In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The way it is...

I confuse myself.  A lot of the time.   I probably spend half of my thoughts contemplating my parenting skills.  I mostly wonder why it is so hard for me to be present with my kids.  Why is it so hard?  Why do I sit there playing with blocks, thinking about what else I should be, or could be doing?  The could be part really gets me. Because then I feel selfish.  It is a constant tug-of-war in my actions and in my thoughts over how much time to spend with my kids, and how much time I give to myself.  Sometimes I feel like I treat my children like accessories. I carry them around wherever I go, but they are not my focus.  Sometimes I find myself resenting how much they hinder me, like carrying around a heavy suitcase. And when I catch myself feeling like that, I feel guilty, and I feel sad.  Even now, as I write this, while my two oldest are in gymnastics, my son is sitting next to me coloring.  It would be a perfect time to focus on him, but here I am writing this. 
Okay, the guilt was too great.  I just took a break to color Dora's Big Red Chicken. 

Other times I feel like I am losing myself to the caretaker I have become.  The other day someone commented on my facebook status that he thought I "loved being a mom more than anyone else he knew" or something to that effect.  And I, of course, started to overthink that, and read into it, that he meant all I talk about is my kids.  And I wasn't sure it was a compliment.    What are my skills anyway?  I have forgotten.  Am I good at anything?  I find myself spending too much time on-line...what am I looking for?  Validation? Attention? Adult Feedback? Probably all of that. 

When all three kids are together it is overwhelming.  It is.  Fights and frustrations, screeching and crying.  I start to feel like I am losing my mind.  I run to my computer to escape. And sometimes I lose my temper and scream.  And then I feel guilty.  And I wonder...  I don't even feel good at being a mom and that is what I have sacrificed my other goals to do.  What am I doing?  I let my kids watch too much TV because it gives me a break. And then I feel guilty.

I am relieved when I hear different perspectives.  Their teachers love them.  Their peers enjoy playing with them.  They seem well adjusted.  So maybe I am doing something right. I hope?

I will just continue to pray, and think, and sit up at night writing in my journal about how I wish I could focus more, and play more, and be more present.  Hopefully it will start to sink in more. Hopefully soon the joy will lead the way, and not the should

Because I do love being at home with them.  I do.  I don't want to do anything else, and the thought of going back to work and having daycare or a babysitter watch them is not even an option.  So, I will continue to muddle along and try to take more note of the times where they are sweet and where I am sweet with them.  Because there are plenty of those times.  There really are.  I just take them for granted.

So, am I too involved with my kids, and losing myself, or am I so focused on myself I forget my kids?  I'm confused.  It feels like both... and neither feels very good.  So I'm looking for balance and peace and playfulness.  I'll start by logging off and coloring with my son.  :)


  1. It is such a balancing act we do as moms. I am sure something I am doing isn't the right thing for my kids or myself but I will continue to love them and myself and hope that I am treating everyone right and that one day they won't blame me for the way things turned out. That they will just understand that I did the best I knew how to do...that I will understand. :-)

  2. It is so hard. So very hard. I wish I had more words of encouragement, but I think the fact that you are thinking about it - and trying - and praying - and coloring on the floor - means you're doing an amazing job.

  3. I feel more guilty than you do... because I feel that way sometimes with just one. I figured siblings would be better for mine as sometimes I think he needs me so much, and I just feel myself pulling away to want to do something else... be someone else other than just a mom, even though I know that being a mom is the most important thing in the world -- but I never stopped to think of the neediness and frustrations times 3. Everyone needs a break from it. Your kids need a break from you too... makes them appreciate you so much more!

    It sounds like you're seriously doing just fine, with your kids being so well-adjusted, and your self-reflection directing you to refocus on the kids. Isn't what this is all about, anyway? You're listening to that little guy on your shoulder... no, your other shoulder, yep -that one... and that's pretty important. If more moms reflected and refocused maybe it would be a better thing for the kids. Thanks for sharing this. It's good to see we're in the same boat. (Just mine has fewer passengers.)

  4. Okay I could have seriously written this post. I know exactly how you feel! While we need that balance, I find myself too often looking for distractions, or when I am playing with them only being half there. It drives me crazy, I feel guilty, yet I do it time and time again.

    That is actually a lot of the reason I started the Time for Tots day on my blog. One day a week, I take extra time to plan some activities, be creative, and then we spend the morning or at least a good solid hour (depending on the kids), just doing these activities no distractions allowed. And those days are better, I feel better.. and then in the afternoon when I get on the computer or whatever for some me time I don't feel guilty as I know my morning was spent totally devoted to my kids.

  5. Wow, I really needed to read this point this morning. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this with all of us.

    I feel the same way most of the time with my 10 month old. I have a hard time sitting still to just play or enjoy being together. The is laundry to do and bills to pay and dishes in the sink. Even when I do sit and play, I'm not really there, like you said.

    I wonder if anyone ever really is? I think (or at least I hope) that it's pretty normal to always be going in so many different directions. I can't even imagine how hectic it is with three young boys! I'm sure you're being harder on yourself than your boys or anyone else would.

  6. Julie~ your blog is fantastic. I looked at your pictures last week, but this morning really took the time to READ some of the posts.... you are a wonderful writer. You put into words many of the things I think (and feel guilty about) daily. I loved this post...and LOVED the walk thru suburbia! We moved to Nebraska from South Flordia (Ft. Lauderdale to be exact) I'm with you there! Great blog! :-)


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