Opinions

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Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 30-10-2012

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I was hanging out with one of my closest girlfriends this morning, and I confided in her that I had semi-regretted a blog post that I had written the night before about yet another night of bedtime drama.  I admitted to her that I had started to feel like a broken record, and that I was beginning to fear that people might question my love for DJ.  I mean, it seems as though lately all I ever do is complain about the ways I wish I could change her…specifically, her relationship with sleep.  I had started to wonder if the people reading my blog ever sat back and thought, “I wonder if she’s stopping to appreciate all of the really wonderful moments.”

I was half-tempted late last night to remove my post.  Or, at least follow it up with an addendum listing all of the incredibly wonderful things about DJ’s personality. I had started to doubt my candor, and had begun feeling as though publicly sharing yet another raw and honest moment about my frustration and exhaustion was a poor choice.  Had I written enough loving, adoring, gushing posts?  Would those positive stories be enough to balance out the hard, hard challenges of late that I share ad nauseum so honestly?

In talking with my friend this morning, she said something that really struck a chord with me.  She said, “I’d like to believe that 99.9% of mothers love their children with their entire being.”  Yes. Yes, most mothers on this planet will lay down their lives for their children without hesitation.  Most mothers will go to the ends of the earth and back to provide for their children.  Most mothers  will sacrifice things that the rest of the world could never comprehend (like their very identities, or their dreams) for the well being of their children.  Most mothers would go without so that their children would never have to.  Most mothers do love their children with all of their being – so why then, do we doubt that love?  Why do we worry whether or not others can see the depths of our own love?

My friend and I decided that when it comes to motherhood, opinions must be replaced with experience.  We realized that it’s the opinions coming from our other mommy friends, from the mom strangers at Target, from our own mothers even, that cast that shuddering shadow of doubt upon us.

“I wouldn’t dream of sleep-training my baby until they’re at least 6 months old,” makes the mother who was forced to place her baby in a crib for medical reasons, feel as though she’s viewed to have loved her child less – that her baby’s best interest wasn’t at heart.

“I would never feed my baby formula,” makes the mom who just couldn’t produce the milk to nourish her baby feel like she’s failed – and I can guarantee you that she’s already beaten herself up plenty, cursing her body for letting her down.

“Your three year old should not still need you to help her fall asleep at night.  Guess she never learned to self-soothe,” makes the mother who has hired various specialists, and who has sat up crying night after night, feel as though she’s not equipped with the inherent skills needed to successfully parent.  She worries endlessly about what else she might not be able to get right.

“I could never put my child in daycare,” makes the already conflicted working mother feel ashamed that her family depends on her income, or feel selfish for rightfully, and otherwise unapologetically, recognizing that her career fulfills her (thus making her a happier, and better, mother for her children)

“Your daughter would do better in a Montessori preschool, because she really has a hard time at school on the days you volunteer,” makes the already exhausted mom worry that her very presence is interfering with her child’s development.  As a result, she questions her involvement in every capacity of her child’s life, and fears that she’s somehow hindering her child.

These statements are simple opinions, but they can sting another mother in profound ways.  We don’t always stop and think about how our words can impact someone else – especially with regard to parenting.  99.9% of us just want what’s best for our children – and 100% of us have our own unique experiences.  I think that if we spoke more from a place of sharing our experiences, and less from a place of trying to force our opinions – then the unspoken bond created through motherhood could increase its power ten-fold.

If I, we, could feel comfortable and safe sharing our darkest moments (even if they are a seemingly broken record), and could be met with encouragement and empathy – then we’d stop losing so much sleep replaying conversations (or blog posts) over and over in our minds and wishing we had only mentioned the good stuff. And while the good stuff is awesome, and necessary, and our most favorite stories to tell – we have to also find the courage to talk about the other stuff.

