Slacker

Ack! My goal is to write on here several times a week but alas, life keeps getting in the way. I’m actually doing tons of writing…just not here.

I have my Mad Cow book at the publisher’s and I’m just waiting to hear what needs to be edited next. And I have my next two projects that I’m writing, which I’m super excited about. And I’ve even started doing little writings on social media.

But I haven’t written here.

My poor neglected blog, you’re run by a slacker blogger.

I’m not really a slacker anywhere else in my life: 4 kids does not a slacker mama make. We have had so many extra thigs going on I just haven’t figured out how to squeeze in this writing.

How do y’all do it? Let me in on any hints or tips–I’m dying over here!!

And have a blessed day while you’re at it!  

 (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Confidence

There is a four year old red head in my house who is a princess and a mermaid, a ninja and a spy. She runs like her Mama (which is to say awkwardly and slow, but don’t tell her. I want to be there when she catches a glimpse of herself for the first time.), fights like her brothers, is serious like her daddy and has a confidence that I’m so proud of.

She thinks she’s right 100% of the time. It’s awesome and a little scary all at once. This little girl already thinks that she can rule the world. Not one day, but right now if she chooses.

I’m so pleased about this. 

You might be saying what?! I know, it makes for some hair-pulling-out, frustrating, give-myself-a-timeout parenting oftentimes, but the young lady she is becoming is going to be one that can navigate whatever world she finds herself in. As a Mama of a daughter, as a woman grateful to other women who went before me and broke glass ceilings and paved pathways, as a female who has navigated male-dominated careers and jobs and schools, I (mostly) don’t mind this strong will of hers. 

Because I know that if I can teach her to have a tender heart toward hurting people, show her that even one person can make a difference, guide her to serving others in some capacity, along with her strong will and absolute confidence, she will indeed rule the world. Not with an iron fist, but with a velvet glove.

God bless all the Mamas of strong-willed children out there. It’s a tough road to the finish line but just wait and see what kind of human being emerges-I bet you’re going to be so proud!

PS, This is the outfit I let her leave the house in yesterday, notice the skirt and the boots (that are two sizes too big) are sequined–she is my daughter! Talk about your big, bangin’ confidence!!!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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To All the Mamas

Can I just tell you good job today? And thank you! I know that this gig is hands down the hardest, craziest, most rewarding and yet often, thankless job you can find. As the Mama of Littles, I know they can’t really say thank you; as the Mama of Bigs, I also know sometimes they just don’t think to.

And that is ok. It’s not up to them to build your self esteem as a parent, even though they may tear it down sometimes. So that’s why I have taken it upon myself to say thanks. I am a bona fide grownup (most days) and now that I’m a Mama, I get the need for encouragement from outside sources.

During the dark days of Littles, when you’re sleep deprived and don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror because you suddenly look like an old woman with carrots stuck in your hair it’s hard to find encouragement. Especially if others around you have opinions. About everything.

And I hear that there are also dark days for Mamas of teenagers too. I have a tween right now and all of the eye rolling and sighing is making me super excited for those years to come.

Sometimes the minute to minute, day to day stuff gets in the way of our enjoyment of these children. And then we get cranky or forget who we set out to be in the first place or feel mired in the weird nooks and crannies of our lives where we have left small pieces of ourselves. Maybe we left them accidentally, like skin sloughing off. Or maybe it was on purpose, like cracker crumbs to help us find our way back someday.

Oh, this Mama gig! The only thing I can guarantee is that it’s probably not what you expected it to be. And you’re probably not who you expected to be. And that’s ok too.

That is why I’m going to say thank you today to all the Mamas doing hard work. And I’m going to say to most of you (you know who you are): you’re doing a good job. You’re giving your best to your kids and family and spouses and work and activities and lessons and recitals and sports practices. You’re up early and staying late just to finish the job that has no end.

I’m proud of you. This is hard but you’ve got this. 

And just in case you didn’t catch that: 

YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!

Now I’m going to go call my Mama.

  

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Something’s Gotta Give

We hit the ground running after our getaway this week. We’ve been back in our regular lives for 24 hours and I’m already tired. Lord love a duck, I’m tired!

Mr. Wonderful had a doctor’s appointment today, one of several that we have each week. More meds added. I wonder if there’s a limit to medication that the human body can handle. There must be, right?

And I worry. I’m not even the worrying type until I look at all of Mr. Wonderful’s meds and realize he’s only 35 and if we continue on this trajectory…well, I can’t even go there.

Today we decided now wasn’t the time for Mr. Wonderful to do school. That takes pressure off him but adds financial pressure to us since he won’t be receiving GI Bill help. It feels as if things are unraveling but I can’t find the thread to clip so the unraveling will stop.

