Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

Tag Archives: Motherhood

We’ve had bad run of luck here with animals. But before I can tell you about it, I have to tell you about the transformation that’s been happening since we moved to our house two years ago.

We acquired our dog first, nothing unusual about that. Here he is (and yes, despite the scarf and painful cuteness, he is male):

Don't I look sassy?

Don’t I look sassy?

And then this past spring we got chickens.

Two of our chickens prancing around the coop.

Two of our chickens prancing around the coop.

The chickens did well and after a few months we started to get eggs from them each day. We settled into a good pattern.

Then somehow my husband talked me into getting a kitten. It was going to stay in the garage and be an outside cat. We kept her out of the house (except when she snuck in), but I didn’t manage to keep her out of my stupid heart. I don’t even like cats! But she was irresistible. She ended up being fun all the way around for everyone; she had a great personality. The kids loved and hated the way she attacked their feet when they went out into the mudroom for their coats or backpacks. Even when she tripped us on the way out the door, it was because of love.

It was all going so well.

Two weeks ago, our kitty met an untimely demise in our garage. She darted across the garage as my husband slowly entered, and she misjudged her own speed and agility. Her death was quick, for which I was grateful.

When it happened and we realized there was no saving her, it was a study in child development to watch how my kids reacted. After about five minutes, my first grader and preschooler  asked when we could get a new cat. They wanted to pet her and say goodbye, but it was more of a scientific observation. “Here is a dead cat” type of thing. However, my third grade son retreated to his room, where he asked if he could watch a video or read his book. His eyes were watery and he was upset.

I felt the same way. I wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened, and my first reaction was to find something that could distract me from being sad. I’m a happy gal usually, and feeling sadness is…well, a bummer. I noticed again that when dealing with a difficult situation, my gut reaction is to retreat.

When my son felt the sadness of loss, I didn’t want him to have to feel those emotions. I wanted to cheer him up (and myself too). However, rather than ignore or dull the experience, I took a different approach.

When children feel pain, it is important to assure them it isn’t the final thing they will feel.

Feelings can be scary and overwhelming. Parents can help them walk through the intensity.

Here are a couple suggestions:

  1. If you can, try to keep your own emotions somewhat in check. It can be scary for a child to see his parent openly distraught. Sharing some tears is healthy; asking your child to bear your grief is not.
  2. Assure your child that it is okay to feel sad, that it a strong feeling, much the same as anger (which my son and I have talked about in the past).
  3. Kids don’t need to hide from their feelings even though they were kindof overwhelming. The feeling “sad” is not a permanent emotion, and “happy” will return.
  4. I told my son it was good to be sad because he had loved the kitty and when pets we love die, we feel sad and will miss them.

We got through it. We aren’t getting another cat, even though my first grader seems to have one picked out in his mind. In another blog post, I plan to talk about the difference between the way we handle life and death with animals that we have for food production versus pets.

Was this helpful to you? I sure hope so. How do you deal with strong emotions and life lessons with your kids? I’d love to hear about it. But in parting, I’ll leave you with a photo of our kitten (almost cat) climbing up on our windshield:

Fuzzy pic but still cute

Fuzzy pic but still cute

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Kids House - 155/365

We can be so dismissive. Here we go around all day trying to build up our families, build up our children, and yet we often describe our own role as one of little value.

“I’m just a mom.”

“I just stay at home with the kids.”

Why all the “justs” in these statements?

We are important. We help keep things together. We are what makes it possible for the family to sit down to dinner together, to not get yelled at for making personal calls during work hours, to go to bed before midnight since some of the tedious jobs required have been taken care of.  We are important.

It is 100% fine if mothers want to work outside the home. They are just as important to their families and no less mother-y. And it is 100% fine if mothers want to stay home and not leave for a job. Lord knows there’s enough to do around the house just to keep things under control, kids in school or not. There is nothing “less than” about being a mom. Until people have done it, they can’t really understand how all-consuming it is, how much work it really is, and how wonderfully rewarding it can be. Family Portrait

Let’s agree that not everyone can stay at home with their kids. Some would if they had the choice but the economy of their family make-up dictates they produce an income. Some don’t because they have a desire to engage in their field of study or expertise. Admit it, you know there are some people who would go nuts if they stayed home with the kids. It’s just not the way they are wired.

We as women have an important choice – we can criticize one another or we can acknowledge that there are days when those of us who stay home wish we had a job to go to; staying home can be hard. There’s no reason for us to tear each other down. Women who came before us worked hard to see that we have the right to hold jobs and get equal(ish) pay for that work. And now we have the right to choose to stay home, even if it is only for a season.

Many times we think there is a commentary being made by someone who has not made the same choice we have. But what we don’t consider is that the reverse is true as well. Maybe we can all agree to think the best about one another, that we are doing the best we can for our families and for ourselves.

 

 

 


The title of this post has connotations that can be misinterpreted. I’m currently coming down from a trip to Michigan to see my almost-niece get married, not from some wild weekend rave (do they still have those?) with bubbles and glowsticks. The bride is the daughter of one of my dearest friends, one of those special people who are too close to be called a friend any more; she qualifies as family.

The cool thing is that I travelled out there with another cross-over friend/family and her young son. He did great, the conversation was deep, there was laughter, tears, and often the two quickly followed each other. There was a celebration of friendship, faith, love and redemption. It was wonderful.

The reality of coming home is at once overwhelming and endearing, and if we’re being honest, a tiny bit of a bummer. I mean, where’s the adrenaline? Where are the high emotions and significant life moments? I’m home with three young kids and while there are definitely moments of high emotions, most of the time they ain’t that significant. They’re more emotional “I stubbed my piggy toe!” and “He won’t let me have that toy!” moments.

And the dishwasher stinks.

And sand in my bed.

And dog poop in the yard.

And a sick child who has to go to urgent care.

It takes me a couple days to reacclimate and shake off the starchy, pop magazine, sugar-induced fog from the airport and hotel room. It goes without saying that I miss my husband and kids when I’m away. A good friend liked to say to her kids, “If I don’t ever go away from you, I can’t miss you.” A little break is a good thing, even if the re-entry give you a minor case of whiplash. It is good to be reminded as a mom that the family can carry on without you. But it is nice to know that they notice when you’re gone, or maybe that you can tell when you’ve been gone.

Moms of the world, don’t underestimate your value. It takes a lot to keep a household running. See it as a good thing that things are a disaster when you return — this is the tidal wave you hold at bay every day. We matter, and it is nice to have our absence noticed…even if it is only noticed by us.  🙂



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