Thursday, December 18, 2008

let's try this again

Ok, so what I meant to write yesterday was that when I took our children to gymnastics on Monday, I really wished that I had remembered to bring my camera.

Because, training alongside my four-year-olds, were world-class athletes from the nearby Olympic Training Center.

It turns out that our children's gymnastics coach lends her support to help several of the athletes in flexibility training. I've seen the athletes at the gymnastics complex before. And they've seen me, trying to get four little people to all walk in the same direction.

When I've commented to them that I am really impressed at their ability to do back handsprings across the floor, they have commented to me that they are really impressed I can manage four small children with two arms.

This group of athletes consists of both men and women and any one of them could easily grace the cover of a Wheaties box.

They are athletes that have participated in the Olympics - and/or - are hopefuls for the next Olympic games.

Seeing these athletes up close who have devoted their lives to their sport and are at the absolute height of physical fitness and on their way to representing our country in the next Olympic games, helping my little children on the bars - or beam - or pommel horse - and then giving them high fives when the session is over, conjures up a feeling in me I can't quite describe.

On Monday, while standing in the lobby and looking through the large plate glass window in to the gymnasium, my eyes welled with tears as I imagined our children stepping up on the podium to recieve their gold medals as they clutched their bouquets of fresh flowers while the Star Spangled Banner played overhead and they gazed up at the American flag hanging before them.

I can dream, right?

At home, our children are watching their father prepare for his next triathlon in March. And they're watching their mother have small nervous breakdowns almost daily. Which believe me, that burns a lot of calories. I'm down three pant sizes since last year at this same time.

Since childhood obesity is on the rise, I'm really thankful that I am able to surround our children with such positive influences for physical activity (and borderline mental stability) at this point in their young lives. And I'm also excited about the various sports we will enroll our children in next year, when they are out of school, and will need an outlet to burn COPIOUS amounts of four-year-old energy so that when they come home they are completely exhausted and ready to sleep.

Ah yes. I can dream.

Sometimes I think that I need to put a filter on my thoughts.

Or at a minimum, the thoughts that I express here.

Whenever time allows and I have the opportunity to visit other blogs, I am always surprised at how upbeat they are. Children don't fight. Parents don't freak out. There are no poopy diapers being flushed down toilets by four-year-olds at 5 AM. They chase their cloth-diapered babies in fields of green clover and drink organic goat milk and fresh carrots as a snack in their modest homeschool classroom, while plentifully living on a single income budget.

Raising voices and spanking, it doesn't happen.

They would never yell at or swat at the people they love!

Then there's me. Never quite able to figure it out. Not quite sure what to do next. Wondering when I'm going to get my game on, consistently. Taking everything in my life one step at a time. Backing up and doing things differently. Not sure where we'll be a year from now. Not sure what we'll have for dinner three hours from now.

Frequently overwhelmed that motherhood is the most important job that I will ever have in my entire life ... but often believing that God shouldn't have entrusted me to a task more complex then making sure our toilets are clean.

You mean it is MY job is to mold and influence four small people?

You mean that they are watching me during my good moments and not so good moments and storing all of these experiences that they have with me - their first teacher, away in their brain as part of the operation manual that they will rely upon as they go out in to the world?

Get the smelling salts. I think I'm blacking out.

While I don't think people should make it common practice to air their dirty laundry on the internet, it sure would help ME if every so often they did. I can't tell you how nice it would be if just once I could step away from the computer and think, "Wow. I'm not the only one."

So, please send me a link if you write a post that will make me feel better about my often sub-par parenting moments. And if it's a really good post (or bad, depending upon whether you are the one that had the experience), I might even send you a box of Joe-Joe's.

(They always help me.)

By the way. Jesus was found.

I discovered him under my pillow this morning.

I like to think that he was gently placed there by small hands who probably figured I needed some Heavenly contact ... and not lost when the kids were jumping on the bed.


