Sunday, September 18, 2011

Speedy Momzales

Look at me, I'm Speedy Momzales!  Ever feel like a "Speedy Momzales",  trying to tackle all the to-do's in your day?  I do.

I've been thinking about writing this for a while.  But, I've put it off, mostly because I like to talk about bright and encouraging things, like fabulous food, and exciting book developments, and giveaways!  But, I'm not one of those moms that walks around all-happy-peppy and doesn't tell it like it is.  I realized soon after having our first daughter, that there was a lot of that mommy-bliss going around, and I needed to talk reality.  Luckily, I had a friend that grounded me, helped me understand that it wasn't just me that had a high-maintenance baby, that other new moms struggled with frustration and loneliness... and that those chubby-cheeked-smiling-Pampers baby moments were often few and far between! That first baby brought big adjustment, but I got there.

Ten years later and there are new adjustments.  Our two older girls, while largely independent, are also very active.  Then, we have a largely dependent 2 year old (who wants to be very independent and so fearlessly runs and curiously climbs her way into all sorts of mayhem)!  We are smack-in-between two phases with our children.  Life is good, but boy it's busy.

There's so much to keep on top of with our busy 2 year old, household cleaning and errands, and then working through the maze of activities with our older girls, for example:  Ringette starts at 4:30 for middle daughter, then need to leave for hockey with the other at 6, so I'll get dinner in her early, then I'll eat with babe before picking up the first from ringette and before hubby leaves with the eldest for hockey, then back home to get dinner again for middle daughter, get babe in bath and bed, clean up again, etc.   That's one particularly crazy evening, but we have similar days 4-5 times a week with ringette and hockey, plus piano practice, art, and school!  I'm not complaining, rather I think I'm explaining - why I may not blog as often as I'd like, and also to communicate with other moms.  When you're feeling dazed and confused, you're not alone, I'm there too.

You may think that I have it all figured out, writing cookbooks, writing a blog, having three kiddos and a happy marriage.  Yes, I am blessed to have all of these in my life, and I give thanks for my family EVERY day.  But, I am not without my sad times, my doubtful and confused times, angry and lonely times.  I once wanted to write a post titled "Super Mom?... or Super Fuck-Up?!"  Excuse the language, but that's how I felt in that moment of the day.  Like everything I was doing as a mother was wrong, like I had nothing figured out after ten years.  And, as much as I know in my heart that's not true, I certainly don't have it all figured out as a mom (do we ever?).  And, I often feel guilt and anxiety about my work and trying to balance that with motherhood (and, is there ever 'balance' or mere juggling?).

Our children live so differently from how we did as kids (and us adults so differently than our parents).  We are part of this generation of supervised activities and play; there is little way around it if we want our children to have exposure to sports and arts.  Our family is doing fewer activities than others we know, and we are just keeping on top of what we do!  I've joked with my husband that by the time our 2 yr old has started activities, we will need a babysitter just for driving (and I think the joke's on me, because we probably will)!  We have no extended help, so the help we do have pretty much comes from one awesome, very trusted babysitter.  I love her, and yet she is moving into her career and I know her availability is soon changing.  I watch grandparents at school sometimes, or at recitals and practices for their grandkids, and I think how lovely that must be for everyone involved to have that connection in their lives.  But, my husband and I aren't alone on this parenting 'island'; I know other families that pretty much fly-solo as we do.

Still, regardless of what support you may or may not have, as parents we are part of this generation of activity-driven, parent-supervised kiddos that has most of us running through the day.  We accept it as part of life, yet for most of us that means we are hurrying through our days, up late at night, or early in the morning to accomplish everything we are trying to do.  And, if we do get a spare 1/2 hour or hour, that's a window to get something else done!   "Oh, I have an hour, better get to the store for..." - rather than simply hang out in the living room with our bustling toddler that is changing and growing far faster than we might be trying to catch-up on things.  And for all we are doing, we still feel guilt for what we aren't doing.  Isn't that nutty?  That we are doing so much, yet give ourselves grief for what we haven't squeezed in?  I know we all look at other moms helping out at school, at activities, having play dates, and on, and think "I should be doing more, or I should be helping too".  But, where do you stop?  What's your limit?  I think I know mine at this stage in our lives.  I know what I need to do to keep my family healthy and happy, and extending myself (and ourselves) any further is just too much.

