Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmastime Conflict

During the Christmas season, on top of all the usual fights, my children have many new things to argue about.

Christmas Tree: Everyone fights over who gets to put the star on top, ornament placement, and what the tree should be named.

Christmas Shows/Music/Movies: No matter what is playing at any given time, someone is whining that they didn't get their way and whatever is on is stupid.

Christmas Card Portraits: We go to Target Portrait Studio every year to get cards. There is much dismay over getting ready, wearing itchy clothes and driving there. Then during the session someone won't smile, another goofs around and just a lot of general uncooperativeness. Then while I chose a pose after the session, they all disappear somewhere into Target.

School Holiday Programs: Again with the whining over getting dressed up. If it is a siblings program, there is whining about having to go watch it, and bickering all through the show.

Advent Wreath: There is always an argument over who gets to light and blow out the candles. They all take turns, but it is always somehow not fair to the child whos turn it isn't.

Advent Calender: Each day someone gets to add a character to that days spot on the calender. There is a rotation, everyone gets the same amount of turns, but it is somehow not fair once again. My one daughter is sure it is never her turn. She sounds like a dying cat!

Jesse Tree: This is my least favorite. All the kids don't listen to the bible passages and talk through all of it along with the prayers. More fighting over who's turn it is to put the ornament on. My husband wants to burn the thing.

Travel: Much like all travel with kids, there is a lot of whining about it being too far, or it is not at the person's house they would like it to be at.

Gifts: I just got all the gifts under the tree. Someone's gift is bigger, someone has more, no one has enough. My dramatic girl (the same one referred to as a dying cat) doesn't want any gifts since she doesn't have enough!

Fake Wine at Christmas Eve Dinner: We always get the kids the sparkling juice that comes in a bottle that looks like wine. We call it kid wine. I measure that shit out to make sure everyone's glass is exactly equal, but to no avail, there is a belief that I gave someone "the most".

Aren't the holidays stressful enough? It's as if my kids think "Hey, let's make mom batshit crazy, and dad want to strangle us, just for fun! I don't think they have enough stress during the holidays!"

                        Happy Holidays To You and Yours!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Moms Don't Get Sick Days!

I learned a very hard lesson this weekend. On Saturday morning at 2 AM I woke up with a fever, headache. dizziness, body aches and phlegmy cough. Awesome! I got up at 6:30, threw up, tried to wake up my husband, and he didn't budge. I wanted him to take my sick kid to the doctor and pick up my ten year old. I then gave two kids medicine, got one kid fed and dressed to take her to the doctor, and drove 40 minutes to pick up my ten year old from a sleepover. Then we went and sat in Urgent Care for two hours. After that we had to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. Influenza has invaded our house.

I got home at noon. I spent the day mostly resting. At 2 PM my husband took the boys to get hair cuts so I couldn't sleep. I needed to pay attention to what the girls were doing while he was gone. He was only gone for two hours and he did make all the meals all day, if cereal and mac-n-cheese are considered meals. At least there's that! I took Tamiflu and went to bed at 9:30.

I assumed my husband would put the kids to bed at some point. No such luck. I found out later four of the kids put themselves to bed at midnight. At 2 AM I woke up and my 12 year old was playing a handheld device beside his dad who also was playing a device. WTF??!! I asked my son to please go to bed.

Sunday I woke up feeling a lot better because Tamiflu is a damn miracle! Two more kids woke up sick. Then I saw all the upheaval that took place in my absence the one day I was incapacitated. I gave medicine to all the little sickies and cleaned for two hours. Meanwhile, my husband continued sleeping. Did I mention, I have the damn FLU!!?? Apparently no one really cares.

My question is, why don't moms get sick days? We could be on deaths door but we are still expected to take care of everyone else. If we do take to our beds, we will be paying for it when we wake up the next day, as I found out. When anyone else gets sick, mama is there to comfort, nurture, wait on, medicate, and generally take care of them. She also keeps the place in order as usual all while dealing with little sickies. When mama gets sick, nope, no one is going to take over her role and God forbid if anyone takes care of her. Hell would freeze over before that would ever happen! It is frustrating and just wrong. It makes me wonder what these people would do if I died. The place would go to shit-and fast!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Twins Are Easy...And Hard!!!

People often ask me if twins are easier or harder to raise than their singleton counterparts. My answer is a little of both. Some of the things that make it easier are the very things that make it harder. The only thing I have found to be all the way harder is all the crying, tantrums, and whining! MAKE IT STOP!!!
Easy: If you breastfeed feeding them takes half the time because there is no switching sides, they eat together and are done in 20 minutes!

Hard: Getting two newborns latched on is a bit tricky, and if one gets fussy during a feeding it is difficult to comfort her if her sister is still attached to you.

Easy: They are in diapers together so you are done with diapers all at once.

Hard: Two poopy diapers to change at once is no cake walk. That goes double for the potty accidents during potty training!

Easy: They require the same amount of sleep so they are on the same sleep schedule, if you are lucky!

Hard: They usually wake up at different times during the night and one may wake the other, so mama get little to no sleep in the beginning.

Easy: They sleep together so they don't cry for you because they keep each other company, at bedtime, during the night, and when they wake up in the morning.

Hard: They may mess around for quite some time at bedtime before they decide to fall asleep, and if one wakes up during the night or early, she may wake up her sister, then it's party time! If one says she is scared, the other one inevitably will too! It  is cute to listen to them at night though!

Easy: They eat the same foods. When they are babies spoon feeding is a breeze, you just alternate bites.

Hard: Twice the food mess on you, them and the floor.

Easy: They entertain each other and don't get bored easily, meaning you will not need to spend as much time playing with them, sometimes they won't even let you play!

