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Archive for September, 2007

Sadie is obsessed with her pink sparkly pants and a pink Disney Princesses shirt. She wants to wear this outfit EVERYDAY. She wore it yesterday, and asked me if she could wear it again today. hmmmm, I thought to myself this morning: should I let her GET IT OUT OF THE HAMPER and wear it again? I mean, it’s not THAT dirty–just a bit dusty around the butt from playing in the park…and only one dark red kool aid stain on the shirt…

So I say (and mentally see my mother cringing…) ok Sadie. Get it out of the hamper, and YOU decide if it’s clean enough to wear. She’s five–she has eyes, she can see for herself. She thought it was fine (of course). So I smelled it, and it smelled fine. Against all of my upbringing, I sent her off to school in the same outfit she wore yesterday, having ,yes, retrieved it out of the hamper. Upon hearing this story, my dear mother said ‘you do what’s right for you even if I would do it differently.’ I appreciated that. It’s nice to have a mom who lets me do it my way. But that still doesn’t stop me from second guessing myself.

I want Sadie to express herself and be free. I don’t want her to worry about how she looks at FIVE. Sheesh. It will start soon enough. But I remember being little and hearing what my mom had to say about disheveled, mismatched-looking kids: “Oh, that poor child. Her mother must not take care of her.” In her lifetime–in her own mothering experience, maybe it was a priority for her to have her kids looking good (read: well cared for). Maybe it was because she came from humble means, maybe it was her generation, I don’t know. But for me, I’d rather not fight Sadie on what she wears to school as long as she is happy and comfortable. My worth as a mom does not lie in the perfect appearance of my child. But every once in a while, I have a niggling doubt. What if people think Sadie IS this poor, pitiful child who has no other clothes? I want to send a note along with her saying “you should SEE what this child DOESN’T wear–PILES and PILES of cute skirts and flowery shirts and adorable dresses and like 8 pairs of jeans, many of which are name brand.”

Then I remember. Sadie is her own little person. She is not a little version of me. She feels GOOD in her favorite outfit, and that gives her confidence. Even if the shiny red shoes she wore WITH all that pink totally clashes. She loves it. And I don’t want to forget that this is her life, not mine.

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I’m working part time. I LOVE it. After 4 loooooong years of stay-at-home-dom, I’m out in the productive world again. Yes, yes, I know that being home with your child is productive (and oftentimes grueling) work, but I must say that it is nice to be doing something un-momly. Granted, I’m just clocking 10 hours a week at the local university doing administrative assistant kind of work for a professor, but WOW. I feel alive again. It’s so funny, when I was working before Sadie was born, (10 years, full time) I couldn’t wait to stay at home. What a life, I thought. Like being on summer vacation all the time. So much time! And how I would float through my clean, organized house and bounce my little one up and down with a satisfied smile on my face everyday. Maybe being a stay-at-home-mom feels like that to some people, but my experience was just about, um, the OPPOSITE. I’m glad I did it. I know it was the best thing for our little family. But that doesn’t mean I liked it.

And I’m finally giving myself the permission to say IT’s OK that I didn’t like it. That it WASN’T the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life. That I may be a mom AND something else. I’ve been beating myself up for years because I couldn’t seem to fit into a certain kind of mom mold that I saw around me. What was wrong with me that I only wanted ONE child or that I didn’t want to homeschool? It is so hard to find yourself in a place where it seems you don’t think exactly the same way as the majority around you. I know I have friends who understand where I’m coming from–and ones who choose a different way and don’t judge me, but living in the Bible Belt is just so frickin’ hard sometimes. I love Jesus and I love being Sadie’s mom, but motherhood will no longer define what kind of a Christian I think I am.

All I know is I’m alive when I’m at work. And I wonder what God is going to do with me from here.

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