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the mommyhood memos: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

cross it off your list

How long do you let things sit on your to-do list? 

I am a huge list-maker. I have lists for everything: 

The usual stuff like groceries, errands, and chores that need to be done... but also the emails I need to write, the cards I want to send, the gifts I have to buy, the things I need to remember to talk to my hubs about, the people I want to make an effort to catch up with, issues I want to pray about, subjects I want to write about, meal ideas, books I want to read, things I want to study or learn about, albums I want to listen to or buy, home improvement projects I want to do, movies I want to rent, craft and decorating ideas... ohmygoodness the list of lists goes on and on! As crazy as it sounds, I really do have all these lists going.

I write lists for three reasons: 

  1. I am extremely forgetful and if it's not on a list it might as well not exist. (Why can I never remember that important movie I wanted to see when I'm actually at the video store?)
  2. I need visuals to help me stay organized. (Or should I say get organized?)
  3. I feel accomplished when I get to cross things off my list. (Do you ever put things on your list for the day like "take shower" or "make the bed" or "do the dishes" just so you can cross a few things off and feel accomplished? No? Ohahemme neither...)
  4. I have a baby that constantly interrupts my thought processes. (Will I get to use the "mommy brain" excuse for the rest of my life?)

Ok, make that four reasons.

There are a few things on our "house projects" to-do list that have been there way too long. One of them is to finish the painting that we started in December. 

Yes, December.

When I was eight months pregnant we moved into a new house. The house was awesome except for the fact that it desperately needed to be painted. My hubs and a bunch of friends set to work for an entire weekend getting it looking beautiful while I stayed at our old apartment tackling the packing. They painted the whole inside of the house in 90+ degree heat (add 70-80% humidity) and no air-conditioning. Ugh. Not fun.

They did a fabulous job and the walls and ceilings looked amazing... But we decided to wait and finish up all the detailing and the doors and trim until the winter-time (June/July) when things cooled down (to 70 degrees?). 

And then... winter came.

And then... winter went.


We found ourselves in spring, with temperatures climbing into the mid-80s and the summer fast approaching, and we knew that if we didn't finish up that job pronto, it would soon be worth reasoning to wait again until next winter.

So we decided to get busy.

I can now say that the house-painting is nearly completed. Just one last room to finish on Saturday and we can cross another (giant) thing off of the "house projects" list.

{after being shuffled from the playpen to the jonny jumper to the exersaucer and back
again, by the end of the day levi was incredibly bored and very vocal about it. this was
the only way we could possibly finish up - some mommy multi-tasking at its best!}

We're not always this bad at finishing things... but sometimes.

Dear friends, how about you? Are you a list-maker? Are there certain things that tend to sit on your list for-ev-er? What's one thing that you need to take care of that will bring great satisfaction to strike a big, black line through?

loving a chance to cross things off,

Have you registered your blog here yet?

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

dreaming of a white christmas

{the christmas i'm not dreaming of this year}

I know, I know... first comes Halloween, then comes Thanksgiving, and then I can think about Christmas, right? Wrong.

I cannot get Christmas off of my mind.

Could it be because this will be my first Christmas at home in America in five years?

Could it be that we haven't had a family vacation in almost two years?

Could it be that it will be my husband's first opportunity to have a white Christmas somewhere in Oregon at the foot of the mountains?

Could it be that I can't wait to introduce Levi to snow angels and snowmen and the thrill of sledding down a little kiddy slope?

Could it be that it's early springtime and already 85 degrees here and I just can't wait to wear my knee high boots and jeans, a sweater and a beanie?

Could it be that I just want to see my baby tear into his first gift-wrapped presents (and then no doubt get consumed with the boxes, not the new toys)?

Could it be that I cannot wait to see my brother and my parents and my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and... everyone playing with our growing boy?

Could it be that I'm dying for a Starbucks caramel macchiato?

Could it be that I long to hear the silence of softly falling snow?

Could it be that it's been five years since I've hit up American after-Christmas sales?

Could it be that I miss Oregon chai?

Could it be that I am dying for a little genuine Mexican food?

Could it be that I'm craving the warmth that comes from a crackling fire, rather than the warmth that comes from 80% humidity and 97 degree days?

Could it be that I just love warm cinnamon rolls and coffee on a cold wintry Christmas morning?

Could it be that I can almost feel the excitement of waking up to the stillness that comes with a fresh blanket of an over-night snowfall?

Could it be that I'm looking forward to hearing songs like "Let it Snow" and "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" without sweat dripping down my face and back and everywhere else?

{christmas baking last year at 35 weeks pregnant -
wearing compression socks for my elephant feet/ankles
and as little else as possible. i thought i was gonna die

Could it be that I'm just long over-due for a Christmas at "home"?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and a hundred more yes's. 

