The Truth About Mommy

I will never be that mom who’s got it all together. I will never be the mom who remembers every little date, the gift for the teacher and the Tiger Scout meeting all on the same day. I just never will be.

I will always be the one whipping out the permission slip at the last possible moment where it is has sat crumpled and washed in the back pocket of my jeans. I am the mom who when asked for a tissue will always have one, it will just take 10 minutes of fishing through my purse to find it.

I can never go grocery shopping without forgetting at least one thing. In fact, I always count on having to go right back out again. Have I ever lied to my child that there were no more cookies, just cause I was saving the last one for myself? Sure, I’ll be honest. We’re all friends here, right?

But my kids are loved, clothed, and fed. It may have been hot dogs and macaroni & cheese, but they’re fed and they think I’m awesome…. Most of the time anyway.

It’s important to be honest about our imperfections when it comes to motherhood. Because we all have imperfections. There is no such thing as the perfect mother. All we can do is the best we can and laugh off the rest.

Any mom who appears to have it all together is just putting on a show. Somewhere beneath that cool mom exterior is a sink full of dirty dishes and a Calgon commercial waiting to happen. Just like the rest of us.

I think that’s why mom blogs and books like See Mom Run (edited by Beth Feldman, RoleMommy.com) appeal to me. I like to see the perfect mom come clean and show that she’s no better or worse than the rest of us.

So next time you’re not having one of you’re best mommy days, remember you’re not alone. And if you need reminding pick up See Mom Run and read Ciaran Blumenfeld’s “bad thai-ming” or “the secret” by Meredith Jacobs. Or any of the other hilarious essays in the book.

Just knowing that I’m not the only mom who actually has made a few mistakes on the way makes me sleep better at night. But just a little better, I mean I do have kids you know. So I don’t sleep that much…

This post was inspired by the svmoms book club book, see mom run, a collection of essays written by the world’s most harried moms and funniest women in the blogosphere.  I did receive a free copy of the book but have in no other way been compensated for this post.  If you want to borrow it you can, but please return it when you’re finished. If you want your own copy to keep join your own damn book club.

The Birth of Evil Mommy

Ok, so I know that Supernanny would probably be here in an instant. And I know that Dr. Phil would have me shipped off to his boot camp so fast my head would probably spin. I know all this because I have worked with kids on and off since I was in high school. I have credits in Early Childhood Development and a library of books on child rearing. Including my college textbooks. So I know what I’m about to tell you is soooooo wrong.

Recently in the heat of a weak moment I did something. The house was in shambles and the kids were refusing to clean up. Not just refusing, but downright telling us NO. And in a moment of complete weakness I broke down and told them that if they didn’t start listening Evil Mommy was going to come down and make them.

That’s right. Evil Mommy. I told my children that I was the good mommy and Evil Mommy lives in the attic and would come down if she didn’t like the way they were behaving. Evil Mommy hates TV. She hates video games and toys. And she ESPECIALLY hates little boys and girls who talk back to their parents.

My kids DID NOT LIKE THIS.

Right away through sniffled tears they started cleaning. Right away I knew what I’d told them was wrong. But is it really any different than threatening to cancel Christmas by calling Santa and telling him not to come? Something I KNOW many of you have told your kids at one point or another.

And there was a kid’s book that I loved growing up that had a similar story… Miss Nelson is Missing.

So while I know that somewhere Supernanny is cringing in her sleep, part of me found some evil satisfaction in the fact that my kids suddenly were very intent on listening to me.

I know, I’m a bad mom.

I have not come clean with my kids about the Evil Mommy not really existing. But I’m no longer threatening to bring her down either. You never know, I may just need to conjure her up again someday.

So tell me, what’s the worst thing YOU’VE told your kids in order to get them to shape up?

Breastfeeding Sucks

100_3351That’s right, I said it. Breastfeeding sucks. That was one of the greatest pieces of advice I ever picked up as a new mom.

Let me back up just a bit. For me, deciding to breastfeed was never really much of a decision. I knew I was going to breastfeed the moment we decided to have kids. Once I was pregnant I bought all the books, read every magazine article and even took a breastfeeding class at the local clinic. I was going to be the best breastfeeder EVER.

As it turned out, the books, the class, and all the magazine articles that I’d read left out a number of things. What all those great breastfeeding articles didn’t talk about was my 30 hour labor and my 10lb baby boy. They neglected to mention the effect that a 30 hour labor and the horrific tearing that took 20 minutes to stitch up would have on my ability to sit down and breastfeed in the early weeks. Or how that discomfort would make it harder for my milk to let down so the feedings would take even longer.

They said my nipples might crack & bleed. They said engorgement may cause a little “discomfort.” What they didn’t say was that the pain involved might actually make me forget about the pain of childbirth.

