Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shoes? What shoes?

My husband is traveling for his new job and I am alone all week with the boys. I think I have built this week up in my head to be really challenging and hard. So I was feeling pretty good this morning when I got all the kids in the car and off to our church's mom's group on time. I was thrown a little when the place where I usually park had the sidewalk closed so I had to turn toward the church and face a really crowded church parking lot with probably no spaces. To my delight, there was one right on the street next to the parking lot so there would be very little walking to get to the boys' classrooms. We had made it on time, with no screaming on my part and very little from the kids. 

But then my middle son uttered this little sentence, "Mommy, where are my crocs?" 

I had told my now 5 year old big boy to put on his shoes and get in the car and buckle up. He asked if he could wear his crocs to church and I said yes. When I went out to the car, after having to remind his big brother multiple times to get his shoes on and get in the van, there was my 5 year old all buckled and ready to go. He was so proud of himself. So I drive off to church blissfully unaware that he was sitting in his car seat, all buckled up and ready to go, without any shoes. 

So many thoughts flooded my mind as I stood there getting the other boys out of the car all ready to head into the church, drop them off at their classes, and go sit down with my small group. 

Do you think the childcare workers would notice or care if he did not have shoes? They probably would not care but I figured there was some safety issue there and probably a licensing or some other weird rule involved there. 

Do I drive the 20 minutes back home to find the shoes he could not find before he left? If we drive home, will we make it back into the car and back to church. Or will I lose steam and energy and just give up when I get there.

Heck he needs new crocs anyway and I am pretty sure Nordstroms is opening soon and a lot closer. So now my middle son has brand new crocs and his brothers have Nordstroms balloons.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Boys, Boys, Boys

I get a lot of looks when I am out and about with my three boys. I sometimes get comments that go something like this:

Stranger - "Wow are all three of those your boys?" 
Me - "Yes. Aren't I a lucky Mommy."
Stranger - "Must keep you on your toes."
Me - "They are an active bunch but I always wanted three boys."

All of which is true, though I used to be sort of offended when people implied that three boys was harder than having a family with some girls in it. I obviously don't know any different but I really did want to be the mom from the tv show "Home Improvement" with three boys. 

This past week though I am starting to understand all the sympathetic looks and caring comments. As my baby is turning into a little boy and getting bigger and more physical and my oldest is starting that wonderful phase of being too cool for me (he actually wiped my kiss off his cheek at school drop off the other day), I am starting to realize I do live in a zoo. And the monkeys are trying to take over. 

I will do my best to raise respectful, caring, compassionate, hard working young men that will treat their wives well and be really good daddies. But there may be some nose picking, burping contests, noise, wrestling matches and more noise between now and then. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breaking Hearts

So we did decide to move. My husband decided to take a new job with his old company that is very secure and very family friendly. Not the most exciting work but as I know from being a stay at home mom, it is not really about us right now. We can take care of ourselves and find ways to meet our needs, but our highest priority right now is our family and our kids. While I am thrilled with our decision to move back home, to the place where the boys were all born, there was one part of the process that I knew would be really tough. We had to tell Hockey Boy.

Hockey Boy loves his life here. He is in a wonderful kindergarten class with a great teacher and really sweet friends. He loves playing hockey where an NHL team actually practices and has loved being a Green Mini Mite this year. He likes living someplace that has such great weather that he is able to play outside most of the year. We actually all love all these things.

We decided to tell him while we were on vacation at Disneyland. They claim to be the happiest place on earth so maybe the news would be easier to bear. We were in one of the restaurants, actually enjoying a relaxing lunch, when we broke the news of the move. And my son who is usually pretty stoic about these things started crying. He was genuinely heart broken. We were breaking our little boy's heart. We knew that this was the right decision for our whole family, including him, but that did not change the fact that it hurt him. I don't know why it has to be that way but it often is with kid. We give them shots so they don't get really sick later. We send them to school where they might get teased or hurt knowing that they will grow and learn to handle difficult situations.
This was the first time though that I broke my son's heart in a very real way. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turning 5

I am not a big birthday person. I have had to learn to be because I am a Mommy and birthdays are a really big deal to kids. I have learned to wake the boys up with kisses and hugs and lots of enthusiasm. I have learned to plan parties for groups of kids or just our family. I have learned to bake cakes in the shape of a star. I have learned to wait to order your supplies until close to the birthday in case themes change. Five is a big birthday for me though. Five is big boy time for real. Not just what I say to get them to potty train and wear big boy underwear. Five is the birthday before they start kindergarten. Kindergarten is where they start to head off into the world. It all starts at five years old. 

Today, my middle son turned 5. One of the first things he wanted to do was to measure himself. He wanted to see how much bigger he is now that he is five. He tells me that he is "growing in wisdom".  I think he picked this up at preschool. He is right. He has grown in wisdom.  

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Deficit Spending

I was walking home from school drop off the other day with a couple other parents. We got to talking about the high cost of living where we live, one of the reasons my family is moving away. One of the parents told about his families decision to run a deficit so he could stay home with his twins while they were young. He said if the government can run a deficit why can't we. Makes sense to a degree. Governments will run deficits during difficult economic times or when there is a national priority that cannot be funded by current revenue. The hope is that this spending will either help turn the economy around or that the priority will be worth the debt and pay off in greater rewards in the future. For my friend's family this meant that his being home with his kids for the first five years of life was deemed important enough to incur a small amount of debt now.

When we moved to this area we came with a healthy savings account knowing that we would also be running a deficit while we lived here. Tapping our savings was a part of our plan. And it worked. We were able to provide a comfortable home, in a safe neighborhood with excellent schools for our children. But I have recently realized that we also have been running an emotional deficit these last few years. Long hours, stressful work and family situations, life with three small children and no real breaks has taken its toll and pulled all of our emotional reserves from the tanks. Both my husband and I are running on empty. And this is a greater problem than running out of money.

Because when I run on empty, just getting from day to day, any little unexpected interruption becomes overwhelming to me. Last week, my son's school called me to let me know that he had a little temperature and I needed to pick him up. He never gets sick. This is a once in three years of school event. And yet my first reaction was to be a bit annoyed that my one quiet moment of the day was being interrupted by having to wake up the little one and go pick up his brother. I thankfully was able to muster all the appropriate responses. Lots of loving words and mommy care that made my little guy feel better. But it should have been real and not faked for my son's sake.

So running on fumes is not an option for me. And just like personal finance I need to be diligent to not only pay off the debt, but to build up an emergency fund. And the only way to do that is to make the hard choices and do the work to create the space I need in my life.