Browsing Category | Parenting

How can I tell my daughter to be independent when I don’t make my own money…

Ok, so lets be clear. When I say independent I am talking about financially because everyone who knows me, knows that I Miss Independent. My mother always told me, in life you can only rely on yourself. If you want something you will have to go out and get it.

Fast Forward 30 years and I am a stay at home mom who doesn’t make her own money. SAY WHAT? What the HELL happened. I stay home and take care of my kids and my husband works, we are a “traditional” family right? Well yes and no. I control the finances, my husband and I talk about everything and we try to make decisions together. Do I feel the need to ask him if I can go shopping, NO but if I spend a lot I do tell him because I feel guilty. Do I feel like our money is ours, well NO, to be honest I don’t. So then how can I teach my daughter to be independent and not rely on a man when that is exactly what I am doing.

The truth is I don’t know exactly how other than by showing her and I am working on it. My daughter turns 5 next February and it is my mission to have her see me become more independent. To be fair, she is only 4 1/2 and she doesn’t realize or understand the financial details of our household but soon she will. I am happy that she had me at home with her but now it is my time to show her that you don’t NEED a man/partner but that instead you should WANT one to spend and share your life with. Wish me luck!

Why I stayed home..

My mom raised me on her own which meant that she pretty much worked 6-7 days a week and a lot of the time she worked late. I did not see her much. My husband’s parents are your typical old school married couple, he worked and she stayed home with the kids. So when my husband and I started talking about having kids, hell when we met, we talked about what we wanted for our future. We knew from the get go that if we could, I would stay home for a bit to be with the kids. My husband’s job has always been demanding, he commutes about 2 hours + a day, has long hours and travels monthly. I wanted my kids to be with 1 parent on a daily basis as they wouldn’t see him much except on weekends.

Luckily, my husband got a new job that paid him more in 2011 and shortly after that I found out my company would be closing its door so we decided it might be the right time to try and start a family. It happened pretty quick, we were lucky. However I don’t think I ever realized what the ripple effect on my earning potential would be after staying home for 5+ years.

I did some research on why or how other women decide to stay home when they become mothers and found a recent article in Redbook in which they conducted a poll where 36% said they wanted to, 15% said it was because childcare was too expensive while  7% said their career wasn’t family friendly and 6% said it was because their partner wanted them to.

I have talked a lot to my other mom friends and we all have similar reasons why we stayed home, either work wasn’t supportive, the cost of childcare didn’t make it profitable to keep working or because they simply wanted to. I find that it is always more than 1 reason why couples make this decision.

Now looking back do I wish I would have kept my foot in the game, yes? Why? Because while I have enjoyed my time at home with my babies(in between the stints of insanity of course)  I NOW do realize how difficult it will be to go back to work. Not only because it will be a change for the whole family but because it will be a struggle to find an ok paying job that will pay for my monthly bills and childcare. I think if I would have kept working part time while staying home, I could have stayed on my game and it might be easier to jump back in.

So there you have it, that is my advice. Do you think I am off base?

5 things I tell my kids everyday

  1. Life isn’t fair
  2. If you want something, you will have to WORK for it
  3. If you are weak the world will walk all over you
  4. Thank God for what you have because you don’t realize how blessed you are
  5. If you don’t stop misbehaving I will give away your toys to kids who have nothing

Yes, I am a bit aggressive, mean and to the point. Do I love my kids, yes I do. That is why I am not trying to sugar coat REAL LIFE for them. I believe my job is to teach them how to survive on this planet without me. I wish I could be more Disney like in my approach but I don’t want them to get a cold dose of reality at 13 or even 18 and subsequently have a mental breakdown because someone didn’t blow sunshine up their ass.

I am just keeping it real over here like my mama did with me…Is your mothering style influenced by how you were raised?

Holding your kids back

After starting my daughter in a new preschool and meeting the parents at a social gathering I came home with overwhelming anxiety and fear for my child. I suddenly had the urge to move to Montana and live off a farm and write off society. Why you ask because almost every parent I met asked me “how old my daughter was and  was I holding her back a school year?” Say what?

