Image-bearers

Standard

I’ve been vacillating back and forth on whether to write anything about the Ferguson situation. I’ve experienced a wide range of thoughts and emotions. These may or may not be fully coherent…but I’ll do my best to form a cohesive thought process for you and try to limit the rambling.
Disclaimers:
1. I just had a hysterectomy. I am on several pain medications. So this may sound intelligent and well thought out in my head and be in reality incoherent and unintelligible.
2. I stay vague about where I live and who I am. Mainly to protect both my husband, and those he has dealt with on the job. I don’t want to tarnish someone’s good name because of some poor choices they made one day. But I can say I do not live in Ferguson. I don’t know what the day to day life was and is like there. This is the perspective of an outsider peering in through little nooks and crannies. Take it with a grain of salt.
3. I am not black. I have not experienced what it is like to have people afraid of me merely by the color of my skin. This doesn’t mean I can’t have insight, or can’t empathize. But it does mean I can’t fully grasp the struggles that the black people of America experience. I’m acknowledging this, and want everyone to be aware that I have no pretenses that I have the answers here.

Disclaimers are now over. Now for some of my thoughts. My initial reactions have been from that of a police officer’s wife. My husband is an amazing and godly man. He does his job to the best of his ability. He takes it seriously, and wants to enforce justice and protect the innocent. He is not in it to abuse power or exercise authority. Most officers I know (which are obviously quite a few) are similar. Obviously I don’t respect them as much as my husband. Because my husband is amazballs (typo is on purpose) and no one compares to him. But I respect them all and their judgement. They have difficult jobs. They have to drudge through the worst of humanity and somehow approach it expecting the best. We don’t want callous and unfeeling men and women in law enforcement. We don’t want them to not care, because that is when true police brutality will begin to occur. When they have become hardened and no longer care about those whom they were supposed to protect. We do need to do something to add support to our officers. To show them that the community appreciates their hard work and appreciates those officers who do their duty to the best of their ability. This is a conversation we need to have in America.
As the story unfolded I formed my own opinions about what happened. I will not share them here. This is not about posing blame or stating unequivocally what happened. I think I covered it fairly well in the disclaimers that I don’t know what happened. We all have our opinions. I’m keeping mine to myself for now. Why? Because our nation is hurting. The rioting, the looting, the anger and hatred I see spewing from all sides. This is a nation that is wounded. It seems appropriate that I am laying in bed working through the pain of my own body healing, as I see how our own nation needs healing at the same time. We need rest. We need to take things slow. We need to find the root issues and fix them. I have no answers for government. I don’t think laws will fix this. Legislation will not solve hurt and pain. They are merely external forces. Something needs to happen internally for us to heal. I joke that my hysterectomy was the removal of my evil organ. We need to do something similar in America. We need to remove the hate and anger. We need to have an internal change of heart before things will get better.
How do we look at each other? This is what it comes down to. This seems to be a convicting theme God had been drilling into me over several weeks now. The term image-bearers of God has come up several times…from multiple sources. My pastor preached on it a couple of weeks ago. He spoke of abortion, and also suicide and euthanasia. Mainly, that our culture no longer views everyone as valuable. If we have lost our health. If we are disabled. We somehow have lost our value and it becomes okay for you to want to end your life. This quote stuck with me, “Terminating treatment is different from terminating life”. I realized in my own mind it didn’t seem so bad that someone who has terminal cancer would want to end their life while it is still “worth living”. But what does that say about how I view the lives of those who are infirm? Are they less valuable? Are they somehow no longer made in the image of God? It shocked me to realize I had let myself down that path. Then this whole thing in Ferguson happened. I was looking for a way to process what was happening. I had thoughts and ideas on how people should be acting. Then I read this post written by Voddie Bauchum. What an incredible view! This man has been through so much, and to still act with grace and dignity…he is a better person than I am. Here is a quote from the article, “However, I have come to realize that it was no more ‘the system’ when white cops pulled me over than it was ‘the system’ when a black thug robbed me at gunpoint. It was sin! The men who robbed me were sinners. The cops who stopped me were sinners. They were not taking their cues from some script designed to ‘keep me down.’ They were simply men who didn’t understand what it meant to treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve as image bearers of God.” It convicted me. Oh, how I’ve been convicted. I admit, I looked down on the looters and rioters. Because they were not acting in a godly manner. They were hurting others, and hurting their own cause. I still do NOT condone their actions. But they deserve my love and compassion anyway. Why? Because they bear the image of God! God created each one of them. He fashioned every molecule in their body. He chose every hair on their head. He collects every tear they have cried. Their pain hurts Him. It hurts Him, and thus it should hurt me. I am not saved because of what I have done. God didn’t rescue me from sin based on my merit. My love should be equally unconditional! It makes a great sound bite. But it is difficult to practice.
Our country needs to learn to love. On both ends. Not love that is conditional. I cannot expect people to reasoned out of deep pain. But God’s love can heal all manner of wounds. So I ask the Christian community. Love. Love those you don’t understand, you don’t agree with. Love people who are sinning, who mistreat you, who antagonize you. We can either fuel the hate and anger with self-righteous superiority (no matter what side you agree with) or we can calm the storm with a love that only God can give. Which will you choose?
I’ll leave you with some verses I’ve been pondering:
Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Luke 6:35-36: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-7: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Ephesians 2:8-19: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

