Isn't it funny, raising kids? Time goes by so quickly; things which seemed like a giant trial/nuisance at the time can literally change overnight. I have theories about why, but for now I'll blame it on my boys growing up so stinkin' fast, and this rotten world changing every day. I constantly pray that I am doing the right thing by sending them to public school; and please God if you want me to homeschool them, give me the wisdom, because you of all people know what an idiot I am, not only academically but also in regards to scheduling/routine, etc.
I was quarantined at home with a sick kid today and got to read up on all the blogs I love which I haven't read in months. And then I remembered that I always wanted to be a blogger, so I visited my own blog, and laughed my butt off at my own self! That must be an indicator of a true mental illness, for reals. Anyhoo, a certain post made made me laugh. I thought I'd repost it and add in some updates, This entry was from early 2013 I believe:
Obviously I haven't written for a while. Honestly, after what happened at Sandy Hook, I found myself with no inspiration! How could I be sarcastic or crabby about mommying while my sweet kids are alive and kickin'?
Being a mom can be SUPER aggravating at times. A lot of the time, in fact. But ever since that terrible day, I have found myself much more patient, tolerant, and grateful. Not to say I don't still go bonkers at times and freak out over stupid stuff. I totally do! But its happening less often. I find fewer things to complain about and more things to be happy about.
Having said that ...writing is my therapy! And I've been thinking lately about a few things I'd love to NEVER do again. That doesn't mean I wish my kids would grow up super fast and move out (they are seriously at the funnest ages right now, I don't want them to grow another inch). I just really do not think I'll miss any of these things when this phase of our lives has passed: Yes, I still feel this way. So read on:
1) Touching anything with pee on it.
Sheets, tiny underpants, jeans .... having to deal with pee'd-up fabric is the WORST. Especially when nobody tells you that they laughed so hard they wet their pants and left them on the floor, and you go around the house picking up dirty laundry when suddenly, without warning, you grab wet pee'd-up denim - and of course the jeans are inside out, with the underpants entwined up in the legs, so you have to get your hands all pee'd-up to turn them around the right way and disentangle the underpants. Or you put someone to bed at night and realize the sheets are STILL WET from the night before, because they didn't tell you they'd accidentally wet the bed. So now where the heck do they sleep, since their bed is all pee'd up? I have put people to bed on dry pee sheets on occasion, I'm not gonna lie. Changing bunk bed sheets is never fun (see item #9 below), especially not at night when you are finally putting the kiddos to bed and looking forward to going to bed yourself. But when the pee sheets are still wet, off to the couch the kid goes.
Also, I am tired of scrubbing pee from toilet seats & bases, floors, and nearby walls. Being female, I obviously have no idea what its like to aim. But to look at our toilet areas, it must be impossible. I've spent hours teaching people how to simply grab a wad of TP and wipe the seat down. "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie!" "That's silly, Mommy." Apparently Silly Rhymes About Peeing go in one ear and out the other. Update: my kids still pee all over the toilet seat. But I've got them trained enough by this point that they do their best to clean up after themselves, at least as well as toilet paper allows one to clean. And for any leftover grossness, we keep Clorox Wipes in business!
2) Making dinner.
I seriously hate making dinner. I hate thinking of what to make. I hate talking people into eating. I hate being told "I don't like this" or "I'm a vegetarian." A vegetarian who eats nuggets, burgers, and bacon? Well that's a new one. Or being asked "is this all we're having?" or "where did you find this recipe?" or "what's in this?" The kids and I would be happy having 'dang kay-sa-dillas' or cereal for dinner. But when you are trying to raise your kids to be normal people who function properly and feel like they have some semblance of a regular routine, dinner is a necessary evil. Especially when I'm on a 'program' which requires certain amounts of food at certain times, ugh! And when I have a husband who likes to come home to dinner after being gone for 12 hours. What's up with that!? ;) Update: I still hate making dinner and am starting to suspect that I always will. I truly feel that my tombstone will read "why is cereal not an acceptable dinner?"
3) Doing anything that requires use of a baby wipe.
My boys are obviously both potty trained. But we keep wipes around. And the only time you really need a baby wipe means its something gross. Update: still applicable. Which brings me to:
4) Cleaning Mystery Stickies from between the couch cushions.
Its the worst to sit down on a leather sofa and hear a peeling, sticky noise as the cushions separate. What is it, and why is it making that noise? How long has it been there? Do I really HAVE to put my hand (or worse, my nose) down there and investigate? Did someone sleep here recently and pee (see item #1 regarding pee sheets requiring a night on the couch)? Will this Mystery Sticky require a baby wipe, or will a damp paper towel do?? Update: again, still applicable.
5) Stepping on Legos.
No description needed. Yet another aspect of raising boys which still applies.
