Sunday, December 2, 2007

she's really gonna hate me for this

But I just have to share with you something I found written by my 12-year-old daughter. It looks like it must have been an assignment for school. It reads as follows:

When I look in the mirror I see a really cool person. I see a sort of tall, smart, Athletic, musical & colorful person. I love coming to school and I have alot of friends.

When I wake up I think 'Today is going to be a great day.' I'm a really friendly person who loves live."

I sincerely hope as her mother I never do or say anything that would diminish this beautiful sense of herself that she--against all odds really--currently has. I will strive to be even more unrelenting in my efforts to help her know who she is--and to value herself simply because she is who she is--as the media and society are in commanding her to conform to their sick and distorted standards of whom they think she should be.

And now I ask you, what can I do to ensure that at age 14 and again at 16 and even when she is finally 18 (after that she's on her own) she still sees someone so beautiful when she looks in the mirror?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bad Mommy Day

This is a guest post from my friend Susie.

Today was one of those days. You know, the one where you're like "Please remind me why I signed on for this?" Not that you need to remind me, I already know the reason. It is the highest calling. I know this.

So today, I picked Ethan up from school and he told me how good he was, his teacher even gave him a special gift for showing such great behavior. I was very pleased. I have seen him make tremendous improvements in the last few months. Anyone who knows Ethan is aware of how busy and precocious he can be. And his energy level is through the roof. He is also very obstinate. Which makes for a challenging child, and my patience is tested every day. When Ethan was two he ran away from me constantly. It didn't matter if we were in a mall, airport, restaurant, Walmart,or our house. I resorted to putting latches on the tops of my doors, just to keep him safe. In public places he would find the nearest exit and make his fearless getaway. Recently he's gotten a lot better, although I've found him outside our house on the sidewalks a few times. We live on a busy road, and I've practically beat the dangers of running in the road into him.

Anyway, he asked if I would take him to McDonald's playland for lunch because he was so good. I agreed and we went. I noticed he started misbehaving after about a half hour, so I told him it was time to go home. I through my tray away, and when I turned around I couldn't find him. I figured he climbed back up into the playset. I called for him, no answer. I quickly walked through McDonald's, no Ethan. I went back to the playset, and the crappy part was that it's so difficult to find your kids when their up in that thing. There were tons of kids up there, so I just called his name hoping he would come down. After about 5 minutes or so I started panicking. Another mother caught on to my anxiety and offered to help. We looked around McDonalds again, we went outside etc. I seriously was about to call the police. This McDonald's was right against State St. in Lindon, which is a monster of a road. Horrible scenarios were going through my mind, and I was loosing it. After what seemed an eternity (probably about 10 minutes...maybe less) a lady came in the playland and asked if anyone was missing a child. She said there was a little boy in the Smith's parking lot behind McDonald's playing with rocks in the middle of crazy lunch hour traffic. I was hysterical, and went running outside with Lilly in my arms(perfect little soul). There Ethan was, happy as a clam, with no clue of what danger he was in. I grabbed him and we went in to get our bags from McDonald's. I'm sorry, but I couldn't help myself. My emotions were through the roof. I was literally pulling him and yelling "You scared Mommy to death, you could have been killed!!". You could have heard a pin drop in that McDonald's. All eyes and ears were on US. I could have cared less. I was so hysterical, I WANTED to beat the crap out of him (of course I didn't). But I did publicly chastise him. And I spanked him hard on his bum before we got in the car. I wanted him to be embarrassed, and shamed. I was so angry I was shaking. Ethan is a smart kid, and a boy ahead of his age in many ways. They've put him in a class with 5 year olds at school because he talks like he's 20. So, it's hard for me to remember that he's still 3 3/4.

So, here's where the advice is needed.

What would you have done?

I took his lovies away when we got home, and he went straight to his room, all privileges gone for the rest of the day. I also feel bad because the talk given in Sacrament meeting last week was about controlling your temper as a parent, and I feel I lost mine today. But honestly people, I was enraged because he could have been killed. I would appreciate some good mommy advice right about now.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You can't push against something that's not there

Sometimes I worry I'm way too serious for this forum. So feel free to vote me off the island if you need to.

This morning I've been feeling like crappy mom and crappy person. So I call one of my best friends, Melody, because she gets me and she loves me even with my flaws. She is bound to have something to say to lift my spirits.

Long story short, just one of the things I was beating myself up about was my relationship with my daughter. It does not matter how much I do for her or how I try to show my love for her, it is never ever enough (ironically, I can just hear those words coming from my own mother's heart about me some 30 years ago). L~ will always see what I do for or how I treat the other kids and magnify it while turning a blind eye to the ways I express my love for her. She refuses hugs and pushes me away at every turn.

In any case, Melody was talking about how I express my love for my kids and how they know how much I love them. I rebutted "...except for L~." Melody then wisely pointed out that L~ would not feel the need to push back my love so hard if she did not feel it coming toward her. I never thought about it that way. For whatever reason she tries to resist, L~ knows I love her, even when the two of us are driving each other the craziest.

