Wednesday, October 30, 2013

mommy wins

I was feeling overwhelmed this evening. It had been a busy day. The kids were both melting down, Joshua was especially fussy (he's teething) and clingy, the dishes were stacked up, toys were all over the kitchen floor (which I kept stepping on), I hadn't made dinner, the entire house was messy and cluttered and I felt exhausted. (As a side note, I always feel exhausted taking care of two energetic boys). I felt frustrated that I do the same things over and over again, just to do them again. I clean up; Oliver takes the cushions off of the couch so he can jump off of the couch onto them (he is only allowed to do this with our old couch in our not-as-nice living room), he brings a pile of blankets and pillows (big and small) into the living room or in other places throughout the house, which he calls his "nest." I cleaned out the junk drawer; the next day it was a disaster again. I decorated our credenza with Fall decorations; an hour later Oliver took off with the little pumpkins and was playing with them. I sweep and mop; Oliver accidentally drops food and cuts paper onto the floor. I do the dishes; they keep coming. I do laundry and forget to transfer it to the dryer so I wash it again...Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I've been walking around Disneyland all day with how sore my feet are from standing and then realize I have hardly sat down the entire day. Sometimes (like today), the boys don't nap at the same time and all I want to do is close my eyes for 15 minutes but just as I get both kids to sleep, the one who was asleep first wakes up. I rarely get through my to-do list. Sometimes I get frustrated that I can't focus much time or energy on cleaning (specifically our bedroom, which is the most neglected room in the house and far from the sanctuary I wish it was) because the demands of children are far too great. Sometimes I feel I am in the middle of the forest and it's difficult to see the beauty because I'm too wrapped up with what is right in front of me.

One thing I miss about working outside of my home is the positive affirmation I got from my supervisor and co-workers. Maybe it was due to the nature of the job (working for CPS is a really tough job) or because I'm in the social work field or because my supervisor was just amazing...but he gave us a lot of positive affirmation, support and encouragement. It's nice to hear you're doing okay to give you that push to keep going. It's nice to feel appreciated. Maybe I shouldn't need that but I guess I do.

So tonight I started thinking about my "mommy wins" today: those positive things I did for my kids that I sometimes don't recognize.
  • I took my kids to the park this morning. Oliver was able to run around and get some energy out and play with his friend. I held Joshua on my lap and we went down the slide several times together. 
  • I took the boys to the Fun Van program at the library (an educational/social program for kids, which also includes a parent education/support group for the parents). We went on a nature walk with the kids, sang together, and played together. 
  • I checked out books for Oliver and read to him before his nap. 
  • I sat with Oliver on his blanket on the kitchen floor and we ate yogurt popsicles together. 
  • I played with Joshua while Oliver slept, tickling him and making him laugh. I encouraged him to balance while standing on his own. I held him while he drank his bottle. 
  • I told Oliver and Joshua I love them throughout the day and flashed the "I love you" sign to Oliver. 
  • I raced with Oliver to encourage him to go potty and get into the car so we could leave on time. I play games with him to motivate him, which he likes (and which exhausts me). 
  • I gave Oliver positive feedback for going potty, drawing pictures, sharing with Joshua, etc. I had him put stickers on the calendar (once he gets a week's worth he gets a prize) so he could see how well he's doing. 
  • I didn't yell at Oliver. I felt frustrated at times but kept my cool (not always the case). 
  • I kissed both boys numerous times throughout the day. 
  • I fed Oliver a healthy dinner of chicken, broccoli, pasta and apples. And he ate all of it. (I try really hard to feed my kids healthy food.)
  • I prayed with Oliver before lunch and dinner. We thanked Heavenly Father for all He blesses us with and especially our eternal family and a daddy who works so hard to support us. 
  • I only allowed Oliver to watch two hours of tv. I encouraged him to play and use his imagination, color, and put stickers on his pumpkin. This is more difficult for me than sticking him in front of the tv but I'm determined not to do it.
  • I held Joshua in my arms tonight after I read to him and rocked him in his glider as I prayed out loud. I thanked Heavenly Father for sending him to our family. I prayed for our boys' safety and health. I told Joshua how much I love him as I put him in his crib, nestled in his sleep sack. 
  • I made sure Oliver brushed his teeth this morning and evening. 
  • I read from the scriptures this evening. I know that staying close to the Holy Ghost is imperative as I'm raising my children and this is how I can invite Him to reside with me. I feel inspired as I read from the scriptures. I can't say I do it every day as I should but I try to do it and appreciate when I do. Tonight I read in Doctrine & Covenants 121: 26, "God shall give you knowledge by His Hold Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost..." which is a reminder that I need that knowledge in this important job of raising children. (As I side note, last night I went visiting teaching and the lesson was on the divine mission of Jesus Christ as the creator. Part of the lesson talked about our divine mission as women. There was a quote by Joseph Smith: “You are now placed in a situation where you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith. “If you live up to these principles how great and glorious!—if you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates." I love that! I need angles as my associates. Being a mother is not easy. Parenting with intent, striving to raise responsible children who turn into responsible adults in a loving but firm manner, children who love God and have testimonies of the restored gospel, responding with love and patience when I want to pull my hair out, knowing what is best for my children and how to help them...yes, I will gladly take angels as my associates in this role. I also read this tonight in Doctrine & Covenants 123:17, "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren (and sisters), let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." Sometimes I need that reminder to be cheerful in all things...especially when I am constantly exhausted and the demands are many.)
  • As a side note, the woman we visit taught bore her testimony about what a priviledge it is to stay at home with your children. She has stayed home in the past but now has to work full time outside of her home. As she talked, her eyes filled up with tears and I couldn't help but think about what a difficult transition it was for me to leave my job and stay home but how grateful I am for that opportunity now. It really is a priviledge and I'm so thankful I can be with my boys every day. 
I guess I did okay today. If I sift through the mundane tasks, I can see that I supported my children and helped them feel safe (and kept them safe) and happy. I encouraged Oliver's creativity and imagination, allowed him to get exercise and get energy out, strengthened our relationship as mother and son with both boys, and prayed for / sought inspiration on their behalf. 

Parenting is difficult (to say the least). It's nice to sit back and take note of the "wins" once in a while. 

Photos taken in August 2013 (Oliver: 3.5 years, Joshua: 8 months)

1 comment:

Mel said...

You're so great, Ashley! Thanks for sharing all of this.