Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Things I Know About Being a Mom

Well, Mother's Day has come and gone, and I never did get my Mother's Day post up. This whole procrastination/depression/anxiety disorder thing is getting annoying. Brain chemicals are tricky things, and they seem to enjoy being sneaky and popping chaos and/or lethargy into your life when you least expect them. I don't want the tricky brain chemicals to win, so I'm going to go ahead and finish my Mother's Day post, just to show them who's boss. That would be me, although if you've been hanging around me lately, you might not believe that.

On the other hand, it's getting late, and this might not be exactly the post I had originally planned. Just sayin'.

So without further ado, welcome to my Mother's Day post.

I'd like to share what I've learned over the years about being a mom. None of this wisdom came from my own brilliance. I've been blessed to know many good moms over the years, especially my own!

Me with my mama and sisters
No one knows what the face I'm making is about. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

10  5 Things I know About Being a Mom.

1. It's not easy, but it's worth it. 

Being a mom is tough. For one thing you never know if you're doing it right, and getting it right matters so very, very much! Also, you know that old saying, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you"? It's true. As a mom, you have to do things you don't want to do, but you know it's what's best for your child. And then there are the nights sitting up with a feverish child worrying yourself sick. None of it's easy. But what a hole there would be in my life if I didn't have those children!

My kids--My car. Thanks.

Anyway, it's necessary to raise the children so you can get some grandkids. Now there's a reward for your hard work!! So, no putting the kids up for adoption when they get difficult. No stopping this car and leaving them by the side of the freeway. I mean, sure you can threaten, but you really just can't do that.

 2. Every child is different, and that's okay.

Just when you get your first child figured out and start to feel like you might be getting this parenting thing down, along comes a whole new person to show you that you still know nothing. So you've got a little girl learning her letters on Sesame Street, and your little boy is too busy climbing to the highest point in the house to care about Big Bird or Grover, and certainly not wimpy little Elmo. Or in your case it may have been a little boy reading books and a girl mixing "scientific formulas" with the cleaning fluids. But how boring would it be to raise the same child more than once? Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and I'm sure it's true.

Alyssa, feet firmly planted on the ground, and Ben ... not so much.

3. A mom's job is to help her children be whoever they already are.

We don't get to turn our children into whoever we want them to be. (I wish I could have convinced my ex-husband of that.) Kids are already someone when they're born. We can't turn an introvert into an extrovert. We can't turn a kid who's interested in science into a poet. Nor should we. All we can do is help them to be the best they can be, whoever they are. As my mom says, "All we can do is civilize them."
The four my mom tried to civilize.

4. We have to teach them to be independent, and that means letting them fall down once in a while.

One of those hard things we have to do is let our kids try things and allow them to fail. It seems like a lot of moms today want to protect their kids from anything remotely dangerous. I remember carving soap with a butter knife when I was very small. Ivory soap was best for that, by the way. When I was six I wanted an Easy Bake Oven. Instead my mom taught me to read a cake mix package and use the big oven! 

Those same moms are the ones doing their children's science fair projects and editing their essays. Kids learn from trying, failing, and figuring out why they failed. You have to let them go, or they'll never learn to fly.

That's my boy, the climber

5. You're their mom, not their friend, but that doesn't mean you can't like each other.

You have to find the balance between being the authority figure and being their pal. There were lots of activities that Alyssa, Ben, and I enjoyed doing together. We had fun, we sang, we played games. And Disneyland! Don't get me started on Disneyland! But when the time came to set and enforce limits, they always knew I was the one in charge.
Alyssa, Ben and BFF Pam

Did they always like that? Of course not! They were kids!  We argued, they got grounded, there were tears and anger. But we all still knew we loved each other. I didn't worry about them "liking" me. When they told me I was mean, I said, "Good. Then I'm doing my job." I think they got tired of hearing that, but it's true.
My kids back in the day

The bottom line is that Alyssa and Ben are close to me today. We still enjoy spending time together, and they know they can come to me when they need to talk. Yes, even though I grounded them!

My babies!

So there you go. Some random number of things I know about being a mom. I actually know other stuff about it, but I think that I've sufficiently whipped the brain chemicals and let them know who's in charge. 

How about you? What are your best "being a mom" tips? What do you wish you had known before you started? What are you still trying to figure out? Leave a comment!
I'm linking up here!   
Amanda’s Books and More


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hillbilly Lawn Ornaments

Today thoughts of spring have made My Hillbilly reflect back on the lovely yards he grew up with. Here he shares some Missouri gardening tips:

It is springtime and people are beginning to do yard work, planting, and decorating their yards.  Being a hillbilly that grew up on a small farm, yard work for me was mostly mowing.  Trimming around a house or flowers was just getting as close to them as I could get with a lawnmower.  Mom did the flower thing and if she made it to where it was hard to mow, flowers “accidentally” got mowed also.  One of the funnier plants she once ordered through the mail and planted had some fancy name but just wound up being what we call buck brush and grew wild all around us.
Buck brush plant
Missouri Buck Brush

But today, I want to talk about hillbilly decorations.

Hillbilly yard decorations vary from the more permanent to the more seasonal.  One I remember seeing quite a lot when I was a boy, was old toilet stools made into planters.  It was always a moving experience.  Just think of the ingenuity to not waste something to which you had such a close relationship. And there might have even been some natural minerals and fertilizer there that did not go to waste.  Just picture some bright orange flowers growing up out of the tank and purple flowers growing up from the stool.  I mean, it just makes your heart sing!  Other planters were made up of coffee cans, old dish pans, etc.  Why let anything go to waste?

Seriously, one of the cuter yard decorations I remember having seen was one my aunt made up.  She got one of my cousin's pair of old tennis shoes (I think they were size 16’s).  She cut a hole in the toe of each one, a couple of other small holes and planted hen and chicks.  It was actually quite cute.  
Not the actual shoes worn by The Hillbilly's actual cousin
Sometimes you saw old wooden wheel farm wagons or real old farm equipment. ---- I guess they were decorations.  It could have been that they had just been set aside, replaced, and not moved.  Then of course, there were the old cars, on or off blocks, engines hanging from the trees, etc.

Other decorations you saw were bull skulls, (I have actually seen large fake human skulls made from concrete), old milk or cream cans, mail boxes with supports made from logging chains welded into some shape.  Mail box supports made from old wheels, etc.  My parent’s box was kind of plain.  It was just an old milk can with a 4x4 post with a box mounted on it.  Years ago, I had one all welded up that poison sumac grew up on.  It was really pretty, but the mail man left me a note saying that if I wanted mail, I would have to remove the sumac.   Mostly, my parents and I were just into functionality.

Speaking of functionality, due to a rash of mail box damage by idiots driving by and bashing mail boxes with bats (probably by them there city folk), a friend of mine got an old round tank, filled it full of concrete, filled pipe with concrete, and made an almost indestructible mail box.  He figured it would almost break someone’s arm if they drove by and hit it with a bat.  Unfortunately, one of his neighbors hit it with a car first.  It flipped the car.  It was one mean mailbox.

Temporary decorations could vary depending upon how hillbilly the hillbilly was.  During good catfishing weather, I have seen yard fence post, (wooden fence post), with every post having a large catfish head decorating them, (mouth pushed over the post).  It was a decoration that made a statement --- look how good of a fisherman I am!  Of course there were the really temporary decorations of deer hanging from the trees or occasionally tied on the hood of the truck, (hillbilly hood ornament).

Cynthia's Note: I found pictures of catfish heads on fence posts. You don't want to see them. You're welcome.

The Ozarks are more modern now and have better decorations, like fake deer.  They have become pretty realistic.  I knew of some road hunters, (against the law), that drove by a yard one evening and saw one of them there decorative deer.  It was a buck with a good set of antlers.  They were wishing it was real.  As they started driving off, the ornament walked off into the woods!

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

By now, I am sure that there are some of you city folk are laughing and making fun of these different hillbilly yard ornaments.  I laugh at them too!  However, I don’t remember a single hillbilly, in my neck of the woods, that had one of them stinking, stupid, plastic, pink flamingos in their yard.  So there!  We were more uptown than you thought!

Pink flamingo lawn ornaments

Well, having said that, I think I will show this California neighborhood how to be tasteful in their yard decorating.  I suspect that after I get started, that very soon, they will all be asking for my advice on what to do with their yards, particularly after I have a good catfishing trip!

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

Sigh. Well, while I go deal with the Homeowners' Association, why don't you all leave some comments about the most interesting and/or unusual yard decorations you've seen.