Monday, October 6, 2014

The mental state of a mom of a toddler

Hey, I'm not saying I'm over 40.

Not that there's anything wrong with being over 40.

Some of my best friends are over 40.

But, hypothetically, could an over 40 year old go through a midlife crisis?
And if so, it's possible that I am "my friend" is definitely going through one.

WTF??? This is where that would apply.

Seriously though, given my emotional roller coaster this past week, I have confirmed that there are pros and cons to having had a "geriatric pregnancy", or being a mom of "advanced maternal age".

By the way, thank you to the gynecological society for coining those terms of support.

I mean, having my kids towards the end of my 30's was great because:

  • Giving my social life over to my children wasn't such a trial since I already cashed in all my tequila coupons, and my ability to stay up until 2 am had passed.
  • I'd done so much therapy that I'd run out of material. 
  • I had lived a lot. Made a lot of mistakes.     A lot.     So, now my kids wouldn't be able to pull the wool over my eyes with their teenage manipulation. (However, I had the luxury of not growing up with every mistake documented on the internet. So I don't know what that's like. Thank God for small miracles.)
  • I'm such a believer in therapy, it was time to groom the next generation to perpetuate the industry.
  • Supposedly, during my 20's and 30's I built emotional skills to now parent with patience and wisdom in my 40's. (I just can't say that without giggling a little.)

But it hasn't all been a bed of roses:

  • Every time I leave my keys in the refrigerator, start a sentence only to fade off in an effort to remember what I was hoping to say, or forget my loving husband's name, I silently wonder if these are early signs of dementia. (A thought I'm sure my 28 year old counterparts don't entertain.)
  • As I weather bouts of significant mood swings, my doctor has to remind me that I'm the mom of two kids under 6 because I'm grilling her on the early symptoms of "the change".
  • Never mind that I'm just tired. I know all moms are tired, but through observation, the younger ones are navigating it a hair better.
So, if "my friend" was worried about her status of possible mid-life crisis, I think I can just make her feel better by telling her it's not that, she's just an older mom.


Any opinions on whether it easier to me an older mom or a younger one?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Welcome to Groundhog Day

When my first was born, one of my closest friends, who had a head start on parenthood by about 4 years, came to my house to visit me. First thing she did was to swoop Mr. T out of my arms and give me a needed moment to breathe. Immediately T started crying, and exhausted, I slowly started to get up and grab him from her, but she put up her hand and told me to sit. She then expertly, shushed and patted him within an inch of his life until he quieted from her dance-like of moves. I fell back into the couch, she looked at me and said,

"So, welcome to Groundhog Day!"

As I was a new mom, I couldn't begin to understand what that meant. I mean, to me, it was a new moment every freakin' minute, and I had no idea what to do with any of it. All he had to do was to breathe the wrong way, and I would dive into the all-knowing baby books while my mind set to spiraling down the rabbit hole. If he did anything that seemed, well, un-baby-like, I'd check WebMD, and as we all know, if you look far enough, all roads lead to cancer. So, the idea that every day could be the same completely befuddled me.

Since then, after child number two and with some parenting experience under my belt, I have passed those same sentiments on to new mom friends of mine only to be greeted with the same "What the hell are you talking about?" gaze.

Life with a two small children is just exactly that. Each day consists of getting up, dressing them, making food, cleaning up, putting boots on, going to school, going to activities, laundry, feeding the dog, working, picking up from school, hanging up coats, longing for the 5 o'clock hour to deliver my glass of wine, bath time, bedtime (oy, the bedtime routine is enough to put anyone in the looney bin), and on and on it goes. And that's just one day. The weeks have a repetition to them too.

But, today, I had a "bad mom" day. I yelled in the morning, I apologized for yelling, I yelled at night, I didn't apologize, I gave them both "the eye" which was really just a passive-aggressive way to make them feel bad, and I cried during his swimming lesson feeling like I was once again providing material for their therapy for years to come. (I'll have to offer to pay for that.)

Then my daughter had a nightmare, and I was able to hold her while she settled back into a peaceful slumber, and I vowed to be better, act better, be a better role model for conflict resolution, and stop letting the little things piss me off.

It was then, in that moment, that I thanked God for "Groundhog Day", because tomorrow gives me another opportunity to right my wrongs, do better, and overall have a do-over. I'm not saying that it's okay to lose my shit, but I did, and to wallow in self-hatred for my behavior doesn't serve me or my kids. The truth is that every time I have a day like today, I reflect and make a plan to make the next day more successful than the last.

I've never learned and changed from my behavior more than I do for my kids.

I've never wanted to be a better person more in my life than I do each day for my kids.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Things I never thought I'd say. (Part 1)

Being a dog trainer, I talk to perfectly normal adults about poop, poop habits, pee habits, poop consistency, odor, etc. more than I'd like, to say the least.  However, it's part of my job and, the truth is, the people I'm talking to about these things are riveted on my answer.  When you have a dog, poop and pee descriptives are fairly important.  In fact, you don't have to be much of a dog person to think that way.  When you have a dog in your house, at the very least, you are vested in that dog being successful on the potty training front.  If everything else goes to shit, as long as they are... well... doing it in the right place, life is good.

So, I have really gotten over the embarrassment of having to ask a person, "so, was the poop runny or soft?" or "when they peed in your living room, did they lift a leg?" or "are they pooping routinely in a particular spot?"  See?  The ease with which I speak on this subject has really become my normal... that's not a skill I'm putting on my resume, but talking about the elimination habits of a dog in order to get the bottom of how to make them successful has been honed into an art.

But now, being a parent of two, I've reached a new level of communication, and I'm saying things each day that I never thought I'd say. Ever.

"Honey, please don't touch your brother's penis." 

This one was a doozy and happened while they were bathing together. I had turned around for a second to pick something up and when I turned back, I saw my daughter with her finger out like ET headed towards my son's "junk". I mean, from her perspective, that thing must be kind of mesmerizing since she herself doesn't have one. Not to mention, he can't stop touching it, so she must wonder what all the excitement is about.

"Stop eating off the bottom of your boot!"

We were driving and I turned around to glance at my precious girl and what was she doing? Literally, eating the dirty, dirty snow from between the grooves of her boot. It made me seriously wonder about whether she's going to survive two. I mean, Darwin would be all over that!

"Don't eat your boogers! The bugs in your nose will bite your fingers!"

Now, I really need to give credit where credit is due. I got this from a friend of mine who has three boys, and she said that once she told them that, the picking and eating ceased completely. Unfortunately, my little one doesn't seem to be phased by the bug possibility. She may even dig more for a possible sighting.

Actually, truth be told, I was a little relieved in her lack of gullibility in the bug idea. She just might make it to three.

"Did you poop? Let me smell your butt."

Now, if you're a parent, this is very familiar. We've all done it. It's efficient in getting the answer you seek. It's just that if you told me I would be saying it before I had kids, I would have laughed you off.

"We only poop in the potty, not in the bathtub!"

This a was a dark and disturbing day. I had gone to brush my hair in the mirror when I hear, "Mom! Harper pooped in the bathtub." I turned around assuming he was joking. I was about to tell him that was the opposite of a funny joke, when I glanced down, my heart stopped, and this scene played in my head.

I quickly jumped to action scooping the poop out of the tub with my bare hand. (Hadn't really thought that through, but now I know I'd really throw myself in front of a bear to save my kids.) Frantically, I got them out of the tub and bleached it before getting them back in to scrub them within an inch of their lives. They thought this was a lot funnier than I did, so I'm hoping my reaction didn't scar them for life.

Fellow parents, care to chime in with things you've said recently that you never thought you would? Let's hear 'em!