Confessions of a Lazy Mom

I was the perfect wife and mother…until I got married and had kids!

If you read my original post, My Unexpected Journey, you’ll see that I had big plans about how life would go.  I also had plans about my plans and back up plans for all these plans.  Every eventuality was covered.

It must be understood that these plans hinged on the fact that my children would be perfect angels…because I would be the perfect mother.  This I failed to have a back up plan for, since there was just no scenario I could dream up that would include normal kids.

Eight years into marriage and six and a half of those being a mother tell a different story.  It must be understood that much of my current state of being is hinged on the fact that I’m tired!

By the time my first baby started sleeping through the night, I was one month away from baby number two so my nights were constantly being interrupted by third trimester pregnancy stuff.  By the time he started sleeping through the night I was well on my way to baby number three.  Baby number three has only recently started sleeping through the night – just in time for number two to have not infrequent interruptions to his sleep.

I’m not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me, just making excuses,  stating a fact.

So here’s how my standards for perfection have taken an unexpected twist.

  1. Fifteen Minutes per Week

That’s how long my house is clean to the standard that I’d allow my mom in with her white gloves.  In a previous post, Meaningful Minimalism, I mentioned that I have one day set aside for full house cleaning.  I find that on a good week I have roughly a 15 minute window to survey all I see and be impressed with myself.

The ever so important lesson I have learned in this is that for the other 10065 minutes that my house is, uh, less than stellar, it’s okay.  That doesn’t mean that I like the way it looks most days – but that I have come to understand that a messy house doesn’t make me a bad person.

2.  Quiet Time – It’s not just for babies anymore

I am an introvert.  I need time by myself to recharge.  This is not easily accomplished with a husband, 3 children and a part-time job.  Did I mention that I home school?  So said children are never “off at school”.

My older 2 children get some quiet time in the afternoon while the youngest naps.  This is also my quiet time.  I either read, watch a “mommy show” on Netflix or call/message friends – guilt free of any household task.  I have learned that my oldest also benefits from this time on her own and it makes for a much smoother afternoon for all of us.

3. So I Saw This Thing on Pinterest

So many of my organizational ideas have come from Pinterest!  Crafts or activities for the kids, home school ideas, recipes and “Life Hacks” that I use originate here as well.

4. Kids are washable

This is a lesson that my husband has had to teach me, and continues to remind me of.  I don’t need to hover over the children constantly to keep them in pristine condition.  The grime they get on themselves will come off.  Although, my youngest is learning that the grease from daddy’s tractor often takes a harder scrubbing or an extra day or two!

5.  I don’t reinvent the wheel

Many wives and mothers have gone before me and I love to glean from their knowledge and experience!

I adore mentorship and make a point to partake of these types of relationships whenever possible.  I have had official mentors in my life – the kind where I ask her if she is willing to take on a project as complex as me, and I have had relationships with women who I just learn from.

I listen to their stories with intent of learning and applying wisdom to my own situation and admire them for being real with me.

As I struggled to potty train my son, I would think back to a story I was told roughly 15 years ago by a mother who had struggled in a similar way with one of her sons.

As I delve into year 2 of homeschooling, I seek out every homeschooling mother I know (or simply know of) to pepper with questions.  The list could go on and on.

The mentoring relationship isn’t always advice based, however.  There are women whom I trust that I learn all types of life lessons from.  A dear friend and I were having coffee awhile ago and I took the opportunity to invite her to speak into my life.  To offer loving correction when she sees me mess up and to tough love me when I may be feeling a little sorry for myself.

If you have never thought of being mentored, I urge you to consider it!  Find someone who you respect, have similar values to and are able to spend time with on a somewhat regular basis.  Then be really brave and tell this person that they are allowed to point you in the right direction when your compass may be a little off.  I can promise you that you will be better for it!  And perhaps someday you can be that person to someone else.

 

So offering myself grace has made a world of difference to my whole family.  When mama’s relaxed, the whole family is relaxed!  Of course there are times when things just need to get done and fun has to fall by the wayside, but my goal is to make those times the exception rather than the rule.

What has life taught you?

Wendy

How Did I Get Here???

There were so many days that I was tempted to quit. The only reason I hung in there was because I knew that giving up now only meant that I had to start starting over again.

Hello again – it’s been awhile.

Several of you have been asking where I’ve been these last two months and the short answer to that question is; on another adventure.

