Friday, December 19, 2014

Thankless job of motherhood?

         I will be the first to admit. I have always heard that motherhood is a thankless job. I have thought it myself. I have been a mom for just over 22 years. Has it been an easy road? No.
But thankless? This job is not thankless.
          I came downstairs this morning to a kitchen that was a mess. The counters had food on them. There were neighbor treat crumbs on them too. Both sinks were full of dishes. The diaper bag was emptied and the items all over the kitchen. the floor needed to be swept. It was trashed.
        Then, i moved on to the laundry room. I swear, I did not know people wore that many clothes in a day. *sigh* I did around 9 loads of laundry yesterday and I have another 5/6 today. On average, we do at least 6 a day. Today, it has to be folded and put away, as well.
       The floors need to be swept and vacuumed.The bathrooms need to be cleaned. The kids need to clean their rooms. John and I cleaned our room this morning. This new room has become the hang out place for the kids. (I love that part.) The part I don't like is the mess they leave behind after they are done up there. The yard needs to be cleaned. Well, you get the idea.
      Does anyone rush up to me and say, "Thank you mom for doing those dishes." "thank you mom for vacumming the carpets" "Thank you mom for sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, scooping the dog poo"? Well, no. So, i guess in that regard it is a thankless job.
         do any of kids say Thank you when they are disciplined and have to repent, apologize and try and make it right? No they don't.
          As I came downstairs this morning, saw my list of things to do being made for me, I sighed. My shoulders slumped. My husband said, "What's wrong?" I said, "nothing". I put the baby in my Moby wrap. (which is the best thing ever invented). Then,I got to work. I don't think I have to include this but I am sure you know what it is like to clean a house with 4 toddlers and a baby. (That is a blog for another day)
        Anyway, as I was cleaning, I thought "this IS a thankless job". Then, I thought about it some more. Do I really require someone to thank me for doing every aspect of my job? DOes my husband have someone thank him for stapling his papers, emptying his trash at work, going to work to do his job ? No. He does have people tell him thank you when he talks to them, goes to their home or talks them through some issues they may be having. But then, I have people who thank me for doing things too. Just not necessarily about motherhood.
        What I realized is my job is far from a thankless one. My thank yous come in different ways. They come from children who can be children and not have to worry about the mess of a home. (They do have to help clean it. But, there is no deep nasty messiness) Kids that are allowed to go play outside and laugh.
        My thank yous come later. They come in the form of a son who has a home of his own and keeps it cleaned up. (because he learned how to do it from me) A daughter who teaches her son games and songs that I taught her and my mom taught me. I get my thanks when children are older and they come home to visit and say "Thank you mom for everything". "I love you mom very much".
         My Thanks will come when my Savior says " Matthew 25: 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
           why do I need thanks? well, I don't exactly. I don't need a bunch of people walking around saying "Oh thank you mom for________" Quite frankly, I probably wouldn't believe them if they said it. As it is, I don't always believe people when I am issued a compliment. (Again, a post for another day)
           I just would like acknowledgment that I am noticed. That I am loved and appreciated for my daily, sometimes tedious life. 
           But, then I realize I get that. Just not verbally. I have a kids who I love to cuddle with when they wake up and are still sleepy. A husband that doesn't have to worry (well, I hope he doesn't) about the work he will have to do when he gets home.  He knows and can be comforted that they house isn't falling completely apart. And if it is today, then a strawberry banana shake is in order. (medium, please. ;))
            I have to look for acknowledgment of my job in various subtle ways.  I also need to feel at peace with a job that is like the movie Groundhog Day. It doesn't change until I get it right. Since, I will probably never get it perfectly right, this is what I can expect for a long time.
            And you know what, I am okay with that. Because I have a job to do. One of the most important jobs that anyone could ever have. That of being a mother. I shape and mold our future leaders. I help our future teachers, vets, builders, soldiers etc... to become the people we need them to be in these latter days. 
           So, a thankless job? Maybe, for now. But later. Much later, is when the thank yous come pouring in and I will know that I have done my job. And I have done it well. Not perfectly mind you. But well. To the best of my ability. Then, on those days I will wish for little hands to be messing up my walls, piles of laundry and dirty dishes because it will mean I am with my family.  And I am always so thankful for that.

