When Being Mommy Hurts

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There’s no easy way to explain the fierce love that a woman experiences when she becomes a mom.  I was trying to explain it to Nate the other day, and he kind of just looked at me with a slightly confused (or maybe concerned) look on his face.  It just doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to explain it.  But to a mom, it’s reality.  And quite frankly, to every mom reading this, I needn’t go on.  They know what I’m talking about already.

They just get it.

I guess if I were absolutely required to express these emotions and feelings with the help of words, I would say this:  when I became a mom, it was as though a small, treasured piece of me left my body.  And that piece of my heart began to beat on its own, protected only by a beautiful, tiny person that it now lived in.

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This happened the moment I set eyes on my baby boy.  Suddenly, my own self came second.  My whole world (my whole need to protect, and nurture, and care) began to revolve around someone else.  But it didn’t feel like self-sacrifice.

Because that little someone else was a piece of me.

When Brady was in my womb, I constantly prayed over him, worrying about every little thing that could go wrong, and dreamed about the day that he was born.  Then, and only then, would I stop worrying; because then I would physically be able to hold my perfect baby boy in my arms.  Then I could physically protect him with my super-human, mommy strength  and always know that he was okay.  Because I would make sure that he was okay.

But once he was born, I quickly realized that my womb had been a safer place than this world we call home could ever be.  At least then I could carry him in perfect warmth and protection.  At least there, no hurtful words or angry bullies or harmful environments could touch him.  He was safe inside his mommy, soothed to sleep by the sound of my voice and rocking of my movements.

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But suddenly, he was living in this often hurtful, cruel world.  Suddenly, that small piece of me was detached and wasn’t always with me.  Suddenly, I was forced to sometimes leave that piece of my heart with someone else and to trust that he was being cared for the way that I would care for him.

It’s terrifying.  Absolutely terrifying.

My little guy is only two, but there have already been moments that have made me want to whisk him away to a safe place where nothing hurtful can ever touch him.  Kids have already been mean…  He has already faced challenges that made me want to swoop in and solve a problem that he needs to solve himself.  He has learned that sometimes life hurts.

But he is still so sweet and innocent.  Still such a baby.

As he grows, I will have to learn to slowly let go.  To trust that I raised him to be confident, even when the bullies taunt.  To know that God will continue to guide him, even when he isn’t snuggled in my arms for a Bible story.  I will have to be strong enough to let him take flight on his own, knowing that I taught him right from wrong.

As a mom, I look back on my own life with a new sense of respect for everything my parents faced, from letting me cry when my first job overwhelmed me to letting me travel thousands of miles away from home for college.  They knew that fire makes gold burn only brighter.  They knew that those hard moments were only molding me into a stronger, bolder, more confident woman.  They knew that quitting wasn’t an option, and so they guided me and stood with me.  But they didn’t hide me.

They held my hand and let me step out, so that I could learn to shine.

I’ve already come to realize that being mommy is going to hurt sometimes.  Because that little someone who holds a piece of me will hurt sometimes.  And every fiber of my being will scream out to protect and shelter.  But sometimes I’ll have to let go of my baby’s hand, even if it may result in cuts and bruises.  Sometimes I’ll have to trust him to someone else’s care, so that he can learn independence.  I’ll have to watch him attempt challenges that test his endurance, patience, and will.  And sometimes, I’ll have to watch him take a leap, even if he may fall.

Because he may also be ready to fly.

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He’s only two, but I already know just how hard it will be for me to ever see my little guy struggle or hurt.  But at the same time, I also know that the hard moments only strengthen us and prepare us to be strong.  To be confident.  To be leaders.

Sometimes, it’s the tough moments that propel us to greatness and to a more meaningful life than we could have imagined.

One thing I know for sure is this…  As fiercely as I love my baby boy, there is One who loves him even more.  And so I can only raise him the best I can and then trust him into the arms of the Savior who can – and will – always be with him.

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Preggo Journal – Week 30 Recap

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How Far Along – I’m 31 weeks, which means 8 weeks until my C-section.  Okay, now I really need to pack my hospital bag!  😉  And pack Brady’s things… And make sure the hubby has a bag…  And finish washing / organizing the baby things…  And organize a few places in the house.

