Martyr Mommies

I love my children dearly.  I love them and want them to have everything.  I give up many things in order for them to have things I didn’t have when I was their age.  My biggest wish is for them to have more, experience more and do better in their endeavors than I have.

However, one thing I do not agree with is Martyrdom Mommyhood.  There are moms who give to their children to the extent they themselves are unhappy.  They stay in unhappy marriages to give their children two parent homes.  They isolate themselves from adult friendships because their kids cry when they leave or because they are afraid to leave them with anyone else.  They give up their favorite activities, hobbies, or work (in essence sacrificing their individual identity) because they can not find a balance between family time and personal time.  They always go where their kids want to go, eat what the kids want to eat, listen to what the kids want to listen to and talk about what the kids want to talk about.  They sacrifice their individual identity to become MOM.

A mother’s biggest job for her kids is to be a role model.  How can a mom teach a child to be a well-rounded person if they themselves are only one-sided?  How can she encourage her child to explore their capabilities and interests in their lives if she stifles her own?  How can children learn about healthy relationships (marriage and friendship) if their mother doesn’t teach them relationships take hard work and time?

It is good and right to sacrifice for your children.  Just consider how much of a sacrifice you are making and whether it might actually be taking away from your child’s experience.

  • Are you happy in your marriage?  If not, are you working to make it better or just allowing things to happen without speaking up for yourself?
  • Do you occasionally meet friends to talk and have fun?  Do you HAVE any friends?
  • Do you occasionally spend time away from the kids to do things you enjoy such as hobbies, activities or work?  Do you spend ANY time away from the kids?
  • Do you have goals or accomplishments you work towards (other than being a mom) which you are proud of?

If you can’t answer Yes to any of these questions…you should rethink who you are as an individual in respect to your family.  If you don’t know who you are without them…how can you teach them who they can be without you?

Mothers Be Tolerant

One resounding theme which I have been struggling to express on this blog is to clearly articulate the importance, and our apparent loss of the ability to, openly discuss parenting styles and have open-minded dialog about raising children.

I am fairly new to motherhood (a 3 year old and a 10 month old) but I’m not a youngster myself (38).  I was shocked to be welcomed into motherhood with a constant barrage of people’s opinions on how to raise my children.  The advice (almost always un-welcomed and in the form of instructions, not really useful advice) was hurled at me very pointedly from every opposing direction you can imagine.  And it was always with the intent I was somehow endangering or mis-raising my child.  A small snip-it of the many examples include:

  • I was carrying my son in a strap on carrier with his body facing mine.  He had a bad habit of pushing his feet up against me so he could lean his head back and look at the ceiling (ceiling fans and lights are more interesting than mom’s chest) and as soon as I would adjust him back into position, he would do it again.  So I gave up and began using my hand to support his head a little bit and just left him like that.  While I was in a store one time, a woman came over to me and said I was carrying my son wrong and I was straining his neck and literally would not listen to a word I said nor would she let me pass until I adjusted him in the carrier.
  • My son was very hot natured.  I started off like any mom with putting hats on his head and heavy coats when we went outside.  He started getting a weird rash on his head and neck so I took him to the doctor.  The doctor said it was heat rash and I should not put caps on him.  A few days later, I took him out for a walk in 50 degree weather in his stroller with a coat on.  A man who coached a toddler soccer class across the street from us literally yelled at me as I started going down the sidewalk.  “Put a hat on the baby’s head!  Babies loose 90% of their body heat through their head. Here, let me help you.”  And he proceeded to leave his class to come over to talk to me.  I just walked off, I was so mad for someone to think I needed to explain myself and my parenting decisions to them.
  • I took my son to an indoor playground with other toddlers.  He was climbing up on a play area and fell so he started to cry.  I started to get up to pick him up and a stranger touched my arm and said, “Sit down.  If you get up every time they cry, you’ll spoil them and they will cry about everything.” I thanked her for her advice but opted to pick him up and she snidely says, “Your going to regret that some day.”

