Observations from the Supermarket

supermarket

I can’t be the only one who has noticed and experienced these things while going to the supermarket.

Rules of the cart

Upon entering the supermarket, we grab a cart and then must decide who sits up front and who sits in the back. You know the little flap that covers the front seat of the cart? Well, if you actually look at it, it has several pictures on it displaying what you are NOT supposed to do and how kids are NOT supposed to ride in the cart. We ignore all of these rules. We have hung on to the sides of the cart. We sit on things in the cart. We stand in the cart. We unbuckle ourselves and stand up in the front seat of the cart. We even stand and hold our arms out like we are on the front of the Titanic while riding in the cart.  The only thing missing was Celine Dion’s sweet voice crooning over the loud speaker.

Yes, I know that this is dangerous, but I’m not at the store because it’s happy-fun time. I’m there with two kids by myself because we actually need things. If I did a pantry raid to see what items I can throw together for a meal, I would come up with a can of green beans and some stale cake icing. So, we must power through the supermarket and if that means we break every cart-riding rule, then so be it.

Tampons and acquaintances

Why is it that every time I need to go to the store by myself with both of my kids, it perfectly lines up with the few times a year when I have simultaneously run out of every personal hygiene and household product? Not only does this add extra time onto our trip to the supermarket, it also causes me to field a barrage of questions from my children.  It’s the perfect storm. I have one kid in the front seat hugging a package of pads and another kid in the back of the cart shaking a box of Tampax Sport.

“Mom, what is this? Is this lady stuff? How do you use these? Can I use them? Can you eat them?”

Now that I have stocked up on my ‘lady stuff’ I round the corner of the aisle to run into everyone I have ever known. Or at least a couple of guys from church.  How about we save the small talk for Sunday morning and not while my kid is waving my tampons in your face?

Out-of-stock

It just so happens that the only time I could fit in a trip to the grocery store was the day right before the trucks arrive to replenish the shelves. Seriously, I go down through my list and half of the items are nowhere to be found. Because of this, I get what I can now, but will have to find a way to make another trip back to the supermarket in a few days. What’s for dinner? I guess we are still having green beans and icing.

Consider it destroyed

I try to stay focused and motor through the store as fast as I can in the hopes that this experience will be less painful for everyone. In doing so, the kids have opened a box of cereal and a box of fruit snacks.  Now I know why they have been so quiet. On two separate trips, each one of my kids has gnawed through a package of bologna. True story.

I’m going to pay for these items anyway, but I still have a discussion with my kids about the fact that we haven’t paid for then yet so we can’t open or destroy them. I don’t think that a can has made it from the store to our home without being dented when my kids were along for the supermarket experience.

Staring Contest

It’s no secret that kids are observant and riding in a cart through the store gives them the perfect opportunity to people-watch.  Along with the gift of observation, my kids cannot whisper to save their lives and they also have little to no filter before speaking.  So this ends up happening: “Mom, her boobs – I mean chest – was coming out of her shirt!”  Little one overhears boobs and just repeats “boobies” loudly for several aisles.

“Mom, did you see that guy’s butt crack!?  He leaned over and I saw his butt crack!”  Annnd the little one is now saying butt crack instead of boobies.

I swear this is in no way indicative of the way I parent.  But I will give the private part speech again just in case.

How did this get here

I love when I get home and start to unpack the groceries only to find several random items that I have no recollection of purchasing. I forgot cheese and half of the stuff I need to pack my lunches for the week, but I now have the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest, some Ferrero Rocher chocolate, a vile of 5-hour energy, and that matchbox car one of them just had to have. Did I pay for this stuff? The receipt confirms that I did but all of this junk sneaked passed me.  Granted, the chocolate is a nice treat, but clearly my little ninjas were hard at work while I was unloading the cart in the checkout line. Why are the checkout lines so small and compact? I bet they were designed by someone who doesn’t have kids.

I can’t wait to do this all again in a few days.

