Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Being a Supermom

              Something interesting happened at our recent Thanksgiving family get-together. Actually, let me back up a little. A few weeks ago, my cousin Meg had a baby. My mom called me and asked if she could pay me to make a baby gift for her. I suggested a baby quilt- an easy design- and we agreed on it. I was planning on making a baby quilt for my own upcoming baby, so I figured it’s not much more work to cut out squares for 2 quilts than one, right? Haha!  So anyway, that’s what I did, and that brings us back to Thanksgiving.

                After receiving the quilt, my cousin was talking to me about it and she casually asked, “How do you do it all? You must be one of those supermoms!” To which I’m pretty sure I gave her one of my famous cocked-head quizzical expressions that I inherited from my mom… what in the world are you talking about?! I had to laugh. “Supermom” is so far from how I think of myself- in fact, I’m sure you can relate, but I’m probably much harder on myself than I need to be. But after thinking about it for a while, I thought I’d share The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Being a Supermom!

                So in case you didn’t know me, here are some things that might trick you into believing I’m a supermom:

1)      I have two, soon-to-be-three, preschoolers. All of them are super-cute, well-dressed and groomed, and typically well-behaved. And smart!

2)      I work part time. At least for a few more weeks.

3)      I coordinate our local MOPS group (though really, not very well. But that’s a different post!).

4)      I’m crafty. I’m a glue-gun wielding, sewing machine operating, knitting fanatic. We even have a spinning wheel in our bedroom, how many people can say that? :-P

5)      We eat real food, made from real ingredients.

So what’s the secret to doing it all?!? Keep reading, dear friend, and I’ll provide you with some fantastic shortcuts and easy-way-outs.

1)      Don’t clean your house. Oh, I try to keep it to the standard of “clean enough so no one gets sick,” which generally entails no food lying around, no rodents in the house, bathroom hardware disinfected, and no visible mold or mildew. But the rest- nope. If you drop by our house unannounced you will see toys on the floor, fingerprints on the windows, dishes in the sink and probably a pile or two of laundry that needs folded (which, if you drop by unannounced, feel free to fold some of that laundry!)

2)      Have enough clothes for yourself and your kids that you only have to do laundry every 3-4 weeks. You think I’m kidding? Take another look at that giant pile of laundry over there- and then start folding!

3)      Teach your kids to do things for themselves. Both of my kids can get their own snacks, use the bathroom themselves, dress themselves, etc. Sure, it may not be perfect- but we’re not aiming for perfection here. It also helps that my daughter seems to have a natural eye for what matches and looks good together, and she helps her little brother get dressed.

4)      Rely heavily on other’s natural abilities and willingness to help. Like my husband, for instance… he makes dinner every night. He’s really good at it and it gives me an extra hour or two in the evenings to devote to supermom-dome (i.e. my sewing machine). And my MOPS steering team- if it weren’t for all of them, our MOPS group would go to pot pretty quickly.

5)      Don’t actually bathe your kids. Oh sure, I stick them in the bathtub almost every night. But real soap and shampoo… that’s a once-a-week indulgence. And the amazing thing is… they never look dirty! Water actually does a really great job of getting kids clean. Then I can devote that extra 10 minutes a night I would spend washing them to another row or two on my current knitting project.

6)      Make lists for everything. Then lose the list in the chaos of paper that’s taking over the dining room table. Try to remember what’s on the list, then realize you weren’t going to get it all done anyway and forget about it. Pick up your knitting project instead.

7)      Take an antidepressant. It curbs that I’m always going crazy! feeling that comes with being a supermom.

       Okay, obviously I realize that this list is totally lame. I’m not a supermom in the least. I’m late to everything, my house is a wreck, half of the time I feel like I’m losing my mind and I half-ass all my commitments. But I do love my kids, I try to provide a rich learning environment for them, and I make pretty things. I’m okay with that. The true secret is making time for the things you enjoy, which is really no secret at all. We all do it. I am creative because it makes me happy and it breathes life into my soul.

        Wait, did I tell you about my cousin Meg? She’s an amazing artist and a beautiful, patient, and caring mama to two preschoolers, one of which is a newborn with special health needs. She lives across the world from her family- in Hungary- to minister to Hungarian people. She is raising her kids to be bilingual, and is bilingual herself. Not something I could do… but I’m guessing she does it because it makes her happy and it breathes life into her soul. To me, she’s a supermom.

        There are so many incredible women I see taking care of their homes and families- and so much better than I- while still taking time for themselves and their passions. It always inspires me. It was kind of amazing to think that I might actually stir up that kind of inspiration in another person. *NOT* that I plan to think too much about it... afterall, I just have to remember how late I was to work this morning, or how I had to eat easy-mac because I haven't been to the grocery store in 3 weeks... to bring me back down to earth. ;)

      I would encourage you, though- If there is a woman in your life that you see doing a good (or good enough) job at whatever it is she does... tell her. Tell her you admire her and ask her how she "does it all." It will make her day! We all need to feel like a supermom every now and then. As for me... I'm just going to pretend that this maternity shirt is a cape and wear my label proudly!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Little People.


I know it's been forever since I've blogged. I wish I felt more motivated to keep up with it, but I just don't right now. And I know that's okay.

I've had an idea of a post running through my head lately, so I'll try it now. I've been thinking about how different my kids are from each other, and I thought it would be fun to talk about it here. A nice, light-hearted post, if you will.

