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Marathons and Motherhood

In January of 2010, I made the decision to run a half marathon. I was probably out celebrating New Year’s Eve and I had to have been a little tipsy when I made this crazy resolution. See, I’m not exactly a distance runner. I’m active and I enjoy working out regularly, but I wasn’t running more than 2-3 miles on a regular basis. But nonetheless, in my drunken celebratory state, I concluded that it’d be really fun to train for a half marathon and I registered myself and my husband (your welcome, honey).

Prepping for the half marathon was pretty grueling, especially since I’d never run more than a 5k at one time in my life. I’m not a hardcore runner and I didn’t have a coach, but I trained the best that I could. I’m not going to lie, the actual race was tough. I felt great during the first six miles and I kept a steady pace, but I started losing steam during the second half of the race. I’m pretty sure I tried to quit several times throughout the last two miles, but luckily my husband dragged my ass across the finish line. At that time, completing the half marathon was probably the most physically challenging thing I had ever done in my life.

About eight miles after this photo, I was no longer smiling.

About eight miles after this photo, I was no longer smiling.

Eight months later, I started an entirely different physical challenge. Pregnancy. As a first time mother, I really had no idea what to expect about everything. Plus, most women love to tell you all about their nightmare experiences –like how they labored for 78 hours and ended up having emergency c-sections that took months and months to recover from. Why the hell do women say shit like that? Like, lie to me, ladies. Just tell me it’s not that bad and that I’ll survive like the other millions and millions of women who get pregnant and give birth. Luckily, just like that first six miles in my half marathon, the first few months of pregnancy were surprisingly enjoyable. I didn’t have crazy morning sickness and I felt pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, I was tired. Really tired. But I could manage that. As the pregnancy progressed though, I slowed down. Trying to survive the last month or two was strangely similar to that last mile in my marathon. Exhausting, intense, painful. If I had the opportunity to quit being pregnant sometime around 38 weeks, I probably would have. Luckily, my husband helped drag my ass across the finish line of labor and we finally welcomed our baby boy into the world.

Housing a 9 pound child inside my body.... much more physically insane than running 13 miles.

Housing a 9 pound child inside my body…. much more physically insane than running 13 miles.

Last week, my husband and I revisited the marathon. This time, we decided to run the relay in which a team of four completes the full marathon by each running a 6-7 mile segment. A lot more manageable than running the half marathon (or the full, for that matter). It took me a long time to recover from labor and delivery and to finally feel ready to run distances again. It had been nineteen months since my son was born and I felt prepared. Our team of four finished the relay in about four hours and fifteen minutes. I was pumped to be able to participate in the race again and while it wasn’t 31.1 miles, it still felt like a success.

The only good way to run a full marathon is with a team of three other people.

The only good way to run a full marathon is with a team of three other people.

New Year’s Eve is only three months away. Maybe I’ll get drunk again and decide to attempt the half marathon for a second time in 2014. And after that??? Maybe I’ll get really crazy and even consider enduring pregnancy again at some point, too. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here, right?

Five Parenting Mistakes I Swore I Wouldn’t Make

ee card

I often hear people commenting on “what’s wrong” with today’s youth. One of my biggest fears as a parent is raising just another young adult that turns out to be self-centered, irresponsible, and entitled. When I learned I was expecting my first baby, I put a lot of thought into what kind of person I hoped my child would grow to become. I thought about the decisions that we make that play a part in determining the personalities of the children we are raising. I thought about the things that parents do (or don’t do, in some cases) that ultimately creates a new generation of young adults that we are constantly complaining about. As an expecting mother, I made a quiet promise to myself that I wasn’t going to make those mistakes.

Balancing work, family, events and activities can be time consuming and overwhelming for many parents. In the midst of our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in our day to day duties and forget about the big picture when it comes to parenting. As my 18 month old son threw a tantrum over what app I pulled up for him on my iPad today, I realized that I needed to take a serious look at the choices I am making in raising my toddler. I mean, seriously – a tantrum over the iPad? You’re a baby. You’re lucky I’m letting you within eight feet of my iPad, much less getting to actually spend time playing with the multitude apps I’ve purchased and downloaded for you.

