Minecraft Mom

Christmas break has done me in. It is now the beginning of 2017, just a few hours in, and I just want to cry. So, while trying to get my youngest back to sleep I realized how much being a single parent is like playing the game Minecraft. You got that right. I did say that.

My daughter begged me to get the game and I have to admit, in my reluctance, I did get it and we have enjoyed playing it together.  So how does it relate to parenthood? I will explain-otherwise this would be a pointless thing to mention.

I spend my days doing many things. Taking care of kids and repeating many of the same things over and over again. In Minecraft you repeat many thing. Things get broken and you have to rebuild or make new things. It is just the regular mundane things.

Then there are the zombies and other creatures. If you are not prepared for them they will kill you in the game. Well, as a parent those monsters come at you in many forms including, but not limited to, child temper tantrums, financial crises, and anything that could possibly wear you down. In the game if you do not go to the sleep the nights seem to take forever. Same in real life.

In life we gain experience through tasks amd other things. The same goes for the game. Extra experience points for the harder things, such as killing zombies. If you die in the game you lose your experience points. I tell you what, being a parent is no different. When things go wrong you feel like all the experience you ever had, and what you learned, gets thrown out the window. You feel like you are starting over. Sometimes your “hearts” have just taken a good beating and it takes awhile to gain your energy back.

In Minecraft there are baby zombies. I swear the person who developed that part of the game had a two year old who was fully into the terrible twos.

For some reason when you play the game you keep going back for more. Not doesn’t matter how often you die either. It is like you do not mind the challenge. There seems to e enjoyment.  Maybe it is the challenge of finding the end and all those end pearls-do not ask me about those a I still do not understand them. Well, the same goes for parenthood. I keep going no matter how hard I have been it-just hoping my efforts pay off.

I am sure I could make more comparisons but I am beat. I have half a little heart left of however many I get per “life” and so I leave it there or here or wherever it ought to be to end this thought of mine.

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Enough Already!

I do not know what it is. I do not know if it is the holiday pressure to be a great parent at this time of year or if it is the feeling that I get from the lack of holiday spirit because of said pressure. Whatever it is I find myself utterly dreading this time of year. Personally, I think life just finally caught up to me and I have way too much on my mind to get into the spirit of things, although I will still do my best for the sake of my children.  If is something I must work on.

A lack of holiday cheer has definitely added to my ability to have as much patience as I normally have. I finally cracked. Okay, not really. I am sure that would be a gross mess and nobody wants to see that sort of thing. I just had it. A lack of sleep and a complete and utter inability to keep on top of my children’s messes threw me over the edge. Okay, I know, not really over the edge but I think you get my point.

Everywhere I turn in my tiny little home my children are creating a mess. They do it while laughing too. Really?! Are they laughing at the mess they are making or laughing at the idea I will have to clean it up?  In all honesty I do know they are laughing because they are happy and having fun. I do not fault them for that. I do enjoy their happy voices.  I just do not enjoy the disaster that is always left behind.

So began my “get the house organized to save mommy’s sanity” project. I had to start with some clean rooms. So I swept everything that was on the floor in the bedrooms (there are benefits to a hard floor home) and put all of it I the living. Yay! Instant clean rooms. Of course, my living room was a compete disaster.

The next day I started organizing and going through all of it. Two things happened. The kitchen then became a disaster and every time I turned my back on the living room disaster all my efforts thus far became undone. I owe that to my son who enjoys dumping things out. Really?!

By day three I was exhausted and not getting anywhere. So I turned my attention to the kitchen. I spent all morning on a project designed to keep that room organized and clean. Yay for a clean kitchen.  Now off to my living room.

I don’t know if my living counts as a living room. It is a room with chairs, and on that particular day a huge pile of stuff. Three or four bags later of trash and an equal amount of donations my living room was finally clean. I felt good. I felt my patience retiring. I felt success and hope that I had not been there a few days before.

I don’t really know if there is much to the point of my sharing this, except that I know we all have those moments. We all break down, lose patience, get tired, frustrated, and so forth. These are not bad feelings to have. We need them to get us moving and to inspire us to grow or make changes in our lives. We cannot just bury them and pretend they will go away because they will surface at some point. We must acknowledge them. We cannot become better people until we do. And no this is not an excuse for bad people to use when trying to justify abusing others or doing things that are just wrong.

Seriously?!

Really? Why? Whatever! Exactly! That is how my days go. Any time I sit the children climb on top of me. Any time I walk away they come running and screaming behind me. My sons bus driver and bus aide laugh every day at how my children run after me as if I am going to abandon them. Where do they think I am going? Do they not recognize they were doing just fine before they realized I was gone?

I could help myself feel better by saying that it is wonderful to be loved.  Of course it is. I love that they love me, but I am also trying to teach them independence.  I don’t seek to be away from them or whatnot. I take my job as a parent seriously. Part of wanting children was to teach them and help them become decent human beings–and have lots of fun doing so.

