Success

14 years ago, I sat in a Modern Political Theory class at Clemson University. I had just two more semesters left to go before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Communication Studies and Political Science. I was already studying hard for the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and had eager aspirations of attending the University of Maryland in order to get a Master’s Degree in Political Communications. From them on, I was going to attain a job at the State Department and possibly get myself a job somewhere overseas. Then and only then would I consider my life to have been a success. Needless to say, my life didn’t go down that path, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a success.

14 years ago, the thought of a husband and children was not a part of my life’s dream. It didn’t seem to fit into the equation of the goals I’d set for myself. Plus, at that point in my life, being a wife and mother was just ho hum. It was average and there really wasn’t anything spectacular about it. I needed more than just average. There would be no success story found anywhere there, or so I’d told myself.

The past few years of my life have helped me to change my view of what success really is and I’d like to share it with you all, especially for you other mothers out there who are perhaps not doing what you thought you would be doing with your life years ago. I do have my Bachelors Degree from Clemson University and I did manage to go to grad school, albeit not at Maryland, but through Webster University and it wasn’t in Communications, but instead Business Administration. I’m not exactly using any of my degrees at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a success.

I’ve met quite a few mothers who feel that they need to find a way to balance it all in order to be successful. Many of my friends still feel that having that illustrious career is what makes them successful. They feel that the world judges them because they are women who have children and a career. But, here’s an idea…maybe your children could be your career and you could be just as successful at it or more so than at some corporate America job.

The past couple of weeks I’ve found myself reflecting upon my life and the choices I’ve made…where they’ve led me and how I feel about the end result. And here’s what I’ve found, my life is more successful now than I could have ever imagined stationed at some Embassy or political post overseas. How have I come to that you ask? Well, here are a few examples of how I measure success, especially as a stay at home mom to a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 2 & 1/2 month old.

Last week, Davey met one of my former colleagues from my days in Corporate America. He reached out his hand, shook her hand and said, “Nice to meet you.” Success! I have a very well mannered son.

Davey saw another child crying over the weekend at a rugby game. He walks over to the child and says, “It will be alright, would you like to play with Davey?” Success! He’s empathetic and concerned.

Davey walked over to his friend at church on Sunday and began singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with her and even held her hand. Success! He’s learned the words to the song and is such a happy little boy to sing along with his friend.

Every Tuesday morning that I take Davey to school, he immediately walks over to his teachers and hugs them both. Success! I have a loving child.

Every Tuesday that I pick him up from school, he tells all of his friends goodbye, taking the time to hug each one of them. Success! He’s a friend to all.

At every meal, he doesn’t eat until he’s said the blessing and thanked the Lord for what we have. Success! He’s learning the importance of thanking God.

And at least once a day, I’m asked to read Jesus to him, which means Davey would like a Bible story. Success! He’s learning about God!

These are only just a few small examples of what makes me feel successful not only as a mom, but as a woman and as a person in general. I don’t make tens of thousands of dollars and there are days when I feel like my job as a mother is just a complete failure, but when I see my son, outgoing, loving, smart, and well-mannered, I know I’ve been a success. When I see his smile every morning (and Henry’s too), I know that I’ve been the most successful person I could ever be. I’ve birthed two beautiful boys, both inside and out, and I’ve managed to mold them into children who will become successful adults as well. And again, their success won’t necessarily be measured by awards and dollar figures, but more about the character and integrity they have as young men.

I am a success.

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Our Life

When Davey was an infant, it was pretty easy to have quality one on one time with him. Sure, we juggled having quality time with each other, but my husband and I easily found the time for Davey. Adding another little Doser into the fold, makes one on one time with each boy tricky.

Since my husband works 10 plus hours a day, even travelling overnight, it’s become increasingly more difficult for him to find time with each one of his boys. Davey usually got his quality time with daddy in the evenings and at bed time. My husband always bottle fed Davey and would put him to bed every night he was home. There were times I would sit downstairs and listen to my husband talking to Davey and sharing stories with him through the baby monitor. It melted my heart when Davey first started talking and finally said the words, “night night, Daddy. I love you.”

