Confessions of a Tired Mom

In the spirit of being honest and real (one of the cornerstones of my blog), here is a list of things I do on occasion which I am not proud of, but have decided are necessary for my sanity. With the hustle and bustle, lack of sleep, endless chores, and downright stress (not to mention unwarranted advice – read: criticism) that come with parenthood, something’s gotta give. I do hope this list doesn’t taint your pristine image of me too much!

1. Skip nights brushing my teeth (But this bed is so comfortable…and I didn’t eat anything sweet today…and I….zzzzzz)

2. Skip nights brushing my kids’ teeth (normally this is when they’ve fallen asleep in the car. I ain’t wakin’ no sleeping child)

3. Eat stuff off the floor (my dining room floor isn’t THAT dirty, right? 😁 My kids are messy eaters and I hate to waste…)

4. Go to sleep without washing my face (Bonus! No need to reapply makeup the next morning!)

5. Go 3 or 4 days without showering (the newborn stage is always the worst. I think my record is 7 days).

6. Skip nights bathing my kids (although this summer, we’ve all three been bathing almost every day. This heat will be the death of me)

7. Give my 1 year old candy (I tried so hard to wait, but with her older brother already used to having it, it essentially became impossible)

8. Yell at my children (Sometimes I have just had it up to HERE with the mess and the noise and the To Do lists glaring at me mockingly)

9. Hit my son (yes, this has happened. I am trying my hardest to find more effective discipline measures and eliminate it completely)

10. Worn the same outfit 3 days in a row (you may see a pattern of lack of proper hygiene here….to my husband’s dismay 😬 I’m working on it! It’s getting better…)

11. Worn my husband’s t-shirts out

12. Worn my husband’s boxers to bed

13. Let my children eat wheat thins (yup, just wheat thins!) for lunch

14. Let my children have “one more” cookie (does that make three already?) when I’m on the phone or trying to do the dishes

15. Bring my kids over to the grandparents’ (perks of living in the same building as your inlaws!) and say I’ll “be right back” when I fully intend to spend an hour lounging around my apartment reveling in the rare peace and quiet.

16. Let my son convince me that he deserved a “prize” for waking up in the morning (sometimes they’re so funny we just have to oblige, right?)

17. Left piles of toys on the floor before bed “to deal with tomorrow”.

18. Bought my son yet another Transformer two Walmart trips in a row (sometimes I just don’t want to argue).

19. Let my son pee on the grass (sometimes the bathrooms are locked or far away, or my daughter is in one corner, my purse is in the other corner, and I just can’t get it together in time. Also, this boy can seriously pee. I think he peed 8 times yesterday. His bladder must not be fully grown in yet)

Just so that we are not ending on a cringeworthy note (these are pretty bad, aren’t they….don’t tell me you other parents can’t relate a little, though!), here are some confessions that I AM proud of:

1. I often look in on my babies sleeping. Gazing lovingly at their perfectly closed eyes and lips and the gentle rise and fall of their breathing are treasured moments of mine

2. I lost many parts of me when I became a mother (maybe I’ll get them back when the children are off at college?), but I gained so much more knowledge, experience, realization, inspiration, humanity, and overall joy because of these two little wonders. My soul has a depth it never possessed before.

And just to sign off, a note to all parents out there:

Don’t ever think you’ve failed as a parent and have no hope for recovery (thus ruining your children forever and dooming them to a lifetime of therapy). You ALWAYS have the ability to start over; to make changes. You CAN be the mom or dad you’ve always wanted to be (though I’ll bet you’re a pretty kick a** one already). 😉

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My Squishy

No, I’m not about to start talking about Finding Nemo! Although I do really want to watch the new one that just came out. Those of you who watched Finding Dory, tell me, DO they find Dory?! I certainly hope so because she is hysterical and she would be sorely missed.

When I say my Squishy, I am referring to my 21 month old baby girl. Y is growing like a weed! She moves faster, talks faster (the little slurred phrases she pieces together are so adorable! My favorite in Korean is Ana joh meaning “hold me” and in English I cannot do it!), learns faster. Everything is faster! I think sometimes she just has to keep up with her brother (or rather just plain survive living with her brother). She’s already scrubbing herself in the tub, trying to use the potty, feeding herself with her fork and spoon (though she still has a pretty sad food in mouth to food on floor ratio because she gets bored. Maybe I should start being strict about that one).

Compared to her brother, this girl can be super loud! She squeals at the top of her lungs when she wants something (generally some type of snack), when her brother chases her around trying to take things from her, or when he’s just being whatever type of irritating he can think up. I’d like to think they will balance each other out as they grow up. I don’t want an overly mischievous and aggressive boy for a son, but I also don’t want an overly sensitive, timid girl for a daughter.

