Monday, November 12, 2012

A Shovel & A Rake....

Have you every been "backed into a corner"? Something takes you by surprise that you are not at all prepared for? Do you surrender or do you come out swinging from every side?

As Moms, I think majority of us come out swinging, especially if we feel one of our kids, or even husband, is being threatened.

Our Backyard
I am reminded of a little situation that happened back when we were living in Texas in the middle of a cow pasture. The ministry we were a part of for many years was on the outskirts of a very small town in the middle of nowhere. All of the ministry staff lived on the property and we were so blessed to do so. One of the best parts was coming downstairs every morning and finding anywhere from 5 and up to 20+ deer stand just outside the front door. Of course, with those beautiful deer were also many snakes (of all shapes and sizes), raccoons, armadillos  skunks, scorpions and spiders the size of my husbands hand. The deer I LOVED, the others...not so much.

One morning, after kissing my husband good-bye for work, my girls were sitting on the floor playing while I drank my coffee and watched the news. I suddenly heard some noise in the kitchen and assumed Lupe had come back in to get something he had forgotten. I was calling out to him and he was not responding, so I went into the kitchen to see why.

Out my back window
I walked in and saw no one but continued to hear a very strange noise. As I walked further into the kitchen, nearing the pantry, I became quickly alarmed..I mean freaked out! I realized the noise I was hearing was a scratching of claws and it was indeed coming from my pantry.

Of course, I began frantically looking for my phone that I could not find at the moment I needed it most. I refused to take my eyes off of the pantry door, for fear that the second I did...the "thing" (which I was sure was a raccoon- or something very similar) would move and I wouldn't know where.

I finally got a hold of Lupe, who clearly thought I had lost my mind and was exaggerating "the noise". Luckily, he only worked 2 minutes up the road and was heading home.

Meantime, I needed to get my girls (who were 4 and 2 at the time) upstairs to the playroom, but that meant I was going to have to take my eyes off of that door to do so. I kept picturing a raccoon chasing my girls and I around the house while I had one hurled up on my shoulders and the other tucked under an if that was even close to being possible- but my imagination was declaring it an absolute reality. On the other hand, I was picturing the raccoon, or whatever the thing was, opening the door as soon as I took my eyes off if it, and hiding somewhere in my house ready to pounce on me at any given moment.

I finally decided that quickly running the girls upstairs and gating them in so I could return downstairs to laser beam the door while I awaited Lupe coming home. It seemed like forever when I finally heard the car coming up the drive.

Then it happened, I could see Lupe heading toward the backdoor followed by our good friend and avid hunter, Taylor Bartelli. I was relieved to see Lupe, but seeing Taylor with him gave me an even bigger sigh of relief- I knew that whatever was in that pantry was not going to be there long. I began looking for one of Taylor's guns tucked under his arm (both relief and fear that raccoon guts and blood was going to be spread all over my kitchen). But, NO- no gun, instead I see a shovel under Lupe's arm and a rake under Taylor's...I almost busted out singing the theme song from Green Acres!

They walked through the door, and I told them both to be quiet and listen...they listened...and listened...and listened. NOTHING! Now the dumb animal was making me look like a crazy woman! I started to defend and explain what I knew I had heard, just as they were giving me the "Ya right, you have lost your mind.." look- they heard it! HA! I was no longer the crazy woman!

THE Squirrel in the light..
Then the sound began to move, the "thing" had been in the walls and had now maneuvered itself up into the ceiling. Now we all looked a bit crazy running around the house looking at the ceiling following this "thing". The guys were trying to figure it all out, and I was standing in the kitchen when I heard a loud "crash, thump, BOOM!" I looked up to the ceiling, and there it was, standing on the plastic light cover... okay, so it wasn't a huge raccoon, but it was a demon squirrel!

"SEE, I told you, I told you...." I yelled triumphantly.

Lupe and Taylor ran in, shovel and rake in hand and began to laugh.

"Well, get it out.....and find out how it got in! PLEASE!" I was now begging.

