stay at home mom

Just keeping it real…

While shopping at Target for the second time in 3 days one recent morning, after getting all 3 of my kids off to their 3 separate schools, I saw a sign that read:

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I wanted to tell it to shut up, and then maybe give it a little shove to knock it over.

This particular recent morning, prior to my Target outing, had been a rough one in our household. Therefore, a more appropriate and accurate sign to be hung in my house would have read something like this:

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And while thankfully the majority of the time I could accurately display the love and laughter sign from Target, my own sign of attitudes, fits, temper tantrums and yelling is definitely an accurate portrayal of my home during certain moments.

(Disclaimer: moments where my ATTITUDE sign can be displayed may be getting more and more frequent as the number of teenagers in my house increases.)

Just keeping it real.

Taking a lesson from my husband.

It was about 7:00 pm on a Thursday. Dishes were on the table, dishes were in the sink.

Kids were getting their showers done, finishing homework, reading.

I cleaned up, did all the dishes, washed down the table and counters, mopped…ha ha, who am I kidding, I hate mopping, I swiped a wet towel across the kitchen floor under the sink area and called it a day.

It had been a while since I had seen my husband.  He had disappeared into the backyard somewhere.  Not unusual.  He often goes outside to make work phone calls, and evening time is not out of the ordinary.

Dishes done, house picked up, children clean, hanging out, ready for bed. It’s 8:30 now, and I’m folding a load of laundry.  I asked my husband if he could bring in the next load for me.

After he did, I asked ‘Hey, where did you disappear to earlier after dinner?’ He said ‘I was throwing the ball to Mara for about 20 minutes.’

This is Mara: IMG_5066 I had to laugh.

Amazingly, I wasn’t annoyed or anything.  Just laughed.  I thought ‘man…this guy…not bad.’

Then I thought, I need to disappear for 20 minutes and just go and throw the ball to Mara sometimes.  Stupid that I never think to just disappear.  I always seem to have something to do. Although, I think that if I disappeared for 20 minutes unannounced, all I would hear is this, real loud:

My husband gets away with his buddy at least once or twice a month to go fishing.  Down time.

For some reason it takes an act of Congress for me to get away with my friends.  We all mean well, and we talk about getting away.  Hell, we practically dream of getting away for a weekend.  We talk about where we want to go, what we want to eat, and the spa treatments we’d get.  But too often, our grandiose dreams end up just being that.

There have been times in my mothering life, that I have gotten away.  Vegas with my friends, drinking at the craps table at 11:00 am, so awesome!  Spa treatments and excellent food along the coast.  And hotel movie jammie days (the husbands just don’t get those ones, they think it’s a waste of getting away.  Whatever, they are heavenly.)

Few and far between though.  Way too few and far between.

For now though, if you can’t find me, I’ll be in the backyard throwing the ball to Mara.  With earphones on though.

Squeaky Wheel

I have found that I have no problem being the squeaky wheel when it comes to the safety and protection of my children and family. Other times, I often sit back, and let others be the squeaky wheel in circumstances where it is more of a matter of opinion or personal preference.

I have learned to make sure the situation is one of which I want to be tied to as stepping up for, and then I’ll go for it.

Knowing I don’t have to voice everything that can be voiced is a learned comfort that allows me to really choose to when to speak up.

The situations that matter most to me, where I feel I would regret not speaking up, is when I have no problem at all being the squeaky wheel.

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Did I used to be a better parent?

I recently told my husband that I feel like I used to be a much better parent than I am now.

I think back to when my kids were little, and I remember smiles, snuggling, making home made play dough, blowing bubbles outside, making cookies, reading stories, and having all day jammie days.  It seems like time moved so slowly back then, and that I was able to sit back and just soak it all in. Today, time moves so fast.  And as I spend much of that time in the drivers seat chauffeuring my kids to numerous events, practices, and games, I don’t know if I get that feeling of connection and soaking in the moment as often as it seems I did when they were small.

I think it’s maybe that I felt like a more successful parent when they were younger.  When they were little, it was not hard to make them happy, I had all the tools. These days, I can longer longer fix a grumpy kid by going for a drive until they fall asleep, so that they then wake up happy. Image

It seems like now I am the guard dog at times, and they are trying to break in.  And honestly, that is their job as they get older, to push and see where they can get to, in order to learn limits.  To walk that tight rope of independence, as I try and keep the net operational below.

