Why I'm okay with not being the world's best mom.

Monday, February 20, 2017

When S was born, I remember looking into her eyes, and right away, I wanted to give her the world.

Okay, actually, that's not entirely true. Back up.

After twelve hours of labor, I was so exhausted, and my brain was so fuzzy that I think I was half-asleep when she finally came out. I have the distinct memory of looking over at her under the warm lights, being tended by the nurses and seeing my husband watching over her. I remember thinking, "Oh. Good. I'm glad there are other people in the room to pay attention to her."

Guys, I was OUT.

But then, we had somehow hazily made it through the rest of the night, and the sun came up. After getting a bit of sleep, and some chocolate chip cookies in me (yup, that's the first thing I ate after giving birth) THEN, then I looked into her eyes, and thought, "I am going to be the very best mama to you ever."

And for a good little stretch, I think I did pretty okay. I nursed her and watched her chunk up, even though every time she latched those first few weeks, I winced in pain thinking, "Is it time to eat again? Oh gosh, I'm not ready." I took her on walks so she could soak the world up, I changed her clothes every time she spit up, and I sang to her during every one of her nightly baths.

Then a few months later, I found out I was expecting...again.

As soon as I found out, I cried. I had just put S down for a nap, and I knew I just wanted to scoop her out of her crib and hold her. I felt like I was letting her down because I felt like I was robbing her of my 100%. But, somehow, I was able to work through the grey early fog that came with baby number two, and tried my best.

Fast forward a couple years. S was 2 almost 3 and J was 1 almost 2. I will forever look back fondly on that year. It was such a special time because I felt like we were the Three Musketeers. We were always out of the house by 10am to do our thing for the day. Some days we'd go to the little beach by our house, or we'd go to the bookstore and play and get a cookie afterwards. Other days we'd go to the pet store or take their scooters to the park. Life wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn rosy.

Things were rosy, but I was also getting tired. I was tired of trying to make things perfect for them all the time. But, see, I was able to deal with it. I pressed forward.

Fast forward another couple years, and I was pregnant with O. Sof was in preschool, and Pato and I were finally able to enjoy some one-on-one time. I loved having that time with him because he was happy just to cuddle with me and watch Daniel Tiger. But, that's when the guilt started to really creep in. This last pregnancy got pretty brutal during the last trimester, and it's not something I've talked a ton about on here. When I'm in pain or sick I really don't like to talk about it. Maybe part of me thinks if I don't acknowledge it, it will go away? Anyway, without going into so much detail, I'll just say that I think I cried every single day those last couple of months. Usually in the middle of the night because turning over and getting out of bed was so excruciating, I could barely even breathe. I did so as quietly as I could, not wanting to wake up C, who already was knee deep (no, waist deep? neck deep? entirely submerged?) in writing, and finishing up his dissertation. He would always tell me to wake him up so he could help me, but then that would mean waking him up four or five times a night, and I felt so guilty doing so. (Note: if you're pregnant, you have to advocate for yourself. If you tell your doctor something isn't right, make them listen and don't let them brush you off!)

The guilt weighed so heavily on me. Getting in and out of the car was so painful that most days we barely left the house. Some days, we'd go to the museum, and I would find a bench or an empty spot against the wall, and just plop myself down to watch my kids play. I'd try to put on a smile as they would excitedly show me and tell me things, but it broke my heart when I'd have to say, "I'm sorry baby, I can't run over there with you. I'll watch from here." It was around this time that I also realized that I wasn't doing enough to take care of myself. Things that I used to love to do, like write and read, were put on the back burner. And then the back burner was flown across the world and dumped into a hole. It finally clicked that I couldn't be "on" all the time. There was no such thing as a switch that turned on in the morning when I woke up, and off when I went to sleep. I simply couldn't survive that way.

So, what was my answer? It was simple. As much as I wanted to be the world's best mother, or at least the world's best mother to MY kids, I couldn't do it. At least, not in the way I originally thought. The mom who makes a hot breakfast every morning, kept a tidy house (while being on top of the laundry), the mom who didn't have time for herself, but made every day a little more beautiful than the last for her children is just not in me.

Because sometimes I do get frustrated and say things to my kids I immediately regret.
Because some days I just count the seconds till it's time for them to go to bed so I can finally relax.
Because sometimes I shut my bedroom door and beg the kids to please just give me some space.
Because sometimes (a lot of times) I rush too much.
Because sometimes I just really don't want to play another game of Uno.

