Monday, June 30th, 2014
Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our August issue features a quote from Mike Julianelle at Dad and Buried. Read his full blog post below.
Having kids is not all it’s cracked up to be.
For one thing, you have a tiny human being in your house. This is almost as bizarre as having an animal in your house, but at least animals have fur. All my son has is tons and tons of drool.
For the most part it’s fun to have him around, except of course for the drain on my finances, the stress on my marriage, the elimination of my social life, the inability to sleep, the constant threat of fecal explosion, etc. It’s actually very much like running a farm; at the beginning there was even milking.
I know this is old news; everyone already knows that kids are a drag. But not all kids are a drag in the same ways.
Here then, is a list of things I hate about my son, and my son only.
1 – He makes everything more important.
Work, money, food, health, free time. Everything means more now. I need to work harder to make more money to buy more food. More expensive, healthy food that won’t make him get fat and get diabetes. I have to eat healthier too, and I have to exercise so I don’t get fat and have a heart attack. Free time is no longer free, it’s time to spend with him, and I need more of it because he needs more of me, and I can’t go to the movies or to the bar because he can’t come and I can’t watch the stuff I want to watch when he’s around because it might make him kill people so I have to make sure he watches the proper stuff which just gives me a headache and I can’t let him watch too much because he has to go outside and oh my god there’s just so much to think about get out of my HEAD SCHWARTZ!
2 – He’s better looking than I am.
Which is funny, because everyone tells me how much we look alike. But it’s clear he blows me away, just by virtue of being younger and not having bags under his eyes or a scowl on his face. I’ve never in my life gotten as many compliments as this kid. I mean, the dude’s a chick magnet, and it’s a lot of fun to get all this attention from the ladies, but not that fun since I’m married and he’s a long way from puberty. It’s like having a superpower you can’t use. I feel like Mr. Incredible, except when he’s fat and hates his life.
3 – My wife likes him more than she likes me.
Every husband knows this is true. Ask Oedipus.
4 – He reminds me of my mortality.
Everyone tells you that having a kid around teaches you to see old things as new again; reinvigorates your perspective on life; let’s you experience things through a child’s eyes. All it has taught me is that I’ve wasted my life and I’m 35 going on 60 and apparently that’s gonna happen in the blink of an eye since having kids somehow accelerates time, according to every single parent I’ve ever met. Great. So I’m old, and I’m getting older, and he’s in my face with his wasted, idiotic youth all the time, AND soon he’ll be 25 and I’ll be dead. Parenting!
5 – My parents like him more than me.
He’s their only grandson and they don’t remember what he was like as a teenager because he’s only two. I, on the other hand, revert to being a teenager with every visit home. Advantage: grandson.
6 – He gets terrible music stuck in my head.
I defy you to not be humming this song all day long:
And then there’s “Yo Gabba Gabba!” At first you’re like, oh, a hipster show for kids, maybe the music will be tolerable! And then you can’t stop singing “Try it! You’ll like it! TRY IT AND YOU’LL LIKE IT!” to yourself over and over and over and over. I don’t blame the shows themselves; they are what they are. I blame my son. He did this to me. Thankfully I got a little payback – he’s been humming “Call Me Maybe” for weeks. REVENGE.
7 – Everyone likes him more than me.
Honestly, this kid is a charmer. It’s gross. He has more social skills than I’ve ever had. I can barely go two minutes without insulting someone, this kid has gang members blowing kisses on the F train. The last time I blew a kiss at a gang member, well…let’s just say I’m lucky I was still able to have a kid.
8 – He makes drinking/being hungover/going to the movies/going to dinner/sleeping everything harder.
He makes every adult-based and/or private and/or quiet activity harder. I can’t get drunk when he’s around, and even when he’s not around, he will be the next morning, when the cure for a hangover is NOT his Elmo guitar in my face. I can’t sleep late when he’s around alive. I can’t go to the movies or dinner with him, which means I need a babysitter, and last week we scared off our best one when we came home drunk. He just makes life harder. More rewarding? More meaningful? Sure, whatever. I just want to get drunk in peace. Is that a crime?
9 – I like him more than me.
He’s a better person. It’s just a fact. Even though he’s still stained with Original Sin! BETTER PERSON THAN ME.
10 – He makes everything less important.
Who gives a shit about going to the movies or watching Breaking Bad? I could sit and stare at my son all night long and that would be entertainment enough. I mean, ALL HE DOES is fall on his face. It’s hilarious. He has 100% ruined my life, yes, but that was my old life and this is my new one (a fact that is both pathetic and, frankly, kind of necessary). He is my new one. I honestly couldn’t care less about myself anymore. Like I said above, he’s Me 2.0 and he’s better in every. single. way. Which makes me have to try and be better too.
