laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Choose Joy


It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? To just choose joy. But it’s not. But I’m trying. The truth is, when we first became parents, hubbyman had a bit of a short fuse. But his patience has grown with every year, and every child. And the sweet, sweet man that he is prays for patience and a softening of his heart, every night. Heartmelting, right?

My story is not so heartwarming. I’m pretty sure I was much more even-keeled, cool, calm, collected, and patient when I was a brand new mommy. But the brand new, wide-eyed mommy soon became the mommy of three. Three of the age where we’ve had 2 times of 2 in diapers (Biggest & Miss, and then Miss and Littlest. I guess by the time of littlest she was down to just nighttime, but still.). Which means that they are still ages where they often wake up at night. Ok, so the bigger ones don’t get up nightly and sometimes they’ll both stay sound asleep for weeks. (Ok, they don’t sleep for weeks, but they stay asleep, in their own little beds every night for weeks.) But Littlest normally still wakes at least once. Usually twice. And I’m with them all. day. every. day. EVERY. DAY.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that they have worn me down. My sweet little children that look like they could do no evil have (on more than once occasion) left me hiding and crying in the bathroom. My ego and my pride feeling bruised and beaten at the fact that I’ve been outdone by three children under five.

Part of the problem is my own fault. I am not good about fulfilling my own needs. Allowing myself a break now and then, instead of the every few months that it usually ends up being. Hubbyman gives himself breaks in the form of projects in the garage, working in the yard, or planning things on the internet, or drowning himself in the latest political debacle. What does that mean for me? Well, it means that after having a baby on my hip, a girl hanging on my leg, and a big boy who follows behind me closely… it means that I am also the caretaker for the evening. Suffice it to say by the time the kids go to bed, I have to stay up for another hour, just to regain some sense of self before going to sleep and doing it all over again! But when I take a breath, a very deep breath, I can remember all the things I really love about them and staying home with them. And I can refocus on the truth: that there’s really no place I’d rather be, no job I’d rather be doing, than staying home with them. And that’s the truth. And today I am choosing joy. I am choosing to end this post, turn off the computer, turn off the cartoons, and really listen to their sweet words, to really play trains, even if he won’t let me choose my own words to say. To brush a million different dollies’ hair, and to take Littlest to the bathroom for the bazillion time, just because he likes to sit on the potty and sing songs to me. And that’s a whole lot to be thankful for.

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Sunshinier IS A Word…Now


This was was supposed to be super warm and I guess I just assumed that also meant nice and sunny. Unfortunately, during the day yesterday it was blah. Gray and dreary. Until closer to evening and then the sun came out. But the sun gives me motivation and I was planning on it. I feel bad for my children some days. Because the sunshinier (whatever, I can make up words) it is, the more motivation it gives me for cleaning. In fact, if hubbyman wanted to come home and play with the kids outside, I would HAPPILY spend the time inside cleaning, alone. I’m weird like that. So my plan was to get all my cleaning done this morning, we’d have lunch, and then we’d spend the rest of the day outside. But littlest and biggest have been unordinarily whiny and clingy. It’s a trade off apparently, because MissE has been extraordinarily helpful. So we’ve been playing trains, talking about all the baking they’d like me to do this weekend (cookies, donuts, and if they have to eat actual food, then they’d prefer chocolate chip pancakes. And maybe daddy could cook some bacon.) . Speaking of bacon… that just reminded me of something. This was a facebook status of mine, from last week (I think):

I made (gf) chicken and dumplings the other day and after eating, Evan asked, “How come Daddy doesn’t know how to cook like a mommy?” I responded with laughter. Then he added, “You should teach him, before he’s 100.” I responded with, Whew, at least I have a few years. It’ll probably take until then to teach him. Evan shakes his head, sighs, and says, “At least he’s a good bacon cooker.”

Oh children. And when recounting this story to hubbyman, Biggest looked at him, and said You really don’t cook like a mommy.

And on that note I am thankful for a sense of humor.

I am thankful for a hubby and children with a sense of humor!