Dear mommy-friends, how about you? Are you already dreaming about Christmas?

literally dreaming of a white christmas,

Have you registered your blog here yet?

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

what are you looking forward to?

Moms Who Work is over. {Phew.}

I so enjoyed that series and the array of perspectives from the featured guest bloggers. Many of you commented and emailed me about how the series encouraged, validated, challenged, or inspired you in your positions as moms working in all types of capacities. I'm so, so glad!

You deserve to feel valued... and celebrated.

But now friends... I must admit... it's good to be back, without a series... free to ebb and flow with however my inkling takes me.

I originally thought I would take the two weeks during the series to be able to spend more time writing - you know, banking up some posts... planning ahead... getting my bazillion half-written posts edited and ready for publishing.

And then life happened.

I had some speed bumps, some bruises, some challenges in my personal world that threw me for a loop and left me a little worse for the wear.

But even when life gets tricky, there's always still plenty of beauty to behold if you're looking.

I've had some incredible moments lately...

Being greeted with a little piece of heaven that looks something like this:

And enjoying the moment doing things like this:

And celebrating worthy milestones with things like this:

{levi and ryan's first australian fathers day}

And laughing in amusement at things like this:

{apparently tarzan baby doesn't know the one-shoulder look is so last year}

And getting delightfully messy doing things like this:

And crawling around the kitchen floor capturing "ordinary" moments like this:

But mostly just swooning because of love like this:

So yeah... I don't have any posts "banked" like I'd hoped. {Many drafts, yes, but nothing banked.} But that's okay... I am so looking forward to writing.

Because you know what? I have missed regular writing terribly. I've missed connecting with the part of myself that writing comes from.

So here I am... back

And it. feels. good.

My little fingers clicking, my hard drive filled with new photos, and my brain buzzing with so many ideas waiting to be captured in print. It feels so good. {Oh wait, I've already said that.}

But today friends, today... I just want to say I'm back.

And I'm excited about it.

I'm looking forward to a new month and another chapter... and I'm looking forward to writing it. Because, as plain and simple as it sounds... I love to write.

Dear mommy-friends, what are you looking forward to?

feeling a little bit wistful,

Have you registered your blog here yet?

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Monday, September 27, 2010

who wants to hear from a hunky aussie bloke? (a "daddy chats" vlog)

{This is the final post of the Moms Who Work series.}

Have you met this man yet? The one with the cute Australian accent?

He is my husband... my hunk-o-spunk.

He is the man I adore more than any other man on earth. He looked like this (bright-eyed and suntanned) when we took our trip to Spain last year. (This photo still makes me drool.)

{It's no wonder we came home with an extra family member from that trip... our little souvenir named Levi.}

In wrapping up this series, I asked Ryan to comment on the subject of Moms Who Work. (I didn't ask Levi to comment... but he did anyway.)

This is what they had to say...

What a treasure he is... wouldn't you agree? (Oh, and Levi too.) And what a breath of fresh air to hear from a man with a well-balanced perspective on motherhood (in my opinion at least).

I hope you enjoyed this little video... my first ever vlog. (Well, Ryan's first-ever to be precise.)

We're going to be doing "Daddy Chats" vlogs every now and then on the Memos so that you can hear from a dad's perspective on different parenting topics. So this is the first of (hopefully) many times you'll get to check out my man, hear some good daddy wisdom, and swoon over his good looks and adorable Aussie accent.

Oh, and just so you know... Ryan got all gadgety with this video and added in the intro and closing, complete with the little blurbs of music. I told him to set the bar a little lower so I wouldn't have to measure up next time... but he insisted. He's gadgety like that. And creative. (Plus he'll take any excuse to "play" on his macbook that he can get.) So thanks for that babe. It looks awesome. 

Dear mommy-friends, this brings the Moms Who Work series to a close. What stood out to you most from this series? What is your "take home" message?

grateful to be a mom who works,

The Moms Who Work series:

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

what we wish others knew about being a hard-working mom

{This post is part of the Moms Who Work series.}

Have you ever been misunderstood? 

I know, I know… loaded question. Let me make that question more specific…

Have you ever been misunderstood in your role or decision to work full-time away from home? Or be a stay-at-home mom? Or any other scenario you’ve chosen in regards to your work?

Even though I’m still relatively new to motherhood and staying home with my baby (most of the time at least), I’ve already had many opportunities for people to ask me the question, “What do you DO all day?”

