30 Day Challenge, Uncategorized

A Thank-filled Thursday

Today I am thankful for…

  • One-on-one time with each kid… really enjoying being able to sit and talk with the toddler while he plays and I work on crochet or some project, and I can just be with him and see his imagination at work!  And baby’s first time in a big-boy chair at the coffee shop was delightful.
  • Seeing a rainy downpour through my baby’s delighted eyes as we hurried under a hot pink umbrella.  Newsflash: walking in the rain is pretty fun when you have a tiny human in tow!
  • Having the time to practice piano and compose new songs
  • D&D having come into my life and bring with it so many new opportunities in friendships, storytelling, and songwriting.
  • having our Oma come and seeing her joy at playing with the boys
  • Baby saying his first word in German: danke!
Advertisements
mothering

What I need to be a mom

This was a full bag of chips.  Brand new.  Opened about five minutes ago.  I walked away from a bag that I thought was safely on the counter, then while completing another task I heard:

crinkle crinkle crinkle
WHSOSOSHSHSOISHSHHSH (the sound an entire bag of chips being dumped out upon itself from four feet in the air)
tappitysmack (the sound of the empty bag landing on a pile of chips)

After one yelp of “Noooooo!” coming from my lips, I died laughing.  Of course the bag of chips would dump if it was full.  Empty bags don’t have the decency to make little messes while the full ones are there.  I have no idea what made it suddenly turn over and spill out, but since I’m the last person to touch the bag, it’s probably something to do with how I left the bag.
I saved most of the chips, as the majority of the chips fell upon other chips, and those bottom chips landed upon a mostly-clean blanket. I have no qualms about eating close-to-the-floor chips, though I won’t serve them to guests.

But this episode got me thinking, what if this happened and I wasn’t a mom?  I feel like there are so many things that I now don’t freak out about after doing the mom gig for two years, and I think these are the most important requirements for momhood.

What momhood has taught me I need:

I NEED TO LAUGH.

Laugh when something (non-dangerous) spills.   Spills are funny.  If you have a dog, 99% of the time you don’t have to clean it up anyways, and if it’s not breastmilk there is definitely no reason to cry.

Laugh when poo gets places you never knew poo could.  Or breastmilk.  Or spitup, or drool, or anything else gross.  It’s actually pretty funny, and messes are cleanable.  Embrace your inner eight-year-old who loves fart jokes.

Laugh when your toddler says “Pull my finger!” during the quietest, most solemn part of Mass.  Multiple times.  Loudly.

I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT CHILDREN ARE WASHABLE.

Children make messes.  Children adore messes.  Did you know yogurt was basically food paint?  I didn’t, but my toddler did.  The good news is that children are completely, 100% washable with mild soap and water, and occasionally a washcloth is required for spots that need extra scrubbing.
That brand new, adorable outfit?  It’s gonna get ketchup on it. It doesn’t matter that the child has a bib on that covers his entire torso, ketchup will get SOMEWHERE on that outfit if it is served.  And that’s ok.  Ketchup washes out.
Mud will eventually get on Sunday clothes.  That’s ok.  Better to have an amazingly good time with church friends than to sit quietly, annoyed you can’t play because the outfit is too nice to breathe in.

Oh that reminds me, clothes are washable, too.  *gasp* Who knew??

I NEED TO EMBRACE MY MOM-TYPE.

I will never be a Type-A, Montessori-style mom.  I just won’t.  I am a full-fledged Type-B, make-up-fun-plans-as-we-go kind of mom.  I’m a toys everywhere mom.  I’m a crafty mom.  I’m a teaching mom.  I’m a read-a-story mom.  I’m a last-minute-playground-day mom.  I’m a mom who prefers to cuddle and play on the floor than stick to a strict schedule (though I do try to keep meals, naps, and daily routines like getting dressed, bathtime, and bedtime regulated, as I’ve found that does help my kiddos have a better day).  I’m a mom who would rather have quality time with her kids and be happy then cry at the end of the day because I feel like I can’t keep up with other people’s Type-A expectations of what MY mom-life should look like.  Which leads to….

