This is what my husband said to me on the way out the door this morning. I heaved a big sigh and said, "I don't either." We smiled at each other, knowing neither of us really had a choice. And off we went. I to my day of never-ending chores and childcare, and he to the busy work world. There are often days when I wish we could trade for a day. I could go out into the world and contribute to society. I could have adult conversations. I could go out to lunch and actually enjoy my food and go to a restaurant that doesn't have a playplace. Being a stay-at-home mom is no easy task. I don't think it's physically any more difficult than other jobs, but it's emotionally more difficult. And it's not a 9-5 gig. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The thing that makes it worthwhile is the long-term rewards. The joy of seeing my children grow up can't be replaced by any job out in the world. And although there are days when I yearn to contribute to society in a more obvious way, I know that by staying home and raising my children, I am contributing. I am contributing to who they are and who they become. And I pray every day that I do this in a good way. I have nothing but respect for those women who do work and have to work. I know that many of them would trade places with me in a heartbeat. I know I am fortunate to be home with my children, but I think no matter your situation, there's always days you wish it was different. And so today...I don't wanna go to work!!
In a land where the sun rarely shines in the winter, I caught a glimpse the other day. It wasn't just the possibility of the sun with rays trickling through the dense muck, but the sun itself. I ran inside holding my baby, (too cold outside to really enjoy it) and smashed our bodies up to the sliding glass door to soak in some Vitamin D. My five year old, Michael, started laughing and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was soaking in some Vitamin D and he came and put his face on the warm glass with me. I was afraid it would go away quickly because I could see foreboding clouds in the distance. So we just stood there, the three of us against the glass, soaking in the rays. I called my mother to tell her to hurry or she'd miss the sun and she enjoyed it with me for a moment. (Thanks mom!!) In my old age, I will definitely be a snow bird. These mucky sunless winters are hard for me! I see the sun again this morning and have opened all the blinds. I know it won't be long before it's gone, so I'd better go enjoy it!
It seems that no matter how hard I work on Saturday, or how much I try, by the end of Sunday the house is a disaster. We hurry to get to church, we hurry to go to Grandma's, or we just laze around the house. But no matter what, I wake up to a disaster on Monday morning wondering where my nice clean house went. The children are required to clean their bedrooms on Saturday, and sometimes it lasts a day or two, but I can almost guarantee that by this time tomorrow, I won't be able to walk through their bedrooms. I wish my house would just stay in a state of cleanliness! How nice would that be?
Katherine has chicken pox! Poor baby girl! I'd like to think that explains her recent increase in orneriness, but I'm afraid the orneriness is merely a symptom of being three and not the pox. The doctor looked at me a little funny when I told her I suspected chicken pox, and then asked if she is current on her vaccines, which she is. But she's one of those lucky 2% of kids that can still get the pox. So...we got the pox. Now I just pray Odessa doesn't get it because I KNOW that won't be fun! Oh the joys of parenting!
She's three years old and cute as a button. Be wary of her constant crying, and determination to do everything herself, even though she can't. Watch for temper tantrums at the drop of a hat. She doesn't like to leave her hair done, so she often looks like an orphan (albeit, a cute orphan). She doesn't like to go to the bathroom unless it's her idea. Playing nicely with siblings is a challenge and she cries constantly. But like I said, she's cute! Any takers? No? Darn! I guess I'll just have to pray she grows out of all of this loveliness!
My children don't understand what this means. Every morning when I send them upstairs to get ready for school, I say, "Be quiet please. Your siblings are still sleeping." Not two minutes later, I hear drawers slamming shut, doors closing loudly and usually I hear fighting. So I go upstairs and say to them, "What did I tell you about being quiet?" Looking at the floor, "Be quiet." Grrrrr! So do it! But alas, they inevitably wake up one, if not all the other sleeping children. I just wish they had to deal with their crankiness the rest of the day like I do. Maybe then they'd learn what BE QUIET really means!!
They multiply and you can't keep track of them. They constantly get lost, and even if you find them you can't keep them where they belong! They poop constantly. (OK, so socks don't actually poop, but they all have holes where something comes out!) And as much as you love them, you wish you could get rid of them!!
