“Mean Dumb Mommy”

How many times have you felt so unappreciated in your role a mom? Seriously, it’s the most thankless job that we all love to do. My next question is, how many times have you caught yourself sounding like your own mother and cringed? Or better yet, how many times have you heard your kids speak those terrible words to you? You know the ones that you so clearly remember feeling about your own parents and swore to yourself that you’d never make your kids feel like that one day? Here’s a hint, Love is not included in any of the sentences.

Eek!!!!

So it happens to the best of us because kids are kids and parents are parents. Kids are not always going to like what we say or want to do what we tell them to, so inevitably they are going to think parents kind of suck sometimes. Yup, even if they aren’t saying it there is a big chance they are thinking it. I mean really, don’t you think the same about your boss when he/she makes you do something you think is pointless or not within your job description. We’ve been there as adults so kids are people too and they have the same emotions. This is what I try to tell myself so I don’t take what they say to me so personally sometimes.  Yes my kids say things like:

“I wish you weren’t my mom.”

“You’re the worst mom.”

“You’re a mean dumb mom.”

“Mom is so mean.”

“She is so dumb.”

They mostly say this when they think I’m not listening but they do say it to me as well. It usually comes when I tell them something they don’t want to hear, such as:

“We can’t go visit our friend if we don’t clean up and I’ve now asked you to pick up your clothes and toys at least 10 times.”

“If you want screen time we you have to earn it by doing the things on your chart, i.e. brush your teeth, be ready for school on time, be kind, make your bed, etc…”

“You didn’t stop fighting so now you will loose a privilege.”

The list can go on possibly forever. I will say my kids usually have to be in a not so great mood when I say these things to have the “I hate you mom” reaction but they have it none the less. Personally I think that if I’m simply asking you to be a decent human-being and contribute in our family, I don’t (nor does anyone) deserve to be treated with such distaste and disrespect. It’s simply life.

Like many, I often feel my kid are spoiled. I do almost everything for them and they can want for nothing because they have more than what they should want or need. I’m sure our parents felt the same about us. So, with all this said I decided to give them a taste of what “Mean Dumb Mom” is really like. Here’s how it went.

This little experience as “Mean Dumb Mom” went on for about a day and a half. One night before bed, I had just finished asking my kids to brush their teeth for what felt like the 100th time and yet I just find them in their room physically fighting with each other. Ok, it was more like wrestling. An angry wrestling. I was so frustrated I said (well maybe I yelled), “Enough, I’ve asked you to brush your teeth so we can read a book before bed and now I’m done. Everyone to bed right NOW!” Of course they became upset and even more so when I said we are not doing prayers because we are not behaving. Oh, well, that set them over the edge. They went pouting and stomping but they went to bed. As I closed the door I hear whisperings of “she’s a mean dumb mom” and “I wish she wasn’t our mom.” Well that was it. I opened the door and I let them have it. In a slightly elevated angry voice I said, “oh yeah, is that what you think?! Well tomorrow you will see what ‘Mean Dumb Mom’ is really like. When you wake up, don’t wake me up! Don’t ask me for breakfast! Don’t ask me for snack or lunch! If you want those things you’ll have to do them for yourself. You’ll get yourselves ready for school on time. I will not help you at all. If you want ‘Mean Dumb Mom’, you’ll get her.” All of a sudden they unexpectedly both started to cry. Oh my goodness, I was completely caught off guard. Of course my heart crushed but I didn’t let it make me back down. I simply closed the door to their room and walked to sit on the couch. I took deep breaths and sat quietly sad and bothered. Feeling guilt about yelling and bad about my parenting skills. Within a few short minutes I heard little foot steps come out and my youngest appeared in front of me and proceeded to hug me quietly. If you know my youngest you know he’s not a hugger so I was a bit surprised. After the hug he says, “I’m still mad at you.” I can laugh about it now but in that moment it made me realize that while he felt bad he hadn’t learned his lesson.

