SAHM Prepares To Go Back To Work

http://www.morguefile.com/license/morguefile/This is a big week for me.  School and my new job start on Wednesday.  Summer break is over and now, instead of sleeping until 10, we will all be out of bed at 5:30 and in the car by 6:30, hopefully dressed with hair combed and teeth brushed.  Though we may have to work up to that.  I’ll be happy with dressed for the first couple of days.  It’s going to be tough, but we’ll adjust.  Eventually.

What bothers me most (aside from the ungodly hour) is taking the baby girl to daycare.  None of my kids have ever been to daycare.  I couldn’t bear the thought.  I wanted to stay home with my kids while they still wanted me around.  The baby and toddler years go by so fast and I didn’t want to miss a moment. The thought of them taking their first steps or saying their first word while at daycare was agonizing.

I’m lucky.  I’ve spent the big milestone years with all five of the kids.  But now it’s time to go back to work, for the good of everyone.  My job is necessary for my children’s education and my sanity.  I’ve been ready to go back to work for a while.  It’s been 11 wonderful years staying home with babies and toddlers and I’ll miss it horribly.  But I’m also excited.  I know a job means bosses and maybe some co-workers I’m not crazy about, a schedule, rules, and tiredness. I’ve heard it all over the years from the employed.  Sounds kind of great to me. No diapers or Spongebob Squarepants?  Bring it on.  Of course, I’m entering the cutthroat world of Elementary school cafeteria workers, so I may be singing a different tune in a couple of weeks.  Yeah.

Going back to work might bother me more if I hadn’t found a great place to send my baby girl.  I’m not sending her to a traditional daycare of 50 screaming kids/1 harried adult ratios.  She’s going to an in-home daycare of 1 adult, 4 kids max.  She’ll eat at a kitchen table and play in a real backyard.  As expected, the finding of a great place I could afford was easy, accomplished by a few phone calls and knowing the right people. I have been amazingly blessed through all the crazy stuff that’s happened this summer (see here and here.)  This has definitely been a summer I’ll never forget.

In preparation for my return to work and the kids return to school, I’m cleaning house.  I hope to have it as close to spotless as I’m capable (I’m not the world’s greatest housekeeper. If you don’t know me, take a look at the links below to see how big of a pig I really am.) Hopefully the mere four waking hours my kids spend at home each day will make it easier to keep it that way.  Though baby girl was able to accomplish this great feat in a matter of a few unsupervised minutes.

The Next Michelangelo

Is it any wonder I’m not all that upset about sending her to daycare?

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I’d rather write my blog, read a book, or stare blankly into space than clean.  So what?

Springtime, Bleach, and a Piano

Blogging Wishes and Momfog Dreams

Positive Thinking Gets the Laundry Done

Monday, Beautiful Monday

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The ABCs of Autism

Daily Foglifter:  April is Autism Awareness month.

Mikey and Mama

Life with an autistic child is stessful.  It’s difficult.  It’s unfair…..

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Life with an autistic child is also…

Pure Joy

Awe-Inspiring
Beautiful
  • Crazy
  • Delightful
  • Educational
  • Fantastic
  • Galvanizing
  • Play Ball!

  • Humbling
  • Incredible
  • Jovial
  • Kinder
  • Loopy
  • Mesmerizing
  • Novel
  • Loving the Water

  • Optimistic
  • Philosophic
  • Quixotic
  • Rambunctious
  • Sweet
  • Tenacious
  • Unpredictable
  • Vigorous
  • Wonderful
  • Xenial
  • Yielding
  • Zany
  • …and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

    ~Angela Schwindt

  • Autism Resources:

  • http://www.autismspeaks.org/
  • http://www.autism-society.org/
  • http://www.autism.com/
  • http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/brain/autism.html
  • I’m the Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student at…

    Daily Foglifter:  The “dot” over the letter “i” is called a tittle.

    Yeah, I know these bumper stickers are annoying.  And rude.  It’s impolite to brag.  But guess what?  I couldn’t care less.  I have four honor roll students at four different schools.  I don’t have the bumper stickers, though I totally have the room since I drive an obscenely large Ford Expedition.  You’re judging me now, aren’t you?  Well, if you have any other suggestion for an automobile that will haul five rapidly growing kids that gets more than 13 miles per gallon, believe me, I’m open to suggestions. 

    ANYway, where was I?  Oh yeah.  I was talking about my brilliant children.  Aidan, the sixth grader, barely eked out an 82% in Math to earn the coveted Honor Roll Certificate.  Now Aidan gets math.  What he doesn’t get is the concept of “showing the work.”  He looks at the problem, knows the answer, and fails to see the importance of explaining how he knows.  The importance, of course, is preparation for the dreaded Calculus problem that has a hundred steps, making it necessary to write down everything, in case he makes a mistake somewhere and can identify it and work from there.  He didn’t accept that explanation from me and he isn’t accepting it from his teacher.  He’s very practical and hates doing unnecessary work–a trait he gets from his father.  :0

    I’m especially proud of Michael, the fifth grader.  Michael has autism, but is in regular classes (has been since Kindergarten) and has always made the honor roll.  Not just the A and B Honor Roll, the straight A Honor Roll.  It helps that he has what I suspect is a photographic memory and the hearing equivalent.  Meaning that if he reads it or hears it, it’s his, forever.  The kid is amazing.  I am always asking him about things I know he heard me talking about because I know he’ll provide the details that have completely escaped my brain.  Watching Jeopardy with him is an awesome experience.

