Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Am So Jealous Of You... By Susie Klein

Blogging is the new worldwide pastime it seems. Who knew that so many had so much to say? The ‘Mommy Blog’ is clearly one of the most popular genres of blogging.  According to recent statistics there are 3.9 million women with children who write blogs in the United States today*. Add to that number the creative and chatty moms in other parts of the world and it is a staggering picture of women connecting.

Some may say that the high proliferation of mommy blogs is all about competition and simply a place to brag on one’s own offspring. I know that is true in many instances, but I believe it is much more than that. It is about connection. No matter how many books an expectant mom reads or how many articles she scans online about what to expect when she brings that baby home, there will be questions. Big questions and small questions become so intermingled that the tiniest doubt can multiply in size and overwhelm a new mother. She needs an answer and she needs it now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desperate for Downtime by Anonymous

We have come to the end of our wits. We are teetering on the brink of insanity. We have lost bags upon bags of marbles. We are invariably irritable, frustrated, cantankerous. We have reached a level of desperation that we never thought we would still know nearly a year after the birth of our daughter.
I hear about these babies that sleep through the night after just a few short weeks. I hear about these kids who sleep for 12 hours straight. I hear about the babies that can just be laid down in a crib and easily, tearlessly fall asleep on their own. I don't really considered parenting to be "unfair" -- until it comes to this. How come those parents get to sleep? Sleep deprivation really is an instrument of torchure. I googled it. Its kind of disturbing...
I have tried everything. She has a consistent bedtime routine. Getting her to go to sleep is not so much of the problem. Getting her to stay asleep is an unobtainable aspiration. She will wake up anywhere between one and three in the morning and she will stay awake for hours. The apartment is dark. There are no distractions. We don't talk to her or let her play. We have tried leaving her in her crib and letting her cry at increasing five-minute intervals (Ferber method). We have tried just standing next to her crib and rubbing her back until she goes to sleep (except she won't go to sleep. She will stand there and cry and it is heartbreaking). She uses a pacifier. We keep a fan in her room for white noise. We have tried softly talking, singing, and humming to her. We make sure her needs are met. She gets a new diaper, a bottle, and a blanket. I have spent hours on the internet and reading books. Every suggestion they have offered has been tried and nothing will work. She isn't sleeping too much during the day. She usually only sleeps about an hour or two during the day, even if she only got five hours of sleep at night. She isn't just sitting around all day, not expending any energy, either. She is constantly on the move, exploring everything she can reach, crawling and walking all over the place. She eats a good bit during the day. I just don't understand how she isn't completely exhausted at night or why she won't just stay asleep.
I have been told that when I was a baby, they could just lay me down and I would go to sleep on my own. I find this hard to believe, because for as long as I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep. Even if I am exhausted (which is pretty much always), I still toss and turn for hours before I can fall asleep. Then the baby will wake up after I've just fallen asleep. So I can barely even rest when she rests. I can't take the medication because I won't hear her, or I won't be able to get up.
Has anyone ever heard of the child's book for exhausted parents? Go the f*** to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach? If you are sensitive to swear words (or have no sense of humor) then I wouldn't suggest it. But if you aren't quite so tightly wound, check this out:

I find myself thinking about this book quite often.
I guess I just needed to vent. Maybe I'm hoping someone has some advice or a method I haven't yet tried. Or maybe I am hoping somoene else can sympathize.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Know For Sure by Sophie Patten

I have three daughters. My oldest Evelyn Rose is 5, my middle daughter Annabelle Heather is 2 ½ and my youngest Penelope Violet is 6 months old.  I am 28 and have been married for six years and my husband and I run a publishing company owned by my father.

Since having my youngest baby girl in February of this year I have felt overwhelmed with postpartum depression.  I feel like there is a lot of stigma on this subject because people seem to go to the worse case scenario, which for me would be that I want to harm my baby or older kids.  Lucky for me this isn’t the case.  I just feel very low and have been very hard on myself since she was born.  I have been unable to pull myself from the depths of sorrow that depression has taken me.  Some days I have felt completely hopeless. I have felt unworthy to be the mother to my wonderful children or the wife to my incredible husband.

On those dark days, I compare myself to other women around me. To the moms and wives who in my hazy-headed opinion are managing to keep on top of their lives in more effective ways than me.  I feel like everyone’s house is cleaner than mine, no one else seems to struggle with cleaning and tidying the way I do.  Everyone else is thinner and happier than me.  Everyone else is more at peace than me, more satisfied.

Having these kinds of feelings is very alien to me because I am actually a very confident person and don’t usually compare my happiness to other peoples.  I might have fallen prey to comparing the state of my house to others before, but not really myself.

