I’m sure that most of our readers read Times and Seasons too, but if you don’t, or you missed this particular discussion, Julie M. Smith posted a really great post about post partum depression. It’s a few days old, but still worth a read.
By Heather O.
I’m sure that most of our readers read Times and Seasons too, but if you don’t, or you missed this particular discussion, Julie M. Smith posted a really great post about post partum depression. It’s a few days old, but still worth a read.
By The Wiz
My husband and I were talking last night about our kids. (I know, shocker. Wonder what we’ll talk about when they move out. Golf, probably). We decided that one of them looks exactly like his mother, one looks exactly like I do, and one looks exactly like he does. This is not new information to us. We have thought that for a while, everyone tells us that we have one little me, and one little him, etc. It’s just not going to change anytime soon.
So why bring it up again?
When I had my first, I had in my head an image of what a baby of mine would look like. A little heart-shaped face, hazel eyes, and just the teeniest little thing you ever saw. Well, she came out round-faced, blue-eyed, and she could have been auditioning for the part of the Michelin Tire Man within four months. She was stunning (of course!), but not the baby I’d thought I’d have. This did not make me love her any less, but I was surprised every time I looked at her. Still am, sometimes. How could someone that looks like that come out of me? Then I look at my husband, and my MIL, and I know the answer.
Then my second was born (another girl), and they handed me this little alien baby. I knew from experience what my babies looked like. After all, I already had one, and a girl to boot. This child looked NOTHING like my first. She had really strange hair (my brother kept saying she had ‘mange’), she was beet-red, and was really just kind of scrawny looking. I always thought the nurses in the hospital told everyone their baby was gorgeous, but this time around I just didn’t hear it. As she grew (a major issue for her), she turned into the absolute cutest little pixie doll you’ve ever seen. And she started to look like me. Finally, I had the little heart-shaped faced, hazel-eyed girl I’d imagined.
Then I had my boy. He was so stinking cute at birth, the nurses wanted to take him home. He looked a lot like my first. And he has continued to be the cutest thing ever, and is a little clone of his Daddy.
I have a sister who has adopted a little boy. The first thing everybody asked me was did he look like her or her husband. They seemed to think that somehow, if he looked like he fit the family, then that would be a ’sign’ that he was sent to the right family. I’ve always found that question to be an odd one.
Do we think our kids are cute because they look like us? Deep down, are the people we find most attractive the ones that remind us of ourselves? Is that why married people look alike? And why are we constantly talking about it? Maybe it’s just another way of talking about ourselves.
By Heather O.
My mother can’t sew. All growing up, we heard hilarious tales about her harrowing experiences trying to sew things. My favorite was the one where she wrestled with a pinafore needed for a church performance, and finally woke my father up in the middle of the night, half crazed and covered with thread saying, “If you value your wife’s sanity and our marriage, you will let me go out and BUY a pinafore!”
Her daughters carried on this long and glorious tradition of ineptitude at the sewing machine when in 7th grade Home Ec. class, I sewed a linen napkin to itself (we were only supposed to learn how to use the different stitches on the machine), and my twin sister cut off the bottom half of some sweat pants with the serger(sp?).
They banned 7th graders from the serger after that.
So as an adult, I have shunned sewing most of my life until my son was born. Then some good friends in Boston “helped” me make his bumper set (which means they did all the work while I babysat their kids and cut off loose threads), and told me repeatedly, “It’s really not that hard. You can do it.”
Ok, how hard can it really be? So last year I plucked up my courage, bought a simple beginners sewing machine, and enrolled myself in a sewing class at the local fabric store. The teacher carefully walked me through my first project, a table runner, and I graduated from the class with a table decoration and only a few wobbly seams.
So, armed with a false sense of security, I have recently embarked on another simple sewing project:making pillows for our deck chairs.
It has taken me over a week to finish one.
My ineptitude with the sewing machine has indeed been proved yet again, so I offer this list of reasons why I should never try to sew:
10) I’m trying to make 4 pillows. I ran out of fabric after I cut enough for 2.
9) I accidentally sewed without fabric under the needle, and screwed up my bobbin. Twice.
8) In trying to fix my bobbin, I did something funky to the machine and broke it. DH had to fix it. When he laughed at me, I threatened to stab him with a butter knife.
7) I installed a zipper without measuring exactly where it should go, so the zipper is not even close to the center of the seam or pillow edge.
6) There is a huge lump where the fabric ends and the zipper begins. I have no idea how it got there, and I sure as hell don’t know how to get rid of it.
5) I let Jacob play with my pin cushion. It took me 2 days to find it stuck behind a mirror in our hallway.
4) The fabric I’m using is striped. The stripes don’t line up. At all.
3) I sewed two sides of the pillow before I realized my needle wasn’t thread correctly.
2) In pinning the zipper into the pillow, I accidentally pinned the rest of the fabric to my shirt.
And the Number 1 reason I should never sew:
1) In pinning the zipper into the pillow, I accidentally pinned the rest of the fabric to my shirt. Again.
But at least I got one done, and so I have to finish the rest. I just hope we can all live through the experience, and I can get them done before we move and throw out our deck furniture. Or before I lose my mind. Or before I pin everything to my own *&%#@ pants.
