A Rant/Confession/Not a very fun read.

How was your day?

Sometimes that's a hard question to answer.  

Joe, being the good husband that he is, will ask me this question almost every night.  And he wants the real answer, which is one of the million things that I love about him.  

But sometimes it's just hard.  

I would love to say "It was great!  The children were angels.  We did crafts and sang songs together.  They told me how much they love each other while they helped each other with their chores.  We went on an educational outing where they were all engaged and respectful."

But today?  Not awesome.  Today felt like constant whining and fighting.  Today was complaining. Today was lots of striving with very little fruit.  Today there was not peace in our home.  And that sucks.

See, I always thought I would be a really good mom.  I love kids.  I like to teach them things.  I don't mind a hard day's work.  I have a pretty high tolerance for loud and messy. 

But today I don't feel like a good mom.  

Today I feel like I must be doing something wrong and there must be a better way.

And maybe there is truth to that.  I am sure I could make a lot of improvements in my parenting.

But here's the thing.  

Parenting is a whole lot of sowing and then a little reaping and then a whole lot more sowing.  

Farmers don't sow and then reap and then reap and then reap.

There is always more sowing to be done.  Why do we think parenting is any different?  

Sometimes, in our society, we have this expectation that parents must "control" their children right NOW or they will disrupt everyone else and probably have to do some jail time eventually.

What a bunch of crap.

When you see a parent struggling with their child's behavior, you should applaud them.  They are not failing as a parent because their child is misbehaving in this moment.  That's what children do.  It's the parent's job to take this child, in this moment, and teach them how to deal with their current circumstances/emotions/other struggles you may not even be able to see.  This is a moment of sowing (or maybe pruning or watering) but it's a moment where that parent is knee deep in the dirt and doing the hard work that needs to be done.

Parenting is a constant challenge and it's even harder when there is an audience.  When a parent is actively engaged with their child, they are doing the hard work of parenting, shaping that little soul right in front of you.  So try to bypass the negative thoughts and/or comments and, instead, step out and encourage.

Parenting my specific kids looks very different than what I had pictured.  And I wouldn't trade it for anything.  But I can't say that today was great.  It was hard.  

And I think (I hope) that means I did some of it right.


Nora Girlie

Just a quick Nora post because all of her words are so stinking cute.
She says:

  • "ha byes" for "high five"
  • always tags someone's name onto the end "please"; it's usually "Please, Dada" or "Please, Judah" even if neither of them are around and she's asking me for something.
  • has started saying "hey" before someone's name:  "hey, Mama".
  • "I see you" - this is especially creepy when the person is not in the room.  For example, we woke up one day to her saying "I see you, Tony" over and over and OVER again.
  • "you did it!" when she wants you to cheer for her.
  • "oh boy!" and   "Oh goodness!" and  "oh man!"
  • "help youp"...with the p on the end.
  • "Nope."  especially if she means "yes".
  • "peep it a boo" for "peek a boo" - this is my favorite favorite favorite.  
  • she has started saying "I love you" with no prompting, so, you know, heart melted.
  • "huggies" for hugs
  • "awesome"
  • if you start quizzing her on words she will put a "ha" in front of them. I think because she is proud and happy to say new words. 
    • me: "Nora, can you say 'noodles'?"
    • Nora:  "ha noodles"
  • she is starting to tell us about what happens in different places.  So, when I take her to the childcare at the athletic club I will say "Nora, do you want to go play with the kids?"  And she will say "Kids!  Ball!"  and I'll say "You played with the ball?  That's fun."  And she'll say "Fun!" and then she'll think and say "Henry.  Cry."  Because her friend Henry cried once when he got dropped off in the childcare.
  • "appa dada" for "applesauce"
More updates on the boys coming soon!

Life Lessons

Sometimes when I am talking with or correcting one of my kids, I get this feeling like "this is a holy moment".  We can be in the midst of normal conversation or in deep discussion when it happens, but I suddenly become aware that what I'm saying is a life lesson.  Don't get me wrong, moms do this constantly all day long.  Every waking minute.

There are millions of life lessons we teach.

If you make the mess, you are responsible for cleaning it up.
Just because you didn't make the mess does not mean you don't need to help.
If you see that your brother needs help, HELP him.
Put your laundry in the basket.
You can probably get your own water.
Try that again with better manners.
Think about the last time that you wore your shoes.  Look there.
You actually DO need a coat when it's 35 degrees.
You actually have to wash your body.  That's the point of a shower.
You actually don't need 7 squirts of soap to wash your body.
Look around this room and see if you can find one thing that needs to be done.
Be a gentleman and hold the door.
People don't like it when you spit on them.
That healthy snack is going to make you big and strong!
Wash your hands or you will get pink eye.  Again.

You get the idea.


But the moments I'm talking about are different.  They are the holy moments where you get to tell your kids things that you wish you had figured out earlier in life.  They are lessons you are honored and humbled to teach. They are the words you are praying will stick.  

Today it was like this.

I don't know if you're familiar with reacting out of anger, but I am.  When I am angry I am tempted to become offended and, in my anger,  REACT to a situation instead of maintaining composure and acting purposefully.

So, surprise surprise, my kids often do this exact same thing.  It's amazing how parenting holds a mirror to your flaws and laughs at you.

Anyway, today Roman found some rope in the garage and was showing me some jump rope skills they were working on in PE.  (crossover?  Nailed it.)  He was having so much fun.  After his exhibition, he asked me if he could buy a jump rope with the money he had been saving in his wallet.

Now, Joe and I had recently sat down with him discussed impulse spending (of which he is the king) and asked him to make a goal to save a larger sum of money to buy something he really wanted.  So we agreed upon an item and a dollar amount.  

So, back to jumping rope...I was about to tell Roman that I wanted him to keep saving his money but that I would be happy to buy him a jump rope because I think that would be a fun thing for whole family to have for the summer and it would be great exercise.

But I only got to "Remember, we have already talked about saving your money..." when there was an outburst of "It's not fair!  I have the money!  You're the worst!", etc, etc.

So, he was sent to his room to calm down and when he came out I told him "I was about to tell you something that I think you will like to hear, but instead of waiting to hear what I had to say, you got angry and you missed it."

I asked if he was ready to be calm and listen, and then I told him what I would have told him originally.
And then I got to share the real nitty gritty with him:

 "You know, this reminds me a lot of how we are with God sometimes.  Sometimes, we ask God for something and he doesn't give us the answer that we were hoping for.  But God always has a plan.  He is a good Father.  If we respond out of anger when we don't get what we ask for, if we stop listening because we feel like 'it's not fair', we might miss the blessing he was trying to give us. That blessing is sometimes even better than what we were hoping for!"

Even though I taught a lot of crazy, patience-trying life lessons today, I am so thankful I got to teach that one.  Please, Lord, let their little hearts understand and remember.