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Baby girl is playful as ever. She has a million new faces and a million new dance moves. She loves to snuggle. Lying on top of and rolling all over Appa, and rotating and smushing her face against mine are some of her favorite pastimes. And I can’t get enough of it! Of COURSE she has her annoying, fussy, demanding and whiny moments, but all in all, she is a breath of fresh air. The way she bursts into a ball of giggles, holds my hand and urgently pulls me around, crinkles up her brow and pouts when she doesn’t get her way, and jumps up and down flailing her arms when I’m handing her a sweet, all have the power to transform my day.

Do you ever hold on to your warm, squishy, sweet smelling, perfect child for many moments longer than you intended, not because she is complaining and unable to fall asleep, but because you can’t bring yourself to let go of that cozy, heavenly feeling? Not to show off, but I would say I did a pretty good job sleep training Y (gently, gradually, but methodically) and she has been settling down very easily for naps and bedtime for as long as I can remember (hiccups here and there, but they always subsided), so she really doesn’t need more than 5 minutes of cuddles before she can be placed in her crib, but sometimes I just keep carrying her anyway. I say heck with the regressions, I’m gonna hold my baby! And I rock her and sing to her and stroke her hair and kiss her cheeks.

Sometimes these early years feel like they’re going to last forever, but before we know it, they will be gone. Soak in every moment!

Speaking of Always Changing

So, back in the early days of Facebook (or at least my early days of Facebook), they put more emphasis on the “About Me” section, so I put together what I thought was a poetic little list. I’ve changed it a few times over the years, and I thought what better time than now to do it again! (I just turned 27 if you didn’t get the memo)

And now, for your viewing pleasure, presenting my “About Me” which was last updated I dunno 3 years ago?, along with my italicized comments 😉

I am:
a mom     yup, pretty sure I’m still a mom
creative     yup
friendly     yup
shy initially     yup
silly     ok, so maybe not so much has changed yet…
spontaneous     scrolling down…
emotional
sensitive
random
always changing, learning, and growing
open to new ideas
a dark chocolate addict
a klutz
not pierced     AHA! This one’s changed 😉
deathly afraid of sharks
psychic ☺️     definitely still psychic 😉

I can’t:
speak another language     I think I’m allowed to say I’m a beginner in Korean now! Thanks, husband! 
afford Prada     If I reeeeally wanted to, maybe just one purse…
consume lactose     I think I’ve built up a tolerance somehow
dance     haha this one’s debatable…shall we take a vote?
whistle     I can do a pretty pathetic one. Like on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 3
go a day without singing     This will always be true 

I have:
a bad memory     It may have even gotten worse if that’s possible. Of course I’m going to whip out the Mommy Brain excuse
a big heart
weird feet     Ugh don’t remind me
freckles
fast metabolism     It has slowed a bit since having children…

I wish:
I had all the answers 
I really knew God
I had brothers and sisters
there were no such things as goodbyes
we had more time
I spoke korean     (See first I Can’t!)
the weather would behave
I weren’t so gullible
I weren’t such a pushover     Check! (Becoming a daughter in law and mom helped me a lot with this)
Superman were real     hahaha foreverrrrr
there weren’t so much pain in the world
I had the confidence to see the beauty in myself     Getting there!
we could communicate our thoughts and our passions instantly without speaking a word I think this is what the Spirit World is like…

I love:
God
Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon
my husband and son!     I have a daughter too now! 😄 Yay!
my friends and family
being accepted and loved
sunrises
waking up to the sound of birds chirping
the South!
guitar
piano
children
making people happy
grapefruit soda
Calvin and Hobbes!
avocado
feeling a connection without words
everything about rain – the feel, the smell, the sound
irises
roses!     and sunflowers!
oldies (101.1 CBS fm! haha)
kittens
thunderstorms
fantastic memories (like living with my best friends’ family ten years ago)
song
laughter!
driving
red     and green! and blue!
reunions with old friends
sincerity
rice milk     and anything that contains coconut milk!
macarons! (not to be confused with macaroons)
moonlight
attempting (key word) to play volleyball, soccer, racquetball and pingpong
dreaming (in both senses of the word)
overcoming obstacles
hugs!
the change in the atmosphere at the transition between seasons
huge open spaces that go on as far as the eye can see in all directions (I’ve never been lucky enough to encounter any)
cherries
mangoes
Founder’s Favorite at Coldstone
Pinterest!     Meh. It’s changed.
being alive
you (probably) (As I mentioned this is originally from Facebook, so that’s why this is here)

I don’t see how it’s possible that I didn’t put chocolate on this list. Perhaps I thought it was obvious. Oh! That’s right! It’s in the I Am list 😉

Here’s to year 27!! Gahh only a matter of time before I start lying about my age… 😁

Year and a Half Point

We had a little memorial service for our loved ones at our Manhattan church last Sunday. About 30 people came and stood at the front of the chapel and shared briefly their memories about their parent, spouse, sibling, grandparent, or child who’d passed.

