Tag Archives: Motherhood

Waiting For SuperMom…

I’ve been waiting for the time to be right, hoping that I would know with unequivocal clarity.  Hoping that I would make it,  to be the best mom ever for my babes.  To be the Supermom that they deserve.   At the end of each day I sit, hoping that the next one will be better.  I  mistakes constantly. I pray that my children are strong enough not to be scarred by me, since I know that there is no way around them being hurt.  I’m just not perfect.
I fold laundry at 2am, I do dished a 4am ever so quietly, hoping not to wake the locals.   Then I sleep till 10am because I pushed too hard  and my body isn’t what it used to be.  So I feed them whatever I can get my hands on, and don’t make dinner until the last minute so the kitchen is a mess. Because I have to make everything from scratch. We have  various food allergies and housing upheaval. I have fibromyalgia, a herniated disk, a para-esophageal hernia that is going to require major surgery in a few weeks… A whole pot of crazy going on.

I spend my days trying to school them.  I love these days, but they don’t feel like enough for them, around my health and other needs. Each and every day I wonder if school would be better.   Not that I feel like a failure, but the thought is just always there. I am very aware that there are ways that school would NOT be successful, but then I worry about my inability to hold to structure and how it is affecting them.
My children are brilliant, and inspiring! Says-every-mom-ever. And I mean it!  They amaze me even more than they concern me. We are in a season of complete upheaval with construction on our home, changing our family budget, and getting health stuff taken care of.
One big change for our family happened about a month ago when we did send one of the babes back to school.  Over December we thought and prayed a lot about it.  It basically came down to this. Lucas needs clear structure and routine.  I am not very successful at either.  Lucas needs a full evaluation for insurance to pay for his therapy needs for Asperger Syndrome.  Insurance does not cover the evaluation which is anywhere between $2500 and $5000.  In public school he can be evaluated for free and provided the structure and support he needs.  Sounds like the perfect answer!!
It was still hard. So, so hard.  Lucas is the one I always keep with me. Mostly because he’s so much for other people to handle.  So dropping him off for others to care was overwhelming.  The school staff spent several hours over  2 weeks with us, in preparation for bringing Lucas in. They were wonderful.  We went over his need for support in the bathroom, and talked about his Sensory Processing Disorder. Because of his SPD, he is likely to be in pullups until he is 10-12.  The created a special plan and routine for him, based on what we suggested, with supervised bathroom visits and help with accidents. Their attention to detail for his needs was such a relief.  In his 504 plan for special needs, they also allowed him to have his chew necklace, wiggle seat and fidget toys.
Lucas has been there for a month now, and he is thriving. For the first time!  I can say he is thriving!! We still pick him up every Tuesday and take him to his OT appointments and he is in the middle of the evaluation process. In spite of my fears, it was absolutely what he needed.
Things come up with each of our children where we have to re-evaluate what we do.   We have to look at their needs. We put them above ours, and even above our ideals. We shift those ideals, as each process with our children changes the shape of our parenting; changes the priorities we thought we knew were “utmost” ten years ago.

I absolutely, despise the question “How do you do it all?”  Actually, even more than I despise the movie. The question is lame. No one really wants an answer. What they really mean is that you just have too much, way more than they would ever want. And it implies that they really have a clear preference for their own life.  Well, touche.  I prefer mine.
The truth is that NONE of  us do it all.  We choose in the moment, we grow with their needs. We stretch the muscle of our heart, the tissues of our brains… and they both ache and quake through the process.  We don’t do it all. Ever.  No one does.  Wed on’t have to.  We just have to do today.

I caught myself waiting again.  Waiting for something that will never happen. Something that doesn’t exist.  There is no Supermom.  I will never be her, and neither will you.  We have no cape and no need for one.  Who we are is who we are meant to be, and it is what our children need.   I mean, Edna said it and I agree.

Join me in putting the cape envy away.  Let’s put down our list of expectation. Of what we would look like if we were Supermoms.

The next few months look like climbing Mount Everest to me, and I don’t know how to do it. I just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this sweet family of mine will make it to the other side… regardless of my lack of cape.

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How I Learned to Say Vagina From My Three-Year-Old: Something every parent should know

It’s amazing how many challenges come with parenting.  Before you have kids you think about the to-spank-or-not-to-spank debate and if you’ll stay at home or not.  After you have them you have to think about things like, well, vaginas and penises.  Actually, I wonder how many of you knew that it’s vaginae…

Well, there ya go. Learned something new? Let’s continue.

