Monday, November 22, 2010
Read it here.
I did that write a book in the comments on the friend who shared this on facebook. I am glad he shared it, it really crystallized some things for me. Our culture hates mothers. The feminist movement swept through and suddenly it was all about a career. I am woman hear me roar. I can be good as a man, I can beat them all at their game.
The way I see it? I AM as good as a Man, because I'm a woman. I can have babies, I make milk! Men can't do that! If you study the uterus and it's function for our whole body: wow!!! Incredible! We are AMAZING! Because we are women.
So what about the feminists that choose to stay home? The ones that are fighting for their rights to be treated like WOMEN. To birth the way they want to. To raise children who don't think in the box. To do whatever they want to do. Stop focusing on the men, who cares? I hate to be seen as not another ignorant "stay at home" Mom. But as women who WORK in the home, that their work has value, more value than any other work really.
My Comment: Hmmm well I'm not exactly a feminist (in the traditional sense) I am more of one in some ways than I ever thought I would be. I don't like the way "work less" is worded- at least in regards to mothers. Mothers who stay at home, work just as hard (twice as hard!) as anyone else. The author has obviously never had children because when she states that they 'do as they want' and that they "hang out with their children" -WOW! Sure a glaring light on the lack of respect our culture has for the hard work involved in RAISING children. It's kind of laughable! Sure some parts of working in the home are nice. I do get to decide what I do every day, when small children will co-operate. Nap like they are supposed to, not throw up or get really ill and need undivided attention, or fall and break a bone, or whatever...Life with children (especially when they are under the age 5) is chaos...One comedian put it perfectly: "they come out looking for ways to die." It may look like mothers who work in the home have no set hours ( because they work and are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year) and a ton of freedom. But they also have no set feed back (you're doing this well, need to improve here), because it's hard to judge HOW they ARE doing. And the jobs they did accomplish can be undone in a matter of minutes (thank you small child for dumping that disgusting water all over the freshly mopped floor, or for barfing on the carpet I just shampooed, or dumping that laundry basket I just sorted and folded or just having the ability to make it look like a bomb went off in 5 minutes flat). Yes it may look from the outside like we're puttering in the garden (*or you could see it as growing good organic food for our family for the winter), or hanging out with our children- and that is fun...But there are also fights, also a hundred brain numbing teaching moments a day...Constant on your feet time, even in the night with a sick child. EVERY THING is in a Mother's job description...Because generally she's also a full time wife too. I think the dutch culture has a deep respect for MOTHERS (they have one of the highest percentage of home birth which is the safest and most respectful way to give birth and one of the worlds lowest maternal death rate). They see the job of mothering, of serving your family as some thing that is important and increases the enjoyment of life for every one...happier kids, happier homes. I hope I don't sound like this offended me, it didn't I found it really interesting...And refreshing (in a way) to see how much a culture appreciates the vocation I have chosen.
And another thing I really appreciate about the dutch, they are so relational! It's about community, women working together sharing their lives together, supporting each other. I feel like all the feminist movement brought us (okay there were some definite changes needed and accomplished!) was women cutting each other down, competing every where...Who can be the better mother, who has the better degree, who does this, who doesn't do that.
Maybe it's just me.
*yes puttering in the garden, but with small children even that can be a challenge...I can't count how many green tomatos Roo and Friendly helped "harvest" this summer or how many we made in to tomato sauce immediately because they had "sampled" the goods.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I got material to make 6 skirts (2 of each in toddler and child-sized), 4-6 scarves, 2 princess dresses, 2 aprons, and 2 super hero capes, and a bunch of other stuff for $12.75
My camera is broken so I haven't been able to post pictures on my craftiejoy site...or here. hopefully when all is done and I'm ready to wrap I can some how take a few pictures!
Christmas is coming.
My goal? To do Christmas for under $50, it really is looking like a possibility! I really would like to keep Christmas gifts always to very basic- "I made it for you" kind of things...Between us all. Birthdays are when they can get the really cool toy they've been wanting.
Off to help get 2 sleepy girls all jammied up.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
It's been really exciting to see the little lessons life has been throwing at me the past few days. Today in particular, I've been having some shocking moments of clarity.