After several days, we managed to figure out that a squirrel had a nest in our breezeway roof (that connected the garage and house) and had managed to make a hole to get into the house. After 2 more "squirrel in the house" incidences, they managed to get it completely fixed.

Lately, I feel backed into a corner a bit by a few "squirrels" that could be fantastic opportunities for us if we could get all of the details worked out just right. I must confess that there have been a couple times that I felt like throwing up my hands and surrendering. But, instead I am choosing to face my "squirrels" with my "shovel", Matt. 19:26 "..with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible and my "rake", Philippians 4:13 "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.." 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Mommy Doesn't Love ME......

"My Mommy Doesn't Love MEEE....." I listened to Tenly scream for what seemed like forever.

Yep, it was one of those days today. One of those days that just hurt and made me question all of my carefully thought out "strategic parenting".

It hasn't just been today, it has been several days...toooo many days of struggling to hear respect in her voice, following directions, listening the FIRST time, and of course climbing the Mt. Everest of homework. I have even began to hear Tenly raise her voice to me and stomp her foot....more than once!!

There is veteran Moms reading this, chuckling as they remember and they (and their children) are still alive to report survival on the other side of "The 6 year old battle of the minds.." And, I am taking comfort in picturing those of you doing just that (so please tell me that someone is!?).

I know I have written similar posts of these frustrations before. But, today I just seemed to have been derailed as I cried in my bed over what seemed to be defeat, frustration and surrender all balled up together. Mind you, I have not been quite the "model Mom" in my responses to my beautiful sassy daughters outbursts- so you might as well add Mommy-Guilt to that ball while we're at it. I have never been much of a yeller, but at times it feels like an alien has taken over as I hear my voice shrieking, "Are you kidding me? Did you really just do that...?"

I had, what I thought to be, a GREAT idea! It was a beautiful day in South Florida, 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, a perfect day to do homework out back on the water. I though this was brilliant enough to take any negativity out of homework and make Tenly forget how tired she may be.

After treading gently through the spelling practice test with gentle encouragements, we made it. Then we approached practicing her vocabulary words, Tenly began to detach herself from even the thought of trying. I don't know if Cinderella herself could of gotten a different outcome! Actually, scratch that...she would have gotten a perfect outcome! Come to think of it, anyone and everyone but ME would have gotten a perfect outcome.

After several chances (too many, consider one chance sufficient in my book), she was sent back inside to be disciplined.

I am a tired Mom. I am tired of fighting with my 6 year old. I am tired of over-analyzing my parenting skills/methods and tired of changing them. I am tired of making Tenly cry, and I am tired of crying. I am tired of being the wearing the red horns with matching red pitchfork surrounded by flames, while Daddy flies in the clouds with the angel wings and halo.

But, that's also what makes me a Good Mom. I care enough to continue to question everything and change it. That I care enough about raising good respectful kids that I am willing to be the bad guy and "make" them cry. That I still hurt when I see my kids cry, whether it's because they have fallen, had their feelings hurt, or are being disciplined by their mean Mom.

My heart still hurts and I still have a million questions rolling around in my head. My day with my girls is coming to an end very soon, I pray that my heart and Tenly's heart both feel better when it does.

God, continue to give me wisdom and help me to grow, listen, make changes, capitalize on being right and admit when I am wrong. I have already proven that this is one job I cannot do without my God and today I have needed Him more than ever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love and Like...

Last weekend, a close friend treated me to a Women of Faith conference. It's always fun to come together with friends to be filled up with the Word of God. It was a great couple of days, I was introduced to several new speakers I had never heard before and was also taken way back to some of my childhood favorites listening to Amy Grant and Sandi Patti. I was thrilled to hear that Mark Lowry was coming on stage (I know, weird for a women's event), and he did not disappoint- I had the best ab workout in a long time as I laughed until it hurt!

