9 Things

Happy 9th Birthday

Happy 9th Birthday

I proclaimed yesterday that I was going to do my own version of the NaNoWriMo and I would blog at least every weekday for the month of November. It was easy to make that proclamation yesterday because I knew I already had today’s topic.

My one and only son turns 9 today. Nine years ago today I was on an operating table having a c-section so I could meet my boy. What a meeting it was too. My little baseball head. I marveled at how round and baseball like his head was. Born for greatness for sure. He hasn’t disappointed either. What a great addition to the family he has been. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off my attempt to climb back in blogging to tell you all about the super special, super awesome super handsome GQ birthday boy.

Yes, I know I’m partial, but I dare you to look into this boys eyes and not just fall in love. I’m hooked, that’s for sure. So as I’ve done for many birthdays before here on my blog, I have 9 things to tell you about my birthday boy, who I would like to point out begrudgingly is a pre-teen (shudders).

9 Things

  1. He is super stubborn. Imagine how fun it is when we get into a battle of wills because I am also very stubborn. So far I still win most of our battles, but the older he gets, the tougher he gets.
  2. He loves baseball. More specifically he loves Mets baseball. His love for the game was only sealed that much more when we went to see a few games this past spring and summer and he ended up on the Jumbo Screen a few times and even got a Lucas Duda autographed baseball given to him.
  3. He also loves Monster Trucks. Grave Digger is his favorite. He even got the drivers autograph this year and the flag given to him off the Grave Digger track.
  4. He is magnetic. People are clearly just drawn to him. At that baseball game there were tons of kids that could have been given an autographed baseball and asked to be on the Jumbo Screen, but he was chosen. At another baseball game this summer while watching warm ups Bartolo Colon tossed him a ball. Sadly some young men stepped in front of him and snatched the ball so he didn’t get the souvenir, but at another game we went to while sitting in our seats for warm ups a National’s player tossed him a ball. And lets not forget the flag he received off of Grave Digger’s truck. People are just drawn to him and his enthusiasm.
  5. He is an amazing big brother. He puts up with a lot from his little sister. He takes it all in stride and I think even with a little bit of pride as well.
  6. He is very considerate of others. He always wants to bring in extra snack for his friends or even his teacher.
  7. He’s a Nerf fanatic. He has quite the arsenal of Nerf guns. All of the neighbor kids know where to do when they want to have a Nerf fight that’s for sure.
  8. He is so very funny. He’s always making me laugh with the things he says and does.
  9. He’s awesome. Just plain and simple all of this adds up to complete and total awesomeness. It’s not a wonder people are so drawn to him, is it?

And there you have it. That’s my newly turned 9 year old. Won’t you take the time to wish him a very happy 9th?

A Year of Lasts

Photo by Art Rich Photography

Photo by Art Rich Photography

This might be one of the toughest posts I’ve had to write to this date. I came to one very real realization recently. While many of my friends are still dealing with plenty of firsts on the horizon with their kids, I’ve gotten to the point where there are less firsts and far too many lasts for us.

My oldest is in her last year of high school. That means that we had our last first day of school with her already. There are lots of lasts with her ahead. I hadn’t really thought about it too much until she officially submitted her first college application. This time next year she will be away at college. When we went to pick our pumpkins out that was likely the last time she was going to be doing that with us. When we go trick or treating tonight it will be the last time she comes with us.

Many of our lasts over the years I didn’t see coming, but this one, this time, this year it’s all very obvious how different things are going to be for us next year. I haven’t really wanted to admit how hard this is because I know for her it’s also hard. That moment in your life where you want to spread your wings and get out from under the thumb of your parents, but at the same time there’s so much uncertainty about what that is actually going to mean. As hard as this is for me to let go (and it has been especially hard with us so far this year) I know this is ten times harder for her.

All of these choices are on her right now. I can help and guide her, but at the end of the day it’s her life and it’s all her choice. And right now my major focus with her is to make it very clear that she has a soft place to land and will always have an ear to talk to in me when she needs more help and guidance.

