Category Archives: Reflections

I Could Get Used to This

Amelia hasn’t stopped crying since midnight last night,  (at least it feels that way but I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle.), the kids refused nap time, and I ate way too many chips and drank way too much hot chocolate so am now feeling frumpy, tired, and yucky.

Rather than dwell on all that, I’d like to return to the cozy feelings I had yesterday.

*****

I had a perfect day today.  It started this morning, after my work-out and before Ben went to work.

While sitting on my blue, flower-print couch nursing Amelia, she looked up at me with the widest grin, making cooing noises.  We chatted for a minute while her brother and sister were in another room playing with their dad. If I looked hard enough, I’m sure I would have seen sparkles signifying the magical aspects of that moment.

I still haven’t had a night where she’s slept over 4 hours.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll sleep for 3 hours straight, but that’s a rare occurrence   Even rarer is when one or both of her siblings doesn’t climb into bed and wake me up with their jerky movements and shifting positions the rest of the night.  Each morning I look at the dark spots under my eyes and vow to not let anyone in bed with us, but every night they come to the edge of my bed crying, “Mommy, I need you,” and I scoot over so they can sleep next to me, unable to refuse their sad faces.

I also can’t place Amelia in a crib yet, partly because of her siblings’ delight in throwing items in with her, partly because she whimpers and cries if I put her in there, but mostly because I really enjoy snuggling with her at night.

Sleepless nights are not my enemy anymore.

After I took Emily to preschool, I sat with Andrew and read story after story.  We played blocks and giggled as his fire truck repeatedly knocked over the towers we built.  Once we picked Emily up from preschool, we came home and ate a snack together. The kids then went to their room and played while I laid down with Amelia and watched her beautiful face smile and listened to her coo.  At one point she stared straight into my eyes for a full minute, until she noticed the overhead fan. I might have gasped.

The kids refused a nap and I didn’t have the energy to fight, so they played while I cleaned and wrote.  I’m sure I felt tugs of sleepiness in the corners of my eyes, but I didn’t feel overpowered by them.  Instead, I basked in their sweet noises and conversations.

I listened as Emily created an imaginary world using their toy boxes, her dress-up clothes, and the cheap plastic McDonald’s figurines they managed to sneak past the open grimace of our black trash can.  Andrew zoomed around the room with his big fire truck, carrying his “pink horsey” to and from danger.  Amelia snoozed on the bed, occasionally letting sleep moans and sighs escape her rose-colored lips.

I drank it all in.

This parenting gig, with all its fluctuations from perfect to crazy, is a thrilling ride.  I can’t remember one boring moment – okay, there was that one month – and I also can’t remember not feeling both overwhelmed and grateful that I, imperfect me, get to parent these delightful sweethearts.  I think that as I’ve dropped the expectations I created from reading parenting books and on-line resources on How Not to Ruin Your Children’s Lives – which seems to be the basic theme behind every parenting article that endorses one idea over another – I’ve really embraced the fun aspects of it.  Parenting is no longer scary.

9 Comments

Filed under Reflections

That's Life (And It's So Grand)

While I had the best intentions of running a week’s worth of Top Ten in 2011 posts, my body told me to “stop that,” and rest.

So I have.

On Tuesday, I went to my ultrasound appointment and saw the most amazing thing: my developing embryo’s heart beat.  It was strong and loud.  I am happy.

The ultrasound also indicated just how far along I am: 6 weeks.  With my usual track record of horrible pregnancy-induced sickness, I stick to the couch and to boring foods like instant mashed potatoes with saltine crackers.  I no longer crave coffee, chocolate, or anything else delicious.  Instead, I shun all things healthy, unhealthy, and seemingly delicious by reaching for the most bland foods my irritated pregnant body wishes to consume.  My husband gets tongue lashings every day for ridiculous things.  He patiently (and not so patiently) endures them and quickly forgives my outbursts.  Thank God.

Between exhaustion and sickness, I do have brief interludes of productivity.  During these moments, I managed to complete my master’s application.  I am beyond excited to have this done and will now impatiently wait on an acceptance or rejection letter.

Right now, I am resting.  Life will resume its outrageously busy pace next week, when I start back at work again, so I am taking advantage of this brief holiday by putting my feet up and watching countless hours of TV.  And sleeping.  I can’t get enough sleep. (Except for at night, when my body decides it wants to act uncomfortable and send me dry heaving to the bathroom multiple times, but I seem to do okay during the day.)

I am not sure what shifted with this pregnancy.  Whether it’s the attitude of do-or-die (regarding the fetus) or the, hell what could possibly go wrong that hasn’t in previous pregnancies, line of thinking that has left me happily embracing each moment and living in the day.  I don’t consider names, how I will deliver the baby, or what gender it is.  Instead, I am content with a heart beat, the increasing nausea/dry heaving, and the muscle pain.  I am satisfied with each day that my body holds onto the pregnancy and feel confident that things will be okay.

