Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It's been an interesting few days.

First - let's be positive and look at The Good - I had off today so that Ryan could go on his Eagles tour (he had a great time with Daddy and PaPa!), so Maddie, Jacob and I spent the morning at our little local zoo. It was a little cold, but lots of fun! And there is a new penguin exhibit, so we enjoyed meeting them for the first time!

The Bad - I had a really rough end of the week in terms of my childcare job and as my role as a mother to my own children. I have been struggling with these issues, and finally really decided that childcare is a BAD job for me. Craig and I talked about this at length, and decided that I would continue childcare until the end of the school year and then return to being a Stay-at-home mom.

BUT.... Then there's The Ugly - I have noticed, for several weeks, that my bellybutton is looking, well, ugly. I couldn't figure out why - it just looked different and ugly to me. It clicked this morning in the shower this morning that I most likely have an umbilical hernia.

I have to call the doctor on Monday morning, but this is most likely going to mean surgery for me, and I am scared to bits over it! I am worried about so many things - the surgery itself, the timing being off (the kids all have birthdays this spring AND we have a huge vacation planned in June - I can't be recovering from surgery). PLUS - this greatly affects my childcare job. From what I have read, it's like having a c-section, so expect at least a week for recovery (if not 2) and 6 weeks until you feel back to normal.

I have a feeling I am going to end up giving my daycare kids notice. I already planned on discontinuing my services in June - it's not really fair to take a 2-week medical leave before that too. So, this may be the end for that (which is both a blessing and a curse).

I am also most worried about how I will be a SAHM to my children if I am busy recovering from a surgery. :(

I am sad and scared about this. I know there are so many worse things than a hernia, but to someone who never had a surgery or serious illness, I am just a wreck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mommy Guilt

This afternoon, I had to turn down a playdate for my 5-year-old. One of his friends called and BEGGED for him to come play, and I had to say no.

This is one of the biggest issues I have with doing home day care. I can't just pick up and take my son to play at his friend's house (nor can I offer to host the playdate here - since we have so many kids here!). I don't have other children on Fridays, so I made plans for a Friday playdate, but I still feel guilty that my son isn't able to play with friends like most other kids can.

I have to remind myself that he wouldn't be able to have playdates if he was in day care. AND, he does have built-in playmates in the childcare kids here.

My mother did (actually, still does) day care when I was growing up, and I remember how it bothered me to not be able to go somewhere or have someone over because of "the kids."

I think today is really going to factor into my decision about what to do next year. I am glad to be blogging these feelings. I can look back and remember how guilty I felt today and know that I truly feel like I should be home with ONLY my kids.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blogging is fun!

It's amazing how addicting this blogging can be!

Previously, I read a few blogs, but now that I started my own I am finding so many neat blogs to enjoy!

I just love finding new blogs with moms who have children like mine, or who live in the same area as me, or who are interested in the same topics that I am. OH - and dare I mention the frugal decorating blogs..... Maybe I will finally paint my living room (after living here for 5 years!) with this inspiration!

Go Eagles???

I have my full-house of children today (my own and my day care kids) AND I have to go into my "Saturday" job tonight. It will be a long day (as I have kids at my house until 5:00 and then I will work from 5:30-10:00).

Why would I agree to such a schedule? It's all because of the Eagles. The Philadelphia Eagles, that is.

This fall, my 5-year-old came home with a school fundraiser. We bought one item and Grandma bought something as well. In January, Ryan came home from school with a paper saying he has a free membership to the Eagles Kids Klub. I thought nothing of it until he told me his Principal gave him this "prize" and there was only one other kid who won too. Turns out, Ryan was entered in a random drawing of all the kids who participated in the fundraiser and he won! He gets a year membership to the Eagles Kids Klub and there is a special tour of Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday.

We're not big football fans at all, but we tend to root for our "hometown team." My father, however, is a die-hard Eagles fan. So Ryan asked PaPa (my dad) and Daddy to take him on the tour (he could have 2 "grown-ups" with him).

So I switched my work schedule so that I could stay home with the other kids while Ryan enjoys his special day with the guys.

Thanks Eagles!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Busy weekend

It's nearly 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night and it's the first time I really had to sit down at the computer all weekend!

On Friday night, I was rather productive! The house has been such a mess, and it's hard to know where to start at times. So I picked a room and got to work! Of course, I picked one of the smallest rooms in the house - the laundry room.

Our laundry room is on the main level of our house, right off of the family room. In our first house, our laundry was in an icky part of the basement, and I really dislikes doing laundry because of it. When we moved to this house, I was thrilled to have the laundry right off of our main living area so that I could do laundry throughout the day!

The laundry room connects the family room to the garage. It also houses two closets. One is a regular "coat closet" - I use that to hold the vacuum, the clothing steamer and to hang all my clothes that need to have the wrinkles removed from them. I also store the kids' snow clothes in that closet as well. The other closet is our tiny pantry! There is no room in the kitchen for an actual pantry, but we are lucky to have this little space in the laundry room for food storage (it's funny to see people's reactions when my kids ask for a snack and I retreat to the laundry room!).

