You know you're in the Mother-Hood when...

You Know You're in the MotherHood When...

You've sniffed a spot on your shirt and been able to determine the origin of said spot with CSI efficiency.

You let someone see you basically naked because he said he was an anesthesiologist.

It's a good day if you actually had time to shower, without interruptions or an audience of any kind.

Your meal plan has consisted of eating whatever mac and cheese is left in the pot after you've served it to the kids.

A drawing of you with a head the size of a watermelon is the prettiest picture you've ever seen.

Everyone but you being asleep counts as "alone time."

You feel a sense of accomplishment if you read an entire article in People magazine in one sitting.

You can name 3 out of 5 Backyardigans - you know you can.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Read This Blog and I'll Give You a Latte

To Bribe, or Not to Bribe - in my mind, there is no question.

Finish your broccoli and you can have dessert. Bring all the toys in from outside and you can have a popsicle. Clean up your room and you can watch 15 more minutes of t.v.
And it's not just the kids...
Perfect attendance at work for a few months and you get a $15 Starbucks card. Finish all your reports and you can leave early on Friday.
Put in your time for a couple of years and earn more vacation days.

Do I want to make it a constant bartering session to get my kids to do everything? No.
Am I ashamed that I am already formulating what bribes will best coax my son into the world of using the potty?
Absolutely not.
Somehow, I've been passed over as mother of the year in the past, so I doubt this decision to negotiate with a toddler terrorist using fruit snacks will effect the decision of the nomination committee.

I don't really recall the tactics my parents used on me until the pre-teen/teenage years, and those years were not exactly stellar on my record.
I do know that my mother is not a fan of the "time out" method and does not really buy this whole, negotiate, give choices approach. Her household is more of a benevolent dictatorship. She loves you, and her word is law. Period.

I realize that everyone eventually turns into their mother (I'm waiting to become a killer decorator/cook/keeper of the house) and I am hoping that my mother's iron will and tough love tactics will serve me well in my childrens' teen years.
Right now I am walking that fine line between new age and old school.

I'm stretching those "time out" muscles with my two year old (new age.)
But I have been known to utter the immortal old school phrase, "Because I said so!"

I am inclined to lean towards the "every situation calls for a different tactic" approach. When you have a cart full of groceries and your next in line to check out after an hour of shopping - are you really going to pick up and leave? Most likely (unless it's an extreme circumstance) no - that only punishes Mommy because then she has to go grocery shopping all over again.

It's in these instances, you know the ones where you feel like everyone is looking at you and judging you and listing off the twenty things they'd do differently - in those instances, I like to go home and queue up an episode of Super Nanny. Nothing like an episode of an eight year old biter with a mouth like a sailor to make you look at your own children with a renewed sense of gratitude.

Are my kids perfect? Enough. Are my parenting skills perfect? Well, I can't very well go and not leave my kids something to blog about when they're older, can I? That would just be irresponsible. Their therapist would be so bored otherwise.

If I need to put my son in a time out once in a while (or once an hour depending on the day) to give us both a few minutes to go to our separate corners. Great.
If M&Ms or Skittles or Gummi Bears are the key to a Pampers free world for me, I'm all for it.
If I just try my best everyday to make sure my kids are taken care of and know they're loved and go to sleep happy, then I think I deserve a glass of wine.
See, bribes really do come in all sizes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

School's In - Time for a Trip to a Little Place Called Guilt-ville

The pile has finally been sorted. You know that pile that accumulates on your counter this time of year - a virtual forest of reminders for things that I HAVE to be aware of:

School Supplies - not wanting to seem "ghetto" I nixed my original idea to ziploc baggy up dozens of the hundreds of crayons we have and took the easy way out, bought a shiny new box along with every other requested item. I plan to unload some of those loose crayons on the school later this year under the label - generous donation.

Fundraiser notices - my daughter has been at school 42 minutes and they are already imploring me to write that "no pressure" email to friends and family to pony up some cash. At least I have a deal with my neighbor, I buy from her kids, she buys from mine - we're good.

Then there's the soccer schedules, snack schedules, volunteer sign ups, "friendly reminders" (code for - we know you didn't write this down the first time) and my personal favorite...
Notice of no school - seriously?
They just got there and already there's a day off coming down the pipe?

This school year marks my third year not working outside my house. I used to be one of those teachers sending out the reminders and the supply list and collecting all that money for the fundraiser (note to moms - it's as big a pain in the muffin top for teachers as it is for you, trust me!)

This year also marks the beginning of a new schedule for my two year old, who will now be someone else's oiled pig to wrestle with for 3 1/2 hours a day, three days a week. That first Monday after I dropped him off, I had visions of sunbathing poolside, mojito in hand, not a care in the world for just 90 minutes.
Clearly, the universe decided to send me a little reality post it as I returned home to find a disposal backed up and in serious need of attention.
Okay, fine universe, I'll show you, I'll get the disposal cleaned AND I'll raise you a few loads of laundry done! Ha! Yeah, I'm crazy wild that way.

I did manage to get to the pool for an hour his second day of school. My relaxation buzz was slightly muted by the nagging worry that I may loose track of time and be late picking him up, which resulted in me getting to school almost 15 minutes early.

By his third day, I found myself outside his classroom, having a very familiar conversation with a couple other moms. To go back to work, or to not go back to work? I know, I know, moms work 24/7, no time off - it's a full time job - I TOTALLY get that. For clarification, I'm speaking of the out of the house, wear concealer so you don't scare your co-workers kind of job.

This is where the turn on the guilt trip merry go round comes in...
I love my kids. They are smart, creative and really cute (that cuteness has saved my toddler's life quite a few times.) I love being able to be at home and see them off to school, volunteer in the classroom, go on the occasional field trip. I didn't get to do that with my daughter and I was always really envious of my girlfriends who were able to.
However, I really miss my job too. I loved teaching. I loved having a (somewhat) attentive audience of 5th graders who thought I was hilarious (or at least pretended to think I was hilarious.) I miss the camaraderie with the other teachers (yes parents, we DO talk about you in the lounge!) and I miss working in such a creative environment.
I do not miss the schedule, the stress or the less than fun paperwork associated with my job.

It's the age old question of - am I a less than perfect mom if I work somewhere where people are over 4 feet tall? Am I a less than perfect "grown up" if I spend the majority of my time with people under 4 feet tall?

Speaking as someone who has done both and now works from home (meaning I have an "out of the home" job I can actually do in the home, no 900 numbers involved, not that there's anything wrong with that) - I can honestly say to anyone wrestling with this question - stop wrestling!

It's inevitable. If you work, you feel guilty for having your kids in daycare (even though they're having a great time with their friends and will probably not be one of those kids who won't let go of your leg in public.) If you stay at home, you feel guilty for occasionally yearning to have a desk that's littered with memos and reports and not Dora stickers and sippy cups.

Here's what I think, take it or leave it. If you're happy and fulfilled, you feel better about yourself and therefore you're a better person and a better parent. If you get that feeling from balancing working out of the home and taking care of your home - great. If you get that feeling from working full time as the CEO of your household - great. If you're like me and trying to figure out how to work from home and still keep your house in order -great, send me a 12 step program on how to do that, will you?

Mommies of the world, take a breath, take a sip of your favorite adult beverage and relax. No matter what you choose to do - you'll find a way to get your kids from kindergarten to college, and no matter what, you'll be able to give them plenty of material for their shrink. ;)