  1. Oh you are not the only one :) I only have one 4yr old, a 2yr old, and a newborn and often read your blog and am amazed at how well you handle 3 4yr olds lol. You definitely get out and do more with them than me. Yesterday my boys emptied out a large thing of baby powder in the playroom, opened their window and threw a toy car out on the snow covered roof and wanted to go out and get it, and took half the ornaments off the tree. And a few days ago they got into the office through the locked door, childproof knob, and hook latch at the top and ripped into one of their Christmas presents. Daily I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to have kids, how can I possible be a good enough mom?! I just hardly write about this stuff cuz I don't tell stories nearly as well as you lol.

  2. Here's one of my finer parenting moments.

    I used to write a ton about the crazy insane, make me want to kill them things my kids did. But as they get older, they are in school more, so I talk about missing them.

  3. Well, I don't blog because most of my "mommy moments" are pretty normal, by which I mean, not perfect. Not even close to perfect. I can't even imagine opening up my life for analysis/inspection/judgement by virtual strangers on the internet. You are brave (and maybe crazy, but crazy in a good way). Just know that what you write is true for so many of us, whether we care to admit it or not. And please don't waste time wishing you were any 'better' or any more 'perfect' or any different. You are a fantastic mother and role model just the way you are.

  4. You know, I do try to keep my blog more upbeat because my grandma reads it. And if it's sad or crazy, she calls me in a panic. But I do have those days. And days where I just want to pull my hair out and scream or run away and change my name. I am NOT MOMMY anymore, type of thing. Here's an example:

  5. I personally am not much of a blogger more a lurker. But trust me I only have one wee one and she wears me out. You are my hero that each day you even get out of bed. Just as I typed this RED fell into the kitty litter I have on the main floor due to the brilliant idea of getting them a kitten for recent birthdays. NICE! Anyway I have given my sisters blog link before. She is a crack up with three wee ones.
    Good luck on your search!

  6. Do you want me to link the post again where Austin crapped on the oncologist's floor, while the other kids locked me out of the waiting room? Would that get me a box of Joe Joe's?

    Or how about my post yesterday, where my husband told me I was NEGATIVE during the children's entire toddlerhood.

    Or how about when my kids cut up their trampoline with scissors because their teacher told them to PRACTICE CUTTING at home and then I beat them all within an inch of their lives?

    What am I missing here?

    Now I've got to run back to the clover because my goat needs milking!

  7. You are not the only one!!!! I think we all have craziness b/c of a life with kids- but when the good times happen we want to blog about them to remember.

    Here is my post from a couple weeks ago:

  8. I don't blog so it may not help to hear from someone that does not share your bravery. But I do share your frustrations. I wonder about my parenting skills each and every day. Hang in there. You're doing great.

  9. Jen, you are definitely not the only one. I feel your pain. I know of other bloggers that feel it too. You can read many posts just like yours on my blog at . I just haven't had much time to write lately. I went back to work and when I'm not working I'm chasing half naked babies. We have entered the potty training phase. I know that you know how much fun that is. I wish I could find Jesus under my pillow.


  10. I wrote about my longing for an invisibility cloak. Does that count? I only have twins and frequently am overwhelmed. I had a tantrum when picking them up from play school the other day and told them that if they didn't start behaving I wouldn't let them EVER come back EVEN for their Christmas party.
    I think parenthood alone will make you question your sanity and mental stability. Multiply that times four and I'm certain you are doing an admirable job.
    Hell, I admire your bravery in just venturing out of the house with four. Sometimes, I feel homebound with two (make that snowbound tomorrow!).
    Hang in there.
    I also think that people who blog about how wonderful their children are and about their utopian lives are simply great fiction writers.

