Muting the Background Noise

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Lately, I have been discovering the importance of taking time to myself. I have three boys, and although it sounds like a lot, it does not seem so most of the time. There are days when it is more than I could have imagined, but nevertheless, it makes things fun and different. I can go day-to-day without ever skipping a beat, but every now and then a wrench is thrown into the spokes and I have to stop to gather myself.

I know some people think “How can you need a break? You do not even work?” A full time mom is a lot of work mentally, physically, and emotionally. You cannot put it down and pick it up the next day. Add to it the daily nuances and the once-in-a-blue-moon drama that occur from one angle or another…some times the pressure builds, and it becomes too much. In order to release the stress in a healthy manner I choose to venture away from home. It helps me clear my mind and not even think about some things without the background noise. It is that breathe of fresh air we all need every-so-often to renew ourselves.

There are some moms that think, “How can you need a break?” and some husbands whose first reactions are, “what is wrong here at home?” It is not the kids, it is not the husband, it is not the home environment. It is the need to step away and recharge, gain clarity, and take the pressure out elsewhere instead of on your loved ones. It is the simple pleasure of not having some one tugging at you, beckoning you, and just simply being able to think in one direction or not at all if you want. Go ahead and think, “Why not exercise or some thing?” I do. Five out of seven days of the week. It is my normal. I need some thing different. Is that too much to ask or do on occasion? And by myself if I choose? I do not think so. It is very important to not forget yourself, your own individual self.

Helping Hands

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I have three little boys sick with colds. Plus one is teething. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement. Today has been filled with an early rise to wash my floors since my four year old decided to “wash” them for me last night with hand soap. I had to start the laundry and clean the bathroom. Let’s not forget I also start my dinner early because my four month old requires a lot of attention right now. Normally, I do all of these things any ways, but when your kids are sick and they keep you on your feet it becomes a day filled with ‘have to’ instead of ‘normals’. 

My nights are currently filled with some ones little foot jarring me in the back or a child crying for mom. It is those moments you do not dare try to get daddy to go instead because they are sick and want mommy. It is important that you respond to them and it is vital that you reassure your own worries that they are fine and sleeping.

I can never fall asleep right away after tending to one of them. It takes my body a while to come down from the initial jump start which makes it even harder to get out of bed come morning. It is these days that I anticipate the quick passing. It hurts me to see my children in pain of any sort and just miserable. Especially my four month old. He is too little to give any thing and some times home remedies are not enough.

Of course, the worst part of having a house full of sick kids is the aftermath. I get to clean every thing all over again and disinfect. Do not forget to air out the house either. The thing I loathe the most, my body completely says, “Okay, now it is your turn to crumble.” -And I do. Despite my efforts to remain healthy. I end up getting wiped out and depending on my husband to man the bases.

Of course, through all of this there is a silver lining. I have heard that it takes a village, but I never really understood until these moments. I call in reinforcement. I know that if I do not get better soon which requires good rest, it will be a disaster. These are the days and weeks I am completely thankful that not only is my husband a great partner, but my mom, my sister, and mother-in-law become life savers. They do not try to over-parent me, but do exactly as I ask, help. When that time comes for me to become a grandma I pray that my kids let me return the many helping hands that I had while raising them. This is one of many things I constantly remind myself I MUST keep in rotation.

The Best Extra Limb

Although It hurts me some times to see my four year old gaining his independence, my younger two sons are taking dependency to a whole new level. I wonder do other moms have this issue or is it solely the way I am raising them?

My youngest is only four months. I expect him to be attached to me because he is an infant. If he does not want to be away from me and in the arms of some one else, even my husband, he cries until I get him. It is not like he is not around other people, because he is. I have visitors every other day.

My middle son is going to be three years old. He is always near me. Some days, he is literally on top of me. There are times when I stumble over him because he insists on standing attached to my leg. This is not an endearing trait when I am trying to cook and I have to constantly remove him for his own safety. Or heaven forbid I need to pee for a minute. There go those fingers under the door and the, “Mom!!! Come out NOW!!!” My oldest even threatened to unlock the door one time to come in and get me-ha!

Do I attribute this to being a great mother or being too much of a mother? I know depending on the view some would side one way. I just know I am doing my best and whatever the case, these days are fleeting. Yes, there are days when I do not feel like an individual because they are attached to my limbs, but that comes with being a mom. They will be stuck to me like gum in my hair until they are teenagers that want to repel me. Then, I will want to be the gum. Leave it to me to always find that perspective angle.

The Family Bond that Feeds

While growing up, my mom taught us kids many things. Her motto was “never depend on any one for any thing.” Basically, do it yourself. If you do not know how, learn how. She taught me to sew, to quilt, do my own laundry, iron, clean, and on occasion I would learn to do some handy man work. I was surprised at the many people I have come across that never learned to iron, or to even cook basic things. To be honest, I hated when she made me cook. I could not stand the sight of raw meat. I mean come on! Hamburger meat looks like a bunch of maggots mushed together. The smell of the flesh, just yuck! Do not get me started on the slimy feel of it all. –But I did it any ways.