By Heather O.
Yesterday’s Washington Post’s Style section had this great article about rockin’ mommas. Yes, ladies, it’s Mamapalooza! In summary of the article (for those of you who are like me and don’t want to follow the link, or don’t have time to read the whole article) dozens of mothers nationwide are creating a new genre of music: mom rock. For the past three years, mothers have gotten together for a musical festival around the country that stars local mom musicians and artists, performing music that deals exclusively with mommy issues.
Check out these band names:
Housewives on Prozac
Moms on the Edge
Titles of their songs include:
Soccer Mom Stomp
Take Out the Trash
Eat your Damn Spaghetti
It’s a great article about these mothers who are artists and moms, and how they are trying to show that these two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And some of their songs lyrics are hysterical. As the Post put it, they could have been penned by a “cranky Mr. Rogers”. My favorite is “Pee Alone”, by Housewives on Prozac:
My needs are simply simple
I just wanna read the paper
I just wanna talk on the phone
I just wanna take a shower
And I only want to pee alone
Some also have their kids onstage with them. The Post had a great picture of a mom rockin’ out with her toddler daughter hanging on to her leg. The mother had a doll stuck in her sexy boot. Most performers can’t make the entire country tour of the festival because, hey, they’re moms–whose going to watch their kids?
I’m not exactly a rock musician, but I loved reading about these mommies doing what they love to do while their kids zoom in and out of their practice sessions and concerts. These women have incorporated their children into their self-expression, and they are all having a great time. Everybody wins.
Ok, so anybody up for a song writing night? Let’s see–how ’bout we start with the song “Momma don’t allow no fire startin’ round here”, or “Dishwasher blues.” Pick up your guitars, your drums, your oatmeal boxes full of beans, and let’s rock!
By The Wiz
Well, Heather’s post a while ago about howwhiny her husband gets when he’s sick got me thinking about all the things I had in the file entitled: Things I Did Not Know When I Got Married. Here are a few examples:
If you put an egg in water, and turn it on, and boil it, in the hopes of having a hard boiled egg, and then forget that you wanted a hard boiled egg, the water will eventually boil dry and the egg will explode.
Just because you balance your checkbook on a regular basis does not mean that your husband does. Separate accounts and separate bills may be the answer to avoiding many arguments. If you must combine accounts (which happened when I stopped working), Quicken and on-line banking are a god-send. Use them, and use them wisely.
Being married really IS way better than being single, but occasionally you will long for your single life, and will remember it as being way more glamorous than it actually was.
If you are the first of your friends to get married, they will still be your friends, but for the first year of your marriage, they will treat you like someone else has landed on earth and taken over your body. For the first few months of your marriage, they will avoid you entirely, because they are worried that they might interrupt something they don’t want to think about.
When people call you by your new last name for the first little while, you will look around wondering where your mother-in-law is. You really do go through an identity crisis with the name change.
Things I Did Not Know When I Had a Baby:
Peeing is a major event after delivery. As well it should be.
Motherhood is IMMEDIATE. I know this sounds silly, logically you know that of course it’s immediate, but when they put that baby on your chest 5 seconds after it’s delivered - all of a sudden, your life as you know it is over. There is absolutely NO rest time after delivery to start feeling like yourself again before motherhood has become your life.
Your baby is a stranger to you. You do not know this child, even though you thought you would, what with the pregnancy and all.
Breast-feeding is hard. It’s painful. So is weaning.
People care far less about you than you thought. All of a sudden, nobody wants to visit YOU, they just want to see the baby.
Breast milk, when it has been spit up and stuck in your baby’s neck folds for hours on end, does not smell good. And it is dang hard to get that stuff out of your baby’s neck.
I believe there is a secret conspiracy to conceal the fact that while your baby is breast-feeding, what he’s REALLY doing is sucking away all your brain cells. That’s why they say breast-fed kids are smarter, and it’s why motherhood makes you stupid.
I have a growing number of files:Things I Did Not Know Until I Had a Toddler, Things I Did Not Know Until I Had More Than One Child, Things I Did Not Know Until I Had a School-Age Child, and I can list many, many things under them. I know the number of files will continue to grow as my kids do, and all I can say is: Heaven help my children, because what I don’t know can fill many, many books.
By Heather O.
I remember taking a self esteem quiz in eighth grade. It was one of the surveys where you answer the questions on a scale–1-4, or something like that. The only question I remember was, “Do you like getting up in the morning?” Y’all may have gathered that I’m not exactly the early bird type (my roommates in college use to joke that only a breakfast date with a cute boy could get me out of bed before 9), and I was even less so at age 13. I remember emphatically circling the 1, meaning ‘definitely NOT.’
