Tag Archives: parenting

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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The Mommy Tax

There is a podcast I’ve been aware of for some time, Stuff Mom Never Told You, that is fabulous but I’ve never been what you might call a religious listener. The amount of fabulous content created by the creators of the podcast was so immense that I felt overwhelmed and never really dove in. But, the show has two new hosts so I thought this would be a good time to start tuning in.

The Mommy Tax, which “aired” on May 19, 2017, was just excellent and I wanted to respond at length so I felt that my weekly post would be the best way to do that. Emilie and Bridget  do a really excellent job of giving the perspective we need to understand that women have been penalized professionally for having children for a really long time. Either we couldn’t have careers because we had to care for the children, or we can have careers but it’s not “a good move.” But, having children is a really solid career move for men, who enjoy higher rates of promotions and more raises particularly when they are working hard to be involved dads.

I will stop for a second here to say that I am a white, cis-gendered woman pursuing a M.A.. My husband already has a graduate level degree. We both have really good jobs (him in county administration, me in higher education) and our children reap the benefits associated with having college educated parents. I am not down on anyone for getting a promotion or a raise. Nor am I particularly concerned about my financial well-being as a result of my lower societal status as a woman. This is a very privileged place to be.

This is a very privileged place to be.

More than anything, and why I think it’s important to advocate for equal pay for equal work, flexible work schedules, subsidized quality child care, and a whole host of other things is for my sisters who are single parents or parenting in a same-sex relationship.

quote-paul-wellstone-we-all-do-better-when-we-all-217666

In the course of the podcast, and what I really wanted to talk about, is something Emilie asked. She asks, at one point, what would make the working day easier for working moms. I want to extend that to working parents, because increasingly we see new parents being more equal partners when it comes to parenting.

What would make my time as a working parent a whole lot easier in the short term would be a flexible working day. My dream day is six hours in the office, two hours at home. I bet you have some kind of combo that would make your day, or week, a lot easier. Something else that would make a ton of difference to me would be on-site daycare. I work at a university with an early childhood education program and it makes a whole lot of sense to me that we would capitalize (for lack of a better word) on that program to provide parents with child care and students with a required practicum experience. Heck, how awesome would it be if it was an option for parents who work there to pay for it through a payroll deduction? One less bill to have to worry about paying! Finally, what would help so much is if women who are already in those C-level positions and higher could let go of the mentality that because they got to where they were the hard way the rest of us have to as well. Women, support each other!

I just have to end by encouraging you to listen to Stuff Mom Never Told You. There is a lot of phenomenal content, you’ll learn something new and feel inspired with every episode.

Mother’s Day Love

Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose

Will I ever see thee wed?

I will marry at thy will, sire

At thy will.

American, America

How can we show you how we feel?

You have given us your riches

We love you so.

Love, love, love, love

In the Gospel there is love

Love thy neighbor as thy brother

Love, love love.

 

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, love is definitely on my mind. Some of it is forced, as I peruse through my Facebook news feed and see memes about how the love of a mother is the only true love.

But ultimately, I have been thinking about love a lot because I am a human being who loves other human beings (and my cat).

Merigold - preparing me to embarrass my children since day 1
Merigold – preparing me to embarrass my children since day 1

 

I’ve always thought the way we talk about love is pretty ridiculous. As a society, we hold up romantic love as the pinnacle of “love achievement.”

Valentine’s Day is a billion dollar industry and we invest a lot of our time in celebrating this epitome of romantic love.

 

But there is more to love than just romantic love! I have always said (and I realize the privilege of being able to say this) that I have been “in love” for my entire life.  I have always loved my parents – even when I didn’t show it. I have always loved my siblings – even when I would swing down from the top bunk and kick my sister in the face and then pretend to be asleep when my dad would come to discipline me. For as long as I can remember I have loved our planet and I have tried to take care of it as you might expect from a woman whose father wrote this book ?

