It hasn't been my most stellar year of mothering. I have discovered a new level of hard I didn't know about yet. The sheer number of little people, the drama of a three year old with a lovely and yet intense personality, the needs of a baby. I kind of thought I had this thing under control up until now. It's a gift really, being humbled and joining the ranks of real parenting. Even though I like to reflect (i.e. mildly obsess) on my parenting on a regular basis, this Mother's Day I find myself with new and confusing feelings.
I'm not sure I deserve all the hoopla of honor, I have never been so edgy and made so many mistakes. It's been more of a triumph of survival and I'd be horrified and hurt if there was no fanfare at all. Sound familiar?
This is the year when I remember I birthed these children.
This is the year I discover how forgiving children are when they proudly present me with a macaroni necklace made at school.
This is the year to tell my husband what I would like to do because I need to know I am loved regardless of my performance.
This is the year to remember the 1,000 tiny things I do to keep this family going.
This is a year for self care, forgiveness and a new start.
This is the year that I run towards what brings me joy so I can bring it back to my family.
This is the year I tell my mom I understand her and love her in a new way.
Are you having the opposite kind of year? Do you desperately need everyone around you to see you in all your mothering glory?
Every mother I know seems to have a love/hate relationship with Mother's Day. What's your feeling about it? Tell us in the comments.
Supersister question of the day: Alright, Mother's Day is right around the corner. Tell us your dream day, beginning to end. Then leave this post up on the computer screen for several days for all partners, husbands and children to find. No seriously, let us know in the comments.
After a week of everyone getting the stomach bug and it was a "four is more" moment for sure, I picked up Lyra yesterday and found a her left ear was draining a lovely shade of yellow. I knew right away it was a ruptured ear drum. I could list the minimal signs I saw through out the week but this was just one of those times you feel like a total parenting loser.
This poor child had probably been in terrible pain, with no words to tell me and relying on me to figure it out. I have been on a string of bad calls lately. Taking one kid in too soon or for something silly, waiting too long for another. I'm starting to question my mothering intuition when it comes to sickness. Not to mention the $1000 per month insurance premium and high deductible thrown into the mix, but don't get me started. Lyra, of course, was happy the instant it ruptured and is on the mend. Ears are always tricky and I am not a doctor.
Have you ever lost your parenting mojo? Whether it's health or discipline or school?
Tell me how you got it back in the comments. Even more interesting, what do you think of the cost of healthcare in our country, do you think universal healthcare would help our problems?
Half of all the sentences in our house start with "Can I...?" and the answer is "no" or "in a minute" or "maybe later" around half the time. I wonder between school and home how many times a day a kid hears these words and phrases. While I've been trained over the years to be positive, I feel like I haven't been very engaged lately. Maybe it's a serious amount of laundry, facebook, four kids or working on my own projects but the "no's" were stacking up.
I decided to say yes a little more and add a new phrase to the mix, "Do you want to...?".
Yes, I would love to read you some books.
Yes, you may have some chocolate milk.
Yes, we can go to the park.
Yes, I totally want to see your Pokeman cards and hear about their evolution.
Yes, I do want to take a bath with you and play mermaids.
The kids have been so much more cheerful. I am a little more tired but feel satisfied in at least trying to be a better parent. Who knows how long it will last before I'm ignoring them to take a really important test to find out my hippy name? By then I'm sure I'll be realizing I need to work on some other aspect of this life long journey. I hope in the end our kids know we tried and cared.
Do you ever get caught up in the "no" cycle? How do you stay engaged in your kids lives?
Josiah was way excited when I told him about the Kids Art Auction for Earth Day which is the brilliant idea from a fellow kid and artist, Declan. My budding artist knew exactly what he wanted to create. Origami is one of his favorites so he set out to make a paper world.
We ended up together in the boy's tiny bathroom staring at the brightly colored world vinyl shower curtain. I knew that thing would be educational some day. We discussed continent placement and proper geography. He was very proud of his work in the end. I was too!
Gather your kids, make something wonderful to submit to the auction! Tweet about it, or follow us and win something earthy and fun for your earth Day celebration! Don't forget to check out Eekoworld with your kids for more green goodness.
The latest funny conversations at our house:
Josiah: Mom, did you know Connor M. is really good at piano? He played it at music class today.
Me: Oh really? that's very cool. He probably takes lessons.
Jack: Yeah, he probably has a black belt in piano.
Josiah: Mom, are you a chatterbox?
Me: I don't know, what is a chatterbox?
Josiah: Somebody who who talks a lot and kinda fast.
Jack: Well, she definitely talks a lot.
I bust out laughing.
Jack to Lucy: Lucy! I think your potty training is going fantastic!
Lucy: Thanks jackie!