Generally, a response like this would conjure up images of travel, education, or some epic and emotional learning curve.  Perhaps building a new house or travelling the lecture circuit or rising to some level of fame.  Discovering some long-lost relative who admires my pluck and has decided to leave us a vast fortune.

Those are all lovely thoughts which, for me, would have to begin with “Once upon a time…”.  The truth behind my absence is this:

Potty Training

Rather anti-climactic, isn’t it?

My son turned 5 in May and previous attempts (and there have been many) to train have led to nothing but frustration and tears.  All mine.  He couldn’t have cared less about it, hence the frustration.

I’ve talked to his therapists, I’ve read every blog and case study I could get my hands on.  I bribed him with everything I could think of and nothing worked.  I put the potty in front of the TV and played an endless loop of YouTube potty training videos.  It never worked.  He just didn’t care.

If one more person told me that “No one ever graduated high school in diapers!” I was going to snap.  The truth was that I didn’t believe that this statement would necessarily hold true for him.

Then, approximately 6 weeks ago, I woke up one morning with the realization that we were out of Pull-Ups and the determination to NOT BUY MORE!

His currency is the iPad, so that’s what I used.  You want the iPad?  You sit on the toilet.  The first couple of weeks we got some incidental successes, but still plenty of accidents.  At this point, my 2-year-old decided that she wanted to play the iPad too so she also wanted to sit on the potty.  I didn’t expect much from her, but hey – who am I to argue???

It was around this 2 week mark that I had my first major breakdown…at church.  Yes, it was embarrassing, but I was just so exhausted by this whole process with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.  I believe that my exact words were, “Potty training is kicking my butt!”.  Not my highest point.  However, it was a turning point!

I know that those who witnessed my tantrum prayed for us.  I know my Mom was praying too.  She was my cheerleader through this all.  If you’re reading this, mom, you already trained 3 daughters, and now you had to train one of them to train – thanks for sticking it out with me!

It was around then that the successes became more intentional and frequent.  My son now just goes to the bathroom himself when he needs to and my daughter is able to come tell us when she needs to go!  Two weeks ago, tomorrow, I brought the last diapers from my house to our church nursery.  I may or may not have done a happy dance the whole way!

So what has this whole process taught me?  Besides the fact that I loathe potty training – wait, I already knew that from my first child – that some of the best things in life are hard-fought for.  There were so many days that I was tempted to quit.  The only reason I hung in there was because I knew that giving up now only meant that I had to start starting over again.

I have other mountains in my life to climb; many of them I have started and stopped before.  Some of them more than once.  That second (and subsequent) start is always more difficult and the defeat seems to come faster and more easily each time.

I determine to persevere.  I determine to let God have control over each circumstance.  Yes, God cares about potty training too!  There were times when I felt disrespectful talking to Him about something so, so, uncivilized…but He cares about EVERY detail of our lives.

I will enlist more cheerleaders and I will be a cheerleader to those who need one.

What mountain are you facing?  Have you faced it before?  Don’t be afraid to tell people what you need from them as you climb.

“Honey, I know you love chips but while I’m trying to get healthier, I need you to not bring them into the house for a while.”

“I need you to remind my why I started.”

“I need a hug.”

“I need you to just be positive.”

You’ll be surprised how appreciative people will be of your honesty.  We all want to help each other, but we don’t all know how.  I’d be devastated if my well-intentioned but counter-productive words tripped up someones progress.

Face that mountain and take the first step.  Just one. Don’t worry about the next step until you’re upon it.  You’ve got this!

 

Wendy

When Help isn’t Helpful

Remember when you were in grade 12 and everyone was giving you advice on what to do with the rest of your life?  What school to go to, what career to pursue and so on?

Or when you were dating and people who cared about you tried to advise you on who to go out with and who not to?  How to behave on your first date or when you meet his or her parents?

Then you eventually settled down, got engaged and started planning the wedding.  “Oh, not those flowers!  Great Aunt Ida is allergic and even though she probably won’t attend she might and we’d hate to give her an attack!”

“In my day, we didn’t register for such extravagant gifts.”marriage meme

“You’re choosing that song to walk down the aisle to?  Are you too good
for The Wedding March?”

Then you weren’t even out of the reception before everyone starting telling you how to be successful in marriage and when babies should come.

And then the babies start coming…and the advice flows freely once again.

“Don’t eat that when you’re pregnant.”