6) Dealing with puke.
Not sure why I saved this for #6. Barf is the worst! One time my kid who sleeps in the top bunk sat up and puked popcorn all over the wall in the middle of the night. It slid down to the floor. Behind the bunk bed and onto the lower bunk, where Brother slept, oblivous to puke on his bedding. Nothing like cleaning an entire wall and floor, and dismantling a bunk bed in the middle of the night. For a moment I had a feeling of despair: "I think we might have to move." The mess was so bad, I didn't know where to start. Another time I was changing my kid's shirt when he projectile barfed all over me. After he'd had three giant dill pickles. All over my chest and down my shirt. Rotten relish in my bra, people. Unforgettable. But I think the absolute worst is when kids are still nursing, and they get sick and barf. Rotten breast milk cottage cheese. Nothing compares. Update: my youngest has been quite sick since yesterday, and tonight he barfed for the first time since June. And he gave me warning and we managed to get into the bathroom so he could do it in the toilet. I consider this massive progress.
7) Arguing & Reasoning.
Oh my word. The arguing!! Why do things need to be explained? Why can't you just listen BECAUSEISAIDSO?! Obviously I have a reason for what I am telling you. I am not being mean for the fun of it, or because I want to make your life boring. "I am trying to help you grow up to be a good person." "But I don't wanna be a PERSON!!" Granted, a lot of the arguing is my fault. I'm sure there are better ways to explain things. But I am not one of those patient moms who gets down at eye level and quietly explains things in simple, kid-friendly language. For some dumb reason I just expect to be listened to the first time, because I am the Mom and I said so! if you have a question about what I am telling you, ask me later, or at least after you've done what I told you to do! [Listening The First Time is actually a sticker-earner on one of my boys' chore charts. I'll share the charts another time.]
The other day I was at Trader Joe's and there was a very granola mom with a little kid in her cart and an older kid pushing one of the kid-size carts. The mom one of those happy, oblivious people who has no clue what her kids are doing, and doesn't seem to care. She was actually singing loudly while she shopped. Anyway, she and her kid with the little cart were blocking the whole aisle. I needed to grab something on the shelf right behind them. The mom spent a really, really long time gently explaining to her kid that he needed to scoot along because there were people trying to get through. He was in his own world and didn't seem to hear a word she said. She made no effort to physically move him, but just kept explaining. I could have finished all my shopping in the amount of time it took her to quietly, mildly, nicely instruct her kid on grocery store etiquette. But I was so transfixed by her insane amounts of patience that I just stood there staring. My boys did too - they probably thought she was such a nice, smart mommy. Moms like that amaze me; I don't get how they can be so patient! I just TELL MY KIDS WHAT TO DO. And if they need to be physically (gently!) moved, I do it. I would NEVER hold up someone shopping because I wanted to spend three minutes explaining to my kid how to move and why. I would say "whoopsies, watch out Buddy, someone needs to get through" and if my kid didn't move promptly, I would gently move them out of the way. I'm not trying to be my kid's friend. I don't worry about crushing their spirit by telling them what to do when needed - isn't that our job as parents to teach them what is expected, especially out in public where we need to be Christian and put others first? Maybe that makes me a bad mom, and maybe that's why I feel like I am constantly arguing and explaining - because I don't spend the time to patiently, quietly, nicely teach life lessons as they come up. Looking back, I feel like a big jerk about this list item. Because 1) who am I to ridicule how people raise their kids? We all are blessed with free will to do what we want, and that applies to parenting. And 2) I've since discovered that this mom has kids attending my kids' school; I've seen her like 60 times since publishing this post, and my observations tell me that she is simply a super nice person. She's probably a famous blogger, for all I know. She is one of Those Moms I see every morning walking home after dropoff, pushing a stroller containing a little one, smiling happily (who in their right mind smiles happily walking outdoors, uphill, at 9:05 am?!) and either talking to the equally perky mom next to her, or to the toddler in the stroller she's pushing. What am I doing, while observing this insanity? Driving myself home to do my housewife tasks with resentment, or sitting in the school's parking lot slapping on some makeup so I can head to my 70-hours-per-month volunteer gig. Bottom line: I no longer judge those Happy Oblivious Moms. I think they've really going something goin' on.
8) Disagreeing about house rules.
