[Destination]: Home…from vacation

This past week was spent just a few short hours from our home to celebrate the marriage of my brother-in-law.  It was a truly great time with some truly great people.  We got to spend the entire week at a little retreat in the woods (well, a wooded area of Mechanicsburg anyway), and we felt like we were able to just “get away” for a few days.  While we still had the rush of getting ready for the wedding and packing as much into 7 days with our West Coast family as we could, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

It’s amazing what can be revealed to you once you take a moment to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.  It’s in those quiet, albeit chaotic, moments that you realize just what you might be missing or what you really do need in your life.

Lessons learned during this vacation:

1. Slow down.  Life is not to be rushed through, and it also does not bend to my rules.  No matter how much planning you put into a day, something will always go differently than you expect.  Roll with it.  Enjoy it.  Watch your kids (and yourself) grow from it.  And don’t stress about the fact that things change in an instant.  Control what you can, but be ok with what comes your way.

2. Family is of utmost importance.  Ok, so I already knew this one.  I know it enough that I often tell my DH how much I miss his brothers who are now all out West.  Their families are growing, our family is growing, and my girls often ask if we can invite their aunts, uncles and cousins to their birthday parties.  It breaks my heart.  So, we will make it a priority to do what we can to get out there and visit.  Because life is all about your family and it needs to be a priority no matter what.

3. Live life simply.  Learn about what you need and what you can do without.  The simpler life is, the happier you will be.  Clean out your stuff, cut down on your bills, really take the time to think about whether you need that bigger house or more expensive car.  You’d be so surprised about what you can live without and what you really can get by with.  As an example, I know our lives have gotten so much better and more meaningful through simply turning off our cable.  It saves us some money each month, and we’re “forced” to spend more time as a family, connecting, bonding, and just plain talking to each other.

I’m so thankful for the time that we’ve gotten to spend with family over the past week.  Now, it’s time for us to unpack, decompress, and get back to our normal routine.  That routine will certainly be changing.  I think the girls have really like a more “relaxed” mommy over the past week.  My biggest hint was yesterday, on our way home, my oldest daughter Keira kept telling me she loves me.  Over and over again I got to hear those beautiful words from her.  I asked her this morning why she kept telling me that (not that I was complaining) and she said, “because I just love you”.  That’s certainly good enough for me.Image

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[Destination]: A Happy Mommy

Boy, there are days (many, in fact) where I feel like a Monster Mommy.  I’m constantly telling my kids “no” and “don’t do that” and “stop it”.  And, of course, there’s the yelling and screaming.  My kids do not respond well to that.  Then, I feel bad when I’ve made them cry, start to cry along with them, and find myself apologizing for the way I acted.  It’s bad.  And I hate it.

You see, my kids are really good kids.  I’ve been blessed with two very loving, very strong-willed, and very well-behaved daughters.  I’ve even been blessed with a boy (who’s on the way in October).  So many people tell me how well my daughters play together and how nicely they interact with each other.  And, I have to admit, they really do.

So why does Monster Mommy come out on occasion you ask?  Because this mommy has issues.  There, I’ve said it.  I have issues.  Unfortunately, I have my own demons that I have yet to deal with, and they come out at my kids when they’re not acting exactly as I think they should be at that moment.  I hate it.  My girls are 2- and 4-years-old.  They act like 2- and 4-year-olds act.  And that should be ok.

Being a mom is a tough job.  I know that when I left my life in the corporate world to be a stay-at-home-mom, I got a lot of strange looks (especially from the men).  I left a fairly well-paying position as a manager where I got to direct adults, teach them new ways of doing things, and run my department, to instead go change diapers, clean up the house, and teach my kids to share their toys and wipe their noses.  I’m pretty sure that some of the men in my company thought I was absolutely nuts, and that I was taking the “easy way out”.  My former boss actually told me that I would be back in less than a year.  Nice vote of confidence, huh?

I’ll tell you right now, I would not trade my life for the world.  Yes, I’ve thought about throwing in the towel once or twice (or maybe twenty times).  But then I take a look at my kids, even when they are screaming and fighting and making a huge mess, and I know that I’ve made the right decision for my family.  I haven’t seen my husband more thrilled than last night when he walked in the house, dinner was in the oven, and there I was, barefoot and pregnant, vacuuming the living room.  That may sound like something out of the 1950s, but honestly, I couldn’t have been happier either.  Life makes sense now.

So what’s the strategy from here on out in order to not be Scary Monster Mommy anymore?  I really don’t know.  There might be no way to avoid me this way, but I will try.  I’ll keep asking for help, look to God in times of need, stop and think about what I’m about to say, grow and change and become a better person all around.  But, for now, I have to accept the good with the bad and know that, while it’s not always easy, it is ALWAYS worth it.

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