And, while I joke with my kids that I'm Speedy Momzales, I aim to preserve some of the simpler things in life.  I treasure having dinner with my family, even if it means heating dinner two or three times so they can sit and have a proper meal.  I won't have them eating a bag of chips and granola bar for lunch on the way to hockey either.  If they can't eat at home, they tote a decent lunch in the car.  And, I value having downtime with my family, so the girls can play (ahem, and fight) imaginatively with their toys, and our toddler can run through the house and scribble with crayons rather than be schlepped in a car seat or stroller all day.   Call me nostalgic about 'simpler days gone by', but I cherish feeding our children proper food, and staying connected with them as we keep up with the times.

As moms, we extend to everyone in our lives, sometimes to the expense of our own well-being.  We love, so we give.  We want the best for our children, so we give what we can, which translates into scheduled weekdays and weekends.  But amidst this chaos are the simple, sweet parts of the day.  Try to preserve those that are important to you, to preserve yourself - and your family.

And, if you see me speed-walking by some day with a 2 yr old on my hip, I don't mean to be rude... it's just this Speedy Momzales is either on the way to an activity... or better, on the way home to have dinner with her family.


Heather K said...

As a mom of four, with similar ages and activities to yours, I feel your pain. It comes down to priorities. I value eating the way we do, so I'm no willing to feed my kids subs or Timmies instead of home cooked food. Sometimes it's not very fancy-brown rice, broccoli and peanut sauce-but it's so much better for them. In exchange, my house is frequently a mess and I don't have enough clean underwear or toilet paper in the house. It's historically not normal to raise a family in isolation with no grandparents or aunts and uncles to help out. I do the best I can and know that my kids health comes first. You are my inspiration at dinner time and my cookbooks show it with all the splatters and dog eared pages. Keep on keepin' on lady, I need that new cookbook!

vanessa said...

Though I am not - nor do I ever plan to be - a mother, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this post, Dreena. Parents do more, are more, and give up more than their children will ever realize (I'm sure I don't, even as I'm aware of it!), and are so rarely given as much in return. This post opened my eyes a little wider to that fact...and it made me think I should probably call my folks tonight ;).

You're a trooper, Dreena! Don't ever feel guilty for taking a moment for yourself :).

Mattheworbit said...

What a wonderful, honest post. We're all too hard on ourselves and don't give ourselves enough free time. It sounds like you try so hard to make sure that everyone is happy and gets what they want - and it's so lovely that this is what makes you happy. So many kids and husbands would love to have a Mom/wife who races around the way you do! The cruel thing is, that yours won't know any different so will take you for granted ;). Take care and keep being awesome.

Frau Guten Tag said...

Thank you! I have a 17 yo & a 2 1/2 yo & am really hating my life & feeling really down lately

eva @5fruitsNveggies said...

ditto ditto ditto, my dear!...the one thing i did not read about is you having a puppy the puppy is my 2 year 10 & 8 year old have an activity that's 2 a day afterschool..and my husband is at work so can't help me with any shuffling....i start dinner at 9 am and then run around the house like a banshee trying to do it all...then i need to volunteer at school--i am in charge of a part of the school carnival, then i have to go on a field trip that lasts 7 goes on and on and on...weekends are no different...except that we don't have activities...our family rule was no sports that dig into our family weekend time...sorry, that means no soccer and swimming--even if it's socially unacceptable where we live....people look at me like i have 2 heads when i tell them we don't do soccer--by design...on the weekends my husband spends time with the girls so i can do what i do during the week, but just i hear you...i thought mommyhood was going to be like a picture out of a Pottery Barn catalog!...i love my family and i love being a wife and mommy, but sheeze, cut a woman some slack--lol

princesstofu said...

thank you dreena! i needed to hear this.

zimt said...

I think that you are actually far more amazing than you give yourself credit for. You're not only there for your kids and hubby, but for everybody on the planet, whether they realize it or not. You're doing an incredible job and raising intelligent, compassionate girls. Thank you for posting this.