Help Wanted vs Mommy Guilt

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I haven’t posted in a while. I seem to be developing a trend. Yet another thing I’m failing at. I have about fifty million ideas for posts but haven’t written any of them. Mainly, I get to the end of the day and I just want to collapse into bed, play my five lives of Candy Crush, watch a little Lois and Clark, and collapse into a coma of exhaustion. I have a lot going on. I lead the preschool at my church, I lead a bible study and attend a separate one, I’m on the PTO, and I’m training for triathlons. Combine this with trying to make sure I have time with all three if my kids and my husband, it’s really not surprising I would feel tired and overwhelmed at times. But I have always been good at keeping a sense of humor about things and sometimes I think I come across as though I’ve got it all under control. This is a complete fabrication.
Because honestly, there are days where I look at myself and decide I am failure. I am already a fairly neurotic person, just ask Sir Smiley. I am a bundle of insecurities, mixed with a sprinkle of laziness, with a dash of common sense, wrapped up in a twisted sense of humor. Not to mention I’m very social, and yet an introvert which probably makes me an enigma. (one moment. King Toot has somehow found a stash of glue sticks and is finding innumerable uses for them…must intervene…) Add that to the typical guilt and constant worrying that will plague even the most mellow of parents and I am often close to the edge. Of what? Not sure…I’ll let you know when I plunge over the edge.
All this to say, if you see a mom out there that as it all together all the time…it’s a big, fat lie. We can’t do it all on our own. This is, of course, the mantra of all good Christian churches. It’s pretty much the basis of Christianity and yet it never seems to sink in. This isn’t to say that Jesus will miraculously appear in my living room and turn my water to wine to help me relax. He does tell us we can’t do it on our own and gives us permission to fail and yet loves us the same. But He also sends me people to help. Like, my husband. Daddy should probably help right? But of course in my mind I think of how stressful his job is and how I want him to be refreshed and ready to deal with all the crap he has to deal with. I give myself a guilt complex before I even ask for help. But then I wander around cranky and about to have a nervous breakdown and then feel guilty that I’m inflicting my bad mood on the rest of my family. Which then causes me to feel guilty about the fact that my insecurities are making everyone walk on egg shells. I know…neurotic is me. I have even started developing an eye twitch.
As moms we feel like we should have it all together. We should be bonded with our kids, constantly patient and loving, have all the answers, do fun and interactive crafts we find on Pinterest, feed our children only healthy and balanced meals, and just in general be the Donna Reed of the 21st century.

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This lady I will never be…

But when I look at what often drives me…it’s either fear of failure or it’s to keep up with everyone else’s expectations. But in reality none of us have all the answers, and what works for one family won’t necessarily work for another. No one has it all together all the time, and every one of us has had those moments where we lose it at our kids. We have all felt like failures. Parenting is moments of pure joy you never thought possible mixed with moments of aggravation you never thought possible. It’s a roller coaster of the emotional spectrum. My number one rule has been “Mommy’s sanity comes first”. Because no matter how “perfectly” you do it, if YOU’RE not happy than your kids won’t be. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that, and also remind myself that to ask for help is not weakness…it just means you’re humble enough to put your family’s well being above your own self-image of perfection.

Note: I wrote this while dealing with one sick and clingy kid, one hellion bent on destruction, and one kid stuck in the middle who just wanted to be left alone and never was. If the post seemed a little rambly, I’ll blame it on that.

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You say it’s your birthday!

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This post has really no point, except that I haven’t posted anything in about a year so I figured I should write something so I can keep the illustrious title of “blogger” and it’s my birthday so voila! Instant topic! (Not posting may have been caused by various incidents that have left me tired…and may or may not have included things like King Toot locking himself in our bedroom and wreaking havoc while we try to unlock or remove the door knob to save our room from complete destruction, a trip to the lake with a new kayak, a three year old that I swear will be hitting puberty tomorrow based on her bipolar meltdowns….you know…life)

So…it’s my birthday! I would put myself in the category of “not old but no longer young”. The older I get, the less I care about huge celebrations. I still want to do something to commemorate the fact that I came into this world and began existing…mainly because I’m awesome and such an event should be commemorated sheerly out of principle.
But no longer do large parties entice me. No, now I dream of other things to make my birthday special.

