Sweet Mama, You’re Doing Great!

sweet mama

Hey there sweet mama.

I saw you today.  From afar.  You were in the cereal aisle.  You had your hands full, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t notice me watching.  It’s hard to focus on anything when you have one child attempting a cart escape to gather as many sugar-laden boxes of artificially colored wonder as little hands can carry while another insists on yelling about Pop-Tarts and potties while poking the baby in the eyes causing her to scream.  Honestly, it was hard not to watch.  But as I say that, it sounds a bit creepy.  I wasn’t watching-watching you in a stalker kind of way.  Or in a “i’d like to kidnap those kids” way {let’s be honest, there was a lot of noise to consider that}.  I was just observing your life’s chaos with a warm-fuzzy of remembrance.  Because you see, sweet mama, I was once you.

I too once stood in the cereal aisle with 3 littles under 5.  Trying to wrangle them in.  Keep them contained.  Not lose my mind.  I was exhausted and irritated.  I wondered if I was doing this right.  I agonized about each parenting decision.  I worried I was messing them all up forever.  Even from afar I could see in your very tired & annoyed eyes the tinge of motherhood anxiety.  So let me be the first to tell you “You’re Doing An Amazing Job!”

I realize that you don’t believe me.  You see the FaceBook posts and Instagram photos and the Tweets and the Pinterest Boards that scream at you “You’re not doing enough!” and “You could do more!”  But  believing me.  You are doing a perfectly wonderful & shut up job!!  There is absolutely nothing easy about motherhood in these early years.  Or in any years, I’m learning.  Oh, yes, there are many blessings & wonderful moments, hugs and kisses and snuggles and firsts.  But easy?  No.  It’s sleepless nights and feeding schedules and separation anxiety and temper tantrums and general loudness and snotty noses and ear infections and potty training and pacifier removal and sibling squabbling and smelly, moldy sippy cups rolling out from under the seats in your mini van {you’re rocking the MV by the way!}.  And then throw in there the rest of your life – your hubby and work and friends and moving and bills and commitments.  Oh,  and don’t forget not to lose you.  This is all hard! Very hard!  But you’re doing great!

The thing is, no one really knows what they’re doing.  No one! Some will pretend they do or, maybe even more dangerously, will think they do. You’ll be tempted to compare and measure up.  But listen to me, sweet mama, we are all flying by the seat of our pants here on a wish and a prayer that we don’t totally screw up this enormous responsibility called motherhood. In the end we’re all just hoping that at our funerals the kids proclaim us to have been a “good mom”.

Well, mama friend {can I call you that now?} I’m here to tell you before your funeral, you are a good mom.  A great mom in fact.  You see, contrary to what you might have thought, great moms aren’t built on what they dress their littles in.  It’s not determined by where your littles sleep or how well their sleep routine is set.  It has nothing to do with the laundry detergent you buy or the cleaning products you use.  Being a good mom isn’t about organic, non-GMO foods filling your pantry or home cooked meals three times a day.  Motherhood success is not built on vacations or family game nights or birthday parties or Instagram-worthy, FixerUpper houses or playdates or how well you avoid the drive-thru.  You are not a great mom because your life is put together neatly and the children fit in like a perfectly photoshopped portrait.  You are a great mom because you are the mom that God chose to raise those little, loud, always-moving, constantly-touching, often messy, amazing, perfectly-created for Him babies of yours.  Whether they grew in your womb or someone else’s, you were handpicked to be their mom.  They only get one.  And God picked you because He knew the fit would be perfect.  So if you’re seeking Him & following His Word, you are doing the job He asked you to do very well.  Everything else is a decision.  Everything else is simply how you & your family prioritize life.  And priorities vary as much as there are families.  No one way is right and no one way is wrong.  And what you chose isn’t going to make or break you as a “good mom”.  Because, my friend, you are already a good mom.

Are you going to mess this motherhood thing up?  Heck yes!!  If you’ve decided successful motherhood is based on your perfection in mothering, you’d best lower that bar, mama, and do some rethinking.  You are going to make mistakes.  Little ones & huge ones.  After all, you’re human.  Remember?  No SuperMoms with super powers of perfection here.  Not one.  We are all human.  So take time to look to Him, the one who assigned you to these littles, ask Him to help, follow His guidance, get in His Word and use it.  Every mistake made, He can redeem.  Every single one.  And HE WILL!

And find some true, human mamas to CHEER YOU ON!  This world is full-to-the-brim with critiquers.  We are not in a competition here, sweet mama.  Motherhood is not some sport that someone will finish as a winner.  And someone will be a loser.  We are all on the same team!  So get with those who will cheer more than compete and be a cheerer for other mamas you know.  Encouragement and love win!  Every time.  Get to cheering & be cheered for.

I know, sweet mama friend, you didn’t ask for any of this.  You were just trying to get some food in that cart so you could get home and hope to high heaven that all three of those littles took a nap at the same exact time.  But I couldn’t help but remind you that you are AWESOME!  Those kids of yours, beautiful in their mismatched socks and tutu with cowgirl boots ways think the world of you!  You are doing such a great job.  A really great job.  Remember that.  And pass it along to another sweet mama you know.  CHEER ON!

 

Welcome to the New Nanny

It was an epic battle.  One for the record books…or the blog, whichever.  It was complete with door slamming, some under-breath comments & some heavy-footed stair walking.  Sound familiar?  If not, you likely don’t have a single teen in your home.  Just wait.  promise.

Luckily it didn’t last too long & when it was all over – I won!  Important point-if you’re battling with your little {or your not-so-little-anymore} & you’ve committed to the battle {meaning you know that what you’re battling for is important & even necessary for their health & well-being}, under no circumstances should you lose.  Ever. EVER!!  After all, losing could put their very life at stake.  Really.!.

So, this battle of ours.  It should have occurred many, many, many moons ago.  You see, we have the internet at our house.  {Gasping in complete shock would help me out right here.}  I’ll say it again – we have internet in our house.  The outside world gets pumped into our home at a fast rate {well, actually a slow rate, we have Frontier after all}.  But the outside world with all its wonders comes right on in.  And along with its wonders it brings along its nastiness.  And up until yesterday, we rolled out the doormat & said “welcome to our home.  come on in.”  Thus the battle.

We should really know better.  We should.  But a little “i think we’re ok with the systems we have in place” and a dash of “i think our rules are good deterrents” and a bit of “we’re talking with the kids about the dangers of all this stuff” left us complacent and unguarded.  Drats!

Until yesterday.

Not that anything in particular had happened.  Not that anything had been viewed, downloaded, googled, gawked at. But the fact that it could. And our lack of actual monitoring & blocking could allow it to waltz right on in undetected.  No more.

Welcome Net Nanny.

NetNannyLogo-1200px1Net Nanny is a very highly rated monitoring and web blocking software available for all devices that your family might have – PCs, Macs, Androids and Apple hand-held.  You download it to each device, set up users with specific blockers in place and viola! a gate keeper at the internet’s door.  Net Nanny records the information about different users searches and online viewing.  I can see if anyone’s trying to welcome in something I don’t think should be here.  Not only does she block it, she alerts me to it.  This gives me the information to have conversation as necessary about the risks of different things online.

Back to the battle.  Said child wasn’t upset that I had put any stop on his inappropriate internet browsing.  I don’t think that even crossed his pretty little ginger-haired mind.  From my history search, it’s clear his internet browsing consists mostly of gaming how to’s…boring.  He was over the moon mad because Net Nanny might “slow down his  gaming”.  That’s the word on the street anyway.  That blockers and monitors slow the internet down to a crawl.  Eee-gads.  Who knew that the mere mention of a blocker/monitor could send a hormonal teen into a raging madman?  Oh, wait.  Hormonal teen…raging madman – it is my life with a teen.  Should have guessed.

But after all the loud walking and the one slammed door and the under breath words I couldn’t understand {and frankly don’t really want to understand} and several attempts to get me to remove his device from the watchful eyes of Net Nanny- he’s now fine.  He tested out his machine with the unistallable Net Nanny {yes, he tried uninstalling it himself too} and it gamed at the same rapid rate as always {again…Frontier…} and he’s ok.

