Monday, April 26, 2010

An ordinary day with a better outcome.... plus a GIVEAWAY.

It's easy to appear perfect here. So white and bright and clean on my blog. I never post pictures of the nastiness (except if it is Bag Balm related). And I never, never yell at my kids. I never say nasty things to them. You think you know me... the perfect me.... but you don't.

This is what today looked like:

  • Good morning world. Fed the baby at 7am. He spit up all over me and the sheets.
  • I put on exercise clothes and made oatmeal for breakfast.
  • I ate my oatmeal while feeding Rem some baby oatmeal with peach puree. Yum.
  • Cleaned off the table while amazing husband loaded the dishwasher and started it.
  • Picked-up the garbage around the house and found 15 dirty diapers sitting in the hallway where the garage can is supposed to be.
  • Wondered where the garage can went.
  • Said goodbye to my husband and sent the girls upstairs to get dressed, make their beds, and clean their room and put Rem in bed for a morning nap.
  • Started the Shred DVD and began a very intense workout.
  • Was interrupted by the girls coming down, one very smelly and one very unhappy with the smelly one. The girls started exercising with me, running through my legs during lunges and sitting on me when I did sit-ups. I endured the stench from Mandy's poopy diaper, then she decided to change her own dirty diaper and I paused the DVD to intervene.
  • While I dealt with that mess, I wiped out the sink and cleaned the toilet because they were on my list for today from the motivated moms checklist.
  • Rem was crying in his crib after hearing all the ruckus from dirty diaper #1 and I found that he had a dirty diaper too. Changed it making 2 for the morning.
  • Tried to pick up the living room floor so I could vacuum and realized I forgot to give Rem his bottle. Sat down to feed him.
  • Heard screaming from upstairs, "Mandy is cleaning the toilet and licking her hands!" I put the baby back in bed and ran upstairs to find not too bad of a mess, but plenty of germs ingested by Mandy. Gross.
  • I encouraged the bed making, dressing, and room cleaning while I wiped out the sink and cleaned the toilet, changed the hand towel, and replenished the TP stash in the upstairs bathroom.
  • Came back downstairs with a basket full of pink dirty clothes and vacuumed the living room, throwing everything from the floor onto the chair and couches. Another task to cross off my list.
  • Ran to the basement and started a load of laundry and brought up 3 loads of clean and dry clothes to be folded. Added them to the couch to be folded later.
  • Smelled something icky and realized it was me. Thought about taking a shower.
  • Told Mandy to go to the potty and she did it. Amazing. Yay for dry underwear!
  • Let the girls choose a Christian movie to watch on YouTube. They chose Adventures In Odessey. 
  • I changed the sheets on the bed in my room where Rem puked on them and then stretched out on the comfy bed to take in some of God's Word. I read in Micah and then prayed for patience, endurance, and joy. Reminded me of an old cartoon called Anamaniacs: Pinky would ask Brain, "What are we going to do today Brain?" He would answer, "Same thing we do every day Pinky. Try and take over the world." That's my life. Every day: try to take over the world with patience, endurance, and joy. I also prayed for focus of thought as I banished the Anamaniacs and tried to pray again.
  • Started another 10 minute continuation of movie for the girls and once again thought about a shower. The dishwasher was still running AND the washing machine. The combination would have been horrible, so instead I called my sister to see if she had done the Shred and more importantly to gloat that I had. While chatting, I swept the floor in the dining room, kitchen, and entryway.
  • Another 10 minutes gone. The girls then watched a really strange, but Biblically accurate portrayal of Adam and Eve and I ran to take a shower. Hot/cold, hot/cold, hot/cold. Love water fluctuation in old houses! I was in and out and dressed in 5 minutes, face moisturized, and moose in my hair, hoping for the best.
  • I found a wall in the hall covered in blue ink. I called for Mandy and she claimed she drew me a pretty picture. I got out the soft scrub and she scrubbed (to no avail). 
  • I realized I was almost done with my extra chores for today and quickly did the last thing on the list, clean out the freezer. I got sloppy joes out for lunch.
  • Moving on, I encouraged the girls to help me fold three loads of laundry by paying them with one piece of candy when they were finished. Both helped and folded with beautiful attitudes. 
  • UNTIL we were done and I asked Mandy to go use the potty. She threw a royal fit, screaming, and throwing herself around. I left her alone to work out her frustrations until I heard, "Stupid mommy. Stupid." At that point she was made to change locations to the time-out chair where she encountered some "picy" on her tongue and other discipline. She also lost all chances of a candy prize.
  • We then attempted school. Emma got out her book and reviewed the last letter while I talked with Mandy. She wanted to play Play-doh and I said sure, as soon as you go use the potty. She obediently walked into the bathroom and went with no complaint and dry underwear. Strange child.
  • Rem woke up from his nap and had a poopy diaper. Changed #3 for the day.
  • Rem played on the floor, Mandy played with Doh, and repeated everything I said while I talked with Emma about "C" "O" and "Q." Such similar looking letters, but are oh, so different.
  • Almost time for lunch, I put carrots in the oven to roast with seasoning salt, salt, and pepper. 
  • Made the girls set the table.
  • Was thankful for hard to break Corel dishes.
  • Nursed the baby who was far more interested in the dish breaking attempts in the dining room.
  • Got a call from my husband saying he would be late for lunch.
  • Smelled something gross and realized it was Mandy in her nice, clean (formerly) underwear. Changed #4 for the day.
  • The baby cried for more food.
  • Finally sat everyone down for lunch. Sloppy joes and carrots for us, oatmeal and apple sauce for the baby.
And here I sit, the house quiet with all three napping. My list isn't all that impressive, although I was a tad more motivated than usual. Moms have a constant "to-do" that look like this. Finish one thing, just to realize there is more to be done somewhere else. It is a relentless job.

