Not Enough Mom-Me Time Anymore

Mom time, mommy time, time-out, parent relaxationSo, parenting is supposed to get easier as the kids grow up right? Nope, I wouldn’t say so.  We tell a new mom to sleep when the baby sleeps and people rally around to give the parents a much needed break.  However, when the kids get a bit older and more self sufficient, people assume it has gotten easier for you.  By the way, by ‘self-sufficient’ I only mean that they can walk and talk and wipe their own butts and feed themselves.  I don’t mean that they will actually get the food themselves or bathe without nagging or do anything they need to some level of assistance.  This is why it changes for a parent, from physically exhausting to mentally draining.  Yet the mentally draining part can leave a parent exhausted.

We also believe that since the kids are ‘self-reliant’, we should add more things to our plates and end up even more tired.  In my case, I started working after being a stay-at-home-mom.  Everyone said, oh now that the kids don’t need you, you can go back to work.  Well, the kids still need a million things and have activities they need to go to.  So, I am juggling a lot more and the only ball I can afford to drop is my ‘Me time’.  I can’t rest when they are at school because I’m at work.  Then I dash out to be a chauffeur, cook, tutor, referee, nurse, homemaker.  There isn’t really any me-time for Mommy without guilt.

When the kids were very young, I felt entitled to Me-time because I took care of the kids all day and deserved a break.  Now, because others see your life as easier with older kids, we tend to see it that way too and don’t feel entitled to that break anymore.  I used to have my mom watch the kids while I got a massage or went on a movie date.  Now I cash in that babysitting time for my doctor’s appointments or when I have one too many things to juggle.  Then, I feel bad asking for more babysitting time and guilty for leaving the kids so I no longer make those pampering Me appointments.  My husband and I have gone from romantic date nights to lunch dates on days when he works from home.  At least we still try to have some couple-time but it’s much more rushed.

Also, the kids now have such busy schedules of their own that you are always planning your life around what they need and where they have to be.  Whereas, before we could put them in the stroller and roam around the mall for ourselves, now there isn’t time.  They are busy with activities and then need to fit in homework and want to meet with their friends.  So in essence, now we are in the stroller and being wheeled around by the kids’ agenda.

Life is busy at every stage and parenting is challenging at every stage.  It just evolves.  I guess we just need to give ourselves credit for all we do and not feel so guilty for making some Me-time.  One day soon I will take my own advice.

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ABC’s Quantico- Quick Review

Quantico, ABC, fall shows, Priyanka Chopra, FBI showThere are few shows for this fall that have been marketed and hyped as much as ABC’s ‘Quantico’.  It premiered last night so I had to check it out.  I was extra-keen to watch because I like the star Priyanka Chopra from her bollywood fame and I’m also a big fan of FBI and crime shows.

I thought Priyanka did a good job so far.  She provides the eye-candy and she did a respectable job with the American accent too.  Though not perfect, it was much better than that of Sakina Jaffrey in House of Cards.   The show itself has a number of characters who were barely introduced so there is potential for more interesting characters.  I wasn’t so compelled by the romantic interest thus far, played by Jake McLaughlin.

As for the show itself, the story line seems interesting.  An act of terrorism and a mystery of who is behind it.  There was a lot of flipping from present day to the past in telling the story that reminded me a lot of ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.  I didn’t think Quantico did as good of a job with the transitions as HTGAWM but it was only one episode.  I guess ABC thought that formula did well so why not try again.  It was interesting enough for me to watch a few more episodes and then I will decide whether it’s a keeper or not.  I suggest you do the same.

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“Home”- The Movie

Home, home movie, jim parsons, rihanna, oh, boovThis weekend, we watched Dreamworks’ new animated film, Home.  It was a cute movie with cute characters but nothing to write home about (pardon the pun).  The main character, Oh, was a fun little alien played by Jim Parsons.  For fans of Parsons (and Sheldon), he does not disappoint.  His character is endearing and logical and speaks in a funny way.  He’s basically the awkward guy with good intentions.  The other main character is a feisty tween girl named Tip who has been separated from her mother by this alien invasion.  Tip is played by Rihanna and her mother, by Jennifer Lopez.  Tip is a decent character though not overly likable at first.