I thought back to that promise that I had made to myself when I was pregnant. Here I am, only 18 months into my role as a mother. I’m beginning to realize that even in such a short time, I have already committed the Five Parenting Mistakes I swore I wasn’t going to make. Take a look.

1.) Raising a child who expects instant gratification: Like many other children, my son has a major Elmo addiction. I have no idea what time Sesame Street actually airs on television, so we typically play an episode from the “On Demand” list. One morning, we happened to catch a live episode of Sesame Street. When a commercial came on, my son had a major fit and threw the remote at me. It took me a moment to realize that he literally NEVER has to wait through commercials because he’s used to watching me fast forward through them. We live in a world in which our kids are used to getting what they want immediately, even when it comes to television. What happened to telling our kids to turn off the damn TV and to go play outside? Which brings me to my next mistake…

2.) Raising a child that doesn’t know how to disconnect: I think I am stating the obvious here when I say that technology is clearly an important part of our society. As a mommy blogger, a free lance writer, and a serious social media addict, I’ll admit that I spend some serious time on my cell phone. The other day, I set my phone down to play with my son. A few minutes later, he walked over to it, picked it up and handed it back to me. I actually believe that he was confused why I wasn’t holding it. He just thinks that my phone is like a little extension of myself. I’m a mother who is terrified that my son will turn into a gamer who hates the outdoors, and here I am teaching him that it’s normal to update your Facebook status every 15 minutes. Damnit.

3.) Raising a child who thinks money grows on trees: Teaching children the importance of working to earn money and saving responsibly is a tough concept in general. Further, because cash is used so infrequently, I honestly think that children don’t understand the idea of using money to pay for things we need and want. My son has a pretend grocery store that actually came with a little credit card. These days, the problem is not just that our children think money grows on trees. Who needs money when we have little plastic cards that we can so easily swipe for anything we want?

4.) Raising a child who doesn’t know how to lose: My friends enrolled their five year old son in a T-ball league over the summer. At the end of the season, he was so excited to show me his trophy. I assumed that his team won the league before his parents explained to me that every child gets a trophy. Wait. Everyone gets a trophy? They don’t even keep score at the games? I understand that we want to encourage our children to play sports and we don’t want them to be hurt if they don’t win any games. However, isn’t it a better lesson to teach our children how to lose graciously? I realized that on another level, I do the same thing to my toddler. He loves to play basketball, but he becomes frustrated when he isn’t able to shoot the ball into the hoop. He’s constantly asking me to pick him up so that he can reach the hoop and score a basket every time. I should be letting him try to shoot on his own and teaching him that I will cheer for him, even when he misses the shot. Shielding our children from dealing with loss is setting them up with unrealistic expectations in the real world. The fact of the matter is, sometimes we lose. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

5.) Raising a child who doesn’t understand that there are consequences for every action: I know a lot of young adults that make awful decisions without caring about the consequences of their actions. Young adults are raised to believe that they are invincible. Texting while driving, having unprotected sex, skipping school. Why are they so irresponsible, you ask? Because as parents, we are constantly bailing them out when they find their way into trouble rather than letting them endure the tough consequences of choices they have made. Teaching our kids this lesson begins when they are babies. Just this morning, my son was happily playing with his tool set at his little work bench. Before long, he was using his plastic hammer to hit the dog (repeatedly). I tried redirecting him. I warned him. I knew he’d cry if I took it away. I normally would just let the dog outside to deter the situation. This time, I decided to stand my ground and took the damn hammer. It breaks my heart to be the bad guy. It’s so much easier to spew empty threats and never follow through. However, in the long run, it’s important for him to learn that whether he’s trying to hit the dog with a plastic hammer or to text while driving as a teenager, there will be consequences for his actions.

As a certified early elementary teacher, I understand that managing a toddler is always tough. Tantrums and challenging behavior is age appropriate and completely normal. However, I won’t allow his age to be an excuse for me to take the easy way out. Even though I’m only 18 months into this, I believe that the choices that I make as a parent now will ultimately affect his personality later in life.

