7 Simple Tips for Keeping a Clean House With Small Children Present

There seems to be no more difficult or challenging of an endeavor than that of keeping a tidy home when you have small children present. But I am here to tell you that it can be done.

Perhaps you’re like me and the smell of bleach is like Grandma’s apple pie to your soul. Or perhaps the sight of an empty laundry basket, albeit briefly, sets your heart aflutter, and makes you feel like, yes, everything is alright with the world.

If you’re anything like me, and you feel like Magic Eraser is the best invention ever, then you’ll appreciate these simple tips I’ve learned over the years for maintaining my home despite my raucous offspring.

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1. Clean while they’re asleep. Well this is just brilliant. I am certain this advice was devised by someone with multiple children, and I’ll bet she’s in her late thirties just like me. After all what mother wouldn’t jump at the chance to get up early and clean?

I suggest setting an alarm since you might be unable to wake on your own after being woken repeatedly during the night by a sick and/or teething baby. Just remember sleep deprivation makes you look more youthful.

Don’t worry that the vacuum or dryer may wake the children. If it does kids are great at being woken before they’re ready, and this will make for a pleasant, relaxing day with a non-cranky kiddo.

2. Let them help. Is there anything cuter than a toddler carrying around a Swiffer duster? It’s probably only rivaled by those sweet moments when they dip the duster in the commode and proceed to wet mop the furniture.

And is there any prouder moment than when you see the flood of soapy water in your kitchen floor after the preschooler finishes washing dishes?

3. Have them clean. If you’re going to let them help then why not give them full responsibility for their mess. When faced with the overwhelming task of a destroyed home and the unending responsibilities of your housework it’s always a good time to think about teaching life lessons to your young, and mentoring eager minds to the appreciation of cleanliness.

Kids are great at picking up their messes, and really only need a gentle nudge in the right direction. They are not distracted easily, never whine over the insurmountable job of cleaning their room, and seldom spend more time playing than cleaning.

4. Offer a snack. I find it extremely pleasurable to try and distract my children with food while I clean. After all you’re already washing dishes so what’s a few more?

I like to give popcorn, or really any kind of easily crushable cracker. A bright red juice is always a good choice as small children very rarely make spills.

5. Distract them with an activity. Oh yes. This always works. You will not spend more time setting up the craft than you do performing actual housework, and clean up afterwards is a cinch.

You can just put them on autopilot really. Kids do excellent with glue and scissors unsupervised.

I also like to give mine play doh. They very rarely drop thousands of tiny balls of it into the floor, and typically do not track it throughout the house.

6. Send them outside. This is probably one of my favorites. It’s a great opportunity for kids to get plenty of fresh air in those two minutes and thirty seconds before they’re begging to come back inside to use the bathroom or get a drink of water.

Mopping is so easy when kids are outside because they rarely track dirt and leaves across your clean floor the moment you finish.

I find mine don’t usually get completely filthy while outdoors to the point that I have to strip them naked on the back steps and add muddy clothing to the ever growing pile of dirty laundry. They also probably won’t need an immediate bath before touching anything.

7. Television. This is really a last ditch effort for me. I usually abstain from using the TV as a baby sitter while I do chores. My children do not know every single line and song to the movie Frozen, and I don’t play it over and over to keep them occupied.

Well there you have it. Just remember sometimes, just occasionally, people who do not have children or who have had an empty nest for twenty years and who might have forgotten that the struggle is real will tell you not to worry about cleaning. They might mention something about the importance of spending time with your babies before they’re all grown. You will have never thought of this.

I usually don’t grit my teeth knowingly while wondering if they’ve actually smelled the odor coming from my fridge.

As a rehabilitated clean freak I am pretty comfortable with the chaos of no counter space and toys everywhere. I don’t usually feel like I’m suffocating in the mess or that I might have a mental breakdown if I have to pick up one more pair of discarded shoes.

But every once and a while I feel like I might should pick up a few little things here and there, and in those rare moments where I feel like I must clean I find these seven, simple tips work like a charm.

You’re welcome.

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

I’ve always been the analytical type, and even as a child I enjoyed searching for the answer in my Mom’s Encyclopedia Brittanica. Today I have Google, and boy do I use it. But some things I just can’t find online. And some answers are hard to come by.

