Day one… How do you do this with little ones again?

First I’ll apologize for the bad photos…. apparently little fingers smudged up my camera on my phone.
Monday was our first day of school. Since I’m not the “take them out everyday” kind of homeschooler (I’m more of the “yes you can study in your pj’s” type) I decided to buy everyone new pajamas for bedtime Sunday night! Nothing says ‘7:30 am comes hard and fast, you better go to sleep NOW’ like new pajamas and forced family photo sessions.

Why yes, Doodlebug is holding Lil Man by his ears. She’s keeping his head on straight. Or something like that.
God made sure I was up by 6:30, so I made sure to read my #b90days selection while having coffee.  They didn’t fight over breakfast. They didn’t argue about getting dressed, brushing their teeth or brushing their hair. Maybe because Daddy was upstairs in bed (sick) and they knew he was listening.
I gently requested that he refrain from watching tv until we were done, and he gently requested his PSP so he would watch videos under the covers.
We survived. That’s about all I can say about that. Trying to read a story about Leif Ericson while Lil Man flings markers and Bubbagirl begs for cartoons or screams because Lil Man is on her napmat was challenging.
The biggest thrill was finally getting to lay down on the nap mats I made them. Not that anyone actually napped.

Tomorrow’s another day right?
P.S. aside from putting the little ones in the closet for a couple hours, anyone have any tips on keeping them busy?

We now enter side effect land.

Last week the doctor FINALLY got back to me and called me in some medicine. I won’t name the names for fear of inviting the Sir Spam-a-lot Bots to blast my comments with offers; let’s just say I have two for anxiety and they work nicely.
One of them is one you take every day and they say it takes a month or longer to start working. Bull hockey. Maybe to take full effect but I’ve never had any med not have an effect right away. We’re not quite a week into this new process and while I feel better, my house looks better and my kids seem happier. I have also started feeling the side effects. History shows that if there is a bizarre side effect I will have it. It never fails. I am prepared this time. I did my research. I know what might be coming and I also know that if I hang in there it might pass.
I’m slower. Not slow, just slower. Mostly because I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off multitasking like a maniac and doing a crappy job over all. Now, I’m doing one thing at a time. Breathing. Making progress. Slowly.
I’m yawning. A LOT. If you’re visiting with me and I can’t stop yawning please don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me.
I’m nauseous.  It’s not severe. A handful of sunflower seeds seem to help but it is annoying and appears to be worse if I go outside (in the heat). Not good for my social life with my neighbors.
Food? Who needs food? My appetite is down. I barely finished my dinner and didn’t snack at all afterwards!
It will all pass, or ease up, or I’ll get used to it. Because none of it is so bad that it would make me choose to go back to growling all day.
I have spent four days creating a school room, playing on the floor, rolling balls, dancing, laughing, tickling, reading, coloring, and loving. I missed it and I am blessed that I have friends who supported me in my effort to get help.
And, thank you God for sending Dr. M my way…. while we hit a little bump in our road together, he took HOURS to talk to me before prescribing something, and taking time to get it right.

Get out of my kitchen!!

I’ve been loafing a bit this morning. It was a late night for me since I stay up until hubby has to go to work. Then the kids woke me up a lot and I was up early with Lil Man. Three cups of coffee later, Mr. B woke up and we embarked on a two hour Deadliest Catch viewing before he wandered off to mow the grass. I had tweeted a bit, eaten a bit, and folded a load of laundry. The kids had eaten, found drinks, been sent outside, come inside, was sent outside, came inside, was sent back outside (you see a pattern here?).
I walked into the kitchen, listening to Lil Man beat on the front door because he wants to go outside with Daddy, and that is when my head exploded.
I don’t get it. I never ever ever ever would have dug through my momma’s cabinets looking for something without permission. I certainly would have never ever ever gone on a hunt for a different type of glass/mug/plate/etc. when there were already ones, at my level, that served the same purpose. But now, on top of the dishes to be washed and extra groceries that need to be put away I know have odd water bottles, coffee to go mugs, special glasses, and all my kitchen chairs are strewn around the floor. There is cereal everywhere, boxes left out and groceries scattered. If I had done this as a kid….wait, I NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THIS….  EVER!
I feel like the only room with any hope of staying in one piece is the room I’m in at the time. I need a clone.
I need seven of them. Stat.


