Wednesday, February 27, 2013

There's No Secret To Being a Good Parent

For the love of Dora and Boots...there is no secret formula to being a good parent.

I am so over some of the bullshit I read about certain topics.  Honestly.  There is no one way to guarantee you are being a good parent.  From issues such as breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding to vaccinating, I am over it.

I truly feel bad for people having babies these days.  Although my baby just turned two last month, I didn't feel that much pressure over the years concerning decisions that I made as a mother.  These days I feel like there is SO MUCH damn pressure.

When I had my oldest daughter almost 8 years ago, I was the first of my friends to take that leap.  No one judged me...or it seemed like no one did.  I didn't read much beyond the Your Pregnancy: Week by Week book and a little What To Expect When You're Expecting.  I was clueless and it turns out that the babysitting I had done for years didn't really help much.  You see, babysitting is NOTHING like parenting. 

I had my daughter...and I bottle fed.  GASP!  You know what?  I did feel bad at first.  But the reason that I felt bad was not for what you may think.  I felt bad because I had NO CLUE that my milk would come in and that breast feeding would be an option.  I had no clue because I had had a breast reduction when I was 20 years old and was told that I probably wouldn't be able to breast feed.  I was fine with that...because I was 20 and I didn't care at that point.  I wanted the procedure done.  It was necessary.  And I don't regret it.

It wasn't until I had my 3rd and final baby that I actually pumped and bottle fed her breast milk.  After about 12 weeks, I couldn't keep up with her demand so I added more formula and slowing stopped pumping.  I pumped with her because she was a winter baby and I got all wrapped up in her getting the antibodies and not being sick.  But you know what?  My other two daughters didn't get a drop of breast milk (I know...gasp again!), and they are very healthy.  Always have been.

Also,  ALL of my children have been fully vaccinated.  This is a choice we made.  Yes, there are times when I spread them out a bit...split up a few here and there.  Again, another choice. 

My children also ALL slept in cribs.  I didn't necessarily let them cry it out when they were babies.  But I did get them on a nice schedule so they would sleep a good 11 hours in their cribs at night and take naps in there as well.  I didn't let them cry for hours.  I reassured them.  I was consistent.  It worked for US.  Again, another choice for us as a family.

Now that my kids are a little older and out of cribs, they do come wandering in at night.  Some mornings we wake to find 2 adults and 3 children crammed into our queen size bed.  (I am waiting for the opportunity to get a new king size mattress to review on this blog.  If anyone can help with that...I would appreciate it.) 

But all of these parenting choices are what work for us...they don't make us any better OR any less of a parent.

If you have a baby and you breast feed, GOOD FOR YOU.  If you bottle feed, GREAT.  If you cosleep, AWESOME.  If you put your baby to sleep in a crib, WONDERFUL.  If you vaccinate, RIGHT ON.  If not, THAT'S COOL.  If you circumcise, TERRIFIC.  If not, NEATO.  If you put your baby in daycare, FABULOUS.  If you stay home with your child, FANTASTIC.  If you make your own baby food, YOU ROCK.  If you use store bought food, YOU STILL ROCK.

I simply can't read another judgy article or comment on this here Internets.  I just might lose it. 

More than I already have.

So calm down people.  We are all doing the best we can as parents.  There is no right way to do this.  If there was, I would write a book and make millions.  I wouldn't just be here on my blog typing away like a crazy person for hundreds. 

End rant.

Have a great day.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

"Mommyblogger" Myths Debunked

I read this post by Mary McCarthy from Pajamas and Coffee about why she hates mommybloggers.  At first I saw the title and thought...WHAT?!!!  Damn, hate is a strong word.  But I read it.  And I got what she's saying. 

I also believe that there are a few myths when it comes to women who have blogs and also happen to be moms.

Let me start with the whole "mommyblogger" term.  Yes, it can be super annoying to be put in that category.  I am a mom and I have a blog.  I write about my kids.  That is true.  But I also write about wanting to lose weight, my clothes, my childhood, my interests, and lies I still tell my dad.  Every post is NOT strictly about being a mom.  I guess maybe the term "Parenting and Lifestyle Blogger" would be suitable.  Or how about about just plain old "blogger"?  That works for me.  When I was teaching and then had my children, people didn't go from calling me a teacher to a mommy teacher or a teaching mom.  Why to we do it with bloggers?  Why do we have this label? 
However, I must add that the majority of my posts do tend to discuss topics related to my kids and being a parent.  That's just where I am in my life right now so it only makes sense to write about those topics.

