My dear friend, Nik, was having a tough day yesterday. Being a SAHM to two little boys under the age of 3 ain't always easy, y'all. She spent her morning struggling, until later in the day, she realized that a bad day with Spenk & Ollie isn't a reflection of her parenting skills. It honestly is JUST a bad day. She realized in that moment that she's good at a lot of things. And I have to agree with her. Paige has a gorgeous cloud mobile and several super cute pairs of baby legwarmers in her room as proof positive! If you need homemade baby legwarmers, custom cloud or moon mobiles, custom pennant banners, or a custom rag quilt, Spenk & Ollie Creations is the place to go, no doubt about it.
Anyway, after Nik listed her ten things, she invited her readers to do the same. I'm always up for a good blog prompt, and the way the past few days have gone, this one certainly appealed to me.
1. Giving birth. Whether it be my son, who weighed 8lbs 14.5oz and was birthed with the assisstance of a "vacuum" and epidural or my tiny 7lb daughter who needed no more help than perineal massage and a couple of doses of Stadol (and okay, some Phenergan for the nausea caused by birthing without an epidural), I did what had to be done. I gave birth to my babies.
2. Ignoring the parenting judgement. I know that around here, the things I do are not the norm. We live in the south, where people do as their grandparents tell them - meaning a lot raise their children as their grandparents raised their parents. I'm not that person - we do what works for us and damn everyone else. When needed, we co-sleep and we share our room still on the nights we don't share our bed. We babywear, we don't take the doctor's (nurse's/lab tech's) word as golden simply because they're trained in their field. We research and make educated choices. We don't circumcise, we probably won't pierce ears before kindergarten unless we find a local pediatrician who pierces, we cloth diaper (that was the big one that people around here were shocked by). We don't give our baby a pork chop at three months old - though we ARE planning to skip purees entirely and try babyled weaning (which has absolutely nothing to do with breastfeeding). We consider ourselves lucky our daughter sleeps through the night and wouldn't have given her rice cereal to make her. We DO give her rice cereal for her reflux. Etc etc etc. And we don't judge other parents for making different decisions than us.
3. Photography... I'm good at this, not great. I am definitely an amateur and probably always will be. But the photos I take are very precious to me. And hopefully I won't even wind up on You Are Not A Photographer
4. Calming a hurting baby... Becoming good at this comes with the territory of being the mother of a reflux baby. People ask me if Paige is fussy... During the first reflux flare up, oh my stars, yes, she was. For almost two weeks straight. And then I began to realize the positions and techniques that helped her feel better. I know it's luck, not every mother is as lucky to be able to calm their refluxer. I think it has saved my sanity.
5. Patience. On the rare occassion that she is truly inconsolable and screams for hours on end, I can hold her and snuggle her and rock her and sing to her and talk to her. And even if, on the inside, I'm pulling my hair out? All she knows is that I'm loving her.
6. The Sims. This one is amusing. I've been playing since my 17th birthday, so for over 11 years now (shhh). My son would tell you I'm awesome at it, because I've had a family worth over a million dollars with no cheat codes used. I also apparently was good at unintentionally getting him addicted.
7. Making the kids laugh. Whether I'm making funny faces or tickling them or dancing like a fool or singing any words that come to mind to my daughter in a ridiculous tune... ALL of the kids get a kick out of it.
8. Not spending money. Other than all of these stupid bills, I can go a week without spending a dime most of the time if I really, really need to. And when things are really tight, I normally only buy necessities - gas to get to the grocery store and doctor appointments, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, dog & cat food, toilet paper...
9. Organizing and downsizing. When I set my mind to something, I can really cut down on the household clutter. Now, finding that motivation to do these things? That's a different story.
10. Cooking. My husband brags on me constantly, and I've even recently been told that my nephew does. My husband won't eat bbq pork from anywhere else anymore, and my nephew bragged about it to his friends. I don't know how you get much easier than cooking a boneless pork shoulder picnic roast in root beer on low in the crock pot all day, draining the root beer, adding bbq sauce (Jack Daniels honey bbq or hickory brown sugar here, thanks), and shredding the meat... But they sure do love it. My husband also brags about my spaghetti a lot - apparently the homemade sauce made with a recipe my grandmother was given while living in Italy was the way to his heart, and the man who hates mushrooms loves the ones I cook to put on the spaghetti. Who knew?
I could probably keep going if Nik had given some number other than ten... Because, I am a pretty talented person, I guess, even if I do feel like a failure when my infant is screaming inconsolably or my son forgets to take a shower or the 12 year old niece I'm raising cops an attitude (for the ten millionth time (in one day (or maybe one hour...))). All in all, despite the struggles, I guess I have this life thing pretty well figured out.