Today I’m excited to share another fabulous momma with you for the Every Day Super Moms series! This interview is by Jenny from An Introvert’s Guide to Sobriety. She’s got some anazing wisdom to share– check it out!
I’m Jenny and I’ve been married to Kevin for 16 years. We have a 10 year old daughter, named Anna and an-almost 8 year old son, named Jack. We also have a houseful of critters–4 cats, a Weimaraner named Angie, and a Betta fish named Brook Where The Small Fish Swim (what happens when you let the kids name the pets). We’ve recently started fostering kittens for our local animal shelter, so it’s not uncommon for us to have a litter of kittens and a mama cat living the good life in our guest room.
I didn’t have any cravings that were strange (although, I lovingly refer to Anna as, “The Baby That Taco Bell Built” because I ate a bean burrito from Taco Bell almost every day for lunch when I was pregnant with her) but I did have a lemon creme-scented hand lotion that I loved prior to my second pregnancy that would send me into violent dry heaves if I smelled it once I became pregnant. To this day, if I smell lemon-creme-scented anything, I get a mild car sick feeling in the back of my head. Bizarre, because lemon is one of my favorite scents.
I knew that I wanted solid, traditional names for both of my kids. We briefly discussed naming Anna, Lily–because my husband’s grandmother’s name was Lillie–but balked at the spelling. Her full name is Anna Claire and up until about the age of 2, we called her by her full name but eventually we dropped the Claire when it became too much of a mouthful. For Jack, I desperately wanted to name him Theo, but my husband didn’t love that name, so we compromised with Jack. Jack’s middle name is Hugh, after my late grandfather, who was a very special person to me. I wanted to use his name somehow, but wasn’t sure about naming a little boy Hugh (for a first name) in 2009. Turns out that we made the right choice, because he’s a “Jack” through and through.
I have to preface this by explaining that Anna is a huge animal lover. In fact, she is typically pretending to be an animal in her normal, day-to-day life. Even now, at the age of 10, it’s not uncommon for her to gallop through the mall, whinnying and neighing like a pony. Several years ago–when she was 5–we went to Disneyworld. One day, we were at the pool at our resort and Kevin and I were letting the kids play in the kiddie pool while we chatted with some friends. At the same time, Kevin and I turned to check on Anna and saw her on her hands and knees in the kiddie pool, licking the hairy leg of the strange man who was sitting there, dangling his feet in the pool–clearly a dad, trying to watch his own children swim. Kevin and I raced over there as fast as we could to find that Anna was pretending to be a dog and this man was kindly playing along. This was all fine and dandy until Anna took the game a touch too far. The man was mortified, as were we. That was a good teachable moment about “not licking strangers.”
Jack has lots of “Jack-isms.” One of my favorites was when he used to pronounce the word DISGUSTING as VISCUSTING. It really gave the word kind of an onomatopoeic characteristic. We still use “viscusting” to describe something particularly disgusting (and viscous).
I fortunately never suffered from postpartum depression, but I did have a really difficult recovery after having Anna. It took many, many months for my body to heal and I felt so miserable in my own skin for a long time. Finally getting out of the house and walking at our local park helped get me and the baby out of the house and helped some of the weight to come off.
Well, the last time that I had a baby in the house was 8 years ago, so the products that were lifesavers for me, are likely in the National Archives now. 🙂 We did use a lot of cloth diapers–and not for diapering the baby–we used them as burp towels. They’re soft, thin, lint-free and great for wiping up spills. I still have a few in my house now that are favorites for dusting the house.
I stayed home with both kids and, while it was the hardest job ever, I’ll never regret it. We were able to establish routines that turned my babies into Olympic-champion-level sleepers and we had a wonderful group of friends who stayed home with babies about the same age. As for “me” time, thankfully, I have a fabulous husband who would take over parenting duties any time that I needed a break. I remember standing in the driveway, holding the baby, waiting for him to get home from work so that I could pass the baby off to him and lock myself in the bedroom to watch mindless television.
You’re molding a future adult and things that you say or do, that may seem insignificant to you, might end up being something that sticks with your kids and shapes their future selves. My kids have made me a better human.
Luckily, my kids have both made really wise choices when choosing their friends, but I do worry about the influence of other kids. I remember wanting to fit-in in middle school and high school and making poor choices, as a result. I hope that my kids retain a strong sense of self and are able to lead a life of integrity–even at a young age.
I work on a daily basis to give my daughter a firm, solid platform on which to stand–as a girl. I was raised to be very aware my limitations and not to try something that I might not succeed at–because what would people think?!? With Anna, I work hard to silence that inner voice from my childhood and let her know that nothing is out of reach, as long as she works her tail off for it.
My kids have reminded me often about doing the right thing, even though it’s not necessarily the easiest thing. They’re better people than I am, and I’m so glad for that.
The social aspects of motherhood are tricky for me. I’m an introvert, so making friends has never been easy for me. Walking into a PTA meeting feels a lot like walking into the cafeteria in 6th grade. I’ve found though, that finding a few kindred spirits has helped me to navigate the social aspects of motherhood. Once you find your tribe–however big or small–you’re golden.
Do what works best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. Everyone has an opinion about the way a child should be raised, but at the end of the day, it’s your child and your family. They’re not the ones in your house at 3am when the baby is collicy. Don’t beat yourself up about the choices that you make because we’re all “flying by the seats of our pants” here and doing what feels right, moment to moment. The good news is that you have lots and lots of do-overs in parenting. One of my best parenting tools is to admit to my kids when I’ve made a mistake and apologize for it. When that happens, I get to model how to graciously admit that I was wrong and vow to make it better–it’s an invaluable for us all!
I’m Jenny and I write at www.introvertsguidetosobriety.