Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11 tips for being an ordinary parent

1. Show up at home after a long day at and give in to the craziness of that witching hour commonly called "after school and dinner time." Accept that you feel frazzled after a long day at work or say, midwifery school, and that your children are only going to make you feel frazzlier. Yup, that's a word. One child will be happy to see you and the other will be panicking about a permission slip that ABSOLUTELY must be returned and where is it, Mama, where is it, where is it? Then the other child will declare that she doesn't like her dinner, while the permission slip child suddenly has no pants on. Come to terms with the crazy. Just go make yourself some food and you'll feel better soon. And tell that child who doesn't like her dinner to go and help herself to some cereal.

2. Always say yes to reading your child a book. Unless you have to go out and study, and then you have to say no. Make sure you only feel a little guilty.

3. Definitely don't serve vegetables at every meal. You know they say you should always offer healthy veggies at every meal, but if it's been a busy day and you're exhausted, just give them the damn pasta.

4. Give them a lot of kisses.

5. Sneak a chocolate bar from their Halloween candy and deny it wildly when one of your children finds the wrapper in the garbage. Then tell them it's not nice to accuse people of stealing candy. Yes, it happened.

6. More kisses.

7. Try to get your four year old dressed in a shirt and leggings. Then listen to her yelling that she wanted tights, not leggings. Just listen. Then explain that you don't have time to change clothes because you need to leave for school in five minutes. Don't tell her it's your fault for getting her dressed five minutes before you need to school, that you spent too much time packing lunches that you should have packed the night before. Don't tell her because she doesn't care. Then get her the tights.

8. Tell your daughter you will sew her new pajama pants the next day, the ones that don't fit her because nothing seems to fit her tiny body, not these pants or the three you bought her last month. Then forget to sew them because you're buried in studying for reproductive physiology. Then forget them the next day because you're buried in writing this blog post. Then maybe sew them on the weekend so your tiny child has pants that don't fall down her bum.

9. Tell your children that everyone makes mistakes. Tell them you've made at least 75 this week alone.

10. Remember that your children need to wash their hair and make a note to do it that night. Then when you forget, remember to do it the next night. Then a few days later actually put them in the shower with a bottle of shampoo.

11. Make pancakes for breakfast because you just feel like it, even though it's going to make everyone run late for school. Then bring your four year old leggings.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Because we should say I love you more often

My midwifery student colleagues are the best of people. This program is hard work and many of us feel as though we're on the edge, delicately balancing all of our responsibilities. This particular semester is known to be a catastrophe of demanding courses, with reproductively physiology, pharmacology, and clinical skills, where we were are introduced to such a tornado of skills that the room after class is often left in shambles (fake blood on the floor, sharps containers at every turn, stethoscopes willy-nilly) and you can almost taste the adrenaline in the air. There are assignments and presentations and exams and skills tests and we become exhausted. It's just a ton of work.

But. This group of women rocks my world. We look after each other, feed each other, look after children, study together, and commiserate with each other until the wee hours of morning. Sometimes we are called out in class to settle down, but what our instructors forget is that this is how we cope. We take it one day at a time and each day is better when we're laughing together about something or other. If this sounds contrived, not to worry. It's just actually true.

We're not all best friends but that's okay. We don't need to be best friends to reach out to one another. We're all here for different reasons, but the reasons don't really matter. We're here, now, and we will continue to make each other laugh and have the hard conversations as long as we need to.

One of our colleagues is withdrawing from the program and I'm writing all of this as a way to say thank you. Thank you for being all the things you are. You will be dearly missed and that is an understatement. We love you lots and want the best things for you. I miss you already.

Hille sporting a knitted placenta, courtesy of Kyla Austin. Hille will miss you, too.