Truth #46 – We make excuses for bad behaviour

When we step out, kids in tow, we have the best of intentions.  We alter feeding times, prepare healthy snacks AND emergency junk, duplicate and replicate.  We do whatever we need to do in order to swoop in for the save should it come time.

As we gain experience, the packing is lighter and the fear of public humiliation dwindles because we scare less, but ultimately because we’ve built a relationship with our babes that is familiar and less unpredictable.  Bottom line, we know them best, and better every day.

UNTIL…

The inevitable.  They misbehave at the party, fuss at the restaurant or decide to completely tap out.  Backed into a corner, ain’t nothing left to do but make excuses!  Often true excuses but most times stretched and in the hopes of saving face, we wanna make sure YOU know what they are!  “They’re teething”, “they didn’t nap”, “it’s late”, “they’re hungry”, “they’re sick”, “they’re allergic”…  The Mother Truth is, it’s a lot like the unwanted suggestions we get from the so-called experts who stand in line to make a diagnosis, those detailed in Truth #17 – We despise countless suggestions.  Although, if WE are saying it, then all else has failed.

We want those around us to love our kids as we do.  We want you to notice them, think they’re cute, feel for them, play with them.  It pains us to think that you could be left with a lasting impression from the day they may have fallen short of the unrealistic expectation.  Our knee jerk reaction, a protection mechanism at it’s best, is to make excuses.  We all do it.  It’s fine!

Photos from here and here and here

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Truth #45 – We swear we’re the only ones

This Truth was inspired while recalling a conversation I had with my friend.  She called to ask if she was alone.

It had been a long week for her and she couldn’t make sense of it.  She was overwhelmed and convinced that only her child could cry that long and scream that loud.  She walked around her house for days, baby in arms, and it kept her less insane than if she were to just walk away and hear the baby’s response.  “There is no way this is normal“, she said.  “I have a bad baby or I suck at this.”

As much as I would eventually seek to comfort and reassure her that she was not alone, I felt my elated self jumping out of my skin!  Clearly not for her misfortune but for my own full body exhale!   Here was another warrior on her worst day, up to her ears in all of us surrounding mothers praising our children and this glorious motherhood, many of us so tight-lipped about the excruciating days.

I was about to post an entirely different Truth but today, I felt that I was alone.  My beautiful brats are sleeping tight for the moment but I swore this fine hour would never come, or that I might miss it by taking off!  (A joke, hold the emails.)  Today, my kids sucked.  They fought me, they fought each other, they fought other children.   They threw food, spilled drinks, scratched walls, mis-peed, frequently pooed, ate dirt, bugs and wood but not their broccoli.  Worse still, they whined all day, cried after whining and screamed in between.  They broke household appliances, expensive toys, and my heart.  Mommy is so tired but I had to write about it because I want us to know that on our worst days, we are not alone!  Our kids aren’t bad, they have bad days and bad weeks.  A repetitive but true phrase; “It’s just a stage!”

Most importantly though Mommy, you do not suck at this.

Photos from here and here and here

 

 

Truth #44 – We turn to medicine

I remember it well.  I was a brand new shiny mommy mess.  The thought of landing the dreaded Shaken Baby Syndrome may have finally pushed me to the syringe.  Or it could have been the knees buckling at 4am resulting in a nose-dive interception with the change table.  The fear I fought at the idea of putting anything foreign into my stressed and sweaty infant was intense – And medicine?  I was no Doctor!

These days, as I am happily inserting the beautiful medicine into the mouths of my children, I too am being healed.  If you’re a new mommy reading this, at ease ladies.  You too will head to Shoppers Drug Mart just a moment before midnight.  Although I am sincerely pulling for you to NEVER have to.

My youngest is almost 18 months and I can fully admit that I’ve graduated to using medication as a preventative tool.  If they’re badly teething and it’s bedtime, well then ‘here you go darlin’.  ‘Hope to see you in the morning and not a moment sooner…’  Funny story (or not),  but ‘Tempra’ just may have been one of Gia’s first words.  Sometimes… cough, cough, if I have a function and my child is a bit off … Enough said maybe?  This is Mother Truth not Bad Mother.