Fake ass b*tches:
I totally get how Mary thinks that bloggers can create this whole "persona" on their blog...and then in real life they are a big b*tch.  You never know.  I mean, haven't you seen the episode of Good Luck Charlie where Amy writes a blog and invents a whole extra child named Skippy, strictly to have more writing material.  Oh no, only me?  Gosh, I really do love that show.  But I can assure all of you that don't know me in real life, what you see is what you get with me.

Show me the lack of money:
I don't know many mommybloggers who are making a mint off of this gig.  For real, yo.  Yes, maybe we get some ads placed on our blogs here and there.  We may get free products to review.  But to make money, real legit money like it's a job, it takes time, hard work, more time, more hard work for NO pay...and it very well may never happen.  I am still waiting for my ship to come in.

Blogging is a Job:
I can only say that I WISH blogging was my job.  I truly do.  But it's not.  Blogging is not how I pay my bills.  Blogging is not a 9 to 5.  It is something I do at night when the kids are asleep...or during nap time (like right now).  This is true for most bloggers that I "know".

You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours:
Mary mentioned that most mommybloggers have found their niche and their audience so they write all of their posts in the same style.  Then their loyal followers read and share, share, share.  It is like write, rinse, share, repeat.  And I must say that this is true at times.  I have so many bloggers that I LOVE to read.  I trust their when they share something, I head over and read it.  Sometimes I also love that post.  Other times I am left thinking Hmmm, that wasn't really share-worthy but that's the drill.  You are a virtual friend of the blogger, you share their shit.  No matter what.  It's nice that people do that for each other.  But there are times when I think people are getting exposure when it wasn't deserved.  I guess it's all who you know.  Personally, I can tell you that I will share something if I read it and LOVED it. That's about it.  I don't expect anything in return, at all.  I think this is mostly true for others who are plugging away in this blogging biz.

In closing, I really enjoyed reading Mary's post.  It was great food for thought.  I highly suggest you read it, especially if you are a mom...and you have a blog. 

I also highly suggest that we see women who blog for what they are.  Many are, in fact, moms.  Many have life experiences that they want to share with others, whether it be about parenting, struggles with depression or addiction, fertility issues, illness, or loss.  Many just want to share a laugh.  Many are educated women who have friends and interests outside of their children. 

They are not women who sit in their jammies all day (well, maybe sometimes), drinking wine, and complaining about their children.  Yes, they may enjoy wine.  Yes, they may complain and use their blog as an outlet.  But don't let that define us.  Let that just be a little part of who we are.  And let us try our best to use our voice to make others smile, to help them feel that they are not alone, and to make even the slightest difference in this crazy world.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 "Lies" I Still Tell My Dad

When I say "lie", I don't mean a flat out lie.  Maybe I mean more of an omission of the truth. 

You see, my dad is one of those "What he doesn't know won't hurt him...and it also is a hell of a lot easier on everyone else" kind of person.  Mostly, it's easier on my mom because she is the one who lives with him and has to listen to his constant questions and deal with his tendency to overreact to things.  He can be difficult.  He can also be hilarious and very kind.  And he can be difficult.  Did I already say that? 

So at the age of 34, I still keep some things from him.  It's just so much easier for everyone involved.

Here are 5 "lies" (again, maybe more like omissions of the truth) that I still tell my dad:

1.  I have a fat savings account equal to 6 months salary.
Hold on a sec while I catch my breath from hysterical laughter...
You see, my dad is pretty conservative with his money so he expects everyone else to be too.  If he knew we didn't have the big old savings security blanket, he would not be very happy.

2.  I am so happy with my career choice of leaving the teaching profession temporarily to have a home daycare.
My dad was not really in support of that decision.  You see, like I mentioned, he is conservative with money.  He would much rather I still be teaching and contributing to my pension and other retirement funds.  And it's not like I am unhappy with my decision, though I do question it often...but he will never know that.  It is easier this way.

