During Times of Tragedy, Why Not Hate Less, and Love More?

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My Heart Breaks

A controversial subject I know, and I usually stray away from controversy, but it is something that is weighing heavy on my heart, as I see this same situation play on repeat. During tragic events, why can we not hate less, and love more?

You see, there have been two tragic accidents, yes, accidents, that I have seen in the news this week. Though I am sure there are hundreds more that have happened around the country as well, these are the two that had my heart breaking:

The first tragic accident happened in Jackson, Mississippi. A sleeping, six year old boy was left by his mom in a running car sometime after midnight. She ran into the store, and when she came out, her car was gone. Three young males had stolen her car with the child in the backseat. When they found the car, the young boy had been shot and killed. This breaks my heart.

The second tragic accident happened in Houston, Texas. A two year old child drowned in her home pool when she wandered off. There are some reports that say the parents were asleep at the time, and there are some reports that say they were talking with friends when it happened; however, it has been reported that there was no foul play. It doesn’t matter to me the circumstances, as the results are the same. A poor child lost her life, and again, my heart is broken.

My heart breaks for the victim’s families, the lives lost, the suspect’s and their families, and for our country.

Hatred

You see, I didn’t even have to read the comments below the articles to know what they said, but I did, just so I could be factual in my writing. Here are just a few:

“…complacency is how things like this happen…”
“…It seems like this ‘tragic accident’ was preventable.”
“…died as a result of stupidity!”
“…it was her fault. Bottom line.”

Y’all, I had to stop reading. Those are just a few of the hundreds of comments on these articles. Given, not all of the comments were negative and placed blame. There were several kind hearted people offering their condolences and prayers, but it made me sad that the hateful comments were there to begin with, as you know these were the comments that were focused on the most.

It Could Happen to Me… and You

Maybe there were bad choices or mistakes involved in these accidents, but we all make mistakes, and I am sure these parents are putting enough shame, guilt and blame on themselves without us doing it for them. Can you imagine what that’s like? To know that if you would have done one minor thing differently, your child could still be here. Those parents will replay those tragic days in their heads over and over again for years to come. I know I can’t imagine what that’s like, and I pray I never have to know, but the thing is, I am human, I make mistakes, and it could indeed happen to me. What everyone needs to remember, is it could happen to anyone. We have to stop responding with, “I would never ______.” How would you like people to respond should it ever happen to you? Grace, compassion, love, and respect are only a few of the emotions that come to my mind.

You may be saying, “Well, I would never leave my child in a car,” or “I have a fence around my pool.” That’s great, really. I commend you for those precautions you are taking to keep your child safe. But what about the thousands of other choices you could make that could ultimately cost your child their life? What a difficult question to think about. Sure, most parents would never do anything intentionally to harm their child, but that’s why we call so many tragedies, accidents. The intent was not for someone to be harmed, or in these cases, killed.

Just the other day, I was unloading the car. I had brought both boys inside, and the back door that opens up to the garage was open as I was carrying things in. Well, don’t you know one child locked the door, and the other child shut the door. Want to know where I was when this happened? I was outside with one child, and the other child was inside and couldn’t unlock the door. Sure, he was only in there for 5-10 minutes, but do you know all of the horrible accidents that could have happened to him during those 5-10 minutes?

Regardless of the baby proofing in our home, the boys still manage to get in every single cabinet and every single door. What would people be saying about me should something horrible have happened? Do you think I intentionally locked myself out of the house with my 17 month old inside? It was an accident, much like these, that thankfully left no one hurt.

We Don’t Know the Facts

I understand that there is anger, frustration, and sadness, as their should be, but why should one choose to be hateful in their words and actions to the parents that have just lost their world? How will that help them? What will that change? It will only make them feel worse. Is that the goal of the hateful comment? If so, that is very disheartening. If not, why make the comment to begin with?

The fact is, 99% of us do not know all of the facts of either of these stories, and we probably never will.  That is ok.  And it is also ok to be upset and angry.

Be angry with the suspect’s that ended a child’s life, sure, but even then, should we spew anger towards them or their families? I don’t think so. And I’m sure by now, many of you are red in the face with disagreement and anger towards me. You know what? That’s ok. God created us to have these emotions and feelings; however, there’s a right and wrong way to show those feelings, there’s a right and wrong way to disagree with someone, and there’s a right and wrong way to react to stories as these. The right way is not to show hate. The right way is not to place blame. The right way involves grace, compassion, love, and respect.

