Can We Just Stop?

Did you ever stop to think about how much you complain? Maybe you’re one of those people who thinks you don’t complain but let’s be honest, you do. We all do. Silently or vocally…we complain. We complain about little things and we complain about big things. Maybe we complain because it’s raining which has ruined our plans for the day or because our kids aren’t listening for the hundredth time today or how frustrated we are in traffic or angry we are with a spouse or a friend. We complain about politics, religion, finances, jobs and pretty much everything under the sun! We complain to friends, to co-workers, to siblings, to friends, to our significant other, to our kids and sometimes even to strangers! I found myself in line at Target one day as I said out loud ‘what is taking so long in this returns line’ which got three other people in line complaining as well.

We should be ashamed. I know I am. And do you know why we should be ashamed? Because complaining does nothing. It’s an instant gratification that fixes nothing. For that second, it feels good, maybe it even feels validated, but in the long run, it does nothing. We can’t change people, who they are or their opinions and we definitely can’t change circumstances. We can try, but that’s about it. And eventually everything works out, doesn’t it? Yes, not always the way we want it to, but it does. And that’s part of life. That’s part of accepting there is a greater plan for us that we have no control over.

I think we need to be more grateful than we are. I say that as a society, not just an individual (but I definitely need to check myself at times). We need to embrace the gifts and blessings we have. We need to hold on to them. We need to cherish them. And this task isn’t easy. This is the hard one. Complaining is the easy one. But once we free ourselves from the negativity, I think we’ll find the little joys. The joys we had as children. The way I watch my son play with pots and pans full of excitement or how happy my daughter is when I lay in bed with her every night as we giggle doing our silly ‘bedtime routines’ or even just falling asleep next to each other. I may not have the perfect life, but I have a lot to be thankful for. My kids are healthy. Sure, they get bumps and bruises more often than I would like, but overall there are no grave issues with regards to their health. That is a HUGE blessing because it can change in the blink of an eye. Ever complain when you’re sick about how miserable you are? I know I have. But eventually you get over the sickness, right? You don’t have cancer. You had a cold. And sometimes we need that over-the-top comparison to realize what we have instead of what we don’t.

So can we just stop? Can we just stop complaining? Probably not. We have too many opinions. We have too many feelings. We have too many outlets and too many platforms to tell everyone how we feel about everything. And maybe we also have too much time. We have too much time to complain and too little time to care, to love, to accept and to enjoy.

Being a mom isn’t easy. I complain daily. I complain multiple times a day. Some days, I have complete meltdowns. I won’t deny this. But I’m trying. Oh I’m trying so dang hard. My mom told me something wonderful today as I complained about being a mom. She said to me, “You are doing a great job. If you keep trying to be the perfect mom you will just exhaust yourself. Then everyone suffers. Trust me.” She is so right! There is no perfect when it comes to parenting. And yes, we can complain about it. We can talk about all the reasons being a mom is so unbelievably difficult. Sometimes, that support is needed. Sometimes we just need to vent it out, cry it out, scream and shout it out and even complain it out. Complaining is natural as imperfect humans, but it doesn’t have to be constant. Let’s try supporting each other the best ways we can. Let’s show compassion and love, forgiveness and acceptance, kindness and goodness. We can make this negative world better, we have to.

 

 

The Kind of Parent I Want to Be

No ever thinks about what kind of parent they want to be when they’re younger, at least, I never did. Even when you talked about what you wanted to be when you ‘grew up’, I’m sure if or when you said like mommy or daddy you really didn’t know what those words meant. I don’t think we really think about what kind of parent we want to be until we actually become parents. Yes, you more than likely talked about it with your future spouse before marriage. You shared how you grew up, how your parents were, things you liked and didn’t like and maybe even gave your own thoughts about how you would parent. When you got engaged, you talked about becoming a family and how that would change your twosome. Feelings of excitement and nervousness filled your body about the possibility of a ‘mini’ you or your husband. And then when you got pregnant, you thoroughly prepared yourself for your new role, envisioning what it will be like and trying to plan for it all. Then reality sets in and it hits you. It hits you HARD. And just like that, you’re officially a parent. There is no slow motion in parenting (despite how many moments we wish we could). The minute you become a parent it’s as if someone threw you in the ocean and just as you stand up, SMACK! you get crushed by a giant wave. You fight to get up again and you’re pretty out of breathe when SMACK, you’re hit again this time even harder. But now… now you know what’s coming so you’re prepared for this big wave….you get up, get your bearings and…nothing. Ahh, time to relax……SMACK! Parenting doesn’t stop. And even when you think you have the hang of it, everything changes.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of parent I want to be. Sometimes, it keeps me up at night. Sometimes, it leaves me in tears. Sometimes, it fills me with so much anxiety and fear that I start to panic wondering if I’m doing the right things. Am I doing the right things? Am I doing anything right?! Am I being the kind of parent my kids deserve? Because let’s face it, our kids deserve everything. And I don’t mean that in the entitlement kind of way, I mean that in the parenting kind of way. They deserve to get everything they can from us because it’s going to make them who they are one day. So shouldn’t we give them the very best of us? Is that even enough? If your parents are Baby Boomers like mine, then you probably grew up hearing ‘I only want the best for you’ or ‘I want you to have more than what I had’ or ‘I want to give you more than I was given’. Our parents always wanted more for us. They just wanted to give and give and give. They never stopped giving. You don’t understand that kind of ‘give’ until you’re a parent. You just don’t. There is nothing like it. When you’re a parent, you give until there is nothing left to give, and then you give more.