We do so much to protect our littles.  So very, very much.  But we had left the gate wide open to every and all kinds of awfulness to come in and join us.  That makes no sense.  And the older they get, the more awfulness they will gladly seek out.  Sad, but oh so true.  We must not fall asleep on them!  We must stay watchful.  I see that my new friend, Net Nanny will do just that.

Elfailure

And so it begins.  Day 3.

Elfailure.

I awoke, bounded down the stairs ready for my day.  I lie.  I drag my sorry self out of bed, barely moving with all sort of stinky breath and eye goop & basically fall down the stairs with only the smell of fresh coffee to propel me forward.  It’s early.  It’s dark.  It’s early.  Coffee.

Small children follow shortly there after.  {They’re not that small…but, please give me this}  As if in a slow motion iPhone video I hear the littlest Weed hopping down the stairs, my eyes widen as I scour the room for our little guy with a red stocking cap.  Oh pickles!  He’s still hugging the fat angel snowman.  Same as yesterday.  Agh!  I grab him & throw him into the closest place I can find.  Kid. You. Not.  The elf was launched in the air as not-so-little child rounds the corner into the room, landing just in the knick of time.

“where’s Flory?  he’s not still hugging the fat snowman.”

“not sure.  haven’t seen that crazy elf all morning.”

“Ohhhhhh, here he is.  Silly Flory!”

Here he is.

IMG_2424

What’s that?  You can’t see him?  It’s like Where’s Waldo.  Play along here with me.  I’m in the middle of elfailure, remember?  Can you find him? Wait.  Here.  I’ll zoom in:

IMG_2425

There he is.  Silly Flory!  Pinterest worthy, don’t you think?  Elf thrown in the poinsettia.  Original.  And it’s a new record for me.  Three days to elfailure this year.  I usually can make it at least a week.  bummer.  3 days.

So my big question is:  Who are you people?  Who are you parents who move that darn little elf every.single.night into fun and exciting predicaments.  Some of you are sewing outfits for your little elf to wear…outfits.  Who are you people?  I googled it.  Creative Elf Ideas.  Do you know what I got?  A hole load of creative ideas {and some mildly inappropriate ones}.  Hundreds and hundreds of them.  Elf arrangements that actually occurred.  Parents took time to arrange their elves in cute situations.  And then snapped a success picture for Pinterest. Who are you people?  I want to gleam your elf wisdom.  I want to peak inside your ideas, into your brain, into your creativity.  I want to be you.  Not the mom that throws her elf into a poinsettia.  Who does that?

Oh, this little elf.  He stresses me out.  I have ideas.  I do. Big ideas.  Fun ideas.  Amazing Pinterest-worthy ideas.  But I forget.  I finish up the night.  I’m sleepy-eyed.  I make the coffee {or watch the hubs make the coffee}.  I kiss the kids.  I go to bed.  I forget the elf.  elforget=elfailure!

It’s just too much.  My parents.  Now they had it made.  $2 to the German Club at the local high school & me and my big bro had a calendar filled with daily chocolate rations.  My parents had zero responsibility at that point.  My big bro and I always remembered the chocolate after dinner.  Always.  And we had to open the little door on the cardboard calendar right along the perforation to get that treat.  My parents did squat.  Who invented this blasted elf that requires so much of me?  So much.  It is too much.  Too much.

I am an elfailure.  Perhaps I will embrace it.  Perhaps Flory will be stuck in the poinsettia plant all advent season.  I will faithfully take a daily picture of him.  Still.In.The.Poinsettia.  *Sigh*  I must up my game.  Or not.  I just can’t decide.  I love that stupid elf.  And I hate him.  Ugh!  Where’s my chocolate?

elfailure


Back to advent {elfless advent}

Here we are at Day 4 already in our advent adventure.  Today the song is a great one.  Son of God by Michael W. Smith.  Simple words, lyrically, but so powerful in their meaning.  “Heaven’s perfect plan unfolds, son of God.”

Luke 1:34-35

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

Today, just read over these two verses and consider Mary.  She would soon be pregnant with the Son of God.  Wow!  Too much to even comprehend.

