Friday, January 17, 2014

Judging Parents!

I recently shared with a friend that my five year old son has been having some bed-wetting issues.  Something that I know could be a phase and is often quite common especially among boys.  I was merely sharing from one parent to another a frustration about having to change the sheets everyday!  Instead of getting a little understanding I was met with a statement about her son having stopped doing that at 3 and it must be behaviour and needs to be dealt with.  Even though I have done my research and know that it's not a major cause for concern at this point my friends statement made me feel like she thought I was a bad mother and that my son was not normal.
It frustrates me to no end when parents judge each other.  We all know how hard raising kids is and some days are good and some days are very hard. Why do some parents refuse to admit that?  Why do they need to pretend that their families run so much more smoothly than others?  It just makes everybody feel so badly and inadequate.
I remember seeing a scene from the first season of Desperate Housewives where Lynette has a breakdown because she is finding parenting to be so hard and everyone else makes it look so easy for them. Her friends start telling her difficult times that they also had with their kids and she says how we need to be sharing that stuff!  I completely agree.  When I ask a friend how things are going at home I don't want to hear how she is absolutely loving every minute of raising her little angel!  I want her to share with me the good times and the difficult.  We are friends and should be supporting each other.
The love I have for my kids is so great that it's almost impossible to describe.  Every parent can relate to that.  I love watching them grow up. I love watching them learn new things. I love cuddles at bedtime and reading stories... I could go on and on but the truth is parenting is very, very hard!  It's not fun being woken up every night!  It's not fun to be cleaning up vomit and diarrhea!  It's not fun to be in a grocery store when your child starts throwing a fit (and yes, it has happened to you!).
By sharing our experiences and being honest we are not saying that we love our kids any less.  We are merely helping each other as parents get through the day and feel better that, as hard as it is, and as many times as we think we are probably scarring our children for life by not being able to get them to be compliant to our every request, we are probably doing ok.  As parents we don't need to be perfect.  We need to be loving, we need to try our hardest and we need to be honest.
When we see the mom or dad struggling to get their 2 year old to get their coat on at daycare.  Instead of just watching and ushering our kids (who happen to be compliant that day) out maybe we should say- do you need help?  or my kids were like that yesterday!  It's unbelievable how that little phrase can help when the parent just feels like everybody is watching and judging!

Here's a clip I found of Lynette's best moments in season one... I hope it helps!  I know it does for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dating to Not Regret

Everyone wants to be in love.  It doesn't stop because life is busy it just becomes complicated to fit it in.  I work full time as a teacher.  A job I love but that takes a lot of energy.  I then also have full custody of two beautiful young boys who, again, I adore but take a tremendous amount of energy!  When I do manage to get some time off going on a first date is the LAST thing I want to do!   I'm busy now and quite content actually.  I have a job I love and my boys take up the rest of my time.  Although the thought of being in a relationship is nice it's not something that I feel is imperative to my immediate happiness.  I feel quite fulfilled as it is so why would I waste the precious few moments of relaxation into the ultra stressful event of a first date!  Well, mostly because I know that I do want a happy fulfilling relationship eventually and I don't want to ever look back and say that I never even tried.
I hate dating!  The thought of meeting a man for a first date makes me feel sick to my stomach and very unwell.  Every time I have ever been on my way to a first date I would ask myself: "why do you put yourself through this misery?  It's the most uncomfortable thing I could put myself through.  I must be a masochist!" ... Well, not really, I just, like most people, want to be in love.  I really like the idea of growing old with someone.  I figure I'm young, early 30's and if I don't at least try, will I regret it 15 years from now when my boys are about ready to start their own lives and I will be alone with a very quiet empty nest?
So I'm going to keep trying and going to set up my online profile and squeeze it in in the moments few and far between when the boys are with their father or being babysat by my father or brother.  Maybe it will work out, maybe it will just give me some funny stories to share, a few free coffees or maybe I will meet the love of my life.... anything is possible! Gotta stay optimistic!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Do Nothing Weekends

We did nothing this weekend.  I always have big plans for the weekend.  I want to get all the chores done that I don't have the time to get to during the week.  Problem is that by the time the work week is done I am exhausted!  I feel very bad about it.  I SHOULD be going out with my boys bringing them to a place like the children's museum or even at least to the park but we didn't.  We hardly got out of our pyjamas this weekend.
It's one of the hard things about being a single mom.  I am constantly feeling like I should be doing more and then feeling guilty when I can't.  This weekend was not my proudest moment.  I get so tired that all I want to do is lounge on the couch and watch mindless tv.  I know I should be cleaning the floor or bringing the kids out but I sometimes just don't have the energy.  When the kids were younger I had nap time that I used to take as my 'do nothing' time but they no longer nap during the day at home.  I miss it!
I'm not always like this.  Some weekends I am really proud of myself for all the things I get done but sometimes the exhaustion just kicks in.  I have to say this because I have to remind myself that it's ok to have 'do nothing' weekends sometimes and that I do do a lot most of the time.  I guess it's hard because my house is never sparkling clean and I often have a basket of laundry lying somewhere waiting to be folded.  It's hard for me to say to myself - it's ok.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Birthday Mommy Guilt!

