Posted under Church, Life, Mothering, Puerto Rico by MicheleP.
(side note: ARGH! I cannot get my formatting to work on this post!)
Being a SAHM can be a very isolating experience. I know it was for me at times. I was used to daily interaction – with ADULTS – and there were days when I longed just to talk to someone who could actually carry on a conversation that didn’t involve “Don’t put that in your mouth!” “No touch” or “Do you need a diaper change…again?”. The daily trials of mothering are alone a challenge, but try doing that in a different country where you don’t have deep relationships, don’t have any family, and you may not even speak the local language.
This summer I began to think about starting a regular playgroup for other SAHMs. I wasn’t sure how I was going to meet them but figured I’d start with the couple I knew and go from there. About that same time a new friend of mine invited me to lunch. She wanted to share something that was on her heart – starting a Mothers of Preschoolers…or MOPS group in Puerto Rico and she wanted me to consider co-birthing it with her.
Of course I said YES and we spent the next few months planning and organizing the first charter of MOPS in Puerto Rico. We are doing the modified version of MOPS – which is called MOPS@. It’s different from a traditional MOPS program in that we meet in a home, have a smaller group, and use a DVD system in lieu of having speakers. But the purpose is still the same – strengthening moms in their relationships with each other and with God.
Friday was our first meeting! We were hoping for at least 8 moms but we had 14 moms attend with several more who want to come. At this rate, we might “graduate” from a MOPS@ group to a traditional MOPS much sooner than we planned! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do with our group!
Posted under Baby Logic, Clara and Libby, Life, Mothering by MicheleP.
Two back to back “funnies” tonight:
I was putting away laundry and Clara asks, “Mom, are those Papa’s shorts?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Did you wash them?”
“Did you ask him if it was okay if you washed them?”
Somehow I think it’s quite alright with him if I wash his clothes. Although if he objected, I wouldn’t either.
And then later tonight I was reading “The Little Mermaid” to the girls. We got to the part about Ursula turning Ariel into her slave if she doesn’t win Prince’s Eric’s love and get his kiss in 3 days. The girls asked, “Mom – what’s a slave?”
“Well, it’s someone who has to work for someone else all the time. They have to work really hard and never get to do anything they want to and don’t get to have any fun.”
And Libby says, “Just like you mom.”
I’m not really sure how to take that. Hmmmmm.
Posted under Clara and Libby, Infertility, Life, Mothering by MicheleP.
Before kids, I had many idealistic views of parenting. I would never raise my voice, get angry, or feel annoyed with my children. And of course, those of you who are parents are probably grinning…because youÂ know the reality of that just isn’t reality. Â
I’m a member of an online community called “Parenting After Infertility” or “PAI” for short. PAI was birthed out of Hannah’s Prayer (a ministry for infertility and loss) and is a support group that addresses some of the challenges that you face once you become a parent AFTER dealing with infertility.
One discussion we have on PAI is “For this child I prayed and now I feel…” and today I finished the sentence with:
“For this child I prayed and now I feel…. Annoyed.”
I have very few outlets here – things that I get to do for “me”. Last week,Â I joined a ladies Bible Study on Monday mornings and it was WONDERFUL – most all of the ladies are “transplants” too and so totally get what this whole experience is like. Many of them also go to my church and I have been looking forward to just getting to know them better since you can only get so far with conversation during the 5 minute “meet & greet” on Sundays.
Libby wasn’t feeling well yesterday so I stayed home from church with the girls but I thought she should be fine today. When I got both the girls up and dressed for school, I could tell Libby wasn’t feeling great – but she came down for breakfast so I thought maybe after a little food she would perk up.
During breakfast (pancakes – a favorite) she just put her head on the table and I knew then that my day wasn’t going to be anything like I had planned.
I know, I know. I should be gushing with sympathy and compassion – the poor kid is SICK for crying out loud – but all I could think of was “I’m going to miss MY time today”.
I asked her if she needed to stay home and she just nodded “yes”. Clara thenÂ piped up, “I’m sick too!” but when I explained that when we stay home sick, we stay on the couch or in bed, ClaraÂ was instantly healed of her ailments. Â
So – I took Clara to school and brought Libby back home. She is now resting on the couch watching some Noggin andÂ she does seem to beÂ feeling better. However, I think it’s just the effects of theÂ Motrin kicking in.
There’s always next week.