– sleeping in. Past dawn. And waking up not to alarms, wailing, fussing, fighting, bawling, etc. But to actually just wake up because I am no longer tired.
– a nap. One that isn’t interrupted with someone yelling at the top of their lungs “I pooped! Can you wipe me!” Yes, I am grateful that they now poop in toilets (minus one) as it saves money and is a lot less messy. Yet it’s still hard to rejoice when everything is actually quiet and that hope for a few moments to catch up on sleep seems to become a reality…only to reach beautiful sleep and be awoken to yet another bottom needing to be wiped. (I have sometimes morbidly wondered what the girls would say if I answered that question with a no)
– cake. and cookies. and good fatty, chemically altered, greasy or sugary, yummy goodness. Basically, I want to engorge myself like the glutton I am constantly trying not to be. A neighbor girl brought cake to Bible Study last night and the left overs are on the counter. The only thing preventing me from making that breakfast is that the kids are awake and so I’d have to share it if I did. Oh, and I’m NOT counting calories today. It’s my birthday so I don’t need to have the depression that comes from knowing you ate a weeks worth of calories before breakfast.
– my birthday doesn’t even need to be free if complaining and whining. I just want today to be the day where other people deal with it. To hear Sasquatch whining, “She won’t be a puppy for me, and she’s touching my puzzle, and the dog licked my toy, and my brother is breathing my air” and know that I don’t have to meditate with patience and wisdom every spat that erupts. That when Urpling starts shrieking, “No! It’s mine!” or wailing because I asked her to turn off the TV so we can eat, someone else will tell her that life will surely go on if she’ll just get off the floor and try living again.
– all inquiries from children will receive the following answer, “that question should start with dad…”

Basically I want to be a lazy sluggard who eats what she wants when she wants to, lays around doing pretty much nothing but eating, and then celebrates her eating by eating some more. (did I mention I have an unhealthy attachment to food? I’m sure if I had a therapist they would have a field day…which is why I don’t have a therapist…)

So basically, it’s my birthday so I’m off to go eat and ignore my kids. Hope your day is great too!

PS. I’m joking. I love my kids…I won’t ignore them. I’ve set aside time from 1:55-2:09 this afternoon just for them.

PPS I also want to celebrate by playing hours of the crack laced game of Candy Crush…so everyone should send me free lives for my birthday!

Update: My kids chilling with me this morning…Happy Birthday to me!

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Fourth of July tips for families with small children

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Fourth of July, a time to celebrate our country, all it represents, and the freedom we have! There are a plethora of activities one can partake to celebrate this wonderful holiday…usually surrounding a grill, alcohol, and the lighting small explosives. But once kids enter the picture, things change. In order to both survive AND enjoy the night…here are a few tips I’ve gleaned over the past few years as a parent.

– bring sunscreen and apply liberally. This ensures the days after The Fourth are not spent in misery. Although you should also bring a large set of tongs or a leash…as once the sunscreen is on them, they become more slippery than a sea slug out of water.

– bring lots of water. I don’t care if it’s cloudy, breezy, whatever. Keep yourself and especially your kids hydrated. We like to add squirts of a flavor to get our kids to drink more (like Milo, or kool aid or something like that) not a lot, just enough to entice them.

– Don’t pay a lot for the fun events. Why? Because, the overstimulation of crowds, loud music, overdose on sugar and hot dogs, and gun fire sounding fireworks for some reason can cause a meltdown. Got me as to why, but we’ve had years where I’ll lead a screaming kid out of the park…freaked out and panicking. It’s never who you think either. The risk taker, the oldest, they all have done it. So don’t be that parent grumbling and angry because they just spent 40 dollars to go see fireworks and the bounce toys and didn’t get to enjoy it. It’s at least a little easier to be the understanding parent if you didn’t drop a bunch of money to get there. Free is best. It could look like a fairy was spitting in the sky and little kids will be impressed so don’t pay for the big stuff until they’re older.

– Connected with the previous point…plan on mishaps and go with the flow. Do NOT have your heart set on any specific event. Plan a smattering of things, have back up plans available. For example, pick a fun place to go for fireworks, but also have a plan for if kids start freaking out. Like sitting in your car on the side of the road watching them from afar while eating pints of Ben and Jerry’s you bought at the gas station on the corner.

– Bring ear plugs for the fireworks. Who doesn’t love fireworks on The Fourth? Our oldest loves to watch the fireworks. But for the first few years she would start screaming and would be inconsolable until we left. I may or may not have been that parent grumbling as we left the park, with my oldest shrieking and my toddler giggling. We figured out it was the noise. It freaked her out. Ear plugs did the trick. Now that she’s older it’s not a problem but it saved us a lot of hassle the past few years.

– Have a DD (Designated Driver) Sir Smiley and I aren’t big drinkers. But some people are. Whatever, not here to judge. But I will totally get all Judgey McJudgerson on you if I find out you were drinking and driving. Big key thing to remember, you won’t know your impaired. The first things to be affected by alcohol are your reaction time and judgement. These are two things that are hard to see or notice unless put in a stressful situation. So even if you’ve only had a few, don’t drive. Drag along that preggers friend and make her drive…or take a cab…or a bus…or walk…or sleep it off at a park (which might get you busted for other things…but at least you won’t run the risk of killing anyone). So I hope I made a point. Don’t drink and drive or I’ll hunt you down…and do something to you. Not sure what but I can be fairly creative, so consider yourself warned.

– Do something with your kids to teach them about what we’re actually celebrating. It’s not about hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, parades, or fireworks. So do something to talk about the history of our country, what our rights are, or what the Declaration of Independence meant.

I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July!