Henry; however, hasn’t gotten the same amount of one on one time with Daddy, but I’m ok with that. My husband? Not so much and he’s working to remedy that. We bottle feed Henry at night just so that we can be sure as to how much food he’s getting, plus I’ve found it’s easier for me to keep him awake when bottle feeding. He sleeps better, which means we all sleep better. Well, for weeks I was responsible for Henry’s bedtime, the complete opposite of how it was with Davey. I told my husband that at this point, Davey realizes a lot more than Henry does and Davey needs his Daddy more than Henry, at least at this point. Davey was and is more aware of when Daddy is and isn’t around. And for those few weeks, I’ve enjoyed my time with Henry.

I would rock him in the rocking chair in his room, with nothing more to light the room than the little night light, and any outside lights that manage to creep through the slits of the blinds. It was and is peaceful in his room and I never really knew how much I was missing when my husband was responsible for Davey’s bedtime every night. I love to stroke Henry’s head, to talk to him about his day, to tell him nursery rhymes, to dream about the future and what he’ll be. Mostly I love telling him stories about my brother, the uncle he’ll never meet. I love watching the shadows on his face and the sucking sound he makes while eating. I love how he tries to hold onto the bottle, how his eyes flutter open, and how he scrunches his toes when he eats. I love how he coos at night while eating and the deep sighs he has when he’s full and has been burped. These are little things I really didn’t get with Davey.

Last week, my husband came up to me and told me that he’s been feeling guilty about the time he spends with Davey and not with Henry. He told me that he wanted to have the same routine that he had with Davey. Of course, he tried to sell it on me by saying that he would take care of both boys at bedtime. Henry goes down at 7:30 and Davey at 8:00. I didn’t need to be sold on it, although I was losing out on something I’d come to cherish and enjoy. It was the right thing to do since I have the boys all day. I conceded, after all how many children out there are growing up without a Daddy? How many children do not have a father who’s willing and eager to spend so much time with them? So, my husband has officially taken over his roll of bedtime Daddy.

I usually bring Davey upstairs shortly before his 8:00 bedtime and put his pajamas on him. Then I enjoy a book or two with him before his Daddy comes in to finish up and tuck him in. I still sneak in to see Henry, to caress his little head at night and kiss him.

I’m thankful and blessed every day to have such wonderful boys in my life and an amazing husband who can’t think of anything happier than spending time with his family. It’s been two months, and we’ve finally hit out groove and routine with both boys. It’s a family life I’ve dreamed about. It’s almost romantic. I can’t think of anything more wonderful or magical than the life God has bestowed upon me. I am lucky and I know it.

Happy Valentine’s Day

We don’t really go all out in our house for Valentine’s Day.   At least, my husband and I never did in the past, and we really don’t now, but since we had Davey, I’ve found the holiday to be a lot more enjoyable.  

Last year, Davey made his first officially Valentine’s and sent them out to my husband’s family who live in NY.   It didn’t require much effort from him, but was fun for me.   You can check the archives to see what we did last year and perhaps use it as a template for what you could make as well.   I know it’s a little late now, but it’s good to save for next year. 

This year, I went a little bit further for Valentine’s Day and actually braved the world of toddler painting and allowed Davey to paint his gifts.   I bought wooden heart frames at A.C. Moore, red washable paint, a couple of paint brushes, and some stickers.   I spread out the newspaper to protect the kitchen table and put a towel in Davey’s chair and let him go to town. 

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After allowing the frames to dry, he put then put stickers on.   I had to restrain myself as he put the stickers on haphazardly, after all this was his project and not mine.   My part was to find the perfect picture, which can be hard to do when you have a two year old who is constantly saying, “no cheese, Mama,” each time you pull a camera out. 