Hard: They find interesting things to keep themselves entertained, such as, writing on walls, making water messes, spreading lotion over every inch of their rooms, and giving each other hair cuts! I used to get mad about the hair cuts, which have happened to both girls several times, but now I just shake my head. I wonder if they will ever learn!

Easy: They are at the  same developmental stage so they share the same toys.

Hard: They fight over the same exact toy, 

Easy: They are the same size, so they can do all of the same things.

Hard: They can easily kick, bite, scratch. and hit each other because they are the same size! As preschoolers my girls looked like they had spent a few hours trapped in a box with a cat they were so scratched up!

Easy: They share clothes, so no need to separate them. They also share a dresser.  

Hard: They will both want to wear the same article of clothing they both adore on the same day. Fighting ensues! If they have matching outfits, and one gets ruined, the other gets retired.

Easy: They have the same homework so they can work together and I you will only have to explain once if they need help. I always loved doing homework with my twin! 

Hard: As older kids they may divide and conquer, one will do one assignment, while the other does a different one, then they copy each others work!

Easy: They have some of the same friends.

Hard: If one friend comes over they may fight over her. I remember this happening with my twin and I and our friend got very uncomfortable.

Easy: If they get sick it is usually together so they have a sick buddy. They don't get lonely and aren't constantly needing something from you.

Hard: Double the puke, snot, fevers and medicine to dole out.

Being a twin and also having them I have found there to be many benefits, and also many issues. I do not know which one outweighs the other. Lets just say, it is pretty close to a tie. It is all I have ever known so it remains one of life's mysteries. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Don't I Have Value If I'm "Just" A Mom?

For more than twelve years I have been a stay at home mom. That was always a good enough reply when people would ask me what I do. It was acceptable because I had small children at home during the day. This past fall my two youngest children entered kindergarten. Last May when they finished preschool I began to get a lot of questions and comments about my plans for when they entered school full time, such as:
Are you going back to work?
What are you going to do all day?
Are you going to find a job to do at home?
Maybe you should do daycare.
You should go back to school.

I usually replied that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do yet. I really wanted to scream. Why is it anyones business and what does it matter to them what I do? Why suddenly do I not have value unless I am doing something besides staying home and being a mom? Is my value dependent on income alone and nothing else? What changed besides my kids being in school all day?

When people asked what I am going to do all day I wanted to say:
Whatever the fuck I want,
Mind your own business,
or sleep, read blogs, clean, relax and screw around.

I never say these things, and I wish I could. I don't because there is too much judgement.

Truthfully, I am not ready to face starting all over yet. I have been busting my ass, surrounded by little people all day for over twelve years. I'm tired and have been dealing with medical issues so I am taking a break. Is that really too much to ask? The thought of finding a job to fit my kids school schedule so I can be home when they are home is overwhelming. So, for now I am just fine with being home for a while, during their school hours. I wonder why so many people do not think this is fine. My value is more than a paycheck.

My contribution to the household is time instead of money. Why do so many people think money is the most important thing of all? MOM is the most important job I could dream of having. That job did not disappear when my youngest kids went to school. I am still just a mom. I just have a little more time to take care of me. Is there a problem with that?

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Perverse Plot of the Pint-Sized Pilfering Princesses

There are products disappearing from my house left and right! Every week there are items on my list that most people replace every couple months or a few times a year. I thought maybe we had a house elf but then I realized what was happening.

In the past two years my six year old twins have gotten very good at playing independently and quietly. The result of that is they have also gotten very sneaky. They have become sneaky little petty thieves. I have compiled a list of all the items they snatch and their bizarre uses for these items. I hope you enjoy it. I figure if I have to live with it I may as well entertain someone with this list!

Q-Tips: Making cute little stick figures, using lots and lots of Tape, "painting" on Paper using water in a Dixie Cup.

Tape: ^^ Walls, paper, projects, faces, to tape toys together or wrap around pens.

Paper: ^^ I save old paper that are only printed on one side for them to use, but they like to instead steal my printer paper or my notebooks. They cut bits of paper and glue it to other paper, or the obvious uses of coloring and drawing. They also like to Spray water on the paper, which makes a nice mess.

Dixie Cups: ^^ For holding wet Cotton Balls and also mystery liquids for me to find!

Spray (any type): ^^To spray anything and everything and leave it there for me to find! Enough said about that.

Cotton Balls:^^ To make boobs for their dolls!

Band-Aids: For their imaginary boo-boos or boo-boos on their "pets".

Kleenex: Barbie bedding or pillows ( a pile folded in half) for baby dolls.

Plastic baggies: To store projects or fill with water!

Pens: Only my good ones, not the free ones from local businesses! Used to write on walls or draw on paper as intended.

Baby Wipes: To do diaper changes on their dolls of course!

Lotion: To smear on any and every surface imaginable and on their dolls!

Liquid Soap: To bathe their "color me" pets. Also to destroy the bathroom in the process.

Napkins: They use these as intended, but just use way too many, because they are "used up" when they have one dot of food on them. Then they are "too yucky" to keep using. They each use 8-10 per meal.

Paper Towels: As baby blankets, after they design them with markers.

If I am ever Not out of at least one of these items I will be surprised. With them in school now they use less, so it could happen! Hey, at least they are creative, amiright?

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Never Wanted Five Kids

I often hear the phrase "Well, you chose to have five kids." People say it when I voice concerns about parenting so many kids such as, expenses, illness, time constraints, fighting, space in our house and van, and all the kid clutter. The statement is annoying even for parents that have the number of kids they planned for. What mother doesn't struggle with those things? The statement is that much worse for me because I actually didn't choose to have five kids. I chose to have four.