I am thankful that the tree trimming idiots people did not break anything. Other than a couple of shingles on the roof. (Not only did a big branch land on a piece of patio furniture, but one landed on our skylight… talk about that-coulda-been-a-disaster. Especially as I was standing right under it happened.) I will be even more thankful if the roses they trampled, and the lilac bushes they stacked their wood on, survive. I had a dream they ruined my roses (which are admittedly the only plant that I’m apparently capable of/willing to baby), and planned to go out and ask them to be careful around them. But there was no knock on the door, no one saying, Hey we’re here and gonna get to work! No,  they just pulled in and went to work… on all corners of the house. I couldn’t exit from anywhere! At least not without having to fear for my life.

I am thankful for a hubbyman who has a backbone made of steel. There is nothing that man is afraid to say. To anyone. Or at least most anyone. If you want something done, or need to call customer service- have him do it. It’s phenomenal.

I am thankful for all this sunshiney weather. It has helped me to sleep better at night, wake up more awake, and just feel better in general. Oh I love sunshine.

I am thankful that all of Biggest’s dental work is done, save one quick visit that is merely cosmetic. (He has lines on his front teeth where enamel never formed. At least those spots hardened, whereas all the work he had done was because the other spots did not harden.) He has been such a brave boy- we’re so proud of him!

I am thankful that for whatever reason, the stars have aligned and my house has remained in some sort of balance for about a month. It’s amazing. I feel much more zen.

I hope you have lots to be thankful for and wish you a house full of organization and good food!

Like ·  · Share · March 9 at 11:52am

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You Might Wanna Stand Back


Ever wake up and just feel so cranky that people just instinctually move away from you as quickly as possible? I’m pretty sure that happened this morning when hubbyman dared to wake me up. At least, I think that’s what happened, he moved away so quickly that I can’t really be sure. Today is the day of supposed tree trimmers. I had to get up before the sun this morning because they were going to be here early (I don’t understand why so early because they couldn’t start working that early, without my neighbors lining up with pitchforks -I wouldn’t blame them, if it was people in their yard when I was sleeping, I’d do the same.). It’s a half hour past when they said they’d be here and no sign so far. If they don’t show up before too long, they should be more afraid of me than hubbyman was this morning. 

So they got here. Right after I posted that they’d better show up (maybe they knew their lives were in danger). And promptly began cutting trees in the front. Even though they said they’d start in the back. (I may be nit picking.) And it also promptly woke up Littlest. Who is not used to the sound of chain saws with his morning snooze. Have I mentioned I’m an absolute delight in the mornings? Or that Littlest woke up at 3 and demanded (and I mean demanded) a bottle. When I came back with a bottle, he had found a pacifier (a new discovery of his. that’s right, new, at 20 months.) and refused the bottle. And then laid there, just looking at me with his wide-awake, wide-open eyes for the next two hours. At least Littlest is enjoying watching the big truck they have parked in our driveway instead of whining.

I was going to write 2 reviews today (of some really lovely products- a facial moisturizer and some laundry detergent), but I can’t really think straight with all the whirring, and barking, oh, and the whining. But I’ll probably stop all my whining when the coffee kicks in. Which should be about noon. Crap. Here come Biggest and MissE, and from the sounds of it, they’re as pleased to be awake as I am. We’re off to a great start. Maybe I can convince them to climb back into bed with me and we can rewind this whole scenario. Or at least pretend like we’ve had a fresh start.

*New Addition*: If I was cranky before, I’m pretty livid right now. After hearing a huge thud of a big branch landing directly on my cute, vintage, irreplaceable patio table, I ran to the door and apparently said what I was thinking out loud. I know this, because my daughter ran to the window to say, who did you yell oh, hell-o to? I have found one thing to be thankful for this morning- my daughter’s hearing, or interpretation of my words.

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Rocking Chair Bliss


Thankful Friday… today I am both thankful in general, and thankful it’s Friday. We are expecting some snow, starting this morning, this weekend and I’m looking forward to a weekend of snuggling in with my honeys and maybe some fun time outside. we haven’t had enough snow to really enjoy winter activities and my biggest boy has been so sad about that. Today he decided he misses warm weather since there’s nothing fun to do outside right now. Can’t say I blame him. We were looking forward to snowball fights, snowmen, sledding, and snowshoeing…but there just hasn’t been the snow for it. Hopefully this weekend will turn that around. So today, I am thankful for weather that feels like winter, and hoping it brings snow to make it look like winter as well.

