Saturday, May 9, 2015

Anger Management

I was, for once, kid-less, browsing through tomes on the selves of my favorite bookstore, when I heard the cold, hard words, delivered in tones loud enough to be heard throughout the store.

"You have completely disobeyed me. You have disrespected me, and embarrassed me. I will not buy that book for you, and when we get home, terrible things are going to happen to you."

( Child crying)

"You can't imagine how awful it's going to be when we get home. I can't believe you would embarrass me like this."

I turned the corner, expecting to see a shriveled, crone like jailer woman and a burly, cowed criminal. Instead, I saw an attractive, twenty-something blond woman with a baby in a jogging stroller, and a little boy of probably three. He had tears streaking down his face, but they both smiled brightly when they saw me. Nothing to see here.

As a mother of three small children, I have few stones to throw. I've had my share of 'mommy meltdown' moments. Those times I lost it and screamed at my kids in front of God and everyone. "I can't believe you did that! Put that down! I'm never buying you lip gloss again!" Sometimes it's hard to take an emotional break from the situation, step back, and re-evaluate the situation. But here are some questions I try to ask myself when I'm dealing with a moment of discipline.

  • Am I threatening things I would actually never do, and never follow through with? 
  • Am I more upset because of the behaviour, or more upset because I am being embarrassed?
  • Am I worried about my child's growth and learning to do the right thing, or am I more worried about what everyone else thinks?
  • Am I respecting my child? If I don't treat them with respect, how are they going to learn to treat others with respect? 
Please understand, I am not saying there isn't a time and a place where we must address our children's behavior in public. I have to do it all the time. I carried my screaming three year old out of a Target the other day, and I'm sure there were many judgemental ears tuned into the tirade. (for the record she didn't get what she wanted and we left immediately). But there is a time when we need to hold back, to think our words through, and speak them in love. Would we want God to speak those words to us? 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What People Think

One of the interesting things I noticed when I moved from a large city to small town was an increase in interest. While most people in the large city wouldn't even open a door from me when I came up lugging a baby carrier and a bag full of groceries, people in a small town watch every move I make when I'm with my children. I'm not sure what they are watching for, perhaps they think one of my children will sprout wings or throw up on the post office floor (actually a distinct possibility,) but none of those things should concern them.
The comments started when I was pregnant. Positive things, like "Wow, you must be exited," to (with my third child,) "Don't you know what causes that?" Somehow, having kids makes you an instant conversation piece. I am a pretty friendly person and don't have a problem talking to strangers, but just because I have children does not mean it's o.k. to be rude.
I love, love, love being a mom. I've read lots of parenting books and gone to lots of great parents for advice (including my own.) I do not always get it right. I have made horrendous mistakes. I have dealt with:

  • My 2 and 4 year old running off in towards the river (in two different directions!)
  • My 5 year old throwing fits so violent I couldn't get him in the car until he calmed down. 
  • My 14 month old throwing his shoe at a cashier
  • My child peeing in a dressing room because he told his brother he could go potty first.
So yeah, I don't always get it right, though my children do get disciplined and do not get excess soda or red dye.

The other day, I was at the splash pad in town. Someone had brought several water guns for the kids to play with. And who was the terrible mom, yelling to her kids they couldn't play with the guns? Me. I was out there, getting soaked, prying them out of my kid's fingers. It's not that I'm anti-gun, I just know my kid's limitations. And they don't do well with weapons of any kind. They will start throwing them or swinging them eventually.
I could see the look on all the parent's faces. I just knew they were thinking about how mean I was. How my poor children probably only had rocks and sticks to play with at home.
Then I decided, I just don't care. People are going to judge because it's their nature to judge. I will probably have people judge me for some of the things in this blog post. But until you have walked in a mom's shoes, with HER children, there is no way you can possibly understand.

So get over it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Save on School Supplies and Back to School Clothes

According to an article by Parenting Magazine (Here) parents will spend an average of 179.00 per child on back to school clothing alone, not even counting backpacks, lunchboxes and other school supplies. I have two bows in elementary right now, and they are especially hard on clothes at this age. But here are some steps you can take now, over the summer, to make the crunch a little softer once the end of August rolls around.

  • Check backpacks for holes and zipper malfunctions. If they are in good shape, wash them in the washing machine on cold and hang them to dry. They will be good to go for another year. Same for zipper lunch bags.
  • Repair shoes with Gorilla Glue. My son has a bad habit of dragging his shoes on the sidewalk, which causes the soles to tear off. Gorilla Glue works great and you can find it at Wal-mart or any craft store. 
  • Check thrift stores for bulk school supplies. I've found huge containers of mixed supplies, many brand new, at thrift stores for less than 10.00. Keep a running inventory of what you have/need. Store all your supplies in a plastic container with a checklist at the top, every time you add in an item you can check it off. Watch for sales on hand sanitizer, tissues and other items you will need when you go shopping. 
  • Host a clothing swap with other moms who have different-sized kids. Everyone brings clothing their kids have outgrown that is in good condition with no stains/tears. This is great for movies and toys as well. If you don't have time to do it at your house, create an event on Facebook and invite other moms to join. 
  • Instead of buying expensive character notebooks, print out pictures of the character(s) or cut them out of magazines. Let your child create character collages on the front of inexpensive notebooks. You can find a great tutorial here.
  • Splurge on one thing. If you feel guilty not sending your child with brand-new everything, budget for one nice thing they pick out. Maybe a shirt they really want, or a new backpack, or pair of shoes. 
I hope these ideas will help you save some money on back to school supplies! I would love to hear any other ideas in the comments below!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Top 8 Disgusting Places in Your House You Might Not Even Know About

Let's face it; No matter how wonderful we are with keeping house, there are areas we miss. Here are a few places I have discovered in horror. I challenge you to check these spots in your house! (Warning; if you are not a perfect housekeeper, you might want to grab some gloves and cleaner first!)