Instead of having open conversations to learn about different parenting styles, since as parents we are all in this together really,  we treat parenting styles like we do religion and politics.  The fastest way to get into an flaming argument over a small disagreement is to discuss parenting, religion or politics.  Except, it’s worse when you are a parent.  Strangers don’t usually walk up to you and say, “Hey I see you have a Socialist bumper sticker on your car…You can’t do that!  Take it off or I won’t let you leave.”  But for some reason, if you have a child with you…they feel free to say and do whatever they want to with no social stigma attached.  I’ve never had a stranger approach me and offer me advice about anything…except parenting.

Furthermore, it seems to be mainly a woman thing.  Men don’t seem to notice or care how other men father their children.  They will discuss things on occasion (mainly complaining about their wives LOL) but otherwise, they don’t usually get up in arms about parenting.  As women, we do this to ourselves.  We are so worried about being perfect mothers, we are afraid to be honest.  And we are so judgmental about kids being raised right, we can’t see past our own viewpoint to entertain other ideas.  As women, we should be lifting each other up and giving support rather than judging each other and tearing each other down.

My best example…since the time my son was about 9 months old, I have been a member of a mommy’s playgroup.  We work together to put on educational activities, play activities and whatnot for our kids.  The group is actually very diverse, with lots of parenting styles, lots of different races and religions.  We also have differing political views and socioeconomic statuses.  But yet, this group works!  Our numbers fluctuate from around 25-50 due to people moving, kids growing up, new kids on the way, etc. but the same basic group of about 20 women have stayed.  The reason is because we are tolerant and as a result, we are able to openly discuss parenting and how each woman handles each stage of life.  I can honestly say, if it were not for being in a group of women like this, I’m not sure how I would have survived parenting so far.  I have learned and adopted into my lifestyle so many new things I would not have tried on my own had I just followed the way I was raised.  It has truly been a blessing.

My worst example…there is a woman in my life whom I respect, but we have very different parenting styles.  As a result, almost every time we have seen her (about once or twice a month) I hear some sort of derogatory comments about my parenting choices.  They range from, “Mason is so depressed all the time, you are too hard on him” to “You’re going to break his spirit” to something about how I brainwashed my kid to think he is a “bad boy”, which I can assure you…never happened!  It has been very hard on me.  People tell me to ignore the comments but as a mother it is hard.  We always second guess ourselves anyway and to have someone over your shoulder trying to solidify those feelings…it’s really tough.

We are pulled in so many different directions as mothers.  The truth stays true, no one person is perfect and no one parenting style is without drawbacks and rewards.  I just encourage each of us to remain open minded as we discuss parenting and if we disagree, do so with respect and not hatred.

Mini Tropical Upside Down Cakes

If you liked my original post for the Tropical Upside Down Cake, then you will love this one.  Minis!

It follows the same basic steps as the full-sized tropical cake but uses a muffin pan instead of the cast-iron skillet to cook.  See the original post at:

Tropical Upside Down Cake

Start by putting the butter, sugar and fruits into a skillet:

Saute the fruits until they are soft:

Meanwhile, prepare the cake mix per the instructions and set aside.  Spray the muffin tin thoroughly with non-stick baking spray.  Place a small amount of the fruit and juice into each muffin tin (about 2-3 teaspoons in each).  You should have enough for 24 cakes. I only made 6 for my examples.

Fill the cups up to 2/3 full with the cake mix on top of the fruit.

Bake in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes until the tops are spongy.

Remove them and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Using a knife, make sure the sides are not attached anywhere to the tin.  I suggest using a sheet cake platter or carrier to turn out the cakes, but if you do not have one, you can use the bottom of a sheet cake pan as well.

I topped mine with a bit of caramel sauce, but they are great just plain as well.  Enjoy!

