Category Archives: Parenting

Why Being a Parent is Like Being a Superhero (It’s Not What You Think)

I was sitting outside with my kiddos before the weather got chilly and realized something profound: I’m still me.

Well, who else would you be, Laura?

Bear with me.

In spite of everything – kids, marriage, general-lame-adulthood, struggles, hurts, etc., etc. after all of it – there are some things that remain. This is especially surprising in light of becoming a parent, and why I have realized that being a parent is much like being a superhero.

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Art by Danny Haas at artofdanny.com

 

No, no, no. Not how you think. Not in the “Super Mom” or “Super Dad” kind of way. Sure, you and I know a “Super Mom” or whatever, but, at best we are inspired by Super Mom and, at worst, we hope she trips on her perfectly pressed, hand-sewn cape. Let’s just be real here. Point being, that’s not the kind of “Super” I’m talking about.

So, what am I talking about?

1. The Radioactive Spider

The origin story of all great Supers climaxes with that moment, the moment when they go from average to…different. More than they were. They aren’t quite super yet, but they are changed forever. Peter Parker is bitten by the radioactive spider. Kal-El is sent as a little baby to planet earth and saved by a kindly childless couple. Steve Rogers’ admittance into the Rebirth program. For parents, it’s the moment you look down at that little wiggling, wailing, kinda-sticky-yet-adorable person, and YOU HAVE TO KEEP IT ALIVE. Consider yourself bitten.

2. Super Powers

Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Have lots and lots and LOTS of money? (I mean, that is Batman’s real power, right?) I wish! Sure, I can’t fly an invisible jet, but I can do with insanely low amounts of sleep, be steadfast and, dare I say, compassionate at the sight, smell, touch (yep.) of any and all bodily fluids. I can heal wounds with kisses and right wrongs with tickles. All I need is super speed to get my house more than and -ish level of clean and I would be all set. …or that lots and lots of money thing. That would also work.

3. A Nemesis

No. It’s not the kids. Whereas the X-Men had Magneto, Super Man had Lex Luther, most parents have themselves as a nemesis. Chill. This isn’t turning into an after-school special. It’s just true. I give myself more grief than anyone else. Sure, I might imagine that Mrs. So-and-So thinks I’m a bad mom, but really, that’s usually just me thinking I’m a bad mom. There’s a version of us, the “dark” version if you will, that likes to tell us all the things we’re doing wrong. I’m too lame or too lazy to battle anyone else. I think that also makes us Super Villains. Nice.

4. Responsibility

As I mentioned before, we have to keep people alive here. As much as we might like to take the day off, Lois Lane keeps getting herself into some kind of trouble over and over and over. Let’s face it, the people who lived in Gotham should have just moved. I mean, really. But, just like our kiddos, they stay right where they are. Sometimes the work is thankless. Sometimes they even cry-out against us, but we still love ’em. Silly little people.

5. The Secret Identity

The thing that only a few people see and really know. Super Man, Spider Man, Batman, Even sometimes Super Mom – they amaze us, they inspire us and call us to something higher, but Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne? We love them. We identify with them. We know that Clark Kent isn’t really Super Man, but Super Man is really Clark Kent. Deep right??

This is the source of my epiphany. In spite of the incredible event of having a child, we are still us. I am still me. My identity doesn’t come from being bit by a radioactive spider or baby? (I think my metaphors are getting confused).

My identity comes from being reborn as a child of God.

And obviously, my identity in Christ isn’t a secret in the classic sense, because… well… I’ve just told you about it. However, it doesn’t go down to the very core of my being.

So much of what I do revolves around my children these days. But who am I really? Who drives what I do? Who or what is shaping the choices I make? Being a Super Hero is what a secret identity does. The heart of the Super Hero is the Secret Identity.

When the job of Super Man is finished (even though it seems like it never will be), Clark Kent remains.

When my job raising my children is done (even though it seems like it never will be), my identity in Christ remains.

