Tuesday, May 16, 2017

13 Mothers Day Revelations!

13 Mother's Days later...

Motherhood is a complex thing.  In honor of the occasion here are 13 things I've learned about myself as a mother.

  1. Organization comes by necessity.  I'm usually organized when I absolutely need to be.  The rest of the time it's hit or miss!  I mean...you have to build a tower before it can crumble, right?
  2.  I actually enjoy food that has been properly cooled.  Who knew that the flavors were so enhanced at 73.4 degrees?  I also enjoy eating in a standing position...like at the counter while everyone else is eating...let's consider it a way to burn calories.
  3. While we're on a food note,  I never knew how much I enjoyed cooking in the comfort of my own home until I had a 3 year old boy... Those dinners with the family aren't near as enjoyable when we're sitting in the car waiting for the others to finish!
  4. My brain needs quiet.  No radio, No talking, No bickering, No TV...just the glorious golden buzzing of my brain cells.  
  5. Despite my best efforts, I can only be patient and understanding for a short time.  Sorry kids...Mom can't deal.
  6. As my kids are getting older I have realized that it is actually possible to be in 2 places at once...
  7. If I feel like other people around us are judging my kids behavior, I end up being too hard on them.  Not because I care what other people think of me as a parent but because I care about what people think of my kids.  Its a bit hypocritical because I hope they grow up to love themselves just the way they are, quirks and all!!  **slaps hand**  Note to Self:  Let kids be kids.
  8. I have a voice that no one hears...  People ignore me.  Kids ignore me.  Husband ignores me.  It's probably a good thing I didn't finish my degree and become a teacher...
  9. I have total "Mom Envy" of the women who keep a clean and clutter-free house and have their laundry caught up all the time. How do people keep a counter free of papers and mail and 12 pairs of dirty shoes from piling up at the door?  Or keep dirty laundry in cute little hampers?  My dirty laundry is in a cute little thing I like to call an ENTIRE BATHROOM FULL!  
  10. In some eyes (those judge-y ones) I probably spoil my kids.  And you know what...I hope I can do that forever.  There are plenty of things they go without.  Life is going to deprive them of plenty.  If I want to pull my hair out when they are being stubborn and ridiculous and obnoxious and then buy them an ice cream cone anyway, I'm going to do it.  Go judge your own life.
  11.  I need to include myself in pictures.  This is a work in progress, a painful work in progress.  Luckily this is the age of selfies, so the Brown Kids will at least know what 30-ish year old Mom looked like 50 years from now.
  12. No one is going to know what I truly need them to help me with unless I actually say it.  Right, Husband?  It has been a long process but despite my frustrations at times, I have realized that I truly can't be upset about doing things on my own if I haven't asked someone to help me with the load.  The kids aren't going to know what tasks I need them to complete first and the Dad won't know when or where to go if I don't actually speak out loud.  You have no idea how much this has helped my peace of mind!
  13. Last but not least, I have learned that childbirth is actually the least painful part of motherhood.  And also the least rewarding.   Who knew that this daily evolving process as we watch our children's successes and failures, pushing them one step further than we went ourselves, expecting miracles and being just as proud of average, loving their quirks and bad habits and surprises, could be both at the same time?  I may curl up in the fetal position some day and cry because life is so overwhelming but I stand here today welcoming the challenge.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May and stealth donkeys...Its a struggle

I surely can't be the only one who struggles in the month of May...?

...Other than Tyson that is...

On occasion we have a neighborhood donkey that shows up uninvited.  It's really not that he is so menacing but more that he is a nuisance in an overly friendly, very loud and overbearing, super annoying kind of way.  He usually comes at night...but he makes a great alarm clock when he comes early in the morning.  The other night at 10 pm as Myles walked in the front door from fire meeting, I hear the unmistakable scream of a donkey from the back of the house.  I have never been so thankful for the light of a full moon, it was so helpful to actually be able to the see the body of a donkey hurtling through the yard in stealth mode towards me.  He was so excited to be there with cattle for company that he ran Raspberry right through the pasture fence into a section that has no hot wire.

(This is Raspberry FYI)
(And Ebba, the Matriarch...who ain't got no time for this schtuff...)

  Of course...it wasn't pleasant when Raspberry went through the fence the first time so no amount of coaxing or food was going to bring her back through!  Finally, we called Emma (thank goodness for cell phones) and had to have her get dressed and come outside to lead Ebba in circles around her and back through the fence.  That STILL didn't convince her so we literally had to take the fence completely down, roll it up and have Ebba stand in the gap until Raspberry finally freaked and ran through like her tail was on fire!

