1) Years ago, my husband’s friend Chris was talking about the challenges of parenthood and, especially, the difference kinds of stress this involves for mothers and fathers. He said something to the effect of “No matter what, we’ll be better fathers than our fathers were, and our wives won’t be as good mothers.” He didn’t mean it too seriously; he was mostly getting at the fact that our fathers didn’t generally spend as much time with us or do as much as contemporary fathers do; most of our mothers stayed at home and therefore got to be around more (making them feel less guilty about their child-rearing etc…). I couldn’t help but think of his comments when reading this inspired article my sister sent to me. It’s really right on in so many ways:
2) In this regard, I’m lucky in many ways that my mom WAS NOT a SAHM, and so there are a lot of things I don’t feel like I’m expected to do (like Christmas cards, for better or worse—my mom NEVER sent them). But one thing we did do a lot of was COOK. And I’m grateful that we did. I find cooking so satisfying …on every level. These days, I’m really getting into the slow cooking thing, which I highly recommend. Makes you feel the whole “Domestic Goddess” thing that lovely Nigella Lawson talks about without extraordinary levels of cooking-stress. I recently found a blog that makes it even better by posting cheap, tasty meals. Some of the recipes involve things my kids/husband would never touch, but there are some great ones, too. Like this—who doesn’t like a good (cheap, easy) marinara sauce?:
3) This is the time of year I decide to do New Year’s resolutions. I love it: I get to combine my procrastination techniques with my desire to have real Lenten resolutions…That way, even though I am behind I get to feel like I’m ahead on things. This year, I’m enlisting the help of my husband (really!). We’ll see how that goes…
4) When it comes to resolutions, I am rethinking my approach in many ways. I always tend to think first about resolutions in the external sense –losing 5 lbs. or getting things organized or what have you…But I’m realizing that I want resolutions that are about “bigger” things too—like the quality of the relationship I have with my kids. Have any of you changed your approach? I’d love to know how, and with what results…
5) One thing I’ve been loving lately is the insane cuteness of my (older) kids with our newborn. Sadly, this got dramatically more complicated when I took my 2-year old son to the pediatrician’s yesterday for his well-child visit. I mentioned he hadn’t been feeling well and an hour later they diagnosed him with bronchiolistis/ RSV and told me I really needed to keep him away from our 10-day old daughter. Plus, he has to do a nebulizer treatment 4 times a day. Not fun.
6) You Moms (especially those with a bunch of kids) What gift do you WISH you had received at your baby shower but didn’t think to ask for? I feel like there is a whole set of things you get with your first baby that you never use or at least never really NEED (diaper bags, for example), and then other stuff you never think about but really wish (especially when you’re on #5 or way past the shower phase, anyway) you had gotten. Me, I’m really wishing I had another (yes, another—we already had one for my husband) white noise machine.
7) I had a chat with a friend recently about ways of reducing the chaos of family life. My husband has his own version, which (while humbling) is also very good. His take? “Always look really stressed and overwhelmed when anyone comes by. That way, people are always offering to help out whenever they can.” I guess I’ve been (inadvertently) pulling that one off, since I have gotten a lot of offers lately. I am really lucky that I am in a parish/community with a lot of thoughtful, generous people!