After my whirlwind weekend away with the girls, I noticed I was basquing in an afterglow of sorts. When my toddler dove into shrill screams of protest, I shrugged it off and kept going. When hubby forgot to take out the trash, again, I sighed. Well, he’ll just have to do it later.
Wait. Who is this patient person?
I noticed she shows up like clockwork right after I get a break from my husband and my kid and get to be me, not the cleaning-cooking-nose-and-butt-wiping-attentive-partner me. But just me.
This past week I’ve brought more order to my house, crossing items off my to-do list that have been there since January. I’ve been able to listen better to the trials and tribulations of my husband’s job and my little guy’s tantrums seem less intense and more amusing. I even made Mickey Mouse-shaped, whole wheat pancakes on Saturday, which *totally* isn’t me. (It was bad. M&Ms were the eyes and nose, and I carved a strawberry into a smile.)
I believe I do a really good job of carving out “me” time. Out of all my mommiefriends I feel I do that the most and I think I’m much better for it. It can be hard to take time away, you feel guilty for not wanting to be with the loves of your life, but you have to remember, you are a love of of your life too and you must nurture that.
Plus your partner appreciates you more when he’s walked a bit in your shoes and your kids are sweeter (even if it’s short-lived) because they’ve missed you.
All mommies know this, we just need to force ourselves to make it a priority. It’s easy to lose who you are in the day-to-day grind of life, but taking time out to do whatever you want without your kid and your soulmate is an essential touchstone. It makes me a better mommy and wife because it keeps me happy.
Work evaluations, we’ve all had them. Each year (or about that) managers reach out to discuss our performance. There’s often an e-mail that gives you a heads up that a review is coming, which is sometimes followed by a self-appraisal. There’s forms with words like “Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Needs Improvement.” Also eventually comes the conversations where “stretch goals,” “development” and even “career paths” are discussed.
It’s all very structured, very tidy.
Very different from mom evaluations. Those come with no warning, no forms, no regular timing and certainly no structure. And when you get a bad one, it can cut. Deep.
The review on how good of a mom you are can come from anywhere. This morning my little guy turned to me, unprompted, and said “Mommy you’re my best friend.” Or it can be a teacher who brags to you about the thoughtfulness of your 16-year-old.
Then there’s the disapproving looks at the store when your child is screaming, thrashing and essentially frothing at the mouth. Your mommy friends who are surprised your toddler is *still* using a pacifier. The tween who screams she hates you, and the fire in her eyes lets you know she means it. Then there’s the jarring heart-to-heart with the 30-year-old who tells you all of the pain you’ve caused.
And we can’t forget the harshest critic of all: Ourselves. How many times have we flogged ourselves for misdeeds minor, major or imagined?
Momevals are hard to receive constructively because it’s a judgment on something we hold dear, our life’s passion. But all evaluations are hard and no one wants a bad one.
The thing to do is to put them into the proper perspective. (He’s not going to take his pacifier to college and she won’t hate you forever) If you’ve made mistakes, admit them, learn from them and move on. After all you’re trying your best.
I sent my kid to daycare today with flashing shoes and a black Thomas the Tank Engine T-shirt. I’ve become that parent. The following is Case No. 849 of me eating my words:
Before Logan, I’d see kids in stores and on the streets covered in over-the-top animations of cars, trucks, fairies, princesses, Care Bears, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and every other Disney character imaginable. I’d make a judgmental mental note, when I have kids, they’re not going to look like an advert for the Cartoon Network.
Some of these kids also had shoes with blinking lights, bells and horns. Horns!!!! But mine wouldn’t.
This week we go shoe shopping and unfortunately not the kind of shoe shopping that used to culminate in boxes of edgy stilts and flirty wedges. It’s shoe shopping at JCPenney in the “family section.” I go there for shoes for the little guy because you get good brands for very little cost. We mostly do Stride Rite, but I don’t like Stride Rite prices. Plus if your kid suffers a meltdown, no worries, you’re surrounded by sympathetic moms.
So I’m there, checking out the selection and Logan spots these black gawd-awful shoes with plastic red cars. “I want THAT ONE!” I tried to make snazzy gray Sketchers seem cool, but they were no match for the red car shoes that blinked red. I caved. I bought them, and he couldn’t have been happier hopping out of the store with strobing shoes.
The shirt was also a recent purchase and I saw it, knew he’d love it and told myself it wasn’t as horrible because the shirt was black. (The lies we tell ourselves! It’s actually very, very ugly)
But that’s the way it is. You think you’ll be one kind of parent and your kid teaches you that you’re another. And it’s all perfectly fine because they’re the greatest, hardest lessons you’ll learn.
That’s what I said to my husband when he told me he wanted to get Logan an iTouch for his 3rd birthday. I repeat THIRD birthday.
Hubby and I are gadget geeks and we ooo and ahhhh over the latest iPods,iPhones, iTouch, iPads and iWonderWhatThey’llThinkOfNexts. And I believe we try to be somewhat sensible when it comes to getting stuff for Logan.
Which is why when hubby asked me if I thought we could get Logan an iTouch I was shocked. A 3-year-old? Really? What’s the point? There’s educational apps, he tells me. What’s wrong with books? (I has a half-a-second from pulling out the ol’ “Back in my day….”) I began to suspect we’re going to buy this iTouch “for Logan,” but it’ll really be for hubby. But he insists, nope, it’s for the half-pint.
So, a $300 toy for a 3 year old? Not sure I can get over that. I mean, I can still hear the sound of his portable DVD player bouncing down the stairs when he chucked it mid-tantrum. (Surprisingly, it survived the nearly fatal fall.)
A few days later, I asked a woman who’s been an educator for years what she thinks of these devices for little ones. To my surprise she says it’s great. In fact she just got back from a conference in Chicago where the iPad was being touted as a wonderful education tool, especially for special needs kids. They’re already in some schools. You can do speech therapy, cover your ABCs and 123s, colors, animals and sounds. Apparently its bright colors and sleek design are ideal for capturing kids’ attention and as far as the iTouch, they’re perfectly sized for little hands. Though she recommended the youngest of the iGeneration be 5 years old.
Who knew? Even though it’s been almost three years, I’m still adjusting to looking through the world with parental lenses.
iPods, iPads, iTouch for kids… iDon’tKnow, but maybe my hubby isn’t as crazy as I thought. What would you do?