The Mom Olympics

There is a lot of competition between us moms. Am I caring enough? Do I speak in sweet enough tones to my children? Do I discipline the “right” way? Do I never EVER put convenience above hygiene or general cleanliness? Am I making activities educational enough? Oh, that other kid knows his ABCs at 18 months, should mine too? The list is endless. Add snarky looks from other moms who OBVIOUSLY do it better than me and other moms who could OBVIOUSLY learn so much from me and my mommy-skillz and my self-esteem is always tip-toeing on the wall between the confidence of Kanye West and George-Michael Bluth.

My vote is that we stop this arbitrary and objective competition and hold one that matters for realsies and can actually be scored (preferably by someone holding big white signs with numbers 1-10 on them).

Enter the Mom Olympics.

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We will have general areas of expertise with sub-events in each area. This is an Olympic year, after all. Let’s get in gear, Mama.

Hygiene

  •  Nail-cutting: Momletes would be judged on speed, overall precision, and ability to hold toddler still during event without clipping skin or using “scary mom voice.”
  • Diaper-changing: Momletes will be given a toddler with a dirty diaper who has been fed 3 pixie sticks and shown a light-up toy that is just out of reach and then evaluated on swiftness, ability to keep diaper pad clean, and least number of wet wipes used.
  • Bath-time: Momletes will be given two children ages two years apart to fully bathe while being scored on memory of and cleaning of all parts and crevices, creativity with bath toys, lack of actual or perceived soap-in-eyes, and least amount of body splashed.

Bedtime

  • Bedtime Story: Momletes will be judged on use of theatrical character voices, maintaining control of situation with tired, banshee children, and resistance to urge to suddenly shut the book mid-story and say “the end.”
  • Bedtime Ninja Crawl: Momletes will be given an only somewhat sleepy child and tasked with putting said child to bed, only to be asked by child to “lay down for a minute.” Momletes will then have to wait until child is asleep and then do her best stealthy escape without waking child up with movement, sound, light from outside of room, or annoying 6th sense of child.
  • Post-Bedtime Victory Dance: Momletes will be allowed to include a partner for this event, and will be scored on enthusiasm, overall choreography, creative inclusion of partner, with bonus points given if dance is continued all the way to the place where wine is kept.

Sickness

  • Nose-Sucking: Momletes will be evaluated on ability to hold down child while keeping his/her hands from swiping the bulb mid-suck and completing actual snot-extraction with only her two arms, and also instinctual knowledge of whether there is more gunk in child’s sinuses, paired with decision of whether or not it is worth it to retrieve said gunk or just call it a freaking day.
  • Comforting: Momletes  will be judged on use of soothing tones, creative use of unnecessary medical items (ie: bandaids) as a placebo effect to trick child, and resistance of using the phrase “suck it up” with over-dramatic children.
  • Immune System: Momletes will be scored on dodging of sneezes, coughs, and throw-up, remembering to take Vitamin C tablets (even though science has told us that this mostly does not work), and of course, sheer internal will to not get sick.

Communication and Media

  • Listening: Momletes will be paired with a 7-year-old who had an interesting day at school and then have to listen to the child turn a simple story into a 30-minute saga while being judged on head nodding, tracking sounds that make her seem interested, resistance to checking time or letting mind wander, and performance on detailed quiz at the end.
  • Deciphering Cries: Momletes will be played a series of cries, screams, and tantrums and tasked with deciding whether each one is a result of child letting go of a balloon or of breaking an actual bone.
  • Instagram: Momletes will be paired with a toddler who couldn’t care less about being photographed and then scored on ability to use creative lighting, difficult positions, and non-cooperative child to create the best photo shoot with the wittiest caption.

Being in Public

  • Grocery Store: Momletes will be given 3 children and an extensive shopping list and then evaluated on tantrum policing, control of situation on cereal and snack aisles, and will-power to not abandon cart and carry all children football-style to car.
  • Other Children: Momletes will be paired with a child in dire need of a nap and placed in a dentist office waiting room with badly behaved children whose mother is at the point of waving a white flag and doing nothing to control them. Momletes will then be judged on ability keep child from also turning into a monster and resistance to crazy-eyes.
  • Mall-Escape: Momletes will be placed in a crowded shopping mall and paired with a child who has been told “no” multiple times when he or she requested to purchase wildly unnecessary items. Momletes will then be scored on attempts to keep child’s spirits up, followed by ability to stop child from laying down in the middle of the mall while throwing a tantrum, and finally, discretion on best timing to airlift child and take situation to restroom or vehicle.

Playtime

  • Park: Momletes will be tasked with taking a child to the park and evaluated on ability to push child on swing with vague “correct” speed and height, coming up with new and convincing reasons why she cannot play tag beyond a quick 3-minute stint, and knowledge of when to put down phone and look attentive to child for the sake of other, judgy moms.
  • Arts and Crafts: Momletes will be given multiple children with varying personalities and tasked with casting their hands, putting together a gingerbread house, and supervising them playing with a bead set. Momletes will be judged on ability to pep-talk herself before activity begins, willingness to throw structure, order, and instructions out the window, and coming out of event without crazy-eyes or more than one child punished.
  • Make-Believe: Momletes will be scored on correct portrayal of character they barely remember from some children’s show, enthusiasm while being stabbed by fake sword, shot by fake gun, or otherwise slayed as a dragon, and ability to expertly repeat mildly decipherable line of dialog fed to her by child.

