Monday, January 18, 2010

Owning my parenting style...

So here we are, 18 months into motherhood. What have i learned thus far on my journey into parenthood? Quite a lot, actually.

I've learned that
  • there's a 4 am: Seriously? even when i was a party going bar star* i didn't believe that this 4 am thing existed. *i was never a party going bar star, but i was pretty sure that the world stopped after 2:30
  • you get used to the smell of poop: i'm not saying that you enjoy it, or want to create a perfume out of it, but the urge to gag and the OHMYGODTHATSTINKS isn't as bad as it was pre-children.
  • you hear yourself saying things like: "it's just pee.": what is this puddle? Oh, it's just pee. we're fine..... AS OPPOSED TO WHAT!?
  • Routinely picking my child up from playing and shoving my nose into his bum area is just another day at the office: Hey, is that MY kid that smells? Nope? Okay! Carry on!
  • you just get used to being covered in various bodily fluids. It becomes part of the Mom Uniform - that and sweat pants: I've come to decide that any woman who calls herself a mother of a toddler who actually looks put together and is wearing nice lipstick may quite possibly be a space robot, and their children should be avoided as they will inevitably try to suck your kids brains out. beware.
  • I have a lot more patience than i ever thought possible, and conversely, i have no patience. I will sit with Chewie for HOURS (Read: fifteen minutes - because that's currently the extent of his attention span) and colour, or read the same book over five times, or help him put on daddy's boots - take off daddy's boots - put on daddy's boots - take off daddy's boots, and i am sometimes amazed at how i (sometimes) am able to handle the tantrums. However, put me in a movie theatre next to some stupid teenager, or on the road with moron drivers, or GOD FORBID, in the mall... my patience is very slim - and if i am able to be at any of those places SANS baby, you can bet your sweet ass i don't want to waste it in line while you decide, like, which type of frappaccino you want, like ohmigod, did you see becky at that party?
  • it's okay to let go of the 'ideal mom' and just be the mom i am.
the last one is a biggie.
When i got into this whole parenting game, i had such high hopes and ambitions of doing it all 'right' - giving 110% and being the best mom that Chewie could ever have.

Here's the thing, there are a lot of ways to be a bad mom, but there also isn't only ONE way to be a good one.

There are a few things that i'm proud of with Chewie - that i had a doula, who was fabulous on the birth day, that i was able to deliver Chewie without drugs, that i was eventually able to nurse him and sustain him for almost a whole year, that i was able to make all his baby food, that i learned how to soothe him with infant massage.... to name a few.

Mother's to Be have all these expectations, and Mothers that Are have all this advice and ideals and can be pretty judgy and preachy - and it's a lot of pressure. One, to live up to your own expectations, and two; to try to fit yourself into this *MOM* mold that the world thinks is THE WAY TO BE A GOOD MOM

I've learned that i really have to be gentle with myself and to forgive myself those expectations that i didn't quite meet.

I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but when mat leave ended - we just couldn't afford it... so i went back to work. I felt guilty and still do, when i take him to the sitter's and he cries and tries to block the door so i can't leave. It still breaks my heart. But not being a stay at home mom doesn't make me a bad one.

I may have wanted to put Chewie in cloth diapers - but in the end, i couldn't do it. I know myself and how hard it is to keep up with my OWN laundry, let alone the laundry of the new baby PLUS the cloth diapers. I felt guilty about this for a long time before i was able to just let it go, telling myself that i knew myself better than anyone. Yes, i know the benefits of cloth vs disposable - but i just had to let myself let this one go. The fact that he's wearing disposable diapers does not make me a bad mom.

I tried to avoid the loud and flashy baby toys for the simple reason that they annoy(ed) the piss out of me. I had to let this one go when i saw the way Chewie's eyes lit up and how much he loved playing with his little boom box. Letting him play with loud flashy toys does not make me a bad mom.

I admit to, on more than one occasion, plopping Chewie in front of a Disney movie with a bowl full of Goldfish crackers so i could lay on the couch. This doesn't make me a bad mom, in fact - i would argue that those few minutes of solace on the couch make me a better mom, because i'm less likely to murder him if i can sit down for a few minutes. ;)

There is so much pressure on women to be successful in their jobs, to be independent, to keep a spotless house, to be a great chef who provides nutritional well balanced meals for her family, to be a wonder mom who teaches and plays and clothes and launders and bathes her children, and then to top it all off to have the energy and the desire and the GAMS to be a super sexy LOVE goddess in the boudoir... Does anyone EVER achieve this?

