Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

I just bought 12 ounces of organic raspberries at Costco for only $3.99.  In one sitting, my three kids polished off nearly 10 ounces of that package.  I wish they would tell me they were going to devour the whole package, so I could plan ahead and buy two packages.  Of course, had I purchased two packages, they would have sampled one raspberry each, and declared them “yucky”.

I wish my kids would tell me when they are going to nap for three hours at a stretch.  Then, I could plan ahead properly and begin a serious project.  Or (gasp!) take a nap myself.

I wish they would tell me when they are going to throw up.  Then I could swiftly guide them to the bathroom.  In time.  No fuss, no muss.

I wish they would tell me which stuffed animal will become their favorite of all time.  The one they must have to fall asleep.  Armed with this knowledge, I am Supermom.

All of these wishes, when boiled down to the core, simply would allow me to be prepared.  I love being prepared.  I love having the right snack and the right time, and preventing a hungry, toddler meltdown.  I love having the diaper bag stocked with all the necessities, allowing  me to deal with whatever life throws at me.  On the flipside, I hate being unprepared.

All of this leads me to this, one of motherhood’s best lessons:

Be as prepared as you can be, when you can be.  But, also be prepared to be unprepared.  Learning to roll with it, learning to adapt, those are skills we as moms have developed, honed, perfected.  So, just because you don’t feel prepared, doesn’t mean you’re not succeeding.


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My husband is out of town.  I can say this because by the time you read this, he will be back.  He has also been uber-busy at work lately.  He generally works a lot, but the last couple of weeks have been exceptionally crazy.  So, it didn’t surprise me at all when last night, at about 10 o’clock, he says casually, “Hey, did I tell you I’m going to Vegas tomorrow?”.

Um, nope.  No, you didn’t.  He’s not so much into the details sometimes.

At least this is only a one night trip.  Not at all like the time I found out he was going to Brussels, Belgium because of some flight times I saw scribbled on the back of a grocery receipt he left sitting next to the laptop on the kitchen counter.  I know, I know, his communication skills are positively astounding.  In the end, his trip got cancelled anyway.  But, I’m getting a little off topic.

It just so happens that I had already made plans with some girlfriends to go out tonight.  I planned it carefully, so that the baby would already be asleep, and the boys would be fed, and in their jammies.

So, now I’m faced with a dilemma.  I could a) scrap my plans for a Girls Night Out (which honestly only happens every six months or so for me.  I know, I know, I need to work on that), or b) call my Mother-in-Law.  I do have a couple babysitters that I use, but now that school is in, they are busy with sports, boyfriends, part-time jobs, and oh, yes, school.

I decided it was important enough to me to give her a call, last-minute.  Turns out she was available and happy to do it.  I am a lucky woman.  Side note:  She also watched the kids one other time this week, and has plans to help me out twice next week.  Am I taking advantage? I hope not. But, possibly a little.

Not everyone has a great relationship with their Mother-in-Law, but after 14 years of marriage, here are a few secrets I will share with you about your Mother-in-Law:

1.  She really does want to help.

So, let her.  Let her hold the baby.  Let  her do a load of laundry.  Let her take the kids to the park.  She wants to do it, and it’s really okay.  Really.

2.  She has the best of intentions.

Yes, she may feed the baby at the wrong time.  Or not warm up the bottle enough.  She might even (gasp!) stop for an ice cream treat before dinner. She is not you.  She will not do things exactly as you do.  But, if you give her instructions, she’ll do her best.  She doesn’t intentionally sabotage your children’s sleep schedule.  She’s finding her way in this whole Grandmother thing, just like you’re finding out who you are as a Mom.  And, she’s waited her whole life to be a Grandmother, so cut her a little slack.  Even if it’s a really, really small amount of slack.

3.  She loves her son and her grandchildren.  But, she loves you, too.

She loves you in a different way, and that love may change and grow over the years.  But, she loves you in a way that says “thank you for sharing your life with my son, and for letting me be a part of my grandchildren’s lives, too”.

4.  She appreciates a Thank You.

It’s easy to take anyone for granted.  I think it’s especially easy to take your Mother-in-Law for granted.  So, remember to appreciate the good things she does.  Even if it’s sandwiched in between things that frustrate you.  She’s a good person.  See Numbers 1 and 2, above.