  11. Well I haven't written any posts because I'm too lazy...but I feel like despite my best efforts, this past month I have constantly yelled at my almost three year old for putting all manner of things in the cats' water bowl, tipping a HUGE bottle of bubble mix on the tiles, stepping on her baby sister with shoes... She is also reluctant to toilet train (though I know she can as she has), sticks stickers on carpet and furniture despite repeated pleas to stick them only on paper, and chucks tantrums over not being allowed icecream at 7am in the morning. I love her to bits but I do NOT have the patience of a saint and if there were three of her I'd be on incredibly strong medication by now!

  12. Big time lurker delurking just quickly (cause it's 5:40pm and also known as crazy hour) to say this is exactly the reason I do read your blog, Jen. You keep it real. Thanks for that, because parenting is hard and I am sick of feeling like I'm doing it wrong ;)

    "I can't tell you how nice it would be if just once I could step away from the computer and think, "Wow. I'm not the only one." " - this quote sums it up for me; every time I read one of your posts I am assured my kids are normal, but more importantly, that I am normal.

  13. Very cool about the gymnastics and, yes, a mom can dream! lol

    And, just to prove that others are human in their blogs, here is me, recently revealing my humanity in what I don't consider to be my finest moment:

    Personally, i appreciated your post yesterday. You were honest and there isn't a single one of us who hasn't had a day like that. What's the point of blogging if it's not real?


  14. I don't keep a blog but if i could link you directly to my thought process, it would make you feel much better. I love your blog, beause it often grounds me and makes me realize i'm not the only one going slowly insane from the "simple" task of trying to parent my children.

    Thanks always!! - Ali

  15. I don't have a blog but can tell you that everyday I read your blog I feel like I am reliving the last 24 hrs with my 4 yr old twins. I can validate that everything you write about in your blog I have either just dealt with the same thing or will soon deal with it too.

    I too loose my cool more often then I would like to admit. I too spank and give time outs, chuck toys in the garbage or outside the patio door, raise my voice daily, and on and on. However, can't say that I ever experienced the flushing of a dirty diaper...THANK GOD for missing that experience, not sure how I would have handle that.

  16. They chase their cloth-diapered babies in fields of green clover and drink organic goat milk and fresh carrots as a snack in their modest homeschool classroom, while plentifully living on a single income budget.(my babies are cloth diapered and the toddler does drink Goats milk so much easier for her to digest and we do have a single income by the GRACE of GOD my husband has an amazing job…….but he travels a lot more than I want him too) oh and the homeschooling ain’t no way in hell I KNOW I would kill my 5 year old we are to much the same I am lucky to have found a great charter (candeo)
    Raising voices and spanking, it doesn't happen. OH YES IT DOES!
    They would never yell at or swat at the people they love!SEE Above!
    Not sure what we'll have for dinner three hours from now. YEAH this!
    You mean that they are watching me during my good moments and not so good moments and storing all of these experiences that they have with me - their first teacher, away in their brain as part of the operation manual that they will rely upon as they go out in to the world? Crap when u put it that way!

    Get the smelling salts. I think I'm blacking out.OMG LOL!

    the kids were jumping on the bed………….EVERY.Single.Day…………..

    OK Lady you are some kind of funny! I just want you to know that you yes you are the one who reminds me that I am normal I would die if I didn’t read about your REAL WORLD!
    Seriously I would send u some honey from my friends farm just to say thanks if I had your address!

    Please don’t filter your thoughts you are amazing!
    Merry Christmas,

  17. Check out McMama at - every week she publishes a rhetoric "Not Me" - some of the things she "didn't" do during the previous week in parenting 4 young ones!

  18. I totally lost it last week. I did post about what happened, but I did leave out the details such as me handing Stinx to Dad so I could go to the living room and beat up our couch cushions with a back scratcher!
    Then there was the time I took out my motherhood nap frustrations on the youngest kid I babysit:

  19. If you want to feel better, go read my blog. My older twins are busy flusing toothbrushes down toilets while the little twins scream and projectile vomit on me as I'm chasing down the older boys who are trying to kill each other in my kitchen. And though I WANT to quietly and calmy ask the children if they are making good choices and suggest a better play activity, instead I find myself yelling so loudly that the windows rattle. You are soooo not alone.

