Tag Archives: mom

How to not be a Stage Mom. (This is for me, too)

A little background about my younger self.  When I was about 18, I told my mom that I wanted to act.  Yes, I was scared about what to expect, but that’s normal, right?  After several conversations, my mom, bless her heart, decided that I probably shouldn’t pursue acting.  Nerves, cost, failure were all reasons for her decisions.  And being the obedient daughter that I was, I concurred.  After all, my mom knew what was best for me.  So, I put my dreams on hold.

Fast forward 6 years.

At 24, I married my husband.  Not only did he encourage me to pursue my dreams, but pushed me onstage.  Although only performing in church productions for 3 years (OK, they were huge church productions involving audiences of nearly a thousand per show), I decided to take the plunge into community theatre.  GASP!  Yes, I was nervous.  “But if I didn’t do it now, when would I?  I mean, I’m already 28 years old!  I’m getting up there!”  (Now, at almost 40, this makes me chuckle.)  After several workshops, auditions, and call backs, I decided that acting wasn’t really my thing.  Yes, I loved it, but it was more work and less glamour than I thought.  My dreams of acting turned into merely day dreams.  But I was OK with it!  I tried.  I liked it for a minute.  Moving on.

Fast forward 8 years.

My oldest daughter, Audrey, was cast in her school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie Bucket.  We were so excited for her!  Audrey had tried out for a few things at her new Jr. High and had not yet been successful.  But Audrey has a never-give up attitude.  Don’t ask me where she gets it.  People say it’s because of good parenting, but I’m not so sure.  I typically want to hide under my down comforter in my dark room if someone looks at me the wrong way at the gym.  But Audrey doesn’t stop.  She auditioned for this play hoping to get just a few minutes of stage time.  Her director saw something in her that, as of yet, no one had.

Of course, Audrey was a natural on stage.  She has a petite figure and a voice that hits the back of the theatre.  She was born BIG!  The stage is where Audrey wanted to be.  Forever. So, my husband and I decided that if this is what she wanted, we would support her.  A short 9 months later, she was on her way!

We did everything right.  We got head shots for her, an agent, and drove her to countless auditions, call backs, and performances.  Yes, we were the perfect stage parents!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  What you don’t know is that because I had a desire to once perform at a young age, I carry a lot of regret.  Yes, I did say that I was ready to move on from acting.  But what if I had started when I was only 12, like Audrey?  What if my mom let me get head shots and an agent.  Where would I be today?  Probably exactly where I am.  You see, Audrey has something that I didn’t have.

She carries a desire to perform.  She loves her craft.  The head shots and agent bookings are fun. But Audrey really doesn’t care about that.  She loves stepping into a role.  Becoming something that she isn’t.  Creating a whole world for a character.  Me?  I like the red carpet.  The cheers and flowers during final bows.  The glamour.

So, how do I not become a stage mom?  By being a mom.  By letting my daughter be what she was created to be.  If she decided to be a veterinarian, a gardener, or a lawyer, would I treat her any different?  My job is to support her, her dreams, and her goals.  Not mine.

I’m certainly not a perfect parent.  No one is.  But by being her mom, and not trying to live vicariously through her, Audrey can do whatever she wants.  It’s my job to love her, support her, keep believing in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself.  That’s what moms do.

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My beautiful daughter, Audrey Montague

I just like to remind her that she promised me that first guest spot when she makes it to the Academy Awards.  Yes, I still like the glamour.

For the first time in about 8 years….

I did a craft!  Notice the excitement in my tone?  That’s right, I, the most unsuccessful, least crafty mom you will ever meet, did a craft!  AND, not just one craft, but 3!

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most mommies.  In fact, it’s pretty common within the mommy-community.  But like I said before, I have never been your typical SAHM mom.  Even when I was a SAHM with just two kids, the most I ever did was decorate cookies, and they were usually the Pillsbury ones that are already cut out with the frosting that looks like toothpaste (I cringe as I actually admit to that).  And I’m pretty genetically inclined to be crafty.  My mom was the macrame queen (yes, I grew up in the 70’s) and my sister could scrapbook and sew dresses in her sleep.

Being the not-so-crafty-mom, I learned a few lessons today:

1.  It’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time.  Just like anything there is a learning curve.  While some things come very easy to me (I can cook up a gourmet meal like nobody’s business using only ingredients that I have on-hand and never need a recipe), it is just fine if I struggle with a few things here and there.

2.  I am creative.  Maybe I’m not the mom the creates the fun things that go on Pinterest, but I can adapt anything to fit my personality and lifestyle.  And that still makes me feel like I have a teeny-tiny creative bone within me.

