The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Supermom, I ain’t March 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 11:43 pm
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Lately I have been… not sure how to describe it…. down in the dumps? Feeling out of rhythm? Feeling out of control?

There are a few major home projects that have thrown a wrench into our regular routine, and in fact I’ve spent two out of the last four weekends with the kids at my parents’ house so Hubby can work.

Back in January I discovered (re-discovered, sort of) low-carb eating when I read Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. The problem is, while I think low-carb eating is an answer (the answer?) to my weight issues, it is so darn difficult to stick with it. At the moment I am trying to pull out of a downward carb spiral. I just don’t seem to have the necessary motivation and organization to make it happen.

One thing about low-carb eating that I’ve discovered is that I need to spend more time in the kitchen than I’m accustomed to. Bacon and eggs for breakfast means time spent prepping food, cooking food, and cleaning up afterwards. Deviled eggs for snacks means I have to make the darn things. Taco salad for lunches means time spent chopping and washing lettuce and cooking the ground beef. It’s not like Weight Watchers where I can just buy frozen meals or choose a “light” option for a meal or a snack.

Then there’s this winter weather which makes it difficult to go outside, go for a walk, or go to a park. It’s March, and I am tired of the cold.

I am also tired of my 2-year-old, Mark, dictating what we can or can’t do at home or away. I am *not* supermom. I do *not* have endless patience for toddler hijinks and toddler moods. I do get tired of looking at the same four walls every day. I do get tired of hearing, “Can I have a snack?” at the very moment I’ve just put the kitchen back in order. I get tired of feeling guilty about not spending time with my 5-year-old during the precious time in the day when my 2-year-old is napping.

I get tired of the endless task of paring down our belongings so that we can live somewhat comfortably in our small home, knowing that sooner or later my mom (who is wonderful and means very, very well) will ask whether we have this or that kind of toy or craft supply. The truth is, I would *love* to keep lots of different things on hand, but we just don’t have the space to store or even use a lot of things.

I also get tired of the battle with my weight, of the battle with my tendency (to put it lightly) to use food to deal with my stress, boredom, anxiety, and so on.

It feels good to get my frustrations into black and white. To anyone reading this who has similar struggles, I wish you the best!

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Getting to know myself. I am who I am! October 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 12:24 am
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It’s 7 o’clock on a Thursday evening, and I am at a coffee shop nibbling on treats, messing around on my laptop, and generally enjoying myself. This seems like something of a miracle to me, for several reasons.

First, the kids are not in bed yet, but I am not at home and not wrestling small children through their evening routine. That alone is reason to celebrate, because while I love my children with all of my heart, I need just about every break I can get.

Also, tonight I was originally going to go “out” with some girlfriends for our monthly Ladies Night. Sounds great, right? Well, it is great in its way, but I am not super close with these gals (used to be pretty close with one of them, but that’s a different story) and I am not a drinker at all. Many (all?) of these gals are drinkers, and I am tired of trying to fit in with them.

A few weeks ago, these gals had a big night out planned, and with the encouragement of Hubby, I accompanied them. To make a long story short, I did enjoy some aspects of that evening, but in the end I felt more depressed and left out afterwards than I had felt in a long time. It turns out that there was a key text message that I didn’t receive until much too late; if I had gotten this message in a timely manner, the evening might have turned out in some way that did not involve me crying on the drive home.

But looking back, I believe everything happened for a reason. Hubby and I had some very good conversations about some very important topics, key among them: Wifey being who Wifey is, and not feeling obligated to fit in with others, and (this is crucial) Hubby not pressuring Wifey to fit in.

It was really important to me that Hubby admitted that he had been pressuring me, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly, to go with the crowd for certain things.

Also, I shared with him (and he understood and accepted) that a “night out” for me to get rejuvenated might not look the way he or someone else would expect it to look. I am introverted, so for me to recharge, I need to spend time alone or possibly with one or two close friends. That’s not to say that I can’t or won’t go out with the drinkers now and then (sipping my one beer for the evening), but from now on I will be more assertive about planning “Me time” that I really want to do.

