Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

As much as I love making a big deal out of other people's special days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) I really don't enjoy being the center of attention myself. So when days like Mother's Day roll around, I'm perfectly happy to ignore it and have just a regular day.

That's sort of what I did today.

We went to church, then out for lunch, which is a normal Sunday for us (now that basketball season is finally over). Today we waited a really, really long time for our food. We were all getting a bit ancy, but Morgan just gave up. I couldn't resist getting some video of her falling asleep in her high chair, in the middle of a very loud restaurant!

video

Once we finally got our food, Morgan got a good nap, and we got home, Brad gave me the best Mother's Day gift ever - he took Jake, Lizzy and Morgan over to Sheena and Jesse's to do yard work. Lexi stayed home to do homework. I got to work cleaning and redecorating the little girls' room.

I know this sounds terrible, but having a few hours to myself really was the best gift my husband and kids could give me.

Moms, you know what I mean.

It's not that I don't love my family, it's just that once in awhile, I really, really, really need a break from them.

I've been working on redecorating the little girls' room for weeks. I also wanted to go through their dressers and toys, and get the room somewhat organized. There's no way I can do those things when they're around.

Finally having time to do that project was totally gratifying. Their room looks great. And those few hours of cleaning helped me regroup, and recharge.

Good thing, because later, the big kids begged me to take them to Target to spend the rest of their birthday money. I usually hate shopping with my kids, but this shopping trip was actually really fun. Lexi and Jake were hyper and funny and sweet and I loved every minute with them.

When we got home, I rocked both little girls to sleep and had another hour to myself to finish up some projects.

So while it wasn't the most glamorous Mother's Day ever, it was exactly what this mom needed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Alone

I went to the grocery store tonight. Alone.

This is significant for two reasons: the fact that I went to the grocery store is pretty amazing. The kids are going to be so excited when they look in the fridge tomorrow. The cupboards and fridge have been pretty bare lately. I've been too busy to shop, so I've just been buying a few things here and there. Tonight, my grocery cart was overflowing. I should probably wake them up a little early so they have time to soak it all in and make a good breakfast choice.

This is also significant because I went alone.

I don't go anywhere alone. I've always got at least one "helper".

But not tonight. I waited until all the "helpers" were in bed, then I went to the store.

It was awesome.

The fact that I think a trip to the grocery store at 10:00 at night is awesome is pretty sad. I should probably get out more.

Still, I can't deny it. Pushing my cart up and down the nearly empty aisles, with no one whining or begging for treats, was pretty amazing. I didn't utter a word the whole hour I was shopping. It was fabulous (and I like to talk).

I smiled the whole drive home, and even while I put $218 worth of groceries away.

I smiled because I can finally cook some decent meals.

I smiled because the house was quiet.

I even smiled as I made sandwiches for Jake's and Brad's lunches tomorrow.

Then it hit me.

I was smiling because I finally had some "Jody time". It was exactly what I needed. And as I finished packing the boys' lunches I realized "Jody time" doesn't have to be a whole afternoon to myself. It can be an hour at the grocery store, 30 minutes on the treadmill, an hour to watch what I want to watch on tv.

So while it cost me $218 in groceries, I learned a very important lesson on my late night grocery run.

The lesson: make time for yourself. You're not a bad mom if you need a break from your kids. You're simply human. Taking a break is as good for your kids as it is for you.

And, as an added bonus, this time my kids will have some seriously good breakfasts the next few days. Which means, I might get a little extra "me time" . They'll be too busy enjoying the new cereal to bug me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Presence vs. Presents

Isn't it weird how sometimes you see something, and it's exactly what you needed?

That happened to me today.

This quote literally made me stop and think when I saw it:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

How true.

And how appropriate for my life at this moment.

We are at the tail end of "birthday madness" at our house. Jake's birthday is Friday, and wraps up three weeks of birthdays. Lizzy and Lexi had great days, and I intend to make Jake's birthday equally special.

But to be honest, I'm birthday-ed out. And so is my checkbook. Throw in an emergency van repair, a couple of home improvement projects, and  a trip to Hawaii, and we are broke.

Still, for Jake's sake, I am doing my very best to get excited about his birthday, and to spend just as much money on him as I did on the girls.  Birthdays are a big deal. It's the one day a year they get to be the center of attention, and I feel they need to be spoiled a little bit.

But my new favorite quote has me rethinking that.

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

It is exactly why, nearly two years ago, I cut back from full-time to part-time at work. Even in my new job, I'm still working just 20 hours a week. The time I have had with my kids since cutting back has been amazing. The trips to the park, the afternoon snuggles, even the driving to and from practice have given me the "mom" moments I will treasure forever.

And even though my paycheck and the "presents" are smaller, I like to think my "presence" has made a difference in my kids lives.

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

And today, the message came through, loud and clear:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

With that in mind, the little girls and I have a date with the sandbox tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait.