Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

You may have noticed that I’ve been distant lately.  I really don’t mean to be.  It’s not personal.  And I mean this when I say this, it’s not you, it’s me.  Since finding out I would become the next Verity Mom, lots has happened.  All good stuff!  But it’s resulted in me not posting on this blog as often.  When I began this journey, I knew I would have to make some sacrifices, one of them most likely being that my personal blog would suffer a bit.  So if you’re feeling lonely and a little abandoned lately, now you know why.

But there is good news!  Although I won’t be able to post as often on my personal blog, I will be blogging often for the Verity Mom site.  Much of the content will be similar since my job is to blog about being a mom — just like I do here!  So over the next year, if you feel you need to connect a little more with me, and I hope you do, follow me as the Verity Mom.  I’ll be on all the cool social media sites like I am now.  I am looking forward to my new journey and look forward to connecting with and learning from other moms, grandmas, aunts, dads, grandpas, and uncles, and anyone else who wants to connect!  No one is excluded and everyone is welcome.

So please come join me!

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Wow Your Kids Are Well-Behaved

Do you ever take your kids out in public and think yours are the only ones not behaving or listening?  Oh, is that just us?  I mean, I think my kids are pretty well-behaved and I have control over them most of the time, but there are times (often) when we’re out in public, mostly at the grocery store since we don’t go many other places, it seems I’m constantly having to remind them of proper behavior.

“Stop fighting!”

“Stop running!”

“Stop licking that!”

“Stop grabbing things off the shelf!”

“Wait, where did Layton go?”

Then I look around and it appears there’s these little angels of children standing next to their mom or dad, patiently waiting for them to make their next food purchase choice.

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You see the occasional baby crying or toddler throwing an I-want-that-and-I’m-going-to-scream-bloody-murder-until-you’re-embarrassed-enough-to-buy-it-for-me fit, but those are the rare sightings it seems for me.  Mostly I see these children that just quietly walk two paces behind their parents allowing them the peaceful, thoughtful grocery-shopping experience I only get when I sneak out of the house and tell my husband, “I’ll be back in just a bit!”  As if I need to proclaim that my trip will be quick in order for my departure to be guilt-free leaving my husband home with all the kids.

Now keep in mind, my husband absolutely encourages me to go shopping alone or run errands without the kids, it’s just as moms, we still have that little trace of guilt whenever we dare to find a moment with just ourselves.  And as the kids get older, the guilt does seem to diminish some.  Not sure if we think the kids get somehow easier (they don’t) or we’re so worn out we’ll take those moments and run.  Guilt left behind.  I think I’m somewhere in that phase.  The alternative is taking the kids with me, making rushed food purchase decisions, darting evil glances from the mom with the perfect angel trailing quietly two paces behind her as my children tumble in a WWF heap in front of her cart abruptly ending her peaceful shopping experience.  Ya, I’m sorta getting over the guilt when leaving the kids behind.

I’m sure my kids aren’t as loud and obnoxious as I’m making them out to be.  After all, they are boys.  Boys are loud.  They have lots of energy.  And I have four of them.  And come to think of it, I think most the perfect little angels I see at the store are girls.  In ten years, their moms will be giving me the evil glances because she has to deal with a hormonal teenage daughter and I’ll be walking blissfully through the store as my non-hormonal sons are at home doing the list of chores I left for them.  Life’s all about trade-offs, isn’t it?

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Next Verity Mom

This has been the longest, most intense interview process I’ve ever experienced.  I started this process mid-September and just found out yesterday that I will take the reigns as the next Verity Mom!  I’ve said from the beginning that this would be a dream come true, and I’m here to tell you, I’m either dreaming, or I’m about to live out a dream.  If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me because I’m just too excited for it to end!

This whole process started out 2 months ago with 35 applicants, then narrowed down to 15, then the top 3, and just yesterday, it was announced I would take over for the next year to represent Seattle area moms and Verity Credit Union as the next Verity Mom.  During this entire process I learned a lot about myself, what I thought were my limits and going beyond, and also a whole lotta ’bout some amazing people in my life.

I also learned what an amazing organization Verity Credit Union is.  I came fresh off working for a large corporation for eight years submersed into a corporate mentality of sink or swim and forgot how awesome companies who genuinely care about their employees can be.  There are many amazing and motivating companies out there.  I am so glad to be back with one where the energy is felt from the minute you walk in the door, to each person you meet who works there, to the extraordinary vision it has giving Moms a voice and platform to represent other moms.  Go Moms!

I am lucky and fortunate enough to be that person.  What a privilege, honor, and great responsibility I have.  I look forward to this challenge and can’t wait to share it with all of you.  Thank you for joining me in this journey!  Good things are coming our way.

