Dinner Conversation

A young child is melting down because she “is just so hungry.” (snack time was an entire hour ago). The mother frantically throws together dinner to quell the symphonic whining of children #2 and #3. Boil water, dang it! Pasta in, veggies chopped, sauce thrown on, sausage cut and voila. Plates are on the table and for a moment all is right in the world again. But soon that same young child is distressed.

“The sausage is too spicy,” she hollers.

“So eat the pasta and other stuff,” I answer back.

The dramatic whining increases as she flings her head skyward, fork extended to the heavens and exclaims, “But I love it. And it’s too spicy. And it’s my favorite thing in the world.”

Ah yes, it’s dinner time.

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The Beach (9 month old style)

So today the three ladies took me on yet another one of their outings.  I heard rumors that we were headed to the beach so I was pretty excited about another chance to have a sand snack.  That stuff is amazing.  Anyway, this place didn’t have any sand.  The biggest of the three ladies put down a blanket that evidently she thought I would just hang out on (when will that one learn?) while the medium and small ladies played.  Well, the blanket was on top of these intriguing round objects that I obviously has to investigate.  Turns out, they are called rocks.  I found it quite easy to pull back the blanket and then throw myself forward into the sweet heaven below.  Those rocks were delicious. Best teethers I’ve tried in a long time.  There was even a nice slope where I was sitting so I made the large one work pretty hard to keep me from rolling away.  Awesome.

After a while I was feeling a bit tired since the ladies were in such a hurry to get out of the house before I had my nap.  The large one, actually I think her name is “Mom,” tried to lull me to sleep with the power of her milk but I was too wise.  I partied a bit more, but man I was really feeling the fatigue.  So, Mom pulled my carseat out of the car, swung it back and forth, hooked me up with my paci, and I was able to pass out in the shade with the sound of the water hitting the rocks.  Very nice.  When I woke up fifteen minutes later I was greeted with food and more rocks.  I guess the ladies were tired because soon after we packed up and headed back to the car.  I had a nice squeezy tube of various fruits on the way home that I half ate, half squirted about.  I was feeling tired again about the time we arrived home so I got a nice belly full of that awesome milk and passed out in my bed.  I gotta say all in all, this guy is a beach guy.

What is the Value of a Mom?

Working moms versus “stay-at-home” moms.  Is there really still a need for debate?  Plus, who came up with those labels anyway?  They both suck.  How many moms who are “at home” with their kids actually stay home?  As if confined to the four walls of their abode.  And is work all that “working moms” do?  I think not.

Lately I’ve felt that moms are simply not valued today, or perhaps better said, the role/responsibilities/tasks/job of a mom is not valued.  Considering that I fall into the “stay-at-home” category this drives me nuts.  I personally do not feel like my days are a waste of my time, intelligence, skills or education.  If anything, motherhood puts all of my life experience and training into use on a daily basis.

(I don’t know how to enter into this next thought without offending people, but hopefully if you read all of what I’m saying you’ll hear the heart of my point, rather than immediately bristle at your interpretation of my words.  Just a disclaimer.)

Any-who, I also hear the devaluation of mothers from mothers.  Often my “working mom” friends tell me that the benefit of perceived daycare socialization is a reason why they work.  They talk about their choice to work as something great for their child, as if trying to convince me that it is okay because their daycare has such and such extra curricular activity, etc.  I rarely here women free to say, “I love my job.  I’m passionate and invested in what I do and the people I impact through my work.”  (MUCH better reasons to work in my opinion).  I don’t know if it is from societal pressures or because I have made a different choice, but I often wonder why they don’t feel free to simply express that they work because they are passionate about their job.  If I had gone through undergraduate, medical school and residency like The Doc I’m sure that I would be working.  I have the utmost respect for women who have invested years into their training in a particular skill and understand why they would choose to continue in their vocation after having children.  Did that make sense?

