VT Mommies

Love your family, love yourself

Category: FAMILY

My partner and I like to remind ourselves that parenting won’t always be so hard. It will always be hard, but having young kids — twin one-year-old boys and a three-year-old daughter  — is really hard. Like, sleep-deprived, irritable, I-don’t-think-I-will-ever-get-to-sit-down-again, what-a-shit-show hard. But Amy and I are holding onto the hope that as the kids get older, some things will get easier. Our daughter is proof of this. Her independence is almost canceled out by the unrelenting “outer dialogue” she fills our ears with on a daily basis. She talks all day long to herself, to us, and to her imaginary friends. Yet, I still prefer that over the boys’ inability to talk and subsequent whining.

I refuse to think about the years where hormones, heartbreaks, and curfews will exhaust me. But as we wait for our young children to get a little bit older so that we can go to the beach, the park, or across the street without a snack and diaper bag, Amy and I like to daydream and think about the things we miss about not having kids … The things we know we’ll get back someday, but with the benefit of three awesome kids. Here are some of the things we long for.

  • Sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. Sleep until noon sleep.
  • Spontaneity. Tantrums and projectile vomit totally fill our lives with spontaneous events, but having the ability to do anything without forethought or a plan would be awesome.
  • Being asked to do something spontaneous. Sadly, our friends know better.
  • Showering or going to the bathroom without interruption, phantom cries, or company.
  • Eating without stopping every three minutes to re-fill two highchair trays we can’t keep full because the boys eat like they have tapeworms.
  • Eating without a toddler or babies looking at you like they haven’t eaten in days. Between open mouths and our daughter reminding me “sharing is caring,” I want to scream, “Mama doesn’t share food!”
  • Being around people who get my Friends references.
  • Working out.
  • Date nights.
  • Not having laundry-folding, dish-washing, and lunch-making as prerequisites for bedtime.
  • Having the ability to stay awake long enough to read more than a blog post on my phone before bed.
  • Books that are written for adults.
  • Television and movies for adults.
  • Finishing a cup of coffee before it goes cold.
  • Sleep. Uninterrupted Sleep. Sleep until noon sleep.

I could go on and on. But I have been hiding in the bathroom long enough. And I only get so much free time during the day that is not between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am. Care to add to the list? Sharing is caring!

Tina originally shared this story at our first VT Mommies Adult Story Time. As she read, the tears began to fall. Her tears, our tears. Her simple, beautiful story is one many of us know so well and we thought it was worth sharing again here.  

I have always been an out of sight, out of mind individual.  However, when I found out that I was expecting, it was a bit of a departure for me to want to savor the experience of every minute, and moment of my pregnancy.  I immediately felt like I was a mother.  I stopped drinking soda and coffee, kept a daily journal of everything I ate, got my 8+ hours of sleep, and read and visited every pregnancy and child birth related book and website known to man.  I was proactive and timely with all of my doctor’s visits and was that annoying friend that emailed all of the ultrasound pictures to everyone, and hung it on the refrigerator for posterity.  Even when I put the crib together, I cleverly placed the infant sized robe in the crib to stage it for the forthcoming life presence that would soon occupy that space.  Obsessed? No! An anxious expecting mother? Yes!

And so, it came…the last week of my pregnancy.   I was ravenously hungry, but because of my growing belly it felt as though my stomach was up to my chin.  It was very difficult to eat an equivalent amount that I hungered for.  I was in the middle of enjoying a small salad and London Broil that I waited all week to eat when my water broke.

My son was delivered 20 hours later, and in the middle of the night, he and I shared unforgettable and emotional first moments.  I looked at him in amazement, the way only a mother could, amazed at his presence and his little body, and that my body had this amazing ability to construct something so beautiful, and yet so needy for me, his mother.  But as much as I thought he needed me, I realized that I needed him.  This was MY chance at a ‘second life’ so to speak, a new opportunity to reinvent and discover new facets of myself, and to uncover new abilities about myself yet to be known or understood.  In my delirious state of fatigue, I was still able to speak the words…. “you are MY rebirth…MY salvation.”  And in that moment, is when I REALLY began to feel like a mom.