  20. Here, for your reading pleasure, are three different posts from my blog...

    First, an example of my son (granted, he's learning disabled) getting in trouble:

    And then, an example of my daughter's behavior that never fails to send me over the edge:

    And finally, my best poop story. It's from three years ago, when my son was an infant, but it's the best one I've got:


    This was a while ago, but still one of my most memorable days!

  22. Okay, I'm back because I was thinking of your post tonight and I think I know why you get so frustrated and go off. You are a neat and orderly person. You like things in their place. You've written that when things are cluttered and messy, your brain stops working correctly.

    The very definition of having triplets and a baby are "chaos", which is the exact opposite of your nature. The constant clutter and whirlwind must have your brain in a near constant frenzy.

    For instance, I was alone all day with mine. In a matter of a half an hour while I tried to print my Christmas letters, they ate a bag of candy from their Christmas party, tore the little papers off and left them all over the floor, picked all the coconut that was the beard on their Santa cookies off and threw it under the table, took all their Christmas books off the shelf and threw them all over the living room, took the newspaper and threw it all over the books, then took all their stuffed animals and blankets and made "nests" behind the chairs in the living room. They also got out all their crayons and drew on literally 40 sheets of paper and then took out the hole punch and punched holes out. Then they took the sparkly doodads and glued them al over the papers and the holes and doodads were all over the floor on top of the coconut. In the other room, they took all the pillows off the couch and created a slide. Gregory and Austin drug out all their submarine parts and Sarah and Amanda started a tea party.

    I don't even blog about this stuff. This is how it is every single day here. You know what I did? I said, "Get in the car and let's go see Uncle Mark." He's at Greg's mom's and just got in from Michigan today. So I got in the car with all that mess at home and just LEFT. You should have seen Greg when we got home tonight. It's like I married the male version of YOU.

    I don't see how I can tell you anything that will make raising all these kids easier, because I sincerely doubt you will wake up tomorrow and ever feel comfortable living in a PIG STY. But if you can somehow get a personality transplant........... of a pig, things would be much easier.

    I share this wisdom for free, grasshopper.

  23. Oh I really wish I could help you with the real life blogging thing. I occasionally do a "keeping it real" type post, but my retellings of our less than stellar moments never turn out quite as funny or powerfully truthful as yours do.... that and I'm really trying to keep my hubbies spirits up while he's in Iraq missing all his girls. I do love reading and get lots of inspiration here from your blog... so thanks for all your honesty!!

  24. I love coming by here because you keep it real, as in sane. I do know what you are getting at with all the fluffy sweetness at some bloggers. And yes while it is all fine and dandy you must balance it with dose of real. Thank you for doing so! Here's a couple of other bloggers I find that keep it real.


    These gals are great also!

  26. more keeping it real,

  27. OK... you're going to have a gymnastics problem with Carolyn, because she's already taller (& older) than most of the Chinese National Gymnastics team!

    You're kids are NORMAL! Hello!!! NORMAL! I have hung out with you guys enough to see that your kids are like all other 4 year olds! I promise!!!

    Now, being your (probably) only jewish friend, I'm so glad you found Jesus under your pillow and NOT with the poopy diaper in the toilet!! I truly mean that!!!

  28. Please, please, please don't filter!
    I was just telling Hubby how much more creative (and less violent) your threats are. As a matter of fact my amazing mother, who just happens to be a psychologist, said that she's going to use the "I'll eat you whole" threat. Priceless!

  29. I don't even have kids, but had my 2 yr old niece for nearly a month, and I yelled and swatted. I'm guessing that's why God made me infertile. Those poor would-be-babies. LOL


    And dude, totally send me some JoeJoes no Trdaer Joe's here.. only *gasp* candy cane oreos!

