Tag Archives: children

Recipe for Love

For those of you who are married, I bet you’ve heard the advice “Don’t go to sleep angry” a million times. I am going on the record as saying that I think this particular piece of advice is really stupid.

Based on my own experience, Nateanite and I are more likely to fight when we are tired. Things that seem huge, like our marriage might end over this, seem small and insignificant after a night of decent sleep.  Based on the peer-reviewed literature, sleep deprivation can have a seriously negative impact on our relationships.

I think this is why so many folx say that the years when your children are little are the most challenging. You are both chronically sleep deprived. Babies waking in the night because they’re hungry, getting teeth, or were startled and need to be soothed are common place. A side effect of toddlers’ improved cognitive ability are night terrors.

I have felt the effects of these in recent weeks as A has been cutting some new teeth. Nateanite will tell you, and I will grudgingly confirm, that I have been on edge recently. Several mornings ago, after a particularly challenging night, when he timidly suggested that I treat him with a little respect (not such a tall order for your best friend and love of your life, right?) I angrily said that it was asking “too effing* much.”

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Sometimes you just have to sleep in random places Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Take a deep breath and cue to the next day. Yes, I am tired. So is he. Trying to rise above this I decided to listen in as Nateanite joined me in our efforts to convince E that the cup we gave her to bring to bed had juice in it (it was really water). It was during this time that I developed a recipe for falling back in love during these challenging times.

**Disclaimer: Your relationship needs to be founded on mutual respect, but you’re just experiencing a hiccup. If there is no respect there, please find someone safe to talk to and give you the support you need and deserve.**

Falling in Love With Your Partner

  • 1 effort to back up the other person
  • 1 promise that Batman will protect you over night
  • Multiple expressions of love (as many as you want!)
  • Blowing kisses on your way out the door
  • Wish sweet dreams to your child

Have this conversation with your child or listen to your partner have this conversation with your child as often as you need.

*Maybe this goes without saying, but I am censoring myself here. Not one of my proudest moments.

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Contentment

Every week, Charli over at the Carrot Ranch creates a prompt for 99-word flash fiction. This is my contribution for the week of June 6.

I hope you’ll hop over on Tuesday, June 7 for this week’s compilation about contentment.

Contentment Photo
She was sitting on the deck listening to her children play while holding a steaming cup of coffee as the morning sun shone down as she closed her eyes, drinking in the sensations surrounding her.

“This is what perfect contentment feels like,” she thought.

“Mama, look!” Her toddler exclaimed excitedly.

She expected to see something remarkable. Maybe a butterfly or a squirrel scampering across the lawn.

She was not met with beauty, but danger! The baby had been trying for weeks to pull herself onto the ledge with no success. Today was the day the season of contentment ended.

 

 

Thoughts are falling all around

Ever since I woke up this morning I’ve had a burning desire to blog. But what to blog about? I decided to think about it today and write this evening before I start a comic (somehow I also need to figure out how to draw a little girl bouncing up and down on the abdomen of an adult). Alas, although I have been up since 6:30 am and it is now 8:15 pm I have no idea what I want to write about.  No burning issues I want to give an opinion on. No deep philosophical thoughts that have come to me in the last several days. Indeed, the only exciting thing to happen to me is that my good friend is coming to visit over the weekend and we’re going out clubbing! The planning has been super exciting :D.

With that, I have decided to write briefly about judging. Often I find that if I have a topic in mind I can just write and my thoughts are formulated in that way. 

Throughout my life I thought I understood how challenging it is to be the sole caretaker of small children throughout the day. Indeed, as the oldest of six children I thought I had a very good grasp on this concept. And yet, it has always been slightly baffling to me how often stay-at-home parents never manage to get out of their PJ’s, have a shower, and maybe get into some “regular” clothes. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I just also know that I feel MILES better if I can do those things, even if I’m going to be home all day. 

In my unconscious mind (where, this is all really taking place, I’m just pulling it to the forefront) I gave some slack to parents whose children did not sleep through the night. Seriously, it’s almost impossible for the non-parents among us to actually clean ourselves up when we’re sleep deprived. It’s just too much work.