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Fortunately, I found the perfect picture made better by the fact that I converted it into black and white.   Tuesday they were dropped off into the mail before our “epic” snowstorm hit and my in laws received them yesterday!   Perfect timing.  

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So, from the Doser household to yours, we hope you have a wonderfully loving and relaxing day with your Valentine(s).  

A Battle of the Strong-Willed

I’m not going to lose and I’m not going to cave in. I am the parent. I am older. I am wiser and frankly my will and determination are greater than that of my 2 year old, or at least I hope. No wait, it is greater. I will win this battle.

How do you parent a child who is exactly like you? How do you discipline and teach a child who is as hard-headed, stubborn, smart, and strong-willed as you are? I don’t know, but you better bet your Uncle Ronnie’s britches that I’m going to find out and I’m going to do it. I will be the victor.

Lately, Davey is refusing to take naps, to listen to me and my husband, and to behave. Frankly, he’s becoming the spawn of Satan! Last week, while he was suppose to be taking a nap, he instead decided to climb on his dresser, the one thing we don’t have bolted to a wall. Of course, the dresser toppled over on him. We went to the doctor and there were zero injuries. Hopefully, my name wasn’t flagged by the doctor to report to DSS for child endangerment. I ask Davey what was he thinking? What was he doing? He’s remark to me with the most sweet and innocent eyes, “I don’t know, Mama.” Great! He did; however, tell me that he was interested in making his own steps so he pulled the drawers out, staggering them, and tried to climb them and that is why the dresser fell over on him. The kid has ingenuity. I will give him that!

“Davey, did you learn your lesson?”
“Oh, yes, Mama.” And then the next day, I caught him trying to climb MY dresser!

Most days our lives consist of the following:
“Davey, don’t touch that! It will burn you.”
“Ok, Mama.” And then he starts reaching for it again.

“Davey, please don’t climb on that rocking chair. It could flip over on you.”
“Ok, Mama.” And he continues to stand in the chair, draping over the back of it as he rocks harder and harder.

I don’t want to be a so-called “helicopter mom”. You know what sort of mom I’m talking about! Heck, some of you probably ARE helicopter moms. I don’t want to hover over him. I know he will have injuries and I know he must learn on his own, but really? Why is it so hard to just do as I say? Can’t you just understand that everything I’m doing is in your own best interest and I’m not talking just to hear myself speak? Ugh!

I’ve always sworn against the backpacks with the leashes for kids. I’ve always thought they were demeaning and belittled children, not to mention the fact that they seem to take away the child’s sense of dignity. These days? I’m not so concerned about how they make Davey feel. I don’t have the ability to chase after him while carrying a 12 pound infant in a baby carrier. I’m not Wonder Woman, for crying out loud. If wearing a leash makes you feel like a dog, my son, then perhaps you shouldn’t run around like a dog thus forcing me to use the intrepid leash!

Mr. Independent can do everything on his own. “I do it, Mama.” “No, Mama, not hold my hand.” And all of this is occurring as I’m trying to drag him out the door or down the street while his legs have become like wet spaghetti noodles. I actually had to tackle him last week at the gym just so he wouldn’t run out into the parking lot. When I got up with my hysterically laughing child, I was immediately met with looks of shock and consternation from the senior adults in the gym. What I must look like to them! And did their children NEVER do this? According to the glares I was receiving, “no” their children NEVER behaved this way.

We are learning the importance of at least holding mommy’s hand while crossing the street, but not the importance of still taking a nap. Important in the aspect that I NEED some quiet time from the Terrible Twoodler and that really he’s just a better child in the evenings. I will; however, win this battle as well.

Before having children, I used to count the minutes on the clock until it was 5 and I could go home. Now, I just count the minutes on the clock until my husband gets home and even then I’m much too exhausted to really be any fun.

So, as another day is wrapping up, I’m once again faced with a non-sleeping toddler and a 2 month old who doesn’t want to be anywhere except tied to my breast! Oh, I know I will look back on these days with much love, but right now this mama could do with a little respect and R&R.