3.  This here blog.
He doesn't really know about this blog...although I have never actually kept it from him.  It's just simpler to not mention it because he would have a million questions.  He probably doesn't even know what a blog is.  Then he would want my mom to help him look it up.  Then he would read stuff...and just not get it. 

4.  That time I was at the beach and had to go to the ER by ambulance because I might have been "roofied".
Uhhhh, yeah...about that.  Those ER copays were expensive and I was only 21 (maybe I was 22).  And I had to make it NOT my own fault.  So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

5.  That time I had "heat exhaustion" in high school.
Again, I was young.  I played field hockey and we really DID have double sessions in the summer heat that day.  It had nothing to do with the 3 screwdrivers that I had as a lightweight who didn't know what she was doing.  I think "heat exhaustion" was an easier pill for all of us to swallow.  Am I right?

So here I am.  34, almost 35 years old and I still have these little omissions of the truth that I will continue to stand by.  And he doesn't read this blog, so I'm all good.  Right? 

Don't you think of telling him either.  Because I will delete and deny, deny, deny. 

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Toddlers Confuse Me

There are certain things about kids...toddlers in particular, that I will NEVER understand.  I alluded to one of them earlier today on my facebook page. 

First, why on God's green Earth would a child NOT want their diaper changed?  Why do they run away and scream and fight it?  Even when you have them pinned down, they squirm and wiggle and almost get crap all over their leg and foot.  I just DON'T GET THAT.  If you shit yourself, wouldn't you want to have someone clean you up?  Especially if you were incapable of doing it yourself.  Geez.

Also, why do they resist a freakin' nap???  There are some days when I have to pin my 2 year old down with my left arm and act like I am sleeping myself in order to get her to succumb to a nap.  I would LOVE if someone said to me, right after they prepared, served, and cleaned up my lunch (that I so rudely refused to eat), "It's time for a nap!"  Oh, how I would love that.

And speaking of lunch, isn't is awesome when you prepare a meal and your toddler eats NOTHING?  It makes me feel so appreciated.  Then to add insult to injury, sometimes they throw it on the floor.  Fabulous.  I don't get that one bit.  It's flat out bad manners.

Really, that is what it comes down to I think.  Toddlers just have bad manners.  You can teach them to say please and thank you.  But you can bet your ass that the next time you are at Trader Joe's and the kind cashier gives them a balloon, instead of saying "Thank you" they will growl at them.  Then as you are walking to your car, when not a single soul is within earshot, they will say "Thank you" like a precious little angel. 

I'll just never understand how the mind of a toddler works sometimes.  And maybe that's a good thing.  I would hate to know what my 2 year old really thought about the dinner I made tonight...

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Want to be a SAHM

I have said it before and I'll say it again...I want to be a Stay At Home Mom.

Please, if you are a SAHM, do not feel like I am saying I want this because I think it's easy.  People don't say, "I want to be a doctor because that looks like it would be a piece of cake".  I KNOW that it is not easy.  You don't have to tell me all of the negative aspects of staying home with your children.  Trust me.

But...I will say it again.  I want to be a SAHM.  I would LOVE that. 

Right now, I have a home daycare.  I type this while sitting in my dining room.  5 children are napping less than 10 feet away from me.  I just got a glass of ice water and had to gingerly take ice out of my freezer, as to not wake the little ones.  Then I sat down at my table in almost slow motion so I wouldn't make a peep.

This most likely will be my last year as a daycare provider.  I am planning on returning to teaching next year (fingers crossed!).  People tell me that I will love going back to teaching.  They say that I will have a whole new appreciation for it.  And I very well might.  I look forward to a planning time and lunch break, even if teachers do have to scarf their food down in under 25 minutes.  I look forward to having coworkers.

But I have been there and done that.  I taught for 8 years prior to having the home daycare.  I taught until my oldest was 4 and my middle daughter was 1.  I know the whole song and dance of being a mom who works out of the home.   I am prepared to do that dance again.

However, this does not change the fact that I would LOVE to be a SAHM for a few years. 

Why? Well, I'll tell you.

