Sunday, August 30, 2015

Analyze This...and Then Grab a Brownie

Much has been said (and written) about the mind of a woman vs. the mind of a man. I truthfully have never thought about it or analyzed it too much until recently. And, probably more than anything it is the case of a mom's mind vs. a dad's mind. I do NOT mean by writing this I think one is better or more intellectual than the other, just some musings of mine lately. My apologies for the lengthy explanation to get to a point, but think it is needed.

Let's start with yesterday....Our neighbor just happens to be a co-worker of my husband. This neighbor and his wife just announced that they are expecting their first child. Jesse went out yesterday to congratulate him on the news. When Jesse came back in here was the following conversation....
       Me: When is she due?
    Jesse: Sometime in March.
       Me: How has she been feeling so far? Has she had any morning sickness?
   Jesse: no response....looks at me with a blank look and shrugs...
       Me: Has she figured out who her OB doctor will be?
   Jesse: more silence....another shrug
It was at this point that I decided I would stop with the "girl" questions. Was I being nosy? I don't think so. At least in my circles those are some of the first questions asked after the first "Congratulations!" and hugs are given. Often those above questions lead to follow-up how often the morning/evening sickness comes....are they feeling better once the first trimester is over....this doctor was phenomenal during my pregnancy and delivery, etc. This led me to imagine that men give the obligatory high five and move on...

Let's jump ahead to this morning before church. Our younger daughter had two separate incidents that led to consequences she did not like, and MUCH crying/screaming ensued. I'm not exaggerating when I say this massive meltdown was 25 minutes in length. Not to excuse it, but it was greatly enhanced by her being overtired. It then ran into her being upset about anything and everything....I wouldn't hold her long enough...she had too many tears,...her hair was tangled but she didn't want it combed....her sandals were too tight....and then too loose....and then she was too tired to wipe her tears....too tired to walk up the hill, etc. During the meltdown I was over analyzing every move...
     "If I don't hold her long enough because I need to get ready, will that seem like I don't love her?"
     "If I do hold her longer will that leave her thinking she has the upper hand?"
     "I was going to throw a load of laundry in before church started. Now I'll be behind on my to-do 
      list for today."
     "I might be going to church with wet hair....awesome."
     "What could I have done better to handle this situation next time?"
     "When will this stage end?"
     "This is stressing me out."
Quite honestly, my last thought (and this will make me sound horrible) was...
      "I could really go for a glass of wine."  
Since that was probably not the proper choice as I was on my way to church, I instead grabbed a brownie. Yes, a big brownie. Mind you, that probably just erased my 3 mile run this morning, but a brownie was my go-to at that moment.
Later when I asked Jesse what was going through his mind when the meltdown was taking place he just said, "I was wondering when this will stop happening on Sunday mornings." Granted, he had no idea that I was looking for blog content, so he might have expanded further, but do men over analyze quite like we do?

It then continued at church. As I sat down the acquaintance in the pew behind me saw my frustrated face, to which I replied, "It has been a morning."  She gave me a knowing smile (being a mother of three) and that was it. I once again thought, do moms take comfort in/with other moms unlike dads do? As I saw my other friends/acquaintance my thoughts and prayers went like this...
     ...She is a mom of 6 and her family lives on a farm. Her morning could have been like mine times    6. Was her husband out doing chores? Did she do the morning routine on her own? Prayers for her   strength and patience. 
    ...They just moved to town. She is a mom of 3 and her husband has a new job that is rather       demanding of his time. Praying she is handling all the adjustments of a new job, new town, new     schedules and all. Prayers for strength, 
    ...She is a mom of three (and pregnant with #4) and her husband is at work right now, so her morning routine and time at church left her running solo with the kids. Her oldest starts preschool tomorrow, and I know it will be an emotional day for this mom. I want to send her hugs tomorrow morning. Prayers for strength and patience and continued health for her. 
    ...She is a mom of 3 praying for blessing number 4. They have a big move coming in a month and she also is busy with her direct sales business. I pray for her strength and patience and time.
    ...She is a mom of 4 with an unexpected blessing of baby number 5 on the way. Her husband's work schedule can be tough at times. She has the concern about having a baby at a "later" age. Prayers for her patience and strength and continued health. 
    ....She is a mom of 2 with a newborn. I wonder if she is sleeping well at this point. How is her energy level? How are the other 2 adjusting to the new little one? Prayers for her strength and patience and continued recovery from labor. 