We’re on the brink of a new chapter in our relationship. It’s an exciting and a scary time. I have spent years looking ahead to things like first steps, first words, first tooth, first holidays, first birthdays, first day of school, first visit from the tooth fairy, first school project, first dance, and yes even high school graduation. She has made it through all of these firsts, we have made it through all of these firsts, but only over the last few years did I realize how bitter sweet parenting really is.

A common theme with me seems to be to say, “Blink of an eye.” As in it’s all over too fast. There’s a piece of me that would love to go back to the last time she was shorter than me, to the last time she needed me to walk her to class, to the last time she need me to carry her in my arms, to the last time she needed me to feed her or bathe her and just hold onto those moments and really savor each and every one of them knowing it was the last. Then there’s this other part of me who is so excited for what is about to come for her. I wish I could help her understand just how great it’s going to be and even if I’m 1500 miles away or right in the same town when she goes to college it will all be worth it. All of her firsts even if they are without me, they’re going to be just as great and special and memorable.

As much as I would love to keep walking that path with her and being there for all of these firsts it’s all a part of life that she start to do these things on her own. I believe that whatever she does she’s going to be great at it. It’s going to be unbelievably scary for both of us, but it’s going to be unbelievably worth all of it.

Don’t mind me right now though. Right now while I still have my girl under the same roof as me I will take every moment I can to hold onto these lasts we will share together, and I will continue to look ahead to all of the amazing things she’s going to get to see and do. A year filled with lasts is still a year with many firsts to come and I’m looking forward to this ride and everything that is going to come.

And by the way, all of my readers, I know it has been a while since I’ve truly consistently blogged, but I’m making a commitment right here and right now for the month of November during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to blog more. I probably won’t be finishing writing any books during the month of November, but my goal is to try to write every weekday for the month of November on my blog. I’d love to write all 30 days of November, but I’m just not sure that’s a feasible goal for me. It has been a long time. Before I start that tomorrow I wanted you all to know where I’ve been. Now that I’ve admitted to the year of lasts with my daughter I think it’s about time I start chronicling more of these things we do as a family of 6 again on the blog. So I hope you’re ready to hear more from me as I take you through the craziness of having two daughters in high school, one applying to colleges this year, and two kids in elementary school, one who’s just really starting on this whole pathway to college journey. Things are probably going to be a tad emotional up in here this year. So sorry in advance about that.

Moms, Are You Tech Distracted?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You know those social experiments where people watch how much parents interact with their children vs. how much a parent’s face is stuck inside a screen? Suddenly, this is the trouble with today’s youth, parents aren’t interacting with their children and have their face shoved in electronic devices all the time. Parents are too busy and too distracted to look up from their devices to see what their precious angel is doing. We’re too easily distracted. Nose in our screen all the time and we’re missing everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, I agree that we as parents have got to find the right balance. But at the same time, this is the world we live in. Technology is how most adults do business these days. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without my use of technology. The work that I have relies heavily on me being just a text message or email away. I’m not the greatest at keeping it away from the dinner table either because around dinner time is actually when my real work for the day/evening begins. I do what I can though. I work hard to make sure each of my children get one-on-one time with me and I know we are luckier than many. Because I get to be home during the day I can schedule meetings around special school events and be there in the school.

I can show up at school on my kid’s birthdays or show up for their little monthly showcase of what they have been learning. I am there and I am involved, but there is always that tug of work with work and family. And because it’s at my finger tips, sometimes an important email might show up in my inbox that I’ll be checking. And maybe other parents are looking at me and judging and maybe other parents are doing the same thing. The thing is it doesn’t always have to mean we are missing out on the big and important moments in our children’s lives.

It’s Over In A Flash

I’ll be the first to tell you to savor moments with your children. It really is over in the blink of an eye. And of course while you’re living it the days seem longer, but then one day you wake up and you’re visiting colleges with your oldest daughter and helping her pick her classes for her last year of high school that will fit in with the requirements for her top pick college. And your middle daughter is exploring the different high school options that are open to her. Tech school, magnet school, or joining her older sister at the local public high school. Your son is reading you his bedtime stories now, and the baby, well she’s counting down the days until she turns 5 and talking about riding the bus with her big brother next year when she starts Kindergarten. So yeah, it does go quicker than you care to admit in the moment and at some point inside you’re screaming at your children, “Just stop growing up already!”

