Friday, June 4, 2010

Sometimes The Kids Aren't Your Life

I find myself sometimes saying lines that I hate. My most loathed phrase when it comes to motherhood is "My kids are my life". It stems from watching the dynamics of my own parents. I'm an adult child of a dissolved marriage that happened when I was a mother and when I heard the words "My kids are my life" from my own mom, it made me cringe. Not just because my relationship with her has been, for lack of better words, interesting in my 30+ years, but because even as a child, I would think, "Why would she make us just her life? Why doesn't she have her own?" I spent many years before marriage wanting what my parents had seemed to have had. I wanted a man to treat me as my Dad had the women in his life. It was a misguided fairy tale goal, to say the least.

But now, I can see why my mom would say that and find myself saying the same dreaded words when my life isn't all it's caked up to be. When I find myself wondering if my own marriage will last, when I feel like I'm not good enough, when I feel like I need to defend staying at home instead of working...I say, "My kids are my life"

It's not the truth though. Yes, they are my shinning achievements, my reason for breathing when I feel like I don't think I can, the first things I wake up and think about and the last things I think of before I sleep...Hell, even sometimes during my sleep, when I can strangely wake up out of a exhaustion coma to hear one of them coughing or whatever....But my kids shouldn't be my entire life.

Making them that isn't fair to them. It subconsciously makes them feel like they have impossible expectations by their mom. If they fall in the least bit, they'll remember clearly what you said about them being your entire life. They may strive for it or give up. In my case as a kid, I did both. I had tried to be the smartest, most polite, helpful kid, then when I felt like it wasn't enough, I rebelled.

Do I want that for my kids? No. Do I still make them my life? Yes. But I want more. I want to be able to balance my own goals, hobbies, circle of friends, decisions without having to think that "How will this effect all 5 kids?"

Some would say, that's selfish. That's not what good mothers do. If I wanted to act like that, I shouldn't have had 5 kids. Well my answer is, there has to be more than giving everything to your children until there is nothing left. Who wants a used up mom? I've seen the other side of what happens when you give your entire life to kids....they grow up and you're stuck there. Wanting the days when they needed you for everything and now they barely do. I've seen what it does to a woman when all she has left are memories. It's not pretty.

I think in this generation of motherhood, we're so busy trying to define what a good mother is that we gain Superwoman complex. Meaning, if you don't do 4000 things devoted to your child everyday, you're a bad mom. The truth is, if you have the bond with your child that you want more for them than what you have, if they are your primary goal and focus, you're a mother...and a good one.

Good mothers do put their kids first...but good mothers also know that they are only human. You kinda have to say to yourself, as long as you're laying down a good foundation for the life storms in each child and you don't have to pay for intensive therapy when they're've done your job.

But back to why I don't want to make the kids my life....

I want to be able to feel blessed, not resentful of my children. It's so easy to make them your life, but it's so hard to detach yourself from it. As I end this week, and start another, I want to make each day a step into finding who I am besides mom, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter....I want to prepare myself for the time when they won't need me so much, when all I have left are the memories of 7am chaos and 6:30 dinner laughs and homework madness...When my house becomes quiet and hopefully my husband will be there to look at me and say "You've done what you needed to do for them...Now do you" And then I can proudly say, "I've always have done me."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Difference Between a Babysitter and Me

A few days ago, I was referred to as a babysitter.
I won't mention who said it because I'm over it.

Anyways, I sat back, wallowed in it for a few days and now I can see the difference.

I'm a stay-at-home mom...with dreams, goals and aspirations to one day, not be one.
But for now, I'm home. I have been home since the pregnancy of my third child. He will be 10 tomorrow. So my at-home, not making my own money, being what at what feels like an unpaid maid has been me for a while now. So when anyone says to me "You're just a babysitter.", it causes me to step back & question who I am. What I am, why am I this...

Here's my answer...

A babysitter has her own home. She can leave after her services are performed. Her central priority is to make sure the kids are fed & not causing harm to each other.

I am here...I live here. Not like a nanny. This is my family. I don't clock out and live another life. This is my life. My priorities are not centered. They scatter from child to child. I feed, clean, care for, keep from danger, prevent serious harm all while hearing Mommie...more than one would like to hear it.

A babysitter wakes up to care for themselves first. Then heads to their job.