The plum hasn’t exactly faded to pink like the hairdresser had hoped. Tomorrow I have the option to go in and have the purple lightened and pink added. Haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do yet.
Today started off rough, in my head mostly but still rough. Hubby is tending to the kids so I can blog soak in a hot bath. I’m trying to focus on the little big things I accomplished today. I sorted the humungous pile of papers and bills that had been taking over my desk and the shelves. I finished cutting coupons and got them sorted and ready to go in my new binder (which arrived this afternoon from Amazon). I touched base with people on some loose ends and managed to pull together another dinner without potatoes, pasta, or rice. I may have even done some laundry and dishes.
I’ve managed to check off more things on my “non-daily stuff I have to do” list in the past two days than I have done in the past two months. They were little things, but they were the things that trip me up and make me feel useless.
The water is mighty fine, but I hear my baby crying because they won’t let him come find me. Better wash my purple hair. They’ll never believe I was just “taking a quick bath” if I still stink.
Blogging from my Android….probably from the bathroom.

Take a knee. Or two.

Today sucks. Little sleep, cranky baby, whiny toddler. The drama started before I could finish my coffee and it wasn’t even new drama it was the same stuff from the day before and the day before and the…  well, you get the picture.
My mind is bogged down. I feel heavy. I want to fix things, heal things, clean things, organize things. I want to dance and sew and play and teach and be good and smart and funny.
All I could do was growl from the couch.
So I sent the kids outside. All of them. Even the baby.
And I took a knee.
I took two actually, in front of my couch. I laid my head in my hands on the cushion.
I cried. I stayed quiet for a while. I knew God could see what was in my heart, even if I had no words.
I prayed for everyone I could think of that had been asking/seeking/needing prayer. I left their needs at His feet.
I prayed for everyone else I could think of just because a little prayer love never hurt. I left their unspoken needs at His feet.
My laundry isn’t done. Dinner is only half ready. The kids are fighting over who gets to pull the baby in the wagon.
But I feel lighter. My to do list isn’t any shorter, but I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.
So I guess I’ll go make lunch, and move the clothes to the dryer. I’ll fold laundry and watch Team Umizoomi with Bubbagirl until she falls asleep. Then I’ll help Doodlebug pick out something pretty to wear for her violin recital.
I’m not equipped, physically, emotionally or intellectually to help fix everything for everyone around me. The best I can do is take a knee, or two, and leave at His feet. The feet of the One.

What if it was just all gone…

imageI have absolutely no right to be whining right now. I have friends having completely crappy days at this very moment and yet I’m sitting on my couch, eating cheese and crackers, in near tears over this picture.
Honest to goodness, this was JUST taken. This is the better side of the room. Most of it could be tidied up in minutes. No major filth, just clutter. Every where.
I’ve been in three different rooms today trying to organize and switch from winter things to summer things.
I try to get going and then I just stop and wonder …
What if it all just went away? What if I didn’t question it and just tossed it? What if I took anything I haven’t worn in a year and put it in a bag? What would happen if all those craft supplies that I NEVER use or make anything with were donated, freecycled, TODAY?
Would my world come to an end?
Would I fail to ever craft again because I had to plan for it and go buy supplies AS NEEDED?
Would my kids become suddenly uneducated because I eliminated the Kindergarten workbook they never used?
I realize I have tubs of tubs for organizing and piles of stuff not in tubs. It is insanity.
It needs to stop.
Because nothing bad is going to happen if some of this stuff just goes away.

Almost midnight ramblings

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Babies, sickness, tooth aches and busy-ness will do that to a momma. I should be sleeping now but I needed just five minutes to drink the rest of my water bottle and be with myself.
I would say that it is quiet now but its not. The fish tank is humming. The turtle tank is splashing as the filter drops water almost six inches down into the tank. Mr. B is snoring. The fridge kind of buzzes and then makes the occasional ka chunk sound as it drops ice into the bucket.
I hear everything. What I wouldn’t give for a quiet moment to think. I keep getting angry that I’m working so hard to get that time and never feeling like I get it.
I’m starting to realize people are helping me get that time I just can’t stop the chatter in my head.
The constant run of what I need to do and buy and make and try and learn….
I need to turn it off. My brain is like a man with a remote and too many channels just flippin’ around and never really watching anything.
When given time to work I spend an hour just trying to figure out what to do first. Then I start only to find out my time is up. I need to make a plan. Give each interest of mine a month that is just theirs.  Maybe if I know I can make time for hobby A later I can better focus on interest B now.
Apparently my scent wore off of the shirt I left behind because Lil Baby Man just realized I wasn’t in bed anymore. Duty calls.
Blogging from my Android….probably from the bathroom.

