This parenting thing is no joke. If you have come here looking for parenting advice, you have come to the wrong place. I am in no position to give any parenting advice, so if that’s what you are looking for, thanks for checking in, but most days we fly by the seat of our pants and are living on a prayer(I love Bon Jovi).
I used to think that when my kids got older, life would be easier. Are you laughing? I am. If you’re not laughing, maybe you aren’t there yet. I will probably be laughing about that more in a few years when I am in the thick of it because I have been told, it’s all just beginning. My boys are 5, 7, and 9, all very different and have been since birth.
Ah(sigh), those blurry days filled with diapers, feeding schedules, and sleepless nights. Part of me misses those days. Part of me does NOT! I miss those days when I think of how simple each day was-although it didn’t feel simple in the moment. My days were scheduled, a schedule that changed often as baby grew, but the demands were always the same; wake up, feed baby, play with baby, change baby, diaper, read stories, nap, wake up, repeat all of the previous but throw in a walk, a bath, and as baby turned into a toddler add in trips to the playground and a Disney Jr. or PBS show. I miss those days when I think of how the cure to most things were so simple- food, diaper, hugs and kisses. I miss those days when I think of how I could dress my boys in jeans and sweater vests with no complaints or bribery. Most of all I miss those days when I think of how I wish I had lived those days(and nights) with more grace and joy. Back then, when we were raising babies, we were thinking of the next stage. It was always about what comes next- baby smiles, baby laughs, baby babbles, rolling over, clapping hands, first words, crawling, standing, walking, now we have a toddler, let’s have another baby! (Repeat x2) We were always looking forward to the next thing and I think it is really hard to live in the moment with a baby because they are always changing and even though it doesn’t feel like it, it goes by fast. A mommy mentor once told me-the days are long but the years are short. This saying I feel is even more true when your kids get to school.
Two of my boys were home with me until they went to kindergarten at almost 6 years old and slightly over 6 years old. My youngest has been in preschool since he was 3 so that he could receive services for developmental delays. Now with a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and my baby in his last year of preschool, you would think life would be easy peasy lemon squeezy… Wrong! I thought I would be bored and lonely… Wrong! Because as I write, I am sitting across from my 3rd grader with an ear infection(who I had to dismiss after the school nurse called me not once, but twice today) at the public library while he does his homework. Why didn’t I take my sick child home, you may be wondering? I didn’t take my sick child home because we live 10 minutes from the school(15 if I get stuck behind a really slow driver). Ten minutes isn’t a lot, but let me give you a time line. I dropped youngest at school at 12, got home at 12:15, nurse called at 1:15, got to school at 1:40 to get sick child, needed to be at preschool pick up at 2:45. I did the math, 20-30 minute round trip 3 times, no thanks, been there done that, lived to tell the tale, and learned from experience. So as I waited to hear back from the pediatrician to hear if the ear should be better by now, I contemplated how I would do preschool pick up, squeeze in a trip to the doctor, be home in time for the bus to get the boy with middle child syndrome, and then make it to the dentist for an ortho check at 4:30. My head was spinning. The phone rang and hubby said, I’m being held at work… THIS IS MY LIFE AS A FIREWIFE, and he wasn’t even at the station today. It’s a laugh so you don’t cry kind of day. It’s a roll with it kind of day. It’s a , oh you had a to do list? ha ha ha kind of day.
These are the days I never could have imagined when I was hollering, “may day may day, I need back up!” when the diaper explosions were too much to handle alone.
Bigger kids bigger problems… A classmate threw out my 3rd graders egg at lunch a few weeks ago because it was smelly. The next day hubby and I became aware that our 1st grader has severe middle child syndrome and we are raising Cain and Abel(I’m not kidding), and our preschooler is in love and wants to marry an adorable blonde because she gives him hugs and kisses(Lord have mercy child, that is not a good reason to get married).
That week left me feeling… inadequate to say the very least. It made me re-evaluate everything I was doing and everything I had ever done as a mother. That week made me think that my kids have free will and no matter what we do, no matter what we teach them, they might be put in some less than stellar situations, they might make choices, or do or say things that we never in a million years hoped or dreamed would come out of their mouths. That week made me feel that even though my kids will do stupid things, my husband and I have a pretty important job right now. Our job is to raise these boys to be independent, responsible, hardworking young men, who grow up to love God and do good in this world, and our role in that is to pray for our boys, to lead by example and to be present in their lives. I’m not saying we aren’t present, I AM ALWAYS HOME. But I have been spending a lot of time giving them space to figure out differences on their own, when it appears they might need some direction. I have spent so much time trying to plan family activities that I stopped thinking of them as individuals. So lately, when an argument has come up, instead of hollering from the kitchen(where I live) to pipe down, I drop what I am doing, go to those little boys who are hurting one another with their words, or sometimes their fists, knees, fingers, or other body parts and help them find constructive words to say to one another. My husband and I found time last week to take each boy out of the house individually, to give them that special one on one time.
This parenting thing, is hard, it is tiring, it is a labor of love. Tonight as I contemplated how I would reward myself for surviving this day(coconut cashew ice cream or coffee chunk ice cream or wine or Kahlua or wine or Kahlua poured over ice cream), I tucked my boys in, who were a little upset that I wasn’t giving in to every demand. I only snuggled with my youngest for 1 song because I still had to read with my middle who I only read with for 10 minutes because I still had to read with my oldest… I said to my 5 and 7 year old, “I’m sorry you aren’t happy with me right now, but I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do when daddy is at work, the best I can, and I love you.” My 5 year old nodded and my 7 year old told me he wasn’t upset. While everyone drifted off to sleep I enjoyed both ice creams covered in chocolate sauce.