In the spirit of Halloween, I am going to be Supermom today and when I say Supermom, I mean June Cleaver, I love that woman and am not comfortable in tights and a cape. If my son can be GI Joe and my daughter can be Belle, a kitty, Sleeping Beauty, a Cheerleader and a skeleton (it’s changing by the minute) than I should be allowed to take on a new persona.
So what has supermom done so far – Made my family pumpkin pancakes from scratch (well mostly, ignore the canned pumpkin) and cleaned the kitchen – what you wanted more?! It’s only 10:00 am in California! You may be saying to yourself, did she come up with this bogus post just to brag about the pancakes – yes, possibly. As I sit and type my husband is vacuuming – does that mean I have already broken character?
Now for a costume… does supermom wear flannel pants and an old t-shirt? Does she have dirty hair and flour on her face? No? Hmmm… I will work on this – I would love to dress as my idol June Cleaver (without the heels, I am not that tough). I might have to whip out my sewing machine… ha ha ha, sorry I was laughing so hard, I had to stop typing, I don’t even own a sewing machine! But I do have a glue gun and a stolen stapler (sorry, I can’t talk about it, I plead the 5th).
If supermom aka June doesn’t work out, I will still celebrate Halloween by eating all of my kid’s candy and scarring (yes, that was intentional – scaring AND scarring) people with my off-balance behavior!
How’s your Halloween going? Have you been a Monster Mommy? If so, you may be a contender in my Mom of the Year Contest! The deadline for submission is tomorrow! Don’t forget, we have a celebrity judge – Lori from In Pursuit of Martha Points is picking the winner. You can go lobby for yourself at her site, but she is likely out launching an attack on her neighbor’s Halloween decorations today.
Late breaking news – my husband just came in to vacuum this room and told me he started the laundry and cleaned the bathrooms – I guess I am no June Cleaver, back to the drawing board… Any ideas for me?
As parents, we are under a lot of pressure. We want to raise our kids well and be great at all things we do. We push ourselves for silly perfection and are our own worst critics. Why is that when a friend calls me with a bad day or a stranger tweets that she sucks at being a mom, I have sympathy and words of encouragement, but I tell myself to pull it together and stop whining?!
Parenting is tough, it is one of the most rewarding, exhausting roles a person can engage in. It is a lifetime commitment that we cannot execute perfectly everyday. There will be the days we lose our tempers, ignore the requests of our children and be cranky to those around us, but then we pull it together and make the next day better (or next week, or next month…). We need to be accountable, but not overly self-critical. We need to accept that we get exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, maybe even lost. But we need to focus on loving our miraculous children AND ourselves.
I am not a psychologist – I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock… I merely know how hard I push myself and I watch my friends do the same. I know that I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold others, not because I think I am capable of more, but because I undervalue my own contributions compared to others. So if I give myself a little slack, will you do the same?
How will you give yourself a break?
You know what I am talking about, the too perfect and know-it-all moms…
I know what you’re going to say: “But Paige, you preach that every mother should be valued and not judged”. Correction – real people should be valued, but I choose to mock stereotypes all I want! And as for why I have decided to call them “over-balanced” ? Well everybody knows that too much of a good thing will make you sick! So to make the rest of us real mom’s feel better here we go…
- Too-Perfect-Mom: Nothing ever falls out of her car when she drops the kids off at school. She attends every event and brings homemade baked goods for all occasions. She’s never late and never looks like she just rolled out of bed. You have never seen her raise her voice to her angelic children and when you describe your chaotic day, she just gives you a sympathetic smile. She is NOT in the running for Mother of the Year! (But you could be if you submit…)
- Fashionista Mom: Always perfectly coiffed, trendy and never stained. Whether it’s early morning drop-off or coming from the gym, she never looks frumpy or disheveled. We all have our good days, but she’s never had a bad one.
- Know-It-All-Mom: She is an authority on everything. She tells you what you’re doing wrong as a parent (and possibly everything else) and how to correct it.
