With Father’s Day fresh on my mind, I can’t help but reflect upon how I really lucked out in the Dad lottery – both in the Dad I’m fortunate to have and the Dad that my husband has become. Let’s start out with my Dad. Simply put, he’s a good guy. He’s the kind of guy who is fair but certainly not a pushover; he can be tough but certainly not mean. He’s the kind of guy you really want to do well by. He’s the kind of guy who is as likely to spend a Sunday puttering in his own garden as he is to be tending to the flowers at church… or my grandparents… or anywhere else where the flowers — or the people –need some tending to.

He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t give up and who demands the same type of stick-to-it-ness in those around him. Perfect example, the poor guy recently tore his rotator cuff – and I’m ashamed to admit that it happened while watching my kids. In any case, it’s his right shoulder and he’s right-handed. It really stinks. Especially since my Dad is the kind of guy who loves to play tennis and tennis season is literally just getting into full swing. But, rather than miss out on the fun, the competition and the camaraderie, rather than sit on the sidelines for a season, what does my Dad decide to do? He decides to learn to play lefty! Lefty! After sixty-plus years as a righty, rather than be kept down, my Dad decides to start swinging on the left. That’s the kind of guy my Dad is.

 He’s also the only guy who I’ll really listen to. During the course of my extremely high-risk and unanticipated triplet pregnancy, I was told by the world’s best doctors, best friends and best husband that I needed to chill out. That I had to slow down, take it easy, and put the lives of these babies before my own ambition to be the hard-charging career gal and SuperMom I wanted to be. Even after a pre-term labor scare at 26 weeks, I found it hard to sit still. I was itching to get back to work, back to play, back to life as I knew it. I was frustrated at the notion of missing out, of being benched. Until my Dad just looked at me, subtly shook his head and said something like “It’s not forever Ker. It’s just a few months. A few months that will make a huge difference for these babies. And, for you.” That’s it. He hadn’t said anything more or less than the experts and pals who’d been urging me to take a timeout. He hadn’t raised his voice or copped an attitude. He was just being my Dad. And I knew he was right. And I didn’t want to disappoint him. So, I started working from home, doing the grocery shopping online and napping in the afternoon – which led to delivering three big, bouncing baby boys at 36 weeks.

Which brings me to my husband. He’s the guy who bears the brunt of it all – an overtired, stressed out wife and five kids five and under. He’s the guy who adeptly juggled his job, household chores and our two toddlers while I was preggo with the triplets. The guy who used to be afraid of changing diapers and can now do it with his eyes closed… even though he’ll still opt out every chance he gets! He’s the guy who cooks up a tasty dinner each and every night when I would toss in the towel and serve “Dinner Eggs” again. He’s the guy who coaches T-Ball, picks up at preschool and insists we go to church on Sunday. He’s the guy who reminds me not to sweat the small stuff – it’s ok if the onesie is on backwards; it’s ok if the dishes wait ‘til later; it’s ok if the laundry doesn’t get put away right now. He’s the guy who reminds me that a day in the park or at the pool trumps a clean house or that Sunday afternoons are better for napping than fretting. He’s the fun guy – the one that riles the kids up before bedtime and will read them a story no matter how late it is. At the same time though, he is the guy who lays down the law – no dessert unless you finish your dinner and no talking back! In a lot ways, he’s a lot like my Dad. Which means that our kids just won the Dad lottery too.

(Originally posted at http://www.parentsask.com/)

Oops, I did it again!

April 22nd, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in MaMa Moments | parenting - (0 Comments)

I’ve got a lot of mommy moments I’m not exactly proud of. In fact, I’ve got my fair share of pre-K (pre-Kid) moments I’m not especially proud of either. One of them involved a ski weekend and a late night in a house with no heat, a lot of beer and a karaoke machine. The result: me, channeling my best Britney Spears as I gyrated in front of the fireplace to “Oops, I did it again!” While the memory conjures up some good chuckles and it’s a story told time and again among a certain circle of friends, it is not necessarily what I want to be remembered by. The same could be said of some recent manic mama moments that I suspect just might sound familiar to you.

Consider one recent evening… the kids are all hollering, whining, or moaning and the noise is truly intolerable. My two oldest are arguing over who has more grapes while the triplets are having a heated tug-of-war over their favorite “Buzzy Bee” toy… of which, unfortunately, we have only one. I just walked in from work, my husband isn’t home yet and I’m trying to cook dinner in the midst of the din while still wearing my too-tight skirt. When I finally can’t stand it anymore, I scream at the top of my lungs “STOP YELLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP, STOP STOP YELLING!!!!!!” There is then a moment of silence while the big kids look suddenly scared of the freak they call Mom and the little ones lips start quivering as they sit stunned, wondering whatever came over their Mama. This is just pathetic, I think to myself. This is downright wrong! How will I ever lead by example when, in a heated moment, I instantly regress to the level of a five year old… or a three year old… or a trio of 18 month olds! I must do better, I tell myself as I try to regain control by whispering “Sorry about that kids. Please could we all try to just take it down a notch?”

Not surprisingly, only a few minutes pass before it’s on to the next event – the “big kids” grabbing some blocks away from the little ones… which, of course, results in a whole lot more yelling. Since I’m newly committed to quiet reprimands (for the rest of the evening at least), I try my best pre-school teacher imitation and sweetly sing “No grabbing, please… no grabbing , no grabbing, no grabbing, please.” When this kinder, gentler approach is blatantly ignored, well, what’s a mom to do? Naturally, I GRABBED the blocks from the big kids and returned them to the little ones! That’s right, in less than ten minutes, I’ve now screamed at five kids to STOP YELLING and literally swiped blocks out of their little hands while reminding them that there is NO GRABBING allowed.

Huh. I just never thought it would end up this way… with that old “do what I say, not what I do” routine played out with perfection by yours truly. But, I guess that’s part of this whole parenting thing. Try as we might, there is no perfection and fortunately, for all the times we repeat the same mistakes, there’s a snappy theme song to remind us that we’re not alone… “Oops, I did it again… “ Thanks Britney.

Note: This post first appeared at www.parentsask.com on April 19, 2010… this is a great site for all parents… as they put it, “raising kids raises questions”… and they’ve got a lot of answers!