Not a Mom

Confession. I make a terrible mom.

I used to work in a day care. My room had 18 kids, 18 months through 3 years. I could change a diaper, help a kid use the potty, tell a child to get something out of her nose, and monitor time out all while smiling and enjoying my job.

I could say “good job!” 50 times a day, and mean it. I could hug, laugh, read, clean, direct, and love.

I only have 3 kids now. I can’t handle them. Where I was once a calm, level headed girl who would sit and croon “I’m not picking you up until you stop crying. This is a fit. You need to stop.” Now I just want to scream (and frequently do) “what now?! You’ve only been up an hour! Can’t you just behave?!”

I’m supposed to teach them, direct them, set a good example for them. But I’m also supposed to do laundry, cook, keep the house clean enough the health department won’t shut us down, grocery shop, go to doctor appointments…. It turns out I can’t do both.

I’d like to be a good mom. I’d like to talk all sweet, like Michelle Dugger, with way less children. I’d like to whistle while I work. I’d like to sit and read and laugh with my kids. But all I manage to do is tread water and referee fights all day.

Maybe some day I’ll be good at this. Maybe.

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The Lender’s Slave

Coming up in just a little over a week, Brandon and I will begin leading our second Financial Peace University. As I try to get my brain in gear, and as I do spiritual battle against a devil who does not want us to have any peace, financial or otherwise; I have been thinking on a couple of verses out of Proverbs.

The first verse is a favorite quote among parents: Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This advice can apply to a good many areas of parenting and discipline. We must train our children in everything from how to use a toilet to how to ace a job interview — and all areas in between. But the second verse I’m thinking of, directly follows this verse, yet it’s largely skipped over. Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rules over the poor and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”

Yikes. I don’t know any parents looking to set their children up for a life of slavery; but we live in a society that absolutely is! Think about it. Most Americans “spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” And all of this is being done through debt. Car loans, student loans, credit cards, out of control mortgages, personal loans, pay day loans…. The list goes on and on. 

The average American household income is $59,039 (US census bureau 2017.) Yet the total consumer debt in the U.S. is $12.73 trillion. That’s 12,730,000,000,000 dollars!! (Nerdwallet 2017, federal reserve Q1 data) That is crazy. If we break it down credit cards alone account for $764 billion. Misc debt equals $840 billion — on just plain stuff! Americans owe $1.17 trillion on cars. Student loans add up to a whopping $1.34 trillion.  And mortgages account for $8.63 trillion.

Those numbers are huge. Americans in general are drowning in debt. 70% of couples do not budget, and 78% of people live pay check to pay check. And yet, for the most part parents continue to set the example that debt, loans, and credit cards are the only way to get ahead. Debt is marketed as this amazing financial tool that will set you free to live a crazy lavish life that you could never afford any other way. 

The truth is, debt is an anchor. A millstone hung around the necks of the people. Debt isn’t freedom. It’s slavery. It’s working every single day just to pay someone else. There is no real living this way. And wise King Solomon knew that when he wrote Proverbs 22:7. “The borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” 

If you are tired of living your own life this way, and scared for your children’s future as they are released into their own world of debt, I highly encourage you to find a Financial Peace University class in your area. Look up Dave Ramsey or another Christian money advisor (one who actually has money — because you want to watch and copy rich people if you ever want to become a rich people.) You can be the one to stop debt in your family tree so that your children do not have to become slaves. You can change and set a whole new crazy good example. YOU can be debt free. YOU can do this!

Too much

Great news! 

I’ve been on my current antidepressant dose for almost a month…it worked for like 2 weeks. 

Now I’m just in this stupid, neverending cycle if mood swings.

 It took 2 months of calling the doctor for me to get to go in…for an appointment I scheduled 6 months ago. I’m really not in a hurry to start that again. 

Meanwhile, I’m really not enjoying being a mom, and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. So that’s fun, considering “be a mom” IS what I always wanted. 

What I really want is to run away. I’m not sure where I’d go. Somewhere with no kids, I guess. Somewhere with no one around so I can just be angry and yell. Somewhere…not here.