I Was a Gay Kid

Long before I was a gay parent, I was a gay kid.  I was in kindergarten when I developed my first crush. She was our student teacher from one of the local colleges. I was totally smitten and when she left at the end of the semester, I was heartbroken. I barely knew how to spell, but I knew I was gay. Maybe I didn’t know what gay meant, but I knew the fuzzy feelings of affection for another girl were different. The feelings were wrong, and I knew I could never tell anyone about those feelings. Girls like boys. Boys will eventually like girls. And then they get married.

I struggled through 13 years of school before I went off to college. I played several sports and focused on being a good student.  I did everything I could to fit in. I met a lot of people; smart and kind people.  But not one of them ever gave me the opportunity to be open or feel safe about my sexuality. Between church and bigotry, my family was not a place for support either. I heard jokes about faggots and queers. I knew the hatred for suspected gay and lesbian neighbors, and I was taught the sins of homosexuality.

I kept what felt like an awful, shameful secret. I was terrified of losing friends and the approval of people I respected.  I was scared and sad. That is no way for a kid to feel.

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It’s been 29 years since I have been five years old, and things are better, but not great. Technology has advanced much faster than human decency. I can ask my phone to dictate directions, but I can’t get marriage benefits or parental rights throughout the United States. Kids are still afraid to come out as gay, lesbian, or transgender. And if they do come out, some are bullied to the point of suicide.

We, as moms, cannot protect our kids from frustration, heartache or negativity.  But we can certainly make them feel safe and loved at home. I’m not suggesting this isn’t already the case. But it is a fact that some of you have gay children, whether they, or you, know it yet. I am asking you to make the possibility of being gay comfortable for your child.

I’m not asking you to swaddle your infant in a rainbow flag, though that would be awesome, or force your son to wear pink, which would be awesome too. I am asking you to remind your child or children that they can tell you anything.  Remember to talk about how much you love and respect the courage of any gay friends and family members you know. Read books about different kinds of families, including same-sex parents. Tell your kids you will love them, unconditionally, no matter what.

If this seems too hard, do me the favor of thinking about two things:  The next time your child hugs you or smiles at you—assuming they haven’t just done something that makes you want to run away with a passport and bottle of booze—hug them harder and allow yourself to feel the love and pride in your heart.  Would that feeling change if you knew your kid was gay?

What if your child came to you needing a hug because they were sad or hurt—again, assuming they haven’t just done something that makes you want to run away with a passport and bottle of booze—would you not comfort them because they might be gay?

Kids should be loved and nurtured, even the gay ones. Kids have enough battles to fight; fighting their sexuality, society’s tolerance, or for your love, should not be necessary. You tolerate co-workers, you tolerate certain family members every Thanksgiving; do more than tolerate your kid or their friend if they turn out to be gay. Accept them and love them. And give them the environment to love and accept themselves.

One of our many jobs as parents is to raise kids with confidence. Confidence comes from happiness, and that should come from home.

My husband and I are in that unique phase of parenting; we have emerged from the haze of newborn parenting and are preparing to have our oldest enter kindergarten this fall. This leads to a whole new world that we have yet to adjust to. Friending. Remember your first day of freshman year at college? Desperately wanting to seem cool, knowing no one, and none of the rules? Yeah … tune into that feeling. How do you make friends as an adult/parent/couple?

My husband and I are very different – he is smart, laid back, fairly quiet at first. I, on the other hand, have been referred to as “an acquired taste.” Finding folks who want to hang out with BOTH of us AND our kids – no small feat. We both work full-time, and so during our free time, we like to spend time together – wouldn’t it be nice to have other “couple friends” with kids?

