Mommy 4-1-1

Mommies 4 Mommies: What We Wish We’d Known

Who Are We To Judge? Friday, September 5, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 6:41 pm
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As a single mother, I often feel as if I’m being judged moreso than the average parent.

Are they really judging?  That’s a question that I can’t answer honestly, but it’s how I feel.

And since the recent announcement of McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, she’s being judged, too, but not for her being a single parent, but for having a career and a family.

As a single mother, I don’t have a choice.  I HAVE to have a career.  Child support will not support me.  And kids? I’m sure you’re aware.  They are expensive.

Palin has fallen under attack in just a week over her abilities as a mother and a politician.  Politics aside, let’s talk about her parenting.

Is she a bad mother because her teenage daughter is pregnant?

Is she a bad mother because she was back in the office just a few days after giving birth?

Is she a bad mother because she’s chosen to put her family in the spotlight?

What makes someone a bad mother?

Am I am bad mother because I chose to move my children to a city where they knew no one to further my career?

Am I a bad mother because I leave my children with a friend while I travel for business?

Am I a bad mother because I miss my son’s football games because I have to work?

Is she a bad mother?

Am I a bad mother?

Mrs. Fussypants said it best yesterday on Twitter when she stated, “Yep, I do like Palin. Do I agree with everything anyone does? No. I’m not OK with all MY mom choices. :)”

She’s DEAD ON.

We aren’t perfect parents.  None of us are.  Some of us like to appear to others as if we are, but deep down, we know.  We doubt.  We question.

Even Mary and Joseph lost Jesus.  Did you know that?  And if the parents of the Messiah lost their child, why do we think that we can be perfect parents?

It’s time to stop attacking her as a mother.  If you want to attack her views, her platform, her choices in political office, have at it.  That’s what’s supposed to be important in an election, not the way you raise your children.

As she stated in her nomination acceptance speech, her family is like all the other families in America.  They have their ups and their downs.  Just like you and me.

Let’s not forget that before she is the Governor of Alaska, before she is the Republican VP Nominee, she is a mother.  An imperfect mother, just like you and me.

Before passing judgement on her, ask yourself this question, If you were running for political office, what would the critics say about you?

Heather Jacobson is a single mom to Matthew, 11, and Samara, 9.  She’s wading through life in search of sanity in any form and blogs about it at Desperately Seeking Sanity.

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Motherly Advice Thursday, September 4, 2008

Filed under: New Mommas,Single Mommas — B @ 12:21 pm

It seems that advice, good and bad, are impossible to miss when you are about to have a child, or if you have little ones.  I’ve been offered a plethora of opinions on what I must or must not do with my children and I have to say that I leave way more than I take.  Should we put the baby to bed awake or rock the baby to sleep?  And does it really matter?

Interestingly enough, I got two pieces of great advice along the road that I value greatly and think are worth passing on in case anyone else can use them along the way.  They didn’t come in the words of, “I think you should _____” or anything like that.  Both were simply comments made in passing by women I respected and whose opinion I valued.  Neither of them know I stole these great gems that I will share with you.  Remember, this is a take or leave it program.  If you think it will work for you try it out, if not, leave it behind.

The first piece of advice came from the voice of a friend.  Being a single mom of four young children, she found herself needing to stay calm in situations she typically could explode in.  She found such an aid in the push of a button. 

When her kids got into something they shouldn’t, she’d stop, grab her camera, and snap a few pictures.  Not only did it give her time to cool down and look at the situation differently, but she caught some grand candid moments she otherwise would have left behind.

Take the time that her youngest got into the flour and sugar bins.  He dumped them both out into the corner bottom cupboard and crawled in himself wearing nothing but a diaper.  Being that he had just finished playing in the bathroom he was covered in a nice white paste. 

Or the time she went to the back yard and found her daughter hauling buckets of dirt from their front yard and adding it to the fishpond so she could make sand castles.  She was knee deep in mud and working away. 

