Friday, June 22, 2012

New Traditions

Sunday is Spencer's birthday. He will be 4. Already.

The past few years, even though his dad didn't live with us, I planned a "family activity." Last year, for example, all three of us went to see Cars 2.

Things are different this year, though. His dad is engaged and works 728 hours a week (at least). Spencer and I have really become more of our own family entity. Not that his dad isn't welcome to see him, but it's only natural for us to move on when he can't be here, right?

The original plan was for us to both take him to Chuck E. Cheese. We never discussed it again after I originally mentioned it. It made my stomach hurt to think about bringing it up. So, I decided that it's time for a new tradition. It's time for Spencer and I to do our own thing. Starting today, the new tradition is that Spencer and mommy do something special. He picked going to see The Lorax at the dollar theater (YAY! I can afford that!). So around 2 this afternoon, a new tradition will be formed.

Starting over is hard. It's still hard. I feel like we are all still learning. The only thing I know for sure is that this child is happy. I must be doing something right, even if I never know what it is.

His four year checkup was yesterday. I really can't believe how time has flown. I feel like I just took him for his one week checkup. He's is not 20 inches long anymore. He is 3'5. I thought 9 lbs 3 oz was big? Try 39 pounds! Where is my baby?

In other news, I got a new job! Yay! It will pay me enough so that I can work less than I am now and make more money. It could not have come at a better time. I'm broke!

Anyway, that's a little update about us. I'm going to enjoy my son's birthday weekend. Hope yours is great, too!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You Know You're A Mom When...

Oh, Mama Kat, you've always got me thinking. In response to one of this weeks prompts, I have compiled a list of ways that you know without a doubt that you are a mother.

* There's a booger in your hair. You don't know who it belongs to.

* Who cares where if it's 5 o'clock somewhere? Is it bedtime yet?

* You highly consider asking your mother if you can move back in with her so that there will be someone to help with laundry, dishes, and feeding this child that is hungry every 34 seconds but somehow never eats.

* Speaking of your own mother, you sound a LOT like her lately...
* There is a moment when a new mom asks you for advice because, "you know what you're doing and I am so lost." You stare at her in disbelief because you're still making it up as you go along, too. You remember BEING that mom. It seems like it was ten minutes ago. Then you get it together and tell her how to REALLY handle teething. Wine. Oh, not for the baby, for you!

* You are so proud of your unbelievably talented/smart/stunningly handsome/well-behaved child. Then you look over and realize there's chocolate milk dried on their face, their finger is up their nose, they just sang the alphabet (at the top of their lungs) and left out L, M, N, O, and P, and they trip and fall on their face. You're still just as proud as you were a moment ago

* Your clothes don't match. You're just happy they are clean.

* Suddenly nothing in life is as important as raising your child to be a healthy, happy, responsible, loving person...even that relationship with their other parent that you fought so hard to keep together.

* You hear your child ask their doctor during their checkup, "My peepee is really cool, huh?" You just laugh. Kids say the darndest things...

* When your friends without kids talk about how much fun they had going out you realize that you're not upset that you missed the party. Who has the energy to get drunk and dance until 3 am?

* Suddenly you realize that you don't have much in common with those childless friends anymore. You don't think they want to hear another diaper explosion story. You certainly don't care what insignificant drama has happened that you missed.  You feel sad, but make an effort to still find things to talk about.

* You have begun to question every decision you've ever made. You hope and pray that your kids never find out that you made half of them. I mean, really, do you want them to know what you did in college?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Single Without Kids: A Guest Post

