Learning to BE the example.

This family knows how to have a good time. It’s no secret that we are bit of party animals here. We met at a New Years Eve party, enough said. And while I love a large glass of pinot noir or dirty martini as I have gotten older I have become increasingly aware of the realities of life. Age doesn’t make you immune to poor decision making.

As a parent, I do not believe in hiding things from your children. I was raised in family that regularly enjoyed happy hour at gatherings. My granddad always made me a Shirley Temple and I have many fond memories in my grandparents living room with everyone sharing a drink. I was exposed to responsible drinking at an early age and truly feel it molded me in a responsible social drinker as an adult.

We have no plans to hide our love for wine from our boys. I assume they feel that social responsible drinking as an adult is the norm. But, as we have grown in the responsibility of parenthood we have also had to take a hard look at how we handle certain situations and the example we are setting for our kids. That can be hard.  No one wants to admit that even as parent they may make a choice or two that we would rather our kids not do.

One of those choices is drinking and driving. I am not talking about the obvious belligerent drunk you need not drive. I am talking about what many of us are guilty of,  pushing the line. Driving when you are probably fine but if involved in an accident it could be bad. My hope is my children refrain from drinking at an early age but I am not naive to the realities of growing up. And the one thing I absolutely do not ever want my kids to do is drink and drive. It can kill you. It can kill someone else. In a moment it can ruin your life forever. That reality scares me a lot.

After a lot of thought and realizing that children are way more likely to do what you do, not what you say Craig and I made a family decision. No more than two drinks or no driving. No matter how long in between consumption. No splitting hairs. No, I weigh 80 more pounds than you. You want to let lose and drink feel free but call a cab. Our children will grow up seeing mom and dad utilize cabs. Yes, it may cost us a bit more on a date night but its cheaper than a DUI and better than death or going to jail.

It is our hope that our kids see Mom and Dad have a good time but be smart. Just maybe our actions can impress on them a reality that I am confident would probably be ignored if it was just words.

And in all honesty, it has been nice. Since making this life change we have had a few date nights and it was so lovely to savor each sip of wine and bite of food. To talk and enjoy each other and never think about how much we were drinking. We just had fun. Called a cab and came home. It’s the responsible adult decision and its one we are consciously making.

Transitions

At this point I have transitioned from new mom to just mom to mom of two. And with this latest transition I have realized something…I am a much better mother to two kids than I ever was to one. Now let me say nothing pissed me off more than being told that you weren’t really a parent until you had more than one kid. That thought process is rude and categorically untrue. But, for me and my journey through motherhood, I have discovered that Jack is getting a way better parent. And by default so is EJ.
I was fairly relaxed mom with EJ. I was not one of those hyperactive new moms that fretted over every little thing but I was lacking in confidence. I was wading through unfamiliar waters and with everyone’s willingness to share their opinions with me all the time I was left totality insecure about my decisions. I wondered way more than I ever should and poor EJ got a momma who was a tid bit stressed out.
I took a hard look at myself the other day and I realized that I am so much more relaxed and gosh darn it I am confident. These boys are mine and I know what is best for them. I know that Jack may be just shy of six months but this little guy needs lots of sleep and that means to bed he heads at 6:30pm. Yes, that is early and all the books say another feeding should happen but for him I know its what is best. He, also, has the driest skin in the world so bath time is limited to twice a week. I know that EJ has to have structure or he goes insane and days that aren’t structured well tend to end in screaming from everyone. Its just little things that I know about my kids that no one, not even dad at times, know.
I can trust my instincts and let life happen. We have a schedule and most days its the way life goes but I also let things interrupt it because that is life and my kids need to learn to be flexible. I know that EJ throws huge temper tantrums and the best way to handle it to send him to his room immediately. Time outs and redirecting may be the thing to do now but for us does not work. I am ok with telling others that. I don’t kept my difference in parenting styles to myself. I just do what works for us. And sometimes that all you can  do is just listen to gut and say a prayer it works.

On Holidays

Oh how I love the holiday season. It is the only time in the year I am willing to tolerate cold weather. There is just something magical about pumpkins, fires and christmas trees. I have wonderful memories of childhood christmas pasts. One’s filled with all my family, rooms full of people and laughter. Great times with cousins and siblings.

As I have moved past the childhood stage and into the adult stage of the holidays I see the stress. I see how easily the true meaning of the holidays can get lost in the shuffle. I have found myself trying to recreate the holidays of the past. I yearn to give my children similar memories. I so desperately want them to feel the love and magic that holidays can be. However, while cooking my first family thanksgiving this year it occurred to me that those are my memories, my childhood. The boys are making their own memories. These are the memories that they will hopefully look back on with love as the grow older and form families of their own.

We have worked hard to make our family our own. To set boundaries that works for us because this family that we made now is the most important. So as I go through this season and the years to come I am going to focus less on what I have always done and more on what is best for the boys. We may not have the family filled crazed celebrations but that does not mean that they won’t be just as memorable. Hosting Thanksgiving was truly wonderful moment. There was no loading up the car and driving into the wee hours of the morning. No shuffling through luggage, and running from house to house. Both of us commented on how much we loved having everyone over. It was a perfect thanksgiving and I hope in the years to come their are many more just like it.

