Posted in Motherhood, Product Review, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Joys of Good Customer Service

Recently, I’ve gotten into the Amazon reviewing game, and I find that it’s a fun little side hobby where I get to try products out for less cost in exchange for honest Amazon reviews. Now, I don’t expect much when I apply for products to review. As a matter of fact, a lot of my time is spent weeding out sellers who try to scam the systems that are set in place. I’ve applied for numerous products, and when confronted with a problem with a code that I’m given, often times, I’m ignored. Which is fine. I don’t mind. I know that this is something that people take advantage of, and so I don’t expect much.

Which is why my latest encounter was such a pleasant surprise.

I applied on one of my various websites to review a teething necklace at a pretty steep discount. Surprisingly, I was approved, and I was super excited to use the code I was given and purchase the product. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the code when I input it into Amazon…the discount wasn’t what the website stated it should be. I emailed the client, and let them know that there was a problem, fully expecting to get the brush off one more time.

Yet, almost within five minutes, I had a response from the fantastic rep. She apologized for the mixup and went in to fix the code on Amazon’s end. She then told me that there would be an approximate four hour waiting period for the code to work, and that I should try again sometime after that. This entire exchange was super pleasant.

More than four hours later, I tried again, still to no avail. I wrote her back, telling her of the same issue, and offered to apply for a different necklace or get another code. I was floored by her response.

Awe, you are so sweet, thank you!!  You and one other person had the exact same problem.  I think it’s on Amazon’s end not being able to input the new code.   What I did for her was just sent her one directly to her house (I keep some on hand exactly for this reason :).
I’ll send you whichever one you prefer at no cost.  I’m truly sorry that this turned into such a pain.
If you send me your address, I can get it into the mail for you  in the morning.
This woman, who didn’t owe me anything, apologized to ME and offered me the necklace at no charge. She was so kind didn’t have to do anything for me, someone who is just trying to test out some things in exchange for reviews.
She didn’t ask me to, but I’m going to tell all of you, that Snuggle Bunny Beads TM is one of the most amazing companies I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with. Once I get my necklaces (because I went ahead and bought the other one anyway), I will definitely post a review here.
So thank you again! If you’re in the market for a good new mom gift, these necklaces are awesome, and I highly recommend them!
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Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

The Trials and Tribulations of Teaching

How’d you like that use of alliteration? Beautiful wasn’t it? I’m not an English teacher…nope. Not at all.

Anywho, I figure since I’ve written at length lately about my own child, it’s time that I wrote about something that isn’t R but my other children. My students.

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from college with a B.A. in English.

And much like our character, Princeton, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. It really did seem like a useless degree…and for the most part it was. I had gone into English because it was the one major that wasn’t going to take me an extra year to finish when I transferred majors from Theatre Education (Yes, I use the British spelling. Sue me). I suppose that deep down I always knew I was going to be a teacher in one way or another. But at that moment, I didn’t know how to get started…didn’t know what I needed to do, what classes I still needed to take, nothing. I was lost.

So I went to a job fair, and there I ran into an old teacher of mine. My old French teacher, actually. And I can’t continue this story without thanking her. Because at that job fair, she gave me the guidance that I so very needed, guidance that has enabled me to have the career that I have had for the past 11 years. Without her, who knows where I would be right now. Madame T told me about a program that the school system had, one where I would take some classes over the summer, get a job in the fall, and have a free Masters degree by the end of three years. I signed up, was accepted, and began my journey as a teacher.

And a long journey it has been. In my eleven years, I have learned so much, not only about myself, but about the people in the community I serve, about the strength of students. Things that you don’t ever think about until you see them with your own eyes.

I started out teaching English to 9th grade high school students. It was not the easiest place in the world to reach kids. I was also 21, and students saw me more as a peer than as an authority figure, so it made things even more difficult. But as time went on, I developed my own style of teaching and discipline, and I’ve managed to make it through eleven years without too much of a fuss.

