What up Almost-December???
Time is flying by, and I’m getting all “Doesn’t it seem like the year JUST started???” in my grocery store conversations like the old lady I am!
Between eating all the Thanksgiving things and decorating all the Christmas things, rolling around in all the germ things and washing all the clothes things, I got lots of things happening, as I’m sure you do.
I remember being in college and skipping an Educational Statistics Class (bleh! I threw up in my mouth a little just typing it) when there was a Dirty Jobs marathon on Discovery or if my roommate, Erin, felt like we needed to visit World Market for imported chocolate. The few (maybe more) times I decided not to show, I made sure to make mental notes about being at a THAT place in my life; to be thankful I was able to do nothing for a bit. I told myself I was going to remember as much as I could about those adventures or couch sessions and shouldn’t forget how great it felt, since you know, adulting and stuff was right around the corner.
Who even has time to hang out in tiled waiting rooms for pedicures in airports now? Sure as heck ain’t me!
This season in my life has me shuffling through those good memories pretty often since I can’t do stuff as reckless as waste time. That go, go, go, got me like “MEH!!! I JUST WANT TO BINGE WATCH THE CROWN” and sometimes I think “WHY CAN’T I JUST EAT A PACK OF LIPTON BUTTER NOODLES AND EVERYTHING BE GOOD IN THE WORLD???” when I’m having to make 3 separate dishes for dinner time.
But the chaos and lack of down time has made me hyper aware of how intentional Pat and I are in our parenting. We’re really starting to notice how the choices we’ve made in how we spend our time with our children is affecting them.
Listen, I’m working on my segues, but until then, just go with it.
I think we’re a little old fashioned with how we raise our flock. We don’t waste much time around them unless it’s reading Chronicles of Narnia together or watching some of our favorite family YouTubers before bed. Pat is constantly explaining how things work for Hank. I’m constantly trying not to pull my hair out over the latest Marnana Disciplinary Committee Advisory Board Meeting (that’s “you bout to get a whippin’ “for short). Amos is always watching what the others are doing, sometimes picking up the bad habits, and other times making us laugh. And sweet Porter? I’m at the best possible point in my mama life to enjoy every second of him because I know how fast it ends.
We’re all about quality over here, not just quantity with our time with them. And that philosophy is spilling over into all parts of Ferrell life.
Hank and MH have tablets but I’m so strict with when they get to play with them that it doesn’t really count. I have first hand experience from the daycare and classroom of what too much screen time looks like, and I want to protect my bunch for as long as possible. No one is ever allowed to play with our phones unless it’s to use the app SoundTouch (if you have kids, it’s totally worth the money!) when we’re reaching meltdown levels in public or to reward somebody. And I just finished the biggest toy and clothing purge of my life that I feel like even that lady that started the capsule wardrobe movement would be proud.
Some of that purge has to do with making room for the LuLaRoe my good friend, Lauren Elizabeth, and I have started selling. But the rest of it was because our lives had become so cluttered with STUFF that we were forgetting to enjoy each other.
The TV we watch is void of commercials, so they don’t know about what toys they should be demanding for Christmas. We encourage them to dig and run and explore, unless it’s through the Tupperware cabinet, then I’m liable to lose my mind with them. There’s a steady stream of cardboard coming through our house, so somebody is always coloring a masterpiece or building tunnels. And Pat has enough sawdust on the floor of his shop to ensure HOURS of scattering, sweeping, and “sandprints.”
With all the good stuff going on in our parenting lives, this weird sense of depravity grabs hold of me from time to time when I look at these awesome tiny people. Like, am I doing them a disservice by not giving them all the things? Hank has no clue what a Hatchimal is, and I’m ok with it, but that also means he hasn’t asked for anything for Christmas besides another pack of nerf bullets. Margaret Hannah has no interest in dolls, apart from the 2 she’s had for years, but also zero knowledge of the American Girl franchise. Is she going to feel isolated and left out when the girls club comes back to daycare in a few weeks telling all about who they got and what she was wearing? I feel like that’s a strong no, but I seem to be the one having the trouble with her being left out.
It sounds so petty, I know.
I worry that Hank isn’t wearing the same stuff as other kids at school. I fret over Amos being in hand-me-down shoes. Porter wears pajamas a good friend gave me when I was pregnant with Hank.
None of this matters, because my pack is mostly happy, well fed-ish, and have good manners. They know how to have conversations with adults and typically behave. But that doesn’t always keep me from thinking they’re missing out on STUFF.
Having to constantly stay on top of 4 revolving wardrobes makes me want to scream, “I’m never buying anyone ANY clothes EVER.AGAIN!” Living in a 3 bedroom house makes me want to scream, “NO! You cannot save another chicken feather/trophy/rock you found in the parkinglot!” Trying to keep the toys from multiplying during the night makes me want to scream, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” when there’s a reason to give somebody a gift.
And all of that is why Pat and I have been trying to be really specific with what we give everyone. Especially this Christmas. We want to be sure that if it’s time, or objects, or services they’re getting, it’s quality time, objects, and service. That occasionally leaves me at a loss for what to tell someone who asks what they might like for Christmas, or make me stutter when someone asks what do they play with. For two seconds I panic that they don’t have enough stuff in their little lives, and then I think back not on those times of sitting around doing nothing in college, but on those times I had to change out shorts for pants in everyone’s dressers. That’s when I remember that for as long as they’re happy being with each other, I’m going to encourage and embrace it instead of compare our lives and playroom to someone else’s. I know we may have some people beat in quantity of children, but if we’re talking quality, this bunch we’ve got can’t be beat.