Why I Love This Job

Emma098edit

No one can prepare you for motherhood…even if they’ve tried. Sure, you can hear birthing stories (which you won’t understand until you’re actually having the contractions where you feel like you might die) or advice about getting sleep before the baby comes (there is no amount of sleep you could ever get to prepare you for all the sleep you won’t be getting as a new mom!). You can read everything on the Internet but that’s also just going to prepare you into a paranoid freak! At the same time, no one can prepare you for the love you will have. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. You will never feel anything like it until you are a parent. No once can prepare you for this journey you’re about to embark upon, but you know what, that’s why I love this job!

The first time I held my daughter I was overwhelmed with how much I loved her. It was like a tidal wave that flooded my heart and completely filled me up. Sure, it was tough in the beginning, but isn’t any new job? The insecurity of taking on a new role, how will you perform, what if you make a mistake and the overall uncertainty of not knowing what you’re doing. It’s the fear of the unknown…

And it’s the unknown that always get us…what’s next? what do I do now? is this right? should I be doing it this way? what if I’m supposed to do it that way? HOW WILL I KNOW?! You don’t get paid, you definitely don’t get raises, you don’t get reviewed (this is usually unsolicited and when I assume when most kids become teenagers) but best of you, this is one job no one can ever take away from you. You are a parent, congratulations 🙂

Recently, we took some family photos to celebrate my daughter turning one. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Krista (from Krista Lynne Photography) did an AMAZING job…check out her page here! So this is why I love this job…I love being able to have sweet moments like this captured, but that’s only a small part of it. I love everything about this job, the good, the bad and sometimes, even the ugly. I love when someone asks her “where’s mommy” and she points to me…I love it when she screams ‘MA!’ even though I sometimes want to scream myself…I love when she runs towards me and falls right into my lap…I love her laugh, seeing her interact with her dad, her smile, the way she imitates everything, the way we play together as a family, her hilarious faces, how excited she gets to be chased, seeing already how smart she is….this list could go on forever so I’ll stop here.

But most of all, I love her. I everything about her. And although I have exhausting days at times, my best days are spent with her. They are cherished moments that I am fortunate to have because God blessed me into becoming a mom…and that is why I love this job :).

Emma061

Tantrums: The Breakdown

IMG_6179
Temper tantrums. Everyone has them…babies, teenagers, adults, the elderly, you name it! They come in different forms and various terms (frustration fits, temper tantrums, toddler tantrums, hissy fits, crying fit, conniption fits, nervous breakdown, meltdowns, the list goes on), but it all usually comes down to the same thing: I am frustrated, I am angry and I am expressing my frustration and anger. While this is not the case for every individual (some tantrums are the result of medical illnesses, etc.), I am speaking generally and in ‘tantrum slang format’ (i.e. using the word tantrum to encompass all levels of anger and frustration expressions with regards to children) which I realize is not medically correct, but I’m not a doctor so let’s continue!

This is my daughter’s face after a crying fit in her high chair. As you can see, she’s clearly still upset to which I snapped this picture then immediately comforted her (I know, bad parenting on the picture part!). I am told by the pediatrician that this is the age when babies will express their distress or frustration based on the situation. These can be called ‘frustration fits’ but I know that many people interchangeably use ‘temper tantrums’ or ‘complete meltdowns’ despite the child’s age (as I am doing here).

So, why was she upset? Well, she couldn’t get the puffs in her mouth. She got a few on her own so I stopped putting them in her mouth for her. Once she couldn’t get the others in she started crying, then arching her back moving up and down and then yelling (yes, all while strapped into her high chair). I gave in and fed them to her. She still cried. It was time for her nap so I put her down. She cried some more. She fell asleep ten minutes later which is a new record from the time it usually takes her to go down these days (about 30 minutes!) and I fell on the couch in my own distress. I think she was just overly tired…or maybe she wasn’t…maybe she was just having a tantrum.

I know she is technically ‘too young’ to be having an actual temper tantrum (they say it doesn’t really happen until they’re around one years old) but whatever this expression of dislike is, I DISLIKE IT! If she doesn’t like something she will let you know. She will move and kick and arch her back and cry and yell. She will literally THROW A FIT (and a few toys). My husband says “she’s definitely your daughter.” I thank him for the compliment with my go-fly-a-kite grin. It’s not my favorite phase that she’s going through, but it’s all part of her learning, growing and coming into her own.

