The Time I Learned to Breathe

“Mommy? Can you hook up a monitor to this computer so I can use it?”

I looked at the pile of work around me on the only day I’m in this particular office & told Butter that no, I couldn’t. I thought I had to take the monitor off of my computer & I had no idea where my new one was & besides that we didn’t have any cables, so I told him I didn’t have time to search for things.

He seemed fine. He went back upstairs to watch the Olympics, leaving me to work in peace.

For five minutes.

Then he came downstairs & told me he knew where the cables were & was going to go get them. I told him no. I had an epic pile of stuff to do & I knew he wouldn’t let up. When Butter gets focused on something, he is FOCUSED. Things done right away aren’t being done quickly enough. That was when I burst into tears.

I love working a flexible job. I love having my kids here with me when I’m working. I don’t particularly love that they seem to think all of Mommy’s attention needs to be on them. All of it. They’re constantly asking me to play with them, completely oblivious to the piles of paper that surround me & how much I have to do.

I reached a breaking point. I reached out to a couple of friends & told them how frustrated I was. I told them I was sobbing because I know. I know I’m too hard on Butter & I don’t want to be. I want to have more patience with him. I want to be there for him when he needs me. I want to be the fun Mommy, not the Mommy who just yells & says no all the time.

The advice was to breathe & give myself a time out before making any decisions.

So I did.

I took a breath.

And then, I made a decision.

This work will be here tomorrow. It can be done tomorrow with little consequence except my energy level. But that’s what coffee is for anyway, right? So I took time. I watched from my desk as he got his computer set up with some help from a friend & learned what’s missing. We need some cable or another & then he’ll be on his way to coding with the best of them. 

I can come back & get the work done tomorrow. I won’t ever have that time back with my son.

I’m trying, Butter.

 

It’s Been 84 Years . . .

Okay, it hasn’t been 84 years since I’ve written a post, but if you got that reference? You are my new favorite person. Yes, you.

In reality, it’s been just about six months.

A lot has happened in six months.

A LOT.

But that’s not what I’m here to write about. I actually started writing this post in my head when I took the boys to breakfast last week. THAT is how I knew I was ready to start blogging again. [Yes, yes, I will get to why I nearly shut the entire thing down one of these days.]

Anyway. There was this one morning last week. You parents know the kind of mornings I’m talking about. For once, the kids didn’t need me to herd them to get them ready for school. They were ready in time to leave for Butter’s bus. BUT! Butter had a project due that I was not in any way, shape, or form letting him destroy on the bus, so I was taking him all the way to school. That would have made Bear late, so I was going to take him to school first.

I searched the kitchen for breakfast, & that was about the time I realized I haven’t gone grocery shopping in like, two months. No really, it’s been a while. We grab staples when we need them, but our freezer is pretty well stocked & we kind of a have a plethora of veggies sometimes from the restaurant [OH LOOK AT THAT OTHER BLOG POST THAT NEEDS WRITTEN!], so. Basically, I didn’t even have two pieces of extra bread to rub together for toast.

Okay, boys, go get in the car. We’re going out for a Mommy/Boy breakfast date. Who cares if it was to McDonald’s? They loved spending the extra time with me, I’m sure.

This post started writing itself in my head about the time I told the boys to go find us a seat while I waited to collect our food. There was an older gentleman there who looked HORRIFIED that I was letting my children search for a seat without hovering over them. AND THEN! I let them climb up on stools! I am clearly The Worst Mother in the Entire Universe ™.

Seriously, this guy judged me the entire time we were there. AND HE DIDN’T EVEN DO IT SUBTLY.  He blatantly stared at me, glared at me, & gave me these terribly judging looks.

Had the children not been with me, I probably would have laid in to him.

What I would have liked to say to him is that no, I am not a perfect mother. I’m teaching my kids independence by telling them to go find a seat. It’s not like the McDonald’s was so huge I was going to lose sight of them. So what if they climbed on the stools? I’m not a litigious  person. I wouldn’t have sued McDonald’s if one of my children had fallen because of some stupid thing he was doing. Did I freak out that they were climbing? A little, yeah. But that’s because they weren’t climbing over carpet. I’ve seen my five year old scale a stool that – incidentally – is not attached to a table & meditate on it. He’s part monkey; he’s got this.

I know this is probably going to catch me a lot of flack, but there’s a generation of people who hate the way mine is raising our children. They call our kids entitled brats, screen zombies, & worse. They call us helicopter parents who refuse to let our kids get a bad grade because of the kid’s screw ups. News flash: I am not one of those parents. If my kid gets a bad grade, I’m the parent in the first strip of this comic. That’s not to say that I don’t go to bat for my kids when I think that something is wrong with what’s going on in their school [oh look, another blog post!].