When I was fourteen I wanted four kids. When I started dating my husband I still wanted four kids. When I got married I still wanted four kids. When I started having kids I still wanted four kids, and during my fourth pregnancy, I still wanted four kids. I was in a blissful state knowing I would now have my four kids I always dreamed of having.

Everything was going perfectly. I went to my twelve week prenatal appointment and everything checked out great. The doctor asked if I had and questions and I asked her if I was measuring big because I was showing a lot and had gained twelve pounds already. She said I was measuring where I was supposed to and that it was probably because it was my fourth pregnancy in quick succession. She told me we could do a dating ultrasound to be sure I wasn't farther along than I thought I was. 

I knew for a fact my due date was correct because I had been keeping track of ovulation. I reluctantly agreed. As I walked to outpatient scheduling I thought "this lady is fucking stupid, my due date is not off." I scheduled the ultrasound for the following week anyway. 

The day of the appointment I almost just didn't go. I would have to pick up a babysitter, take a one, three, and five year old out by myself and have them sit in the tiny radiology waiting area with the babysitter during the ultrasound. I was thinking "This is such a waste of time, I know my damn due date is correct." I went anyway. That's when shit got real!

As I lay on the ultrasound table and the ultrasound technician started to scan my already huge belly I saw two babies on the screen and nearly screamed "NO FUCKING WAY, THIS CANNOT BE TRUE, KILL ME NOW." I stayed silent and waited for her to say something. She then said in the most cheerful of voices "oh, look, two babies!" I snapped "I know, I saw that already!" She kept talking incessantly about all the cool shit she was doing but I was too pissed to look and just stared at the ceiling. When she said " Here is baby A's heartbeat, here is baby B's heartbeat," I snapped "I do not want to look at any of this crap, just do whatever it is you need to do so I can go home." I spent the next twenty minutes staring at the ceiling, pissed as hell, having racing thoughts about what this meant for us.Thankfully she was silent the rest of the time until she asked if I wanted pictures. Of course I did because how else was I going to prove that it was true to myself or to my husband."

 Next came the fun part. I had to pretend  to be overjoyed when they let my kids in to see the babies on the monitor and I got to cheerfully tell them all it was twins. My three and five year old were so excited and sweet about it. It was such a joyful moment for them, I wish I had savored it more. I feel like I missed it, since I wasn't fully present. I still regret that.

As I drove home and for the next two weeks I was nothing but mad. All the time, mad. I wondered how we would buy another crib, high chair, and car seat. It felt like starting all over again. I worried about carrying to term and how I was gonna breastfeed two babies at once. I fretted about trying to pick four names since we wouldn't be finding out the sexes. After I got used to the idea I did a complete turn around in my attitude. I was so happy and loved both babies to the moon and back. I then wanted  both babies. I was happy! I love both my girls so much. I would never think of giving one away and can't even imagine it being different.

Just to be clear, though, I did not choose to have five kids. I never wanted five, I wanted four. So everyone just please stop saying I chose to have five kids. I didn't. God chose to give me a bonus baby, and I am so glad that he did! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Yes, They are all mine!

I have five kids ages 6-12. I try not to take all them places with me for several reasons. It is hard with all of them and the older two kids can babysit or stay home alone. I get distracted trying to keep track of everyone. They misbehave. Someone always ends up crying or fighting. The biggest reason though is all the looks, questions, and  comments I get.

Over the last six years (because I then had 5 kids) I have heard too many to count. Here are the most frequent/shocking/annoying of the many.

1. Are they all yours?
My response: Yep, all mine!
What I want to say: Oh, weird. No, I have a few extra. I better find out where they came from and return them before one of their parents gets worried.

2. You must have been a teen mom, you look very young.
My response: Thank you so much! I was 26 when I had my first, everyone tells me I look young for my age.
What I want to say: Yeah I was. I was pretty slutty and just kept having kids. I don't know how that happened. I should probably stop sleeping around. Maybe that would help.

3. Do they all have the same dad? 
My response: Yep, I have been with my husband over twenty years and we waited nine to start a family.
What I want to say: No, all different dads. I go to bars and get drunk a lot and just keep getting pregnant. 

4. You sure have your hands full!
My response: I sure do! It's a lot of work but its all worth it. 
What I want to say: I know right!? Do you want to take a few home with you?

5. It must be expensive to have so many kids.
My response: It is. We use a lot of hand me downs, look for clearance items and shop at garage sales a lot.  
What I want to say: It is but the welfare benefits help.

6. Were they all planned? 
My response: Four were, but the last pregnancy I got twins. We call her our bonus baby! 
What I want to say: I didn't want to have any kids but I have a sex addiction and haven't quite figured out birth control yet.

7. They're so good!
My response: Yes, they are usually very good in public.
What I want to say: This is rare. Come over anytime and you will see much different behavior. They fight, cry, throw tantrums, destroy things, show disrespect and attitude. Want to adopt one?

8. Are they twins? 
My response: Yes
What I want to say: No. I saw this one wandering around the parking lot, thought what the heck, what's one more kid, and picked her up!

9. How do you do it?
My response: I have no idea, I just do, one day at a time I guess.
What I want to say: Usually at home I just lock them in the closet and only let them out for baths, meals, and school. That makes things pretty easy.

10. You are so blessed.
My response: Yes, I sure am!
What I want to say: Tell me how blessed I am when they all start acting like jerks, or when they are all barfing sick on the same day. Then you can share the blessing and  babysit for the day.

There are many many more of these, too many to count. I have learned to just smile and give the proper response and not let it bother me, but man it would be fun to say what I really want to say! 