So I just wanted to put that out there, for future reference if you need it. That the love you give seeps in one way or the other, no matter how the relationship with whatever particular child is going at the moment.

Maybe that's part of what being a good mommy is all about.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Children's Song

This guy cracks me up.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Good Mommy/Bad Mommy Birthday Party

I came across my new almost-friend Sue's blog, Navel Gazing, the other day and had to share her tips on throwing a last minute birthday party for a three year old.

Her tips cover:
*How to make a Ghetto Pinata
*Ensuring a full guest list
*The roles of Tootsie Rolls

I seriously laughed so hard at the description of the ghetto pinata that my three year old wanted to know what was happening.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

because sometimes I worry I'm scaring my sistahs...

Stitches barely below younger brother's eye from toy rake thrown at him (age 4): $15

Remote control thrown across the room and against the wall (age 12): $25

Door to pestering little sister's room torn off its hinges (just last year): I dunno. He hasn't fixed it yet.

Watching maturing 18-year-old pray for his younger brother, learn to temper his anger. take his little sister out with his date and her little sister (and actually have a good time), clean the house-prepare dinner-and do the dishes without being asked, take his not naturally affectionate almost-man arms and wrap them around his mother with a big "I love you" attached: priceless.

in other news: said 18-year-old also just got accepted into BYU. I can't tell you how many days (including just last Saturday) I wondered if it was worth it. I can tell you now. It's worth it.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cathedral Builder

Let me be honest with you--I seldom read forwarded email. Especially if it has something like "For all my Gal Pals" or "FWD FWD FWD FWD FWD " or "Scroll Down !!!!!" in the subject heading. Not that I don't love getting mail, but I just don't open most forwards. There are a handful of people, whose judgment I trust, that I break that maxim for. My friend, Kathy, is one of those people. She was my Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel adviser when I was a teen. She was one of my references when we adopted Jooj. She can send me dookie in electronic form and I will read it. So she sent me this today and I actually teared up. Maybe I am hormonal. Maybe you have seen it before. I don't know who wrote it, but I needed to read it. Enjoy!

I'm invisible.....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

The post script to this little forward episode is that the very next email I opened was from my favorite ~J who sent me the link to Mom Jeans. Which contains one of the best lines ever: "Because you're not a woman anymore--you're a MOM!"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Bad Mommy

Yesterday Jooj kicked me in the face while I as trying to buckle her in the car seat. (The kicking is new, thanks to her and Papi bonding over "Human Weapon" on the Discovery Channel.) As I recoiled from the blow I cracked my head on the door frame. I was filled, for a moment, with absolute rage. And I yelled at her--in her face. Then I lightly slapped her cheek. She sobbed.

I spent all evening repenting--she has forgotten it, I think, but I felt awful. I begged for forgiveness from Heavenly Father for being less than patient with his precious little kung-fu master.

And she head butted me this morning--square in the nose.

Remembering my anguish, I did not slap or yell. I instead let out a "Son of Bitch!"

Is that progress? Will next time I just shake it off and make her some pretend tea? Or will I snap and drive away to Vegas? At what point do I finally overcome the natural inclinations I feel when I am in pain (namely, rage)? How do I get over that momentary impulse and become responsible (read: good mommy) for my actions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Not the same kind of tears I had earlier in the day. Earlier in the day I had some exhausted mommy tears. Tired of the incessant heat (what is UP with the 100+ degree weather?!?!?!?), sick toddler, sleep deprived mommy, hating hubby's new job, "why are there NEVER enough quarters around to get the laundry done?!??!" tears.

Finally made it out to mom's house to get some laundry done. (What a blessing to have family near by!!!!!!!!) Hubby got home earlier than expected. Go out for a fast food dinner. Feeling mediocre. Tears dried up. Come home to a package on the door. A package? A package for me??!!??!!! I don't recognize the return address....

Trip over the mess in the hallway. Add a cup to the dirty dishes in the sink. Sigh at the "castle" in the living room- it's been up for days. Toddler is ready for a dose of meds and I'm ready to wring her neck. FINALLY get her in bed. (I should mention that I usually savor bedtime.) Baby is crying and ready for more momma milk. Fill her tummy and rock her to sleep.

Back to that package!

The tears are back. Only this time they are not exhausted mommy tears. They are overwhelmed, grateful tears. They are tears of sisterhood and motherhood and everything that is right in this world. Tears of love, appreciation and joy in womanhood.

Sometimes I just need to let the tears flow.

From one mother to another: Thank you, my friend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feelin' Sad

On Kalea's first day of preschool we were followed into class by a sad looking, little blonde boy and his... I couldn't quite figure out if it was his Grandma or she was related to him. I was trying to figure out how many mixes were required to achieve a blonde (white blonde...playboy blonde) boy from a Grandma who was clearly Latina.

I was taking pictures of Kalea, and the Grandma asked me if I developed them, or something. I told her I was just taking some so that I could preserve the memory and allow Daddy to get a peek at her first day too.

We kept chatting and I found out that she was the nanny. Yep, a nanny brought this 3 year old to his first day of preschool.

Juxtapose that with all the moms and some daddies who took the day off to be at the first day of school. The poor little guy - my heart broke for him.

