Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watch That Attitude, Mommy!

Just a few minutes ago, my four year old corrected my bad attitude. I don't think he meant it quite as a rebuke but more of a statement of wisdom (yeah... my wacky four year old son displaying wisdom...). It struck me deeply, in a way that can only be from God so I thought I'd pass it along.

I have 6 people that I do laundry for. The piles build up quickly. My 4 month old spits up, my 2 year old spills everything on herself, my husband has "hand wash" work clothes, I wear gym clothes and then regular clothes every day...The mountains rise up almost over night. I feel like I'm constantly sorting and washing and folding and hanging and drying and blah blah blah. This morning, not so under my breath, I made a comment about how sick and tired of doing laundry I was. My four year old overheard me and responded, "Mom, at least we have lots of clothes to wear. Some people don't even have socks or underwear." That shut me up real quick.

A friend recently came to me, down and self critical. I told my friend that I believe that attitude is a choice. That we control our actions and reactions. I said that {I believe} a good way to promote more positive thinking and less negativity in our own minds is to practice thankfulness or {gonna sound cheesy here} an attitude of gratitude. I can't believe that a) I'm a total hypocrite and b) it took God correcting me through my 4 year old son to show me that. 

I'm whining. Like a Hebrew in the desert who was miraculously freed from oppressive slavery by a more than impressive God. I'm whining about laundry. Of all the silly things to complain about. At least we have more than enough to wear. At least I have a fully functioning washer and drier. At least I'm blessed to be a Stay At Home Mom and can start the laundry in the morning instead of having to tackle it at night after a long day of work. I am blessed. 

One of the biggest stumbling blocks Satan throws at us, which is ironically one that we don't even see most of the time, is taking our blessings for granted. It's so so easy to do. Such an easy trap to fall into. And it results in pride and a list of other sins. I do it way more often than I'd like to admit. It's shameful and when I think about it, downright disrespectful to God. Who am I to not thank and praise Him for the abundance of warm clothing He has provided my family with?!?

I am grateful that God is working in the heart of my little boy. I am thankful that God does not hesitate to bring me to my knees with a couple sentences of truth from my son. I am thankful for the clothes spinning in the nice washing machine upstairs. 

Watch your attitude through the day. Your children are listening. Your coworkers are observing. Your spouse is feeling it. Are you thankful? Or ungrateful? Are you even paying attention to your own actions and reactions? Choose your attitude consciously and wisely. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

It's been a long week. Yes, I know I'm not even halfway through Wednesday yet but it's still been a long week. Thanks to some icky germs making us all ill (there's 6 of us) and Christmas just two weeks away, I'm worn out. It's funny though that it takes getting sick and being forced to take a chill pill in order to rest for a few days. Although I hate seeing my poor babies miserable and I don't exactly enjoy being sick, I'm thankful that I got knocked down so I HAD to sit for a moment. 

I've been reading a lot of other blog posts about "not stressing during the holidays" and "don't worry about decorating, it's not worth the annoyance" and most of it irked me. It's Christmas time. Decorate your tree. Hang your stockings. Rock that ugly holiday sweater. And keep moving. This happens every year so don't act surprised that there's a ton to do, way more places to be and more cookies than you can stomach. It is what it is. Make those memories! 

But then we all got sick. And it took me having to hold back my oldest daughter's hair while she threw up to realize that I hadn't had much physical contact with her recently. Or any of the kids except the baby. That bummed me out. It shouldn't be like that. I shouldn't be that kind of mom.

Today, everyone is better but I chose to stay home and not go out at all for just one more day because this rest has been so therapeutic. I think it's been as good for the kids as for me. We've gotten to do some crafts, so watch some Christmas movies together, build a tent for "picnics". And I got to hold my kids. Like hold them hold them. It felt great to snuggle a little.

I'm a pretty big advocate for making special occasions as special as you can. I think my parents instilled that in me because they did such a great job at it. I feel like I'm slipping in one area though that they didn't and it's the part where we were all involved in the special occasion. I'm in this mode where I'm saying things like, "No, baby. I need it done right and fast so I'm just going to get it done myself" and ignoring the twinge of guilt I feel when my forlorn child goes back upstairs. Or "If you guys don't pipe down, I'm gonna have a talk with Santa!" Woo boy. So wrong. Kids are kids and especially around this time of year, are supposed to be constantly feeling joyous and excited. It's part of why we celebrate in the manner that we do. To help build up the excitement and wonder and anticipation. Not beat it down so we can concentrate on surfing the web for the next fun Christmas activity. 

I'd been trying to figure out what we're going to do this weekend concerning "making memories". There's tons of options where we are but I think that doing something close to home and then at home is what's best for all of us. Something that will keep us close all day and end with us all cuddling together in front of the tree. 