I have been to my friend’s houses when they have been messy but I don’t see it the way I see my own mess.  I see it as a stain on my record, a sign that I haven’t evolved past teenage immaturity.  But the truth is there are five people living in my home and I am the main person who tidies and cleans so of course I am always behind.  I finish cleaning the kitchen and the toys are a mess – I finish organizing the toys and the coats, shoes and sweaters are everywhere.  Being mom is never ending chores and even if you manage to get to the end, everything will be a mess again within days/hours/minutes.
It’s a series of thankless tasks and to-do lists so long that after a while it’s just insulting.  After all cleaning the outer windows is definitely a good thing to do… but er if you have two hours and your list also includes laundry, making dinner and giving the kids a bath, chances are cleaning the windows isn’t the daily priority. I’m sorry but if I have a jam-packed day chances are giving the kids a bath isn’t high on the list either. 

And that makes me a terrible mom right?  In my head it does.  I think, aah they don’t have developed sweat glands yet so they don’t REALLY smell bad and I’ll just brush out Annie’s hair so you can’t notice the ranch/yogurt that she put in there yesterday.

I know that there are terrible people in the world and we hear about them on the news every day. They are represented on television shows like CSI and Law & Order and a thousand other shows and movies. The villains. The terrorists. The kidnappers, abusers and molesters.  But I have come to believe something which has become very important to me lately, as I have felt the delicate nature of my mind feel ever-more flimsy in the tapestry of my life; I have come to believe that people, by their nature, are good. 
There are bad people; evil people, no doubt.  But there are literally billions of people in the world. The current worldwide estimated population is 6,852,472,823.  Think about everyone you know… sure you might know a couple of real assholes, people who genuinely don’t seem to give a shit and just hurt people.  But chances are you know a hell of a lot more people who are decent, kind, loving and good. 

We are all connected by some special and fundamental truths. We want to be loved and give love, we want to be heard and seen for who we are and we want to create something that is lasting. This creation could be anything, art, music, writing, poetry, arcetecture, and of course it can also be having children.

For many people their children are their only legacy.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ben's Birthday Story by Heather McGilvary

Thirty six years ago I remember how important I suddenly became, because I was now a mum.

 I was necessary to someone. He needed me above all others. When I crossed over a road I must now take care, because somebody was relying on me to come home to him safely.

In a nutshell, I became precious to myself because I was so precious to my son. Before he could utter a word, he told me in a thousand ways how he depended on me. This was regardless of my immaturity, my inexperience and my paranoia about him.

If he slept too long, I thought he had died. If he did not sleep so well, I worried about that too. I was caught once boiling an egg cup, for his gripe water, as I thought anything unsterilized would kill him. The person who saw me do this was an older friend who also was a nurse, and her laughter over the egg cup incident (it cracked in the boiling water) is still clear to me. “Wait till you have four!” she snorted, “You’ll have no time for all this angst!”

What a painful and exquisitely wonderful time, when all senses seemed heightened by this tiny person who had grabbed my heart. I spent  hours just staring at my little boy. I sang him love songs over and over again, so that he would know with every fibre of his being that he was my joy and my delight. I told him a hundred stories where he was the hero and saved the world.

Time has passed of course. Two more tiny people have clutched my soul just like he did. Two other fascinating, complicated and wonderful human beings have come out of my body just as he did. Less paranoia was involved, but no less passionate love.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Even A “Bad” Mom Can Raise Good Men By Susie Klein

I recently read a post here by Anonymous titled, forget success, i just want to survive And I saw myself in every line she wrote. I recognized her frustration and her temptation to believe that she was not the mom that her child needed. She is concerned that her mommy skills may be less than what her kid requires.

One of the reasons that our great friend, Sophie, began this blog “for moms and by moms” was to show us that we are not alone. You are not alone in feeling like you do not measure up in the Mommy-Wars. For some crazy reason we all feel as if every other woman around us is doing it right and we are doing it wrong and our child is going to turn out to be some kind of monster or gutter-dweller.

I am going to stick my neck out here a bit and presume to speak from a place of knowledge and experience in this area of mothering. To validate my ability to identify with you, here are a couple of excerpts from my journals...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

G.D. it, I Forgot The Tortillas By Sophie Patten

I try saying things like “Holy Mackerel” and “Good Gravy!” in front of my kids, but I’m afraid the odd s-bomb has escaped my lips without very much apology.  To be honest the Disney swearing just tickles me pink and even when I’m around regularly sized humans I enjoy throwing out a “Oh, Holy Nights!” or a “Good Night Nurse!” every now and again.

Going to the store with three children under 5 is not easy. The afternoons make it worse because they have all just woken up from their all too brief naps, and aren’t energized by breakfast or 10+ hours sleep like they would be if I took them in the morning. 

I bundle them in the car, check for shoes, sweaters, pacy and toys for the baby…  I grab snack and drinks, jump in the car and pass out the snack only for my oldest to whine “I don’t want THAT snack mommy!” and my toddler to scream her agreement that I am apparently rubbish for selecting THAT snack. 

