OG Mamas Need Love Too: What to expect while you are raising children

I’ve been searching the web for years to find a motherhood blog that I can relate to. I’ve only come across blogs for expecting mothers or blogs written by newbie moms with babies and toddlers.

I might find something for school aged children, but nothing for tweens and teens. I always feel left out. What about the OG mamas? Ya know, the mommies that have been around the block and back. The Veteran moms that can use a little support from time to time. The moms that are not privileged enough to stay at home or work from home.  The moms that were once trying to figure out what to expect while they were expecting and are open to advice long after childbirth.

Parenting plans, just like birthplans, often fail. You may have an idea for discipline, but every child (much like every pregnancy) is different. You simply cannot have a one-sized-fits-all approach to parenting.

One day, I had an epiphany that maybe I need to create what I am looking for. I have no idea what this will look like in the long run, but I sure as heck will try to make it work.

I know that I can’t be the only one that experiences some of the joys realities of parenting. It’s all fun and games while you’re staging monthly photoshoots to capture your baby’s first twelve months of life. And then they grow up and stuff just ain’t that cute anymore. No one tells you how to deal with a five year old that lies. Or that raising a teenager can be both fun and challenging. Add in a blended family from different cultures and that’s a whole lot of mixed emotions.

Sure, my children are my biggest blessings but it does get hard at times. I would love to hear the stories behind the highlight reel as one of my favorite bloggers often says. It takes a village to raise a child, but I spent a lot of time feeling like I let mine down.

Two halves of my heart

After years of trial and error, I am ready to help other mothers cope with different parenting styles and techniques. What are some of the things you wish you knew before you became a mom?  Sound off in the comments.

Breast Milk is the Best Milk?

August 24, 2009

I believe this is the only picture I have breastfeeding my daughter. We were getting ready to head out for her two-day doctor’s visit, hence the reason my hair isn’t done and my room is disorganized. I really did not know what I was doing, but I was determined to breastfeed her since I failed before.

Backstory
I had been in labor for 15 hours with my first born and hadn’t eaten since the day before. When I finally gave birth, I was so delirious I was unable to get him to latch on. The nurses gave him a bottle and the rest was history.
I went home with engorged breasts and would have preferred for someone to cut them off instead of enduring that pain. One of my older friends covered my swollen boobs with cabbage leaves and wrapped me in bandages. I went from a first time mommy to the breast mummy. It was a great way to relieve my pain as I slept upright in a chair. The engorgement hurt so bad I couldn’t even put my arms down at my sides. What I didn’t know is that I would never be able to breastfeed him again. My milk dried up completely. I thought it was just going to be temporary relief. The same thing happened with my daughter after only breastfeeding her for just shy of three months. I was devastated, because I was supposedly given a low-dose birth control. My milk supply went away instantly. I literally cried, because I was completely committed to the journey this time.
I felt like a complete failure. I had to constantly explain to friends why I was bottle feeding with formula and not with milk that I pumped. Not to mention the fact that I had an epidural with my son. It’s almost like you don’t get to be apart of the super mommy club if you do not meet certain criteria for childbirth and feeding. I would take my vaginal births over c-section any day and that’s because of the recovery process alone. There is no “easy” way to bring a child into this world.
When did motherhood become so judgmental? I remember when it used to be a time for sisterhood and community outreach. Nowadays, it’s competitive and cutthroat.
So, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, hospital birth or home birth, breast feed or bottle feed…thank you for the endless sacrifices that you have made and continue to make as a mommy. We should go back to the days of helping each other be better women which would automatically translate into better mothers, wives, sisters and friends.

To answer my original question: The best is however you decide to feed your children as long as it’s with love and adequate nutrition.

I thought I wanted to be a Stay at Home Mom

So, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Until, my husband granted my wish and I was trying to get back to work after two weeks.

I became a mom at 19 years old, a little over a year after enlisting in the Marine Corps. I got out after serving four years and did not have any significant work experience. However, being a veteran did give me a lot of preference over other applicants when I applied for various positions.
I had to work two jobs to make ends meet for a few years. Eventually, I landed a position with great pay, but it kept me away from my then three year old because of mandatory double shifts. I decided to take a pay cut to switch careers.
After twelve years of working hard, (the last few spent working while going to school) I threw in the towel. I got tired of hurriedly running in and out of daycare to drop off my daughter, speeding around the drop-off circle at my sons’ school only to see the SAHM sashay without a care in the world. She would either be well put together as if she was fresh off the runway or she was still wearing her pajamas. She appeared to be fit because of all the time she seemed to have that must have been spent at the gym.  She would drive a brand new luxury vehicle or a messy minivan. Jealous, much? Yes, I was.
I wanted a piece of that homemaker pie.
I hated that the PTA only met during business hours. School events were even during business hours. It’s like they did not care about the working mom. Matter of fact, they looked down on you if you had to go to work and could not read to the class every week.
So, in August 2014, my job ticked me off one last time and I submitted my resignation letter like a boss. Okay, what actually happened is I became overwhelmed with all the slave labor work without breaks and I called my husband in tears. I felt unappreciated, overworked and underpaid. I told him I just wished I could quit and he cut me off, sharply responding “Do it!”
I stopped crying…huh?! Did I hear him correctly?
He said, “Yeah, I’ve been waiting for you to leave that place. You’ve been unhappy for a while but I figured you must know what you’re doing and why you’re there.” That was all the push I needed. The same week I quit I received several job offers for a promotion. So, I called them to schedule interviews. Ya know, just in case.