 

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5 Cleaning Tips for the Busy Mom

I am a neat freak and I want my home to be clean and organized – always.  I also want to be realistic.  With a toddler and a preschooler, the toys seem to multiply along with the peanut butter finger prints.  For the longest time, I was trying to keep things as clean as they were before we had kids.  I was also trying to stick to the same cleaning schedule but found that I just wanted to bang my head against the wall.  After a lot of trial and error, I came up with some tactics that work for me and keep me (mostly) sane while balancing family, work, and homemaking.  These tips may not be the right fit for everyone, so please keep that in mind.

homemaking

1. Clean something each day or most days.  I used to take a block of time each week or every other week to clean my house from top to bottom.  I tried to do this for a couple years after I had kids and just grew increasingly frustrated.  Who has three hours of uninterrupted time each week??? I work full-time and just cannot dedicate this much time to cleaning.  Even if I didn’t work full-time I wouldn’t have that much time to set aside.  For whatever reason, I was stuck on wanting everything to be cleaned at the same time.  When I let go of that idea I found that doing some type of cleaning task daily was much more feasible.  Now, I will take 10-15 minutes each day and focus on a task.  When I put the boys to bed, I will sweep and scrub the floors or clean the bathrooms.  I have not gotten to the point where each day has a specific assignment, but I clean the area that seems to need it the most.  With crumbs and potty training, the floors and bathrooms always seem to need the most attention.

I try to utilize the time that I have.  For example, if Jeff has the boys outside, I will take that time to run the vacuum upstairs and then I will go outside to join them.  I know that I can vacuum downstairs while they sleep, but I obviously can’t vacuum their bedrooms at the same time.  I consider the laundry to be part of my cleaning routine.  Again, I have found that for me it works best if I just do a load every other day rather than spend a whole day washing, drying, folding, and putting away.  This way, nothing piles up and it’s not nearly as overwhelming to put everything away.

2. Random pick-ups.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Legos are the worst.  Super fun to play with, but they can take forever to pick up.  I try to do several toy clean-ups each day so that it is not so overwhelming at bedtime.  This works best on weekends when I am home all day.  When the boys take their naps, I clean up their playroom and put things back where they belong.  They have to help me with this, but are still learning the concept of picking up after themselves.  I do the same thing when it is time for them to go to bed at night.  Some days, this is a fruitless effort but I still go for it.  Along with this, I try to rotate which toys are downstairs and which toys are in their rooms or the attic.  They still get to play with everything, but less toys equals less clutter.  I have also found that the boys get a little distracted with too many toys and they don’t play as well as a result.

3. Pick an area of focus.  For me, I like to have the downstairs area of our home clean and organized each night.  We don’t spend much time in our bedrooms; while I still want them to be neat and tidy, it’s not as much of an eyesore as it would be downstairs.  I would say that 70% of my downstairs cleaning is taken care of just by organizing the toys each night.  After that, I just wipe down the kitchen counters and dining room table.  If the dishes aren’t washed, I will take care of them and put them away in the morning.  I know myself well enough to know that I feel much more relaxed when I don’t look around and see a cluttered mess.

4. Little things make a big difference. Just by making your bed and folding the throw blankets in the living room, you will notice a major difference.  At the end of a long day, it makes me feel more relaxed when I can walk into my bedroom and see that it is put together.  Call me crazy, but it makes my room feel fresh and welcoming.  Simply folding blankets can make a space feel much less disheveled.  As a bonus, these are things that take very little time to accomplish. 

5. Lowered expectations.  It may not seem like I have lowered my expectations, but I have.  Things are not going to be perfect and they don’t need to be.  We live here.  If we are playing and having fun, I’m not going to put the toys away at nap time because the boys will want to play with the train track that they built when they wake up.  If we are away for the day and are too tired when we get home, then the dishes will be washed the following day.  I am trying to teach the boys how to clean and put things back where they belong.  So if they pick up their toys and they are not exactly neat, I just leave them where they put them.  For me, this has been huge.  They are proud of their effort and I need to acknowledge their work. I am still working through my desire to have everything ‘just so.’  There are days and times when some or all of these steps are skipped.  That’s okay and it’s certainly not the end of the world.

If you came to my home it would not be immaculate, but hopefully it would not be chaotic.  I am all about finding manageable ways to accomplish everyday tasks.  After trying many things, these steps have given me the greatest success.  For a long time I thought it was just impossible to clean with little kids, but now I know better.

Please do not think that I have it all together, because this is all a work in progress.  These are all ideas I got from various people and I would love to hear what you do.  If you are struggling to find a cleaning routine that works, don’t worry – you will get there!  Like I said, it took me several years to find what worked the best not only for me, but for my family and our lifestyle.  What are some of your favorite cleaning tips?  How do you clean with little ones?

