We’ll See

Mean-mom2Every mom has some word, phrase and or statement that their kids loath. Mine right now happens to be “we’ll see.”

When I was a kid I swore I wouldn’t do this. I did not want to “put my kids off” with an indefinite answer to anything. As a mom I would make my kids happy all. the. time.

Then motherhood happens.

It’s not that I don’t want to say yes. Honestly, I want to say yes to everything fun.

“Can we go to the park?” Yes!

“Can we paint today?” Yes!

“Can we play hide-n-seek?” Yes!

“Can we go to nana’s house?” Yes!

“Can we have a bubble bath?” Yes!

“Can we go to the library?” Yes!

“Can we make cookies?” Yes!

“Can we play baseball, football, soccer, handball, four square, monopoly, sneaky snacky squirrel, and battleship today?” Uh…We’ll see.

You see, it’s not that I don’t want to do these things. I honestly do. But there is only so much time in a day and I still have to be the mom and make meals, clean the house, do the laundry etc. Some days I put these things off and just play but some days you do have to get some shit done!

Plus, I’ve learned that with my kids it doesn’t matter how many fun things we did that day, if I said we could do something and it didn’t happen, even if we put that thing off so we could do something more fun, then they will be upset, I’m mean, and the day was horrible.

So, “we’ll see” it is.

And when my kids say, “I’ll never say that to my kids when I grow up!” I’ll smile and say, “We’ll see.”

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Death Early, Death Late

Death is a strange thing.  It’s the one thing we will all face in our lives.  It is inevitable and yet it is an unknown.  This morning, on the radio, they were talking about a college tour bus that crashed last year.  Ten people died.  Ten almost adults lives were ended.  As a mom I can only imagine the feelings of those parents.  And like many (if not most) tragedies it made me think of my nephew.

My sweet, adorable, perfect nephew drowned 9 years ago.   He was two.  Losing someone you love is always horrendous.  Losing a child is exponentially worse.  It doesn’t really matter if they were two or 22.  No parent imagines that when their wee little babe is born that that sweet little being will be gone before they are.  It’s just not how it’s “supposed” to go.  I was thinking about how painful it was to lose our sweet nephew.  All the loss of potential.  We never really got to know who he was and we never will.

I guess that’s the quandary my brain is attempting to work through this morning.  The parallel pain parents feel when they lose a child.  For those who lose a little one they mourn the loss an unknown.  When our little D died my heart ached for all of the nevers.  We would never hear him speak.  We would never see him as a boy or a teenager or a man.  We wouldn’t know how he felt about almost anything and the loss of potential still burns in my gut.

When you lose someone who has lived their life you feel some of that.  When my dad died it hurt so much that he would  never see any of his daughters marry.  My children would never know their grandfather, and oh what a grandfather he would have been!  But more than that I mourned the loss of his companionship.  It hurt that we would not be able to talk and visit.  I walked by his desk for months after his death and still felt startled when he wasn’t there.  I lost a known being.

And that’s just it.  Loss of the known verses the loss of potential.  I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how two different feelings can hurt so equally.

Spring Break Woes

Last week I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote down a list of all of the fun things we could do for spring break.  Some were local some were day trip ideas.  I had plans for making sure the boys did a little school work, had playdates, spent time at the gym for me and them and that we ate healthy snacks and that we DID NOT spend our time watching TV and playing video games.

Then reality hit.

  • All three of my boys have wicked coughs.  (MMM spent all night on the verge of puking because his coughing was so bad.) Which means:
    • No day trips.
    • No gym.
    • No playdates.

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  • My husband had projects started so he didn’t have time to spend the whole day “day-tripping” to the beach.

You get the idea.  Things did not go as planned.

So, here we are.  All exhausted from illness and sleepless nights.  Watching movies, playing video games and napping are all on the agenda for today. A date night is in the works for this mama and hubby if the nana doesn’t mind these coughing kiddos. (She doesn’t usually mind so fingers crossed it happens!) And hopefully we’ll have some playtime out back while dad-ers works on the fence.