I hope who I am in Him shapes the things I do with my kids now. I hope and strive for it to shape everything I do now, because when the job of my life is finished, He will remain, and, more than anything, I want to have been true to Him all the way to the end.

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A Battle with Jabba the Cat at 4am

I really love our cat. She is a sweet little thing… And by little, I mean, enormously huge.

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No. Really. She is FAT.

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Poor thing. She’s acquired the name Jabba the Cat because she frequently lays down like this:

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Hey! Don’t look at me like that! Girlfriend got fat from binge eating at the neighbors. When she was young, she liked to howl at night and, thus, her fanny was placed outside. It wasn’t an attention thing or a I-need-something thing. I just think its her thing. Most cats have a “thing.”  All the cat owners know what I’m talkin’ about.

Howling is her thing.

This is unfortunate for her, because any parent will tell you that there are certain times of the day/night when no one better breathe heavy, much less make actual noise. Violating quiet hours comes with severe punishment.

Don’t get me wrong. My kids actually sleep really well with noise happening – Mostly because Tex and Bear are boys…

but there are certain times that noise will cut my break time short: the hour or so before they normally wake up in the morning, twenty or thirty minutes before nap time should end or 4am for some reason…

4am… At 4am not too many nights ago, my normally friendly feline, decided she no longer wanted to live.

She started howling.

Sometimes I can call her to our room and she’ll quiet down….. Nope. No luck.

Then the baby started crying.

Sometimes I will feed Jabba if she wakes me up, but Peaches was crying and I couldn’t afford to let her carry on and possibly wake the boys.

I started feeding my sweet girl, settled in for a nice snuggle with her when….

Howl?

….

HOWL!!

She’s getting closer and I hear Bear stir around in his bed.

Internally: AHHHHHHHHH! Shut it you doofy cat!!!

Snuggle over.

With baby in my arms I >gingerly< charged down the hall; attempting not to stir Peaches too much (I had all intention of putting her back in her bed promptly after feeding her), and chased the little Jabba back to the living room.

As an aside, it is hilarious to watch a really fat cat run. I mean, really. It’s like watching an accordian scurry away from you.

Once we were in the living room, the beast just looks at me like,

Why you so mad??

I petted the beast with my foot and sat on the sofa to finish feeding Peaches. I took her back to her bed and, thankfully, she went back to sleep. However, I hadn’t been in her room for more than a few seconds when….

HOOoOoOooOOooOOWLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

The baby stirred. The boys whimpered.

The cat would die.

I ran back after her. She saw me in the hall and darted for the kitchen.

HOWL! HOWL! HOWL!!!

She then promptly laid down on the ground, on her back no less, as if to say,

Perhaps if I play dead the crazy person won’t kill me.

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But I’m no dummy.

Once I caught up to her, I put my hands on her mouth to silence her. She complied and I waited and I listened.

Silence.

More silence.

Good. Everyone was still asleep. I took a tremendously deep breath to try and restrain myself and then ofcourse she looks at my like,

Why you so mad???

And all I can do is scratch her gobby fat belly. I fed the little wretch and headed back to bed.

As I laid there trying to calm myself enough to go back to sleep, Buttons (her actual name), creeps into our room very quietly, jumps up on our bed, and curls up in the crook of my leg.

And, I think I am going crazy, because I can hear her….

Jabba the Cat

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Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

**Warning** This is a total mommy post.

I did not start out our family life as a SAHM. I actually taught 9th grade Latin and drama until our first born was almost 2. I know what your thinking… WHY?? But that is not the story I’m telling.

When I became “with child” for the second time (sometimes I hate the word “pregnant”), it was apparent that me working was really not practical – financially speaking. And, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do anymore. I enjoyed my job, but leaving Tex for someone else to take care of everyday was a MAJOR bummer. I cried more than he did…

So, when we decided to reduce our two incomes to one, I vowed in my mind that I would ROCK IT.

