These ARE the Good Old Days

I saw a mommy’s Instagram post yesterday of her little boy with a caption something like “I’m going to take this picture and write on the back all the silly things you did today so that one day when you’re grown, I can remember how much fun we had on our boring, average days when you were three.” It made me sad. Sad because a lot of the time I am so busy worrying about all the things that need to be done in life- the laundry and the doctor’s appointments, the finances and the dishes that I don’t take the time to appreciate all the silly, wonderful, original, precious things my kids do. In fact, I find their silliness an annoying obstacle to getting anything done a lot of days. I feel bad. It won’t be long before I’m no longer my kids’ favorite playmate, before the dreaded adolescent years hit and they downright hate me, heck before they’re out of the house and onto having families of their own. And I will look back on these days with fond longing- longing for how simple it used to be, how playful they were, how imaginative and for how much I missed.

These are the good old days

I have always, always, always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I remember being a young teenager and telling my friends that my life’s goal was to be a soccer mom. My kids don’t play soccer yet, but I feel like that dream has come true. But it doesn’t feel like I dreamed it would. It’s hard. The hours are long, you never get a break, you give a lot of yourself up, you work for a thankless boss who is never satisfied, who has unlimited energy and unlimited wants and instead of being paid lots of money, you make crap- you drive a crappy minivan, you don’t get a chance to shower most days let alone wear anything without food or finger paint all over it and when you do get a vacation, your bosses go with you and you have to go where they want. Let me say it again, it’s hard. I say a lot that it is exactly what everyone always says- being a parent is both the hardest and the most rewarding job you’ll ever have. I have never had a more difficult job, but I have never had one I cared more about either. Because although we don’t get money, we get hugs. We get the occasional “you’re the best mom ever,” we get smiles, we get to be there and to see how happy our little humans are. It’s worth it, it really, really is, but I do sometimes lose sight of that.

My daughter is four going on fourteen. She is sassy, she is opinionated, she is controlling. She is me and I hate it! Because I want to be in control and I don’t want someone who can’t even see the steering wheel telling me how to drive the car or what songs I can or cannot sing or how to sing them. I don’t want to have to tell a little person exactly what I am doing every second of every day or have her sitting at my feet while I take a shit.  After reading that Instagram post last night, I started missing my daughter in her sleep.  I was excited to see her today and was determined to be as present as possible, to enjoy every minute, to keep that image in my head and to have so much fun today.  Well, that lasted about an hour after she woke up.  One stinking hour later and I was annoyed with her, I was hurrying her along, I was nagging her, I was using my mean mommy voice.  I kept reminding myself of that post, but I just wasn’t enjoying our time as much as I wanted to.  I was looking forward to nap time.   I feel like I failed.

Maybe I’m just not playful enough to be the mother of little kids.  I’m not very good a imaginary play.  I watch my own mother with my daughter and they put on costumes, assume made up personalities, talk in accents for hours.  I get bored with this after minutes and I can’t think of what these imaginary characters would be saying or doing.  I want to do a craft, bake some cookies or go for a walk.  My daughter is incredibly high energy and very, very silly.  I have a hard time with this.  I like to read, I need quiet time, I need alone time.  She literally cries when I ask her to play by herself and although she loves books, she cannot read them yet.  I love her, I really, really, achingly, with every fiber of my being, love the shit out of her.  I do.  And I want to be the mother she needs me to be.  But maybe I’m not and that makes me so sad.

So it was no coincidence that a friend sent me the video above today.  It made me feel a little better.  Because we have literally had that day- the day where I felt like I was failing at every turn, where I was sure to have scarred my children for life, only to have Emma tell me at bedtime that it was “the best day ever.”  Because that’s what that silliness and imagination are evidence of in my child- happiness.  She is a glass is half full kind of person.  Give her the shittiest set of circumstances and she will literally find the one fun thing in the mix to tell you about.  And when she is all grown up, she’s not going to remember a mom who had a clean house all the time, whose laundry was never piled up (cuz my pile is super big right now!) and who balanced her checkbook to the penny.  She’s going to remember if her mom was there for her when she needed her- if they laughed together, when they cried together and that they were together all those times.  So the best I can do today is to not sweat the small stuff, to know that I am literally doing the best I can and that most days that is enough.  And to hold my babies tight, for they will never be this little again.

