Sunday, February 24, 2008

parent guilt 101

Ever feel like you'd be a different parent if your spouse where around more? When Dash-1 was a baby I was feeding him some baby food in the food court of the mall and a perfectly lovely woman to stop by our table to coo at the boy. She saw I was feeding him *gasp* store bought baby food and decided to share with me that her daughter makes all of her own baby food for her granddaughter and its just so much healthier. I just stared at her with a deadpan look and said "I don't even shower everyday and I cant imagine making my own baby food.".

Now making your own baby food I'm sure is wonderful and I know there are many military wives out there who do it and take on a heck of a lot more then that. But at the time I was a new mom with a very fussy baby with nasty reflux and a lot of other stuff on my plate. Never emind a husband who was never. ever. home. I look back now with two and could just kick myself at how easy it was with just one but still, I'm drifting.

My boys are feisty ones. They are boys boys. They are perpetual motion machines from sun up to sun down. Dash-1 is shall we say, spirited and rather hard headed, of course he gets that from his father, not I. Dash-1 does not want to go around the tree but rather he wants to charge thru said tree. An admirable quality but it does make for some tug of wars. And Dash-2 is beginning to take notes so my time of him being the sweet lolly-gagger is probably running out.

There are some nights that after I get the kids in bed I am beat. Strike that and change it to every night. Perhaps I'd be a different parent if flyboy were around more. Surely having a spouse 4 months out of a year, at random intervals at that, has to play somewhat in this. Hats off to you moms doing it for 15 months at a time.

This isn't to say that I'm a lax mom, heck my 15 month old will put himself in time out he's so familiar with the spot. The speaking child knows to say "no thank you" " yes ma'am/ no ma'am" "God Bless You" after a sneeze, etc. Ironically my civy friends think that we run a "military" household. But I do definitely find myself picking and choosing my battles. Somethings just have to slide for pure survival sake. I must admit *sigh* I have given twizzlers before just to take a shower in the morning in peace and quiet. I will be honest and say I let the boys pick something out of the dollar bin at Target in hopes of a peaceful shopping experience for momma. And the McDonald's drive thru is a rather familiar place for us (though to my defense the boys get apple dippers and nuggets).

But one thing I will not do. I will not allow my children, nor will I allow myself or others, to use my husbands absence as an excuse for their behavior. I do see a spike in certain behaviors when flyboy has just left or has been gone for months on end. I make a little mental note of these and while I try to understand what he must be feeling, I will not allow him to think that certain behavior is justifiable. I tend to think that if I give them a built in excuse its going to bite me faster then I can say otherwise.

I often wonder what it would be like if we lived a "normal" life. There was no coming and going, long periods of separation and minimal contact. If daddy going to work didn't mean packing a suitcase and wearing combat boots. But alas this is our normal and we will do like the Marine Corps tells us, "adapt and overcome", we have to. As I sit here writing this when the kids are asleep for the night and I should be in bed I cant help but feel thankful the more I write. I'm tired, oh I'm tired, but at least we still have each other. At least we live within a reasonable distance from home to make visiting at least a possibility. At least the boys seem reasonably well adjusted.

Although I freely admit they are young and I still have plenty of time to screw them up.


  1. I agree with you on never letting the father's absence be an excuse not to make your kids behave.

    I had a friend at our last duty station, and when her husband was deployed, her children ran wild. Her excuse- 'Well, dh is the 'bad cop' in this house so when he is gone, I can't do much to them.'
    I think they were the most rotten children I had ever met and even her husband had a hard time controlling them when he got home.

  2. I think that you do the very best you can. I can't believe that a woman would actually say something condescending to you about not making your own baby food. Everyone's situation is different, and it sounds to me like you take care of the actually important stuff.

    and, cadbury eggs are my weakness, too.

  3. hi L --

    i really loved what you told the lady at the beginning of your post. i like your spunk and personality!

    you have so much going on and my heart goes out to you that you are living the single parent role most of the time. i so appreciate the sacrifice of military families past and present. you can cry on my shoulder anytime girl.

    in case you didn't see it and in case you are interested, i posted last week and included the most trying time in my Air Force time. it felt so good to write about this experience from then. i never wrote about that until last week and i know what you mean ... sometimes it feels so good (even when we are wiped out and should be asleep) to pour out our thoughts into a post or a letter.

    rooting for you girl, kathleen

  4. Amen sister. I can so relate to this post! We could swap houses and it would all be very familiar I think ;) It's hard to stick to your guns when Daddy's away inst it? I wonder what kind of Mom I woudl be if we were "normal"? I cant even imagine...

  5. I just wanted to stop by and say I love reading your blog. I have a 6 month old daughter and am amazed at the comments I get from random strangers. I thought about making my own baby food, but then I remembered I had a life, a very busy one at that.

    Your boys sound like a lot of fun. Hang in there, it sounds like you are doing a great job!



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