Monday, October 20, 2008

Hunting Season

Todd has not had the privilege of hunting for many years and this year, the opportunity arose for him to go with his brothers and dad. He totally took the chance stating "the meat will save us a lot of money in groceries." Of course, I encouraged him to go knowing that I would have the time to do lots of fun girly stuff with my family. He left on Friday and won't return until Wednesday.

I guess he could have hunted on Hawaii. Heaven knows there is nothing like Kalua Pig, but with his studies and the beach...why go?

But I have gained a much greater appreciation for quite a few people in just these few short days that I have been without Todd. Let me list them and the reasons why:

Angie. This girl's husband goes out of town on a weekly basis and she plays the single mom role and then has to re-adjust back to dual-parenthood on the weekends. Not an easy adjustment. You get the kids on this incredible schedule and then BAM you want them to spend so much time with their daddy that all routine flies out the window. Not to mention the rules and boundaries that you try to maintain. Craziness. Hopefully this one ends for you guys quickly.

Kimi. What the???? You do this EVERY Sunday? The whole sitting alone trying to wrangle all the kids onto one bench for a solid hour? What do you give the kids before you go so that you aren't completely delusional by Sunday School? Do you duck tape them to the bench?

Armadillo. You are wonderful to be willing to sacrifice the time with your kids so that you can hopefully (and quickly) create a better future for them. I know it isn't easy for you. You are one of the most loving mothers on the earth. Every time you pick these kids up, you can see that you have truly missed them. You have such an admirable relationship with your kids. Why can't I miss my kids more (to be honest, the more I leave them the harder it is it that way for you too or have you gotten used to it?).

Tonya. My mother-in-law. AKA Super Woman. I feel like when I tell her my silly woes, they are nothing. She has survived them...she had 4 little BOYS (AUGH) under the age of 5 to tend to. BOYS! 4 of them. She is still alive, functioning, looking hot and loving her grandkids. Everything I have been through, she's been through. It's always nice to hear her laugh and tell me a story of a similar experience she went through. This woman whom I think Todd wishes I could be more like is more like me than I know. I don't think I will ever make it to the whole eight kids mark...who knows if I will ever get a degree either. I will lack in some areas.

All Single Moms that don't want to be. You are amazing and doing something for your family that only you can do. Having to find someone to take your kids and care for them every hour you work is exhausting. Arranging times to drop them off and pick them up and packing the bags for food, diapers, clothes, games. It is all so time consuming. Never knowing if it will come to an end.

Let me just say, it is much easier being a working woman knowing that my children are in their own home with their dad. He helped to bring them into this world, he is obligated to take care of them while I am working to pay off the student loans incurred while he was going to school. He is incredible with them and they love their daddy (mostly because he lets them watch movies that I won't).

Finding a sitter for them each and every night has been the easy part. Everyone I have asked to watch the kids has been so kind and willing to take them for the whole 5 hour block of time. 3 kids under ain't easy. But the weirdest part for me has been leaving them at someone else's home. I know they are in loving and capable hands, but a part of me is torn.

Can you guess why? "They are such sweet kids". I don't think so (okay, sometimes they can be pretty sweet)".

"I will miss them so much..." Nope. I love a good break (yeah, I am being totally honest, my evening job is like therapy).

The truth is, I hate to burden other people with my kids. They (the babysitters) all have lives to live. Who wants to watch three little munchkins in the evening, when it is time for them to eat dinner and go to bed? Everyone who has ever had a child knows that evenings are the roughest times.

So this is an apology to all of you (Suzy, Braby's, Armadillo) who have so kindly taken my children into your homes and watched them during this last week. I love you all so much and trust my kids in your care. THANK YOU!!!

Okay, enough with the mushy stuff. Let's get into some of the more entertaining moments in my life.

You never realize what kind of mother you are until the things you say come out of the mouths of one of your children. Let's relive a moment that happened just this last Sunday morning.

Sunday mornings are ever so hectic around our house as Todd is usually in meetings at the church starting around 7am and I get to prepare the 3 wee-ones on my own. It isn't such a big deal. I have it all worked out perfectly. I corral all three kids in the tub at the same time and they play and splash happily while I do my hair and make-up at the bathroom vanity. Then one-by-one I get them pulled out, dressed and ready and out the door.

Here is a note of PERFECTION I have to boast about. We are always at church 10 minutes before the meeting begins. Yes! This is one of the few areas in my life that I feel I have mastered. I think there are a total of 5 areas in my life I have mastered. You wanna hear where I fail? Soft Spoken Discipline. The nice soft, kind, patient voice just DOESN'T WORK!!!

Here comes the story that I tried to start 3 paragraphs ago:

Carly was positioned in her high chair as to not ruin her perfectly curled hair and super cute green dress with brown and white polka-dots (kudos to Miranda). Connor was pretending to be Batman and Abigail was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a glass of milk (not in a sippy cup..mistake #1). I came into the kitchen with all of the bags (one for kids, one for relief society, one for the trash full of poopy diapers). I took the diapers outside and when I came back in, beautiful Abigail in her super cute pink dress (another kudos to Miranda), all while looking straight at me, dumped her milk on the kitchen table and I blurted out:

"Stop please. Stop. Stop. You're going to make a mess. STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP!!!!!!!!!"

