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Mommy Truths: August 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What Does Mommy Do All Day?

I received the following piece in email from my sister-in-law (mother of three). I don't know who wrote it but it's so good I'm posting it here. Read it with glee...

What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?'

She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?'

'Yes?' was his incredulous reply.

She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it.'


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Red Light, Green Light

"Mommy, you didn't stop!" screamed Son recently after a red light.

"Huh?" Yes, I did. He said this a few times . Well, screamed to be heard from third row of bright blue Minivan (hey, I thought it would be easy to find in a crowded parking lot except every third Mom drives this weird blue Odyssey).

"It was RED, you need to stop!" After a few outings with this claim, I realized he hadn't been educated on Right on Red.

"It's okay, honey. You're allowed to turn Right on Red.

"Oh," he murmured.

What hit me, was that he'd been watching. Closely tracking my every driving move - along with everything else.

The truth is, every single tiny, unconscious, I-just-can't-pay-attention-to-everything thing we do is an example. Good or bad. Smart or dumb. Nice or mean.

They learn it all from us. Soon it will be from their peers at school. But for now, it's mostly Mom... and Dad. Unlike the snarl Son gave me this morning at my request to PLEASE GO GET DRESSED - that closely matched my own a few moments earlier- I have a little bit of distance between what I do behind the wheel today and how he'll drive in twelve years. Thank God.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Scream at Ice Cream

Last week we braved Stew Leonard's for groceries. If you don't live in CT, Stew's is the "largest dairy store in the world" and features singing farm animals, flipping monkeys, freshly packaged milk, the Chiquita banana lady, an insane progression with your cart down one winding aisle (turn against the tide at your peril), and, oh, a free ice cream cone if you spend $100 or more. We stopped in for fruit and checked out with an overloaded cart, one harried Mom and a final tallly of $167.

Since we'd already been to the beach prior to our Stew's adventure, Mommy was pushing for quick ice cream cones so we didn't totally screw with Daughter's early afternoon nap. Oh, did I mention we ate hamburgers and hot dogs at the hoedown farm tables right outside the store?

"Sprinkles! I want sprinkles!" they cried in front of the ice cream counter.

"Okay, okay." Just this time. Kids carrying soft serve on cones, Mom pushing grocery cart stuffed with my laughable assortment of green bags (two insulated bags from Trader Joes, one super large carryall from Bed Bath and Beyond, a standard green grocery bag from local Carluzzi's grocery store and my new envirosax, which fits in my purse!), and twelve year old Niece tagging along for the ride.

We sat on the bench outside the real farm animals to eat our cones, tired kids begging the patience of Mom to hold out on heading home.

"Stay here with Madeleine (Niece) while I load the groceries in the car."

As I stuff bags into the minivan trunk, I see a friend with twin four year olds zipping off, the two kids nicely sitting in their carseats licking away. Yes, her kids are older, but couldn't we just get going too? Mmmmm, that's risky, two year old Daughter can barely lick through a cone before it drenches clothes, hands, chin, neck and surroundings with sticky drippings.

What the heck! Throwing caution to the wind, I hustle Son (still licking), Daughter (holding, sometimes licking) and Niece (making real headway) into the car.

Now, the danger starts. Mom maneuvers multiple traffic lights while coaching Daughter and Son how to neatly finish ice cream cones in car. Losing battle. Coaching is generous, militant screaming more like it.

"Wait! Use your napkin! Don't bite the bottom! It's dripping! It's dripping!"Pull over. Grab wipes, clean Son. Grab Daughter's ice cream cone, top and bottom dripping mercilessly. Chuck it out the window.

Oh, no. The tragedy, the tears. What kind of mother am I to terrorize my daughter over an ice cream cone? I walk around the car, gently pick it up from the grass, wipe off any stray clippings and hand it back to her.

After all, soap and water can easily clean my car, little fingers and chins. But they can't wash away hurt feelings. Those sometimes take patience and practicality to prevent. What was I thinking???

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Parents' Getaway

Last weekend, Husband and I went away without the kids for the first time since Son was born 4 1/2 years ago. It was divine. Napping, bicycling, and dining without a care about racing home to relieve the babysitter. Husband's Mother flew up from Florida to take care of Son and Daughter. Our trip was long overdue but let's face it - it's hard to leave your kids and often harder to fine someone you trust to care for them. We're lucky that Grandma is willing and able to care for her grandkids (for four days! - Okay, it was a long weekend away.) The kids were happy. We were happy.

The truth is:

1. It's easier to leave the kids for a day or more when they're older than infants and you have more than one. You don't spend the entire weekend worrying and feeling guilty (although we couldn't escape discussing them quite a bit).

2. It's good to have enough time and space to look at your family and home from a broader view and do some long range planning.

With children under five around the house, we're so busy simply getting through each day, there's rarely time for bigger discussions. A weekend away restored our balance. I hope you have the opportunity to get away soon, too.

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