The movie starts out a bit slow and disjointed but picks up in the second half.  There are nice songs playing throughout, all Rihanna’s of course.  Steve Martin voices the leader of the Boov aliens and plays a funny character who is best at running away.  My kids enjoyed the movie and I thought it was decent.  However, I was shocked that the theater was packed and our first choice of shows was actually sold out.  This movie really lucked out that there isn’t much else out there and people seem to be itching to watch movies.  There is no other reason that this movie should have brought in crowds like that.  I would have been fine waiting for this one on DVD but like I said, my family was also eager to go to the theater and Home lucked out.

The other thing that surprised me at the theater was the amount of inconsiderate people there.  This doesn’t relate specifically to this movie but it didn’t help my viewing experience.  There were people who brought babies with them.  Just because it is a kids’ movie doesn’t mean bring a baby who is going to keep making noises the whole time.  The other annoying thing was people who kept turning on their cell phone to look at it during the movie.  These inconsiderate adults think that since they aren’t talking it is fine but the light from their device is very disruptive as well.  I could understand someone looking discreetly one time in case of an emergency, but this was not the case.  It seemed to be a bored parent who was taking out their phone over and over.  It was like someone turning on a flashlight in the middle of the dark theater.  I wish people would stop doing these things.  Despite all this, I felt Home was an okay but not great movie!

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The Things I No Longer Enjoy From My Twenties

twenties, forties, fun, aging, growing upIt’s funny how our definition of fun changes over the years.  I was recently thinking about all the things that I did in my twenties and how many of them are no longer appealing.  Some may say that I’ve gotten more boring over the years but I think the definition of fun has just changed for me and many people who are well past their twenties.

One thing that I know I no longer enjoy is getting drinking too much and suffering for it the next day.  I actually don’t even want alcohol now unless it is something I really like and can’t pass up the taste.  Otherwise, I would rather save those calories and eat dessert instead.  Of course there are social occasions where we just drink with our friends because that is what everyone is doing, but even then I have my limits.  I want to make sure there is a sober driver to get home and I want my wits about me.  A little bit of a buzz is enough to feel relaxed and giddy if that is what I’m in the mood for.  I want to be able to sleep well and not feel miserable when the kids wake me the next morning.  It just isn’t worth it to me anymore.  Now, my idea of a fun girls’ night out is more about chatting, dancing, or relaxing with friends (maybe even a spa).  To someone in their twenties, that might sound lame but I’ve been in their shoes and I’m over it now.

Another thing I enjoyed in my twenties was eating fast food.  I would sometimes crave Taco Bell or a quick burger and fries.  Now, for some reason, those things leave me feeling sick.  My kids still drag me to these places once in a while but I dread it now.  I think my body has aged and can’t handle the mystery ingredients.  Or, possibly, my attempts at being healthier have left me more sensitive to the greasy, less healthy options.  Either way, I don’t think this is a bad thing.  It just means I eat better food but also more expensive meals.

High heel shoes were my friends years ago but they have turned on me since.  I used to love wearing all types of high-heeled shoes- stilettos, wedges, etc.  I would walk through the city and then go dancing for hours in my heels.  Now, I’m paying for it.  I wear comfortable shoes throughout the week and then if I wear dressy heels (nothing too high now) on the weekend, I have sore feet for days.  I watch people on TV in stilettos and I feel pain.  I still have lots of sexy high heel shoes in my closet but I ignore them and opt for nicely cushioned, boring shoes.

I used to be a phone person when I was younger, especially before I had kids.  I would talk to friends for an hour at a time and many of them daily.  Now, I find it such a chore to use the phone.  I am so much happier texting or IM’ing or even emailing people.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or not but things just evolved.  This just suits my schedule now since I can write to people in one of these mediums and then work or kids can happen around me.  For a phone call, I need quiet and focus and can’t multitask as much.  Maybe that brings the quality of the communication down but at least I can still keep in touch that way and not look for an ideal time to call.

Many things have changed over a decade or two.  I’m sure I’ll think of others and write a sequel to this post.  For now, these are the good/bad changes over the years.  I’m sure many of us have our own lists.  Feel free to share yours with me!

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Parenting is an Exercise in Loving and Letting Go

growing up, letting go, parenting, changeOne of the hardest things about parenting, in my opinion, is being able to constantly love your kids and then let them go.  I don’t just mean letting them go when they are grown up and move out.  I’m referring to the constant changes you face while they are under your care.