Before you run that bath, check for toilet paper

Nothing like stepping into a steaming HOT bath, looking down, and seeing little pieces of wet toilet paper floating around your legs.
I *heart* my kids.
The shower was quick, as the hot water heater was almost emptied when I filled the tub.
It’s been that kind of day.  I’m not really sure if this sudden onset depression is just stress + hormones + weather or if there are deeper underlying things that help trigger it. I do know it’s getting on my last nerve.  Hubby has been holding (sleeping in his chair) the baby since he got home so I could just sit without someone in my lap for a few minutes.  He’s trying to be helpful.  I’m just totally overwhelmed right now. He would be more than willing to stay home watch the kids for me to go out somewhere but what I really need is for everyone to leave me here.
I’d love to move the laundry up and down the stairs without having to carry a 20lb baby in the basket with me.   I’d like to start cleaning the kitchen and finish it. I’d LOVE to cut coupons without Lil Man eating most of them.
Tomorrow my friend Jess is coming over to hang out for a bit.  She’s bringing four kids with her.  I was hoping to find my kitchen table before she got here so we could sit at the table while the kids are in the living room playing.  Probably not going to happen.
In my head I know that this is just the “baby stage”, where things get left unorganized for a bit and one day I’ll wake up and he’ll be playing without needing me and I’ll have the time to take back my house.  Then I start thinking how much better things would be if I took it back now, or better yet, if I had NEVER let it get this way.
Then I feel like a craptastic mom for failing my husband and my kids for the past 15 years and not having things taken care of in advance so we could weather this “baby stage” unscathed.
Then I start thinking maybe I just don’t have it in me to be “together”.  I mean, we were married for FIVE years before we had Doodlebug.  Our house wasn’t all pull together then.
Maybe I will never have my ducks in a row or my “stuffs” in one sock.  What if my kids grow up to be unorganized messes?
What if moving to a bigger house doesn’t make it any better? What if getting rid of excess stuff doesn’t make it any better?  What if…

Stop Reacting and Start Responding : A Review

Living My MoMent has invited me to participate in their new blogger review program by doing a review of Sharon Silver‘s book “Stop Reacting and Start Responding ™”
The invitation to participate in this blogger review program was such a blessing to me.  It came at a time when I had begun to notice I was and “angry” mom almost all the time and I so very much needed a new approach to handling my kids.   I felt terrible when the deadline passed by and I had not been able to finish the book.   Entirely due to unexpected circumstances here,  I had been floundering with taking care of a teething baby and the other three Chaos Makers while hubby worked nights, days and everything in between.
This week, I was able to make finishing Mrs. Silver’s book a priority!  It really was a quick read and towards the end I couldn’t put it down. The simple two page chapters with simple tips made it easy to gain the confidence I needed to start taking steps to bring our family back to a happier place.
What I loved about the book:

  • Easy read, short chapters (for the frequently interrupted) and it’s not in psychobabble-speak.
  • Most of the tips are easily implemented IMMEDIATELY.  You don’t have to stop and make charts and have family meetings, just start doing something different right then.
  • Many of her concepts are “duh” moments.  There were so many times I went “Duh, I should know that” or “Duh, that makes COMPLETE sense!”
  • Immediate results.  That’s the best part right?  I’ll explain this one more in a minute.

What I didn’t love about the book:

  • Not really the books fault but Hubby wasn’t very receptive to it.  Some of the ideas I tried to share with him, he felt were a bit “mamby pamby”.  I think he’s just on edge like I am.  He’s supporting me but is reserving his final opinion for later because he thinks the techniques she is teaching are babying the children.
  • That was it, everything else I loved!

Ok, the results part that I promised to explain.  This is one of the points where hubby thought Mrs. Silver got to “mamby pamby”.  I don’t want to give away what in her book but she has a specific ‘verbiage’ that she recommends using when your children lie.  I have one diva in particular who loves to tell “stories” even when she isn’t in trouble.  She NEVER tells the truth.  Well, until now.  Now, I get at least MOST of the truth, with a few side embellishments.  We don’t fight over the definition of “honesty” or “truth” anymore.   Stop Reacting and Start Responding put calling my kids a “liar” into a whole new light, and while Mr. B may not agree with what the book suggested he can NOT argue with results.  The fact is, he hasn’t caught Doodlebug lying all week.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!  I moved the pdf file to my Kindle for easy reference and recommend it to anyone who feels they are running in circles with their kids.
****I am a participant in a Living My MoMent campaign for Proactive
Parenting™ and have received the e-book Stop Reacting and Start
Responding™ by Sharon Silver as part of my participation.****

Rock Bottom Mom

A few days ago I posted about me. You can read it here, titled Just Me.  It was not a good day.  I hadn’t cried that day but it was still a tough day.
I was once again overwhelmed with the response from my friends on Twitter.  So many moms tweeted me with hugs, prayers, and sharing that they too were feeling the way I was.  It is so nice to know you are not alone.
Not wanting to be a total party pooper here on the blog, I sent out a  request for a guest blogger that might infuse my blog with some new ideas on how to tackle ANY of the things I had whined about in that post.
Carolyn from This Talk Ain’t Cheap was the first to come to the rescue. Thank you so much Carolyn for this moving post!

