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Tag Archives: Work-At-Home-Parent

Things No One Tells You

So breastfeeding…

It’s great.  It’s fem-affirming, it’s convenient and man-o-man is it ever cheap.

Here’s the thing that I notice most, now that we’re 4-months into this thing, having my 2 previous children on formula by this point: it’s exhausting being the sole source of sustenance for this little person.

And really?  Motherhood is exhausting enough.  Well, motherhood for an infant anyway.  Once the kids are sleeping soundly through the night (yeah, yeah, “6 hours is considered sleeping through the night,” you helpfully point out.  To that I say nuh-uh and you know it too) the exhaustion I experienced was primarily of my own making.

I’m not talking about just the getting-up-at-3/4AM-to-feed-her exhaustion, I’m talking about the feeding every 3 hours, the changing of diapers (some times clothes too), the reading, the singing, the floor time, the chair time, the do-whatever-she-needs time.  I’m talking too – especially today – about the crying times.

What, for the love of all that is good and holy, do you want, sweet child of mine?!?!?

I mean seriously: I hold you, you cry.  I rock you and sing to you, you cry.  I feed you.  You are quiet for a moment but pop off to remind me – through more crying – that this is not going to placate you for ever.  I put you on your floor mat, you cry.  I pick you up, you cry some more.  I put you in your swing: yet more tears.  Car seat, crib, bath, all of it: no dice.

~ahem.

But I digress.  You’ll forgive me, I know, because I am tired.  I am tired of being yelled at all day.  And I’m tired of being the only one who feeds her (yes, I have a pump.  Yes, I use said pump.  And there are 4 bottles in the freezer waiting to be consumed.  But it takes a while to get enough pumped to make a bottle, and MOMD & I are looking at taking some time away so those bottles are reserved gold right now).  I would love love love to take off.  To pick up MOMD from the train one evening and head somewhere… else.  A beloved friend has offered to care for our 3 kids, giving us some time away.  And I want to take her up on it, like…  right now.  Like every thing else though, it takes planning and preparing.

And so, I continue.

To feed (and not just the baby but the whole family), to soothe when possible, to entertain and be entertained.  All the while I must remember to cherish these moments, because as so many helpful people point out, “the moments are fleeting,” or “You’re going to miss this,” or “before you know it they’ll be grown up with children of their own.”  And while at the moment I do not at all appreciate these sentiments, I know they are true.

For she is my last baby.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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Parenting… It’s Tough!

The other day, Connor came home with a birthday invitation.  Normally this occurrence does not cause any concern, other than “what are we going to get for a present?  What do you know about them?  Do they have any wants?”  You know, the usual sorta thing.  This invitation was different though.

It was an invite for a sleep-over party.  And the birthday celebrant is a girl.

I like to think of myself as a fairly modern woman, easy going and adaptable.  I try to be an engaged parent, who’s friend enough with her kids that they want to talk to me, and spend time with me, while at the same time being the authority figure.  I like to be seen as reasonable, supportive and accommodating.  When I read that invitation though, all thoughts of  fun and openness flew out the window.  “Some hussy wants to spend the night with my baby boy??? I don’t think so!”

Okay, not quite.  But you know me: I do have a mild flare for the drama.

It did put me into a minor state of alarm though…  these kids are 8 year-olds, for the most part…  Is it acceptable to have co-ed sleep-overs, with people to whom you are not related, when you’re this old?  So I did what any reasonable person does when faced with a dilemma: I posted it to facebook.  And what a flurry of commentary that brought on!

Before I go on, I feel that I should share something very personal with you.  Here’s why: it fully colours my perspective and influences my thought processes around parenting.  Even more so when considering the “co-ed sleepover” type questions.  I am a survivor of sexual abuse.  My first offense happened when I was 6.  So to be honest, I was surprised when we had “the talk” with Connor recently that he didn’t know what sex was.

There’s a fine line, I think, between responsible parenting and imposing your own experiences on your children.  It’s not that I think because he was invited to a co-ed sleepover at the age of 8 that he will be molested, or made to do something that he doesn’t want to do.  It’s not that I’m worried about the parents of this little girl treating my son inappropriately either.  When I posted my concern about this invite to facebook, a friend of mine who has some shared history with me made her position clear: do not send the kid, kids are into “show me yours, I’ll show you mine” and he will be…  for lack of a better word, unsafe.

Because of my history, I know what she’s talking about.  I’m not worried about the adults in the host-home for the sleepover, it’s that there will be other children there, who may have had the terrible misfortune of experience like mine.  And once that train is out of the station, there is no turning back.  Abused children instigate these games because they are innocent and are unaware that what they are suggesting is highly inappropriate.  I know this because my first offender was not the picture you think of when you think “child abuser”.  My first offender was a child, who was engaging in play with me the way someone else – likely an adult in a position of trust – had played with him.