Monday, November 24, 2014


My eight year old was diagnosed with ADHD eight months ago. Things have been a real struggle for our family in dealing with it. When I try to talk to others about it I hear ignorant responses such as:
ADHD doesn't exist.                                                    
Just put him on medication.
He's just bored.
He's just lazy.
He has behavior problems.
He's still young, he will grow out of it.
He was probably misdiagnosed.
He just  needs discipline.
He probably has a high IQ so the work isn't challenging enough.
 I don't even respond to such foolish nonsense because you can't fix stupidity.

I can tell you with certainty ADHD does exist and my boy has it. We went the long route for diagnosis and got a full scale mental health evaluation instead of just filling out some surveys.

At his evaluation his IQ was tested and then they conducted a lot of other tests to pinpoint what he is struggling with and rule out other learning and mental conditions. He was found to have a full scale IQ of 130, which is very superior, with lowest score being 114 (high average) in Verbal Comprehension, and the highest score being 137 in Perceptual Reasoning (very superior). This was comforting to know since many ADHD kids with high IQ can do very well. He was diagnosed with moderate combined type ADHD (inattentive and hyperactive) and was also  diagnosed with unspecified anxiety. He sees the school counselor once a week for the anxiety.

His psychologist was shocked when he got to the 7th and 8th grade questions on the IQ test and was still answering enough questions correctly to continue the test. When he had answered enough questions wrong the test concluded. The attention test, however, was a total BUST! He could not even complete it. He was asked to stare at a screen and hit the space bar whenever a letter popped up. He could not focus enough to even do it at all. He restarted many times and still had the same result. He could not stare at a screen for 5 minutes. Most ADHD kids can complete the test but miss some because of inability to focus and distraction.

This confuses me. He can answer hundreds of difficult questions and spend hours doing it but can't stare at a screen for 5 minutes? Apparently if something is engaging enough ADHD kids can hyper focus, but if it isn't they have a hard time focusing at all. It is very hard for me to understand how he can build with Legos make forts or plat Minecraft for hours on end but has difficulty even starting the simplest of worksheets. It is crazy to me, but that is the mystery of the ADHD brain.

This brings me to our struggle with him. I do not know how a child can be so amazing and so infuriating all at once. Sometimes he can do many pages of homework very quickly and others he can't even start. Sometimes he sits for 4 or 5 hours to do 1 page. This saddens me. He is missing his entire childhood. I get very frustrated and our whole family suffers. I feel like I spend all my time and energy on this child in order to get him to accomplish what he needs to accomplish, so that everyone else is just pushed to the back burner. This monster that is ADHD has invaded out home and I just wish it would leave us the hell alone. But alas it won't, it is here to stay, so we need to find a way to beat the monster. My boy is so creative, caring, empathetic, brilliant and funny. He is also busy, stubborn and strong-willed.

One night last week he sat and sat and sat and did nothing at all for 3 hours straight. When it got to be bedtime his father told him to go to bed and he could get up early to do homework in the morning. I thought is was a horrible idea because I was worried the same thing would happen and he would end up with late assignments. I have never let him wait until morning for that reason and also I'm lazy and don't want to get up early. I always had him stay up however late he had to in order to get it done.

Well at this point I was crabby and exhausted so I was willing to try anything. Nothing was getting accomplished anyway so staying up with him was pointless. So I went to bed early, and got up at six the next day to wake him up. I got him going and left him alone to work and I went back to bed. I needed to see if he could be self driven and work even if it meant late assignments, and also did I mention I'm lazy. I was well prepared to end up calling his teacher to explain what had happened.

IT WORKED! Low and behold, it worked! When I got up at seven he was just finishing up the last of fourteen pages, only eight of which were due that day and the other six were due the next day! I was so very proud and completely ecstatic to finally find SOMETHING that worked. We haven't had to do this again since, we always try to get him to do homework in the evening, because again, I'm lazy, but at least now we have an alternative if evening isn't working.

I believe this worked for several reasons.
1. He was well rested
2. His brain wasn't overloaded and fatigued like it is in the afternoon from all the school work he did that day.
3. More was at stake because if he didn't finish he would have late assignments and a consequence at school.
4. There were no distractions because everyone else was asleep.

When I realized what was happening, that we were WINNING against the monster, I was giving the finger to ADHD in my head thinking: See you bastard ADHD, you can't beat us! We are gonna fight and keep fighting and we are going to beat you! Oh, and one more thing.....

                                 SUCK IT ADHD!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Morning Madness

I don't know about anyone else but I absolutely hate school mornings! I do not function properly without coffee and before 9 AM. I do not want interaction of any kind before both of these requirements have been met.

Because my kids eat breakfast and lunch at school all I need to do is make sure they are dressed and drive them to school. I require absolutely nothing else from my kids except getting dressed, I'm not joking. Literally nothing else! Still, it is near impossible to get them to school in time. I get up at 7, wake the little girls, and of course they cry. I give them their clothes in their beds (crazy I know), make sure they start dressing and I move on to my 10 yr old daughters room. After I have made sure she heard me tell her ever so nicely to get up, and I get a verbal reply (something like "but it's too cold"), I go downstairs to wake the 8 and 12 yr old boys.

On the way through the kitchen to go downstairs I flip on the coffee maker (because liquid energy) which I got ready the night before. I get to their room and their alarm is blaring and no one is moving. I think maybe they are dead. I draw the blinds. I shake the 12 yr old (oh good, not dead), he turns off the alarm and gets up to dress. The 8 yr old is not so easy. 

I poke rub and shake him all while loudly exclaiming GET UP, YOU NEED TO GET READY FOR SCHOOL etc. No response, he very well could be dead. He finally wakes up and grunts but does not move. I can do nothing but more of the same because he sleeps on the top bunk. 

Bunk beds=Worst idea ever because there is not a way to get a sleeping child out of one. Bane of my existence, and I have 2 sets! Shoot me now!