5.  She has more life experience than you.

This one might be hard to swallow for some, especially if your Mother-in-Law is one who is constantly offering up advice, or insinuating that her way is better.  But, it is true.  She’s been married longer, and even though her children aren’t little any more, she’s been a Mom longer, too.  So, listen to her advice, and allow it to sink in a little.  No one says you have to follow it.  But, you never know what you might learn if you’re open to it.

I mean, maybe she really does have a terrific chicken recipe that’s easy and delicious (and if your husband likes it, you can just wink and say, “I know, yum, right?! It’s just a new recipe I’ve been wanting to try”). Or you can give her credit, if you’re feeling generous.  Men usually don’t care too much about that kind of thing anyway.  Either way, it’s a win-win.  Or, if you’re Michael Scott, a win-win-win.

6.  She knows you hold the cards.  And, she appreciates that you put up with her son.

It’s true.  You have a lot of power in this relationship.  And, he is the boy she raised: the good, and all.the.faults.  See paragraph 3, above.

Anyone else want to chime in?? Come on, put me in my place. 🙂

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Well, it’s official, we have a crawler in our house!   I was beginning to wonder if it would actually happen.  Both the boys crawled when they were 8 months old.  My little K bug is 10 and a half months old.  But, she finally decided she’s spoiled me long enough by remaining stationary.  She is now on the move.  Look out, world!

Here are some of her first moves.  Note that it is my keys she finds so desirable in the video.  Is this a sign of things to come?

I think we’ll be installing (re-installing) the gate at the top of the stairs sooner rather than later!

When did your babies learn to crawl?  Did they crawl before they walked?

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I find myself so tired by the end of the day lately.  Not tired like a pregnant woman who falls asleep on the couch after dinner, and not tired like a new mommy who falls asleep while her newborn nurses sweetly, and rhythmically.  No, this isn’t one of those kinds of tired.  It is different all together.  It’s more like . . . mental and emotional . . . exhaustion.  My boys tag team me during the day, getting on each other’s nerves like only brothers can.  And, then once I’ve wrangled them in and out of the bath, into their jammies, brushed their teeth, and read stories, my littlest boy, B, has decided that getting out of bed at night (over, and over, and over) is much more fun and fulfilling than actually falling asleep.  Truthfully, at this point in the day, I am just done.  Completely drained.

But, I know there will come a day when I will (and I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it) really miss these days.  I know that someday it will once again be about me.  Will it . . . really?

On the days (more lately than usual) when I feel my life is really hard, I need to remember to reflect, and appreciate how lucky I really am.  I have three strong, beautiful, funny, and intelligent children.  I have the loving support of a husband who agrees it is important that I be home for these years.  I have in-laws who are caring, thoughtful, helpful, generous, and who are a big part of my children’s lives.  My parents are equally involved, caring for their grandchildren in ways I can’t.  They love them simply, without the messiness of being their parents.  They cheer them on, hug them tight, and love them unconditionally.  My kids are lucky.  So am I.  

I don’t have a child with autism.  I don’t have a special needs child.  I don’t have a child with health problems.  My husband and I are healthy.  We still have both of our parents, who get to spend time with our children on a regular basis.  I am so lucky.

So, why do I complain?  Because it is human nature.  We want more, with a side of more, and extra more.

So, I’m going to try remind myself to be grateful.  Sometimes just remembering not to sweat the small stuff is all it takes to improve perspective.   We just need reminders of what is the small stuff.  Today I’m going to hug my kids, and count to ten, rather than send steam out my ears, wasting precious energy being frustrated and irritated.  Because, I don’t want to be drained tonight.  And, being grumpy takes a lot of energy.

So, how do you improve your perspective, and keep things in check?

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A Mom’s Wish

The last couple of weeks have been especially hard around our house.  Actually, they’ve been hard on me.  I’m not so sure the boys have taken much notice.

So, as a manner of therapy for me, here is a wish list I would like to hand to my boys (the baby girl is off the hook for now, as she is the only one not giving me attitude lately).

If only they could read.  Or follow directions.  Here goes.