    The biggest surprise is my daughter, Molly.  Not because she isn’t smart, but because she doesn’t like to do work.  Of any kind.  She’s also a little flighty.  Alas, she gets this trait from her mother.   She also likes to talk–a lot.  She’s silly and gets really excited about everything.  Her laugh is pure joy.  Fortunately, this makes her a favorite with teachers, who overlook her unfinished or forgotten homework and general disorganization.  She delivers when it counts.  Test scores through the roof and always ready with a correct answer when called on to provide one. 

    And then there’s Billy.  Billy is a mess.  He’s hilarious, smart-mouthed, and makes the funniest faces I’ve ever seen.  He’s always been the clown in the family and I was sure he would be sent to the office at least three times a week.  He actually didn’t talk much for the fist half of the year.  That all changed when they did the unit on families and his class discovered he had FOUR siblings and 5 pets (the cat had kittens).  He “won” the biggest family award.  That brought out his inner celebrity and he’s been entertaining his classmates and teachers ever since.  He’s in Pre-K so there’s no letter grades.  Instead, there are NY (Not yet able), IP (In Progress), or P (Proficient).  He got all Ps, except for one IP in Writing (when asked what the purpose of writing was, he said he didn’t want to talk about it) and an IP in Personal Information.  Apparently, he doesn’t know his name.  He’s under the impression that his name is Billy William, instead of Gary William.  It’s our fault, really, for giving him a first name we never call him by, and a middle name that we never call him by either, instead opting for the “short” version, Billy.  Talk about confusing.

    In three short years, Anna will be in school.  Judging by her current behavior, she will get sent to the principal’s office every day for playing in the garbage can, yelling “no” at her teachers every time they ask her anything, or for eating glue, crayons, chalk, fingerpaint, paper, paper clips, pencils, puzzle pieces, beads, dirt….

    “He who teaches children learns more than they do”  ~German Proverb

    I Can’t Help It

    Daily Foglifter:  There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

     I am not a gusher.  I am not going to run across a crowded room to give someone  a hug.  I’m not going to excitedly clap my hands and jump up and down with glee. I don’t squeal with delight.  Ever.  I’m not saying I don’t feel like doing these things.  In fact, I’m jealous of those who can, but I can’t bring myself to do it.  It’s just so embarrassing.  It’s a real problem, particularly around Christmas and birthdays.  Everyone’s staring at me as I open gifts, expecting something, and all I can manage is a half-smile, half-smirk, and a mumbled “thank you.”

    I’m backward and I know where it comes from.  It’s a gift from my dad.  I remember family get-togethers with his side of the family where everyone either paced the floor, sat in corners alone, or fidgeted.  (I’m of the fidgeting variety.  Cuticle-picking, nail-biting, toe-tapping, hair-twirling, and lip-biting are just a few of my annoying habits.)  I also remember those get-togethers as being incredibly funny, but not in the uproarious, obvious way.  You had to pay attention.  self-deprecating remarks, heavy sarcasm, gentle gibes, and corny puns were all part of the repertoire.  When the focus is on words, it draws attention away from the person.  I listened closely and learned well.

    Why the sudden introspection?  Yesterday, I was asked to do something.  I was asked to look objectively at my blog postings and consider how they might be perceived by someone who didn’t know me.  More specifically, by someone who didn’t know how much I loved my children.  The request really shocked me.  I wasn’t angry or upset, just surprised.  I was also concerned.  I didn’t want to give the impression that my children are a burden to me or that I think my life is miserable.  They aren’t and I don’t.  So I read my posts and did notice my tendency toward exaggeration and peevishness, but thought it was obvious I meant no harm.  Then I realized that though it’s obvious to me, it may not be obvious to others.  So I sent a few trusted friends a message, asking their opinion.  Everyone seemed to get it, but I was still worried.  I thought about it from my kids’ perspectives.  What would they think of the things I said about them?  The only way to find out was to ask.

    I chose Aidan, my 11-year-old.  He’s smart and he’s usually honest with me. Our time doing home school together has established a special bond between us.  We talk a lot about things and he shares my love of finding the ridiculous in the every day trappings of life.  So I ask him, “If I said you were a night owl and a morning slug, what would you think I meant by that?”  He says, without missing a beat, “That I stay up late and am lazy in the morning.  That’s funny.”  I ask him, “Would that hurt your feelings if I said that to you?”  He says, “No, because it’s true.”  He, too,  is listening closely and learning well. 

    I didn’t go into massive self-examination because some random reader suggested I sounded a mite bitter.  This person is someone I know very well and someone who only had my and my children’s best interests at heart.  I appreciate it.  I have asked for honest feedback, and that includes negative as well as positive comments,  but I’m not going to change anything.   Momfog is about the difficulties of motherhood.  It’s not all sunshine and lollipops.  I cope with the stress through humor, sarcasm, and hyperbole.  It’s a dynamic I’m comfortable with and one that my children and my husband understand.  And that is what’s important.

