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Mom and Dad, You ARE Doing a GREAT Job!

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This is for all the dad’s and mom’s out there who are  who are truly doing their best for their kids. You love them, lose sleep over them and some days, your only goal is to  survive the day. Like the time my three year old figured out he could start the toilet paper into the toilet, give a flush and the suction would keep the paper spinning – on it’s own down the toilet, until the tube was empty.  Aaahhh, those where the times, lol.

I watch my sons, daughter and daughters-in-law now raising my grand kids. Sometimes it’s pretty humorous and brings back pleasant memories.  Other times I think: wow, I’m so glad I’m beyond those days and want to take a nap.
I want you you to know – 

[Tweet “YOU are doing a GREAT job and you are NOT alone!  @amothersshadow”]

Any parent who has a child, or two or twenty (heaven bless you! I wish I could have had that many, physically, emotionally and all) would never trade it for a moment.  Ok, maybe there are some moments, but all-in-all, we love it and there is such joy and happiness that comes from raising and helping another human being develop into all they are capable of becoming.  However it is not all that easy along the way.
As I was raising my kids, to keep my sanity, I wish I would have realized:

  • That others were going through the same experiences
  • Not to get so uptight about ‘stuff’/situations
  • Not to compare my kids with others peoples kids, or even my own kids with each other, they are all so different
  • Kids will be kids and other peoples kids were doing pretty much the same things – well some were anyway
  • Remember, “This too shall pass” – they do grow up
  • When they throw up in a store, or don’t get to the potty fast enough – well, it happens
  • Laugh and see the humor in the situation (I so wish I had a camera at the time to capture the toilet paper in the toilet going down)
  • Don’t micromanage between siblings or their relationships with friends  – seriously take this advice: If it’s not illegal, immoral, there’s no blood being drawn, no abuse (and weight this heavily) then for pete’s sake IGNORE IT

I cherished those moments when my kids were being so sweet and kind, you know when they were asleep.  JUST KIDDING!  They were good kids.  But all of us are human and they learned just like we all do.  And because of that they sometimes put us, as parents, in some pretty interesting situations.

Such as:

  • What’s with it, when your kid does the ‘boneless’ thing? You know, when they throw them self on the floor and you can’t get get any part of their body to hold a position.  I mean they are ‘boneless’ and like a cooked noodle.  Or when they suddenly are like a blob of jello and just plop right down in the grocery isle and become immovable. How do they do that anyway?  And it’s always at the most inconvenient time; particularly when you’re in a hurry, or there’s a crowd trying to get around you and your unwieldy offspring.

Don’t you wonder what part of the family root system (forget the family tree with the beautiful leaves at this point) they are from, when they throw a royal tantrum screaming, yelling and hollering like a wild animal when you’re talking to someone that you’d like to make a good impression on..yeah, I’ve been there too, countless times.

[Tweet “When the kiddos do the jello-legs, boneless or scream like an animal your still doing GREAT @amothersshadow”]

I hope we can all remember that we are in the same boat oftentimes as parents.  We are rowing, but occasionally our kids are rowing the opposite direction and it makes it interesting; in fact, we may not always know how to correct the direction we are going temporarily and we are accidentally hitting each others boats Be kind, patient and supportive.  Maybe even give a smile or a kind word.

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I remember one time when I had three kids under four and thought I could go to the store to try on a blouse up an upcoming wedding – oh foolish me.  I went into the stall, asked my four year old to watch the two year old and the baby was in the car seat.  As I pulled the blouse over my head I heard women’s voices saying: oohhh,  wwhhhatt, who’s kid is this?   I knew immediately realized that my two year old had crawled under the opening and was going down the line of the stalls of the full changing room.  I was mortified!  I did claim the toddler.  Some of the ladies laughed, some were very upset that I couldn’t control my kid better, one left and told the manager.
It’s times like that you feel like the worst parent on the planet.  I mean seriously, I hear of women who are CEO’s of huge companies and manage large numbers of people  and I couldn’t keep track of one two year old.