A lot of people tend to judge parents who have children that are throwing tantrums in the checkout line of the grocery store. However, maybe these are the parents that we should be applauding. Rather than giving in and buying a sugary bribe to keep them quiet, they are teaching their child that we don’t always get what we want. So, the next time my kid cries when he has to wait for the commercials to end or throws a fit over not getting a toy every time we walk into Target, I’ll take a quiet step back and remember this list. Then I’ll say a silent prayer as I make the decision to say no, because being the bad guy in the short term will ultimately make me a much better parent in the long run.

Top 25 Things That Are Harder To Do When You Have Kids

Top 25 Things That Are Harder To Do When You Have Kids

25.) Cooking

24.) Finishing the laundry

23.) Driving anywhere longer than 8-10 minutes

22.) Grocery shopping (or shop anywhere actually….)

21.) Working out

20.) Washing dishes

19.) Keeping the house clean

18.) Answering e-mails

17.) Eating a meal (and actually sit at a table while doing it)

16.) Showering

15.) Getting out of the house to go anywhere

14.) Watching TV (excluding Bubble Guppies, Sesame Street, Thomas and Friends, etc.)

13.) Painting my nails

12.) Hanging out with friends

11.) Relaxing

10.) Staying up to date on current events

9.) Keeping the cars clean

8.) Going to work

7.) Saving money

6.) Going on dates

5.) Putting on makeup

4.) Staying organized

3.) Eating healthy

2.) Having sex

1.) Sleeping

What’s on your list of things that are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do when you have kids?? Let me know by leaving me a comment. 🙂

The Picture Frame Chalk Board Project

chalkboard

 

For all of you Pinterest crazy people out there, I have to admit that I don’t exactly get it. I have a Pinterest account and I’ve created a few boards. I seriously want to understand how it works and enjoy it, but so far, I’m a Pinterest failure. Maybe it’s because I’m not exactly…. crafty. Here’s a list of things I either don’t love or I’m not good at: home décor, photography, baking, gardening, painting, DIY projects, interior design, fashion. I’m already married with a baby…. So I don’t really need to pin 4000 wedding dress options or nursery theme ideas. I think that pretty much covers just about everything that people use Pinterest for, right?

Don’t get me wrong, just because I’m not good at some of the things on my above list doesn’t mean I don’t attempt them. DIY, or “Do It Yourself” projects, always seem like an awesome idea. You can make something awesome that’s normally expensive, save some serious cash, and have fun doing it. The problem with DIY for me is the actual execution. In my book, DIY actually stands for “Looks like shit.” The point of DIY is create something that has that homemade edge, but is still super cute and could totally pass for something you might have purchased in a store. But unfortunately for me, when I try to DIY, it just looks like I tried to do it myself and failed miserably.

The past few weeks, I’ve been attempting to “redecorate” my house. Since the shit that’s hanging on my walls has literally been there since we moved in, I thought it might be time for a little change. One room in our house is now designated the play room since we needed a home for the 18,000 toys we now own. I wanted to purchase a large decorative chalkboard for my son to use in the playroom. Not an easel that’s big and bulky and takes up a ton of space, but something that looks decorative and cute but that he can actually use, too. The first search I did turned up some GORGEOUS framed chalkboards on Etsy. By the way, Etsy is my absolute favorite website. It’s like getting homemade DIY products, but paying someone else to make them. Does it get any better than that?? Anyways, the chalkboard frames that I found ranged in price between $200-$300. Oh yeah, this is why people do it themselves, because paying someone else to make this shit is expensive.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a DIY failure, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Besides the fact that I’m not really into crafting, Pinterest projects just never turn out as cute as the photos on the website. Rather than put myself into a depression by trying to recreate someone else’s awesome idea, I just went straight to the craft store.

I found an employee at Hobby Lobby to help point me in the right direction. I ended up purchasing an empty picture frame and a roll of black chalkboard vinyl surface. It’s basically chalk board contact paper. I spray painted the frame since I’m not a fan of red (I know, I’m getting pretty fancy here…) and then hung it over the chalkboard vinyl surface that just sticks directly on the wall.

This is the chalkboard vinyl surface. It's similar to contact paper and can be removed and adjusted easily.

