Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding A New Way

Welcome to the "Carnival of Catholic Parenting" hosted by Maman A Droit! This month's submissions are inspired by Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore since we are surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.
After you read this great post, you're encouraged to check out some of the other contributions to this month's carnival through the links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

“And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (Douay Rheims version-including this version since that is what we use here)

I have read this verse many times in the last few weeks. When I saw it posted as the theme for this first Carnival of Catholic Parenting, I thought it was very fitting for the struggles and things going on currently in my role as a mother.

My great cloud of witnesses is still quite small compared to some other moms I know, but they are still witnesses, as proven by my son many times a day as he repeats an action, or word of mine. As of late I have been reminded of what is important (at least to me!), and how I was falling short, drastically of that. I had totally missed the mark. I am currently working to rid myself of those burdens to become a better mother, to instill in my children, confidence, emotional stability and of course, most important, faith, our beautiful Catholic faith. To run the race, not merely sit and watch it go by wondering how I got left behind.

My burdens are many to me at this time. Lack of patience, using words in a negative way – which hurts my children, lack of consistency in boundaries and discipline, and the worst, my temper. These not only effect my running the race of motherhood, but also, my faith, which in turn, also effects my mothering!

As a parent who strives to be an Attachment Parent and follow the Gentle Discipline model, you can see this presents many hurdles to jump over. For the last three years or more I had not realized that I was using words in such an awful way, in such a cutting way. I didn’t realize that the words I thought were okay, really where not. I also had not known how awful my temper was. I thought I was patient and not quick to anger.

To help me be a better witness and to run the race of motherhood as best as I can, I am mostly working on my temper and my words. It is a daily, if not hourly struggle. I analyze every word that comes out of my mouth, I am forcing myself to think before I speak, to think what effect the words I am going to say will have. Are they dismissive? Insulting? Hurtful? Degrading? Demeaning? Negative? If I find myself starting to just randomly say mean things (on purpose, with the intent of being hurtful/mean/insulting………..which is what I mean about using them in a negative way), I stop myself. I have gotten better at this, and I hope someday, that desire to use words poorly will not be there. Not only will using words in a more positive way help my cloud of witnesses, it will also help my faith. Using words like that is not good for being close to God, it puts a barrier in that relationship. This is also something I hadn’t realized until recently.

Temper is a little harder. I try to catch myself before it gets bad. It is not even conscience at this point. Sometimes I’ll go in my room, sometimes I just stop. I haven’t been as good at this as working on my words (it is also not as often an occurrence). Mostly I want to be consistent in my reactions, boundaries and discipline. I don’t want the kids to not know what’s going to happen, not know if today moms going to yell for the smallest thing, whereas yesterday she didn’t care. I also really feel that my temper harms my faith, I should be practicing patience and not reacting in anger. I don’t remember where I read it, but I have seen it several times said that when we discipline it is not to be in anger. This is part of the reason we have chosen Gentle Discipline as our model for discipline. We both have a temper, Chip’s more controlled than mine. When you take the physical out of your discipline, it is a little harder to be angry while disciplining, at least for us.

It has been a rough month or so, but things seem to be looking up. Writing this out has made me realize that I have actually made improvement, made me feel that I am not a total lost cause! I have a long way to go, but hopefully I can overcome these burdens to be the best mom I can be.

Don't forget to check out these other great Carnival of Catholic Parenting posts:
  • Julie @ Journey to the Simple Life talks about her struggles to be a positive witness through her speech in her post, Finding a New Way

  • Kate @ Momopoly discusses the importance of timing in Maternal Pacing

  • Heidi @ Extraordinary Moms Network reflects on why she turns to the cloud of witnesses in Sweet Mysteries of Life & Faith

  • Cassie @ There's A Pickle in My Life talks about the temptation to let others' choices distract us from our own families in her post, Running the Race

  • Maman A Droit compares the people who help her be a better parent to the people who helped her be a better cross-country runner years ago, in her post, Run Faster!

Friday, June 18, 2010

API June Blog Carnival

This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.

This month’s Carnival focuses on the fourth API (Attachment Parenting International) principle ~ Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally.

My journey towards co-sleeping began years ago, I think it was a 20/20 special about it. I thought it was odd at the time, boy, how my mind has been changed!

When I was pregnant with our first child, I knew I wanted to co-sleep. It just made sense. I was going to breastfeed, and all the people I talked to admitted to how much easier it was to nurse at night if the baby was with you, how much more sleep they got once they just brought the baby to bed. I also couldn’t fathom leaving my very, very small new baby in another room to sleep, it didn’t seem right or natural at all. Plus, the practical side is that we lived in a one bedroom house, with a very small bedroom, no room for a crib. We still have never had a crib, through two children :).

My husband admitted later to thinking I was nuts, but knew we didn’t have the space, and thought he’d just let me do what I wanted. He told me after a few months of this, and how he was convinced it was much better. He was never woken by a crying baby, since I (and the milk!) where right there within a little wiggle. He said that he had watched Paul rooting around at night for milk and how he would just fuss a little and then latch right on. It just seemed like that was how it was suppose to be.