ADMISSION: Half the time when this happens I say “Rough, it’s THIS or nothing”, aaand the other half I heave a giant frustrated sigh and stomp back in the house to get a couple of different items that I know will soothe the little beasts and guarantee a smoother outing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moms, Dads & Stress by Becky Blankenship

Moms and Dads carry a lot of stuff with them, things that crowd the mind and undermine patience. You know, the usual day- to- day concerns like getting the kids off to school, making it to work on time, dinner, laundry, bathrooms. But why is it on some days there is something that compromises our ability to handle things?         
 Some days it may be the stain on the carpet that pushes the button or a hairstyle that won’t “style” that finally makes us snap. Of course it’s not those things alone, it’s the culmination of all things together.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Better Judgment by Anonymous

Sometimes, I see parents rushing out of the store with their kicking and screaming child, snapping something harsh at them, and then, we make eye contact and the caught-red-handed look comes over their face.

At first, i think, "I will never do that with MY child." and then, I re-evaluate the situation: How many times have I dropped my head into my knees in frustration and starting sobbing? How many times have I had to leave her in her crib and walk away for a few minutes? How many times has some horrible thought crossed my mind and then I immediately "took it back"?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

10 Things Never To Say To A Stay At Home Mom

1. When the kids are older, do you think you'll get a real job?
2. How June Cleaver of you!
3. Oh, so you don't work?
4. Since you have extra time on your hands, could you whip up a few dozen brownies for the bake sale tomorrow?
5. All day with your kids? I can't even imagine.
6. I'm jealous. I wish my husband were rich so I wouldn't have to work either.
7. What do you do all day, anyway?
8. I'm sure you're not the only one who's ever wasted money on a college degree.
9. That explains why your son is so clingy!
10. Weird. I assumed your house would be super clean.

Read the original entry by clicking here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hearing Without Listening by Sophie Patten

It has taken me a long time to realize that the surfaces in my home will just be perpetually sticky for the next few years.  I can clean them everyday and they will still end up being sticky. My carpet is stained. I describe it as being "thrashed".  I could steam my carpet once a month and it would still look awful most of the time. And quite frankly who in the world has time to steam clean their carpets once a month? I am a spot cleaner. I can make time for that when the kids (and by that I mean Annie) spills her dinner. 

The living room gets my full attention because that is where our friends hang out with us, and I don’t want to be judged.  Wait a minute isn’t that what this blog is all about?  I have wonderful friends, looking at them and knowing them I can’t believe they would judge me.  But I still want to represent my best self as often as I can... in public.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Single Mom in 1983 By Julie Ann Wells

My unemployment was running out and I had to get back to work.  I was so fortunate as to have my Dad’s place and my (almost) sister-in-laws home to live in.  Now, I needed someone to take care of my girl. 

The first place I tried was a licensed day care owned by an old crusty retired couple.  I didn’t feel food about leaving the baby there but felt they had the best credentials.  With in the first week my baby got a black eye from another child throwing a toy.  This was clearly accidental but I had to go with my gut feeling and find a different provider. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Home By Becky Blankenship

May continues to be a killer.  My calendar just won’t stop. I forgot an event that was important and I have to choose which event to attend on Tuesday, a nephew’s graduation or my son’s end of the year scout celebration. They’re getting a patch too. Of course, on that day my husband has a board meeting and won’t be able to help with anything!  Ugh.
 I had to turn down several other things to make my life work --all of which I would have enjoyed.
Tonight we are having cake and ice cream for my daughter, who turned 16 on Thursday. We’ve been having her birthday in increments. Her dinner was on Friday. Mayfest, cake, ice cream and tie-dye with her friends today and a short trip to Kansas City in June.
In the midst of all our busy-ness…my 24-year-old son (whom we’ve not seen for two years!) made a surprise visit!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

forget success, i just want to survive... by anonymous

i've started to write about my children three different times (this week), about three different topics.

this is the sad one.

this week my son missed what, in my mind, was supposed to be a major event in his life - thus far. when we left the house he was showing signs that he was not going to make it through the event peaceably, but i was not prepared for the way that the evening unfolded and i was (even) less prepared for my reaction. he cried getting out of the car when we arrived and he cried when i walked him to his class and he cried when i told him there would be cookies waiting for him at the end of the night. i sat with him until he calmed and i thought the worst was over.

then we lined up. he turned. ran. couldn't do it. couldn't stand and smile for 10 little tiny easy minutes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Article by Sophie Patten

