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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Breathe (Part 1)

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So I hit a really rough patch a few weeks ago, and it left this mama feeling like a failure.  I really did feel like a honest-to-goodness failure.  I hadn’t slept well in four nights, I saw how messy my house was, there was a crying little boy grabbing at my legs, dinner was burning on the stove for the second night in a row, and I realized that I hadn’t finished correcting piano theory for lessons the next day.  I had a worship service to plan out for church, so much laundry piling up that I wasn’t sure what was clean, cats who were tripping up my feet since they hadn’t been fed, and an upcoming piano recital to organize.

I was balancing so much that I was dropping absolutely everything.

In that moment, I wanted to run away from it all.  I want to run somewhere quiet, and safe, and still…just so that I could maybe cry for a minute and let all those emotions escape before the lump in my throat made it impossible to breathe.  Then I wanted to eat cake.  Lots and lots of cake.

Instead, I swallowed it all and put on a brave smile.  Because that’s what moms do, right?  They manage their household with patience and grace.  They always have time, and answers, and encouragement.  They always have enough to give…

But every new struggle, emotional need, and responsibility caught up with me until the cracks in my mom-shield were too great to ignore.  I knew – truly knew – that I was at the end of my rope when I took out my camera one afternoon to snap a pic for my blog…and I couldn’t smile.  I couldn’t lie to the camera and pretend that I was happy and feeling joyful, when all I really wanted to do was cry.  And scream.  And flail my arms to pull myself up out of the water that was drowning me.

After days of this, I finally decided that enough was enough.   And instead of burying how overwhelmed I was, I faced the pain, anxiety, and loneliness head on.

So many of us have been told that – as women – we are strong and unbreakable.  We can do anything.  We are the glue that binds our families, and shame on us if we can’t keep a smile on our face.  Shame on us if we can’t keep everything together.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength” so – for goodness sake – act joyful!

Yes, God made us strong!  He created us with a selfless love that goes beyond this world’s comprehension.  And He does provide joy, even amidst the worst of circumstances.  But let’s not forget that He also created us human.  We were created with emotions and our own set of needs.  We have the ability to fall and get back up again.   But we were also created to cry sometimes.  To rest. To be still.  And to need fulfillment of our own.

We can’t juggle it all.  At least not all the time.  (…to be continued tomorrow!)  🙂

 

Stronger Together

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One of my biggest pet peeves when I was pregnant for Brady was the amount of “ooh, you’re in for it now” comments we received from couples who were already parents.  The most common included: “just wait, you’ll never sleep again,” or “say ‘goodbye’ to having a life,” or “I hope you appreciated having hair, because you’re about to go bald from all the stress.”

I never really did know how to reply…

Hmmmm, thank you“?

Now granted, there is a grain of truth to be found in those comments.  I definitely have never been so exhausted in my entire life.  Just the other day, I was taking pictures of myself for this blog and realized that my eyes looked as tired as I felt.  Holy puffy eyes, Batman!  It looked like I had gotten into a fight with a blowfish… who won the battle and then decided to take up residency in my lower eyelids.

But still, despite how tired I am or how much better I need to be at making time for myself, I never feel the urge to shoot down an expecting mom or dad’s excitement over their soon-to-be-here bundle of joy.  I just don’t get that!  Because, quite frankly, these soon-to-be mom and dads are scared enough as it is.  They know they’re about to undertake the toughest journey of their lives.  They know that things are going to change and that sleep isn’t going to come so readily for awhile.

I mean, you just have to walk through a supermarket and listen for the screams, tantrums, and sudden outbursts of tears.

Their kids are usually pretty hysterical too.  😉

These moms and dads need to be reminded that it really will all be okay.  Really!  They will learn, and grow, and fall in love with a little human who is about to become their entire world.  And even though there will be many hard days, there will be so many more moments that are priceless, and precious, and beautiful.

And things will get easier!

The crazy thing is that the comments don’t stop just because you’ve given birth and been a mom for over a year. I definitely hear the “you’re such a new mom” comments a lot these days.  And my initial reaction is to try proving that I’m not acting like a new mom (even though I am a new mom).  So I struggle with my urge to wipe the shopping carriage with cleansing wipes, or to let Brady eat off the floor, or to wrap him in bubble wrap.

But here’s the thing…  I am a new mom.  And I’m only acting the same as all those other women did when they were new moms too (maybe with just a bit of extra silliness thrown in for good measure).