We have to be good listeners.  We have to stop offering our opinions.  We must meet our fellow mom-sisters in the depths of their heartache, their challenges, their fears, their insecurities – and we must share our own experiences.  Truthfully.  Without fear of judgement.  From our hearts – where that undefinable, infinite, and relentless love for our babies lives.

The Blue Shark

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Posted by Kirsten Patel, Elementary Mommie-on-the-Run | Posted in Kirsten Patel | Posted on 29-03-2012

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I can complain about my mounting pile of to-dos and in the same breath proclaim that I actually like to be busy. I like feeling useful. I like ticking things off my list. Done. Done. Done. But sometimes I’m just plain overwhelmed. I sit and stare at my computer screen without knowing where to start. I curse myself for taking on too much, for saying “yes, sure, no problem, I’ll take care of it.”

I’m overwhelmed this week. My to-do list is long. I’ve been talking about motherhood, thinking about motherhood, working on sharing motherhood, writing about motherhood, fretting over my motherhood choices. I’ve been planning school events, reading emails, writing emails, renewing car registration online, monitoring field status and cancelled practices, rescheduling rained out soccer games, frantically racing to the mall in search of white tights with no embellishments for uniform check day that somehow slipped my mind.

Last night I was forced to simply stop and sit still for 45 minutes.

My son made his debut as the blue shark in the South H Elementary production of Oceans of Fun.

I was forced to stop organizing motherhood and actually live motherhood. And it was marvelous.

 

The Sisterhood of Motherhood

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Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 27-09-2010

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Last week, I got an awesome email from a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in several months.  She is pregnant, and had re-read my birth story and wanted to send me a note of thanks for my support, and to say that she was excited to soon be joining the sisterhood of motherhood.  I had never really thought of motherhood as a type of sisterhood – but it makes complete sense.

Motherhood is what brings long lost friends together, it’s what sparks playgroups with people you had never met before, and it’s what motivates outings with other women who have children the same age as your own.  It is the driving force behind so many efforts that encourage unity.  Motherhood can turn strangers into “sisters.”  Before we know it, we are sharing our deepest, darkest secrets with another mom just because we had found camaraderie over our children’s public tantrum.

However, like in any sisterhood, there are challenges in the relationship.  Sisters can be competitive, caddy, hurtful, insensitive and intolerant.  Sisters can often get so comfortable in their togetherness that they forget to celebrate their uniqueness.  There are moments in motherhood where we feel confident, and moments when we feel completely misunderstood and isolated.  There are moments when we feel as though we’ve joined the coolest club on earth, and other moments when we feel like we’ve been chosen last for the team.

I have realized more and more that motherhood is such a personal journey.  While becoming a mom in and of itself isn’t the story – it’s how long it took for us to conceive, how much weight we gained during pregnancy, how long we labored for, what we felt the moment we set eyes on our baby for the first time, how we approach sleep training, etc. that makes the story.  That’s the part that gives us our identity as a mom – and that’s the part that is largely scrutinized, celebrated, supported or even envied by other moms.

As moms who are already in this club, this sisterhood, we have to remember that there are other women out there who are either chomping at the bit, or are absolutely terrified, to be welcomed into our alliance.   We need to talk of our journey as it relates to us, as an individual.  We need to be mindful that others might not have it as easy as we have, or still others who don’t need to hear about all of our negative experiences.  We just need to be there for each other – with genuinely welcoming and open arms.

This sisterhood of motherhood is not always a place to lead, or teach, or influence.  Sometimes, most of the time really, it’s a place to just “be.”  It should be a safe place to be understood without ever having to say a word.  As I learn, and I grow, and I discover the value of this sisterhood – I realize how delicately we must tread to preserve its sacredness.  Mostly, I have learned this the hard way, by unintentionally hurting my “sisters” by callously sharing my own story as if it were the only version.

If motherhood is truly a sisterhood, then we have got to start treating our comrades like family – offering forgiveness, compassion, kinship, and security.  We’ve got to embrace this community for all of its diversity amidst the fundamental commonplace – we are mothers.  Mothers who love our children and who desperately need the village to help us raise them up.

