Momfession #58: No fun

 

I’ve been blocked lately. Not just writer’s block, which I obviously have (please see date of last post for proof), but, just….blocked. I feel like I’ve stalled….run out of gas…in my personal life. Like I am so filled to the brim with things I HAVE to do that I have no space left in my brain for novel thoughts, ideas, or inspiration, or….fun. So I keep motoring on, working hard to make a mark in my career, to make things stable for my kids, to make sure our home isn’t a total disaster, to make a (somewhat) healthy dinner most nights. And on the days where I actually have something planned for myself, I feel like it takes an inordinate amount of energy for me to work up the least bit of excitement about it.

Because honestly? Sometimes all I really want is a day where I don’t HAVE to do anything, even if that thing is something “fun”.

I know I am extremely lucky to have a strong network of people who will watch our kids at a moment’s notice, and a husband who doesn’t mind me taking some time for myself in the least, and that I shouldn’t complain. In fact, I feel ridiculously guilty for even thinking these thoughts, because I actually get way more “free time” compared to most parents.

But hey, it’s my blog, and I can complain if I want to.

So that’s it. Earthshattering news, I know: a mom who is overwhelmed, overworked, and overscheduled, and maybe feels like she’s losing a bit of her fun-loving self in the process. Oh, and who’s feeling guilty complaining about it.

That about sums up my last month or two. Now how ‘bout you all? Any of you feeling particularly guilty or “un-fun” these days?

Momfession #49: The phone call

mom on phoneThis evening, I had to make a quick business call from home. Thankfully, it isn’t something I have to do often any more (once, I had a psycho boss that would call my cell at all times of day or night just to “chat”). I knew it would only take a minute, and the kids were playing relatively quietly in the living room, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. “Hey guys,” I said, to both kids and the hubster who was playing on his iPod, “I’m just going to make a quick call for work…can you just keep it down?” They all seemed to acknowledge that they heard my request, so I dialled the number.

Not two rings in, something happened. My kids instantly went from playing with each other and speaking in normal tones, to running around me in circles, screaming. They became possessed beings, laughing maniacally and chasing me while I ran from room to room, laptop in one hand, cell phone wedged between my shoulder and ear. I apologized profusely to the person on the other end of the line, who certainly must have thought I had 10 kids instead of two, and tried desperately to sound light hearted and playful, while mouthing “STOP IT” and putting on my best mean mom face. I ended up in the only room in our house with a lock on the door: the bathroom. As I attempted to finish my call, with my laptop balanced on the sink, my two lovely children screamed and pounded on the door. And where, you might ask, was my husband this entire time? In the living room, still playing on his iPod.

Continue reading “Momfession #49: The phone call”

Momfession #44: Let’s (not) talk about sex

The other night, my son walked in on us. Like, you know, WALKED IN. While my husband and I were…otherwise engaged. We don’t have a lock on our bedroom door, but since my son usually falls into a deep sleep pretty quickly (at night, I often put laundry away in his room with the light on!), we didn’t think twice about it. That is, until the door flew open unexpectedly and we scrambled for cover. He looked a bit confused at first, and we tried to play it cool. “Mommy, why aren’t you wearing any clothes?” I told him I was getting ready to take a shower. “But why are you in bed then?” I responded that I had gotten cold and decided to warm up in bed. “Uhhh…but why is Daddy with you?” he continued. Oh, well, of course, Daddy was being nice and trying to warm me up. “But WHY is Daddy naked too??” Man, that kid asks a lot of questions. My last answer to him was so ridiculous I couldn’t believe that it was coming out of my mouth: well Gabriel, sometimes Daddy and I take showers together, to save water. And he bought it. Or it could be that he decided he was tired of asking questions. Either way, he headed back to bed after that. But I was left wondering why I felt so compelled to lie in that situation. After all, I tend to be a pretty honest person, even with my kids. So why lie about sex? It is a natural part of life; why should I hide it? Won’t that give my kids a complex later in life?

I grew up in a fairly modest household. We didn’t walk around the house naked. We didn’t really talk about sex. I went to church on Sundays, and Catholic school during the week. The only times I heard about sex were when I was being told not to do it. It was something that happened behind closed doors, between a husband and a wife, and if you did it before you were married, you were a bad person. And while I turned out fine and am a fairly well-adjusted adult, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to grow up not associating sex with feelings of guilt and shame.

