21 January 2009

Keeping a Stay at Home Mom Sane

The majority of the time when I converse with someone on the phone I talk to the boys at the same time.  This type of behavior can be confusing, and drives some people crazy; just ask Ali.  
Talking with someone that I am not familiar with is surprisingly not much different. While it is true that we are in fact strangers it doesn't take long for them to learn that I have 4 rather loud boys, and that I will continue to address the boys during our conversation if the need arises.  Naturally, I receive comments about the ages of the children, and how we manage, and how I stay trim and beautiful (ha), and how tired I must be.   While these are all well and true (I am very tired), these comments seem to all be screaming one thing... "How do you not go insane staying home all day with four boys under 5, and no car!?" 

Today's conversation with a nice lady contained one exception.  While waiting for her slow computer to bring up information (it couldn't be slower than mine), we chatted about all of the normal things: How many children do you have? Genders? etc... But today was different. Near the end of our conversation, Janice (her name, not mine) said that I was incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful family with four boys.  That is not your typical customer service comment! In fact, that isn't even related to going insane.  I know that God sent that comment for me to relish in my family that he has given to me. And even though the nights are long, and the days are longer, there is incredible blessings in what I do. 

Of course, my thoughts did not stop there. Why is it that I don't ask myself how I stay sane?

Raising a family can be mundane tiresome work, but I know that if I can just persevere it will be worth it someday. Most days I fall short of the mark, but I am slowly learning how to balance my list of things that I need to do with things that I want to do, and things that I should do. Why is it that what we should do doesn't always land on the need to do list? Is it because we lack time and energy so something has to go? That doesn't even get us into the list of things that I want to do.  For example, I want my day to be ordered, I want to get my chores done right after breakfast, teach the boys in the morning, and still have time to play outside before lunch. I want to clean up after lunch without the boys destroying what I cleaned in the morning hours. I want to finish reading Tom Sawyer with Eli, and be able to build him a bookshelf for his birthday. I need to do the laundry, dishes, laundry, vacuum, mopping, laundry, and cook dinner, but I really want to order pizza so that I have time to play with Josiah whom is so independent I have to literally drag him away just the two of us to have some time together. I want to go snowshoeing, and teach the boys about Jesus everyday, and not just a few times a week. I want to be diligent in teaching the boys about life, and this world that God has made. I need to teach Eli to read. I need to balance the checkbook, and call customer service reps once in a while. I want to learn how to make a yoyo and other wooden toys.  I need to stack wood; I want to shape wood into something useful.  I want to build another house, but I don't want to build a huge thing that takes me eight hours to clean and no time to do any of my wants on my list. 

Don't you think that if the customer service reps could see my lists they would ask all the more "How do you stay sane?" 

By the grace of God and...

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!!!
No matter what I am doing, I have my camera ready at all times ready to snap the boys doing something funny, or not doing anything at all. I don't know if I could survive without being able to laugh at those moments and capture them to share with Tyler later and laugh again. Sure, I have no car, but I have my camera.  If you know me at all you know that I use two things in my house everyday multiple times a day, and they are (not the sink, and washing machine) my camera and computer. With these I can share my life with others, learn about what happens outside my own doors, and laugh about it. Sure it adds one other thing to my list, but really, I like it and I am not dropping this hobby anytime soon.  


06 January 2009

When You're Smiling...

What is the definition of a happy baby?  I would say that Caleb is the very definition.  For some reason I cannot remember what the overall temperament was for Eli, Siah, and Drew. I look at Caleb and I think that he must be the happiest baby that I have ever seen, but honestly I don't know. I am convinced that it is for this very reason that I keep what is called a baby book for each of my children. I know that through the business of life I will forget the seemingly little and insignificant changes in my children. So I write them down.  

I suppose that I am going to need to go back and read about the other three Smith boys before I can fully determine if Caleb is the happiest. Not that it is important who was the happiest at 2 months. I am just struck with how much we can and will forget in such a short amount of time. I am so very thankful that we have things like books to write memories in and cameras to take photos with so that 20 years down the line I can see and read about the everyday life that I had with my four little boys. 

"Mr. Happy Go Lucky"

Boys are such an incredible blessing.  I do not know what our family would be like if we had a daughter to add to the mix, but I know what it is like with all boys and I wouldn't trade that for the world.  If you would like some insight let me share this story from yesterday: Elijah and I saw some turkeys out back behind our house. This is a completely normal occurrence around here, yet Elijah was just as excited as if this was the first sighting of these ever growing fowl.  He turned to me and said "lets get the gun and shoot one for dinner". Now how many girls do you know would say that? Well, besides me of course.