Cause thems the rules

Two things I think my kids will get tired of hearing me say-

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” -Benjamin Franklin

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit (overheard at a teacher conference)

Also, lots of geeky quotes from Star wars and trek respectively. (hmmm maybe as a mom I will finally be able to speak like Captain Picard and say “Make it so”)

I will admit I kind of like rules. I hate breaking rules in general. I mean with the exception of pirating entertainment when in the two thirds world. There is such a thing as situational ethics. When we lived in Beirut there was this Crazy video store tucked away in our neighborhood.  I think it had been there through the war, it had to have been, I mean this guy had a collection! So many movies, way better than blockbuster, but of course you could tell a lot of them not quite legit 😉 Anyway, for the most part I like order and structure and I want that for my family (yes sometimes David is a bit too loosy goosey for my taste, I am sure you are thinking it if you know him).

I am sure all moms have their own little rules. One of mine is the sweatpant rule for myself, I try and only have two full days of being in sweatpants (but in a recent addendum to that rule, if I get spit up on my pants two or more times I get to change into sweatpants). After posting about this rule, my Aunt said I should write down my mommy rules. It got me thinking, what are my rules?

Discipline is something that is so important to me as a parent, but that I feel as I look at my sweet little angel baby, is something I will have to pray about everyday to really do it! Parents are parents and kids are kids, and parents are in charge not kids, that is a rule for me. I really think if you child doesn’t learn to obey you it is the biggest disservice you can do for them (and for people around them, especially their teachers, I speak from experience). That little bit of sass may seem cute when they are two I guess, but it won’t when they are 8!

Early bedtimes and independent play. Leia goes to bed at 7, I don’t know if this is all me, but as she gets older I plan on enforcing early bedtimes really until she is too old for one. Mom and Dad get time together and she gets the rest a growing girl needs. Independent play, this is newer to me, but a lot of great moms I know have times during the day when their young children have to entertain themselves (not with the TV or video games of course but with actual play or learning) Leia is pretty good at having 10-15 minute periods a couple times a day in her playpen. I think the benefits of this are pretty obvious.

I really want my kids to learn to sit still and be quiet when it is appropriate to do so. I think we are way too lax with our expectations of kids in this area (again maybe this is coming from the elementary school teacher in me).

OK so besides crochety sounding rules for my kids, what else? I have already broken the no spit bath thing. Let’s face it it is pretty hard to be grossed out once you become a Mom.  I will try and refrain from doing it in public I guess. Not looking like a mess in public with spit up on the clothes, yeah that rule is out the window.  I hate yelling, don’t want to do that. I want to just have a look that strikes fear instead. When I first had Leia I let everybody hold her that asked pretty much. I mean I wasn’t around total strangers wh owere asking to hold her, but right away we were taking her to church and things and I tried to have open hands with her in that way. I know you have to think about germs Leia is a pretty happy social baby and unless she is really tired loves meeting new people, I hope I played a part in that. I think when you are showing that you are fearful for your kids they probably pick up on that and get scared themselves.  So I like to be a brave mom 🙂 Make myself still travel with Leia in tow.  Teach my daughter how to cook and bake and clean and keep house and care for little ones.  Try and have high and not low expectations for our kids. I feel like bars are pretty low these days for American kids, behavior wise, in academics, etc. Read to little ones everday until they are reading for themselves everyday, no wait keep reading to them until they are just ridiculously old 🙂 Hmmm, and I never liked the “you have to eat everything on your plate rule”. I don’t eat everything on my plate half the time, so who knows what will happen if I have a kid that won’t eat (right now that is not the case!) but I want to be a little more low key about making a kid eat an appropriate amount of healthy stuff.

Oh no bikinis or any kind of hoochie attire in this house! I am really big on little girls looking like little girls and ladies being ladies! I guess that goes back into the crochety category. I will be a fun old lady.