Can you ever really shake away the Mommy Guilt?  Today is my youngest son's birthday.  He is 4 years old.  After work yesterday I brought my oldest son to his drama class and then planned on rushing to buy a cake for the daycare before I had to pick him up.  Didn't think it would be so hard except that every cake I could come across in that hour had that little warning at the bottom of the ingredients list: May have come into contact with tree nuts!  Of course his daycare is peanut-free so I can't get any of those cakes.  As the clock was ticking I was getting more and more panicked that I wouldn't find his cake.  That's when the mommy guilt started to set in.  I could hear the little voice inside my head say: "I should have baked him a cake myself" (don't know when but I should have), "I should have spent the extra money and ordered a cake from a fancy bakery where I could make sure it was peanut free" (not really in my budget, but again, I should have).  Finally the hour was up when I had to go pick up my son from Drama class and I was cake-less- "Worst Mother of the Year".
Thankfully, my father agreed to help me and he is running around right now trying to get a cake for him to bring to the daycare.  I know it will be ok but I can't shake this Mommy Guilt!
That's one of the things that's hard about being a single, working parent.  You want to be able to get everything done but the fact is, there just aren't enough hours in the day!  I can get through the day-to-day pretty well but special events just throw me for a loop.  Thank goodness that I have the support from my father and brother to help me out because I don't know how I would be able to get things done otherwise.  I want to be able to give my kids everything they would get if they were part of a two parent home but sometimes I just can't.  I don't like to complain about it.  It's not really my style and I don't want anybody feeling sorry for me.  I love my life it's just hard sometimes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting Fit

The last time I had a physical my doctor said that I should be exercising more.  I know this, I have never really been a very sporty girl and now especially, other than running after my two boys- I don't have time to do much.  It was especially daunting when she said I should be doing at least 45 minutes, 3-4 times a week.  What?  When?!  Finding extra time for anything, especially time for me is always difficult.  Also, if I do manage to get some time off, the last thing I want to do is exercise.  I knew I had to come with a better idea.
One afternoon, as I was watching my kids play their Wii and trying to figure out how to get THEM off the couch it came to me.  If I can't beat them, join them!  I decided that we would all start exercising with the video game.
So, we got the "Wii Fit Plus", the balance board and a couple of nunchuk controls.  We were on our way!  I have to admit, so far it's been quite a success.  I am moving more, the boys join me and get to choose the exercises that I do.  They sometimes have me just run the basic run or sometimes even have a snowball fight on the game.  It's actually fun.  It' not very high intensity which is good for me right now as I am just beginning but enough to get me sweating a little bit.  As I get used to these exercises I might try out some games with a little more intensity.  It will also be warmer weather outside, so hopefully I will continue exercising out in the real world.  It was just the thing to help me move more.  Another bonus is that the Wii fit doesn't cut into my "me time".  It's something I do with the boys and it gets all of us exercising.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Best Friend: Super Mario

My kids have recently discovered Super Mario Bros.  They didn't really understand that it was a game at first- just 2 characters that would be fun to look like for Halloween.  It didn't take them long before they soon discovered that these two fun Italian plumbers were also part of a video game.  I caved and got a Wii, partly because I was feeling nostalgic and was looking forward to reliving playing Mario myself but also thought that it would be harmless fun for my boys.  What I didn't expect was the obsession that would soon take over.  The first thing they want to do in the morning is play Mario, I more than once had to unplug the console from the TV to get them the stop.  My boys even sometimes refer to themselves as Mario and Luigi.  Mommy guilt has firmly set in.  What have I done?  How could I let it get this far?  Last weekend I wasn't feeling very well and I have to admit that I turned on the video game and I was able to stay in bed and relax a bit while they played... Mommy guilt.
The truth is that I don't think that video games are all bad.  I think they help kids learn that practice make perfect and to persevere until they get it.  The trouble is they are so attractive to kids that it can often take over and it's all that they want to do.  I came across the following article from Circle of Mom: 8 Limits Make Video Games Good Your Kids by Sharon Silver. Reading it was such a life-saver for me.  It helped me realize that I could allow them to play the games but still find a balance with the rest of their life.  I especially liked the 3 rules that the author outlined:

1. Frustration = taking a break, like it or not.
2. Not Sharing = timers are used to make sure things stay fair.
3. Negotiations or begging for more time = no play for 24 hours.
They are simple, easy for kids of all ages to understand and clear.  I can now allow my boys to play with a little less Mommy guilt knowing that there are limits.  I also try to vary the games up like the author suggested so that I can try to make sure that some play time is a little more educational or active at times.
Things are not perfect, as I am writing this my youngest is begging to play video games but at least I can be a little bit reassured that it's a bit more controlled.  

Friday, April 9, 2010


As a celebration of getting through this first year of my separation I organized what I called a “liberty dinner”. Sort of on the same line as a “divorce party” that is gaining popularity these days. It was a chance for me to reclaim myself and to show my friends that life is good and I am doing well. I truly love my life and am happier now than I have ever been. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of my life and making that decision a year ago that the life we were living wasn’t healthy was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself and my children. As crazy as the day-to-day is right now, it is much better than before because now there is peace in our life. I think it’s difficult for some people to see past the image of the perfect family. What is a perfect family? Would my children have been happier if mom and dad were in the same house but not acting and loving each other as a family? I think it’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t know the perfect right answer and it’s probably quite different from one family to another but I do feel confident that, for my children and myself, this was the right move- and I felt the need to celebrate this moment. Now, at the same time, I feel it’s important to mention that this was purely my celebration. As much as I feel better to have marked this moment in our life- I would never involve my children in the celebration. They love their father, as they should, and now when it’s ‘daddy-time’, it’s quality ‘daddy-time’ and that is also a reason to celebrate.