This is real life

It’s midnight, heartburn is flaring. Swallow some Tums. Prop myself up has high as I can go on my side and try to fall back asleep.
3 am arrives the heartburn is back. Pop some more Tums and roll over. It’s now 4am Momma instinct kicks in. I wake and listen hard for a whimper. Suddenly a wail and cry for me pierces the silence as I stumble to the boy’s room. I cuddle a scared boy and lay with him until he falls back asleep.
As I sneak back to my room, my stomach starts to rumble. I manage to lay down for only for a minute before I race to the bathroom. The 3rd trimester sickness has set in. Husband wakes a few minutes later to his boy yelling for him and his wife sick in the bathroom. Quite the symphony of sounds.
Not sure who to help he heads for the boy. For the rest of night he cuddled a scared boy who fought sleep by racing hot wheels up and down Daddy’s arms and legs.
This is real life. Not a fun party but bittersweet all in its own right. Just a picture of unconditional love as we muddle through yet another moment in our lives.

This too shall pass

I have heard it a lot lately, “oh you are going to have your hands full” in response to my rather large belly and the crazy kid running around at my feet. It amazes me the freedom people feel in speaking their “truth” to you when it comes to opinions on children. I honestly believe that a good number of people really enjoy fear mongering expectant parents.  I can not for the life me figure out why.

Before EJ was born I was told I would never sleep again. That I should enjoy quiet because it’s over soon. The array of other personal comments and opinions that was launched at me was mind boggling. I didn’t  understand it then and still don’t today. Primarily because of the obvious. It’s not like I can do anything about it now. This baby is coming whether we like it or not. Get over it and get ready is my motto. I get excited. Some days I am scared but that’s normal. Trust me I do not need you spilling your guts to me about how much work I am about to be in for. I will learn soon enough on my own.

And guess what there were sleepless nights, there were days when I wanted to pull every strand of my hair out and scream. I have been exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed but you know what?

It’s worth it. And it passed. 

I love my kid so much it hurts. I love being his momma and even when he makes me crazy I can not imagine my life without him. I love my husband more each and every day because he loves our kid so much. We are committed to each other in a different way because we know and embrace the reality that we are the foundation of our family. This family of ours is so important to us that we work hard daily to make sure that there are no cracks in that foundation. That kind of commitment is amazing. That kind of love is worth it even if it means a few sleepless nights.

I don’t doubt that two small children may make head spin some days and I will wonder if their is enough of me to go around. I will worry about dumb things and life will have its ups and downs. Yes, my hands are going to be full but they are big enough to juggle it. And my heart is going to grow that July day even bigger and life without my two little boys will be totally unimaginable.

So for me I try very hard to never say anything negative to new parents or parents-to-be. I know they hear enough junk and I always speak my truth which is “Just remember this too shall pass and focus on the reality that it is so worth it. There is nothing like having your own family, absolutely nothing like it”.

A Saturday Drive

We woke up per usual to little feet pitter pattering around his room waiting for someone to come get him. With the standard sigh as I pulled myself from our comfortable bed, I went to rescue my boy. A soft cry for “Momma” as he heard my door open… and it begin just it like it does most days. Except this day, Momma packed a bag for just one and after a delicious breakfast of doughnuts and chocolate milk we pilled in the car to drive 3 hrs to meet his MiMi and CorCor.

We pulled in at the exact same time and out jumped my parents eager to see their boy. I watched as his eyes immediately lit up. All through lunch Mom and Dad were ignored as he enjoyed to attention that only grandparents can give. As we left he grabbed my mom’s hand and off he gladly went to their car. Without even the slightest glance or apprehension, he climbed in and waved “byebye”.

I leaned in and he planted a big kiss on both me and his Dad and he was ready to go. Perhaps it was the promise of dirt, tractors, dogs and lots of boy fun or just the love he has for his grandparents. All I know, the one left sad to part was me and only me.

I am so proud of the little boy I am raising. I love his independence and joy for life. I have always preached the importance of independence and security and for me I know we are doing our job when he can leave us without a tear. I know he knows that Mom and Dad are just a phone call away and we always come back. Chances are we are missed in the moments where only Mom can make it better and when Dad plays just the right way but overall he is happy and content being apart. Absences does make the heart grow fonder and for his Dad and I this a great way to spend some quality time together and reconnect. Our marriage is our children’s greatest gift and its up to us make sure we honor it and nourish it. Not to mention the baby boy rapidly growing in my belly. I need to make sure that we are ready for his arrival as his brother.

As we drove away and sadness crept through my heart, I remembered that before I knew we would back on the same road driving back to meet our boy both rested and rejuvenated. Something that I believe is good for the soul and the family.

