Being A Yes Mama

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I say no to my kids all.the.time. every single day.

“No, you may not watch more tv. ”

“No, you may not stay up later.”

“No ,you may not have any candy.”

“No, you may not swing from the ceiling fan.”

“No. No. No. No.”

Sometimes I get sick of my own voice. ( Imagine what my kids think! )

I say no so often that it ends up being my default answer. I even say no sometimes without even thinking about why I am actually saying no in the first place! Which can be problematic right?

I realized just how problematic the other day when I told my son,  “No, you can’t have more salad.”

UM WHAT? He looked at me like I had two heads.

Just in case you are wondering, I recanted and gave the boy more vegetables. I seem to eat my words a lot around here.

Which is why I have been trying something new out this week . I am saying, “Yes.” more. Not to everything of course, I have to draw the line somewhere. Playing on the street sounds like a good boundary. But I don’t have to always say no either. It feels good to relax a bit and just say “Yes. Why yes you may.” Then I get to watch my kids astonished reactions. It’s quite amusing. I think they are wondering where their real mother went off to. But I’ll venture to guess they don’t want her back! Their new “Yes!” Mama rocks.

I have already felt a slight shift in our relationship. For one, I am saying yes to things I normally wouldn’t have, like making tents in the playroom, and letting them make their own lunch; things that by nature are messy but oh so much fun. I am also finding that my attitude is becoming more positive, and the kids are noticing. They seem to be less apprehensive about approaching me with requests and it feels good. I love seeing their faces light up when I say yes. It also makes the unavoidable “No’s ” more tolerable.

Things are happier around here. I like it that way.

Clarifying “We Can’t Be Friends”

This week my post “We can’t be friends” spread like wildfire online.

It has raised more than a few critical eyebrows, so for what it is worth, please hear me out.  I want to clarify that my writings had little to do with the state of my home. Or your home for that matter.

It was a simple message, in a time in my life I needed to be heard:

I want to be Real. And I give you permission to be Real too. 

I was so overwhelmed from the comments and emails I received. Many of you could relate to the words written and were encouraged. You also took the time to encourage me back and I am beyond grateful. Truly. Thank you. 

However, I feel a heaviness in my heart that is hard to ignore . Why? Because my comment feed also tells a vicious and repeated tale, of how cruel we can be to each other.

Why ? Why are we so hard on one another ?

We love to dish out criticism and insults. We hide behind our computer screens and slander those whom we don’t even know. We pass judgment against the girl at the gym, the mom at the grocery store, and the woman who received the promotion we wanted. We read too much into each other’s intentions, and rarely into their hearts. We are brutal. It is sad. It makes my stomach turn. But it is true.

And then we wonder why it is hard to be vulnerable.

What would happen if we just took the time to hear each other out? To be less defensive and more encouraging? To trust each other’s intentions and let the little things ( that have no importance ) slide to the wayside. To be each other’s advocates.

Would we develop the kind of friendships we are all longing for? Real, Genuine, Long lasting friendships? Would we hurt less and allow room for healing?

We are capable of loving each other. We are capable of supporting each other.  Let’s stop tearing each other apart. A little empathy and understanding can go a long way. It could even change a person’s life. So if you take anything from “We can’t be friends “, take this:

Just Love

For the record I really don’t want you to fold my laundry. It would be nice, but that wasn’t the point of this post. Real friends love each other on the very best day and on the very worst day. I have my share of both.

True Friends Give Grace Abundantly

I need grace. Don’t you?

MnDOT. I hate you.

So maybe that is a bit harsh.  I really don’t hate MnDOT. Not at all. But I need someone to blame for my terrible morning, and they appear to be a good enough culprit.

If you were lucky enough to miss all the drama on my facebook today, it took me nearly two and a half hours to take my kids to school. Usually it only takes me 25 minutes. In those two and a half hours, I did not see one single snow plow or salt truck. Not that it would have made any difference. The road was so grid locked that I’m sure they were all stuck in traffic as well.  But I couldn’t help but think those plows were just at home tucked in their bed.

Precisely where I wanted to be.

I know we Minnesotans like to pride ourselves as being tough drivers. Snow doesn’t scare us. But the roads were not just kinda bad. They were really really bad. The roads were being dumped on and I could barely see in front of me. About an hour and a half into it, I was ready to turn around, cry chicken, and go home. But then I missed my exit, and the older two began fighting like two puffed up roosters.  Which ultimately sealed their fate. The roosters were going to school. Even if it took me all day to get them there. I kinda felt like Pa in Little House on the Prairie. Except it is 2014, and my Passat is my horse and carriage.

