Friday, June 26, 2015

Six Things New Parents are Shocked to Hear Themselves Say

Ever found yourself screaming for your child to get her hand out of her own poop? Then you can relate to these six crazy things that come out of parents’ mouths. Heck, you’ll say them eventually, too (if you haven’t already). It’s ok to admit it. We’re all in this together.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of poop that just came out of this baby!”
Wow...never thought you’d say that, huh? When you have a baby, suddenly everything is about poop. Actually, it’s about what goes into your baby as well as what comes out, but you’d be surprised at how much your life revolves around human feces after you welcome your sweet little bundle of joy to the world.

“I haven’t had a shower in...I don’t, two days.”
I’d like to think that after a certain age, kids become independent enough to allow you sufficient time to maintain proper hygiene. Until then, here’s how the conversation goes:
Husband: “I know you’ve had a rough day. Come on over here and I’ll give you a back rub.”
Wife (Because, come on, we know what “back rub” really means): “Seriously? I haven’t showered today...or yesterday.”

“I think I have food poisoning.”
Ok, you’ve probably said this at least once in your lifetime, with or without kids. But if you’ve used it as an excuse to lock yourself in the bathroom and get some alone time, then you’re a parent of small children. Before having kids, you never would have dreamed of telling anyone - especially your significant other - about your tummy troubles. Now? You’re all too willing to make the issue known...or even to make up the issue.

“Don’t eat your boogers!”
While cliche, this still rings true as ever. And if you hear someone saying it, just send up a silent prayer for her. She probably has a rebellious toddler on her hands. Because, as much as you’d like to believe your child would never, ever eat a booger (gross!), it happens. Maybe it’s curiosity. Maybe it’s an act of defiance. Who knows why kids do some of the crazy, irrational things they do?

“Just swallow it!”
No, this is not of the - ahem - adult nature. But if you’ve got a picky eater in your family (otherwise known as any child between the ages of two and...??), then chances are you’ve uttered this phrase or some version of it a million times. The food is already in your mouth, kid. The more you chew it, the grosser it will be. Just swallow the dang chicken!

“Don’t step in your pee.”
Potty training? Now there’s comedy. You won’t believe the things you’ll utter while trying to teach a child the most basic human process. Stepping in pee? Yeah, that happens - to your child and to you. Even once you’ve made it through the horrendous potty-training months, there will still be accidents. And there will still occasionally be pee on the bathroom floor. It’s just a part of your life now.

Don’t fret, New Parent. We all utter these crazy things from time to time - as in, at least once a day. Welcome to the club.

Monday, June 22, 2015

When Life Unravels

Do you ever just feel like giving up? We all have those days, and it’s definitely been that kind of morning for me. Our seven-month-old kept us up from midnight until 3 a.m., causing me to oversleep and go into a frenzied, stressful time-crunch for writing an article with an early deadline. Then, just as I gathered my thoughts and began to outline the article, my four-year-old woke up and informed me that she’d had an accident in her bed. Really? This rarely ever happens. Why today, of all days?! So...I took a deep breath (which did little to calm my nerves), waved goodbye to my deadline, and got the girl cleaned up. All before I’d even had coffee.

I’ve been wondering all morning why this keeps happening to me. Why, when I’m trying SO hard to be a good mother, a compassionate wife, and a dedicated writer? Why is there constantly - and I mean constantly - a crying baby? Why can’t he be content to play by himself the way our daughter was at his age? Why hasn’t he grown out of this yet? Why won’t my preschooler listen and just do what I tell her? Why does she wait too long to go to the bathroom, causing me to stop what I’m doing and clean up her accident?

Why do I feel this constant pressure to keep the house perfectly clean, cook all the meals, and still bring money in for the family? And...most of all, why can’t I keep it together and get it all done so that I don’t always feel like such a failure?

As I’m asking myself these questions and willing my eyes not to betray me with tears, God slaps me with an answer so simple, I’m dumbfounded that I never thought of it before. And He does it with an email.

It’s because Satan doesn’t want me to succeed. 

But that’s ok - God does.

Wow. Chew on that for a minute. God wants us to succeed; He says so in the Bible! In all my years of Sunday School and sermons, I never really paid much attention to this idea, this notion that God’s rooting for me. And He’ll give me a way out of temptation - or, in my case - frustration.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God encourages us again in Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

So, with those verses in mind, I’ve decided I’m not going to let Satan win. Here’s my plan.
  • Give it to God. First and foremost, when I start to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I’m going to remind myself that I’m only human. Then I’m going to pray for God to take over. Because, with Him, all things are possible.
  • Practice patience. When my world is going crazy and the baby’s screaming, the four-year-old’s pitching a fit, the dishes are overflowing, and there’s a load of laundry I forgot to switch to the dryer (again), I will stop. I’ll just stop what I’m doing and pray for patience. 
  • Be grateful. No matter how much seems to be going wrong in my life, it could always be worse. From now on, I will take time every day to remember the things I have to be thankful for, big and small. Today, I’m thankful that the client whose article I was working on is willing to give me a deadline extension, so I won’t lose that money - or the client. I’m also thankful that my sink full of dirty dishes means we have food to eat, and my washer full of now-soured clothes means we have something to wear. Finally, I’m thankful that, at this very moment, my baby is asleep and my daughter is playing quietly. It may not last long, but I will thank God for these peaceful - even if infrequent - moments. 
That’s my plan of attack against Satan. He will NOT win. My family and I WILL survive. We will thrive. After all, how could we not, with God on our side?