How does any mom answer this question? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work outside the home, you’re always and forever a mom!
I was filling out some forms recently when I came across a field to enter my occupation. I wanted to enter “Professional Mom.” In the past, I might have joked about being a “Domestic Goddess,” but seriously all that the role of a Mom encompasses should not be ridiculed. There are many occupations a Mom fulfills such as comforter, nurturer, diaper-changer, baby feeder (this was my job the summer of 7th grade at a neighbor’s who had infant twins), nurse, chauffeur, advocate, meal planner, Room Mom, cheerleader (even at sporting events when it’s 50 degrees and raining) healer of hurt bodies and hearts, playmate, confidante . . . . this is just the tip of the iceberg –- not nearly enough room on the form to describe the occupation of a Mom, so I guess Professional Mom will have to suffice. Even though I work part-time at home now that my kids are older, I still feel like my “Mom” role is my true vocation. It’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving role that has taught me more about myself and life than I could ever have imagined.
And when it comes to the question of industry? I’d like to fill in the blank with “LIFE,” specifically the Department of Raising Children (to be compassionate, responsible and generous adults who will make the world a better place). Unfortunately, all that won’t fit on the form.
I just want to acknowledge Moms for all they selflessly do for their kids and families. We may never know how far-reaching our love is, but we always know it’s the most important thing!
I’m trying really hard not to complain – – really, I am – – but this winter will not end! The temperature has not gone above 30 in several weeks – yikes! It’s going to feel downright balmy when we hit 40 degrees. I’m almost giddy just thinking about it. The sun is feeling warmer these days, and I just know we’re going to turn the corner soon – – right? RIGHT??!
We had a winter like this 20 years ago when J & J were babies. Being my first winter as a stay-at-home mom, cabin fever would set in often. I would bring my double stroller into the house, bundle babies in snowsuits, cover the stroller with warm blankets and head out the door. Sometimes is was only a 20-minute walk – – shorter if the neighbors had not shoveled their sidewalks. But it made all the difference to my day – – just a bit of fresh air and exercise not only made me feel like I had accomplished something, but I just felt better!
When the boys were toddlers and in pre-school, the blanket fort saved many a day! All we needed was a card table (or two chairs back to back) and a blanket – – sometimes there would be a picnic, sometimes special stories or coloring and maybe a nap (if I was lucky). Hanging out in there was an adventure.
A blanket fort is magical! It can distract even the crabbiest little one and save a mom’s sanity. (Totally worth the mess vs. reward in my opinion.) Besides, any reason to act like a kid again is good for me 🙂 The forts became quite elaborate as the boys got older – – often they would use just about every blanket, sheet and cushion they could find – – sometimes duct tape too! I knew I could count on some peace and quiet when a fort was in progress, and sometimes the fort would stay up for several days becoming a home unto itself.
The holidays wore me out – – honestly! The snow and the record-breaking cold have forced me to slow down for a couple days and I am grateful.
I took the kids sledding last week (yes, the 20-year-old boys and their girlfriends and my 14-year old daughter!) and it brought back some great memories. I even bravely went down the hill once. Since I didn’t get hurt or wet my pants, I decided not to tempt fate and just enjoy watching. I had the same sense of delight seeing them have fun now as I did when they were little. I was happy to see that they are still kids at heart, and I hope for them that never goes away!
I remember the days it took at least 30 minutes to dress both boys to go out to play – – snow pants, then boots, then mittens (mittens first so the cuffs would be under the coat sleeves), then coats, hats and scarves. “Let’s build a snowman!” I would say with great enthusiasm. They would be excited about that for about 5 minutes before they would become distracted by their footprints or how far they could throw the snow or what the snow tasted like (no yellow snow, please!!). I would find myself crawling around the yard rolling up a snowman because we had to have something to show for our outing. Jonny enjoyed tossing the snow up in to air and yelling, “We’re rich with snow!” I have never forgotten his simple joy that day.
