Showing posts with label Being a Mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Being a Mom. Show all posts

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I think I just may be a scrooge

My 9 year old daughter came home from school this week and asked me if we could do "Elf on the shelf." Had she asked me this last year at this time, I'd have been clueless to what she was talking about! But in this day and age of the internet and Facebook, I've come to find out what this game is. Apparently parents buy a toy elf and move him around to let their children know that he is watching them before Christmas for Santa Claus (at least that's how I understand it, so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Some parents make the game more simple in having this elf move from one shelf to another, or even from room to room. Some parents get more elaborate and have their elves get into mischief (i.e. making messes around the house that the elf supposedly did while everyone was sleeping). I, for one, have enough messes to clean up without getting into anything like that! Hah!

I looked my daughter straight in the eyes and said, "No, I'm never doing that. Sorry." I'm sure all her childhood dreams were subsequently crushed and she'll need years of therapy to make up for this deprivation. I did go on to tell her that while I think it's a fun game for some families to play, with six children, and being the primary one responsible for researching and grabbing all the good deals for Christmas online (which takes quite a bit of research!), I just don't have the time or the desire to start this game.

I should probably note that my 9 year old doesn't believe in Santa anymore. Before you think I'm terrible, I'll say that while I love the idea of Santa Claus and we do play along with the fantasy with our children when they're young, we also have the "Honesy when asked" policy. So when she came to us last year and said she wasn't sure she believed anymore, I asked her if she was sure she wanted to believe anything other than what she knew about Santa being real. She said she really wanted to know, so my husband and I told her about the history of St. Nicholas and how the idea of him lives on in Santa Claus. She thought this was great!

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking this year. I think in some ways some people might think I've become a bit of a miser when it comes to Christmas. I just hate what it's becoming. I remember when I was little and we had next to nothing sometimes, that it didn't really matter what I got, I just remember the time spent with those I love. Now it's all about who can get the best gadgets and gizmoes. It's all about taking away yet another holiday from workers and opening businesses on Thanksgiving so people can fight, push and shove on a day we profess to be thankful for what we already have (this is a favored holiday of mine) and it just goes on from there.

Early in my adulthood, I did try Black Friday at Walmart a few times, but the last time I did people were crashing their carts repeatedly into my heals, pushing me out of the way to get to something first and one man was even deteremined that he wanted to get into a fist fight with my husband because we walked around him while he was looking at movies in the aisle! We didn't butt in a line, we didn't shove him, we just pushed our cart quickly around him so as not to block his view for long so we could make it to the other side of the store and the bathroom for our toddler at the time. Yeah! That's what Christmas is all about! And from the news articles and YouTube videos I've seen, this seems to be the accepted norm.

After those experiences, I tried waiting to shop until the week of Christmas. Then I started doing all of our shopping online several years ago, so as to minimize the amount of time we have to spend out in the crazy stores. That's just not my thing! I really don't care about this stuff. You can't take it with you and most of it's forgotten in a month anyway. That's not to say that I don't enjoy finding gifts for my children that I think they would genuinely enjoy. I do. But in moderation, so they appreciate it when they get it.

I also don't do much by way of decorating. I hate heights. I get severe vertigo so you will never catch me attempting to hang the lights on the house. My husband doesn't mind roofs so much (he's used to it in his profession), but he's not that driven to go out there in the freezing cold temperatures to get the lights on the often slippery roof, only to have to do it again to take them all down again in a month. Not only that, but we noticed the jump in our utilities when we had all the lights up and decided it wasn't that big of a deal and we could just do the stockings, tree, wreaths, nic nacs and perhaps the ground decorations outside.

Saying all this out in the open here makes me think I probably sound like a grump. I don't really think I am. But I am practical. We have a very small Christmas budget to stretch out amongst our children here (my husband and I don't even do gifts for each other so as to maximize what we can do for our children) and if I can save money by not doing some of these other things, I will.

We do like to watch Christmas movies starting on Thanksgiving. It's a family thing and we do it several nights a week up to Christmas day with all of our children. We make goodies for our neighbors (though we missed last year because I was so sick with my pregnancy).

So if refusing to do this one activity makes me a scrooge, because I know I'm not as much fun as some of these Supermoms out there, then so be it. That's just who I am. :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Little Late, but: Welcome our Newest Addition!