Monday, December 1, 2014

hard, harder, hardest

This was prompted by a friends Facebook post but, also my own experience and possibly upcoming experience.
         The hard part :Many people can grasp the concept of adding a child to your family. many people have experienced this reality themselves. The idea that is hard to convey is how one night you have your "normal" family and  an hour, a day, a week, or a  minute later your life changes when you get the phone call asking you to if you would consider taking a sibling group into your home or an individual child, or a young mom and her child. By the way, we don't know much about them. but DCFS  can usually tell you why the child was removed, the gender and ages. Sometimes, that is all you get. Then you have a limited time to make a decision that is life changing. Most people can't grasp what that is like. When you say "No". No one understands the guilt that takes hold. Few understand when you say "yes" how you have to change your life around for children you haven't even met yet. But, this is the life of a foster parent. no complaints just fact.
         The harder part, you are taking care of this child. you give it your all. you take them to school, you take them to the Dr., you take them to church, vacations, birthdays, you treat them as your children. it is fun and hard, you learn a lot. you grow together. you start to create an attachment. this is the hard part for friends and family to understand. this doesn't just naturally happen. both sides have to work on it and lets face it, not all personalities mesh together. when you give birth to children or adopt " a sure thing", this happens a lot more naturally and easier. when we foster you have this child with no bond or connection to you (nor do they want one with you) and you have to create it. you have this strangers child you are doing "everything" for and they reject you, your rules, your decisions, your comments. the act out on holidays and birthdays and these events become harder to face because you know what is probably going to happen. they don't like their schedules changed. not only don't they like it but the can't handle it. major meltdowns occur. and don't even get me started on what happens on a "visit day". it is ugly for several days after and usually the day before. even babies....
           the hardest part comes when they leave.  this is a loss you can't describe, except to a person who has lost a child. it is devastating. you have nurtured given love, devoted your energy to driving them, talking to them, playing with them for a year or more of their life and yours. this is a long time!! some go even longer. then they go home. you are so happy for them because you know how children can suffer, question, wonder and the loss they feel without that birth parent. so you have joy for them. the parents are on the right path. they are not perfect but they are trying. this feeling goes hand in hand with the thought that the parent isn't going to give them what you can. they don't have a stable enough life yet. they haven't been "clean" long enough. doesn't DCFS see what I see? don't the AG's office and Guardian ad litem have any idea what they may put this child through by going home too early? how can they do this?
                   then the realization that you as the foster parent have very little voice. you can scream, argue, through tantrums, share facts, share how the child has blossomed at our home. how they are now performing at their appropriate age. DCFS thanks you (maybe) then tells you the parents are on their way to a doing well. They need the opportunity and if the child comes into care again, you will be the first one DCFS contacts to take them back so you can live the roller coaster again
                     the big day arrives and they leave. you pack their favorite things. You send them with so much more than they came with. you dress them in their very best. You bathe them, make sure you have everything. clean out their room, and you try not to break down. The caseworker arrives. the dreaded moment has come. you have to have hand over your beloved child. the one who now tolerates your presence, who hugs you, who gives you a smile, who rushes towards you when they see you. we always include an "instruction" sheet. this is about foods they like. they are working on doing this.... the sleep and eat  times. we instruct the parent through the letter to not wash all of their belongings right away but to keep them smelling like us to make the transition easier. we tell them of our love for their child. we send them with pictures of their life. then, you have to hand over your baby/child to the caseworker. the caseworker tries to reassure you. they can't always fully meet your eyes as they know you are grieving. they may give you one more minute to say goodbye. you whisper sweet words of love. you tell them they are strong and they will be okay. that you will always love them. you tell them to remember you and what a family should feel like. you hope they will have that thought somewhere in their mind for years to come.
                           then..they are gone from your life. that easily they came into it and that quickly they are no longer with you. you enter your home, say a prayer and finally break down. the loss is real. you are a grieving parent. most people don't know how to react or what to say. they don't treat you like you have lost a huge chunk of your life.
                         you take some time to be with your family. do it again with another one. we have done this with 65 children. some have been able to stay but that has it repercussions as well. that is another post.
                           we have a new baby that we are currently giving all of our love to. This baby may be returned to its birth family. how do you rationalize this in your mind? how do you give them all that they need but protect yourself? the truth? you can't. they deserve the very best of you. they deserve your best effort. the deserve all you have to give. that is why you became a foster parent. to help, to encourage, to love, to teach. to keep children in a family because that is what they need and what you have the strength to provide.
                   Not everyone can be a foster parent. this was a calling that you were chosen for. no one ever said it would be easy....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Feelings about motherhood

