I Am The Mother Of A Soldier

Never did I think that I would hear those words escape from my mouth but the truth is, I am officially the mother of a soldier.

I had the honor of attending my oldest son’s graduation from basic training  in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  And I must say that it will be one of the fondest memories I possess in my life.

mother soldier kids growing up

As a parent we raise our children in hopes that they will be successful, but for a mother of a soldier it’s just a bit of a catch 22 for me.  As proud as I am of him, we also live in a world of uncertainty right now.

I took my seat that morning and watched as each group of these young men and women marched their way to the stage and one by one called off their names and where they were from.  And when my child came forth, I barely recognized him.  He was all grown up.  He had already changed.

I thought about all their family and friends in the audience who were watching and wondering if they were all having the same feelings as me.  The feelings of pride, joy, love, fear, understanding, and of course uncertainty.  If their whirl wind of emotions, were blowing in the same direction as mine.

I sat across from my son, dressed in his Army issued tailored blues, made just for him.  And I couldn’t help but think that just yesterday he was this 10 year old little boy, with no thoughts of where he would be sitting on this very day across from me.

mother soldier kids growing up
2008
I thought about the past year and a half and what he has overcome.  That he made some bad choices but made some self discovery along the way and in the end chose the right path.

I thought about the last time I saw him and how many things were said between us.  A conversation that hasn’t been finished.

I also thought about my 4 other children, who are all growing up so fast, and that as soon as I blink my eyes, this person sitting across from me, will be my 4 year old.  All grown up and no longer needing my undivided attention and me knowing that I did my best to give her and all of her siblings the love, life skills, and childhood memories that will give them the best wings to fly.  To know that I tried to be the best mother I could…even when some days mothering required every ounce of me that I had.

Watching this ceremony and hearing of my son’s stories of his journey so far, gave me a new found respect for these young men and women who take an oath to protect and serve their country.  To protect some of the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.  To sign on a dotted line not knowing the unpredictability that lies ahead.

Basically giving up their freedom…to ensure ours.

The last night I was there, I walked my son up the sidewalk near his barracks.  I promised I wouldn’t cry.  I promised that I would be strong and send him on his way.   I hugged him tight, told him I loved him, and then as soon as I turned to head toward’s the car all those tears poured out.

I hadn’t cried like that in a long time.

But it wasn’t just because I am the mother of a soldier, it’s because I am a mother, and for the first time since becoming a mother, I had a taste of what it was like to let go, and that before long, I would have to let go of all of them.

To Bryan,

I know your blood doesn’t share my blood but I will always think of you as my son.  There are so many things that you won’t understand until you have children of your own.  

I hope you know how proud your dad and I are of the person you have become.  That you chose to be a better person, even with so many odds against you.

I hope you understand how much we love you.  And how much we never stopped loving you…even when you weren’t making the best of choices.

I hope you understand the reasons of why we had to make some of the choices we made.  I don’t regret those choices…especially if it gave you the will to prove you could make it.  That you could be a better person even with the hand of cards you had been dealt.

I hope you will always know…this is your home.

Love,

Mom

PS:  Never lose sight of the boy on the left.  He’s formed the man on the right.

mother soldier kids growing up

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10 Things You Should Know Before Having 3 Kids ~ Guest Post

I was contacted by Crystal at Baby Follow  to host a guest post about having 3 kids.  And since I have 3 kids and can relate to a lot of this I was of course delighted to have her.

Take it away Crystal…

10 Things You Should Know Before Having 3 Kids

 

Three kids seem to be the perfect number for most couples ñ small enough to keep it manageable but big enough to keep family outings interesting. After Iíve become a mother to 3 kids however, I realized that having 3 of them is NOTHING like having just 2.

Donít get me wrong ñ all my kids are well-loved and cared for! Still, it can be quite shocking to find yourself having 3 little troopers in the house, all under the age of 7! If youíve recently got a 3rd child or planning to have a 3rd one, hereís one housewife advice to another.

1. Sexy Time

Sex pretty much dries up or must be planned like a military operation because for some reason, the kids never synchronize their absence. At least one is always in the house, needs attention, needs food, crying for water, or needs to have monsters in the closet shooed away. Even if youíve got time at night, youíre pretty much too tired to do anything with the hubby.

2. Invest on Distractions

Itís time to get the good baby swing! Thereís nothing quite like a good distraction that lets you do all those little things you used to take for granted ñ like going to the bathroom. It is essential to get the good baby swing as it distracts your youngest and lulls him to sleep quickly. Iíve figured out that once my youngest goes to sleep, the other two are easier to manage.

