Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Surviving a Strong Willed Child

So, I read an article last night that really helped me regain my focus as a parent. I’ve been so struggling with how to handle my strong willed, tantrum pitching, constantly screaming 1 yo. I’ve only ever dealt with this through babysitting and with that you can tell the parents and then say adios and leave it for them to handle. Now, with a SWK(Strong willed kid) of my own I can’t run away and not deal with it. I need to be ever present and it’s exhausting. So, I finally looked up some articles for tricks, wisdom, and encouragement, and this blog post from this mama really encouraged my heart and opened my eyes to the treasure of a child I do have even when I feel as though we both won’t make it to his graduation from high school 😂😂 God is teaching me through this blonde blue eyed kiddo of mine, patience, understanding, endurance, unconditional love, and grace....lots of grace and patience again because I need a whole lot of that and God knows it. I’ll pass on to you what this sweet mama said in hopes it encourages you other Mamas as well trying to tread these rough waters of a strong willed kiddo 😉

“Don’t lose sight of the incredible gift that you have in your SWK because this shift in perspective is worth its weight in gold. When you perceive your SWK from a positive viewpoint, you will be a better parent to your SWK. Period. Not always easy, I get that, really I do. However, it will be so beneficial to see your SWK through a positive lens every day.
Remember how I said that I like control, order, and all of that? I also like to follow rules. I like consistency, and I like congruency. These are all things about me that I’ve had to learn to surrender in dealing with my SWKs much of the time. Try as hard as I may, I can’t control my SWKs and I certainly can’t change them, but I can change the things about me that are only aggravated by the things that my SWKs do that are the opposite of these things. Change you. Change your need to control…you want to guide them not control them. Repeat with me…you want to guide them not control them. Good stuff right there. Repeat as often as necessary

So often as parents we feel that we are in a battle. It is us against them. However, we are not in battle, although our SWKs like to make us feel like we are in an all-out war almost every day. The thing is, battles need to have a winner and a loser. This is not so in parenting, especially in parenting a SWK. Before engaging in anything that resembles a fight of any kind, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Maybe a different question to ask would be, “Does this really matter?”

Love them unconditionally
We know that as parents we need to love our kids unconditionally, but this is especially true in the case of a SWK. They feel the tension, they feel the stress, they feel your frustration. As much as they like to know that they are controlling you in regards to those things, they don’t need to be wondering if you still love them in spite of it. Make sure they know that they are loved.

Parenting a strong willed kid can be a challenge, but it can also be an incredible gift. Keeping a few things in mind, having a fresh perspective, and knowing a few tricks to keep up your sleeve can help you navigate the tumultuous waters just a bit, making them a bit smoother. It will be so worth it!"

Also Remember YOUR CHILD IS A PRECIOUS GIFT and somedays you will scream, you will say things you wish you could take back, you will be a "bad mom". It's ok, we all have our days and our tank runs on E way longer than it should. Know that there are other mamas out there struggling as well and beating themselves up for being that "bad mom" when really they are a great mom who has given so much and keeps giving no matter her level of exhaustion. We sacrifice our lives for our kids and that makes us AWESOME moms. Don't beat yourself up. I had this "bad mom" day just last week. A few choice words were said in my head and slipped out my mouth a few times. I had hit rock bottom. My husband came to the rescue and let me have an afternoon off which was very refreshing and so beyond needed. Being a SAHM means you get no days off though, no weekends off, and even your "off afternoons" aren't really off because, lets face it we still get calls and texts and we also wonder how they are surviving. It's a 24/7, 365 job through good days and hard days. But the job is so rewarding and to be able to watch and raise our legacies is absolutely a blessing! Just remember you are doing your best and its a "learn as you go" job. No mom is perfect, but you are perfectly placed in your child's life by God to guide and direct them. God is not only using you to shape them but He is using them to shape you as well. ;-)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Real World Mama Living and Loving