Both my  kids were born in the winter (Feb. and March) and because Connecticut’s cut off date for Kindergarten is December 31st I never really thought it would be an issue. I was flabbergasted by how OBSESSED everyone was with this topic and how in my opinion they were already giving their child a complex with comments like “oh, my son is not mature enough or he is very small for his age and we don’t want him to be the smallest of his group”. I also thought it was interesting that almost all of the parents of little boys were the ones holding them back. I mean we have all heard the “oh well boys are slower developmentally than girls” and while I am a parent to both a daughter and son I do understand that there is some truth behind that statement but so what if your son is the smallest in his kindergarten class, it doesn’t mean he is going to be a short teenager? And if it does, SO WHAT?! And maybe that just means he will be a bit challenged for a while but we cannot make life perfect and always easy for our kids can we? Also what does that mean for the kids whose parents aren’t holding them back? Now there are kids in Kindergarten that are 5 and 6 maybe going on 7? Isn’t that challenging for the teachers? Now if your child’s school or teacher truly believes he or she needs to be left back for real academic reasons because they are unnecessarily struggling in their current situation then that is completely understandable. Also, let’s get real and note that there are times where a school will try and hold back your child (at least in private schools) when the class is getting a bit too full. I have seen this happen.

I had so much to think about so I decided to research this practice of holding kids back as clearly I had been living under a rock! I found an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal that gave me an official term for this phenomenon, it is called Academic Redshirting. The article I read was written in 2014 and claimed that about 6% of kindergartners are held back nationally. Well in my neck of the woods it seems more like 75-80%. While the article highlights that many times children are just held back because their parents are hyper competitive and want “Jimmy” to be the biggest kid on the baseball team so he can get a scholarship or #1 in his graduating class so he can get accepted to an Ivy League University; there are doctor’s who say that there are advantages to younger students being with older ones. Here is an excerpt:

Princeton neuroscientist Samuel Wang, co-author of the book “Welcome to Your Brain,” says that being around more mature peers actually benefits younger classmates, both behaviorally and academically. He points to a large study that found schooling influences intelligence more than age: The youngest children in a grade scored higher on IQ tests than children the same age one grade lower.

While I am very much a believer that parents need to do what works best for their children and their family I find it upsetting and shocking that, in my opinion we are giving our children a self esteem complex. I mean what is wrong with being a short and/or skinny guy or the girl who still can’t hold her pencil properly at 5  years old . Aren’t we supposed to teach them to love themselves the way God made them and understand that life can be challenging and to embrace that? Do we live in a global world where the competition is intense for a good job? YES we do but NOT everyone is meant to be America’s Top CEO, Olympian or Derek Jeter. It is a hard pill to swallow but not everyone is meant to be a super star, although they will always be in our eyes! Right? I personally want my children to be successful human beings which to me means being happy, doing good and feeling good about themselves. I worry my children will become another statistic; a depressed and anxious kid who is miserable in this hyper competitive world we have created.

 

 

source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/should-children-be-held-back-for-kindergarten-1410536168

8 Potty Training Truths

potty train

Okay so lately I have had a few friends ask me about potty training so I figured I would share some things that I found to be true…

  1. Be consistent
  2. Bribery works
  3. It could take a week or months
  4. Read to them about using the potty
  5. What works for one mom may not work for another
  6. What works for one child may not work for the other
  7. You may have to become a home body for a week
  8. Pick up extra cleaning supplies and some WINE

I potty trained my daughter at the age of 2 despite some telling me it was too soon I did what was right for me! My motto is if they can tell you what they want for lunch they can tell me when they have to pee and poop.

My daughter had AWFUL acid reflux and digestive issues as a baby/toddler and as such she only pooped 1x  a day and it was usually at bath time and in the bathtub. As I ALWAYS put my kids to bed by MYSELF I would usually loose my shit when she did this. Why? Because I was home alone and had to take her out of the tub, clean the whole tub, put her back in and finish bathing her. Well my freak outs must have 100% freaked her out because after the 10th time of putting her on the toilet as she pooped she started pointing to the toilet when she had to go poop. So at 18 months she was poopy potty trained! Yes!

