Eat it, please?

When I was a kid, my brother was the picky eater of the family. My mom catered to him with breakfast and lunch, always making him his favorite things to eat. Like a mustard and mayonnaise sandwich (yes he ate this regularly) and french toast or pancakes. But at dinner time, she made one meal for the family. And most nights, my brother refused to eat dinner. My parents would always say, “Well, I guess you’re going to go hungry because that’s all there is to eat.” Later, I would see my brother sitting in the living room eating a big bowl of cereal and I would think, “My mom is such a sucker. Of course he’s not going to eat dinner because he knows he’ll just get cereal later if he doesn’t like it.”

Fast forward 25 years later and here I am trying to get my kids to regularly eat well balanced meals. It’s definitely a struggle. And why is this? Don’t these kids know how good they have it? Custom-made omelets or real oatmeal and fresh fruit for breakfast, anything they can think of for lunch, and homemade dinners every night that take me, at least, a half hour to make, if not longer. No TV dinners in my house! And do you think that they eat these meals? No. It’s a crap shoot as to what they will eat and when. Sometimes they’ll devour a meal, but the next time I serve it, they refuse to even take one bite. It’s beyond frustrating!

Tonight I slow cooked a pot roast with red potatoes, carrots and a quartered sweet onion. The whole house smells divine. The meat was falling apart on our forks. The kids ate nothing. Not one bite of a carrot. Not one bite of potato or roast. And now, they are begging for food. We use the tried and true phrase from my parents’ table that “this is all there is to eat and if you don’t eat it, you’re going to bed hungry.” And I know that if they are truly hungry, they’ll eat it, right?

So why am I sneaking the kids a banana when my husband isn’t looking? Because I can’t stand the thought of my kids going hungry.

But I’ll never feed them cereal. Because that would just make me a sucker.

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My Second Birth Day!

Newborn Chase

It’s amazing to me how quickly time goes by when you have children. Today is my son’s 2nd birthday. Two years ago, I delivered my beautiful baby boy in his nursery in our home and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My first delivery, with my daughter, had been traumatizing to me and my subsequent introduction into motherhood brought fear, hopelessness and anxiety into play. And with a colicky baby to boot, my first year as a mom was more difficult for me than I had imagined.

But when I had my son, I was in a better place, both mentally and physically. I had chosen to birth my baby at home where I felt safe and in control, and I felt better prepared to be a mom to a newborn. I followed my instincts and mothered the way I felt was right. And I have truly enjoyed these past two years. My son re-taught me what it meant to be a mom. He brought back my self-confidence in mothering and I have experienced more joy in my life because of him.

Thank you, Chase, for all your precious hugs and kisses and for making these 2 years so wonderful for your mommy. I love you, baby! Happy Birthday!

My 2 year old!

The Season of Giving

I love this time of year. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because it combines my love of shopping with my love of gift giving, sweets eating, Christmas carol singing and peppermint mocha coffee drinking.

But it is also this time of year that I feel the confines of our family budget the most. I wish that I could do something nice for everyone this time of year. It just can’t happen. I knew this when my husband and I sat down and made up a budget that would allow us to live on a single income. And now this strict-budget living is second nature and I rarely even notice my financial limitations. But there have been a lot of moments these last few months where I’ve felt confined by and resentful of the tight fistedness that has kept our heads above water. I wanted to be able to buy my husband something nice for his birthday and still be able to go out together for a nice dinner. I wanted to send flowers to my daughter’s teacher when we heard she was in the hospital. I wanted to get my daughter that $200 Barbie Jeep at Target and the Buzz Lightyear race car for my son for Christmas. I wish I could rent out some fancy, fun place for my kids’ birthday party next week and hand out fun favors to all the kids. But none of these things were financially feasible for us.

Instead, I gave my husband something thoughtful for his birthday and made a special dinner for him. We sent a card to my daughter’s teacher with a heartfelt note. And although I spent less for Christmas on my kids (and niece), combined, than the cost of one Barbie Jeep, they will have plenty of gifts to open on Christmas morning. The kids’ party will be at home, but filled with friends and family and, I hope, a lot of fun. This is the season of giving. But it is also the season of joy and goodwill, hope and light and love. And I always remind myself that even though I may not be giving people the things I wish I could afford, I am still giving them something, even if it is just my love and friendship. These are great gifts to get; I know, because the love and friendship I receive from others are the gifts I treasure the most.

Merry Christmas!

Introductions, please.

Hi. My name is Tamara and I’m a control freak. I am also a mom. I have 2 kids: a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. In other words, I exist in a state of (almost) perpetual chaos.

For some, a state of chaos is perfectly acceptable, or even enjoyable. But not so for the Control Freak Mom. Chaos is a 4-letter word in my world! Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I want to be home with them. In fact, there’s nothing I want to do more than stay at home with my kids. I want to raise them with love, affection, attention, good morals and values, teaching them respect and kindness towards others, to have good manners, to make healthy choices and to just generally become creative, intelligent, GOOD human beings.

Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Most days I just try to keep up with them and still get the laundry done and dinner made.

But I think there is a general misconception out there in the universe about SAHMs. Either a mom stays home with her kids because she is unemployable/unwilling to work/lazy, or that she is Mrs. Mary Sunshine Homemaker and that she enjoys every single waking moment of motherhood and handles children and life with a smile and a positive attitude. Sadly, universe, you are mistaken. But boy do I wish I could be Mrs. Mary Sunshine Homemaker! I’m quite sick of comments like, “You should go back to work if being home makes you so crazy.” Yeah, so, just because I bitch about it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. Duh!

So this is my confession of the day: I love my kids, but I don’t always enjoy every moment of motherhood and I am not always smiling or thinking positively. I am not perfect. And neither are my kids. And my eternal lesson from the class of Motherhood is that I have to learn to live with that.