While raking prairie hay and being launched against my tractor’s seat belt, I cursed how rough the pasture meadow was – pockmarked here and there with a coyote den or other abandoned hole. Then I backtracked. How blessed am I to be in that position?! On land that’s been in my family for over a hundred years, working with my husband, in sturdy steady equipment to get the job done. I felt like I was necessary.
I also thought it humorous that it has been met with incredulity (even by my own children!) that YES, I was driving the tractor. Yes, this sorority girl and cheerleader was the main operator for this rig.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not some version of bad@ss farmer or anything. I’ve done the labor for farming and ranching for the majority of my life on my family’s farm alongside my dad, mom, and sisters. My dad didn’t have any boys.
I guess this is where my own version of feminism comes in. I am perfectly, as is any other woman, capable of most of the tasks on the farm, in the hills, in the pasture, and in the field. For the heavy stuff, you bend your knees, straighten your back and team lift.
It’s actually only been in the last few years since I had children that I haven’t been hands-on farming somewhere. I miss it. It’s in my blood and history. Thankfully, it is also in my future!
Life changes and heat related fatigue (thanks MS) have altered the way I am able to work. If I don’t want to fight numbness and tingling, I have to watch the thermometer. This means I get a tractor or combine with air conditioning. No wheat truck for me this year at harvest. When I get overheated, I’m dragging for a couple of days – like heavy arms and legs – exhausted. Avoidance is key.
I’ll leave you with this beautiful picture of where I worked yesterday evening. Flyover country is truly breathtaking.
2 Steps Back and 5 Forward: An effort to get to know yourself and who you are made to be, deeper than the outward reflection shown in the mirror.
A local women’s group did a short exercise with the ladies who were present. It is a Christian non-denominational group for new, seasoned, young, and older. A lovely mix of women.
*I follow online because although it is God-centered, it still isn’t a Best Yes for my time when I add in the driving to town and back and how it disrupts my family’s schedule.*
The exercise asked the women to say or describe two things about themselves that are negative.
I overshare details and stories… then spend anxiety-ridden time mentally re-hashing all the oversharing moments that just spewed forth from my lips. Ugh. Thank goodness I don’t publish on here every thought I actually say out loud. Awkward!
I get extremely frustrated during transition times with my kids. Daycare pickup is the absolute WORST. I’m overwhelmed. They’re talking and arguing over each other for my attention. We all end up with our feelings hurt when I have to SHUT IT DOWN.
^^^ It honestly didn’t take much to come up with those. ^^^
The exercise then asked the women to say or describe five positives. I’ll take this one step further, in honor of the book I’m currently reading – Walking with Purpose, and say it can’t be about my job or my duties as a mother or wife.
Ummmm…. Hmmmm… Maybe…. ?
I am compassionate for ALL things. I catch spiders and release them outside. I don’t want anyone to suffer. If it has to be the end for a living creature, I want it to be quick and painless. Hungry? I want to feed you. Confused? Let’s figure this out.
I very rarely rush to judgement. I like to gather my own research before forming an opinion. I have friends from all sides of the political, geographical, and faith spectrum. Discussions, when respectful, are thought-provoking and enlightening, even if I disagree with the other parties.
I am determined. Four years and two babies ago, I decided if I ever wanted to get in shape and feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally, I had to make it happen. No one else could do that for me. It was MY job to exercise; MY job to make devotion time; MY job to figure out where my life was going. Yes, I have a husband, two littles, a job, a pet, family, friends, etc… but what was my path? my goal? Was I just supposed to feed small people and handle advertising from my computer? No.
I have a bigger purpose. It is one that is constantly evolving and coming into focus as I make another trip around the sun.
Honesty. I told my children that if they ever ask me a question (which they do 3:1 for every statement – truly, I counted), I will ALWAYS tell them the truth. Don’t want to know about Santa? Don’t ask unless you want the truth and history behind Ol’ Saint Nicholas. What happened to Nana & Papa’s old dog? It died because a body gets old and unable to heal. NOT that it went to live on another farm with other old dogs…. Right Mom and Dad?
