We have spent the last eight years building our family. It’s been a lot of pregnancies, nursing, sleepless nights, and joyful chaos. This pregnancy is likely to be our last, and as I reflect during the last five weeks of it I can’t help but see some big differences between the first and last!
My oldest was just 3 months old his first Christmas. I thought it might be a great time to practice elfing, so my husband and I purchased an Elf on the Shelf, gave him a name, and started the very short-lived tradition. It didn’t take long for us to realize this was not going to work out.
If the holiday season doesn't go the way you envision, there's always next year. Let’s not forget that the season is about the joy and the meaning of our holidays, not the junk, or the events, or all the things. You do the holidays your way, I’ll do them mine, and everyone else can go about it their way. Let’s go into this holiday season happy and excited with sound mind and presence so we can enjoy our children, our faiths, and our families — and a little of all the extras.
From learning and practicing jiu-jitsu, a child becomes stronger, faster, and smarter. When faced with a bully, a child with a jiu-jitsu background is not likely to back down. When bullies sense this unyielding confidence, it is more likely they will back down before engaging. A child who has self-confidence in his ability to defend himself will exude that. This can prevent many bullying encounters. At the same time, jiu-jitsu instills humility.
I am choosing to show my children how to be the good in the world. I want to teach my children how to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want them to learn how to communicate with people when they are unsure, confused, or hurt. I want them to be able to accept people as they are and not what they think they should be. We all have learned some lessons on our life journey, and all of us have missed a few lessons. So instead of passing judgment on one another for being an authentic, flawed human, let's embrace the idea that most of us out there really just want to be good and trust their intentions.
Our young boys should be allowed to explore their world, question it, try it on, take it off, and dabble in it to find out how they fit into it. All young boys are able to learn, grow, and become good. It is when we start to let fear drive our parenting that we lose. If our son’s non-threatening behaviors at 6 strike fear or question in another, it is on them, not us. I know I am raising him to be the good in this world and the man he is meant to be. I am tired of trying to show the world my perfect child in perfect form. So I show the world my son today. As far as I’m concerned, he is perfect just as he is right now.
I finally had to crush my husband’s idea that I was supermom. I had him believing I could handle all four kids, plus lunches, dinners, activities, and household duties while pregnant. But once I accepted reality, I had to bring him into the light as well. I told him I needed help. I couldn’t do it all like I could just a few weeks ago. My superpowers had been transferred to the growing baby, and I was reduced to cat-like status. Please do more, rub my feet, and let me sleep curled up in a ball. He has responded wonderfully.
We also want to make sure we don’t forget to do the things that are often forgotten about in the midst of big plans and special opportunities. We will go to the public library and check out books. We will lie on the ground and look at the clouds and daydream. We will take morning walks on the beach and throw rocks into the ocean at dusk. Ice cream is for certain, as are walks by the lighthouse and around our neighborhood. We won’t forget about riding bikes, shooting hoops, blowing bubbles, drawing with chalk, and searching for wildflowers. And we will grill and eat outside, play with water balloons, go swimming, play tag, roll around in the grass, search for bugs, catch butterflies, and be lazy and bored.
I am crazy busy these days, but as I look at what my time is going to, I genuinely feel happy with all of it, even when I am stressed. I have allocated my time to things I have wanted to gain exposure to, participate in, or learn. That said, I am ready to find my way back to the days of calm.
As soon as I became pregnant with number four, we gave in to the call of the minivan, started looking for a bigger house, and began researching large families. I knew I was going to have to uncover some secrets and learn the ropes of managing our new, larger family. While I haven’t quite found or mastered all the tricks, here are a few I’ve come to rely on.
I thought I could be great at mommying while being great at teaching. I planned birthday parties, attended school events, packed five lunches every night, and scheduled play dates and outings. By social media standards, I was killing it. But I wasn’t. I was on autopilot, and there were glitches I had no time to catch or fix.