Where Whine Meets Wine

The Peanut To My Butter

I am so excited that it’s Friday I could just sing…or dance! And I just might! We sing and dance while we clean, and little do they know- that’s the plan for today. A good ‘ol cleaning cleverly disguised as a dance party! I love it! If you tell me you’ve never had a dance party while cleaning not only will I not believe you (c’mon, I know you’ve let a move bust through the tunes while cleaning.), but I will defriend you. Unfriend. Whatever, we’ll be through. If you really haven’t. Crank up some of your favorite tunes from when you were in high school… and find yourself a’dancing! And then we can remain friends.

Now back to our regular programming.., I was so happy just a few minutes ago, and it seems my mood is fading fast. I’d better get to cleaning dancing as fast as I can so that I don’t lose my good mood completely. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

So now we’re really back to our regular programming. It’s Friday, and I’m thankful. After a weekend that felt like it lasted a week, I’d never been so excited to see my children. 4 days was at least a day too long to be separated from them! But I am very thankful for my parents (and littlest brother) for having them, and the kids had so much fun. It’s very apparent our separation was much harder on the mama than the children.

Mostly, I am thankful for hubbyman. I wasn’t sure he was so supportive of me becoming a doula, but he has been amazing. During the weekend he’d make me a drink, and let me debrief. And he’d get up and make breakfast, and more importantly, coffee, before I’d head back in. After 6 hours worth of driving, 21 hours of sitting on the floor trying to soak in every word, and 3 hours of coffee runs… it left me completely exhausted. Mentally, physically, and definitely emotionally. Hubbyman has been so great. He’s put the big kids to bed and come up to find me still cuddling with littlest (What? After the weekend, I needed some extra cuddles!) and has taken him and put him to bed as well. And encouraged me to have some down time, some quiet time, and that it was ok to do so. He has done that almost every night this week. The first night I fell asleep on the couch, and the nights after that I’ve only spent maybe an extra hour awake and up, lounging on the couch. But it has been amazing for my own self. I actually have slept better, and better yet- I wake up, feeling like I actually got some sleep! And I am really shocked by how much more patience I have during the day. Apparently, I was really needing some down time. Where I’m not mom, and I’m not in charge, and even if it’s just mindlessly watching TV, I’m allowing myself some time to unwind, relax, and just be. And apparently, that’s exactly what I’ve been needing. I am so thankful to my hubbyman, for allowing and encouraging me to have some time for myself. (It’s like he knows me or something.)

Not only has he allowed me some time, but he was been incredibly supportive. He recently accepted a new position within his company and has promised to find ways that I could attend births, without having to stress over childcare, because he’d simply come home and stay with the kids. He is an incredibly hard worker and in his previous position they kind of let him do what he wants because of that- I’m hoping his next boss feels that way too! I will be doing daytime childcare for friends starting late fall/early winter, and so I’m trying to get all the births in that I can before then! (I have 3 on the books between now and then.) A local hospital has a great program where they offer doula services. While it’s unpaid, it would be a chance to get a good number of births under my belt, and stay active in the birthing community, and be able to schedule it. I’m going to wait a few months into doing childcare before officially signing up (I don’t want to over extend myself), but I’m very excited. And I love how supportive hubby is. He understands why I want to do it, and believes in it whole-heatedly. And is truly willing to explore every avenue possible so that I can do and achieve things that I want/believe in. It’s incredibly endearing. If I am successful in anything (be it professional or personal), a great portion of it is because I have his support. And I am so grateful.

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And now we’re off to my dance party! I hope you all have wonderful, dancing weekends as well!

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Survival of the Fittest

Yesterday was about a million degrees. Ok, not a million, but 102. Seriously. 102. And I live in what’s normally the frozen tundra! Thankfully, we have family that lives fairly nearby with a nice, big pool! What a reprieve! (At least until our state bird came out… the mosquito.) As much as we were needing a reprieve from the heat, lately I’ve been feeling like I need a bit of a reprieve from life! It’s just been so hectic and crazy! And with the upheaval of their normal schedule, it has also left my children behaving a little less than their normal sweet, compliant selves. Although, of course, as I write this, they are sitting next to each other, all three in a row. Just playin’ trains, with an occasional “Hey Mom, do you see me playing with the ‘big kids’?” giggle and jump from the littlest E.

sidenote: Sometimes I believe children have this need to make a liar out of their parents. Anytime you vocalize how sweet, polite, quiet, shy, loud, whatever… they are, they’ll do the opposite- publicly. (I don’t really believe they do this purposely to make a liar out of me, it’s just a happy coincidence on their part, I’m sure. haha!)