The next morning, I did as I said I would do. I said I wasn’t going to help them and I didn’t. I know they are capable of all the things I normally do for them because when they want to do them, they do. My youngest made his own cereal while the oldest made his snack. The oldest decided not to eat breakfast (his choice) and the youngest fussed around about getting dressed so he never made it in time to make his snack or lunch. That day it also happened to be raining so I decided that if I really wanted to be “mean mom” I’d make them walk in the rain. So that’s what we did. The only problem was getting my #2 to get dressed and out the door on time. So dad was roped in and I walked my oldest to school in the rain (more like a drizzle) while dad waited around for my youngest. As we walked to school Logan began to ask, “what can we do to get nice mommy back?” I simply told him that he and his brother had to be nice to me and to each other and prove to me that they can do that all the time. I realize this was a lot to ask but I wanted to get my point across. So we continued quietly on. When we got to school I spoke to each of their teachers because I was afraid of meltdowns or them getting distracted with hunger or the fact that they didn’t have snack. They understood and supported me so I felt really good about it. Both my kids were smart enough to get hot lunch and my youngest went as far as to buy snack. My youngest got to school late and was mad because he had to get a tardy pass but it was a lesson he had to learn.

“Mean mom” continued into the next day which was Saturday. Several times throughout Friday night and Saturday morning I was asked how they can get the “old mom” back and I continued with the same answer “be nice to me and to each other and don’t name call, ever. You need to prove yourselves.” Halfway through Saturday (after everyone helped to clean the house and do the laundry) I felt my message had been heard and we sat down and talked about it. I explained that it really hurts my feelings when they say those things. I asked “how you feel if I said I wish you weren’t my kids?” My oldest began to get sad and my youngest said he wouldn’t like it. We discussed how it’s important to be kind to each other and to others and it’s not ok to say hurtful things even if we are really really mad. It felt good to talk and feel like my message was heard. I knew that they would probably do ok for the rest of the day and maybe the next day but I knew it would only be a matter of time. Of course, they are kids I can’t expect miracles. But since that day I now ask if they feel they’d like “mean mom” back, they quickly answer, “No.” Sometimes when they don’t do things I ask, I say “why is it that you do these things for ‘mean mom’ but not for me? Is it better to have ‘mean mom’ here?” They usually get the message . I obviously can’t always use “mean mom” as a default and I can’t keep beating a dead horse but as with any parenting strategy, I hope I did a good thing.

Again the goal is to raise good people with good intentions and lots of love.

 

Parenting Book Recommendations Video Post.

No-Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson

Love more Yell less by  Sheila McCraith (The Orange Rhino)

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

From Pampered to Productive: Raising Children Who Know How to Work by Debbie Bowen

I didn’t talk about this site during my video but I also find it very helpful: http://www.ahaparenting.com/speaking

Hope you find this post helpful and encouraging.

The ugly thing no one tells you about…

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Why is it that while I love being a mom I feel like I’m constantly losing the battle of balancing life and being a “good” mom? Oh yeah, thats right…this is that thing they never tell you about in the baby books—mother’s guilt.  WTFarfanooger! Am I allowed to say that? Geez! I constantly feel like I’m losing in the game of motherhood. When I worked full time I pretty much got to the point of a nervous breakdown because I was spending all my time working. It got to the point where (and this is no exaggeration), if I got to see my kids for 1 hour a day that was a lot. Most nights I was lucky if I got home in time to give them a bath and put them to bed. So I switched jobs thinking I could balance it better and to my disappointment I was in a worse off position. That’s when it got really ugly and anxiety decided to break me down. So then I decided to make a career change to do something I was still wildly passionate about but would allow me more flexibility in my schedule so I could be with my kids.

