Thursday, September 13, 2012

Courtney Chronicles {temporary mom insanity}

Maybe you guys can help me with something. Lately I have been struggling with what it means to be a good mother. Most of the time I try not to worry about every little thing I am doing and whether it is right or wrong because let's face it, everyone has an opinion. However, recently I have been going back and forth & wondering if I'm doing my son an injustice by not sending him to daycare at least one day a week. I know there used to be a time when most momma's stayed home and it was not as common to take children to day care. However, now I feel like me staying home with him is not the norm. We make sure Olly goes to the park at least once a day to give him some interaction with other kiddos, but I can't help but over hear them speaking Spanish or singing songs that they learned at some type of day care and it makes me feel like my little one is behind. Is it normal to be questioning myself about this? If I take him to daycare then I worry about him getting sick and I want to be with him as much as possible before I send him off to real school in a few years. But If I don't send him I wonder if I am causing him to be behind? I must say that all of this "being a good parent" stuff has way over stayed its welcome in my noggin' and really put pressure on me to step up my game. I am now filling our walks with teachable moments (which can sometimes seem exhausting and I just want silence) and I have installed flash card aps on my ipad to teach him but all of it has me thinking I am being silly and acting crazy.

As long as my boy is happy, healthy, and has my attention, I'm doing ok...right? Just look at this face. I can't handle letting him down. Please tell me this phase of questioning myself is temporary & I'm not the only one going through this to some degree.


  1. It's definitely normal to be questioning yourself about this--you are not alone! I stay at home with my (22-month old) daughter and I would stay home with her until she goes off to college if I could! ;) There are always going to be pros and cons to every situation, and like you said, "everyone has an opinion" but I think you're on the right track, momma!

    & just as your catch phrase is "find beauty in each day" I say, "find a teachable moment in each day." I think learning through experience is invaluable. I like to take my daughter to a music class once a week, we go to the science center, have play dates... Through my narration of life's "little things" and leading by example, I know I'm succeeding as a mom.

    Give yourself a break, girl! You're succeeding, too!! ;)

  2. You will question yourself for the rest of your life. Not everyday, and not about everything, but we love our children, and you will always want what is best for them, and as mothers, we constantly evaluate are we doing this?

    As a momma of 5, and someone who once worked, I missed seeing all of their moments of growth. My son could tell me the ABC's and it wasn't something he learned from me. It broke my heart. After we adopted I am staying home full time, and probably will forever, daycare is just too expensive!

    I think children being home with their kids is the best thing for them. Do they need other interaction, yes, but you do that- go the the park, etc. The fact that he doesn't say words in Spanish isn't something to worry about, he will more than likely start it in Kindergarten.

    However, if you feel that you would be a better mom by having a break and having some consistent time away from him, then by all means enroll him in a daycare for one day a week. That is the great thing about parenting. It is different for everyone. Some people are better parents with time away from their kids, and they should do what is best for the whole family, including themselves. As moms, we tend to always forget about ourselves, and we can't do that.

  3. Okay, I meant children being home with their moms, not children being home with their kids! Oops!

  4. You are a great mom! I think there's too much pressure on little kids (and their parents) to learn letters, colors, numbers, etc. before kindergarten. They are just going to learn it all over again once they start school so why not focus now on the more subtle skills needed for school success, like independent play, following directions, impulse control, attention and concentration,etc. And of course just be a kid! School will be here before you know it, I say enjoy him at home while you can!

  5. I wouldn't worry about feeling like a bad mom, because we all do at some point haha! I have two boys, 18mos and 3 and they go to mothers day out two half days (4hrs each on Monday's and Friday's) I think it is good for kids I have away from mom time, my boys are so rough and crazy and at school they are so sweet and gentle. I think it's good for them to have a little time where they have to make decisions and make friends without their mom being there, not just for he Spanish and the songs but it makes them proud to be independent. Also I used to be an elementary school teacher and yes they will get sick from the other kids but it's better to have them built those immunities now than miss a bunch of school when it matters!

  6. Your worries are completely normal! This is always something that mom's battle - daycare? how many days? preschool? how many days? stay home full-time? playdates with friends? soccer? swimming? etc! Honestly, as someone who works in the field of early childhood, I have to tell you that there is no perfect answer. As long as your son is happy and getting along well with other children, and you are consistently exposing him to fun activities and learning opportunities, you really should have nothing to worry about. Treasure your time with him! That said, I also really believe in a preschool experience. It doesn't have to be much! Even 1 day/week of preschool, learning routines - sitting at circle time, lining up, learning the songs, etc can be extremely beneficial for little ones in preparation for kindergarten. Confused yet? :) We all are! An idea to consider would be your school district's community education - early childhood programming. Here in MN there are lots of opportunities for "Mommy and me" classes where you can go too! (No, I do not work for community ed, I just value their programming here.) The important thing to remember is that no matter what you decide, the "what if's" always remain. It' all part of this game we call life! Good luck as you consider your options!