It is very hard for me to describe what motherhood means. It means so much. When I first thought about becoming a mom, I didn't give it much thought. I knew I always wanted to be a mom but, I never thought about the life altering significance this would have on me. This is one of the hardest, most rewarding jobs I have ever experienced. This is also one of the most hard core jobs I have seen. It is time consuming. It is all encompassing. There is rarely a moment in my life when I am not thinking about my kids or my mothering skills (or lack thereof). My kids have a way of stripping me down and exposing my deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses. They also have a way of lifting me to emotions I didn't even know I was capable of. The joy is overwhelming when I see something simple and amazing happen between them or to them. I could take a lifetime and never explain what motherhood means to me. I have witnessed mothers "losing" their children to the state. I have seen the impact that has on the children. I have consoled children on the loss they have experienced by losing their mother. (in the foster care world) You begin to see and realize the significance a mother has in her children's life. I think you can only measure motherhood through your growth and experience. You can measure it in the moments of your life when you feel such radiating joy. I realize what motherhood means to me in the small moments when all of my kids are sitting around the dinner table, talking, laughing and passing food bowls. The sun shines a little brighter, the joy that fills my soul is overwhelming. tears fill my eyes and my heart swells. My feelings on motherhood are vast and deep. The significance of my role in my children's lives overwhelms me. I mess up. I mess up bad. But, I jump right back in and try to experience those rare moments of the pure joy motherhood brings.
What are your views of motherhood?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

