Like Mother, Like Son

That just doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t flow off the tongue as smoothly as the old adage, “Like father, like son”, but alas my sweet boy is growing up to be more like his mother everyday. I’m not too terribly happy about this especially considering the fact that he’s really only picking up on my bad habits and traits. I was hoping he would avoid this side of me.

I’ve said this before, I’m not a patient person. Shortly after Davey was born I started to think I was turning the corner, that perhaps this patience virtue that had avoided me for nearly my entire life had finally come home to nest within my personality. I found that I could be patient with him, that I could guide him, teach him, encourage him and do it without a single point raise in blood pressure. I was actually doing quite well with it until the Terrible Twos hit BEFORE he was actually two.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of behavior in Davey that really seems to mirror my own behavior, or at least the behavior I know I had when I was a child. Davey is very competitive and in a lot of cases eager to please. He wants to win the races. He wants to beat the timer. He wants to answer the questions correctly, but when he doesn’t he seems to throw a bit of a tantrum. And unfortunately, when he doesn’t do what I want him to do, I’ve noticed that my patience seems to hit a boiling point with me. I’m quick to try not to let him see this behavior in me, but I know I’ve slipped.

I try to not let him have my iPad, but instead encourage him to play with traditional toys. He he only gets my iPad when I’m nursing Henry and need some quiet time, but that time doesn’t really seem to be quite so quiet.

He has a few apps he enjoys playing, one of which is to put together a puzzle while trying to beat the timer. If he can’t do it, then he hits the iPad and starts screaming. I’ve been told this is a normal reaction, but I’m not so happy with it especially since it seems to be a part of my worse side. When he plays basketball, if he doesn’t make the basket, then he stomps his feet and screams at the goal. If he’s playing with his trains and one goes off the track, then he has on occasion picked it up and thrown it. This whole behavior is not something I was hoping to see in my little boy.

If he’s losing a game, then he screams and knocks the pieces off the board. If he can’t get a puzzle piece to fit, then he starts screaming and crying before tearing apart whatever part of the puzzle he’s already completed. This is all me, or at least it was me, or maybe it still is me. Yikes!

I try to reason with him, but it’s like trying to reason with a terrorist…you can’t, which only makes my patience run low and I have to find a way to contain my screams! I’m sure I’ve let a scream or two slip with Davey especially when he’s doing something I don’t want him to do. I’ve gotten better at really taking a step back and counting to 10, but truthfully I feel Davey’s pain. It just feels so much better to let it all out.

I guess I should try to find other ways for he and I to both express ourselves and our frustrations. I don’t want people to avoid him because they fear he’s too emotional and flies into a rage (which has happened to me in my adult life, but in my defense I was in my final month of pregnancy with him during a very hot and humid summer down South). Is this just a phase or something much more deep seeded? I’m going to go with Option A and think positively that he will grow out this horrible trait I have. And hopefully, he’ll do it soon because there’s really only one room for a Drama Queen in this family…and I’ve owned that crown for much too long.

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Welcome Back to Corporate America

I know I’m not the only stay at home mom who’s had days like this. They’re the kind of days when you daydream about your old life. The days when you think about the money you used to make. The days when work was left at work and once you walked into the door of your home it was a whole new world. The days when you were paid to put up with sh*t instead of being literally covered in it for free. Please tell me I’m not the only one to actually consider going back to work just to escape my 24/7 life as a stay at home mom. Please?!?!?!

I attribute part of it to the fact that I’ve suffered through round 2 of the dreaded stomach flu in less than 2 weeks. I attribute it to the fact, that not only was I unable to eat, but I was spending every 15-20 minutes in the bathroom for myself and then another 15-20 minutes with my toddler while potty training him (or attempting to). I blame it on the lack of sleep which has affected my lack of patience. I point a finger at my husband’s job which seems to have him working 20 hour days and traveling overnight. I basically blame it on my ability to get too easily overwhelmed.