I can’t do it myself!

If I had a nickel, heck even a penny, every time my kids told me they can’t do something themselves, I’d — yes I’m saying it — I’d be rich.  I know, horrible saying.  But it’s popular for a reason.  I’d totally be rich.  My kids are in serious need of some boot camp.  Or more accurately, us parents are in need of a boot camp. After having one kid after another for several years, we just got into this routine of doing things for our kids for several reasons:

1) Because they were all little and needed our help.

2) It’s quicker, and let’s be honest, we’re better at it.

3) We’re trained!  We, as parents, are trained by our kids to do things for them with a simple, and somehow convincing statement, “I can’t do it myself!”

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It’s amazing the things my husband and I will do with just a whine or slight resistance from our children whom we somehow envision as still being 2, when in fact, are all now in school.  We got stuck in this pattern of doing things for them, and in some ways, enjoyed doing these things for our children because it made us feel useful and that it’s our job as parents to wipe our kids’ asses until they are 5.  Yes, I said 5.  Our youngest has been potty trained since he was 3 (age 3 is the youngest of any our children to be potty trained, so this is obviously not an area of strength for us), so he’s had plenty of time to practice wiping himself.  But for 5 years we’ve been doing it for him.  I mean, why should he do it when he’s got these suckers around him to do it for him?

If you think your children are helpless, or like us, think they’re just too young to do something for themselves, go watch them at daycare or in their schools, and you’ll see just how not helpless they are.  It’s a clear case of enabling.  The tail wagging the dog!  It starts young and is a very powerful (and sneaky) phenomenon used by kids.  It’s not like they’re intentionally doing this, it’s just that us parents make it so easy for them.

Parenting is hard.  All kids are different and all parents are different.  We each have different personalities and each of us parent differently.  Why we do the things we do is a puzzle so big, with so many pieces, it’s nearly impossible to connect them all.  But I know that kids are usually not hard to figure out.  Sometimes it just takes us parents to take a step back and look at what we’re doing and why.  And we need to ask ourselves, do we want to raise the type of children who expect someone to wipe their asses for them?  I don’t.

Update:  Layton is now wiping his own ass.

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To Honor a Vet

You either are a Veteran, know a Veteran, or at the very least, have met a Veteran.  I am married to a Gulf War Vet and my stepdad and father-in-law are both Vietnam War Vets.  I don’t often think about them being Vets though.  I talk to these three men all the time but I don’t identify with them as Vets.  At least not that often.  One of the only times I stop and think to myself that these men actually fought in a war, is on Veteran’s Day.  These men, whom I love and interact with all the time, whom are a part of my family, actually fought in a war to make sure we are able to live in a free country.

So why is it that I only really take pause to the sacrifices they’ve made for our country when Veteran’s Day comes around?  I mean, I am very proud to be married to a Gulf War Vet.  I am very proud to know and love two men who served our country in the Vietnam War.  I am proud, but I don’t really know what it means to be a Veteran.  Or what it’s like to have served in a war.  The United States celebrates Veterans on Veteran’s Day, but do we, as individuals, really celebrate them?

I am married to a Gulf War Vet and I don’t identify with him as a Veteran. 

Why is that?  If I don’t even identify with him as a Vet how can I really honor him and all Veterans for the individual sacrifices they’ve made?  The only way I could come up with was to take a moment to actually identify with one who sacrificed themselves for my freedom.  To understand.  So I sat down with my husband and asked him what it means to him to be a Veteran.  This is what he said:

“I feel pride to have served my country.  Growing up I heard stories about both my grandfathers serving in World War II and my dad serving in Vietnam.  I had the utmost respect for those who served, particularly those who served in a war.  Hearing stories from my grandparents and studying history, World War II and Vietnam were very scary times for the United States and most of the world.  Knowing this, both my grandpas and my dad signed up on their own to serve and protect this country.  Nothing gets my respect more than that.  Enlisting into the military was my way of paying that respect back.  It also gave me my own sense of honor.”

We all have our ways of honoring Veterans on this day.  In that moment listening to my husband’s pride, not only for his own sacrifice, but his pride and respect for Veteran’s before him, I identified with him.  This is how I choose to honor our Vets — by taking the time to understand and identify with just one.

Vets Day

Dreary = Lazy

What is it about dreary days that automatically make you lazy?  And moody?  And irritable?  Living in the Seattle Metro area, this can be very debilitating and lead to piles of laundry, days without working out, and a bad mood I can’t blame on my period.  I prefer to save up my moody days for my cycle.  I’m afraid my husband will leave me if I’m moody the other 4 days of the month I don’t blame it on my period.

