Overprotective Parents: a Lesson From a Goat

It’s hard on your heart to raise a child (especially when you have a big wuss heart like mine). One time, my daughter went off to school without her jacket. By the time I realized it, she was already at recess in her short-sleeves. The current temperature was 54 degrees and raining. I immediately turned into crazy-irrational-panic-mommy and went off on my husband, spouting off things like “She’ll never survive!” Just the thought of sending your little one out into the world and exposing them to all the dangers out there (even if it’s just the cold and rain for a 15 minute recess) can be enough to justify popping a Xanax. So let me share with you a little lesson on motherhood that I learned from a mountain goat.

A mother mountain goat gives birth to her kid at 9,000 feet. The kid’s first steps are taken on staggering, rocky cliffs. The kid learns everything by watching its mother. One day, our little pair comes upon a river that’s moving pretty swiftly. The kid follows its mother to the river’s edge where it watches her jump out onto a rock sticking up out of the rushing water. She proceeds to make her way across, jumping from rock to rock. The kid does his best to keep up but gets a little scared and is separated from his mom. Pay attention, here comes the lesson.

The mother watches from the other side of the river as her baby calls out to her. He’s afraid. He could use some help. Is the mommy goat on the other side flipping out? No. She waits patiently. She baas back to him, but she’s otherwise helpless, so she waits and never leaves the riverbank. The kid finally finds the courage to take a leap. He goes for it and misses. Now he’s submerged and being swept quickly downstream. If I was the mama goat I’d be coming unglued, going totally out of my mind. But she’s wiser than I; she follows him, all the while just baa-ing at him and encouraging him to keep his little head up, to keep fighting. It’s not looking good for the kid, but, after many attempts, the kid finally gets his footing and scrambles out of the water, proving that he can survive without his mother’s help.

As mothers, we are hardwired to protect and provide for our children. But, at some point, we have to let our little ones experience fear, pain, rejection, sadness and other various hardships, in order to learn to survive in this big, scary world. It starts small with their first immunizations, that dreaded tummy-time, and letting them cry it out (or, if you’re me, rocking in the fetal position in your bed with your fingers shoved deep into your ears before going and getting them after 7 1/2 minutes). Then it gets a little bigger with sending them to kindergarten, and watching them almost drown at swimming lessons. I can’t imagine the stress of sending my baby to the wolves at junior high or, heaven forbid, dropping them off at college in another state. I’m getting worked up just typing this.

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The reality is that sometimes our little ones will be faced with trials. They’ll struggle and fail, but those hard times are good for teaching them to dig deeper and try harder next time. One of my favorite lines of poetry quotes “Good timber does not grow with ease: the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” (“Good Timber” by Douglas Malloch…look it up). If we as parents go all “helicopter love” and swoop in to rescue our child from failure or hardship, we’re also robbing them of crucial lessons taught by the best teacher: experience. There are character-building lessons to be learned at every loss, disappointment, or failed attempt. The important role we need to take is the one that the mama mountain goat modeled. We stand back, helpless but calm, baa-ing out encouraging words as our little one struggles and learns and gives their best fight. We follow them on their way, constantly supporting them, always loving them, but letting them gain the confidence that they’ll need in this big world to prove that they can survive.

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Time: Reasons to Love It

Time is like sand, the way it slips through the cracks between your fingers and disappears under your feet before you can catch it, and before you even notice it is gone. It’s hard to see the way time changes things until it’s pointed out to you. For example…

Time is a thief.

Time has stolen my squishy, sweet-smelling, finger-gripping babies. My little baby boy turned two this month. I just signed my youngest daughter up for her very first dance class with her little best friend. My son starts first grade in a matter of days, where he will spend 7 hours away from me and eat a meal completely independently (gulp). My oldest daughter has skills that I don’t possess myself. It’s strange when your child can do something you can’t do.

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Time has taken most of my imagination, all of my twenties, and my ability to stay up past midnight without turning into a brainless rage monster the next day.

I’m terribly sentimental and guilty of holding on to things too tightly. It’s hard for me to see change in a positive light, especially when the changes mean my little ones are disappearing forever. I’m trying to change my perspective of time and just embrace it since there’s no stopping it. I’m trying to find reasons to love time (or at least like it).

Time is a giver.

Time has taken my siblings who used to annoy me by stealing my clothes and given me my very best friends. Who has more in common with you, and knows more about you than your siblings (and still loves you anyway)??Time-Threelittlemommies.com

It has turned my parents from “bossy”, rule-setting fun-squashers into these wise, funny, incredibly experienced teachers-slash-therapists that I love and appreciate more than ever.

Time has taken my high school boyfriend and transformed him into a man whose hands I can place my life in everyday, knowing that he will provide for my children and me and make me laugh along the way.

Time takes pieces of my babies while they sleep in their beds, and leaves me with these budding best friends that tell jokes containing real and actual humor. They’re becoming beautiful and talented little people that make me so proud that I go almost immediately into the ugly cry as I watch them grow.10411196_10152286307273785_5445234125066064355_n

Time took my darkest, lowest, saddest moments and polished them up until they became shiny little experience nuggets, full of life lessons and wisdom.

Time has taken my fears and worries and given me strength and faith in return.

Time is always passing.

