Please Excuse the Mess

I would like to take you back to 2 B.C (Before Children). I was 25 years old, been married 3 years, had just decided it was time to have kids,  and  had everything about what I would be like as a parent figured out.  Here are 3 things the 25 year old LibertyDee knew she would be like as a mom.

  1. I would never lose my patience – why would I? I was going to raise my kids with all the love in the world and give them all they needed and wanted. I was going to speak to them reasonably and explain things to them and they therefore be very well behaved.

 

  1. I would never give them junk food – why would I? These small beings deserved nothing but the best and as long as I only served healthy foods from day one they would never want anything but. I would come home every night and assure there was a freshly cooked meal on my families table.

 

  1. I would never choose tidying and cleaning over spending time with my kids – why would I? after all my kids are perfectly behaved so they will pick up after themselves and understand the importance of pitching in as a family and help with the chores and how much time really do they really want to play with me if they have their toys and books and siblings

 

Let’s fast forward now to the present 14 A.C (After Children). I am 40 years old, been married 18 years and know that I knew nothing about being a parent.  Here is how the 3 things that 25 year old LibertyDee knew she would be like as a mom have turned out.

 

  1. I would never lose my patience – How could I not? As it turns out no matter how much you love your children or how much you give them or how reasonably you think your speaking to them. They are by nature unreasonable, demanding, stubborn little beings that will try your patience on a regular basis just because they can. IT turns out that they are their own person, they think differently than you do and what you think will make them happy is the absolutely craziest thing you could have thought of. It starts off small like throwing toys all over their room and then refusing to pick them up. It then moves into the ability to lose one shoe right before you need to leave the house. _ yes one shoe. One! And if you think I’m making this up you likely don’t have kids. And as I’m learning now that I have a teenager in the house it escalates to dealing with mood swings when you suggest they get help on a subject afterschool and their eye roll up, around and back up again followed by stomping out of the room and locking themselves in their bedroom for hours at a time.

 

  1. I would never give them junk food –How could I not? Ok. So maybe there is no real “excuse” for offering your kids junk and yes home cooked meals are the way to go but… yes but. It turn out that even though I’m a mom I also want a life of my own, I want to do things that I enjoy, things that I love, things that have nothing to do with my family and kids (unthinkable right) Well, the consequence of doing things for myself is that they cut into “mom” time and many a dinner has been sacrificed to appease the “mom needs her own life” gods. This means Pizza, takeout Chinese, and dare I say it……McDonalds.

 

  1. I would never choose tidying and cleaning over spending time with my kids – How could I not? Ok. So this one I really truly thought would be easy because I don’t even like cleaning so given the option of playing with the kids or cleaning, it would be a no brainer right? Think again. There are two big reasons why this didn’t quite work out:

 

  • I Live Here – The mess to tidying up ratio is HUGE. We are now a family of 5 and if I was not constantly tidying and/or cleaning something up the house would quickly look like something out of Hoarders. This too has changes over the years, it starts with toys and the endless crumbs from endless snacks and evolves to cups and plates by the TV & their bed, shoes in strange places ( one on its side by the front door and the other at the bottom of the basement stairs) and piles and piles of laundry – And to be fair this includes that my kids are actually pretty good at doing their chores (after some reminding)

 

  • They want to play ALL the time and it’s NOT fun (all the time) – So remember how I said “how much time really do they really want to play with me if they have their toys and books and siblings” – the answer is ALL THE TIME. I frequently haven’t even taken my coat off before my daughter is already upset that I haven’t started playing with her. And yes there have been MANY beautiful moments and memories made while we play Shopkins, make forts, tag, and even video games together but there is one thing that is rarely fun (I’m using rarely instead of never simply because I can’t bring myself to believe that it’s never been fun but honestly I can’t remember the last time) BOARD GAMES. Aughghghghghgh. From Dora Candy Land to Connect Four to The Game of Life it always turns into an argument, whining and even crying and I get stuck in the middle , playing referee and being accused of picking ”favourites”  It   I rather be cleaning ( yuppp that’s how bad it is) but usually I suck it up because ”this time will be different” – ( Enter crazy laugh here)

 

I now know that anything I think I know is only temporary. Everything I have learned as a parent is only applicable to my kids and even then only applicable to the child that I learned it about because all though they were born to the same parents and live in the same house an went to the same schools they are nothing like one another. More importantly I have learned that 25 year old LibertyDee was a sweet, well intentioned young woman who knew nothing about being a parent and owes an apology to all those young moms she had the audacity to give “advice” to.