We want to see our children grow and succeed and become the best possible versions of themselves but being a parent nowadays isn’t easy. In fact, it’s almost nearly impossible. I don’t know how my parents did it. I really don’t. To try to keep up with a job, a marriage, children, a house, cooking, cleaning, school, school activities, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, meetings, church activities, volunteering and all the other things that come along with life as a parent seems completely unmanageable! And on top of that, now everyone gets to document it. Now everyone gets to show off what ‘amazing’ parents they are. This is not meant to insult anyone at all. I’ll be the first to say, I love sharing pictures of the fun things I do with my kids, who doesn’t? And I know almost all moms would agree with me that in the middle of one of your child’s meltdowns, not only is there no time to share it, but it’s such utter chaos that the thought of sharing it doesn’t even enter your mind. Yes, we share the best parts of parenting and it’s great, but sometimes it makes life seem a little less real, don’t you think? That’s when I personally have to step back and ask myself, why am I even on here? Why do I care about what other people are doing? I need to be spending time with my kids!

So here’s what I’ve decided. Here’s the kind of parent I want to be.

I want to be the kind of parent that one day, my kids will thank me for all the things I did, the things I taught them and even the times I was really tough on them. I want them to have the best memories of their childhood and look back upon it with fondness, joy and love. I hope that fondness fosters future memories for them with their children. I want to be the kind of parent that doesn’t give up….EVER….and always tells my kids I love them, no matter what they may say to me. I want to be the parent that teaches my children not only how to pray but to KEEP praying, because God hears your prayers (even if you don’t get the answer that you want). I want my kids to know I pray for them every single day (usually more than once!) and that will never stop.

But right now, I want to be a yes mom to my kids. No, that doesn’t mean I will give my children everything they want, but it means I will say yes to the things that I know one day they won’t ask me for. Yes I will play with you, yes I will lay with you, yes I will color with you, yes I will run around the house and chase you, yes I will read you that story again, yes I will spin you around for the hundredth time, yes I will make silly faces with you…YES, YES YES! I need more ‘yes’ moments. I need to give my children more ‘yes’ moments, because these are the ones you can’t get back.

Listen, I am far from this parent. I know that I can write these words so much more easily than I can put them into action. But this is an aspiration for me. This is me saying, YES I CAN DO THIS! Yes, I can do this on the days I run out of patience and it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. Yes, I can do this on the days I’ve been yelled at, slapped, smacked, bitten, peed on, spit up on and been thrown food on. Yes, I can do this when the house is a mess AGAIN, no one is listening or eating or doing anything they should be! Yes, I can do this because in the end, THIS is all you have. The days might be exhausting and unbearable and even downright miserable at times, but it’s the little moments, the little glimpses of pure joy that make it all worth it. The moments when I’m running around with my husband and our kids on the lawn in the middle of summer having a water gun fight and laughing so hard it hurts. The moments when you almost forget where you are and what you should be doing because you’re just enjoying those precious moments with your kids. Find your ‘yes’ mom and cherish those moments. I know I will.

You Made Me a Mom

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Three years ago you made me a mom. I never thought time could go by so fast. There was a time when you were so dependent on me. I cradled you in my arms, you fell asleep on my chest, you cooed and gave me that first smile. You began walking ten days before your first birthday and now here you are, little miss independent, running and jumping, peeing in the potty and telling me, ‘look mom, I did it all by myself and I didn’t even need you’ which while I was so proud, I also felt my heart break a little.

