So it looks like there is a new sheriff in Town, Share Six. This is going to be replacing the previous photography group I was in called Project Ten. New group, new fresh ideas, I’m on board. This months theme was “Where I stand”, the title alone had my wheels spinning in so many different directions. If you know me personally, you know I have strong views on many matters. But aren’t always comfortable talking about them with people. Because, quite frankly, people get offended too easily these days. Having deep meaningful conversations happen few and far in between. Only because topics turn into debates, rather just listening to where someone else is coming from.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to really talk about debatable things. I’m just going to share with you Where I Stand in my parenting role. And how far I’ve come in accepting my place in my home. The struggle is real.
I never wanted to be a stay at home mommy. I can’t even recall thinking about motherhood and a family of my own at all growing up. I didn’t think about my dream wedding, prince charming, or the little house on the hill with a white picket fence. I thought about going to college, and having an awesome job that paid the big bucks. I thought of ways I would conquer the world. Be great at something, write a book, and eventually land on the couch of Oprah answering all her inquisitive questions on how I became such a great success. Add the dreamy full house music as you start to drift off and imagine it. Now snap out of it.
Well life didn’t happen that way. And that’s not a bad thing, it has just been a hard thing. So here’s where I currently stand. I left a great job making great money in 2011 to stay home with my five kids. I wasn’t happy in my overall career and felt like there was no “top” for me. The main reason was that I had a family. I just couldn’t move forward in my job with out traveling more, putting in more hours, and sacrificing activities for my kids in order have personal gain. It was the toughest decision I think I have ever had to make. I am not great (in my eyes) at being a domestic mom. I get mad, I get frustrated, I bark at my kids and even my husband when I get overwhelmed. I won’t pretend it was easier to manage adults than children but I will say its 100% different. And I didn’t know how to do it. I’m still learning that part. I often feel defeat because I’m not winning awards doing the laundry or cooking a delicious and healthy meal. I sometimes drown myself in feeling lonely because I hate that so many others seem to be loving this stay at home mommy life. I don’t hate them, I just do not relate. At least at work I had a sense of community. When our personal values were different, it didn’t matter we could relate to the job. Commonalities seem to be very important in the mommy world, or so I have come to find. I kick myself for not getting out there more and meeting other moms to combat that lonely feeling. I don’t because of all the mommy drama out there. There is plenty of it; from what we feed our kids, to how we raise them, to what school project we helped with (thanks to pinterest). I’m not that mom. Some of you may think “whatever crafty Martha wanna be” but let me explain. I don’t put my kids before everything. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my kids, and I would give my life for them in a heart beat. I just don’t do as much as the next mom. I don’t proof their homework, I don’t put their laundry in their drawers for them, I don’t make their breakfast or pack their lunches, I don’t volunteer to be at the school, and I certainly don’t enjoy curriculum nights. And mom’s out there getting it done and loving it, that’s awesome. You are truly a rockstar. I’m here to let all those other moms lurking in the shadows not volunteering to hang out with a class of 30 kids at the zoo in the blazing heat know that it’s ok, there’s another mom who will gladly step in. Do your thing, whatever that thing is. For me it’s working. If you see me doing a craft, it’s probably something I intend on selling. I tried to be that other mom, and it’s just not me. I tried to make cake pops for my sons class one year for a party, then the other kids wanted them as well. The next thing I knew I was making over 100 cake pops, something I had never done before, for a bunch of kids who would have been fine with a stick of gum instead. I wasn’t really making the cake pops for the kids, I was making them so all the other moms could see how cute they were. Who was I trying to kid. I’m no baker. And if I am, its for my family. I have nothing to prove to the next mom.
I want to be a solid provider. It’s hard for me now to have an income. Having an income is very fulfilling to me. It makes me happy. Being a happy parent is also important. I am still raising my kids, but just not the way I thought I should have been doing it. And that was a misconception of mine. I have a right to determine my style of parenting. It has been said “wow, you run a boot camp” and I often laugh it off. I don’t run a boot camp. I just stick to my word. I am firm about my rules. If I expect my child to do something, it better get done. There isn’t a lot of warning in my house when it comes to a consequence. They have, for the most part, come to know there are consequences to every action. And attitude is everything. Sounds like a scary house I know, but it really isn’t. We are a home filled with laughter, fart sounds, and funny memories. Just like the next house. I teach my kids to be independent, to be able to care from themselves at an appropriate age. (Mainly for my own sake, but also the value of the lesson for them.) An example, I teach my kids a few basic cooking skills right about the ripe old age of five. But I’m talking basic stuff, like toast, a sandwich, basic use of a kitchen knife, then as they are comfortable they move onto other things, and they usually tell me what they want to learn. I would say most of my kids could scramble an egg by the time they were six. Once I knew, they could make their own breakfast I stopped making it for them. Sure I occasionally get up and do it, but that is rare. More often than not they are making the occasion breakfast for me. My kids eat like Kings and Queens every morning. Eggs, bacon, toast, pan cakes, home made donuts, waffles, and oatmeal just to name a few. And they all task each other with an item and share in their feast. That’s just one example of how I feel I am empowering my kids. They do sometimes ask that I cook something for them and I agree.
I am just now finding my groove, accepting the fact that it’s ok to choose something for myself before putting that extra time into my kids school project or class party. My sanity is their sanity. I spend a lot of time with my kids. “Me time” isn’t just important to me, its necessary for me. It’s fine to admit that staying home wasn’t my first choice. It’s ok that I am a dreamer. I hope that my kids grow up remembering how hard I worked to make that extra money that allows me to be home so I could get them where they need to be. I hope that they will recognize I wanted to give them life skills like gardening, raising animals, creating something, time management, and generosity. They know school matters, but I usually let the school handle it (if I need to step in then I do).
This is my youngest son Brooks, he is the one that has had the joy of having me home the most. He will start school in the fall. He is the one that hears me say, “ok we will play that as soon as I am done working”.
He is quite a character. He is five and hasn’t yet mastered making a quesadilla. But he can make a piece of toast, and a PB&J sandwich. He loves getting a “mocha” from starbucks, which is a kids milk with a splash of vanilla, he prefers no ice, that way he can mix the whip cream once he drinks most of the milk. He loves to go to QT and has just recently discovered that there are more than the two where we live. It was a pretty monumental Ah Ha moment for him.
He is good about finding something to do while I get my editing done, or I’m working on a new post, or I’m sewing something. He loves board games, although he doesn’t really play them. He mainly goes through the motions with the dice and enjoys it just the same.
He is a lover of learning. He is kindergarten ready! He knows his ABC’s, counts to 100 repeatedly throughout the day. Loves to tell me he loves me, and loves to give me snuggles. This is how I know whatever parenting style I’ve chosen, its working out ok.
If you like this awesome set of wild cards you can find them on Etsy Here by Taylor Town Design. She is a local artist I found on instagram. And I just love her creative set of alphabet cards!