Thursday, August 20, 2015

The D word

"Stop licking your sister!" "If you don't stop Facetiming right now, I'm taking away your iPad for a week!" "Pause the game! and say sorry to your brother!""Put a bubble in your mouth and do not talk back to me!" "If you don't do what I say right now, I am going to show you what a spanking is!"  "GO TO SLEEP right now! If I hear another noise, I am putting you on the porch!" <- I was really desperate then. Also, chill out.. I would never. Okay, I did. Once, just to scare her into listening. Oh the guilt. It didn't even work.

The D word. Not THAT D word. I'm talking Discipline. oh, discipline. Somebody needs to just help a mama out. My favorite thing to do is listen to the naive people who aren't yet parents, tell me how they are going to discipline. Oh, yeah? You're not going to bribe? You're going to give them options and then let them make a wise choice? Natural consequences, huh? Oh, so if they don't get ready quickly then they'll just suffer from being late.. all the time. Great. Sounds good. You're going to have rules, and consequence charts with little stickers and a time out stool that they stay put on? Gotcha.

...then I sit back and watch. Because y'all have no idea. Most people find a book or a method or a guru of parenting and use that as their holy grail to disciplining their child. Yes, I know THE BIBLE all my righteous people say... Yup, I have a rod I'd like to guide my kid with sometimes... upside the head. (That's probably something I shouldn't say. Like people won't get my sense of humor and will be all.. "she beats her kids". But I have no filter.. So disclaimer: I'm kidding). You can have whatever theory on discipline you'd like to think you'll follow but when your kids are going bat-crap-crazy in the grocery store aisle and one is kicking, and the other is bigger so she's climbing out of the cart and using some sassy talk while rolling her eyes that makes the hair on your neck stand up, all while the baby is crying and the people are staring.. you grab whatever is on the shelf next to you that contains sugar and you open it and threaten their lives unless they sit still and eat it. The discipline tool I think everyone follows is a little something called: Experience. Because you don't know, 'til ya know. You know what I'm saying'? I SWORE I would never do my mom's stank face. I call it, "the Carole look" (sry ma!) and if you have a southern mama, you know the look. It's got one eye squinted, one eye bulged, and the lips are pursed and when you see it... you better stop what you're doing and get your butt within earshot so she can whisper the smack down that she is about to place on you. Well, I pull that sucker out like a secret weapon in all places public. And then I smile like Susie Homemaker at all passerbyers because I'm a crazy person who has it all together. :)

As an adult, we think we are beyond discipline. I mean, the only privilege to having to "adult" all the time is getting to make up your own rules right? This morning God whispered to me... "You need discipline". Suddenly, as that word sat with me for a minute, it seemed evident in every aspect of my life at this very moment how discipline is the theme.

Whoever made up the saying "slept like a baby" didn't have one. We're learning that coffee and low expectations make the world go 'round these days. If I don't discipline myself to sleep at appropriate times and not fall into the trap of my baby's time sleeping being my only "free time" then I am dog tired the next day.

I have a second grader and a little one in VPK. With school starting this week, it has been my first few days of getting everyone up, fed, and DRESSED (pj days fo' life) AND out the door by 7:30 AM.  I have been so frustrated with my children's lack of "quickness" on these mornings that I am rushing them and annoyed by the time we leave. I toss my kiddos into their day with a frantic and hurried anxiety filled morning to start them off. The easy way out would be to blame them. To point out their need for discipline. BUT I need to be disciplined. I need to prepare the night before and wake up earlier. I need to give them the time they need to set the tone for a peaceful and joy-filled day. Getting up 15 minutes before them would allow me a cup of coffee and a moment alone and with God. How hard is it as parents to realize WE need to be corrected.

The Dr. cleared me last week for working out. DANG IT! There does my "I have to wait for the doctor" excuse. Not that I'm trying to rush off this weight or anything (nursing usually sucks it off... quite literally for me) BUT I battled anxiety this pregnancy and I just FEEL better in general when I get to sweat a bit each day. Three kids later, I know I need to manage my time for myself and squeeze in that time. It is my fault if I don't have time, not theirs. I am a better mama when I take better care of myself. End of story. Self, work out.. or sit in the corner and don't whine about it. 

I believe the first child is the "trick ya" child. In my case she was an angel. She slept through the night at a few weeks old, she could form sentences at a year old and she potty trained herself. She naturally "tricked us" into having the second. Ya know, because we thought all kids were that easy. The second baby was my mama's boy. He is wild and a character builder for sure. He basically has me wrapped around his finger and could do no wrong though. Our third baby has proven to be the hardest. She is making sure she is THE LAST. She started this off by killing me softly from the inside during my entire pregnancy and has continued to be a bit tricky ever since. She had a horrible rash which has led me to an elimination diet since I am breastfeeding. I went dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, citrus-free and no spicy foods. It also might be chemical so we changed our lotions, soap, shampoos, face wash, makeup, no perfume, fabric softeners, and different detergents. Basically I am a stinky and starving mess. Talk about discipline. Dessert and cheese are two of my main food groups. Wahhhh... Let's have a moment of silence for Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake from The Cheesecake Factory ...... Thanks. I can't tell you the amount of discipline this has enforced upon me. It is absolutely humbling and horrid.

God has placed a TON of things on my heart lately. I always planned to have my kids and then when they went to school to pursue my things. Well, when we had two children, that was the plan. My oldest is in 2nd grade and my youngest (then. middle now) is in VPK. That would've given me three days a week to be kidless and to pursue something outside of our home. Now we have our sweet Adella with me and that plan got pushed back about 5 years. ha! God is swirling in my heart some thoughts and feelings. Some "you don't have to wait" feelings. Some "do it now!" feelings. All of the sudden I want to grow my husbands business, write a blog, write a book, go back to school, and get moving WHILE I mama. Who would've thought? With that being said, as mother's we give our all to our kids. We sacrifice everything down to our ability to scroll our phone while we poop like our husbands get to do (hello?! who takes 40 minutes to go to the bathroom!?), because there are actual humans in the room talking to us the entire time. Don't deny that friends. Honesty is the best policy. So in order to thrive as a mom and as a person, one does not have to wait, but I need... DISCIPLINE. I need time management. I need to focus. I DO NOT need everything at Target. I DO need to invest in our future. I need to STOP reading blog post after blog post of other beautiful women on fire for God and I need to BE the woman writing blog post after blog post on fire for God. I DO NOT need to talk more about what Jesus wants me to do. I DO NEED to get up and do it!

Just the same as I need my children to be disciplined, in order for God's work in my life to flourish, I need to be disciplined in Him: 

For people who hate discipline
and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them.
Proverbs 29:1

Wise discipline imparts wisdom;
    spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.
When degenerates take charge, crime runs wild
  but the righteous will eventually observe their collapse.
Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did
they’ll turn out delightful to live with.
If people can’t see what God is doing
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals
they are most blessed.
Proverbs 29:15-18

I want to be wise. I do not want to be an embarrassment to God and waste my days in my own head. I want to dutifully raise God fearing children and exhaust the gifts He has boiled up in me. I want to be reactive to God's discipline and not be the little girl "sitting out on the porch" because God said "ONE MORE TIME AND..." I want to be obedient because I know JUST how frustrating it is to be the parent with a wayward child. If that's you, pray with me...

Lord, correct me. Open my eyes to the areas of discipline for me where I am just a toddler kicking my feet on the floor and you are saying "you better do this or else..." Show me where in my life you are ever so patiently counting to three and giving me every chance (2 1/2....) to get up and do what you say. God almighty let me look in the mirror and gently give myself grace but sternly have a reality check. Let me fix me. Let it not be everyone else in every situation that needs to be fixed. Let "adulting" mean more than being serious and boring but to also be brave and compassionate. Guide my steps to your plan. May my mouth not only speak but my actions do. Help me use my gifts for your glory. Help me be focused. Help me to have a mission. Help me to eliminate the noise. Discipline me, oh Lord. Like the caring Father that you are, that wants the best for His child. Me. Your precious child. Lord, make me susceptible to all you want to do in me... and Lord if you could maybe ease up on the rebellion from my own children. That'd be AWESOME. I know they are probably a "taste of my own medicine" but when I asked you to give me patience.. I didn't really want the situations to flex that muscle. I know you understand. ;). Thank you Lord for your righteous guidance. Thank you Lord for your sacrifice. Please God, help me to be obedient. I pray this all in your precious name. Amen 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It takes a village...

yeah yeah yeah, I should do a "catch up" post since we've been busy and all adding a human to our family and I have given you the silent treatment for a while, but I'll get there. For now, I have to write whats fresh in my head because these days, I can remember NOTHING. So...

1, 2, skip a few, we had a baby.