Dreams for the Strong-Willed Child

strong-willed

From the moment we found out we were expecting you, your father and I began to dream. When we found out you were a boy, our dreams got just a little more specific. When I first held you in my arms, so many of my personal dreams were realized.

Do you remember that first night? Of course, you don’t. Long after everyone left the hospital on the day you were born, it was just you and me in the dark room getting to know one another. I held you skin-to-skin, showered you with kisses, and told you all of the dreams I had for you.

As I’ve had the joy of being your mother and watching you grow, those dreams really haven’t changed. Now that your personality is intact, there is no doubt in my mind that you are capable of great things. You, my child, are strong-willed. Or as I like to say, passionate. Everything you do is done with such intensity and purpose and I love this about you!

Many people talk about changing the strong-willed child, but the last thing I want to do is change this part of your personality. To squelch your strong-willed nature would be like forcing you to write with the opposite hand or wear your jeans inside-out and backwards. It might be doable, but it would be awkward, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.

My dreams for you now encourage the use of your strong-willed temperament. As your parent, it’s my job to make sure that you develop this part of your personality appropriately. I want to help you strike a balance that enables you to assert yourself while maintaining self-control.  While it is not okay to talk back and throw fits when you don’t get your way, it is okay to respectfully share your thoughts. While it’s not okay to try to take control over every situation, it is okay to be a leader.

My dreams for you and your strong will include the following:

  • Respect the thoughts and opinions of others, even if they differ from your own. This can be difficult because the strong-willed often feel the need to be ‘right’ or have the last word.
  • I see in you great potential to be a leader. Be the kind of leader that is worth following.
  • Treat everyone as if they matter, because they do. When everyone else walks past the not-so-popular kid in the cafeteria, I want you to sit down and have lunch with him.
  • Know what you stand for and don’t be afraid to stand alone because of it. Being strong-willed gives you an advantage in this area. I pray that peer pressure would be no match for you.
  • Let your work ethic speak for you regarding your skills and abilities. You are still too young for us to know where you excel, but odds are there will be something that you are great at or enjoy more than anything else. Work hard and be humble. Right now, you have a work ethic that I didn’t even know existed in kids your age. I will do everything I can to continue to encourage this in you.
  • Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. This includes the disabled, the unborn, the elderly – they all matter.
  • When others run from a problem or tough situation, I want you to run towards it and tackle it head-on.
  • Don’t let the real world steal your love of life.  You have so much energy and ‘zest’ for life – it would break my heart to see you lose that.
  • Come to your own faith in Christ and live your life to glorify Him.

Honestly, I have so many dreams for you that will keep growing and evolving the older you become. But, none of those dreams involve material things; they revolve around the character and integrity I want you to have.  I have never dreamt for you to be a doctor, high-powered business man, or professional athlete. I don’t care about those things and I don’t want you to think that is the measure for success. Actually, you have told me on more than one occasion that you would like to be a garbage man. If that’s your passion and you give it your all, then I would be so proud of you for being a garbage man.

There are days when we butt heads, you and me. I am strong-willed, too. I understand that you want to be right and I understand your intensity because I am the same way. We both have a bit of the perfectionist bug to us as well.  It has been and will continue to be a challenge to help you focus your strong will in a positive direction, to develop self-control. There are times when I am in tears because I don’t know if I am teaching you in the right way, or if I am even getting through to you at all. But there are more times when I see a glimpse of the man you will one day become and I know that the hard days are worth it.

While I am not much of a gambler, I’ll tell you this much – I’d bet my life on you.

Your strong-willed personality is a gift, not a hindrance. I can’t wait to see where life will take you and I pray each and every day that God would use you in mighty ways.

 

Because it’s Winter and I Don’t Enjoy Every Moment

forweariness

I had every intention of writing something uplifting and flowery and everything-is-so-wonderful, but that’s not what came out.  Because that’s not how I feel right now.  I am weary, overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted.

Regardless of whether or not you are a parent, life is full of these stages – these hills and valleys.  Winter is always the hardest for me.  As silly as it sounds, things that I could brush off in the summer become big issues to me in the winter.  If we are having a hard day in the summer, we just go outside and literally run it off.  As I write, the thermometer reads zero – as in, zero degrees Fahrenheit.  Running it off is not an option, so we are stuck inside where we find ourselves keeping everything inside until the festering becomes too much and our behaviors show our true feelings.