I want to volunteer to help in my daughters' classes.  I want to go on field trips.  I want to schedule a doctor appointment at 10 am on a Monday morning.  I want to clean my house while my older 2 children are at school.  I want to give my 2 year old some one on one attention.  I want to grocery shop on a weekday morning.  I want to sit in car line.  I want to be able to drop off my daughter's lunch when she has forgot it in the morning.  I want to be able to go pick up a child at school when the nurse calls and says that they don't feel well.

I don't want to have heart palpitations every time a kid gets a fever on a Sunday and I have no clue what I should do because I would either have to inconvenience 5 other families from my home daycare or call out sick if I am teaching.  I don't want to text my husband with things I need him to pick up on the way home from work because I am stuck in my house.  I don't want to feel sad that my daughter was sick on a 3 day weekend and now I have no other weekdays off for over a month.

And these are just a few reasons.  I know, I know...I sound like a whiny baby.  But you know what?  This is what I am feeling today and this is my blog.  So there you have it.

Again, if you are a SAHM...please don't take this the wrong way.  I know you don't have it easier.

Take it as a compliment.  I want to do what you do.  So feel lucky for a second.  Look around and say, "Hey, maybe this gig isn't so bad".

Then get back to changing diapers, cleaning up messes, running errands...and all of the other glamorous crap that goes with the job :)

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

25 Reasons Why My Kids May Be Fighting

1.  One looked at the other one the wrong way.

2.  There was only one cookie left.

3.  Out of the 374 Barbies that they have, they both happen to want to play with the same exact one.

4.  Someone said the other one was...too small, too big, a baby, a dork, stinky, mean, messy, dirty, too dressy, not dressy enough...

5.  There are 2 dozen other freeze pops left, but only one blue one.

6.  One is being too loud.

7.  One doesn't want to play with other.

8.  They actually want to play together but don't agree on the game.

9.  They pick a game but one wants to follow the rules to the letter and the other is more of a "make the rules up as we go" kind of gal.

10.  One got more cereal in her bowl than the other one.

11.  One got down the steps first.

12.  They want to watch different shows at the same time. 

13.  Their pancakes are not the SAME EXACT size...and one may have a pancake with a diameter of 1/16 of an inch larger than the other.

14.  One has to wear a uniform to school and the other doesn't so it's NOT fair. 

15.  I hugged one...which means that I love that child more.

16.  One of them wore the other one's socks.

17.  Even though a pair of pajamas is 2 sizes to small, one doesn't want to "hand down" their Tinkerbell nightgown to their younger sister.

18.  One drank the last juice box.

19.  They want their hair brushed and styled at the same exact time.  Kind of a problem when you don't have a team of stylists at your disposal.

20.  One breathed too loud.

21.  One laughed at something that the other did not find funny.

22.  One used all of the sidewalk chalk while the other was at school and all that was left were those annoying little nubs that just cause you to scrape your knuckles on the pavement.

23.  One sneezed on the other.

24.  One got dressed faster.

25.  They just decided to fight over nothing important at all to drive me to the brink of insanity.

And all of this has just been in the last 3 days...

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Six Ideas for Lenten Sacrifices

If you are Catholic like me (or Christian), you are probably well aware of the fact that the Lenten season begins today.  You may even be walking around with a dark ashy spot on your forehead. 

Have you thought about what you are giving up for Lent?  It can be a tough decision so I am here to help you and provide some gentle, yet wise, guidance.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.  Give up dieting.  You know you really wanted to start that diet to prepare for spring.  But go without.  Really test yourself and put that diet off until AFTER Lent.  It will be difficult...but you can do it.

2.  Don't wash dishes for the entire Lenten season.  Most people LOVE clean dishes.  This will really be a tough one.  Show God your commitment.  Use all paper plates and plastic utensils.  Not having dishes to do will be an adjustment.  It's only have faith that you will get through just fine.

3.  Stop wasting water and only shower 2 to 3 times a week.  You may already do this if you have children.  But if you are accustomed to the luxury of a daily shower, give it up.  Make this your Lenten sacrifice.  Note: Invest in extra deodorant and perfume. 

4.  Pledge to stimulate the economy during Lent.  This may mean increased trips to Target or logging additional hours with the tiresome task of online shopping.  When the tough gets going, know that you are helping your country get back on track.

