First Road Trip

I’m exhausted…no, wait, I am enervated.  Travelling with a kid is overwhelming and this ain’t my first rodeo, well it’s my first ROAD trip with my son.  If you’ll remember, we did fly with Davey back in December when he was only 2 and a half months old.   It was a piece of cake especially since he slept the entire time.  Flash forward almost 4 months, and Davey doesn’t sleep as much as he used to.

Let’s rewind for a moment at least to the past couple of days where I’ve been overwhelmed with my roll of mommy in the aspect of not just packing for me and my husband, but also for a 6 month old who now needs entertainment.   I do so miss the days of just throwing a few outfits into a piece of luggage and hopping into a car.  I miss the days of just worrying about me and not my child. 

Early this morning, my husband and I were up precisely 3 and a half hours BEFORE we needed to hit the road, trying to load up the car.   Our inventory of luggage, or should I say necessities to survive our excursion, included the following:

1 small piece of luggage for our overnight stay in NC.  1 large piece of luggage to get us through our 10 days in NY, a cool mist humidifier, a cooler, a breast pump, a bag of snacks, a bag of Davey’s toys, one stroller, one jumperoo, a diaper bag, and two laptops.  Whew!  I thought I was going to start naming this all off in the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas.

The first hour and a half of our trip, Davey slept.  Not at all surprising considering the fact that if I need to get him to take a nap, I just stick him in his car seat and either go for a run or go for a ride in the car.   It knocks him out faster than you can snap your fingers.  

Going into hour two, Davey became fussy and we stopped to feed which prompted him to immediately fall back asleep for approximately 45 minutes.   Hey, this is way more nap time than I’m able to get him to take when we’re at home!  Then the final hour of our first leg became the ticking time bomb phase.  

Davey is not used to being cooped up.   He’s used to stretching his legs, jumping around, crawling, getting into mischief, not being confined into the bowels of the backseat of my car!   At first he entertained himself with the sights of the trip, but quickly his ADD kicked in (no I don’t know that he has ADD).   No longer was it good enough to watch the passing cars, houses, trees, parks, buildings, or trucks.   Davey wanted out and he wanted out now! 

Finally, we were able to check into our hotel room where we quickly got him settled long enough to eat lunch, then Davey and I were off to do a little sight-seeing while my husband concluded some work matters.   Now, here’s the exciting and yet regretful part of our trip.   The hotel we’re staying in has an indoor heated pool!  

After returning from our short shopping excursion, and while my husband was still working, Davey and I decided to take a respite and visit the pool.  I rolled up my jeans and sat down with my feet on the first step.  Davey was in a shorts romper, so no need to do anything further with him.   He stood for a moment, then jumped around, giggled and cooed, kicked some water, then bent over at the waist reached into the pool and threw some water up into the air before nearly toppling over as he tried to put his head in the water.   Needless to say I shouldn’t have any problem with him this summer at the pool and the event has even encouraged me to check into swim lessons for him when we return.

As nightfall is nearing, one day of our journey is behind us.   My husband is taking over his normal nightly duties of feeding Davey before bed and then we’re ALL off to sleep as I don’t expect a restful night considering the fact that the “crib” the hotel supplies is a pack n play and it’s in our room.   No more privacy for the next 10 days. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting journey.   We’ll see just how well a baby does when faced with a 10 hour drive.   How will mommy and daddy survive?  Will they be at their wits’ end, or will they become closer?  

 

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Uh Oh Giggles

I love being a SAHM.  It is pure and simple joy for me.  It’s almost as if everything I’ve worked for in life has been towards this goal and outcome.   It’s just bliss and each day is something new, something exciting, something impossible for me to keep to myself.

One of the greatest things about babies (and one of these days I’m going to create a blog listing all of the wondeful things) is their happiness and their ability to always bring excitement and joy to their parents lives as well as those around them.  There are new experiences, new milestones, and wonderful feats.

I’ve found that Davey has learned to entertain himself these days.  He’s good at playing with his own toys, starting conversations with those toys, laughing and cooing.   I sometimes find myself quietly watching from the hallway as he empties out his bin of toys and then laughs at them.   I silently laugh as well and my heart melts.

