My Three Sons

I am the proud mother of three beautiful boys, Adam age six, Eli age four, and Joseph age one.

Adam is the oldest and, as the oldest, he is sweet and feels the need to take on responsibility for everything. He is in the first grade this year. While he does well academically, I am always worried about his young age. He turned six late August and will more than likely be the youngest in his class.  He is currently obsessed with roller coasters and American Ninja Warrior. We watch roller coaster videos on YouTube together, and he plays roller coaster with his cars. He also enjoys building Ninja Warrior courses out of Legos to run his men through, and when that doesn’t work, my living room furniture serves as his own private course.  I often wonder how long before he breaks a bone!

Eli is the cream in the Oreo sandwich – sweet, in the middle, and unique from the other two. Just recently he was diagnosed with level two moderate to severe autism. He is almost four and is a little sponge, soaking up everything around him. He has always marched to the beat of his own drum; it may be the autism in part, but I believe that is just who he is. He is cute and quirky and just plain lovable.

Joseph is one and, so far, my most adventurous one. I am sure he fully embodies the whole youngest-child persona. He is demanding and defiant (yep, even at one year). I catch glimpses of his personality every day, like when he is crawling toward the entertainment center for the fourteenth time and I tell him no; he will look at me with a sly smile and continue his crawl anyway. Oh my, we are in trouble!

Being the mom of these three boys is the most challenging and rewarding job I have ever had. There are times I feel like I may lose my mind and there are times I am so amazed that they are mine!  I can’t wait to share more stories of our adventures together with you!

Perfect Mom

It all started with a New Year’s resolution. A few years ago, I was the young, bright-eyed mother of two boys – one newly born and one barely two. I also had a picture in my head of what I thought I should be as a mother.

On this particular New Year’s eve,  I decided to pick one goal to help me achieve my dream of parenting perfection: No more food from a box or can. That’s right, if I wanted mashed potatoes, it was time to start peeling. I would only buy fresh produce to wash, chop, and cook myself. Not only was I going to cook these fabulous meals every day,  I would do it after coming home from a full time job as a teacher.

I kept this going for about 4 months. We had some pretty amazing meals. Somewhere around April my husband came into the kitchen to find me preparing the nightly meal with tears streaming down my face. Dinner was coming later and later.  I was exhausted from trying to do it all. More than that, feeling the whole weight of the housework, meal preparation, taking care of beautiful little boys, and a full time career. I was devastated! I am not one for woman stereotypes, believe me,yet I could not get that whole “Leave It To Beaver” fantasy out of my head. I wanted to be the perfect mom and wife, and I was slowly killing myself trying to accomplish it.

So, women, why do we do this to ourselves? I have a theory that it all boils down to value. We place value on ourselves for what we can do, how our children behave, and how our husband treats us. That is dangerous territory right there! The moment my kids act up in the store or are in public looking less than pristine, I feel embarrassed, that people will think I am a terrible mother. When my house is messy and I am living out of laundry baskets to survive, I hide away, not inviting anyone in to my home; I am too ashamed.  If someone is critical of my cooking, children, husband, housekeeping, dress, hair, make up, I feel rejected and worthless.

Now imagine how this is impacted even more with the unpredictability of a child with autism.

This is why I am writing this blog – to share with you a little secret: you are not alone!

If there is one thing I have learned from raising three boys (with one on the spectrum) is the relief in knowing that I am not the only person out there that goes to bed with a sink full of dishes or a laundry basket of unfolded clothes. Sometimes dinner is the quickest meal I can find, not the most fancy or organic. Being honest with myself and others takes a huge weight off my shoulders. Suddenly, I do not have to keep up appearances anymore.  I can be just me.

As you read my blog, my friend, I pray you find encouragement, hope, and a knowledge that you are not alone.