For the longest time I did not eat meat or poultry. It really turned my stomach at the thought of it. Eventually, I met my husband at the ripe young age of sixteen. He is Hispanic just as I am–partly. They loved meat. If you do not eat at a Hispanic event it is like a major sin. Needless to say, I ended up eating meat again. I believe what changed my perspective on cooking in general was watching his mother cook. I saw that the family gathered around her food. I saw the love it brought to the house. I saw the importance of her role as the provider of such wonderful meals. I wanted to have that for my family one day. Not that my mother did not cook, she did. It just took me watching an outsider to teach me this different aspect on cooking.

Now, I cook a lot and I love it! I absolutely adore making food especially from as close to scratch as possible. I get major joy from hearing it was delicious and an even greater pleasure when my picky little eaters love it, too. Whomever said, “the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach” was not lying. I see the way it helps keep my family together around the table. Even some of my fondest memories from growing up are of my family eating together. It makes perfect sense.

I cannot wait until my three boys are old enough and not so picky to enjoy most of my food creations. I am sure they will eat me out of a house and a home, but I hope they understand I do the things I do as a mom, as a wife, with love and intentions to keep our family bond closely knit. After all, as I have said I learned meals do feed the heart and soul of a family.

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The Anti-Peggy Bundy

Let me start off with this– I know my chosen path in life is not what some would deem desirable, but I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It may not be glamorous, a monetary rewarding job, or the easiest at times, but it’s the path I’ve chosen to take.  I saw the impact my mom had staying home with us kids (five of us). I liked the interaction we had with her compared to some of the other kids I grew up around. I’m lucky that after graduating college, I was able to have kids and stay home. I understand there aren’t many that have the luxury. I would hope that my blog helps many see that staying home isn’t easy. We don’t just sit around like Peggy Bundy. There are many things to do and when there is “down time” it is extremely appreciated.

I became a mom at an older age than most of my friends. I grew up in Detroit and it is a common thing for there to be younger mothers than myself. I was aged 26 when I had my first son, and boy I did NOT know what to expect. The idea of becoming a mother was wonderful and exciting. No one informed me of pregnancy, child birth, or a great many things that motherhood contained but I was ready. I did a lot of reading to educated myself on subjects, but what is literature compared to the actual experiences of another woman? I admit I was kind of disappointed that certain things were not explained but I vowed to myself if ever i have my own daughter, I will inform her. The one thing that I feel will be important to explain are the major changes your body goes through. Not every one bounces back to “normal” sizes after and not many are stretch mark free. It is possible to lose the baby weight and it may take longer than usual, but it is a discouraging and difficult path when you are unaware of the trials of motherhood and have a lack of supportive network around you. I feel that once you are able to accept this major change with yourself than every thing that follows after is minor.

It amazed me with how much energy it takes from you. Motherhood uses every bit of energy you have. The physical, the mental, the emotional…every thing! It truly is a 24/7 “job” and you can never put it down. I would have never thought that I could worry so much about one human being, and now I have three beings to worry about…but it is definitely worth it when all of the hard work as a mom pays off. I do think it gets easier with each child. You do learn from previous experience. You also have what I like to call a “life phase change” in friends. (These are the new friends you make, or renew because they are at the same phase in life you are. Good-bye party friends, single friends–well, most any ways). You have their advice and if you’re lucky, some of them have older kids to alert you of what’s next. I am absolutely grateful to the other parents that confirm their child is just as rambunctious, sneaky, or silly. I’m not losing my mind after the laughs another mother has to share. And yes, it is okay to want to scream some times, or need to get away.

If some one would have told me my college days were not the sleep-deprived, physically, mentally challenged days of my life I would have given them the dirtiest look ever! They would be right. I cannot believe how drained I am. I do have toddlers and a newborn, but still. I’m young (in my opinion) and I should have the energy to keep up. Not so! I workout a lot for my health, my sanity, and my overall well-being. It is not enough. Some days I need to sneak a nap. Thankfully, my husband is the hands-on father and spouse. He helps a great lot when he is home. Even at that, there is so much to do some times. Some days are neater than others. Some days are calm, the kids are in good moods, the baby sleeps well and meals are a snap. Then there are those days when the kids are chaotic, bouncing off of the walls, and the baby will not leave my arms for any thing and I feel like I will never get them fed. I even forget to eat some times. Aye! Those days, my night cap is usually wine and a movie.  A great thing I encourage other moms to indulge. If that is not your forte then find an outlet, we all need one. I often wonder what the mom in Family Circus might have done once the kids were asleep.

I do not want to sound like a nut cracker when it comes to motherhood. There are many wonderful things to cherish in parenting. I would keep having babies if I could just to repeat the first moment I get to see my baby. I am on my third child and I thoroughly enjoy having a baby MUCH more than before. The first child was a guessing game and chalked full of surprises. The second child was hoping he was not a colic baby like my first. He was easy and is very passive. Now, my current youngest is laid-back and I just enjoy every minute even the crying! I know what to expect, I no longer worry about colic because I have been through it, and I have a stable support system around me. Plenty of mother friends, ample female family members, and most importantly, a husband that is present in every way. What more could I ask for?

~Valerie