One of the maladies of having many young children is the fact that they must wear socks! I spend the winter attempting to keep non-holey socks on five children. It's an exhausting task. One that requires more than I can give. So my children are constantly wearing mismatched holey socks. It doesn't matter that I just bought everybody big bags of socks. No, they are still holey. And they disappear! I swear there's an alternate sock universe out there with all the lost socks. And they are standing there laughing at the efforts to find them, knowing that they will never be found!!
Whenever my children do something overly disgusting, like eating random candy off the ground, I always say,"Oh well, they are just building their immunities." I'm pretty sure I did the same disgusting things when I was a child. So my question is, where are my immunities? I think I must have misplaced them along the road to adulthood. I looked under the couch, but all I found was a partially eaten sucker stuck to the carpet. No immunities there. I looked in the kitchen sink, but just found a pile of dirty dishes. I looked under my bed, but I just found dust bunnies. So then I tried to think of the place in the house where one might collect the most amount of immunities and I thought of the bathroom. So I ran in and looked in the sink, but there were just smudgy chocolate handprints. I looked in the toilet and just found, well...use your imagination there. (ewwwww) So here I sit, immunity-less, coughing, sniffing and wondering why all those built up immunities aren't doing me any good!! If you find them, could you let me know?
My children go back to school in 96 hours! They have been off since Christmas. I love them, but yay for school! I am not one of those mothers who desire to homeschool my children. I need someone else to do it so they can survive until adulthood! I think they are ready to go back. They no longer like each other or can think of ways to entertain themselves. It doesn't help that it's twenty degrees outside. Oh, and the fighting! I'd like to seclude myself in my room so I don't have to hear the screaming and whining! 96 hours......
It's evidence that we live in the age of technology when that is what is heard from my children's mouth at every commercial. They get perturbed and antsy when we can't skip the commercials. Although, they still watch enough commercials to be able to inform me when they've seen something they "need" on TV! They also think all televisions should be able to pause so they can go to the bathroom in the middle of the show. They haven't had to learn the art of holding it until the commercial! And if we have to leave mid-show they ask, "can we tape it?"Ah, the age of technology!!
I survived! I survived getting ready and arriving shortly before 9a.m. I survived the children poking each other, pulling hair, throwing shoes, hitting and squirming through Sacrament meeting. I survived the baby wanting to eat twelve times during church. (OK, so it wasn't that many, it just felt that way.) I even survived playing the piano in two meetings, and for choir practice after church. I survived!!
Did I learn anything? Well, that's another question entirely. I learned that the hall class is going full swing this year. I learned that Katherine likes her nursery teacher. (I peeked during the hall class.) I learned that if I forget to take two cars so I can stay after church, we can run home during Sunday school and the children will all be fine.
Why go to church? Days like today, that's a very good question! Today I went for my children. I went so they could learn the gospel and feel the spirit. I learned a little at the end of Relief Society. Just enough to tide me over a little. There's always hope that next week will be less chaotic. And I know someday, I'll be an old lady and get all the learning I want! But by then, I'll probably be oogling all the cute babies and remembering when I couldn't get a darn thing out of church. And I would even venture to say that perhaps I'll miss those days!!
Brought to you in part by: Odessa! The five month old pooper! (You see where this is going.)
Her moment: After fussing through her dinner (we've just started solids), I pick her up and put her on my hip, outward facing. I walk around for a few minutes, then look down and see brown stuff down my shirt. At first, I thought she had spit up some of her dinner. But then I realize she has the same brown stuff on her back. Then it hits me. Oh poop!!!! Yup it was all over. All over her, and all over me! EWWWWWWWW!!
One of the many joys of motherhood, is being woken in the middle of the night. Having an infant right now, I expect to be woken up at least twice a night. I go to bed with the realization that more likely than not, I will see at least one child in the middle of the night. This week, I've had some excitement. The night before last, Odessa thought that it was more fun to be awake in the night than asleep. And so yesterday, I was part zombie! Last night, Odessa woke for her usual feeding, Lillie had a bad dream, and Michael "felt sick".
I think the worst is when they tag team you. I've had nights when, as soon as I get one back to bed, another is up and needing something. I think they plan this to see how little sleep mom can really survive on! It's a test! And many times, I fail. Because when I don't get sleep, I'm not a very nice mommy! Luckily, they don't test me too often. Just often enough to remind me that I have five small children!!