    I love you Jen. You're a great Mom. :-)

  30. dear jen,
    I have not read the comments or personal emails that lead you to write this post.
    BUT forget about them, the comments above should once again remind you that you're not any different. You're just gifted with excellent sense of humour and an extrovert personality. Oh and probably you're less insecure than what you like to think, otherwise you would not be questioning yourself so openly!
    I like you, your blog and your crazy family.
    My advice (unsolicited I admit) is that sending them to school (maybe to a different one, closer to home) and being without them for some part of the day may give you the energy, mental and physical, to deal with them the rest of the day!!!
    have a nice christmas

  31. Oh don't you worry for one second. I am delurking here - have been reading your blog for a long time and I can't remember how I got linked long ago. You sound like a wonderful mother...I have one child, age 2, with another to arrive in about 5 weeks and I can tell you that there are days when you have it MUCH more together than I do. I love and appreciate your honesty. Being home with children is a rewarding, but HARD job. You are doing great!

  32. I'm raising teenagers and yesterdays WAS. NOT. GOOD. on the parenting front. However, since my daughter reads my blog I cannot post about how I am longing for an icepick because poking my own eye out would be more pleasant than dealing with teenage angst some days.

    Believe me, if my kids couldn't read (and based on my son's grades, I guess I should wonder) you'd get lots of juicy tidbits over on my blog.

    As a parent who is a little farther along in the journey I'd just like to remind you that sometimes it really is okay to be kind to yourself and not worry so much about whether you are doing it right.
    I've decided that most of us really are doing it right with a few glitches along the way.

  33. Oh, if only I had been blogging when my kids were wee. My blog would have been filled with such posts, and I'm sure it would have led CPS to my door.

    Now my kids are 6 and 8, so the insanity has just morphed into "oh my god my girls are getting older that skirt is too short don't even LOOK at boys do I really have to talk to you about your period wipe off that lip gloss don't DANCE like that you did NOT just call me a stupid idiot!"

  34. I promise, you're not the only one! On Thanksgiving I wanted to leave my husband & daughter at home & just take the baby to my Aunt's house! I certainly appreciate you making me feel like I'm not the only one who feels this way.

  35. You are SO not the only one. I don't blog but I love reading yours because it makes me laugh and I realize that somebody else out there has the same issues as me. I have a 2 1/2 year old who is giving me gray hair as I speak. I work full time which to me is like a daily vacation. I feel guilty that I relinquish his daily care to others but for me, I HAVE to. My sanity depends on it. I admire you tremendously that you stay home as much as you do with 4!! You are my hero. Keep on blogging!!

  36. I love reading your blog, mainly because you are still going at it day after day, even when the chaos is overwhelming. It's amazing the number of one-child SAHM blogs out there talking about all the things they just couldn't get done, or how unbelievably busy they are, and how life is "omg, sooooo stressful."

    My suggestion is the next time you're having one of these parenting moments, you stop, close your eyes and imagine your house with just one child. Pick a child, any child. Imagine the things you'd get done, the heights you would climb, the things you would do in your leisure hours. Looks pretty nice doesn't it?

    Now imagine one of these one-child SAHMs with all your children. 'Nuff said.

    In short, you're Super Mom, but you just need perspective sometimes to remember it!

  37. You are not alone. I don't post on my blog any more (many reasons, one being that I couldn't seem to keep up the goats milk and fields of clover view that everyone else had of their kids - whilst I was struggling along with PPD and a child who whacked their newborn baby sister). I love the refreshing honesty of your blog. If you were posting stuff about how your triplets were sitting down quietly reading etc etc, it would not be anywhere near as entertaining, interesting or realistic - I'd be sitting there thinking 'this woman is LYING!'. And I'd not be commenting here, as I wouldn't be reading your blog.

    As for changing your mind every five minutes - I do that all the time. I have applied to schools for my son to start in September 09, and I still can't make up my mind which one to send him too - and probably won't until it is 'too late'. But that's ok. Circumstances change. I certainly don't envy your decisions regarding schooling, as you have the income situation to handle too (my husband would always earn more than me, so it's easy for me to stay home, especially in this economy). But whatever you decide, it will be the right decision for You at that particular point in time. And you will always question it, as you are a good mother who cares about the welfare of your children more than sticking to a decision just for the sake of it.