Speaking of fun–that is the “exactly” part–but being a parent can be fun. It is great to play hide and seek even if I have to work up the energy to do so. I absolutely love seeing how long it takes for them to find me. Talk about some alone time. It usually does not work though as I believe they can sense where I am. I think as they get older that sense leaves because my oldest takes the longest time finding me.

There are also the “whatever” moments.  The moments where I just get tired of telling them to stop whatever they are doing. How many times do I have to tell them to stop slashing or drinking the bath water? It doesn’t work-ever. I have to eventually tell myself to give up and just get them out. Getting them out creates screaming so then I argue with myself on getting them out and dealing with screaming or letting them splash and continue having fun. Yeah, whatever.

My absolute all time phrase that helps any time of day, even the bad ones is: “oh well.”  Oh well. It is very powerful. Powerful enough to bring me back to reality and figure out what is really important. It provides a way for me to recognize what really matters and what does not. It also provides a way for me to  back off from beating myself up and give myself some credit for what I hope I am doing right as a parent. An “oh well” is what we all need, or maybe a “so what.”  If you are trying then I think that is good. Give yourself a break for your mistakes and try to do better next time.

Car rides

I have joked for years that I am cursed. Without fail it seems as though the night before I need to travel I struggle to go to sleep. Some may think I am anxious or nervous, but I am not. Sometimes I get to sleep but my children keep waking me up and other times sleep just doesn’t want to come. This happened recently. I really wanted to sleep, but it just was not happening.

Since I lacked sleep I went back to bed after putting my son on the bus the next morning. Yes that did mean that I put on a television show to (gasp) babysit my children. Actually, it turned out nicely that they slept for most of that as well. Yay.

Several hours later, after errands and searching for everything (not finding it all) to tracked with we were finally on the road. We made all out usual stops. Bathroom break one, two, and three. All our usual stops. The only new stop was to get some beef jerky to keep me awake. Yup, chewy beef jerky that costs a bundle.

I don’t know why I even bothered buying the jerky though. It was about that time that I regretted moving the children from the far back to the middle of the van. What was I thinking? Screaming, yelling, and more screaming–directly behind me. I wondered if my children even knew how to do anything but scream or fight. I even began to plan out how to put a partition in between the two youngest girls. They wouldn’t be able to get to each other that way.

One of the hardest things about long drives with children is the high pitched screaming of little kids-or any kid. Eventually, without realizing it, your foot begins to push down on the gas pedal a little harder.  Eventually you start going faster. I noticed this of myself and wondered what a police officer would think if I got pulled over. Would he have pity on me and send me on my way (happened to my mom once)? Or…would my children be perfect angels and I would look like a crazed woman about to explode? My guess is it would be the latter. I am sure I would even have tears of frustration, or from the pain in my ears, and the officer would likely think I was crying because he pulled me over. Serves me right for traveling with children.

This trip I really did not end up going too fast too often because of the screaming. I wished I could have. Instead I quietly cursed every vehicle in front of me that decided going ten to twenty miles under the speed limit was fun. Didn’t they know I had screaming children in the car and there was a tired mom behind the wheel doing everything to keep sane?

On another note: I did understand how someone could go off the road when a spider scares them while driving (recent news story). I had a large bug startle me and it took every ounce of me to keep from freaking out as I could not tell what it was. I pulled over and let the sucker out. My oldest was about to join it. She was so creeped out that she was literally half way out the car already. Good thing I pulled over.

summer revelations

This Summer is not even over yet and I have already been made aware of certain things that I never want to do again but know I will have to.

I do not ever want to visit anyone ever again. It is stressful. It is difficult to keep my children happy and behaved on top of feeling like everyone is watching my parenting moves like a hawk. I always go home feeling stressed and never well rested. It does not even have to be an over night visit as any amount of time longer than an hour is way too much.

I do not ever want to have people over either.  That is just as stressful as visiting somebody for all the same reasons. The only difference is that when I visit someone I am trying to prevent my kids from making a mess and when we are at home I am feeling guilty for not having a perfectly clean home.

The whole Summer of traveling, not my original plans, have definitely awakened my senses to my parenting ability and stress level. There is even the bit about learning how not to be taken advantage of too, but that will also come in time as I need more practice at that.

It is not that things a are all bad. It is just life. This is life that is not sugar-coated to hide all of the bad. Things are not always perfect. There are true feelings that go beyond eternally optimistic and happy.

When I was young people at church would always, or so it seemed, tell me to smile  Why? Because it was so odd for them to see me without a smile. Whenever I visit these same people say the same thing about my smile. It catches me off guard, but it is not bad to not have a smile on my face all of the time.

Why do we need or expect people to be happy all of the time? Why do we act surprised when someone is not always happy, or having a bad day? What it is we expect or are projecting onto others? I could ask questions all day long and come up with my own reasonings and ideas, but it would only be for my own benefit.

I do not dislike traveling or having people visit, I just got tired and that is what happens to everybody at some point in life, at least once.

I will be sad for the good times of this Summer to be over but I will be glad to get back into a routine that is not as stressful. In the meantime, my hat goes off to all parents who are doing any traveling this Summer as it is rarely easy and stress free.