Week 2 Going On Week 3

I am so tired.  So so so tired.  I have spent most of the weekend being a vegetable and taking naps whenever I can.  I had a three hour nap on Saturday and a one hour nap today.  And you know what?  The week wasn’t that bad!  My in-laws were staying with us for part of the week and generally made my life easier by entertaining kids, ordering us yummy food and helping clean up and do various chores.  M was off for a few days and got to have a nice visit with his parents which was great.  Of course the kids loved having them here as well so all in all, in-law visit = good. 

School is going to be ok.  I think, actually I am pretty sure, my body is in shock at getting up at the butt crack of dawn and going to work for a million hours and then coming home to be mom/wife.  As soon as my body realizes that this new routine isn’t a joke I think the exhaustion will lessen and I will be able to function at a level somewhat better than a zombie. 

School has brought up the usual confict of emotions in me where I feel aghast at certain parenting styles (or lack thereof) and equally impressed at how present and involved other parents can be.  So, this begs the questions about parenting styles.  I would like to open this up to debate.  I have heard about polar opposite styles such as Free-Range Parenting and Tiger Mother Parenting as well as such ‘Blossoming’ trends as Attachment Parenting and the like (if you get that reference you rock).  There are also such gems as Helicopter Parenting and then just plain old parenting by feel and there is the all too common style of ‘neglect’.  Choose your poison!  Where do you fall in the spectrum?  Do you feel the need to label?  How did you come across your style?  Did you follow in your parents’ footsteps or did you veer away from their example.  Was your parenting style a result of research or advice from friends?

The reason I ask is because we are in a climate of almost too much information.  Every time something new comes up I often get that panicky feeling of not knowing enough and “maybe I should be doing that!”.  I then do a bit of frantic internet research and inevitably revert to what I was already doing.  Very rarely does something come up that makes me question my philosophy in general.  We tell each other everything all the time and most of the time I think that is fantastic.  Sometimes, not so much.  I am usually the queen of TMI and this whole blog was based on the idea of “sharing is caring” and that the more we talk and support one another as moms the stronger we will be.  I might be taking a step back from that …  well, probably not.  But, I am open to questioning my methods.  When I heard of ‘elimination communication’ (when you read your baby’s signals and get them to the potty on time from almost infancy in order to eliminate the use of diapers) I thought to myself initially that I should be able to do that and therefore should implement it immediately.  Then I realized that in no way shape or form would that fit in to my lifestyle and therefore it was not for me or my family.  Diapers it is!  TMI!  I almost need to turn my mommy radar off and stop questioning myself all the time!  But I can’t!

I think that as I have grown in to adulthood and mommyhood there has been a different marketing and information machine for every stage of my life.  When I was in my late teens and early 20s it was MTV or Much Music and Fashion Television that had me enthralled.  Then TLC was born and I was hooked!  Trading Spaces – home decor porn for the early 20s do-it-yourself-ers.  Say Yes To The Dress and a million other wedding shows for my mid-20s.  Baby Story, I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and John and Kate Plus 8 for my fertile and pregnancy years.  Now, it is stuff like Supernanny that has me hooked.  How do other people parent?  What am I missing?  How should I be doing things? 

I guess my MO should be to continue to question but take the information with a grain of salt – especially if the source is TLC or some crazed looking parent at school with a demon-spawn child.  Not that there are any of those in my school. 

How did you and your partners develop your parenting philosophy?

I survived!

Well.  Today marks the end of my first official week back at work with students and the whole shebang.  I am still alive and so are my kids.  My house is still standing and is actually somewhat clean and tidy.  My eldest daughter was only sent to bed early three of the four nights that I worked because of a tantrum and she is warming up to the idea of being back in the dayhome.  When I picked her up today she actually said “I had so much fun at Z’s house today, Mom!”.  This was better than hearing about her being punched in the face earlier this week.  She wasn’t innocent – don’t worry.  She’s not being picked on for all you concerned parties out there.  Still, I wanted to punch the other kid in the face… 

So how come I feel like I am barely hanging on by my fingertips?  Maybe because I am.  I am exhausted beyond belief at the end of each day.  I am trying desperately to spend some quality time with the girls when we finally get home but they are both so wound up/exhausted by being at the dayhome all day that we only get about an hour and a half of good play time and snuggles in before someone starts whining or throwing a shit fit over something like an errant red pepper in her dinner, brushing her teeth and the texture of her replacement duvet because her other one is in the dryer.  R kept insisting that her cover was indeed dry and ‘not wet mama… sob, sob, sob…”  I actually had to lie down on my bed while she was on the potty to have my own tearful moment because I was so tired and had NO energy for any more histrionics.  K has been a bit more cooperative and has only been a bit tearful at the drop off to the dayhome.  That also makes me sad though because she commands so much less attention and time that I fear she is getting swept under the rug because she is an ‘easy baby’.  FML. 

All that being said, I know I have a lot to be grateful for and I am trying to look on the bright side.  I have a great class of kids.  My dayhome lady is lovely.  My husband is super helpful and is a veritable Mr Mom.  He can do it all ladies – mostly better than I can.  And he looks good in jeans.  My teaching partner is a good friend and also has a little one at home so we understand each other in that respect.  All this is good.  I guess I am still in shock that this week wasn’t just for fun.  Instead, this is my new normal and I am just pissed off about it.  I can make the most of it.  My family can have a good life this way.  I know all this – but I want something else.  I want flexibility and time to myself for my family.  I love teaching, but that isn’t all I love.  I love my girls.  Even when they are throwing shit fits.  Maybe not so much when they are throwing actual shit… but that is a different post altogether. 

Kudos to all you working mamas out there and to those mamas who work at home as a mom and as a professional.  Have a drink with me tonight.  I’m gonna have a few…