I am sure many years ago you heard the Stouffer’s ad campaign, Let’s Fix Dinner. The premise is that families who eat together at least once a week have healthier, happier children. I grew up in a family where we ate dinner together, at the table, every night.
My mom made all our food, my siblings and I set the table, and my dad walked into the house after a long day in a suit and tie just as dinner was ready. We sat at the table and talked about our days. We would often stay at the table long after we had finished eating; our conversation had been that enjoyable.
That’s not to say that we never had arguments or hurt feelings or tears at the table. We didn’t always like what my mom made us for dinner. We weren’t always all together, especially as each of us kids grew a little older and a little more busy in the evenings after school. But we are a fairly happy and healthy family.
Being a single mom since pregnancy in a small town where I have friends but not my family (I moved from my original city 6 years ago) has given me some wisdom on the topic. In fact, I get asked very often: “How do you manage it on your own?”
When faced with this question, I’m always quite humble and try not to make a big deal out of it. I mean, come one, many people out there have a much harder time than me. I can´t imagine being a single mom and having to work full time, for example. But it´s true that being alone with a kid all the time has its challenges.
So I organized a few guidelines that had helped me along the way:
1.Trust yourself – All women are designed from birth to be mothers. We have all the physical and psychological apparatus for this role. Be confident that you can do this. Mostly what your child needs is you and you to be there. So, don´t worry, you can do it.
2. Be organized – Make sure you have what you will need at hand before you need it. This means that if you have a small baby, you need his changer ready with diapers and clean clothes at all times. When you bathe him, his towel and cosmetics have to be in place. When you are going to cook, you need the food there. Prepare all you need when the baby is sleeping. Make sure everything is in order.
I’ve had a very uneventful weekend, which is just the way I wanted it! Yesterday I got to spend about one and a half hours playing with my 7-month-old niece while her big brother and mama did some gardening. She’s the most delightful creature! I get so much joy from making her laugh and seeing her do all these new things she’s starting to do. She’s a very happy baby and spends most of her time smiling and giggling, and, let me tell you, it’s some of the best stuff for fixing a dull mood!
I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression recently that has been very disruptive to my life, so much so that I took myself off to the doctor to figure out a plan for getting better, which I am now very slowly-but-surely doing. Anyway, my real point is that, during times when I have these struggles, I tend to isolate myself from friends and gravitate more towards family as they are my net, my extra-support system and so on. My niece and nephews give me a lot of joy and that’s what I need most right now; their giggles and fun. It’s a true pleasure to have such magical bundles of light in my life and I feel very lucky.
There’s thousands of dollars worth of entertainment for my little darlings sitting on shelves and strewn across the floors of our house – planes, trains and automobiles, musical instruments, blocks, balls, and bats – you name it, we probably have it.
The loudest, flashiest toys are the most seductive, all dolled up in their primary colors, those sluts. Julia has this piano that, unless it’s turned off, will suddenly start blinking and screaming out of nowhere.
Dave and I are convinced that the manufacturer secretly set it to start randomly playing on its own in order to lure our children to it, who suck the battery juice from it and force us to go buy more goddamn batteries, which, in turn, makes us wonder why the f*** we haven’t invested in battery stock already.
I didn’t have toys like these when I was a kid. I had crayons and paper, a colander and a kitchen sink full of water and my mom’s pantyhose that I put on my head and pretended the legs were actually my long, flowing locks of hair.
There are many valid reasons for this to happen: I´m a newbie at taking care of a kid (I only held a baby for the first time when I was pregnant and I simply was never around any kid before), I´m very soft and easy to bend in any relationship (it pisses me off my ability to be submissive), and the strongest one must be the fact that I´m really doing it all by myself (no family nearby, and changing countries twice in five years didn´t help much in the support system department).
So, I do have some excuses to be a lousy, permissive mom, but I´m not going to settle for them. I decided I have a last chance to enhance my influence on this kid right now. I only have 1,5 years till she´s 6, and that´s basically when our influence as parents cease dramatically.
How to seal the ability to feel like a complete loser as a mother…meet another mom who seems to have it all together.
Some time ago, I noticed a trend. A lot of mothers were feeling like I did. I felt like I couldn’t do enough, plan enough, clean enough, do the right things with my kids, I couldn’t keep myself up, in shape…I couldn’t keep up with the things that seemed to come effortlessly to other mothers.
I question (as I often do) my ability and decision to be a mother and felt bad for my children that they were stuck with me.
Eventually, I came to the realization that most if not all of us feel like that, even if it’s deeply rooted in some denial place that we can’t “go to”. We all feel like we’re in competition with each other; like there’s some secret contest to see which mom can juggle the best regardless of what’s thrown at them; the contest that awards the winner with admiration and awe from other mothers who only long to have the skills necessary to be her.
Two weeks ago I went to the movies with four other mom-friends. We organized it at a children´s birthday party a few days earlier and then were all set to go for it. We left our homes at 3:30 pm to go to the next city where there are movie theaters. The price to pay to live in a paradise location usually includes not having a movie theater within at least 60 miles.
After watching “Tropa de Elite 2”, a very good Brazilian movie about the criminality, police and corruption inherent to the system in Rio de Janeiro, I told my friends a bit embarrassed that the last time I went to the movies was nine months ago. The other mom-friends haven´t been to a proper movie session in years! Yes, they all made their calculations and three of them haven´t been to the movies in 5 years!
If these mothers haven´t been to the movies in years, you can guess they haven´t done way much more of simple entertaining things like that.
A few weeks back two women who I really respect were having a discussion about making healthy food choices. As far as I know, they are both stay-at-home moms trying to support their families on one salary.
One was raised in a single parent home and one was a single mom herself not too long ago. I tell you all this just to say that both of these women have had unique life experiences. Their discussion centered around whether you could be poor and still eat healthy food, or if being poor meant that you could not afford to eat healthily. Obviously, they both had different opinions.
Both acknowledged it was difficult, but they differed on how possible it was to not have money and still eat healthily.
Then today, I came up upon this article saying that healthy food is a privilege of the rich. it’s not what GED students as myself want to hear! I saved some money because I followed Covcell online GED classes (that I highly recommend), but I am far from being rich!
And it made me think of their discussion all over again. Are those who have a lower socioeconomic level destined to not be able to access healthy nutrition?
It’s been far too long since I’ve done a “Zombie Post” so I’m doing it now. I picked this one for no reason other than I liked it. No rhyme or reason, it just jumped out at me. Enjoy.
Come along for the ride as I take my first stab at the “pretty much world famous”…
Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle. And awaaaaaaay we go!
I’m obviously choosing prompt #2, Before I was a mom…
Before I was a mom, I wanted nothing more than to be one. This could’ve had something to do with the short list of long-term relationships I was involved in. I tried to plan my family with a 7th-grade boy, and come to find out, they don’t take kindly to that sort of thing. Woops.
My last post was about getting Christmas gifts. Well, the holidays are over and we went to see my parents. Sure feeling overwhelmed at times is part of life and I´m no different than anyone on this, but since I´m always aware of looking at things the way I want, I thought it would be convenient to stress on the advantages of traveling alone with a young child.Just like the disadvantages, the advantages can be pretty much applied to everyday life, not simply traveling. But traveling makes some of the things more apparent. Here are some reasons why it´s really nice to travel with a 3-year old:
1. A healthy life-style – while traveling with a child, you will fall into the healthy living of sleeping and waking up early and eating the healthiest food available. When traveling child-free, you might fall into drinking beer everyday at the beach, but with a child, you will much prefer juice that you can both share, plus you need the energy to keep up the pace of your child, so keeping healthy it´s really not an option.