Baby Nathaniel, born May 11, 2013
One day I'm blogging about the fun pregnancy complications I had going on (BTW, the heart palpitations and extreme exhaustion were caused by anemia--Yuck!), and then nothing for months! Shame on me! I do have an excuse though--of course, don't we all! I was busy feeling sorry for myself over the following months because I was on bedrest with contractions 24/7 and just wasn't feeling at all inspired or helpful. :( I'd say maybe I'll do better next time, but this was our last time. Haha!

We love our new little baby boy though and are so thankful that he arrived healthy and strong at 36 weeks and 6 days. We had some prodromal labor--no fun, I'm telling you! So it made it hard to tell when I was really supposed to go in. I nearly didn't go in the evening of May 10th, but my hubby thought it was necessary and nudged me out the door. Turns out, that was a good thing! Not too long after midnight, we were blessed with our second son. He was seven pounds, even.

We didn't even know we were missing him until he got here. He's being loved and covered in kisses by his big sisters and even his big brother (who is nearly 16 years older) can be found holding him and talking to him. He's just melted all of our hearts.  We're all so happy to have him. And it goes without saying that I'll be juggling even more!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

So how's the Norwex? And how about that writing?

I know it's been a long time since I talked about what I've been doing with Norwex. I started selling in February of this year, and yes I'm still doing it. I've hesitated talking much about it, since I really wanted this site to remain personal, and not too sales-pitchy. That's just me :)

Anyway, I started out strong and had a great couple of months of lining up parties, making sales and have had some decent commissions come in. I also had some dud parties that cost me more than I made, but thankfully those were few and far between. I learned some lessons fast the hard way and I came to the conclusion that I'm a terrible sales person! Haha. 

I still LOVE Norwex, and I believe in it 100%. I use it everywhere in my home and find it superior to anything else I've tried that's similar. That said, I just am not motivated enough to talk people into throwing parties for me. I can do it. I have done it. I just psych myself out that my friends, family and their friends and family are going to start screening their calls and avoiding me! Haha. Why do I fear that? Because I over-analyze EVERYTHING. And yes, I do mean everything.

Anyway, when I've put myself out there, I've done pretty well. I find that the more motivated I am, the better I explain things and the better my hostesses do. There is the occasional exception to this, but for the most part that's held true. I think I'll continue to do it, but to what degree, I'm not sure. I could see myself being successful with it and doing quite well financially, but that does have some drawbacks for me. The first drawback is that I'm definitely out of my comfort zone! Another is that I am less available to the kids and they hate that. It doesn't kill them though, much as they think so. And then there is that fact that I'm worried about the other dream I have going unfulfilled. Not that I've done much with that anyway. Okay, I'll admit it now, I'm a coward and have done little to nothing with that dream.

I'm filled constantly with all of these story ideas. They even keep me awake at times as I plot them out in my head. I should be running downstairs when that happens and start pounding away at the keys here. But I don't. Usually I'll just go take a Benedryl to knock myself out so I can sleep (hah!). It took me a while to admit why. I've said in the past that it's because don't have enough free time and I get cranky when I'm interrupted while writing (and that's certainly true), but I could still do it and just try harder to be patient to overcome those things. I've come to accept, as I've made myself think about it, that what the real issue here is that I'm afraid to fail. What if I'm not as good as I think I am? Or rather, as good as others have told me I am (and I so want to believe them)? 

If I take the time to write those stories, and flesh them out into novels and nothing happens, then I feel like I've taken that time away from my family for nothing. I hate that idea. And I so don't want to let anyone down either. But then I keep telling myself that I'm letting them down by not following through with my dream. If you don't try, you already failed, right?

So now comes the question of which road to focus on, and how much time should be dedicated to each pursuit? Is it possible to balance family, writing and sales? Or does one of those things have to go? Obviously the family part is non-negotiable and I wouldn't want to lose that part of my life anyway (it's the best part!). For me, this isn't an easy decision. Any thoughts, ideas or motivating phrases for me? I can certainly use all I can get right now!

Summer, Where Did You Go?

I can't believe how fast this summer has gone by! My kids start back in school in just over a week and I'm sure I'm among the minority when I say, "I'm NOT ready!"

It doesn't really feel like we even had a break with all the different activities we had going on. I can't even remember June, it's such a blur. We camped a lot in July, took the kids to the water park to use our Pass of All Passes when we got the chance, went to several parades since my son is in marching band, and so on. And now, here we are, nearly fall and I'm thinking I must be getting old because time is just flying by way too fast!

