I sit sipping my warm coffee that my sweet husband makes on Saturday and Sunday for me. (I make it everyday during the work week.) NPR is on the radio – Bach early in the morning soothes me. Two of the four children are still snuggled in their beds. The other two are not here but I’d be they too are still under warm cover. Then – he comes down the hall with running shorts, a heart monitor, gloves, funny little socks, and a tiny tobaggan on his head. He is off to run – twenty miles that is. I just don’t understand! It’s warm and comfy right here in the house and 29 degrees out there in the wild. STAY HOME – STAY WARM….oh, well yes, there is that argument about being healthy. Sigh!
There are several blogs that I read each day – well, most days. One that amuses me continually is “It’s Almost Naptime” (http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/). This lady has four little bitties and her daily life is truly an adventure. Much of what she says reminds me of our house. Recently, she has asked for advice from older & wiser moms and wives with regards to parenthood and to be a better wife to her husband. I have copied and pasted directly from her blog this exerpt because so much of this list is pertinent to me at this point in my life…especially here, lately.
Here are some of the things I want most to remember. A Cliff’s notes version of “Older” Mom Wisdom. But you really should go read the full posts, because Cliff’s Notes will really only earn you a C on the test.
- I would have greeted my husband when he came home with funny kiddo stories rather than gripe.
- You’ll miss being Mommy Everything to them, before they have friends they enjoy better, spouses they love more and pudgy little children of their own.
- It has taken me years to learn that putting my husband before my children’s needs is actually allowing my children’s needs to take top priority.
- If any of the other people in this house are awake, it is their time, not mine.
- Your kids won’t remember most of the things you agonize over, and in a few years neither will you!
- Stop wishing even these tough days away. When they are teenagers it will be hard to even remember the days of tousled hair & snuggles after naps or tears & tantrums (yours and theirs!). You’ll have plenty of time to yourself later.
- At 46, you will still say, “pee-pee” without even thinking about it.
- One last thing about marriage: you should take that date night thing seriously.
- Being a SAHM is something you will never regret. Never. Not one time.
- You do need the friendships of other women…Your husband cannot meet every emotional need and will not understand the things that thrill you and your friends, like a great find at Ikea or trouser jeans. And that is OK.
- Keep the topic (of sex) on the front burner so that you can pick up the conversation at any time without it being a weird moment.
- Treasure this time. Absorb as much into your memory as you can, because these days will end. Believe it or not, you’re going to miss the chaos. You’re going to miss the noise. You’re going to miss the fingerprints on the windows. You’re going to miss the look on their face when they go all day without going potty in their pants and they declare themselves a big boy/girl. You’re going to miss reading “I think I can and I Love You Forever” 25 times a day, and you’re going to miss the silliness that goes along with sweet, simple childhood .
- Make your home a place where there are clear and consistent rules for them and their friends but that is open and welcoming so they want to be there.
- Encourage them to have their own opinions even if they aren’t the same as yours.
- Put God alone at the center of your heart, at the center of every decision and every heartbreak and every mistake, and He will bless you and keep you and allow you to forgive yourself for the big mistakes and the little ones.
- You will be heart-sore from joys and trials from here on out. But sleep, and kids having the ability to buckle themselves, wipe themselves and pour their own milk will make the toll on your body and mind a little less costly.
- Don’t feel guilty about not being led to homeschool.
- Don’t blink. This is over before you realize it. Your breath will be taken away. Every single age that your children are will be your favorite age yet….
- Go ahead and buy those matching dresses from Old Navy. Turns out in a few years they won’t think it is so fun to be matchy-matchy.
- Leave Bibles out all over the house where you can read a verse or two in stolen moments. There will be seasons where you can do in-depth Bible studies and Greek translations and word studies, but this is not it, and that is ok.
- On the days you don’t think you can survive until naptime, remind yourself there will come a day when YOU get to take a nap while the kids unload the dishwasher, vacuum the living room, and gather all the trash.
- Write down their first words and funny phrases. Even the last child. Because it is going to stink when you have to make it up.
- You are doing such a good job. I know it feels like you are failing in a hundred ways, but you aren’t. You are loving them, showing them God, and teaching them about His world. They are going to turn into amazing kids.
- A moment of raising your voice too loud or giving a look that is harsh will not send your child to a future therapist. Laughing a lot now will save your munchkins a truckload of money in their adulthood!
- A messy kitchen or bathroom is a lived in & welcoming place.
- Read, read, read.
- Give them time to spend alone in their own space. Whether it is a naptime (required around here until they were 6), or just quiet time with a book or favorite toy. This is good for them to develop thinking skills and for you to get a break. Give them time to dream.