You fall in love with the cute little baby that you bring home from the hospital.  Though, just as you start to really know him (or her), he changes and becomes a toddler who is looking for independence and throwing tantrums.  As much as you love this toddler, part of you misses the baby he was.  Then as you accept this new little person, he becomes a pre-schooler who isn’t with you all the time and doesn’t need to be carried.  Though the break from constant parenting is nice, it’s hard to send your constant companion away for those hours.  When you create a new routine to fill the gap, suddenly this little one is ready for elementary school.  Now, he’s really not a baby anymore.  You reminisce about the cute, cuddly days, the days when you were his world.  Then you tell yourself, this is better than all the carrying and diaper-changing years were.  Now, he has a vibrant personality and talks about all kinds of interesting things.  It is amazing to see him think and grow.  Though each year, a bit of that innocence and the dependence is disappearing.  One day it won’t be cool to hug your parents.  Slowly, there are more secret conversations and more that is kept inside.  As a parent, you want to know, to protect, to make sure nothing is wrong.  But, they are growing up and feel the need to handle some things on their own.  You have to learn to let go and pray that it will all work out.  You have to put your faith in the upbringing you gave and hope that they will make good choices.  You also have to have faith in the love that you gave and hope that they will always love you, even if it may not be cool to constantly say it.  You will still look back, however, and sometimes miss that infant, or toddler, or pre-schooler that once graced your life…

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The Imitation Game- A Mom Review

The Imitation Game, ok for kids, child appropriate, is Imitation Game ok for kids, movie, benedict cumberbatchThe Imitation Game is a brilliant movie based on the real life of Alan Turing, who is the pioneer of modern-day computing.  Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the many amazing actors who bring this story to life.  He plays Turing, who is recruited by MI6 to break the Nazi Enigma code and help win the war.  He leads a team of geniuses, including Keira Knightly and Allen Leech (of Downton Abbey).  The team dynamics are interesting to watch since there is a battle of egos and Turing is very socially awkward.

Turing’s life is also very difficult because of his homosexuality at a time when it was considered illegal.  In fact, the movie begins with the police investigating a burglary at Turing’s home.  Later they arrest this war hero for gross indecency.  It is a touching story about the life of this genius to whom we owe so much.

My 12-year-old son wanted us to take him to see this movie but we didn’t take him.  I had read some reviews that made it seem like the homosexuality angle was discussed a lot.  Though my son knows about homosexuality, I really didn’t want him going to a movie that went into details about any sexuality.  However, when I went to the movie, I didn’t feel like there was too much inappropriate discussion for a boy his age.  I thought the movie might be interesting for him despite being a mature drama.  Turing’s hard work, brilliance, perseverance, and dealing with his social issues would be good to show a child.  There was one scene where he mentions his penis being touched but that was the only thing I flinched at as far as inappropriate for a child.  There are no sexual scenes though.  I may let my kids watch this on DVD and try to forward or gloss over that one discussion.

For adults, however, I think this movie is very good and compelling to watch.  I learned so much that I didn’t know.  It also tugs at your heartstrings to watch the personal struggles and achievements of this brilliant man.  I definitely recommend it and think Benedict Cumberbatch deserves an award for his acting.

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The Hobbit- The Battle of the Five Armies, A Mom Review

The Hobbit, The battle of five armies, Tolkien, Peter Jackson, kid-appropriateThis weekend we watched The Hobbit- The Battle of the Five Armies in 3D.  It was quite a spectacle.  As the title suggests, the movie is basically a battle.  There is not too much else going on but it does wrap up the story nicely.  I will miss my trips to Middle-earth.  J.R.R. Tolkien, I wish you were around to write more!

The elves were my favorites and Peter Jackson did an amazing job with the special effects. They fight in an almost choreographed, graceful style.  We also get to delve into the psyche of Thorin Oakenshield.  He shows his dark and light sides and it keeps us guessing (unless you’ve read the book).  It’s also interesting to watch the choices and actions of Bilbo Baggins, who is our real hero.

As for a mom review….both my boys really enjoyed the movie.  They are now 12 and 10 years old and had seen the first two Hobbit movies as well.  Because of that, we didn’t even debate whether this would be appropriate.  However, I must warn that this installment is definitely more violent and gory than the first ones.  I guess the story is about a battle mainly so it is not surprising.  Overall, I recommend watching this movie in the theater since it is an epic story with great visuals!  So long, Middle-earth….

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