Time waits for no one. Every flinch of the hands on the clock is another second passed. There is no getting it back, no doing it over. All of that weighs very heavily on me and my heart. I’ve learned that those things that can be lost or changed by time need to be taken most seriously, and given top priority.

I will live each day noticing and appreciating each little thing that makes my ordinary life sweet and special.1917958_1139105152157_2162886_n

I will smile more, love more, forgive more, laugh more, and serve more.

I will put down my phone and really listen to my children. I will play with them. I will experience life as it is happening. My children are only small once, so I will soak them up now.

I will always miss what time takes from me (except for my period. I don’t think I’ll ever miss that). I long to be 17 again, and I wish I could freeze my children as they are now. But I will love and cherish the gifts time leaves me with because, in the end, those gifts and time itself are all we really have.

 

What are some of the reasons you love time? What has time changed for the positive in your life?

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Perfect Pizza Dough

Homemade Pizza DoughI’ve always had a hard time making homemade pizza because the dough never seemed to turn out. The crust would always turn out too thick or too thin, never just right. After trying multiple recipes this one finally made the cut! It has very basic ingredients but turns out perfect every time!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 tbsp yeast

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil (I use olive)

4 cups flour

In bowl of a stand mixer dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let sit for 10 min until bubbly/foamy. Mix in salt, oil and 1 cup of flour. Using a dough hook attachment on mixer, continue to add flour one cup at a time until dough is not sticky. Cover dough and allow to rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts (each part will make one 12-14in pizza). If you only want to make 1 pizza the other half can be frozen and used later.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza dough and place on a hot pizza stone. Decorate pizza with desired toppings and bake for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yummy Cheese Dip

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My mother-in-law makes this yummy cheese dip whenever we have a barbecue or sandwiches for dinner. It’s so easy and fast to put together!

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup milk
1/2 packet of ranch dip

Directions:
Mix and serve with crackers.

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“Wow! You’ve got your hands full!”

Hey, all you moms out there with more than one little one (or moms of one that is giving you a run for your money)! I’m pretty sure I can guess the phrase you despise the very most. It’s the one you hear all the time and it makes you want to slam your face against the hood of your car repeatedly. Everyone say it with me now…

“Wow! You’ve got your hands full!”

Yep.

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I have 4 little kids, and when I’m out in public with them, on my own, I hear it every time. EVERY time. You probably do, too. When someone says it to you on a rough day, doesn’t it take everything you have to not spit at them? But usually you just heave a big sigh and say, “Yeah, you want one of them?” And sometimes, you even hear it when everyone is behaving and you look around like “Nobody is bleeding. Everyone still has their clothes on. I GOT THIS!” Either way…it bugs.

I know people don’t mean to be rude. It’s just something to say. I’ve even heard those words come out of my own mouth. Once. I immediately put myself in time-out. Well, fellow mommies, I heard a sweet little sentiment that I now chant in my head whenever someone dares speak those hideous words. It’s my new mantra and it helps to chill my inner monster out. Here it comes…

“You think my hands are full? You should see my heart.”

Awwwww! When I heard that I said, “I should tattoo that on my forehead!” to which my 7 year-old replied, “But that would look weird. It would be cool if you did a dolphin jumping up between your eyebrows, instead.” Yes. Good call, baby.

I seriously love it, though, because it’s absolutely true. Life with children aplenty can be chaotic and loud and sticky with spit-up on it. And there are lots of squirmy little hands that need to be held, short legs that make you have to slow down, and crying kids that just need to be listened to. But it’s awesome because life is equally full of big hugs from little arms, sweet kisses just because, pinky-promises, and bedtime stories. You always have a “helper”, a little buddy, or a shadow. There’s more love than you even know what to do with. My heart is brimming because of my 4 little crazies.

So to all you observant strangers watching me care for my brood, yes…my hands are full, but my heart is jam-packed, overflowing, bursting at the seams. So I’ll take it.

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Grilled Pesto Chicken

Grilled Pesto Chicken

When its hot outside the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven and heat up my house. Where I live we have had about two consecutive weeks of temperatures in the 100′s! Which means our grill has been getting used a lot. This pesto chicken takes no time to throw together, but tastes amazing! Top it with some fresh garden tomatoes, fresh basil, some mozerella and you got yourself a quick, refreshing summer meal.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2-3/4 cups pesto

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Tomatoes

Fresh basil

Mozzarella

Salt & Pepper

 

Defrost chicken if frozen. Pour pesto over the chicken and coat evenly. Cover and marinate for 2 hours in refrigerator . Grill on medium heat until cooked through. Dice or half tomatoes and chop basil. Mix olive oil, tomatoes and basil in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish chicken with tomato mixture and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

 

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Garlic Bread

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We have this yummy garlic bread with pretty much any Italian meal. Spaghetti, baked ziti, fettuccine alfredo, etc. It’s always a huge hit! I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
1 loaf of French bread
Butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt
Garlic powder
Paprika
Dried basil

Directions:
Slice French bread into slices about 1 inch thick. Butter each slice. Place buttered bread on cookie sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan generously over each slice. Sprinkle garlic salt, garlic powder, a tiny bit of paprika, and basil over top. Place on top shelf of unheated oven. Broil on high for approximately 4 minutes, or to your liking. Enjoy!

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