It had been a very hard week, Stan was out of town for work weeks at a time, I was recovering from the third c-section, extremely sleep deprived, a bit of post-postpartum depression, I had to get a blouse for the wedding that was upcoming very soon, I didn’t have options to drop the kids off anywhere, I felt so alone and just wanted to crawl in a hole. I was so grateful for the kind ladies who laughed and said it was ok.

[Tweet “Be Kind For Everyone You Meet Is Fighting A Hard Battle – Plato @amothersshadow“]

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s perfect for here: My mom had called and insisted that I teach my kids this new technique of not just yelling if someone was trying to take/kidnap them, but to yell as loud as possible, “This is not my mom or dad!”  We had a family meeting and practiced over and over to make sure they each had it down.
A few weeks later I took my kids to the store, being very pregnant with my fourth at the time. I had the two year old in the shopping cart, with the six year old pushing the cart and the four year old trailing along. As I put groceries in the back of the cart, the two year old managed to get it and started biting into the block of cheese.  When I took that away, the six year old handed the two year old the carton of eggs to quiet the her down from hollering about the missing cheese to which the toddler now began poking her chubby little fingers which perfectly into the top of the egg cartons.
My four year old now decided to take a piece of candy from the candy isle.  I said we didn’t have the money for it and he  would have to wait for another time.  To a little one, wait is a four-letter-word and the arguing began. 
I was very, very pregnant and the fourth one evidently wanted to make a showing also.  He began to kick which dislodged my maternity pants; the elastic was lose by this point of the game. 
The two year old had managed to poke through two or three eggs by now.  The four year old was yelling and trying to open a candy bar so I would have to purchase it.  I told the six year old to get the two year old to get the little one out of the cart and follow me. 
Passing a store-worker that knew us, I said I would be back to pay for the eggs and cheese later that day.
I grabbed the four year old, while pulling up my pants as non-nonchalantly as possible and quietly said, ‘we are leaving, we cannot get candy today’. 
Oh, he knew he was in trouble, to which he started to yell at the top of his lungs as we departed the store, “HELP!  This isn’t my mommy!  Help Me, Help Me!”  

Ok, so that day I wanted to give them all away, but thought better of it between the store door and the car.  

[Tweet “Your kids do listen, don’t be discouraged, your words are important @amothersshadow”]

As I mentioned, Stan traveled quite a lot while the kids were growing up and with five very, very active kids who were always busy and into everything, all the time, sometimes I simply needed a break.  However, there were not options for easy relief. So most of the time it was just me trying to deal with all of their shenanigans, daily drama, mishaps, messes, teasing and all the other sibling taunting that occurs.  
One particular day I had it up to my eyeballs and beyond; and I’m pretty tall, so it was over the top. 
I told them I was going into the bathroom as the weather was too bad to go outside, and that they needed to give me five minutes, one for each kid.  Only five minutes of quiet.  No talking.  No noise. No tattling.  And no one could say the word mom.  NO M.O.M. for 5 full minutes. 
After making sure all sharp objects were up, the house secure, no fire hazards were available (a subject for another day), I went to my tiny bathroom to practice the methods of de-stressing professionals talk about.
First I began to count, while envisioning myself by the ocean or in the mountains; I couldn’t decide.  I was deep breathing while trying not to hyperventilate.  I mean this was my chance to get it all in, right? So I was taking advantage!
About three minutes into my ‘relaxation therapy’ a piece of paper appeared under my door.  I picked it up and the words were:  Mom, can we talk to you yet?
I began to laugh.  It was the stress reliever I really needed.  I opened the door to find all five kids laying on the floor, peering at the bottom of the door looking very concerned if their mother had lost it completely.  I couldn’t stop laughing which made them laugh, also letting them know all was well.  There are those times though that we need our space.

[Tweet “If it’s a life event to go anywhere all alone – you’re a GOOD parent! @amothersshadow“]

I’ve come to the conclusion that particular members of each family are together for a very important reason and divinely chosen that way.  Each person in the family unit has many individual talents and skills to bring strength and purpose to help the whole the entire family achieve all the hopes, dreams and aspirations they can plan together. As such it makes that unit quite amazing and unique!