And that leads me to this coffee shop on a Thursday evening. I love it! Especially since I enjoyed a few hours with a friend today while our children played together (such a beautiful thing). It’s hard to imagine a better day.

 

Down in the dumps and off-track lately October 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 7:24 pm
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The last 1-2 weeks have been unusually busy (out-of-town doctor appointment; MIL visiting; son Mark’s birthday party) and I have been way off-track with eating, exercising, and housekeeping.

In general, I’ve been feeling more like taking a break (giving myself a vacation?) than dealing with real life. And while it is important to take breaks, I also find that if I spend too much time off duty, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle where the house gets messier and messier, and I feel less and less like dealing with it. The cupboards get more and more bare, and I feel discouraged about meal-planning, so I put off going to the grocery store. Etc. etc.

On the GTD end of things, I have been letting “stuff” accumulate in my inboxes, while also ignorning my whiteboard and GTD coordinator (where my lists live). As a result, I dread the process of catching up, and I put off the processing of everything. Another self-perpetuating cycle.

Eating right and exercising also become part of a negative cycle. And with all kinds of candy and sweets in the house … yikes.

So yes, I have been way off track and down in the dumps lately. Today I am making a very good effort to stop these negative cycles and get back on the right track, while also keeping in mind the need to take breaks and take care of myself.

 

Quick update – MIL Visit, Son “holding and wetting” October 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 7:15 pm
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Hello friends,

I say “friends” because I feel a certain kinship with you, my readers. So many people come here looking for information about “SAHM Burnout,” “SAHM Depression,” and so on. I really empathize with your struggles, every single one of you. Being a mom brings with it some very tough days, weeks, months, even years! I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I want you to know that you are not alone, and if you are tired of feeling like the “only one” who’s not sailing through this mom/SAHM thing, then you’ve come to the right place.

This week we are approaching my younger son Mark’s second birthday. This is an exciting and happy time for me, and I’m looking forward to having friends and family over for birthday cake on Saturday. However, this is also a stressful time because my MIL, who moved halfway across the country a few months ago, is coming to visit [NOT stay with us].

The last few years of our relationship with her have been volatile and full of change. To make a long story short, over the last 1-2 years, Hubby and I decided that despite all of MIL’s wonderful qualities, we needed to create some more boundaries between her and our family. (We have gotten help from a family therapist in navigating this trickiness, thank God.) MIL interpreted our actions and decisions as hurtful and as “pushing her away,” and she decided to move to a different state.

She told Hubby that her reason for the move was – me! Yours truly. I guess this Honest Mommy was a little too honest for MIL’s liking.

Over the last year, MIL has done some quite hurtful and passive-aggressive things, such as sending a change-of-address card to every member of our family except me. Such as neglecting to send a card for our 10-year wedding anniversary, though she did wish Hubby a happy anniversary on the phone. So classy.

I don’t think I feel too hurt by these sorts of things, BUT…. now that MIL is coming to town for a visit, I feel a little lost about how to interact with her. She will probably see the children’s artwork collecting on our walls and wonder why we (I) haven’t sent her more pieces for her artwork frame that we got her a few Christmases ago. But, why would I bother to do that sort of thing for her very often, when she so clearly dislikes me?

In any case, I have been doing a few things to prepare the house for her eyes. I took down some quotes that I had posted above the kitchen sink; it feels too personal to let her see those. I tucked away my journal so no one is likely to just “come across it.” I edited our framed photos to prevent her from gaining ammunition about how we favor certain parts of the family. And so on.

After she moved away a few months ago, it was a relief to me to let my home be as I wished it to be. I am thankful that I need to MIL-proof my home only a few times per year now. It’s not that she is snoopy (that I know of), but it’s that there are certain expressions of who I am that I do not feel comfortable sharing with her.

