Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's talk about being a mom...

So last week I kind of started something on my Facebook page. It wasn't a fight or anything, but it did kind of become a heated discussion between me and a few others off line. And I rarely discuss topics here that can be deemed controversial or that can spark conflict, but this started conversations that I think are good, regardless of whether or not you agree with me.

So Thursday afternoon I was watching the new Anderson Cooper talk show. Sarah Jessica Parker was on talking about her new movie, in which she plays a woman struggling with her responsibilities as a mom, a wife and an executive. So of course Anderson, God bless him, starts asking her if the movie mirrored her life as a working mother. And SJP then starts talking about how difficult it is to be a working mom.

Really?

Well I have to tell you, I really wanted to punch her in the face.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not doubting that it is difficult for her, I am sure it is. But her difficult and my difficult and almost any other working mother's difficult, are like talking about life on two different planets.

Why do we do this as a society? Why do we take a celebrity and make them a spokesperson for normal people?

When I had just given birth to Junior, Cindy Crawford had also recently given birth to her oldest child. And I remember watching her on a talk show where they introduced her as "Super Model turned Super Mom." And I wanted to throw a dirty diaper at the TV.

Now I am not trying to sound bitter. I am just saying COME ON!

You know who is a Super Mom? My mother. She raised me by herself for 13 years. She got pregnant at 17, made a very difficult decision to raise a child when she was still a child herself, and worked two, sometimes three jobs to put food on the table and clothes on my back. She had no help, other than my grandma who took me for the weekend occasionally. And this all happened in Utah. Not exactly a friendly environment for a young, single mother. My mother also knows how difficult it can be to be a working mother. She missed a lot, yes. But I never missed a meal, I always had new clothes when school started, and had excellent grades.

Being a mother is not easy, regardless of your circumstances. There's that constant doubt. Am I doing too much for them? Am I doing too little? Am I hugging them enough? Am I sheltering them too much?

And when you throw a full time job into the equation? It can be heartbreaking. I have missed honor roll assemblies, class parties and field trips. I have had to take them to my mother in law's house when they were sick because I couldn't miss work. I've forgotten to check homework and sign permission slips and send in treats for the class. I've had to tell one child they couldn't attend a birthday party because another child was asked to attend one first and I can't be in two places at once.

Something tells me SJP may not know what that is like.

Now please don't misunderstand. I am not complaining about being a mother. It is the greatest thing that I do. All three of my children were prayed for, planned and celebrated. And I was very lucky to have been able to stay at home with them when they were little.

But I sucked as a stay at home mom.

I was not any more organized or focused on my job as a mother. And like I said, although I am very thankful for the time I had as a stay at home mom, I always felt like I was missing something. I missed human contact. Grown up conversations. I would follow Ubes around the house when he got home from work telling him all about Oprah and Rosie and All My Children and "Ohmygod Babe, you would just not believe the sexual tension between Bob the Builder and his assistant Wendy. It is palpable."

And most of all, I missed the annual performance evaluation. I really wanted Uberman to sit me down and say "Okay Babe, you have exceeded expectations saving money and using coupons. However, I think folding the laundry is a major opportunity for improvement."

What can I say, I need affirmation.

And I am about to tell you something that a lot of working mom's don't want to admit. It's kind of a secret. You will be shocked and you may think differently of me....

Are you ready?

Are you sure??

Okay... Here goes....

(deep breath)

I LIKE HAVING A JOB.

(gasp)

I know, right?!?!? I like working. I want to work. I actually enjoy it. I like having a time and a place and a task that is all mine. I like having something to focus on outside of home and kids and marriage and bills and family and cleaning and organizing and all that other stuff. I like the sense of accomplishment when I achieve something great. I like it that it is all about my contributions and not about my personal life. I like that it is up to me to achieve whatever I want. And you know what? A paycheck every two weeks that helps my family and my financial situation is pretty cool too. Call it an escape if you want to, I don't really care. I like to work.

