Friday, June 29, 2007

Retreating from Motherhood

I was speaking with a friend today about the weekend we are about to go on together and our hopes for what it might be. We have signed up for the moms retreat upstate NY, with both Motherhood Later and other moms not from the group.

It's at a place called Peace Village, where the emphasis is on meditation, balance, and living a fulfilled life. This particular weekend, which I helped to plan, is for moms to rejuvenate, learn how spiritual pursuits can enhance their lives, get parenting advice, share....and take a break from home responsibility....without the children (unless you opted for childcare).

We are looking forward, and at the same time, it feels a bit a I'm fleeing or "retreating" from Seth. I know I shouldn't look at it that way. It's just two nights. But, it's weird when you feel guiltily psyched to take a break from motherhood. Although, a big part of the weekend will focus on discussing it, so I'm hardly vanishing the thought from my mind...but I won't have to change pull-ups, etc.

I am really curious to see what other moms have to say in this communal setting. To let it all hang out, so to speak, in a safe, nurturing environment. It will be freeing to empower each other to lose the guilt, and feel a sense of entitlement to self care, whether physical or mental.

Peace Village is a casual, rustic, no frills place, so I don't have to dress to impress which is good. The friend I was chatting with compared it to Club Getaway, where I used to go when I was single. Boy, does that feel like a lifetime ago.

I know there is another person underneath the mom personna I now own, and I hope to recapture her a bit this weekend and bring her home to stay as best I can. Keep your fingers crossed for me (and all us moms), and I'll let you know if she emerged..........

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Graduation Smiles...and Tears

Seth graduated nursery school this week, and it was really touching and special.

He marched into the classroom, leading the other children, wearing a construction paper cap, taking his seat front 'n center. Each child was called up for a diploma, and we were given a glimpse into how they have been spending their time at school.

Chris, the music teacher, led them in two songs they performed. Miles the Crocodile, which they sang, and the Move It, Move It song, as Seth calls it, where they did some head nods and booty (one of Seth's favorite words) shaking. While a bit out of sync, it was one of the few times I have seen Seth endeavor to show some rhythm and stay with the pack. He is usually the one who marches to the beat of his own drum.

Then, the teacher played a power point presentation featuring photos snapped during the year of the kids engaged in various activities. It was so cute to see Seth's little spirit and spit fire personality shine through some of the shots. But, I thought I would lose it when the Whitney Houston song played The Greatest Love of All. I got all choked up.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry through much of it. My little guy is growing up....making friends....learning things.....and I am not the only influencer in his life. He had a really positive experience at school this year, and he'll go here again next year, and I'm so very glad to see how far he has come in his young life. I will always be the proud mama, and knew that I'm an emotional/sensitive person, but there is something about your child that brings that out all the more in you. I better start investing in loads of Kleenix. The waterworks have only just begun.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hormone Cocktail Blues

While I'm getting so much better with mommyhood in general (as long as I have a babysitter coming in 4 hours a day), the physical/mental/emotional part is all jumbled up by hormones constantly in flux. I just stopped pumping breastmilk for baby a week or so ago - something that was an incredibly tough decision fraught with guilt - and now my nearly stable hormones are off the charts.

So the only thing that seems to help is working. I have so many assignments and deadlines now that I can barely breathe, but at least my brain is on a single track: writing. Somehow, work has become my therapy. But while this means I am on the route to being productive, it also means I'm a bit frantic. It is a little like taking speed to pull an all-nighter to complete an assignment only to wake up the next morning with a headache and a chaotic mess instead of the brilliant work you thought you had produced. Someone out there knows what I mean.

Anyway, I may be going back on progesterone for a month to see if it helps to even me out. That is on top of about 8 other vitamins, minerals and supplements I'm taking to try to convince my brain that it should go back to normal instead of staying in hormone overdrive.

Meanwhile, baby turns 1 today. When I say "I can't believe it has been a year," it isn't that "wow, she's already a year - time is going by so quickly" but is more like "I can't believe I've survived a year of this." And I can't believe she has survived a year of me as her mom. I should start saving for her therapy bills!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dad's Appreciation Day

Father's Day is approaching, and I look forward to celebrating the day with Seth and Marc....and we'll see my dad tomorrow for lunch.

I know it shouldn't take a holiday to show appreciation for your mate, but sometimes in the day-to-day of life, it's easy to get caught up in stuff and not really take the time.

While I try to live in the moment, it's not something that comes super easily to me. I often think of doing special things to show my appreciation for Marc....and sometimes I do....but surely not often enough.

I asked Marc what he wanted to do on Father's Day. And, he said, sleep in, go for a bike ride, and possibly spend time walking around the West Village of Manhattan, and eat out.

But, more importantly than what we choose to do, is to step back and really be grateful for what he does for our family and to recognize that not everyone is as fortunate. There are plenty of single moms in this world who work hard doing it on their own. And, there are those in a marriage where their partner might not be all that hands on or emotionally or physically available.

I'm not saying that Marc is perfect...though he is a that is pretty darn good. Mensches (decent person) have always rated high on my list of desirable mate qualities. :)

What I do know is that he loves us with all his heart and that his family comes first, and in the long run, what could be more important than that?!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Couples Night Out Here We Come!!

We have a sitter coming tonight for Seth, and I am psyched. We so rarely get out as couples on the weekend, but tonight we have play tickets with friends. It will be refreshing to have some adult conversation, even though we'll mostly be watching a show.

Before we became parents, Marc & I used to go out with friends often, see shows regularly, etc. Now, since we have a nanny during the week, we mostly hang with Seth on weekends and make plans with other families with children. Don't get me wrong....we do enjoy that too.....but sometimes you just need a childfree evening.

Luckily, Seth has grown to like our weekend babysitter. When he was younger, and we'd leave him, he'd cry and cry. Now he sees it as an opportunity to make it a movie night with the sitter and watch either Cars for the umpteenth time.....or Rescue Heroes. We are so happy they click, and she is very tolerant of his taste in films.

We, unfortunately, don't have family members available to, tomorrow we are actually interviewing a college student who could be a back-up babysitter. We are curious to see how Seth responds to her. We don't like the idea of relying just on one person, in case she's not available. What a job, though, to find someone. I've posted flyers, asked around, etc.....sometimes I feel like I'm looking for a needle in a haystack or mining for gold because it's so hard. But, I guess in a way I am. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of my child....and he is certainly worth his weight in gold.

Do you have a sitter for your child, and was she/he hard to find?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Mommy Meltdown

I didn't know I was truly capable of a Mommy Meltdown....but I have to admit that I had my first this week. In my 40 something years, I have yet to see my temper rage like this. Amazing how kids can really push your buttons.

Seth has been in rare form lately, becoming quite the assertive four year old. Aspiring for great autonomy, he is at times defiant and truly challenging our disciplinary capabilities.

It started with our trip to his make-up gym class, which he refused to participate in, no matter how I tried to coerce him. Then, back at home, he didn't feel like listening, and my frustration level quickly grew until I exploded. I wound up telling him to get out of my face. I felt so awful afterwards but couldn't contain myself in the heat of the moment. My friend, Alli, joked how my remarks will probably lead him to 10 years on the therapy couch, which made me feel even worse. But, then she quickly followed by saying I need to cut myself some slack and that I'm entitled to get angry.

Alli has raised two kids who are now of college age, and she is 52, so I appreciate her wisdom. She made a really interesting suggestion that I'd like to share. When her kids were growing up, she had a big comfy chair that she established as a "special place" where she and her kids could sit when they wanted to share their feelings and clear the air. It was a "safe seat", so to speak, where anything could be revealed. Over the years, it served her well, and she suggested I create such a spot for Seth and I.

With that in mind, I sat Seth down the next day, after I cooled down (and popped a few valium....just kidding). I told him I loved him despite having gotten mad, and that one of the swivel chairs in our living room is now our special seat. Whenever he wants my full attention to talk about something on his mind, he can lead me to the chair, and we'll have a conversation that will go no further than that seat. He seemed to like the idea....though for now....he was more interested in swiveling on the chair like we'll see how this goes.

Have you ever had a Mommy Meltdown?