Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Claws are Ready

I have been mulling this over in my brain for a few days so I decided to put it down.  With Christmas season in full swing, the Christmas cards are arriving.  It is wonderful to receive cards and greetings from friends down the street, far away friends and family friends from when we grew up.

One card we received had the usual greetings and well wishes.  It also had some wonderful comments about the girls and how much of a pleasure they are.  It also contained a comment about Little Man and how much of a challenge he is with the underlying message that he maybe is not as pleasant to be around.  Knowing these people, I know logically the comment was benign and not meant to hurt… but it did, deeply.

My heart sunk with the thought that people have this view of my son.  This is my underlying fear for Little Man… that people (family, friends, teachers, strangers) can not see past his behavior challenges to see the real soul that is there.  He may not fit into everyone else's "proper little" 3.5 year old box, but that does not mean he should be written off or looked down on (or that we should be looked down on because we just can't seem to parent him properly to make him fit into some box or because someone thinks we have not taught him the word "no").

He is a soul that is smarter than most 3.5 year olds.  He is a soul that is clever and funny.  He is a soul that is very athletic.  He is a soul that feels his emotions more than most.  He is a soul that is strong in who he is.  He is a soul that is not shy.  He is a soul that is strong willed and stands by his position.  He is a soul that cares for others.  These are all qualities that most would argue will serve him well as an adult.  I am learning as a parent that we should celebrate these characteristics instead of trying to squash them out of kids so they fit into some arbitrary box.  My job as a parent is to create a box for him in today's society that fosters these qualities.

Little Man is a challenge, it is no secret.  He has improved tremendously as he has gotten older.  We are seeking expert advice in how to help him best.  We are not idling sitting by watching and hoping things work out for the best.  We are doing everything in our power to be the best parents to Little Man and doing what works for him.  We are not parenting him based on what everyone else thinks we should or should not be doing with him.

After mulling this over and thinking things through, I am now just pissed.  My bear claws are ready to swing at the first unfair comment or suggestion about how my little boy behaves or how we parent him.  I know the view expressed in the card was colored by other people's opinions who have had very limited exposure to Little Man.  It also hurts to know that our discussions over the years about Little Man's challenges, spoken in honesty and in moments of frustration, have colored people's view of him.  And what hurts more is that view may not be changed, even with time, despite his best efforts or ours.

So my claws are sharpened and ready to defend my son.  He is an amazing kid and I am sorry that some can not see past the surface; it is too bad because they are missing out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Who knew how sweet my Girl's Night Out (GNO) time would be?  A group of five or six friends began meeting once a month about a year and half ago.  The group has grown to eight and we have already lost one friend when she and her family moved to Iowa.  We miss you A!

It all started with a friend of mine asking me and one other person to start this group, we each then thought of one or two friends and here we are 1.5 years later.  The only criteria was that those that joined the group attended our church.  The focus was on friendship and helping each other grow in our faith.

These women have become dear friends that have made me laugh, think and grow in my faith.  We don't spend our time with our noses in the bible and praying.  We talk about our families, kids, work, parenting and some other fun topics that I will not mention here.  Wink, wink.  But the underlying theme to our time together, at least for me, is supporting one another and helping us grow spiritually and as women, wife and Moms.

Last year at our December GNO, we talked about reading through the bible in a year together.  And, for those that completed it by December 31, 2010, we would be rewarded with a GNO weekend away...just us, with no kids or responsibilities.   This has been one of the most challenging things I have done for my faith.  I have read parts of the bible, but never the whole thing.  It has been an act of discipline for sure… it is very hard to keep on schedule with "life" getting in the way.  And, I have 1.5 months to read by the end of the month.  But, I will get it done.  I made the commitment to the group and to myself.  I can not say I am retaining it all, especially now that I am under the gun.  But, it has been such a great experience, good for my kids to see me reading my bible and so nice to read scripture for myself instead of relying on a bible study or sermon to guide me.

I would have NEVER done this on my own.  I would have never stuck with it without these ladies (and the thought of the weekend away!).  It is amazing what a group of women who's only common denominator was attending the same church.  While we are all in somewhat of the same stage of life with our families and kids, we are all different ages (hmmm, and yes, I am the oldest the bunch), different family backgrounds, education, faith experiences, etc.

