Sunday, July 8, 2012

some ways I stay sane.

I was giving parenting 'advice' to a newly impregnated woman the other day and it's had my mind spinning ever since.

I hate giving advice.
(and seeing this picture of Samantha, who reminds me daily how often I trip over myself in parenting, really makes me really hesitate to give advice!!!)

Actually, my 3 biggest pieces of advice are this:

#1 - Throw the parenting books away.
not just give them away, but throw them away.
that way no one else will be tainted by them either.
INSTEAD, pick some kids you want your kids to be like and then pick the heck out 'o that mama's brain!
AFTER you feel like you've got some idea of what kind of parent you want to be and are FIRM in that, possibly pick up a few books, but only the ones 'that' mama tells you to.
burn the rest.

#2 - Scripture.
I do not care how cliche this sounds.
If you're rolling your eyes and annoyed that it's #2 - there is a battle raging in a heart somewhere, the enemy has a foot hold and it's gonna get ugly real fast.
Moving on.
Pray, read a lot of scripture and ask God to point you to verses.
Lots of verses about Love, Anger, Patience....they don't seem like parenting verses until you're looking for that in them and then BAM! the best advice ever written JUMPS off the page at you.
Your kids are sinners, they are creations of God.
The Bible is the main source for info on both.
I could sit here all night and give specific testimony to this in my mommyhood.

#3 - Don't listen to most 'advice'.
Even if I told it to you.
Throw 2/3 of it away.
Keep the other 1/3 but make sure it passes the James 3:17 test.

But, ways I stay sane?
Is that advice?
Let's just call it "a window into our days" instead of advice.

(you are welcome to throw 2/3's of it away though...actually, I don't care if you throw it all away, they work for us and for that I'm grateful that God has brought them into our lives/minds!)

Caveat before I begin.

I have four girls.
That would be 20,000 words a day x 4 =
80,000 words,
plus mine.
100,000 words. a. day.
So, most of these have to do with breaks from 'words'....too many of them.

ok. now let's start.

#1 - The Mommy Game.

"Mommy?" "Mommy?" "Mommy?", etc....
I swear about 1/2 of the 80,000 words are "Mommy"
40,000 "Mommy"'s a day.

poke a fork, in my eye, please!

I love the first 10,000 "Mommy"'s...don't get me wrong!
It's the 10,001st time that I say:

"Ok. No more 'Mommy Game' unless it's an emergency"

(I do my absolute BEST to say this with kindness.....sometimes my best is really horrible though, not gonna lie)

It means that for a while, no one is allowed to say, "Mommy?...."

We don't have a set time but they are really good about just stopping. (mostly because if they say 'it' again, I stop them and/or don't answer their, "Mommy? Why does the trash smell like raw pickle's?" - see, not an emergency = no answer!)

This has to be hard for them, their little minds are SO busy and they are all at the stage of life where I know everything!
I am their walking google and when I shut my computer down, they are learning patience and self discipline and last time I checked, those were buggers to learn.

The breaks last for about 10 min's, which is usually all I need to 'reboot'.

#2 - It's Sunday.

Sunday is the "Mommy?" Sabbath.
ALL and ANY questions get directed to Jake.

If it's Sunday (and sometimes I try to trick them if it's not Sunday but they are getting savvy to my game)
all I have to say when someone asks me for something or says, "Mommy?", is:


and the questions immediately gets rephrased, "Daddy?".

it's hilarious.
this is one of my fav's because the girls love this one.
it makes us all happy.
Jake gets to help a ton, the girls get to use their daddy and I get a break.
it works.

#3 - Word break.

I say "Word Break" and
no one says anything for about 10 min's.

no singing, no laughing, no noise.
at. all.

this is typically on the heels of a 'sisterly disagreement' that very often feel like there will be NO END to and no resolve.

it's always on the heels of a heated moment.
it's our traveling 'time out corner'.

or on the heels of being too rambunctious in a not appropriate place to be rambunctious
(like, waiting in line at the check out - some moms have to worry about crying/whining in line, I have to worry about my four LADIES wrestling in line. geez! WORD! BREAK!)

if it's a public thing/wrestling, they also have to hold their hands.
meaning: they have to hold their own two hands together, in front or behind themselves but TOUCHING.
(thanks Mamaw ;-) that was all you!)
we also use that rule, just the hands one, in Antique stores.

#4 - Rest time.
When everyone was little Nap Time was essential.
There was no way to handle four little girls in melt down properly so nap time happened.
every. single. day.
no exceptions.