The other thing I’ve found is that apparently I’m entertaining as well!  Who would have ever thought that!   Most certainly not me.  I’m not exactly witty.  I don’t always understand jokes and well, humor can be beyond me.  Fortunately, it’s not beyond my son and some of the cheesiest things in the world seem to make him giggle uncontrollably.   Much like the You Tube baby who giggled incessantly as his daddy tore up strips of paper, my son does the same when I say the words “uh oh” in high-pitched tones.   I just can’t possibly understand it, but it makes me laugh so hard to see him that I get pains in my stomach.  I’m in near tears over the laughter.  I want to keep him awake just to find ways to make him laugh.  His laugh makes me laugh and it’s so infectious.   I love it.

Preparing for a Crawler

Yesterday I watched as Davey rolled over onto his belly and with sheer determination and a few grunts, placed his hands in front of him and pushed himself up, while also putting pressure on his knees.   I was quiet and held my breath as I was afraid my excitement over seeing him do this on his own would scare him thus causing him to lose his concentration and fall over.   This was a milestone and while I was super proud of my little prodigy, I didn’t want to overwhelm him.

As I continued to watch him, he started to rock back and forth.   He reminded me of one of those old matchbox cars that you would rev up before letting it go.  It would then rip and roar across the floor, its path completely indeterminate.  Davey was revving up, I was convinced of it.  Too bad he was in his pack and play, which meant he wasn’t going far.   Of course within a matter of a couple of minutes, he seemed to lose all strength and fall over.   At that point, he wasn’t interested in trying again.   But even with that little step, I still didn’t manage to consider the fact that the day when I would need to baby proof the house is just right around the corner.   Today, reality definitely dug in deep.

Davey and I had our first playdate at our house.   He is the youngest of the babies, by at least 6 months.   All the other babies are either crawling or walking so of course these other mommies have their house already set to go.   I quickly learned that 1) if I want another playdate at our house, then I need to baby proof and 2) I may need to baby proof it even sooner at the rate Davey is going.

I suppose I’ve held off on getting the house ready for a number of reasons, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you the main reason is because I’m afraid my husband and I won’t be able to get into our cabinets! 

I’m taking baby steps in making the house kid friendly.   For example, I do have a box of clear plug protectors to put into all the electrical outlets.  Thing is, though, I wasn’t really anticipating how many I would need.   There is an outlet on every wall of our house and in some cases two!   I thought the outlets were awesome and would come in handy when we built the house.   Guess I wasn’t exactly thinking about babies at that point.  I’ve already gone through my one box of protectors and that only took care of one outlet in the kitchen, two in the morning room and one in the game room!  Good  grief. 

My next step, which again is not something I thought about when we built our house, is our rock fireplace and hearth.   The darn thing has so many jagged edges that the slightest touch could cause a person to bleed to death.   I think I was sweating bullets more over the kids banging their heads on that as opposed to the electrical outlets.   I was frantically running through our home owners insurance in my head and the money we had saved and our net worth in the event that one of the kids from Davey’s play group bumped their head and my husband and I were sued.  Overexaggerating?  Possibly, but this is how my mind rolls.

The last step I can think of is the one most difficult for me and that is the latches on the cabinet doors.   I’m trying to hold off on those as long as possible.   I can’t even operate the one in the church nursery, so I don’t even want to think about having a safety latch on EVERY door on the cupboards!   The insanity of it all!   And what’s worse, my self-deprecating personality will seriously malfunction when I can’t operate the latches and I remind myself that I have 3 college degrees, one of which is a Masters!  Ugh, I think I just got a pain in my chest thinking about that.

We also have stairs, so I need to make sure that I have protected all the little ones from trying to climb up them.  This is so exhausting!  I already feel like I’m running around frantically and Davey isn’t even crawling yet!

So, for all you other mommies out there who are in the same boat as me and wonder just what you need to do, I’m attaching a link from one of my favorite websites, Babycenter. 

http://www.babycenter.com/0_childproofing-around-the-house_460.bc

Good luck to all you out there.  

 

Through My Son’s Eyes

“Wow!  Look at the size of her milk bags!  They’re bigger than mommy’s.   I could eat all day.”

“This old lady smells funny.   I wonder if I could spit up on her and make her go away?”