I woke up yesterday and it was dreary and cold and rainy, and that’s also pretty much how my day felt.  I had no reason to feel this way besides I looked outside and the weather was basically flipping me off.  It’s like it knew I had plans to get a bunch of stuff done around the house and that I hadn’t worked out in many days and it said, “Add one more day, Toots!”  I wanted to flip it off right back and get a bunch of things done and go sweat it out for 2 hours at the gym.  That would show it!  I ended up on the computer most of the day, talked on the phone with a couple of girlfriends, and barely picked up the house before I had to get the kids.

Today I got up and the sun was peering through the clouds and I was immediately rejuvenated (probably also had something to do with the nine and a half hours of sleep I got), but I prefer to think that the weather felt bad for its apparent lack of respect for me, my mood, my ambition, my husband’s sanity, and my parenting abilities that also seem to diminish when it’s crappy out.  Today I made my juice, hummed while I made the 3 rounds of waffles and 3 bags of lunch, and didn’t yell at my kids once!  I’m also about ready to head to the gym.  Yes, today will be marvelous.

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So now that I sit here and ponder the weather’s bizarre control over me, I immediately am frustrated.  I am the type of person who will chant to my friends and family when they’re having a bad day, or year, “You make your own happiness.”  And I truly do believe this.  So why, will someone with this mentality, allow the weather to dictate the type of day, wife, mother, and all around productive person I am going to be?  Why am I to be controlled by the weather that is clearly attempting to taunt, rule, and decide how my day will go??

I’m done being controlled, weather.  You can blow all the wind, pine needles, rain and hail you want because, one, after I get done posting this I’m heading to the gym (and I don’t care that you made the sun go behind those now questionable clouds as I rant about you), and two, my husband will totally clean all those pine needles out of the gutter and sweep the driveway and walkways, so again, you have no control over me.

Now, if I can just somehow tell my menstrual cycle, period, the 10 days leading up to my period, and the 10 days after that it takes to recover from my period, that they don’t rule me either, I would be eternally grateful.  Okay, my husband would be eternally grateful.  And my house would be a lot cleaner.  And my kids would probably smile more.  And my dog would stop hiding from me when he has this 6th sense of what’s happening.  I can’t be expected to be responsible for all my moodiness, can I? I didn’t think so.

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Am I A Good Mom?

How many times have you asked yourself, am I a good mom?  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my abilities as a mom. After getting laid off I can no longer include my occupation in my self-identity. I now must rely on my abilities to be a good mom, loving and devoted wife, supportive friend, and positive contributor to society in whatever way I can.  And unfortunately, I also feel like I must up my housekeeping skills since I can no longer blame my job for taking me away from them. Ah yes, the joys — and pressure — of being a stay-at-home mom.

For the first time in almost 17 years I find myself in a new role of being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never had the desire or privilege to dedicate my focus and identity to solely being a stay-at-home mom. I felt working from home for the past 8 years made me a semi stay-at-home mom since I could still take my kids to school, pick them up, and sneak away to do mom-essential duties of taking kids to appointments and volunteering occasionally in their school.  Plus I didn’t spend hours each week away from them to commute to and from my job. I had the perfect balance.  Or so I thought.

So now that I’m in-between jobs, I’ve been forced to look in the proverbial mirror more and ask myself if I’m the type of mom I want to be.  Plus being up for the next Verity Mom, I of course question if I am the kind of mom that can and should represent other moms.  If I have my own self-doubts of my ability to be a good mom, does that make me not qualified?

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I watched a video online the other day that is going viral that shows moms being interviewed about their parenting (prepare yourself, it’s a tear jerker!).  Most of the moms stated all the negatives they see in their parenting and the things they wished they were better at.  After all the moms were interviewed, they sat each of them down to watch the videos of what their kids said about them.  The kids listed all the positive things about their moms and all the reasons why they loved their moms.  To watch the moms’ reactions to all the amazing things their children were saying about them just reconfirms every mom’s existence once becoming a mom — to know our kids know how much we love them.  It’s to hear that even though we may not be perfect, we are perfect for them.  Even through all the doubts we have of our ability to be a good mom, our kids love us unconditionally.  They don’t focus on all the negatives.  So why then, as moms, do we?

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Yes I question my parenting abilities.  Daily.  But I think it’s important to stop doubting ourselves.  Stop the constant negative commentary going on upstairs about our abilities and focus on being the mom our kids already think we are.  Our kids deserve more and so do we.  And to answer the question if I’m the type of mom that can represent other moms, my answer is officially yes.  I’m just as imperfect, vulnerable, and filled with self-doubt as any other mom out there.  But my kids know I love them so I must be doing something right.

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