I’m a better mom at Target.

Last night, I took Isaac to the movies. He’d had two great days in a row at school, Ryan was out of town, and I have a cold: all signs pointing to YES! Take that child to the theater with those large, comfortable seats and darkness-welcoming relaxation after single parenting for 3 days. (I bow in awe of all you full time single parents. You have my undying admiration.) I’d considered just watching a movie at home, (a treat for a kid who isn’t allowed screentime during the week save for school work), but I’ve got this thing… I’m a far better parent out of my house than in it.

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Movie theaters demand rapt attention.

I have my moments, sure, (we’re about to sew a Dracula cape for a stuffed rabbit), but mostly when I’m home, the sirens call to me. I’m like the mom equivalent of a sailor except instead of luring me with the enticement of sex and beauty, they’re calling to me about laundry, cleaning, emailing, reorganizing, and dirty dishes. Also, there are the REALLY lovely ones who beckon with awaiting books or backlogged magazines or Instagram. You guys, they do that creepy, witchy, come-hither-finger-thing and I DO! I DO come hither! I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH! I AM WEAK! *Admits defeat by flicking through an instagram feed of Sphinx cats.*

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Laundry. So much laundry.

It is hard for me to admit this. I know so many moms who seem to come into their own by spending time with their children in their homes. They’re crafting with them, baking with them, playing games with them, painting with them, taking sunlight filled pictures of them frolicking in meadows to post on social media and send me into a spiral of mom guilt. (There aren’t enough meadows in our schedule! We need more meadows!)

Aside from the meadows though, I do all of those things- I do. It’s just that I’m not totally present though much of it because of the F*CKING SIRENS. I spend a lot of time saying, “Let me finish this, buddy, and I’ll be right there!” And I do get right there, but I also then feel like I’d been choosing to spend more of my time with the Dyson or my child’s dirty clothes instead of with my actual child. *Exasperated guttural mom cry*

Now, to be fair, most of those things DO need to get done. Even the reading is important because I know I am a better mom when I pour some time into myself. (I’m having a more difficult time justifying the Sphinx cats…) All of those things are part of parenting and if I don’t keep up with them we won’t have any open, clean spaces in which to build Dracula’s Lair. Ninja Turtle hideout? The North Pole? Dracula is giving out presents at the North Pole while the Ninja Turtles pull the sleigh??? Honey, I’m going to finish the laundry- I have no idea how to even attempt to play that game. (Which, in itself, is a whole other reason why getting out, out and AWAY is better: I don’t know what the hell is going on in his imaginative role playing and when I do try, I get a lot of, “Mom, that’s not really how you do it.” Enter the Dyson.)

So we go out.

We go for hikes.

We go to museums.

We go get ice cream.

We go to the park.

We run errands. I actually think I may be a better mom in Target than I am in our own house sometimes. I am not kidding.

What I am saying is, if you are one of those moms who can’t seem to get herself together at home enough to be as present as you’d like, I AM TOO. I’m mostly sure this is totally fine! I don’t think I’m the most reliable source on that, but at any rate, there’s strength in numbers and I know for a fact I’m not the only one, so there’s that. No shame! Well, not really. I actually feel really bad about it. But I feel a lot better when we’re at the ice cream shop… or on a wooded trail…  or at *cue angelic choir* Target.

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Dracula Bunny. Ta da!

What’s your ONE THING?

I went for a run this weekend and I really wanted to stop about halfway through. Usually, I hear my high school track and cross country coaches mystically yelling at me from across the 16+ year abyss: “Work it up the hills!” and “Keep up the pace!” This wasn’t that. This was me, tired after a long week of medicating a sick cat, disciplining a boundary pushing child, and a commitment immediately following school every day of the week. I wanted to walk for a little bit.

So I did it.

And it was fine!

No it wasn’t.