Ultimately, I am likely to allow Connor to spend the night.  What’s important to me is that there is another boy attending because I think that will make him feel a lot more comfortable.  I know that Connor has a very strong sense of himself, is not easily swayed to do what he is not comfortable with (have you met MOMD?  Connor is so much like his Dad) and he has a very firm grasp on privacy and his need for it.  I do not think he will engage in inappropriate behaviour.  I trust him to be a perfect little 8-year-old boy.

The 6-year-old girl in me is very proud of him, and is working every day to let him go and live his own life.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Family, Opinion, Oversharing, Raising Kids

 

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Challenges

So, a couple of days ago (maybe longer, because remember?  I was in a sickness coma?) I saw this image on facebook:

And I, being a naturally positive person, really liked it.  As a self-employed person it REALLY spoke to me.  Because you know, when you’re the boss, it’s a lot easier to say “I’m not coming in today,” because what are the repercussions?  Exactly.  In the short term, there are few.  In the long term, however…  well, we’re not talking about my business, are we?

So anyway, I shared the pic to my page, and a friend responded to it saying “And if your sabotaging your work, maybe the work is something you shouldn’t be doing.”

Now, I’m doing something different with my work life (Direct Sales and Network Marketing are absolutely not the same as a regulated, 9-5 job).  So I play by a different set of rules (mostly a self-directed, motivated kind).  This was an interesting statement though, so I asked him if he could expand his thought for me.  And this is what he said next: “You’re doing something you don’t want to do but believe you have to do it, or everyone says you have to do it but subconsciously you either disagree or want to do something else so you do things that keep you from completing the task.”

I can see what he’s saying.  And sure – to some extent I agree.

I can’t agree entirely with his point though.  Here’s why: I believe that as human beings, we are meant to grow and evolve and develop into more than we are.  This is a constant thing, that we should be experiencing throughout our lives.  Many people agree with me; I know this because there’s an adage that says, “You learn something new every day.” And really, if you are actually learning something new, changing your perspective on the world – be it everso slight a shift – and ultimately doing something different, you will be uncomfortable.

We are programed to be comfortable.  Entire industries are built around the idea that comfort is the ultimate goal in our lives. (Lay-Z Boy, anyone?) Marketing campaigns are developed to play to our most basic instincts – safety, which in and of itself is a form of comfort – so that we spend our lives scrimping and saving so that we aren’t left eating cat food and living in a shopping cart in our “golden years”.  If you ask a person in their mid-30’s what they really want out of life, or what it would mean to them to be financially free, most of them will tell you some variation of, “Enough to meet all of my obligations and have a little left over.  I just want to be comfortable.”  Because of this quest for “comfort”, when we feel the opposite of that – uncomfortable – our gut instinct is to stop what we’re doing, and revert to the behaviours or positions that made us feel comfortable.  To sabotage our forward momentum.

The problem with this is that, if you’re not uncomfortable, you are not growing.  You are not challenging yourself to be the best that you can be in the moment you are in.  Which you know, is fine if you don’t want anything more than you all ready have.  I am not one of those people though.  I have a lot that I am grateful for, and I have great ambition for even more than I have right now.  And we all know that if we want something other than what we have, we have to do what we are not currently doing.

Which brings me back to the image above.  If we stopped spending time, thinking up reasons for why we can’t or shouldn’t do what we are planning and just simply DO IT, we would accomplish so much.  I want to leave you with this thought that I heard from a training I was listening to recently.  The speaker said, “Human beings are the only thing in nature that does not fully manifest itself into all it was created to be.”  Well, I am here, reaching, stretching and pushing to grow to my fullest, to realize my potential.  Won’t you join me?

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Opinion, Randomness

 

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Being Sick, Taking Naps, and Doing what Needs to be Done

Today, my eldest is home sick.  He spiked a fever last night just before bed, and it was still hanging around with him this morning.  Add to that the knowledge that he threw up just as he was waking up for the day (MOMD thinks the coughing he was doing at that time caused the vomit, but still.  If he’s puking, he’s not going to school) and I knew he would be staying home.

Today was going to be an exciting day for Sam & I.  I registered him for a program at the OEYC called “Stepping Stones to School” and today was the first session.  I was excited about it because 1) it’s in the school that he will be attending come September, and some familiarity would go a long way to easing any possible nervousness about school.  2) it starts at 12:30 and goes until 2:45.  I drop Sam in the classroom, and me and the other care givers go to the staff room down the hall, have coffee and chat with one another.  SWEET!  And the other part that really thrills me is that this program is free.  I paid nothing for it.  Well I suppose I do indirectly through taxes and whatnot, but not cost at the time of registering!  I love that.

Alas, today we wouldn’t be going because Connor is sick.

I made the best of it: pajama day for everyone!  Sam was having none of that, however and was dressed before I was even out of bed (the school bus leaves our stop at 7:42 every day. If I didn’t have to get up to make a lunch and get everyone to the bus, I was not going to.  Judge me if you will; I was up by 7:10 anyway).  Connor, on the other hand, was glad that I was in agreement with his position, ’cause he was not getting out of those jammies for nothing.