I grew up in a family where sex was not talked about.  Our bodies were not talked about.  There was this general air of “You’ll know…” and a book that was handed to you when you turned twelve.  About a month after receiving the book my mom would one day ask, “Now do you have any questions?”  Ummm, no. And that was that.
I started my sex education from a little boy in first grade who, while hiding with me in the back of my parents 12 passenger van, told me that if he kissed me with his tongue in my mouth it would make a baby. Interesting….
The subject of s-e-x is really no big deal in my family now. You might even say that it comes up too often over a big plate of Shipwrecks at family dinners. My parents changed and grew over the years as all of us will, and do. So I think my younger siblings got a completely different experience.  But still, I think that many of those in my ‘generation of parents’ had that experience of sex not being talked about and it really does affect how we look at our bodies and their sexual functions on a deep level. And it affects how we look at our children and our ability to teach them about their selves.
Travis and I had thought the whole thing through and decided how we were going the subject of private parts. We remembered the shame and confusion that a ‘Hush, hush!” approach had caused both of us and many of our friends.  We also weren’t naive enough to think that we could just raise our perfect little angels until they were 12 and THEN  have ‘The Talk”. Ok, seriously.  How many of you really didn’t know about sex until them.  Most of us knew just enough to be overconfident, confused, embarrassed but completely convinced that we were way past needing to talk to Mom and Dad about it.  Just enough to be dangerous.  While our parents were relieved to not have to spell out the details, many kids suffered from not having a real understanding and respect of their bodies. And many of us went on to ask all our questions from the kids who ‘knew’. Not so good.

It intrigues me how many parents don’t get the concept of shame that is almost always attached to these words.  We say things like “I just don’t think it’s right to hear that word out of a 3 year old’s mouth.” We teach our children cute little words like peter and who-ha thinking that we are keeping them sweet an innocent until it’s ‘time’ for them to learn the truth. Which is what, how to say vagina and penis? Do you have a problem hearing your child say ear?  I have a seriously uncanny phobia about feet. I didn’t teach my children to call their feet’ trotters’ so that I would feel more comfortable with what came out of their mouths.  I know a few people who do double duty, teaching their kids cute words AND the anatomical terms.  I guess that’s better. One friend has her daughter call it her ‘ninny’ which is absolutely adorable. I’m not gonna lie about it.  But I wonder if that is really helping or not either.  Aren’t you then maybe teaching them that their parts have these names that we don’t even say because it’s not appropriate, so we’ll say cute things instead, ok?  Don’t get me wrong. Part of me completely wishes that I could be ok with that approach. But my goal isn’t to get through the younger years of my kids being uninhibited with what they say to who, without them saying vagina in public. My hope is to someday have completely confident, secure adults who know who they are and have a safe, respectful and appropriate view of what their bodies are made for.  While a 3 year old doesn’t care what you teach them to call their vagina, when she’s 10 and aware of what her friends are saying there is an underlying awareness of not being ok to talk about it to mom and dad. I mean, I wasn’t even supposed to say the words….

Teaching Selah to use the appropriate words for her body seemed so simple, but I really did struggle with it at first.  I didn’t even realize how much shame I,myself,  had attached to the words.  I cringed and blushed the first few times I heard the word ‘vagina’ in her sweet little 2 year old voice. I had to cautiously work through my response and it was hard to do.  The more I went through the process, the more I was thankful that we were teaching our children to respect their bodies and be comfortable from the beginner. I had no idea what I would get out of the process.  My own shame and discomfort evaporated little by little as I watched my daughter in complete innocence grow more confident and secure with her body parts at 3 than I was at 30.  They’re there. They’re important and have a purpose. She learned an appropriate respect and boundaries without there ever being an issue of ‘don’t say that’!
And here’s the thing.  I am forever in awe and thankful for following what I felt was God’s gentle prompting to teach my children their bodies. Period.