I encourage you, for the rest of the Christmas season, to focus on loving instead of doing. If we don't have love, we have nothing. Your "doing" and "giving" means nothing if you're having to tune out or turn away the ones you love and who love you just so you can get the cards mailed out or the gifts wrapped or the cookies delivered. Chances are, your loving will be acted out by doing but in a way that let's you "do" together. 

On that note, I have some coloring to do with some of my favorite people :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Reason for the Season


As I get older, I find myself getting more and more cynical. I've been a little frustrated lately with "society" or the people in control of holiday marketing and then the people who allow themselves to get sucked in. Haha, now that I really think about it, I'm not really sure who I'm frustrated with. Satan perhaps? For trying to distract mankind from the whole Reason why we celebrate Christmas in the first place? It's like a disease: the "gimmes". My kids have it bad and we're constantly trying to figure out the "cure" for it. If I'm honest, I've got it too. "Hey Babe, here's a good gift idea for me." or "Please tell me what you're getting me. You know I don't like surprises." (Yeah... I really said that...) but it's everywhere. You can't go anywhere with out the message of "This is what you NEED this Christmas" or "Go ahead and indulge in this this year" and "Kids, trick your parents into buying this crazy expensive-turn-your-brain-into-bubblegum gift for you". Bah humbug! 

I was sitting here realizing that I was quickly becoming Scrooge, so I decided to think back to my own childhood memories of Christmas. My parents are pretty awesome people. Creative, fun, thoughtful and sentimental. There's not a single memory of Christmas with them that didn't make me grin from ear to ear. I can remember my Dad standing on the front porch Christmas Eve, jingling his keys and telling us that he could hear Santa's sleigh so we better get in bed. I remember getting all dressed up to go see The Nutcracker at The Kenedy Center. I remember one Christmas morning when all the gifts were unwrapped and my parents saying, "Wait! What's that last gift behind the desk, Abby?" And yes, it was indeed a Red Rider BB gun. My mother's home made egg nog is still the only egg nog I will ever drink. Always attending the candle lit Christmas Eve service at church. Christmas Eve never would have felt right without it.

Two of my favorite memories are the ones we did every single year. First, decorating the tree. Fire going, bowls of nuts and Christmas records. I LOVED those records. John Denver, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby and The Muppets. Burl Ives has probably one of my most favorite voices to listen to. Something comforting about it. Man. I need to figure out how to record those onto my iPhone or something so I can listen to them again. Getting to spend time together as a family doing something fun and peaceful. Then sitting in front of the tree at night next to the fire, music quietly playing and no lights except the ones on the tree. Love love love.

My second is the "light hunting". Once the lights started going up on houses, we'd take drives and count the lights. Each man for himself. And we did get a little competitive. But you had to count out loud a certain way. "Christmas lights ONE!" and then "Christmas lights TWO!" and so on. Once my kids are old enough to understand the counting (and not fight during the process), we'll do the same. Each year though, we do go out one night to just drive around and look at lights. We stop and share chicken nuggets as a family and then stop at Starbucks so I can sip my Peppermint Mocha while we drive around and admire the lights. 

Christmas is about the birth of our Savior. It is a celebration to mark the day that God sent His only Son to earth so that He could fulfill His promise of giving us a chance to accept His gift of sacrifice. We give gifts in light of that. And I think that the celebrating should be done the way my parents did in our family: by enjoying the love and hope and peace of God's gift to us as a family. Spent with those we hold most dear, sharing time and wonder and joy. 

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of The Lord appeared to them, and the glory of The Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which The Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about the child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:8-20 




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is Parenting For You?



I've been seeing a lot of other posts and videos and articles back and forth between couples with kids and couples with out kids. "Untethered" couples correcting parents or parents telling ther other side about how easy their lives are. A good bit of it is amusing but sometimes, it all strikes a nerve. Sure life before kids was cool. Come and go as you please. Spend your money on yourselves. Stay up all night hanging out with friends. Getting to eat your whole meal. Knowing your bills are still on the counter where you placed them. Knowing you can set the bottle of toilet cleaner on the floor for a moment without worrying that someone will try to drink it. Easy doesn't even begin to describe it. Peaceful. Carefree. Simple. Organized. Fun. So many words come to mind. But having children... Let's just say that in spite of the stretch marks, the hair loss, the sleepless nights and never ending game of "where is (insert ANY item here)", the grass IS greener on this side of the fence. I wouldn't trade one second with my awesome, beautiful babies for anything I had before kids. Nothing. 

That being said...