1. Under the sink. We often don't think to check under the sink. After all, we have our very own stash of plastic grocery bags accumulated there to keep an eye on things, right? One day, when my sink smelled especially fowl, I discovered a plastic tub full of the most disgusting liquid imaginable: putrid water with everything else I stored under the sink floating in it. Our pipe was leaking! It took forever to clean it out... and I resolved then and there to give the areas under my sink a once-over at least once a month.

2. Under the high-chair cover and car-seat cover. This seems obvious, but I have spoken to more than one shell-shocked mother who forgot about the area under the high chair cover... and was horrified to find the area they placed their baby to partake of everyday nourishment contained growing mold. Yuck!

3. Inside your toothbrush holder. There have been few times I nearly threw up during house cleaning, but the first time I cleaned out my toothbrush holder almost did me in.

4. Under your microwave. An amazing amount of food splatters, splashes and rolls under your microwave... and gets pushed farther back every time you swipe the counter in front of it with a rag.

5. The vent over your stove (and the metal hood). I did not realize the area above our stove had a mesh catch-all that needed to be cleaned and dusted... until I heard chirping noises coming from it. I never found out what live creature had chosen it for a home, but let's just say I boiled the mesh cover. I could not believe I had been preparing meals under that atrocity.

6. Doorknobs and Doorbells. Kids coming in with grimy hands, in and out of the bathroom... we should be cleaning these every day! Do I? Um... no.

7. Keyboard, mouse and mouse pad. Take a good look at your keyboard, mouse and mouse pad. Is there crud down between the keys? A hazy crust over your mouse? O.k., so they look clean. Try smelling your mouse
pad. Yep, it should cost you less than 20 bucks to replace all three. Don't even bother trying to clean them. Certain things should just be changed out.

8. The bottom of the toy box. Sticky candy, old silly-putty, wads of gum... how long has it been since you've even seen the bottom?

There's my top six... do you have any to share? And here's my dare... if every one of these places is sparkly-clean in your home, congratulations! You get Housekeeper of the Year!    


Monday, October 28, 2013

God's Not Dead

I've been listening to the song by the Newsboys "God's Not Dead" (By the way, when did Michael Tate from DC Talk join them? And why was I not informed? Oh yeah, I've been writing a book and raising children. Shock of my life in the Christian bookstore the other day. ANYWAYS.)
My kids love the song too. And a new movie starring Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain is coming out by the same name. I mean, a Christian movie with Hercules and Superman? Could it be?

Judah, Levi and I were discussing the song and the lyrics. Judah had mixed up some of the words so I was explaining them to him, and then we started talking about what they meant. It was then the impact of what we were singing really hit me.

"God's not dead, He's surely alive
And He's living on the inside,
Roaring like a lion"

I said, "You know how powerful lions are? When they roar, it shakes the air. No one can miss a lion roaring. They are powerful."

Then I started thinking about the power of God. God holds the power of the wind in His hands, He controls the ocean, the forces of nature. He controls the flaming power of the sun. And guess what? He chooses to dwell inside of us. He chooses to fill us with that power.

I tend to worry about things. What if we can't pay the bills? What if I get in a car wreck and can't do laundry and the children never have clean underwear again? What if no one reads my book I just spent three years writing? What if, what if, what if?

There is a mighty Lion of Judah God and He dwells inside of me.
That is absolutely enough. End of argument.

(Official YouTube Video for "God's Not Dead" by the Newsboys)
Official trailer for the movie "God's Not Dead"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Queen of the Mess (To the tune of Henry the Eighth)

I'm Queen of the Mess, I am, I am,
Queen of the Mess, I am,
I cleaned juice, milk and pee from the kitchen floor,
and thought "I've cleaned up this mess before'
from every room in this house,
The living room, the bathroom and the car,
And I'm hopping in pain after stepping on Thomas the Train,
I'm Quee-ee-een, Queen,
Queen of the Mess I am!

(Second Verse, same... oh never mind.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Trip to Wal-Mart

You mothers of more than three children will roll your eyes and say I'm a wimp, but for me, a trip to Wal-Mart is something I must prepare for spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Most of the time, I talk myself out of it, but today it was pouring down rain and after 6 hours in the house with a 7, 5 and 2 year old I had to do something. So off we went.
The first battle was waged when my 5 year old insisted he bring his glow in the dark skull.
Finally I gave in, since I really couldn't think of a reason why he couldn't take it.
We reached Wal-Mart. I had a few strategies. I told the kids we would look at toys last,
 if they were good. I also offered them bribes of candy. What can I say?
Wal-Mart weakens my parental resolve. The idea of dealing with a screaming, flailing child in
 public is my deepest fear. I have had to experience my deepest fear many times.
Yes, if you look close you will see my daughter is wearing an
"Angry Bud" hat, and my son has full-sleeve Spider Man tattoos.
On our way in, we passed another frazzled mom with even more children in her basket.
Her frenzied eyes pled with me as if to say, "Don't do it to yourself! Do not go in there!"
I found myself repeating myself every two seconds. "Judah, get behind the basket so we
 don't take up the whole aisle. Celise, stop making 'Angry Bud' noises. "Levi,
pick up that skull and don't drop it again!" (Oh yeah, that was my reason!)
For the most part, the children were good and they got to visit the toy aisle.

I found it hilarious that I had the only children on the aisle. The other customers were middle aged men, feverishly reading the backs of Lego boxes and examining Hot Wheels packages.

Celise was not entertained by the Legos. Here's an action shot of her whipping around the Angry Bud hat.

So we survived to live another day. I am please to announce I only broke
 into public song twice... one was the Ninjago Lego theme song.