I scrubbed this little room from ceiling to floor on Friday! The laundry center is now neat and tidy and ready for more laundry (there's ALWAYS more laundry, right?). I also cleaned out the pantry- which was quite a big job! I am so happy that I have a good inventory of our grocery items now.

The rest of the weekend went by too quickly! I worked on Saturday morning, and we took a trip to my in-law's place on Saturday evening. They even agreed to feed the kids dinner so that Craig and I could go for a "grown up" dinner by ourselves! Hooray for Chicken Marsala!

Today I did some laundry, but spent the bulk of the day cleaning the garage. We have a tiny one-car garage attached to our house. My big minivan would never fit in it, and we have too many kids' toys and lawn equipment to be able to consider parking Craig's car in it, so it's basically a storage shed. It was a MESS, but I managed to organize a good part of it. I had some good motivation though. We need new patio furniture for our deck (our chairs basically fell apart, and our poor old table fell over in a windstorm and smashed last August!) and Big Lots had an extra 20% off coupon tonight. We used it to buy a new table & chairs set PLUS a little bistro set (for extra seating) PLUS a park bench (to put in the backyard by the swing set - no more standing!) - for about $350! We now have to store all of those things until its nicer outside, but at least there's room!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Girl Scout Night...

Every other Thursday night I lead a troop of 2nd-grade Brownie Girl Scouts. It is always an adventure!

When my daughter was in kindergarten, I looked into Daisy Girl Scouts for her. She is one of those kids that doesn't really like to spend all of her time doing any one certain thing. Rather, she likes to try all sorts of things. Girl Scouts really seemed like it would be a good outlet for her (after a first-and-last miserable season of soccer we needed something fun for her to try!). However, there were no troops that she was able to join! So, I stepped up and offered to lead a Daisy troop.

It was supposed to be a one-year commitment.... BUT.... when the newly-bridged Brownies couldn't find a troop to "fly up" to, I agreed to lead the Brownie troop. We're now in our second year of Brownies, and it's mostly a lot of fun.

The hardest part is the planning. I tend to be a procrastinator, so I leave most of my meeting plans until the day of the meeting. That sometimes works just fine, but often leaves me a crazed mess for most of the day. Thank goodness we only meet once a month!

Tonight's meeting is fairly simple. We'll be celebrating World Thinking Day. This year's theme is way too mature for younger Girl Scouts (it's "preventing the spread of HIV, Malaria and other diseases" - no way am I touching HIV with 2nd graders!), so we are going to focus on only the preventing the spread of disease. My co-leader arranged to borrow this machine to help the girls learn about how easily germs spread and how to wash their hands correctly.

We're also going to have a short ceremony. We had 2 new girls join our troop this year, and they will be "invested" into scouts tonight. The girls feel so important when they do a ceremony, and the parents just eat this stuff up!

I enjoy being a Girl Scout leader, and I am proud that I can do it for my daughter. However, it's becoming increasingly difficult to be a good leader. I have so many children in my care during the day that it's impossible to find planning time. Field trips and camping must be done on weekends, and I work on Saturdays. I have terrible guilt over not being able to take the girls on more trips, but I have to put my little part-time job first (since my family is counting on that income). This is yet another reason why I consider going back to full-time work - having my nights and weekends totally free to interact with my children and their activities. Just another example of how BIG my BIG DECISION really is - and how it creeps into my everyday life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I am lucky enough to live in my hometown and have both my parents and my sister just a few miles away from us. We have dinner as an extended family quite often, and yesterday my sister invited us to her house for a pre-spring cookout.

It was so great to have grilled burgers and dogs in the middle of February! She also had yummy salads, chips and pickles! Yum!

I brought some bruschetta, which is not something I normally eat or make. I had the ingredients on hand due to a dinner party which was canceled two weeks ago, so I threw it together yesterday afternoon. Turns out, my Brother-In-Law LOVES bruschetta and actually orders the "Bruschetta Burger" when they go out! So he loved it (even though I thought it was a tad too garlicky!).

When we have these dinners, I nearly always offer to bring dessert. Since I am home during the day, I can usually manage to at least toss some brownies together. Yesterday, I opted for chocolate cupcakes. Cupcakes (or at least the icing on the cupcakes) are always a hit with the kids, but the adults are never thrilled with them. So I decided to add peanut butter to the vanilla icing. All the adults loved the chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes! However, they looked really ugly (I am glad these were for family rather than guests!)!

My daughter doesn't like peanut butter, so I kept a small bit of the icing plain and added some mini M&Ms (which the kids received on Valentine's Day). They looked adorable and the kids loved licking the icing off of them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The big decision

The easiest decision I ever made was becoming a Mommy. I always knew I wanted children and there was no doubt that my husband and I would make the sacrifices needed for me to be the stay-at-home mommy to the children. Easy decision.