I really reached a low this last Fall. The relentless, all consuming push of motherhood had taken the best of me and I was beaten. Although I had a new baby, it wasn't post-partum depression. I was void of joy. It was a bad attitude leaving me irritated with life 24/7. One morning in particular I woke up with dread like any other morning. My loving husband kissed me and tried to snuggle as I tried to hovel deeper under the covers, "What do you have going on today," He pleasantly asked. And I snapped back, "The same horrible day I always have. The children will make messes and be naughty, the house will be a filthy mess. I DON'T WANT THIS DAY!" And he was sorry for asking and happy he got to go to work.


On that morning, I finally grumped out of bed at the last possible moment and turned on the computer. A friend posted on Facebook that Dobson had a great podcast to listen to called, "Real Help for Angry Moms." I knew I needed to listen to it. I put a movie on for the girls and found the podcast on and listened while I cleaned a really yucky kitchen. I cried all the way through both episodes. The speaker, Julie Ann Barnhill talked about the frustrations of motherhood. Yes, they are normal. Yes, it's hard. And here is how to get through it without the anger. Without the stress and irritation that robs all the joy from the process.

I immediately ordered her book, "She's Gonna Blow, real help for moms dealing with anger." When it arrived in the mail a few days later, I devoured the contents. For so long I had known that I had a problem with anger, even reached out to a few other moms asking how they dealt with it, but received no real help. This book gave me real help.  Julie Ann defines the anger moms feel and then shows how to overcome it and change. Along the way, she gives concrete ideas based on Scripture. The book was just what I needed.

All this happened in early December and the road to change has come very, very hard for me. There are 40,000 things a day that are irritating. If you made it through my to-do list for today, you saw that I didn't finish my work-out, I had to change 4 gross poops (one being in underwear), found ink pen on my wall, was called "stupid" by a child, taught school, potty trained a 2 year old, and had a husband who was late for a meal I prepared. All of those things are reasons for me to simmer, be irritated and snappy and/or explode. But I didn't. By the grace of God and his ever sufficient grace, I am gaining ground and changing. I found joy and pleasure with my children like I've only heard about on blogs. My God is so good.

I know I'm not alone, but it is not an easy thing to talk about. Although I don't expect lots of comments saying, "I totally understand," I hope to lure you in with the promise of a free book. So, I'm giving away a "She's Gonna Blow," book to one lucky mom who is ready to read it. Enter to win by leaving a comment and I will randomly draw a winner on Thursday, April 29th. My only condition is that you are willing to read the book and that you think you might learn something. If your greatest life's stress is whether you should pick your toenails or watch Oprah today, then you need not apply.

