Smack Dab in the middle

How did we get into the middle of this frosty November?

Ok, well, I *know* that we got here, but wow! Days are just slipping past. When trio were small, people told me that the days are long, but the years are short. As they get older, I feel as though the years and days are short: they rush past, full of school and work and activities and dinners and moments.

I try to catch the moments with trio, treasuring and realizing each time they ask for a hug, or to tuck them in, or we all sit together for dinner, there is one less opportunity for a connection. They grow up. They need me less. They begin to branch out. Their interests evolve outside the house. And, also – I continue to grow. My interests shift outside of their needs. I begin to understand myself more.

My oldest is now a High School-er. I’m striving to let him make mistakes and uncover his own path, but still be present for support and guidance. I’m grateful that he’s able to articulate his needs (needing more space, sometimes, and other times needing defined boundaries) so we can try to remain connected through this new and dramatic phase of growth.

The most glaring shift on the horizon for us is his involvement in an afterschool club. Three times a week, he needs to be at the school for 6 hours (or more) for an astounding total of 18+ hours per week outside of a typical school schedule. He is poised for growth – guidance from other adults, peer relationships, technical skill development, autonomy, personal awareness… I’m so excited for him! Our house routine and systems will shift and change in concert with his needs. On evenings when he’s home, his homework will take precedence over housework/chores and his personal downtime. The other two will need to step up and support him and the house in new ways which will lead to growth and development in them.

It’s going to be amazing!

And it’s going to be hard!

There will be tears, and frustration, and uncertainty.

Change is tough. Growth is necessarily uncomfortable.

As the mama, I have an opportunity to model and practice patience, humour, and mindfulness. No doubt I will also be practicing humility, and forgiveness; and seeking forgiveness from trio as I stumble and strive to figure this all out.

My sense, as I go forward, is to be present. Plan and aim to make tomorrow and next week smooth, but stay in the moments as they come up. I can’t help but be empathetic when I’m present. And I imagine we’ll need LOTS of empathy in the coming weeks!

xo
Mto3

 

 

Advertisements

Summer days!

Aah. Summer! ☉

School days, seemingly chaotic in the moment, are actually idyllic compared to the hot, non-routinized, always bumping into each other summer days. Whoever romanticized the summer hols mustn’t have had children! 

Sure there are isolated moments when kids aren’t fighting, and you have enough money to check off the bucket list of fun-time activities, and day camps are blissfully drama-free … but really? Those are the few moments that are social media snap worthy. 

My days revolve around a mix of device/tv time requests, shouting and frustrated kids, sunburns, too much indoor time, and a million freezies wrappers on every surface of the house. *not even exaggerating. 

Pinterest has some amazing “kids-get-device-time-if-all-these-things-are-done” lists that are so inspiring and so improbable that I just gloss over them when they creep across my feed. 

Until I decided to give it a try. I was tired of redirecting kids (ok, I was already tired of all the *imagined* redirecting) so I crafted up a list, and hung it by our whiteboard/listboard. 

There was a little bit of push back, I’m not gonna lie. My oldest also thought it was ridiculous for me to have a “notes and comments” section. 

It’s been a few days and it’s been so well received! Kids are avoiding devices first thing in the morning. They discuss which jobs will get done. We discuss how this helps the whole family. They play outside together. They share books. 

Let’s hope this continues! We may run out of jobs around the house hahaha!
Just kidding. We totally won’t.

Xo Mto3

Every little thing…

So, this just happened.

20170426_112538

I just wanted to share out loud that this is another repair job in an ongoing list of things that I need to take care of. Door knobs. Wood working school projects (with woefully under-supplied power tools). Dishwasher shelf wheel-thingys. Suctionless vacuums. I am the One responsible.

There are people who do home repairs as a profession, and yet I know I won’t call anyone.

I’m strangely compelled to try and tackle things on my own. There is a cost factor, absolutely. There’s also a stubborn streak, to prove I can do things myself. There’s a learning piece, to expose trio to household repairs. There’s a feminist component wrapped up in here too, that a woman can handle what comes up too.

Plumbing work is brand new to me, so I’m kind of excited and intimidated about this job.

Underpinning all of the above is the sense that we need to be our own cheerleaders. Our own motivators. Our own source of strength. We rely on ourselves first, and then reach out second.

I’ll give this a try, and then if things go horribly wrong, at least I’ll have learned a little something.