Another interesting issue will be the disciplinary process which we are taking Jakob through right now. We have a system where, if he wets his pants at home, preschool, church, etc., then he loses most of his privileges until he keeps himself dry for ten days in a row. The wetting is due to his reluctance (or whatever) to use the toilet when he would rather “hold it,” and we believe that he is very aware of what he is doing and what the result will be.

(For a while, he would secretly [so he thought] “hold it” while he was at home, to the point of wetting himself before he finally darted to the bathroom, then later he would hide his wet underwear under his dresser and put on clean underwear. This kid is smart, and getting more sneaky by the day. I just can’t accept that a kid who can pull of this kind of plan doesn’t “get” that he needs to go potty.)

So anyway, John Rosemond calls this approach “kicking out of the Garden of Eden” and it is designed to a get a child’s attention by removing many of the things that a child enjoys on a daily basis. We remove pretty much everything of interest from Adam’s bedroom so he is left with furniture, bedding, and so on; anything that’s left he is not allowed to play with (for example, the board games that are high up on shelves).

Adam attends preschool, church, errands, and some other necessary activities. He eats meals and snacks with the family. And obviously, he bathes and uses the toilet as usual. Other than that, he is expected to stay in his room and, while he’s there, to conduct himself in a manner that is not overly disruptive to the rest of the family. All the while, whether at home or away, he is expected to take responsibility for going to the toilet in a timely fashion, and we check periodically to make sure he is dry.

At the end of each day, if he has stayed dry, he puts a smiley face on the calendar. Ten smiley faces in a row earns him his privileges back. If he has eight dry days and then slips up, the ten days start over again.

Hubby and I *hate* that we have to do this, but darling Adam is so stubborn and has wet himself so many times (for no good reason) that we see no other options. At this time, we are willing to go through the inconvenience and heartache of kicking Adam “out of the garden” with the hope that he will learn valuable lessons about personal responsibility.

We see this issue not as a potty training issue or even a toileting issue, but rather as an issue of stubbornness and defiance. We have even done a hands-on demonstration using water, cups,bowls, and so on, to try to help him understand that his bladder can only hold so much and that it’s always getting filled up, little by little, by his body, therefore “waiting too long” can only have one result — wet underwear.

So anyway, when MIL comes to our house, she is going to see that Adam’s room is pretty bare, and she will figure out what is going on, either by asking or figuring it out on her own (she is aware that we have used this disciplinary technique). And I am pretty sure that she will flip out, even if she tries to hide that fact. One time, she told Hubby that she thought that Child Services would be “interested” to hear about some of the things we do. Really!

It goes without saying that Hubby and I completely disagree, but that doesn’t change her opinion on the matter. She also has a hard time seeing all aspects of Adam’s personality. Everything that’s wonderful is, well, wonderful, and everything else either doesn’t exist (in her eyes) or has a good excuse behind it, or is simply Mom and Dad’s fault. As a result, I doubt she would ever truly grasp the situation with Adam’s “holding and wetting,” and she certainly wouldn’t understand why we kick Adam out of the garden.

This week looks like it will be interesting. I will keep you updated!

 

Just another manic Monday October 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 7:53 pm
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This morning was my morning to get up with the kids. Mark (23 months) woke up for the day at 5:05 a.m. and was not a happy camper, in part due to his cold, which is currently somewhere between “awful” and “not too bad.” I fetched him and came downstairs, stopping at the fridge to get his sippy cup of milk on the way to the basement.

In the basement we have a play room of sorts, and I like to keep Mark down there in the early morning so that Adam, whose room is on the main floor, is less likely to get woken up. When winter arrives, it will be cold as all get out in our basement, but this time of year it is just fine, and I’d like to enjoy it while we can.

This morning, though, Mark did *not* want to go to the basement, and he very loudly told me so. *Sigh* what could I do? In those early morning hours, Mark pretty well holds Hubby and me hostage because the number one priority is to Keep Things Quiet so Adam Can Sleep.