A new reader gave me the idea for this post and I thought it was fantastic.  Like most of my posts, it is meant for us to feel good about our choices although they are all too often hesitated.  The decision to turn to medicine is made only after having tried desperately to help the child that our sincere embrace or numerous diversions may have failed.  Our mothering arms are the most comforting and familiar place for our kids and when we cannot seem to conquer the fight, we have drugsGood ones.  Provided of course that calcium intake is significantly higher than liquid love, I think we’re good.

We are Doctors … Dr. Moms.

Photos from here and here and here

Truth #43 – Moms judge other moms

This week we lost a woman who took my breath away.  It was the same for all of us lucky ones who had the true privilege of knowing her.  A kind and gentle dame she was, yet in her presence, only astounding respect was demanded as it would have been embarrassing to react otherwise.  She was one of few mothers who proved this Truth to be dead wrong.  She never stood in judgment of another, moms alike, and she probably had a lot to say as she was a mother of four.

We often stand in judgment of our fellow warriors, myself included.  I know that for me, I probably judge because I feel constantly judged, and react by playing defense for team ego.  As a mother, I assumed responsibility for doing what is right for my children according to the letter, yet the truth is, what is “right” is not always what is best for the unique little people we create.

How many times have you rolled your eyes at a mother who took a break, a second job, or hired help?  How many times have we sneered at she who decided that breastfeeding was not for her, or damned her for giving up too soon?  Who decided that they shouldn’t have a soother or bottle after the age of 3? Maybe they couldn’t afford hockey so they opted for public skating.  What do you mean you don’t make your own baby food! They did nothing at all to deserve a car at 16!  Let them cry it out, stop holding them too much, she’s a nervous wreck, she spoils her kids, she’s too strict…  Are we doing this to make ourselves feel better?  Does it ever work?

Let’s agree to do our best to make motherhood more of a sisterhood, especially if its clear that she is doing her personal best.  As long as our children feel our great love, the pacifier, the harness, the bankbook, nor the boob will have any affect on what lies ahead.  If only it were that simple.

Rock on Bernice and thank you for being the inspiration behind this great lesson.

Photos from here and here and here

Truth #42 – Pregnancy is a drag

This was a post in the vault that I could never put to paper.  I thought it would be too challenging to properly express how so very grateful I am to have had no issue conceiving, while still being able to accurately bash the 10 months of pregnancy sans holding back.

Pregnant women have written to me with their weighted woes, pardon the pun.  Some are loyal readers that have some important suggestions for those who happen to not be pregnant.  I’ll assume their angry rants have nothing at all to do with hormones?  Ha!

Reason why pregnancy is a drag #1 – Weight / Appearance

An obvious intro.  Never looked quite like this before… may be a tad sensitive… may be a wee bit nervous, apprehensive, moody, sensitive, swollen, tired, pimply, stretch mark-y, feet like sausages, breath like dragons, what’s with my tits?… Who are you and why are you touching my stomach?  If I may please speak on behalf of my hefty sistas, let this be a lesson.  Don’t ask if they’re having twins, don’t suggest that they ‘must be ready to pop’, don’t insist they are nearing the end and don’t guess how far along they are… don’t, don’t, don’t.  The only thing you should say to an obviously pregnant woman is: “you look wonderful darling” and wrap it up!

Reason why pregnancy is a drag #2 – Sacrifice

It was a plus sign.  It’s on.  Pour out the beer, hide the wine, break the butts, cut the sushi, shelf the shellfish, trim the cheese, drink the milk, mind the heart rate, count the kicks, take the blood, pee in the cup, not in your pants, have the sex, read the books, buy the clothes – the ugly ones… I can’t sleep! I’m gonna throw up! What do you mean I can’t dye my hair?  WHERE’S MY DAMN COFFEE?!

Reason why pregnancy is a drag #3 –  Stress / Anxiety

In a few long months, you will push a tiny human out of your crotch.  Nope, that won’t hurt at all.  You think it’s a good idea to hang with some new moms until they get down and dirty while one upping each other with their dirty delivery details.  Epidurals, do you or don’t you? Drugs, heroines, mid-wives, butchers, stitches… tearing, episiotomies, Jesus.

Pregnancy is a drag although it may actually be adequate preparation for your next lifetime… of sacrifice, anxiety, stress and yes, weight and appearance issues.  No woman can ever imagine the rocking her world will take and as a tutorial, we have pregnancy.  It is our first introduction to the ultimate consideration… that of another life… one that when you meet, will all become worth it.  You would do it all over again the very next minute just to see that baby, YOUR baby.