  • Have you noticed how some families are quiet and subdued? 
  • Others are extremely intelligent and you’d swear they are all nuclear physicists in the making.
  • There are parents who raise children who are proper in their behavior and know the exact right thing to say and when; even the children.
  • Then some families who are more open and carefree.

It is truly wonderful how distinctive families are in the way they interact and relate with each other.

[Tweet “Families are divinely chosen to achieve dreams and goals together. @amothersshadow“]

My family is one of the loud, crazy, fun, talk-over-each-other and total chaos when everyone is together type.  I used to apologize about it; particularly when one of my kids brought a new girl or boy friend around.  But then I realized what a fool I was being! Now, if the kids were being rude, or unkind, then that’s different and needs to be corrected immediately.  However, just being ‘us’,  I should only be proud of my rambunctious clan! 
It takes all types of people to make up this wonderful incredible world and bring in a kaleidoscope of colors to make it fabulous and interesting. 
We would never, ever want everyone to be the same, act the same, talk the same, think the same.  Geez if that were the case and everyone were like me for example…we’d all be waiting for fire to be invented I’m afraid:)
So why in our right minds would we want families to be the same!?! 
We should be patient, kind and understanding that others are unlike ours in the way they function, communicate and interact. *Again, quickly correct any offensive and disrespectful behavior.

God gave us the agency to be free in spirit and personality.  To become the best we are able.  I hope we will give each other the same consideration and support.  When you see a parent struggling, give them a smile and tell them it’s going to be alright.  They are doing a great job.  Remember families and parents are different and don’t pass judgment too quickly. Love and understanding goes a long way and is incredibly appreciated by the other person.  [Tweet “Families are Unique by design, don’t judge, just show LOVE & compassion @amothersshadow“]

How can we make it a better place for ALL families and easier on mom’s and dad’s so they feel our support, empathy and understanding? Here are a few ideas:

  • Let’s ignore, turn a blind eye, or just pretend a situation didn’t happen IF no harm is being done – sometimes things really are out of their control.
  • Laugh about situations that might arise if there is even a shred of humor; there will be much more to laugh about later on.  Wit and comedy are always stress relievers for everyone around.
  • Be kind when we see a need.  Lend a hand if appropriate, and don’t be shy to ask the parent if you can do something.  Even pulling faces or winking at a screaming child can sometimes be a distraction to quiet them down.
  • Relieve a burden when you can.  If you know someone is parenting alone for whatever reason (military spouse, one travels, death, single, etc) drop by a meal, or a candy for the parent and kids, anything to let them know they are not isolated and abandoned. Any small action on your part can make all the difference.
  • If you’re able tend the kiddo’s so the parent(s) can have some alone time, or even to get out for a moment.  I will always be incredibly grateful for one particular evening when I had been so stressed and had the kids on my own for a long stretch of time and was  ready for melt down.  A very kind neighbor next door saw me visible upset while I was outside getting the kids and offered to watch the kids after I got them in bed for a few minutes while I ran for take out dinner for myself.  That’s ALL I needed! Just that simple act made everything better.

Life is grand with children, teenagers and families. There is NOTHING that can replace the joy, nor is there anything that can be more tear-laden or frustrating than family.  Let’s remember we are in this together and brace each other up, NOT tear each other down. Families are the most important and divinely inspired part of God’s plan in my opinion, which is why we must encourage, and brace each other up in this, the most important work we have to do in this time we have on this earth.  

[Tweet “Sup­port, brace & build fam­i­lies, it’s the most crucial work of our life! @amothersshadow.com“]

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.
Original Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Is The Ballast Balanced?

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How centered is the ballast in your family?

