Thursday, July 26, 2007

GUEST POST #1 ... On Being Laural's Sister

Hi, my name is Becky, and I am the guest blogger today! This in itself is very funny because I can't even figure out half the time how to post comments on Laural's blog, so I've given up. Every once in awhile she writes a really nice thing about me and I can't even respond to it without calling my husband downstairs to fix the stupid blogging thingy that won't let me comment!! But, since Laural has asked me to write, I will, just for you sis!
I think what I would like to address is Laural's apparent insecurity about being a mom, or maybe being the mom she feels she should be. It's very odd at times reading Laural's blog because I think she sees me through rose coloured glasses. I think a lot of people do. I used to talk to my grandma about an argument I would have had with my husband, and she would just look at me and say "Becky, I can't imagine you ever raising your voice!" Well, I do. I lose it continually with my husband and my kids. Today it was over spilt bubbles - how pitiful is that? Perhaps this is the side of parenting I tend to shield a bit from my sister without realizing it. Even family vacations are well planned on my part - enough time away from parents and my sister that they don't always realize when I'm grouchy or tired or just annoyed with being around them for a week! I'm not trying to hide my true feelings, just make sure others don't suffer from my ups and downs. Clearly, as a result of that, I've somehow hidden a lot of my failures from Laural. So, I would like to take the rest of this blog clearly outlining for my sister why she is GREAT at her job of being a mom, and how her parenting makes me laugh and realize I should relax a bit with my parenting techniques:
1. Being a new mom-
Laural will say she went through major depression and had a very difficult baby - which is true. What she fails to mention is that she picked up the phone continually to talk to me. She had me over every week, even if she didn't feel like it. She would get up and put on a pot of coffee and have treats for Kyla. She carried on and got through even if it was the last thing she felt like doing. That shows a huge amount of courage.
2. Being a mom to a boy -
Thank God I had girls!!!! I look at Matty, and I know I couldn't do it. I have no idea how that kid thinks. I love him to death, but he is a complete mystery to me. I can't keep up to his questions, his energy, anything! I am astounded every day how Laural figures out how to parent him. I would be pulling every book off the shelf at the library to try and figure out how to do it. I feel I was given a much easier lot in life getting 2 girls - at this point (check in with me when they hit puberty)
3. Being a mom to others -
I think a big part of being a great mom, is loving your kid's friends. I would want Kyla's friends as they grow older to be able to trust me and come to me if they needed help. I watch Laural with Kyla and am very touched by how much effort she puts into being a loving and caring aunt. She'll call out of the blue some days to see if she can take Kyla for an ice cream in the evening. I feel good knowing that if Kyla was in trouble and didn't feel she could come to me, that she would be able to talk to my sister.
4. Being a working mom -
Here, as usual, Laural and I have chosen different paths. Laural shines as a working mom. I would be an utter failure. I will go back to work sooner than later, but as a bit of a homebody, I want to have quiet moments with my kids during the day and be the one to go on adventures with them. I like my small network of friends, and the small routines I've put in place. I can't imagine Laural lasting long with this. Laural always has a hundred and one things on the go at work - dives into the social aspect of work, and then easily comes home and slides into being a mom. I haven't figured out how she switches back and forth so quickly, except to assume that the GO is actually a magical ride from one realm to the other. She literally jumps from work, to home, to the gym, to friends, without missing a beat. It's exhausting to watch, but exciting as well! I could never do it.
I would never take a toddler on the train by myself. Not because it can't be done, I just wouldn't think I could do it. Laural gets excited about the idea, jumps in, and then looks back to debate the obstacles. Throughout her life she has had experiences I could only hope to have because she does this. Her life is a series of stories that keep you enraptured and wanting to hear more. I live alongside this and love every minute of my life as Laural's sister.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

While I'm Away

I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow.
Now, I know I don't have a million readers. But, there are some of you who very kindly check in here a lot. And, I wanted to do something special while I'm away.
Enter the Guest Bloggers.
I speak a lot about the people in my "real life" - my family and my friends. And, they don't all blog. Here's their lucky chance.
Over the next few days you get to read what they have to say. I don't know what it will be. My guideline was that it can be about anything - it can be about what I'm really like (sometimes adorable, sometimes a tyrant) or it can be about life in general.
I haven't read them yet. My husband is posting them for me. I can't wait.
And, wisely, when I recruited my mom and sister to post for me I recruited them before we all spend a week in a timeshare together. Because what they say after that may be vastly different. They will, afterall, experience the pre-coffee Laural which is a little terrifying to say the least.

So, check back often, enjoy the antics of my guest posters and please ... COMMENT!!! And let them feel the love.