The Church

Immediately after reading the comments on these articles, the following verse came to my mind:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you which is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:7

Another thing that really saddens me about this is the public claims these people make about their personal lives. I’m not going to lie, I did a little bit of social media stalking on the people that were making these comments just so I could see exactly what I thought I would see. These are people openly saying they are Christians. These are people with First Communion pictures posted. These are people saying they’re “born to love.” Ironic isn’t it? No wonder Christianity gets a bad rap. Had I not already had knowledge of the Church and a relationship with God, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a Church either whose first instinct is to run and place blame instead of to run and show love and empathy.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am a sinner. I have judged others. I have shown hate. I am horrible at forgiving people, as I tend to hold a grudge. I know I have not always shown a great example of Christianity. I want you to know I don’t think less of these people for the comments they made. I don’t know these people, and I wish them no ill will. I will chalk it up to they made a mistake in their words. They let their anger and sadness get the best of them. I am simply saying that the way our world has decided to handle such tragedies breaks my heart.

Hate Less, and Love More

We would be in a much better place if we stopped saying, “that would never happen to me,” and start saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You must be devastated. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

You know what the best part of that statement is? You can say it to everyone involved. Clearly you can say it to the heartbroken families that lost their child. You can say it to the suspect’s families, as they are no doubt heartbroken over these events as well. And you can absolutely say it to the suspect’s themselves, as they have undoubtedly lost a lot, such as their freedom for starters. If they aren’t clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, they are probably devastated in some form, and they probably need your prayers more than anyone. Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but then you can pray for yourself that you may find the strength to forgive and the heart to show compassion. I know I have had to pray that same prayer myself and will have to continue to pray it in the future.

Let us be the change we want to see. Let us hate less and love more. And most importantly, let us show our children how to treat others with grace, compassion, love, and respect. 

As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”

Rainy Day Activities

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Rainy Day

So, one of the worst things around here is when our two very active boys cannot get outside. They would live outside if they could, especially James. I’m not going to lie, I love being outside too, so it makes me go a little stir crazy when I’m stuck inside all day.

Today is going to be one of those days where it is supposed to rain ALL. Day. Long. Not only that, but tonight is a night where Chad has to work late (past the boy’s bed time), so that means an already long, rainy day is that much longer.

Passing the Time

I hate those days where you look at the clock and it seems like time is creeping by so slowly. Sometimes, I have to find activities that make the time pass a little more quickly. Seeing as we will be stuck inside all day, I knew I was going to have to come up with some rainy day activities for us to do to make that clock tick a little faster. I know, I’m horrible for even saying that, as I should be “enjoying every second” because time goes by fast, but y’all, let’s be honest – sometimes as a toddler mom, you do wish time to go by a little lot quicker. That’s the reality, so let’s not sugarcoat it. Add a very grumpy, teething toddler into that mix, and I’m counting down til naptime too! Just give me all the Tylenol, people.

Rainy Day Activities

So here are some activities we have on the agenda today. Some we have done before, and some are new, and I’m most certain that a few, or all, will not go as planned and have a few tantrums along the way, but hey, that’s life as we know it.

  1. Oobleck – I loved making Oobleck with my students when I taught first grade. Dr. Seuss books are some of my favorites, and when you have a fun activity to go along with a book, that makes it all the better. Now, trying to read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to my one and two year old would be a nightmare in itself, as it’s long and their attention span is not, however, they loved playing with the Ooblck, and what a great sensory activity! For older ones, it is fun to talk about how it is both a solid and a liquid.The recipe is very easy – it’s a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch and water. Two parts cornstarch, one part water. I used 1 cup of cornstarch (that’s all I had on hand), and 1/2 cup of water, and that was plenty for my two boys to play with. Of course when I did it in the classroom, we added green food coloring to go along with the book, however, I let James pick what color he wanted, and he chose orange, so we played with orange Oobleck. A fun activity that took time off the clock!

  2. Let’s Go Fishing! – James has really been into fishing lately, which is kind of funny, as he’s never been fishing, and my husband doesn’t fish. I’m  not sure where he picked that up from, but regardless, we put these fun fishing poles in the boys Easter baskets this year, and they are loving them! They’re meant to be used in the bath tub, which we do every night, but today, I just plopped the boys in the empty bathtub in their jammies, and they went fishing!
  3. Painter’s Tape Highway – I. Love. Painter’s Tape. It is amazing, and I find so many ways to use it with the boys. I originally saw a picture on Pinterest that I piggy backed off of. I would link it, but the link no longer works. The picture showed painters tape going over the furniture and carpet like it was a road for the cars. We happen to have a large open space between our kitchen and den that was perfect for making a road with painter’s tape. So, I made a road, a garage for the trucks/cars, a helipad for the helicopter, and I put the boys play tunnel on the road for the cars to go through. The boys loved this activity! James even rode around on their Mickey car like he was driving on the road. Help us all when that kid can drive.



