Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Clean Kitchen

Pin It My kitchen looks so lovely right now. It's really clean. I have worked very hard at it this morning while Olivia slept. The counters have been wiped, the dishes are all done, I even swept the floor. If company unexpectedly dropped by I would not be embarrassed. I love it when things are clean.

Unfortunately I seem to truly suck at keeping things that way. Sigh. And every time someone moves in my house they leave a mess in their wake. That, in my opinion, is what makes housework so incredibly frustrating. It never lasts and you have to clean the exact same thing over and over and over.... makes me want to scream " just don't touch ANYTHING" at my kids and husband. But alas, I don't think that would accomplish the desired results from my 3 and 4 year old sons. I just don't think they have the same... respect (obsession)... with cleanliness that I do. Shocking, I know.

Ok, I was just about to finish this post when I heard my 3 year old son, Owen, rooting around in my lovely clean kitchen. So I went to find out what the little monkey was up too. And of course he was making a mess. He apparently wanted to make some scrambled eggs. He had gotten the eggs out of the fridge and the pan out of the cupboard and was attempting to crack the eggs into the pan. One was all over the floor. The other was poised in the air for cracking. So I rushed in and shoved the pan under the second egg, catching it just in time. Then my darling son, wanting to be helpful, grabbed a towel from the bathroom and wiped up the egg on the floor with it. Well, more smeared the egg all over the floor than wiped it up. But the point was he was trying to be helpful. So I made my son scrambled eggs. And now the dishes are no longer all done and my kitchen no longer looks spotless. Sigh. That sure didn't take long. I should have taken a picture as proof that sometimes my kitchen does get cleaned.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Balance

Pin It I've been thinking about the balance between ministry and family.

Being a pastor's wife is an interesting perspective.

When a family in the church is in crisis of course I want my husband to be there to minister to them. But I also want him to be here with us. My kids need him just as much, in fact more, than our congregates.

Of course I know that God has called my husband to this ministry and called me to support him in that but sometimes I feel like our kids are the innocent victims. I don't want them to feel like everyone else is more important to daddy than they are.

I am blessed to have a husband who is a great daddy and totally agrees with me on this but how do you divide your time between so many needs? It's hard. I don't want my kids to end up hating us or God or the church because of our inability to say no or other people's inability to respect my husband's need for family time.

I suppose it's all about finding that ever so elusive balance.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Postpartum Depression

Pin It So it seems that I may not have entirely escaped postpartum depression. I have been steadily going downhill for a few weeks now and last week finally realized what was going on. Now, yes, I am sleep-deprived and that could be causing much of my mood. But since I have been down this road before I know that I am not capable of coping on my own.

So I went to the doctor on Friday and she is going to try to get me into an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in thyroid issues such as I have) but unfortunately we don't have any in Saskatchewan right now so she'll do her best but it could take awhile. In the meantime she asked me to go on an anti-depressant for a 6 week trial. Her theory being if it works then we know it was simply postpartum depression and the meds will keep me sane until it passes and my thyroid medication is doing its job. If they don't work then we know to continue pursuing the endocrinologist route and no more depression meds. I am also going to start in on some counseling with a Christian counselor we have who works with our church. Monday night will be my first session and I am bringing my husband along too. All in all I feel good about this course of action. I am simply unwilling to play the hero and try to fix this on my own. And really, its not too bad right now and I want to do something to prevent it from getting worse. I never want to feel as badly as I felt the last time I had postpartum depression. Just in case anyone out there gets the urge to lecture me about God not wanting me to take meds and if I had enough faith this wouldn't happen and Christians shouldn't be depressed... please keep your well-intentioned comments to yourself. I have heard them all before and feel that God and I are both ok with my present course of action. Thanks.

In other news a family in our church had their house burn down today. They got out with the clothes on their backs, nothing else. Pray for them if you think of them.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kindergarten

Pin It Well folks, we registered Aiden for kindergarten today. Wow. I can't believe I have a kid old enough to be going to school in the fall.

By the way the removal of the boys toys is working fairly well.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I hate Sundays

Pin It In my last blog I said that I loved drama but not drama in real life. Well, real-life drama strikes again. I don't know if any other pastor's wives have found this but for me, Sundays are by far the worst days in our house. It's like everything that can go wrong does. And my kids go psycho. Honest to goodness psycho.

Now I have mentioned before that my boys are having some trouble adjusting to a new baby in the house and are on the angry side about having to share my attention with Olivia. I assumed, naively, that this would improve with time. Apparently not enough time has gone by yet and instead of improvement we get to go even further into our exploration of anger. Did I mention today is Sunday and the worst of it happened just before and during church? I hate that.

Just to give you a brief summary of what happened... Aiden and Owen started the morning at church by running from one end of the building to the other screaming at the top of their lungs. I said no. They ignored me. So I caged them in the toddler room so they couldn't run all over. They were mad. Aiden proceeded to make me a card (he's into making cards for people right now because of valentine's day) but he told me "this is NOT a love card, this is a mad-at-you card". SO he hands me this artwork creation and explains to me that it is a monster truck running me over so that I would be dead. I'm not kidding. I was a little shocked by his venom. Then he climbed into the toy box and chucked all the toys all over the room. Did I mention that I am breast-feeding Olivia during this entire exchange? So that rendered me useless. Plus I was stunned. They Owen picks up a toy and chucks it at another baby in the room and beans the poor kid in the forehead.

So now I am totally depressed about the state of my children and completely embarrassed. Ya, these are the pastor's kids. Aren't we doing a phenomenal job of parenting them?

Anyway, things did not get better and by the time we were gearing up to go home I had decided things have GOT to change. I'm done with the chaos. I remember seeing a Dr. Phil episode where this dreadful child was getting way out of control (kinda like mine) and the good Dr. told the parents to do "commando parenting" and take away all the kids toys and rewards and make him earn them back by being good. He said that toys etc are a privilege, not a right, and it won't kill a kid to have to earn the rewards.

So my poor husband walks into his office after church and I proceed to burst into tears and tell him my distress over the state of our children and that I want to take all their toys away since they don't deserve them anyway blah blah blah. Now you are all thinking "wow, this family needs the Supernanny". Yes. we do. I accept my complete failure at raising well behaved children.

Nonetheless I am determined to not leave them this way. Because I love them I don't want them to be this nasty. To me or to anyone else. Now I must point out that things were going pretty well before Olivia arrived and I do know that much of this is reaction to her arrival but just because they have a reason to act this way doesn't make it acceptable. Plus it really hurts my feelings. Aiden made me cry. I will say that all afternoon they both have been very loving and Aiden even made me a love card but the sting of the earlier hate card is still there.

By the way we did end up taking away almost all of their toys. They do have to earn them back. Plus they had way too much anyway, no kid needs that many toys. S0 there you have it folks. Parent of the year I am not.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Drama

Pin It I love drama... dramatic TV, dramatic books, dramatic movies, tear jerkers, love stories, chick flicks, fairy tales, if it makes me laugh and cry I love it. As long as it has a happy ending... eventually. This is what makes pretend-drama enjoyable. It has a happy ending. And since this is not always true of real life drama I prefer keep my drama in the make-believe.

My husband does not understand my fascination with what he calls "stressful, over-dramatic shows". I don't know why I love shows such as Gilmore Girls and ER and Gray's Anatomy... I just do. They give me a wonderful escape from reality. Instead of crying about stress in my life I can get caught up in someone else's story for awhile. Again, if any of it was happening to me in my real life I would have a complete nervous breakdown. But that, my friends, is the beauty of the situation... it is just pretend! Watching these shows makes my poor husband visibly uncomfortable. But I know many women who love drama as much as I do.

I think we women have a fascination with the stories of other people's lives, fake or real. I read in a book once ( The friendships of Women by Dee Brestin) that this is the reason why so many women are tempted by gossip. We want to connect with the other women in our lives and when we are too afraid to share the real parts of ourselves with them then we resort to sharing the tidbits of gossip that we know of others just to find common ground. Of course this is NOT what we should do as it creates only false intimacy anyway... not to mention being hurtful and against God's specific instructions.

I am currently reading (slowly) a book called Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge and it has some fascinating insights into the female gender. They give several reasons why we women are fascinated by romance and stories of a grand nature. Basically they maintain that God made us this way so it's ok.