In the middle of my nonstop laughter, I had an "aha moment". He was talking about what a difficult ADHD child he was and the different ways his parents and he interacted as a result. Of course, being a comedian  he had tons of hilarious examples. Mark told of a teacher he had who shocked him one day with the news that God like him.
"I never heard somebody say God LIKED me before, I heard people say God LOVED me. You know, God HAS to love you, I mean, He's God! God is love, isn't that sort of what He does?...There is a difference you know. A lot of people I love, I don't LIKE...But, God LIKES us! God really LIKES you..." - Mark Lowry
Like: to feel attraction toward or take pleasure in, to care for.

Love: Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.

We all have people in our lives that we do love but we also tolerate them, and not necessarily like them - and their are people who love us but also tolerate rather than like us. 

When you tolerate someone, you avoid all the extras: coffee, nights out, phone calls, events, etc. But, when you like them you are choosing to go the extra mile giving of yourself over and above the norm.

That's what God does for us, he CHOOSES and wants to spend as much time as He can, he gives to us of Himself and blesses over and above the norm.

I know this sounds so elementary  but it's a big deal. I am not making the point to tell my girls constantly that God loves them and LIKES them and that I love them and LIKE them!

One other thing Mark Lowry mentioned that his parents did for him that had a huge effect on him. His parents always told him before he fell asleep that God had BIG plans for him and God was going to use him in a BIG way. He laughed saying that he didn't know if they believed what he was saying- but he believed it!

We have now added that to our bed time routine, after we pray and I lean over to kiss them good night I look into Tenly and Gianna's eyes and tell them, "You are so special, God has BIG plans for you and God is going to use you in a BIG way." I laugh that after I tell her, Tenly says, "Yes, Mommy, I know that!"

Oh, and sometimes I tell myself...I tend to need the reminder that God LIKES me, I am special, and He is going to use me in a BIG way because He has BIG plans for me....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Controversial Debate...

Every year, October rolls around and the debate begins within the Christian community:
Question: "Should Christians celebrate Halloween?"
Dare I say that sometimes the "Halloween Debate" can get down right mean, ugly and judgmental.

Growing up as a "Preacher's Kid" we did not celebrate Halloween. As I grew older, I did understand why although I will admit to feeling a bit of jealousy and pity for myself as I watched all of my friends dressing up and eating candy. I do remember a couple of years that I conveniently found myself staying with a friend on Halloween just so I could dress up and have fun (The cats out of the bag if my parents read this, haha!).

The history and roots of Halloween are very evil and dark, and is understandably why Christians distance themselves joining into this type of celebration.

As I stated my own personal experience above, I also understand why Christians try to incorporate the fun of dressing up with friends in a more positive atmosphere.

I will not even try to push what my own convictions and thoughts are on this subject. Rather, my friend Ashton posted this that she found on on Facebook the other day and I thought it represented both sides of the "Halloween Debate" very well. 

Question: "Should Christians celebrate Halloween?"

Answer: Whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween can be a very controversial topic. Some Christians celebrate Halloween simply by dressing up in a costume and having fun, seeing it as innocent and harmless. Other Christians are equally convinced that Halloween is a satanic holiday established to worship evil spirits and promote darkness and wickedness. So, who is right? Is it possible for Christians to celebrate Halloween without compromising their faith?

Halloween, no matter how commercialized, has almost completely pagan origins. As innocent as it may seem to some, it is not something to be taken lightly. Christians tend to have various ways to celebrate or not to celebrate Halloween. For some, it means having an “alternative” Harvest Party. For others, it is staying away from the ghosts, witches, goblins, etc., and wearing innocuous costumes, e.g., little princesses, clowns, cowboys, super-heroes, etc. Some choose not to do anything, electing to lock themselves in the house with the lights off. With our freedom as Christians, we are at liberty to decide how to act.

