Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rachel: Chosen To Be A Mom..

Going back to my college days with my former roomie, Rachel today. I don’t even know where to start introducing her- I have so many memories! Rachel and I did not quite know how to take each other when we first met; she was one of my new roommates among the 7. We figured out pretty quickly that was because we were alike in many ways! One of those realizations was when we quickly decided we needed to decorate our dorm apartment- it took us no time at all to make a plan to get started (By the way, we definitely had the cutest apartment on campus).
 We all became friends almost immediately. Rachel was a load of fun and loved to do things crazy and unexpected- unlike myself- so she definitely helped me learn to let my guard down. Later, she and I began working with a family giving therapy to their autistic son.
It was not until after Rachel and I both became Mom’s, that we realized how similarly we parented. After talking one day, we kind of realized that much of that probably came from our training with ABA therapy working with autistic children. That training truly did make me a better Mom.
Every time I see posts from Rachel on Facebook, it always makes me wish we lived closer together. She is such a passionate Mother (one thing I love about Rachel, is she is truly passionate about everything she does). Rachel is determined to be the best Mom she can be and raise the best Children she can by being an intentional parent. Her answers to many of my questions caused me to look at things differently and gave me a new appreciation for things. I am confident that after reading Rachel’s story and answers, many are going to take away something new:

I'm Rachel Bevilacqua (yep, that one took me a couple weeks to learn how to spell).  I've been married to an incredibly wonderful man, Joe, for just over 5 years. He's Italian and he can COOK!  We have two girls - Natalie Chase is 4 1/2 and Emerson Kate is 4 months.  We met in Florida where we were both living at the time, but after Natalie was born, we moved back to Alabama (where I grew up) to be nearer to my family.  I teach 10th grade English in the same high school from which I graduated.  In my spare time (otherwise known as the 5 minutes a day when no one is calling my name) I love reading, crafting, event planning, and graphic design.  I tried being a stay at home mom for 2 years and it was the worst 2 years of my life.  I love my daughters to death, but I have to work.  I gave up the idea of being a SAHM in order to keep my sanity and decided instead to make "working mom" work for us.  So far, it's been great! 

Are you a Scheduled or Non-Scheduled Mom? What are the benefits and downfalls to your choice?
I'm definitely not a scheduled mom, but I am a routine mom.  We pretty much do things (meals, baths, outside play, naps, errands, etc.) in the same order every day but not always at the same time.  I'm a planner, but by that I mean that I need a daily agenda or a to-do list.  It would be way too stressful for me to try to keep myself and my 2 girls on a time schedule - probably because things always take a lot longer than I think they should.

What is your biggest Mommy Pet-Peeve?
Natalie Chase
    Maybe this question should say,  "What aren't your pet peeves?" because I have quite a few.  I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a perfect parent.  I get it wrong a lot.  But some people just get it VERY wrong.  My biggest mommy pet peeve would have to be irresponsible (or maybe even absent-minded) parents.  I have to try very hard not to get angry when I see infants improperly fastened into a car seat (or worse - being held in someone's lap), or parents who open the car door then turn to walk across the parking lot without ever looking back to see if their child actually made it our of the car, or seeing a parent to absorbed in their shopping to notice that the little one is lagging several feet behind. There is no excuse for parents who don't care enough to pay attention to their child's safety.

Your funniest/most embarrassing “Mom/Child’ moment?
    I so wanted to answer this question.  I've tried for two days to come up with a good story.  And... I've got nothing.  I guess it's because 1) nothing my kids do really embarrasses me.  Usually if there is a potentially embarrassing situation brewing (i.e. - a grocery store meltdown), I will quickly retreat to my car and we will ride out the tantrum there.  And 2) Natalie is HILARIOUS!  She has us laughing non-stop.  But, that means all my funny moments sort of run together and I can't pick just one to tell.  I'm sad that I can't really answer this one. 

Emerson Kate
Do you have a secret “Mommy Confession”- something that you did/didn't do that you are willing to share?
    This might have fit under the "mommy guilt" category, but I can't decide if I feel guilty about it or if I'm a genius for doing it. Saturday is my sleep in day and I will do everything in my power to keep it in tact.  Fortunately, I have an infant who doesn't wake at all until about 8:45-9:00 each morning.  Unfortunately, I have a four year old who wakes with the sun (or before).   But, I have devised a plan to keep my Saturday morning sleep in time intact.   On Friday nights, I fill a spill proof cup with milk, put a granola bar on the kitchen counter, and a Disney movie in the VCR (yep, I said VCR... thanks to my Nana, we own every Disney movie ever made on VHS).  When Natalie wakes on Saturdays, she knows she can get the milk and granola bar and turn on her movie.  She's not allowed to wake me until the movie is over unless there's an emergency.  Most of the time it works beautifully!
What are your “non-negotiables” when it comes to your kids?
    On occasion, I will ignore poor behavior (for example - whining or hyperactivity if they're extremely tired or bored, or we're in a public place where correcting them would cause a bigger scene), but I will never ignore disrespectful behavior - and, believe me, with a strong-willed 4 year old there's plenty of it.  I guess being a high school teacher has given me plenty of examples of what happens when a child is not taught the correct and polite way to speak to adults.  I am determined not to have bratty, disrespectful children.  I want people to love my kids and enjoy being around them, not dread to see them coming.

