Tag Archives: children

Have Kids, Will…Make a Fort (No Boys Allowed)

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Having a space of my own became an urgent priority a few years ago.  As the only female in my household for the past 20 years, I’ve desperately yearned for a place to call my own.  Our sweet little, old farmhouse only has one bathroom upstairs that we ALL share (go ahead, ladies, gasp!).  So while I’ve semi-patiently tolerated all sorts of bathroom issues that come with five males peeing all over the one toilet that I, too, have to use, I hit a breaking point when I was trying to work/write from home.  Having a home-based business has many upsides, but too many distractions for this lady to function well.

Much too long after man-caves became a “thing,” women have now been allowed the same accommodation… a little escape from the shared household spaces.  It never did seem fair that the fun, casual drinking spaces were reserved for the guys–a space that didn’t need to be cleaned very well or used to entertain guests other than more guys who also sought refuge from those damned feminized rooms within the home.  I like drinking and relaxing as much as the next guy (or gal) but I needed a space that didn’t require me to look around and think, “Oh, so-and-so didn’t put his laundry away.  I’ll just do that before I get to this article.”  Or, “Gosh, those dirty dishes in the sink are going to stink if I don’t load the dishwasher before I work on this floor plan.  Better take care of that.”

Obviously, if we’re only working with one upstairs bath we also don’t have a spare room to use as an office.  Eventually, I was able to wrestle this space above my garage into my own private fort.  Or, as one of the boys calls it, my tree house.  We painted the whole thing glossy white to maximize the light that comes through the fabulous round window that a client couldn’t use.  Then, I found these great light fixtures from Cedar and Moss, a lighting company in Oregon.  They’re way cool and great quality!

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Even though the furniture is all upcycled, repurposed, and second-hand, it came together nicely to provide a very comfy mom-cave work space that I absolutely love.  And it has a bathroom!

 

 

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Have Kids, Will…Eavesdrop

Don’t you just love listening to your kids talk to one another when they don’t know you’re listening?  Or when they have a friend in the car and they suddenly start whispering and giggling together?  Considering I have all boys all the time, I regularly hear some really great (and equally appalling) potty humor.  All my best jokes have come from first and seventh graders.  It’s all ridiculous stuff that is innocent enough, whispered through the hot breath of little boys who don’t always brush their teeth.

Just last week I was carting a couple of elementary schoolers to a party.  They were playing a Nintendo game during the drive.  One friend asked to have a character created for him and, glancing up at me in the rear view mirror, whispered, “Name him Penis.”  The belly laughs that that comment induced were adorable, even if the subject was completely stupid.

The chalkboard in my mud room recently announced, “Welcome to Butt-town!”  Yes, indeed.  I live in Butt-town.  Every gross, stinky body function or body part is up for grabs in regular conversations and jokes alike.  Car rides are filled with farts, burps, and armpit noises.  Outside, it’s seeing who can spit or pee the farthest.  Words like “balls” and “nuts” garner snickers no matter what we’re actually talking about.

On the other hand, the sweetness that I get to witness when the boys are in their beds, with lights out as they settle in for the night, is sometimes miraculous.  Ages ago, when my oldest two were maybe 4 and 6, I heard Eli say, “I love you, Max.”  Just like that.  It was so out of the blue and surprising that Max replied, “Wow, Eli.  That makes me want to cry.”  I remember thinking, Same here! 

The younger two, who also share a room, were recently having a quiet argument as they were lying in their beds.  When I walked into their room, ready to tell them to be quiet and go to sleep, I realized they were actually arguing about how many moons Jupiter has.  Scientific discussions?  Declarations of love?  Why doesn’t THIS happen during the day?  I just better keep my ears open and savor all that good stuff.

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Have Kids, Will…Clean (Again and Again and Again)

There must be something very gratifying about having a clean house.  You can welcome guests with ease, confident that they’ll be comfortable in your lovely, uncluttered home.  You can have an impromptu gathering for coffee or cocktails, serving refreshments in clean glassware that’s been neatly put away in the cupboard and is free of dust or dried on gunk.  You can even sit back, put up your feet, and sigh a breath of gratitude for how lucky you are to live in such a nice, tidy space.  I wouldn’t know.

With four kids, all of whom are BOYS, a husband who is just as messy as the kids, a dog, a cat, and a house in the woods, where every stinkin’ pine needle, leaf, and clump of dirt comes in on everyone’s shoes and paws, my house is rarely ever clean.  And when it is, it’s because a monumental effort has been put forth to get it that way.  Admittedly, I HATE to clean and I can find a million other things to do with my time other than even basic maintenance.  As a result, it can get pretty gross.

Yesterday, I decided the upstairs bathroom really needed a good scrubbing.  Resigned to spend a precious half hour or so on the room, I wiped down the cabinets and walls which had been covered in several clouds of baby powder dust over the past week.  This is a new passion for the youngest two…a thorough dusting after every shower, which leaves a fine white coating on every surface.  A good, deep cleaning followed and, with pathetic pride, I stood back and admired the loveliness of having at least one clean room in my house.  Until they all came home.

By evening, nay by 4 p.m., I smelled a strong chemical odor coming from the upstairs bathroom.  Turns out, my boys can’t simply sit on the toilet to do their business, they have to keep busy!  One of them decided it would be fun to coat the counter top with Compound W wart remover while he was sitting there.  I imagine he was thinking: Let’s add a little baby powder to that.  Why don’t I trim my bangs while I’m at it and the scissors are right here in the vanity.  Oh, Mom might not like all this.  I’ll just grab one of those freshly washed towels to wipe it all off and then leave it on the floor.  Phew!  That was a close one.

At least I know who’s getting bathroom cleaning duty this weekend…not me!

Have Kids, Will… Be Grateful

 To say that motherhood changes everything is to make a blanket statement that smothers all the sparkle, magic, and heart-bursting emotion that motherhood brings.  It also skirts around the frustration, sleep deprivation, and agonizing self-doubt that mothers experience.  The statement is essentially true, but so incredibly vague that it doesn’t come close to touching the all-consuming changes that do take place when we become mothers.

In the fabulous book, Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan writes, “Raising people is not some lark.  It’s serious work with serious repercussions.”  Can you feel the gravity of that statement?  There are serious repercussions if we screw this up. On the other hand, there are serious perks to providing our children with the love, support, and compassion that, frankly, is their birthright.  

Anne Morrow Lindbergh once wrote, “I am most anxious to give my own children enough love and understanding so that they won’t grow up with an aching void in them…”  What both of these ladies emphasize is so important.  It’s our duty as parents to make sure our kids become the best versions of themselves when they are adults–kind, ethical, responsible, loving, socially conscious people.  What an enormous task that is!

So, this Mothers’ Day, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the women out there who work tirelessly and with awareness of the task at hand.  I consider myself to be in great company as I parent alongside some of the most  incredible moms in the world.  Ladies, you rock!