Love and Sacrifice

As a mother, I am doing what I can to instill proper values on my children. I do my darnedest to make sure they are always showing respect, mannerly, honest and always, always full of love and compassion for those around them. With toddlers, it’s more just getting them familiar with how the rest of their life under my authority will go.

As any mother or father would, I want to see my children succeed. I never want to see them struggle, but I want them to know what it’s like. I want them to know that in order to get what they want, they have to work  and work hard for all their desires. And by working they can achieve anything. I don’t want them to feel privileged or entitled. Not that they ever could since we don’t have much and surely don’t come from a family of riches but if they ever seen the day that they established a lavish lifestyle for themselves, I want them to remember their roots and how they got to be where they soon will stand.

Being someone who has grown up in a life of struggle, from a young age living with my parents to trying to find our own place in life as adults, I’ve learned that these endeavors are exactly what I need to stay grounded and humble.

When I was younger, I thought the world was unfair and in many cases it seemed to be. My family, with my stay-at-home mom and stepdad who worked hard at all his jobs, could still hardly afford food. The bills didn’t stop coming just because we were broke and that left us with no choice but to accept food benefits, however we never abused them as there are many who do today. My brothers and I weren’t able to sign up for the sports we wished to play and going out to eat was never an option. It felt unfair that I couldn’t have a normal life. I couldn’t go to the mall buy all the “fancy” new clothes that all the cool kids were wearing. Going out with friends was rare as we never had enough money for me to spend. It was all unfair. I never understood how others seemed to have it so easy and could always afford nice things.

It wasn’t until my first job as a gas station clerk that I truly understood what being an adult is all about. It may not have been the most strenuous of occupations and most definitely not a permanent career choice, but it opened my eyes to many things. I put in many hours, taking any overtime I could get. I helped maintain a friendly atmosphere and bonded with all of my regular customers. Loved each of them like family and still continue friendships with them outside of Shell. I helped manage the appearance of the store and cleaned undesirable things that would make you gag at the sight of, among other responsibilities of the job.

Working at Shell taught me punctuality, responsibility, initiative and how to be a team player. Then came motherhood. While I was still working up until the birth of my second child, I still had to balance a work life with parenting. That in itself was a struggle. I had to learn sacrifice. I sacrificed my precious and valuable time with my girls that I can never get back, all to ensure they had what they needed and we could afford our own roof over our head. Even with both, my husband and I working, we still couldn’t afford a middle class life. We thought we were well on our way up to being “comfortable” since my husband had a new job that he loved and was quickly climbing the ladder earning raises until one day something unfortunate happened and he lost his job. All after I had already quit mine to take care of my girls while he worked.

At times, I still felt moments of resentment toward the rest of the world but I didn’t let it get to me. I had to learn that things happen, even to the best of people. I learned to live with it and instead of wallowing in the unfairness of life. I learned to make it better in the best ways I could- from baking and selling my own baked goods, painting and selling my paintings to doing photography all on the side. When I started doing that and no longer passed blame on others, I felt myself drifting into a happier, less bitter Samantha. A self that I could live with. One that pushed me to want to do better because I have little eyes staring up at me and watching my every move. All things you want for yourself become meaningless to what you want for your children.

My girls were my inspiration to finally stop with procrastination and get my butt in college. Even if I don’t get far with my newly acquired degree, at least they got to see me succeed. They got to watch me spend many late nights doing homework, sacrificing our playtime. They watched me come in the door super tired from putting in a long day in the kitchens, going straight to work at home to try and keep the house up and then back to cooking so that they and my husband have full bellies. As hard as it gets, I try to keep in mind that my sacrifices and all of my husbands will be well worth it all the in the future.

I try so hard to be a good role model for them in hopes they will never see me fail and if they do, I want them to see me getting back up and pushing forward no matter how great my obstacle. For me, that means never letting them see me break down and cry. For me, that means keeping my head up and for me, that means always being strong- if not for myself, then for them.

If we ever want our children to succeed we need to show them the way. We have to show them love and kindness. My days of parenting are nowhere near finished and I still have lots to learn. I know that I will make plenty of mistakes along the way but in those mistakes I will learn at what I need to do to be a better mom and role model. I can only hope that as they are observing my actions, that they too will learn as I did as a kid.

“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”- Ann Landers

 

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Ol’Glorious Naptime

Who’s ready to pull their hair out? This girl! Terrible twos have struck in my house and I’ve been dealing with a double dose of attitude for about three years now. I don’t even know why it’s called terrible twos. It should be more like -Terrible One and forever. Both of my girls, who are two and four, contracted it when they started walking and I don’t think they ever got over it. Just my luck. The sad thing is, I thought I didn’t have to deal with attitude problems until the girls hit their bratty, teenage years. Boy was I wrong. Don’t even get me started on the potty training.

