There have been a few things on my mind lately.  Which is partly why I've been absent for a few days.  I'm trying to wrap my mind around it and figuring out how things can run and work, smoothly for my family, while having all the extras going on in our lives.  I feel like there is a lot of pressure from society and have caused a lot of us to be plugged in, over committed, over extended, and overly exhausted all the time.  I, happen to be over exhausted because I know I am over extended.  I took this weekend to chill.  To be with my family.  To play with my kids.  To have movie marathons even on a sunny day, and to not feel bad about it.  To not feel bad about not doing a project or to not feel bad about leaving the chores unattended.  To not feel bad that my house is not ready for a magazine shoot and probably never will be.
I hate that we are in a society of constantly being plugged in.  The plugging in of junk...iPhones, computers, texting, video games, T.V., all of it.  Plugged in.  How many of you get emails on your phones?   Facebook on your phones?  I know I do, and I know most of you do, too.  We are always connected. 

It bothers me to no end, when kids are so obsessed about video games.  That they don't even know how to go outside on a nice day and play.  But I'm not here to tell you how to raise your family and parent your children.  It just simply something that doesn't work for our family.  In our house, we actually do not allow for the playing of video games very much, that is an earned activity and privilege, not something that just keeps my kids busy so I can get things done.  The kids get only 30 minutes of computer time per day...after, all their chores are completed, their homework is done, AND if they have had good behavior.
The only ones who have data phones are The Mister and I, however, there are two of the kids that have cell phones, and I admit, the texting gets a little out of control at times.  However, I try to keep our family as unplugged as possible.  But it is hard. 

Weren't times easier when there wasn't so much social media, phones, TV...everything?  Why is it so hard to unplug and just be?  What happened to the sounds of kids outside playing on a nice day?  The sounds of laughter and balls bouncing the squeals of kids having a great time?

I have been feeling overwhelmed for the past few months.  Trying to figure out where our happy medium is.  I ask my friends, some who are in the same stage of life and some who are long past it, how did they do it?  How are they handling it?  But this is a challenge that is different for everyone.  A challenge that you have to figure out what works best for your family.

I have four amazing kids.  16, 11, 10, and 7.   We are very busy.  Busier than some but not as busy as others.  We have scouts, driver's education classes, and sports, school, and youth groups.  Not to mention that we are looking for a church that fits us and makes us feel like it’s our home.  Don’t forget the volunteering, The Mister's crazy on-call work schedule that varies weekly, housework, grocery shopping, family game night, camping, sleep overs, birthday parties, carpools, running a household, and working full time!  I have had many sleepless nights of setting my alarm clock, multiple times, and getting up and doing laundry in the middle of the night...All. Night. Long.  Only to get up and go to work the next  day.  Am I disorganized?   Over extended, maybe? 

When did parenting get to be so hard?   And why do I feel guilty when I say no to an activity?  Why do I feel like a terrible mother because my kids aren't playing 52 sports per season? I don't remember my parents going through these same struggles.  Maybe they did, but I didn’t know about it, because things weren’t so plugged in, everyone always in the know.
My children are my top priority.  Nurturing and teaching them as they grow up and into their adult lives, is my top priority.  But how can I do that, when I am stressed out to the max, frazzled, and having a hard time with my own boundaries? 
We as parents spread ourselves too thin.  We know that is not what is best for the kids.  So where is line drawn?  At what point do we say no?  At what expense?  Will our children really be lacking if something is taken away from them?  Or is that our children will really be lacking if we are taken away from them?
We are a society of multi-tasking....go, go, go and do, do, do.  Well, call me old fashion, but that is stopping for us.  Our family is going to become the abnormal of today, which is the new normal for us.  No more plugging in all the time.  Our evenings are going to be spent with no TV.  No distractions, no interruptions.   We are going to have our evening schedules up on the calendar and viewable to all and coordinating with the weekly chore list.  Things will get better for our family, as we become… unplugged and get connected!

I have always dreamt of being a mommy and dreamt of having a large family.  I was blessed to be given that opportunity four times.  And would honestly love to have more, but I’m going to make it the best I can for these kiddos, as they are my #1 priority. 
Those of you that think your sleepless nights with a newborn are you hardest part of parenting...guess what...it gets harder.  The struggles are a different kind of hard.
I challenge all of you to become … unplugged this week.  If it’s for a day, an evening, the weekend, or even a few hours.  How will you reconnect with your family while becoming unconnected?  What will you learn about your kids?
Let me ask you.  Why did you start a family?  What was your reason behind wanting children?  Was it because your parents did?  Is it because "that's what you are supposed to do" when you 'grow-up'? 


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