 

Ridiculousness • Defined!

Ridiculousness defined.  Someday hysterical.  Today ridiculousness.

Thursday 3pm – The handsome hubs heads to deer camp.  I imagine a relaxed long weekend with breakfast for dinner, RedBox movies, a new book, lots of tea & general laziness.

relaxing weekend

Thursday 9:04pm – Baby girl comes downstairs holding something on her finger.  “Mom, what’s this?  Is it a bug?”  Calmly we brush the little black dot off her finger onto the kitchen counter {yes the kitchen counter where food is prepped – if you start judging at this point it’s going to be a long post!}  Grab my phone, snap a pic and enlarge it.  For. The. Love. Of. Everything. Good.  Head lice.  Shut up!!!

Thursday 9:40 – Off to the drug store to buy poison.  Yes, poison.  At 10 pm killing those little buggers trumps any neurological side effects that poison might cause.  {it’s true.  You know it is}  So we wash and we comb.  And if you know lice combing you also know it’s like licking the bottom of the produce drawers after you’ve left parsley and cilantro in a bit too long.

Thursday…er wait Friday 12:48 am– We call it good.  I decide that I’d combed all the little eggs out & felt fairly good that the poison had killed everything else.  Hello.  Poison.  Isn’t that the definition?  I wasn’t 100% sure, but I wasn’t letting on.  As far as baby girl knew, she was completely lice free.  Nighty night.

Friday  6:15 am – Morning comes early when you’ve been up picking bugs from the head of your child half the night & scratching your own head with complete certainty that it’s crawling with all kind of buggy grossness the rest.  I decide to let baby girl sleep in & go in late {awesome mom, i know}.  “Mom, I don’t feel very good”  {can’t imagine why?}  Home you shall stay, my sweet lice-headed child.  It’ll be fine.  I was just doing laundry all. the. live. long. day anyhow.  Now I have company to watch The Price Is Right with.  {you know you watch it}

Saturday midday – Baby girl clearly has a fever.  I cannot locate a thermometer in this house.  So.  Help.  Me.  Seriously!  Who with 3 children cannot find a thermometer.  I run to the drug store.  And let’s be real here friends, I need a moment of silence & solitude & a drive to the drug store is necessary for my sanity.

103.7ºF.  Shut the coop up!  She has no other symptoms except some vague pointing at her right ear & the right side of her throat.  I conclude strep.  We’ll head to Urgent Care in the morning.

Sunday 10am – Let’s get this circus to Urgent Care.  HOWEVER, as I’m rubbing her head, brushing the hair back off her face I see it…them.  And they’re moving.  What about the poison I saturated her head in?    Here’s the deal, our upper mid west state has some tough lice.  They’ve adapted quite well & are resistant to poison.  Bless•ed.

Sunday 10:02“hello, Lice Lady?  yes, we need treatment.  yes, we found them.  Tried a poison.  Yes, I understand now that poison doesn’t work.  Yes, they’re strong little bugs.  Resistant.  2:30?  yep.  Everyone in the household?  See you then.”

Sunday 1pm – Grinding & gnashing of teeth {& some excellent eye rolling!} occurs upon the understanding of the exciting family outing awaiting us all in about an hour.  Yay!

Sunday 2pm – in the car, Sweet Ginger, “I WILL NOT cut my hair.  Just so we have that all out on the table to begin with.  NOT CUTTING IT!  You could pay me a grand.  Not cutting it!  And what do I do, Mom. {with dramatic arm flailing!}  Remember my GF straightened my hair yesterday to see what it would look like without the wave.  She’s going to be SO MAD if I have lice & have shared it with her.  This is ridiculous!”  {yes, you had to read that more than once, didn’t you? Sweet Ginger and his girl friend had a little hair salon fun trying to straighten his hair using her brush, comb & straightening iron the day before.   Egads!!   I don’t know…I really have no words to explain teens these days.  {commence parental judgments}  Let’s move on}

Sunday 2:30 – Sure as salt – baby girl needs treatment {lice lingo…she has live bugs on her head}.  Middle and Sweet Ginger…lesser treatment required {less than 10 eggs found no live bugs…well, that’s good news {for the boys & their hair-appliance-sharing-girlfriend.} And Hallelujah! – I’m completely free.