I've always loved the Autumn. But since having kids it's been hard to enjoy it much. Actually in general, I feel like I've spent a lot of time feeling miserable. As the 4th out of five kids I've always known what "not getting what I want" feels like. I tend to have high ideals, and things have really never lived up to my expectations. I'm used to it. The only exception, marriage. That has surpassed my expectations. Not in a "this has all been so easy and beautiful" sense. Because if you have ever read my rants on how perfect our first few years of marriage weren't: cancer, death, grief, drunk and prostituting neighbor from hell. And that was just our first year!- well you'd know it hasn't been all rainbows and sprinkles. But marriage has been, different. It doesn't fit and fill all. But it is the truest comfort. Just having some one-Ryan- is...Words fail me...Like life has come full circle. That's all. As long as I can remember he has always been the only human who has known me best.
Anyway, back to clarity. Parenthood has been like a cold splash in the face. Some days more chilling than others. I want to accept, but so often I've dug in my heels and said WHY me? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to take for granted these sweet healthy and beautiful gifts I've been given. But babies and parenthood were bigger and more encompassing than I ever dreamed. I thought babies slept more and cried less (especially Roo, she truly only slept 11-12 hours a day from 4mos on, despite my best efforts she was perpetually over-tired.)
Mommiehood has absolutely been my lesson that life is never ideal. But that has left me pretty miserable. It's been a hard adjustment, earth shaking. The constant need, interruptions (of sleep, work and anything else I'd like to accomplish), disruptions and always changingness of it all has left me exhausted and butting against this season of my life. It'll be over soon, right?
Today we were enjoying an almost idealic morning. A $3 date at a cafe, fun grocery shopping (seriously the girls love it), and a walk at the park...Laying in the grass watching clouds...Chase...putting flowers in our hair (okay, old dandelion stumps: 2 year olds find beauty in everything), inspecting leaves, watching squirrels in the trees. It was perfect. And then Friendly got tired, I mean she was tired from being up half the night screaming. But you know, she hit that point. And it seems there is some rule that if one crumbles all must fall, so Roo joined in. I was 3/4's of a mile from the car:not a little walk, not a lot of fun.
As I strapped two screaming children back into the stroller I realized that this is par the course...I can butt it forever. But that's not going to change. So I took a breath and looked up at the oak trees rustling against the November sky. I memorized them. It's time to start capturing some moments. CLICK: I'll want this some day. And then I took Friendly out, strapped her on my back, unbuckled Roo and said she could walk or ride, but we were heading out. There were still some tears but instead of feeling sucked in, and feeling sucked dry I just, breathed. What ever. We walked by the Marsh grass and I could hear the wind singing through the reeds, I don't think I've ever heard that sound in real life before. I felt Friendlys warm little body on my back.
This moment is what it is...Time to start enjoying them.
I know it sounds all Corny and cliche: but this is it. I get one shot at this life and I can spend my 20's and 30's frustrated, drained and disgruntled from lack of sleep and me time. Or I can choose to love myself, to love that this is my life and it is what it is. Not that I will always be able to be so practical in some harder moments...but I hope I can keep that before me.
"Loving Thyself" is found partly in acceptance. This is what it is, what are you going to do with it?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm starting to wander into that area of amazon, of GCM, of the library... I think I've read all the discipline books I'm going to be able to process for a while. And I think I've formulated a pretty good understanding of my parenting/discipline philosophy. Which I hope to really concrete in a concise little post (ha!) at some point.
Now I am looking at my job as educator. Because I do believe it's my job, all parents jobs really. Not that we're all called to homeschooling...Because we're not. But it's our responsibility to create an environment for learning in our homes. This doesn't mean we make little educational rooms full of charts, and books and crafts. It means we give our kids lots of time to PLAY...To play with real toys or even non-toys...It's amazing what Roo can do with an old sock, an empty tissue box, a marker and a lid from a toy box= It's a cake! Look how I decorated it!
