Monday, February 7, 2011

Parenting realities and truths

People say I make it look easy. I even tell others that it is. But it always hasn't been this way and I am not perfect. Being a SAHM (stay at home mom) has always been my dream. I really never saw myself as being anything else. I did NOT imagine that I would have 5 kids that are 5 and  younger! So I'm going to give you an explanation of why things are great in some areas, where the naughty areas are, and how I cope with it. I apologize in advance if I come off as anything but me.

First things first. I do not compare myself to anyone or other family. I just don't. I might if we interacted with others more, but I honestly don't care who has what or is doing where unless it is good for them then good for them! I do wish that we had others that didn't live so far away and we could all get along with to play with but we discovered when the kids were little that we either have too many kids or our family dynamic just doesn't fit with others in our area that we've met. It also doesn't help that I have become a bit hermitish and somewhat overprotective since becoming a mom. I honestly have so much going on trying to keep my own life straight that I don't have time to worry about anyone else :) I read this quote awhile back, "Thank you God for letting me know my grass is green enough" isn't that beautiful?

Secondly, I have help. I am not a REAL SAHM like one of my BFF's whose husband goes away for days and weeks at a time. I am lucky enough to have a husband that works right up the street, makes his own schedule, and if I need him to talk on the phone, come home for some reason, or stay home from work because I am sick, he can do that!
We also established early on that I may be able to be here with the kiddos day in and out but sometimes I just need a break. He is wonderful at almost every week coming home early or on Saturday sending me out alone for time off. People laugh at me because I enjoy seeing movies alone, I do! To unwind my favorite place to be is by myself. We discovered (not on a smooth road) that parenting takes 2! We are a team and need to do all that we can together. I find that it is great to have him to bounce ideas off of, or to have him tell me to take a break when he sees that I am over tuned. So we try to eat dinner every week night together and on the weekends 2/3. We have also set aside after dinner until bed time as "family time". So every night we wrestle, watch a show, play, read, or a little bit of it all. It really gives the kids time with the both of us and they have told me it is their favorite time of day.
For this I have a mantra, "Water cannot be drawn from an empty well" I read that quote awhile back and now have it waiting to be put up on my wall!

Third, I am a terrible housekeeper. I admit that I have a mother that loved her house clean but I just never got the hang of it :) So I made myself a schedule.  When we decided to add on to our house instead of move I knew I had to get on top of the cleaning. I admit since bringing Sydney home I have had a hard time sticking to it, but Brian has always been good about helping out until the babies sleep through the night, and let's face it, he is a MUCH better cleaner! But he knows my faults, he knows I try, and he likes to help, so it's a win win. It does get to me sometimes. I do feel like a failure and sometimes do wonder about my abilities in our marriage, but he didn't marry me for my housekeeping skills :) he knew about those way before he proposed :) But for the most part I stay on top but do not overwork myself. It is honestly not worth having  a sleepless night or being frazzled at the end of the day over something that can be done tomorrow. Let's face it, I have 5! kids! My house is not going to be hospital clean. By the time I get something picked up someone has already got it out again! So to avoid having a heart attack over housework I take a break during nap time. I joke that in order to be a part of this family everyone has to nap at the same time :) but I do follow through with that! It's not hard to sleep train your little ones to nap at the same time once they are old enough. For those that tell me their 3 year old won't take a nap I tell you that is why they are not in this family, it's a requirement. Right now it is 12:30 and everyone has been sleeping for 45 minutes! ALL 5 KIDS! I am so amazed at what an hour of peace can do for me in the middle of the day! I also love music and audio books so for me I just turn on my playlist called House and rock out with the kids while singing to Man I Feel Like a Woman, or Walking on Sunshine just to name a few :) or an audio book in my ears while folding laundry, gives me fuzz in my brain and my hands just do the work :)
For this my quote is, "I am a homemaker not a housekeeper" do you see the difference in these two?

Fourth, I find that my idea of parenting and how I actually do it are on 2 different planets. I can rattle off ideas for the way my Early Childhood background taught me, but when it comes to doing I draw a blank and sometimes even do the exact opposite. This is my downfall. I would love to be THAT Mom. But this is where you have to say, "I am only 1 person" I keep my house fairly clean, I get what needs to be done, I cook all of the meals, and I spend time with the kids. That is a TALL order for 1 person in a day. Not myself but others in the family love The Duggars. Brian told me that she praises EACH of her children 16 times a day. I wondered if I did a dozen times for 4 of them, some days maybe less (you know those days)  so from then on I am trying to be more conscious of that. And it is things like being conscious/aware that keep me progressing. I am in no way perfect but I give it my all every day and I think that is more than I should expect from myself, but we set goals for places we want to reach, right? This is my goal every day, to find inside me the things I think are best and try to bring them to the surface. I am my own work in progress!

So when I wake up every day these are the goals I have:
Get today's work done-see schedule
Make at least 1 meal from scratch ie-nothing out of a box
Catch up on things not done the day before if any :)
Read to the kiddos at least 15 minutes
Hope to shower

Not hard right? Well I set my goals low for the last few months with not getting a ton of sleep etc.:) but now that we are almost exclusively sleeping through the night (knock on wood) I am hoping to get things back to normal and reevaluate myself! UGH, just in time for Spring Cleaning ;)

So those are my parenting realities and truths. YIKES!