You should know that I am not a fan of driving in the snow. Living in Minnesota, has forced me to grit my teeth and just suck it up. But HELLO Minnesota. If there is a wintery advisory warning – Cancel school. Or at the very least- give us a late start so the plows have time to do their jobs. Next time I am going to call it myself .

By the time I walked the kids to their classes and got back to the car, the windshield was filled with ice. A lot of ice. I scraped as much off as I could, turned on the car, and flipped on the windshield wipers.

Nothing.

I tried again.

Nothing.

Cue the cursing.

I may be becoming a skilled Minnesota winter driver. But a girl can NOT safely drive in a Blizzard without windshield wipers.

Michael called VW and they told him that the repair was most likely going to cost us $600. Do you know how many Carmel Mocha’s that is?!

I utterly lost it.

Crocodile tears and shudders, snot pouring down my face- lost it. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t care.

Michael, ( bless his heart ) met me at the service station that I crept fearfully to, and with the spoon he found in my car ( don’t ask ) , he chipped off all the ice. Smart guy had the foresight to open the hood of car to get better at it. See why I need him so much?

Still. The windshield wiper’s motor kept silent.

It seemed as if we were to be $600 poorer.

Michael graciously gave me his car to drive myself home and I left him with mine. Which only caused me more anxiety, I hate driving other people’s cars.  I feel so stupid driving Michael’s car, especially with five inches of snow on the freeway. I was sure that I was going to end up in a ditch somewhere.

Minutes later Michael calls  to tell me that the windshield wipers on my car are miraculously working and he orders me to head to Starbucks so he could buy me a coffee.

That was the exact moment the sun came out today. It was also the moment that it stopped snowing, and I stopped crying. Seriously.

He really knows the way to my heart.

Then it gets better ( or worse ) , only time will tell…

As I am leaving Starbucks to finally go home,  the little girl who has been sitting in the car for four hours pipes up, ” I ate the chicken.”

Me alarmed, “What chicken?!”

Little Girl, “The chicken in the Chick- fil- a  box.”

A long pause…

People- We had Chick- fil a- two weeks ago. TWO WEEKS AGO.

I could do nothing but laugh.

Oh Boy.

Amy Glass. I can’t help but feel sorry for you.

I tend to stay far away from Mommy Wars that seem to be running rampant all over the web. Honestly,  I find them useless and utterly obnoxious.

However, I feel the need to address this woman who has upped the anti and declared war on Stay at Home Mothers and wives everywhere. She has no tact nor mercy – not even for her own poor mother who she degrades publicly.  (Someone please go give that Mama a hug )

In writing this I want my readers to know that I have deep respect for professional single women, stay at home moms, for moms who work from home, and for moms who work outside the home. I sincerely love you all, and am proud to have close friends in each category. I don’t believe that success, happiness or joy are only found in marriage or in motherhood. I also know that you can be an amazing wife and mother while at the same time being a wildly successful professional. On that note:

Dear Amy Glass, 

I was one of the unfortunate ones that stumbled upon your blog the other day. 

I am not going to bother trying to make a case for stay at home mothers. I don’t have to. My position as a SAHM speaks for itself.  Your post does not demean nor does it intimidate me. I am a young wife and a young mom. I LOVE my life. I wake up everyday with purpose. My husband is my best friend, my love, and my team mate. My dreams and professional ambitions were not laid aside when I chose to be married. Quite the opposite actually. I am content, and feel peace knowing that all the sacrifices my husband and I have both made, have been made willingly, out of love. I wouldn’t be the first stay at home mom to declare that my accomplishments are largely due to the support and encouragement of my husband and children. He doesn’t just take care of me. We take care of each other. On equal footing. 

 No- I don’t have to defend my choices in life.  But it seems as if you have the desperate need to defend yours. So desperate in fact, that you attempt to rip apart even the woman who bore you, accusing her of having no identity outside of being a wife.  You should be ashamed. You talk of  weakness. You know what I teach my children? The bully on the playground, is the weak one. 