He finally rouses so I go upstairs to check on the 3 girls. Someone is crying about pants, I don't know who because they cry the same. It is now 725, 15 minutes to go time. I need to take the 12 yr old to his bus stop in 5 minutes. The 10 yr old is now wrapped in a blanket sitting in front of the heater which she has turned up to 95 degrees (because, you know, money grows on trees) complaining how cold she is! Holy Lord get me through this!

I turn down the heat and tell her to get dressed NOW! I take thew 12 yr old to the bus stop. 1 down, 4 to go.  When I get back everyone is dressed and is mesmerized by a screen of some sort. Pure bliss! I finally pour my coffee. I give them a 5 minute warning. At 740 I tell everyone it's time to go. Every day someone screws up this going thing. Therefore we are late, Every.Damn.Day.

If it is one of the 6 yr olds they are crying about shoes or zippers, I couldn't tell you because it is indecipherable. Sometimes it goes on for 20 mins.
If it is the 8 year old he is still on a screen just "finishing" something. I take the device away and then he decides he needs all the outer gear ever made. He might freeze walking out to the heated attached garage to the van or the 15 feet from the street into the school.
If it is the 10 year old she had a last minute manicure or hair style she had to do, or a wardrobe change to make.

I finally drop the kids off 5 or more minutes late, just like every day. I am already exhausted even though I have only been awake less than an hour. It is before 9 and I haven't had my coffee, so still not fully awake. I go home, down my coffee and proceed to take a 2-3 hr nap!

This craziness in the morning makes me wonder how early people get up if: 
the kids brush their hair or teeth
the kids make their beds
the kids eat breakfast
the kids have morning chores
the kids still have homework to do
the parents need to pack lunches
OR 2 of the worst things imaginable to do in the morning, 
the kids have farm work to do or the family does a half hr of morning bible study!

I could not do any of the above! The school is lucky if I dress the kids in clothes instead of leaving them in pjs. Mother of the Year right here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Never Enough

I cannot recall I time when I didn't feel I wasn't something enough. These messages have been sent to me throughout my life (directly or indirectly) from many sources.

     As a teenager:
     I wasn't cool enough.
     I was always compared to my twin sister, who was always better at school and a smaller than me.
     I wasn't smart enough.
     I wasn't skinny enough.
     I had bad acne, I wasn't pretty enough.
     At home:
     I wasn't responsible enough.
     I wasn't respectful enough.

Now that I am an adult, and have been for 20 years, things haven't changed much, except there are more things I am not something enough at.

     As a wife:
     I don't clean enough.
     I don't smile enough.
     I'm not happy enough.
     I'm not nice enough.
     I am not content enough.
     I am not affectionate enough.
     I am not attentive enough.
     I am not accepting enough.
     I am not quiet enough.

     As a mother:
     I am not patient enough.
     I am not nice enough.
     I am not fun enough.
     I am not affectionate enough.
     I don't give my kids enough of what they want (treats, toys, clothes, devices).
     I don't take my kids enough fun places.

     As a friend:
     I don't call enough.
     I don't help enough.
     I don't listen enough.
     At school:
     I don't volunteer enough.
     I am not involved enough.
     I don't communicate enough.
     I don't care enough.

     In my extended family and my husbands extended family:
     I don't visit enough.
     I am not accepting enough.
     I am not positive enough.
     I am not relaxed enough.                                                        
     I am not happy enough.
     I am not quiet enough.
     I am generally not pleasant enough.

     In society in general:
     I am not attractive enough.
     I am not fashionable enough.
     I am not active enough.
     I am not healthy enough.
     I am not creative enough.
     I am not smart enough.

All my life I have spent so much time and energy trying to become enough whatever to whoever had expectations of me. When I failed to, I tried harder and it never worked because it is an impossible task. No one can be enough of every single thing. That is what makes us human. We are not infallible. I now understand that the demand is too high. I cannot be enough everything to everyone. I realize now that I need to stop basing my definition of enough on what others think is enough. I need to focus on being ME enough, regardless of what others think I am not enough of. I need to focus on being enough of the things I feel are important to be, because I am.

                                  I AM ENOUGH!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bedtime Battle

Bedtime seems to be a real struggle for a lot of parents. In my 12 years of experience with bedtime I have found things run much more smoothly if I have a stringent routine. The key is to stick to it no matter what. It's very simple, really.

Here is what our bedtime routine looks like:

My 5 little obedient children stop whatever they are doing as soon as I ask and start picking up toys. Everyone works together cheerfully and they are finished in record time. We may even sing the clean-up song.

7:45 SNACK 
Sweet smiling children come to the table and enjoy a healthy snack of fruit and cheese or vegetables and dip. There is no fighting and no messes made. They all help put the food away when they are finished without being asked.

Everyone happily changes and brushes their teeth in five minutes without making a water or toothpaste mess and all the dirty clothes are placed in the hamper.

8:05-8:30 FREE TIME
Darling kiddos draw, color, or look at magazines without making a peep or a mess.

8:30-9:00 READING
The 3 older kids gleefully read quietly in their beds while I read to the two younger ones.

I give everyone hugs, kisses and tuck them in. Everyone is fast asleep in five minutes.

See? Simple. Easy Breezy. Now I have all night to myself to binge watch DVR shows, snack and read. YAY!

Of course I am lying through my teeth. That would be a dream, but no, doesn't happen!

Here is what our bedtime routine (if you can even call it that!) really looks like:

7:30 Nag children to stop what they are doing and clean up. I am invisible

7:35 Nag some more. They are hypnotized by their screens.

7:40 Take away devices and beg. Whining ensues. "I'm not tired." "I wasn't done." etc. Then "I didn't make any messes." "That mess is so and sos" etc.

