To Work or Not to Work AKA Good Mom/ Bad Mom

Prelude: For those who don’t know me, I am a woman who established a career and then decided to have kids late in life at 36.  I now have two children under the age of 4 and have been a stay-at-home mom since my first child was born.  I am now returning to the workforce and this is my quandary.

Last night was not a good night.  I cried for half the night.  It was the eve of my last day raising the kids as a stay-at-home mom.  The nanny comes tomorrow to be trained for the rest of the week and I start working again full-time next week.  Am I doing the right thing?  Are my kids going to handle it well?  A million thoughts and questions plagued me.

This morning was an entirely different story.  It was not a special morning comprised of me and the kids savoring our last weekday alone together.   It was like every other morning I’ve had for the last few months.  It starts as soon as my husband leaves for work.  The kids both start whining, crying and fighting.  I can not sit my daughter down for a single minute without her throwing a fit.  If I leave her sight (to throw away a dirty diaper, go to the restroom, etc) she totally freaks and won’t stop screaming until I pick her up again.  I’ve been working on techniques to make her a little more independent, to no avail.  My son, who is totally independent, has an entirely different set of triggers to drive me nuts.  Every time he goes to the restroom or leaves my sight, he takes off all his clothes.  He goes into the restroom to “tinkle” and 2 minutes later comes out completely naked.  This happens several times a day and he gets punished every time but he simply doesn’t care.  He also has to touch everything.  He walks from the office to the kitchen and along the way he pulls down the pillows off the couches, kicks toys into the middle of the floor, grabs everything within his reach and moves it somewhere else.  He constantly fights with his baby sister and won’t leave her alone.  He steals EVERY toy she picks up, intentionally blocks her path when she is crawling or walking somewhere, grabs her and tries to pull her around, etc.  I literally put him in time out 3-4 times a day.  I used to spank him but that was even less effective than time out.

The truth is, I just no longer have the patience nor energy left to deal with two small children alone.  I feel horribly guilty about going back to work, but I am not doing any of us any good this way.  I feel like I am constantly yelling and that’s not healthy.  My past goal was to always keep the kids active to help them expend energy and keep engaged, but now I am so worn out from carting the kids back and forth to two activities, classes, or playdates per day I just can’t do it anymore.  I’m also a little bitter because I can’t help but feel if I had just had a little more help then I wouldn’t have gotten so burnt out.  Raising kids under the age of 5 is so demanding and expensive.  A normal night out to the movies suddenly becomes encrusted in gold by the time you pay for a sitter.  When you don’t have a family support unit to help, hiring a sitter every time you need to go to the doctor, dentist or get your hair done starts to outweigh the need of hiring one for date night.  Sure, the older the kids get, the easier it gets, but those first few years are exhausting and frustrating.

Even as I write this post while my daughter is napping and my son was watching TV for my 30 minutes per day sanity check…I turn around and see him coming down the stairs, and he is naked again (for the second time today and it’s not even noon).  Sigh.

So yeah, I feel rotten, and I feel torn, but try not to judge me too harshly without walking a day in my shoes.  I know there is an unspoken code in the SAHM world that says, “Don’t break rank and file no matter how hard it gets!”  But I’m afraid I have reached my breaking point.

 

Happy 5th Anniversary to Me AKA Happy 5th Anniversary to Fearing’s

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with dinner at our favorite place: Fearing’s Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton.  By coincidence, this is also Fearing’s 5th anniversary in business.  Congratulations to us both!  Their website is located at:

Fearing’s

Two things you should know about me: I am a nerd and I am a foodie.  There are some people who freak out about celebrity sightings and such…but for me, a real celebrity is an awesome chef and Dean is pretty much on par with the best.  There is a saying about living in Dallas/Ft. Worth…the two things we do here are…shop and eat.  It’s too damn hot to do anything else anyway.  There is a mall on every corner and we have the most amazing restaurants.  If fact, I have traveled quite a bit, but recently had the privilege of going to New York, NY for the first time.  My goal was to visit the best restaurants…and of course…no one can get a freaking reservation!!!!!  But none the less, in the several “best of NY” reviews I read, many of the publicized restaurants in New York also live in….yes, you guessed it…Dallas!

Fearing’s Dinner Review

We have been to Fearing’s many times and just like normal, they did not disappoint!  I’ve had this conversation with my friends before…we get stuck in the rut of going to the same restaurants for celebrations and nights out because when you try a new place and it isn’t good, then it’s a waste.  You feel cheated.  Fearing’s is one of our go-to places where the service and food are always amazing.  They have a very trendy and upscale feel, but still manage to make the service very personable and unpretentious.  The welcoming spirit comes straight from Dean himself who chided me once when I called him Mr. Fearing (out of habit and Southern hospitality)…he turned looking over his shoulder and said “What…is my dad here?” Then he turned around and said, “I’m just Dean!”  Later on the same evening as we were leaving I told him, “You are amazing!  A real genius! The food was incredible as always.”  He started laughing and said, “You should tell my wife that!”

Last night I started with the Sampler:

A Sampler of
Griddled Jumbo Lump Crabcakes, Barbecued Duck Tamale and Two Bite Lobster Tacos with Avocado Relish

Marc had Dean’s famous tortilla soup.  I didn’t take a photo but it was great as usual.  For the main course we both selected the buffalo.

