How being a SAHP is just like any other Job

Contrary to what the movies may show, and what some may believe, most SAHP’s (Stay At Home Parent) don’t lie around in their PJ’s all day eating junk food.  Being a SAHP is work.  Often times it’s HARD work.  Here’s 10 ways it’s just like any other job.

Coworkers:  In this case, your kids.  The people you spend 8+ hours a day with, in most cases you see them more than anyone else you know.

Diapers: Whether you are wiping ass or kissing ass, it’s probably your least favorite part of the day.

Clean up: The never-ending cycle of fixing, re-doing, or re-starting every project your aforementioned coworkers screw up.

Lunchtime: An excuse to drink a beer in the middle of the day.

 Nap time:  The SAH version of a Sick Day. Which always flies by like you’re in a time warp.

Play dates: The SAH version of the water cooler.  This is where all the latest drama or news is exchanged with pretty much anyone who will listen to you complain about your coworkers.

Drama: If you think the office bitch is a drama queen, try spending an entire day home alone with a toddler.

Quitting time:  The last hour of the day before your SO get’s home slows down to turtle speed and seems to last FOREVER.

Mediation: Only in this case, you are the mediator and the 2nd party.  No middle man to help calmly solve the problem, so you usually end up giving in and your LO gets whatever toy or treat they threw a fit over to begin with.  Sometimes it’s just not worth the fight.

Overtime:  Being a SAHP means you don’t get to leave work or stop working after an 8 hour day.  Only you don’t get paid time-and-a-half.

So next time you start judging a SAHP, think about it first.  Is your job really harder than theirs?

Having a social child

My parents tell stories about me as a child.  Hiding under the chairs at social gatherings or church.  Clinging to their legs in the company of strangers, or even people I’d met but didn’t see on a daily basis.  My stranger-danger was always on high alert.  And being the older sister, I made sure to protect my little bro by keeping him hiding out right along side me.  It wasn’t until I was in high school and part of the Speech Team (kind of like a  competitive theatre team) that I started to come out of my shy-shell.  I just wasn’t created as a social butterfly.

We had friends of the family who’s kids were younger than me and far more outgoing.  Always talking to everyone and anyone.  Always the center of attention.  I never understood how they were that way, and just assumed it was because of their parents being social butterflies and passing that along to them.

Then J came along.  He’s almost 3 now (OMG) and he is the quintessential social butterfly.  Everywhere we go, he’s making conversation with random people.  He’ll ask strangers at the store what something is.  He wants to tell anyone in earshot about his favorite toy.  The clients that come into my office hear all about his adventures, or his small water bottles that Pop-pop bought just for him.  He’s a talker.  A sharer.  A little spit-fire.

I have no idea where he gets it from.  Me and the Hubs are not particularly outgoing – at least not to that degree.  J’s stranger-danger seems to be dangerously low at times though.

I love that he’s so trusting in a lot of ways.  His trust makes him outgoing and adventurous.  He has no boundaries for trying new things, meeting new people, sharing his story with the world.  His ability to easily and effortlessly put himself out there will help him all his life.

I try and keep all that in mind on the days where my parental worries kick in.  When I get anxious that all his trust will put him in a dangerous situation.  It’s an internal struggle.

C isn’t old enough to see her whole personality yet.  She loves to flirt with anyone that smiles at her, but she’s only now walking and is still fully focused on people she knows.  Guess we will see!

Hello small boobs: The end of my Nursing story

I nursed J until he was 14 months. I was also 5 months pregnant at the time.  (which is another story all together).  With him, I was ready to be done, and so was he.  It was uncomfortable, and just plain annoying when he would “nurse”.  There wasn’t really any benefit either of us were getting out of it at the end.  And when he slept through the night the first night I stopped nursing him, it was like divine intervention.  It was time, and probably had been for a while.

