Thursday, March 28, 2013

The middle ground

There's an ebb and flow to this motherhood thing.

Some days I feel like a rockstar, cooking and cleaning, educating and playing, being brilliant and funny and kind, and some days I feel like I am doing nothing at all.

And I know, I know, even on my bad days, I am enough.  But it doesn't feel that way.

Someone asked me the other day if being a parent is really as hard as they say, if you really go days and months and years without sleeping for more than 20 minutes or ever finishing a meal.

Well, I said.  It's true and it isn't.

Maybe it's only hard because we make it hard.  Because we act like martyrs, because we don't let ourselves eat or go to the bathroom (and for the record, I eat.  I've always eaten.  It's kind of a priority).  Maybe we set expectations for ourselves that don't coincide with reality, we do more than is necessary.  And when we complain about our day, we really did it to ourselves.

Or maybe it's really supposed to be hard, and on the days when it seems easy, it's because we're not doing what we're supposed to.  We're being lazy, we're letting down our kids.

Or maybe, like most things, it's somewhere in between.

I just can't find it yet.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dear fellow mom

Dear fellow mom  (or dad) (or mom-to-be) (or other human dwelling on this planet),

You, right now, are doing just fine.  It may not feel that way.  It usually doesn't.  But I assure you that the things you are doing right now are enough.  

That you are enough.

And that being enough?  Is enough.

(It's possible I need a thesaurus.  But that's a different point than the one I'm making today.)

I know that you're scared.  I'm scared.  I love you for being scared.   Here's the thing.  I love you for being imperfect too.  I love you for your weaknesses,  your vulnerability.  I love you when you're a hot mess, and I love you when it all comes together and you're afraid everyone will hate you for it.

It's okay to need help.  People won't think less of you for needing help.  This morning, other moms chased my two year old around while I nursed my baby. My first reaction was to be embarrassed, then to feel guilty.

The reaction that I settled on?


Man, it felt so much better.

And the truth is, when you ask me for help?  I don't think less of you.  I don't love you less.  I love you more.  If we don't give people the chance o help us, the chance to do something great and show how amazing it is to be connected?  We deprive them as much as we deprive ourselves.

Guys?  This is big.  I know I'm drinking the Brene Brown Koolaid, but this is really, really big.  What if we all decided to be glorious, beautiful, imperfect messes, and to give and accept help graciously?  Dude, that's a world I want to live in.

Viva the imperfect revolution.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This morning, at the indoor play center, my big girl accidentally ran into a smaller girl and knocked her over.  

The little girl (who was probably about 15-18 months old?) whimpered a little as she sat on the ground.  Her mom looked at her and said "Aww, she didn't mean it."

Without thinking, I turned to BG and said "Say sorry, honey."

Her forehead scrunched up and the mom I had been talking to laughed a little.  "Oh," I said.  "She feels bad.  She's going to..."

And then my daughter started to sob.

With the baby in the carrier on my chest, I awkwardly knelt down on the ground and my sweet, sweet girl threw herself into my arms.  The other moms I was there with stood around, looking concerned and saying "Awwww" a lot.  One of her little toddler friends tried to give her a hug.  She just clung to me.

"It's okay, sweetie.  I know you didn't mean it."  
"Noooooooooooo.  Huuuuurrt." 
"Are you hurt?"  
"The little girl isn't hurt honey.   She's fine."
"Okay.  I know.  I know."

After about ten minutes of this, she pulled back, wiped her face, said "I better" and ran off to go play.


Now, *where* did I get a little girl who feels other people's feelings so much?  Ahem.

I'm feeling a little raw today.  Maybe what I need is for someone to just hold me and let me cry until I say I'm all better, and then I can go run and play again.

Have you seen my post at the Mama's Comfort Camp Blog?  Please go visit me there and check out the amazing community for moms that the lovely Yael has created.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Making the right choices

I just wanted to go out today.

I wanted to go out yesterday, but it was snowing, and my big girl had a runny nose, and I was so far behind on the housework, and there was nowhere compelling enough to go to make it worth the fight.  So we didn't.  We stayed home.  We watched too much TV.  We folded some laundry.  My big girl didn't nap.  My little one slept too long.  I dropped a vacuum cleaner on my foot and thought I broke my toe.

It kinda sucked a little.  And it kinda didn't.  We also cuddled, and played outside,and all made dinner together, and at bedtime everyone was happy and pleasant, and got into bed.

But man, was I tired.  And I was even more tired when I woke up this morning at 6, after being up with the baby every 20 minutes between 2 and 5.

And so, today I wanted to go out.  I wanted to go out to see other adults, so the day didn't feel as long.  I wanted to go out to quell my mom guilt about my two year old sitting still and watching TV for so long, so she'd run around and hopefully nap better.  I wanted to go out because there was a playgroup today, and it was the only one all week, and I had a sense of panic that if I missed it I would NEVER GET A CHANCE TO GO OUT AGAIN.  Ahem.

But then this morning kinda sucked a little too.  And it didn't.  My big girl was still snuffly, but she was pleasant.  I left the TV on for longer than I should have because it was the path of least resistance.  The baby wanted to eat, BG wanted to change her doll's diaper, and for the life of me I could NOT get our acts together and get us out the door.

But I did.  An hour late, with unbrushed hair, and without anything for the potluck breakfast, but we made it.

And it was kinda great.  And it kinda wasn't.

The other moms were lovely. It was a small space, so there wasn't much kid chasing.  We got to talk a lot.  BG's best friend was there, and a few other kids her age, and she seemed cheerful and playful.