We had a lazy morning, watching TV, playing Mario Brothers and lounging on the couch.  At lunchtime which Connor was able to eat and keep down, I told him that he would have to have a nap today.  “Part of the body’s healing process, my Love.”  He agreed readily enough, which frankly shocked me.  He hates to nap and it’s usually an epic struggle to get him to rest.  But sure enough, when 12:50 came around and I called for naptime, he went to his room willingly.

Sam decided that having a nap was a good idea too.  Sam does not nap anymore, as a general rule of thumb.  We gave up naps before Christmas when it became clear that his bedtime was being pushed back about as long as he had slept that day.  So he’s been off naps for a while.  Some days he falls asleep on the couch, and I let him have 20 – 30 minutes.  But no more.

Until today…

He got into bed just like Connor at 12:50 and I’m sure was asleep no later than 1:00 (I got in the shower, so I couldn’t say for sure).  He’s still sleeping, and my kitchen clock now says 2:04.  One part of my brain says that I should wake him, make him get up and move around so that he will go to sleep tonight.  Another part of me is so happy to have some time today to make some calls (business related) as I’ll be out at our Region Meeting tonight and unable to call then.

So I found myself at a crossroads: should I feel guilty, give in, and wake him?  Or should I accept that today is a different day, and give myself permission to do what I need to do to move forward?

I decided on the latter.  Guilt has never been something that I willingly participate in, and some days, we all just need a nap.  So the kids can sleep and I will move forward.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Family, Sickness/Wellness

 

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“Well of course… *you* stay *home*…”

This one’s for you, Skwishee.

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I run my own business, from home.  I work it in the “nooks and crannies” of my life.  Between morning snacks and dishes, between making lunch and organizing arts & craft time, between going to the play ground and the OEYC drop-in programs, between laundry, homework, walking the dog, and so on.

Part of my business plan is to share the opportunity to have a home-based business with others (no, this is *not* a sales pitch – it’s a story, so stick with me).  Another part is to talk to people.  Sometimes I’m talking to colleagues and we compare notes on our business’.  Other times I’m presenting something to a group, and people I don’t know come up to me and want to talk about my business.  I’m sure this is a moot point – since I have a blog where I tell you stuff about me and my life – but I’ll make it anyway: I am fairly open about my life, in all areas.  In fact, I often call myself an open book.  So of course when these strangers ask me questions, I answer them honestly and sincerely.  Most times what I say is well received, although there are times where I will be sharing what I like to call “a hard truth” and there is some push back.  Because, just as the name implies, sometimes the truth is hard to hear.

Other times…  other times the person – usually a woman (why are we so hard on other women?!?!) – will make a comment like, “Well of course that worked for you – you don’t work,” or, ” – you stay home,” or, “- you don’t have a job.”

I’m sure that there are lots of parents out there – Moms and Dads – who stay home with their children who can relate to a statement like these.  I know Skwishee here can.  I was always so upset and offended by this statement.  I think this is because at the root, the person saying it is making a value judgement on me.  I often feel that they are saying that I live in the lap of luxury, doing nothing all day but watching The Young & The Restless and doing yoga or something.  And really – anyone who knows me at all knows that this is just not true.  I never knew how to respond to this kind of commentary.  Until…

Until a friend and colleague of mine told me what she says to those people.  The conversation goes something like this:

Them: “Well of course that worked for you, you don’t have a job.”
S/WAHP: (Stay/Work At Home Parent): “Oh.  I see.  Well let me ask you a question: do you have children?”
Them: “Yes, I do.”
S/WAHP: “Ok, and from your comment I assume that you DO have a job?”
Them: “Yes, I do.”
S/WAHP: “I thought so.  So let me ask you another question: what do you do with your children when you go to work?  Do they stay home by themselves?”
Them: “Of course not – they go to daycare/the sitters.”
S/WAHP: “Well that makes sense, doesn’t it?  And so tell me: do you pay your daycare/sitter?”
Them: “Yes, I do.  $175 a week.”
S/WAHP: “Why?” A puzzled look usually greets this question. “Why do you pay them?”
Them: “Because they wouldn’t do it otherwise — I have to pay for the service!”
S/WAHP: “Yes – because it’s their job.  They look after your children because it’s their job.  So when I stay home with my children, I do it because now it’s my job.”

And really, as the S/WAHP, you aren’t being an asshole when you say this.  Truly, we do not think of caring for children as jobs, when we do it for our own children.  Which is terrible, really, considering that we really are shaping the future of the world to come by raising people who will become adults, voters, decision-makers, and so on.  As the S/WAHP who points this out to the “them”, I am opening their eyes to their own bias and value proposition.

Sometimes they are open to the challenge of changing their perspective.  Sometimes they are apologetic because they realize they’ve potentially offended me.  And sometimes they are completely dismissive of my point.  And when that happens I know for sure that they are being the asshole, not me.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Vexations

 

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