     

    I don’t know any parents that look into the eyes of a newborn baby and say, “How can we screw this kid up?  ~Russell Bishop

    Things Moms Say

    Daily Foglifter:  Ernest Vincent Wright wrote the novel “Gadsby,” a story of over 50,000 words, without using the letter “E.”

    Before I was a mother, I knew what things I would never say when I became one.  I knew I would never say them because when my mom said them, I felt like screaming.  I would be nicer to my kids than my mom was to me.  I would be a cool mom who explained everything to her kids.  Here’s a short list of things I swore I would never say:

    • Because I’m your mother.
    • You’re not old enough.
    • Life isn’t fair.  Get used to it.
    • We’ll see.
    • When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.
    • As long as you live under my roof, you’ll follow my rules.
    • Sammich. (I’m not sure why this bothers me so much, but it drives me up the wall.  Oddly enough, my husband uses the word sammich.  I can only chalk it up to God’s attempt to cure me of such a silly pet peeve or maybe He’s just having a laugh at my expense.)
    • Because I said so.  (The absolute WORST phrase in the history of the English language.)

    I thought these were horrible, awful things to say to kids.  (With the possible exception of sammich).  I thought they were what lazy parents said when they didn’t feel like chauffeuring their kids all over the place or taking the time to explain things in terms kids can understand.  I was right.  I know I was right because I say these things at least 10 times a day for those very reasons.

    I have 5 children.  Between trips to the grocery store, church, and gymnastics I spend half my life in the car as it is.  I cannot run to the store because Billy has a sudden hankering for goldfish.  I cannot go to the redbox just because they’re bored.  There are logical reasons for this, but no matter what I say the kids will hear, “Because I said so.”  I save myself the time it would take to explain that gas costs money, I don’t have time, and it’s not good for kids to get whatever they want as soon as they ask for it, because this creates spoiled rotten brats with a skewed sense of entitlement, and just say, “Because I said so.”  Then when they say, “It’s not fair!” I say, “Life isn’t fair.  Get used to it.”

    Aside from laziness and not creating spoiled brats, there are even better reasons for using these phrases.  When my son asks if he can ride his bike down the road, I say no.  He asks why and I say, “Because I said so” or “You’re not old enough.”  He’s 11, which is plenty old enough to ride your bike down a country road.  IF that country road didn’t have a crazy man who stumbled up and down it, mumbling to himself.  IF that road wasn’t the place where a dead body was dumped last summer.  IF that country road wasn’t a popular sunning spot for 5 foot rattlesnakes.  “Because I said so” is kinder and less scary than “Because that guy could be a child molester or deranged homicidal maniac” or “you might get bitten by a monstrous venomous snake.”

    Of the things I swore I would never say, the only one I kept my word on is “sammich.”  I guess I’m not a cool mom.  Of course, there is no such thing as a cool mom.  There is only mean, embarrassing old mom who has no idea what it’s like to be a kid.  As far as my kids are concerned, I am old, have always been old, and always will be old.  I realized this when my son, Billy, asked me to pour him a glass of tea.  When I didn’t do it as fast as he thought I should, he said, “Where’s my tea, old lady?”  This was a blow to my ego as both a parent and a woman.  I am trying so hard to raise non-brats, and he calls me that incredibly rude (and untrue) name.  I’m 32, for heaven’s sake.  That is not even close to old.  Not to mention that “Where’s my tea, _____?” is no way to ask for something to drink, even if he had filled in the blank with “my cool, beautiful, sweet mother.”

    Normal “momisms” aren’t the only unbelievable things coming out of my mouth.  Sometimes I say something and my immediate thought is, “Did I really just say that?!”  Some recent examples include:

    • Don’t eat coffee grounds out of the garbage can.
    • Don’t rub pizza on your feet.
    • Don’t eat styrofoam.
    • Put down that metal bar.  Find something else to sword fight with.
    • Don’t touch the cat’s butt.

    While all this is really good advice, I hardly think it will be included in any parenting magazines.  Seriously, though, why do kids want to eat and touch disgusting things, play with their food, and hit each other with deadly weapons?  I can’t believe I told  my son to find something ELSE to sword fight with.  Shouldn’t I have said, “Let’s not sword fight.”  If I recall correctly, that particular game ended with crying and the swelling of some body part, as “innocent” games between five kids always do.

    I look back to my pre-kid conceptions of the perfect mom and sigh.  I was right in my convictions.  Perfect moms should take the time to make their children understand why they aren’t allowed to do certain things.  The only problem is that I’m not perfect.  I don’t have the time.  More importantly, I don’t have the heart.  I want to keep the ugliness of the world from tainting my children as long as possible.  Until I’m ready for my kids to view the world with the wary eye of good vs. evil, I’m content with being the bad guy.  That’s a position all moms are willing to take.  If you don’t have kids yet, trust me, “When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.”

    Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next.
    Franklin P. Jones