Exactly. Well said.
Archives for March 2014
As a Mom, I know that we all wear so many hats. We have so many obligations, and we continue to acquire more. I’m terrible about that. My mind just never stops running through the list of things I need to do, the list of things I should do, the list of things I want to do (and the accompanying list of why that list is never going to get accomplished). I always get excited when thinking about new things to do, fun places to go. And then reality hits. At this point I will go through the backpack and discover a poor grade, or get an email that is advocating for a new reading program for kids with Down Syndrome and the guilt hits. Wham. Why do I want to do new things when I so clearly cannot master the things I already have on my plate? What am I thinking?
I need to study with my daughters more. I need to work with Trenton more. I need to make a schedule outlining exactly how our evenings are going to go. This is something like this, only because child 3 is not yet in school.
4:00- arrive home
4-4:15- prepare and consume quick snack
4:15-4:30- math with child 1
4:30-4:45- math with child 2 (child 1 allowed break on iPad)
4:45-5:00- find something nutritious and put it in the oven
5:00-5:20- reading with child 1 (child 2 allowed break)
5:20-5:40- reading with child 2 (child 1 allowed break)
5:40-5:45- convince child 3 she is not neglected, then get supper out of oven
5:45-6:30- pray, eat, clean up
6:30-7:00- practice spelling words
7:00- get everyone through the bath, blow dry hair, lay clothes out, pack lunches, etc
7:45- read AR books, pour myself a drink because I’m overwhelmed and exhausted.
8:00- bedtime for kids. Good night, until you consider all the other things that come up while trying to stick to this schedule, like the phone ringing, the laundry that needed changing, etc. It’s unrealistic. I know that every Mom wants to do the very best that they can, all the time. We know this time with our kids won’t last. We are terrified we are somehow ruining them, or not providing them with all of the very best of everything. (I’m going to backtrack with the “very best of everything” phrase, just a little. I’m talking about education and experience, not “stuff”.) We read about all of the things that parents can do to help their kids- study with them, read to them, teach them values, experience cultural activities, build their self esteem (but not so much that they have an inflated self worth and are incapable of dealing with conflict on their own), etc.
The one thing that is always missing is teaching them to relax. Honestly, I have no idea how to teach that because I’m not capable of it. If my mind is not racing about all the things I need to do, it is spinning with the things I want to do, then overflowing with the guilt of not doing everything I’m already responsible for at 100%. I’ve been reading several blog posts lately about happiness, and I’ve read “The Art of Happiness”by the Dalai Lama. I don’t think we can be happy and enjoy the moments we are currently living in if we can’t relax. With social media and instant access to news sources, parenting tips and advice, Facebook and Twitter shares with funny or horrific stories about child rearing gone wrong, we become terrified of becoming a feature in those articles. We can’t be happy living in fear that failure is imminent. We can’t be happy guilting ourselves about the things we aren’t doing enough of, or well enough, or good enough. Most importantly, we can’t instill in our children the art of happiness when their role model is someone who is frantically finding more to do, resources to do better, terrified of messing up.
Peace and Quiet is ok. Relaxing is ok. Not worrying about every little thing is ok. It IS important to teach our kids values, read to them, help them study, get them involved in activities, and everything else we do as parents, but I think it’s equally important to relax and just enjoy each other.
Glad I got that off my chest. I better get to my calendar now and pencil in a few minutes to relax. I’m thinking I can be a role model for that from about 7:46-8:05. After that, I must get back to work. It’s also terrible to have a messy house, and the only time it’s not messy is when the children are sleeping. That would be a great thing to enjoy. After I get the house clean, I will add to my to-do list that I must sit down and enjoy it for a while.
In October of 2003, we were blessed with this crazy kiddo. We were not expecting for him to have Down Syndrome. In fact, the tests that screen for DS all came back negative. We would never have entertained the idea of terminating a pregnancy, for any reason. We did, however, do the testing (except amnio- that sounded painful and not worth the risk) and it all came back negative for any disability. Living in a rural area has its benefits, however, delivering a baby with potential health risks is rather scary. We just figured if there were health problems that we would deliver at a hospital that had NICU facilities.
