I wanted to write in my blog last month so I could say I had a 4,3,2, and 1 month old children but couldn’t get to it on time. I still thought it was worth mentioning even though Eli will be 3 months old next week.
If there is something I have realized about motherhood in this prosperous country of ours it is that we have completely lost track of what makes for a great parent. We think it revolves around what we can provide for our children physically rather than emotionally or spiritually. We want a simple to do list of things to measure and accomplish in order to raise our children up right. It is much less taxing on our overly busy lifestyles if we have things we can cross off of our lists each day rather than actually putting in the work required for raising spiritually and emotionally thriving adults. I have been putting significant thought to my parenting paradigm over the last few years which has lead to me constantly asking myself these two questions.
1. Is it possible to be a great mother and. . .
-let your baby sleep on their tummy.
-not nurse/use formula.
-leave your child with a babysitter.
-not purchase all of the latest in safety and fashion for your children.
-not have a perfectly clean home.
-not always have perfectly healthy meals and snacks.
-use off brand diapers.
-not use cloth diapers.
-let your kids say poop and butt.
-vaccinate or not vaccinate.
2. Is it impossible to be a great mother and not. . .
-teach constantly about God.
-treat your children fairly.
-hug and kiss your children regularly.
-spend lots of time with them.
-offer consistent and predictable discipline.
-put your husband and children before yourself.
-make your home an emotionally safe haven for your family.
These are not exhaustive lists, of course. It is just important for me to remember that it is possible to be a perfectly wonderful mother in a country where nothing but the very basics in physical provisions are possible as I critic my own mothering. It is detrimental to get bogged down by what our friends or the media feeds us. To focus only on the things we can provide physically is to raise shallow, superficial adults with no capacity to function as they should in relationships or in a changing world. It is not sports, activities or keeping up with the latest trends in fashion or discipline or healthy foods or education. The important things come from investing lots and lots and lots of time and effort to the spiritual, emotional and relational health of our children. Lots more could be said about how I live that out day to day to the best of my abilities, but I am hoping and praying that is obvious just by reading my blog from entry to entry.
That being said, I really feel that my life is as perfect as it gets on this earth right now. I have 4 perfectly bright and healthy children who are such a joy to me and their daddy. I have a wonderful husband who has provided for us a beautiful home that is the perfect place to raise our little family. We are surrounded by plenty of friends and family who love us. God has shown us such great favor!
Even the trivial things in life bring me joy like my Tassimo espresso/coffee machine, my whirlpool bathtub, Cable TV’s On Demand, my parent’s treadmill which they loaned me to work off baby weight, or our neighborhood pool brings our family hours of stress free fun each week.
Still, some things in life generally make me ill when I let them. I worry about the future of my children. I have to chose between 2 political candidates, both of which scare me to death. Obama reminds me of your average David Koresh or Charles Manson type who is charismatic and intoxicating to the masses but has tea parties with terrorists on the side. McCain would be tougher on terrorism, but spits on the constitution and can’t keep any of 4 marriages intact let alone the country. (Brett O’Donell, what are you thinking?!) These things loom heavily over me when I don’t make a conscious decision to rest in the Lord and His divine will and supremacy. These baby boomers can’t hand over a more screwed up world anymore than God allows. I just pray constantly for my children to be granted divine favor as David, Daniel, Moses, Abraham, or many other patriarchs and prophets had, regardless of the type of political situation they found themselves in. If Muslims end up terrorizing this country into submission, I believe God can spare my children if He so chooses, and so I pray nearly without ceasing for a Daniel kind of favor. I know that means they will have to remain faithful to the Lord on their part. I am working my hardest with God’s help to raise them up to do just that.
-wants to be a pro bono tow truck driver when he grows up.
-is into absolutes even when they make no sense. For example, “I have never met my cousin Quin before”, or “I gave that to Harrison to play with forever”, or “I always wear this shirt”.
-taught himself to hold his breath and go under water this summer.
-has become an invaluable helper to me this summer with very little complaint.
-gets hung up on one thing until something stops her. If she wants something she will ask for it over and over and over without ceasing until she is punished. We are working hard on this.