They know that a little dirt won’t hurt a baby or that a nursery full of sneezing kiddo’s won’t cause more than the common cold.  But as a new mom, you can’t shut off your terror of germs or hard objects or potential hazards (like anything with a hard edge.  Or anything that could be ingested.  Or – well – anything, really).  And although it seems silly to the more experienced, what you know in your head doesn’t go with what you feel in your heart.  And your heart wins every time.

This is why I choose to surround myself with women who are honest… but who also encourage and uplift me.  Being a mom is hard enough without other women telling you about how much worse it’s all going to get.  I’d rather focus on the positive and on how much I love being a mom.

Because I really, really LOVE being a mom.  There is nothing more beautiful, and amazing, and incredible!  And I’d really rather focus on that, whether it’s for my own life or whether I’m encouraging someone else!

As women, we really do need to learn to be there for each other.  Let it start with us!!  🙂

P.S.  To all of you new moms, it actually gets easier.  🙂  I promise!!!

A Get-Healthy Update

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Read this blog post (if you missed it) to catch up on my goals for getting back into shape.

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Honestly, picking a specific date as my ‘deadline’ to form healthy habits – and a healthier version of myself – was the best thing I could have done.  Or at least I think so…  I know it’s still early to tell, but it just feels that way!  🙂

The funny thing is that I really haven’t worked out at all since I began this journey.  I started out on a particularly busy week filled with piano tunings, appointments, church volunteering, teaching, and hostessing.  The following week, I came down with a chest cold that’s just now turned into a head cold.

Anyway, I can’t begin working out until my lungs have cleared, so it’s been three weeks of no exercise.  Bleh!

Normally, I’d set a new start day (a Monday, obviously).  But I haven’t had that mindset, since my  ‘end date’ is in August.  (Now obviously, August isn’t really an end date, as I hope to continue the good habits that I obtain over these next few months).  🙂  At the same time, however, I see every single day as a new possibility to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.  I no longer view my ‘get healthy’ journey as a diet that’s designated by Mondays and weekends.  Instead, it’s going to be seven months of doing better every single day.

It’s more long-term focused instead of being perfect now as I start out.

So although I haven’t been able to work out, I have been taking better care of myself.  I’ve upped my veggie and fruit intake.  I finally switched to unsweetened coffee.  I stocked my house with healthy snacks such as almonds, yogurt, cheese sticks, whole grain crackers, and dried fruit.  And I’ve been drinking a whole lot more water.

I’ve also really focused on taking care of myself when it comes to ‘me time’ and getting more rest.  Normally when I’m sick, I just keep going strong… and I end up exhausting myself.  I’m trying to remember that I matter too!  So I’ve made time for a hot bath every week, and I’ve designated Monday nights as ‘me time’.  On those nights, I usually watch TV or read, while Brady is in bed and Nate is playing a video game.  It’s simple… but it’s time for just me!

And two days ago, when I really didn’t feel well, I asked Nate to watch Brady for me so that I could lie down for a little bit.  I’ve never done that before.

These may be baby steps, but – at the same time – they kind of feel huge.  🙂

 

Just Gotta Laugh

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Holding onto sanity when you’re the mom of a toddler is rather like wrestling a crocodile… while you’re talking on the phone, chewing breakfast, and folding laundry.  It’s this unbelievably amazing experience that takes your breath away (along with your sleep, body, and fashion sense).

Oh, yeah, I totally meant to wear my sweatpants inside out, along with my clunky winter boots.  It’s kind of the fashion now.  …or it will be once I’m done rocking this look.

 

You kind of just learn to not care.  (And when something happens that is maybe a little bit more on the embarrassing side than normal, you just have to wait five minutes.  You’re way too busy juggling life’s to-do list to remember something that made your face turn red).

Oh gosh, that was embarrassing.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live this one down.  I don’t…  Oh, look, we have five eggs left!  I can totally just make scrambled eggs for dinner.  But first, laundry!  Oh, wait, the baby’s awake…  Wait, what was I worried about, again?

Such is the life of a desperately happy housewife.  Life is good… but you are oh-so-losing your mind!  But although there are moments during which your tears mix with the hot spray of a morning shower, you honestly wouldn’t change a thing.  Because when you snuggle your precious baby close, you know that you’re holding a miracle; and the love you feel cannot be explained.

So you learn to laugh at the ‘mommy moments’, whether it be involving your fashion mixups, inability to form sentences, or your adventures in the grocery store.

Oh, that’s right…  I haven’t told you about my grocery store adventure yet.