Then this past Tuesday when I went to pick Kalea up - I think I was running 3-4 minutes behind - I stayed and chatted with the teachers and noticed this same blonde boy, listlessly hanging around. One of the teachers asked the one I was speaking to if the parents knew the time preschool got out. By the time I finished chatting it was 15 min or so past when pick up time is.

Is it me or is this just really sad? That was only the 3rd day of preschool. Makes me want to scoop the boy up and take him home with me. As I finally got the girls strapped into their car seats I saw an SUV (BMW or Lexus...they all look the same to me) pull up.

Sometimes - when the bare necessities aren't what we worry about, we need to sit back and evaluate if working to pay for a nanny and things we don't necessarily "need"... to figure out if we're really providing what our kids really need.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Maximizing the Education Potentiality

So today I am an AMAZING mommy because I am encouraging my child's love of spatial exploration, chemistry, and understanding of mass.

Some people would just think I am letting her pour fish crackers into different bowls and, ultimately, the kiddie pool.

They would be wrong.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

not to scare you...

...but to prepare you.

I've finally put into words the difference between raising teenage sons and raising teenage daughters. Don't worry. it seems not every teen feels the need to rage against the mother, and even with the worst (for me so far), they eventually grow out of it.

Once hormones set in it can be like this:

When your son gets mad he will pick up the emotional equivalent of a sofa and hurl it at you with all his might. No biggie. It's cumbersome and his aim is bad. You calmly step out of the way as he misses you completely. And he's over it.

When your daughter needs to vent her overwhelming emotions she dips a silver arrow in the most perfect poison prepared for you personally then pulls back her bow and shoots the arrow directly into your mother heart. She hits you dead center every time.

The trick will be to develop an immunity to every poison known to teengirlkind. Then you should be able to walk away from that one, too. I'm still working on it. I'll let you know.

(Is this a little too much information? If my frankness makes anyone uncomfortable let me know. I can keep it to myself.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

I am a good mom today because I didn’t wring my firstborn’s neck.

Today was the second day in a row that he used the space of time between getting him dressed and getting me dressed to wreck havoc. Yesterday, he got into the pantry and climbed the shelves to get the honey. He removed the cap from the honey and ported it to the living room. He then poured the honey all over his trains, the coffee table, the carpet, and my fraying computer cord. He managed to get his hands, face, and bum (I don’t know.) I only had time to wash him and not the table or the trains. He screamed at me because the whole point of covering his trains with honey was so that he could give them a washdown like Sir Topham Hatt. Uh-huh.

My sister and husband graduated today from university. I was taking the kids to my sister’s graduation and had to go back to put on my clothes. Cue the music of doom. I walk into the hallway and notice white footprints. You know, like a freaking ghost on Scooby-Doo. That’s when I noticed the pantry door open and my 25 pound bag of flour tipped over. Gordon the Train was under the flour. Guille was covered in flour and when he ran away from me, his ghost footprints tracked around the kitchen and the living room.

I was so angry I slammed the pantry door, making the pile of flour go WHOOSH into the air and disperse in a mist all over my clean floor. I am happy that I didn’t slam the kid.

He screamed at me because he wanted to wash Gordon down. Instead, Gordon the Train got to stay in the pantry under the flour while I dragged Guille into the bathroom. He was trying to get away from me and succeeded only in powdering me. Do I look like I’m an 18th century chick that needs a good dusting? Let me answer that for you, NO, I don’t. I don’t have any panniers, my Rousseau book is missing, and I lost my snuff box along with my beauty patches five years ago.

It’s like kids can sense anxiety and stress, and then decide to amplify it. My kids are still alive, we watched my sister walk, and now I’m having a Diet Coke. Even if I did DRAG my kid to get cleaned up, I am a good mommy today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Requested by Phread

I forwarded an email exchange a friend and I have been having to ~J and she requested that I ask the author to make a post out of it. My friend is quite lovely and bold, but hesitated to post something that she felt was "just off the top of her head." So I am posting it for her and keeping it anonymous. So there.

The topic that we were discussing is the internal struggle that mommies often feel when we express frustration at staying home to a listener who may not be sympathetic to women leaving the workforce. We feel guilty because we know that we have made the right choice for ourselves and our families, but we still don't like it all of the time. The response we often get from listeners is "Just go back to work." "Leave your kid in day care." "They really like being in preschool better than staying at home" "You need to get away from kids and back with adults" And then we feel stupid. Because we don't know what to say to that. So here is what she told me--I hope that you enjoy it!

Staying home to raise your kid IS hard. I know it sounds cliche. But it's such an all encompassing, divine nature building trial. It's hard in that it is an on-going experience which molds and shapes our very nature!!!! We have to LEARN how to enjoy mommyhood with all of it's scrapes and bruises. Some people seem to fall more naturally into that role than others. They make me feel guilty. But it also makes me sad when I see a mom run away to work as an escape. As if she's not cut out for motherhood because it is hard for her. Have they never done anything hard in their life??? What do you do when you want to accomplish something hard? If it were a work project or school assignment, you'd inform yourself, you'd practice. You might fail a bit. You'd seek support from people who have experience or knowledge in the area. The more energy you put towards a trial, the more you will grow and learn and accomplish. It would be hard to complete an assignment and REALLY gain from it if you just did what you knew and then handed the rest over to a "professional" when you'd had enough. There are so many reasons for a mom to work. But working as an "escape" from other trials is so sad. Instead of addressing the real issues for unhappiness... and finding potential happiness and fulfillment...women look for a quick fix that can impede growth.