3. Quiet is Suspicious

Need I say more? Noise is practically a signal of normality in the household. Once everything goes quiet, itís a sure sign that something is wrong.

4. It Takes a Village

tarafleishman.files.wordpress.com
tarafleishman.files.wordpress.com
With two kids, I was still Supermom. I could handle my two boys without asking for help. With the 3rd however, Iíve accepted the ìit takes a villageî adage and called for help, usually from the grandparents.

5. Mess is Endless

http://images.clipartpanda.com
http://images.clipartpanda.com
Even as you pick something up, something new gets thrown on the floor. The mess never really ends with 3 kids ñ and this includes the laundry! Iíve basically placed a huge box on the living room and told my kids to throw anything in there so I can sort them out later and the floor stays clean!

6. Zumba and Other Exercises

Zumba and Other Exercises
http://www.healthline.com
As a stay at home parent, most of my exercises are done through the television. Thatís not possible anymore with 3 active kids. On the plus side, you can get more physical workout just running after your toddlers ñ but this is an all day job! For some reason, theyíre on a schedule when it comes to energy source so that when one is recuperating their energy, the other one is at full speed. A postpartum girdle is a best choice if youíre feeling a bit of strain along your belly area, especially if youíve had a C-section. Wearing this actually helped me get my shape back!

7. Nothing is Constant

What worked for my first two doesnít seem to work with the 3rd when it comes to sleeping time, eating, and play. Hence, I had to change strategies ñ which are a lot like being a brand new parent all over again! Take nothing for granted and be ready to adapt!

8. Helicopter Parenting

With one or even two kids, you could be more involved. For example, Iíd actually help my little girl and boy to pick out their clothes for the day and help them in it. With the 3rd however, Iíve switched to helicopter parenting. It basically means hovering where I simply go check to see if theyíve done what theyíre supposed to do and move on. Although you might want to be involved in every step of their daily life ñ it just becomes impossible!

9. Teach Early

With two kids, my husbandís strategy was divide and conquerí as each of use gets a kid. With the arrival of the 3rd however, this strategy no longer works. I dread the day when our youngest would be able to walk and therefore ñ run. This is why as early as 2, weíve been teaching our middle child how to act and respond when weíre in public in the hope that self-discipline will work its magic.

10. Yes ñ You Will

Lastly, accept that youíre going to mess up ñ itís part of being a parent to 3 active children! Just keep in mind that pretty soon, your kids are going to turn into teens so itís best to relish these moments while you can.

Of course, those are just few of the skills new parents need to learn how to care for their kids. Remember: adapt as you go because no two kids are ever the same, but youíll love them anyway!

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Surviving The First Day Of School

I wasn’t very happy when that alarm sounded at the crack of dawn.  And when I say “crack of dawn”  I mean like the light was barely coming through the blinds and the sun hadn’t come up over the mountain yet.

At first I didn’t know what the sound was.  I woke up thinking that one of my toddlers was surely going to be standing next to me with some new game they had wanted on their tablet making that hideous sound.   And just as I was about to tell them to turn it down I realized it was…

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL and my alarm was going off.

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I don’t know what this guy is so upset about … 8:20 is sleeping in

It took me about 20 minutes to actually get out of my bed.  Took me 19 just to get my eyes to stay open.  As everyone is well aware…I hate mornings and truly believe that school should start at noon.

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So I got myself up and ready and then went to wake the dragons.  Two of the three woke just fine, but my little M is like her mommy and really wished that school started at noon too.  And she wasn’t very excited about starting kindergarten in a new school after attending the same preschool for the previous year and a half.

I went to the closet and reminded her that she had a new Spider-Man shirt to wear to school and she quickly jumped out of bed and hopped in the shower.

back to school first day

The morning went smoothly.  Got everyone dressed, matching shoes and socks, hair combed, fed a good breakfast, lunches were packed and backpacks ready and out the door we went.

back to school first day

Don’t think that it will be like this all year people, because eventually there will come a morning where they will be eating pop tarts in the car with their hair barely brushed and be lucky if anything at all is matching.  Don’t judge me.  That’s just what I refer to as #momlife and I have many moments of it.

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I thought that I might have a problem with my youngest, this year, being the only one being dropped off at daycare but she was super excited to go back to school and as soon as they said they had a new pet for the classroom she was off and running.  Sparkly light up shoes and all.  Never even looked back. *sheds tear*

Then it was off to the elementary school.  The chaos of the first day is just crazy.  Parents and kids everywhere.  I didn’t even try to get a close parking spot,  I parked up the street and my other 2 and I took a nice stroll.

Little M held my hand tight.  I knew she was so nervous.  Little B man of course zoomed like a pro.

I showed little M where she was supposed to line up and even got her to smile for the camera.  Something that she rarely does unless I catch her off guard.  The look on her face told me that she was going to be just fine.

back to school first day

Around 2pm I started to get really tired.  Like tired enough that I felt like taking a nap…and I never nap.

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This is literally what I looked like sitting in my chair…I haven’t shaved in a while.

 

And when I went to pick up the kids I realized that I had gone the entire day (including making it to the gym) without any CAFFEINE!  WTF?!?!?!

I was so busy that morning running around like a maniac that I had actually forgotten to consume any caffeine.  What mother in her right mind does that?  Yes, I know, I must not be in my right mind…news flash there.

So needless to say, it was too late in the day to consume any at this point and when 8pm rolled around, and I put the kids to bed, I crawled into bed too.

The last time I remember looking at the clock it was 9:30pm.  And I survived the first day of school without ever having a sip of caffeine.  GO FUCKING ME!🙋🏻

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How You Know It’s Time For The Kids To Go Back To School

I don’t know about you but I am counting down the minutes seconds days for my little ones to go back to school.

I remember that I couldn’t wait for school to be out and not have to wake up to an alarm clock or rush around like a psychopath mad woman to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and off to three different schools.

We had all these summer vacations and fun plans and memories to make.   Well now here it is almost the middle of August and I am DONE with them being home all day. *pulls hair out*

And here is a list of reasons why:

*My wine budget has far exceeded any Christmas budget we have ever had.

back to school kids parenting humor

*The liquor cabinet is on rations.  Sometimes wine doesn’t cut it so I have had to get into the hard stuff.  Sometimes this is before noon.

*I have heard the word mommy, mom, mama, and mother so many times that I am contemplating changing my name to bitch so that they can’t call me by my name.

*If we are stuck in the house it’s like a prison sentence.  There is only so much patience that I have left for crafts, teaching, and anything else that doesn’t involve technology.  Have you ever tried doing crafts with 3 little people? It takes longer to get everything out and ready and to clean up the mess, then we spend on actually doing the craft.  Plus I have had to use some of the craft supplies budget to add to the wine budget.  Don’t judge me.


*It’s hot outside and the summer toys have lost their lustre.  Hell, they were bored with those 2 weeks into the summer holiday.  *misses the days of having a pool*  The outside cement has been decorated so many times with sidewalk chalk that when the dog lays in it she’s 10 different shades of color when she gets up.  My children have also discovered that chalk and water makes for great paint.  They will lay in it and then make little human body prints everywhere.  This is usually right after I have given them a shower.  Now I just play mommy dearest and they get the hose.

*I play referee more times in one day than an NFL professional referee does in an entire season of football.  God for bid one of them destroys something on the others Minecraft bullshit.  You would think that the actual house was on fire and all it is, is a video game that I still can’t understand their obsession with.

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*I can’t remember the last time my husband and I had sex that didn’t qualify as a quickie in the shower.  You know the whole “Mommy and daddy are going to go get dressed  now so don’t come knock on the door 5 gazillion times tattling or asking for something” routine.  And then you lock the door and pray that they don’t unlock it…because yes, my kids know how to do that with a toothpick!

*I am trying to get them back into an early to bed routine.  The. struggle. is. real. and some nights I just give up and go to bed myself in hopes they won’t kill each other destroy something while I’m sleeping.

*I need to get back to the gym and I would like to have time to write a blog post without 1,000 interruptions.  Oh and did I mention my hair is falling out…or maybe that’s from me actually tugging on it several times throughout the day.

*I miss my alone time and can gradually feel my sanity slipping away.  I just might have to take money from the school supplies budget to hold me over on the wine since I still have 22 days to go.  *rolls her eyes as far back into her head as they can go* They don’t need new shoes right?  I can just cut holes in the ends of the old ones.  Again don’t judge me.

drinking wine humor

Counting the days to getting my sanity back,

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Other People’s Kids

other peoples kids discipline

Before I became a mother, people used to always say “you’ll feel differently about your own kids than you do about other people’s kids”.  There couldn’t be a more truthful statement.

There was a time in my life that I never really wanted kids.  Partly because I couldn’t tolerate other people’s kids.  Sure I had plenty of friends with kids and there were times I would babysit and at one time I even had a friend and her child living with me.  I was around those kids a lot, got used to them, and grew to love them and understand their behaviors.  They were good kids.

kids babysitting humor

Then I would come across kids that weren’t so good.  Whether it was they whined too much, threw too many tantrums, talked back to their parents, or just seemed to not have any discipline WHAT. SO. EVER.  I used to dread when I would get a walk-in client and they had their kids with them (they were usually already throwing a tantrum before they even took a seat)  because inevitably this meant that it was going to take me twice as long to do my job.  Let’s face it, kids aren’t going to sit and be quiet for an hour while you get your nails done.

Now I know that my kids aren’t perfect, and probably get on most people’s nerves, as there are three of them and because they are so close in age they are usually all doing the same thing and making lots of noise while doing it.

And if someone were to tell me that my kids were a lot to handle, I would in no way be offended…I would most likely nod and agree.  But  I am used to them.  And usually have a tendency to get loud and obnoxious with them.  Because they are my kids.

I think that these days we live in a society that has us programmed that disciplining our kids is somehow going to f*ck them up in the head.  Bullshit.

There are people who think that spanking your kids on the ass is a form of abuse.  Bullshit.

There are too many people running around trying to be the “cool” parents instead of saying “NO” and dealing with their kids being pissed off at them.kids discipline productive citezens  Trust me, they will get over it and talking with your kids and explaining things goes a long way.

I think it’s important that when you feel your kids are old enough and mature enough to understand the evil in the world, to explain it to them.  I think my friend Michelle at Rockin Random Mom did that best and explained it in her post about the Brock Turner Story.

This story is a perfect example of a spoiled brat whose father I am quite certain reached deep into his pockets and placed a large amount of money in that greedy judge’s hands.  In case you have been living under a rock you can read about the story here.

It’s just one of the many articles stirring the internet these days.

I have heard people talk about how they teach their kids respect yet I watch them disrespect their parents and the parents sadly don’t correct the behavior. kids respect discipline parenting Teaching them please, thank you, yes sir, no ma’am is all great but if they are then acting out at you, the parent, and you aren’t correcting it, then it’s pretty much pointless.

If they are throwing a temper tantrum because you told them NO and you coddle them instead of taking action…guess what?  Your kid just might turn out to be the next Brock Turner.

Sometimes kids need to learn lessons and not have their parents always bailing them out of these situations.  When a child, whether that child be a toddler, young child, pre-tween, tween, or teenager and they do something wrong it’s our job as parents to correct the problem not ignore it and let them continue to believe it’s ok to behave that way.

And when they are good I also believe in rewarding good behavior.  It goes both ways.

Now please note that all these opinions of raising kids are those of my own and how you choose to raise your kids is completely up to you.  But remember, someday they are going to be adults, making choices, and the better influence you had on them the better adults they will become.

Well unless they are just born with a bad gene … because I do believe too, that some human’s brains are just wired differently and you could be the best parent possible and they could still be a part of the majority of messed up individuals living in society.  Take the Duggers of “19 Kids And Counting” as a perfect example of that.  Of course the first time I ever watched that show I knew that mother was just WAAAAAAY to happy.  No one has that many kids and is that happy.  Seriously.

To All The Good Parents Out There **salutes you**

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Why Are Parents Beating Ourselves Up Over Not Spending Enough Time With Our Kids?

Lately I have seen a lot of blog posts in regards to parents beating ourselves up over not spending enough time with our kids.

The truth is there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that we “wish” we could accomplish.  This includes spending ample time with our children.  And quite honestly what is the perfect ample time amount?

Kids grow fast, life passes by without us noticing sometimes.  Like one minute we are sipping on pumpkin lattes and the next we are sun-kissing our bodies in the middle of summer.  And in that short amount of time our kids are getting bigger and we, *gasps*, are getting older.

bad parenting raising kids

So why are we beating ourselves up over whether or not we are spending enough time with our kids?

Ask yourself at the end of the day ~

Did my child eat today?  Even if it was Top Ramen with a side of canned fruit.

Was my child clothed today? No one says your children have to look like they just walked out of a kids fashion boutique.  You can put clean clothes on the kids in the morning and before noon it looks like they have been in them for a week.  KIDS ARE FILTHY CREATURES.  And they don’t care that their clothes are dirty so why should we?  Why should we change their clothes every time they get dirty just to make more laundry for ourselves?  I say hell yes to pajama days!

Did I give my child love and affection sometime throughout the day?  Just a hug and an “I love you” goes a long way.

bad parenting raising kids right

Did I sacrifice something for them today?  Even if that entails not finishing a cup of coffee because in the midst of trying to drink said cup of coffee you have now refereed 3 arguments, a meltdown, hearing “STOOOOOOP” for the 100th time, and cleaned some kind of spilled food off any given surface.  **takes sip of said coffee, it’s cold, debates re-heating it in the microwave when another crisis erupts**

Did I get upset or irritated at them at least once today?  Yep, that’s right…if you aren’t getting upset with your kids at least once a day then you’re not doing it right.  We are PARENTS.  That means getting upset and fixing the situation by disciplining your kids is called PARENTING.  There’s too many parents trying to be their kids best friends and that’s partly to blame why we have youth that are out of control.

Does my kid have a warm, safe place to sleep?  A blanket and pillow on the floor is good.  Why you ask?  Because that’s where they fell asleep and I will be damned if I am going to wake the little trolls up.  **sips wine**

bad parenting raising kids right

Did I spend quality time with my child today?  This doesn’t mean that you have to pay attention to them every waking moment.  Smothering them in attention just makes them grow up NEEDING constant attention.   It’s ok to have time for yourself and let them fry their brains watching YouTube videos.  It’s ok to TAKE A SHOWER with the door locked!  It’s ok to feel like you are about to lose your mind so you put them to bed an hour early, pour yourself a cocktail, and wash the daily grind off in a nice bubble bath.

It simply means that you took time in the day to take care of their needs…2 maybe 3 dozen times…and enjoyed these tiny little lives that you created.

Truth is, unless you are just completely absent and someone else is raising your kids for you…as long as you are present and doing everything you “humanly” can to take care of them then you’re spending plenty of time with them.  Give yourself a big pat on the back.

Below are some examples of bad parenting…

bad parenting raising kids right
I am quite certain that pissing on your kids head is not real good parenting.

 

bad parenting raising kids right
Please take note that this is not keeping your child safe.

 

bad parenting raising kids right
This looks like a 70’s circa picture where this would still be considered bad parenting…even if the gun wasn’t loaded.

 

Kids are kids and actually very simple little creatures to make happy.  Does parenting take a lot of effort? Hell yes it does! Some days it sucks the life right out of you and some days you just want to smother them to death with your uncontrollable, unconditional love for them.

One day you’re looking at them wondering where the time has gone and the next you are anxiously waiting for them to get the fu*k out of the house so you can turn their room into a sex chamber for you and the spouse hobby area.

bad parenting raising kids right

They are going to grow up regardless of how much or how little time you are spending with them.  There is no perfect amount.  It’s what works for you and keeps you from going completely crazy and sometimes you aren’t going to have a choice but to spend every waking moment with them because you are their parents and that is your job.

bad parenting raising kids right

But this doesn’t mean sacrifice your sanity or beat yourself up because you decided to take 2 hours out of the day to yourself.  Hell I have taken almost entire days sometimes.  I just make sure I am loaded up on activities that they can entertain themselves with.  That don’t require any help from me to carry out.

It’s not being a bad parent or not spending enough time…it’s being HUMAN!

From one crazy, tired, stressed, happy, loving parent to another,

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The End OF The School Year

Yesterday was the last day of school.  It was the last day of kindergarten for my little monster B, the last day of preschool for my little monsters M and Z, the last day of the 10th grade for teenage monster M, and this mommy will be embarking on the fall with a first grader, a kindergartner, one still in preschool, and a junior in high school.

To say the end of this year was crazy is an understatement.

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Little Monster M receiving her preschool diploma.  She got best puzzle award which is no surprise to me since she LOVES doing them.
kindergarden teacher sonoma heights elementary
Little Monster B with his kindergarten teacher.  He got Best Tiger award which translates to best behavior for the school year.  

And the blogging has suffered as it’s always the thing that gets put on the back burner when life gets busy.

I have a white board that I keep all events that are coming up listed on so that I can physically and easily look at it everyday…several times a day.  For the last 3 months it has had at least 10 events at a time listed on it.  I am happy to say that as of right now I only have a dress rehearsal, a recital, and some packing,  and then we are off on our first big summer family adventure!

I will admit that I will miss my few hours of “me” time in the mornings over the next few months but I won’t miss the constant chaos that comes with 4 kids in three different schools who all participate in extra curricular activities and me being utterly exhausted by the time I crawl into bed at night.

I’m hoping to get some writing done as I think it’s been a couple weeks since I even wrote anything.

And even though the kids were up at the crack of dawn this morning, it was still nice not to have to get up and get rushed out the door.  I actually finished a cup of coffee.

Here’s to summer and all the new memories to be made!

summer pool swimming kids
The best $20 I have spent so far this summer.

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