Parenting is Hard

Being a parent is hard.

Today, I had to tuck back my emotions and send my 6 year old to school even though she was nervous and in tears. Literal crocodile tears.

On Friday, her best friend at school decided she wanted to play with the new girl instead. My daughter tried to play with both of them, but her friend was mean to her. When I picked her up from school she was upset and her feelings were hurt.

We talked about it, I told her Monday would be a brand new day. Maybe her friend would have a change of heart. If not, that wasn’t the type of friend she wanted or needed.

Over the weekend, she said herself, maybe Monday she will be nice and let me play with them.

Monday rolls around, and she woke up in tears. Nervous and afraid of what the day had in store for her. I almost let her stay home. But, what was I teaching her?

As I watched her get out of the vehicle with tears rolling down her face I felt so guilty, but also proud of her. She could have pitched a fit and refused to get out of the vehicle. She could have screamed and hollered.

But instead, she took a deep breath, got out of the vehicle and walked inside ready to face the unknown.

I hated sending her to school like that. But if I let her stay home, what was I teaching her? That she could cry and get out of going to school. To never face her fears.

I pray when I pick her up today, that she’s going to tell me how great her day was. I pray her friend will be nice to her.

Today’s parenting decision was hard, but sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t want to do. For instance, today I have to go to the eye doctor and I really don’t want to go.

Parenting is hard. Hang in there parents. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but yea.

Anxiety Sucks

Anxiety causes me to never feel like I’m good enough, or that I’ve not done enough.

I spend a lot of time beating myself up because of over thinking what others might think of me.

Anxiety causes me to stress and have panic attacks.

I sometimes break down and cry for no reason.

“I’m a failure again” always tends to creep into my mind.

I blame myself for everything and constantly apologize.

I feel everything is always my fault.

There are times when I am smiling, but deep down I am over thinking and feeling out of place or awkward.

Anxiety just plain out sucks. Some people understand completely, while others don’t .

But the truth is, it is easy to overcome with the right way of thinking and the training of the mind.

It’s easier to avoid going places to avoid the awkwardness and anxiety.

But, life gets boring and depressing when you hide yourself away.

Take a deep breath and give it to God.

I know that sounds way too easy, but it truly is.

Pray about it, pray for strength, pray to tame your mind, and pray to calm your mind.

Sometimes there is an instant relief, sometimes it may take a while, but that’s ok, just be patient.

Don’t let anxiety take over your life. You are good enough, you do enough, and you are not a failure.

Growing Pains

Kids aren’t the only ones who go have growing pains. Parent’s go through growing pains as well.

Parent’s growing pains are different than our kids growing pains. Our legs don’t ache and our arms don’t ache (Well they do, but not from growing pains, but from aging). We can’t put an icepack on it and take some Tylenol to ease the pain.

Our growing pains are quite different. Unlike our babies, our growing pains reside in our hearts.

We watch our kids grow and we cherish every moment. Even though we love to see them grow, it still hurts. They grow so fast. One day they are clinging to your leg, and the next they are independent. They are walking into school by themselves and they want to play with their friends instead of you.

One minute you’re the young mom with a toddler and a baby trying to get the shopping done and the house clean and you’re about to pull your hair out.

Then, your oldest is in pre-k and you have your youngest pitter pattering beside you everywhere you go.

Before you know it, both of your babes are in school. One is in 4th grade, one year away from going to Middle School. The youngest is in 1st grade, one year away from going to Elementary School.

Then, you’re left wondering “Where did the time go?” It went by so fast. One minute seems like it will last a life time, then before you know it, you’re no longer the young mom. You’ve slowly but quickly became the somewhat  experienced mom that knows all the ups and downs of the school.

You’re no longer the mom worried about her pre-k child, because your child has been in school long enough and is extremely comfortable in school. You no longer have to worry about if your child is scared, nervous, or crying because they miss you. Instead, they are excited to leave your side because they are becoming independent.

I use to be the young mom, not too long ago. Now I’m going through growing pains as I watch the new young moms.

I remember when that was me and believe it or not, I miss it. I miss the crazy outings, the rough school mornings, and the craziness of it all. I MISS IT.