    Keep up the great writing - and remember you are a great parent, and your kids are perfectly normal and really rather cute!

  38. because my kids are mostly grown, my blog tends not to chronicle my misadventures as the crazed, chronically manic mother of toddlers from years ago.

    but trust me when i tell you that you are NOT alone.

    and one day, when those four little angels are adults (yes, it WILL happen), you can regale them -- and thoroughly embarrass them -- with tales of poop and behavioral horror.

    it will be worth it then. i promise. :-)

  39. I don't think there are alot of people out ther that can tell a story as good as you. I will admit I am a lzy blogger and i mainly blog so my daughter's foster family in Guatemala can see pictures of her, so I really just write a little blurb about the pictures. The reason everyone loves your blog so much is because you are real, we all are goign thru the crazy emotions and stress, maybe not to your extent with 4 times as much but we love it becuase it makes us feel better. I hope you get some other people out there that aren't lazy blogger's to let you in on there's, because I also feel a little ill at the perfect children but mostly the freakin perfect husbands, good lord I didn't know there was such a thing.

  40. Oy. I only have one and sometimes I am barely vertical on my bad days.

    Getting out in public with a 17 month old and 4 trips? It'd never happen with me. I come here to read your stories because you make me feel normal. I keep telling myself if you can do what you do, then I can handle my 15 month old. But then I have moments like last night that I just lose my temper and yell. AT A 15 MONTH OLD.


    You stories keep me sane Jen. Keep writing your thoughts...some of us need the hope. LOL!

  41. Jen, I can't tell you how well you and charlie are doing. Don't sweat, it will all turn out, just make sure they are safe. I remember how tough it was sometimes, if it wern't for MY Hubby, I would have set out for the adoption route. Boy's home of the south sounded good to me. Remember it takes two, and you have a jewel. It all goes by so fast, enjoy enjoy enjoy. Aunt Grace

  42. I concur with most of your guests that you are an excellent writer, and you verbalize what every mother thinks. Add in the fact that you multiply it by 3, and you have INSANITY!

    It is interesting what you point out that some blogs are all about happy, happy, joy, joy. I may be guilty of that since whenever I attempt a "RANT BLOG", it comes out like I'm a whiner - not funny or interesting.

    But you got me thinking...

  43. I used Santa against my daughter the other night. So much for perfection here.


  44. I know what you mean. I'm just a lurker, not a blogger, and several of the blogs I love to read makes it sounds as though the families (with two or three times the children I have) are all living the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. By that, I don't mean old-fashioned. I mean that everyone seems to get along really well, even though they are all at home being home schooled. Nobody ever blogs about the number of times a day they had to say "stop touching your brother and keep your hands to yourself!" If I ever did start a blog, that's probably what it would say every day and people would get bored and not read it anyway.

  45. Please don't filter your life.
    You are NOT alone; I mostly blog about general stuff b/c I am in no way as funny or eloquent as you. Occasionally I can bring the funny - you always bring the funny.

    Keep on keepin on!

  46. I'm working on a post about an argument I had with a man who informed me across a restaurant parking lot, "Hey lady, you could use some parenting classes!"

  47. I love your blog for the truth you speak. I also love this blog.. because she also tells it like it really is in her life with 2 sets of twins. I have everyone in my family reading mine so I can't even start to get negative on it or I have my Mother calling me.

  48. Here are a couple for you Jen. You are definitely not the only one!

    Here's the one I wrote after shutting Eve's finger in a door:

    And here's one about a morning-long quest to buy decongestant with three snotty sick toddlers in tow:

  49. Yeah ... uh ... I read your blog because you seem much more under control than me!!!!

    I once blogged about the top ten things I've done wrong with my triplets so far: