Saturday, April 6, 2013

On Here and Now.

Most days I wake up in a fairly good mood. It really all depends on how late I go to bed and I'm trying to be better about that. In my ideal world, I'd get up well before the boys so that I can exercise, shower and tidy the house by the time they're out of bed - at 7 am. HA! Definitely idealistic. A mother can dream.

Anyways, I do generally start the day off cheerfully. (Upon editing this post I realized this isn't exactly true.... because most days I'm woken up by someone crying, or letting us know he wants his breakfast made, but in a super whiny tone that threatens tears if its not done soon. This results in lots of harsh words and bad attitudes on my part. Not exactly the best way to begin your morning). So let's just say I try to start the day in a positive, optimistic mood: I make them toast with peanut butter and jam (cut into tiny squares for Moses) and do what I can around the house (or the internet, whomp whomp) as they watch a cartoon while they eat. Yeah, that's right. I let my less than 2 year old watch t.v. and I have mom guilt about it, but hey, it is what it is. Right after breakfast I get them dressed and we play a little in their room. But everyday at exactly 10 am I'm almost always drawing a blank on what to do until lunch time. I'm a creative person, but when it comes to children's activities I am seriously challenged. I have zero ideas. At least if it means staying within the confines of our tiny home. I'm too lazy (selfish) to do a craft that requires a ton of prep and clean up. And packing them both up for a day of errands always feels like a lot mentally. Mom of the Year award right here, huh? So anyways, that's when I start to get all - I don't know - agitated. Maybe it comes from feeling frustrated that I don't have a lot of ideas. Or just a general feeling of I "can't" or "don't know how" to make this whole stay at home mom thing fun.

And here's the thing - I really truly like being at home with my boys. It's Hard - with a capital H! - and it's not always exciting, but it's worth it. They're worth it. And they are great little guys. And there is nothing I'd rather be doing with my days then spending it with them. Without a doubt. (Ok, except on those days where I want nothing more than to be alone, but you get my point). And so I find this strange tension within myself - part of me gets annoyed with every little thing they do and ends up resenting my lack of personal freedoms. But the other part of me loves their little personalities and adores their sweet (mostly) innocent hearts and just wants to make life dreamy and happy for them. Guess which side of me wins out most of the time? Yep, a woman I like to call Angry Mom.

I'm working on it, I really am. I'm reading a book and debating giving up sugar - I keep hearing it changes everything. I'm trying to get to bed earlier so that I'm less tired throughout the day. I'm trying to say "No" less and change my tone of voice heart throughout the day to let them know it's me, not them. That is to say - I work on being cheerful, not just sounding cheerful. Oh and please - if you're a mom, don't take my advice. I have no idea what I'm talking about. And the last thing I want to do is add more guilt to your life if you try to say... be cheerful when you're not. And then you fail. And then you think "Why can't I just BE cheerful?" Cuz that's what I do with a lot of well-intentioned mom advice out there - I shovel it on to my steaming pile of stinking mom-guilt. Mom-guilt for the harsh words, raised voice, disengagement, frustration, lack of desire, lashing out etc. etc. Mom-guilt for falling short of being the mom I wish I was. Or better yet, the mom I think I should be.

Is this just my experience ladies?
Something tells me no.

Oh and by the way - if you love being a mom, and cherish every minute you spend with your kids - Amen. I hope you don't feel in the minority either. I met a girl the other day who was nannying for three children. She couldn't have been more than 19 or 20 and I mean - she was out numbered 3:1 (two of them twins). I feel like my hands are full with 2. We had the pleasure of meeting at the turtle exhibit at a local nature center, where one turtle slowly (but clearly urgently, for a turtle) mounted another turtle and...assumed "the" position. It was an awkward moment, to say the least, as our children looked on with puzzled expressions and we sort of nervously giggled and tried to decide where to look so that we weren't just staring at two turtles humping. Anyways, I made small talk and asked how long she'd been nannying and she said she'd been with the family for 8 months and loved it. That she worked 11 hour days and felt like the children were her own and couldn't wait to start a family. I told her how wonderful it was to love what you do, especially when it involves being a caring, positive influence in the lives of children. At 20 years old, I was so very far from ever wanting to watch other people's children as my job, let alone start a family of my own. I was the girl who would run to the other side of the store if I was near a crying child, and if I couldn't get away from them, I'd have to cup my hands over my mouth and breath deeply to keep from freaking out (seriously). Needless to say, I think I've come a long way since then.

Anyways - here's my point: I love my kids to bits and pieces even if they do bring me to the edge of completely melting down every few days (sometimes hours). They are insanely beautiful, sweet, intelligent, thoughtful little people and may I never, ever begin to take their lives for granted. But the thing is... I spend a heck of a lot of time feeling angry rather than grateful. And I sigh with exasperation more than I smile. All I know is, for me, finding joy in motherhood is a slow (very slow) learning process for me. It's a journey and I stop quite frequently to wrestle with it all. It breaks me down, but in the best of ways because I am forever being refined & sanctified along the way. When I let my children minister to my heart, they teach me a thousand things I would never learn without them. If only I would stop to listen more to what their little hearts desired, I think it would sound something like this:

stop being busy
sit down next to me alongside me
be with me

And isn't that we all want, at the end of the day?
To just be together?

From the mouths of babes...


  1. This is beautiful, Lauren! I was that girl who was a nanny many years ago but now I can completely relate with how you feel. So even someone who was a very big kid person can feel like an inadequate mom. It is not the same to take care of someone else's children as it is to be a mom! You are not the only one who has these feelings!

    1. Thanks for sharing Tasha. Especially on being a "kid person" but still finding motherhood a challenge. It helps to know I'm not alone!


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