Heaven

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It's amazing how the little things can make all the difference.

This morning I had a meeting in New Jersey. Rather than commute into the city, just to turn around and get into a car service, I decided to drive in from home. Since my meeting wasn't until 11, it gave me a little more time for the morning routine.

Victor woke up bright and early at 4:30am, but after his bottle decided to settle in for another 9 hour or so of sleep. He played quietly in the bed with us for another 30 minutes before my husband took him downstairs for a bottle and breakfast.

Then...a miracle happened. Angel slept until 7:30am. This has NEVER happened. I decided to just stay in the bed until he woke up, and that gave me a full 2 hours of extra sleep. WOW!

My husband got both of the kids dressed and agreed to take them to daycare since by this point I was running a bit behind schedule (I actually had work to do before getting in the car for the 90 minute drive to my meeting). I kissed the boys good bye, admonished them to be good listeners at school and closed the door.

Silence.

Beautiful, golden, yet-completely-foreign-to-me silence.

I cleaned up the mess from breakfast and set up coffee for the next morning. Set up the boys pjs for the night and school clothes for the next day. Then I took a shower.

By myself.

With the shower curtain closed.

For a full 12 minutes.

It was like heaven.

The rest of the day went smoothly, in large measure I'm sure to the way that the day started.

Not sure when I'll see another day like this, but I'll cherish this one for months to come : )

Failure

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So, I didn't really want to write this post today. I told myself that I was too tired. I just wanted to forget about it. Just move on.

But... I can't, so here goes.

Today, I failed as a mother. My 3 year old is having some behavioral issues. Tantrums, spitting, that sort of thing. Initially, I thought that it was just a short phase that would pass. 8 weeks later, it seems like the new attitude is taking hold. And even worse...the baby is starting to mimic his behavior.

I check in with the day care every day to see if there's been any progress. Some days are good, others...not so much.

Last week, I thought that we'd gotten to the bottom of it. Sugar! Simple carbs! Damn you, it's YOUR fault that my son is beginning to resemble that chic from The Exorcist. So, we cut down on the white stuff. Cut out juice, substituted water and milk. Bought special vegan cookies from Whole Foods so that he wouldn't feel left out when the other kids had the occasional cookie. And by Friday, things seemed to take a turn.

And then there was today.

He got angry at morning snack time and threw his sippy cup...hitting another kid in the eye. It took him over 30 minutes to calm down (MY kid, not the one who got hit). He then proceeded to generally terrorize the whole school until naptime.

After nap, he was a bit better....or maybe he was just conserving energy for the massive tantrum that he threw when I came to pick him up. I don't want to go into any more details. Not because I'm embarrassed, but because you get the picture.

OK...that's not true. I am embarrassed. Not ashamed of my son's behavior, but ashamed of what it says about me. Did he act out because I had to rush to get into work this morning (after spending the day at home with both boys yesterday because they were in allergy hell)? Did he throw the cup because he was angry that I raised my voice at him? What does it say when my child is THAT kid in preschool (you know what I mean, "OMG, look at THAT kid!").

I can't help but wonder if I did a little more talking, a little less yelling, took a little more time if he would have a better outlet for his anger. Be able to better control his emotions. Not perfectly (he IS only 3), but not becoming a raging lunatic who's behavior stands out above all the other little lunatics in his class.

I was ashamed to post this, but that's what The BadAssMama Chronicles is about. Saying the things that no one talks about so that no other mother feels like she's the only one...like she's alone.

Still don't know what to do with all of this, but talking about it is a start.

Feeling slightly less BadAss, but still Angel and Victor's Mama...

This job sucks

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Sometimes, motherhood is a bad thing.

Now, before you call DCFS on me, let me explain.

Tonight, I spoke to a dear friend on the phone. She called me last week and mentioned that she really wanted to talk because she was having a tough time bouncing back from her last baby. When we spoke, I could barely keep the emotion out of my voice. This is an absolutely AMAZING woman. Brilliant. Gorgeous. Accomplished. Funny. Fashionable. Loving. Real. She told me how she rushed back to work mere weeks after the birth of her child, yet was beating herself up because she felt that she hadn't "pulled it together" in less than 3 months.

Motherhood can take the strongest, most confident, phenomenal women and turn us into blubbering piles of goo (and no, my love, I am not calling you a pile of goo....I'm generalizing!!). This amazing thing - the ability to bring a life into the world, support and nurture it until our children become strong, loving, independent beings of their own - it's a miracle. Motherhood is a wonderful thing.

But, it can also destroy you.

