Friday, January 23, 2009

Working mom epiphany...

I was sitting on my stoop this week (freezing) contemplating my "working mom dilemma"...since the day I took Luke to daycare four years ago, I have always felt unbelievable moments of overwhelming guilt...multiply that by 3 and you get lots and lots of very weird guilty moments. I get through doesn't last long and I can completely justify being a working mom on so many works for me and it works for our family...nobody else makes me feel guilty about's all me. But when it weighs heavy, it weighs very's funny how as a working mom, I glamorize the stay at home mom's life...sleeping in, hanging out in pj's all day, playing games with the kids who are always so polite and delightful...but I know it's not really like that. I know many stay at home mom's that question themselves...they wonder if they are happy and wonder if they are really contributing to the family (because it's hard to see that sometimes in the day-to-day), I'm really not's difficult no matter what. But on this particular day, I was feeling...for lack of better words...totally defeated....feeling like a bad person for actually enjoying work after 4 days cooped up in the house with everyone. Asking myself...Am I doing the right thing for my kids? Will they hate me for working? How can I do the right thing and what is the right thing? Obviously, the only thing for me to do here is to pray for some clarity...because I am so tired of feeling these feelings and just don't do well with unanswered questions. As I was lost in my thoughts...I actually heard these words...(some of you might not believe it's God...but I totally think it was because it was clear as day) "It does not say anywhere in the Bible that woman should not work." I was dumbstruck for a moment and then the craziest memory came to my mind. When I was a senior in high school...I was sitting in the bleachers on "Senior Award Day" with my best friend, Allison. We were talking about the crazy antics that would go on at our senior beach trip in Myrtle Beach a few days away. In the distance, I heard something was my name! My name was being called for an award...totally shocked...I met the eye of my home economics teacher standing at the podium..she was beaming...I went down red-faced to receive the unknown award...turns out it was the "Virtuous Woman" award. (I went to a Christian School so this is totally appropriate). The award was based on the woman described in Proverbs 31...which is a description of a woman of great virtue(obviously). Now mind you, I was 18 years old...I re-read this passage later to try and figure out why I even got this award and I clearly could not relate...this woman had kids and a husband, not to mention, she just seemed so OLD! It did not apply to me in any way whatsoever....I was young and FREE! However, I have thought about this award and the passage many times through my 20's and 30's...never feeling like I lived up to "her" or even that I ever possibly could. I am actually pretty sure I used the $50 bond that came with the award to pay an electricity bill after college...I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do (kicking myself now for not re-investing it...not so "virtuous woman"). Anyway, after God pointed out this truth to me on my front stoop and this memory appeared so clearly in my mind, I once again re-read the dreaded Proverbs 31 perfectly wonderful Virtuous Woman that I totally believed would never apply to me, but as it turns out, I am her in a lot of ways...very interesting. It suddenly not only applied to me but to every woman out there that I it. She was quite the woman! Obviously, there are some things I need to work on...but this is what it says about her (taken from the Message Bible) "She's up before the dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day..." (this is totally me), "She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden." (sounds like she was in real estate and horticulture, I am not, but clearly, she worked). "First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day" (totally me...except for the 'is in no hurry to call it quits' part), "She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear." (just proved this last week...I didn't "mend" any clothes but I did buy Luke a new warm jacket for the snow day, still applies), "She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops." (she's in fashion...again, not me, but I can shop with the best of them...also, more proof here that she worked), "Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise." (my children and husband bless me beyond measure). Some things to work on here..."When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly" (the part about "always says it kindly" here gets me tripped up), "She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking." (I would definitely not say I was "skilled" in the craft of homemaking, which would explain my total surprise when I got this coveted award, but I am always working on it). So there you have totally applies to me! Hooray. In all of this, I realize, yet again, why I am a Christian. I receive a very perplexing award 22 years ago that comes to mind in a moment when I feel broken...that is what He does...He makes our burden light in our time of need so we can focus on what's actually important and reminds us that He really is in control. What a gift...Proverbs it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our kids will never know...

