Friday, October 22, 2010

Have fun telling your family this one...

We have entered the land of the sick...again.

And I am pretty certain that we live here now - and just take short vacations to the land of the

All four kids.  And the hubby.

Oh, and my mom who got sick thanks to me (well, really to my children, but I am the one who brings them over there to see her) and landed herself in the hospital because her fever caused her to have a ms attack.

Four sick kids, and the hubby, and my mom.

I'm not sick though.


But because I really enjoy stressing out, I do it very well, and have won all the awards due to my wonderful talent of stressing such as the "Nine year old ulcer" award, and the "TMJ only due to stress" award, oh and my favorite was the "Breaking out in hives for a solid two months" award - I have decided to stress out.

Yes, I know - very logical, right?

So, I win the TMJ award...again.

So, 4 sick kids, and the hubby, and my mom...and a mouth that refuses to open without pain.


Oh, and one of the stressing out awards that I loathe soooooo much is the "Eat like you will never eat again"  award.  That one rocks.  Won that one yesterday.....

And then I realized, well, was reminded of my UNHEALTHY love for food.  Stupid unhealthy love for food.  I mean when you are addicted to alcohol or drugs...the effect lasts for a little bit.  But with food, the enjoyment is gone as soon as you are finished eating.  That sucks.  So, last night I go to bed with a sweet little reminder that I need to break this stupid addiction to food and I seriously need to stop stressing out.


So, then I have a wonderful dream that lasted ALL.NIGHT.LONG.

And just as a precursor to me telling you this dream, please note that I totally understand there is no medical basis for said dream, so please do not inform me that my dream was medically was a dream people.

Ok, so in my dream I'm totally out of shape, and just plain fat.  I had been eating (in my usual fashion) but all the junk food made me so sluggish that I decided not to exercise anymore because there was just no point.  So, hence my insane obesity...

I could barely keep up with my kids, my husband found me completely unattractive, I was depressed - am I painting a pretty picture here?  Ya, it was a great night of sleep last night, let me tell ya'.

Despite my grotesque appearance, I was still behaving the same way when it came to stress...the food just wasn't doing it for me anymore.  And my stressing was out of control.  It made me that much more unattractive to my hubby, made me a really mean mommy and all in all I was just totally and completely miserable.

Yes, yes, happy Friday everyone...just bare with me.

So, then I get all numb (thank you Dr. Oz show for talking about strokes yesterday (yes, we are 90 and watch the Dr. Oz show) can you do parenthesis within parenthesis?) and tingly...and my body just goes crazy.  So I go to the doctor who wasn't Dr. Oz and he tells me I have chronic progressive (the kind that just keeps getting worse and worse and worse) Multiple Sclerosis.

I say, in typical Melissa fashion, "Why?"

And the doctor says, "Because you are fat and stressed.  Your body can't maintain the way you live and your behaviors within your life.  Have fun telling your family this one."  (Can I please say, I would not recommend dream doctor to anyone?)

And I went and told my family.

They weren't sad.  They weren't scared.  They weren't surprised.  They were angry - and let down.

Emma said, "You just loved that ice cream more than me..."

Luke said, "Really, you couldn't just go walking more?"

Dave just looked at me with disgust (which is so not like Dave in case you were all worried) which made it that much more nightmare-ish.

So, today I have not yelled.  I have talked quietly, and in the moments when I want to yell because the stress is starting to get to me, I whisper.  I have decided that I do love my family, my marriage, my health, my happiness more than food and definitely more than stress (which is really another psycho form of control - and we all know how much I love control).

God made it perfectly clear in the word that worrying does not add any time to our lives, so what's the point?  And as much as ice cream always sounds wonderful, the deliciousness of it is gone as soon as the ice cream is consumed unlike being healthy is a reward that is long lasting.

I'm still unnerved by my whole dream, and I know I'm not going to get MS because I like ice cream and I stress really easily, but it was a pretty amazing wake up call to what could be if I didn't get myself into check.

Anyway - on that note...happy Friday.  I encourage you to choose your family, your marriage, your health this weekend instead of all the other things that beg for our attention and devotion.

They just aren't worth it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You're the center of my univer...wait, hold that thought.

I don't remember the specifics, but it was an Oprah show.

I was newly married and without children (you know, the days when I still went to movies and slept on a regular basis?) and I was visiting with my mom.

The show was about marriage and kids.