I am also thankful for something else. Those that know me in real life, and probably those that have read along with me for a while now, know that I am a breastfeeding advocate (the daughter of a lactation consultant, I can’t help it!). Now if you know my feelings on breastfeeding and it’s importance you probably just think that I’m not one of the masses who has struggled with it. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. Now I am a go to person for questions, and have never minded the late at night phone calls fielding questions that I sometimes get. Sometimes my hubby even gets phone calls about breastfeeding to have him run by me. I don’t mind one bit. The truth is, a lot of the answers I have, is because I’ve been there. I’ve had a baby who only wanted to nurse all the time (and by all the time, I mean all the time. Truly.), I’ve had to figure out how to get newborns to latch correctly, I’ve had to figure out how to deal with nursing strikes and growth spurts, cluster feedings, thrush, and teething. With my oldest I lost my supply when he was only 9 months- when I was pregnant with his sister. With MissE she and I both battled a long, painful battle with thrush when she was 12 months old. And now with my youngest, after we passed the year mark I was thrilled. No major bumps (or bites). I thought that finally I might have one child that I could wean naturally, in our own time. And it seemed as if we were going rather smoothly along that road. Unfortunately, as his eye teeth have come in, he has developed some bad habits in his latch. My oldest was so adamant about nursing that even very, very little I could coach him in how to hold his mouth and he would do whatever it took to continue nursing. My youngest is more stubborn about doing things the way he wants. These teeth have been slowly easing their way in for months. Seriously- they first poked through  about 2 months ago and they’re still maybe half in. Try as I may, and try with all my might I did, but have ended with pain and lots of tears. After the battle we went through with MissE, hubbyman was adamant that I not let it progress to infection and the battle that becomes. While it seems we may be headed down that road anyways, we’ve certainly been trying everything in our power. I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. I was not getting enough milk and my body was not healing fast enough to actually nurse him. Last week he and I were both sick, which made pumping more difficult. I mean, not only did I not feel well, but he didn’t either, therefore was always in arms. Pumping and holding a wiggly baby toddler is not so easy. Today is my 5th day of not pumping. It’s kind of heartbreaking and I feel disappointed and sad.Littlest is now 18 months old, and I know that I have gone above and beyond what a lot of moms do, but it was not how I had envisioned things. You’d think with 3 kids, at least one of them would be easy! (But I guess it just adds to my frame of reference for more breastfeeding questions.) Now I know this doesn’t sound like it fits into a thankfulness post, and if I’m honest, I’ll tell you- I am not thankful for this. At all. But what I am thankful for is the support I have always been given by my husband. He came to my defense when I called the failings of my body into question (between his pregnancy, his birth, and now this…). He has become a staunch advocate himself, and  I find that something to be so thankful for.

We recently acquired a rocking chair that my parents had in the house I grew up in, which was wonderful because we didn’t have any furniture that rocked. And everyone with kids needs something that rocks! Between sick times and cuddle times- it’s just a necessity. At least to me. And over the holiday sales I found some suede microfiber fabric on major clearance that I snatched up to reupholster it with. I just about lived in this chair while we were all sick, rocking Littlest to sleep. And it became a miracle for while we were transitioning to bottles and milk not from the tap. We’d always nursed for nap time and bed time, and it was becoming a challenge to put him down without. In came the rocking chair. I mentioned to hubbyman how thankful I was for the rocking chair to rock and snuggle him in close, and how still having that time was helping to alleviate some of my disappointment. And so this week he took it upon himself and took apart the chair. He took the old upholstery off, he did some upkeep to the chair itself, and he spent a couple evenings in a row doing the actual reupholstering. I really missed being able to use it while it was a work in progress. But when I took Littlest upstairs to rock after an hour of unsuccessful bedtime attempts, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. He put his chubby little hand around my neck, gave me a kiss (along with the sound- his kisses always include the sound mmmwah!), nestled in, and went right to sleep.  It may not be the way I’d hoped, or the way I’d envisioned, but as I sat and rocked my sleeping baby, the disappointment and frustrations subsided and all I felt was thankful. For this old rocking chair turned into new and my sweet hubbyman who always seems to know my heart.

