Mommy Confession: I need a mom tribe

mom-tribeA friend posted another blogger’s post about finding a mom tribe, and it really resonated with me–and numerous others judging by the comments her share received.  You see, I didn’t realize how isolating being a mom can be, nor did I realize how much I would wish for my own mom tribe.

With the birth of BK, our social calendar completely changed.  I didn’t think it would; I underestimated my desire to keep the baby on schedule and to actually get some sleep at night!

Even now when the children are 5 & 3 and their grandparents keep them overnight, my social life is far from what is was pre-children.  Sure, we take the opportunity to get together with friends who don’t have children, but I’m ready to go home and go to bed by 10:00 now!  After 5 years of motherhood, I just want to catch up on some of that sleep those darling Keller Kids have cost me!

For some reason, I also thought that motherhood would instantly unite me with other mothers of children the same age as my children.  I envisioned play dates with several other moms and their children; the children happily playing or crafting away while the we moms sat back, chatted, and proudly watched our little people.  Somehow, that hasn’t been my reality.  For this, I mostly blame my job.  You see, the mom groups in the area that I’ve looked at joining meet during the week–while I’m at work.  So, no magic mom tribe happening there.

Ultimately, I think my lack of mom tribe is my own fault.  I’ve let the treadmill of life get in the way:  we work and run a few errands during the week, and I clean and try to catch up with the household items like a mad lady on the weekends.  Friendships take work, and I’ve completely failed at reaching out to other moms and arranging events.

Some might be wondering what exactly a mom tribe is.  Shoot, I guess I’m kind of wondering that, too, since I don’t actually belong to one!  To me, it’s a group of friends who can bounce parenting ideas off of one another, feel safe that their personal discussions won’t turn into gossip, and who can just get together and have fun!  Ladies who drop by and don’t care that your coffee table is dusty and fingerprint smeared.  Ladies whose children can be just as wild as my own!

I have friends, obviously, but I’ve let those bonds weaken.  That’s on me.  I used to be the planner, and I’ve not been planning too many social events lately.

Of course, I have Mr. Keller, but husbands aren’t really meant to be best friends.  They’re husbands:  a relationship with its own level of emotional intimacy.

I’m developing a plan of attack!  I’m setting up lunch dates with friends.  I’m going to put myself out there and talk to more moms at my children’s events.  I am going to start making more effort, and I sure hope it pays off!  If you feel like me, know that I’m cheering you on, too!  Shoot, if you feel the same way I do, let me know!  We could do lunch or set up a play date with kids!

Mommy Confession #8: Crabby Mommy

I have been a crabby mommy on and off all week.  I’m not proud of it nor do I wish to continue this attitude, but it all really came to a head this morning.

crabby mommy

Not exactly a morning person

BK is not a morning person, and this morning was worse than usual.  His Kindle, though plugged in, did not charge over night, and the battery was dead.  For BK, this was the end of his world.

BK is very routine oriented.  He gets up, uses the restroom, dresses, brushes his teeth, and plays with his Kindle while he eats his breakfast.  There is no deviation from that pattern through out the week. None–except for today.

Today, he had to play with my iPhone rather than his Kindle.  Apparently, it was a fit-inducing, whine down event; I did not handle it well.  In fact, reading back over what I’ve already typed, I’m probably still not handling it well.

I yelled at BK every single time he whined at me this morning.  There was a lot of yelling on my side, and even a few tears from BK.  I found myself incredibly frustrated, which was likely just the tip of the iceberg for what BK was feeling.

Stepping back, I need to learn some lessons from this morning, or I may not like the consequences.

Routine

crabby mommy

a routine lover since birth!

The first issue this morning was clearly that BK’s routine was off.  Since birth, BK has craved routine.  Truly, any changes in his routine have almost always resulted in VERY BAD THINGS.  I tried to mitigate the issue by handing over my phone for him to play, but maybe the real issue is that he expects to play a game or watch a show in the morning.

Hmmm–that’s something to think about.  On the one hand, starting the day off with screen time is probably a bad thing.  On the other hand, I need him to be occupied so that I can get ready and so that I can get MK ready.  What does everyone else do?  Growing up, I know I watched TV in the morning.

My response

My response to BK’s unhappiness this morning was very much lacking.  BK was whining–a lot.  I’m not sure that he even spoke in a normal voice until we arrived at daycare, but I think I made the situation worse.  Each time he whined, I corrected him until it got to the point where I was yelling at him for whining.  Of course, this brought tears.

In the future, I should reset the expectation.  If he whines, I think I should ignore him rather than correct him each time.  If I set the expectation now that I will not respond to him using a whiny voice, this may work.  It also may keep me from becoming increasingly upset.  Really, what’s the value in yelling at an almost 5 year old in a situation like this?

