Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

So one of my guiltiest pleasures is browsing Hollywood gossip sites. Usually I scan OMG for the picture galleries (I especially like the ‘What Were They Thinking?!‘ gallery…) and today I discovered Parade Magazine’s site. (You know the insert in the Sunday paper written for the over 60 crowd). Of course I had to read the article on Ashley Tisdale since ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody‘ still plays daily in our house–AND we know all the words to Sharpay’s song ‘Fabulous‘ from High School Musical 2.

Then I saw this gallery/article on “What Celebrities Would Tell Their Younger Selves.” As brain-mushing as this activity is, this article really got me thinking. So many of them said they would tell themselves to relax more, and enjoy the moment. After I read the article, I went out on our back deck with my coffee and thought about what I would tell my present self from my older and wiser self: Stop wasting your time worrying about how Sadie is going to turn out. Enjoy the fact that she is an only child instead of carrying around all this angst about it. Even if you think you are doing nothing with your life now, wait! You’re going to love what’s coming next. Oh. And you are so not fat right now!


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Sadie: All moms are annoying. Kids don’t want moms.

Me: Hmm. I think kids would really miss moms if they weren’t there.

Sadie: Yeah, maybe other kids don’t want moms, but I do. I just wish you didn’t always tell me what to do. It’s very annoying. How would you feel if I said to you ‘Clean your room! All of it?’ or ‘Build a fort for me!’ or ‘Do my work for me!’

Me: I have never asked you to do my work, or build me a fort.

Sadie: I KNOW. But it FEELS like it.

Me: Well, when you become a mom, you can tell your own kids what to do.

Sadie: I definitely won’t be like YOU. I’m going to be a NICE mom.

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It’s the usual summer stress: convincing Sadie that she DOES NOT need to be occupied every second of the live-long day. She does NOT need a friend over the minute her first friend of the day leaves. Same issue, different state. What is most frustrating to me is that I have created this world for her. I have scrambled and schemed and made plans and provided her with a fairyland life where all her almost 6 year old dreams come true. She doesn’t have to learn to entertain herself…not when Shelley-the-Cruise-Director is at the helm. Bored? Let me fix that for you. I’ll dance and sing and win the Camp Counselor of the Year award. Meanwhile, deep inside me rumbles resentment and anger. I’m upset because she NEEDS me to entertain her. But I can’t be angry at her…though I want to. I want to say Stop being so demanding of me! I want to shout Leave me alone for two seconds to read the paper for crying out loud! I want to run away and escape, but I can only blame myself, and I’d be taking my stupid-self with me.

It’s sticky; sticky. I have this anxiety that Sadie will have the same experience as I did as a kid (following my mom around while she cleaned…) so I do the OPPOSITE, which is not get a thing done around the house when she is home for fear that she’ll feel that cleaning is more important than her. There is no balance here. Because I end up wanting to send away my demanding child, the monster that I have created with my own dysfunction. She hounds me, hounds me, hounds me, and then I lose it and shut her out completely in a stompy huff. AND the house is still a mess. Same coin–different side.

It’s not like this is a new issue in my life–I’m sure I’ve devoted many blog posts to it. Which is why I created a category called “Things I can’t stop talking about.” I’ve had this suffocating attention/resentful ambivalence issue with Sadie literally since the day I brought her home from the hospital. Sometimes I think it’s because Sadie is an only child. (Another subject I can’t seem to stop talking about…) Like I believe the solution in a perfect world would be to say “Go play with your sister!” But my rational brain tells me that if I had two children, I’d have twice the anxiety, and I’d be worrying that one or the other one would need to go to therapy and talk about how I didn’t give them enough of my undivided attention. As it is, my one child is going to go to therapy because her mother is alternately ‘let’s play’, and angrily ‘leave me alone.’

A big fear of mine is that Sadie will get this message that she is a burden, or just an issue that needs to be slogged through, and not a person who I deeply love. As it stands, she is a tool in God’s hands for sure, and I know I need to learn these lessons quick: setting boundaries, allowing her negative emotions, finding my own healthy detatchment, and basically figuring out how to NOT bend my life around the whims of a six year old.

Yeah, she’s going to need therapy for sure.

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So I was talking to my good friend Charlie today about mommy-guilt. She was saying that it comes with every baby. Well I feel plagued with it right now. I mean, simply PLAGUED! I have to keep telling myself that I do not have to be my child’s sister. You know, the one I haven’t provided for her since she is an only child?? I almost have to say out loud that I am not depriving her and that she is not going to be crazy or demented or damaged in any way because she doesn’t have siblings. I do not have to feel bad because I don’t feel like playing with her today. And I don’t feel like making 50 calls to find someone else to entertain her.

