Too Many Irons In The Fire

I don’t know who, if anyone has noticed, but I have been very quiet on the blog lately.

As it sometimes does, Life has a way of derailing things; goals, plans, and opportunities. Here, it’s really just been taking my attention away from writing and putting it elsewhere. But, when you take a break from certain things, that’s when your creative juices have time to start flowing, and ideas form.

Ideas, I’ve plenty. Time, however, is another issue.

Our little boy keeps us very busy. Play dates, family visits, and adventurous outings, keep us going a lot. So when we do have a quiet day at home, it’s cherished. My husband has new career opportunities he’s pursuing, and with them come the anxiety of moving to a new city. So between keeping the 13th month old busy, spending what time I can with my husband, and running a household in “on stand by to stand by” mode, at the end of the day; I’m exhausted. All I want to do is veg out, watch trash tv on my tablet, and procrastinate about finishing those four other articles I’m supposed to be writing.

It’s important to not allow yourself to be “spread too thin.” Even more so as a parent, and a partner. I hate not being able to commit to things as much as everyone wants, but sometimes, that’s just the way she goes.

First, I’m a parent. That’s a given. Secondly, I’m a wife. And my marriage requires a certain amount of upkeep that demands attention. My friends, hobbies, passions, and Bachelor reruns come last, if at all. If I’m really lucky, I’ll do my nails while I’m watching Bachelor. I’m usually not that lucky,

So it’s pretty safe to say, I sometimes forget to call that friend back for a nice phone conversation. I may cancel plans for lunch, and I may totally space out booking another get together. But I know what happens when I try to take everything on.

I become too absorbed in trying to accomplish it all, and then frustrated when things don’t work out exactly according to plan. In the end, nothing gets done and I feel even worse, as if the day was wasted.

It’s much easier for everyone, but mostly me, if I delegate responsibilities as I can, and even decline offers when I know I probably should. Even if this means not touching my computer for nearly a month to finish a blog post. It’ll always be there. But some things, like my family, are more important.

In the time it’s taken me to write this, Bruce has gotten up three times and decided he was NOT going to be sleeping in his crib, and has succumbed to sleep on the couch next to me. I’m afraid to move him, and since sleep is so important, I will be snuggling him here. I’ll at least get a trash tv buddy.

It’s too easy to let life overwhelm you when you have so much on your plate. You have to just, as hard as it is, relax a little and think about what’s more important: When you find yourself just carrying the baby all the way upstairs to only get half-way down before they realize you’ve abandoned them to their own bed, and you don’t want to continue this routine five more times that night; then don’t. I believe it’s ultimately more important that you and your kid both have rest, and sanity. If you can let them camp out with you in your bed (or couch), and you both get rest, then do that. It’s not worth stressing over.

Because let’s say I continued the song and dance-we will go back and forth all night, until he catches a second wind and then can’t go back to sleep. We will both get up tomorrow cranky. I have a cocktail party on Saturday I have to prepare for, which means cleaning/organizing the house, and a shopping trip to the grocery store planned around naps my son will now, not be taking because he’s cranky. I’ll forget to call my guest list because I’ll be rushed. I’ll snap at my husband for putting grease and oil stained clothes from his car project, on the newly mopped laundry room floor. He won’t help Saturday when I really need Bruce entertained as I cut up cheese, because I yelled at him. Bruce, who was cranky the day before and will most likely have fought good sleep again throughout that night, will become the top contender for the ‘Clingy Baby Award’ and during my hundredth attempt to placate him with a toy;I’ll remember that I never called my guest list, and wonder why I ever bother to agree to hosting cocktail parties.

It seems like I can avoid a lot of that stress by just not worrying about the upcoming tasks at hand, or even how early I must be up in the morning. And just snuggle this spoiled  little Goober on the couch, watch tv until I know he’s passed out enough to put in his crib, and try to slowly take each minute of the day as easily as possible. If I get something done, great. If not, then the oil and dirt streaks on the floor will make a great conversation piece during my cocktail party, that my husband will actually attend because he won’t be pouty. That’s if anyone shows up, because I’m not going to worry about calling them. That’s what facebook invites are for.

It’s not good for anyone to have too many irons in the fire. So I’m only going to pick out the hottest to deal with.

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Making A Marriage


The following is a guest post by Brittany Dyer on the topic of Marriage. Marriage, including making one work, means something different to us all. I love her take on the subject, and I hope you do too! Don’t forget to check out her website, Follow The Dyers

My husband and I have been married for 9 years this month. We have 2 beautiful children, ages 2 and 3. Yes, crazy, I know! My background is counseling, but I am currently a stay-at-home mama and pastor’s wife, originally from Tennessee, currently residing in Bangkok Thailand. We love this crazy journey and crazy marriage God has given us.