No parent wants to miss anything. But have you ever asked yourselves what life was like before all of this technology? There are certain aspects of parenting that will always be the same. And one of those aspects being we can’t capture every single moment of our child’s life.

Growing Up In The 80′s

I’m a child of the 80′s. My mom was a stay at home mom for the most part until I started Kindergarten. Well, there was that moment in time that I remember she used to babysit other people’s children at the gym she went to. I don’t know that she ever really enjoyed being a stay at home mom actually.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a good childhood. I know my mother loved me and still does very much to this day. My parents were invested in what I was doing and concerned about the day to day. When my mom did go back to work she was a school bus driver so she was home during the summer with us. But you know what I don’t remember her doing? Watching our every single move.

I remember my brother and I being sent outside to play a lot and my mom staying indoors. She’d come check on us every now and then, but we weren’t seeking her approval and recognition at every turn. And even as babies and toddlers I know my mom’s eye wasn’t on us every waking moment. She had other distractions. She might have been talking on the phone, doing laundry, or even watching television.

So why suddenly do we feel that it’s of the utmost importance that mothers, or parents for that matter, are watching every single move our child makes? In all of the years of human existence I believe we have survived just fine with minimal ooohs and ahhhs from our parents in our early years. If anything, it probably did us good to not have every waking second planned for us with a smother mother watching everything we do.

It taught us that mom might not always be watching, but when she is lets hope she catches us doing something good.

Find Your Happy Medium

Now, this is not to say that we as parents should totally tune our children out. Children do learn a great deal from us being tuned in to them. All I’m saying is parents shouldn’t feel guilty for using technology around our children. And while much of what I do on my phone could be work related, sometimes I’m just on Facebook because lets face it, not everything our kids do is absolutely must see amazing every second of every day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I sure love seeing the joy on my child’s face on the swings, but after watching it for fifteen minutes you probably aren’t going to be missing much new and exciting.

Everything I do does not have to be wrapped up in my children. It’s healthy for parents to have outside interests. In some cases that could mean technology. I began blogging many years ago as a way to share my story like millions of other moms. It ended up helping me find a good paying work from home job that allows me to be home with my children, while also providing for them financially. I will not apologize for that and I hope that my children understand. And maybe they don’t right now. I know there were times in my life when I selfishly thought my mom felt her job was more important than I was. I usually kicked myself for thinking that shortly after thinking it and I for sure kick myself for it now because with age does come a bit of perspective.

I survived my childhood without my parents seeing every single thing I did. My parents survived and became good people and parents despite their parents not watching their every single waking moment. Their parents and so on and so on all made it through life and turned out just fine despite whatever distractions they had in their lives.

I figure I will do my best to show up for all of the big and important moments in their lives, but also be present and there during the seemingly not so important moments, but they will be just fine even if I’m staring at my phone or a computer screen while in their presence during other times in their lives. And they will likely appreciate that I did not catch every single thing they did.

I view these as life lessons. Their teachers and eventually their boss are not going to necessarily be aware of every little thing they do, but no one wants to be caught with their pants down, so this is a lesson in always doing your best. I can’t imagine how quick a person would give up if they were used to having everything praised, but then suddenly, when out in the real world, they don’t get that. Interaction is not constant, so why would we set up our children to believe that it is?

It truly is possible to be tech distracted and be a good parent. For every parent this might look different. Maybe it means making a firm rule of no electronics at the dinner table or maybe it will mean setting aside other times. But I think it’s important for parents to know that just the mere fact that you either have that tech distraction whether for your own personal enjoyment, or because it’s required by your job, you are not totally messing up your kid. Because at no point in human history has a parent ever been able to sit for hours on end and watch every single thing our children do.

None the less, it’s good to be aware of your children and their needs.