After church I talked with many of these moms and talk turned to our daughter's meltdown, me slamming a brownie on my way to church, the first day of preschool tomorrow, a newborn's sleep schedule, closing on a house, sibling rivalry, our sanity....and the list goes on.  This all leads me to...

Do men/dads ever think like that? Does my husband see his guy friends and say silent prayers and words of encouragement to them? After church when the gals are gabbing what are they talking about? When my husband sees a fellow dad in a store with a child having a meltdown does he give them a knowing smile or word of encouragement because he has "been there and done that?"

I tried to get Jesse to answer the above questions, but truth be told he didn't know where I was going with any of this, and I didn't want to explain the blog too much to lead him to an answer. I once again didn't write this to say women are better or more intellectual, it is just a case of me thinking out loud. Any men out there that would like to respond, I'd love to hear it. And, I'm quite sure, I'll have the privilege to hear my husband's response on his

This post is probably looking like a contradiction to the title of this blog, I do admit I probably do over analyze too many things in should I eat this brownie or save the calories or should I vacuum or dust first. But thinking about using the gifts God has given me to be the best mom, wife, friend, employee, etc. is probably one way I will never simplify. I can't stop thinking about it,

Simply put....grab that brownie and dig in.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better (or Not)

Do you like to lose?

Just from hearing that question I'm guessing you either slightly shrugged your shoulders indifferently or shouted out a resounding, "NO!" Most people fall into one of the two groups, and if I had to pick a group I would probably lean towards the latter. There are certain things that I'm rather blase about, but in the athletic arena I don't do so well. I don't throw a fit if my team loses, but it definitely gets to me and it takes awhile to let it go. 

Believe it or not, in the last few weeks my daughters have prompted me to think on this topic. Lately they have tried to "one up" the other on almost anything and everything. It is rather ridiculous. In the past it was about being the first to go out the door, but now I'm hearing total craziness. Below are actual statements I've heard from them. 

  "My Barbie is prettier than yours."
  "My dress can twirl better."
  "My milk has more chocolate in it."
  "My hair is longer than yours."
  "My bean bag is puffier."

Today took the cake. After a certain incident the two were directed to take a break on the kitchen chairs so I could talk with them. As I sat down, Ziva scooted her chair forward, turned to Siri and said, "Look, I'm even closer to Mom." This led Siri to scoot forward. Ziva responded by saying, "Actually losers are the close ones, so now I win." She then shot her chair back two feet....and on it went. While the ridiculousness of the situation was very obvious to me, the fact that they were just prolonging their timeout clearly blew by them. 

It got me to thinking two things. First of all, where does that come from? Besides the obvious answer of sin in the world I really did think...when/where does that start? Did you ever hear Dora taunting Boots for beating him down the path Map showed them? Did Steve ever mock Blue because he found the three clues first? You probably need to have kids to understand those references, but I think you know where I'm going with that. 

Secondly, can you imagine how hilarious it would be if adults challenged each other like my daughters did? This is probably what our house would sound like....

Jesse: "I can mow the lawn in straighter lines than you can."
Sarah: "Yeah, well I can run longer distances than you."
Jesse: "Maybe, but I know I can snore louder than you."
Sarah: "That's great, but I can grocery shop faster and cut coupons more efficiently."
Jesse: "Fine, but I'm better at computer stuff."

Those truly aren't issues between us, I was just trying to make a point. While I laughed at how dumb it would sound, it did occur to me that as an adult I now am competitive in another way.  Life has gone from being competitive in the sports arena to comparing myself by much different a wife and a mom. 

      "Why can't I keep my house clean like them...."
      "Why can they handle so many things at once..."
      "Why are they able to be more successful at their job...."

This has come full circle to an inner struggle that I have had, and have worked hard at dissipating. It probably could be a whole post on its own: "The Pressure to be That Mom." You could call it many things; pressure, competitiveness or insecurity. In the end, my focus no longer is on chalking up another victory in the win column, but on using the gifts God has given me to raise our children knowing the one thing needful. I know it is easier said than done, but I pray I can learn to stop the inner competition that is often brewing inside of me.

