taking Mommy inventory

{I wrote this last Monday and for some reason, didn't post it. Happened to see it sitting in my list of posts and realized it never was posted. So here you go, one week late!}

I'm sitting here in my living room rocking chair, watching my kids play the wii. Rachel is frantically asking Ethan how she should jump and maneuver her guy, Kara is playing with a controller that's not plugged in, but she thinks it is, and we've all made a pact not to tell her that secret until she figures it out.
Shhh.... don't tell!
Ethan is loving this role of being the big brother and being naturally better at things than the girls.
I love the way he plays wii with Rachel though. Its surprised me many times... I really thought we'd have issues with him being selfish, hogging the game, not wanting her to play, etc... we have days where I tell Rachel she needs to lay down for a rest and Ethan will come to me about 20 minutes after playing the wii by himself and he'll ask, "Mommy, could Rache please be done sleeping? I hate playing wii by myself. Its SO fun when she's with me." Sigh...

This morning I woke up well before I knew the kids would be getting up {yes, all 3 of our kids sleep in pretty nicely every day} and so I spent about an hour getting ready; bed making, Bible reading, prayer time, shower, hair, you know the drill. Then I went and woke them up and said "get dressed and head downstairs, I'm taking you out for a surprise!" I love doing that. I wish I did it more, but creativity only strikes me every so often. And, I think I get bogged down with life and forget that somedays, its fun to just have fun. 
Somedays is a blast for all of us to throw the schedule out the window, to forget about "keeping house" and to enjoy one another.
I loved hearing their excited guesses as we drove to our favorite coffee and cupcake shop. Ethan guessed we were going to Seattle to surprise Daddy, Rachel guessed Disneyland or maybe the Zoo! {she actually seemed more excited about the Zoo} and Kara just kept saying "I bet Nana will be there!" :)
They knew as we entered Downtown in the city we live in, I began hearing whispers; "HA! I think I know where Mommy is taking us!" and the excitement only grew as we turned the corner and they saw our spot.
Oh, to be a kid again. I miss those days.
So we picked out our most favorite cupcake flavors - Ethan chose strawberry fondue, Rachel chose my favorite Lavender one,  and Kara chose smoothie flavored, which is essentially banana and strawberry mix.
As we sat and ate, Ethan asked me "Mommy, do you think someday when I'm married and I have some kids, you'll be their Nana and you'll meet us here for cupcakes?" I almost cried when he asked me that.
Several reasons. One being, we used to do that kind of stuff with my Mom and I know that's why he's asking - from memory. The other being, in the back of my head I wanted to say "as long as you don't do what Daddy and I did and move far away from me." ... But I held back.

We went from the cupcake place to the library and saw my sister and her fiance there. We invited them back to the house for lunch and we all had grilled jalapeno cheese & turkey sandwiches with chicken noodle soup. Did I mention that we had a very weird, rainy day today? Yeah... yesterday it was in the mid 80's and today it decided to look like January again. Weird. But, the hot chocolate, the library and the soup totally hit the spot.
We all took short afternoon naps {everyone except Emily and Ethan} and then we played some board games, more wii and ended the day with Coconut Curry Chicken with rice for dinner; yes, Laura, I finally ate curry and enjoyed it :) 

The laundry didn't get done. I never ended up pulling weeds in the backyard. My bed isn't even made. I wanted to go through the girls' bedroom and sift through their clothes and such before we start packing, but that didn't get accomplished either.
And at the end of the day, its okay. I'm feeling quite satisfied. I'm feeling blessed and rested. My kids are happy tonight and I've been hearing a lot of "I love you Mommy. I love when you play with us and be a kid with us again." - to me, its worth it. I'm thinking I could use 1 day a week like this :)

