Tag Archives: Blog World

Let's Support Each Other

When I wrote about competitive parenting, Kristen asked that I “come up with a name for [my] new school of non-judgmental parenting so we can all join you and feel validated.”  Kristen, I will do more than that.

We all have our bad days. Days when nothing seems to go right. However, all of us are great parents, with our own parenting flair. To bring out this flair in a supportive environment, I decided to do a weekly meme (for lack of better term) in which I share one thing I am proud of doing as a parent. I would like to invite all of you to do the same! I even created a button for it!

MakingtheMomentsCount.com

<a href=”http://www.makingthemomentscount.com/2010/12/15/lets-support-each-other/&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://www.makingthemomentscount.com/SupportiveParentingButton.jpg&#8221; alt=”MakingtheMomentsCount.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

I know. I’m so creative. (Don’t laugh.)

Anyway. If you care to join me, please do! I will be presenting my first post next Wednesday but you can write yours any day of the week just let me know so I can read and share it with others! (Have I used enough exclamation points?!!!)

Even if you don’t participate, I hope by reading my positive parenting posts, you will remember how awesome you already are.

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Friday Night Awesomeness

On Friday, Ben and I decided to visit the great city north of us so we could dine at our favorite restaurant, Pei Wei, and walk around Temple Square.  Realizing that we were heading to the city, I called a blog friend and asked if she would like to meet, in real life, that night.  She agreed (because I wouldn’t take no for an answer) and oh-my-goodness, it was fun.

Firstly, not only are her kids adorable, but she is extra gorgeous!

Secondly, our kids played very well.

Thirdly, our husbands got along.  Big bonus.

Fourthly, we chatted about everything.   I think I’ve found a lifelong friend, if she’ll accept. (Pretty please!?)

I will certainly be seeing her again.

Thanks, Kristen, for letting us crash your Friday night party!

Go visit Kristen at Enjoying Every Moment.  You will not be disappointed.

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A Big Slobbery Thank You

It just so happens that I forgot to mention one major culprit in my emotional drama of last week: Miss Flow.  While I am grateful for this physical reminder of my fertility, I can’t exactly gush about how she messes up my emotions.  Everything seems much more dramatic when she visits.

I recovered a bit of my spice over the weekend.  Your comments were a gigantic help in reminding me of the support group I have.   As much as days like those suck, it feels less overwhelming when I know that other people can relate.  Reading your comments while drinking Diet Dr. Pepper certainly alleviated much of the sadness I felt.

In case I forget how incredibly lucky I am, let me list a few things that made me smile this weekend.

Watching this little girl canter and twirl around our living room.

Feeling her sweet, slobbery kisses on my cheek.

Smiling as she sings little songs about me, Ben, and her little brother.

Tickling his numerous rolls.

Listening to his little baby noises.

Feeling like the greatest mom in the world as he smiles and laughs when I walk into the room.

Finally, all of you.  Your kind words of support.  Your wise suggestions.  Your digital hugs.  I really am a lucky gal.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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The Devil Made Me Do It

I’ve always considered myself extroverted.  In my growing up years, I enjoyed chatting with my classmates and friends.  I didn’t think anything of how I enjoyed reading a good book over hanging out with friends, I blamed my lack of time or lack of transportation.  Besides, my older sister constantly had friends in and out of the house.  I felt adequately socialized through my interactions with them.

The fear, though, the fear did confuse me.  The suffocating fear that I feel when I am going to an event all alone.  Without a friend or my husband.  That fear convinced me of my real tendency toward introversion.  But, as with all things, facing this fear helps me to grow.  At least I’d like to think so.

In February, I decided to attend Sue’s bloganthropy brunch.  I mean, it sounded fun.  I would get to meet fellow bloggers, dine, and have a great time!  Sure, I didn’t really know what “bloganthropy” meant, but I thought, what the heck?  Can’t go wrong with a good time, right?  I signed the McLinky assuring the hosts that I would be attending.

Well, if you remember, February turned out to be a blue month.  Blue meaning SICK month.   So, on the eve of the brunch, after I had bought a few pastry items to share, I realized I couldn’t go.  Ben wasn’t able to watch the kids and both of them were sick! Besides, other kids were going to be there.  The mothers would have been horrified if I brought sickness in! Yes, I did manage to ignore the real reason I couldn’t attend: my fear.

I shot of a quick e-mail to Sue explaining my situation and breathed in a sigh of relief.  There was always the next month.

March came rolling in much too fast.  Without warning, Kristina announced the next bloganthropy event: Snuggies for Seniors.  This fundraiser would also include a blog brunch.    Despite the fact it was being held at a buffet, I signed my name to the McLinky and immediately made plans to attend.

Two days before the event I realized what I had done.  I had agreed to attend a brunch, at a buffet, with my two kids, without knowing any person there previously.  I had basically signed a death warrant for myself.  Cause of death?  Heart attack.

