1. How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have a daughter who is seven.
2. What is the best part about being a mom?
Being able to watch my daughter blossom creatively, intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically…the whole process of becoming a well-rounded person is amazing to me. Also, few things beat curling up next to her while she falls asleep. She still curls up and puts her feet on my stomach just like when she was a baby!
3. What’s the hardest part?
I am a single mom with two chronic pain conditions. The hardest part of being a mommy, for me, is that I have not been able to be the energetic mom I had always expected I would be. I tend to judge myself harshly, which is unfair to do to myself! Also, I am a single mom, so not allowing guilt to parent my child can be a struggle too.
4. What has happened to you as a mother that you never expected?
I have endometriosis, so my (now ex) husband and I planned to start fertility treatments or adopt when I was 30. By the time I got to that point in the 10-year plan, my daughter was turning 7!
I never expected to have trouble breastfeeding. To be disabled. To be a single mom. To be forced into a custody battle after years of raising my daughter with little help or interest from her dad.
I also never expected that my daughter would share a stage with Gloria Steinem before she even knew her own phone number. Or for me to cry on the way home the first two months after T entered full-day kindergarten. Thought I would be overjoyed to have time for myself, but I wasn’t! I never expected to temporarily be privileged to raise my first love’s son for a couple of years, or to start lactating again when he was a baby. That was WILD.
Wow.I guess the whole thing has been an adventure!
5. If you could give a new mom one piece of advice, what would it be
Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t allow others to come down on you. Your way may be different from their way, but it doesn’t make it WRONG.
6. What are your values and beliefs in raising your children?
Even though I consider my daughter to be my best friend in many ways, I don’t make a big effort to be her “friend,” and when she is a teenager, I will not try to be the “cool” mom. Kids have friends and can make new ones. They only have one true Mom.
Children are entitled to their own feelings and opinions, but they have to learn how to be respectful in sharing those. The dishes can wait.
7. What was the biggest change that happened once you had your first baby?
I peed on myself all the time! Just kidding. No, really, it’s true…Also, I would find things like used tissue and loose prenatal vitamins in my purse instead of mascara. Or remember to take my breast pump to work but forget my lunch. Until I remembered I was important, I became very unimportant.
8. What is your favorite part of the day with your kids?
We are at our best when waking up slowly or slowly winding down at the end of the day.
9. Do you have a favorite age?
Sounds trite, but every age has been great in its own way. Every time I hear someone say how old their kid is, I find myself saying “Oh, that’s a great age!” Whether it’s 12 months or 2 or 6, I mean it. Now the teens? I’m terrified of getting there. Terrified.
10. What do you and your kids do for fun?
At home, we do a lot of crafting, read, and check out websites geared to kids or play with the animals. We also like to do some very basic gardening. Away from home, there is a nearby community garden, and we enjoy visiting family or going to local events and festivals. Attending the dollar-movies is also fun and inexpensive.
11. How do you feel about kids and television? Do your kids watch TV?
I don’t know which irritates me more…the TV shows with arrogant, disrespectful children, or the blatant brainwashing of the frequent commercials. Children’s educational shows were originally created to fill the gap that poor quality child care and statistically uneducated lower-income parents were creating in the early learning of poor (and, unfortunately, often ethnic) children. I was never a big fan of the “electronic babysitter.” That being said, I owe some of my college credits to The Wiggles and Elmo. And my daughter and I curled up this last Sunday afternoon to watch a marathon of “WordGirl” episodes on pbskids.com.
12. What’s your #1 mom tip?
B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathe in for as long as it takes you to spell B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Then breathe out for that long. Breathe in that moment when you want to yell or spank or threaten. Breathe before you continue to explain yourself and end up sounding like you’re just lecturing, and they have already tuned you out anyway 🙂 Breathe, and if you cry when you exhale, that’s okay. Know with every breath that you are doing the best you can with the tools you have.
13. Where do you blog at and what do you write about?
I blog as Momma’s Always “Write” at http://forchildrenssake.blogspot.com.
For Children’s Sake includes parenting news and views, craft ideas, humor, product reviews…musing about parenting or my daughter. I often post polls relevant to recent blogs or recent news items. I also occasionally post blogs about articles I have published (a lot of them are related to parenting or personal health) on my MySpace page, www.myspace.com/bjstoner.
14. Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
Kids need love, shelter from the elements, physical nourishment, time to play, and time to learn. Everything else is just details.