Monthly Archives: February 2010

Bedtime and My Time

A few days ago I read an article in a women’s magazine about the importance of reading to your child at bedtime. The author, a mother, either said she looked forward to getting the kids to bed or she dreaded the bedtime routine. I don’t remember which it was, but her point was that she learned to change her attitude, slow down, and enjoy bedtime by reading to and connecting with her kids. That sounded lovely to me.

I started thinking, “Maybe I need to learn from her. I should change my attitude toward bedtime and savor that bonding experience.”  Many nights this winter I’ve buzzed around tidying and cleaning while the kids watched a movie, usually with sippy cup of Ovaltine and some popcorn I cooked the old fashioned way.

After reading the article I tried to feel guilty. I told myself that I was creating bad habits, the kids were going to suffer in the long run, and I was somehow damaging them and our family dynamic. I tried to promise myself that I would be one hundred percent hands-on until the kids fell asleep at night. Surely I could be a better mother than this!

Listen, I’m home all day with these little boogers. I read to them, play with them, cook for them, and take care of every need (and most every whim) they have. In the warmer months we play outside until way past bedtime, but this winter we’ve been hibernating, and yes, watching movies. Am I destroying their brains? Am I spoiling them, ruining them, or somehow making them stupid or dull? Are they suffering undue stress because Mama and Daddy don’t always read a book before putting them to bed?

No, I’m not at all apologetic when I say I look forward to bedtime, and not a soft, fuzzy bedtime routine. I look forward to throwing their little butts into bed so I can have those last few precious hours to myself before it starts all over again. There, I’ve said it.

Love,

Danielle

Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride

For the past few years I’ve been the mother of two beautiful little people who depend upon me day and night. Sophia was born in April of 2006 and just when I thought I was emerging from the fog, along came Timmy! They are twenty months apart and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the crazy times, now that I am able to recognize that they are just that, crazy times.

For awhile I thought motherhood was all that defined me. I was “Mother”, which in my exhausted, sleep-and-exercise-deprived state of mind was synonymous with “frumpy”, “fat”, and “boring”. I felt like some sort of robot that existed only to fill the needs of others. Many times I had one kid latched to my breast while I one-handedly changed the diaper on the other kid. I’m not saying I didn’t have support; Tim and I are an amazing team when it comes to raising our family. I’m saying I underwent a profound change when I became a mother and feel like I am just now sorting that out.

I could write a lot about this but the point is that I like the new me. I feel like I am just hitting my stride. You know how you felt when you graduated high school and realized there was a whole new world out there, waiting to accept you as an adult? That is how I feel now; the possibilities are endless. Of course, it helps that I can finally leave the kids in the same room for more than five minutes while I take a shower! But seriously, I feel like I’m growing wiser and somehow younger. That shouldn’t make any sense but it’s working for me.

What would “younger” feel like to you now? Would you have more energy? More happiness? More freedom? Less stress? Fewer burdens? I think we can sometimes deal with our circumstances better if we change our attitudes toward them. It doesn’t happen all at once and it does take a lot of work, but you can gradually change your general outlook for the better. I find that when I make a conscious effort to let the little stuff go and cut myself some slack I feel lighter, more confident, freer, and yes, younger.

Click on the link below. Even if you think it is the cheesiest song ever, I know you’re lying if you try to tell me you didn’t groove along to it!  “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down. Oh no, I got to keep on movin!”

Rock your stride, my friends!

Love,

Danielle

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, I know I’m a week early. Tim informed me of that around one o’clock yesterday afternoon when I told him I had to run out to get some treats for the kids. Well, at least I have a card and little gift for him already (guess the secret’s out since he subscribes to this blog). I’m excited for Valentine’s Day this year, much more than I was in years past. A good friend of mine has a lot to do with this.

I don’t remember where she posted it, perhaps it was on the whiteboard in the office, but my groovy chiropractor friend, Celeste, has something beautiful to say about this holiday. She says that Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, not just a Hallmark holiday. Pure and simple. A day to celebrate love. I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this loves or is loved by someone. If so, you can celebrate the holiday by taking a moment to show your loved ones what they mean to you.

I think back to my single days, when I was anti-Valentine’s Day. I scoffingly dismissed it as a Hallmark holiday, one that was artificially sweet like saccharine and just as badly manufactured. Secretly, the romantic in me wished for an anonymous Valentine. I wanted flowers from a secret admirer or a declaration of love from someone I’d somehow overlooked.

Celeste inspired me to really celebrate this holiday. I’ve saved Victoria’s Secret and Christmas gift bags and the kids and I are going to punch out hearts and string them on a ribbon. I am going to look today for a small gift for each of them, now that I have another week I can look online or at a local store for something meaningful and well made (I’m aiming to spend about five to ten bucks per kid, let’s see how I do!).

I am going to celebrate by stopping for a moment to appreciate everyone who I love and who loves me. Love flows between us; it is cellular. I firmly believe this. How do we explain a connection with a stranger from across the room? What do you make of an entire conversation spoken only with the eyes, or a deep understanding when someone sends a silent message? In this time of political divisiveness, uncertainty, and bitter partisanship, I am going to fight back with love. I am making a conscious decision to send positive vibes to those who need them.

