Monday, November 22, 2010

Guess what I did today? (The answer may surprise you!)

Have you guessed yet? I'll give you a hint... By 3pm I was ready for a nap, and by 8pm I was ready to crash!

Ok, time's up. Today I did.... nothing!

Confused? Me too! Let's see... It started at 7am when Chase woke up. Now it's 8:30pm, both kids are asleep, and I'm exhausted! But I'm looking back on the day and finding it pretty hard to come up with something that I actually did today. And I can't for the life of me figure out why I'm so exhausted from doing nothing!

Sometime during the day I managed to get myself and both boys dressed. I prepared some kind of breakfast and lunch for the boys (and since it was a "good" day I even managed to find time for me to eat, even if it was just a few handfuls of food randomly grabbed and thrown in my mouth on the way from getting Alec dressed to picking up the toys that Chase just threw out of his reach). I've lost count of how many diapers I changed. I got Chase down for three 30-minute naps, during which I threw a few dishes into the dishwasher and colored Buzz Lightyear with Alec. And ok, I'll admit that I did check my email and facebook pages a few times to catch any urgent messages, like whose cat just learned how to put down a toilet seat. Chad cooked a yummy dinner, which we chaotically enjoyed as a family. And I wrapped up the day by playing with the boys, tag-teaming their baths with Chad, reading books with them and then finally saying good night and stepping out of Alec's room feeling like I've just run the New York marathon.

So no, I technically didn't do "nothing" today. But really what did I do? The last time I checked, it doesn't take 13 hours to change diapers, cook, eat and read. But somehow I managed to do just that. And today was not an exception to our typical days at home. Most days I find myself exhausted at the end of the day, only to look back and see how unproductive I was.

It also seems like I spend all day with the boys, but at the end of the day I feel like I didn't spend enough time with them. I feel like I neglected them and should have done more with them. I look at other moms who are at home with their kids who manage to maintain an immaculate house, cook three perfectly balanced meals a day (plus a batch of delicious organic carrot-banana muffins for their kids' school), create an Eiffel Tower out of Popsicle sticks, organize the neighborhood clothing drive, head to the local park with the kids for an hour, and make a trip to the gym after the kids are in bed. And that's all in one day! I'm starting to think that I've been having black-outs several times a day, which prevent me from doing anything productive. That must be it.

Oh, and then there's the time that disappears when we're getting ready to go somewhere. Before having children, I was the kind of person who was early to everything. I mean I'd get to wherever I was going so embarrassingly early that I'd hang out in the car or drive around the block a few times. Now I'm lucky if I can even be fashionably late. But here's the thing... I don't know why I'm late. Soon after Alec was born I realized that I needed to allow myself an extra 15 minutes to get everything together before heading out the door. Now, with two children, I try to allow at least that much extra time. But I must have another one of my black-outs during this time because it never fails that we're still running late. For example, Alec needs to be to school at 9:15 in the morning. With no traffic, we can get to his school in 15 minutes, plus the five minutes it takes to get the kids out of the car and into the school. So I try to be on our way out the door at 8:45 to allow for traffic, spilled sippy cups, diaper explosions, wardrobe malfunctions or meteors. But it never fails that I look at the clock in our van as I'm pulling out the driveway and it always says 8:57. Where did those 12 minutes go? I know it doesn't take 12 minutes to click an infant carrier into its base. Must have been another mom black-out.

I'm not sure how long these mom black-outs will go on, but for now I'm just trying to accept that they are a part of my life. I guess this is why people say that kids grow up so quickly. So in my limited time in between black-outs, I'll just try to spend as much time as I can enjoying Alec and Chase without rushing around. And at the end of the day, as I'm dragging my exhausted self up to bed with the dishes still in the sink, I can only hope that my kids know how much I love them, even if I can't be the mom making Popsicle sculptures with them.

My next Mommy's Always Write topic: Giving thanks the kids way

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Daylight Savings Time Conspiracy

As you hopefully know by now, this past weekend most of us took a few minutes of our time to set our clocks back an hour. We did this because of this event that happens every year called Daylight Savings Time. And anyone who knows me well knows that I can't stand Daylight Savings Time.

After setting our clocks back an hour a few days ago, we will now wait a few months and then do the exact opposite. Seems kind of pointless to me! So basically the whole country - other than Arizona and Hawaii - walks around jet-lagged for a few days in the fall and again in the spring. If I want to be jet-lagged, I'd much rather take a jet somewhere and have a nice vacation! I think Arizona and Hawaii have the right idea about not participating in Daylight Savings Time.