Multi Tasking at Night

Part of what has made me a crabby mommy all week has been the state of the house.  This past weekend was busy, and we’ve had something going on every evening except for Tuesday.  I haven’t even been able to catch up on the Keller Kids’ laundry from this weekend!  On top of that, BK didn’t sleep well earlier this week so when we were home Tuesday evening, I was too tired to do much.

During the week, no matter how busy we are, I really have to spend a few minutes picking up the clutter (mail on the counter, I’m looking at you!).  I can run a load of laundry while I make dinner, and I can spend a few more minutes doing whatever cleaning task is driving me crazy.

I cannot stand a cluttered, dirty home.  It makes my skin crawl.  I know this about myself so I need to spend a few minutes each evening making sure that I’m happy with the state of our home, because we all know that if “mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Getting the kids to bed earlier

Gonna have to hit the sack a little earlier

Gonna have to hit the sack a little earlier

BK has been sooo tired all week.  Clearly, we need to get to bed earlier.  Their bedtime slipped due to a variety of factors all week, and I think it’s a major contributor to BK’s whininess and my status as a crabby mommy.  If I can get the kids to bed on time we all win!

Less Screen time

I hinted at this earlier, but I think less screen time would help.  BK was first upset this morning because his Kindle wouldn’t work.  It threw off his whole routine, but it also demonstrated that he’s way too into that darned thing!  I’m thinking that the entire house could benefit from a no electronic devices weekend.  Of course, with the Super Bowl being Sunday, it won’t entirely work out this weekend, but maybe we could do no electronic devices until Sunday afternoon!

I’m so tired of being a crabby mommy!  I’m going to take action on the ideas I’ve listed above, but mostly, I’m going to go home tonight and give BK lots of snuggles!  That boy should never feel the way I know I made him feel this morning.  There’s no excuse for it.  I’ve got to shed the crabby mommy attitude and just revel in being BK’s mommy.

 

Sidenote:  in case you were wondering where MK was in all of this, she was running around the house with a blanket on her head.  It was equally entertaining and frustrating!

Mommy Confession #5!

Oookay… here it goes:  Mommy Confession #5!  My kids didn’t bathe for a week!  In my defense, last week was incredibly busy; we had an activity that kept us out late every night.  Sure, we could have bathed them in the morning, but let’s get real here!  They were tired!  They needed that extra twenty minutes of sleep!  To be even more honest, I needed those extra 20 minutes of quiet time to wake up just as much as they needed the sleep.

Mommy Confession

Decorating the Christmas tree at Grandma’s house

My kids may or may not have been the smelly kids at their day care (I didn’t notice an odor), but it’s all a trade off.  If I had stuck with our routine and normal schedule, they would have only spent a handful of hours with my siblings who were vising from Texas.  They hadn’t seen their uncle and aunt in months so I stick by my decision.  Slightly dirty children was clearly the better choice in this situation!

Parenting and life are all about trade offs.  We try to squeeze in every minute and every activity that we can, but there are truly only so many hours in the day.  Parents must constantly try to balance work, activities, relationships, house work, and more.  Every evening I feel as though I have to pick between playing with the Keller Kids and doing chores like the dishes.  Unfortunately, doing the dishes usually wins.  One of these days, I’m going to get a dishwasher…

Balancing parenthood and work can also be challenging (I think that’s a post for another day!), and, really, I can’t imagine how many more trade offs we will have to make as the Keller Kids get older and become involved in extracurricular activities.

Mommy Confession

Opening Early Christmas Presents from their uncle and aunt

Finding the right balance is obviously the key.  Choosing to visit with family while still making sure that the Keller Kids get enough sleep was a decision that I made over requiring the Keller Kids to bathe every two days.  Really, it’s not even a very significant trade off.  The Keller Kids got a little dirty, but they were able to build memories that will turn into a family legacy.  Future balancing acts will undoubtedly be a little bit more challenging!

I often think back to my own childhood, and I don’t know how my parents did it!  First, I’m a twin, and I have a younger sibling who is quite a bit younger.  As a result, my parents were constantly pulled in different directions!  We were all three very involved in extracurricular activities, and, of course, they were rarely in the same locations.  Yet, I remember a parent at nearly every one of my activities.  I had a home cooked meal almost every night, our home was well-kept, and all of our basic needs were met.  I sure hope Mr. Keller and I can pull off that same feat!

One last mommy confession today:  this mommy is very worried about balancing work, motherhood, and house hold chores as the Keller Kids get older!!