I remember when I was a kid and everything took FOREVER, especially when my mom would say, "just a minute." Haha! Back then I thought Christmas took ages to come back around again, that it was taking way too long for me to become a grown up (still not sure I'm there mentally) and that day at school felt like it lasted a lifetime. 

And now, there's never enough time in the day! Christmas decorations are already out at Sam's Club (I noticed this yesterday. Really?!) and my babies aren't babies anymore! How did that happen? My oldest is turning fifteen in a month! My oldest girl is starting junior high, and that baby I brought home from the hospital is 2 and into everything! Yikes! Did I just age myself more? ;)

Anyway, the summer is coming to a close and I'm wishing we had more time to relax before jumping back to the daily grind of homework, games, parades, competitions, practices, etc. I think we tend to fill our days up with so much stuff, that it's nice to be able to wake up and say, "Hmmmm, I don't have to go anywhere today!" 

Most of my friends on facebook are counting down the days til their kids are back in school and it makes me wonder if I'm just not as good at juggling all this stuff as they are. What about you? How do you feel about the impending school year? Got any tips on how to make it less stressful?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blah Days

microsoft office clip art
I'm more than ready for spring time. I find that when the sky is overcast, the weather is cold and I hide indoors from the gloom that my mood is just.....BLAH! It's those days I feel moody, contrary and don't seem to accomplish even half of my to-do list. Sometimes playing upbeat tunes on the radio works wonders, but I haven't attempted that lately because my one year old has decided that it's fun to turn the stereo off every time I turn it on. If only I could find an out of reach place to move it! Haha!

Anyway, I think once I can get outside and do some yard work in the sunshine, I'll feel ever so much better! I can't wait to start working in my garden again. We're going to attempt some new things this year, so I'm excited to see how it will all turn out.

Also, hubby is wanting to get more chicks. Now that it's so cold outside, and they've started molting (losing feathers before regrowing new ones), we aren't getting near as many eggs. In the summer time we had so many, we were selling quite a few. Now there are some days where we get two or three, or even none. We'll see though, I'm not sure about raising more chicks right now, since I've got my hands extra full at the moment with life, kids and Norwex.

I did have one hiccup come up in that I accidently scheduled a party during my son's band concert. I can't believe I did that! I've been so good about writing things down, but somehow I missed that one! Thankfully I've got someone to tape it for me so I can watch it later. I don't want to miss that.

Anyway, I know I've got lots to be thankful for, even on the "blah" days. I wouldn't trade the blessings in my life for anything!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Does Parenting Get Any Easier?

Well, I've been a parent for over 14 years now. My kids are still functional, so I guess I haven't been a complete failure, right? I like to think I'm a pretty good mom. I have good relationships with each of my kids and they come to me to talk about things that bother them, or even if they're just curious about something. I've tried to be more parent than friend--though I do laugh, joke around and enjoy hanging out with my children.

Still, there are times when I want to pull my hair out in frustration in those hard parenting moments. You know the ones I'm talking about? The times when your kids decide to test those boundaries and you have to be the bad guy. Or the other times when you're trying to guide them down the right path and it's a lot harder than you or they thought it was going to be.

Lately I've been feeling like the bad guy quite a bit. My teenager hasn't had much time for fun lately with all the work he's been doing to try and keep his grades up. He's a great kid. I know I can trust him (though that doesn't stop me from checking up on him now and then, just to make sure he's still doing okay). Anyway, this weekend has got me thinking and wondering if I'm doing right by him when I'm pushing him to get his reading done, to get that extra credit in, study, get is music practice in, do the corrections in the classes that will let him fix his work to get a better score and so on.....

He came home on Friday and did his chores (That's the day we have the kids do the majority of the house cleaning so that it doesn't interfere much with homework) and then went to his friend's house to work on a science project. Four hours after going to his friend's he still wasn't done and wanted to know if he could go back another day to work on it. I told him he had a pretty full week with his band concert, homework and catching up on his book-pages for English, so that probably wasn't possible. He ended up staying at his friend's house and working on the project all night. They got about 3 hours of sleep, I found out later when I went to go see the progress they made on the project the next day. I felt bad for telling him he needed to get it done that day when I saw how elaborate the project they were doing was. It looked awesome!

