We are not polar bears.

 

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Being a mom these days feels sort of like trying to accomplish the impossible. Clean the house, feed the people wholesome well-rounded meals, wash the clothes, make fun and elaborate lesson plans, teach the children, exercise, and still look beautiful for your husband when he gets home. Or maybe those are just my issues…

As a stay-at-home mom, one can even be tempted to think that she must do all of this for herself, by herself. “I have no job outside the home, so that means I have to do it ALLLL. This place should look like a magazine, even while children are running all over it.”

Well, that makes no sense whatsoever. Children are exhausting. Toddlers are especially so. They are wonderful and adorable, and I love them so much that we had four of them, on purpose. However, by 3pm everyday, I sometimes look like a pile of emotionally wrought mush, sitting on my sofa, saying things like, “Okay! Who wants to watch a movie!!??? Pick a long one…”

Then I feel guilty when my husband arrives home, and I practically fly out the door to go take a walk by myself.  There’s this one lady I see on my walk, every time, outside playing with her three little boys. What a great momma. She probably thinks I don’t have a clue. Ha! I am so with you, sister! You just only see me when I’m escaping!!! I would tell you that, but I am surprisingly shy.

I thought about this guilt thing yesterday morning, as I was still in bed, and yet I could hear my amazing husband, returning from the gym, and getting John David out of his crib….at 5:30am.  Sometimes I wonder. Is Alan just a way better person than me with infinity more energy than I have?

He exercises at 5 am. Sometimes JD or Daniel, or even both, wake up that early, and Alan puts them in the double jogger, and takes them with him.

Why can’t I do that? Will you ever see me out jogging at 5 am, with two babies in a jogging stroller?

Don’t hold your breath.

Then Alan comes home and even makes those little ones breakfast! Okay, I’m starting to feel super lazy…  But do you know what Alan DOESN’T have to do?

He does not stay home with them all day long every day. After all, someone around here really should go to work… 😉 He does not have to mediate their every dispute. From morning until evening, he is free of diaper duty and meal supervision. He does not have to write their lesson plans. He does not have to teach them reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. Nor does he have to make them say “An element is a basic chemical substance defined by its atomic number (number of protons) and atomic mass.”

Daddy does not have to listen to four children take turns crying, falling, whining, or complaining all day long. Oh, that might make my darlings sound bad. They are NOT bad. They are FANTASTIC, lovable children, but they ARE children. Children are not miniature adults. They are more like larvae. They have lots and lots and lots of needs, and whoever spends all day trying to meet those little larval needs will 100% guaranteed be very wiped out by the end of the day.

That’s right. Hug your childcare provider. Seriously. It’s draining.

This is why there are two parents. Some people aren’t that lucky. Many times you can’t help it. There’s only one parent, and you do the best you can do to get by in that situation. That is insanely hard. Every single time Alan deployed, leaving me alone with our children for months on end, I packed my kids up and lived close to family. That whole village thing is no joke. No one should have to raise children alone.

So ideally, there are two parents, and that is by design. We are not polar bears.

Mrs. Polar Bear and her cubbies.

 

What am I talking about with the polar bears? Well, my first-born son obsessed over all things animals for several years. We watched these two polar bear documentaries over and over. I can tell you with great confidence, “Be glad that we are not like polar bears.” Polar bear cubs are raised exclusively by their mothers. The fathers are too mean. They steer clear of the father. If they don’t, he could actually attack the cubs, so it’s important to just stick with mama. Mama Bear does it all.

People aren’t like that. Mama shouldn’t do it all. That’s why Daddy is there. It’s a shared job. I’m so thankful I married an especially great one. I was so extremely careful about who I even dated, for that very reason.

Alan cooks breakfast every morning for whoever is up early with him. Alan gets the laundry started many days. He packs his own lunch. He cleans up in the kitchen. He earns allll of OUR money.  When Alan comes home at the end of the day, he knows that I will probably have supper made, but he also knows that I will be desperate to get out and go for a walk, just to have a little silence. Alan is our number one boy hair comber and toothbrushing supervisor. He is also better at keeping up with Caleb’s medication than I am. We take turns cleaning up after supper. We take turns on a lot of things. We put the kids to bed together, every single night, and we always have.