My house would be like, BAM!

perfect house

Look at all that white. I mean LOOK at it!!
You know, my dinners would be this:

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Look how happy I am chopping tomatoes! And this, ya know, just every night…

perfect dinner

And of course there’d be pie!

pie

Then obviously my kids would be all…

perfect kids
And my husband too:

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EVERYONE IS HUGGING!!! All the time…

And my friends and I would be:

Friends drinking coffee

We’re so trendy! And, look! More white!!

So, my life?

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And then I actually started doing it. Let’s get real.

My house looks like this:

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My dinner table looks like this:

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My kids look like this:

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More dirt, less hugging… but still cute!

My husband looks like this:

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Ok, yes, still lots of hugging going on there. Just not in as trendy a hat.

My friends and I look like this:

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But really, my life is still an…

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Staying at home does not equal picture perfect life.

Why, you ask? How, you ask? Let me drop a little inspiration on you, fellow momma.

The quality of our lives is not reflected in the amount of laundry put away, dishes done or organic-from-scratch dinners we’ve prepared. THANK GOD.

This is important: It doesn’t ULTIMATELY matter what our kids wear, where they live, or – dare I say it? – what they eat. It matters that they learn how to love God and love people. Everything else is just a bonus to (or a distraction from) the important stuff.

I think we get caught up in the fear of becoming Honey Boo-Boo’s mom and the guilt of making a choice. We have to choose between laundry and one more game of tag in the back yard. We choose laundry and we’re bad moms. We choose playing with the kids and we’re bad moms.  Oh crap, our kid has turned into Honey Boo Boo!

YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM. DO YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS?? ARE YOU TRYING YOUR BEST??? THEN YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM.

Sorry I had to yell.

Our lives are awesome because we sacrifice all-the-dadgum-day long. And, by the way, this is true of you working mommies too. We know love because we lay down our lives for our kids, and our husbands and our friends. We get the opportunity to live like Jesus everyday – and, hopefully, it’s making us awesome too. Let go of the expectations put on you by the internet, La Leche League,  your mom, and, most importantly, yourself and focus on loving the heck out of your family and friends.

Yeah. I feel really good now about writing this blog post instead of doing the dishes. Happy.

win

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Oh, the things that can happen in 2 minutes…

It’s all fun and games, until someone takes off their pants….

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Everyone knows you’re not supposed to leave your kids in the car. Everyone knows it. BUT let’s just be real here. If you are going into a tiny store (like a walgreens, dollar general, family dollar, etc.) to get ONE thing for TWO minutes, you might go ahead and leave the miniature demolition crew in the car.

This is the position I was in yesterday when I planned to bring the hubs a drink home from the store. If I had half a brain, I would have bought him one at the store, but, seeing that I have 3 kids and my brain has been reduced to about 1/4 of its original performance state, I did not. So, due to a train sending me on a detour, I ended up at a Dollar General near my house.

This will only take a second. I’ll crack the windows. Run in. Run out. 

And off I went. It helped I knew I would see the kids from the store windows. The parking lot was surprisingly empty and I got a great spot.

The surprise of the empty parking lot quickly dissipated when I walked through the automatic doors only to be smacked in the face by a horrifically familiar odor: poop.

I then quickly noticed a woman with a stroller and heard a woman near her yell, “Jerry! Put your pants on! Let’s go!”

Oh Lord, some child has had an accident in here! Great. Just get the Coke and get out!

I grabbed the hubs his soda and one for me also. Hey, it had my name on it. I couldn’t resist!

(Shakes fist at Coke marketing department)

I hurriedly moved to check out. I glanced outside and saw my kids, happy in the car. *smile* The ladies with the small children were walking quickly to their car.

Poor woman. I would be horrified if my kid had an accident in the dollar general I hope she bought herself some chocolate…

I then turned my head toward the checkout counter and there he was. A 40-something man, standing much too close to me, precariously holding up his pants.

“Jerry! Pull yo’ pants up, and go home!”

What the what?!

Yes. The woman yelling was not the mother of a small child. It was the cashier. Two of the other employees stood off to the side covering their noses as they guarded some thing I dared not investigate.

The little man scuttled over behind the cash register, but he was no longer holding his pants. To my horror, they were down around his ankles

What the what?!?!?