What do you do all day? Part 2

Standard

Wanna be up to speed? Here’s the introduction. This is the first part of my day. Basically, it takes up until about noon. Wanna know what I did the rest of the day? Hope so, since that is the illustrious topic of today’s post. Without further ado, I’ll pick up right after lunch.

12:15 – After lunch, the kids ran around the house a bit while I cleaned up their dishes.
12:20 – I then put King Toot in his room for “quiet rest time”. The rule…I don’t care what you do in there as long as it is quiet. They need some down time…and so do I! Some days this works and I get a bit of a break. But more often than not it is like today…where every 15 minutes I have to go in and remind him to be quiet. Then I discover that he has pooped and is happily playing in it. Now rethinking my decision to potty train just yet.
12:25 – I finally make my lunch…and consume it. I also play Candy Crush and then watch Dr. Who for a bit of a respite.
1:30 – I pick up the house, including the misc toys that have been distributed every where.
2:10 – I head out to run errands with Urpling. We go and check the mail, where I have to remind her three times that she’s not allowed to squish the bags of packing peanuts. We then go to deposit a check, during which time Urpling asks for money to play an arcade game. I refuse. We then head to Goodwill where I buy some new movies and toys (well, new to us) for our church preschool. Finally we brave Walmart to buy a few groceries. Urpling helps me scan things at the self check out. She has a blast…even if each item took about 4 tries. Did I mention we spent every moment in the car listening to “Let it Go” while Urpling belts the song out at the top of her lungs? Well, we did. It was simultaneously adorable, hilarious, and aggravating.
3:10 – We get home and I unload Urpling and the groceries.
3:20 – By this time I have put all the groceries away and I load Urpling and King Toot into the double stroller to go get Sasquatch and two of our neighbor kids.
3:30 – We make it to school just as the kids are being let out and I walk the two kids who live behind me to their home. Sasquatch tells me about her bad day where the other kids blamed her for bringing acorns into the class, even though she didn’t do it. I console and commiserate with her.
3:40 – I drop off the neighbors, and then King Toot cries because he can’t go to neighbors.
3:42 – King Toot goes onto time out because the massive disappointment of having to come home caused him to shriek in a pitch that only dogs can hear.
3:45 – I get all the kiddos settled and they have a snack…which is left over candy from Halloween. Mom win…or fail?
4:05 – I work with Sasquatch on her homework. So grateful her math homework does not require drawing pictures to demonstrate the problem…considering she is very artistic and must include great detail in each drawing. Math homework can take a really, really, really, really long time when that happens.
4:20 - Leaving Sasquatch to work on her own math problems, I go to take a shower.
4:45 – I emerge and start prepping dinner. At this time I also make all the kids lunches for tomorrow. As I cook, I watch Dr. Who. Because, well, it’s Dr. Who. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched Dr. Who. Mainly because cause I’ve lost track. Also, don’t tell me about the new season. I haven’t seen it and, “Spoilers!”. Bonus points go to you if you just read that quote in Dr. River Song’s voice…)
5:45 – Dinner and lunches for tomorrow are now ready. I get everything dished up and Sir Smiley proceeds to help me get everything on the table while we summon small ones to come eat.
5:55 – All the kids actually eat most of their food. King Toot does require a mixture of pleading, cheering, and a bit of force to get him to eat his. Sir Smiley and I thoroughly enjoyed it…as dinner turned out quite good.
6:15 - Our friend joins us and also enjoys the food I made, while I proceed to chase kids around. I manage to get shoes on all children’s feet, and both girls are wearing their vests for Awana. I do have to ask Urpling to put her shoes on 3 times before she responds and actually does it. In the meantime, Sasquatch is still somehow eating a miniature candy bar. How she can manage to turn a bite-sized snickers into 5 minutes of eating…I can’t quite figure out. It is, by definition, the size of one bite.
