Learning

I often feel like I hav much to learn as a parent. Every day seems to come with failed experiments. Ones in which I thought would work and yet they did not go as planned. Often though, my days still have successes. That is just a part of life. Learning and growing are a part of it.

I have been a little missing in action on this here blog thing of mine. There have been many learning moments in the last several weeks. Some days I feel as though I am succeeding and some days I go to bed wondering how I am going to make it through another day. We are all alive though.

Successful days for me include being able to keep on top of my son. Last week I was able to finally pack away all of the winter coats, gloves and boots. It felt so good. In its place were two containers that held shoes. I knew I was in trouble when my son almost immediately dumped them out so he could place the containers on the table. Really?! How could I have possibly expected my son, who likes to dump, not to dump out the shoes? Was I really expected order? I gave up! Okay, not really. I resolved to find a solution.

Several stores later I ended up at Shopko looking at their furniture. I  stopped at my favorite piece that was on sale. It looked so nice, but I was too poor.  I could not justify the expense when I could purchase another item slightly cheaper, although not as easy on the eyes.

Several minutes later I was home going through a box of furniture pieces. My kids were on top of it, and me, the whole time. They were excited thinking there was a new play toy for them. I was excited to have found a solution to my problem.

Everything went well until the second to last step. Normally I pay close attention to the directions and what side I am using but in the process of beginning the step and getting the kids out of my way I didn’t realize my mistake. Forty tiny little annoying nails later and I realized I had nailed the back onto the front. As gracefully as I could I removed those nails, and the back remained in one piece, albeit a little mangled. Eventually it was done. The doors covered up my the holes left over from my mistake. I felt accomplished. One more problem solved, and many more will come as the days go on.

Every day will bring challenges to each parent. There will be times we succeed and times we fail, and each day we hopefully get another chance to try again.

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When it all comes crashing down

Last Friday one of my daughters received the flu shot.  Three kids down and one more to go, include me too.  A few days later she showed some mild cold symptoms but what was a cold for her has turned into the flu for the ones yet to receive the shot. (Note to self: next year everyone gets it at the same time). The last three days I have felt horrible. Being really sick and a single parent is way hard. Just sayin’. You can barely move but you still have to feed children and change diapers. You still have to put them to bed.  I do not even recall the last time I was this sick, let alone even getting the flu.

The first day of my illness started out pretty mild. I wasn’t fully sick yet and began some major projects in the house. These projects started because the night before my oldest had put weight on a high shelf which later that evening came crashing down. So, day one of sickness, and knowing how bad it was going to get yet, I started my projects.  After the first one I noticed I was a bit tired. So I stopped to play with my girls. All the while my son was in his room. All of a sudden a penetrating smell came from his room. I know that smell. It means his has taken his diaper off.  It has quite a while since he has done this. But I have never seen that much mess.  All over the blankets, the walls, his hands and the television he reached by standing on his bed. Needless to say it was a poopy mess.

I can honestly say that when I have a poopy day it really is. And it is nothing like when a baby or small toddler comes out of their diaper.

Since I was already cleaning up I figured I would do my next task. As soon as it was mostly done I was obviously without anymore energy. Two days later one blanket is still sitting wet in the washer (I’ve washed it twiced) and my energy is slowly returning. I had just enough to clean my living room.

On the poopy day my oldest mentioned how i had to admit it kind of was funny.  Yeah, it was so bad all you could do was either cry or laugh. It is my life. This is my life. Everybody has bad days, sick days and poopy days. Why? Because that is a part of life. It is not always the way it appears in magazines, on television, or even in many mommy blogs. This is why I keep it real, but spare you some of the pictures, because we need reminding that it is okay to have the not so perfect days.

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.

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.

My tiny unclean home

Every once in awhile I tend to want to just throw absolutely everything out. To just get rid of it all. I am so tired of picking everything up. I am tired of everything getting thrown on the floor as soon as I pick it up. I spent a good portion of yesterday getting my kitchen organized and clean-sure doesn’t look like it now. Today I did the same for the living room. Same thing-doesn’t look like I touched it in weeks. Granted, it isn’t that it is a large mess it just looks like it because my house is so small. But why do I even bother to have a clean house or to even attempt to clean it while children are awake?

I often wonder if there is something wrong with me.  Why can’t I keep my house clean? I must be a horrible housekeeper! Why do I even try? However, I realize those are not very positive thoughts so I gather my energy and get to work. I keep trying because I desire good. I desire peace of mind. I desire that my children at least get a minute of a clean house every once in awhile so that maybe their memories will not be just on the idea that I failed to clean well.

I have to admit that I also envision myself in a larger home. A home where there is a nice living room free of children’s mess and a family room that can be a huge mess all of the time. That room, in my dreams, is also out of sight from the living room. Get the idea?

the great thing about my house is that I rarely have visitors. That works well because I don’t even have a couch. Which I sometimes enjoy because that means I do not have to clean out under the couch cushions-because I don’t even have a vacuum. Yeah-poor me.

The benfit of my house is that there are no carpets. I got rid of the rugs-they were a pain. When it does come time to cleaning I just sweep everything into a large pile. That works well for a few benefits. The whole mess gets put into the middle of the room and the rest of the room looks clean. Want to get a room clean real quickly? Just sweep everything into the next room you need to clean. Tah dah, room clean in a minute.

I do have to remember though that it is okay to not have things perfect. Messes are a part of life. Having a home that gets cleaned and messed up often does not really mean I am a horrible housekeeper-it just means we live in our house.

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.