What to stock up on when you have children

Adriennes blog 17 bandaid picHi, I’m Adrienne, a mom of two boys.  When you have kids in the house, there are certain items you should never be without.  I’ll tell you my top five, and I’d love to hear what you’d add to the list.

  1. Adhesives to fix the things that break.  Packing tape, scotch tape, duct tape, school glue, super glue… we have them all.  While there are kids in the house, I have to be resolved to the fact that things get broken and need to put back together, including my patience.  Both of my kids have gotten so frustrated at times that they’ve torn up a favorite piece of artwork only to regret it five minutes later.  My own mood has frayed to the point that I want to break things too.  Glue is the stuff that pulls things back together.  In our house, a hug is the glue that binds us back together when we get pulled apart.
  2. Erasers to fix the mistakes.  We keep pencil erasers, Mr. Clean magic erasers, and spot remover to undo the things that got messed up.  Sometimes we have a “do over” on the whole day when everyone’s out of sorts and things got off to a bad start.  It’s amazing what erasing the past, even the past five minutes, can do for your outlook.
  3. Band-aids to fix the hurts.  I keep all different sizes to cover everything from a paper cut to a brush burn.  Sometimes the cut is so little that I can’t even see it and yet my child wants a band-aid.  These are the times I know that what he really needs is the kiss that comes with it, the reassurance that everything’s going to be okay, even when he’s in pain.
  4. Thermometers to diagnose the severity of a situation.  You can put you hand on a child’s forehead and know instantly whether it’s a fever or not, but the doctor always asks for the exact temperature.  Being aware of the details helps you gauge what’s not obvious on the outside.  Sometimes children can’t tell you in words what it is that’s ailing them, and your attentiveness is what draws it out.
  5. Blankets to provide comfort.  We have big blankets and little ones, but the most important thing is that they’re soft and warm.  Did you ever notice how common it is to want to wrap yourself in a blanket, not only when you’re cold, but also when you’re lonely and sad?  The most important thing a family can be is that big fuzzy blanket of security and comfort over our shoulders.

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Even moms need their mommies

Adriennes blog 5 bird pic

The kids and I recently found a baby bird lying on the side of my parents’ driveway.  It was probably old enough to fly, at least a little bit, but it wasn’t moving very much.  I didn’t say it to my children, but I thought it was dying.  A few hours later when we were leaving, the bird was gone.  “It flew away!” the boys exclaimed.

I’ll never know whether my mother moved the bird so they would think that, but I didn’t ask her.  I wanted to believe it flew away too.  I still wanted my mom to take care of me.  When you get married, you feel like such a grownup.  When you get divorced, you need your mommy again.

All the things I did when I got married made me feel like an adult.  Referring to “my husband,” signing the papers to buy a house, giving our first dinner party – I believed I had crossed some threshold into adulthood, never to return to dependence on my parents.

But when Drew left, I suddenly felt like a little girl again.  Getting up to make breakfast for my kids, I felt like a fraud – like I was trying on my mom’s makeup and heels – even though I had made them breakfast a thousand times before.  When I made an appointment with an attorney to represent me in the divorce, I wanted to bring my parents with me.  I realized that wouldn’t look very mature, and I reluctantly went alone.

A spouse fills so many spaces left open by parents.  My husband gave me reassurance that I was loved, like my dad.  He told me my outfit was perfect on the first day of my new job, like my mom.  He let me be the baby sometimes when life seemed too much and I wanted to stay in bed rather than get up and fulfill my adult responsibilities.

When you’re suddenly the only parent in the house, it can be scary.  I have to pay all the bills.  I have to decide who to call when the pipe bursts.  I have to tell my kids, no, they can’t watch that movie that “everyone else” saw.  The worst is those late nights when one of your children is sick.  No, the worst is those late nights when you’re sick AND your kids are sick.

The fact is, getting divorced made me grow up much more than getting married ever did.  Getting married meant going from the support system of my parents to that of my husband.  Getting divorced meant I was finally going to have to figure it out on my own.  Luckily, my parents are only an hour away, and my mom still lets me be a kid sometimes, even if it’s just preserving the fantasy that nothing bad happens to baby birds.

Adriennes blog 5 bird flying pic