  4. Painting – Pretty simple, get out some paint and create a project. We use this paint, and it is a very easy cleanup. We do handprint/footprint art all the time because their little hands and feet are so cute I figure I might as well do as much as I can now for keepsakes down the road. Plus, they love to have the paint on them!
  5. No-Mess Painting – We have three great no-mess painting activities that James really loves. We have the Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reveal Pads Set, Melisa and Doug Water Wow! Splash Cards Set, and the Crayola Magic Water Paint set. All of these are amazing and they only need the brush and water!
  6. Window Markers on Pyrex Dishes – We have these Window Markers, and the boys love them! Now, they aren’t quite responsible enough to take them and only draw on the windows, so I let them draw on a Pyrex dish. The clean up is pretty easy if you wash it off as soon as they’re finished. Then, just stick the dish in the dishwasher for additional cleaning.
  7. Tupperware – Y’all, my boys LOVE to play in my tupperware cabinet. When I’m cooking or need to get something accomplished, I let them pull it all out, and it keeps them busier than most any activity I can do with them. They stack and build and create and honestly, I think it’s a great hands-on, creative learning experience for them. Without prompting, James told me he was building a castle. I didn’t see it, but he did, and that’s all that matters! It allows them to use their imagination and their problem-solving skills. Win-win for mom and kids!

  8. Popcorn and Movie Party – Let’s not forget what a rainy day is best for – popcorn and a movie! I know, I know, this involves screen time. A little is ok, sometimes a lot is ok if you’re having one of those days, which around here, happens. If yours aren’t ready for popcorn, just substitute their favorite snack. Make a pallet on the floor and enjoy some quality time. Attention span around here isn’t very long, but I have found that my boys LOVE this movie, and this movie, so maybe yours will too!

What Rainy Day Activities Do You Do?

I hope y’all enjoy some of these activities on your rainy days! What activities do y’all do to pass the time when it rains?

Why We Take Our Kids to Church

Easy Like Sunday Morning, Only Not

People always refer to the Lionel Richie lyrics “easy like Sunday morning,” only I can’t help but think that Sunday morning isn’t easy at all.

During church this morning, and even after church this morning, I sit and ask myself why we take our kids to church? It certainly isn’t an easy task. It definitely leaves me frustrated, and it may be paranoia, but I feel like everyone is looking at me and wondering why I can’t control my kids. To top it off, I usually don’t leave feeling like I’ve heard the message for the day. Instead of listening, I’m fetching snacks, crayons, and sippy cups. Instead of praying, I am juggling kids between arms, saying “shh, be quiet” and trying to keep said kids from tearing up the hymnals. Instead of joining in fellowship with our church members, I’m counting down how many songs we have left until mass is over. And let’s not even discuss all of the preparation it took to get to church in the first place and how we are always running out the door.

Needless to say, all of this has me contemplating why we go through the same routine of taking our kids to church every Sunday morning when it leaves me asking for Jesus and wine, when I should have gotten both of those things at church. Joking about the wine at church, people. I’m fully aware that’s not the purpose of the wine at church.

Let’s Get it Over With

We either go to 7:30 mass or 9:00 mass on Sunday mornings. I’m not going to lie and say we don’t sometimes enjoy that 7:30 AM mass because it allows us to go ahead and get it over with. Terrible, right? But it’s true because we know the ordeal that it is to take two toddlers to church. Let’s not even discuss that family that has seven kids under the age of about 12 who all sit so perfectly quiet like little angels from heaven. I NEED their secret.

Our kids usually wake up pretty early, so if we go to 7:30 mass, that means we are home around 8:45, and we have the morning to play, and the boys seemingly do a little better at that time of day. If we wait and go to 9:00 mass, the boys usually end up hangry and tired, and we usually end up alternating kids in the cry room or the atrium, or when it’s really bad like today, we end up outside because even the other people in the atrium and cry room with their kids are looking at your kid.

Expectations

Chad and I both come from devout Catholic families. We both attended Catholic school, and I taught at a Catholic school. There were certain behaviors that were expected of us growing up, and in return, we have those expectations for our kids. That seems to make church even more difficult sometimes. We have to remind ourselves that they are only two and a half and sixteen months, however, there’s a fine line with saying that. At what point do you stop saying, “They’re only ____.”

