this mothering stuff… it’s hard

Yep.  It’s true.  This mothering stuff…  it’s hard.  And no one likes to talk about the hard stuff.  But I’m tired of all the blind-siding I’ve been feeling, and I’d love to know you are a little more prepared for all of this than I was.

This Mothering Stuff...  It's Hard.

You know what?  I always wanted to be a mom.  It’s ALL I ever wanted, actually.

In Kindergarten, when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “a mom”.  In 1st grade, same answer.  By 2nd grade, I learned my lesson (the ‘mom’ answer was not the ‘right’ answer) and I made up something different each time.  But inside, I was always shouting “a MOM!  I just want to be A MOM!!”.

And guess what?  I’m here!  I’m exactly where I have always wanted to be.  I am MOM.

That is no trivial thing.  I am beyond blessed with my not-so-little family and every day I am blown away by these little people God has entrusted me with.

I know so many people who are struggling with the longing to be parents.  And please don’t get me wrong, I feel their pain.  I feel it so deeply.  And I am in no way saying I don’t want this hard life…  I LOVE this life.  Hard, or easy, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

But I do wish I had known a tiny glimpse of how hard it would actually be.

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mothering… the hard stuff.

Today I am having one of those days.

One of those days I don’t even like to think about, let alone talk about…  The kind of days where I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, hoping I make it through in one piece.  With all my kids in one piece.

The kind of days that I feel guilty for even having, let alone talking about.

Mothering...  the hard stuff.

But I know how horrible it is to feel so completely and utterly alone in my thoughts, which is why I am going to share these with you.

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I am Mom.

I have always wanted kids.  Ever since I was a little girl, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always… a mom.  ”I want to be a mom.”

As I grew, I learned that I shouldn’t answer the question that way and I would make up some quick flippant response, but in my heart I always cried out “All I really want is to be a mom!”

I dreamt of my babies, my children, even to the extreme of dreams so vivid of pregnancy (and oddly enough, miscarriage) that I would wake up weeping in my bed as a teenager.  I never understood my longings, but I knew they were there.  And I believe they were, and are, from God.

     

But somewhere along this beautiful and very difficult journey of becoming exactly what I have always wanted, dreamed of, longed for…  a seed of discontent was planted.

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finding myself again…

I’m sitting here watching an old episode of Bones right now on Netflix, and I am watching Brennan struggle with her postpartum body, not feeling so good in her skin.

I’m watching her, nodding along, and it’s hitting home.  I know exactly how she feels.  Exactly how most of us feel after having a baby.

Just this morning, I grumpily threw on some clothes that didn’t make me feel good, and told myself I just wouldn’t take my jacket off until I got home.

Finding something to wear these days that makes me feel even halfway good in my skin is more difficult than getting 3 kids ready and out the door in under 15 minutes!

I have all of 4 outfits that feel ok enough to wear in public, and I rotate them through often.  And every time I decide to try on something different from my closet, usually only because I haven’t done laundry recently enough, I end up practically in tears.

But you know what I’ve been noticing a little more with each baby that I have carried?

It’s not my body that I am upset with.  It’s not my body that I feel uncomfortable in.

It’s the clothes I try to fit this new body of mine into.

Why do we shop and splurge even and buy ourselves cute clothes that make us feel great while we are pregnant, yet we basically punish ourselves afterwards by trying to shove our new bodies into our old clothes?

My body has done 3 amazing life-changing things in the last 4 years and yet, I keep expecting it to just forget all of that and go back to the way it was.

When I get out of the shower in the morning and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I see the work I have done.  I see the love that has poured out of me.  The pieces of my heart that are forever walking around on the outside.

I see power, strength, and yes…  I even see beauty.

But then I go to the closet and try to find something to wear for the day.

I pull on a pair of maternity jeans still, because they are the most comfortable and forgiving, and then try to find a shirt that will not make me feel horrible and yet still allow me to nurse my sweet baby with ease.

Nothing works.  Nothing fits.  And I am so so grateful that it is winter now and cold, so I can hide behind sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets.

I hate that my clothes make me feel this way.  I hate that I feel the need to punish this body of mine for what it has become, even though it has done the most beautiful and powerful things for my life.

I love my curves.  I am proud of what my body has become.  I am reminded every day when I look in the mirror of the journeys this body has carried me through and the amazing feats it has accomplished.

My body has grown three little people for goodness sake!

And yet this battle continues.  And will continue each morning (until I win the lottery that I don’t play, that is!) as I keep telling myself that I need to change.  That I need to try to be something that I was.  And that I’m not really good enough until I fit that old, unforgiving mold.

I fight that battle that we all fight.  And I don’t know where it really ends.

But I sure am looking to find that end.  I want to honor this body that has done so much for me, not punish it.

I just wish I knew how.

 

31 days of letters (day 17) a letter to my boys…

I’m leaving you this weekend.  Taking your sister and running away with Grandma for a girls’ weekend.

I know I may seem a little too excited, and maybe even not sad enough to be leaving you…

And I’m sorry.

I wish life was roses for all of us, all the time.  But you guys know as well as I do that it’s not.

And so, I’m running away.

I’m running away, and I don’t even really think you guys will miss me, and I promise I will come back a better mom, a better me, for you!

(At least for a few days!)  :o)

I love you all so much!

(click here to read more letters)