Sunday, March 31, 2013

Holidays are tough

Have you noticed how holidays are stressful? I mean, they are fun and worthwhile, but even good things can be stressful. And stress can have a disastrous effect on Super Grover Mommies! Easter really snuck up on me this year. Was I the only one? Please tell me I wasn’t! I mean, are we ever really ready for gift giving holidays? But this year, it was Friday and I was begging my parents to watch the kids so I could go Easter Bunny shopping. Thankfully, they said yes. And thankfully I had the girls’ dresses bought almost a month ago.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the flood of candy that has gone though my home the last week. It all started with the girls having not one but two birthday parties last weekend. And they came home with all that nasty piƱata candy. You know the type: bubble gum (not allowed in our house), now and laters, smarties, star busts (so hard they seem like now and laters), and my least fav: blow pops! Beka Boo hid all of her candy when she got home, pre the removal of all things gum. I kept finding wrappers, and the candy she didn’t like all over their room… and she wasn’t eating her meals! This made for a very grumpy 3 year old. I finally got all of the candy on Thursday. And Saturday was the big annual Easter Egg Hunt for my sweetheart’s family. Love going! So much fun for the kids! Tons of eggs, tons of toys to find, tons of money filled eggs to find, tons of good grub. My kids came home with SO MUCH CANDY! UGH! And today, I found Beka Boo’s stash in her bed. Sigh.

I was not at my best. I wish I was. I am really trying, but… seriously, how many time does one need to tell a kid not to put candy in their bed!

What I am finding, is that I’m turning to my Heavenly Father more. I want to me the best mommy for my kids, and I really want this to be their safe place. But, I can’t do it without heavenly help!

Tonight started really tough. We enjoyed a early dinner, thanks to crock pot magic and a wonderful quick roll recipe. My mom can for dinner and that was fun. Beka Boo was not so much fun. She had been sneaking candy all afternoon and was not hungry. She ended up spending some time in her room. But she did eat. Eventually. We have a tradition in our home. Every Easter we take pictures in the new outfits. This afternoon when we got home from church the light was just too bright. So after Mom left I asked the kids if we could get back into our new clothes… they were pretty good sports about it. Until Beka couldn’t find her tights and didn’t want to put on her shoes, and Riley couldn’t find his other dress shoe. Then the melt downs started. Screaming and crying all over. Big breath in… couldn’t find the camera… more silent prayers. Camera found, tights found, shoe (sigh) not found but that was ok. We just put on our tennis shoes and got into the van. I was starting to worry that it was getting too dark. It didn’t.

So, why was I so stressed? Why was I yelling at everyone it just get into the van and buckle up? Everything worked out great!

all kids, web

We got home and Beka was done. Ephram was done. Super Grover Mommy was done.  Beka was so upset that she could get her pjs on or something. Ephram need to nurse and was screaming. I told the kids that mommy need to 10 minute timeout! I went into my room with all the lights off. I got down on my knees (something new for me) and pleaded with my Father in Heaven for the strength to get through the next few hours.

Did I forget to mention that it’s the end of the month and all of my sweetheart’s billing has to be done, by tomorrow? So, he left right after dinner. Anyway, down on my knees I was asking for the peace in my heart to keep calm and be able to attend to everyone’s needs. I prayed for the ability to stop the escalation that was happening. And then I stayed there for a few moments. The peace came. And I was ready to go back into the fray.

I felt that if I could get Beka Boo tucked in, everything else would be easier. So, I finished changing Ephram and took him in with me to get Beka into bed. She was almost asleep before I left the room.

I brought the Emma into my room while I feed the baby. Riley joined us and we watched a little of a movie. When I was done nursing and had put the baby to bed, I was able to read to both the kids. It was so peaceful. While I was reading Riley’s story, Emma started to doze on my shoulder. We were all cuddled up on the big easy chair. Riley went to bed without to much trouble (this is a huge deal).

Pray and listen. It works. Imagine that.

So, holidays can be tough. Kids are hopped up on too much sugar. And let’s be honest, so is Super Grover Mommy. Trying to make memories, and keep it together. But I can have calm in my heart, even when things are loud and crazy. Plus, who could stay mad at this face:

Riley and the lamb, web

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Just a little better every day!

The past two days have been interesting. I’m really working on this whole yelling thing, to only yell if it’s an emergency (like a car is coming on the street, or when my crazy 7 year old decides he is going to slide down the banister…). It seems to be working. Because I’m using my “nice” voice most of the time, when the emergency voice yells, the kids listen.

There is one area of our life that I’m really having a struggle with: the van. I’m not sure why my older kids think it’s time to fight over who gets to have the “blank” (this could be a toy, book, magazine, the middle seat belt, any thing). My sweet little Beka Boo turns into a screeching siren and kicks the back of my seat. Little E has finally had enough of the whole car seat thing and is crying. And in the middle of all this, I’m supposed to drive.

