Category Archives: Parenting

Show & Tell: Captured

Last week I showed my documentarian tendencies.

When Tessa was born, my friend Juli (scrapbooker extraordinaire) gave me a beautiful handmade calendar that she designed especially for my daughter.

So it seemed natural that I would add my kids’ journal entries to my nightly routine. Call it a.nal-retentive, obsessive or rigid (as my husband jokingly has), but I am happy to capture each day of their lives until they are able to do so themselves. As Mel suggested last week, I plan to turn over documenting duties to them on their 12th birthdays.

Tessa has 9 calendars so far (Juli’s creations are the two in the upper left):

Reed has 7 (and yes, the second child’s is sloppier; what’s it to ya?):

Thanks to my mom for filling in on the overnights she’s had them. And yes, the kids LOVE scanning a month of their lives and remembering an earlier time.

See what the cool kids are showing and telling over at Mel‘s.

Which is More Difficult?

This Momversation is a discussion about which is harder: being a mom or being a wife.

Dooce, having experienced post-partum depression, says that marriage was much easier, and she shares many good reasons why. She votes for Motherhood as the more difficult.

Finslippy says (among other things) that it’s easier to neglect marriage, making it the more difficult of the two.

GirlsGoneChild, who experienced marriage and children in rapid fashion, also agrees that marriage is the more difficult.

Dooce got more than 700 comments on this and has shut them down. There are conversations going on at GirlsGoneChild and at Momversation, but I was wondering what my readers think about motherhood vs wifehood, either in the concrete (you are a parent) or in the abstract (you will one day be a parent, and you give your best guess as to which will be more difficult for you).

Conventional wisdom might say that for Infertyls, motherhood will be incredibly rewarding after the long and tortuous route to get there. And that, consequently, achieving that hard-won dream would make parenting less difficult than marriage (especially a marriage that has been tested by IF).

But my own experience did not fit into that mold. Regarding marriage, I know how to navigate a peer relationship, a (mostly) rational relationship of (mostly) equals.

I struggled then, and I still sometimes do, with the irrational relationship I have with purely emotional beings. As they become more rational, parenting them becomes easier for me.

And in theory, I should be the One In Control in my relationships with Tessa and Reed, right? I am Authority and they should, at all times, defer to my more seasoned judgment. (Don’t laugh. My parents expected this of me, and I have forgotten that I rarely gave it to them.)

Smack! That’s reality hitting me upside the head on an almost-hourly basis. My kids DON’T stop fighting when I tell ask them to. They DON’T keep their dirty and clean clothes in different places. They DON’T accept my wisdom about not eating boogers as gospel.

Control is an illusion. Tessa and Reed just might have more of it than I do. It certainly seems like it at times.

These are some of the reasons why motherhood is, for me, more difficult than wifehood.

(Well, that and the fact that Roger cooks.)

So, for you, which is or will be harder — being a mom or being a wife? Please share why you think so.


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Perfect Moment Monday: sweet surrender

Perfect Moment Monday is more about noticing a perfect moment than about creating one. Perfect moments are just waiting to be observed, and can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

We gather here once a week to engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world, if only for a, well, a moment. Everyone is welcome to join. Details on how to participate are at the bottom of this post, complete with bloggy bling.

Now, here’s mine.


I’m well aware of my shortcomings as a mom. I lack enough patience. I don’t engage deeply and often enough with my kids. I have an overwhelming need to have time and space away from them. I am not Fun Mom simply because of my aversion to activities for which there will be more than 90 seconds of cleanup.

I am also aware of my strengths. I have healthy boundaries with them. I respect myself and expect that they treat me (and others) respectfully. I model for them how to love one’s body and treat it well. I model lifelong learning and inquisitiveness.

I added something new this week: the ability to sit with pain and discomfort without fixing it.* Which, not surprisingly, mended the situation.

Reed is surrounded by alpha people. The other three members of his household are all very bossy eldest children, and his best friend is a hellion spirited child. Reed is incredibly resilient, and has a wide range in which to accommodate the whims and demands of others.

One day last week, he’d had a particularly pushed-around day. He got blamed by his kindergarten teacher for something another kid did. His best friend wouldn’t give back Reed’s Star Wars game, and later when Tessa got home, she kept interrupting him as he tried to tell me his troubles. He grew increasingly whiny and pouty.

Rather than my usual reaction to whining, which is to send him to his room until he can be pleasant again, I simply picked him up and carried him gently to another room and told him, “It sounds like you’ve had a hard day. Sometimes it’s hard to share, isn’t it?”

His little body collapsed into mine and he sobbed into my shoulder, more relieved to be understood than sad about the day. Tessa came to get in on the action, and I gently asked her to wait for me in the kitchen (and she complied!).

Reed got the message that he deserved 100% of something once in awhile.

Then it was over. And his surrender was a perfect moment for me.

*I was grateful that I’d recently read this post by Melissa that predisposed me to an empathic approach.


Be sure to follow the other stories/links because as we know, perfect moments can be found in giving and receiving comments. So how about you deliver a couple of Perfect Moment seeds and trust that they’ll grow?

Once you make a Perfect Moment post, you are qualified to place this button on your blog.

Now. What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of?

Read about these perfect moments had by these people. Get to know someone new today:

Cruel to be kind

(Children mentioned. Originally posted at Mile High Mamas.)

If my son forgets to wear a coat on a chilly October day, he experiences cold.

If my daughter forgets to bring the lunch I pack for her, she experiences hunger.

Neither experience will cause lasting damage. In fact, my hope is that such lessons will leave lasting impressions.

I want my children to pay consequences they can afford. Like the time Tessa left her brand new Thumbelina on a playground swing, and we weren’t able to find it when we went back the next day. Tuition for this lesson? About $20 and a bucket of tears.

Or when Reed didn’t have enough money to buy the Power Ranger costume he wanted (we kicked in the first $10) because he shot his piggy bank wad in a manic spree at Chuck E Cheese. Tuition for this lesson? About 20 minutes of tantrum.

Most times, it would be easy to bail them out. To bring the coat, the lunch, to school. To buy another doll or spring for the costume. Time and money are small prices to pay to avoid tears, right?

True. But wrong. I think we do our kids a disservice when we separate their actions from the natural consequence of those actions.

It takes love to allow them to feel a little pain.

If our kids learn with small consequences, they are more likely to be able to avoid the big consequences. By “big,” I mean getting a costly ticket (or worse) for speeding. I mean getting arrested for shoplifting or being involved in a drunk-driving accident or facing an unplanned pregnancy — any of these could be natural consequences of their actions. If my children grasp that there is a link between what they do (or don’t do) and the results, they will, I hope, make more logical decisions.

So I hide my heartache when Tessa wails over her lost doll. I stay strong when Reed pulls out all the stops to get me to buy him the object of his affection. My children may never know how hard it is for me to be mean* and how I struggle to keep my eyes on the prize.

Sometimes mean = love. And it’s not easy being mean.

* OK, so deeeeep down inside, I’m going, “Bwahahahahaha!” But in my defense, it’s very, very deep.)