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69 weeks and I suck, but whatever…so do you, and so does everyone else.

Last week, I reached my boiling point, and there was no wooden spoon to keep me from boiling over and spilling onto the floor. Don’t know what I’m talking about? See this popular pin:

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I think that this Pinterest and Facebook era has put so much pressure on wives, moms, and especially Stay-at-Home Moms. If we’re at home all day, then we must prove that we did something with our time. It isn’t enough to throw a party, but we have to make glow-in-the-dark mason jars to line the driveway.

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We can’t just have a French twist for an evening out. We have to watch the tutorial on how to master the never-ending inception braid (a braid within a braid, within a braid).

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We can’t just hand our kids a coloring book and crayons, oh no. We have to pick up scraps from the lumber yard and repurpose them with DIY chalkboard paint to allow our children to express themselves artistically.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my Pinterest page. I love getting ideas for projects and seeing the things that interest the friends that I follow. I am just standing up and admitting 3 major flaws, of which I know I am not the only one:

Flaw #1
Sometimes, I put way too much effort into a project just for the sheer purpose of watching people’s jaws drop. It’s crazy, I know, but don’t sit there and tell me that you don’t do the same. Something about the claim that “I made it” or “I did it myself” brings an overwhelming sense of euphoria to a woman who earns her keep by staying at home with the kids all day. I think we need a sense of accomplishment beyond our laundry and dishes. Something that says “I don’t just sit on the couch all day,” and “I’m not JUST a stay-at-home-mom.”

Flaw#2
Sometimes, I sit on the couch all day. Ooh, freaking sue me, alright? I tossed chicken, potatoes, and carrots into the crockpot this morning (without any special recipe or seasonings other than salt and pepper). The laundry may not be folded and put away, but it’s not like that clean pile is going to run away. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes, and I’d rather let them air dry than towel-dry each, individual crevice of the Tupperware lid before putting all of the dishes away. No, I did not do my child’s reading and writing lesson today, but he can’t get any dumber as the days pass. As he gets older, he will only get wiser, and one day of missing a phonics lesson is not going to send him in a downward spiral against the flow of all humanity. No, I did not put on makeup, and no I don’t plan to. I’m not going o the grocery store, and I plan on having one of the kids check the mail later on. If you want to call me a name, it better be either “Pot” or “Kettle” because let’s face it, you have couch days too.

Flaw #3
I think I’m a terrible Mom sometimes. A the end of every day, I have a ritual of checking on the kids before bed. I always touch their skin to see if they’re hot or cold. Cole is always sweating, so I turn on his fan and switch his comforter out for a sheet. Idan is always ice cold. so I switch off his fan, gently pull a sweater over his little head and arms, and put socks on his feet. They both have dry lips, so I put a little dab of Vaseline on them to allow them to moisten and heal over night. I do these things and then I stand back and look at their little faces as I recall the day. Did I do too much? Did I overwork Cole with his studying, cello practice, and chores? Did I ignore Idan too much when Mommy needed that 20 minute bath to herself? Should I have made jello worms out of straws instead of giving them pudding for dessert? Should I not have let them dip their green beans into ketchup? Should I have taken them for a walk instead of watching cartoons with them? Should I have cuddled and watched cartoons instead of sending them outside to play? Do they exercise enough? Do they relax enough? Do they have clean clothes for tomorrow? I did it all wrong again! I’ll try better tomorrow…

This week, God has done a mighty work on the way I view myself. So, let me now share with you the way my flaws and your flaws are lies that satan whispers into our ears, because
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
-Romans 8:1

Flaw #1 – TRUTH
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
-Galations 1:10
Honestly, God doesn’t care about chalk board paint or mason jars. His heart is for his people! We are his people! Quit putting pressure on yourselves (Really, I’m talking to me , but I’m including you all so I don’t feel alone in this) to be the best, to have the neatest whatever, or to make something or do something outside of your realm of expertise. If you’re an artist, fine! Make art! If you’re a dancer, dance! If you like doing hair, then freaking do hair. Don’t feel bad if your sock bun has pieces of hair sticking out of it. In the words of Darrell from Mad TV,
“Don’t be insecure, girl! Own that ponytail! Work that updo!”

Flaw #2. – TRUTH
“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul…”
-Psalm 23:1-3a
Our bodies were created to work, and our bodies were created to rest. There is NOTHING wrong with having a rest day. Even with people who work out, in order to see progress, you MUST take a rest day following a couple of rigorous gym days. God rested after 6 days of creation. He WANTS us to rest once a week. A lot of times, a stay-at-home Mom’s work load is heaviest on the weekend, because everyone is home. So, if Monday is your couch day, and the laundry sits for an extra day from the weekend madness, then so be it. Monday is my messiest house day, so if you’re planning to stop by, then expect laundry and dishes and me in my bathrobe. I dare someone to criticize me on a Monday…they’d just better hope I’m not also PMS-ing (yes, even though I have no uterus, I still experience PMS).

Flaw #3 – TRUTH
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
-1John 4:18
God is not looking down on us at the end of the day, waiting to punish us for making bad parenting choices. And on that note, who’s to say that the choices we made were bad? Maybe they needed to run around unsupervised in the woods behind the house. Maybe they needed to spend 30 minutes in their room thinking about their choice to back-talk. Maybe they needed to take a break from reading and just watch some mindless cartoons for a day. Maybe I really needed that 20 minute bath to myself in order to de-stress. And honestly, I’ve tried the jello worms, and they’re dumb. They break apart, and the kids really weren’t as excited as I felt my effort warranted.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
-Matthew 6:34
We can’t obsess over how we can make tomorrow better. I’m going to fail tomorrow, just like I failed today. My kids are their own unique personalities, and I can’t plan tomorrow before its even here. If Idan wakes up cranky, he probably needs some cuddles before we practice tracing letters. If Cole has a ton of homework after school, then we’re not going to the park. If the dog barfs all over every single item of clothing in the house, then it automatically becomes laundry day, even if it’s not Wednesday and isn’t on my mental list. Tomorrow will come, and I can’t stop it, so I might as well enjoy today before tomorrow steals it away from me.

