Saturday, October 29, 2011

It takes a village

I feel the need to address an issue that really bothers me.  It's controversial but that has never held me back from writing my truths.

That little whisper of tension that seems to just exist, sort of like a line of division between the WAHM (work at home mom) and the WOHM (work outside the home mom).  I have created new acronyms for the purpose of this blog because, yes, I believe that in both instances work is the operative word.

I may not directly experience the WAHM's successes/struggles, but I certainly understand that what they do at home with their children is hard work.  It's real work, with value and honour.  I do not for one second believe that what they do is sit around all day mixing martinis and watching the soaps.  They volunteer their time whether it be in a school our out in the community.  Many are entrepreneurs with their own businesses, like daycare or catering, which is amazing and should be celebrated! 

I am a WOHM.  I would have loved to stay home with my son.  He is the sweetest, most caring  4 year old I know.  He is sensitive, rambunctious, and truly is the love of my life.  Having said that, I know, down to the tips of my toes that I would not have been happy in that situation.  I have worked hard to get to the job/career that I have and I decided even before I had him, that I would continue to work.  He loved going to daycare and he loves going to school.  He is in a full day JK program and he is thriving.  He has made friends, they call themselves the "brothers" and has already been to one birthday party which he is still talking about.  My work outside the home is stressful.  I come home with headaches, muscle aches, but regardless of that, it's the best part of my day because I get to see his beautiful face and find out how his day has been.  His development has in no way been compromised because I decided to work outside the home instead of work at home.  I have never shirked my responsibilities as a mother and have never taken advantage of a caregiver's time by being careless about pick up times or what have you.  I have asked for flexibility for reasons completely outside of my control.  This is not the same thing as taking advantage.   

While I'm at it, I also want to congratulate the WAHD (work at home dad's) out there.  There are so many more now than there used to be and I think it's great that our generation is breaking and making new traditions.  Many dad's have home offices where they can do freelance work, or run their own businesses, or just look after the kidlets.  I admire their courage for breaking away from our society's notion of gender roles.

So many other mentions could be made, single parents, grandparents raising their grandkids, foster parents, same-sex parents, the list goes on and on.

I think we all need to remember that we are all doing the best we can for our family and doing what works for us.  Different choices come with different pros and cons, but no choice is any better or any worse than another.  Parenting is parenting no matter which family variant you have.   

The African proverb (My reading attributes it to Nigeria's Igbo and Yoruba regions) says it best:

"It takes a village to raise a child."      

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rick Hansen Relay

Please take some time to view this video of Rick Hansen's visit to the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre.  He is truly inspirational and gives hope to children and adults of all abilities.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

French food for the soul

My guy loves his French class at school.  Tonight at bedtime, we had a fun little game going.  He sang me a song in French (of course, I know it, but pretend it's the first time I've heard it).  Tête, épaules, genoux, orteilles...yeux, nez, bouche, oreilles.  Then he asks me a whole bunch of words in french:  boat: bateau, bed:  lit, kiss:  bisou, he says bisou and I kiss him, he says it again and of course, kiss him.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.   He tries to circumvent my next kiss by throwing up his stuffed owl, so I say "No!  Hibou, not bisou!" which sets him off into uncontrollable giggles.  When it's time to say our final goodnight he says to me, "Give daddy a bisou for me!"  I love him.  He is such a sweet boy.  I'm a lucky mommy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh indian summer

The only thing I don't like about having an indian summer is that all the neighbourhood's Mr. Fixits get their power tools out REALLY early.  Have one neighbour working on his motorcycle, another mowing his lawn and yet another using what I believe is a power saw.  Seriously, give me a break, it's a holiday Monday for pete's sake.  Let us sleep until at least 10 am.  Or at the very least enjoy some peace and quiet.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

With thanks

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

I have many treasures to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, and the rest of the year too, but now is a good time to acknowledge them.

