The Unspoken Rules of the Chick-Fil-A Play Area

So… I’m updating this post. Because it’s my blog, and I can.;)

So, after saying in the original post that there is a rule about the play area being 3 and under… I was quickly corrected! And corrected. And corrected again.

Do you know what this means?!? No more guilt about letting my 4 and 5 year olds play! You all have set me free! (I sang that. It is important for you to know this.)

Anyway… Here are a few more “suggested rules” that I feel could be posted in the space!

  1. I promise not to judge you. This is Chick-Fil-A and we are all here for the same reason. We ran out of things to do at our house by 11:10 am and needed a break. We are all tired. We are all looking for a few minutes to regain our sanity, and we came here because it is clean, the staff is nice, and we don’t feel as guilty about our kids eating the chicken at this place since it hasn’t been formed into the shape of a nugget. I don’t care what you’re wearing, what your kid is wearing, or how down to the bone exhausted you look. This is a no judge zone.
  2. I pledge to uphold the code of the “Open Door Mom Smile Contract.” If you choose to let your kids go into the play area alone, and I am already sitting in there with my own children. I am in charge. I will smile at you as you open the door for your kids, and you will smile back. To outsiders, it might appear as if we are simply being pleasant. But it is our contract. With my smile I agree, “Yes. I will make sure you child doesn’t do anything crazy or dangerous while you get your lunch set up or cleaned up.” Your smile back thanks me. But our contract continues with a final clause. “I also reserve the right to give your child the stink eye or tell them, “We don’t do that!!” if they push, hit, kick, lick, or yell at my kid or any other kid for that matter while you are out of the room.” You understand and agree to the terms as you shut the door.
  3. I promise not to say anything about your big kids knocking over the tiny ones… so long as your kid isn’t a jerk. Look. If your giant nine year old is knocking down toddlers like bowling pins when they come flying down the slide, that’s not okay. Right? BUT, if you have a considerate older child who is kind, considerate, or basically babysitting a younger sibling so that you can enjoy your last chicken nugget in peace – girl we get it. Carry on.
  4. I pledge to not come find you… unless you make me. Here’s the thing. I totally get sending your kids to play while you clean up or set up the food or just sit next to the window chatting with your friend… so long as you keep an eye on your child at all times. I didn’t come to babysit your kid while you have a lunch date. And so help me if your child pushes down the other little girl with the bows in her hair one more time and she comes over to wipe her nose on me because Lord knows where her momma is either… I’m going to have to come out there and find you. Capeesh?
  5. I promise that I will uphold the code of instant momma friendship agreement. You brought your kids to play because you are obviously also a mom of small children. That means, you are probably going through a lot of the same things as I am right now. I might not have spoken to another adult all day, and maybe you haven’t either. If I’m here alone, feel free to chat. I bet you and I are a lot more alike than we might notice at first.

What about you? What other unspoken rules do you think should be added to this list?

 

 

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A Different Kind of Stretch Mark

I put this stinky cream on my belly twice a day while I was pregnant with my son in an attempt to avoid stretch marks. I read that certain foods helped with skin elasticity and that there were vitamins I could take to help my skin heal as well. But if the lotions and the creams and taking all the vitamins didn’t help, as a last resort backup, I would also pray, “Lord. No stretch marks please. In the MIGHTY name of Jesus. Amen.”

But, you know, despite all my best efforts, three babies later, my tummy stretched and shrunk and swelled again creating a home for my precious little ones to grow – and it left marks to remind me of our story.

This morning, I dropped my baby boy off at kindergarten and then took my little girl to Pre-k. I came home with just one baby on my hip, and I looked around my house.

It seemed so still.

When we are all here together, it feels so full. There is life brimming over the edges. The kids run around the couches and up the stairs. They laugh and they disagree and they argue. They are polite and they learn and they try again. We practice loving the world as we learn how to love one another here at home. Sometimes, that looks messy. Sometimes, that looks like getting it wrong and asking for forgiveness and offering grace. There is laughter. There is praise. There are tears.

Our home is full of life.

But as I walked in the door without two of my babies, the space felt – quieter – emptier.

And I realized that I had been stretched.

You know, when we became mommas, we knew that we were agreeing to growth. We knew that our bodies would grow, and our babies would grow, and our families would all inevitably grow.

But, friend, our hearts… Oh, our hearts are surely what grew the most.

And that is the beauty of the marks.

That is the beauty of being a momma with a stretch-marked heart. All of that love that you never knew was possible before you became a momma… all of those moments that have lead up to this one… have all filled your heart and left lines that tell the story – “Life was here.”

Maybe things feel different for you right now because you just took your baby to their first day of daycare. Or perhaps like me, your babies are off to their first days of school. Maybe your babies aren’t so little anymore, and they are in middle school or high school for the first time this year. Or maybe you are a few years ahead of me and your baby is off to their next great adventure – university, a new profession, or even a family of their own.

Friend, no matter what season you find yourself in right now, no matter what is causing your space to feel a little emptier… I’m right there with you. And today, I’m thanking God for leaving a different kind of stretch marks for each of us.

 

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Because You Totally Figured It Out Today

Tonight, I had the baby in the bathtub, my four year old kneeling next to the bath beside me, and my five year old playing quietly in his room (while my husband was in a late meeting.)

I was not stopping any meltdowns. I was not solving any problems. I was not overcoming any major obstacles. I was simply being a mom and taking care of all three kids at the same time.

But I looked around, and in that moment, I had this thought, “I’m doing it.”

You know, when we became, “Momma,” there was no gradual way into the pool. There was simply the moment where the responsibility of of this precious little life rested completely on our shoulders and we were treading water in the deep end of the pool.

We were all in.

I think that’s part of what makes motherhood so overwhelming at times. We go from being “me” to being mom – without a manual – in a moment.

And then we just figure it out as we go.

And we don’t stop to recognize the miracle of the every day moments that we figure out on our own.

I mean, seriously. The things that you took care of today? Do you ever feel like people can’t make that stuff up? Like if you told people the real-life scenarios that played out in your day they wouldn’t believe you?

Girl, you might not feel like you’re worth celebrating today, but… friend, I disagree! Today, you woke up and you figured. it. out. You made it through everything (and will keep making it through everything) that the day had and tomorrow has to offer.

So, a quick encouragement before bed tonight… here’s to celebrating the ordinary moments next to the bathtub, or in the car running errands, or sitting down and watching your family eat dinner (because is it just me or does momma never actually get to eat.)

Anyway, here’s to every ordinary miraculous moment that you “Mommed” today. You and me? Well… we are awesome, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

 

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