Sunday, April 23, 2017

Raising Four Kids Alone

I’ve gotten to know quite a few people since I’ve become a single parent, also I believe quite a few people have gotten to know me via the internet. It’s fun talking into friends in the grocery store, at the park, at church, or even over texts/facebook messages. Whenever I am talking to people I don’t normally communicate with on a regular basis, normally the first thing they say is “I don’t know how you do raise four kids by yourself.” Hahahaha. Honestly, so so many people have life way harder than me. I think my life is a cake walk compared to a single mom. But, since I get asked so much I’d like to expand on that question during this post.

Most of the time when I get asked that question, I just smile and tell the truth. “My kids are just so great. They make it enjoyable.” That’s really the truth. I am just fully in love with my kids. They are my best friends. We are the type of family that does life together. Of course I try to encourage their own individual interests and set aside special time to devote solely to each of them, but most of our time is spent as a group. It’s just how we make it work. I think that’s one of the reasons I always give credit to my kids. Of course they argue and fight. Each of us has our own issues, but that’s the beauty of it. We work through it all together. In our house, no one will ever have to go alone. I just love the idea of that. No matter what happens in my life or how horrible of a day I might be having, I have four little people who believe in me and actively show me love.

However, it wasn’t always second nature to me. To be honest, at first the realization that this was “real life” for me was beyond intimidating. Waking up early to get four kids ready for school as well as getting myself ready for work, juggling all of the home and my career responsibilities, taking on the full financial load of a family of five with no extra income besides what I bring to the table, picking up and dropping off for every event, school day, doctor’s appointment, parent/teach conference, etc. and finally acting as dad & mom in my house just seemed too much. Finally after months of trial and error and praying/thinking about what my little crew REALLY needed, I realized that my kids just needed me to be there. They can do without fancy clothes, extravagant vacations, and the nicest toys. Each of them simply want dad to be fully committed to their lives.

Besides the fact that my kids are my favorite people in the world, there are a few other tricks that I utilize to keep my sanity:

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2) My definition of “the small stuff” was dramatically changed over the past few years. Hahaha. Now it’s more like “the medium stuff”. Basically, I just added a few things to the list for me not to worry about (random piles of junk laying around my house, matching socks, separating whites from colors in the laundry, making it to every event we are invited to, etc) I just do what I can do. Besides that, I honestly try to just not worry about it.

3) Figure out exactly how each of my kids show/receive love and laser beam focus on that junk. I don’t have time or resources to do everything I would want as a parent, so I need to make sure I’m ultra-intentional on how I do spend those things.

4) Find the joy in every situation. There will always be something sad/frustrating/annoying in every single aspect of life. It’s not that you shouldn’t acknowledge those things, but I like to make it a point to highlight to myself and my kids something positive in everything we do.

5) Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Haters gonna hate. So I just do me. I mean I’m a single adult male who drives a mini-van. Hahaha. I couldn’t care less about that people think of me cruising up in my 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan.

6) Embrace practicality. When I learned to cut out the fluff and frou-frou, things got way easier for me. My dream Christmas present? Pay my monthly water bill :) hahaha.

All of this being said, I do rent a permanent seat on the struggle bus. Do I think of myself as a perfect parent? HAHAHAHA!! No. Heck no. No times infinity. Geez, I probably screw up more than most everyone reading this. There’s only so many times a human can slip in spilled chocolate milk before they kinda lose it ;) If you’ve been around me in person, I’m sure you seen me lose my cool with my kiddos before. When they act out, and I don’t always respond in the best manner. I over react quite a bit and don’t always dive into each situation as I should. There’s normally always someone whining, crying, mad or upset. Bottom line, they are kids. Also, they are kids who’ve went through emotional trauma. They are bound to act out because their little, sweet brains don’t know how to deal with some of these crazy, hard emotional situations that surface from time to time. Seriously though, every parent in the world is flawed. We just do what we can and try our 103% best.