3.  I’m not, have never been, or ever will be the mom who can make a memory book, darn a sock, til the garden, and make a pot roast from scratch all before the kids get home from school.  Working outside the home gives me a little more of an excuse, but even when I was a SAHM, I didn’t do those things.  I’ve learned to accept it and focus on my positive mommy/wifey skills.  Besides, I can wear 3″ heels to a field trip and still keep up with twenty 12-year-olds with no problem!

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These are the Valentines that Autumn chose to make for her class party.

What are your strengths?  What can you do better than anyone you know?  Focus on those and be happy with what you do and are!  And maybe in the midst of it, try something new.  You never know what you can accomplish, even if you think you’d never be “that girl.”

You can always depend on the kindness of strangers.

We’ve all heard this expression over and over. But is it really true? Can strangers be more kind than expected? And what makes people want to help each other? I’ve had many first-hand experiences witnessing this very statement. I’ve had people pull off on the side of the freeway to help me change a flat tire. I’ve had people let me cut in line at the grocery store. I even had someone give me a diaper from one of their kids because I was out and didn’t have any to change my own child. Of course, that one benefited them, too. But I have the ultimate story of strangers going out of their way to help me when I needed it most.

Last October, all 6 of us Montagues and our friends with a family of 4, ventured on a road trip together to Disneyland. This is not a rarity in our family, but having more kids than most people, we do draw a bit more attention and are a lot rowdier than most. Especially as they grow older and bigger, we are even more of a spectacle than we used to be. Our younger kids think they are as old as our older kids, and our older kids think they are as old as us, so many discussions and differences come into play when we are in an environment where opinions run rampant. Which brings me to my point.

My youngest son and child, August, decided that he’d had enough of waiting around for us to figure out what we as a group were going to do next and ventured out on his own. Now, since he is the baby of the family, he does get overlooked sometimes. OK, a lot of the time. But being the independent 3-year-old that he is, he took matters into his own hands and wandered off by himself to pursue his own fun. And being that he is the overlooked baby of the family, it took us a while before we finally realized that he wasn’t with us. About 5 minutes, to be exact, until we noticed that he was gone. My baby had disappeared.

So many thoughts ran through my mind. I was certain that someone had picked him up and walked off with him. I just wanted to yell for everyone to stop what they were doing and find my baby. I had visions of being a Monday night movie of the week where one minute your child is playing and your whole world is bliss then goes crumbling to pieces the next. Everything felt like it was moving in slow-motion and my voice felt silent.

My husband ran around frantically, looking in lines, in restrooms (including the women’s, but that’s a different story), in restaurants and my Gus was no where. After about 5 minutes of my world coming to an end, I got the brilliant idea to ask security for help. Looking back, I’m not sure why that wasn’t my first reaction, but until this moment, even though I had come close many times, I had never actually lost a child.

The security guard asked a series of questions. What color is his hair? Blonde. Eyes? Glasses. How old is he? 3. What’s he wearing? A shirt that says “My Mom Rocks.” Yeah, sure I do. But as much as security helped, and they definitely helped more than I can put into words, I was more than surprised at the many people who came up to me in my panic and asked how they could help.

People I had never seen in my life. A woman in a wheel chair. A mom with her kids. I experienced true kindness like I never had before. And I’m not sure that I ever will again. Even as we were being ushered by security to where August had been found, people along the way were pointing to where he was. Encouraging us. Even applauding as I scooped him up and held on to him for dear life. True and real kindness. Kindness that I will probably never again experience in my life.

The Happiest Place on Earth remained, that day, the happiest. I wish I could personally thank each person that helped to locate my son. Because I’m so thankful. Kindness of strangers does exist. In all capacities. In all locations.

On a side note, after we found August and asked why he wandered away, his response was “I didn’t. I was going on the ride.” He knew exactly where he was the whole time. If that’s not the attitude of a fourth child, I don’t know what is.

I don’t like debates, but this baby has me fired up!

In fact, I really hate debating.  Political, family, whatever.  I will probably end up deleting this post after a while because I’m sure there will be plenty of people who disagree with me.  But something came up today that has really put a fire under me.  It’s the new to America Breastfeeding Baby.

Bebe Gloton, meaning "gluttonous baby," makes sucking noises as it feeds.

The point of this doll is to show little girls that breastfeeding is natural.  I’m totally OK with breastfeeding, by the way.  Breastfeeding is natural.  It’s why we women are made the way we are.  I breastfed all 4 of my children, each a little longer than the previous.  I have nothing against breastfeeding or letting kids realize that there is nothing wrong with it if that’s the road they choose to go down.