Sunday 7pm – Four & a half hours later.  Four & a half hours!  We leave.  Lice free.  With less money.  Home.  Dinner.  Kiss the Hubs.  Yay!  He’s home.

This is likely where you believe that this story cannot get any worse & surely my intro with all that talk of ridiculousness is really exaggerated.  You may even be beginning to question whether I, as a blogger, can be trusted with such words as “ridiculousness”. Well…let’s continue:

Sunday 8pm – Nighty night, little ones.  Oh, yeah.  Fever.  still at 102.2º.  We’ll take care of that in the morning.

Monday 8am – Middle and Sweet Ginger are happily at school, with all their locks intact & bug free.  A call to inform the nurse of our adventure filled field trip to the Lice Lady & Baby Girl & I are off to beat the rush at Urgent Care.

Monday 9:45am – Strep test negative.  Fever without meds at 101º now.  As per the usual Urgent Care protocol – must be a virus and will work itself out.  Rest & liquids.  At least we know.  Lice-free and no strep.  Life’s looking up.  “See, it isn’t really that bad” I think to myself.

Monday 11:45am“Mom, my eye feels like there’s something in it.  Can you come look?  It’s watering really bad.”  What in the name of all that is green & growing!!??!  There is, I kid you not, yellow ooze covering Baby Girl’s eye.  Yellow ooze.  And her eye is flaming red.  FLAMING!  And swollen.  How in the matter of 2 hours did we go from a normal eye that could be in a ophthalmologist commercial to a flaming, red, oozing eye that could be in a horror flick!?  What kind of awfulness wrapped up as a Thanksgiving week joke is this?

Monday 12:00 – Back to Urgent Care.  As we drive the route to the doctor, I begin to imagine the medical staff assuming I’m one of those crazy moms trying to get some antibiotics for their sweet little girl.  Or maybe I’m one of those moms who tries to get her children sick for attention.  I do look unstable.  I haven’t really slept in three days…have I showered?  They’re certainly putting me away.  Certainly.  Commence heart palpitations.

Monday 12:30pm – Although the wait time sign states 45-60 minutes, the doctor recognizes our name & enters straight away.  I’m certain they’re going to issue some sort of CPS request.  Dread. I begin a spiel about how I’m not one of those moms who just wants antibiotics & I’m not one of those moms who gets her kids sick for attention.  {truth…I said all that.  Unstable much?}  But lucky for me, the doc was already looking at Baby Girl.  “Wow! Look at that eye!  How did I miss that earlier?  It didn’t look that bad when you were here before?  Did it?  Absolutely Pink Eye.  Bacterial.  Yes, sometimes bacterial pink eye will inflame the lymph nodes on the one side & cause some pain or discomfort in that ear & throat.  Also, it can cause a fever on rare occasions.  Here’s a prescription.  She is highly contagious for 24 hours.  Have a happy Thanksgiving!”

Ridiculousness!  Definition.  Who,  please explain to me, who gets head lice & pink eye in the same weekend?  Who?

*Now as a post script, this post has plenty of opportunities for critical judgment.  You may, in fact, be tempted to begin that straight away upon reading.  I understand.  But let’s focus on the tragedy of it all rather than the assumption that the author (me) must be an unclean, unkept women.  And please note that scrubbing your child’s head in lice ridding poison will not work.  Seek out a lice lady near you, if necessary.  And don’t forget that head lice & pink eye are not indicators of how clean you are or are not.  They are equal opportunity ruiners of weekends.  And also remember, as the delightful Jill Savage says, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  Don’t I know it!

 

MotY award lost

It all started at the crack of dawn.  I headed down into my office to spend some quality time with God. I grabbed my coffee, added enough junk to make it hardly taste like coffee and sat down at my desk.   And as often happens {don’t you dare judge the rest of this sentence}, that darn laptop jumped out at me & sat itself right down on top of my Bible & whispered, “just a quick check of email never hurt anyone.”  And without hardly any persuasion {just call me Eve} I logged in.  ‘Just for a minute though, then I’ll get right back into quality time with the Word.’

