Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just To Make Things Clear...

Dear Little One,

It seems we have a bit of a misunderstanding here.  I apologize for any confusion.  Let me try to clear a few things up.

I want you to know that changing your diaper is in no way an attempt to murder or dismember you.  I am not trying to kill you, maim you, torture you, or upset you in any way.  I am merely attempting to rid the room of the foul stench you have produced, while simultaneously attempting to keep your bum happy and rash-free.

You seem to have come to the conclusion that diaper change = attempted murder.  Let me be clear: I AM NOT TRYING TO HURT YOU.  I swear.  No harm intended.  Just want to get a clean diaper on you and wipe up any mess.  So, if you could please refrain from shrieking and writhing as though I'm jabbing you with hot pokers, I think you could save us both a lot frustration and heartbreak.  And a neighbor call to CPS.  Which would be awkward.

Thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Little Heartbreakers

So, I just started a new part-time job (and am about to start another), and the babes are already starting in on the guilt tripping.  Oh, man... this part sucks.

Today as I was preparing to put the Big One (who turns 3 tomorrow... how the hell did that happen?!?) down for nap, he looked at me, grabbed my face between his soft little hands and said, "Mommy?  I miss you."  And then I died.  Time of death: 12:47pm.  Cause of death: guilt overdose.

Me: "Sweetie, why do you miss me?  I'm right here."
Him: "Because you go to that store and I miss you."

I have gone to "that store" (for my new job) twice.  Two times.  For four hours each time.  And already with the guilt.

I know I am garnering no sympathy WHATSOEVER from the working mamas who read this.  I know.  I know I've been spoiled.  I know you've been dealing with this and struggling through this since shortly after your babies were born.  I know I really have nothing to complain about since I got to stay home with the Big One for 3 years and the Little One for 15 months.  I know.  I KNOW.

But if I've established anything here, I think I've made it clear that I am a good-for-nothin' whiner.  And so... here I am.  Whining.  Like a punk.  Because all of a sudden I'm having to struggle with the very thing that 80% of parents out there have to struggle with.  Ridiculous, right?

We've worked it out (because we can't afford childcare) so that my husband is home with the kids while I'm at work, and I am home while my husband is at school.  This is great because our kids are with us.  This is terrible because not only am I not seeing my kids nearly enough, but now I'm not seeing my husband either.  And it is hard.

Walking away from a crying 15 month old is tough.  But I know that more than likely, he's going to see something shiny in a few a minutes and be distracted and happy again.  Having a 3 year old remind you repeatedly that leaving him makes him sad... well... that just plain sucks balls.

And I know.  I know this is good for them.  They're used to me being around ALL the time and it's good for them to get used to more time with Daddy.  It's good for them to see their parents taking care of business.  And it's good for them when we can pay our bills(ish).  It's good.  I know.

But it still sucks.  I knew being a working mom had its ups and downs.  I'm just waiting to discover the ups.  I know they're there.  I know I will find them.  But for now... oof.  This is hard, man.

(I'm preparing to receive hate mail from all the working mamas out there.  I understand.  Go ahead.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hello. Welcome to the Winter of My Discontent.

When the goin' gets tough... you still have to take care of your kids.  So you go out and get a job at the mall.  Like you did 10 years ago.  Because every other option is exhausted and you have to suck up your pride, stop acting like Winona Ryder in Reality Bites and STOP WHINING ALREADY.  Gah.

Sometimes it really sucks to be the grown-up.

I'm realizing just how- righteous?  Proud?  Insistent?  Hopeful?- I've become, and taking a job at the mall is stupidly humbling to say the least.  It feels like a step backward.  It's literally something I was doing 10 years ago.  It's a 60% pay cut from my previous career as a teacher.  And it's probably ultimately good for me.  But I can't say I love the idea of it.  Not yet.

The truth is, it's probably going to be awesome once I adjust to the idea of working with former students. (No literally, I am WORKING WITH A FORMER STUDENT.)  But the thing is, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with getting a job at the mall.  Or working with a former student.  And retail can be totally bomb, yo.  I'm only pissed off because I feel like I was forced into a corner and I didn't get the jobs that I really wanted.  You know, the jobs that I'm actually completely unqualified for.  But I'm going to be working at a store that I actually really like.  I get a kick-ass discount.  I'll get to talk to other adults (!!!) about things other than poop or sleep (!!!) AND I'll get something that is all mine.  Something separate from "Mommy"... and that is something I've been craving.  And I'll probably get some new clothes out of the deal... once I get a few paychecks.

But.  But.  I can't get over the fact that I'm doing was I doing 10 years ago.  It feels... stagnant.  It feels out of place.  It feels anti-progressive.  But it's also necessary.  We're struggling.  My husband is a student at a private college and financial aid is getting harder and harder to come by.  I believe in what he's doing- what we're doing- and I believe in my choice to stay home rather than work exclusively to pay for day care.  Even if I'd never stopped teaching, we'd still be in the same position.  My salary wouldn't even have covered daycare for two little ones.  And I've always valued time with my children and my husband above money.  But.  But.  I'm tired of people telling me to deliver pizzas.  I'm tired of people thinking I'm slacking.  And I'm tired of being scared all the time.

So.  A job at the mall.

And also, as of yesterday, a job tutoring.  Which feels a little more my speed.  I'm attempting to do both for a while.  Which means I won't actually see my husband.  Ever.  We'll be communicating entirely through post-its.  Which sucks.  But... when the going gets tough... you still have to take care of your kids.  So, here goes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Um... I... Um...

So.  Ever heard of "kiss-feeding"?  No?  Me, neither.  Apparently it's a thing.  And Alicia Silverstone does it with her kid.  And it's... um... well, it's odd.

It involves chewing food for your child... and then feeding it to them.  With your mouth.  As in, mouth-to-mouth feeding.  As in, essentially, spitting food from your mouth to your child's mouth.  Um... I just....

I hate being judgy about other moms.  It's a huge problem in our society and it's one of the things I fight against the most.  But it's hard sometimes.  Really, REALLY hard sometimes.  As parents, we have to feel like what we're doing is right.  Parenthood feels like a giant crapshoot sometimes, and if we constantly feel like we're bumbling around, it's unbearable.  We have to feel confident about our choices, so we fight to the death to defend them.

I try like hell to respect different parenting styles.  I know that each kid is different (boy, are they) and that each parent has to find what works best for them and their children.  I know this.  I believe this.  I BELIEVE THIS.

But oh man, you guys.  Watching someone feed their kid like a bird is just... well, I'm having a rough time with this one.

Look, we've all popped a piece of apple in our mouths and bitten off a tiny piece for the baby.  Lots of us have even taken food that the baby has spit out and popped it into our mouths.  But, oof.  This one is tough.  It's not really the parenting choice that's getting me, exactly.  It's more of an "ew" factor thing.  As in, I kinda feel bad for the kid.  Can you imagine?  You're grown up, you're name is called in Bio during your sophomore year, and some kid goes, "OMG.  You're that dude who made out with his mom.  And she, like, she spit food in your mouth.  Dude.  That shit's weird."

People are mean, man.  I don't want to give anyone any more fodder with which to torture my children.  Kiss-feeding... well, that just seems like asking for it.

I'm trying really hard here.  I am.  I want to believe that there's a brilliant reason for kiss-feeding.  I want to trust that there's a solid theory behind using your own mouth instead of the Magic Bullet.  I know that there's history and science supporting the advantages.  But I... gah, I just.  It's... um... I... Alicia's doing what she feels is right.  Best for her kid?  Right?

Thoughts?  Help me out?  Comments, questions, concerns?  KISS-FEEDING?!?!?

More on Alicia's kiss-feeding: Here and here.  More on premastication as a practice here.