Some days I think I have no idea what I’m doing, and most days I am quite certain I’m doing it completely wrong.

How do you get out of the house on time?

Where do shoes go, and why is one always missing?

I don’t know.

Why do I promise myself I’ll be more patient, that I won’t yell today, but then I do it anyway?

Why do I feel like a failure, like I’m really messing up this mommy thing big time?

I don’t know what I’m doing! And I don’t know if I ever will. Completely.

How can I want to strangle my child if I hear one more whiny word? But then when I look at her I lose my breath at how completely perfect she is. And I can’t imagine letting anything in this world hurt her.

What if I have hurt her, or I’ve damaged her by saying the wrong thing, or answering the questions wrong. Or not being patient enough, loving enough, or compassionate like she deserves.

Oh God, I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m doing it all wrong.

I see them sleeping, or when the sun catches their hair. So beautiful, so perfect. And I want to get it all right. I want to do this the very best I can.

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I don’t know what I’m doing, and I feel clueless. But I know I love them.

I desire to be the best me I can be, and as long as I draw breath I will continually strive to be what they deserve.

I’ll get it wrong, so wrong. I’ll mess up, and I’ll wonder if I’ll ever figure it out. But I won’t give up.

I’ll keep trying, day in, and day out. And when I don’t know, I’ll just keep on keeping on.

I’ve never persevered so thoroughly despite my feelings of inadequacy. I’ve never wanted to succeed at something so ferociously. I have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s okay.

I’ll figure it out. And not having the answer has never been so enjoyable. How I can flourish in the face of faults is beyond me, but I do.

When I hold them close, breathing in their very essence, I feel like I’m doing okay, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I look at the precious little lives in my care, and I feel blessed. Even in my ignorance, I feel blessed, complete, and as if I could conquer the world.

When I can soothe their cries, and they say “Momma,” and “I love you;” I am complete. And I feel like I know everything I need to know at the moment.

I celebrate the small victories, and I cherish those moments when I feel like I did good. I look at my babies, and I know, I did good. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing okay. I’m doing good.

I Want to Sleep With You Baby, But…

In the early morning hours, long before even a rooster would think of waking, your cry rouses me, and I go to you quickly. I just can’t stand to hear you calling for me, and no matter how deeply I dream, when you call out, I wake.

I pull you from your crib, and your cries ease immediately as I draw your warm, tiny body to my chest. Despite my weariness, when I hug you tightly like this it just feels good, and sleep doesn’t seem to matter. Until it does.

We rock, and you fall back asleep easily, but I know better than to put you down. Not yet. And so we rock, and we rock, and I doze off too. Stiff-necked, and upright I try to drift back off, and I pray as we rock. My mind drifts in all directions, but it’s always pulled back towards the bed. After all, chair sleep just isn’t the same.

The warm bed, it calls to me, and I heft you up as I stand. You stir, you frown, and I consider taking you to bed with me. Yes, perfect. We’ll both sleep then.

I want to sleep with you, to hold you in the crook of my arm, your comforting body next to mine. I want to sleep with you baby, but I can’t. Or rather you can’t. And neither of us get any rest.

You toss, you turn. Flip, flop, like a worm in hot ash, and I wonder confused how your dear dad sleeps so soundly as you pounce back and forth.

So back to the chair we go. Just to get you back to sleep. Asleep enough to sleep on your own. I hold you close, we rock, and as I look at your angelic face I know you don’t feel well, but even Momma needs to sleep sometime.

Off to the crib we go. I creep slowly, desperate not to wake you, and I pray not to knock your noggin on a door frame in the darkness and my weariness.

Again you cry, and I wonder, is she hurting? I volley back and forth in my mind whether I would be medicating you, or medicating for myself. So we could both sleep.

I stand guard over the baby monitor trying to let you fall asleep on your own. To cry it out. But I never make it very long. The sound of your tears, the longing I hear there draws me back to you.

Two hours, and still we rock, and I doze upright, and I wonder if we shall ever sleep again. I rock, I kiss your forehead, and I pray for you. For me. For sleep. Do mommies sleep?