My little sister is getting married in May. She's going to be an amazing mother. She's a wonderful Aunt to my children and she's ALWAYS been great with kids. She's fun and creative and sentimental. She'll be an awesome Mom. I can't imagine that she would date a guy that didn't like kids or didn't want them. So I'm going to assume that "Mr. Geoff" (what my kids are to call him until he becomes Uncle Geoff) will be a good dad. I feel the need to prepare them for a few things. Warn them, or at least suggest a few things that they may want to master before actually having their own kids. As my husband likes to say, "Drop the kids off with your sister for a week. That'll be all the birth control they need!" I had to limit myself to 10 tips or else I could have written a whole book for them. Maybe I will. Haha, I think I have the wedding gift figured out! 

Jess and Geoff, seriously consider the following before you start trying for kids of your own (in no particular order):

1) Learn to eat without chewing. I don't mean inhale because that's breathing. And you're not supposed to breath your food. I mean, get it from your plate to your stomach as quick as you can. Since we've gotten to go out to eat alone recently, we're floored at how quickly we can make it through a meal AND that we're stuffed afterwards. There's no kids spilling drinks or stabbing each other with silverware or fighting over crayons or falling out of their seats or begging to go to the bathroom or deciding that they hate what you've given them but instead want what's on your plate...even though it's the same exact thing. Trust me. Learn to eat expediently or you will forever be hungry (which turns into, as a friend comically termed it recently, "hangry"...hungry+angry...). 

2) Get over any/all aversions to body fluids you may have. I can not tell you how many times I've had a kid puke down my shirt. Or how many times I've fished poo out of the bath tub (shudder). Or how many times I've sat in church and looked down at my dress and saw streaks of snot that I failed to notice before leaving the house. Or how many times I've scrubbed "loose stool" out of the carpet or off the walls or been peed on. It happens. Over and over with every child. If you can not handle the site of projective vomiting or the smell of a sick child who slept in an explosive diaper all night or the feel of warm fresh poop on your hand, you may want to reconsider children as there is no way to avoid any of this. 

3) Get used to not spending money on yourselves. You may leave the house on a shopping trip with a budget in mind and a written list in your hand. But you will rarely stick to that list once kids arrive. I know you, Jess. You may be an awesome deal finder, but you love to spoil. You may leave the house to buy yourself some new underwear but pass by the store with the adorable sparkly pink baby boots in the window and know that your baby girl will not only be absolutely adorable in them but will give you that awesome excited smile when you put them on her. After you put them on her, you'll head to your sewing machine to patch up the undies you should have replaced. 

4) Start cooking more meals at home. Going out is easy when your first kid is a baby. Babies sleep. In fact, I encourage you to enjoy going out with your infant. It's really no big deal unless you have a unique situation. But when they get older... You end up ticking off others trying to eat because your kids are crying like they lost their big toe just because they didn't get a red crayon with their kids menu. Or they all the sudden hate hotdogs. Or they refuse to eat anything because it isn't pizza. You both love to cook, so I encourage you to make it frequent and fun. 

5) Get used to public embarrassment. Seriously. Try randomly REALLY embarrassing each other so you can get used to people staring and whispering. You think I'm joking but I'm not. It isn't easy to leave your house when you know there's a chance you may be publicly displayed so start now. Build that calluse. Because your kids will do it to you inevitably and in creative ways. Like hiding at the top of the indoor playground at McDonald and not coming down for hours. Or getting their arms sucked into the elevator. Or screaming "Stranger Danger" in public restrooms for no reason. Or running in a carpeted area, tripping, landing face first, getting rug burn up the side of their face and SCREAMING about it. Or yelling "LOOK AT MY BOOGER" in a restaurant. They'll get creative. So I dare the two of you to periodically mortify each other in a public place. 

6) Short and sweet: Jess, get a house where you don't have to share a bathroom with ANY boys. Especially young ones. They're gross. You'll thank me. 

7) Start buying kids' socks now. You'll almost never be able to find both socks in a pair after their first use. If you want your kids' socks to match, starting stocking up now.

8) Practice driving those shopping carts with the little cars attached to the front. They're so difficult to maneuver through/around tight grocery store isles, especially if one of the cart's tires are messed up. And even more so if the kids inside the car are fighting. For real. If they're pushing each other and throwing around their bodies, it'll shake things up. I recommend one of you sitting in the car while the other pushes the cart. 

9) Get used to writing EVERYTHING down. Chances are, the more kids you have, the more you'll start loosing your mind. And with that comes an inability to remember what you were doing two seconds ago even though you know it was super important. I'm being serious. It's a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy in most, if not all, rooms. You'll never think of things at a convenient time or place so it's better to be prepared. 