I would say I was about 12th or 13th in line. I was the first one who cried (leave it to me!) I can’t seem to get through much public speaking without tearing up (I speak mostly for youth services at my church in Queens). Something about hearing my voice saying the words out loud? Who knows.

It’s funny how I forget just how fragile I am. How I keep going through the motions of every day and I forget that I still have a lot of pain juuust beneath the surface. I’ve been brought to tears by a whole list of random topics, but most times, it’s when I start talking about God or my mom.

It’s been a year and 29 weeks and I still feel so raw.

It’s not just mom. There are other things that have been chipping away at my emotional armor over time. I guess my mom passing away just brought out a lot of the emotions I got so good at hiding.

Sometimes I feel selfish. Or ashamed. Because people have gone through way worse than I have.

I really miss her though. I find myself wanting to go back to places we’ve been together as if somehow my presence in those places might bring her back to me. As if somehow memories of her are floating around in those places and perhaps I can catch a glimpse of her in the form of a gentle breeze brushing across my cheek or a warm ray of sunshine on my shoulder.

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I lie awake some nights just confused. What do I feel? What do I want out of life? (Dramatic much?!) It’s funny to think about who you really are. Do you really know? And people are always changing right? So if you change, are you still you? I guess that’s the beauty of being human.

Welp! That ends my philosophical discussion for tonight! I’ll leave you to ponder these existential questions into the wee hours of the morning…

Chinese Pride

I’m not having the greatest day, so I’ve been moping around being unproductive. I’m currently out of chocolate (the only legitimate sweet treat in the world), so I’m settling for the next best thing: gummy bears. I think I’ve had about 20. It’s not all bad though! They’re organic! Ha.

Alright, moving on! There is a time for meaningless jibber jabber and unhealthy amounts of sweets, and there is a time for getting down to business (in this case, writing)!

My mom was American (of European descent) and my dad is Chinese (Shanghainese to be exact). Mama was born and raised in the good ol’ US of A and daddy immigrated here when he was 8 (to Harlem to be exact! He throws a lot of people off with his Chinese face and Harlem accent)

I don’t think about my Chinese heritage and culture that much. Honestly, I don’t KNOW that much about Chinese culture. The most “Chinese” I am familiar with is Chinese food (and no, I’m not talking about your local Chang’s. That’s not real Chinese food. It’s Americanized Chinese food.) I recommend you checking out some of the shops and restaurants in Flushing, Queens or in China Town, Manhattan (Canal Street area). I quite like Lake Pavilion for dimsum and Big Wong (don’t look at me; I didn’t name it!) for everything else (soup dumplings, pork over rice, duck over rice). If I could, I would invite you to a home cooked meal by my grandma (may she rest in peace), because that’s the REAL stuff.

Two of my favorite dimsum delights! Ha-churn (Shrimp in rice wrapping) and Sesame balls

I studied Chinese (Mandarin) for a year at my university. It was quite fascinating actually. The letters in the Chinese language are like individual little works of art. So many complicated strokes go into each one. Not to mention the seemingly endless different pronunciations of very similar words. One wrong inflection in your voice and your “How are you?” turns into “Are you a good horse?” That was a fun year. I wish I had kept up with my Chinese afterwards, but unfortunately, I got caught up with my other classes and Chinese seemed unnecessary unless I planned to start teaching Chinese to my elementary school students.

My Chinese professor introduced us to Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese singer from a few decades back. She made us each sing two of her songs in front of the entire class, so that was humbling (but fun!). The late Ms. Teng had the sweetest demeanor and voice and she helps me appreciate my Chineseness. (Also, she dated Jackie Chan, so how cool is that?)

My favorite thing about being Chinese is being around other Chinese people. There’s something about being around “your people”. Knowing that your have this whole history and ancestry in common. A camaraderie, a confidence, an appreciation. Not to brag, but Chinese people are just in general pretty awesome. So if you don’t have any Chinese friends yet, you should really get on that 😉

Do you know a lot about your heritage? What are you most proud of?

P.S. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I wouldn’t be who I am (well, I wouldn’t be at all) without you ❤ Love you to the moon and back