I hated it and I felt like a failure because I do NOT like to walk when I run, but I made myself do it anyway. I talked myself into it because I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m getting to the point where I no longer want to feel as though I have to do things that don’t make me happy just because I think I should. Or, for that matter, if I SHOULD do everything I want because even when the things I’m doing are amazing, I get overloaded.

I’m tired of feeling overloaded.

I’m tired of feeling like everything’s going to hell if I don’t do things the same way I’ve done them in the past.

I’m tired of feeling like if I don’t do _______ it will make me a crappy teacher/wife/mom/human being.

So, here’s what I decided on that run. Everyday, I’m going to think of ONE THING to say no to. To drop off. To ignore. To let go. On Sunday, I walked for a little bit in the middle of my run. I hated every second of it, but only because I felt like I was failing myself (false)- not because I wanted to start running again because I sure didn’t (truth). What it did do was allow me to take a baby step toward giving myself the freedom to release my self-imposed expectations.

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Screw you dishes. I’m going to listen to my 5 year old talk about the most fantastic purring chalk cat in the history of ever.

The thing is, I’ve had a lot of heavy talks with a lot of beautiful friends recently. We’re doing so much, so often, that we end the day expecting to finally have time to read, to watch a movie, to relax, and we see the clock and realize we’ve worked our way directly into bedtime. It is the reason I’m writing this blog 30 minutes past when I am supposed to be asleep. There was dinner to be made, and a child to be tucked in, and dishes, and clothes, and pets, and… and… and…

So I’m saying no to ONE THING a day. Maybe:

  • leaving the wet clothes in the washer overnight
  • letting the dishes stink up the kitchen sink for one more day
  • shoving my son’s clothes into his drawers instead of folding them all neatly because when he digs through them that business is happening ANYWAY
  • reading one bedtime book to him instead of two or *gasp* not reading at all for a night
  • skipping the floss
  • getting takeout
  • taking Isaac to another program at the library when he’d rather stay home and play a game with us anyway
  • putting off clipping the dog’s toenails for another day because she’s still going to act like a complete idiot on the wood floors even after I do it.

START SMALL! Build up.

I'm choosing cats. Cats trump dirty clothes every time.

I’m choosing cats. Cats trump dirty clothes every time.

I’m consciously telling all of these things, “No,” because choosing to set them aside is empowering whereas trying and not getting to them feels like a failure. I’m choosing to tell myself that all is not lost if I don’t get the chickens fresh water tonight (because it isn’t). The world will not end if I refrain from vacuuming the damn cat hair off of the couch today. Letting these things go does not make me a terrible anything. They are mini-practices for saying no to work or personal commitments I either truly want to do or just feel obligated to do, but shouldn’t be cramming into our already busy schedule. When I have time to read, to run, to do yoga, to write- these are things that make me a better EVERYTHING. I’m choosing just ONE THING a day to refuse because my time is precious and I’m tired of spending it looking in longingly from the outside. I’m saying no. (And I’m learning to be okay with it.)

What’s your ONE THING?

The beautiful after.

THE BEFORE:

In the last few days, I’ve posted a few joking remarks about starting up fertility treatments again. As an Instagram example:

Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Damn you, refrigerated medications! #infertility #chickens #tagwinner

Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Damn you, refrigerated medications! #infertility #chickens #tagwinner

Obviously, I intended it as the joke for which it was taken. When I was pulling out that ball point pen fertility syringe for another round of IUI injections last night, I found it ridiculous that my Follistim was hanging out with the barnyard penicillin and Land O Lakes. It’s funny, right?! Of COURSE it is! (Maybe just the teeniest tiniest bit neurotic.)

THE BEAUTIFUL AFTER:

When things are difficult for me, writing and humor are my outlets. The tricky thing about humor is that it can actually serve to convince me that I am in good spirits. The tricky thing about grief is that it can come and go in waves and humor can mask that, too. While dwelling in the negative isn’t healthy, ignoring emotions isn’t either. I value humor highly, but I can also use it as a crutch.