An hour later I lay in my bed, and you lay in yours. I watch the lights on the baby monitor, and even as I drift to sleep I think I hear your cries. I pry my eyes open, and my ears too, but I sigh in relief at the silence. And we both sleep. We both finally sleep.

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No. You’re Not a Nice Guy.

If you spend any amount of time around people you will find that there’s different kinds of folks in this world. If you work in a vocation where you serve the public you’ll notice this especially. If you are not your own boss, or you work under others, you will notice it even more.

Some that you encounter are nice, pleasant people. They’re a joy to be around, and their words and actions parallel one another. These types of people often treat others with respect, and the way they would wish to be treated.

Then there’s the other type of people. Basically take the above, imagine the exact opposite, and there you have it. My grandma used to say someone was “as mean as a snake,” and I still hear her voice and perfect description when I encounter unpleasant individuals. The venom of their vile attitude is poisonous.

But there’s also a third type of person. There’s the type of person who professes to be kind. They often attend church, and proudly title themselves a Christian. And the thing is, they still are, but their actions usually don’t line up with the character of Christ, and this is beyond bothersome to me.

In the nursing profession I’ve had the opportunity to encounter all types of personalities, and I’ve also had the unfortunate experience to be treated less than I deserve.

Often times when someone is in a position of authority over someone else their behavior can cross the line of professional, and easily become demeaning. It can also become abusive and downright mean. As a snake.

Sadly I’ve experienced this more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been called names like “circus monkey,” or had objects thrown at my face.

I’ve been told I was stupid, and I’ve been yelled at in front of others. And while I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, in all honesty most of these occurrences took place when I did absolutely nothing wrong. That somehow makes it feel even worse to me.

I recently got in a conversation with someone about the behavior of one of these not so descent people, and the fella said, “he’s actually a nice guy outside of work.” But I wasn’t buying it.

He continued, “he’s bought me dinner before.” Then he added, “he sings in the church choir.”

I’m reminded of my time as a waitress, and the poor behavior I would receive from the occasional customer who felt their main objective in life was to treat their server like a dog.

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Food service is like that. Something about serving someone makes them think they can treat you poorly, and like you are less than you are.

I have family that works in the restaurant business currently, and I hear the stories of the despicable behavior of others. We live in a small town so sometimes the irate customer is someone I know, and guess what? Nine times out of ten the words and behavior they exhibited don’t match up with the scripture they just posted on Facebook. Just being honest.

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Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

You cannot profess to be a follower of Jesus and continue to treat people poorly. I mean, I guess it’s your prerogative if you want to be mean, but be aware it doesn’t coincide with being a Christian.

You cannot go to church and smile sweetly from your pew, but then cuss out the girl in the drive-thru at McDonalds at lunch afterwards. I suppose you can, but you shouldn’t.

Just because you’re nice when it benefits you, makes you look good to the public, or elevates you socially, it doesn’t mean you’re a nice guy.

No. You’re not a nice guy. Or a nice woman.

You cannot post prayers on Facebook, but then talk down to someone who is your server in the restaurant. Or your nurse. Or your employee. Or any other human being for that matter. I guess you can, but you shouldn’t.

You absolutely cannot profess to be a Christian, but then treat people indecently. I suppose you can, but again you shouldn’t. The two, conflicting personas do not match up. They are not cohesive, and in fact you are giving the title of Christian a bad name.

When someone you have treated despicably is also searching for a relationship with The Lord will they see a clear example when they look at you?

I have prayerfully considered this post as it’s been on my mind for some time. This isn’t written out of anger, and it’s not a personal jab at anyone in particular. I’m writing this because it’s needed for the kingdom.

Maybe you’re reading this and it’s you. You’re the person who doesn’t treat your fellow man like you should at all times. Stop.

Stop being cruel. Stop treating people like they are less than you. If you can’t do that then at least stop labeling yourself as a Christian, because you’re giving the family a bad name.

Somewhere a soul is being lost because you have given a false impression of what being saved really means. This is serious business.

You can’t be a nice guy sometimes when you serve God. You have to be a nice guy always. We all make mistakes, and we all get angry, but we should strive to always season our thoughts, words, and actions with the characteristics of Christ.