Posted under Clara and Libby, Mothering, Puerto Rico, School by MicheleP.
The girls are in preschool 5 mornings a week and they LOVE it. It’s honestly been a nice break for me tooÂ and since they are home by noon each day, I don’t feel like they are gone forever.
Last week they told me their class would be taking a field trip to the library and then to the pizza shop for lunch and parents were welcome to come. And so, I went along with their class.
I was a bit apprehensive because not only would I be taking my two, but would also be responsible for 3 additional children who most likely didn’t speak English. And as I’ve mentioned before, my Spanish is most definately lacking in
vocabulary grammer pronuciation pretty much everything. I had visions of me trying to tell the kids to hold hands as we crossed a street and instead telling them to hold a foot or something. Thankfully they put a classroom aide in my car with me .
IÂ had yet to visit the libraryÂ - the outside doesn’tÂ give you too muchÂ of a desire to go inside but it was actually quite nice. The librarian was very friendly and the story time area was all set up for the kids.
Can you pick out my two?
After they read the story, they asked for volunteers to come act it out. My girls immediately raised their hands. I’m not sure they knew what they were raising their hands for but just mimmicked the other kids doing it.
Libby was so proud of her pig nose (mom trying really hard to not think of all the germs inside it)[photopress:Libby_at_Story_Time.jpg,full,pp_empty]
After story time, we took all the kids to a pizza place for lunch. The girls were a bit concerned when they were served a glass of coke with lunch. They took one sip and asked for “aqua”. Mama was proud
The field trip was fun and I’m glad I went. It was neat to watch the girls interact with the other kids and see how they are coping with school firsthand as it’s a bit different from what we are used to.
We were askedÂ bring a backpack to school so that they could bring home any assignments – I was thinking that meant to bring home art projects & such that they completed at school.
It’s to bring home assignments. As in: HOMEWORK! Wha? They are THREE!
They have this workbook that they work in each day at school and then 3 days a week or so, it comes home with them with an assignment.
The work is fun – coloring, counting, tracing, cutting, etc. The girls don’t see it as “work” at all. In fact, on days they don’t have any they are bummed. It’s work for me though. Â I have to get out my dictionary to understand all the instructions.Â I’mÂ pretty sure itÂ takes me longer to translate the instructions than it does for them to complete the assignment.
Posted under Life, Mothering, Puerto Rico, Trips & Tours by MicheleP.
We had a great Mother’s Day here. We started by going to church and watched the girls perform with the other children. As you can see from the pictures, my girls are the youngest by quite a few years. I wasn’t sure that they would even go up there (on Easter they were supposed to do something and ended up being stuck to me the entire time) but they did and were quite the little hams.
At first Libby was rather upset – and was on the verge of tears – not because she was afraid…no sir…she was upset because SHE didn’t have a microphone and was afraid no one could hear her. After asking for a microphone (yes, outloud in the middle of the song…”Ms Vicky! Ms Vicky! Ms Viiiiiiiiicky – I need a MIC-A-phone!”) Ms Vicky obliged and moved Libby over in front of the other microphone.
I really don’t know where these girls getÂ this fromÂ - it MUST BE THEIR FATHER!
After church we drove through Wendy’s (Scott really knows how to spoil me) and then headed to the city of Ponce for the afternoon. The drive there was lovely and we got to see some new sights.
As we got closer to Ponce the landscape really changed – from lush and tropical to rather dry, arid and hot. Â It looked more like the panhandle of Texas than an island in the Caribbean. We ended up at the boardwalk and enjoyed walking around there for a while and then spent some time at a children’s park.
Once we were sufficiently sweaty…and dirty…we went in search of a cool treat. The piraqua trucks were in full force but we opted to head into town in search of something a bit more “trusty”
One thing we haven’tÂ fully learned yet is that thingsÂ close here onÂ holidays. Â Stores, malls, restaurants and even some gas stations – all closed! Thankfully Baskin Robbins was open (and quite popular) and so we got to sit in some air conditioning and have a nice cold treat.
We decided to head back home a different way than we came and go through the mountains. There is a highway that is mostly finished and the scenery was quite nice and enjoyable. However, the 20 miles or so that is not finished is your typical much-too-narrow-and-curvy mountain road and is not well suited for those who get carsick easily. Turns out, Clara wasn’t so fond of the curvy road and we ended up on the side of the road more than once on the way home. Good times!
