Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Three steps forward, one step back

So I was all ready to post about how awesome I am but then... well... let me explain.

      Carter, my super smart boy genius, has always struggled on and off with having accidents. It makes us SO frustrated because we know he knows better and makes a conscious decision to wet his pants because he is too busy and doesn't want to stop what he is doing. A while back we made a rule that he had to be accident free for 7 days straight before he could play wii and if he had an accident it would start all over. It worked at the beginning and then we hit a rough patch where nothing worked. Even over Christmas when Carter got new games that he really wanted and couldn't play he was having accidents almost every day.
    Well, the other day I had a thought. I bet he forgot how much he likes playing wii. So when I had to go to class I asked Dave to play with him for 20 minutes as a special reminder. And for the first time in a LONG time he went the whole 7 days!!! It was amazing! I was all excited and about to post about how smart my "incentive play time" was until today, on day 11, he had an accident. Dang it. We were at a school friend's house for a play date and it was his first time there and he was really excited so I'm sure that had something to do with it I was just so sad. Oh well. Tomorrow will be day 1 and we will just keep going. Such is life right?

     In other news, I have my first week of the semester under my belt and I am starting to feel a little more confident. I was freaking out about how I was going to juggle it all but I have faith in myself. If that first semester did nothing else for me (which it did do tons!!) it gave me a little confidence in myself. The kids and I seem to be getting a routine down and that makes things a little easier but we still have our moments. Don't we all though, really?
      In conclusion, I love staying home. Not every moment but all the moments put together.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends

Today I learned that at times I can rely on other people to help out where I fall short and that it is OK! It was a rough day for me as a mom. I just feel like I kept dropping the ball and my kids were not happy with me. First of all, I love fun things my kids do in school but most especially dress up days and I actually forgot about opposite day at Jude's preschool today. I felt so awful! I love opposite day!!! Luckily my amazing friend Amanda came to my rescue and put him in one of her daughter's skirts when I called her from the train to school. Of course it didn't last long since Jude is so particular about what he wears and he was upset that it was Pennie's and not his. Oh well.
        Later in the day Amanda came to my rescue yet again giving me a kid free hour to go to the fabric store and get supplies for school. I did have one win today though... I went online and printed every competitor coupon I could think of for Joann's and ended up saving $123.01. Take that! Anywho, I felt kind of like a failure for not taking my kids while running an errand. I know moms take their kids everywhere and I still struggle to do anything with my kids in tow. I just start panicking and then struggle to even function. I hate that the fear of stressful situations keeps me from just living my life. It's not even that my kids are that badly behaved in stores it's just the idea of not knowing how they are going to act when I am trying to accomplish something. At home I stop what I'm doing and devote all of my attention to the kids if need be but I can't really do that when we are out and about. This is something I am definitely hoping to master in my new life.
       When I was done and went to pick up the boys I decided that tonight would be a fast food night. No, we don't have them often. I've explained to Carter that it is unhealthy and expensive and should be a treat. So tonight, we treated ourselves. And then the chaos happened. Carter has this habit of overreacting to everything with a very loud, very high pitched scream. I repeatedly tell him this is not an appropriate response to the current situation but then I wonder if I am wrong for telling him how to feel and react. Jude stole Carter's french fries and there it was, the ear piercing, blood curdling scream. I got so frustrated that I immediately sent Carter to his room kicking and screaming and pulled the fries out of Jude's hand. Of course I then had two screaming children to deal with. Oh boy. So I went into Carter's room and he was throwing a huge tantrum and destroying his room. When I walked in he was throwing and kicking Rockem' Sockem' Robots so I told him if he touched it one more time it would go in the garbage. Needless to say Dave questioned why the game was in the recycling when he got home. (We did take it out and put it in storage for the next month at least...) I sat down and talked to Carter about what the appropriate reaction to the situation should have been and made him practice it. Not sure if that was the right or wrong way to handle that but it seemed to help and smoothed things over.
         I just feel like I don't know what to say and how to react to situations appropriately myself. So do I need to practice like I ask Carter to do? Any tips from moms out there that can help me in those melt down moments? I feel like I totally fail in those times of chaos and calamity. My anxiety is heightened in those moments and I don't know what to do. I can't even handle my kids' meltdowns sometimes and it is the worst feeling. Being a mom is hard.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's all relative