-I was nursing Eli one day when she decided I needed to fix her stroller right then. I repeatedly told her I only had one hand free, and I could not fix it without using 2. She asked again and again as she usually does until finally she said, “Mommy, don’t you see the instructions? It says right here (pointing to the fisher price logo) You must only use one hand when putting this stroller together”.
-when Evan was out of town in Florida, she wore his clothes each day because she missed him so much.
-a few months back she got a stomach bug and started in on her cyclic vomiting cycle where she throws up every 5 minutes or less until she gets appropriate medication to stop it. I was praying the whole night that God would heal her as I made arrangements for childcare and her pediatrician so I could bring her to the hospital. After about 4 hours of it I dropped to my knees and told God I would call off all medical intervention if He would just heal her of this problem. I realized that by continuing to seek medical help for it that I really didn’t have faith in God to heal her. From that moment on my knees on, Julia was healed. She got another stomach bug last week and threw up just 2 times throughout the whole 48 hour illness like any normal child. I was so grateful to God I knew I needed to mention it in the blog so Julia could someday see the hand He has always had over her life.
-after a long and harrowing ordeal, Julia Carolynn Tynes is a paci free child.
-knows his phone number.
-really likes the color orange.
-is afraid of the potty.
-loves to dote on “ba-eli” aka Baby Eli.
-has no fear and feels no pain unless he is tired.
-prays in falsetto.
-plays in bass.
-initials are EAT and he is living up to them.
-weighed 14 pounds 9 ounces at 9 weeks old. I am not sure what he weighs now (12 weeks old).
-smiled for the first time on 7/7/08. He was 7 weeks old that day, the same age as Evan when he first smiled.
-cries in the car when his siblings aren’t back there with him.
-sleeps 20 hours a day including 12 or 13 straight, uninterrupted hours at night. (It almost makes up for the fact that Harrison didn’t do that until he was 20 months old.)
-sleeps on his tummy.
-would rather suck his fingers than a paci, but we are still fighting that issue out.
-has grown to really like the swing. (The first one of all of my babies to do so.)
-is ADORED by all in our family, though I am especially one to be in head over heels love with my babies. I love everything about them. I love the way they look and their facial expressions. I love caring for them; even changing diapers and cleaning spit up. I love their fuzzy heads and their deep fatty rolls. I love nursing them and hearing them gulp down their milk. I love hearing their noises and even hearing their innocent cries and the way their flat little tongues roll up when they cry. On those days when I have a ton to get done and too many little ones pulling on me for attention and the newest little one won’t nap and is grumpy as a result it can be overwhelming. I find myself stomping in a huff up the stairs to retrieve the sleepless infant from their bed with my to do list swirling in my brain and as soon as that soft chubby cheek presses up against mine nothing else matters but loving that baby. I am blessed as can be.
-I LOVE the first video of the kids folding my laundry.
-Evan holds his breath under water.
-Eli’s first smiles at 7 weeks old.
-Harrison says “superstitious”
-A conversation with Julia.
-Harrison sings his phone number.
-The kids pray.
-A bonus Tynes family blooper at the end.
Eli’s arranged best friend Maleah Carmichael.
They are tigers.
Picking blackberries with Aunt Jessie.
You know I’m fat, I’m fat, you know it, I’m fat.
Just hangin’ around.
Do NOT try this at home.
Holding his breath under water. He was so proud.
Running off the baby fat. (Evan wanted to take this picture.)
Watching the 4th of July fireworks from Stephen’s 19th floor office in downtown Atlanta.
Eli at 6 1/2 weeks old at the Science Museum.
The science museum.
Driving home from the science museum.
I always find Julia sleeping in the craziest of situations. This time I found her wearing her Christmas dress with these flower capri pants and white sox.
Evan and Julia pretend these jump ropes are the leashes for their imaginary dogs, Paul and Linda.
Julia drew this face.
Out on a hike on the trails through the national park behind our house.
We dragged the kids on a hike up Kennesaw Mountian one Sunday afternoon.
Evan eating breakfast on the beach with my mother’s family on his special trip to Florida with Grandma and Grandpa Ringsmuth.
This is one loved little boy.