Yeah, I basically just need to get these projects started and finished, my friends!  🙂  Apparently pregnancy brings out the procrastinator in me.  (Or maybe it’s life with a toddler.  I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with it too).

Baby Name:   Kaitlyn Marie

First and Second Pregnancy, Comparison Pics:  

THEN –  (2014)

NOW (2017) –

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I’m Craving / Disliking:   Really no specific cravings.  I feel as though I’ve just been particular…  I’m usually a foodie who loves everything, but I’ve been very picky this pregnancy.  Like if someone offers to bring icecream over, I have a long list of flavors that they shouldn’t bring.  Ha, ha.  (For the record, normally I’ll eat any flavor of icecream).  For some reason though, I’ve been very specific about flavors during this pregnancy, whether it’s dessert or an entree.

Exercise:  I didn’t get any structured exercise in this week (as the temps dropped), but honestly chasing after Brady all day does count for something.  😉  I’m always on my feet, walking, carrying him or other things, and just all-around moving.  They should make a workout video that’s called ‘Toddler Mom’.  Seriously, it’s a full body workout!

Awkward Moment:   I survived the week without any awkwardness!

A Moment I Don’t Want to Forget:  While I was in line at the grocery store yesterday afternoon, an elderly veteran behind me pointed at my belly and said, “Miss, I just want you to know that I’ll be praying for a healthy pregnancy and delivery for mama and baby.” I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, adding that I appreciate every single prayer! And he said, “I go to church a lot so don’t think I’ll forget to pray for you!” Then he showed me pictures of his one-year-old granddaughter whom he was obviously very much infatuated with. I was completely touched by his kindness and by how sweet he was that I came dangerously close to bursting into tears. Oh pregnancy hormones!!  It was just a really special moment and reminded me that this insane world is still filled with wonderful people.

Ooh, AND I received my C-section paperwork in the mail just the other day!  My surgery has been scheduled for May 4th at 7:30am (which means Nate and I have to be at the hospital for 5:30am).  It’s SO weird to have a scheduled date and to know when I’m going to meet my precious baby girl.  At the same time, it is a little bit convenient, since I can arrange child-care for Brady that much easier.  😉  But still, please keep me and my nerves in your prayers!  I’m starting to get a tiny bit nervous about it…  C-sections do come with their risks, and the recovery afterward is no joke.  I’m just praying for a safe surgery and also that my recovery won’t be too bad (especially since I have a toddler at home this time around).  Honestly, last time, my recovery was pretty great; but I don’t want to get my hopes up that it’ll happen again.  😉

Something I Miss:  Energy.  And being able to bend down.  And coffee.  (As of two weeks ago, coffee gives me heartburn, so I’ve had to give up my treasured decaf).

Sleep:  Despite having to wake up every two hours to pee, I’m actually sleeping pretty well still.

To-Do List Completions:  Other than baby shopping, I got nothing done this week.  Yeah, I know, I need to get on that.

Purchases:  I have basically everything I need now for when baby Kaitlyn arrives… except for clothes.  I’ll probably focus on buying that closer to my due date.

Symptoms:  On Friday, I was diagnosed with SPD (or something like that. HA!).  Basically it has to do with my pelvis (or something like that).  Honestly, I have no idea what it is…  The doctor used big words and had a thick accent; so once I realized that it was nothing serious (and that it would go away on its own after the pregnancy), I kind of dazed off and just nodded in agreement to whatever was being said to me.  *sheepish grin* What I do know for sure is that it’s giving me sharp pains in my upper thigh every time I move, so – yeah – it’s no fun.