On top of my winter weariness has been my disdain for the phrase ‘enjoy every moment.’  I just can’t stand to hear it because I don’t – I don’t enjoy every moment.  If I didn’t have kids I certainly wouldn’t enjoy every moment of my life.  So, why I am expected to enjoy every moment just because I am a parent?  This is what I am learning – I don’t need to enjoy every moment, I just need to be there through the moments.

What I’m saying is, I just have to be there to get us through to the times when we are less weary, overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted.  I just have to keep showing up.  By saying we should enjoy every moment, we imply that these seasons in our lives shouldn’t exist and perhaps we are doing something wrong if they do.  That’s just not the case.

This is the reality:

I didn’t enjoy the moment when my son clogged the toilet today with a roll of toilet paper.

I didn’t enjoy the moment when my other child ran through a store like a wild man when I needed to get some things (like the aforementioned toilet paper) and we couldn’t just leave due to his poor behavior.

I didn’t enjoy the moment when I worked and worked to cook dinner for my family only to have it met with rejection.

I didn’t enjoy the moment when my kids ignored my request to clean up and instead made a bigger mess before throwing tantrums.

I didn’t enjoy the moment when I had plans with my husband and was asked to stay late at work.

It’s reality and it’s life and it’s okay.  I am reminding myself of this more than anyone.  I serve a God who has overcome so much more than a clogged toilet and a temper tantrum.  That doesn’t mean that I am not allowed to feel frustrated, it just means that He understands what frustration feels like.

Just like the promise of spring, I also know that there are so many rejuvenating and wonderful times when I more than enjoy the moment.

This is the reality:

I enjoyed the moment when my children ran up to me for no other reason than to hug me and tell me they loved me.

I enjoyed the moment when my kid used such great manners that other people noticed.

I enjoyed the moment when my family raved about a new recipe I tried (cooking is neither fun nor easy for me).

I enjoyed the moment when the kids cleaned up their toys without being asked.

I enjoyed the moment when my boss thanked me for my hard work.

I know I don’t have to tell you that the good times far outweigh the bad, but sometimes that hope and that reminder is what pushes us to keep showing up.

Spring is right around the corner.

 

My Spooky Valentine

I used to hate Valentine’s Day. I never had a date and it was a glaring reminder that I was single. Fast-forward a few years and now it’s my favorite. Not because of the gifts or the romantic gestures, but I love it because it is one of two days each year (our anniversary being the other day) when people will willingly offer to watch our kids so we can have some alone time. Jackpot.

Before we got to this point, I remember my last Valentine’s Day as a single girl. I thought, ‘forget this; I’m going to have a great time.’ So, I got dressed up, did my makeup and hair, strapped on my heels and had the best time by myself. I lived above Panera Bread (horrible for a carb addict) so I grabbed some food there before renting Napoleon Dynamite and treating myself to chocolate covered strawberries. It was awesome. I had just decided that I was going to enjoy this ‘holiday’ one way or another.

Then I met my husband and he loves Valentine’s Day. He is also a big romantic – I am not. He has a way of remembering the smallest details and turning it into something amazing. Five months ago I might have made a comment in passing about wanting something, I’ll completely forget about it and then on Valentine’s Day it will be waiting for me. Meanwhile, I can’t think of anything romantic or creative so I give him a card with coupons for free hugs in it.

It’s not that I don’t want to get him an amazing gift or show how much he means to me; it’s just that I am a horrible gift-giver. I know the things he likes, but yet I don’t. He loves tools and things for his truck, but that is like a foreign language to me. I’ll go to the store and it’s like I blackout. It’s very similar to grocery shopping while pregnant – pregnancy brain takes over and you can’t remember anything that you needed despite the list you are holding in your hand. So, I’ll do a few laps hoping that I’ll come-to and remember what it is that my husband has specifically asked for. This is what usually happens: I get something just close enough, yet not quite right and he either has to take it back or just pick out his own gift in the first place. This is horrible because my husband loves surprises.

