Adventures in Mommyhood

How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Medium Momma

For my liking, there are far too many 'take it and run' ideas about parenting and everyone is expected to jump on the bandwagon. It feels there is always some methodology that one is expected to follow. Maybe I am okay, or better than okay even, with doing bits and pieces of it all.

Crunchy mamas are out in full force these days. That's not a bad thing at all. It's a great thing. Not too long ago, I was asking exactly what a 'crunchy mama' was. Some may know it better as the discipleship called 'attachment parenting' under Dr. Sears. In short, this is the philosophy believes in creating the most 'womb like' environment for the newborn, extended breastfeeding, babywearing, and bed sharing. The 'crunchy mamas' tend toward attachment parenting, but also seem to focus on cloth diapering, organic foods and making their own baby food- hence the 'crunchy' being a nudge to 'granola'. Am I saying these things are wrong? Absolutely not. I have been a nursing momma. I extended past the first year even. Should I feel great that I was able to do that, or should I listen to the heat of the La Leche Mom for not being a full disciple of 'baby led weaning'. Am I cruel? Or is it weird that I went even a day past the first birthday? It seems like you are some sort of a pariah if you don't quit that straight away at one year! It's just 'too weird'. You can't do that if they have teeth and you shouldn't do it if they are walking (myth and myth in my book, but people believe it.) Or is it okay to do things just the way I felt comfortable and the way I thought worked for Claire? Babywearing- Claire spent lots of time in arms. Michael was known for wearing her in the Baby Bjorn (at which point he usually referred to her as Carlos- thank you, The Hangover). Womb like environment? Absolutely! I only found one swaddle blanket that worked for me The Miracle Blanket. It squished her up into a dreamy coma in no time. Halleluia! That being said, the family bed was not for us. My husband acts out dreams occasionally, which made it scary and I was terrified of rolling on her or none of us sleeping just to watch her all night. Claire began to sleep in her crib at 2 months old. Is that cold? Is it too removed? Is it just what worked for us? Yes. Do I believe my child is plenty secure, plenty bonded and plenty attached. Definitely. This is my point. Why are mothers expected to (or expect themselves to) fall completely in line with one philosophy of parenthood? Why should anyone want to convince me my child is not secure or does not feel fully loved if I do not do exactly what they did and the way they did it? That is what is truly cruel.

My birth took place in a hospital. Yes, a hospital. I would not have felt comfortable giving birth in my home. Some would not have it any other way, but I wanted a nice, sterile, around the clock care hospitaltastic experience. I wanted to know that medical professionals were on hand should we need anything at all. I wanted to know someone was there to oversee my healing. Giving birth in a bathtub is fine. Giving birth in my bathtub would have driven me mad! I try to keep up with cleaning, but all I would have thought about would have been- am I sure I scrubbed this thing enough? How am I going to get it clean again? I also confess, sin of all sins- I used an epidural and I never looked back. Because I used the epidural, I was able to rest through my labor, I was able to concentrate when it came time to push and I was able to stay calm when the doctor was taking care of me after the delivery (I am deliberately leaving out details to avoid TMI). My hospital birth, with an epidural and without the use of a doula or midwife, was exactly the birth experience I wanted and that is all that matters. I do have a friend who is a doula, so if that interests you, let me know and I would be glad to recommend her for you.

I am a working mother. This is a great challenge for me. Constant second guessing, but feeling that I am doing what works for our family. I am a working mother for a couple of reasons. First, without my job, I would not have health insurance and, because of the cost, Claire probably wouldn't either. This is unacceptable to me. (Consider this, any who think universal health care would only support slobs who don't want to work.) Not only would we not have insurance, but our income would limit our residential options. We would be limited to areas in decline, areas that seemed unsafe. Is it difficult to be away from my girl? Yes. Do I feel I am doing what is right for my family? Yes. I want to assure, based on comments I have overheard lately, that my child care is the safest and best place possible. There are a lot of horrible daycare centers in the world, no doubt. My daughter is not in one of them. Where she goes, the entire facility is monitored by cameras, the door is key pad protected and the owner, who has known our family for years, is in all the rooms with great frequency. She is always in range and always available if I call. She welcomes me if I drop in and trust me, I have. It deeply upsets me if anyone implies that I am putting her at any sort of a risk if I spend any amount of time away from her. If I need to work, I have the best possible set up. I get her at 3 everyday, I have all breaks off, and I enjoy her all summer. I breathe her in; I love her; I soak every moment. I believe my child feels loved and secure. I also believe she gets things at school I could not provide. She gets peer companionship and social skills. She gets a routine I feel will prepare her for school one day. She gets to learn to trust other adults. Then, there is me. I like my job. I enjoy the challenges. I love my kids. God made me the way I am and in the situation I am for a reason. I am called. In my dreams, I can marry my enjoyment of working with love of motherhood. Maybe I will find out how to be a part time employee. I bargained with God, that if he let me win the lottery, I would become a full time philanthropist and spread good works, Claire in tow, everywhere I could. I guess it is time to start playing the lottery ; )