Scripture does not speak at all about Halloween, but it does give us some principles on which we can make a decision. In Old Testament Israel, witchcraft was a crime punishable by death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27). The New Testament teaching about the occult is clear. Acts 8:9-24, the story of Simon, shows that occultism and Christianity don't mix. The account of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:6-11 reveals that sorcery is violently opposed to Christianity. Paul called Elymas a child of the devil, an enemy of righteousness and a perverter of the ways of God. In Acts 16, at Philippi, a fortune-telling girl lost her demon powers when the evil spirit was cast out by Paul. The interesting matter here is that Paul refused to allow even good statements to come from a demon-influenced person. Acts 19 shows new converts who have abruptly broken with their former occultism by confessing, showing their evil deeds, bringing their magic paraphernalia, and burning it before everyone (Acts 19:19).

So, should a Christian celebrate Halloween? Is there anything evil about a Christian dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going around the block asking for candy? No, there is not. Are there things about Halloween that are anti-Christian and should be avoided? Absolutely! If parents are going to allow their children to participate in Halloween, they should make sure to keep them from getting involved in the darker aspects of the day. If Christians are going to take part in Halloween, their attitude, dress, and most importantly, their behavior should still reflect a redeemed life (Philippians 1:27). There are many churches that hold "harvest festivals" and incorporate costumes, but in a godly environment. There are many Christians who hand out tracts that share the Gospel along with the Halloween candy. The decision is ultimately ours to make. But as with all things, we are to incorporate the principles of Romans 14. We can’t allow our own convictions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. We are to do all things as to the Lord.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dreams and Prayers..

Dreaming...for my kids.

I think every parent wants to be able to give/provide everything for their children that they want/have need of.

Right now, the main thing my girls want is to go to Disney World. This is something that is a want- definitely not a 'need'- but a something that every child should have the opportunity to experience (Not sure Disney sees it this way with their prices.). It will day.

Besides Disney, I dream of my girls playing sports, dancing in ballet classes and recitals, being involved and confident in school and going to college. Our family is under some "budgeting constraints" at the moment, which are preventing some of these extras; sometimes that hurts this Momma's heart.

But, as I watch my oldest daughter struggle to find her "voice" while in school and overcoming fear, I find myself focusing my dreams...I mean prayers, on different things.

My girls will know God's Word for themselves to be true and powerful. Psalms 19:10

My girls will feel and know the confidence that comes from being a Child of God. 2 Timothy 1:7

My girls will be leaders. Romans 12:2

M girls will do what is right because it is right. Psalms 25:21

My girls will show God's love to each other and those around them. 1 Timothy 4:12

My girls will pursue the call and purpose that God has placed over their life. Psalms 138:8

I have struggled with confidence for much of my life and it has caused me a lot of pain and prevented me from pursuing many dreams- I refuse to watch my girls walk that road. That not only means that I have to declare these scriptures over them but also over myself. I hate to think that there are things they have seen in me that may be playing into their lack of confidence- but that is the reality.

The things that I want my girls to experience that are attached to monetary can bring them some smiles, fun and teach them some things- but I am quickly realizing that those things hold a strong second place in comparison to that list I just made.

We have always prayed scriptures over our children, but there is an even stronger emphasis being placed on doing so. I found myself so focused on all of the things we just can't do for our girls right now and it really had me down. Then one day after we had spoken with Tenly's teacher, it was as if the clouds parted and I was given a revelation of where I needed to focus my energy right now- not on what we can't do but on what we can do. To be honest, my girls need my prayers right now more than anything else and that is something I am extremely good at.

I have hung scriptures beside my girls beds, I want them to see first thing in the morning and before they close their eyes at night to know that according to 2 Timothy 1:7 "God has NOT given them a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Laughing at "The Parent Rap"

Corny enough to make you smile...
Real enough that you can relate...
True enough to make you laugh at them...and yourself....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More of YES!!

"Just a minute.." 

"Hold on.." 

"Maybe later.." 

"In a little bit..." 

"Wait a minute..."

"Not now.." 

Just a plain simple "NO!"

These are all responses that I feel have been coming out of my mouth TOO much lately. I am thinking that "Yes" has been used less and less as a response to my girl's requests.

