1. The moms that say "my kid learned the word hate from your kid and it breaks my heart because we don't talk like that"…..she has deeper issues. At the time, I remember thinking, "oh my gosh, how did my sweet girl learn that awful word…we don't talk like that either, and now 'blah blah' thinks we're a mean talking family".
The same situation now, "yea, we don't talk like that either, I'll have to talk with her about it, sorry, but your kid would learn that word sometime in his life anyway, so don't blame mine for this moment of learning for us both".
2. None of it matters. I put so much time and effort into their adorable outfits, and their huge birthday parties (pre pinterest mind you!), and doing all of their hair, everyday. And over the years, I look back at blog enteries, and none of it matters. The things they love are the trips we go on, the games we play, the books we read, the hilarious everyday moments that happen by accident.
Now…I try and spend the time I used to spend on putting together great outfits and parties with them playing games, learning to cook, or even just cuddling and watching TV with my tweens. I'm sure they'll reember their mom more for that than for the parites and great outfits.
3. It's going to get harder. I remember when I had 3 under 5 I thought, "this is ridiculous! I can't keep up, Jase is never home (36 credit hours, plus weekend seminars…honestly, NEVER HOME), we're living on food stamps, I can't get back into my pre baby jeans, and these guys go from a mess to a fight, to a mess, to nap….then wake up before I can even get the messes of the day cleaned".
Now…I know I'll never catch up. When I have 2 clean rooms in the house at a time, It's a success. And having Jase home…he's never home long enough to talk to me….he's home long enough to eat, get the kids going on chores, take em for a bike ride, put em to bed, then we're both either out, or he has more work to do. We do however, schedule a date once a week to escape it all and figure thigns out. And food stamps, oh how I miss the over abundance of food stamps during our school days. Now I feel like each week, as these boys eat more and more, my food budget gets stretched SO THIN (honestly, our food budget is ridiculous, but that's because I'm married to Mr. Organic) Pre baby jeans. haha! They're probably getting moth holes from being in the tupperware bins so long. As soon as I get 2 days in a row of doing great on my diet, I wake up one day and forget about it because the kids have so much going on that I just eat a couple of peices of honey/butter toast along with a protien shake (a good 600 calories). Mess to fight to mess to nap….it's still going on…..I just don't stress about it as much anymore. Don't get me wrong…I still have days of feelign overwhelmed, and would love ot see a completley clean house, but most days, I get excited when I get a whole room organized, picked up and vaccumed. it's enough for me in this season.
4. You don't have to do it all. For years I was honestly the mom that did it all…and didn't think I was amazing for it…just thought I was normal for it. Like I said, I did the parties, we did library story time once a week, I belonged a play group that met at a cool church with an awesome play area once a week, I started a bunco group, I read to my kids everyday, we cuddled in the love sac as a family every Sunday, my kids were always baking and cooking with me, we had a healthy meal for all 3 meals a day, I was in my size 8 jeans, I actually did my hair and make up..>EVERDAY, I held Jason's hand and seriously clung to his legs as he tried to go to work because I loved him so much, I remembered everyone's birthdays and sent out at least cards, we were on time to everything we went to, I never forgot an appointment, I never had to reschedule anything, I even pet my dog everyday.
Nowadays, I wake up, usually don't even look in the mirror til about 10 at the earliest, chaos happens as the kids try to find their clothes, I remember my kid's birthdays a few days before, early enough to throw out some invites and get some dollar store decorations, library…haha, we go about once a month…as long as the fines are under $20, we've had 3 books for 6 months now, and I keep pleading with the librarisn to extend my due date…and she does. Play group? No…they have each other, that's enough right? I still do like to read to them once a day, but it's usually half the ammount of time, and sometimes I even outsource to an older sibling, bunco group….I tried, people are too busy here, and then I found myself getting caught up in the unnessesary busy, cuddling…..we don't all fit in the love sac, but we do still watch AFV together every Sunday, size 8, I explained that earlier…not part of my life right now. Jase and I holding hands? Sometimes by accident oru hands touch as we are passing each other in the hallway, that counts! Righ tnow in life, I can't do it all….I used to, and maybe someday again I will, but right now, everyone is alive, loved, celebrated, and learning. That's as much as I can ask for.
5. No one really does do it all. I feel like this is my latest lesson learned. When facebook started, I didn't think much of it for a few years, but as the years go on, I feel like there's a crazy epidemic of women in their mid 20's to early 50's that like to "cyber brag". I understand some people just do have crazy amazing lives…as far as looking great, or as far as trips, or children's accomplishments….rarely do poeple have all 3, and I'm finding that when they do….they usually have marriage issues, credit card issues, or the ever popular, self esteem issues. It's just been in the last 6 or 7 months that I've realized how sad it is for these moms (usually within 10 years of my age) to be posting so many selflies. Lots have a hard time just posting a picture of their kid w/o them in it.