Anyway, he made plans to go straight from doing that project to going to another friend's house to do a history extra credit assigment. They worked on that for a few hours and then he read about 100 pages of his book pages, making it so he was only 500 behind instead of 600 (they have to read 1,000 pages per term and he fell behind due to his struggles in the geometry chapter of his Pre-Algebra class). He asked if he could go do something fun for a while and I thought of those 500 pages that still needed to get done in less than two weeks and hesitated. I did end up giving him the go-ahead though. He came back that night saying he didn't feel very good, but rather than going to bed and getting a good night's sleep, he stayed up another hour until midnight playing Xbox with his dad (the first time he'd been able in several days).

He woke up yesterday really sick and congested. He had to use both of his inhalers for the first time in a long time so he could breath (he has asthma). I told him to stay home from church and rest. I felt really guilty. I want him to have a good work ethic and learn that working hard will pay off, but I also want him to have time to be a kid, because that's what he is. It's so hard to find the balance there and with my 11 year old turning 12 in a few months and heading for junior high in the fall, I'm wondering if I'll ever find that right balance.

I want my kids to have time for fun, but I also want them to know that they need to be able to work hard to get to where they want to be in life. The competition for colleges and jobs is so much more fierce than it was when I was their age. I just want them to be prepared. I don't know.....hopefully one day I'll figure it all out, hopefully sooner than later! I don't want anyone working themselves sick.

What about you other parents out there? Have you got it figured out yet? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Throw-away Box

My 3 youngest children getting ready
for the day....sort of!

As you can imagine, having five children can create a lot of work around the house. Things can get out of control rather quickly if I don't stay on top of things, and getting sick can be a way to turn the house into a disaster area!

Since it can be a lot to handle for me, and because I believe in teaching my children responsibility which they can carry with them into adulthood, I've come up with several tools to get a handle on the mess. The latest tool is "The Throw-away Box." Doesn't that just make you cringe? No? That's okay, it's not meant to make you cringe, but I hope it gets my children's attention!

Believe it or not, it's easier for me to keep the house clean during the times school isn't in session. The kids all know what they have to do so they can hang out with friends, play video games or other such things. So they generally accomplish this at the start of the day and then do their fun things after they're finished.

During the school year, however, the older kids are so bombarded with homework, projects, music practice, sports and activities of that nature that they just come in, throw off their backpacks, take out all their papers, books, instruments, etc; take off shoes and socks and any jackets they may be wearing, run for a snack and then dig in to their homework/lessons/practice, etc.

So regardless of how clean the house is before they get home, it quickly looks like a tornado hit it within the first 15 minutes of them being home. I tried to keep up, but it just made me grumpy. Imagine that! So I decided that even though they have other work to do outside of home, that shouldn't exempt them from cleaning up after themselves! Right? Of course! I don't imagine they'll have a maid with them at college, so they better learn this lesson now.

Here's where "The Throw-away Box" comes in. After a long day of canning and all that entails, and taking care of my younger two children, I was exasperated to watch my freshly picked-up living room become littered in the flurry of my returning school children.

"That's it!" I said. "No more!"

They momentarily stopped in the process of shoveling papers out of their packs and discarding them willy-nilly, to look at their wild-eyed mother. But those wide-eyed, innocent looks weren't going to stop me from laying down the law.

"Tyler, go get me a box." I commanded my teenager.

"A box?" He asked, clearly confused.

"Yes, a box," I affirmed. When he came back with it, I set it down in the middle of the mess in my living room. "You see this box? This is where everything that I find out of place is going to go." I started to pick up their belongings and shoved them in the box.

"Okay." My seven year old didn't seem bothered by this one bit. The older two just watched me warily.

"I'm not finished," I told them. "If, by the end of the day, your things are still in the box, I will assume you no longer want or need them and will take them out to the trash. No exceptions, no second-chances."

They all look horrified and immediately started to grab for the items that I'd already put in the box. I stopped them for a moment to add one last warning: "And if I find any of those items that you've taken out of the box out of place again, they will go straight to the trash. Understand?"

They all ran to put their things where they belonged and at the end of the day, the box was empty. Does that mean I haven't had to put things in the box since then? No. It's only been a few days of this new rule, and so far they've been catching their items before they end up in the trash, but haven't quite stopped them from making it into the box in the first place. On the plus side, the box hasn't been getting as full as it did the first day. Progress? I like to think so!