To me there is no point in having a discussion about the benefits of a daycare setting or nanny over a child being at home with a parent.  That doesn’t really seem to be at the heart of this to work or not to work debate.  Perhaps it has become a central issue because we haven’t allowed women to express their passion for work as reason enough to be separated from their children.  We have forced them to defend their choice to work in ways that not only invalidate their “stay at home” counterparts, but devalue them as mothers!  Everyone loses and is left feeling inadequate.  A daycare is not interchangeable with a parent, nor is a nanny.  This doesn’t mean that if you choose to have your child receive care from either one that it is a bad thing!  Repeat, I am NOT saying daycares or nannies are bad.  My problem with this line of thinking is how much it devalues mom and dad.  (I want to include dads here because there are many men who are primary caregivers for their children while their wives work outside the home and I think it’s awesome).  If we parents are interchangeable with other caregivers, we are doing something wrong.  In addition, if a mom is made to believe that another person can care for her child just as well or better than she, that is not only untrue, but sad.  What message are we sending to one another?  Motherhood is hard and we are constantly doubting ourselves.  I hear so many moms saying that they don’t think they are doing a good job.  The belief that someone else who has been trained and studied about children can do a better job only reiterates, to an already self-doubting mom, that she is not good enough.  I don’t care how many books someone has read about childhood development, no one knows a child like a parent.  A parent knows the unique things that no book or theory can.  A mother can tell her child has a fever simply by pressing his sweet cheek to hers, as she has the feel of him written on her heart.  The intimate relationship between a parent and a child cannot be replicated.  No really, it can’t.  I had some great teachers and babysitters growing up, but were they even comparable to my mom?  No way.

Regardless of what you do between the hours of 8 and 5, never forget that you as a mom are irreplaceable.  When it comes to mommas, Beyonce had it wrong.  You, working or stay at home, are IRREPLACEABLE.  No one can know or love your child as well as you and your child will never seek the love or attention of another the way he craves it from his Mommy and Daddy.  Remember that on the days when you wonder if someone else would do it better. Rest in the fact that no, they could not.  Love your children, sacrifice for them, play with them, pray for them, forgive them, hold them, and whatever amount of time you have with them, make it count.

Mother of the Year Moment 5,362…

Baby boy woke up at 5:30 obviously not ready to start his day, but definitely not in the mood to drift back to sleep.  A half hour into the “back to sleep battle” Molé starts to whine about what I think is a phantom arm injury.  By 6:20 baby boy seems to be surrendering and is quiet.  6:30 Molé cries again saying she wants to wake up, which may be her desire but is not a good idea considering it would most likely be a morning of meltdowns from a tired little girl.  Back to bed little one.  6:50 Molé is once again crying, this time she says her tummy hurts.  Mommy being a GENIUS, assumes she is simply hungry and gives her half of a banana to eat in bed with the instructions, “Go back to sleep.”  7:00 I hear screaming from Molé and as I charge into the girls’ room sleep deprived and annoyed, ready to pounce, I realize that she is in fact vomiting.  That’s right, she was nauseous and I fed her a banana, which I had the privilege of seeing minutes later.  Awesome.  After stripping her down, putting her in a nice warm bath and apologizing profusely, she explains to me that she had in fact been telling me all along that her tummy hurt and her arm was fine.  Sleep deprivation has definitely taken me off my A game.  (well, to be honest I was probably only running about a C+ before)

Yelling at a puking child is just one more reason why this momma needs a whole lot of grace.  Especially considering that I may be spending a lot of time doing laundry today.  I’m reminded again that so often my first instinct as a mother, wife, sister, friend and daughter can often be to assume rather than to listen.  Molé is 3 1/2 so I just assumed she was being difficult, rather than realizing she was not feeling well.  It doesn’t take a mothering prodigy to realize that nagging stomach pain may mean you need to get a child in front of the nearest toilet ASAP.  Good thing when I apologized my sweet girl lavished unconditional forgiveness upon this broken vessel of a momma.  And good thing that is just a smidgen of the amazing grace that God himself offers to all of us every single moment of every single day.