Well now that I have all this time with them I still feel like a crappy mom. Why, you ask? For one, being a stay-at-home mom can be very isolating, especially for an extrovert like me. So if you’re like me, you get involved in school to be more involved in your kid’s life and to just get out of the house, but that quickly starts to take more time than imagined. I thought I was finally doing what I thought a mom is suppose to do. And then another wrench gets thrown my way and a big decision needs to be made—what do you do with your kid from 2pm until 4:30pm when you have to drive 20-40mins across town to pick up your other kid? My first thoughts were: sports or an after school program. But that costs money and takes even more time. And as it turns out, my kid hates it. So then I go looking for other options because I know if I just bring him home I’ll be fighting with the TV and the willpower not to cave into the evils of screen time just so I can get a little work done even if it’s domestic work. Because you know everyone out there says screen time is super bad so you don’t want to be “that” parent. Well guess what people? Sometimes I just am “that” parent…so you can take that! Ha! The truth is I’m not perfect and I know I’ll never be. Grrr…”But you need to be, you need to be.” says that annoying little voice inside my head. Soon I’m realizing that if I don’t just stop and breathe, I’ll never get that special time with my kids. Then I really start to feel bad because I’m starting to play the balancing act again. So when in the world am I suppose to be that perfect mom with the perfectly clean house and dinner on the table everyday be 6pm? Tell me please, pretty please can anyone tell me? Right now I barely have time to help with homework and ordering in or reheating a meal. So, as you could imagine, mother’s guilt starts to really set in and mommy starts to get moody and emotional. Booooo…

As if that wasn’t enough, it gets more complicated. Being the primary parent I have to give my kids all the love I can, but sadly I have to be the big disciplinarian in our home since daddy now has to suffer the crazy work schedule. I often hear “I love you mommy”  or “you’re the best mommy ever,” which absolutely melts my heart and makes it all worth it.  But more than that I hear “I don’t like you, you are the worst mommy ever.” Ugh, really, kids? Just because you didn’t get your way or perhaps you lost a privilege because you didn’t do your homework or you decided to punch your brother after I asked you ever so kindly and firmly to talk to each other and not hurt each other. Man, oh man, here comes “mother’s guilt” in to make me start questioning myself.  “Are you really a terrible mom?” “Maybe google can help me?” I ask. Oh, here we go, this sounds great Positive Discipline. “Oh this sounds really good, perhaps now I can get the parent of the year award” I think to myself. After classes and reading (ok, skimming) the books, it still doesn’t seem to work in every scenario for me and my kids.  Here we go again, my stomach hurts and my brain begins again, “something must be wrong with you woman, this is POSITIVE discipline. This is supposed to be the answer to everything.” Again I doubt myself, back to the internet I go searching and searching for all the right answers.

Then I finally realize that for the rest of my life I will be questioning everything I say and do as a parent. I will vow to say “never again” and find myself repeating mistakes. I know I will always have someone on the sidelines ready to tell me how wrong I’m doing it but hopefully (and I pray) I might also have someone applauding me. One can dream.  I guess it’s all perspective and I think that as long as I know that then maybe it’ll all be ok. Honestly the biggest lessons I’m learning are not in books but in the realization of who I am and what I want to mean to my kids. I love them with every fiber of my being and only want the best in the world for them as any other parent would.

While I know this blog post seems somewhat negative, blah, perhaps someone out there will see that the cliche “the grass in not always greener” really applies here and as a parent in general it’s just not easy, no matter how you do it. However, I will say that the reward—while sometimes isn’t as evident as others—is watching your kids grow and being present throughout their lives in one way or another. I will admit that it used to really hurt me when the kids got hurt and they’d go running to daddy. Why wouldn’t they?…he was the parent who was primarily present. They don’t do that anymore. I may complain about it at times but it gives me great joy when they come running to me with their problems, needs or just for some cuddling. They don’t run to anyone else, just to me. They will more easily do things for me than anyone else and they still say I love you to the moon and back on the regular. So even when days are crappy I have great satisfaction in knowing this. Now, I just simply need to remind myself of those facts on the hard days because my kids really are worth it and honestly just like all the older generations have already told you: time does fly by.

To all my working mommas and stay at home mommas (or daddas), you’re doing great. You are doing the best you can do for your kids and that is all that one could ask for. Hang in there on your hard days and refer back to be to know  you are not a lone. You are beautiful and wonderful and you have little eyes that will always look up to you and little arms that will always want to hug you simply because you are theirs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry perhaps with a glass of wine. Maybe you related or maybe not. Either way I hope in some ways you were entertained and got a good laugh a my crazy neurotic self.

What, there’s a Measles outbreak in California?

