Being a Good Friend After Becoming a Mother

Surprise Sunday

 

It’s no secret, I am a mom.  These are my children….

 

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They keep my life interesting. I spent most of my evening returning MY tennis shoes back to where they belong because my son feels the need to bring them from the doorway to the dining room and place them on the dining room table.  My daughter was a little more subdued and spent the night coloring (she loves art).

What I am realizing is that I am a horrible friend. I feel guilty having to share my attention between my friends and my children and so often I shy away from gatherings where that is needed.  That normally means if I have my children (ie. they are not home with their father or off with their grandparents) I tend to neglect my friends.

Sometimes I have gatherings at my house and my friends come, and I don’t feel as guilty because this is where my kids live and they should here.  But that isn’t fair to my friends either.

I know I need that adult interaction, but, as my husband tells me, I’m not good about asking for help.  I get it stuck in my head that is is my responsibility,  and I suck it up and I try to take care of it.  I feel guilty even asking my in laws (my kid’s grandparents) to babysit because they’re my kids, they’ve all ready raised their kids and shouldn’t have to take care of mine.

They offer a lot, and I normally take them up on the offer.  I don’t have a problem accepting help, It’s just hard for me to ask for it.  I always feel like i’m shirking my responsibilities when I do.

Isn’t it lazy to ask someone else to do something that I can do?

But how much longer can I do it myself? How much longer can I take on the world before I crash and burn?

How do I balance work, being a wife,being a mother, taking care of the house, having time for myself and still being the friend i should be for my friends?

I have some wonderful friends who are very understanding.  They were supportive of me when i was a single mother, they celebrated with me when I got married and added another child to my family, and it feels like sometimes the best I can do is give them a facebook shout out.

That’s not a good friend.  I miss making connections with people.  Being online keeps people in contact but not connected.

I know I have lost friends after becoming a mother.

Some could not handle that my life was different.  That I wasn’t free to go out at nine when they called at eight.

Some, we just drifted apart. They began a family of their own, or moved away, or they put the same energy into advancing their careers as I have put into caring for my family.  That is the nature of life.  Not all friendships last forever.

But the friends I still have are special, and I feel like I am neglecting them.  I hate that feeling.  But I don’t want to neglect my family either and I know I can’t do it all.  So what gives?

 

Hey moms!  

How do  you balance all of this?  

How do you make time to still be a good friend while still being a good mother?

Am I the only one who struggles with this?  

Leave me a comment and give me some advice!

 

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Kindergarten is Coming

Family Friday

 

 

She wore only a diaper and laid comfortable against my chest, slightly tucked inside my nightgown as I sat on the hospital bed still hooked up to machines.

I had had an severe allergic reaction to the bandaging used after my c-section, but that didn’t matter.  This little girl against my chest, all 7 lbs 11 ounces of her, was now my life.

I was now a mother and this was the greatest title I could ever take on in my life.  I was now responsible for a life beyond my own.

That was almost five years ago.

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Now we are not only approaching her fifth birthday, but she will be starting kindergarten at the end of August.

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I am amazed at the young lady she has become. She talks.  Oh, she can talk.  But she has a vocabulary you would never imagine from a child so young.  She uses words like “trepidation” properly.  She has also mastered the art of sarcasm… this could cause a problem.

She loves dancing, tumbling and soccer. She wants to get more into swimming and gymnastics. She loves music (we’re still not sure if she sings like me or like my grandma – if you know us you know the spectrum that is).  She wants to learn to play guitar. She loves art and has said that she would like to be an artist when she grows up and be a children’s book illustrator.  Maybe one day I will write a book and she will draw the pictures.

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She is incredibly compassionate.  This past week I donated blood to the Red Cross.  I’m not sure she completely understood what I was doing.  After they hooked me up she came and handed me her beloved teddy bear and told me she hoped I would feel better soon.

She has an infectious personality. It is hard not to smile when she is around.

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I am incredibly proud of the young lady my baby girl is becoming.  But as she nears her fifth birthday and the start of kindergarten, I struggle with being ready to let go of my baby and embrace my young lady.

I still see the tiny baby. I still see the little girl who would stand up from the middle of the floor and the when she lost her balance wouldn’t fall on her bottom but instead slid slowly to the ground using her face (she spent a good two months with rug burns on her face while learning to walk).  I still see the tiny girl who would stand in front of the alter while I helped prepare music for church.

And now standing before me is not a baby or toddler, but a girl. A girl who will grow faster than I am ready to accept. A girl with her own passions and interests.  I know I will always see that baby even when I watch her graduate from high school I will still hear in my mind her saying “uh oh, it dips-appeared” when something was no longer where she left it.

Where I once held a baby… I now have a beautiful, passionate, compassionate, wonderful young lady.

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Lessons to be Learned @ Family Movie Night

Family Friday

 

Anyone with children will know that children get attached to their movie characters.  They will watch a movie until you desperately wish to not be able to hear.

But here is what I love about kid’s movies… they come ready made with life lessons and mom’s and dad’s just need to take the opportunity to talk them out with their little ones.

Below are six of my daughter’s favorite movies and the life lessons one can learn (some have many more than one, and will be expanded on in time; I’m just choosing what I feel is the main idea).

 

Turbo

 

Summary: Turbo is about a snail, who dreams of racing in the Indy 500.  Like all snails, he’s a bit slow in speed, that is until a freak accident infuses him with gasoline causing him to become fast. Not faster than a snail, but faster than most automobiles.

Lesson: Turbo has big dreams (just like human counterpart Tito- who wants to take his brother’s taco business to the next level), that seems out of reach.  Everyone tells him that he can’t.  He’s a snail, he’s limited to what a snail can do.  But Turbo does not give up and he races and wins the Indy 500.

Even when things seem impossible, do not give up. Always go for your dreams.

 

 

The Croods

 

Summary: This is easily one of the cutest movies ever made. Eep, her mom and dad, and brother and sister are… well… cave people.  The cave is their home, the cave is their protector…and with a healthy dose of fear heaped on them by their father, they plan on keeping it that way.  Eep wants more than the walls of the cave.  She wants to know what is really so dangerous about the great big world outside.

 

Eep meets Guy and his pet sloth, Belt.  She is informed that the world is changing and those who don’t seek hire ground are going to meet their end.  Eep convinces her family to make the move, and the journey begins.

Lesson: Simply put, change and going into the unknown is scary.  It is okay to be afraid.  That feeling helps us to be cautious, it helps us to remain safe.  But we also can not allow fear to hold us back because what lies before us could be so much better than what we’re leaving behind.

 

 

Monsters University

 

Summary: Mike Wazowski has his eye set on a job as a scarer at Monsters Inc.  The only way to get there is through a degree in the scaring program at Monsters University.  College wasn’t what Mike had expected.  No believes he is cut out to be a scarer because of how he looks.

James “Sulley” Sullivan is the son of a legend and expects to ride those coat tails to graduation.  To his surprise things don’t work that way.

Now both Mike and Sulley find themselves facing expulsion from school and these unlikely friends team up to fight and keep themselves in school.

Spoiler: They still get expelled

Lesson: In most movies, the heroes come through in the end and win the day.  This didn’t happen for Mike and Sulley but we learn in the credits that they instead went and got jobs in the mail room of Monsters Inc.  They showed what they’re worth and worked their way up to the scare floor… and thanks to Monsters Inc.  We know that they became the stuff of legends.

What a better lesson to teach a child than that plan A is not always going to work out and that it is good to have a plan B, plan C…plan Z so that even when one door closes they can still find a way to achieve their dream.

The Lorax

 

Summary: Ted lives in an artificial world, Thneadville, where they even have someone who delivers bottled air like the Culligan man delivers giant bottles of water. Ted has a crush, Aubrey, and Aubrey’s one dream is to see a real Truffula Tree.

The problem is, there are no more trees. Grammy tells Ted about a man named, The Onecler, who lives outside of town. Ted goes to see this man and he tells his story.

He set off to make his fortune with his family telling him how he’ll fail as he leaves.  He comes to a forest of truffula trees and cuts one down to use the tops to knit a thnead (it’s a fine thing that all people need).  From the tree stump pops The Lorax, who has one job, to speak for the trees.

Through the story and his own fight with Mr. O’Hair, Ted learns the value of taking care of the natural world.

Lesson:  I’m sure everyone is expecting the lesson to be that nature is important and we should take care of it, and yes that is one point that the movie makes but the bigger lesson is that we need to stand up for those who can’t.  We can not sit idly by and watch as the wrong things happens again and again.

It’s great to be able to stand up for yourself, it’s even better if you can stand up for one who can’t stand up for themselves.

 

Rio

 

 

Summary: Taken from his tropic home as a baby bird and dropped off the back of a truck in minnesota, Blue Macaw, Blu, lives a cushy life with his bookstore owning human.  That is until a strange man from Rio comes in and announces that he may be the last male of his species and they need to come to Rio right away.