“Jerry! Get away from that stuff. You know you ain’t gonna buy nothin’.” She looks at me and looks at her friends, “I’m fixin’ ta call the police. You know we can’t be dealin’ with this. ”

Please check me out. Please check me out. Please check me out.

She carried on for another few seconds and then, I think she must have noticed the look of desperation on my face. She stopped her sentence abruptly and checked me out. I took my receipt and almost left the two sodas I went in to purchase.

As I retreated and was relieved by the fresh scent of city air, I unlocked the car and found my boys chatting away. The baby was asleep. Everyone was happy. I wasn’t sure if the poor man was drunk, high or mentally ill, but I was glad to be back with my little clan poopers and pant-droppers.

It’s crazy what can happen in two minutes, and sometimes, you’re glad you left the kids in the car.

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How to Make a Bad Day Worse

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We’ve all done it. At some point in a day we have all had a moment of realization that we should have retreated to bed 3 hours ago. Instead, we took our bad day and made it more awesome…. awful. I mean awful. But, in case you are having a bad day and can’t imagine how to make it more aw(ful)esome, then here are some helpful hints to get you started!

1. Pick a fight with your spouse.

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This is pretty obvious. So simple. So easy. You’re already grumpy. So, it’s the perfect time to tell the hubs the ten things he’s been doing lately that really get on your stinkin’ nerves. Stinkin’ nerves!

2. Pick a fight with your kids.

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If not one, than the other. Right? Or both! Nothing says “Best Bad Day Ever!” than yelling at the offspring.

3. Go to Krispy Kreme.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love Krispy Kreme just as much as the next good person with a soul, BUT going there on a bad day is just makes it worse. Not only will your hips pay for the two dozen circles of melty sugar you just stress-ate, but you will also get to enjoy the awesome self-loathing stomach ache that corresponds with binge eating. 10 pounds + a heaping dose of “I-hate-myself” = Whole Notha Level of bad day.

4. Buy that Gucci handbag, you deserve it!

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Shopping is a special kind of bad day enhancement. It ultimately fuels #1 and #3, but it also hits you in the groin of your happiness – the checking account. Plus! For some reason, this particular vice manifests itself in the completely unncessary – except you don’t realize it until after you walk out of the store. A solid gold bust of Chewy, Han, Luke and Leia? I totes need that!!

5. (Intentionally) Break something.

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But it feels so good! Yes, perhaps it does, but you know it will only leave you madder than you were before, because now you have a bad day AND a broken plate from your mother’s china (oh, and yes, it’s discontinued). However, if you are going for totally Aw(ful)esome day, then by all means….

6. Post a vague, melancholy status update on Facebook.

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The temptation is almost too great, isn’t it? You’ll get all this sympathy and know that people care about you. ….BUT, then you’ll be annoyed that you have to explain everything to everyone for the next six weeks because they didn’t see your follow up status on their newsfeed and REALLY, why didn’t anyone call? And what’s up with getting 6 likes??? Why are people liking my terrible day. Unfriend. <—Bad day, biggie sized.

7. Read/watch the news

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Another duh. If I really want to wallow in all the awfulness of a day, all I have to do is check out the latest horror in the world and I suddenly am not sure if anyone will ever have a good day again.

8. Give up.

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This is the ultimate, the pinnacle of bad day dead ends. If you really want your bad day to win. REALLY WIN. Then give up. Check out. Look your day in the eye and say, “Whatevs, I’m out.” – take your ball and go home.

Truth? Don’t do it. Don’t do any of it. “Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (proverbs 24:14)

Take your bad day. Stand it up. Dust it off and look at it. Look at it real hard. (Bad days hate this. They always lose a staring contest.) Once you’ve looked that booger square in the face for a minute, you size it up for what it really is: small. Your life – you – are so much bigger than your bad day. Psh. Just shake it off.

shake it off

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The Time My Children Staged A Coup

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If you have children, you know, they are sweet, precious, adorable little evil-geniuses.

