Aside

The Rock Maze

Went on a little hike today to the rock maze. It’s a super short walk from the car but provided tons of entertainment as the kids explored the “caves” forcing both Chad and I to squeeze through the tiniest crevices. Please excuse Willem’s mid 90’s “coming out of the grunge” style. Part of the boys terrible twos is wanting to pick out his own clothes so denim shorts, tye dye and cowboy boots it was.

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Snack break was pathetic. As a mother to boys I know that snacks make the world go around and can prevent any meltdown. I should have been prepared with a pack full of food however I grabbed what we had, crackers and craisins. Apparently any food is good food because Harper was thrilled by it and kept thanking me for bringing a snack

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Of course we stopped on the way home to fulfill the promise of throwing rocks in the water.

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Free Range Parenting

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Harper came bounding through the backdoor from the dark backyard. His cheeks where rosy, his breath was heavy and his eyes where wild. “Mom! We play outside!” I had been upstairs going through the night routine with Willem while Chad was downstairs doing dishes while our 4-year-old ran around outside playing with no adult supervision. “We played hide and seek, and bad guys and bad cars (?)” he exclaimed with a frenzied excitement. As he told me about his adventures outside I became just as alive as he was. My little boy is growing up and experiencing the world in his own way through his own eyes.

We are graduating as parents with Harper. I still carry Willem close and cuddle him to sleep (even as I type this they are both asleep in my bed on either side of me), yet Harper has gained an intense independence in the last year.

I just recently came across this op-ed in the New York Times about Free Range Parenting. I had only heard of this term once before on a Facebook thread but it didn’t stick long enough for me to google it. Once I came across the article I felt a strong gratitude that we are able to give our kids an imaginative and beautiful childhood free from fences and limitations.

Free range parenting to me is what we lived as children but it now has a name. It’s about trusting your child in the world and letting them play without the constant watchful eye. This does not work for every child and in every environment but it does stand to be talked about because as the parenting pendulum swings we can over-act when it comes to our children. This comes only for love of them and out of their safety but there is a point when we have to trust that they will make wise decisions and be ok. Think of it as little test runs to their adulthood (oh the thought of that hurts just a little).

“If you love someone let them free” is an  in my mama-bear opinion but I do love Harper in a way that I want him to be who he truly is and not a mold that I put him in and trusting him at 4 to play with the neighborhood kids in a safe environment without his mom constantly overseeing him allows him to be his sincerest, sweet little self.

Why I’m Bad at Making Friends

A few years ago I took a pretty in depth personality quiz. I remember it was long and I remember hearing “if you get this answer (the answer I did get) then you probably don’t have a lot of friends.” For some that might seem harsh but in my mind I thought: Yes! I haven’t had many friends, I can’t help that, it’s just how God made me! I was fairly relieved to have an excuse as to why I didn’t seem to have a gaggle of girls to go to constantly, even my bridal party was a one person party, my sister. To further explain the “you have no friends” answer it was answered that I tend to be overly honest, blunt, loud, and I have a general social disability when it comes to taking the first steps in a friendship. Add in the fact that I wear my emotions on my face (and my emotions are usually disapproval for some reason) and you do not have someone with many close friends.

This girl is definitely a soul mate of mine. We are destined to be together even my husband has commented that we can never move because she and I can not be separated.

This girl is definitely a soul mate of mine. We are destined to be together even my husband has commented that we can never move because she and I can not be separated.

So growing up I constantly had a good girl friend but it was usually only one. Don’t worry, I still had friends, most of them boys, some girls but I usually kept them at arms length because I didn’t need a large amount of friends it felt like too much responsibility when I just wanted to play, I just one or two really good ones to rely on and in return I was a good and reliable friend to them. Even from a young age I hated drama and kept it to a minimum.

I remember when we moved across town the summer after 4th grade. I attached myself to the other new girl when we started 5th grade at our new school. When October came around I asked her point blank if she would go trick or treating with me, really I had no one else to go with because she and I were the only two that lived in our new development, but she liked soccer and also had dark hair and freckles like I did. After that we stuck together and played every day except Sundays and Wednesdays. Right before 7th grade I moved to Arizona, and Megan came to visit during spring break, she confessed that she did not like me  before I asked her to go trick or treating (I was loud and confident or as I like to say now, I was a boss), she had no one else to go with so she said yes. This confession actually did not hurt me, it did surprise me a little but it more just reaffirmed how I had always felt about myself.

High school friends. These 2 are some of my oldest friends. What's great is even though we met at 14 they have grown into awesome women that I still adore. This picture was from my wedding 5 years ago! Haven't seen them in almost that long but I know we pick right up where we left off. I have to add that they are some of the most fun girls I've ever met.

High school friends. These 2 are some of my oldest friends. What’s great is even though we met at 14 they have grown into awesome women that I still adore. This picture was from my wedding 5 years ago! Haven’t seen them in almost that long but I know we pick right up where we left off. I have to add that they are some of the most fun girls I’ve ever met.

This is how my life has played out. I wear my emotions on my face too often. I’m timid about approaching other females, and in return they see me as intimidating (my college roommates would tell me this later after remembering our first encounter where I said little to them because I was shy, yet they saw it as aloofness).

Now that we live in a place I consider our forever home I’ve revisited what it is to make friends again especially with kids in tow. Many moms feel anxiety when it comes to making friends. Part of this is just the everyday stress that having kids creates making it hard to make plans or even phone calls but another part is the fact that we have created or been warned about mommy wars. We want to be friends with those that support us so if we feel like we are being judged for whatever parenting choice we make shy away from others who are not in the same situation making of a whole new level of insecurity. This isn’t good, plain and simple, on both ends we need to be more open, willing to put ourselves out there and more accepting of those that do not make the same choices we do. I look for friends who are understanding, support me, keep me honest and are honest with me (and preferably love wine, food, don’t mind messes, are flexible and laugh a lot). I accept them how they are and hopefully they do the same for me. I look forward to making new friends, I feel like I can pick them out pretty easily but it’s hard for me to make the right steps towards companionship without being super awkward.

This beautiful new mom is another long time friend that doesn't live close but that doesn't matter. I love that we started friends as single ladies and that motherhood has made us even closer. We know each others life stories pretty intimately, she's my go to person when it comes to matters in Christ.

This beautiful new mom is another long time friend that doesn’t live close but that doesn’t matter. I love that we started friends as single ladies and that motherhood has made us even closer. We know each others life stories pretty intimately, she’s my go to person when it comes to matters in Christ. 

So what is my friendship situation like currently? I’m in love with my long-term friends that are spread all around the states and here in S. Dakota. I’d say I have two very close friends that I can lean on anytime and a few more that I’m hoping grown into great friendships. I feel supported and loved, I am not alone, it’s encouraging and wonderful, a nice way to live.

If you are a mom or are moving to a new area or both here is what I suggest to make friends: Find local activities, MOPS groups, Hike it Baby groups, find a local church that you like, get a part time job, volunteer, go to library story times, sign up for an adult education class, or join a yoga studio. Find something that you like to do, be brave and put yourself out there and the universe will bring you someone to you, be patient and open, sometimes the really good ones take a while to appear.