And I have to run, Mommies morning quiet time is over... I wish I had gotten to drink tea, we're out of milk. :0(
Oh and I'm not preggo! AF finally arrived this morning! I really don't know what to think. That was the longest luteal phase I've had since Friendly was born (most have been 6-9 days: not long enough to sustain a pregnancy), and I felt really preggo...My uterus still feels hard and bigger like it did with both girls right when I found out I was preggo. I am almost feeling like maybe I was and I just don't have enough progesterone to sustain pregnancy at this point? Anyway I'm SO relieved to have this VERY VERY long cycle come to an end (it started on September 5th!). We're still praying about trying for another baby...I'd love and October baby, it's always been a dream of mine. But God really has made it clear, He sends the babies into this family, despite our efforts to avoid (friendly) or attain (roo). I am sad that a new baby won't be joining our family next summer. But with all the big huge changes coming our way next year (more on that some day) I have a peace that this is best. I'm just not looking to what I can tell is going to be a pretty painful couple days, the cramps are pretty unreal. :0(
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I'm not feeling well today, haven't really been this week (AF is still a no-show! Either having bad PMS or need to test this weekend). Just tired and headachey. Anyway the girls had been playing nicely and then a fight broke out over a toy. Instead of tensing up and jumping off the couch to separate them and take the toy. I laid there and just focused on myself. What do I want them to do? Why am I frustrated? I validated my feelings. Yes, I don't feel well, it's really been a rough few days. And this IS so frustrating as I feel like I do the same thing over and over and over again. It's okay to feel rotten and not want to do this. But your kids need you right now- so let's set that aside and focus on: how can you help them?
I can't remember what I ended up doing, honestly! Testament to how tired I am? But whatever I did, it diffused the situation!
I have heard of this concept, of talking yourself through situations...Validating your feelings. But some how it clicked today. I can love myself, take moments for myself by taking pause. By acknowledging my negative feelings I can handle them better...Freedom!!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Is it all about them, or is some of it about us? Deep down I think sometimes we get competitive. We want to be the best Mama on the block. We want our children to be the most well adjusted, healthiest and happiest kiddos any one has ever met. We strive for perfection! In a job that has doubtful and sporadic positive feed back. Sure the sweet gummy grins can get ya a bit high. But the constructive feed back of most other jobs, just doesn't happen much in the Mama Work Place. When was the last time some one said "you're doing a great job"? And how often does that happen? Not often.
And then on the other side of all that, some times we're just so entrenched in survival mode. Living in the tunnel zombie vision of the get-me-through-today-land, we can't see where changes need to be made. It is a season, really. But I think those times are when we need to turn inward even more. We need to be a little selfish. Okay, hold on it's Corny: but we need to love ourselves. Especially for those of us who aren't really sure when "this season" will end. Will I have 2 kids? or 5 kids? The number of children = more years doing some intense Mothering.
What was my point? Ooh right, in the book he also talks about love. He mentions this passage in the Bible
Mark 12: 28-31
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
So here is how I've commonly heard it broken down. What loving God with all your heart,mind, strength and soul looks like: God, Family, Other
God (Most pastors are emphatic: quiet bible study! Church fellowship! Ministry [ministry, ministry, ministry, ministry])
Family (Marriage THEN kids. Focus on your marriage, don't let the kids get in the way!)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My list for the box includes:
2 tutus (already made from a few years ago)
2 princess dresses
2 sets of high heeled shoes (good will or dollar store)
floppy hats (if can find at good will)
2 super hero capes (super excited to make these! and I know Roo is going to go crazy for them)
2 a fire engine hats (dollar store)
leg warmers (have)
2 purses (have already- they are sweet little girly things I've picked up at consignment sales)
maybe some pretty fancy scarves- we'll see scarves are really hot right now.
Also checking out the local toy stores ASAP to see if they have any fun head bands with animal ears for REALLY inexpensive...Otherwise I'll be attempting my own.
The great thing about this gift is that I can keep adding to it every year = keep the cost down for Christmas (not that the won't get other kinds of gifts but not many!)
Today I plan on heading to the fabric store to check out the $1/yd area to see if I can find some fancy fabric for cheap...I'd like to be able to make the dresses for under $7 (for fabric, elastic and Velcro). I need to get cracking on these sewing projects if I'm going to have every thing made for Christmas.