I had planned to let our children sleep with us/me until they were ready. My husband wasn’t convinced of this right away, but he is even more open now to letting them stay than I had been in the beginning. We both feel that if they need us at night, and the comfort they get from being with us, that it’s better for them, and we all get more, restful sleep.

We are so vulnerable when we sleep, it only makes sense that a small child would want to be near/with the people who have protected them all their life. Plus what is better when you have a bad dream? Having someone for comfort right there or having to scream into the dark night and HOPE someone comes? Both my husband and I still have horrid dreams, we could not imagine letting our children go through that alone.

At some point we plan to put a little bed for Paul in our room to see what he thinks. We have asked him, but mostly he gives us this look of ‘why would you do that to me’ and says he wants to cuddle with us :). I am fully confident that when his time comes, he’ll move on to sleeping solo.

Physically, we foster safe sleep by having the bed on the floor. Paul sleeps between us, and Dolores between me and a wall. No worries of falling off. In the winter I make sure they are dressed warmly so there is no need for extra blankets. I also make sure that every one has their own blanket, that way no one is fighting with someone else for one, and when we move throughout the night no one loses covers or gets their head covered. Paul has been fully able to cover and uncover himself for over a year, so he does that throughout the night depending on how warm or cool he is. Dolores is still to little, so I make sure she is covered every time I rouse. It is second nature, and not ever a real disruption of sleep.

I thoroughly enjoy sleeping with my children next to me. There is nothing nicer than crawling into bed next to all the most important people in your life, and the sweet little cuddles and snores are all the better :). Yes, there are nights of endless nursing, but then I remember how much harder those nights would be if I had to actually get out of bed to tend to their needs. I am very thankful for having a supportive husband who fully supports our co-sleeping.

Below is the only picture I have. Dolores is about a week old, Paul about 2 and half.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Following Paul

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


We keep things pretty unscheduled here, so Paul just does what he feels like doing when we are outside. He loves being outside and plays until the bugs come out. Dolores spends her outside time sitting in the shade with me, or in the mei tai. She loves to watch her brother, the dogs and the chickens. Some days we meet a friend at the park and also there is the State Park a few miles away that we go to from time to time. We spend a LOT of time outside once the weather gets warm, partly because Paul likes to dig and also because we don't have A/C so being outside isn't much different than being inside. :) Usually a bit breezier :)

We live in an old trailer park so there are lots of neat things for our son to explore. Usually he is digging, whether it is rocks, dirt or grass clippings. I included a few random photos of a general day outside with Paul (and Dolores, who is mostly along for the ride right now).

Dolores enjoying the shade and giving her cute smile

Getting mulberries with Daddy and Pepper

Showing me one of his mulberries

Running to feed the chickens

Digging in the driveway, always has his excavator and a bobcat type tractor

Making footprints in the mud

More digging, this time with a rake


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Monday, June 07, 2010


So my first entry into a blog carnival is tomorrow. I excited and nervous at the same time. I have a few more carnivals I'm working on for the next few weeks. Very excited at the possibilites this presents :)

Also on a side note, it's been so pleasant the last couple days. Feeling some peace of mind and also on a practical note, we got one more a/c unit, so it'll be nicer inside, at least not humid! :)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A goodbye?

I think it's time for me to say goodbye to NB's. I know, you're thinking "didn't they reject you 8 months ago". Yes, but I have spent everyday pining for them and hoping everytime I check my email that the owner would email saying she changed her mind. Yes, I am that sad and clingy of a person!, I also have a really hard time letting go of things I care deeply about, and people I consider friends. I've toyed with the idea of begging to be let back in, Lord knows I NEED the support. But do I want support of people who don't like or want me? Am I really that pathetic? I really don't know. I know I am at propbably the lowest point ever in my life. I was going to beg the owner in an email to let me back, but realized that maybe I need to grow a backbone. Begging for friends and support is not the way to get lasting friendships or true friends.
So, I sit on the fence, knowing that I really do need to close that chapter, and yet also desperatly needing support. Feeling as a complete failure, especially as a mom even moreso as a gentle discipline mom. I think it was that feeling-failure-that made me think that goodbye was better. Like begging is just reenforcing my weakness, whereas letting go of something that doesn't want me (and hasn't for the most part missed me-the most part being the few I keep in touch with here, on Twitter and Facebook) is somewhat strengthening.
It was great, I miss it dearly, but how long does one mourn the loss of, well, a support network? I still have to decide that I guess.

I can't believe I typed that all out on this itty bitty keyboard! And I am pretty sure it's typo free!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

sweating is overrated

I am done with it.  Add in Dolores who has to be held or nursed all day, who is herself a sauna (super hot and sweaty), and I am miserable.  We have not had the nightly cool down that makes summer mildly bearable for the last few nights (it’s almost midnight and still close to 90 degrees in here).  Each day some thing  more pressing gets in the way of getting a/c.  Heartworms, major car issues, more car issues………………. I have lost my patience in dealing with this and I’m so tired of not being able to do the household things I need to, plus the heat is making me extra tired.  All I can hope for is a little break in the heat, usually when you are totally at your wits end (with either winter or summer) there is a small break.  I am hoping for that and money to fall out of the sky!  Okay done complaining for the evening.  Now to surrender my foolish self into some finding a way to deal with this for 4 more months.