After I posted the joking comments, friends and family reached out to me. “I’m praying!” they said. “I’m so excited you’re doing this!” they wrote. With each new message, I became more and more thankful that people could see past my joking to comfort me when I didn’t even recognize I needed it. That being said, I equally appreciate those who joke back because it IS funny. Humor can buffer pain in the best possible way. I just failed to recognize my cover up and probably should have addressed some of the emotions behind the scenes. Oops.

This is all to say that:

1) If you have friends who joke about difficult subjects, consider reaching out to them to let them know that you’re cheering them on. Still joke back! (Thinking about even HOUSING chicken meds next to your butter is nutso!) But also know that you seeing through some of the facade is deeply appreciated too. While it honestly does make me feel better to make cracks about infertility, I also have a really hard time being positive about it so letting other people carry excitement for me is an enormous relief and blessing.

2) If you are going through hard times, please think twice (or three… four… five times…) about keeping it to yourself. Having a behind the scene cheer team often does more than you could ever do for yourself. Trust others to carry you when you are just tired or incapable of doing it yourself.

 

Thanks for laughing with me and thanks for cheering for me. I love your hearts. (Even more than chickens.)

Sweet little babies.

Sweet little babies.

Here’s what not to do during a tornado.

Last night we were issued a Thunderstorm Warning as Isaac was heading to bed. He asked if we were going to have to go to the basement like we did a month ago during a Tornado Warning. He was strangely excited about the possibility considering that during the tornado threat I’d handled waking him up out of a dead sleep by scrolling Amazon Prime for their free movies and settling on The Neverending Story. I’d grossly underestimated the terror factor of this movie thrown into a mix of a 5 year old and a dark basement in the middle of the night. After the tornado warning was over and we’d been about 20 minutes into the movie, I spent the next two hours putting my child back to bed because he was more scared of the creepy puppetry than the threat of tornadic devastation.

When I was little, I was horrified of tornadoes. I can remember sitting in my elementary school classroom and staring out the windows at broody, dark clouds, wondering if my stress stomachache was bad enough to warrant heading to the bathroom where my classmate Tracy was incessantly peeking over the stalls and laughing manically, an act which my teacher never seemed to take very seriously. Weirdo.

Growing up, my mom did not play around with a tornado warning. I can remember needing to go down into the basement and, like mother like daughter, grabbing our irreplaceables. It was fortunate that we never experienced a tornado because I was always too angsty to actually locate the irreplacables and generally ended up with whatever was closest to me when the sirens went off which I distinctly remember one time including one of those roller balls to soothe bug bites. We were also made to put on our shoes in case we had to walk over shards of broken glass and wood following the damaging winds and, though this still makes logical sense to me, it was not until I was married and Ryan mocked me for days that I came to understand that this is not something everyone does in a tornado warning. Ryan, as it turns out, doesn’t even like to go DOWN to the basement during a tornado warning which makes me so nervous that it is a good thing my mom-brain kicks in or I’d end up in the basement alone with my husband and son chillin’ upstairs while I hold tight to a lampshade or hairdryer.

Storm Face, 11:00pm. My husband and son upstairs sleeping, oblivious to storm raging on the other side of the slider door. Don’t worry guys, I’ve got it all handled. I charged my phone, got a lantern ready, and have bug spray. No, I mean, our irreplacables.

 

Farm animals vs. social media

I tried to think of a way to tie these pictures into a story, but there just really isn’t one… Chicken Bicken was sick, I bought her $30 worth of chicken meds, took a selfie with her after syringing meds down her throat, Frozen jumped on my lap so I took ANOTHER picture, and then, in the midst of pic 3, Frozen pecked my lip so hard it left a mark. Which, admittedly, was completely deserved of a nutjob who takes a barrage of selfies with farm animals.

 

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#1

 

 

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#2

 

 

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#3

 

 

 

On being an Emotional. Capital E.