I feel like I am slowly getting better at giving him gifts, but I am nowhere near his level of amazing gift-giving. I now know more about tools and trucks than I ever cared to know, so I am making progress in speaking his language. The good thing is, with a family and a budget we don’t make a big deal out of gifts; our limit is $10-15 on each other. We are going out to dinner and are looking forward to the time spent with each other more than anything else.

This year, we cannot go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, so we have to go out the night before, which just so happens to be Friday the 13th. This is a combination my husband loves – scary stuff and romance. I hate spooky things and we’ve already covered that I’m about as romantic as a reciprocating saw. See, I told you I was learning the language of tools.

ourspot

Our Spot

It has become our tradition to go back to the same restaurant where we spent our first Valentine’s Day in college. Then we’ll walk around the town and campus reminiscing about our time there and how we’ve gotten to this place in our lives. He will feel older than he is and I will realize I am younger than I feel (hooray for exhaustion). We’ll pass by my old apartment above Panera Bread and then we’ll go get some ice cream. It will be simple and perfect and romantic in our own way. Then on Saturday morning I will ‘say it with bacon’ and make my husband breakfast before he goes to work.

I love my spooky Valentine.

Why I’m Dating My Sons

myboys

There is something about one-on-one time that can make something ordinary feel extraordinary. If my husband and I get to go out to dinner by ourselves, it feels like a special occasion even if we just get fast food. The same concept applies to my children; they love to have one-on-one time with us. Whenever I get to spend that quality time with my boys, we call it a date. They get so excited and I do, too.

There are several reasons why I’m dating my sons:

Undivided attention

I try to give them each some one-on-one time with me each day, but it is usually not for an extended period of time due to naps, meals, etc. So, when we get to spend a few hours together and they have Mommy all to themselves, it’s a big deal. At this stage in their lives, this is probably the most beneficial reason we go on dates.

Someday, they are going to meet someone that they feel is special enough that they would like to spend time with them one-on-one. Of course, we are far from this stage in their lives, but it is never too early to prepare their minds and hearts.

Planning

I have many parenting goals – both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, the boys get to choose what they would like to do on our dates. They plan where we will eat and then the activity that we will enjoy. Usually, it involves a fast food restaurant and the park or the train station. That is what they love to do and I love sharing it with them.

My long-term focus is to teach them that when they go out on a date with a girl they are romantically interested in, they need to have a plan. While considering her likes and dislikes, as well as her interests, they need to carefully choose a place to eat and perhaps an activity that they can both enjoy. This will show her that they cared enough about the time they were about to spend together by thinking about it beforehand. Also, by having a plan, it is less likely that they will find themselves in situations that they might later come to regret.

On a personal note, I didn’t go on many dates, but it was always frustrating to me when someone would ask me on a date and then show up without a plan. Call me old-fashioned, but I have always felt that for the first few dates, the man should take the lead in the planning. After you get to know each other better, then feel free to plan together or let her plan the date.

Manners

I don’t have to wait until our date nights to teach my sons about manners, but our special time together gives us a chance to put manners into practice outside of our home. Of course, we say ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me,’ and all of that good stuff. But, I also teach them to open doors, pull out chairs, and thank the wait staff. Granted, they are not always strong enough to open the doors and we sometimes sit in booths, but you get the picture. They also love to think that they are paying for our meal. My oldest son usually offers to pay. I will give him some money and let him think that it is his. He beams with pride when he can pay for our dinner.

Chivalry is not dead and I want my kids to prove it. Having good manners shows someone that you respect them and find them worthy of the best possible treatment. I will expect my sons to be chivalrous and respectful to their dates, just as I would expect their dates to be respectful in return. Another way I am old-fashioned, but I think the man should pay for the dates. If he is asking a woman to join him for the evening, he should be financially responsible. If he is making a plan and considering his budget while doing so, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Again, after a few dates, split the cost or she can pay every once in a while, but the man should take the lead in this area. It’s all a part of having good manners.

Purpose

My purpose in ‘dating’ my sons is to have fun with them. I love them both so much and I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. We are making memories that I hope will last a lifetime. I also want to prepare them for their future.

People have often said to me, “Oh, he’s going to be a heartbreaker!” or, “He’s going to break all the girls’ hearts when he gets older!” Now, obviously I know that these are just meant to be cute things that people say and they don’t mean much by them, but whenever I hear these sayings I think, “I hope not.” I hope and pray that my sons don’t take the feelings of others lightly. I hope and pray that they don’t string girls along and break their hearts. I hope and pray that they are thoughtful with their words and actions by not saying things they think their dates want to hear or doing things that they can’t take back.