These resources also listed some of the pitfalls of breastfeeding. Like mastitis, thrush, and the continuous leaking from my breasts. They didn’t explain how excruciating these things could be, especially when they all happened to me one right after the other.

Needless to say in those early weeks of motherhood I was feeling pretty beat down by breastfeeding. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I also felt like I couldn’t get a break. I really wanted breastfeeding to be this beautiful and mystical experience for me and my son. It just wasn’t working out that way.

Then somewhere along the way I came across a blog post online, I don’t remember where exactly now. But in this post the woman said, “Anyone who tells you breastfeeding is easy is a big liar! But if you stick it out, it gets better.”

And I did stick it out. Thanks to ice packs, lanolin, antibiotics and ibuprofen my problems passed. And breastfeeding did turn out to be one of the best things I ever did. I went on to breastfeed my son until he weaned himself at 14 months, even pumping for a whole year once I went back to work.

When I had my daughter a couple of years later I breastfed her as well. Oddly enough other than gritting my teeth through some sore nipples, it was pretty easy the second time around. Then again I think the breastfeeding Gods owed me one.

So why tell this story almost seven years later? Because somewhere out there is a new mom with cracked nipples and a hungry baby. And she’s feeling like maybe, just maybe, it’s too hard.

Well honey, it is hard. In fact it sucks. But it gets better. And it’s worth every ache and pain.

This post is a cross-post from Meghan Harvey’s personal blog, Meg’s Idle Chatter, where she writes about more than just sore breasts.

Every Mom is a Working Mom

IMG_0610I have been formulating this blog post for almost two weeks now. Ever since the Washington Post published an article related to recent Census results regarding stay-at-home moms and the New York Times piece regarding the guilt of working moms. And of course there was the huge buzz surrounding Dr. Phil and the infamous “Mommy Wars” episode which showcased a few of my favorite mommy bloggers (Jessica Gottlieb and Heather Armstrong). Both articles created quite a debate both on the MomConnect Facebook Page and in a couple of threads in MomConnect forum.

The culmination of these recent articles and what I’ll just say was an embarrassing Dr. Phil episode, have got me in quite an uproar. You see I’ve been a working mom with an infant in daycare. I’ve been a SAHM, a daycare provider and have now found some peace as a WAHM. So moms, I’ve been there. And I have no doubt that each choice I made was the right choice for my family and me at the time. And NO ONE can ever tell me otherwise. No one can ever tell me I should feel guilty for any of the choices I’ve made. And quite frankly, I’m tired of other people talking about it.

The NYTimes piece discussed a survey that was done by the Pew Research Center. The poll found, when asked how they would rate themselves as a mother, that of the at-home mothers, 43 percent rated themselves 9 or 10, at the top of the scale, while 33 percent of working mothers did so. Basically showing that only 13 percent of working mothers think that they’re doing the best they can.

This survey couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. That same week the Washington Post printed an article talking about the recent results of a Census analysis of stay at home mothers (the first ever), which showed that stay-at-home-mothers tend to be younger, less educated and have lower family incomes.

There’s much more to both these articles, but I’m covering the gist. So the consensus is that if you’re a working mom you’re going to feel bad about yourself and be a bad mother. But if you’re at home then you’re young stupid and poor. Now this may not be exactly what these articles said, but isn’t it really what they’re feeding us?

Add to these pointless pieces of reporting the great Dr. Phil jumping on board to make more moms feel bad about themselves. Only this time it felt like the target was the stay-at-home moms. At any rate the episode created some nasty discussions between working moms and SAHM’s across the blogosphere. The reality about this episode is that it didn’t really talk about anything we moms need to hear. A great post was written on the blog PHD In Parenting that brought up some of the notable topics that were not discussed by Dr. Phil on the show.

My own personal opinion? We don’t need Dr. Phil to tell us it’s ok to work, we don’t need the Washington Post to tell us if we’re home we’re young & dumb, and we most certainly do not need the NYTimes telling us that if we’re at work we should feel guilty about it.

Ladies, there is no right answer. Some of us work or stay home because it’s our only choice. Some of us work or stay at home because it’s the choice we made. Either way, it’s ok. The most important thing we can do is stand together as moms and tell society and the media that we are moms and that’s all.

We are all in this together. And we are all doing the best we can in a bad economy, in a dangerous world, and with everyone watching us waiting for us to fail. Well, we’re not going to. Because we are going to work harder to support one another and the choices we make.

There should be no divide here. There should be no “mommy wars” and there should be no debate. Wherever you are today if you’re a mom and your child is loved and being taken care of, you’ve done your job and deserve a pat on the back.

I leave you with this simple message I posted to twitter.

Dear Dr. Phil, NYTimes, & Washington Post,

We don’t need your help. We’re doing just fine.

Thanks,

The Moms

This post is a cross-post from MomConnect-The Blog!

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