At the end of this quiz, I was surprised to learn that I had low self-esteem. Then, of course, I started comparing answers with the other pre-pubescent girls in the room, and I remember that almost all of them also had low self-esteem, save one very popular girl. You all know her–the one you would love to hate but actually can’t because she is genuinely a nice person, dang it. Then the teachers started dividing us into groups based on our scores, and I discerned very quickly which group I did NOT want to be associated with. I hastily erased my answer to the morning question, changing my 1 to a 4. Those three little points vaulted my score into the “has high self esteem” category, and saved me from the embarrassment of having low self-esteem. I remember using my very advanced teenage vocabulary to describe the whole experience, quiz and subsequent psuedo-group therapy by the gym teachers, as “lame”.
These type of experiences persisted throughout my teenage years, with Young Women lessons focusing on talents, and making lists of things that we like about ourselves,etc. I understand why–after all, teenagers suffer from major self-image issues, and I was no different. And as adolescence is an extraordinarily self-absorbed time of life, it makes sense to tell teenagers that if they are going to spend so much time thinking about themselves, it might as well be good thoughts, right?
Ok, fast forward some years to last week’s Enrichment night at our ward. Upon arrival, I was given a sheet that said (I kid you not),
“List 3 things that you like about your physical appearance.”
“List 3 things that you feel you are good at.”
“List 3 positive messages to tell yourself every day.”
Then we had to share our lists with our neighbor. I hate to say it, but again, my sophisticated adult vocabulary came up with one word to describe the whole experience: lame.
Fast forward again to last Sunday, our ward conference. The Stake Relief Society President came to our ward to discuss, you guessed it, Self Worth. Her remarks were slightly better than our Enrichment, but not much. And she said that she had fasted and prayed about what this ward needed to hear, and this was the answer she got–the sisters needed to be reminded of their worth.
Ok, I can buy that. There’s plenty of women who don’t think very much of themselves. But really, is telling your neighbor that you think you have nice hair, or that you have clear skin going to change your attitude about your life? I hope not, because if that is what our self-worth is based on, it gets shattered in an instant with a zit and a bad hair day.
This is what I would like to hear about women’s self worth. I would like to hear that women are a powerful force for good who can do great things, even when we think we can’t. I would like to hear that we find our self worth from serving God, from knowing that our daily lives reflect what He wants us to be. I would like women to find self-worth in engaging themselves in worthwhile productive projects that when finished, they can point to and say, “I was a part of that.” And please don’t think this is limited to the typical Mormon mother activities like scrap-booking and sewing. Those are all good things, but if you don’t like them, you can (gasp!) DO SOMETHING ELSE!
And here is where I’m going to get a litte controversial. I honestly don’t think that focusing on the self will bring us happiness. Now, moms, don’t freak out. I think we all need some time-outs and refresher breaks from our kids, and that we as mothers give a tremendous amount already, so much that we feel we are at the breaking point sometimes. But a life completely devoted to the project of self will not bring us that ever elusive “self-esteem”. I think the key in finding our self worth is to look to God for the affirmation of who we are, and what we are meant to be.
And what are we meant to be? Goddesses, ladies. We are meant to be powerful, beautiful, celestial goddesses, cellulite and zit free. (Well, I don’t actually have any doctrinal references on that last part, but it would be only fair, right?) So I hope that we find our self worth in other places than just the quizzes that tell us if we rise up early,we must have good self-esteem. But if that’s really the case, you high-self esteem gals can just have a lovely morning while I glory in my own self-worth, snuggled down in my nice comfy flannel sheets until 9.
By Heather O.
The day started off innocently enough. DH and Jacob and I spent the morning working in our garden plot. There are few things that boys like to do more than roll in the dirt, so every Saturday DH and Jacob are in heaven as they wrestle with the elements and get really dirty.
But I don’t stess–I just pop their muddy clothes in our laundry sink to soak. (This comes into play later, I promise.)
Ok, so we finish our garden work, run some errands, and DH goes off to work. Whenever DH works on a Saturday night, I make a fun Mommy and Jacob night by getting a special video at the video store and letting Jacob stay up late snuggled up with Mommy and some sugary treats watching the show. So, we are getting ready to go to the video store, and I spy the mail that DH brought in earlier. On the top of the pile is a notice from Blockbuster saying that since I’ve not returned the 4 items I’ve rented this month, and decided to keep them, my VISA will be charged $65.00. What? I returned all those videos weeks ago, and on time. I went ballistic, and showed up at Blockbuster practically raving. The manager assured me all was well, and sent me on my way.
In the car on the way home, I get a phone call saying that my car insurance won’t cover the crack in our windshield, even though my agent said that it would. This does not improve my mood.
We get home, and I start going through the rest of the mail, only to find that a parking ticket DH got and didn’t tell me about is now way delinquent and is going to cost us twice as much as the original amount. My mood gets darker.
Then some neighbor kids come over, and Jacob is happily occupied while I start working on the aforementioned laundry. I get everything going, go upstairs to start working on the dinner dishes, and I hear an odd splashing noise from the basement. I go downstairs to find Noah’s flood! Our washing machine drains into the laundry sink where I had tossed the mud soaked clothes, and a particularly sneaky sock had worked itself down into the drain, blocking all water drainage. This in turn caused the sink to overflow with water and turned my basement into a soapy lake. I grabbed every dirty towel I could find, and spent the next 15-20 minutes frantically mopping up water that threatened DH’s law books he had stored down there (and in our family, nobody messes with DH’s books).