I’m coming unraveled a bit myself. And right now my faith is worn. I had a moment-a tiny second-where I wanted to throw up my hands and cry Uncle! Enough! I have had enough!

The worry at all of our situations piled on the giant mounds of PTSD poo and kid demands and work overload-gah! I just feel like quitting.

Grrrrr.

I’m no quitter so this isn’t really a viable option. And there are a lot of things going right. I’m sure I’ll make a list of them soon. Right now I need to vent. Because I’m frustrated. Aggravated. Blusterphated. Ok I just made that last one up but I was on a roll there for a second.

I’ve resolved to tell the truth about my world, even when it’s not pretty. Even when there are ugly scars that still need healing. Wounds that need scabbing over. Bruises fading from black to that weird yellow because of the hits life takes at me.

The one thing that I have going for me is that even though I’m a hot mess right now, I’m Jesus’ hot mess. And I’m leaning on his promises that he’ll never leave me. And for today, that is enough. No answers, just promises.

So thanks for listening.



Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Not Ready

We’re packing our bags to go home. I find that though I’m ready to see all my babies and be in my own space again, I’m not ready to leave these relaxed vacation feelings behind. Please don’t judge me, but I’m so not ready to have responsibility other than my own needs yet. I’m not ready for the weight that is my world.

I still have a few hours of weightlessness yet. Some of it will be used up by sleep. As much as I love sleep I’d rather spend my last free moments leaving the house spontaneously or shopping or smooching Mr. Wonderful wherever and whenever I feel like it without eight eyeballs watching or a chorus of “Mamas” every minute and a half.

I’m so grateful for time free from being a grownup. This is a hard gig, one that I feel ill-equipped for most days. Between all the kids, jobs, book promotion, PTSD, events, lessons, homework, groceries, laundry and bills I feel like I’m drowning sometimes. This week has given me a chance to breathe air again.

Believe you me, I’m sucking it down like breathing is going out of style. I’m cramming every moment of this getaway with Mr. Wonderful full of fun and laughing and reconnecting and smiling for no reason and food runs and silly pictures with large inanimate objects and eating candy and ruining my dinner with dessert first.

And I’m going to try my hardest to keep some of this lightness, some of this vacation mindset for my real life. Steal kisses from Mr. Wonderful. Smile at nothing and everything. Ruin my dinner with ice cream. So that my kids will see Mama, not Mama with responsibilities weighing her down but Mama embracing them while sailing thru and finding reasons to be joyful. Free. Light.

I’m not ready, but by tomorrow I will be.



Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Work From Home They Said

Can I tell you how much I love my day job? I’m the Director of a foundation that gives grants to organizations in our metro area that help the most underserved, forgotten and abused populations of our community. I get to see beautiful things happen every week in the most broken areas of our city. Things that restore my hope and faith. In God and in humans.

I’ve been doing this job for over a decade and it never ceases to amaze me the capacity that some have for service to others. Hugs, food, clothing, prayer, shelter, time, faith, joy and love are just some of the things I’ve witnessed passed from one person to another.

Did I mention I love my job?

On the days where I’m not out and about watching miracles and moments and mission happen, I’m working from home. With two of our four kids underfoot. Who just happen to be three and one.

After having had a succession of three year olds in my house I now know that this is the one to keep your eye on.

In my experience, the three year old is the one who floods your bathroom. Who fingerpaints an entire room with five tubes of fingerpaint you didn’t even know you had the day before you put your house in the market. Who gets stuck at the top of the stairs when they climbed the OUTSIDE of it.

In fact, just during the writing of this post I had to stop and clean up a 120 pack of wipes the current three year old had freed one by one from the package because they were “butterflies.” All over the living room.



I’m so grateful that my board of directors allows me the luxury of working from home. It’s amazing that I don’t have to punch a clock or commute into an office or have someone looking over my shoulder constantly. I could not be more grateful.

I’m finding that I just have to be much more creative with how and when I get my actual work done. Nap times, early mornings, bedtimes and times when Mr. Wonderful can corral the crazy are my optimum work times. This may be unconventional, and it certainly takes some getting used to, but it’s working for our family.

And when I’m home working, my background noise is often, as it is right this second, the sound of kids laughing. As they dump out a 100 piece army soldier set and throw them at each other. Especially the one year old-he seems to really enjoy this.





So my home office is a wreck and now my living room is too. But I will get some work done, then I will play with my munchkins for a bit before nap time. 

And I think, though this time is hard and weird and a giant mess of kid chaos most of the time, that I will look back on this as one of the highlights of my life. I think I will have hindsight to show me that the gift of both working from home and my kids being in the midst of it, was something very special.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015