This is the chalkboard vinyl surface. It’s similar to contact paper and can be removed and adjusted easily. Photo via http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/black-chalkboard-vinyl-surface-714253/

Since my husband is about as handy as I am crafty, we spent over an hour trying to actually hang the frame. Don’t judge us. It had tricky hardware. But all in all, I actually think that this was a DIY success. It looks great in the playroom without taking up a ton of space and my son absolutely loves being able to draw with chalk indoors. Now we just need to teach him not to draw chalk EVERYWHERE in the playroom. Yikes.

The finished product! Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Decorative Picture Frame Chalkboard – The finished product!

And guess what, I even pinned a picture of the project on Pinterest. Maybe I will become a Pinterest crazy person, DIY lover after all. (But probably not).

Find me on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/thehonestmommy/

Blogger Idol 2013

blogger idol

One year ago, I was just beginning the adventures of stay at home mommyhood. I was absolutely ecstatic to have the opportunity to be with my six month old every day. In order to make ends meet, I took on caring for two other children 3.5 days a week for a little extra cash. No big deal, right?

HAHA.

After about eight weeks, I was literally losing it. And drinking a lot of wine. It turns out that caring for three children half the week and staying up all night with a teething baby while my husband traveled for work was twice as hard as the full-time position that I had happily kicked to the curb.

Why is it that so many women only share the glorious side of motherhood? Don’t get me wrong, it’s the most amazing thing in the world (blah, blah, blah), but being a parent is some seriously challenging shit. I missed my career, I didn’t have any mommy friends, and I was tired. Like, really tired. I needed a place to vent my HONEST feelings about the toughness of transitioning into parenthood.

As I sat on Facebook one night (you know, since Facebook was literally the only connection I felt to the outside world), I stumbled upon a list of mommy blogs. I didn’t even know mom blogs existed. After reading through a few, I was both hooked and inspired. I decided to create my blog that night and I’ve never looked back.

I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year since I put my career on hold to stay at home (not to mention, I survived, I didn’t kill the kid, and I’m still married…. So kudos to me). On top of that, I’ve almost completed one full year as a mommy blogger. What better way to celebrate my very first blogiversary than to audition for Blogger Idol??

If you don’t already know, Blogger Idol is a premiere competition for bloggers. Writers will audition all week and will be narrowed down to the Top 12. Then, the contestants will compete every week using writing prompts created by the panel of judges. After twelve weeks, one lucky blogger will win some awesome prizes and most importantly, the title of Blogger Idol.

I might be totally out of my league here and this could be a serious long shot. But, what the hell? What do I have to lose?

So if you are totally stumped about what to get me for my blogiversary, save your gifts and help support me in this awesome competition!!  Be sure to follow Blogger Idol on Twitter for updates on how to vote. “Like” the Blogger Idol Facebook page and leave comment for the judges to PICK THE HONEST MOMMY for the Top 12!

With that, I think I’ll pour myself a little celebratory cocktail and send a prayer to the blogging gods that I make it to the Top 12. Thanks for your love and support!

 

Wordless Wednesday: My Fashion Week Selfies

While I love to make fun of people who take selfies, I couldn’t help myself while I was in NYC. So, here’s a little collection of my Fashion Week selfies. Enjoy!

At the airport! Did you know its VERY easy to travel without children???

At the airport! Did you know its VERY easy to travel without children???

I NEVER leave the house without makeup, but I do as I'm told. I had to show up backstage with dry hair and makeup free.

I NEVER leave the house without makeup, but I do as I’m told. I had to show up backstage with dry hair and makeup free.

"Nails done, hair done, everything did. Oh you fancy, huh!" Thanks, Drake.

“Nails done, hair done, everything did. Oh you fancy, huh!” Thanks, Drake.

Me and Morgan, the dress designer, hanging out backstage!

Me and Morgan, the dress designer, hanging out backstage!

Me, Matt, and our friend, Jeff, enjoying the after party!

Me, Matt, and our friend, Jeff, enjoying the after party at the Time Warner Center!

 

 

Toilet Paper Couture: Cottonelle hits Fashion Week

If you are an avid Sex and the City fan, then I’m sure you remember the episode titled, “The Real Me.” Carrie is presented with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk in a show at Fashion Week in NYC. As she’s getting ready for the show, she realizes that her wardrobe for the runway consists of jeweled panties and a long blue jacket. Though she isn’t completely confident in the outfit she is modeling, especially next to professional models like Heidi Klum, Carrie decides to hold her head up high and hit the runway – only to fall halfway through her walk.