I mean, sometimes all of my first responses are necessary and valid. I am cooking dinner, in the middle of a conversation or meeting a deadline. You know, the times that they seem to make the requests just as you begin working on something or talking to someone.

But, there are many times that I am able to put down whatever I am doing and make doing a puzzle, reading a book, coloring or watching a movie while cuddling a huge priority! But, regrettably me and my less than perfect Mommy self has been saying everything but, "Yes!"

You hear Mom's with older kids and Grandmothers tell us all the time, "Enjoy these moments..", "Make memories..", "Spend time with your kids, everything else will still be there tomorrow.."

As true as these statements are, it is many times harder than that- at least it is for me. Even though it may difficult to stop in the middle of something- I still need to do it. My kids must know that they are more important than laundry, cleaning, phone calls and projects. There are times that they will have to wait, but that should be the "norm".

I have taken the first step in recognizing that my kids deserve better, and I am missing out on HUGE moments and memories by making excuses to do other things. But, it doesn't do any good to recognize the problem if I am not going to take the steps to change it.

I am determined to make "YES!" (And an excited "YES!" not a mediocre forced one) a very common word that comes out of my mouth to my girls.

All I have to remember is what a miracle those 2 precious girls are to me. When I think back to those doctors declaring that my girls would never even be here, it becomes easier to allow the word "Yes" to readily roll out of mouth enthusiastically.

Ephesians 5:15-16"Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.."

PS: I finish writing this after a rough "meltdown" night with my oldest...well considering it's still going on a bit it's still not "after". Rough night at the Garica Casa.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning From 1st Graders

My oldest daughter, Tenly, has started going to a new school this year for First grade. It has been wonderful to have her friend, Lexi- my friend Joanne's daughter- in her class. Because they are going to a charter school, it is about a 10-15 minute drive from our home- UGH!

Joanne and I are so lucky to live near each other and be able to carpool- so we pick Lexi up and take them to school and Joanne brings the girls home!

We have all been amazed, and amused, by the girl's conversations during the car rides to and from school. There was a conversation that took place last week that I stood out and made me proud of these 2 young ladies.

Gianna, my youngest, loves to tag along to drop the girls off for school and on this particular day decided to bring one of her leap frog writing games along. When Lexi hopped in the car, she and Gia started playing together with it.

Well, it didn't take long for Tenly to start feeling upset that Lexi was not giving her the attention that she felt she deserved. She kept trying to lure Lexi over to focus on her, when it did not work Tenly began to pout and cry.

I tried to explain to her that she needed to relax and join in on what Lexi and Gianna were doing. She refused, and I just left it alone for her to work out.

After a few minutes of hearing Tenly whine/pout/cry, Lexi very calmly tells her, "Tenly, you know how you are feeling very sad right now?"

"Y-e-s.." Tenly responded in hiccupped cries.

"Well", Lexi continued, "that's how I feel when you don't play with me at school. I play by myself sometimes and wish you would come over and play with me."

"You do?" Tenly asked.

"Yes, sometimes it makes me sad too." said Lexi.

Tenly was very concerned, "Lexi, I didn't know that. I never want to make you sad!" She looked at me not sure what to do with what she just found out. "Mommy, I never want to make Lexi sad, I didn't know she was sad."

I explained to her that it was okay that she didn't know, and then asked what she was going to do now that she did know. She told me she didn't know what to do. I could tell that it was really bothering her that she had hurt her friend unknowingly.

"Maybe next time you see Lexi playing by herself you can ask her to come play with you. And Lexi, if you are by yourself, go over to Tenly and ask if you can play with her- do you both think you could do that?" I asked.

They both responded with an excited "YES!" and then Lexi also committed to Tenly to do the same thing for her if she was ever playing alone.

A few minutes later in the middle of another conversation Tenly says, "Lexi, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, I didn't know and I want you to be happy."

Lexi responded with, "I know, Tenly- thank you for making me happy."

I was so impressed by the way Lexi communicated to Tenly how she had been feeling, how Tenly took responsibility for her actions and committed to doing her part to make it better.