Here’s one of my problems:  what if a little boy wants a doll like this for himself?  I don’t have a problem with boys playing with dolls.  When we had our third child, we gave dolls to both of our older kids, and he still has it.  But a doll like this creates huge issues for boys.  Why?

Because there is nothing natural about a boy wanting to breastfeed.  Boys don’t have breasts.  Boys don’t have milk ducts.  They were not created to breastfeed babies.  By letting little boy plays with a doll like this and think that it is totally “natural,” parents can create huge gender confusion issues and mess up their sons.  It’s just wrong.

Doll play is fun.  When I was a little girl I used to love dolls that went potty or burped or chewed their food.  Those are all things that real babies do.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t have such issue with this doll if it came with a bottle.  Because not all babies are breastfed.  And that’s something the doll makers seem to forget.

It can be traumatizing on a new mom when she knows that’s how she wants to take care of her newborn but can’t.  Someone very close to me went through severe depression because she wasn’t able to breastfeed.  A doll like this can easily have negative effects on a mommy-to-be if she learns early on that this is the only way to raise a baby–and then is unable to herself.

In my opinion, this toy takes the fun out of role-playing and brings up adult issues.  For boys and girls.  Breastfeeding is a choice.  I have met many moms that have chosen not to breastfeed.  Some by choice.  Some by physical limitations.  But a doll like this gives the idea that you must–are required–to breastfeed.

Let’s not make our daughter’s (or sons) future choices for them.  Let’s just agree that dolls are for fun and not bring our adult issues into the mix.

Quinley Jean

One of my best friends just had her baby!  I’m so excited that I could just scream!  Of course I won’t do that because that would be really scary to a newborn.  But it has brought up so many emotions that I felt when my kiddos were newborns.

For example, the smell.  I wish someone could come up with a way to bottle that newborn baby smell.  I’m not sure what it is, but it is like a drug to me.  And what about those sounds?  Lip smacking and grunting sounds so cute when it comes out of a precious little one day old.

But it also makes me think of the days when my babies were more than the world to me.  When I thought they could do no wrong.  When just looking at them made me cry with joy.  And why does time make those things fade?

Well, it doesn’t fade.  It just changes.  Looking back at how I treated my kids when they were newborns makes me appreciate them more now.  I used to imagine who they would be in 1, 5, 10 years down the road.  Now I love them more for who they have become.  For the young adults that they will be.  I used to think that I couldn’t love them more than the first time I saw them.  Now I know that I love them more as each day passes.

Liz, I know you do and will feel the same love for Quin!  You were born to be a mommy and I’m so thankful that Quinley Jean is in our lives!  I can’t wait to see the girl that she becomes and the mom that you have been for a long time.  Love you both!

Me and Liz on a girl's weekend to LA in 2008. August was in my tummy. So glad my friends can share in a mommy's love!

In the world of technology, I am dumb.

I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to pretty much any kind of technology.  Computers, ipods, cell phones.  You name it, I need a tutorial.  This becomes more and more apparent to me as my 10 and 12 year olds continue to surpass my knowledge in the technological world.

Everything in our house is run on our computer or some other kind of electronic system.  99% of our phone calls are made from our cell phones.  We stream TV on our Xbox.  We watch movies on our apple TV.  Luckily my husband is quite savvy when it comes to technology, otherwise I would probably still be using my VHS and cordless phone.

I tried to make a simple monthly calendar last week on my mac.  Macs are supposed to be for people like me.  Easy and basic.  The calendar is still sitting on my dashboard thingy waiting to be made because I couldn’t figure out, to save my life, how to insert a picture.  Laugh if you must.  I am aware that I am incapable.

In high school I took a typing class.  I mastered the type writer.  I could type faster than anyone in my class.  This last school year, my 6th grader mastered how to do power point presentations and spread sheets.  Things are not as simple as they were 2 decades ago.  Or maybe they are.

Maybe I just need to get on the techno-bandwagon and try to do something more than email and facebook.  Or maybe I can just keep things how they are and let my 2 year old update my blog for me once a year.  Because I’m pretty sure he’ll learn faster than me.

Summer wish list

It’s almost midnight. But in the spirit of keeping with my word, I’m posting a super short “blog” tonight. I’m not even really sure it can be called a blog since it’s really more of a wish list of  some new faves of mine.  I hope you enjoy it and can find some inspiration and style of your own!

Jeans with super sexy pockets. These jeans by Rock Revival might be a little out of my league, but I think they’re super cute!

Go with everything wedges!  Wedges are comfy and cute and can be worn by just about everyone!

I love being able to change my makeup colors depending on the season and what I’m wearing.  I’m so excited about these new color pencils from Mary Kay!

Sunglasses are such an easy way to change your look depending on your mood.  These Raybans are so much fun!