Have a joy filled day,



Our Family Blog said...

Oddly enough, your day is entertaining ;)

Sounds like a worth while reading, for sure. (hey and good for you for even putting on work out clothes and attempting the work out. :P)

Andrea said...

i'm going to be honest and say that i totally DO understand!!! and thank you for writing this post - God works in amazing ways, and i really needed to read this today. thank you!

Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs said...

I need to read the book! Just sayin'...

Shawna said...

It cracked me up that all the food and poop talk didn't gross me out...guess I really am in the Mom club huh? I think I heard Tawny say "Grossness" at least four times!

I remember you sharing the podcast with me either via your blog or email and I remember crying when I listened to it. I was struggling with anger as well and it really was helpful. I guess I missed the book part, I will look into it. I too struggle with being irritated and frustrated and angry and I only have ONE kid! I beat myself up with being angry about THAT too!

I want Madison to learn to express her own anger and not hold it in, but not hit/scream/bite me. I struggle with knowing how to teach her how to express hers and know that she is learning this based on MY own expressions. The better I do, the better she will do.

I just loved the detail of this post, the honesty and humility in which it was shared and the fact that you TRY to get in time for yourself to SHRED and take in His Word in addition to all that you do!

Season said...

Alysun, your humbleness amazes and encourages me. Your honesty is blessing so many, you'll probably not know how much until you get to heaven. It's interesting, I was just talking about you today and this very topic. I've encountered 3 moms including myself lately that would benefit from that bible study you were talking about. This is a subject that needs to be out in the open. People in life can be so hurtful and cruel so we hide our struggles. Thank you so much for sharing from the bottom of my heart. You are awesome.

joyq said...

Great post- Really, I mean this from the bottom of my heart- You are a rockstar. Stay at home Mamas that don't "blow" are a gift to the little pumpkins God gave them and a HUGE (often missing) part of our communities.

I regret so much of the first two years of my parenting. I really do. I am a different Mother (and woman) because of the same gracious intervention of Love. Love wins. Loving parenting wins. Love love love:)

thanks for the reminder that seeking hard the way of love is WORTH it! Lots of love to YOU!

Amanda said...

Your honesty is so refreshing. It's always good to hear that I'm not the only mom who struggles with the things you've listed. Thanks for sharing! I've heard of this book and have wanted to read it for sometime.

Heather Davis said...

Alysun I appreciate your openness and honesty. It's refreshing. God is dealing with me and my husband on this subject. He has brought us both so far. I am at a point of being so overwhelmed with where he's brought us. I am not a stay at home mom and often wonder if I could even do it. Needless to say there is nothing more irritating than to have the teacher tell you what an angel your child is and to have him come home and falll all out for the few remaining hours you have to spend with him. All that to say. Yeah for a good God. Yeah for moms who want to change. Yea for parents showing their children how to be. And yea for being able to enjoy our children. Blessings to you as you continue to grow into the mommy God desires you to be.

Carissa said...

I really enjoy your blog! It is so timely that you post this. I feel like my heart has just hardened over the last year. Working, having to leave Landon, trying to be a good wife and keep a (somewhat) clean house, it has all been just too much!

It is really nice to know that "experienced" moms have issues just like me! I would love to read the book. Also are you going to go to the Beth Moore thing at church? I want to but it is so hard to leave Landon for one of my two days off. BUT I know I need to Love more, I feel like my heart has hardened lately...

Well there is my blog for the day! I would LOVE this book!


Grace said...

I totally needed that this morning! I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning to face my "always hungry, always poopy, always messing up everything I accomplish" crowd. Thanks for the encouragement! I would love the book! Off to kiss my babes once again!

Dan & Hillary said...

What happened that afternoon? I'm very impressed with your list:-) I thought I was busy with two kids until I saw the new Oprah episode last week with OctoMom. Ya, I can't complain!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so real, Alysun. I remember those angry days with young children & how I regret the way I reacted then. Thankful for a loving, forgiving God. I wish that book would have been available for me 20-30 yrs ago but so glad you 21st century mommies get such good, Godly help with books like this.

