From the Mommy Files…

Archive for May 2011

As I read this article today in the Chicago Tribune, “Mom can’t scrub away guilt left by housekeeper,” I really got to thinking.

With all the demands on the 21st century mom, it’s virtually impossible to do everything.

It’s like we have this Supermom complex.

We drive ourselves batty, trying to be June Cleaver.

T’aint gonna happen, ladies.

Unless you have absolutely nothing else going on in your life, maybe.

Why do we feel guilty about seeking any assistance?

It’s hard for me to ask for help.

I was raised not to.

You deal with what you have and don’t complain.

Do what you can, always do your best.

Yes, it was a “children should be seen and not heard” house.

I keep forgetting I am not a child anymore, and I am to be seen and heard.

And when something isn’t right, or I need something, I need to speak up.

Nevertheless, I feel guilty asking for help.

When I was going through chemo, it was really difficult – still – for me to ask people to watch the kids while I went to treatments.

I don’t know why.

Cause I felt like I needed to handle everything.

It was my responsibility.

And maybe it’s the Supermom thing too.

Yes, I do have house cleaners come twice a month too.

To some, it sounds silly and like I’m lazy since I am at home.

As others, I am compelled to explain why I utilize this service.

That I am not some prissy diva who refuses to get her hands dirty.

Here it goes.

Yes, I am home.

With a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old.

And no family support.

So it’s not like I can say, “Hey mom, can you watch the kids for an hour so I can run an errand?”

Most that have that luxury don’t appreciate it.

I also work from home.

I work a regular part-time (some weeks full-time) job as associate editor/lead writer at The Greek Star.

Which requires some serious creativity in work scheduling.

I’m also writing a book, and doing some other projects.

Then there’s the PTA.

I’m on the board and very involved in my older daughter’s school.

There are kid activities outside of school to coordinate and attend.

There’s spending time teaching my children things, playing with them and tending to their needs.

There’s laundry, cooking, every day cleaning and more.

Let’s not forget, I’m helping to care for my 80 year-old mother, who is not in the best of health.

Each day, I field calls from doctors and other service providers who are assisting us with Mom, so we don’t have to put her in a nursing home.

We live 30 miles away, which with Chicago traffic can be a one hour drive or two.

Sometimes I have to dash out there at a moment’s notice.

I am out at least once a week, coordinating her meds, collecting the mail and taking care of miscellaneous things.

I manage their affairs.

Last, but certainly not least, I am a wife.

Husbands require support, companionship, friendship…

So there are infinite demands on my time.

If I recall correctly, Marion Cunningham didn’t have these types of demands.

Even Claire Huxtable, a successful attorney and mom to a full brood, didn’t have these demands on her time.

Let’s remember that these were fictional moms, and so their lives were not rooted in reality.

My story is not unique.

Yet, I still feel like I have to explain what I do.

And like the moms in Alexa Aguilar’s article, I do cut corners elsewhere to allow for this, which some refer to as “luxury,” but many of us call, “piece of mind.”

Before I had kids, I got a manicure once a month.

I got my eyebrows waxed every 3 weeks.

I got my hair cut and colored every 6 weeks.

I worked out 4 days a week.

I shopped a lot and had great shoes and clothes.

I traveled.

Well, not so much these days.

That brings me to another topic.

Why do we always put ourselves last and don’t do things for ourselves?

But that’s a topic for another day.

Now, while I have 10 more minutes to myself today, I better to get to work.

Some say, “I wish there were more hours in the day.”

If there were, we’d be more tired.

And certainly more busy.

So, ladies.

LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK!

Who cares what anyone says or thinks?

Do what you have to do to make things work, for harmony in your house.

Why be miserable?

There’s always going to be someone who HAS to say something.

They can’t resist.

My money says that either their kids are older, or in day care (which is help by the way!) or maybe they don’t have any.

I could go on and on.

Forget ‘em.

You and your family are first and foremost.

So if some sort of hired help keeps your family running smoothly

By all means do it!

And don’t feel guilty.

You’re just one person.

And frankly, you have more important things to do than worry about what others think.

And clean the house.

Keep in mind that you’re doing your part to help the economy – providing jobs for others.

Oh! I better go throw in a load of laundry.

It’s always a juggle.

Do what works for you.

And feel good about it.

You’re probably thinking, “Huh?”

Yes, I have a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old, and surely you’re wondering, “isn’t that official enough?”

In life we go through certain rites of passage.

Not all moms get pregnant and give birth.

So though that definitely makes you a mom, it’s not the only way. So we won’t start there.

Not all moms breastfeed, but I’ll tell you, when goofy things happen during breastfeeding (I’ll leave that to your imagination), you feel like you’re getting initiated into the club.

Now, when the baby pees on you for the first time – you’ve been christened.

You’re on your way.

The first time the baby spits up or throws up on you – and this is inevitable – you climb a rung on the ladder of mommyhood.


Of course, every milestone your child passes raises your mom status.


There are so many other rites of passage that moms go through.

Like when your child says they hate you and slam the door.

When your child is openly defiant.

When your child has the mother of all meltdowns in a store or at an event, and everyone stops to look at you and seems to judge you.

When you become an officer of the PTA.

Guilty. I’m there too.

When your child stays away from home for the first time.

When your child doesn’t come home on time and you can’t reach them.

Of course, when they get older (read: teenagers) there are certainly more challenges – and those challenges are more complex.

You’re a pro by then. You’re the queen. You rule! I’m not yet in your league.


Now there is another rite of passage that officially earns you your mom stripes.