When I graduated from college, I noticed that my parents no longer hung out with the parents of my high school friends. I asked Mom about this once – and she filled me in that the only thing that they had in common with the other parents were, well, us. So once we were out of the house – they all felt free to find new friends. Is this what it comes to? Identifying folks you’ll spend the next 18 years hanging out with at soccer tournaments, ballet recitals, and band concerts? How do you identify which ones are going to be the fun ones – you know, sneaking beer into the auditorium in sippy cups?

I’ve found that it isn’t easy to make friends with parents. I’ve tried to chat people up at birthday parties, soccer practice, gymnastics practice, mommy and me groups – I’m not shy. But often it turns into a parenting competition “my kids only eat organic, unprocessed, fair-trade food,” “my kids are in Montessori and can already play a concerto,” “I don’t believe in sarcasm – it stunts emotional growth.”  SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?  I usually don’t let my kids eat the Cheerios off the floor. That’s the best I can say with a straight face. And the thought of hanging with sanctimonious uber-moms for the next 18 years makes me roll my eyes uncontrollably.

I HAVE been incredibly fortunate to meet a couple of fabulous like-minded other moms in the parenting circuit – thankfully. And COUPLE friends? – it brings back the nightmare of dating all over again … ”Do they like me?” “Is it too soon to call?” “Should I friend them on facebook?” This is more stressful than choosing a daycare!

Get out there folks – make some friends!

I lay in bed tonight struggling with something that I have been struggling with for more than a year now.  It’s something that I think a lot of women my age go through. At least I hope they do and I hope that someone has some great advice for me.

It’s a little something called “baby fever.”

I have two beautiful, happy, healthy, boys. They are five and nine and I could not ask for better kids. About a year ago, I mentioned to my husband that I would love to have another baby.   was not surprised by his response when he said “Yeah – maybe if we win the lottery.”  We were in no position financially to bring another baby into this world.  So I dropped it … at least for a little while.

Early this year I got a new job with much better pay and he got a promotion at work. Things were going well so I figured I would try again, but the response was the same. I started asking people for advice and talking to people who had three kids. I also talked to people who had two kids. Almost everyone that I talked to said the same thing.  “You have two beautiful, healthy, babies. Just be happy with that.”

It’s not that I’m not happy with that.  I love my children more than anything in the world and I am happy. They really are two of the best kids ever. It’s just that there is something inside of me telling me that one more would be great. I think that my youngest would be an amazing big brother and I already know that my oldest is. I feel like there is something left inside of me to give the world. I feel like I was meant to have three kids.

When my husband and I would talk about our future and having kids together it seems like we always talked about having three. So – a few weeks ago, I brought it up again. This time I told him that I didn’t want the lottery answer. I wanted to have a serious conversation about it. I don’t want to wait much longer. I already feel as though a 6 and 10 year age difference would be a lot.  If we are going to do it, it  would have to be now.

He said “absolutely not.  I do not want another baby.”  So – here I am … lying in bed wondering how women get over this little thing called “baby fever.” Anyone??

I always look forward to this time of year – when school wraps up for my son, the days are long and the pool is open. I think summer is going to be relaxing and I picture myself sitting in the sun with a big fruity drink, chatting with my girlfriends while our children play happily.

But then June actually rolls around and I find myself wondering what part of all of this chaos was the part that I was waiting for.

Maybe summer is relaxing for some people, but I’m definitely not one of them.

The end of the school year means the dreaded 2-month-long planning & coordinating process, figuring out camps and grandparent visits and vacation days for every single day of the entire summer.

It means shelling out thousands of dollars (that I don’t necessarily have) to pay for all of these programs up front.

It means that my kids, who have every toy, video game system, book, art supply and piece of outdoor sporting equipment they could ever need, will repeated tell me how bored they are.

It includes packing great big lunches every single day (because my son can’t buy lunch at camp like he does some days at school), and then listening to “Why did you pack that? So-and-so’s mom packs him nothing but brownies and soda and Cheetos. You’re so mean!”

It means carting kids back and forth to inconvenient places every day instead of just having them hop on the bus.

