Monday, October 15, 2007

...thoughts on mothering

Having been a mom for over 3 years now, I've come to a realization about a few things that I would like to get down on "paper". So, here goes. :)

Motherhood is all about change, and it never stops. From the moment you're preggers, your life is not the same. [Not that life, non-preggers, ever stands still or anything - but being pregnant is a HUGE change!] We're talking fluctuating emotions, fluctuating hormones , the ever-expanding waistline [the one time I didn't love shopping b/c I had to do it so often!], and sometimes the swollen feet and on it goes. And from the moment that baby is born, life is REALLY never the same - not to mention the changes that goes on with your body just to get the baby out - but I'm not going to go there with this post. ;) Then after you get over those initial sleepless nights and feel like you've gotten some sort of routine down, the baby goes through a growth spurt or something else and it all changes up again. Then there are the discipline issues and then the worrying about school/homeschool and the blah, blah, blah. But in the midst of this, there is God who grants us so much grace. I've become so reliant on it these days, asking for enough grace to get through the day with the kids, to enjoy them and to enjoy the people around me, even if they don't seem to enjoy me. :) And through this change, we grow and mature and sometimes when I take a moment to look at where I was when Aidan was first born, I am definitely not who I was and that's a good thing. :)

Now that the kiddies are older, the issue of discipline crops up mulitple times everyday. ;P After reading lots about it and asking older moms about it, I've come to realize this one thing: tt's all about the heart attitude. I can say the same thing and possibly in the same tone, but if I'm truly angry inside, the kids can tell. And now that Aidan is articulate enough, he sometimes asks me "Are you annoyed?" Doh! How could he tell? All I said was "Please take your fork from between your toes and put it into your bowl." I even tried to say it without much emotion! Anyhow, so that's another area that I've been praying into - my heart attitude. And after praying more, I realize that there is still a lot of healing that needs to take place. We had gone to a marriage conference way back [more here] that spoke of how our past (from when we might be even too little to have much cognitive memory about it) can still affect you today, causing you to have strong negative emotions about situations that shouldn't cause you to react that strongly. So, praise God for being able to fix us up, even when we don't always know what's wrong!

I had spoken to other moms about this before and we all agree that motherhood is a refining process. Through the sleepness nights, transitions, discipline issues and such, we find out who we are. I thought I was a pretty patient person. I thought I was good at giving grace. I thought I was good at giving without expecting in return. I thought I loved cooking. ;) Well, you get the idea. But I would say that I discovered some positive things about myself, too. I mean, after you give birth, or even just carried your baby for 9 months, you feel like Super Woman. [And you ARE for doing so!] So, praise God for allowing us these experiences to help us become the person that He wants us to be: free, loving, compassionate, wise, strong and fully reliant on Him. :)

I am so humbled that God chose me to be my kiddies' mom - I do feel so inadequate sometimes but I remember that God calls us to do impossible things b/c He wants us to rely on Him and have peace through it all. Sometimes, it's hard not to compare to those SuperMoms out there who seem to do everything so well. But God reminded me not to compare but to bless them and do my best, giving the hard areas to Him and have PEACE. More peace, Jesus! :)

There's more that I've learned but I haven't digested it all yet. But if anyone has anything else to share, please do!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

...yikes, all these toy recalls!!

I'm sure a lot of you have been reading or at least heard about all these toy recalls in recent months due to excessive levels of lead in the paint for toys. Not that toy recalls are uncommon but there has just been so many of them lately, it's disheartening. And after reading about the stories behind it [and who knows who has the REAL story], it's kinda confusing. The basic schpiel [from what I've gathered] is that some European company had tested some of the toys that they had made in China and found unacceptable levels of lead in them, which caused American companies to test their products, as well. Unfortunately, the more they tested, the more lead-laced toys they found, which started the massive recalls. Some companies even started recalling toys that were "suspected" to have lead in them, causing more panic in already alarmed parents. So, that frustrated me - not knowing which toys were safe for the kiddies since J still chews on them sometimes. Then it was reading all the articles in newspapers and blogs simply blaming the Chinese for this entire fiasco which also really frustrated me. In my opinion, in life, nothing is that cut and dry, black and white. There are so many sides to this story and I'm finding out even more as I read. So, in short, I'm not defending the Chinese goverment or trying to shift the blame onto someone else. And, along with the authors of the aforementioned articles, I do not agree with the Chinese government for their lack of Human Rights policies nor do I think that their government does not need better policies in terms of lead paint, etc.. OK, just wanted to cover that. :) But what I want to point out is that blaming any one party does not get us anywhere. And if you want to talk blame, this woman says it well:

"While China and the underfunded CPSC are partly to blame, so are American importers, retailers, investors and consumers, who variously demand lower prices, higher sales and increased growth - all at the expense of quality, said Mary Teagarden, a Thunderbird School of Global Management expert in offshoring. Downward price pressure exerted by big-box retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. squeezes suppliers all the way down the supply chain, Teagarden said." (article)

It makes me think: What about the American companies who are supposed to be checking up on these factories? [A side note to applaud Mattel for taking responsibility (article) for their part in this and to applaud the Melissa & Doug company for showing that it's possible to make quality, lead-free toys in China (blog entry).] Is my demand for cheaper toys contributing to this whole mess? Should I start making my own toys from organic materials grown in my backyard in organic soil? J/K! Anyhow, I'm getting off the soapbox now. I just wanted to share another perspective on this situation. Phew! :)