A couple of weeks ago, we were both standing in the atrium with both kids, so yeah, they were both acting up, and he looked at me and said, “Do you think we expect too much out of them?” and I answered, “Yes, probably so.” But truth be told, I’m ok with that. I want to have high expectations for our kids in every aspect of life. I expect them to behave in church, I expect them to behave at school, I expect them to be kind and friendly with good manners. Those expectations will continue and only be met with more and higher expectations as they grow older. I will expect them to do chores, I will expect them to do well in school, I will expect them to work hard at everything they do. Because if you don’t have high expectations for your kids, they will never meet them, and they will never reach their fullest potential.

So Why Do We Take Them To Church

So, that brings me back to my original question, why do we go through the trouble of taking them to church when it is anything but easy? I’m not going to lie, I had to sit and think about this. I had to ask this question to Chad. He always seems to have better answers to questions like that than I do. Thankfully today, our answers pretty much lined up together.

Here is the list of reasons we came up with as to why we take our kids to church:

  1. First and foremost, we take our kids to church for the obvious reason – to know God and to learn to praise, worship, and celebrate Him. We pray with our kids at home, they know about God and Jesus, we read Bible stories with them; however, they need an understanding of God’s house, the sacraments we celebrate within the Church, and our church family that joins together with us in a weekly celebration of our Lord. They need to learn about the Sabbath and how to keep it holy. We want our children to grow up in the Catholic faith as we did, and to do that they must be present. The only way they can truly learn about these things is by taking them to church and showing them exactly what it means to be present.
  2. Simple, it goes back to expectations. If we take them now, they will know what behavior is expected in church as they get older. It is a little more difficult with our sixteen month old, as he’s too young to really understand why he’s being taken out, but we can already tell that our two year old is starting to figure it out and starting to behave better overall. Not only is he already learning how to behave, but he is also learning about the liturgy. He already dips his hand in the Holy Water and does the sign of the cross, he already shows us his prayer hands, he already does the sign of peace, and he already repeats things the priest says. Imagine if we took them to church for the first time at five. Sure, they would understand you telling them to sit there quietly, but they would be asking a million questions because the whole concept would be foreign to them. Hopefully by five, we have children that are taking part in the service and asking about the meaning behind the different parts of the liturgy because they will already know how to act in church.
  3. If we don’t take our kids to church, what will happen to the church? Think about that for a minute. What would happen to the future generations of the church if no one takes their kids? There are so many answers to that question, and none of the answers are good ones.
  4. We want our children to grow up with a faith community just as we want a faith community for ourselves. A community they can have that supports them in all aspects and helps them to grow in their faith like we need a community to support us. We want to see others bringing their kids to church too. We want to support others by saying, “Hey, we get it. It’s hard. I see you battling your kids like me. Let’s do this together. Let’s raise our kids to show each other the same support and love for their faith that we are showing each other.” How comforting is it when you see another parent battling their child look at you with that face that says I get it! The struggle is real! It is beyond comforting for me because I’m reminded I am no alone. I am part of a community of believers.

Our Desire

I’m sure if I sat longer and contemplated, which I’m sure I will do later, I could think of several more reasons as to why we take our kids to church. Regardless of the exhaustion and battles that comes with bringing our children to church each week, we will continue to do it. We will continue to do it because we are raising kids that we hope not just know who God is, but have a true understanding of how much He loves them and how much he desires a relationship with each of them. We want them to be true examples of showing others Christ like love and forgiveness. What better way to learn that than in His house with fellow believers?

Color Activities

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Teaching at Home

I like to think I am teaching my kids things while I’m staying at home with them. Sometimes I do a good job at this, and some days, Mickey Mouse, Zooptopia, and “independent play” take up our time. We all need days to relax, right?

James has pretty much mastered his colors with the occasional mix-up between red and green. I’m pretty sure my grandfather that was color blind mixed up red and green too, but we just won’t worry about that right now.

Being a “Fun Mom”

I see all of these, what I consider “fun moms,” doing fun, messy things with their kids, and I think, “Wow! They’re such a better mom than I am. I would never let my kid do that because I don’t want to have to clean up the mess.” So, against my better judgement, I tried to do a couple of “fun mom” activities, and let’s just say I was quickly reminded that I’m just not a “fun mom,” and I’ll have to be ok with that. The levels of Jesus and wine that were needed after our first two color activities were through the roof. Needless to say, I opted for a low-key, no-mess third color activity. I will say, the boys loved all three activities, which may make me consider doing them again should I have some soothing worship music on and a bottle of Moscato next to me.