First of all, can we pause a moment and reflect on how awesome it is – as a mom – to go grocery shopping alone?  I sip my coffee… I people watch… I share sympathetic looks with other moms who are chasing after their hyper children….  It’s kind of like ‘me time’ while being surrounded by chocolate, potato chips,  bread, cheese, and icecream.

Oh yeah, and veggies.  There are veggies there too.

Anyway, I had apparently decided to walk down aisles at just the same pace as a male shopper, because we kept running into each other halfway down each aisle.  That wouldn’t have been such a big deal had he not made a big deal of it.  But he made eye contact every single time, gave me this smile that I knew was meant to be flirtatious, and even winked once.

I’m not sure what was more awkward…  The fact that this flirtatious man had his son with him. Or the fact that he was a skinner version of Fabio.

There was no disputing the fact that he was strutting his stuff and of the opinion that he was ‘all that’.  After a few aisles of smiling and nodding (during which I seriously contemplated skipping an aisle just to avoid him and this awkwardness), his son happened to run right in front of my carriage.  He called the boy over to his side and then sent me a toothy grin and said, “I am SOooo sorry.”

Wait for it… wait for it…  He quickly tosses his head to throw hair off his face.  

Now I should have shrugged and said, “No worries.”  Or “It’s okay!”  But instead, I said, “Oh, you’re fine!” which is something I tend to say to let someone know that no apology is necessary.

But then I kept repeating it.  It’s like something in my brain broke, and I was a skipping record stuck on the same phrase.  I probably told him about five times that he was fine.  

You’re fine…  You’re fine… You’re fine… You’re fine…

Meanwhile, as I was speaking, in my head I was telling myself to stop opening my mouth already.  Seriously, Nicole!  The guy already thinks he’s a model.  Now you’re telling him that he’s fine??  Stop talking!!

It was one of those ‘too exhausted to function’ type moments more than anything else.   He honest-too-goodness wasn’t my type… AT ALL.  I mean, even before I was in a committed relationship, I always said that I’d never date someone who was prettier than me.  😉  And, as you already know, I am madly in love with my husband.  So put those two things together, and I promise that I wasn’t flustered at all because of a sudden crush.  Nor was I trying to flirt.

No, I was just having a desperate housewife, embarrassing moment.

I finally ducked my head and ran (because – at this point – he was even looking a little weirded out).  I skipped two aisles and finished my shopping in peace.  I then made my way home, rushed into my kitchen, and exclaimed to my husband, “I’m never going grocery shopping without you again!”

Lack of sleep, balancing too many things, and not having much down-time can definitely mess with a mom’s mind.  But you know what?  Sanity is a small thing to give up for someone so beautiful and precious!

And after all, the crazy moments sure do make for some great blog posts!  🙂

 

 

 

 

Jumpstart – The Weight Loss (Part 2)

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I tend to be an ‘all-in-or-nothing’ type person.  That’s why starting a workout regimen or healthy eating lifestyle tends to be so difficult.  Once I have a routine going, I hate missing a daily run, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure I get one in.  But it is SO tough to get to that point if I’ve lost the habit.  Because when I’m not in the routine of working out, if I mess up – even a little bit – I usually think, “Oh, well, I’ll start again on Monday.”

Oh, wait, everyone else in the world does that too?

I'll start dieting Monday. Swear. Wait.. Do I smell brownies?!? :: xLaurieClarkex~ visit www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com for the original meme ;-):

So much for thinking that I had a revolutionary thought.  😉

Knowing my tendency to do this, however, encouraged me to undertake my get-healthy journey a little bit differently this time around.  Because I always see getting healthy as a lifestyle commitment, it’s easy for me to push off the changes for another week.  I always think, “Eh, I’ll just start next week.  I have the rest of my life to get this figured out, so what’s a few more days?”

But what if I had an actual end-date in mind?

Soooooo, although my plan is to adopt an exercise and healthy eating routine that I can incorporate into my life (for the rest of my life), I decided to pick a date as my grand finale of sorts.  At the end of August (the exact date is still to be decided), Nate and I will go out to eat at a nice restaurant, and we’ll stay overnight in a hotel.  An adorable new dress will also be a must… of course!

I haven’t thought of what the special day should be called, but it makes complete sense in my mind anyway.  🙂  Just like my wedding day was major incentive for me to work out and eat healthy, this special night away with my hubby will be encouragement to make time for my physical well-being.  This will remind me of how important it is to make that time to work out and eat healthier, even if it might not be what I feel like doing at times.

And hopefully, once the day arrives, my exercise and healthier eating routines will be habits!  