There are many htings I want to write about today. So, this post may be random and disjointed but, it is how I think and this is my blog, so...
       First on my list? Marriage. I have been thinking a lot about the blessings of marriage. I am grateful for the opportunity i have been given to be with John all of these years. They have been awesome years. I really can't believe I have been married for so long. John and I see so many things through the same eyes. It is incredible. We also have differences (a lot of them). But, I sure wouldn't change the progress we have made together. I am lucky to have someone who loves children. He doesn't mind taking care of them. He doesn't mind taking care of the house, yard or whatever else has to be done. I love that! He likes taking the kids to the cabin by himself. Not for praise from others but because he recognizes I need some time to myself. He is just amazing. I come up with some crazy ideas sometimes, and he quietly listens (probably hoping/praying I will change my mind). He supports and encourages my dreams even at the cost of his own sanity. :/ How did I ever find someone who believes in me so much? How did I ever get so blessed?
      Second, I have been having some issues and I feel it is time I made a stand. I have wrestled with this decision for a long time. Anxiety creeps into my gut as I even write this. (afraid of the backlash) Here are my thoughts. I love people. I don't care what your color is, what your religion is, what your problems or hang ups are...I just LOVE people. Currently, there is much being said about same sex marriage. I feel it is time I make a stand. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I make no apologies for my religious views and preferences. I have many friends and family members who are either living in a same sex relationship or have been married. My views are, what you do in your life is personal and up to you. I make too many mistakes to judge someone on their choices. You have the right to decide how you want to live. I will continue to love and respect you. It is almost taboo right now to speak against same sex marriage. People can be funny. They want "equal rights and opportunities" but if you oppose this, you are evil and wrong etc... I admire people for being a voice for their beliefs. There is no need to bash or get ugly with varying opinions. So in this, we will have to agree to disagree and move on. I have to say, I don't support same sex marriage. This is a personal choice and decision I have come to on my own. I do follow the counsel given to me by my church leaders but, ultimately my decisions are mine. They are not because someone has told me what to think or do. We all need to take a stand on what we believe. We all need to be a voice for change and good. We even need to stand up if we will ultimately stand alone. I love and respect your opinion and I hope you will be kind and gracious and accept mine.
      Finally, life is hard! There are certainly joyous moments but, there are many difficult trials too. Perfection in our mortal life doesn't exist. I am sorry, everyone has problems. What we do with our problems is what makes us who we are. It is time we accepted responsibility for ourselves. It is time we start learning to love the person we have been, who we are now, and who we are becoming. So what if you are overweight? Does that give you any less value than a thin person? Nope. Love yourself. Love who you are. Love the journey you are on. Enjoy the hard road and be grateful when an easier road comes along. Laugh more. Play more. Enjoy more. The treasures in life are not what you have gained financially but, what you gain eternally. Take time to have those moments in life you will cherish forever. Find joy in your journey. Find the uniqueness in yourself. Find the happiness within. This life will lead you on an incredible journey if you let it.
     one final thought...your perfection is different from mine. embrace our differences. we complement each other. it takes all kinds. we are equal. we are what makes our country, community and family strong. improve on that strength and you will be able to feel the joy and love that is waiting for you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 10 things people say to my family...and the answers

10. Are they all yours? Yes. they are all of mine. recently at Costco a man commented that we had a lot of groceries. we said something like "we have 16 kiddos at home." He said, "Wow! i thought I had a lot with 11!" We replied, "that is a lot!" (people often think this is a competition) He said, "well, mine are all from one wife." John said, "well, I can't make that same claim." Then, we left. I felt horrible that he might of thought we were polygamists or something. Then, I thought, "Who says stuff like that?" Who says well, mine are all from one wife!
9. "I couldn't do foster care, I could NEVER give them back" Someone just said this to me at a meeting I attended. I know they didn't mean anything wrong by it but, that hurt. Do people think I am the Tin man and don't have a heart? Do they think I believe children are disposable? Do they think I hand children back and leave with no sadness? Do they think I am not haunted by the loss of all of these children that have come through my life? It is definitely NOT easy. It hurts and it is hard. I am normal. I hurt like everyone else. Do you know what it is like to exclusively care for a child for 1 year or more and then they have to leave your home?
8. How do you manage all of their "problems" ? It is hard. they have issues that they didn't create. But, I would like they have "problems" just like the rest of us do. Many of them are from living in a home were parents are still learning their priorities. They didn't create this.
7. I would be too afraid for my children to ever take in a foster child. This is often followed up by "they would introduce them to too many bad things".  You always take a risk exposing your children to things you don't want them to know. I take the risk when they watch tv, play with a friend, go to Disneyland, attend school...the list goes on and on. For the most part, kids are going to expose other kids to the things they have learned. Kids may find out the Easter Bunny or Santa aren't real from other kids too. We take preemptive measures and talk to our kids before they find out from someone else. Our children are prepared for what they may see, hear and experience. They may find out things a little earlier that other children but, that is okay. We constantly ask, "what do you think about that?"
6. You must be angels. I honestly cringe when people say this. The truth is we make a million mistakes every day. (John less than me, of course.) We have more opportunity (more kids) to make more mistakes than the average parent. We are definitely not angels. We yell, we get frustrated, overwhelmed and a myriad of other emotions with our kids. We are however trying to be the best possible people we can be.
5. How can you manage it all? We have a great team. We all contribute. John loves it when we actually coordinate it all on our cell phone calendars. :) That really makes him happy. John has worked overtime lately because I have been gone working. (That will change in 5 weeks). But, we have each others back.
4. Do you know all of your kids names?This one is hilarious to me. I was seriously asked this question on multiple occasions. Do you know YOUR children's names? Really? I may get hung up on the year they were born but yes, I know their names. geesh!
3. It must be easier having older children who can help with the youngers all of the time. My answer? You either don't have older children or you don't have older and younger children. The truth is, my children are incredible. They help so much! But, raising my kids is my responsibility not theirs! They do help a lot when asked but, it isn't always a pleasant encounter. They don't always WANT to help. They are kids after all. many of them, have not had the actual experience of being kids.
2. How can you afford all of those children? This one is very personal to me. The fact is, we have been incredibly blessed! People continue to surprise me with their generosity towards our family. We have lived on one income for almost all of the 23 years we have been married. This has been a great blessing. No kidding, money can be tight sometimes. But, we make due with less. We rarely eat out. Going to a movie is a luxury. We don't (GASP!) have cable tv. We save where we can.
1. What is this group about? (we are just a family) Then, who are your real children? This makes me laugh. People often have an awkward hand gesture that accompanies this question. They often follow this up with the second question. Really? They all look real to me how about you? When they persist, we thank them for the added therapy sessions they have created. They are all of my real children. Yes I have some biological children but, lets not discuss that in front of the kids that can hear you.

