and my husband went to work and won’t be home until late in the evening. A family trek to DC was not practical or affordable right now. So here we are, its just another day in the neighborhood.

But I know its not. Something has changed. A subtle but deeply felt shift just happened, and we were all moved by it. Our country is now somehow altered with the swearing in of this single man. Hope is an extraordinarily powerful thing and the meaning of an event like today’s inauguation can be felt in every office, work place, and living room nationwide. Even in the far reaches of boring old suburbia, even in a little ol’ living room like mine.

As the crowds gathered on the Mall this morning and I gathered my robe around me while I watched, I suddenly figured something out. You know this whole concept of change that Obama has been going on about? Yeah, well, I have realized that “change” – or making it happen, rather – is something that we all must to own. It’s no longer Obama’s line anymore. Once he was sworn in, change has become an action that we are all responsible for. We can fix these issues if we all harness the energy of the people on that mall today and commit to making a significant difference in our communities, from where ever we stand. Even if we stand in a spot far from DC, maybe even at the edge of a cookie cutter community in Florida, in a home with stew simmering in the crock pot and a child napping in the front room. 

So back to my point. What was I doing when Obama was sworn in? Well, as Aretha Franklin began singing, I noticed a certain… odor… in my living room. And it wasn’t the stew. C. looked at me sheepishly – and I knew. Yup. I spent Obama’s swearing in changing a very full and fairly horrifying poopy diaper. Afterwards, I let C. “air” out some and left him pantsless. The poor child has had horrible diaper rash. And I dragged out his potty too which he graciously peed in for me – twice – while I caught snippets of Obama’s speech.

That’s where I was when Obama became President of the United States. I was at the helm of my current and very humbling profession, doing what I do best right now, being a mom.

(And you can’t say *I* wasn’t “changing” something during that very pivotal and historic moment in history, correct?)

So here is my two year old, only minutes after Obama officially became president, standing on our back porch: pantsless and patriotic. cinaug

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Educating myself, Election, Family, Florida, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Patriotism, Presidency, Reality check

Inauguration Activities for your Children

change-has-come

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am very excited about the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Obama. And as a mom, I think it is only fair that I share the excitement of this historical event with my children too. I also think this is the perfect opportunity to teach our children about the United States presidency and the purpose of an inauguration. So, after doing some research, I have found all sorts of fun ways to engage our children in this historical event.

Where to begin? First, and depending on their age, you might want to explain to your children what the United States President is actually responsible for. Ben’s Guide will give your kids a simple but fairly thorough explanation.You may also want to show your children our nation’s past 43 presidents. White House.gov provides a list of past presidents along with interesting facts about each. And what better way to remember our presidents than to learn a rap about all 44 of them? The song and lyrics can be found here.

The inauguration is as much a celebration as it is a learning experience for our children. Parents should think about explaining what this inauguration is for and what it means for so many people. Here are some excellent books which will teach children further about the presidency and the inauguration process:

Our President-Elect represents a great deal to our country. His principles, his history as a politician and recent election can teach our kids many important lessons. Princemensah at Ehow wrote a wonderful article about the inspiring lessons children should learn from Barack Obama. One suggested lesson reads:

“Point out the lesson of working with different people.

The President-Elect has a history of working with people with differing views. From Harvard to the Hill, he has established faith and friendship with people who do not share his views. This attitude is critical to a nation sharply divided over war and worries over the economy. Your children need to know about the value of being able to gain the respect of your enemies.”

While teaching our children about the inauguration is important, there are plenty of fun, interactive ways to include them in all the celebrating too. Active learning with lots of cutting and pasting always gets the brain moving. As I mentioned in a post before, Kaboose.com has some excellent craft ideas for children. More crafts can also be found at Amazing Moms.com.

Does your child dream of becoming President of the United States someday? Scholastic.com has a fun game for older children where they can decide what they would do if they were president.

If you have an inauguration whiz on your hands, perhaps the whole family can sit down and play this inauguration quiz found at pbs.org

Or do you have a musician in the house? Have them try playing “Hail to the Chief”. The sheet music can be found here if you click on the “score” icon at the top left of the page.

Are you looking for coloring pages? So that your young ones can stay busy coloring up a storm on Tuesday, we’ve got plenty of links to share:

While the rest of your household readies for the inauguration, you may be wondering how you can engage your tween or high schooler further. Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and MTV will all be hosting events with many favorite performers like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

With millions of visitors expected to converge on the capitol next week, it is likely that some of you are headed there as well. Due to all of the security restrictions, I am sure you are frustrated to hear that it may be very difficult to bring your children to the inauguration itself.

That being said, there will be so much to do in the DC area for families. Be sure to check out Go City Kids for all of the city wide activities. And did you know that there will be, in fact, a Children’s Inaugural Ball?

And for those families like mine who are scrambling to figure out how to celebrate inauguration day hundreds of miles away from Washington DC, be sure to check locally for events and activities for children on the day of the inauguration. I know that Borders will hosting inaugural events in some cities, so it’s worth doing further research online.

So strike up Hail to the chief, hang your coloring pages proudly, maybe do a little presidential rap, and enjoy celebrating the inauguration with your entire family this coming Tuesday, January 20th.

Crossed posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Children, Education, Family, Government, Inauguration, Inspiring people, MTV, Music, Obama, Parenting, Patriotism, Presidency, Reccomendations, Teaching kids

Be a Better Parent without Forgeting about Yourself

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This is a post for parents. For mothers and fathers whose lives have done an entire 180 and have landed *splat* face down on the sidewalk since they have had children. After five years of parenting, I consider myself entirely too enlightened about one key factor: the you, the “you” you knew before your kids were left in a bundle on your doorstep, will become a scarce, mythical beast, read only about in fairy tales, lest you corner that old “you”, wrastle it to the ground and trap it in a place you can access on a daily basis.

What am I on about? Parents know. Its the days of wearing old t-shirts because your breasts are leaking constantly. Its cutting your hair because you are tired of having it yanked out a strand at a time. Its crushed crackers in a diaper bag, while all the cute bags slowly fade out of style in your closet. Its Friday nights asleep on the couch while a well intentioned DVD plays in the background. Its the groundhog days filled with time outs, thrown applesauce, nails down the chalk board screams, flushed toys and poopy diaper wrestling. It’s considering your annual trip to your OBGYN “a day out”. It’s never having a private moment in the bathroom. Ever.

Please. To all my brothers and sisters in the trenches of parenthood. Take a look around. When was the last time you went on a date with your partner? When was the last time you wore something “dry clean only”? When was the last time you left the house without diapers, snacks, sippy cups, and an outift change? When was the last time you slept somewhere away from your children and then – gasp – allowed yourself to sleep in past 7am?

It is so very important to remember what makes you happy. Yes, yes. Your happy child makes you happy. So does 8pm when they are (God willing) in bed finally. But what makes YOU tick? Before kids. Did you like to read? (And I don’t mean board books.) Did you have a hobby? Did you see friends often? Did you exercise? Did you have actual leisure time?

Did you?

Do you have any of that stuff now? No??? Go find it. Quick. Hire a sitter, even if it costs money. Figure out a girls night out. Have a friend take the kids for an afternoon. Check the guilt at the door and do something for YOURSELF.

Because if you don’t, you will truly lose yourself and your mind. You will forget who you are. You will actually forget what you truly LIKE to do. All of the sudden, ALL that you know about yourself is being… well… a parent. Take away the kids, and suddenly there is nothing left. Your identity is simply… a mom. Or a dad.

And it can happen so quickly. You’re there and then *POOF*, suddenly, you’re gone.

No disrespect of course. Being a parent is an incredible and, yes, noble job. It is an honorable identity to assume, and every parent should claim that title with pride. As my aunt always reminds me, parenting it the hardest job there is. Yeah, you bet your animal crackers it is. And THAT’S exactly why its so easy to loose yourself. There is so much to do while parenting that when you forget about the “you” stuff, the “kid” stuff seeps in and fills in all the cracks. There is always a sippy cup to fill, a puzzle to make, and a nose – or bum – to wipe. Just let someone else do it once in awhile, that’s all. It will still be there when you get back. No one will take the title of “mom” or “dad” away from you. Just be your first name, the name you had before “mom” or “dad”, once and awhile.

Have you still not shaken your parental guilt to consider more time for yourself? Don’t forget that when you are happier, you are a happier – and therefore better – parent. And then theres the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing. When you take some time away, you do miss your kids. And upon your return, you and your partner will actually fight for the chance to change a poopy diaper. Seriously, it happens.

And I know the tough times of parenting are fleeting. I am betting my wiser readers who have been parents longer than I have are pleading to me “Oh but enjoy these tough days. Enjoy your child before he grows up. They will be gone in an instant!”

Sadly, I know that. And I fear that. Everyday I bring my 5 year old home from school and I hold him tight tight tight because I can literally feel his mind and body growing in my arms. But that is also my point. They DO grow up so damn fast. And then in an instant, they are off to college. Where does that leave you? If your child went to college today (forget that he or she is a 2 year old toddler) – who would you be right now? How would you identify yourself? What kind of fun would you have with your spouse? Do you know? You need to know. Think about it.