I currently teach Creative Writing instead of English, and that was a task in and of itself. I had never taken a Creative Writing class, much less taught it before I was given this program. I have never had to learn something so quick! But these past four years have been the best four years of my teaching career.

Where was I going with this? I don’t even remember. I just know that thinking about my students and the career that I’ve had so far fills me with a sort of nostalgia that almost makes me cry.

I ran into a former student two nights ago at Walmart. I couldn’t remember his name, but I remembered his face, and he definitely remembered me. He told me how he and his high school girlfriend were still together, how they had a son, and how he remembered me and my class. I don’t think much about the impact I leave. Sometimes I doubt that I leave much of an impact at all. But gosh darnit, if he didn’t look so happy to see me, and the way that he spoke about my class…it was one of those moments that I suppose every teacher gets. Where they realize that even though they don’t always realize it, they’ve made a difference to someone.

I talk about being a mother as if it’s this wholly new experience for me. But I suppose it’s not. I’ve had over a thousand children. None of them were mine by blood or birth, but they’ve all been mine for the short period of time that I knew them. And even if I can’t remember names any more, I still remember faces. I remember that once upon a time, they were no more than a fifteen year old with wide eyes, and maybe an attitude problem. And years later, they have grown into adults and remember me too.

If I ever have a bad day at work, at least I can sit back and think about those moments and be thankful that I have them. Because some jobs don’t have that. Even when my teaching time is done, there will be some part of me that lives on through the lives of my students. And that thought is comforting.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Gaming, Motherhood, Random Thoughts

Juggling Recreation Time

If there was one thing that I really loved to do before I had my son, it was playing video games. For at least 6 years, I was a super active member of the online community of FFXIV. Before that, I had never really played games before, but this game gave me a whole new social life. Because I got involved in this game and community, I met many of the people that I am friends with today.

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I gave a good portion of my time and energy to these people who became like a second family to me. I remember telling them that I was pregnant, and how excited I was to share in that experience with them. For the next 8 months of my pregnancy, I shared my ups and downs, my pains, my aches, and my joys.

I remember at one point being on a skype call with my good friend Tay, and all of a sudden she asked, “Are you rubbing your stomach?” It threw me off because I had no clue how she knew. Apparently she could hear the sound of my hand on my stomach, something that had turned into background noise, but something that held special significance for her. For the rest of my pregnancy, she would always tease me when she heard it. It became a game, one that always made me smile.

As my pregnancy progressed, I knew that my time with them was going to grow short. I new that once R came, I’d have to give up my time with them in exchange for diaper changes, feedings, and sleepless nights. But I never expected it to hit me so hard.

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I’ve found that I really miss my former social life. I miss the people I used to talk with on the regular, and I find that it’s become more and more difficult to find things in common with these people. And I promised that I wouldn’t be that person. I didn’t want to be the woman who only talks about her child in front of everyone…but that’s exactly what I’ve become. Instead of screenshots of my character and the stories I wrote for her, my phone is now loaded with one of the 12,000 pictures of my son…most of which are identical to each other.

Instead of spending my nights up until all hours of the morning laughing with friends, I am in bed by 10 pm, hoping that my LO sleeps well and will smile at me when he wakes up. Instead of singing silly songs and killing monsters on the computer, I’m talking to my son from the point of view of his Batman toy, or trying to feed him his own feet. Nothing prepared me for the love that I would feel for him. And nothing has prepared me for the melancholy I sometimes feel for the friendships and fun I used to have.

Would I trade them? No. They’re two completely different worlds. I am happier now than I ever thought I could be. But would I like to find some more time here and there to remember what that life was like? Sure.

