Summer 2012

Summer 2012

My days with four kids are very busy and stressful for me right now.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed this summer.  Every week I am tempted to quit my weekly blog posts and a few other things.

I am not getting much sleep which causes me to be crabby and not motivated.   Nola Mae is not to blame, she is a great sleeper!  I stay up late because it is the only time I have some peace.  I don’t want to go to bed once our house is quiet.  I want to sew, work in the garden, blog or just sit at the computer and drink my water (wishing it was a cold dark beer).  I want to blog because it helps me sort out my thoughts and helps me come up with solutions to my troubles.  When I sit here at the computer with a blank blog post my mind is blank or I am only thinking of the stressful days and frustrating moments that no one wants to hear about.

Many people have asked me how my summer is going and I really don’t know how to answer this simple question without a complicated answer.  I have been honest with a few people (the ones who really care to know the real answer) and the others who are just asking for the sake of  “small talk” get the simple answer of “our summer is going well.”

The honest answers:

This summer is a rough one.

This is one of my worst summers.

The horrible things I have done:

I signed the boys up for the longest summer school sessions at the beginning and at the end of the summer.

I paid $25 to have  1/2 hour of peace for eight days, by signing Henry up for swimming lessons.  And I loved it.  Thankfully, Henry loved swimming lessons.

I almost starved my nursing baby. (I am working on a blog post about this.  I am not sure when and if it will ever get done.)

I continue to let the older boys rot their brains with computer games during the day.

I am in a food funk and let them have chips and cheese dip for lunch one day, smoothies another, and just fruit and peanut butter toast another day.  These are just the meals that I can remember that I slacked on.

We have gone out to eat way too often this summer.  And I have stopped caring how much a meal costs for our family to eat out.  And I can’t wait until the next time we eat out or Jack brings home dinner.

I have no patience and do a lot of screaming (and swearing).

I have told the boys that some parents hit their kids when they misbehave and some days I want to.

I wish we could go to the beach every day.  We don’t because it is too much work to get out of the yard.

I look forward to my few nights out this summer with my book club and the one night that has been planned for me to go out to eat with other moms.

There have been days we only went outside for less than an hour.  Maybe this is because it has been too hot outside.  I hate the heat and wish for snow to come soon.

I admitted to a friend recently that I am looking forward to school starting.  I haven’t started counting down the days until September 4th, yet.

None of these things I am proud of.  At the end of each day I feel like a horrible mother and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  And next summer will be better.

Until things improve in my life I will be doing the bare minimum on my weekly blog posts.   My weekly posts may have a different layout to them.   I hope I will be able to capture some good photos to remember these days while my children are small and still at home.   I know these days should be cherished.

I am certain that some day when all my kids are living somewhere else and I have more peace and quiet than I will know what to do with.  I will wish for a day of Henry screaming, Charlie’s silliness, Robbie’s talk of robots & his inventions, fighting brothers, wrestling boys, boys climbing on the cupboards, spilled milk at every meal, random balls being thrown through the kitchen, sword fighting in my sewing room, pillow fights in my bedroom, Legos on the floor, flowers, corn and milo stalks being cut off because “me don’t like them”, star wars games blaring from the computer, Harry Potter books on CD blaring throughout the house and boys to hug.

14 responses

  1. Your honesty is great and reminds me that I too am a normal mother. Although our kids are blessings, they can be trying. And although we know that we will miss them, we can’t help hoping for a bit of peace and quiet every now and then…

    We don’t get summer holidays in South Africa, well not as long as yours. I get three weeks off in December, and that is trying enough.

    You’ll be in my mind constantly and know that no matter what, you are a great Mamma.


  2. ((((HUGS))))) it’s ok to need time out from things like your blog! It’s ok to be what you call a “bad mother” sometimes! It’s ok to wish that this summer would hurry up and come to and end and if you are a “bad mother” then heck I’m a TERRIBLE mother! My BA aspergers son LOVES his computer games and you know what, sometimes that’s just how I get some peace! 😉 I have done all of the things that you mention above and MORE and somehow at the end of the day, my kids still love me even though I OFTEN think that I don’t deserve their love! I don’t know how you guys manage to survive your summer holidays, ours are long enough at 6 weeks and 7 weeks! I think that I would be a WAY bigger mess then you if I had to have your summers! You are doing an AWESOME job! I love love love your blog and you inspire me in so many ways! Thank you 🙂 I give you permission to take as much time off from your blog though as you need 🙂 but I do not give you permission to totally give it away ok! Hehehe 😉 Just remember Jenny, you awe awesome! ❤

  3. Good morning Jenny,
    I think I told you once that I made myself write in my journal when my 4 kids were about the same ages as yours – I wanted to remember how hard it was – even with a great husband, enough money to pay the bills, a college education…. 4 kids could bring me to my knees almost everyday and make me say “uncle”. I was yelling more than I wanted, I wasn’t doing all those cool mom things I thought I should be doing, and the house was falling apart. At some point there I just said “I give up”…. and that is when the peace started to creep in. I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves (and others) to be those perfect mothers that we imagine are out there. I am not so sure they are… So hang in there – it will get easier…. at least some days. And when you get time…. you need to change the name of your blog. Love ya!!!
    PS – My kids survived and turned out to be pretty cool human beings and yours will too!

