Monday Morning Mommy Boot Camp. I am not fond of it nor are my boys. At first everyone is grumbling. I am even grumbling. But then their spirits change and they break out in song. " I love mommy" " I love mommy" "I love mommy". What are they really singing here? Are they really trying to communicate that they get this is all going to be okay? That they are okay with me?
What is Mommy Boot Camp anyway? Zero tolerance on every single level of parenting. No grace. No mercy. No nothing. Get it? Got it? Good!
Instruction over how our summer will go. Grumbling not allowed. Following through with a happy heart the only option. Obedience the first time the only option. No excuses, not one. It requires a lot from me. Especially with all three boys. Being attentive, off the phone, not distracted, and giving clear instructions, asking questions to be sure all is understood and then ugh....following through.
It started with having their workbooks all ready to go. They were all ready to go. Pencils sharpened. My breakfast table, which is glass, all shiny and clean. Ethan put in charge. This is good for Ethan to come alongside and help the younger ones. Explaining to the younger ones that he will help read the instructions and the work begins. Then the twitters of noise that irritate, and the whispers and the mommy stepping in and shutting it down. Quiet work. Work was completed now onto the next phase. Grumbles. Why the grumbles? Challenges and then spankings and obedience. Not the fun part of parenting, but the important part of Mommy Boot Camp.
Room cleaning began and I sat down to my desk feeling overwhelmed. I need a mommy's shoulder to cry on. Am I doing right by my boys? I see my older two and what terrific adults they are and know that this "work" will soon pass, but I WANT MY MOMMY!!! Then in perfect step...they dance into my room...singing...."I love my mommy" "I love my mommy" "I love my mommy". How can they love me? I have been firm. I have had to hand out spanks. One of my kids even told me that they don't like my "firm face, it is scary looking." I had to say that my firm face has you obeying the first time. Mommy Boot Camp. Establishing how our summer days will work. It's been a rough morning for all of us and they come singing I love you mommy. How does this even work?
Off in the distance I hear the giggles and laughter of room cleaning. Ethan leading in making it fun. Telling his brothers that they are going to surprise mommy and she is going to be so happy. They told me to stay put and they would come and get me when they are done. Mommy Boot Camp does not happen often. It has to happen at times when the season's changes and new systems are put into place. If the standards begin to relax the level of parental authority relaxes too and I find myself running in circles of frustration. A morning like this may be hard, but it unfolds weeks of enjoying my children. They know what the line looks like, where it is and what expectations are for this new season of being a kid.
I think we are off to a great start for our summer. Thanks Lord Jesus for giving me such terrific boys to love and grow up into your Kingdom. I may not have my mommy to cry out to, but I always have YOU to cry out to. I love you, Elizabeth
p.s. Every good day of Mommy Boot Camp should end with home made banana bread. The boys loved making this and loved eating it even more. There was enough for Emily to wrap some up and take to a friends and enough for storing a cute jars. Eric helped me make this set up. He is quite the merchandiser, displayer. Even when he sets the table for dinner he wanders the house in search of something decorative to put on the table. I love how he changed how I stacked the loafs and made them all kind of edgy in the blue square bowl. This day turned out to be oh so lovely and blessed. Many successes around the house and we are all wearing fine boots too.