This will not be a spring break for the ages.  There will be no epic road trips, day trips, or galavanting around our fair city but we will survive. We will have time, someday, when the kids are not so small and prone to illness, when we can plan amazing day trips etc.  Those things can and will happen some day.  For now, though, my kids will know my husband I love them fiercely and, for me, that’s all that matters.

Happy April!

Better

Having three kids is hard.  Sometimes it’s in the ways you would expect.  Other times things you never expected sideline you.

As I was putting things away this afternoon (I’m still catching up from the whirlwind that was Christmas/New Years) I glanced at a picture of my oldest that I haven’t looked at in a while.  He is around four and MMM is probably one and a half.  I remember taking the picture.  It was a gift for my husband for father’s day.  I took them in my in-laws backyard.  It was a warm, sunny day and the boys were being really good.  What I don’t remember is how little my oldest was.  I remember him being older, the big brother.

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  My expectations for my oldest are all out of whack.  I keep forgetting that he is still a little boy.  I often expect him to act like a little man, mostly because he is the oldest.  Sometimes I need him to be a big boy. Sometimes it’s fair; sometimes it’s not.

I mostly just wanted to write this down for me to remember.  When I get frustrated with him for not behaving I need to stop and evaluate.  Am I being reasonable?  Are my expectations on par with his age?  Is my reaction equitable considering he is only six?

My mother-in-law jokes that this is why we should have more than one kid.  In a way I agree.  I’ve learned so much from parenting my oldest.  I’ve learned some things about what I should do but I feel like mostly I’ve learned what I shouldn’t be doing.  I’m hoping to be more fair to my oldest.  I don’t want to stop having high expectations for him  but when he falls short I want I need to be more gentle with my sweet little boy.

Extremes

Motherhood is full of extremes.  Elation to despair.  Joy to desperation.  Often within a single hour.  I try to temper my reactions and moods but oft times I fail.  They say that consistency is the most important attribute to bring to parenthood but it seems the most illusive for me.

Each evening, when I take stock of my day I think, “tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow I’ll be patient and loving in everything I do.”  Then, tomorrow hits.  Things never go as planned and soon I find my voice raised and anger in my expressions.  I can see it in my kids faces and I hate myself.

  1. I want our home to be a safe haven.  I want my kids to always feel love and know I am ALWAYS here for them but I feel like I’m failing.  I have shining moments but I feel like the vast majority of the time I’m doing it all wrong.I know there are things I can do to help me be better.  For example, if I get to bed on-time my patience lasts a whole lot longer.  There are variables that are out of my control (ie: babies who don’t sleep well, dealing with nighttime illness etc.) but I can do my part to get in bed and close my eyes on time.  (Curse you “Outlander!”  The sexual tension is killing me {I know.  I know.  I’m way behind the curve.})
  2. I need to start bedtime earlier.  My kids have been going to bed later (thanks to daylight savings ending) and getting up earlier (thanks, again, to daylight savings ending). I need to move their bedtime up since it doesn’t seem to make any difference in the time they wake up.  An earlier bedtime means:
  3. I need to make dinner earlier.  Thankfully the soccer season is over so this should be easier now.  No more late practices.
  4. Put down that device.  I’ve mentioned it here before but I have a slight addiction to electronics.  I’ve noticed that when I’m distracted by something electronic I tend to overreact to whatever it is my kids are doing.  I yell more and feel more angry in general.  It’s just so darn hard to put it away, though.  Especially on the days when my hubby is working late.  That distraction is so easy and readily available when I’m already feeling alone, frustrated, or just plain crazy.

That’s all I’ve got.  Do you have any advice, tips, or tricks for keeping your temper under control when your kids are fighting, yelling, mouthing-off or just plain making you crazy?

And on a completely unrelated note, have you heard Wild Ones before?  I’m loving them!