Why do I feel so frantic about leaving her alone to entertain herself? I mean, she resists it for sure. She asks me every three minutes who she can call and when she can play with some one. I don’t want to entertain myself, she says. Many times I give in instead of giving her the gift of solitude and imagination. I don’t give her the chance to enjoy her own company, because she resist so. loudly.

So I feel guilty about catering to her need for entertainment, AND for not. For playing with her when I don’t feel like it, and then for saying with an annoyed sigh that I’ve had enough! It’s not my job to entertain you! Which isn’t something she needs to hear, necessarily, but something I need to say to myself. Because I know it’s not my job. But yet I still feel compelled to do it. Then feel angry at myself for not being the mom, and for giving in to my own compulsions. I worry that I’m putting her off and off and she’s going to get this message that I don’t want to be with her. And the truth is, I DON’T want to be with her in the role of ‘playmate.’ Mom, yes. Playmate and Cruise Director, NO. But that’s what I feel like sometimes. LIke I HAVE to be the cruise director–like that’s my punishment for having only one.

Sometimes I wish for a second child just to entertain my first. I don’t want another child to love and cherish and train and get to know as their own person. No. I just want someone there to let me off the hook. Which is why we ARE not having a second child by the way. Because I just want a servant girl at Sadie’s beck and call so I don’t have to fight her off. I get so weary of the battle. So I don’t REALLY want a second child. I want a child-in-waiting who is assigned to my daughter so I don’t have to be.

Of course this discussion always leads to OVERCOMPENSATION. Worrying that I’ll be so busy that Sadie will have to follow me around and talk to my back (i.e my own childhood…) but that’s so irrational. I’m not my mom…and my mom’s not even that person anymore. But I’m stuck there just the same.

(Damned if I do…damned if I don’t.)

There has to be some spacious free place within motherhood that lets me make mistakes. And allows me to be myself and trust my instincts and think of what’s best for Sadie, even if she is protesting madly. I just haven’t found it yet.

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I have officially morphed into That Insane Mom. Sadie lost her little lovie, Rosie, the other day. It’s her sweet little white bunny that she takes EVERYWHERE with her. I thought maybe we left it at the Dr’s office. So I called the front desk and told the lady that I had an EMERGENCY. I literally said this during the height of the worst flu epidemic our town has seen in AGES. (It was an emergency to me…) I told her that we had been in that morning, and it was of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE that we find the white bunny.

She transferred me over to the office manager. I got her voice mail, so I left her an URGENT message explaining that my daughter can’t sleep without this Webkinz bunny, and here is what it looks like: it has two hair bands on it’s ears like ponytails–bright purple and green–you can’t miss it–so could she PLEASE do a thorough search of room three, the kids waiting area, and everywhere in between?

I didn’t hear back from her, so I called again and said I NEED to speak to a real person, and the office manager is not answering her phone. Could you please look for this lost white bunny? Could a nurse go back there and scour the area? And the front desk lady said, oh, we looked all over for it this morning and didn’t find anything. She was so nonchalant! Didn’t she GET that Rosie MUST BE FOUND? So I asked her if we could stop in after school and look for it ourselves. Whatever, she said.

So we showed up after school and went up to lady sitting at the desk and I said “did I talk to you earlier about the white bunny?” She looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. Apparently she was NOT the person I had talked to. So it’s super busy in there, and the phone is ringing off the hook, and I’m like ‘do you have kids? My daughter lost her favorite white bunny here this morning, and I was hoping we could go back there and look for it ourselves.’ She can barely contain her huffy sigh, and picks up the phone and calls back to the nurse and explains the situation. I catch a teeny eye roll. “Uh huh. Yeah, they’re here…” she covers up the mouthpiece and says “the nurse said she ALREADY looked for it and didn’t find it.” I am feeling panicky and I say a little too quickly, ‘did she check behind the bed? In the crate with the toys? Can I go back there and look myself?’ She sighs again and talks to the nurse again. She looks back up at us and says, no, I’m sorry, we can’t allow you to go back there, we have a patient in that room…wait, the dr. knows who you are and he said he’ll send the nurse out to get you (ahh, small towns!)

So a nurse comes out to the front and looks at us and says “White bunny?” She is not amused. Sadie and I follow her back to the room and she tells me again that she even looked in drawers and cupboards and couldn’t find it. I tell her that I’m a little OCD (!?) and that I’m really glad she is letting us look. Of course we don’t find anything. The doctor (who we love, and who knows I have a teeny anxiety problem) says they’ll call if they find anything.

