Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pit is no fun!

So if you follow me on Twitter (Joyfulmomlea) or Facebook, you know I fell in the pit this week. Not literally a pit, but a dark pit of self-pity & self-loathing. Not a fun place. Somehow this is a pit I keep falling into! I disliked myself at that moment. I think what makes it worse is I know I have no reason to be in the pit so I get mad at myself which makes the pit worse!

It's a dark place when you feel alone & feel like you're a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad Christian! I should have seen the pit coming as I've come off of several good weeks (homeschool conference with Hubby, Kids' birthdays, Women's Retreat w/my church). It seems like when I've been up, that's when Satan likes to take any vulnerable moment & turn it against me. The vulnerable moment was when I started really missing my Hubby! He'd been gone for 9 days (total of 12). Rather than taking a moment to miss him & then get on with my day, I wallowed. It's not pretty when we wallow. I sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself. "Poor me! Hubby's away all the time. Poor me! Hubby has all this time to himself & I have to work, work work! Poor me! I have to be single mom a lot of the time. Poor me! No one to give me a break. Poor me! I've let the kids play on the computer or watch tv too much & I'm a bad mom. Poor Me! the kids are being fussy & not obeying. Poor Me!

As you can see, I was focusing on me & all the negative. Fortunately, God prompted me to tweet a little about how I was feeling. That's when I saw a  positive side of Twitter & Facebook. Within minutes, I had friends encouraging me. One friend told me she feels the same way. Another friend said she'd be praying for me. Yet another friend told me I was doing a good job as a mom! That's when I cried & thanked God for showing me how blessed I was/am!! So this time, instead of being in the pit for days, even weeks, I was out of the pit within hours!

So I guess the point of this post is just to tell you that pits happen!! We all fall into one from time to time! When you do, focus on God instead of yourself & tell others! God gave us friends to support us & to encourage us! Stop pretending you're a perfect person who does everything right! or Stop telling yourself no one would like you if they knew what a horrible person you really are! I struggle with the 2nd one more than the first! We are all imperfect! The faster we realize that & reach out to all the other imperfect people God has placed around us, the faster we will climb out of the pit & possibly avoid it the next time!

If you find yourself in a pit, let me know! I'll encourage you, I'll pray for you & I'll even cry with you! We need to stick together, lift each other up & help each other along the road of this imperfect life!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Life on the road!

This is not where I ever envisioned my life being!  Traveling with 3 kids A LOT! I really figured we'd be the typical family that is home & involved in all sorts of sports, 4-H, school & church activities. BUT that is not where God has placed our family! He has made us unique & given us a different life than most!

Life on the road has it's ups and downs so I thought I'd share some of those. First the downs, then the ups!

Down #1 - it's a lot of work to pack 3 kids plus 2 adults for a week(or more) on the road. Trying to make sure we have enough clothes, school work & activities for the week. And most of the time, I have to do the packing on my own as Hubby is gone more weeks than kids & me.

Down #2 - Keeping kids occupied & quiet is sometimes quite a challenge. It's a little easier when you have a nice 2 room suite like we have now!

Down #3 - Not being able to have kids participate in activities that require consistent attendance over long period of time (like baseball or soccer). We never know when we will be on the road.

Down #4 - Having to be away from Hubby at times. He travels 3 weeks a month & we can't always go with him, so there are many times we must be apart. It's hard on me as I have to run household myself plus I have to be away from Hubby!! It's hard on kids not having Daddy home all the time.

Down #5 - It's a little more expensive than being home. We try to get food for eating in the room when we can, but don't always have microwave & frig. Plus you can only eat so much cold or microwaved food! Also Hubby has to pay hotel, rental car & his food expenses up front then be reimbursed so we have to have lots of money free to do that, so less money to pay bills & apply towards getting out of debt.

Seems like a lot of downs, but there are also lots of ups!

Up #1 - We get to be with Hubby! It's so nice to be able to pick up & go with Hubby a lot! Lots of family time while traveling to & from hotels & while at the hotel! Better than being apart all the time!

Up #2 - POOL!! Most hotels Hubby stays at have a pool. We've gotten a lot of swim time in over the last few years! All 3 kids have learned to swim! Plus we've had lots of family time! It's so much fun to play together in the pool. The kids love chasing Daddy in the pool & then dunking him. We also have swim races & splash contests.

Up #3 - Sightseeing! We've had the opportunity to visit a lot of places. We've seen the ocean in Delaware, visited the Capital of our country (DC is awesome!), seen the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and spent a day in Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!  We've stayed in or drove through several states including Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware & then Washington, DC. We've been to state parks, historical sites, museums and beaches! My kids have traveled more in their childhood that I have most my life!

Up #4 - hands on learning! Since we homeschool, we've been able to use our trips as learning tools. We learn geography by mapping where we've been and studying about each state we've been to. What better way to learn about a state than seeing it! The kids have learned about our country's leaders by visiting Washington DC. They've learned about planes, the Air Force & aviation history by visiting the National Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. They've learned about life in the 1850s by visiting a 1850s village in Kentucky! They've learned about the Ocean & Gulf of Mexico by visiting Florida & Delaware. They've seen mountains, oceans, rivers, woods, plains & other natural & man-made wonders!

Up #5 - lots of family interaction. When you are stuck in a hotel room or a vehicle for long lengths of time, you have to interact. At home, we tend to spread out & do our own thing sometimes so being in a smaller space has brought us closer. We've learned to get along & communicate better. We've had lots of interesting conversations. We've talked about history, human behavior, what we believe, God's provision for us & other widely varying topics.

Up #6 - some couple time! Thanks to wonderful Parents & In-Laws, I've been able to go with Hubby on a few of his trips without the kids. It's been wonderful to get away with him and just relax even though our Denver trip ended with me in the hospital with extremely high blood pressure.

Up #7 - hotel points! Hubby spends lots of time in hotels & has earned lots of free nights in hotels. This means we can do some pleasure trips too! We are currently planning a vacation trip back to DC later this year. We also have free hotel nights for the Homeschool convention next week so more money for curriculum!

Overall, Life on the road has been positive. Sure, we have our bad times (fighting kids, weariness) but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything!