Tag Archives: motherhood

Ninja Skills Required For Work At Home Mom

I need ninja skills to work from home. I have to be sneaky. I have to be quiet. I have to be fast. My family seems to have a sixth sense about whenever I sit down in front of the computer to write. They know. I don’t know how, but they know.

I can clean the kitchen, sweep the floor, wash the dishes, scrub the toilets and there is not a single peep out of any of them, but as soon as I sit down they need something. A phone number. A lost shoe. A drink of milk. A toy. Sometimes they even need to be let outside to pee and then let back in again. Four-legged family counts too, right?

The other day I could not get anything done so I gave up. Jim would head to work, eventually Tiny-Small would go to bed, and there would be a 90 minute window starting about 8:30 pm where I’d just have to type really fast. I knew I could do it so I let it go, put my work aside,  and went off to play with Tiny-Small for the day.

As soon as her head hit the pillow that night I jumped on the computer. I went straight to my blog. That’s when I noticed I wasn’t connected to the Internet. So I ran over to my Internet machine (whatever that thing is called) and noticed it was frozen and blinking so I unplugged it and plugged it back in and waited for the Internet to come back on. Finally, success! So I started typing, but then the Internet was off again. It does this when we have cloudy weather, rain, or just because it feels like it. I ran back over to the Internet machine and unplugged it and plugged it in again. It came back on briefly and then of course it went off again. I unplugged it again and plugged it back in again.

So irritating.

Finally it started working again and I started typing. Yay!

But, before I knew it, Jim was home. He was early! He came over to my desk and started talking about his day. I tried to keep typing. He talked and talked. Then my Internet went out again. I ran over to the machine unplugged it and plugged it back in. Jim talking the whole way. When the Internet came back on I started typing quickly and Jim went off to find his dinner.  I took a deep breath. If I just concentrated I knew I could knock the rest of the post out and have it up on the blog by morning. Except, at that moment, I heard a very loud cry.

Tiny-Small was up.

I got her some water, tucked her back in, and ran back to my desk. As soon as I sat down, I noticed the Internet was off again. At this point I wanted to cry, but instead told myself, “Tomorrow is a new day.” I turned my laptop off and went to bed.

The next morning I finished my post with Tiny Small standing behind me on my chair putting Princess crowns on my head. I can type through anything. I can blog through any adversity. Just don’t depend on me to keep a schedule. I can never predict what shenanigans will go on over here or when I will be able to sit down without my family finding out. I really have to learn to move like a ninja and invest in better Internet.

I was thinking about how someone would advertise for my “job” and I am pretty sure it would say, “Wanted: Work At Home Mom (Non-Ninjas need not apply).” Except that might be a double negative. Maybe it should say, “Wanted: Work At Home Mom With Grammatical Expertise (Non-Ninjas need not apply).

 

I’m Not The Kind Of Mother I Imagined I Would Be

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kind of mother I am. I’m not the kind of mother I imagined I would be. I’m not even the kind of mother I like to pretend to be. I’m not saying I am a bad mother or a good mother. Only time will tell, but I am definitely not the mother I thought I would be.

In my mind I am all sacrificing. I put my family first at all times. My own dreams and ambitions are on the back burner and I am happy and content with that. My life is all about my family and everything else is secondary.

In reality, my dreams, goals, and ambitions are very important to me. I find myself frustrated with the demands of family. I get irritated when my work time is invaded and not respected. I get annoyed when my hard work is undermined or when it’s not taken seriously. I’m not completely fulfilled with the duties of motherhood and I don’t feel a sense of peace and happiness over keeping a clean house. I sometimes resent dropping everything to play dollhouse or having to stop writing mid sentence to get yet another cup of milk and then stopping again two minutes later to clean up the spilled milk.

I realized recently, after talking to a few friends, that my real problem is cognitive dissonance. My friends suggest I stop worrying so much about my work. My daughter is young. I should just concentrate on being a mom and enjoy it. It’s the most important job in the world. She won’t be small forever. I have years ahead of me to build a career. Why stress over it now? I agree with them wholeheartedly because that is the kind of mom and person I want to be. That is the kind of mom I imagine myself to be.

