Monday, January 26, 2009

Real Mothers

A friend sent this to me a couple of months ago, and I came across it again and decided to share it. I've decided I must be a real mother, if for no other reason than I don't have time to make quiche, my floors are sticky and my oven is filthy. The only thing I can't understand is why, if my children are between the ages of 2-9, I don't seem to be in the stage of "My Mommy can do anything!" and "My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!" We seemed to have skipped those stages.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this info (I wish I knew who to give credit to, but unfortunately I don't). I chuckled as I read it, and then towards the end (I know this will come as a big suprise, but . . .), tears came to my eyes. I hope I can one day turn from a Mommy into a Mother, with all the wisdom and beauty a dedicated mother possesses. Then all the spills and tantrums and craziness will be worth it.

Here's to all of you real mothers out there . . .

Real Mothers don't eat quiche; they don't have time to make it.
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.
Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.
Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn't come out of carpets.
Real Mothers don't want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' and get their answer when a little voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth is not measured by height or years or grade... It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother:
4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!
8 YE ARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 YEARS OF AGE thru 20- Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned..
18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!
35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Movie Mania

Has there ever been a movie you have watched over and over and over again, and every time you watched it, you enjoyed it as much as the first time? There's nothing quite like a movie that just seems to hit the spot (except maybe a book that does). That movie for me is Father of the Bride, part 2. It doesn't matter how many times I see it or how many times my three-year-old rewinds certain parts, I find it totally amusing each time! I absolutely love that movie, and here's why.

First of all, Steve Martin is at his finest in this flick. He is so funny when he's meant to be funny, charming when he's meant to be charming, and tenderhearted and warm when he's meant to be a humble, loving father. He alone makes the movie great.

Then there's Frank (Martin Short) who is absolutely hysterical in this movie. I laugh until tears spill down my cheeks every time I see him try to get George (Steve Martin) out the door and to the hospital after George has taken too many sleeping pills. It's hilarious!

I actually decided if I were to play a role in this movie I would want to be Nina (George's wife, played by Diane Keaton). She plays such a delightful part in the show, and you can't help but like her and empathize with her as she tries to reason with her often immature husband.

Lately, our family has watched that show an average of 4 times a day (I actually moved a little TV into our kitchen so we could watch it while we did puzzles at the kitchen table). We all have our favorite parts, and no matter how many times we watch it, we always find ourselves saying, "Watch this. It's our favorite part" about a million times to each other. And then we laugh and laugh.

Until the end.

That's when I cry and cry.

I can't help it. Every time Annie (the daughter) and Nina (the mother) go into labor and George runs back and forth trying to be the perfect support to both of them, I begin to lose it. Then Geoge tells Nina how he felt about her the first time he met her, and I feel the tears forming. Frank and George end up bonding in the hallway, and a smile never ceases to spread across my face, and when the doctors are rushing Annie into the delivery room and her husband hops off the elevator just in time, my shoulders are shaking in sobs. It's just so touching! By the time George is holding his new grandson and new daughter, one in each arm, and he says, "Right there at that moment, with my grandson in one arm and my daughter in another, I know that life can't get any better than this," I am a complete mess.

Every time.

My husband giggles and points at me while my children wrap their arms around me in consolation. As silly as it sounds, that ridiculous show gets to me every time.

Maybe it's because I can relate to Annie being so excited about being a mother for the first time. And I can totally understand Nina's apprehension about becoming a mother again, and I can even relate to George not wanting to grow old. But I think the biggest reason is because I, like George, have come to realize that no matter what else happens in life, when I am surrounded by my children and husband, life just can't get any better!

And so I will probably watch that show a million more times, and chances are, every time I do I'll laugh my head off and then fall apart all over again. And chances are, my husband will shake his head in disbelief and my children will ask me if everything is okay. And chances are, I'll remember once again just how good I have it, because as hard as it is, there's just nothing as satisfying and rewarding as parenthood. Just ask George!

And by the way, if you're in the mood for a good laugh and then a good cry, you've got to get your hands on this movie!! You won't be disappointed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Potty Training Prayers

". . . Please help me, Lord. I'm doing everything I can. I'm getting up early; I'm watching him every second; I'm offering positive feedback and being patient. Help me keep being patient, and help me to know what to do because I really feel like I'm doing all a mother can do. And oh, please Lord, help him to . . . to catch on, and to have a desire to go poop in the potty. I'm exhausted, and I need Thy help. I know this may seem like a silly thing to pray for, but I know Thou answers even seemingly silly prayers and that Thou wants to help mothers. I need that help. I'm so thankful to know I'm not alone, Lord. Please help me remember that, and help me have faith that this prayer will be answered . . ."

Such has been my pleading the past few weeks in behalf of my two-year-old, and in behalf of me, as I have been attempting the all-too-wonderful task of potty training. I told myself this time would be different. After pulling my hair out three previous times with my other children, potty training my last child at the age of 18 months (my mother has always claimed her children were potty trained by this age and that this is the perfect potty-training age--she's wrong), I had decided to relax and wait until this child was ready to basically potty train himself.