Today I have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers. You may remember her. She wrote a guest post for the old blog. It was one of my favorite posts, and I am so glad she agreed to share her thoughts on parenting. Even though she doesn't have any children of her own, she is one of the smartest, most insightful people I've ever "met." She's one of my greatest Twitter friends. I'm going to stop babbling now and let you hear from her!
As you can tell by the title, I am single without kids. Although, I don’t have to dispute the single part as often, I do find myself having to dispute the fact I don’t have kids when people see me around kids. Whether I’m cradling a baby or helping a middle school kid with homework, people assume I have kids of my own. I do not believe there is a full proof guide book to raising kids; it’s trial and error. I also do not believe that because I don’t have kids that I don’t know anything about raising them.
Of the course of several years I have been responsible for the well-being of other people’s kids as a nanny, older cousin, god-mother, and dance teacher in a private studio. I’ve had the chance to objectively watch people with their kids and see the effects of their child rearing skills. The basics are pretty much the same, but the fine details and unexpected twist and turns of life are where the differences come into play.
My thoughts on raising kids are quite simple:
  1. Remember children learn what they are taught; be mindful of what you are teaching them.
  2. Each child is different. While one child may be numb to a spanking another children may feel lower than the belly of ant by getting hit. One child may grow up in a household of foolishness and become a Rhodes Scholar while the other a homeless drug addict. Know your child’s personality.
  3. Be respectfully nosey. I don’t see anything wrong with checking your child’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. if your child is between 13 and 16. Would my 13 year old have any of those social media luxuries? No. I do have a problem with snooping through your child’s journals unless you have reason to suspect something is going on.
  4. Be proactive and involved. I think that’s self-explanatory
  5. Be open to discussion. If your child can’t talk to you who can they talk to? Who are they talking to?
  6. As my great-grandma used to say, “No matter the crime the child is mine.” Easier said than done if your child actually does commit a huge crime.
  7. Love your child. My grandmothers still tell their children, “I love you.”
  8. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s trial and error. Hopefully you won’t have too many errors, but don’t hate yourself if you make a mistake with your child.
  9. Remember it’s the smallest things that make your child feel amazing. Leave a note in their lunch box. Surprise them when you can. Remember their favorite things. Find something special to do with each of your kids; one on one. My favorite thing to do with my dad is to sit outside and talk until we fall asleep. My favorite thing to do with my mom is playing the piano with her.
  10. Encourage them to learn. Education is valuable and is not limited to the walls of a school.
I would like to have 2 children and would like to raise them to be productive members of society with great senses of humor!

Visit my site:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Perspective: A Guest Post

Continuing the series of guest posts on parenting, I'm proud to present Christine. Her blog is always a joy to read, and I'm so glad to hear her take on parenting. All of these are great, and I know that in my day to day life I tend to forget about them. I suggest you all go check out her blog. She's one of those bloggers that can make me laugh and cry in the same post, and I'm so glad she agreed to share her perspective!


When Kadie first reached out to me about doing a guest post on my perspective on parenting I thought, “Hey! That’ll be a great exercise!” Because, frankly, I wasn’t sure I had one. Parenting, for me at least, is such a head down, balls to the wall, moment-to-moment engagement that perspective can be difficult to locate. And usually I’d rather just take a nap.

But I appreciate the need for perspective. It’s important to get an occasional glimpse beyond the minutiae and look at the whole picture. And this post was a great opportunity to do just that.

So I’ve spent a few weeks thinking back through the ten years I’ve been at this parenting gig and taking stock. And I realized something. I’ve tried just about everything. I’m a “kitchen sink” kind of mom. I’ve had about a gajillion “plans”, tested umpteen “theories”, and taken and used and ultimately chucked more “advice” than seems humanly possible.

Only four basic principles made the cut from all that trial and mostly error. Ten years and I have only four blogworthy nuggets for you! And they’re super simple. Which, in my opinion, is what makes them “keepers.”

1)   Try to keep one eye on your sense of humour at all times. Unless your kid is scaling a barbed wire fence. In that case, keep both eyes on your kid. But when no one’s life is in jeopardy, which is 95 to 99 percent of the time, look for opportunities to inject a little levity into the situation.

I’m always so proud of myself when I remember to do this. Like this morning when my kids were taking far too long to get into the car and I was grumpy and impatient. We weren’t in danger of being late. What was my problem? So I decided to switch it up, started humming a silly song and soon we were on our merry way.

2)   Trust Your Gut. The biggest parenting mistakes I’ve made resulted from me not listening to my gut instinct. This was a really hard lesson for me to learn because I always believe everyone someone else knows better than me.

I distinctly remember, years ago, talking to a friend about my son’s school. At the end of the conversation she said, “It sounds like you know it’s not a good fit. Maybe you should look around.” I knew she was right, that that WAS in fact what I was saying, but the idea of changing was utterly overwhelming. I kept thinking, “It’s good enough for so-and-so and so-and-so. Maybe it will get better.” It got worse. Three years later, we switched schools. I consider this switch to be the best move of my parenting career so far. I’m just sorry I didn’t try to do it sooner. 

3)   Lead By Example. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a crock. Our children are watching us. We need to step up and do things the right way. Parenting has made me a better person because I want to set the best example I possibly can. It’s impossible to be perfect, but as long as I’m improving, I’m happy.

4)   When you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up. Admit your mistake, do what you can to correct it, and move on. I really struggle with this one. I’m trying to be more forgiving of everyone, including myself. Which circles back on #3. I can’t tell my kids “It’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes.” if I don’t tell myself the same thing.

Thank you, Kadie, for this opportunity to gain a little perspective on the ever-changing profession of parenthood. A post like this every ten years is probably a good idea. I’m sure the teen years will teach me a lot. If I survive them.  

And thank you, Christine! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say in ten more years! I think we'll all survive, but I think that's when we all drove our mothers off the edge of sanity. Be prepared. We're going to lose our minds.

Stay tuned for more guest posts about parenting and perspective!