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Here We Go Again


I didn’t plan on posting today, mainly because my house is a huuuge disaster. Not only was this last month ridiculously busy, but as soon as people walked out our door, the plague walked in. Littlest has had a fever for a few days, and has been unwilling to spend any time out of my arms. And Big E came down with it yesterday and spent most of yesterday vying for a spot in my arms. This morning, for the first time in almost 5 days, I woke up to the sounds of all three of them in the playroom- playing! Unfortunately, it didn’t last for littlest E, he still spent the majority of the morning in my arms, but as the day goes on he’s a little more willing to venture forward. So U got ambitious and decided I’d attempt the dishes. What did I get for that? I got sprayed by the water hose. For those of you who’ve read this for a while, probably can guess my reaction to being sprayed, yet again, by that stinkin’ sticky handle on the sprayer. Turns out once it’s been tied down, it likes to remain stuck down, or randomly stick down on its own accord. If you are new to my life blog, then you may not know the story. And even if you aren’t- maybe a reread is in order. So here you go:

This morning I got up and it was freezing! I’d been cold all night too- even with Big E snuggled into our bed (I don’t even know when that happened?!), and that boy’s a heater. So turns out the heat never got turned up before bed (I turn it way down during the day depending on if we’re spending our day upstairs or downstairs… no point in heating an area we’re not in!). So I was cold and a little cranky. And then I go upstairs. I have Littlest E on my hip, because he’s been up for quite some time playing and is starting to get a little cranky. I get my favorite coffee cup -because of it’s size- and turn on the water (yes, I admit it, I was going to make instant coffee. Please don’t judge. I know it’s bad. I’m just that desperate for coffee immediately.)… and then it happens. I get sprayed with water. And it takes me a moment to realize what’s going on (hello?! no coffee yet!?!), and to realize that the baby on my hip is being sprayed directly in his face. Great. So I turn the water off and look at the hose, figuring something had to have gone wrong. And then it hits me. It’s APRIL FIRST. Crap. And there’s the string tied around the hose. So I do a little growling and muttering as I cut the string off. I wipe Ethan down, change shirts.  ….it might also be helpful to know this about me: I HATE when my clothes get wet. Like hate, hate. So much that a small spill even, will send me back into the house to change, no matter where I was heading, or how late I already am. Hate. It’s weird, don’t question it- it’s just how it is. Then Miss E (the 2 1/2 year old, nicknamed the dEva) starts asking for some water and she’s whining… so I pick her up and we go get her water. Turns out, the hose had been tied down so long, it wanted to stay in that position. You should also know something about Miss E: She’s dramatic, and she hates getting her clothes wet at least as much as I do. And still no coffee yet.

Breathe in….breathe out. Make enough coffee to feed an army. Drink and watch Ellen. Breathe. Try not to mutter about killing my husband in front of the children… aaahhh, coffee kicks in. As I posted in my facebook status: [Husband]- apparently you’ve forgotten who cooks your meals, washes your clothes, and raises your children… because you’d think you would know better than to pull a prank on her. But don’t worry, I’ll make dinner extra special as a reminder!

 

If you want to read more about this ridiculous story, you can read the original post in it’s entirety, my revenge post, and the post where the prank never ends, and obviously it never does because that was almost a year ago!

So may your pranks be epic, your coffee pot full, and your face stay dry.

I can’t wait until April.

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Perfect I Am. Not.


I’m going to share a secret with you. Nevermind, no, I’m not… Oh, fine. *Sigh* Ok, here goes. Sometimes I am not a perfect parent. I have a temper, I can be impatient, and some days I get really, really frustrated. (And I realize that I basically just said I’m impatient three times.) (This may go along with why I’m not a perfect spouse either, but that’s another story.)

I never would have imagined myself getting this frustrated with my children. After all, I wanted them and I love them… how could these three sweet beings make me so mad I could become a fire breathing dragon? I know this is all very shocking to find out… I was shocked as well. But there you have it, I am not a perfect parent.

When I’m tired, I am not my best self. And I’m tired a lot. I am guilty of giving them “quiet time” just because I needed some quiet time (and not because they actually needed/deserved the time out). I am guilty of disciplining them above their paygrade (or age). I am guilty of giving one preferential treatment over the other, based on who is currently being “the whiney one”, even when I know they are just needing some focused attention. I am guilty of wishing they would just shut up, even when they’re just (noisily) playing, or asking  a question-filled child, Can’t you ever be quiet?!? I am guilty of parenting in a way that does not coincide with what I believe parenting should be, for our family. I am guilty of throwing temper tantrums that may rival most 3 year olds.