(Un)Happy Halloween

Halloween-21My sweet middle child is sick.  Really sick.  It started yesterday with a dry cough but I wrote it off as an anomaly.  Last night things took a turn for the worse.  As always happens when he gets sick, his breathing became labored and the cough increased.  In the early morning hours the hubby got up with him to give him a breathing treatment.  I still had high hopes that when he awoke he’d feel better and be able to attend his preschool Halloween party.

Well, we got up this morning and got ready for school.  All were dressed in there Halloween best and eating breakfast when my middle man (I’ll call him MMM or MM from here on out) started to complain of a belly ache.  Then he started to cry.  With MMM that is the tell-tale sign of impending up-chuck.  I ran for a “barf bowl” (as we call them) and shortly after he emptied his almost-empty belly into the receptacle.

I was dreading telling him that he couldn’t go to class today.  I imagined tears and whining and, well, devastation.  Instead the conversation went like this:

Me:  “Hey, buddy.  You’re sick, sweetie, so you can’t go to school today.

MMM: (sad face)

Me:  “You don’t want your friends to get sick too, right?”

MMM: (tears welling up) “No.”

Me: “Do you want to snuggle and watch movies instead?”

MMM: “Yeah!”

And that was that.  No more tears and not an ounce of disappointment.

So we watched a movie then MM took a three hour nap!  Poor thing.  (He must have slept even worse then I thought he had.)

I often forget how resilient MMM is.  While my boy is often incredibly sensitive he can also “roll with the punches” in a way us adults can find hard to do.  And MMM is pretty great at finding the bright side of whatever comes his way.

So, we’ll make the best of our rainy Halloween day with snuggles and scented candles.  We’ll carve our pumpkins when oldest gets home from school and sweet oldest son already promised to share his loot with MMM.  Our world will keep on rolling and life is still good, even if it didn’t go just as we’d hoped.

Happy Halloween from my family to yours.

STOP and listen

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I’m busy.  Not busier than your average mama of three boys but busy, non the less.  There are two school drop-offs.  There is a still nursing babe who needs a lot of attention as all toddlers do.  There are pick-ups, lunches to be made, clothes to be washed (oh, the dirty clothes), dishes, homework, soccer practice, dinner and on and on.

With all of this running around with my kids I often feel like we are together all. the. time.  The reality, though, is that I may always be physically there but I am frequently not present.

Too often I find myself lost in my own head, worried about what “needs” to happen next and I miss what is happening right now.

Last night, as I lay sleeplessly in bed, my mind drifted to days long past.  I vividly remember riding the school bus home with my mind full of the days happenings.  Sometimes there was elation, sometimes despair (I was a drama-filled kid) but always plenty to think about.

I’ve seen this same, far-off look in my oldest son’s eyes.  I’ve “seen” him processing his day from the back of our minivan.  There are new people, new ideas (good and bad), interactions with peers and teachers, and all the life issues that a elementary school aged kid has to deal with.

When I see that look I want to know.  I want to know what is going on in that head of his.  I want to know who he talked to and what he learned in class.  I want to know what is bothering him, what excites him and who makes him happy.  I want to be there to answer his questions.  I want him to know I am a safe place for him to talk about his feelings, ideas and worries.

To do this I need to STOP and listen.  I need to quiet my mind and let my worries go so I can help him with his.  All too soon he won’t want to talk to me.  He’ll censor our conversations and want to talk-these-things out with friends and peers but this is my chance.  This is my chance to gain his trust, be his safe place and show him that I’ll always be here.

My worries can wait but “babies don’t keep.”

Pressing On

It’s amazing what a little sleep can do for your mind-set and that of your child.  Most of the members of our household were sleep deprived when I wrote my last post.  That and sick which makes everything seem that much worse.  I was desperate, irrational, and exhausted.  Thankfully the son in question has now rested up, as have I, and he seems to be a bit more himself.

It’s amazing how quickly things can deteriorate when you are not well rested.  Things that I could normally shake off seem to be the end of the world as I know it.