“Just rub a little whiskey on baby’s gums to soothe the teething pain.  Helps baby sleep too”

 

I’ve heard it all, and so have you.  If I’m honest with myself, I’ve probably even dished out some of this one of a kind, well-meaning advice.  If I’ve ever been this “generous” with you, I’m sorry!  To my nephew who graduates this year, I’m extra sorry because I know that while telling him to ignore everyone and figure out what he wants for himself, I’m pretty sure I’ve thrown some of my own wisdom (and I use the term loosely) into our conversations.

Most of the time, these “pearls” are annoying.  In certain moments they can be downright maddening.  However, I truly believe that in most instances, they are given with the very best of intentions.

My first baby was a petite little thing.  After 5 days of struggling, both she and I got the whole nursing thing figured out.  She continued to grow and develop, but not fast enough for some people’s liking.  I was told often to put her on formula because she was starving to death.  She had regular checkups with the Doctor and Public Health Nurse, both of whom assured me that she was right on track.  I continued with what I thought was best and she is a thriving 6 year old.

My second baby took to nursing immediately, but wasn’t gaining weight.  At 6 weeks he was below birthweight so the Doctor and I both thought it best to put him on formula.  He began to grow and thrive and I felt confident with my decision.baby meme

Would you believe that the very same people who told me that my daughter was starving and should be on the bottle told me that my son was being cheated out of the benefits of breastmilk and if I was any kind of mother I would be nursing him?!

I’ve always been a heavy girl.  I’ve had more “helpful” advice on that subject alone than one blog can handle!  “Do you really need that?” can be one of the most destructive phrases to utter to someone who already struggles in this.  You want to know how I feel when someone says that to me?  It does NOT make me want to put down the piece of cake and hop on the treadmill; it makes me want to eat all the remaining pieces of cake…with ice cream.

When people first heard that I had met this guy online, I was cautioned continuously that he was probably a serial killer.  I assured everyone that I was being smart about it and wasn’t meeting him in the middle of the night at an abandoned warehouse.

Not everybody agrees with the way my husband and I live our life.  Certain people have made that very clear!

One family member has suggested more than once that my husband work up north for weeks at a time to make more money.  We have discussed this and decided that our time together as a family is more valuable to us than a bigger paycheque.  I have friends whose husbands work away for stretches and that works for them.  They have made the best choice for their family.

Then we told a few people that we were trying for baby #3.  “You’re crazy!  Three is the hardest number of kids to handle.”

“You already have a boy and a girl, why mess with the perfect family?”

“You’re going to homeschool???? Aren’t you worried about socialization?”homeschool meme

“Homeschooling will make your kids resent you! I could never do it.”

“Maybe if you were a little harder on your kids….”

“Maybe if you weren’t so hard on your kids…”

You’ve heard all the lines, you’ve probably even uttered one of two of them.  You’re just trying to help.  I know that and that’s why I can usually just force a smile, say thank you, and pay my kids to cry make an excuse to leave quickly.

I mentioned in a previous post, that we started seeing the signs of Autism in our son from the beginning.  Others saw it too and tried to point them out to us.  This is where the “help” can be especially hurtful.

Coming to terms with the fact that your child may not be “typical” is one of the hardest things a parent can do.  It has nothing to do with loving your child less, or being ashamed of them.  It has everything to do with knowing how difficult life will be for someone so innocent and fragile.  It has everything to do with your fear that you are not going to be enough as a parent to give this child everything he or she needs to have the best life possible.

Can I offer some well-meaning advice to you (the irony is delicious)?

If you know someone in this situation, please don’t point out the “obvious signs”.  We see them, we know.  We are kept awake at night worrying about our child’s future.  What we need to hear is that our child is cute, and perfect (because every person is a miracle!) and that you love them.

When that diagnosis comes, an “I told you so” or “I always wondered” can be downright harmful.

“Okay.  He’s so lucky to have you guys as parents.”

“How is everybody doing with this information?”

“I love you all.”

Those are the things we need to hear.

We’ve already read every study.  We’ve already looked into the latest miracle treatment.  Yes, we’d love for you to babysit once in a while so we can get a break.  No, you don’t need to try to “fix” him while you babysit.

I know you mean well.  I know that you have never intended for your words to wound.  I know that I would be heartbroken to find out that my “help” was hurtful to someone I care about.  So, I resolve to watch my words.   Better yet, to have significantly less words in most circumstances.  I promise to do my best to ask you what you need instead of telling you.

I’m not going to be perfect at this, but please forgive me.  You know that I mean well!

 

Wendy

 

I’d love to hear some of your favourite pieces of advice; either given or received!  Please leave a comment, and remember to keep it respectful.