Saturday, March 9, 2013

Morning Nostalgia

So in three sleeps my daughter turns 4! I've been sort of having these moments of nostalgia and thinking how in four very seemingly short years how much of my life has changed. I am 32 years old and it feels like anything before the last four years barely existed.

What exactly was life like before kids? Was there really a period in my life that I got to go to the bathroom by myself? Was there really a time when I got to wake-up on my terms and do the things that I wanted to do? Was there any other time in my life that it ever felt this real?

I can honestly say that there are some seriously great memories in my life before my children came into this world. Not one moment in my life came even remotely close to the feeling I had, when the morphine finally wore off, and I realized I had my beautiful baby girl in my arms.

Insert really nasty C-section story here.

I have some regrets from the past 4 years. There are plenty of times I didn't handle being a parent as well as I could have. There were days where I planted my children in front of the TV so I could simply just ignore them for a while, times I yelled and screamed instead of showing them love, times that they got fed over an hour past our regular meal times with a meal of cheese, goldfish and a banana because I just couldn't for the life of me get up the energy to make dinner, times I locked myself into the bathroom for 10 minutes just for some peace and quiet (usually when I have an important phone call to make..."Is there an echo in there?) I somehow don't think I'm alone. With all these negative moments though there are tens of thousands of moments where it was done right.

I always believed that I would be such an amazing mom. I've always loved kids, their imaginations, and their ability to look at the positive in life no matter what the situation. I could relate to it. Once kids fell in my life (snort there was no falling...more like hours of pushing) I found that I was a much more selfish person than I originally thought. I found days where I was resenting the fact that I didn't have a moment to myself, where I could no longer get up in the morning and go for a run without a huge hassle, where I could go out to a restaurant and eat my meal without all the screaming, yelling and downright rottenness.

I was talking to my mom the other day. She said that she always felt the same way, that maybe she was too selfish and wasn't the best mom she could be. I'd have to say that my opinion is completely the opposite. I felt my mom was amazing, she was brilliant (always one step ahead of me), compassionate and loving, fun, involved and seemed to include me in everything. I think it's so hard to know what kind of impact you are making on your kids because you're so wrapped up in your own brain and expectations.

I could not imagine my life without my children and nor would I want to. No matter what kind of good days and bad days we have in the years to come I wholeheartedly believe they are going to be the best days of my life and it's all because my kids are in them. I'm going to try hard not to waste these moments because I know they aren't going to last forever. There is going to be a time soon in my life when I'm no longer the most important person to them in the world but they always will be to me!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dating for 4?

Ok so the funk of February is GONE!  In its place is a manic like euphoria.  Maybe I’m just undiagnosed bipolar.  Regardless I’m happy to be on this side of the mood swing.  I’d have to say I can credit it a lot to a new friendship I feel developing.  I think I was a little lonlier than I was letting myself believe.

I had just met a woman that I swear I’m so excited about that it feels like I’m dating for the first time in years.  I hope if she reads this then she doesn’t think I’m hitting on her or a massive weirdo.  I have been out of the dating scene for over 10 years now so I’m not exactly sure but if I remember correctly I’m displaying all the signs.  Smiling more often, can’t stop talking about her to my parents, super excited to get together for visits and hope when my phone makes the sound indicating I have a text that it’s her.  Oh god I totally sound creepy desperate, I’m even writing about her in my blog. Well hopefully she would take this as a compliment instead of heading to the cop shop to take out a restraining order on me. 

It’s way more difficult to make friends as an adult, especially when you have two small kids and no employment.  Kids, especially the really small ones, are not exactly everyone’s cup of tea.  They are loud, messy and destructive.  You not only have to prove yourself a decent human being to potential new friends but try to ensure your kids don’t send them bolting for the hills before you get a chance to get to know each other.  It’s usually ideal if you find people that have some similar commonalities such as their own children and maybe even a cool husband that your own husband can be introduced to.  It’s almost like dating for your family, which maybe makes it much more complicated but if it works out can have some seriously amazing results.