My point is not to be for or against any kind of parenting. My point is not to call anyone out. My point is, I am doing this my way. The way I feel is best for my family. I hate the idea of 'camps' that put mothers into categories. "Oh, she's a (fill in the blank) mother, so she only does (fill in the blank)." I don't want to fit in a box. I just want to be a happy medium momma and I want you to do things your way too.

The clip is from Away We Go. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays an over-the-top, pretentious mother, who is settled into her camp and her philosophies, expects that any mother who does not follow must not 'love her kids enough'. You probably need to see the movie to get the full gist, but enjoy, nonetheless.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers' Day

Happy fathers' day to this guy holding a baby. Not just any guy, but the one who puts up with me. Not just any baby, but the best baby I could imagine. Better even. I could not have dreamed anyone this good.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thirty by thirty.

Inspired by the blog musings of Mrs. Jessica Moore, I have decided to compile my own goal list. My thirtieth birthday will be August 25, 2011. This gives me 14 months to do the following. This list is in no particular order, by the way.

30. Be one semester away from completing my graduate degree (M.Ed in Guidance and Counseling)

29. Keep better lesson plans at work / be more organized, results will be subjective, but I'll know.

28. Complete kitchen projects- redo the floor, re-stain the cabinets, fourth light in place

27. survive potty training

26. Be two dress sizes smaller than I am right now

25. learn to crochet- more than basic and do it to blow off steam sometimes

24. accomplish massive garage clean out

23. win a decent scholarship in graduate school

22. cook better (again, results will be subjective, but I'll know)

21. save $200 per month for school

20. paint and patch the ceilings in my home

19. purge unneeded junk that is hiding in my house

18. learn to play a couple of kids' songs on the guitar for Claire

17. get pregnant again- but not quite yet, thank you ; ) (I still have those two dress sizes to lose first!)

16. get all prerequisites together to obtain my LPC

15. read 3 classic novels I have otherwise missed.

14. practice self control with eating 97% of the time

13. go out on more dates with my husband

12. lose any guilt

11. grow out my hair again- without being ridiculous- make efforts to enjoy and preserve my youthful appearance while I still have it! I always look at picture of my mom with me when I was young and think- she looks great! I want Claire to think that too. Again, not obsessed with appearance, just appreciative of God's gift of youth while I still have it and to be happy with my appearance ; )

10. become more involved in my church- where I have slacked off as of late. I admit it.

9. own a 21st century phone- I hold out because I am too cheap, but eventually, I'd like to own a smart phone with GPS or any needed info at my fingertips. Sheesh- this is too stupid to be a real goal. I will call this one # 9, then give myself a 9.5 to make up for it.

9.5. maintain a G.P.A. art or above 3.7 (did I redeem myself with 9.5?)

8. create and adhere to a cleaning / chores chart in our home (sorry, Michael- this includes you)

7. Be more comfortable with where I am over where I think I should be.

6. put a picture in the frame on my mantle that has has the stock photo in it since we got married- 5 years ago. Yes, that's right, I've displayed a frame on my mantle with the picture that came with it for 5 years now. Nice.

7. enter the toddler years with love and patience

6. Print photographs an place in albums in a timely manner. ( The last pictures I have printed are from last October!)

5. In light of my perfectionism, go easier on myself.

4. spend less money on things that are not fun to spend money on (i.e. find resourceful ways to reduce expenses like my grocery bill!)

3. Go on road trips. Claire is of an age where I feel we can survive 3-5 hours in a car.

2. hold office in an organization that means something to me

1. have faith in general, doubt less, worry less, enjoy more.

It occurs to me that these goals may not be 'glamorous', but they are all worthy to me. I am going to challenge myself to visit these goals when I turn 30 and tell you all how it has gone! Accountability, right? Then, I can set the next set of goals.

What are your goals? Comment and let me know!