I know I am writing 2 posts in under 30 minutes, but I must comment on the inauguration that happened on this snowy day in January. In the South, snow is either just barely enough to shut down the city or unpredictably too much and everyone is completely unprepared for, it was just enough for us Southerners to not only shut down every school in a 100 mile radius but made us vulnerable (again) to every Northerners never ending jokes about how silly we are when it comes to weather...sigh! . Needless to say, daycare was closed (yet another guilt piled on to the working mom coming off of maternity leave, but that's another post altogether)...literally, the kids sledded for about an hour total and then it melted. BUT, I did get to watch this historic Inauguration in the comfort of my home...which was truly an incredible sight. I was very sad for the way Bush went out because I think he is a good man with a heart for God and I pray that his decisions will be redeemed in his lifetime. That being said, I am saying all of this about a man I didn't even vote for or that I agree with politically...regardless, I was completely and profoundly touched by the sight of millions of people in Washington and all over the nation glued to their TVs to see the first African American sworn into office. Wow! I don't think I have ever been prouder of our country or loved the United States more. I believe the whole scene sent a very positive message to the world. I have often wondered what it was like for my parents to be in college in Greensboro during the height of the Civil Rights movement and watching Martin Luther King on TV...I think today I know. What spoke louder to me then anything else about the event is that I realized that my children will never know, think or wonder why an African American or any minority cannot be the President of the United States. Hopefully, this is a true turning point in the generation that comes behind us because they literally will not know any different. It was as if the worldview shifted for a second. Even better, try as we might to get the kids to watch...they were just blissfully unaware of it a matter of fact, Luke told me that I could watch the "football game" in the other him, it was just another screaming crowd. I'm glad really that they were unaware...because for them, hopefully, the moment will not be as historical for will just be the way it is and should be...My prayer for Barack is that he will seek God's wisdom in all he says and does...

MLK Weekend

Wow...what a weekend. This weekend has marked our laziest weekend ever since we have had kids. It was cold out, we had firewood and enough food to feed an army. It sounds like we were out on the prairie or something...we weren't on the prairie but we were almost reclusive, which was actually really nice in a lot ways. I have recently made a couple of decisions about our lifestyle based on the economy, the now HUGE weekly daycare check and our general over indulgence over the past few's well over time to rein it all in...I'm inspired by a friend who has decided to see if her family can live on a food budget of $100.00 per month (I mean, do kids really eat that much at 4 and 2 anyway. Ha!). For us, we don't do formal budgets very's kinda like losing weight...I don't need a my jeans fit tells me enough! Just looking at my check book balance plummet and my heart sinking that we have 10 days left until pay day and all we spent it on was food is enough to tell me that we need to do something about it. Anyway, so, I have decided that we need to hunker down for the in and use the stock pile of food in our freezer and pantry until it runs out...which will probably be somewhere around 2011. As of today, we have eaten almost every meal in or taken our lunch for every meal for 10's been "great". There are obviously upsides and downsides to every major decision...
*family time around the table
*obviously, the checking account balance
*cleaner car as there are not crumbs from every fast food place known to man strewn throughout
*not having the temptation to roll into Target and spend another $100 "on our way to eat"
*fulfilling my resolution to cook more and get better at it
*being creative
*cutting out the completely irritating screams that come from the back seat when the sausage biscuit falls apart
*too much family time around the table because little kids really love to draw it all out by standing up, arguing and just plain trying to get out of eating all together
*running the dishwasher over and over
*much more spilled milk, but who's crying over it? that would be me...the cleaner upper
*the "life lessons" that turn into battles such as the one I had with Henry last night about how you are not allowed to tell your potato to "shut up" because you don't like it...we just don't use those words!
*there's just a lot more trash when you are home if we did not have enough already
*the amount of free condiments has been completely wiped out
Overall though, it's been great and I am now on a rampage...I noticed that I told Jon that the kids were "allowed" to eat McDonald's tonight...Did I say that out loud? But really, if you think about it, that's what eating out was for us when we were was a treat...just like when Donny and Marie came on once a was EXCITING! So if you don't see us out and about...come join us at the dinner table...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crock Pot Love...

