Wednesday, August 24, 2011

24 Hours

We all have 24 hours in a day. The President has 24 hours in a day. Mother Teresa had 24 hours in her days. Whether you have 1 child, no children, 8 children- you get 24 hours.

I spend the vast majority of my hours feeding children, cleaning and picking up 2500 sq ft of farmhouse, playing with 3 children, answering questions, breaking up fights, changing/washing/folding diapers, volunteering and coordinating a mom's group, working in the garden, etc. I also coupon and blog.

I coupon to save us money. We went from a family of 3 to a family of 5 in five months and yet our income didn't change at all. Something had to give. I had thought couponing was all junk food so I didn't give in to it for months but when we needed groceries and didn't have much money to buy them I knew I needed to do something. So I coupon. We have over 30 tubes of Colgate and Crest toothpaste in the basement. They were pennies away from being free. Pasta, crackers, body wash, deoderant, razors, granola bars, laundry detergent, floss, mouth wash, baby food, milk......all FREE. So no, it's not all Pop Tarts and icecream. I have actually NEVER couponed Pop Tarts and I buy icecream because my husband is stinking addicted and always requests it. The majority of what I coupon for is healthy. Last week I got Hamburger Helper. They paid me .20 for every 10 boxes I took. I'll use them or donate them and bottom line is it took about 5 minutes in couponing prep and they were FREE.
I blog because my brain needs the outlet. I am smart. I believe that I am. Not Albert Einstein smart by any means but I'll admit sometimes I'm in a room and think, "did so and so really just say that?" or I'll read something and think, "did they really just spell that word like that?" I can't help it. My brain notices stuff like that. In the same way if someone sings a song out of tune and my ears hear it and my head tilts and I try to counter that 'nails on a chalkboard' feeling that is happening in my brain.....I notice stuff like that. I don't have a paying job that allows me to use my brain, so I use my brain teaching my children, volunteering, couponing, and blogging. My day often begins at 6:30am with the baby and goes til about midnight or 1am most nights. Jacob goes to bed at 9pm so I crave the evening as MY time and time with my husband without any children needing us (or that's the goal anyway). This is also when I blog. Midnight blogging is the best. I'm tired enough to not be so inhibited and afraid of what I say. This might also be when people would likely be offended. But you know what? It's my blog. Don't read it if you can't handle it.

There are some 'friends' who judge us, berate us, belittle us, and make us feel like less of a person when we are around them. Then there are real friends who validate, encourage, uplift, and make us feel like a better person when we are around them.
I feel that with real friends a person, especially a busy mother, shouldn't have to explain what she does with her day. As a mother it should go without saying how exhausting, wonderful, frustrating, and also fabulous being a parent is. And if you haven't had the joy of navigating the pre-teen years yet....just you wait :) We should be cheering each other on with "you are amazing!" "how do you do it all?" "you are the best mother!" "your children adore you!" "I'm so proud of and in awe of you!" get the idea. NOT judging how another mother spends her time or what she's feeding her family or what her kids are wearing. You know, some people eat Hamburger Helper because it's literally all they can afford. Don't judge it! When I get toothpaste and shampoo and conditioner for free it means I can take that money and buy produce with it. Novel idea, right?

I saw a question on the Birth Without Fear (love her!) Facebook page several weeks ago, "how much do you spend on groceries per month?" MOST people answered more than $500. Quite a few actually said $800 or $1000. I wanted to cry reading that. At the time with our current situation I was trying to figure out how to make $225 feed 5 people for a month and buy all our toiletries. It wasn't working. Couponing has helped a ton. It also means that stuff I wouldn't normally buy I can buy and my kids can have the occasional fun treat or luxury- like Gushers or Rice Crispy Treats :) But it also means that all that stuff someone else might pay for: greek yogurt, Tillamook Cheese, pasta, etc....I got for free. Now honestly the goal isn't FREE. The goal is getting stuff we need for the best price I can. Sometimes that's free sometimes it's not. I do what I can with the amount of time I can. A few hours a week tops.

Anyway, I'm not sure the point of this blog post exactly, but I guess my point is that mothers work hard. There is no break, it's a constant job. If you are lucky enough to have your husband's help in the mornings or evenings count it a blessing! Many mothers do not have help because their husband is working his tail off to provide for the family.

Encourage your mama friends. Validate their work and their effort. Tell them how beautiful and selfless they are. Tell them their children seem so loved and special. Tell them their house looks wonderful. Tell them you admire them.
Life tends to break us down quite a bit on it's own, lets not do it to our friends.

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