Anyway, we'll see how this goes. Somewhere we need to find the right balance of work for everyone. School can be demanding, and so can the other activities the kids have going on. That's why I limit their extra-curriculars so they don't get so bogged down. But with five children, that still makes for a full schedule most weeks.

So what do you think? Am I just a mean mom? Or maybe some think I'm a pushover? Haha! What do you do in your family? I'd love to hear your ideas and solutions!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Makes a Good Mom?

Somebody said something to me several months ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. I think he meant it as a joke, though I didn't take it as one. I mean, I laughed, but that was because I didn't know how else to react. He really struck a nerve--not that he meant to--but it happened nonetheless.

So what was this statement that haunts me? Well, upon learning how many kids I had (five!!!!), he said that nobody with five kids is going to be a good parent. Okay, honestly, I'm biased here. Those may not have been his exact words, but that's how I heard them. I laughed him off, said something about I'm not doing too bad, in my humble opinion, and the subject was changed.

Anyway, it stayed with me. Everytime my teenager forgets about an assignment, I remember that comment and I think I should've made sure I asked him about every class instead of the idle chit chat about who he saw and what he did.

Everytime my tween shows her painfully shy side, I  remember what he said and think I should've done more to help her become more self-confident so that she knows how amazing she is.

Everytime my six year old shows her temper, I remember it and I think I should've done better in teaching her anger management.

When my preschooler cries over every little thing and acts out at her baby sister, I remember again and I think she's gotten lost in the shuffle and I need to give her more of my time and attention.

When my baby gets sick, I think that I should've done better at sanitizing the house and then maybe those germs wouldn't have reached her.

When I take the time out to write, read or watch a movie, I can't help but feel guilty because I know there's something more important I could be doing with my time. I just can't seem to do it all. The more I try, the more impossible it seems. And these are the moments that statement rears its ugly head once again.

I suppose most parents have doubts about the job they're doing--especially mothers. I mean, we're supposed to be wired to be these wonderful, nurturing, caregivers, right? We're supposed to know what everyone else needs before they do, right? Seriously though, I really have no idea how to guage what a good mother does.

I love my mother more than I can say. She made some real sacrifices to bring me into this world, when it would've been much easier for her to make another choice. She was fifteen when she got pregnant with me. Barely sixteen when she had me. I can't imagine how difficult that must've been for her. She was so sick she spent much of her time in the hospital. Her marriage to my father didn't last beyond the early months of my babyhood-- and then came the rollercoaster of different homes, fathers and a lot of other things I won't go into just now.

Suffice to say, that I had a different plan for my life. I wasn't even sure if I ever wanted to get married, let alone be a parent. I didn't even think I was capable of trusting a man. God had other plans for me though, and I met the only person in the world I could share everything with and not want to run away and hide afterward.

I sobbed when I found out I was going to have our first child. It happened on the same day I found out I got the full scholarship I'd worked so hard for. I was terrified! I didn't know how to be a mother! I wasn't one of those nurturing types that wanted to hold those tiny newborn babies. I hated babysitting. I didn't know the first thing about what to do with a kid. I only knew the extremes of what not to do.

Well, I made a decision. I decided to put college on hold and see what this new life would bring. I knew I wanted to be the one to raise my baby and be there for all of the important things--and to protect him from all of the horrible things I knew all too well were out there.

I was sure I didn't know what I was doing, but I figured that knowing the things I wasn't going to do would be a good start. I got a subscription to every parenting magazine in existance and I did what I do best--research.

Fast forward to more than fourteen years and five kids later and I love my life. Yes, I know that sounds cliche, but that's something I never thought I'd be able to say. I'd certainly never said it in the years before my family. I love my children. I can't breathe when I think of anything happening to them. I miss them when they're not here, I want to know everything about what makes them who they are.  I want to help them overcome every obstacle that comes their way. And more than anything, I don't want to be an example to them of what not to do.....

I make a lot of mistakes. My body and my mind can't always keep up with all the demands that are put on me. But despite that, I'm happy. I have a good husband and I have very good kids. Are they perfect? No. But they're mine-the good and the bad.

I need to stop measuring myself by those perfect TV moms...or even those moms in my neighborhood who seem to have it all together. Maybe I'm not the perfect mother, but I love my kids more than life. I'd give anything for them. Just maybe that's enough. I hope it is..............