6:25 – I leave to drop all the kids off at church. I herd them each to their prospective room and then practically skip back out to the car. I drive home…alone…for the first time that day and enjoy the three minutes of solitude.
6:35 – I arrive home to help Sir Smiley lead our bible study. We go through a few chapters of the “Screwtape Letters” and have some deep discussion about virtues and how Satan tries to render them (and us) powerless to work for God. It was some good stuff.
8:05 – Sir Smiley graciously goes to pick up the kids for me so I can stay and talk to my friend. We hang out and chat until the chaos returns. Then she heads home.
8:30 – The kids come home. Sasquatch has said all her sections…plus some extra ones…and was very proud of herself. She had been struggling to actually focus enough during AWANA to say the verses she had practiced all week, so this was a big victory for her. King Toot at this point is past his expiration date, and he has turned sour.
8:45 – King Toot, having refused to actually nap today, proceeds to have a clear and epic meltdown. Not a tantrum…but an actual meltdown (there is a difference). I dressed him for bed, and then we wrapped ourselves up in a blanket and I rocked him and sang to him until he calmed down. Then off to bed he went. In the meantime the girls helped finish off the dessert from bible study.
8:50 – Put the girls to bed, and read to them. We’re now reading slowly through chapter books, and read picture books during the day. It keeps Sasquatch’s attention better…and mine.
9:07 – I reread a letter Sir Smiley wrote to double check it for him.
9:17 - The girls, refusing to sleep, start whining at each other because Urpling is singing too loudly and Sasquatch can’t rest when she’s being so loud. Urpling is upset because she’s singing to her animal and her animal can’t sleep if she doesn’t sing to it. I do a little negotiating and eventually convinced them both, begrudgingly, to quiet down.
9:20 – Sat down to watch the newest episode of Supernatural before calling it a night…only to discover there was no new episode this week. Oh the humanity! I now have to wait an entire week before watching the 200th episode. So I console myself with some…you guessed it…Dr. Who.
10:40 - I set the alarm for 6:15 am thinking I can get a few chores done before the kids wake up.

This should give you a general idea of my days. A few last minute notes:
– This is NOT all inclusive. I’m unable to jot down every single moment with great detail (and I don’t want to…it’s already long enough). It doesn’t include Sasquatch making a lego church, or Urpling pushing King Toot around in bike trailer. It doesn’t include Sir Smiley and I making kid sandwich hugs. It doesn’t include my kids running at daddy full speed and jumping on him…over and over and over again. Squealing and laughing every time.
– King Toot is a strong willed kid. No doubt about it. I talk about that in other posts. Feel free to read. But I want it on the record that while he screams a lot, he is not spoiled. I deal with him as fairly and consistently as is humanly possible. Also, while he is far from compliant…he is also my most snuggly child. Whenever I need a hug or some snuggles, he is always up for it. His favorite game is to say, “Iwuvoo” to me so that I’ll grab him and shower him with hugs and kisses. I wouldn’t change him for the world.
– Some days are easier. Some days I get a miraculous nap in. Or we sit all snuggled on the couch together watching a movie. Or I get to have some “me time”.
– some days are harder. I cry, or go to my room to scream and throw things so I don’t take my frustrations out on my kids. Or I’m so tired I’m just ready to be done with kids. Where I want to walk out the front door, not forever but for a day or so.
– All moms (and I suspect dads…although I feel I’m not qualified to speak for them) have these same daily struggles. The highs and lows will look a little different but we all have them. I like being honest about it. I love being a mom. There are moments I am trying to grab and hang on to with all my might before they slip away. Others I cheer like my team made the super bowl when they finally pass. But I love my life. This was a sample of it, to give you a glance in the window. Hope you found it enlightening..or at least entertaining.

