Thursday, July 10, 2014

The ugly unspoken truth about parenting

The truth is...

Sometimes I don't like being a mom. 
Sometimes I just want to drive to the store for apple juice and not return. 

I'm not the mom I thought I would be. 
I yell at my kids.
I say things out of anger that I immediately regret. 
I cry when they go to bed because I know I have destined them for a life of therapy. 

You may not enjoy your children a lot of the time. 
You may not even like them. 
You may not like being their mom. 
You may even dream about what life would be like if they weren't born. 
(That one leaves you as soon as they fall asleep - and that's when mama guilt comes in. No worries, I'll talk on that in just a bit) 
Truth is... 
It's normal. 

I have a couple of friends who have perfect children. 
They were born sleeping through the night. 
They never went through the dreaded terrible two's (or threes or fours) 
They never had an attitude problem. 
They never threw a tantrum in public. 
They woke up one morning at age 2 and decided "I'm going to be a big boy/girl" and that was their version of potty training. 
They eat what is put in front of them without any arguments. 
They were never told twice to say please, thank you, yes sir, or bless you. 
They get along with their siblings and never argue. 
They actually want to help do chores and put things in the exact place it should go. 
And they love cleaning their rooms. 

But those few children aren't the majority of children. 
So that makes parenting hard for the most of us. 

Half the time I feel like I'm not a mom but a referee just trying to keep everyone alive. 

Raising kids is like teaching wild monkeys how to be servers in a fine dining restaurant. 
Except thanks to social media you have the whole world watching every move you make and criticizing every fault you have. 
And heaven forbid you mention how tough it is raising kids. Or hint that you need a break. 
Because if you have more than 2 children, you'll get a lot of "Well you should have thought about how hard it was going to be before you had X amount of kids!"
Or worse. 
"I told you that you should have stopped at number 2!" 

The judgement.

Because I have more than the "perfect" number of children I am automatically not allowed to say how hard raising kids really is. All because I brought this on myself. 
And those people are right I guess. Two kids was easier than five kids. 
But I love my last three kids just as much as my first two, and I can't imagine them not being here. 
And the comments about how all this chaos could have been prevented isn't doing me much good right now. Thank you very much. 

Lets skip to the guilt. 

I'd like to thank Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest for creating what I dread most about parenting.

Mama guilt.  

Mama guilt was around before all these social media sites but boy they really know how to lay it on a mom who is about to loose her mind. Before these sites I didn't have mama guilt as bad because it wasn't shoved down my throat all the things I should be doing with my children.
No one really posts about how they thought about running away when their child pooped in the floor for the fourth time. In. the. same. day. 
(Yes, that happens) 
No one was trying to out-pintrest the next mama. 
No one had a place to post 700 pictures of the 8 hour family time day you had. Your perfect little family doing perfect little things for 8 hours straight. 
(You don't fool me. I know after 30 minutes you were ready to leave too) 
Instead they picked up a phone, called their other mom friends and cried all while the friend reminded them that this was a stage and raising toddlers was hard... and that it would pass.  
They compared horror stories about raising kids and you both hung up the phone feeling better that at least your kid will have company in therapy. 

That brings me to another guilt I loathe now that I have kids...

Friendship guilt. 

As if mama guilt isn't enough, I quite often feel what I like to call friendship guilt. Not only am I a horrible mother for thinking/saying/doing terrible things that will ruin my children for years to come but I am a horrible friend. I can't have a regular pre-kids conversation anymore. I say I'm going to call you back, and I don't. It's not because I don't want too. Quite the opposite actually. I want so badly to just have an hour to spend chatting with my friends... catching up on their lives and how they are doing. But I can't. 
Because someone puked. Or peed. Or pooped. 
Someone hit their brother and I spent an hour making sure nothing was broken. 
This is my life. 
It's crazy. It's loud. It's wild. 
And what I don't need is another guilt trip in my head because my friends are mad that we never talk anymore. 

I'm trying to be the best mom I can be. And I'm juggling that with being the best wife I can be, and the best friend I can be. And when you have little people running around wanting you to give all your attention to them, something has to not become such a huge priority. And as much as it pains me to say it, sometimes that means friendships will be put on the back burner while you navigate through these toddler years. 
Don't give up on me. 
There will come a day when I will be able to chat for hours while my kids could care less what I'm doing.

So many mom's are like myself right now. Struggling to figure out the in's and out's of raising kids. 
I know so many friends who want to know that they aren't alone in the feelings they have some days. 
I know it will get better, and then harder, and then better again.
And I know there is truth behind the saying "you'll miss this..." because truth be told... I already miss some of it. 
But I'm tired of beating myself up about feeling the way I do and feeling like I'm alone in these thoughts when I know I'm not. 

To those mom's who are struggling with these same thoughts and feelings.. 
it's normal. 

It's called parenting. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Where did he go?

My "baby" turned 8 yesterday. 
And I didn't announce it to facebook. 
(I announce to fb when I pee without an audience) 
(Okay. I WILL announce when I pee without an audience) 
But I didn't announce that my beloved son who made me a mother turned 8. 

