Human


Excuse me while I have a totally human moment and admit that today sucked! And yesterday sucked, too. And that I am dreading tomorrow so much it literally brought me to tears thinking about it. 

Parenting isn’t easy. Sometimes it is incredibly hard. Some days leave you wondering how you’ll ever make it through their childhoods. Some days end with you feeling like you were just not cut out for this gig. 

Today, I wanted to quit. I wanted to hang up the Mom hat. The three year old is practicing asserting his control and independence, every. Chance. He. Gets. I’ve heard him say “no” over the last few days than in his whole life before this. And I know! I have studied early childhood development and I know why he’s doing it; I know it’s an important step in his growth and development, and I know it won’t last. I know to stay calm and empathetic, allowing him control when feasible and being understanding yet firm on the boundaries when I cannot let him be in charge. 

I know his tantrums aren’t about me, they are about him. His growth. His learning. His need to push boundaries and figure out where the lines are drawn. But when he’s screaming at me because I got the wrong surprise treat or because I won’t pick up the item he dropped on purpose RIGHT BY HIS FEET and therefore commences to do the Possessed Worm in the middle of the grocery store, I don’t feel knowledgeable and capable. 

I feel angry. Hurt. Overwhelmed. 

I’m embarrassed, indecisive, fragile. 

*I* want someone to put their arms around *me* and tell me “You are having such a rough day! I know that doesn’t feel good inside. What can we do to make this better?”

But, of course, no one does. In this scenario, that’s my job. And so that’s what I do. I wrap him up tight and tell him I wish that I had enough arms to carry him, pull the grocery cart AND push the cart the baby is riding in. I wish I could pick him up and never let him go until he was ready. I remind him that when we get home, I can snuggle with him. And that we can go home as soon as we are done with our shopping. 

And it works. For a moment. But only a moment. Because he’s three. 

And I’m 28. I’m the adult. Mom of 4, soon to be 5. Caregiver to 8, 9, 10 kids at any given time. It’s up to me to reframe this moment and turn the week around. 

And I will do my best to do that. But for now, I’ll also take time to simply be human and feel. Breathe, and cry, and indulge myself; allow myself to process my frustration and hurt and discouragement. 

Because I am human. And that’s okay. 

Hero


So small. So defenseless. If some great calamity struck today, something horrific and disastrous; something so awful and wrong and damaging that he stands no chance against…he would turn to me, wrap his arms around my neck, and fully trust me to save him. He might still be afraid, but he would have no doubt that I would be his hero. Continue reading

Awake


I’m awake for no reason I can find; my littlest ones are with their Granny tonight, I should be making the most of the bed space and sleeping well…instead I find myself missing those fuzzy headed tickles and warm bodies against my back and my belly.

I hear the bigger kids shift as they near the end of sleep, and I pray their dreams are sweet and peaceful. I hope I can be the mom today that they need.

I hold my hands on my belly, trace lightly over faint lines that mark how I grew and stretched as we anticipated the births of our children. I picture it in three, six months, when this new life stirring inside is showing for the world to see, and I almost think maybe I feel the slightest hint of a flutter. An awakening. Hello, little one. Are you up, too, with imaginings about who we are?

I think about the babies who never made it to my arms, and let myself sit with the grief a moment; something I have had to teach myself is okay, even necessary.

I won’t sleep tonight. The children will wake soon, hungry and eager to regale me with tales from their adventures in slumberland. There will be laughter, and likely some tears. They won’t do everything right, and neither will I. We will forgive, we will move on. We will love.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m ready to begin.

‘Tis the season…for stress


This time of year tends to be fairly difficult for most families. Kids are home from school, but parents aren’t getting a break from work or family duties. Even for families who don’t celebrate the season’s holidays, the energy that surrounds this time of year is everywhere. Stores are bustling, playgrounds packed, traffic is high, and toy and game ads are in super-gear. Every channel is running programs full of festive “cheer” which usually focuses on some form of the gimmes, or exaggerated familial conflicts, and other holiday themed struggle.

We, as adults, get stressed out. Finances might be tight. Time almost always is. So many people to see, and so little patience for them all. Old arguments crop back up, feelings get hurt, boundaries are pushed and broken. Grandparents disrespect Mom and Dad’s wishes for their children, children embarrass parents in front of their grandparents, and many families with different approaches to child raising come together and feel awkward.

So in this season that is supposed to remind us to be generous, selfless, compassionate, and forgiving- don’t forget to include yourself.

Being generous doesn’t mean to give so much you have nothing left of yourself.

Being selfless doesn’t mean to sacrifice your ideals and boundaries to keep everyone else happy.

Being compassionate toward others is a lot easier when you practice on yourself.