Awwww ... How cute

This is a picture of Matty and I in the local paper. It's a very teeny picture. But, ya know, the paparazzi always seems to find me :)
I wish you could see how high up we were, but it was still pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just a few days away

My vacation to Vermont is approaching quickly. I'm almost packed. I'm beginning to get people to cover for various things for me at work, and I'm seriously ready for a break.
And then it hit me last night.
I'm nervous!
Sometimes I sign up for crazy things. Like, oh, taking Matt on 2 train rides, getting a rental car and negotiating my way through Montreal to Vermont ON MY OWN.
Have I mentioned driving in new cities makes me nervous. Driving an unfamiliar car in a city I rarely drive in ... yikes. (did I mention I failed 5 driving tests? In suburbia!!!)
What am I thinking.
The nice people around me keep assuring me that I'll be fine. Afterall, I've been reminding myself, I used to be a tour guide.
The thing about being a tour guide ... I usually had a competent bus driver who would point me in the right direction.
Yes, I've driven in Montreal, but Mike was at least sitting there with a map. It's the same with the train stations.
I'm a little nervous about trying to find my way to the correct track when we have to board the train. I know this is completely ridiculous - afterall, I'll be boarding the Via train at Union Station which is exactly where I get off the GO train everyday. But, Union Station is huge.
I'm wisely meeting a friend (and colleague) for coffee a little early. It will be fun, and she's very good with directions. I'm sure I'll make it to the train just fine.
But after that ... well we shall see.
I'm also a little nervous about entertaining Matthew on the 5 hour train ride. I've got activities and a portable DVD player (with 2 hours battery time), but beyond that, I don't know. I'm hoping he will be amused by the scenery and the fact that he is on a train.
Of course, I'm also a little worried about the trip itself. I have many many plans for the trip including taking a cable car up a mountain (when we were about 11 and 13 my parents had us climb that mountain!!!), going to Ben & Jerry's, visiting some farms, shopping, swimming and relaxing. But, I'm hoping my somewhat precocious 3-year old wants to do this too.
And then there's the eating aspect.
I'm used to Mike eating out with us. It will be weird just the 2 of us. I mean, Mike is generally the voice of reason when Matt decides he just wants ice cream for dinner and I kind of want to go with it. Although, since we will be in Vermont, in my opinion it's perfectly logical to eat ice cream for every meal. I mean, really, think globally eat locally!!!!
Actually, I'm pretty excited too.
And, the other thing I'm thinking of is creating a vacation scrapbook when I get back. I haven't scrap booked since Matt's first birthday, and I think it would be super fun!
Just really really nervous. And, I have a feeling when we get back, Mike and Matthew are going to have some great daddy-son bonding days while I SLEEP!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Me ... a Supermom!

About once a month the guilt of being a working mother gets me down. I love my job, and I don’t really want to stay at home.

But, when my son’s daycare goes on a field trip I feel I am missing out. When I hear about a first, or when I observe him learning to read numbers and I haven’t taught him the ever-familiar guilt creeps in.

So, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading the book “Journey to the Darkside Supermom Goes Home” by Kathy Buckworth.

The book is touted as a ‘good hard look’ at what happens corporate moms decided to become stay-at-home moms. Yikes!

It’s not like I was planning to quit my job and stay at home. That’s not why I read it. I just read it for fun. It’s written by a humourist who is a parenting writer, so I figured that it may be a fun read.

I was completely right.

Somehow Kathy Buckworth has the ability to make me laugh at myself. I’m what she would describe as a “supermom” because I work and manage having a child and everything that goes along with that in the evenings.

Some of her descriptions are dead-on. At one point she talks about how supermoms leave work and are proud to get to the child’s play on time while the parents who have been toiling away to get the play going look on in judgement.

Been there – I did a semester of Saturday gymnastics with Matthew. I wish Kathy had been by my side so she could have laughed along with me.

Anyway …

She takes an incredibly humourous look at what it’s truly like to stay at home with kids. She is somehow able to describe the boredom and busy-ness at the same time. Her descriptions of the various types of moms out there was hilarious.

By the time I finished reading the book there were two things that happened. First, I truly understood my sister’s life a little better (she stays at home). I sometimes wish I was doing what she was, but this book reminded me, in an incredibly funny way, that it’s not as easy as she makes it look.

Second, I was really glad to go to work. I’ve been reading this book on the train, and the further I got into, the more I realized I was quite happy to hang on to my title of Supermom just a little longer.

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t my typical read, but I was engrossed. And, this is one of those books that I’ll keep at work (really, I am) so the next time I am tired and frustrated and feeling like a crappy mom, I’ll pull it out and be able to say “oh yeah … I am making the right decision here.”

And, when you find a book that reminds you of that it’s a keeper.

But, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a book that a stay at home mom would enjoy too, because you’ll likely be reading thinking “finally, someone gets it.”