These women as so special to me and it has been exciting to see our friendships grow and how much deeper we can share things that matter to us.  No one judges, no one tries to one up each other.  We just listen, support, laugh and share.  So refreshing in this day and age.

So GNOs… if you are reading this, know that you mean the world to me.  God Bless.  

Friday, December 3, 2010


Preface - This post is not a debate of the merits of being a working Mom or a stay at home Mom.  Everyone makes their own decisions about what is best for themselves, their kids and their families.  This are just my ramblings and not meant to offend, judge or sway anyone who may be in either camp. 

I think it is safe to say that I am a working Mom now instead of a stay at home Mom, who works very part time.  I guess I have to update my profile on my side bar some day.  I am not sure how I feel about that… good in some ways and not so good in others.

I have gone from working one day a week for a total of about 7-10 hours for the last seven years to working five days a week for a total of about 27 hours.  That is not full time by any means, but definitely those added hours have been an adjustment for the whole family.

The change has been a blessing on many fronts.  First it has added income flow to the budget which has been very nice.  It is nice to have some extra to decide what to do with.  What a nice change.  I think I can actually breathe just a little bit easier.

And the biggest blessing and one that was hidden from us when we made the decision, was how Little Man would benefit.  He has truly done amazing.  His new school is a perfect fit for him.  They love him and see his unique talents.  His class is smaller, more academically based and more structured which has served him well.  He is very proud of all he accomplishes each day… writing letters, completing projects and learning bible based lessons.  Just yesterday he was singing to himself in his raspy little boy voice, "God is good, God is good."  Yes Little Man, he is!  He other favorite is "Many, Many Blessings.  Many, Many Blessings."  While he is still having some behavior issues at school, he has done remarkably well with the transition.

The girls have struggled a little with the time that I am away now.  They are having to manage themselves more and contribute more to the household duties.  Those are all good things, but is has probably been more of an adjustment for them then I realized it would be.  Overall, they are doing great though.  They seem to get along well when they are together and have actually stepped up to the responsibility.  Just yesterday, they decided on their own to dust, sweep, mop and vacuum the house.  Their only assigned chore was to empty the dishwasher.  Those are some good kids!

I guess the one that has had the hardest time transitioning is me.  I want to be home, I like being home.  And while I am not the best SAHM, I think it is so important.  I posted about some of my struggles before.  But, nonetheless, is makes me sad that I am not able to be home in that way any more.

It is funny… I think it is so important for my kids that I am home, knowing what is going on with them and that they are important and matter.  But at the same time I also think it is important for kids to see their Mom work; doing something for herself and the family. I think kids need to know that the world does not revolve around them and their every need and interest catered to.  The real world does not work that way and I think a false sense of entitlement can be created if Mom's are not careful.  My kids have all benefited immensely from being in a positive daycare setting for many years; many kids miss out on that.

I guess after such a long time being mostly at home and doing most all the SAHM things, it is hard to think of myself any other way.  What is ironic is that I have never been a full SAHM.  I have always worked since I have had kids, from three days a week, to full time to one day a week.  I am not sure why I have thought of myself as a SAHM all these years.  But I have.  A more accurate title for me over the years, and especially now, would be a WPTAHS or a Work Part Time at Home Some Mom.   It is just hard to re-program my brain to view myself another way.

I feel out of the loop with friends.  I have no time to myself without children around (this is the first year I was getting a little bit of time to myself when they were all in school, but is was very short lived).  I still have all the responsibilities that I had before but less time to do it all in.  And the biggest struggles is getting "it" all done without impacting the kids even more.  Sigh.

Don't get me wrong.  It is getting easier and I can not tell you how thankful I am that I am not working full time.  I know I should be thankful and celebrate the fact that I seem to have the best of both worlds (did you hear the Hannah Montana song in your head there for a minute?).  I have to start to recognize the benefits everyone is getting from this change and not focus so much on what everyone may be missing.  Logically, I know I am not failing as a Mom by working more.  I know that deep down, but it is struggle in my Mommy heart all the same.