I figured just maybe if I didn't acknowledge the fact that he is 8 years old now he would still somehow be the 8 pound baby I brought home from the hospital just yesterday. 
I feel blessed beyond measure that I get to experience something that so many mothers can't. I have been allowed to watch him grow from the tiny baby who was 100% dependent upon me to a little boy who doesn't want me to give him a kiss when I drop him off at school in the mornings. 

I remember the first time we brought him home from the hospital. 
He cried from the moment we strapped him into the car seat until well into the middle of the night.
We had no clue what we were doing. I thought for sure I had bit off more than I could chew. 
I was so tired. He was not. 
He cried. I had no idea why. 

The first few weeks seem like a blur of just trying to keep us both alive. I remember crying rocking back and forth in the floor with him screaming in my arms and wishing the newborn stage would hurry and pass me by. I wasn't cut out for it. 

Turns out, I got my wish. 
Except the toddler years flew by just as fast. 
And then the school years came. 
And time still didn't slow down. 
The days were soooooo very long. 
But the years just flew by. 

And yesterday, he turned 8. 
And I know that I will blink twice and he'll be 18. 

I know I will forget how sweet his hair feels as I run my fingers through it before I go to bed. 
And I know I will never get back the moments of you wanting no one but me. 
I hope you know that your mama loves you and is SO proud of you. 
I hope you know that you will forever, and I mean FOREVER, be my sweet tiny 8lb 7oz sweet baby boy. 

So- my sweet, beautiful baby boy. 

Happy Birthday. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

So my child loves her mama...

As I sit here and watch my little girl lay beside me on the couch I cant help but think about all the comments I will get as she gets older if she still loves me just as much then as she does right this minute. 

"You've spoiled her!"

"She's a mommas girl!"

"She's rotton!" 

"You need to leave her more so she'll get used to being around other people" 

How do I know these are inevitable comments to come? 

Because they have been said to me before.

And I've said them to other people.

But I'm realizing something. 

Just because she doesn't like anyone as much as she likes me right this minute, or in a year from now, or in 5 years from now doesn't mean she's spoiled. It doesn't mean she's a mommas girl, or rotten. It wont help if I leave her with other people more often either. She's still going to love me and want me. She's still going to want me over you. 

And that's okay. 

It doesn't mean she doesn't like you.
It doesn't mean she wont be able to mingle with other people when she's 25 without her mama right beside her. She will leave me just like every other kindergartener on her first day of school. She will run to me when school lets out with a big smile on her face just like every other 5 year old in her class. 

I am her mama and for a brief moment in time I am the one person above anyone else that she thinks ropes the moon. 

And I already dread the stigma she will get just because she wants me so much. 

So before you judge my sweet baby when she's a year old and clinging to me because she doesn't want you to hold her, or when she's 4 and refusing to give you a hug, please remember that she's only going to want me this much for a short period of time. She's only going to want me to hold onto her this tight and save her from the big man trying to steal some goodbye hugs. 

I picture her at age 15 slamming her door because I'm "smothering her" and I hope that I can push through the comments of her being "too spoiled" or "rotten" or "a momma girl" and remember that this isn't going to last forever. It's going to go by so quick that if I blink twice in a row I will miss the most amazing years of her life. 

So I am going to enjoy each time that she holds onto me. 
I'm going to let the ignorant comments roll off my shoulder. 
And I'm going to let her want me as long as I possibly can. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I'm sorry about not being a good friend...

Several facebook status updates have me really irked. 

They may or not be directed at me but I still took them personally. 
Some were DEFINITELY directed at me as myself and my fellow friends were called out (not by name but as a group) 

So to the people who like to complain about myself and others not being a good friend to them when they needed us....

I'm very sorry that my life is so hectic right now that I haven't had time to call or email.
I am spending every waking hour (and there is wayyyy tooo many waking hours around here lately) trying to just stay afloat mentally. 

I'm sorry that I haven't called or emailed you when you "do for everyone else" and only "want someone to help me out too". 
I feel the same way about you. 
My phone isn't blowing up with calls from you either. 

I'm sorry that I haven't called or emailed when you felt "so alone". 
My husband works 2nd shift, and in case you forgot- I have 5 kids all under 7 years old by myself to get homework, supper, baths, and bedtime done. 
I too often feel alone. 

I'm sorry that I haven't called or emailed when you "really wish I had someone I could count on".
I live 2 hours + away from any family and long term close friends that would gladly help out if possible. But life is life and some seasons are harder than others. 
I like to think of friendship as 50/50. But that doesn't mean that at some stages in your friendship you have to sometimes give 80 and only get 20. When the seasons change in your friends life they are going to be able to give a little more... and when you need them and they can... they will gladly give 80 while only getting 20 in return. 
I have spent many many nights crying because I too felt very alone. But never have I criticized my friends for me feeling quiet overwhelmed and alone on that day. 