Now please do not assume I actually have this figured out. (Snort.) Honestly? I am writing this post while deeply in the trenches of an extraordinarily all consuming phase of parenting. My husband is just about to begin his season and that will require him to work six days a week, working as late as 10pm. But in the midst of this time, while I raise these wonderful but tough kids of mine and my husband works so that I can take care of these wonderful but tough kids of ours, I am trying to keep track of myself. For instance, I write when I have any time, from my home, with the kids here next to me. While multi-tasking this mommy stuff, I am hoping to piece together some clue so I can be a better (potentially paid) writer “when I grow up”. And I have started running. Insane, right? But I’m into it (I’ll even go before my husband leaves for work) and now dream of finding some way to have my kids watched so I can run a 5K.

Granted, I keep reminding myself to keep my expectations reasonable. Diaper changing, referreeing the rules of sharing and helping with homework is just what I do for now. But dreaming, and clinging stubbornly onto what truly makes me tick, does allow me to be more than just “Mom” – but “Caroline” too.

The picture posted above is of me with my boys. It was taken about a year and a half ago and might be titled “Me as Mommy”. It is one of my favorites as I am caught in a very typical, absolutely wonderful, however all consuming parenting moment.

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Filed under Aging, Boys, Children, Deep thoughts, Family, Fathers, Growing up, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Marriage, Mothers, Parenting, Reality check

Minding My Mammaries

self-exam

Breasts are strange things. As the ultimate feminine accessory, they make outfits fit better, give us fabulous curves and restore wavering confidence. They can be worn to be oggled or stuffed away in a t-shirt and overlooked. Miraculously, after our bodies mix some crazy internal hormonal cocktail, these “accessories” can become endless kegs of milk at the ready for an infant looking to party into the wee hours. And then of course, they can be objects of intense and sobering concern.

I had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, fun, children and food. Even my breasts got a piece of the action. My mother took me to buy two new bras from Victoria Secret. Now you must understand. My underwear is the least of my concerns. I have two boys – I am focused on them and dinner and bills and keeping gas in the car. Fancy bras just seem silly and frivolous. And I hadn’t bought a new bra since before my two year old was born. I mean, get real. My other ones seemed just fine – they kept the girls in check and who needs all the lace, the fra-la-la and the frippery anyway. 

But into Victoria’s Secret we stepped. And I found the BEST. BRA. EVER. I am now the proud owner of two Angel Airbras. Putting one on does not *poof* turn me into Heidi Klum. (Snorting my morning tea as I write this…) Yeah, not at all. But you know what? They have truly given me a little pep in my step. What an unexpected and welcome surprise to be sure. For so long, I have overlooked the shape of my chest thinking there is really nothing more I can do to give the girls any more “oomph” at this point. But whadda ya know. I have got myself a little “oomph” afterall. Again, there is no miracle involved. And similar to my wee but rallying chest size, the change is so subtle it may not be even apparent to the naked eye. But *I* notice a change and *I* feel better about myself. And that is worth its weight in gold. So here I write, smugly puffing out my somewhat puffy – but better shaped – chest.

However, in the midst of this little breast ego trip, I have been quietly concerned. You see, something seems a little …off… with one of my breasts. It’s probably no big deal. No lumps (phew, phew, phew, phew) but one is sore and just feels a bit different. I don’t understand why there would be any pain in one and not the other. I had convinced myself over the past couple weeks that maybe I had pulled a muscle from coughing or from running. But its still there. One boob. And I’m “aware” of it.

Honestly, I am fairly sure this is an over-reaction. But my over-reaction is comparable with a knee jerk reaction whenever “irregularity” and my breasts are concerned. With my family’s breast cancer history, I am am perpetually on watch – wondering when my turn is up. I almost don’t consider breast cancer an “if”, I consider it a “when”. So if something now seems awry – well, it’s time to ready the girls. Even as they are tucked peacefully in their padded lace, we need to prepare for anything. We’ll see what the doctor says in a few days but, in the meantime, here’s to hoping I am making a mountain out of a molehill… so to speak.

So, if I were to turn this post into a public service announcement, what would it be? Um, how about: “Don’t ignore your breasts”. Breast cancer is a real possibility for every woman. And ignoring something “not quite right” is never the answer. If you’re worried, just call your doctor. Rather walk back to your car after your appointment, hugely embarrassed, but with healthy mole hills than find out too late that your molehills are actually mountains.