  4. I want to reach out and give you a hug, Jenny. We all have days/weeks/months that we moms wish we could ‘redo’. My advice to you, focus on getting more sleep. I know that makes a big difference for me and it makes all the other stuff easier to deal with. Let me just point out, you are obviously a GREAT mother because you feel guilty about everything. 🙂
    PS- you would NOT be the first mother on earth to be counting down the days until school starts. 🙂

  5. Jenny, I’m going to tell you the same thing I told Jessie and my friend Lisa, who just recently had her third baby: these are dark times. For real! I did things and said things that I would never say to my kids now. Then I blocked it all from my mind until a friend needed to hear that I went through it too.

    As far as blogging goes, I didn’t write a blog post for months. I was mostly writing big opinion blogs last summer and I didn’t write many at all. When people asked why, I wanted to say that I don’t have a thought or opinion in my head that doesn’t involve strangling one kid or another.

    Hang in there. It’s ok to look forward to the school year! Time at home with Henry and Nola Mae will be refreshing for you. You need that! There were days that I realized I hadn’t even made eye contact with my nursing because the other three demanded so much attention. But she was ok with it and seems normal, even delightful, now!

    Things will get better! Maybe pick a couple of days per week you try to go to sleep early. Save other days for only your hobbies.

    Hugs to you!

  6. Jenny, you are a GREAT mom. You do so much for your kids–in fact–so much that YOU need to do some things for yourself–during the day–not late at night. It’s about balance– you’ve had a new baby enter into the family and that is always stressful–and summer with everyone home is intense. You could really use a mother’s helper–is there a teen nearby who could give you an hour or two of help with the kids so you can do what you’d like?
    Hugs to you–and you have a really good perspective–you know to cherish the days of little kids now–and I think many moms even lose sight of that when they are in the fray. You need some sleep–and some time for you to balance. More hugs.

  7. Jenny, You are doing and feeling nothing that the majority of mother’s have felt and done. Some of them, myself included, with fewer children in tow. When I saw you this past weekend you looked, as usual, very put together, relaxed and at peace. So, don’t be so hard on yourself. What you are going thru is quite understandable. This summer has been a strange one, and I think it is primarily due to the ungodly heat that we have been experiencing. It has zapped our normal desires and energy. If you think about it, August is here and before you know it you will be strapping those ski’s on yourself. Sending you my love – hugs and I wish I could be there to help you with your little children. They are beautiful and you have done a wonderful job of rearing them. Boys are just so full of energy and honestly we wouldn’t want them to be any way other than that. Love, Aunt Anita

  8. Jenny,
    BIG HUGS to you!! There is not a mom out there who can’t relate to what you are saying. It seems like it’s always a choice, should I sleep when the kids sleep, or get some of ‘my’ things done. Your sleep is important, because “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
    Sending lots of love your way, wish we lived closer.

  9. Jenny,
    Like everyone else has already said, there isn’t a mother out there that hasn’t said or felt the same as you. The summer Jaden was born was much the same for me and I wished at that time I would have put the boys in summer school to give myself a break. The older boys are gone all this week and even though I am enjoying the one-on-one time with Jaden and some much needed peace & quiet, my heart aches with them not being around. I miss their hugs and smiles in the morning. I miss not being able to see their faces when they tell me all about their day. I know its only temporary but its a small glimpse into what the future will be like when they are grown.

    Please be so happy that all you have to feel guilty about is those things that you listed. If THAT is being a “bad mother” then I can only say “Great Job”. We are all human and sometimes need to be reminded of that. You are a wonderful mother, friend, wife, and person. You are an inspiration to so many.

    Love you so very much cousin.

