This is a photo from our recent family vacation. It was dusk and the kids were wild so we took them out to the beach to run. The boys headed into the water to play while my daughter dashed back and forth trying to dodge the crashing waves.
She is a little handful. She is smart, sassy and regardless of how pretty she is, she gives the best stink-eye ever. This girl loves to play with her friends and when her friends are not around, she will make friends. She is not picky. It can be an old lady, the check-out person at the store or a gaggle of first grade boys. But more than making friends, I think she is looking for an audience. Those weeks when she continually gets on the color red, or has the “sad crayon” note come home from school, her teacher shakes her head and with a resigned look she says, “She’s just going to grow up to be on television, I’m convinced.” she smiles.
The one thing I worry about her is that she is a bit of a chameleon. If her friend is afraid of water, she will pretend to be afraid of water (if that friend is older or has a bigger personality). She goes along, picks up on irritating habits from the boys and is all around impressionable. But she is five. I guess all kids are impressionable.
I’ve been talking to her about being her own person and I hope that she’ll listen. Clearly she is a bit too young to really understand, but so long as we keep talking about it, I hope she will take my lesson to heart. Especially since I’m a self proclaimed “non-conformist” and have been forever, I hoping my daughter will grow to be the same. It kept me away from drugs, alcohol and most negative influences. I want her to grow into an independent, smart girl who thinks for herself.
She is my wild crazy fierce little girl and I love her. I only hope she doesn’t age me too quickly.
Parenting can sometimes be a little tricky, obviously this is an understatement, it is always tricky. But sometimes I feel like it is even more so and not only does my child end up getting corrected, but I am forced to learn a lesson myself.
For instance, when my 3rd grader complains loudly, for like the tenth time in a few weeks, that it was no fair in Kindergarten when he had to clip down because there was no way to clip up-I want to make fun of him. I want to say, sarcasm dripping from my voice, “Son, I know this was very traumatizing for you but you have to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and move on. You can’t carry the trauma of the Kindergarten clip chart with you for the rest of your life.”
However, I can’t quite do this, not with the other kids around because then his older brother tries to chime in and, not quite understanding the artful funny moment of how to poke fun of someone who is making a small thing into a big thing, he just ends up being mean. Sigh.
Mommy guilt wasn’t something I often struggled with until recently. Now I seem to struggle with it all of the time. Having a demanding work schedule along with my responsibility to my photography clients, writing and my role as Municipal Liaison (ML) for my regional NaNoWriMo, has left me with not a lot of quality time. That is when Mommy Guilt came roaring at me. And before you say, “But Jacque, just stop doing some of those other things. Family is first!” Yes, I know this. My role as ML is only demanding during October and November and, sadly, I turned down a lot of photography jobs because I just didn’t have the time. It is mostly my work schedule, and that can’t be helped. Not if I want to do a good job. But I digress.
Recently, while I was hanging out with Mommy Guilt and berating myself because it seemed like the only time I had with my kids was spent cleaning or cooking or putting them to bed, I had a great idea. I would make my kids cook and clean and I would take a nap. HA HA, just kidding. But I would give them more responsibility in cleaning and taking care of the house through using planners and we would do it together! We would plan out our week, have chore charts and each kid would help me cook a meal that we could also eat later in the week as leftovers. It would solve so many problems! Only I couldn’t find anything online like what I was looking for. Especially the planner part. So I made my own planner pages!
Now two weeks into this process, and mission accomplished. Mommy Guilt has packed her bags and is now chain smoking in a seedy hotel laying in wait for a poor unsuspecting overworked mom to move in with and my house is a little bit cleaner!. The kids are learning how to clean and we are spending quality time together cooking! Plus we have healthy meals for the week. Win win!
I’m adding my planning pages and chore chart to this blog post so you can make use of them. We put their planner pages and chore charts into a three ring binder, added some binder sleeves to it to throw in their school work and art projects and let them decorate the front. Initially I only put this together for my eight and ten year old sons, but my five year old daughter jumped on the band wagon and demanded her own planner. More free labor! I plan to post my kid tested cooking together recipes later, so stay tuned for those.
Have a great week!
Download from the link below and have fun!
I was encouraged to participate in a blog link party sponsored by “How Do You Do it” after commenting on Twitter that I could write about barely doing it and advice on just coping and getting by in motherhood and life. You can see the tweet below.
The reason I responded like that was because I don’t think I can even presume to say that I’m “doing it” regarding parenting or life at all. I’m coping. I’m a working, hobbied mom of three whose husband works out of town several days a week and every other weekend. And I just quit my job.
Yes, I just quit my job of seven years and will be starting a new one in about two week. Currently I work 40 hours a week, 5 of which are done at home with my four-year-old repeatedly trying to climb into my lap, mediating fights between my seven and nine year old sons and trying to protect the kitties that are constantly chased and lovingly tortured by all three children. It makes for fun times.
If you read this post you might realize my current job is fairly stressful but it allowed me the flexibility to pick up the kids from school, run some errands, take them to their sporting events or even work out. So long as I got my forty hours a week in. In addition to that I also write on the side and I do photography as well.
However it was time to move on from that particular day job, it had been time for awhile. I was lucky enough to find something great but it comes with a schedule that won’t have the flexibility so now my head is spinning. My son has track practice 3 times a week, two have music once a week. Little League and Soccer is coming up! Who will watch them after school? Who will take them to their events and meets? When will I get groceries?? How will I get them home at 6pm, sometimes 6:30 and get them fed, homeworked, bathed and in bed by 8:30? I’m panicking a little.
So how am I going to do it? I’m asking for help. There is no other way I could do it. I texted the track coach whose son has been friends with mine since Pre-K and asked if he could help me get him there on one or more of the track days. I asked my husband to take Thursdays as his day off so he could do the music and track practice that day. I might ask my nephew to pick up the kids from school on his day off so I can save a little bit of money on aftercare. I would ask my mother to help but she ran away down south for who knows how long.
Asking for help is a hard thing to do but it is something important to do. It takes a village after all. I know I am always happy and willing to help someone if I can so why shouldn’t I every now and then ask for someone to help me? In fact I was just thinking today how happy I am to help a friend by picking her son up from school every day this week. I’m glad I can help make someone’s life a little bit easier.
Asking for help has been a bit harder lately. The people I often relied on have moved away or had serious illnesses. I’ve had to ask people I’m less close to for help, which is hard, but they smile and respond “of course!”. I try to find ways to pay them back, offer to take their kids, a gift card, a thank you.. but there are just times when I can’t repay the favor or magnitude of kindness. In those times I think the only way to pay them back is to pay it forward. Like the time recently I gave a friend that was hard up for cash some random money for no reason. I’m sure it surprised her, but in my note I told her how 8 years ago a friend of mine had sent me random money because she knew I was struggling. I hope I was able to honor my friend’s kindness by passing it on to another.
So how do I do it? Heck if I know! I’m barely doing it. If I figure it out, if I’m still alive next month, I’ll clue you in. And no, you can’t have back the five minutes you spent reading this, sorry. Time wasted on this site is non-refundable.
Find other articles on others that are “doing it” better than I am by clicking the picture below. They may actually have some valuable advice 😉
This morning, after my youngest called me about 50 times while I was in the bathroom, I had the idea that changing my name to “I’m Ok!” would be the best thing ever. So every time they screamed at me, they’d just be saying “I’m ok!”
and I’d be all “That’s great!” and go back to playing CandyCrush or something else just as useless.