My husband and I have decided to make marriage a priority. First is God, then comes our marriage. We even place our marriage above our children. With children, this concept is a challenge, however, especially with littles because they are always wanting attention, but we know if we have a solid marriage, then our children will feel more loved and have a good example of what marriage and stability looks like. If my “wife cup” is full, then I will be better able to love my children. Therefore, marriage is our #2 priority in our lives right behind our relationship with God.

How do we keep our marriage solid? Well, we access our needs. We determine what we need from the other partner to feel loved. Despite what some people seem to believe, people evolve, and, therefore, so does marriage. I believe it is a good idea to access your marital needs about once a year to make sure your needs are being met in appropriate ways. This list should not be exhaustive and long, but maybe list the top 3 things each of you needs in your marriage and work toward meeting those few needs well. For example, my Love Language is physical touch, so I need affection from my husband. That need would be discussed when we talk about our marital needs. Let’s be real ladies, our husbands need sex, so be prepared for that one to be on his list! Not only does sex help men feel loved like affection does for women, but they are biologically created for and need sex. Commit to each other to work on these top 3 needs in your marriage, no matter what it is the other person needs.

We try to compliment each other often. Providing compliments builds up the other person’s confidence and self-esteem. It also allows them to feel loved, so make sure you are investing in your marriage by complimenting your spouse!

We talk about our issues. This concept is not always easy, but we try to come to a compromise on issues we fight about, and sometimes getting it off one’s chest can just make you feel better. By talking about a problem, we can usually come to some sort of a conclusion to move on and not continue to be upset about it in the future. This idea is not always foolproof, but we try!

We do not use the past against each other. We do not bring up arguments in the past in order to hurt one another. We do not bring up things in each other’s past that will cut each other deeply. We give each other grace, and we move on after an argument is resolved, and our marriage remains much happier because of it!

We remember the good times. We remember that trip to Florida we went on when we were dating to watch the UT/Florida Game, where I traveled and slept in a hotel room with 3 other guys and never told my family about it. We remember leaving our wedding and driving 1 ½ hours and all the craziness that went along with that drive (think lubricant all over the entire car-thanks to my husband’s buddies!). We remember the good times often and try not to get so caught up in the negative moments of life.

My husband and I keep our marriage exciting by allowing it to be adventurous. We invest in our marriage by going on dates, vacation and doing spontaneous things, even with our children in tow. In addition to the spontaneous things we do, we also have traditions that make life more fun because of the things we look forward to doing. Excitement and adventure keep marriage fun!

We try to forget expectations others place on us. The world places some pretty harsh expectations on marriages. Fairy tales, television sitcoms and romantic comedies all place this ideal man or ideal woman in our head that are completely unrealistic. It is important to realize these are television shows and movies for a reason-they are NOT real life! We have to accept our husbands for who they are and leave the expectations in the movies! Otherwise, we place unrealistic standards and expectations on our husbands that will always leave them falling short to achieve, and we will always be disappointed.

For all of the reasons, I remain secure in my marriage. We can overcome any difficulty in our marriage with the information given above. Enjoy and happy marriages!

Brittany is a pastor’s wife, living in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a former counselor, and now a SAHM to two wonderful children. You can read her blog, about Christianity and Parenting, at her site, Follow The Dyers.

Brittany talks about making her marriage a priority, how to keep things interesting, and overcoming unrealistic expectations

What Makes A Real Parent?

What Makes A Parent..A Parent?

Being a parent depends on very few things.

Of course, it requires Love. Care. Devotion. Nurturing. And that’s pretty much it. Certain things like DNA, actually don’t matter as much as some would like to think. You don’t have to share DNA to be considered a parent of a child you raise and love.

I have one son. While I do Love him, give him the best of care, devoting and nurturing, I have actually contributed to his DNA. Most days it doesn’t appear so, because he is a carbon copy of his Dad, but I’m pretty sure some genes are in there somewhere.

The strangest comment ever…

I attended a jewelry party not too long back this year (for those that don’t know, they are much like the old school tupperware, or the new school “wrap” parties, but much more fun), and it wasn’t long before I had one of the more insensitive comments about ‘family size’ directed towards me, that I have yet to have trumped.

During a casual conversation that had nearly each woman commenting on how many kids they currently had, and whether or not they wanted more, I replied while sipping a glass of chardonnay that “I already have one, and he’s more than enough right now.”

That’s when an acquaintance looked me directly in the eye, and without any hint of humor (or even a light tone) explained that, “You are not a parent until you have two.”

You are not a parent until you have two.

And she was dead serious and went on to explain. “That’s what someone told me, and they were right.”

“Well, I guess I’m not a parent then,” I laughed into my glass, still trying to comprehend exactly what I just heard. This woman went on to explain that until you have to play mediator between two fighting toddlers, or break up a fight amongst four children over a Barbie Doll, that “…you have no idea what it means to be a parent.”

Defining “parent”…

So being in labor for over 30 hours, to give birth to the sweetest little boy, who made my heart want to explode, didn’t make me a parent. Having panic attacks while watching him sleep at two days old, finding myself in literal fear for questioning my own ability to be able to give him everything I thought he needed, didn’t mean I was a parent. Cluster-feeding a 3 month old with a fever, putting aside my own hunger and sleep-deprivation, in order to do whatever it took to ease his pain, meant nothing. The fact I would give my life for my child was pointless…because I hadn’t done this twice.

It was everything I could do to bite my tongue. Any retort would have fallen on deaf ears. And as the mother of a only child, I know I can’t possibly be the only one who has heard these types of comments. One of my favorites (that this person did later use to me) was, “You don’t want them to be spoiled.”

Well, I can blame his grandparents for that. He was spoiled before he was ever born. So since the damage was already done, I don’t think purposefully making another little human being they can spoil again is going to solve anything.

So the question is then; what am I?

Since raising a child as their mother, loving them unconditionally, giving them everything you have and more, doesn’t qualify you to be a parent-then what does? Is there a magic number of children required to ensure the title of “parent” bestowed upon someone?

Well, I guess there is; two.

Well, right now I have an almost 13 month old. I’m not ready to have another one. And I have no shame about it.

But I would like to think that qualities like compassion, understanding, even just being charitable and uncritical of people, should be a higher requirement of what it takes to be a parent.

But, what do I know? While I might be the only thing that calms my fussy baby at the end of the day, I’m not a “parent.” Not by these standards. But I do know that I love my little boy, and will do whatever it takes to keep him happy, healthy, and safe.

And that should be all that it takes.

How I delt with the offhand comment that "In order to be a REAL PARENT, you must have more than one child..."

Kissing Kids? Return of the Sanctimommy

They’re back…

Everyone has their different styles of parenting, and showing affection. Unless it’s defined as actual abuse, no one is really better than another. That doesn’t stop the sanctimommies from poking their noses where it doesn’t belong, but then again, what really stops them from doing that? Continue reading “Kissing Kids? Return of the Sanctimommy”

Open Letter To That New Mom

Dear New Mother,
First, congratulations on your bundle of joy! Right now, they may not seem very joyful, but trust me, they are.

They may seem like screaming, inconsolable terrors from the depths of insanity. You might feel like nothing you do is right. You probably feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and as if you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew.

It’s ok. Almost every mother feels like this-a lot! This won’t be the last time you feel this way either.

You may even feel lonely and afraid as you adjust to the new weight of the unimaginable responsibility of caring for another tiny, helpless human being. This is ok too. 

Just know that you aren’t alone.

It does get easier…but then it becomes hard again. Just like Life itself. But what you are doing is a Great thing, And believe me, it is worth it. Even at 4am, running on 3 hours of sleep in the last two days, overwhelmed by teething and fevers and God knows what else that could possibly be wrong….it is worth it.

Your baby will look at you and smile. Snuggle up and coo so softly. Laugh at your presence. And all the anger, frustration, stress will (maybe even just temporarily) melt away. And you’ll see.

Don’t let the difficulties get the best of you. I know this is hard. I know this seems impossible sometimes. But we all have times like this.

Don’t let the stories of those “perfect mommies” make you feel like you’re failing somehow. Trust me, that seemingly “perfect” parent who’s child goes to sleep (and sleeps forever), eats all their veggies, hits milestones early, and is portrayed as the picture perfect baby-does something that makes that Fake Untouchable Parent cringe and want to pull their hair out. They just aren’t going to tell you about it. *wink*

But all the messes, meltdowns, and missed opportunities you gave up for your child, are all worth it in the end. They really are. And don’t for one second think that you are the first one to spend the day with dried puke (or pee..or even poop) on their clothes, too spent to think about changing, walking throughout the house with a squalling child just begging for a break. We’ve all done it. And anyone who isn’t sympathetic to that is not only untrue to themselves, but not worth wasting any energy on thinking about.

Find mothers who keep it real to form your tribe. It’ll help you keep your sanity, and you might even learn some things along the way.

Keep trekking. The Journey is long, but oh so worth it.

Sincerely,
Another Mom.

An open letter to all New Moms, from a New Mom