Thanks for the meme tag Mixter! Like yours this will be a long one. Men folk, the accompanying photo is one of hilarity, so don't get your panties all in a bunch! :-)
Like you Mixter I am a far cry from the traditional mommy and I have not often followed that path. Oh, I had big plans; I was going to make all my own baby food, wear cloth diapers etc. & so on. Well, you know how the best laid plans often go awry, he wore disposables and ate Happy Meals, so as with the rest of my story/meme I think that makes me a 'real mom" and not someone else's idea of one. Here goes......
I am around Mixters age, so I have a 16 year old and also think that we have done a damn good job in today's society. He doesn't do drugs, drink or smoke and makes no bones about it. he has done many things from school sports to piano and guitar. he skates and bikes and has very diverse musical interests as well as a highly developed dry sense of humor for his age. Maybe this grows out of being any only child. I won't say that there have never been any hair pulling moments, but that has to be a rite of passage for both parent and child. I have a friend whose kid was SO perfect and good through childhood that now, at 21, has changed colleges 4 times and was kicked out once for poor academic performance and hates his mother. So, I do not think that claiming to have the perfect kid or even expecting it is a good thing or one that you should put on their shoulders.
I too belong to the casual, Mixter style of housekeeping. I have a pot-it on my fridge that says," A disorganized home is a sign of life being lived." When I was younger I tried and thought that you had to have the home ready for company at anytime. I was almost OCD about items being in their places at all times. Boy, am I happy to have gotten past that!! It happened when I went back to college as the mother of a 2 year old. It may have saved my life. We have dust and some spots have clutter, but who cares? I think our home is comfortable and relaxed and very inviting. We have lots of family photos on the walls, so what if the frames have some dust on them, better to be happy and proud than to worry what someone will think of my cleanliness habits. My kitchen counters are clean and my toilet bowl, what more is there? My house does not stink and we have clean laundry. We also have 2 dogs and dog hair enough to make a sweater business. I am not a freak about washing windows or feel the need to vacuum daily. If I get to the windows once a year, fine. If I vacuum once a week it will do.
As for SO and myself we have reached a very comfortable place in our relationship. He was, at the beginning, someone that was so very different from me and I thought we had nothing in common. He is the most honest and trustworthy person that I have ever known. He is tolerant and has weathered every change in haircolor as well as personality that I have gone through in life. I am very fortunate. I am hyper, while he is mellow. I am excitable while he remains calm. A very definite yin-yang.
As for my childhood... there is not much to say. IT had a certain amount of severe dysfunction, which doesn't matter after all these years, but I am sure that it helped shape parts of me. Many that I have re-worked and made even better. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger and I believe that. I am a very strong person.
Max, I think, has had or would say that he has had a great childhood. He has had opportunities like I never did, but isn't that usually what we want for our kids? At 14 he got to spend 7 days on a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean. As an only child he has always had our attention and never been ignored or neglected. He has been able to pursue many interests and musical avenues. He may have wished for siblings, but it was not meant to be.
Never tried breastfeeding. Heard too many horror stories about infected and inflamed nipples and just cringed at the thought. I got tired of all those Laleche League women that swore I was a terrible mother and he would not grow up right etc. He is 6 feet tall and 165 pounds right now. Good health. I think the bottle was okay!! We also bonded just fine.
Had a C-section and would have done it again had the opportunity arose! He was turned and there was not enough room to try and move him around. he was in there so tight, actually, that he "popped" when he came out. Like a cork! I do not think it makes me any less of a real mom not having gone through all the pain of labor etc.
A very, very sad and quite emotional time of our lives was a period of about 1 1/2 years while we visited a fertility doc and spent many thousand of dollars trying to get pregnant before I was 40. Many, many early morning drives to his office, with a sample jar of sperm under my armpit, as I would lie there for hours getting inseminated. Then the weeks waiting. All the tests etc. Then SO got laid off and we lost health care and had to abruptly stop. Again, a very serious test in our relationship as I went through a very serious depressive time. It took me a VERY LONG time to come to terms with the fact that it was not ever going to happen. A dark time in our lives.
We are basically a very happy family. Maxs friends see me as the cool and whacky mom with the crazy hair that changes colors often. The kids at school all know me from the coffee mega giant and the crazy hair.
Oh yes, I am a "real mom". I juggle all the elements and at the end of the day still feel like I have done, and am still doing, the best that I can do
Thanks Mixter, this was fun. Maybe I will tag Rachel over at Indigo Luna. She is a mom, like us, but also very non-traditional as well.