Parenting and Presidents

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To all my friends using their children as tools of guilt and shame the outcome of this election: stop. Stop the “how will I explain this man to my kids.” Your kids are hardly influenced by what our president elect says but they do hear what you say, what the television is saying and they are listening to those evening conversations between adults. We set the tone for how our children interpret the world and the adult issues happening now.

I am a child of 1986 (barely a millennial) and I don’t remember either the Reagan or Bush presidencies however I do remember President Clinton. I remember him lying to us on TV and admitting that he lied. I remember learning about the Lewinski dress, not fully understanding the meaning behind a stain or what exactly happened besides the fact that he lied to everyone and we couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it. I remember the news, the scandal then the middle east and I remember learning about impeachment before it was taught in social studies.

The news is still good, because despite his remarks and mistakes I know that what he did was wrong both in action and intention and I am not a worse person for having him as a president. I have no strong feelings towards him at all.

Our president should not be the ideal that we hold ourselves to. The president isn’t even a daily discussion in our house but Jesus is. Jesus is the standard we hold ourselves and our children to, He is what we strive to model our actions and thoughts to and when my children face difficulties in life I want them to look to Jesus not “What would POTUS do?”
Presidents come and go they are mere men that will make multitudes of mistakes just like the rest of us. If the president becomes an idol over Jesus, no matter how great he or she may be, then something is wrong.

I’ve been absorbing myself in the Netflix series The Crown. In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth contemplates her role in governing and returns to the standard set in the British constitution: that there is the dignified and the efficient. The efficient is there to govern the people but the dignified is what the people uphold themselves to, an ideal. Our government, the elected body is there to be the efficient, let them pass laws and govern our country as we see fit and it is up to us to be the dignified, let us be the ones to uphold our moral code and show our kids what it takes to be a decent human being.

 

Denver Mini Vacation

Sometime in June I started to feel the itch to get out. I’d been in SD too long and needed a trip, even a little mini trip to ease my soul. My first proposal was to Chad “lets go to Denver, take the kids to the zoo, do some shopping” but the mere thought of that stressed Chad out. I understand, we have 3 kids now, but any short lived stress seemed worth the experience to me. Chad was out but I wasn’t. I’d driven with 2 kids alone and figured 3 wouldn’t be much different, maybe some new challenges but nothing I couldn’t handle. Though, it did sound lonely just me and 3 kids so I thought it best and I mean BEST to invite my sister. It worked out even better than I imagined because she deals with my kids amazingly well, helping a ton, plus who wouldn’t want to go shopping with their sister? Just like old times in AZ only adding in 3 crazy boys.

I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. There was some stress involved but the memories that are taken away from trips like these make a life. Harper still tells people about going to Denver and both boys now jump in any elevator they get into, high speed or not.

 

My First Day as a School Parent

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I just dropped Harper off at school. Didn’t cry a single tear, not even almost. My heart swelled with love and pride for my kind-hearted boy.

As soon as we walked onto the playground Harper put his backpack down next to a tree and said “it’s okay mom, you can go now, I’m okay by myself.” I laughed and told him to go play, I wanted to stay a little. I watched him swing, going high without a push, I watched him yell and wave at the kids he knew and I knew he was more then ready to be there.

He’s going to do great and have a blast being in school, he has always thrived in groups. I, unlike many moms facing kindergarten for the first time, was ready for him to take this huge step, my biggest issue is understanding how is it possible that I am old enough to have a kid in school? I feel like I just graduated and was married last year, now I have 3 kids and one is old enough to be away from me all day? It’s mind boggling and at the same time a reminder of how exciting life is, cliche but also how quickly it goes. I remember when he was a baby I’d think about this day and consider that I’d be fairly young, as I was only 24 (6 days from 25) when he was born, thinking I might be one of the younger moms. However now that that day has arrived (probably due to having 3 kids and being a parent for 5 years now) I don’t feel young, I feel thrusted into middle age by the 3 that proceeds the zero as well as the fact that I have a kid in school.

