Thursday, May 13, 2010

reaping the benefits...

Today, my 5yo was such a help to me. I've been teaching him to do certain tasks related to laundry (which I abhor). Instead of giving him the whole heap, I had him do little chunks of activity:empty the dryer into the hamper, bring the hamper full of clean clothes to me. I folded and sorted. I sent him on several tiny missions:take Mommy's socks to her drawer and put them in. Do you know where Mommy's sock drawer is? take Mommy's underwear and put them in her drawer, like this, see? and so it goes. He was happy to do small jobs with a little help from me and it really did lighten my load. He put away all the socks and underwear for the whole family (and reduced my workload considerably). I was SO thankful and proud....I am reaping the benefits of spending time teaching him what I expect.

A couple o' things stand out as I reflect on the events of this afternoon:

1) Learning doesn't happen after teaching just once but it is a series of steps mastered one at a time and not necessarily in logical order. Spending the time now to teach him will be an incredible asset when he's mastered it all...I'll be able to hand the responsibility over to him and feel reasonably sure it'll be done close to the way he was taught.

2)He thrives on being able to show off his skills. I think he does feel some sort of satisfaction when he's done a good job or when he's learned something new. I need to construct learning opportunities for him like this.

3)He does not see things as I see them. I'm going to have to remember that though he's learned a lot about what I expect or how life is on Planet Mommy, he's still an alien visitor and must be treated as such.

What a treat it is to see him growing in this way. He is such a treasure!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thankful to have a mom...thankful to be a mom.

Since it's Mother's Day in these United States, I think it fitting to put down some thoughts on it. I grew up in a blended family, with two half-sisters by law but full sisters in my heart, and a brother. My mom worked hard to make sure we all we needed and some of what we wanted. She had to work a full-time job to help make ends meet. I missed getting to have a lot of time with her, but I will not go on record to say that I was cheated in any way. My mom had lots to deal with that I never knew about. There are vague ramblings that my dad had a gambling problem in addition to his alcohol addiction. She was the shield that kept us from living a lot of the ugliness that came with alcoholism. I think my oldest sister was the one who knew the most about what was really going on. I am thankful I did not. My older sisters lived through lots of stuff I cannot even begin to comprehend, but they supported my mom. They helped her manage things when she couldn't handle some of it.

My mom did a lot in the way of helping make sure my brother and I actually had a childhood. We enjoyed care-free days and nights most of the time. She was never too hard on us...and this was because she wanted to counteract the harshness from my dad. Granted, he was tied up inside with all his own junk. I can't necessarily blame him/his problem for all the evil that was in my life. Now that I am an adult/parent, I sense some of the struggle he had...his drug of choice was alcohol...mine is church and food and approval.

I guess I never really pictured my life with kids. I never really considered that I would get married, and this not because of any vow or promise or anything, I just didn't think it was for me. It took not a little convincing on DH's part to agree to marry in the first place. Thank God he was persistent, patient, and prudent. More than anything, being married is forcing me into relationship issues I've long run from. It's hard to avoid some things for forever, as much as I would want to. Currently, I'm embroiled in an internal battle regarding anger issues. It's not been fun to be around me, I'll bet....

What is at issue is that of suppressed grief...and why should I have any really? I have cute, healthy, clever, mostly obedient children. They have what they need and several things they want. I guess it's part of dealing with expectations. You know, before you get married, you have an ideal picture of what married life is supposed to be about. He'll come home from work and act as though you were on his every thought all day long. He'll tell you what a great cook and homemaker you are. You'll cook fabulous meals every night. The housework will be effortless and you'll love every minute of it. ...Then reality sets in. He comes home after a long hard day, hits the computer chair, doesn't come to the dinner table when it's hot. Nevermind that the recipe you used was something that looked good on paper but the actual execution of it was sorta ho hum. If you're lucky, you talk about your hopes and dreams instead of listening to his complaints about the job. You're left to clean the kitchen and do the dishes. He goes back to his computer, and you sit down at yours, too tired to even imagine any scenario different from the one you're in. and you're stuck.

The same is true with before the kids arrive. You have all these ideas about how kids should be raised, what they should DO, how they should talk...your pet phrase starts out "if that were my kid..." Then you get the picture: reality. Maybe the baby comes home and all she does is scream for hours and hours and all you want to do is just get a little bit of unbroken sleep because pregnancy was not kind to you in this department. You have to give up certain foods you LOVE and need while breastfeeding because it causes more crying and less sleep.

Once you make it past infant stage, then there's potty training, self-feeding and baby's favorite game of drop dinner on the floor. Add another kid into the mix of un-managed grief and you're bound to be crazy. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I am barely treading water. I've taken on more in my life than I ever imagined and it's not really making a difference.

The other night, I dreamed that I was going to work for Kroger(a grocery chain in TN). Now granted, I never applied for the job, but they sent me a letter in the mail telling me what my schedule was. I showed up for work with some sort of uniform on, and started training, no meeting with the boss, I just went over to the shelves and started straightening up stuff because it was all in disarray...When I finished that, I ran into a friend on the next aisle and said I'd help her with that aisle. Then I started getting really sleepy...i mean REALLY sleepy. So I just left work and went home to take a nap. I never saw the manager, I never clocked in or out, and I didn't finish my shift. What's more, when I woke up, I had the intention to go back to the store to work more but could not find my uniform. The house was in TOTAL disrepair (not to mention the fact that it appeared to be the house I grew up in and not my current one). I just blew it completely off.

Why bring this up? It's a picture of my life as a mom. I signed up for something unknowingly. I showed up, but never clocked in. I never got my orders from the Boss (who is Jesus for those who claim to belong to him), I never found out what He wanted me to do. Instead, I looked to others, friends, books, etc... In the end, I did not finish the job. It overwhelmed me with sleepiness...and I never got paid.

I don't want this to be the end. I've let myself forget the days that I cried and cried over not being a mom, of losing a baby and the desire to have children. I've let myself forget the sweet moments just being able to hold my boy in my arms and smile at him. I've let myself forget so many of his cute little words or his little fat fingers. My eyes have filled up with the WORK of being a mom rather than on the Joy of just having my babies near me. (Martha v. Mary) I guess I'm feeling the pang of regret because in just 3 short months, he'll be going off to kindergarten....then he'll be entering into yet another phase in his life...toward more independence. Here is one part of the grief.

Another facet is that because of the work of being a mom, there is a loss. I've never really been able to grasp these ultra high feelings of "WOW, being a mom is the best thing in the world, ever." It's been a struggle because of the loss of my freedom, my time, my sleep. In the end, I know the trade off will be worth it, but here in the trenches, it gets pretty discouraging. Couple that with taking on more responsibility/work than is my fair share, and well, you've got a ticking time bomb on your hands. Don't get me wrong, though. I love my kids. I can do without for their sake, but something has GOT to give.

That is where I am. I am learning. I am learning to let go of some stuff for the greater good. It's at this point that I go to the back room where the Boss hangs out and say, "What would you like me to get done today? Can you teach me how to handle the disappointments of being caught off guard when my kids' behavior doesn't match the textbook in my head? Can you show me how to focus on the majors? Can you teach me to handle my own failures in a way that doesn't bring harm in my relationships?"

Lord Jesus, You are my supreme Boss. I look to you for each day's assignment. I look to you to give me the strength to NOT take on the world. I thank you for my mom. I thank you for my babies. Thank you for what they all teach me. Make me more like You.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

a to z challenge reflection

i really enjoyed this. i was able to get into things in my own head that i'd not been able to. besides this, i decided today was no caps day. so i won't be using any. i found lots of neat blogs and got to know one friend that lives in my real life a little better. another thing i learned was all the different ways folks use their blogs... there were so many out there. some used pictures every time they posted...(i'd really like to know how they did it...i've got some pics...but i don't even begin to know about where to find images that match what i'm saying.) others had a special task assigned to a particular day, like 10 things, menu planner, debate thursday. this was especially helpful to me as a way to think of creating more writing...a structure if you will. ummm i found out too that it is a lot easier to blog about something than to really talk about it in real life and that that bothers me some. as a blogger i have a persona or something like it that gives way for me to be able to 'fake it.' perhaps you all have me figured out already, but i feel a little funny about the whole talking the talk but really am struggling at the moment with walking it all out. and granted, i realize that because of the nature of blogging, it is easy to do this. what i want to do is strike the balance between too much and not enough.

at any rate, thank you Arlee Bird for the challenge it's been a fun ride.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5 times the fun

I was tagged for this by my friend melody who blogs. It's a fun game where I get to answer 5 questions 5 times.

Question 1 Where were you five years ago?
1. at home with a 6 week old baby boy.
2. in this house
3. doing house church
4. married for nearly 4 years
5. deciding on whether or not i would go back to work (the answer was no)

Question 2 Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
1. perhaps in Olive Branch
2. working part time maybe...decorating cakes
3. 4 years away from being debt free (we only have the mortgage)
4. realizing a dream to help newlywed wives learn to cook easy meals..i dunno about this one's just in the thinking stage right now
5. helping out at school where my kids attend.

Question 3 What is on your to do list today?
1. finish the laundry
2. look over my ss lesson
3. check on my peeps (it's stormy in my town today)
4. menu planning
5. fill-in grocery shopping.

Question 4 What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
1. chips and cheese dip
2. cheese and crackers
3. fruit
4. sweet peppers
5. pretzels and sour cream

Question 5 What would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. hmmmm. travel, maybe...sounds good in theory. I would like to see places in the USA by camper. I want to see Mount Rushmore, Washington DC, California, Oregon, Washington state, Virginia, Chicago (again)...i think i'd like to see foreign countries, but as i think of it i'm a little put off by the world situation right now.
2. give to my church, ministries that friends are working for, missionaries, etc...
3. pay off my move out of memphis (or move downtown...the hubs would love that--on the bluffs)
4. pay off my mom's debts so she could retire and piddle around to her heart's content.
5. put money into retirement/college fund for the kiddos.

Tagging 5 friends I would like to know more about (Lisa) (hannah) shannon chris Kathleen

About Me

My photo
I belong to Jesus. I am married to Dan. I am mom to Pearce and Garner. I am a musician, a cook, a taxi driver, a teacher, a manager. I am me.