I was completely unaware of the potential consequences of disguising body parts with play words, until the day that Selah told us that someone had touched hers. It something that every parent fears and prays that they never, ever, ever have to hear.  I’m just not even going to go into the extent of pain and crushing that can happen to your heart in 5 words from a precious, tiny child. She was 3 year old. It’s debilitating to face not being there in a moment when your child needs your protection.  I may share that someday, but not today.
We’re not the kind of parents who were going to brush over these things and ‘hope that she’ll forget’.  We went through the appropriate measures of reporting the incident to the police so our baby girl could get the counseling and support she needed to work through this. Waiting. Is. Not. An. Option. Even if you’re having a baby that week. It’s just NOT.
To make the report we had to take Selah to the Child Protection Agency so she could make an official  police statement.  It was….hard.  It was after Selah gave her statement that I realized how huge it is to teach your children their bodies.  The woman who interviewed Selah thanked me for teaching our daughter about her body, and was amazed at how secure and confident she was in talking about it.   Apparently one of the biggest problems that they deal with is the ‘play words’ that run rampant though our childrens’ vocabularies.   If she interviews a child who uses play words, they are not considered able to give a clear statement and it can be a very damaging setback in prosecuting their abuser. On the other hand, if you try to ‘fix’ it and teach them the real words after the fact then it is considered leading a witness.  As if the trauma of the situation isn’t bad enough for these children, imagine the helplessness of knowing that teaching them one word, the real word, could make of break the case against someone.  Our situation was different and we did not press charges for very specific, well thought out reasons.

Selah is fine. She’s about the most confident, secure seven year old you will meet.  We’re fine. We’re thankful for what we learned, even if we would never had wanted the experience for her or us.  This one is heavy today, and I know that.  But seriously, if you haven’t already… Tell. Them. About. Their. Bodies.

Edited to add: This is not meant to be a bummer of a post, but I do believe that good can come from circumstances that just aren’t.  I’m thankful and want to share with other parents what we learned through the experience. That whole God used it for good thing, ya know?

Amen. 🙂

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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

While we’ve intended to homeschool for quite awhile, I have always been extremely cautious to not make it about a ‘school is evil’ thing.  Because it isn’t. The reality is that as a parent you have to dedicate 25% to your children’s education.  The CHOICE is whether it’s 25% of your time homeschooling, 25% of your time in supplementing public schooling with extra education and morals, or 25% of your time/money to send them to private school.  No matter how you do it, it takes a huge chunk to do it right. And no one ever does it perfectly.

I feel like a breakdown is inevitable.  I know that I can tough it out and force myself to be the all-powerful, homechool super-mom, but I WILL have a breakdown at some point. I don’t want it to be at 3rd or 4th grade after a miserable year, where I’m putting her in public school because of a failure. I feel strongly about homeschooling, but I think that taking a break now for a year to get a good head start and be really prepared next year (or the next if we decide to send her longer, whatever) is a healthier decision and it’s on my terms.  I’ve always said that I’m not married to homeschooling. I’ve seen it done so well that it produced amazing, confident adults. Yet I’ve also seen children broken by horrible circumstances where parents insist on homechooling for their OWN identity.  I have to choose on what is best for Selah and Jacob, and right now their momma is tired and overwhelmed. I don’t know that I can do the best job for them *this* year.   The only 100% is that my children are my priority, and I will sacrifice who I want to be to see them be who they need to be any and every day.

So, there it is. I feel so strange now that it is decided. I can’t imagine my children being away from me THAT much. It’s a very humbling decision, because I’m admitting my human-ness and my inability to do all that I think I should.  But I know that God has grace for this.

On Saturday we went school shopping, just the two of us.  We stopped at Starbucks, where she was thrilled to pieces to get a chocolate milk in a mini version of Mommas cup of coffee complete with the lid to sip it through.  She couldn’t help her random giggling and kept saying, “Momma, do people think that I’m drinking real coffee?  Caffeine isn’t healthy. Do they know?”  I assured her that they knew caffeine was not healthy and that anyone would easily assume that she was drinking decaf coffee like her mommy.  It was a simple shopping trip, since her school requires uniforms.  I did let her pick out some barrettes and headbands.  What  a precious morning.

Selah starts school on July 14th.  The school is a year-round program.  For the past 5 weeks she has reminded me every Saturday morning of exactly how many weeks are left until she starts school.  It’s on Saturday because she says that is when the week ends. It doesn’t matter that school will begin on a Monday, the week begins on the Sunday. But for me, I know that two weeks from today I will be alone with my 2 boys. And then only a few more weeks after that for Jacob to start preschool.

Lucas is such a wild card for us. I think that a few months of alone time with mom, before conceding the throne of  ‘the baby’ to another, will be good for him.  Selah and Jacob never had a minute of jealousy over being dethroned. They were each immediately enthralled with the title of big sister/brother.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see Lucas giving in so graciously.  While he’s more daring and adventurous he also has an edge of anger and attitude that the others never seemed to have. It’s just who he is and I have to parent him differently.  It’ll be good to have some time to work on his little heart before my time is taken up with all the newborn stuff again.  I think this year will be good for all of us.