When C was born, I realized that nursing is hard even the second time around.  I didn’t have issues with my production, but a newborn is still a newborn.  They have to learn how to nurse, just like your boobs have to adjust to having a little one attached to them almost 24/7 for a while.  It’s an adjustment all around.  Even when you know how it’s supposed to work, it doesn’t make it any easier for the first few weeks.  It still hurt like hell for the first 2 weeks.

I planned on nursing C until, well I didn’t really have a length of time.  I figured it would be similar to what happen with J and that the right time would be obvious.  Turns out, it was only obvious to her!  The day after her 1st birthday, C came down with a cold.  The night she refused to nurse.  The next morning she also refused.  And at naptime, it was a no-go.  I figured it had something to do with her feeling not so great.  In the meantime I had to break out my pump.  While she wasn’t nursing a ton, she was nursing enough that my boob’s went back to feeling like they were going to explode by the morning time.  Did I mention I hate pumping?  I thought I was done with that!

After 48 hours of no nursing, I was really starting to doubt that C was ever going to go back to nursing.  I kept up the pumping 1-2 times a day though, just in case.  One morning I got her to suck down 3 oz of pumped milk from a bottle…but that must have been a total fluke.  That was the last time she ever drank the magic milk.

The next day, I got a nasty virus that landed me with a 104 degree temp and in the ER for dehydration.  Turns out C being ready to stop nursing was right for both of us.  She moved onto drinking regular milk with no hitch, and I was able to take some much needed meds to get over the virus.

The sudden and unexpected, cold-turkey stop to it all left me a little sad though.  I wasn’t ready to stop nursing.  Not in the same was I was with J.  But, in the end, it all worked out.  Just goes to show that no one’s journey with breastfeeding is the same.  Every kiddo is different, and everyone’s struggles with breastfeeding – whether at the beginning, middle, or end – is relevant.

And now?  I’m remembering how little my boobs are when I’m not pregnant or nursing! Ha…

 

The “advice” trap

Ever wonder why parents – more likely, Mom’s – love to share their stories and struggles about their kids with anyone who will listen? Even complete strangers? Why mom’s tend to gravitate towards the many, many, many online parenting forums and Facebook groups?  I have fallen into this very habit in the last year or so, too.  Although lately I’ve had some thoughts as to why it happens to so many of us.

I’m not saying that these forums and groups are bad, at least not always.  They can be a great place for mom’s to release some steam, share their experiences, and look for advice on their own situations from other mom’s. Especially useful for those Mama’s out there who are first time moms, single moms, or who don’t have many other mama friends.  With the invention of the internet and chat rooms and blogs and Facebook, Mom’s now have a way to make connections with other mothers, and find support where otherwise they may struggle.

But, the downfall I’ve found is that often times we all fall into this kind of trap, where upon trying to find a safe place to talk about our experiences, we put our entire lives out there.  We air all of our dirty laundry to complete strangers.  We feel safe in knowing that we don’t actually know any of these people, so we share far too much about our personal lives.  In doing this we open ourselves up to judgment and ridicule from the very people we were asking for support.  More often than not, I’ve seen someone’s post be misconstrued for sarcasm, or venting be misinterpreted as a cry for help beyond the obligatory “I feel your pain, you’ve got this” response.  Suddenly, your safe place is no longer that.  Even if 90% of the responses you get are positive and encouraging, the other 10% will make you feel like crap.  Your little irony about how expensive baby food is suddenly becomes a soapbox for all the “DIY” mom’s, somehow shaming you into feeling as if you are doing the worst thing for your kid by buying off the shelf instead of making everything from the organic-home-grown garden you should have.

So back to the question of why.  Why do us moms feel that we need the validation from other moms? Why do we tend to ask complete strangers questions about our own flesh and blood?  Why do we rely on others to make us feel like we are being good parents?

I have no flippin idea.