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68 weeks and Welcome to the Dark Side

“mo”
Message received Tuesday, 4:27pm

When we started dating almost 9 years ago, I knew I loved him right from the start. I’m pretty sure he felt the same, but saying “I love you” is nerve racking in the beginning of a relationship. Then there’s always the question of who will say it first. It wasn’t going to be me, that was for sure. I was at my game-playing prime, and I had my feet firmly planted in never calling first, not going out of my way for him, and definitely, under no circumstances was I to claim the mushy goo-goo, lovey-dovey feelings that were squirming around and stirring up butterflies inside of me. I was the queen of playing it cool. But I managed to find loopholes in my own rules. I could stop by his office if I was planning to stop by my little sister’s school, which was right across the street. I could accidentally call him when I meant to call my friend, Jen. I blamed it on my crazy speed dial and even crazier scatter-brained tendencies. The whole “I love you” rule though…that was tough one to find my way around. I had to tread lightly around it. I had to think carefully and plan tactfully. I thought about saying it every time we were looking at each other, but I always managed to avoid it by babbling random nonsense words. I had created my own language to suffice my appetite for a serving of “those three little words.”

My husband liked to eat pizza, preferably Papa Johns. And he didn’t dip just his crust into the garlic sauce. He would dip into it with each bite of the entire slice. He loved cheese and onions as his toppings (freaking ew), and he hated the pickled banana pepper that came inside of each box. I happen to think cheese and onions pizza degrades the quality of Papa Johns in its original splendor, but that didn’t stop me from giving him a thumbs up every time he would order dinner for us (up until a couple of years ago when I finally admitted it to him). I gagged a little every time I took a bite of that concoction. Love makes you do crazy things and eat delicious pizza, made disgusting by tossing some onions onto it. I remember looking forward to the pepper at the end of the meal. It would set a fire to my taste buds, making that horrid onion taste disappear. He would cringe every time I reached for the pepper, which always made me laugh.

One night, he had a little get-together, and he ordered Papa Johns, but thankfully…no cheese and onions. He went to grab me a slice, and came back with 3 peppers for me. I didn’t need it to wash out any onion taste, but he was so happy to have snagged them for me before anyone else had the chance…it must’ve been love, right? I wanted to say it right then and there, but I couldn’t break my rule! It was such a dilemma. Then, it hit me… Spanish! I could say it in Spanish! If I was Hispanic, then it would’ve held more weight, but since I was just this little white girl in soffee shorts and a camo hat, it would just come off as a cute effort at speaking In a foreign language. I could always play it off as me thinking it meant “I’m hungry” or something like that. So, I looked at him and mumbled, “Te Amo,” as I took a bite of my pepper. Right away, he and his friend caught a stare with each other, and I just smiled and sang while doing a little happy-fat dance, “Yay, peppers. They’re so delicious. Inside my tummy. I love to eat them…” I was trying too hard to distract them from my little Mexican declaration, and it seemed to have done the trick…

Fast-forward almost a 9 years later, and because of that night we have our own secret love language between us. “Te Amo” is how our love started out, and it has transformed over the years. It turned into “Amo” for a while, then “Mo,” and then “M”. Nowadays, if we’re across the room from each other and we catch eyes, one of us will sometimes press our lips together, as if to form the “m” sound, and the other reciprocates.

The past 15+ months have really taken a toll on my husband and me. I started this journey out filled with optimism and courage to fight the fight while maintaining a solid stance. This week, I finally slid down the wall, and hugged my knees. I just can’t stand it anymore, so I have to sit. My husband isn’t feeling the “Te Amo” right now, so I’ve been fueling up on every little “Mo” and “M” I can get from him. I think his “Amo” tank has officially run dry, squeezed to the last drop by this deployment, and we’re both left standing (me sitting) across oceans just pressing our lips together, making a silent “M” sound. What do you do in the middle of a tag-team boxing match, when both partners are completely beat to a pulp? Just give up and stop fighting, right?

Wrong. You go to Sally’s and dye your hair. At least, that’s what I do! After what had been my worst day in this deployment so far, after my t-shirt became my sobbing, snot rag, and I fed my kids marshmallows and kit-kats for dinner, a few girlfriends from church showed up at my doorstep with wine and hair dye. It was exactly what I needed to snap myself out of it! I have been all sorts of blonde variations for the past 5 years, with little spurts of red in the fall, and I finally went rogue…and by rogue I mean brunette.

Activity #68: Crossing Over to the Dark Side

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I’m always the one doing the hair and/or makeup for everyone else, so it was really nice to be sitting in the chair and sipping on a glass of Pino instead. The company wasn’t my usual circle of friends, but it was exactly what I needed, and I didn’t even know it! I needed Christian women who would listen, offer advice, not judge, and wouldn’t indulge in my pity fest, but would allow me to ride the ride for a night. After I got all of my crying and whining out of my system, they helped me dust off and get headed back in the right direction. I’m so very grateful.

…and I bet you’re wondering how my pepper song and dance distraction turned out, huh? Well, that same night he translated my “Te Amo” into English. 🙂

Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!