Tag Archives: parenthood

Guilt Free Saturday-What Not to Wear

Welcome to Guilt Free Saturday:The Long Weekend Edition.
Or, perhaps I should call this the “What Not to Wear” edition.

Are you familiar with “What Not to Wear”? If not, you are missing out. Here is a short synopsis: Stacey and Clinton work makeover magic in one week with a $5000 shopping spree on a fashion disaster that has been nominated by friends and family. The nominee has to surrender all their clothes and shop in NYC by Stacey and Clinton’s rules.

This past Saturday, I could totally hear Stacey and Clinton yelling at me.

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See, they give each nominee a set of rules that assists that person in finding clothes that are practical, comfortable, fashionable, and figure-flattering. Most of these rules change to fit the nominee, except for one: when you leave the house, WEAR REAL CLOTHES. No pajamas. Nothing you would wear to paint the house or to work out at the gym.

Now, I am hardly a diva. Or even high maintenance. To be honest, I rarely do normal things like comb my hair (I wish I was joking, but hey, I have curly hair. Combing it sometimes is a bad scene.) However, I always wear real clothes when I go out. Oh, and shower. It is part of my self-care. It is part of my, “Even though I am a mom I can still look young and cute,” needs.

But…

This Saturday, I majorly broke that rule.

I was tired. My daughter is on this new kick up waking up at 5:45 AM and not going back to sleep. We had to do a major shopping trip at Wal-Mart. I was comfy. I was like, you know what, SORRY Stacey and Clinton, I am about to become a mom stereotype. Out I went, in my electric green fleece pants and hooded sweatshirt and snow boots. Unwashed hair in a ponytail.

I did not feel one bit guilty. Or as if I was “letting myself go,” as my mother (who, by the way, has NEVER left the house in pajamas in her entire life. Or sweatpants.) would say. It’s Saturday. I dress for work every day of the week. I’m not a person you have to worry about showing up for a wedding in jeans. I just needed a day off.

Emboldened by my success in non-real clothes wearing, I decided to push the envelope. After we went shopping, I took my daughter to McDonalds’, to the giant Play Place that is five minutes from our house. Where, I would like to say, I was NOT the only mom not wearing real clothes AND some dude hit on me and was like, “I used to be a police officer!” (Ummm, that’s nice. You obviously didn’t do a ring check, dude.)

Eat that, Stacey and Clinton. Even in my pajamas in public, I still got it.

Mom-cation

This post is coming to you in celebration of my spontaneous Mom-cation!
What is a Mom-cation, you ask?

A Mom-cation is an unexpected period of time when there are no immediate, pressing responsibilities competing for your attention, your child is otherwise occupied (mine is napping) and you are actually free to relax.

Generally, Mom-cations are unexpected. Today, I came home from work unusually early. Just in time to put my child down for a nap! I threw in a load of laundry. And I am now lying on my couch, watching some show about sausages on the Travel Channel and typing this. Oh, and eating caramel popcorn with dark chocolate, cashews, and almonds, which I totally recommend.

Mom-cations are, I believe, a necessity. For most of us, there is always something that MUST be done. A child to watch, a meal to cook, a meeting to attend, a client to see. Most exhaustingly, there is always someone to engage with. Those moments when not only do you not have to do anything, but you don’t have to interact with anyone, are precious, and few and far between.

I have a pre-plan in my head for my Mom-cations. Three, actually. In the winter, I do what I am doing now-lie on the couch, watch TV only I like, and fart around on my iPad. In the summer, I go outside and stay in range of my baby monitor (if my child is sleeping and home) and read. If I am not at home and am, say, in-between appointments, I go to a book store. With my pre-plans, I can relax, QUICK, for the 35 minutes I usually have.

I encourage you to plan for your Mom-cations. I am going to go enjoy the precious few minutes I have left!

Guilt Free Saturday: Anything Goes

It’s Saturday, before noon! In an amazing twist of fate, my child slept through the entire night last night! This is especially amazing because she has a cold!

Naturally, she was up at 6 AM, ready to go.

A quick aside-I am going to save these posts for when she is a teenager and sleeps till noon and I am all bent out of shape. It will remind me to lighten up and go back to bed and be grateful she can use a toilet.

We are now having a “nice nappy” (that’s the vernacular around here) but whoa. Did we ever have a morning.