My cleaning effort meant that the 2 three year olds and the 4 year old in the house went unsupervised and out of ear shot for at least 20 minutes. (You see it coming, don’t you?) So Jacob came down sometime later, holding the lid to some FABRIC PAINT left over from who knows what unfinished Relief Society project left somewhere for who knows how long, but clearly it was no longer out of his reach. I ran up to inspect his room, and sure enough, found enough red paint spread around you would have thought somebody had killed a small animal.
The 4 year old, being slightly wiser and astute at reading parental moods, thought fast and said, “C’mon, guys, let’s go outside–Jacob, get your rain boots!” and made a mad dash downstairs and outside before any swift retribution could befall him. Jacob quickly followed suit and grabbed his rain boots. “Wait, there’s something here,” he said, and turned one boot upside down, spilling about a thousand Bingo chips he had apparantly put there for safe keeping all over my hallway.
I was rendered speechless.
Then I thought, “Hey, why am I in charge? Whose lousy idea was THAT? Car insurance, credit cards, parking tickets, flooding basements, war paint on the bedspread-I wanted to grow up to do THIS?”
And why no warning? The closest anybody ever came to giving me a glimpse of what to expect as an adult and a mother was my father who once said, “Life sometimes gets a little complicated.” Complicated? That’s it? You call a flooding basement and a red-painted child COMPLICATED? I can think of a lot of other things I’d like to call it, none of which I can write because this is officially a Mormon blog and Mormons aren’t supposed to use that kind of language.
Maybe our mothers had it easier. I remember one time I had to dig Play-Doh out of Jacob’s nose with a toothpick, and I called my mother to complain that she never told me motherhood would involve stuff like this. She calmly said, “Well,my dear, you never stuck Play-Doh up your nose.”
I’d like to know when things are going to get less complicated. Sadly, I don’t think it’s soon. I think I need a Chantico. Anybody want to join me?
By Heather O.
This is another guest post from Andrea Wright, a mother of 3.
Is Fate or Fat Against Me?
I don’t consider myself superstitious and I’m certainly not a conspiracy theorist, but there’s a strange phenomenon going on that is making me both. For many years I have fought to get into a good exercise routine. Over the last 6 years I’ve been successful for a time, but then inevitably something happens to completely derail my efforts. Here are just as few examples. When my first baby was about 7 months, I finally got going and began walking with a friend. We went sun or more sun (we lived in Arizona) for several months and then I had a miscarriage and a D & C and took some time off and then my partner moved. Another time I hurt my back just as I was really getting into it, another time I sprained my ankle…and on and on it goes. All this between three kids and let’s just say I’m not getting any skinnier. So, now what’s my problem? Well, I’ve decided the only hope I have of getting any kind of exercise (sigh) is if I wake up before my kids and just do it. This means I have to get up at 6:00am which really shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. So, I’ve mapped out a little plan for myself to start with just every other day I’ll drag myself out of bed and work my way to a fabulous body. The night before the designated exercise day suddenly all of my children wake up all night long. 6:00am so isn’t happening if I’ve been up more than twice that night. Last night was a perfect example, I set the alarm, laid out my exercise clothes, climbed into bed nice and early dreaming of my soon to be fat-free body. My 21-month old woke up 4 times, my 6 year old woke up and didn’t go back to bed for an hour and a ½, my 4 year old woke up twice. What is going on!!!!??? On a normal night my littlest might wake up once because he can’t find his pacifier, and my girls hardly ever wake up unless they’re sick. Fate is against me and fat is very much for me. Help! What are your secrets ladies? How do you find the time and energy to exercise?
By The Wiz
8:30 a.m. Breakfast: One can of Dr. Pepper.
12:15 p.m. Lunch: Balance Bar.
4:00 p.m. Afternoon snack: One bottle of Yoplait Nouriche.
4:30 p.m. Still hungry: Microwaved some popcorn chicken.
It was DH’s turn to make dinner. He had planned on making chinese food. It is a dish he has made before with tofu, vegetables, and sauce. It is yummy, and I am looking forward to it.
6:00 p.m. DH goes to store to get stuff for dinner.
6:55 p.m. Leave for Relief Society meeting. Instruct DH to tape my show and save me some dinner.
7:00-9:45 p.m. Evening snack: Three chocolate-chip cookies at Relief Society meeting.
9:45 p.m. Come home from meeting. Get handed a plate with 80% white rice and 6 pieces of tofu. No vegetables or sauce in sight. My show was not taped.
10:15 p.m. Eat emergency 3 Musketeers Bar that I have saved for when I am in a bad mood.
1:30 a.m. Can’t sleep. Go downstairs and eat another balance bar.
Welcome to my world.
By Heather O.
Again, confession time. In addition to loving Buffy, I am a Starbucks junkie. Yes, it’s true. I love everything about it. I love the way it looks, I love sitting there and sipping my hot drink, and I love the way I smell after I’ve been there for a while.