What I really want is to go back to the first part of last February, and just start over. I want my friend’s brother to still be here making people smile. I want to go back and have Laney, and not feel all mixed up to be excited, while his suicide is so fresh.

I want to go back to May and fix my Papaw’s gallbladder surgery…fix it where it doesn’t send his cancer into overdrive and take him from us. I want to go back to July and visit him while he is healthy and laughing, instead of fading and dieing. I want him with us for Christmas.

I want to go back to November and save the kid’s pup. I don’t want to scoop her spattered remains from the highway at 10:30 on a cold night. I don’t want to tell the kids she is gone. And then I don’t want to realize that my own dog is on a downhill slide.

I want to go back to Veteran’s day and be in a good mood. I want to be happy, smiling and excited about packing shoe boxes for children. I want to start the day on a good note. And I want to finish it on one too. I want to go back and save my Memi. I want to skip the text about the heart attack. I want to skip yelling no, no, no over and over when Mom told me she was gone. 

I want to go back to December and enjoy my favorite holiday. I want to bake cookies and sing. Shop, wrap gifts, enjoy lights, smile, laugh, anticipate. I want to go back and enjoy a trip home. I want to skip hating being there. I want to skip my children being sick. I want to actually have fun. 

And I can’t do any of those things! And I can’t bring any of those people back! And I can’t take a year of broken out of my 4 year old’s heart. And I can’t even functional at all, without medicine that is barely keeping me out of a mental hospital.

So now I can’t even hug my kids. I can’t smile at them. I can’t love them. I just sit here and care for them, as though they belong to someone else. As though this is just a job. Nothing special. Nothing to devote my heart to…as if I have enough unshattered pieces of my heart left for anything, anyway.

Yeah, right!

Insert blog here.

My children has some 6th sense to go absolutely INSANE every time I open my blog.

Correction. They use that 6th sense if I answer the phone, pick up a book, get out bills to pay, try to cook, walk into the bathroom, or have a thought to try any of the above.

I’ll blog in 18 years…give or take.

Stay tuned for that.

Behold

Fear not for I bring you good tidings, of great joy, which shall be for ALL people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:10,11
A saviour. Born for ALL. Every one who believes is welcome. No exclusions based on race or Creed. No exceptions for the moms, like me, who have “lost their religion” way more than once this week. No secret pass word. No social requirements. Just salvation for ALL who will believe.

Thank you, Jesus.  

How Do You Santa

**disclaimer, this is typed on a phone. Please ignore typos and I’ll try to correct them later. Cool. Thanks.

Gracie is still convinced Santa is real. We just roll with it. The other day she asked for a Barbie house. I said it wouldn’t fit in the sleigh…”noooo it’s the kind that comes with instructions. It’s in pieces in a box.” Today we read a book with a pink ride on pony… she’s been asking for one and I asked if that’s what she meant. Then I told her that santa doesn’t make them anymore…”well, he can just check for one in his attic.” 

Her little brain never takes a break, so I’m super surprised she hasn’t just figured out Santa on her own. But like I say, she’s convinced. I never planned to be the mom playing up Santa, big time. I mean, of all of of our Christmas decorations we only have about 4 Santas anywhere. I never even said much about the old guy before last year. But remember that book with the “pink ride on pony?” (You forgot already, didn’t you? She hasn’t)

 The book in question is The Bernstein Bears Meet Santa Bear. It showed up last year; I don’t even remember wear our very used copy came from. But somehow that book youched sweet Gracie’s little 3 year old imagination — and presto! Santa must be real! 

So, last year we had some concerns when Gracie started telling us things she had asked Santa for… mostly because by the time she started talking about him, her gifts were all here and wrapped! This year, we’ve played it up. “Hey, you need new boots. Have you asked Santa for some?” *Wink, wink we already got ’em! It’s actually been a little tricky for me, even though we still don’t really DO Santa.

And while all of this is happening here, I have friends all across the spectrum, from forget it “there is no Santa. It’s me. Move on,” to “shhhhh my kids are close watch what you say!!” 

