Monday, March 8, 2010

Loving Every Minute of it

Recently, I was given an opportunity to visit my extended family in Mobile. We live about 8 hours from there and don't find the time to visit nearly often enough. While we were there, my uncle commented on how happy I was to be a stay at home mom. Now I can totally understand his surprise. I mean, I was the girl who wasn't going to have any kids because of my childhood, so the fact that I have 3 daughters in itself is probably a surprise to many people. And the idea of me being happy as a stay at home mom would probably be just shy of inconceivable.

Not that I feel the need to explain myself to people I haven't seen in years, but I did feel like explaining myself and my parenting "just because".

First of all, I am not a perfect mom. I get frustrated, impatient, angry, sad, lonely, depressed, bored, any and all feelings that adults who are not parents feel toward other people's kids, I have felt toward mine at least once. In fact, the other day I joined a contest in someone else's blog. The question was "In what activity would you like a lesson from an expert?" and my answer was that I would like a lesson from an expert in gently but effectively disciplining my children. I've tried spanking, the supernanny approach of time out for everything, naptime, I'm embarrassed to say I sometimes even find myself yelling (the spanking of today). . . I know not all children can be disciplined the same and not all situations call for the same type of discipline, so maybe what I *really* need is a lesson from an expert in patience or better understanding my kids. . . but that's what I'd like a lesson in.

I'm not proud of my intermittent lack of effectiveness, but I am honest enough to admit it. There are days when I would be happy and willing to go back to work despite the astronomical amount I'd have to pay for childare. The important thing is that I muscle through those times and make it through to the other side.

What keeps me going and keeps me sane and even happy being a stay at home mom is the little things -- the way Evie always comes to me to get a kiss whenever she stubs her toe (and sometimes she makes up stubbing a toe just so she can have a kiss LOL), playing games with the girls, reading to them -- the times when we have peaceful moments, when we are all cooperating and getting along. The smell of Izzy's hair. The varying expressions of each of their faces. The intelligent insights Addy spouts at times. The hugs, the kisses, the snuggles, the love. The times we are all traveling in the car and the kids drive us so crazy Joey and I just bust out laughing. The minutes that I would miss if they were in childcare are what keep me going when I'm at my wits and nerves end.

And I am getting better. Its a constant process. An ever changing process. The most important thing to my sanity is constantly reminding myself that they are children, that time is fleeting and life is unpredictable. I have to be more flexible. Its easy to expect today to be like yesterday, to expect something that worked before to work again, but in reality, that's not always the case. I have to remember that we are all evolving. They are learning and developing and changing as people just as I am learning, developing and changing as a mother. It is a constant process and even if today is bad, tomorrow could be better or it could be worse.

Regardless of what tomorrow brings, I have been blessed by God with 3 beautiful, intelligent, healthy, happy, creative, sweet, saucy, loving daughters. I am making every effort to enjoy every minute I have with them because we are not guaranteed another moment. We all have our time lines set, we are each alloted a specific amount of time here and none of us know how long that will be. I am making every effort to be a better mom tomorrow than I am today because not only is this my God given responsibility, but it is also the "job" I have chosen for myself and I want to do the best "job" I possibly can. Not just because I am an over-achiever, but also because I know the quality of job I do will affect them for the rest of their lives. I love them more than I ever imagined it possible to love another person and I want to have a positive impact on their lives.

Yes, I'm an over-achieving, slightly neurotic mom of 3, just doing my best to do my best. Its not the funnest job imaginable, but its the most rewarding and most challenging and the best job for me.

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