Bottom line? Think before you speak. I don't often get offended. Although that guy at Costco...really? My kids have learned to deal with the questions/stares and the disgust that oozes from people who don't agree with the amount of children we have. All in all, people are pretty darn nice. people want to understand they just don't always think how it sounds.
I love what we do. In 5 weeks, I will love being home again permanently. sometimes I wish I could speed up time and be home now. I have learned there is no place I would rather be than home with my family. I will answer the final question (even though I have several times now) Yes, we will probably have more...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lesson learned!

Today was a day that I kinda wish had a do over. I rarely want a do over because I would rather take the lessons I learned and make the next day better. Today was stressful. John was gone for early morning meetings. I needed to do so much. I had children to dress, a diaper bag to pack, potty training stuff (clean clothes in case of an accident), no one got breakfast so, snacks needed to be packed, kids hair done, find all of the missing shoes ( I told all of the kids to check their church stuff last night, to make sure they had everything and then get out the door.  With Daylight Savings Time in effect this morning, we were running late and with an hour less of sleep. (like everyone else, I am sure)
So, while I was at church, my 3 youngest decided to be screaming banshees. They were running, climbing, screeching, crawling etc...during sacrament meeting. This does not bode well when you still have 2 1/2 hours of church left. :/ I took them out into the foyer and hallways to walk them around. So, I missed my son, Jacob, giving a talk. I also missed all of the other learning opportunities. It is hard enough when your littles are struggling but to have that happen week after week at church is exhausting. I was feeling tired and a little stressed.
Today, I got the others to their classes and my youngest started screaming. We went to Sunday School and sat down and when I sat she started crying. Off to the hallway we went. She was content to play and walk around for a few minutes but then she started screaming. I tried everything. I walked, we sat, we stood, we climbed, bottles, toys you name it. Then, she hit her head which escalated the screaming. Some nice ladies stopped and tried to intervene but she was having none of it. She wanted me to fix it. After about 30 minutes, a lady opened up the Sunday school door and said "it is really loud in here." and closed the door.
My first reaction was anger. Wow! really? Do you think I don't know how loud she was being? Then, it was sarcasm mixed in with anger "where am I supposed to take her at church?" The mother's room had babies in it. The hallway was my only option. "Do you think I want to listen to this? " "Don't you know I am trying to calm her down?" "I would never say something like that to someone."  Maybe offer to help but... I am ashamed to say the list when on and on.
I ended up leaving church to take her home.
I started praying right away to apologize for my anger. "Where did that come from?" I wondered. Then, I realized a few things.
First, the baby was being loud and disruptive. Why did someone pointing that out make me so upset?  The lady is really super nice. I chose to be offended. I chose anger over laughter. I could have laughed and said "You showed hear it on this end." I could have apologized, "Boy, I am sorry. I did not realize it was coming through the doors so loud." But, instead I chose anger. It was a choice I made.
Second, I realized the power of the adversary is real. I have already known this to be the case but I was reminded he does not want me to be at church. How did he get me? Through my anger.
Third, I am better than that. Yes, it happened. I take responsibility for my part. I was feeling frustrated. I was feeling tired. There was nothing I could do for the crying baby. Feelings of inadequacy were rushing through my body.
Finally, I  have a high tolerance for noise and baby cries. They don't bother me as much as it would if I didn't have children or were used to some form of quiet during the day. I am not used to quiet. Quiet means I am sleeping and so are the kids. There is no "quiet" at my house at all.
I guess what I am trying to say is, there is value in looking at the other side of the problem. There is value in "being slow to process and respond to confrontation" of any sort. I would probably have a lot less friends if I spoke everything I thought right away. Heavenly Father blessed me with slower thoughts because He knew I needed a moment to reign in the automatic response.
The lady at church really didn't do anything wrong. It is my response that was in the wrong. It was my thoughts that were wrong.