You know those Mama posts as you are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, those “ I’m gonna stand here with my thousand dollar outfit and my kids looking like they just came out of a magazine gleefully smiling away or kissing mama’s cheek” posts. The posts that make you think “I’d like to be that mama someday! I need a new wardrobe, I’d love to look that good! My kids need new clothes, or why can’t my kids be that sweet or calm?”
Well ladies, I wish all that! I’m guilty of looking at their clothes and thinking “how pretty do they look?! And how fit!” But reality sets in and I realize I’m the normal mom over here budgeting for clothes, food, and just everyday needs. I throw on the same pair of jeans I have had for several years that still fit comfortably around my flabby skinned mama belly, that $8 old navy shirt that doesn’t cling to that said mama belly flab, and a belt so my jeans don’t fall off while picking up the toys sprawled across my floor for the upteenth time today. I put on makeup to feel like I am alive after a night of little to no sleep. I have gotten a 3min shower and I dream about a long soak in a tub. I live on little money and a heck of a lot of Faith. So yes, sometimes I wish I were that well put together mama in front of that white super clean backdrop or in that gorgeously laid out nursery, but for reals, would I trade this life for that? Heck No! I’m sure it’s not all rosey as it looks over there and those kids had 5 or 6 tantrums before or after that picture was taken.  In this very social media age today, it’s easy for us mamas to compare ourselves to other moms. I have to remind myself all the time that God has so blessed me with the life I have, I have clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, my kids are well fed  and healthy and so am I, we are able to pay our bills, we have a gorgeous apt that we live in, wonderful neighbors, clean water, and wonderful kiddos. We may have debts, we may not be able to afford the finest clothes, the fancy foods, the gorgeous house, a nice date nigh, BUT we do have so much more than so many other families have. I am reminded of the trips I took to Guatemala not so many years ago and how they live in the Mayan jungles. I remember walking into one home doing hut to hut evangelism and their baby was hanging in a blanket ON THEIR WALL <---That was the baby’s crib. It was dark inside with mud floors and it was all one big open room with just hammocks hanging from the beams above. This is their life and I’m over here dreaming about new clothes and my kids looking like models in pictures?
I say all this because I’m being honest about the mama life. Not all of us can have the Joanna Gaines dream home or the super stylish kiddos or the hip mama wardrobe, but what we can have are the real life moments with our kids and teach them what’s important in life. They can see a real mama who loves them beyond measure and a Dad who loves them so much he works so very hard to make ends meet. God gives us mana for today. So, when you are dreaming of being that super sexy stylish mama, just know you are beyond perfect the way that you are. Your kids will remember what all you did, not what all you wore. We are all mamas raising our kids to be the best they can be! I’m not saying let yourself go, I’m just saying it’s ok if you have a Walmart or second hand wardrobe. Don’t let the world beat you down. There are far more important things in this life, And you are raising them. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Caedmon Turns 3!