 Did you know that boats of all kinds must have ballast?  The ballast can be anything from the weight of the crew, to a keel that is made of iron, lead or concrete which sits low in the water. Why is a ballast so necessary you may wonder?  Because a ballast provides the balance for the boat in the water and improves stability and control.  If there is not enough ballast, the boat will tip or even capsize in excessively high winds.  Another definition of ballast is (Merriam Webster.com):   something that gives stability (as in character or conduct) When I was a young mom, I admit I was periodically tossed about by the winds of others opinions and what they felt was the most important elements for my children.  I often wondered what was truly important of all the options and extra-circular activities available to help them have all the advantages and opportunities I could give them. Now, years later, may I share with you what I feel will give children a secure ballast to withstand the winds of life.

  • Religion – children must be taught values, morals, ethics and God’s commandments.  As a family practice your faith together.
  • Strong work ethic – children (of all ages) need to feel, notice the word ‘feel’ (experience if you’d prefer) the consequences and rewards for earning money and how to allocate it.
  • Children need to learn skills that will allow them to hold a job when they are an adult.  It starts with such simple tasks as taking out the garbage and making sure they follow through.  As a child gets older, the chores increase in difficulty and responsibility.
  • NO excuses for not earning their own money, particularly when they reach the teenage years.  They can mow lawns, babysit, clean, any number of odd tasks to teach the life skill of doing a job well and finishing a task.
  • Helping your child learn the benefits of work will give confidence and a self assurance into their adulthood, and through their life.
  • Responsibility –
  • Allow your child to take responsibility for them self with money and other choices.  It is much better to learn hard lessons when the stakes are not high as later when they have their own family.
  • Give them choices, within limits, according to their age.  An example for a child would be:  which of these two shirts would you like to wear.  As a teenager, the choice could be which place they will work at to provide for the extra’s they want.
  • Service – create opportunities as a family, and for each child/teen individually to serve without any expectation of reward or recognition.  And to learn to serve without ulterior motives, meaning they will not  ‘get something’  for doing something for another person.
  • Teach gratitude for what others have done.  Be involved in family and expect your children to as long as they are at home.  When on their own, encourage participation in family outings, traditions and events.
  • Culture
  • Music:  My parents married young which meant I grew up listening to their music.  My kids consequently grew up with Tom Jones, Dean Martin, the Beatles as well as music from my high school years.  We also listened to classical music and many wonderful composers.  Expose your family to good music of all genres.  It seems that our teen years are the most impressionable and music is a central focus for most between the ages of 10 and 17 or so.  Do your best to monitor vulgar, inappropriate lyrics and music.  It will, without question, influence your family and the atmosphere of your home, even if you are not listening to it as a parent.
  • Movies:  Old movies, musicals and great entertainment were the norm at our home.  Sunday evenings we watched good shows together with treats and now share many wonderful memories of those times together.  Some moaned at the time, but bring it up with fondness now.
  • Books:  Many nights we sat together and I would read aloud from all types of good books, depending on the age of the kids, from ‘The Box Car Children’ to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ , “Hatchet’, Aesop’s Fables, the list goes on with too many books to name.
  • Make the time, a place and provide a quiet atmosphere (as much as possible with a house of kids!) for school work to be completed.
  • Physical – get out and walk together, play ball, involve the kids in sports or physical activities using care that it does not usurp family time and important obligations.

Just as a boat must have a ballast to help it have stability in the water, our children must have a ballast to withstand the winds of trial and difficulties that come with life.  As a parent, one of the greatest gifts we can give is balance and ballast; ‘skill’s, that are lasting and will serve them well all through their life. Parenting is not easy, nor does it always work out the way we anticipate, but the rewards of raising resilient, confident, responsible and hard working men and women are worth all the effort. Keep up the great work, and know how much you are appreciated.  

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today!

Are You A Super Hero

Are YOU a SUPER HERO?

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Are You A Super Hero

TupperMom

“TUPPER MOM”    Are YOU a SUPER HERO?

A while back I attended a Cub Scout Pack meeting and we were instructed to come as a ‘Super Hero’.   After stressing about what I would be/wear, my husband Stan came up with the clever idea that I would be……….. ‘Tupper Mom’!

I’ve thought about the idea of being ‘super’ quite often since that night.  When do we forget that we are super and a hero?

