By Carol Rood
I think I am a pretty good mom. A responsible woman. I didn’t have my first child until I was 31. Not because I planned it that way, but because it just kind of worked out that way. I had plenty of relationships, I just never envisioned myself having children with any of those people. Finally I met a man who I wanted to have children with. That was when I was 28. So, the first pregnancy occurred at 30 and Joe Cool was born was born when I was 31. The Genius was my “surprise” bundle of joy. I wanted to wait four years between my pregnancies, but a carefree birthday evening when I turned 33 brought me my sweet Genius.
I bought and read all of the “What to Expect” books: “….When You’re Expecting, “….the First Year”, “….the Second Year”, etc, etc. I bought healthy baby food. I didn’t let my babies have chocolate the first year. I let my babies “cry it out” to self soothe and go to sleep. I was never afraid to hold and cuddle them “too much”. They had their own rooms with consumer report-approved cribs and changing tables. I had the best car seats, bedding and toys.
I took the boys to the doctor, dentist, played with them, read to them, had gender neutral toys (trucks as well as doll houses). I was a “good” mom. I introduced new foods, one at a time, bought them age appropriate toys. In short, everything the books told me to do, I did. They were happy, and well behaved (for the most part). They loved each other, and all was well in the world.
But even the lofty can fall from their perch.
Fast forward about 9 years. Joe Cool is now 14 and The Genius is 11. I am a very busy mom with three boys at home (Bluebell also has a teenaged son at home with us). I work two part time jobs, I blog, and I am a part time college student. My life is hectic and my brain is scattered at times. One of my jobs is as a Youth Coordinator at the local Unitarian Universalist Church. As part of that job every other year I coordinate a very large program for 13-year-olds that is a “Coming of Age” program. I look at it as the Unitarian Universalist version of catechism and Confirmation.
The day has come for our big church program to honor the kids in the program (of which Joe Cool is one), and we get through the service with success. Many tears of joy were shed by me that day.
Immediately after the Coming of Age service I stay at church to attend a semiannual church meeting, then I have to rush off to pick up a cake for the party to honor the kids that evening! FULL schedule.
After the service Bluebell took Joe Cool and The Hunter home, and then came back to attend the Church meeting with me. The Genius wanted to stay at church during the meeting because the kids were watching “Despicable Me” in the Sunday School classrooms while the adults attended the meeting.
Bluebell and I attended the meeting, which became just a tiny bit intense (budget discussions), and after the meeting ended I drove Bluebell to her vehicle in a nearby parking lot and jetted off to pick up the cake for the Coming of Age Celebration. Meanwhile, Bluebell headed home to pick up Joe Cool to take him to the Coming of Age Party.
Okay, at this point in the story you need to remember what a responsible, caring mother I am. How I pampered and cared for my babies. The joyous pictures I shared. How happy and healthy my boys look. Do you have that planted in your brain?? Do you see what a great mother I am?? Good. So now I can tell you that in my scattered brain, and my rush to go get the cake, and get to the party, I left the church…
without The Genius.
Yes. I left my kid behind. I forgot him.
Bluebell realized we left The Genius when she was about 1/2 way home and immediately called me. Well, friends, I didn’t answer my phone. “Why not?” you ask? Well, because I left my phone at the church too. I just got up and left my phone and my kid. So when Bluebell called me, a nice lady at church (I shall call her “S”) answered my phone and after a few minutes of conversation, the two of them figured out it was my phone. “S” asks Bluebell what she should do with my phone, and Bluebell tells “S” to give my phone to The Genius, because not only did I leave my phone, I left our kid.
Before I get judged too harshly, at least I left our kid at church, where he was safe and dry and cozy. With people who know him and love him. Where he felt comfortable. Okay, I know, I know, I am just trying to make myself feel better.
I guess the moral of my story is that even “good” moms, can goof up at times.
Feel Free to visit me at Coffee, Clutter and Chaos
By: Kelly Rummelhart
I do WAY too much. People who know me constantly ask how I do it all. Well, the answer is: I have no idea. I am a juggler of sorts and truly think that if I get rid of one or two “balls” that I’m going to drop them all. But with my teaching gig starting back up this week, I just know that at this point in time, something’s gotta give.
Let me describe all my balls:
I am a wife and mother (my kids are 9, 7, and 4).
I own and work at my children’s boutique, Ruby Q’s.
I am an adjunct instructor at American River College. (I teach Human Sexuality.)
I just started a surrogacy consulting business, Just the Stork.
I Facebook for Ruby Q’s and myself personally (which includes 2 surro-groups).
I Tweet about surrogacy/personal life and my new surrogacy business.
I blog for The Next Family and at my own blog.
I follow and support other surrogates by reading their blogs and submitting comments.
