Yep, Eleven Kids! If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Crying!
[et_pb_section bb_built="1" fullwidth="off" specialty="off"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.92" src="http://www.brendashiekh.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/familypicblackandwhite.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" show_bottom_space="on" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.92" background_layout="light"] Spent the whole day yesterday trying to come up with names for my mom blog. Of course every good one was taken. My mom and daughter were helping me ignore the kids while we searched online and it seems mom bloggers already have the market on every kid and parent idiom. My daughter was trying to be sweet and cute with names like “Love, Mom” and “Home is where your kids are.” I couldn’t tell if she really thought that I was a loving mom, or she is just a way better person than me. The more seasoned mom in the house, grandma, had funnier ones like Fruit of the Womb and Full of it. I like the puns and sarcasm because I’m “A chip off the old block.” The expressions I use everyday with the kids were completely taken, which made me actually kind of relieved. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” “Because I said so” and “I totally hate you right now, go to your room forever,” are already registered. Well, maybe not the last one. But I do say that everyday.
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The whole process had me thinking about who if anyone is actually going to read my blog and what will they be able to take away from it. I’m not the mom with the crafts that stimulate your kids creativity while killing all the painful hours before you get to say “Bedtime guys”.
I’m not the mom with all the gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, organic vegan recipes kids will swoon over. Or the mom who has you looking like Kim Kardashian in the school drop off lane. I’m also not the mom with all the clever and progressive behavior strategies that head those tantrums off at the pass.
The truth is, I LOVE those blogs. There are days when I care what I look like, and there are days I care about what the kids eat, they’re just never on the same days. So the whole thing had me questioning, what is my niche? What value would people walk away with that they could immediately try in their own life that made things better for them?
When people imagine the circus act that my life must be, they feel sorry for me. But just like any sideshow (ie: Jon and Kate Plus 8, Octo-Mom or a horrible accident on the 405) people are curious. Eleven kids, ten of which are boys ages 8-10 through fertility and surrogacy, one with Aspergers, four others on the spectrum (two pretty severely), a nonverbal son with very acute cerebral palsy and epilepsy. People want to know how do I seem calm and centered and pulled together? How do I homeschool all of them? Why on earth do I homeschool all of them? Where do I find time to shower, eat, pee, breath? And strangest of all, how do I have a successful twenty three year marriage?
The secret to all of it for me is in the art of seriously not taking myself seriously. I care so much about my kids and trying to make sure they have everything they need to optimize themselves. I care about what I eat, how I look, if I’m a good enough mom, wife, friend, person. I care about it all, very seriously. But even more than all of that, I care about having a life worth living. If I can’t find the joy and laughter in the things that really matter to me then I know that my small, scarred self is running the show.
Shortly after the chaos of all of the boys being born at once, the early spectrum disorder and ADHD diagnoses, one being on life support in a comma for a month, and another enduring a severe brain injury, I could see that life was begging me to show up way bigger than I ever had before. There were lots of support groups out there, and I went to as many as I could. Strangely, I would always feel much worse walking out of those groups, than when I walked in. I could feel myself chiming in with the complaining crowd, things were happening to me and I was powerless.
It all kind of changed for me when I ditched the support groups for a stand up comedy class. I learned to turn the tragedies into comedy until I realized that I can skip the whole tragedy part and cut straight for the humor. It seemed to me that my pain and suffering were not in my circumstances, they were in a state of mind. I admire the bloggers and the online community that cultivate grace and humor in their everyday not so tidy lives. I want to be just like them when I grow up!
Of course, as I’m writing this I still don’t have a name, but it’s in here somewhere.