Back on the Wagon… Again

My name is Sarah Russell.  I am a yell-aholic.  I have been yell-free for eight days.

So here we are.  Day Eight.  Many, many events have taken place in the past month or so.  Mainly summer vacation hit me like a ton of bricks.  The first couple weeks were quite euphoric.  I was craving the lax of no school, no obligations, no pressure… Until that’s just what I got.  Sure, the relaxed nature of our days is easier in some ways but I am not sure the pros have outweighed the cons because something happens when you don’t have to answer to school, sports practices, preschool pick-up and bus schedules: You get lazy.  And I am not just talking about lazy like Oh I’m just going to lay around— no, no.  Lazy like, I’m going to take a little break from parenting.  Lazy like, I’m going to ignore the bickering for just a little bit too long.  Lazy like, I’m going to say sure to that (store bought) cookie because you can get it for yourself and I don’t have to get up from Pinteresting to cut you up a goddamn piece of fruit.  You want to watch TV for an extra hour?  Sure.  You want to play video games past the 20 minute limit?  Go for it.  Your brother kicked you because you– oh nevermind.  Get another cookie.

And as I am sure you can imagine, the cart plummeted off the cliff at the intersection of lazy parenting and children gone wild.  Ugh.  Something had to change.  I was unhappy.  I felt like shit.  The summer was passing us by and I was like an indifferent, stinky high school student on summer vacation.  And then it hit me.  This isn’t my summer vacation.  It’s theirs.   What was my problem?  I was so looking forward to slacking off and then I realized I was wasting their vacation by being self-absorbed and lame.  Mama Fail.

So we went on a trip and spent a week at the ocean.  It was amazing.  On our last day, we had a very stressful travel itinerary and I knew that to keep us from living in a constant state of chaos while one humiliating meltdown blends into another, it was gong to take everything I had in me– which was not a whole hell of a lot considering the steady BAC I was able to maintain for six straight days (impressive, I know).  The night before, I panicked and fell back on the No Yell Challenge.  It was the only tool in my cloudy, liquor-saturated box.  I needed the No Yell Challenge.  And I needed to get Husband on board.  We needed to work as a team- not as ring leaders of t this dysfunctional circus we had operated for  the last couple months.

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Despite the whining, crying and annoying complaining of the next 24 hours, I managed to remain in control.  I did not lose my temper.  And when I was close, Husband became quite adept at identifying the bulging vein in my forehead and stepped in as needed.  We even high-fived each other.  Twice.  As I sat, crammed in between a sweet child and a fat, crabby Canadian (both snoring with drool hanging from their lips), I realized that I can do this.  And I owe it to these amazing little humans I brought into this world to be better.  Better at playing with them.  Better at listening to them.  Better at  guiding them.  

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So here we are.  Day Eight.  I’m doing it.  I have not yelled.  I have taken deep breaths.  I work so hard every day to be patient, kind and attentive.  It’s tough, I won’t lie.  But I feel so much better at the end of the day.  Instead of the guilt-stricken recap, I wrack my mind thinking of little things I can do to make them smile the next day.  And then I do them.   I have left tasks unfinished to read to them.  I have forgone errands to take them to the beach.  I have put my phone down to play with them.  Relishing the feelings which swell as they grab for my hand, turn to smile at me or as I catch them pretending.  This is their summer vacation.  My summer vacation is over.  Or maybe it’s just now beginning.

Peace, Mamas.

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A New Kind of Honor…

New to blogging as I am, one of the best parts along my journey thus far has been the wonderful Mamas I have had the privilege to connect to, laugh with and draw strength from.  I firmly believe that Mamahood is better when you are surrounded by Mamas.  One blogger I have come to admire and follow is Leslie Hunter.  Her blog, It Takes a Village, is completely in tune with my philosophy on the importance of connectedness in parenting.  This month, she has bestowed a great honor on me: I have been featured in her blog!  That’s right, I’m Mrs. July!  Check it out right here.

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Peace, Mamas.

Whoppers

Mama: What happened to your legs?

Zook: Fell me.  (Little man speaks in Yoda-ish format most of the time.)

Mama: How did those marks get all over your legs?

Zook: Boo-boos.  Fell me.

Mama (Yoda Decoder):   Those are boo-boos from when you fell?

Zook: Yeah…

Mama: It looks like pen to me…

Zook: Yeah…

Mama: Did you drawn on your legs with pen?

Zook: Um… Fell me.  On pen me.

Mama: You fell on the pen and that’s how it got on your legs?

Zook (Beaming Yoda): Yup!

Okay, 1. I need some kind of a trophy for mastery of this new language and 2. We need to have a chat about fibbing… As soon as I stop giggling.

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Peace, Mamas.

Mama’s Little Helper

My littlest dude loves to help his Mama.  With. Everything.  While I adore the way he looks up at me with those big innocent eyes, Help Mama!  Help you?  Pease?  Seriously how can I say no to that.  So we pull up a stool.  And he helps.  Whether it’s cooking, weeding the garden or putting away silverware from the dishwasher.  Including him in the process makes it take about twice as long (if I am lucky), tests my patience, forces me to take deep breaths and slow down.  But since when are exercising patience, deep breathing and taking my time bad things…?

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We move through life so quickly and barely take the chance to appreciate the interactions we have with our kids.  It was quite apparent to me when we sat down for dinner one night and began our evening ritual of sharing the favorite events of the day.  We got to Zook, who usually makes something up to feel like he’s contributing although at two and a half, he’s barely able to sift through the day’s events to find a favorite- or so I thought.  Zook, what was your favorite part of the day?  Cook Mama.  Cook [with] Mama.  It was my most tedious and frustrating task of the day.  The part of my day that caused the most amount of frustration because I had to slow down, take my time and breathe.  Sounds pretty ridiculous now, huh?  Yup.  Really, so much about life can be learned from retrospect.

I am reminded of a previous post where I talked about Committing to No and realized I really need to go back to that.  I need to breathe.  This high strung Mama needs to relax a bit because her kiddos are becoming high strung offspring.  Breathe Mama.  Soak in the moments.

I love my little helper.

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Peace, Mamas.