As computer screens increase the nausea and dizziness, I will be going on a brief hiatus.  If and when I have a break from the sickness, I will return.  But for now, consider this my good-bye until next year.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your New Year’s festivities.

7 Comments

Filed under Reflections

There Is Always Tomorrow

Simple BPM

It started at 4 am, when Emily came running into the room screaming because she had wet the bed.  I consoled her, changed her, and placed her in bed next to me.

When we all woke up for the day at 7, things seemed to moving along as normal.  A rush of getting the kids fed, Ben’s lunch made, and starting in on the morning chores.

But by 9, my sweet baby had dumped his cereal all over the floor; stuffed the toilet with towels, toothbrushes, and other items; and torn apart my carefully organized cupboards.

While cleaning one mess, he would run into another room to make another one.

His sister was not innocently standing by.

The beautifully cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted living room was quickly torn asunder as my angelic daughter threw the cushions off the couch, spread the clean and folded clothes all over the floor, dumped her orange juice over the coffee table and floor–twice–and screamed for various snacks.

As I surveyed the damage, Ben called to ask that I mail the rent check.  To do this, I had to buy stamps and envelopes and be back before the mail man came.  I stepped over the messes, dressed the kids, and packed them in the car only to drive by the mailman on the way out.  I continued on my journey, located stamps, and set out to find a mail box (I wasn’t sure where the post office was).  I also had to buy new toothbrushes as Andrew had made ours unusable.

When we arrived home, the kids continued on in their wave of destruction.  Cheerios thrown out of bowls, crackers crushed into the carpet, the clothes in drawers littering every room.

At 11, I typed a tired message to my husband relaying the mornings events. He came home for lunch and left even more exhausted as the kids continued melting down.

Functioning, at this point, was beyond impossible.  I put Andrew down for his nap. Since Emily’s sheets were still not washed, I had to put her in my bed and lay down with her (rather than making some headway on the chaos surrounding me).

By the end of the day (after our house had virtually imploded), I was close to a breakdown.  We started in on our nighttime routine.  Once I bathed the kids, I locked them in Emily’s room with me and read stories.

One story after the next.  As I read, Emily enacted each nursery rhyme and Andrew ran after her, attempting to copy her movements.  I watched them.  In moments, joy replaced frustration, a smile the frown.  The wrinkles in my brow relaxed as I sat laughing.  Soon we were all dancing and singing.  The days events a mere memory.

I put them in bed, giving extra squeezes in return for sweet toddler kisses.

I started in on the messes, completely rejuvenated by that half hour of fun.

There is always tomorrow, the voice whispered.

“I know.  I am ready.”

18 Comments

Filed under Reflections

Repose

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

I trudge through the snow pushing the double stroller back home from the library.  The kids, bundled up in various assortments of coats, hats, and blankets, point out objects of entertainment.

“A red truck, Mommy!” squeals a delighted Emily.

“Dada, Mama, Jump!” adds Andrew.

We breathe in the delightful scents of leaves fallen off trees, the pine cones of Evergreens, and the fresh scent of fallen snow (that is to say the air is free of smoggy residue and, therefore, scentless).   The noise of passing cars is barely noticeable as I push the stroller through serene neighborhoods.

While I engage the kids with multifarious questions, I ponder my current situation.  My habit to load up the stroller when I feel my mental capacities buckling under the overwhelming (or so my mind thinks) pressures; my tendency to lose my head when a child wakes up early from a nap (or refuses to take one) or busies herself in naughty behaviours; and my inability to confront certain places (ahem, internet) without feeling fear, with a dash of dread and a heavy side of guilt, because I am convinced of my personal inadequacies and failures.

My intense desires to be at home with my children and provide a loving, safe, and education-rich environment juxtapose with my acute longing to run away–whether to the workplace, school, or another state–from the battles being fought inside my head supposedly because of my occupation as a stay-at-home mom.

Rather than hide from these devilish thoughts, I tenuously chose to accost my enemy this last week as a knight would duel his foe. I stayed away from friends–on-line and in real life–because I knew this fight would need my full strength.

At this point it would be natural to interpose “and in the end,” except that an ending doesn’t exist.  With this war, the battles are waged daily–some I win, some I lose.  However, I am emerging as victor more often than as conquered.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The birds chirp, the leaves stir, and the kids continue with their endless chatter.   I open my eyes a little wider and notice the contrast between this day and the last: the pressure in my chest has lifted and I feel as light as the wind.  And though it is cold outside, I feel the warmth of this knowledge spreading through my limbs and the beginnings of a bounce to my step.

With guarded optimism, I embrace the changes and look forward to days filled with more hope and less fear.

21 Comments

Filed under Reflections

On Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

I struggled for a long time with what I thought being a stay-at-home mom meant.  I visualized a day full of baking, putting together puzzles, reading story after story, and, of course, creating art and making crafts.  As many of you know, I detest baking and abhor having to participate in making arts and crafts.  And, with my recent health problems, floor time is very challenging.

In my mind, this makes me atypical; which, in turn, makes me feel highly uncomfortable with my new profession.

It doesn’t help that I don’t fit into any mold.  We live in an apartment, my husband works two full-time jobs, we have one very old vehicle, and our food budget is meager.  I struggle with chronic anxiety and depression and can barely keep our tiny space from imploding from the chaos of two kids.  Not the suburban bliss most people picture (or at least I pictured) when thinking of moms staying home with their kids.

So, when I hear women saying “I’m not the stay-at-home type” I can relate.  At least if their definition is the same one I’ve always used.

What am I to do?

Change the definition.

As with parenting, there are all sorts of moms who decide to stay-at-home.  I have to believe that not every mother delights in the typical homemaking (a word I really dislike) pursuits.  We all have talents and interests, outside of mothering, that spice up our résumé.

Some of my interests include helping the low income, minority, and mentally ill populations find the healthcare they need, continue on to higher education, and apply for jobs directly related to their individual talents;  fitness and helping women and men find their inner beauty and perfect their own healthy body image; and pursuing life long education by obtaining a masters, followed by Ph.D, in some area of expertise and conducting and publishing research in premier journals.

My talents include reading to and teaching my kids all sorts of things beyond picture books; incorporating exercise–whether it’s walking or aerobics on DVD–into our daily schedule; and managing our finances so we do not go over our budget.

These talents and interests make me, me.  Even if it makes me an untraditional SAHM (another term I dislike).  I’d much rather do what I always wanted to do (stay at home with my kids) my way than stay within some defined boundary and feel miserable by not staying true to myself.

What about you?  (I’m sure you can relate this to your own life and whatever profession you have. You don’t have to be a mom to feel as if you are an outlier.)

31 Comments

Filed under Reflections

A Spectacular Failure

My plan of posting daily was foiled by sickness and travelling.  We are home, thankfully safe and sound as inclement weather wanted otherwise, but the sickness is pervasive.  We are all busy living in a haze of congestion, chills, and fevers.

Before I stopped, I had published every day, except one.  A decent record, for sure, but did I really do what I set out to accomplish?

Yes.

Writing daily became a habit.  I set aside a block of time for myself, nightly, to sit and write.

Posting was more enjoyable.  I wrote on a variety of themes, allowing my creativity to flow.

Giving myself a break each day provided me with the escape I needed from the incessant worries that accompany motherhood and solo parenting.

And no.

I am not satisfied with my writing.  Many days, the posts seemed more like stream-0f-consciousness writing rather than organized, coherent, and cohesive thoughts with few grammatical and punctuation errors.   My time, like so many people’s, is extremely restricted.  If I choose to sit and write, I also choose to ignore the mess and continue living in a chaotic household–something I am not okay with.

While I did go outside of my comfort zone in small ways, I still kept within the confined zone.  Struggling to find the perfect word choice/combinations, appropriate tone, and correct word usage has placed more than one important piece inside the drafts folder.

I did not find that niche of which I am looking.  The subject that defines this place.  I also found myself in a vulnerable position of confronting a truth I have been avoiding.  A truth that will lead to more time and effort in order to receive adequate help.

I managed to break through the fog I had been living in by trying the NaBloPoMo challenge.  In the process, though, I found another fog that will take longer to navigate.  Something I’m not exactly prepared for but understand the necessity of facing it.

Perhaps I should dedicate this blog to figuring out pieces of myself as I venture further and further into motherhood and wifehood.  It seems to be heading in that direction anyway.

14 Comments

Filed under Reflections

We’re In!

The day after my surgery,  Ben left for a medical school interview.  His first interview. Despite the timing being inconvenient (although this is more directed toward the unexpected surgery),  we were nervous and excited.

Ben came home feeling very confident.   Because he was told he would hear within a week of whether or not he was accepted,  he started checking his e-mail every ten minutes.  At least.

Late last night,  his diligence paid off.

We received this in his inbox.

The ** College of Osteopathic Medicine hereby offers to admit Benjamin ****** as a candidate for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2015 commencing in the Fall Term of 2011 with the total credit hours of 249.4 subject to the terms and conditions set forth herein.

I feel giddy–nay elated–that we have reached this point.  I remember our excitement when we got his MCAT scores,  thinking we were one step closer to fulfilling Ben’s career dreams.  A few months later Ben submitted his primary applications and shortly after was filling out secondaries.

And here we are.  Accepted.

The exhausting exams.  The late night (or all night) studying. The loneliness.  It all paid off.

Any good ideas on how to celebrate?

33 Comments

Filed under Reflections