- Age Defying Mom – She has given birth to four kids and looks like she is 18. Perfectly toned, perky boobs, no wrinkles and she eats pizza and cupcakes at every party. The only consolation is imagining she has a plastic surgeon on speed dial, but alas, you’re sure she just has good genes.
- Overly-Talented-Mom: She’s athletic, a fabulous cook, crafty and decorated her model home. She sews all of her children’s darling clothes and made a breathtaking mission out of dried pasta and baking soda for her child’s school project. Everything she does is flawless and fabulous. I have a friend like this, but she’s crazy, so I still love her.
In revolt of over-balance, I present you with Paige:
- I am mildly athletic, if you count that I don’t usually trip when I walk.
- When I cook dinner, my husband tells me to focus on the main course and he’ll handle the rest
- The only thing I’ve made with my glue gun is a mess
- I forgot my daughter’s snack day at preschool… EVERY TIME FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! (sorry Miss Jill!)
- My best clothes are Target sales rack and my nanny has had to intervene when I tried to leave the house in a pathetic state
- I have a small fortune worth of half-empty water bottles floating around my car
- When I am on my “A” game, I close my windows before I yell
- The only thing I consider myself an expert on is being a crazy, off-balance mommy
Are you over-balanced? If so, what’s the secret? Prozac and wine??
If you’re off-balanced, like me? What’s your shining moment? I can hear what you’re thinking, that’s a funny one, you should enter my Mom of the Year Contest.
“I thought about going back to work too, but I didn’t want someone else raising my kids.”
This is what a very sweet, well-meaning, mother said to me this morning at my daughter’s gymnastics class. I wanted to respond with something like, “Yep, I wanted to have children for the picture frames and then send them off and check in with them on holidays”, but this mom was very nice and she meant well, so I smiled and said, “Yep, it’s a balance”.
Our nanny usually takes my daughter to the class since I work, but today, I took her and was given the once over and “Oh you must be her mom…”. Yes, my daughter has a mother. No, the nanny doesn’t leave her with a pack of female wolves at the end of the day.
As I see it, I do raise my children. Yes, there are 7 hours of preschool and 33 hours of a nanny per week, but otherwise, the buck stops here. The preschool is one I picked based on my personal beliefs on what is most important at this age. I interviewed 7 preschools before choosing this one. I provide direction for our nanny. I set the parameters for discipline and I set the tone for how they are cared for. In other words, I work AND I raise my children. I have people who help me, just as we have teachers who help instruct our children. But I ensure my daughter is raised as the demanding, hilarious diva I had hoped for and I am diligent in raising a control-freak, OCD son who will likely be CEO of a major corporation someday (how else will I retire?). And before I step off my soapbox, here is some evidence that my children are a product of my influence:
- My son will not leave his room if a drawer is open and he cannot sleep if the closet door isn’t closed
- My daughter likes to dance in her underwear on a chair
- My son will correct you if you’re doing it wrong
- My daughter will not stay in her room for time out “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”
- My son will stick up for the picked on kid at school
- My daughter has a snuggling addiction
- My son likes to know the rules
- My daughter likes to break the rules
- My son is super-competitive
- My daughter cheats to win
OMG, wait, I take it all back! I work full-time, who the hell raised these kids?!
I did, I do and I am proud of the results. All parents raise their kids, we just employ different methods of doing it.
What’s the biggest impact you have made on your kids or your parents have made on you?
I am supposed to announce a winner tomorrow for Mother of the Year Contest, but I am feeling a little behind. You too? Good, I was afraid it was just me. I am postponing this pivotal moment in history until next Tuesday. This conveniently allows for Halloween-gone-wrong submissions. So, tell me your worst best.
And what could make this contest even greater??? Clearly, not the prize. BUT, Lori from In Pursuit of Martha Points has graciously agreed to be a guest judge. Who better than this Martha Stewart lovin’, points keepin’ gal to dole out the biggest honor of the year? But don’t let her wit and craftiness intimidate you, I daresay she’s refreshingly real and a little off-balance.
So there is nothing stopping you! This is your chance to win the accolades you deserve! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know from my confessions that there is no judgement here and extra points are given for being off-balance!