I don’t want my sons to date a girl just to say that they are dating someone. Dating should be fun, but I want them to consider the ramifications of what it means to date someone. Yes, you are getting to know a person better, but ultimately, the purpose of dating is to see if that person is someone you could spend the rest of your life with. That’s heavy stuff and it’s why I believe the decision to date someone should not be taken lightly. I have my future daughters-in-law in mind and I want to give them a wonderful husband.

Right now, my sons are much too young to understand that our date nights are meant to prepare them for anything more than just a fun time with their Mom. On one such night out, I asked my oldest son what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without hesitation and with a lot of passion, he said, “I want to be a MAN!” I laughed and told his Dad when we got home that night. We are certainly going to do all we can to get him there.

Linking up with Equipping Godly Women

How a Woman Relaxes

My husband is forever telling me to relax.  He’ll say, “Why don’t you sit down and relax?” or “You just need to relax.”  He has the uncanny ability to actually relax.  He can compartmentalize things and when his body is telling him to chill out, he can do just that.  I cannot.

While my body may be comfortably parked on the couch, odds are I am still not relaxing.  Always the list-maker and worrier, my mind runs at warp speed often leaving me more mentally than physically exhausted.

This is my mind while relaxing:

Ahhh, finally sitting down.  Oh man, that toy wasn’t put away (get up and put the toy away).  I should read.  I don’t think I’m alert enough to read.  I wish I could read more.  I should make time to read more.  I don’t feel like it tonight, though.

relax

There are so many finger prints on that window.  Is that a lip imprint? How did they get up so high? The boys aren’t even that tall (grab the cleaner and remove the finger prints).  Why are there so many crumbs under the table?  I swept it after dinner and we haven’t eaten anything since then.  Where did they come from?  It would not surprise me if we have a family of rodents in this house.   They would be the fattest, most well-fed rodents in all the land.  I better clean up these crumbs.

Should I scrub the toilet again?  Nah, I need to relax, I’m going back to the couch.  That movie looks so sad!  I can’t imagine if that would happen to me. What if Jeff gets into a car accident on the way home?  What if Jeff and the boys are in a terrible accident some day while I’m at work?  What if they all die and I’m left alone?  What would I do!?  Oh my word, I need some tissues.  Why can’t I stop crying!?  I need to get a grip and snap out of it.

Wait, did I email them back?  I need to remember to email her first thing in the morning or that project is going to be held up.  Did I add that figure to the spreadsheet?  Ok, I know where my notes are for that meeting.  I hope I can just sit there so I don’t have to present.  But maybe I should offer to present – maybe that would look good.  Yeah, I’ll do that.

What should I make for dinner tomorrow night?  Something easy, that’s a given.  I think I’ll bake this weekend and try to make some soup to freeze.  I hope the boys nap well, then I can get some extra stuff done, too.   You know what I really want to do?  Take a bath.  I want a nice hot bath.  I can relax, maybe read, maybe shave my legs!  That would be refreshing.

Where is Jeff at?  Why isn’t he home yet?  Oh my word, what if he got into that car accident?  OK, ok…deep breaths.  Everything is fine.

Maybe I’ll just check Facebook.  Why didn’t she like that post?  I thought for sure she would like it, maybe even comment on it.  I must be slipping.  Why do I care?  Why does it matter how many thumbs up I get?  I should delete Facebook, it’s the devil.   I know I’ll never do that, but if I have to see one more picture of the weird food he makes, I’m going to lose it.  Who is she dating now?  Yikes!  Awww, they had their baby today! I think I want to have another baby.  I think I’m ready for that.  We would have to get a minivan and the boys would have to share a room.  We could do that, right?  The boys keep asking for a baby, but Jeff isn’t ready.  Should I talk to him about it?  Maybe we should just wait a few months.  I’ll keep praying about it.

I don’t think I exercised enough today.  I’m going to do some more sit-ups.  Why (exhale) does (inhale) my (exhale) gut (inhale) refuse (exhale) to (inhale) shrink (exhale)?  If we have a third kid it’s certainly not going to shrink.  Should I do Weight Watchers again?  I don’t want to pay for that, though.  I know enough about nutrition to do it myself.  I need to get my addiction to carbs under control.