We stayed in the kitchen, and Mark was fairly quiet and content. Such a blessing and a relief; there are mornings, especially when he’s not feeling well, when he fusses constantly for the first 15 minutes of the day, and then off and on (mostly on) after that. It is very stressful and exhausting to deal with his fussiness at that hour, especially since it’s not practical to let him stew in his own juices.

By 6 a.m. Adam had gotten up as well, and I was feeling frustrated and sad that I was so tired, and yet the day had barely begun. The truth is that it really wears on me to be on the job for two hours before Hubby even gets up (around 7 a.m.) to go to work. (At this point I need to make it clear that Hubby and I take turns getting up with the kids, so it’s not as if I go through this every morning.)

I look around, and all I see are dirty dishes, dog hair, dirt, laundry, clutter …. you get the idea. I look ahead at the day and know that Hubby won’t be up for awhile yet, and after he gets up, showers, and leaves for work, it’s me and the kids all day long. It is difficult to not let that get me down sometimes! There is so much to be thankful for, definitely, but at the same time, this SAHM gig challenges me in ways that I never saw coming.

 

Just another manic … Sunday September 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:07 pm
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I knew that being a mom would be a lot of work. But honestly, I never imagined how hard it would be. I never imagined how difficult it would be to keep on keepin’ on, day after day after day after day.

I didn’t realize how tough it would be to go to bed on Friday night knowing that the weekend held in store yet more of the same … preparing and serving snacks, cleaning the kitchen about 12 times per day, constantly working on the laundry, helping little ones with the potty, keeping little ones out of danger, giving baths, putting children to bed. Meanwhile, trying to tend to my marriage, make nutritious food choices, stay on top of anything “special” that’s coming up (like holidays or birthdays), spend time doing things that fill me up (like praying, reading, or doing anything enjoyable at all).

Weekends can be pretty rough on me, perhaps just as rough as weekdays, albeit in a different manner. Our church schedule just doesn’t jive with my youngest (22 months) child’s nap schedule, so it’s not uncommon for me to stay home and tend to Mark while Hubby takes Adam (5 yrs old) to church. This morning, Hubby left at 8:30 so he could run the soundboard for worship team practice. Hubby and Adam stayed for 9:30 Sunday School, and then, of course, for 10:45 church.

This morning I was fortunate that Mark “slept in” until 5:45 a.m. After jumping into my clothes, I whisked him out the door right away so that he wouldn’t wake up Adam. We did a grocery run and returned home around 7 a.m. The  next hour was filled with getting breakfast for the kids, putting away groceries, and tending to Mark’s crabbiness and giant tantrum (this child is, once again, overtired). And, oh yeah, brushing my teeth and grabbing something for myself to eat. Hubby was up and helped out some, but he was also busy getting showered and ready for church.

By the time Hubby and Adam left for church at 8:30 this morning, I was worn out, wigged out, and not looking forward to keeping Mark happy until naptime at 11:30.

Now it’s noon, and “the boys” will be back from church soon. It’s always a bit stressful for me when they come home because Mark is napping, and I get pretty wound up about keeping things quiet. It is no exaggeration to say that my entire day rests on whether Mark gets a good nap! So the moment Hubby and Adam come home, it will be a circus of getting Adam to put his things away (quietly) and settle down for lunch (quietly), meanwhile trying to keep on an even keel and not raise Hubby’s ire, because he thinks I’m far too particular about keeping things quiet.

Plus, I have been On Duty for a good six hours now, and mentally/emotionally, I feel ready to hide myself in a cage for a few hours, which is a far cry from what the next hour holds for me.

Moms, I would love to hear what your weekends are like!

 

A must-read for at-home parents September 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:51 pm
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All parents, especially SAHMs or SAHDs, who have wondered whether they are the only ones to struggle intensely with the demands of parenthood should check out the comments at the end of this article.

Last night I spent an hour or so reading through all of the comments, and I was blown away by the honesty of the many moms (a few dads) who poured out their true thoughts and feelings. I wish I had found this thread a few years ago. It is good to know that I’m not the only one going through these struggles.