- Also chores are not just boy and girl chores. Boys will have clothes and dishes to wash, girls will have cars to drive and homes to fix.
This quote seems to sum up everything that everyone said:
Our two youngest enjoyed a night out with dad last weekend at the Annual Father Daughter dance. We spent the afternoon being very girly. We painted fingers and toes, curled hair, dotted on a little powder and lipstick. The dresses were “twirl” ready and off they went. Both of the girls were giddy by the time they left. After dinner and pictures, the real fun began – the dance. Every year the dance contest is the highlight of the night. The girls and their dads dance in groups based on their age groups. Well…we have winners this year! I’ve heard about the intensity of their dancing all week from friends and boy do I hate I missed it. The prize was a gift certificate for a manicure so I guess we’ll do a few more nails.
While the girls and daddy were off dancing the night away – I was alone!!! Big guy didn’t come home this weekend from school and Daughter #1 had plans with friends. I could probably count on one hand the times that I’m home alone. Oh, the time went by so very fast. I thought I’d have time to have dinner, watch a movie, play on the internet, take a nap…and they were only gone 2.5 hours. My misconception of time….
How is it we become such competitors? Where along our paths do we develop an extra gene that controls our level of competition? I’ve met very few people that are NOT driven by it – some to the point of ridiculous. I’m not referring to the obvious competition in an athletic event – I get that. I guess I should stop briefly and admit that I am way more competitive than I should be by way too much “stuff”.
Over the last few months, we’ve been preparing for entering Middle School where my daughter and many of her friends will be “trying-out” for cheerleading. Who knew that cheerleading could be so vicious? I have never before seen such ugly – and get this, it’s not between the girls! It’s the moms! I completely understand the “Cheer Mom” syndrome. Very early on, it was apparent to me that each will take care of it’s own – just like out in the wild jungles. Mama Beast will appear when Baby Beast is threatened. Baby Beast will be the best – at all cost. Oh, I am very, very tired of this and try-outs are more than a month away. I have a friend (of an older child that has been through this ridiculous process) to tell me that the best advice she could give me was to stay cordial to everyone – but stay away. So, I pray, watch from afar, pray, smile at other Mama Beasts, pray, and scurry off back to my den to pray more.
Now – for some self-reflection with regards to this mess. Early on when I saw how nasty this could be, I too decided to take care of my child and not worry about others. I have to say that I’ve been sucked in to the whole competition thing. For right or wrong reasons, we’ve made sure that our daughter has had the lessons she needs to compete on the highest level for her ability. And, yes…it pleases me when she does well. Oh, I’m no better than any of those other Mama Beasts – I’m so ashamed! I have to commit to stop this – can I…will I…will it be if and when she makes cheer…or does this heart wrenching ugliness continue on? I’m not sure I have the energy for this – it’s very unhealthy.
This will take concerted effort – I’ll need help, Lord.
I just came from a little impromptu brainstorming session at the office and I think, no, I pray that we have a plan in place to help feed our community. Our idea is not new and is already in place all over the country – but it’s new for us. We are going to begin planning for a community garden here at the church. We have already put in to motion providing a dinner once a week for those in need. By planting a garden, our children, youth, adults, grandparents, etc. can all work together to help others. Oh – I do hope this works. I know ZERO about gardening – this will be so fun!
All around us we are pounded with the dreary news about our economy. We listen to the gloomy reports on the radio. We try to take a deep breath while watching the “experts” tell us that 2009 will be even worse than what we’ve seen so far. We pray for friends that have lost jobs and for those that are looking at the possibility. I watch as people, our neighbors, come to humbly ask for a bag of groceries at the church – walking away because they no longer have gas for the cars. Through the depths of all of this misery, I see people pulling together, smiles from those that have the least to smile about, churches standing up and offering a hand, community meals planned to feed those that need it, children asking to help others… God has a plan in all of this – I know this. I know that tomorrow is just around the corner and we just have to hold on – hold on to each other, but most of all…hold on to our loving Lord.
it is NOT for this cold weather! Even the doggies think it’s too cold to go out this morning. We’re always so ready for cool weather after a long, hot, humid summer here in Alabama. What are we thinking? Two months in to winter and we’re all whining – I’m right there in the midst of it – I’m a great whiner. I just want it to be a little warmer…maybe even in to the 40’s? Currently, it’s 19 degrees. The future (this weekend) looks promising with temps in the 60’s. I’ll keep hoping.
Wrap up – stay warm friends!