And certainly don’t ignore your girls and forget to give them a fancy, fabulously supportive bra once in awhile. It’s good for them, it’s good for you, things fit better, you look better, it’s just a good idea all around.

Be well, my friends. I’ll keep you posted.

**Update**

No lumps. Phew. Next stop? I get to have a  mammogram next week. And I am even kind of looking forward to it. Once again, I’d rather over-react than not react. Plus… I’m gonna blog the whole experience anyway. In an effort to promote further boob health to all my readers, stay tuned for a breast by breast walk through of what a mammogram is really like. Don’t expect any pictures though…

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Filed under Breast cancer, Educating myself, Family, Health, Holidays, Panicking, Raising Awareness, Reality check, Women

Morningside Mom’s 2009 Resolutions for Barack Obama

The December holidays are finally winding down. Decorations are to be packed up, our homes are being put back into order and left over holiday goodies are being cleaned out of refrigerators. So naturally, as we are fed up with our past week of excess, what comes to mind during the December wind down? Resolutions. And lots of them. But I am a realistic person and I know that my personal resolution lists rarely pan out. So this year, I am doing it a little differently. I would like to consider what sort of resolutions Obama might want to make for 2009. Perhaps you may have a few to add to his list as well.

On the eve of a hope-filled New Year and his first inauguration, Barack Obama’s resolution list has got to be about a mile long. Although, I’m not sure how he can discriminate his resolution list from the endlessly unfurling to-do list draped over his desk right now.

In the midst of all that is to be taken seriously in the New Year, The Red Stapler Chronicles had some resolutions for Obama that gave me a good laugh. For example:

  • Fix the leaking faucet in the Oval Office to immediately save tax payer’s money
  • Make sure new puppy gets along with Biden’s new dog to avoid dog fighting scandal.

Now it’s my turn. Here are a few suggested resolutions this liberal minded mom might add to President-elect Obama’s list:

  • Prepare that pedestal.

    With so much work ahead of him, folks may shove him right off that pedestal if he doesn’t change things on day one. Or, it could go the other way. Any difference he makes at all could officially establish his superhero status and permanence on that pedestal. Either way, he needs to ready his pedestal and be prepared for anything.

  • Keep that ego in check.

    With all the inauguration fanfare and Obama mania ringing in the streets, he needs to keep a grounded perspective. I am expecting Michelle to see right through it all and remind him who Barack really is.

  • Keep it real.

    President or not, he must remember his roots, his family, his heritage and the real reasons he got into politics in the first place.

  • Don’t forget the moms.

    With his wife and mother-in-law dropping everything to raise his children, he better recognize the kind of work mothers actually do and that women nationwide are expecting more focus on rights for working mothers during his presidency.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

    President-elect Obama is a funny guy. There is not much to laugh at right now but his sense of humor will serve him and this White House well in the midst of it all.

  • Stay squeaky clean.

    After our last democratic president, I shudder to think about what sort of damage one stupid, selfish decision could do right now.

  • Keep those promises.

    As any politician does during an election, Obama has made a lot of them. The difference is that this time if he doesn’t keep those promises and we don’t see change happen, a recession will be the least of our problems.

  • Play with your kids.

    There is no better way to keep perspective and maintain sanity than to play with your children after a long day at the office solving the world’s problems.

And finally, I would like to wish the President-elect, his family and this entire country a very happy and hopeful New Year indeed.

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne
-Robert Burns, 1788

 Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Equal Rights, Family, Fathers, Feminist tendancies, Holidays, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Mothers, Obama, Presidency, Reccomendations, Women, Working moms

Happy Holidays from the Cutest Two Year Old on Earth

Holiday giggles and yuletide glee have taken over my home. We’re baking sugar cookies, tracking Santa on Norad and wrapping presents madly.

(Sidebar: My dilemma. My 5 year old’s “Santa” presents are being wrapped in same paper as everyone other’s presents. Will he notice? Will he pick out my handwriting, already? The stress of making sure he believes has even surfaced in my dreams: last night I dreamt I forgot to put out all the presents and T. woke up to find that Santa NEVER came…)

But back to the fun. We’ve got cookies and loaves of bread to make for family and Christmas lights to scout tonight and “Twas the Night before Christmas” to recite. It’s really such a wonderful time.

So as my gift to you, I am sharing with you something quite precious: the cutest two year old in the world singing his favorite Christmas carols.

To all of my readers, whatever your holiday, may you have a wonderful celebration filled with family, tradition and joy.

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Filed under Boys, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Parenting, Traditions