Color Activities

  1. Bath Time Painting

    First, let me say that this makes a HUGE mess, yet I have done it more than once because the boys like it so much. The positive: it is contained to the bath tub, which is semi-easy to clean up. I would make sure to do this activity right before bath time, as if your kids decide to paint their entire body’s head to toe like mine did, they’ll need a bath promptly after.I have read in the past that people have mixed food coloring with shaving cream and let their kids paint in the bath tub. Sounds like a great idea unless you have a 16 month old like me that eats EVERYTHING. I certainly didn’t want him eating shaving cream, so I tried to think of something else with a similar consistency but was also edible, so I quickly came up with whipped cream. Maybe not the healthiest choice, however, it gets the job done.

    I took a muffin tin and put whipped cream in each muffin section. I would recommend using a large muffin tin sheet (12 sections) if you have one, as the paint will go quickly! I had one with 12 sections, so that is what I used. I put a few drops of food coloring into each section of whipped cream and stirred it in.

    Before I let the boys paint in the tub, I made James name the colors, and I would ask him throughout the painting session which colors he was using… until they all became mixed together and became a very ugly orange/brown color combo. Lots of fun, but lots of cleaning up!







  2. Color Sorting with BlocksLet me preface this one by saying I think I made this one more of a mess than it had to be. Weston was napping, and I like to use what I have at home for activities, and what I had was corn meal. Bad choice. dumb choice. Something like sand or uncooked rice would work much better, be a little less messy, and wouldn’t get in your toddler’s eyes like corn meal. Duh.I took a plastic tub I had and filled it with our beloved Mega Bloks. These blocks are great for so many things! Once I put different colored blocks in the tub, I covered them up with the corn meal. This is where next time, I would cover them with sand or uncooked rice. Although it would take a lot of rice I suppose. Anyone have another suggestion?

    Once the blocks were completely covered, I took James outside. Outside is key to make sure you don’t have the mess inside. He  immediately started digging through the tub to find the colored blocks. Every little boy’s dream. He seriously loved doing this!

    When he would pull a block out, he had to tell me the color of the block, and then he had to place the block on the matching color of construction paper that was on the ground. Eventually, he sorted through all of the blocks and matched them each with their corresponding color. When he was finished coloring, I gave him some measuring cups and funnels to play with in the corn meal for a bit. He did a great job, and it was fun, but cleaning up the corn meal that blew everywhere was not.

    Added tip: Do not do this activity on a windy day. Whatever you choose to cover the blocks with will blow everywhere, as will the construction paper you’re using to match the blocks to. Next time, I will know this. Hey, you live and you learn.








  3. Beach Ball ColorsAfter trying the first two activities, I needed something simple and mess-free. My boys LOVE any activity that includes a ball to play with, so the beach balls were a hit. I had two extra beach balls lying around from James’ 2nd birthday party, so I blew them both up. It was important that I had two because they must each have one, or WWIII is going to break out.I started by making James point to each color on the beach ball and name it, which he could do successfully. We then simply would throw the ball back and forth and say, “I spy _____,” and name/point to the color we saw. After a few rounds of this game, I would pick a color on the beach ball, he would name it, and then I would make him find an object in the house that was the same color.

    The best part: the beach balls: they are providing lots of entertainment beyond the color games!

Overall

Overall, each activity was fun, kept the boys entertained, and as much of a mess they made, I would do them again just because the boys were happy, and I do feel like colors were practiced/reinforced. I guess maybe I have fleeting moments where I can call myself a “fun mom.” Enjoy, and be sure to share any color activities you are doing with your little ones!

I Dropped My Son. On His Head.

Parenting Fail

Latest Parenting Fail: I forgot to mention in my last post that I straight up dropped my child. In a gas station parking lot. On his head. People saw it happen. I hid with him in the front seat.

The Story

The story goes something like this:

We were traveling to the beach and about 45 minutes into the drive, Weston had a dirty diaper. Of course he did. Nothing can be too easy around here. Anyways, instead of putting shoes on both kids and towing them into the gas station bathroom by myself, (Chad wasn’t going to the beach for a couple of more days), I had the bright idea to change him in the front seat of the car. That way, I could leave James strapped into his carseat, and I wouldn’t have to put anyone’s shoes on. Great plan! Only, it wasn’t.

Fast forward. I get his diaper changed, mental note to self, he is way too big to change him in the front seat of the car anymore. If you don’t know our angel baby 16 month old, he is a little on the bigger side. I say that with all the love in the world.