What was your biggest fear when you found out you were going to be a Mom? 
    I think most expectant moms are afraid that they'll make mistakes, won't know what to do, and will be bad mothers.  I didn't think that.  I felt very confident from the beginning that I could be a great mom.  My fear was that I didn't want to be.  I had wholeheartedly decided years before that I didn't want children - I had a job I loved, had a dream of traveling, not being tied down, etc. So, when my now husband and I found out we were pregnant after dating for only 4 months (and only just beginning to talk about the possibility of marriage), it was like a slap in the face.  I didn't want a child, I wasn't married, and even though I was 26 at the time, I felt like "that girl".  You know the one - the one everyone secretly judges for getting pregnant before getting married even if they're smiling and supporting her to her face.   But, we decided to "make the best of it" and casual talks of marriage quickly turned into wedding plans.  I was 13 weeks pregnant on our wedding day, and, honestly, still getting to know my groom.   The next few months were difficult as I came to terms with the fact that I was married, pregnant, and probably giving up a lot of my dreams.  But, I did come to terms with it, embraced it even and decided that maybe being a wife and mommy wouldn't be so bad, but it wasn't until I was holding my minutes-old baby girl that I realized that not only could I do this and do it well, but that I'd been chosen, called by God to be a mom.

 Do you have a funny “labor” moment?
   With Natalie - I was in labor for 24 hours before having an emergency c-section because I had stopped dilating and she was becoming distressed.  But, during the 24 hours of labor I wasn't in any real pain (thanks to an epidural), but no matter what I did, I couldn't get comfortable.  Every time a nurse came in, I asked for a pillow for my back, legs, etc.  I even sent Joe out into the hospital a few times to look for pillows.  When the time came to move me to the OR for the c-section, the nurse started removing pillows from my bed and started laughing because they just kept coming.  I had managed to shove 15 pillows in the bed with me during labor.  My whole family still jokes about this almost 5 years later. 
One thing that you do for your kids- because you love them- but you absolutely dread it every time?
    Thanks to Netflix and a night of reminiscing, my wonderful, wishes-he-was-still-ten-years-old husband decided to introduce Natalie to the old 1980s Transformers cartoons.  She LOVES them.  I definitely do not!  But, she begs me to watch them with her, and I do because she loves it so much.  (Sometimes she makes me pretend to be "Momma-tron”, ugh!)

What is something you said you would NEVER do with/to your children that you have found yourself doing?  
    I swore that I would never let my kids (as infants) sleep in our bed, but as a baby/toddler Natalie was terrible sleeper and I was getting up 4-5 times a night just to settle her.  After many sleepless nights, I decided it wasn't worth not sleeping just to say I didn't let my kids sleep with me.  I finally chose to put her in our bed and when I did we both slept better. 
     I also said that my child would eat whatever I had prepared for dinner and that I would never fix a separate "kid" dinner.  But... Joe works late so he and I usually eat dinner about 8pm most nights.  Since I need to feed Natalie earlier than that, I usually let her choose what she wants for dinner. 

 Your biggest Mommy “Aha” moment?
    My biggest "aha" moment was when I realized that the parent isn't always right (even thought we'd like to think we are) and that when we mess up we need to apologize to our kids.  I remember the first time I apologized to Natalie for losing my cool while disciplining her.  She stared at me wide-eyed and mouth open...and then ran to me, buried her face in my chest and said "It's okay, Mommy.  I'm sorry too."   We're big on apologies and give them freely around here because we're human and we mess up, but we're also family, and we love each other anyway.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a new Mother?
    As a new mother you will get a lot of advice (all of it well-intentioned, most of it sound), but don't forget that your instincts as a mother are better than any piece of advice you get.  You know your child better than anyone (even better than their pediatrician), so if something seems wrong, question it and if something you try doesn't work, change it.  You don't need anyone else’s approval to do what you think is best for your child.

Also, I try to remember this when I get frustrated or impatient with my kiddos:  Most of the time, a misbehaving child is a bored child.

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