Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weather Calls for Juli

Dang it is hard to blog while the weather is warm.  (Warm is above 50 degrees.)  I think that would make me a "foul-weather blogger."  (Get it?  Like fair weather friend?  But the opposite... foul weather?  And not a friend but a blogger?  Too much of a stretch?)  Back to bizznazz.  So, today, The Koley pushes his Tonka trucks around the yard, and The Joey rolls on his blanket, and I read my Oprah in my new Adirondack chair... my friend, Juli, from Surviving Boys is going to share some words of wisdom about raising kids.

Take it away Jules-

Dear Patty,

Thanks so much for inviting me over to your place.  It's looking so fresh and new here, I am almost afraid to touch anything.  (Seriously, you want me to take my shoes off at the door, because I'm good with that.  Really, it's no bother.)  I had spent hours in deep thought coming up with the perfect words to bring to you, when I realized I don't have any really good advice.  Only nuggets of wisdom learned the hard way, that have worked in my favor. I also have two boys, but at 11 and 12 our days of diapers, pacifiers, and colic are long behind us. My sons came after 5 years of marriage, at a time when being a mother was all I wanted.  I thought knew exactly how it would be. I knew there would be struggles, but thought it would be far outweighed by the joy and fulfillment of raising a child.

I was really, REALLY, wrong.  

No one tells you the REAL stuff or the blind side that comes from having more than one. Because as you well know, the workload is not just multiplied by two, but rather an exponential logarithm of mathematical proportions.  

So perhaps the first nugget of wisdom I have for you is this: Whatever it is, it's okay.  The uncertainty of my becoming a mother only magnified the guilt that came with my frustration, fatigue, and discontent.  People made me feel like I was crazy for feigning interest after the first month of steps, because honestly I just wanted them to stand still long enough for me to use the bathroom. The day will come when all you want is the ball, that you've watched go down the slide 230 times, to hit you in the head and knock you unconscious so you can get just 15 minutes of sleep. Days when you don't want to get dressed, because that just means more laundry.  It's okay when they ask question after question, to nod an enthusiastic "Ah-huh"  and not take your eyes off what you are doing.  Cereal is totally acceptable for dinner, as is ice cream.  At the end of the day whatever you're beating yourself up over right now, won't matter in a week.  

Boys are just wired differently than girls. They don't process or react like we do. If it is gross, explosive, or smelly, they will find it. They will think it's perfectly acceptable to pee outside.  They will squish a few frogs, stick worms in their pockets, and and poke dog poop with a stick. Nothing will ever be funnier than a fart. Don't fight it.  Embrace it. Teach them to say "Excuse me", and move on. There are much bigger battles than these, I assure you.

Regardless of how much you try and keep the real world out, it will find it's way in.  They will make guns from Legos or sticks even if they've never so much as held a squirt gun. Doing this will not heighten their propensity for violence, even if they choose to modify their Nerf gun to shoot 45 foam darts at your keester while you're unloading the dishwasher. (But it will get them grounded for a month.)  They will pretend to smoke pretzel sticksThey will fight with fists, and try out inappropriate words.   Raise them with your values, teach them what's healthy and good, and then pray everyday that when the time comes they make responsible decisions. Hold them to those choices, Patty, there is tremendous value in knowing consequences, good and bad.  

Perhaps the biggest nugget of wisdom I have learned over the last twelve years is not about raising boys, but about raising myself. Tony is an amazing step-dad, but I am their only surviving parent.  Keeping myself healthy is just as important, if not more important, as keeping them healthy.  Go to the doctor Patty, take your vitamins.  Exercise, if not just for your heart, but for your mind.  Listen to that voice inside you, and trust your instincts. Just because advice comes from a trained professional does not mean it's the right advice.  Accept that you can only choose your path and dreams, just as your parents couldn't choose yours for you. Every failure allows us opportunity. My failed marriage allowed me to be a better mother, discovering a passion and strength I could never have otherwise achieved. I believe with every ounce of my being that the boys are destined for great things, which would mean nothing if I did not believe that for myself.  After all, I am the tree from which they fell. Believe that for yourself Patty, and they will follow.

I would be remiss if I did not add a few words for Ken here as well.  Hold her hand Ken, and as tired as you both are at the end of the day, value your couch time together.  Believe that the sacrifices she makes working in at home are just as important as the ones you make working outside the home.  Bring her home flowers and thank her for dinner.  Perhaps you do that everyday anyway, but make sure she hears it.  Find time to remember why you fell in love, and realize how easy it is to fall out of it.  And most important tell her she's pretty, radiant, amazing, hot, and sexy, even if she hasn't showered in two days.  




Angela said...

As a mom of one 18 year old daughter and 2 boys ages 11 and 14. I totally agree with Juli. Very sound advice for every mom and dad. Juli the way you put into words what so many mom's have thought is wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Poulsen Family said...

Love this! Awesome guest blogger.

~Kayla~ said...

This was amazing advice!!! Thanks Juli, cause I needed to hear that too!

fishducky said...

You've got quite a head on you, Juli!!

Al Penwasser said...

You mean it's NOT perfectly acceptable to pee outside?
Damn, it's the only time the dog and I can bond.
Spiritually, not physically.
Where do you think I'm from?

Juli said...

Thanks guys... I never have a problem telling it like it is. The only things we sugar coat here are cupcakes and ice cream. :)

And Al... based on your posts, I'm thankful that's the only way you bong with your dog. :)

Janie Junebug said...

That Juli. She is one smart chickie baby.

Janie Junebug (ordered to come here by Juli and I know better than to disobey because she will take away my squirt gun for 6 months)

Janie Junebug said...

I was going to follow you because Juli speaks so highly of you, but I don't see a Followers widget. What am I missing?

Love again,
Janie Junebug

George said...

Thoroughly enjoyable & very true, if I compare it to my childhood. Ok, also my so called adult years.

Juli said...

Janie, I emailed you. And HELLO GEORGE!!!! I had no idea you still visited! You just wait 'til your kids come George. :)

Patty said...

Look at all you new people! Following the light of Juli. She truly is endearing.
And sweet Janie- you're not missing anything. I don't have the followers widget. But you can subscribe by email if you'd like!

That corgi :) said...

Loved the advice Juli gave here; she packed a lot of wisdom and truth throughout. I like too that she included thoughts directed to your husband!


Kar said...

There is so much here that resonates with my experiences. Juli is really good with articulating feelings in writing, as you are. (And as I am not.)