My Baby is an Asshole

I’m evil, I really am.  I’m a terrible mother.  I’m the kind of mother that calls my baby an asshole, I often say,”fucking A” to my four year old.  Luckily I say these things in my head (or very, very quietly under my breath!), but still- who thinks these things?!  Being a mom is no joke and being a full time mom to two little kids is trying.  My mouth (or my mind) didn’t automatically clean up when I popped these babies out, nor did my sense of humor so when I recently joked with my daughter that if she didn’t stop her tantrum, I would sell her to a homeless person, I understandably got some looks.

So, what’s wrong with me? Should I not be allowed to have children around me?  Should someone put a muzzle on this woman?!  I’m sick and I know it, but the thing is, my family knows me too.  We’re a close family and we get each other.  We know there is love behind every blow up and that even when we get mad, we always come back together.  Our love never stops no matter what we say.  When I told her I was selling her to a homeless person, she slyly looked at me and said “you’re kidding me…”  By four years old, she knows me.  We are strong in our bond together and she knows that if I sold her, it would be for a lot of money- homeless people don’t have money!  I’m probably warping her, but who’s not warped?  My therapist recently recanted stories of her mom always yelling “I’m going to kill you!” but they knew she didn’t mean it and no one died.  In fact, they grew up to counsel other people!

We all make mistakes in motherhood- no one enters this role perfectly and I certainly have not entered it gracefully.  I lose my cool, I’m “on my last nerve” a lot, I’m not always the best example for my kids.  Hell, have temper tantrums sometimes!  I often say I may look like an adult, but I’m really an adolescent in a big body- adulting is not my thing!  But I do the best I can, I retain a sense of humor and I teach my children it’s ok to have faults, to learn from our mistakes. When I blow up, I talk to them- tell them that it’s ok to feel all our feelings but it’s not ok to lash out or be hurtful because of our emotions.  We talk about ways to do it better and we move on.  And then I go to my car, close the door and scream profanity where no one can hear me until my sick, black heart is content.


This is how special my girl feels despite her mother’s flaws!

I’m learning as I go and that’s the best I can do. And hey, I might be an asshole parent, but my kids are assholes too sometimes!    And my kids are happy- they are positively joyful.  They know I love them beyond words and they love themselves.  So fuck ya, we must be doing something right- a lot wrong for sure, but at least a little tiny bit right.  Happy Mother’s Day all you fucked up mothers- good job, I love all your imperfections!  Give yourself a break today and every day- your good will outweigh your bad, your kids will be fucked up, but who’s not!

For a good laugh, check out the Asshole Parents blog- Hilarious! 

 

 

My Placenta Turned Me Crunchy

That sounds gross, right?!  It’s really not that gorrey though- hang with me here.  I’ve become much more crunchy granola lately and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here.  It’s actually been a pretty short ride.  Until recently, I honestly felt very overwhelmed by how much I wanted to change in order to become more eco and health conscious- I felt like I had to change everything all at once, so why even try because it was too much.  As I mentioned before, with our daughter (now 4), I was so overwhelmed by just becoming a mother that I really couldn’t consider ideas on parenthood and health that were any different than what i was raised with.  I just went along with what I knew and didn’t question it.  For some reason, when I was pregnant with my son (now 10 months), I started to really care about what I put in and on my body and those of my family.  I think this started when I decided to have my placenta encapsulated.  It got the ball rolling for me to make more healthy, crunchy changes in my life.

I suffered badly from postpartum depression with my daughter and peri-partum depression with my son and so placenta encapsulation was suggested as a possible solution to help after the birth of my son.  My wonderful friend and doula, Jayme Payan in Ventura encapsulated for me and it was a wonderful, easy, not gross process (if you’re looking for a doula and/or placenta encapsulation, go to her- she’s AWESOME! https://doulamatch.net/profile/10168/jaymee-payan).  Basically, she cooked up my placenta and made it into odor free, taste-free pills that I took daily for a few weeks.  It was super simple for me and it worked!  My postpartum was virtually non-existent this time around.  I was sold.  People thought it was weird, but I didn’t care.  I think it made me more confident to try other things outside my family norm.  And I think something was in it that me turn crunchy-granola!