I am almost crying (but I don’t let Sadie see it…I’ve got to keep it together!) but I am so sad–it’s like a piece of her little soul is missing. I keep thinking of Rosie’s ears in the little ponytails and my heart just hurts. So we go to the store and buy her another Webkinz. She gets a cat and names her Isabella, but I can tell it just isn’t the same. She is not NEARLY as huggable as Rosie. We say a prayer that night that God will help us find Rosie, but I’m secretly thinking that some kid swiped her from Room Three at the medical center. The next day Sadie says how sad she still is about losing Rosie, and how she hopes she will someday forget about her. I think I’m taking it harder than her. I know it’s crazy, but I can’t help it.

I went to her school after lunch to volunteer, and on a whim I stopped in the office and asked if anyone had found a white bunny. The office lady said “Does it have hair bands around it’s ears like ponytails? Bright green and purple?” ROSIE! I yell. She told me that someone had found her on the floor yesterday and had brought her to the office. I told her the whole story about how awful it has been (for me especially) without Rosie and about the dr’s office, and she patted my arm and said her daughter lost her Sunshine blanket once, and she CALLED HER DOCTOR AT HOME to come open up the medical center after hours.

Thank you office lady! Thank you for understanding.

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Yesterday I bought Sadie Bratz sneakers.

I told myself long ago I would not pay money for any Bratz products. Sadie has known since she was conscious that I didn’t like Bratz dolls. We’ve had many a discussion about why this is: they are too grown up, they wear too much make-up, and they look like they WANT to get into trouble. This has made Sadie all the more curious about them, and she has asked for them often. She’ll say “I like Bratz,” then she’ll look up at me sideways to see my reaction.

This past summer, a neighbor girl gave Sadie two Bratz dolls she didn’t play with anymore. Since Sadie wasn’t interested in playing Barbies at the time, I didn’t think much of it and just downplayed it. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, she is now FULL FORCE into Barbies. And that includes those two Bratz dolls. We’ve been playing that the Barbies are including the Bratz and are teaching them manners, how to be sweet, and how to not get into trouble. We’ve imagined that they came from an orphanage and have had a hard life so far.

Then, yesterday, Sadie’s Cinderella Princess sneakers ripped, and she begged for Bratz sneakers. This posed quite a conundrum for me, since the Bratz shoes were literally the only ones that fit her in all of WalMart. Was it ‘giving in’? Not standing on my principles? Would I be endorsing something that I shouldn’t be allowing my daughter to have? I paced up and down the shoe aisle wondering what to do.

I started thinking about my evangelical Christian upbringing–about the rules: what NOT to do or wear; who NOT to hang out with, what NOT to watch or listen to. And now as a ‘Christian Mom’ what NOT to buy my daughter. It dawned on me that if I bought these shoes for Sadie, people might judge me in the exact same way I have been guilty of judging other moms whose kids are allowed to wear, eat, watch, etc. things I don’t approve of. My own hypocrisy stared me in the face.

We’ve been trying to teach Sadie that God looks on the inside first–that hearts matter more than what someone looks like. We’ve been telling her that Jesus invites everyone, and that He loves us all the same even though we all look different. I’ve been trying to get there in my own life too–where it isn’t Us vs. Them–the ‘saved’ and the ‘unsaved’–the sinners and the saints. God has been working on me to look at every person I see as someone dearly loved by Him no matter what they look like, how they act, or even whether or not they believe in Him. I’ve been praying for eyes to see my own sin–that I am just as black as someone who commits murder or molests children. How we are all the same, and so, so loved by God.

So I got the shoes, and a lesson too. I want Sadie to be inclusive and full of love and respect for everyone–the way I believe Jesus was. I think Jesus would have hung out with Bratz.


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Every morning, the minute Sadie wakes up, she wants to play Barbies.

When I was pregnant and pious, I vowed that MY little girl would not be allowed to play Barbies. She wouldn’t wear pink, either. No child of mine would be trapped by old-fashioned oppressive stereotypes. MY child would be liberated from the ‘ideal’ body type that the Barbies possesed, and their evil plan to make all girls hate themselves.

Then I had a little girl who loved pink. And who is now obsessed with playing Barbies. It is so funny for me to think of my pre-Sadie me, and all of my notions of what I would do as a parent. When Sadie started showing interest in her Barbies, I was so excited that we ran right out and bought tons of clothes at the flea market. I forgot how much loved playing Barbies as a kid.

I eat my words daily.

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