"Having three daughters is no joke. My life is a cautionary tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’. *Insert typical disclaimer about how I love my kids here*"
My latest Facebook status
I don’t mean that I wished for children and now I realize I’m over my head. No, no. I’m not over my head as such. I wished for children and they are the biggest blessing in my life, no doubt.
What I mean is that having girls is already incredibly challenging for me as a women. These little ladies are a mirror for me; a way to see myself with all my flaws and inadequacy. But that’s not all. They are also a way to see myself and all the love that I have to give them and how my sense of right and wrong and my strength of character, will shape and affect them in their lives.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Not Every Day Is Snuggly, By Susie Klein

I am so happy that Sophie is starting this great blog for Moms who want to be real with one another. There are plenty of mommy blogs that are filled with “We snuggled all day today!” posts that make the rest of the mommies feel less than the best! Time to get real about your days.
As a reminder that you are not alone why not read a direct excerpt from my personal journal when my son was 11 months old…….
“My journal entries have slacked off and I know why: The books and magazines told me how wonderful and peachy mothering is. The impression was that only cold, uncaring mothers complained and wished they had careers instead of kids.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1982 – 23 year Old Single Mom, By Julie Ann Wells.

I day dreamed about being a happily married mom as long as I can remember. It wasn’t what I’d imagined because my little one has colic for her first 4 months. Every evening she wailed in pain. I exhausted every remedy the stupid hospital booklet suggested and I wore the phone dial out calling La Leche League.
Finally I let my baby cry (and I cried too) while I took a bath and tried to read. I was so sad that my baby was so upset every night. All through that season I wasn’t sure what say it was and I was especially alone. My friends were working and childless. I went out for walks with my baby every day. We went to the beach with a friend a few times during those months. But, every night I was consoling my baby. I don’t think my friends and family knew what to do with me. I was obsessed with trying to help my child. I felt wrecked but determined to survive.
By Christmas the colic had disappeared and the nights became peaceful for my girl and I.
My whole life had changed when I had a baby. I had to make a big choice to leave the social life that I had for her. I loved her so much and was so bonded with her that I knew spending my time with her was the best choice. It was where I wanted to be. I gravitated to women with kids and took lots of mental notes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Single Parenting: Ready Or Not Here I Come" By Mary Heath Wise

Being a mom is wonderfully awful--it is an oxymoron in every way. Brantley, my son, is the most active child I have ever seen! It’s like he never just kind of “hangs out” for a minute to play with something. He is always grabbing and pacing looking for “trouble”. Sometimes I just want to scream at him out of frustration that he won’t go to sleep and I am late on a really important phone call I have to make and need him to be asleep. There are times that I think, “If I have to sit here opening and closing the shower door one more time, I think my head will explode.” Then the next minute he runs off before I can put his clean diaper on and proceeds to pee on the hardwood floors and slip in it, hitting his head and screaming. When I became a mom, I knew it would be challenging, but I thought it would mostly be those commercial moments of snuggly tenderness that make it all seem so worth it. I never knew it would be picking poop out of the bathtub and getting so little sleep for the first year of his life that I feel like I can hardly think straight, let alone take care of a child running around everywhere. I didn’t know my life could seem so chaotic and insanely boring at the same time. Then he will give me that little grin that makes me remember in that moment just why I’m doing this and why it is one of the most important things I’ll ever do. When I do get those moments of snuggles or kisses or that hilarious thing he just said, it is so amazing! Those are the moments that get you through. My child is not a super snuggly child though because he has places to go, and most of the time he bats at me in the air to “go away” so he can busily get on with the next thing he “has” to do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Introduction to this blog, by Sophie Patten

This blog is dedicated to Moms everywhere. It has been created to talk about the thing that all moms know and few talk about.. That moms feel judged by other moms. We feel like we have to justify our choices for our kids; we compare ourselves to each other and beat ourselves up about all the things we don't do rather than acknowledge our strengths.

We let ourselves imagine that we are the only ones making it up as we go and that all other mothers have it together. We allow ourselves to believe that in other households mothers are doing arts and crafts, teaching their kids how to read and write at the age of 3 while the sweet sound of angel's singing plays in the background.

Formula vs. Breast Milk. Pampers vs. Cloth diapers. Working moms vs. Stay at home moms.. the list goes on.

Somehow if we want to be out of the house and working we tell ourselves that we aren't as good at being parents as the moms who stay home.

If we stay at home with the kids we let ourselves believe that we aren't allowed to identify with the ideals of a strong independent woman. That being a home maker is old fashioned and no longer a worthwhile goal for a woman of the 21st century.

I am going to ask moms to write about how they feel about themselves in their roles as moms. Moms who work full time, part time, moms who stay home, single moms, moms with one child, moms with many many children and everything inbetween.

The expectation we live under as mothers and how we need to believe in the strength of our own nurturing power and more than anything really seeing that we are all connected. That although we all might know a couple of jerk moms who really do judge us or are arrogant enough to believe that their way is the correct way and everyone else is wrong, MOST moms aren't like that. Most moms are just like us and we should be encouraging each other and live in confidence as mothers.