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It’s Official…

I’m a Diva wearer.  Oh, I know that was cruel.  I see there are are already 70 hits this morning, so for those of you who were checking back to see if I peed on a stick, I didn’t.  Aunt Flo came knocking at 5am.  I had quite the adventure getting that Diva Cup in for the first time.  But it’s in, and I don’t even feel it!  So much better than a tampon, seriously! 

Ok, I’m off to the park with the kiddos.  Be back later.  I’ve got some more grocery tips to share tonight after bedtime.

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Waiting For Wednesday…

Waiting for Wednesday…My stomach doesn’t hurt enough, pain always is the sign….  I’m waiting for Wednesday…No proof of mine exists so I don’t have to take it back…

Lyrics from a Lisa Loebsong.  I always thought it was a funny song.  Talking about breaking up with your boyfriend but waiting to make sure you start your period first.  Ummm… that doesn’t sound like fun to me.  The main reason I listened to Lisa Loeb was because people thought we looked alike.  Maybe 40 pounds ago. She’s pretty cute. Actually looking at the photo on her site I’m thinking so a bit.  Anyway, totally not the point of my current ramblings.

I’m waiting to start my period.  Any minute now.  It’s Wednesday.  I got my Diva Cup in the mail early last week.  Is it wrong that I’m so excited about using something, cheaper, reusable and environmentally friendly for my ummm…you know.  The Diva Cup is an alternative to the same old nasty pads and tampons that we’ve all been using for years.  It creates less waste in the landfills, less environmental impact to produce and it’s just downright better for your body.    Tomorrow I’m going to post my first ‘article contribution’ from another author who has been journaling her first experience with the  Diva Cup to contribute to ‘Momstinct’.  Make sure you come back for that!

So, the other wrench in the plan.   I do research studies as often as I can, so last month I was so excited to be included in the perfect study.  My husband and I were going to get paid for sex! Nothing dodgy.  We were given a supply of condoms for a month and were to journal our ‘opinions and experience’.  Totally appropriate.  We’re married.  Best job I’ve ever had.  Free condoms for the month and $125! Now, the concern is that one other couple  got a little more than the $125.  Two lines on the pee strip, if you know what I mean.  They’re great parents and make gorgeous kiddos.   Number 5 sounds like it’s very welcome!  As for me, I was waiting for Wednesday… still waiting.

Wouldn’t be a bad thing.  We’re certain that our family needs a #4.  We’ll revisit the issue after than and see what God wants us to do. I don’t see myself having 10 like my mom, but who knows?  My sister is on 6 and clearly not done.

  I already have an OB lined up for my VBA3C (That’s a vaginal birth after 3 c-sections. YES IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE!  (Click that link right there.)  I just had the ‘intentions’ to lose some weight first.  I decided this morning that I’m going to rejoin Weight Watchers, but now I don’t want to start until, well… I start. Now that I think of it, last time I ‘decided to rejoin’ was the week we found out we were expecting with Lucas.  Obviously, I didn’t join…oh now that’s funny.  Hadn’t thought that one out yet.

And of course, I’m over focused, just for the fun of it.   Every time I go to the bathroom I think, “Am I peeing more than usual?” Always the first sign for me.  Wait, was that a cramp I just felt, or a little gas?  Silly,  I’m certain I will start tomorrow or Friday, my body holding out with it’s typical sense of irony.  And then I will be able to use my wonderful Diva Cup!!

For the moment, I just accidentally drank Margo’s tea instead of mine. Yikes, good thing I can’t get pregnant from drinking after her, right? She’s finding out tomorrow what her bun-in-the-oven is.  Wow.  The cheese factor of this post is off the charts.  I’m going to go give the whole brood a bath. In the meantime, tune in tomorrow to read!

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Gotta love the Grocery Score!

Going to the grocery store will all three bambinos can be a daunting task.  I say that with all humility, fully aware that 3 kids is actually not a lot.  Still, it’s my a lot for now. 

I did most of my grocery shopping last week on payday, but Kroger has grapes for $.99 a pound.  I’m a sucker for grapes ( I ate 38 lbs of grapes when I was pregnant with Selah!)  yet I refuse to buy them when they are more than $1.19.  So, happy momma waltzed in with the whole tribe in tow, just for grapes.  To my delight the first thing I saw in the door was peaches on sale for $.99 a pound, too!  Oh happy day.  Selah was ecstatic!  Wait, it gets better.

The organic/health food section is right there next to the produce and a treasure chest (cart) overflowing with orange stickered items was right there in plain view just begging me to take a peek.  Did you know that Travis is actually embarrassed to look through those carts?  Is that normal?  I, personally was thrilled.  In the cart I found organic pasta, instant oatmeal, fruit leather, apple sauce, Cocoa Vive bars, sandwich cookies and Rice Cereal (great for making More rice milk).