In the moment, tantrums are the worst. I actually want to start having one of my own when she is! But then I have to stop and think, this poor little peanut, she can’t communicate any other way. She can’t talk to me and tell me what’s wrong or why she’s upset…this is all she can do. She is a baby. She has off days. She gets frustrated and angry just like everyone else does. She is human. And what am I? I am her mother. I am here to comfort and console her, to guide and nurture her. Sure, I am also here to discipline and teach her, but above all, I am here to love her. I am here to give her all the love that she needs.

In this moment, this tantrum-fitting moment, I am not here to judge, to get frustrated with, to get angry at, to get annoyed over or any other part of me that wants nothing more than to pull my hair out and have a large glass of wine (you know, that whole bottle in one glass kind). I am here to be her mother, and that means unconditional love, support, compassion and understanding. We may not have these unconditionals for many people in our lives, but we must have them for our kids. We must. Because if we don’t, who else will? Who else will give them all they need to survive in this world? To be raised right in this world? To truly understand what it means to be loved in this world?

She had a ‘temper tantrum’…and you know what I did (yes, I took a picture, but after that!)? I loved her. I loved her and I hugged her and I told her it was going to be okay. She squirmed and she cried but I still gave her my love because sometimes, no matter how old we may be, love is all we need. We all have tantrums, we all break down at one point or another, and when we do, it’s nice to know you have one person who will always be there to love you. I hope my daughter knows she forever has me.

If Only…

We live in a world of hurry. We want everything yesterday, five minutes is an eternity, waiting is should be outlawed and time is money. If only we could see the other side. The side where the thought of waiting leads something beautiful like the miraculous birth of a child or the moment when no amount of money could replace time with a dying loved one.

But we’re too much in a hurry. We’re too driven by our own needs for immediacy. Life can change in the blink of an eye and in those moments we question ‘why’, we are not prepared and we don’t understand yet we expect those instantaneous results in almost every other aspect of our lives…

The other day I ran into the post office to mail something. It was my day off and one of those 50-degree Michigan afternoons. I figured it wouldn’t be too busy and I could run in and out without having to lug my sleeping daughter in the car seat. I was first in line with one woman working and an elderly lady just finishing up. I figured this would be less than two minutes until the elderly woman after paying stayed to talk to the post office clerk. I almost lost my mind! There are people lined up behind me now. Do I just leave? Do I go up because she is finished? Do I tell the lady I’m in a hurry? I started tapping my foot I was so frustrated. It was only a few minutes but it felt like an eternity.

It wasn’t until I got into my car where my angel was still perfectly sleeping when it hit me. Maybe that is the only interaction this woman will have today. Maybe she enjoys her trips and talks at the post office because it’s the only time she can get out. Maybe she just wants to be heard. If only I could have been more understanding. If only I could have thought about her instead of myself.  If only…

I read this beautiful email forward my mom passed along and it bought me to tears. I hope you read it. If only we could have the love and compassion for life the way this little boy did. Can we? Can we all just stop being in such a hurry?

I don’t know. I truly don’t. We have been trained, maybe even a little brainwashed if you will, to rush and to be rushed. We have things like flash sales (buy me now before I’m gone!), instant coffee, fast food (the name alone says it all), rush delivery, and the fast lane (for driving purposes). We are bombarded with hurrying!

For most of my life I lived in a hurry. I didn’t have time or the patience. I rushed as often and as much as I could. I wish that I didn’t. Life is a learning experience and that’s one I’ve definitely changed. People felt my need to hurry. I hurt people in the process. I was constantly ‘rushing’ and never had the time.

If only I knew then what I know now. If only I could see how precious and beautiful waiting is. I waited for my husband. I waited through bad relationships and lots of broken hearts. I waited impatiently. And then, I gave it up to God and He gave me my husband. I thank God for him each day and for showing me the reason why I needed  to wait…it was for him. I waited 27 hours to meet my daughter. I waited that long to find out my baby was a she! I waited in pain and discomfort and at moments in fear, but the minute I saw her, I forgot about it all. She is everything to me and worth all of the waiting and more!

I bet any of you would wait patiently if you could see someone who is no longer here…someone who has left this life already. If you were told you have five minutes and all you have to do is wait you would. And you wouldn’t complain or huff and puff. You would be filled with joy of that moment to come. You might be overwhelmed with love and maybe even a little worry. But you would wait…wouldn’t you?