We can do better at this, and I think God expects no less.

Why I Don’t Even Think About Trusting My Husband!

All I needed was a nice, hot bath, and I’d feel like a normal person for sure. Being a stay-at-home mom during the week while my husband worked made finding me time a little scant, but I was determined to squeeze in a soak and scrub before the children started tearing the walls down. So while they were occupied I hurried to the tub.

And that’s when I saw it. My husband’s wedding ring hanging on a peg in the shower. Forgotten, and cast away.

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He had gone to work without his wedding ring. He had left the symbol of our union abandoned in the shower. Do you know what I did?

I hurried to fill the tub before the kids could start hollering my name. That’s what I did. I noticed the ring briefly, and then all thoughts of it passed away. Why?

Because it wasn’t important.

At all.

In fact I completely forgot about my husband’s wedding ring until he texted me an hour or so later that day. He asked that if I got out if I wouldn’t mind bringing it to him. And I did get out, but then I forgot it anyway.

My point is that I never for a moment wondered why it was not on his finger, and its presence never caused me even a fleeting thought of concern. I knew he took it off because it slips around when he washes his hair, and then he forgot it in his rush out the door.

I never worried why he forgot it, or if there was a reason he did. I never for a moment questioned his motives, his allegiance to me, or anything else for that matter.

I don’t think about trusting my husband. I just do.

When his phone rings I don’t wonder who’s on the other line. I don’t feel the need to check his text records or even his pockets. Those kinds of things never even cross my mind. If someone asked me right now “do you trust your spouse” I might hesitate for a moment, but only because it’s not something I think about. It’s just something I do.

I trust him like he trusts me, and it becomes a passive action, an act as natural as breathing. I inhale the love he pours out to me, and I in turn exhale my unconditional trust and faith in the man before me.

A good man is nourished by the adoration of his wife, and he flourishes under the trust she rightfully bestows.

If I doubted my husband’s faithfulness would he not in turn distrust me also? I see trust as a two-way street, and indeed we collectively believe in the others’ ability to love abundantly, and in truth.

I don’t doubt my husband’s love, and he doesn’t doubt me. We don’t even think about if we trust one another. We just do.

When my husband got home later that evening I brought him the ring as he stood in the kitchen, and he smiled as he slipped it on his finger. It rested neatly in the indention years of marriage had formed in the skin. Perfect fit.

I smiled at the symbol of our covenant, the circle of our endless love, but I knew it was more than that. It went beyond simple metal. And while a wedding band shows the world you belong to someone else, it’s simply window dressing when compared to the commitment and trust you show one another.

You see our actions are our bond, and our trust in one another is the reflection of our commitment. It isn’t something we think about. It’s just something we do.

A Letter to the Community From Your Nurse

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To the Community at Large,

This morning I thought of my mother. This is really nothing new since her passing six years ago, but this morning I wondered what she would think. I wondered what would be her take on all this mess swirling around the world right now.

Mom was a nurse, and a really great one. She loved the job. Honestly more than I could ever try to do, and there are many days I wish I could be half the nurse she once was.

This morning I imagined us sharing our opinions of the news stories abounding over Ebola within our borders, and I wondered what she would think. Knowing her it would probably be something profound, compassionate, and simply amazing.

I’m not like her though. I’ll be very frank here. Sometimes I get aggravated with my chosen profession. Nursing. Often times, probably more than I’d like to admit, I complain about it. I make inappropriate jokes, vent my many frustrations, and overall likely make some people think that I just don’t like what I do. Sigh.

But I do.

When I saw the headlines about the Dallas nurse contracting Ebola I’m quite certain my first thought was one of fear. Similar to my days in the military, and when the War on Terror began, I had a moment of trepidation over being on the front lines to fight such a formidable enemy.

But do you know what emotion trumped my fear?

Do you want to know what feeling overshadows my frustration every day of my career?

Can you understand what came over me when I discovered another one of my comrades in health care had fallen ill in Texas?

Pride.

I felt pride in the field of nursing. And though I was terribly distraught for the fate of my sister nurses, overall I was proud. I was proud of them, and proud for the call to service that they accepted. They knew the risks, they knew what could go wrong, and still they charged forward with dedication to duty, and to that of their patient. Wow.

And I guess what I want you to know is that they are not an isolated event. Nurses go forth onto the field of battle like this every day. That might sound dramatic, but it’s true.

Nothing will bring this truth to light like an epidemic. Because even in the face of a challenging, frightening disease process nurses like those in Texas will be right there at the bedside.

If, God forbid, you find yourself fighting for your life, you will not be alone. You will look up, through a veil of feverish sweat, and you will see a nurse looking back at you.

It may be wrong, but that fact, that truth, it makes me proud. It makes me proud of my brothers and sisters in health care, and it makes me proud that I walk among the ranks.

Does fear still try to creep in? Yes.

Does frustration over lack of community education and properly taught protocol assault me? Does it assault me as if the blame for personal infection were placed on me too? Of course.

But do you know what places all my fear, anger, or frustration in the shadows?

My duty.

Nursing is not a simple task to be taken lightly. It is a calling, and a duty that is taken with utmost care and seriousness. Even when I joke.

This pride for the profession may make some people roll their eyes, but when you’re in the trenches of a serious epidemic that threatens to spread quickly it will be the pride, dedication, and compassion of a caring nurse that will mean the most to you.

I don’t want you to be afraid. I want you to trust God in this mess. But if you do find yourself feeling some fear I want you to know you’re not alone. There are rows of nurses standing in the gap for you. They will be there if you need them. In fact, nothing could keep them away.

I know if my mother were here she would be the first to do her job, and to do it with all she had within her. I only hope I can make her as proud of me.

If you want to take the time to thank a nurse you know, or to tell them how proud you are of them, then by all means I encourage you to do so. But it won’t matter.

Nurses will continue to do what they do because they must. The fire burns within each one so bright, and that dedication will not wane. No matter what the world throws our way. And yes, that makes me proud. I can’t help it.

Sincerely,

Your Nurse

*original image from nursetogether.com

Why I’m Not Afraid of Ebola: A Nurse, Mother, & Christian’s Perspective.

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I recently was drawn to an article on Ebola that was written from a nurse’s perspective. Naturally. I’m a nurse too. I thought it was well written, and I was in agreement with the majority of what she said inside. What I didn’t like was how I felt afterwards. Long after I closed out the article. This wasn’t her fault. It was mine.

Stories, news articles, and many blog posts are circulating due to the very real threat to health that Ebola poses to the community at large. I’ve always thought information was a good thing, wonderful in fact. Being a nurse I especially enjoy having knowledge on a subject, and growing that base of information. Knowledge is power. Except when it’s not.

Too many times false information is spread faster than the correct data, but that’s not even the worst of it. That’s a huge problem, false information, but there’s something that spreads even faster than that.

Fear.

I’ll be the first to admit it. After I read the article from that nurse, a colleague in health care, I was frightened. As a mother I was very afraid. I imagined watching my children suffer with the symptoms that I fully understood such an infection would cause, and it made me sick to my stomach. It made me want to gather my chicks under my wings, and never leave our nest. Ever.

As news reports continue to come out with further information it gets even scarier. A nurse has contracted the disease?! Talk about hitting close to home.

A fellow nurse asked me, “did you hear?” And I couldn’t fault him for his concerns for they were also mine. I could nod agreeably when he uttered, “They don’t pay me enough to risk bringing that home to my family.” As a mother, I couldn’t agree more.

But then I wondered who would care for the infectious diseases if we all felt that way? Knowledge is power, but fear is a different animal all together.

If Ebola continues to spread I think the illness of fear would affect us far greater and quicker than the actual disease the CDC is trying to contain. Fear spreads so much faster, and fear would be the downfall of our society. Riots driven by panic. The breakdown of the healthcare system possibly? Perhaps.

When actions are motivated by fear there are mistakes. There is misinformation. There is widespread panic.

I see no problem with being informed, but fear often blinds individuals to seeing anything clearly.