Here’s the thing…  I think this is going to work!  My alarm went off bright and early yesterday morning, and my first instinct was to ignore it.  But then I thought about the warm sun of August and about buying a brand new dress to celebrate a healthier me.  And, my friends, it gave me the motivation to jump out of bed and run nearly 2 miles before Brady woke up for the day!  🙂

This morning, I wasn’t able to run early in the day, because of a super early appointment.  But I made it out for a 2 mile walk this afternoon!

I don’t have a definite amount of weight that I plan to lose.  I don’t have a pant size that I need to fit into.  It’s just about making the time to feel healthy again!  So often, I come up with excuses that revolve around not having time or energy.  But if I feel healthy and fit, then I’ll only be happier, which will – in turn – make me an even better wife and mom.

Eventually I want to increase the days I work out, as well as add to the miles I run / walk.  (I’d also like to add some weight training at some point).  But I’m starting off slow, because I can’t exercise to the point that I crash later on.  (I have a very energetic little boy who I need to keep up with during the course of the day).

So my goal for the time being is to exercise three days a week.  Now I don’t want to tackle my eating habits too early on, because I get insanely hungry when I first start working out.  I kid you not…  For the first two weeks, I eat like a starving teenage boy, because I am literally hungry ALL the time.  But once my appetite settles, I will start to really focus on things like portion sizes and healthier snacks.  (I am already going to try to drink more water though, because that will help me keep my hunger in check.  😉  And I’m focusing on reaching for healthier snacks – like fruit or whole grains – when I’m feeling hungry).

Over these next few weeks / months, I’ll keep you all updated as to my progress, challenges, successes, and current goals!

 

Jumpstart – The Weight Loss (Part 1)

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hate talking weight loss or dieting on my blog, mainly because I’m a proponent of women loving their bodies.  I don’t believe there’s a magic number, shape, or size that we’re meant to be.  Also, I struggled with an eating disorder when I was 16 (something that I’ve yet to blog about), and I don’t want to ever trigger the struggle in anyone else.

But here’s the thing….

Sometimes, there does come a time when you have to lose a little bit of weight for your well-being.  And that’s the bandwagon that I’m  jumping on right now.  I’m not going to count calories or stand on the scale every-other-day.  I definitely want the focus to be on long term commitment and my overall health.  So while my focus isn’t on becoming ‘skinny’, I do know that I need to lose a little bit of weight.

I put on about ten pounds when I got married, because my guy likes meat and potatoes for dinner instead of salad.  😉  I also wasn’t living at the gym like I had been before.  But that was okay, because – quite frankly – my original routine was tough to keep up.  It’s not healthy if food and exercise is restricting your life, so I embraced a slightly curvier version of myself.  And it was great; because I still felt ultra healthy, had lots of energy, and felt confident.

(this is me and Nate back in 2008…  We look like a couple of kids!)

After Nate was assaulted three years ago, however, I started to stress eat for the first time in my life.  I exercised on and off, but I wasn’t committed to it.  My focus was on taking care of Nate, and – when we realized that he could no longer run due to his injuries – I kind of gave up the running as well.  (We had always done it together, and it was difficult – during that time – to do it without him).  So I put on another 10 pounds.

Then, just over a year ago, I jumped into the world of motherhood.  I already wasn’t committed to working out, and so it was really tough to get a routine going.  I had signed up for five 5k’s to encourage me to start working out, but I ended up just running the 5k’s… and not training for them at all.  *sheepish grin*  And with the rigorous and exhausting routine of caring for a newborn, teaching piano, keeping a home, and being a wife, eating healthy fell off the bandwagon as well.  I just didn’t have the time, or the energy, to go for a run and then prepare a well-balanced meal.

I easily put on another 10 pounds.

So while I like to say that I gained the Freshman Mom 15 pounds, I’ve definitely put on more than that over the past few years.  😉  Now I’m not obese by any means, and my doctor isn’t concerned.  Nate has always liked me curvy, so there isn’t even any pressure from that side.  (Yeah, my guy is insanely awesome).

(I have absolutely NO idea what I’m doing with my face here, other than the fact that I had just drank coffee… and I was hyper.  Ha, ha)!

But eating healthy and working out is something that I need to do for ME.  Although my focus isn’t on weight loss, I know that it will be the result of exercise and choosing healthier foods.  And I know that additional benefits will include more confidence and just all-round feeling better.  (Because let me clarify…  It’s not the curvier version of myself that is making me feel less-than-confident.  It’s the fact that I have less energy and that I don’t feel strong like I could.  I just don’t feel healthy, because I’m not taking care of my body like I should).  THAT is why I believe it’s so important for me to include weight loss (a.k.a. a healthier lifestyle) into the journey to find – and take care of – myself again!