The one thing I can be grateful for is that my husband and I never seem to fall into the quagmire at the same time.  We seem to take turns being unreasonable.  That way our children only have one irrational parent at a time. 😉

I guess that’s just the nature of having small children; particularly during the “cold and flu season.”  You tend to live in a perpetual state of sleep-deprivation.  And while some days (or weeks…or months) seem impossibly long and miserable, there are moments of shining light when you know it’s all worth it.  Moments when you are together and happy and you remember that nothing is more important than this: family.  Being a family, being together and loving each other.  That’s what life is about and that’s what I live for.

Motherhood: This is Hard

I started a post this morning about exercise but as my day has worn on it isn’t exercise that’s on my mind.  Right now I am in survival mode.  I’m trying to survive a sick day with angry kids and it’s not going well.

It’s something you do not, no, cannot fully grasp until you are a parent.  You hear, over and over again, that parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do.  You try to imagine what that means.  And then you are there and you think, “Oh.  This is what they meant.”

Today is one of those days.  I’m not sure what to say other than I am drowning.  I was not born with the gift of patience so, over the years, I’ve cultivated, practiced and learned to be patient.  But today it seems that everything I give just isn’t enough.  There has been yelling and scolding.  There have been tears and frustration.  And I don’t know what to do.

One of my boys has been incredibly challenging lately.  He is angry, mean and manipulative.  He is not always this way but he has been for the past few days.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if there is something wrong or if it is because he feels sick or if he’s sleep deprived or if it something deeper than that.

When your kids go off to school you are no longer in control of their day.  You don’t know if someone is being unkind to them or if they are being unkind to others.  You don’t know if they are struggling with new concepts in class or if the excel.  You can’t control the friends they play with or if they even have friends at all.

I’ve also not had good success in simply asking him.  He is happy to blame others for his bad choices but I still don’t know if that’s where the behavior stems from.

Some days I think maybe I should just pull him out of school and homeschool him but I’m not sure that is the best choice.  He and I often butt heads which makes me “teaching” him incredibly difficult.  I know we could overcome this if we really needed to but, when asked, he says he loves school so I don’t want to take him away from something he loves.

I’m confused and stressed and frustrated and not sure what to do.  I’m hoping tomorrow is a better day and that all my anxiety is for naught but if it’s not I feel like we’ll need to make some changes.

Any thoughts from out in the blog world?

Broken Record

Balance is on my mind a lot these days.  Finding the right balance for everything in life is what life is all about, right?  My problem dejour is my body; ie: body image.  Talking about how I feel about my body drives my husband batty.  He CANNOT STAND it.  To him I’m perfect.  He is sweet and loving and loves me just the way I am.

Me, on the other hand, I have an EXTREME love/hate relationship with my body.  One day I’m happy and content with what I’ve got.  I love my curvy hips, large bottom and small waist.  I love my strong calves, slim arms and round face.  Then, BAM!, the next day I HAVE everything physically about myself.  All I see is the cellulite on my thighs, the pooch of my belly and my not-so-adorable saddle bags I carry with me everywhere.

It’s not just my husband I make crazy, it’s me.  I hate that I’m this way.  Why can’t I be happy with what I have?  Why must I be so vain and critical of myself?  Why am I this way?

I don’t know the answer to these  questions but I do know I’ve got to stop my body loathing.  If not for myself then for my sweet boys.

Today, whilst getting ready to go, I kept telling my husband I looked fat in this or that.  He rolled his eyes and told me I looked great.  I ran to the other room mid outfit change 2,000,000 and when I came back hubby asked if I’d heard what son #1 said.  I hadn’t and hubby told my my son, my sweet, skinny, adorable, perfect boy had slumped on the floor in my room and announced that he was fat.  FAT!?!  The kid is skin and bones.  And the blame for his comment falls squarely on my shoulders.

So that’s it.  I’m pledging to never, I repeat, NEVER say I’m fat again.  I can’t promise that those thoughts won’t pop into my mind.  I can’t promise that I won’t FEEL fat but I can control the words that my children hear coming out of my mouth.