Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I am NOT Super Mom!!!!

I am reading the best book on the planet.  I mean, BEST book on the planet.  I'll post more about it, further down, but before all my bookworm friends remind me I say that about every.single.book I read, you're right.  I have read some amazing books over the years, and it seems to me that the writers just keep getting more amazing.  I don't read a lot of books outside my faith, simply because there are so many darn good books to read IN my faith I just don't have time.  Oh, yes, I'll read the occasional best seller like, "Unbroken"  (awesome book by the way), but mostly I read books either about my Catholic faith, or written by some amazing Catholic authors who write about motherhood, being a woman, etc, etc, etc.  This book is no different.  It's called, "Getting Past Perfect."
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It's written by a woman I've never heard of, which is incredible considering I pretty much stalk, er, I mean, follow about every amazing writer out there, but nonetheless, one of our speakers from our first conference last year suggested her for next year and so I ordered her most recent book to devour, er, I mean, skim through, to see if she was someone who could potentially meet all women of all walks of life, not just moms....

She has passed with flying colors, but what I found most refreshing in it, was something I struggle with a lot. 

I'm not super mom.  

I've always known it.  Heck, if you ask my kids, they'll be the first to tell you, even if you don't ask them!!  

I had a really great conversation with a friend of mine the other day.  She called me wonder woman when she was proclaiming how amazing it was I was pregnant with my 8th and still considering teaching religion class next year. (I'm on the fence about teaching, but my actual super hero hubs said I should).  I was very quick to tell her I'm no super mom.  She balked as though I was being too humble, and of course, made the generalized statement, "I could never handle eight kids!  I can barely handle my __________."  Fill in the blank there.  Because any number lower than 8 is what I will hear from here on out.

And I don't say it begrudgingly.  I say it sincerely.  First off, you don't have 8.  I don't tangibly have 8 and I can't handle 8 right now. That's why I get 9 months to prepare.  I'm not saying sign yourself for 8, on the contrary.  We live in a society that completely and utterly FROWNS on large families.  Try getting your kids on multiple sports teams.  These days, if you have more than two, you'll need a second mortgage and two good kidneys so you can sell one, because we don't live in a large family friendly affordable world anymore.  

And our culture does a fantastic job of reminding us daily how ridiculous the cost of rearing just one of those little minions does to our savings!  I know, you're probably surprised we aren't in line at the mental hospital waiting our turn to wear the sweet cozy jacket and be in the nice padded room when we think about those silly costs that somehow, some family, some where, told a pollster person and made it the cost of the gods of raising kids.....Listen to me now- KIDS DO NOT NEED NEW THINGS ALL THE TIME OR 40 GIFTS TO OPEN A PIECE AT CHRISTMAS TO FEEL LOVED OR ACCEPTED IN THIS WORLD....

Rant over momentarily.  

But her comment bothers me because it's why I really want people to see what life is like in a house full of LOTS of humans.  And not just any humans, but tiny ones, big ones, hormonal ones, angry ones, happy ones, silly ones, ones who feel the world is against them, ones who feel their siblings don't understand.... I mean, Jerry Springer ain't got NOTHIN' on drama.  My house could feed an entire network with rated G soap opera drama..........

I would LOVE to post a recording of my kids before my birthday dinner the other night, literally YELLING THEIR HEADS OFF TO BE HEARD, all wanting the other to understand that THEIR plight in life is the worst on the planet, despite the other trying to convince them, NO MY LIFE IS WAY WORSE....

Then my husband, not in the nicest voice he's ever used, quieted everyone down so that we could pray the blessing before dinner and you would have thought we put a muzzle on them because they were barely audible!!  He stopped them once, made them start over, reminded them who we were praying to and for, and once again, they were barely audible.  

I want to post things like that.  Like the two girls that share a room who are almost 14 and 17 who get along like fire and ice and most days are decent to each other, but a LOT of days, sound like something out of a horror movie.....

Of course, on the flip side of exposing myself and my family like that, there is the unwritten horror of the "wrong people" getting a hold of these posts and of course, finding a way to hurt my family.  By either turning us in to child social services, or just getting unwanted and negative feedback from the social media world who apparently have full time jobs of just trolling the internet looking for people to fight with. 

I would LOVE for people to understand that just because I have a lot of children, does not mean I have some sort of trophy awarded to me titled, "mom who can do anything..." 

Because if anything, I'm about the laziest mom on the planet.  

I do not make my kids lunches.  They start in Kindergarten perfecting that art.  They are quite good at it.  

I do not clean my kids rooms.  (let me restate that-I will occasionally go in and do a trash/declutter removal when the "junk" gets mile high).

I do not make their beds.  Even the 8 year old, who believe me, let's me know every.time she's made to change her sheets, that she 'just.can't.do.it....' (in the whiniest voice I've ever heard next to Caillou!  And y'all KNOW how whiney Caillou was!!!!)

I do not bring their lunch to school after their "first freebie."  I am a firm believer in one free pass, after that, we must learn to be better organized.  Ouch.  Had a mom call me a nasty name over that one years ago......oh well.  My children are probably scarred from worse things....believe me.