I am well aware of how difficult it is going to be…

But I have a PLAN!  🙂

(… to be continued)

 

Being the Best Mom

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Reading books and magazines does nothing to really prepare you for the reality of parenthood.  I mean, there are helpful tips and some awesome suggestions that you’ll probably tuck away in the back of your mind for use someday.  (Trust me, I enjoy a good article in Parent or a helpful chapter in What to Expect just as much as the next mamma).  But at the end of the day, it’s all information collected by a specific mom or dad based on their experiences with a specific child.

It’s subjective.

No one can ultimately tell you how to be the best parent to your child, because no one has been the parent to your child.  And, unfortunately, your child doesn’t come with an instruction manual.  (Trust me, I know.  I had a C-section, and so the doctors literally had to open me up to pull Brady out.  If there was any sort of manual inside, they would have found it).

That being said, I was convinced yesterday morning that I was taking steps towards being the best mom I could possibly be, because I made homemade playdough.  I mean, how ‘mommish’ is that?!?  It’s like the epitome of craft-mom, caring-mom, I-embrace-messes-mom, and I-want-to-make-sure-my-baby-has-plenty-of-sensory-play-mom.

Let’s ignore the fact that it was the first time I actually did any sort of real sensory play with Brady.  Honestly, I haven’t felt that he’s needed it.  The kid walked at 11 months, climbed stairs at 12 months, and ran at 13 months.  He has sensory play all day long, as he pulls tupperware out of cupboards, unrolls sheets of toilet paper (when we forget to shut the bathroom door), breaks televisions by pushing the on and off switch too many times, and tugs on ever-patient cat tails.

But I’ve noticed lately that he has seemed a little bit bored.  And although I hope to join some mommy-and-me programs in the spring, the lack of stimulation (and definite need for it) could make for a long winter.  So I decided that it was time to take the leap and begin my adventure of creating some fun learning experiences for my toddler.

And we made playdough.  Well, I made playdough.  He squished it, threw it, and stretched it for a good 20 minutes.  That’s a long time for my little guy to sit still, and so I felt as though we had made some huge progress together.  I rocked at this mommy thing!  I am the best mom!!

Then this happened…

Our house is located in what was once an expansive farmer’s field, and so there are no tall trees to shelter us on the windy days.  Yesterday, it felt as though we were in a wind tunnel.  And because the door had been left unlocked (and apparently hadn’t been shut as tight as it needed it to be), the wind literally blew the side door open.

Brady charged for that open door with the gusto of Mel Gibson in his dramatic, battle scene of Braveheart.   FREEDOM!

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Only Brady’s little legs were met with nothing underneath them when he reached the door step, and out he toppled onto the icy front porch.  Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt more seriously and that Nate was literally right behind him to scoop him up and out of the frigid cold.  Also thank goodness no one was driving by to see a toddler come soaring out of the open side door during the middle of winter.  That would be fun to explain to DSS.

Brady received lots of cuddles and some more playdough time, followed by even more cuddles and some Curious George.  And as I sat watching cartoons with him, holding him close, I realized that – ultimately – I wish I could protect him against everything that might hurt him.  As a mom, although I know it’s not possible, I feel as though it’s my job to keep him from all that would hurt him, both physically and emotionally.  That is what would make me the best mom.

Right?

But at the same time, I know that each skinned knee or taunt from a bully can be an experience that will make him stronger.  Those horrible moments can tear him down, or they can show him just how strong he can be.  And although I cannot protect him from all that would hurt him, I can be there to encourage him to get back on that bike.  I can show him how to forgive and how to be confident, even when others try to tear him down.

I won’t have all the answers.  I will make mistakes.  Sometimes, I’ll feel like I’ve got the mom thing figured out and then there will be the days that I let the wind kick the door in.  But I will always, always try my best and love him with an unconditional love that cannot be explained or taken away.

That is my job.  And on the days when he needs to cry, holding him will be my job too.  And maybe we’ll make some more playdough together.  Because that’s what the best moms do.

 

 

 

 

This Mama Runs on Coffee

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Being a mom takes exhaustion levels to a whole new level.  It’s not just the lack of sleep at play here.  Suddenly, your mind is being pulled in fifty different directions (on top of that lack of sleep or down time).  And now – in a completely exhausted state – you’re pondering what to make for dinner, when to fold laundry, how to prep for this week’s Sunday School lesson, and how to keep everyone alive.