Maybe I'm too prideful.
I almost never ask for help. 
(even when I really need it) 
I rarely admit if I'm overwhelmed. 
And I try so very hard to never make any of my friends feel like they aren't doing a spectacular job. 
You know why?
Because they are human. 
And they have busy lives too.
And in my busy, crazy, hectic season of life I haven't called them either and I really have no idea if this is their busy, crazy, hectic season too. 

So I ask you this- before you judge me or anyone else regarding being a horrible friend to you remember that each one of us are living busy lives and juggling our family and friends is hard. We beat ourselves up enough without your hurtful post rubbing it in our face that we really cant do it all and keep everyone happy. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

She's here! And she's mine!

I remember the first time they laid each of my boys in my arms. 
I instantly fell in love all over again. 
From hearing their heartbeats on the ultrasound to smelling their first breath. 
That moment of them looking at me, looking at them will go down as some of the best moments I could ever have. 

And that held true with our sweet precious baby girl who was born completely unlike I had imagined. 
Unlike her brothers, she came incredibly fast. 
So fast in fact that our doctor and nurses missed the whole thing. 
Only Josh and I experienced that first moment of seeing our daughter. 
And it was perfect. 

Anniston Lane was born Feb 5, 2014 at 10:07pm, only 7 minutes after being wheeled into our laboring room. 
She weighed 6lbs 10oz and was 18 3/4" long. 

I wish I could accurately explain how it felt to see her, hold her, kiss her, and love on her for the first time. 
After our 4 sons and 2 miscarriages, I didn't think the time would ever come that I would look into my daughters eyes and whisper "I love you my sweet baby girl". 

I don't love my boys any less, or any more. But I can say that holding something that you never thought you would hold is an amazing feeling. Something I can't put into words. 

Sweet Anniston is perfect. She is such a great baby. 
She rarely cries. 
She is a nursing champ! 
She is content in almost everything she does. (Yes, I realize she is only 12 days old) 
She loves her daddy already. (and has him wrapped around her little pinky) 
Her happy hour is from 3am-6am. Every. Single. Night. 
She hates having her socks off. 
Unless you are massaging her feet. 
She hates wearing a hat. 
But doesn't mind bows so I'm okay with that. 
She expects her poopy diapers to be changed as soon as the poops hits her diaper. 
I hate the color purple but she looks adorable in it, so it's growing on me. 
She has 4 brothers who already choose her over pretty much anything. 
And that includes video games which is a big deal when you are a kid. 
She has the biggest feet I've ever seen on a baby. 

I feel so blessed that I get to experience being a mother to a precious baby girl. 
I feel blessed that Josh gets to experience raising a little girl. 
I feel blessed that Josh and I have been able to give our boys brothers and now a sister to grow up with.
I feel like our entire family has been blessed with the addition of Anniston. 
Everything about her being here just feels perfect. 

And I'll leave my readers with some pictures... 
(And if you are on my facebook or instagram you've seen all of these but if not, enjoy) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Operation Practice Patience

Okay... maybe I'm not patiently waiting but impatiently waiting. 

I don't know this little girl yet but I know a few things about her already.

I know she is going to be a night owl. 
I know she is going to be very awake and active between 8-10pm.
I know she doesn't like mama to eat meat. 
I know she's stubborn.

As my due date approaches I am left with a lot of emotions. 
I have always gone on my own with my boys between 36-38 weeks. 
I'm not used to being over 38 weeks and still not holding my sweet babies.
Yet here I sit. Waiting. 

If you know me you will know I am a very detailed person. I plan everything out. I have sticky notes and schedules. That is how my family runs. 
And as much as I want to "schedule" her arrival, she has other plans. 
I can put on the calendar the most perfect date for her to come and have that day pass by without a single contraction. (Trust me, I tried) 

So instead of "operation get baby out" I'm changing my plan to "operation practice patience". 

Because as much as I want her to come yesterday God has her birthday picked out and it's more perfect of a day than any I have marked on my calendar. 

She didn't come on groundhogs day. 
She didn't get to watch the superbowl.
She may not come it today, or tomorrow... 

But truth be told..

She'll be here for her daddy's birthday.
She'll be here for her cousins birthday party. 
She'll be here for Easter.
She'll be here for her brothers birthdays.
She'll be here soon enough. 

And I am going to enjoy this sweet baby bump because in a very short while I wont have it anymore. I will rejoice in every movement she makes because this may very well be the last few days or weeks I am able to experience what it feels like to have a child kick my ribs and keep the hiccups from the inside. It will be the last little bit I experience of being a mother to all boys. 

So many things are about to change in my life and for the past 2 weeks all I have dreamt about is all THOSE blessings instead of the blessings that are right in front of me. 

So today I will get off the treadmill and play a game of UNO with my 4 year old. 
I will spend more time in the play kitchen with my 21 month old instead of on the birthing ball.
And I will catch any snuggle I can with my husband and just enjoy being with him for this short little bit.