 All the while, I'm standing there getting covered in slobber and cow crap from the chow hounds that wanted to be in on the action and the donkey has woken up all the sleeping children.  They are wondering around the house and hollering out the windows looking for us.  I think they were feeling a bit like Boxcar Children for a moment or two.

So basically...this is May in a nutshell for me...

I feel like I'm on my game two times a year, once at the beginning of school.  The routine is structured, lunches are packed and the days are planned.  Then by winter, it gets crazy.  School is half over all of a sudden, all those school holidays are thrown in there and suddenly it is Christmas.  The other time is after Christmas break when we have started the year fresh.  Everyone gets to bed on time again and I spend way more time inside doing stuff I should be doing.  Like dishes.

The struggle is real.

But May...Its a struggle!  The days are getting longer and there is, of course, always something to do.  It is so hard to come in and get everyone ready for bed when it is still daylight.  Never fails, If the kids take a bath before dark...Tyson wakes up in the morning with dirt on his nose...or chocolate...or pizza...  The kids stay up later and no one gets to bed on time.  We end up waking up late more times than not, and backpacks and lunches get forgotten until the last minute on a regular basis. There are field trips and camps and 4H projects to work on.  Supper gets simpler and eaten later, laundry (not that it is EVER caught up) piles up.

And me...I'm just over here dodging stealth donkeys in the moonlight and praying that I can keep it together until school is out.

Monday, April 24, 2017

These Brown kids...what I wasn't.

When I was a kid I had it pretty good.  We had a few dogs through the years, a deer or two to raise, a few rooms to clean...that was pretty much it.  And truth be told...Mom's "clean" and ours were pretty different so sometimes we got out of the cleaning too!  There was no 4H or FFA,  just a commitment to whatever sport we had decided to play that season.    We ran the woods,  swam in creeks and ponds, rollerbladed down the streets in town when we were able.  Mom would honk the horn when we needed to come back to the house, mud in our braces and sand in our clothes.  I'm sure she was mumbling not-so-sweet nothings under her breath as we hosed ourselves off to be clean enough to come in and shower.  It was a pretty epic existence for a kid.

These Brown kids of mine can run an IPad, figure out where to go on the Internet and take a selfie adorned with ears, virtual makeup or accessories. They would happily immerse themselves in Nickelodeon if given the opportunity. I've had to run them outside many a time.  So I guess you could say they're normal on most levels.

But tonight as I sat watching my oldest finish up at Volleyball,  I couldn't help but wonder how different the life she lives is compared to the girls at her side.  Now...I truly have no idea what they did tonight or this weekend but I know what I was doing 20 years ago and I'm guessing it wasn't what Emma did.

6am wake-up calls, chores before the bus comes.  There is NO such thing as morning cartoons!  Water to be checked and animals to be fed.  Some kids are doing hair and makeup while mine run in to wash their hair again because that d*** chicken insisted on roosting right above the doorway and had perfectly imperfect timing.   I wonder how many kids use perfume and cologne to smell good instead of disguising the telltale barn smells?  Even worse, how many have to change clothes because they got too close to the backend of a startled heifer?  Yes...the mornings are fun.  Emma told me once in awe that "There are kids in town who don't get up until 7:45!"  What was normal to me as a kid is a novel concept to my own.  Occasionally I see their outfit on the way out the door and realize that I am most definitely not raising "town kids".

I'm guessing no one else on that team rides the bus home to get the evening chores done before practice.   How many are dragging their feet because they helped dad build fence before it was time to leave?  Or crawled in the straw and "dirt" because they found a litter of kittens under a feed trough.  I may be wrong though.  There may be another kid who was pecked and followed all the way to the front door by a passel of overly friendly turkeys...

And the weekends?  20 years ago I counted down to the 10am mornings and afternoons in a pond.  My poor kids have animals that can't feed themselves.  We count down to a full day to complete projects!  Some kids are riding hover things...my girls are driving the tractor and the side by side, dumping manure, setting up new pens and fetching countless items for whichever adult claimed their help at that moment.   They may end the day just as dirty as I was as a kid and I may or may not be the one uttering not-so-silent not-so-sweet nothings but the Brown kids work way harder than I ever did.

There are two things that I will never claim to be an expert at: Raising kids and raising critters.  I know there are some who would scoff at the idea of calling this place a "true farm".  The only thing settled about this place is probably going to be a still photograph.  But on occasion (usually about 9pm on a Saturday when the kids are washing the grime away) I feel like I know exactly what I'm doing.  To prove it, I researched the definition of farmer.  I was going to share it with you but the part about making income didn't sound familiar so let me give you one from the Urban Dictionary...