I let that nonexistent perfect mother go, and I'm learning (yes, still) to love and accept the imperfect mom that I am.

Because a little part of me is happy when one of the kids comes into our bed at night, even though it means I'm left with just a sliver of space.
Because every time I make waffles, I really try to put some extra love in them because I know they're my Pato's favorites. If love could be bottled and put into salt and pepper shakers, I'd sprinkle it all over the place.
Because at least once a day, I try to look hard into their eyes, hoping they can *really* feel that I value them, that I hear them, that I see them.
Because my kids go to bed with their cheeks thoroughly covered in invisible kisses.
Because if there is one thing I can do, it's love them. One thing that I know that I'm capable of doing so near perfectly it's loving my kids.

And most of all, I've learned to accept myself and my imperfections because somehow, my kids have accepted them, too. And they love me anyway.

When the big kids are away...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Oscarboy will play!

+ get into their stuff.
+ pull out all the utensils when I load the dishwasher. 
+ sit his bum right into every dirt pile when I sweep.


Oscar's bonnet is the "Petite Bonnet in Dot" from Petite Soul Shop, and you can find it HERE

Adventuring with Josset

Monday, January 30, 2017

I don't know if it's because we now have three children, or because we've moved across the country twice in less than two years, but I've become a lot more purposeful about the things we bring into our home. I feel like once upon a time, I was constantly looking for something more. A cute new something for the house (that I usually-okay-almost always, didn't need) or I'd buy an article of clothing for me or the kids that I liked but, I didn't really LOVE. Now, when I'm debating whether I bring something home or not, I always ask myself, "Do I LOVE this? Will I even like it five years from now?" The same goes for the clothes we wear.

Josset is a company I feel like I can really stand behind. Not only do I love the fabrics, prints, and designs of their dresses, but they also have a really awesome drive behind each and every one of their items. I feel like that in the crazy times we are living in at the moment, I'm always wondering what is something I could do to make a difference, even it it's a small one. Supporting this company who supports so many others is one thing I can do to help. Josset not only stands by their designs, but also by their employees. That is why each handmade piece is made by a Josset employee who has been paid a fair and living wage.

Also, this dress is definitely one that I'll be hanging on to if we ever have another girl or if S would like for her own daughter someday. Don't worry, I don't feel like I have to hang on to every single thing my kids wear, but when they're so beautiful and well-made, it for sure stays in the "keep pile." Plus, one of the best parts of this dress is that the owner of Josset wanted to make sure that her pieces are ones that can be worn longer than just a few months. As I look at these pictures of S in the snow, I can already imagine her adventuring in this dress with sandals and a popsicle in hand in the summer, and running around with leaves crunching under her in the fall. 

When purchasing your next item for your children, please consider shopping small and supporting someone's very real dreams.

To read more about Josset's mission statement, go HERE, and you can also find the dress S is wearing HERE.

A Gingerbread House for the Jones Kids

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I bought this gingerbread kit (Trader Joes does it again, guys) weeks ago? A month ago? Anyway...I've had it tucked away in a closet, waiting for the perfect day to take it out.

Today did not start off as the perfect day. Lately, it feels like we spend more and more time not being on the same page as one of our kids. This one child will often disregard our requests repeatedly, enough where I was beginning to wonder if my voice was actually on "mute." And to be honest, it's really hard and very frustrating. C and I often go to bed feeling exhausted and defeated. So, after a morning of tears (and a hard lesson on consequences) I decided we needed something to perk us all up. So, I sent the kids downstairs for a few minutes, promising them a "Christmas surprise" and got to work making the icing and setting out the gingerbread spread.

Isn't it amazing how it's the simple things that make your kids think you're the best parent ever? When they came up the stairs and saw what they would be working on, they were thrilled! We had the Christmas music playing in the background, and for the next hour, everything was a perfect, sweet, and sticky mess. I told myself beforehand that I would get in the way, and just let them decorate it however they wanted. I kept catching them sneaking little pieces of candy and their fingers were in their mouths only a hundred times.

And here is the finished product! They were so proud! It is now sitting in their room (I know, bad idea) right on their dresser. I'd be willing to bet that over the next few days, pieces of the house will not-so-mysteriously go missing. It's a good thing our house isn't made of candy or else we'd be completely homeless. 