And I love the drinks. No, not the coffee, but the other ones. The hot chocolate. The almond and vanilla steamers. The Italian sodas (at participating locals only!). And of course, my favorite, the caramel apple cider. It’s so good it almost makes it worth it to live through a winter in Boston. (Well, ok, NOTHING makes living through a winter in Boston worth it, but still, it’s a dang yummy drink.)
I introduced my in-laws to this particular joy in life. My MIL’s first time actually setting foot into a Starbucks was when she was visiting us in Boston, and I took her to one after we’d been sight-seeing in the cold. She got a little giddy when we went in, and she only ordered a muffin. I educated her about steamers, and while we were enjoying our treats, she said in a conspiratorial whisper, “I almost feel like being here is evil.” I think she was only half-joking.
I told my sister this little story, and she brought up a good point. She said, “What do you think people think when they see you drinking something out of a Starbuck’s cup? Their first thought is probably not, ‘Oh, she’s drinking an almond steamer.’ Clearly, they assume that you are drinking coffee.” And then we talked about how appropriate it really was, drinking something innocuous out of a cup bearing the markings of something we abstain from. My sister said, “I mean, what would people think if Pres. Hinckley was walking around with a Starbucks mug in his hand?”
I maintain that people aren’t really all that concerned about what I’m drinking, although I hope they give me the benefit of the doubt when I share my hot drink with my small child at the airport. And I haven’t stopped enjoying my Starbuck’s experience. But I think it would be interesting to see if Starbucks can make it in Utah Valley, where I think people are VERY concerned with what everybody else is doing, drinking hot drinks inlcuded. And how important is avoiding the very appearance of evil? I mean, for leaders of the Church, I guess it’s pretty important. There’s a story out there that even before he was an Apostle, Elder Oaks wouldn’t even drink a soda at a function where alcohol was being served, just so he could avoid any talk at all about what he might have been drinking. But I’m not a leader of the Church, and I don’t think people who drink or manufacture coffee are inherently evil, so does that mean I can enjoy my pleasure guilt free? I hope so, because my MIL gave me a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, and I’ve still got enough for one more drink. Caramel apple cider, anyone?
By The Wiz
We were able to install the cool new feature “Recent Comments” on our sidebar, and we’d like to give a shout out to Blogger Hacks, whose template for this feature made it all possible. Thanks, Ebenezer Orthodoxy, you’re the best!
By The Wiz
So, I was giving a little Family Home Evening lesson. I hadn’t prepared anything, so I thought I would just tell the story of Noah, what with the two-by-twos, we’d do a little mooing, a little baaing, we’d color some animals, and voila!! Family Home Evening.
Well, my simple little lesson turned into mayhem. My daughter was screaming hysterically in the middle of the story. Her problem? All the poor wicked people in the world. Specifically, all the poor wicked people’s children. What about all the little kids?
Well, she got me thinking. We are taught that the ark-dwellers were the only righteous beings on the earth at the time. We are ALSO taught that children cannot sin until they reach the age of accountability. So….no children under the age of eight when the earth was destroyed in the time of Noah. Right? Did I do that logic correctly?
I tried to explain to my daughter that young children cannot ’sin’, even though they do things sometimes they know are wrong. I am trying to walk a fine line between teaching that you can’t sin until you can be accountable, but it’s still not OK to eat ice cream bars in the living room.
Sniff. “So, no babies were drownded?”
“No, honey. No babies died. Only mean, grown-up people.”
As her tears dried and she happily began to color her animals (what kind of noises do ostriches make?), I wondered - Did I just lie to my child? Were there young children who were destroyed? Did they die so they could testify against their fathers in the judgment? (My friend’s theory). We know that the Lord loves his children, especially his younger children. But that doesn’t mean He always let them live. I went to Genesis for help, but seeing as it’s part of the Old Testament, it wasn’t so helpful.
Maybe the whole story is just one big metaphor, anyway (waiting for lightning to strike…..)
By Heather O.
Our church is at 12:30. I hate this time. It’s possibly the worst time ever for a family with small children. It cuts into both mealtime and naptime, and missing both of these key things will make any toddler into a complete monster. Ask the harried nursery leader. Also, once they moved us to this time, I had to quit the choir, because nobody can practice sacred music with my little demon doing laps around the chapel during our rehearsals, yelling, “I NEED TO GO HOME” over and over at the top of his lungs.
But the hardest thing for us is the morning time. Yesterday was especially bad. Spring has sprung, and clearly, it’s nicer outside than inside. Hence, Jacob would like to be outside as much as he possibly can. I was trying to prepare a lesson and get dinner together for the crock pot and get us both ready for church, but somehow he couldn’t understand my objection to him playing outside on the playground in his pajamas. Nor did he appreciate my admonition to “sit down and don’t get dirty” after his church clothes were on. The morning was filled with contention, a mild amount of chaos, an entire outfit change right as we were getting into the car (he wasn’t listening very closely to the “don’t get dirty” part of my previous message, apparantly) and, alas, a video of “The Iron Giant” just to get him to sit still long enough for me to get everything together.