For-The-Love-Of-All-Things!

There in my inbox sat 31 {I kid you not here friends, 31!} emails from our fast internet provider.  This is never, never, never, ever good!

Back up with me a moment…We live out of town.  Not significantly out of town, like miles and miles away, but we are out of town on some acreage.  And while acreage is great {read hardly any neighbors looking in my windows &sending children over to eat my food} internet is bad.  Very bad.  The only option we had was one little notch up from dial up.  True.  And with teen and tweens, one notch up from dial up is a sad state to live in.  {First world troubles, absolutely}

A few months back my hubs discovered another option for us.  Since I have no vocabulary to tell you exactly what the heck this option is, I will just say that there is a cool cylinder that is now attached to the outside of our home & a new router in the utility room & internet that is lightening speed fast {for those of us with the password, aka me & the hubs}.  No kids allowed! We tell the kids that our new internet for adults only results in their internet speed being faster too because the hubs & I are not stealing all their broadband & for now, they believe us.  And it might be true, so I’m certain I’m not lying about anything. {stop your judging!}  The only catch to this glorious internet option is the usage restriction.  We get a certain amount of gigs per month for one low {hardly!} price.  Then if we go over our amount they tack on the usage fees at speeds comparable to their internet speeds.  But we never have we gone over our allotment.  Until…

Back to the 31 emails sitting in my inbox.  Never you mind that I should have been talking with Jesus.  I was staring at 31 separate “you have gone over your usage” & “you have gone over the extra 1 Gig allocation” !!  Thirty one of them.  Thirty one!!!  At $10 per gig…I was ready to throw up.

Certain the information had to be in error, I got everyone ready and off to their days at school, figuring a quick call to the provider would resolve everything.

Hardly.  After hours with their support folks, the conclusion was, as a customer I am responsible for all usage & I should be monitoring it to ensure that unwanted overages do not occur.  It was also strongly suggested that it may be a wayward teen in the house who has circumvented the password to access faster speeds for gaming & the like.  Hmmmmmm, I do have a teen who enjoys gaming & complains quite regularly about the internet speed with which he connects… could it be?

And…this is where I clearly lose the nomination for Mother of the Year.

At the suggestion of a complete stranger on the other end of the phone line, I run with one conclusion in mind: my sweet ginger boy is responsible for the $350 overage on our internet.  Although he adamantly denies the allegations against him {via text} the next hours {honestly, the entire day} was filled with my attempts to gain enough evidence to put him away for a very long, long time!

This, of course, required a message to my big brother & self-proclaimed computer geek.  He navigated his completely uneducated-in-anything-tech sister through the ins & outs of it all.  I was looking into the “advanced settings” in our router – which is normally only reserved for Mountain Dew drinking men at odd hours of the night.  But I was there, not comprehending anything before me on the screen, but certain it held the keys I needed.  My big bro was patient with every stupid question {and they were ALL stupid questions}.  I sent him so many pictures of my computer screen, it was as if he wasn’t 1800 miles away but sitting right there in my kitchen with me!  He wasn’t as convinced as I that my sweet ginger boy was guilty, but he played along nicely with his clearly insane little sister.

When my sweet ginger boy arrived home from a long day at high school, he was quickly put under my interrogation light & drilled with questions.  Although I knew nothing about the information on the screen in front of me, I pretended I knew & mentioned that I was working with his Uncle to get to the bottom of it all.  He knew his Uncle knew stuff & this might be enough to crack him open.  But he was stone-faced, not willing to budge on his stand that he was an innocent man-child.  I saw this was going to be tough.  He was determined to not admit to anything.  But, I could see his cracks, I knew his lies.  This momma would win in the end. {insert evil, crazy laugh}

Another quick screen shot to my big brother was all it would take.  He requested a picture of a specific advanced setting screen & I delivered promptly, knowing this would be the end.  And it was.  Unfortunately {or fortunately depending on whether you’re cheering for the crazy momma or the sweet ginger hair boy} it was not the answer I had been certain of, the one that would prove my sweet ginger boy was a liar & and an internet stealing thief!  Instead it proved that my husband had made a critical error in the Apple TV settings over the weekend.  Silence.