I would love to find an actual TRUNK for the stuff, but I think I'm going to have to settle for a cheap $4 plastic storage tub this year... I'll check freecycle, but I doubt I'll find anything. Maybe that will be a big gift next year or for Friendly's birthday next August.
I am especially excited about this gift because I can wrap each little piece of the dress up box (well with in reason, some of it's just going to be in the bottom of the dress up box which will have a bow on it.) individually and so the girls will have lots of presents to open.
Time to get cracking!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sitting on the floor with a sleeping baby in my arms. Typing with one hand, holding a jump rope (under sleeping baby) in the other. Roo is at the other end"jumping rope". Which is just jumping in place while swinging the rope (away from her) and chanting the rhymes she knows. Elmo is singing on the TV in the background. My right leg, left arm, and rear end are fast asleep.
This is life.
I've been pondering the different seasons of my life lately. But mainly the last 5 years and the next...five, ten? Pondering how miserable somethings have been. And it's hitting me, this is life. It's short. I'll be 26 next month, my 20's will really truly be closer to over, than not.
Roo is now snuggling on my other leg looking through a small album that has pictures from our wedding...Friendlys birth..."Say cheese Mommie, you're dancing with Daddy at da wedding!" Elmo is going on and on about Birthdays...How fitting. Friendly just woke up and is now pointing at the pictures "dis" in her high squeaky "look at this" voice. Roo is going "a-huh, dats you when you were borned."
This is life. I wish I had some earth shattering revelation, some thing to say that would just ...just be earth shattering.
But 75% of my body is starting to wake up (oooh the tingles) and Elmo has ended his annoying songs... Time to round up the library books, change Friendlys diaper, put on shoes and hats and go out for a "mommie date".
This is life.
Roo is pinning Friendly down in a little too tight of a hug. Time to run, if my legs'll wake up!!
This is life.
Monday, November 8, 2010
We are not responsible for our children. We are responsible to them.
I am not responsible for the choices my children make. I am responsible to them for caring for them, setting boundaries, and meeting their general needs.
Their choices are THEIR choices, I can't make them choose to do some thing...I can make choices about what I am going to do.
That's the other theme through out the book. parenting is not for the children. It's for the parents. Thoughts and themes like, "If you are not under control, you cannot be in charge.".
We always have a choice. Even the opportunity to grow is a choice! I love that he looks at things in this angle...If you haven't picked it up, I highly recommend it: Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool it gave me a lot of things to think about.
I wish I could articulate every thing ...But I just have so much to process! One thing that stood out to me was: The Only Person who you can make change, is YOU. If you are in a negative pattern with some one (a child, friend, spouse) the only person you can change, is you!
This really stood out to me with things I'm dealing with in my relationship with Roo Girl...As much as I didn't want to we were getting sucked into a very adversarial battle grounds...Not all the time, but I just have been at my wits end. I'm sick of saying the same things over and over and over again and getting angry and frustrated. I can't change her, I can't MAKE her stop the negative behaviors. But I can change it up, I can make the change in this relationship dynamic. One thing Runkel talked a lot about was taking a moment to focus on YOURSELF in difficult situations. He calls it a "pause". What are you thinking? What are you feeling? If the person doesn't do what you tell them to, what will you do? Where does the boundary need to be, and how will you uphold it? Is this a boundary issue or is some thing lacking in that moment in your relationship. If dealing with a behavioral issue with a little have you considered HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) can you help them deal with that so the behavior stops and give them tools to deal with it next times.
The other thing I loved was the exercise where he walked you through where you, and your children would be in 25 years...He had you really walk it all out in as much detail as possible, he asked a lot of questions but mainly: What kind of relationship do you want to have with your children in 25 years? and other things like, what character traits and ideals do they hold? What do their peers, friends and family say about them?
How are you going to get there?
He talked a lot about how children are individuals, they are not animals to be trained. From a very young age they make "choices" (not necessarily rational, but they are doing them on their own! They aren't part of us) that we don't like, and have no control over. They wake up at 2a.m. covered in poop. They teeth and can't sleep, they don't like a certain new pureed food we offer. Our job as parents isn't bring them in and train them to be these good godly people.