Of course I’m doing this all without DH. If he’s not working at the firm on Sunday mornings, he goes in early to church to deal with his calling as ward clerk so he doesn’t have to stay too late AFTER church as a ward clerk. I hate that he’s the ward clerk. (Now I’m ducking to avoid the lightening strike that is surely coming now that I’ve openly epxressed my displeasure at not being consulted about calling my husband to a job that takes even more time away from his family, but that’s another post altogether.)
Then I tried to salvage any kind of spiritual moment as we drove to church by turning on some lovely classical paino music. This prompted a screeching, “I don’t like this song! I need Doe-a-Deer!” from the afore-mentioned demon strapped in the back seat, which caused a snarling response of, “NO! We are listening to songs about Jesus on Sunday!” from the woman driving, who was rapidly mutating from sweet Molly Mormon mother to Momma from Hell.
I wish I could say that this was an unusual Sunday, but sadly, I’d say we arrive to church harried, disheveled, and wanting to kill each other all before the Sacrament more often than not. There’s got to be a better way. Anybody figured one out yet?
Oh, and I just remembered that there was a similar discussion about this at FMH, and I’m really not trying to poach. It’s not that I think we shouldn’t bother–I’m just wondering how to do it better, because clearly, my way isn’t exactly bringing the spirit into our home. I mean, Jacob seems to be getting his “Iron Giant” fix, and had a fit when we returned to the video store, but I would like his focus to be on other things on Sunday than just a robot from outer space who shoots people with some wicked awesome guns. I just don’t think the nursery leaders appreciate Jacob mimicing THAT for 2 hours.
By Heather O.
I ran into an old acquantaince the other day, a guy I dated briefly before I got married. He and I exchanged awkward pleasantries, and then he re-introduced me to his very pregnant wife,and introduced me to his 2 children. He has been married roughly one year longer than I. Then he said, “What about you? Do you have any children?” I smiled and said, “Yes, one. He’s three.”
“Oh, just one?”
“Yep. Just one.”
This conversation is not unique. I had a similar conversation when I ran into an old girlfriend last month I hadn’t seen since Jacob was born. She asked me if I had 2 kids yet.
“No, I just have Jacob.”
“Oh, just one?”
“Yep, just one.”
These people are not bad people. They are old friends, inquiring about my life in a pleasant, friendly manner. And yet there is always an awkward pause when I tell people who know that I’ve been married for a while that I just have one child. I’m not sure what they are thinking, but I think their thoughts must fall into two categories:
Oh, she wanted to finish graduate school and get her career going before she started having kids. That’s why she only has one.
Maybe she had problems having children. Poor thing, and look at me with my brood of offspring. What do I say now? Do I ask her if she’s having problems? What if she’s not having problems and she just wants a small family? How embarrassing to ask her about infertility if she’s really just putting off having kids!
Hence the awkward silences when the answer comes back, “Yep, just one.”
Inevitably I feel like telling my whole story, that somehow that will redeem me in their eyes. I feel like they need an explanation about why I don’t have the ideal Mormon family. (Not that I really know exactly what that means, but ideally, it means more than one.) Not that it’s really anybody’s business, and certainly stories about miscarriage almost inevitably lead to more awkward silences, but still, I feel the need to defend the fact that I only have one.
DH and I were talking about a family in the ward who is struggling to have even one. The wife is a super-sharp, kick-butt attorney who is working in a high power law-firm downtown. I have to admit, my first thought when I found out that she didn’t have any kids was, “She wants to get her feet wet in her career first. That’s why she doesn’t have kids.” I also didn’t think she’d been married all that long–a year, maybe, at most. Turns out she’s been married close to 4 years, and they’ve been trying desperately for over 2 years to have a baby. But they are fairly private about it, and I don’t know if everybody knows their struggles. DH said, “Do you think that it would redeem her choices in the eyes of the people in the ward if they knew they were having problems? Do you think she’s glad you know, because that means you can stop judging her?”
I had never put it in those terms, but I think DH is on to something, this idea that we have to explain and defend ourselves for not having what other people have.
Maybe it works conversely, too. I know some people who feel they have to defend their decision to have 10 kids. Somebody said to them something like, “Don’t you know anything about birth control?” When this family assured her that yes, they not only knew about birth control but used it regularly, and chose to have this many kids, she rudely said, “All this time, I thought you were just ignorant. Now I know you’re just stupid.”
Well, people can be rude and harsh, and I know that’s the exception, not the rule. But I wish that we could all rejoice in the blessings that the Lord has chosen to bestow on all of us, rather than trying to figure out why we’re not all the same. We just have one child, but oh, such a one! He’s currently actively killing the monstors with the help of Superman, doing his part to keep the living room safe. Maybe I should start answering the question, “oh, just one?” with “Yes, one super hero who has saved the world many times over with his super cute powers.” Of course, with a description like that, who needs more than one?
By The Wiz
I have a friend who is expecting her first in just a few weeks. (yay!) I have tried to give her some advice, but I well know that nothing can truly prepare anyone for the “shock and awe” of first time motherhood.
