My Way or the FroYo Highway

I’m kind of particular. I’m that person in our marriage who knows how to load the dishwasher (the right way), for instance. But over the last seven years of being married and then being a co-parent, I’ve learned how important it is to not be picky.

My husband is the tidy-freak. He hates clutter. He wants to constantly purge our stuff (but he also likes to buy as soon as he wants something (again).) I am the clean-freak. There’s a difference, definitely. I want the floor swept, the counters wiped down. I don’t mind organized chaos – conscious piles of things (“clutter”?) that have a rhyme and a reason, though I’m probably the only person who understands what it is. It took us a while – like a few years – to realize that this clash in cleanliness could actually be a point of strength instead of contention. Instead of arguing about the dishwasher and the counters and the beard hair around the bathroom sink, I should be grateful that my husband is keeping our house from looking like a hoarder’s house, full of piles.

Of course, we had to go through that clash of personalities again when we became parents. I always joke that dads do something wrong the first time so that they’ll never be asked to do it again. But that’s not really it, is it? Dads and moms – or any two individual people, really – will undoubtedly have different styles and both need time and practice to learn how to do each parenting task. Just because my husband didn’t pull out the leg skirts or point the you-know-what in the right direction the first time around doesn’t mean I should have pulled him from newborn diaper duty forever… but that seems to be what I did. And that’s probably on me, and my first months of motherhood immaturity.

It is hard though, when Mom is used to be the primary caregiver, to give the reigns over to Dad. Everything will happen differently. It is undeniable. But that isn’t bad. Having two different people raising children together means that the kids get a range of personalities and parenting styles. This is a good thing. Can you imagine if my kids had a clone of me raising them beside me? They would not have all of the fun dad goofiness that Dan brings and they’d have two parents with the exact same level of patience (or lack thereof). My kids definitely would be worse off.

Accepting that your partner is different isn’t always easy. It means picking battles sometimes. It means ignoring pet-peeves. And yes, it means taming that rolling eye (I’m still working on this). But the household, the kids, and the entire family are better off having two different people with two different personalities leading the helm.

I must say I get a little crazy particular when we go to get frozen yogurt. The first time I ever went, I got all the things that looked good to me and it wasn’t that awesome. The next time I went, I realized how amazing the perfect combination of flavours can be. I decide my toppings based on my yogurt flavour. And I tend to choose sweet but light flavour yogurts with fruitier toppings.

Meanwhile my children? Want ALL THE THINGS.

We went to Menchie’s on Barrington Street earlier this week. We’re in the middle of CRAZY VACATION PREP! and I thought we needed a little treat after walking to the Passport Office to pick up (the cutest ever) little boy passports. I helped my kids get their creations first, and I found myself saying “But that won’t taste good together!” a lot. Juicy watermelon sorbet, raspberry lemonade sorbet AND nutella? Are you sure? Not nutella? Red velvet cake? Well… okay(?). (Also, why do they insist on putting gummies on their froyo and then complain when they get hard? I tell them it will happen every time!)

#MenchiesMyWay Giveaway at Mommy-Miracles.com

But that’s the thing about Menchie’s. I don’t really need to freak out about what my kids want to eat. That’s exactly why they love it there. They can be creative with their flavours and eat treats that they might not always get to eat. And that’s okay. Cameron can have his mostly-fruity yogurt covered in gummies and topped with strawberry sauce. Gavin and have his mostly-chocolate yogurt covered with chocolates and topped with chocolate sauce. It is theirs. Their preferences. Their creation. And that makes them smile.

#MenchiesMyWay Giveaway at Mommy-Miracles.com

#MenchiesMyWay Giveaway at Mommy-Miracles.com

As for me? Ever since I first tried froyo at a Menchie’s in Markham long before Halifax had even been hit with the froyo bug, I’ve wanted to try the green tea frozen yogurt. And on this trip, Menchie’s had it flowing again! I topped my green tea froyo with coconut, yogurt chips, butterscotch chips, honeydew mochi, strawberry boba and yogurt boba. It was a great combo and it was exactly what I wanted. I was in a place where I could be picky and particular. Because apparently, I can be a very particular person.

Along with the newest Oreo cookie frozen yogurt flavour, there are over 150 flavours available at Menchie’s, which means you can be as particular as you want when it comes to creating your very own froyo cup. Menchie’s is the largest growing frozen yogurt franchise in Canada with 116 locations across Canada (and there will be 9 more by the end of the year!) That means, hopefully all of my Canadian readers will be able to participate IN THIS GIVEAWAY that I’m hosting in collaboration with Menchie’s Canada!