4 Things About My 4 Year Old

birthdaygirlToday, the baby of the family turns 4 years old. Time flies when you have kids. I swear you blink and they are all grown up. In all honesty though this preschool time frame is one of my absolute favorite ages. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my kids right now at whatever age they are, but just in general preschool is such a fun age.

I was supposed to go to my daughter’s class today to spend it with a bunch of 3 and 4 year old’s, but winter birthdays in New England mean chances are you’ll have a snow day. And I distinctly remember her birthday being a snow day for the kids 4 years ago too. Well, more of an ice day. That was fun, getting to the hospital in labor after an ice storm the night before my scheduled induction. This kid, let me tell you, has a mind of her own. And it hasn’t stopped either. She is full of sass. The perfect way to round out our family unit. She fits right in.

Every year for the kids birthdays on this blog I have been listing interesting facts about them. The number of things in the list depends on how old they are. So since my youngest is turning 4 today here are 4 things about her.

4 Things About My 4 Year Old

  1. She is super cuddly, still. She loves hugging and touching and cuddling with just about anyone. A huge change from her brother who is very guarded about these sorts of things. The other night she was loving on her daddy and completely out of no where just said, “I’ll never forget you daddy!” She has a way of making you feel so special.
  2. She loves things with animal prints on it. She is completely drawn to anything with an animal print. Doesn’t matter if it matches something, it has to be animal print.
  3. Her favorite animal is a monkey, although lately she switches between monkey and penguin. When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up though she usually responds by saying, “A mon-hey!” Of course her siblings love to point out that’s not possible, but I like to think maybe she’ll be a zoologist.
  4. She really admires her big brother and sisters. She’s always trying to do things just like them. She is this rough and tumble girly girl with a flare of art because of it. These little parts of her siblings personalities and interests are a part of her and what you end up with is a very unique and interesting personality.

And that’s my baby. My last little girl. The ball of energy in a nutshell. Four years with us and yet I almost can’t imagine a day without her. And actually she can’t either, since in all pictures that do not include her she either assumes someone else in the picture is her or can’t fathom why she wouldn’t have been in that picture to begin with.

Happy Birthday to my sweet and funny 4 year old! I hope it’s a great day!

7 Facts About My 7 Year Old

1908088_10152277059787653_9133243616336575304_nToday my son turns 7. I don’t know where in the world the time has gone. It really feels like just yesterday I was in the hospital meeting him for the very first time. But we have had 7 whole years together and they have been wonderful. He is everything and then some I could have ever imagined in a son.

So the last few years I have been sharing with everyone some fun facts about my children on their birthday here on this blog. It’s fun to see how they change and grow throughout the year, or even just see the same. If you want to see the other posts about him, you can find them here and here.

But now, he’s 7 so I have to come up with 7 things about him.

7 Facts About My 7 Year Old

  1. He is a very protective big brother. Watching him with his little sister, I think they have a very special bond. She will do anything to be just like him and he would do anything to protect her. They might bicker fiercely, but when they get along they are so sweet together. Holding hands and hugging. It’s just a very special bond.
  2. He has quite the imagination. I really never know what kind of stories he’s going to come up with. I can be sure it will most likely make me laugh though.
  3. He LOVES pizza. Like if we would let him he would eat pizza every single day of his life. As a matter of fact, when we were on vacation this year he did manage to have pizza every single day.
  4. He’s a Mets fan. This year we got to go to a major league baseball game and he loved every single second of it even though it was a cold and rainy night.
  5. He’s a thrill seeker. He used to be a bit of a cautious one, but lately he has been one who thrives on takings risks and loves it.
  6. He’s very stubborn. This can be a goo thing because it also makes him very determined, but given that I’m very stubborn too it makes things interesting.
  7. He has a very contagious laugh. When he gives a great big belly laugh those around him can’t help but laugh too.

That’s my son. Getting to know him these last 7 years had truly been a blessing and I look forward to watching him continue to grow and be successful. Successful in his own special way.