She caught another son in the middle of the kitchen table with a nearly full four-liter jug of milk around him and cascading off the sides of the table.  Floating on top was the contents of a box of Cheerios. 

Those pictures and moments were priceless and my friend was able to catch them and laugh instead of react to her children.  Keeping her calm in those situations has made her a better mother in my eyes.

The second lady I stole advice from is someone I’ve known through a friend for some time, but have always thought her to be an amazing lady.  She made a comment in passing one girls night about how she didn’t do any housework after the kids were in bed.  This obviously shocked every mother present since she had three kids and they all knew and understood the fundamental fact that the work never ceases with even one.  All ears, the ladies asked her to explain herself.

Her thinking is that she works all day every day and when the final kid is down for the night it is her time to do something she wants.  Watch a movie, take a bath, walk on the treadmill, or any number of hobbies she had.  She stated simply that if she did nothing but work from the moment she woke until she hit the sack exhausted, she’d be a less happy mother and enjoy her kids less.  During naps and quiet times she goes to town and gets what she needs done around the house so she can enjoy her kids, and dive into her own time when they were down for the night.

These brilliant women and mothers gave me two of the greatest pieces of advice without even knowing they were doing it.  I am a better mother because I follow my kids around with the camera, even though they aren’t old enough to really get into anything yet, and because I take time out for myself. 

After all, who cares if I swaddle left over right or right over left.  It also doesn’t matter if I throw pinks in with the darks now and then.

 

Being married sometimes isn’t any different… Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 6:27 pm

I’ve stated to many that I’ve been a single parent for 8 years now.  It’s easy for me to know how long, as we separated on our thrid wedding anniversary which was just five days after our daughter’s first birthday.

Happy times, I tell ya.  Most people at that time would be purchasing something leather if they are into the traditional anniversary gifts or crystal/glass if they were more contemporary.

Not me.  I was in a tailspin trying to figure out how I was going to make it on my own making a mere $18,000 a year.

While the decision that day, August 30th, was his, I had plans of leaving long before that.  I was tired of what was going on and I was tired of doing it all myself anyway.  I was young, at just 22.  I had a jaded view of what marriage was supposed to be like.  In hindsight, I probably wansn’t any better of a wife to him than he was a husband to me.

The only difference between being divorced and being married, for me, was the second income that I lost.  The second income that was our primary income.  Yes, I worked.  Like I said, I made $18,000 a year, but my job was the stable job, the 9-5 job, the job that provided the insurance.

We made enough to live.  We spent more than we should’ve and as with the majority of marriages, money was our biggest obstacle as we had varying ideas of how it should be spent.

My plan was to stick it out until Samara was in school, four years in the future.  I was going to save money so that when it happened, I would have a nest egg to get started.  Three months after I had made my mind up, it was over.

I have a very dear friend who is married with three children, however, I often refer to her as one of my single mother friends.  Her husband provides little to no support for the children or for her and she’s working a minimum wage, part time job in which she can take her preschooler because he doesn’t want to put the child in day care.

My friend is enslaved to this man, the man that she is supposed to love, honor, cherish, and obey.  The cherishing, honoring, and love left a long time ago, and while he still expects her to obey, she’s lost any desire to even look at the man, let alone obey him.

I can’t say that I blame her.

I try to help her out the best way that I can.  I see her three children, ages 16, 14, and 4 as my own.  I’m their “adopted” aunt and would go to the ends of the earth for them.

It gets sticky because her husband was my “friend” first in that I met him at a church that I was visiting and he was very nice and welcoming to me in my time of trials.  Eventually, I became very good friends with the family and was clueless to the behind closed door happenings.

As we got closer it all came out and he is nothing to me, or anyone else, for that matter, as he is to her.

Tonight, I had it.  She called me and asked me to pick up her children and deliver them to church.  It’s not really a big deal.  No, they aren’t on the way, but they aren’t too far out of the way, either.

