Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Say "No"

Mommy guilt. I've never been so consumed with anything like it in my life. Ever since Nurse Mara placed a rather red-faced little boy in my arms, I've second guessed everything I've done. It doesn't help that some "well-meaning" people have all the answers. Shame on me, I used to be one of those people. (Yes, I tried to apologize to all of the mothers I gave my advice to now that I've had a HUGE helping of humble pie!)

Mommy guilt is simply the guilt that comes when I can't do everything perfectly. Normally, I couldn't care less about perfection. Now that I have him, I'm frustrated with my lack of awesomeness. (A term coined by Uncle Ty.)

For instance:

*Do I vaccinate him? What about the autism-vaccination link? Am I putting toxins in my baby's body? If I don't, am I putting him at risk for a life-threatening illness? If I keep him in the house for 2 years, will that keep him safe?

*Can I supplement him with formula if my milk supply is waning? Am I putting even more toxins in my baby's body? What if the Enfamil company is just a big conspiracy to hurt our babies?

*Can I leave him with a sitter for some time off? What if he thinks I abandoned him? What if he's scared and I'm off shopping?? Oh, the shame!

*What if I feed him something that isn't organic? Will he grow another arm?

You get my point. I've always had a flair for the dramatic, but those thoughts have actually invaded my peace way too often. I need grace. I need to know that God is big enough to cover me and the mistakes that are inevitable. Grace is a necessity for the girl that made a "C" in prayer when attending Bible college. (No, I'm not making that up.)

So, good-bye mommy guilt. I want freedom instead.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Staying at Home

A thought occurred to me today: my brain needs more than housework and childcare. Every stay-at-home mom I've encountered has had a similar frustration, so I know I'm not the only one that loves my baby like mad but would still like to do something a little more creative than trying to change a dirty diaper while he tries to play in his poo. (Yes, it does require the same amount of creativity and willpower I had to exert in the professional arena...)

Maybe it's time to start my elite, all-women's, crime-fighting team. We would wear leather pants. Stretchy, of course, to accommodate post-pregnancy problem areas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grace-Based Parenting

On a recommendation, I picked up the book "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. After the onslaught of baby books I read when the little guy was born, I'm trying to be more choosy as I worked myself into a good panic after reading all of the ways I could be a bad mommy. However, Grace Based Parenting is a refreshing change from the "thou shalt not" books I've been handed.

The premise is that parenting out of fear leads to kids that can't function well in society and have trouble understanding God's grace. Dr. Kimmel writes that:

Rigid rules and checklists for "holy" behavior- mostly "don'ts" capped off by a highly scripted religious home life is and excellent way to wreck your kids. Grace-based parenting, on the other hand, mirrors God's love, reflects His forgiveness and displaces fear as a motivator for the choices we make.

Trait and I both attended conservative Christian universities. We both saw the same thing: students that had been shielded from the real world growing up and had an overly strict home life had a major freak-out when they had the freedom of the college life. For the most part, they couldn't balance that freedom with healthy boundaries. Their parents had kept them so "safe" growing up, but it seemed to produce weak adults that couldn't think for themselves.

So, the question is: How do I parent in such a way that shows him grace and yet teaches him submission and boundaries?

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Day in the Life of Mommy

One of my soon-to-be mommy friends asked what a day in the life of a domestic goddess looks like:


*It's a race to see who's needs are greater: His dirty diaper or my cup of coffee that will help deal with said diaper.
*Next, it's onto the breakfast table to shovel in a bowl full of oatmeal and fruit. I started teaching him sign language, so I try and add that in when he's not spitting his oatmeal at me.
*I look in the mirror to check on my tummy fat, and decide that I can still excuse it as "baby weight."
*I wipe the spit-up off my shirt and decide the shirt doesn't need to be changed....yet

*I look at my "to-do" list and am bummed that nothing is crossed off yet.
*I play with my baby on the floor because that seems more important than my chores.
*I run around like mad, performing various domestic goddess duties, (cleaning toilets, vacuuming the carpet, brushing my teeth, ect.) I might get a salary reduction if I don't keep up with these things.
*Late afternoon, I sit in front of the vanity and make an attempt with my make-up and hair products to look sexy and refreshed.

*I throw the little guy in my husband's arms and race to finish dinner. On a good night, there's vegetables involved. Sometimes, though, it's Hamburger Helper and toast.
*I act super-busy so that my husband will change the baby's diaper and give him a bath.
*Trait will, in fact, give him a bath but then I go hang out with them anyway because there's nothing cuter than a baby splashing and trying to eat a rubber duck.
*The little guy goes to bed so I can spend quality time with my main man, which usually involves romantic interaction and relaxation....or dishes and collapsing on the couch.

I'm glad I worked so hard for my college degree.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Diaper Duty

And women are the Drama Queens?!?!

My Summer Olympics at the Trailer House

I spent Tuesday night on my couch cheering on the USA Women's Olympic team. My stomach was in knots as I coached them onto victory. When I got in bed that night, I gave my husband the gymnastics salute before leaping to my side of the bed. There's just something about the Olympics and gymnastics that make me feel like I could be a champion.

In fact, my love of this sport comes back to haunt me every summer Olympics when my mother proudly reminds me of my "porch rail balance beam" performances. Yes, one summer, after watching Shannon Miller leap around in effortless back flips and twists, I marched out to the back porch to give it a try myself. For weeks that summer, I did daring performances of great artistic and technical difficulty. I sweat, I toiled and I pushed myself to the limit. Outrageous enough, I was not accepted by the team even though I had this fantastic move:

Oh man, I'm glad I found someone to marry me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To My Mom and My Aunts

I don't know how anyone makes it through life without the kind of Mom and Aunts I have. True, they're not "blood" aunts, but we like to think God forgot to put us in the same family. (Is that irreverent?) They are my wisest counsel and closest confidants. And, most importantly, all 3 of them are a helluva good time.

To My Mom and Aunts:

Thank you for showing me grace when your fabulous advice was met with deaf ears and a roll of my eyes.

Thank you for seeing me through every badly-chosen boyfriend, and reminding me that the "right one" is out there, (and...he was, indeed!)

Thank you for not letting me out of the house when I stuffed my bra with cotton balls. (Yes, I now agree that it looked "unnatural.")

Thank you for watching with delight when we all did a synchronized swimming routine. You even took pictures.

Thank you for nursing me through a bad experience with tequila. I forgive you for putting Taco Bell on my pillow and then laughing hysterically when I ran for the bathroom.

Thank you for bringing me gourmet chocolate cake when I was pregnant.

Most importantly, thank you for walking with me through life and bringing the fun factor to maximum potential. You make my life richer and I love you madly.

A Beautiful Thing

A refreshing breeze is drifting through my house. My mind is clear, and my morning coffee is now a treat and not a requirement. I feel like a new woman.

My son is sleeping through the night.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


As I opened a kid-friendly box of Cheerios, I was greeted by this:

Seriously? The movie is PG-13, his mouth has been ripped open by a knife, and you people want our kids to play with this thing?? I made a very "outraged consumer" phone call to Cheerios. I have no doubt that they are furiously trying to correct their blunder...