Where do I begin? Well, let's just say that I'm in denial that my Caed is turning 3. I have made his "2" year appointment only to be corrected that it's his 3 year appointment and then after I got off the phone I put it down on our calendar as his "2" year appointment. I'm not claiming preggo brain for this one, just denial. I refuse to except that he is growing up and that it's been 3 years since I brought him into this world. He has definitely hit the more emotional age where one second he is all smiles and laughter and the next he could be wailing away. He and his brother have very few sweet moments and when they happen, I just sit and watch and soak it in. They are usually screaming and pushing each other and such is life with boys so close in age. One day they will all be best buds. Caedmon, couldn't be any smarter though! He loves puzzles and fixing and building things! His mind is always going and now his mouth as well and that part gets annoying at times but we have waited so long that it's so fun to hear all the words he knows and sentences he is putting together. As we always say, he has a personality that far surpasses his height. People make many comments about "oh look at the baby!" "Aww he can talk!" "Look at the baby walking" or a 3 year old girl who came up to him in the buggy and, I swear she looked 5yo, well she starts "talking to the the baby" and her grandmother looks at me and apologizes for her just walking up because "she is only 3", I didn't tell her Caed's age or that would have made her feel even worse, since he literally was a third of her size. But, I knew from the beginning that with every year of Caed's life would come more comments etc. on his height and smallness. I also knew from the beginning that I wouldn't take offense at every comment people made. I want to be a role model for my son, to not get his feathers all ruffled so easily. He will be taught to stand up for himself, yes, but he will also be taught to educate people and practice patience and understanding rather than just acting out of immediate emotions. Yes, people will say mean and nasty things but understanding that to act out of anger just plays right into their hands. That's what they want. Getting offended at every "little" thing is not how I want to raise my child. Yes, he is special but so are people with black skin, white skin, Asians, Mexicans, People with Down syndrome, and people that are super tall, etc. That's what makes the human race so beautiful! Understanding that some people just don't/can't  understand that, is key. I haven't run into a person yet who has made a negative comment about my son. Most people think he's the coolest little dude and ask questions and I'm always glad to answer! Telling his story brings me joy because his journey is our greatest learning experience as parents. Caed stretches us daily and I know he has helped me to be a more mature individual and overcome my fears. I always hated docs, hospitals, calling people, handling insurance issues etc. and now I'm my son's biggest advocate talking to Docs all the time, educating most on his diagnosis, spending time in Hospitals, and tackling lovely Insurance when necessary. God has used Caed to shape us as parents and people and our prayer is that we can train him up to see what a gift he is to the world and that his life has a purpose. God has already used him to touch so many lives! I look forward to the many years ahead as God uses Caed to glorify Him and spread the joy and love of Christ through that goofy charming smile and personality of his. But, please slow down time a little. We love you Caedmon more than you will ever know! You are an amazing big bro who deeply cares for others even if somedays it doesn't shine through as much. You have the sweetest heart and you love and laugh so hard. I can't believe you are three. Stay strong and stay goofy always, sweet boy! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Parks, Play Dates, and People. A note from a Special Need's Mom

This is going to be a short post but it's heavy on my heart so thought I would put it to words and post it! Also it's short because time is very limited these days! So, I may get a blog post in every month now haha! Just reality. So I hope all you mamas are doing well and hanging in there! Love and much coffee to all of you!

As Spring and Summer weather has set in, it's that time of year that we hit up the parks and kid friendly places! Being a Stay at Home Mom during the winter months can be exhausting trying to entertain your kiddos and also keep them from germs especially having a child who's immune system isn't all that great. So, we hibernate a good bit during the winter months. When the first sign of Spring hits the air it's like heaven!!! Let's go outside kiddos!!!

As a mom of a special needs child(Achondroplasia, dwarfism), this time of season brings many struggles. Park Play dates are usually short lived due to a child that wears out super fast because he can't go at the same pace as an average height/build kid his age can. He also overheats fast. So please don't take our having to leave an hour into a play date as a "we aren't enjoying this". We love parks and playing! Also as a mom of a special kiddo, I have to be ever present wherever he goes on a playground due to his stature. It's hard for him to maneuver the big play equipment and bigger kids. So, a play date means a very busy active time for me as well 😜 I apologize that I can't sit and talk. I would love too but making sure my child stays alive is priority one.

And to the moms of kids who have questions about my kid and why he is so small, bring them to me and ask me and I will answer those questions. Please don't hush your child if they point and laugh at my son or point out that he's different. Hushing them does nothing but separate them from my son and comes across as "no don't talk about them" and that results in them not wanting to interact with people like him. I know it's embarrassing as a mom to have your kid vocalize their thoughts about others, but that's good! Let's break the barrier of awkwardness. Our children are all learning and let's provide them with those teaching moments. I would love to explain in "kid" form why Caed is different. I am preparing myself for all the comments that come flooding in around this time of the year and especially now that Caed is older. I don't take offense at the comments but I do look at it as an opportunity to spread awareness and Caed's coolness.

So, as a mom to my cool kid Caed, and I speak for all the moms of special need kids, whether dwarfism, autism, or Down's syndrome, etc. We want to educate others on how special our kid's are, so allow us those opportunities before judging, making a negative comment, or hushing your child for finding that our child is different. They are curious little minds. Let's set good examples of love for people all shapes, sizes, colors, and mental states. It starts with you. Our children are watching and listening.  Let's be the change in this world.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stay At Home Moms Have All the Time in The World!