After having a child that is not even in the first percentile for weight, I gladly welcome our 99th percentile baby. Our two year old has been stuck, prodded, tested, seen more than a handful of specialists, and put on several special “diet” plans because he can’t gain weight (another post for another time), so I’m over the moon about having a chunky monkey!

He looks like a baby and acts like a baby, but 2T clothes are almost too small for him. He weighs almost 30 pounds, and he has the juiciest thighs with a plump little bottom. I tell you all of this so you can visualize the event that led up to me dropping him.

The Event Itself

So, the diaper is changed, and we’re pulling up our 2T shorts. “Pulling up his shorts” is really more of a “shake him into his shorts.” Remember those juicy thighs I was telling you about? Yeah. So, I’m shaking. He’s laughing. He decides to lean forward while I’m shaking, which results in him falling on the concrete head first. The laughing quickly turned to crying. Oh. My. Gosh. I just dropped my baby, on his head, on the concrete.

Shrieks. Shrills. Hysterics. Of course there was a car right there with a man in the front seat that I KNOW had to have seen the whole thing play out, so I quickly scoop him up, rock him in the front seat, repetitively say I’m so sorry, and hide until that car leaves the gas station. Talk about feeling like the worst mother in the world. I was shocked that man didn’t call Child Protective Services on me. I’m not going to lie, I straight up would’ve been questioning some moms ability had I seen her do what I did.

Catholic Conscience

Remember that time I wrote about that Catholic conscience of mine? Well, it was fully active after this event. When I was pulling out of the gas station, I saw a cop car with the passenger door open. It crossed my mind that they might stop me to make sure I was a suitable parent and that my child was ok. Needless to say, I think that was all a little paranoia, and the cops really didn’t know anything about the incident.

Of course my mom called and I had to tell her what I did. Then, I had to call Chad and tell him I dropped our perfect, little baby because well, Catholic conscience. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I just feel like I need to tell you that I just dropped Weston, and he hit his head. He’s ok, but I would feel guilty if I didn’t tell you.

Chad: Laughs a little. Well, ok, you didn’t have to tell me that. Are you ok?

Me: Yes, I’m fine. I just feel like the worst mother in the world and am waiting on CPS to contact me. And yes, I had to tell you because when you see him in a couple of days you’ll see the big bruise and knot on his forehead and ask me what happened.

Chad: I think he’s going to be fine. You’re not the worst mother in the world. You’re a great mother. It happens. Now when he’s a teenager and doing something stupid I can tell him well son, your mother dropped you on your head as a child.

Me: That’s not funny.

Thank God for an understanding and forgiving husband.

For the next two hours, I constantly looked in the rearview mirror to check on him and make sure he hadn’t fallen asleep because that’s the one time I would have woken a sleeping baby!

Feeling Better About your Parenting?

Feel better about your parenting skills now? Good. That was part of the purpose. We all fail. Some (me) more than others, but fiercely love them, and all will be well.

Mom Guilt + Social Media

Mom Guilt

Two words: Mom. Guilt. It is for real y’all. I do think I have an overly active Catholic guilt/conscience, but I also think mom guilt is something the majority of moms feel on a regular basis.

Thoughts Throughout the Day

I have so many internal thoughts and questions going through my head every day. The majority of them pertain to my children. With that, most of them are criticisms about myself as a mother.

It goes something like this: Did I read to my kids enough today? I don’t think I’ve brushed my kid’s teeth in the past 24 hours. When was the last time I washed their sheets? My child ate half a piece of string cheese for breakfast. Am I teaching my kids enough? I’m pretty sure I gave my kids too much screen time today – like all day screen time. My kids don’t like to play independently, have I made them too needy? My kid is asking for friends to play with. Am I getting them involved enough? I lost my patience and yelled too much today, again. My child just slept for two hours, and I wasn’t one bit productive. My house is still a mess.

Life is Hard

If you’re like me, you hold it in, you don’t want people to know your weaknesses, and you just try to make it through another day doing your best. Until you have a crazy, fleeting moment like me and think it’s a good idea to post for everyone to see. I’ll regret that. But you know you’ll have another day where your kids only eat junk, watch the tv too much, and you spend too much time on social media in their presence.

It’s life. Life is hard. Parenthood is hard. So, why do we make it even harder? The guilt makes it harder. The kind of guilt I’m talking about is internal guilt. No one is telling me I’m a bad mother. No one is telling me I’m doing it wrong. I am my toughest critic.

We have to stop making ourselves feel guilty and know that if we are doing our best, if our children’s needs are met, if they are happy and healthy, we are doing a good job. We all have bad days here and there where we could be better, but we have to focus on what we are doing right.