I'm realizing that this might not be coming across the way I'd intended. If you feel any guilt from reading any part of this I have not expressed myself very well. Forgive me.

REASON to work is the issue here. Don't thinks me a working-mom hater. Prayer and personal revelation can help us find the path that will be best for our family.

The path of refinement and development of our divine traits does not lie on either the working mom road, or the stay at home mom road. It lies in doing your best to fulfill your calling as a wife and mother. That's it!!! We just keep plugging away. As a daughter of God you are not asked to be perfect. What a relief to not have to try and figure out what choices are the "perfect" ones!!!!!! That's my advice to you. Stop trying to be perfect. Trying to be a "perfect" mom will overwhelm you. At least that's what it does to me. I don't even see myself as trying to be "perfect" when I am struggling as a mom. But when I think about it....that is what brings me down. In my head I'm not living up to some whack perfect ideal. It snowballs from there.

This is one of the reasons that I started Good Mommy/Bad Mommy-to start some discussions between women who are smarter than me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

This is me eating my words and inviting you to discuss an interesting parenting topic over here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gimme a break

Today I am a good mom because even though on occasion I may blog excessively, I am not this addicted to the Internet:

Nevada couple too busy playing Dungeons and Dragons to care for kids.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


There is glitter in my daughter's scalp. We do not own any glitter. We do not own any accessories that use glitter. She just had her hair washed. Her shampoo is not made of glitter.

SO... how can there be glitter in her scalp? Is it because she is a girl? If she were a boy, would there be a tractor in her scalp?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Helping Hand

Today I went to Costco ...just to get some soy milk and diaper wipes...and browse the book section. I left with 4 workbooks, 2 story books and 1 for me... PLUS... a cartload full of fish, fruit, fruitabu and weinhard's root beer ....(just under 300.00 - yipee!)

As I was maneuvering my items from the cart to the conveyer belt ... a woman and her 10-12 year old son come over and ask if they can help me. They noticed I was twisting a lot with Melia in the Baby Bjorn. I told her it was my ab workout...

That one simple act... made me happy all day. As I was leaving I wished I had their name/phone so I could drop off a thank you gift. There have been countless times I'm pushing Kalea in the card and Melia in the Bjorn ...and I have to lift cartons of stuff into the cart...without smooshing Melia...that I wish... some helpful person would materialize. Today someone did.

I'll be watching out for other ladies like me... when I shop alone or... when I'm not carrying a joey around.

Today at Lunch

I had time for one thing today at lunch. I could either bathe my 3 month old son, or eat a piece of pie.


What would you choose?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I scrubbed poop out of carpet today. Not just a little, a lot, and over a wide surface area.

I am a freaking awesome mommy today.

Unabashedly Bad Mommy

Today Jooj got into the clothes hamper and layered herself in all of our dirty underwear. And I didn't stop her because she was quiet and I was tired. And then, for dinner, I threw her some tortilla chips and some fruit snacks. And I could have read her a book, but I turned on Elmo instead. And then, when I was hiding in the bathroom, I should have demonstrated the potty mechanics, or at least read the book on adoption issues that has been sitting in there for months, but I locked the door and re-memorized an old Entertainment Weekly instead.

And it is only Tuesday. She is going to be a little match girl by Friday evening.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

95% grody, 50% boring, 80% patience and 100% inspiration

Yes, I know, motherhood is nobility. It is a higher calling. It places a woman closer to God. But the expression of these ideas only comes about 5% of the time. The remainder of the job is filled with things that a noble would never do.

Like changing stinky pants.

And waking up to the phrase "Mami! Mocos en mi nose! Wipeee!"

95% of our existence is grody.
And mundane.
And seemingly futile.

So today let's talk about the little things that go along with motherhood. What is your favorite part of the daily grind? Not the heartwarming moments, not the part that makes you say "Yes! I am doing it!" The parts that don't even register most days.

For me, it is nail trimming. I love trimming the little nails. (Even though I have to do it every few days because I keep feeding the Jooj, so she keeps growing.)