What do you do all day? Part 1

Standard

I wrote a bit of a preface to this post yesterday, which can be read here. This ended up being quite lengthy, so I shortened it up a bit for the sake of our sound-bite style culture. So this was my day yesterday…up until about lunch. This is a pretty typical day for me. In fact, this is falling during my rest and recovery weeks so this doesn’t even include my triathlon training I usually also include during the year. Be that as it may…a sample of my day (no, I did not intend to rhyme there. But I did. Because I’m a genius.)

6:15 – The alarm goes off. I wonder what insanity possessed me to decide I would get up this early. I decide to just lay there for a minute and “let myself wake up”.
6:50 – I wake up and realize that I had fallen back to sleep. So I play a little Candy Crush to “help me wake up”.
7:00 – I finally actually leave bed and get myself ready. Today this consists of brushing my teeth and putting on semi-clean clothes.
7:15 – I get the kids up. King Toot has a dirty diaper, and as I go to change it I realize the wipes are empty. I refill it and then get him cleaned up. Then I get him dressed while I remind the girls that they will need actual clothes to go to school. King Toot proceeds to show his displeasure with my choice for his wardrobe by screaming. Why? Because I told him he couldn’t wear his Captain America costume…which he’s worn so much it is now a bit gamey.
7:30 – I have the kids count their magnets. This is our reward system and we usually do it the night before…but I forgot.
7:35 - I start my bible study.
7:36 – Sasquatch comes out and announces that she can’t get into the office to practice her piano. I go let her in.
7:38 – I start my bible study…again.
7:40 - I get a call from my sister. We chat.
7:45 – While chatting with my sister, my neighbor shows up with her daughter who walks with us to school twice a week.
7:47 – I continue my bible study.
7:50 - Sasquatch comes out and says the keyboard won’t work. I inquire (okay…demand) why she hasn’t already finished practicing…let alone started. She shrugs. Sensing my displeasure, she finally practices her piano.
7:55 - I finish my bible study.
8:00 – I prep breakfast for all my kids, and myself.
8:01 – I put King Toot on time out for screaming at me…because I wouldn’t let him throw Urpling’s pumpkin across the room like a basketball.
8:03 – King Toot is removed from time out. Urpling proceeds to wrestle him to the ground because he has a toy she wants. I tell them both to knock it off.
8:05 – I now have breakfast ready and I call for the kids. Urpling is dragging King Toot down the hallway by the arm. She refuses to stop when I ask her to. She does not like being punished for it. So we begin breakfast with Urpling and King Toot both wailing. Score 2 for mommy.
8:09 - After fetching things for kids while they are eating I finally sit down and realize that I have no spoon and no milk for my cereal. I remedy this problem.
8:15 – King Toot has still refused to eat even one bite of his cereal. He also has handed me an empty glass. I ask him if he wants more. He says, “No!” I put the cup in the sink, he yells, “No!”. I ask him if he needs juice. He yells, “No!”. I finally tell him if he wants juice he needs to say “yes mommy”, or hold his peace. He mumbles “essommy” under his breath. I give him some juice which he promptly throws on the floor. He still refuses to eat breakfast and not wanting to be late I just let him get down. He then immediately grabs his bag of Halloween candy and hands it to me saying, “Peeeeeese???”. Then wails when I tell him he does not get to have candy in lieu of breakfast.
8:20 – I send the girls in to brush their teeth and hair while I clean up breakfast. I then realize I didn’t make Sasquatch her lunch. Guess she’ll be buying school lunch today.