One minute you’re laughing it up, playing chase down the hallway and then you turn the corner and step on twenty blunt-knives-of-doom (also known as legos….) “Look, mom! Now it’s an obstacle course!”

Sure, they smile innocently, but part of me KNOWS they are playing their hand close to the vest. They know way more than they let on, because then when something happens you aren’t sure. “Were they just playing? Or are they toying with me…” 

They lure you into a sense of safety with their adorableness and then BAM!

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Thus began this warm , summer Saturday morning. We were in the backyard. Tex and Bear were playing in the pool while Peaches and I were chillin’ on the porch in the shade. Everything was lovely. They boys were laughing it up. Splashing. Happy. What a perfect Saturday morning.

The boys decided they’d had enough pool time and headed inside. I told them to take off their wet clothes if they were done. They slipped off their drippies and dashed inside. I picked up Peaches. Snuggled her a bit. How can you not snuggle a content baby? But then…

I saw the sliding door was closed.

Uh oh.

My very dutiful firstborn always closes and locks the door when he goes inside.

Yep. I’m locked out. It’s no big deal. I’m totally cool.

*tap*tap*tap* Let mommy in.

…………..

*tap*tap*tap* Let mommy in!

Nothing. Not a peep. Of course I then cup my eyes up to the glass and realize my little munchkins are nowhere in sight.

*knock*knock*knock* Boys? Boys!

This is fruitless. I then called the hubs who was at a shoot, but of course he couldn’t answer his phone. He was at a shoot. Taking cellphone calls in the middle of filming people is generally frowned upon. Ok. My wheels are tunring now. I’m not going to panic. I just need to get inside.

As I start considering people I could try to call to help me get into the house, episodes of Leverage that might help me unlock the door or things around me to break the glass, I see Tex round the corner in the hallway.  Yes! Finally!

>Smiling< *KNOCK*KNOCK*KNOCK* Hey! Let mommy in! Open the door!

He looks at me so excited and sweet. Of course he’s smiling so big! I tap on the glass again and point at the lock. Tex then proceeds to cock his head to the side, smile again, and turn to run back down the hall!

>Frowning< *BANG*BANG*BANG* LET MOMMY IN RIGHT NOW!! 

That’s when the thoughts really started rolling in.

Where was the little one?

What are they doing?

What has the big one done with the little one?

LET MOMMY IN RIGHT NOW!!!

I had been thrown in the brig. The children had taken over the house and weren’t going to relinquish control. I could just see them in my head running around the house in their underpants, waving flags shouting, “Vive la revolution!”

Thankfully, at that point both of the little boogers rounded the corner again. BUT LOOK! They’ve found food. How nice. Each of them had a handful of pancake in each hand with a halo of crumbs around their mouth. That was the only part of them that had a halo….

Alright. Enough of this foolishness. I was gonna pull out the big guns now. The Mommy Face. That’s right. The I’m-serious-don’t-mess-with-me-or-you-know-what’s-coming face.  All mommies have one, and this was the time to use it.

Open the door for mommy.

(pause for effect)

Now. 

……..

WHAT? Somehow they still have the nerve to be smiling at me, but now they start jumping up and down in delight. Bear smiles at me with a mouth full of pancake and exclaims, “Can-Cake!” How is he still being adorable in the middle of a revolution? No! I will not give in to the cuteness!

Boys! Let mommy in NOW! Unlock the door and LET MOMMY IN!

“OoOoOoOoh! You wanted in? Sure!” This was the face Tex made as he reached up and unlatched the sliding door. Non-chalant. Totally cool. Still smiling. But of course, I scolded him for locking me out at all.

Do not lock the door if mommy is outside! That’s very dangerous! It’s not safe!

And then he made just the saddest little frown and I thought, “Oh, maybe he didn’t realize what he had done.” So, with no actual punishment, I sent him off.

Go play. 

And there it was. Just for a split second. His frown blinked a wry smile and I SWEAR, under his breath I heard the faintest…

Vive la revolution!

