Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Decade of Being Mom...

...and a sampling of what I've learned.

I've survived the tenth birthday of my oldest child.  My first baby.  The one who officially made me a Mommy.  That means...

...well, I'm not sure what that means.  It feels like it oughta be a milestone, though, don't you think?
Considering I've birthed five little humans in just over half a decade, I've survived first doctor's appointments, first teeth, first haircuts, first steps, first overnighters, and oh-so-much more, perhaps I've gleaned a nugget or two of truth.

All that while being sleep deprived.  It's the first badge of honor one earns as a mama: The Ability To Function And Care For Others On Less Than Three Hours Of Sleep Per Night.

Wear it proudly, Mamas!

Obviously, having made it for ten years as a parent, I've learned a Whole Great Big Lot of Things.  And since I fancy myself helpful, I've created a list to help all y'all out.  Just for your education entertainment.

1.  If you think you smell poop, go with that instinct.  It's rarely wrong.

2.  Find ways to say 'Yes' to your kids.  Even if it means glitter in the rug, it feels good to say yes and they LOVE to hear it!

3.  The Mommy Wars?  Forget them.  We each wage war against the Enemy every day fighting for our sanity and the souls of our children.  Let go of the one-up-manship and focus on YOUR day.

4.  Krispy Kreme for dinner every once in a while is a treat for everyone.

5.  Little moments build big trust.  Listen when your four year old wants to tell you every detail of her seven page illustrations.  Look your seven year old in the eye when they are giggling their way through a narrative that seems more annoying than amusing.  Make talking to you a safe and inviting place.  Tween issues are just around the bend.

6.  Play with those babies.  The laundry will wait.

7.  Set aside intentional Family Fun Nights.  Movies or games or walks in the park.

8.  When your child sits quietly and serenely through a two hour church service, it's definitely not all your fault.

9.  When you child pitches a fit every eleven minutes through a two hour church service, it's definitely not all your fault. 

10.  Spend time with your sweetheart.  Date night?  Fabulous.  Can't do it?  Put those munchkins to bed and have candle-light dessert in the living room.  It's not about what you do, it's about making the time.

11.  Take a vacation with your family.  Anything that allows you as parents to lay aside the Everyday Routine and spend more time focusing on your family qualifies as a vacation.  Camping, beach trip, Disney.  Just change the scenery and the routine and the responsibilities.  It's hard when they're all little, but it gets easier!

12.  It doesn't matter how your family is put together, somebody isn't going to like it.  But rest assured, God has a good and perfect plan for how He's ordered you and your people.  Trust Him.

13.  This Parenting Gig is the hardest dang thing you'll ever do.  Don't get it in your head that it's supposed to be all rainbows and milkshakes and clean, white pinafores.  It's raw and limit-testing and breaking and rewarding and imperfectly perfect.

14.  Don't be afraid to blow the day's schedule to bits and curl up on the couch to cuddle and watch a movie with the very people who are making you shake with frustration and disbelief.  Bonding over Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a bowl of popcorn covers a multitude.

15.  June Cleaver is a character.  Beaver's lines were written by adults.  Wally's real siblings weren't on air with him.  Ward is not your narrator.  This is real life and it's messy.

16.  Pajama days decrease your laundry workload and are novel to the children in your life.

17.  Work hard in those early years to train your child right.  It's exhausting, but it pays off in the short term and the long term.  I promise.

18.  Pick your battles and ignore what you can.  We are immune to quiet giggles and light thumps that come from the kids bedrooms after lights out.  If they are on their beds, we win.  You can't force sleep, potty training, or eating. 

19.  Find your village.  Nothing builds or eats away at friendships like raising children.  Just because you've been with your friends throughout college and the pre-parenting years doesn't mean those people are the best honorary aunts and uncles for your kids.  If you're super lucky, some of these relationships pass the We All Have Kids Now test.  Chances are, there are some that won't.  Don't burn bridges, but certainly look to build new ones that benefit your family's world view. 

20.  Pay attention when a kid says, "Mama, watch me!"  You could witness a first time achievement or prevent a trip to the emergency room.

21.  Let them take risks, but be there to help them if they really need it.  Allowing independence builds confidence.  Kids need both.  And they need your arms there to hug them in success or failure.