8:25 – I discover Sasquatch is standing in the bathroom with her toothbrush (that has toothpaste on it)…frozen. I inquire as to what she’s been doing for 5 minutes and she stares at me blankly.
8:27 – Sasquatch has finally brushed her teeth and is now getting her shoes on, as does Urpling, while I put King Toot’s shoes on and go search for my own. While I’m trying to find my shoes, Urpling demands I find her Buzz doll. I tell her no. Meanwhile, King Toot is wailing because he wants to get going now that his shoes are on and none of his subjects…I mean family…are ready.
8:30 – Sasquatch kindly finds the Buzz doll for Urpling, I have my shoes on, and all of us head out the door with the double stroller and walk to school. We wave at the dump trucks, while our neighbor and Sasquatch come up with rhyming words together.
8:40 – We make it to school, just as the classes are heading in. Drop off neighbor and Sasquatch and then walk to visit our PTO president, who is also the crossing guard and preschool aid. I’m not sure when she has time to breathe. My kids demand snacks from her and she kindly complies. *sigh
9:00 – We walk back to the school drop off and drop Urpling off for preschool. Only then do I realize that she does not have her backpack. *facepalm moment
9:05 – I meet up with a fellow school parent and she passes her daughter off. We swap every week, so she watches King Toot every other week and I watch her daughter on opposite weeks. Doesn’t seem fair, since her daughter is a sweetheart and my son is, in the words of Rants from Mommyland, “a cupcake baked by the devil”. But I won’t complain. I walk home.
9:15 – I take a moment to surf the net and dink around on my iPad.
9:35 - I chat with hubby who is now awake.
9:45 – I feed the dogs.
9:50 – I clear off the bulletin board of the month’s worth of papers my kids have brought home or made. I leave the most recent creations up and file the others either in their memory boxes…or the recycling.
10:00 – I go through our mail and our stack of to-do papers from the mail. I pay bills, recycle the junk mail, and set aside things I need to run errands for.
10:10 – I call the animal licensing department as they claim I didn’t send in a renewal…even though I had.
10:17 - They actually answer the phone and then tell me it takes over 3 weeks to “process” my application. Whatever. At least I know they did receive it. I then go through all our paperwork and file it away in our file cabinet.
10:30 - I use the facilities. Then I chase the kiddos around the house, play with the dolls, assemble our Mrs. Potato Head, and play in the castle.
10:40 – I return various texts and phone calls. (Sir Smiley is now picking up dog poop and mowing the yard. I LOOOOOVE him.)
11:00 – Bathroom break for the kids. My visitor is potty trained and my son decided he needed to sit on the toilet too. I’m thrilled and hope this new fad actually sticks with him. I make plans to start potty training my stubborn child.
11:15 – I grab the kids a snack and then turn on Qubo for a few final moments before we go pick up Urpling from preschool and return my sweet visitor. I want to keep her as my son has not wailed this entire morning, and seems keen to impress her with his manners. I start blogging for the first time in months!
11:40 – I load up the bike trailer and head to school. Drop off sweet visitor with her mom and get Urpling. Head home.
11:55 - I didn’t get lunch ready last night. So I throw some meat on a plate, along with a cheese stick and squeezable apple sauce pouches and called it lunch. Kids eat that and some leftover Halloween candy. In the meantime, I check facebook. I used to eat lunch with them, but I found my lunch was always cold by the time I did. So now I just wait until they’re done and “put away”.

