Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mommy Wars: I Do Not Care

FAQ 


"So, what do you do all day? I mean...what kind of....what's your....schedule...er...uh...I mean, I KNOW your job is like--SUPER hard...but...what do you DO all day?"

When we went back to Oklahoma for Christmas, I got to spend a lot of time with some friends. A running theme at some point in the conversation turned to the subject of me staying at home. I used to do a FAQ segment at the end of all my blog posts, (I don't really do that anymore--mostly because I don't get as many FAQs) and if I were to do one again, I'd include the answer to what I do all day. I normally don't feel the need to even mention that I stay home, (cause' who cares?) but I've caught myself noticing how much Ava is growing up. She'll be one year old next month. She is the ultimate one year old. She is ALWAYS on. She is passionate about being as baby as she can be. She becomes more and more child-like, and less and less baby-like, everyday. She also becomes more and more mobile/destructive/vocal/fearless everyday. She's fun and exhausting all at the same time. I feel lucky that I can stay with her. BUT, I also know how much hard work it is.  Anyway,

The question comes in ALL forms:

"Do you like staying at home?"
"Do you plan on staying at home?"
"How do you like staying at home?"
"What kinds of things are up to at home?"
"Do you get bored?"

Ugh--c'mon on people. That last one? Really?

I don't technically "work," but I'm doing a lot of work. I've often wondered what a stranger might think if I answered the "What do you do for a living" question, like this:

Stranger: "So, Blayne: what do you do?"
Me: "WELL--I watch a one year old girl from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m."
Stranger: "Wow. That must be exhausting!
Me: "Sometimes. I'm also on call between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m."
Stranger: "Wow! 24 hour shifts? Where is this kid's mother?"
Me: OH! Haha--sorrry--that's me. I'm the mom. Whoops. Sorry for the confusion.

Then we'd share a chuckle.

I do not get "bored." There is a lot to do. Just meeting the needs of a infant takes up most of the day. Just keeping her out of dangerous objects, (how does she keep FINDING these things!) or precarious situations, takes up most of the day. Just preparing her meals, feeding her meals, cleaning up her meals, takes up most of the day.

I guard against lawlessness, and disorder.
Those are 100% real, up-all-night, dark circles. Ava, of course, is glowing. 

 I'm not going to say that staying at home is the hardest job in the world. I just don't think it is. Part of why I can say that I love staying home--is because I do indeed love it. But I don't sit around all day in pajamas, eating chocolates on the couch. I get up, get ready, and go to work. Just like everyone else. I manage all the cleaning and laundering, all the cooking, the finances, the bills, the calendar, the errands, the taxes, the vacation planning, the future investments, the savings, the appointments.

And I manage Ava. And, I really feel like that speaks for itself.

I suppose my job could be boring. If I let the laundry pile up, the dishes sit in the sink, the recycling overflow. If the let the house fall apart, or look terrible. If I let the spending get out of control, if I let Ava fend for herself, if I let Steven eat frozen pizza every night for dinner (he probably wouldn't mind that actually), then YES---I suppose my job could get pretty boring.

I've only been a mom for a year, so I'm still new to this "raising a human" thing. One thing I have discovered, is this entire sub culture of "mom wars." Not all moms are like this, but there are PLENTY who feel the need to belittle other moms who don't parent the way they do. If these women weren't moms I'd simply call them, "One Uppers."

Me: "The other day I saw this great movie, I just loved how---"
One Upper: "OH! I already saw that movie. The book was better---I read it twice. And I met the author..."

Me: I fit into my old jeans!
One Upper: "Really? I've always been able to fit into my jeans. I would SO hate that about having a baby!"

OR

Me: "I finally went for a run again yesterday! It's been forever!"
One Upper: "Oh yeah...I've been running pretty much everyday...like, ten miles a day mostly. No big deal............................I run really fast..."

Toxic. These people are TOXIC. Only, once they'e had a child they're more like this:

Me: "Ava did the cutest thing yesterday, She--"
Momzilla: "Really, my baby actually does that everyday...she's been doing it since she was pretty much two days old."

OR

Me: "I think Ava finally said, 'Da da'."
Momzilla: "Really? My baby can recite the Pledge of Allegiance...she's been able to do that since she was like....two months old. She's a true American. She'll probably be president one day." 

