Monday, March 9, 2009

i've done learned that

so as i delve deeper into my motherhood reflections and contemplate all my current struggles and faulty areas, i realize that after 4 years of this and 3 kids (whoa!)

our family at the open hearts work of heART exhibit

there are some things that i do know work for us. it is true. i have not done all of this in vain. i am like a hunter always searching for things to make this life easier, flowing, and (my favorite) more joyful. i am determined to make the present a time that we can be sure we did our best to enjoy. want to hear about what i've learned so far? i just love a good list. in no particular order whatsoever.

1) music is essential here. amongst all the painting


tea parties, etc it is possible for a girl (me) to get a little...well, bored. i was my own person before all this, ya know?that's where "my jams" come in. if they are on in the background and i can sing or dance along while we're in the midst of all our little one fun, then i'm happy as a bird. or i've found that when i can sense that they are bored, which leads to fighting and other mosh pit like behaviors, that putting their music on puts them in a better mood and makes olive
forget that she wants to watch hours of television at a time. she just plum doesn't think about it as much, which leads to less arguments between her and i. which leads to domestic bliss, and indirectly world peace.

2) i have learned to say "yes" more. otherwise known as the popular "pick your battles". if olive
wants me to sing christmas carols in the summer before every nap and bedtime. i just do it.
if lucy needs to
run a lap around the table halfway
or quarterly throughout dinner. why not?

when every 10th second of their lives isn't a bad decision, we can work on these smaller annoyances. if they need to try on 3 pairs of gloves, working hard at getting each little finger in- before deciding on not wearing any of them at all in the end. even if it takes 10 minutes. i TRY to be patient (multi-tasking by picking up in the room to keep my mind off of their pokiness) i have been minutes behind a bad wreck that if i had hurried us out of the door instead of letting them take their sweet time - we might have been involved in. all i'm saying is that i have had to chill out a lil' bit.

you will notice that my children will not be the tamest ones you've ever seen out in public. but there are 3 little people we must consider for every tiny little thing and there just simply isn't the energy to work on every single challenge. so we focus on what we think are the biggies or at least they get on OUR nerves enough to not let them go ignored. and you don't know how painful this is for me to write this one. i have always been the kind of person that judged parents up and down for things. but now i really do get it. part of the battles you have to pick and choose every day is the battle to stay sane as well. i cannot happily parent if i'm nitpicking. i can't believe how much crow i am eating right now, by the way.

3) i have learned to say "no" more. it wasn't until a wake up call a few weeks back watching super nanny (yes, i love her) that i realized that i am not allowing my children to grow up in certain areas. olive for instance wants help finishing the last few bites of her meal to get to her dessert faster. and by "help" i mean spoon feeding her. for the past little while doing this makes me want to gag. hearing the silverware clink her teeth and then watching her big girl mouth chew and swallow - wasn't actually making my day. but i was doing it anyway. WHY? so she could have her dessert? why do i care if she gets to her dessert? so i finally have said "no, you are too big of a girl now." so i noted to self, "if it makes me cringe, i should just say no". when you are grossed out or overly annoyed doing something, it doesn't make you supermom to keep doing it. it will chip away at your joy actually. someone told me something once that i'll never forget. something like "you won't be annoyed at your children when you know they are doing the best that they can do." we don't get annoyed changing our babies diapers. but we do get annoyed changing our 3 year old's.

4) guilt has no business in your parenting or life at all, even if you're not a parent. it isn't from God. it is an evil way to rob your joy. there is a darkness in this world that would have us hating the good that we are doing. i used to get so angry at myself when i was frustrated with the kids. i would will myself into enjoying it. but i felt like a timebomb.

when i would hear that breaking point in robbie's voice when he'd had enough with the littles, the one that i had been suppressing all day long, i would get upset in my heart at him because he had no shame in it. but he was right and i wasn't. it's ok to feel like that. the way that you feel about your children is such a complicated love. for the first couple of years you get so used to feeling nothing but love so rich it brings you to tears. and then comes frustration so deep it can scare you. i call them love struggles.

so now i have learned that i need to respond to his breaking point by stepping in and taking over until he cools down. it is how he has always responded to my breaking point. and i have learned to except that reprieve without guilt. we always come back better and put back together.

5) photography. when the house is so messy (please see last post) and the kids won't get along and work is calling and you can't find your phone and there is spit up in your hair and no one has been bathed in days or a week and a half (sorry, finn)
and the noise level is is still beautiful.
but it is really hard to remember that with just my own two eyes. so sometimes i get behind the lens and it helps. for instance. look at this moment.

paint on her face and grubby hands. this is a lot like how it looks in real life. nastiness and right up in my grill. if this picture could scan back you'd see that paint is covering her dress and up on her hairline too.

but there is a beautiful way to look at every moment in life. you just have to find it. and this is where i found mine.

took awhile to find it but look at her sweet little legs. this is a perfect example too of why i don't really do "play clothes" for the kids. why save all the cute stuff? i need to see them in their best every day. it helps me to remember that this life we're living is beautiful. even the nothing days at home. they are beautiful too.

6) their naptime is my time to do exactly what i want to do. cleaning and cooking are done while they are awake. yes i know that this takes away from our playtime together. but i'm not a kid and i don't enjoy playing all day long. (this took me forever to get to this point where i could admit that). what has resulted from this change is that they have a) become more independent

b) developed their friendship

c) become inspired to help out

and d) led to some hilarious discussion while we cook and clean

olive: mommy, we prayed for our president at school this morning. his name is Guac Obama

lucy: Rock o Mama!

olive to lucy: Rock o Mama needs to rock his body

7) and lastly pray outloud and keep your Bible out. my dear friend and mentor really barbara encouraged me to keep my Bible out and read it here and there while we play. this is what has happened as a result. but it has been worth it. the girls ask me to read it now while we paint or play and i get tiny tidbits of inspriation as we go along.

prayer....sometimes i pray really inspiring things that should be dubbed and sold to millions. and sometimes i just pray that God would help me not to beat them. whatever it is, they need to hear that He is where i turn to. my help is in Him. and i'm finally, finally learning that. what have you learned?