When one of my oldest and best friends, Moni, talked about me guest blogging on her site, I immediately jumped at the chance because that is what I do best…act and then think. Then, once I had the chance to think about what I would blog about, I groaned and thought that this was just one more thing on my ever expanding plate of parenting three (sometimes four) kids, being a full-time working mom and spouse, an unpaid but much bugged taxi driver, and housekeeper for a messy but cleanish home. (There is a difference in my world!) However, I am going to put ink to paper and don’t quote me but “I think I am a bit excited to try this”.
For clarity – I have two stepchildren and two of my own children. My stepchildren are 19 and 18. My 19 year old stepdaughter lives with her mother and my 18 year old stepson lives with us. I also have two children with my spouse, an 11 year old boy and 9 year old girl. Just to further furnish the proof that I am not far from insanity – we also have 3 dogs, a bird, and a hamster. Seriously.
Now, what to write about. There are so many thoughts that popped into my head about living a life with 3 (4) kids running amok but I decided to share a wonderful way I am able to feel close with my kids in such a hectic, technologically managed life.
My kids are the biggest priority in my life (I know – Captain Obvious) and as a working mom, I have to make time for them. I am one of the many moms who look wistfully into their kids’ rooms in the early morning, just seeing their outline in the dark, and wishing I could wake them and say “good morning my chicken-littles” (that is what I like to call my kids – don’t laugh!). However, 5 days out of the 7 I am able to still wish my kidlets a good morning, albeit through the phone, but at least I get to hear their sleepy voices in the morning.
My spouse, who has the (mostly) lucky task of seeing the kids off to school in the morning, has said to me on numerous occasions, “why does it take you so long to put the kids to bed at night? I just say good night and leave them”. Obviously, he isn’t a (nag) mom who demands that the kids wash their face and hands (with soap!) and brush their teeth (aka “monkeys”) for more than 30 seconds. (I had an embarrassing kids’ dentist appointment last time and am now anal about teeth brushing – but that is another story). But, the real reason why I take so long to put the kids to bed is because of the “Tree”.
For all you parents out there who have kids that want a glass of water, have an itchy back, leg, arm, or want to tell you good night 18 more times, I want to let you know that I have conquered the never-ending bedtime saga!
One random night over a year ago, I was putting my kids to bed and becoming more and more irritated because I knew that lots of crap things were awaiting my attention…dog walking, lunch making, quick tidy, a little adult time, my 5 minute shower (including a poorly maneuvered shave), etc and my kids just wouldn’t stop. I hate raising my voice which invariably turns into yelling but was becoming quite adept at it. “Done,” I said. I went into my son’s room and just started talking. I spoke about a specific thought that popped into my head and when I had finished (less than 5 minutes) my 10 year old son was asleep. I did the same for my 8 year old daughter and got the same “fist pumping” result.
Since that night, I will tell my children the same story if they are restless or I want some emotional extra time with my babies.
My son, who is now 11 and a half, asked me last night to tell him about the “Tree”. And still, once I was done, he was almost asleep and felt safe and warm.
I want to share the story with you – it isn’t anything special – I made it up one night as I thought it would make the end of the day for both my kids and me that much better.
When I tell the story, the room is dark; I speak in a very soft voice and gently stroke my son’s hair and hold my daughter’s hand. It is my moment of peace in a very much (sort of) organized chaos I call my life.
“It is a beautiful sunny day and you are walking in a field all by yourself. The yellow grass is so soft against your legs and the sun is shining on the top of your head. But you aren’t hot because there is a nice cool breeze against your face that you feel. As you are walking, you see a big tree in the distance; a tree with green leaves (picture a maple) and it is all by itself in the middle of the grassy field. It is waiting for you. You start to walk towards it; as you are walking, the tree gets closer and closer until at last you reach the tree. Underneath the leaves of the tree it is dark and shady. You slowly start to walk around the huge trunk of the tree and all of a sudden you see a spot that looks SO comfortable. You sit down on the green moss and it is so soft against your bum. You lean back into the trunk of the tree and it seems to be perfect for your body to lie back on. You have never been so comfortable in your life. The leaves are rustling, the sun is shining on you, but not on your face; it is making a sun blanket on you so you are warm. There are no other sounds around you except for birds singing and the leaves rustling. You feel your eyes getting heavy and start to close them. The leaves are rustling around you. Your arms and legs feel heavy. You hear the leaves rustling and feel the sun blanket keeping you warm. Your eyes keep getting heavier and heavier. The tree is so comfortable and you feel protected by the tree. You are safe here. You can’t open your eyes anymore because they are so heavy – the leaves are rustling and the sun is shining. Everything else is so quiet. Shhhh. Go to sleep my baby. Mommy is the tree and will always protect you. Always.”
I always leave my kids’ rooms afterward with a small smile on my face and secretly am a little more convinced that I AM a good mommy. (Then it is time for a glass of wine!)
Author: Bree (Barnard) Krul
- Mom/stepmom of 4 kiddos
- Legal and insurance professional
- Previous Restauranteur
- Part-time Caterer
- At work workout professional (stair climber, 'squatter' beside my desk and 'planker' with office door closed)
- Former D1 Volleyball Player
- Lover of the invention of 1.5L bottles of wine!
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