“Oh my god! She’s fashion road kill!”

Cait Beauchaine and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Two things I never thought I'd see together in one sentence.

Cait Beauchaine and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Two things I never thought I’d see together in one sentence.

Like my hero Carrie Bradshaw, I was also presented with the chance to strut my stuff on the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. About a month ago, I partnered with Cottonelle, who sponsored Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show on September 7 in New York City. The show was presented by The Moms, Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein, and featured real and celebrity moms rocking affordable and contemporary fashion. Read more about my partnership with Cottonelle here.

As a Cottonelle ambassador, I was asked to model a dress made completely out of toilet paper. Crazy, right?? The dress was designed and created by Morgan Walsh, an amazing designer and Fashion Merchandising major at Buffalo State College.

Morgan Walsh, the dress designer!

Morgan Walsh, the dress designer!

I have to admit, I originally might have been more confident in Carrie Bradshaw’s jeweled panties and long blue coat. At least her outfit wasn’t made out of toilet tissue. Lucky for me, Morgan is a super creative and talented woman. The final product was not only comfortable and well-made, but GORGEOUS. That’s right. Toilet paper couture. As a true believer in the Cottonelle care routine, I was honored and excited to model Morgan’s fantastic work. You can follow Morgan on Twitter here.

That sign on the dress says, "Do NOT steam. Made out of toilet paper." LOL.

That sign on the dress says, “Do NOT steam. Made out of toilet paper.” LOL.

Arriving in NYC for Fashion Week was completely surreal. Two hours before the show, I was backstage for hair and makeup. I had the pleasure of working with Brandy Gomez-Duplessis, a free lance makeup artist who works red carpet events, fashion shows, and tons of other makeup assignments. Brandy has worked with celebs like the Kardashians, Brad Pitt, and Kerry Washington, so I’m sure she got a kick out of a little mommy blogger like me who has never worn fake lashes in my life. I have to admit, I was REALLY intimidated backstage. Spending an hour with Brandy was the perfect prescription for my nerves. She made me feel calm and comfortable as we chatted like old girlfriends. Not to mention, my makeup looked AMAZING. I left her chair feeling confident and ready for my runway debut. Follow Brandy on Twitter here.

THANK YOU, Brandy. You are amazing.

THANK YOU, Brandy. You are amazing.

The commotion backstage only picked up as go-time got closer. The show consisted of several celebrity moms, like Amber Sabathia, Alexis Stoudemire, and Alysia Reiner, as well as real moms and Cottonelle ambassadors. Click here to see the event program for a full list of the participants. I got to hang out with some other awesome mommy bloggers and got to meet some celebrities, too.

As the show start approached, Morgan met me backstage to help me get into the infamous toilet paper dress, paired with my Cottonelle royal blue heels. As I stood in line, all I could imagine was that episode of my favorite show. Was I going to follow in the footsteps of Carrie Bradshaw and take a fashion show fall?

Morgan helping me prep for the runway.

Morgan helping me prep for the runway.

As I stepped out on stage to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, I decided to kick my nerves to the curb and embrace the moment. This was truly a once in a lifetime thing and I’d be damned if I didn’t enjoy it. I rocked my toilet paper couture down that runway and I loved every second of it. Click here to see a full video of the event.

Photo via http://fashionista.com/2013/09/mothers-and-a-10-year-old-dj-take-over-the-runway-at-the-moms-fashion-show/

Photo via http://fashionista.com/2013/09/mothers-and-a-10-year-old-dj-take-over-the-runway-at-the-moms-fashion-show/

All in all, it was the perfect night. I celebrated with my husband and my friends by checking out the official after party followed by grabbing a slice of original (and delicious) NYC pizza. It seriously feels like a dream come true – to be able to partner with Cottonelle, to connect with some other outstanding bloggers, and to experience Fashion Week firsthand. I can’t thank Cottonelle enough for the opportunity to work together and The Moms for presenting such a wonderful show.

And guess what? I made it to the end of the runway without falling. No fashion road kill for this girl.