I'm Not The Kind Of Mother I Imagined I Would Be
Flowers From The Market, 11×14 watercolor painting. Day 25 of #30in30

The problem is it’s not who I really am. This is where the cognitive dissonance rears it’s ugly head. I am happiest when I have time carved out to paint and write. I am happiest when I accomplish things that have nothing to do with being a wife or a mother. I am most content and satisfied with life in general when I have this space to be me and just me. In my work space I am not just a mother or a wife. I am a person. I need that kind of personal validation for contentment and satisfaction. I can’t get there through motherhood alone even though I really, really want to be able to.

So, here I am. Mostly I am struggling with the tension between the kind of mother and person I wish I was and the kind of mother and person I actually am. Since I was a kid I have had this vision of the mother I would be. It’s a fantasy and I am not living up to it.

I’m an obsessed workaholic who loves to solve problems and make things happen. I love my work. I want to do it all the time. I need blocks of space and time to focus on work so that later I can enjoy time with my family. Otherwise I feel cranky. I feel agitated. I feel pulled in too many directions. Multitasking all the time is wearing me out. When I am in the middle of writing or painting and I am interrupted frequently or my time is cut short I feel shortchanged. Time is this big commodity now. Trying to divide it up fairly is incredibly difficult. All of this frustration and angst is all so contrary to this idealized motherhood/woman persona I have developed in my mind. I cringe a little just typing the words, but it is the truth. At least it is the truth right now.

I feel like the only way I can find a solution is to be completely honest. Only then can I step back and evaluate the way I schedule my life. The problem I now need to solve is how to honor my own needs and not shortchange my family in the process. My first idea is to give up on trying to be the perfect mother. That failure eats at me daily. I’m also giving up on the idea that I am not allowed to like my work or want to accomplish my goals. I am giving myself permission to say that working is a priority for me and that it doesn’t mean I don’t love my family. It doesn’t mean I don’t adore my daughter and want to spend time with her. It just means that accomplishing things in my work makes me a happier person which makes me a happier mother. It’s part of my self-care. Some people get pedicures. I need to paint and write and take care of my business. Walking around feeling defeated and like a martyr isn’t making my relationship with my daughter any better. What she needs to see is a grown up woman who stands by her choices and works hard to attain some life satisfaction. She needs a role model that is honest and real. Even when it’s not pretty or ideal.

I know this is nothing new for most women. Most women struggle with these thoughts and feelings and schedules. It’s kind of new for me. I guess because I am acknowledging the truth. I am acknowledging that little voice inside of me that screams when people tell me to just enjoy being a mother and let the rest go. It’s not my road to life satisfaction. I need to gracefully bow out and get on my own path. This idealized version of motherhood is a trap and I set it for myself. Pretending I don’t want more out of my life is a lie. This all surprises me. It’s not the way I saw myself. I never thought I’d say these things.

I am feeling a little disappointed that I am not the kind of mother I admire most and I am not the kind of mother I imagined I would be. I am mourning that lost version of myself. I’m also feeling a little relieved because I am being honest. I’m not as selfless as I’d like to be. I can take a big breath and sit with that for a while. This is me in all my imperfection.

I want to change my life so I have work hours with clear boundaries so that when I am with my daughter I can truly be with my daughter. So I can stop thinking about all of the things I should be doing instead. So I can go to bed at night feeling satisfaction in what I accomplished that day and contentment in my personal relationships. Trying to pretend my work doesn’t matter to me isn’t helping anyone. It’s just making me tired and, if I am a completely honest, it is also making me angry.

Instead of letting go of my goals and ambitions I am letting go of that anger and pressure. I am letting go of being the mother I imagined I would be. I am embracing the mother that I am.

