Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrate the Perks, Don't Compare The Plights

I came across a Scary Mommy article this morning about the struggles of being a stay-at-home-mom.  At first glance, it was amusing and I was able to relate.  I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "So, what do you do all day?" or someone implies that being home with the kids is easy or that I am somehow "less than" because I am not a working parent. I have actually had people look down on me and make me feel stupid because I don't hold a position outside of the home.  So yes, sometimes I wish that working parents could see what I have to deal with day in and day out.

And then in the comments section of that blog post was the much predicted argument from the working moms.  That SAHM's don't understand how difficult working is, and how it's so much harder to be a working mom because they do so much more, and how they would give anything to be able to stay at home all day.

All of this angered me.  All of it.  The argument from both sides is just ridiculous.  Why are we arguing?  WHEN WILL THIS END??!!  Why are we comparing, why do we care who has it worse, and why aren't we just trying to make it better for everyone?

Motherhood is hard.  Period.  Parenting is hard.  Period.  Whether you are at home with your kids, or you have to leave to an office every day, it is hard.  Our struggles may be different - I want to eat without someone else sitting in my lap and you want to be able to make it to a school performance for once - but at the end of the day they are all the same.  We are all tired, frustrated, and aching for someone else to understand our plight. There is not enough time in the day for us to do X, Y & Z.  If only we were able to (fill-in-the blank).

And I get it.  I've been guilty of it myself.  We all get it, it's hard for all of us.  But instead of putting each other down for the different lives we lead and comparing who has it worse, we should be supporting each other and maybe even (dare I say it!), celebrating what we LOVE about our lives!!  There are perks & plights for those who work outside of the home and for those who stay in, and so I say let's celebrate the perks!  All of them!!

I CHALLENGE YOU.  Not just for Thanksgiving.  Not just for November.  But every day.  I challenge you to find something that you love about your situation.  Every day.  Something that makes it special.  Something that you wouldn't have if you were in the other mom's shoes.  Marinate in that, even if just for a few moments of the day.  My hope is that if we can all appreciate what we DO have we can stop complaining about what we don't have or what we wish we had.  I think we will all be a little happier at the end of the day too if we just counted our blessings instead of our aggravations.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adventures in Garbage

One of the "green" changes that we have implemented in The Conneuter household is that we rarely use paper towels.  Instead, I have a stack of kitchen rags that I use for clean-up, cleaning, wiping, etc. To keep the process easy for me I have a bin in the kitchen that I toss the used ones in until it's wash day.  It's wonderful, easy, definitely much cheaper than constantly buying paper towels, and one load of laundry and it's done.  I can go into great detail about this process, but I will save it for another blog.

The problem is that the bin is often times confused with the regular kitchen garbage during any kind of event that is held at our house.  Maybe it's because it's on the other side of the room from the regular garbage, maybe it's because people don't expect there to be a "hamper" in a kitchen, maybe it's because we are just friends with weirdos.  I don't know.  I have just gotten used to this over the 5 years that we have been implementing this.  I am not annoyed by it in the least, rather, I am amused by the treasures that I will inevitably find in the next wash load after a house gathering.  If nothing else, there is always, always, ALWAYS a juice box straw wrapper.  Even if we are not serving juice at whatever function we have had, the straw wrapper is in there.

But this blog is also not about the treasures I find in that bin.  Oh no.  This is a blog about what I found somewhere else.  Something that is so bizarre, I cannot imagine how someone made either the decision or mistake of doing this, or even what was going through their heads.  This is a story about what was found in the Bag of Bags.

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.  Every household has the Bag of Bags.  It's a plastic shopping bag that you use to store your other plastic shopping bags in.  Be it for while you collect enough to drop off at the recycle bin at the supermarket, be it for you to collect them to re-use them, be it that you collect them to use as stinky poop bags for disposable diapers or dog poop or cat litter cleanup.  Everyone has a Bag of Bags.  It's just a simple fact of life.  Where you have it is what varies.

We keep ours hanging off of our back door knob.  It's very obvious what it is.  It's practically overflowing with bags because I almost always forget to grab it when I go to the store.  You can very clearly see that it is a Bag of Bags, not a garbage.  Especially when there are not one but THREE other bins in the kitchen (garbage, recycling, rags), one of which is right next to the Bag of Bags.  Therefore, I never go through this Bag of Bags for any reason, other than to occasionally grab a bag out.  And even then, I don't go through it, I just grab a bag.

