Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Top Five for Myself

Yesterday was a bad day.

Not just a "oh, you kids, you are really trying Mama's patience today..." but a "dear God in Heaven Purslane, if you push Knox down the stairs one more time I cannot promise that my reaction will be legal".  Yesterday was a parade of sassy talk, disobedience, boundary pushing, teething, crying for a solid hour instead of taking a nap, whining and general brouhaha. And that was just me on the phone with Grant after 8 hours of being alone with my children.

I failed in every way possible for a parent. I yelled, I disciplined while angry, I set unreasonable boundaries, I was reactionary, I did not model anything good or decent about humanity.

There was a point where I felt like I had already sprinted past the point of losing it completely, so I figured I might as well just go all the way and win the Worst Mother of the Day t-shirt. After 3 time outs and 2 stern talking to's, I told Pursy she was losing her trip to see the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History. And instead of sitting her down and talking about decisions and consequences, I think I hollered over my shoulder that we weren't going to the museum which of course resulted in an epic crying protest. I felt the sting of failure in my parenting and the loss of a chance to teach her something important about life.

When Grant walked in the door, I threw the babes at him (literally, I think) and ran upstairs to have a good cry in the bathroom. I felt like the biggest failure. I did some google searches on Pittsburgh day care facilities and looked at full time job openings at my hospital. I convinced myself that this stay at home Mom thing was a terrible decision. I emailed three of my friends and told them I had made a horrible mistake by having children and why couldn't they just leave me alone for one bloody minute while I opened the OVEN DOOR TO PUT A LOAF OF BREAD IN THE FREAGGIN OVEN??? Does everything in life have to be about them? I just wanted to do ONE thing for myself today- bake a loaf of bead. To which my sweet friend Jenna replied, "Yep, for a little while you just have to change your expectations of what you can do in a day."

So today I took her advice. I have two chapters in a book I need to read for Sunday's catechesis time, but am not even picking it up until the babes are in bed tonight. I want to clean out the craft drawers but that chore will wait until nap time. I will not do any activities that will be difficult or frustrating with P and K around to "help".  Today we went to the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library with our friends Allie and Ian, it is raining outside which means after nap time is cozy on the couch movie time, Grant is working late tonight and will be sad if I make pork tacos so the babes and I will heat up the leftover chicken orzo stew I made yesterday, and it is only 1 in the afternoon but so far today has been a raging success. There has been no need for discipline, no reactionary snappy parenting, and I feel like we are back on track.

But to put some salve on my wounded self confidence, I am giving myself a Top Five List.

Five Ways in Which I am Awesome.

1. I am running again. My lungs burn, my legs ache and if I were driving past me running I might follow me slowly to make sure I didn't need an ambulance called but I am running. I bought an awesome pair of New Balance lightweight road runners and love the bright neon blue and purple colors. I am running in the Pittsburgh Marathon in May as part of a relay team and am well on my way to running the miles I need for my heat. This is a big deal for someone who hasn't run since babe #1, and she turns three in April.

2. I made bread. I have wanted to make handmade bread for years and finally did it. I made a rosemary olive oil bread that looks prettier than anything I have seen in a bakery.

3. Pursy is potty trained. She has an occasional accident when she gets stressed or pissed off, but for the most part she is very proudly and very independently using the potty and picking out her own big girl undies. I came up with the method that worked for her and take a lot of the credit for the fact that she is potty trained. Grant had the harder part of reinforcing my method with her when I was at work or not around, but because of his support and her stubbornness being used for good and not evil, the girl is officially out of diapers.

4. I gave up television for Lent and have not cheated once. It sounds really 1990's to give up television and it sounds like a cop-out since we don't have cable, but I love watching shows in the evening on Hulu, cuddling with Grant and drinking a cocktail. Instead we have been going up to the 3rd floor guest room and reading books together. I have come to love that quiet evening activity and we might continue it after Lent is over. Not every night of course... Nashville and Breaking Bad are too awesome. And I LOVED my Sunday rest day sitting for 3.5 hours in front of the Oscars eating Kettle Corn and caramel apples with Allie. I love eating with pregnant people.

5. I looked over our calendar for the past two months and realized that at least once a week we have had people over for dinner. Sometimes twice in a week, if one of the dinner dates was a good friend who would be fine eating a big plate of simple carby pasta with us. We love having people in our home and it makes me really proud that we have not given up that part of our family life even though it can be extremely difficult to prepare a meal and clean the house with two children running around thwarting my every attempt at reducing chaos. Purslane and Knox love having dinner guests, and it was super cute watching our friend Wes help Pursy divide her pile of mashed potatoes so she knew how much "half" was.

So there you go, Christy. Yesterday was a bust and will not be repeated today. Today you are awesome and are succeeding in life. Isn't that what Joel Osteen would say if he were here??


  1. I love you, Christy...you are awesome and real and honest and no one can promise you will never have another day where you feel like you have done it 'wrong', but I think even in doing it wrong from time to time, it gives us opportunity to learn humility and an opportunity to apologize to our children ...we need grace and mercy just as much as the munchkins.

  2. Thank you. For your support yesterday and love today.