I started thinking of millions of reasons why I couldn’t come.  It was a 45 minute drive.  It was during nap and lunchtime.  Andrew is kind of fussy.  After confessing all these reasons to my husband, he told me I needed to decide.  If I didn’t want to go, I really didn’t have to go.

Decision time.

At 2 am I finally convinced myself I was going.  Even if I died of a stress induced heart attack, I was going to attend.

Attend I did.

I left reasonably early.  I didn’t realize, though, that my directions were based on a route that would take me 20 minutes longer than I had calculated.  So, I was late.  Late!!  By the time I got there, I was sweating profusely and my heart was pounding.  I was on the verge of tears.  I sucked up the last of my courage, slung my humungous diaper bag and Emily on one arm, grabbed Andrews car seat with the other, and headed inside.  I am sure I was a sight to behold.

Inside I quickly (and luckily) located Kristina to ask her where everyone was congregated.  She pointed and I boldly marched into the room.

The rest of the memory is quite hazy.  I am sure I met a few people, said many embarrasing things, and managed to exude confidence.

After I left I promised myself to never do it again.

Except for one thing: I am now a member of the service soap box team.  Gulp.  This means I am going to do this whole meeting thing once a month.

This month’s service event is a baby shower.   Not any baby shower, but a baby shower to benefit the March of Dimes Teddy Bear Den Program.  While it does have a pretty cool event planned, it also includes a virtual shower component! That way, if you don’t live in Utah, or are absolutely terrified of other bloggers (like I am), you can donate this way!

What am I going to do? Well, I’m going to attend the shower of course.  Yes, I will be taking both kids, again, but at least I kind of know the other bloggers.  Kind of.  Well, I still have 16 days to prepare!

Anyone want to come with me?  I would really love the extra hands.

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I Can Find Alone Time!

I think that cliff hanger was pretty awesome.

In yesterday’s post, Wolf presented three things (sanity networking, furs for perfumes, and thanks for angels) to help all of us find some alone time.  With this half, she will provide us with more specifics.

How to get a moment alone (and what to do with it once you get it) Part 2


Network

Without question, it’s easier to build a network when your children hit preschool or elementary school. You have a built-in community with whom you share common ground. You can help each other in a pinch, including finding a way to get an hour or two to yourself. If your children are younger, you may be able to build your network from mothers you meet on the local playground, after church or synagogue services, or by other means.

  • If you don’t have a network, start building one. It won’t happen overnight. We’re talking about getting to know others who will potentially care for your children.
  • Is there someone you trust to spend an hour or two with your child? Someone from church, for example? Or a neighbor you’ve gotten to know over the past several years?
  • Is it possible to ask that person to stay during naptime – perhaps for an hour? Make it clear that you cannot afford a babysitter at this time, but you would be more than happy to reciprocate.
  • Suggest that you spend some time together first. Invite her (and her child or children) to your place – for coffee or tea. Get to know each other and see how it feels.
  • The act of sharing some adult time with another parent in your situation will be helpful. You won’t feel so isolated. And then give it a try – cell phone numbers exchanged – and don’t go very far the first time if you prefer. Maybe for a walk in the neighborhood. And eventually, an hour or two for yourself, every other week – or whatever works for you.
  • Tap into your blogging community. What other mothers may live near you, or have a sister or cousin or friend who’s in the same boat, who may live in your area?

Is it easy?

No, but it is workable. Am I a trained life coach, psychologist, or educator? Nope. One weary, single mom, offering suggestions from years of experience.

Exchange of services, including for babysitting

Need a way to find a babysitter that won’t cost $10 to $15 / hour? Not sure where to start?

  • Try your clergy, your neighbor, your alumni association, a local college. Well, you’re thinking, there’s no trading off kids in that scenario. True enough, but you could trade services.
  • Talk to people when you’re out. Be friendly. In line at Starbucks or Caribou. At the library. In the pediatrician’s office. You never know when you might strike up a conversation with someone who can help, and whom you can help.

Are there skills you might trade with a college or graduate student? Absolutely! Perhaps it’s proofing, editing, Spanish tutoring, web site design suggestions. Believe me – you have skills, and they have value. Exchange them for something of value to yourself. Something like a little “me” time that will keep you healthy and sane.

Angels

There really have been angels on my life and the lives of my children. There is a remarkable woman in my neighborhood, a piano teacher, who gives lessons to my younger son. Free of charge. She also made arrangements for us to get a piano at no cost. We didn’t have one, and I certainly couldn’t afford it.

This wonderful individual has been teaching my teenager for 18 months. He adores her; she adores him. She is an angel to both of us, and in his own way, he is an angel for her. Unlike the little ones she’s used to, he wants to be there. He practices for hours each day, has begun composing, and has made remarkable progress in a very short time. She pushes him – hard – and surely she senses that she is influencing his future. Tremendously.

Angels are real. We are each other’s angels.

So what can you do with an hour or two and no money?

Think you can’t renew with an hour or two?

