It's time to say goodbye. I go back to work in two weeks. No, a week and a half. Time is whizzing by and I need to prioritize.
I was hoping to find my voice here and to have another place to share different kinds of stories. I sort of did, but not really, so I'm going to scale back. Be a mom of two busy boys who works full time and writes when she has something to say.
I'm so grateful to Erica and the whole YMC team for giving me a space to write and connect with you and share stories.
In just over three weeks, I'll be back at work after a year-long maternity leave. 54 weeks, actually, if you want to get technical about it.
I'm not sure how I feel about going back to work this time. I'm mostly looking forward to it, I think. I'm ready for the routine and the stimulation and the challenge. I'm ready to have a cup of tea without having to jump up to get someone more breakfast or change the channel or stop my five-year-old from doing a header off the couch and landing on the baby.
I came downstairs the other day to find Connor in the middle of the kitchen having a picnic with some of his stuffies. The quilt his aunt made him was spread out on the floor, and around its edges were the usual guests — a pink Gund bear, his oversized stuffed penguin, a small, black puppy, and a camo-coloured dolphin. But there was a new addition, and one I hadn't seen outside his bedroom before. It was my grandmother's teddy bear.
Connor turned five in June, and this was the first year we've actually held a proper birthday party with friends for him. (Bad parents.) I'll admit that the idea of the party made me nervous. Doing something cool that would entertain a bunch of five-year-olds? Ay yi yi. Maybe I just spend too much time on Pinterest.
I, like a lot of moms, tend towards a particular parenting philosophy: NO. This is not how I intended to raise my kids. It's not even how I want to raise my kids. It's just how things go sometimes, especially when you're tired, and you have to entertain your kids during the summer, and you're tired...
Connor turned five last month, and this was the first year we've had a birthday party for him. The mere idea of it gave me the shakes as I tried to figure out how to entertain a bunch of four- and five-year-olds, but by nothing other than luck we managed to get through it with no tears, no yelling, and no need for a stiff drink at 10 a.m.
I'm all about sharing the love and making parenthood easier, so here are the five strategies I believe saved the day.
In January I chose one word to focus on for 2013: Explore. I chose it with the intent to explore all kinds of things—things I enjoy, things I've never tried, things I've been scared to do. It's not just about going places, though that's a big part of it too. And now that summer is here, it's time to expand the list.
When I was pregnant with Connor the idea of endless rounds of playing peekaboo and singing Wheels on the Bus made me cringe. But when I discovered that the swish-swish-swish of the wipers during Wheels on the Bus makes my baby laugh, I’m much more willing to sing it over and over. And over. I guess that’s one of the miracles of motherhood—that the clichéd, annoying, gooey-faced stereotypes of how we interact with babies are much less annoying when we have a chubby little bundle of our own.
Picture this: It's lunchtime and someone (your husband, your mother, a babysitter) has tagged you out and will be taking care of your kids for the afternoon. You have until dinner time to do whatever you want. What do you do?
If you're like me you waffle around for a while trying to decide how best to make use of the break until you've wasted some of that precious free time. I call it "Maternal Paralysis Syndrome" and I think it's pretty common — something like 68% of moms suffer from it. (Okay, no. I totally made that up.)
After dinner last night Connor and I camped out in my bed and watched an episode of The Muppet Show on DVD. I have fond memories of watching The Muppet Show with my dad when I was little. He used to make a “nest” for my siblings and me—essentially we’d sit in the space made when he bent his knees while lying on the couch.
The episode Connor and I watched was the one with Paul Simon as the guest star, which aired in 1980 so there’s a good chance I watched it on TV with my dad.
I’ve been waiting for this. The baby can now sit up on his own.
The first few months with a new baby feel like a game of musical baby chairs. When I needed to put Ethan down I’d move him from the swing to the bouncy chair to the floor. Then I’d roll him over for some tummy time and then roll him back when he got sick of it. I’d put him down and wait for the metaphorical music to stop and he’d start to fuss, signaling that he needed a new spot.
When I get a form that asks me to check a box for my preferred salutation, I always check “Ms.” I am just not a “Mrs.” But now I have a dilemma. Connor has a friend from preschool (and thank you, by the way, for the advice on helping him make friends) whose parents feel quite strongly that their son should call his friends’ parents Mr. and Mrs.
One day not long ago my husband and I spent the day babysitting my brother and sister-in-law’s twins. They were six months old at the time, and we had our four-year-old and our (then) three-month-old with us. They’re all boys. You can imagine how quickly it became a circus.