I love the ages my babes are at now because yes, they are more independent. It’s easier for us to do more things together and have family fun. The melt downs aren’t near as frequent and I don’t have to worry about the diaper bags, strollers, change of clothes, etc. Going to stores is much easier because the kids listen and do what they are told. But, I still ache over the younger ages.

I was told by ones more seasoned than I not to take the time for granted. I agreed and honestly thought I didn’t. But as I said, before I knew it, the time was gone and we are on to our next season leaving the last season as a memory.

Growing pains don’t just happen to kids, they happen to mommy’s and daddy’s as well. Though they are bitter sweet, they still hurt like heck.

Different Picture

Times are tough

Life can be hard

And when it seems like everything is going against you

It can be easy to disregard

All the blessing we have in our lives

It’s easy to not think about the little things

When the troubles seem much bigger

But, in reality

When we change our hearts to gratitude

You’ll see a different picture.

Photography by Mandy Vinson

I Don’t Bathe My Kids Anymore

On the evening before the first day of school, we started getting ready for bed early so we could be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning.

Instead of taking showers one at a time, I decided to let one child shower in my bathroom while the other showered in theirs.

As I was getting the showers ready, it hit me, I don’t have to bathe my children anymore. They shower and bathe themselves now.

I tried to recall when was the last time I bathed my youngest. I couldn’t remember. Sadly, I never realized the last time I bathed my youngest was going to be my last time.

When my oldest first started school, I remember the hassle it was every night. Fighting between getting two small children bathed and ready for bed. Now, just like that, it’s over.

I should be happy and relieved that my children are more independent now, but in reality, it makes me sad. It means my children are growing up fast and we are turning to a new chapter in life, leaving the last chapter behind.

I look at younger mom’s as I’m sitting in the drop off line at the primary school. They are walking their Pre-k child to class while wrestling with a toddler. I recall being that mom. I recall being stressed and overwhelmed when little did I know that time would be over with before I knew it.

Enjoy every moment, even though it can seem tiresome and overwhelming. One day you will wake up and realize you don’t have to bathe them anymore. You don’t have to dress them in the mornings anymore. They will slowly become more independent. Yes, that means you’re doing your job as a mom, but that doesn’t take the sting away.

Enjoy them being little, because it won’t last long. Take advantage of every time they need you because one day they won’t. Don’t wish the time away because when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dear Children

 Dear Children,

I am your mother, but I am also your friend.

I know life can seem hard, you have your views, your confusions, your booboos, and your hard times.

I know you have school work, homework, and practices’ after school.

I know you have your games you want to play and bikes you want to ride.

I know that when I get on to you, it can seem so cruel at times, but know that I only punish you because I love you and want you to be the best of you.

But remember, I am also your friend. You can talk to me about anything. I am here for jokes, for laughter, and for tears.

I am here to listen when you are angry with me. I am here to talk. Don’t ever be afraid to come to me.

Yes, I am your mother. You may not like some things I have to say, or the punishment I give. But, you are free to speak your mind, and my ear will always be open.

You are free to make your own choices and mistakes. Unfortunately, there will always be discipline and consequences when you chose the bad ones, how else will you learn? 

But, remember, I will always be open minded. I will hear you out and I will always trust that you make the right decisions.

After all, you are my child, you are my best friend, and I know I raised you right.

Remember to always trust in me and to come to me for anything.

With all my love my dearest children, the keepers of my heart,

Your protector, your confidante, your friend, Your Mommy!

Will the Introvert Please Stand Up?

                This morning, I was sitting on my back porch swing. It’s overcast, breezy, low temp (for me anyway), and sipping my coffee. It was felt amazing.

                As I’m sitting there, enjoying the moment, I am reminded of a time when the weather was like this a couple of years ago. I remember my husband and I were binge watching The Walking Dead while I was also catching up on some reading. We were both still in our P.J.’s and didn’t plan on moving from that spot for the day.

                But, unfortunately for me, I was going to have to leave for a few hours. My daughter had an invitation to a friend’s birthday party, and even though I had said I would take her I completely dreaded it. I wasn’t going to know anyone there and I wasn’t looking forward to that awkwardness. But, my daughter was excited and I wasn’t going to disappoint her or let her down.

