Monday, March 21, 2011

Birth Order and Parenting

I have read quite a bit about birth order and how it plays a significant role in the roles/personalities/emotions of people. I have also read quite a bit about parenting... not nearly enough, though. Can you ever know enough about something this complicated!?!?
I am the 2nd of 4 kids. So, technically, I am a middle child. I think that I have quite a few characteristics of a middle child. I married an only child, so I often leave the "only child" / "first born" stuff to him (like decision making, rule enforcing, super social stuff...).  I am seeing a lot of the birth order personality traits coming through with my three girls. I am also seeing how those traits impact their relationships.
I am currently pondering the idea of how my birth order (as the mother) may be impacting / screwing up / influencing my children and the people they are becoming. The thing that I am struggling with is how I am parenting my children differently... Am I? Should I be? Should I not be? Am I totally screwing them up?
A few thoughts that are running through my head:
-It is difficult to parent a first born.
-It is difficult to watch an only child parent a first born (they are so similar that it makes for an interesting combination)
-It is heart-wrenching to be a middle child and watch your middle child hurt (Obviously, it is awful for me to see any of my children hurting. However, it hurts my heart when I see her hurting. My oldest is so much better at expressing her pain and asking for what she needs to make it better). I just want to yell, "It is ok to ask for what you need! Please tell us what is making you so sad. What can we do to make it better? What is causing this anxiety?"
-It is easy to spoil the baby.
-I feel like maybe I treat the baby differently because of how much she has already had to endure in her super short life. Like she is our "special miracle", but that is unfair to the other girls. They are certainly miracles too.

So, what do I do?
Is it ok to treat your kids differently?
To take their personalities into account when making decisions?
To have discipline and consequences match their personailities?
To have higher expectations for one?
To hurt more for another?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No Regrets... Seriously?!?!?

I keep hearing people say that they have no regrets... that they live their life regret free. Do they really mean it or are they lying to you? Or to themselves?
I recently spent some time thinking about this concept. The idea of living your life with zero regrets. I came to the conclusion that I don't live this way. I can not say that I have no regrets. I don't have many... but I certainly have some.
There are things that I have done that I wish I had not; however, they are not regrets. They have become learing experiences for me. Although they were difficult, they taught me about myself and about the world around me. About people and trust and freedom. About lies and deception and hate. About change and strength and understanding.
But I do have regrets. Things that taught me lessons that I never wanted to learn. Caused me to see things that I never wanted to see. Caused me to change the way I live my life.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Stand Before You Naked...

A wonderful friend reminded me that "everyone has their own issues". I know this is true. I believe that everyone has a story. I have had the opportunity/privilege/necessity to share parts of my story lately.

My relationships are evolving. Things are different. My "circle" has changed. I no longer talk to people that know my story.  And my "story" is resurfacing and unfolding.

It is a strange thing to open up and share.
To tell your own story... even small parts of it.
To admit your issues... even a few.
To be honest... completely honest (or as honest as I allow myself to be).

I feel naked.
Like I am standing before you totally naked.
Like I have exposed myself.
Like I can no longer hide.
Like I am taking an uncalculated risk.
Like I'm balancing shame and truth.

And, yet, so far my listeners have been amazing. understanding. kind. safe. compassionate. honest. loving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


She was all dressed in her party clothes: jeans, her "three year old birthday shirt", a bright green tutu and her cowgirl boots. She looked up at me so excited and said, "Mommy, are you feeling better? Can we still go to the party?"

There are a lot of things I hate about this illness. Obviously I hate the pain of the headaches and the annoyance of the nausea. Obviously I hate not having any extra energy or leftover strength. Obviously I hate how messy my house is all the time. Obviously I hate all the time I have spent going through tests and procedures. Obviously I hate the unbelievable amount of money we have spent on medical bills and the time I have been away from the girls.

However, the worst part about the whole thing is the disappointment it has brought my girls.
We had plans with some wonderful friends awhile back. The girls were so excited. I was so excited. We had talked about where we were going and what fun things we were going to see and do. It was going to be great! But then I woke up feeling awful. I tried to push through. I got everyone dressed and our bag packed. I even buckled them into their carseats and started the car... But there was no way I could go. I was shaking and dizzy. My head was pounding so hard that I couldn't see straight. I just knew I was going to throw up.
The girls were giggling and so anxious to see our friends. I just couldn't do it. I started crying... really crying. Not because I was sick, but because I was about disappoint my girls so much.
(Luckily we have awesome neighbors who let the girls come over and play so the day was not totally shot)

This weekend I had a headache that I just couldn't kick. It went on for a few days and was just so annoying. It had me so nauseated on Friday that I was throwing up. My husband was out of town for the weekend and we had two birthday parties scheduled for Saturday. I dreaded a repeat of the above scene. I just couldn't stand to let these kids down... to disappoint them again.
I tried to call some family to help me out. To take them to the party or go with me and help. No success...
So I called friends to pray. To pray that I would feel better. That this would pass and that I would not be in a position to disappoint my girls.
God is good. He listens. Although I wasn't feeling excellent on Saturday, I was able to make it to both parties. It was a long day, but I made it.
That morning, Brynn got up and got herself dressed for the party. She was so excited. My eyes filled with tears when she asked me if I was feeling better and if we could still go to the parties. I was not going to let a little headache disappoint those hopeful eyes.