Now I kept reading to her at night about how to use the potty. They have some great books out there. Also as I was home with her every day I usually took her to the bathroom with me every time and after a while she wanted to sit on the toilet too. I started to put her in pull ups during the day and every time I had to use the bathroom I would take her (for me that is about every hour) and make her sit on the potty. Sometimes she sat other times she gave me attitude and jumped right off. My next step was bribery, I told her I would give her ice cream or a piece of chocolate or let her watch a show on the TV and well that got her going, not all the time but maybe 1x a day? I also made sure to take her to the toilet 20 minutes after she had water or juice. I used the timer on the Iphone, it made things a lot easier because as stay at home moms, you have ZERO concept of time. Once she started to consistently tell me she had to go to the bathroom and I started realizing she wasn’t really having any accidents in the pull up (this took about a month) I decided she was “ready” . I put her in a cotton underwear the next day and did not leave the house and from what I remember she may have had 1-2 accidents and then the second day she was done. I tested this theory because I left the house to do errands etc and we had no issues! Also to be clear, I still put her in a pull up at night until she was about 3 1/2.

That was my potty training story with my daughter. I am sure what worked for my daughter will not work for my son or maybe it will. I will have to take it day by day.

What worked for you?

We can’t be perfect

As a parent, I learned to be less judgmental of myself and others. Culturally, Latinos love to complain about everything and criticize every single thing. Especially the women. Everything is expected to be perfect-all the time. No wonder I had a fucking meltdown after I gave birth.

The more I think about it, the moment I become a mom, this emotional rope was created. It goes from my body to my kids. Whenever they feel happy, sad, disappointed or scared I am too. Thru them I have become more understanding of the world around us. I realize every person is someone’s child. The asshole in the parking lot at the mall, him too! So yea I want to kick his ass when he parks so close to me that I have to climb into my car in order to put my kids in their car seat. Or that 16 year old girl who abandoned their kid, I understand a little bit more why she may have done it. Having kids made me human.

So if you are having a bad day with your kids and you are being mean, don’t worry, you are human and tomorrow is a new day!

6 Ways to go Crazy

I have fallen off the face of my blog for several reasons:

1). Renovate your kitchen while your kid is home for summer break

2). Let your husband do a portion of the work

3). Find Termites and Termite damage after you have been paying a company for 7 years to monitor the situation

4). Your kids and YOU get Coxsackie

5). Your kids and you get the stomach virus and not at the same time-Thank God for that!

6). Have 2 kids, a husband who works 13 hours a day and a needy rescue dog

This pretty much sums up my life these past three months. We started renovating our kitchen on Memorial Day (don’t do that to yourselves) and we ended the weekend after 4th of July and thats when everyone got sick. Then we went away on vacation and have come back and I have been trying to be super mom and entertain my kids since they were locked up the whole month of July. Then my husband got a vasectomy. The hits keep coming. I have just accepted that life with 2 kids is 100% chaos. Moms of 2+ kids I don’t know how you do it! Can’t wait for school to start..

No Lo Tires a la basura

thumbnail_IMG_8806That saying which translates into “Don’t throw it in the garbage” is the story of my life!

I don’t know if it is because my mother is a Virgo, an immigrant or because she is just a straight up hoarder but I heard this saying every week of my life. My mother will save anything of value like, old towels, sheets, my report cards from 1st grade oh yea and a Shamu poncho from 1987 that smelled like Bacalao (Cod fish).

The bottom line is that I have a very hard time getting rid of stuff and once I purchased my first home, forget it! I had an attic and a crawl space for storage? Well I am going to keep almost everything then. I still have  a lot of clothing, shoes and handbags from the 90’s. Can you imagine!?  The good news is that I am an organizational freak! I label bins and place them according to categories (Xmas, Easter, Memorabilia etc). The problem is that now that I have kids, I need to throw my shit away! There isn’t enough room for my stuff, my husbands stuff (he still has his boy scout stuff, camping gear, fishing gear and more clothes than me) AND our kids stuff.

My daughter started PreK in 2014 at 2 1/2 and since then I have been keeping everything in a purple bin (purple is the color of her birthstone) and well I have been hoarding it. However as I mentioned, now that we are a family of 4 the house is getting a bit small so we really need to be efficient about what we keep and what we donate. Because trust me in this house nothing of use goes in the garbage-that is just a “saying” we give everything to those less fortunate.