Anyway- none of that matters now. He has been the light of our lives for over 10 years now. He is beautiful and wonderful in every way. Not that its always easy. It most definitely is NOT easy every day. Other people’s perceptions have been difficult at times. (We have heard the term Mongolian Idiot used in reference to him. ouch.) Behavior has been challenging at times. Still is challenging, however, it is getting better. More than once at a store I have considered falling down and crying because maybe he would feel bad for me and start behaving. (I KNOW that’s manipulative but sometimes people become desperate.) He can’t stand to see people sad. That’s part of what makes him so beautiful. Often, he will get down on one knee and propose to me, placing a pretend ring on my finger and professing his unending love for me after one of these behavioral issues. Then he smacks my butt like “Good game, Mom. Good game.” I can never be mad at him very long.
He’s also been known to break out in dance at random times. When this behavior is socially appropriate (or even acceptable) I think that more people should just break out in dance. How happy would we all be if we lived life like we were in a musical? I remember watching “The King and I” as a kid and even when she is angry at the king, singing a song and dancing seemed to remedy the problems they had.
He has taught me so much about patience, love and acceptance. I admire him for the young man he is becoming and look forward to watching him become even more of an inspiration for more people. I know a diagnosis like DS can be scary for some people, but it’s no reason to be afraid for your child’s future. He has a bright future. As a family, WE have a bright future because he is in it, no matter how many chromosomes he may have.
My girls, especially, love, LOVE Pinterest. We have already pinned multiple wedding gowns for both of them. They are 7 and 3. In fact, I set up a Pinterest account for my 7 year old a while ago. She has enough DIY activities to keep us busy for the next 15 lifetimes. I have a problem with messes, a big problem. It causes me some anxiety because I KNOW that I will spend WAY more time cleaning up the mess than creating the craft. It’s just easier to avoid making the mess in the first place. However, I know that it is a great way for me to spend time with my kids, so I sometimes will take on this task. I need to do it more often because we have some great conversations. Plus, I learned that if I just make myself a yummy martini, I care a little less about the mess. This was an orange chocolate truffle martini, by the way. Delish!
I learned my youngest, Kaydence, is a little like her mother. She looked at the sticky stuff and was like “So, you want me to put my HANDS in THAT? No thanks.” She was out pretty quick. Madelynn was all about it and she did a great job. As with most Pinterest projects, they didn’t really look like the example. It was still pretty soft this morning so I will need to do something to stiffen up the yarn before we dispose of the balloon and make this into an Easter basket, but whatever. I think our next project will involve less glue….
Last summer, I was blessed to be able to travel to Alaska to work on a homeless shelter. I will share more about Alaska in a different post, but the short story is that I felt compelled to do something for others outside my comfort zone. Cutting out the details, I hopped on a plane with 18 people from Oklahoma that I had never met before to spend 2 weeks in extremely close quarters with them. It wasn’t until we were there for a week that it dawned on me that my brilliant plan could have gone terribly wrong if this was the wrong group of people. I decided that God wouldn’t have put me in that situation, so it was going to be just fine, and it was. It was a wonderful group of people and I made great new friends.
Since returning, I have been asked to share my experiences with several different groups. Public speaking has never been my strong suit. I get nervous and stutter, which makes me more nervous and then I feel like I’m standing in front of a group of people with long bouts of awkward silence. I pray that I am getting better. I suppose it’s one of those things that just takes practice. I’m presenting again tonight for the United Methodist Women in Axtell. Tonight the men are also invited to attend, so it will be a slightly larger group than normal.
Tonight I will be speaking about the homeless shelter that we worked on. I don’t want to type my whole speech, but I do want to share that I was absolutely amazed at the faith the couple who ran the place demonstrated. God spoke. They listened. It’s just that simple. I think God told me to go, to meet these people and witness their love for Christ. Sometimes I doubt myself, though. Did I go for selfish reasons? I wanted to help others, but that was pretty arrogant of me to assume that I had so much to offer. I don’t. Maybe I helped, maybe I didn’t. I painted a lot of stuff for them, but I think I took home much more than I left there. Both the couple that ran the Friendship Mission and the men who were homeless taught me about faith. The Okies I travelled with taught me so many new things about the church I have been a member of for 30+ years, I felt like there was a whole new Methodist world that I was just seeing for the first time.
So tonight I will share again this experience. I am just praying I don’t bore people to death. I do type better than I speak. I hope.