Those little ones do grow up....& now I enjoy my adult children so much. It's so worth all the hard work & effort & prayers!
Aunt Dianne

Sara said...

I remember you posting about this subject before, and at that time I even went to the website to try to find the podcast but for whatever reason I never could. This book sounds great and I definitely want to read it (I even looked it up on Amazon before I finished your post and saw you're giving a copy away! =). I knew that I would have to be careful handling my anger as a parent and I tried so hard with Abby and actually did very well. But, as pride goes before the fall, once the second child entered the scene things kind of fell apart. I'm ashamed how quickly I can get irritated and worked up now - it was sooo much easier with just one baby! And now that Ben's personality is really showing itself, he is proving to have a bent towards anger so I know that I need to work even harder at controlling mine so that I can be a godly example for him. I think that being a godly example is the hardest but most important aspect of being a parent. Thanks for being real, Alysun.

Kari said...

Sounds like a welcome addition to my journey on this motherhood deal! Angry grumpy mommy show up around here way too often!!! More joy please! :)

Jayne Domes said...

I think I need to read that book most days (esp. during naptime when naps aren't happening very quickly)

Sherri said...

I am so moved. Didn't respond at first because the book comes way too late for me- I am so glad you are getting a handle on this so much sooner than I did. It really is a daily thing-getting God's perspective moment by moment- (you forgot something in that list somewhere- " calmed my mother after her close encounter with a mouse")(I found him again today, or his cousin -in a trash can)
Daily prayers for you and your sis-for wisdom and joy in raising your precious ones.

Stacy said...

Did you read my journal today? I also remembered your posts about those focus podcasts and listened to them, got so much encouragement from church, then January ended and slowly I've been responding with the opposite of love, grace and gentleness. Thanks for sharing about the poop, pen, crying, discipline, attempted workouts and everything else.

"let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

Anonymous said...

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
"We all want a testimony, but we'd rather skip the test that gives us one. We all want a product. But we'd rather skip the process." Mary heart in a Martha world
Thanks for being humbly honest and for sharing your struggle and Christ's grace in your life. Jenni B

Linds and Manda said...

Well, I'm not entering to win because, thanks to you I already have it and am just getting ready to open it up and start devouring. I wanted to work my way through a couple other books first but I really could have used it since you gave it to me. I'm so proud of you Al. We talked about this in February and I do know how you feel. Way to work hard to be the mom and wife that God wants you be. You are an example to me. love you.

Melissa Holmquist said...

hi alysun, i recently found your blog and have enjoyed following it. i was more friends with your sister as we were the same age, but i do remember you from growing up. i want to thank you for being open and honest about your anger problem. i too have struggled with it. after reading these posts, i quickly ordered the book, "she's gonna blow" and have been devouring it. thank you, i feel like i am on the road to being a better mom. not being so uptight all the time has given me time to do some things that are great outlets, like writing. i wrote this poem and would like to share it here with you.

I Would Have
By Melissa Holmquist

I would have been there on 9/11 to save more lives but my life ended tragically before theirs.

I would have been there in Haiti to save children from being crushed to death in falling debris, but I was crushed to death first.

I would have been there in the flooding and mudslides in Rio to save the elderly who couldn’t help themselves, but I couldn’t even help myself.

I would have been there in the Ivory Coast to help the innocent flee the violence, but I was an innocent victim of violence first.

I would have been there in Tuscon to shield unsuspecting bystanders from spraying bullets, but I was murdered first, unsuspectingly.

I would have been there to comfort the grandmother of the drive by shooting victim, but I was left comfortless to die.

I would have been there to help that second grader learn to read but I was never given the opportunity to learn to read myself.

I would have been there to make snow angels with my little girls, but I never grew up to be a mother.

I would have been there to cheer on my son’s championship football game, but no one asked me if I wanted to grow up to be a father.

I would have made my mother proud. If she had only chosen life instead of death for me.

We are the silent screaming voices of the unborn whose lives were ended. Without our consent.

No one stood trial for our deaths.

No one lovingly placed our bodies in a satin lined casket.

We were found in a mutilated heap in a back alley dumpster.

No one cared.

If you are reading this, thank God that your mother chose life for you.

Choose life. It matters.