Our power was out for 14 hours starting just before dinner time yesterday. Yes, my night was filled with fights over flash lights and trying to put my kids to bed without their usual movie and book. While the candlelight was beautiful, it certainly heightened the normal Sunday night stress.
I realized that my kids and power outages have a few things in common:
- I have no control when either will be on or off
- Depending on my frame of mind, they can either be enjoyable or a pain in the “flashlight”
- Both are beautiful, but can lead to injuries. Candlelight = unnoticed suitcase on the floor
- They both throw off my routine and cause chaos
- They make you appreciate the times when things are running smoothly
- Abandoned dinner plans are typical side effects
- Sleepless nights are par for the course
- They both require lots of batteries
- Messes are inevitable (de-frosting freezer…)
- They both have varying degrees of severity: Brown out = cranky, Blackout = temper tantrum
- Things eventually return to “normal”
My life is back to “normal”. The flashlight wars are over, I have cleaned up the melted popsicles and I have almost re-set all of the one million clocks in our home. And for my next trick…
I adore my children, but do not plan to have any more. There are several reasons we are stopping at two. The biggest reason is our sanity. My husband and I are both type A, OCD ridden individuals who need order and structure to survive. Any more kids would take what little shred of balance we have left and flush it down the toilet with the Legos and Silly Bandz. We currently can play man-on-man defense and I am not skilled enough to switch to zone defense. As my cousin always tells me, “Two hands, two kids. If God wanted you to have more kids, he would have given you more hands.” I also have to believe that God would have given me more patience, a money tree and a faucet that spouts rum if he wanted me to have more kids. Let me be clear, I admire and envy large families. I am in awe of mothers who raise multiple children without losing them or their minds! I just don’t think our particular brand of crazy is conducive to a large family.
So why is that I couldn’t take my eyes off of the three-month old on the plane as I flew to my business meeting yesterday? He made me think back longingly to when my kids were babies. I even thought for a split second, maybe we should have one more… Then I pictured my husband as a cartoon character – his head twisting around on his neck, his eyes spinning around in his head and his arms flailing in the air (yes, my mind is bizarre). That mental image reminded me that two careers and two kids is more than we can handle already.
Why do kids seem so appealing when I am away from mine? Because they are NOT MINE! I don’t have to deal with their tantrums or chase them through the terminal. I can enjoy their smiles and turn up my i-pod when they scream. I miss my kids so much when I travel that I think I romanticize them and parenting in general. I sit on my plane rides home picturing my return to my little angels. They are immaculately clean, sitting at the table, reading books when I arrive. They get up, run to hug and kiss me and then tell me all about their days and then we frolic in the sunshine… Whoa… I think I have jet lag. My homecomings usually go more like this – my daughter rushes up to me and says, “I missed you sooo much, what did you bring me?”. My son, looks up from his Wii, says, “Hey Mom” and doesn’t rush towards me until he hears his sister getting her “working mommy guilt gift”.
Other people’s’ kids are cute because they don’t deprive me of sleep and following me into the bathroom. But my kids are cuter (my blog, my judgment call) because they tell me they love me more than chocolate, remind me to wear my seatbelt on the airplane and share their dessert with me. I don’t want more kids because I already have more than I ever could have wished for.
I mentioned last week that I will not be winning any Mother of the Year Awards, but YOU can (or you can nominate a mom). I am announcing my Mom of the Year contest to recognize the crazy things you do as you struggle for balance!
But in the spirit of being Slightly Off-Balance, I am not looking for traditional stories of all organic food, no tv, no yelling (these are all amazing qualities, but I don’t want to feel bad about myself!) You win with humor!
Tell me a story about how you fed your kids McDonald’s for six straight meals or how you ate their cupcakes and told them they were stale. The more off-balance and funny the better. I will announce a winner next Monday, October 25th.
And what is the prize for being Slightly Off-Balance Mom of the Year? The honor! Bragging Rights! In other words, it’s kind of like other aspects of parenting - they don’t hand out awards, but trust me I will say how awesome you are. Isn’t that reward enough? I know, but’s it’s all I got for the moment.
