Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #learning

The Ups & Downs of Being a Stay-At-Home Mombie

EPSON MFP image

As a woman, I can tell you that being a stay-at-home mom is a wonderful and rewarding job.  However, it isn’t without pitfalls.  Cook, clean, and wipe butt?  Sign me up, I’m in.  Men, don’t judge.  There is a reason why I can’t talk about being a stay-at-home dad.  Yet I’m sure the experience is quite similar.  Also, ladies, please don’t judge.  No matter how much you decide to work “outside of the home”, it is complicated.  I would just like to stress the point that being a stay-at-home parent is a full time job, without outside pay.

Decisions, decisions.  Do the math.  Can the family be supported on one income?  Now do the mental.  Can you cope?  My husband (the old, bald guy) and I opted for the scrape by method, and since we were just starting out, we decided he would be the crumb winner.  That allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom for about ten years.  Would I take it back?  Absolutely not.  Were there hardships?  Absolutely yes.

It turns out that raising children is very difficult.  At times you may feel like a sleep deprived zombie with a shrunken brain.  Oh, the ups and downs.  But, who doesn’t love a good roller coaster ride?  I actually learned a few tricks along the way.  Let’s review.

Up:  Home cooked meals and Garanimals!

Down:  Arguing over which color cup you chose to use and how much milk you poured into it.

Fix:  Compromise – change the dang cup to your child’s preference, transfer milk from Cup A to Cup B and tip milk carton as if pouring more milk, but leave the cap on – your child will feel smug, and so will you.

Up:  Being there for every single crucial moment in your child’s life.  First roll onto back, first sit up, first noise/word, first crawl, first steps. . .

Down:  The sheer difficulty of trying to make it to the grocery store in between naps, feedings and diaper changes.  Just when you think you might have an hour, nope, rethink plan, and hope there will be another window of opportunity, maybe today.

Fix:  Wait.  All good things come in time.

Up:  Things to do for free – my favorites were parks and the library.

Down:  Having accidents (of both kinds) at parks and the library.

Fix:  I got nothing here.  Oh wait – don’t take your kids anywhere, ever, and then this will only happen at home.

Up:  The excitement of experiencing everything for the first time all over again from spiders to rainbows.

Down:  The power of an instant lobotomy like headache resulting from an inhumanly and inhumane high screech made from your young child, perhaps after seeing a spider.

Fix:  Ibuprofen.

Up:  Volunteering at school and seeing the gleam in your child’s eye when they see how proud you are of him, and you can tell how proud he is to have special moments be witnessed by you.

Down:  Feeling guilty about missing something exciting at school – a play, a spelling bee, etc.

Fix:  There is none – you will feel guilty about something to do with your child(ren) for the rest of your life.

Up:  Being there to explain everything to your child, especially the why.

Down:  Your most intellectual discussion of the day probably had something to do with Dr. Seuss.

Fix: Encourage your child to read.  Explain this to him or her: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Yes, Dr. Seuss).

Up:  Being so happy that hubby is home to relieve you of your duties if only for a little bit, because he realizes that you have been on high alert ALL day as there is no such thing as childproofing, you have dealt with numerous disgusting substances, you haven’t had any adult contact or highly stimulating conversation, you have “worked” all day- we’re talking going to the bathroom with the door open or something terrible could happen to the children no-break kind of day.

Down:  Realizing that hubby is not sympathetic to your cause because he has also worked all day, even though he was able to have some meaningful conversations, feel productive, solve complex problems, make money, and go to the bathroom with the door closed without fear of immediate harm to his young children.

Fix: Don’t worry, that last rant resolves on its own as the children grow older.

To be super fair, if I were to rewrite the last “Up” bullet point from my husband’s point of view, it might read as follows:  Being so happy to come home to a home cooked meal after having worked all day, including plunging clogged toilets, clearing sewage lines, and dealing with difficult customers, knowing all the while that this hard work has allowed for my loving, caring, appreciate wife to be able to stay at home with the children.

In summary, enjoy the ups and cope with the downs.  Just remember you are in charge of each and every wonderful new day in molding the mind of your little human being.  “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” (Dr. Seuss).

Wendy Knuth is the author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books for children.  One of her characters is a stay-at-home Mombie zombie named Mombie Moore.

Mombie Moore

art by Brian Allen

The Wonderful World of English

I thought I knew English.  It is my first language.  I speak some Spanish and have learned those rules are much easier than English.  English has iffy rules.

You might be able to start a sentence with “and”.  But, starting a sentence with “but” is iffy.  But we speak like that all the time.   Do you walk towards the tree or do you walk toward the tree?  It depends on which country you live in or rather, which country one’s writing is intended for.  One can often tell the origin of one’s writing if there is “our” instead of “or”, such as colour and color.  Then there is theater and theatre.  In the United States of America, however, we use both.  You can go traveling in the United States.  However, you go travelling outside of the U.S.  Note how I underlined those words for emphasis.

In my Moore Zombies: Zombie World book, I have a couple of attractions inside the park.  (Incomplete Sentence Alert.)  For instance Creepy Show and the Become a Zombie areas.  I looked up rules for names and a long list of things to be italicized or emphasized.  Was there an attraction on the list?   Nope.  I also bring up the fact that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist in the book Frankenstein, (underline book names) and not the name of the monster.  Same problem.  In bringing attention to the name itself, do I refer to it as Frankenstein, “Frankenstein” or Frankenstein?  I decided one way, then the other, then back again.  I found I had caps in one area, italics in another section of the book and quotes in other areas.  How confusing.  Change it all to “just normal” I finally decided.  I think.  I could be wrong.  Read the book.  (Pluggy, pluggy.)

One thing that I have recently learned is one is supposed to put a comma after an introductory hello.  Hello, Sir or Maam.  Why the pause?  I have been writing letters all of my life with “Hello Jane”, not “Hello, Jane”.  I’m going to have to attend counseling sessions now.   Speaking of pauses. . .  Suddenly, the black cat jumped in front of me.  If it was suddenly then there shouldn’t be a pause!

Did you know there is a difference between onto and on to?  If you walk on to the next attraction, you are going there.  If you walk onto the next attraction, that would be incorrect because you are not really “on” the attraction.  What about off of?  I hear it all the time.  She jumped off of the table.  I discovered a great argument against this practice.  One wouldn’t say on of, therefore you can’t use off of.  Now it becomes:  She jumped off the table.

Now that on and off are easily understood, I would like to tell you about a confusing conversation my husband and I once had about the alarm.  Is the alarm set?  Yes it is on.  Does that mean the alarm is sounding?  No, if the alarm were sounding, then it would be going off.  So the alarm is off if it is not set to on, or you have turned the noise off.  If the alarm is on, it is not really on, it is only set to alarm.  Try explaining that to someone who is learning English.

If you think I have mastered the language, reread this blog to find that I use quotes here, italics there and underlines elsewhere.  Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  Luckily, that is often not entirely incorrect in the wonderful world of English.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture and chapter books