Social Media Comparison

I think it would be interesting to do a study on mom guilt throughout different generations. I wonder how our mothers and their mothers felt mom guilt? No doubt, I’m sure they had it from time to time, but I can’t help but wondering if the technology driven world we live in today aids in the guilt we feel as mom’s. If I were a betting woman, which sometimes I do like a little blackjack and horse race betting, I’d say it absolutely does.

How many times have you seen something on social media that another mother is doing that makes you feel like you just don’t stack up? I know I have. I’ve seen videos of kids walking at 9-10 months when my now 15 month old is just starting to walk. I’ve seen videos of kids talking in complete sentences well before two when my child didn’t start talking in complete sentences until a few months after he turned two. I have seen snapchats of all the amazing outings people are taking their kids on when my kids have been stuck at our house for three days in a row. I’ve seen amazing bento box lunches when my kids are eating processed food.

And I know, as our children get older, we will continue to feel mom guilt in new ways. I’ve seen pictures of report cards with straight A’s. What if my children struggle in school and a B or C is my child’s personal best? I’ve seen pictures posted of kids sweeping up awards at their awards programs. What if my child is one of the only ones in their class that didn’t get an award? What kind of guilt am I going to feel when I see the other children being more successful, or more well-rounded than mine? Is it my fault? What could I have done differently?

We Aren’t Great at Everything

Let me stop and say, I am not faulting anyone that has posted these things. I brag on my children as well. I love seeing pictures and hearing stories of everyone’s kids. I love seeing momma’s and daddy’s brag on their children. We are our children’s advocates and should be their biggest fans. That’s our job as parents.

Not everyone is good at everything, and that includes us parents. Except those people that are, and you want to just tell them to spread the wealth a little bit. Everyone can’t and shouldn’t get a trophy for everything.

Not only is it our job to be their biggest advocates and fans, but It is also our job as parents to raise strong, confident, hard working children that know their strengths and their weaknesses. Kids that know things won’t just be handed to them in life. Kids that know they have to work for what they want. They will learn that from us. Let us be confident in what we are doing. Let us work hard and do our best even if it looks like someone else is doing better than us. Let us know that we may be weak in one area compared to someone else, but we may outshine them in another area where they fail.

What is Portrayed is not Always the Whole Truth

I also think it’s vital to remember social media gives us the opportunity to only post the best. To only post our proudest moments. To only post the great and wonderful aspects of our lives. It gives us the opportunity to present our lives in the way that we want other people to view us.

We only see what is presented to us, what is portrayed to us how people want us to see it. We literally only see a snapshot of someone’s life. We don’t see the miscarriages and fertility struggles behind the couples’ trips to paradise. We don’t see the marital problems behind the family portraits. We don’t see the battles of eating disorders or addictions behind the fun night’s out. We don’t see the tears behind the rockstar single parent. We don’t see the financial struggles behind the Christmas morning presents. We don’t see the loneliness behind the family of six.

Life Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side

We need to remember, life isn’t always greener on the other side. When I do my best, and you do your best, it is undoubtedly going to look different, and that is ok. You may have your child potty trained at 18 months while mine is potty trained at 3 (gosh we hope by then!), but maybe my child plays better with other children than yours.

I need to remember to ask myself these questions every day: Is my child learning? Yes. Is my child clothed and fed? Yes. Does my child have a roof over their head? Yes. Is my child healthy and happy? Yes. Is my child loved fiercely? Yes. Is my child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the floor. Yes, but it’s ok, I’m sure yours has today too.

We have to stop comparing ourselves to one another. We have to know that our best is good enough. We have to stop feeling guilty.

Jesus and Wine

Staying Connected

I’m sure we all have those running group messages on our phones. You know, those messages that allow us to stay connected in those important relationships that, let’s face it, we just don’t get to enjoy as much as we’d like. I know I have several of these ongoing groups, and I’m so thankful for them. We each go on with our day-to-day activities, and many of us do this life we live without those important people geographically close to us. But those brief glimpses of each other’s lives allow us to enjoy one another and remember the times that initially brought us together.

One of those running group messages I have is with my friends from college. You spend four years of your life (maybe longer), day-in and day-out, with these people, your people. Then in no time, you all go your separate ways. There are few of us that live in close proximity, so these messages serve, in a way, as our life line to one another.