A theft at the bird sanctuary puts Blu, and Jewel (the female Blue Macaw from the sanctuary) on the adventure of a lifetime… oh yeah and Blu doesn’t fly.

 

Lesson: In one of the end scenes Jewel’s wing has been injured, she can’t physically fly, while Blu’s flightless life is all in his head.  Jewel falls from the plane and without hesitation Blu jumps after her. He catches her and finds his flight.

 

 

Frozen

 

 Summary: As children Elsa hurt Anna.  It was an accident.  Elsa has powers she doesn’t understand and has no idea how to control.  Fear kept her isolated.  Elsa wanted to keep Anna safe, and Anna wanted her sister Elsa.

A fight sets off a snow storm thanks to Elsa’s uncontrolled abilities and she retreats to the mountains.  Anna can’t let her sister go and goes after her.

Lesson:  Elsa lives in so much fear that she doesn’t understand that allowing love in is what will help her control her abilities.  Rely on your family, one does not need to deal with their struggles and fears alone.

As I have said some of these movies I could do whole posts on what these movies teach (and I might just do that with each of my daughter’s favorite movies) but that is for another time.

What kid’s movie do you think teaches the best life lesson? 

Please share the movie title and this life lesson in the comments below

Let Mud Happen

 

Let Mud Happen

Today my children and I went for a hike.  We went to our local dam that has a 1 mile walking / biking / jogging / whatever path from one end to the other.  Then you can either go left or right at the end and walk the woods back in a loop to the parking lot, or you can turn around and walk a mile back across the dam.

We arrived at the dam and Ewok got out with her back pack and camera and was all excited to get going.

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Tank doesn’t walk yet, and the wooded paths are not stroller friendly, so I strapped him to my back and we took off behind her.

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I love walking the dam.  The sights are so beautiful.

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Ewok enjoys this part of the hike as well. She takes photos, she runs up and then back to me.  You can even catch her hoping from time to time.

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When we get to the end of the dam we take he path to the right.  This is our current favorite…because it leads to a play ground.  It’s fun for Ewok and it’s a break for me.  That means I get to take Tank off of my back and talk to him instead of him just drooling on my shoulder.

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Spring in Northwestern, PA tends to look a bit like fall when all the snow melts.  There are dead dry leaves everywhere and all the leaves are missing from the trees.

 

In a few weeks this will change.  I love this place because you can watch the seasons change, and it is beautiful no matter what time of the year you come.

 

 

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She discovered moss for the first time today and so we had to stop and investigate it.

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This is Ewok relaying her “findings” about the moss to me.  So serious!

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Spring is muddy and that makes it fun for kids, well at least for Ewok.

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Peek-a-boo i’m still on this trip!

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This is proof kids do not need toys.  Give them dirt, and sticks and let them push the sticks through the dirt and poke the mud, and let them have fun!

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Climbing is also fun! Accidents can happen but if you never let anything happen then nothing will.

Nothing at all. Dirt happens, scrapes happen, but so does fun and learning and that is what is important.

 

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He loved being along for the ride.

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Take time for exploration, even at the end of the hike and all you want to do is get back to the car.

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Muddy puddles are fun too.

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Let them explore, let them climb, let them collect, let them get dirty!

Make them take their muddy boots off before getting in the care (I did).

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Let mud happen!

Oh and don’t say you’re kids can’t do it…

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My 4 year old completed a 2.5 mile hike today.

If you encourage them, they will do it, specially if you make it fun.

 

When Did I Blink?

Train up a child in the way he should

 

In August of 2009 I experienced a week that held as equally low lows as it did high highs.

August 6th my grandmother woke me up asking me to call my grandfather because she was having such abdominal pain she could barely take a full breath.  Papa came home and the two of use took her to the emergency room.

They did test after test and while they were waiting for results they suggested my grandfather and his very pregnant granddaughter go get something to.  Not too long after lunch I was struck with severe abdominal pain, though mine was much different than my grandmothers… mine were contractions.

While they were real (not Braxton Hicks) they were so far apart that the hospital wouldn’t admit me.  I was told to take it easy and come back if they got closer together.

They decided grandma’s issue was pancreatitis and admitted her.  Papa took me home to rest and then spent the evening with her until they had her settled into a room.

That night we received a call around 2am, there had been a mistake with her morphine button, it had been set to be a continuous drip.  She had been overdosed on morphine and while she could breath in, her lungs were so relaxed they wouldn’t expel carbon dioxide.  Grandma was moved to the ICU and put on a ventilator to help her to breath.