To All the Moms Who I’ve Ever Scoffed At…..

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Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 16-08-2010

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On Friday, I had a scheduled commitment for 9:30 am.  At 9:00 am, DJ started screaming.  It wasn’t her normal, “I’m hungry,” “I’m tired,” or “I’m frustrated” scream…there was something wrong.  Her face was red, and I could tell she had been pushing to pass a bowel movement.  When I undid her diaper – I was horrified.  “IT” was stuck.  I panicked a little, devised a plan of attack, and began executing operation “Remove Blockage.”  I quickly realized that I would never be able to make it to my appointment on time, and cancelled with only 20 minutes to spare.

I was pretty brief in my reasoning for cancelling, noting that I was having an emergency with DJ.  The person whom I was supposed to meet wasn’t too sympathetic, but I just couldn’t bring myself to explain the situation at hand.  I knew I had disappointed her, and perhaps even compromised the nature of our professional relationship.  However, my only saving grace may very well be that she is 9 months pregnant.  I know that someday, she will understand.

In the grand scheme of things, when we think of “stuck poop,” we don’t think “emergency.”  But, when it’s your inconsolable baby looking to you with a desperate plea for help, putting you in a situation that you have absolutely no idea to handle – you better believe it’s an emergency.  For a few moments, I felt so guilty for being “inconsiderate, and irresponsible” by cancelling, but then my focus turned to my helpless daughter and I knew that she was my priority.  From the day she was born forward, her needs will always come first….and, she will never stop needing me.

Thankfully, I was able to help DJ out of her crappy situation, and within a few hours, even her mood had recovered.  I couldn’t help but give her extra hugs and kisses throughout the day – not only in hopes of helping to comfort her, but also as a way of expressing my gratitude for her trust in me.  She knew that no one but mom could help her out of her pain, and I had to deliver on that faith in me.

As yet another poop situation has passed, I am reminded (in strange, strange ways) about the high calling of motherhood.  We are forced to think on our toes ALL THE TIME, we are forced to disappoint others in an effort to come through for our kids.  We are forced to deal with things like poop without making our children feel that there’s anything gross or abnormal about it.

To all the moms who I’ve ever scoffed at – for being late, for flaking, for not taking a shower, for wearing the same frumpy sweatshirt 4 days in a row, for leaving the house with yogurt hand prints across your back, for crying during a Folger’s commercial, or for thinking that “poop” is an appropriate topic for conversation over wine with a girlfriend….I AM SORRY.  I get it.  I finally get it.

We are the unsung heroes of childhood.

When Does School Start?

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Posted by liafreitas | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 06-07-2010

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There are still 6 weeks until LG starts kindergarten and I totally get why parents count down the days of summer.  I am exhausted!!!  LG still goes to school 3 days a week and I am so glad.  I might die if not for those breaks.

My child has always been a good sleeper.  When she was a baby she went to bed at 6:30 p.m. and slept until 7 a.m.  It was glorious.  Sure she woke in the night sometimes but those I could deal with.  She napped until she was 5!  Most of her friends stopped napping by 3 or 4.  I stopped her at 5 because it was making her stay up too late.  I need my mommy time in the evening.  She now is asleep by 7:30-8 p.m. but she is up at 6 a.m. every morning.  It is killing me.  I am exhausted and ready for bed when she goes down.  Then, of course, I get my second wind and am up way too late each day.

Most of our days are spent at the pool which doesn’t seem too tiring but being in the sun and water all day wears us out.  Not only that, but LG starts doing gymnastics at 7 a.m.  Basically from the time she wakes until the time she passes out at night, my kid goes and goes and goes.  Some days, I have to turn on the TV so that I can nap in peace!

I have started counting down the days until kindergarten starts.  I will be happy to have someone else keeping her busy all day.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE every minute with her but dang that girl wears me out! 44 days and counting…..