The self-doubt. The fear. The sense of helplessness and sometimes hopelessness. Am I getting it all right? Is someone else doing this better than I am? Am I scarring my kids for life? Will I ever have a career again? Am I failing my job? Am I failing my family?

You are an amazing mother. You are an incredible friend. You are the most loving, compassionate, empathetic person I have ever known. You brought me through one of the most difficult years in my life. In so many ways, YOU have helped to make me the person that I am today.

You are a mother. You are worthy. You do more in a day than most people can accomplish in a month. You are shaping lives. You are kicking ass. You are AWESOME.

Repeat this, in the mirror, at least once a day. Believe it because the BadAssMama told you so. Believe it because it's true. Believe it because it's YOU.

This is dedicated to my love, my friend. But, it applies to ALL the mothers out there. This job is wonderful, but it can destroy you IF you allow it to.

Don't.

Worthy

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I've finally figured it out. It's the "fraud syndrome" that drives me to uber-OCD levels of domesticity.

Let me explain. When we were in business school, my dearest friends and I discovered the reason why many of us work ourselves to the bone and still worry that one day we will be fired, lose our homes and die broke and lonely (ok...maybe I was the only one who took it that far). As smart, fabulous, accredited and accomplished as we all were and are, there was a constant fear that someone, somewhere would realize that we weren't all that we were cracked up to be. That despite all the diplomas, degrees and high-fangled titles we were really just simple but smart women trying to make it by. In essence, we were frauds. And as soon as that was discovered, we would be booted from b-school or whatever fancy schmancy job we found ourselves in after graduation.

I am now at point in my career that I finally believe (OK, ALMOST believe) that I deserve to be in my position. I am not a fraud - I worked my ASS off for every degree, title, award, accomplishment and accolade that I've received, and I deserve every bit of recognition, compensation, flexibility and perk that I get. I am BadAss when it comes to my career. Humble, but confident that I do truly rock. Fifteen years later, I am comfortable in my own "work skin".

On the plane back to California for my 10 year business school reunion on Thursday, it hit me. I am obsessed with setting up food, clothes, planning activities, cleaning the house, keeping to the schedule, blah, blah, blah with my kids because I'm afraid that they will realize that I'm a fraud. When it comes to being a mom, I am COMPLETELY and utterly under-qualified for the job. I don't have all the right answers. I have the patience of a gnat. I hate arts and crafts. Most days, my kids prefer daddy to mommy. And, when faced with discipline problems I either completely wimp out or over-react.

Organizing, I can do. Sticking to a schedule - brilliant. Cleaning - it's how I regain my sense of control. Long-term planning and strategy I can do with my eyes closed. These are some of the skills that have made me a success and chipped away and my sense of fraud-i-ness in my career.

I realized that I focus so much on the cleaning/organizing/planning part of being a mom because that's my comfort zone. I KNOW that I do these things well. They make me feel confident and when they are done, I have a distinct sense of accomplishment. But recently, I've realized that they also leave me feeling even MORE like a fraud because these aren't the things that my kids will remember when they're grown up. They are critical to keeping a house in order and providing structure and opportunity for your kids, but being a mom is so much more.

Kids want to play - endless, pointless games. They want to catch rain on their tongues, and spin around in circles until they fall down. They want to know the name, reason for being and color of everything on the first floor of Macy's. They want to spend big chunks of unstructured time just hanging out with you. And sometimes, they just want to freak out.

Now that Angel is gaining an AMAZING command of his vocabulary, more and more he comes up to me and says, "Mommy, I want to play with you." And, more times than I care to recall, my response has been, "Just one minute, baby, Mommy just has to finish this or that."

NO MORE. Today, I declare that while I may not know what the hell I am doing half the time I AM A GREAT MOM BECAUSE I LOVE MY CHILDREN. MADLY. RECKLESSLY. INCONCEIVABLY LOVE MY CHILDREN. And that's all that matters. I don't have to prove to my kids or anyone else that I am qualified for this job through my daily list of "accomplishments". My mommy resume will be built through memories - times together, both grand and mundane, that they will remember as they grow. I want them to think that mommy's role is to play, and listen, and snuggle, and read and BE with them. Not to run around the house frantically cleaning, and organizing and yelling that we're running late.

Yes, I may not be the perfect mom, but I am perfectly in love with my children and I can honestly say that EVERYTHING I do for them is to try to make their lives (and futures) a little better.

So, my name is Sherice and I am a mother. I am far from perfect, but I am no fraud. I was made for this job. I love my kids, they love me and damn it....that's enough.

Rock on, BadAssMama. Rock on....