Am totally in love with my crock pot and we have mended our relationship. I "made" completely wonderful BBQ chicken. It was so, so happy to be back together with my crock pot. Now, I did pick Luke up from daycare and very excitedly told him that we were having his fav...BBQ Chicken. He just looked at me and said, "I don't remember liking BBQ Chicken." I said beaming, "You do like it and if you don't remember, you certainly will!" I went on to remind him of our trip to Traci's and how much he loved it when she made it, etc...he didn't seem to recall and I'm not kidding when I say that this kid remembers EVERYTHING! When we got home...sat down to dinner...he looked at it...put an insty teentsy piece on his fork...raised it to his lips and said..."I really don't remember liking this." He tried a few more teeny pieces and said, "I am pretty sure that I don't like BBQ Chicken now." ***Sigh*** Oh least my crock pot loves me again...all is well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I don't really believe in curses, but I love to say that word out loud rather then's just so...funny but harsh and simpsonlike. Like I said, I don't really believe in curses BUT there are a few things that really seem to "get me"...I can name 2...there is a restaurant in Charlotte that I's kinda Tex Mex and the food is fresh and yummy. Like a lot of restaurants on this street there is limited parking and it's busy. One time I went briefly to meet friends and left after, thankfully, one margarita. I backed smack into a girl who was pulling in. It took me months to go back...the last time I went there for a three hour lunch (because you can do that on maternity leave), which was recent (and with the baby), I came out to a shoe boot on the car. I had no cash and had to hoof it three blocks and back with the baby to the ATM in order to get it freed. I have vowed to never go there again, especially if I drive. The second thing that seems to get me is the crock pot. I know how wonderful these things are, but lets just say...crock pots don't seem to like me. The first time I used one was about two weeks after I got married...trying to be the dutiful wife that can whisk up fabulous recipes for dinner...I tried some random chicken recipe...I also had no idea what I was doing...I think I left it on high or didn't have enough water in it. Rather then coming home to a beautifully orchestrated dinner prepared so easily by his loving wife...Jon rolled into the house and was welcomed by rancid stinky chicken aroma. It was awful and I felt bad...up went the crock pot for a much, much later time. In the past year, I have some girlfriends at work who insisted it was just as easy as pie to cook in a crock pot and I had only made one mistake AND since I was pregnant with my 3rd baby then I should really get to know it again. Instead of just pulling out the old crock pot whom I blamed for the horrid experience...I went out and bought a fantastic new crock pot with all the bells and whistles...I took their advice and tried again with a very simple spaghetti type recipe...came home to completely burned marinara. I mean it was black and crusted to the bottom! It also stunk up the place. I cleaned the thing, ordered pizza and said, never again...the brand new crock pot was ordered to storage and would hopefully be sold for 25 cents at a yard sale in the very near future (heck, I would just give the thing away). Yet...a very good friend of mine told me about a BBQ Chicken recipe that could not go wrong! She told me about it months ago...I ignored her because I knew the history behind my relationship with the crock pot. BUT at our fabulous spa weekend, I must have gotten delirious from the massage because I asked her about it again and decided I would try, try again. How hard can it really, after getting home at 7 and racing around...I went to pluck the new banished crock pot from obscurity in the laundry room. All I could think about was how fabulous my BBQ chicken was going to be and my kids love this stuff and I want to be their hero....then it happened...yet another sign that the crock pot is probably not the best idea. The glass lid slid off the top and literally smashed into a trillion little pieces right in the spot where all living things go barefoot in my house...between the laundry room and kitchen door! CURSES! We have a lot of bare feet in our house and this just proves that I should probably not be doing this! I cleaned, cleaned and cleaned up glass from all over...yelled at the kids for looking at the glass as their eyeballs might burn out at the mere sight of it then ordered them to put their shoes on. Afterward, I fell on the couch, hugged my baby and remembered where my old crock pot was that has a very simple plastic lid...hooray. All is not lost and I will not give up this fight. So, tomorrow awaits...I'm 40 now...surely I can make a meal in this thing! I really want my crock pot to love me....we shall see...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Incredibly Fantastic Birthday Weekend

In my tirade yesterday, I completely forgot to mention my absolutely perfect 40th Birthday weekend at Pinehurst Spa with my dearest friends...I could go on and on about the spa, the rooms, the grounds, the customer service...but when it is all said and done we could have been in a paper box on the side of the road and I would have had a grand time because I was with seven of the people I know that probably know me best. They all make up a piece of my heart and I love them all for it. Cheers to you girls! Oh...must give a shout out to my husband who graciously and without any complaint kept all three boys (with a little help from his mom). I was floored when he bravely took all three to Walmart by himself! I received tons of text messages that comforted me for not being there and assured me that I should just have fun! ...I also got lots and lots of pictures! Thank you Jon...only 10 years to 50 (YIKES!).

