Family life

Stay at home mom: Let’s be honest

Friday marks the 6 month anniversary of me being a stay at home mom and a homeschooling mom. I’ve written many posts that show how I school, how I raise my kids, and all of the homemade things I do to make my family run better (sewing, cooking from scratch, etc).

I’ve had a few people tell me how awesome I’m doing. How awesome Josiah is doing. People have commented on how it is amazing that I can accomplish the things I’m doing in the short time since I started doing it.

There are days I feel quite accomplished. I’m proud of how much Josiah has flourished since he’s started homeschooling. I feel very good about what I’m doing how well I’m doing it, but I know I’m not doing it alone. God has helped me accomplish everything every step of the way. Now, before this starts to sound like an acceptance speech — let’s get real. This is NOT how things go from day to day from week to week.

My life does not consist of my house looking clean and Josiah willfully getting up and doing schoolwork. It does not consist of Samuel napping on time or dinner getting cooked every night. It doesn’t even consist of delicious dinners every other night. It doesn’t consist of nightly or even weekly sewing sessions where I whip out stuff like Martha Stewart. Nope. Not even close.

So let’s be real:

  • The week before Josiah’s birthday, Samuel got Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease AND Impetigo. He had HFMD all over his arms, hands, legs, and feet. He hardly napped, he was very uncomfortable and life for two weeks was miserable. I’m thankful Josiah didn’t catch it and that Samuel was done being splotchy by the time we went camping.
  • It is July 9th and after a week of HFMD and a messed up schedule from camping, I can’t seem to get Samuel back to his natural schedule (he started this schedule, not me) of napping at 10:30, 2:30, and 5:30 for at least an hour at a time he is now taking these weird 30 minute catnaps all throughout the day. Today is actually the first day in several weeks that he seems to be back on his regular rhythm — I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

And then there’s Josiah…for the past several days I’ve been trying not to pull my hair out. For the past few weeks I’ve been praying it doesn’t go gray. He deserves a bullet list all on his own:

  • For about two weeks now he has questioned EVERYTHING we have told him. “Put your shoes on.” Why? “Put clothes on.” Why? “We need to go to the store.” Why? Yeah. This isn’t just the normal curiosity we’re talking about — he’s questioning why he has to eat dinner. Total butting of heads.
  • In those two weeks he has also started telling me and Jimmi no or telling us his plans. We tell him it’s time to do something or that he needs to do something and his response is some form of, “Well I was just…” or “I don’t want to…” or “I want to…” I’m pretty sure if I told him it was hot outside and he needed to wear shorts, I’m pretty sure he’d tell me it was cold and he needed a sweater. He’s been trying to do the exact opposite of what we say. It’s been very intentional.
  • Within the past week, we’ve had to tell him to do something more than three times in order for him to do it. Expectations he knows we have have suddenly been forgotten. Things like when I’m on the phone he doesn’t need to stand there and interrupt me and keep talking after I tell him to wait. Things like, acting out in the store after the 10th time we’ve told him to stop.
  • Just the other day I put Samuel on the floor in the living room to go and take a shower. I got out of the shower and Samuel was rolling around on the couch. I was furious. Josiah had picked Samuel up, put him on the couch and walked away. He told me that he put him up there to play peek a boo and then went off to play. He told me that he didn’t think I’d see. I wasn’t really mad that he’d put him up there (although we’ve told him he doesn’t need to be toting Samuel around), but that he left him on the couch and could have fallen off. Samuel is rolling A LOT and starting to scoot/crawl. He could have gotten hurt falling off onto our hardwood floor.
  • This morning Samuel and I are sleeping and Josiah walked in and turned the light on — self-explanatory.
  • Earlier today Josiah was swinging around a wet diaper that I’d just taken off of Samuel. I told him to put it down. He ignored me and kept swinging it and eventually swung it into my full glass of tea and spilled it all over the couch and floor. This same scenario happened a few days ago with a ball.

I am VERY fed up. Josiah is now having to earn TV time aside from his hour of TV first thing in the morning. We’ve cut out watching TV during breaks. We’ve cut out watching TV before bed. He gets disciplined in various ways to try and correct this behavior, but nothing is working. As I type this he is outside picking up sticks and trash in the back yard — community service. Each of these times I try and discipline Josiah he quickly gets solemn and tries not to cry. He gets upset because he’s in trouble. He gets upset because he loses TV or toys or whatever his consequence is. There have been a few times over the past two weeks I’ve lost my temper. It’s very frustrating.

I’ve learned the cycle though. Since he was about 2 years old we will have a few weeks in a row when life is pretty much a living nightmare with him. It’s like having a totally different child. It’s like he’s testing every boundary we’ve ever set. After a few weeks of seeing that it doesn’t work, things go back to normal. This happens once or twice a year. During these weeks I try my best not to lose my mind. Last year when he did this I had to drag him from the sanctuary literally kicking and screaming and grabbing every pew as we walked by. I dragged him kicking and screaming to the car. Halfway I dropped my Bible and my books. He kicked and screamed as I tried to get him into his seat. I got him in the car but could not get him into the car seat. I ended up calling Jimmi to get him in. That was the one and only time we had an incident like that. He tested me and I won. I didn’t give in and I ignored the MASSIVE EMBARRASSMENT I felt and made sure he knew I wasn’t putting up with it. Oh yeah, I was about 5 months pregnant at the time…good times let me tell you.

I say all of this to remind everyone that what you see on Facebook, or in the blog world, or even at the grocery store or church is only a glimpse into the day to day lives of a family. Sometimes we appear to have it all together. Sometimes it appears as if we’ve never parented a day in our lives. I can’t imagine what the people at church thought when they saw pregnant me dragging a screaming 4-year-old to the car — I’m glad I don’t know. Know that the calm children you see and the calm parents you see are not 100% of who they are. Know that they screaming toddler at Wal-Mart that is driving you nuts because you can hear them ALL over the store (I witnessed another mom having my dreaded church episode at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago) isn’t an accurate representation of the parent or the child.

We all have those days. Those weeks. Those months. The things I mentioned above are just a glimpse of the frustrations of the week. For every frustration there is a positive event, but sometimes it seems like one shadows the other. Just remember this in the future when you read that supermom’s blog or Facebook. Supermom’s have super bad days too.

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