My husband has been putting back bottled water. We’re talking about doing the same thing with canned goods. Preparation is wise in the face of a possible breakdown in society. It’s actually prudent. But what concerns me more than Ebola, or an economic collapse, or even a Zombie Apocalypse is the very real possibility of how people may react when faced with a situation that causes them fear. I prepare for that.

As a nurse I find the situation of Ebola very concerning. As a mother, even more so. But it’s my role as a Christian that lifts me out of the mire of it all. It’s my dependence and relationship with Christ that carries me through these very real threats to my health, my life, and that of my family that I hold so dear. It’s my faith that causes me to not be afraid. Not of Ebola, or of anything else that may threaten my happy existence.

I will further my knowledge of the disease process of Ebola. But I will not spread misinformation quickly in my fear and panic. I will research before spreading unsubstantiated articles.

I will buy extra hand sanitizer, and reinforce hand washing to my children. I will not keep them locked indoors. Unless the circumstances change. Then I will act accordingly, but not out of fear.

I don’t fear the unknown future of my family for to do so would drive us all insane. I trust in God’s protection of them, and myself. I don’t consider this a silly, Scarlet O’hara mindset where I’m casting all caution aside and burying my head in the sand of my faith. Not at all. It’s simply trust in Him, which prevents me from being controlled by a spirit of fear.

I will continue to proceed in caution, knowledge, and prayerful consideration. But I will not be afraid. I believe my Savior died on the cross so I could be set free from fear of the unknown. That’s just me though.

I would encourage you to continue to educate yourself, and to stay abreast of the latest information, but do not allow the devil to trap your heart in fear. Do not unknowingly spread that fear like a communicable disease. Don’t follow that conspiracy theory.

I am not afraid of Ebola. And neither should you be. Take hold of the freedom from fear that is afforded to you. We will overcome this.

A Flawed Marriage

I remember when we got together. I was a complete mess. Fresh from a broken relationship, heartbroken, and vulnerable. I cried a lot, and I drank even more, drowning my sorrows in liquid courage, and staying afloat on his affection.

I was so broken.

It’s always been peculiar to me how two broken people seemed to fit so well. Somehow even in the midst of chaos and secrets we saw to the heart of the matter.

We held on.

They say no one is perfect, but simply perfect for you, and we certainly held on to that old adage.

We were indeed deeply flawed, with emotional walls of protection as thick as the bond that held us together despite it all.

We needed healing of our hurts, and to be loved without fear of judgement.

Somehow we made it through. By the grace of God we held to the foundation of love, that truth that we were meant to be. Emotional love may wane, but an unconditional commitment sinks its claws in deep.

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This morning I stood over my spouse, and I watched him sleep. I was overcome by emotion, and I felt the tears welling up, threatening to spill out with my relief and gratitude for what we have. The love I felt for him in that moment was so heavy it took my breath.

All around me I see relationships failing, and unfaithful mistakes made, and I draw closer to my husband. I draw closer to the God who placed us together.

And while I cry out thank you Lord I also realize we don’t have it all together. I am imperfect, and he is flawed, but through grace and mercy we hold on to the solid foundation that brought us together in the beginning. Two failing, fledging souls collided, and resulted in a beautiful love affair. Who could let that go unnoticed?

So I hold him a little closer, and as I watch a broken world full of problems spinning all around me I cling tight to our perfectly imperfect life.

Looks will fade, and passion will mature into a lovely, fluid dance of soul mates forever intertwined by feelings beyond what the eyes can see.

We were less that our best then, and we still are today, but together with Christ we press forward to be better than yesterday.

We look past the blemishes, and in fact hardly see them at all. I see only a tender heart open to my imperfections, and calling me to surrender to a pure, beautifully flawed love.

That acceptance of me entirely and unconditionally gives me the confidence to love him deeply. Just as he deserves.

Life with him is wonderful, and I have not a single complaint. If that changes I know it won’t change us.

I won’t give up on him, or on our love, even if things are less than their best. And I know he feels the same. For something about the way he loves me, and I love him, flaws and all, it just feels right. But more than feelings. It’s just perfect. It really is.

A Mom’s Version of Sick Day

I stopped at the counter, and I stood there for a good two minutes. What was it I needed?! I couldn’t remember.