Rock Bottom Mom

I love when I hear celebrities give advice about parenting and juggling work and family responsibilities. It just seems so practical. Have your Nanny watch the kids and make sure you schedule some alone time to pamper yourself with a facial, massage and manicure. Now why didn’t I think of that? Makes sense. We need to focus on “us” instead of “them”. We need to schedule date nights with our spouses. We need to delegate to our “help”. That’s what we pay them for, right?
I have three children spaced 2 years apart. Do you know what that means? That means that when my youngest was born, I had a newborn, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I had two in diapers and none of them had started school yet. Three children. At home. With me. All day. Every day. 24 hours a day. One would nap but the other two would be up. I’d finish nursing the baby and then the other two would be hungry. Having 3 kids means NOT having money. Not having money means NOT having a Nanny.
Do you know how much laundry a family of 5 accumulates? I do. Laundry has become my career. I am a laundress. I think that any job that you perform every day of the week constitutes you being an “expert” in said area. I am an expert at laundry. I am an expert at cleaning. I am an expert at diaper changing. I am an expert at child wrangling. What I am not an expert it… despite all the above… is being a Mom. Why? Because there is no such standard. Hard to believe, I know, but there is no Mom-of-the-Year Award. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I used to cry on a daily basis from exhaustion. I used to curse the day that I ever got pregnant. I hated my husband. I hated my kids. I hated the entire planet. Misery was my best friend. And nobody… nobody in my life seemed to understand.
I felt like a complete failure. I hit rock bottom.
A funny thing happens when you hit rock bottom. There is nowhere else to go but up. It’s true. Miraculously, you wake up one day and find that the kids are now getting their own cereal and you actually woke up on your own. You find that you go to the bathroom and can complete your business without banging on the bathroom door. Suddenly your last little one starts kindergarten and you can enjoy a cup of coffee alone. In your own house. Without noise.
There is hope. It’s coming. I promise. Meanwhile, here are a few things I did learn along the way to cope with the pandemonium until you get to “there”.

  1. Don’t laugh at this, but make a list. Seriously. Make a list either the night before or in the morning of the things you HAVE to accomplish. I’m not including laundry on that list (unless of course you have NO clean underwear and really need some). I’m not including cleaning and feeding and cooking. Include things that absolutely have to get done like: make a Dr.’s appointment, buy diapers, take a shower. Yes, I said shower. See #2. Do at least 2 things on the list before lunch and you will feel that at least you accomplished SOMETHING.
  2. Take a shower. OMG – don’t complain, just do it. Bring some toys into the bathroom and sit the kids down on the floor if you have to. Trust me… if you are fresh and clean every day then you will be able to handle things so much better. If you think I’m full of it, give it a try for a few days… you’ll see.
  3. Get out of the house. Alone. Now I know that you are NOT going to schlep three kids to the market or the mall – I’ve tried that enough to tell you that it just isn’t worth the effort – but even if it is 9:00 at night and you have to run to the store or go get a cup of tea or go drive around the block – you will feel better (and think better) being AWAY and ALONE.
  4. Give the kids chores. I know this sounds lame but find at least one thing your kids enjoy helping with. I asked my kids what they wanted to do to help around the house. My 8 yr old actually likes taking the garbage out. Go figure. My 11 yr old likes to cook and help in the kitchen. My 6 yr old? Well… we are still figuring out what (and if) there is anything at all she likes to do other than watch TV and play with dolls.
  5. If you clean one room, do one load of laundry, cook one meal a day, consider it a huge success and have some chocolate. Seriously, it helps.
  6. Write down the things you did right all day. Don’t laugh but it will help with your mood and show your husband that being a mother is the most important job in the world. Write down things like…
    1. Snuggled baby for an hour.
    2. Read a story book to the kids.
    3. Sat and had a snack of goldfish and laughed with the kids.
    4. Changed diapers 6 times.

You laugh now, but when you see how your day is really taken up, you won’t feel so bad about NOT cleaning the floors and NOT getting to the market. Believe me, it’s OKAY to have mac & cheese or omelets or sandwiches for dinner.
And my best piece of advice? Breathe through it. It might suck now, but it DOES get better. IT DOES. I PROMISE. THERE IS HOPE.

I am the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, ages 11, 8 and 6. An interior designer by trade, I now mostly focus on writing about my kids, my life and the struggles we all go through as parents. My passions are reading, writing, cooking, traveling, scrapbooking and drinking lots and lots of coffee.
Carolyn West
Twitter @temysmom