A year or so ago, it really made me feel like crap. I felt like so many women did have it all and do it all. I removed my facebook account for 6 months, and removed about 200 people that I followed on Instagram, and within a week, I felt like a fun mom again and less ugly. And I know this is my own "comparison issue", but I feel like there are um, my guess would be NONE that can avoid comparission with social media. I loved a quote I heard that was, "comparing yourself to social media friends is like comparing their big event with yoru behind the scenes". And I agree, people post big awesome things in their lives, but we don't knwo their behind the scenes, and they usually don't know our BIG awesome events (unless we have a week or so where we go chatbook crazy, ha) I miss pre smart phone days so badly. Hoping I can stick to my goal of getting rid of mine the end of July…for good!
6. Another thing I wish the mom in me of 10 years ago would have known is why to teach kids obedience. I feel like I used to try to teach them to be obedient with threats, or with rewards, where I should have been teaching them that being obedient to mom and dad is being obedient to God, and that it's part of showing us love, just like we feed them and dress them and play with them to show them we love them. It shouldn't be done for a reward, or to avoid a bad consequence. We've really been trying to teach these last ones this way, but it's such a hard habit to break, "aww, I think only the kids that did their zones can go bowling tonight". UGH! But I wish I would have known this from the get go.
7. Another lesson I wish I would have been told in parenting. If you yell, you'll raise a yeller, if you spank, you'll raise a hitter, if you pout, you'll raise a pouter, if you ignore, you'll raise an igorer. And I know this isn't true in all cases, but boy it sure is pretty close in most. We were yellers for our first 2 kids….and spankers….and its been a hard few years teaching them that it was wrong, and that we shouldn't handle situations that way. and that TIME OUT really is awesome. It is…weather it's for the parents or the kids…everyone needs time outs!
8. Sometimes youe at cereal for dinner! YOU DO!
9. Simplify. I've learned this now, and I dont' think it was important in the beginning because there are less kids, and more time. But a few years ago, I decided to put all 3 of my older kids in sports, one was in soccer, oen ewas in dance and 2 were in piano….I felt like things were busy, but they were ok, then another one got activity days thrown in there, and another started scouts, and one had to start doing tutoring that I had to go pick him up for. My days became SO overwhelming. SO overwhelming. I couldn't function, let alone enjoy my life as a mom and play with these cute kids. So as seasons ended, I vowed to not pick up on another one. I know they need to stay busy, and I'm so tired of hearing moms say, "if I don't keep my kid signed up in something he'll end up getting in trouble"…because seriously, that's anyone, but be a mom and keep them busy at home, play ball with them at home, teach him some life skills at home. I have one friend right now who's kid is going to serve the president and his wife at the white house because he was chosen as the Az rep for this kid's cooking contest. Come on, who's going to be the more amazing husband, the kid that learned how to cook well or the all start goalie? I'm WAY more proud of my 13 year old when I see him singing to his baby sister and brother out back while he pushes them on the swings for half an hour than I am when he makes an awesome soccer move. And I know he loves soccer, so he'll keep playing, but we'll never be so involved in a sport that they miss out on church activities, friends birthday's, or most importantly family get togethers. I follow a lady named Joy Prouty, and I am amazed DAILY at the simplicity and beauty in her life with all of her babies. Her life is a dream (not comparring, just admiring and aspiring). I feel like she has what we were on our way to in our JC life. Learning how to grow food, both plant based and animal, learning art, learning kitchen skills, learning organizing/cleaning, learning love, and most importantly, she teaches service…DAILY!
10. ENJOY THEM! oh my gosh! I feel like I used to be so worried about teaching them educational stuff, and church songs, then I felt like the concern of manner and music kicked in….but this whole time, if I were just chilling, and playing along with them, they would be learning it all through actions and words. I really just hug and play and laugh with these babies. I can't get enough of them. I had so much fun with my first 3 babies too, but I always felt pressure with them at such a young age rather thn just enjoying every single moment of every day with them…and of course, there are non enjoyable moments, but I've learned to take them MUCH more lightly, and realize they don't matter, and it WILL be a learning moment….weather I treat it with impatience and harsh words, of if I treat it with a smile and a loving consequence.
Alright, so mom of these kids…..This one is for you….
With love, from the mom of these kids, who is still learning…EVERY SINGLE DAY, and loving more and more everyday….