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?

Surprise Visitor

Marc and I have many couple friends we go out with for double-date nights.  Some of the couples have kids younger than ours and some are older.  This is a conversation we had with one couple (who shall remain anonymous).  The conversation started by debating at what age children start remembering things (long term memory).  Some things we want them to remember (like their first trip to Disneyland) and other things we don’t want them to remember, like this:

Husband: So has your kid walked in on you having sex yet?
Me: No (Marc also nods his head no)
Husband: Well, mentally prepare yourself for when it does happen because it is inevitable.  It happens to every couple at some point or another.
Wife: (nods in agreement)
Husband: It happened to us when my daughter was five.  My wife and I were enjoying some extracurricular activity one night, the kind where I get to lay back and relax while she does all the work…and I happen to look over to my right and see my daughter standing there in the dark.  She didn’t say anything and I have no idea how long she had been standing there.  I tried to sit up, but wifey here was so into it, so I mumbled something…
Wife: And I was like Oh My God!  and jumped away from him.
Husband: Yeah, we didn’t know what to say and so we just looked at her for a while and then we asked what she needed. I don’t even remember now why she came in our room that night all I can remember is how shocked I was and how I hope it’s not something she will remember.  Although I remember seeing my mom naked when I was 2.
Me: Two?!  Oh hell. Mason is 3 and I can’t keep him out of our bathroom.  If I have to shower during the daytime then I set him in front of the TV or with his toys and tell him to stay there until I come and get him, but half the time he just walks in while I’m getting dressed.  (Then I tell them the “boobie holder” story which is in another post.)

During this whole conversation I am making mental notes about how to avoid this from happening, but I can’t think of a full-proof scenario, so…oh well honey, I guess we can’t have sex anymore.


Cardinal Sins of Mommydom

  1. Taking on the “Martyr Syndrome” and not speaking up for yourself
  2. Isolating yourself by not involving yourself with other moms and kids
  3. Isolating yourself by not having other friends without the kids around
  4. Being close minded to other ideas about parenting other than your own
  5. Being overly judgmental about other’s parenting choices
  6. Choosing either your spouse or your kids one over the other
  7. Belittling your spouse or extended family to the kids or in front of the kids
  8. Staying in a relationship because of the kids
  9. Not making time for yourself and pursing your desires
  10. Over pursing your desires to the detriment of the kids

Not the Momma!

Dads, even the best of them, are still NOT THE MOMMA!  Bless their hearts, but they just aren’t the same and they don’t think the same.  And…they shouldn’t have to.

My best friend told me this story recently: “I had to leave the house early to make it to a doctor’s appointment and so I left Roger (names changed in order to protect the innocent) in charge of taking Johnny to school.  I didn’t get a panicked phone call, so I assume everything was OK.  So after the day was done and it was time to pick Johnny up, I went to the school.  And he comes through the door all excited to see me…in his PAJAMAS.  Yes, you heard me correctly…in his PAJAMAS.  My husband sent my child to school IN HIS PAJAMAS.  I was so mortified.  The teachers were very nice and didn’t say anything about my son being in his PAJAMAS, but I was mortified. I went home and said,” Roger, you sent our son to school in his pajamas! And he said, “I did?” and looked down at Johnny, “Oh, haha, yeah I guess I did.  That’s funny.”  I didn’t think it was that funny.”

But on the converse end, my husband gives me a hard time a lot because I don’t get down on the ground and play cars with Mason very much.  When he first mentioned it, it did kind of bother me and I thought, hey yeah, I should do that more often.  But after trying it a few times, I realized I honestly don’t know how to “play cars” very well.  So the next time my husband brought it up, I defended myself with…you play cars with him, and I take him to do crafts (which he does really enjoy).  So if you want me to play cars with him then you need to do more crafts with him.  And you can also bake cookies with him, draw and cut out flowers and hearts, mix cakes and let him eat the beaters…etc.  He got my point.

Marc and I have talked about switching roles and him staying home and me going back to work since we both (when I left the workforce) made the same salaries.  And boy, there are some days I am all for it!  He is a good dad and he could do it, but I would have to live with the fact that he wouldn’t do things the same way I do and in the end, I’m not sure if I would be ready for that.

Porn? What Porn?

So let me make this disclaimer…for my generation…I’m not even sure what we are called, the X generation?…I don’t know.  Anyway, let me just say this…there is no man in this country older than 25 and younger than 65 that has not seen porn at one time or another.  I’m just sayin’.

My husband and I are tech geeks to a certain extent (I’m tech and he’s a geek).  Currently we own 2 desktops, 2 laptops and then other work related computers.  I used to work in IT (back when I was worth something to society).  And as everyone knows, about 4 years is the max life-cycle of the average computer (at best).  Since we have less technically knowledgeable relatives, and those without the means to regularly replace their outdated equipment, we often “recycle” our old desktops by giving them to our various family members.

Such was the case when my husband was ready to replace his computer.  At the time we were not actually married yet but we were living together and talking about marriage. (Fun times before the kids came.)  He had given his last computer to his mother already and so I suggested he give the current piece of shit (excuse me), outdated desktop, to my aunt.  So he agreed.

Fast forward about 2 weeks…I get a very strange and cryptic email from my mother.  It only says…”I need to talk to you about something but I can’t tell you in email.  Call me.”  Hmmmm.  Knowing my mother, that could be anything.  So that afternoon, I called her.  She acted nonchalant for the first 10 minutes of conversation and finally I just said, ”So what’s up?  You sent me an email that you needed to talk to me about something.”

Me: “Mom, just tell me.  What’s wrong?”
Mom: “Well, it’s about Marc.”
Me: “Yeah?”
Mom: “You know he gave that computer to your aunt?”
Me: “Yeah?”
Mom: “Well, I don’t know how to tell you this.”
Me: “What Mom?  You’re killing me here.”
Mom: “I was visiting there with her and she showed me something she thought I should know.  Well, it had….(very long pause)….porn.  (She said it in a drawn out snake-ish whisper like she had just seen the devil himself.)  And well, I just thought you should know about it before you marry him.”

Me: “Was it underage kids?”
Mom: “No”
Me: “Were there animals in it?”
Mom: “Stephenie!  No!”
Me: ”Was it gay porn?” (not that I have anything against gays, just that if he were gay then I would want to know)
Mom: ”No!”
Me: laughing…”Mom, seriously, there is no man in is his age bracket that hasn’t seen porn, and honestly, in this generation, if he hadn’t ever watched it, I might worry.  But I am very sorry, because I am sure that it really embarrassed you and Aunt Shelly and I’m very sorry about that.”
Mom: “I was terribly embarrassing and I just can’t see that you would be ok with that.  Those people were so…young…it was just disgusting.”
Me: ”But they weren’t kids right?  Like in their 20’s or something?”
Mom: ”Well yeah, I would say in their 20’s.”
Me: ”Well what do you think Mom?  Guy’s don’t want to watch people in their 60’s.  duh.  Have you never seen porn before?”
Mom: ”Well, maybe, I don’t know.  I just thought you would want to know.”

I have to say, that was one of the most hilarious conversations I have ever had in my life.  And with my Mom, of all people.  And yes, I did tell my husband what happened and chastised him for not “cleaning” his PC thoroughly enough.  He swears that he did and he had know idea anything was on there to begin with.  But he’s a “creative” person and not really very PC literate since they use Macs, so it was probably in a “downloaded”  or “recently viewed” folder somewhere that he didn’t even know existed.  Who knows?  It gave me a laugh anyway.  (No children were harmed in the making of this post)