 

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10 Things that Surprise You When You Become a Parent

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I’m sure there are about a hundred of these lists, but what do you do when you have a hundred of something? Make it a hundred-and-one! If Cruella de Vil taught us anything….

That being said, I had an experience with my kiddos the other day that really got me thinking, “I didn’t expect this.” And thus this list has been born. Here you go:

10 Things that Surprise You When You Become a Parent

1. Poop in the bathtub

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My own, personal, worst nightmare. It’s not SO bad when they’re tiny, infants. They’re already in the sink. You just rinse them off. Not the worst. But then they get older. You suspect you’re done with all that foolishness and then it happens. The horror. 

2. Re-Living Bill Cosby’s “Himself” routine 

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Except you’re a lot less funny and a lot more frustrated. Come here. Come here. Here! HERE! HERE!!

3. Freaking out about stupid stuff

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OH MY GOODNESS SHE JUST ROLLED OVER! GET THE CAMERA! TAKE A VIDEO!! I think if I had seen myself back when I was single and had no children, I might have thought that I had lost my mind and was living in an asylum. 

4. Freaking out about stupid stuff

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OH MY GOODNESS! YOU UNROLLED THE ENTIRE ROLL OF TOILET PAPER AND TEEPEED THE BATHROOM?!? YOU ALSO EMPTIED OUT ALL OF THE SOAP?!? FILLED THE SINK TIL IT’S OVERFLOWING AND ARE PLAYING IN THE TOILET?!?!?! WHYYYYYYYYY?????. Sometimes now I think I’m living in an insane asylum. 

5. Losing it if someone even acts like they’ll mess with your kid.

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I used to be judgy about helicopter parents. I mean, let your kid grow up. Let them fight their own battles. Yeah, no. Not anymore. Now, it takes every effort for me to not become a raving, slobbering, straight-from-the-pit, mama bear if some other kid starts being rude to my kid on the playground. He’s my baby. I dont care that he’s actually biugger than the other kid. He’s my baby!!

6. All the amazing vacations you get to take – also known as Guilt Trips. 

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Oh, you only feed your kids organic, unprocessed, food farmed from a family you know in the french alps? …Yeah… Me too…. Yes! We are having another baby….uh, yes, we know where they come from….. Really? You’ve never given Little Johnny an antibiotic? Sugar? or Let him watch TV?  ….Me neither…….

7. Being creepy about your friends having kids.

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C’mon, everyone’s doing it! Our kids need playmates! Who cares you’ve only been married 5 minutes. HAVE SOME BABIES! Yikes. In hindsight, I have been a reproductive creeper more than once. To those of you who have suffered at my lack of boundaries. I apologize. I’m working on it. 

8. A new-found love and appreciation for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. 

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All my mommy friends be like, “You’re on Facebook at 2:30am? Me too! Let’s talk about how much we are ready for our kids to sleep through the night.” Honestly, it’s the only safe place you can find all your other friends in the middle of the night and you get to hang out and catch up. 

9. WANTING to stay home with the little boogers. 

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This is a big one for me. I really wasn’t sure about the whole stay-at-home-mom bit. I just didn’t think I would like it and that I would go crazy. But it’s kinda like coffee. It’s weird at first. Kinda hard to adjust to, but now if someone were to try and take away my stay-at-home gig, I would get all kinds of crazy on they butts. (that’s right. they butts.) 

10. WANTING to have more. 

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Another weird one. People asked my hubby and I how many kiddos we wanted to have and I was honestly like, “let’s just see how the first one goes.” But after having 3 in under 4 years, I still would love to have more. I realized the other day that my love for my kids doesn’t just increase with each new baby, my love for them multiplies. Since we’ve had Peaches, I see the special-ness of each of my boys even more and love them even more than I did before. That’s usually when they annihilate the bathroom or dig up the plumbing in the backyard. Gotta keep things balanced…

So, obviously there are about a hundred more things that surprise us when we become parents. So you know what that means! Let’s make it a-hundred-and-one!

What has surprised you since you’ve become a parent?

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