  7. I think you are doing just fine. Pre-school has its advocates and nay sayers. I will say that in my family, my mom stayed at home, and none of went to preschool. We had kids that we interacted with on a regular basis, we went to story hours at the library and the park regularly. I will say that I am pretty smart, I was always at the head of my class, and frequently bored in school until I got into advance classes. Two of my sisters did ok in school, and the other three of us excelled. We all excelled socially. I guess my point is kids have a natural aptitude to learn and you are not doing him a disservice keeping him home. Also, you teaching him one on one is a great option as well. There are a million preschool homeschooling programs out there and you can do as much or as little as you think is appropriate. You are his mom, you know what he needs. It is ok to tune out the cultural narrative and do what you feel is best for him.

  8. I belong to a mom's group and were just discussing feeling like failures as moms. I feel like there is a lot of pressure to be a supermom and raise perfect children. It can all be very overwhelming. So here are my two cents: don't worry about it. try to get to a place where you can release yourself from all that. it is noise and it doesn't do a thing for you. If Olly learning Spanish is important to you i am sure you can find a mommy and me spanish class. My son learned some spanish watching Dora- it isn't that important to me. Mommy and me classes are great. You get to meet people, talk to other moms and Olly gets exposed to all kinds of things. Some school departments have Parents as Teachers programs where again- it is more mommy and me.

    Olly is still little. Enjoy your time with him. when he is ready you might try preschool. Most places you gan go for a couple of hours twice a week.

    Just remember- you are the mom. You know him best. If he is happy and thriving then you are doing a great job! Trust your mommy gut!

    And remember, you are not alone! We all feel like the same way at one time or another. It would be so much easier if these kids came with manuals!

  9. I think the first concern of all "good" mothers is the well being of their child(ren). some mothers aren't able to stay home for financial or other reasons (sometimes moms have no interest in leaving the workforce - doesn't make them a bad mom) and have to (or chose to) send their children to daycare or pre-school. does that mean that their child will be any less successful or happy than a child who stayed home with mom (or vice versa!)...I think not. my son will be 5 in october and i have always given him options from the moment he could communicate with me. obvisouly sometimes I would have to help to influence the wise decision of the two, but i always let him express how he felt and what he wanted as well. My son has been in daycare since he was a month and a half old, minus a month I took off betweeen jobs to try the SAHM thing.
    Bottom line is this: be confident in your situation or decision to stay home or work. worrying about your child getting sick at daycare, I personally wouldn't add that to a list of pros and cons because kids get sick, end of story. you must be okay with your decision either way. and not because it is the norm. I think that is one of the major issues plagueing our society now, this unwritten rule that you must be NORMAL. when someone can tell me what the word NORMAL means, I'll listen. but it seems as though you can ask five people what is considered normal and you will probably get five different answers.
    one more thing, do you remember the details of your life before your mother sent you to school? or do you just recall that she worked or didn't work because she has since told you. just another thing to think about.

  10. By age 3 and 4 you might consider a morning preschool for Ollie. Many such schools are located in churches but are not affiliated with the church. They offer classes 2 or more mornings a week. Some are co-ops where parents assist the teacher on a rotating schedule. The kids have fun and you both make new friends. You and he would still have lunch together and afternoons to play and maybe NAP! You're doing great. sally

  11. Courtney,

    I struggle with the exact opposite issue. I had my baby when I was in my second semester of Grad school. I still am. He started at daycare at 6 weeks. I had no choice. It kills me every day. And Its interesting because I thought it was the norm for moms to stay at home. Something I keep trying to tell myself is that I need to remember all the time I do spend with my son, how I don't do homework until he's in bed, how we do fun stuff on the weekends. I really really want you to know that you know what is best for your son, and the amount of love you give to him already does more than anything else in the world. You're a great momma, and we are all different- so do what YOU think is best for your son! Keep up all the good work, you are awesome!

  12. As a mom of 2 daughters (15 and almost 18 years old), I say enjoy as much time with him as you can. It goes by so fast. We all question ourselves as mothers, but I have never regretted the early years I spent at home with my daughters. He is adorable by the way:)

  13. Listen to your heart--which I hear saying, "spend as much time with that precious baby as possible." All too soon he will be school, with all the pressure that learning entails. The more time you have together now, the better your relationship will be as he grows up--so very important in those teenage years. Learn to follow your heart and resist peer pressure now, 'cause it will only increase as he gets older. Keep doing what you're doing--he's one lucky little guy!

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  15. I never really comment on your blog, but thought I should chime in tonight. So excuse me as I fill your basket with the following truths.