They are farm kids, irregardless of acreage and livestock numbers that they DON'T have.  Yes...my kids are different.   Different than the girls on the volleyball team,  different than the kids from tumbling.  Different than the "town kids" And most importantly...different than me.

And wonderful.  They are wonderful too.

Friday, April 21, 2017

My Itty Bitty is 9 years old.

Cassidy Mae Mitchell Brown

Sometimes the qualities that make a kid tough to parent can be the traits that will take them the farthest.  There is no doubt in my mind that Cassidy Mae Mitchell Brown will be exactly who she wants to be in life...and I LOVE that!       

She is stubborn and strong-willed and loyal to those that she loves the most.

She knows exactly what and how she likes things.  She is tough and she is not willing to give up the things that are important to her!  

     She may frustrate me to no end.  She may have to be told a million times to do something she doesn't want to do. But I truly believe that in 15 years, she is going to be able to look back and say, "I am exactly the person I wanted to be when I grew up!"  

When she was born and they laid all 8lbs of her on my chest my first reaction was "She's so tiny!" The entire 9 1/2 months I had been expecting this giant baby.  

She has been a big present in a little package ever since that day!

We love you, Itty Bitty Boog!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mommin' ain't easy...But being nice doesn't have to be hard.

There are times that I walk outside, breath in the smell of cow manure and freshly turned dirt, turn my face to the sun and let my heart and lungs expand a bit and ignore the flies buzzing and dust from the dirt roads...that is Rural America

And then...

There are times that you unintentionally walk into a stinking pile of judgment and unasked for opinions, hide life's dirty laundry and put your game face on ...that is parenting in the social media era.

These two moments have their similarities.   Mostly the manure part...

As a habit I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt so I'm going to start out saying this.  This is our own fault.  Somewhere along the way, we started asking for advice.  We opened the door for opinions.  Social media is not all bad, I promise.  Life gives us limitations on friendship, some geographical,  some logistical and some just by life's situations.  Social media blows past these barriers, creates bonds from similar causes,  brings strangers together in awesome twists of fate and helps socially awkward introverts who struggle with communicating around all of life's demands...whoever that is...  So all of these things are awesome.

But even before judgement can be passed with the click of a mouse, one standard is and always has been acceptable....It is always ok to think before you speak/click/type.  Anonymity and a computer screen has created bluster where maybe a simple smile and nod would have sufficed.  If nothing else...I almost always think first. To a fault.  Sometimes I need to let it eat. But back to the issue at hand....

No one truly thinks they're doing it all right.  Some people breastfeed,  some bottle feed  and some of us throw hot dogs on the highchair (cut into choke proof pieces and heated properly...what kind of person do you think I am...)  There are helicopter parents and free range parents and some who just try to get from one day to the next.  All of us are going on instinct and gathered information from someone else who thinks they have the answers.  And yes, its ok to ask for advice.  Its ok to give advice when asked for it.  But most importantly,  its ok to think first and offer a smile instead...

So turn your face to the sun.  Ignore the flies buzzing.  Step around the stinking piles.

Because Lord knows...theres enough s*** to deal with as parents...literally.

Friday, March 31, 2017

My Emma

Emma June
This kid
This girl of mine
She walks with grace
And each fall she takes
She grows
She is a sight
This journey makes me see
A world of possibilities.
Her way
Her strengths evolve
Weakness in her storms
Light the path she blazes forth
My baby
My own heart walking
She becomes my hope and faith
And I grow with each step along her way

I hate to be "that" cliche parent, but I'm going to do it...I'm going to brag.

Emma June, all 9lb 2 oz of spunk and cheer that has become one of my greatest gifts.  It's hard to believe that it has been 13 years since she made me a mom!  I really don't know how I ever did life without her.  It amazes me to look back and see how much she has grown up in such a short amount of time!

I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed by the fact that she helps me DAILY or if I should just be thankful and proud!  She grumbles and mumbles sometimes, but she always does what is asked.  She sometimes mopes around when it comes time to do a job but not only does she work, she works hard!  She has moments when her mouth runs away with her but she always apologizes and admits she shouldn't have said those things.

She is kind.
She is caring and compassionate.
She is smart.
She is dedicated to her cause.
She is beautiful!

Seriously...my kid is awesome...

I have a tremendous amount of pride in the adult that she is becoming and I LOVE the kid that she is!


And if you've read this far, you know...she's still not too big to sit on my lap! ☺☺☺

Happy 13th Birthday Emma, you are one of the best parts of life!