I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT IF MY KIDS ARE HEALTHY, HAPPY, GROWING, AND LEARNING, THEN WE ARE DOING GOOD.

My husband has to remind me sometimes that yes, there are toys everywhere, and the dishes didn’t get cleaned before bedtime, but I spent time with our kids and they feel safe, loved, and are happy.  They are passing milestones early.  I’m good at teaching, and don’t have to rack my brain to notice “this is a teachable moment” so my kid gets his daily dose of learning.  I just… do it.  It’s party of my mom-style, and if my kids are doing well, I know that I am doing a good job.

I NEED TO ACCEPT HELP.

Ah, my biggest struggle.   Notice it doesn’t say “ask” for help.  I suck at that, too. Both my husband and my best friend have emphasized to me recently that I need to ASK for help, and that asking is not a sign of failure (because in my mind, it totally is).  Accepting help should not make me feel hours of slimy guilt in my gut, though it does.  I’m getting better.  And thankfully I have a hubby who will rub my shoulders when I feel like I a guilty failure (which I believe is the cure for both feelings), and friends who will randomly come over with wine and run loads of laundry without asking.

I NEED TO SNUGGLE.

Everyone benefits from snuggles.  Right now I’m technically snuggling my baby as he sleeps strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. I love to snuggle my toddler when we read a book or watch a show (that latter one has been the norm this week because this Mama Bear has a head cold… ugh).  Spouses like snuggles, too.  And the dog.  Everyone loves snuggles.  I’m getting good at just going up to my husband and instead of griping, asking for a long hug.  Best remedy ever.

I NEED TO PRAY.

And it’s perfectly acceptable for a mother’s prayer life to consist of two prayers:
“Lord, give me grace to handle this moment.”
&
“Lord, let my kids be okay, and grow to love you.”

That’s what need to be a mom.
Laughter. Soap. Accept myself.  See the successes. Help. Snuggles.  Prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

mothering

Kitchen Snuggles

Some days, this mom gig is rough. Sometimes, especially now that I’m wrangling two kids instead of one, it is so easy to look at life as an endless checklist of things to be done, punctuated by double the diaper changes, and quadruple the laundry (I’d swear someone is breaking in and wearing our clothes, there’s that much of it to do no matter how much i get done). Insert that I’m fully breastfeeding baby, and I’m left with hours of time taken up by that task alone. It’s hard to remember that it’s not just a to-do list task, it’s nourishing and bonding with my precious baby boy. I love looking at him when he’s eating (those adorable chubby cheeks! The cute smiles!), and playing with him when he’d rather talk than stay latched.

Lately I’ve noticed my toddler has increased his requests for Mommy time. “Mimi, snuggle in rocker?”

This week I’ve made a huge effort to take the time to snuggle. Take and give the hugs my babies need from me. And honestly, it’s made my life less stressful. A little more crazy because my checklist isn’t done? Yes. Will it ever be done? Lol nope, I’m a mom. So I enjoy the snuggles with my kids, whether it’s a long movie night with my toddler and I all wrapped up in blankets, or like this morning, when I took just one more minute rocking my baby in the kitchen before having to get ready to leave the house. Kitchen Snuggles with the little babe

Snuggles are awesome. Refreshing to the weary mama’s soul. To moms: find your kid and snuggle. It’s one thing I’ll never regret.

mothering

Earning my ‘Mom-Badge’

I had a mom-first today. Both kids were awake, tired, not sleeping, and taking turns crying.  So I did something  my mom-friends have told me has been a life-saver for them. I loaded both of them into the car and headed out for a ride. 

My type-B-Plus self couldn’t fathom a ride without going somewhere, so I did grab dry-cleaning that was laying in my way to the garage to drop off, and a snack and drink for Little Bear.  

It was a lovely day, so I cracked the windows for some white noise and we were off. 

First stop: Starbucks. A friend of mine has told me she will sometimes grab a coffee and sit in the car to relax while her baby sleeps.  Best to be prepared for spontaneous napping, I figured. Plus it’d been a bit since I had a “Treat yo’ self” latte moment, and I was due. I handed Bear his drink and snack when I got my drink so we could be treat buddies, which he though was fun. 