                So, off we went to the birthday party. Of course it was at her friend’s home, not at some random location like the skating rink or Chucky Cheese where I could just blend into the environment and dodge the small talk. We knocked on the door and slowly opened it into the home and all eyes turned to us. I introduced my daughter and explained that she was a friend. We were welcomed of course and everyone was polite.

                My daughter played, we sang happy birthday and ate cake. I sat there awkwardly in their living room amongst everyone else who knew each other, family, longtime friends, you name it.

                I was finally able to convince my daughter to leave after a couple of hours. We said our goodbyes and I breathed a sigh of relief once I got back into my truck.

                As soon as we got back home, the clingy regular clothes came off and the comfy clothes came back on. My husband asked how the party was so I explained how awkward it was. As I was telling him about everything it hit me, I never once introduced MYSELF. I walked into this other families home and sat in their living room and they didn’t even know my name. I was so embarrassed as I was rethinking everything.

                I get so nervous about situations that I sometimes don’t think clearly. Though I am an outgoing and fun person, I am also extremely shy around people I don’t know making me an introvert in a lot of situations until I open up.

                As I sat there reflecting on that memory, I chuckled to myself. I laughed at the fact I was the weirdo at a kids birthday party and at the fact I got mad at myself for being that said weirdo. In all reality though, that’s just who I am. I can’t just up and change myself, I can only love my little weird self and get on with life. If someone doesn’t like me before they really get to know me then they can miss out on the cool me and go kick rocks.

                Moral to the story, don’t beat yourself up over your quirks. You’ll end up laughing about it later. It’s what makes you who you are. Love yourself no matter what, and don’t hide your weirdo side.

My daughter said these glasses look FABULOUS on me!

My Life is a Hallmark Story

Do you ever sit around and watch Hallmark movies and think to yourself, “Why can’t it be like that for me?” I mean, it’s just a movie right, not reality.

Well, what if I told you that your life is whatever you make it. You can make your life a Hallmark movie. The first step is easy. Just appreciate everything around you.

It’s ok to expect a little more every now and then, but when you love what you have and are humbled by what the Lord has blessed you with, your life will easily become like a Hallmark movie.

You see, what those movies don’t always show is the work and struggle to have the life of your dreams. They only show you the easy part.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and together for 13. We have had our ups and downs for sure, but we still try our best for each other. Everything we have, we built together and grew together.

We have 2 beautiful children who fuss and fight, but are also loving and kind. We struggle financially at times, but we always make it through together. My vehicle has broke down more times than I can tell you, and my husband always figures out a way to come to my rescue.

My everyday is a constant go, go, go, taking care of kids, cleaning, serving, and the list goes on. Even though I complain at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My husband and I barely get alone time, so we stay up late after the kids go to bed to watch our favorite shows and talk about our day and well just anything. In return it causes him to oversleep sometimes, but he doesn’t mind.

We don’t live in a big house, sure as hell don’t drive new vehicles, and we don’t have the “fancy things”. But we are not materialistic like that so it doesn’t bother us at all. We have a lot of love and  a lot of fun and that’s what we care about.

You see, this is my Hallmark story. It might not be ideal to all, but I sure as hell love it. I am one lucky woman. I married my best friend and we are living our best life together. We fight together, struggle together, and win together. We have built an amazing family and an amazing life together and we will continue to grow together.

So, just because your life isn’t as “ideal” as a Hallmark movie, love the hell out of it and make it your own. You are responsible for your own happiness, not Hallmark.  

That Place

I wrote this song about six months ago. Of course, I am biased and love it so I wanted to share. I was sitting on my back porch one afternoon playing around on my guitar working on another song, and the lyrics to this one came to me.

The song is inspired by a town that I once lived in. I lived there for quite some time actually. I have some great memories there, but I also have some horrid ones. I was pretty much a good kid growing up, but lost myself for a little bit and got into trouble.

Once I finally left this town, I haven’t really went back. I went back once to finish packing, and once more to visit an old friend. That’s it. I left that place behind me and haven’t looked back.

I hope you enjoy. The lyrics are also available for licensing on Songbay. (link available on homepage)

School During COVID Times

As many parents know, the beginning of the school year for younger children can be a stressful time. Not only are your children not ready to leave home after summer break, or should I say Spring/Summer break, and get emotional, as parents we are stressed by their emotions and our own emotions.

