{FAMILY} In My Daughter’s Shoes

I have vivid memories of what it was like to be 8. I can still remember how it felt to curl my tongue into the gaps of my missing teeth. I remember suddenly feeling butterflies in the pit of my stomach while talking to a boy in my class that I had known for years, unsure of why I was having those funny feelings. I remember feeling self-conscious about my knobby knees, and I can still remember conversations that I had with my best friend.

My oldest daughter is now 8, and I can’t believe that I’m the parent of an 8 year old. Now that she’s at an age that I can remember, parenting somehow feels a bit different to me. My daughter is developing her own personality, experiencing feelings and emotions that I can remember feeling, and I feel more confident as a mother – because I once walked in my daughter’s shoes.

Sure her experiences as an 8-year-old are different than mine were, but I’m hoping that I can help her to navigate through the confusing, exciting, overwhelming, challenging waters as she transitions from child to tween.

mother daughter

The challenge though, is that as she matures, I feel as though my status as “mom” in her eyes is maturing as well. I feel like I’m slowly moving from mom-with-an-enthusiastic-exclamation-mark, to mom-with-a-sarcastic-eye-roll, and I know that it’ll only get more difficult as she moves towards her teen years.

I can still remember suddenly feeling a tinge of embarrassment when my mom kissed me goodbye in front of my friends at school. I can remember rolling my eyes when my mom interrupted my friends and I during a play date, and I can remember crying in my pillow, convinced that my mom was ruining my life because I couldn’t watch TV until my homework was complete.

But I also remember feeling confused about my feelings towards my mom. I remember feeling guilty when I pulled away as she leaned in to give me a kiss, or rolled my eyes, not completely understanding why I was suddenly being so mean to the woman who I looked up to the most. I was suddenly annoyed by my hero – my best friend, and I didn’t understand why.

I’m learning that it’s important to give my daughter the space that she needs to mature. I need to be more conscious of how I speak to her and act around her in the presence of her friends, and most importantly, I’m realizing that it’s more important now than ever to establish a trusting relationship with her that goes beyond the because-I-told-you-so status of mom.

I’m doing my best to teach her that it’s alright to be honest with me about her feelings, even if it means that mine might get hurt. I hope that I’m doing it right, and that I don’t forget that I was once in her shoes, and that my mother was once in mine.

{FAMILY} Working Moms: Why The Labelling Needs To Stop

I recently came across this article proclaiming that “being a stay-at-home mother is not a job” and it caught my attention. Underneath the link, the Facebook feed was flooded with angry words from moms of all backgrounds, disgusted by the message behind the post, and horrified by comparisons such as this one:

“No, Stay-at-Home-Mothers, choosing to create your own little person upon whom you’ll spend all your time and energy is a hobby. It is a time-consuming, sanity-deteriorating, life-altering hobby — a lot like a heroin addiction, but with more Thirty-One bags.” Source

And I get it, maybe comparing the choice to stay at home with your children to that of a heroin addiction is a little over the top, but I don’t think that was the point of the article.

I’ve stayed at home with my children, I’ve worked at a full-time in-office career, and I’m now working for my own business as a work-at-home mom. I’ve had hands-on experience as a mom who falls into each of these lifestyle choices, and I can honestly say that no “working mom” life is easier or more challenging than the others.

The truth is: being a mom is hard. Leaving your children in childcare to spend the day at a gruelling office job is a difficult decision and comes with many daily challenges. Deciding to stay at home with your little ones full time is a trying lifestyle and a true test of patience and stamina, and attempting to make a living by running a business at home with little ones at your feet is exhausting and challenging as well.

working mom

For some reason, society -and especially moms, get caught up in the terminology. Moms are categorized as SAHM (stay-at-home mom), WAHM (work-at-home mom), or career mom, as though having a specific “mom label” denotes a certain level of superiority or accomplishment. Statements are constantly made implying that one lifestyle is harder than another, and feelings get hurt when a mom who works outside of the home is referred to as a “working mom” (because being a SAHM mom is work too!).