I sat outside the doors to the ICU praying grandma would be all right.  Hoping she’d get to see my daughter be born.  I held her hand for a few minutes before Papa took me home again hoping it wouldn’t be the last time I saw her.

It wasn’t. August 12th they moved her from the ICU to her own room.  They still didn’t know what was wrong with her but she was out of the ICU.

That night I couldn’t get comfortable in bed, so I went to the basement, turned on the TV and laid down on the couch.  Of course that’s where by very pregnant butt fell asleep.

I woke up at 4 am, thought “well that was smart”, and went to turn off the TV.  As I bent over to hit the power button I felt a pop, and then a lot of liquid.  I knew what had happened.  There was no question in my mind.

I changed out of my nightgown, stuffed my pants with towels (hoping to contain the puddle i trailed around after me) and woke my grandfather.

I knocked on my grandparent’s bedroom door and said, “Papa?”.  The poor stressed out man sat straight up and exclaimed, “Tessie!!”

I said, “No, Papa, it’s me. I need to go to the hospital now.”

The only night I have ever seen Papa get ready faster was when they called about Grandma.

At 5:58 pm on August 13th, 2009 my daughter was born

Ewok

 

She is almost 5 years old, and today, I registered her for kindergarten.  I look at this person she is becoming and I feel like all I’ve done is blink and she has changed so much.

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jumbalya spray park

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I’ll be honest.  I’m not sure if I am ready for her to begin Kindergarten.  But I am proud of her.  She continues to amazing me daily.  She makes me laugh often.  She is compassionate and sensitive to other people.  She is just an amazing girl and I can not wait to see what an amazing young lady she will become.

 

But I’m happy with keeping her the cute little kid she is for as long as I’m allowed.

Alayna

I Have Kids….

If you didn’t know that, then this is your first time stumbling across my blog.

But for those of you who do know me, I need you to know how loaded of a statement that is.

I have kids….

…. I forget what it feels like to sleep to noon

 

… I forget what it feels like to clean a room and have it stay that way for more than 5 minutes

 

 

… I forget what it is like to not walk into a room and scan for safety hazards

 

… I forget what it is like to make spontaneous plans with a friend

… I forget what true silence sounds like

 

 

 

 

But then again….

I Have Kids…..

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She rolled out the dough

She rolled out the dough

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…. They make me smile

… They remind me the world doesn’t need to be over complicated

… They remind that God’s love is simple

… They remind me that love is the strongest force on earth

… They remind me that we should never lose our curiosity

… They remind me the world is an amazing place

… They remind me that the craziness and the occasional monotony of daily schedules is a blessing.

I have kids.

 With this comes an unfathomable responsibility, and an equally unfathomable joy.

 

 

Project Notes from a Pinterest Addict

About a week ago I posted a pinterest to-do wish list.  On it was a no-sew tulle tutu.

I decided why wait and I went out to Joann Fabric and Crafts and bought the supplies.

Multiple rolls of colored tulle (i found the best color selections in the wedding department).

Elastic (1/2 inch Braided Flat Elastic – white)

I then pulled out my measuring tape, mending kit and a pair of scissors.

Okay, okay, I know it says “no-sew” but I’d rather sew my elastic together than tie it.

I then wrapped the elastic around my thigh and began tying on the tulle.

After 72 – 20 inch strips of tulle (4 different colors). I finished with this….

Ewok wasn’t too sure of it at first because it didn’t feel like her ballet skirts, but I’m thinking that her impromptu fashion show that she likes it.  She even wore it to her “Princess Party” at her dance studio (where she takes tumbling and ballet).

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Breaking the Stuff Addiction in my Daughter– Part 2

How do you catch a unique rabbit?

Unique up on it!

 

How do you catch a tame rabbit?

Tame way!

 

It is 2:30 am and there is a good chance that i’m loosing it.

However, I think I have tamed the clutter that is my daughter’s toys. What started out as this….

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…has become this.

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Much of the stuff that Ewok has outgrown, Tank will be able to use in a few more months, so I packed it and hid it from Ewok.

A lot was thrown out because it was broken or just plain trash.

I might not be needing these…

But we will be needing new shelves because this is what I found when I was cleaning.

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Thus the reason why the remaining baskets are on the book shelf for now.

My craft desk hasn’t been touched yet.

90% of what’s on it i fear is garbage and needs to go, but now that I am approaching 3 am and have an 8 month old who thinks 6:30 am is sleeping in, it is time to turn in for the night.

It doesn’t take much to get your kids organized, you just need to get to it.

