Archive | September, 2014

Fighting the Working Mom Blues

23 Sep
Of course, this picture is fuzzy because I didn't take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son's first real life encounter with his beloved "Turler".

Of course this picture is fuzzy, because I didn’t take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son’s first real life encounter with his beloved and most favorite animal, the “Turler”.

Some days are just blue. You think about what your kid is doing, while sitting at your desk miles away from them, then when you do see them, they have learned a new skill, or set of words, or trick, that you weren’t there to experience with them. Or, you get a fuzzy picture from the daycare’s owner, of his first time touching a turtle, and you weren’t there. BLUE, I tell ya. Just blue… or grey.

All of the “I’m being a good example to him by working to support our family” condolences are sweet, but some days, I just wish I could sit on the couch with him all day, with no outside responsibilities. Or, go to the park, or throw him in the stroller and go for a late morning walk (like all the moms I see on my route between daycare and the office), go to the beach when it’s not packed, go to a toddler gym class, music class or swim class at 11:00AM on a Tuesday (you get the idea), but that is just not the case. Four to five days a week, he’s in “school” from 9-5 while I work, giving us a mere 2-3 days a week to spend time together. That is a hard pill to swallow. I’m not one of those moms who just “can’t give up their career”, or “wouldn’t be happy being at home all day”… I work to keep our family fed.

I’m not delusional either. I don’t think that staying at home is easier, and somehow that makes spending time with my kid/at home more enticing. That’s exactly opposite of what I think. There’s nothing about mothering that’s easier than being in my office all day. When I’m at work, I’m able to drink what I want, eat what I want, sit down to lunch like a human and actually eat my food while carrying on an uninterrupted conversation, pee by myself… there are a lot of perks to having the ability to go to work, but not one of those perks can replace the joy of witnessing my son smile so big at something new he’s discovered, or attempt to say new words (we’re currently working on making sentences I can understand. Today he said “more jelly” and I about burst). And yet, it’s a necessity. A necessity that comes with enormous sacrifices, and sometimes, those sacrifices leave me blue.

I’ve often said the words “I hate that someone else is raising my child, while I’m at work” and continued down the big blue hole.

While researching some mom blogs about how to make dinner prep time easier when you get home late and still want to salvage those precious 2 hours between getting off of work and bedtime, I found the encouragement I needed to continue on as a working mom, reset my understanding of my position in life, and leave some of the blue behind me.

You see, until now, I’ve been a huge part of the perspective problem. I’ve convinced myself that I’m doing something wrong by being gone all day, and letting someone else “raise my baby”, but that’s just not true!

NO ONE ELSE IS RAISING MY KID FOR ME. I AM. 

Our daycare teachers are not raising Remy for us. Not even when we had an in-home nanny, was someone else “raising” my kid for me. My husband and I raise our child. Together. Everyone else is paid to care for him in our absence while we’re at work, but like hell is anyone else actually raising our son for us. Last I checked, it was me he nursed from (still, at 19 months old), me who wakes up with him every morning and holds him as he goes to sleep at night. It’s my husband and I who feed him and wake up with him in the middle of the night. It was my husband and my bodies that made him, and my body that carried him for 38 weeks. We are the ones planning and scheduling and loving and caring for and holding and everything… except for a few hours a day, when our bodies are further away, but our minds… our minds and hearts are never absent. We rely on our amazing daycare for daily help, but that’s it.

We are the ones who determine how he will be raised and the ones whose hands, arms, minds, and hearts do all the work to accomplish that.

So, here I am… I initially started this post as a sad post about missing my son all day, and though I still am sad about missing him, and not getting to spend the time with him that I wish I could, I’m NOT sad because I feel like someone else is “raising him”, and I am not.

Thank you Kerry and Kristina for your words of wisdom and understanding, while also helping to remove some of my massive mom guilt. Thank you for helping me understand that I’m the mom, and that the absence of being at work, doesn’t replace me or trump me as a parent. Thank you for going the road before me and for helping me through… Thank you for helping me see a positive and honest perspective on our situation. Thank you.