Little Bear loves drive thrus. I roll down his window and he gets to say “Hi!” to whoever is there. 

Next stop: dry cleaners. A new-to-me one with (huzzah!) another drive-thru! I took care of business while Bear entertained the lady who worked there. 

By the time we got home everyone was feeling better, including me. I guess we just needed a break from the house, and a mini-road trip was just the fix. It probably helps that Bear and I always talk with each other lots in the car. Sometimes we sing, listen to Dave Ramsey (Bear’s preferred podcast), or just talk about what we see on the drive. Its a sweet time that I love, even on a day like this when the ride was one of desperation. 

And I feel like I earned my “Mom Badge:” I was finally able to post a Starbucks mug pic on Instagram to document a last-resort-kid-ride. Achievement unlocked: Car Ride to Nowhere. 😉

Family

Autumn has arrived! 

It finally feels like fall outside! I stepped outside expecting the same muggy, southern heat we’ve had for-freaking-ever, and lo! It was under 65, breezy, and sweater worthy.  

After naptime I bundled up the baby, stuck the toddler in long sleeves and we headed outside for fun.

Little Bear takes selfies very seriously.

We played with chalk and swept the driveway, since Little Bear loves to use the brooms.  

He decided this broom was better for Mommy, since its heavy, so he just colored it with chalk for me instead.

Pip tried out the new hat I knit for him.  I think I’ll have to quickly make another one, since it’s just the right size, and he’s growing like a weed!  No complaints there, though- I’m primarily a crocheter, not a knitter, and my skills need work. This hat is a simple enough project for my weak knitting skills to handle during long nursing sessions! 

Thoughtful baby is not sure what to think about cool weather.

We were outside for two. hours.  

Guys. The baby isn’t even a month old. I’ve never even been able to successfully keep the toddler outside for that long before on his own, let alone with having to take care of another tiny human. And we also put away chalk, brooms, and toys then went inside with no tears! Another success! 

I hope y’all are enjoying autumn! What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the season? 

Family, Pregnancy

Pregnancy confession: I just want to sleep

(Yup, blogging about being pregnant again.  And I’m not sorry, since it’s a little hard to ignore my quickly-expanding midsection!  I would like to note that this was written in one of my sleepy-but-not-ready-to-sleep-can’t-settle-down states of mind.  So it’s very, very honest.  You’ve been warned!)

38 weeks! If you make it to the end of the post, you'll find a photo from yesterday, 39 weeks & 3 days.
38 weeks! If you make it to the end of the post, you’ll find a photo from yesterday, 39 weeks & 3 days.

When you’re pregnant, people first congratulate you.  Everyone gets excited.  It’s a big deal, there’s talk of babies and showers and cute little stuffed animals – yay!

Then they turn around and tell you how difficult everything is going to be, how tough babies are, and how tired you’re going to be.
Um… gee, thanks, I wanted to hear all of that negative stuff right now.  It’s not like I’m dreading shoving a baby out of my body through a hole it really shouldn’t fit through or anything, just pile on the rest of the crappy parts while I’m focused on that!

Today, though, I just want to focus on the tired.  Because I’m already tired.  Really tired.  I haven’t even popped out my kid through that tiny hole yet, but making a human being takes a lot out of a woman.

Now, I pulled all-nighters in college, for both fun and for studying.  And those forms of tired at least allowed me to sleep once I get the chance to do so.

Not pregnancy tired.  Pregnancy tired is a whole different world of sleepiness, insomnia, and weird dreams.

Pregnancy tired is yawning all day because you had to get up to pee.  Twice.  Then figure out how to fall back asleep because my thoughts have a new life of their own at 2 a.m.

Pregnancy tired is being exhausted from too-little sleep, going to bed late, and staying up to read for two hours because your brain won’t turn off.

Pregnancy tired is no sleeping position being comfortable except sleeping on your back, which is a huge no-no when pregnant…so really, no sleeping position is fully comfortable.  (Hubby cuddles are definitely the closest I can find to “comfortable” so far, but I think that’s just because I like his big comforting hugs, not the sleeping position itself.  I lay down and roll over as gracefully as a beached manatee.)