Before 7 AM, in the 30 seconds it took me to grab some coffee, my daughter managed to brush her hair with the toilet brush. Thank god she also currently has a hand washing fascination.
We played coloring.
Then, she demanded hummus, crackers, and olives for breakfast. She consumed about 3 bites, then said she was done.
Then, we settled for an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.
We did laundry. We chased the cat.
Then, we needed breakfast for real. I made turkey sausages and ketchup. And juice. She ate about 1 sausage and about 2 tablespoons of ketchup with a spoon. Mmmmm. Then proceeded to drink her juice, take the straw out of the juice box, and drink the juice directly from the little hole, without the straw.
This is messy.
Then, we looked at Mamma and said, ” Poopoo.”
Yes! She knows when she poops!
We then went to take a shower and clean up the poop. This involves getting in and out of the shower 18 times (her) while attempting to, you know, shower, (me) and steam the room up to unclog her faucet nose.
My bathroom looks like the changing room at a water park. For reals.
But was that enough water? No.
In a genius move, a few weeks ago, I took the suggestion to do dishes with my child. Now, that is all she wants to do. All the time. To point where after the shower, she tried to move the bench I let her stand on all by herself, while screaming “Mamma! stuck! Heavy! Dishes!”
I HATE doing dishes. She is obviously not related to me.
So, we did dishes.
After yet more water had been strewn about, I finally got her dressed, and we watched YouTube puppy and kitty videos. She began to randomly cry. This is code for “Holy God I need a nap.”
And now, she sleeps.
Whew.
I’m tired.
And I am glad we made all these messes. We stick to such a brutal (for everyone) schedule during the week, with Mamma and Daddy both working full time, that on weekends, I like to do anything goes. Like, oh! I forgot to mention how she draped me in a few yards of dental floss, stepped back to admire her work, and deemed it, “Pretty.”
It reminds me that childhood IS fun-and parenthood-CAN be fun. It can stimulate the imagination. It can help re-frame household objects. I remember my job goes beyond saying no, teaching life skills, and giving, giving, giving. That my little person wants to give back- through sharing, through “helping” with dishes and laundry, through feeding Mamma a sausage she so thoughtfully dipped in spilled grape juice. By making me prettier with dental floss.
So lighten up, and play a lot. Remember, in parenting, that as long as it works for you and your child, anything goes.

Guilt Free Saturday.

Last Saturday, I realized something important. That in my mind, I had created a weekly holiday.
Observe:

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No, it is not called “Let’s throw the Cheerios Day.”
I call it Guilt-Free Saturday.
I would also like to acknowledge, here and now, that this is my solution to a truly first world problem.
So, without descending into a socio-political debate, let me share with you the origins, and celebration, of this special day.
My husband works every Saturday. This is not overtime, or an option. It just IS.
Prior to becoming a mom, and after i finished graduate school, I spent Saturdays as “me time.” Mostly, I did very little, cooked elaborate recipes (would have been a GREAT time to start a food blog), and pooped around.
Fast forward to the past 16 months. As a working mom, being alone for 12 hours on a Saturday freaked me out. Why? Because I had so much to DO. Laundry, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, and, oh yeah, recovering from my week. I have an intense job, and it FRIES me. Plus, family demands-grandparents to see, parties to attend. Add on top of that an increasingly active munchkin, who has her own laundry list of needs.
I am a queen multitasker, but I can not do everything and pay attention to my little girl, and be happy with my life.
Whatever focus I chose, I could not escape the guilt. I could never do all the housework, finish the laundry, get all the errands done, and enjoy my one special day with my little one. Each Saturday would end with me in tears, miserable.
I decided that this was, simply, not working. I needed a solution.
And, most importantly, I wanted to have some FUN. It is, after all, the weekend.
So I slowly tackled the day, beginning with breakfast. I prioritized my coffee. Then my food. I started making Mommy and Me breakfasts we could share. I dropped the rigors and formalities of the weekday, as well as my own Mommy standards.
So yes, we eat fatty, salty, breakfast sausages while sitting on the floor, watching TV.
And I practice mindfulness. I feel the guilt. I notice it. Then, I say “Dueces!” (that means bye in teenspeak) and eat another sausage.
It evolved. I outsourced a few things. I visited the local drive- thrus. I started saying “yes” to help and “no” to my own inner critic.
I let my little one eat however many carbs she could cram in her little mouth. And I ate them too. (see aforementioned Cheerios, served “a-la-in-the-box.”) She eats organic quinoa with lentils and oatmeal with apples the other six days of the week. But on Guilt-Free Saturday, we eat pizza and Special K cracker crisps (which I recommend).
I call the grandparents over, and instead of pressuring myself to host and entertain them, I let them babysit. I mean, they aren’t here to see me anyway! And I don’t feel guilty about leaving my baby for an hour or two to get things done.
We watch TV. Loads of it.
We play outside for hours and get shockingly dirty.
Sometimes we eat cat treats. Well, not “we”.
We do chores and errands as they suit us.
We go on a lot of field trips.
We make tons of messes.
And we nap.
Last Saturday, I dropped everything to meet a friend and her little one for lunch and frozen yogurt. My little one sat in my arms and ate a hamburger bun and some chicken and fries, and water off my straw. As we relaxed together, I realized I didn’t even FEEL guilty. As my baby girl smeared pumpkin yogurt all over herself while I enjoyed a salted caramel gelato, I told my friend, a newer mom than me, and also a working mom, that I had a new holiday called “Guilt-free Saturdays.”
As I sit here and write, this is what my living room looks like from my morning with my little one:

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And I am sitting here, enjoying a second cup of coffee, and extending to you, an invitation:
Dis-invite the inner critic. You are enough. You do enough. Celebrate guilt-free Saturday!