When I got there, he was in the shower.  I found it odd that he didn’t bring the kids, so I called and asked her.

He was too tired and refused to bring them.

If the kids didn’t love to come to church, if they didn’t have all their friends there, I supposed that wouldn’t be such a huge deal.  But they wanted to be there and it’s not like she asked him to take them to a party or to the park.  She asked him to bring them to CHURCH which is two miles away.

So I went to get them.  And I was mad.

Rarely do I get on my high horse about all the things that I have to do as a single parent, but it was a busy day for me.  I had to stop work a little early, get my kids ready early, and drive over there to get them.  Again, it wasn’t that I was doing it more so the fact that he knows that she has friends that will do this for her if he doesn’t “feel” like it.

As we sat in church tonight, as I again prayed for God to take the desires of a husband away if he had no intention of me remarrying, I was reminded that a husband is a title.  It’s what you are, on paper, if you chose to marry a woman.

I don’t want just a husband.  I want someone who is going to love me, be there for me as I am for him.  I want someone who puts his family first and sacrifices for us, just like we would do for him.

It doesn’t matter how much money we make, the cars we drive, or the neighborhood that we live in.  All of those items are inconsequential.  What matters is that we are a team.

For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… til death do us part.

Do I still hope that one day I’ll speak those words in front of my loved ones and life partner?  You bet.

But I’m going to stick to my standards because I refuse to lower mine so that someone else can raise theirs.

Heather Jacobson is a single mom to Matthew, 11, and Samara, 9.  She’s wading through life in search of sanity in any form and blogs about it at Desperately Seeking Sanity.

 

What To Do When There Is No One Else… Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Filed under: Single Mommas — Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity @ 10:26 am
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For the most part, I don’t mind being a single parent. It is what it is. I remember when I was married with just one child, I befriended a single mom at work and I would listen to her go over her routines with her girls.

I remember staring at her in awe and asking her, “How do you do it?”

Her response is one that, over time, I have come to utter more than I would care to in response to those who ask me that same question.

“I do it because I have to.”

That phrase is so very true. I do all that I do, because I have to.  There is no one to help me transport children to school.  There is no one to pick up the kids if I’m running late.  There is no one to help them with their homework because I’m not feeling well.

I do all the things I do because I have to.

Now, this does not mean that I can’t ask for help.  I can.  And I do.

But I can’t ask for help every day.  It’s not fair to my friends who are working and caring for their own families, so therefore, the responsibility lies with me.

Like I mentioned earlier, for the most part I don’t mind.  I’m used to it.

But there are days, like today for example, that I reach the end of my rope.  My very dear friend told me to enjoy the breeze as I was swinging from that rope, but I was so stressed out over the children, their inability to hear me today or do what I asked them to do, that I couldn’t seem to function.

Today was the day that I wished more than anything that someone, anyone, would walk through the door and deal with the kids so that I could at least enjoy a small portion of my day in peace and quiet.

But even though I wished that would happen, I knew that it would not.  I knew that I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps, feed the kids, get to soccer practice only to return home to get them showered and into bed.

And even though I wanted to crawl up in a ball and pull the covers up over my head, I knew that I couldn’t.

I don’t say all of this because I want to be seen as a martyr, because I don’t.  I don’t want to be seen as invincible, because I’m not.  It’s not my intent to make people think that I can do it all, because I can’t.

But I can do what I have to do. My children did not choose to have one parent.  I owe it to them to keep going.  I owe it to them to give them all that I can.

I owe it to them to do it not only because I have to, but because I want to.  I want to show them that depsite the forces that are against you, you can get it all done.  It’s something that they’ll need to know for school, for their jobs, for their relationships… They will have to do things because they have to.

I want to be a good example for them.  Because one day?  They are going to come to me and thank me.

But I’m pretty sure it won’t be today, or anytime soon for that matter, as they are grounded for not doing their chores the first five times I asked.