Which, in all honesty, is a major pain in the ass.
*Fine. Maybe it should be “Top 10 Reasons Why I “Hate” My Son”
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Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Each month in Parents, we print the 27 funniest, truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our March issue features a quote from mom-of-two Julie Brasington at Happy Home Fairy. Read her full blog post below.
It seems that I have children who are sick 96% of the time.
Am I not cleaning my house enough? Is it because it’s the Happy Baby’s first year in Day Care? Should I be washing their hands more? Is it because I don’t give them tablespoons of honey and fresh squeezed orange juice every morning?
Or maybe they’re just kids.
But let me tell you. Each time one of my kids get sick, I come at it with clenched teeth and (not going to lie) feeling a little bit ticked off.
I mean, I knew that being a mom was no easy gig, but I sincerely never thought that the Nose Frida was going to end up being “the greatest” gift I ever received from our baby registry.
These days I find myself wanting to tell all the starry-eyed moms-to-be to take a good long look at their piles of super cute new baby outfits and adorable matchy matchy crib linens and just imagine everything covered in diarrhea.
BAM. Expectations adjusted.
But whenever I finally realize the negative behaviors in myself that need to be pruned out (ie. getting ticked off and sulky with God when the stomach bug moves in for 2 long, messy weeks), I take some time to ask the Lord for His opinion on the matter.
Check this out …
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” – C.S. Lewis (quote found in this encouraging post)
Do I believe that God authors every aspect of my life?
Then instead of constantly fighting God on the unpleasant aspects of mothering (say, fevers and barfs), I would like to learn to quietly accept them, trusting that He knows what He is doing. He is sending them and bringing them for my good.
For my sanctification, even.
So, as we enter flu season, here are some of the “good” things (and a few hopefully helpful tips) He is showing me in between the interruptions Kleenex boxes.
Just after Valentine’s Day this year, the Happy Buddy got strep throat. I needed to get some medicine for him, so I ran to the drugstore. I happened to hit their after-holiday sale just right and found a huge stuffed bear for only a couple of bucks. I knew that having to give the Happy Buddy 10 days of meds was going to be A-W-F-U-L so I thought bringing him a little comfort might help. I snatched the bear up and on the way home decided to name him Sick Bear. He loved it so much that now, whenever anyone gets sick, he comes out of his home in the closet for snuggles and intense strangling while medication is being administered hugs until they get better. Then Sick Bear gets a superior deep cleaning and goes back in the closet (I think the longest Sick Bear has ever stayed in his closet has been about 12 days).
Make a Couch Bed
When I was a little girl and got sick, my mom would transform the couch into a bed. She’d take fresh, crisp sheets and tuck them in nice and tight. We’d bring down my bed pillows and stuffed animals and I’d curl up on the couch to watch as much Saved By the Bell, Full House, and Mickey Mouse Club TV as I could possibly handle. She’d make me toast cut in triangles and serve it to me on a TV tray. I felt like a queen! I now do this for the Happy Buddy and he is more than thrilled at the chance to take up residence in front of the tube. Who knew that endless episodes of Pocoyo could be so therapeutic?
The Magic of the Cool Washcloth
Best thing ever when I was younger and had fevers. I still remember the smell of the clean wash towel and the feel of it on my head when my mom would rest it there. I loved flipping it over in 5 minute intervals to feel the coolness of the new side. My boys love it, too.