I am starting today by making (or attempting to make) cinnamon rolls from scratch for my beloved husband. Long suffering Tim is the subject of many funny blog ideas and he takes it all with good grace and humor. He’s my teammate and my best friend who shoulders more than his fair share of the housework and child rearing. He also has a weakness for cinnamon rolls so I hope they turn out okay. Yeah, it’s gonna be a good week.

The manic moment wasn’t so bad this time. I was overly prepared and a week early instead of perpetually late. Could the tide be turning? I guess I shouldn’t read too much into it. Take some time over the next week to feel the love around you and to think about the people you love. Imagine what might happen if everyone on Earth took one minute a day to feel love…

Love love love,

Danielle

To Clean or Not To Clean?

Hi, Friends!

Last night Tim and I had an interesting conversation. I say “interesting” because I avoided the temptation to go stomping off in a snit after his comment.

“Honey, this house is a wreck! As someone who is normally so particular how are you not bothered by this?”

I started to list off all the “things” I had done during the day, then I stopped. Instead, I explained myself this way;

When we moved into this house a few months ago I was overwhelmed with the cleaning, unpacking, and general upkeep. We went from a tiny little house to one much larger. I simply couldn’t keep up. I spent every day rushing around doing chores and cleaning. Each day the work piled up; it never went away and it never got easier. I was irritable with the kids, snapping at them, parking them in front of the TV so I could get something done, and being the kind of cranky, psycho-mom that I always vowed I would never become.

When I was so keyed up and stressed out that I was staying up too late and losing sleep I knew I had spiraled out of control into some really self-destructive behavior. I was no fun to live with and I knew I needed to change. How I went about it is a story for another post but in short I slowed down and decided to focus on being happy.

Before we know it the children won’t have that high-pitched squealing baby laugh, they won’t need us to bathe them, and they won’t want to be tucked into bed. Some day the house will always be exactly as we left it, there won’t be play-doh stuck to the floor, stickers stuck to the appliances, and little feet running up and down the stairs. Yes, it is insane sometimes but now I just have to stop and laugh. One day our house will be peaceful and quiet and I will miss these times. So, I have decided to live in the moment and to savor the chaos.  Perhaps I have gone insane, I don’t know. I just know I’m a much nicer and happier mommy.

So what was Tim’s response?

“Geez, Honey, I never thought of it that way. This is really sad!”

I smiled at him, tears welling in my eyes as we shared this moment of love for our beautiful family.

“Do you think you could be a happier mommy AND have a clean house?”

Go do something happy, slow down,  savor the good times, let the laundry pile up, and don’t blame me when your house is a disaster.

Love,

Danielle

Snow Days Aren’t For Wimps

We just dug out from the biggest snowstorm this area has gotten since, by some counts, the eighties. I can’t tell you how excited Tim and I were for our kids to see their first snowfall. By 8AM Saturday they were bundled (30 minutes) and ready to go out. Sophia stepped outside, was hit in the face with wind and snow, and came back inside to remove her snowsuit. She refused to step outside for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, poor Timmy was whimpering, “I’m too heavy, I’m too heavy!” as I dragged him outside. He couldn’t put his arms down and couldn’t move his legs. He was just like Ralphie’s little brother (what was his name?) in “A Christmas Story”.  After he fell twice and couldn’t get up, (once because he flew out of a plastic thingy I had rigged as a sled and shoved across the yard) he lay on his back and cried as the snow pelted him in the face. Okay, so it was 30 degrees out with the wind whipping at 25-30 mph off the water and the snow was thick and stinging. I guess I should have known better. Tim said, “Honey, what are you DOING? Just bring him inside!” I muttered something about the kid needing to “man up” and Tim’s reply was, “He’s two.”

So the kids watched movies with our fabulous neighbor, who came over to sit with them while we took off in the truck. “Where are we going?” I asked.

“To Tarrollton Field! All my buddies will be up there!”

“Yeah!” I snorted, “Like, 20 years ago they would have been!”

“Just wait, they’ll be there!”

Sure enough, there was a bunch of yahoos in the parking lot doing donuts with their trucks, and we were right there with them. Our turn was up and we whipped around in a barely controlled slide. I’m telling you, I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun! But it got better.

“Hey, Bruce!”

“Hi, Tim! Did you see the idiots out in the field?”

“No, what happened?”

“Dave’s dragging Brian and Daryll behind his truck in a sled!”

“Nuh, uh!”

Up drove Dave and I found myself begging him for a ride. “C’mon, Tim! Ride with me!” Tim declined, explaining that it was a stupid thing to do. So I went with Brian. Yes, it was stupid. It was also exhilarating, liberating, and daring. Flying around in a sled, screaming my head off and laughing as we hit speed bumps and snowdrifts, I tapped into my inner child without knowing or planning it.

My spontaneous inner child is one of the most intoxicating people I have ever met. Get to know yours again! He or she may surprise you. Oh, and if you find yourself wanting your weeping two-year old child to “man up”, chances are you are the one who really needs to get out and play.

Love,

Danielle