I also have on-and-off nausea, backaches, heartburn, never-ending Braxton Hicks contractions, headaches, and extreme exhaustion.  This pregnancy is definitely a lot tougher than Brady’s pregnancy was (although I’m suspicious that much of that has to do with the fact that I’m running after a toddler all day).  😉  Still, I’m in good spirits, and I don’t complain… too much.  Ha, ha!!  I figured that pregnancy gives me some right to complain on occasion to my hubby.  And thankfully, he’s very understanding and hugs me after my vent sessions.  🙂

Final thought:    Nate and I really do plan for this to be our last pregnancy…  And although I’m not a huge fan of the process (despite the fact that it IS a huge blessing),  I’ve decided that I’m going to really embrace the remaining 8 weeks of the pregnancy… aches and ALL!  It really is a miraculous process, even if it involves discomfort and frustration at times, AND it is a very special time.  So I’m going to embrace it for as long as I can.  🙂

Christmas Shopping… Done!

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Since coming home from our two-night stay at the hospital, I’ve been busy shifting around our crazy schedule into one that has been wiped clean.  Getting Brady around isn’t going to be an option for me, as his cast is heavy and cumbersome.  So I guess you could say that the next six weeks are going to be a staycation with a toddler in a lime green Spica cast.

Makeup is optional.  Yoga pants a must.  Travel by wagon…  Well, is there any other way to get around?  Even a poor little dude with a broken leg can’t resist giggling (and smiling from ear-to-ear) when the mode of transportation is a red, Radio Flyer.

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I wish I could say that I just shrugged off the cancellation of our fun, upcoming holiday plans with ease; but to be completely honest, I had to let myself have a bit of a pity-party today.   Although I always search for the humor and positive side of things, I don’t always jump to that conclusion automatically.  Sometimes, I have to let myself be pulled – kicking and screaming -to the place where I can find laughter or a reason to be thankful.

Need some parenting humor to help you laugh about the hardest job on earth? I round up all the funny parenting memes full of quotes from real parents to help you laugh and find the humor in raising our kids.":

 

I mean, I was totally okay with having to reschedule a dentist appointment.  (It’s not like I flossed as promised anyway).  And I can live with the fact that piano lessons are going to be half days in January (although it’s not ideal).  But then I started to get to all the fun plans we had scheduled over the next few weeks, and hitting the delete button was a bit tougher.

Okay, okay.  A lot tougher.

First, I had to come to the realization that Nate might not make it with me to our gender-reveal ultrasound on Thursday.  (And we definitely can’t make it to the dinner plans we had made to celebrate afterward).  Brady has special needs right now, and we wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving him with someone who hadn’t been trained in Spica cast care.

I had to cancel my Christmas shopping trip with my sister and a dinner date with a close friend.

We hope to make it to my family’s Christmas Eve party, but it all depends on how Brady is feeling.  We probably won’t make it to Nate’s side of the family on Christmas Day.  And none of Brady’s toys are appropriate for a little boy in a cast, so we have to put them aside to give them to him after Christmas (as apposed to the special, energetic Christmas morning we had planned).

And then I took a celebrity look-alike quiz on Facebook, and my result was Hilary Clinton.  (Okay, so that last thing is completely unrelated, but being compared to a 69 year old politician wasn’t the highlight of my day.  Kick me when I’m down, Facebook.  Kick me when I’m down).

I had to regroup a bit today.  I had to let myself feel sad for just a bit, acknowledging the fun plans that I had to let go of.  (If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that burying one’s feelings and ‘pretending them away’ doesn’t work).  Then I had to take a deep breath and decide to focus on the good things that can come with the change of plans.

After all, I am very much Type A.  I love to create plans and lists.  If anyone can make these next few weeks special by creating replacement memories, I can!

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I think I can…  I think I can…

I know I can!

And I decided to start right away with my Christmas shopping.  I originally had planned to finish my Christmas shopping on Thursday, but instead spent the evening at the hospital with Brady and Nate.  I realized this morning that I still had gifts to buy…  Granted, I didn’t have too much to buy this year.  Finances are a little tight this year (with Nate just starting the school bus driving job), so I could only afford to buy for family.  But still, I hadn’t bought Nate his gifts yet (sheepish grin), I had a Yankee Swap gift to pick up, there were a few odds and ends to grab, and I needed to pick up a few things for Brady.