And then suddenly she didn't.  She looked sicker than she did when we left the house this morning.  She wanted to sit next to me on the couch while I nursed nonstop and play with the same toy for an hour, which she NEVER does when there are other people around. She didn't eat any of the snacks or really even ask for anything until we were about to leave, and then I told her we were on our way home to eat lunch.  And right before we left, she dropped something and started sobbing, and none of my fabulous tricks could get an answer out of her as to what was wrong.

She fell asleep in the car on the way home, without lunch, and transferred effortlessly to her bed.  Effortlessly for her.  I didn't want to put my biggest baby down.

All I could think of for almost 24 hours before was how much I needed a break, and I didn't want to put her down.

But I did.  I put her down, went back and got her sister, ate lunch, switched my laundry over, emptied my dishwasher, listened to a podcast, and tried to numb all my yuckiest feelings of having made the wrong choice for my babies, with productivity.

And now I am nursing my baby again as I curl up on the couch and write.  And I wish I was sleeping and I wish I was folding my laundry and I wish I was curled up in the toddler's bed and I wish I could be alone for a while and I'm glad to be right here where I am right now.

There never will be a right way to do this mom thing, will there?  No matter what choice I make, it's always gonna kinda suck a little.  And also kinda be great.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doing it Right: Friendships

The sweet Jaime from James and Jax is taking a much deserved sick day from hosting this blog hop this week, but I'm going to write one anyway.

This week, I've been reminded that I'm a really good friend.  Wow, it's hard to say that and take credit for it.  But truly I am grateful for the gift of being a good listener, and I am proud to be this person.  Even when my friendships don't look like other people's, they are true and good and meaningful, and I am proud to be at the center of an amazing web of people.

I've been brave.  I stepped up and took another tutoring student even though it scares the crap out  of me.

I baked brownies.  And muffins.

I love my kids so much and I have really been making an effort to soften into joy and experience the moments without focusing on the scary parts.

So that's what I've been doing right.

And because I know she doesn't have the wherewithal to write it right now?  Here's a little of what Jaime's doing right:

She's taking care of herself.
She's trusting her gut.
She's loving on her son.
She's reaching out for help when she needs it.
She's supporting her friends.
She's inspiring me (why the heck else would I be writing this post??)

Friday, March 8, 2013

On A'Driane and marriage

Dear A'Driane,

I wanted to give you some advice on marriage today as part of your wedding week celebration, but the truth is, you already know everything I could possibly tell you about how to live a life filled with love and joy.

Be you.
Show love.
Ask for help.
Be grateful.

All of these things are ingredients for a great marriage, but they are also things I've seen you do, my dear, nearly every day since I "met" you almost two years ago.  So instead of advice, here are my wishes for you.

May your wedding day be filled with as much color, life, and celebration as you are.

May your marriage bring you as much love and joy as you bring the world.

May you laugh and dance every day of your lives together.

Congratulations, sweet lady.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doing it Right: My baby's feet

I had grand plans for this week.  I wanted to get serious about my growth.  I wanted to read more, write more, have more fun, cook more, keep my house cleaner, pay attention more, exercise more, and generally kick ass at life.

Oh and while I was at it, I wanted to be more authentic, self compassionate, calm, creative, intuitive, joyful, and playful.  (Ahem, I have indeed been drinking the Brene Koolaid.)

So.  That existential crisis happened.

My dishwasher is only halfway unloaded.  I have laundry in the washer that needs to go in the dryer.  I haven't defrosted dinner yet. My journal is abandoned on the coffee table.

And I just spent the past 10 minutes looking my baby in the eyes, listening to her coo and laugh, and kissing her feet.

And that?  Is what I'm doing right.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One word month two

So when I picked my one word for the year I think I may have forgotten a critical point.

Growing?  Hurts.

This month I have been doing a lot of reading, listening, reflecting, and searching.  I've come across a lot of ideas that resonated with me and have been taking notes, setting goals, thinking about my direction.  And as I sit here right now, with my baby half opening her eyes and my Big Girl going into hour three of her nap, I have only one thought about the whole prospect.

I don't wanna.

The more I think about the characteristics on which I need to work, about the things that I know would bring more joy to my life, about purpose and direction and authenticity, the more I want to drink a second cup of coffee and stare blankly at my twitter feed for the next seven hours.

Wait, what?

I know, of course, that doing almost anything is better than doing nothing, so my bed is made.  The laundry  is folded.  We've been having pretty amazing dinners.

And I?  Am disappearing.

My sweet Big Girl likes to tell me "Baby sister wants to grow up and play blocks and dance" and I look at my two month old peacefully kicking on her playmat and think, Does she?

She does.  Of course she does.

And so do I.  I think that going backwards is just a necessary step for going forwards.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

SOC Sunday: I don't understand

I don’t understand how some people think it’s easy to make connections.

People with full social calendars who meet someone at a grocery store and immediately know everything about them, including their phone number and the best time to plan a playdate.

I don’t understand people who think it’s easy to go out, to pick up the phone, to get on G+ and pour their hearts out to strangers face to face.

I don’t understand vlogging.

(And I don't understand why the "h" key on my keyboard keeps sticking, but that's really beside the point.)

I am confident in my choices, in the power of the written word, in what I’m doing here and in my own comfort level with sharing and connecting.

So I don’t understand why I feel jealous when I see other people doing it differently.

I don’t understand this feeling in my gut of shame, that I’ll never be good enough or real enough or loved enough unless I can put myself out there the way other people do, the way I’ve accepted is something I’m just not interested in.

I don’t understand why this hurts today, why I’m so afraid of being left behind, where exactly it is I’d rather be than here.