#MenchiesMyWay Giveaway at Mommy-Miracles.com

Here’s how to enter!

Go to your local Menchie’s (shout-out to my Halifax Menchie’s!) and design a yogurt creation that is perfect for YOU! Then tweet or share an image of your Menchie’s creation with all of the following:

  • This hashtag: #MenchiesMyWay
  • The name of your creation. BE CREATIVE!
  • Tag these accounts: @Menchies_CA and either @LauraORourke (on twitter) or @LauraLORourke (on Instagram)
  • If you’re posting on Twitter make sure you are following @Menchies_Ca and @LauraORourke
  • If you’re posting on Instagram make sure you are following @Menchies_Ca and @LauraLORourke

I will choose a winner on Monday August 10th based on presentation and the name of your creation! The winner will get a Summer VIP Pass which is the value of 7 complimentary visits to any Menchie’s location across Canada.

I am a Menchie’s Canada ambassador and as such I was compensated for this post with FREE FROZEN YOGURT, which I am totally ok with.

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What it Feels Like to be Needed

I’m sitting here at bedtime listening to my three- and five-year-olds call out “Mommy!” from their bedroom. Only, it isn’t really bedtime. It is three hours past bedtime because we’re waiting for the text from my husband to tell us to come pick him up from a meeting downtown that ran late.

“MOMMY! I need my blankets on!”

“MOMMY! I need cold water!”

“MOMMY! I need my pillow!”

“MOMMY!…”

It goes like this, even when I enter their bedroom to fix their problems. They run out of things to need and questions to ask, but still I’m a prisoner in their room to the constant “MOMMY!”s. Each step closer to the door there’s another one, more urgent each time. The “Mommy”s are followed by long pauses, but you can’t leave with one hanging. You need to get out before another one comes. It is just a rule of childhood. If I were to leave before a “Mommy…..” request has been dealt with, there will absolutely be tears. If I can somehow sneak out between the resolution of one “Mommy….” and the beginning of another, there is peace. It is damn near impossible to do, however.

And then there’s that text I’ve been waiting for all day. “I’m done my meeting. Come pick me up.” I’ve been expecting it since 6pm. I was told he would be late. Late wasn’t quantified. Apparently I should have asked for clarity. The text still hasn’t come.*

It’s what I do. I jump when I hear “Mommy”. I jump when I get texts.

I have always wanted to be a mother. I believed it was my calling. I would have babies of my own and I would open my house to foster kids and I would adopt and our house would be full of love because I had so much love to give. That’s what I believed, long before I was married and had actually experienced motherhood. And while I did wholeheartedly believe that this was and would be true, there was also that strong desire to just have a baby for me: so I could have someone to hold and snuggle and take care of and who would love me unconditionally. It was selfish. Beneath all my thoughts of spreading love to the unloved children of the world, what I was really dreaming about was that feeling of being loved unconditionally.

Motherhood can sure be a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, can’t it?

I think one of the biggest things that I have come to understand about being a mother, along with the knowledge that it isn’t easy to be that Mary Poppins version of motherhood that I had imagined that I would be, is that babies and children don’t really do unconditional love. Of course, they need love. And being a mother has introduced me to a kind of love that I didn’t feel before they were born. But they absolutely won’t understand this love that I feel for them until they’re standing in the same place I am, holding their newborns; Cooking their families dinner; Watching their children sleeping peacefully in their beds.

What It Feels Like To Be Needed on Mommy-Miracles.com

Every time I have a newborn baby, usually when I am in the pits of exhaustion, this scene plays out in our home:

Dan: “Look how much the baby loves you. You are the person he loves most of all!”
Me: “He doesn’t love me at all. He just needs me to feed him and care for him. He needs my love. It doesn’t work the other way around. That thing he is doing is need, not want.”

My husband argues that even our brand new babies are capable of love and they do love me. And he’s probably right. I mean, I know he’s right. But at least equal to their love is a great big, little-baby neediness.

Being needed isn’t bad. It means you’re valuable. I think that there are even people who equate being needed with being loved. But sometimes I wonder if I just feel needed so often and loved so little. This plays out in little ways: Children constantly complaining that they are hungry but never eating what I set in front of them; Forgotten “please” and “thanks you”s; Hanging “I love you”s that never get a response; “I love you”s that don’t come at all; Waiting around for that text that tells me to come…

I start resenting that constant parade of “MOMMY!”s. I don’t want to hear this beautiful word that describes my identity anymore.

