Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Today I am enough


The world's myriad of parenting ideas, wisdom and advice floating around can leave me panting in anxiety. Recently I've read books, articles, Facebook posts, and blogs that have taught the following:

Praise your children--positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage good behavior.
Don't over praise your children--kids shouldn't think that everything they do is fantastic when they are simply meeting expectations.
Don't praise your child's accomplishments, praise their work ethic--NOT "you're such a great artist," INSTEAD "you worked very hard on that picture." You know, because if you simply tell your kid they're a good artist, that could just blow their world to bits.

Spanking is child abuse--It only teaches them to hit others.
Spanking is biblical--Those who "spare the rod" hate their children.

Sacrifice all for your children--When you chose to become a parent, you decide to make your life about your children. Everything else is secondary.
Don't let your world revolve around your children--Kids today are so dependent because we teach them they are the center of the world.

Foster a strong work ethic--Children can do household chores as young as two or three.
Let kids be kids--Don't drown your children in jobs. This is the only time in their lives they get to be kids.

Let babies cry it out. A baby can't be spoiled. Pay allowance. No allowance. Forget sleepovers. Monitor their Facebook account. Breastfeed. Wean at 1. Wean at 3. Keep their carseat rear facing until they are 6'4 and 200 pounds.

The shoulds and should-nots go on and on and on.

Just when I think I'm doing a good job with my children, and that they're developing into happy adults, some new wisdom tells me I've done it all wrong and they're likely to end up in therapy because of my mistakes.

Enough!

I think the information age has made parents lose some common sense and trust in our own abilities. I firmly believe God hand picked each of us to be the parents of our individual children, and we know what is best for them. There is no "one size fits all" parent.

So today I'm telling myself I am doing a good job. I am doing a dang good job! And I think its OK to acknowledge my abilities for once instead of wallowing in the feelings of how I miss the perfect parent mark.

My kids may watch a little too much TV. They may eat a little too much sugar. They may have sibling arguments every single time we get in the car. And I might yell too much. But there are lots of things we do right.

We pray. We read scripture. We have holiday traditions. We have monthly Dad interviews and monthly testimony meetings. We have "special dates" with each of our kids. Our kids get tucked in every night. Their homework is usually done. They are usually clean. They are always fed. They have had some exposure to books and reading every day. They make it to school. They go to church. They play. They have chores. We go to the movies, on hikes, to festivals, and on drives together. We teach them about sex. We kiss in front of them. We fight in front of them too. We hold Family Home Evening. We talk about safety. We praise their abilities and their work ethic. We tell them they are beautiful and handsome. We go on trips. We talk about what we're thankful for. We are frugal. We try to know them each individually and provide opportunities for growth in the areas that pertain to their talents and desires. We talk about our children and their needs. We eat healthy and we eat unhealthy. We walk and ride bikes. We hug. We kiss. We love each other.

And today, that is enough. That is more than enough.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's been awhile

Just wanted to update my ol' writing blog. Mommy's Always Write has not been writing for quite some time. We've had some major changes in our family with husband going back to school full time and us downsizing our lives to accommodate that. Right now my numero uno job is to be a mommy and wife and try to keep order in this crazy time. So, for now, peace out. Thanks for sticking around and good luck to all you amazing writers out there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mommy Mondays: MWF seeking BFF



I recently read a book by Rachel Bertsche called MWF seeking BFF. It is a great non-fiction book about a girl who found herself in a new town and without her best friends. She spends one year in a friend-seeking marathon where she "asks out" total strangers, tries to move acquaintances into her "friend circle," and tries a whole bunch of other tactics to increase her number of close friends.
This author tells lots of great information on friendship. She shared that studies show that close friendship ties are waaaaay more important to our health than close family ties. Can you believe that? Having super close friends is essentially the cure all to your problems (well, not really, but pretty much).

This book also says that it's FANTASTIC to have a great relationship with your Mom. But she's your Mom, not your BFF. It's fantastic to have a super close relationship with your sister. But she's your Sister, not your BFF. And same goes for husband. If you expect your hubs to "hash" out a topic with you over and over again for hours, cry with you over it, and down a tub of ice cream with you over it, you're going to find yourself lacking. Most men weren't made that way, and they're not supposed to be. That's why we marry them! Because they're different than us, not the same.