I wake up knowing what I have to do for others...and in the fog before coffee and water hitting my face, I've done a load of laundry & probably picked up a wet towel or two. I've taken out dinner to defrost, figured what the main cleaning project for that day will be, who has a test today, and prayed that when I wake the kids up today, no one starts fighting 30 seconds after waking. I mend boo boos, fix sniffles and coughs, solve homework problems, and teach them about the world. I solve friend issues, and sibling issues and spend much of my afternoon saying "What's wrong now" and "Clean your room".

A babysitter gets paid for their services with money.

I get paid by the security of knowing my bills are paid, money to get groceries & the tons of hugs and kisses I can con the kids out of. My payment is knowing I helped shape 5 future adults...with not much serious damage.

A babysitter has the option of being emotionally attached to the kids.

I have been emotionally attached since the grew in option there.

I don't look for a paycheck, someone to kiss my ass, or carry me on a pedestal...THIS IS MY LIFE...I CHOSE IT.

I love Motherhood, but it is mainly a thankless job. I accept that. But what I don't accept is being compared to a babysitter.

I'd rather be compared to Bounty paper towel....Because I'm a living and breathing quicker picker upper....Not a babysitter.

TJ, Tyler, Health Class and Nastiness...

TJ & Tyler have Health class...6th grade they learn about the actual act of sex. How babies are made & how to protect yourself. I signed off on it for them to have it and I support sex ed.

With that being said I was NEVER ready to have the talk. I'm a very honest parent...they knew that they came out of my hot pocket and not delivered to me by the stork. BUT I was NOT ready for the talk.

Apparently my kids weren't either...TJ came in giggling and off into his room. He has the makings of a mustache, it's all dark and peachy fuzzy on his face so he went to go play with it...again.

Tyler came in and went straight to me...Here was the convo:

Tyler- Mom, I don't wanna hear anything about penises or vaginas for a long time!


Tyler- We had health class today and we learned about sex and how you make babies.

Me- OK, you have questions?

Tyler- Yeah....So you let our Daddy do that stuff to you? Five Times? To make us??

Me- Ummmmm, huh?

Tyler- You did! You did!! I can't believe that!! Ewwwwww!!!!

He's gonna need therapy when he finds out 1 I haven't done it just the 5 times and 2 people don't have sex just to make babies.

For the next 3 kids, I'm taking shots of patron when they tell me they had health class....
So this is what it feels like to 'blog'.

Well first let me tell you why I am 'blogging'. I've been a mom for almost 13 years now...along the ride with my oldest son, birth control gave up on me 4 other times.....
So, at the requests of many friends family and random strangers who see me in the grocery store and see the look of defeat on me....I'm writing my journey through motherhood down.

I will warn only one time....what I say is honest, and my best recollection of what happens and how I feel. Also, I'm not the best speller, a professional writer or a person that really gives a flying crap on what others think of me at this point. But I do hope that what I write someone will relate, or laugh or realize their life isn't so sucky.

Because my life isn't so sucky.

It has it's moments...time spans...but it's not sucky. I laugh it can't be completely sucky.

Well, let me get on with the meat of this first blog. And who I am.
I'm 32. *gulp* I'm the oldest of 3 kids. I got married at 18 to the man who helped bring my 4 sons and daughter. This year will be 15 years together and 14 married.

We had our oldest TJ a year after we were married....10 months later (no that's not a typo), I gave birth to Tyler. There was an 18 month break (didn't like hubby too much then) and then my son Tre` made his arrival. 11 months later (again no typo) I had my fourth son Tyrel. Then to round out the insanity and my need to mock God, 11 months after my youngest boy, my daughter Aaliyah rounded out what I now call Nuggetland.

So that's pretty much how my nuggets got here. They are now almost 13, almost 12, 10, 9 and 8.
So I pretty much have my brain fried at this point.

Let's see what else is there to know....I like vodka...both the reason why I have kids and why I haven't caged them.

Other reason why I started this blog....3 years ago I join Cafemom. And I began writing a weekly journal. I call it my Mid-Week Vent. So many of those I will bring on this if this works out. The Mid-Weeks were my therapy when life wasn't so kind. They were my comfort blanket and my most personal thoughts. I only shared them with fellow moms. My husband hasn't seen them. But now, after much thought....and an addiction to facebook where there are fellow moms that have never seen them.....I'm sharing them.

So my next post will be flashbacks for me, and new stuff for whoever reads this.

But for now, I must stop typing and go be a oldest just started growing a mustache and he's going to be late. He's been playing with that shadow peach fuzz since he woke up. And my 8 year old needs approval on her outfit...she has a tendency to walk out looking like she's heading to a music video and not school.

Until my next free moment....