“No more ‘Mommys’!” I said to Gavin at bedtime tonight.

“Mama?” he said. “Can I call you Mama?”

What It Feels Like To Be Needed on Mommy-Miracles.com

Stop. Sigh. I know. I know.

He can put his blankets on by himself. The water in the bottle from last night won’t kill him. He has one pillow already in his bed. Some of these things are for comfort. Some of them are because of routine. Some of it is just in complete defiance of bedtime.But underlying it all is that desire to have me there with them. They want me there. The need my love, but somewhere there too is a love for me. I think. I mean, of course.

I know that my children can’t untangle their need of me from their love of me. And I know I don’t really want them to.

 

 

 

*My husband wasn’t ready to come home until quarter to midnight. Next time I will be sure to have him clearly define “late”. He also managed to get home without me so don’t feel bad that I had to get the kids up and go get him. I didn’t. And, to be fair, I was *offering* to go pick him up.

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Entertainment Through Generations

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We didn’t have cable when I was really young. I spent the first seven years of my life in what felt like a television waste land. By the time we moved from my first house when I was seven, all of my friends were watching shows that I wasn’t allowed to watch, but it didn’t really matter because we couldn’t access them anyway. Sesame Street. Fred Penner. Under the Umbrella Tree. Mr. Dress-up. Sunday night Disney movies. That’s what I remember watching.

When we’d visit my grandparents, I would always want to watch television – or at least the episodes they had recorded for us. They had cable. It was at their house I could watch Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood and episodes of Sesame Street that played on PBS instead of CBC.

When we moved when I was in Grade 2, the world of television opened up to me. I’m not sure if it was just something my parents planned to do, or if it was easier to get cable because we were no longer living in the middle of nowhere, or if it was to help ease the pain of moving, but we had cable at our new house. I remember just jumping from channel to channel in our new house once the television had been set up basking in the joy from having so many options.

Cable television was the best thing ever.

Now here I am – and adult with children of my own – and I have done the very thing that I never would have dreamed of doing when I was a child.

We don’t have cable.

Trust me. Cutting cable was very hard for me to do. My husband thought it was a great idea long before I did. As a married-without-children adult, I planned my life around the shows I needed to watch live and was a master DVRer for the shows I could wait on. We had it all: the fancy cable package and the fast Internet (a must-have for us). We were spending a lot on this form of entertainment and eventually it just made sense to cut the cord.

It was the right choice for us. It’s the right choice for many these days. There are so many other ways to consume this kind of media that cable is starting to feel antiquated. (And yes, I realize this blog post is so #yuccie of me.)

Sometimes though, I wonder if my kids might be missing out by not having cable (what a terrible-parent thing to say). I think I hold some nostalgia over flicking through the channels and discovering new shows. I sometimes like the idea of my children watching a series of different shows instead of just the same programming in sequence of episodes. (Netflix suggestion box: Allow parents to program a string of different shows and episodes to play. Like a playlist of episodes from different shows!)

Earlier in June, encouraged by the bright yellow school bus on the title image, Gavin chose to watch The Magic School Bus. They watched multiple episodes and Cameron started telling me about molecules. And then that nostalgia kicked in again. I was no longer wondering if they were missing out by not having cable (Seriously, Laura? What were you thinking?). I was remembering back fondly to when I was a kid and how much I looked forward to watching The Magic School Bus. I can still sing the theme song. My favourite episodes were always when the bus went inside a human body.

I thought more about other shows that brought back good memories from childhood, and so one day, I turned on Bugs Bunny for the boys. I was sure they’d resist. They tend to only want to watch shows that they know they will love. But they watched these classic episodes of Bugs Bunny over and over and over. As they watched, I thought about how my parents used to love it when we’d watch Bugs Bunny. They’d usually make a remark about the classical music (my Mom even mentioned the Bugs Bunny music this past weekend while she was visiting). Perhaps though, they feel their own nostalgia as Bugs Bunny plays over their grand-children’s Netflix account.

Bugs

I wonder which television shows my children will remember back on fondly. Maybe Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol? Which programs will still be available to watch 25 years later when my children’s children are searching for something to watch? It’s interesting to see what stays will us in our memories and what we can pass on in these ways.

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I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with a complementary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been influenced.

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