So when I found out about this app called “ArtKive” I fell in love. It allows you to take photos of your kids art work and then make collage books or even tee shirts, accent pillows etc. I just started using it today because over the weekend operation DE-clutter went into effect. We are renovating our kitchen this weekend, you know Memorial Day weekend when normal people relax, yea well we are starting to renovate our kitchen because we like to torture ourselves. So at the moment my house is starting to look like a storage unit which makes my OCD kick into overdrive. Thank God for Klonopins! Anyways since I can’t control much this week or anything for the next month really I decided to go thru more stuff aka my daughter’s school art work and it feels great! I took photos of everything via the app and threw everything into the recycle bin!  I am hoping that once she sees her beautiful photo book of her artwork she will forget about the trauma of seeing her stuff in the trash. If not there is always therapy when she gets older. I am trying my best!

And yes I kept a handful of pieces the ones that really made me teary eyed.

How do you all keep your kids’ stuff/memorabilia organized?

 

I don’t want my kids to be scared of the world BUT

A. I grew up as an only child with a single Latina mother (you have no idea what the word overprotective means until you meet her)

B. I grew up in New York City where I HAD to always be aware of my surroundings

C. I have watched WAY too many Dateline episodes and spent too much time watching the Discovery ID Channel

So let’s look at the facts, according to the FBI, in 2015 there were 460,699 NCIC entries for missing children. Similarly, in 2014, the total number of missing children entries into NCIC was 466,949*. That doesn’t sound so intense when there is approximately 324 million people in the United States as of 2016 ** But that is also easier to say because my children are safe at home with me.

There are soo many things we can be scared of as parents and for me, the “fear” I feel started when I found out I was pregnant. I started to google like crazy and read about everything I was allowed to do and NOT do. I already struggled with anxiety so the last thing I needed was to read every baby book I could get my hands on at Barnes and Noble and browse the internet until 11pm at night. It also didn’t help that I almost lost my baby in the beginning of the pregnancy and that I became unemployed soon after. Too much time on my hands?

Do I live in fear everyday, NO but I am very much a realist and recognize that the world is NOT a safe place and believe it is my job to keep my children safe at all costs. I am very honest with my daughter and while I don’t want to scare the living shit out of her I do keep it REAL. I tell her what could happen if she doesn’t listen to her Mami but at the same time I do not keep her in a locked cage. Just my backyard which is fenced and patrolled by our family pit bull all while being recorded on our security cameras/DVR and I watch her. LOL

I have taught her how to make a call from an Iphone, my cell phone number, what Mami and Daddy’s full and real names are, our home address and prepared her for how strangers may try to approach her. I want her to understand what can happen and be prepared. This stems throughout every aspect of her life. I have taught her how to swim, to respect the ocean but at the same time I don’t tell her that she is going to drown if she goes swimming. I want her to grow up mindful but also be willing to try new things. It is NOT easy but I am trying to keep it sane.

This is what works for me and my family. What works for you?

 

 

*The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

**Google

 

Mami, I don’t like girls because they are mean

The other day my daughter proudly declared that when she was going to be a Mami she was going to have 2 little boys. I asked her why don’t you want to have baby girls? Her response ” Mami, I don’t like girls because they are mean”..

I was left speechless, sad and then realized that she wasn’t that far off I just didn’t expect for her to come to this observation at such an early age! I myself never had great relationships with girls/women for several reasons:

1). I went to an all girls school until 8th grade

2). When my parents divorced I was teased at school by other girls

3). I had an evil stop mother growing up

4). The list goes on…

Yet, I still had and have a great group of friendships with women that I have had since childhood. So what kind of advice can I offer my child? Do I just leave it alone and keep it moving or do I try and reassure her that not ALL girls are mean. I mean I have seen my daughter in action, she likes to tell other kids what to do and at times lead the pack, is this why she is bumping heads with other little girls in school? Do I need to go to the library and check out 37,864 books on girl power and the amazing benefits of having girlfriends? Lord help me, just another thing to add to the list of parenting woes.

One day at a time..