Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mom Sandwich Phenomenon

Have you ever heard this one?

"I much prefer to have my granddaughter/grandson alone. When his/her Mom is around, they only pay attention to Mommy. He/she only wants her."

Grandparents. They're almost always well-intentioned. But this comment makes me think of one response.

And that is this:

Let's see... not only did I carry my daughters in my stomach for 9 months, but I also birthed them. I developed stretch marks, cankles and a weak bladder. I've held onto 20 extra pounds of fat for a year.

I did the late nights. I've gone sleepless for nights in a row. In fact, I haven't slept well for 2 years. I get up when they need me. I take care of them when they're sick. I get the bad mood first. When they're miserable, they take it out on me. They yell at me and won't eat what I give them. They won't go to bed easily and won't sleep through the night for me. But they're perfect angels for everyone else.

I feed and change and feed and change and feed and change. I play with them for endless hours. I act silly and don't care who sees. I've actually pranced like a pony around a room full of strangers singing. Just to make them smile.

I always make their breakfast, lunch and dinner first. I come second. I get up and take care of them even when I'm feeling my worst.

I love them more than anyone else in the entire universe and I always will.

If, after all this, they preferred someone else to me, I would sure as heck have a problem with that. The little ankle biters would hear it from me, that's for sure.

I know you've done all this too, Grandparents. I know. And that's why we - your kids - love you so much. We still prefer you over anyone else when we're sick or sad. Your sandwiches are somehow the best sandwiches ever made. And always will be.

And my kids adore their Grandparents. They love that special relationship they have.

But there's nothing quite like a Mom.

And my daughters have a Mom who will do anything and everything for them. Quite happily. We've got a really good thing going, my girls and I. We've got something really special that nobody can touch.

And they know it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Great Stay-At-Home Debate

I don't work.

I'm not receiving any mat leave payments.

And I have no set work plan for the near future.

(The neurotic-planner side to my persona is schvitzing right now.)

Most people know that I'm self-employed and have been asking if I'm working yet. And in conversations, the phrase often goes "When you go back to work"...

Not "if".

But... wait a minute. What if I don't go back to work? Is it okay if I'm a stay-at-home Mom? Is it okay if raising my children becomes my only work? Is that enough?

My generation was brought up being told that, as women, we should strive to do whatever we want. We have so many choices now. It's great if you have grand ambitions when it comes to your career. In fact, on International Women's Day, someone I know updated their Facebook status to "Here's to a world filled with more women CEOs".

But wait.

What if that's not what I want anymore? What if I'm an educated woman who chooses to put a career on the back burner? What if I swap being challenged mentally for cleaning poop and teaching my kids to tie their shoes?

I know the easy answer is to say "Of course it's okay! You can do whatever you want. You have the choice." But sometimes I wonder if that's how we all really feel.

As I referenced in my last blog, parents are now being told not to lose themselves in parenting too much. You need that "other" persona in order to be a good parent. You must be someone besides just "Mom".

So we go back to work. We solve problems and learn new things. We make important decisions. And that's good. It really is.

But what if you decide work's just not for you any more? Will you find a lot of other women are making your choice?

Let's see... out of all my Mom friends that I met on my first maternity leave, only a couple didn't return to work full time. (Including me). And out of all my girlfriends who have children, only one other Mom stays at home with her kids full time.

I wonder about the point in my life when my kids are going to school. If I'm not working, what the heck will I do? Is "running the household" too 1950s for me? Is there enough running of the household actually needed to fill my days?

A lot of questions. Not a lot of answers yet. I'm curious to hear from other Moms out there. What did you decide? How did you make your decision? Was it an easy one? If money were no object... what would you do?

I'm not sure of my identity yet. Can I have one without work? How do I answer the question, "What do you do?"

Maybe only time will tell.

In the meantime, tell me Moms. What do you do?