Okay, tell me why you’re Mom of the Year!
Why do I have to keep reminding myself that I am a 33-year-old mother of two?? Why does it only take a couple of cocktails for me to think I still have the energy and liver of a college girl? When will I learn the finer points of responsible drinking?
I spent yesterday recovering from an adult costume party on Saturday night. It was a fun evening. I didn’t lose my shoes, throw-up or embarrass myself, but I still had to recover yesterday. My synapses are still not firing correctly so I will try my best to sound intelligent coherent as I share some lessons learned:
- I made a pact that I would not do shots. I should have stuck to that pact
- Little shorts under my costume was my wisest move all night
- There’s a reason they’re called Kamikazes
- It is best not to meet new people when drinking, first impressions are tough if you can’t see clearly
- Water is more effective when you drink it, not simply carry it around
- Cameras should be banned after 10:00 pm
- Safety pins can be the difference between cute and dramatically inappropriate costumes
- Although you don’t feel the pain when someone steps on your foot with their high-heel at the moment, you will the next day
- Sparkly eye makeup causes eye-twitching the next day
- When attending a costume party, know that if a guy dressed as a sheriff has a patrol car, he might be legit
When was the last time you were reminded of your age?
Yesterday, my witty friend Sarah shared with us 10 reasons why the grass is not greener being a Stay At Home Mom. For those who know Sarah, she is a great mom and certainly has the skills and abilities to go back to work, but she has made a commitment to her family and she’s happy with her decision… most of the time.
So now it’s my turn. Here’s my top 10 on why moms (or dads – I think you are under-represented) should not flock to the office.
- Is this your mommy? When I am out with my children, people come up and act as if my children are with a stranger. “Are you her mom?” This is why my children and I wear nametags, it helps us and those around us.
- The inevitable party follow-up question? Unlike Sarah, when I tell people I have a full-time job, they naturally ask, “Well who cares for your children?”. So I am compelled to explain – “I leave them with a pack of wolves. But I am a responsible mother, so I only leave them with female wolves, they’re more nurturing”.
- Nobody thinks you can help Because I do not care for my children, the kids, and others, assume I have no domestic or child-rearing abilities. Okay, okay, I have very few domestic abilities, but I do know how to care for my children. I can wash a disposable diaper just like a pro.
- Keeping up with the SAHM’s I have never made my own baby food, sewn a Halloween costume or chaired a school fundraiser. (I am not sure I would do those things if I were a SAHM).
- Playdates Playdates are tougher for kids with working parents. Typically playdates start because two mothers who become friends get their kids together. Mothers of the other kids have a hard time be-friending my 21-year-old gorgeous nanny. (I can’t blame them, she wears heels to drive carpool – she intimidates me too.)
- Life plus work deadlines We still have to do homework with the kids, wash soccer uniforms, bake (I mean buy) sweets for bake sales, but then I also have to manage my team at work (aka my day-time parenting job), write presentations and go on business trips. Time is my most precious resource.
- Being MIA Weeks go by where I don’t see a girlfriend, because once work is done, then I need to focus on my kids. Girl time or alone time with my husband gets pushed down the priority list. By the time I have an opening on my calendar, my friends are tired from all the fun they had without me.
- I Am Not in the Running for Anything there’s no way to win mother of the year and since I try to balance being a mom as much as I can, I am not up for employee of the year either. I might win Juggling Lunatic of the Year though, as long as they don’t deduct points for what I drop.
Yes, I owe you two more, but I have a work deadline, no clean underwear and the kids need help with homework, so let me sum up 9 and 10 with my favorite comment of all time:
“Do you think your son is having a hard time because you travel so much?” Well no, but I think he would have a hard time if I didn’t get time away!
While being a working mom is tough, so is being a stay at home mom. We each have amazing days and horrible days. We each struggle with balance, we each want to do our best. The best thing we can do as mothers (and fathers) is support each other, regardless if we get a paycheck for our hard work or not.