This Mommy learned something from a couple of 6 year olds that morning, and was very proud!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What If....

I have been wanting to post all week! But, some other commitments took priority and have kept me VERY busy! With that behind me, here I go...

I am writing on the other side of my 38th Birthday! Yay, Happy Birthday to me! It was a strange Birthday this year, I am suddenly realizing how close I am to 40...and it is very strange. It isn't depressing, sad or anything...just strange. Do you remember when 40 was old? I do! I remember my parents turning 40, and (sorry Mom & Dad)- but I do remember thinking how old they were, lol.

For many this feeling came a bit at 30, but 30 was a wonderful milestone for me! I married the man of my dreams at 30, so that foreshadowed any type of negative feelings. Very shortly after, I became pregnant after being told that would be medically impossible. So, the beginning of my 30's were some of the best parts of my life.

My Birthday this year had me reflecting a bit. You know, some of the "What-Ifs".

For anyone who does not know, I became a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 21..overnight a lot of things changed for me- so it is a large part of any reflection. I was a very healthy 105 pounds, running several miles a day, working out and a strong relationship with God- who would of ever saw Diabetes coming under those circumstances?

Years after the diagnosis, I made some very poor choices regarding my health that held some very bad consequences for me- a couple of those being severe nerve damage (that I still deal with today) and so much damage to my body that the doctors said I would never have children.

One great thing being a Diabetic did for me, is make me eat- although it took me years to appreciate that. I had to embrace food and eating the right ways. I could no longer survive on 5-10 Ritz crackers a day. If I was going to exercise, it had to be planned around testing my blood sugar and eating. I did resist following the "proper diet", and it almost killed me...literally.

I found myself wondering where I would be if not for the Diabetes? For the first time, probably ever, I found myself ever-so-slightly appreciating becoming a Diabetic. I know this goes against a lot of things taught in Christianity, but just hear where I am coming from.

I kind of think I would still be dealing with an eating disorder if I was not a diabetic. Even after becoming a Diabetic I slipped into a "Diabetic eating disorder" (when blood sugars go high you lose weight) which almost killed me from the ages of 25-27. It took that to force me to take my health seriously. I am healthier now in a lot of ways than I was before becoming a Diabetic.

IF I was still dealing with eating disorders, I probably would not be surrounded by these 2 beautiful little girls who call me Mom- the best title ever. The determination to have children became stronger than ever after the doctors told me it would probably never happen.

Would I love to not test my blood sugar several times a day? YES! Would I love to not have to walk around/sleep with my constant fashion accessory and best friend the insulin pump? YES and YES! Would I love to avoid low blood sugars causing me to be very mean and ugly? YES! Would I love to not have to explain to my 6 & 4 year old how to take care of me and call 9-1-1 if I pass out and/or act strangely? YES!

But, in a certain way becoming a Diabetic kind of saved my life and became a "gift". It's a big deal for me to smile when I think of Diabetes and not be angry and bitter screaming "WHY?" I still pray and hope for a cure and for a miracle- but in the wait I can embrace Diabetes a little bit.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mommy Confession: Callie, Diet Coke Made Me Cry!