Now, there is obviously a time and place to brag on your kids. However, I think most of us can see the subtle difference between being proud, and being completely obnoxious, (If you're one of these people, don't feel bad. Maybe just try to take it down a couple hundred notches?). These moms are TOXIC. I've made it a point now to avoid them. I don't know too many, (for good reason) but I can see them coming from a mile away. They're around to make you feel terrible about, or at least question, all your parenting choices--good or bad.

My theory, ( which is straight from freshman Intro to Psychology 101--sooooo you know it's legit) is that they are simply, insecure.

So sad.

Here is a list of things that I DO NOT care about, when it comes to YOU raising your baby:

1. Whether you use cloth, or disposable diapers. I don't care. Just change your baby.

2. Whether you formula feed, or breastfeed your baby. I don't care. Just feed your baby.

3. Whether you breastfed for 3 days, or 3 years. It's not a contest. I don't care.

4. Whether you decided to stay home, even though, you're a highschool drop out--OR you have a PhD in  Rocket Surgery/Brain Science. I don't care--I myself, can barely read.

5. Whether you put your baby in a sling, or a stroller all day. I don't care...just take your baby with you when you leave the house.

6. Whether you started solid foods before, or after six months...I especially don't care about this one.

7. Whether you let your baby CIO (Cry It Out), or you do the, NTM (No Tears Method), for getting your baby to sleep. I DNC (Do Not Care).

8. Whether you work part time, full time, no time, sometimes--I don't care, every time.  It doesn't mean you love your baby less. You already know that.

That sounded a little hostile. What I mean is that none of this is any of my bees-wax. Only you know what is best for YOUR baby.  But more importantly, it's not what I want to hear about when we chat. It's also not what I want to see blow up my news feed on Facebook. Simmer down.

What is important to me, is that you feel healthy, and balanced. Healthy and balanced, physically, emotionally, and spiritually (at least part of the time anyway). I think that's one of the things that makes a good mother; a mother who feels healthy and balanced while caring for her child. I think that's one  of the things that creates a healthy, happy, self confident kid, (at least I hope it's one of the things) And I'm pretty sure we can all agree that's the most important thing. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jet Lag

We made it.

Two words, friends: JET.LAG. We're really feeling it. I feel like death warmed up. It's a seven hour time difference between Oklahoma and Germany. It hurts.

The plane ride to Oklahoma was rough. It was 14 hours of wrestling a ten month old. She didn't have her own seat. The Army doesn't pay for our vacation (another ouch), and because Ava is under two years old--she doesn't need a seat; so we opted to simply "hold" her. That didn't go so well. I've now decided I will pay almost anything for her to sit--contained--in her own seat.

I can't complain though, (but I will). She was perfect on the plane ride back to Germany. She slept the whole time. Miracles happen people! Minus a half hour or so, here and there, where she woke up to roll around on us, and try to pull the hair of a french woman sitting in front of us.

Très annoying, Ava. Très annoying.


Eventually we made it back to Germany. It was only 9:00 a.m. when we got off the plane. That means, that in order to fight jet lag, we needed to stay awake until at least 9:00 p.m. We didn't do that. We took some naps. Ava went to bed around her "normal" bed time: 7:30 p.m. Then she woke up screaming at 9:30, and just cried for an hour and half. At some point I must have gotten up and put her in bed with us--but I don't remember that. I just remember waking up at 5:00 a.m. to a baby making snow angels in bed, and hitting me in the face. She fell back asleep though, and together we slept in until 12:30 p.m.! I haven't done that since middle school!

The whole family is feeling pretty rough today. One day at a time. One day at a time.
 The biggest adjustment so far, (after a whole 24 hours): now I actually have to watch my baby. Back in Oklahoma, I had at least three other people taking care of her at a time.

We had such a wonderful trip. We spent a whole month with family, and we got to see our friends. A lot of the time we got to hang out with people sans baby! So, here is a thank you to my mom and step dad for the one million hours of free babysitting, (I may be overshooting it with one million, but it's somewhere around there).

We plan on returning to Oklahoma again in December 2012, for the Royse Family Annual Christmas Vacation Extravaganza round two. I'll get your T-shirt order form as soon as I finish unpacking.

I'll try to post a more coherent, "update-ive" blog in the coming days. After I heal. :)

It's a new year! You've got that going for you--which is nice.