One Thing That Really Surprised Me About my Motherhood Journey

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Before Sof came along, I think I had all these ideas of what motherhood would be like. I imagined a lot of good times-- baby milestones, reading together, making messes in the kitchen, etc. But I knew there would be rough patches-- sleepless nights, sickness, potty training!

I could write on and on about all the things that have surprised me about motherhood, things that no amount of years and reading and talking to other moms could have prepared me for.

***

This morning I woke up to find Sof, my forever little early bird, sitting on the couch, with neat little stacks of folded laundry in front of her. Too tired to get to them last night, I had left a basket of just-washed clothes out in the living room, with plans to get to them this morning. When I walked out of the room, Sof looked up and said, "I noticed you forgot to fold these, so I wanted to do it for you!"

Chris jokes that one of my love languages is cleaning, so you can imagine just how loved I was feeling at that moment. I scooped her up in my arms, and a flood of memories and feelings immediately came to me.

Yes, this was one of those good moments I had dreamt of. I've been so blessed that she and I have shared so many of these together.

But, though our relationship has always been solidly firm, it has been a roller coaster of ups and downs.

I'm going to be super honest and vulnerable here, and I hope what I say next doesn't get misconstrued. Because really and truly, I have loved her every second of her life. I loved her since the moment we started praying for her.

But here it goes....one thing that has really surprised me about my motherhood journey is that while I always always always have loved her, I've had lots of moments that I just plain didn't like her.

Gosh, that sounds awful doesn't it?

It's true though. Especially during her third year, there were so many days where I woke up already praying for bedtime. She has such a big personality with SO many emotions, and all those emotions are also big. This can be such an amazing thing because it means that she loves so hard, laughs with her whole heart, but also has big fears and big anxieties. And I haven't always known how to help her through those. (We are now in the process of learning how to help her with those fears and anxieties, and she's learning how to face them herself.) I'd start off by being patient, but I'd end up feeling like I needed to just walk away. Even at a year and half, someone at church once remarked that she acted like she "...had the whole world on her shoulders."

And how would these feelings manifest themselves? Tantrums, slammed doors, disobedience, whining (and whining and whining), and rudeness. I constantly have to remind myself that she's only five, even though she's always seemed much much older.

While the slammed doors haven't stopped (nor do I imagine they will anytime soon) I've found the moments of "I just don't feel like I like you right now" have lessened. I wish I could tell you the answer as to why, but this isn't a "tips on how to deal with a hard child" post. This is a "I'm telling you that I'm not a perfect mother and have my struggles" post.

The only thing I can say for certain does help, though, is hanging on to those bright moments. Make that hug last a little longer. Check on them after they've gone to sleep and breathe them in. Close your eyes, and make that good memory of them stick so that when the going gets tough, you have plenty of "THIS is why I love AND like them" memories.

Hang on to those bright moments.



8 Things You Couldn't Pay Me to Do

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Ever see someone do something, and you're like, "Ummmmmm, there's no way you could pay me a bajillion dollars to do that!"

Of course you have.

I don't know what made me start thinking about it, but during this last week, I've been keeping a mental note of what I'd put on the list. I was originally planning on making this a list of TEN things, but I ended up taking way way too long talking about #8. You'll soon see why.

1. Drive a semi truck cross-country. I don't even like driving. Heck, I wouldn't even want to back that thing out of the driveway. I can already imagine the headlines popping up across the news: "Stay-at-Home-Mom Runs Over Hundreds of Innocent Cows."Or, "Thousands of Road Trippers Cancel Trips Till Semi-Truck-Mom Week Ends." It would be so very bad.

2. Go back to high school. You know those 80's John Hughes films that always have a rocky, wrong side of the tracks start beginning, but somehow the jock up ends up with the nerd and the girl shows up to prom in a killer handmade dress? Yeahhhhhh...no. I mean, maybe if I had had a Duckie then I'd consid--no. I'll stop. But you know want to know the silver lining? I ended up way better off than my sixteen-year-old self could ever imagine. My taste in music, however, still has managed to go unchanged.

3. Give Donald Trump a loving embrace.

4. Sing the National Anthem at a major sporting event. I wouldn't even sing it at a MINOR sporting event. I can feel my hands clamming up just thinking about it!

5. Sleep in a room full of mice and vermin and basically anything that scurries. I'm certain my heart would stop and I would die.

