Friday, April 26, 2013

I need to tell you

Inspired by a Pinterest post, I wanted to share the things I want to tell my daughter before she becomes the wildabeast I was once at 14. There are the 7 things I want her to know:

1) You are valued.
You are valued by the people around you. By your father, your family, your friends and by me. Being valued can be more meaningful than being important.

2) You don't need to pretend you like things if you don't.
And vice versa. If you like climbing trees, climb them and don't let anyone tell you it's dumb to climb trees. If you don't like make up, you don't have to wear it. If you like listening to classical music, I will take you to concerts or drop you off with a friend who shares your interest. There are a lot of ways you can continue doing the things you like, even if some of your friends don't like all the same things.

3) You will always have immunity.
If you are in trouble, in an unsafe place, cannot drive or don't want to be in a car with someone, or need help, you can call your dad, myself, or one of the adults in our world who you feel close to and you will not be in trouble. We may have a conversation about the choices you made leading up to that call. But you will never be yelled at or made to feel ashamed for calling for help.

4) We will always protect you.
If it means changing our phone number, driving you to a friend's house to sort out a problem or talking to an adult about a situation, we will always protect you and keep you safe. If you have gotten yourself into a situation, we will work together to find a resolution.

5) If you want me to know, you have to tell me.
If you want me to know what music you like, tell me. I'll listen. If you want me to know how you're feeling, tell me. I'll put on some tea and we'll have a conversation. If you want to join a different team, tell me. We can have a family meeting and sort out which team is the best fit for you and your skills.

6) Try hard always.
To say do your best is a lot to ask, though I hope you would, but you can always try hard. Try hard to be a good friend. Try hard to understand what the teacher is saying. Try hard to talk to people at school that you wouldn't normally talk to. Try hard to be a good teammate.

7) Respect your father and I.
We will always treat you with respect and we expect the same. Talk to us in a respectful manner. If you are unsure what that means, just ask. Respect our decisions and our opinions, because we have experienced the things you are just experiencing and we remember the outcome of our experiences. Treat the people in our house with respect because they are guests, invited by us. We will always treat your friends with respect an so we expect the same courtesy.

I love you and I know that you will be happy and successful. I enjoy the time we get to spend with you :)

~ H

Friday, April 19, 2013

Groundhog Day

Yesterday I hit the wall. Figuratively, not literally. I came home from work, The Babe in tow, and scrambled upstairs for the beginning the evening routine. This week has been a bit chaotic, topping off with my husband having to wake up The Babe yesterday morning to find that she had thrown up in the night and her entire bed needed to be stripped before heading off to work. Yay. I haven't made as many meals, have found myself eating out due to convenience  and what seems to be one big craving for processed food. As a result, we have been out more and the house has suffered as a result.

As I came upstairs I looked around and it looked as though a wild animal had torn through my kitchen, leaving dirty dishes, garbage, watermelon rinds and sippy cups in its wake. Clean Tupperware littered the floor and I came to the realization I had pretty much nothing for dinner for The Babe, as she is choosing not to eat chicken at the moment and that it what we were eating for dinner. As I struggled to put together a meal, avoid the ever-present dog, I felt as though I was in the movie "Groundhog Day". As though I wake up every day and spend time every day cleaning and doing laundry and cooking, only to wake up the next day and have it all undone, have to redo it, only to wake up again with the same thought. I felt defeated. I felt tired. And sad, because I don't want to constantly clean and cook. I want to hang out with my kid. But I'm struggling to find that balance and to quell the desire to clean everytime I'm in the kitchen. Some weeks it feels like a winning battle, but this week was not one of them.

Perhaps its the weather, or an over-scheduled week. Perhaps its the time of year - out of the winter but not quite into the nice part of spring. Perhaps I am looking at the house we own, the storage locker we pay for, and doing the mental math and realizing the end of the clutter and disorganization is nowhere in sight for us. Maybe it's all of that.

Luckily for The Babe and I, my husband swooped in right as I was in the thick of my stressed out melancholy. He took one look at me, put in his earbuds, loaded up a podcast and got to work. While we have different approaches to cleaning and organization in life, he knows I have a breaking point and has learned that when he sees it drastic measures must be taken. He handled the laundry while I spent some time reading to The Babe. He vacuumed while I did the dishes. In the end, we managed to tackle the brunt of it before dissolving into bed. There's more to do, but when I woke up this morning, I didn't see my shadow and went on to a brand new day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The 80/20 rule

Today my post is about balance - can you achieve it, what does it look like, does it really matter? A friend recently told me she strives for an 80/20 balance of homemade vs. storebought baby food when it comes to daycare lunches. My question is: how do you attain that balance which makes you comfortable and should it really matter?

Tonight the Babe ate half a banana and half a cup of cornflakes for dinner. They were not organic corn flakes. They probably have high fructose corn syrup in them, and most likely are dyed yellow. You know what? Tonight I didn't care. I bust my butt on Sundays prepping food for the three of us for lunches and dinners for the week. If she doesn't want to eat the chicken, rice, corn purée I made on Sunday, then a banana is fine by me. Because I'll be damned if I'm going to thaw another batch of homemade purees, just to have it poo-pooed by her and end up in the garbage.

I am constantly trying new ways to get the Babe to eat veggies, legumes, less dairy and more fruit. But somedays it's hard, and I'm tired and uninspired and she ends up with something less than ideal for dinner. It's no one's fault, it's just the result of having two parents who work, somewhat clean the house and try to cook as often as possible. Sometimes she gets a delicious well balanced meal and sometimes, a banana because that's all she wants.

I think we need to give ourselves and other mothers a pass. You want to feed your son Annie's Bunnies for a few nights? Me too! Are you fed up with making oatmeal filled with squash, prunes and fruit purees, only to have it spat out? Me too! You've been sending your baby to daycare with jarred baby food for the last three days because the pizza you ordered for dinner doesn't purée so well? Welcome to the club sister! Or brother :)

Whether you work full-time outside the home, part-time, or work as a stay-at-home mom, this week give yourself a pass. Easter dinner wiped me out, as I'm sure it did the rest of you, and despite what Baby Centre may tell you, a few snacks of Goldfish crackers will not turn your child into a salt-hoarding Gollum. However, eating all your child's Easter candy in one sitting may require a few extra minutes (hours) on the treadmill.

~ H