So, what is a Super Grover Mommy to do? I’m not sure. But, I’m trying a couple of things.

Yesterday was particularly trying as we had a lot of driving around town to do.  As we were leaving a fun play date, my oldest was just plain being nasty. He was just yelling and being super defensive. Now, normally (before this challenge) I would yell at him to stop picking on his sister and just get himself in control; but instead I asked him if was hungry. “I’m STARVING!!!!” Bingo! Feed the beast and my sweet little man comes back. I bought him a sandwich on the way to the store (got myself something to eat too, nicely shared with the girls) and everyone was happier.

It was still a tough ride, and I have to admit to yelling at the kids at least a few time.. but at least I am taking steps to understanding triggers in the kids and how to stop them. Learning and relearning lessons!

This evening I decided it was a pizza night (mommy needed the night off from cooking). I told the kids that if they cleaned up the front room while I was ordering the pizza we could have a movie night. Otherwise we would be eating pizza at the table. Eating in front of the TV is a rare treat. They all worked together as I order the food. It was all going according to the plan in my head when I realized that I hadn’t change the order from pick to delivery.  No need to panic! I told the kids what a great job they had done (using my enthusiastic voice) and that I’d made a mistake in ordering the pizza. We were going to have to pick it up. Cue the loud groans. But, we are going to go up stairs first and take quick showers (more loud groans). That way we can just “chill” after we get home and we can be SOOOO comfy! It went great!

We enjoyed eating while watching the movie. Sadly, the movie I had gotten from Red box wasn’t so good. We tired to use our Netflix, but it didn’t work either. So, we watched a little video on the computer and everyone went up to bed. I read to everyone (go Super Grover Mommy) and got everyone tucked in.

I was happy to have channeled some of my normal manic I have to control everything and everyone energy tonight. By controlling my emotions and keeping myself under control, I can point out my behavior when the kids get crazy. Little Beka said the sweetest thing to me on the way home with the pizza: “Mommy, you are so sweet and happy! I love you!” I asked her if I’d been a better mommy the last couple of days. She said “You a happier mommy”

Beka's Picture 062

I’m trying harder to love them as they are right now! It’s going too fast, and I don’t want to spend the time angry and flustered. I have noticed when I don’t yell, when I take a breath before reacting, there is more peace in my home. Please don’t get me wrong, my kids still fight. We have gone through more band aids than I care to admit to this week. We end the day with a bath because we have to, they are that dirty. I still get mad and irritated by the things they do. But, I am noticing a change in me. I’m trying to let go when things don’t go my way. It sounds so silly in my head to read it put like that, but that is really much of my problem. I have in my head the way things should go. And often it does. However, when it doesn’t look out! Stress kicks in big time. By letting go. Not letting little bumps get me totally crazy and manic (see Grover whenever something goes wrong) I am able to put that energy to better use!

So, my fellow Super Grover Mommies: We can change our world! One little moment at a time.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Working Prayer

Today I worked hard to see my kids as people. I wanted to work on treating them the way I would like to be treated. That was the pray and goal of the day. I wouldn’t want someone up in my face asking me “WHY ON EARTH DID YOU JUST…” So, I used my inside voice, and took lots of deep breaths, and yes, said many prayers.

I also made note of when I was starting to feel overwhelmed. What was happening? Why do I feel this way? Can I stop this before it escalates? Guess what? I could stop the feelings, I could figure out why I felt that way, and I could let it go. It was very empowering. For example: it was this morning after breakfast… Well, 2nd breakfast… Riley has occupational therapy on Wednesday mornings at 8A.M. which we all have to get to. So, we had snack bars on the way there with Capri suns and cereal when we got home. Ephram was fussing and I was starting to feel frustrated at the kids for making messes. I took a deep breath, and thought about the WHY. Did the mess really matter? No, we can clean that up. Why is Ephram upset? He’s hungry and tired. He needs to nurse and take a nap. Why is this bothering me so much? Oh, that 4:30 A.M. feed is getting to me today and allergies are kicking my butt. It’s not really the kids’ fault that I feel this way. So let’s not take it out on them, right! Good Super Grover Mommy! Put a fun show on for the kids, take the baby upstairs and feed him while dozing in the nice soft chair.

Did this make me a better mom? Why yes it did.

I had to do the last of the grocery shopping today too. We had two stops to make: one the the pet store and one to (shudder) Wal-Mart. I HATE going to Wal-Mart. It’s always crowded and hard to navigate around with my 4 kids. The pet store was a good test run. Beka hadn’t brought her shoes and had to ride in the cart. This meant she was constantly standing up and leaning over. The old me would have gone hoarse yelling at her to sit down. The new me (reigning in the crazies) took lots of deep breaths and gave her a job. She was to hold the doggie’s treats and keep them safe. We got to look at the birds, small animals, fish and the cats. Everyone had fun and everyone (including mommy) behaved themselves.