Does anyone else do this too? I guess it comes with the territory of having a different background and childhood than your spouse. Here's an example: I'm cool with food and drinks around the house, within reason of course. I want to have a home where people don't feel like they have to use a coaster or can't put their feet up; this includes my kids and their friends. Juston is super hospitable when it comes to grown-ups, but he has different ideas of what the kids can have, and where. This causes constant conversations and sometimes a bit of bickering. I figure if something doesn't stain or eventually become rancid, it can be eaten anywhere! Crumbs can be vacuumed. Mystery Stickies can be wiped from leather (see item #4, above - it may not be fun, but it doesn't technically RUIN anything). That's why we have hardwood floors and leather furniture, right? Yes, you can have a Popsicle on Mommy's bed, but not on the carpet. Bedding = washable. Carpet = not so much. Yes, you can have pizza or veggies & dip in the rec room, but you have to eat on a blanket like a picnic. Blanket = washable. Carpet = not. Yes, you can eat in the car. Car = wipeable and vacuumable. Gum is the only thing I'm not cool with.
Juston doesn't particularly love that I allow the kids to do this kind of stuff. But I figure, I'm the one who is home all day to enforce the rules. I'm the one who cleans up the messes. If I felt our house/vehicle was so disgusting I was embarrassed to have people see it, I would change the rules for sure. So why can't my way of doing things apply in this area? But I'm sure he feels, I work hard all day to pay for this house and the cleaning supplies and the electricity to constantly run the vacuum, and I'd like it not to look like a bag of rice cakes exploded in here. I do see his point. So I think I just really need to work on my wifely submission in this area. Are we the only family who has this problem with house rules? Yep. Still struggling with this one, I admit.
9) Bunk beds - UGH!
Changing sheets on the bunk bed is probably my least favorite chore of all time. When people go to buy bunk beds, a prerequisite to purchasing should be changing the sheets on the top bunk. And a 25% discount for changing pee'd-up ones! But first you must have a tummy full of a spicy dinner, or a horrible headache, or be exhausted from a day of mommying/service/volunteering at school/chores/pee laundry, etc., or be completely gimped from killing it at the gym. And THEN change the sheets on the TOP bunk. With stickers on the ceiling to get your hair caught in - don't forget that part. If changing top bunk bedding was a prerequisite to purchasing, nobody would ever buy a stupid bunk bed again, I guarantee it. That's why they never tell you what a PAIN it is when you buy a bunk bed. My mom tried to warn me. But I didn't listen, of course. "Oh, the boys are going to share a room, we're getting a bunk bed, its gonna be so CUTE and FUN! Little boys in bunk beds, I've always dreamed of it!" WRONG. Bunk beds create annoyance, numerous times per week. See item #1 regarding pee'd up sheets, and item #6 regarding a 7-foot-long trail of hot puke sliding down the wall. We got smart and put the boys into their own rooms. So now when Barf Happens (like tonight), the parent on duty can hoist the kid out of bed by their armpits; run quickly with dry-heaving child into the bathroom, and deal with the puke in a timely, clean manner. Yay! #smallvictories
10) Feeling like other moms are doing a better job than I am.
I think comparing yourself to other moms and families is a normal aspect of parenting. And lots of times I do feel pretty good about how we're doing. My kids are friendly, they like to read the Bible, and they love vegetables, for goodness sake!! What more could I ask for?!
But most of the time, I feel like a giant failure, a jerk, and a terrible person. I will get a stomach ache or be up crying at night due to some perceived failing on my part as a mother. And you really have no way of knowing how you're doing until all the kids are grown up and by then the damage is done, and its fairly obvious who had bad parents and who had good ones. And even then, everyone will turn out the way they're gonna turn out - some kids rise above and some are just losers no matter what, so why even bother worrying or comparing? Just do your best and commend other moms for doing the same. And if your kids seem to be happy and functioning properly, then just tell yourself you are doing a great job and waste no more time comparing.
Yep. That one totally still applies, and I think always will! And having been a mother for 9+ years now, I really feel that as mothers we all have the confidence to know what is best for our children. And the moms who seem to constantly want to dish out advice are hoity toities with kids who aren't as draining as Regular Average Kids. #fact. So there.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Last year at this time, we had big plans for a rockin' summer. And if I remember correctly, we had a lot of fun (obviously! I haven't posted in over a year! Yukyukyuk). The boys even created a Summer To-Do List which I wrote on our kitchen chalkboard wall:
They came up with this list on their own, but I of course did have to gently veto a few unrealistic things such as "go to Hawaii!" and "go to Disneyland!!" By the end of summer we managed to accomplish nearly all of these things. Success! ["Move boys' rooms around" is one thing we did not manage to do. But it will be happening VERY soon and I will post all progress here.]
Now, however, as the last day of school is two weeks away, I find myself in a different frame of mind. I'm not focused so much on what we'll actually be doing this summer. Instead I find myself thinking of what summer vacation truly entails.
- sleeping in. Oh my word. Mornings are a giant struggle around here. Not needing to get up and go anywhere is pretty much my favorite.
- staying up late. We are a family of night owls who love nothing more than hunkering down with about 5 bags of Kirkland microwave popcorn (its the best, and we've tried a LOT of kinds!) and a long movie.