I’m SO thankful that I have Alan. Taking care of babies and toddlers is a special kind of exhausting. Thankfully, that’s getting a little easier here. Daniel is almost 4!!!  JD is 18 months and is sleeping a little better lately.

Mothers of little ones, hang in there. Enjoy those hugs and cuddles as much as you possibly can, and never feel guilty about your need to hand over those little ones and have alone time. Seize it! What we are doing is something that is bigger than ourselves. It is a selfless but necessary job, and it is so incredibly important.

No one person can do everything. I figure it’s more important to be happy than to do every single thing that “needs” to be done. I guess it’s easy for me to say that since I am not really much of a perfectionist. Writing is something I’ve done for therapy since I was eight years old. Find your therapy. Cling to every bit of good that you can find in your life.

Before you know it, those little ones will be big ones. My oldest is nine now, and he doesn’t need me all the time anymore. He’s actually a pretty good helper. All that work is starting to pay off for me!

Here comes Dan. He still needs me about every 5 minutes. He decides when my fun time is over….yeah, it’s over. Oh well, I suppose I should cook supper too. Let me go see if I can find Alan…. 😉

So thankful for this dad!!

So thankful for this dad!!

 

East Coast to West Coast in Only 6 Weeks!

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planning, planning, planning!

So much has happened this past week.  Once our military orders arrived, all systems are GO, GO, GO!  You know all those stereotypes about men?  You know what I’m talking about:  “When men are sick they lay down, but women keep working,” and other such derogatory thoughts our society has attached to our males?

Well, let me tell you, Alan blows all those negative sexist remarks out of the water.  That’s right.  I said sexist.  Everyone’s so quick to call female stereotypes ‘sexist,’ but making fun of men is perfectly okay.  What’s up with that? Maybe you haven’t noticed.  I certainly have.  Being the wife of a high type-A, thorough planner like Alan, plus being the mother of four little boys, makes me a little more sensitive to the negative things our society likes to say about our men.

My husband, sick as a dog, plus recovering from surgery, has gotten more done in the day he got ‘request for orders’ than most healthy people could accomplish in a week’s worth of time. Alan, you are AMAZING!!!

Want to know his secret?  This is how he got this move plan running so quickly:

1.  Before he even secured the orders, he got me the smartphone I wanted, complete with synchronized Google Calendars.  This is my Mother’s Day gift.  I love it.  I used up my whole data plan in two days.  Oops.  There’s a learning curve to these things! But with this phone, I can be a touch more organized.

2. He sat down with me and even managed to get my UNDIVIDED attention to discuss EVERY DETAIL of our moving plan.  You name it, it is planned for on the calendar.

My undivided attention is about impossible to attain! I am never doing less than two things at once, and I’m often doing more than that.  C’mon, ya’ll, there are four little boys here!

3.  He went down to the orders office armed with a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts.  Plus, he’d dropped by and schmoozed with those ladies in advance.  Ha! Good job, Alan!

4. He went straight from the orders office to setting up the shipment of household goods. He whipped out the Google Calendar and managed to get the exact dates we had planned for.  Success!!!

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5. On Saturday, we had our Yard Sale!!  We got rid of tons of junk this weekend!  But actually, I may never do a yard sale again:  sunburn, people wanting to buy all of my stuff for $1, and Daniel playing tug-of-war with kids that were buying the toys he really never plays with.  No thank you!  Never again.

Everything is running like clock work! At least I can claim the Yard Sale accomplishment as my own.  Remember “The Great Clean Out”?  I have gone through almost every drawer and cabinet, so I’ll be taking credit for that part.  : )

 

When we rolled into DC, 5 years ago, it was just Alan, me, Joshua, and Caleb.

 

….and I was 10 pounds heavier…deployment weight.  Can any other military wives relate to the deployment weight??  What causes that?  Ugh!

But look how cute the boys were:

Awww!  That was back when they let ME pick out their clothes.

And we’re leaving the D.C. area as a slightly larger group:

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How far we have come!

I can’t believe we’re only 6 weeks out from our biggest move yet!

Here are a few quotes from our crazy week:

It was POURING RAIN the other day, and I had to get all of the children into the car.  As I was buckling Joshua in, he said, “Mom, I will buckle Daniel in so you don’t have to keep standing out in the rain.”

*heart melting in my soaking wet spot*

: )  Thank you, Joshua, and that’s why you’re the one we’re going to send to college. ; )  (I’m just kidding.  Caleb often voluntarily unbuckles Daniel for me, so he will get to go to college too. Yes, that’s what you go by!!!)

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and bringing the funny as usual….

Caleb walked into the kitchen and said, “Whatever you do, do NOT talk to the toilet.”

“Why not?” I asked him.

“Because, it copies you.”

Daniel immediately ran to the toilet and started shouting into it.

Just another day in the House O’ Boys!

 

 

Our Pack of Wolves

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Ferocious looking, aren’t they?  ; )

The difference between these boys from the beginning of 1st grade as “Tiger Cubs” to right now, 3/4 of the way through their “wolf” year is amazing.  We really are seeing them grow up right before our eyes.  Tigers are like sweet, frisky little puppies compared to these guys.  Wolves are on a whole other level.  I’m so proud of everything they are accomplishing.

Cub Scouts is an organization that does a lot of great things.  We’d like to think that even without it we’d be sure to teach our boys to organize road side clean up, build things with wood, operate a flag pole, and participate in races and such, but let’s face it, that just doesn’t always happen.  Being involved in cub scouts ensures that we follow through!

The boys love it because so many of their friends are involved.  We love it for the learning opportunities.

I also love how involved the dads are!!!  Many of my girl friends and I LOVE having at least ONE activity that our husbands handle with the kids, rather than us having to do everything.  Of course, we all pitch in when necessary, as Courtney had to do this weekend, but it’s so nice when you don’t have to.

We owe a BIG THANK YOU to our leaders!!!  Mark and Eddie do an outstanding job with this Wolf den.  They both put in a lot of work to set our boys up with exciting activities. I about fell over when I saw how well Mark had them all seated around a table at their first meeting this year.  Amazing!!!  It takes a lot of work to lead a den this size, and we are all so thankful ya’ll are taking that on for us!

 I don’t have any Tiger photos in this post, but I want to thank Alec and Larry as well.  That job is like herding cats, and our leaders are doing such a great job and have managed it with an incredible amount of patience. Caleb is enjoying it so much.  We really appreciate all you are doing.

  This Saturday, Alan took his camera to Joshua’s den meeting.  They got a LOT done this weekend.

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First, they learned about caring for and raising the flag and actually got to take turns doing it!!

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That’s our Joshua, in the camouflage jacket, getting a turn at the flag pole.

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Uh-oh.  Dad’s got the camera again…

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After a very well planned and executed flag raising tutorial, Mark taught the boys all about different tools and then they got to actually use the tools when they all made their own bird houses.

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After the boys built their bird houses, they had to prove they met stringent local area building standards!  Ha!

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The boys nervously await their turn for inspection….

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Oh, yeah, guess who else got to tag along?  Daniel.  Since he brought Pringles with him, he was quite popular.

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Joshua, with his finished product! …Oh yeah, we’ve been working on our ‘picture smile,’ but don’t coach him at go-time, or the results will be disastrous.

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Once the bird houses were complete, the den did some road side litter removal.  Thanks, wolves!!!

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They even had the proper safety gear, as any good scout would. (Thanks again, leaders!!!)

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Check out the smiles on their faces.  Alan said they actually cracked up pretty hard because one of them found a DIAPER.  bleh.

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They even covered house plans.  Today:  bird feeders.  Tomorrow:  high rise apartment buildings.  ; )

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They might not admit it, but I think scouting is fun for the dads too.

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brothers

Joshua happily came home and answered all of Caleb’s questions about it.  It was really sweet to behold the older brother, passing on the lessons he’d learned that day to his younger brother.  Joshua has always seen it as his responsibility to guide his little brothers right along with him on the path to manhood.

Cub scouts truly are great men in training, and I’m so thankful my boys have gotten to be a part of such a great pack.  We will miss you all so much when we move!

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