A Treasure Worth Fighting For (Part 3 of 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them… ¬†ūüôā

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Despite the humor and sweet moments of parenthood, there are patches that are really¬†tough. ¬†I think the lack of sleep and personal time doesn’t help matters any. ¬†We’re only human after all, and each of us has a breaking point.

During those long days, it can be hard to see the big picture.  To remember that being a mom is precious and that moments with our little ones are all too fleeting.  Because right here and now, hours feel long.  Patience is running low.  Anxiety levels are flaring.  And exhaustion is taking its toll on your body.

Everything hurts, including your feelings.

You’ve cleaned up poop and pee, dealt with tantrums, utilized the time-out chair, and wiped down toddler-science-experiments-gone-wrong one too many times.

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There was one moment in particular – a couple of weeks ago – that I just wondered how we were going to get through this. ¬†Like, was I really cut out to be a mom to two littles? ¬†The house looked like a bomb went off. ¬†Everything was a mess and needed scrubbing, never mind tidying. ¬†¬†The cats were vomiting up hairballs. ¬†Nate was working a charter, so he wouldn’t be home until very late… ¬†Brady was innocently, yet quite successfully, destroying things in his effort to explore and play. ¬†And when I tried to guide him elsewhere, he’d angrily yell back and refuse to find satisfaction in the other activities I offered.¬†¬†(It was obvious to me that he was acting out due to wanting my attention, but¬†Kaitlyn¬†was having a rough morning and wouldn’t stop fussing. ¬†So I wasn’t able to hold him close the way he wanted to be, which resulted in toddler tantrums and mommy guilt).

I just sat in the middle of our home and wanted to throw my hands up in defeat. ¬†I wanted to admit to the world that I didn’t have this. ¬†I had no idea what I was doing. ¬†I was in over my head, and I wasn’t prepared to gently raise a strong-willed son and an emotional baby girl. ¬†My patience was at an all-time low! ¬†And, I’m not proud to admit, my attitude (and raised voice) was reflecting all the frustration and anxiety that I felt inside.

I just needed everyone to cooperate and to cooperate now!  Mommy was DONE!

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Then I received news that a dear friend of mine had passed the night before from cancer. ¬†And suddenly, everything was put into perspective for me. ¬†When you watch a family lose their mother, you are reminded of what truly matters and just how precious each day with your children truly is. ¬†I took in the chaos around me – the noise and the mess – and I realized just how blessed I am to have it. ¬†All those dirty dishes… ¬†The dust bunnies clinging to the bookcase… ¬†The toddler who needs a little bit more patience and a loving hand… ¬†The infant who stares up at me with such adoring eyes…

I will not have these forever, but I do have them now.

At the funeral of my friend, her son oh-so-eloquently spoke about the things that made his mother truly special. ¬†And never once did “a spotless house” or “keeping it all together” came up. ¬†He talked about her amazing laugh, her love of Christmas, activities they did as a family, and her always ¬†being there for him and his sister.

And honestly, that’s one of the greatest impacts she had on my life. ¬†Her love of being a mom. ¬†I don’t know that I’ve ever met a woman who never once complained about being a mother or a wife. ¬†She always told me that her goal in life was to enjoy every stage with her children, and she really did. ¬†She was proud of them – and her husband – beyond words, and she loved them without measure. ¬†To hear her talk about marriage or motherhood was to hear her brag about her soulmate or kids.

That always stuck with me and has been a challenge and a goal for me too. ¬†That despite the craziness and the chaos, I want to enjoy each stage. ¬†Because even if each stage moving forward does seem to get a little easier, the stage behind it is gone forever. ¬†I can never get it back, so it’s up to me to live in the moment now.

These kiddo’s? ¬†They’re treasures worth fighting for. ¬†They’re worth the sleepless nights, the waking up early, the never-ending struggle to keep life organized… They’re worth every bit of it.

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I’m not saying that I haven’t still had bad days. ¬†(Last week, in particular, was pretty tough). ¬†I’m not saying that we should ignore just how hard being a mom is sometimes and pretend that life is always sunshine and roses. ¬†(I’m a firm believer in being real with each other, because we¬†all¬†go through tough patches and need the encouragement of others). ¬†But¬†I also firmly believe that – despite the craziness of mom life – we can strive to flourish in the joy that God provides. ¬†We can grow and learn to parent with patience and love. ¬†We can choose to find beauty in every single day, overlooking the clutter to see the sparkle.

I am so thankful to God that I have my two kiddo’s. ¬†And although these recent days have been hard (because we moms ALL have those days), I want to try even harder to rise above and to not only treasure these moments, but to let my children see that I’m treasuring the moments.

That I’m’ treasuring them.

