Book Review, Homeschooling, Motherhood & Parenting

Mere Motherhood: A Book Review

Are you exhausted?  Overwhelmed?  Feeling inadequate?  Did you yell* at your children today?

Have you ever heard of Cindy Rollins?  She recently wrote a book, and I think it’s the best thing that’s been written on homeschooling and motherhood in a good, long while.  I don’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down.  It took me about 24 hours to read.

And yes, I know I’m interrupting my series “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool.”  Don’t worry, I’ll continue with Part 3 later this week.

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Cindy Rollins.  Queen of Morning Time.

Her book is called Mere Motherhood.

Top Ten Reasons Why This Book is Worth Reading:

  1. Even though Cindy did not enjoy being pregnant, and feared labor and delivery, she had nine children – 8 boys and 1 girl, plus a few miscarriages.  (Birth stories are never boring to read about.  Click HERE for my mother’s account of me.)
  2. No, Cindy is not a Catholic, but she greatly esteems Stratford Caldecott.  (This man was a genius.  You should read him too.)  And she quotes Mary Eberstadt and Josef Pieper and G.K. Chesterton.
  3. She loves the Bible.
  4. She thinks everyone ought to thank God for Catholic hospitals and their pro-life stance.
  5. Her boys blew stuff up.  And started fires.  And wrecked 7 cars.
  6. She thinks Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Charge of the Light Brigade is one of the best poems ever written, which it is.
  7. She admits that she’s made mistakes, like trying to live on a old decrepit farm, infested with rodents.
  8. All kinds of animals make an appearance in her memoir – rats, snakes, bats, mice, hawks…these things are also never boring to read about.
  9. She once wore jumpers, until her daughter pointed out that they’re not very fashionable.
  10. She takes on tough issues like puberty and spending too much time on electronic devices.  (Mea culpa.)
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If you need a good book, I highly recommend this one.

If you’d like more on Cindy Rollins, I’d recommend listening to her podcasts done with Pam Barnhill.  There are three of them: Episodes 1, 27, and 43.  They’re all great and can be found by clicking HERE or on Pam Barnhill’s website, which I’ve linked on my sidebar.  Once you’re there, click on Podcasts, then on Morning Basket.  Rollins also does podcasts for the Circe Institute, if you’re interested.

*If you yelled at your children, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Click HERE for a post on that.
Homeschooling, Life is Worth Living, Motherhood & Parenting

The Latest Mess

Yesterday, while I was dutifully teaching the older children, Child # 6 did this:

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I knew something was going on because she was awfully quiet for about 20 minutes.  Looks like she had fun.

But really, tearing clothes out of a drawer is nothing.  Just nothing compared to what could have happened.  I remember Child #5 taking a tube of diaper cream during Nap Time and smearing its entire contents all over herself, the windows, the walls, and the door handle.  Now that was something.  That.  Was.  A.  Mess.  I wish I had a picture of it.

Anyone else have a Big Mess to share?  If so, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments below!

By the way, “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool: Part 2” is still coming in a day or two.  Stay tuned.

Motherhood & Parenting

A Day of Not Yelling?

Today is Tuesday, and I have not yelled at my children at all.  So far.  Yes, I know it’s 6am, and they’re not up yet, but hey, I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Last week I was listening to a great show on the Sin of Wrath, and it got me thinking that I should schedule a Day of Not Yelling.  And that’s today.  So, I came up with some tips for this special day.

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My son drew a picture of me yelling.  Flattering, no?

4 Tips For Not Yelling at Your Children:

  1. Begin the day with prayer.  Beg for the grace to be meek and patient.  For God will certainly provide opportunities to practice these virtues.  (Ugh.)  And we will need Him desperately.
  2. Drink lots of coffee.  After all, when I’m tired, I cannot think clearly, and so I yell more.  Therefore, if I drink an extra cup of coffee, I’ll should be very awake, and the day might go more smoothly.  (Just kidding, of course.)
  3. Make the decision to just not yell.  (Not kidding about this one.)  I’m just not going to do it.  Period.  (If you’re anything like me, this will take a lot of self-control.  And grace.  And prayer.  See Tip #1.)
  4. Let the consequences speak, not my loud rantings.  In the case of discipline, I agree with Dr. Ray Guarendi, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

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My other son drew this.  He says to note the baby in the background in his diaper tearing books off the shelf.  Can anyone relate to that?

