Saturday, October 25, 2014

American Dream = the American Nightmare

We are taught from a young age to go to school, get good grades, go to college, go to graduate school and get a good job. Then after that you need a new car, a big house and then you can pop out two kids, who will spend most of their little lives institutionalized in daycare setting and the school system.

dWhere does all this planning lead people?  Down the path of depression. You are always trying to keep up with your neighbors and their new car, updates in their home, new clothes etc etc.  We are constantly trying to change our appearance to look better for others.

But what about God?  What does God require of us? He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8.  Walk humbly with him? What does that really mean?  The devil wants us to be busy. He wants us to work our 40 hour per week job so we can be distracted. We are so distracted because we have a house payment, car payment, daycare payment and wardrobe payment.

I bought into the whole career dream for a couple years. I was bumped up the pay scale by a supervisor and I was given my own office, a rarity in my line of work.  I was told that I was on the track to be unit chief. However, the high pay and office did not bring me happiness. I found that by being pregnant I could get a maternity leave and "get out of working."

Yet each time I returned from maternity leave I found it harder and harder to leave my babies. I had to disconnect from them and then try to reengage with them on the weekend.  I took an extended maternity leave after the 3rd baby. Then I returned to worked full time for 4 months. We had a great sitter who cooked, cleaned and kept the kids happy.   I was earning money for my 401K, building my savings account and keeping my clinical skills up to date. But I longed to be with my two toddlers going through various stages and my arms longed to hold my baby.

So last month I quit my full time job. I left the comforts of state benefits and insurance. I have to say that being home full time for 30 days now has really changed my view of moms who "work at home."  My head is split 3 different directions each hour of the day. I am trying to give each kid attention, clean the house, mentally stimulate the 4 year old. Plus nurse the the 31 month old and the 14 month old.

Some days my brain daydreams what it would be like to be with my co-workers. However, I want to stay the course and stay focused on my kids.  Here is a quote from an Ellen G. White Book called Child Guidance.

It is the privilege of parents to take their children with them to the
gates of the city of God, saying, “I have tried to instruct my children to
love the Lord, to do His will, and to glorify Him.” To such the gate will
be thrown open, and parents and children will enter in. But all cannot
enter. Some are left outside with their children, whose characters have
not been transformed by submission to the will of God. A hand is
raised, and the words are spoken, “You have neglected home duties.
You have failed to do the work that would have fitted the soul for
a home in heaven. You cannot enter." 

I desire to have each of my children walk through those pearly gates with me. Some days I am left exhausted and filled with tears and frustration.  I pray my daily family worship time, readings from the Bible, and talking to our Heavenly Father would impact my kids.  I must do everything I can to point my children to the path that leads to Christ.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beyond the Sling Book by Mayim Bialik Book Review

Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik 
Why I like this book:
Mayim is a vegan, co-sleeping, gentle discipline kind of girl.

We also are vegan in this household. We slowly took items out of our menu. The pork, chicken and turkey went first. I am talking with my kids about how if they want to eat "clean meats" (like chicken and turkey) when they are 18, they may eat those meats.  I love how Mayim talks of how she brings her vegan bran muffins to birthday parties. 

We make homemade muffins with blueberries, oats, flax seed, and pureed squash. I bring the muffins to La Leche Meetings, outings and now I have the confidence to bring them to birthday parties too.  The kids love the muffins and now the 4 year old can make them almost by himself.  

I did not start co-sleeping til my 3rd kid, out of the need to get more rest and deal with the toddlers during the day. However, there is much research that points to the positives of having mother and baby in close proximately to each other.  I really like having baby in my room also, as I barely wake up during feedings and he doesn't get so upset before I pick him up. Mayim talks of all the positives of co-sleeping and how to co-sleep safely or have baby sleeping near mama. 

I agree Mayim's approach to discipline.  She recommends spending as much time as possible with your kid. This way you can get to know your kid and know the specific style of parental guidance that is warranted for each kid.  Mayim has a PhD and is in the TV business, however she took time out of her career to build relationships with her two kids. She also does not allow her kids to watch television.  She feels that her kids could be doing better things with her time. She also does not even do "educational toys."  She speaks of how her kids are a "bit delayed" in their speech and some growth patterns. However, they are able to focus better on certain tasks. Instead Mayim has a very simple playing style with kids. Wooden toys and pots/pan etc. I have also noticed that my kids love to play with "adult items" such as brooms, pans, and toilet paper. I would like to think that their frontal lobe is developing in a more positive manner than most "mainstream kids."  

The whole gentle discipline thing is newer to me. I struggle with talking my two year old through each frustrating moment and temper tantrum. Many times she needs to go potty when she is having a temper tantrum, or it is a transition from one activity to another. Other times she is just tired and her brain is not functioning at 100%.  Here is a quote I really like: "Gentle Discipline can work for every child, and every parent, if we only invest the time and energy to make it happen with consistency, authenticity, and love." Another point she makes is the question: "Is the physical punishment really working? Well, research indicates that physical punishment fails to promote long term compliance and is actually correlated with less internalization of appropriate behavior and compliance.  In addition, many studies report the more defiant they are and the less likely they are to show empathy for others.  Throughout the world, physical punishment is associated with increased psychological maladjustment and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as drug and alcohol abuse (Bialik, 2013)."  

The whole punishment route does not help explain to the child why a certain behavior is not appropriate. Many of the incarcerated persons I have worked with were disciplined in harsh manner. Gentle discipline takes every once of energy right out of you. But I believe in the end my kids will understand the importance of why I am guiding them on a certain path. 
                                                     Starting the day with chamomile tea.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Raised Garden Beds

West side of the house. Green Pepers, Red Peppers, Green Beans, Broccoli.  Broccoli didn't do so well, but the leaves grew so we roasted the leaves like a kale plant. 
 Side of the House; carrots and beans. Facing South but trees on that side of the house.
  Front of the house, facing east.  Squash, radishes, green beans.