Now to figure out how to get my daughter to understand that she doesn’t need everything she sees in commercials.  I need to figure out how to teach her to not hang her happy (this I will explain in a later post) on stuff, but rest in God for satisfaction, and fulfillment.

How do you teach your kids to love God and people more than stuff?

Breaking the Stuff Addiction in my Daughter

 

Our home always feels like we are overwhelmed with clutter.  I hate clutter.  I have a problem keeping up with getting rid of it.  There never seems to be enough hours in a day.

Over Christmas break I made great strides in organizing our bedrooms and the linen closet, and the linen closet still looks like this…

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I have been avoiding the basement…

 

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…. And I’m sure you can see why

Disaster!!!

That is the best word to describe our basement.  In Ewok’s defense our basement flooded this past summer when we had some heavy rains and stuff that was not put away (ooh someone didn’t pick up their toys!) had to be quickly picked up and dried off and just put places.  Some of the mess is mine, I haven’t organized my craft stuff yet, it’s just up on shelves and piled on a desk in the corner (I didn’t show that)

There are many things in this “junk” that are not played with for various reasons.

Some are just too young for her and do not hold her interest anymore. These can be stored for when Tank is old enough for them.

Some are broken, and my little pack rat refuses to throw them away (they will turn up missing after tonight).

Others were put down stairs when they should have been put out in our shed to be played with outside, they are NOT indoor toys.

Finally, some are just not her style but being a little pack rat she doesn’t want to give them away.  These will get boxed up and taken to the Second Chance Store.

The Second Chance store is my favorite local thrift store.  They take donations and except what is needed to maintain the store and pay their employees all proceeds go to take care of the animals housed at our local humane society shelter.

We may not be ready to adopt a pet but we can give our gently used items to help take care of them until they find a forever home.

So the basement is my organizing foe.  I am overwhelmed with Ewok’s toys.  Ewok is overwhelmed with her toys.  I have thought and considered how to organize this mess.

 

 

Then I came across a blog and it has served as inspiration.

 

Click Picture to read Ruth Soukup’s post on Living Well Spending Less

Tonight I will forgo sleep to invade my little pack rat’s space and de-clutter.

I contemplated calling my mother in law and asking if they could take her for a few hours tomorrow, but I fear doing that will make me enjoy quiet time and I won’t actually accomplish anything.

Instead I will make it a covert mission, invade and purge her play space and let her find it clean, organized, and missing everything she doesn’t need.

She has some plastic bins but I fear not enough.  I’m hoping to get some of these…

 

 

… from the Dollar Tree.  I really love that store.

I will put pieces to games in gallon bags, label them and put the bags into the bins.  This way they all have a set place but they’re also all organized in groups.

Every bin will get a label and they’ll be word labels because Ewok is starting to read and it will be expected of her to figure out the word and put the right toy in the right bin (sorry sweetie no picture labels for you).

When I get this all done, I’ll take pictures and update my blog with after pictures (including how badly my daughter melts down when she realizes I won’t let her continue hoarding).

Well both kids are sleeping… it’s time to get to work….

 

How do you keep control of your kid’s toys?

This Year…

This isn’t just the start of a new year for me.  This is the start of a milestone year for me.  This April, I turn 30.  I’m not dreading it, but I feel like this year changes need to be made.

My house is always in shambles and I use the excuse that I have young children or no time, but the truth is, if I were better organized cleaning wouldn’t be the chore that it is right now.

I am currently 3lbs below the highest weight I have ever seen.  I use time and responsibility as an excuse to not do what I should be doing.

There are so many things I’d like to do with my children but time is often my excuse as to why we don’t get to it.

I love photography and have thought about starting a side business to help supplement our income when I’m not working in the summers.  Nothing has come of it yet.  I’m not really sure where to start but that again is just an excuse.

 

This year…

There will be

I will be more organized

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I will focus on my health

I will do more to enrich the lives and learning of my children

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I will make something of my photography

(here are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken)

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This year will be my most successful year.  Maybe not in terms of monetary gain, but in life, health, and happiness.  I am putting my trust in my God and I am not making anymore excuses as to why my life and health is not the way I want it to be.

Being organized keeps me calm and focused… my family deserves to have me calm and focused

Being healthy will make me a better mother and wife because I will have more energy, and less health problems

Being able to spend more special (not just day to day routine) time with my kids will create memories and experiences that will follow them the rest of their lives.  I don’t want them remembering their mother as the woman who lived with them and cleaned all the time.

Taking time to focus on my photography will give me an outlet that lets me switch gears from mommy, wife, and teacher and just be me.  It will be my time.

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