Before you call my husband, or social services, you should know that these aren’t daily occurrences (at least not all of them every day/in the same day). But they happen, and I’m admitting it because… well, because maybe they happen to you too? And admittance is the first step, right?

So while I may have a meltdown one minute, I can assure you that it’s usually (about 98.5% of the time) followed by immediate remorse, apologies, talks, hugs, kisses, and the taking of a deep breath. Because while my impatience can sometimes reduce me to 3-year-old-antics, I am actually an adult, and I really do try and behave like one. At least when it comes to my children. And I know that really, this is not the way I’d envisioned parenting, nor is it the way I want to be parenting.

Why am I telling you this information? Because I’m human. Because I’m being honest. Because I want you to know that you’re not alone,  and since I’m being honest, I’ll admit that maybe it’s because I want to know that I’m not alone. Most importantly, because I want to make a change. I have gotten so little sleep lately that my patience has been thin-to none. And Mommy has been more drill sergeant than teacher. As my children are getting older, they will be remembering more and more. I can’t help but wondering if I’ve been behaving in a manner I’d appreciate them remembering?

I have one more thing to admit- The downside to attempting to have more patience and be a more patient parent? I’m going to be given opportunities to be tested. Crap.

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The Snotty Mommy Brigades


Ok, so I’m going to say this thing that I’m probably not supposed to say, you know, because I am one, but… Some moms make me roll my eyes and think, No wonder some (of course, not all) women without children have a hard time with those that do. Yesterday marked the official opening of spring for me- we had our first trip to the playground (Which thankfully is only about two blocks away!). And it was there I came face to face with the enemy. The Snotty Mommy Brigade. Ok, maybe they’re not the enemy, but they’re certainly not on my list of friends. The Snotty Mommies are women who have children, think that theirs are better, or yours are worse (or something like that). They give out calloused insults under the pretense of a compliment. (“I would never let my child go out in public wearing an outfit like that, my aren’t you brave.”) These women are harder to get in with than that uber expensive preschool in the city, with the 2 year long waiting list. And have a longer list of prerequisites than Harvard. I know you know the ones. They roll their eyes at the other moms trying to push their way through a door at the zoo, with a baby in one arm and a stroller in another, without bothering to help. But when the situation is reversed they order you to open the door for them. (I can’t help but roll my eyes and growl a little just thinking about it!) And it’s not just comprised of moms, there are some grandparents, some fathers, some with children/grandchildren, and some without. There are some women without children that have climbed aboard this bandwagon as well. Women who have forgotten to picture what life is like in someone else’s stilettos. Or flip flops.

They have no patience for children behaving like children, which let’s face it, even the best behaved, well-disciplined children, still behave like children. I know that no one wants to hear kids screaming and yelling and throwing a temper tantrum…ever. No mother does either. And father’s enjoy it even less. But just like I’m going to try and give you the benefit of the doubt when you roll your eyes at my kid (maybe it’s because you’d really like to be throwing a temper tantrum after the day you’ve had), please give me (and my child too) the same courtesy. Know that I try not to take them out when they’re at their hungriest, tiredest, crankiest… but sometimes it is just unavoidable. That’s the thing with the SMB (Snotty Mommy Brigade), they offer no support for a new mom, or even veteran mom, who’s running on little sleep and dealing with a child, or multiple children, who are hungry and tired. No support, only judgement. They are the Snotty Mommy Brigade. And sometimes it really does feel like they’re the enemy, raging war on us.