Lines for Hugs

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So, yesterday, C picked the kids up from school, and came home and told me that as S left her classroom, "...like, five or six boys lined up to give her a hug goodbye."

Sof proceeded to name them all, and said, "It was actually four boys."

So. Yeah.

Christmas on the Farm...and My Own Five-Year-Old Christmas Wish

So completely unrelated to the above picture, but as I sit here sipping my hot chocolate I came to the conclusion that I might not mind working at Starbucks during the holidays. You guys...Christmas music is playing (and I already spotted a few customers bobbing their heads along), there are little fake trees with adorable little Starbucks ornaments, and everyone just seems so dang happy. Like..."Thanks for coming in!" And you almost want to say, "You're welcome! You are SO welcome to enjoy my presence. And a happy festivus to you!" If someone comes out wearing a Santa I might just lose freaking my mind. (In the good way of mind-loss.)

Oh gosh. Oh gosh. For real, a worker just came out with a bag full of toys to be donated to a kids charity group. You guys....send my husband. Send my kids. I might not leave this place.

Moving on...somehow.

We were invited by our favorite little farm down the road, Petersen Family Farm, for a night of fun, and it was almost perfect (aside from the huge freak-out our kids had when they spotted a cat.) We started the night by visiting Santa, and guys, he was just the sweetest Santa. Although, I feel like the Santas nowadays have gone a bit soft. When I was little, I remember my heart racing as I waited in line, and then Santa always asking very firmly, very seriously, "Have you been a good little girl this year?" It was like he was asking my very soul if it had been good that year. It was THE most important question of the year, and I felt like if I lied he would see right through me and give me nothing but coal. Yes, Santas back then knew better. I'm pretty sure a ton of kids could get away with anything today and Santa would be fooled. So, yeah. Kids of 2016- consider yourselves lucky.

After S visited with Santa, I asked her what she told me. She responded by giving me a look and said, "Mom. I can't tell you. It was just for Santa." 

Moms...always putting their noses where they don't belong, right? (Sheepish.)

Now that I think of it, my earliest Santa memory was the when I asked Santa for a "Dance Magic Barbette." I couldn't say "Barbie" for the life of me, but somehow I had no problem saying "Barbette." You guys, I LOVED that Barbette. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I found a picture of her HERE. Just looking at the picture reminds me of all the times I would sit and comb her hair and don't even get started on her color-changing lips. Also, for a second, I am reminded how much alike S and I are. She would go crazy over a Dance Magic Barbette, too. (And if you can imagine how much I enjoyed this doll, you should have seen me with Hollywood Hair Barbie. Talking about losing my collective mind. I styled and sprayed the crap out of that doll's hair. It's a wonder why I am useless at doing my own daughter's hair.) 

After visiting with Santa we took a ride in a covered wagon lit up with sparkly lights as we bundled up under blankets, listened to a Christmas story and sang Jingle Bells. The kids were especially good at ringing their bells while they sang...they've been getting in some extra practice lately.

We ended the night by warming up with some delicious hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was really unique, and I was actually pretty confused when I saw it. We were handed a cup of warm milk, and then chocolate + marshmallows that were on a wooden stick. You would then stir the chocolate into the hot milk until it melted. And voila! 

Thanks for the fun night, Petersen Family Farm! And thanks for letting me take a tiny detour down Christmas memory lane.

A Year of Oscar: Eight Months

Monday, December 12, 2016

With a pit in my stomach, I look at these pictures and realize that we are getting closer and closer to having a little one-year-old on our hands. I know every stage of childhood brings its ups and downs. The first wobbly steps are delightful, hearing those first words are something you never forget, and seeing your kids learn things and need you a little less is both amazing and a little heartbreaking at the same time. But, there is absolutely nothing like the baby stage. We still aren't sleeping all night. I still end the day with milk, drool, and baby food on my clothes and in my hair. And I still can't get enough of his baby smell. 

This month his little personality has continued to peek out. He has started to get sad whenever I leave the room, so when I can't sneak away, I place him right outside the door when I have to use the bathroom. He still doesn't have any teeth, but I feel like those will come out any day now. He is pretty good at army crawling around the house and sticking every tiny thing he sees in his mouth. Ask me how many near-heart attacks I've had already after finding bits of stuff in there! 

Our little peanut continues to be as sweet as sweet can be and we can't get enough of him.

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