So there it is. The first half of my day. It doesn’t include everything. Every time I had to stop and remind someone of something, or wait for them to investigate a spot on the ground, or answer the same question 80 times, or to see something completely ordinary as though it was the greatest discovery in the known universe. These are all part of my day to day life. It’s not bad. It’s not fast. It IS time consuming. And it’s my life.

In keeping with parenting debates

Standard

My last post was about one of the big parenting debates: spanking. Apparently I’m going for a theme, because this one will be about stay at home moms vs working moms. I constantly see these debates going on between them. Essentially both are trying to prove their importance to the other. Both sides feel misunderstood…probably because they are. As a SAHM, I can’t fully grasp what working moms go through. Because I haven’t done it. I can get a general idea, I can empathize, but I can’t actually understand what they go through. Same goes for them. So we sit and debate each other about our lives. Why? No idea. We want to feel validated and when someone else doesn’t validate us the way we want them to we react…and a debate ensues.
How do mothers…society really…determine a person’s value? By how busy they are. So we get a debate raging and working mothers bemoan how busy and stressful their lives are…thus they are important. So SAHM respond by attempting to prove how busy they are. How they have to spend all day every day with kids. Picking up after them, entertaining them, etc. So they are just as stressed and busy as working moms and thus are just as important.
I’ll be honest. I’m not here to do that. I stay at home BECAUSE it is less stressful. I’m not as busy. I have time to play with my kids, fold the laundry, and keep the house in order without trying to squeeze these things in at the end of a busy day at work. I don’t have to try to fit my quality time in with my husband and my kids when I’m already exhausted from working all day elsewhere. It’s why I chose to stay home. It doesn’t mean that I’m not stressed or busy…sometimes. Because I am. It doesn’t mean I’m not struggling day to day. Because I do. It also doesn’t mean I’m less important. Because I’m not. Being busy and stressed doesn’t make a person important…it makes them stressed and busy. Being a mom is what makes you important. Working moms, SAHM moms…we all have ups and downs to our lives. But we all are important!
Over the next couple days, I’ve decided to answer a big question SAHMs get a lot. WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY? I’m tracking my day today and I’ll split it up over the next day or two. But I wanted to introduce the concept today with this post serving as a preface. This does not prove that I’m more important. I’m important because of my three kiddos I’m pouring my life into and a husband I work hard to stay close to and support through all the ups and downs. But I also don’t sit around watching soaps and eating Bon-bons all day. So these posts will be a humorous look into what a SAHM deals with. I hope you all will enjoy it…tomorrow. Cause that’s when I’m writing it. I’ve already been writing this post for about 10 minutes and that’s plenty. I’m like George RR Martin. You need patience as you wait for the next epic installment.

Yet Another Parenting Debate…

Standard

I wasn’t sure how to title this blog. I’m not sure how I will approach this blog. I wasn’t sure whether I would even write this blog. But these thoughts are swirling through my head and I need to get them out. So here I go.

This whole Adrian Peterson thing has once again started a social media frenzy of people weighing in on spanking. I’ve read a lot of articles. Spanking is child abuse. Spare the rod spoil the child. It makes my head hurt. Apparently we’re all experts here. We all have psychology degrees and know what’s best for everyone else. Also, we apparently have to choose a side on this. We’re either supposed to declare unequivocally that spanking is wrong and a form of child abuse…or that if you don’t spank you are indulgent and spoil your kids. I will let you know right now…I fall under neither camp (or either camp…whatever. My grammar has always sucked eggs. Whatever that means.)

I could tell you my thoughts and defend a side. I could point out that reacting to a child hitting by turning around and hitting them back seems like nonsense and illogical. I could point out how most kids turn out well-rounded and respectful without ever receiving a spanking. I could also turn around and point out that no..I don’t spank my husband. But I also don’t put him in time out, ground him, or discipline him. That yelling at kids can also be abuse but that doesn’t mean to avoid abuse we would never talk to our kids. Or that hitting itself isn’t hurtful…it’s my sons favorite form of affection (he will walk up to me, tell me he loves me, and give me a good “love punch”). But we’ve all heard it all. Back and forth and back we go. We keep trying to show that we’re good parents by the form of discipline we choose.

Which brings us to the crux of all my thoughts. I think the truth is soooooo much more difficult than what style of parenting we choose (yes, I do believe spanking is a form of discipline and not abuse. No, I don’t begrudge those who think differently…you are entitled to your opinion and undoubtably have well thought out reasons behind it. Yes, that was probably a run-on sentence but I refer to my “grammar sucks eggs” comment). The truth is more difficult to define, and more difficult to achieve. Abuse is so much more than an action. It is created by who you are as a parent. It is created by the environment you have made, the love (or lack of love) you show. It’s created by your heart. It’s easy and safe to declare to yourself (and maybe others) that I’m a good parent because I’ve never yelled. Because I don’t spank. Because I do spank. Because I’ve followed the rules I’ve chosen. But what environment have you created is really what is essential.