Another one of those group messages I have is with my sisters. My am I ever thankful for those two! Since my family just recently moved 600 miles away from them, I am once again, ever thankful for technology. They’re my sounding board for my various venture seeking ideas (these usually happen during nap time), the ones I can send 1,000 snapchats of my kids to and they’ll always love getting them, and two that I know are always a constant, no matter what season I’m in.

How it All Began

During one of our group messages, one of my sisters told me they thought I should just start a blog. I think they were trying to start an intervention because they were sick of me sharing new, weekly business ideas with them. Again, during nap time when I should be cleaning, my mind runs a little wild. Lucky them, they get to hear about it all. Little did they know, I’d take their little blogging advice. Thanks sisters!

With this blogging venture obviously comes technology. I have a love hate relationship with technology. It is ever changing our world both in good ways and bad ways. The bad: I spend way too much time on social media. Just ask my husband, and I worry about raising kids with technology and monitoring what they’re exposed to; however, my love for it comes in the fact that because of this tech world we live in, we have the opportunity to continue to share with those close to us through words, pictures, and videos. It can make us feel as if the distance isn’t quite so far, even if for just a moment.

My season of life right now is pretty simple in words. Wife and mom. Of course, also daughter, sister, friend, but those two words, wife and mom, sum up my everyday life. It’s a hard season, but it’s one that I wouldn’t change for the world.
Not too long ago, in this college friend running group message of ours, one of my friends said when they started having kids, they would need some parenting advice. My advice was simple: “Jesus and wine. Lots of Jesus. Lots of wine.” Side note: This is especially true during supper and bath time. At these times, you’ll need even more Jesus and want even more wine.

Let me stop you right there. Please keep reading. I know that not everyone chooses to drink, can drink, agrees with drinking, etc. Jesus and wine is an expression for a moment. That moment your child is taking off their diaper and saying, “Momma, I potty on floor”, or the moment when your child hasn’t adjusted to their new bed and after trying for an hour and a half to get them to nap in it you just give up, or the moment when your two year old takes the newly filled salt shaker and sprinkles a little salt in every room of the house. Those are Jesus and wine moments. When you think oh my goodness, I can’t make it one more minute in this day. I have T-minus 5 hours until bedtime when I can enjoy some Jesus and wine. So, please substitute whatever it is you dream of having at the end of the day when everyone is fed and tucked away fast asleep. Jesus and coffee. Jesus and a bubble bath. Jesus and Parenthood. And probably every parents favorite, Jesus and sleep. Anyways, off my soap box and back to the story.

This college friend of mine seeking future parenting advice responded saying that sounded like the great start to a memoir. She got me thinking, you know, the way those important people in your life make you do. I am definitely not starting a memoir for everyone’s sake, but I do want to document this season.

Jesus and Wine

Every day has ups and downs, smiles and frowns, laughs and cries (sometimes their cries, sometimes mine). Every day is busy. Every day comes to an end. Because of how wild each day is with these crazy, fun, and honestly, sometimes frustrating boys of mine, it’s easy to forget at the end of the day what made me want to pull my hair out that day and what made me laugh until I cried.

When people see me and how close in age my boys are to one another (15 months – yes, we know how it happens, thanks), I get many comments. Many unwarranted comments as we all know people these days have no filters; however, many people often tell me, while they’re witnessing one of those before mentioned tantrums, or me loading two kids two and under into our very heavy double stroller (imagine how graceful I look), “the days are long, but the years are short.” The days are in fact, very long, but as we just celebrated a second birthday and a first birthday, I am learning more than ever, the years are in fact just that. Short. And I don’t want to forget one day. Well ok, let’s be honest, maybe a day here and there wouldn’t be bad to forget.

This is a way to document those long days, happy days, and Jesus and wine moments. For me, for my husband, for my boys, our families, and for those important relationships we keep up with through group messaging. Hopefully, it will also be a way to provide entertainment, support, and a sigh of relief to another mom out there who faces the same challenges I do. My theory is, if someone else has googled it before you, i.e., how to get your child to stay in their bed, how to get your child to stay in time out, how to get your child to stop running in the street, etc., you can’t be the only one wondering if you’re doing this whole parenting thing wrong. I assure you, that one, you’re not alone, and two, you’re not doing it wrong. Just the simple fact that your googling it makes you at least a mediocre parent, right?

A long first post but a document as to how I got here. I hope you decide to join me on this exciting journey and find yourself relating to our crazy, circus-like, Jesus-loving adventure we call life. Now let me run, those wild boys are currently wrestling in our makeshift ball pit while trying to knock pictures off the wall. I know today I’ll need lots of Jesus, and maybe even a little wine. Continue reading “Jesus and Wine”