"After the show it's the after party and after the party it's the hotel lobby..."

“After the show it’s the after party and after the party it’s the hotel lobby…”

My Partnership with Cottonelle

cottonelle 2

Today, I want to talk about a topic that I know every parent knows A LOT about. Bums. That’s right – I’m not embarrassed to engage in a little potty talk, especially since the kids I hang out with all day just LOVE any excuse to use potty words. As a mother and a child caregiver, I spend a significant amount of my day cleaning bums. With one child in diapers, one potty training, and one who needs a little bit of help here and there, we go through a LOT of wipes.

So if using a moist wipe is my go-to for cleaning up the little ones’ bums, then why aren’t I using them, too? Good question. Lucky for me (and you!), Cottonelle offers an amazing cleansing solution for kids AND adults. Cottonelle’s Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths are designed to work together with their Ultra Comfort Care Toilet Paper for an ultimate clean feeling. Plus, the Flushable Cleansing Cloths new upright dispenser keeps cloths fresher longer and looks pretty sleek sitting on the back of your toilet, too.

If you’re anything like me (as in, if you have children), then talking about bums is probably regular dinner table conversation. However, if you’ve been too embarrassed to figure out how to get a fresher feel, have no fear.  Cottonelle has partnered up with Cherry Healy, a documentary filmmaker, who is striking up a conversation about how to keep your bum clean with the Let’s Talk About Bums campaign.  You, too, can join in on the conversation by visiting Cottonelle’s Facebook page.

As an avid believer in the Cottonelle Care Routine, I have to say that I was pretty excited when a unique opportunity came up to create a partnership with Cottonelle. Unless you live under a rock, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, held semi-annually in New York City. Fashion Week is NYC’s largest media event and provides top designers an international opportunity to showcase their collections. In fewer words, it’s kind of a big deal.

So where do I come, in you ask? Well, in 2012, Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show took the stage for the first time at Fashion Week. The show featured real and celebrity moms rocking affordable and contemporary fashion. Amazing, right? This year, the show is presented by The Moms, Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein. Find out more information about The Moms and the show by checking out their website here.

Cottonelle 1

This year, Cottonelle is sponsoring this wonderful event. To celebrate, Cottonelle offered one mommy the opportunity to walk in the show wearing a truly unique dress – a dress made completely out of toilet paper. That lucky mommy just happens to be ME. So long story short, I will be representing Cottonelle and rocking a toilet paper dress in this year’s Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show.

In preparation for this event, Cottonelle also offered a fashion student the (challenging!) chance to design a dress made completely out of toilet paper. Morgan Walsh, a Fashion and Textile Technology major with a focus in merchandising at Buffalo State College, happily accepted the task. Morgan, who is a professional and talented designer, worked her bum off (no pun intended….) to design a beautiful dress. After a few fittings, a few adjustments, and a LOT of toilet paper, she came out with an amazing piece. This weekend, I am proud and honored to represent Cottonelle and to share Morgan’s hard work on the runway. And hopefully, I won’t fall.

Check out Morgan’s sketch and vision for this outrageous dress. Who knew toilet paper could be SO cute, right?

cottonelle 3

 

Be sure to join the conversation on Cottonelle’s Facebook page, check out some information about the Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show, and keep a look out for this mommy on the runway this weekend at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC!

 

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Middle Mommy Syndrome

I’m going to assume here that pretty much everyone has heard the stereotypes about birth order. You know what I’m talking about here, right? The oldest child is bossy, the youngest child is babied, and the middle child is always left out. But did you know that there’s actually some science behind the stereotype? Alfred Adler, an Australian psychiatrist, was the first person to theorize that birth order is something that affects personality development.   While some of it may be much generalized, I honestly believe that there’s a little truth to the matter. After some reading, here’s what I found out.

The Oldest Child – The oldest child is a natural born leader. They imitate their parents’ behavior and often become bossy when baby number two arrives. They like to take charge and you might even have to remind them they aren’t the parent as they boss around their baby siblings.

The Youngest Child – The youngest child, the baby of the family. Am I right? As parents become more comfortable in their roles, they are often more relaxed in their parenting style. Because of this, the baby of the family might “get away with” more than the siblings who came before. They aren’t held to quite as many responsibilities as the children who came before them and are often characterized as carefree and lighthearted.