I do not allow electronic devices before middle school.  Middle school for us is 7th & 8th.  And even now, I'm considering moving that date back to HS permanently.  I've discovered that parents are getting snowed by their sweet little gems who are secretly creating multiple accounts and hiding chat groups and bullying other kids on these accounts.  Trust no one.  Kids are naturally inclined to do wrong.  That's why we have them for 18 years.  Clearly, someone, SOMEONE, believed at some point, they need lots of intervention.  Consider this my intervention.  Even in HS it will be a case by case evaluation.  
But in middle school, there is a phone in the office that kids can use to call us parents who are waiting with baited breath for their every move.  I was delighted when I asked the office that question and posed it with the simple truth, "My kid is not going to have a device next year. Will they die from becoming lost in a classroom alone with out my constant technological supervision reminding them to breath/and or go to the next class?'  The woman, whom I felt found me delightfully refreshing, said, 'of course not!  My dear, let me show you this old fashioned device we have just over here, just for such occasion......'  To my surprise, a PHONE!

We're BFF's now.  :) 

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Perhaps not exactly like this....

But there are a LOT of things that I do and DON'T do, that would probably horrify today's "modern" parents!!  But the fact that I have so many children, causes so many to safely assume so many things about us.  We are basically the same as most parents.  Basically.  We are far more frugal.  Don't give in to many whims and desires.  Can't afford to take them to Disney....ever.   But honestly, I have no desire.  I really don't even like trying to plan a vacation, let alone go on one....but my kids don't seem too terribly scarred by that.  We camp a lot, and try to a vacation once a year if the kids school schedules allow for it.  There are a lot of them (kids).  Even them just picking one sport/activity to participate in, causes us a lot of taxi driving.  Which we don't mind.  It's part of our job as parents. We are just now getting one old enough to actually drive by herself and she has just made enough money to buy her own car (GASP!  NO-we don't buy cars for our kids either....good lord, do we look like Mommy & Daddy Warbucks???)    
My desire is to do the very best I can raising semi-nice, functional humans that can contribute to our society and maybe, just maybe, help make it a little better place than how we found it....

But most importantly, I want other mommas to understand that I am the farthest from perfect.  I struggle day to day.  I cry a lot.  I pray a LOT.  Matter of fact, I couldn't do this crazy without my faith.  I don't know how other large families do it, but that is what gets me through daily.  I worry that not only will I screw up my kids, but I'll screw up ALL OF MY KIDS.... Statistically speaking, it's worse for me!!!

But that momma who just has one, and is barely keeping a float.  Or that momma with three rambunctious crazy boys.  Or that momma who has had more miscarriages than she cares to admit and cries herself to sleep thinking she'll never have kids, we all struggle!  We all have those crosses we bear and we carry them the best way we can.  No parent is perfect, minus God our father, and frankly, like the new book I'm reading pointed out, if we are truly all God's children, all of us, created in His image and likeness, then that includes all.of.us.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the criminal, the dangerous, the deceitful, the murderers, the prostitutes, the addicts, all of us.  Every.single.one.of.us.  We don't look at Him and say, "Wow, God, you really messed that one up...."  The same way we shouldn't look at our own kids and make the same assumption.  Free will is a tricky gift to us.

Lastly, just take one GIANT thing from me if you take anything.  My life is crazy.  I love it, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for all the money in the universe, but it's crazy.  My carpet is falling apart.  My cabinets are peeling.  My husband has a really, REALLY super cool shell of a Mustang he'll probably  never have time to work on, let alone find and install all the necessary parts to make it an actual working vehicle (which sometimes kinda makes me sad, cause it's SUPER COOL).  My house is in constant disarray.  The white trim (why on God's green earth did white ever become a style in houses, natural wood is just so...... PERFECT for kids....) is chipped, peeling, dented, black....the house needs another coat of paint already because there is only so much the magic erasers can erase before the paint begins to fade drastically.  I literally have a room full of girls and DESPERATELY need another bedroom because I'm fairly certain this child in utero is another girl just speaking statistically.  Do you KNOW how hard it is to find enough money to finish a basement AND still have a life AND still buy groceries?  It's a slow saving process.  My clothing is mostly hand me downs from my awesome sister who has the fashion sense of a pure genius.  My kids mostly wear hand me downs, not only from their siblings, but from awesome friends near and far who have made sure they too, recycle and reuse their own fantastic clothing.  My kids basically have three pairs of shoes when they're young.  Tennis shoes, church shoes, and snow boots.  Sometimes they're lucky if they request a new pair of shoes as their bday gifts, but mostly, they don't complain.  They have learned that hard work and saving can produce some of the things most children are blessed to acquire by simply existing.  That is a skill that can't really be taught except by doing.

I am no super mom.  I don't even come close.  I don't pretend to have it together, even when my kids all appeared dressed for the day and laundry is mostly done.  Those are bonus days.  I am just like you.  Working hard to be a daughter of a great King, loving my kids the best way I can, and encouraging the mommas I know to keep on truckin', through the good, the bad and the toddler temper tantrum world we live in.  Hope you can relate...Love all y'all.

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