I love to clip her nails because when we brought our daughter home (well, to ~J's house, so my home away from home) I felt confident that I would be able to do all of the things required to keep her alive and ticking. Except for trimming the nails. All I knew was that everyone told me about how scary and tricky it was, and that I would eventually make my darling bundle bleed from her tiny fingers. I asked everyone to show me how to do it, but the timing was never there. So, at the point of Jooj turning into Howard Hughes, I geared up, read the book, and took a breath. And I did it. No blood! And it was the biggest affirmation for me--I could do this, the mothering thing, on my own. And I remember that every single time we do the mani/pedi shuffle.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"I liken my marriage to a once-great civilization that was sacked when a horde of Viking dwarves came ashore and had their way with us"
-- from Blindsided by a Diaper

Stimulating Young Minds

Since I’m a sentient mom I feel guilty for not constantly stimulating El Guille’s learning. He’s a smart kid, though, I’m sure he’ll learn to read eventually even if I’m not practicing letters and sounding out words. I think that’s why I married one of the smartest men on earth, so that I could just count on genes to make up for the gap of not constantly working with my preschooler on his learning. It would be a violation of genetic law for El Guille to turn out stupid.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Week in Review

I just noticed a good mommy being too hard on herself, so I decided it was time to get real about the kind of mommy I was this past week:

Signs I have been a bad Mommy this week:

I just noticed a plate from Sunday dinner at the bottom of the stack of dishes I'm finally getting a chance to finish up.

There are also, on my table, paper bags and disposable cups from both Wendy's and McDonald's. Not only that: After I picked up McDonald's for the two little ones last night Melody and I got take-out salads and hazelnut 12-grain bread from Kneaders and ate them ourselves.

I did not have a night home the entire past week. Until last night. When I finally picked up my kids at nine and took them over to Melody's to eat on her front lawn. We got home home at quarter to ten.

My children have no clean clothes. (Except for the boys, who do their own laundry. The fact that they do their own laundry should go under the good mommy category.)

There have been times this week when I didn't know where my children were. I had a good idea what friends they were with and of course they were fine, but I honestly didn't know.

Signs I have been a good Mommy this week:

When my daughter got mad at me (because I am trying to teach her she cannot take other people's things--her brother's longboard--without asking) and ran away to the stripper's ex-family again I followed her and brought her home. Even though that was the hard thing to do and I often think she'd be better off with someone else anyway (just not that someone else).

When my daughter screamed at me that she hadn't left her flip-flops at a friend's house because she hasn't done that for 4 billion years and then not five minutes later asked me to drive her to her friend's house so she could get her flip-flops I did not slap her. In fact I didn't even want to slap her. Without yelling myself I calmly told her she owed me a HUGE apology and said that whether or not she chose to give it she still knew she was out of line and being completely unfair. And I actually meant it when I told her I loved her as she got out of the car when I dropped her off at school after she had made us both late.

I managed to attend two more concerts on the the third week in the first half of May in which my presence was required at Provo High on consecutive nights. And I enjoyed them without thinking too much about Sunday's dishes still on the table. I also managed to make it to as many softball games each week and cheer on a daughter who loathes me. (Not to mention sit through some patheticly sorry softball).

I paid $25 of my own money to protect my son from buying a car that although it appeared to be a sweet deal would really have been more of a liability than an asset. I am still trying to believe him when he told me he wasn't disappointed.

It's 9:30 Saturday morning and although I have been invited to a Pampered Chef party I'd like to attend (and after which I really wanted to go visit b.) I am going to stay home and try to put some of the pieces of my crazy busy life back together. Not so much for me, but for my kids who deserve a little sanity as they enter the last week of school and get ready for "summer vacation." (Even though a good part of the insanity around here is a direct result of my trying to be everywhere and everything for them.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

she made us all disappear

A few weeks ago, I had to take my oldest, 8 years old, to the ER. Turns out she had an ear infection. While not contagious, I kept her home from school the next day, as we had been out until 2:am (what with the waiting room, and the...well, I saw a dead body, and also having to go to the Rite Aid for the Bubble Gum Medicine).

On that Friday, however, I had to attend Kindergarten Orientation for the 5 & 1/2 year old, who I was supposed to bring with me so that she could play in the classroom. The 3-year-old and the 6-month-old would have to just manage in the double stroller, not that I was looking forward to that, but it had to be done. I had asked my husband to come home, but he has a standing engagement at the school that on Fridays, during his lunch hour, he plays lunch-lady and volunteers at the school.

But what to do with the oldest? I couldn't ask a friend to watch her ("Hi, my daughter isn't sick, but she's not well enough to be at school; can she come to your house?"), and I couldn't bring her to the school with me, since I had called her in as being sick.

*Big breath. Gulp.*

"Sweetie, how would you feel about staying home by yourself?"

"Hmmm? Okay, Mom."

"Here's a paper with our neighbor's phone number and her cell number. She knows you'll be here, and she's ready to help you with whatever you may need."


"And don't answer the door. And don't answer the phone unless it's my cell number, got it?"


"But you won't need to call the neighbor because if you call my cell phone I promise to pick up right away."

"Okay, Mom."

"But don't answer any other calls, just from me. Or from the neighbor. And if it's an emergency, call her because she'll be closer."

"Okay, Mom."

Backing out of the garage, my 5 & 1/2 year old asked where her big sister was. "She's staying home."

"By herself?!"


I rationalized that at her age, I had to do things like cook dinner for my two younger siblings and then put them to bed because my mom was at work and my dad was too drunk to feed us, so certainly my own daughter's being able to reach me by cell phone and our neighbor as well wasn't too terrible a position for me to put her in.