One of the studies this author talks about breaks friendships down into four categories. 1) LIFERS--those who are as deep and forever as family. 2) Close buddies--intimate friends you could share almost anything with. 3) Casual Friends--those you could have lunch with or who serve a specific purpose such as a running partner. 4) Acquaintances--someone you know well enough to chat with if you saw them on the street. He said a WOMAN should have 3-5 lifers, 5-12 Close buddies, 10-50 Casual friends, 10-100 Acquaintances. So what did I do? I took out a piece of paper and started listing my friends--Yes, I'm dorky like that.
What did I find?

I am really lacking in the friendship department!

Why?

Here's my guess. First off, my LIFERS are such amazing LIFERS that sometimes I tend to think I don't need to look for anyone else. The problem with this is often our LIFERS don't live close enough that we can hang out super frequently.
Second of all, I don't live by many people in both my CASUAL FRIEND and ACQUAINTANCE categories any more. And we probably weren't ever close enough that I would look them up and try to maintain a long-distance friendship.
Third of all, when the heck do I have time to "foster" these friendships? Life is crazy for all the women I know.

However, this book made me realize I do crave friendship even though I've got my LIFERS, a great mom, a great sister, and a superb husband. I have one friend I only made within the last year and I love her. I have another handful of ladies I'd love to get closer to, but I just have to put my brave on and do it!

Have you read this? Where do you fit in on the friendship spectrum?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mommy Mondays: What would you do with a free day?

Today my sister took my kids for the whole day just so I could have a "free" day to get stuff done. We switch like this every now and then.

I was so excited for my day! Here is what I imagined I'd do:
-get my haircut
-go to the bookstore
-redecorate my house
-refinish furniture
-take a nap
-organize closets
-deep clean children's rooms

And the list goes on and on... I'm not kidding you, I seriously thought I could accomplish all that in a day.

 But in reality, I was so excited and crazed that I was, well, ALONE, that my heart was pounding insanely all day. I felt like I was on speed. I rushed around the house in squirrel mode racing to get everything done. And in the end, here's all I really accomplished:

-LAUNDRY.

Yep. That's pretty much it. Mountains and mountains and mountains of laundry. (But at least I got to watch tons of episodes of Sister Wives on Netflix while I folded and folded and folded. I'm seriously hooked on that show.)

What would you want to do with a day off? But what would you probably end up doing?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mommy Mondays: This pretty much sums it up

Yes, yes Family. Mommy put the shoe basket there just for looks.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mommy Mondays: The random





Some thoughts:

1. Hallelujah Spring Break is over! I always really look forward to the kids' breaks. I also really look forward to school beginning again.

2. Who knew that a week off of our no-snack regimen would make for a hellish return to normalcy around here. Little #4 would like to eat Goldfish from 6 a.m. until bedtime.

3. It is 63 degrees right now! And tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s. You don't know how amazing this feels. While the rest of the country has been enjoying wonderful weather, we have been in the 30s and 40s with cold wind this entire spring. (And we're supposed to go back to that after tomorrow, but I will enjoy these two days with fervor.)

4. Birthday is coming up and I really HATE getting old. I would pick 24ish to stay at if I got to choose. Although, there is something nice about knowing your body is done being pregnant. (And no, Heavenly Father, just because I said that out loud, please don't strike me with an surprise pregnancy.)

5. Got totally addicted to a very cheesy high school show called "Switched at Birth" on Netflix. Have you seen it?

6. Easter was nice. I like it so much better than Halloween...

7. This has been going around in my mind so much lately: Where would I live if I got to choose? I seriously can't figure it out. Wyoming doesn't feel like home any more. Washington feels like home because of the people who are here, but I really don't like this city. Hubby wants somewhere that is warm and has lots of lakes. Hmmm. Do you know where you'd live if you could really go anywhere?

8. Husband is taking math, physics and chemistry this quarter. It's a good thing he is smart because I may be an asset on English papers, but math, not-so-much. I have trouble helping my third grader with her math. And when I don't know the answer I just say "Honey, you HAVE to figure it out on your own."