I’m really good with both ends, but I think either one can go overboard. I once knew a guy who offered to buy the preacher’s Santa tie so the preacher wouldn’t wear it again; because he’d “tried so hard to eliminate Santa from (his) kid’s lives.” Um…what? Does he buy all Santa decorations from everyone?! Y’all that’s extreme. I also knew a lady that grabbed a boy up by the arm and threw him out in the hall – at church! – because he was about to squeal. Later she cornered and attempted to chew out the kid’s mom and wanted the boy to apologise. Can you say crazy?! 

I’ve heard moms say they don’t want to lie to their kids. Admirable. But maybe misguided. Of course, Santa gone overboard turns to lieing… Simple Santa (like we have in our house) is just a great imaginary game to play at Christmas. I’m personally all for big imaginations — why not have a little fun with a Jolly old Elf?!

Anyway, I guess from Elves to Grinches we all love… Or hate Santa for our own reasons. But I’m curious. How do you Santa in your home? Drop me a note, to let me know, in the comments.

Nursing Tips

Considering breast feeding your little Bundle? Perhaps you think you know what to expect. Maybe you plan to “try” nursing and see how it goes. And then again, may be you hadn’t even considered that there might be anything to know about breast feeding. I kind of fell into that last category with my first child. My philosophy was: it’s perfectly natural and women have been doing it without any training for thousands of years; how hard could it be?! Turns out I was in for a few surprises, so here are just a few pointers for future nursing moms.

  • It will probably hurt at first. All the books say “a proper latch will not hurt.” Phooey. The first few days, or maybe even for over a week, nursing will hurt. It will hurt because your breasts will be tender and full. BUT it will also cause your uterus to contract for the first couple of days. This helps with healing and such; but crud, yes, the cramping will be painful.
  • After a day or five your milk will come in. Lactation consultants and books like to tell you milk typically comes in about 3 to 5 days after baby is born. Don’t take that as gospel truth. My milk came in roughly 36 hours after delivery with my first; but I had nothing for about a week the third time around.
  • When your milk comes in your baby will most likely go nuts! My first child just about drove me mad. She was sooooo cranky. And she would nurse for 2 minutes, be done. Nurse for 3 minutes, stop…. it was an awful, long night. My second was a little more laid back but he still ate a lot in those first days after my milk came in. Baby number 3…oh boy. Nursing her has been a roller coaster at best.
  • Three words: disposable nursing pads. Seriously, stock up ahead of time. Your breasts will leak. Flood. Pour…. Just know, if you don’t want a wet top, you need these little boogers.
  • “Trying” to nurse is not the best approach. I will admit bottles have advantages. Nursing can be hard. You’re tied to the baby’s need to eat. That means you have to allow time to feed the baby before you head to town, and you have to think ahead to maybe nurse in the car before you go eat (unless you are comfortable nursing in Chili’s.) Plan to nurse and set a short goal at first. Say “I will nurse for 3 months” or whatever and then tick those off; there’s a good chance by then you will be enjoying your time with baby and things will have gotten easier for you. After I hit my goal, I kept going for another 7 months until my first two children were each 13 months old. My third, is a daily decision. (She is pretty much down to nursing at night, and bottles all day, because she gets too distracted to nurse.) Every month your child nurses is a good thing!
  • Feeding formula while nursing is not the end of the world. Let me just tell you what I did with my first daughter. When Gracie was a few weeks old and nursing good, I tried a bottle. I pumped bottles at first, but you do what you want. This got the little one used to taking a bottle and then I could be free to mix some formula instead of nursing in Chili’s or going to the cry room at church. You can still nurse full time at home, but now you have an option if the plumber is working on the dishwasher, or you need to hire a baby sitter. My son was having none of this! He refused a bottle until 9 months! Laney started bottles in the hospital (not ideal) because she would not wake up to eat.

Nursing is very rewarding, but it can be a challenge. Just “trust your gut” and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I hope these hints help!

Just call me Gertie Cow =)