Good friends are better than magazines!

Dakotapam and friends
Here I am with two of my BFFs, separated by miles, connected by the interwebs!

I’ve come pretty far as a mom.

I’ve gone from the one needing constant advice to being the one asked for advice.

I’ve been able to let go of some of the temptations that come with motherhood. The temptation to compare children is less than it used to be, though the addition of twins to our dynamic makes comparisons almost impossible to avoid. I am letting go of the temptation to feel guilty about every little thing.

I trust myself more.

Yet, I do not doubt myself less.

As a matter of fact, not a day goes by in which I wonder if I’m not failing my children in some way.

  • Are they suffering because there are so many of them and only one of me?
  • Do they feel unconditionally loved?
  • Do I expect too much from them?
  • Am I expecting too little of them?
  • Have I done enough to ensure that they will be productive members of society, good husbands, wives, fathers or mothers?

I knew that motherhood was not going to be easy. What I was not prepared for was how all consuming it would be. I was not prepared to see all of my bad habits in walking, talking form. I was not prepared for all for all of  the work I would have to do with reining in my temper.

I somehow thought that motherhood would look like it does in the magazines. Slightly fuzzy and out of focus, serene and blissful. I’d wear coordinating outfits and we would finger paint in my sparkling clean kitchen.

What we get instead is a motley (yet lovable) crew watching Spongebob in my dusty living room while I hide out in my yoga pants in another room eating my secret stash of chocolate and hoping that the babies don’t find me.

If I only believed what I saw in the magazines, I could do nothing but despair! But I have some really good friends. They let me in on their lives at the messiest times.

  • Good mommy friends make your sticky kitchen seem just a bit cleaner.
  • Good mommy friends let you know that white socks CAN go well with little boy dress pants.
  • Good mommy friends gently remind you that ketchup can double as a vegetable some days.
  • Good mommy friends always seem to know when you need a cup of coffee.

I need, and appreciate my mommy friends, more than I can even express here. I live far from extended family, so my fellow mothers become my family. We turn to each other for advice, comfort, an encouraging word, or just a shoulder to cry on.

So, if you haven’t done it lately, thank a friend who makes your road easier!

So, what about you? What has friendship meant to you? Are your friends newer, older or in between? Do you let YOUR friends see your sticky kitchen? Chime in!

Getting Ready for Halloween; Costume Supercenter Review six kids ready for Halloween is tough.

October is a super busy month, full of Halloween parties for the Cub Scouts, groups of friends and sports teams. And then there is the Trick or Treating.

We end up having to plan in advance and then allow for changes of mind. While we’ve been known to have William dress up as Mario (of Nintendo fame) for the Cub Scout party, he may end up Trick or Treating as an Army guy, or a zombie. I’ve learned to keep a pretty well stocked costume trunk, and I’ve learned to be ready to make quick alterations.

I was delighted then, when Costume Supercenter agreed to allow me to review one of their costumes.

I sat down with Andrew to select a costume. He is the oldest, and just went through a HUGE growth spurt, so none of our current options will fit him. (he’s also the pickiest!).

He chose this really cool Kings Robe-Adult Costume. It is a very nice crushed velvet robe with a faux fur collar and clasp at the neck. I think it would work well as his intended costume as the “King of Town” from his current obsession, Homestar Runner, or it could just as easily work as a Rennaisance King, or a Narnia character.

The robe is very well sized for an adult. Andrew is about 5’9 and the robe brushes the ground, so a taller man could still pull off this same costume.

I was impressed by the quality of the costume. It arrived quickly after ordering it and it was well packaged. It does not feel “cheap” and I am sure that it will reside in our costume chest for quite a few years to come.

Costume Supercenter has an enormous selection of costumes. The website it well organized and you can search according to age and gender, such as men’s costumes or category of costume, such as Renaissance costumes. Shipping is currently free, which is always a plus!

I currently have my eyes on some twin themed costumes for the girls. I cannot decide between Thing One and Thing Two, or Peas in pods. Does anyone else have ideas on some cute baby twin costume ideas?

Life is Funny

I remember, when we were first married (fifteen years ago, next month!), and then found out shortly afterwards that we were pregnant. Everything seemed overwhelming. I was so excited to become a mother, but so afraid to make mistakes.

I’m a realist. I knew that I was going to mess up, I was just praying that my goof ups would be minor.
I brought Andrew home from the hospital (looking over my shoulder, sure that a nurse would “reclaim” him), and sat down in my rocking chair, and nursed him for the first time in our little apartment, and a wave of dread washed over me. I realized that I was going to have to nurse this stranger 8-12 times a day for much of the not so distant future. Little did I know that nursing would be the easy part. Later would come the tough choices, whether to immunize, and what against. How to educate him. What sport if any to encourage. Sunblock or hat.
Every day I came across decisions I never thought I would have to make, and hardly felt adult enough to make. My mom was there for a week. I was thankful for the help. In some ways though, our relationship complicated things. She wanted what was best for me and her first grand baby, but she was not the mom. I wanted what was best, but did not always know what the best was. Sometimes our theories on parenting meshed, other times they clashed.
That first child, my now teenage son (who is fabulous), was a grand experiment. Some things I never did repeat. I took the advice to let him cry it out in his crib. It was torture for me, and him, and none of us slept. I ditched that advice. I’m sure it does work for some, but they either have larger houses than me, or a stronger will. Some things I carried through with all six of the kids. All of my children have been breastfed. Most of them have worn cloth diapers at least part time. I have spent hour upon hour reading and singing to all of my children.
Some things get easier. Once some of the big decisions are made for a first child, you hardly think them over again. Breastfeeding to me is second nature, and I can’t imagine a different feeding route for my children. Rocking my children to sleep is more of a privilege and less of a chore. After several children, I have learned that ALL kids eventually learn to fall asleep. Some take longer than others, and some like to sleep in odd places, but all of them eventually sleep.
Fifteen years ago, I THOUGHT that I wanted six children. Then I had one child, and I realized motherhood was tough. I was not sure how many children God would bless us with, but some days it felt like one was enough. It was hard to pay bills, I was not sleeping, and I worried about my sweet little boy. Through the years, our family grew, and grew, and grew. We even thought that we had grown as much as we would.
And then God decided to challenge me. He figured that I had learned all about boys. He also figured that one baby girl would not give me the full experience. So he gave me two! And now this self professed “boy mom”, this pants wearing, ribbon and bow avoiding, tights fearing woman has a room bursting with pink and ribbons and frills and tights. And you know what?
God is good. All the time.
He is good when I am blessed with one son. He is good when he blesses me with four sons. He is even good when he blesses me with two daughters at once.
A friend today was telling me about a t-shirt that said “singletons are for wimps”. I had a chuckle at that. It is true. God knew EXACTLY when I could handle the joy of mothering a set of multiples. It was not 15 years ago, or even five years ago. He knew that I was ready before I even knew.
I think I’m doing OK. I’ve had to rewrite my own parenting manual. I still won’t let my kids cry in the crib. This gets me a bit less sleep than others, but I’m still sleeping more than when I was pregnant! I’m figuring out how to give each girl what she needs, when she needs it, and to still have time to love on and guide our sons.
God did not want me to think that I knew it all. He likes to give me challenges.
I bet he does the same for you as well. Has God been stretching you lately? Has He been asking you to step outside of your preconceived notions about something? Has He managed to change your mind?
I’d love to hear about it.