I had a super insightful conversation with a good friend of mine earlier this week about the challenges of raising children.
I love my children to death. But there are days when I would give anything to be back at work. Monday was one of those days...
After Chloé's birth, I had initially been
keeping Logan home from daycare every other day. Within a few weeks, I
came to the realization that he was happier in daycare. Between a new
baby and the associated sleep deprivation that that entails, I just
couldn't give him the same amount of attention and stimulation that he
was used to. He was just plain miserable being at home with me and it
was making me equally miserable. Since he loves daycare so much, I
decided that it was in both of our best interests for me to send him
full-time for awhile instead of every other day.
I thought that this would only be temporary. I also thought that it
was the lack of structure and activities at home that made the day
challenging for the two of us. So I signed us up for a mommy and me
circle time class at the West Island Women's Centre.
I thought that having this special time for just the two of us (they
offer free daycare for siblings) would lead to enjoyable at-home days
with the kids.
Our first class was this past Monday. And wow! The day did not turn out as I had anticipated.
guess I hadn't really thought through the logistics of taking two kids
under 20 months out to a 45 minute class in the middle of winter...
strollers don't fit in the centre... trying to carry in a screaming 20
month old, a car seat with baby and a diaper bag, all at the same time.
From super far because there are millions of people swarming everywhere
and no parking to be found. And nowhere to sit while breastfeeding
Chloé before dropping her off at daycare - while Logan races through the
centre screaming, me struggling to follow him through the massive sea
of exasperated moms, dressing their children in ten layers for the minus
20 degree weather. What was I thinking???
As we packed up the kids to leave, Logan
screaming that he wanted milk (I had none - are you kidding me?? how
could I carry in milk too??), throwing himself on the floor in a
tantrum, while Chloé screamed her brains out as well, I looked at
another mom from our class and said to her "I should have taken
knitting". She just laughed, but deep down, I really meant it. What I
was trying to say was, what I really need right now is some time to
myself, not a massive headache of a morning to take my son to a 45
It was only 10:45 a.m. and I was already done for the day.
We got home just in time for lunch, with a
starving, screaming Logan, desperate for some food and a nap. When he
was finally asleep (having left Chloé screaming in the swing to feed him
and get him to sleep), I plopped down on the couch, exhausted, with
Chloé in my arms. And I didn't move a muscle, or even bat an eyelash,
until Logan woke up 40 minutes later (yes, only 40 minutes... my
batteries were not quite yet recharged...).
The rest of the day continued on in a
similar vein... Bundling both of them up again to go out for a walk in
the bitter cold (gotta do something with them to make the day go by).
Logan screeching every two steps home from the grocery store that he
wanted more cereal. I think I started counting the minutes until Jerome's return home at maybe 3pm, even though he doesn't get home until at least 5:30.
the while debating whether or not I should truly switch into the
knitting class and just send Logan to daycare on Mondays too from now
on. A constant debate playing out in my head. Over such a silly
decision! Being embarrassed to take him back to daycare and admit that I
was giving up (at least for the time being) on trying to keep him home
one day a week. But desperately wanting to avoid having another such
day the following week.
By the end of the day, my patience was at a
minimum and I found myself yelling at poor little Logan for the first
time in his life. I couldn't handle the constant whining and screaming
any longer and looked at him and yelled "That's enough! You need to
stop!". He stopped on the spot, looked up at me with those beautiful
brown eyes of his and burst into tears. And I felt like crap, knowing
that he hadn't deserved to be yelled at.
The next morning, I was mulling over the
day with my friend, both of us chatting about how difficult it can be to
remain patient with our kids. We both know that the key to doing so is
taking care of ourselves. I know that. She knows that. We would both
immediately recommend to any mom that she needs to make time for
herself in order to be a good mom.
Why is it so easy to recommend this to other women but so hard to make a decision to do so for ourselves??
We came to the
conclusion that society teaches us that putting our own needs ahead of
our children's needs is selfish. That sending Logan to daycare on
Mondays is perceived as failure. That it is admitting that we can't
"handle" our own kids. That it makes you a bad mom to choose to take a
knitting class over taking a circle time class to stimulate and
entertain your child.
both know that taking care of yourself makes you a better mom. It's
part of why I went back to yoga when Logan was only 6 weeks old. And
why I'm doing zumba now, with Chloé in tow, since she won't take a
bottle. It's why I've signed up for the cake decorating club I
mentioned the other day. Why I try to always make it to girls' night.
And maybe I don't feel guilty about those things because they are part
of my routine. Or perhaps it is because they are mostly all in the
evening, so it is time that I wouldn't be spending with my kids
So the more I
thought about my day on Monday, the more I realized that I needed to
make this decision for both me and for my kids. I'll admit that, most
days, it is too much for me right now to have them both home with me
alone. Logan is still young and needs more attention than I am able to
give him with another baby at home. Sending him to daycare, where he
gets to play happily with other kids his age, is probably the best thing
that I can do for the both of us. And taking the knitting class, where
I will get two hours of entirely child-free time every single week is
probably the best thing that I can do for all of us. Hopefully, it
means that it will be quite awhile before I yell at him again.
told me the proverb "happy wife, happy
life". Nothing could be closer to the truth. And I am going to
continue to do what I need to do for myself, even if society views it as
selfish, since I've evolved to know better than that. In the end, it
will make me enjoy my time with my children that much more.
Whew... those are my deep thoughts of the week, lol.
And on to today's recipe, which comes from the wonderful cookbook Deceptively Delicious.
I say wonderful, having so far only made this one recipe from it. But I
love the premise of the cookbook, which is to hide vegetables in all
sorts of unexpected dishes - even desserts! We'll get Logan eating
vegetables whether he likes it or not!
I tried this
recipe, thinking that healthy, homemade chicken nuggets might be a way
to get Logan to start eating a bit of meat (another food group he tends
to avoid). No go. But Jerome and I enjoyed them. And they're a great
healthy alternative for kids.
used broccoli purée in this, as I happened to already have some steamed
broccoli in our freezer, that I had stuffed away for soufflés (that
recipe to come one day). The purée is super easy to make. You just
steam the broccoli - either in a veggie steamer, or in a microwaveable
bowl, with some water in the bowl and a plate over top. Steam it until
it can be crushed with a fork. Then purée in a blender, adding water as
necessary, until you obtain a thick purée.
recipe says to fry the nuggets in a pan, in a bit of olive oil.
Lacking time, I figured that I would just cook them in the oven
instead. But the result was soggy (though yummy tasting) chicken
nuggets. The next night, I reheated the leftovers in the olive oil and
they were much better. So best not to skip that step.
1 C whole-wheat, white or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
1/2 C flaxseed meal
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 C broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet purée
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried, and cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp. olive oil
In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika,
garlic and onion powder on foil, and mix well with your fingers.
2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable purée and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg
mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over
medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the
chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to
crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4
minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden
brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to
check that it's cooked through.) Serve warm.
Difficulty level: easy to moderate