A Mother’s Day Challenge

As yet another year races by I find myself faced with my 3rd Mother’s Day. I have mixed emotions about Mother’s Day much like Valentine’s Day I find the day to be more a marketing ploy than anything. Mothers & Fathers alike have big, hard jobs and they should be honored for it but I think it should be a daily thing not a once a year I will stop and say your great.
In all honesty the year it meant the most to me was a year that some claimed was not mine to celebrate. I was carrying him in my belly instead of holding my baby boy in arms and some felt that I had not earned my mom card yet. I was just about full term and pretty miserable thanks to high blood pressure and irregular contractions. I will probably be myphed for the rest of my life for those comments because there is no harder job than baking a baby. In my mind your a mother the minute the + sign appears, end of story.
So this Mother’s day, I challenge you to look to the pregnant women in your life and stop for a moment and give them some love. Stop yourself from sharing battle stories, imparting advice or telling them to enjoy the peace now because all hell is about to break lose just say congratulations you are about to get the best gift in the world. Because really, they are and the rest of it is just a mix of good and bad days. And the good make the bad more than worth it because they are your kids. A living, breathing reminder of your love for your partner. Proof that even with all the bad in the world, there still is good.

A reason why #2 is more fun

While preparing for the first baby life is consumed with learning all about baby gear and what is the best out there. Your life revolves around safety tests and some slight panic on how in the world are you ever going to acquire all this expensive stuff that babies need. Momma’s everywhere share their best and worst products and you are left weeding through all this new found knowledge to select what you love the most for you and your little one.  If your like me you gather tons of goodies, ignore the advice from others who may know what they are talking about and basically realize 6 months down the line that you do not like all your stuff. I hated my infant car seat with a passion. I could have listened to my Grandmother. She promise me that I would hate it but instead I listen to the masses. I learned my lesson. It sucked. So far it took me 3 strollers to find one I loved and we are on infant seat #2.

When #2 comes around, you have so much of the stuff that you need already and suddenly preparing for this baby is a lot of fun. I know what I like and I know what I don’t. I have been there already so I have an idea of what I used and what I didn’t. I know baby brands and I know which ones work for us. It is great fun to know enough to just enjoy collecting sweet blankets, clothes, and such. This time I fret over so much less and spend more time just staring at my sweet baby boy’s new clothes and goodies. Not that I have a lot of time to stare at anything with a crazy 2 year old under foot but honestly I can say all this time around is better.

I know that these baby kicks will one day be painful and that sooner than later I will swell and feel gross and be hot all the time. So today, I will enjoy feeling the babe flip and kick and remember that even if I am more tired than I feel I can handle and I hate the scale with a passion this is a blessing. A gift that not all get with ease or ever. So for me even through the sickness and exhaustion I find that pregnancy with number 2 is way more fun.

Freshly Baked and in Public

I was lurking on twitter today, an often occurrence when I am too tired to chat, and I ran across a conversation amongst some of the mommas on when they took their brand new baby out in public for the first time. I will honestly say I was very excited to hear others opinions on what I feel is a hotly debated topic.

I am pretty low-key parent. I am not a germaphobe at all and really do not understand the fuss about keeping life sterile with new babies. As my ob said minutes after delivery “his days of sterile living are over”.  And let me preface this with I mean full term babies. Preemies are a game changer and I cannot speak to that style of parenting at all. But, me, I wasn’t worried at all about public places with EJ. Honestly, I was more worried about me freaking out because I don’t do cooped up well. I am very go, go type of person and being told I need to stay inside for 6 or 8 weeks is enough to make me batshitcrazy. Just ask my husband mid-February when I have it deemed it too cold to leave for weeks which means I have been at home for days on end. I am many things and nice and sane are not them.

I was pleasantly surprised to read women after women announce they left for the first within a week of their little one’s birth. I took a brutal chastising from a few members of my family for taking EJ out to a very late lunch when he was 6 days old, aka we were the only ones there and he was tucked away in my sling. Which meant not a single person could touch him and you could not see him unless I showed you his sweet self. I needed the fresh air and life outside of my inlaws (yes we were living there at the moment) which meant venturing into public.

Since then I have taken note of what others have done simply because I wondered if I was weird. I  can say that one thing I have notice which each additional child parents seem to care less and less. I even had one friend tell me of another who stopped for a Margarita with her husband and freshly baked baby # 4 on the way home from the hospital. Hysterical!  I guess I just believe that life goes on and things need to get done. I am pretty sure I am not going to be able to pause life for 2 months come August and quite frankly I have no desire to do so.  But, that is why I must have summer babies, no flu season for me. I am also the obnoxious person that follows up every person who questions me on my thoughts with you know some people take public transportation home from the hospital right? And to me that is about as germy as you can get.

Flashback

Seriously where has the time gone? Today, I awoke to a knock on the door and a faint “Momma”  Yes, our little boy not only sleeps soundly in a full size bed he now has figured out how to get himself out of bed, open his door and go get his parents. He is such a big boy and it is so hard for me to believe that this was him this time last year.

Now he looks like this… 

When did he grow up and how do I make it stop?