However, as I drove home today from watching A & E I thought to myself, “Man, I am so tired!” And yet, I slept through the night, had excellent meals, and was adequately caffeinated. What’s worse, when I walked into my apartment I caught a whiff of myself. The faint scent of baby formula (E still drinks it sometimes), new diapers, old diapers, wipes, Desatin, peanut butter, and exhaustion (yes, it has a smell) reached my nostrils. It was then that it hit me. If I was at home with my two young children and I was covered in drool (really, it’s inevitable) with Spaghetti-o sauce, butt cream, and play dough on my pants why would I go to the effort? Even in the 1950’s when June Cleaver with her beautiful pearls was the cultural ideal there were women few and far between that looked like that. 

And so, while this is nothing new to most of you (and really, nothing new to me, just articulated in a slightly different way) I’m glad to have said it. I hope you can remember this the next time you see an exhausted parent pushing their way through the local Target with a screaming child. As with adults, children have minds of their own and it takes a lot of energy to teach them right and wrong. There just isn’t a lot left over for wearing something other than yoga pants.

I am not yet dead . . .

As always happens when it’s been a while since I’ve blogged I feel the need to share this song. That’s right folks . . . “I feel happy, I feel happy!”

In the last month since I shared how difficult it was for me to stay home I have since acquired three (or in some definitions, four) new jobs.   I went from . . .

. . .basically feeling like this . . .

To

. . . wearing a lot of hats!

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love everything that I’m doing. I’m just also reeling from the quick shift from the voice in my head going “Nobody wants you,” to “You’re the most popular kid in school!”  Literally one (or two, if you prefer) of my jobs are at my local middle school. I was hired to be an AVID tutor and once I was hired they begged me to also be a lunch aid.

For those of you who don’t know, AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination and it’s basically a college preparatory program for students in grades 4-12. I work with students in grades 7-9 and it is awesome! I work with them twice a week as a tutor to help them to be academically successful.

In the cafeteria I’m one of the people that makes sure that students in grades 6-8 don’t get into any shenanigans during lunch time. So far it’s been an interesting experience. By far my most interesting experience involved a student in 8th grade spending a considerable amount of time trying to convince me that I was 14 and not 24. Come to think of it, that could be a pretty good comic, hehe.

I consider those two positions to be one job because I do them in the same location (ie, the middle school). But I can see how you could consider them to be two jobs as well :).

In addition to this I am also babysitting two darling children, A & E (A is 4, E is 1) on the days that I am not doing AVID. Their parents are both phenomenal people, nurses at a local hospital, and I really enjoy being able to participate in their family. The parents, J (the mom) and C (the dad) are very relaxed people. Truthfully, I feel really lucky.

Finally, I just started giving piano lessons today! Two little boys, both eight years old. I’m really excited for the unique challenges that both of them will present.

As I get settled into these new positions I’m also getting started back into writing. Paisley has been neglected for far too long and I miss writing comics. I also feel much more comfortable writing about Paisley now that I am spending a fair amount of my time with her peers. And it’s much easier to write comics about your life when there’s actually some life happening to you outside the four walls of your home.

And now to get to writing!

It just means he likes you

A scenario that has played out several time over the course of my life has been on a loop in my head over the last several days.  It goes a little something like this.

7-year-old Rachel: “Mom, (insert boy name here) was really mean to me at school today.”

Mom: “Don’t worry, it just means that he likes you.”

In any given situation the boy in question probably did something relatively small.  Calling me a name (there was a boy named Matt in my kindergarten class that never called me Rachel.  He always substituted a mean name), telling me that my pants looked weird, chasing me and my friends through the playground when we told him to leave us alone.  Just small indicators that they didn’t actually care about what we had to say or our identities.

But now, imagine this scenario.

19-year-old Rachel: “Mom, Jim called me stupid and then forced me to wash his dishes.”

Mom: “Don’t worry, it just means that he likes you a lot.”

Wait, what?  That doesn’t make any sense.

Just let me say, this scenario didn’t actually happen in real life.  I know that if I would have said this to my mom (or dad, for that matter) they would have said, ” Jim is clearly not a good guy.  What can we do to help you get away from him?”

My point here is that as a seven year old a boy being mean meant that he liked me.  As a 19-year-old it is a sign of abuse.  So, I really have two thoughts here.

Thought number one: Why are we setting up our daughters to believe that if a boy is mean to you it means they like you?  That is clearly not the case and I don’t think we should be teaching our kids these things.  As an adult if I believed that mean-ness was a sign of affection I probably would have ended up marrying Jim. You’d be hard pressed to find someone more “affectionate” than him.

Thought number two: Why are we teaching our sons that it is not okay to talk about their feelings?  I feel that it is critical to teach everyone that violence is not an effective way to communicate.