The Middle Child – Middle child syndrome… Where to begin?? In an article called “The Middle Child Syndrome,” Heather Montgomery sums it up in a nut shell. “Middle children often feel left out and invisible, a contrast from their older and younger siblings. While older children get the benefits of all of the “firsts” a child accomplishes, younger children benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family, often being spoiled and coddled. Middle children, however, often feel as though they have nothing special that is just ‘theirs.’”

Over the past year, I’m started to realize that there is a certain “birth order” that occurs when it comes to entering motherhood as well. Some of us are born into parenting as working mothers. Others make the decision to stay at home. And then, there are those of us that are strangely somewhere in between.

The Working Mothers – The working mothers are those that have decided to continue pursuing their career dreams while raising children. They’ve enrolled their children in child care and they are confident in their decision to do so. They can manage the demands of their jobs while still attending to the needs of their children. They can send e-mails and schedule appointments, all while pumping breast milk with the shades drawn in their office. They are amazing. They are working towards that idealistic image of “having it all” – a satisfying career, a stable family life, and a successful marriage. Being a working mother is a hell of a lot of hard work and logistics, but can be totally worth effort in the long run.

The Stay-At-Home Mothers – Then, there are the stay-at-home mothers. These women are born to be parents. It comes naturally to them and it’s what they love to do. Many of them put their careers on hold to spend the important early years with their babies before later trying to jumpstart the job search when their kids have all gone off to school. Most of them are outnumbered on a regular basis, managing a small brood of energetic, intelligent, and opinionated children. In their spare time (HAHA), they stay on top of the laundry, the dishes, the sweeping, the mopping, the butt wiping, the bathing, and so on. These women have the patience of saints. Being a stay at home mother is no easy feat, but the precious time spent with your babies is something that can never be replaced.

The Middle Mommies – And then, there are the “somewhere in the middle mommies.” There are work-from home mothers, who are trying to manage a career while caring for their children all at the same time (which is totally incredible, in my opinion. God bless you). There are part-time working mothers who are forced to switch roles from professional to parent every other day. I have come to realize that I have fallen into the middle mommy syndrome over the past year. After leaving my job four months after my son was born, I took on a position caring for two other children 3.5 days a week in order to supplement our family income. I don’t totally relate to the working mothers though, because I guess not everyone considers managing preschool schedules and coordinating nap times a professional “job.” In the same sense, though, I am still required to be at my employers’ house at 8:00am four days a week and I am paid for my services, so I DO actually work, right? Some people might consider me a stay at home mother because I am with my child every day. However, I am busy 30 hours a week in someone else’s home, taking care of three children ranging in age from 18 months – 6 years old. I can’t join Stay-At-Home-Mommy Groups or attend Mommy and Me classes, mostly because three car seats won’t fit in my car and three schedules don’t always coincide. When a stranger asks what I do for a living, I’m never quite sure how to respond. I’m the parenting equivalent of the middle child, suffering from mommy in the middle syndrome, stuck somewhere between career and kids and unsure exactly of where I’m heading.

In the article, “The Middle Child Syndrome,” Heather Montgomery continues by offering some advice to counteract the effects of being the middle child. She recommends making the middle child feel special by planning outings that appeal to their personality. She also mentions the importance of making a special effort to listen to your middle child and to value their opinion. As a Middle Mommy, I think I’ll take that advice. While being a mother and a nanny might not fall into a typical category, I won’t let that diminish the hard work and valuable time I’ve spent with my child (and two other amazing children) over the past year. I will remember to value and to trust my own opinion of the choices that I have made in motherhood and in my career. Most importantly, I will remember to listen to myself – hear my own wants and my own needs – and to simply follow the path that lies ahead, no matter where it may take me.

Resources:

http://www.lifescript.com/life/family/parenting/helping_your_first_overcome_the_oldest-child_syndrome.aspx?_page=4

http://www.everydayfamily.com/the-middle-child-syndrome/

http://www.parents.com/baby/development/sibling-issues/how-birth-order-shapes-personality/?page=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_order

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