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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Parenting – Where’s the Instructional Manual?

Excuse me Doctor. You’ve given me this baby, but where is the instructional manual? Seriously! Where is it?

That’s how I felt when I got home from the hospital and looked at my precious new baby girl 7 years ago. I quickly realized that I not only had no idea how to work my diaper genie, but I also had no idea what to do next.

A friend recently posted on Facebook about how there really ought to be real parenting classes for parents. Like How to cook one-handed and How to pee with 2 under 2. Oh how that brought back so many memories. I spent my 1st anniversary spending the entire weekend in a pre-natal parenting class with my husband. Hours on hours learning how to breathe and watching that insanely cheesy and out-dated birthing video. And in the end I had a c-section and nothing from that class was helpful.

So where do you turn?  Every medical practitioner, new mom and ever so helpful parenting advice books all have plenty to say.  But I personally found no information on what to do when you baby spits out her soother and you are driving in rush hour. Or how to juggle nap times and preschool when you have your second child.

So where does this leave us? As new clueless parents that’s where. Who are so hard on ourselves for not being the perfect Mom we envisioned we would be. But the truth is we are all doing the best we can with what we know. I truly believe parenting is all about survival. You may have the best intentions to have a perfectly clean and organized house. To never yell at your kids. To always have your family wearing coordinated outfits. To always have children who are on their very best behaviour. And of course being that perfect wife and mother who has lost all the baby weight, only serves organic freshly made lunches and has plenty of time for her husband at the end if the day.

Well here is my reality check. You make think all the other moms are living like that. But I bet if you peeked into their homes you would see her kids eating spilled Cheerios on the couch and watching tv while Mom runs around the house frantically trying to get everything ready before she ships off her kids to school in un-matching outfits which she likely pulled from the pile of laundry she ‘hoped’ was the clean pile.  I know at my house you will see my son wearing pajamas nearly 24 hours a day and likely I un-matching footwear (maybe even one rubber and one winter boot in the middle or summer).

So let’s make a pact. Stop pretending to be super Mom. Stop striving to be. Stop judging other moms! Bond together and admit it. It’s hard. Hard being a mom. Hard feeling guilty if you are a working mom. Hard answering the question “what do you do for work” if you are a stay at home mom. It’s. Just. Hard. And that’s ok.

Did you feed and cloth your kids today? I say Rock Star Mom! I don’t care if they still have jam on their face or you have five loads of laundry yet to be put away. Your kids are happy. They are loved. You did good today. So have a glass of wine and go to bed early. Because let’s be honest. You have to do it all again tomorrow and that’s without an instructional manual.

 

3 AM

Well hello 3am, how not nice it is to be awake with you. Haha. Just kidding. Well. Not really.

There used to be a time in my life when 3am was the end of a day. Don’t mistake me for one of the heroic people who work shift work. No I’m taking about being 20 something and rolling in from from a night out with the girls at 3am. Downing what tastes like the BEST fast food burger you have ever eaten (because for some reason after a night out with your BFFs and one or too many cocktails a greasy fast food burger tastes sooooo good). 3am is just the time where your head hits that pillow and your exhausted feet finally get a reprieve from those too tall boots and all that dancing.

Fast forward to my 30 something years and 3am meant waking up, for likely the 2nd or 3rd time in the night, to the not so soothing sounds of a demanding child. Groggily making my way down the dark hall in hopes that I would be able to remain half asleep while I quickly diapered and could get back to bed with, at best, a full hour before I had to do it all over again.

Now, as I approach my 40s GULP (can you believe I’m going to be 40 in less than 48 hours??? Me neither. Still in denial), being awake at 3am means some THING has woken me up. A bad dream. Having to pee. A sudden fear that I’ve left a window open. My husband’s phone repeatedly making annoying bird like sounds because he forgot to turn it to vibrate. Or all of the above in tonight’s case. So here I am. Awake. At 3 freaking am. Having first been awoken and then annoyed that my husband left his phone on. But the being relived since I was having a bad dream. But then realizing that I have to pee and wondering “should I try to go back to sleep? That may mean that I just wake up in an hour when I REALLY have to pee. If I lay here all I can do is think about how much I have to pee. But if I get up now then I will be awake and won’t be able to go back to sleep because once I’m up my mind starts going crazy.” And THEN it hits me. “Did I remember to close the window last night? If I didn’t close the window then I couldn’t have set the alarm. Someone could break in. ANd my heat is on meaning the furnace is working like overtime because I’ve got an open window letting out all the warm air and I’m wasting money.” Good grief. At this point I might as well get up. Go pee and shut the window.

So off I go. I pee. Check the window. And now I’m wide awake. AND In less than 3 hours my bed will be invaded by two short people bounding with energy and demands (“Get up Mommy! Make us breakfast. Let’s play Lego. Can you make me a Rainbow Loom bracelet? What are we doing today?”). All the while my brain is doing it’s very best to shut out the sounds of my new ‘alarm clocks’ because inside my body is screaming “it’s too early. Go to sleep. Don’t you know I was up at 3am? Leave me alone. Aren’t you old enough to fend for yourself?”

Hmmm. That gives me an idea. Maybe I’ll sneak into the spare bed. I could hide out there. I can write a blog. Read a book – that should hopefully settle my mind and get me sleepy. AND with any luck the kids will be satisfied only waking up my husband at the crack or dawn and I can squeeze in a few more hours or shut-eye before anyone realizes I’m M.I.A. Now that sounds like a plan!!

Of course, I do know it’s very likely that my internal alarm clock will go off regardless and I’ll be wide awake once I hear the stomping, laughter and sounds of my daughter singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs for the zillionth time.

Sigh. 3 AM. Let’s not do this again soon.

Until I write again…

x Shay

Take A Moment. And Listen to Your Children

It’s hard. We get busy. Life. Is. Busy. You work. You volunteer. You take care of you family. You try to find time for yourself and your husband. Life feels like it’s pulling you in a million directions. All the while you are just trying to do your best. Because that’s what we do as Moms right? Our best. Yet we are constantly berating ourselves for our failures. For not doing our best. For the small and large mistakes we make. We would never, ever want our kids to be beating themselves up days after they made a mistake. So why don’t we let ourselves off the hook?

I missed something. Something important. My daughter tried to tell me that she was going through something at school and I missed it. I brushed it off. I thought she was being unreasonable. And when I found out that I should have listened. That I should have pushed aside my busy morning and really taken the time to listen to what she was saying. To ask more questions. I beat myself up. Until I a friend reminded me. To stop. Because we in the end we did talk. And I did listen. And it’s going to be ok. And I’m allowed to not be perfect. To make mistakes.

So I’m going to let it go. To accept it as a good lesson. To listen when my kids want to tell me something. To really listen. And when they are upset, to take an extra minute to ask more questions so I really find out the whole story.

Sometimes when our kids talk to us, we are right in the middle of something. A text, paying bills, cooking dinner. But I think we need to stop. For just a moment. Look them in the eye. Smile. Listen. Acknowledge. Hear what they have to say. Really hear it. It might just be “check out the ten thousandth Lego car I’ve made (that looks exactly like all the other ones). Or. It might be something big. It might be about the kid at school who is bullying them. Whatever it is. It is important. To them. So it should be important. To Me. To You.

That’s it for now. My daughter just told me she has a story to tell me. So I’m going to go listen.

Until I write again…

x Shay

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