Here he says it better a brief quote:
"I speak a lot at churches and religious groups. One of the primary concerns of people in a faith community is training their children to love and honor God. For most people of faith, that is the number-one goal of parenting. Thus, they are a little put off when I assert that this is actually not their most important goal. Again and again I tell them that launching their children into a self-directed adulthood is far more important.
Why? Because if your child is not a self-directed adult, then whatever faith he does develop will not truly be his own. He cannot authentically choose to follow God if he cannot choose, on his own, to follow God."
He goes on to talk about how you absolutely discuss and involve your child in your faith (he was PC about it, etc. it's not a "Christian" book)
He concludes, " Again begin with the end in mind. Lead the horse to water... We are training children ultimately to become responsible for themselves and no one else. The ultimate goal of parenting is to launch our children into adulthood where they are self-directed, decisive, and responsible people."
He also asked questions about obedience... Why do we want our children to obey us? Because the bible says to? Because we say so and we're the adults and they need to learn to mind the adult? No we want our children to obey us because they have chosen to do it because it is the right thing to do. We want our children to be self-directed to have a strong sense of self and awareness of their conscience. To choose right from wrong on their own because of their own convictions...Not because they are scared of being shamed or punished. Will they always do it? No! And there will be natural and logical consequences (hopefully geared towards their developmental age) for that, some times bigger and harder to swallow. But they'll learn from them!
I loved this book, I think it's exactly what I needed to read at this point. It has a lot of similar themes to the book Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline...But I found it a bit more straight forward and simple. I have been struggling so much so frustrated with some things. I firmly believe that God has dropped this book in my lap. That and an awesome article on anger in the Mothering Magazine. Screamfree parenting has given me a bit more of the big picture to this parenting puzzle I've been working through.
And with that nap time is done...Time to go get the girls ready for our pediatrician appointment!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
All that said, I've just wanted to pull a giant quilt over my little world. Bunker and hunker down and feel a little miserable and be.
I haven't been enjoying life at home. Roo Girl is turning into a three year old, and it's obnoxious. Friendly is constantly finding messes and daring feats (she's a climber and a dare devil) to make me want to bang my head against a wall. On top of her working in TWELVE new teeth and waking me up pretty much every hour of the night from 1 or 2 a.m. on. Life is hard, I can accept that.
I'm still asking myself a lot of questions from my last few posts. Not because of a giant shift with more work hours for Ryan. But because I'm not loving life right now.
And I have SO much to be thankful for. Two healthy kids, an amazing husband who goes above and beyond to make this situation work. I just feel resentful so much of the time and kind of trapped. And I think I'm over compensating in other areas, or shutting down in other areas (hello, housework- haven't seen you much).
I am hoping some of it will get better once we have our own living space, our own home...But what if it doesn't? What do I need to do? I've been praying about it a lot. Asking God to show me. To help me see joy and revel in it. Because I DO enjoy some moments. I enjoy waking up to my little Roo Girls sweet little voice saying "Hellwo Mommie! How are you this mornin? Can I get in da bed and snuggle you?" I love that my children need me, I just wish it wasn't so intense. I wish it was on my terms. I wish having a strong connection with them wasn't so mind numbingly boring (full disclosure) and hard. I wish learning new things just HAPPENED, on both our ends. I wish it were easy.
I feel like this is where the rubber meets the road. I have so many ideals in parenting, can I walk them out? Can I raise these littles to have the tools I am realizing more and more I lack. Raise strong, empathetic, and caring adults? Can I relearn?
I feel like God has brought me to a new low of humiliation in the last 2 weeks. It's been UGLY. And I feel bad for struggling so much...Yes, sleep deprivation is ugly, but really Hannah? Really?
I guess I have a lot more to learn about grace too...
So I'm looking for Joy. I'm trying to plug in, and find ways to fill me up... Find time to just settle in with the Holy Spirit and let Him love on me.
It's hard when you're tired.
So Joy, where are you? I feel like I have a lot to learn about you.
With Thanksgiving coming I really want to focus on what I'm thankful for...
Today I'm thankful for my husband, he has seriously saved my life...God knew I needed him, and He has used Ryan in more ways than I could ever explain. I love you Ryan.