A community divided

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I’ve noticed something about motherhood – the ‘hot button’ issues – they heat up quickly and seemingly divide what could be such a wonderful, “whole” community of women.  My first glimpses of this happened when my firstborn was just a baby. I was literally just trying to survive each day when all of a sudden I found myself wondering if I should be baby wearing, questioning vaccines, using alternative medicine, buying organic cotton clothes – you name it. I didn’t know any of this was a “thing” until I was right in the thick of it. When I was pregnant, I guess I focused only on what I needed to know about pregnancy and childbirth – which was so much already. I think I just figured my instincts would kick in once my daughter was born? Continue reading “A community divided”

Never Say Never

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If there is one thing my husband and I have learned in parenting, it is that the unexpected can happen at any time.  Whether it’s sleep, discipline, teething, or any other subject really.  Once a so-called pattern develops, just watch it unravel before your very eyes.  And with that little nugget comes this piece of wisdom we have also learned along the way:

Never, ever say “never.”

Or “always” for that matter.

Continue reading “Never Say Never”

If Mom isn’t happy…

I saw this quote recently and decided to take the challenge, since it’s something I really struggle with.

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After a successful 24 hours, I then went all WEEK LONG without one complaint – a pretty big feat for me!  And I have to say, it felt pretty good.  The three of us had the best week we have had in a long time.  Yes, there were still challenging moments when they both needed me or fell apart at the same time.  This is something that definitely frazzles me.  I feel helpless when I have to pick between the two of them and whose need to meet first.  So this past week I didn’t let the internal struggle happen and instead I just met one need and then met the other’s, quickly putting out fires one by one.

Not complaining also meant resisting the oh-so-satisfying eye-roll or sigh when the kids needed me while I was in the middle of something.  You know – daunting details of my day like attempting to work out, pay bills, make a phone call (impossible!) and the never-easy task of cooking dinner.  I am so used to thinking (or guilty of sometimes even saying aloud), ‘I will never get this done!’  This week I tried just stopping what I was doing, quickly intervening if necessary or getting whatever it was one of them needed and then went back to what I was working on.  Matter of fact, no negative emotion involved.

If my mind started to turn pessimistic on me, I stopped the thought process in its tracks.

I never realized controlling my thoughts could truly change my circumstances.  I’m so used to letting my circumstances dictate my emotions, not the other way around.

As if reading my mind, a friend sent me this article that describes just how powerful the brain is in practicing and determining happiness.  It’s pretty exciting knowing you can rewire your brain and train your mind to be optimistic, leading to a more fulfilling life.  The article recommends keeping a journal of all you are grateful for.  I had started one of these a couple years back when the book 1,000 Gifts was big, so I got it back out to keep up the practice.

I thought this would be a good time to play The Happy Game with my 3-year-old daughter last week to try instilling happiness and being thankful in a simple way.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me:  What makes you happy?

Her:  When we paint together.  {which we were doing at the time}

Me:  Something that makes me happy is going to the beach with you.  What else makes you happy?

Her:  Playing with you and swimming in the big pool together and when we play legos together.

Me:  It makes me happy when I make a big, yummy meal and everyone eats it and likes it.  What else makes you happy?

Her:  It makes me happy when you’re happy, Mommy.

And I was floored.  Not at all what I expected.  Every single answer was about me.  And then the kicker was that she cared so much about my happiness.  Incredible.

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Goodness, I feel like I could/should have been doing this for years.  I’ve always wondered how my husband does it at work.  In sales, he is rejected day after day, yet he’s built a successful practice somehow.  He always has the best attitude even at the end of a  day that didn’t go his way.  I actually asked him a few weeks ago while I was in an exhausted mental state what he would do in a situation that kept recurring in my days.  He answered matter of factly, “I would figure out how to work around that and stay happy despite those circumstances if that’s where you’re at right now.”  My mind just does not think that way.

I guess it may be starting to now.

Mom Misconceptions

MISCONCEPTIONS I HAD BEFORE KIDS

I read this a few months ago, and it had me laughing so hard!  I sent it to my expectant brother and sister-in-law, and my brother responded he was having heart palpitations after reading it.  It is, of course, an exaggeration but pretty funny nonetheless and much of it does ring true.  Since then, I’ve been thinking of my own misconceptions I had about parenthood.  I honestly had no idea it would be so difficult but I also thought I knew so much when I clearly didn’t!

  • Snotty kids – why can’t their mother just wipe.that.nose.  Before children, I looked at kids’ snotty noses and thought, “Really – can’t you just clean that?  How hard can it be?”  Now, I’m on the other side of it.  When mine have a cold, I think, ‘for those noses to be perfectly clean at all times, it would require me wiping it every five seconds.’  It would literally be all I did all day long!  Sorry, moms, for judging you before I knew better.
  • You stay out late one night – no big deal, right?  Why would you work around your child’s schedule instead of your own?  Oh – because there is only hell to pay if you don’t.  All day long the next day.  They don’t just ‘sleep in’ because you stayed out late.  In fact, they often wake super early on those days!  And they’re generally not happy campers following nights like that.  So, we stay in a lot.
  • Hard for moms to find time for a shower?  No way would a day go by where I would miss one.  Ha!  I had absolutely no idea of the constant demands kids place on a mother.  I’ve had many a shower-less day.  Too many to count actually.
  • I always felt like little kids were in my way.  Now I’m on the other side – probably being a nuisance to everyone else.  Telling them, “Don’t touch that!” and apologizing to random people in the grocery store.  I wish I had been more understanding to those mothers before I had my own children.  It requires so much multi-tasking to keep them happy and manage your list while shopping for what you need.
  • Babies and sleep – can’t be that bad, right?  There’s the phrase “sleep like a baby” – but then I heard later that it should really be “sleep like a husband” which totally makes more sense.  Enough said on this one.
  • On the sleep subject, I always envisioned rising before my little ones, brewing some coffee, maybe reading a bit or making some breakfast for us all.  Nope.  They’re my daily alarm clock.
  • There would be payback someday for all I did as a child to my parents.  I was a pretty well-behaved kid (or so I’ve been told) but I was quite a chatterbox.  And so, numbers 12 and 13 on the above-mentioned blog certainly ring true for me these days!  Wow, can my daughter talk!
  • I had no idea the days would be incredibly long as a stay-at-home mom.  I find myself thinking of things to do to pass the time.  Yet the days are long and the months are short, as the saying goes.  I really can’t believe how quickly they’re growing.

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Clearly, I’m still learning in each new stage we enter – and I’m sure many more surprises are coming my way!