Keep in mind, I did NOT have children...yet.

There were women on the show talking to Oprah how hard it was to be a mom - working moms, stay at home moms, just moms in general.

And then, as a special guest (I think it was just some random woman) there was a lady who, get this, loved her husband MORE than her children!  I know, shocking.

All the other women berated her, "How can you possibly love your husband more than the precious children you mother?"

As I watched this episode, I sided with the special guest.  Of course you should love your husband more...otherwise your kids will be the center of the universe and what happens when your kids grow up?

My mom on the other hand, who had three children, sided with the mob.  "Of course you love your children more than your could you not?"

If I recall, we had quite the discussion that day...and I believe I left that day agreeing to disagree.

Now, 7 years or so later and 4 children later, I agree with...the special guest.  Still.

But she made it seem so easy.

Stupid guest.

I try to love my hubby with all my heart.  I try to not let him slip to the back burner.  I try to value his conversation and pay total attention to him.  I try to give him one hundred percent of me all the time.  I try to be understanding of his role as provider.  I try, I try, I try. 

But I think I fail...often.

Darn failure.

I don't know how much of my failure is really me intentionally choosing my kids over Dave and how much of it is pure survival at this stage in life.

When he is trying to tell me about his day, and I quickly run away to save the house from burning down due to a candle that has been intercepted by a toddler (no, really, I do take precautions in my deodorizing my house...but seriously people, don't underestimate the power of an acrobatic toddler)...or when I am trying to make him dinner because I know he skipped lunch to save us money and I completely space it due to my four year olds deciding to "cook" themselves with all my spices (ya, my kids like to cook...possibly a little too much) - I know he feels like he comes last, but really, would he like if I ignored them in these situations and continued tending solely to him?  I think not.

But here's my dilemma - and this was brought to the forefront of my attention yesterday...

If when he is talking to me, and the kids are about to, let's say dump an entire container of orange juice all over the floor, and I divert my attention to the soon to be catastrophe - he gets frustrated at me for (once again) putting him last.  If I, however, pay attention to him and let the catastrophe happen, then he gets frustrated at the kids and at me for allowing it to happen.  And then I, in my wonderfully mature and rational way, get frustrated at him for being so (what I feel at the time) ridiculous...and then we don't talk for a couple of hours.

I understand that he wants to feel important.

Poor guy went from being the center of my universe (that may be overstating it a bit, but you understand my point) to feeling lost in a crowd of kids overnight.  Two babies right away, three babies shortly after that, four babies soon after - and I know he feels like screaming, "HELLO!!!!  I'M STILL HERE!!!!  DON'T FORGET ME!!!!!!!!!!"

Yet I, multi-tasking phenom that I am, somehow cannot figure out how to juggle my four small children and my husband and make them all feel valued and love ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  But I need to.  I want to.  I want my husband to leave each day feeling like he is the most important human being in the world to me, and come home feeling like the love of my life and my hero for providing for us.  Yet, I know that in reality, when he leaves in the morning he feels just like a paycheck needing to happen and when he comes home at night he feels like he is my hired hand. 

I am sure it will get easier as they get older and less demanding and prone to doing things that include flooding, fire, destruction and danger - but the baby is one...and I can't continue feeling like I am constantly letting him down, and I know he can't continue feeling like he is forgotten until the baby is old enough to wipe his own bottom (sorry about another poop reference, but seriously - that's a huge cause of interrupted conversation!)

And beyond all that, if it doesn't change soon, I can envision us when they are all busy with their own lives and we are alone, not knowing how to carry on a conversation without having to be busy all the time...dividing my attention.

How do you handle this?  Or do you?

Do you side with the women in the mob who feel that there is no possible way you can love your husband more than your children, or do you side with the special guest who believed it was imperative that you do?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caution!!! Helicopter mom coming through...

I don't want to be that parent.

I know I shouldn't be that parent.

But alas, I find myself being that parent.

You know, the parent that is always close by, always ready to step in and rescue their child, always ready with the claws out to defend and protect against any wrong doing towards their offspring?

Ya, that's me.


My kids, especially the older two, are quite capable little kids.  In reality, they don't need me hovering around - yet in my "I need to control everything, if I'm not I don't know how to breathe" way, I hover...

Yet again, me (gosh, seriously, I'm a slow learner...) with my beautiful controlling qualities.