My beautiful friend Callie, Mom of 3, is giving us a "Mommy Confession today! I met Callie while living in Texas, while we were both on staff at the same ministry.
Callie is one amazing Mom, for many reasons you will have the opportunity to read about. She embraced me with open arms after I was newly married in Texas and new pretty one! Callie is a woman of The Word, and a beautiful example of a Godly woman, wife and mother. I hope you gather a lot of wisdom from her daily walk....
Is it so hard??? I sit home with these three babies all day and my reward; the only reward I ask for is a large diet coke, that’s it! My house is dirty, and I DETEST a dirty house- I need a Diet Coke. But I am strapped to the couch with a baby on me, I feel like I should have a sign on me that says “baby on boob”.
When I do finally get the house clean like I like it, they all have to eat again. There go the dishes, floors & laundry. And speaking of laundry…who needs this many clothes- we should have one outfit per day! Why does this laundry stack never go away?
Oh and Hi you!!! You are the love of my life and I miss being with you but “make love…I can’t even think of It.”, my house is filthy, my kids are fussy, I am feeling fat and cranky. I just want a diet coke but we have none and you have the car at work. Why oh why????
Hi, that is I; Callie Scott, and just recently I have given an award winning performance as the most dramatic sounding stay home mom. Sad thing is, it isn’t verbatim but very much how a recent fall apart moment of mine sounded.
You see in June I gave birth to our little boy Malachi. In 2.5yrs, Malachi is our 3rd child. Yes, 2.5yrs & 3children is correct. If any mother knows the emotions that follow having a child as you are figuring stuff out, add to that a 1yr old throwing fits and cutting molars and a 2yr old discovering himself, his voice, his limits annnddddd cutting molars- and that would be what I do daily.
I’ll be the first to say the first 10wks of my sweet little boys life, I have not quite been the woman resembling grace and poise, but rather of emotion exhaustion. Now please let me state early on, I know I am not the only woman who has had 3 children, or 3children all 1yr apart…but, I have simply not handled it so gracefully.
My husband, Dereck, and I met at the ministry we both attended Bible College at and eventually joined staff with. We dated for a year, engaged for 6mos & then married on Dec 15, 2007- the most perfect day, 5yrs this coming December.
We wanted to start our family early so we set the date to start trying after two years of marriage. Well, by the time we celebrated our 2yr anniversary we had a 5day old beautiful baby boy, my pride and joy for sure!

15 months after that, we welcomed our little beauty and they have since have become best friends and she is a Daddy’s girl.

And now, 15 months after her…our wonderful sweet baby boy has arrived.

I am absolutely in love with my family. I love laughing every day with them all.
 As a teenager, I became very independent and self-sufficient- which can be a good thing. I thought it was a good thing that I had brought my independence into our marriage- but I realized it wasn’t helpful to my husband. This realization took place after we had our oldest son, Maddox, and we moved away and did not have family close by. Dereck wanted and needed a wife who needed him and not one who would be just fine without him.
The last two years of being away from all we have known and around people who are all too busy to with life (and understandably so), I have had absolute no one to lean on but Jesus and my husband. I have learned how to be not completely “needy”, but certainly reliant on his help. I have certainly learned that we are each other’s helpmates. Moving away from family was a fabulous thing, however, I would be lying to say that it does not and has not
presented some great challenges.
After our baby girl was born, my husband accepted another job in full time church work as we had already stepped out for a few years. We were hesitant but excited, moving to another city further away from family and kicked it in full gear. I was home all day and several nights out of the week with a one year old and newborn- to be quite honest, I was lonely.
I was cleaning house all day, dinner was prepped and I was craving some adult time. So, I started working part time at a grocery store and loved it. My baby weight was falling off, and I began feeling beautifully sassy again. Apparently, a whole lot “beautifully sassy”, because we found out just a few months later that we were pregnant AGAIN.
Oh my dear Jesus! To put it plain and simple, I felt like I was becoming exactly what a wonderful mentor referred to me as recently- A HUMAN PEZ MACHINE!
 WHY? is the question in many people’s mind. Why would you have kids so close together and with no family around?
My wonderful best friend and hubby is 6 years older than I, he wanted his youth and vigor with our children while they are young. Sure we have wondered where money was coming from, where dinner would be coming from, where sleep was coming from…but we serve a BIG GOD and He has never let us down.
While pregnant with my 3rd, it came time for me to take maternity leave to prepare for our new baby. We were without my extra income, so my new treat became the simple satisfaction of a Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke- large from McDonald’s (after the baby, just diet coke). What can I say…I am easy to please and we pinch pennies.
We are down to 3 full months now being at home, 9wks of missing intimate moments with my hubby, 8wks with our new addition and a solid day of fussy babies- and NO access to a Diet Coke.
All I could do was cry, that’s right…I cried. All I wanted was the fizz of carbonation in the back of my throat. I wanted close my eyes and escape for a moment enjoying every sip. Normally, Dereck would bring me home one at lunch- but this day, he was playing basketball and we only have one vehicle. Even if I had had my precious Diet Coke, my 8wk old was fighting sleep and my other two were running a fever and were cranky from cutting 1 & 2yr molars….I would not have been able to enjoy it.
I was an emotional mess for almost 36hrs and though I know the root was exhaustion, it stemmed from my Diet Coke. Please tell me I am not the only one and someone else has been there!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Are Different, and It's Okay!