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I’m Being Tested – The Orange Rhino

I came across the Orange Rhino Challenge and decided to join in on the “fun”.

The Challenge is to not yell at the kids for 365 days. Crazy I know. I’m a yeller. Actually I come from a long line of yellers. Yelling is in my genes. This might come as surprise to some people who know me because I tend to come across as a pretty calm and collected person and I am. Just not with my kids. My kids have a way of knowing exactly how to push my buttons and I lose my patience on a regular basis.

I have taken the challenge in a bid to become a better mom and a better person overall. The yelling never feels good and in reality, whatever the kids are doing or not doing for that matter, is not because they can’t hear me. So in really, yelling is not logical.

I woke up on my first official first day of not yelling and did a little affirmation ” Today, I will be patient. I will not yell at my kids and less yelling equals more love” I even called in a special favour ” Dear God, please shower me with patience today”

I think asking God for help was my mistake though. I don’t remember where it was, but I remember seeing it or reading it somewhere that when you ask God for things he cannot simply give them to you but what he can do is give you opportunities to practice. So on this very day when I asked for patience I think he heard me and showered my with opportunities to practice patience through the following tests:

Let me set the stage. I am supposed to leave the house at 7:30am so that I can drop the kids off and catch a train at 8:05. In reality, I never catch that train. I always end up catching the very last train that leaves at 8:20am.

Test #1 @ 6:50am – I had left a hamper full of clean, folded clothes in the boys bedroom and gone to get dressed in my own room. I heard some arguing (which I ignored) and then a “MOM, MOM, MOM”. I ran over because it sounded terribly urgent. When I got there I found that the boys had managed to empty the hamper (one was blaming the other) and then had stuffed everything back in. They were now arguing because The Life had not helped stuff place things back and The Plan had threatened to punch The Life in the face.

Test #2 7:10am  – It has been very hot around here so I have been dressing my baby girl in her summer dresses to keep her as cool as I can. On this day, she decided she wanted to wear a long sleeve shirt and her winter boots.   I pleaded with her to let me get her dress on but she crossed her arms in front of her and wouldn’t budge.

Test#3 7:30am– I finally bribed Baby Girl into putting the dress on by offering her a freezie but then I tried to brush her hair. How can a girl who is so concerned about what she wears be happy to leave the house with a bird’s nest on her head. I ended up having to chase her around the dining table with a brush in my hand while she ran with both hands over her head singing ” No, no, no don’t brush my beautiful hair”

Test#4 7:50am  As I’m leaving the house The Life says he has to go get something from upstairs and he promises to be just 1 minute. I tell him I’ll wait in the car. I gather our things, walk to the car, buckle Baby Girl into her seat, promise The Plan that he will not die of heat if he gets into the car while we wait for The Life, and tune the radio to my favorite radio station. Still no sign of  The Life.

Test #5 8:00am – The Life is finally in the car as I’m pulling out of the driveway I notice that he has left the front door wide open. AUGHHH!

Test # 6 8:15am – As I’m leaving Baby Girl’s daycare I realize my wallet is not is not in the car. I was positive I had left it in the car the night before and forgotten to go back and get it.  I tell the boys to get out of the car and help me look for it.  The Plan starts complaining about how hot it is and how he doesn’t want to get out of the car.

Test #7 8:25 am- (yup my train is far gone, I’ll have to take a bus) We are back home to find my wallet. I stress the importance that they help me look everywhere. The Plan runs upstairs, The Life goes over to the computer area. (all good signs) The Life stands in front of the computer for a minute or two then turns to me and says ” I can’t find it anywhere”.  The Plan runs down the stairs and says ” Where do you want me to look?” Too which I respond ” So you didn’t see it upstairs?” He reaches into his pocket, pulls out some candy and says ” I haven’t looked. I went to get my Push Pop!”

I did finally find my wallet (in the car) and dropped the boys off with my mom, and got in to work just after 10:00am. But I didn’t yell. Not once. It was nice to do that final 10 minute drive to the station feeling good that I had held my composure instead of feeling guilty about whatever I had yelled about that morning.  I have now officially completed three days of no yelling  and at 8:00am of Day 4 I’m still doing well. Don’t think that  just because it ‘s early doesn’t mean I haven’t been tested. Please refer to above.