As I stood there in a brain fog, with that discombobulated, stuffy sinus-head feeling I pondered why in the world I had walked across the room.

And although I finally remembered, it still irked me that I felt so disconnected, that I felt so bad. Was it because I was getting older? Shouldn’t I feel better after my sick day yesterday?

It’s true. Yesterday I took a sick day. I did absolutely nothing. Well, except some little stuff I had to do. You know?

And then I really thought about it. I thought about how when I was in my early twenties I would chug some medicine, and purposefully go into a NyQuil coma to evade all icky feelings of a cold.

I would wake refreshed 14 hours later, and then I’d be on my merry, “I’m all over being sick” way. Yeah. Yesterday may have been a little different.

On Mommy sick days childcare still exists. When I woke up sick my children didn’t magically disappear, or spirit themselves off to grandma’s. That probably would have helped, but in my bold belief of “I’m all good,” and “I got this,” I try to continue forward as if my head doesn’t feel like it will explode, and that I can breathe out of both nostrils.

Kids don’t care if you’re sick. They still expect food, snuggles, and energetic playtime. As I found myself dizzy from picking up little balls of play doh under the table I realized my handicap. My children did not.

“What are we gonna do today?”

“It’s so boring in here!”

“Let’s play Dogcatcher.”

“Mommy doesn’t feel good” just doesn’t compute with little minds intent on you, aka, the dog catcher, chasing them around the house.

Then there’s housework. They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. I would probably add dirty laundry. Maybe even dishes. As long as the earth continues to spin, and the sun rises in the east then I will always have dirty laundry and dishes. It’s never-ending. Even if I feel like crap.

I could probably slack off a bit, and admittedly I did. After all, it was a sick day. So I did three loads of laundry, folded them, and put them away. I cleaned the kitchen, and homeschooled my child. Made a delicious dinner from scratch. Oh, and I kept two little humans alive all day.

Mommy sick day.

I slacked off by not repainting our bedroom, or rearranging the living room furniture.

It’s no wonder I didn’t feel rested after my meager six hours of sleep. Laundry was done for the week, because that’s what my weird Mommy brain told me I must do, and off to work I went. And yes, I even played Dogcatcher.

I realize my husband does this too. It’s not just a Mom thing, and not even just a parent thing. It’s a “I’m a grown-up now” thing. With grown-up responsibilities. My mortgage and car payment won’t let me guzzle NyQuil at noon, and sleep the sleep of the unhampered college kid.

When I left this morning my daughter told me she didn’t feel well. I gave her some medicine. Then I rocked her for a bit. Finally I tucked her under the covers, and kissed her forehead. I knew that if she wanted she could lay there all day.

All I could think was enjoy it kid! One day sick days will look way different.

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The Reason I Would Choose Not to End My Life

I am prepared that this post might not settle well with some people, and it might even offend a few more. That’s never my intention, but this subject is something I feel strongly about, and I was driven to share. I needed to tell you why I would make the decision to not kill myself. 

The purpose of this post is driven in regards to a story that’s been making the social media circuits of a young woman by the name of *Brittany Maynard. Mrs. Maynard has Glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer, and her prognosis is poor. In fact she will die sooner rather than later according to medical experts. 

She recently came forward with her decision to end her own life, on her own terms, and at a time of her choosing. Right after her husband’s birthday. She is being assisted by a physician in the state of Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. Actually they term it “death with dignity.”

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My first thought when I read the article that detailed her story was no!! But then I stopped, and I tried to place myself in her shoes. And the point of this post is not to point a finger at Mrs. Maynard, and list the ways I may think she is wrong. Not at all. I admire her for sharing her personal story with the world, and I grieve with her for the loss of life here on this earth, especially at such a young age. 

No, I couldn’t tell her what was the right decision for her, and I couldn’t assume I knew exactly what she was going through when she made what I can only imagine was the most difficult decision of her life. 

See I don’t have cancer, or any other life-threatening illness. And while I have lost a close uncle to brain cancer, and watched his life up until the end, I haven’t had to sit down with my spouse, like Mr. Maynard did, and make the tough decisions. 

I am a Registered Nurse, and I have worked in the field of Hospice. I found it truly rewarding in fact. I have taken care of patients with her exact diagnosis, and the one I remember the most is the hardest.