    You are positively, absolutely, without question, the single greatest mother I know. The way you interact with Olly Wally is one of the sweetest joys in my life. I adore the way you teach him how to hug. And sit for a snack, and say pleeesh and thank you. Your calming energy is exactly what he needs to counter my own chaos. The way you keep that boy in style assures me that he will grow up with the confidence I have lacked my entire life. You give so much of yourself to me, and Olly, and this blog, and to all of your wonderful friends and family, and never ask for anything in return. You are such a positive role model not only for our son, but for me as well. You are always ten thousand steps ahead of everyone else, and I hope Monkey picks up just a fraction of your smarts. He will, I'm sure, and he will be better because of it. I know I live with you, and I'm biased so my opinion doesn't really count. However, you can't argue the results. Sure he may not be bilingual, yet. But one the he does have is passion. You teach him things that I never would think of. I can only hope that when he starts to drive, he picks up your habits as well, Lord knows I'm not a perfect example. You do an amazing job teaching him how to be his own person. And it is such a joy to watch him make his own decisions. I don't think there is a soul on this planet that could raise a son better than you do. You always work to make even seemingly mundane activities feel like an adventure, and that's one of the most enjoyable parts of having you as my bride, and my son's mother. I don't know how you are able to accomplish so much work in such a short amount of time. And without you, our worlds would crumble apart. I love you more than anything in this world, including DMB, and while I know these words are just that, words, I hope that the feedback from above only confirms what I'm saying. You already are a super mom. And I hope that you can see it. Don't be so hard on yourself. Cherish the time you have with him and ignore that nagging voice of self doubt inside your head. You really are the greatest mom I know. And you don't need to worry. He will be in school before we know it. And then you can look back at his early years and cherish the memories of him blowing kisses, or correcting the dogs, or cracking himself up, and pointing out planes and blimps. Or talking to Nini on the phone, and trying to put his boots on. He is learning exactly what he needs to, in order to be a Successful human. And that is completely your doing. I don't want you to think that you're doing something wrong by keeping him home. When it's time, we'll know it. And we will be sad our little boy is growing up. As it is now, it's hard to believe he will be two in a few weeks. But already he seems like he is soooo big. You have done the most wondrous job raising him up to be such a little man. I can't wait to see what the next year brings. Keep up the awesome work. Your doing perfect. I heart you, and I KNOW he does too.

    Xoxo Ryry and Monkey

  16. I have two littles ages 4 and 2.5 and my son, Sawyer, went to a 3 day a week preschool at 3yrs. We needed him to have some independence from us and the new baby and to start developing who he is away from us as parents.

    I made sure that I put him in a "school" and not a day care type setting so he was in school during school hours and only went 3 days a week.

    He loved it and I love seeing how he applies what we taught him and how he learns from his peers.
    My daughter, Finley, who is 2.5 we just put in to preschool this year. She was ready - I'm not, but I had to let her go. She LOVES it and she has a new sense of pride in herself and so do I. The teacher says she mother's the other kids and she is very smart and confident.

    At some point I realized that they need more than just mom to help them become who they need to be. I am glad I put them in school early, but I do miss them during the day. Perfect time to start taking care of myself excuses!

    Whatever you feel is best is most likely the best thing for you to do. Ask Olly what he would like to do, Take him to a school and let him do a tour, see how he reacts.

    Courtney B.

  17. Oh my.
    The comment from your husband made me tear up. So sweet and so honest. Just beautiful.

  18. My mom was a stay at home mother for us 7 kids and I had a wonderful upbringing! I now am a sahm of 3 and wouldnt change it for the world! My son is almost 5 and goes to preschool once a week and its working out great. I think your son having you home is such a positive thing. YOU get to raise him! I know some moms have to work but believe if you dont have to than dont.

  19. I loved your husband's response. His is the one that matters. There is no right way or wrong way with kids except to love them and support them. Sounds like you are doing that. My kids stayed at home with me until school and that wasn't the norm for around here as well. They are flourishing in school now and I am so glad I kept them with me all those early years. Go with what FEELS right for you and not what SOUNDS right from others.


  20. You all have been so sweet & amazing! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your stories & thoughts with me. I'm a Very lucky gal! Much love to ALL of you & your kiddos.

  21. My youngest just started kindergarten this year and I am going through mommy withdrawal. All I have ever wanted was to be the best mom I could be and I am lost without them. You are the best thing for them and no one will ever care for them or teach them the way that you will!

  22. I work outside the home one day a week and then the rest of the week I stay home with my daughter, who is almost 2.5. I have no intention of sending her to preschool. The day I work, she goes to grandma's. She has been having some separation anxiety just going to their house once a week. I can only imagine how it would be to send her to school everyday. Enjoy your time with your son and don't worry about sending him to school. I am sure he is learning plenty through you!

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