No doubt they mean well—and they truly are curious and want to understand—so I try my best to answer politely in hopes that I can give them the little glimpse that they’re hoping for. But even with my best efforts I don’t think that anyone can ever really understand what a SAHM does all day until they’ve tried it themselves for a period of time.

I, for one, had no idea the amount of time and energy it takes to look after young children full-time, and then try to also keep house, do the shopping, plan meals, maintain some part-time volunteer work, have time for friends, stay well-connected with my extended family, and keep my relationship with my husband thriving. (Not to mention trying to fit in things for myself like prayer, exercise, reading, and other hobbies.)

Even as someone who babysat from the time I was ten years old, nannied infant twins full-time, and then worked in early childhood education for four years, I was still in for a rude awakening in regards to what it’s like to stay home full time with a baby of my own.

Oh. My. Goodness. I have seriously never worked harder in my life. Nor have I ever had to be so deliberate about not losing my marbles.

I desperately wish there was a way to adequately communicate what it is like to those who would like to know. (Let me know if you’ve discovered it.) 

There's also a good handful of other things that I wish people could understand... like why I'm home all day but some days seemingly get absolutely nothing done. Or why it was much easier for me to get my daily dose of Oprah while I was working full-time than it is now that I'm home. Or why cooking a nice dinner after getting home from working all day felt easier than it does now that I'm home and have the opportunity to start preparing even earlier.... I'll stop now, but my list goes on... 

In saying that, I also realize that as a SAHM I can’t fully understand what it’s like being a full-time working mom away from home. Of course that position comes with a completely different set of challenges, not to be downplayed or brushed over. No doubt working moms wish us SAHMs would have better insight into what it’s like for them.

We could all use a little understanding. We could all use a little empathy. After all, ALL moms work hard.

I asked readers what they wished other people knew about the position they are in, whether they are a SAHM, a working mom (away from home), or a work-at-home mom.

Here’s what you had to say…

A Little R&R said... 
I wish they would take seriously what I do. Some people think you work in your PJs and are not professional. I am just as professional as the lady in an’s just my office is in my living room.
(A work-from-home mom.)

Mandy said...
I wish others understood just how much work goes into being a full-time mom. People often say to me, "Oh you’re lucky, you get to just stay at home all day and have fun". And yes, that is true to a certain extent. But it’s not always as glamorous as people make it out to be. There are times when it is just down right frustrating. “A screaming baby, spit up everywhere, a messy house, the dog threw up on the carpet, I have to pee, when was the last time I showered?, oh great someone is knocking at the door and I'm nursing, Ah, I can't reach my phone and I really need to take this call, explosive diapers, more crying..." and the list goes on. It's truly, truly a mess sometimes. But a beautiful mess, and one that I'm so grateful for. 
(A stay-at-home mom who also does photography part-time.)

cooperl788 said... 
I wish that others understood that even though it's a choice to stay home, that I still feel frustrated with my choice, just like every person. I really wish others would understand that I'm busy all day - I don't sit at home and watch soap operas all day. I'm cooking, cleaning, growing my child's mind – homemaking! 
(A stay-at-home mom.)

That I'm still working hard. I'm not just sitting on the couch watching soaps and eating bon bons. I have a lot to get done everyday and that all has to be balanced with taking care of a child that demands all my attention. 
(A stay-at-home mom.)

Kristen T. said... 
It's not a competition! I'm not in a "who is the best mom" competition with stay-at-home moms. Just because I brought in Rice Krispie squares, and you made perfect, uniquely decorated cupcakes -- I'm not a bad mom! 
(A full-time work-away-from-home mom.)

Maryline said... 
Others don't often realize the time I have left to myself is close to zero. I need to sacrifice sleep to fit in the exercising, the blogging, etc. 
(A full-time work-away-from-home mom.)

HRH Mommy said... 
In the Netherlands (where I'm from) moms work and the kids are in day care. The responses I receive from both family and friends are less than supportive when I mention that I'd prefer to be a SAHM. I have a Masters Degree and therefore am expected to work and make $$. After I became a mom that all changed for me. Being a mom is so much more rewarding than the $$ any job would pay. Luckily my hubby is all for me being a SAHM, though at the moment I will be returning to work, simply since things have been slow (hubby is self-employed) and we need the extra $$. 
(A part-time work-away-from-home mom.)

I guess that I just want everyone to understand that I am always doing the best that I can. That I am constantly trying to manage everything. I don't work because I don't like to be a mother, but I do enjoy my job. 
(A full-time work-away-from-home mom.)

KDC Events said... 
Just because I am not at the office and at home, does not mean I am on vacation, having a day off or eating bon bons! I am working just as hard, if not HARDER!!! 
(A part-time work-away-from home mom and part-time work-from-home mom.)