On to Wal-mart… Emma was done! Just plain, I want to go home, my legs are tired and I’m hungry, why can’t we just leave, done. She was fussing before we even got into the store. Big breath in, and let it out. Silent pray: Please Heavenly Father, help me keep my temper in check. Let me not yell at Emma. Or hang her from the roof by her toenails…

I knelt down to her level and said: Emma, I know you are tired and hungry. I understand that you really don’t want to go shopping. But, we are going to go. You can decided how this trip will go for you. If you are a good girl, and help Mommy out, this trip will go fast and we can get home for lunch. If you CHOOSE to be nasty, it will take longer and Mommy will not have the energy to make a good lunch for you. So, what do you think? Do you want a yummy hotdog with a bun, some pear slices and a drink? And should we use the special lunch baskets to put them in? We might even have some fruit snacks too. What do you say?

She took some breaths and said “Ok, mom.”

It wasn’t easy, but I made it though shopping without yelling at anyone.

We took a walk after dinner tonight. We only need 3 band aids for bloodied up knees… sigh, but we made it to the park. The kids ran and dug in the sand while I pushed Ephram in the swing.

Happiness is swinging on swings! We came home and got ready for bed… Bedtime is one of the hardest time for me. I’m getting really tired, the kids are tired or wired, and often hubby isn’t home. Hubby not being home is one of the hardest parts… and I’m realizing that this makes me grumpy. And it’s not the kids fault that daddy isn’t home. So, I shouldn’t take it out on them! Way to go Super Grover Mommy!

So with this knowledge (and knowing Hubby wasn’t going to be home in advance helped) I prepared myself for the last big push. It was going pretty good until I found my haircutting scissors in the girls’ room… and no one would own up to taking/using them. OH, and they were icky sticky. This was really hard to keep my temper under control.  But I did. After all, kids are kids. No one got story time tonight.

It has been interesting to be aware of myself the last couple of days. Seeing my triggers and working hard to take control of them. And holding a prayer in my heart. A specific pray: “Please let me not yell at my kids. Let me be aware of what is really going on.” The atmosphere in my home has improved.  I’ve been reading in Proverbs the last couple of days. It really has struck a chord in me.

Proverbs 31: 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness

So, just keep swimming and breathing and praying.

I CAN change my world one day, one moment, one choice at a time!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Choice

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on my family blog. I titled it: Super Grover Mommy. In it I talked about how sometime I'm just not the mom I wish I were and that sometimes I get a little crazy... and sometimes (more than I want to admit to) things kinda sorta go really wrong. I sometime really screw things up. But I keep trying. It was a pretty clever post, and got me thinking about how I have been acting as a mommy.

    Then, spring break happened...

    Day 1: I knew I had a problem when my first reaction to this: 2013-03-25_1364252247 was to yell. She pulled a shelf down on top of her. This particular shelf was a two long heavy shelves with all the wood puzzles and wooden dolls on top. She didn’t start crying right away, the weight had knocked the wind out of her.I stopped myself, and took a deep breath. Yelling was not going to help.

    I realized that I am yelling at my kids... a lot. And they aren't listening. Really who would? This crazy person screaming and carrying on... the crazy person who is 'posed to love and care about you. That night I read this amazing blog orange rhino. She made a choice not to yell at her kids for a whole year. Tough, yes. But doable. This made me really think. I want my kids to remember me as their safe place, not the place where they are torn down all the time. I also hate the way I feel at the end of the day. I drag myself to bed, feeling down, worn out and guilty.

      Orange rhino wrote a few things that really struck me:
      1. My kids are my most important audience

      2. Kids are just kids; and not just kids, but people too.

      3. Often times, I am the problem, not my kids

      4. Taking care of me helps me to not yell

She has a ton of stuff on her website, but these were the things that stuck me the most.

The other thing that I read on her site that really stuck a cord was: Yelling is mean. It’s hurtful. And I don’t want to be that way anymore.

So, I’m taking the challenge: one day at a time.. no yelling

Day 2 of spring break:

I made a conscience effort not to yell. And life was better.  I wasn’t perfect, but because I was choosing not to yell at the kids it was more peaceful. Things still went wrong, but I wasn’t as stressed about it, and so the kids weren’t as stressed.. I was pretty proud of myself when I walked in on a this IMG_9378(minus the shirt, I made her put that on) and didn’t start screaming. She had used a marker and colored all over her legs and opened all the candy from a couple of birthday parties all over her bed and floor. I calmly asked her to please put on a shirt. We cleaned up the mess together.

I didn’t yell when the kids started fighting. Dinner prep went so much smoother… So, maybe there is something to this not yelling thing. Sure going to give it a try!

And that’s the reason for this blog. I want to tame my inner Super Grover Mommy. I want to make that crazy manic energy work for me and my family instead of hurting. So who will join me? Making the world a more loving and happy place!

I can change my world one day, one moment, one choice at a time!