22.  Apologize when you act out.  And oh, sweet Mama, you will.  Even if you're amazingly patient and creative and together, you will lose your ever-loving mind with those precious little ones upon occasion.  It's okay.  They need to know you're a real human and they need to see you practice repentance and humility.

23.   Revel in their quirks.  And be thankful.  One of those weird little personality traits may be The Defining Gift God gave them in life.  It's your job to pray over that child and their strengths and weaknesses and do your best to mold them to be Christ-like.  We've already established parenting ain't a fluff assignment.

24.  Television is not evil.  Pick shows that reinforce good character and clean humor and then utilize those bad boys!

25.  Pray.  A lot.  For you.  For them.  The more you're on your knees before God, the less likely it is that your kids will bring you to your knees.

So what have you learned in your stint as a parent?  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sticky Business

Friday night was late - Joshua and I are all caught up in a series on Netflix and, while we usually don't push our aging limits, it was Friday and the show left us on a cliffhanger we weren't willing to wait another day for.  Next thing we knew, we were hanging off another cliff.

So we watched another episode.

Netflix is the breaker of all resolve.  All those episodes available at the click of a button - no need to wait for a week or even a day.  Just a few seconds while it buffers and your good to go.

All that to say, it was the wee hours of the next day before we crawled into bed... wondering what was going to happen next in our series.

Joshua was amazing and got up with the kids the next morning and I cat napped in the bed until nearly 10AM.  Because I'm a spoiled girl, I am.

When I finally emerged from my room, I was greeted with a slightly worried looking Elizabeth.

"Mommy, Daniel has the glue and he's used it everywhere."

Well, that could mean a lot of things.  It could mean he'd dumped it on his belly and smeared it around. 

Or maybe he poured it all in the potty (he's been known to put weird things in the potties around here). 

It could mean he'd dropped a splotch between several pages of the science book. 

Possibly, he'd poured it in the bag of chips. 

It could mean he'd created a semi-permanent hair-do for himself. 

I mean, really, the possibilities are endless.

The real story?

There were strings and dollops of glue on the floor in the upstairs hallway.  Driplets across the carpet.  Larger blobs in the room he shares with Anna.  Not too terrible.

And then there were the blocks.  The kid went all Lord Business with his bottle of Kragle.  Joshua and I giggled as we sat there with our bowls of hot water and rinsed the glue off the blocks while the kids helped by drying them.

Joshua and I chuckled back and forth but not until we'd firmly spoken to the little stinker about his misdeeds.  And pried out of his sisters WHY there was glue upstairs in the first place.

We walked around double checking to be sure we'd gotten the glue out of the carpet and off the floors and walls.  After swiping a few spots we'd missed, we felt pretty good about closing this case.

Joshua went downstairs and I went off to my room to shower and get ready for the day.  I'd just finished making the bed when I turned to see Elizabeth standing in my doorway with that look on her face again. 

I followed her into her room to see this:

 Just a large pool of glue on a small table.  I was thankful for the ability to just use a paper towel to mop most of it straight into a trash can.  I was also quite thankful it was school glue and came up pretty easily.

And then I went and threw out all the school glue.  We will be a house of glue sticks only until further notice.

That's not overly dramatic, right?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

She's Nine, He's Ten


It came.  It aged.  It went.

We've been waist deep in school for nearly two months now and I can barely find time to think coherent thoughts that aren't being chased by eighty-eleven questions about 'how do I' and 'where is the' and 'what do we' and 'please, may I' and so on and so forth.

Now that it's September, I have a free-er second or two, and I want to take a minute to remember two very special people that had birthdays this month.

It's the first year in many that there hasn't been delight on her part and dismay on his because of their not-quite-a-year-apart age difference.  For ten days, these two giggled about being the same age and how much fun it is.

It wasn't so very long ago that they were the only little ones keeping my days full and busy.  Now, they are the leaders of our pack.  They aren't perfect, but they make me so proud every single day.  They melt my heart with the love they show to one another and to their younger brother and sisters.

Happy birthdays, Sarah Grace and Thomas!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much and we are so very thankful that you were given to us.