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why I’m boycotting mother’s day

That title is shameless click bait, I admit. But hey if you’re reading this, it worked! And it is true, mostly.

Here’s why, most mother’s days for myself, and more people than I’d like to admit (and probably more than admit to me!) are just days set up for disappointment on the I am a mother end and endless amounts of guilt on the I have a mother end. I am very enmeshed in the raising small people phase of parenting. We are for the moment, out of the high intensity completely dependent phase, but fully into the mentally and emotionally exhausting raising small people phase. What I honest to goodness want at this stage (and what I hear from most of my ‘co-workers’) is a break! Sleep, alone time, a clean house for more than the evening hours they are sleeping (that didn’t require most of said hours to get there)! And according to this info graphic, apparently a small percentage of us also want a lumberjack.

mother's day infographic

I already have me one of them these days. He just trades the flannel button down for a professional one for work. Just this weekend he even promised me I’d get to watch him chop wood. True story.

professional lumberjack

But I digress, it’s the rest of that elusive stuff I want, and I’m clearly not alone. But that’s not generally the experience we get. In this phase of parenting, it’s not really very feasible, you know minus the lumberjack part (’cause you know, nailed it!) So when I woke up on Mother’s day to my same messy house, stinky litter box, not alone, even the sleeping in and breakfast I didn’t have to cook didn’t stave off the disappointment. Which to be honest, is a bit ridiculous. Any other day I wake up to the same circumstances and I’m happy and content with my life. Any other day my house feels loved and lived in, not messy. Any other day I appreciate and smile at the laughter and happy screams of my children. Any other day I honestly enjoy my life.

So we were on our way to my mother’s to have lunch with my parents and sister. We made our previously scheduled stop at Publix to pick up some of their awesome fresh flowers for my mom. As I walk in I’m thinking I need something, sugar, caffeine, something! I’m tired, I have a headache, I just want to be alone, this day is for me too, I AM A MOTHER TOO DANG IT!

I stand in front of the dessert cups for forever trying to pick if I want a cheesecake cup or a strawberry cup, can’t decide what I want, so I go pick flowers for my mom. Immediately find ones filled with purple flowers and grab those, then I see Oreo cups on sale for a dollar (one of Jacob’s favorites) and then I think I’d need something for Grant and there’s nothing in this section he could eat. So off I go for some bars, then I find granola and Grant and I had just been talking about granola the night before. There’s a new chex mix granola! He loves chex, double win! It’s starting to turn into a give a mouse a cookie story…drop a mom at a grocery store for one thing and…

One thing leads to another and I end up leaving with a dessert to share with my daughter, stuff for my mom (original mission) and something for each of my boys. The cashier wishes me happy mother’s day and I joke about the fact that I came in for one thing for my mom and ended up with something for all my kids, on mother’s day, typical. We laugh and I realize this was just what I needed, to think about someone else.

That’s what mother’s do best. We all have different perspectives and even different way of carrying out the same perspective, but ultimately we are thinking about other and namely our kids, most of the time. We may be thinking about their short term happiness or their long term success. It might be how we can help them get into the best college or how we can help them be who they were made to be. Maybe it’s trying to get them everything we never had or trying to teach them stuff won’t make them happy. But the point is, the focus is not on us, it’s not on me. (Disclaimer: I am completely for taking care of yourself and try to do and model this to my children. You need to treat yourself and teach your children to treat you with the same amount of respect you treat your kids, but that’s for another post).

So having a day where the cultural expectation is to think about myself and what I want and what I deserve for all this hard ‘work’ I do. This is not a day of happiness. Watching a kid smile at you when you finally get to be the one buying them a treat (instead of it always being a grandparent), sharing dessert with your daughter, getting to see/hear when someone receives your gift, those things bring joy. ‘Cause it’s not about me.

I’m all for teaching children to think about other people, it’s a lesson that will serve them and their future happiness well in life, and it’s one most of us (read me) could also do well to remember. Joy doesn’t come from being focused on me and what I ‘deserve.’ I certainly don’t need a whole day telling me it’s all about me. So next year, if I don’t get the coveted weekend by myself, I’ll be ok. I’ll just content myself with my lumberjack and ride along like it’s any other day. And if I do get anything else off that info-graphic, well, BONUS!

it’s all about sleep baby

So I’m reading a new book, surprise! NutureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. OMG, it is amazing! I was going on and on about it to Bycemaster last night when he ever so politely says, why don’t you blog about it? Was he getting sick of hearing about it? Possibly. Was he very kindly and politely asking me to stop? Probably. Was he right? Definitely!

