Tag Archive | Motherhood

Happy St. Patrick’s Day with a Side Order of Resentment

by Shannon Penrod

Isn’t being a Mom great? Yesterday I went to three stores trying to locate a St. Patrick ’s Day wand for my son. The letter of the week is W, he has to share something starting with W and on Saturday he informed me it had to be a leprechaun wand. Okay, I’m on the job. Only no one had any St. Paddy’s day wands – So I decided to make one! Yes, this is how I get my Super Mom Cape caught in the fan. 100_5233But I cobbled up a wand. And I bought a bunch of sticky foam shamrocks. Then I soaked a bunch of coins in vinegar to make them shine. I stuck coins to the back of the shamrocks. This is when my husband walked by and asked what I was doing, I told him my plan and he emptied his pockets of change.

Fast forward to 5am this morning when I crawled out of my warm bed to do work that I wasn’t able to do yesterday while I was making wands. I did some work, sprinkled the shamrocks in a pattern on the floor and started making special green biscuits for my son to take to school. It’s not even 7 am, but I’m well into my work day.

At 7:15 I instruct my husband to stand by the front door and make a ruckus. I tell him to make sure to slam the door shut when he sees our son coming. I run into the bedroom screaming to my son that there is a leprechaun loose in the house. He is groggy, but quickly wakes up and comes running into the living room. “Get him!” I yell pointing to the door. My son runs towards the door, my husband slams the door on cue and says, “Oh, no he got away!”

I point out to my son that the leprechaun has dropped some stuff. He has a blast picking up the shamrocks and identifying the money that is underneath. We all sit at the table to count the money and my son is thrilled. He says, “I found a pot of gold!” and then he looks adoringly up at my husband and says, “Thank you Daddy.” – Wait a minute – Thank you Daddy? Excuse me? Then my son starts munching on a green biscuit and tells me to go to the store and get him some bubble water.

Needless to say everything stopped and we had a pleasant conversation about why Mommy does nice things for you and how to show appropriate gratitude! Still, Daddy leaves for work – a long day that will not bring him home until after my son’s bedtime and I am left with putting green sparkly accessories on a boy who is already missing “Daddy the Wonderful”. Don’t get me wrong, Daddy is wonderful – but Hello! Mommy is a super hero! Okay her cape is usually caught in the fan, but come on! Where are the cheers? Where is the love? Where is the marching band? I guess I did my job so well that I preserved my anonymous super hero status for another day. To all the moms out there who stayed up late washing green clothes or woke up early to make green food – Happy St. Patrick’s Day – with a side order of resentment!

Body and Soul Challenge recommended by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Motherhood Incorporated

Motherhood Incorporated

by sandra beck

Recently I was reading Body & Soul magazine and found that the Body+Soul Challenge was available online. What I like about this challenge is that it is doable – reasonable and not at all expensive. Its a five-week transformation that starts with a detox – which is again – doable — brown rice, lemon water, lots of vegetables. I mean really what you expect from a detox. Cathy Wong, N.D. helped them design the week and what I saw in the program was similar to some of the fancy spa events I used to attend.  Aiding digestion, boosting energy and giving us all the best efforts to stay healthy is a huge part of being successful.

After everything we did this holiday season as working moms – the wrapping, the cooking, the cleaning, the everything…its a good time to start the year with a clean slate. Cathy Wong says that throughout the week, you’ll boost your efforts with exercise to “get blood moving through your organs more quickly and sweat out your toxins,” as Wong explains. An equally important above-the-shoulders media diet (no television, Web surfing) builds reflective downtime into your day. This I found the most helpful as I work through the 5-week program. Here is the link to the online program www.wholeliving.com/body-and-soul-challenge.

Perhaps most important, you’ll devote time to consider what, exactly, you want to take away from the Body+Soul Challenge. Daily writing exercises will help you explore and personalize its themes: nutrition, exercise, stress relief, and energy. By the end of the week, you’ll be in a great position to clearly identify your goals. So take a deep breath and get ready–a new you is just five weeks away. 

www.sandrabeck.com

Holiday Hangovers from the Pregnant Lady – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Boy, do I wish it was from liquor but instead it’s just from over exhaustion. You see not only am I pregnant with my third child, in my desperate need to not be too pregnant or carrying around a newborn in the summer months of Arizona, my other two were born in the winter. And who knew we would conceive immediately, so they have birthdays that sandwich Christmas.

xmas-blogAs for this pregnancy, I guess I can safely say that I am in the third trimester – as for the weeks or even months, I’m too tired to do the math anymore. Plus, it’s my third baby and I really just don’t care. I’m huge, I can barely walk and I’m miserable – that’s all I need to know. I actually consulted the trusty old What to Expect…  for reasons I’m sure you would thank me for keeping private, and discovered how much I’m glad I don’t remember, and quickly put it back down. Whatever is going on with me now is from doing too much this past month, and can only be remedied by rest and Preparation H.