Thanks for listening and letting me share this. I feel more capable after saying this out loud.

xo
Mto3

Breaking up is hard to do… especially as a mum

Unexpectedly, during a conversation with my guy, he and I saw unbridgeable gaps in our relationship and so decided to end it. 

Even though my head could hear and understand what he was saying, and even though I had already realized these gaps, my heart has been slower to catch up. As my first “real” relationship after my marriage ended, I knew I had a lot to learn and had a lot of room to grow. He was perfect for me while I was navigating this new path, and I deeply appreciate and cherish him for that. 

But I’m sad, nonetheless. 

After about a week, I realized I wanted to talk to trio about him and I. I finally felt capable of saying the words “we broke up” without throwing up or crying, and didn’t want to wait too long because I anticipated one of them would ask “when did this happen?” and couldn’t handle the deception of either lying to them about it, or letting them know it happened a long time ago. 

So without much preamble, I just baldly stated that we decided to end our relationship. They had questions, and I tried to stay open and honest and respond with age appropriate answers. At one point I teared up a little, and that alarmed my oldest (he was very concerned if I was Ok) and saddened my youngest (she didn’t want me to be sad), and my middle just sort of let it wash over him. 

The perspective my oldest shared was amazing – he recognized that it’s not as devastating as a marriage break up, and that having misalignment is ok because there is the capacity to learn. He kept checking in to make sure I was ok, and asked poignant questions like, if he told me he loved me and wanted to get back together – what would I say? 

I’m glad I waited until I was no longer so cry-y, and I’m glad that throughout our whole relationship trio and I chatted about what was happening in my dating life (to a certain degree!!)

Having kids helped me maintain my rudder during the tumultuous years after my marriage ending, and they continue to ground me and highlight my path as I experience other relationships. 

I feel deeply blessed that I had the experience of this relationship, and for my kiddos who are with me on my journey. The path may be rocky or difficult to discern, but I trust my feet and my heart. And I know that I can’t get lost, maybe especially because I’m a mum.

xo 

…blossoming into adults

In an unexpected (and yet, strangely expected) way, my parenting approach is shifting as my children age. My *philosophy* remains the same: firmly rooted in attachment parenting with a dash of old school/non-helicoptering, but the way it shows up in 3 tween/teens can’t be the same as when they all occupied single-digit ages.

They all have expectations and responsibilities, however there are no chore charts or weekly have-to lists. I’m the team leader, but we all have opportunities to discuss and share what we would like to do on the daily and they know that I have final say. They also know that if I tell them that something needs to be done, then it outranks device-time or leisure activities.

My frequent ‘growing edge’ is to try and remember that, even with their larger bodies, they are still kids mentally and emotionally. I will forget that they might need softer speech or increased understanding/patience from me – because they look so darned capable and mature! And I think that really comes out when they have an emotional reaction that I wasn’t expecting. It’s almost as if I get frustrated when they are upset – I know that it’s not a big deal, so why don’t they? Because they’re still kiddos. Riiiight.

This happened during the dreaded after-school-hour when they want to decompress but I don’t want to spend the hour picking up three sets of shoes, socks, bags, lunch containers, homework, agendas, snack wrappers, plates, cups, and coats. So I insist they have to do *stuff* before they get free time. This always erupts into shouts of who ‘calls’ the xbox or laptop or tv. And one kid is inevitably disappointed and frustrated. It isn’t as though this is the ONLY time tonight that they’ll get their devices, so it makes no sense to me. I snapped at my poor 11yo and I finally asked him “What is WRONG??” and he said that he was fine until my voice started getting so angry sounding. Oh. Ohkay, yah. I get it.

It really helps me to be aware of what my underlying motivations are (I am not a Roomba, constantly collecting and seeking out things to pick up!) and what theirs might be (they want to unplug and chill out – much like me with my knitting) and then we find a balance.

Combined with my self-diagnosed ADHD, and 3 kids, and a shifting workload, I forget things ALL THE TIME. If I say it out loud, I assume it will be completed, and I get pissy when I see bags/shoes/wrappers/homework/underwear (huh?! Where did that come from??) in the front hall because I expect them to tidy it up upon entering. That adds to my frustration because now I either have to tell them again during their declared device-time, or I have to deal with it. Blegh.

The new balance I’m striving to find is that between letting them take responsibility for their own selves and giving them the latitude of caring for our common spaces – both of which have many opportunities for my frustration levels to rise!