Regardless, so far this new person in my life almost seems too good to be true.  We have a lot of similarities right down to what we drink, movies we like to watch, small people in our lives and general matching moral viewpoints.  I think what’s the best part of it all is that she seems as interested at making new friends as I am.  I know that I tend to come across too enthusiastic a lot of the time and can scare people off.   In this way it’s a lot like dating I guess.  When two people meet each other and have a desire to make a relationship work then it will.  We don’t have to be exactly alike but compatibility and chemistry play a big role.  

Spring is around the corner and it always feels like a fresh start.  I’m glad to see February behind me and look forward to what a new season will bring.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sorting Out Parenting Issues

Wow the Responses

Let me give you a bit of background first. Yesterday my mom and I were having a conversation on the phone (which happens usually more than once a day, even if we just saw each other 2 hours previous).  We were talking about how kids don’t seem to appreciate their toys as much as we did when we were children. I am fortunate enough to have a room we keep designated especially just for toys. My kids are currently sharing a room (long story) and therefore the room we were going to designate to my daughter has now turned into the “playroom.” Now this playroom has EVERYTHING and I’m not exaggerating. It’s got a train table, a play kitchen (so yes it even has a kitchen sink), two beds, a doll house with tonnes of accessories, a book shelf, musical instruments, Legos, a matt on the floor with little roadways designed on, a dress-up clothing box, a huge tote for stuffed animals and a shelf that has bins full of other random assorted toys.

Any parent reading this will see the problem here. Too many freaking toys! There is so much going on in there that the kids don’t actually play with anything, they from what I can tell just dump every item on the floor in search of the next. The result is two bored children and one mad and tired mom. Mom is mad not only because the toys are not doing their job by entertaining the kids but also because it literally takes an hour to clean the room and only 20 seconds to destroy it.

So let’s go back to the conversation I was having with my mom. We were talking about how kids just have too much stuff, most of it crappy plastic and they have never known any different. My house looks like Toys R Us has barfed all over it since the day my first born came home.  There's no way a child would have any appreciation when they've never been lacking. Mom finally said something along the lines of “I wonder what would happen if you took all the toys away, every single one for an entire week? Do you think it would force them into appreciating their toys more?” Then we started to think logistically about what that would look like for a full week. How insane would I go by the end of that week? Would the children survive? Would I?
I decided to put this question out to my fellow friends on my Facebook page and see what they thought. Well who knew that it would create such a stir? It seemed everyone had an opinion on the matter, people with several kids, people with no kids, people who have older kids that are no longer in the house, young people, older people, people who have tried similar things and people who think you’re crazy for just suggesting such a “silly idea”. It was really interesting to see how differently people reacted and sometimes really strongly.

Really I don’t think there is one right answer. I mean is there really ever when it comes to parenting? Kids, like all humans, have such different personalities and value systems. The only real way to know would be to test it out and I’m thinking that we wouldn’t survive a day.

Instead I spent my afternoon sorting through ALL the toys and separating them into 4 different piles. Yes, you read that right, 4 piles. And these are not small piles; each pile is enough to fill a large tote. It's amazing how much stuff a 2 and almost 4 year old can accumulate. Now that it's all sorted and labeled in their own Rubbermaid bins I'll be able to rotate all their toys every couple of weeks to keep things seeming new and interesting. I know this concept isn't a new idea to the parenting world but it was the happiest medium I was willing to partake in. I think by downsizing the mass into smaller to handle portions they’ll find more time for each toy and instead and hopefully keep them from becoming crazy obsessed because I'm depriving them of their toys. Plus we can't forget that the real reason why I'm actually motivated to do this, I now won't have to spend countless hours cleaning the playroom anymore.

It;s probably NOT in my best interest to divulge how exactly I sorted these bins.  Let’s just say that my OCD kicked in and the bins are sorted into different themes. I can already see my hubby shaking his head at me like I'm a crazy lady. I can't really deny it either.

I think what I’ve really learned here is no one really knows what the hell we’re doing. Oh I’m sure there are experts that would tell me what I’m doing will be beneficial for their growth and development. Then I’m sure another would be telling me I’m well on my way to signing them up for A&E's Hoarders as I'm teaching them to hold on to their possessions harder so they don't disappear. It’s just bizarre that after how many years humans have been parenting children that no one really knows. If we don’t have a clue on how to raise children properly then what the heck do we have? Well I’m NOT putting this question out to the Facebook world because I’m not sure if I want to know the answer.