Summer means longer daylight, which makes my toddler’s 7:30 pm bedtime that much more challenging, and cuts into “mommy quiet time.”

It means beautiful, sunny, 85-degree days that I’ll enjoy only from my office window.

It means that when I’m not working, I’m outside with the kids longer – and ignoring my filthy house more.

It features more kids than usual around the house every day, because we’re the ones with the pool and that automatically makes my kids popular from June ’til September.

It means BBQs and gatherings where I’ll be expected to wear a bathing suit in front of people.

It means that for 3 months I’ll be subjected to Facebook photos of my non-mommy friends regularly enjoying drinks at Breakwater’s or at concerts or on vacation or wherever it is that I’d love to be if only I didn’t spend all my money on camps.

It means that I’ll see these Facebook posts and get all inspired (or as my husband would say, “obsessed”) with the idea of taking the kids to more big events more often and so then we’ll… well… plan and pack and and get someone to watch the dog and spend money and endure whining and lose favorite toys and repeatedly yell “Stop hitting your brother for 2 minutes and just smile so I can get a nice $#@%^ picture for Facebook!” and remember why we don’t do this every weekend.

It means everyone will see my daughter’s legs – which are covered with cuts and bruises because she is super-fast and has no fear of anything – and I’ll have to explain it all so people don’t think we beat her.

It means my son will go visit his dad for a few weeks, and while it will be a little less stressful for me, I’ll also be losing my built-in “mommy just needs to take a shower” toddler watcher.

It means that my kids will tan like their fathers and I will freckle like my mother.

And it means that just about every single day, when I’m broke and exhausted and my kids are running around, filthy and tired and smiling and yelling and giggling and enjoying every moment of summer, I will find myself thinking “Man, I wish summer could last forever.”

These are the smiles that make it all worth it for me

I wrote a big long post on how horrendously I failed at yesterday’s Great American Grump Out. About the anticipation, the stress, the reality and ultimately, the guilt. Full of shame and sadness, I deleted that post before it was published.

The truth is that even though I’m not a grump all the time, I am a grump more often than I realize.

This motherhood business is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. And the additional stresses we all face (work, family, finances, school, running a few websites, whatever), just compound it.

I couldn’t keep it together. I started the day just hoping I could keep my mouth shut, even if I was meh-ing inside. By about 6 pm, after everyone seemed to push every single one of my buttons, I completely caved and I was huffing and puffing and yelling. Back to normal.

And then, after all the chaos of the evening, there were a few moments of peace. Silly faces and great big goodnight kisses from my daughter. My son’s eyes lighting up as he told me about what a great day he had, even though nothing special really happened. A few laughs with my husband.

These are the moments I’ll always remember. These are the moments I hope they will remember long after I’m gone. These are the moments that matter.

And, at least for me, this is what the Great American Grump Out was all about. It was a smack in the face, reminding me how much my stress becomes their stress. It was a lesson on self-control, empathy and true priorities.

When I’m a grump, I am stealing potential moments from the ones I love the most.

Ok, so we’re never NOT going to be a little stressed. It’s just part of the job. But we don’t have to let it build over things we can’t control or things that don’t matter.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of how amazing my family is and how lucky I am to have them all. I am reminded of how much they love and support me, even when I’m not at my best. I am reminded of how much they give to me every single day. I’m reminded of the way they smile when I smile. I’m reminded that I’m not a perfect mom, but that I’m trying. And I’m reminded that all the stress, all the exhaustion, all the frustration – is totally worth it.

And suddenly, I don’t feel so grumpy.

A mother of two boys can make life a little hectic. Add to that a full time job and it makes life a little more hectic.

Balancing work and life with the my family can be difficult but we make it work. We are always busy on the weekends whether its a sporting event for one of the kids, a birthday party, or just taking a road trip. My husband and I make it a point to take a road trip whenever we have a free weekend. The kids love it and are wonderful travelers.

In my blog I will write about balancing work and personal life and also great spots for road trips in or around VT. ENJOY!

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