10) Play a broken record/cd. Let it continue to "skip" for as long as you can mentally handle it. Then, try to do it again in about an hour, lasting a little bit longer each time. This will help prepare you for hearing the same annoying noises or questions from your kids over and over. They will whine. They will yell. They will scream. They will fight. They will want to watch the same annoying movie on repeat for a week. They WILL sing "The Wheels On The Bus" like it's their life mission. They will stand next to you while you're cooking and say, "MOMMY!" until you drop everything and look at them. They WILL think its funny to press the button on the singing Dora over and over. Playing the broken cd will help condition you. Each time, make it longer and louder. 

I can't wait to spoil your children. But my biggest BIGGEST piece of advice for you before having kids of your own is to enjoying being JUST married for a little while. I don't regret anything about our kids but your relationship will change once the kids come. So bond together as much as you can before you have babies. After that, feel free to ask me anything. I'd like to consider myself an expert at this point ;) 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bob is Watching You!

Maybe I'm more like Scrooge than Bob Cratchit but it annoys me to see Christmas decorations being sold in stores at the beginning of October. For crying out loud, let me enjoy the fall decorations before I have to stare at all things red and green. I feel like by the time my kids graduate middle school the Christmas "season" will last all year round. It's rubbing off on my kids and I think that's one of the reasons why it's driving me bananas. 



We started doing The Elf on the Shelf in our house last year. I just bought the cheaper plush elf without the book because I wasn't even sure how the kids would respond to the whole thing. I don't even know what the story behind it all is, but I told them that "Bob" (I wasn't feeling creative when I named him) was the elf assigned to our home by Santa to keep an eye on them so Santa could keep busy on toys and not have to worry about "the list" so much. Bob made his first appearance on the day after thanksgiving and every morning till Christmas. He showed up in their bath tub, their cereal bowls, he made them tiny elf pancakes, set up a cookie decorating party for them and some friends, read the Christmas story from the Bible to the Nutcracker Boys (the "gang" I created with all the nutcrackers I collect) and much more. Little did I know that Bob would become cooler then Santa himself...

Several weeks ago, I overheard my oldest (5) say to her brother (4), "You better stop touching my toys because Bob is watching and he'll put you on the naughty list and you won't get any presents for Christmas!!!" My first reaction was towards her unkind words. I'm dealing with that ongoing problem separately. My second issue was the fact that the kids were already thinking about and talking about a Bob. My third problem was that I knew that once again, the wrong part of Christmas was being focused on. So I went into her room, pulled all three kids together and we had a chat. I explained the following: 

1) Christmas really has nothing to do with Santa or Bob. * All three kids are fully aware that Christmas is "Jesus' Birthday" (or at least the day we celebrate it). And we celebrate HIS birthday because it was on that day, our Savior, the Son of God, began fulfilling the prophesies and promises of his birth, death, resurrection and saving of those who choose to accept who and what He is. * 

2) When it is someone's birthday, THEY get gifts, not the guests. The guests GIVE gifts. Then we talked about what gifts Jesus would want for his birthday like obedience and kindness and honesty and love and HOW we could give those gifts. Keeping their rooms clean. Helping each other with chores. Sharing. Not giving Mom and Dad attitude. Being encouraging. Telling others about God's love. Being honest. Going to bed early so Mommy can take a bubble bath. Keeping completely silent so Mommy can snooze. Letting Mommy have all the Haloween candy. Wait... I'm just kidding on those last three... Kinda... 

3) Bob works for Santa who works for God so really, Bob works for God too. If a Bob and Santa think a kid deserves to be on the "naughty list", is that kid obeying God? Chances are "no". So the best way to please Santa or Bob is to obey God. They answer to Him and it's their job to make sure His plan is carried out or His expectations are met. (This made my five year old daughter cry. It wasn't my intention at all to make her feel guilty with this lesson but it let me know that she understood what I was telling her.) 

I'm not a total Scrooge I guess. I love Christmas time. I love what we're (some of us at least) celebrating. Hope. Joy. Salvation waiting for us. I'm choking up just thinking about it. I love to celebrate birthdays (except my own) and to get to celebrate such a special birthday is awesome. And I'm into the Santa/Bob thing. I'm a product of a loving Christian home that had Santa in it at Christmas. I turned out just fine and am very aware of what Christmas is all about. I also to this day, bake cookies for and write letters to the man in the red suit. I think it IS possible for children to know the true meaning of the season and still get to wake up each morning excited to see what "sneaky ol Bob" did this time. 

I am, however, not quite ready to see his sneaky little face yet. Or the Christmas isle completely stocked at Walmart. Or the fake trees being sold at SAMs club... And I think I need a little more time to try to work my way back on to the "nice list" anyway... 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweaty Parenting

I left the gym about three hours ago and I swear I'm still sweating. I THINK about going to the gym and I start sweating. I am just one of those unfortunate women that sweat. A lot. Thankfully, I'm remembering to put my deodorant on these days... 