I really think honesty is key here. We sugar coat too much to the point where the next generation won’t understand reality.
Love. Love for my family. Love for my friends. Love for people I don’t even know. I am unconditionally loved by God and want to share that love with those around me.
I separate love from “like” and “enjoy” and “happiness.” Sure, those are comfortable feelings, but in the uncomfortable is where we grow, support, and care for one another. It’s easy to give a high-five or a smile at the end of a game. It isn’t as easy to sit with a bestie after her engagement ends or know what to say when a friend miscarries, but those are the places that love illustrates beauty. Spending time volunteering to give a hand up to the less physically fortunate or going to an elder care facility and touching a frail, lonely hand, that’s love. Parenting with grace (so hard sometimes!) is another form of love.
We don’t all “do” love the same way, but think of the world if we all “did” real uncomfortable love in SOME way for somebody.
So there it is. My five positives and my two negatives are out there. Time well spent looking a little deeper into myself.
I’m not sure who is more excited that we are almost done reading the Magic Treehouse- Afternoon on the Amazon book. Me or my son?
Why only an afternoon on the Amazon? Because vampire bats. See? Even exciting stuff in a book written for 7 and 8 year olds.
We take turns reading pages. It’s a fun evening ritual. However, the book worm in me gets impatient to find out what happens! No peeking!
With only four pages left, he was exhausted and drifting off to sleep. The conclusion will have to wait… so until tomorrow night, Jack and Annie are still stuck in a treehouse in the Amazon.
Goodness, I love a good book of any level! From Fancy Nancy to the Magic Treehouse series, I’m thankful my children’s reading and listening levels are increasing. Don’t get me wrong. Go Dog Go has its charms, but it’s nice when the plot thickens deeper than party hats and dogs racing to a large tree.
I’ve been immersing myself in quite a few self-improvement books, faith commentaries, personal blogs and a smattering of other articles. It may be time for another good light-hearted piece of fiction!
I don’t mean to come off as bitter or brisk, but seriously… Let’s get real here people! Let’s look at the realities of what a Mother’s Day when you are ‘in the weeds’ is actually like with small children. Then, we’ll talk.
(This does not relate to how I shower my own mother with love on Mother’s Day. She’s already survived these years. Bless her.)
The advertisers say:
**”Treat your mother to a spa day!” — ummm….. does that come child-free? Does wanting a Mother’s Day gift that doesn’t involve the child that made me a mother make me a selfish monster? Hmmm…
**”Surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers!” — Flowers are a nice sentiment. They look bright and zingy while my children are screeching at each other about a ball or iPad time.
**”Chocolate.” — While I am always 100% game for chocolate (non-dairy, so fake chocolate), this does not a smooth day make. If my child gives it to me as a special item, I’ll treasure the thoughtfulness behind it for a few moments. But me secretly eating mini-chips by the handful out of the bag in my freezer, not quite so meaningful.
**Lunch or dinner out – so my young kids can groan about food in public instead of at home. It is a joy of the highest order to ask the waiter for something hot-dog based at a nice restaurant because the nicer, garnished, plated version of the similar foods we eat family-style at home are now unpalatable. This too shall pass…
You know, I’m just not good at gifts. This all sounds snarky and unappreciative. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate gifts or love being with my crew, it is just that I feel so ‘in the weeds’ ‘UNDER the weeds’ tunneling through life that if I was able to choose, I’d never CHOOSE any of these things!
As I sit here listening to a podcast about how to be a good parent, typing about Mother’s Day, and frankly, taking a break from the accounting project on my desk, I think my ideal Mother’s Day would look like this:
Normal morning – 6ish wake time. Quick couple of miles on the run. When I get home, my sleepy people either aren’t awake or are just waking up. I LOVE to stroke their hair and face and wake them up slowly. I LOVE to see them run the house in their jammies. I LOVE to be greeted by their morning hugs. Breakfast is low-key. I could either make waffles or we go with the solid stand-by of cereal or granola bars. No fights, whines, or on the floor tantrums about anything up to this point.
