"Where I went wrong was assuming that, if my children ever faced a bully, it would be obvious. I figured they would immediately be able to spot a bully because that person would be overtly mean and threatening; they'd act in a way that was completely contrary to how my children have been taught to behave.
"What I didn't anticipate or prepare myself and my children for was what to do when the bully is your best friend."
"This is one of those hard but good things we are tasked with as grownups. I hate having hard conversations, but they are so necessary. My biggest hope through all of it is that when I am honest and respectful with another parent, they will be honest and respectful with me."
When my oldest daughter entered middle school, her social life exploded.
My oldest daughter is 12 and my youngest son is 2. Their ages, along with the three other kids in between, have made this summer an interesting study on the differences between toddlers and tweens.
"Somewhere along the way, these children of mine stopped thinking they need me. In reality, they need me for every single thing. They’re elementary and middle school kids with active social lives, demanding sports schedules and the inability to drive — making me a 'Mama in the Middle.'"
"They’ve been in school for 10 months. They’ve had regular space from each other and me, and days with friends. They’ve tasted independence and been subjugated to structure from strict, organized teachers. So the second that authority disappears, they decide they’re the ones that should fill the vacancy."
"The goal isn’t staying busy just to stay busy; it’s to bond with each other and get the most out of these favorite months of ours. I want to make memories with my children that will last their entire lives. Our hope is that our fun, simple bucket list really will make this the best summer ever."
Having been on both the giving and receiving end of mom shame, I’m heartbroken for the rest of my peers as we struggle through this difficult journey of motherhood. Not only do we have to navigate our children’s demands and struggles, but also what other moms think of us.
Wrong or right, white-lying to our children for their benefit is a regular mom right of passage. One day, they’ll become parents of their own, and either pass along these gems of mine or come up with new ones of their very own.
My four school-aged kids had a Throwback Day this week to get them hyped up for their biggest fundraising event of the year. The idea was to celebrate all the decades since the school was founded.
"All five of them have moments of pure comfort and excitement as they find out new things about our new house and neighborhood — only to crash into the pits of despair as their little brains try to catch up to the big life change."
Thursdays are my absolute favorite day of the week. Not because it’s so close to the weekend — although that’s a bonus — and not because it has any special significance.
A few Sundays ago, my pastor introduced something he called "The $100 Dollar Challenge." He asked the congregation if anyone would like $100 dollars.
It’s never a good idea to take all five kids to Costco with me. But sometimes I don’t have a choice.
"Having older siblings seems to grow up babies so much faster. They’re exposed to more words, older TV shows and activities that my first few toddlers didn’t see or hear until kindergarten," wrote Omaha mom Rachel Higginson. "Saxon, my latest 2-year-old, learned to count to three by hearing it as a daily threat. He even uses his fingers and plants his other hand on his hip like he means business. The songs he sings are the ones we listen to in the car that everyone can sing along to, not the sweet lullabies his older siblings learned first."
"As I write out my New Year's resolutions and decide which area I need to work on in my professional, personal and spiritual life, I’m going to include parenting to the list. How can I be a better mom to my kids? How can I engage with them more and listen to them better? What strategies can I apply to curb my impatience before it gets the better of me? How can I make school mornings smoother to avoid the sharpness of my tongue?"
"Their sharp heartbreak made me nervous for this coming Christmas. Would it be ruined for them? Would they give up feeling the warmth of the season and the special magic that hangs in the air no matter how old you are? I was so worried about how they might be disappointed, I forgot to look for reasons Christmas would get better for them. Instead of wallowing in grief and lost imagination, they’ve crossed over into how fun it can be to make Christmas special for someone else."
"Middle school has been a daunting milestone waiting for me on the horizon ever since my first daughter was born. Helpful strangers have passed along the advice to enjoy them while they’re little because eventually I won’t be able to stand them. Even friends have warmly offered warnings that brought about fear and trembling. So for the past 12 years, I’ve dreaded these middle school days. I’ve fretted over and prayed about them.
"And finally, we've entered them."
'Tis the season for sickness — sniffles, sore throats and hacking coughs that raise eyebrows when we go out in public.
"A friend recently asked how we manage it all with our already-busy lives, and I told her the truth — we say no a lot. Meaning, we fight to keep things simple, turn down invitations and only go to one extended family function a day. It might seem backwards to be antisocial during the happiest time of the year, but we disagree. Rushing from event to event does not necessarily mean a good time is guaranteed. In fact, with this many kids, we know it’s highly unlikely."
I’m constantly amazed at how different each of my kids are; how unique and special and weird they are. They like different things. They hate different things. They want different things. And no matter how many of them I have, I am continually surprised at the variety of personalities that come with each of them.
"Our situation isn’t perfect and, honestly, it’s stressful, completely chaotic and overwhelming. I seem to always be racing deadlines until the very last second. And often my house is flipped upside down, and laundry — clean and dirty — is forgotten. My kids complain I work too much and my work complains I don’t devote nearly enough hours to growing my business. My life is messy; blending work and home together in a slurry of chaos. And yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have loved staying home with my children."
My oldest daughter has reached the age where she can babysit for us! Has there ever been a more glorious moment in a parent’s parenthood?
"One of the hardest things about parenting is trying not to laugh through serious conversations. This was one of those moments I had to fight for composure so I could get my point across."
"I will never forget those images or the horror of that day. I remember the silence as we walked the hallways and sat through our classes, which were only continued coverage of what had happened. I sat closely with my friends, huddled in groups as we processed a terrorist attack on our own land, in our own country. It’s a weight I’ve carried with me ever since, and a story I hope my children listen to and learn from."
"There were moments when we questioned our decision to let her go. We worried over whether it was too much for her and if we’d exposed her to the reality of this world too quickly. But now that time has passed, we’ve seen how the tragedy has matured her, how grief has made her grateful for her health and her life, and how much more she treasures her family and friends."