So I had noticed a smell starting to linger in that area.  Thought it was the rag bin.  Washed the rags.  It still lingered.  Thought it was maybe some dirty dishes in the sink.  Wanted to completely empty the sink.  Those of you with kids on summer break can easily understand why this took several days before the sink was completely emptied and cleaned itself.  Still, the odor lingered.  I cleaned out the garbage can, cleaned out the recycling bin, washed the floor.  Stink, stink, stink.  I even emptied the fridge of anything that could possibly be becoming questionable, checked the cabinets for anything spilled, nothing.

And then I went into the Bag of Bags looking for a specific type of bag.  This was the first time I was actively digging in.  And as I dug, the stench became more profound.  And then I saw it.  A dirty diaper.  Somebody had put a dirty diaper in the Bag of Bags.  And it stunk.  And I know why it wreaked so awfully.  The last gathering we had at the house where there was an opportunity for someone to do this was back in the beginning of June.  This was the second week in August that I discovered the diaper.

Now, people have put dirty diapers in all sorts of places in my house.  Most of which, I can understand why.  The rag bin: I get it, it looks like a garbage bin.  The recycling bin:  OK, still a bin, I'll take it.  The cloth diaper pail in R's room:  I guess the cloth liner doesn't give away that it's not a trash can, so I'll gladly accept it.  For the record, there is no disposable diaper pail in R's room, just a cloth one.  The bathroom garbage:  At least it's a garbage.  The laundry chute in the bathroom (that leads to the top of the pool table for whatever bad design reason):  People have confused this as a garbage on several occasions.  I'd rather the dirty diaper than...feminine hygiene trash...yes, it has happened.  But for the love of Pete, I can't understand how someone could confuse the Bag of Bags for a regular garbage?!

Maybe some smaller Bags, ones with less bags in them.  "Hey, I don't know what this bag hanging here is, there's not much in it.  Must be a garbage.  I'll throw my trash in it".  Sure.  But I'm not kidding when I say that our Bag of Bags is overflowing.  And all that is in it is other bags.  And it was right next to a perfectly good rag bin disguised as a garbage (found a half-eaten hot dog in a bun with ketchup on it this last time).  I almost expect to find diapers in there.  But the bag of bags??!!!

Needless to say, there was a great reduction in the amount of bags in the Bag of Bags.  I couldn't handle the stench of the ammonia that had set into them.  So I am contemplating going old-lady style on this and making a holder for my bags.  At least this way, nobody would confuse it as a trash bag.  Right??

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

D Day

Well, here it is. May 28th. D day to me. I was supposed to be having a baby today. 

I can't help but wonder what that would be like, who would be here watching the kids, if they'd be excited about a new sibling or jealous, and how close they would all be. 

I actually cannot believe how much time has gone by since we lost her and I sometimes wonder if that was it, if that's the last time I'll ever be pregnant.  It's not like we haven't tried again, but it seems like it's just not in the books. 

It's hard not to feel like a failure, like my body is doing nothing but betraying me. I wanted my kids to be close; Now, if I'm lucky, K will be 6 years older than the youngest sibling, R will be 4 years. It's just so different from what I wanted, from what I expected, from what I tried for. It's all very...empty. 

But time marches on. I can take this moment to reflect but I can't let myself get caught up in what could have been. There is only what is and what will be and I only have so much control over that.  But I will be thinking about her today and I imagine I will in the future as well. 

It's funny that there's no word for this. She was a part of our lives, we were excited for her, we had plans for her, we WANTED her. And then she was gone. Just like that. 

When a person dies there's a funeral, there are memorials, we remember them with stories and we keep them in our lives that way, by talking about them. And it's OK to do that. But when it's a miscarriage...we are expected to just let go, to move on, to act like we didn't lose someone because they were never born. To talk about them is considered morbid, people might wonder about my sanity and claim that I'm not moving on even though I have. But if I talk about my Dad who has been gone almost 5 years there's nothing wrong with that. It's all just so very confusing. 

And so today I tread lightly. Fumbling between that space of remembrance and moving on, not knowing what the "right" thing to do is. Even writing this, I'm sure I'm going to get a few eye rolls at it. But it shouldn't be like this. She was a part of me and I will remember her. I don't know how not to.