Adventures In Potty Training

potty trainingI’m coming out of my blogging hiatus to talk about potty training. What better time than in the midst of potty training my 4th and final child? She’ll love me for this some day I’m sure. Okay, honestly I’m not going into too much detail other than to say I think it’s safe to say that my baby is day time potty trained. And of all of my kids she was by far the easiest to potty train. You know those stories you hear of I put my child in underwear and that was it, we never looked back? Okay well it wasn’t quite that easy, day one was definitely filled with a lot of accidents, but by day two she was consistently using the potty. A week in there was just the occasional accident and now those seem to be a thing of the past.

So yes, I’m happy to say at this point in time, diapers are just a night time thing in this house, which I’ll take. And I assure you all that I have been through the gamut with my kids when it comes to potty training, so for those of you who are struggling all I can say is stay the course. It will happen eventually. It might be little comfort right now, but every child is different and will have different incentives that will work. So don’t give up, it will happen.

But today as I was running to the store to quickly pick up a few things and I had all 4 kids with me I got sucked into the bathroom tour. Those of you who have lived through potty training a child surely know what I’m talking about. You will make multiple trips to every public restroom in every store during every shopping trip. We walk into a store now and I say, “Okay, time for the bathroom tour.” I will take this bathroom tour over diapers any day though and I certainly would rather have her tell me she has to go than have an accident.

Making the mad dash through a store looking for the public restroom is a bit exhilarating. The amount of pride my daughter expresses when she successfully uses the potty is great. So I guess I’ll take the bathroom tour that comes along with the potty training.

Someday I’ll probably miss these moments, but sometimes I wish I could just go into a store with all of the kids to quickly pick up some garbage bags and not have to make a pit stop. And I know that’s on the horizon. Really no need to rush it. But I was thinking the bathroom tour might be an over looked nuisance of the whole potty training process.

There are some things we have found she does not like about public restrooms. She’s not crazy about the automatic flushing toilet. A bathroom that does not have paper towels for drying hands is a bit of a nightmare. Those hand dryers are loud, some are hot, and some blow the air too hard, but all of them are above my child’s head therefore she ends up blow drying her entire body. She hates them so we have become well versed in the hand shake to dry our hands. She definitely has her favorite bathrooms in town, our local Walmart being one because it has a sink that’s just her height.

But this is the wrap up of my potty training days I think. Perhaps I’ll be involved in potty training my grand kids some day, but I think for this most part this is the last time I will have to potty train. So I wanted to take some time to share some of my musings on the subject and ask you all, what have been your adventures in potty training? If you haven’t gone through it yet, what are you most worried about with potty training?

Letter To My Mom On Mother’s Day

Note: adjusted letter slightly from its original to remove my daughter’s name.

Mother’s Day 2014

Mothers DayDear Mom,

As I was thinking about what to get you for Mother’s Day I was mulling over all of our time together. Those mornings when you were watching your soap operas and I would come out to ask, “What’s it like outside?” You would tell me and I’d linger watching those soap opera recordings with you for a few minutes before you would tell me it’s time to go get dressed.

Shopping for my prom dress together and shoes. Exercising together in the mornings while I was in high school. Calling you up to tell you that I passed my driver’s test and was now a certified licensed driver. My graduation. The day I waved goodbye to you all teary eyed for my first day of college. All of these things are such a part of who we are together, but I was trying to think about what my best day with you was.

It has got to be the day I became a mother and you became a grandmother. That day 15 years ago was one of the happiest days of my life. As cliché as it is of course because my child was born, but it’s really so much more than that. In that moment we shared something very special. I finally was able to understand just how much you have always loved me from the moment we met. And every day since then has just been a stronger affirmation that what you did for me all of my life has been nothing short of miraculous.

Sitting up with me night after night during colic. Late night feedings, teething, illnesses, potty training, homework, my crazy foolish not listening to you about sunscreen and getting 2nd degree sunburn (not once, but err, twice), friendship drama, dating, skinned knees, picky eating, stubborn know it all teenager stuff. You were there through it all guiding me and supporting me. I only hope I have been half as good as you in all of this for my own children. You made it all look so easy.

I know I don’t know all the times you sat up crying and praying for me and still do. I know that fierce protectiveness and love hasn’t just gone away because I’m an adult and have my own children. I imagine it’s probably even harder now because now you’re worried about me and your grandchildren.