 

Swearing Preschool Girl: Embracing Parental Failure With Pride

Swearing is not supposed to happen among the kid crowd, but we all know it does. I have mixed feelings about kids swearing. On some level I think swears are just words and the bigger a child’s vocabulary is the better. Of course, the other side of that coin is your kid swearing at school, at church, in front of a bunch of nuns, in front of the grandparents, or when other kids might be listening. Anyway, Tiny-Small has been swearing. Not a lot, but enough to get my attention.

We recently had this conversation about it in the car:

Me: Those words you are using are adult words. They aren’t really for kids.

Tiny-Small: You mean damnit and friggen aren’t for kids?

Me: Yeah, they are for adults to use, but not for kids.

Tiny-Small: Dad says damnit and friggen.

Me: I know. Maybe you could remind him not to say those words when he forgets.

Tiny-Small: Yeah, but I say damnit and friggen sometimes.

Me: I know, but if you say them around other adults they won’t like it because those aren’t words for kids. You might even get in trouble.

Tiny-Small: What if I say them like this instead  <whispers>  Damnit. Friggen.

Me: Well, I think someone might still hear you.

Tiny-Small: Dad shouldn’t say damnit or friggen. I’ll tell him not too.

Me: Maybe you shouldn’t say them anymore either.

Tiny-Small: OK. I’m not suppose to lie either, but sometimes dad tells lies.

Me: What?!

But, that’s another blog post for another day….

My Swearing Preschool Girl: Embracing Parental Failure With Pride
First it’s swearing…then it’s tattoos.

 

The whole swearing thing is kind of odd. I mean, when I was a kid I’d get my mouth washed out with soap for uttering an adult word. So, I am going against everything I’ve been taught about using “bad” words and letting this slide a bit. Words are words. Are they really “bad” words? Not to mention, isn’t it a bit hypocritical to use them and expect your child not to? Why do we expect kids to have more self-control and better behavior than their parents do, right? Just smile and nod. I am pretty sure most of you disagree with me, but we can still be friends, right? Just smile and nod again…seriously. I know I have this bad parenting thing down. It’s what I excel at! I’m clinging to my strengths here, you guys. If this post doesn’t do anything but make you feel like a superior parent, well I am pretty sure that’s enough of a reason to keep me around.

Sometimes, I’m just glad she is using swear words correctly. I know I am reaching here. Pretending to feel pride in my daughter’s potty mouth ways, but still she IS using those words correctly and experimenting with them. Much like she is tossing out words like “distracted” and “unfortunate” right now. I am pretty proud of the fact that she’s not afraid to try out new words to make sure she understands how to use them…even if they make all of the other adults on the planet cringe and give me the evil eye…I totally see you looking at me with your evil eye right now by the way.

My Swearing Preschool Girl: Embracing Parental Failure With Pride
My Swearing Preschool Girl

Not to mention, at least she’ll be a somewhat normal kid because of her dad’s swearing. If she had only me teaching her the modern lingo she’d be a weird kid. Whenever she farts I say, “Oh, you have gas!” So now Tiny-Small says, “I gassed” instead of “I farted.” I’m pretty sure her little friends are just going to think she’s an odd child, especially when she chases them around the room screaming, “Hahahaha…I just gassed on you!” Which she has done to me…it’s not pretty, but it is funny because who says that?? Only my child because that’s how we roll…a little off kilter. She’s getting her eccentric label a little early on for this family. I may have to start buying her tweed suits with elbow patches and making sure she never combs her hair again. Well, that last part would be easy because she never wants to comb her hair again anyway…ever.

What’s your take on childhood swearing? I’m pretty sure I wrote about this before. My ideas on swearing and childhood and picking my battles have changed in just a few short months. Who knew parenting would make me such a wishy-washy, decision-making, rule bending, words are just words, I give up on this woman? Certainly not me. I thought I was going to be better than this. That thought both warms my heart and sets me into fits of laughter…sometimes at the same time. Oh the joys of pre-parent dreaming are so fondly remembered. The smack down of reality still has me reeling 4 years later.