Friday, April 13, 2012

Working Moms

While browsing CNN the other day, (well actually it was a CNN link posted on Facebook because I would be lying if I said that I didn't get the majority of my current events from Facebook these days) I read the article regarding Hilary Rosen's comment that Ann Romney having raised 5 boys "had never worked a day in her life" and therefore could not possibly understand the economic issues that the women of this country are concerned with.

Although this isn't the first time I have heard this statement made about a stay at home mom, I saddens me to hear it come from the mouth of a woman in the political party that I choose to affiliate myself with. To basically state that because of my choice to not bring home a physical paycheck and instead devote my life to raising my children, limits mine or anyone's ability to comprehend the magnitude of the economic crisis facing women in this country is not only arrogant but completely derogatory.

Ms. Rosen, I am a college graduate, and former working mother and I can assure you that my current unpaid position of Stay at Mom is by far the most difficult and rewarding job I have held in all of my 32 years. I have been in this position for 5 years now and I am still awaiting my sick time, overtime, and vacation days. We pay for health insurance out of pocket because my husband is a small business owner, but we will save that discussion for a later date. By the way, did I also mention that I have 2 of the most demanding bosses that require that I actually raise them and turn them into people, I mean like, actual people that will one day be working, paying taxes and voting in elections. Crazy, Right?

In all honesty, for as tough of a job staying home with my children is, the fulfillment I receive trumps any paycheck that I could ever receive from a "real job" as I am sure Ms. Rosen would refer to it. This was a choice made by husband and myself in an attempt to raise our family in the best way we can. Part of being a parent at times is sacrificing for your children. Walking away from my career was a sacrifice that I was willing to make and carrying the financial burden of the entire family was a sacrifice my husband was willing to make. These choices were just that, a choice that we made together, after careful discussions, for our family. My husband does not value my opinion or contribution to our household any less now then he did when I was bringing home a paycheck just as Mr. Romney still values the opinion of his own wife. Oddly enough, I have also been allowed to keep my voter registration card and continue to vote in each election despite my obvious intellectual handicap brought on by my stay at home mom status.

I don't look down on any woman choosing to remain in the workforce when becoming a mother. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for both of my son's teachers who choose to teach my children and raise a family at the same time, I am thankful for the women that work for us at our restaurant and balance motherhood and their families needs. Just as I am sure that many of the working moms are thankful that I volunteer in their children's classrooms each month and plan all the parties and make all the phone calls to the parents and organize activities for their children. I am thankful that collectively as women we will prove to all the little girls that they also will have choices when they become mothers.

I am, however, tired of feeling as though I need to constantly defend our family's dynamic with one paycheck earning parent. I am not lazy, I do not have a Nanny, or a housekeeper. (although I seriously could use the help at times) As moms, I think it is pretty clear that we all want and need the same things.. to raise our family to the best of our ability and to be respected while doing it. I didn't accept this position because I was uneducated, unmotivated or lazy. I am just a mom choosing to raise my boys in the way that I had always envisioned, to be there for every soccer goal, every cut, every heartbreak, every school play, every dinner, every lunch...and when they look back on their childhood one day, I want them to understand that I devoted my life to raising them because it was what made me happy and fulfilled and most importantly it was what I chose as their mother.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tooth NOT for Sale!

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Armenis family. We had some of the hubby's family in for the weekend. Last Tuesday, we attended the circus and the boys definitely thought it was the "greatest show on earth". They were certainly intrigued by the man who set himself on fire and shot out of a cannon, the trick performing tigers and the tightrope walkers, however, they both announced that their favorite part of the circus and what they found truly incredible... the elephant standing directly in front of us that proceeded to poop while one of the circus attendants caught it in a shovel. If that is to much information for you, I apologize but I can assure you that it was quite a bit of information for us observing from the 5th row also. As difficult as that is to top, the biggest thing to happen to the Armenis family this week was... (insert drum roll) Spiro lost his first tooth.

I have to admit that this momentous occasion definitely did not go down the way that I had always envisioned. (not that anything with parenting really happens the way that I envision) The hubby was home since it was his one night off of the week which I was certainly appreciative for, not only because he was able to share in this pivotal milestone in Spiro's childhood but also because as it turns out we had to take turns talking Spiro off the ledge.

It all started around bedtime. Well, not my idea of bedtime because it was 10:30pm, more the hubby's idea of bedtime because for me it was actually 2 hours past bedtime and 1 hour of me repeating Honey, seriously I need you to put them to bed now and the hubby declaring "It's Spring break, they can stay up a little later, it's not like they have school this week" Exactly, they don't have school this week, which means that I am now forced to break up twice as many fights, clean up twice as many spilled drinks, and Spiro keeps demanding Crepes and Omelets for breakfast because he says "we have nothing but time on our hands". Oh, and did I forget to mention that I think they are starting to wonder where babies come from? Put. Them. To. Bed. Now. Of course, the hubby felt that was invitation to start a tickling match because obviously the best thing to do with two boys right before they go to sleep is to wind them up. Two minutes into the tickling match Spiro was flailing all about, hit his mouth and out popped the bottom tooth that has been hanging for several weeks.

We had already discussed the Tooth Fairy, we had been checking how loose the tooth was each night when he brushed his teeth before bed. I really thought that I had been doing an effective job of preparing and building up to the occasion. Apparently not, Spiro was not happy at all about the loss of his first tooth. First, he was not keen on the idea of handing over his very first tooth to some lady called "The Tooth Fairy", he explained that he didn't care if she had plans to leave him money. He wanted to keep his first tooth so he could remember it. Billy on the other hand, began paying close attention when we started throwing out words like "money" and "toys". I watched as he began feeling his own teeth for a hint of looseness. He was quick to assure me that "when I lose my toof, I give it to the Toof Fairy for money". While Billy was busy in the garage looking for pliers, we assured Spiro that if he didn't want to "sell" his tooth to the Tooth Fairy he didn't have to.  He was definitely a little apprehensive, and was sure that this Tooth Fairy would just steal his tooth. We agreed to write her letter and place under his pillow instead.

Spiro didn't feel that he was in any shape to be drafting letters, so I wrote the letter for him. We thought our best approach was to be direct and to the point because clearly the Tooth Fairy is very busy and doesn't have the time to read long letters.

Just as the hubby and I were about to begin our parenting victory dance, Spiro began crying again about how ridiculous he looked now. He yelled at me and told me that I couldn't take a picture of him because I would just put it on my blog. He scolded the hubby and asked him "was it really necessary for you to tickle me?" We explained that all little boys and girls loose their teeth, that everyone has lost their teeth. I agreed to find a picture of me, as a little girl, with two missing front teeth. I assured him that his new tooth will come in and replace the tooth that he just lost, however, the road map that is now on mommy's forehead and the crease in between her eyes will not go away because Daddy refuses to let me get botox. So let's get some perspective here, Spiro.

As it turns out the Tooth Fairy still left him a $20 bill under his pillow last night. He excitedly woke me up this morning to show me his money. We of course called Mommom to tell her the big news and she told him not to worry, if he lost all his teeth she would just give him her dentures. (God, I love that lady) He asked me why the Tooth Fairy still left him money even though he didn't give her his tooth. Buddy, that was probably just a down payment for the rest of the teeth you will lose.