A Letter to My Sensitive Children

Dear Monsters,

I love you. I truly do. I want you to be successful in life with whatever you choose to do. I want you to have amazing careers and families. I want to equip you both with the knowledge that you’ll one day need to pick out your dad and my’s nursing home. And encourage you to find a career that pays you enough to make it a good one. I want you to be able to roll with the punches and to not be afraid to make mistakes. Because it is through mistakes we learn the greatest lessons. I want you to take what I’m about to say and carry it within your hearts for all eternity.

“Toughen up, Buttercup.”

You’ve both been told this a number of times, but you don’t seem to grasp it yet.

Monster A, I really don’t need to know every time your dad scares you. He’s doing his job and honestly, he’s just not that scary. I also don’t need to know when Monster S tells you something you don’t want to hear. She’s your little sister. It’s her job to annoy you. Stop being so scared about EVERYTHING! If you got past being scared of daddy when he’s trying to scare you, he wouldn’t find it so funny and keep doing it. I know, honey. Sometimes parents are jerk-faces.

Monster S, you’ve got to start figure some stuff out on your own. Just because Monster A teases you does not mean you should get butt-hurt by it. Love ya, Hon, but seriously, stop it. He’s your big brother. It’s his job to tease you, but I promise he is your biggest protector and loves you more than anything. Also, stop complaining when you don’t get your way. I really can’t think of a single time it has worked for you. Oh, and EAT YOUR FOOD! I will continue to send you to bed without supper until ya figure it out Sweet Pea. You eat two meals and two snacks a day. I won’t even feel bad about it.

Now, listen up. I say these words to you not just because I think you need to learn that life doesn’t always go the way you want, but because I know from experience how painful life can be when you take everything/everyone a little too seriously. It’s lousy. It’s something I struggle with daily. Just ask your dad if you don’t believe me. I get my feelings hurt a little too easily, most of the time from very well-meaning people. Sometimes even from the two of you. I want you to be caring and compassionate people. I want you to feel free to express how you’re feeling in most situations, but you need to steel yourselves against what the world WILL throw at you. You need to understand that I will always be there for you, but I’m going to start watching from the sidelines more and more over the years. You will always have an ear to listen to whatever you have to say. But I can’t fight your battles for you forever and I also can’t decide how you will respond to things. You should start practicing with the small stuff now, while I’m still here to guide you along the way. I don’t tell you to “toughen up, Buttercup,” because I don’t want to listen to you or deal with your problems. I do it because I DO love you. I love you with my whole heart. No one but God will ever love you as much as I do. And when I release you from my home into the wide, cruel, beautiful world, I will do so with the un-doubtable knowledge that you will be successful, mostly happy, productive members of the human race.

Love,
Your crazy, “mean,” mom

I have a challenge for you

Busy week around here. AF Ball, last minute changes, football game, etc…….

I don’t tell you all this to aggrandize how busy I stay. I tell you this as a cautionary tale. Because honestly, since I’ve started homeschooling and becoming accustomed to being a “military wife” (which I love), I’ve completely lost myself. I love my kids, and I love teaching them. I love seeing them accomplish great things. I love when my husband’s superiors approach me and tell me how proud of him I should be (and of course, I really am.) But I’m lost. I can’t figure out who Kyla is anymore. I’m a “mom” or “Willingham’s wife.” I’ve always prided myself on still being able to hold onto the things that I’m proud of about me. I’m a damn good singer and actress. I’m an awesome cook. I know a lot of really amazing, useless, trivia. I’m really smart. But nobody knows that side of me here and that’s hard to come to grips with. I guess I haven’t really had a chance to find MY niche here. The kids and I have found a space, but I haven’t as an individual yet. I’m taking steps to work that out.