Posted under Infertility, Mothering by MicheleP.
Mother’s Day is next week. While I look forward to honoring my own mother – and being honored as a mother – I still cringe when I think of what will transpire next Sunday. In churches all across America (and beyond) mothers will be honoredÂ by special children’s programs, prayers, contests (oldest, newest, most children, etc. etc. etc.), andÂ of course by the rose. Oh, the dreaded rose.
Several years ago, I wrote this letter to our pastor:
I want to share with you that has been on my heart the past few weeks.
As you know, Scott and my journey to parenthood has been a very long and difficult road. For years, the pain of infertility was a silent grief that mostly we shared with just each other as we went to a small church where everyone around us seemed to be able to produce children with great ease. We endured such hurtful comments through the years… “When are you guys going to get with the program?” “You would make such great parents!” “Be glad you don’t have to deal with this!” “When you have kids of your own…” and the list goes on and on. And most of these would come from within the church… from well-meaning, yet ignorant, Christians.
I stopped attending church on Mother’s Day 4 years ago. The sting of that day – celebrating exactly what I longed to be but was unable to achieve. Our church gave flowers and had all the Mothers stand up to recognize them on that day. I can clearly remember sitting in church 4 years ago and being the ONLY woman sitting in my chair without a flower while all the other women stood. I cannot tell you how painful and isolated I felt in my grief at that moment. That was the last Mother’s Day service I attended.
Of course, that brings us to last year and the story is even more painful and difficult. Now I am a mother but one with empty arms. I celebrated Mother’s Day without my children and faced a whole new set of pain and grief. I am forever grateful for my husband who went to great efforts last year to honor me in a special way last year. He really should get a husband of the year award!!
I know that in a church our size, I cannot be alone. I am sure that days such as Mother’s Day bring grief to others as well for many reasons (death of a child, unable to have children, death of mother, single women, and many more). I don’t know how BCC recognizes the day but wanted to share something with you for consideration.
I took this from a friend of mine – they used this in her church last year:
“A Mothers Day Prayer for You on Mothers Day…
For the married women who desire to have children andÂ cannot. Also, for the single women who desire children yet are getting weary waiting on a spouse. God understands your situation and we care. “In the name of Jesus, we ask that the Holy Spirit will comfort your heart and give you peace and that our Father God would grant you your petition. Amen.” (1 Samuel 1:2-17)
For the single mom. God understands your challenge and we care. “In the name of Jesus, we ask that the grace of God will sustain you, the wisdom of God lead you, the love of God encompass you, and the provisions of God overtake you. Amen.” (Philipians 4:13)
For the moms with a child who has chosen a destructive lifestyle and is in a physical or spiritual prison. God understands your concern and we care. “In the name of Jesus, we ask that the Holy Spirit would convict them of sin. We ask for the perfect laborers to cross their path. We thank God for their salvation, deliverance and restoration. Amen.” (Proverbs 11:21)
For all the moms who experience grief on Mothers Day because of miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or a childs death outside the womb. For all those men and women who experience grief on Mothers Day because of the loss of their mom. God understands and we care. “In the name of Jesus we ask that the Holy Spirit will comfort your hearts and give you peace. Jesus bore your grief so you don’t have to. Jesus we thank you for removing the grief and healing the heart. Amen” (Isaiah 53:4)
In the name of Jesus we pray for all of our mothers on Mothers Day. May God our Father bless you and strengthen you and encourage you. May your eyes be opened that you and others may see that your price is far above rubies and may your children rise up and call you blessed. (Proverbs 31:10-31)”
I certainly know that mothers are indeed special and should ABSOLUTELY be honored. I am forever grateful for my own mother and the daily sacrifices she made that I might have a better life. In no way am I suggesting that Mother’s Day (or Father’s day or any other holiday for that matter) be ignored for the sake of hurting others – just wanted to share with you my story and my heart and this idea for how to acknowledge the pain the day can bring,Â while still honoring mothers. BCC is such a special place – one of tremendous healing and hope – thank you for all that you guys do to love and minister to us.
The church did use this prayer that year – inserting it into the weekly handout – and it was well received. I hope it gave some comfortÂ to thoseÂ fighting the tears as the children sang, babies dedicated, mothers stood and roses distributed. I know, for me,Â the simple act of acknowledgingÂ the hurt and painÂ does my heart a ton of good.