As you can see, I am one busy lady. You may be wondering how the hell I pull off being a pregnant surrogate at times. Well, that’s easy. I just do everything I usually do, but with some “company”. Being a surrogate is the easiest of all the things I do and has one of the biggest emotional rewards. I have very easy pregnancies, which usually include limited morning sickness and minimal complications. Even when I have issues like swelling, it may look horrible but doesn’t really feel bad. Heck, even the genetic betrayal that is my wide hips make this part of my life a genetic gift. I guess it’s all in the way you look at it.
But however I look at it, I know that I’ve got to let something go. There needs to be a decision to slough off something so that I will be able to do less so I can spend more time with my family . . . but what should that be?
Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork
By: Tosha Woronov
My dog has diarrhea. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but I do know I can’t handle it anymore. He’s behind me in the office right now, farting away as I type. He’s throwing up too, and I’m having trouble finding my compassionate side. I know he can’t help it, but coming home after a long morning of helping out at my son’s school (Kindergartners! What kind of prescription medication must his teacher take in order to put up with 20 psychos all day?) –to a house already dirty with dishes and piles of laundry and scattered crayons and whatever the cat’s gotten into –to find piles of vomit and poop on various rugs throughout the house (on the rugs -always the rugs -never the hardwood floors), I could only think what the FUCK have you been eating?! It’s not the cat food anymore. His incessant eating of that caused a bout of diarrhea several weeks ago –an episode that went on for five days and got so bad that by Day Five I sobbed and sobbed while cleaning it. Now I stand like a sentinel as the cat mows down his meal, guarding before Charlie can sneak just one more taste. So it’s not cat food. Look closer. Oh it’s grass! Of course it’s grass, fucking stoner dog. Stop eating the grass! Oh look at this pile –is that…rabbit poop?! Are you seriously eating rabbit poop from the backyard?? So I lost it again yesterday when Leo and I returned home. Not right away, but once I saw that the cat had walked in it, had walked all over the couch –tiny kitten vomit/crap footprints on our couch –I lost it. I didn’t sob. I yelled. Oh my GOD!!!! I cannot DEAL with this! I’m gonna LOSE it! I can’t TAKE this anymore! What is WRONG with this dog?? When is your DAD…GOING…TO…GET…HOME!!?!? And then I noticed Leo. Poor Leo. Beautiful child of a crazy woman. He was crying, silently crying.
I found my compassionate side.
Baby, it’s ok. Mommy is just really really overwhelmed right now. I’m not mad at Charlie and I’m DEFINITELY not mad at you. I shouldn’t let you see me so upset. It’s ok baby. Shh, shh, it’s ok. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…
And I found my compassion for Charlie, too. How dare I judge him for eating shit that makes him sick? I once had the stomach flu all day on a Saturday but came downstairs 10 hours later –my stomach still trembling — saw the pizza that Pete had ordered for himself (while his sick wife lolled around on her deathbed), and ate a slice. Of pepperoni pizza. I’ll never forget the look of disgust on Pete’s face. So I can’t judge Charlie. Maybe rabbit poop is delicious. But still.
I stayed up last night petting his head, checking his nose for signs of coolness (maybe an old wives’ tale, but I always feel better when his nose is cold), wondering if we should go to the vet. I know the only real issue right now is dehydration (we’ve been through this before) so I tried like hell to get him to drink water, or lick an ice cube, which worked when he was a puppy. Please Charlie, just drink something. Nope. But at the crack of dawn today I let him out to pee or throw up or whatever he had to do and he went directly to the moss-covered, half-filled, slime-infested, unplugged water fountain…and drank from that. Good choice Charlie.
I will say this: I am not at all proud of freaking out so badly that I made my son cry. I’m ashamed actually. (You know you’re really ashamed when you decide to confess it in a blog.) But Leo has been incredibly helpful ever since. Jumping out of bed the second I woke him for school today, finding clothes to wear without protest, brushing his teeth with no prompting, and even asking last night before bed…(ok this is the shameful part)…”Mommy is there anything I can do to help your burden?” Burden. He said burden. (Oh god I am the worst.) He’s afraid of upsetting his crazy biatch of a mother so he’s now Mr. Cooperative. But is that so bad…? It’s a positive outcome, right? Just the other day he removed his socks while watching TV, tossed them up, and cared not at all that one landed on the flat screen. But today he’s thoughtful. Today he wants his mother unburdened, and how many 6-year-olds feel that way? The dog loses his shit, I lose mine, and the kid behaves. Nice!
I know; scaring your child to the point of total compliancy is probably not recommended in modern alterna-parenting books, huh?
Ok, I have to be finished with this now. The smell’s unbearable…
[Photo Credit: Flickr Member Leah Lockhart Rogers]