She's presh. I love her to pieces, I will gush on her another day. But I had to tell you that to tell you this story. Otherwise, you'd be all "what baby" and my life lesson would be lost in the shuffle. But I digress, here she is and today.. she had an adventure.

Say hello to Titus...

He is our wild one, the character builder, the mamas boy. There is not a mess he can not make, an item he can not break, nor a ledge too high for him to jump from. He is covered in scrapes and bruises and normally food. :) 

Today we dropped my oldest off at school and headed home, just us three. I set Titus up on the couch with some cartoons, an orange juice, and his toy puppy while Adella was chillin' out newborn style across the living room in her Mamaroo. (Not strapped in, because she's my third child and I live dangerously). As I noticed the window of opportunity (read: two seconds to pee in peace!) I jolted to the half bath about 20 feet away. I swear I took about 2 minutes total, when I thought I heard the baby fuss so I quickly opened the door and rushed into the living room. A very calm 4 year old was sitting on the couch playing with his adorable 6 week old little sisters feet who was RIGHT NEXT TO HIM ON THE COUCH! 

I took a brief mental second to think if I'm losing my mind and where I left the baby.. but after a sidebar with myself, I quickly realized my four year old had picked up my tiny newborn and carried her across the room, around the coffee table, and placed her onto the couch. My weapon of mass destruction boy who needs a sippy cup because he can not even carry a cup of juice from the counter to the table without spilling it... CARRIED MY INFANT ACROSS THE ROOM. 

Spoiler alert: she's fine. I had a meltdown and was a bad yelling and crying mommy. I checked her limbs and her neck and her eyes. Whew. She survived. After he finished crying from my very precise and studied parenting theory called "put the fear of death in them"... we talked about the rules and what could happen and what he is allowed to do and what he may not do. Then I let him hold her sitting on the coach to earn back mommy points. 

At first I thought, no one will hear a word about this! Number one, DCF would come knocking on my door. If the goose egg of a bruise on my son's face a few weeks ago and the "dead" tooth that he hit so hard it killed the root and turned his tooth gray permanently, didn't have them hopping over to my house for tea, then my 4 year old babysitting the newborn would definitely get their attention. Not to mention, the ladies who always tell me "you're super mommy" will burn my cape in protest at the news of this horrid incident. 

BUT THEN... I shared. I shared what happened because well, I'm an over-sharer. I share everything but my dessert and my glass of milk (gross!). I reluctantly posted my experience online so that other mamas might think twice before trusting their curious older children in the room. I went out on the limb as a mommy martyr. Thinking I would be burnt on the stake for the sake of a warning to mamas. Bring on the judgement and the well meaning alas annoying "advice".

To my surprise, I was not humiliated in mommy court. I was not found guilty or burnt to death with mommy guilt and comparison. The mamas all replied with the two greatest words any mama could ever hear. 

There were stories of when it happened to them with their kids or their mamas! I even had some mama's "up me" in the crazy incident department! I know sometimes we can't always relate to other moms in what they're going through during this crazy thing called motherhood, but the point is we can be there for each other. The saying "it takes a village" doesn't always mean physically. Sometimes it's what other moms DON'T do that is actually more helpful. Like, when they don't judge or dissect a situation but they let you in on a little secret. WE ARE ALL IN THE TRENCHES TOGETHER. We all will not do this perfectly. We will screw up and it is okay. We can support each other by being real and honest and transparent. 

I have no clue how moms in the past without such easy ways of communication survived. Because behind the pretty closed curtains are moms sitting in living rooms thinking, I am the only one, and no one is going to find out about this. My kids will need so much therapy. But the truth? Well, they will need therapy, save for that now. BUT you are not the only one. There is a mama who has been through it, is going through it now, or better put on her big girl panties because it's coming for her. 

It is my hearts desire that all mamas feel the peace I felt when those moms joined with me today in my parenting, without even knowing it, and said "It's okay mama. I've been there." Thank you ladies. Thank you for healing my mama heart of guilt and fear. Thank you for being the feet of God today. For rallying together in our tribe of raising these little humans. You rock. 

Let's do this more. Let's help each other more. Let's give each other grace and support. Let's judge less. Let's be vulnerable and open and transparent because you never know who needs to feel like they aren't the only one. 

Here's Titus giving her some toys and even his precious Hulk as a peace offering.

Alls well that ends well. Adella forgave him and even threw on a little t-shirt love in support of her love for her main man...

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