Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's your cause

I have always had strong opinions.

Really strong.

And, none of that has really changed much since I became a mother a little more than three years ago.

If anything, motherhood has helped me own my opinions even more, anchored them inside me and led me to feel pretty confident about some things (more than others).

Lately, I've realized I've been on a little advocacy kick.

I've had a few over the years. My first big thought was how my town NEEDED a cafe that was infant-friendly. You know, take out at the curb that wasn't McDonald's. Tables with lots of space for two car seat carriers, two high chairs and lots of room for bags of stuff. And, above all, open to families with crying babies. I had this place all picked out from the menu to the open play area that was age-divided so that parents could, ah, breathe and eat for just a few minutes.

Yes, I was dreaming a lot in my sleep-deprived days.

Lately, my kick has been something pretty expensive and dramatic and for the better of my community. A children's museum. A hands-on museum. Our city is pretty historic, but it's also faced with a plethora of issues, none of which I care to drone on about here but all of which are why we have been trying to sell our house and move to a less depressing neighborhood.

I tell everyone I meet in meetings, who is trying to better the city, that we need this museum, that it would help revitalize the downtown.

After all, I know plenty of moms who are, let's just say, EAGER to find things to do during the week and currently travel far and wide and pay $$ for these kinds of venues in other towns nearby.

I know, I have been one of those moms.

What's your cause? Anything you're working on either by word of mouth, or blogging or maybe even writing your State House of Representatives about??

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Scarlet "M"

For a long time, during my fights for the disadvantaged, I spent countless hours advocating for the underprivileged who were black, Hispanic, and poor.

I still make those same arguments now, in the working world, but I've added in mothers, too.

I wear the Scarlet M. Do you?

Where ever I go, it's there sitting on my chest. It's in my clothes. It's in my walk. It's in my head. Following me. Pulling me. Holding my hand.

Everything from automatic flushing toilets to the way parking lots are configured are clearly inventions and creations and engineering constructed only by men who were not fathers, or were fathers who were too busy creating a life outside of fatherhood.

And the paternalistic attitudes. I've seen them a lot lately. I've fought against them. I'm trying to tell the powers that be who are aging yet still full of cash about what they're missing. Of course, I'm doing it nicely, womanly, sweetly as possible. We're a new generation of mothers. A new generation of women.

But inside I'm angry, filling up with anger and ready to send outbursts into the air that say something like girls matter, women matter, mothers matter and what the hell are you thinking?
We're mothers; not poison, not caged animals. Not covered in snot. Not germy. My kids scream, so what? My kids cry, a lot, so what? I deserve to eat out, too, you know. I can't afford a babysitter for that stupid event. (And, hey, my girl twins are now peeing on the potty, ya'll!)

I'm on a destiny to change everything related to mothers and women and raising girls right now. Something's gotta give.

I wear the Scarlet M. Do you?

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Don't sweat the hard stuff/It's all hard stuff

I keep coming back to this thought about parenting. I imagine that for some people parenting (ie: handling the crying, choosing rewards over discipline and managing the minor stresses of how and when to roll over, stressing about the health and safety of it all) comes easy.

I would not be one of those mothers. First, I take everything too seriously. Second, I take everything too seriously.

I know this and have known it and yet I can't seem to find a good place or age when it just starts getting easier for me. Sure, 3 is easier than that first year. It's still easier than the second and third years.

Now, I realize that having two of the same age intensifies this feeling. And, I also know that since I'm dealing with the first born times two that I don't get that natural take-it-easy approach that usually tags along with the second and third borns. For us, it's all the first time and it's a bit frustrating that there are so little books for parents of twins dealing with discipline vs. rewards. You can't honor one and not the other without someone having their feelings hurt.

There are things about 3 that lead me to wonder ... is parenting always going to be this hard for me? Will I ever get to feel relaxed again? Stop worrying? Stop having to intervene.

It's been three solid years of changing diapers, worrying how to get them back in bed when they wake too early, trying desperately to get them to settle down for bed at bedtime in their shared room and making sure they get a healthy diet that does not include too many sweets.

I'm fairly sure that they are happy and smart and that we've done a great job thus far. But, I'm also fairly sure that I've made some bad mistakes, things I wish I could do differently -- for them and for myself.

Does anyone else feel this way? Not necessarily regret, but remorse.

Since I will not be getting a second chance at parenting a second born, I am going to dedicate this week to my advice for new mothers, especially new mothers of twins and how to deal with issues of rewards and discipline.

Because, seriously, we can't always sweat the hard stuff in parenting. Because it's all hard stuff -- if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bedtime Woes

When I started blogging, I had so much free time it was ridiculous. First, the girls napped twice a day. Then, as they got older and started taking just one nap, they were so enamored with their daddy that when he got home he consumed most of their bedtime routine, especially bath.

For the last several months, he has not been enough and my free time in the evenings has been zapped.

Bedtime woes, in fact, have been tormenting us lately though I think we've finally passed that stage and it's getting easier. I received lots of insight from people and never followed any of it.

We just rode it out because we're those kinds of parents. We've always done this the hard way -- the long way around. We'd rather sit in that chair and ride out the tantrums than leave and teach them a good lesson. (Though, secretly we complain the whole time that we need to teach them a lesson.)

I've written so much on this blog, but never our bedtime routine. It has changed over time, but mostly it's the exact same as it was when they started having a bedtime -- around 10 months or so. We've recently moved everything up by 15 minutes because we felt it was part of the problem and that did help a good bit.

Dinner at 6
Play until 6:45 (used to be 7)
Bath or wash up
Drink smoothie (eat snack if we're having one)
Read 2 or 3 books. (I'll list our favorites right now at the bottom)
Brush teeth
Blow out the light by saying 1-2-3 and blowing. (Twice for twins)
Turn on Turtle and Ladybug lights; play quietly for 5 or so minutes.
Turn them off, get in bed and Jadyn usually requires time in chair with us.
Snuggles and kisses
Asleep by 8:15 p.m.

This is usually when she fights or tantrums but has stopped that and is now sleeping through the night again! Whew!

Our favorite books lately have been these:

"Llama Llama Red Pajama," by Anna Dewdney"

"Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ten minutes to write

My brain is too cluttered to write anything coherent here. Am I writing for me, Shawn -- the one I've known forever? Am I writing for me, the mother? Am I writing for you? Am I writing for the new me, the working mother who's finally getting it together? Or, am I?

I haven't a clue, which is why I haven't been writing.

Not that I don't have anything to say; I'm just not sure how it fits. Or, perhaps, when I'm downstairs in the kitchen and think, "Wow, that's a great blog post" I'm often instantly sent in another direction to answer a question (because that's what it's like now) or to reason with a 3-year-old. And then my mind forgets the good idea. Or, I walk to the computer to write and then I get stuck on Facebook, which reminds me of the past and soon I'm walking down memory lane and getting stuck. And then tired.

And, where was I?

Lately, my good ideas have been centered around the me I am now, the one I've talked about lately -- the one closest to the everyday me.







Breathe deeper.

Let your ears fall away from your neck.

Hug your husband.

Giggle with the silly girls.

Write with no strings or purpose. Just do it.

Be patient with yourself.

Be even more patient with others.

Lower your expectations.

Forgive yourself. The things you've said. What they're saying now.


Stay awake.

Create. With your hands.


Find peace. Know peace. Hold peace.


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