“Maybe if I pull just a little bit harder, I can get that shiny thing hanging from her ear.  It’s just so pretty.”

“Oh, Lord, mommy’s having another meltdown and now she’s crying.  Do I laugh to cheer her up or cry to express my empathy?”

I can’t help but wonder about the thoughts that swirl through my son’s head as he takes in his surroundings daily.   I wonder if he sees the same things I do.  Does his brain comprehend emotions like an adult’s?   Is his view distorted or perhaps more acute?   Every day it’s something new that he sees, something that you and I take for granted.   At times, he seems intrigued and almost oblivious to everything else as if he were looking through a peephole at a parade.  Instead of getting the big picture, he only sees the one item that initially attracted him.

I could spend the better part of my days watching my son as he explores.   I’m simply amazed at his curiosity and intuitiveness at 6 months of age (well we have one more week for that).   I want to ask him what he’s thinking or what he sees. In most cases I do, I just wish he could communicate it to me.

This past weekend we went to a horse stable for a friend’s birthday.   Davey was able to interact with so many other kids, but also had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals.  Until Saturday, the only animal interaction he’d had was with our dog.   I watched as he was enthralled with chickens, at one point seeming to bob his head as they clucked along almost as if he were mimicking their moves.   I was amazed at how quickly he reached out to the horse, his hand open, and stroked the side of its face, softer than I ever imagined possible.   And all I could think was how I would love to see this animal through my son’s eyes.

This week, I’ve begun work on some home landscaping projects and I take Davey out in the front yard with me.  He sits nestled on his blanket, his red bucket hat perched on his head.  Initially, I brought him out a few toys, but they weren’t as entertaining as the exterminator across the street, or the next door neighbor watering her flowers, or the bicyclists riding down the road, or the family of three jogging with their dog, or the construction equipment going into the new section of the neighborhood.   At one point, he even rolled over onto his stomach from his seated position (have I told you my son’s an overachiever?) and watched the neighbor across the street sweep off her front porch.  He laid there and never once allowed his eyes to deviate from her.   And again, what did he see?

I found myself lying down on the blanket alongside him today.   I felt like such a little girl all over again.  My chin was resting on my hands which were held up by my elbows as I lay propped up on the blanket.   My knees were bent and feet kicked up in the air, swaying back and forth in a scissor type motion.   I looked over at my son and he smiled and cooed at me with an additional few “gahs” thrown in for good measure as he pointed at something far off that I couldn’t see.

“What do you see, baby?”

“Gah!” he yelled loudly and then started to laugh.

Traditional Benefits

As I look towards the next holiday, Easter, I am already planning my son’s first Easter basket, what will go into it, what outfit he will wear, and having an egg hunt.   Davey will be merely 6 months old this Easter, much too young to really understand and appreciate the efforts I’m putting forth to maintain some level of fun and tradition for him.   So, I can’t help but wonder, who’s really benefitting from tradition right now?

I bought Davey his first Halloween costume before he was born.   He was exactly one month and 3 days old when Halloween arrived.   I dressed him up in his cute little bat bunting costume while he screamed the entire time.  My parents came over for dinner so they could see him all decked out.  Then we took him around to a few houses in the neighborhood, mostly to show him off (I guess some people would call that exploiting my child) and to snag some candy for me and my husband.   Davey had no clue what was going on, but he knew enough to know he was miserable.   So, what was the point?

Thanksgiving, we were at my parent’s house for a family dinner.   Davey slept most of the time, as he was a young 2 months of age.   And of course, the day after Thanksgiving, my husband and I went shopping and took Davey with us.   Yet again, another tradition that we stuck to for the “sake of Davey”.

Christmas, Davey was just 3 days shy of 3 months, but we stuck with family tradition again for him.   My parents spent the night with us so that they could be here when he woke up.   He received countless presents from Santa, but was completely oblivious to them.   He didn’t understand, nor did he care.   He just wanted to be held, to eat, and to sleep.   We kept the tradition anyways.

Day after day, holiday after holiday, I’m eager to include my son in on age-old traditions, to ones that my family started, to new ones that my husband and I are creating.   I want Davey to be active.  I want him to be happy.  I want him to be sociable and I’m anxious to have him look back on his life and be grateful for his life and family, but am I doing too much too fast?   Am I just using the fact that I have a child to create adventures in the name of “tradition” in order to fill the holes in my childhood. ***disclaimer:  I had an awesome childhood, but there are things that I wish my parents did with me***

At what point does my need for family tradition become a bit too much for my son?   Is it possible that I may negatively impact him?

Just a Little Bit For Me

I love being a stay at home mom.   It’s the hardest, most fulfilling, grueling, exhausting, sometimes non-appreciative job I’ve ever had, but I love every single second of it.   I wouldn’t trade my life, not even if I was offered the chance to be CEO of my own publishing company (many of you know this is my dream).

And while I may love every minute I have to spend with my beautiful baby boy, helping him to grow, encouraging and stimulating him, it doesn’t mean I don’t need a little bit for me.

I’m almost at the end of week 4 in my SAHM career.   Every day has been different.  Some days are exhausting, while others are relaxing.   Some days I feel like I’ve accomplished so much not just with Davey, but also with my writing and daily chores.   I literally have days where I take a deep breath and say, “Ah, how sweet this life is.”   Other days I find myself at the end of my rope, anxious to tie a knot and hang myself with it.   I become so overwhelmed that I can’t help but sob uncontrollably, sometimes nearing a panic attack as my sobs begin to form huge lumps in my throat and I gasp for air, anything to keep me alive.

While most jobs are pretty predictable, being a SAHM is unpredictable.   And if you’re like me, at almost 37,unpredictability is a HUGE adjustment.

I waited a while to have my son.   I explored my life and the world, got an education, had a career and at one point was untethered to any real responsibilities.   If I became exhausted by a job, then I left it for a while and recharged my batteries.   If I became overwhelmed with a career, then I took a vacation.   In both cases, I was able to leave the stress and discomfort, but as a SAHM that luxury isn’t so easily afforded.

I’ve stewed over this for a while, let it build up to a near boiling point of pressure before I finally exploded on my husband last week.  I’d like to say I’m not my old self when I explode.   I hope that I’m not as dramatic about it, but I suppose we’ll have to consult my husband on that.  I chewed at how to talk with my husband about the fact that I needed some “me” time especially since I was the one who pushed so hard to be a stay at home mom.  How was I to tell him that although he was working all day, I needed him to give me at least an hour every night to myself?   And worse yet, would he throw it back into my face about how I’ve chosen the lifestyle that I am in?   Would he complain to me about how hard he labors every day just to make me happy by allowing me the opportunity to be at home with Davey?   Would he just ignore me, but pretend to hear every word I said?   Would he just agree with me, then sweep it under the rug or not bring it back up again in the hopes that it’s been forgotten?   I didn’t know, but whatever the outcome was to be, I had already spent over a week feeling guilty for my thoughts of needing at least an hour a day away from my child.

When I approached my husband with the subject, I explained to him that I didn’t need an immediate resolution.   I also wasn’t looking for an argument, for him to feel guilty, or for him to feel attacked.   I told him how much I loved him and appreciated the sacrifices that he made for this family, but I also told him that I need a break albeit just a short one because it’s amazing how quickly a mom’s mental health can bounce back after a half hour bubble bath with a good book.

Fortunately for me, I have an awesome husband.   He understood my needs, my feelings, and my desires.   He completely agreed with me and even seemed to relish the idea of getting alone time with his son, something that I wasn’t fully prepared to hear.   He didn’t ask me how to resolve the issue or if we needed to have a set time everyday in order for me to take a breather.  I don’t need an everyday one, but the occasional break would be nice.

Last night was my first foray into my independence arena.   My husband came home from work, we had dinner, Davey got his bath and yours truly took off for an hour of yoga at the gym.   It was bliss, truly the greatest thing.   I feel like I de-stressed my body and mind, but my son wasn’t far from my thoughts.   I did wonder how he was coping with daddy around and not mommy, but I have faith in my husband.   He’s wonderful with our son and even more gracious with me.

I spoke with a few mommies in my playgroup today.   I posed them the same question about needing some personal time.   Do they need it?  How did they approach that with their husbands?   Did they feel guilty about it?  And what do they do when they’re given that little bit of gold time?  Some used it to go the gym, others to spend time with girlfriends.

