Saturday, January 14, 2012

The mommy guilt in me is getting smaller and smaller...

I always hated to admit that, and always that I was in the minority because, I don't like spending all day alone with Desmond.  I'd rather be doing something more...not more worthwhile...but more mentally and spiritually enriching for a while.  Every day that I have time to do things that are for my sake and interest, I feel better...more relaxed.  Slightly happier.  And, as the saying goes, if mama's happy, then the whole family is happy.  

So, just when I was feeling like a sorry prat for walking around, woe is me-ing about how awful of a mother I am for wanting to be apart from Desmond and wondering how nature didn't figure her shit out and prevent me from ovulating at that exact moment because she should've known I would've been a shit mom, I read this gem:

12.14.11 New study finds working moms are happier and fare better health-wise than their stay-at-home counterparts.
A happy mom is a working mom, and other news outlets report. According to a new study, published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Family Psychology, moms who work outside the home at least part time report being less depressed and healthier than moms who stay home with young children.

However, "this benefit of working did not extend into children's school years," MSNBC reports. Stay-at-home moms face a higher risk of social isolation than working moms, increasing their chances of developing depression—not to mention the added stress of being at home all day with a child.

Moms who worked part time tended to have fewer work and family conflicts and were more involved in their child's schooling than their full-time peers.

For stay-at-home moms, "the stress may be relieved somewhat when their children start school, which may explain why the link disappeared when children entered preschool," MSNBC reports.

Yes, a mom's job can be stressful and thankless at times (a previous study put a $122,732 annual price tag on the work that moms do at home). However, we're sure everyone can agree that it's also one of the best times in a woman's life that no one would trade.
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it?  I know loads of SAHMs out there who are absolutely wonderful at raising their children mostly by themselves and their children are fantastic (and lucky!)  But for the lot of us who have certain, er, negative emotions that arise when they are caring for their child day in and day out, work provides us with a respite to do something that takes our minds off everything and produces an end product that adds to our self worth. 

Hopefully, this will be added to the burgeoning body of evidence that shows that women are happy when they are allowed to combine her work life and her baby life in a way to make it meaningful to her and contribute to her self worth (and productivity).  Women are more than just mothers and they're more than just their job.  Both are equally important parts of their lives and should be nurtured and cared for by society and not denigrated for choosing any one over the other. 

Growing up too fast

How many times do new parents hear this phrase?  Like constantly, right?  "Make sure to spend as much time with them as you can...they grow up too fast!"  It made me want to rip those do-gooders' hair out from the follicle every time they said something like that to me.  The first year of raising Desmond was no easy feat.  And, I know some people are going to think less of me after I say this, it wasn't terribly enjoyable either.  Don't get me wrong...I love Desmond and I would do anything for him, but, if I lived in a perfect world where I could interact with my baby without doing all of the banal parenting duties, I would have.  I could think of a hundred things that I would rather have been doing than changing him or trying to get him to eat or trying to get him to stop crying (however, when he fell asleep on my chest at night and I could hear him breathing and could feel his little heartbeat against me...nothing is better than that.  Not even the prospect of a massage from a partially nude Ryan Gosling...I mean my fiancĂ©.)

Man Oh Manischewitz

But guess what?  That year FLEW by and now he's basically a little boy who can walk and sort of talk (well, babble) and can think and reason and play.  It's amazing.  I love hanging out with him now.  I mean, even changing his diapers has become more fun (I call his penis a "bing-bing" - in a Spanish accent, it sounds like "beeng-beeng" - and when I ask him to find it, he points at it and grins.  So cute!)  He still loves reading books and is way into trucks, airplanes, bikes, and motorcycles.  He's losing a lot of his baby face chub and his feet are growing into regular toddler sizes now (the kid has teeny feet).  I found myself tearing up when I started putting away his 12-18 months clothes.  When he grew out o his newborn clothes, I rejoiced because that meant that he was getting closer to an age that wasn't so boring.  

Our 3-year-old neighbor's toy.  Desmond idolizes him.

I'll be the one teaching Desmond how to drive since I've only had one speeding ticket in my life and Billy's had like, oh, 5.

 And although anything over 8 hours a day alone with him drives me bat shit, those 8 hours are so enjoyable any more.  So, like the saying goes, the days are long and the years are short.  That was my mantra to get me through those dark ages and voila, here I am, having a blast with a 17-month-old.  Whoulda' thought?

Doesn't he look like he's on his way to his first day of college?  Turned up collar, hipster hair, corduroy pants, ironic dolphin shoes, and the requisite hippie amber necklace.

Let's go shred, bro!