7:55 Everything is finally put away and I shove a banana in any kids face that actually show up for snack and tell them to shove it in their mouth and quick!

8:00 Find banana smashed into carpet

8:05 Beg kids to put on pjs and brush teeth. Running and goofing around ensues.

8:15 Beg again and some of them listen.

8:20 Find my 12 yr old still not changed and still using ipod (not allowed after 8). Take it away and send him and his brother downstairs to get changed and brush teeth.

8:25 Send 6 yr olds into bathroom to brush teeth.

8:30 Hear goofing around downstairs, ignore it. Knock on LOCKED door to ask girls what is going on. No response. Go check on 10 yr old to see how she is doing. Still hasn't done a thing. She is still doing homework.

8:40 Demand 6 yr olds open door. Find toothpaste, liquid soap and water everywhere. Send them away and spend next 10 mins cleaning up huge disaster.

8:50 Girls have disappeared.

8:55 Find girls downstairs goofing off with boys who still have not done a thing.

9:00 Usher girls upstairs, kisses, tucking in, lights out. They complain they didn't get a story. Ignore them. Trip on clothes that never made it to the hamper on the way out.

9:10 Remind 10 yr old to get going, it's past bedtime.

9:15 Go downstairs and shove boys into bathroom to brush teeth, give a 2 min limit. Wait. Send them to their rooms to change and get in bed.

9:20 10 yr old daughter still has done nothing. Tell her to get moving. Hear 6 yr olds goofing off. Find them reading with flashlights. Warn them to go to sleep.

9:25 Follow 10 yr old around until she finally changes and brushes teeth. Tuck her in.

9:35 Go downstairs and shut off boys light and tuck them in. Trip on clothes that never made it to the hamper on the way out.

9:45 Boys come upstairs and get water and leave huge mess.

9:50 Attempt to sit down.

10:00 Go tell boys to go to sleep and discover 12 yr old stole ipod. Take it away.

10:00-10:30 Daughter comes out to do cartwheels and "tell me something" every 5 minutes. In between those 5 minutes I yell down to the boys to go to sleep.

10:30 FINALLY quiet, everyone is asleep. Get a snack, sit down to watch tv and promptly fall asleep.

3 AM Wake up with neck cramp and stumble to bed

Repeat daily. See? It is really quite simple if you just have a good routine. LOL

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting Back to Me:Losing My Littles

     For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a mom; I never cared about what job I would have, where I would live, or anything else, as long as I would get the privilege of becoming a mom. I really felt like it was the only thing I was ever called to be.

     I got married at age 20 to my best friend who I met when I was 17. I spent the next five years working in manufacturing and having a lot of fun with my husband but something was still missing. I knew exactly what it was. I felt unfulfilled without children.

     At age 25 I found out I was expecting my first child. I was extremely excited to see my dream fulfilled. My beautiful son was born when I was 26. In the next six years  I went on to have four more lovely children including twins. Life was very busy but I knew I had found my purpose so I was thrilled with life. I fully immersed myself, heart and soul, into nothing else but raising, nurturing and loving my gorgeous babies. They had become my whole world, the meaning of my existence.

     The year my twins were born, my oldest son went to school and I was okay. The following year my oldest daughter went to school, and I was okay. Two years later my youngest son went to school and I was okay. The next three years I fully enjoyed spending all my days with my twins. We talked, played, enjoyed meals together, and ran errands. It was great,  but it was always in the back of my mind that soon they would also go to school and I did not know how I would deal with that. I absolutely dreaded that day. That day has come and passed and I am surely not okay!

     What on earth is wrong with me? After twelve years on focusing on my kids, aren't I supposed to be enjoying this time, getting organized, having fun, socializing, relaxing, working on my hobbies, and just getting back to me? I am not! I stay home alone all day while the kids are at school. I nap, clean, write, and read, but without the kids here I just don't feel like me. I spent twelve whole years focusing on others and putting myself very last, which looking back, feels like a mistake. I should have focused on myself more, socialized more, and spent more time doing things I wanted to do just for me. For some reason I didn't. I felt like I was doing the right thing, focusing fully on my family and forgetting about taking care of me. I now see the error of my ways, as well-intentioned as they may have been.

     I have completely forgotten the person I was pre-child and I am having a seriously hard time finding her. How do I do that when i cannot remember who she is? I am lonely and uncomfortable in the silence when my kids are gone. When my kids went to school a part of me went with them, that part of me is gone and she isn't ever coming back. I an deeply saddened by this revelation. I miss the kid noise, having littles depending on me, asking me for things, and playing nonsense things with them. I miss being constantly needed for something. I can never go back to that. That time is history. I now need to start a new chapter of my life but it is oh, so, very hard.

     I just want things the way they were. I want to be the mom I used to be when I was surrounded by kids 24/7. She is gone and it is time to say good bye to that mom and welcome a new one. Yes, my kids come home, and yes they still need me, but in very different ways. Everyone is more grown up and independent so I am not the one meeting basic needs any longer. I am now taxi, cook, tutor and counselor.

  This has been and still is a huge adjustment for me. It is going to be hard work, but I will find who it is I am yearning to become, and to find fulfillment in something the way having my babies around me fulfilled me. The question is when it will happen. I hope that day arrives soon, because I need to feel whole again, when all I feel is broken.

Here's to starting my new adventure of getting back to me! CHEERS!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mealtime Mayhem

     There was a time when I enjoyed cooking. It was one of my very favorite things to do. I blissfully made complicated expensive dishes In which my husband and I would peacefully enjoy with no stress whatsoever. Sadly, that time has passed. I now dread cooking. "Why?" you may ask. I have 5 kids, I think that says it all!

     Every night it is the same thing. I dread it and feel anxious before we even start the meal. The things my kids say and do make meals mostly unenjoyable, stressful and unbearable. It almost make me want to throw up my hands and quit. But I just keep trying in hopes that it may someday change.

     Some of their favorite things to say to test me are:

My food is touching (it all ends up in the same place later)
I don't like this (They have never had it)
I'm not hungry (They were begging for food 5 minutes ago and will be again 5 minutes                                                after I put the food away)
It looks like puke (makes me wonder if they have ever seen puke)
It smells gross (no grosser than their body smells I deal with daily)
What else can I have (This is it)
Why is it all mixed (Soups and hotdishes are a bust around here)
I want mac-n-cheese (every damn night)
Why do you always make this (It has been 2 months)
It's too hot (It has been sitting there for 10 minutes)

     Some of their favorite things to do to annoy me are:

Asking for anything they could possibly want but only one thing at a time and only after I sit down
Picking on each other
Getting up and running around
Spilling drinks
Not eating one single bite
Talking all at once

And my very favorite one, which my son does every night:

Getting up to go poop

This is why I NEVER eat with my kids anymore unless my husband is home for dinner. I wait until everyone is asleep so I can eat in peace, even if that means nearly starving and waiting until 10.

                    My Reply to all of the above antics:


Monday, November 3, 2014

Youth Sports:Should it Really be about winning?

     My 12 year old, who is in 6th grade just finished playing his first, and probably only, year of tackle football. It is a 5th/6th grade team. He was an offensive lineman. 1st-4th graders can play flag football, which he never chose to do. He never played any sport because he was not really interested. I am happy to have the season over with because it was very painful to watch. He played 5 minutes of every game while many other players were on the field the entirety of every single game. 5 or 6 players stood on the sidelines the majority of every game. I don't think it should be this way until they are on the high school team. At these young ages is when they should all be playing, learning and improving.

      My son is not aggressive and is, like me, very uncoordinated. It took a whole lot for him to try this since he never tried any sport before this. He went to a summer football day camp and really liked it. Because of this experience he is totally turned off of sports now, and possibly forever.

  Before the season started and he only had practices he LOVED it and always loved practices. Games were another story. They were totally boring for him because he wasn't allowed to participate. I MADE him finish the season and attend every practice and game to teach him about follow through, and sportsmanship even though he wanted to quit and cried before every game because he didn't like going.

      This team and this sport is not the only time I have seen things like this happen. In the 1st and 2nd flag football team, there were 2 teams. One consisted of the more athletic, bigger kids, and the other consisted of less athletic smaller kids. I find it hard to believe that is a coincidence. Those teams were stacked. During the local summer baseball league a few very athletic 3rd graders were recruited for the 4th/5th grade team. Those students played while some 4th/5th grade players were benched. I find this ridiculous.

      Youth sports for students younger than high school should be about learning the sport, playing for fun, instilling a love of sports and practicing to improve.There should be equal play time for all players. Instead they are being taught that winning is everything, and if you aren't athletic you shouldn't play. I think this is a purposeful strategy to weed out all the mediocre players before high school. They want them to quit so they can have an all-star team. I find this a bad approach. I believe that if all players are put in the game an equal amount of time, at a young age, they could also become great players. They are not being given that opportunity, which is just sad. They never improve and never get to play so they quit.
 I do not care if my kids play sports. I do not care if they are any good or not. I just want them to be given the opportunity to play, learn, have fun and be a part of something. I want them to decide if they want to play or not. I do not want the decision to be made for them before they even begin.That is what is happening when they are never played and they end up hating it so they quit. The child end up disappointed and may even have self-esteem issues because of it. It seems like none of this matters to these coaches that approach youth sports this way. It doesn't matter to them as long as they win. Winning IS everything after all right? Who cares who gets hurt in the process! This is what we are teaching our kids! 

     What do you think? Are Youth sports too competitive?  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Common Kid Complaints

     Every day it's the same thing. It seems like the same complaints over and over, repeated daily. Here are some of my kids favorites. 

"I'm Tired" said in the morning when they do not want to get up for school. The weekends though, that's a different story. Then they are up at the crack of dawn.

"Why?" said to question the rules or the reason they need to do chores, homework or go to bed. "Because I said so that's why!"

"I don't want to...." do my homework, go to bed, feed the cats, take out the garbage..... the list goes on and on.

"My life is horrible" said mostly by my 12 yr old when he has to do things he doesn't want to like practice sax, homework, chores, or when I take away devices. Oh the horror of being a kid!

"I'm Hungry" said right after dinner or right before bed. Maybe they should have eaten when food was offered. 

"This is yucky" about any food that isn't candy or junk. I tell them "eat it or starve, you decide."

"Can I have pop?" This question is repeated daily even though they know pop is only for movie nights on the weekends. But a kids gotta try right?

"You are the meanest mom ever" said whenever they don't get their way, about anything!

"I'm not tired" said at bedtime. "That's funny, you sure were tired this morning and you didn't take a nap so...."

"I'm thirsty" said only at bedtime. I know this is just a stalling technique since at every meal drinks sit untouched and now suddenly they are thirsty? Yeah right!

I don't know if there will ever ever be a day I do not hear all of the above! Maybe the same day I win the lottery! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Redefining Beauty In Motherhood

 When we become mothers the definition of beauty changes. It is no longer youth, fashion, the size of our clothes or the numbers on the scale that define us as beautiful.

