Tag Archives: Parenting

Parenting Plight #6: Advice-Giving Do-Gooders

photo cred: www.annaaparicio.com
photo cred: http://www.annaaparicio.com

No, I’m not talking about you. I’m also not talking about people who give me parenting advice because I asked for it. I’m talking about old lady at the grocery store who eyes my crying baby, who I know is hungry, and suggests several remedies (none of which include feeding the hungry baby) to make him “go to sleep”. Thanks a lot, lady. You’re slowing me down when all I want to do is get home with my groceries and nurse my baby to sleep. Cue face palm.

Another scenario: I’m at Lowe’s (home improvement, not grocery) and I’m wearing my freakishly tall 2-year-old on my back in the Boba. Immediately, I get stares. I’m sure people think I’m wearing a 4-year-old on my back. (I am not knocking you if you still wear your 4-year-old. Babywearers unite!) The reason is she’s been a trooper for all of our morning errands, and I just need to pick up this one thing. I know where it is, and I can be in and out in a few minutes. To avoid leaving my fussy toddler in the hot car, or taking 45 minutes to do a task that should take 10, I strap her on my back, and gallop (you know, because I’m a horse now) into the store for my specialty CFL light bulb in a size and wattage that can’t be found anywhere else in the entire world (read: at the grocery store). A concerned man says to me, “She is old enough to walk. Why are you still wearing her on your back? Just put her down.” Okay sir, let me unleash the unkempt, hot, tired, hangry (yes, hangry) toddler on Lowe’s, and see how many items I buy because they’re broken. No thanks.

I love it when Willy Wonka gets me.
I love it when Willy Wonka gets me.

I know most people are well-meaning with their unsolicited advice. That’s why I do my best to smile, thank them, and promise to go straight home to do what they’re suggested. But if I’m honest, even I sometimes feel the need to give pregnant women or first time parents my tips and tricks and advice and stories and… (case in point) But I typically try to stop myself. Or at least wait for them to ask me. Or at the very least not over share.  Okay fine, we all love to share our stories – that’s why I blog, right? Human connection and relationship building. It’s how we make friends; we feel better knowing we aren’t alone. But I don’t force my stories and opinions, and I don’t say them rudely either. Because I’ve been that parent, the one who is tired and on a short fuse. I’ve been the working pregnant mom, just trying to get a little caffeine boost to have a strong finish to my day, even though I know that I’ve got “x” amount of caffeine allowed in a day and I may have already surpassed it. The barista with the huff and the puff and the judgy look can keep it to herself.

Have you gotten unsolicited advice from well-meaning (or judgy) strangers? How did you handle the situation?

We All Need Some Grace

This article (here) just blew my mind.

10 Promises for Parents. Gospel promises. Gospel promises to mend your aching heart and give you hope. Hope that you aren’t totally screwing it up. Hope that you can keep on moving forward.

On the heels of a particularly horrific afternoon/evening (which coincidentally followed a truly lovely morning) these Scriptures brought tears to my eyes, conviction to my heart and healing  to my soul. There is grace for the anger. There is grace for the tiredness. There is grace for the sadness. There is grace for the mistakes. There is grace for every possible situation in which you find yourself.

Specifically, this verse spoke to me: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

How much did I need to hear that?! I have a headstrong toddler. I don’t mean just a toddler. I mean a headstrong, outspoken, defiant, my-way-or-the-highway toddler. She comes by it honest (I’m from a family of just such people) so I can’t hold it against her. But I am butting heads with her over so many things I can barely keep up. Choose my battles, you say? I’m choosing, but she isn’t. I have to keep her safe, clean, fed, watered, and rested. Often, I keep feeling like I have to choose between those because she refuses to give in.

So I needed this reminder of grace. I needed to be reminded that my messy evenings of torturous bedtime routines that drag out for hours can be redeemed. I needed a reminder to speak softly, because my harsh words are thrown back at me from the mouth of my babe. She can be pushy because I can be pushy. She’s loud because I’m loud. Sometimes it’s funny – imagine a rousing rendition of “Let It Go” – but sometimes it’s awful. I needed a reminder that this little one just needs love. She needs patience and grace and love. I realize I’m human and I’m short on all of those things, but there is a fountain of them, flowing out onto me and through me. It’s my job as a mommy (not to mention as a wife!) to channel the flow of patience and grace and love onto my inexplicably wailing, exhausted (and exhausting) two-year-old. Even when I don’t know what to do, there is Someone for me to call on. And God, I’m calling on you. I need that grace, that patience, and that love. I need it desperately, for myself, and for my family. And praise the Lord, it’s coming.

Parenting Plight #3: Laundry

Everyone does it. Whether they do it at home, out in public with the masses of other people doing it, or downstairs in the basement of their apartment complex, we all do it. Yep. Laundry. In our home, this chore can quickly become the bane of our very existence. For one, neither Hubby nor I are very good at it. Yes, we understand the mechanics. Yes, we can do each step involved in the process correctly. However, we aren’t great at completing all the steps in a reasonable amount of time. Hubby packs the washer, but the clothes don’t usually get into the dryer. I pack the washer, move them to the dryer, and even get them out onto the guest bed (Official Hsu House Laundry Station), but I very rarely fold them. I walk downstairs to the guest room to find my underwear, my favorite jeans, or the kids’ pajamas on a regular basis.

Joseph atop the aptly named "Laundry Mountain"
Joseph atop the aptly named “Laundry Mountain”

So Hubby and I created (on the spot, of course, because we are he is super witty) a little thing we call “Laundry Blitz”. It’s when we put on some music or a movie on the laptop, and wash/dry/fold as many clothes as we possibly can. Sometimes, if things aren’t that bad, it takes us about 30 minutes to get everything folded, separated into the room it should be taken, to put away. Every once in a while Once a month or so, it’s so bad that it takes the two of us a couple of hours (or several shorter sessions) to get everything done. More often than that, I bring up a basket of clean clothes, and never put them away. Then, you guessed it. Those baskets sit until we’ve worn all the clothes in them and they go back downstairs to be loaded again.

I know we have four people, but we all wear more than one outfit a day pretty often, especially the kids, and theirs aren’t often re-wearable. Does anyone else have this problem? Anyone have any great ideas about how to tackle and keep track of the laundry situation?

EDIT 07-02-14: A friend sent me this pic, and I had to add it! Enjoy the irony.
funny-Never-Ending-Story-adult

Parenting Plight #2: Babysitters

Let me make this clear before I get started: the plight of which I speak isn’t the babysitters themselves. Oh no, our family is blessed with wonderful, sweet babysitters who love and take good care of our kids, including several family members. No, the plight is a different beast altogether.

The plight is the leaving. The preparing for every possible scenario that might occur. The feeling that your phone must be on loud and in a visible spot at all times during whatever it is that you are doing away from the kids. The hoping you don’t get the phone call you’re waiting for. The sneaking out (I know- sneaking causes a whole set of issues- we don’t always do it) while they are distracted doing something else. The feeling that you’ve forgotten to mention something, or forgot to leave a certain item in plain view, or forgot to get cash to pay the sitter with. You know what I mean.

The plight of leaving your kids with someone else must get more comfortable at some point, right? I mean, beyond the missing them and hoping they sleep well, it must get easier the older they are. I remember as a kid, my parents leaving meant that I could probably play board games and watch movies and eat cookies and stay up late with a sweet older girl who would serve, for several years, as a role model and favorite person to see on the occasional weekend my parents went out. But right now, with my two year old and six month old, leaving means that I better have my daughter fed or she won’t eat. And Frozen in the DVD player. And a swaddle (she will NOT sleep without one) ready for emergencies or bedtime. And I better have my son in a happy mood, in his pajamas, with everything he needs for bed already in his crib. And several bottles made and ready to go, because if I only leave one, he will wake up every two hours till I get home and need one. Hubby can’t relate to this, because I have self-diagnosed OCD and he is as laid back as they come. See why we fit together so nicely?

Often, we are lucky enough for our babysitters to be grandparents. They know routines. They know what to do in case of a meltdown. They know where everything is in the house (or in some cases, baby stuff is all there in their own houses). They are familiar, safe faces and personalities. And praise the Lord, they are free. But lately, even they have a little resistance from the too-smart-for-her-own-good toddler. My mom doesn’t like to do bedtime with her right now because she gets up so many times before she is finally down for good, and when she gets up and all she finds is my mom, she is likely going to melt down. Why? No good reason. She loves my mom. She knows Hubby and I are coming home. She has everything she needs (full belly, clean diaper, swaddle, animal friends, etc). She just needs extra love right now, in this stage of her life.

Now, I will say two things, and they are in no way supposed to sound pushy. They are simply my opinion. First of all, the plight of leaving shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t have a date night, or go out with the girls, or even just see a movie by yourself if that’s your thing. We all need a little sanity, a little freedom, and a little time where the company can form complete sentences and drink a glass of wine. Secondly, if you’re in a committed relationship, it is really, REALLY important for you to have some time with your significant other alone… by yourselves. A revolutionary thought, i know. This is my opinion, but I’m also sure it’s true. Your relationship needs time that isn’t interrupted by kids’ meals, baths, naps and bedtimes. Make your person a priority. Don’t read that as “neglect your kids for that person”, but read it as a call to not neglect that person for your kids, if your person is important to you. Hubby and I love spending time together with the kids. We love spending time together at home after the kids are in bed, by ourselves or with friends. But we really appreciate a night out, just the two of us, slowing down, reconnecting, and getting to know each other better. It’s a time to see him as Hubby instead of Dad, for me to be a wife instead of just Mom, and to revisit hopes and dreams and careers and thoughts on life in general, instead of schedules, kids, bills and housework. Remember that time? Yeah. We were living the crazy life. We were doing what we wanted to, when we wanted to. We don’t really want to go back there, but a few hours of doing just that is exactly the therapy we needed.

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Dinner at The Porch, drinks at Recreation Billiards and music at Bull’s Tavern was our perfect date night.