Thursday, February 27, 2014

We don't know everyone's story...

Sometimes I need a reminder that we don't know everyone's story.  Today I was eating at Subway and a lady and three school aged girls came in.  I didn't really get a good look at the girls good as my back was to them.  The lady was on her phone and they were waiting for someone.  I smiled in my head as I heard the girls bicker because it sounded like every meal I have ever eaten out with my kids.  I understood (I thought) what the lady was going through.  As I left, she apologized for the girls and I told her I completely understood as I got through the same with my kids.  She quickly explained that she they are foster kids.  Suddenly what I overheard made more sense.  Earlier she explained to one girls that "they don't hit each other in this family" and as I was leaving, she was holding one and she was screaming "I want MY MOM!!!" and the other girls were saying "she is your mom today."  I got in my car and realized that I didn't understand at all what they were going through.  I don't know these girls story or anything about them or why they are not with their moms.  I cried all the way back to my office.  I cried for these girls that do not have their mom and I cried for this lady as she was trying to help them.  I wished I could do more but said a little prayer for them all.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some embarrassing stories...

Here is another growing up issue I am working through with Laci these days.  Apparently, I am constantly embarrassing her.  Well, I'm her mother.  She needs to know that unfortunately, I will always embarrass her.  Sometimes just for my own amusement.  She is also getting very sassy and she is talking back to us a lot.  Whenever she tells me I am embarrassing her, I remind her that her being sassy and talking back to me around other people is very embarrassing to me.
But here is a funny story about them getting embarrassed now that they are a little older.  We stopped by her friend, John's house yesterday at about 6:30 to drop off girl scout cookies.  He was already in his pajamas and really embarrassed.  I tried to make him feel better by telling him that we were just going to go home, take baths and get in our jammies too.  Later that night, Laci said she was really embarrassed because I told him they were going to take baths.  I reminded her that I was just trying to make him feel less embarrassed too.  Oh the joys of growing up. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time to Re-evaluate and Remember

A coworker of mine recently decided to go to part time.  She has an infant son and said she wants to spend more time with him and that she just felt ragged and couldn't do it all.
I totally realize that this decision of hers has absolutely nothing to do with me and my mothering.  But I immediately felt horrible.  I am constantly plagued with guilt.  Guilt that I am a working mother.  Guilt that I don't feel guilty for being a working mother.  I felt horrible.  Why?  Do people think I don't enjoy spending time with my kids? 
So I agonized over this.  Did I not spend enough time with my kids when they were babies?  Here is what I remembered after re-evaluating their first few years.  
I never felt ragged those first few years.  That was the simpliest and easiest time for me.  And I am fortunate enough to have known that and appreciated it.  I gave everything up but my job.  My life was so simple.  I went to work, came home and was with Laci.  I didn't run errands.  I didn't go out with friends.  I didn't coach or play soccer anymore.  I wasn't in any church groups.  I don't regret any of it.  I knew at the time that those things weren't important and in time, they would come back.  I remember watching Jeopardy at 7:30 after she went to bed and I knew that those days wouldn't last.  She would eventually stay awake past 7:30 and my "free evenings" would be over.  We're at that point now but it's the way it should be.  I haven't watched Jeopardy in 4 years.  
I remember when she was about 2 years old thinking about how simple our life was.  Work and play with Laci.  That was it.  Spring and warm weather was the best.  We would come home and go for a walk or to the park or pond or just play outside.  I remember journaling about how boring our life was.  We didn't go on play dates.  We didn't go to fairs or the children's museum.  We didn't do a lot of expensive activities.  We were just together.  Charlie usually didn't come home until later so it was just the two of us.  It was just perfect. 
Then Calvin came along and Laci got a little older.  We still have a very simple life.  There are a lot of times in the winter when we are all in our jammies at 7:30 chilling out.  Charlie is still gone a lot and it is just the three of us now.  In the summer we are outside nearly every evening.  I love that our neighborhood is full of kids and we can all just play outside or go to the pool.   Laci loves to go outside and just waits until someone comes out to play.  It's so hard in the winter to have playdates and she is struggling being cooped up..
Now we are a little busier but not too much.  The kids are gone so much, I don't want to overwhelm them.  I try to have a lot of home time to just play.  She has girl scouts twice a month and ballet once a week.  We are fortunate that the school offers several things at school when she is normally in afterschool care.  This month she has tennis twice a week and is done before I pick her up.  I am going to wait another year or so before getting Calvin involved in anything.  He is pretty socialized from daycare and doesn't need any more instruction.
My life is still pretty simple.  I have slowly added a little "me" time.  I run at lunch and know that without a lunchtime gym, running wouldn't be a priority.  I am grateful.  Charlie and I are in a small group at church that meets twice a month.  The focus is families and marriage.  I am in a book club that meets once a month.  Like most women's book clubs, we discuss the book for a few minutes and then just chat.  Between kids, I played soccer again for a few seasons.  I would like to go back to playing soccer again someday.  We don't have any sitters or family nearby so we do it all.  Last week at book club, one of the ladies commented about how ragged she felt.  She has a 6 month old and a 3 year old and is still adjusting to life with two kids.  She said it is hard to balance work, kids and a social life.  I realized that it is the social life that I cut out.  I know how fortunate I am to be able to balance work and kids and have a very simple life.  I know how fortunate I am to not feel ragged.  I know that the best thing I did was simplify my life and cut out the unnecessary.
So the answer to the question "Did I do enough when the kids were babies?  Do I do enough now?" is Yes.  Yes I do.  My kids are my priority and they know it.  I don't feel jealous or bad but I feel very grateful and fortunate.