I’m what I would call an Emotional. I wish SO dang much I could call myself an Intellectual, but I’ve sat through enough discussions with friends who genuinely ARE Intellectuals and honestly, I’m not one of them. I can’t hold my own despite the best efforts of NPR, The New Yorker, and BBC News.

What I DO is feel things really big. I mean, I’d like to say there’s more to it, but a lot of times… there’s not. I feel REAL big.

I’m an adorer of books but, even with books I’ve read multiple times, I can’t remember all of the names or the sequence of the plots. This also goes for movies and tv shows.

Things I do remember (ALL emotional):

1. The degree to which I felt repelled or connected to a character or setting. (Examples: Repelled- every single character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book; Connected- Matilda, Jo March, Jane Eyre; Setting connection- The March girls’ attic, the trail to Ms. Honey’s cottage)

2. The level of grief I went through over character relationships. (Examples: Low- Hunger Games; High- Divergent)

3. The intensity with which I still visualize the settings I created upon first readings. (Movies can sometimes mess with this, but not the firmly implanted ones.)

My brain’s not big on remembering events and times and dates and names. If I’m being honest, I wish I could change this about myself. I am jealous of those who can step  into well articulated debates and speak with eloquence with educated points. It isn’t as though I want any part of me to disappear, I just want more parts to APPEAR along with the others. An Emotional Intellectual. (Call me greedy.)

A negative side effect of being an Emotional is that I often get overwhelmed with the level of atrocities around us on a local and global scale. At one point last year it was so heavy that my body literally felt heavier. I felt physically weighted down with grief at all of the awfulness. Do you know this feeling?

A few weeks ago, the father of one of my students died unexpectedly, leaving an 8 and a 5 year old behind. The 8 year old is in my class and he was a personal favorite of mine before this- already this tough little boy with this soft heart. (I’ve always got a soft spot for the naughty little boys.) After his dad died, it was awful. He would act out in class and a few seconds later I’d look over and he’d be crying these silent tears or he’d just lie down on the floor under his desk and not move.

That’s the kind of heavy I deal with daily. It is heavy enough without the rest of the world dropping the ball with hunger and poverty and AIDS and unclean water and sex trafficking… and… and…

I’m an Emotional.

So I reached out via Facebook to ask for some new clothes or art materials for the two boys. Certainly it wouldn’t bring their dad back, but I also believe in the power of goodness and DEAR GOD, those boys needed some good.

Social media can be so unbelievable in the best ways. Friends of mine shared my post. People I didn’t even know started contacting me. I set up a Paypal account for donations at the suggestion of others. They brought clothes to me, sent money, gave art supplies. In a week, I had 4 full boxes to give to those boys and $300 to be able to take them shopping with their mom to let the boys pick out some things on their own.

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Most of the people who gave had never met either of the boys. 

**COLLECTIVE SIGH OF RELIEF**

People are good. People are waiting for ways to help. Not everything is broken!

(Except maybe my Intellectualism. I’m still waiting for that gear to kick in.)

Less wallowing. More chickens.

Tonight I worried a lot about the size of my ass. (A little bit just now I worried about what some of you would think of me for writing ass instead of butt. I will continue to worry about it after I post this- probably even more so- but, as a lover of words, I firmly believe that there are times when an obscenity just suits better than its watered down counterpart.) I was worrying about my ass because I haven’t been working out as much as I’d like and I fear it is getting closer to the point of no return. I worry about this because I am self-centered and conceited.

I have also cried a lot this week. It was for a number of reasons: infertility crap (aaaaaaagain), my new chicken pecking Chicken Bicken’s comb to the point of bleeding in introducing the two, feeling overwhelmed with balancing the mom and the teacher and the wife and the working out and the relaxing, over the spilling of the chicken waterer late at night causing me to have to go back inside and refill it again, and about the sudden and unexpected death of the father of one of my favorite students who, God knows, already had more than his fair share of trauma on his 7 year old plate. I cried because I’m a perfectionist , because I try to do too much, because I’m dramatic, and because I have an occasional Messiah complex.

