First things first, who the heck am I and why the heck are you reading this?  I’m a thirty-seven  year old mom to five kids. Two daughters aged sixteen and thirteen. Three boys aged ten, six, and three. With five kids and sixteen years of parenting under my belt I’ve been there, done that when it comes to the ups and downs of raising kids. Broken bones, broken hearts, school bullies, preschool anxiety, potty training, driver’s training, colic, croup, braces, and tantrums of all kinds. I do believe whomever coined the term “terrible twos” didn’t have a teenager. My family is my life, my role as Mom is the only one I’ve ever wanted, and I work hard to make sure I’m good at it… my definition of good, no one else’s. That’s who I am… why are you reading? My kids are the notorious nieces and nephews that GGB’s very own PM Cole loves to spoil. 😉

So while I’m normally a very lighthearted person lately a heavier topic has been foremost on my mind so when Cole asked me to be a guest blogger it’s the first thing I thought of and with
the Holiday season approaching and everyone thinking more and more about what they are thankful for it seemed appropriate to share. Sometimes as a parent it’s all too easy to sweat the small stuff. It’s something I try very hard not to do but I admit it has been hard for me lately. Our family is in the midst of a big move. Due to mistakes we’ve made in our financial past coupled with pay cuts and the awful housing market we are giving our home back to the bank and moving to a rental. I have been so stressed out about the move; it’s impact on the kids, our marriage, and our credit score. The logistics of moving and yes, even how it “looks” to our friends, family, and even neighbors. Lately I have been the Olivia Newton John of small stuff. No, my kids don’t get that reference. I am old. Then some things happened to make me snap out of it. The fourteen month old daughter of a friend was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a terrible childhood Cancer and just last night the nineteen year old brother of my daughter’s best friend was killed in a car accident on his way home from work, a job he used to share with my daughter.  In an instant these families lives went from average to unimaginable. Everything I’m worried about is trivial. My family is whole… healthy, happy, and together. No matter if it’s “ours” or rented, we have a roof over our heads. We have warmth and food. My husband still has his job, which in this economy is saying something. I am keeping these families in my prayers and as I deal with the endless tiny details of day to day life they are never far from my mind. I know right now those parents would give anything to go back to a time when errands and parent teacher conferences were the worry of the day.

This Holiday season I’m going to remember to keep my families’ focus where it belongs. What’s important is not decorations, holiday parties, and finding that “hot” toy the kids are after. We’re going to turn down more invitations and spend more time with the people we love. We’re going to do more giving and less taking, adopting a family in our community who is not as fortunate as we are. Every minute of every day I’m going to count my blessings… my five healthy, gorgeous, happy children. The only sweatin’ I plan on doing is at the gym.

The Momma Duck