If only we could have that kind of patience with everything we do. If only we could stop being in such a hurry. Today I looked at pictures of my daughter when she was first born (pictured above) and thought to myself, ‘if only you were that little again’. If you’ve ever stayed up late and seen one of those infomercials to buy whatever it is they’re selling at the end the voiceover comes on and says “Why wait? Act now!” and then continues on with what you get for purchasing at that exact moment. So why wait? Why not?!

Life is full of unexpected and beautiful surprises. If only we could all just be in less of a hurry to experience them.

I’m Not Cut Out For This…

It was her first accident. I wasn’t there. It was a complete accident but nonetheless, it made me think that maybe I’m not cut out for this… 

Emma has two teeth now and her bottom one had hit the edge of those plastic tables kids with all the gadgets on top that babies her age play with. While the injury was unknown of its location at the time, I was told she cried very hard. 

 She wasn’t herself on the way home. It wasn’t until I began feeding her solids I noticed her tooth had gone from upright to bent forward. I had my husband confirm it which he did. I started to sob. I couldn’t stop. I was angry then sad then angry and then sad again. While it was an accident, I couldn’t help but be upset because I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there.  

 I gave her Tylenol to ease the pain and she was back to her smiling, happy self (pictured here). She wouldn’t put anything in her mouth and it was clear why. I felt terrible. I felt helpless. I felt in the moment that maybe I’m not cut out for this… 

Maybe I’m not cut out to be a mom. 

I can’t handle the stress of knowing that these injuries will only continue! I can try my best to prevent them but I won’t be able to. I won’t be able to control it…any of it. And yes, I’m not supposed to. I’m supposed to trust that everything will work out and when it doesn’t that everything happens for reason but I have a hard time with that. She is my baby. She is my sweet little peanut. She is the joy of my life! 

I heard a beautiful homily at mass the other day. The priest (deacon who is married) talked about how you don’t really know what true love is until you have children. He said that couples who first get married are in love with the idea of love, but it isn’t until you are responsible for another human life that you realize what unconditional love and sacrifice really is.

He couldn’t have been more accurate. I love my husband but it was honestly the birth of my daughter that I really understood true love. I understood the love that Mary had for her only son Jesus. And she had to watch her son be crucified. I. Can’t. Even. Imagine. 

I can only hope I continue to grow stronger, especially when she is injured, intentionally or unintentionally. But for now, I will be a little heartbroken over her accident and how I would give anything to take away her pain. Maybe I am cut out for this after all :). 

 And it’s off to the peds dentist we go!

Am I Doing Enough?

cute-cartoon-illustration-of-a-young-mother-with-two-children-holding-hands_163653500
As mothers, we question everything. It is in our nature to do so because we want the best for our children. Whether we have one, five or ten (God bless you!), the questions never stop because the changes never do. It’s a ‘go with the flow, everyday is a new day, do what you gotta do’ lifestyle. There are no rules, no regulations and no guidelines on how to be a mother. You are challenged, pushed to your limits, overworked, never paid, at times completely overwhelmed and on most days probably doing what you can to just keep everyone alive and well!

The question that constantly crosses my mind is, ‘Am I doing enough?’. Am I doing enough for my daughter? And sometimes, am I enough as a mom?

The worries and anxieties of a being a new parent are not easy. I struggle with them daily. I wonder if I’m providing her with enough activities, does she have too much or too little stimulation, is she eating the right amounts, am I giving her all the love and support she needs, am I making the right decisions and the question that always follows these, but how do I know?

I believe these questions that invade our minds and make us question our choices and decisions are normal, but I don’t think that will ever put me at ease. There are days when I’m home with my daughter and I just stare at her thinking ‘what am I doing?’. Is there some kind of manual that can outline what my day should look like with her that I can follow? But then I have to tell myself that this is a learning experience and I need to trust what I am doing is always in the best interest of my child. I may not always get it right and things are bound to happen that are out of my control, but right now, I am doing enough. I am enough as a mom…I think!

As moms, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all that we do. We can become so busy worrying and stressing out about the overwhelming amount of decisions we need to make that we forget to what a great job we’re actually doing. And sometimes, others forget too (never hurts to remind them!). There is no way to ever fully know if we’re doing enough, but the love that we have for our children is so immeasurable that in my mind, we are. We never do the bare minimum when it comes to our children.

So in moments of fear and anxiety, trust your gut and trust your heart…YOU ARE A GREAT MOM and YOU ARE ENOUGH!