I lasted three months as a SAHM, To my surprise, I was more busy than when I was working. At first, I took pride in rising early to cook a hot breakfast for my husband before work and pack his lunch. Then, I would do the same for the kids: Pack their lunches and drop all three off at school. I was making hot breakfast every day, lunches that rivaled all others in the breakroom and school cafeteria.

My husband thought he could pile up honey-do lists on me since I had all this so-called free time. *Remember, I’m still enrolled in college full time! One of my courses is accelerated which means way too much work to complete every other day. Housework never ended. And all the cooking breakfast, packing lunches and making dinner all before noon? Oh, that got old really quickly. I never made it to the gym. Or running first thing in the morning. All I wanted to do was hit snooze on the alarm clock a few times. Never got a chance to sleep in like I thought I would until the kids went on Thanksgiving Break. I really became a round the clock taxi/chef/nurse/maid/secretary/etc. There was nothing glamorous about it lol.

I would like to publicly apologize to all the SAHMs that I’ve ever criticized and went so far as saying they are good for doing nothing more than watching soap operas and shopping all day. I’m sorry for thinking that taking care of the house is easy. I’m sorry to have judged you when I saw you stressed out thinking that you don’t do anything all day and should therefore be happy. Yep, I was pretty shallow. Not taking into consideration that we get breaks in corporate America as opposed to working 24/7 at home. You all made it look so easy. I signed up to chill and quickly learned that I was bamboozled.

I thought the grass was greener on the other side. It turns out, that some people water theirs more than others and make it look greener. But just because something looks better does not mean it actually is better. Other people plant fake grass, smile and wave.

The next time another woman feels the need to speak down on you for choosing to be a homemaker, just smile and wave girls, smile and wave. As for me? I’m gonna make due with what I’ve got and mind my own business from now on. Ha!

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Mommy Duty

Us mommies have super powers. They are given to us during pregnancy allowing us to grow and nurture a human for months. But when our kids are sick, we have to bring out the big guns and channel some assistance.
Last night, my daughter tossed and turned for a few hours crying intermittently because of an earache and cold. I am still sick as a dog from her cooties being transmitted to me the day prior. Hubby is sound asleep after a long day at work that began at 2am, so he occasionally rolls over and rubs her back.
“Don’t fret,” I tell myself.” You’re a pro, you’ve been doing this for over a decade… you got this.” I tried to close my eyes hoping that she would eventually fall asleep but I just couldn’t rest with her being in pain. Mama bear doesn’t like feeling helpless.
I tried giving her Tylenol and she refused. I confirmed what was hurting and called on the great physician. [Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want]. “I can’t do this without you. I need you to take this pain & sickness away from my baby that seems to be getting worse. Let my hands be soothing to her and send down your healing virtue through my touch…Amen.”
After receiving my supernatural powers, I picked her up and rocked her to sleep praying the whole time. Shortly after, she was out in a flash. Her congestion started to clear, she began breathing deeply right away and I could feel her body sinking into relaxation. All she needed was for me to rock her to sleep?! Kind of like when we just need God to wrap His arms around us, huh?
Sidebar: I thought of when my mom and I were both sick when I was ten years old. I had the flu and gauze in both nostrils from a broken blood vessel (horrible nose bleeds as a child). She had pneumonia, but since I had to sleep upright and breathe out of my mouth, she stayed up with me all night. Kind of funny how moms forget about their own “owies” when tending to their kid’s.  
 
Of all the times I’ve felt like I was failing or at least not doing a very good job at parenting, I am extremely grateful for growth. I’m not saying I’m perfect or even the best woman to ever do this but what I am saying is that in their eyes I am, and that means the world to me.
I’m a superhero that fights off bullies and monsters under the bed. I am the hour nurse advice line diagnosing and caring for babies since 2003. I make fun arts and crafts. I’m not too prissy to get on the floor to play. I am a storyteller and bedtime tucker-inner. I am a negotiator or dictator depending on the day. I’m a stylist and hairdresser. A chef and dessert extraordinaire. I mold future leaders and lift self-esteem. I’m an encourager and motivator. I’m sweet but also stern when necessary. I’m the boss, I just let daddy think he is. I’m a protector and provider and most importantly, I’m a mother.
It’s not for show or some ulterior motive. I don’t do things for my kids just to look cool on social networking. I do things from the bottom of my heart to leave an imprint on their hearts when I’m long gone. You can’t put a price on what I do. It’s hard to itemize doing things that’s second nature. Much like breathing, being a mom is essential to my life because it has molded me into a woman. Motherhood is certainly not a 9-5 or seasonal job. The benefits are priceless and it’s the best position I’ve ever held. Of all the things I’ve been called in my life, Mommy, has to be the most rewarding. 

~Forever grateful for my blessings <3