I feel like a horrible mom. I know I’m not alone. Let’s just be honest. We’re afraid, or maybe embarrassed even, to admit that sometimes we need a break. Whether it’s the mom that worked all day and came home to take care of her family or the one that stayed home with her kids all day. We all need a BREAK every once in a while. But when we get that well deserved break, we want the kids back or we’re afraid that we’re burdening whoever has granted us that break even if that person is our husband/child’s father. I recently came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t have to hurry back home all the time to “relieve” my husband from “babysitting” the kids. And he doesn’t expect me to. As a wise woman once said – “Let it go!” (Self, take own advice.) I told Cody today that I was overwhelmed. I felt like the kids were constantly screaming. At me, at each other, at the couch, at the fence post (seriously, Monster S would do it), or asking me to do something for them when Cody was sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM! They will walk up the stairs and across the house to come ask me something when they were sitting right next to someone who would gladly do it for them! I don’t understand. But then, I feel guilty for feeling that way. I think I’m a bad mom because I let them get to me like that. Then I kick myself in the teeth and tell me to stop it. I’m not a bad mom. I’m a normal WOMAN. One who is an introverted soul that happens to be comfortable around people. I need down time. I need to recharge and I do that by being alone. Ladies, we have got to take time for ourselves. Even if it is an hour tucked away in your room watching Netflix on your Kindle with your headphones (pff, who does that? Not me!) because you don’t want them to hear you. Find that mom that needs some sanity like you do and offer play dates or sleepovers, because you know she’s going to return the favor. I mean don’t get taken advantage of, but expect that. Or find that WOMAN (because that’s what she was before the husband and before the kids and, believe it or not, she’s still in there) and make friends with her family, introduce your husbands and leave the kids with them sometimes and go! SOMEWHERE! Doesn’t even matter!!! Because I don’t know about you, but I get little to no kid free time with my friends and as catty as women can be with and to each other we need friends.

Another thing I’ve been sorely missing in my life is being in the Word everyday. I know that sounds a little preachy for those of you who know me, and although I live my life very openly as a Christian, albeit a very sinful and growing one regardless of how long I’ve been one, I don’t really bring it up too much. It’s just not who I am. I have embraced that and I’m fine with it. I’ll talk to anyone about Jesus all day long. I love it! But I don’t normally say thing like “being in the Word.” Anyway, I’ve realized that I’ve let my relationship with my kids come before my relationship with my husband and ultimately even with God himself. I’m a firm believer in God, husband, kids, everything else, in that order. And honestly, I believe that is the main reason I have lost who I am. I feel like I’m not using what God has called me to use (my voice) as He intended. I feel like I have allowed everything to come in between His grace (because I’m a guilty sinner that doesn’t believe I can be saved because I know better than God, of course) and His goodness. I feel like everything has suffered because of it. I have put my kids first and all of my energy into them but I wouldn’t say I have the relationship I want with them because GOD is not in that relationship regardless of how many Bible lessons we do in our school work. And, oh! don’t I put on a good face?! I do everything I’m supposed to do to look like that picture perfect Christian but I am anything but. Putting it out here on the internet might make me see the ugly truth in that. It’s like I can put my faith, and God, in a little box when I’m “not using it” or when it’s inconvenient up on the shelf and never let it grow or change. But guess what. That causes an emptiness and loneliness that only He can fill. I don’t mind saying that I can be in a room FULL of people and I still feel alone. I can be curled up on the couch with my entire family and still feel miles away in my own little world. Well, you know what, I KNOW that I’m not the only woman who feels like that. And I AM DONE feeling that way. YOU have to nurture your relationship with your creator to be the best Daughter of God/wife/mother that you can be. It is your responsibility to 1.GOD, 2. YOURSELF, 3. YOUR FAMILY. If you don’t feed that, then it’s all for naught. If you’re not fed, whether it be spiritually, intellectually, even physically, you will waste away.

So, I have a couple of challenges for you:
1.) Go find something that makes YOU happy. Not your husband or your children, but YOU.
2.) Be willing to “Let it go” and receive help from your family and your friends. You don’t have to be Supermom.
3.) If you don’t have a WORKING relationship with God, get one. Stop trying to pretend you’re perfect. You’re never going to be. The secret is out! Stop living your relationship with your creator on a surface level and really start listening and delve into His word. MAKE IT YOUR #1 PRIORITY. Everything will fall into place, according to His will if you just do that! I truly believe that. Get help with it if necessary.

Alright, so I’m going to work on all of these things myself. It won’t happen overnight. But I promise if you need happiness in your life, it will happen. You just have to make it happen. No one else can do that for you.