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#MOMLIFE (Part 1 of 3)

My son is 2 1/2 years old, and my beautiful baby girl has just reached one month. ¬†So between the two of them, they don’t speak very much, except for awkward sentences and vocalizations along the lines of “Is me all wet?” and “Waaaaaaaahh!” ¬†But despite the lack of an extensive English vocabulary, I’m fairly certain that these two are already communicating…

It’s as if they¬†plan¬†their hysterical, break-mommy’s-heart, tear-filled meltdowns to coincide with the other’s. ¬†It’s like they know¬†that I’m outnumbered.

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Oh, you’re going to hysterically burst into tears, demanding milk from Mama, at a quarter past three? ¬†Great, that works for me too! ¬†I’ll bash my big toe in around then…

It always happens all at once.

Just the other day, I was sitting on the living room floor and pumping breastmilk¬†while¬†attempting to cradle my screaming baby girl. ¬†(If you’ve never tried holding a baby against your chest¬†while¬†pumping, then you totally should. ¬†It’s a riot). ¬† And since I had thought it would be a good idea to bring my toddler’s highchair into the TV room to watch cartoons while I pumped, baked beans were raining down on my head… on the newborn’s head… and on the newly installed carpet.

You know, because I had thought that it was a good idea to feed the stickiest meal¬†ever¬†to my tantrum-throwing toddler… during a part of the day when I couldn’t easily get to him…. all while my baby girl was uncomfortable, screaming, and desperate to be held. ¬†(Come to think of it, purchasing new carpet months before the arrival of a newborn probably wasn’t the smartest decision we’ve ever made either).

You live and you learn, am I right?

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But there I was, once again, surrounded by complete chaos; because my littles decided to impeccably plan their need for attention. ¬†Brady¬†needed¬†to be held and shown love. ¬†Kaitlyn needed to be held upright and secure to help her through a painful acid reflux episode. ¬†‘The girls’ needed to be pumped like two hours ago. ¬†Oh, yeah, and the cats also decided that now would be a¬†great¬†time to sit at my feet and beg earnestly for their lunch.

All…at…once…

And granted, no one is going to die or be injured if they’re left to cry for awhile longer. ¬†But it just seems to happen a little more frequently than I’m comfortable with, and – quite frankly – it breaks my heart. ¬†I’m left having to choose. ¬†Who do I comfort first? ¬†Who do I disappoint?

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Who has to sit in the background while Mommy tends to the other child first?

And the more I ponder that in my head (at a rapidly fast pace), the more my anxiety levels go up.  The more my mommy guilt shoots through the roof.  The more I somehow blame myself for not being able to properly diffuse the situation.

Because I’m a mom… ¬†So obviously, I’m supposed to be able to split myself into two mommy blobs and handle both problems at once. ¬†(Which, for the record, wouldn’t be necessary if my kiddo’s didn’t somehow communicate and sync their schedules so perfectly).

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(…to be continued) ¬†ūüôā

 

 

 

Q & A!

Hey Guys!!

Some of you might remember that I did a Q & A vlog when Brady was a newborn, and I answered some of your questions about life as a new mom. ¬† I thought it might be fun to do another one, since now I’m new to being the mom of two! ¬†ūüôā

If I get enough questions, I’ll do another vlog. ¬†And if I only get one or two, then I’ll probably answer them in blog format. ¬†Either is totally great!

I just thought I’d give you all the option of asking any questions you might have. ¬†You can ask about anything, right down to what my favorite food is right now. ¬†LOL! ¬†Anything goes!!

You can post the question below OR you can email it to me at: ¬†nicole_leb@hotmail.com. ¬†(If emailing, just include the header “Just Live It Q & A.” ¬†Or something like that, so I’ll know what it’s for).

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Love, Nicole

Up…Up… And Away!

Poop.  I was searching in the dark for lost poop.  This, my friends, is what my life had become.  I had reached an all-new low, and I wondered Рfor a moment Рif there was any coming back from this.

But first, let me start from the beginning…

My two-year-old son is in a Spica cast due to a broken Femur. ¬†The story doesn’t fit the trauma of the injury and healing process. ¬†He fell to the kitchen floor during playtime while trying on one of my husband’s shoes. ¬†The end result was a trip to the ER, a two-night hospital stay, and 5-6 weeks in a body cast that doesn’t allow him to sit up or walk.

My poor baby boy was traumatized by the entire situation and spent the first few nights back home sleeping in bed with me and my husband. ¬†I was scared to death of touching him, moving him… and of changing his diaper. ¬†I was especially ¬†terrified of poop. ¬†The doctor had thought that it would be entertaining – ¬†or helpful – ¬†to tell us stories of toddlers who needed their casts completely redone, because poop had exploded up through their diaper into the inside of their cast.

Thank you for that image, Doc.  

Because of this, I was almost relieved that Brady was very constipated for his first bowel movement. ¬†It was 3am in the morning; and he woke me and Nate up, asking for a cup of juice. ¬†That’s when I smelled ‘it’ and sent Nate to get the juice while I tackled the diaper in the dark. ¬†I’m not exaggerating… I was so freaked out about getting poop on the cast that I was sweating and basically lamaze breathing as I undid the diaper.