Ok, sorry it has been so long since my last post. This post goes right along with why that is. We Stay at Home Moms actually do things! (Whaaaaaaat?!!) We don't just sit around popping bonbons watching soaps, well at least I don't. One of the things that really gets to me is people asking me to be a consultant to this or that or asking us to do other random stuff because well, they don't have time and I'm a stay at home mom, I have time I need extra money. 
One, I don't have time. Two I don't need the extra money. My husband and I weighed the pros and cons of me staying home with our kids and I knew when I was very young that I wanted to stay home with my kids one day. My husband works hard to provide for us and I shouldn't feel guilty for not adding to our income. I am adding more than money can, by staying home and raising and teaching our children. I chose to designate 100% of my time to MY CHILDREN. One day I will be able to pursue something that I also love to do and adds to our income, but until my kids graduate I will be giving them 100% of my attention. I also keep our house clean and running smoothly. Many people ask how I keep my house so clean, well I believe highly in time managing. Yes, I may be sleep deprived to an extent due to not napping when my kids nap, but I can go to sleep at night knowing my house is in order and ready for the next day. You can juggle kids and cleaning. If you are a stay at home mom there is not excuse for your house to look like a war zone! (Except for preggo or medical issues) I probably would fit better back in the day when women cooked cleaned and were always dressed and ready for the day. Chilling in your PJs all day was unacceptable. I feel like more and more we become a lazy generation. Messy buns, yoga pants, and oversized sweats and sweatshirts are acceptable. Don't get me wrong I like all those things I just can't stay in them all day! Guess that comes from growing up a PK with our house being the parsonage right next door and anyone just popped in anytime they liked. Call me old school. My kids are happy and so am I and my husband. I know not everyone isn't crazy about cleaning etc...and each family is different. This post isn't meant to guilt anyone. This post is to inform those who don't know any better that we stay at home mom's do DO THINGS!! Our lives are just as busy as a working mom's life because we ARE WORKING! We are getting up at all hours to feed a baby many times at night, we wake when they wake, we are surrounded by constant drool, spit up, poopy diapers, a constant talking/babbling/whining/thrashing/bipolar toddler, a teething and sleep deprived baby, our bosses are very demanding and always keep us on our toes, literally, by dodging sharp toys and cleaning the same toys up a gazillion times a day. We vacuum(at least once a day), sweep, wipe toilets, clean up foods and bodily fluids wiped/smeared across and on anything and everything. We cook and we meal plan and we coupon and we shop! We work too, just we may not get paid in green very valuable paper. We get paid in smiles, coos, hugs, slobbery kisses, watching milestones met, watching when things finally click, watching them walk across a stage and being handed a diploma, and the "thank you mom for everything" at the end of their schooling and the beginning of their independent path ahead. These 18years are so very short and I don't want to miss a moment of their life when I am blessed to be able to stay home with them. So, please don't take it as an insult when I say no to things. My kids have 100% of my attention for now. Yes, one day I would like to take on something fun for some extra mula. But not now, I'm a busy mama raising my very busy boys. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

And Then There Were Two

When you become a parent of two, you quickly realized how easy your life was with one. Don't get me wrong, life with one is ridiculously hard! With your first kid you are learning so so much! Everything is new and if you have never been around babies, google becomes your best friend! My google search probably read like this "how many breaths does a newborn take, what's colic, what color should a newborn's poop be, how to comfort gassy baby, how to help baby poop, constipated newborn, dwarfism, 3wk growth spurt, growth spurt chart, how to not lose my mind during a several hour newborn cryfest" lol You get the picture. You worry about the slightest things and change their diapers every 2 seconds and have the burp cloth ALWAYS on you or within reach to catch the very slightest little dribble from their absolutely adorable little smiley mouths. It takes 20mins to get everything and their bedroom packed up for a 15min grocery run and you are a frazzled but glowing with the "I'm a new mom" glow. You get home and you sleep when baby sleeps and soak in all the snuggles and kisses and coos and smiles. After a year of all this sweetness, you decide, "hey let's have another! How hard can a second one be! I've got this parent thing down!" 