Maple-Black Peppercorn Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin
on Brazos Valley Jalapeño Grits, Tangle of Greens and Butternut Squash Taquito

Unfortunately, since I had sampled the flavored breads offered to every table, along with the shooters offered to cleanse the palate after every course, and the large sampler for the appetizer…I literally had no room left for the main course.  I tasted all the items but was really only able to eat all of the buffalo.  It was amazing!  It is a very dense meat and had a clear smokey maple flavor that was to die for!

And even though I was too stuffed to continue…I did.

Texas Peach Dump Cake
with Blueberry Cre`me Frai^che Ice Cream

I would characterize the Texas Peach Dump Cake akin to a peach flavored bread pudding of sorts.  It was divine.  And of course Marc picked the one item on the menu with bacon…

Chocolate Cashew Crunch Bar
with Bacon Caramel Corn and Mini Vanilla Malt Coke Float

I tasted the caramel corn on top and I have to say…it could just stand on it’s own in a huge popcorn ball.  In fact, I’m going to try to hack the recipe and make one for my blog later on.

Dean was not in attendance this night, but it was clear during our visit, the Chef De Cuisine was Eric Dreyer and he ran a superb kitchen that night.  He had a clear presence and greeted his patrons with ease.  The Sommelier and Assistant Sommelier were quite busy but assisted everyone and helped us pick out a great Malbec to suit our tastes.  You may say a Malbec is a strange choice, but when it comes to wine…it’s about what you like and what mood you are in at the time in my opinion.

I asked to take a picture of our support staff and our waitress Robin was a bit camera shy, and to that I say, “If you are good, OWN IT!”  And Fearing’s is one of the very best.  I took the first picture and my camera didn’t do so well, so I took a second picture which was awesome…but then my camera ate it.  :(  So unfortunately here is the first very blurry picture because it’s all I have left.  Sorry guys!  But in any case, you are great and thank you for making our 5th anniversary special!

Our wait staff Manuel and Robin and the Chef de Cuisine Eric Dreyer.

 

I Don’t Want to go There

We went out to dinner as a family and afterwards as I got into the car I realized it was still early, and being a Friday night, I thought “why don’t we go get a treat?”  My husband had met us at the restaurant so I was alone in the car with my 3.5 year old son and my 1 year old daughter.  I rang up my hubby on the car’s Bluetooth:

Marc: Hello?
Me: Hey, I was thinking since it was still early do you want to stop by Cold Stone?  (I used the name of the place so in case my husband didn’t want to go, I had not unduly alerted my son as to what he would have missed out on.)
Marc: Yeah I suppose we could do that.
Mason: (in the backseat we hear him) No Mommy!  I don’t want to go there!
Me: OK, I’ll meet you over there, just loop around.
Mason: No Mommy!  I don’t want to go.
Marc: (Pauses because he hears Mason) OK, see you there.
Me: (I hang up the Bluetooth and address my son) Mason…do you KNOW what is Cold Stone?
Mason.  No, I don’t want to go there.
Me: Do you know what it is?  Yes or no.
Mason: No
Me: It’s an ice cream store.
Mason: Ohhhhhh.  Yes, Mommy!  I DO want to go there!  I DO, I DO!
Me: Yeah, that’s what I thought.  (We arrive at the store and get out of the car.  My husband walks up)
Marc: Mason, did I hear you say you don’t want to go here?  OK, let’s get back in the car and go. (teasing Mason)
Mason: No Daddy!  I didn’t KNOW!  I didn’t know it was an ICE CREAM store!  I want to go here.  Mommy tricked me!

 

Emergency Information Sheet

This is a good idea I saw somewhere…not sure where.  The idea is to make an emergency contact sheet with all the family’s information and post it somewhere inside the house in case a babysitter, relative or neighbor has to call 911 while at your residence.

Consider this:

You are out for date night and let’s say an emergency happens, like someone tries to break in or someone runs their car into your house.  The sitter calls 911 and they start asking him/her a bunch of questions like…what is the address…what are the kid’s birth dates (or ages)…what are the parent’s numbers?  The sitter has all of the info but will have to search for it on their phone or take time to think about the answers, which costs valuable minutes in rescue time.

Therefore the solution is to create an emergency information sheet with all the relevant information for easy recall in an emergency:

Parent’s Names and Cell Phone Numbers
Address of the Residence
Phone Number of the Residence (in case they have to call back)
Kid’s Names, Ages and Allergies
Pediatrician’s Name and Number
Emergency Contact (grandmother, godmother, etc)

We have one posted on our refrigerator and we make sure the sitters and family members know where to locate it in an emergency.

One Fish, Two Fish

Quote

My husband and I had this conversation with Mason (my 3.5 year old) while walking to the park:

Mason: Mommy, I have some bad news.  (makes a sad face and slowly shakes his head)
Me: Bad news?  (laughing)
Mason: Yeah, it’s not good.  The stars are not coming out!  It’s getting dark, but no stars.
Me: Well, it has to get darker before you can see the stars.  See the sun is still up a little bit.
Mason: Oh!  Look Mommy Daddy, their are people on the other side of the pond!  (The park by our home has a large pond and a water feature in it.  There were two boys standing on the other side of the pond.  One was wearing a red shirt and one was wearing a blue shirt.)  Look!  One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!
Daddy: One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!
Mason: And orange fish!  (He points to a kid at the playground wearing an orange shirt)
Daddy: And brown fish! (Marc points out another kid wearing a brown shirt.)
Mason: No Daddy!  There are no brown fish in the book!  That’s not the way it goes!
Daddy: There aren’t any orange fish in the book either!
Mason: Yes there are!  I seen them!  (starts giggling because he knows he’s being silly)