Forgiveness is just as important to express when YOU make a mistake as it is when someone else crosses a line.

Lower your expectations.

Remember what it was like this time of year as a child.

Be observant. Step in and find a way to remove an excitable kid before they get overwhelmed.

Don’t overschedule. If your holiday schedule makes YOU stressed, imagine the anxiety a child who has no control over the timetable feels.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for taking care of you and your family’s needs.

Happy Holidays!

When feeling bad feels good.


I want to thank my son for allowing me to share this. It’s hard to share personal, vulnerable, emotional moments. ❤

As the day we celebrated his brother's third birthday wore on, 7.5yo Paby became progressively more controlling and irritable. He began lashing out verbally at his siblings and at me, and it all came to a peak when our borrowed baby's mom came to pick up her daughter and a neighbor friend came.
Continue reading

Big vs Small


“Rogue! I know you are angry. Paby is playing with your faaavorite outdoor toy. You want him to get off, so you pushed him down, is that right?”

“No, Mama! He get on mine wiggle rider and I want get on mine wiggle rider, so…so….I got andry and….I…

“It’s okay, take a deep breath and think. I’m ready to listen and help figure this out.”
Continue reading

Parents say the darnedest things…


We’ve all have those moments where the words that just came out of your mouth register in your own brain, and you realize how odd you actually sound. Here’s a few of mine from just this week.

1.) “please go to the backyard BEFORE you get your penis out.”

2.) “Not tomorrow tomorrow, but tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.”

3.) “I’m sorry. I accidentally put your zombie on the wet countertop, and it’s ruined. We’ll have to throw him away. I would like to help you make another zombie if you’re okay with that.”

4.) “I don’t want you standing on anyone’s head, even if they tell you to.”

5.) “She doesn’t want to shake her butt, and that’s okay.”

6.) “I’d like for you to move your secret lair out of the hallway, please.”

Put your own strange sayings in the comments, and I might publish it in the next “Parents Say The Darndest Things.”

The Battle that Wasn’t.


I began to get frustrated at my kiddos during the editing routine. A little silliness doesn’t bother me, but tonight’s giggles turned to screams, chasing, locked bathroom doors, and sheer insanity. I felt my throat tighten as impatience bubbled its way up, so I closed my eyes to block out the visual chaos, breathed deep, and let the stress flow out in a cleansing sigh instead of the shout it wanted to be. I paused long enough to make sure I was in control, then called the kids by name. Continue reading

I Was Wrong


Mazzen was taking a break from playing with blocks in the living room to have a snack. I came back into the living room, and she followed. Paby also came in, and crossed in front of the chair in which I sat, and I heard a loud sound. I looked down, startled, and saw Paby scooping up the blocks that -I assumed- he’d knocked over.

Mazzen told him anxiously, “Paby, I wasn’t done! I want to finish playing when I’m done eating.”

He didn’t respond, grabbed the last block, and began walking away.

I felt frustration rising; he often ignores his siblings, and it is something that irks me. I breathed deeply, and called him back.

“Paby, Mazzen was talking to you.”

“I knooow. I’m putting the blocks up.”

“I want you to put them back.”

He walked away again, not responding.

I became angry. I was tired. Rogue had been cranky since getting home from his granny’s, and was attached to my lap. That always makes me feel more irritable, because I feel less able to physically get up and do what needs to be done when addressing situations.

And so I yelled. I lost my temper, and yelled “Paby, I told you to put the blocks back, and I expect you do do it. Now!”

He came back in with anger on his face.

“I AM!”

“No, you’re carrying them away! Put them back where they were, next to your sister on the floor!!”

“They WEREN’T by her! They were in the kitchen!! I was trying to put them back!”

Realization dawned on me then. When I went to the kitchen to get her snack, Mazzen must have brought an armful of blocks with her and set them down to receive her food. Paby found them, and not realizing she was using them, picked them up to put them away. As he passed my chair, he dropped some, which had drawn my attention and Mazzen’s.

He was helping; being responsible. Then, when asked to put them back, he was returning them to the place he found them.

And I was yelling at him for it.

I hung my head in shame.

“Paby…I’m sorry. I didn’t understand, and I jumped to conclusions. Thank you for helping. I was wrong for getting upset; for yelling. ”

“…okay.”

Not “it’s okay,” because the way I reacted wasn’t okay. But “okay.” Okay, I accept your apology. Okay, we can move past this.

I looked up at my firstborn, an understanding smile on his face, and saw a look of forgiveness in his eyes. A look of empathy. He’s no stranger to letting frustration control one’s words and actions. And he was choosing grade for me.

Something I should have chosen for him from the beginning.

Always choose grace. Always choose understanding. And when you don’t, when you choose anger and admonishment, always, always choose “I’m sorry.”