When parenthood is sending me to the nuthouse, this is what I think about.

We’ve all had those periods of time when life seems out of control.  For me, it’s leading a pseudo-single mom life while my husband’s job keeps him away from home most days during the week.  It’s my precious toddler, just shy of his 3rd birthday, who thinks everything is his way or the highway right now.  If he doesn’t get M&Ms after dinner he hops out of his booster chair and swats at me.  Bedtime means nothing; he’s up 2 or 3 times with every excuse imaginable from “monsters in my room” to “I have to poop.”

I don’t know about you, but eventually I hit my wall.  Granted I’m not the most patient person in general, but I do try to temper it when it comes to Junior.  Tonight I actually told him that if he got out of bed one more time I was going to cancel his birthday party next month.  To a kid so damned excited about turning 3 that he can barely contain himself, that was pretty mean of me.  He did stay in bed after that though.  So as I cleaned up one of a thousand messes tonight, I stopped to reflect on how I react to things and realized that I should actually try to be grateful for the crap that drives me nuts.

In the last year or so I’ve become acquainted with a great company that gives people an easy platform to raise money for any cause that’s important to them.  Since there are no limitations on what someone can fundraise for, you see a diverse range of campaigns.  Everything from church mission trips, to Susan G. Komen, to pet rescue groups, and they’re all fantastic.  The ones that really strike a chord with me though, are the ones that center on families – families just like mine – trying to raise money for their children.  Expensive cancer treatments, stem cell therapy, adoption, wheelchairs, you name it.   Yet these are things I never have to think about.

Everybody has problems and frustrations, things to complain about.  Nobody’s life is peaches and cream all the time.  But I think it’s important to put things into perspective; to recognize that some of the things you gripe about could be a blessing to somebody else.  My son has the ability to crawl out of bed and roam the hall upstairs, but there are other kids his age that can’t.  Does this mean I should feel guilty?  Absolutely not.  But when I get particularly crabby it does cross my mind.

At the end of the day every family has its own definition of “normal.”  I grew up with an older brother who was confined to a wheelchair from a young age due to Muscular Dystrophy.  Others may have looked at our family with sadness or pity, but to us it was normal.  I hopped on the handicapped school bus with him every day for a number of years and didn’t think twice about it.  My parents were active with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and we were granted a Disney trip from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  I’m sure my parents felt more stress than they let on, and as a child I was certainly oblivious to it, but I know that they found great joy in their less-than-picture-perfect lifestyle.  And I know that the families behind the fundraisers I just described also feel great joy, even if their lives appear less than ideal from the outside looking in.

So tomorrow morning I will look at my sleepy boy with crazy bed head and tell him his birthday party is not in jeopardy.  When he swats at me like a brat I will discipline him, but also feel grateful that he’s able to swing that hand.  When he sasses at the dinner table I will correct him but remember that I am lucky that he communicates so well.  The next time he loses his mind in a fit of rage I’ll remind myself that his presence alone is a blessing.  But in all fairness I’ll still be annoyed and wonder why my life has to be so crazy sometimes.  That’s normal isn’t it?

*For more information about the fundraising company and its active campaigns, visit http://www.bonfirefunds.com.

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