Monday, January 12, 2009

OH MY GA....

After a splendid, blissful birthday spa weekend with all my favorite friends...the day to go back to work has come and gone. Let's just say I was GROSSLY ill prepared for getting myself and 3 kids ready for this all started around 3 am when the baby got restless...Henry came rolling in our room around 3:30 am with an armful of stuffed animals and books then Luke followed around 4:00 am ready to watch some of his "shows" (he's 4 and has "shows") 5:30 am I rolled out of bed, showered and went down to make the coffee (thinking at this moment that I really need to figure out how to get this machine to auto make my coffee but only if it could load the coffee, filter and water by itself but who really has time to read the instructions), got bottles labeled, put in a load of laundry, raced upstairs, got dressed, put on make up (which was nowhere to be found until I remembered it was still in my suitcase), raced back down for my very much needed cup of coffee. The filter wasn't in just right and I could hear a very unusual gurgle sound and knew this was going to be the beginning of a crazy day. I cussed and then restocked the coffee maker, raced back up the stairs to get the kids dressed...after the big clothing struggle...we all made it downstairs, had breakfast, brushed teeth, got sippy cups and seemingly packed up the entire house to head to daycare. I stopped myself as I raced through a yellow light on the way and wondered why I was rushing...I touched Jonah's little head as I drove and decided to go the long way and take my was good...the drop off was fabulous. His teacher was sweet to him and the boys smothered him with love before we went to their classes...the beauty here is that they are all together, we are known there at daycare and everyone understood it was a difficult day for me. I had a few weepy moments on the way to work but I walked in and people treated me as if I had never left. Very weird, but good. The minute the clock ticked to 5:00 pm...the race was on! I literally fast-walked to my car, drove like a crazed maniac to get to Luke and Henry (totally rushed them to leave their rooms) and raced to get Jonah...I walked in and he just grinned...I noticed that he was so content...the teacher LOVED him and said he had a great day! Relief washed over me. Off we went home...Jon was working late....I got dinner ready, did puzzle with Henry, begged the kids to eat with forks and to remember say grace as I fed baby. Sidebar here...Luke at dinner said, "Wouldn't it be great if we had a new baby girl [envision my shocked face here trying to stay totally calm] because then I could teach Henry to tie his shoes, Henry could teach Jonah to tie his shoes and then Jonah could teach the baby girl to tie her shoes?"...No lie...I stared at him, no that would not be great at this moment....(but it was really sweet for him to think of it in that way...thought he might also ask me how babies are made so I left the room for a minute while they ate together and discussed shoe tying), cleaned bottles, put a load of laundry in, folded clothes, washed dishes, emptied dishwasher, reloaded dishwasher, secretly wished I could kick dishwasher, picked up toys, went to the grocery store with baby, raced through the grocery with very stinky baby (of course!), got home and unpacked groceries, talked/grunted at wonderful husband about first day was time for the kids to go to bed, held baby, ...another load of laundry, made bottles, got lunch ready for tomorrow, brushed kids teeth, Jon took kids to bed, filled out Luke's reading list, cleaned up dinner, cleaned kitchen, put stuff in the's 11:00 pm and I am just sitting down, still in my work massage yesterday seems like such a distant memory...will begin again in only 6 hours! OH MY GA!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It was a good day...