Watch out people, because in a year when the twins go off to kindergarten, I am going to be an absolute mess.  They will be gone.  At school.  Without me to protect, correct, guide.  They will do so well.  I however, will be a mess...those will be fun blogs I'm sure.

Anyway, so you might be asking - what makes you think of this dear control freak?  Well, let me tell you.

This morning we went to a long time friend's house who has a boy the same age as Luke.  They of course were wrestling - as all little boys do.  And then, in true little boy fashion, Luke's buddy clocked him in the face.

Was Luke crying?  No.

Did Luke come running to me in pain?  No.

Did Luke even turn to me or give me any indication that he needed even a smidge of help from me?  No.

So, I just sat there quietly and let them work it out....

Of course that's not what I did people - I am a helicopter parent in recovery!

I went to him, treated him like a baby and acted like he was a victim (when he was clearly not since they were wrestling and not three minutes later he returned the favor to his friend and got him even worse than Luke got it.)

As I was participating in my helicopter-esque behavior, I wanted to gag myself.  Really do I want my son to have to run to me every time something goes awry? 

Do I really want my kids to feel powerless without my aid to fight their own battles, to overcome their own hurdles, to succeed individually?

No!  Yet, I hover.

Might as well add a propeller to my wardrobe...


You should see me at a playground.

No, really - I'm that mom.

Oh boy...

Hello, my name is Melissa and I am a helicopter parent.

Ok.  No more.  They shall fight their own fights...and I will leave them to figure out how to resolve conflict WITHOUT me - except when they do the punching...that's a different story.

But really, don't we all want to protect our kids?  Don't we all (once again grouping all you readers in with my dysfunction so as not to feel so bad about my abnormalities as a mother)want to save our kids from ever getting hurt?

Yet I know that it was when I've been hurt that I've experienced the greatest growth.

Ya - deep, I know...

Great in theory. 

Ok, putting down the jet pack...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love and marriage, love and la la

A long time ago, a family very dear to my heart had a son after two daughters.

I was about 14 maybe and in a conversation with her she told me that it was her intention to raise her son up to be a godly man.  That conversation stuck with me.

Now I have two boys of my own, and although there are days when my only hope is to make it to bedtime without losing my sanity - I now desire the same thing for my sons: To raise them into godly men.

But a little touch of romantic wouldn't be so bad either...

With that said, I am working to teach Luke how to be a gentleman.  I am teaching him to treat women like princesses (please excuse me feminists who would much rather open their own door...) to open doors for them, to wait for girls to go first, to compliment and be gentle with them.

I have taught Luke how to ask girls to dance with him (living in a home with 3 of us, he has lots of practice) and so now he will politely ask Emma, "May I please have this dance?"  He then puts one arm on her waist and the other holding her hand, gently spins her and then kisses her on her cheek.

I know I will probably kick myself when he is sixteen and these gentlemanly gestures are getting him into precarious situations...but nonetheless...

Yesterday as we were leaving the grocery store that also has a jewelry store in it, we had to do our ritualistic stop to get a magazine so Emma could look to see what diamond she wants Daddy to buy her when she is all grown up (which happens to be the ripe old age of...5)  But yesterday, Luke asked if he could get one too.

"Um, why Buddy?"

"I need to pick out what ring I am going to buy my mother."

"You are going to buy me a ring?"

"No Mommy, not you, my mother."

"Buddy, I am your mother."

As he puts his hand on his head, as if he is totally exasperated at my complete ignorance regarding the things of love, he emphasizes again, "Mommy, I will all grow up and marry my MOTHER."

"Oh Luke, you mean your wife?"

"Ya, ya, wife."

I then proceed to buckle him and we begin to drive home.  After a bit of silence he says, "But Mommy, I don't know my wife's name."

"I know you don't Honey.  But you know who does?"


"God does.  He already knows which woman you are going to marry when you grow up."

"WHAT?!?!?!  I don't want to marry a woman, I want to marry a girl."

"Well, a woman is a grown up girl."

"You are a woman?"

"Yes buddy, and you will become a man."

"But I don't want to be a man, I want to be a boy!  Mommy, I'm a boy!"

"Well, women are grown up girls and men are grown up boys.  Daddy is a man."

"He is?"


"Hmmm....." and after another long bout of silence he begins, "I will all grow up into a man and my girl will grow into a moman (yes, moman) and then we get married.  Then I become a father and she becomes my mother..."  (At this point, I decided not to correct...I mean, he will figure it out, eventually right?)


