Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Cruise, Part 1 - The Carnival Dream

Dave and I were able to go on a cruise for our (in chronological order) Honeymoon, 1o year anniversary, Mother's Day 2010, my 34th Birthday, and our 11 year Anniversary. :) That's a lot to cover, but it was worth it. We went for 7 days to the Western Caribbean. We went on the Carnival Dream to Cozumel, Mexico, Belize City, Belize, Isla Roatan, Honduras, and Costa Maya, Mexico.
It was a lot harder for me to go on the cruise than I thought, but it was well worth it and I loved, loved, LOVED the quiet time alone with my husband! (click to see some of the first pictures!)

One final mom post, then on to the cruise!

One last thing then I'm probably done. I wanted to mention that I have several friends who have struggled to have children. They have been through unimaginable heart-ache. It makes me angry and frustrated when other people treat their ability to bring children into this world as a right or just something to cross off their "to-do" list. My opinion is that you should cherish a child. Not just be those people who say they love their children, but be those people who truly DO love that they were able to have children. I'm not saying that I'm always as patient as I should be, but I definately appreciate the fact that I have them. Being a parent is not a responsibility that I take lightly. I look at my children daily and wonder how it was possible that God gave ME such an amazing gift and responsibility. To all of my amazing and deserving friends who's life has not allowed them this joy - remember that God is just and merciful - your time will come! To those who have children - be grateful for the crayon on your walls and the handprints on your windows!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stay At Mom - part 2 - from a less emotional view

I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to add a few additional comments. First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for the support comments. I know there are tons of women who stay home with their kids and many are super moms, someday I hope to be more like all of you! I wanted to take a minute and add somethings that I have been thinking of since I posted this post. My point was not that I, personally, want recognition for what I do, but more that I want society to recognize the importance of it. I know that women go to work for a lot of reasons. I know that some need to feel the fulfillment of a career, others do it out of necessity to care for their families. I'm not saying that many don't have legitimate reasons for doing it. I have my reasons for staying home. I will share a few of those but I wanted to add that all reasons aside, we live in a society where we are told to be accepting of everyone no matter what - so why does that NOT apply to people trying to do what they think is right?
I said in my last post that staying home with my kids is the "right thing to do." In a world where the line between right and wrong is so blurred you may wonder what I mean by it being "right." So, here are my reasons... My number one reason for staying home is that a prophet of God said, "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. 'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives-mothers and fathers - will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations. The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded on the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activiites. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred reponsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or tother circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed." That's it. A prophet of God told me that it is my responsibility to care for the children, to nurture them. I can't think of a way to do that except to be WITH them.
I have a degree in psychology. It doesn't mean much, except for the fact that I took a bunch of classes in college and I focussed a lot of them on children and development. One of the things I learned there is that children attach themselves to their primary caregiver. This is the strongest bond created that allows the child to feel safe and secure and aids in proper development. There is a bond that is between parent and child, no matter the daily routine, but the greater bond is between child and primary caregiver. I imagine that if you send your child off to a daycare center, where there are several providers who switch off, the child will fail to attach to anyone and this can have developmental consequences because their physical needs are met, but not many of their emotional needs. If you send the child to someone's home, where there is one provider but lots of children, the child will bond to that provider but not necessarily have all of their emotional needs met. If you have a babysitter, nanny, au pair, etc. come into your home, this is ideal because the child will bond to the provider and usually have more of his or her emotional needs met. In this case, parents will be seen as an authority figure, but not a secure bond, like when I send my kids off to school, they have a similar bond with their teacher. Now what happens to a child who forms this bond with a caregiver and then the provider goes to a different daycare center, the nanny leaves for college, or the parents find a cheaper option? The child will morn a loss, because it's like having a parent die. Then they attach to the next caregiver and it all happens again. I don't think it's fair to the child and not something that they should be put through. My point is that when I say I'm doing the right thing, I mean it's the best choice for my children - or any children. No one can argue that a day care center is AS GOOD AS having a parent stay home. My biggest pet peeve is that people have children with no intention of raising them. It is not the job of a babysitter or the school to teach personal morality. I had an experience this last Spring that I think speaks volumes and makes my point perfectly. I was at the playground with my kids and talking with a friend. At the same park there were 2 nannies who had come to talk while the kids they watched played. One of the boys had brought his bike to ride around the track. This boy, probably around 5 or 6, brought his bike over near me and rode very slowly towards me, he ran into my leg with his bike. I thought maybe he had done it on accident so I ignored him. He then backed his bike up and ran into me again. I looked over my shoulder and saw that the nanny was looking in my general direction but was still talking to her friend. I was annoyed. I softly asked the boy not to run into me again. I watched as the boy backed up and came right towards me again. I was now angry. I leaned down, grabbed his bike and firmly said, "Stop! It is rude and inappropriate to run into people with your bike. You need to stop NOW. Do not do it again." I felt like putting him in timeout, but knew that would never work, I then turned around and saw that the nanny wasn't even watching - it made me angry. I was about to find out who he was and knock on his door to talk to his parents, but he didn't run into me again, so I let it go. If the mom had been there, I am confident that I would not have needed to discipline him. It's late and I need to go to bed so I will leave with this: I agree that there are some women that it would not be better for them to be around their children all day long - it's certainly not easy and not for everyone - those are the families that should consider having a stay at home dad.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My thoughts on being a stay at home mom