Some people claim that they actually like Daylight Savings Time because they get an extra hour of sleep in the fall. I'm guessing that these people don't have children. See when you have children, the exact opposite happens. Here's what happened in our house over the weekend... Alec and Chase are both, for the most part, really good sleepers at night. Bedtime is around 8pm, and they usually sleep until between 7:30 and 8:00 the next morning. Perfect! But enter Daylight Savings Time. We kept them up until 9pm on Saturday, because really it was like the new 8pm. So they were extra cranky for the last hour of the day but then fell asleep right away. I can deal with that. But they're kids. They don't have a clue what Daylight Savings Time is. So the next morning they thought it was 7:30am and time to get up. But really it was now 6:30am. So I've kept my kids up an hour later, I've stayed up later myself, and now we're all up an hour earlier. I probably don't need to tell you what kind of mood we were all in on Sunday! This routine will continue for a few days until slowly we all start to adapt to the new time.

Children are creatures of habit (at least my children are). And I have to admit that I like to stick to a routine as much as possible too. But Daylight Savings Time just throws routine out the window. And then there are the people who forget to change their clocks and end up being late for something important. Or the college kids who set their clocks in the wrong direction and end up being two hours early to their class (not mentioning any names here Chad...). And don't forget about all the people who now have to drive home from work in the dark. I'm really finding it hard to see why we need to deal with this!

If I could see one reason why Daylight Savings Time is so great, I might not have such a bitter attitude toward it. But right now the only positive thing I see about it is that it gives some people an excuse to check and/or replace the batteries in their smoke detectors (have you checked yours?). But it would be just as easy to use another day to do this bi-annual task, like maybe a birthday or Labor Day, or maybe even a National Check Your Smoke Detector Batteries Day. Maybe we should ask the people in Arizona and Hawaii when they change their smoke detector batteries. Anyway, I digressed...

There's not really anything I can do to change Daylight Savings Time, so for now I just like to complain about it. In a few days I'll get used to it and forget about it until spring. You can be sure to hear more about it then!

My next Mommy's Always Write topic: Guess what I did today? (The answer may shock you!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I've become THAT mom

We've all been there. You're standing in the grocery store debating between the brand name of crackers and the store brand. Go with the brand, or save the money. Decisions, decisions. Just when you think you've made your choice, enter THAT mom. The mom with two kids in the cart and one kid walking, where one of the cart kids is screaming his head off, the other is hanging over the side of the cart dragging her arms on the floor, and the kid walking is pulling everything off the shelves. And THAT mom doesn't even seem to notice that any of this is going on. So while you're busy trying to make one of life's really important decisions, THAT mom is smiling, going about her own business while her kids are driving you mad. You think to yourself, how can she not do something about her kids? My kids will never be like that. Even if you don't have kids, I'm guessing you've experienced THAT mom.

Fortunately for me, Alec loves to go to the grocery store and practically throws a fit if I don't take him, and for now Chase just comes along for the ride or stays home with Chad. So I have been lucky enough to avoid the grocery store meltdown. However, I wish I could say the same for the shoe store. I have definitely been THAT mom in the shoe store. Yes, I was the mother with the baby screaming in the stroller while the toddler throws a world-is-ending fit about trying on shoes. I stood there and tuned out Chase's wailing while forcing shoes onto Alec, who was rolling around on the store floor, face red, legs and arms flailing, breaking the sound barrier with his yelling. I was the mother that I'd witnessed numerous times before and since having children. I was THAT mom - the mom who I swore I would never be.

I have also been THAT mom in other situations:

THAT mom lets her kids watch TV while she takes a shower. I'll never do that!
THAT mom gave her kid a hot dog for lunch AND dinner. I'll never do that!
THAT mom lets her kids watch a movie in the car. I'll never do that!

I've already learned a valuable lesson in my few years of parenting: never say never. Yep, that's right. I've tackled all three of these situations, all which I said I would never do. And the more my boys grow up, the more I'm finding that I become THAT mom.

While becoming THAT mom, I'm also learning not to judge other parents when I see them doing something that I may think I would never do. I'm learning that there actually is some kind of logic to letting your kids melt down in the store, whether it's the grocery store or shoe store. There is logic to doing what you have to in order to get a shower in. There is logic to giving your kids a hot dog for lunch and dinner. And believe it or not there is even logic to giving in and letting your kids watch a 90 minute movie on an eight hour car trip. Do my kids throw fits every time we're in a store? No. Do they watch TV every day while I shower? No. Do they eat hot dogs every day for every meal? No. Do they watch movies in the car on the 5-minute drive to the bank? No. But every once in a while I cave and become THAT mom in order to save my sanity. It's just a part of being a parent.

Right now there are only two things I can think of that I claim I will never do to become THAT mom. One is using those "car" grocery carts at the grocery store, and the other is giving my children medicine that will supposedly "help" them sleep for a long trip. Nothing personal against moms who do use those car carts at the store; I just can't stand them! And as for the sleepy medicine, I've just seen it backfire one too many times. So next year when you see me at the store pushing Alec & Chase in a car cart and buying Benadryl, you'll know I've once again become THAT mom!

My next Mommy's Always Write topic: The Daylight Savings Time Conspiracy