So perhaps that is why I felt a twinge of guilt for lying to my son when he caught us in the act the other night. Because it is something that I don’t necessarily want to lie about. But how do you come up with an age-appropriate explanation of sex for a 7-year-old? And if I do try to explain it to him, will THAT scar him for life? Maybe there’s some “how-to-not-give-your-kid-a-complex-about-sex-when-he-walks-in-on-you” expert out there that I could consult. Or maybe I should just get a lock for our door. It is certainly less expensive than sending my kid to therapy down the line.

Momfession #40: So long, farewell

The other day, I sat outside for over an hour in a torrential downpour watching my husband play baseball. It was cold and muddy, my ballet flats and jeans were soaked. As I crouched under a tiny umbrella that had seen better days, one of the players said something about how awful it was to be a spectator in such terrible weather. And without thinking, I replied, “Actually, it isn’t so bad. I would take sitting here alone, even in the pouring rain over chasing my kids around any day.”  He gave me a funny look, and I realized how terrible that sounded. But what was more terrible was how much I meant it.

My husband and I, like most parents, don’t get to spend a lot of time alone. We are actually luckier than most, though; we have a very strong network of family who live nearby which allows us one night a week out (usually to play on one of our many sports teams). On the weekends, we rarely spend time alone. After all, we hardly get to see the kids during the week, with a strict commute/work/school/daycare/sleep routine that allows us about an hour of “free” time to spend with them each day (at which point, we are usually so exhausted that it is spent watching Netflix). So, we pack our weekends full of bike rides, splash pads, apple picking, local festivals, and playdates, and make sure we are doing our best to spend every moment building memories that will last their lifetimes. However, somewhere between building forts in our living room and jack-o-lantern carving, my husband and I get lost.

I hate to admit it, but there are definitely times that I forget why I fell in love with my husband. We get so bogged down by the stresses of life and children that our relationship sometimes feels more like a series of transactions than a marriage. I make dinner, he sets the table. I do the dishes, he gives our daughter a bath. He drops the kids off, I pick them up. Days pass before I realize that we haven’t had a “real” conversation (except if you count discussing the frequency of our preschooler’s bowel movements a conversation). It is amazing how lonely it can all get, if you let it.

Which is why this weekend was so amazing. Two childless days, with no responsibilities other than hanging out with my husband, and watching him play baseball (in the rain). When his games were over, we ate pizza and watched TV together. We took walks and held hands. We spent time with some friends. By the end of the weekend, we both felt a renewed sense of excitement and love; and we both agreed that we need to spend more alone time together.

I know some people who have a really hard time leaving their kids. There are some that even admit they have never left their kids, because they would miss them too much. I definitely love my kids, and I do think about them when I am gone. But I definitely don’t pine for them all day when I am away. Am I a terrible parent because of it? Maybe. But I also think that part of being a good parent is taking care of yourself, and your relationship. When they grow up, my kids will probably not remember the weekend or two a year that their parents skipped town. But I am pretty sure they will remember the love that they felt from us, and the friendship, respect, and love that my husband and I had with each other.

Momfession #39: Summer Mom

end_of_summerIt’s the last “unofficial” week of summer for anyone who has kids in school. And while I love back-to-school shopping, the excitement of the first day of school, and the promise of cooler days and fall colours in the near future, I can’t help but get a bit depressed. Over the last two months, I have had someone amazing come into my life, and when summer ends, so does our relationship. I’m talking about Summer Mom. You know…the lady who lets you eat freezies every day, allows you to stay up wayyyy past your bedtime, and who says “OK” to playing video games on a frequent basis. I have come to love Summer Mom so much that I don’t want her to leave. I have been thinking a lot about it lately, in fact. What if I let Summer Mom stick around a bit more? What if I became a bit less rigid and more lenient when it came to parenting throughout the year? Would my kids turn out the same in the end? Does it really matter if they play video games, or eat candy? Would our lives become less stressful and more enjoyable?

Sometimes I feel like I am the only person in my kids’ lives who is concerned with ensuring that they don’t become spoiled, entitled, or downright bratty. I know my husband strongly believes in the way we are raising our kids, but even he is more lenient than I. It feels like I am constantly battling against everyone else who comes into contact with my kids, trying in vain to offset the limitless, present-filled, sugar-coated experience that they have with family and other caretakers. But now I am wondering…what if I just hopped on board the “yes” train and went along for the ride? What if I decided to let my Summer Mom mentality continue into fall? What’s the worst that could happen? Cavities?

Other moms, tell me: do you have a summer version of yourself? If so, what do you think about letting her stick around for a while?