After that, one day seemingly out of the blue, II decided to start cloth diapering.  I was out shopping and I decided I wanted to give it a try.  I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, I talked to a few friends and I jumped right in. That was easy enough, so next came making my own baby wipes and diaper creams, and then I had all the stuff so I might as well make my own lotions, chapstick and deodorant, right?!  And then of course came my fear of plastics and the creation of our wooden teething toys.  My husband thinks I’m nuts most of the time and often asks what’s next, but he goes along with it.  And the teether thing has turned into his hobby, so now he’s in!  It’s been kind of a snowball effect and it’s still rolling.

Little Fluff Butts are the Cutest!

Now that I’ve started, I see I do have an all or nothing sort of approach to this whole thing and now I want to change everything.  And it feels good.  I know what I’m putting in and on us and it feels simple and pure.  My food choices have changed, my family eats more fruits and veggies and we buy them locally as much as we can or grow our own, we reuse our grey water and recycle our containers.  We use essential oils to heal what ails us.  And hey, coconut oil and breastmilk are magic right?! I am starting small with dreams for big changes.  There’s a lot more down the rabbit hole for sure, but it’s kind of a fun ride.  So, eat your placenta, eat your veggies, make your own shit, grow out your armpit hair and do what you feel is right for your family- you might be surprised how good it feels!

Here are some links I love that you might find helpful too:

Crunchy Moms

Natural as Possible Mom

Natural Homemade Baby Care Products

Homemade Baby Wipes

DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub that Rocks

Coconut Oil Uses

 

Going to Hell in an Easter Basket…

Easter was yesterday and I realized I’m probably going to Hell.  We are not religious in any way and I kind of felt bad that I had no idea how to explain this holy holiday to my children.  My dad’s family is Catholic, my mom is a Buddhist of sorts and my in-laws are nothing that I know of.  My husband went to a Catholic High School, but only to get to go to school outside of the small town he grew up in.  So that leaves us bereft of any real religious upbringing.  I remember being read the story of Easter by a family friend one year and being shocked that that was what we were celebrating.  How did the crucifixion and rebirth of this Jesus guy have anything to do with the Easter Bunny, the colored eggs and all that candy?  This year, I found myself asking those same questions as an adult trying to explain them to my four year old.

They look to me explain this shit!

A few nights before Easter, my four year old started asking questions about Easter.  This was the first year she really understood anything about holidays so it is also the first year I’ve found myself having to explain them.  Before bed one night, I found myself telling her in 4 year old terms about Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection being a part of this day filled with candy and bunnies.  “Well, he wasn’t really dead then- he was asleep,” she told me.  Uncomfortable with discussing death, I replied with a super smart, “Um, ya, sure kid- go to sleep”.  So hard to explain all the symbolism that I honestly don’t get myself!  The next night I told her Easter was a religious holiday and since we are not religious, we don’t really understand about all of the parts people celebrate.  “Well, why aren’t we religious?” she replied, “Because we don’t believe in any one set God or way of worship, (we do believe and teach her that there is a God, we just don’t describe him in traditional religious terms), and we don’t go to church,” I said, feeling totally uneducated about what religion really even is.  “Well, I want to go to church,” she told me ( we go inside a really cool church during a monthly summer car show in town and she really likes exploring it).  “Well, Shit,” I thought.  Again- “Um, ya sure kid- just go to sleep.”  Feeling totally inadequate to explain the importance of religious holidays to myself, let alone my kids, I rested my own head and gave up trying to understand the religious significance of the day.

