I love my kids.
I have four…two that I birthed and two bonus cherubs.
I love my kids.
It’s summertime, and I’ve been home with them full time for 50-something days.
I freaking love my kids.
I heard a teacher-turned-comedian go through her set saying, “I love my students,” over and over while describing crazy things they do that test our patience. Since then, I use her strategy when reviewing my tribe’s day-to-day chaos. I jokingly repeat that mantra to myself randomly throughout the day–“I love my kids.”
It’s not a joke, mind you. I DO love my kids. Sometimes they just drive me batty.
They make me scratch my head in confusion. They make me growl in frustration. They make me cry from anger.
They also make me smile with pride. They make me laugh until I cry. They make me feel like my heart could burst because I can’t possibly love them enough.
During the school year, I have a 7-hour “break” from my home kids. So when I’m home in the summertime, my appreciation for teachers grows tenfold. I’m sure some of y’all can relate [winks]. Naturally, the teacher in me attempts to structure the day like a school day. Key word: attempts. I would give myself a strong E for effort in that area.
Combined, we have two 10-year-olds, a 7-year-old, and a 6-year-old. All boys. All. Boys. I repeat, ALL BOYS. Thank you for your whispered prayers, positive thoughts, good juju, and genuine sympathy as you re-read that.
So, anyway, I have four boys. Our days follow the same general schedule: breakfast and screen-time, adventure, lunch, reading time, rest time, screen time, activity, dinner, activity, bath, movie, bed. Sometimes the order is different, but this is pretty much what our day looks like.
First, let me address this “screen-time” before you do. There’s a time limit. And they play together. I mean, I’m not gonna lie sometimes I justify it because they’re technically interacting with people…and sometimes the end-time gets shifted based on my energy level…but, the majority of the time, we stick to our agreement.
Next, let me address the “adventure” and “activity” portions of our day. I stole the title “adventure” from my sister. She ranks in the rockstar status in the area of making things sound way funner than they are–I want to be more like her when I grow up. In the meantime, I’ll steal some of her words and fake some of her energy and hope for the best!
Adventures can be big or small. They can be legit adventures or sister-energy-infused mundane outings. Some qualifying activities include: picnics, trips to the trampoline park, visits to national parks or museums, playground dates, beach days, art projects, target runs, bike rides, and on and on. I mean, honestly, if you present any activity with my sister’s enthusiasm, EVERYTHING is an adventure!
I love my kids.
Not every day is as successful as it sounds.
I get tired. I get run-down. I get lazy. Sometimes I want to lay in the bed until 9am and have my kids make their own breakfast. Sometimes I want to binge-watch an adult show. Sometimes I want to lose an hour on Pinterest. Sometimes I want to listen to music on the porch. Sometimes I want to sit in silence and forget my name and responsibilities. Sometimes I want to let the laundry pile up and the dishes go undone.
Like lots of moms/wives/women, I want to check out. The catch is…I want to check out with no consequences. Like, I want to leave the laundry and have it still get done. I want to leave the dishes but have them done. I want to lay in the bed or get hooked on Pinterest while the house still runs. I don’t want to lose that time either. So that hour I spend laying the bed or zoned into social media wouldn’t be lost. Like some crazy time warp thing where the time would still be the same as when I started.
I know you’re shaking your head. I know you’re mumbling, “bless her” or “amen sister.” Total honesty here.
Kids need a referee. They need a chef. They need a housekeeper. They need a life coach. They need a freakin’ manager, y’all. A personal dern assistant. Someone to remind them that the day begins with a clean outfit and some toothpaste on their teeth. They need someone to keep their minds engaged in the living people in their immediate vicinity. They need a gentle reminder to be nice to their siblings and parents…and neighbors and friends and people in general. They need a reminder about sustaining life through food and water consumption. Mom is that reminder. I am that reminder. Me.
I love my kids. And I love that I’m in that role of the master reminderer.
It’s a strange combination of power and pressure that not everyone is equipped to handle gracefully. Ok, I just felt your reaction to the word gracefully. Maybe you think gracefully is an interesting choice of words. Let’s discuss…
Go back to fourth grade. If you’re like me, it’s too far and I’ve lost you already. It’s fresher for me because two of my boys just finished fourth grade. You learned grammar and word stems and prefixes and suffixes and root-words during that school term. So, let’s look closely at the word gracefully.
According to my friends Miriam and Webster, grace means the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful; mercy. Further, graceful means displaying grace. So, displaying consideration or thoughtfulness or mercy. Therefore, gracefully means to do something in a considerate, thoughtful, or merciful way.
So, to restate…It’s a strange combination of power and pressure that not everyone is equipped to handle gracefully. To handle with consideration for the differences in your children’s needs and personalities. To handle with thoughtful actions, statements, strategies based on their experiences and emotions. To handle mercifully, knowing that sometimes you make mistakes, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes you don’t know what the heck you’re doing.
What a heavy load to bear, huh? But you know what–you and I are part of a strong community.
Mommin’ is hard, y’all. It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not for the unsure. It’s not for the people who think they have all the answers. My mom has always told me, “NEVER say, ‘my kid will never…because one of them WILL.'” This job is full of inconsistencies and changes and trials with lots of errors. If your heart’s in the right place, the kinks will work out and the babes will turn out alright.
So imma hang my hat on that MERCY in GRACE.