In between all of THAT, it has occurred to me that I am really, really content to be sad or angry or pitiful. You know how I know? Because at one point this week, the type of thought I recognize as a Jesus shoulder nudge noted, “Despite these things all being worthy of grief or anger (some more than others…) it seems like maybe you’d rather just nurse the junk instead of making something of it,” and I immediately recoiled. As in, there is no daaaaaang way I want to stop being sad/angry/pitiful because I’m totally comfortable here.

I saw this quote the other day:

“For those habituated to high levels of internal stress… it is the absence of stress that creates unease, evoking boredom and a sense of meaninglessness. People may become addicted to their own stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol… To such persons stress feels desirable, while the absence of it feels like something to be avoided.” (Gabor Maté M.D.) 

I am totally comfortable with wallowing. I can admit that I’ve completely become addicted to the sensation of feeling overwhelmed or sorry for myself or angry at the status quo. I’ve been doing it for so long now that I’m just stuck here and despite it being a place I don’t like inhabiting, change is hard. (Once, I teared up because Ryan wanted to replace the tiny, crappy tv stand I’d bought on clearance and had ZERO attachment to with a larger one that looked nearly identical. I actually devised arguments as to why we shouldn’t replace it which was idiotic because our new tv wouldn’t even fit on the old one.) Change is hard.

While I’ve been snubbing my nose to this gentle shoving out of my comfort zone, I’ve been raising an interested eyebrow to what that could mean. MAYBE, if I stopped worrying about my ass, I could start enjoying working out again as opposed to putting so much pressure on my sorry-self to work out specifically to reshape said ass. MAYBE, if I stopped feeling so sorry for myself for being overburdened, I could spend the time reading a book and learn to listen to my husband when he tells me that the world will not, in fact, implode if I leave the laundry for the weekend. (I am not kidding there. It honestly feels like something really, really awful will happen if I don’t do those dishes. I don’t know what. But bad.) MAYBE, if I stopped moping over the weight of the beyond depressing day-to-day life that most of my students experience, I could spend more time searching for actual solutions like looking into ways to help that newly widowed mom raise money for funeral expenses.

Let’s be honest, this is a far larger issue than a crappy, particle board tv stand. I’m working on it, albeit reluctantly. As in so many situations, this is a perfect opportunity to fall back on wise, blunt, Anne Lamott, who writes:

“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper. So I keep trying gently to bring my mind back to what is really there to be seen, maybe to be seen and noted with a kind of reverence. Because if I don’t learn to do this, I think I’ll keep getting things wrong.”

I don’t really believe that I want to stay here… I just need to train that puppy a little more. A lot more. But no drop kicking. Maybe a few more chickens would help though.

 

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Less drop kicking of puppies. More chickens.

 

In defense of the good guys: Santa Claus

My Facebook feed has been alight lately with Jesus-loving parents wrestling with what to tell their kids about Santa Claus. They state understandable reasons: Santa blurs the line between fact and fiction (read: lying), he promotes rewards based on works (the opposite of grace), but mostly that he just creates too much competition with a baby in a manger.

Since I’m a pitiful, in-recovery people pleaser, it immediately made me feel embarrassment that we DO Santa at our house. It made me second guess our decision. Am I a bad Christian because Santa Claus comes to our house? (Oh my word: I am!) And is my son is going to grow up and have to go to counseling for whatever symptoms result from being told that Santa is a fake?! (He is!) Conclusion: I AM A TERRIBLE PARENT!