5.  The next one is a really difficult one, however it will help not only YOU but also your children.  Give up Nick Jr*.  Tell the kids that you are all in this together.  It will be extremely hard on you may experience withdrawal over missing your fave characters such as Max and Ruby or Dora. 
*You may substitute this with Disney Jr or Sprout.  Whatever works best for YOUR family.

6.  Vow to spend more quality time with your children on the weekends by giving up weekend cleaning.  I know you will want to wake up bright and early on a Saturday and get to scrubbing those floors.  However, think of how this sacrifice pays off in the long run. 

I truly hope these ideas have inspired you.

Best of luck to all during this Lenten season!

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Why I Wear Mom Jeans with Pride

I didn't want to admit that I wear "Mom Jeans".  But when you are, in fact, a mom and you buy your jeans in the Target Women's section (not Juniors...please Moms, stop that shit), you most certainly wear "Mom Jeans".

I think it's time to embrace it.  We moms must wear our jeans with dignity and pride.  And with shirts that cover our muffin tops.

I am not going to lie to you, I feel kind of dressed up when I am wearing my jeans and not my New York and Company "pull on pant", which is just a fancier equivalent to the yoga pant.  My mom jeans make me feel like I have a purpose to my day.  I am going to tackle all that life throws at me while wearing my mom jeans.

Mom jeans are not super low waist jeans.  When you are a mom, you don't need low waisted jeans with your ass crack and thong hanging out when you sit down.  That's gross.  You are a mom now...and it's not acceptable.  I have 3 daughters and I don't want them thinking their ass crack is something to show the world. 

They don't have to be super high waisted either.  They will just emphasize the bulge.  I'm not saying you have a bulge...but I know I do.  And I want it to receive no attention.

Mom jeans can be paired with a sensible flat.  You can also go balls to the wall and wear a heel. 

Mom jeans can be worn with a nice sweater, a fitted blouse, a cute blazer, or a comfy down vest from Land's End.  The possibilities are endless.

Mom jeans can be worn to dinner, for a night on the town where you drink too much because you hardly EVER get a night on the town, to a PTA meeting, or while taking your kids to the park. 

On those days that you are feeling bloated and cranky, they can be unbuttoned and secured together with a pony tail holder.  You know that trick, right?  If you don't, inbox me and we'll chat. 

Moms jeans are cool and tough.  Mom jeans see you through diaper changes, spit up, trips to Target, the drive thru at McDonald's, and long phone conversations with old friends where your kids scream and cry for attention and you ignore them to complain about how hard this parenting gig is.  Mom jeans are always there for you.

And that's why I wear my mom jeans with pride.

My name is Katie...and I wear mom jeans.

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Give Me 5 for Friday: 5 Sh*tty Things My Kids Have Done This Week

Don't get me wrong, my kids are the best.  They are truly the center of our universe.  Each day they amaze me with the things they say and do...blah, blah, blah.  You get what I'm saying here.

BUT...sometimes they pull some stunts that make me want to run far, far away.

For Give Me 5 for Friday, here's some not so awesome crap that my kids have done and said in the past...let's say 24 hours.  Okay, I will be more conservative and go with 48 hours. 

1.  Screamed "I Hate YOU" when I did not allow her to have a Little Debbie Be My Valentine cake for breakfast.
I should have caved.  They can't be worse than doughnuts.  And the whole "I hate you" thing just started with the 4 yr old.  I informed her that this language won't be tolerated.  She says her friend at school taught her.  Likely story.  I am sure it has nothing to do with her 7 year old sister.

2.  Poured a whole beer all over the table after dinner, while laughing and saying "Daddy's beer".
What a waste.

3.  Deleted over 200 pictures from my iPhone.
Not sure I will get over that one any time soon.

4.  Put a half eaten banana in my coffee.
Is she trying to tell me I need more fruit in my diet?

5.  Asked for a yellow popsicle.  Threw a tantrum when given a yellow popsicle. 
Note to self: "yellow" really means "green".

My purpose in writing this down is to give my kids a few laughs someday.

No, seriously I just want to have all of this fun stuff on record so I can share it with them when they have kids and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Have a great weekend!  I know I will...after I take this banana out of my coffee.

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