I’ve always said that not only was I born in the wrong generation, but I’m parenting in the wrong generation. If my kids get hurt while they’re playing outside, that’s okay. If they’re not bleeding, I generally tell them to go back outside. I tell them all the time to GO OUT & PLAY. GO PLAY OUTSIDE. GOOOOO PLAYYYYYY.

I bet that guy was really offended when I let the seven year old go into the men’s [single person] bathroom alone.

“Being a Mom is Tough”

Oh, how I wish I’d heeded those words when M & I decided to start our family.

You all know I haven’t been the best about blogging lately, but I’m hoping this online Bible Study – and this blog hop – will get me back into the swing of things. This study is called Am I Messing Up My Kids? & legitimately couldn’t have come at a better time, because I am constantly asking that question. I am so glad I saw a photo taken by Rebecca on my instagram feed that had me signing up for the study & rushing out to our local Family Christian Store to buy the book.

This week, I’m supposed to tell you my mama story. It seems kind of redundant to me because this blog has been about very few things other than my mama story, but maybe it would be good to get it out all at once.

When M & I got married, we knew we wanted kids. I always told him I’d envisioned myself much like Jill on Home Improvement – I’d have three boys. The first time I got pregnant, I messed up the reveal to my husband in many ways. He wasn’t the first person I told & sometimes he still teases me about that. I had a miscarriage with that baby at 7 weeks & a lot of times, it still really hurts. But then I remember we wouldn’t have Butter without having had that loss & I’m a little more okay with it.

The second time I got pregnant, I just knew. I went to M in the kitchen & told him three things. I said, “I’m pregnant, it’s a boy, and he will be born on August 8.” I was only wrong about one of those things. And if you’re asking yourself why I said he’d be born on August 8? Because I miscarried 8/8/07 & just knew that this little boy would arrive on 8/8/08. He arrived on 7/24/08 & the moment I saw him, I was even more in love with him than I could have imagined. He got his nickname because mama was exhausted one night & trying to calm him down. It was a stream of, “It’s okay, bud, buddy, budder.” And for some reason, that budder transformed into Butter & he’s been that ever since.

Butter gave us a scare the first few weeks. I was struggling with nursing him & he was throwing up pretty much every time he ate. We took him in for a well baby check & the pediatrician said she thought she heard a heart murmur & she diagnosed him with reflux all at the same time. We got orders to take him to the children’s hospital for an x-ray the next day. After radiology read it, the on call doc called me & said, “Don’t get comfortable where you are. You need to go back to the ER.” My heart dropped to my stomach. There was a haze on the x-ray [which I now think was the result of trying to do a film on a wiggly infant] that they weren’t quite sure about. He was admitted & eventually diagnosed with failure to thrive because he hadn’t gained much [if any?] weight since he’d been born. I kept trying to explain to the nurses & doctors that he’d just been diagnosed with – and given medication for – reflux the previous day, but no one wanted to listen to me. It was pretty awful, to say the least.

For the record? He’s fine now & will turn six a week from tomorrow.

Bear presented his own set of challenges. Just as I knew when I was pregnant with Butter, I knew with Bear. Somewhere exists a photo I took of Butter the day I told M I thought I was a pregnant again, but no matter how much searching I do, I can’t find it. Oh well. Bear came into our lives on 11/17/10, just four days after his Pop turned 39. He wasn’t due to be born for another 12 days, but he’s been letting us know who’s boss since the very beginning. I’d had a TIA when I was six months pregnant [the first indication of my Moyamoya diagnosis], so I fretted about how he would handle the stress my body had gone through. He was loud & proud the day he was born. Then he gave us the scare of our lives. He spent 20 long, pretty torturous days in the NICU due to PPHN. Though I didn’t know it at the time, we came pretty close to losing him in those early days. [I am eternally grateful to my amazing husband for keeping that information from me.] He got his nickname when he came off the ventilator. Pop said he sounded like an angry bear.

He’s fine now, too, and pushing my buttons every day of his threenager year. For a kid who’s been doing so well with potty training, he’s had a fair number of accidents in the past few days. Last night, as I cleaned up one of his messes, I sobbed. Whether it was the day I had yesterday [Oh, what a day it was. I may write about that soon.] or just frustration over something that had been going so well that suddenly isn’t again, I’m not sure. I just know that last night, I was at my wit’s end & just didn’t know how I was going to go on.

And then I remembered that I’m not in this alone. Every day, there are mamas who are dealing with far worse than I am. There are mamas out there who get this season of life better than I could ever hope to. And better than that? No matter how alone I feel, I know I’m not. My Heavenly Father is with me, seeing those tears & that frustration & that brokeness & begging me to lay it on Him. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I admitted I can’t do it all on my own [which is something I struggle with on a daily basis]. It’s liberating to realize there is someone bigger than me who wants to take my burdens.

I’m really looking forward to what I learn over the course of the next six weeks or so.

If you click the button below, you can read some of the other stories. I look forward to getting to these other mamas out there who get it.

 

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