Sitting at the school, listening to information I already knew, my phone in my pocket started to vibrate. I quickly excused myself to the back of the room, all the while fearing the worst and at-the-ready to speed home if needed. I loudly whispered, "Hello?"

"Mom, it's me."

"Is everything okay?"

My panic started to melt away:

"Mom, I'm bored! There's nothing good on t.v. - just baby shows..."

Is this what A Good Mommy does?
What would you have done?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mommy in a Panic

I had no idea when I was reading this post that I'd be in a similar place just weeks later.

Yup, that's my kid, the one I'm supposed to protect at all costs, wrapped in a sheet to prevent him from moving as they sew 16 stitches into his foot. Of course it wasn't my fault that he pushed the chair up to the counter to reach for something on the top of the microwave. It wasn't my fault that he knocked over a dinner plate and broke it. When he heard Joe coming to investigate, the kid jumped to the floor to escape the scene of the crime. That's when he lacerated his foot; sliced it right open.

I'm calm under pressure, that makes me a good mommy. I shut down, assess the situation, form a plan, and put it into action. When Joe reached for one of my new dishtowels to wrap the wound, I balked. "NO," I said loudly, "Let me get a rag." I didn't want my towel to end up in a medical waste basket. I hope that doesn't make me a bad mommy.

Good mommy stayed right next to her kid as the doctor and nurse wrapped him in restraints. The poor kid cried until his lips and nose swelled. Good mommy put her face three inches from her child and talked to him--eye to eye. She was the only one who got him to focus on something other than his foot and the restraints. Daddy can't do it like mommy can.

Here's what I think: we're all that kind of mommy. If you are a mom than you're a mom that can reacts calmly to the situation, more calmly than you knew you were capable of. You will make decisions and a plan in the middle of chaos. It's not even about being good or bad, it's just about being a mommy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people try to justify my choice to stay at home.
"It's the hardest job in the world!"
Actually, I found that teaching English to apathetic sophomores was much harder. It would be harder, I think, to be a fireman on an oil field. Or to be a janitor at Union Station. Or to be the President. It would be much more difficult to be a work-outside-the-home mommy who supported her kids by slinging burgers. Or to be a stay-in-the-shelter mommy. Point being, it is not the hardest job in the world.

I have found that people say this as some sort of PC instinct to be supportive, while not actually having to do anything else.

Attention to these people: Please stop.

It was my choice, and it can be difficult at times, but you don't need to tell me that. (Especially Oprah. Don't try to get rid of your non-parent guilt by telling the audience that it is just too hard a job for you. )

If you want to be helpful, how about trying to help? For example:

The other day I received a notice that a package was ready for me to pick up at the post office. Normally, I would put this off, because I would rather teach Sophomore English than go to the post office with Jooj, but it was her birthday, and I was hoping that someone had sent her some cash. (For me.)

So I loaded up, drove, unloaded, and realized that I had left the stroller at home. Frick.
Holding her hand, I carted Jooj into the post office, and stood in the package retrieval line (which is always at least fifteen minutes long.)
The people behind me watched me wrestle with her, restrain her, run after her, discipline her, and finally retrieve a large package along with her.
Frickety Frack.
As I turned to go, the gentleman waiting behind me said "It's the hardest job in the world."

As I turned onto my street ten minutes later, I noticed that the mailman was delivering the mail, and so pulled over. (I have a pretty cordial relationship with our mail carrier, being that, according to him, I get more catalogs than anyone in El Paso. So he knows me and my mail.) He handed me another package for the Jooj, and I mentioned to him that I had just been to the post office to get a package and he said "What? I am so sorry! I was off on Monday and had a substitute. The bare minimum we are required to do is leave you a note. I know that you have a toddler--I would have just brought it to you door and left it there. It can't be easy to go to the post office with her!"

It's-the-hardest-job-in-the-worlders: Do you see the difference? Do you see how one is not helpful, and kind of insulting, while the other scenario was thoughtful and proved to me that motherhood was valued by this gentleman? Don't feel comfortable being that "involved?" That's okay, too. Here are some other ways that you can put your money where your foot was:

Smiling at a kid while his mom writes a check at the grocery store.
Keeping your grumbling to yourself when a mother of three boys is unable to make them sit perfectly still at the Chick Fil A.
Emailing your representatives in support of issues that will help mothers to better take care of their children
Holding open a door for a woman with a stroller
Turning down your car stereo when the song has profanity and your windows are down

These are just suggestions. You don't have to do anything at all. Just please stop trying to make me feel better about my choices to be a mom and be at home; I have already made peace with them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The church dilemma

So, we caught some flack today for snaking a pew from another family.
But I ask you: Would you rather sit somewhere else or listen to two toddlers yell at eachother from across the chapel?

"It's Gigi!"
"Spencer Baby!"
"It's Gigi!"
"Spencer Baby!"
"It's Gigi!"
"Spencer Baby!"
"It's Gigi!"
"Spencer Baby!"
"It's Gigi!"
"Spencer Baby!"

(As it was, the two love birds spent the entire meeting under the pew, burping and spitting on each other, then howling with laughter. But guess what? I got to LISTEN to the speakers!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Light the candles...babies coming.

