Guilt-Free Parenting

I never read parenting magazines. Do you know why? Because I found myself reading them and thinking “I wish I had the time to make that recipe” or “I wish I could remember to get stuff at the store so I could make that craft with my kids” or “why can’t I take the advice of other moms and teach my kids how to behave by modeling good behavior instead of losing my temper?” When you obsess over this way of thinking, you will easily convince yourself that you’re not good enough, when in all actuality, you’re just normal.

When I read articles on parenting.com titled “How to Win Over Stubborn Children” or “Raising An Adventurous Eater: How to get your child to try new foods (and like ‘em!),” I cringe. So what if my child doesn’t like a certain food? Isn’t it a good thing if my child is stubborn and strong willed and doesn’t let others bring her down? While I’m all for helpful parenting tips and strategies, I’m against leading parents to believe there is a magic way to mold your child into someone YOU want them to be. There’s no 5-step process to raising a perfect child; it’s messy! Raising a child takes patience, love and the ability to see past the flaws you think your child has. He or she will never be perfect in the way you think they should be. They will have temper tantrums in the grocery store when they don’t get their way, they will embarrass you when you’re out to dinner, they will make you feel as though you did something terribly wrong when trying to do your best raising them.

I’m here to tell you not to believe these things. It’s ok to get frustrated and overwhelmed, to sometimes even yell. Don’t beat yourself up to the point of not being able to see the good things each day offers. People always say to enjoy every minute of having young children because they grow so fast, but I’m telling you – you don’t have to love every minute of parenting – it’s not natural. It goes against our lifestyle as adults. When you go to bed every night, even after the most frustrating day, think of 3 things your child did that day that made you smile. It can be as simple as a hug. Focus your energy on that rather than what you think were “missed chances.”

Germ Central

For the past 3 weeks our house has been germ central. Someone has been sick the whole time, except me. It has made things very stressful to say the least.
Erin gave us all a scare as a baby by having a febrile seizure from her fever. She also had one 2 weeks ago. When she was a baby, it scared the life out of me. I had no idea what was going on. I honest to God thought she was dying in my arms. I remember clear as day thinking, “in a couple seconds I will be holding my child in my arms and she won’t be alive.” I remember thinking that I would have only spent 8 months with my daughter. It was the most raw, terrifying feeling I have ever had my whole life. Seeing it last week was easier in the sense that I knew what was going on, but it still pained me to see Erin like that and once again managed to scare me and make me cry. It is by far the worst thing I’ve ever had to watch in my life.
Anyways, I guess my point is that while I’m so cranky and impatient with everyone being sick and a lack of routine, I need to remember that things could be worse. Way worse. I hope someone reading this can take a step back, too, and realize that things could actually be worse…

Spring

The past two days have been gorgeous here! Sunny and 60 degrees; feels like spring. There is something about spring that is so refreshing. It’s the smell of something different in the air. It’s the warm sun on your face warming your whole body up in a way that fall and winter can’t. It’s breaking out the summer wines and beers. It’s that great feeling of knowing that the air is changing and a new season is beginning. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s here.

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Raw Truth

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and a lot has changed. First and foremost, I have become a cranky, no fun, yelling, stomping, pouting baby. But let me caveat – we are moving. And it has turned me into a monster! I really hope that I am not the only one who has turned into such an awful human being during this stressful time, but if I am…well, just lie and tell me I’m not!

It seems like I make some progress with packing and cleaning up and organizing and then I turn around and there’s a mess! Additionally, at the end of the night, it always looks like nothing was even done. And don’t even get me started on the kids’ messes…how we are supposed to “show” our house in pristine condition with two children is beyond me.

Ok, so I know nobody wants to read a whining, complaining, negative post so lets turn this around (besides, I think I’ve gotten it out of my system by now!) I have decided to take a step back when I start feeling like this – which really is almost every night right now, so I should probably take a step back every other night or I won’t get a thing done. And by “take a step back,” I mean – have a glass of wine (on a Friday night OR a Tuesday night), watch some trash TV (like the Bachelor), do your nails, listen to music, cry or laugh hysterically at your favorite movie. Whatever helps you to calm down and get your head on straight, DO IT. Because let me be honest here, if you don’t do this? Well, you’re going to become one heck of a horrible person super fast. Trust me on that one…

Cheers!