So, needless to say, but I will anyway, the holidays were killer this year. On top of birthday parties, Christmas parties, keeping Santa gifts, birthday gifts and “From Mom and Dad” gifts separate, all while trying to block my stomach from any photos, I also got into my first ever major blowout with my brother. He’s always been my best friend, and he didn’t come home for Christmas. It was hard.

But I made it, barely. The holidays were gorgeous, my kids were darling and my husband and I are closer than ever. I think I’m still sane, but I know one thing for sure, I’m sober. Having a glass of wine amidst all the stress and celebrating would’ve been nice, but instead I just ate my ice cream that my husband makes for me every night and tried to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. How many more months do I have to go again?

Adjusting to Kindergarten – Part 2 – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

 My first post on this subject garnered quite a bit of interest so I thought it might be worthwhile to provide an update.

 As I mentioned the first time around, we were dealing with major tantrums after school in the first couple of weeks – completely irrational and unexpected tantrums. My husband and I decided to just keep things calm and come home right after school to let her unwind a little bit until she got into the routine.

On most days, we come straight home, have a snack together and talk about our day, then we all get started on our “homework.” She loves that she has work to do with me, and she’s even taken to teaching her little brother what she learned in school that day. I’m really astounded at all she’s learned so fast, all the little songs I hear her singing, adding and subtracting everything and just wanting to learn more and more. We’ve even had some playdates, met some really nice new mothers and are currently trying to infiltrate the PTSO – that’s another post!

 It was interesting because last week was her fall break and yesterday was her first day back at school. I had a million things to do, so after I picked her up, we ran to exchange something at the mall – meltdown central, stopped by a friend of mine’s to drop off a present – RUDE, then I had to go let a client into a house – I just left her in the car where she screamed the whole time.  It was like the first day of school all over again! It was a nightmare, but I should’ve known better.

So, it seems to be working really good as long as she decompresses after school first. Now, if only I can find a way to love her teacher. Our first parent/teacher conference is tomorrow – that’s another post as well!

Overwhelmed

by Shannon Penrod

Just so we are clear, I love words.  The word overwhelmed has come up so much in the last few days that I found myself wondering if it is possible to be simply whelmed, without being overwhelmed.  Which brought up the question, Is whelmed even a word?  I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m feeling whelmed.”  So I looked it up in the online dictionary, and it turns out whelmed is a word.  It means submerged or covered with water. Ah, well that makes sense.

As a Mom who works I often feel whelmed and lets face it once you are whelmed it’s a very short putt to overwhelmed.  A client needs something 48 hours sooner than they thought they needed it.  I start to feel whelmed, and before I can even acknowledge that I’m whelmed, my 4 year old decides that he is absolutely starving despite the fact that dinner is only an hour away. The phone rings as he pulls an entire bag of pears out of the refrigerator dumping them all over the floor and ladies and gentleman we have overwhelmed!

I have to admit that I am ashamed at how often and how easily I feel overwhelmed as a Mom.  Overwhelmed wasn’t even part of my vocabulary before I was a Mom, it was something I associated with being incompetent.  I always thought “What is the use of being overwhelmed?  It only slows you from doing the thing you need to do – focus and forge ahead!”  Ahh, silly naive thoughts, before motherhood.

I’ve decided I need a new association for the word overwhelmed, more fitting to its actual meaning.  From now on when I am overwhelmed I’m going to picture myself underwater.  Nice cool, quiet, blissful water, where it’s serene, no phones ring, no emails appear, I am light and buoyant and my breasts defy gravity.  It turns out overwhelmed isn’t so bad after all!

A Circle of Women

by Shannon Penrod

Our Grandmother’s sat around a quilt; as their needles dove repeatedly into finely colored cloth they shared advice, recipes and compassion.  It was the way they connected, it was a circle of women.  When the quilt was done, they had ever so much more than a quilt.  They had woven friendships, survived hardships and held on to each other.

I don’t quilt, but I do have a circle of women.  We are connected through a spark that travels from my keyboard, tours the world and comes back to me within a millionth of a second. 

Before I was a Mom, I am sure I took my circle of women for granted.  It seemed like my birthright.  Perhaps it is.  But now I treasure it. 