I've never really worked out. Gyms intimidate the heck out of me. I'm not coordinated, I hate running, I'm not strong... I'm a bit of a nerd. Our brains are our biggest muscles more often than not (haha, yeah, just writing that cracked me up... And yes, I'm aware that the brain isn't actually a muscle). I've had gym memberships in the past but almost never went. I signed up just a couple weeks after having baby #4 though because I knew I was going to experience some catastrophic postpartum blues (I always do) and that I needed to be proactive about fighting it as best as I could. I even signed up to work with a trainer since a) I needed some way to be held accountable for my workouts and b) I have no stinkin idea how to work out. Thankfully, and this is totally God at work, my trainer is a kind, patient woman that doesn't freak me out by being over bearing but still pushes me. 

When I'm not working with my trainer, I'm busy doing cardio related stuff. One thing I've come to love about the cardio related workouts is that I don't have to do a lot of thinking during it. Crank up the tunes and go. It also gives me a chance to people watch, something I find quite amusing most of the time. You get a wide variety of people coming to the gym. Older people, middle aged moms, couples, guys with huge muscles that like to stare at themselves in the mirrors... Yeah, those ones make me laugh out loud often. But there's another group that makes me want to scream and chuck my metal water bottle at them. The ones that are skinny and pretty but rarely lift a finger to actually exercise. It's like they're there to show off their "perfect" bodies and socialize. Oh man. Watching them bugs me and not just because I'm blinking stinging sweat out of my eyes. It's not quite jealousy. More like frustration that I'm actually trying to get fit and loose weight and tone and be healthy. Like trying hard. Working my tail off. Sweating and gasping for breath while they stand around and smile and laugh and don't work out. Stinkin annoying skinny people... 

I never thought I'd have some kind of semi-profound revelation about parenting at the gym but I came to realize that the same way I feel about these "non-exercisers" is the same way I feel about parents that seem like they have it all together. Like parenting isn't hard work for them and they can do it easily and naturally. I don't know about anyone else but parenting kicks my butt. Much like working out does. It wears me out physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm exhausted at the end of the day. From being a parent. There are some parents though, that are fun and their kids are well behaved and clean and well rounded. It's like they're not having to work at it to keep it all together. I am literally sweating by the time we get to church on Sundays just from running around non stop trying to get everyone fed and dressed and clean. Sometimes I have to shut myself in the pantry and put my hands over my ears (we've entered the oh so delightful "tattling" stage) to stop myself from flipping my lid. The car is a mess, I keep forgetting to get rid of the dead flowers on our front step, and there are 5 baskets of clothes in the laundry room waiting to be folded. My kids can't sit still in their chairs at restaurants and sometimes get stuck in their chairs in such weird positions that I have to get the waitress to help me get them out. My 2 year old feels the need to loudly announce to anyone within 30 feet that she's pooped in her diaper. And all three older kids will rough house in stores while you're trying to shop till one of them smacks their head on the floor and you're dragging them out while people stare. Parenting is tough for me. 

Maybe that's just my lot in life though. Some things are going to be harder for me than for other people. Maybe parenting IS easy for some like its easy for some people to be fit or for some women to handle their hormones after pregnancy. But maybe for those same people, they're working hard to overcome something in their own lives. Maybe there's even something they see when they look at me and think, "Man, I wish I could do that as easily!" (I have no idea what that'd be but who knows...) 

I hear often that things that you have to work hard for are the things that are most worth having. I'm not sure if that applies to everything for everyone but for me, right now, it makes sense. When I was younger, I hated when my parents made me help with difficult yard work. But when it was all over and we were worn out from all the labor and fresh air, I felt good. Like I acomplished something. And in those moments, I was grateful that my parents made me work and I also felt closer to them. There is a sense of deep satisfaction from working hard at something. 

That being said, I'll no longer look at the people at the gym with frustration. I'll just keep on sweating like a crazy person and thank God for giving me a healthy body and a healthy mind, for my wonderful four children, my awesome husband and our beautiful home. All blessings that He so willingly gave me. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy

Every year, my son's birthday is a pretty big deal. It's not that he is more important to me than his sisters are; it's just that there was a time that we weren't sure we'd be getting to do things like celebrate his fourth birthday. I won't bore you with the details again (I've blogged about the situation on his previous two birthdays... you can read it here if you're curious: http://awannabesupermom.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-its-ok-when-bad-things-happen.html) but long story short, for the longest 10 days of my life, we weren't sure if he would survive whatever it was that attacked his brand new little body. I know that it is because God loves me and had many lessons to teach me through this little boy that my son is alive and healthy today. And this kid has kept me on my toes ever since.