What’s today’s date?  Ok, good – that bill isn’t due for a few more days.  I’ll submit that payment online tomorrow.  Did we get the statement for that doctor’s appointment?  I’ll have to remind Jeff to look for that in the mail so I know when it comes.  I think we’ve reached our deductible; we should not have to pay anything else.

When’s the last time I talked to her?  I should text her and see how she’s doing.  I miss her so much!  I need to schedule time to meet up with her.  Maybe we can meet for coffee and go shopping.  I’ll have to check Jeff’s schedule.  Maybe I can ask Mom to watch the boys for a bit so I can get out of the house and so I can hang out with her.  But I feel bad for asking for favors.  This is why I can’t delete Facebook, it’s how I stay in touch with everyone I’ve ever met.

What time is it?  What – I’ve only been relaxing for five minutes!?  I’m totally exhausted, most likely due to the fact that I spent half of my ‘me’ time crying.  Oh good, Jeff just pulled in so he wasn’t in a car accident.  I’ll stay up with him for a little bit and then I’m going to bed.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am nuts.  Somewhere along the line, I have just lost the ability to calm down and allow my mind to rest.  All my relaxing produced was the following list of items for me to complete:

  • Read more
  • Check for fat rodent family
  • Scrub toilet
  • Don’t watch sad movie
  • Email about work project
  • Volunteer to present at meeting
  • Set dinner menu
  • Bake stuff
  • Take a bath
  • Shave legs
  • Delete Facebook
  • Have a baby
  • Get a minivan
  • Shrink gut
  • Break carb addiction
  • Pay electric bill
  • Watch for doctor’s bill
  • Call friend

Some of you are laughing because you have realized how crazy I truly am.  Others are laughing because you can completely relate to this ridiculousness.  Most of this stuff is not that important.  Sure, I should pay the bills, make dinner and scrub the toilets.  My husband would probably appreciate it if I shaved my legs; although, that might take us dangerously close to having a baby and getting a minivan.

Regardless, the stuff that keeps me from relaxing just isn’t as important as I make it out to be.  It’s all just busyness that takes my eye off of the things that really are important.  I can add ‘relax’ to that list.  Not the kind of relaxing I did on this evening, but true relaxation that rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul.  I’m reminding myself that it’s okay, even healthy, to make relaxation a priority.

Linking up with Equipping Godly Women

Guest Post: Blissful Ignorance

** Today, I am excited to share with you a guest post written by my friend, Chelsea Shepherd.  Chelsea is the woman behind The Play Lady, where she writes with honesty about her journey as a new mom and experiences as a play therapist.  I’m sure you will enjoy Chelsea’s writing as much I do!

blissful ignorance

I’m glad I didn’t hear the stories of sleepless nights, sacrifice and isolation. Don’t get me wrong, the stories were told and the words were said, but for whatever reason they didn’t sink in. I had this sort of blissful ignorance before parenthood {even during prengancy} that may have protected me from the ‘what if’ game I definitely would have played had I known. Without that blissful ignorance, I am quite certain, my life would be quite empty.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy…I just didn’t realize it would be so hard. I am the oldest of five children, I started babysitting as early as possible, I am a certified child life specialist and I am trained in play therapy. I should have known. I should not have been surprised. But I was – I was surprised.

Even with all my knowledge and experience, it is my nature to be organized, deliberate and in control. The decision to become a mom was not one taken lightly. I knew there were things I needed to do, things we needed to do as a couple before we could become parents. After many of those things were completed and careful consideration was given to the idea, we thought we were ready. And we were as ready as we could be, but the truth is, without that blissful ignorance, we would have never been brave enough to take the leap of faith to grow our family. Parenthood is heavy, it is not for the weak and, without that blissful ignorance, I would never have had the confidence in myself required to be a mom.

Now, mommy-in-training that I am, I can hear the stories. The words that would have once brought fear and hesitation, now bring comfort {and usually a smile, because I am not alone}. Not only are the stories heard {loud and clear}, but the words sink right into my being and I realize this thing called parenthood is a mystery for a reason.

Thank you blissful ignorance for protecting me from fear, hesitation and over-thinking.

Thank you tales of parenthood for letting me know that I am not alone.

Thank you God for giving me strength that I never knew I had.