“This is why we can’t have nice things!”

Start the video around the 6 minute mark, and then end it at the 8 minute mark. It seems like a pain but its completely worth it.

Now just substitute the lamp, table, and piano for… oh I don’t know… EVERYTHING IN MY HOUSE, throw in the occassional wrestle session from daddy, and instead of buggles make it Cheese-its and Pringles all over the floor. And this friends… is my life. Yes, those are two grown adults, but I feel like 4 kids fighting the same way equals at least two grown men.

And THAT is why we can’t have nice things! 😉

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial. The father, joyfully back to school shopping with his kids, while they follow behind with their heads hanging low in despair. If not, please see exhibit A:

I know a lot of parents that feel this way, I get it, they get a break! The kids are occupied. They don’t have to listen to fighting, complaining and the ever present “I’m bored” comments. But this year I find myself in the minority. I am not liking back to school. I have to wake up earlier, my big helpers are gone all day, and its WAY too quiet in the house.

I know what you’re thinking, why don’t you pull C and M out of school? Homeschool them! And my answer to you is, “I’D LOVE TO!” But something we’ve said from the beginning is that homeschooling needs to be an individual choice. I will not force my kids to be home with me as much as I will not force my kids to be at school without me. At the beginning of the year we ask them, “Would you like to be homeschooled or would you like to go to regular school.” Last year my second oldest wanted to be homeschooled, so she was! It was great year and she learned a lot! This year, she wanted to be in regular school. Last year (and really every year) my oldest wanted to be in regular school. They decided, they exhibited their autonomy, and I’m PROUD OF THEM.

However, now I’m feeling something I never thought I would. I’m feeling EMPTY! I’m feeling SAD! And I feel not nearly as busy during the day. Here ya go, I can hear you now, “Uhhhhh, Jessica, you have 3 other kids at home, including a NEWBORN!” I know, I know! But it’s just not the same! I miss my kiddos. I miss all the playing they do together. I miss my 7 year old cuddling up with me during quiet time and telling me stories and all about his great ideas. It’s lonely without them.

The really great part about them being gone though is that I get to have some AWESOME special time with my 3 (almost 4) year old. I’m discovering more and more that he is a RIOT! He loves being homeschooled (maybe he’ll want to continue?) and I can already see his little mind growing and changing as he processes some of the things we go over.

So, for now I’ll suck it up. I’ll enjoy my quiet time with my handsome man and little ladies. And I’ll wait anxiously for Christmas break, when I’ll get to have all 5 of my small people with me every day, even if its only for a handful of weeks.

The Transition from “My Baby” to “Boy”

“Yo waddup mom?”

My head spun around like a top. “I’m sorry, what did you just say to me?” “I said, ‘Yo, waddup mom?'” I very quickly squashed that poor use of something that is supposed to resemble the English language. He is 6.5! I thought I had more time than that!

We always say that our children will always be our babies. They will always be young enough to hug, cuddle, and be reprimanded. But when will us calling them “our babies” go from being truth to being a figure of speech? I think that “when”, at least for me, is now. My 6.5 year old little boy is very quickly becoming WAY too independent. He showers by himself, can fix his own food (thankfully he still would rather I do it), has begun questioning my reasoning when I tell him what to do, and is coming up with weird phrases like “waddup” and annoying things like that. Of course I am doing my best to correct poor speech and actions but it is becoming more and more clear to me that the little baby I used to fall asleep on the couch with in the middle of the night is no longer my little baby.

This is not to say that I won’t hold onto whats left of his child-like dependency with everything inside of me. But it is to say that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I should learn to let go a bit. It’s okay to let them experience life the way they need to, it is okay to let them make mistakes, it is even okay to allow them to leave the house in mismatched socks (oh who am I kidding, all of our socks are mismatched). For now I suppose I will embrace the rapid development of my (not so) little baby boy because the tighter I hold on to him, the more he will push away.

Sometimes toddlers are like pets…

Lets face it, sometimes our toddlers are the best puppies we will ever have. I’m not saying it to be mean, I’m saying it based on my observations of my own canine-like offspring.

My one year old:

-At meal times, if she isn’t securely strapped in her own seat, she crawls under the table waiting for the other kids to drop food on the floor.

-She will eat quite literally anything off the floor, cheerios, scraps, rocks, poop (oh yeah like you’ve NEVER had a kid poop on the floor), ect.

– She begs

– She tries to climb up my leg

– She randomly falls asleep on the floor

– She slides on the hardwood when she is walking to fast.

My three year old

– Has “marked” literally every room in the house.