I was recently visiting this website and thought that her opening comments echoed my own thoughts. Then, I began thinking about what exactly ARE my thoughts about motherhood and staying at home. I am disappointed when people immediately look down on me because I don't have a job. Apparently, you can't have respect in our society without a career (or a job at McDonalds, both get better responses than being a stay at home mom). I have a job, in fact, I have several. All of them more important that working at McDonalds AND than having a high-income job. The difference is that I don't get paid. A year ago December, I was talking to 2 women who worked at the elementary school. One was expecting her first grandchild and the other her first child. I, too, was expecting - our 4th. The turned to the topic of when the one was going to come back from maternity leave. She said it would be the 3 months offered by the school. I smiled and said, "unless you take one look at that sweet baby and decide you can't ever leave his side, you may never come back." She turned and in a tone that I will never forget but can not be portrayed properly in writing said, "I would never do THAT." The tone was filled with disdain, as if she was saying, "why would I ever lower myself to do THAT kind of thing." I felt attacked, even a little embarrassed and completely not sure what to say. Without trying to sound hurt, I simply said, "Well, I can't imagine letting anyone else see my children take their first steps, say their first words, or any of the other magical moments in their lives." The older one then said, "Oh, well, we working moms tell the babysitters not to tell us when they do those things, just to let us discover it for ourselves so we think it's the first time." Conversation was over and I left feeling a little lost, even a bit defeated. I'm right here, I know I am, so why am I the one that feels bad or wrong? It's the same with everything else in our society, it's backwards (that's another long topic altogether). Well, I'm tired of feeling old fashioned and being told that somehow I'm inferior because I choose to take care of my own children and don't get paid for it. I'm not out to be the most spectacular homemaker in the world (like Stacy) or my kids' coach for every sport on the planet (likeLauren) or a fantastic gourmet cook (like Alexia) or a SuperMom (like Anne) or a perfect house keeper (like just about ALL the other moms I know). My kids will likely have fond memories of me being stressed out because our house was too messy, them not being able to find clothes because the clean ones were piled high on the couch, not yet folded and put away, and that dinner consisted of veggie pasta with cheese dumped on it quickly. They will likely have lots of memories of me at the computer, sending emails, doing church assignments, and checking facebook :) . I know they will remember me getting angry and yelling at them to the point that I have to put myself in time out. I know that their memories won't always be fond ones, but they will ALL have me in them. I will be here when they leave for school, I will be here when they get back. My kids will not always have a clean house but they will always know that I love them. Which brings me to my jobs. What is a mother for? My job is to make sure that I produce moral productive members of society. There's no advanced training, other than a briefing in the hospital of how to keep the baby alive and clean. In my case, I have received on the job training which has included how to take apart and put back together just about everything in the house and I believe I can now withstand any sort of torture known to mankind. I have learned a great many useful things such as: no home should be without duct tape and spackle, no one in their right mind should ever buy Sharpies or crayons, any important document can become scratch paper in a matter of seconds, some things are REALLY easy to flush down the toilet, other things aren't so easy to flush, and most of all, that life just isn't fair, but it is fairly just. Why do I choose to stay home with my kids? Because it's the right thing to do, and because I get paid in hugs and kisses - who can beat that?