The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

An Honest Report June 13, 2012

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It is 8:30 in the morning. It is summer break. Both boys, ages 6 and 3, are with me all day every day (I am not accustomed to this). So far this morning, we’ve had cooking, cleaning, yelling, screaming, door slamming, handwriting practice, arts and crafts, negotiating, and more.

I am exhausted. I can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep, in part because of Mark’s hollering at night (he seems to holler when his sleep schedule is off). I have hardly been home the last few days, and now that I am home, I just want/need to chill out.

It’s just a few days into summer break, and my mental health is already taking a beating. Perhaps I will put the boys in front of Sesame Street for an hour or two. I hate to do that and don’t do it very often.

 

Day 3 of Hubby being out of town July 28, 2011

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I think – no, I know – my morale took a beating today.

Today was Day 3 of Hubby being out of town. Yesterday was long, but I was focused on “let’s enjoy summer while it’s here” and had a good day overall. Today – I don’t know what exactly was different, but by the time I was serving supper to the kids, I didn’t have much good humor left to endure DS2’s shenanigens and DS1’s complaining and bad attitude.

I texted Hubby to give him a heads-up that by the time he got home from his trip this evening, I would be glad to see him but maybe not in a very good mood. I explained that I felt like a hamster stuck on a wheel and that I was very tired of it. I also explained that I have a million things on my to-do list, yet I’m lucky if I can take care of my basic needs. I hope he will be understanding.

I’ve recently re-instated FlyLady routines into my day, and it definitely helps to keep CHAOS away. It’s also a lot of work to actually DO laundry every day and CLEAN the kitchen/kitchen sink every morning. I think I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor, but also feeling the effects of not plopping onto the couch every time I feel the urge. I’m sure Hubby being out of town also plays a large part in my feeling overall wigged out and worn out.

 

The Honest Mommy would like a break from the kitchen, please July 22, 2011

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This morning, from 6:15 – 9:30 a.m., I spent nearly all of my time on the following tasks

  • getting myself dressed
  • searching frantically for an uninterrupted 5-minute period during which I could wash my hands, dry my hands, and put my contacts in
  • dealing with children and watercolor paints
  • getting DS1 and DS2 dressed
  • directing DS2 to do his morning routine
  • preparing and serving breakfast to DS1 and DS2
  • working on laundry (folding, putting away)
  • wiping down bathroom
  • washing dishes
  • emptying dishwasher
  • wiping down kitchen sink
  • managing sibling squabbles and crises
  • getting breakfasts number two and three for DS2
  • getting DS2 ready to go outside, then come inside, times two
At 9:30 I finally was ready to sit down and have some breakfast. I had worked so, so, so hard to get everything squared away and everyone taken care of, just so I could have a few minutes to eat in peace.
But, no such luck. When DS2 saw that I was having hard-boiled egg and cheese, he immediately wanted some. So, the egg which I had carefully heated up (twice) for myself ended up going to DS2. I ended up eating while standing at the kitchen counter and doling out bites of food to DS2 (I don’t like to give him too much at once in case he decides to throw it or just not eat it).
Fast forward to 10:30 a.m. The kids were outside playing for 15-20 minutes (yay!), then both came inside and DS2 asked for a snack. (This is the child who I had to force to finish his breakfast because he declared himself “full,” so that I could actually “finish” cleaning the kitchen).
You know what? I do not want to go into the kitchen and come up with a snack, dirty more dishes, create crumbs. I just spent my whole morning, up to this point, trying to “finish” cleaning the kitchen so I could get out of there.
Yes, I am crabby. No, I am not in the running for Mother of the Year.
 

Trying to alleviate yucky, anxious feelings July 11, 2011

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble with anxiety. Not “worrying” that something bad will happen, like a car crash, but more of a generalized feeling of anxiety that feels like butterflies in my stomach or tightness in my chest.

I’ve had a lot of this anxiety today. I realized that it may stem, in part, from all of the loose ends and unfinished business I have right now. What does the rest of July look like? What still needs to be done to plan my son Adam’s birthday party? What steps can I take right now to move certain projects forward? Which projects can be put on the back burner for now? How and when will I get back on the low-carb wagon (low carb is how I manage my weight and my health)? When will I work on photos from our recent European trip?  What’s for dinner tonight?