The same goes every year, but this year being the hardest. We are trying to decide what is best when it comes to sending our precious babies back to school during the Covid times.

Do we face the uncertainties and send them face to face, or do the same by virtual learning? Will they be traumatized by going back to school with all the changes or will they struggle trying to learn virtually? Some parents have to send them back due to not having access to online learning or not being home to help, while others prefer just to keep them home to be on the safe side. Some kids do better in a classroom setting than trying to learn on their own on a computer. Some kids do great not working in a classroom setting. Either way we choose, parents are then face with the backlash from others by doing something completely different, because others don’t understand or agree with your decisions.

At first, I confidently made my decision to send mine back.  Of course, I worry about Covid, but I know the schools will take extra precautions to making sure our children are safe and well. After all, they do so every other school year with any other sickness that goes around. My biggest concern with face to face though, is the change in the school environment. If my children were older, I wouldn’t worry so much. But mine are younger. They will be going into 1st and 4th grade.

Maybe if they got to finish out their Kindergarten and 3rd grade year, I wouldn’t be as worried. But, when my son was in Primary, I walked him to class every morning because it helped him feel confident. Once he got to Elementary, he was a big boy and didn’t need my comfort in the school hallways anymore. I intended to do the same for my daughter for as long as she needed me. (Not passed primary school might I add)

But, that all changed this year. In the Primary School, only Pre-K and Kindergarten will be able to be walked to class, but only for the first week. At least the Primary School will have an open house, unlike my son, who is going to 4th grade which is Elementary School. Once I found out he wasn’t going to have an open house, my emotions set in. What if he doesn’t find his class? He is always too shy to ask for help? He won’t even know what his teacher looks like until his first day.

Then, I thought of my daughter, questioning the same things. What if she gets confused walking in? She didn’t even get to finish out Kindergarten. What if she goes down the wrong hall, gets overwhelmed, lost and confused? She gets embarrassed easy, what if someone laughs at her? It didn’t help that I had just recently had a dream of her getting lost at school, and my heart broke.

As parents, we harbor all of these emotions for our children, well, I do any way. I remember how I felt when I was their ages at school, nervous and scared. I just want to be there to take it all away from them and make them feel better.

But unfortunately, I can’t. Even when they get older and go on their first job interview, I can’t be there to take away the anxiety and fear. They have to learn how to overcome it on their own. I will probably be the one who is most upset on the first day to be honest, but I will hold it together. How did I learn to hold it together? Well, it all started when I was young experiencing the same things they have to experience. 

Of course, their experience will be different than mine. Their school year is about to change completely. They will have different rules and regulations than they are use to. Teachers will be wearing facemasks so the kids won’t be comforted by smiling faces. They will have to have their temperatures taken upon entering the school and randomly throughout the days. Recess and gym time will be different and parents won’t be able to come into the schools.

 But, I know they will overcome it. My husband and I discussed that if it becomes too much for them, then I will take them out and home school. But I don’t think we will have a problem. I think the biggest problem though will be me over thinking everything as I always do.

Making decisions this school year is unlike any other school year. It is going to be hard, but we have to do what we as parents think is right for our children. Not what others think is right. My personal decision to send mine back is based on them needing the structure. I think they need the classroom setting and interaction with other students. I think they need to be able to handle authority from other adults.

Not that my children need it, they are honestly very well behaved kids (that’s not just coming from me, but their teachers and others as well). Even though I have contemplated the idea of homeschooling over the past couple of years, mainly so I would have more time with them and we could travel and take vacations more, but I didn’t for the sole purpose of the experience and making memories. School years are crucial in this age frame.

So, for me, I will be sending my kids back to school. For now that is. If it starts getting too crazy or if it’s too overwhelming, I will pull them out and home school in a heartbeat. But, that’s my decision and I will not judge another parent’s decision for their choice in the matter. Do what’s best for your kids. But know, it will be hard, but don’t beat yourself up on doing what you think is right for your child.

As parents, we always second guess our decisions on what’s best for our children. But, just pray on it, and do for your child that you know best.    

God Bless and I hope all have a great school year!