Annabel, my dear firstborn, all of 5 years old, is so  much like me in many ways. Quite possibly an INFP (Myers-Briggs Personality Type if you're unfamiliar) just like her mama, which is summarized as thus:

"Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened."

My Annabel, sensitive and thoughtful, flexible and easy-going, full of big ideas and plans. She LOVES to make friends, is loyal to the friends she's made- even if she hasn't seen them in a very long time. My girl loves to read, and can often memorize a book after reading it 2 or 3 times. She loves any kind of story about kids or animals, and some of her more recent favorites are Winnie the Pooh (classic stories), Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. She is full of questions about the bigger picture of life- relationships, people who are hurting, her future, her body, rules of the house, of science and of nature, and of course God, heaven and religion in general.

Annabel likes to play outside with her dog, taking him on walks through the yard and trying to get him to eat vegetables out of the garden. She also loves to ride her bike up and down the sidewalk. But really, if I'm honest, she is much more of an "indoor" girl. She can sit on the couch for hours reading or watching a movie, or drawing in her journal. She LOVES to spend time with adults- she enjoys the conversation and often interrupts to ask for details of what we're talking about. :)

She is truly my "easy" child. She understands what is expected of her and (generally) does it without a fight. She understands natural consequences. She appreciates (and demands!) respect, and her biggests upsets are when she feels she's been treated unfairly or has been misunderstood. She fights HARD for justice in her little world. However, she's a people-pleaser, and is often the first to back down in a fight, just to keep the peace.

My dear girl connects with physical touch, and just melts into you if you let her. She loves to snuggle up and be read to, and she wants to hold hands all the time. Her need for physical affection can be too much for me at times, and I really have to remind myself that this is her primary love language right now.

Now on to Asher. :) Asher is so different from me, so it's a little harder for me to describe him. I see a lot more of Derek in him... which makes me wonder what Derek was like as a little kid. I also feel like I see a little of my dad in him as well, and maybe some Gareth too. Words that come to mind when I think of Asher are wild, goofy, crazy, loud, naked, determined, stubborn, and mischevious.

He is a super funny little guy. His facial expressions are priceless, whether he is rolling his eyes at something or giving his "goofy" look... he always makes me laugh. He already makes jokes about things, and loves to "trick" people. He is as extroverted and out going as a kid can be. He loves going places where there will be lots of people and noise- so large-group worship at church, preschool, and the children's museum are some of his favorite places. Both kids fight over who gets to go to the store with me or Derek, but while for Annabel it's because she just adores the one-on-one quality time, Asher thrives on just getting out of the house and seeing new places and faces.

We call Asher our "big feeling" kid. None of his emotions are mildly expressed- he's either wildly excited, enthralled, heartbroken, or furious. Sometimes I feel like Annabel and I both tiptoe around him, because we're both the type that don't really enjoy big confrontations or displays of emotion, but luckily Derek seems better suited to understand and meet him at his emotional level. That's not saying that Derek handles his fits very well, ;) but he seems to understand better what it's like to feel that strongly.

I hate using terms like "stubborn" or "strong-willed," because I feel like they have such a negative connotation in today's society (thank you, James Dobson!). But truly, I have never met a child with a stronger resolve or more determined personality than my son. When he sets his mind to something he wants, Lord help us if he doesn't get it. This is probably one of the areas in which he butt heads the most- and I have such a difficult time finding the balance between nurturing his independence and then just feeling like I'm "giving in." Obviously, he has to learn the tough lesson that we can't always get what we want in life, but then I also feel that there are so many opportunities life gives us to learn this without me forcing it on him. If there is anything Asher is teaching me, it is that being a (good) parent requires humbling myself and a constant reevaluation of my own heart and motives.

One thing that sets Asher apart from everyone else in our family is that he is always naked. :) Lord knows I try to keep clothes on this child, but it is just futile. We compromise and I tell him he needs to wear at least underwear- and he seems okay with this (most of the time!).

Asher is always active, always moving. His favorite games are rolling cars and tractors and making a huge CRASH! He also climbs and jumps from any surface he can get to- his high chair, the back of the couch, the top of the porch. His energy is boundless. He requires very little sleep and has a really hard time falling asleep. Lately, though, he's been sleeping all night (most nights), which has been a HUGE blessing to me. One thing I love about Asher is that even though he seems so "boy" in so many ways, he really loves playing with baby dolls and dress up clothes, and always wants his hair in pig tails or his fingernails painted. Anything that has to do with pretending!

Unlike his sister, he's not a huge physical touch guy. A few months ago he decided he hated kisses of any kind. If I kiss him, he says "blech!" and wipes it off. If I ask him really nicely he might kiss me on the cheek, but I am not allowed to kiss him at all. The most physical touch he asks for is to hold my hand while he falls asleep at night. Unless, of course, that physical touch involves wrestling, tickling or rough-housing in any way, then he's all over it. ;-)

One thing that makes Asher "easier" than his sister is that he will eat anything! He is not picky in the least, and his appetite is astonishing. He is SO SKINNY, yet he just eats and eats. The only thing he decidedly does NOT like is nuts of any kind. He also lets me dress him in anything I want, which is a nice change from his sister! Little boy clothes are just. so. cute. - Plaid button ups, sweater vests, strategically-ripped jeans... :swoon:

I'm not sure what Asher's primary love language is, but he seems to connect best when we're playing some kind of game- hide and seek or crashing cars together. Would that be quality time? He also loves to be read to, as long as the books are short and silly. :)

Anyway, that's all I've got for now, thanks for reading along! I'll try to update again soon!