What makes one day different from the next? When you are a stay at home mom, sometimes the days all blend together. Each day is filled with chores, diapers, homework, never ending dishes and laundry, the same Dora episodes you've seen a million times, the same fights over the same toys, the same needs and wants. So what makes a day different? What makes it worth the mundane?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I love to be at home with my children, but I would be lying if I said I didn't sometimes wish for a little more excitement once in a while. My days are often filled with things I don't necessarily like doing. (My children often whine, "but I don't waaaant to!" To which I reply, "neither do I.") But I do it anyway. And most of the time I don't even mind.
So what makes a day different when it's so much the same, is the little things. It's things like having my almost three year old come to my room, where I had sent myself for a timeout, and announce that she wants to go to Disneyland for her birthday. Then when I laugh she stomps and says, "It not funny mom!" It's watching the baby rocking on her knees and actually making it to her toys. It's watching the lightbulb go on in my eight year old as he understands a concept. Those are the things that make the mundane worth it. Those are the reasons I am home everyday with my children. Those are the reasons that I love my job. All jobs are boring and mundane if you look at the day to day tasks. But it's the small moments that make it worthwhile. So my message today to any stay at home mom that might be wondering if there's something more exciting to do today is this: Yup! There probably is something more exciting to do, but nothing that is more important. Love your children and look for the small moment that made today different from all the rest!
I think all four of the older ones, (the verdict is still out on the baby) were born with hearing problems. And it seems to get worse with age. It never fails. I give them directions, and they either don't do them at all, or only do part of them. Then when I ask them, they act as though I haven't spoken! For example:
Mom: "Go get your shoes and coat on. Go to the bathroom and get in the car."
The kids hear: Something about shoes and car.
At the store, one of the kids will say: "I have to go to the bathroom."
Mom: "I told you to go before we left. Did you go?"
Kid: Blank stare "Uhhhhhh, I don't think so." Then a mad dash to the restroom!
When A went to Kindergarten, they did their usual hearing tests. And he actually failed! I felt so bad because all that time I thought he just had selective hearing. So he got tubes put in, and for a few months he heard me just fine. Then he went to first grade and failed again. Once again I felt bad that I thought he just had selective hearing. After another round of tubes, I crossed my fingers and he actually passed his school hearing test! So now that he's in third grade, he and his siblings, who have also passed hearing tests, just have the most fabulous selective hearing ever!! It never ceases to amaze me.
So for now, until this selective thing is remedied, I am making everyone repeat the directions I give them. It's a tad annoying and the kids like to roll their eyes at me. But it's amazing how often we have to repeat things back and forth until they get it!
I didn't have enough time to do anything!" This is what my eight year old son said to me shortly after midnight last night when I informed him it was time for bed. It mad me think. How many years end and we feel like we didn't have enough time to do anything? Or maybe it's just that we feel like we didn't use our time to do something that really mattered.
So this year, instead of calling them New Year's resolutions, I have made some personal goals that happen to coincide with the New Year. Some are mundane goals, like losing weight. ( I think nearly everyone has this one. Thus the influx of people at my gym in January.) Other goals are simple ones, like enjoy my kids more and let the little things go. They are little for such a short time. I also have a goal of writing more and journaling more. I'd also like to go through all my old digital pictures and make books so I have a hard copy for the children to look at. They love to look at themselves!
I hope that I can look back at 2008 and not have to say, "But mom, I didn't have time to do anything!!" I hope that I can learn from my eight year old and make wise use of my time so that I can look back, satisfied, and say, "I did all I could and wanted to do and, darn it, I'm proud of myself!!" Happy New Year and my this year bring much happiness and joy to you!
I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 drama-queens, 2 grubby little boys, 2 cats and a tortoise. I constantly threaten to move to Africa and change my name to George, but I secretly love the chaos my kids create. Life is rarely boring and these are our adventures as recorded by me!
A~ 10 years old and loves to torment his sisters. L~ 8 year old drama queen gymnast. M~6 years old and terribly precocious. K~4 year old sweetheart, but she cries, a lot! O~ 2 year old holy terror. E~ 5 months old and the yummy baby.