Am feeling much better then my melancholy day yesterday about going back to work...I talked to my boss for a out of my pajamas...had some good coffee. There really is something to just getting out of bed. Jon told me on Monday that he had planned to take Wednesday, Thursday, Friday initial thought (sorry Jon) was "why?" I mean, it's my last week, I want to be alone in my thoughts of misery and going back to work and seeing Jonah's sad face when I give him up to someone else to be with him for the bulk of the day. I wondered why he didn't get that...BUT, it's a lot harder to stay in bed and wallow in misery when someone else is around...I fought the desire to just lay in bed this morning and let Jon do all the work of getting Luke and Henry ready to go and to deal with all that comes with that. Instead, I got up, showered, got the boys ready and took them to school leaving Jon to "sleep in" with Jonah (saying "sleep in" here because Jonah was wide awake after all the carrying on). The boys and I prayed for their day and off we back still kinda irritated that there was another body in the house...Jon left to take care of something and I suddenly missed him and wished he was here with us...God in all his wisdom showed me that Jonah needs Jon too. I really want to hog him to myself and be alone with it all, but Jon plays probably a bigger role in his life because he's the dad and dad's are as important if not more important then the Moms. When Jon got I went to detail clean out our, most people would grunt and groan over this, but I LOVED IT! I had 2 hours alone while Jon watched the baby and I contemplated how long the little shriveled up Cheerios had been in our car. I was also contemplating an article I read in Cookie Magazine yesterday called "What not to worry about" by Lori Leibovich which was so timely...again in all God's wisdom... what not to worry about...#1 "I don't spend enough time with my kids" quote..."Also, resist the urge to compare yourself to the cookie-baking mothers of misty memories. According to a 2007 University of Maryland study, working moms today spend the same amount of time with their kids as stay-at-home moms did in the 1970s...." So, there you go...I was born in 1969 and my mom stayed home...I'm they will be OK. Now, #2 spoke louder in my ear then anything else..."My messy house is bad for my children"...again debunked..."...there are potential cognitive benefits of a disorderly house." Hooray for me! "When you work or play in a messy space, you get to 'see a lot of things in one place, which can bring about random stimulation', say Freeland. 'That's a big part of stimulation.'" Hooray again! I feel 10 times better about all of top it all off...Henry came home with a necklace and the sign around his neck said, "Henry used the potty today!" See...I have a husband that loves me, a great job and the end of pull-ups are just around the corner (at least for a bit) was a great day and all I had to do was get out of bed...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

All good things must come to an end...

What a crazy, crazy's so crazy that it's hard to even think of what some resolutions might be as we have no idea of what's really to come. At least we had a nice long Christmas, New Year and I am still celebrating the big 4-0! My wonderful husband celebrated 10 days of "Dawnakah" for my birthday. I received 10 days of gifts since the day after Christmas up until January 3rd...who knew he was so clever. Went out to dinner one night and met friends at a local bar on Saturday. The topper is this weekend...spending 2 nights - no kids - at a spa with 7 of my best friends! The downer...on Monday, my glorious 16 weeks of maternity leave is coming to a fast close...I'm sad, but not devastated...I actually enjoy my job so that takes the sting out of it some. My heart breaks at the thought of Jonah's face as I leave him at daycare. The upside here is that I know it's coming and will come prepared with my entire make up bag and some tissue for the ride into work. It's been a great run...I got to know my sweet baby that has a wonderful disposition and an intoxicating giggle. I also got a lot done that now doesn't really matter much but I didn't do too much and really enjoyed the time. The Tupperware cabinet that I cleaned out in September is a mess again. The attic is even messy and I cleaned that out too. It's OK thing I have learned from baby #3 is that you can only do what you can's all going to get messy again anyway so no need to stress over it. I one major indulgence is that we have a maid that comes once a month...she was here yesterday and the house was immaculate...but as I walked on the kitchen floor this morning in bare feet...I stepped squarely on a 2 year olds cracker trail and a nice patch of sticky juice from a leaky sippy cup on my way to the, all the over cleaning will seriously need to come to an end. Needless to say, I am spending the day today in my PJ's...all day...just hanging out and holding the baby, watching movies and eating to my hearts content. Jon has come up with some ideas of "things" for me to do this week...I just stare at the man...sometimes, I really think they don't get it...but he means well and that's what matters. As I contemplate going back to work and the new goals are to:
1) stop cleaning so much
2) give people hope for the future whenever possible
3) play on the floor with my kids when they ask and stop saying "give me a second and I will play with you" when I really mean "give me 20 minutes" because usually the moment passes and they move onto other things
4) pray
5) finish the 5 books that are half started on my night stand
6) cook more...rather, learn to cook better
7) have more date nights
8) remember the importance of having, giving and receiving grace
I think 8 is a good number...anyway Happy Belated New's going to be a good one....back to my movie...