Now, another question… Do I think of myself as an awesome parent? ---- YES!!! Is it because of anything I say or do? Nope. Honestly, it’s just because I’m there. Being there makes anyone an awesome parent. It’s not some special secret formula. Whether you spend thousands of dollars taking your kid to Disney world or just sit and color imaginary animals with them, to me it’s all the same. Just devoting time to them makes you their hero.

Tonight, I was putting away dishes and Titus walked up to me & asked if we could lay together on the couch. So we did. After a few minutes of us just talking and watching a movie together, he makes a really serious face, looks at me and says “Daddy. Would you ever leave us?” I smiled and said, “Of course not buddy. You are stuck with me.” His face stayed serious while he said, “No. I’m serious. What if we don’t clean up the house good enough or I do something bad? Would you ever leave us then?” I paused for a moment and looked at him & said “Buddy. I'm never, ever going to leave you. I promise.” He just smiled and wrapped himself up in my arms on the couch. Really that’s what it all boils down to. Regardless of what happens, I’m there. That’s how I parent four kids solo. Screw ups and all, I’m still just there, and they are there for me.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Kids are Similar to Dogs

Easily distracted.

Can sleep anywhere...

but prefer sleeping in your bed...

and love to be the first thing you see when you wake up.

Love to pee anywhere and everywhere.
Dog or little boy... we'll never know. ;)

Not huge fans of the term "Personal Space".

Both love to get dirty...

luckily, they have a shared love for bath time.

Both enjoy dog biscuits.

Enjoy walks...until they decide the walk is over.

Follow you to the toilet.

Finally, unsupervised time is not recommended with either.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Megows: A-Z

A - Awesomest Kids on the Planet

It's no secret that I think my kids are legit the coolest humans on the planet, but I wanted to talk about this more in depth. It's hard to put into words how awesome they are because sometimes they literally leave me speechless. hahahaha. For example, tonight after dinner I walked into the kitchen to find Titus and Olive sitting on the floor, randomly wearing swimsuits and googles, and both chugging ice water out of sand bucket pails. Meanwhile, Neela was laying on the couch with her bearded dragon on her chest watching How to Train Your Dragon because "she needs to learn more about her own kind". Finally, Stevie was sitting in her room drawing little pictures to give our friends at school and singing "Strawberry Fields Forever" quietly to herself.

They are just all so unique and full of life. I love how they randomly pair up sometimes and at other instances, they sit by themselves to dive into something that interests them. They are the most kind, helpful, hilarious, cheerful, and loving humans that I have ever met. I freaking love those four little people :)

B - Birthdays

With four kids, there's always a birthday around the corner. And that's pretty ok with me. We love us some birthdays. From the planning to the actual event, there's just so much to enjoy. I love putting in time to make them feel special. As my kids get older, they are all chipping it in help with each others' parties as well. It melts my heart to see them get genuinely excited about making their siblings feel special. It's hard to do big things for just one kid with the way our family is setup, but birthdays are the perfect opportunity for that. I've written some posts about all of our past birthday parties. You can read about them here! 

C - Cats

 photo v8k6o_zpsjdbcvssp.gif 
Because... Duh. Cats

D -Dirty kids

I love when my kids come in muddy and their clothes are just so filthy from exploring, playing, and experimenting. This is a good thing since they seem to stay coated in an exoskeleton of dirt.

E - Excitable

Seth: "Hey guys. Do you want me to hook up the sprinkler and fill up th..."
Kids *before I can finish*: "AAAAHHHH  YYEESSS!!" (as they sprint to the backyard stripping off their clothes)

F - Frog Hunts

Maybe we've just got frog huntin' on our brains because the season to catch our favorite amphibians is approaching fast. If you visit our house on a steaming hot South GA summer night, there's a high likely hood that you'll catch us in the ditch.

"Prepping for a hunt"

"One of our frogs.
Dont worry we catch and release :) "

G - Good Lookin'

Not trying to brag but Geez Louise do I have some good looking youngins.

H - How did you make someone smile today?