Pregnancy tired is falling sound asleep sitting up during your favorite TV show, then transferring to your much more comfortable bed and being wide awake for an hour because you just had an awesome nap.

Pregnancy tired is making it to bed at a reasonable hour, falling asleep easily, and waking up from a baby-related nightmare that is so terrifying you’re afraid to close your eyes, let alone go back to sleep.

Pregnancy tired is having your hormones suddenly unite against you at the very, very wrong times.
Just when you feel peaceful and ready to drift off, you suddenly burst into tears because HOLY CRAP I’M HAVING A BABY, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN, WHY ARE MY BOOBS SO FREAKING HUGE ALREADY, THAT STUFFED ANIMAL WAS CUTE I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT, I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO ROLL OVER IN BED WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT HOW TO MANEUVER, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA , I’M GOING TO BE A TERRIBLE MOTHER, I LOVE MY BABY, WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, I JUST WANT TO SLEEP, I BET THIS LITTLE GUY IS GOING TO BE ADORABLE, C-SECTIONS ARE SCARY CAN WE NOT EVEN DISCUSS THE OPTION, WE NEED TO BUY MORE BABY STUFF LET ME GO GRAB A PEN AND PAPER AND WE CAN MAKE THE LIST RIGHT NOW. (Thankfully, this has only happened twice.  Both times, Hubby was very kind, woke up, talked me down and made me laugh, and hugged me until I stopped crying and fell asleep.)

Pregnancy tired is falling asleep with all blankets on because it’s cozy, and waking up in a hot, humid sweat so you have to turn up the fan, turn down the a.c… and get up again a few hours later to turn the fan back down and retrieve the blankets back from the Hubby (who always likes it when I throw my side of the blankets in his direction).

There is one perk to pregnancy tired:

If you yawn, say you’re tired, say you need a break from standing and walking, need a nap, need to take a break from life and do nothing but sit and watch that new episode of Doctor Who (or a whole season on Netflix)…

Everyone is okay with you taking that break.  Napping, TV watching, sitting with feet up browsing pinterest working on your blog….  It’s all okay, and encouraged.  Everyone expects you to be tired.  Everyone wants you to be healthy and well-rested.  (If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re a jerk and should be ignored.  Or given a tongue-lashing, depending on how those hormones are behaving at the moment.)

But you wanna know a secret?

I’m happy I’m so tired.

I’m tired because I’m pregnant.  My baby is healthy.  He’s probably going to be adorable, and is already very well-loved.  If tired is the price to pay for making a human being, so be it.  If everyone could just stop reminding me how much more tired I’ll be once the baby is here, that would be lovely.  I’m happy I’m a tired mama.  I’ll probably be a happily tired mama for at least the next 18 years, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Bring on the sleepiness, and the sleepless nights.  If it means I get to be my baby’s mommy, then I can’t wait.

Besides, I’ll just keep reading Game of Thrones until I fall asleep (which is easier when I hit the boring chapters… Yes, I’m talking about you, Bran.  You’re my sleepytime hero.)

Congrats! You made it to the end of the post. As promised, me at 39 weeks & 3 days. WAY bigger than I was just one week ago!
Congrats! You made it to the end of the post. As promised, me at 39 weeks & 3 days. WAY bigger than I was just one week ago!
Family, Husband, Moving, Pregnancy

Permission to rest? Granted.

I’m not good at giving myself a break.

When attacking a task or project, I’ve always preferred to tackle the entire thing, beginning-to-end, in one go.  Even if it’s a fun painting project, having to wait for layers of paint to dry frustrates me to no end!

Tackling a project before I was pregnant did not include taking breaks, unless it was for a quick meal or snack, or using the restroom, or getting some water, something fast before I would get back to work.

And now that I’m almost ready to pop, what is everyone reminding me to do?

“Take it easy, make sure you’re not doing too much since you’re super pregnant!”

“Don’t forget to take a break!”

“Rest a lot, both you and the baby need it!”