You either are a very sad and lonely individual, or a wise business woman who knows that calculated, controversial posts will produce hits. For your sake I hope it is the latter, and in that case, congratulations. You have managed, on a much smaller scale, to do just what Miley Cyrus’s shameless twerking has done; gained the attention of the country, and piss off a whole bunch of mothers. Wow – what an accomplishment. 

I hope that one day you can swallow your pride, and your mean spirited posts. Perhaps one day you will fall in love and marry and realize that there is joy in partnership, and that you are able to love someone else more than yourself. Perhaps one day you will hold your very own little boy or girl in your arms and realize that motherhood isn’t such a normal, everyday thing. It will be the day that your heart grows three times it size, and suddenly is able to feel both joy and pain simultaneously. The day that you will see  your professional successes dim in comparison to being a mother. 

Your post does not evoke anger in me, nor do I look down on you because of your grossly sad and misinformed judgements. No. Instead,  I feel a great deal of pity for you. Those judgments may keep you from ever knowing the honor of serving someone else other than yourself and your own gains.  I pity you because I know that people who set out to intentionally hurt others are a by-product of hurt themselves.  I can’t help but wonder what led you to this point, and I feel sad for you. 

You have succeeded in carving an identity for yourself as being spiteful and mean. An incredibly easy task, that literally anyone can do.  As a writer who prides herself in being an advocate, a voice for women, you have accomplished the opposite. All I saw in your words was hatred for women who chose a different path than yours. A path that you know absolutely nothing about. Also,  you will NEVER be exceptional by being a bully. In fact, a bully will always, only be less than average. And in my opinion- you have more potential than that. 

 

My Little Bell is Nine

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Daughter of my heart,

It was you who showed me the depths of which a mother can love. Before you- I never knew that kind of love existed. I  held you in my arms nine years ago, and I was absolutely taken. You took my breath away and I knew that I would never be the same again.

November 9th, 2004 , just before the sun rose – you my love, changed my life.

You have my nose, my eyes, and my temper ( sorry darling ). You have an incredible sense of words, and a very strong artistic talent. But you are very much like your father. Your wit, your sense of humor, and your intelligence belong to him. You have a vibrance for life that is insatiable. You are kind, loving, and very beautiful. You are the best of both of us.

There is a deepness to your heart that will take a life time to know. Your heart is my honor and joy to seek.

You are crazy. Full of color and life. You walk into a room, and bring with you such a lightness. I love the way you look at life. Life without you would be absolutely bleak and boring.

What an amazing gift you are to me. To your Daddy. To your brother . To your Sister. To the world.

Don’t ever forget it.

I love being your Mom. I am so very proud of you, and who you are.

I love you.

I love you .

Oh How I love you.

Happy Birthday little one.

That Face.

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Picture this:

Me . Frantically  trying to get all the kids out the door. ( We were late per my new usual )

Me: Lili- take off your sandals and put on some socks and shoes.

Lili: “No Mama. I’m fine.

Me: I really think you should put on some socks and shoes. It’s cold outside. While you are at it- go get a jacket on too.

Lili: Nnnnnoooooo Mama. Ill be fine. ( crosses arms )

Me: Ok… ( deciding to chose my battles )  Well if you don’t care if you are going to be cold, then I don’t care either.

Lili: YOU DONT CARE IF I”M COLD! ( Stomps little barefooted feet )

Me: Loud exasperated sigh.

All you Mamas out there. You hear me?

 

Wash the Dishes . Dry the Dishes.

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I don’t do baking and kids well. { well let’s be honest- I dont do baking well period }

Ugh. The mess. The sticky fingers, the dumped flour, dropped eggs and spilled sugar all make my skin crawl.

Actually these days most processes cause me to want to buy a one way ticket to Tahiti. No Joke.

Grocery Shopping. Laundry. Menu Making. School Pick up. Bedtime. Getting out the door. Getting in the door. Bath time. Etc. Etc. Etc. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I am a very task oriented person. But I’ve found that my life has taken on a very “Wash the dishes. Dry the dishes. Turn over the dishes over. Then Repeat ” mentality.  It is monotonous to say the least, and often I find myself going to  bed ( exhausted and irritated  ) without really connecting with or loving the very people I am working my little hiney off for. So frustrating!

So who cares about the clean house if you don’t pause long enough to even enjoy it?

It dawned on me the other day that I need to change my outlook. And I needed to do it quickly.

So I’m attempting to find joy in even the seemingly joyless of tasks and slow down and enjoy the tasks that are fun. Like baking cupcakes with my LiliBean.