I got this in an email the other day...

"Come to an educational workshop about how a baby's birth can dramatically impact their health, both immediately and long term. Symptoms like colic, ear infections, chronic sickness or colds, digestive challenges, and irritability can all be linked to the trauma from birth. We will discuss natural alternative answers to these challenges. "

So now we have to feel guilty if our births are not all candles, music and calm. Give me a break. My daughter had a pretty traumatic birth experience and she has never even had an ear infection ... and she is 11! (she was born with her leg bent the wrong way, got stuck coming out, and was wisked away to ICU before I got to see her - all is great now).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You are a good mommy today because... are undoubtedly not the mommy who taught these young children ignorance and hatred.
So pat yourself on the back no matter what kind of day it was for you today, then hope there are enough of us mommies out there trying to teach our kids love, tolerance and acceptance to outnumber those who continue to selfishly foster ignorance and bigotry.

Children are NOT born this way.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards

I'm finally getting around to reading this book. It's been sitting on the shelf collecting dust. They sent it to me for reviewing the DVD sample that was mailed to me a few years ago. (Which, ironically, was a DVD to basically teach you how to play with your kid....geeez people!!!!!!)

So I'm only 7 pages into the book and so far, so good. In fact, it has sucked me in! I'll probably finish it this weekend, so it will go in the "Books to Loan" queue for anyone who's interested.

The following excerpt provided me with a "Good Mommy/Bad Mommy" moment.
It got me thinking more about the whole "expert" advice on being a mommy and how that affects the peer pressure we often feel from other mommies. (On top of the self-doubt it heaps upon us!)

"After World War II, when Rosie the Riveter returned to the hearth from the factory, she needed to think of motherhood as valuable work that required special knowledge and training. Parents began to rely on child development experts for information on how to raise their children. In fact, at the White House Conference on Children in 1950, experts were worried that parents had become too dependent on expert advice! Beginning in the 1970's, as the number of dual-career families increased and as information about child development exploded, parents wanted to be certain they were making every moment with their children count. Faced with a sense of dwindling family time, parents turned to child development experts to find out how to best prepare their children for life."

What do you think? Expert advice has definitely become a huge part of child-rearing these days. Has "expert advice" done more to help or hinder you Good Mommy perspective? What about criticism from our peers? Do you think the experts do more to fan the flames or squelch debates?

P.S. My kid ran around the house half naked for the majority of the day. I'm a good mommy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

If you want to contribute, please email me at

Also, send me $5. And some Sonic Tots. And a Lime Rickey.

(All through the interweb.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

the shortest post about breastfeeding you'll ever read

Breastfeeding is a wonderful, perfect system that will never be able to be duplicated in its entirety.

It's too bad that it's so heavily linked with self-esteem and self-worth.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Loved this post...

by the blog con queso chica....

...motherhood... whether you do or don't have a child is about love. That's it...


I haven't sent my kids to preschool. When we lived in Utah we did a co-op "preschool" once a week for an 1 1/2 hours. It was basically a structured play group. When I moved to New Hampshire I found that most people send their kids to preschool. I felt pressured, worried that Chloe would be behind. Then, in reading Ezra Taft Benson's talk "The Honored Place of Woman" I found this:

"We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence."

And later:

"It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character.

Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness.

How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected!"

So, maybe I'm a bad mommie, but I won't be sending my kids to preschool as long as I'm at home. I don't have to do what my neighbors are doing. It's my choice, and I'm okay with it.

Why I am a Good Mommy Today

  • I made sure that I locked the front door before I fell asleep on the couch. That way at least they won’t find my three year old on the highway wearing only diapers.
  • I changed his diapers.
  • Right before I started the Cars movie for the second time (this morning) I put my son into a Cars movie t-shirt and a pair of clean (worn only once) shorts.
  • Since Cars makes the kid run laps around the living room, it's like organized exercise. I am preventing the obesity epidemic.
  • Too tired to fight the lure of the Easter Basket, I let him have his basket but I gave him a banana at the same time. It’s about letting kids choose their own consequences.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

dinner bell

I want to cook like Good Mommy. Let me tell you something, though.

I don't have time for that crap.

At least, not now. I'm not a bad cook. I don't think I'm necessarily known for good cooking, but I always get major compliments when I cook. That is, when I take the time to cook. Which doesn't happen often nowadays because, well, I'm busy doing other stuff.

I had a New Year's Resolution this year to try a different recipe each week. Apparently, when I made that goal, I didn't take into account that I had a newborn. (Or that I'd be having surgery the following month, but I couldn't have known that one.) It's been a struggle for me to let go of that goal, but in doing so I've come to a realization about our seasons. You know, a time for this, a season for that. I've decided that now is not my season to be trying new recipes. As much as Good Mommy should be whipping things up from scratch and infusing with tofu and topping with fresh berries, I am just not seeing how to do that AND make bottles at the same time. Maybe whole wheat and Similac can't exist in harmony at my house. Who knows. But I'm fine with this.