- playing outside! We live in a safe neighborhood full of kids. If its not raining, my boys are outside biking, scootering, slip-and-sliding, hide-and-seeking, and my personal favorite: running around with sticks and plastic swords and waterguns shoved down the backs of their shirts (they call this activity War Of The Worlds although they've never seen the movie - ???) trampling the grass &
flowerbedsweeds with all their neighborhood buddies.
- summer fun! We always have at least one camping trip to look forward to, and our annual convention is always a huge highlight as well (and this year is an extra special one; the boys are part of the entertainment for foreign delegates which is going to be RAD, I'll share that here later when its all over with).
- lots of lazy days spent with family. My boys love to play with their cousins and its great fun to spend entire days together as often as possible.
- we have energetic friends who plan lots of 'outings'. Days at the zoo, beach, or park .. BBQs .. outdoor movies, etc. There are definite perks to having extroverted friends who plan stuff. The kids have fun and its no work for me (other than the struggle to get out the door with needed snacks, gear, etc. See Cons list below).
- easy dinners. I greatly dislike meal planning and making dinner. But summertime is so easy. Marinate some meat, throw together a big salad, boil some corn on the cob and we're set. Poodie grills for us when he gets home, we eat on the deck, and everyone is happy.
- my boys always reconnect in summertime. They get along fairly well most of the time, but they seem to enjoy each other even more during summer, and its fun to watch how their play changes each year as they get older.
- keeping kids entertained. Honestly, I love blank days on the calendar more than days with something filled in, but when kids are involved, relaxation quickly turns into boredom. Kid: "What are we going to do today?" Me: "Nothing. We were gone all day yesterday and the day before that. I really need to clean, do laundry, and grocery shop." Kid: "That's boring. I don't want to do that." Me: "well, neither do I, but that's life. We are doing something fun tomorrow." Kid: "That's too far away!!" It gets old by Second Breakfast-time.
- living in Washington, sometimes we don't get real summer weather until July or later. When it rains, this presents a real problem. My boys either want to play video games (see below) or have a few neighborhood friends over to play. As much as I'd like to be, I am not that mom who finds delight in a houseful of little boys screaming and making messes and asking for snacks. I love my boys' friends but I don't love noise and chaos. Dilemma.
- the endless struggle of video games. Why do boys love them so much?! Why do they prefer gaming over anything else? I absolutely loathe it. This summer I vow to be That Mom who sets the timer and enforces it. And use games as a reward for when chores are done, etc. Not just a way to satisfy a bored kid.*
- feeding the entire neighborhood. I realize other moms are feeding my kids too. So I'm not annoyed at the parents. But the supply of juice boxes, fruit snacks, Popsicles, and Goldfish dwindles pretty quickly when you've got eight or more kids playing in your yard every single day, getting thirsty and working up appetites. And its aggravating to go outside and see your porch & lawn is littered with empty juice boxes, shredded fruit snack bags, and Popsicle sticks. This summer I vow to be That Mom who makes kids pick up after themselves before they go home.*
- the hassle of getting ready to go somewhere. As mentioned above in the Pros list, we do a lot of stuff. Stuff that requires much gear and snacks. The trunk and backseat become dirty and disorganized really quickly. Nobody wants to pack or carry their own stuff; that's what Mommy is for. "Why did you bring THOSE granola bars? I hate those." "Why didn't you bring more food? I'm STARVING!" "I don't want to carry that! That's HIS!" "Yes I do NEED to bring all those dump trucks. They're my favorites and I like to play with them ALL at the beach." You get the picture. I figure, other kids at the beach are OK with snatching and playing with my boys' stuff, why can't my boys do the same? Then we'd never have to bring toys. They'd have fun while there, with new and exciting toys, and have nothing to carry home, and all I'd need to carry would be towels, the cooler, sunscreen, a blanket, camera, an umbrella, changes of clothes, many water bottles, and my chair. Ahem. This summer my boys are old enough to pack their own backpacks with their towel, preferred nonperishable snacks, change of clothes, water bottle, and toys.*
- laziness overtakes us. When we are able to sleep in ...... we sleep in. By the time we finally are up, dressed, have eaten something halfway substantial, and begin fully functioning, its time to start thinking about what's for dinner. Its a giant waste of time. This summer I vow we will get "up and at 'em" much earlier.*
I never want to be that mom who dreads summer and jumps for joy when school starts in the fall. I could see myself easily becoming that way, so this summer I will do my best to enjoy every bit and appreciate the fact that I get to be a
chauffeur packmule stay-at-home-mom and hang out with my funny, cute, awesome boys every single day.
* Disclaimer: these are what I call High Hopes and if any of these things actually happen, I will be stunned.