What about the rest of you?   What do you do with your “me” time or do you even take advantage of it?

Maternity Clothing Forever

Clothing used to be for style, keeping up with the latest trends, looking good, but not always feeling good.   That’s what it was for me, pre-baby.   I was constantly perusing fashion magazines, watching the Hollywood gossip shows in an effort to stay abreast of the classiest, most trendy styles.   I didn’t want to just fit in, I wanted to exceed the norm, glam things up a bit.   Becoming a mom changes that mentality, at least it does for me.   Now I’m all about comfort.

I don’t wear heels anymore, except maybe to church or if my husband and I are going out to a nice dinner, which is a rarity.   Heels are no longer comfortable for me, plus I’m a bit of klutz.   I’ve been known to trip at the slightest blow of the wind.  I definitely don’t want to risk that while carrying Davey, so it’s best just to steer clear of the heels.   Not to mention, that I can move a lot faster in my converses and now that Davey is starting to be on the move, I need that speed to stay ahead of him.

Since I’m a stay at home mom, I’ve also retired my business suits, but if truth be known, I retired those suits as soon as Davey was born even though I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.   My Banana Republic dress pants and fitted jackets and blouses have now been housed in the spare bedroom’s closet.  I don’t need them cluttering up the master closet especially if I’m not going to be wearing the tailored outfits.   Even when my husband and I go out, I can’t bring myself to wear them again. 

But there is a bit of an issue with my self-esteem and my appearance in that although I am a stay at home mom, it doesn’t mean I want to look like a washed up old hag every day.   I want to still be appealing to my husband.  I want to go out to the grocery story still looking attractive and cute, but comfortable, so I’ve resorted to still wearing some of my maternity clothing, mostly the shirts and blouses and I can’t help but wonder…am I the only one out there still doing this?

Davey will be 6 months old at the end of this month and for the most part I’ve gotten my pre-pregnancy body back.   I’m a little out of shape, but I’m working on that, so the reason for sticking with my maternity clothes is not because I feel like I’m fat.   Quite the opposite really.   Some maternity clothing doesn’t feel like maternity clothing and some resembe the peasant style flowing tops that are in style right now.   I feel like I’m maintaining a sense of style while being comfortable and NOT buying new clothes (something my husband absolutely loves).

There’s even a part of me that wants to go shopping for more maternity clothes just so that I can increase my wardrobe of comfort, style, and sensibility.  

I’ve tried to consider my mental state for still wanting to and actually wearing my maternity clothes after giving birth especially since I am able to fit back into my regular clothes.   ****side note:  my maternity jeans were PERFECT for Thanksgiving Day, since I knew I would be eating alot. ****

Am I the only one who still prefers to wear maternity clothes even though I can fit into my other clothes?  I’d love to hear from some of my readers out there.  

 

Making the Commitment

A lot changes when you become a parent and you have to be willing to hold true to those changes in order to help your baby grow strong physically, emotionally, and intellectually.   You need to make the commitment early on in the pregnancy to stick to the routines that come along with the changes, thus incorporating those changes into the routines.

I read during my pregnancy that baby can hear sounds while in the womb.   He can hear your voice and will even recognize it once he’s born.   I wanted Davey to know my husband’s voice just as much as mine so I encouraged my husband to read a Dr. Seuss book to my belly every night before bed.   Not only did it help to increase Davey’s cognitive skills even before he was born, by exercising his brain, but it also helped to create the bonding experience for my husband.

Now that Davey is with us physically in this world, I made the commitment early on to continue to read to him.   Our daily routine finds us incorporating at least a half hour of reading into his day.   It’s so important for him and it’s fun for both of us.

We commit to reading a different story out of the same book everyday, The Children’s Bible, which tells the stories of the Bible, one a day, 365 stories.   I’m a Christian, as is my husband, and I want to encourage this lifestyle with my son.

Next I like to read Dr. Seuss books to Davey.   At his age, the board books are the best for him.   He can touch them as we’re reading and has even gotten to the point of turning the pages too.   By continuing the repetitive nature of these 4 specific books that we read everyday, it helps to develop his vocabulary.   Change is a constant with a baby, but commitment, repetition, and routine are important to his development as well.   Starting out early with the need to read to your child is so much more valuable than I can ever explain, more valuable that the top pediatricians and psychologists can explain.

If I can offer one piece of unsolicited advice to all of your future mommies and current mommies, it’s to take the time, find the time, commit to the time to read to your child.   It is by far one of the greatest experiences of your lives.   A few things to stick to:

  • try to cuddle with your baby while reading.   Cuddling provides a sense of warmth and comfort.   Much like how an adult loves to cuddle up with a good book, so does baby.
  • read with expression.  Try to change your voice with each character’s dialogue.   Creating funny voices stimulates your child’s communication and vocabulary skills.  Try to pitch your voice higher or lower, get louder and then quieter.
  • you don’t have to follow the text word for word, at least not until you’re teaching your child to read.   Part of the reason to read to your child is to encourage his growth intellectually and to encourage him to communicate on his own.  Stop occasionally and ask questions.  Interaction is key.
  • if you’re reading nursery rhymes, try to sing them as well.   Thow in a few animal sounds.
  • repetition is key.   Babies love and learn from repetition, so choosing the same book or story for each day is important.
  • as your baby gets older, encourage him to interact more by turning the pages, touching the book.

I’m one of the biggeest advocates for reading to your child.   Even if you’re not an avid reader, please, for the love and growth of your child, find the time to commit to being one at least for a half hour to an hour a day.   The time you spend with your child doing this is more valuable than anything else you could possible do in your day.   Sacrifice some part of your personally routine for your child.   You won’t regret it.

Greatest Challenge

My first job out of college found me selling radio advertising for a small country music station out of Charleston, SC.   It was so exciting, the glamour of having a real job, making real money, with real hours AND health insurance.   I wore business suits, created proposals, sold ad campaigns, wrote and directed jingles.  It was awesome, well almost all of it was awesome.   While it was the most money I’d ever made in my life, it wasn’t the easiest money.  

My first week on the job, I drifted out to do door-to-door cold calling.   I hit up a strip mall and my second little shop was nothing more than a trinket type gift shop, the kind that overcharges tourists for crap that you could easily make yourself for about 2 cents.   As I walked in the door, the owner immediately came from around the counter, leaving a customer standing there.   He kept saying “no” to me as he jerked me up by my right arm and escorted me out the door while quickly pointing to the sign on the door that said “No Soliciting.”  I was mortified.  He continued to tell me if I set foot in his store again, he would have me arrested.   I didn’t even get the opportunity to tell him what I was there for.   What I quickly found out, is that this was going to be a day-to-day occurrence and this wouldn’t be the first time a door was to be slammed in my face.

I’ve had pretty much every job a person can think of.  I’ve worked at a McDonald’s while in high school, a local grocery store chain, an insurance company, a hospital (where I had to perform CPR on an elderly patient who was in cardiac arrest, he ended up dying), a restaurant, a retail store, a printing company, radio station, advertising firm, television station, computer distributor, and a shipping provider.   I’ve handled more adversity than an individual could possibly imagine.  If it was going to happen, especially something bad and/or challenging, then it was going to happen to me.  

Challenge is a word that I’ve learned to laugh at.  It’s a word that I thumb my nose at.   At least it was until I became a mother, and now that bad Ole Challenge is whipping my butt.

I’ve always thought each job had its own separate challenge,  its own thing that made it unique.  I’ve never encountered a challenge as great and difficult as that of being a mother and each day brings on a new challenge.   Some days that challenge seems to build upon itself almost compounding its difficulty and my current challenge is so overwhelming that I’ve found myself wimping out.   I’ve actually broken down into tears over the past couple of days because I can’t seem to handle the simple task of getting my son to take a nap.

I’ve had a long career of handling adversity, of dealing with jerks and people calling me every name in the book.   I’ve dealt with closing million dollar deals that other people couldn’t handle, saving accounts that were pretty much lost, but I can’t seem to handle putting my son down for a nap.   What gives?   And here’s the bad part, if I didn’t know any better I would swear my son was doing it out of spite or perhaps just to get a good laugh out of seeing mommy frantic.  I know that’s not the case, but it still never ceases to amaze me about how small of a task this seems and yet I can’t conquer it.  

Don’t worry.   If there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’m determined.   I will win this battle and my son will gladly start taking his naps.   I just haven’t figured out how I’m going to make this painless.

Guilty as Charged

Never judge a book by its cover and never judge another person until you’ve walked in their shoes.  We can all be self-righteous and feel that our way is the only way, the best way to handle life.   Unfortunately, every situation is different, every family is different, every child is different, with dynamics that many of us have never imagined possible.   Unfortunately, I have always been one of those individuals quick to pass judgment on other parents, especially moms.   Moms always seem to hold the true weight of my judgment.  After all, the mother should be protective, the mother should sacrifice for the health and well-being of her child(s).

This week, I saw two news stories that have hit me hard.   The first was about the mother who covered her children with a blanket, high-tailed it into the family basement and basically laid down on top of her children as the horrific tornadoes ripped through their neighbor.   Their entire brick house was completely demolished (I always thought brick could withstand so much) and ripped from its foundation.   This mother saved the lives of her children but ended up losing a portion of her leg and foot in the process.   Her children came out physically unscathed.   I was moved to tears watching the news story, but I was bit upset about her being dubbed a “hero” for this act.

A mother is a “hero” every single day of her child’s life.   In my not so humble opinion, this mother did what was to be expected as a mother.   If she had not of sacrificed herself for her children, I would have judged her for this.   Children are innocent and unable in a lot of cases to protect themselves.   They deserve a chance and a mother helps to make that chance more precious.  It reminds me of the days when my brother was suffering through leukemia.  My mother sacrificed every part of her life to take care of my brother.   Her world revolved around him and what he needed to continue to maintain some semblance of a normal life, and yet so many people, mothers included, uttered the following words: “How do you do it?”  Are you kidding me?  What else was she supposed to do?  Let her son suffer through this debilitating disease on his own?  No way!  Her job as a mother was to try to give him a chance at a life.  There were still bills to pay, a house to maintain, a job to do, but as a mother you find a way to do it.

I get a lot of my personality from my mother, something that I never thought I would say I was so grateful for.  I’m overprotective, I worry a lot, and I want to sacrifice every part of myself for Davey.  I want so much more for him and my love keeps growing bigger and bigger.   It’s a love and a devotion I’ve never experienced in my life.   I find myself waking at night, especially if I’ve been sleeping deeply, and rushing into his room to check on him.   I’ll hover over him, my shadow casting an ominous figure over him as I watch for the signs of his breathing.   If I find that I can’t see his chest or side or stomach or something moving, I’ll touch his face to make sure it’s warm, even at times putting my finger just under his nose to feel his breathing.   During the day, I don’t leave the room when he’s playing, he’s constantly in my view, so I can’t understand how this next news story could happen.

A three-year old was suffering from what was assumed as the stomach flu.   She wouldn’t eat and was vomiting.   The mother claims her instincts kicked in and she knew something was wrong and she immediately took her daughter into the doctor.  I would question why her instincts didn’t kick in sooner.  At this point, they found that the little girl had swallowed 37 little bead type magnets that her parents had kept on the refrigerator.   The mother claimed that you can’t judge her or her husband because they can’t always watch their child, but that they were overprotective.   Not overprotective enough in my opinion, but I’m trying not to judge as I’m not exactly in their shoes.   A couple of things…why were these magnets on the refrigerator within the little girl’s reach and how did she manage to swallow 37 of these without the parents hearing her cough or choke?

Part of being a mother and a parent is that you have to work hard at it.   You can’t allow yourself to be distracted, never let your guard down and always assume that if it is an impossible feat, your child will find a way to conquer it.   You have to always keep a watchful eye on your kids.  When I’m writing, Davey is sitting right in front of me in my range of sight so that I can be aware of something bad he may get himself into.   Even when he’s napping, I have the baby monitor on, and yet I still don’t trust it.   I find myself going upstairs every few minutes to check on him.   Overprotective?   Maybe.   Sacrificing my life?  You betcha.  Regrets about it?  NOPE!  It’s my job as a mother, and I’m guilty as charged by all the more laid back moms out there.