A feeding tube placed prior to being enrolled in Hospice made his time draw on longer than it probably should have, and I can only imagine the pain his family felt every day watching him die. Especially when the swelling in his brain caused his eyes to protrude from his head, and actually congeal. 

I don’t go into such detail to offend his memory, or to cause my readers undue distress, but only to point out that I have seen the suffering first hand. I will add that most cases of Glioblastoma don’t reach that point.

But like I said, I can’t say what Mrs. Maynard should do as I am not her, and though I sympathize I wouldn’t be so daft as to proclaim on a public forum what another human being should decide.

I can only speak for myself. 

And though I am not in her situation I can strongly and definitively say what I would do, what decision I would make. It would not be the same choice she has made, and I will tell you why. 

I used to be a very frightened, anxious person. I worried about things, and I feared the unknown. I didn’t want to think about the deaths of people I held dear, and certainly not my own. 

I was like a young girl looking off her front porch, and I could only see as far as my eyesight would allow. I couldn’t see the storm that was approaching, and I certainly couldn’t see the rainbow that would develop after it passed. 

In fact, I couldn’t see beyond the grand field in front of me, and though the rolling plains of wildflowers were so beautiful, greater than anything I could have imagined; I did not see the crystal clear, sparkling ocean view that was just over the hill at the end of my visual field. 

When I met Christ this changed. It didn’t change all at once mind you. It was a long, drawn-out process, and it continues even now. As my relationship with The Lord developed, and was cultivated by my faith I began to see things from His perspective. I began to see things from a Kingdom perspective. 

I stopped being so afraid. I ceased to fear the unknown because I knew there was no unknown to my Savior. My story was already written, and though I didn’t know the end, I could take comfort that He did. My King who loved me so much that He died for me; He knew it all. 

I still experience fear. Christianity isn’t a magic spell that banishes all icky feelings here on this earth. No. It just makes it a whole lot easier to endure. 

I don’t fear death, and I’m not saying Mrs. Maynard does, but my lack of fear in this regard is why I would choose to live. I would live as little or as long as my God willed me to. 

I don’t fear the death of those I love. And while their passing would rip my heart in two with grief, I would take comfort in knowing I will see them again. 

My belief in Heaven, and in eternity conquers any fear of death. And although pain and suffering may come, I truly believe it will be short in duration when compared to an infinity at my Savior’s side. 

I wouldn’t choose to do things my own way. I would choose to do things God’s way. I make this same choice every day, but if confronted with the difficult choice of ending my suffering on earth by my own hands, or instead trusting my God that His purposes are true; I would choose God’s way every time. And twice on Sunday. 

Some people will read this and think I’m full of it, or that I’m delusional. I am not. I am at peace. 

I trust in God’s plans for my family and myself, and this faith makes every day I live on this cruel earth a little easier. 

Death has no real sting when viewed through the eyes of eternity. Our time here is short, and we are just passing through, preparing our souls for an eternity with God. 

Whether God chooses to take me quickly in my sleep, or if my time of death will be longer, harder, and more painful; the outcome will be the same. I will wake up next to Jesus, and it will be glorious. 

When you make the decision to follow Christ you also make the decision to trust His plan for your life. And your death. You make the decision to remember it is only an earthly death, and you will in fact live forever. 

I honestly hope Brittany Maynard changes her mind. I hope she will draw her strength from The Lord, and not from the empowerment of calling the shots in how the end plays out. Because I believe she will only find true peace, and true freedom from the fear of death by placing her life in His hands, and trusting that His ways are so much higher than our ways. 

Sometimes we are all like the little girl who cannot see beyond the field in her front yard. We cannot see the glorious beauty that is just beyond our sight. 

Faith allows you to trust what you cannot understand, to surrender what is out of your control, and true contentment is found in letting go. 

Even when you cannot see.

*I apologize if I misinterpreted any of the facts in the case of Brittany Maynard. I got my information from news stories I have seen. I would certainly never assume I know the entire story, or what she is dealing with. This post is meant as an opinion piece, and what I would do if in a similar situation. And yes, I’m certain of my decision.