Church is on Sunday – Mother’s Day. Everybody gets dressed without tears about clothing or shoes. I swear the shoe situation is just all-around cursed. Why? Whyyyyyyy? Just put two shoes on without contemplating which dinosaur had the longest toes or which baby we should name “Vivian Laila S” for ten minutes! We get through the whole service without any dirty looks (from my son to me- when did 7 become the new 13?) or fights about who is sitting on Grandpa’s lap.
Lunch – We could eat out somewhere simple, where the hot dog that will inevitably get ordered is standard fare. Or we could have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grapes, and chips at home. I’m good with that.
Afternoon – everybody rests or reads books quietly in their rooms. After rest time, we do something as a family preferably outdoors. If the weather doesn’t permit it, everybody
plays a game or a puzzle. Then as the day goes on, people chime in to be helpful with anything that catches their eye. I honestly mean ANYTHING. That towel that he/she picks up off the bathroom floor is better than a 1,000,000 fragrant bouquets.
Evening – we like to grill. I’d be happy to throw something on. The hubs and T will have baseball practice. Maybe I don’t go because M and I are doing something special, just us girls.
Any way around it, there has been no tattling to this point. No throw downs or intentionally, slyly sticking his foot out. No hair pulling just to get her attention. She hasn’t screamed at him. Family time without the feuding.
Night- bedtime. Baths. Snuggles. Sleep.
That would be my perfect day to celebrate being a mother. I don’t want a gift or some token. Upon reflection, it seems that I don’t want to spend my day away from my loves to relax. I want to be with them the entire time. I want to smile and laugh with them. I just want a break from the work as referee.
To the other moms who are tunneling through the weeds with your littles, my heart goes out to you. Don’t let Hallmark’s projected view of the foofy, lalalala, rainbow riding unicorn, glitter and confetti, relaxing Mother’s Day get you down. We know that stuff isn’t always real. The LOVE is what’s real.
As cliche as it sounds, I think we have to soak in these moments. Here in the weeds these small people think the world revolves around us. That’s pretty amazing. They want to walk, talk, and BE just like us when they get older. They only focus on our shiny side.
Good and bad alike, this too shall pass. Someday we’ll be sitting at home hoping for that text, phone call or Hallmark card that acknowledges that we are still important to them. We will hope that they still see only our shiny side.
Right now, we are their whole world. Moms, we have to try not to wish it away.
What a glorious weekend! My crew spent the whole weekend outdoors. Fresh air is the best remedy for little people with bad attitudes! Or I guess, at least mom and dad having the patience to deal with them. 🙂
I ran in the limited windows of time I was given (child-free) with only one skunk generated detour in my weekend miles. I’ve got 22+ miles in so far for the month of May! #90milemay
Our yard needed a major overhaul and my little hedge clipper didn’t make a big enough dent.
So…. my husband brought out the chainsaw and a skid steer loader with a grapple and tree shear. He “trimmed” cedar trees while I took down the 5 wire fence around our old garden with a pair of pliers.
Because my MS doesn’t care much for the heat, I took frequent breaks to cool down in the shade with large glasses of water. I don’t like it when things like my whole arm or half my face, etc. go numb, so I’m learning to be more cognizant about my body temperature.
4+ hours into the yard project and we called it an evening. Our son came home from his activity. I grilled while the kids played in the water table. Showers and bed couldn’t come fast enough after dinner – for everyone.
Sunday my crew was exhausted, short-fused, and desperately in need of a solid nap. And that was by 9am. We worshipped, enjoyed a fellowship lunch with our neighbors and community at church, and then came home for what amounted to non-existent siestas. I gave up on quiet-time after 30 minutes and rounded up my crew to help plant the garden.
We are getting a late start due to some wet, cool weather in the month of April. After about 20 minutes of my kids nit-picking each other and arguing (should have had that nap), we managed to get the yellow and white onions in.
