August 28, 2010

The Real World

You have NO idea how it feels to be on the receiving end of your anger!!

These were the words Nathan yelled at me Friday morning after a frustrating start to our day. Let me just clarify that by "anger" he did not mean that I was beating him or even yelling at him. Talking to him in a frustrated tone of voice? Definitely. It didn't matter.......he was still distraught (translation: exhausted) and would not settle down. He did get on the bus, but his shoulders were slumped forward and he was shuffling his feet with not even a wave as the bus pulled out of the driveway. I went on a preemptive strike by emailing his teacher to give her a head's up in case my anger was brought up and suddenly we have the nurse looking for inexplicable bruises. Nathan came home happy, with our morning forgotten, and all was right in 9 year old world once again.

What does this have to do with life in Singapore?

Despite the fun and adventures and new experiences, we are still smack dab in the middle of real life. Real life means we have days where every Jenkins family member is in a bad mood. It means we still have to hand out consequences, have difficult conversations, pay bills, figure out what's for dinner, and laundry. Loads and loads of laundry.

I am very aware that these next few years are going to offer some experiences we would otherwise never have had. I am also very sensitive to the fact that if those adventures are all I ever talk about, it can get obnoxious very quickly. We are blessed and thankful for our time here, but we are still immersed in real life every single day and real life can be tough sometimes.

I thought I was going along with the parenting thing pretty much figured out. A few bumps here and there, but overall I thought I was doing a relatively stellar job. Then a few weeks ago Garrett made the comment to me:

You know how you always talk so nice to people in stores and restaurants? You use that nice voice? I wish you talked to me like that.

Nothing like being slapped upside the head with the hand of reality. That comment coupled with Nathan's somewhat irrational comment has really made me think. Do I put forth more effort in being kind and gentle with strangers than I do with my own children?

I am the one person in this world they should be able to count on for a kind word when everything around them is ugly. I should be the one person that they can trust for a word of advice without the sting of criticism. Trust comes from not having to wonder what kind of mom is going to greet you every morning.

I sat down with Garrett and apologized to him. Apologized for the times that real life has taken away from what he deserves out of me. He deserves a mom that is consistent and loving.

A mom that parents him out of anticipation of his success and not expectation of his failures.

I continue to be in awe of life around me and every single day I encounter something that is new and different, but my real life is home with my family. People that deserve the very best I can give them no matter where I am or what's going on around me. A mom that is present and attentive and has enough self-control to not let her parenting be ruled and swayed by her emotions.

Real life continues in the midst of our adventure. Some days I rock at real life and others I fail miserably. The important thing is that I learn from my mistakes and pick myself up determined to do better. Now, if only I could figure out a way to not have to deal with the laundry, life would be just about perfect!


  1. Did you read my rock at Truth? Did someone send you a pic of it or something?? This is definitely something I needed to hear this morning. Thank you so much sweet friend!

  2. Hang in there...I could say the same about myself. Praying for you. Hey at least some things are still "normal":) Love to you and yours!

  3. soooo needed to hear that this morning. thank you!

  4. Such an encouragement.... I'm not the only Mom that struggles with this. I have been working on just that - being kind to EVERYONE including my children lately! Thank you for your awesome transparency as always. LOVE YOU and love hearing your voice. :)

  5. Been there, done that...a little too often. Thanks for your words and a reminder of what we need to strive for, as mothers of the precious children God picked for us.

  6. I so totally get this. TOTALLY. Except I love laundry and hate every other kind of housework.

  7. One time (many years ago!!) when my kids were much younger.....I was telling my then 5th grade daughter (she's now 31) to do something. You know, in that "mom voice" that is just simply stern and direct. She said to me, "Well mom, you don't have to yell about it". So I said in a very simple and direct voice, "I wasn't yelling!". You want to hear yelling? And I proceeded to truly YELL what I has just told her. Later on we all got a big kick about it and we still laugh about it to this day and that's been over 20 yrs ago!! ANYTIME someone says, "you don't have to yell" we immediately say, "That's not yelling - you want to hear real yelling!!!" So there will come a day when your kids will laugh over some of your discipling techniques!!!
    And one more husband says he can always tell when someone is at our house (or with me in the car, etc) because I answer the phone with my "nice" voice. He says I answer with a "not-nice" voice when I'm by myself!! Ouch!

  8. Hey Keri!
    I am loving your blog. And I understand...Allison (our daughter) will be 2 in October and already, I have a "mom" tone sometimes. Patience is not one of my virtues and I know that about myself. I really work on it. Some days are super easy, others a little tougher, but trust me, I understand.
    I am so thrilled Tiff has you in Singapore. I miss her more than you will ever know. We are two only children that managed to become sisters. She is such a dear person. She really has the biggest heart out of any one you will ever meet. Enjoy having her close, enjoy Singapore and enjoy your babies. Glad I can "stalk" you through the blog world! :)
    Best Wishes, Kelly

  9. Thank you for your transparency. You are not alone. A few weeks ago our household had a pow-wow and this topic came to the forefront. Needless to say, I was humbled by my boys. My heart ached but also there was joy that they felt at ease to speak what was on their hearts.

  10. This is a struggle for all of us. Seriously, I am the Queen of being nicer to strangers than to my own family. But why is it that ChellBell treats her teachers with more respect than her parents? And why does my husband communicate better on his conference calls than he does at home? It's the reality of being a family. That settled in, comfy shoe that may not be the prettiest one you have, but it's the one you will never give away and the one you always want to wear, because it fits. The great thing is that we learn forgiveness from our families. I love that when we have bad days or frustrating moments we can, like you did with G, sit down and say, "I'm sorry."

    Love this post -- thanks for sharing!

  11. You're not alone. Thanks for sharing! Serena



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