BAM!!!! You bring new baby home and your sweet little firstborn child seems to have grown a whole year in maturity between the time you went into the hospital and the time you brought the new addition home. You stare at them wondering "where in the world did my baby go?" They seem so big compared to that small newborn in your arms. You feel complete but yet so very sad and somewhat bitter by what you just did. You love that new baby in your arms beyond measure but you also are heartbroken by the fact you just had your first baby become a big boy/girl. Your little duo is now a trio. Then, you think to yourself, "there is only one of me and now two of them!". You now get to learn what REAL multitasking is. You will be amazed at what all you can do while holding a crying baby and toddler around your feet. You learn what TRUE sleep deprivation is. Yeah you thought you knew with your first, that was just a teaser 😜 Kiss naps goodbye because your kids have devised a plan against you, where one sleeps while the other makes sure mom/dad doesn't. Also they cry together!! Always! And it never fails, when you have to pee so bad the baby will need feeding and the toddler would have pooped, so now your baby is ballistic, your toddler is crying because the baby is crying, and your living room now smells like a dozen rotten eggs and you are about to pee in your pants. I look back and laugh at how I thought parenting just one child was so hard! I look at these mamas with 4,5 and 6 kids, and man, nothing but respect ladies!!! I'm sure it does get easier though after the third especially when your oldest is old enough to help. It's having kiddos close in age(which is what we wanted) it is just really hard but I wouldn't trade any of these hard moments for the world. It is a difficult transition from 1-2 and I know it has to be especially hard with a third because you and your husband are now outnumbered. No more "you take him/her and I'll get him/her". You don't pick favorites of course but you learn to asses the situation and then prioritize the needs at the moment and decide who stands/walks and who gets held. With each child comes a whole new ballgame especially depending on that new addition's personality. We have been so very thankful and blessed that our second is so chill. Yes, he has his moments but he is rather easy. Total opposite of our first. We love our family of four though! 

To the mama about to be a mama of two(which I know there are many of you) don't feel guilty for missing those special days with just you and your first born. Cherish those memories. Remind yourself of those memories and then remind yourself that you get to now experience it all again, just this time with another sweet little one. The first 2mnths are hard and you will cry and feel pulled between both kiddos and feel like there isn't enough of you to go around. You will feel like you are expecting too much of your oldest and feel guilty for not giving them enough attention. Remember, it is all a growing and learning process for all of you. Take your time! No need to rush to be a super mom! It's a transition process, emotionally, physically, and mentally for ALL of you. You will get there. For now, soak in all those firstborn snuggles and make memories. It all changes so fast. And SLEEP! Lol as much as you can. It's not all rosy but it is the best feeling ever when you see those two kiddos together. The best gift you will ever give your child is their sibling, their best friend. They may not realize it now but they will one day.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Raising Men in a World Full of Boys

I had finally put our Walmart trip off long enough, all week actually, so off we go down the mountain to pick up a few necessities ( you know brownies cause I'm craving chocolate and too lazy to make some, and other "needs") We start the process of venturing in after all the parking spot searching(closest spot to the store and near a buggy return).  I unfold myself out of the car and sling the car seat over my arm and then lift the toddler up onto my God given baby seat(my hip). We grab a cart and make our way in. Lots of avoiding certain aisles and budgeting in my head if we need this now or if it can wait until payday. Finally, we make it out alive. A lot of emotions go into a grocery trip, excitement(yay! other human beings!, anxiety(hoping the baby stays asleep and no upper or lower eruptions occur), sadness(maybe one day I can buy all this junk food and not gain weight), and then impatience and anger(Self Check out machine that has a mind of it's own + a crying baby and whining toddler). But we made it back to the car with everyone still alive. I get the boys in the car and get so excited that there isn't a car on my side, so I can get in with ease! I push the buggy to the cart return and BAM! A car had pulled in and now I have to wait until they get out so I can get in. So I stand there. An older gentleman steps out of the drivers side and apologizes for me having to wait on his wife. I reassure him that "it's totally fine". He walks to his wife's door and instead of opening her's he opens mine. My jaw dropped. He looks at me with a smile and says "here you go dear, after you" I was in such shock. I can't remember the last time a (car) door had been opened FOR ME. I thanked him and hopped in. I was glowing! I then watched as his wife sat patiently as he opened her door next. Such a sweet man and it absolutely made my whole trip worth the headache! 