I just hope that all of my friends remember how much I cared for them. And that hopefully, someday, I’ll be able to make a return, and they’ll welcome me back with open arms. Until then, I’ll be over here, blowing raspberries with my baby.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Motherhood, Uncategorized

The Age Old Mommy Debate

Let me say, I love being a mother. I love taking care of my son, I love watching him grow…labor and delivery wasn’t a cake walk, but I love what I have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But you know what I can’t stand? Other mothers. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. But it’s the truth. If you have ever stepped foot onto one of the ten million “mommy boards” online, you’ll maybe get a taste of what I’m talking about. It becomes a veritable pissing contest over who is the best mom.

“Oh, I breastfed my first baby from the time he was born until he left for college!”
“I’m going to do baby led weaning, but when I do, I just know I’m going to use all organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products.”
“I would NEVER feed my baby cereal!”
“If a mother doesn’t even TRY to breastfeed her infant, I consider her selfish.”

Those same comments go on and on, and are a frequent part of any trip to any board that claims it’s for moms. Now sure, not all women on these boards are like this. But the ones that are tend to be extremely vocal about it. And if you’re a first time mother, you can leave these places feeling like you’re the worst mother in the universe, instead of someone who is doing the best they can for their child.

I’m lucky that although I am a new mother, I have a wonderful support system around me. My mother and mother-in-law are both within a 30 minute driving distance, and they are both only a phone call away. So when I was making decisions about how to raise my son, I got a lot of input from both of them.

And I made a decision that has gotten me a lot of flak from the mothers in the community. I decided to Formula Feed from day one.

I’ve been judged. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve heard mothers extol at length the benefits of Breastfeeding, even for a few days. I mean, seriously, do these women not understand the inundation that most women get once they become pregnant? From your first appointment, the doctors tell you all of the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s not that I was ignorant of this information. But it wasn’t the choice for me.

I had a particularly difficult labor and delivery, complete with an episiotomy, which made recovery horrible. For at least the first day after delivery, I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed without immense pain. That meant that I wasn’t getting up to change or feed the baby. My husband did. And he was fantastic. And in order for him to share in that duty, we went with formula.

Another reason is that my milk never fully came in, and I didn’t really want it to come it. I was scared. And uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I know that it’s a natural thing, but coming from a family where it wasn’t done, just made me feel uncomfortable with the idea. Plus, I didn’t want to make a commitment I couldn’t keep. I had heard the horror stories of pain and sleepless nights…I know what kind of a person I am. If I had had to deal with that on top of my recovery, I would not have made it, and I know I would have felt guilty as a mother. A failure.

But you know what? I don’t need to justify my reasons to anyone. Why anyone feels the need to judge me for this, I will never understand. Does my baby get fed? Is he happy and healthy? Is he growing like he should? Yes, to all of these. R is four months old now, and weighs close to 18 lbs. He sleeps like a champ, from about 10pm until 8am. He’s happy and bright, is hitting his milestones, and has yet to be sick…AND I’ve brought him into the school where I work…twice.

Instead of making other women feel bad about their decisions, we need to work on building each other up. Motherhood is hard. Fulfilling. Rewarding. Magnificent. But friggin’ hard. I think it would be a lot easier if we had a support system of other mothers telling us that we’re doing what’s right for us and our babies, instead of making us feel like we’re inadequate.

Has anyone else experienced this judgement from other moms? Are you one of those mothers who judges others? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing your stories!

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Random Thoughts

First blog post

Welcome to the Mommy Gamer.

You may be asking yourself, “Who is this woman, and what makes her think she has anything worth reading?”

Well, I’m not much. I’m a simple woman. I love to read. I love playing video games. I enjoy spending time with my husband, son, and extended family. I’m a child of the internet generation. What do I have to say that’s different from anyone else? Probably not a damned thing. And that’s okay.

I created this place as a space for me to put my thoughts on motherhood, socializing in an age in which people don’t get out so much anymore, teaching the youth of tomorrow, being a good person, and reviewing products and games that mean something to me.

I hope you stick around and give me a read. If it’s not what you’re looking for, I appreciate you giving me the time of day. And if it is, I hope you come back again. I look forward to interacting with you all, and hope to share a bit of my life with you all.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer