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The Challenge Heard ‘Round the Neighborhood

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I woke up to a glorious Sunday morning, the sun was shining the birds were chirping and there were four wild children laughing, wrestling, and yanking the covers off of me in an exhausted attempt to get me out of bed. Honestly though, who doesn’t want to wake up to the contagious sounds of little giggles? These are the moments I know I will one day miss.  This is the first Sunday in four weeks we haven’t had to rush around and get six monkeys ready to spend the day at the football field watching the two oldest play games. Nope, instead today we got to lounge around while waiting until this evening to rush around getting the six ready for the games. Why is it that the more time I have to get ready the more I find myself rushing around to get everybody ready right before we need to leave? I’m hoping one day I can find an answer to that question.

It’s days like today that I find myself evaluating my life. Such as the choices I have made, the path I am on, the way I parent, the kind of wife I am and the list goes on and on and on and on. I like to make a mental list of everything I need to work on and I usually get pumped up to change, be better, be healthier, be more frugal, be, be, be, be……….. You know it’s amazing how quickly a leisurely day can become exhausting!

It never seems to fail that when I get in these moods Snookums is experiencing his own version. He usually wants to declutter something and if any of you reading this are like me when the husband wants to declutter you find yourself wishing you had drawn up that emergency exit plan! When Snookums starts cleaning, he wants to throw it all away and hem and haw about how I am border line hoarder. Let’s just say it’s not my kind of fun. But today was different. Today our house felt a little zen. Just a little, not a lot, our house could never be a lot zen. Nope, definitely not!

So as Snookums and I were downstairs enjoying our zen morning cleaning. All of the kids were upstairs cleaning their rooms. We could here them laughing and carrying on together and I’m not sure how Snookums felt but I was feeling pretty good about the dynamic of our family. It was in this moment that I decided to challenge Snookums to a whole month of no yelling. My pitch went something like this….”Hey Snooks, I’ve been thinking and I think that you and I should challenge ourselves to a whole month of no yelling! Let’s see what happens when we refrain from yelling at the kids for 4 whole weeks. I really think we will be surprised at the outcome! I think maybe we’ll be happier and experience a good change!” He of course replied with an enthusiastic “Ok.”

I for one, am a screamer and I hate that about myself. The more stressed I get the louder I yell and for no reason really. I swear sometimes I think my neighbors can probably hear me! This is something that I come back to often. Something I beat myself up for and constantly try and change. I always seem to complain that my voice is not heard. Does anybody have this problem? You talk and talk and talk to your family and after your finished one of them looks up and says “what?” AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!! It’s so frustrating and I wonder why I yell all the time! I’m getting loud in my head while I’m writing this! I’ve spent a lot time thinking about this and how this is probably the number one thing I want to change. I would imagine my children get tired of hearing my voice holler, heck I get tired of hearing my voice! I know it’s annoying, hahaha! I think sometimes maybe if I stop yelling they will start listening. Maybe they are tuning me out. I’m sure what they hear is Charlie Brown’s mom…”Wah- Wah- Wah”

The worst however, is when I hear them yell at each other. My first thought is how rude, I can’t believe they are being so disrespectful to each other! And then I fall back to earth and it hits me….why would I expect anything different from them when this is what I do! Children learn from experience. They do what we do. They say what we say and they act the way they see us acting. If we want our children to be more respectful then we need to start having more respect for them. This is what brought me to my decision to do this challenge. I want to raise respectful children, so I need to be a respectful parent. Does this mean I am not going to discipline my children when they act out? Absolutely not, I’m just not going to scream in their face to make myself feel better.

So imagine my elation when Snookums said “ok” to doing the challenge with me. This is going to be great I thought. I mean really how hard could it be, I thought. All I will need to do is remember their smiles and laughter when I feel the need to scream, I thought. And then it happened, no more than five minutes after we agreed to the challenge. We heard a blood curdling scream from upstairs, followed by a few more cries and then running footsteps coming down the stairs and of course more screams.  As I walk towards the staircase I repeat to myself don’t forget the challenge, don’t forget the challenge. “What’s wrong?” I ask. “Waaaghhhh, *sniff*, *sniff*, aaaahhhhggghhhhggaahh, akdfja kdjflakjdf” is what I hear coming from Sporty McGee’s mouth. “Sporty, what happened?” I calmly ask him. Why for, not far behind Sporty interjects “It was an accident mom! Oh man I’m so sorry, I’m a terrible brother! I thought he was trying to scare me, I didn’t mean to throw the toy so hard mom!” As he finishes up his account of what had happened, Sporty smiles at me to show me his big, beautiful, glorious, broke, FRONT tooth! Did I mention permanent tooth? I turn to look at Snookums, praying that he remembers our challenge, and I see him walk away to another room in response to this catastrophe. My response was a quiet, deflated “go to your rooms now” as I am burying my face in my hands. But guess what?! We didn’t scream at them!!! We remembered the challenge!!! Now if we can just get through the other three weeks and six days……and the rest of the days of our lives with six awesome kids! In the words of the great, Little Engine that Could…I think I can, I think I can….

Oh…. and Sporty is the SECOND child of ours to break off a front tooth in the last three months!

Thanks for reading!! Please share my blog and tell all your friends and family to check it out!! If you like what you see here click on the Top Mommy Blog Approved link to cast your vote for my blog! Don’t forget you can vote for me once a day. Have a bless day and remember the giggles because one day they are going to be gone and enjoying their own little gigglers!

XOXOXO~

~Mommamamom~

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To my dear child,

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This world is scary, it is big, mean, cruel, unjust, cold, evil, unloving, and at times very dark. I want you, my child, to be aware, stay alert and be on your toes at all times. Be ready to fight and stand up for what is right. Be ready to be judged, mocked, laughed at, and sometimes beat down. You will be yelled at, spit upon, cursed, possibly by the person you love the most. There will be times when you have to stay strong in the midst of complete and utter fear and despair. You can’t let your guard down, not even for a second. Your heart will be broken, you will lose jobs, you will lose loved ones to death and sometimes even worse…drugs and alcohol. You will see grown men cry and innocent children hurt beyond repair. In your lifetime you will witness famine and war. You will see people of power, people in which you are suppose to trust, lie, cheat, steal, and kill. Sadly you will hear of people being murdered because of their choice in clothes, lovers, music, freedom of expression. There will be children that kill themselves because the cruelty of other children is unbearable. In your lifetime you will have to watch your spouse, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, or possibly even God forbid your children fight battles with cancer and other diseases. You will suffer loss so horrific that you won’t be able to see the sun shining for weeks, even on the brightest day. Sadly, there will be times you feel scared and alone.

However, you are not alone. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) I want you to know my dear child that through all of this you will never be alone. All earthly people will at times disappoint you, even me, the one who felt you grow from within me for nine months, even me, the one who prayed for your existence in my life and felt you grow within my heart. The greatest people will disappoint you in times of your greatest need. In all of your existence there will only be one that can truly give you what you need. There is only one that will always be there, showing you the love, grace and forgiveness that you need. You will not feel deserving or worthy of it. You won’t believe that it is really there. You will probably always question it. I do. But I want you to know and to believe that you are worthy and deserving and special. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Our God, your God is always there and never disappointing.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Now you know that through all the angst of the world in which you have no choice but to live in, there is hope. There is hope in God, and if you have hope in God then you have a chance at life. Please hold onto the hope and love that God gives you. If you can do this, you will live a life full of color and happiness. With hope in your heart you will see hunger being satisfied. You will see smiles and hear laughter. You will see war’s coming to an end and lives being rebuilt. With hope, doors will close and new ones will be opened for you. You will reach for the stars and succeed. You will see the good in helping people up after they have fallen. You will want to be the solid rock in which helps them climb up instead of the jagged edge that trips them. There will be first dates, first kisses and late night phone conversations. You will run and be free and oh baby, you will smile, will you ever smile! You will dance at your wedding and be a witness to life being born. You will know true love and pure joy. There will be sunsets and sunrises that are so beautiful that no words could ever describe. You will sing so loud you’ll lose your voice and dance so hard you’ll lose your breath. You will laugh, oh child, you will laugh so hard tears will fall! You will rejoice in battles that have been won, and you will hold onto those you love when they start to lose hope from battles lost. There will be birthdays and cake, yes, lot’s of cake! You will walk barefoot in soft grass and warm sand. You will swim in waters that have no end in sight. Did I mention you will love and you will be loved? There will be great joy in looking back at the years you have lived and knowing that you lived, you really lived a life full of hope, love, grace, and happiness.

There is one more thing I want you to know. Always remember that I love you. I have loved you from the beginning and I will love you until the end. There will be times I disappoint you and I know that there will be moments I am disappointed in you, but there is one thing that will never end and that is my love for you. A life without disappointment is no life lived at all. Go out and spread your wings. Live this life to the fullest. Achieve the greatest and don’t be afraid to fall, just get up and try again. Smile that beautiful smile of yours. It would be a disservice to the world to keep it to yourself. Try new things. Meet new people. Visit new places. Make mistakes and learn from them. Open your heart and mind and love life. Listen, listen, listen to the sounds of the world. And pray like there is no tomorrow. Ask for God’s guidance in all that you do and you will live a successful, promising life and you will leave a mark on this world to be proud of. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

Love,
Your Mom…

P.S. I hope I’m there to see it all!

