Sister Maria. Seventh Grade.
I am not sure if it was every night or once a week, but Sister Maria would make the class write. The writing needed to be expressive and descriptive. It was the year my passion to write was born. It guided me to write in high school, to get the elusive 4.0 in Expos 101 in college and ultimately - here.
So when I was given the opportunity to not only write but write about being a mom, it was a no brainer. But my plate was full. I promised my husband I would not take on any additional to do’s. Graciously, he set aside our promise and gave me his blessing.
Every Wednesday, I comment on an issue pertinent to Moms. Regardless of whether you are a mom who works outside or inside the home, I encourage you to visit EastWindsorPatch.com.
If you are a mom, your opinion is valuable to our ongoing conversation. The more feedback each issue receives, the more knowledge and experience we can spread. As a collective conscious of moms from all backgrounds and experiences, our voices joined as one will be a value to us all.
We learn so much as we learn to mother. Imagine what happens when we share this knowledge.
This morning was a typical morning in the Fowler household. ”I don’t want to wear this outfit. It’s not cute enough,” says my 6-year-old fashionista. ”I wanted apple juice in the Spiderman cup,” says my 4-year-old as I hand him orange juice in a Cars cup. Combine this with making lunches, ignored requests to get breakfast eaten, getting a ponytail on my dancing daughter’s hair and answering various work emails; all set to the raucous sound of a howling beagle and a curious lab and the occasional outburst of the liar liar pants on fire tune sung morbidly incorrect by my son (“liar, liar, I set you on fire“…but that is another blog topic all together), and you have our typical morning. My friends, this mama needs a break.
But alas! This mama is going to get a break! A very much-needed Ladies Weekend is planned complete with Spa appointments, dinner reservations and time to waste just lounging around with my hardest choice between reading or doing nothing.
The kids, when reminded of my impending leave of absence, wail that they need me to stay. Without remorse or guilt, I explain that Mommies need sleepover parties too.
So my suitcase is packed, books and iPod in my travel bag and I am just hours away from turning the ignition on and revving up the engine (don’t tell Patrick about the engine revving). To my local friends, if you hear tires screeching down Route 130, that is most undoubtedly me.
This Mama IS getting a break!
When my husband and I shared the news that we would be parents, we received the standard well wishes and congratulations. My mother, however, was the exception. “Payback is a bitch, my dear,” she said with all the love and sincerity a mother can give. Having been accustomed to my mother’s dry and sometimes wicked sense of humor, I took her comment with a grain of salt. Things will be different I insisted.
Here we are present day. “You are not fair, Mommy! You always say NO to me.” …..and more recently, “You just don’t get me.”
How is this possible? You see, since my children’s birth, I have prided myself on being a stern, responsible but “cool” mom. I make sure they eat their vegetables and wash their hands = stern. I also let them stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve = cool. I read them books and make sure homework is completed and done before 7pm = responsible.
So why would the children think that I am SO unfair? I enforce certain rules so that the children can learn responsibility and accountability. They are just beginning to understand what is good for them and learning what is right and wrong.
And that’s when it hit me. I sound like my mother.
Payback IS a bitch the moment you realize you sound like your parents. Ironically, it’s your very own children that rudely awaken you to the fact that you are not laid back, and this silly idea that you can be a “cool” mom is nearly impossible if you plan to raise civilized well-adjusted people.
Ironically, upon the moment that I realized I was a grown up, I was not dejected, but accepting. Later that day, I called my mom to apologize for the years of torment she and my dad endured at my hands.
…..And perhaps Karma will be kind to me, now that I have made amends.
WAY back in the day, I used to listen to music. I mean, really listen to each song. Today….not so much - only because there simply is no time. Instead, I download the album to my iPod and listen either in the car or on the treadmill. But last week, while trying to beat my one mile run time, I listened to a song I heard plenty of times, but never really listened to. Its lyrics resonated with me in a such a way that I actually stopped running and sat down to hear it again and again.
I used to write,
I used to write letters I used to sign my name
I used to sleep at night
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.*
Do you remember when We Used to Wait? I once wrote letters by hand and I would sign my name. I used to sleep at night content and relaxed before emails and texts and instant messaging and iPhones and Blackberries and iPads and instant gratification became the only way.
The song goes on to point out how once we would spend time waiting for responses. Time that today, we fill with multi-tasking and juggling. And while I have resigned myself to the fact that progress is only achieved by keeping up with this fast paced race of information, so much is lost with communication today.
Communication is forever changed. Keep up or loose out. But maybe, just maybe, I will try to turn my phone and lap top off. Maybe I WILL write a letter to you and I WILL sign my name. And just maybe you will return my letter.
*Lyrics from Arcade Fire, We Used to Wait
This has been a marathon week of meetings, lunches, after school activities and dinners. But of course, the week came to a crashing halt late yesterday afternoon when I took one look at my glassy-eyed, crimson eared son. Making quick adjustments to Thursday’s schedule, I resided to the fact that it would be me who would take off from work to stay home with my little man.
We awoke this AM to a low-grade 100.7 fever and very uncomfortable head cold. After the chaos that is my daughter getting off to school and my husband to work, I tucked Mikey on the couch with warm blanket, fresh class of juice, a box of tissue and the longest running Handy Manny DVD I could find.
For several hours, Mikey rested and I plowed through various assignments for work. But sometime around lunch, Mikey came over to me asked me for a meeting. “Mommy, you always have time for meetings so I want to have a meeting with you on the couch under the blanket”.
I did log off my office connection and closed my laptop. We cuddled together under his blanket and watch Kelly play coy with Manny and Felipe make a mess of Mrs. Portillo’s kitchen. We giggled and laughed and even had a picnic at lunch. It was certainly the best meeting and lunch date I have had in weeks.
After an hour or so Mikey turned to kiss my cheek. ”Thanks for the meeting Mama Goat. You should get back to work. I need space”.
And just like that, my meeting was over and this Mama Goat was back online.