Years ago I secretly made fun of these moms, that this was so Carol Brady and kinda geeky.

Well, call me Geeky Carol.

That’s me.

The other night I found myself making dwarf hats with Boo for her upcoming class presentation of “Snow White.”

As we finished the first hat – it actually turned out well – I paused.

It hit me.


Oh my gosh!


I’m sewing costumes for the school play!


I’M OFFICIALLY A MOM!


Yes, I bake and cook, share traditions and all that with the kids.

But this is different.

Could I really be – is it possible –  a Martha Stewart mom?

Hoo hoo!

Do I need to go buy some fancy aprons? He he he

Dare I say a “Leave it to Beaver” mom?

I’m feeling a bit giddy here! 😉

Isn’t this something that Marion Cunningham (another “perfect”TV wife/mom) would do? 😉

I’m an old-fashioned domestic diva, and oh-so cool mom!


I’ve been indoctrinated into the club!

I AM M O M, HEAR ME ROAR!


Don’t make fun of me.


I might poke you with my needle as I finish the rest of the hats.

JUST kidding.

This is a family show.


We’re having a great time making them, and coming up with suggestions for the other costumes.

I’VE ARRIVED.


My name is Maria and I’m a MOM!


… And I am loving it!


Yesterday was D-Day –

As in DUE DAY.

Yes, yesterday was my due date for the child that I lost.

I had been thinking about this for weeks.

Both of my girls were born a little early.

The first one at 37 weeks, 2 days; the second at 36 weeks, 4 days.

Most likely the baby would have been born already.

But yesterday was the day.

I joked with myself, reminding myself that May 4 is the birthday of an old boyfriend, and I didn’t want my child to be associated with that day.

Ha!

Fat chance.

It already is.

So how does one commemorate a lost little one?

I didn’t know what the day would bring.

I planned to be busy.

I wanted to be strong, in his honor.

I did say “his.”

Back in December, when I was going through the worst side effects of the chemo, I had a dream.

A beautiful cherub with gossamer wings appeared in front of me.

Hi Mommy,” he said.

“Don’t cry. Don’t be sad. I’m here in Heaven with Jesus. I’m OK and you are going to be OK too.”

I was stunned, as this amazing creature fluttered before me.

I didn’t get to say anything.

In an instant, he was gone.

As I tried to compose myself in the dream, he re-appeared.

“By the way, I’m a boy. Don’t cry! Everything’s going to be OK.”

And he was gone. I woke up.

While driving home from chemo that day, I felt awful and was frustrated that this wasn’t ending fast enough.

I swear I saw something shimmering and white fly past me.

It was the baby angel.

I was reminded of the dream, and instantly felt better.

I’d felt in my heart that the baby was a boy and this dream confirmed it for me.

Before you call me a whacko, you should know I’ve had prophetic dreams before.

Since then, when I’ve had difficult days, I have imagined him in the arms of Jesus, smiling and waving at me.

But I digress.

I didn’t know what the day would have in store.

The night before I’d spent an hour on the phone chatting with Boo’s pregnant Godmother.

She’s due in about 4 weeks.

She’s been gracious enough to “share” her pregnancy with me.

From seeing the awesome ultrasound pictures, to hearing about kicks, doctor appointments and planning the baby’s room, I feel like I’ve been part of the whole process.

Which has meant a lot to me.

We excitedly spoke about the new arrival.

She asked some questions, and I relived the anticipation of my girls’ arrivals.

I didn’t get sad.

It was fun to talk about all that again.

And fun to talk about her impending bundle of joy.

She’s going to be an incredible mom.

I’m so happy for her and can’t wait to meet her little one.

I went to sleep just feeling good for the great conversation with my dear friend.

That morning I woke up and instantly thought of my little angel in Heaven.

I came downstairs, and lit a candle for him, and said a prayer for him by name.

Yes, his name.

I’ve officially given him a name – the name he was supposed to have.

Somehow it made me feel more connected.

It made him seem real.

Staring at the flame, I thought of my precious cherub.

To my surprise, there were no tears.

Only smiles.

My heart just felt so full.

I went about my morning routine, and then the girls woke up.

They greeted me with what seemed to be even bigger smiles, and even greater enthusiasm.

There was so much love in that room.

It was a trouble-free morning – a gift from my girls – though they have no idea.

We took Boo to school, and Bebs and I went to meet a woman from my support group.

Her due day would have been today, however she’s already expecting again.

We had a good chat.

Just like old friends.

She’s 18 weeks along, and I can’t wait to see her with a big belly.

What an exciting time!

We’re also waiting on the birth of another baby – Boo’s friend from school is going to be a big sister anytime now.

So we’re on the baby watch, and I’m finding it positively delightful.

Boo and I have been cheering on her friend, that she’s going to be a great big sister.

Also, Boo wants to have her over for a sleepover so she can teach her all about being a big sister.

That will be a hoot!

As I sat down to write, I poured a glass of wine, and toasted my angel.

He’s here –  in my heart.

This weekend we are going to begin planting our garden.

I’ve decided that I’d like to honor our little one with a tree, or some sort of perennial, that I can nurture and watch grow.

When I’m having a bad day – which I do have every once and a while– I can go out there and talk to it and just look at it.

This plant – a beautiful living, breathing creation of God – will be a live memorial.

A tribute.

This is how I will commemorate my little angel.

And…

Be the best mom that I can be to his sisters and the best wife I can be to his daddy.

Be the best person I can be.

Help others who’ve experienced this type of loss.

And most importantly…

To love.

To live.


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BooBoo BeDoux

Bebs LaRoux

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