"Yes Luke?"

"Bella says I can marry her.  I will marry Bella and she will become my mother."

"Whatever Luke."

At this point he threw the magazine on the floor of the van in frustration.

"What's going on, Luke?"

"There is nothing good in here for my mother."

Ok, he's four...we have plenty of time.  And then Emma speaks up...

"Mommy, I know what my daughter's name is."

"Your daughter?  You already know what your daughter's name is?"

"Yes.  Uncle Seneca."

"Uncle Seneca?  That's a silly name for a daughter."

"Ok, Patrick."

"You mean your future husband?"

"Ya, ya, ya."

"Oh, ok.  Because you are my daughter.  You are going to marry your husband."

"Oh...then I know what my husband's name is."

"Oh, really?"

"Uncle Seneca."

Aunt Cathleen might have an issue with that one sweetie.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

But I don't wanna...

Dave and I decided that we would make our kids finish what they started - always.

I thought that principle would be good to instill into our children since it's an admirable know, finishing things?

So, we have.

Half way through t-ball, ok, who are we kidding, halfway through the first game Luke told us that he was done.  But no, we made him finish his season and he ended up loving it.

Usually, during a page of school work that is especially difficult one or both of the twins will say they are done.  But no, I make them finish it - because we finish what we start.

Now we are doing soccer, and so far our kids love it.  But I know it's coming, when their feelings get hurt, or they have to sit out for awhile longer than desired and they tell me they are done.  And I will, yet again, tell them no because we finish what we start.

Cute, huh?

Except, what happens when, Emma (because it will be Emma who points out my fatal flaw and informs me I am grossly coming up short in an area) looks at me and says, "Mommy, when are you going to finish the laundry?  Remember, we need to finish what we started..."

Or, "Mommy, when are you going to wash that last pan in the sink?  Remember, we need to finish what we started..."

Or best of all, "Mommy, weren't you supposed to exercise EVERY day?  What happened?  You are going to finish what you started, right?"

As I was thinking about it, I always often start things with an excitement and then, well, life happens.

I know, horrible excuse.

But really, people, LIFE HAPPENS.  All 4 kids get sick.  Or I get sick.  Or the dishwasher breaks (because Lord knows, I HATE doing dishes by hand) or happens.

And then things that once were exciting and enjoyable even become tedious chores added to my plate that, really, I don't have time for...ok, I don't want to make time for.  And then I neglect them.

Often times, I commit to things and then there is a lapse in time from when I make my commitment to when I have to fulfill it, and that time is enough for me to question my sanity in committing in the first place and convince myself that I really can't take another thing on.

Nice, Melissa.  I know my kids are watching.  I know that they are looking to see if I in fact stop drinking diet coke since I said a couple of weeks ago I was going to stop.  I know Emma is looking to see if I actually will exercise every day like I said I was going to so I could get more healthy for myself and our family.  And then, I can see their disappointment in their faces when they ask, "What are you drinking?"  And I confess to them it's diet pop...and not grown up juice.  Darn 4 year olds know everything...just ask them - they will tell you.

Do you finish what you start?  Do you make your kids finish what they have started?  Or do you allow them to quit when it becomes no longer enjoyable or too hard?

Now, I am going to get ready for our daily preschool class that I committed to doing with the kids daily - even though it's entirely unenjoyable for me and quite tedious...but I must finish what I started, so they will do the same...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hate-Mongers...or maybe just scaredy cats


I detest that phrase.

Really, I do.

And for a while, I think I have fallen into the trap of thinking that because I'm a Christian, I am instantly perceived and labeled a "hate-monger."

There are things, based on the bible, that I believe are right and wrong.  Things that I believe are black and white with no room for gray. 

Yet, God has been working on my heart.

A lot.

I think that it is easier to believe the lie that I am already perceived as a hate-monger than to overcome my fear/anxiety of sharing my faith. 

I think that we (and yes people, I'm totally generalizing, but before you get angry, delete me from your "friend" list and stomp away, here me out...) would rather buy into the story that those who don't know Jesus are angry at God, angry at the church, angry at Christians and therefore they will be forever eternally lost, because simply, we just cannot overcome their angst towards us.