Simply put....I need to simplify this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pudgy Fingers & Hair Clips

We’ve all heard the expression, “Stop and smell the roses.” For me recently it turned into, “Stop and analyze hair clips.” Allow me to explain….

It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life, isn’t it? Daily tasks and routines seem to all mesh together and before you know it another day, month and then year has gone by and you find yourself saying, “Where has all the time gone?”  I wouldn’t claim to say I am the busiest person out there, but I have enough happening on a daily basis to keep me on the go. Just recently it all hit me and for the first time ever I truly felt a little stressed about my schedule.

I like to walk or run early in the morning before the activities of the day take up my time. This particular morning I was walking with no music so I enjoyed hearing the quiet noises of the morning. Before I knew it, though, my mind was running through my “to-do” list posted back at home. I felt my stress level slightly escalating, and by the end of my walk I had worked myself into a bit of a tither. A few blocks from my house a great shot of a city landmark came into view, with the rising sun hitting it at the perfect angle.  It took my breath away. I stopped for a second to take in the beauty of God’s creation and thank Him for all He blesses us with day after day and it hit me….My stressors could also be translated into blessings.

As I was reflecting on these blessings my next almost immediate reaction was panic. Panic that there were moments I’ve missed out on because of my schedule, my jobs, and demands to be “that mom” that can keep it all together. In the next few days, these thoughts became more pronounced.

Just a few days later I was at the park with my girls (ages 6 ½ and 4 ½) and they decided to chase a bird across an adjoining field. Both of their personalities shown through at that moment as my oldest daughter, who is very goal-driven, set off in a straight line, determined to catch that bird no matter what. My youngest, the laid back one, ran in circles, stopping to check out the wildflowers, grass, twigs, etc. It was one of those days where the sun hit them just right, looking like they were on some idyllic movie set. I was amazed at how their personalities could be exemplified in the simplest thing like that, and how many times have I missed something like that?

Earlier this week my daughter’s teacher came for her home visit. School starts soon and Ziva is ecstatic. She is starting first grade, and as her teacher talked about what the year would be like Ziva looked up with her with such awe, admiration and wonder. Ziva then asked her teacher, “I’m not sure, but how do the desks work?” I almost started crying then and there. I don’t have much time left to hear those adorable innocent questions, or to her to be so amazed by what school may bring. Before I know it these days will melt into years and she’ll be a teenager so NOT looking forward to school, and being SO annoyed by my questions of how her day was today.

This all has left me with a feeling of that I must make a goal to make sure that the all-encompassing aspects and duties of my life don’t overtake me to the point that I miss out on my girls running through the fields and asking adorable questions. Does this mean I’ll stop cleaning the house and stop doing my job? I think you all know the answer to that question, and just this morning I explained it to Ziva. There are basic responsibilities in life and jobs that one must attend to, as much as we might want to play games with our children all day. There are times for play, but there are times for work as well.

 And as a follow-up, when it is fun family time, to remember to “Stop and smell the roses” to make those memories even sweeter. Like this morning when Siri was overanalyzing each pretty hair clip and which one had more glitter or matched better….why rush her? Then after the County Fair the girls got treated to Happy Meals and Siri spent quite some time figuring out her new Happy Meal toy. Where in the past I might have tried to help her more or tried to rush her out the door to get back to the chores of the day, I watched her still slightly pudgy little hands work with that toy….too adorable.
There are a lot of “parts” of me often feeling like I’m pulled in different directions.  I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, paraprofessional, It Works distributor, member of an Alumni Committee and a rockin’ Book Club, and a lover of exercise that sometime gets overwhelmed with various aspects of life. I truly love all those things, and I’m working for balance in it all….along with pudgy fingers and hair clip moments.

Simply put…just give me a moment.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Coming soon to a screen near you

Life is crazy. Oftentimes I find myself with 10 different tangents running in my mind at once. I'm sure that is common for many of you. I thought if I would write about those thoughts once in awhile I could keep some of those random musings organized. Home, health, family, work, goals, direct sales, children, parenting, work, fitness, plans, frustrations, joys, success, etc.....get ready for random!