Some of them are obvious, but they need to be said.
I am thankful for my amazing son and fantastic husband.  I'm not sure what I did to be so lucky, but it must have been good because they are the centre of my world.

Thankful for my family, parents, sisters and brother, I would never trade them. 

Thankful for my girlz, you know who you are.  I could not have gotten through this year without the support.  

 Thankful that twice I was in the right place, at the right time.  I came close to panicking both times, but I held it together and made a difference.  M and A are both safe and sound, for that I am thankful.

Thankful for a good job, a roof over my head and luxuries a lot of people don't have.  

Since last Thanksgiving, it's been a rough year.  Lots of downs, some ups, but I'm hopeful things will settle down soon.   

Seventy-seven days until Christmas!  The countdown is on!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

School surprises

I almost fainted in the car today when my very proud JK student sang to me a little song about a number of fast food chain restaurants (my sibs and fellow Girl Guides will know which one I mean!).  WTF??  Is this part of the curriculum??  Along with every Monday pizza and every Thursday hot dog day?  I'm sorry, I'm flabbergasted.  Not sure if it is even worth addressing and how I would approach that one...

It's a good thing I wasn't driving...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Parenting pet peeves - my take

My friend Karen has a good point, what is it about different parenting syles that can be frustrating?

Oh parenting pet peeves, could talk for hours!!!  but I will attempt to be brief, for everyone's sanity :) .

The one that bugs me the most:  Parents who bring their kids to the playground and essentially ignore them so that they can socialize.  I think this is a common pet peeve for those of us who actually keep an eye on our kids to make sure they are behaving appropriately.  Example 1:  I was at a play-date-in-the-park event offered by a community group and this woman had brought her home daycare with her, which is great, it's a great outing with lots of activity and lots of other kids.  However, her charges were all over the place, behaving like wild animals, grabbing, pushing, saw one give the other a kick, they were heading into the wooded area (we're talking 2-3 year olds) and she spent the whole time talking with the staff running the group and complaining about the parents of the kids in her care, barely glancing to make sure all of the kids were accounted for.  I heard her make several judgements about mothers who work outside the home, saying they were unloading their responsibilities; I could go on but I won't.  All I have to say is this:  If you don't like running a daycare, don't choose to do it!  Do something that makes you happy.  Example 2:  Larger boy steals my son's soccer ball so that he can play "keep away" from my son who wants to pass the ball back and forth the way we play together all the time.  I took the ball from the older boy and had to put it away.  His mother sat and watched and tickled her small baby, cootchie coo!  Never wanted to slap someone so hard in all my life.  I was forced to take the ball from my son because of her son's unwillingness to share and play together.  I explained to him I was not taking it because of his behaviour, but because the other boy would just keep hogging the ball. 

My other major pet peeve is those who judge our home routines, especially bedtime.  (I have discussed this hot topic with many people, some have been super supportive and made suggestions in a helpful way, others, just plain openly judgemental)  I put my kid to bed when he is ready, not when I am ready to have him go to sleep.  It's a subtle difference, but one that matters to me.  Our family time is precious, hubby and I both work full time and so yes, we hoard every minute that we have together, because we want to be together.  If that means he goes to bed at 8:30, so be it.  Am I being a bit selfish?  I admit it, yes, but it's not without consideration.  In my book, firstly, that's not very late.  Secondly, if he were cranky and unmanageable during the day that would be reason to make adjustments.  His bedtime is creeping earlier now that he is in school and not napping in the afternoon, but I let his signals tell me when to put him to bed.  If his behaviour says he is ok, then I'm not going to make a huge deal about it.  On rare occasions, he asks to go to bed, like I would say no!

I'm not saying I am so perfect and non-judgemental that I *never* do things like this, but I try *very* hard to keep my mouth shut unless directly asked for advice or input.  I am in the position where I screen for developmental delays in children and have to keep my profession separate from my personal life.  And on the playground, I manage my own child, and sometimes my friend's children, because I know that they wouldn't mind me doing it.