My little boy is growing up and changing so quickly. On his first birthday, he couldn't eat his own birthday cake because he had some kind of gag reflex problem. He couldn't eat anything thicker than formula without gagging and puking. Turns out, it was all psychological. Kid was playin games from the start. He had a Gatorade addiction for a while. Which was my fault, but I paid for my mistake when I cut him off, cold turkey. Then, he went through a "phase" where any time we took him out in public, he insisted on throwing a fit. And by fit I mean psychotic meltdown... the kind where people consider calling the authorities on you. The kind where you wonder if your baby got switched in the hospital because there's no stinkin way that little booger shares your DNA. The kind where you plead with God for the second coming to happen. ASAP. It got to the point where we considered never leaving the house again. Ever. And as he got older, the fits changed and got easier in some ways but much worse in others. The pediatrician suggested counseling. I ended up evaluating and changing his diet which helped dramatically. Didn't fix the problem but holy cow did I learn about what a poor communicator I am in the process! Sometimes, a child's problems are as simple as your own. Sugar causes extreme reactions for him. But because I just panicked and over reacted instead of asking him what was wrong and being patient till he and I worked out the issue, it made most situations worse than they were. 

Then two thing happened around the same time that helped my awesome little boy shine. In mid July, baby number four was born. Then, my oldest started school a month later. When she started school, my son became the big kid of the house during the day. While I miss my oldest since I don't get to spend much time with her any more, I'm so thankful for the time to get to know Little Man better. With his older sister at school, he became my helper. He became my little assistant. And he took taking care of keeping the baby happy very seriously. 

Today was his birthday. Previous birthdays involved tears and general brattiness. This year was so awesome. For starters, I wasn't able to decorate with the theme he wanted. But he wouldn't stop telling me that it was ok and that he loved the Batman decorations. Then, he wouldn't stop hugging me and thanking me for "all my wonderful presents!" (he got less than previous years). And when I explained that we weren't doing a cake tonight since we were waiting for Daddy to come back from his trip later this week to do it but that I was going to come up with another desert for him., I expected his response to be tears and pouting and drama. Instead, his response was, "Well, that's ok Mom. Just put a candle on a pizza for me." Cracked me up and made me love him even more. 

I'm so incredibly thankful that God let me keep Little Man. I'm so thankful for the lessons in love and patience and communication, parenting, marriage and life that God has and is teaching me through this handsome little boy. I am so thankful that through all he and I have been through in these past four years, that our relationship is where it is. Don't get me wrong, we're not bffs. I'm the mom and he's my son, but there's no reason why our relationship has to be frustrating. I'm grateful for the boy God is shaping him into. He's a pretty cool kid. 

Just in case you read this someday, Happy Birthday, son of mine. You bring me joy and you have added to the value of my life. I have loved you every moment of every day since I found out about your existence and I will continue to love you every day for the rest of your life. 




Monday, October 7, 2013

The Supermom Conundrum

 
I like to people watch. I observe, question, ponder and yes, I'll admit, sometimes judge. As I've matured (haha, yes, I have, even if it's just a tiny bit) over the years, my analysis of people has changed. For example, when I was a waitress many many years ago, I used to judge the parents that would bring their children in and allow them to be noisy or messy. It used to frustrate me and I would swear to myself that I would NEVER let my children act like that. Now, when I'm out and I see that kind of a family dynamic at a restaurant, as long as the kids aren't saying disrespectful things or throwing food in my direction, I'll usually ignore it. If I see one of those kids crying or acting difficult, I look to the mom to see how she's reacting. More often than not, there's a look of desperation as she pleads with the child to just be quiet for 10 more minutes. If she looks my way, I shoot her a knowing smile of encouragement. I know what it is like to be in her shoes. Her child acting up is not necessarily a reflection of her parenting. Sometimes kids can be stinkers! And I had to eat my words and judgements. More often than not, my kids ARE the noisy kids in the restaurant. We ARE the ones leaving the Chinese restaurant with more rice on the floor than in our bellies. Or greasy finger prints on the windows. Or drinks spilled all over the table. It happens. I've learned to pick my battles. And to learn quick math so we can figure out the tip as quickly as possible and run fast so we don't have to endure another defeated look from the poor waitress. 

I think that women are each other's toughest critics and so far, in my 28 years, I feel that the two ways we judge each other the harshest is in our appearances and in our children. I see it everywhere I go. And I feel it. I'm not perfect and although I'm not proud of it, I'll confess that I criticize or feel pride. My oldest daughter is in kindergarten now. A friend was telling me that her own daughter, also in kindergarten, kept getting in trouble for talking too much. I can remember thinking, "I'm so proud of Alex for being wise enough to not be a talker." About a week later, I'm talking to Alex's teacher during our parent/teacher conference and she informs me that Alex can be a bit bossy with the other kids. Oops. I have no idea where she got that from... 