After praying through some self-imposed guilt, I reassessed the situation. I totally respect the decision not to do Santa. I wrestled through many of the points made by families who don’t and I completely support that choice. I’m not trying to convince anyone that they SHOULD do Santa. I just felt like Santa had been getting kind of a bad rap this Christmas and thought maybe he needed a bit of a pick-me-up. A grown-up Santa letter, if you will:

 

Dear Santa,

I loved you when I was little. I loved looking out the car window coming home from the candle-light Christmas Eve service, my parents in the front seat tuning in Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” and me scanning the darkness with my little sister in the back looking for any sign of you. I loved crawling into bed and thinking about what presents I may have under the tree the next morning. I loved the secret tradition my sister and I started with telling each other one present we got the other. On Christmas Eve, we always got to sleep in the same room. (I still really miss not doing that actually, but I don’t think our husbands would go for it.)

I still love you now as an adult. I love the expectation of joy and suspense and curiosity my child and others exude this time of year. It hypes me up even more than I already am which is hardly believable, because I really, REALLY love Christmas.

I know that you don’t intend to overshadow Jesus and I don’t think you do in our household. We LOVE telling the story of the birth of Jesus, singing songs about his birth, and minimizing your role by focusing on the human manifestations of Jesus: the giving to the needy, the celebration of his birth with our church family, the gathering of loved ones. I don’t remember how I even found out that you weren’t real, but I know that by the time I did, I realized that it was something I’d been slowly unfolding in my brain for a while and it wasn’t really the shock I think most parents fear. I remain grateful for the memories my parents handed me by pretending. (I did, however, draw the line at your co-worker the Easter Bunny. He’s completely ridiculous and he skips over our house.)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that we’ll still put out milk and cookies for you this year. I know you understand why some families don’t and I don’t think Jesus is angry that we do. I really, really love my Jesus and all that his birth in that manger means to my broken, messy self. Now, one could justifiably argue that the whole commercially driven, holiday gift giving culture  has gotten way out of hand, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame you for that. We’re a pretty imperfect society, you know, and while I look to Jesus to be my savior, I am grateful to you for providing another way for us to look on the bright side of things. Merry CHRISTmas, Santa.

Love,

Sara

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**Sidenote: If you,like us, are Jesus loving parents who also do Santa up, I’d highly recommend the book Santa’s Favorite Story, by Hisako Aoki.

Sicky sick. Stinker-stink.

Today could have gone better. Or rather, I should have known better when I romanticized staying at home with my sick-with-strep-and-a-full-body-viral-rash son. The day before, Wednesday, I only took the morning off which was spent running Isaac to my school to drop off lesson plans, to the doctor’s, and to Walgreen’s for his meds before dropping him off to Ryan who took him for the afternoon so I could return to my class of 2nd grade kiddos and head to a 2 hour after school meeting. Needless to say, I was optimistic about a whole day with my baby. Here was my PRE-Thursday image of how today would go: cuddling, and movies, and naps, and read alouds.

That didn’t happen.

It is important to note here, that my child is a few weeks away from turning 5. Since he could speak, he has been lying to people when they ask his age and telling them he is 5. Five is an age when adults like to throw around comments like:

“You’re getting to be such a BIG BOY!”

“FIVE?! Woah! That’s big time!”

“ARE YOU SERIOUS?! FIVE?! HOLY $*^#!” (Well, not really that one… but close. However, I’m pretty sure that this is the level of awesomeness with which my child has been registering these comments.)

So. Today I got up an hour earlier than normal to go into school to prep for a sub so I didn’t have to wake Isaac up and could get back before Ryan had to leave for work. Yesterday, Isaac was horribly uncomfortable: scratchy rash, sore throat, soaring fever. He was doing the cry that immediately produces tears from your own mommy eyes because your kid is so authentically miserable and you are completely incapable of doing a damn thing. My little, feverish, horribly uncomfortable sleeping angel who would benefit from one more day of rest at home. (I didn’t even have guilt this morning about taking a day off: I’m choosing my kid. Family first. My class will not implode with my absence.)