I used to have neighbors that would fly out of their homes to catch people about to knock on my door during nap time because they knew.
They knew 'what kind of Holly' and 'what kind of Holly's kids' they'd see that afternoon if nap time didn't happen.
(not proud of that, but truth isn't always on the side of 'proud', huh?)

So, now we don't 'have' to have it and yet sometimes we 'have' to have it, ya know?
The twins and Samantha will sleep, sometimes.
But everyone will stay quiet in their beds for 1.5 hours on whatever day we need it sleep or not.

I'd say close to four times a week, sometime in the afternoon, we all get a 1.5 hour break from each other.
We all love it.
They don't even complain when I say, "Rest time".
I love that they are learning to get away and be quiet.

And if anyone talks out loud during rest time, 10 min's is added to that persons rest time every time they're caught. one talks.

They can play, read, write, etc...they just can't make any noise or talk to each other.

How this happens with all four in one room has taken years and I started when they were very very very little.

#5 - A Scriptures that roll through my head every day.
Rom 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

do not be overcome by my kids SIN but overcome their SIN with GOOD.

I fail.
Every 10 min's.
But I'm praying that minutes 1-9 will be what shines in their hearts as they grow.

Good example of scripture for parenting.
that is not a 'parenting' passage but it is my BIGGEST teacher on how to be a mother.
it literally transformed how I parent.

I didn't need a book.
Just 11 words and a rockin' Holy Spirit.

#6 - 10 min clean up's

I don't do well with mess.

I know it's funny and 'godly' to say that it's ok to have a messy house, but for Holly Panter, it's not.

I don't need it clean'ish for anyone else's sake, I just do better and stay more peaceful when I feel like what we have is being taken care of in that way.

But, I have four kids and I am a really good mess maker and occasionally Jake makes messes too...nah!
I yell out, "10 min clean up!", set the timer, and every knows what to do.
Clean as much as you can and as diligent as you can for 10 min.
After that, you can stop, but usually 10 min's is all it takes to get me back to a 'peaceful' spot.

(if it's bad, I yell out "10 min clean up!" and don't set a timer, we just do it 'til it's done)

#7 - Starting Over.
we have bad moments over here sometimes.
well...ya know...maybe more than occasionally.
ugly ones, with sin and crap and ick in them.
I don't like to loose whole days to those moments.

We have just recently started the 'Starting Over' game and the girls are diggin' this one.
After a quiet break apart from each other after whatever explosion mommy just blew one of the girls will come to me and say, "Can we start this day over?" -
and no matter what the time is on the clock,
we start over.
We pray, we ask for forgiveness...usually I ask for forgiveness...and we start over.
His mercies are new every morning...

#8 - Resolving Arguments.

This is so annoying.
No one is 'ever' at fault and everyone is always getting their feelings hurt.
Apparently we have a little fairy that flies around the house bothering people and then disappearing before I get there to intervene.
One day, I'm gonna squish me a little fairy!

Anyway, whenever this 'fairy' flies in it goes like this....

 Both sisters (or all sisters) involved have to apologize for their part specifically,
" (insert name) I'm sorry for (insert specific offense) and I love you"
Which is followed by a hug and a, "We don't hurt or bother people we love", from me.

We RARELY make one person feel like they were the sole reason the argument/skirmish happened, because it RARELY is one persons fault. (maybe not in your house!? ha!)

On those occasional times, that person has to apologize in the above fashion and the other one has to say, "It's ok, I forgive you"

So, all these 'ways to stay sane' would make you think that I am either #1 - sane or #2 - stay sane most of the time and yet.....

and yet I still leave the room with my hands in the air screaming guttural sounds of frustration and annoyance completely defeated 1 to 10 times a day.

Those are the times I do my own '10 minute clean up' or my own 'Word Break' until I can reboot myself and 'Start Over'......

The girls are getting older and just kinda 'get outta the way' now.
I think that is more embarrassing than anything.

Anyway, like I said,
His mercies are new every morning!

Praying it will be fun to look back on this little 'sanity list' and that I won't be looking back kicking myself for not seeing how I was actually screwing the kids up.

I know, I know....I'm a sinner, I'll screw this up no matter what I do....
Like I said,
His mercies are new every morning!

Here's to THE MORNING!


Amy said...

I love this post! Seriously.
It's so helpful.
I need to start some of these little tricks.
I might have told my husband today that my oldest two were driving me insane. :)

Courtney said...

this post is so awesome i'm pinning it. for real! thanks!!

LG Optimus Net  Review said...

Haha such a quirky post of a mommy. I'll make similar like this. cute!

TheaBeth said...

So encouraging for this momma's heart. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you...seriously! Great suggestions & also thanks for being real. Showing how Jesus lovers are far from perfect. Shine girl!