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate has been a hot topic for some time and like many mommies and daddies out there I struggled with the decision to vaccinate or not to and I still struggle to medicate when the kids are sick. Where I live it’s not uncommon to not vaccinate your child. Many of my friends have actually opted out. I must say when I first became a mom I struggled so much with this. Of course I went online and researched everything I could and talked to as many mommy friends or preggy mommy friends as I had (which were not many at that time). I finally found an amazing book called, drum roll please, “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child” by Dr. Robert W. Sears. This book at the time I had my kids was everything I needed to help me make a decision. It was not in favor of one side more than the other, it just stated the facts. And with the facts I will say I was profoundly disgusted at the way we make vaccines and could not bare the idea of injecting it into my child’s body.  However after much thought and sleepless nights, I ultimately decided that vaccinating was the right thing to do for my kids. Why you ask, well it’s simple because if I don’t vaccinate and my neighbor doesn’t vaccinate and his neighbor doesn’t vaccinate then soon we have these epidemics again (something I learned from the book as well). How soon you may wonder, how about today, right now January of 2015 in the USA we have a Measles outbreak.

For the very first time in 6 years I have never been so glad to have my children vaccinated.  This week we all happened to get very sick with what we now think is the flu. It started with my youngest son who out of the blue had a 102.7 fever but no other symptoms. His doctor just told us to keep a look out incase this turned into the flu but otherwise he just needed to go home, rest and drink lots of fluids. Ok fair enough. The next day it was me, I started my day fine by the end something major was up, enough so that I had to cancel attending my morning meeting and make sure my husband could pick up the kids. The day just got progressively worse and you know moms can not afford a sick day. I went to the walk in clinic and to my surprise the first question they asked, “Have you been vaccinated for the measles?” I think so, is that something they did in the ’80s? Then I said “Why?” to which the nurse responded “There has been a Measles outbreak in the area and the symptoms are very much like the flu. It’s hard to differentiate them sometimes and the skin markings don’t come until 10-14 days sometimes after the measles is already in your system.” WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Oh yes that was the moment of relief knowing that my kids were vaccinated. Since I’m the biggest worry wort there is, I can at least sleep a tiny bit more comfortably knowing that my kids are in low risk category. However it still freaks me out just a little. According to my local news 59 people have been affected in California, 7 from my county. I know the numbers seem low but believe me when it’s in your backyard it seems a lot worse and especially when you are me.

Ok so I can’t end it there. It’s important that I say, this post is my personal experience and one that I’m compelled to write about mainly because it’s happening right now and it’s all I hear about on the news. But I do firmly believe that each family should have the right to choose what is wholeheartedly in the best interest of their own children when it comes to vaccines and without judgement. Our family decided to vaccinate on an alternate schedule and we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful provider who had that option for us. Some of my beloved friends opted out, which I respect because I know they battled with the same concerns I did and ultimately made a decision that they found to be the best for their family. I always like try to see the other side because there is always more then one.

Here I go…

Entry 1: 1/23/2015

Mommies Rock will be my own personal blog about mommy hood and although challenging at times how much you can still Rock it! Whatever “it” may be. 😉 wink wink.

Honestly, I’m not totally sure how this whole blogging thing works, but I thought I’d give it a shot since I need yet another outlet. In becoming a mom I realize that sometimes you can just fall into just being mom, or being so overworked the being a mom has had to some how fit into your schedule. In the end lets face it you feel “BLAH”. Yes blah, like a stale piece of bread. Yuck! Who the heck wants to feel like that? I know that I don’t and when I do I know everyone around me suffers for it. So in a way this blog is to remind me and hopeful you that no matter what you Rock and you can rock “it”, whatever it may be. You can still be mom and you can still feel young, you can be sexy or modest, you can be a fashionista or a self proclaimed chef. I’m here to remind you that you can still be whatever you want to be.

I want to make sure before I continue that you understand that I’m not a therapist or professional of any kind. What I write here are my personal thoughts or opinions or those of my friends.

My goal here is to update this weekly if possible and tell you how I’m doing as a modern day mom (that may include my daily struggles or small wins) and what things have peeked my interest lately.