My example…I was spanked as a child. I’m not justifying spanking by using the old anecdotal “I was spanked and turned out fine”. It’s not just that I turned out fine. It’s that growing up, my home was the only place where I felt truly safe. School, even church, were filled with those who were mean or cruel. But my home was my safe haven. Spanking didn’t create or destroy that safe haven. My parents were the ones to create that haven, through their day to day patience and love for me. They were open with me. I could tell them things and not worry about anger or extreme reactions. I knew that every single time my dad got mad at me that 10 minutes later he would be knocking on the door and hugging me. I had always done something that deserved his anger, but received his love and comfort…every single time. It even became a problem because when I got married I would get angry at my husband for not coming to me when I was upset. Because my dad had been so good at that. My mom was patient…constantly and consistently there for me. When things went bad she defended me. She talked about the difficult topics and didn’t shy away from them. In short, I don’t remember much about their discipline style. I just remember how my home felt. The joy and sorrow that were openly shared with each other. I just remember feeling safe in a way I’ve only ever experienced with my husband since leaving home.

So I don’t care if you spank or if you don’t. I do care about who you are and what you are to your children. What environment to you create? I’ve read comments about people saying spanking turned their home into a place of fear. I would say that it wasn’t the spankings that did that. I’ve seen similar environments where spanking wasn’t used…but emotional abuse was. Or even emotional distance. I’ve seen parents who have turned spanking into abuse. Who have created a reign of terror in their home. They are abusing their kids. It’s easier to say that you are a good or bad parent based on a certain discipline style. It is so much harder to actually address your heart. Why are you disciplining you child? Why do you react the way you do? To actually pause and think and pray over your decisions.

I will be going back to avoiding Facebook. Because to be honest, when I read other people telling me how to parent, I have discovered a troubling trend. When I react to situations…it is now with the thought of how it would look to other people. No longer do I think of my child and their needs, or God and what he is guiding me to do. My home is much more peaceful and full of joy when I only include two other people in the decisions of my children. God and my husband. I will continue to pray each day that God would shape me and my husband into parents that make our home a haven. A home that gives my children a glimpse of what heaven and the fellowship there will be like.

I respectfully request that you refrain from debate in the comments section about spanking. Whether you are for or against it, those comments will be deleted. I’m not technologically literate enough to figure out how to disable comments at this point (and just a tad bit lazy) so I’ll be doing this the old-fashioned way and trusting you. Thanks.

The Color Crew

Standard

Either the writers of today’s kid’s shows are on crack…or they want to drive me to crack instead. We don’t have cable. We use Netflix. The perk being that my kids do not watch commercials. They recently started watching Qubo through our antenna and suddenly I’m getting requests that they absolutely must have a goldfish…in a bowl…that is stuffed in the stomach of a bear. No joke. You feed the fish by feeding the bear and it goes in its stomach. Yeah, I refuse to get that. I digress.

But first up on my list of crack inducing shows is the “Color Crew”. This show has no dialogue. Yeah, no dialogue at all. There is an applause soundtrack and the characters make a lot of freaky giggling and cooing. Wait. They do say words. Colors. That’s it. Did I mention the characters are all crayons. All but one character…which is an eraser. The crayons all get together and a magic hat floats around until it chooses a color that gets to be it. The chosen one coos and makes happy giggling noises that could also be used on some creepy thriller movie just as effectively. Then they pick a partner and they head off to a blank coloring book page. They then proceed to color objects, occasionally giggling and cooing, and yelling out their color on occasion. Then one of them will make a mistake…cue frowny faces…and they have to call in Mr. Eraser. He’s accompanied by much deeper music as he thumps dramatically on the scene. He is also sporting a mustache reminiscent of the Parker brothers mascot. He erases the mistake (setting my children up for unrealistic expectations that crayon can ever be erased in any reality), wiggles his eyebrows in a slightly disturbing way, and then dramatically bounces off scene. At the end all the crayons dance together in a happy jubilee. And that is every single episode. My kids will watch this for HOURS.
Seriously. I. may. lose. my. mind. But hey, there’s always Barbie’s Dreamhouse…

Top 10 ways my life is more awesome now that I have kids.