My kids are great, I am very proud of them.  They are loving and wonderful, smart and caring.  But, I have a teenager, a pre teen, and a tween.  All those labels come with their own set of instructions and needs.

It isn’t necessarily easy with the ages that my kids are now.  I can’t really send them to time out for two minutes, or take away a Rescue Hero if there’s an issue.  I’m up against so much more than a tired toddler. The amount of why questions today are almost more than when they were little and asking their ‘why is the sky blue’ questions. Although now, it’s ‘Why can’t I?’ And, ‘Why not?’ I can’t always come up with clever crap that will pacify them anymore, it has to be real answers that make sense with my explanations.  And then, at times when I have nothing left, I resort back to ‘Because I said so.’

Image 1 When they were little, there was no checking out of real time and losing hours on the internet, it wasn’t available as it is today.  Now, I have to decide which apps are appropriate for my kids, how much time is acceptable to zone out on their devices, and hope (and check up) that they are following the rules. Social media apps and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to my kids. I see many as invitations to problems. So, I say no to most.  And then comes the backlash of being the ‘only one‘ without (enter in the social media app of the week here) in the whole school.

Clothing is another issue.  I just can’t go for some of the things that young girls wear for my kids. It’s not enough that everyone is wearing them.

When I put my foot down and will not bend on some of these issues, the looks that are supported by what seems as disgust, (with no other word coming to mind to describe what I see in their eyes), can be hurtful.  Issues my kids face and bring up make me question myself with every cell in my body at times, but in the end, I’d be cheating myself if I went against my beliefs, and that would feel much worse than dealing with a disappointed child. Because once I cheat myself, it would be very easy to cheat again, and my kids would know me to be a cheater on my own morals and beliefs, in addition to being wishy washy and willing to change my mind.

This shit is hard. And it’s going to keep going. Continue reading

It’s Groundhog Day!

Cook, clean, wash, repeat.  Throw in some work here and there, and an incredible amount of kids’ sports and activities.  Wake up, repeat.

A good friend and I were talking yesterday and laughed at how sometimes life can seem like Bill Murray’s ‘Groundhog Day’.

I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  I love being a stay at home mom, who is also able to do my work at times that either my kids are in school or my husband is home.

But, let’s just say there’s never too much to report when catching up with old friends who you don’t see on a regular basis.  What’s new?  Nothing much.  And that’s ok.  I think that is where it’s supposed to be at this time in life with 3 kids, a husband, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 4 chickens.  Very busy, but nothing extraordinary to report.

I think that’s why I always need a vacation to look forward to.  If something is on the books, I keep my eye on that ball until it arrives.  It is the reward for the routine.  The routine I love, but the reward I love more.

Oops I did it again!

Last weekend I did it again.  I was asked the basic question ‘what do you do?’ by an acquaintance, and I did not give a basic answer.

I started with telling that I’m a stay at home mom, but I didn’t stop there.  I went for the list.  I went on to explain that I’m a Recreation Therapist, and with that, had to explain that I work some nights and/or weekend days consulting in care homes that serve people with disabilities.

I didn’t stop there.  I also explained that I substitute teach at my girls school.  And I may have even went completely off the deep end and added that I do the books for our home business and also volunteer.

Why, why do I do this?  Especially after all the times I have done it in the past, and I often get responses such as ‘oh, that’s good you get to get out of the house sometimes.’  Lame.

I love being a stay at home mom.  I am very proud.  So, why don’t I stop there?  Why do I continue to sell myself into a roll to prove that I’m justifiably qualified to have conversations about many items other than just kids?

As I thought about it later in the day, I realized I may have it backwards.  That maybe instead of people not giving me the opportunity of an open mind, I’m not having an open mind towards them.  Maybe the people I meet that ask the question  ‘what do you do’ wouldn’t place me in a category of only being able to talk about child rearing.  And just maybe one day I’d become friends with one of these acquaintances and then they’d find out all about me then, dismissing the need for a tell all in what is supposed to be simple answer to a question.

Talk about Jedi Mind Trick.