Thursday, August 14, 2014

“Do as I say, not as I do”

Such an innocuous phrase, “Do as I say, Not as I do”. I’d never really given it much thought, that is, until I became a parent. When you’re a parent, your children almost exclusively “do as you do” by default. That’s how they are wired. It’s kind of intimidated knowing that everything I do is being observed and very likely will be copied. This of course also means that what other people do and say around my kids is also probably going to be copied. This is, to say the least, pretty overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be nice and simple if they just did what we said to do and were unaffected by any “bad” examples around them…
I’ve been a parent for a few years now and it still amazes me when I see how my kids learn, not how they are taught, but how they learn. From the moment they are born they are the ultimate imitators! They see you smile at them and once they figure out those facial muscles, they smile right back at you. I don’t know how many times I’ve laughed at each and every one of my little ones pretending to yammer away on a phone shaped object. My children have even come up with their own fake cough to copy my own before they could sit up…funny, I know…
Basically; gestures, facial expressions, walks, habits (good and bad), attitudes (good and bad), choice of words (good and bad!!), spiritual awareness, racial feelings, respect…all these things and more are learned through example. That’s not to say that they cannot be or aren’t taught as well, it’s just that learning by example is as easy as breathing for children.
I can tell my children till I’m blue in the face that they need to be patient with each other, but if I run around losing my temper with them and showing them my lack of patience, the odds are it’s going to come right back out at me! If I start swearing around my kids, even if it’s not at them, they will learn to use that kind of language. I can teach them not to use it, but they will have already learnt it and they are very likely to use it around their peers at school or out in the forest when I’m not around.

I take the knowledge of what I do and say being so closely watched very seriously. Probably too seriously at times, but it is so very important to remember. I want to lead by example and be proud of that example, however, it is difficult having my oldest become more conscious and susceptible to outside influences. Here is where my lifelong control issues are really put to the test. I’ve always been able to shape and regulate to a very close degree what my children have seen, heard or are generally aware of. That ability is going to continue to recede as my daughter gets older and is more and more outside of my sphere of influence. It’s tough; I’m not going to lie.  I am not by any stretch of imagination a “helicopter parent”. Yet, when it comes to television, music, language, lifestyles and various depravities in the world my husband and I have tried to shield our children’s innocence as much as possible. I just don’t see how being familiar with news stories about rape, or the lifestyle choice to “divorce” because “they just weren’t in love any-more” could be beneficial. But; due to the gradually increased exposure to some of these things I have recently had some rather challenging conversations with my oldest daughter. She has questions and I am grateful that she is comfortable asking her dad and me about these things that she has seen and heard. That doesn’t necessarily make those conversations any easier though.  As I come face to face with the evolving reality of parenting a pre-teen in a rather scary world I realize that I will not always have control or even influence. My husband and I could be the absolute perfect examples to our kids and they would still see so much that would affect them in school, in church, in community and even extended family. I hope and pray every day that the people whom have influence in my kids’ lives are good and wholesome people that will “rub off” on them in a good way. I also hope that we will have given them a strong moral compass that will always point them in the right direction no matter who or what might be encouraging them otherwise. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Job Title

 You know those days when your major accomplishment is keeping the kids alive…and fed…oh, and various diapers/pull-ups changed and potty breaks?! I seem to be having a lot of those recently…way, too, many!