Standard

So…I was pondering today about some of the ways kids have changed my life. I’ll be honest, they drive me insane sometimes. Being an introvert, I love my personal space and time in my head…which has significantly decreased since bearing offspring. But some things have indeed improved. It’s nice to ponder them on occasion.
So here is my top 10 list of how my life has indeed improved since I had these three small bundles of emotion:

10. I get to drive in the HOV lane. There is a perk to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever being alone. I don’t often have to sit in traffic. In fact, to drive to my sister’s house or to see my parents there is a HOV lane that runs practically from my front steps to their driveway…or something like that.

9. Built in remote control. One of my favorite Weird Al songs on his new album is “Inactive”. The lyrics run something like this:
The TV’s on, I really hate this show
I can’t reach my remote control
Welcome to my new place, to my new place
Sorry it’s a cramped space, but it’s my place
I’m really inactive, I’m so inactive
I’m really inactive, highly inactive
(Yankovic, 2014)
Yeah…except thanks to my kids my problem isn’t that I can’t reach my remote control. I don’t even know where it is. But that doesn’t really matter since two out of my three children can work our electronic devices better than I can. No need to get up to change the channel…my kids can do that.

8. It’s like having a slightly incompetent assistant. Very well meaning, yet incompetent assistants. My kids love to help me. Of course it usually takes ten minutes of explanations before Urpling can figure out where the object I need her to fetch is (spoiler alert: it was next to her left foot). But I still have a plethora of small human beings at my disposal to fetch and carry things for me.

7. Cable has been rendered unnecessary. Dinner at our house is better than any reality TV show. We had friends over for dinner tonight, and between King Toot’s dramatic refusal to eat one slice of carrot and Sasquatch belching in someone’s face with such force that would put a middle-school boy to shame, the entertainment was non-stop. Life is full of enough bizarre scenarios, cheesy dialogue, and slap-stick comedy to fill several channels for years to come.

6. Pushy vendors avoid eye contact in the mall. You know the ones…they have the little vending stands in the hallways and pounce on you to give you a sales pitch. Well, I walk by with my entourage of small children where Sasquatch is twirling and prancing like a ballerina, Urpling is running all over the place yelling, “look at me!”, and King Toot is screaming because we wouldn’t spend $40 on that Buzz Lightyear doll…not one of them tries to sell me anything. Not only that, if I look at them, they look away and avoid my gaze. It’s wonderful.

5. I get to play with toys. I’ve recently gotten in touch with my inner child. I’ve rediscovered the joys of making forts, coloring in coloring books, dressing up dolls, and playing house. I race cars on racetracks and climb trees. I forgot how much I missed that, and here is a chance to do it all again!

4. The food. I got all responsible and adult like and stopped eating Mac and Cheese, Lunchables, and Goldfish. Now I buy them. Mainly because they are worth their wait in gold when they can get my kids to sit quietly for a few minutes when I’m about to lose it…but the added bonus is that I get to munch on these treats as well. Seriously, goldfish is tasty.

3. Blogging. I love being able to write, and my kids have given me unending amounts of material. Never wrote much before kids (except in college and the topics were a little less amusing. I love not having to cite sources according APA) but now I do, and I get to choose the topic.

2. They make me look good…sometimes. Urpling is obsessed with making my bed recently. I’ve been married 10 years and I’ve never made my bed during all that time. But every morning, Uprling emerges from my room, grabs my hand and says, “Close your eyes!”. She leads me to my room and then yells, “Ta-la!” with a dramatic display with her hands. And there is my bed…maybe not perfectly made but looking a whole lot better than I left it. My kids do things like that for me. (They also scream in public, hit each other, or cover me in various compounds of which I am often scared to examine…but let’s focus on the good here.)

1. The snuggles…and the giggles. Nothing in the entire world will ever match the sound of my kids squealing in laughter, or the feel of their little arms around my neck or waist. King Toot even works it more by gently patting me on my back. Seriously, the feels guys. The feels.

My kids drive me up a wall, but they are my little treasures and sometimes I just need to sit and remember that.

Yankovic, A. (July 15, 2014). Inactive. On Mandatory Fun. [Digital audio]. Los Angeles, California: RCA. (September 4, 2012)

Yes…I just cited Weird Al according to APA style. *puts on glasses* I’ve still got it…