Every chapter so far has been amazing. Last night was the sleep chapter, I was ironically staying up late to read. But it was so fascinating, and validating! (See kids, mommy DOES know what she’s talking about!) When they studied elementary students they discovered just one hours difference in sleep a night resulted in a two grade level reduction in performance, 2 grade levels! Here’s the quote “a slightly sleepy sixth=grader will perform in class like a mere fourth-grader. A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” Sleep deprived kids also had problems with impulse control, concentration, emotional stability, and were more likely to be obese. To quote the authors again “The surprise is not merely that sleep matters – but how much it matters, demonstrably, not just to academic performance and emotional stability, but to phenomena that we assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of ADHD.” Wow.

After a number of melt down incidents we had over here last week and then our discovery that said incidentor (like that new word, Bycemaster would be proud) had been getting up an extra hour earlier all week, this totally rang true. It truly was a complete regression in “cognitive maturation and development,” which is really frustrating when you know how old they are supposed to be! It’s possible this experience could be exponential in adults…just throwing that out there. I mean you can see it right? It could explain A LOT. Just speculation people!

However, the fact “that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine” (I haven’t quoted someone so much since my college paper writing days!) is not speculation. Ok excuse my nerd out here, but they actually explained why this is happening and I must at least attempt to pass it on (you really need to read this book people!). So our brain processes and stores the information from the day while we are sleeping. How the person feels about a memory determines what part of the brain processes it. Your amygdala processes your negatives memories/events and positive or neutral stimuli are processed by your hippocampus. But when you get too little sleep the hippocampus suffers first and hardest. Leaving you with a brain full of negativity and little capacity to even add anything neutral or positive to the mix the next day. The situation is compounded for kids due to the different quantities of sleep stages they have at night. The surly teenager stereotype is beginning to make much more sense. I mean I know what I was like as a teenager, I wasn’t nicknamed ice princess for nothing. I was also sleeping 6 or less hours a night for years. My already existing plan of enforcing naps in my teenagers has now been set in stone.

and the beat goes on…

So I was driving to school to pick up Jena and hit something (deductive reasoning tells me it was a trash can. I don’t really know, as I obviously didn’t SEE it). No big deal, right? Another scratch or dent, whatever. Nope.

It took my mirror off. Right next to the window we just got replaced last Tuesday. My poor car is feeling the love. It’s like she knows she’s slated for replacement next year and is attracting incidents out of spite. Ironically, it is not making me want to keep her!

Icing on the pity party cake, as I was walking out of school, a few paces behind the big kids, as usual, I ran into an entire herd of mom’s sternly trying to coral my children. Other than saying  ‘stay there young man!’ and ‘where do you think you are going?’ I’m not entirely sure what they were doing, but I did not stick around and find out. There is no judgment like another mother’s judgement. On any other day I’d like to think it would not have bothered me (which may or may not be true). However, having just in the last 15 mins damaged my car for the second time in less than 2 weeks, knowing I now have more headache and money being spent ahead of me, I was in no mood. With a sorry and a question not really meant to be answered (after some other child outed me as their mother I might add) I followed the children who immediately bolted for the car as soon as they saw me again. In my defense, I intentionally park on the side of the parking lot that requires no crossing of moving cars, control the things you can, judge me if you will.

In other news, we are still plugging away on recovering from the robbery. I do appreciate all those that have asked how we are doing. Here’s the update.

I was making what was supposed to be my last call on Tuesday and discovered we had another fraudulent charge to our account. Looks like they grew a brain and went online and paid someone’s phone bill. And just to make my life a little more difficult, they used Neil’s name (yep it was in the check book too!) so I had to jump through more hoops to get it cleared. So after an entire day on the phone (yippie!) we ended in a better place and a few of the more important customer service reps I talked to were actually helpful. Now I just have to do now is switch the 20 (not an exaggeration) autodrafts and direct deposits to our new account numbers before our grace period runs up. Which will actually consist of 20 recover password and/or username processes on 20 different websites where I may or may not already have an existing account, but where I am certain to not remember either way!

I don’t wan to do it, I don’t want to change all our bills. I don’t want to drop off the car to get fixed. I don’t want to drive with a broken window. I don’t want to spend more money or more time on the phone with insurance companies. I want to put my head on the table and cry myself into the nap I’m not getting today. But since that isn’t an option, I’m going to attempt some perspective.