Momfession #37: The Santa question

believe_in_santa_claus

Tonight, out of the blue in the car ride home, my seven-year-old said, “you know what Mom? A lot of my friends say Santa Claus isn’t real.” My heart skipped a beat. I knew this day would come eventually, but not so soon. Not until he was at least eight, I thought. And definitely not on a muggy August afternoon. So I said, “Oh yeah? Well what do you think?” I was hoping that, by turning the question around he would just say he believed in Santa and that would be the end of it. But, it wasn’t. And what happened next is what I had been dreading. He asked me, point-blank, in a very serious tone, “Mommy, tell me the honest truth. Do you and Daddy put the presents out on Christmas?”

The question itself might not seem like a big deal, but I have this thing about brutal honesty with my kids. We don’t have cute names for our genitalia in this house, for example. We call our body parts by their proper names (and then wince when our toddler decides to talk about her vagina or her brother’s penis loudly in public). When a pet dies, or when someone is sick, we don’t hide it from them. We tell them honestly what happened, answer their questions, and help them to deal with their feelings. When they want us to buy them something that is too expensive, we tell them that….we don’t make up excuses for why they can’t have said item. Recently, my son even asked me if I believed in God, to which I gave him an honest answer (no) and then sat with him to attempt to explain in a child-friendly way about different belief systems and religions.

But the Santa thing is a tough one. How do I preserve the magic of Christmas without outright lying to my kid? How do I ensure that our younger child doesn’t get gypped out of that same wonder and excitement that our son got to experience when he was her age? If I tell my son the truth, will he ruin Christmas for our daughter? Will the holiday lose some of its magic for us all?

So, I did the best I could. I looked him right in the eye and said, “Gabriel, do you think that I really would have given you a Nintendo DS for Christmas last year?” With that statement, his eyes lit up. In that moment, he made the connection: there must be a Santa because Mommy doesn’t like him playing video games and there is no way that she would have purchased that for him. I breathed a sigh of relief. The moment had passed, and I hadn’t outright lied to my kid. I was safe, for now. At least until he starts thinking about the Easter Bunny…I have no idea how I am going to sell him on a giant rabbit that hides chocolate eggs. That one is just creepy, if you ask me.

Momfession #36: Bad mommy

bad momI was talking to a fellow mommy the other day and she momfessed that she had been less-than-perfect when it came to her kids’ preventative dental care, and apart from feeling guilty, she was also feeling embarrassed about being a “bad” mommy. It got me thinking about all of the things that I haven’t done, or have done particularly poorly, that I am embarrassed to admit to other parents. So, in the Momfessional spirit and to salute all of the imperfect mom’s out there, I thought I’d let you in on a few…

Teeth cleaning. My seven-year-old only brushes his teeth once a day (at night). While I know full well that he should be brushing in the mornings too, I just can’t get myself organized enough at 7am to monitor his dental care. And to be honest, I try to make the start of the day as non-confrontational as possible, so fighting about tooth-brushing is pretty low on my morning wish list. As for my toddler, I sporadically brush her teeth at night, but I know I don’t do a great job (especially since while I am doing it she is screaming at the top of her lungs and most times I have to pin her down to do it). However, I tell my dentist we are model tooth-brushers and flossers, because really, who wants to be lectured about something you already know you’re doing poorly?

Potty training. My toddler is not even close to being potty trained, and I couldn’t care less. In fact, I prefer her wearing diapers to having to worry every time we go out that she is going to have an accident. We have decided to put her into preschool this September and I am fully expecting them to take the reins on the potty training. I mean, that’s what I pay them for, right? Let her pee on their floors.

Ice skating. My son is seven-years-old and he can’t ice skate. We have taken him a total of three times which lasted all of 10 minutes each before he just decided to sit in a snow bank and eat snow. By the time I was seven, I had been ice skating for more than half of my life. And I had an ice rink in my backyard. We are terrible, terrible Canadian parents (although the no-backyard-ice-rink thing I am blaming entirely on global warming).

Shoelaces. It might be a good thing that my son doesn’t ice skate because he also cannot tie his shoes. I am not going to take all of the blame on this one, though. Every September, I get the note from school that requires me to send indoor shoes with no laces. When is my kid going to learn how to tie his shoes if he is always wearing Velcro? Yes, I am fully aware that I could teach him on my own, and I have attempted it a few times, but the whining and fit-throwing got the best of me. They make Velcro shoes for grown-ups though, right?

Believe me, there are many, many more. But I want to hear from you. What are some parenting tasks that you don’t do (even though you’re “supposed” to)? Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed any longer…we all have these little secrets! Let it out!