So, eighteen months went by; then 21 months went by (the age I trained two of my four children), and then my baby turned two, and the vision of being completely done potty-training for my lifetime started forcing its way forward, and by golly, two weeks after his second birthday, I decided to go for it. After all, I told myself, I did wait longer than I had with the other three children. It's now been five weeks since I began, and as always, I've had moments of complete and utter frustration and discouragement.

The process started out so smoothly I could hardly believe it. After only a day, Boston was peeing in the potty and staying dry for hours at a time. "Ha! This going to be a breeze," I told myself. Famous last words. He did fantastic for a week and a half, even pooping in the potty a few times. And then I did something stupid--I went on an 8-hour trip across the state of Wyoming to visit my brother in Denver. Boston was dry the entire time, but holding it that long made him constipated, and ever since then, the pooping only occurred in his pants--or on the floor--not in the potty. Is there anything worse than cleaning up poop every day? Probably, but right now I can't think of what.

I finally decided I needed some serious advice, and so I began importuning the Lord for help, for inspiration, for DIVINE INTERVENTION. I told my children and husband that this was a family endeavor and I expected them to pray for Boston, too. Even Boston himself had caught on to the act and was praying, "bess go poop in potty." I offered treats to anyone who got him to do the act, and I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get that little boy to sit on the potty to relieve himself. Then, I started getting really frustrated because it seemed like my prayers were not being answered. Not only was he not making progress but I wasn't feeling inspired either. All that was happening is that I was beginning to lose patience and sleep over the whole matter.

That's when I decided I had to let go a little. I stopped following Boston around all day, making sure he wasn't hiding in a corner pooping his pants, and I put more of the responsibility on him. I told him the consequences of pooping in the potty (some pop and playtime with Mommy) and I told him the consequences of pooping in his pants (sitting on a chair for 10 minutes). I really doubt he fully understood what I was saying, but it somehow made me feel some weight lifted off my shoulders. Then, it occurred to me that I should start paying attention to his behavior right before he pooped so I could work hard with him at that moment, rather than nagging the poor kid all day long. Lo and behold, the child is starting to poop in the potty.

Now, he still needs more practice before I can stop thinking about it throughout the day, but what I found (once again) is that my potty training prayers really were answered. It was so simple I almost overlooked it. I was doing everything to get him to poop in the potty; instead, I needed to put more responsibility on him. And I'm so grateful for the thought that popped into my head to concentrate hard at certain moments of the day.

So simple, so unprofound, so motherhood.

All I can say is I'm thankful for answers to prayers, even the "pooping on the potty" prayers!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's that time of the year again--time to reflect on the past and decide what areas of my life need major adjustments so I can write down a list of goals I will probably forget to look at again until next year. Not before beating myself up for the next month or two trying to meet my unrealistic expectations first, of course. I do believe strongly in setting goals and have seen the effects of effective goal setting numerous times in my life; however I seem to have a knack for thinking I can become nearly perfect in just 365 days' time, writing down expectations that drag me down more than help me improve, simply because they are too harsh. Can anyone relate?

At the end of 2007, I found myself on my knees thanking God the year was finally over. It was a tough one for me, and I felt thankful to have survived it with my sanity still in tact. I was optimistic 2008 would be better, and as I reviewed my list of lofty goals (mostly unmet) for the previous year, I determined to try something new. Instead of listing three to five big goals in each area of my life--spiritual, physical (does anyone make New Year's Resolutions that don't include exercise? I didn't think so), mental, emotional--I decided to take an entirely different approach. When December came, I wanted to look back over the year and know I had reached every goal I had set. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I was tired of letting myself down and tired of feeling like I had failed; I was ready to bask in the feeling of success.

Thus, I sat down and wrote TWO goals. 1) Soak up every moment with my children
2) Do something every week to show my husband I love him

The first goal may seem a little vague, but I knew I wanted to enjoy my children more--to love them and laugh with them more often, to speak more kindly, to read to them more often, to hold them and hug and kiss them more regularly. If there is one thing I am aware of it's how quickly they are growing up, and more than anything, I don't want to look back and regret that I didn't enjoy each stage of their lives more. Motherhood is so hectic, so demanding, so exhausting, I find I have to make a deliberate effort to not get so caught up in the job of motherhood that I forget why I wanted to be a mother in the first place.

The other part of our family equation is my marriage, and although my relationship with my children is of prime importance to me, I don't want it to distract me from an even more important relationship--the one with my husband. I know I can never truly be happy if I am not serving and looking out for my better half. It's way too easy for me to be selfish and demanding, but I know that does not make our home the happy place I want it to be. I am fortunate enough to be married to a patient, selfless, understanding man, and I wanted to try to reciprocate that.

How did I do? Believe it or not, I did okay. Of course these are two areas that will need constant improvement, but filtering out all of my other expectations made it possible for me to really focus on these two goals, and I made huge strides. I enjoyed more moments with my children, became a more patient listener, held and hugged and loved them more often and with more feeling, and I enjoyed motherhood more. I also learned to appreciate a husband who is a dedicated, patient, active father.

So, this year I think I will try the same approach. I realize I may not be improving at a very fast rate, but at least I'm moving in the right direction. It sure beats the pit I feel in my stomach when I think about taking hours to write down goals I'm not good at reaching.

And who knows? I may even be able to handle THREE goals next year!!:)