Posted in A Day in the Life, Family, Good Housekeeping, hair

Apples and Hours


My coworker/friend and I were comiserating over how exhausting it is to be a mom and work full-time outside the home, and how we struggle to find time to cram everything that has to get done into the nooks and crannies of the day.  Like how, this morning, I put my makeup on and fixed my hair during the oven pre-heating process and first 10 minutes of baking of Thor’s lunch (fish sticks…mmm!), then spent the last 10 minutes of baking, cleaning the kitchen and getting breakfast into him.  

A few minutes later, my friend calls out to me, “Hey!  Gwen Stefani has the same problem we do!”

“What’s that?” I asked.  Because I know Gwen Stefani is not struggling with trying find pants that fit nicely, or worrying about having to buy pantyhose for a corporate event.

“She has a hard time fitting in everything she needs to get done in a day–trying to balance work and motherhood.”

I burst out laughing because…nannies, housekeepers, personal assistants, and probably personal chefs.  And a husband who also has personal assistants.  Do you know how much more I could get done with a full-time housekeeper?  Because while my beloved (and oh, they are my Precious) Molly Maids* do a fantastic job of cleaning up what I have missed once a month, do you know how much time it would free up if I didn’t have to think about doing dishes?

But it’s relative.  I’m sure Gwennie (who is one of my favorite celebrities, and who is allowed to call me Laney) really does feel the struggle.  Her struggles are just different from mine.  Whereas my time away from Thor equals three apples per hour, her time away from her kids equals three thousand apples per hour.  But at the end of the day, no matter how many apples we have, we both just have 24 hours, and we’re both just trying to make time for our families, while staying on top of everything else that is expected of us.

Which is why, when my alarm went off at 5:45 this morning, instead of getting up and getting going, I went and got Thor out of his bed.  I brought him back into mine and gave him snuggles until 6:35.  Yes, my hair isn’t gorgeous today, and he’s had more inspired lunches, but he got a nice chunk of time knowing he was loved, wanted, and thought of.  I’ll take his smile over great hair any day.

 

*Hiring Molly Maids is the best thing I have ever done for myself and my family.  They are reasonably priced and do a great job.  Consider it!

Posted in parenting, Thor

Swimming in the Deep End


Today I decided on the word that best characterizes my son.  Bonhomie.  He is a genuine bonhomme, possessed of a truly pleasant and affable disposition.  I like him a lot.

I like him even more as he grows.  I know the teen years are coming, and I know that all the chemicals washing through his brain are going to bring changes that can only result in him becoming a TEENAGER, but the glimpses of the future I get in his more mature moments–like when he stops himself mid-action and says he needs to start over properly, or corrects himself when he’s being rude, or congratulates an opponent on a great play and tells the player how proud he is of them, or when he turns his efforts to self-enforced politeness–feed my optimism that no matter how badly he might smell, how loudly he might play his music, how much he might argue about the unfairness of the rules, he will still lovingly, and playfully pat me on the head from his new vantage of height and try to do the right thing.  My moments of greatest pride are when I realize that B and I are raising someone we both would have sought out for friendship, were he our peer.  And my moments of greatest relief are when I realize that Thor is going to attract the kind of friends that B and I have today.

Every day, I tell Thor these things:

  1. I love you more than anything in the world.
  2. I like you, and I like being around you.
  3. I am proud of you.
  4. You are a good person.
  5. You have a great mind.
  6. You are the best part of my day.
  7. I will always love you.

I strive to back up those words with actions.  Spending time with him, having real conversations with him, really listening to him, reading to him, drawing with him, sharing my thoughts with him, answering his questions, and letting him poke his fingers into what I am doing–you know, until I have to go lock the bathroom door and beg for five minutes alone.  It isn’t enough to say the words.  The words without the back-up are just empty, and he’ll start looking for what he thinks fills them.

The idea is for him to be confident enough in having a foundation of love and support at home, that his metaphorical legs will be strong enough to leap over any cracks he finds in the foundations everywhere else.  The idea is for him to be confident enough in his value and self-worth (which we back up by feeding his mind) that he doesn’t even notice peer pressure, save to see that it exists and he doesn’t need to take part in it.  The idea is to give him the childhood it takes to face the teenage years without falling into the deep end.  Actually, the idea is to give him enough of a push out of the kiddie pool, that he can swim to the deep end on his own power, get out, and start doing cannon balls off the diving board.  Because we all know that the deep end is where the fun is.  It’s just a matter of knowing how to swim in it without drowning.

I am incredibly thankful for his grandparents, who give him confidence in ways parents cannot.  I am thankful for the teachers he’s had, who have understood him and loved him.  And I am thankful for our friends, who have always treated him with adult-like respect, and who have modeled great behavior to him.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

No Means No


My son is five now, and he doesn’t like kisses anymore. He has pretty much refused to kiss me for the better part of a year, and now he is asking me not to kiss him. I’m sorry I ever turned down his baby slobber now. (No, I’m not. But mothers are supposed to say that, so I said it. I would still turn down slobbers.)

I have always wondered where people got the idea that no meant yes, or maybe, or just try a little harder. Years and years ago, I struck upon the idea that it was a principle learned in childhood. Parents teach their children that no only means no if it’s the parents saying it. For example, Thor says, “No, I don’t want a kiss,” and I say, “Haha!” tickle him til he laughs, then kiss him anyway. Or, worse, Thor says, “No, I don’t want a kiss,” and I pretend to cry until he relents.

Having forgotten my own epiphany, I have done both before. How confusing to a child. I am teaching him that his body is his own property, not to be touched in any way he does not like, but I’ll force my kisses on him? That’s not right.

Tonight, as I was tucking him in, I remembered. I asked if I could give him a kiss and he said no. I started to cajole him, and thought better of it. I hugged him instead and I said, “Okay, Bud. No kisses. If you don’t want them, you don’t have to have them.” I kissed his bear goodnight instead, just because I had one stuck on my lips and had to wipe it off somewhere. He offered his dinosaur up for another one.

I did hope he would decide that kisses for Bear and Dinosaur looked so good, he needed one, too. He did not. And that’s okay. Even though I really, really, really wanted to kiss his whole face.