I am not knocking the stay at home moms. If you can stay home and you can put all your focus into being the CEO of your household, more power to you. All I know is, THIS works for us. I am so lucky that I can be home when my kids get home from school so I can still correct homework and make sure everything is ready for the next day. And thank God Ubes is here when they leave in the morning to make sure everyone is wearing clean clothes and their teeth and faces are clean and their hair is combed and they all have their backpacks and lunches.

I hate the constant fight between stay home moms and working moms. Either way, you are a mother. And that is the hardest job there is. Do what works best for your family. And OWN it. Don't feel guilty about what you have chosen. The most important thing is to be the best mom you can be. Savor that time with your kids. And don't beat yourself up when you can't be there.

Kids are resilient. I should know. I was one.

And for crying out loud, if you need a spokesperson for motherhood, choose someone within your own family or group of friends. Or your neighbor down the street who has all the kids in the neighborhood at her house at any given moment and makes the best brownies in the world! Don't pick a celebrity who is not living in real life.

Or even better. Choose yourself. You be that spokesperson for being a mom. I want to hear what you have to say.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lordy, Lordy! Look Who's 40!

Hello my lovely friends!! Today is my BIRTHDAY!!

I love my birthday. I have the best birthstone and seven is a lucky number and it's that perfect time between summer and fall. (Even though it is still a hundred thousand degrees here in the good ol' AZ.)(Totally NOT exaggerating. At all.) But I have the best birthday ever!

And not to brag about my awesomeness or anything (HA! Who are we kidding??), but I have already had birthday wishes today from all over the world. LITERALLY. Starting with my favorite New Zealand twins, Hayley and Marie!! Then my friend Todd in Africa. And the Gotham Girl wished me a happy day from India! Dudes, I've gone global.

I came in to work this morning with my desk decorated in glittery shoe shaped confetti. It is straight up bad ass. My team made me a big sign with lots of sweet messages. My friend Danielle brought me a delicious coffee cake and some candy. I told everyone the coffee cake was gross so I didn't have to share. But they were on to me and ate it anyway. It was so yummy! Tonight my MIL is making me dinner and my favorite pineapple cake. My parents took us to lunch on Sunday and I had my big birthday party last weekend. We've been celebrating forever!

So mother nature gave me a great big giant zit on the side of my nose for my birthday (it seriously looks like my nose is growing a nose of its very own). She was all "Hey April, you're feeling a little too good about turning 40. So here you go. Up yours."

She's such a bitch.

But I'm not going to let it get me down, no sirree. Because I am excited to be 40. I have worked hard for every year under my belt and 40 is going to be awesome. I couldn't give a frogs fat one about age. You can't stop a speeding train, my friends. You can just hang on and enjoy the scenery flying by.

And I have made some decisions. Big ones. Now that I am 40 I feel like a grown up. So here's the new 40 year old April:

I am going to learn to say no. If I don't want to do something, I'm not going to. And I may or may not give a reason why or why not.

If I don't feel the need to explain myself, I won't.

If you are in my life, it's because I value you as a person and I want you here. For the first time in my entire life, I feel like I have enough friends and I'm okay with it if you don't want to be one. I don't have to be liked by everyone. And even better? I don't have to like everyone! Ohmygod the freedom this realization gives you is the most amazing feeling ever!!!

I'm not playing junior high games anymore. No matter how many times you try to get me to. I am going to be real and honest in my relationships. If you piss me off, I'm telling you. If I don't agree with you, I'm telling you. If you ask my opinion, you are getting it. If I think my responses will hurt your feelings, I will warn you. I have no interest in hurting people. But I am not going to be fake. I despise that in people. I will respect you so much more if you are honest with me than if you are nice to my face and evil behind my back. We can be friendly, but we don't have to be friends.

I am not judging people anymore. If your life works for you, more power to you. Who the heck am I to say any different? And I won't stand for you judging other people around me. I don't want to be surrounded by negativity and bad vibes and stupid teenage girl stuff. Let's be grown ups. Let's support each other. Let's just be nice.

Life is too short for all that stuff. So that's my new motto. Just be nice. Do nice. Play nice. But not fake nice. Okay?

All right you crazy kids! Thank you for celebrating my special day with me! Now go give someone a hug and eat a piece of cake today!

And WOW! I just realized this was my 400th post!! Happy day indeed!