7 things I learned from raising 7 children

1. Love multiplies

2.Mistakes will be made

3. Spanking doesn’t work

4. Everyone is unique from birth

5. It’s better to minimize toys and “stuff”

6. Pick your battles

7. You have to let them go.

 

Here’s 7 more:

1. Some children bite, and won’t stop til they grow out of it no matter what you do.

2. Some children will do anything to conquer all obstacles

3. Some children are dreamers

4. Some children ask questions about everything

5. Some children are born comedians.

6. Some children are born with heartache.

7. All children are gifted.

image (16)My oldest is 36, my youngest just turned 20. And there are really 5 in between. While they were small, and my life was busy with their needs, I was often overwhelmed. Now that they are all grown, I look back on the years and they flew by. I am very grateful for each one, and for what I learned from having them in my life.

What have you learned from your children?

Normal and happy! (empty nest part 2)

“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

Normal.

It used to be a baby in arms, toddlers clinging to my skirt, school age children’s myriad of activities, and teenagers testing their limits. It used to be that I was not only the nurturer and teacher for my many children, but the referee when squabbles and differences arose, always wanting them to be at peace with each other.

Now – all the children are adults, each with their unique personality and experience shaping who they are, what they believe, and how they live. No longer can I be the referee, forcing them to “kiss and make up” – they are grown, having been loved and nurtured, but also having had painful experiences. Normal now is just trying to keep in contact with each of them, be there for them, and understand that they are responsible for themselves and their relationships with each other.

“Normal” changes with the tides. The person I was yesterday is gone. The circumstances of yesterday are no more. Even the little daily routines I have vary from day to day.

Whatever circumstances I find myself in, I choose happiness.

happiness

“Happiness consists not of having, but of being. It is a warm glow of the heart at peace with itself.”
 ― David O. McKay

Whatever your circumstances are, whatever challenges and changes come your way, know that the place to find peace and happiness is within, not without. Moment by moment, it is easier said than done – so here are a few tips that help me keep my sanity when my thoughts start taking over my brain, and I want to forget to practice what I preach.

1. Meditate, even if it is just for a few minutes a day.

2. Observe your thoughts without judgment, and remind yourself that the past is gone and the future can’t be predicted — so that leaves the now!

3.Realize that life isn’t perfect – whatever that means. There will always be frustrations and failures.

4. If you start to feel down, or disappointed, or if you live with mental illness and life becomes overwhelming, write. Just write whatever comes, for 30 minutes or so. Then don’t read it again, that’s not what its for. Or paint, or draw or dance or wash the dishes. The feelings will pass if you don’t focus on them.

5. Validate yourself. You are beautiful, you are doing a great job, and you are worthy of love!

What do you do to maintain your own peace, happiness, and sanity?

 

Wasting time in the morning on a day off

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

My son is getting married tomorrow.

So I took 3 days off from work to lessen my stress. I am very excited that the other six kids are going to be at the wedding.

I woke up three hours ago and have been goofing around since then with the notion that surely I can find something profound to write about. But without the pressure of time, I found myself doing the following:

1. Playing Words with Friends (currently have 4 games in progress)
2. Catching up on Facebook (can definitely waste alot of time here)
3. Trying to figure out what I can post on my Facebook page to get someone, anyone, to be interested in being a customer or rep, or just want to get the freebie about cosmetic toxins (http://www.sassysorganics.com) (yes, I’d love for you to go there and request the freebie)
4. Read this article http://www.becomingminimalist.com/better-things-than-riches/
5. Took notes on above article, thinking I could use some of the material in a meaningful blog post
6. More Facebook
7. Checked email (mostly promotions and social media notifications) Whatever happened to writing letters to people?
8. Painted my toenails pail blue to coordinate with my mother of the groom attire. Gotta do my fingernails.
9. A little more Facebook. I’m gonna try to ignore it until after the wedding. Right?
10. Wrote this.

So… I don’t really think it’s wasted time. Sometimes, down time is needed. Yesterday I had a mini meltdown, allowed myself some crying and yelling in the car, talked it out with my sweetie, who has a great shoulder to cry on. Today, I feel great, ready for the love -fest of a wedding and family reunion!

Nothing is really wasted, no mistakes are made.

Not really bad, but anytime is a good time for chocolate! I'll take the dark kind.
Not really bad, but anytime is a good time for chocolate! I’ll take the dark kind.

What do you like to “waste time” doing?

 

Empty nest

My youngest daughter moved out today. I thought I was ready – I’ve been mothering for 35 years, and  I am tired of telling people to clean up their room and do the dishes. We’ve been anticipating this day for a long time. But as I stood in the living room early this morning, surrounded by the boxes of her belongings, reality hit and the tears flowed. She’s really leaving. But she’s just a little girl. She’s too young. Even as these thoughts bring more tears, the knowledge that she is ready, and she is strong, helped me to return to sanity.

Carol Anne is the youngest of seven. I didn’t think it would be harder when she left than it was with the others – I’ve shed tears for all of them. There were many days when my nest was so full that I felt completely overwhelmed.  Today, I do feel like a mother bird who has carefully made sure that the eggs would hatch, then faithfully provided for the babies, with their heads thrown back and mouths opened, dependent on me for food.sevenbabybirds

 I watched each baby grow and learn, occasionally venturing to the edge, flapping their wings more and more, until one by one, they flew off, wobbly at first, falling sometimes, gradually gaining confidence and strength.babybirds3

Some are a little resistant.

babybirdfirstfly

Some are fierce no matter what.

babybirdwalking

 

They all eventually conquer the challenge and fly free.

flying-bird

 

I am left alone, but not bereft.  Each one of my babies is forever tucked right under my heart, nurtured in that secret place inside that only a mother knows. No matter where they go, they are always with me, even the most independent of the bunch. I am satisfied that I have done something good by bringing these humans into the world, as messed up as the world can be. I strongly believe that each of them has a God-given purpose – and mine was to nurture these and let them go. I made mistakes, but I have learned not to judge myself – I did the best I could with the awareness I had at the time. They are all amazing and forgiving. My purpose as a Mother never ends.

grandma cartoon

PS. Carol called me to let me know that all is well. She is only 3 hours away, in Nacogdoches, TX to continue her music studies and follow her dreams. And I? I see a beautiful future for me, too, as I follow my own heart.