This action had me thinking about how it's so sad that chivalry is not dead, but it sure is dying. How sad that many women don't get to experience these sweet actions. We women and men have begun such a battle of the sexes with comparing each other and trying to be equals. We have come across like we are too good for such a treatment or "I can get the door myself! I am capable", I'm guilty of this. Growing up with four brothers I always had to be on my "A" game and kick some butt ;) It always felt weird when a door was opened for me. I guess now that I'm older and have boys of my own I realize it is a sign of great respect and not belittlement. 
Now, entrusted with raising two boys, I want to instill in them the great respect of women. Here are a few things that come to mind. 

• Respect for Adults
They will always refer to adults as "Mr., Ms., and Mrs." And answer with "yes ma'am and a yes sir" 
Please if my child refers to you with any of these do not discourage them from doing so. In our world today too many kids have lost the respect of adults and many parents have allowed their children to be on the same level.  I have found that this results in disobedience and much lack of respect for authority. I grew up referring to adults as Mr. Ms., Mrs, Yes ma'am and sir, and I can't tell you how many times people asked me not to refer to them as such because it made them "feel old" well you are "older" and it is a sign of respect, so please take it as such. 

• Respect for Meals Provided
(The Dreaded Supper Struggle)

Man cannot live on chicken nuggets and pizza alone, hence why he created women. You may not be the best cook in the world but you do cook a meal for your family, whether it's running to bojangles and waiting in a long line of other desperate last minute meal mamas(guilty, yes me!), crockpot prep bright and early in the morning, or slaving over the oven most of the day. That meal took time, effort, and much patience as you juggle kids and prepare yourself for the picky eaters to come. Too many times men take for granted their wives and all that goes into a meal for the family. I was taught that whoever prepared the meal everyone else had the cleanup detail. As my boys get older, I want to strive to instill in them the attitude of appreciation for whatever meal is sat before them(whether they like it our not) their meal will end with a "thank you" and "let's start the dishes". Of course it may not sound that chipper, but you get the picture. The most attractive thing to a woman is a man in the kitchen! I'm all about raising a boy to be proud to be a man in the kitchen one day! 

• Respecting Himself and Working Hard to be a Man Worthy of Respect. 

We want to raise our boys to be hard working men willing and able to provide for a family some day. If the wife were to choose to stay home with the kids, she would be more than able to. I want them to know the worth of a dollar and how sitting around playing video games won't get you anywhere. We as a family don't own any sort of video game devices. My child is addicted enough to the iPad I hate to see how he would be with video games 🙈 So, I have instigated the "no video game devices in our home" rule(don't worry I won't judge your family, different rules for different households).I know though, you are probably thinking "well that's really mean, what kind of mom does that?!" "I bet she will take the tv away next!" Well it's been a thought 😉 With educating my kids at home, It would get rid of any distractions for both my children and me. So don't be shocked if it happens! My husband may die but, I think he'll live to appreciate it. It will encourage more creative thinking for the kiddos and better family bonding. In this tech savvy world today family bonding is needed. 

• Respect for Women in General

Opening doors, giving up a seat, flowers "just because", and random acts of kindness and love shown to women are the greatest encouragers to us women to remind us to be the best we can be because we are loved, respected, and deeply appreciated. As a mom of boys, I want to raise this next generation of men to be just that, men. It may be a lot of unreal expectations but we are up for this challenge. God did not give us these boys for no reason. As I said before in my last post. I'm raising my future. I'm doing this for the future women they come in contact with whether it be random strangers or their wives one day. May they be as blessed as I was when that elderly man opened my door. Change starts with you as their parent. 

I'm honored to say that my boys have many men in their lives who are excellent role models. From many uncles, to grandpas, to a hardworking father. My boys will know what hard work and provision for family, looks like. I am superbly blessed to have a husband who provides just enough for me to stay home with our boys and who is an active role in raising them to be great men. It's time more men stood up and realized the treasures they have in their wives and the legacy they want to leave behind. It's time for boys to become men.