Anyway, as she is preparing to make the transition from baby machine to milk cow, she is trying to decide which kind of breast pump to buy. She has received the following advice:
Mommy A swears by the industrial strength pumps that you rent. (I too, love these, 5 minutes, and you’re done. No sweat. This is my choice. But, simply put, I am a milk cow when I have my babies and have to stop pumping, not when the milk stops coming, but when the bottles are full. And I am talking 11 ounce bottles here. MOO MOO)
Mommy B says those are overkill, and all you need is a simple small battery powered one. (I can get behind this one, I had one of those with my third, and it worked fine, although not as efficiently as the bigger ones.)
Mommy C says to hand express. (I believe Mommy C is crazy and should be institutionalized. I simply can not support hand expressing except in cases of emergency. Why? Why would you? There’s a reason we live in the 21st century, “we have the technology.”)
Mommy D says to get a hand pump. (Only slightly better than hand expressing. The only benefit I can see here is if you have to pump while you’re out. They’re the most portable.)
Anyway, the whole debate is stressing her out, and since I know she reads the blog, I thought I’d take the debate to a larger audience. Which choice did you go with, or do you wish you had gone with? Cast your vote! A,B,C,D, or E - none of the above. If you choose E, however, please give another option.
(Oh, and she is not planning on working outside the home once she has the little niblet, so that might change your thinking. I understand it is not practical to transport a large pump if you need to pump at work).
By Heather O.
Be careful what you wish for. In a previous post, I lamented about how I feel like we need to get involved with the neighborhood kids more, that my only child is languishing at home with only his crazy mother to entertain him. Well, spring is here, and the kids are coming out in droves. Seriously. We live on a dead-end, so from about 3 o’clock on, the street, and usually my house, is filled with children running, jumping, playing, and yelling.
Ah yes, the yelling. I don’t mind yelling when it’s “Hey, watch this!” or “Follow me!” or “Hey, I just ran over a frog!” I don’t even mind the “Hey, let go, that’s mine! MOOMMYYY! He’s trying to take my toy!” These are all the sounds of children playing, and even the grumpy, bratty sounds count.
But I do mind when the yelling turns into things like, “Hey, that’s bulls***!” “What the f*** are you doing to my bike?” “Don’t touch me, d*** it!” Yes, some of these sounds get mixed into the fray, and as my son loves to mimic stuff, I’d like to limit exposure to this kind of language as much as possible.
But I’m just not sure how to do it. When one kid in particular was yelling obscenity after obscenity, I said, “Hey, there are 3 year olds around. Can you tone down the swearing a little?” He gave me a withering, pre-teen “you are SO lame” look, and stalked off. And he wasn’t in my house, he was standing on the street, fighting with another kid, so I couldn’t just ask him to adhere to my house rules of no bad language.
So any suggestions how to yell at other people’s kids to be talk nice? I don’t really want to take it to their parents, and as DH pointed out, in at least one case the mother doesn’t speak English. She clearly can’t regulate or monitor her son’s swearing in English particularly effectively.
I also see other non-mothers lecturing kids about stuff, mostly safety stuff, or staying off their property while they ride their stunt bikes so their fathers won’t sue when they break their necks, and really, the kids roll their eyes and move on. They seemed bugged, and I can’t blame them. Yet another adult is telling them what to do. So while I don’t want to make an enemy out of these kids, I also do not want my 3 year old saying stuff like, “Dammit, that’s a bunch of bull****” either. I mean, can’t we at least wait until he’s watching something more sophisticated than “Clifford’s Big Red Movie” to introduce him to this kind of language?”
Ah, it seems that my small son has started something of a brawl with the neighbor kids that are currently in my basement, so, gotta go.
By Heather O.
DH and I like to talk about where it is we would like to end up. We won’t be in the D.C. area forever, unfortunately, so where is the ideal place to live? We both have lots of family in Utah, so the conversation inevitably comes back to living in Utah. And since DH’s dream is to be an academic, the question then goes to living in Salt Lake and teaching at the U, or living in Provo, and teaching at the Y. We’ve discussed both possibilities at length.
So I was a talking to a my sister-in-law, who spent some time living in Orem, and what her perceptions of living there were. Now, my sister-in-law is the type of gal who has tons of energy, is a huge go-getter, and her house is the one that all the neighbor kids are at all the time. She’s an immensely positive, upbeat lady, pretty much all the time. She had some good experiences living in Utah valley, but there were some aspects of living there that she admitted were not her favorite. But one thing that she said really struck me. She mentioned that when she talked to the small girls in the neighborhood, and asked them the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was often, “Oh, I just want to be a mom.”
Somehow, that answer makes me feel uncomfortable, and I’m not sure why. I tend to immediately think, “That’s your main aspiration–motherhood?” But here I sit, in th throes of motherhood, where my main aspiration today is to get to the zoo before 1:00. I’m a mom, and I like it. But I certainly didn’t go to college to be a mom, and in some ways, I think that made the transition to motherhood harder for me than some other women who, for example, studied family science at BYU. I felt like I had to learn a lot of things from scratch.
On the other hand, I liked having a job, and I like knowing that I can go back to a job if the opportunity is right.