But if I can look at one day in my past with you that makes me the happiest it definitely has to be the day my first born was born. It was the birth of both of us as mother and grandmother. A shift in our relationship which in that moment I think was for the better for us. Which has taken us full circle as mother and daughter.

You are with me every day. I think about what you taught me and what you did for me; and I’m hopefully teaching my children the same life lessons you taught me. And I worry every single day that I’m messing this all up for my children. Did you feel that way too? I’m sure you did, but you know what Mom? Whatever you did, you sure have made it pretty darn hard to live up to. And for that I am eternally grateful because I know I truly do have the world’s greatest mom in you!

I love you always and forever!

Happy Mother’s Day.

Love always,

Monica

Mother’s Day Expectations

Easter 2014As we approach Mother’s Day all of the mothers with children in the home are hoping for certain things.  Things like a day of rest and relaxation along with a few homemade gifts and cards.  My middle daughter keeps asking me what I want for Mother’s Day and I keep telling her for you all to behave and not fight with each other.  Not exactly the answer she has been looking for though.  As she says, she can’t control what the other kids do.

Over the years I have come to not expect too much.  Really it’s not about expectations and more about realizing how lucky I am anyways.  Even if I still have to work, cook, clean, change diapers, and yes, even if all the kids do is bicker with each other all day long I am really lucky to have them.

And isn’t that really what Mother’s Day is all about?  Not the pampering and the day off or even one day of peace and quiet.  It’s about being grateful.  And why does that mean I should be anything but grateful as well for whatever the kids throw at me that day?

I’m looking forward to my school made gifts and other handmade with love treats.  I am looking forward to spending an evening out with my husband and children.  I do hope they behave, but I hope for that every day.  But if they don’t you know what?  We’re all only human and I can’t stay mad at them.  I don’t have many more Mother’s Days with all of my children here at home and I don’t want to waste it being bitter.  I want it to be worthwhile and memorable.

So instead of a list of materialistic or unattainable wants this year I plan on spending the day being grateful that I get to mother four of the most amazing, smart, beautiful, funny, and unique children I know.  And I’m grateful to my own mother for being there for me and helping to teach me that motherhood is about being selfless and going without so your kids can have more.  That’s all I need for Mother’s Day and I’m pretty sure I’ll be having the best Mother’s Day in my 15 years of being a mother.

What expectations of Mother’s Day are you throwing out the window this year?

Just Getting By

Easter 2014There seems to be this thought process that people have adopted in life, that it’s okay to just get by.  Like there’s a lot worse in the world we can be doing so I’m good with how I’m doing it.  And this seems to be increasingly more present in parenting.  We seem to be content with not giving parenting our all and just figuring well there are way worse parents out there than me so I’m doing all right and if those kids can mostly make it through okay, then mine will be fine too.

And you know I do believe kids are resilient.  They can have set backs and come out the other end just fine.  We can screw up as a parent and still our kids will make it out the other end okay.  And of course no one is a perfect parent, but what happens when we set the bar too low for ourselves?  What happens when we don’t try our absolute best to provide for our children?  I don’t really want to know what the product of not setting the bar high is.  I don’t want my kids just coming out of childhood okay in spite of things I have done.

I Am Hard On Myself

To this day 6 1/2 years after the birth of my son I still kick myself for decisions I made in my son’s early days which I am now possibly seeing the effects of more clearly.  Was I a bad mom?  No, I don’t beat my kids and I provide them love and shelter.  I educate them, but I know I could have handled my son’s health struggles differently than I did possibly saving him from 6 months in a Doc Band and over a year receiving physical therapy to help develop his gross motor skills.

Did his failure to thrive and sticking it out with a doctor who couldn’t diagnose his acid reflux hurt him?  Well, it certainly didn’t help him.  I’m proud of myself for standing up and finally firing our pediatrician, but it took me 3 months to do that.  I can do better, I should have done better.  The first three months of my son’s life I was in denial that he wasn’t growing and thriving and then the next 3 months I spent fighting with a doctor to just listen to my concerns before finding one who did listen and did fix everything.

I vowed that I would never take a back seat to anything like that again.  Especially when it came to him.  Because he deserved and still does better from me.  I can’t go back and undo that time, but I certainly don’t look back on that time fondly and don’t tell myself well I could have done worse.  The fact is that yes, I could have done worse for him and he did make it out just fine, but none the less there was still a price to pay.  And one that I’ll never know for sure is the cause for his future struggles or if that was just the way it was always going to turn out.  But I know he did not get me at my best and I will be making up for that for the rest of my life.

I Don’t Want Any Of My Kids Just Getting By

I expect my kids to work their hardest and try their best in everything they do.  Do they have to be the best?  No, of course not, but I don’t expect them to come home and say to me well I didn’t do the best, but I wasn’t the worst either, I just got by.  Did you do YOUR best?  That is the question.  Could you have done anything more to make the outcome better?  If no, then good job, if not, then how do we fix this the next time?

What better way to teach this than by example?  Showing our kids what it means to work to your potential.  Not this idea of just getting by.  We should be beating ourselves up as parents.  This is the toughest job any of us will ever have and the stakes are so high.  Twenty years from now I don’t want to be looking at my kids and saying well at least they didn’t become axe murderers.  It could have been worse.  I set the bar high for myself and if I fall short as a parent for them, then I will not shrug my shoulders and say well, the outcome could have been worse.  I reevaluate and figure out how to do better by them.

Lets Not Be Confused About Expectations Though

My expectations for myself as a parent have nothing to do with what I expect my children to be or do in life.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I expect them to be productive members of society.  What I mean is I’m not setting goals for them.  That’s their job to do.  It’s my job to guide them in achieving those goals.  Giving them the best possible foundation I can.  One which shows them that if you get knocked down by something you get up again and try harder.  You don’t say oh well it is what it is and it could have been worse.  That’s the way you look at accidents and acts of God that you had no control over.  You have control of how you live your life and how you parent.

You won’t always make the right choices, but it’s important that we recognize when we do something wrong and never forget it so we can do better the next time.  Because we shouldn’t be satisfied if our children simply survive their childhood.  We should want them to thrive because of the things we did for them.  Because we never gave up and put their needs before our own.  This is not about outdoing other parents, it’s about giving our children the absolute best of us every single minute.  Think about it, aren’t our children worth having us at our best?  My kids are so you better believe I kick myself when I don’t achieve that.  Isn’t it better that our children thrive because of us rather than in spite of us?

15 Things

10256247_10151985787017653_1254481822125875544_nLast birthday post or a while, I promise.  My oldest daughter is 15 today.  That of course makes this a pretty special day for me as well since I have been a mother for 15 years today.  Hard to believe.  I have messed up a lot, but my daughter (or any of my kids for that matter) don’t seem any worse off for that.  As a matter of fact my daughter is pretty amazing.  Here are 15 things that make her so awesome…

  1. She takes really good care of all of her younger siblings. Even the one closest in age to her, most of the time. She helps her with homework.
  2. She is really smart.  Probably smarter than she gives herself credit for.
  3. She has her father’s sense of humor and smart mouth which is really endearing, but also really aggravating sometimes.
  4. Family is very important to her.
  5. She is very sensitive to other people’s feelings.
  6. At such a young age she has already set so many amazing goals for her future.
  7. She is a rule follower.
  8. A bit of a people pleaser.
  9. She is a homebody.
  10. She loves with her whole heart, but watch out if you betray her.
  11. She doesn’t forget anything.
  12. She loves Moe’s Queso.
  13. She is often very childish and playful which is great because she’s not in any big hurry to grow up.
  14. She does not like change, but once she accepts it she excels.
  15. She is turning into quite an amazing young lady that I am so lucky to have the pleasure of raising and watching learn and grow.

And that is just a small fraction of what a great kid my newly turned 15 year old is.  I love that we get to experience so many firsts together as parent and child.  Walking this path with her thus far has been great and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for her.  The skies the limit.

Happy 15th birthday to my first born.  I hope it has been an amazing day.  It’s not so bad to be halfway to thirty, is it?