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(When you have a mischievous little boy running around your home, that last one can definitely keep you on your toes).

I can’t imagine getting through my day without coffee.  It’s like liquid hope.  It’s a sudden burst of clarity, energy, and sanity.  (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.  Oftentimes, I feel as though I’m convincing myself that it’s doing even more good than it really is.  But still, there’s no debating the fact that the caffeine – at the very least – is desperately needed).

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As of late, however, I’ve needed that first cup of coffee to help me order coffee!

Most recently, a local coffee chain had had an offer of ordering a medium coffee for $1.29.  I usually order a small, but – hey – I couldn’t pass up the extra coffee for such a great price!  Only, when I walked up to the counter to order, I accidentally mixed up the words ‘small’ and ‘medium’.

My order came out like this…

“Hi, I’d like a smile, please.”

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The barista was anything but amused, obviously thinking that I was being sarcastic.  And I suppose I didn’t help by suddenly bursting into a fit of giggles.  (I laugh when I’m nervous.  It’s just what I do).

When I realized that she wasn’t going to find this as funny as I did, I quickly corrected my order by saying this…

“Oops, I’m sorry!  I meant ‘medium-small’.  I’d like a medium-small, iced coffee, please.”

I stood there with a completely innocent smile on my face (not realizing what I had just done) and waited for her to ask me for my $1.29.

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She looked me over as though I was a crazy person and replied “Do you want a small OR a medium coffee?”

Cue more nervous giggles.  She – again – isn’t amused and is just standing there staring at me.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve needed a coffee to order my coffee,” I said, laughing.  “Sorry, I’ll take a medium.”

She grabbed a cup and walked off to fulfill my order.

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I thought to myself, “Hmmmm, can I change my order and go back to the previous request for a smile?”  😉

I’ll bet she’s a mom who didn’t get her coffee too!

At any rate, I left her a tip for putting up with me.  Then I sipped down the beverage as quickly as I could, hoping the caffeine would give me energy to get me through the day.  Or, well, at least until my next cup of joe!

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Redisovering Me

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With a new year right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about New Year’s resolutions.  Well, New Year goals, actually.  I don’t like to think of them as resolutions, because those tend to be pushed aside – and ultimately forgotten – rather quickly.  Instead, I like to evaluate and come up with attainable goals.

Honestly, for 2016, my biggest goal is to rediscover myself.  This past year, I definitely lost myself in the mommy life, which – I’ve been assured – is very common for new moms.  And although there’s nothing more precious to lose yourself in, it’s also extremely important for a woman to hold onto herself as an individual as well.

I will never have the free time that I once had, and that’s really-truly okay. Brady is worth every sleepless night and don’t-stop-for-a-second day.  🙂  But at the same time, especially now that Nate is able to babysit for me when needed, I most definitely need to invest in my own personal life too.

Gosh, I’m experiencing mommy guilt just writing that!  But it’s true!  It’s true, I tell you!  We moms forget that we matter too. 

I’ll have to be smart about it; and the things I love to do will be a bit scattered throughout the month, because quality time with Brady is most important to me!!   But I really need to make time for my own hobbies and interests.   I need to feel refreshed, and fulfilled, and excited; so that I can – in turn – be the best mommy (and wife) that I possibly can be.

When I get lost in the preparing meals, folding laundry, and chasing after a little boy who gets into everything?  I’m happy… but I’m also kind of just existing sometimes.  I settle into a robotic routine that finds me going through the motions.  And when I make time for the hobbies that fulfill me, I realize that I have more energy to be the bubbly, energetic mom that I really want to be (even without loads of caffeine to keep me going).  😉

Sooooo, I’ve been thinking a lot about this upcoming year.

I’m thinking about taking a digital photography class…  Maybe another cake decorating class too.  I’d love to exercise three days a week since I’m not really doing anything physical right now.  I want to put more effort into being an awesome wife and making quality time for me and Nate, because our relationship should still come first.  And I think I’d like to maybe actually take more than five minutes to do my hair, makeup, and outfit a few times a month just so I can feel confident and put together.  (I miss that; and although I wouldn’t want to do it every day, it would be nice to maybe do it on special occasions).

I think I’m going to do it!  All of it.  And more than that too.   🙂  Not all at once and maybe not all the time.  But bits here and there!  And I know that this journey to find balance and to rediscover myself is going to be worth it… and amazing.