Then there’s The Real Mommy Brigade. It is not comprised solely of moms helping out other moms. It is the babysitting grandma’s, the caring aunts, the attentive girlfriends, grandfathers, fathers, and uncles too! Maybe a reason I didn’t expound too much on the women without children that are a part of the Snotty Mommy Brigade, is because my friends (both married and unmarried, women and men alike) are so not a part of that. They are women, and men, who are supportive, loving, and caring. And not just to me, to my children too. One of my girlfriends, who I like to refer to as my Happy Hour Mistresses, doesn’t mind running errands with me, and the kids. And she’s helpful with them, and laughs at their antics. And doesn’t freak out when I tell my biggest boy that if he doesn’t start behaving I’m going to send him home with her. Another just bought a boat with her husband, and as she was saying, I hope you’re ready for your kids to go boating and learn how to water ski… and all I could think was, thank God she is a part of my Mommy Brigade! And her husband too! They are GREAT with our kids (in fact, we love their whole family!). In fact, they are so accepting of our parenthood (instead of holding it against us like some of our “friends” that are really a part of the Snotty Mommy Brigade), that they don’t mind our “adult night” being a childfree dinner at their house, then taking the party to our house to put the kids to bed and then enjoy drinks and games while they sleep! (Did I mention, we love them?!) I do not believe that just because a couple, or a single, does not have children equates with them not liking children. And while, most of my friends still, of course, have time to contemplate their own parenthood, I am thankful for their willingness to be involved in mine. They are what get me through. They are what gets our family through.

The women at the park who told their children not to play with mine because they had “their real friends to play with,” they are not on my team. And I would never want someone like that on my team, taking swipes at me even from the sidelines. I am blessed and so thankful for my family, friends, and especially my Happy Hour Mistresses (because let’s face it, sometimes Mommy needs a time-out too!), who are on the front lines with me. And because I’m asking you to show a little grace, you little SMBrigader you, and because I’m still on that stinkin’ Love Dare (can you tell that I’m facing a challenging part right now?), I will show you grace as well. So even after you’ve instructed them not to play with my kids, I will give you directions when you’re having trouble telling another of your friends how to Community Center (that you can see from the playground). I will show my children what kindness looks like. I will show you what kindness looks like. Even when you tell your friend “This woman is telling me that I said the wrong street…No, of course I didn’t ask her…”  And when my daughter loudly says, Mom, I don’t like that lady. She is not a nice lady.I refrain from telling her that I agree. (But oh, how I agree. And want to say -equally as loudly- No, she’s not nice and I don’t like her either.) Instead I look at her children, who are watching this brief exchange, and I offer this to my girl, “Sometimes people say things that don’t sound very nice, but they may not mean for it to sound that way. And it’s really not very nice for us to talk about someone else either. It might not sound very nice to them.

And then I walk off, with littlest E sleeping, wrapped to my chest, calling the big Es to follow me, on an adventure into “the jungle” (a path in the woods)… they come following hand-in-hand, but just before they’re out of the SMB’s hearing biggest E says, “Those kids might not think their mommy was nice.” And middle E responds with, “Yeah, not like our mommy. She is nice. She really is.” ♥ And just for a moment the not-so-nice-mommy and I meet eyes, and in that moment something passes between us, and we know which mommy won today’s Battle of the Brigades.


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I do not like you, selfish I am


Sooo…. I said I was doing that “Love Dare.” Did I happen to mention practicing patience and kindness is hard? (versus just saying you’d like to acquire those attributes) I’m a few days behind, but I’m trudging my way through it. And because just like using a recipe verbatim would probably kill me, I had to tweak a few of my daily challenges. Like the day the challenge was to buy my spouse a gift. There are a couple reasons I did not do this: 1)I’m trying to do the challenge on my whole family and 2) trust me when I say that hubbyman would think it a better gift that I DIDN’T spend the money than if I’d boughten him something. I did, however, make him a big batch of Snickerdoodle cookies- enough to share with coworkers! Which meant I stayed up until 2 am because I had to make them after getting the kids to bed. And cleaned up afterwards so he didn’t awaken to a kitchen that looks like a bomb may have exploded inside a vat of flour.

Back to “the dare” that I seem to be dragging my feet through: I have a confession… while in general, I love big, give freely, and have so much empathy that it’s almost a problem… sometimes I get spent.I forget to do things just for me, or to at least take a “time out” myself. And then I become…selfish. (*insert collective gasp here*) I know, right?! It’s awful and I’m not proud of it. It is, however, true. I start to feel taken for granted which leads to feelings of discontentment. And discontentment (for me) breeds anger. In the midst of my feelings I get so caught up in how things are affecting me that I fail to see the effect I’m having on my family. And lately I’ve been a bit caught up in this cycle. Because my daily life is so entirely about “the little things,” My days pretty much revolve around the dishes, the laundry, the meals…and I can very easily get caught up in the feelings of I do it all and nobody cares. Which if I were to be introspective at all, would leave me admitting that I’m really feeling inconsequential. Instead, I stick with anger. Like a long lost friend, there is some strange sort of comfort in being angry. It’s such a familial-feeling friend to fall in with. It whispers in your ear, “You deserve some appreciation, way more than you’re getting. Nobody else does what you want. You’re always doing what they want…” You know anger and anger knows you. This cycle has a lot to do with why I started the Love Dare to begin with. As old of a friend as anger is, I’d like to get reacquainted with some others, like the patience and kindness I’ve been saying I’m working on.