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Walking home, alone, I wasn’t sad. I wondered how we got to this place- How was I old enough to have a kid in school?! I mentally tried to recall everything I’d put in his backpack, did he have his snack, the party money, all his school supplies- what did I forget? Am I trustworthy enough to be a parent of a school aged kid? I now have to be responsible for making sure he does his homework, wakes up early enough and eats enough even when I’m not around. And now all this stuff matters and truly affects the outcome of his future! I feel like I just got past the fear of SIDS with him and now I’m suddenly worried about creating good homework habits.

One thing I realized about myself as mother today, I am a mama bird. I’m not a tiger-mom, helicopter-mom, mama bear, dragon-mom or any of those slightly terrifying parenting pictures. I love my kids, I keep them safe and close but when they are ready to fly I push them out and watch them fail or soar. And it’s at that point that I find the most enjoyment, watching them grow and become people, individuals outside of us.

 

 

Boys Will Be Boys, Expecting Boy #3

When I was pregnant with Harper I had a dream early on that I was having a baby girl, at 18 weeks we found out he was indeed a boy. While pregnant with Willem I had one single dream about the baby in me and in my dream it was a girl, again it was a boy as we found out at his birth. Waiting for our ultrasound this time felt like torture, I counted weeks, days and I welcomed any dream about this baby figuring whatever I dreamt would again be the opposite of who this baby was but no such dream came.

The days up to the scan I did not feel drawn either way towards a boy or girl. I felt excited over the possibility of another boy for many reasons: I adore the boys I have, they adore me, I felt another boy would fit in well with our life, my boys wanted a brother, boys really are easier to me because I know them already, I find changing girl diapers more difficult, I could reuse many of the adorable boy clothes that I did keep, I don’t like pink, I had a couple boy names that I LOVED (and no girl names that I was overly excited about) and mostly it seems that the coolest moms out there have only boys- Gwen Stefanie, Julie Bowen (from Modern Family, the most relatable TV mom ever) and a mom here I know personally that I look up to (Danielle) has the 3 cutest sons that made me excited over possibly having a third and joining the club of cool moms.

I wanted a girl too though: I wanted that mother/daughter bond (that usually comes later in life), I wanted to buy adorable tights and wade through the sea of headbands, I wanted someone on my side, girls names do sound prettier, I wanted the experience of having and raising a girl would be like and lastly I felt like most everyone around me wanted me to have a girl because I already had boys and disappointment would be felt especially because for some weird reason females seem to celebrate girls more.

Going into our scan, the first thing the tech looked at was between babies legs. I held my breath while the picture cleared and there it was. An obvious spade, another boy. No mistaking it.

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I smiled but I’m not sure if it was forced or not. I was relieved to finally know and I was relieved that I knew what I was in for but I was a little sad that I felt like I knew the rest of the story. While preparing to be happy and looking at the good sides of both outcomes I forgot that I’d be sad either way as well.

I absolutely despise the idea of gender disappointment, I don’t judge those who experience it and I understand where it comes from but I do not set expectations that would set myself up for disappointment. Maybe in knowing that God knows what he is doing makes what is given to me so acceptable. No matter which way I view it I was never disappointed in having another boy. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t experience some form of mourning the experience of never having a daughter.

I did mourn the loss of browsing through headbands and tights, sad that I will be spending more money of food (boys really do eat a ton) than I would be clothes and both Chad and I regret that we will never know what a girl with our genes would look like. Some evenings when I have one son talking about penises and another telling me about power tools I do feel gender isolation but it is fleeting. To this day though I have actually felt no loss of a mother-daughter relationship but instead fully embraced the “mother of boys” title although my mind sometimes says “mother of dragons” instead.

Last week I finally had a dream about this baby. I can not bring up the picture my mind gave me of this boys face but I can still feel that overwhelming love and adoration and thinking that even despite my mothers eye he was the most gorgeous baby. Since that dream not only has my sadness over the lack of mini mary jane shoes disappeared but it has been replaced with a pure joy and  love over a boy and gratefulness that this is my calling.

 

 

(Adding to the end only because I tend to be curious in other peoples situations, that no, we will not try for a girl. Neither of us has any real desire for a girl or another baby.)