I spent Wednesday night crying, not just crying, but sobbing. I found myself asking, “is this really the life you want, Amy?” I started perusing online for jobs that I was qualified for and began worrying about whether I would even get a job after taking a 2 year hiatus. I started thinking about the military wives who have husbands away on tour for months on end. These moms have to raise their children on their own and yet I’m complaining about having a bad day. How pathetic am I to gripe about my life? Yeah, I went down that path too.

When I started looking for jobs, I started feeling conflicted. Do I really want to go back to work? Do I really want to miss out on my boys growing up, their adventures, their firsts? I’d be taking the easy way out and what would all of those other stay at home moms think about me when they saw I couldn’t cut it? Yep, I started thinking about that stuff too.

My patience had entered a whole new realm with Davey, one that I’d never tried to navigate before and one I’d hope I’d never have to go down. I yelled at him on Wednesday, not once, not twice, but three times for stupid petty little things. Maybe I should go back to work!

Henry refused to be anywhere except in my arms. Davey refused to have Henry anywhere except AWAY from my arms and the darn dog nearly caused me to break my neck multiple times because she needed her share of attention too and was constantly under my feet. Why must everyone be so needy all at the same time????? Is this really the life I chose for myself?

Well, yes, it is. Wednesday was only two short days ago, but I’ve managed to FINALLY move past the stomach flu, although I’ve entered the allergy continuum. I’ve managed to get some sleep, not spend nights hugging a toilet. I’ve managed to actually develop some level of energy which means no more putting Davey in front of the t.v. because I feel too terrible to do anything with him. And putting him in front of the t.v. has only made me feel worse about my parenting duties.

So, I’ve since tabled my grand plan to walk back into Corporate America like the less scarier version of Joan Rivers. I’ve since taken a breath and looked at both of my boys and sat in awe of who they are. I’ve since reminded myself that my life is blessed not cursed and I’m on a path that was destined for me, chosen for me, and one that I can and will endure and love even during the bad times, at least until the next time Murphy’s Law decides to knock on my door and knock me off my feet.

But you want to really know what has gotten me through? My Bible and the stories of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers and the entire book of Job. And in the words of Gloria Gaynor, “I will survive.”

Mommy’s Little Helper

I’m a big advocate of having chores for kids to do. I had chores that ranged from cleaning the bathrooms, to emptying the dishwasher, to mowing the grass, and even getting up on Saturday mornings at 6 am during the summer to pick beans, okra, squash, and tomatoes in our garden. My parents instilled the importance of hard work and the need for chores and responsibility into me at a young age. It’s made me into the person I am today.

I’ve read a lot about assigning chores to your kids, when you should do it and what they should be. I haven’t put much stock into what I’ve read, but I have found that Davey loves to help and if I can turn the chores into a sort of game or competition then he’s on board.

We keep a stool in our kitchen specifically for Davey so he can help with everything from putting dishes up in the dishwasher (usually it’s just the eating utensils minus the knives), to wiping down the counter and even helping to cook/make his own breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Putting up the utensils makes for a fun game of matching and mixing up the batter for the pancakes gives him a sense of accomplishment.

Last week, I raked leaves up in our backyard. Davey, being the eager little helper that he is, grabbed his own rake, and followed suit. He then helped pick up the leaves and toss them into the lawn bags and even managed to pull a few bags over to the fence for easier disposal. I told him he didn’t need to, but with his eager and willing eyes he said, “I help too, Mama.” Made me smile.

He loves to vacuum and dust. Give this kid a Swiffer duster and he goes to town all while creating his own little song! I love it. He makes up his bed, puts away his clothes, and even manages to read to Henry while I’m nursing him. What a helper!

Recently, he’s begun doing laundry. Ok, ok, don’t worry he’s nowhere near the laundry detergent and we don’t have any of those pods which can be confused for candy with kids. What he does do is separate out the laundry, and with his trusty little stool, loads up the washing machine. I’m just amazed as to how much he loves doing this stuff.

And of course, he has his own little lawn mower, so that he can “help dada mow grass.”