Weaning and Heartache

12 Sep

Long before my son had a relationship with me, he had a relationship with a part of me that he still is obsessed with and will seemingly never want to breakup with; my boobs. Before he could recognize me with his eyes, before he could ask for them by name, they were his first love, his first familiar place, his first connection point with life as an “outside baby”. His everything.

It’s not rare that in any public place, strangers can hear him say “Booh, booh?” or “Dis? Dis?” while simultaneously watching as he shoves a hand down (or up) my shirt in the hunt for his true best friends. He doesn’t like a blanky, or lovey, or anything else… just mama and her “nursies”.

This is going to make weaning him hard.

The other night, I was researching weaning and learned about this first relationship, in a more detailed way. I learned that this will be his first true loss… His first “breakup” and that the crying involved in the weaning process isn’t so much that he’ll be pissed off that I won’t be offering him to nurse anymore, it’s that he’ll be literally mourning the loss of this relationship; the nursing relationship, and all the type of intimate bonding that has/goes with it.

That broke my heart.

My boy is already a sensitive soul. He’s in tune with his mama and doesn’t much care for independence from me (yet). Am I really ready to throw that dependence for comfort away, in the name of weaning???

What are the benefits? What are the side effects? Someone please share their weaning stories with me. I need encouragement and to know that I can do this and he won’t be scarred as a result. I mean, I know one day he’ll likely vomit if he finds this post, but for now, nursing is both of our down time, bonding time and way to be attuned to each other. After a long day at work and daycare, nursing is where we share intimate reconnection time together, holding each other and staring at each other. I take my time with him seriously, so it’s not a “sit and pay attention to something else, while taking advantage of his quietness” time, but true bonding time.

He’s 18 months old, so I know that he’s not getting his food from my body anymore, and often times, there’s no way he’s actually getting any milk, but he won’t stop anyway. Even if it’s a drop, it seems to be enough for him, and if it’s less than a drop, he’s angry about it, sad, and will beg and beg, until I can produce just one more drop to make him happy again.

Unlike most of our friend’s babies, he only recently started sleeping through the night (most nights anyway), and still wakes up incredibly early (3:00-5:00AM) just to nurse and snuggle. I’m not sure if his sleep patterns are a result of really, truly, hating being alone in his crib, or if it is because we spend so much time apart during the day, that he needs to connect as often as possible at night? Like I said, he’s a sensitive child. Not a bruiser, or a bully. He wants to be near me, even if it’s just to fake nurse… and I don’t mind.

So, if I don’t mind… why wean? Is it a “must do” before baby #2, or is it a “if you want to” thing? It is something he will decide on his own, or are there kids who don’t decide that (i.e. the annoying little prince from GOT???)?

Please share stories! I’d love to know your thoughts on the issue.

Digital Moms Can Be Mean

9 Sep

WARNING: Personal Rant to Follow.

If you’re a mom, it’s likely that you belong to a Facebook group (or 2… or 12) as a community, parenting, and life resource. It’s also likely that you’ve experienced (or at least witnessed) “mom wars” between group members.

Last night, I was on the wrong side of the war… not fun.

While I was driving back to my office after lunch yesterday, I saw something I was really upset by. It was a woman (I’m assuming was the nanny) and two small children running to cross a very busy intersection. They were running, so they wouldn’t miss the walk signal (problem #1… it’s a cross walk. I’m pretty sure it will say “walk” again in 2 minutes). The reason this was concerning, was that the smaller of the two kids (he was MAYBE 2) was sitting on top of the stroller, straddling the handlebars, with nothing under his butt to support his weight (problem #2, but bigger than #1). He was hunched over awkwardly, and if he were smiling, and they were all having a good time, I may have not been as concerned, but the poor little guy looked terrified (problem #3). In addition, they made it across the street and went across the other cross walk, getting closer to where I was waiting to make a left-hand turn, then continued on their walk like this as I made my turn and went back to work. It was not a temporary fix. It was a travel choice (problem #4). We don’t live in a country where families of 6 ride on a single scooter, but we do live in one of the most heavily trafficked locations in the country, so this isn’t something I’ve seen before and I’m just not ok with it.