She kept looking at me as though she didn't hear me YELLING and started playing in the milk.

I then slapped her hand and said, "When mommy says STOP it means that I don't want you to do what you are doing."

Connor then yells at me, "Mommy, don't talk to her that way. Do you understand? I want you to never ever talk to her like that again."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because a three year old was putting me in my place 3 minutes before I was supposed to be heading out the door to a place where I was supposed to feel the spirit (yeah right...more on that to come).

We made it out the door and got to church on time. The three kids did so well without my right-hand-dad for the first half of the meeting, but then it was like a switch flipped after the sacrament was passed and they flew off the handle. Needless to say, I marched us all to the nursery room where the kids played until the nursery leader actually came. While we were marching, Connor folded his arms and walked so quietly and turned to me and said, "Look mom. I'm being reverent." AUGH!!! Why couldn't he be reverent in the chapel?

I am loving Connor and this stage he is in right now (regardless of the above paragraph). He wants to do everything right and just the way his parents do it. Hooray for whatever developmental stage this is. Who and how much do I have to pay to keep it this way? This also means putting me in my place...and did I mention doing everything just the way I do it? Let me give you another example of what an imperfect person I am.

I must apologize now to The Reading Armadillo for the story I am about to tell. You may never want to leave your kids with me again..oh wait, I already told her and I still get to watch her kids tomorrow. one else will ever want to leave their kids with me again. Oh it is:

Last Tuesday was a rough day for me. I have spent the last week having some kind of cold/allergies/guck and haven't felt like myself. Nothing I am taking is making me feel better. This particular day the kids were stir crazy and whiny and frustrating me. I was trying to get lunch on the table (feeding five mouths when they are all hungry aint' fun) and the three oldest were in the living room (no-no zone) running around and playing, Carly was waking up from a nap and starting to fuss because she could hear the fun in the other room that she wasn't a part of and Emily was sitting in her chair STARVING (honestly, I have never seen such a small girl eat so much) and making sure that I knew it. The noise was too much and I put my head in my hands and in near tears mumbled (or maybe it wasn't so's been a week so now it's kind of vague) "shut-up, shut-up, shut-up" When little happy voices started yelling from the other room "Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up" All sing-songy and happy.

I popped my head into the living room as quick as possible and said, "I am so sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I will try harder not to say that ever again and you guys have to promise me that you won't say that again." They all agreed as cutely as they do.

It reminds me of a time that my mother apologized for a few years ago. I never remembered this experience, but obviously it scarred her more than me. I was probably 2 or three and doing something annoying (shocker) and my mom called me an "ugly ugly child." I laugh so hard about it now knowing that there are days where I want to say the same thing to Abi (although it would be entirely untrue...the only thing that has kept that girl alive this far is her good looks and her ability to cuddle). What made me feel even better about my moms admitance were the following:

1) The stupid things I say now most likely won't determine what my child ends up long as I don't repeatedly say them.

2) I think my mom is amazing and did a great job of raising me. If she said those things to me and I still love her, maybe twenty some-odd years later down the road, my kids will still love me too.

3) Even the coolest moms lose their cool at times.

How about a picture to break up the monotony of this post?

Blah, this was long enough. Time to go to bed and start the life routine all over again.


Nik said...

AAAahhhhhhhh! I know exactly what you are talking about. You know, the cool mom thing. Got it down pat:)! Just ask Brynlee. I did, she told me that actually I was the meanest mom she knows!

Meredith & Company said...

Isn't motherhood the most wonderful pain in the butt around? I can totally relate to everything you've said here! And, you are an amazing Mom! Don't doubt that. I've had to work the entire time I've had kids (all 5 1/2 years now) and it never gets any easier. Sure, there are days when I drop them off and I can't wait to get out the door, but not ever without that little twinge of guilt that someone else is going to love and care for them for a few hours. I'm always reminded when I come back and they're excited to see me that I'm always their Mom and nobody can replace that. Motherhood is by the far the most challenging and the most rewarding thing ever! I love the story your Mom told you, by the way, because I think we've all had those moments where we say (or think) really "naughty" things, and then we quickly brush those aside, even though we're really mad in the moment. I'm grateful for forgiveness, otherwise, Alex--as the firstborn--would totally be scarred for life.

Don't look down on yourself. You're doing awesome. No matter what anyone says, it's a dang hard job, and like any job some moments are going to be great and some moments are going to be deadly!

Thanks for your sweet comments on my site, by the way. You totally made my day! And, when you make that Tom Selleck cake, take a picture. I can't wait to see it :)

The Reading Armadillo said...

You are too kind. No, it does not get any easier to leave the kids. I find that while I'm at work, I'm really focused, but as soon as I get in the car to come pick them up, I find that I am aching for them. Don't worry about that story for one minute. I think it is hilarious. And if you think that "shut up" is the worst thing Scooter has heard, then you are (unfortunately) mistaken.
I just want to say how grateful I am for you. I don't know how you do what you do every day. I am totally awed and inspired by you as a mother and a baby sitter. You'll never know how much it means to me to leave my kids with someone who I know loves them, even though they may not be very loveable all the time.