I’ll tell you one more time, keep the seat UP…and other advice for the weary mom

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For a long time, I don’t think anybody thought Snookums and I would ever have a girl! I didn’t even think we would ever have a girl! If it hadn’t been for divine intervention we wouldn’t have had a little girl! So up until a little over two years ago I was an exclusive member of the Boy Mom Club, heck, I was the stinkin president! Oh and people thought it was hilarious, they just knew that all our boys were an attempt at havin’ us a girl:)

Boy Mom’s, I feel you, I can relate to your heightened sense of smelling pee miles away like a hound dog. I get the madness of finding rocks in the dryer (dangit, I should have checked his pockets!) Of course there’s always the 1,435 minutes of the day that your son has his hands on his wee wee, pee pee, ding dong, ding a ling, junk, call it whatever, but why is it that for the combined 5 minutes total taken throughout the day to pee his hands are nowhere to be found? There gone, he has had a sudden case of amnesia, he has forgotten where his pee stick is and it is squirtin that nasty smellin stuff all over the bathroom. (excuse the graphics for those of you who don’t have boys) Can I get an amen from you boy mom’s though??!!! And let me tell ya, the whole pee thing does NOT get better with age!  Then we have the various contests such as…. the burping contest, the farting contest, the chugging contest, the who can jump highest contest, the who can run faster contest, and one of my all time favorites (NOT) (by the way, I find that my conversational skills are stuck in middle school, so when I say NOT imagine me saying it in an obnoxious, loud, syllables- drawn -out, way:) ) the who can punch the hardest contest. This one always ends up with ALL of them screaming, crying, and at least one (Butter Bean, poor guy) bleeding. And just like the whole peeing thing doesn’t get better with age neither does the wrestling thing….Snookums is usually right in the middle of it by the end:) You all know what I’m talking about don’t ya? I have found that as boys age they just get smellier and louder and messier and grosser and, and, and, I could go on forever!
Let me tell ya, when Sister Sue came home to us I was on cloud 9, oh my I was going to have a partner in crime. Yes, we would go shopping together, we could get mani’s and pedi’s, stay up late watching ‘chick flicks’, do each others hair, and so on….. NOT! Boy was I mistaken, of course she is just a little firecracker still, maybe she will grow into the lady that I dream of, hahahahahahaha, I’m definitely not betting on it cause at the rate she’s going the odds are stacking up against me:) If you think boys are challenging, you haven’t met Sister Sue! Oh yes, from afar she looks like a sweet, beautiful, innocent little princess but then you get a little closer and you can see… She is a rough and tough dirt princess! At any given moment I can hear the terrified screams from one of her, did I mention older, brothers as she is beating him down! “MoOOOoooOOOmmM, help, Sissy is hurting me” LOL. No joke, I’m praying now for any boy/man who crosses her path in the future! He won’t have to worry about the fact that she has FIVE brothers and a super tough Daddy if he can get through her front lines than they’ll be a piece of cake:) She is tougher than any boy, she runs instead of walks, she screams instead of speaks, she pees standing up ( seriously, she tries too, I caught her peeing all over the bathroom floor the other day while she was standing in front of the toilet!) and she sleeps with one eye open. What I’m getting at here is even though I have my daughter, I’m still in the club with ya!

When I see other mom’s around with little boys I just give her the look and she knows I know! She knows that I’m not judging as I’m looking at her son that has 2 different shoes on and possibly a winter hat in the middle of summer:) Oh yeah, she can tell from the look that I’ve been there or probably she is looking at one of mine in the same ‘get up’ and feeling a sense of relief that hers isn’t the only one! Yeeeuup, it’s always comforting to hear another Mom’s son singing the new ‘classy’ hit Wiggle:) You read it right, you may know the song it goes a little like this….You know what to do with that big, fat, butt?….Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, Just a little bit. Before that song it was “I’m Sexy and I know it” there is just something about hearing a 3-year-old sing and dance to that song………I know, I know, you may be thinking “What kind of Mom are you??” Don’t judge, and give me a little credit, I HAVE SIX KIDS!!!!!!! On that particular song I did however, try to get little Butter Bean to sing “I’m Elmo and I know It”.  Snookums and I try really hard to instill good values and morals into our children, but when it comes to some things we choose our battles! That right there(said in my best Larry the Cable Guy voice) is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you as a Mom….choose your battles. With that being said I would like to leave you with my advice for boy Mom’s or in some cases tom boy Mom’s:) I would love to hear from you! Let me hear what you’ve got to say!!  Comment on this post and tell me your best advice:) As always, thank you for reading and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it! If you can relate to this or know someone who can SHARE IT!! If you laughed during this SHARE IT!!!! Follow my blog to get email notifications of new posts:) Have a Blessed Day!!!

XOXOXO~

~Mommamamom~

 

***Disclaimers***

***For those of you that shy easily I used the words pee pee, wee wee, ding dong, ding a ling, junk, pee stick. I could have used a lot worse and I didn’t, so for that, be grateful.

***I don’t really let my daughter pee standing up all the time, there has just been a few times and I couldn’t stop her because I was laughing so hard at the sight of it!

***In regards to the punching contest…..we do NOT run a child fighting ring….I promise:)

My Advice to all you Boy Mom’s……

1. It does not get better with age, any of it, they only get louder, bigger, tougher, taller.

Food For Thought: the taller they are, the further from the toilet they are aiming….

2. Buy lots of bleach and Clorox Wipes.  (you will need these to clean up the pee splatters on the toilet, wall, baseboards….)

3. Get ready to spend BIG BUCKS at the grocery store!  Boys are hungry ALL THE TIME!!!!

4. Teach them how to cook! They’ll thank you later:)

5. At some point in your life Cheese balls can and will be your best friend. “Mama, I’m starving (this is said right after they finish supper)” Grab the Cheese balls!!!!!! Hey, they’re made with “real cheese” 🙂

6. Boys like to play with guns. Boys like to fake shoot people with guns. You can exhaust yourself trying to tell them not to “shoot people” this is a good thing, teach them this, but keep in mind they are still going to fake shoot you! Let them, it’s how they learn to use their imagination. More than likely pretending to play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians will not make them mass murderers when they get older.

7. Teach them to dance. (before they get too old and embarrassed to let you)

8. Buy LOTS of Spray ‘N Wash. The other brand just doesn’t get the job done! (Spray ‘N Wash should hire me to do commercials for them! As much as I’ve bought I should be a partner in the company!)

9. Let them know it’s okay to cry sometimes. But make sure that they know that the middle of the ball field is not an appropriate place or time. We have to teach them to be okay with their emotions and feelings but we don’t want them to be pansies.  They gotta know when to hold it together and when to let it go.

10. Teach them to be affectionate and have compassion for others.

11. DO NOT give them everything they want!

12. Make them work, hard, hard work.

13. Make sure they know that it’s Ladies first.

14. Let them wear you high heels and jewelry and carry your old purse around.  It’s a stage they go through and it’s ok!!! They will grow out of it:)

15. Do not act like you’re afraid of bugs, that will only make it more fun for them to throw on you!

16. Get use to and ok with dirty fingernails and faces and stinky butts and feet! And please know it is not a reflection of your mommy skills.

17. Teach them how to clean! Make them sweep, mop, do the dishes, laundry…. but remember it won’t be perfect, it takes practice. Lots and lots of practice 🙂

18. Cherish your Mama’s boys now, because before too long they’re gonna catch on to how much more fun their Dad is!

19. It’s ok to scream, sometimes it’s the only way you’re gonna get heard!

20. Let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences.

21. Teach them to say “I’m sorry”.

22. Mud is fun in a controlled setting….hahaha yeah right….Mud is fun all the time!!! Little boys and some little girls are just mud magnets, it’ll wash off:)

23. Teach them manners, but don’t get your undies in a wad when they use their shirt, hands, your shirt, couch, chair whatever it may be to wipe their face or nose….IT WILL HAPPEN!

24. Keeping the toilet seat up is much easier than keeping it down. Trust me.

25. Please, please raise GENTLEmen, the kind that can take control of a situation and handle it but also isn’t afraid to admit to being scared after! Let’s face it the world is lacking this kind of man.

One of my all time favorite bible verses is Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I believe that there is nothing more true than this verse.  There may be times of doubt but I believe that one day we will look back on these days and look up to the men we have raised and see that all of our, what we may have thought, were failed attempts were successful. We will be able to look into the eyes of our little boy and be proud of the man who stands before us. And maybe just maybe all the times of feeling invisible and unappreciated will fade and we will be able to see that God had a plan all along and not only did he use us to train up our children but he used our children to train us in the way we should go.