But you guys, this is not a competition. This is life. We have all made our own decisions as to how to navigate through the journey of motherhood, and there are no right or wrong decisions. We are all doing the best that we can with what we’ve got and we need to stop being over-sensitive, competitive, and insecure about our decisions.

I don’t think that the author of the aforementioned article is trying to poke fun at the stay-at-home parenting lifestyle, I think she is just trying to dissolve the feelings of invalidation that many of the moms in her circle are experiencing – with perhaps a touch of sass. I think it’s ok to share our own perspectives because we are each having our own unique experience as ‘mom’. We should embrace each other’s perspectives, learn from each other’s stories, and support each other’s decisions. Because in the end, regardless of our employment status, we are all moms.

Stop the mom wars and start opening your minds to the possibility that we are all winners. Be happy in your own skin and don’t worry so much about the words of others – stop focusing on the labels.

 

Mixed Babies: What Will Baby #3 Look Like?

Between my husband and I, we cover 6 nationalities – Trinidadian and English (him), and Macedonian, Irish, African, and German (me).

us

With so many ethnicities under our skin, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what our babies will look like. When I was pregnant with my first, I assumed that our darker genes would dominate and we’d have cute little light brown, afro-donning babies.  To my surprise, my first born was peach-skinned with dark wavy tresses.

Our first born, Emma (3 months):

her

 

With our second child, I assumed that his physical appearance would mimic that of our first, but we were again surprised by the unpredictable results of nature, and he came out with bright orange locks and pale pink skin. My little bit of Irish snuck through and presented itself in his cute little ‘do.

Gavin (at 3 months):

him

 

With baby #3 on the way, I’m left to wonder what this one will look like! I’ve learned my lesson and will not make any assumptions, but wouldn’t it be cute if she came out completely different again – perhaps dark olive skin with blond curls and green eyes? We will of course love her no matter what she looks like, but one fun thing about waiting for the arrival of a new baby is wondering what his/her face will look like. Two more weeks until we see her cute little face!

Were you surprised when you first laid eyes on your baby? Did he/she look like you/your partner?

 

Big Macs & Babies

Last week was a crazy busy week at work, so when a work buddy suggested a quick run to McDonalds to grab a bite, I happily obliged. I only allow myself to “hit it” about once every 6 months, and for good reason (which I will not get into detail about here for fear of losing readers).

About half an hour after we had gobbled up the junky meal, my work buddy began to groan and moan. His sounds and movements gave me flashbacks of my hours of labour with my first baby. It seemed to hit him in waves – one moment consoling us with “it’s ok I’m good”, followed by “oh god, it hurts so bad”. This pathetic experience made me think about the comparisons between what us ladies go through when birthing human lives vs what poor men (think “man colds” aka “pooor babies”) go through when having Big Macs at Micky Dees.

It begins with temptation. For mamas, it might be the sight of a newborn baby cradled in a new mother’s arms. The sight might initiate a little rumble in the tummy – the “I think I want one” feelings. For the hungry dudes, it’s the sight of the golden arches, or the smell of the greasy fries that initiates the “I’m gonna hit it” feelings of desire. Cut to the next scene where we get preggers and they hit the drive-thru.

The next stage is the instant gratification. For us, it’s the blissful pregnancy stage where we rub our tummies, share the good news, daydream of the day our new little babies arrive. For them, it’s the sinking of their teeth into the hot pile of Big Mac deliciousness. Gulping it down in three bites while groans of satisfaction sneak through their lips

The following stage is the “what have I done” stage. This is where the real parallel comes into fruition. For us it’s the intermittent labour pains. Cramps, groans, the inability to push full sentences out in between unbearable contractions. For them, it’s kind of the same, although in no way comparable in terms of intensity

The final stage is the “erasing of all memories of the bad parts” stage. For us, it’s the feeling of holding our babies in our arms for the first time. The pains of labour a distant foggy memory, and the outcome a blessing. For them, it’s the moment their bellies are once again empty, and a pass by the golden arches occurs once again.

Wash, rinse, repeat. You get the drift

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