I’ve read a lot of mommy-blogs about “Things pregnant mommies want to hear.”  Apparently, “Rest up” is something all of those other mamas want someone to tell them.

Not me.

“Rest” is the one thing people keep telling me that keeps really ticking me off.

I want to yell back “You think I have time to sit before this baby comes?!  I need to unpack, get baby’s room ready, clean baby’s clothes, keep up with everyday house maintenance, take care of my dog, grocery shop, cook, and do laundry.  Oh, and I just freaking moved across the country to where I know almost no one, so I can’t phone a friend to come over to help in exchange for coffee and food.  So how about you fly over here and help clean and unpack if my resting is so important to you!?”

Of course, I don’t yell that, because I know everyone means well and wants what is best for me and the baby, and to yell all of that back would be rather unkind and unloving of me!

I have been trying to be good.  In between tasks, I make sure to take a break and sit for a little while, something Netflix and Game of Thrones books has made a little less annoying. But every time I’m resting, even when I can tell I need to take a break from unpacking, organizing, and cleaning, I find myself feeling guilty.

Can you believe it?  Guilty.  Like I’m doing something wrong.  Like I should be able to handle accomplishing ten tasks in a row, all of which require a lot of bending, picking up, moving, and being on my feet, despite carrying around an almost-full-term baby in my belly.  Even resting with my Hubby in the evenings after dinner, watching one of our favorite shows, I feel like I’m doing something wrong for not still cleaning, even if I’ve had a productive day and I’m having a good time relaxing with the love of my life!

My only explanation is that it’s nesting instinct gone into overdrive.  I was starting to think that the “Nesting Instinct” was just a rumor, but it is very real!  And for me, I’m pretty sure that instinct is being pushed along by the desire to not have anything left to do once the baby is here except heal, nurse, and give snuggles.  So until all of my nesting tasks are done, I feel guilty about leaving an important, pre-baby task undone!  How could I dare to bring that child here without every little thing in its proper place?!  (Yes, that’s the unreasonable pregnancy hormones talking.)

Hubby has been really diligent about helping me, and really trying to help me relax.  And I think he figured out the secret: on his days off, we get a TON of housework, unpacking, and projects done around the house, with me being project manager and him being muscle; me doing smaller, mostly-sitting tasks and him doing the lift-and-moving tasks.  And it’s been helping!  Our house is more open, cleaner, and more organized than it has been since we moved in, and it’s largely thanks to him telling me “Here’s what we’re getting done, and you’re going to do it while sitting.

But two straight weeks of “nesting, nesting, NESTING” finally pooped me out.

So after a weekend of tackling projects around the house, I was tired.  So tired that even after a full 9 hours of sleep (making a human bean makes you extra sleepy), I woke up tired.

So yesterday, after yet another OB appointment was finished and Hubby was safely off to work, do you know what I did?

I gave myself permission to have a day off.  It took some debating with myself, but I was pooped.  I had no motivation to get anything around the house done.

So I rested.  And it was good.

I made easy meals.  I cleaned up after them.  I took care of my puppy and played with her, let her in and out of the house so she could run around outside.  I did do one load of laundry, but only because we were completely out of socks.  (Oops.)  I unpacked nothing, all afternoon.

The rest of my day was made up of Netflix, a couch, crocheting, some research about baby things around the internet, and this blog.

And it was good.

I finally think my Hubby and family are right: mommies-to-be need to rest.  My not-vacuuming didn’t result in the house falling apart.  Everyone had the clothes they needed, even though the laundry wasn’t all sorted out in perfect piles.  And the few organizing tasks that are half-done aren’t any worse off for being ignored for one day; they’re still there, and I can tackle them later today.  Or maybe tackle part of it today, and part of it tomorrow, since I now know that little elves won’t come along in the middle of the night and un-do all of my half-done projects while I sleep.

So this mama-to-be learned her lesson: Resting is good, and even necessary sometimes.  Every day doesn’t have to be a full-on couch potato day, but I’m now okay with taking an hour or two to myself to recharge and relax, especially as I get really close to the due date.  (I have a feeling an hour or two may grow longer as the date gets closer!)

I’m giving myself permission to take breaks.  And it will be good.