I do know that we all tend to fall into this trap at some point or another.  We all want to feel validated.  We all want our opinions, experiences, and know-how to be important and valued.  We want to feel like we know what we are doing, and that our trial and error can, and will, help someone else.  Truth be told, none of us know what we are doing.  We are all walking around with our eyes closed, trying not to run into the walls.  We are all struggling to find our way as parents.  And, maybe, trying to find this validation from others will shed some light.

Potty Training 101 – aka: reality is crap

It’s been about 2 weeks since we entered into the serious phase of Potty Training our 2/5 yr old.  Let me just say, I taught preschool/toddlers for 5 years.  Somehow I missed out on the full-on potty training involvement though.  Just like everything else with parenthood, it’s never the same until YOU are the parent and YOUR kid is the one who’s wet undies you are obsessed over keeping dry.

We’ve known the potty training phase was on the horizon for a while.  But with the little bit of knowledge I do have on the subject, I knew we were NOT going to rush it.  Boys are notorious for being hard to train.  Like their older counter-parts, little boys seem to have some control issues with regards to the potty…if my hubby’s 20 min poop sessions are any example.

Now that J is getting closer to the big 3, school suggested that we push a little harder so that he could move into the big kid room.  (BTW – suddenly realizing your LO is getting older NEVER gets easier.  I will be crying every year or more for the next eternity).  We already had the little potty set up in the bathroom.  He’d managed to use it a few times randomly since we got it.  One time about a week after we bought the potty, J pooped in it all on his own! Hooray! Except that I was in the shower at the time.  Lovely to jump out of the shower with your hair still soapy so that you can wipe a tiny ass before poop ends up all over the bathroom.

Now that we’re a couple weeks into the “serious” training, J has pretty much got it.  And my pretty much, I mean that he gets it when he wants to.  He held it for almost 4 hours when we went to the zoo the other day (phew) but then peed 2 times in an hour this morning within 5 feet of the potty.  Yay parenthood.  Guess we aren’t done with wet pants and laundry every other day yet!  Not that I had any misgivings about potty training.  I expected there to be an ebb and flow.  But at some point I’m going to get really tired of pee on my…well everything. On another note, we totally should have gotten furniture covers when we started this journey.  Turns out J’s favorite place to pee his undies is while sitting in Daddy’s favorite chair. LOL.

Really though, he’s doing so great.  Such a smart little boy with such a strong spirit.  He’ll get it 100% soon enough.  For now, we’ll deal with the accidents and slight pee smell in our house, and love him all the same.

Play places as “no-sorry” zones

Play places are a god-send when parents decide to take their little ones out of the house for a few hours to get some interaction with other kids, get some fresh air, or just a little change of scenery. Parks, indoor or outdoor playgrounds, gyms, and other for-children-only play places all provide that much needed location for social interaction, plus the added bonus that you don’t have to clean up after the mess your kids make while they play. No need for the destruction of your own furniture when you can let your kids climb, slide, and jump all over heavy duty “child-proof” play things.

But, here’s the catch. If you spend any amount of time in these play places, surrounded by other kids and their parents, you’ll soon realize that you spend most of your time there apologizing for your kids behavior. Yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that you kid isn’t being the bully of the playground, but is it really necessary to have to say “sorry” every time your 2 year old decides that it’s their turn on the slide and jumps in front of the 3 other kids patiently waiting in line?

The whole idea of visiting these places is so your children get some social interaction and start to learn from the things and people around them. Sharing, taking turns, playing nice, not pushing – those are all valid lessons they will *hopefully* pick up on. But why, WHY, do parents feel obligated, or guilted into feeling like their child is constantly doing things that need apologized for?

Yes, my kid probably did steal that toy. And guess what, if I saw it happen then I will use that moment, or another one of my choosing, to teach the lesson about not stealing and instead sharing the toys. But right now, I don’t want to have to turn to the other child’s parent and say “Sorry, he’s still learning about sharing.” “Sorry, she takes a while to go down the slide” “Sorry, we are still learning about taking turns.” Why should we be sorry that our children are learning lessons, learning how to play nice, learning what happens when they don’t? Why should parents have to apologize constantly for kids being kids?

I know what you’re going to say, “What about the kids who are being purposefully mean to other kids and the parents aren’t intervening?” Well, frankly, you chose to bring your kid to a place where that might happen. The way that you teach your children probably isn’t the way someone else teaches their own. That’s life. Instead of passing judgment or expecting that kid’s parents to apologize to the whole playground, why not instead move your kids to another area of the swing-set and move on. If your kid was being the mean one, would you really want to say “sorry” to every parent present? Probably not. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have your 2 hours of playtime and be able to head home feeling like naptime will be a huge success today? Instead of being on-edge the whole 2 hours as you constantly micro-manage your child so that when they forget to wait their turn you are there to apologize for their child-like action?

It should be one of the unwritten rules that these play places are gathering spots for parents and children alike, where there is less judgement, less parent-to-parent guilt. These should be “no-sorry” zones. Let’s let parents off the hook here. Let them watch their children without feeling constantly aware of the judgment of every other parent in a 10 foot radius. Let them and their kids play without the need to apologize for every action. Play without the “sorry” around every corner.

The illness conundrum…

As much as we don’t want to be the parents that take our kids to the doctor every time they have a runny nose (aka: all the time), we also don’t want to assume our suddenly sicky-poo kiddo is A-OK if they really aren’t. Hence starts the Illness Conundrum. When do you break down and take your little one to the Doc?

Step 1: Kid wakes up with a temperature. Runny nose, maybe a slight cough. You break out the Children’s Tylenol and cross your fingers it will be a 24-hour-type-thing.

Step 2: Fever and runny nose continue for the next few days, but no other symptoms. You dread heading into the doctor for them to tell you it’s just a virus…so you decide to wait it out another couple days.

Step 3: 4 or 5 days go by and your little one still has the symptoms of a “common cold”, but then again it has been 4 or 5 days with a slight temperature and you’re starting to wonder if pumping them full of Tylenol is doing much to help.

Step 4: Spend hours on the computer on WebMD or Google terrifying yourself with the worst case scenario. Find one account of a runny noise leading to paralysis and start seriously judging your parenting decisions.

Step 5: Call the doctor first thing in the morning to set up an appointment. Even though the nurse on the phone tells you that there is a cold going around and pushing fluids and fever reducers is probably the only thing you can do to treat the symptoms and keep them comfortable.

Step 6: Take time off work to go to the Doc. Spend 30 minutes in the waiting room, then another 30 in the tiny exam room waiting for the Doc to actually see you. Try to keep your child occupied in said tiny room, which is also 40 degrees and has nothing but ripped books and medical equipment as entertainment.

Step 7: Somewhere between calling the Doc to make the appointment and arriving at the Doctor’s office, your previously feverish kiddo has suddenly rallied. They are acting perfectly normal and now has so much energy you wonder if they have a secret stash of espresso in their room.

Step 8: Doc attempts to do an exam, whilst your child screams and kicks away the stethoscope or anything else the Doc tries to use on them. You attempt to secure your kids arms and legs so the Doc can see into their mouth and ears, only to lead to louder screaming. And you’re pretty sure you’ve now scarred your kid for life about ever going to the Doctor.

Step 9: Doc finally gets a good enough look at all the pieces and parts and, surprise surprise, decides that your kid has a virus.  And guess what? There’s a whole lotta nothing you can do about it. “Let it run its course”, “Keep them comfortable with Tylenol for the fever”, and “if any other symptoms present, bring them back in.”

Step 10: Pay your $30 copay and cross your fingers that this trip to the Doctor has scared the “sick” out of your kiddo…only to arrive home where you discover your little munchkin’s fever has miraculously reappeared as if upon returning home The Sickness has reattached itself to its host child.

Finally you resolve to leave the computer off, continue pushing fluids and increase the cuddles. Maybe you can use pure snuggle power to force The Sickness away.