Inevitably and all too soon, one of the boys would need to go potty or lose a glove or a boot, and I would hustle them into the house looking like powdered-sugar covered donuts. I learned quickly to have an empty laundry basket near the door to catch all the snowy gear, which would eventually make its way to the dryer. Then it was off to get dry clothes and a meal or snack and then hopefully a nap! Two hours of work for 20 minutes of fun! When your kids are small, that’s about all you can expect. The older they got, the fun lasted longer and I could watch them from the window. If I was lucky, I could get them to shovel the driveway with the promise of hot chocolate when they came in. I’m so glad I was able to play with them and teach them how to have fun– to be “rich with snow.”
Sometimes I long for those days – – I no longer stand at the window to watch them play and build snowmen in the yard. Now I stand at the window to wave as they drive off in their cars. I pray for their safety and their safe return home . . . and I remember we are indeed “rich with snow” and many other blessings.
When our boys were born, there were not the choices of clothing for babies and toddlers that there are today. It was pretty much primary colors for boys and that was it. So . . . we often dressed the boys in red and blue – – red for Joseph because he had dark hair and blue for Jonny because it brought out the blue in his eyes. I’m not sure when it became consistent, but when the 2-year old neighbor next door started calling them “Red” and “Blue” instead of using their names, I realized how often I dressed them that way. It was easier to keep track of what belonged to which boy. Even though they weren’t identical, the people who didn’t see them very often began to count on recognizing them by the color they wore, too. Funny how these things happen without us even realizing.
Their first Easter, I spent naptimes and stayed up late every night for a week to finish knitting them Red & Blue sweaters. I didn’t have much that was predictable during those days, but Red & Blue was the one thing that was consistent, so I went with it. When you’re raising twins, anything that simplifies life is helpful! They wore Red & Blue windbreakers and winter coats (I loved Land’s End!) for years, and I could look out the window and see who was where in a split second without even seeing their faces. As they got older and started choosing their own clothes, they were highly amused when I would call them by the wrong name because they switched colors on me. I still call them by the wrong name once in a while, and it has nothing to do with the color they are wearing now – – ha ha!
Joseph’s favorite color is still red – – the first car he bought was red! Jonny (the artist in the family) has branched out a bit and really likes all colors, but blue still brings out the blue in his eyes. Their stockings are – – you guessed it – – Red & Blue! I guess they’re stuck with those for a while, but they don’t seem to mind.
When my boys were born, I thought I would love Halloween. Of course, their First Halloween they were only 5 months old, so we settled for cute pumpkin bootees and took a pass on the Trick-or-Treating. The following year I started sewing costumes in early September – – I even looked for something that they could wear coats underneath if necessary. So I happily sewed away and was ready for Halloween a month ahead of time! (May I just add here that being ready for anything a month early has never happened again and probably never will!)
The big day came with a sketchy forecast (the Halloween forecast is always iffy in the Midwest), but I was determined this was going to be a FUN day. What I hadn’t fully learned yet was that toddlers like their routine. So our 30 minute drive to visit Granny & Grampy after dinner was out of the ordinary, and their little eyes kept looking at us with the expression of “What’s going on here?” “This is FUN!” I assured them. Granny believed in only the best for her little angels, so their treat was Fannie May chocolates. (Now, we all know who ate most of that chocolate!) I wonder if my mother-in-law knew how much I would appreciate it, too. I wish she were still here, so I could ask her.
On our way home, it started to rain and we were going to scrap the Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood. But, WAIT! I didn’t spend all that time making adorable matching costumes for no one to see! We agreed to visit just a few neighbors, each of us holding a winter-coated, costumed, pumpkin-toting boy. My husband also got to wrestle with a golf umbrella – bless his heart. The temperature was dropping, but we assured ourselves this was what good parents should do. After a few minutes wet snowflakes began to fall and the wind picked up – – it was so ridiculous it was funny! Our last stop was the neighbors next door who invited us to come inside out of the cold, so they could see the kids’ costumes (finally, some recognition for my hard work!). We took a few pictures with their kids, and as we stepped back outside we saw our umbrella blowing and bouncing down the street – – it was time to go home!
I don’t know who was more exhausted that night – the boys or us. Thank goodness Halloween is only one day. Little did I realize how the pending holiday season would mess with our routine – – good thing I was oblivious — If I had thought too hard about it, I may have just eaten all that Fannie May chocolate in one sitting!!