Granted, I have five children, the youngest being nearly 12 months. My husband has been gone for two weeks and will be gone for a week more, so that’s….hard. But still, I want to be able to get more done and feel better about my general parenting/staying-at-home-ishness. It is after all, my job. When filling out certain paperwork, under MY job description, I write HOMEMAKER. That is what I am doing, making a home, maintaining a home and, above all, raising; strong willed, independent, loud, smart, ornery, energetic, caring, not-so-caring, challenging, enthusiastic, hungry, temperamental, emotional, cranky, fun-loving, curious, wide-eyed, sweet(ish), sassy, imaginative, and creative children. I war within myself when I write that title: HOMEMAKER!??...!!  I’m proud that this is my chosen profession and yet, I wonder why I am doing something that is so stinking hard and often times not-at-all satisfying and then I feel a little like “eh”, it’s what I’m doing and sure, why not…then usually, I’ll circle back around to “Yes, that’s right, I MAKE A HOME!!!” I usually only shout that in my head, because no one around me doing their own paperwork challenged me on my life choices so, why should they suffer?!
In a typical job, you might get a raise for doing well, build up vacation days (and use them!!), get useful feedback from your peers or your boss. It’s quite different when you’re a homemaker. If you get feedback from someone who is not your kid, it most often times turns out to be “wow, you’ve got your hands full”, or the not-so-sly disapproving glances at an outburst from one or all of your children. Kid feedback is even more fun with such sweet nuggets of “when I grow up I’m going to have the lion I buy eat you.”    
  A “raise” would be considered FINALLY potty training the kid that was so disinterested just eight months earlier and who stayed for the longest time in the phase where ‘if they were in a pull-up they would just use it like a diaper anyways’, sooooo YAY, no more carrying that size of diaper or asking if they need to go potty every ten minutes only to find that they went 35 seconds ago…I just got a “mommy raise”.  
  Vacation is not even a word I’m familiar with, I’m sure it has something to do with having fun “outside of the home” without a child grafted to my body, but I really don’t know, hopefully I’ll be able experience this before I die.
Compensation, well, I get a bit more touchy when it comes to this subject. My mother, who successfully raised six (not easy) children as a homeschooling(!), homemaker says that it’s all worth it in the end. She touts the relationships she has with us and the enjoyment of our children as her reward. I guess I’m not so much of a saint, because, I would love to see an advancement check for all my labor. Now, I’m not so incredibly calloused and horrid that I don’t see those little moments of joys and laughter for what they are, success at “Homemaking”. But, a little appreciation (vocalized) from my children or applause when I walk in the door with an armful of groceries, or even $1,673,291 in hard cold cash (I’ve done a little math…), would go a long way with me.

Most of the time I’m defiantly proud of my JOB, it’s hard, I don’t always like it, but, I feel very strongly that it is the most important thing I will do with my life. I want to do it well, I want my kids to be happy, fulfilled and loved…it’s my JOB!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The "norm"

So, to set the scene; A young woman in her twenties, maybe younger, maybe older, is sitting in an apartment with a best friend talking about life and love. They are relating all the things that occur in their respective relationships. Here's how the conversations goes;
"He's great in bed and last night, oh my gosh, it was amazing...but..." -Girl A
''...but what...c'mon, tell me!" -Girl B
"He told me that he Loves me..." -Girl A
"uh, oh" -Girl B
"Yeah, I know." -Girl A
"What are you going to do?" Girl B
"Oh my word, I don't know! I mean, I've never said that to anyone, it just hasn't felt right, you know? And now, he's put that out there and I feel like a total wench for not saying it back, but I just don't know if I feel like that about him, you know? Why did he have to go and throw that into the mix....echchhh!" -Girl A

I've seen this basic scene play out in many different TV shows and in quite a few movies as well. It scares me to death and makes me more than a little miffed. I think women have enough to worry about with society telling them constantly that they need to have the sex drive of a man and the emotional detachment, like a man.  It's presented in these wonderfully clever guises such as the feministic mantras of "Take control of your own sexuality!", or "You don't need a man to please you!" and the constant media barrage portraying women (and teen girls) as so sexually voracious that their appetites could never be satiated; They are compelled to lure their male prey into a candlelit room, are prepared with condoms and tell him over and over that this is what they want. The only thing is, I don't believe them.