The award system will be tiered with:

Gold: Night in a hotel to yourself

Silver: Drinking an entire beverage while it is still hot

Bronze: Getting to pee alone

I really feel like this should be a thing. Can we get on this? 

What events am I missing? Lay ’em on me!

Love, Alex

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Broken

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They told me that this would be hard. That adoption comes from brokenness and that it is never as joyful and sunny as it seems like it should be. In our minds, adoption should be happy. A child has been rescued, right? It’s difficult to wrap our brains around the fact that “rescued” is a terrible way to describe it.

Yes, a child was without a forever home, and now s/he isn’t, and that’s so great, but they often don’t feel rescued, andย what happens before, in between, and after the courtroom is still broken. (I’ll be using that word a lot in this post, broken, so buckle up and prepare yourself for some redundancy.)ย I haven’t even had a taste of the heartbreak that some adoptive and foster homes experience, and I am already exhausted. Exhausted from things not going my way, exhausted from the system, exhausted from waiting, exhausted from everything being out of my control.

Some of youย are familiar with our adoption process. If not, you can find previous posts here, here, and here. As for a further update, we are still waiting. Sorry. I know some of you want precious, and I just don’t have any of it for you yet.

We have been selected as the pending adoptive family for a boy, but he has not been placed in our home yet. I’m finding it difficult to write about all of this without betraying anyone’s confidence or integrity and I’m sorry for that. I will share more as I feel more comfortable with the situation. That’s the hard part about being known as a writer who is brutally honest. I want to be, but sometimes even I have to have a little more tact.

Here’s some brutally honest for you, though. Seeing the intricacies of the system and how broken it is in and of itself makes me want to quit. It does. I’m so burnt out, worn down, and discouraged that it makes me feel like my small part in what is supposed to be the solution feels like it doesn’t matter. If all I get is pushback, what’s the point, right? This is the ugly side of adoption. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies like our unseasoned brains think it should be. Kids are broken. Homes are broken. The system is broken. WE, are broken.

The formula we make up where a kid is abandoned and then we come in on our white horses and “save” him/her and they are eternally grateful and happy and everything is beautiful just isn’t realistic. Not even a little bit. Yes, it can be beautiful in the end, but something had to break first. God never intends for those kids to be with adoptive parents. They were always supposed to be with their biological families, but through turmoil and heartbreak, we are second-best. We, who God commands to take care of the widows and the orphans. The members of society who are most desperate and in need of love and care. He doesn’t say “Take care of them if you feel ‘called’.” There’s your calling. Take care of them.

He paints a beautiful picture of adoption through the death of His Son. His intention was never for sin to enter the world, but it did, and it took brokenness in its worst form to fix it. The world was broken, so He became broken to come to our rescue. These kids come from situations that most of us can’t stand to imagine, and it’s our job to break and bend in order to take care of them. Not if it’s easy. Not until it’s not worth it anymore. Not to make us happy. But because those kids need to see God in us. Because if we aren’t patient while they figure this out, and walk through the process slower than we’d like, and are hesitant when we feel like they shouldn’t be, and when the system gets us down, who will?

Love, Alex

The Adoption Thing

So we broke the news to social media land last September that we are looking to rapidly expand our family. I wrote that we were opening up our home to adoption and foster care and that we were seeking two specific kids. I realize that it’s been way too long since I’ve given an update, and those of you that know me IRL have been asking about it and giving us so much support. We are so thankful!

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I thought I’d give an update for those that aren’t in the know.

To start with, our home was opened (yaaaay!)! It took much longer than we had anticipated, but I think God knew what He was doing because this hormone-crazed mama would so not have been able to handle it. The second piece of news is not so great. We did not get those two kids. It is ultimately, probably, a blessing. It was decide that their current housing situation would become more permanent, and even though it is sad for us, stability is so great for waiting children.

Our reactions to this news were much different than we expected. I think somehow I saw the writing on the wall and subconsciously prepared myself. Bryan, on the other hand, was pretty heartbroken. Where I was ready to move on pretty quickly (part of which was probably a coping mechanism), Bryan was wanting to take a break and mourn a little longer. I think it was better that way. Even though it was so, so sad, seeing Bryan grieve the loss of kids he never knew reminded me that he is in this and wanting to love children that need it. It’s good to be shown that he’s not just ok with this plan of mine, but that it’s his plan too.

Our original intentions for this were to be a concurrent-planning foster care home, meaning that our home was open to foster kids, but that we are ready and willing to adopt if that became the plan for the child(ren). After these events and my not-so-speedy emotional recovery from having a baby pulled out of me, we decided to be adopt-only for a while, meaning that children who come into our home will already be terminated from their birth parents and on the road to a forever family.

Since all of these events, we have had a couple of calls about kids, and a disclosure meeting about one. We decided that that particular situation was not best for our home right now, and thus are still a 3-person-2-dog family. We have inquiries out on a few kids, however, and we continue to pray about them and hope for the best.

Oh! And we’re buying a house! It happened very quickly, and we move in 3 weeks, which is why I have been more MIA on the blogging. This type-A lady is trying her best to not get overwhelmed and stay organized as I pack and purge and plan (alliteration only somewhat intended).

AAAAAAAHHH wish us luck!

Love, Alex