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See the sass??

I blame all of my parenting endeavors on my mother. You know that thing your momma used to say that we thought she was insane for even bring up? You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all heard it, “I hope your kids turn out 10 times worse than you!”

Sound familiar? Yea. I heard it a thousand times but I never once thought I would ever see the day where I actually sympathize with her. I’ve been foredoomed (Thanks Mom!)!  The Hell we must have put her through must have been enough to send her over the edge to make say such mean words.

“Get that out of your mouth!”; “Don’t kick the dog!”; “Pick up your toys!” “Eat your-Halynn, DO NOT THRO- Dang it!”. I swear I feel like a broken record as much as I have to repeat myself in this house. Can anyone else relate? Surely I’m not the only one who deals with this craziness.

My favorite part of the day used to be nap time, ol’glorious naptime. Let me tell you a little about the most wonderful part of my day. I’ll start by saying- it wasn’t for me. I would be lucky if my body let me fall asleep at a decent bedtime, let alone take a nap. It’s the only time in my day that I was able to catch up on much needed “me” time.

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Crappy Ipad image but look how sweet she is when she naps!

Like any mother who waits patiently for their kids heads to hit the pillow, those 30 or 40 minutes I had to myself allowed me to breathe and catch my thoughts. I was able to finally wash those dishes that have been in the sink for three days or to restart the wet laundry that’s been sitting for who knows how long. I loved taking advantage of the free time given to reassess myself before hitting a new level of “Crazy Mom Status”.

When the girls would wake, all of us in our good moods, we would do fun things together whether it was watching a movie, coloring, reading or baking. Those are the things I looked forward to after each nap. Little did I know those days were short lived. The naps ceased and there went my sweet, temporary sanity.

A child without a nap is just blasphemy. When my children skip their naps it means ear splitting tantrums and breaking up sibling rivalry. It means listening to Peppa Pig’s stupid snort on repeat ( I despise that cartoon) or Adele’s Hello blaring in the background. It means cleaning the fourth cup of spilled juice that day. No naps for me, means hearing your name 50 times in a two minute time span, answering, and hearing your name some more for the same exact question you just answered. It means floor stomping, couch jumping mouthy kids who refuse to eat anything with any nutritional value unless they find it on the floor from last night’s dinner.

Days like these, I welcome bedtime. I long for those moments when you hear the last big thud from the bedroom after the girls have finally worn themselves down from jumping on their beds. I await the silence that fills the house and the chance to finally sit down with my husband and talk about the boring highlights of being an adult. When my husband and I can actually sit down, our hardest decisions are no longer “should we let her eat that?” or “You can either take on bath-time or Crappy Diaper duty and I’ll get the other”. It’s now, “are you feeling Bates Motel or Dexter?” and “Water or wine?” (Decisions. Decisions.)

I love my kids and I would do anything in the world for them but I have GOT to have my quiet time, too. We mothers (and fathers) do so much for our youngin’s that we deserve that every now and then, right?  I gave birth to them. I’ve wiped snotty noses with my pretty, new shirts because I didn’t have anything else on hand. I’ve been pooped on, peed on, spit on and even colored on. I am a pro at speaking the the language of Toddler- chink shoes (thank you), cutchies (covers), and  pihtah bihtah (peanut butter) on a shoon (spoon). No monster is too big and no boo-boo too small for Momma to tackle.

So when your kids realize how important naps are to you and make the day more interesting by refusing to take them, how do in the world do we handle these situations? My answer? Lots of patience! And I mean LOTS of patience (and plenty of coffee, if you’re into that).

Since nap-time is no longer an option (unless for some crazy minute my kids are lullaby-ed  by songs on Pooh and happen to fall over asleep) I’ve learned to take these things with a grain of salt and to sit back and just let it be. They are only young once and as crazy as today may seem, tomorrow is not promised and one day these little ladies will no longer need me.It will be the other way around, me needing them. For my ladies, I put my sanity aside to be the best parent I can be.

Whether I am ‘Strict Momma’ or ‘Cool Momma’, they can guarantee I will be what they need at that given moment (until they understand what it means to abide by the rules My husband and I have set up, they are getting pretty familiar with Strict Momma 😉 ).

-Side note… The movie, Home, gives me the feels!

Are you a parent who can relate? I know I’m not the only one! I’d love to hear some of your stories.

Naptime