I wish I was that person that brewed homemade herbal teas to bring down fevers and strained garlic or whatever to heal ear infections. But I am just not there yet – although I am open to learning. I definitely don’t want to be unwisely pumping meds into my kid every time they get a runny nose, but sometimes medicine is the answer. You have to do antibiotics? No sweat. Pick up a probiotic along with it and call it a day (or 10 days). Plus, I think that giving our kids medicine can be a great way for us to learn more about God. I don’t know about you, but my highly sensory child is incredibly disgusted by the taste of most medicines. If we can’t find it in a bland form or mix it with something he does like, then often we must do whatever means we can think of to get him what his body needs. Even if that means we have to gently pin his poor, sweet arms down and shoot it in with a syringe. Sometimes we don’t like the taste of something God has brought our way, but He, as a loving Father, gives it because He knows it will bring about our ultimate healing …
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” 2 Corinthians 4:17
Bring Comfort to Another
Because we do sick so much over here, I have grown quite attentive to the needs of my friends when their children are sick. I once brought a simple meal to one of my BFFs who had 2 sick babies AND she, herself, was sick. We’re talking rotisserie chicken, frozen sweet potato fries and a bag of organic microwaveable broccoli kind of meal. It wasn’t much, but she had been so busy wiping noses that she had not made it to the store for food in days, so to her, it was practically manna from heaven. You could also Ding-Dong-Ditch a basket containing a new DVD, some popsicles, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, tissues, etc. to bring a much-needed spot of hope to a friend with sick kids.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We know the Happy Buddy is getting sick when his normally strong-willed, busy self becomes a little sweeter, a bit less active, and a lot more attached. I get the chance to actually hold my “baby” for longer than a millisecond and bring him the kind of comfort only I, as his mama, can bring. Isn’t it funny how, for many of us, we want our mommies when we get sick? Even though I know the Happy Hubby loves me so much and would do almost anything for me, he will not stand at the toilet holding my hair back and stroking my head gently while I puke like my mom used to do. Instead, if he hears me hurling, he will toss a hair tie into the bathroom before fleeing the scene like an escaped prisoner! So, cherish those extra sick hugs, sweet mommies. Try not to rush off too quickly to get back to Clorox-ing absolutely everything in the house because when he’s away at college and catches the flu, you’re going to be the one he speed dials at 2 am simply because he wants to hear your voice.
“The person who rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One, I will say about the Lord, “He is my place of safety… I trust in Him…” Psalm 91:1-2
Share Jesus with the Doctor’s Office
The Happy Baby had the stomach flu last month and it got really bad on a Saturday (of course). Fortunately our doctor’s office is open on the weekend, but unfortunately everyone else in the county had also come down with the stomach flu. We ended up having to wait for almost 2 hours! The people around us were cranky and complaining and putting pressure on the nurses to speed things up. These are perfect opportunities to be the LIGHT in the room, my friends. Extend grace and kindness and patience to the hard working men and women behind the counter. If you can, think in advance and bring them a little treat. We once brought Hershey’s Kisses to all the nurses (wrapped in 3 germ-free layers of plastic wrap and Ziploc bag). It got our minds off our physical problems and gave us a chance to have a little fun and also be a blessing.
“A joyful heart is good medicine …” Proverbs 17:22
Step Up the Prayers
When things are easy, we can easily fall into the trap of not recognizing our need for God and therefore not spend as much time in His presence. When my kids are sick, though, I find myself pressing in deeper, memorizing Scripture verses, reading the Word, and praying A LOT. I’ll hold my babies and whisper words of comfort in their ears. Prayers for healing. Prayers that speak of the unchanging attributes of our Lord. Prayers offering the hope of a place where we will be one day that does not have the Chicken Pox or Rotavirus. And as I practice this, I realize that it ends up being more for me than for my children because I am drawn closer to my Savior. I am reminded of His goodness, the greater purpose, the taste of His strength (as opposed to my own), and His presence in the midst of darkness.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Another Opportunity to Surrender
Does anyone else struggle to remember on a daily basis that our kids are not our own? They belong to God. Period. So when they get sick we cannot react by tightening our grip and stressing out. Sickness is beyond our control. Instead, it is a chance to hold our babies out before the Lord – like Abraham did with Isaac, like Moses’ mom did before she put him in the basket, like Hannah did when she brought freshly weaned Samuel to the temple, like Mary did with Jesus – and receive His peace for their future and for ours.
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
Your Child Gets to See What a Servant Looks Like
Mommies, our homes are places where our children get to experience Jesus, firsthand. There is no better time to share the tender and unfailing and perfect example of Christ then when you have a little one in need. I used to walk around all tangled up in a ball of anxiety and frustration when my kids got sick. I was tense and fearful and in a hurry to see them get better. I’d grumble and complain about everything that got barf or poo on it and I’d fuss about having to miss church or work or the ruining of a “fun” family vacation. And God forbid one child get the other child sick too!
After the 157th illness, however, I feel like I am finally learning to let go. I am finally learning what it means to truly serve – as Jesus did. Instead of staring at them with a giant burden in my spirit, I am starting to joyfully ask my sick babies, “What can I do for you?” and “Is there anything you need, my darling?” because I believe this is what our Savior humbly modeled for us. He knelt on hands and knees to wash the dirty, nasty feet of his beloved friends. He laid gentle hands on ill children. He had compassion on the great crowds and healed their sick.
But more important, He died on the cross to cure the most awful, wide-spread, debilitating sickness of all …
So, the next time you hear that first sniffle or get the middle of the night vomit-covered-bedroom call, we, as moms, can find purpose, joy, and strength in our hands and knees scrubbing of snot and yak, knowing that, in a way, He did it too.
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed…” Isaiah 53:5
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Image courtesy of Julie Brasington.
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