So how do we balance the messages that we send our daughters? We want them to be mothers, to raise up a righteous generation under the Lord, to prepare for temple marriage and their divine role as mothers, right? But I would be happy if when I asked my daughter (if I ever get one!) what she wants to be when she grows up if she says, “I want to be a doctor!” And I would want to do everything I could to help her accomplish that goal, even though I think it would be a tough one to do as a stay-at-home mom.
I’d love to hear other thoughts about how we educate children on life goals and aspirations. For now, though, the panda bears and lions await!
By Heather O.
Ok, last post about sickness for a while, I promise.
So last I wrote, I talked about my child recovering nicely from his illness. Well, what I should have said was, “Recovering nicely except for a cough and tonsils the size of basketballs.” After DH was diagnosed with strep, I decided those tonsils and his very red soft palate might be indicative of strep, so I took him in. It took me two days to get an appointment because I just wasn’t hysterical enough, I guess.
Anyway, we went into the office. I had prepped Jacob all day, so he dutifully jumped up on that leather-type examining table and opened his mouth wide for the doc. Our doctor, who was recommended to me by the advice nurse when we first moved here, was unimpressed.
“Well, the throat looks normal.”
“Normal?” I asked. “You’re telling me those tonsils are normal?”
The doctor shrugged. “Some kids just have big tonsils. I’m not concerned at all. His sypmtoms are probably just a result of allergies.”
Ok, I actually thought I could buy that, as I have allergies, and the cherry blossoms are finally in bloom here (hooray!).
But I just couldn’t let that normal statement go by.
“Well, allergies is a good thought, but I’m really shocked that you consider that throat normal.”
The doctor kept his cool, and said, “Hey, I’ve seen strep in kids with throats that look a lot better. You just can’t always make a diagnosis based on how tonsils look. I mean, we have to rule out strep, because dad has it, but I really don’t think that the test will come back positive.”
I wasn’t sure if it would be positive or not, but I was shaking my head in disbelief that those melon-sized organs in my kid’s mouth belonged there.
And here’s where I made my fatal all-too-common Mommy error. I didn’t challenge the doctor even more. What I should have said is, “Hey, I’ve seen what my kid’s tonsils normally look like, and that’s not it. Those are looking very different than normal for him.” I was tempted to say “And by the way, I’m a Speech Language Pathologist, I look into people’s mouths for a living, and I ain’t never seen anything like that on a ‘normal’ patient!”
But I didn’t. I just nodded after he told me that kids can have big ‘ol tonsils, and went along my way with my diseased child, who did, by the way, test POSITIVE for strep. HA! Take that, Mr. “It’s all normal” Doctor.
So why didn’t I stick up for my kid harder in the face of this doctor? I mean, the doctor is competent enough–he did, after all, actually do the strep test, even against his better clinical judgement. The end result is the same–Jacob gets his dose of bubble-gum pink medicene twice a day for 10 fun-filled days.
But I’m his MOTHER. I know him better than anyone. I know what his breathing sounds like when he’s finally fallen asleep. I know when he’s going to crash from a full day if he doesn’t take a nap, and what time he’ll stay up bouncing off the walls if he does. I know what kind of remark from another kid will hurt his feelings, and I know he’ll go off in a corner to sulk when that happens. I know that when he starts throwing things violently, he’s either tired or bored. And I know a few things about tonsils, especially HIS tonsils. So why was I so ready to except this doctor’s pronoucement of normal on my sick kid, a man who has interacted with my child a total of a half an hour of Jacob’s life, when I knew, AS HIS MOTHER, that something was wrong?
I guess I’m just a wuss when it comes to argueing with a medical degree. But you can bet the next time I go there, I’m going to try to be a better advocate for my son, especially if his tonsils are bigger than watermelons and sprouting small trees. And if my doctor says that’s normal, I’m going to go find a botanist.
By The Wiz
Recently I was asked to think about what hell would be like. Apart from the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth, I came up with the following:
Hell is a place where you are forced to take family pictures all day with extremely small children. (Have you ever tried to do this? It’s like herding cats! Oh, and hell is full of cats, too.) You never actually get a picture out of it.
Hell is a place where you are 8 and 1/2 months pregnant all the time (The heat! Think of the heat!) but never have the baby. You are also forced to take family pictures while you are this pregnant. (You look great! Nobody will even notice your belly! Turn sideways, please.)
During this family picture taking day, “Teletubbies” is playing constantly.
The only food in hell is processed cheese.
Hell is trying to explain to your boss why she is an idiot, while still being diplomatic and managing to keep your job.
Hell is a bikini wax.
Hell is realizing you actually paid for the privilege of sitting through “Star Wars Episode 2:Attack of the Clones” –aka Worst Movie Ever
Hell is holding a one year old while he gets vaccinated.
The Millennium better come soon, that’s all I have to say.
By Heather O.
We’d like to officially welcome Julie S. to our blog, a fantastic woman who has definitely served her time in the Mommy War trenches. She is a highly educated, highly skilled, and particularly delightful mother of 3. She is also one of the smartest women I know (I know A LOT of smart women, and seriously, Julie is scary smart!) so when she writes something, y’all better pay attention! She’s also one of my very favorite people on this earth, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she has joined the dark side and decided to blog with us. Welcome, Julie!