You will survive this...unless you have a "Vivian".
Hi all. In light of all this crazy going on with "the rona" I just felt it would be a bit insensitive to continue my trip report about our latest cruise. Not to mention, as a travel agent, I know first hand just how many heartbroken families are out there with canceled cruises and vacations that they've been planning and looking forward to for quite some time so I'm not about to brag about our recent vacation.
Instead, I figured I would share an event in our lives that happened exactly one year ago today. It feels especially fitting to share this story when so many families around the country who are finding themselves suddenly thrust into the homeschooling world because of closed schools.
As most of you know, we homeschool. Most that I speak with, upon hearing that I homeschool, follow up with the comment of, "I don't know how you do it". Well, you're all about to find out real quick. *Spoiler Alert* You're not gonna ever feel like you know how you do it, but it's all going to come together fine...messy and chaotic, but fine. There will be days when you are going to want to lock them, or maybe yourself, in a closet until your spouse comes home as backup and then there's going to be days where it's a complete joy. Actually, I take that back. I should say, there will be days where you find MOMENTS of complete joy, but you better believe every day you'll be counting down the seconds until your spouse comes in like your favorite WWF Tag Team Champion of the world.
Here's the thing. Yes, I decided to homeschool but... Teaching does not come natural to me. PATIENCE does NOT come natural to me. Hearing "kid noises" all day and being okay with it does not come natural to me. In fact, most days I feel like there aren't any great qualities for being a homeschool mom that come natural to me, but thankfully I have incredible parents who have helped show me and teach me HOW to be the best mom I can be for my kids, while also cutting myself a break, because we're all human. A perfect example of this was a year ago today. A lot of you will remember this day, but like anything else shared on social media, you only saw one side of the story. When I shared this video originally, some of the most popular comments on social media were compliments about what a good mom I was and how calm I handled it. Listen, I'm no superhuman mom with all these extra traits that some moms just don't have and that's why I can homeschool or that's why I handled this extremely tough situation so "well".
The truth is, I struggle and mess up just as much as the next mom. So in a time where I know there are a lot of parents anxious about having to suddenly homeschool their children or just have them home for a month, I give you this story in it's full raw detail to encourage you that you CAN do this, you will have bad moments, but you'll also have such special memorable moments with your kids that you will one day look back on with such fondness. I promise, one day you're gonna cherish even the toughest of days and if all else fails, this is only temporary. The schools will reopen. Again, I don't want to miscommunicate. I have not arrived. This post is as much for me as it is for you. We all have to remind ourselves of this daily as parents. So here is OUR reminder to hopefully get us through tomorrow. Then one of you are being tagged in for Tuesday's encouragement for us struggling parents. A year ago today I was home alone with the kids. Matt was working in Jersey and then after work, meeting up with friends so that meant I had the kids all on my own from sunup to sundown. Usually, I can handle days like this but when it's on a Friday, sometimes I find myself totally maxed out on "kid noises" and being touched. Like seriously. Am I the only one with kids who seem to need to be literally touching them at all times? It drives me absolutely crazy some days and this was one of those days for me. I had made it to mid-afternoon and I was pretty much at my limit for the day. Matt is usually home from work by 4:30-5pm most days which helps because usually by 3pm I start to unravel, so by 4:30pm I'm usually running on fumes. Since Matt was not going to be home until after the kids were in bed and I could feel myself already coming unglued I sent the kids to "go play". Have you ever been there? I had a nearly 3 year old and 4 year old at home and I was so desperate for peace I just sent them to "go play" not even caring WHAT they were doing, just please do it away from me and my eardrums. Vivian was, of course, not happy with my request of "go play" so I promised her if she went up to her room and started to play with her Barbies that I'd be up in a little bit and I'd continue to play Barbies with her. She was very excited with this promise so off she went. Benjamin, on the other hand, happily went to play on his own. To be honest, I can't even remember what he was doing or where he was but knowing him, he was probably unloading the dishwasher, throwing in a load of laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, washing some windows, and then resting in his bed teaching himself to read. I am not even joking. The kid is an angel. God knew I'd need an angel first born since God was also one step ahead and knew Vivian was coming on her way into my life... like a bull in a china shop.
Once the kids were off playing on their own I was finally able to sit in peace finishing up whatever work I was so desperately needing to finish. I work from home for our church and it being a Friday I was most likely on my computer racing to try and get something needed for the weekend finished. After only about 10 minutes or so I finished up my work and headed upstairs for a quick session of Barbies. Those 10 minutes of peace would end up totally not being worth it and I'd pay dearly for them. Rather than tell you what I found once I got to Vivian, I'll show you. And for those who remember this video, you'll be pleased to know that this is the unseen, FULL video, not the shortened one I shared on Facebook.
There's so much to unpack here. First: I am NOT super mom. So many friends and family originally commented about what a great mom I was because I was so calm, etc. Listen, I am not one of those people who likes to just share the good on social media, leaving out the bad, portraying my life as the perfect little life. You better believe, when I turned the corner and saw her I lost it. I was so mad I literally could feel my blood pressure pounding right smack dab in the middle of my forehead. Proof of that is I happened to snap this picture of her after my initial reaction.
That right there is the look of fear and terror. She knew she was dead, because mama was losing it. Oh, man I was upset. Thankfully, in the seconds of me seeing this disaster, and in the midst of my rage, I thought of my parents and their wise counsel. So thankfully for everyone's sake I gave MYSELF a timeout to calm down before I dealt with her. In my own personal timeout in my bedroom I thought of all the laughs I personally have had watching other people's videos of their little terrorists' mass destruction so I thought of how much one day, definitely not any time soon, but ONE DAY, I would laugh about this moment and how much better it'd be to have it on video. That's really what calmed me down enough to respond in a better way. I mean, if I'm being honest, this was all my fault. I got myself too busy and too frustrated to use good judgment to not send an almost three year old upstairs, ALONE, to play... especially since that nearly three year old was Vivian.
Second: YES she used an entire bottle of windex on herself and the carpet. Third: Yes, it all came out of the carpet!! Here is where I am going to brag. My dad owned a carpet company before he was in the ministry so I was raised in the carpet world. At a very young age we learned two things in our home, actually three. 1. how to clean up a stain, "BLOT DON'T RUB! COLD WATER!" 2. we hate berber carpet 3."Red dye is the worst dye to get out of carpet" therefore our childhood was deprived of Hawaiian Punch. Fourth: Yes, she's adorable, but you don't have to live with her!! Fifth: Matt never had to deal with any of this mess and I will resent him 'til I die. In fact, if he goes first I'll probably put on his gravestone, "Loving Husband, Wonderful Father, Never had to clean up Vivians mess". Yeah, this isn't the first catastrophe like this with Vivian... that Matt missed out on. (I'm not bitter or anything.) I hope in the coming weeks, if you find yourself in a situation as frustrating as this one that you'll be encouraged that you're normal and we're all going through it. No one is perfect no matter how much it appears and every one of us have our daily struggles... most of you don't have a Vivian though so, you'll survive. And if you do have a Vivian, Godspeed.