Since I had baby #4, I started working out at the gym 4-6 days a week and with a personal trainer. My first thought, while getting the tour from the gym manager (who was a walking cliche... You know, great smile, winning personality, handsome, muscles everywhere... Not trying to be mean. He seems like a super great guy. But come on... Of course they send the young mom questioning a gym membership to HIM...)  was "Why do all the men have no arm hair???" My second thought was, "Guess I'm going to have to buy a couple neon colored spandex outfits if I'm going to fit in with these other women." I didn't start working out to be skinny. I want to be healthy. My desire to work out was more of a need to work on my mental health (let's be honest, postpartum can stink!) than a desire to look like Barbie. Sure, the weightloss and toning has been a great side affect but I still feel like I'm in some kind of weird competition that I have no desire to be a part of. I'll be standing in line behind these other women to pick up my kids from the day care and I'm stuck behind women that look like they could be models. Who looks that good when they're done working out? Seriously? I don't!!! And for real, what's up with these skinny chicks that come in and pretty much hang out for an hour and do almost no exercise but still look awesome? I'm standing here breathing like a Saint Bernard that ran a marathon, sweating like a grown man who's been digging holes in the clay dirt during a Georgia summer. And I might have forgotten to put deodorant on...again... But I'll get comments from women when they see how old my baby is about how they wish they could look as good as me this soon after having a fourth baby. I say thank you, but I'm really thinking "You'd think otherwise if I was standing here in my underwear." 

We all do it. We all criticize and judge, even if we're doing it to ourselves because we wish we looked different. Or that our kids were smarter. Or that they were the star of the soccer team. Or any number of other silly standards we try to measure each other and ourselves with. 

When I started this blog, I thought I wanted to be a Supermom. I wanted to be one because I thought I wasn't one. Truth is, I am. And most likely, so are you (if you're a mom reading this...). I used to believe that there was a specific guideline or list of qualifications that measured what a Supermom was: her home was always clean, he kids were always well behaved, her husband was alway happy, she was skinny but an awesome cook, her appearance was impeccable, her dogs could get drinks from the fridge, and she could multi task like a champ. I do know some women who are this seemingly perfect. On the outside, they have it all together. But on the inside, they're a mess. They're relationships are superficial. Their children don't have fun. Their husbands are happy...when they're not at home. I don't want to be like that. My house is a mess. I have no idea what we're going to eat for dinner. I'm not even going to start describing the mountain of laundry sitting in the hall upstairs. I haven't showered yet and am still covered in an hour and half of sweat from my workout this morning. There's a fruit fly that's been in my house so long, I'm contemplating giving him a name and welcoming him into the family... But my husband is happy and dying to come home from the project he's on (and missing my cooking too... Yup, tooting my own horn a little). My kids are loved and they know it. They're happy. I don't feel the unrealistic pressure to be something that I'm not. Sure, there's always room for improvement but figuring out what to improve on is the key. 

My hope is that other mothers understand this too. This goofy pedestal that we place some women on but won't allow ourselves to consider coming near needs to be taken down and burned. It is time to stand together, encouraging one another, enjoying learning from others, sharing our own knowledge and enjoying our roles as moms. 

All that being said, I'm happy to be back. I hope that you'll continue to join me on my own adventure as A Wannabe Supermom. (Did anyone else read "A Wannabe Supermom" in a cool cartoon narrator voice or was that just me?) 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Baaaaa-aaaaacckkk! Almost...

Well hello, ladies and gentlemen! It's been a while, huh? I'm just going to fill you in a little about what'll be happening here soon.

I'm back! Well, almost. This page will be "under construction" for a little while longer. When I said "farewell" in my last post, I said that I'd be back but probably on a different blog. That's not going to happen. I'm gonna stay right here and keep on trucking. I'll give the page a makeover and the purpose of the blog isn't the same any more.

When I started writing here, I thought I was supposed to be something that I have since come to realize that I have no desire to be. I thought I wanted to be a "Supermom". Well, I still do really but I guess that my personal idea of what a Supermom is has changed. I will write more about that when I get things up and running again. Soon though. Very soon.

In the meantime, feel free to browse through older posts and comment. I hope you'll come back when I've got things set up.

~Abby

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The End of the Beginning

I'm a bit sad to be writing this post but at the same time, it's past time for me to do this and it will lead to bigger better things.

This will be my very last blog post as A Wannabe Supermom. Go ahead. Shed a tear. Or not... It's been so long since I really wrote anything that most are probably wondering, "Who are you, again?"