 

Let me give an example of when I actually practiced the above-mentioned Tips.

Last week the three girls were happily playing house together in a fort they had made.  But then, Brother #1, obviously bored, rushed in and ransacked the thing.  Of course Sister #1 immediately jumped off the top bunk, ran after him, and tackled him.  She then held him down, while Sister #2 bit him, right on his bottom.

The result?  Complete Mayhem.  Crying.  Screaming.  And laughing.  (Brother #3 thought the whole thing was all very funny, especially the biting part.)

Well, I had a choice.  I could angrily yell and lecture away about any number of things – the inconsiderateness of destroying other people’s things, the irrationality of tackling and hitting siblings, or the inappropriateness of biting.  But they weren’t going to listen.  It would only be a waste of breath and time.  Besides, they already know that these things are wrong anyway.

Therefore, I knew it would be better to calmly hand out consequences, which I miraculously did in that moment.  So all those involved received one hour of Black Out.*  And you know what?  I felt pretty good about it all, even if they didn’t.

Conclusion

I’ve noticed that every time I do handle things calmly, I always feel better.  When I don’t handle things calmly, I feel terribly and struggle with black thoughts of what a terrible mother I am.

I’d like to say that I handle stressful situations at all times with grace and dignity, but that would be a big, fat lie.  Hence today’s Day of Not Yelling.  So I need to work on this.  How about you?

 

*Black Out:  A disciplinary action involving time spent on a bed with nothing.  No toys, books, or talking.  Just nothing.  It’s really boring.  And I find it effective.  I got the idea from Dr. Ray Guarendi.  Click HERE for his website that contains more ideas that your children will not like.
Motherhood & Parenting

It’s My Birthday: My Mother’s Birth Story

Today I turn 36.

 

I’m sure of this because I asked my husband, and he’s good at math.  I remembered I was born in 1982; he commented it was 2018; I said I couldn’t do the math, and he said, “You’re 36.”

 

Well, and here I was thinking that I was older.

 

Because birthing stories are never boring, I decided to call my parents to find out about mine, and my dad answered.  I asked him what he remembered about my birth.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, there were five deer standing on the north side of the driveway.  It was snowy.”  And that was it.

 

So I asked my mother how it went.  You see, I am the Firstborn, which is always exciting because as you know, mothers and fathers have absolutely no clue what’s going on with Baby Number One.  And apparently I also offered some excitement for the little, rural hospital where I was born too.  For nobody else was having babies at the time, and those nurses were all bored and probably standing around the front desk smoking cigs.  In fact, I was the first baby of the year born there, and I had my photo taken for the newspaper.  This is my special Claim to Fame.

 

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This is the actual newspaper clipping of my mother holding me.

 

My mother said that she and my dad went to a New Year’s Eve party a few days before I was born, where everyone kept asking her, “When are you gonna have that baby?”  Her response was, “Tonight!”  Well, that didn’t happen, but on the morning of the 2nd she awoke with a pain.  So, at 8am she waddled out to the car and off they drove, apparently right by five deer in the snow.

 

Now as my mother was saying this, I could hear my dad in the background adding, “That car was a 1980 AMC Eagle.  Silver, and quite a fancy one.”  Then my mother added, “Well, and we needed that car like we needed another hole in our heads.”  And he responded with, “It was one of the first four-wheel-drive cars made.  And was a good one.”

 

Anyway, I was born at 6:28pm, and my mother was happy because I was normal.  Evidently she was pretty worried about that because I wouldn’t come out at the end of all that labor, so the doctor had to use some scary-looking tool – a forceps – to yank me out, which left a scrape alongside my upper right cheekbone.  (Look very closely at the above picture for the scab.)  So, besides my head being cone-shaped, which took her a little by surprise, she was thankful and happy to learn that scrapes do heal.

 

And so here I am, 36 years later, mostly normal, even though I was bottle fed and diapered with cloth and safety pins, which my mother said was “crappy.”  (They couldn’t afford the fancy disposable diapers.)

 

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This is my dad holding me.  Notice his sweet hair.  It was permed.  Now that’s getting your priorities straight – nice cars and sweet perms, but no disposable diapers.

 

Happy Birthday to me.  And Happy Birthday to St. Therese the Little Flower; she was also born on January 2, but in 1873.

 

St. Therese, pray for us.