This one might be my favorite. For a few years now, we go around the dinner table and we each have to say "How did you make someone smile today?" It's just one of those little things I love about my family so much.

I - It's gonna be a great day

Our family song. I made it up one morning a few years ago. It's now just become a normal part of our mornings :)

J - Jokes

All of us love to tell a good joke. Olive will tell you an endless amount of nonsense Knock Knock Joke, while Stevie might go with her staple "Why can't you get Elsa a balloon?" - "Because she will let it go." :D I prefer to embrace my role as a father by annoying everyone around me with classic dad jokes.

K - Kids

I love kids. They are so much cooler than adults. We have sleepovers and friends over quite frequently. In my opinion, once you are quadruple outnumbered, who's even counting anymore :)

L - Lunch trays

School lunch trays are served about every night at dinner. It helps me remember to fill each slot with healthy foods. Plus, aren't they just so fun! :D

M - Mr Rogers

Duh. M would be Mr. Rogers. If you follow my instagram or facebook, I'm constantly sharing Mr. Rogers quotes. He's my personal hero. I simply loved his view on life. I've even wrote a post specifically about why I love him so much.

 photo 11404266_1069524606391468_1901132709_n_zpstd502ahq.gif

N - Nature

Yay for outside, bugs, hiking, rainstorms, camping, critters, mud, climbing trees, exploring, flowers, clouds, and adventures!!

O - Odor

I'm not gonna lie. My kids can do activities and have fun that produce smells that are undescribable. Just imagine "little kid after playing outside for a few hours" mixed with farts and hummus breathe. I love these kids, but wow. Two words: Bath Time ;)

P - Parks

My crew are park connoisseurs. We know about every park within 20 miles. I mean why wouldn't we? It's free fun, and I hate the idea of getting into a rut of activities... For instance going to the same park over and over and over and doing the same things time and time again. I like that my kids love to switch it up. However, they each have their own favorites.

Q - Quiet Time

Wait... What's quiet time?

R - Rambunctious

This Megow characteristic is why I never get the "Quiet Time" previously mentioned... :)

Hahaha. Side note: My kids love Frozen Yogurt.

S - Single parenting

Yup. Just me and my kiddos. They are why I smile. They are my drive to succeed. They are the reason I'm happy to lose sleep. They are the joy in my heart.

T - Talented

Whether it's art, magic tricks, talking to "aminals", or fashion. Each of them shines in their own special talents.

My gorgeous little artist lost in thought...  

U - Untidy

Megows are a naturally untidy people. My office desk is a wreck and our house is usually not much better. HOWEVER!! Me and the kids have been trying ultra hard lately to turn this around!! I must say I'm pretty proud of the progress we have made. :)

 photo mopping_zpsnisfpqsk.gif
The Patented Megow Mopping Method

V - VSU 

My job... Valdosta State University. My co-workers have pretty much adopted my kids as part of our team up there. I can't say it enough how grateful I am for my job, bosses, and co-workers.

My kids are PROFESSIONALS at sitting quietly and ultra well behaved at college events :)

W - Waffles

Because Waffles is the most important word to start with "w"

X - X marks the spot

Treasure Hunts! Scavenger Hunts! Clue Hunts! Challenge Hunts! My kids love looking for treasure, and I love to plan them out! :)

Y - Yes!!

I hear it all the time. "People need to learn to say No". While that can be good advice, I try to instill the desire to say "Yes!". When people are in need, just help! If you have a neat idea on how to bless someone, just do it! We stay pretty busy, but I pray that when my kids get older they will always remember their childhood was spent serving others.

Z - Zelda 

Each of my kids have special time with dad at various nights of the week. We call this alone time. It's so hard to get these one on one moments. The kids and I thoroughly enjoy it. And it all started with Stevie's love of Zelda. We started carving out time for us to sit alone and play her favorite game of all time. Zelda. I love how those few minutes playing that game (I don't really play video games btw) turned into such a rich tradition for our family.

My princess Zelda :)

Well that's the Megows A-Z. Hope you enjoyed and have a great day!

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,