Mini Tropical Upside Down Cakes
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Pineapple Chunks
1 Banana (sliced)
1/2 Mango (peeled, pitted and in chunks)
1 Yellow or Butter Cake Mix (you can alternatively make one from scratch)
Required Mix Ingredients
2 Muffin Tins (regular size)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Melt the butter, sugar and fruit together and saute until the fruit is soft.  Meanwhile prepare the cake mix as directed.  Spray each tin with non-stick baking spray.  Add 2-3 teaspoons of the fruit and juice mixture into the bottom of each tin. Poor some cake mix on top of each tin until 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the tops are spongy.  Remove the tins from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Invert on a serving platter or sheet cake carrier and enjoy!

Gansta Mamma

I’m the hip/hop-rap mogul’s dream come true.

I read an article in a financial magazine where over 70% of hip/hop-rap music sales are lead by soccer moms and nerds.  I solidly fall into both categories and they have me suckered in from the first fashizzle.

I hear hip/hop and I turn into a full-on shorty.  I have moves the men only dream of…or at least in my head.  I’m sure if anyone ever saw me make those moves they would laugh their asses off.  If I ever saw my own self making those moves, I would laugh my ass off too.  (I only groove in rooms without mirrors.)  Even my husband doesn’t get to see them.  That’s because he hates…I mean HATES hip/hop.  I think it is the only genre he doesn’t like.  He’s a music snob and knows about everything there is to know as far as music is concerned…except hip/hop.  He can’t even stand to listen to one full song.  The air just deflates out of the room when he walks in and hip/hop is playing.

Sigh.  So I have to enjoy my secret passion alone.  I made my own Cyclone move, and then I looked up the video and I was like…hey!  that bitch stole my move!   Seriously, I do it just like this girl in the video!

Baby Bash ft. T-Pain – Cyclone by gunseed

Yeah, it’s an older song, I’m too busy with the kids to keep up lately.  Sigh.  But I love me some Snoop.  And Chingy and Nelly…etc.  The Snoop taught me what to do if I get into some trouble:

People I know ask me…how can you listen to that stuff…it’s totally against your beliefs (being a fiscal conservative and anti-crime) but to me it’s a lot like not taking myself or them seriously.  Like me saying I have hot dance moves…seriously…have you seen my picture?  Straight up Martha Stewart in the house!  I’m also a feminist and of course hip/hop rap tends to objectify women…but my home-girl J-Lo is keeping it real for me:

And speaking of…did I happen to mention…my son is into Latin women.  Yes, he had one nanny last summer who was the spitting image of Jennifer Lopez.  And wow, was he into her.  Dora too.  It’s his thing.  He would see the nanny and everything around him, including me, would fade into the background.  “I’m leaving now Mason, can I get a kiss?” Meanwhile he’s running up to her and grabbing her hand and dragging her away to do who knows what.

In any case…my husband never got to meet the nanny.  What a same.  ;)

Wild Baby

Mason attended his first baseball class this morning.  He had a hard time at first because the other kids were mostly a year older than him and were better at following the coaches instructions.  So he saw himself not doing things right and got frustrated and embarrassed.  But after I talked with him a bit, he tried again and did much better.  So as a reward for trying harder, I took him to one of his favorite places for lunch or as he calls it “pizza bufweigh”  aka Cici’s Pizza Buffet.

However, Brie was not so excited about pizza buffet and was being pretty horrid.  She wouldn’t sit in her seat, wouldn’t eat, climbing all over me and the table and screaming occasionally when she wasn’t allowed to grab what she wanted.  So I told Mason to hurry up and eat and we got the “hell out of Dodge” as they say.

As we were leaving, another family was exiting in front of us with a boy about Mason’s age.  He was carrying a brownie with him.

Mason: Mommy, he has a treat.  There are treats in there!  Why we not get treats?
Me: Yeah, we had to go quick because Sister was being crazy.  So we didn’t have time for desert.
Mason: Dat’s right.  He got treats because he doesn’t have a WILD baby with him!  We come WITHOUT Sister next time and we can get treats!