I snapped a picture from the turn lane.

I contemplated wether or not to post the picture, but being that I’m a mom in the neighborhood where it happened, I would hope someone would alert me to a situation like that, if my son were in danger, and I clearly felt that these kids were.

Strollers aren’t made to hold weight on their handles. A bag sure, but a child? I’ve had my bags at the Famer’s Market give my stroller a run for it’s money, and they weren’t that heavy. This is how law suits happen. People misuse a product, a child is hurt and angry parents take it out on the company who produced said product. It happens all the time. I also wouldn’t trust a 2 year old to keep their legs wrapped around the stroller tightly enough, to RUN with them through a dangerous intersection in the middle of the city. Again, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, as concerned as I was, I posted the picture to a couple of my normal Facebook group pages, along with a concerned message, to help alert the parents, or anyone who knows the parents. I posted in LA Mommies, Mommy2Mommy and Hollywood Mamas. Boy, can you tell the overall personality of the group members by how they respond to a post!

LA Mommies was diplomatic (for the most part), Hollywood Mamas were inquisitive and cautious, but overall caring (I know many of the members personally, so no one was hostile) and Mommy2Mommy SHREDDED me, my character, some people even called me a racist, annoying, and told me that I was a bad person.

Wow. Those of you who know me (and my multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religion and non-religious family) know that “racist” is something I’ve never been accused of, ever in my life! Additionally, calling someone a “nanny” when that’s exactly what they are, doesn’t warrant verbal abuse from other moms. I mean, come on! Aren’t we in this together? Shouldn’t we be helping and supporting one another, while we struggle to keep our kids safe in a pool full of sharks? The world is bad enough, mean enough and ugly enough on it’s own, but name calling and slandering someone for trying to be informative and protective seems contradictory to how we as parents should act, when we’re trying to raise children to be good people, who speak kindly to others and do the right thing… right?? We don’t live in a village here… but don’t we still need the support of one?

I live in a “neighborhood” with 4 million other people, and believe it or not, I don’t know everyone in my “community”. If I knew these kids, I’d have walked to the home of the kids and talked to the parents directly. Since I don’t, I tried the means I knew best to alert someone to this situation, in effort to help change it. But, this is a digital world and no one cares for the person on the other side of the computer/iPad/iPhone/Android/tablet/whatever. People are given the freedom to hide from real relationships behind glowing screens, while they belittle whomever they please, because they can, and when it comes down to it, a lot of people are mean.

There’s a dichotomy in digital mommy-hood though; you’ve got your perfects, your imperfects, and your piranhas. The “perfects” are the people who post beautiful pictures of their lovely lives all day long… kids in the gorgeous backyard pool on a Wednesday morning with their dad, while mom lounges on a chair (all of this, including freshly manicured feet, fit into one Instagram pic, somehow…. even more perfect), and they’re not even on vacation. This is just their perfect and normal life! The “imperfects” post their reality pictures of messy faces covered in mud or food, while another toddler tantrums in the background and amidst the chaos, the mom posts a picture and is super witty about her life (these are my favorite). Lastly, the piranhas; generally, people who aren’t creative enough to blog/post for themselves, and must have time to be bored, so they sit on Facebook waiting for someone to say/post something that they can tear at like a piranha, until the post is removed by a moderator, or the original poster jumps off a cliff. They feast on other moms.

“Mom wars”. They suck.

I’m not posting this because I need anyone to feel bad for me. I stand by my decision to post the picture, even though I’ve since removed the post for my sanity (and so I don’t jump off a cliff), but here’s one of nicer comments I was actually able to take a picture of, before deleting.

IMG_8289

Hooray for nice people in the world! BTW – You’re not one of them.

 

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