Good to know.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Grumpy Mommy

Pin It I am feeling out of sorts today. In other words... I am grumpy. Now I am not saying I have no reason for feeling this way. I do. But that doesn't mean I get to act as miserably as I would like to. I would just love to have an all out tantrum, complete with kicking and throwing things.


Unfortunately for me I know that really, my life is not so bad and I am really not that hard done by. I have much to be thankful for. But have you ever noticed that just because you know something to be true it doesn't always make you feel better in the moment of present angst? So the tricky part for me is treating people (including my kids) how God wants me to and not how I, in my selfishness, would like to treat them.


Many of you know that I had some pretty serious post-partum depression after I had my boys. God has graciously answered my prayers with Olivia and I have been spared that nightmare thus far. Anyway, I remember one time when Owen was only a couple weeks old and Aiden was 18 months and we lived on the 13th story of a massive apartment building in Hamilton. I was so overwhelmed that I really wanted to hurt my kids, or myself. I called Doug at work and he rushed home and found all three of us in tears. I had put the boys in their cribs and closed their doors and then I went and huddled under the covers in bed and just cried. Partly because I felt so depressed and partly because I was so afraid and ashamed for the way I had thought about hurting my kids and myself. (For those of you who don't know I did get help and I never ended up hurting my kids or myself.) But the point is if I treated people however I feel at the time we would all be in a lot of trouble.


I remind myself to notice and acknowledge the gifts God gives me everyday. My Grandma (another pastor's wife) used to tell me to "count my blessings" and then she would sing the old hymn by that name (count your blessings... name them one by one ... see what the Lord has done...). So in my grumpy-ness right now I am going to thank God for my blessings. Starting with my sweet Olivia's baby smile.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Motherhood

Pin It There are several things I don't understand. Why do my children go crazy every time I get on the phone? Why will my daughter sleep through my sons yelling and chaos but wake up every time I put her down? Why does everything seem to happen at once? For example this week I am co-ordinating a funeral lunch for my dear friend Becky's (see picture below) newly deceased father-in-law and while I am on the phone asking a lovely elderly lady in our congregation to donate dainties (did you know cookies, cakes, and squares cut up into small bits are called dainties? I had no idea until I became a pastor's wife) my 4 year old son Aiden started using my 3 year old son Owen for a punching bag, my sons both have Valentine's parties at their respective pre-schools that I am supposed to attend and send snacks and valentine's for the entire class for, my baby has a cold, I have a cold, my usually calm son Owen has turned into a screaming defiant monster, I keep stepping on random pieces of lego and that hurts, my usually helpful mother is working every day this week thus unable to babysit for me, my phone won't stop ringing, my husband is working like a mad-man this week (pastor's are extra busy on funeral weeks), we ran out of food and had to do massive grocery shopping and while I was in the store Owen took off running and I couldn't even begin to catch up (luckily he was scooped up before he did any damage), my house is a complete disaster area, I have at least 12 loads of laundry to do and forgot to buy laundry detergent so it won't get done, and on top of all that I have a headache.

I attend a community run mom's group once a week and the social worker who leads it asked us all how we are taking care of ourselves in order to be better mothers.... all I could do was stare blankly at her the only thought in my mind... "ummm". "Well" I say " I ate some ice cream yesterday and that made me feel a little better until I realized emotional eating won't help me lose this baby weight". But seriously, I figure I am taking fabulous care of myself if I manage to shower once a day, eat some food, get at least a couple hours of sleep each night, and not completely lose it on either my neglected husband or my three precious children.

Many of the moms in the group mentioned going out as something they do for themselves. Personally I hate going out. I find it a tad frightening and way more work than I want to do. Everyone has their own issues, mine happens to be "fear of leaving the house with three kids in tow". Luckily I am a mom who happens to not mind staying home a good portion of the time. I like being in my house. It is safe. I know where my kids are and they can't escape easily. All the stuff I need to look after them is easily accessible. My sons know where the bathroom is and go there unassisted. And plus we have fabulous new furniture and I am really enjoying! This is our first matching set of new furniture we have ever had... it's like a pleasant dream seeing stain-free surfaces! Love it.

Anyway, the point is ... I don't know what my point is. What was I talking about anyway?
 
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