Attachment Parenting, Instinctive Parenting, Helicopter Parenting, Permissive Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Authoritarian Parenting, Indulgent Parenting..

Which is right, and which is wrong? Which is effective, which is ineffective?

It's not a matter of right or wrong, effective or ineffective- it is a matter of what is right and effective for your family.

Recently, a friend of mine made a statement on Facebook declaring her hate of the "BabyWise" method of parenting and pointed out that parents who chose that style were ignoring their child's needs/wants.

I kind of chuckled to myself when I read it, because one of my friends' best traits is her honesty and passion for what she believes. Even though, I did incorporate many of the "Baby Wise" methods into my parenting when my children were young, I understand that it isn't for everyone.

It has been just through the last few months, since I did the "Mommy Confessions" series on this Blog, that I began to understand that what works for one does not work for another. I use to be so judgmental about how others parented, especially when it was different from myself- but I began to realize that I don't know their story, their reasons- so how can I make a judgment.

The comments that began to be made under my friend's statement about BabyWise really started to bother me:

 "..Baby boot-camp..", "..It's a baby, not a dog..", "..completely selfish, detached way of parenting..", "..easier on the parents, not the baby..", etc..

I could not believe that these Moms were all labeling me, and many other wonderful Moms' I know, such horrible judgmental things.

I suddenly felt the need to justify my decisions and explain my "why" behind the "what". But, I really felt it was pointless. I know I am a great Mom- not perfect- but great. Are there things I would do differently? Absolutely! Have I made mistakes? Absolutely! Do I have regrets? Yes, I do. But, am I a great Mom in-spite of those things? YES, I am!

I didn't create a schedule/routine with my girls that worked around me and my needs/wants, I worked very hard to make sure that anything I needed to do was around their sleeping and eating times. We were all happier when I could predict them and they could predict me. There were many things that I chose not to do so that I did not disrupt my girls needs/wants, I do not think that is the definition of selfish.

Why can't we embrace parents and their methods of raising children whether we agree or disagree? I am not talking abusive situations; I am talking just different approaches.

I know more parents that co-sleep than those that do not- it is not for my family- but that's okay; we are both 'right' because it is what works for us.

My kids are on a great routine that works for us. Many families have no routine at all, and that works for them.

Some parents use cloth diapers, that is NOT for me- but kudos to all of you who are able to!

Working Mom vs. Non-Working Mom. Public School vs. Homeschool vs. Private School. There is not a right or wrong, it is what works for each individual family.

I breastfed my kids and loved every minute, but it is not for some and others literally cannot do it. Some Mom's breast feed their kids until they are 3-4-5 years old. I think that's a bit outrageous to breastfeed that long, but it is their choice.

I made all of my girls baby-food, many of my friends thought I was crazy for doing so- and I'm okay with that!

Yes, I did allow my kids to cry it out at times (and still do), my girls are okay and so are Lupe and I- we could handle it. Many parents cannot allow their kids to cry it out for various reasons; I applaud them for going with their gut and raising them with the convictions and standards that they have. I refuse to think that I am an abusive Mom (and Lupe, an abusive Dad) for parenting with our convictions and standards.

It was so sad to hear Mom's degrading others who had opposing parenting methods, especially to the point of labeling them selfish and detached.

Let's just respect the differences- I am still growing in this area- but I am more determined than ever to not ever let another Mom feel the way I did after reading much of that last night.