I am grateful I didn’t hit a person or animal with my car (at least I don’t think I did, as stated, didn’t see what it was). I am grateful Caroline likes most everything I cook even when my kids will not touch it, and she’s currently cleaning up a number of leftovers in the fridge. I am grateful it is a beautiful day and my windows are open and the breeze is blowing around the curtains. I am grateful I got some fun time with my little man while Caroline took an unexpectedly early nap this morning (why I’m not getting a nap, waaahhh, ok I’m done). I am grateful I actually did clean the kitchen this morning, one less thing to stress me out. I am grateful completing this blog will make my list for the day half done, even if watching dr. who was on it. I am grateful sriracha sauce makes everything taste better, even botched up new recipes. I am grateful well fed and rested children sing happily instead of whine and cry. I am grateful my husband loves me even when I do stupid things like knock the mirror off our car. I am grateful it’s only money, we could have real problems.

Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

my titles suck lately

It’s thursday! Do you know what that means yet? Time for a challenge update. 1.5 LBs down this week! Woo hoo, back on track. I think I finally hit my exercise goals this week. Two workouts with the kinect trainer and two walks, I could majorly feel the difference. I’m also sore, feels good. As for eating out, I don’t think we ate out once this week. We are rocking.

On to more important things. I have been meaning to write my little angel a letter lately and after writing it in my head for the past month, I am finally putting pen to paper…you know…in the figurative sense. Here goes.

Dear 22 months and 2 days,

Even though you are almost two, you are still my little baby. From your scraggly baby hair to your limited vocabulary you still retain babiness, I am enjoying it. A few months ago you exited my favorite stage and entered what had been my least favorite. I say had because once again you’ve changed all I know about parenting. Some day you need to thank your brother and sister for being such difficult strong willed 2 year olds, they really set you up for sainthood. I am still in awe of you, your fits, when you have them, last all of 3 seconds. You express your frustration and move on, and you don’t even get frustrated that often. You are still your happy go lucky, easy going self, you amaze me.

You have decided it is time to start trying this talking thing. It’s probably been about a month since you turned parrot. You don’t always know what to say when you need it, but you can repeat most of what we say if we ask you to, and you’re so easy going you’ll even do it almost every time we ask you! (can you tell that was not our previous experience with new talkers…) I taught you the sign for please a few months ago, it was taught to get you to stop screaming and tugging my legs when you wanted to be picked up. You picked it up right away and about a month ago decided you could use your mouth to say it too. You now walk around the house saying please for everything, which sounds more like peeeaas! I find it absolutely adorable that I have the most polite almost two year old on the planet…even if it has slightly backfired as I no longer know what you are saying please for anymore…you literally use it for everything. You’ve also decided we are mommy and daddy, instead of mama and dada. The cutest part is that you have added y’s to most of your other words too, including wawa. It took me 2 days of serious frustration for you to realize you’d turned wawa into wawey. It still makes me laugh, it’s too cute.

You play nicely for the most part with other babies, another marvel. As long as someone asks you please you willingly give up almost anything you are playing with. Now if they forget the please, well that’s a different story we won’t tell right now. You are even fairly good at asking please for a toy before grabbing it, like I said, please is your favorite word right now. Though it is closely followed by thank you, the next sign you learned. You also say that one with your mouth too, though it is a bit garbled. What took me 2 years (ok maybe not quite that long, but it felt that way!) to teach your brother and sister you picked up in a week. You say thank you whenever you are given something, spontaneously most of the time and always when prompted. I would like to attribute this to my amazing parenting skills. However, once your siblings caught this one they got it down and I believe it is really a result of peer pressure. Which has gotten a really bad rap all these years, it can be used for good! Poor peer pressure, unjustly judged you have been…whoa yoda moment.

I also night weaned you this month. That has been an interesting process. You are still waking up asking to nurse in the second half of the night. You will go back to sleep when I tell you too, but you are up again shortly after. I have felt like I have a new born again this week. Oh I know what happened! You knew you had a little friend born this week! This is sympathy wakings isn’t it? You are so sweet, but you can stop now, really it’s ok. The gesture is appreciated though, I’m sure, by someone, somewhere…I’ll stop now.

I love you so much it feels like it will burst out of my body sometimes. I am enjoying watching you grow into a big boy.

love,

Mommy

Awake

Life is a little crazy around here these days. I feel like I’m finally adjusting, I still don’t like it, but I’m at least used to working nights, not seeing my husband and waking up exhausted every morning to start it all over again. Last night I was so beat I fell asleep on the couch sometime circa 8:30, at least I hope it was at least 8:30. Combine that with a teething baby that seemed to actually sleep last night and kids that finally seem to be adjusting to the time change and well I feel awake.

It shouldn’t be this much of a novelty. But I woke up to light out my window and my first response was not a groan. It actually took me a few minutes to recognize the foreign sensation of being awake, while still in my bed, that usually doesn’t happen till much later.

So instead of going back to sleep this morning I’m writing you this horrible rambling post, I’m such a giver.

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