Eight Hopes and Dreams for Two Kids

It occurred to me around Mother’s Day that I have never really sat down and thought about my hopes and dreams for my kids. Of course, I want the obvious things that we all want for our kids – health, happiness, etc, but I’ve never participated in any deeper reflection, because, frankly, in general, it’s just not what I do. But I am making an effort to more fully enjoy life and appreciate all that I have, which I think requires reflection, so here we go.

1. Most of all, I wish for you both to experience true love. Even if you can’t keep it, although I hope you do, I want to know how it feels to love someone so deeply, you would go to the ends of the Earth for them.

2. I know this sounds really crazy, but I hope that you experience heartbreak, and I know you will. It will come in the form of disapointment at not getting chosen first in gym class. It will come in the form of teen angst when the boy or girl you like doesn’t like you back. It will come in the form of anger when we can’t send you to private college and we make you start at the community college. I promise you will survive, even though you think your chest has been cracked open. You will even be better because of it! And you know I am always going to be here to lend an ear. And probably also unsolicited advice.

3. This is another crazy one, but I hope you experience some struggle. Not the kind that kills your soul and makes you heartless and jaded, but the kind that makes you stronger, and better able to appreciate the beauty and joy that surrounds you. If you work for what you have you will never be sorry.

4. Speaking of beauty and joy, I hope that you truly appreciate the beauty of your life. Find beauty in the mundane, in the quirky, and in the grief. It is how you will get through life and move on.

5. I hope you are able to exhibit self control and the ability to step back and just breath. Enjoy without over-indulging. Make good choices in the face of pressure. Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is nothing.

6. Have the strength to chase your dreams and never give up. Also have the strength to realize sometimes dreams change, and that’s okay. If it’s your dream (not my dream, your grandparents’ dream, or your significant others’ dream) chase it, and help those you love chase their dreams too.

7. Although it is great to have your family and a significant other for support, make sure you have the ability to be self-sufficient. Get an education. Get a job. Don’t depend on other people without some sort of a backup plan. Shit happens, and you need to be prepared to take care of yourself.

8. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you. Okay, it does matter what *I* think of you! I think you are great. You were put on this planet, in this time, for a reason. Be kind to yourself so you can fulfill all you were meant to be.

What are your hopes and dreams for your kids?

My Kids Love Me, So it’s All Worth It

My kids have been driving me absolutely nuts these last couple of weeks. What’s new, right?

I don’t know what it is. Post-holiday wishing for more?

OMG we have cabin fever, where the hell is the snow it’s February in Upstate New York, and all we have to play in is mud?

We are just Ass Holes because we are 1.5 and 5.5 and we are supposed to annoy our parents?

Mommy is going through a period of serious self-doubt and stress, so we are feeding off of it?

I don’t know why they are making me crazy. Who cares, it doesn’t matter.

I will tell you what DOES matter, though. In the last few days, I have had two of the winningest parenting moments of my life.

Little ultimate rewards, that make being a mom the best job in the world.

Last night, while snuggling the boy to bed, he spontainiously threw his arms around my neck and whispered in my ear, “You are a great mom.” I can’t tell you how much that soothed my RAGGED soul. It was literally like the angels sang in my ear. I am not the mother I wanted to be to him, so to hear him say that was the best gift I could ever ask for.

Tonight as my husband and I sat talking too loudly in our too small house, right outside the bedrooms where the boy and girl sleep. The boy would sleep through a nuclear disaster. The girl can’t sleep through me even thinking about peeing. In the bathroom that is also right next to her room.

Anyway, we “adults” got talking and we spoke over a whisper and she woke up. Oh no. She could be up for the next several hours. It’s 10:00 pm. Seriously. But instead, she whined a little and called in a gentle Road House Rosie voice, “maaammmmaaa!” And then she rolled over and went back to sleep.

But she called me, and after the initial deer in headlights moment, I didn’t care. Because she called me. And at that point, she could have been up all night, and I would have been happy to rock the night with her.

Because in spite of me, she called ME.

In spite of me, they love ME.

And in these two moments, two pure moments, I am reminded about why I do what I do. Why I stay home. Why I am a mother. It’s hard, and sometimes, no, a LOT of times, it sucks. But not today.

Mom. Mom. Mom. MOOOOOMMMMMM!

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It's so upsetting when mommy has to work!

Working at home with my 18-month old daughter is like simultaneously strategizing World War III and being a storm chaser, chasing an F5 tornado. I can hardly keep up with her let alone anticipate her next move. She plots and plans. She has the reach of a grown man. She climbs and falls. She throws things that she has grabbed and now she is starting to have little fits. She moms me all day. “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.” No matter where we are in the room, we are literally no more than five feet away from each other. But I still take frequent breaks to hang out with her and play. We listen to music while I work. We sing. We dance. I let her sit on my lap. And she pounds on my computer and grabs whatever is on my desk, errr, dining room table, where I work. Did I mention her impressive reach?

All of these actions are totally normal for a toddler her age. TOTALLY NORMAL!      But I feel totally ill-equipped to deal. When my son was this age I didn’t work but he was always very laid back and happy to play with whatever was around, as long as someone was in the room with him. So when I did start working from home, he still played happily. Plus he power napped for three hours every day in the afternoon. She will play quietly for only a few minutes at a time. Pretty much just as I’m able to concentrate on something, she needs me.

“Mom. Mom. Mama!”

About once a month I get a two-hour nap out of her. Most days I’m lucky if it is an hour, and that includes the time she spends yelling for me after I put her down.

“MOM MOM MOM MAMMMMAAA!!!!”

I’ve stopped going in after I put her down and I just let her deal with it.

Which leads me to the crux of what this post is about. I feel I have come to a crossroads of having to make a choice about what to do with her. Sending her to a babysitter is out because number one I can’t afford it and number two that’s just not what I want. I feel like I give her everything that she needs. The fact is, I have to work. And I know she doesn’t understand, but I also don’t understand why she can’t/won’t play happily while I am right next to her. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I want to be a good mom, but I feel stuck.

At what point do I say, “Hey there, little chicken, you need to play while mommy works. I’m right here with you!” And then let her play/cry it out while I continue to take frequent breaks and give little loving reminders that I am right here with her. I did this yesterday and she cried.all.day. I suspect it would be like crying it out during resting times, and she would get over it. But I just don’t know, and in the meantime I wonder, do I expect too much? Am I a total jerk? Am I over-thinking again?

What do you think? Have you ever, or are you in this position? What have you done to get through? I would love to hear from you!

P.S. I know that I am complaining about my girl, but what gets us through the day is she is the cutest, sweetest, funniest girl EVER. At least I think so.