At the moment, I’m insisting that the kids play outside so that I can work out some of these things. I do get pretty antsy when I want the kids to just play on their own for awhile so that I can work on things. Surely mothers of previous generations did not spend their days constantly entertaining their kids and taking them on fun outings — there were too many other things to do!

 

Working out which way is “up” July 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:49 pm
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It was one week ago that my family and I returned from our gigantic (to me) European trip. I truthfully had no idea how difficult it would be to get back into the swing of things here at home. I had no idea about the sleep and clingy-ness issues that would arise with 2-year-old Mark. I had no idea how much fatigue would affect me, as well as feeling depressed, unmotivated, and unfocused.

This morning, I told Hubby that I truly do not want to be grumpy and negative, and that I’m working to figure out what types of things will help me move forward. I theorized that “getting back into FlyLady” might be good for me, as it seems that the times when I’ve followed FlyLady routines and mindsets have been good times in my life.

I went to iTunes to look for the FlyLady podcast; I used to listen to her podcast a lot while working around the house. It seems, though, that she no longer has a weekly podcast that is HER. All I can find is the Flylady and Friends podcast which cycles through Gramma, Leanne Ely, Missus Smartypants, and so on. (Do any FlyBabies have advice for me here? Am I missing something?)

Anyway, Hubby took both kids to church stuff this morning, where I will join them later for the worship service. Meanwhile, I have some RARE!!!!!! time to do my FlyLady routine, tidy up, and have some time to myself (hence this blog post). Next up is some devotional time, another piece of my life which needs to get back into place.

 

Back to my imperfect life June 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:12 pm
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We just returned from a visit to Hubby’s family (dad and step-mom) who live a few states away. Overall the visit went well, especially considering Mark (age 2 1/2) and his very terrible-two-ness.

By the end of our visit, I did get rather tired of how “perfect” everything is there. It’s the kind of house where even the bathroom handsoap is trendy/hip/fancy.

Another factor which got under my skin — and was no one’s fault but my own — was Hubby’s step-sister and her perfect-ness. By that I mean that she is very fashionable, pretty, and has a good job. Same for her husband. I started to question myself, my personality, my tendencies, my choices in life. Yes, I “get to” stay at home with my kids (she has a 1-year-old), but my career prospects don’t look great after being out of the workforce for five years. Money is tight, and we are definitely not going on a tropical vacation anytime soon (they did so recently while their easygoing baby was cared for by the grandparents).

I’m glad to be back home and back in my element. The kids can play in the dirt; I can hang out online; I can work on my photography (going from hobby to business right now); I can get back to low-carb eating (difficult to do while being a guest during a birthday-party weekend). I can take the kids and do whatever seems good for them in the moment, like spend a bunch of time at parks. These are all things I can’t very well do while being a guest at the in-laws’ house.

Overall, I felt pretty rattled by being in the in-laws’ perfect house and being around my perfect sister-in-law (though she is very, very nice and I like her a lot). It’s hard for me to feel good about myself and my family’s situation when others seem to have and be “more.”

What about you, are you a SAHM/SAHD? Do you find it hard to be around others and their perfect-ness?

 

Food… food… food. May 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:55 pm
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Getting ready for church this morning. Sunday School is at 9:30. Worship service is at 10:45. We usually get home by 12:30 at the latest.

My dilemma is always, how much and what kind of food to pack for my kids (ages 2 and 5)?

After years of taking care of my older son, Adam, I have developed a particular sensitivity about hearing, “Mom, I’m hungry.” It just drives me batty at times. Outside of breakfast – snack – lunch – snack – dinner, I do not want to have to worry about preparing/serving/toting along yet MORE food!

Lately I have gotten away from the all-carbs-all-the-time mode of feeding the kids, especially for their snacks. I suspect that anything made with flour goes over well in the moment, but makes them more hungry in the short-term. This rules out bread, crackers, cereal, and granola bars. This leaves nuts, fruit, and cheese as our options for on-the-go.

This is what I have packed for church this morning. Almonds, cheese cubes, banana, and cut-up apple.