Boys, please:

  1. Get up quietly and leave me alone until 7am.  Better yet, since this is a wish list, make that 7:30am.  It’s really not asking for too much.
  2. Let me sleep all night.  I do not want to be bothered at 3am with runny noses, and a need for a hug.  That is what daylight is for.  Did you know your baby sister hasn’t bothered me in the middle of the night for months now?  You could learn something from her.
  3. Please put your toys away when you’re done playing with them.  Leaving the downstairs looking like Katrina is no longer cool.
  4. Listen to each other respectfully.  Grabbing, yelling, hitting, and pushing only work in bar fights.
  5. When I read you a story, kiss you goodnight, and tuck you in, go to sleep.  This new routine of getting up to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, climbing on the bunk bed and traipsing down the stairs to flash a silly grin has added 10 gray hairs to my head and shortened my life by approximately 2.3 hours.
  6. When you’re sitting at the table for a meal (that I lovingly prepared, ensuring it is healthy and nutritious), finish your food before getting down.  And, while you’re at it, ask permission to be excused, take your dishes to the counter, and wipe your mouth and hands before leaving the kitchen.  Not everyone appreciates the vibrant color of grape jelly against the muted color of the sofa as much as you do.
  7. When I ask you to get in the car, I do not mean climb in the front seat, readjust the rear-view mirror, turn on the defroster, and throw the garage door opener on the floor.  Do I unknowingly speak in foreign tongues?
  8. Please leave cabinet doors closed.  Tampons are not toys, and yes, when you open them, they all look the same inside.
I think that’s all for now.

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Where did the summer go?  I have definitely not soaked up enough of it for it to be slipping away.  This summer my oldest boy is 5, my youngest boy is 2, and my sweet baby girl is 9 months old.  There will never be another summer like this one.  It is the first summer my youngest is talking.  It is the last summer my baby will not be walking.  It will be the last summer I will have two kids in diapers (one can hope!).  It is the last summer before real school starts for this family of five.

Everyone tells you that time flies when your kids are young.  It is so true.  I realize, fortunately, that this is the time to remember.  Thanks, Billy Joel.  Even though the days fly by with snacks, diapers, sippy cups, sticky fingers, hugs, kisses, and time-outs, it’s important to take the time to reflect and enjoy.  I will never get this time back.  That’s the biggest reason I’m staying home.

My best friend, Joanne, and I had a conversation a couple of years ago about whether either of us would have a third child (spoiler alert, we each now have two boys and a baby girl).  Ahem, back to the story.

We were a bit wistful thinking that our littlest boys would be our last babies.  In the midst of our conversation, she said something that I will always remember:  It’s natural to feel sadness when you know you won’t have any more children.  It’s a shift in your life.  You are no longer having babies, you’re raising a family.  Truer words couldn’t be said.  My days of up all night are over.  Hopefully.  My days of burp cloths and bouncy chairs are over.  This is really okay with me.  But just because it is true, and I am not looking back, doesn’t mean I want it to go so darn fast!!!  So, in honor of that, I am making a (short, I mean, we’re talking a mere number of days left!) list of what I want to accomplish before the summer officially ends.

In these last few weeks of summer, I will:

1.  spend more time in the back yard, watching my kids playing in the pool and sandbox

2.  dole out more otter pops!

3.  make homemade popsicles

4.  go to the local water park at least three more times

5.  go on more late evening and early morning walks

6.  take more pictures with my all-grown-up SLR camera

I guess I’d better get busy!

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I hear this all the time.  From the lady shopping in the same aisle at the grocery store, from the guy behind the counter at Starbucks.  It’s like the mommy-equivalent of “oh, you got your hair cut!”.  Or, “you look tired”.

Seriously?  Of course I’ve got my hands full.  Thanks for noticing.  I’ve got three kids.  Only one of them can adequately speak for himself, and doesn’t need his bottom wiped every two hours.

Once, after dropping my oldest son off at preschool, my two-year old, the baby and I hit Target.  We weren’t 10 steps in the door when I got hit with this:

“Oh, you only have two today?”

Seriously?  Do I know you?  The comment came from a twenty-something wearing a name tag and a red shirt.  I didn’t know her.  Didn’t even recognize her.  My first thought was UH-OH.  Her comment meant one of two things:

1) I shop at Target WAY too much . . . OR

2) We are WAY too memorable when we do go

I think I have a pretty good handle on my kids (most of the time).  Especially the little ones.  My 5-year-old can be a little much, but that’s for another post (can you say high-maintenance?).  So, I don’t think it’s that people remember us because we’re throwing tantrums over Lego’s (although there was that one December trip where we broke a snow-globe, but that was a total accident and it was over 2 years ago . . .).

So, this makes me wonder. . . Do you ever get the “busy lady” or “hands full” comments?  Can’t people come up with something more interesting or helpful to say?  How about, “your children are beautiful”, or “here, let me get that for you”.  THAT would be a welcome change.  Or, maybe I should just be happy they aren’t shooting us dirty looks . . .

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