  • Even an hour is enough to browse a local bookstore, sit and read (without buying), watch people, write, or simply wander the aisles and poke around whatever is of interest.
  • That same amount of time would permit you go to a nearby department store and meander. Try the perfumes. Chat with strangers. Have your make-up done for fun. (It’s free.)
  • Or, talk to no one. Sit on a bench with a thermos of coffee you bring from home, and watch the world go by. No one is asking anything of you. (And remember to leave the credit card or check book at home – if I can do it – you can do it!)
  • No mall nearby? Take your thermos and a paperback and go. Walk to a nearby park. Sit, sip, watch, read. Breathe. Be part of the world in the most unobtrusive way. Free of charge, while you charge your own battery.
  • Perhaps you enjoy massage, but you can’t afford it. Furs for perfume. Perhaps you try a masseuse at a local hairdresser who might exchange a 30-minute session for practice with English as a second language. Or learning to crochet, or bake. Get creative. Trade. Ask.

Another thought? I used to be an avid quilter. I find it relaxing – especially the design and piecing of the top. I always quilted in small bits, and by hand rather than machine. That made my sewing portable, and also, when we use our hands, we seem to naturally unwind.

If you can use your hands to make something, consider it. Knit. Embroider. Knead bread. Try origami. Fold forms from paper and make a mobile for your babies!

A final word on how you spend your time

Even now, with teenagers, I’m a single mom with no “backup.” It’s not as crazy as it was when they were little; it’s crazy differently. I feel like I’m always on duty, or at the very least, on call. But over the past few years, I’ve slowly taken back chunks of time for myself. Probably not enough, or often enough, but I’m doing it. It’s good for my kids, and it’s good for me.

Even if all I do with that time is sit in a bookstore and watch, and write – I’m close enough to be accessible, I’m less isolated because I’m around people and movement – and that is the stuff that nourishes us as people, and fuels us as writers.

Last resort? Host a Latvian. Maybe you’ll find one who can babysit! And yes, hungry foreign students certainly add to the food bill, but the laughter alone is worth its weight in gold. Or rather, dzintars – and the irony in that? It is precious currency indeed, and it means Amber.

******

Wolf, I am deeply grateful for this thoughtful–and thought provoking–guest post/extensive comment.

I know that I have many angels surrounding me.  Many friends who would be willing to step in and give me a break.  But, I usually hold back because I don’t want to be a burden.  With these ideas, though, I feel a surge in confidence.  I like bartering.  Both sides win.

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10 Second Post

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for your advice.   I read each and every comment to Ben.

Thank you so much for praising Ben.  Like any person, he needs to hear that from time to time from someone besides me.

Thank you so much for telling me about your ingredients in your guilt sandwiches.

Thank you for being patient with me.

Since this is another busy week, a few friends agreed to save me by guest posting.  I hope you are excited!

Shoot. My 10 seconds are up.

To show you my gratitude I am relieving you of your comment responsibilities.  Go ahead and let out a sigh.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a break, huh?

Love,

Amber

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Who Gets Up With the Baby?

Before we were married, Ben and I had a long discussion about division of household chores.  He suggested, and I agreed, that if he works full-time, I would also work full-time doing the household chores.  When he came home, we would share the remainder of the tasks.

This worked well.  In the beginning, we both worked part-time and attended school full-time and shared the household chores.

After we had Emily, things changed.  I quit working but continued to attend school full-time.  It seemed natural that I would take care of the household chores.

After a couple of months, we realized we needed to re-evaluate this division.  It was nearly impossible for me to take care of a colicky baby, finish homework, and stay on top of meals, dishes, and laundry.  Thus, Ben began cooking and cleaning more.  I focused on the laundry.  It worked rather well.

Breaking up household tasks was easy.  Breaking up who gets up with the baby was harder, is still hard.

With Emily, Ben and I would both get up.  He would change the diapers, I would take care of the feedings (obviously).  It was an arrangement that worked quite well.

When Andrew arrived, things changed.  I was no longer juggling school and mothering.  I became a fully certified stay-at-home mom.  Ben, though, is busier.  Between 4 part-time jobs (equaling about 20-25 hours per week total), 16-17 credits of pre-med courses, and MCAT studying, his time is limited.  He stays up later than me and usually gets up earlier than me.  It seemed logical, in my mind, that he forgo night time duties.  I didn’t explain this shift to him, I just stopped waking him up at night.

A week or so ago, I explained to Ben that Andrew would probably sleep longer through the night if I would get up to change him rather than just allowing him to find comfort in eating.  I just don’t want to deal with getting up and changing him.  So, because of my laziness, I am actually getting less sleep. Ben reminded me that he can also help.  If I give him Andrew, he would be happy to change him.  Yet, it seems illogical that both of us lose sleep.  I figure that since I am home all day, I should solely handle Andrew at night.

My question for you is this.  Should I include Ben in night time tasks if he is already getting less sleep than I am?  If yes, how can I do this without burdening him even more?

Alternatively, any advice on kicking my lazy habit of not changing Andrew’s diaper in the middle of the night? That is probably more pressing.

Thank you, in advance, for any advice you share.

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