Here's what my current season includes: Kraft Dinner, Ramen, cereal (usually in the big bag), toast, "chicken" nuggets, frozen corn, jarred peaches, cheese slices, pretzels, bread (yes, plain), apples, pears. That's the main menu. My husband usually cooks breakfast (pancakes, or german pancakes), and also dinner (pancakes, or german pancakes). I have a new-found love for the frozen family-sized dinner. These are all foods I (or my husband) prepare for my family. Myself, I mainly eat pita chips and hummus (which, by the way, if you get both at Costco, I've found that the chip-bag-to-hummus-tub ratio is very, very good).

Maybe later my season for new recipes on a regular basis will come along. I'm still a good mommy.

In what cooking season do you currently find yourself?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Good Mommies use wagons.

Big news--we are endangering our children. Again.

The AAP has pointed out that another thing we do is dangerous for our kids--grocery shopping.

According tho this panel of doctors, the grocery carts are to blame, but reading the statements sure makes it seem like it is all the fault of Bad Mommies.

"Many parents go to the store with their kids and don't think twice about putting their little ones in the cart while they shop. But the nation's top doctors say this is a dangerous behavior that parents should try to avoid."

Think about this statement-- Top Doctors say that putting your child in a shopping cart is dangerous behavior. Are you kidding me? I just saw SuperNanny tell me that I needed to make grocery shopping a game for my kids! And in LDS Living Magazine they recommended letting my child DO the shopping so that she could learn about budgeting! But I can't use the cart around my children, because that would be dangerous. And Good Mommies are always cognizant of the dangers awaiting children at every step.

And the dangers are REAL! And EVERYWHERE!

"Shopping cart-related injuries are common: In 2005, more than 24,000 kids were treated in emergency rooms for these types of injuries, according to the AAP. Most of the injuries occurred when a child fell from the shopping cart, the cart tipped over, the child became entrapped in the cart, or the child fell while riding on the outside of the cart.
The most common shopping cart-related injuries were to the head and neck, which accounted for 74 percent of injuries among children younger than 15"

Wait a minute--these common injuries happened to over 24,000 kids? That is a lot, right?! Well, not really. Child Trends Data Bank puts the number of children in the US in 2005 at 73.5 MILLION. That means that shopping cart injuries happened to about one percent of the children in the United States in 2005. If I go to Vegas and put money on Red at Roulette I have almost a three percent chance of winning. (Of course, Good Mommies don't gamble, so that is beside the point.)

Luckily for us, the AAP has given us alternatives to putting our children in the grocery cart:
So what's a parent to do? Instead of putting your little one in a shopping cart, the AAP says you should:

Get another adult to come with you to watch your kids while shopping.
Put children in strollers, wagons, or frontpacks instead of in shopping carts.
Ask older children to walk and praise them for behaving and staying nearby.
Leave children at home with another adult.
Shop online if local stores offer shopping on the Internet

Oh, wait! They were serious.

Guess what? No. I am a good mother, and I am currently without friends, adults, or a spouse at home. I refuse to be frightened by what is, essentially a slow news day article. I seldom leave the house as it is, and I need milk and bananas because 'Lil Duce must rub bananas on her skin or else I get the hose again. And I refuse to be frightened by yet another "danger" for my child.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Contributors wanted

I am not the most eloquent, or the smartest, or the most fed up--and I would love to have some help from you. I don't care what kind of a Mommy you are, as long as you don't try to get me to finger paint.

Welcome to my thing.

I have been thinking.
For a while.
About how inadequate I must seem as a mother.
So I made this chart:

Good Mommy /Bad Mommy
*Stays at home with kid /*Mostly hates staying at home with kid
*Has educational toys/books /*Allows Pooh movies up to twelve times a day
*Tries to instill values in kid /* Through Pooh movies
*Can bake, clean, sew, and craft /* Does not.
*Sanitizes things /* Not even the kid.
*Beautifully feminine /* Feminist
*Fulfilled /* Desperately lonely, bored, and cranky

I went to the blogs (and I drank from the fountain) and found the following posts:

Things I sewed for my kids
Things I baked for my kids
Whole wheat waffles I made fresh for my kids
Expensive products I bought for my kids

Then I had to stop, because I was getting a little dizzy and even more desperate, lonely, bored, and cranky.

And I started this blog. I envision it to be a place where I can expose the ridiculosity of the 21st century mothering ideal, vent, and not ever be guilted into doing finger paints with my kid. And I would like your input, and your help.

Because I am sick (and tired) of the trap I have stumbled into via my choice in mothering lifestyles.

Because I adore my kid. She is fabulous. I want to eat her face, most days, she is that delicious. But she is not my whole life.

Because I stay at home because I know it is the right choice for my family, but resent the heck out of it a third of the time.

Because I don't stay up late at night dreaming of ways to enrich my kid.

Because I might do something crafty, but it won't get finished.

Because I have a daughter who needs to understand that Mommy is more than a Mommy, and that she is more than a Princess, Bad Girl, Rock Star, or Tom Boy, no matter what the media tells her.

Because having a child is not the end-all-be-all of womanhood, no matter what the media tells me.

Because I am a frickety-fracking Amazing Mommy, no matter which side of the list I fall under. And I am pretty sure that you are, too.