There is no greater role than being a Mom. Being a Mom both isolates you and welcomes you to a wider circle.  I appreciate that I can get on my computer at 7 am and ask my Mother how many days egg salad will keep, while answering an email from my friend Natasha about where to buy a Lego separator.  Then I can send an email to my friend Sandra who is grieving for her two dogs who have died within 6 weeks of each other.  My niece sends me an email with a video of the latest commercial she produced, my other niece sends word that she has finished her last class towards her PhD.  My nephew sends a sonogram picture of his unborn child.  And my high school friend Phyllis sends word that her mother, a great woman, a superior mother, has died. 

The circle closes in.  Cyber hands hold tight.  Emails of love and support and encouragement are exchanged.

There are no needles piercing fabric, just words and pictures soothing hearts.  There is no tangible quilt at the end.  But the song of friendship is woven none the less.

It's 3:00 a.m. … Do You Know Where Your Mom Is? by Elisa Garcia

My daughter, Alina, certainly knows my pre-dawn whereabouts. She’s 2. Well, two and a half, as she’d say. And, obviously, she’s asleep right now, just like most Americans (excepting, of course, public service staff and mothers of newborns).But if my daughter were awake, and, more importantly, not in the midst of a two-year-old tantrum, she’d peer at you sweetly from under fringed doe eyes and point delicately up to the ceiling.“Sshhh,” she’d say. “Mama’s at work.” Then she’d roll right over and go back to sleep, thank you very much.It’s 3:00 a.m. And as usual, I am upstairs, whiling away the wee hours before a computer in a makeshift guest room/ home office adorned with construction paper and crayon scribbles, partner, daughter, dog, and cat snoozing peacefully away. I don’t know why, but I have always been a graveyard shift type. It’s when I perform at my optimal level. Back in college (way, way back, like, late 1990’s), I worked the third shift from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. for a 24-hour answering service. Then I’d slog to my dorm room and sling back a few Diet Cokes while I cobbled together a last-minute paper due in hours. Now, years later, I’ve come full circle, though a little has changed; my drink of choice is now flavored coffee, and I’m a 30-year-old mom, not a 19-year-old coed. But, otherwise, here I am, still plugging away while the rest of my house sleeps.It wasn’t always like this, though. Ten years ago– heck, four months ago–, I, too, would have been asleep, albeit restlessly, dreaming of spreadsheets and monthly quotas. In a few hours, I would have risen and listlessly, rotely, gone through the motions of donning a suit and dropping off my daughter at day care before logging in ten hours at a job turned career I dreaded. Then, like millions of women, I would have commuted over an hour to my cluttered suburban home, mashed together a marginally healthy, probably microwaved, vegetarian meal, and then whisked my toddler to bed, all in two to three hours. Then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But what choice did I have? I was the breadwinner, the family moneymaker stuck in a booming industry, scared of never, ever having enough.

Then came the crisis of consciousness, the crushing realization that my daughter was already almost two-and-a-half, and that things would likely be the same when she hit ten if I didn’t change something fast. Basically, all tedious details aside, I had a mini (midlife?) breakdown. But a good one. A few (major) changes and a few (thousand) talks with my sometimes still skeptical partner, and here I am, typing at 3:00 a.m., bringing home the (soy) bacon in a setting that couldn’t be further from the conservative corporate climate I coped with for ten long years. Admittedly far from lucrative (yet), writing is now my family’s bread and (non-dairy) butter. Sure, I work late and unpredictable hours. Sure, there’s tons of (unpaid) overtime, and, yeah, I double as the office cook, maid, and chauffer. And, yes, I’m constantly hitting the (virtual) pavement, and constantly drafting late-night proposals and pitches, and constantly facing rejection. And at the end of my shift, I’ll sign off and sleep for a couple of hours before beginning my second job: heading down to the kitchen, brewing more coffee, and slapping some hotcakes on the griddle.

But I’ll do all this in slippers, not heels. And in a few hours, my daughter and partner will pounce out of bed, smiling and savoring the smells of Mama’s frugal but hearty breakfast, the fruits of my labor. And then it won’t matter that I’m tired or that my current freelance earnings are less than a quarter of my prior cushy salary. Or that we eat out once a week, not four. Or that we sip Sanka, not Starbucks. Or that [insert sacrifice here]. How many other moms no longer have to worry about negotiating an impromptu sick day with an unsympathetic boss? How many other moms are blessed enough to find their personal niche, support their family from home, and enjoy the freedom of taking their child(ren) to the park on a midmorning Monday?

Thank heaven I’ve found my calling.

 Elisa and Alina