So what's happening for you lately?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Remembering

Three years ago this week I was headed to my awesome small-town family Dr. for a run-of-the-mill appointment. It was my fourth baby, so I had literally been through TONS of these appointments before, and felt I had the protocol down pat.

-pee in cup (and now that I think about it, this little portion deserves it's very own blog post. If you've ever attempted this with other children in the room, you know why.)
-measure that monster belly
-and hear the heartbeat

And that about covers it. I was an old pro at the routine, and so my husband knew I didn't want him to get off work to come along with me. We've never had those "fancy people" things like paid sick leave and vacation time and stuff, so him getting off work for anything unnecessary was rare.

I dropped my kiddos at my bff's house and headed in for the same-old/same-old.

Or so I thought.

Pee went as planned. Measure went as planned. But heartbeat didn't go as planned.

You know where I'm going with this.

I was 14 and a half weeks pregnant and had already heard a strong heartbeat at 10 weeks, I thought for sure the nurse must be mistaken. She called in the Doc who poured more freezing jelly on my tummy and tried and tried and tried to hear a heartbeat with the little machine. Even when he couldn't find it, I didn't panic--If there's one thing my body can do really well, it's carry babies. I had had three uneventful pregnancies that had ended in big healthy babies. I had never struggled to get pregnant. I never threw up once from morning sickness. THIS GIRL COULD DO PREGNANCY, I thought.

Besides, I was already past the first trimester and I was showing.

Dr. reassured me that the baby could be hiding, but at 14 and a half weeks, finding the heartbeat shouldn't be this hard. He sent me to the hospital (which was about 15 minutes away) for an ultrasound. I used the office phone (I didn't have a cell) to call Dan, but I still told him not to leave work. I was certain things would be fine. I went confidently into the radiology office but that's when things fell apart.

The waiting room was full but a team of people seemed to be waiting for me. "Are you Maggie?" A nurse asked. They took me right back to a room and assured me their most experienced tech would be working with me.

I got into the room and prayed and prayed the baby was fine while the tech began the ultrasound with the screen pointed away from me. It was probably a short ultrasound, but to me it felt like the longest one I'd ever had. And after a few minutes of silence, I knew the baby must not be alive.

I let the tears run down my cheeks and finally asked, "Is the heartbeat not there?"

He shook his head no and showed me the screen. The baby had anencephaly--a disease where part of their skull doesn't form completely. The tech estimated it had died only a few days earlier.

I lied when he asked me if I was ok. And bawled and bawled while I dressed and made my way back to my car. I can't believe I made it back home safely because I was so upset. No one should have to face that ultrasound alone.

Finally I walked into my friend's house and crumpled into her arms. Dan had just made it there too, to pick up the kids, and I just let him hold me.

The rest of the day was kind of an adrenaline rush of letting everyone know we had miscarried, and explaining the situation to our three little girls. Because I was further along I also had to have a DNC a few days later.

I spent the next little while going through the motions of motherhood and life, but feeling disappointed and even guilty. I knew the surgery was necessary, but I couldn't fathom the idea of taking a baby out of me that wasn't ready to be born. I felt horrible for being so depressed when I already had three healthy children at home and some women couldn't get pregnant at all. For a few days I couldn't function. I even ran out of the room crying after I was asked to hold my girlfriend's baby girl.

But soon out of the woodwork came so many women telling me about their own experiences with miscarriage. And I must say, hearing their stories buoyed me up. I know for some people, talking about such personal wounds isn't comfortable. They would rather grieve privately, and that's completely ok. For me, talking about it was a comfort.

And honestly, I think that's one of my main focuses with this blog--buoying each other up. When I meet a woman who tries to put off a perfect persona, am I drawn to her? Of course not. I feel inferior and depressed and intimidated by her. But when I meet someone who isn't afraid to say, "Guess what? I didn't even shower today!" I instantly feel a connection to her. It's the same in the writing community for me. I love sharing in your stories of struggle and triumph in taking your books from simple ideas to full blown novels.

So I guess that's why I am sharing my miscarriage story for the first time on my blog. Because tons of women go through it. I think one of the best salves we have as women is to be able to share in our successes and our failures, our joys and our sorrows.

Oh and by the way, we went on to have a total normal pregnancy and little boy about a year later.

I don't have a cutesy question for you today, but have you had experiences where sharing them with others has helped?