It’s not that I’ve purposefully tried to push chores on him at a young age. I ask him to clean up his toys before going down for a nap or getting something else out to play with. Usually, I must help him with cleaning up the toys, but he does put forth the effort. I know this is and will instill in him the same core beliefs and strengths that molded me into the person I’ve become. I know it will make him understand a sense of responsibility at some point down the road. At this point, I’m just tickled pink he loves “helping” so much. I just hope he loves to help this much as gets older, because like it or not he WILL “help”. I’ve already begun daydreaming about my relaxing days ahead when he and his brother will be responsible for mowing the grass and taking out the trash. And let me tell you, this Mama won’t be cleaning up their bathroom either. It’s bad enough I have to clean up after their daddy! I’m not touching their bathroom with a ten foot pole!

Right now, Davey loves to boast that he’s “Mommy’s Little Helper”. I’ve even contemplated getting him a shirt made like that. Perhaps I’ll have a shirt made for him each year with that slogan so as to perhaps “embarrass” him into doing his fair share when he finally decides it’s not quite so cool to do chores. Evil or genius? Whatever it takes. 🙂

Best Education

I spend the better part of my days as a mother pondering my children’s education. Yeah, I have a 2 & 1/2 year old and a 3 month old, so I know it’s a bit early. Yeah, I’m aware that when their father and I were kids, there wasn’t as much pressure to put children into K2, K3, and so forth. Here’s the thing, though, I don’t want my kids to just have what their father and I had. I want them to have so much more and to be so much more, not that we turned out bad.

Each day, I spend some time in prayer over what to do. Should I homeschool the boys or should I send them to private school? My husband and I have pretty much agreed on the fact that they will not go into public school for various reasons of which I’ll get to later. I’ve researched a lot of homeschooling options and I’ve asked questions of others who have homeschooled their children. It’s a daunting task to consider and frankly I’m a bit terrified of it.

I have a total of three degrees; an Associates in English, a Bachelors in Communications and Political Science, and a Masters in Business Administration. I am a self described nerd who would love nothing more than to spend the rest of my life going to school and getting various degrees. Not that getting any more education would necessarily improve our household income, but learning new things and studying is almost like a hobby for me, but having all of this education doesn’t necessarily mean I’m equipped to teach my children.

I’m horrible with math. I despise it with a passion, that and all things economics. I don’t handle our finances, not because I’m not capable, but because I just loathe it. Math and economics are two of things that pretty much stumped me all through school. If I don’t understand it and I’m no good at it, then how can I teach my boys? Well, there are options such as online classes and homeschool co-ops.

Private schools cost a lot of money which means I’ll need to go back to work, something that I’m still teeter-tottering about. And even if we send them to private school, their education isn’t fully in my hands. There are still people they will encounter and standards to meet; standards that I don’t necessarily agree with. This whole Common Core thing that seems to be sweeping our country is not something I agree with and I’m not on board with my child being taught this way, much like I was never on board with the “No Child Left Behind”. Will my boys really get the best education if I put them into some type of classroom setting?

And finally there’s the whole sex scoundrel, pedophile thing that really concerns me. Just a couple of weeks ago, an elementary school principal from Georgia was arrested for soliciting sex from underage girls, and by underage I’ve read it’s more like 10-12 years of age! How do you explain something like this to your child? How do you explain that people they should trust at school, really are just immoral slugs? Apparently, it’s not just public schools either as locally there’s a former coach from a private Christian school who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. So, this issue isn’t just for the public schools.

There are just so many things to consider with their education and I’m hoping the Lord will open my eyes soon or let me see what I should be doing. I want my boys to grow up well rounded, good kids, with strong Christian values…the Christian values being a big sticking point. They deserve the best and these days the best isn’t found within the public school system, at least not for my boys.

I’m curious…how many of you out there homeschool your children? How many of you send them to private schools? I have one website to visit about homeschooling…www.hslda.org. I’ve started perusing through it and I’ve even started following a few Twitter feeds. If you do homeschool your kids, what advice could you offer to me?