6. Give up desserts for the rest of my life. Okay, so I would mayyyyybe consider giving them up, but it would have to be a whole lot of money. Chris and I gave up sweets for Lent, and I've come super close to wanting to set myself on fire half a dozen times because of it.

7. Watch any of the Freddy Kreuger movies. I watched parts of the movies when I was wayyyyy too young (my uncle was watching with his friends and for some stupid reason I thought it would be a good idea to watch) and I had nightmares every night for YEARS. Pretty sure if I write much more about I will be having nightmares tonight.

8. Drink a glass of milk. So, I probably would do it for $100, but I'd most certainly be crying the whole entire time. I hate milk. And I do not say that lightly because as Sof will always remind us, "We do not say HATE!" But I hate it so much. If it touches me, I have to wash my hands right away because I am so worried that it will soak into my pores and go right into my bloodstream and kill me. You know the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk?" Well, the person who came up with it clearly has never ever met me. Quick anecdote for you: my freshman year of college, I was sitting with a table of friends at dinner in the good ol' BYU Cannon Center. They knew I hated milk, but they had NO IDEA how much. One of my friends decided it would be funny to toss his pork chop into our other friend's bowl of cereal. I took one look at it and I felt the tears pouring out of my eyes. I ran out of there so fast. Crying. I don't think I'll ever, ever, forget that. Ever seen "Inside Out?" Yeah, that incident made its way into my core memories.

***

So, if you were hoping to throw some money my way to do any of the aforementioned things feel free to just keep it in you wallet cuz I just ain't doin' it.

What about you? What's on your list?

A time when I didn't have a good answer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017



You know those moments in parenthood where you look back and think, "Pretty sure my kid was the one teaching something here." Today I had one of those moments, and for some reason, I can't seem to shake it off.

But, maybe that's the point. Maybe it needs to stick with me and make me feel a little bit uncomfortable so I can learn the lesson.



Here's what happened...

The kids and I were in the car, out to get some bagels. I had just gotten a piece of good news, and I was excitedly chatting about it with my brother on the phone. (Don't worry, it was on speaker!) As usual, whenever the kids hear or see me talking to someone, they immediately have, like, a thousand things they just HAVE to tell me, and it has to be RIGHT NOW.



So, I'm on the phone, and I keep giving my kids half-answers, while trying to finish telling my brother the details about my news. I pull up to a red light, and I'm the first one in my lane. As I wait at the light, I hear Sof say, "Who's that man, mama?" I ignore her because I didn't really know who she was talking about, and again, I was on a call. But, then again, she asks, "Mama, who is that? Why's he standing there?"

I look over and see who's she talking about.

"He's homeless, baby."

- "What does that mean?"

"It means that he doesn't have a home."

- "So, you mean he has to sleep on the sidewalks or on the streets?"

"Maybe. There are special places where homeless people can go to and get help. Sometimes they can sleep there."

- (pauses) "What did his sign say?"

"I don't know, sweetheart, I didn't see. But, maybe he was looking for a job, or asking for money."

- "Why didn't you give him any money?"

I sit there, not saying anything.

- Again she asks, "Why didn't you give him any money, mama? Is it because you don't have any monies?"

This is where I got stuck. Why didn't I give him any money? Was it because I didn't have any? Well, that wasn't true. I knew I had a few singles in my backpack sitting right next to me.

The truth was I simply didn't have a good answer. I had a couple of answers running in my head that weren't very good; maybe he'd use the money to buy something that wasn't good for him. Maybe I was feeling extra nervous because the driver side window sticks when I roll it down. I'm sure I could have come up with a dozen not-very-good reasons.

So, after she asked me a third time, I simply said, "I don't know."

That was all I could muster up. I didn't want lie and say I didn't have anything for him. That would have been SO easy to do, but I couldn't do that to myself or to her.

- "So you couldn't help him?"

And that's when I knew I had to show Sof that even mommies need to be humbled.

"No, Sof. I could've helped him, but I didn't. I should have done better. Thanks for reminding me to be better."

- "It's okay, mama. Next time we can help."

***



It hit me hard that Sof still only sees people in the very best way. She doesn't judge, doesn't care about people's pasts, and doesn't understand why we don't always make the right decisions. I mean, that's exactly what we try to teach her, right? To mourn with those who mourn, visit the sick, and help the poor? How can I teach her about giving away the shirts off our backs, if I'm not willing to take a second and pull out some spare change.

Anyway, I learned a really important lesson today. And I think it was good for her to see that.

***Sof's darling shirt and skirt c/o Lucy & Leo.

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