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Thank goodness for Amazon Prime’s two-day free shipping!!!  While Brady napped, I finished my shopping in the comfort of my own home.  (There’s something to be said for that…  It’s a lot less crowded.  Browsing isn’t as rushed.  You don’t have to feel embarrassed by your chipped nail polish.  And the hot cocoa is a lot cheaper, even if you do have to wash your own mug afterward).

I’m going to make the best of these next six weeks, even if they will be different than planned!  Take that, Spica cast.  Take that!  This Type A mama has got this!

I mean, look at me go!  I finished my Christmas shopping, and it’s not even Christmas Eve yet.  🙂

 

Mom-like Reflexes

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My best friend Ashley and I were sitting on the floor, casually chatting about everything from The Bachelor to mommy life, when I suddenly leaped into action.  One minute I was just sitting there, legs crossed.  The next moment, I was flying through the air, redirecting my son’s chubby hand from a glass of water that was sitting just a tad bit too close to the edge of the table.

Shattered glass averted!

Then I calmly settled back down again, never missing a beat in our conversation.

Ashley  watched me with slightly widened eyes before commenting, “I never really realized just how quick your reflexes have to be when you’re the mom of a toddler.”

I paused a moment to think back to how quickly I had sprung from a sitting position to a full-blown lunge across the room.  Oh my gosh, she’s right.  I have super-human strength and agility!  Someone sign me up for America Ninja Warrior…  Someone film me teaching a workout DVD with Jillian Michaels…  Someone sew me a Superwoman cape (but just make sure it matches my new leggings from Lalaroe).

But here’s the crazy thing.  I’ve tried yoga once in my life, and I managed to less-than-gracefully fall over onto my face while simultaneously bruising my kneecaps.  (Apparently you aren’t supposed to attempt a balance-on-your-hands style pose on your first attempt, but – I digress – I’m all about aiming big).  I’d rather eat kale than do squats.  I’d rather eat a cheeseburger than eat kale.  And the closest I get to doing Parkour is jumping into my Jeep while juggling groceries.

(Okay, you’re right, let’s scratch that teaching a workout DVD with Jillian Michael’s idea).  

I’m not going to appear on a fitness or extreme adventurer magazine anytime soon.  (Or how about never…). But when Brady was in danger of being injured?  My body sprung into action with an agility that I normally wouldn’t possess  And because of this, to Brady, I am a super-hero.  And strong.  And an ever-brave explorer to help guide him through this exciting, sometimes -confusing adventure of life.

My job, as the leader, is to jump into action, should Brady need protection.  (And when you’re raising an energetic little boy like Brady, you are constantly leaping into action, trust me).  😉  But as time passes, I also need to help equip him with skills to forge his own trails.  I need to help him find courage to venture out on his own, while making sure he knows that his mamma will always be waiting with homemade cookies to welcome him home.

Silly, right?  That one little leap during a toddler playdate could remind me of how incredible I am as a woman?  But the thing is, I so often doubt myself…  And sometimes I need that reminder.

There is no meter to gauge just how fierce, unending, and strong a mother’s love for her child is.  And even though that love will never put us on television or in the pages of a book, to our children, we are guides.  Protectors.  And warmth.

We don’t need all the answers – or to have it all together – in order to be super-mom.  We just need to love unconditionally and selflessly.  Everything else just kind of falls into place after that…

We will always have mom-like reflexes to hold our children close when the world tries to hurt them… but yet we posses the strength to gently push them away when they need to learn to stand on their own two feet again.

And THAT is enough.  America Ninja Warrior can keep its prize.  🙂

 

 

 

Why I don’t Hate ‘Gorilla Mom’

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Brady ran into a lake the other day.

We were standing on the pebbled beach, throwing little stones into the quiet water and watching ripples dance across the surface.  My hand was resting lightly on my little guy’s shoulder, so that he wouldn’t get his sneakers wet (should he decide to step a little too close to the water’s edge).  With my other hand, I sipped an iced coffee (despite the chilliness of the day) and willed the caffeine to take affect.  Nate threw stones far into the lake, promising to one day teach Brady how to skip pebbles.

The moment was calm, and relaxed, and perfect.