Another easy decision was finding part-time work when our family's financial situation required additional income. Since my first child I was born, I have had 4 part-time jobs. When my children were all small and home with me during the day, I opted to work evenings and weekends. My husband was able to stay home with the children while I worked. It wasn't the best situation for our marriage, but it was the best for our children. As the kids started going to school (preschool and kindergarten) I changed my employment to only weekends because I just couldn't stand having the kids at school all day and me at work all evening.

Currently, I work only Saturday mornings at our community college. It's an easy job, the pay is decent and it's QUIET there (I treat myself to a cup of Dunkin Donuts decaf and think of my shift as my weekly quiet time!). There are times I feel like I miss out on the "fun" of being a parent - like when the children played soccer and I missed every one of their games.

I also do childcare in my home. I thought this would be the PERFECT job for me. I am able to stay home with my children and make a rather substantial income. However, I seem to find more and more reasons to want to quit this job every day. My house is a mess all the time, my own children dislike having to share both their toys and their mother with other children for 80% of the week, and I find that my patience for my own children is nearly gone by the end of the day because I do nothing but deal with kids all day long.

Essentially - doing childcare has made me a different type of Mommy than I have ever wanted to be. I don't like it. I hate when I snap at my children after dinner just because I am exhausted. I dislike that I spend my evenings cleaning my entire house because I can't get it done during the day.

Needless to say, the "job thing" has been on my mind A LOT lately. In fact, I've lost quite a bit of sleep over it in the past two months.

I am committed to my childcare position until the end of the school year. However, I have been giving a lot of thought to next school year. In September, my daughter will be going to 3rd grade and my middle child will be going to full-day school for the first time (1st grade!). My "baby" will turn 3 this spring and is already registered (at his insistance) for 3-year-old preschool in the fall.

Is this the time for me to look into going back to work full-time? My resume is current. In fact, I actually sent it out after seeing a position in the Sunday paper last week (I haven't heard a thing from that employer, so I guess it's not an option to consider at this point). Mommy-guilt-wise, I feel okay about it. My older two will be off in school all day anyway - if they need childcare it would be for about 70 minutes after school. Not too bad. My little guy has been home with me for 3 years. He LONGS to go to school like his brother and sister. He's already enrolled in preschool for next year. Would it be *that bad* to send him to a preschool/day care combo instead?

Or I could continue to do childcare. I don't love it, but it brings in enough money and keeps me home with the kids. I know it would be temporary - another 3 years at the most - but it's not my favorite option. The clients I currently have would only need part-time care next year. I would make half as much money as I do now, but I would have the kids much less time during the day. It's something to consider, but my least favorite option.

Some days I long to be a full-time SAHM again. My husband's salary is much higher than it was 5 years ago. We could do it. It would require a lot of budget-tweeking and diving back into our more frugal practices, but we could do it. It's just a scary thing to let go of any job - especially with our current economy troubles.

This is my big decision. Should I listen to my heart and stay home with my own children? Listen to my head and look for a full-time job which will help support our family's budget more? should I continue with childcare and earn "grocery money" while still being home with the children?

Can I be a Mommy for another few years, or do I need to become a Working Mom? This is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. I don't know what is the right thing to do.

I am hoping that the right answer will come to me in time. I am trying to be patient and let prayer and God help guide me and my family to the right solution for us.

Stay tuned - we'll be talking about this a lot....

Monday, February 16, 2009


Welcome to my little corner of the Web!

I'm Lisa - mom to three wonderful children (a daughter who is nearly 8, and two sons nearly 6 and 3). For the past 8 years I have dedicated my days to caring for my children as a stay-at-home mom. I actually would love for my story to end right there, but like many other families, our family has found it to be increasingly difficult to live off of one income. Therefore, I have worked several part-time jobs over the past few years. In most cases, my husband and I worked opposite schedules so that one of us was always available to care for the children. However, I have always considered myself first and foremost a stay-at-home mommy to my children.

In my early days of motherhood, my parenting practices defined me as person. I felt strongly about many aspects of "Attachment Parenting" and was always proud to label myself as a breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering mommy. I searched out other like-minded moms at La Leche meetings and other natural parenting venues. I was a Mommy - pure and simple.

But then a funny thing happened... my kids started growing up. Of course, I know they have always been growing and maturing, but this year my oldest child entered second-grade and my youngest child potty-trained. I no longer change diapers (well, he still wears one at night) and I am no longer breastfeeding or babywearing. In fact, we recently had to buy a new stroller with a higher weight limit because my soon-to-be-three-year-old is getting too big for his old one!

Then one day, the inevitable happened. I called my 7-year-old daughter to join me downstairs, and she replied "Okay, in a minute Mom!"


I'm a Mommy. I have always been Mommy. When did I become Mom?

My children and growing up, and I have learned that I need to grow with them. Will I remain a stay-at-home-mom or return to work? Will my children need to attend day care? Will my growning family be able to remain comfortable in our current home? How will I help my children make the leap from child to preteen?

This is my journey From Mommy to Mom.