When my kids were young, periodically, I would let each child choose fabric of their liking for a homemade cape. My girls would always pick sparkly, shiny fabric. My oldest boys would chose whatever their interests were at that time; while my youngest son, Dallin wanted just a plain color for his cape. I asked him what he wanted to do with it. He said he wanted a very large ‘D’ on it.  I looked at him quizzically.  In a very confident tone, he informed me that he was indeed the legendary (in his own mind) ‘Super Dallin’.  Of course we adorned his cape with a very large D, which he wore while saving many worlds and friends from foes of all varieties, all while wearing his “Super Dallin” cape.

Fast forward to the present time. Now, my  two older grandsons pretend they are super heroes. 

One is particularly fond of the mighty characters. I took him to the park and when a girl asked him his name he replied, “Tony Stark”.  I later laughingly reported his new name to his mother when she recounted that while he was playing with a group of kids, when one asked her four year old son what his name was, to which he replied, “Spider Man”.  He happened to be wearing a Spider Man shirt, so the kid said no, what’s your real name.  Without any hesitation, my grandson answered,”Oh, it’s Peter Parker.”   The kids called him Peter the rest of the day.

What about us?  How is our hero status coming along?  Where are our super powers?

As we leave childhood, it seems our human frailties and faults crop up continually to accuse, without any kindness or compassion, that we are no longer ‘super’ and certainly not ‘a hero’. 

But, why do we allow such intrusive and demeaning self-talk to whisper in our ears?  It never, ever builds us up, only swift in its relentless and destructive message.   When we know it is so damaging why do we do it?

Let’s first understand what ‘super’ and ‘hero’ means.  I pulled out my Merriam-Webster Dictionary to see the definitions listed, and I found that

‘super’ included:

Over and above: higher in quality

Surpassing all or most others of its kind

Hero read:

A man (or woman) admired for his (her) achievements and noble qualities

One that shows great courage

With these explanations, I’ll bet YOU are Super and a Hero.  What characterizations would you include to describe and define a person who is Super and a Hero?

I’ll give you a few ideas of what a Super Hero includes to me:

 • To purposefully choose to live a life of quality; meaning to put in perspective what really is of value and worth for our family, our loved ones and posterity to come.

• To put God and family before any self absorbed or frivolous wants.

• To work hard, and with integrity, in regards to our employer(s), whether anyone is watching or not.

• To be honest in our dealings and actions with others; even if they will, or will not, find out.

• To be brave and act with valor when faced with choices of what we will do with our ‘free’ time. Will the games, sites, shows, books, other distractions hinder our relationships with family and God?

• To be self-sacrificing of ‘wants’, when the choice of a want vs what will affect others in a detrimental manner, and leaving the ‘want’ behind if it not commendable.

• Living a life with the determination to act dignified, decent, and with the highest of morals regardless of others’ choices, or peer pressure.

These traits, and life choices, add up to a Super Hero who is real, one who can be respected and emulated.

My website title is “A Mother’s Shadow”. Whether you are a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a friend, it doesn’t matter, because all humans on this earth, without exception leave a shadow. There are two kinds of shadows I would like to compare.

  • One is such as a child sees or imagines when afraid of the dark. The looming shadows that cause trepidation, fear, and loss of direction for a route for safety and protection.
  • The other, is the type of shadow that gives relief and shade. Life is difficult, hard and very wearying at times. Have you ever longed for a place (person) to give you comfort, love and direction for a safe and sure course? One who will buoy you up so you can continue the journey of life to the very end with joy and extreme happiness?

That is our goal, to:

  • make right any wrongs we have done
  • daily committing to do our very best to be a good example, despite what others choices may be
  • replacing negative influences with positive values
  • showing courage and valor as we live with integrity, despite the results that may come

These are the qualities that comprise a SUPER HERO, and this title we can proudly wear as we strive to be more virtuous every day.

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013

For More Posts On This Topic:

A Mother’s Shadow’ a novel by Carrie Groneman click HERE

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