Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflections on Parenting

Sundays are always a really long day.  They are the best part of the week, but they are long.  Gary gets up early, gets the shower started, wakes kids, wakes me again.  He gets his shower, kids dress while complaining about being cold and wanting more sleep, sometimes he then even needs to wake me a third time.  We get everyone out the door, shooting for 8 am, usually it's more like 8:15 or sometimes even 8:20.  We swing through McDonald's or Hardee's for breakfast, and Gary speeds to make up lost time.

We make Church where we are on cloud nine.  Hearing the word of God expounded on, encouraged to do better, challenged on our short comings.  Afterwards, there is always wonderful fellowship, which we often drag out over lunch or visiting at the preachers house.  (They are so kind to let us hang out so much.)  It is very much needed for us as we can't be close to everyone during the week, and we are in the trenches, me with the heathens, him with farmers at all hours of the day and night.

We make the trek back home sometime late afternoon or evening.  Usually this means at least a trip to the grocery store (who knew that pretty much everything was cheaper in Maryland than in PA). Sometimes another stop or two.  Then to fill up the gas tank just before crossing the state line.  Finally, we either grab some supper, occasionally stop to eat, or tell the kids it's a popcorn for supper sort of night.  Get home and hit the bed.

Like I said they are long days.  Last night we went to Panera Bread for supper, as we came through Camp Hill.  I was TIRED.  All the way down to Church I did our Bible reading.  All the way back I worked on Science lesson plans, and answered questions, a lot of questions.  Gary's in line to order, so I take the kids to the bathroom.  Britt has insisted on going into one stall alone.  Ruth goes in the other, and gets mad, when I come in with her to use the changing table for Rebecca.  She refuses to use the bathroom with Rebecca looking at her.  I tell her to get over it, we aren't leaving.  Britt is singing some made up song at the TOP of his lungs, and randomly asking lots of questions.  I have to remind him to go and flush the toilet.  He claims he did.  I told him to do it again then, I didn't hear it (maybe because he didn't).  Rebecca is fussing to get down, but I'm not about to put her on that nasty floor.  I'm starting feeling like I'm developing a twitch in my eyebrow.  Trying to keep it together, and getting frustrated. I get everyone out of the stall another lady (in her 40s maybe 50s) is waiting her turn.  Everyone gets hands washed, and then out to where Daddy is waiting at a table.

I get to go back in the bathroom alone, and feeling like I'm at the spa.  When the lady in there, says, "You sure have good control over the kids.  They are well behaved.  I imagine kids are frustrating."  I am sitting here thinking, did you just witness the entire exchange that I did?  Do you have any idea that I would like to hide in here for a few extra minutes?  You OBVIOUSLY have no idea how frustrated I feel.  I just smiled and said, as I usually do, "They have their moments.  Some days are great and some not so much, but we really enjoy them."  I regrouped while washing my hands, and went back out and we had a really good and even fun supper together out in public.  Then we got back to the house and dealt with a meltdown over the fact that it was bedtime.

What can I say, it's a mixed bag with kids.  It's wonderful, and exhausting, it's fun and miserable, and we wouldn't trade them for anything.  You end up pouring a vast amount of time into them.  For me that looks like homeschooling, cleaning, art projects, driving to co-op, looking for every cool "field trip" opportunity possible.  And inevitable, you leave alot of you behind, often for me that's a bit begrudgingly done, but it means the scrapbooks are 4 years behind, I've not finished a sewing project in 4 years, and I've not painted in 6.  It means that I've posted just over 50 post this year, about 1/3rd of my usual yearly postings.  It means the girl's hair is adorable, and Ruth has her nails done, while my hair is in a messy pony tail and I should find the adult sized finger nail clippers.

The truth is that Motherhood isn't a walk in the park, it isn't only sunshine and roses.  Like everything in life, there are down moments.  It doesn't mean I wish I hadn't had kids, or that I should have had less.  It certainly doesn't mean I need to hear comments in the store like "why can't you control those kids," or "it's your own fault" when we are having one of the bad days.  Kids in some ways are just like adults, they have good days and bad, and just like alot of adults (myself sometimes included) they don't necessarily handle that well.  It certainly doesn't mean that as parents we can't occasionally voice the stress and frustration, and when we do, the last things we need to hear is "you know what causes that" or "you should get a tv"  (One of these days I'm seriously going to tell someone, if they think tv is more fun there is something really wrong with them. Or maybe I won't.)  Whether you have 1 or a dozen, there are ups and downs, there are difficulties.

However, I will say, there is no better perspective restorer than hearing someone who thinks we are doing something right when we feel like the behavior isn't what it should be when in JC Penny's.  Nothing as reassuring as the knowing and supportive glance across the frozen vegetables when things aren't going so right, at the end of the marathon that is grocery shopping.  But perhaps for me nothing is quite so nice as the smiling individual who says "You sure have your hands full." or "You have many little helpers."  Because I do.  Their level of helpfulness is sometimes up for debate, but the way that they not only fill my hands but also our entire lives, is something that no amount of frustration would have me change.

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