But then I realized that the poor kid had pushed out a hard, golf ball of poop.  I made a mental note to buy prune juice just as I breathed a sigh of relief at how easy it would be to clean up.

Okay, maybe not. ¬†Brady decided to twist and kick in that moment. ¬†He might as well have shouted “FOUR!” ¬†That ball of poop took flight and landed… somewhere.

I just sat there, stunned, staring at the now-empty diaper. ¬†Like seriously, does this actually happen in real life? ¬†I squinted my eyes and tried to see better in the darkness, but I didn’t see the poop ball in the immediate area around us. ¬†So I started pulling back the sheets a bit. ¬†And then, as I searched¬†and¬†tried to keep my toddler from wriggling away, it hit me. ¬†I had lost a hard lump of poop in our bed.

The hysterical laughter that hit me immediately afterward mixed with sobs. ¬†I really wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so I laugh-cried. ¬†(Totally a thing). ¬†It was 3am, I was exhausted, there was a now wide-awake toddler lying naked on my bed, and I was looking for lost poop.

This.  This is what my life had come to.

It’s not that I ever imagined the mommy life as being glamorous; but – let’s face it – we all hope that we’ll turn into¬†that¬†mom who miraculously holds it all together. ¬†You know, the June Cleaver of moms who manages to place a warm meal onto the table every night, while keeping a tidy home, looking effortlessly glamorous, and still finding the time for reading with her husband every night. ¬†They just don’t make them like that anymore.

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This is more my reality these days.

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Spica-cast inspired melt-downs… ¬†Tears… ¬†Frustration… ¬†And lost poop.

In the end, the flying poo turned up on Nate’s side of the bed. ¬†(At 2 years old, Brady is already quite athletic. ¬†Move over, Tiger Woods). ¬†In my exhaustion, I briefly wondered if I could just grab it with a baby wipe and then wait to tell Nate the story in like 30 years from now. ¬†But even if I’m no June Cleaver, I am very clean, hygienic, and humane, so I sighed in defeat and realized the diaper change had now turned into a sheet change. ¬†Unfortunately, after waiting for a diaper change¬†and¬†a bed-sheet change, there was no going back to bed for the little guy.

That’s okay, sleep and morning showers are totally overrated, so¬†early¬†morning cartoons it was.

As we snuggled in bed and watched¬†Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,¬†Brady gently cupped my face in his hands as if he wanted to keep me as close as possible. ¬†Every once in awhile, he’d whisper “Mama” and then look up at me with his big eyes, as though to make sure that I was still there. ¬†(It’s something he has done quite frequently since our stay at the hospital). ¬†And I was reminded that even if the mommy life is far from glamorous (and that it does stink at times… literally), it is sweet. ¬†And beautiful. ¬†And precious.

Our little ones make it worth it, each and every day.  Because the love we have for them is unexplainable and unstoppable, even if it sometimes leaves us looking for lost poop at 3am.

 

 

13 Ways to Know You’re a Mom to a Toddler

  1. ¬†Cleaning the house requires silly dances, loud singing, and sometimes colorful costumes. ¬†The more entertaining the ‘show’, the longer you’ll be ‘allowed’ to clean.

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2. ¬†Forget ‘America runs on Dunkin’. ¬†YOU¬†run on Dunkin.

No, seriously, you do.

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3.  You wake up in the morning and realize that you and your husband slept with a giant stuffed bear at the end of your bed.

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4. ¬†After putting your little one down for an afternoon nap, you crawl back into bed to recreate the ‘bear at the end of your bed’ scene so that you can take a picture…and¬†you totally¬†fall asleep.

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5.  Successfully convincing a tiny human to wear pants feels like a lottery win.

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6.  You sit on the floor to see what dangers exist at eye level (or anywhere above, below, or between).

You realize there are a LOT of dangers.  You Google the possibility of bubble-wrapping the inside of your house.

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7. ¬†You read four books in one week! ¬†And – among other things – you learn that you’re not a cow, pigs don’t sing ‘La La La’, you don’t want to visit Belly Button Beach, and Llamas wear red pajamas. ¬†Unfortunately there is nothing about the pro’s and cons of bubble-wrapping a home.

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8.  Your living room floor is a land mine waiting for unsuspecting feet to pass through in the night.

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9.  Your workout consisted of pushing a car.  You choose to focus on how many laps you did as apposed to the fact that you were munching on chocolate while doing it.

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10. ¬†Your decorating style is Modern with a ‘Touch of Baby’.

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11.  Your sliding glass doors look like this.  (No further description needed).

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12. You would risk life and limb to save a little stuffed animal named ‘Lovey’.

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13. ¬†You have never been more unorganized, stretched thin, exhausted, overwhelmed… AND unbelievably, unexplainably, unconditionally happy and in love.