With lots of layers of various chaos going on around us, someone asked how we’re holding it together. I had no answer. Before drifting off to sleep, I told hubbyman that I was going to miss him while he was gone on his trip, and he responded with, “I’ll miss you too. I already miss you.” Which I, of course, thought he was saying as a joke, because my husband is so excited about this trip you’d think he was 18 and about to experience his first taste of freedom without parental control. That excited. It turns out he meant it. We’ve basically just kind of existing together the last month or two. We were in survival mode. We are in survival mode.

Anytime you’re in “survival mode” for too long, without reprieve, disaster usually ensues. So this weekend we get vacations from our lives. Ok, so he really gets an adventure (which is exactly what he needs), and I get some relaxation (which is exactly what I need, along with some retail therapy!). Even the kids are getting vacations, of sorts. The Bigger E’s will spend the weekend at their Grandparents, along with an uncle or two. And Littlest E is going with on the girls’ weekend, so he will be getting one-on-one attention that he doesn’t get a whole lot of.

Which brings me to the REAL survival tool: FAMILY. Obviously, immediate family plays a huge role in our lives. We are so blessed by them: From the great-great Grandma, to the Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins… and everyone in between. We are thankful for all of them, and survive because of them. If you’re thinking, you don’t know my family, or you live far from them, or just want to be far from them… it’s not just about people you’re related to. We have a large group of people that we have CHOSEN to be family with. This doesn’t just apply to people with children, most of these were family to us before we even had children. it’s not about your relationship status, or how many (if any) children you have; it’s about love and support. It’s friends that have been there through a decade, or two. Friends that were our family when we were far from home. Friends that have seen us through, the ones we can depend on, the ones who puppy sit, the ones who insist on going out when they know it’s been a while since we’ve had any time away from the kids, friends who make plans and include us- as a family, 3 kids and all. These are friends that have become our family. Friendships that are so important to us, and beloved by us, as well as by our children.

For our family, it’s the combination of the two that really ensure our ability to survive. No, maybe that’s not entirely true. We would probably survive without them, but with them, and with all their support, love, and encouragement, we are able to thrive. As a family as well as individually.

It’s a good thing I have this support system, because otherwise, I might just lose it. I remembered putting the kid’s cups of milk in the fridge last night, so when I went to get them this morning….I’d gotten clean cups out of the cupboard and put them in the fridge. Without milk. And left the cups that had milk in them on the counter. I also spent a good 20 minutes looking for the puppy, because I’d forgotten I’d already let him out, and he was sleeping on the floor next to my bed. Ok, so it may have been more like 5-10 minutes, but I was in such a panic thinking I’d left him outside, that it felt like much longer! And those were just the first two things I did this morning. I’m sure I’ve had moments of “mommy brain” since… but I can’t remember. Wait…where are the kids?

Doesn’t it look like we all need a break?!

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The Snotty Mommy Brigades

Ok, so I’m going to say this thing that I’m probably not supposed to say, you know, because I am one, but… Some moms make me roll my eyes and think, No wonder some (of course, not all) women without children have a hard time with those that do. Yesterday marked the official opening of spring for me- we had our first trip to the playground (Which thankfully is only about two blocks away!). And it was there I came face to face with the enemy. The Snotty Mommy Brigade. Ok, maybe they’re not the enemy, but they’re certainly not on my list of friends. The Snotty Mommies are women who have children, think that theirs are better, or yours are worse (or something like that). They give out calloused insults under the pretense of a compliment. (“I would never let my child go out in public wearing an outfit like that, my aren’t you brave.”) These women are harder to get in with than that uber expensive preschool in the city, with the 2 year long waiting list. And have a longer list of prerequisites than Harvard. I know you know the ones. They roll their eyes at the other moms trying to push their way through a door at the zoo, with a baby in one arm and a stroller in another, without bothering to help. But when the situation is reversed they order you to open the door for them. (I can’t help but roll my eyes and growl a little just thinking about it!) And it’s not just comprised of moms, there are some grandparents, some fathers, some with children/grandchildren, and some without. There are some women without children that have climbed aboard this bandwagon as well. Women who have forgotten to picture what life is like in someone else’s stilettos. Or flip flops.

