Parenting for the Love of It

Happy August, everyone! And a warm welcome to those who are new to this blog. I’m so glad you’re here. I feel bad I haven’t been posting regularly, but there was a thing called life—and more specifically, kids—that grabbed my attention for the better part of three months! But school has started, so thank the Lord for that. 😉

Speaking of thanking God, there’s so much I’m grateful to Him for, even the life lessons I’ve struggled to learn. This summer was a big turning point for me personally in being able to tackle and overcome challenges. Because, for the first year ever, the munchkins spent their vacation at home instead of going to summer school. And I had to learn how to adjust my expectations and attitude—big time! Meaning, I had to throw my “me time” out the window and focus on my hardest, most challenging job of being a mom. For an almost only child who is a recovering perfectionist (aka. control freak) who happens to also be highly sensitive, this was no small feat. Mainly because I wanted to make my time with my kids enjoyable. Which meant saying no to yelling, to harboring resentment, and to putting my work first. Instead, I wanted—wanted, being the key word—to say yes to having fun together, to spending quality and quantity time, and to making my kids a priority in my heart, mind, and schedule. (Did I mention, I’m an overachiever, too?) But of course, wanting and doing are often two very different things.

So, did I make it?

Well, yes … and no. 😉 I was pretty amazed at myself (haha!) and would probably give myself at least a B+, maybe even an A-, for my efforts. My kids though? They’re a much harder crowd to please.

During our last week of vacation, I took them out for lunch to one of their favorite noodle places. While we slurped up noodles and crunched on fried won tons, I asked them what they thought of their summer. How did it compare to previous years when they had gone to summer school? How was it different this year since they got to stay home? I pretty much asked the question every which way possible, making sure to hint at the fact that it should have been a very different, totally more awesome, summer vacation because I, their amazing mother, had spent the better part of sixty days with them. I was practically shining my “Best Mother of the Year” trophy by the end of my speech.

And what did they say?

Nothing. *Cue the sound of crickets*

Maybe their mouths were too full to answer? Maybe they were so in awe of my sacrificial nature that they were speechless? Haha, nope! When my oldest munchkin finally swallowed his food, he replied with a straight face, “My mother yelled too much.”

WHAT?!?! How rude! (And yes, my kids like to refer to me in the third person for some strange reason. LOL)

When I relayed this conversation to hubby later, he tried to console me by saying, “The kids wouldn’t have said any of the things you wanted them to say.”

Hmph. Okay, fine. I guess it wasn’t realistic to expect them to break out in a round of applause and give me a standing ovation in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Or for them to break down in happy tears as they showered me with praise. Now that I’m thinking about this, I can see very clearly how out of my mind I was to have even asked the question in the first place. 😉 Especially since my pre-teens no longer think I’m cool and are more apt to roll their eyes and make sarcastic comments. (And for the record, I raised my voice a LOT less this summer! LOL)

Anyhow, I’ve come to realize that I can’t parent my kids expecting to receive anything in return. Of course there are appropriate times for good manners and etiquette, but when it comes to making sacrifices for my kids, it’s not a give and take situation. It’s a one hundred percent commitment on my part to be the best parent I can be. To care, lead, guide, teach, listen to and yes, to sacrifice for them because I choose to. Not because I’ll get anything in return.

You could say I’m parenting for the love of it.

Doing anything you’re passionate about requires time, endurance, and sacrifice. So much sacrifice. But it’s worth it. Because my kids are worth it. 🙂

What are you doing simply for the love of it?

When There Is No Finish Line

Hubby has been working out on a regular basis for a few months now . This decision pleased the cheap, ahem, I mean frugal side of me because it meant he’d finally be using the gym membership we’d been paying for on a monthly basis. I’d also be getting a more healthy, energetic and buff husband and who wouldn’t want that? 😉

Hubby’s efforts the first two months were jaw-dropping. He’d go to the gym before the sun woke up and go again before he came home from work. Two workouts in a day? Who does that kind of thing?! Apparently, according to hubby, a lot of people who go to the gym do. They must either really want to get their money’s worth or the happy hormones you get from exercising are a real thing. 😉 There’s likely a third reason though as to why people stick to a workout routine. Hubby explained it to me with a slogan he saw on a shirt at the gym. It read, There is no finish line. 

 

The thought is that in order to stay healthy, energetic and buff, you need to exercise, eat right, and sleep well on a consistent basis. That means every. single. day. Because once you stop, the laws of physics (specifically, the one related to gravity) take over and your body start drooping and sagging and not functioning as well as it could.

When I heard this slogan, I couldn’t help but cringe. Working out every single day? If only I had enough energy to do that. Well, the irony of it all is that when you start working out, you gain more energy which helps you continue the vicious, I mean, wonderful cycle. So once you get going, it’s easier to keep going. Exercising will still require effort, time and commitment, but as you continue to do it regularly, it will become a part of your routine. Which is a good thing because there is no finish line when it comes to staying healthy.

This slogan got me thinking about how so much of our lives requires daily maintenance. Our minds, hearts and souls need regular nourishment and “exercise” as well. I’ve been experiencing this need as I stay home with the munchkins during their summer vacation. Boy, whoever came up with that slogan must’ve understood what having kids is like because believe me, there is no finish line when it comes to parenting. This job requires you to get up, clothe, feed, and clean up after your kids every day. And that’s just the physical, “easy” part of being a parent. It’s the emotional and mental stuff—being patient, kind, forgiving and gracious—that really kicks you in the butt. Sigh. 😉 I’ve been reminding myself to work on listening well and keeping my expectations realistic. And making sure I get some me-time and good sleep so I can be on my best behavior for them.

We have one week of summer vacay under our belts now and ten more to go—whew! Fortunately, I find that the longer I’ve been a parent, the more I know how to keep going on a daily basis. Not that it gets easier, but it does get a lot more predictable and a little more manageable. And there are plenty of rewards—shared experiences, funny moments and silly stuff—to keep you going … and going … and going … 🙂

What things do you want to keep working at on a daily basis?