I’m sure this will be an ongoing theme. What are your strategies?

xo Mto3

New adventures of an old mum

Being a solo parent means learning how to do *everything* on your own. It means struggling to find your own solid core and how to rely on yourself. I do the BBQing, the lawn mowing, the laundry, the baking. I go investigate scary sounds at night, and comfort puking kiddos at 2:30am. I comfort myself when I’m lonely (thank you Ben and Jerry, and Merlot) and celebrate my own successes (thank you Ben and Jerry, and Merlot). I get to figure out what I like and don’t like. I make choices for me and trio, and all decisions rest on my shoulders. It’s liberating and enjoyable, but it’s also incredibly heavy. There’s no one to blame but me (geez, thanks for nothing Ben and Jerry) and no one with whom to discuss challenging thoughts  or issues. I can’t know if something was successful if it’s beyond my experience or scope until it fails or is wildly positive.

And so I was completely wrapped up in mummy-ing, and caring for trio, and working, and doing things I liked. I was snuggy and happy in my comfort zone. There was no one but me to challenge my edges and question my knowns.

 

holding_hands

Turns out, there’s more in this world. There’s things you can’t learn all by yourself. Sometimes another person is a *must* in order to challenge your edges and broaden your mind.

…and warm your heart.

 

xoMto3

Lazy kidless Saturdays… just baking up doggy treats

Trio are with their dad (read about my intentions here) and for this visit I wrote out some ideas of what I could do while they’re away.

a-weekend-ideas-list.jpg.jpeg
Lofty, to say the least

Well, I have about 30 hours until I’m trio-ed up again and, I’m sure you savvy readers have noticed, there is nothing yet crossed off.

However! I have done other stuff. And I contemplated writing these items on the list, just for the satisfaction of being able to record and remove list items (oh come on, we all do it.) but did not.

One of the things I have done:

This morning Pup-po and I made him some doggy bikkies. I thought of you, and wondered whether you’d like this perfect time-killer to fill up the edges of time in your world when you’re looking to ignore more productive things-you-should-be-doing. It’s easy enough so you think “Oh, that’s a small thing and it will make doggy so happy!” and yet active enough so you’re not ruminating or dwelling or listlessly (ha!) staring at the wall [hm, i’m sure there’s a better joke in there for a better joker. LMK if you see it and can articulate it]

step-2.jpg.jpeg
Easy ingredients, right? If your dog tolerates wheat better than mine, please use that. My lil dude seems to have an sensitivity to it. I swirled up 1/3 cup of rolled oats to become more flour-like.

We need a cup of something – I just used a trifecta of binding agents that I had on hand: 1/3 cup of ground up oats, 1/3 cup of whole oats, 1/3 cup quinoa flour – you can use whatever you like. I wanted to channel my Tasty capabilities, so I used the smaller glass dish and poured that trifecta into said dish.

step-3.jpg.jpeg

Next is some baby food, or that amount of pureed anything. I had peas and bananas on hand, so I figured a peas-and-carrots bikkie might be nice for him. I grated in a 1/3 cup of raw carrot (it was half-a-carrot, but my carrot was kinda small).

step-5.jpg.jpeg

I am a *HUGE* cinnamon lover. Everything gets a dash. I was a little worried how it might taste with the peas and carrots, but then I realized that this is a dog cookie. He’s not going to care! I added cinnamon, but only after I accidentally used nutmeg (a total fail) because I put the nutmeg canister where the cinnamon usually lives. Sigh. I carefully scraped out the nutmeg and sprinkled in about 1/2 teaspoon.

step-6.jpg.jpeg

It came together ok. I let it sit, thinking that the oats could absorb some of the baby food. But it never really got much drier. I probably should have used more flour (but srsly. Quinoa flour is super expensive) but did not use any more, and it’s FINE!

almost-done.jpg.jpeg

I even bought a cute little bone cookie cutter just for him. Bake it in a 350 deg oven (or if yours runs hot like mine, 325, otherwise they get brown and crispy at the edges, and chewy in the centre. Unless you think your friend will like them that way. I feel as though an all-the-way crispy bikkie would be good, and that way I can just leave them in a paper bag on the counter) for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Let me know what combinations you used! I think I might try peanut and banana next.

 

wait-wait-wait.jpg.jpeg

Poor dude just wanted his cookie, and I chased him down saying “Wait! Wait! Sit! ah-ah! Sit!” just for the photo!

He’s such a trooper “D’oh, ok mom. Fine.”