They have no patience for children behaving like children, which let’s face it, even the best behaved, well-disciplined children, still behave like children. I know that no one wants to hear kids screaming and yelling and throwing a temper tantrum…ever. No mother does either. And father’s enjoy it even less. But just like I’m going to try and give you the benefit of the doubt when you roll your eyes at my kid (maybe it’s because you’d really like to be throwing a temper tantrum after the day you’ve had), please give me (and my child too) the same courtesy. Know that I try not to take them out when they’re at their hungriest, tiredest, crankiest… but sometimes it is just unavoidable. That’s the thing with the SMB (Snotty Mommy Brigade), they offer no support for a new mom, or even veteran mom, who’s running on little sleep and dealing with a child, or multiple children, who are hungry and tired. No support, only judgement. They are the Snotty Mommy Brigade. And sometimes it really does feel like they’re the enemy, raging war on us.

Then there’s The Real Mommy Brigade. It is not comprised solely of moms helping out other moms. It is the babysitting grandma’s, the caring aunts, the attentive girlfriends, grandfathers, fathers, and uncles too! Maybe a reason I didn’t expound too much on the women without children that are a part of the Snotty Mommy Brigade, is because my friends (both married and unmarried, women and men alike) are so not a part of that. They are women, and men, who are supportive, loving, and caring. And not just to me, to my children too. One of my girlfriends, who I like to refer to as my Happy Hour Mistresses, doesn’t mind running errands with me, and the kids. And she’s helpful with them, and laughs at their antics. And doesn’t freak out when I tell my biggest boy that if he doesn’t start behaving I’m going to send him home with her. Another just bought a boat with her husband, and as she was saying, I hope you’re ready for your kids to go boating and learn how to water ski… and all I could think was, thank God she is a part of my Mommy Brigade! And her husband too! They are GREAT with our kids (in fact, we love their whole family!). In fact, they are so accepting of our parenthood (instead of holding it against us like some of our “friends” that are really a part of the Snotty Mommy Brigade), that they don’t mind our “adult night” being a childfree dinner at their house, then taking the party to our house to put the kids to bed and then enjoy drinks and games while they sleep! (Did I mention, we love them?!) I do not believe that just because a couple, or a single, does not have children equates with them not liking children. And while, most of my friends still, of course, have time to contemplate their own parenthood, I am thankful for their willingness to be involved in mine. They are what get me through. They are what gets our family through.

The women at the park who told their children not to play with mine because they had “their real friends to play with,” they are not on my team. And I would never want someone like that on my team, taking swipes at me even from the sidelines. I am blessed and so thankful for my family, friends, and especially my Happy Hour Mistresses (because let’s face it, sometimes Mommy needs a time-out too!), who are on the front lines with me. And because I’m asking you to show a little grace, you little SMBrigader you, and because I’m still on that stinkin’ Love Dare (can you tell that I’m facing a challenging part right now?), I will show you grace as well. So even after you’ve instructed them not to play with my kids, I will give you directions when you’re having trouble telling another of your friends how to Community Center (that you can see from the playground). I will show my children what kindness looks like. I will show you what kindness looks like. Even when you tell your friend “This woman is telling me that I said the wrong street…No, of course I didn’t ask her…”  And when my daughter loudly says, Mom, I don’t like that lady. She is not a nice lady.I refrain from telling her that I agree. (But oh, how I agree. And want to say -equally as loudly- No, she’s not nice and I don’t like her either.) Instead I look at her children, who are watching this brief exchange, and I offer this to my girl, “Sometimes people say things that don’t sound very nice, but they may not mean for it to sound that way. And it’s really not very nice for us to talk about someone else either. It might not sound very nice to them.

And then I walk off, with littlest E sleeping, wrapped to my chest, calling the big Es to follow me, on an adventure into “the jungle” (a path in the woods)… they come following hand-in-hand, but just before they’re out of the SMB’s hearing biggest E says, “Those kids might not think their mommy was nice.” And middle E responds with, “Yeah, not like our mommy. She is nice. She really is.” ♥ And just for a moment the not-so-nice-mommy and I meet eyes, and in that moment something passes between us, and we know which mommy won today’s Battle of the Brigades.