The One Where I’m Smooth

I’m a Smooth Mama. Since I’ve created this term on my own, allow me to define it. If you haven’t heard of “The Mommy Wars” feel free to have a nose around. Basically what started as Stay at Home Mom vs. Work Outside the Home Mom took a turn into ALL aspects of childrearing. And the two sides are always OUR WAY or THEIR WAY. You’re on one side or the other, when it comes to everything! Let me break down some examples.

Do you vaccinate your children? This is either a yes or no question, and the debate it sparks is INSANE. Two years ago a friend of mine posted that she was not going to vaccinate her daughter. Innocently (and I now know, carelessly), I commented that the CDC recommends letting your caregivers, friends, and schools know, as it poses a risk for other children. I then got my (cyber)head bit off, by a friend of this friend. She accused me (and our doctor) of not being educated, that I was poisoning my children, and how dare I try to make a mother feel bad about her choices (Aca-scuse me? Didn’t you just call me dumb, and state I give my boys toxins?).  Needless to say, I shrunk away from that debate because I didn’t realize it WAS a debate, so I had nothing to offer.  I’m better armed now, but that’s a completely different post.

Breastfeeding is my favorite battle, because there are so many variables. How long to nurse? To cover or not? Pump or breast only?  Should you even start? I remember reading that Gisele Bündchen believes it should be a law that all women breastfeed at least the first six months of their newborn’s life. Back when she said this (in 2010) I was a working mom with a three year old, whom I had stopped breastfeeding at four weeks because I stopped producing milk. Seeing her comment then made me cry.  I was reminded of what I failure I was, because I didn’t dig deep, and pump, and take herbs, and fight to make my body produce for my child. I gave up in a matter of days, and gave Cash formula, so that neither of us suffered. Time will tell if he grows a third ear from the “toxins” I fed him when my body was not able to do so. At any rate, when I had Cruz, I nursed for a full three weeks before I said “I’m outie!” and switched to formula because again, as a working mom, I couldn’t figure out how to feed, pump, and store breastmilk with enough time leftover to give attention to my (at that point) five year old, my husband, my job, and my home.  I took the lazy route. Or the smooth route, as I prefer to call it.  When I told a friend (a breastfeeding CHAMP with five kiddos) that I felt lazy, her response uplifted me. “Oh please, I’M the lazy one! It’s way easier to just lift my shirt wherever I am than to measure water, pour powder, mix, hold the bottle… That’s why I take so long to give my kids solid foods, because boobs are always there, ready to go, not because I think it’s bad to start solids.” *cheer*  If I see comments like Gisele’s now, I shrug it off, and try not to get into the arguments unless I have something hilarious to say. Which is ALWAYS.

So where does smooth come from? Well, although Crunchy Moms get their term from granola, I prefer to look at it in peanut butter terms. I mean, we’re all moms, so we’re all peanut butter (work with me here). The other type of granola is chewy, and that just sounds weird. So peanut butter it is. Some of us are Crunchy, some are EXTRA Crunchy, which means someone has to be Smooth! And if I’m taking the “easy road” by formula feeding, using disposable diapers, and vaccinating, then I guess that means I’m the smooth one.  What it all comes down to is preference, really, just like peanut butter. If anyone had figured out how to do everything right, there wouldn’t be any room for debate. Or the sharing of ideas, best practices, and unique methods, and that’s what St. Joe Moms specifically is all about!

Oh and don’t think there’s no such thing as a mixed mama! I have a friend that cloth diapers but smoked during pregnancy. Another that makes her own baby food but but gives her 6 year old fast food at least three times a week. l did hypnobirthing with both my boys, am a huge advocate for natural childbirth, and I buy as much organic food as I can afford (which ain’t much!). But I didn’t cosleep with my kiddos, I had them vaccinated, and I let them watch shows for more than two hours a day. What I don’t do is tell other mothers that THEIR WAY is a wrong way. We’re all just trying to be mamas. We need each other for support, not judgement. So the next time someone starts talking about how cloth diapering is best, or how you shouldn’t have that Coke while you’re pregnant, just think about peanut butter. And be the best kind you can be.

The One Where I am Unbusy

A friend of mine posted this link on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I read it, chuckled, and went on. For those not so inclined to read it, I’ll summerize. It says quit being so busy, and let kids be kids. It had some not-so-Pinterest-y ideas for summer entertainment, such as building forts and playing in the sprinkler. I chuckled because I figured, who has the time to be entertaining all summer? Isn’t this what everyone is doing this time of year?   And then summer began to kick in at our house. For the first time in my adult life, I am home during the day. My not quite seven year old, Cash, has never had his mother home with him (minus those 8 weeks of maternity leave when his brother was born). And like most not quite seven year olds, Cash would much rather play with his friends than his 2 year old brother, or overwhelmed-not-sure-I’m-cut-out-for-this Mom. So nearly every day I reach out to the moms of his neighborhood and school friends. Seeing if anyone wants to come over, go ride bikes, play in the sprinkler… And guess what? Everyone’s busy. Not busy playing outside. Not busy with other friends. But busy in such a way that blows my mind.

Summer camp, church camp, band camp, soccer camp, cheer camp, vacation bible school, ballet, karate, swimming lessons, recitals, gymnastics, volleyball, baseball! And on and on and on. And if his friends aren’t busy, their siblings or parents are. Committees, bible studies, men’s groups, women’s groups, marriage groups, second jobs, third jobs (I’m assuming to pay for all the camps, lessons, and dance outfits). Everyone is so busy, there’s no one around to just PLAY. Just be kids!

When I was a kid, summer was adventure time because school no longer interrupted us. We rode our bikes to the 7 Day Store (that’s Marine brat talk for a convenience store) and bought Clearly Canadian and candy cigarettes and rode the merry go round until we got bored, which was NEVER. Now they don’t even have merry go rounds. Too dangerous. Or someone’s allergic to spinning.

I have friends that have changed their jobs because their kids are in so many activities, they have to stop working in order to spend time with them. I have friends whose eleven year old plays two baseballs games a night, three or four nights a week, sometimes an hour away, starting at 8pm! Now, for all I know he’s the next Babe Ruth, or Nolan Ryan, or insert-a-popular-player here (I don’t follow baseball; I know, worst mom of boys EVER). But something tells me he’s just a kid that loves to play, so his parents encourage him. And as a result, they have next to zero time for anything else. I find myself wondering when they find time for each other.

And here’s where I start to turn into the psycho over analyzer that I am. My first worry is, “Am I doing something wrong because my kids aren’t doing anything? What if they’re missing out on the summer of their lives? Why did I leave the working world if my kids are just going to be bored and unstimulated?”  I second guess myself as a mom because I’m unbusy. We aren’t going to any camps. We aren’t on any teams, or getting any lessons. We usually stay in our pajamas until lunchtime. SometimesI just sit on the back deck and watch as Cruz empties the water table I painstakingly filled an hour before. Sometimes, GASP they watch tv for two hours straight while I catch up on The Daily Show and half nap.

I second guess my choice to be home because I compare myself to others and think I am lacking. I don’t finish the laundry one day and I’m terrified I’m failing as a wife and mother. Or I feel like a failure because I make breakfast for dinner, because it’s easy, and because I didn’t make a meal plan. Again.  Luckily, although my kids may get bored, and wish their friends were around more, they LOVE that I am always here, and they know they are never lacking in receiving my love. My husband never ceases to tell me I’m doing a good job, or how he appreciates me. I’ve overheard him tell people it’s such a release for him to know I’m holding down the fort.

Speaking of fort… I think it’s time I go build one with my guys. Maybe someone will skip busy-time and come over for lame-play time.