Tell us your kid funnies in the comments and don't forget about this:
This year PBS Supersisters are lending a hand on Earth Day and inviting you to join our kids in submitting art to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction and bidding on your favorite finds. This year all the proceeds go to The Nature Conservancy and in honor of the auction we'll be giving away a book a day from the delightful Barefoot Book series. All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (pbssupersisters) and help spread the word about the auction. We'll select a new winner from our Twitter followers everyday for the next eight days.
More information available here about being part of this great cause.
Spring break is over and I am now counting the days to summer. I look forward to days of lounging without the chaos of having to be somewhere. The kind of days when you wake up and wonder what fun thing can happen because anything is possible.
I've done way too much internet roaming while my kids watch television lately so I decided I would try to dial in a little more during our vacation. I'm always amazed at what happens when I do anything the slightest bit intentional with my kids.
"I think I'm an artist mom." Josiah said. I listened as he listed all the things he wanted to create and try. We spent the week setting up a flickr account to keep a portfolio of his work. He made instructional lego movies with the flip video to upload to youtube. Hours were spent creating a new lego line of art (like the one above)
He carried his journal everywhere we went to work on sketches. We laid in bed and talked about what things to work on next and what classes he should take. We woke up every morning and checked to see if anyone commented online about his work. He couldn't have been happier.
I realized he needs this all the time. A constant flow and materials at his finger tips, the encouragment and documentation of his work and passion. It all fuels the fire of the creative mind.
Do you have any budding artists at home? What do you do to encourage them?
"So what you are saying is you don't WANT my money?" Jack said as he worked me over with his mad negotiating skills.
"All I'm saying is I am not ready to negotiate yet." I replied with a smile.
"Well, you might wanna think about it because it looks like you need the money to me." he said.
It was all I could do to not totally start laughing during our spreak break never ending game of Monopoly. Jack and I both lost to Josiah who was quietly stacking houses and hotels on every property he owned. It's a low budget kind of spring break around here and board games rock our socks.
I gathered my kids together and told them it would be an "at home" vacation this week. We made a list of the things we could do together and surprisingly most of the items were relatively cheap ideas. I don't know what the cash flow is at your house but judging from the economy this might be a good time to trade fun and cheap ideas for a low budget spring break.
Here's what we have so far:
Play a board game from your childhood with your kids
Check out a new park (well new to us) in the next town over
Take a photo walk- buy disposable cameras for the kids and head out to walk the streets in our city
Go for a picnic
Go fishing at a local lake
Have a video game tournament- parents included
Make Lego and Bionicle videos
Make cookies together
Share the wealth, add your ideas to the list in the comments!
i have a question. we just had our second child in under two years and i am wondering how the heck i'm supposed to find the time and energy to build and maintain an intimate relationship with my husband when the kids demand so much--sometimes all--of us. am i committing a major no-no if i let things slide for a while? or am i committing a major no-no if i try to take on marital issues right now?
There are about 100 pictures like the one above. When Lyra was just minutes old, Jorge
held her in 52 different poses, taking goofy and joyous pictures of himself with his new girl. It's just so amazing, and the love so overwhelming during that time. It's easy to lose the "you and me" in all of the new "us". When the babymoon wears off and you are both so tired and spent is when the real relationship navigation kicks into high gear.
It's difficult to answer your question Kelly because every couple is so different, however I am happy to share my own experience. Every weekend for the last month, Jorge and I have been arguing over the stupidest things. I realized we were royally on each other's nerves and even after four children are still adjusting to our new life with this baby.
For us, we need a little of both options you mentioned. I try to remind myself that space and time are required during this stage of our lives and marriage. Grace is a wonderful gift to give each other. It won't always be this way, the baby won't always be so little and needy. I won't always feel so frazzled. While I'm sure there will be different challenges ahead, they won't be the exact kind before us today. This thought can be comforting during particularly hard moments in our everyday lives.
Yet even while we are willing to honor the stage we are in, we can still choose to be in it together. This might mean that I push myself to ask him to join me (even when I'm tired and I wish he would just jump in without the invitation) in the thick of it because we are partners and friends. It might mean that we require breaks both separately and together. It might mean that I have to trust him to take care of things even if it's not the way I would. It might mean that we choose each other even in the midst of all the need around us.
In the end, these children will grow up and leave us and this person is the one who will be by my side after they are gone. Many a day though, the answers aren't always so clear.
What do you think superparents? How do you find your way back to your partner in the midst of living life with kids?
One down, 31 more to go. Lyra looks perfectly happy, but this poor baby has been completely miserable. The craziest part of teething is that you are never sure it is why life is turned upside down until they actually pop and then it's over. So we get to blame everything on teeth for the next 2 years.
After 4 kids, I'm still collecting remedies. Here is the list so far:
Teething tablets- do they really work? I've never tried them.
Help a tired sister and cranky baby out. Tell us your soothing tips in the comments.