Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Still Like You

Do you ever feel like women are uber competitive with one another?  I always thought that was a male thing.  And maybe it is.  But it seems women hold grudges against one another while the boys will compete and get over it a minute later.

And once you become a mother, well that's when the real claws come out.  I think most of it stems from misconception or misunderstanding.

So often we like to put each other in two groups no matter what the topic might be.  Natural birth versus epidurals.  Breastfeeding on one side and formula-feeding on the other.  Stay-at-home over here and working moms over there.  Fat, thin. Homeschool, out-of-home school.  Public school, private school.

I'm going to call a spade a spade here and say we all work hard at some things and we all take the easy road on other things.  And you know what?  There's no shame in that.

Here are the things that I work really hard on.  They didn't/don't come easy.


It hurts.  Sometimes a lot.  It's time-consuming.  And contrary to what all the parenting books might say, most of the time it doesn't come naturally.  I had to work really hard at it.  I had to let go of resentment toward my husband for not having the biological parts to help me out.  I lost a lot of sleep.  I couldn't ever spend a couple hours way in the beginning.  And I could never spend a night away for a whole year.

If you chose not to breastfeed, found it too difficult to breastfeed or couldn't breastfeed, I still like you.  I still think you're a pretty rockin' mama.  But please don't assume that my decision to breastfeed was an easy one.

Staying At Home

I miss my work friends.  I miss the downtown atmosphere.  I miss my high heels and working clothes.  I miss adult conversations and getting accolades for my efforts in landing a new client or impressing a big one.

I miss the extra money.  The $150 dinners.  The new clothes whenever I want them.  The trips to wherever I want to go.  The never having to worry about the next paycheck.

I drive a used car and my husband drives a beater.  We live in a house that we dreamed about and saved for for years.  My kids wear hand-me-downs or eBay's latest steal.  They receive toys twice a year; birthdays and Christmas and that's it.  Seriously.  We don't have yard toys besides a beach ball from the dollar store.  Instead of buying books we have a library card.  We certainly don't have a membership to the Children's Museum and I couldn't tell you the last movie I saw in the theater.

I'm not lucky to be able to stay at home.  I chose to stay at home.  If I sat down to do the math it would probably say I can't afford to stay at home.

If you work outside that home, I still like you.  In fact, on some days I'm probably jealous of you.  You can indulge in a few of the extras even if they are small.  You can receive praise for completing a project.  I'm still here wiping noses and bums.  But please don't think I'm lucky to be able to stay home.  I made the choice and I'm still making the difficult choices every single day.


I know that I'm on the thin side of things.  I know that this is, in part, thanks to some pretty good genes.  But you know what?  I also am very conscious about the things I put in my body and the way I maintain my body.  And that doesn't come easy.

I eat three meals a day.  Sometimes I snack sometimes I don't.  Most of the time there is little to no junk food in the house.  I rarely buy boxed crackers, bags of potato chips or packaged cookies.  I don't have a candy dish.  I do store a bag of Dove Dark Chocolates in the pantry because I read dark chocolate is better for you.  If I eat a cookie or a brownie or a piece of cake, it's because I made it from scratch.

The only drive-thru we frequent belongs to Dairy Queen.  It's my weakness and I'll allow myself that without feeling guilty.

I never buy white bread.  Or any boxed dinner with the name "Helper" on it.  We rarely even crack a box with the word "Kraft" on top.  And there's definitely no Ramen in sight.  I only buy the whole wheat pasta.  I serve meat for dinner only once per week.  But I make dinner and we sit down as a family seven nights a week almost without exception.  I always have three or four different kinds of fruit on hand.  I never buy the sugared yogurt and we only have sugared cereal when Brian's been to the grocery store.  Count Chocula?  Yuck!

I'm not a regular exerciser.  I admit it.  But if that scale tips five pounds in the wrong direction you can bet your house I'll get my butt in motion.  I practice yoga two or three times a week every week.  Sometimes I get into a running groove.  Sometimes not.  I walk with the kids to the park or to the river almost every day.  I try to choose the stairs over the elevator.  And sometimes I opt for the furthest parking spot in an effort to get my heart racing.

If you're not thin, I still like you.  Some of my bestest friends are overweight and I still think they're some of the coolest people on the planet.  I'm thin, yes.  But I do make a conscious effort to keep it that way and many times it's not an easy road.

I'm not superwoman.  I don't have it all figured out.  And many times I, like you, take the easy road.

I know that I'll never homeschool my kids.  I don't have the patience or the will to get all that done in a day.  Sometimes I wish I could.  But most times I'm satisfied I'm taking the easy way.  I admire those that priortize their time better than I to homeschool their kids.  But I hope you'll still like me if my kids go to a regular school.

Sometimes I let my baby cry.  Sometimes I just need a break.  I've tried everything.  I don't know what she wants.  And I just want a moment to myself.  So I let her cry.

I can't cosleep with my babies.  I've tried.  I can't find that REM cycle.  I miss the alone time with my husband.  I want my own space.

I find it honorable that some mothers can be there for their babies every waking (or sleeping!) moment.  I'm not that mother.  But I hope you'll still like me anyway.

I let my kids watch TV.  Some days they watch too much.  Some days they watch a few minutes.  Some days they watch none at all.  Are they ruined for life?  I hope not.

If you can turn the TV off altogether I admire your ability to handle the commotion and the questions and the disturbances.  I know I use it as a babysitter to get everything else done.  But I hope you'll still like me.

I hope someday that mothers will be a united front.  Together.  Without judgment.  I want to try to like all mothers no matter their choices.  And in return, I hope they like me for or regardless of all mine.


  1. It's nice to know there are other moms out there who accept the fact they are not perfect, but they do what's best for their family.

    Well said, my friend.

  2. This is such a great blog and so well written. I love reading your posts!

  3. To each their own right? It's all about respect for the way that people choose to raise their kids and live their life. I get some grief from my neighbor sometimes about various things and I just smile. She does it all - co-sleeping, breastfeeding till 2 (!!) and she locks the door if she walks her son to the bus stop on the corner. But we still love hanging with each other and we respect no matter what. :)

  4. Jen,

    This is great. Nope, it's not great, it's AMAZING.

    It's so heartfelt and well written. I just heart you and your little family.

    I think you rock and admire the choices you make.

    I too wish all moms could do the same. We rick Kraft more then I'd like to admit, and I don't cook nearly as much as I should. To each their own. Our kids are pretty wonderful, thanks to great parents :)

    P.S. With ya on the count chocula. Eww.

  5. Amen. As I peruse the internet searching for other Mom blogs I keep coming across Mom's who take a "my way or the highway" approach and it's frustrating. Thank you for being honest. This is a marvelous posts.

  6. I still like you. A lot. :)

    In fact, I think we'd be great friends in real life.

    We all make different choices for different reasons...and we can - and should - be friends in spite of those differences. How boring the world would be if we all did exactly the same thing!


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