Mom Time vs Dad Time

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We have been parents for just over three years now. Parents of two for two years in two weeks. And in that time I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the amount of time it takes the Mom and the Dad to do things. Here are two of our most recent examples.

 Going on a Walk.

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Mom Time: One Hour

Pack snacks in individual snack things with no spill lids. Fill individual water bottles and put in wagon. Put shoes on both girls. Put socially acceptable clothes on me. Put shoes back on both girls. Put coats on girls. Put hair in ponytail and sunglasses on. Put shoes back on the little one. Shove extra pacifier into my pocket. Open door and encourage movement toward the wagon in the garage. Wait 7 minutes while they slowly amble to the door and make their way outside. Do not touch the little one to help in anyway or she will yell “no mommy help” and take an additional 3 minutes just to prove to you that she can do it.

Head out for the walk. Get as far as the mailboxes before tantrums, fighting and pleading to hold me mommy begins. Kick some rocks, find a slug, hit your sister and we head back home.

Dad Time: One Hour

Put coats on kids and big boots. Go outside for a walk.  Have a great time with our delightful children. Return one hour later and hand kids over to mom because they are hungry.

Going to a Christmas Party

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Mom Time: 3 hours

The party starts at 6 so take a shower at 3. Dry your hair while alternating blowing hot air at your children with the dryer to keep them entertained and out of your good makeup. Run after your 3 year old, while still in your towel, who has run off with your dress to partly be funny, partly be naughty and partly to dress like mommy, and hope the neighbors can’t see you. Feed the children big late snacks so that they aren’t too grumpy before we can eat at the party. Put the little ones dress on. Put your own dress on. Do your make up while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and swatting little hands to keep said big snack off of your party dress. Put the older ones dress on. Make first attempt to do daughters hair. Do half of your own hair. Make second attempt to do daughters hair, be successful with one out of two. Finish your hair. Third and final attempt to do other daughters hair, be mostly successful. Put shoes on everyone. Get everyone into the car. Run back inside to grab a bottle, lipstick and take a final look the mirror only to discover you don’t like your party dress after all. Make a quick change and run to join your family in the car. Enjoy the party.

Dad Time: 28 Minutes

Party starts at 6 so work in the yard then fiddle in the garage. Tell the little one she looks pretty in her party dress. Shower at 5:18. Tell the other daughter she also looks pretty and that you like her hair.  Catch the end of the game. Get dressed and into the car. Wait for wife who is doing who knows what. Tell her she looks pretty too. Enjoy the party.

Disclaimer: I think mothers and fathers play distinct and different roles in the lives of our children. In no way do I expect my husband to be as sensitive and pack as many snacks as I do. And in return, he does not expect me to never pack diapers or to have the whole family actually ready for an event in 15 minutes.  We fulfill our unique rolls differently…and on different time tables.

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Repeat After Me

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Repeat after me:
I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.
I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids
I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.
I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.
I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.
I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.
I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.
I pray to that God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.
I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.
I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.
I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.
~ with love from one tired mother to another.

Hey Parents, don’t dress your girls as tramps

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This first trimester has rocked my world, and not in the awesome sort of way. I have been more exausted than I ever remember being before and the morning sickness has been any time all day all week and even in the middle of the night sickness. Mercifully, this trimester is coming to a close and the sickness has subsided and sometimes I can stay awake until 9 at night, and thats a long way past 7:30.  So in an attempt to get back on my blogging feet here is one of my favorite old posts by LZ Ganderson.

An article worth sharing in my parenting opinion. This one is written by a father, LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN’s “Sports Center,” “Outside the Lines” and “First Take. Here are his words about they way some people dress our little girls.

I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.
Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie “10” (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her “Xtina” phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.
You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word “Juicy” was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. … I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she’s not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the “Ashley,” a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they’re pedophiles?

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?
That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer’s breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don’t have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they’re potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We’ve been here with Abercrombie before — if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds — but they’re hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular “Bratz” franchise introduced padded bras called “bralettes” for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase “Who Needs Credit Cards” printed on the front.

I guess I’ve been out-of-the-loop and didn’t realize there’s been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What’s that you say? Ten-year-olds can’t drive? They don’t have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn’t be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, “She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top.”

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we’ve all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.
And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the “Ashley”, the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergarteners if they didn’t think people would buy it.

If they didn’t think parents would buy it, which begs the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?

It’s easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what’s appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna’s really popular. But that’s a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, “No, and that’s the end of it.”

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he’ll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn’t allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I’m a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I’m just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There’s nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don’t know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

I’m not even sure I want it all

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One week from today my first born baby turns three. That means that next year she is in preschool and then in two years she is in kindergarten and our entire schedule changes. Its going so fast that its gotten me thinking…maybe I don’t really want it all after all.

As a woman who once found much of my identity from my work I have often sampled the punch that says “You can have it all” and  tasted the stronger punch that says “You should have it all” and toasted with the top tier spiked punch that says “You should want to have it all!”

