Saturday, March 17, 2007

Embarassing Moment

I was sitting in the waiting room of my daughter's speech therapy office. Her weekly appointments are at the painful time of 8:00 AM. (Yep, I get all four wee ones out the door by 7:15--and manage the critical pot o' coffee.)

Because of the rush, I wait until we get there to breast feed my eight-month-old baby. Since a few other parents, including a dad or two, usually join me in the waiting room, I cover up with a blanket.

This past week, it was just me and my troop occupying the room. Yea! I could mellow out about keeping my two year old contained. I could let my seven year old be a little louder than normal, and when I breast fed, I didn't have to cover up so diligently.

I started out trying to conceal a bit with my shirt, but then I thought, It doesn't matter. Even the receptionist can't see me. So, I pretty much let it all hang out. For the most part the baby's head covered me, but when my "girls" popped out here and there, oh well. Who'd know? I changed baby to the other breast and didn't even bother tucking myself back in until I got her situated.

After a few minutes, she was done eating, and I sat up to get situated. As my eyes looked upward, I saw it.

The security camera pointed directly at me.

Hmmmm... wonder which security guard got a free peep show?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It’s Not the End of the World

What I’ve been dealing with lately is stuff that all mommies struggle with. That desire to maintain control. It doesn’t matter what area of life we’re talking about. It could be work, kids, marriage…for me it was home.

I have a link to in my Linkos section. The “Fly” part of Flylady stands for Finally Loving Yourself, and her concept is that if you “bless your house” a little at a time and give yourself permission to not be perfect, you will find the peace of a clean home.

Her most basic tool is routine. She encourages a before-bed routine, a morning routine, an afternoon routine—all just fifteen minutes at a time. Then there are the one-load-of-laundry-a-day routine, the what’s-for-dinner routine and so it goes. Just break it down into little pieces. “You can do anything for fifteen minutes.”

Well, I put this link here because Flylady has been a great blessing to me. I’ve made improvements in the organization of my home (still have a long way to go) and even greater strides in keeping up with the daily cleaning. So in no way am I dissing Flylady.

But …

Keeping up on all these routines sometimes throws me into a frenzy. That’s what’s been happening lately. It goes like this:

Day 1: I miss my before-bed-routine.

Day 2: I say to myself that I’m going to do it tonight. Then I’m tired, or we’re out and about. I don’t get it done, and I feel terrible.

Day 3: I feel even more stressed about getting it done, but still can’t seem to do it.

Day 4: Start saying things like, “Kids, mommy has something she really needs to do now, okay?” Gritting my teeth.

Day 5: I become grumpy and resentful toward anyone (my four wee ones and angel husband) who get in my way. I become the Flylady nazi, “I vill get this done! Or somevun vill pay!”

Multiply this by three or four other missed routines and … you get the idea.

So, I felt the meltdown coming in the air. Knew it was on its way, and yesterday it came a knockin’. Truthfully it wasn’t only because the house was a disaster. The demands of four kids (all sick this week), lack of sleep, and my own stack of commitments may have added to the overload. (Ya think?)

Whatever the causes, I was a mess. Tears and anger intermingled into nonsensical rants. I felt overwhelmed and depressed. Like a failure and outcast. I wanted to throw the mess in the lake and run down to the corner pub to escape into a merry time with the locals.

But since I couldn’t do any of those, I just sat on the couch catatonic waiting for my husband to call, and when he did, I opened the floodgates on him, demanding a housekeeper, and that he give me ten compliments for every negative. Then I called my dear friend and unloaded on her. And then I called one more friend and spilled it to her. (Thank You Lord for friends.)

Getting it out helped a bit and somewhere along the way I remembered something I’d forgotten. It was something my spiritual mother told me. Are you ready?

“It’s not the end of the world.”


What a blessing those words are! When I don’t get my routines done, it’s not the end of the world. When I forget to plan dinner, and we have to eat soup out of a can, it’s not the end of the world. When I’m so exhausted, I tell my kids to watch TV so I can rest, it’s not the end of the world. When I lose control of any or all the areas I’m trying to nail down, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the world.

So today’s been better. And actually, the house is a little cleaner. Now that I’m not all psyched up about it, I can just relax and pick up a few things. But I won’t forget (at least for today) that if my routines don’t get done, it’s not the end of the world.

Double ahhh.

(I should mention that another major concept of Flylady is that we implement the routines one a time—she calls it babysteps—so that we don’t get overwhelmed. Guess I forgot that too.)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Seven Years

Last night we celebrated my oldest's birthday. As he and the other little parrty goers ran through the Family Fun Center (till they were pink and sweaty) it occurred to me—it was a birthday for me too. My Mommy birthday.

Yup, I've been a mommy for seven years now. He was a Y2K baby—has it really been that long? I remember each stage so well.

• Pregnancy—After losing two, I reveled in the honor of carrying a wiggly baby in my bulging tummy.
• Infancy—So many tender memories: the overwhelming love as I held him in my arms, his wee head turned to me for nourishment, the incomparable joy of his first smile and hearty giggle, and those peace-stirring coos.
• Toddlerhood—Yikes! His wobbled steps nearly always ending in a crash, kept me jumping after him, "Careful! Watch out! You'll hurt yourself!" But his sense of wonder and curiosity filled me with joy.
• Kindergarten—My first day homeschooling him was surprising. I was so nervous to be a homeschool mom, but then I liked it. When I saw the neighborhood kids piling on the school bus, a sense of peace and gratitude fell over me, and I knew it was the right decision for us.
• Seven—His triumphs and struggles are different now. Instead of giggling at a game of peek-a-boo, it takes a real joke to set him off. (What do you call a mare at night? A nightmare!) Instead of the never ending Goodnight Moon reading sessions, he now reads his Hooked on Phonics books to me. Instead of teaching him to share, I can tell him why sharing is important—and he gets it (kind of).

What a journey this seven-year mission has been. And I’ve got three more wee ones to raise along the way. When I’m in the moment, I sometimes forget about the joys of being a mommy and only focus on the frustrations—how tired I am, how the kids aren’t doing first-time obedience… but now, as I look back, the struggles seem small, and I can only ponder how fast the sweet time has flown.

So the encouragement for today is to savor each moment of being a mommy. Too soon we’ll be celebrating our eighteenth mommy birthday, and we’ll be glad we took the time with our little ones.