I never thought I'd need days where I had to remember and go out of my way to really enjoy my kids. I love my kids and I'm thrilled I get to spend every day with them, but I always thought the "having fun" part would come naturally and sometimes {for me} it doesn't. I get so focused on the training and the discipline and the day-to-day routine... all the parenting stuff.
I've been so aware of time passing lately. I know I mention it and I know I mention mentioning it ;-) on this blog a lot, and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon. These days really are going by so fast. I already miss the new baby days, but when I was in the midst of the baby days, I would've told you it would take a decade for me to miss them. And yet here I am, three years later, aching for them. I miss having a new family member to love on and enjoy those firsts with. I miss the newness of it all and the joy a new life brings to our lives.
Looking back through Ethan and Rachel's newborn journals, I realize I did not enjoy their babyhood as much as I should've.
I stressed too much. I worried about dumb things, I tried to do it all, when I had nothing to prove. I got sucked into the mindset of wanting them to be on this perfect growth chart, never wanting them to be too attached, refusing to even wear a wrap or sling in Ethan's case. Who knows what I thought it would do to him... so stupid.
I've always laughed when I talk to other Moms who make comments about their 3rd kid getting barely any pictures taken of them, rarely getting carried, eating junk food way earlier than their other kids ate junk food, etc... we've been the complete opposite. Kara has the most baby pictures. We slowed down and enjoyed her babyhood the most, she got loved on and adored more than Ethan and Rachel {only because when they were born they didn't have two older siblings to love on them}, we did baby led weaning with nursing, I made all of Kara's baby food from scratch for the first time and she slept in our bedroom the longest :)
I feel like with each child, I'm learning just how fast the first 5 years go by and I'm realizing that once they're 5, they're really not babies at all anymore. That's not a lot of time.

Are you investing in your kid's early years? Are you enjoying them? Even if its your 4th+ child, are you treasuring the time you have with them? Do you get sucked into the mindset of needing to stay on this unspoken crazy busy schedule, where each kid plays 5 different sports and keeps up with every activity possible, keeping the family pulled 10 different directions every week?
When your kids get older will they talk about the crazy, frazzled Mommy that barely survived the early years, or will they look back on their childhood with fondness and fun memories? I'm not asking these questions to teach you anything. I'm asking them, because I need to ask them of myself on a weekly basis. I want to raise happy, healthy, unique kids. I want my kids to be fun loving and kind. I want them to serve others before themselves and I want them to be balanced. I want them to care about what God says and asks of them, before they care about what others think. I want them to know that I love them and that they've never been a burden to me. I don't want them to wonder why I stayed home with them and invested so many years into them.

What are some ways you do this? What are ways you have fun with your kids? Some fun memories you all make together as a family? If you're having a rough day, what are some creative ways you turn things around, outside of prayer?

6 {comments}:

Jessica said...

Yes, I had to make a conscious decision in the past year that is okay and FUN to play in the mud and water and get dirty. I found myself always trying to keep E looking cute and perfect his first year, But now I have belly-laughing boys running naked through the sprinklers and mud almost every day. I know I am building good memories for them - even if they wont remember it...they will remember happiness!

Laura said...

:::dies of shock::: stef ate curry! (yay! Did you make it from scratch or did you use one of those yummy trader joes sauces?)

Funny how we were just talking about this last night. Especially during these years when it feels (at least for me) like there is constantly some battle to be fought...it's nice to just take a break from the chaos. I want my kids to have memories of the little things from daily life - making pancakes with chocolate chips, making devilled eggs on Saturday's (we almost always do), painting together, etc...I have a fear of trying to manufacture too many memories and want them to develop organically instead...but I love taking time to surprise the girls with a trip to one of our favorite haunts (stow lake!) and to enjoy their joy at the experience.

I think it's very hard for moms to not get caught up in the job of motherhood (clean the house! Do the laundry! Feed the natives!) and remember that we need to keep bonding with our "babies" even after they're newborns.

...and now I'm rambling so I'll stop. But I liked this post and I loved talking with you about this stuff last night. :-)

Stef said...

Jess, SO been there. I think we moms understand each other better than we even know :)

Laura, did you LOL when you saw this post?! I saw it post this morning {for some reason I scheduled it last week instead of just posting it} and then realized this is what you and I talked about last night! Too funny :)
I guess this Mommy stuff has been on my brain a lot.
Also, amazing day with Rachel. I think these kids just like to keep us on our toes :)

Liz said...

I totally understand... Amelia has the most baby pictures too ;) I also love to hold her instead of doing my chores. It goes by way too fast!

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

Rough day? Oh, as in today? Yup. That was E & I. ;) I'm thankful that we don't really have too much of those lately. We played outside alot-- the sun and fresh air always seems to do wonders if we BOTH wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

And I totally understand about letting go-- I was surprised at myself that I had such strong worrier/ border-line perfectionist mentality rear its ugly head during that first year. I think it was mainly because I had zero newborn experience and worried about even being able to keep him alive. Haha!

It was actually a blessing in disguise that he was such high maintenance because I realized VERY quickly that it was all out of my control and to just relax & go with the flow. Now that he's waaay easier, I can & DO really enjoy it. I try to encourage the dirt, mush, and exploration as much as I can...although I'm still not a fan when he shovels stuff in his mouth. ;)

I love your adventure!! Sounds like an amazing and memory-filled day!


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