– insert drink and snack break –
Because everyone was being so whiny and cantankerous helpful, the hubs and I decided we’d hurry up and put the peppers in before baseball practice. After some surprisingly successful teamwork where no one cried (gardening with a 4yr old who needs a nap!!!), I also planted the peas. We’ll call it a start…
On to the first baseball practice of the season. I love this time of year! The boys were so excited to start practice. Everybody was pumped up and ready to go. By the end, all the boys were hot and tired. “Wolverines!” in a huddle and headed home until next week.
And so was our weekend. We were happy to spend it with family and friends. Always, regardless of the grumps, we love our crew. Fresh air makes it hard to take anybody’s groans too seriously!
It is absolutely time for my husband to come home. I contemplated, quite seriously, climbing under my desk next to my floor heater and pretending I wasn’t here. Or maybe just staring at my feet with my head on the edge of my desk?
Work has been busy. In our current economic climate (regional – i.e. Agriculture), no room to be negative if we are busy! Kids are kids are kids – healthy, energetic, creative. All good things, right? Can’t complain. Won’t complain.
As I was sitting for a moment on the couch after work yesterday, trying to simply and quietly beat back the dull throb I’d been fighting all day, my son asked if we could make up our own scavenger hunt. It was raining. Headache. Non-stop stuff all day. Really?
I started to say “Let’s do it later…” but stopped and said “Sure. Go get some post-it notes and a pen.”
An indoor scavenger hunt wasn’t going to make my headache worse. He picked a small Hot Wheels truck to be the prize at the end and hid it under the napkin holder basket on the kitchen island.
We then proceeded to write clues for his sister to follow. He offered to read them because she is only 4.
Look up and down. Which floor is it on? Which direction is the sky? — Up (Upstairs)
I feel tired. Walk 20 steps in the direction where you go when you sleep. (Bedroom)
It’s so cold in here! Go where you can keep warm! (Fireplace)
This walking is making me hungry. Where can I get a snack? (Pantry)
I made a mess. I’d better get the tool that sucks up crumbs. (Vacuum)
Walk 4 steps forward to get closer to the end. (put her by the kitchen table)
I’m thirsty! I’d better get a drink of milk. (Refrigerator)
Walk 9 steps forward. It’s on the counter. The prize has wheels.
Of course, he didn’t let her keep his truck… but this was good for 10 minutes entertainment!
I love watching them work together. They will grow to be such a wonderful brother-sister team (crossing my fingers). I treasure these idyllic moments.
I won’t paint my family as perfect. Sheesh. Far from it. This morning, they got in a fight while brushing teeth that devolved into toe stomping, pushing, and eventually my daughter went “Cujo” on her brother.
We were running late to get to the sitter’s (no school today). I was on the phone with a customer because for some reason, I answered the business phone 30 minutes before we actually open for business. *Silly me. Lesson learned* As I was discussing the details of a potential sale, they could be heard screaming, sobbing, and pursuing “justice.”
This is one of those weeks my husband/ business partner/ other-half-for-all-things-in-life is gone. 8 whole days. Because we work together, it is actually rather lonely without him here in the office – if I had time to be lonely.
His job responsibilities don’t end, they “transfer” to my desk.
Carpool and kids don’t magically pause.
Where is my laundry fairy and dish diva???? Doesn’t she know I could use her wand to help keep up?
Where did my breakfast buddy go? He usually gets the kids breakfast and feeds the cat while I finish getting ready – Hello cereal, lean pockets, and I’m not ashamed to admit… gummy worms for bribery for a smoother morning.
We FaceTimed with him this morning. He got to witness our daughter spill her bowl of cereal all over her brother’s arm. It was good. I think it made him smile to see life being normal here. Completely and chaotically normal.
In addition to the bright spot that is FaceTime (#1), I also have a “ginormous” (in the words of my 4yr old) appreciation for my father-in-law. Bright spot #2: Twice this week he has prepped and brought me a sandwich for lunch. PB&J on toast on Monday and turkey with mayo/mustard today. Simple things mean so much!
Third bright spot: I am ridiculously productive around the house without anyone to hang out with in the evening. After the kids go down, I hit my to-do list hard! Better than being lonely in front of the TV.
When does he come home???? Although productive, enjoying FaceTime, and appreciating my father-in-law, I am counting down the days… He’s a keeper.