It’s hard to explain, I guess, but it is really a hot button for me when we are away from home and Adam (5 years old) complains that he’s hungry and wants something to eat. I feel like I *have* to be prepared . What’s worse is when he doesn’t want to eat the food I have brought along — but that becomes a discipline issue where I can insist that he not complain or else there will be a consequence. Or when he eats everything I have brought along and claims that he is still hungry and wants more. It just drives me crazy.

I see other parents bring a tiny little baggie of cereal or something, and for them that is being plenty prepared for their kids’ snack attack. Meanwhile, I’m packing a buffet and find that it’s either not enough food or the kids don’t want it. (In the case of the latter, as I mentioned before, that is just too-bad-so-sad for my older child. For my younger child, it is neither here nor there because he is not as big of an eater.)

At church there tends to be junk food available from different sources and at different times, and I do not want church to become a junk-food-fest for my kids. This is another reason I try to be very prepared with kid-food when it comes to church.

 

Trying to move on from a friendship

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:21 pm
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Have you ever had to emotionally remove yourself from a friendship/s in order to experience the personal growth that is waiting for you?

That is the situation I find myself in lately.

I have a certain friend who,m I’ll call Angie Smith, with whom I used to be quite close. That has changed over the last year or so. It’s hard to pinpoint when it started, but one day it occurred to me that I was always the one texting her to see if she wanted to get the kids together for a playdate. It seemed that whenever I did so, her son was napping, so it didn’t work out. Then I would notice her presence at afternoon events and wonder whether I was getting the straight story.

She and I used to go out together to snag coupon deals. It was a fun way to spend a bit of time together while stocking up on great deals. Then one day I realized that I was always the one trying to initiate these outings, and she nearly always was busy doing other things like watching her favorite TV shows. And the important thing here is that she never seemed interested in trying to get together some other time.

There have been so many other little things that add up to one big picture. Last summer, she suggested that a bunch of moms get together at her house one morning per week for a giant playdate. It turned out that attendance waned after the first few times, but I was definitely interested in coming regularly with my two boys. After 3-4 weeks, I got to to the point of texting her before showing up, to make sure we were still – well- welcome. I remember one day she texted back, “Oh yeah, it is Wednesday, isn’t it” and it wasn’t long before I wasn’t sure whether she still wanted to do this weekly playdate. Then I just stopped coming and I never said another word about it, and guess what — neither did she.

I thought it was pretty rude for her to lose interest in the very thing she had suggested in the first place. I guess the weekly playdate wasn’t very interesting anymore after it became clear that it was more or less just going to be The Honest Mommy every week, but instead of suggesting that we change the plan, she just let it die out.

About six months ago, I realized that I hardly saw her anymore. I sent her an email (a regular way of communicating for the two of us) saying that I missed her and that we should try to get together. In reply, she explained how busy she was with this, that, and the other thing, but did not say anything about missing me or wanting to get together.

Let’s just say that I could take the hint, and after that I really realized that she wasn’t interested in hanging out anymore.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. On a Friday evening I texted a different friend, Leah, to see if she wanted to get together. She replied “The Smiths brought burgers over and we are grilling.” I thought, what on earth? What happened to all of us getting together regularly (which our group of friends used to do)? After giving it a lot of thought, I texted back “I guess that’s not an invite, right?” Thereafter, that friend did a lot of backpedaling and such. I could tell she felt bad, or at the very least, awkward. She ended up inviting us over to share dessert, which I declined.

But Angie Smith? She posted photos on Facebook and her blog talking about how great of a time they all had.

There are more details and situations which I won’t go into here, but I did decide a few weeks ago that I needed to distance myself from Angie a bit. Basically, stop being the person who wanted to hang out with her, get her approval, etc. So when I got an invite to a surprise birthday party that Leah was throwing for Angie, I decided that I wasn’t going to attend.

This is the type of thing that, in my group of friends, will be noticed (which is not the reason I decided on this route, but it is a side effect of this route which I will have to deal with). Hubby went to the party and took our two boys along, and several people (not Angie) asked why I wasn’t there. He replied that I “couldn’t make it” or “didn’t feel like going.”

You may be wondering why I don’t just talk with Angie and ask her what’s going on with the two of us. And believe me, I have thought and prayed about this quite a lot. The catch for me is that Angie is horrible with conflict and isn’t too good at admitting that she’s done something less than stellar. I have seen other situations where she throws the other person under the bus because they’re still hurt about something that happened “a long time ago” (however Angie decides to define that). In her world, if something happened a long time ago, then it doesn’t matter and isn’t an issue.

Also, she has a tendency to blame things on the other person and make the issue that the other person is “acting crazy” or making something out of nothing.

And so, it’s really difficult for me to imagine a scenario where I try to talk about things with Angie. Maybe this will change, but for now, I feel the best route is for me to calmly remove myself from situations where I end up feeling like a second-class friend. It’s sort of hard to explain, but I feel that I’m on the verge of personal growth and change, and I can’t achieve this growth as long as certain friends — especially this friend — are holding me back. Basically, I need to stop caring that she seems to want to hang out with everyone EXCEPT me (and my family).

 

Just venting — feeling burned out today April 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:46 pm
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At the moment, my two boys are playing outside while Hubby is working on a project and also keeping an eye on them. I am very thankful to have this quiet period of the morning; I certainly need it.

Today I’m struggling with feeling beat down and worn out. Weekends sometimes do that to me. It seems like every single morning, I spend (what seems like) hours just trying to get the kitchen in shape, get everyone fed, get everyone dressed. I can feel wiped out by 8 a.m. when Mark, my 2yo, is going through a time of getting up very early in the morning, around 5 a.m.

On the weekends it really hits me — I get tired of doing the same stuff day after day after day. I am physically tired; I long to get a good night’s rest at least a few nights in a row. I need about 8 hours of sleep, and for people like my husband who seem to thrive on less, well, goodie goodie for them, but I can no more be like them than I can change my height or my eye color. I get tired of feeling like things get tense when I ask for time away, to go to the gym or just out where I can be by myself. I’m not sure if my husband realizes how much it throws me off when, after I ask for something like a chance to go to the gym over the weekend, he sucks air through his teeth and contemplates (I guess) whether that is do-able. It makes me feel like saying, Oh sorry, I forgot, I just need to stay around home and clean and do laundry and organize stuff every hour of every day.

We have these conversations over and over again where we agree upon the need for me to have Mom’s Time Away, but I feel like that all gets forgotten about because things always come up. Home projects, church commitments, and so on.

I also feel — and maybe I am just making this up and it’s not really happening — that I get judged for times when I *do* take a break (gasp) during the day, like I am doing right now. But you know, I’ve been awake since 5 a.m. and I am just tired. I feel like I push myself every day to fight against the tide of dirt and clutter and chaos that are part of raising kids and taking care of a home; when do I get to just take a break? And not just during that 45 minutes between when the kids go to bed and when I need to go to bed. When do I get to stop and enjoy life for a bit, without feeling like I’m being judged or burdening the family by doing so?

 

What kind of “playdate mom” am I? An old-fashioned one. April 7, 2011

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It’s the time of week where 5yo Adam’s friend, also 5 years old, comes over to play for a few hours. Like any mom who’s hosting a playdate, I have to decide how I’m going to conduct myself. Will I be super friendly, just call me by my first name, what can I do to provide fun for you guys? Or will I be old fashioned, matter-of-fact, please call me Mrs. Doe?

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that I tend toward the latter, not the former.

I definitely don’t want to be a jerk to the kids, but neither am I the children’s “friend.” If I had to pick, and I think picking becomes necessary at some point, I’d rather the kids be a little “afraid” of me than for them to feel like I’m their equal.

Reading this, if you’re a mom, you may be thinking, “What a jerk! I’d never send my kids over to her house!” And indeed, if you pale at the idea that I would ask your child to call me Mrs. Doe instead of  by my first name; if you are uncomfortable with the idea that I would ask your child to play outside for 30 minutes before coming in (on a nice day with plenty of safe and appropriate options for outdoor play), then you probably would not want to send your child to my house for a playdate.

It is somewhat rare these days to run into a mom who lives by old-fashioned principles, but I am that mom. I am not mean, I am not short-tempered (usually! ha!), I am not unreasonable, but I am old fashioned.