I see that it has come to the point of women not holding onto virginity whatsoever, but, withholding the declaration of love, as the end all, the real meaningful thing. It is sad to see such a shift. Now, just because I see it in media does not mean that this is what all young women hold to. I do believe it is a short matter of time before it permeates the ranks of "regular" women and becomes a societal norm. It makes me afraid for my daughters, that they will think so little of themselves and get caught up in the "everybody's doing it" theme. I recognize that it is my job to instill in them a feeling of self worth, independence and strength. But, at some point they will begin listening more to what their peers have to say than to me. Peers, as a whole, most often go off of what they see on the TV, in movies and what they see celebrities doing. I wish this was not the case. I know that swearing off TV, Movies, Internet and society are not the answer. I'm not going to put my daughters in Burkas. I know that my daughters are the only ones I can put on a good path and be there for when they make mistakes. I wish I could communicate to my peers that they are worth so much more! You don't give your social security number out to just anyone, you guard it, so you can't be taken advantage of or hurt financially. You don't just hand out keys to your home do you?! No! In the same way, you must protect yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. I didn't mean this to turn out preachy, sorry. I just wanted to highlight something that I see to be a damaging cycle. Feeling that if you hold onto this "ultimate gift" of telling a man you love him, but not thinking twice about sleeping with him seems so backwards to me.  Take it or leave it.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I am sure that out there in the world, there are countless books on motivation. How to get motivated is probably the main focus of such books. I have absolutely no desire to read a single one of them. When I sit in a messy house, one that grows messier by the minute (when the children are awake) I tend to feel highly UN-motivated. I suspect that reading a book that will give me advice on finding my motivation will do me no good. The reason I suspect this is because; the source of (most) of my UN-motivated feelings is my children. Why is it that a child can't play neatly? What drives them to touch the walls on their very short walk from the table to the bathroom?? Do they really have to put every item they've handled throughout the day on the floor??? My poor drawers and shelves, they look so lonely and bare!

I thrive on a clean and orderly home! I enjoy organizing and cleaning. Yet, I do not want to do either of these things right now, because I know that in a fraction of a minute they will be undone. There is no place in my house that is untouched. MY room is the catch-all room where things get put when I don't have the time or the "proper" place to put them. The kids take over both living rooms almost immediately and their bedrooms are really just a constant invitation to throw bedding in a pile on the floor and jump into it. Don't let me get started on bathrooms, except to say that toilet paper rolls FULL of toilet paper are my nightmare!!!! The kitchen could almost be my sanctuary if it weren't for the need of being cleaned THREE TIMES A DAY!! I do not currently have a pantry, or enough cabinet space, so my kitchen, even at it's cleanest has a decided "bursting at the seams" look to it.

It get's very discouraging. I can clean, and keep up tolerably well without my motivation, but it feels empty and temporary. I don't do the "deep" cleaning because there is no point. I know that all the work I do in a day (un-motivated) is just a band-aid. It just takes the wind out of my sails.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The REAL reality.

I know that when I dreamt of being a mother I was, of course, going to be perfect.  I am now, twenty-eight years old and have been a mother for seven years and twenty-seven days (as of August 24th of 2011). I am not the perfect mommy. Shocking, I know!

When my first child was born I couldn't get enough of her. Having prided myself on being an openly selfish person for the majority of my life I was more than happy to do and give anything for that little baby. Waking up in the middle of the night was no problem, being available to nurse for sustenance and comfort at all hours was easy to do. All the little (and big) sacrifices that come with a newborn didn't even feel like sacrifices because I enjoyed doing them. I was also one of the lucky women who had uncomplicated pregnancies and I didn't "suffer" through them at all. When baby number two arrived I had a short period where I missed my oldest's time and attention, but she was happy to be entertained by her daddy and it ended up working pretty well for us, "one on one". I got to enjoy the whole baby stage again and all was good. By the time number three came along, things became a little more complicated. My oldest was four and not as easily placated with simple answers to endless questions, she would get bored with toys quicker and daddy was deployed. I couldn't spend as much time in "baby heaven" as I had with the first two. I started to realize that maybe my selfishness was still lurking under the surface. It was getting a little difficult.

Fast foreword three years and I now have another baby and I am enjoying him so much! As the thoughts start to swirl around about him being my last, I begin to wonder if I'll be able to fully shed my REAL selfishness and be a good parent to something other than babies. I know I can be a GREAT mommy to a baby, but I see how I can be with my older three and it hits me hard to know that I try to just "get by" parenting them. I am faced with the reality that my selfishness which I fed and fostered for years is still very much alive. The battle with it is only just beginning.