At one point, I put my coffee down, and Brady eagerly rubbed sand onto the straw.   So I bent down to clean it off as best as possible…using both hands.  Nate was in the middle of throwing a rock of his own.  And as I stood up, in a matter of seconds, Brady dashed straight into the cold water.

It wasn’t just his shoes.  He ran full-speed until the water reached his waist, and he instantly froze.  I had to dash forward to grab him, and then I ran our dripping wet little boy back to the car so that he could be stripped and taken home for warm clothes.

Brady was never in any danger, and it was a cute story to tell the family that night.  But it made me think…  We blink, and our toddlers get into something they aren’t supposed to.  And more times than not, the innocent misshap leaves them with wet sneakers, messy clothes, or maybe even a little bump.  But sometimes, the moment turns terrifying.

Most parents have had ‘one of those’ moments.  At the same time, most parents don’t have to deal with the accident going viral.

I wasn’t at the zoo the day a three year old crawled over a partition and fell into a gorilla exhibit.  I can’t tell you – for sure – who was at ‘fault’.  But what I can tell you – for sure – is that it was a horrifying experience for all involved.

I’m not sure when it happened, but we all suddenly need to pick sides.  We need to be Team Gorilla… Or Team Mom…  And we need to create Memes to attack the other side, so that we can stand on our soapbox and declare ourselves ‘right’.

I actually read a comment the other day, where someone said that the mom should be shot just like the gorilla so that she could have a taste of her own medicine.  WHAT?!?  I was beyond horrified…

A mom lost sight of one child while taking care of another, and she looked away at the wrong moment for too long.  A beautiful, endangered animal was killed.  All-around, it was a horrific accident

I feel as though we’re all wound up so tight that we forget we’re all human beings.  We’re Americans.  When it comes down to it, we’re all on the same side.  We might have differing opinions sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we need to lash out in anger and violence.

Why do we have to pick sides?  Why can’t we mourn together and agree that something horrible happened (and maybe learn from what happened as well)?

I know that a lot of people out there have expressed hate towards the mom who looked away long enough for her child to fall into a gorilla exhibit.  But I can’t…  I can’t, because my little boy ran into a lake.  And like every single parent on the face of this planet, I have made – and will make – mistakes.  The difference is that most of our mistakes will not go viral.  Or result in the tragic loss of an animal’s life.

That poor mom has to live with this mistake for the rest of her life.  The zoo has to move on, realizing that they put down one of their most treasured animals.  And so, I’m choosing to not pick sides.

I’m choosing to be saddened by what happened…for all sides involved.

 

You Know You’re the Mom of a Toddler When:

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1.  Your house exists in three stages – messy, messier, and oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-barn.

2.  The messy version of your house starts to feel clean, because it’s only messy.  There are two much worse levels…

3.  You realize that there are benefits to the toys scattered about your living room floor.  It distracts visitors from your crazy hair and the bags under your eyes.  “Oops, I’m sorry there are so many lego’s scattered about.  Why don’t you carefully watch your feet and try not to look at my face too much…”

4.  You’ve got mom guns and can lift a 30 lb toddler while carrying groceries, talking on the phone, and dodging pets.  America Ninja Warrior has nothing on you.

5.  You’re really good at picking up stuffed animals with your feet.  (Anything to avoid doing one more squat while holding your little one… who – for the record –  doesn’t feel all that little anymore).

6.  You wear leopard print, not because it makes you look fierce, but because the pattern hides milk stains, chocolate stains, poop stains, Popsicle stains, and gravy stains.  Leopard print is the ultimate stain hider.  It’s like precious gold in cloth form.

7.  If you close your eyes, you can see spots.

8.  Forget heels, polish, lip gloss, and jewelry.  Your epitome of THE perfect night is now a hot bath, bubbles, flickering candlelight, and a bowl of peanut m&m’s.  Ahhh, feel that stress slip away…

9.  If you don’t have time for the hot bath, bubbles, or flickering candlelight, then the peanut m&m’s will do!

10.  Caffeine is your best friend.  You love it even more than you love leopard print.  Or m&m’s even!

AND…

You have more love in your heart than you know what to do with.  🙂