What woke up from that sick bed was a successfully antibiotic’ed, rash reduced, low grade fevered boy for whom Benadryl does not carry any of the side effects which apparently only affect the rest of the world’s children. And he was naughty. You know the kind of naughty? Like since he’s getting sooooo close to 5 he doesn’t actually have to listen to reason or process with logical reasoning skills. At all. But not in REALLY naughty ways. In little, repetitive, naughty ways that chisel away at your parent-patience little by little undercover. Let me replay a few of my day’s comments for you:

“Seriously, bud? Did that seem like a good idea to come up and rub dirt all over my leg?”

“Isaac?! You are supposed to tell me when you want to paint! You have it all over your shirt… and your hands… and the CARPET… and the BATHROOM… AND YOU PUT THE PAINT COVERED BRUSHES BACK INTO THE DRAWERS OF THE FAMILY HEIRLOOM SINGER SEWING CABINET THAT I COMPLETELY REFINISHED WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS!!!” (I said all of that except the last part. I thought it though. Thought it really hard.)

“Yeah, I see that the car trash bag is knocked on the floor, thanks. Is it there because you were crawling around instead of getting into your carseat like you were ASKED? Because that’s really what it looks like…”

“Isaac, turning five does NOT make you grown. You’re not grown.” (Repeat this a few kajillion times. Throw in a couple of time-outs. A period of sitting on the stairs and watching while I steam cleaned the yellow paint drips out of the carpet. Blah, blah, stinker little boy, blah.)

There was also the moment when we ran up to school after the kids were gone and I asked Isaac to stop touching everything on my desk:

“Can I touch ONE more thing?”

“No.”

“But, can I touch THIS?” (Touches one finger to the edge of my desk…)

This is the face you make when your child is making you crazy, but then hands you two yellow leaves for your hair and yells, "Momma! You look so PRETTY! You look like a little MONKEY!"

This is the face you make when your child is making you crazy, but then hands you two yellow leaves for your hair and yells, “Momma! You look so PRETTY! You look like a little MONKEY!”

So when we met up with Ryan for dinner tonight at a restaurant and Isaac continued to be… how should we say… ornery?… I needed a fitting consequence for one of those days without any MAJOR blowouts, but with a bare minimum amount of moments that did not fall into the MINOR infraction category.

I went for the ice cream.

Our favorite fro-yo place was a few doors down from the restaurant and Ryan and I took our kid in there and got ice cream in front of him. Also, in front of the 10 other people on staff or eating their own fro-yo concoctions. All while our child bawled, “But they have all the GOOD flavors today! Oh man! Those sprinkles would be SO YUMMY!”

Ryan was intensely irritated that we were ruining the pleasant dining experience of the other customers. But I? I had had three nights and two straight days of doctor’s appointments, medicine pick-up runs, substitute lesson plan creating, drawn out meetings, middle of the night medicine giving/temperature taking mom moments. Had one of those patrons DARED give me even the HINT of a stink-eye, their face would have been met with a firm right hook. YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME, YOU 19 YEAR OLD COLLEGE KID?! YOU THINK I’M A MEANIE MOM?!!

(Let me tell you. Becoming a mom has SERIOUSLY reduced the judgey-meanie-parent-eyes I used to give out. Now I lean more toward the, “Catch my eye, Momma. See my sympathy-eyes? Yup. You go ahead and ignore that tantruming little thing on the grocery store floor. Been there friend… Been there.”)

On the way home, my sweet baby sat in the back seat and yelled about the sun being in his eyes. And also yelled some more about yummy ice cream.

I love you so much little (LITTLE) almost 5 year old. I love you so much that I will deny you ice cream in front of complete strangers. I love you so much that I will deny you yummy ice cream and then process with you at home when you are calm and read you a bedtime story and kiss your forehead and tell you how much I love you because I really, really do. Being a mom is hard. (Eating ice cream as a consequence though? Not so hard. Sorry. Not sorry.)