Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The glamourous life

I just love mornings. Being a full time working mom is wonderful. Waking your children up to leave the house for 10 hours every week day is just a blessing. Come on, you know you agree.

Some parents are weary of exposing the real truths of life at home with small children. I am not really one of them. There are things in life that you experience, and afterward you think, "Man, I wish someone had told me about that earlier". You know, like barfing and farting during pregnancy, truly sleepless nights with a newborn, colic, evil three year olds, and temper tantrums that don't stop after the phantom "terrible twos".

On one hand, we don't share these things because we feel pressure to live up to the Leave it to Beaver standard of family life. Still, there is a reality behind those cute little babies and perfect family pictures that we post on social media and hang on the walls of our homes.

Those of us in the trenches realize that if we really share these deep, dark secrets, then others won't be as likely to join us in the journey of parenthood and then we'd be left on the island all alone. Fighting the battle every day against single-digit aged enemies. We simply cannot have that. So we stay silent.

On the other side of this coin, we have to realize that when we don't share, we can't laugh at the huge mistakes we are each making when raising our kids. You know, stuff like forgetting to put candy in their lunch box, throwing out the four millionth an art project, and not doing their laundry when they wanted to wear that outfit to school. You know, THAT outfit! Ugh, MOM!

Thus, I offer you 60 minutes in the life of us, beginning at 6AM. Mind, you Mommy has been up for 60 minutes prior, because she has it easy. 

After the initial battle to get Ethel out of bed (20 minutes), I mentioned that I'd like to put sunscreen on both kids before they get their clothes on.

Begin battle royale.

Protest, anger, yelling.

Blood pressure - Mach 3

Meanwhile, Fred came out of his room, stark naked, and said, "I'm ready for sunscreen". Bless his naked little self.
This week at camp is a 'team challenge week', where the kids divide up on teams led by a counselor, choose a team color, make banners, and have little games. Yesterday, they were to wear their team colors to camp, and they did. Ethel decided to wear hers (dark blue) all week. I picked Fred's clothes this morning, upon his request, not knowing that today they should/could wear their colors (his is yellow). He came down the stairs, met with Ethel's instructions (whiny as hell) that he needs to wear his team colors. He tried to defend his (just fine) attire, to no avail. I told her it's OK, I didn't read it on the list of the week's activities, etc, her brother can wear whatever he likes. So, she got the flyer out and started to tell me that I was wrong when I told her {brace for sudden subject change} that they aren't going to Pool X today, they ARE going to Pool X, and why did I say they aren't?

I apologize (because I'm obviously an idiot, right?) and try to clarify what I was saying, at which point she interrupts me and says, "Stop talking!".

Blood pressure - Mach 7.

She continues this pissing and moaning through breakfast. No sunscreen, I told her to get a sun burn.

Suddenly, it was discovered that when I put their swim gear in their backpacks, I mistakenly put his towel in her backpack, and hers in his. Holy crap, how could I have done such a thing? Why did I do that? Are you joking? Apparently someone needs their Mom Card revoked. Thank goodness for kids who are right there to point out these kinds of flaws.

Finally, we got into the car. As I got into the driver's seat, Ethel screamed, "My diary!! I wanted to bring my diary!!". I explained that we're leaving and she should have thought about the diary earlier, and she hurled to me, "I FORGOT", very emphatically.

I was pretty much ready to drive the car through the family room wall at this point.

She tried to climb out the window. Literally. OMG.

I waited 'til she sat. I started the car and pulled out of the garage. Ethel screamed at me because she was not buckled. Obviously, I had not given her ample time to do so. Mommy's on a roll this morning!

{insert snotty, know-it-all intonation at full volume} "You'll get a ticket and it will be your fault because you didn't follow the rules!". I told her "I'm OK with that". She is now enraged even more, and buckles her seat belt. Loudly. With a grunt.

The drive to camp was not quiet. I got an ear full about how I hurt her feelings, I'm the one who makes the mornings difficult, etc. I asked her why life isn't so burdensome for Fred, when I ask him to do the very same things? {my first foray into comparing the lives of my children to make a point - fail} Of course I don't ask the same of him, she explained to me. I only asked him to put on sunscreen. Of course, how could I be so stupid as to not know what I ask of my children in the morning.

We got to camp and she didn't get out of the car. So I closed and locked the car door and began walking. Poor Fred just stood there. I felt so badly that he was stuck in the middle of this. Then I watched as Ethel climbed into the front seat (totally forbidden act in my car, btw, you do NOT climb in a car) because she knows I have the child locks on the back doors. Too bad, kid, I locked the car, you can't get out. She pounded on the door, crying and yelling.

I finally let her out (the back door) and she yelled at me for locking her in. Now it's my fault. As we walked to the entrance, and I told her it was not my problem, she PLUGGED BOTH EARS!!!!!!

Yes, I am the mom who grabbed her 8 year old in a headlock and pulled her backward several feet telling her, "Don't you dare". And she is the 8 year old who told me, "I had something in my ears!". Yes, we got some great looks from the other patrons entering the building. It was awesome.

Mind you, this entire time she is bawling. Yes. Good mom bringing her sobbing child to camp. At 7:00AM. It's already been a long day.

And you know what? I don't care. When you're having this much fun, it's only right to share with those around you and let them have some fun, too.

She cried all the way into the lap of her favourite counselor, whose lap she sits in every morning when we get there. And Fred, proudly, gave me multiple hugs and kisses, as he does every day, and made his way to a friend in the room to play.

Bless the counselor who tried to make me feel better and said, "Oh, I bet she won't be the only one. For some reason Wednesdays are harder than Mondays".

I wonder if that counselor babysits.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In the Mommy 'hood

Thoughts from last night's run:

This is how I feel running, into the wind, up long, steady inclines
Who runs with lipstick and eyeshadow?
This is how I feel as a parent, dealing with the constant demands, whines, objections, what-ifs, and general duties associated with young children.  
Is this more effective than coffee?
And when all is said and done, the run is complete, the children are asleep, and Mommy is having some wine finally sitting down and relaxing {insert hysterical laughter here}.....
Minus the lipstick
Honestly, though, as I got through the run last night, I realized that there have been so many times when I just wanted to quit. Just stop, toss the shoes, not run the next run or race, and walk away. At home, I am overwhelmed. Some days I feel like I am not cut out for this motherhood thing. I want to run away more often than not, or so it seems. Ironic, right?

What makes me want to keep at it, or even do it again, is the feeling at the finish. Whether it's a race or a fun run, or kissing the tears off a cheek and seeing a smile, the feeling of knowing I did it really keeps me going.

The last few weeks have been tough, and last week I could feel it in my legs on every run. Last night, though, I could feel the stress of the day fade throughout the whole run. I remembered the feeling of being able to accomplish what I need to after a good run. It was a feeling I haven't had in quite a while, and it felt good to finally have it back.

And, to top off my night, I made it to Fred's first Rookie Ball game (just a little late). I got through my day, melted away some of the stress, and got to see him play in his first game.

I have terrible Mommy guilt most of the time, and being late to the game last night didn't help that at all. Still, getting a hug from Ethel, and watching Fred out there watching airplanes and running to first base, it was like a big reward for the day.