Home

The other day I went to visit some elderly people from my home town that played a huge role in the first 10 years of my life, and even some time after. My memories of my home town have always been fond. We moved when I was 10, so my memories are almost like picture perfect fairy tales. I wasn’t old enough to remember or understand any of the bad things. We grew up next to a church in a parsonage. My sister and I were so close with the people in the church, that it felt as if we had a huge family. I hadn’t been back there for almost 2 years.

As I was driving on the highway to get there, I thought to myself “How silly of me to still consider a place I only lived for 10 years my home?” I thought I was somewhat stupid for always feeling sad when I’ve visited in the past, missing all of the good times in my past. But there were just too many memories – swinging on the tire swing in the field behind our house, playing kick the can around the church parking lot, sledding in the graveyard during snow storms, swimming in my best friend’s gigantic pool, playing in the river behind her house, amazing talent shows put on by my father and other eccentric people at my elementary school. As I drove down the back roads to my hometown all of this just came flooding back. I couldn’t help but be in that state again – just basking in the awesomeness of my childhood. Feeling like still, after 14 years, I still belonged there. Knowing where everything was and remembering exactly as it was so long ago. Of course so much has changed since then, and if I were to move back it probably wouldn’t be as I remembered it.

I used to get jealous of people who have lived in the same town all their life – like my husband. But now, after visiting as a 24 year old woman, I think I’m the lucky one. I don’t know if anyone else can say that their hometown and childhood was nothing but sunshine and roses for them. So I’m just going to continue thinking of it like that!

What kind of person are you?

What does it mean to be a genuine person? What does it mean to be an opinionated person? What does it mean to be a kind person? What does it mean to be a tell-it-like-it-is person?

If I am any of these types listed above, am I that type of person all the time? Do we, meaning society, give someone a “title,” just one, that sticks with them? Can someone be kind and tell it like it is?

I have found myself wondering about who I am lately, and what category of person I fit into. If I am a genuine person (which I do consider myself as such), do I tell people what I think when the better part of me says I shouldn’t, for fear of coming across as rude or argumentative? If I am fed up with someone who I disagree with most of the time, do I stop being a good listener and state my belief, if opposite of them? Am I a fake good listener if I don’t tell someone my honest opinion? If I am usually a kind person, but get irritated with people who are not, do I need to become someone that tells it like it is in order to be genuine? Or does that just make me like them? Am I dishonoring my genuine “title” by not doing those things? What is the balance? Where is the line…is it black? Is it grey?

Make a List

I have been feeling so full of joy these past few weeks. I really love my life. (And this is probably not the last post you will see on this subject ;) ). I really love all the people in our lives and all the people who help and support us. I love living close to my family and my in-laws and how close everyone is to our kids. I love the mundane routine of our mornings and evenings even though sometimes they are so stressful and, I’ll admit, sometimes they make me cranky. I even love the tough times that Bill and I go through because almost always they bring us closer together rather than pulling us apart. I struggle with wanting the house to be immaculate, but I secretly love seeing the playroom (and other rooms) messy knowing that the kids had fun tearing them apart.

Oh, and Buddy (our dog) just coughed up a hairball. Yep, I love that too.

Take a moment today (or, tonight?) and make a “thankful list.” And when you’re feeling down, look at it! It sounds so simple, but I think it works.

Chill Pill

It’s a Friday night and oddly enough I got the energy and motivation to go to the gym, which never (I mean never) happens on a weekend, especially a Friday! So I get the kids to bed and head to the gym only to be dissapointed. It was closed early for maintenance! I couldn’t believe my luck. So, driving home I did some thinking.

I’ll back up a tad. I’ve been looking for a computer. Be it Netbook, Laptop, or MacBook. Tonight I found a great deal on ebay and bid on it, but was outbid moments later. I was pretty dissapointed and felt like I’d *never* find the right computer (that’s right, I said never. I was being that dramatic). Bill said, “well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” So I thought, maybe he’s right. Maybe I just need to hang tight and simmer down. About 5 minutes later, I got an email saying that the person who outbid me couldn’t purchase the item, and I was offered it again. I guess it was meant to be!

So when I realized the gym was closed, I tried to tell myself that “working out just wasn’t meant to be for tonight.” Instead, I decided to grab a bottle of wine on my way home, write a post, and dress up in bright reds for a photo shoot. Not to mention spend some quality time with Bill.

Moral of today: Slow down, take a chill pill, and stop worrying about the things I can’t control. They will work themselves out!

Thanks to Bill for his amazing photography skills!