Honestly, i haven't shaved my legs in over 3 months.

There just isn't hours in a day to do it all, unless i start snorting coke.

I know that i have been a promoter and a pusher of the things that i have found valuable in my experience (i.e. natural birth, breastfeeding, etc.) and one friend of mine told me, quite defiantly, that she fully planned on getting the epidural and was planning on formula feeding. I told her that i could never judge her for what works for her, and no one should. She knows herself better than anyone. And i really felt awful that she felt that i would think less of her for that. It showed me i need to rethink the way i phrase some things.

and who's to say that had my son been born on time and not 8 weeks early that i might have caved and asked for the drugs. He was 4lb 11oz when he was born, so yeah - it hurt, but not like a 9lb baby would! And as for breastfeeding, well, that almost didn't happen for me - it took a lot of hard work and a lot of will power and a lot of desire and patience to make that happen.

But in the end, if i had HAD to have a C Section, or use drugs, or formula feed... or use disposable diapers, or sometimes let Chewie sip beer, or use the TV as a babysitter so my mind doesn't fly away - this doesn't mean that i'm a bad mom.

So, i've decided to own my parenting style.

To take the pressure stop trying to fit myself into this mold that...well, doesn't fit.
To share advice, but not judge someone else's parenting style.

YES, sometimes i let Chewie eat CrackDonald's french fries - because they're my vice, and i'm also teaching him how important it is to it would be hypocritical of me not to share with him...

But i love my son. I hold him when he cries, i tickle his toes, i read him books, we colour together, i chase him around the house, we giggle, we laugh, we hug and kiss, and i know that i am being a good mom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eighteen Months

Dear Chewie,

Today you are eighteen months old. One and a half years. While every stage with you has been an adventure, i am really enjoying 1 1/2. You are hilarious. You are finding things that amuse you, you have a very clear sense of what you want, and what you don't want, and you are beginning to have the capacity to TELL us what you do or do not want.

There's a new word every day, as you sponge up everything around you. Some of your words are:
may-na (Maynard, your giraffe)
Cinda (the cat)
**added yesterday: WaaEEE, EeeeAaa. (WallE, Eva - guess what we were watching)

and many other words i'm sure you're saying, but i haven't been able to decipher yet.

You cut another tooth Christmas morning, finally. It had been almost six month since your last tooth and i can't believe how easy it was to forget the process of teething... but now we're back in it again, along with constantly red and chapped cheeks.

Right now, everything is a guitar. ESPECIALLY the guitars. You started rocking out a couple of months ago, headbanging and rocking the 'horns' when ever your dad or i put on heavier music... but just recently you started singing the guitar parts... and the song of choice? every single time? "Symphony of Destruction" by Megadeath. So effin' cute. Our little Rock Star.

But it hasn't been all laughs and giggles and squeals and games of "Chase mom and/or dad around the Loveseat". This may be the most trying stage we've been through, because we KNOW you understand us when we ask you to be nice, or gentle, or to not hit or pinch, but you continue to do those types of behaviours when you're acting out or not getting your way. My dad jokes, naturally, that you and I are a lot alike. Hm.

We've started using the 'naughty step' which has had some mixed results, but hey, you're only one. It's a constant struggle to remember that You're ONLY one!! (and a half) but the flip side of that is that we're starting to expect more from you because you ARE one. Not that i'm expecting you to clean your room or vacuum between the cushions just yet...

Your mama had a rough couple of months there, and sometimes your unexpected big sloppy Kiddo kisses are the exact dose of happy that i needed to get through the day. My little angel-boy, you make me so unbelievably happy sometimes. I just can't get enough of you. I try to remember on those nights when you're awake in the night from nightmares (sorry, you got that trait from me) that i won't always be able to snuggle you in the dark, to feel your chest moving with mine... to be the calming soothing touch you need to relax... but i will always ALWAYS want to.

I'll love you for ever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be.

Love mama
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