I've been dragging my feet on this for a while but have known it was the right thing to do for months. I have grown so much since having started this blog that I am no longer the wannabe supermom that started it. I am not at all saying that I'm a Supermom. In fact, I'm so far from it that I've not even earned the cool one piece leotard that's part of the "uniform". I'm nowhere near getting the cape or the boots or the cool cuffs... Come on. You know you kinda picture the Amazon princess, Wonder Woman when you think of Supermom too! Well, that's what she looks like in my head... However, I'm no longer a wannabe. And that changes everything.

When I started this blog, my oldest was a little over 3, my son was almost 2, and my baby was just a few months old. Now, my oldest is almost 5, my son is about 3 1/2 and my baby is... well, she'll be two in about 5 months and she wont be the baby any more because very shortly after her birthday, Baby #4 will be born. Funny how I recently posted about how excited I was to be done having kids, huh? Yeah. I'm laughing...

When I started though, our family was going through some difficult times, my poor husband was dealing with a lot of stress at work and I was a hot mess. I had this idea of what a perfect wife and mother should be and I wanted with all my heart to be that ideal woman. But I was looking at other women and their strengths and comparing myself to them. And I felt like I was lacking in so many areas and that I was a terrible wife and mother and that they were so much better than I was. I wasn't looking at the right standard for how I should conduct myself as a mom. I also wasn't giving God credit for making me unique and enjoying being the individual that He created me to be. And that right there is where I made my biggest mistake and where I have learned (am still learning) the hardest lesson.

I stayed a sad "wannabe" for several reasons. First, I compare myself to others. I would look at other moms, other women and see all the awesome characteristics and traits and abilities they had and I wished I could be like them. And I wasn't. I'm still not. Before, it depressed me pretty bad. It made me feel inadequate, flawed, and childish. I really wanted to be a completely different person. Anyone but myself. The next reason was that I cared too much what others thought about me. Soon after starting this blog, a person that I was wanting to be friends with misinterpreted one of my posts, lashed out at me and totally crushed my spirit. Completely. I had another "friend" stop speaking to me all together because she didn't like my viewpoint on something. Crushed again. I was ignored by other moms because, of all the strange things, the shoes I choose to wear. At first this really bummed me out but I got over that one pretty quick because I was closer to this end of things than as when I started. Finally, I wasn't paying attention to what God expected of me as a mother. I mean, I knew that God had given me these gorgeous babies to nurture and train and love and grow into followers of His but I wasn't paying attention to how He wanted me to do that. I was more focused on what others thought I should be doing as a mom that I was paying almost no attention to His desire for me and my family.

Here's what it boils down to: I'm different and there's nothing wrong with that. God made me this way. And because He made me this way, with my own set of quirks and strengths and weaknesses that other may or may not posses, He expects me to use the personality and abilities that He gave me to be the best mother I can be to my children. My house may not ever be organized perfectly (although, I will say that becoming a Thirty One consultant has helped me in that area a LOT), I may have to send my kids to tutoring if they need help with math, there's no way on God's green earth that I could home school my children longer than pre k age, my own inability to filter my words in a certain way will probably ensure that my children will forever be saying embarrassing things in public and I probably wont ever be able to bake and frost cupcakes properly. However, chances are one or more of my kids will well read, may appreciate and excel in art and find beauty in the unusual, they may be able to become great public speakers or learn to hate cupcakes. God made me the way I am because He knew that that's what my children would need. Not some other mom. Not another woman. He gave me to my children just as much as He gave them to me.

This blog has been such a journey in ways that I never thought possible though. I have "met" and have been encouraged by some amazing women because of it. I found some amazing, supportive blogging communities along the road, found out about some books that have rocked my world, gotten to talk to others about my loving Savior and had a blast doing it. It was also therapy for me. So many nights, I would put the kids to bed, turn on my computer and just write. And it was awesome. Also therapeutic in ways like my posts about what we went through with my son being sick. I never realized how much emotion I had bottled up and tried to ignore until I wrote that first piece. Healing.

I still have a ton of growing to do though. I don't plan on stopping blogging for good. I enjoy it too much. However, it is time for me to put away the wannabe and emerge later, when God has prepared something else for me. I plan on starting another blog but need to take some time off, get closer to God and get His input/direction/guidance/blessing before I do. Once I do, I will post the link to the new site on here and then shortly after, shut this one down.

I really appreciate all of you who have gone on this journey with me. Those of you who have laughed and cried with me, who fought with me over certain issues I brought up on here and those of you who have encouraged me as a fellow mother, as a fellow Christian woman and as a friend.

So, I now say a bittersweet goodbye. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and to those of you who responded. Thank you also to the wonderful women who gave me extra writing opportunities. You've been so very kind to me.

See... this is where having an actual cape would come in handy... I could exit in a graceful but awesome way by doing a cool spin and have the cape fly up behind me as I ran off into the night... Anyway...



Stay tuned because I will be back :)

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