With all of that, why do we not celebrate love every day!?

It is true, the love I have for my mother and the love I have as a mother are completely unique.

I truly think that my mother is a remarkable woman. Despite the challenges we had when I was growing up, I have never doubted that my mom would do anything for me.

Indeed, I feel that way about my own daughter. E may infuriate me, hit me in the face (if you have any advice on getting through this phase, please share in the comments!), and give me heart attacks daily because of her daring nature; but let me tell you, I would do anything for my little girl. The love I already feel for A is the same. Although I am sick and tired of being pregnant, I want what is best for her and would do anything to make sure she lives a fulfilled life.

 

What about you? What is your favorite kind of love?

You’ve got to change, change, change the plan

I’ve spend the last six month thinking long and hard about what my goals are for myself in 2016.

To be honest, quite a few things have happened in the last few months.

I decided to throw my hat into the ring for the November 2015 election and I was successful in being elected to a seat on the school board!

I was successful despite doing almost no campaigning owing to the fact that N and I found out we are expecting our second child and I felt that doing no campaigning would be preferable to the slogan “Vote for Rachel Hanson: She Might not Throw Up on You.” And that’s pretty much what was going to happen if I tried to do anything.

Our family went on a delightful Disney Cruise about a month ago – I was definitely grateful for Zofran during that time!

First Day at Sea
We had a really fun time!

You may have also noticed from the picture above that little E is becoming a lot less little! Some of her favorite activities include “dancin'” (we have, of course, introduced The Beegees to help this along), playing with balls, trying to pants mom, and doing pretty much anything that involved Curious George.

 

Her favorite food is pizza (she is her father’s daughter!) and she has recently developed a mean impression of Cookie Monster. Just today she figured out the best way to eat an Oreo (eating the stuff in the middle and the handing the slobber covered cookie portion to your mom).

With all of this, writing has definitely taken a back seat and I think it’s time to get back into the game.

My goal for 2016 is to write a short story every week, probably all around one theme or character, and two blog posts a month.

I think it’s super important to be aware of your limits and I think this goal is 100% manageable for my pregnant, work-away-from-home, mother to a crazy toddler self right now.

Please join my on my journey this year to discover new things about myself, and maybe set some goals of your own!

Introverted Mamas

There are plenty of articles out there about being introverted and parenting an extrovert.

I’ve had my fill of material on how exhausting it is to be needed, in a very physical & emotional way, by the small people in your life.

What I don’t see much of is just how isolating it is to be an introverted parent.

Let’s just start at the beginning with Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted.

Phew, what a ride!

I think being a parent, maybe even particularly a mama, and an introvert is so challenging because we still need people! Everything you read when you were pregnant with your first and still had time for reading was right.

*okay, maybe not all of it*

But all of it about how important it is to make friends who are also parents is right!

The problem here is, it’s hard to make friends at the best of times. It’s a tiring endeavor that leads you to sleep for 8-10 hours.

When you have a baby, you do not have that kind of time and energy. All your time an energy is tied up in this little person that needs SO MUCH from you.

 

Like how many headbands you can wear at once
Like finding out how many headbands you can wear at once

After all that, how can you possibly muster up even one more iota of energy to go to a new mom group? Or to finally introduce yourself to the neighbors?

If you are an extrovert, please take some time to notice the introverts in your life and reach out to them!

We want to be your friends. We love your energy! We enjoy your companionship and ability to commiserate with us when that headband goes from being a headband to a failed attempt at Lt.  Comander Geordi La Forge’s VISOR (ouch!).

And most importantly, we have some pretty incredible things to offer to.

We can provide that calming influence that is so important after you’ve just had poop kicked in your face. We can provide quiet affirmation that it’s okay that you decided to formula feed when you went back to work because pumping is just to damn isolating. And most importantly, when it’s time for our visit to be over because it’s nap time we will absolutely not begrudge you for leaving. After all, we’ve both had our fill.