Nya's mom said... 
Umm. I wish that others understood that in choosing to return to work, I did not choose work over my daughter. Both in my real life and online, when I was in the stage of figuring out whether I would return to work, I received some responses from stay-at-home moms who implied that in returning to work, I would be, essentially, putting my self interests over those of my daughter. That hurt!   (A part-time work-away-from home mom and part-time work-from-home mom.)

Further reading in this series:

Dear mommy-friends, can you relate to these moms? What do you wish other moms understood about what you do? Or how about those who aren't moms... like your husbands, bosses, coworkers, single or childless friends, or relatives? And lastly, what can you do to be more gracious and understanding toward other moms who are in a different position than you are?

working at being more gracious,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

hey honey, why don't you stay home with the baby while i go back to work?

By Louise, author of Mommycrat

{This is part of the Moms Who Work series.}

Whether to work or not as a mom is a big decision.  But, when I looked forward to how I saw myself in motherhood, I always saw myself having a career.  Towards that end (and being the planner that I am) I spent some of my 20s getting myself into one that would suit motherhood.  My choice was the Canadian federal public service, which has good parental leave benefits, generously topping up Canada’s Employment Insurance, which provides some benefits for parents to stay home up to a year following the birth of their child. 

My husband is also a public servant, so we decided to split our year, given our jobs allowed it.  I took the first nine months, and he took the last three.  The “uneven” split was due to the fact that we wanted to breastfeed baby for more than six months, if possible (it was).  Obviously, only I could do that.

We knew early on that we were going to split the year as we both wanted the opportunity to be the primary caregiver and get that bonding experience.  We also hoped this would lead to each of us knowing the work required to care for baby, so we’d be better able to share those responsibilities once we were both working.

I'm still happy with the choice.  When we first made it, I had thought nine months was forever.  Heck - I could make a whole other baby in that time!  And I honestly thought I wouldn’t really like staying home.  I thought I might sometimes find it boring and isolating. I quickly learnt how busy it was. A different pace, but busy none the less. It was a break from my work life; but in no way a "break".

And it was a whole new kind of rewarding.  I loved it. In a different life, I now think I could happily have been a stay at home mom. So it was with mixed feelings that I returned to work.  I fought the urge not to regret the choice to split the year.

But now that I’ve been back about two and a half months, I don’t regret it.  Returning to work was easier for me in that I knew baby wasn’t going directly into daycare.  Also, my husband was so excited to start his time at home with her, that I’m glad our jobs allowed it.

In going back to work, I also learnt that some of the expectations I had of him as the “working parent” had sometimes been a bit off. For example, while I miss my daughter while I’m at work, I don’t always have the energy to be the parent “on duty” once I get home, which I’d often expected of him, given I’d been with baby all day and needed a break. 

And, while hubby adjusted really well and quickly to the stay at home role, he certainly now has an appreciation for all the work that involves.  Some amusing memories from my first week back at work involve him asking me if I was aware baby could sometimes take up to 40 minutes to eat lunch?  And did I know she sometimes just REFUSED to take her afternoon nap?

Seeing the roles from both sides has been really valuable.

Another thing I’ve learnt from changing roles was that it’s okay that our parenting styles are different.  After spending over nine months as the parent responsible for pretty much all decisions concerning her life, I had to take a deep breath, let go a bit, and be okay with things being done differently.  For hubby’s time at home, he’s been in charge (like I had been) of making and choosing baby’s food, planning her days, and setting any rules or schedules we both follow. 

Ultimately, I think having both of us have some time home with baby has worked well for us.  I also hope it will work to our benefit when, next week, baby starts daycare and we are both back at work.  I’ll be sure to blog about how that transition goes...

On a final note, the last thing I feared returning to work was that her life would happen without me.  The reality is that much of it does. But I don’t feel any lack of connection.  We continue to have special activities we do together.  For example, I still take her swimming twice a week and I am generally the parent who does the bedtime routine.  We still have “us” time.  And, finally, while ideally it would be better to not have to leave, the excitement in her face when she sees me coming home is one of the best feelings in the world.

Bio: Louise, aka Mommycrat, has been blogging since May 2010 at Mommycrat.  She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and blogs about her thoughts on, and life with, her family and daughter.

Further reading in this series:

Dear mommy-friends, have you ever worked while your husband stayed at home with the kids? How did this work out for your family? While I was still pregnant with Levi, Ryan and I used to "fight" (not really) over who got to stay home with the baby. I won because I have the boobs... but Ryan would love his chance to be a stay-at-home dad for a while. And who knows... maybe one day it will be possible for a period of time. (?!) How about you?

    love hearing about involved dads,

    adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
    do not reproduce without written permission

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