I realized I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I was were I was supposed to be today. I know I needed to experience what I did today to remind me to be humble, and teachable. I needed to be reminded to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit so I can be directed and guided in the path I need to follow.
That said, I want to apologize to anyone that heard my baby cry today. I did not mean to distract you from hearing the lessons you needed to hear. I heard mine loud and clear. To the lady who made the comment? I apologize for the anger I felt toward you. It was my issue not yours. Thank you for helping me to learn a good lesson today. You are a good friend. I apologize for not moving away from the door sooner.
Now, my baby is sleeping and the house is quiet for a few minutes and I am enjoying the time to ponder and feel the Holy Spirit. This is what should have been happening for the people at church.

So, who says you can't learn anything important at church when you have to be in the hallway?
(not my baby)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Mother's Love

A Mother’s Love

As I sit and ponder the past few days, I can’t help but feel overwhelming joy and sadness at the same time.
  We have had the extreme pleasure of having 4 beautiful children in our home for the past 2 years. They are currently 4,3,2 and 1.  They are beautiful. We have watched them progress, grow and change so much.
    We had a trial to attend yesterday for a TPR (termination of parental rights). This is always a very emotional day. Your feelings are so mixed up. You know you want to keep “your” kiddos but you feel extreme empathy to the plight of the birth family. I always feel such an overwhelming amount of love for  them. It is hard to describe.
       Yes, I know they have made choices that have led them to this moment, just as I have. However, no one has a child to deliberately lose custody of them. I believe the birth family loves their children just as I do. I believe they have not been given or applied the tools needed to make the appropriate changes. Yes, they have responsibility in this. I always pray the Lord will show these parents mercy for their choices.  When substances are involved a lot of the parents agency (free choice) is taken from them.  I believe the Lord will grant them mercy and understanding.
      Anyway, this particular day, the parents came to court. They ended up voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights.  You might be reading this and saying “Yea” “That is wonderful” etc…. The despair comes from observing this process. I am sorry but, this is NEVER been an easy thing for me to witness. I have seen this a lot and it has NEVER been easy.  There is such a sadness for them.  A sadness for their children. A profound sadness for all of the loss involved.  There is also anger. Anger for the situation they found themselves in. Righteous anger on the children’s behalf.
    Finally there is joy. Piercingly, sweet joy. The knowledge that these children will stay with our family. We love them as our children and the grief would have been that of losing a child, if they had left.
     Celebration seems wrong in the face of the loss. But, my heart and soul are rejoicing in the love of an eternal family. A family who relies on the Lord and His infinite wisdom to allow children to experience their trials and tribulations.
       So, as I watched a family dissolve. I also saw a family being born. How can I ever express in word the gift I have been given of having these precious littles in my life? How can I express my love for the birth parents and let them know I will love and care for their children as if I gave birth to them?  Will that bring them comfort? I hope so.
      In essence, we have the privilege of being able to adopt the four littles that have lived with us. While I feel immense sadness and incredible joy, I revel in the love of a wise Heavenly Father. A Father who put us in the right place at the right time to carry out His divine purpose.
        I give thanks for birth parents who truly do the best they can.  I give thanks for the countless hours the state has put in on our behalf and for the children. I give thanks for the wonderful support of our neighbors, family and friends who have fasted and prayed multiple times on the children’s behalf.  I give thanks for the love and support we receive on a daily basis.
        A mother’s love….this takes on a profound meaning for me when I am given the gift of a child.  There is no way to express the depth of love we have for our children. I didn’t have to carry children in my womb to love them with all of my being.  Just because a mom/dad have made mistakes does not mean they also don’t share a profound love for their children.

