Home A Homemaker's Cottage (Thirteenth Issue) by Sonya Haskins.
Featured 3 August 1999 and archived 20 December 1999
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Sonya Haskins is the full-time stay-at-home mom of Sarah, Micah and Christopher. She also writes magazine articles and is working on her first book. Sonya welcomes comments from readers and constantly seeks to meet new moms to interview for the book.

All this material is copyright protected and cannot be used without the written consent of the author.

As my husband and I took a rare moment on the couch alone, I lay on my back (which I don't normally do while I'm pregnant) and put my head on his lap. We were talking about work, writing, the children, and other issues when our three-year-old ran into the room and threw a "rope" to my husband.

"Here daddy," she exclaimed, "take the rope and I'll save you. There's a whale on the couch!"

Although my husband insists she didn't mean anything personal by the statement, I quickly pointed out that he obviously picked up on the imagery.

So has my life been lately. It is nearly 100 degrees here every day and I am now eight months pregnant. Yesterday our air conditioner broke and I called maintenance within five minutes to tell them the situation and yes, this was an emergency. Later that day we received another air conditioner to use until ours was fixed. I am thankful that the maintenance department knows a true emergency!

Other than being very large and enjoying the kicks and squirms of the little one growing inside me, life has had its ups and downs lately. On the negative side, my allergies have enticed me to scratch my eyes and ears until I nearly caused an infection. I have also been able to accomplish so little housecleaning that we are actually using half of the dining room table until I can clean the other half. My husband fails to understand that a body can take only so much - working at home, watching the children (and actually playing with them, etc.), cooking our meals, running errands, and so on. He still thinks I can do all this, nurture my very large self, AND keep the house spotless. We had a little talk about that one.

On the positive side, the trials as of late have made me realize that I am very fallible and need to work on being less critical - of myself and others. I can't do everything and do it all well. I also shouldn't blame my own failures on those around me - such as my husband for not "helping" enough or my children for being too difficult. In fact, my husband does help a lot and the children are absolutely wonderful kids. But they are still kids. Since I've taken more time to actually sit down and rest my weary body lately, I've been reading some wonderful books on mothering as well as reflecting on my own mothering style. I know I'm a good mom, but this time has helped me think about the areas where I need to improve, such as not being too over-bearing, being a better wife, or being more available for our one-year-old like I always was for our daughter.

When was the last time you thought about how you are mothering? What are your goals and what do you want to accomplish as a mother? If you came home to be with your children so that you could have more time together, do you sit down and read the storybooks they bring to you or insist that you have to fold the laundry instead? I'm not saying that you can always do what your children want, but that we should evaluate our actions from time to time to make sure we aren't always doing what we want. Hopefully it won't take you turning into a "whale" before you sit down and make this evaluation like it did me.

Please give all feedback on this column to the author Sonya Haskins.