Of course the number one rule for a Mom has to be flexibility, so it will be fun to look back on what I just wrote a few years from now!

Wonder Woman in Sweat pants?

The other day I thought “I feel like being lazy today”. Then I realized, while I could put off my housework, that wasn’t really possible. I am sure I can still be lazy in the sinful sense. There are all kinds of choices I can make during a day that would keep me from really fulfilling my calling as a wife and Mom in the best way. I am sure I probably watch too much TV for instance when Leia is napping or sleeping, but just playing hooky from life and laying on the couch all day isn’t an option anymore. I think it is so funny I used to think I worked full time, and now the world think I don’t work at all, until you are a Mom you don’t know what full time is! Even when relaxing I am always feeding, changing, holding, wiping off, cleaning, pulling hands from cords and dirt, etc etc. It’s crazy! I am so much more capable than I ever thought! Or rather, God has given me so much more strength than I ever had before!

It starts with labor, at least with mine, I kind of couldn’t believe I did it! There were moments during the three hours of pushing I wondered if I could still die in childbirth “Little House” style, and there were moments I kind of wanted to. Anyway, the point is hands down hardest thing I had done up to that point (I keep telling myself all births are not that hard by the way, and that first births are often the worst! Oh Lord let that be true for me!)  Then every day, no matter what sleep you got or didn’t get or if you are sick or healthy or busy or grumpy you feed, change, wipe off, etc etc etc. I couldn’t believe how capable of caregiving I could be even on bad nights where I was getting up at all hours, so tired and yet still mommying it up!

It is so strange to me that much of our society wants to devalue keeping a home and raising children for women.  I have never been more “empowered”, I never knew I had so much spunk!

Of course, I don’t feel like wonder woman all the time. Lately, I have been struggling a bit with the monotony. I think the 24/7 nature of motherhood is something you can’t be prepared for. Even when someone else is watching Leia (which I have every Friday afternoon, a lovely young lady from our church watches Leia for me and it is great!) I am still Leia’s mom, I never really stop thinking about her.  Leia herself is a great inspiration, her smile never fails to give me strength, but caring for a baby is a lot of intangible, messy work. I do try and check of projects here and there because I find it motivating, but reality is just feeding her, making sure she has her naps, keeping the clothes and diapers washed, that takes up a lot of time in the day. The same old tasks roll in and out, no matter how I feel or what is going on in the world. So I am learning to cope with this radically different way of living. The first 3 months of Leia’s life for me were kind of a magical honeymoon phase I think, she was a good sleeper as a newborn and I had no breastfeeding problems then either. I had been dreaming of being a stay at home mom for quite some time up until that point, so i really liked the change overall. Now, there is still nothing else I would rather do, but I struggle more and more to make myself not wear sweatpants everyday. (When I came home full time I kind of made an inward pact with myself, maybe two days a week would be sweatpant days, every other day you should at least put on jeans.)

Coping mechanisms I am using:

Spiritual disciplines. why is this so hard? I always feel so much better after I read the Word or pray? Sidenote though, love praying with Leia before she goes in her bed at night, I try and thank God for the things she would thank him for, and it makes me thankful for so many little things I wouldn’t think of.

Mommy fellowship. We have a great church with lots of moms, so park days and story days I try and be there!

Mommy movies. Mondays baby! As long as it doesn’t look like a TOTAL crapfest (and it has to be something I really expressly don’t want to see) I go to mommy movies. I don’t know what I will do when Leia is too old, the mommy movie era is short but golden in my eyes. I am still taking care of Leia, but it breaks up the routine!

walks. we have two dogs so not really optional, but they are good for leia and me, even when I don’t feel like it, always a good idea.

Of course the breaks when I can get them, like friday afternoons or times when daddy takes Leia. We do need more date nights I confess, David is just so busy right now and a lot of times when he is home we want to be home together as a fam, so gotta work on that.

Any other secrets anyone has to recharging in this unique calling of motherhood?