The trouble is that when I feel like I don’t actually want it all I feel guilty, like I need to keep it a secret, or that I’m not enough of a modern woman or enough of a mother if I don’t want more right now.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately from women who have already raised their children that yes, they believe that you can have it all, just not at the same time. I think I’m finally feeling comfortable with that. My first baby will be three years old in one week and I’m finally buying into this idea that I don’t need to have it all right now, and I might not even want it.

Growing up all I ever really wanted to be was a mother. I mean, I had other dreams that I pursued and was succesful at like singing in the state choirs in high school and going to college on a theater scholarship then moving two weeks after graduation to live by myself in LA and be a working actor. ( I’ll talk more about that some other time) But in my heart of hearts, the dream I dreamt with each passing daydream was that of being a wife and a mother.

Now that its here, now that I have those cherished moments of your toddler hugging your leg or running to greet you with tiny fast feet and a big toothy grin, having memorable conversations with my 2 year old about heaven and why puppies have four feet but we have two, and begin so blessed with the honor of being someone’s mother, I feel like I’m supoosed to want more.

And I just don’t think I do.

There will be time to run that marathon and train for that second Tri when my children are in school for 8 hours a day. There will be time to be an influencer in the blogging community. There will be time to publish my line of childrens books that is floating around in my mind, but its not all right now.

Right now is my time to have these tiny children all to myself and to have our schedule be as free as a Jay Birds, except of course for our nap schedule.

I love to write and have taken my first tiny steps towards my dream of a writing career with my MomopolySarah blog and my first writing contract with Today’s Mamas, and that is going to be enough for me and my heart and my young family right now.

If that makes me less of a modern women than so be it. I am fine with that today. I mean, wasn’t the entire Women’s Lib movement about we women having the freedom to make any choice we want to make? So today, I choose to be the mom I’ve always dreamt of being and choose to continue to dream of being a marathon runner and a big time blogger down the road.

Let it be known that my parents are business owners and my mother worked every hour of every day and many holidays my whole life. So I have no qualms about working mothers, nor do I believe that one way it better than the other. For many of those years I was dreaming of being a mom I dreamt of being a working mom, but then I married and had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and I am very grateful for that, since its suits me and our family so well.

One of the best parts about being a Mother is that we each get to be exactly the type of mother we want to be. So make your own choice today to be the mother you’ve always wanted to be. Be it a high powered CEO, a nurse that works nights, a teacher, a pastry chef that works early mornings, a Mother Runner who pushes three kids in a BOB stroller made for two, be it whatever it may, be the mother of your own dreams starting today.

September Memories by GrandMomopoly Beth

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September  Memories

“In the end. it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” Abraham Lincoln

As September rolls around, I am reminded that both my Mother and my Father  were born in September, 1907.. My Mother on the 13th. My Dad on the 18th.  He always said that he married an older woman!!

The last time I saw my Mother was in September of 1979. They surprised me with a visit on their way home from a train trip across Canada and the US.  I still see them standing in the window of the train waving to me as they pulled away..

I was 30 years old with a 6 yr old, a 2 yr old and a newborn… getting the oldest ready for school the Monday morning of October 22, 1979.. The phone rang. My sister was on the other end.. “Mother’s gone”, she said. Mother was 72.

Mother was a truly amazing woman. Grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. A Nurse, Pastor’s wife Mother, lover of people and lover of her family. Mother went back  to work at age 55 after not working for 35 years. She took an RN refresher course , renewed her license and learned to drive a car all in the same year. She had always been there for me..

Now she was gone..

She left so many memories. How to dry 2 dishes at the same time, how to iron a man’s shirt, How to respond( or not respond) when someone spoke poorly of you . How to live within your means, especially when your means was meager. Mostly she taught me how to love unconditionally. She always saw the best in those around her and she loved me…

Mother’s death changed my life.. How I look at death.. “It can’t be that bad, Mother did it” to how I raised my Children and lived my life.. I also had to grow up and be an adult.. Cause now I was the Mom, not the child.

What would I leave behind?  What memories would my children have of me? Would it matter, when I die, That I had lived?

Losing my  Mother at a young age was incredibly hard for me. Just this year, 33 years later I wished I could talk to her a get her advice.. But it was also such a blessing  in forcing me to face hard things and live through them.. to accept that all life ends and that death is certain.

This September,  our  family is again looking the end of life square in the face.. Two precious women  are preparing  to step into the venture of eternity.. One , at 89 has lived many fruitful  years, raised a family, seen her grandchildren grow up and has seen 7 Great grandchildren born  with 2 more on the way.  She has served her God, her family and her community. She leaves a legacy of commitment, music and faith.

The other is a beautiful  55 year mother of 3 adult children whose journey   we had hoped would be much longer.. Wonderful wife, Mother, friend..with a tremendous sense of humor. Raised Godly children in a very anti God environment… Her legacy is family, friends and champion of the underdog..

Beautiful and funny . ( editors note: Our family lost our lovely Janna to Ovarian Cancer on September 9th 2012)

Again, today.. How do I live my life? What legacy will I leave behind? What will my children, grandchildren and friends say how I impacted their lives..?

” Take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest, And the gold and brown of the freshly mown hay; Add the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn, and weave you a lovely today..for

We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand; Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, But we have this moment today.”  Gaither Vocal Band

Live purposely so your legacy will be one that makes September memories.

Life is amazingly Good