There is no way to express how grateful I am to have the opportunity to touch so many children’s lives.  This is not the path I had chosen for myself but, it is the one I am glad to have been given. 
       I love that we have the opportunity to have 4 children join our eternal family.  What a blessing this will be for our family.
What a blessing this will hopefully be for our children. 
       Our family is blessed by the addition of 4. This mother’s heart is filled to overflowing.  (and yes, we already know there are more to come) :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Year of My Quest...Post #3

So, I was reviewing my week. It didn't go as planned. Here is where I say...Oh well! Who cares that the week didn't go the way I had planned. The world didn't come to a crashing halt because the kids didn't behave or because I made mistakes. What I am focusing on and learning is it is okay of things aren't perfect. It is okay if my kids don't do what I think they should. This is not a reflection on my parenting skills. It isn't a reflection on me personally in any way. It is a reflection on them and their personalities. I take some pride when people say , "Oh your children are so well behaved." I immediately think..well I am parenting well. What I have failed to realize is my children are behaving well (yes, because they have been taught to) because they want to. They realize they create more happiness and harmony within the family(and within themselves) when they obey the family rules. Obviously, parenting does play a part in them learning but, I continually put everything they do on me and I seem to forget they are not me. They are their own person. they have their own struggles, their own trials and I am here to guide them through those things not force them into the way I think they should be.
         Now, onto my changing. The above paragraph was a big realization for a week. However. this is not what I have been working on. I realized this week that people take my silence as acceptance. Just because I don't argue with you or disagree with you,  doesn't mean I agree. My silence is a way for me to process what I have been told. It is also a way for you to know you can tell me judgement free what you need to. It however does not mean, I accept everything you tell me.
        I tend to open my mouth and blurt without thinking. I am always saying dumb things that I think are funny. Or things that make perfect sense to me (and no one else). I am trying really hard to think BEFORE I speak. So, I will often be quiet. (I think I have said I am a slow processor before, right?)
       Anyway, just because i don't express my political views or my opinion on gay marriage or a million other things, doesn't mean I agree with what is going on or disagree. I am just not expressing my opinions in public forums just yet. I will eventually because i believe there will come a time when we all will need to take a stand against what we feel is wrong or right. However, i am just not quite there. Trust me, certain things have directly affected my family and we have expressed our opinions. We have counseled through things together. I do have a conservative view of things. My point being...silence is not acceptance.
      So, I am working on making my silence a little more vocal. Not to be mean but, to let people know they aren't playing me any more. No more will I be a party to being silent in the face of things I don't agree with. I can state my opinions and offending people. :) That is my goal.