  10. Oh Jenny my wonderful friend 🙂 :):):):) Love & hugs to you! There is nothing wrong with you. I am not a mom which may even give me more insight as I’ve keenly listened to many mothers. You have been honest & said all the same things they have. In fact I know most mothers who have only two maybe 3 kids & were stressed out only a month into summer. They feed there kids crap all yr. long. Plus I live across the st. from a public beach although it’s still fairly private but I get so angry at the way some parents talk to thier kids. You might be having some of the baby blues as you did recently give birth. Now remember the baby blues is not a mental situation it is physical hormones. On top of that for you, you maybe having some seasonal depression as you enjoy winter so much & it has been unseasonable hot. Give yourself a break & credit where credit is due. You my dear are an AWESOME mom! The good news is your not a perfect mom. A perfect mom would set a poor example as your kids would grow up thinking they need to be perfect & thats not realistic. So just hang in there. Swimming is a valuable life lesson & could save your child’s or another persons life some day, I’d say good job, $ well spent & wisely done as it gave you needed peace & quiet. Just “Food for Thought” if it’s making you as a person feel bad to spend money eating out & not providing the meals you want for your children maybe consider taking that money & using it to once or twice a week hire a teenager who can drive to pick the 3 boys up & take them to the library or a specific activity. Three boys maybe alot for one teen & driving with 3 boys so maybe taking 2 at a time or a grandma. Or one teen take one kid & another teen take another. I don’t know but just trying to help you come up with some Jenny time. Trade off activities for yourself. Blog once a mo. as opposed to weekly. Thus you still get the satisfaction of your hobby & still get sleep. Don’t add the pics. to your blog during the summer & when school starts do a summer review & add the pics then as downloading takes time. We all love you & care about you. We like hearing from you but not at the expense of your overall health. Although you stated it helps keep you sane to type. So type but less often unless needed & no pics. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m only trying to suggest as you are loved. and you are an AWESOME mom. Now I’ll pray for you but I won’t pray for snow! lol

  11. My Dear Sweet and Wonderful Jenny,
    How I love you, and love to read your blog. Do you see how you are an amazing mama, friend, inspiration, woman, daughter……..and I could go on and on. I love to read the comments you have inspired in us, and hope that you take them to heart. I remember many summer lunches of bread & butter sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, or lettuce leafs sprinkled with sugar, or Spam sandwiches, lots of Koolaid and popsicles. (I know a nurse who thinks ice cream is OK for breakfast, it is full of calcium!) I could go on, but you geet the picture. We all do the best we can, we all survived, and are none the worse for it!!!!! You are doing a fabulous job raising your family, so don’t forget about taking care of yourself! Sending you so much love and many hugs.

  12. Jenny, all these posts say so much about how highly people think of you, and how human you are, too. I hope you read it, and really believe it! I don’t do a quarter of what you do everyday, but I try not to get down on myself for those types of things anymore. We all hold ourselves to such high expectations, but others would never hold such high expectations for us! My sister once told me she was going through such a hard time when her kids were little and when she went to playgroups, everybody boasted about how wonderful everything was….and they were not telling the truth as she later found out! She wanted nothing more than find someone to relate to and not feel so badly about herself. Here all these people are, including you, baring their souls of motherhood. That is truly helpful and healing to everyone…I hope it is helping you. My mom was and is wonderful, but she is very much a perfectionist and as she raised us, she always sacraficed everything she wanted or needed. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see her as ‘human’ with tough times like everybody else. We grew up feeling like those types of feelings weren’t ok. I don’t remember ever looking at a shelf for dust, and I loved it when we’d actually get a pizza (although she felt guilty). We just wanted to snuggle with her, have her play with us and be silly. As an adult, I have to constantly stop myself from comparing myself to her, because I will always fall short. You do all the things with them that they will remember! The ‘good’ stuff! This summer has been bad for me, too. I should be having surgery on my back soon, but it’s been a long time coming, and a lot of me not being able to have fun and do things with my kid. It breaks my heart, but I’m coming to terms with it. Ryan always tells me not to apologize for it – that seems to bother him more and he tells me ” I don’t care if you can’t do that, I just want you”. You are perfect in their eyes, Jenny, you really are.

  13. Hang in there, Jenny! You are a great Mom! It’s summer survival mode, and I think you’re in good company with many mothers…me being one of them. That’s also a reason I haven’t blogged in a long time. We’re so on the go and a bit overwhelmed at times, and blogging takes A LOT of time. So, don’t worry about the blog. Take a well deserved break, don’t plan too much, and (from one night owl to another) really try to get some earlier bedtimes. Your little boys and baby girl love you so much and they do know how much you do for them and love them, even if there are days it doesn’t feel like it. I really hope the last month goes smoother.
    ……I’m also one of those Mom’s who signed her child up for summer school because I needed a break. I just signed G up a week ago! I felt very guilty, but looked at it from her perspecive, too. She hasn’t seen friends all summer, she does enjoy school and it will be a great opportunity for her to get back in the swing of things for the school year. Also, I can spend some one on one time with the little one and work on some things, which we never seem to have time for….and just think, I’m saying I don’t have time and I only have 2, so you really are doing a good job!!!

  14. At least you realize those things aren’t the best. I did all those things, plus quite a few others and my kids turned out ok and haven’t locked me away…yet. I’ve apologized to my adult children for lack of patience during their growing up years and they’ve all said…we didn’t even notice. It’s amazing what fatigue can make us do (or not do). I do miss all those things you listed but then there’s grandkids. You still get my “mother of the year ” award.


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