‘And the nomination goes to anyone except the crazy lady trying to put her son away for crimes he never committed.’

I’ll avoid getting all techie on you, mostly because I haven’t a clue what happened or how or even how my big brother knew, but it was all traced to that little black Apple tv box in the cabinet under the TV.  Which my son had absolutely nothing to do with.

I didn’t take long for me to tuck my tail between  my legs & run over to give my sweet ginger haired boy a big hug and tell him I was sorry that I was accusing him of lying and stealing and being an awful child.  He was gracious and said he knew all along that Uncle J would figure it all out because Uncle J is way smarter than I am with computer things & I’d have to eat my words.  Good kid, I have there, my sweet ginger boy. Now to mortgage the house so we can pay the internet bill this month.  Just kidding.  But seriously painful throwing cash away.  Painful.

Let them be employed!

Acroprint-150-2Stop it!  How can this be?

Employed.  My baby has a job.  A real-life, needs to fill out paperwork, going to get a paycheck job.  J.O.B.  What happened?  He was just a red-haired, brown-eyed screaming little guy in my arms.  Now he’s all tall & manly & driving & employed.  Amazing how children grow & get older &, ridiculous as it seems, I do not.  {straight face, friends}

But seriously, it really is this mama’s dream, I must admit.  Not necessarily that he be employed today, but that he be employed in life. That he knows how to get a job, keep a job, work for a boss, be on time, do stuff that’s not any fun but has to be done just because it’s your job.  That he has an understanding that to get a raise, you have to put in some time & put forth a good attitude & work ethic.  Training them up while the consequences are still minimal is my favorite parenting motto…maybe my only motto…except bed time is necessary & rolling eyes leads to rolling that phone right into mama’s hand & your ego is not your amigo…

anyway

I listen enough to Dr. Laura {you know you love her!} to know that there is something happening in our culture with our boys.  It’s pretty much unique to our most-recent generations.  They never learn to live on their own, never need to leave home because everything’s so easy on the homefront.  They let mama & papa pay the bills, cook the food, lauder the laundry.  They get to sit in darkened bedrooms {likely cleaned by mama} and play video games.  What a deal!  Sha•weet!  Why leave?  So they never leave home.  Let that sink in slowly.  Never. Leave. Home.  I love my boys {and girl} & I love them being home.  For now.  But heaven help me if I’m still providing their food & laundry service when they’re in their late 20’s and 30’s. {unless it’s a unusual situation involving a life hardship}  I love them & want them to like home but,  I really, really, really want them to fly…to get out there, to meet the love of their life or decide to pursue adventure, to try stuff & sometimes succeed.  I don’t want to make life so fabulous here at my house that I rob them of the adventure of flying without me.  How selfish that would be?  Sel•Fish!  And I want my kiddos to learn what it’s like to live on mac n’ cheese eaten out of mismatched thrift store bowls because that’s all that’s affordable.  Because when you learn to live on nothing, and work to get a little something, that something is precious & valued.  These are the moments that grow them.  When they open it up, see that they’re made of good stuff & fly.

Employment.  Not exactly a guarantee that the red head will fly out of this nest for good one day.  But I think it’s a good first step with lots of great lessons to be learned.

Homework Wins!

homework winsI’m treading water here folks.  Barely afloat.

I was so determined way back in June.  I had plans.  Plans!  We would be that family.  A mom and her lovely, clean, fresh-smelling, well-behaved children touring here & there.  We would experience culture.  We would enjoy picnics & lake swimming.  Heck, we’d learn to paddle board together.  While smiling.  Picture perfect moments would be occurring.  Regularly.

I sit here in the latter half of August.  Where is that mom with the plan from only 2 months ago?  Where did she go?  She is flopping and a flipping in the water, friends.  Trying to keep this ship above the bottom for 3 more weeks.  Plans?  What plans would you propose?  At this point, getting children out of pjs & fed something besides sugar before noon is the only plan rising to the top of this body of water.  A picnic?  Are you kidding me?  My children would no less go in a body of water filled with sharks than sit in a mosquito infested park with all awful kinds of stinging insects buzzing about us.

