We do two Thanksgiving meals: one around noon with Bryce’s family, and one around 5:00 with my family. This year–for the first time ever–I did not eat dessert at either of them. Why? Because I now have two children, and I don’t know what I’m doing. I felt rushed, a little hot, and distracted.
As a mom who works out of the home Monday-Friday, I was ecstatic about having some extra days off with my boys. Well, there was a lot of cuteness, and they totally wore me out.
Last year, before Hyatt, a dear friend came to visit the day after Thanksgiving. We did things like go out to dinner and the mall while my mom babysat, and we took Lincoln to a wintry tailgate, and we went running, etc., etc. I remember we ate at a normal pace.
This year has been different. How do you parents who stay home with your kiddos every day do it? Do you have helpful habits and tolerance and schedules? Do you lower your expectations, build mud castles inside the house, and have a really good sense of humor? Do you eat?
Please email/Facebook/comment/text me all of your secrets.
At one point during Thanksgiving gathering #1, I went outside with Lincoln. (Gram was holding Hyatt.) Something upset him, and in an effort to cheer him up, I suggested we play Simon Says. This inevitably piqued the interest of the other little ones, and a moment later I was getting a critical mass of cousins ages 2-9 to jump up and down, cluck like a chicken, and run around in a circle. I thought to myself, “Oh yeah. I do this. I was a camp counselor. Remember? I can handle lots of kids and have fun.”
FACT: I keep a picture from my camp counselor days on my desk at work as a reminder to embrace chaos.
Then one of the cousins suggested we play hide-and-go-seek. “YEAH!” all the kids exclaimed. They darted off, behind cars, behind the house, and into the woods. Okay. That made me uncomfortable. I called for backup. I need to be able to see every child with my eyes.
As a camp counselor, I co-led a group of twelve children; six boys and six girls. We took the elementary-schoolers on overnight, sometimes rain-soaked, camping trips out in the woods. We took the middle-schoolers on multiple-day canoe trips. We took the high-schoolers on the Appalachian Trail. We saw bears and copperheads.
I’ve shown children how to start fires and cook over coals. I’ve taught them songs, helped them rock-climb, and convinced them cleaning bathrooms can be fun. What made that different? The presence of other adults? Peer pressure?
Look at stationary and sweet Lincoln and Hyatt. This should be easy.
The thing is, being a camp counselor was really, really hard. I remember it with rose-colored glasses, but I know there were tears and moments (more like weeks) of total exhaustion and even discouragement. The “secret” was the Gospel. We laughed and had so much fun together because God is good, and He gave us the grace to do that. He allowed us to delight in the craziness.
So, how do you parents who stay home with your kiddos every day do it? Maybe you start with…thanksgiving!