Photos from here and here and here and here


Truth #41 – It hurts to see a fitter skinnier mom

Maybe some of us donned a halo somewhere amidst the journey from skinny to ginormous to not-so-skinny but I’m around a lot of new moms and most of us check out ‘Mom’… and yes, sometimes before baby.  Sure, we’re into your tiny new love but we also wanna know what number you may or may not be carrying around and damn you if you’re not!

This Mother Truth was scribbled on one of my first post-its but I never thought I’d have the nerve to write about it.  However, after some of the uncensored pow-wows I’ve had, I sure do now!

Clearly some of us are not comfortable with this shallow admission but I can now say that after poking around the psyches of newer moms, I’m not alone here now am I?  We wanna know how long it took for the weight to come off, if we worked it off, if we dieted, or if it fell off naturally.  Details are questioned with utmost persistence in order to compare.  How many pregnancies, are there stretch marks, how much weight was gained with each pregnancy… You know this sounds familiar!

After all girls, how can we blame ourselves?  These days, we never seem to be small enough!  We turn on the tube and there’s Angie only 2 weeks after birthing twins and sporting her new and improved concave stomach.  Victoria Beckham?  Highly likely the bump was a prop. Heidi Klum has a soccer team at home yet she still wears wings on the Victoria Secret runway only weeks after dropping one out.  Funny, Victoria has no such secrets for the rest of us!

We chicks are sly now aren’t we?!  Other than honest curiosity and conversation, there are several other reasons why a mom will ask how old your baby is.  Here are just a couple: 1 – Because we participate in milestone competition. Or 2 – Because we wanna know just how long it took to get that skinny!  Pathetic?  Absolutely but  still TRUE!

After our babies were born, we fell long and hard to the bottom of the priority list.  We penned a new definition for ‘tired’: try reading the dictionary under where it says ‘sleepwalking’… The rest of us less-loaded stay-at-homers are juggling babies and shitty diapers rather than nannies and gym memberships… yeah, I said it.

We care!  We bite our lip!  We check out other moms and it hurts like hell when they’re tighter!

Photos from here and here and here

Truth #40 – We NEED to be needed

Once we made the decision to become mothers, whether planned or not, we boarded the child-bearing boat and ‘need’ was born.  The pathway to becoming who a child calls ‘Mom‘ may be conventional or not, biology, adoption, or desire from afar, but the road is similar for all of us, isn’t it?

Some of us begin by sharing our vessel.  “Need” is above what is obvious as the life within us requires our heartbeat, our breath, our discipline and the onset of a love that will transcend any previous notion of whatever definition we may have given it before.

One fine day of celebration… our baby is born.  Healthy or perhaps short of, but whatever the case, the ‘need‘ remains great.  Life depending decisions begin to be made in a hurry having no prior on-the-job training.  The infant needs us so profoundly that we cannot separate from our creation, not even for a long minute.

Once they begin to travel; be it crawl, walk or climb, we lose our first of many prominent ‘needs.  Effectively they will be graduating to their first level of independence as they have learned the tools for transport.  Be careful what you wish for fellow warriors…

As toddlers, we are still immensely needed for nurture, at-home education, nutrition, well-being and exposure.  Essentially we continue to  make nearly every decision for them; where they will go, who they will see, when they will sleep, or should sleep.

For many of us moms, a full school day will begin the ultimate dreaded separation.  Another faithful person will make the day’s decisions for our children. Their ‘need’ for us, as we prefer to be ‘needed’, will have significantly diminished.

In high school or college, they will ‘need’ our guidance, support and cold hard cash but many of us, myself included, will swiftly lose the ability to help with homework as math may be a distant memory.  At the end of those days, although shorter than in previous years, we will most likely be praying to be “needed” on the following day.

They may choose a partner with which to “co-need“.  They have moved out and live alone.  Will they ever “need” us again?  Well………………. If before this journey we found ourselves growing tired of our own mothers asking us for grandchildren, we finally get it don’t we?  Their day has come.  We will reach out for their empty hands, and tired hearts and without saying it aloud, they’ll know.  “Mom, I ‘need‘ you.”

To our beautiful babies, resilient kids, headstrong adolescents and capable adults, we will love you forever but if you could please, ‘need‘ us once more.

Photos from here and here and here and here