And so the dare continues and I read and I do what it says, but I’m not sure I’ve actually been working on my patience…or my kindness. Maybe on the surface, but not so much in the heart. In fact, I found myself growing MORE angry. And the more I read and the more the lessons said, “you may be feeling this way… try choosing to behave like this…” the more angry I felt. What if my anger is valid? (insert thought bubble: of course my anger is valid!) What if I had some major injustice done to me? (insert thought bubble: of course I’m justified in my feelings!) Surely this justifies some anger and discontent. Nonetheless, I kept reading and then came…maybe day 8? It talked about two rooms. One is where we put the praises of those we care for (spouse, children, friends, etc and the wonderful things they’ve done and said to/for/about us and our positive feelings about them) and the other is where we put the negatives (he said, “blah, blah, blah…” she said, “blah, blah, blah…” they did this to me, they said that to me…) And while compartmentalizing some things can be healthy…moving into a room of discontentment, of course, isn’t. The day’s pages were filled with things like, when you spend a lot of time in this room you may go there to pick your fights, to be reminded of why you’re mad, even to prepare yourself for battle. And I have to admit, I do this. I go over the list of transgressions that I’m so worked up over and prepare what I would say, or what I think I should say, or what I feel is deserved to be said… over and over. It can become compulsive, even. Yuck. And can I just say it’s a little bit maddening when the very thing (the day’s love dare lesson) that’s making me mad, totally has me pegged. Crap. But just to show it who’s boss I thought I’d wait a couple days before acknowledging that the words on the pages were real in my heart. Ridiculous, right?! Of course it is, but it’s honest.

And so I confessed some of the feelings of my heart to my husband. And instead of the dialogue I’d perfected in my head, back in that room, I found the opposite taking place. Instead of my anger spewing forth, my insecurities, my fears, and my real emotions came out in a way that was open, honest, and non-accusatory (maybe some of those lessons were sinking in after all!). And my husband…instead of the words my head had heard him responding with, well, he responded in…SHOCK. He had NO IDEA that I was feeling the way I was feeling. It turns out the anger I’d been carefully polishing and protecting, like a prized trophy, is hard to hold on to when someone is so surprised by the fact that you don’t think everything is wonderful, because THEY are really thinking things are (truly) wonderful, and that I knew how wonderful he thought it all was. I mean, it’s almost laughable. Here I was, stewing in discontentment that I was sewing into my own life… and there was my husband, looking at me with eyes that spoke volumes of love, compassion, and concern…along with some confusion. And of course, the negativity began to fall away… and so here I am sitting in another room. A room with warm, compassionate, thankful words on the walls. Walls that show examples of my children having patience with me. Words that show my husband making an effort to let me know he appreciate all the little things he does. Words and memories of all the wonderful, thoughtful things my family and friends do and have done. Some, even on a regular basis. So while I’m fighting the urge to roll my eyes at the sappy, corniness of some of the things this room has to say… I am humbled and appreciative that I have all these things to say about those that are closest to my heart. And I’m reminded of a phrase I was often told growing up, and have often repeated, “You cannot change others, you can only change yourself.” And while any life is going to have ups and downs and cycles that are forever repeated, today I am CHOOSING to think positive thoughts about those around me along with myself. I work hard to keep everyone clean, clothed, fed, and happy. Erik works hard to provide the means for all of that. And the kids work hard to be…kids! Learning and living, and really, trying to be good. And while it may not be true of everyone, today I am going to CHOSE to be motivated with kindness and patience towards everyone I come in contact with. (insert thought bubble: Can I spent the rest of the day in bed with the door locked?)

today’s mantra: My feelings, thoughts, and desires are not more important than yours.

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