You are doing so much on your own. You are so incredibly smart that you amaze your father and I each and every day. You make us laugh. Your little personality and gentle sweetness make you such a special little girl. I never thought your birthdays would be so hard on me, but they just remind me that you’re getting older, you’re constantly growing and changes will only continue. You’ll eventually go to school, make friends, maybe play sports or an instrument or dance or all…you’ll come across great challenges and great accomplishments, your first crush and first heartbreak and all the things that make growing up so exciting but also a little scary.

But one thing that will never change is that you made me a mom. I will forever be your mother and I will love you with every ounce of me. I love you into the depths of my soul. I love you with a love that only a mother understands. So as you turn another year older, I will try not to cry too hard as I remember the little one you used to be. You will always be my baby girl and you will always be the reason I am so blessed that God made you my daughter and me your mom. This song says it all and every year as your birthday draws near, I listen to it and smile (but mostly cry). You made me a mom and for that, I am forever grateful.

Why Growing Up is Hard as a Mom

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Today my daughter went to my girlfriend’s house to play with her twins and be watched by their nanny. She hadn’t gone in a while due to scheduling conflicts so I was worried she would cry pretty hard this time. I prepped her that I would be leaving and she would reply with ‘bye mommy’ and I said ‘yes, but I always come back to get you, right?’ to which she would sweetly say ‘yes’. I braced myself for today because leaving my crying child, even if it’s just for a few hours, breaks my heart. I know she’s okay, not in any danger and completely safe but it’s still tough.

When I told her it was time for me to go she said ‘bye mommy’ and blew me kisses. She didn’t cry or pitch a fit. She was okay, in fact, she was more than okay! I turned around and walked out so fast because the tears were streaming down my face. As I drove home crying a smile hit my face and I realized with great joy and some sadness that my baby girl is growing up. She’s growing up so fast while at times I feel like I’m standing still (even though the grays in my hair and stiff muscles in my body tell me otherwise!).

I never thought being a mom would actually be so emotional. I didn’t realize the incredible love and joy I would have for this little person. I still feel like I can’t fully put it into words. But what I do know watching her growing up is hard as a mom. I am proud yet fearful, excited yet nervous, happy yet sad and with every joy comes a little sadness as I see how independent and amazing she is becoming. God gave us the beautiful gift of life and we get to watch and help mold our children to become something incredible all the while knowing one day we’ll have to let them go. One day we’ll have to set them free and hope everything we ever taught them sticks.

Every other night I read my daughter ‘On the Night You Were Born’ and try my hardest not to cry. She’s too young to understand these feelings I’m having and I don’t think ever will until she has children of her own. I finally get all the things my mom had told me for so long now that I have a little one (I love you mom!). I have visions of the future and think about my daughter getting married and how at some point during that special time I will read again to her or somehow incorporate ‘On the Night You Were Born’ so that she knows heaven truly ‘blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born’.

I love every moment I get to spend with my baby girl and wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. She is happy, she is safe and she is SO VERY LOVED. Growing up may be hard for me as a mom, but watching her is one of the most incredible gifts I will ever be given.

Today I Let Go…

Today I let go (a little). I stepped out of my comfort zone. I did it. Don’t get me wrong, I sobbed, but I did it.

I’ve been blessed to be able to do my business from home and prior to that have only family watch my daughter while I was working. It’s such a blessing that I would never take for granted. Many people will love your children but in my opinion there is no love like that of your family.

However, a part of me felt like I was depriving Emma a bit. She wasn’t getting a lot of interaction with other kids. I worried it was impacting her speech. I worry a lot. Don’t all moms?😊

So, I made the decision to take Emma once a week to my girlfriend’s house. She has a sitter I adore who watches her almost 3-year-old twins while she goes to work and was kind enough to let me bring Emma into the mix! We’ve had many play dates and Emma is comfortable with them. She’s also been around the sitter before too but never without me in sight.

Today I had to leave. I had to let go so Emma could grow. I will be honest in saying I sobbed all the way home. Did I traumatize my child? Did she think I abandoned her? What did I just do? A million questions ran through my mind. I felt terrible.

My girlfriend whose house Emma was at reassured me its new and scary for both Emma and I but once Emma adjusts it will be a great confidence builder for her. I have no doubt it will be. This will help prepare her for any future day care or school she begins. I just wasn’t prepared for the emotions that came with it. The emotions that my little toddler is growing up so fast. The emotions deep in my heart that are so strong I can only explain it as a mother’s love.

I love my child. I love her so very much. In a world of constant chaos, let us try to remember to love. To really love. Time is the enemy, not your neighbor. Our children will grow up in the blink of an eye. Did we spend the entire time complaining or enjoying? Be grateful and thankful for your blessings.