With kids this cute, I just have to put their pictures in here :p

Then came trying to figure out the traditions of Easter that my family did traditionally practice.  I was stumped there too!  Where was I all of my childhood Easter years?!  On Easter Eve, I put all of the candies, books and toys into my children’s Easter baskets and promptly started to panic because I realized I didn’t actually know what the Hell the Easter bunny was supposed to do– did I hide the basket, did we do a scavenger hunt, how did I explain how he got into our house to do these things?  Did he or she hide the eggs too or would that look weird since she knew we had dyed those ourselves?  I started googling for answers only to be redirected to the historical and religious meanings for these damn traditions- I had already given up on those associations, I was SOL for sure!  I posted quickly on Facebook to try to get some input from like minded mothers and got a good laugh and a few suggestions- but most importantly, I found out I’m not alone.  No one really knows what this shit is about and we all just make it up as we go along.  The lesson in motherhood I keep learning is we’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

The tastiest bunny poop

So, I made a little scavenger hunt, hid some eggs and some baskets, scattered some chocolate “bunny poop” around the house, ate the evidence and waited for her to wake up.  In the morning, she proudly proclaimed that the bunny poop didn’t even smell and raced around after her clues to find her basket.  She didn’t ask any of the tough questions and I dodged a bullet for another year.  The sugar high that ensued definitely had me wishing I’d skipped the candy tradition and made our own with baskets full of wooden toys and baby teethers, but, the candy was the one part of Easter I was quite sure was obligatory, so candy for breakfast it is.  And maybe I’m going to Hell, but I’m gonna have a good laugh at myself on the way.

My Cutie Chickadee

The Jurassic Park Solution?

Got into a discussion with some other mommies yesterday about Clay’s amber teething necklace.  While they are the cutest little baby jewelry around and sure do look cute, do they really do anything?  Is amber the secret to a happily teething baby or just another gimmick?  Because I’m a nerd who loves to read and I hate to be fooled, I decided to see what I could find for hard evidence on the topic.

The theory behind the amber teething necklace is that when baby wears it, his body heat triggers the release of a minute amount of oil that contains succinic acid, a naturally-occurring substance in the body. When the oil is absorbed, advocates say, it has an analgesic effect on swollen, sore gums (Heidi Murkoff, What to Expect 2017).  But what evidence beyond anecdotal is there to support this claim?  Moms swear by this remedy and you can find numerous testimonials to this effect everywhere you look.  And it’s not just crunchy or new-age moms- this is a mainstream trend these days.

A review of PubMED and MEDLINE, two online medical journals, however, shows no actual scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of amber teething necklaces.  The only thing that has been studied are the dangers of them as strangulation and choking hazards.  Here’s the Wiki on Succinic acid, which does make passing reference to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s honestly kind of hard to believe that one could get a high enough dosage out of this tiny necklace to make a difference, or that absorption through the skin is an effective method of delivery for this minute dosage.  Even the Wiki on Oils of Amber has a measly one paragraph on historical medicinal uses- you’d think there would be a lot more on something that’s been encapsulating mosquitos since the dinosaur age!  One article I did read says that baltic amber degrades into acetic acids (vinegar) and I had been noticing my son smelled like vinegar since wearing his necklace- makes sense now! (John Snyder, Science-Based Medicine 2014).

I searched and searched today through my library’s online journal articles, the always informative, if not always legit, interwebs and various blogs and mommy boards and I can’t find one scholarly article showing that this super cute trend is actually treating my baby’s teething pain.  I do find a lot warning me to be careful that I don’t kill my baby with one, though.  I never tried the amber necklace with my four year old, Emma, but I thought it could be worth a try with my 9 month old, Clay, as what I thought worked well with Emma, Hyland’s teething tablets seem to be little more than powdered sugar and belladonna, but have been banned by the FDA.  And Clay looks just so adorable in his teething necklace and cloth diaper, but now I just don’t know!

Tell me, people- what are your thoughts and experiences?  Is there evidence out there I’m just not seeing and if so, why aren’t actual scientists studying it?  Is it the power of suggestion, like a placebo effect?  If I believe in it, does it make it true? Have I just ruined the magic?!  If I’m being scholarly, I have to think that amber teething necklaces are a hoax- a super cute, very fashionable, adorable hoax, but not one that is going to relieve the painful teething symptoms of my poor baby.  But, for today, I think I’ll think with my heart, remain in La-La land and continue thinking that positive thoughts and good looks really do bring happiness to my adorable jewelry clad little man!  How about you- does your baby subscribe to this fad and why?