Beauty is......

the softness of and stretchmarks on your tummy where your little miracles grew,

the strength of your arms from pacing the floor with your baby and rocking your baby,

the volume gone from your breasts used for nourishing and comforting your infant,

the pain in your neck from gazing at your sleeping beauties,

the curve of your hip where your toddlers bottom rests,

the ache in your feet and back from chasing around your little adventurers,

the bags under your eyes from losing sleep taking care of sick littles,

the extra pounds from enjoying family meals together,

the lines on your face from smiling at and laughing with your precious kiddos,

and a few grey hairs from constantly worrying if your loves will be okay.

This is true beauty....Relish it!!!   

Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Types of Halloween Costumes Kids Love (parents not so much)

Creepy Costumes: Zombie, Corpse Bride etc.
     These will require copious amounts of makeup, cutting and designing. 

Superheros: Batman, Spiderman etc.
     These will have a mask that always has eye holes that are too small or else it doesn't fit properly. The child will end up wearing the costume without it and it will be hard to tell what he even is considering he will probably be wearing a jacket.

Princesses: Elsa, Cinderella etc.
     Pray it isn't Elsa they want or you will never find your child amongst the sea of other Elsa's at the school party/parade. You will then take a picture of all the Elsa's and delete the ones that are not your child later. Try to talk her into Snow White or Jasmine which will not be as popular.

Disney Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Toy Story, Monster's Inc. etc.
     Everyone loves classic Disney costumes. No qualms about these.

Animal Costumes: Ladybug, Monkey etc.
     The hood will either be too small or large, covering the child's eyes so you can't use it. Then no one will know what your child is. The will just look like they are wearing a sleeper or a sweatsuit.

Food Costumes: Pizza, Banana etc.
     I do not understand the allure but whatevs!

Something too skimpy/not age appropriate: french maid, adult TV characters etc.
     The kid will freeze to death or people will judge you for letting them be Heisenberg from Breaking Bad. Parent of the year!

Something you have no idea what it is: Finn, Beast Boy, Rigby etc.
     HUH? These guys are on the shows you don't watch with your kids because they are super annoying, plus isn't TV supposed to babysit your kid while you make dinner and do housework? (Don't judge me, you know you do it too!) Now you need to spend aaaaaalllll night googling these guys to find out who they are and where the hell you are supposed to find this costume!

Some Crappy Annoying Character: Spongebob, Caillou, etc.
     HELL to the NO!!!

Something with a Buttload of Accessories: Wand, Sword, Jewelry,  etc.
     Seconds after you leave down the street you will be asked to carry said accessories and if you have more than one child it will not be pretty. Either you do it or you listen to whining the entire time about how "it's tooooo hard" or "I can't carry it AND my bag"! UGH!

Good luck parents getting your kids to be what you want them to be (for Halloween that is). I despise trick-or-treating so I get costumes on clearance sales after Halloween each year when they are not with me and then they have to be whatever I say! MUUUUUHHAAAAHH!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Kids Are Alright:Raising Kids Without Entitlement

     How does a parent raise self sufficient children without entitlement in the world today when instant gratification is the norm? This is my goal. I have found it has been very hard to accomplish but I am doing my best at it every day despite it's challenges.

What I  See:
     Everywhere I look I see children with brand name clothing, the newest available devices and phones in elementary school. This generation of kids is being raised to expect things to be handed to them without any work being involved. Parents overindulge their children. They give them spending money not tied to chores, they wait on them and meet their every request. They cart them around to anywhere their little hearts desire. Their children call all the shots. This NEEDS to stop if we ever expect them to succeed in the world as adults. I see parents placing more importance on popularity, looks, sports, the latest and greatest brand names and devices than on education. How can we change this phenomenon?

What I Do:
     I am teaching my kids that everything they have beyond basic needs has to be earned. I expect hard work at school and at home, practicing instruments, homework and chores completed before they will receive any privilege. They are allowed one extracurricular activity at a time. It is to be seen as a privilege, not a given. If they sign up they are expected to complete the term or season, meaning doing their best and going to all practices, meetings and games. I expect them to take good care of their own belonging and bodies. All devices we own are shared between at least 2 family members since these are not to bee seen as needs but extras. No one NEEDS their own devices. They are for fun during spare time. They need to work out between them how they are to be shared and if they cannot I will remove the device until they do. This teaches problem solving. They must show respect for me and all authority figures. Now, up to this point I may sound very strict, but I assure you, they are given many freedoms and also shown my respect. I listen to their concerns, freely give praise, and encouragement. I apologize when I make mistakes, which I do quite often. I spend a lot of time doing family activities with them which they have input on. I also allow them to choose whatever they would like to do with their free time.

What I Don't Do:
     I don't buy them anything that is not a basic need unless it is their birthday or Christmas. I don't give them spending money, or pay them for grades or chores. I will not get them phones, ever. When they are 16 they can have one if they pay for it themselves. I don't buy them brand name clothing unless it is from a garage sale or on clearance. I don't look for their misplaced items, pick up their things or wait on them. I don't listen to whining or tantrums. I don't carry their belongings into the house from the car. I don't hover over them during homework, I only help if they get stuck. I also respect their space so I do not make them clean their rooms. My only rule about it is nothing is to be left on the floor and dirty clothes go in the hamper. I don't limit screen time at all if all their responsibilities have been met. I do not care one bit about grades on their report cards. As long as I see them doing their best work, I do not say a thing about it. (They are all A/B students by the way). 

     My goal is to raise self sufficient responsible children that will carry into adulthood. I want them to equate the things they have with the work they have done. More things cannot take the place of spending time and care on their development. If I invest time and teaching in them now, that is how they will become self reliant. We are only given so much time to form them into the adults we want them to become. Even if I had the means I still would not buy them whatever they want. That teaches absolutely nothing except entitlement. I want them to always work hard to earn what they have. Am I on the right track to make that happen? Only time will tell.