So here’s a photo of my score. 

Kroger Store Score

  • 120 Fruit Leathers
  • 40 servings or instant oatmeal
  • 5 Cocoavia bars
  • 2 jars apple blueberry sauce
  • 8 boxes organic angel hair pasta
  • 2 boxes of sandwich cookies (saved me from making something for Selah’s tea party with a friend today)
  • 4lbs rice farina for rice milk  (should make about 5 gallons)
  • 5 1/2 lbs of grapes
  • 4 1/2 lbs of peaches (the children absconded with them before the photo)

everything was organic except the Cocoavia and the fruit. 

GRAND TOTAL AFTER TAX $34.64 

 (total value estimate, $120.00)

I spent only about 20 minutes in the store total, including checking out and the obligatory trip to the bathroom with the kids.  They won’t leave a store without seeing the restroom.  So, in less than 1/2 an hour I made  $85.36 on didn’t buy one food that wouldn’t be used.  OK, so we didn’t need the Cocoavia bars, but it was the ones with almonds!!  I’m content with that being taken out of my Mom Wage.  🙂

Yep,  I’m a proud  clearance cart scavenger. 

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Oh… Just to Pee in Private Again!

I patiently hold it as I nudge Lucas through the door.  Right as I have him safely cleared Jacob rushes past me and vaults up the step-stool screaming “I need to wash my hands.  Dare Durrtee, Momma.”  Ok.  Patience.  Breath.  Just a minute.  Quickly, I scrub in to join the handwashing procedure, hoping that assisting will shorten the time.  Before he turns the faucet off, his favorite part of course, I have the towel in hand and I’m drying him off (head to toe) frantically.  Right. He’s out the door.  I’m alone.  I may now sit and do what I need to do in peace.  At least I think.  In comes Selah who proudly makes my business public with her ‘defecation proclamation’.  Oh the shame.  This is worse than when she would fake puke into public toilets when I was pregnant with Jacob.  That’s what they were for, right?

 It’s not often that mom’s get privacy.  A few stolen moments in the bathroom.  A trip to the mailbox or, if you’re lucky, the grocery store.  A brief reprieve at naptime.  It doesn’t add up to much time to, well, be.  On one hand, I find it frustrating to hear a list of things we deserve as moms.  A list that sounds like a ‘To Do’s’ for the pampered princess who feels entitled to whatever she wants.  On the other hand I’m apt to ignore the needs of my body and psyche for regeneration, pushing myself to the edge of sanity and back again several times each day.  I know no rest.

So, like everything else,  I find the need to examine my ‘momstincts’. Where’s the happy medium between selfish entitlement and grinding ourselves to nothing.  Where do I fall on the scale between two extremes? 

 Now, I can find justification for just about anything I decide I ‘feel’ at the moment.  Can’t you?  When I have a pity party I find the friend that will always poor baby me.  When I’m pissed, validation of my angst is only a call away.  When I need that little ‘Oh, don’t worry. You DESERVE it.’ another friend can be found at the click of a mouse.  Basically what I’m saying is that we can find support for whatever we want to.  But is that the right thing? 

I think this one comes down to self awareness.  I know the difference between condemnation and conviction.   Condemnation is shaming.  It’s unjust pressure and fear.  Conviction is what comes when the truth hurts.  When enlightenment is knocking at the door to push us into deeper knowledge of truth.  Conviction is the reminder that you’re potential is so much greater than what you just did. 

So, which is it?  Do I feel condemnation for harboring thoughts of time alone?  Is the reality that the thoughts are healthy and I should be working towards carving out a few moments to exhale?  Or is it a conviction that I really have the time and I’m using it unwisely and complaining too much.  That if I had more patience with my kids and kept the house clean on a more regular basis I wouldn’t feel the urge to escape from it.

 These are the things I’ve pondered today.  A day when I haven’t been to the bathroom once alone.  And I’ve picked up toys with my kids over and over, yet didn’t play with them as much as I could have because the phone stole my attention.  I avoided the dishes because I’m just sick of  standing at that sink.

So the answer to THE question?  Is my heart condemned or convicted?  The honest truth is that the questions are the same but the answer changes daily.  Hourly, even.  And today it’s a little bit of both.  So I’m releasing the condemnation. It’s useless and shaming.  The conviction?  I think we’ll play more tomorrow.  I need it as much as they do.

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