It was so dreamy back then.  Back when summer seemed full of potential.  When all I could see was the endless stack of homework & the thought of having none seemed like the land of greatness.

Bring on the homework!  Bring. it. on.  All the spelling words, the projects with last minute trips to the dollar store, the tests, the organizers, the math.  I’m to the point where “i love to read month” even looks appealing {on second thought…keep that}.  But please, pretty, pretty please keep these lazy children busy.  Keep them doing something besides consuming large quantities of food & leaving wrappers & cans & bottle & dirty dishes & general dirtiness all over this house.  Homework wins!  Homework wins!

I realize as I type this, that i am only about 6 weeks away from a school hatred. But let me, please, relish the thought that they will go to school & be not making a disaster of this space where I live for about 7 hours each day of the week.  Let me imagine how amazing it will be to clean the kitchen up in the morning and it remain clean until dinner.  Let me imagine the tv not being on.  The bickering-silenced.  The computers-not eating up my wi-fi speed {glorious}.  Let me imagine sunshiny faces at the crack of dawn, eating breakfast together with no arguing, yelling, rushing.  No last minute “where’s my ________?” as we’re running out the door to my voice yelling “WE ARE LATE!!!  GET MOVING!!!!  NOW!!!!”  Let me imagine Leave It To Beaver Weed style, just for a moment.  It will screech to a halt all too soon & I’ll be complaining.  Bet your bottom dollar on that.  But for this moment.  Let me be a dreamer.  A mommy dreamer.

I love my children.  You may question that.  I understand.  But I do love my little Weeds, adore them, cherish them!  And I love to watch them sleep.  And equal to sleeping, I love to send them off on their way because that gives them wings {that was sappy}.  It’s good for us though.  I miss them then.  Not the first day {or the first month} but eventually I miss them.  And that’s good.  In a weird way.  But it’s good to be tired of their messes{and never-ending talking} & then miss them and wish them home for a while. That’s good.  At least let me think that so I don’t feel like a sucky mom.  Let me!

Three weeks.  No summer dreaming here.  No more museums, no culture, definitely no picnics & forget the paddle board!  I’m already nesting for the school year.  Highlighters & sharpies & new folders.  Hooray!  Let it begin.  Now.  Homework Wins!

three words

Exactly five weeks from this very moment I will be waking up Ginger, E and BabyGirl for their first day of school!  Five weeks!  Eek!

I know there may be some of you who love summer vacation.  Love the laid-back, non-scheduled, without routine lazy days of summer.  I am not one of you.  I enjoy it for about the first three weeks & that’s primarily due to the lack of homework-which I adore!!  But then sometime in about week 4 I begin to forget the homework battle and begin to remember the comfort of routine.  And I long for those 3 words – Back to School.

Ginger will begin High School this autumn.  High School!  When did that happen?  “Things Count Now!” I keep repeating to him, hoping that he’ll actually listen and understand that “things count now!”.  E will be in 7th grade.  I clearly remember 7th grade.  Clearly.  I remember my locker, my locker partner {hey Nicole!}, my classes, my friends.  I remember feeling awkward, out of place, and hoping to just fit in somewhere.  7th grade was tough.  I don’t know if it’s that way for boys i hope not.  And BabyGirl begins Middle School.  Ugh!  Although just a fifth grader, here in our district that’s middle school.  I have no one at the Elementary any more.  Those year have drifted away.  Sad?  maybe a little.  But she’s beyond over the moon to be in middle school!

So, five more weeks.  All three kiddos head to church camp for a week here soon {yes, all 3-all gone-all week!!  glorious!}  back to school will really be here before I know it.  And you can bet on my complaining at about week three about all the homework & wishing for these lazy summer days 😉  Guess I better sit back and enjoy these moments – all the wrappers and cans everywhere, the popcorn all over the floor in front of the tv, the bedrooms I cannot see the floors of and the giggles from the pool and food that disappears from the pantry faster than I can stock it.  It will be replaced soon with books and pencils and reports and last minute projects…