It's been a very productive day, yet here I sit, at the computer, avoiding my Beginning Sewing textbook. I was chatting with Dave last night about something that has been on my mind again today so I think I ought to share. Hopefully Hubby doesn't mind me throwing him under the bus a little bit... I had my first class Monday night and wasn't expecting to get home until around 11PM so I asked my sweet husband to make Jude's "all about me" poster for preschool. It didn't have to be fancy and I actually told him exactly what I wanted it to look like to help him out (and because of the OCD...) I got home from school around 10PM and had my "decompression" time where I sit on the couch and watch TV until I can turn my brain off and go to sleep. At about 11:45PM I asked Husband about the poster and he said he hadn't had a chance to work on it and then could not find the construction paper. Boo. At that point I just wanted to go to bed.
         In the morning as Dave was leaving for work he told me he printed the pictures that I had requested for the poster and that I could just glue them on and make it "simple". Nope. He knew what would happen. Simple, while a lovely thought, is not in my vocabulary. I love simple, don't get me wrong, but those that know me know that I have a little problem and seem to do everything the most complicated way possible. That's just how I work. So after Husband and Thing 1 left for work and school I put Judela in front of some Yo Gabba Gabba and set to work all the while moaning and sighing about the fact that I asked Husband to do this the night before. When I finished and Jude saw my masterpiece it was worth it all. It was then I had an Ah Ha moment. 
            A month ago I would have been the first one to leave the house and any unfinished projects would have remained unfinished until I returned in the evening. A month ago I would have been doing busy work, talking to customers, solving work problems and the like rather than cutting and gluing. Why was I complaining!? I literally had 2 hours that I could spend creating something that my child would absolutely love and I was upset about this? I quickly realized that everything is relative. I told myself to take a step back and realize what I would rather be doing here. Yes, what I did before was important, somewhat satisfying and actually fun most of the time but, I'm telling you, making the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse out of construction paper is a lot more fun, more satisfying and, arguably, more important than anything I was doing before. I am grateful for this opportunity and I may have to remind myself about that constantly. 
        Today I was able to put a joke in my kid's lunch, watch Carter receive the Principal's Pride award at his school, attend a dance class of Jude's best friend (even though we weren't able to sign him up as planned), sing and play with Jude while we made and then messed up my bed, vacuum, take out trash, hand wash things I've been meaning to hand wash FOREVER, and even clean a toilet. Woohoo! All better than not having the opportunity to do any of it. There are days I don't feel like doing anything... and there are days I don't do anything but the key here is that I can do things I wasn't able to before. I never thought I would be grateful for the opportunity to clean a toilet used by a 5 year old boy but today I am. I know not every day will be like this and I will surely complain about having to clean up after my not-so-sharp shooter but today I am overwhelmed with appreciation for the fact that I get to do something so worth doing that even the "crappy" jobs are better than anything I could have done before. 

Carter accepting his award

Jude's super awesome place mat for preschool

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Diary of an Anxious Mom

It's been a while. A long while. A lot has changed with our family since the last time I blogged. Husband got a job as a city planner for the city of South Jordan and is currently going to school part time to get his masters degree. Carter is in his first year of kindergarten, just started piano lessons and is my little boy genius. Jude just started preschool officially this week and is in no way ready to potty train but that is the next thing on the horizon for him. Me? I feel like I've had the biggest change of them all. This fall I started school for the first time in over 10 years at Salt Lake Community College for a degree in Fashion Design and almost exactly one month ago I quit my job to be a stay at home mom and full time student. Everyone was so positive about my decision to stay home but most people also threw in their condolences for the fact that I will most definitely go (more) insane and at times regret my decision to leave the work force and be governed by 2 small, and at times angry, bosses.
        I decided today as I was waiting for TRAX in the cold that I should create an outlet for my feelings on being a stay at home mom and my triumphs and downfalls in this new world. Do I expect people to read this? Maybe... Do I expect people to care? Maybe not... This is for me and for anyone else that has ever felt inadequate, lazy, anxious, excited, confused, or just down right scared crapless to be a mom and be responsible for the lives of small little people. 
           Anyone that knows me knows that I have always had anxiety and feeling of guilt about my ability to be a mom. Husband grew up surrounded by kids with younger siblings and nieces and nephews by the dozens but I was the baby of the family and there were no kids. I didn't hold a baby until I was at least engaged if not married. I always knew I wanted kids but I was always afraid. Afraid I would accidentally drop them, drown them, screw them up psychologically, feed them the wrong thing, make them cry... you name it, I was scared of it. When Carter was born I was a wreck. I would go all day without using the bathroom so he wouldn't cry, or only eat lukewarm food in case I spilled on him because heaven forbid I put him down long enough to actually eat something. I slept with him on my chest for the first month and a half because I wanted to be sure he was alive. I cried when the nurse told me to give him formula so he wouldn't have kidney failure when I had severely clogged ducts and trouble nursing. I had a lactation consultant come and help him go back to breast feeding after only bottle feeding for at least a week because I did not want my baby to be bottle fed. But the worst of all... I hated being alone with him. I always wanted people there to make sure I was doing things right. There was always someone better suited for whatever task that needed to be done even though I was his mom. 
            When we moved to Utah Dave and I both ended up staying home for a while and I loved it. I always had that support and someone there to help and watch to make sure I wasn't screwing things up. I went back to work full time when Carter was 8 months old and I hate saying this but I felt like there were others better suited to take care of him. I always had that "mom guilt", sure, but I never worried about him getting adequate care without me there. I always fully trusted everyone that was watching him even more than I trusted myself. My end goal was always to be a stay at home mom but I never really believed the day would come and I would have to be solely responsible for the care of my child. I've worked since then and even went back to work 6 short weeks after having Jude. During my time as a working mom of two I was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD and was taking medication for these things. Once I discovered that I had anxiety and started working to correct it I started wanting to be home with the kids more. With every little success came a greater desire to be solely responsible for my own children. 
         Don't get me wrong, I still feel very inadequate. I'm in no way a super mom. The hardest part is that I am surrounded by super moms and can't help but feel less than. I watch my sister in laws with their kids and wish I could be that confident and amazing. There are women in my neighborhood that home school their 10 children who are all so polite and considerate. All I can say is WOW. I am so jealous of these women and their ability to nurture, teach, discipline, organize, clean, cook, serve and run a happy home. Rather than focus on my deficiencies I have decided to try to be more like them. I am grateful that I have so many good examples of moms around me. Will I ever be perfect? H no. Will I ever be good enough? Yes and that is my goal. Be enough for my kids. 
          I am hoping to blog more about my journey as a stay at home mom but be warned. I'm sure there will be plenty of self deprecation, mom guilt and hopefully, at times, bragging when I feel I've done something right. You don't have to read it if you don't like it. I know I am long winded and even if people do read it I doubt they will make it to the end. I want to see my journey and my progress as a stay at home mom. I am so excited for the opportunity and know it will be a challenge. Not to get all Stuart Smalley on you but today I will tell myself "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me."