Ok, I know there are people (I have some in my own world) who know about God and Jesus.  They have studied the bible and are probably more knowledgeable about what the bible says than most Christians.  And yes, when they decided to NOT believe in God or Jesus they did so because they were angry.  We would like to think they were angry for no good reason, but by all accounts, they had just cause.  People who called themselves Christians have severely let them down, hurt them, even abused the role they had - and yet proclaimed Jesus the whole time.

But really, are most people in that boat?

I dare say, that most people who have not accepted Jesus into their lives as Lord, haven't done so because no one has told them the Good News.

And instead of accepting the responsibility, and admitting to ourselves that we are failing at the Great Commission, we blame it on them - we say it's because they have shut out the truth because they believe Christians are already hate mongers anyway.

Come on!!!

God is kind, but He's not soft.  We know the truth, and yet we are sitting on our hands.  How selfish!!! 
And, if all that people who don't believe in Jesus know about those of us that do know Him is that we are quick to judge and are all talk and no walk - then maybe we deserve the reputation that we believe goes before us.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Competition Crazy Mom...

I have four kids.

Not just four kids, but 4 kids in 3 years.


Ok, ok, I'm no Kate plus 8 or Octo-mom, which is ok considering my marriage is intact and I'm mentally balanced (most days) - but really, 4 kids in 3 years with no nanny or video cameras on me constantly to keep me in check? 

I say this in jest.  Because, generally speaking, I am not competitive. 

Really, I'm not.

Case in point:  Coaching t-ball.  The other coaches are screaming at their teams to "drive the line," while I am encouraging my team in their sand castle building abilities.

But apparently, when it comes to being a mom I'm competitive.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Which, let's laugh for a moment, since if you read this blog you know of my wonderful habit of yelling, and my constant battle with being quick to anger...yet, I am competitive.

Ridiculous if you ask me.

A few weeks ago I went on a late night (ok, it was like 8 pm, but I have 4 kids 4 and under, so it may as well been midnight people) trip to the store.  As I was standing in line, there was a mom with a teen and a little baby behind me.  Being cordial (as I enjoy doing when I don't have my kids taking random things off the shelf distracting me) I asked her how old her baby was.

"One," she said,

"Oh, I have a one year old too...such a fun age."  (Why is it that when I don't have my kids with me, I have to talk about them?  COME ON MELISSA!)

"And then they grow up to this," she said pointing to the rather unamused teenage girl with her.

"Ha, ha, ha (like I'm not already scared half to death to think I will have 4 teenagers at once, 2 of which will be girls!)  I'm trying to ignore that reality..."

"How many do you have?"  And here's my moment of glory, people - the moment when I say how many kids I have and how close together they are so that everyone can pat me on the back telling me I'm Mommy of the Year even though they have no clue who I am.

"I have four."

"I beat you, I have five."  Seriously???  SERIOUSLY???  I can't let her win, I totally am a more stressed out, overworked mommy than she is...

"Wow five!  After my twins (always the key to winning) and then 2 more in 36 months (my last moment to pull out a win), I am done.  Wow, five - that's impressive... "

"Twins?  You definitely win...I can't imagine having twins!"

And I walked away inwardly gloating, because I won yet another "who's the craziest mommy" game.

Are you guilty of playing the mommy game too?  Or am I the only one, because I know I would lose at any real competition? 

But in the last couple of weeks, in those rare moments when I only have one or two or even three of my munchkins, I am still running in circles.  Regardless if I have one kid or all four, I'm working endlessly to love and teach, guide and direct my kids.  Being a mom, whether or not you have 1 of 19 is a never ending, wonderful, exhausting, rewarding, laborious job.  And really, the competition is ridiculous.

I decided, that instead of spending my time seeing who scores higher I should use that time to encourage other moms.  I should be intentional with my limited time and my opportunities I have with other moms.  I decided, instead of talking about my kids, to encourage the moms I see with how I see they are doing a great job.  I decided, instead of seeing the mom who is totally embarrassed by her kid who is having a total melt down and
just thinking to myself that I'm glad it's not my kids this time, that I will be intentional and walk by her and encourage her somehow, even by saying, "We all have these days...hang in there."

Are you intentional when you meet other moms?  Do you feel like you are winning the mommy game, maybe losing?  Encouragement goes a long way, and Lord knows that there have been times when all I have wanted was for someone to tell me I am doing a good job. 

I intend to be that encouragement for someone else.

How about you...