– Runs the length of the house, from kitchen to bedroom, back and forth until he runs out of breath.

– Sometimes licks himself

– Also begs

– Has those big sad eyes down pat

– Is fascinated with his “privates”

 

So next time my older kids ask me (for the millionth time) for a puppy my response will be, “we already have two… now go walk your brother.”

Moments for Myself

My morning starts at a (not so) bright and early 6:15 in the morning. I wake up and hit the ground running: getting C on the bus for 7:10, everyone fed, husband out the door, diaper changes, nursing the baby, laundry started, dish washer emptied… mostly done by 8:30. These things aren’t so much a choice as they are a necessity because the rest of my day is full as well with dinner prep, more laundry, bill paying, kissing boo-boos  homeschooling M and M, vacuuming (whoever decided that a dining room should be carpeted should be SHOT… seriously), breaking up fights, ect.

I don’t say all this to receive accolades or sympathy, but more to explain how I keep my sanity. I quite literally schedule moments for myself. Once I get C and hubs off to school and work, respectively, I give M and M free play time in the boys room and put the baby down for a early morning snooze (30-45 minutes). At this point in time silence befalls my house. I turn off the tv, put on some worship music, pour myself a coffee and read the paper/bible/blogs/whatever I enjoy. This time is truly mine. Yes there is the occasional “please go back in that room” or “if you wake up the baby I swear…” but all in all it’s mine to do what I want with.

Mom’s NEED this time. We need to know that part of our day is reserved for ourselves. It is a time to unwind, collect our thoughts, or just be able to hear ourselves breathe. Personally, this “me time” sets the tone for my day. There have been days that I haven’t been able to squeeze it in because of one reason or another and I am a wretched human being for the remaining 11 hours until I go to bed at night.

Maybe morning mommy moments won’t work for you. Your child(ren) are not at the age where they can play by themselves or take a morning snooze. That is ok! But I encourage you to designate some amount of time throughout the day for yourself whether it be nap time, lunch time or right after the kids go to bed. Put down the rags and cleaner, leave the kitchen a mess for a bit, and let the laundry stay bundled in the basket a while longer. A burnt out mom is no use to anyone, but being able to recharge, even for 20 minutes, gives you the emotional and mental stamina to tackle the rest of your day.

The Imperfect Parent

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a very good friend of mine.

It is very easy to go throughout the day as a parent and only see all the things we are doing wrong. We wonder how our children will remember us when they get older. Will they remember us yelling all the time? Will they remember how we were tired sometimes and needed a break? Or how sometimes we just reached our emotional limit and had nothing left to give? Or will they consider us, in true Mary Poppin fashion, to be practically perfect in every way and forget all about our downfalls and failures? I’d like to believe that they will remember neither, but something far more valuable.

Romans 3:23- “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

Romans 3: 10- “As it is written, ‘None is righteous, no not one.'”

I think it is important, as parents, to express to our children that there is only one person that is and has ever been perfect. Christ was the embodiment of God, perfection in human form. That’s quite the bar to put ourselves up against.  We can try, every day, to be the BEST parents to our children that we can be but there are times when we just are not going to do that well. We are going to have those “bad mommy/daddy” days. The important thing is what we DO with those days. On what note will they end?

Case and point:

The other day was a baaaad day. My husband had been out of town for a couple days and I just didn’t have anything left to give. I was run down, exhausted and frustrated. Unfortunately, I had no one else to take my frustrations out on but my kids. They fell victim to my fallibility and by the end of that day I was riddled with guilt, thinking I surely had ruined them forever.  I had two choices at that point. I could leave it alone, put them to bed, and know that they would wake up in the morning having forgotten everything -OR- I could address my behavior and teach them a valuable lesson. Individually I pulled them aside before bed. And one by one I apologized to them. I explained to them that mommy’s make mistakes, they make a lot of mistakes, but we have a Father in Heaven that forgives and helps us. Mommy’s need just as much help from God as any body else does, sometimes we need even more help. I asked them if they would pray for me, because mommy’s need prayers too.

I didn’t have to end the day like that. I truly could have just put them to bed and they would’ve woken up and cuddled in bed with me the next morning as if nothing every happened. But instead I was given an incredible opportunity to teach them about the love and forgiveness of Christ. I made myself vulnerable to them and allowed them to know that it’s okay that they make mistakes as well. Because in the end I’d like to believe that will not remember how awful I was or how perfect, but instead will remember that I was imperfect like everyone else and need Christ’s grace and mercy just as much if not more than they do.