My Mother’s Day

I love mom jokes. Even if they aren’t that funny, I laugh my head off at the jokes because I can relate to all the stressful or unfunny situations moms find themselves in. All mom jokes, especially this imomsohard vid (and this one is also funny, I just watched it. hee hee), have hilariously sad truth in them.  The week leading up to Mother’s Day this year, I saw several memes and funny videos about how husbands tend to make a big deal about Mother’s Day but somehow it ends up making more work for the mom and usually leads to stressful situations.

But I decided that this common scenario was not going to happen to me this year. No matter what, I was going to be calm and relaxed and just enjoy the ones who call me “mom”.

This is how our day went:

My dreamy sleep was interrupted around 4am by the precious words, “Mom, I went poo poo!” excitedly screamed from the bathroom. Our Delly is newly potty trained and every bowel movement is a complete celebration. I wiped him and tucked him back into bed and I followed suit.

My husband had gone fishing with my brother-in-law at my in-laws lake house the night before. They had fished long into the night so my husband spent the night over there. I woke up around 5:45am to sweet Faye’s morning feeding cries.  As I dozed while nursing her, my husband came home and immediately started making me breakfast around 6 am. After finishing feeding Faye, I came into the kitchen where my husband had displayed my Mother’s Day gifts, a new plant (yay!) and a few beautiful pots to soon house some of my plants who currently were dwelling in ugly, cheap pots. The day was off to a great start.

I inhaled the breakfast (nursing makes me eat like a teenager) an began getting ready for the kids to get up. My husband wanted to lay down for a nap since he was up so late. As he slept, the rest of the crew awakened and I passed out bananas and cups of milk to everyone. This is our usual first phase of breakfast which is followed later by something more substantial.

I sat with my kids and enjoyed just being in their presence. They were excited about my mother’s day gifts and everyone was full of smiles.  The time for church was approaching but since my husband wasn’t up yet, I figured we would just miss the 9:30am service and go to the 11am. No reason to rush or hurry. Just enjoy the kids, I thought.

My husband woke up a few minutes after 9am. He held the baby for a little bit and played with Pammy.

“Let’s go to church this morning,” he said.

“Okay, but its already after 9am right now and none of us are dressed so I figured we would just go to the 11am.” I replied.

“But that will throw our day off. Let’s go now. Is that okay?” he urged.

Deep breath. I am not going to get caught up in a panic to rush around. “Okay that sounds great. I prefer going to the 9:30 service, too. Can you dress the kids? I am going to throw some clothes on.”

And that is just what I did. I put on a comfortable dress (and didn’t allow myself to second guess my clothing choice), wiped my face with a wash cloth (no time for make up though I don’t usually wear much anyway), grabbed the kids bags, shoved some diapers into a couple and some fresh underwear in the others and went to the car. It doesn’t matter what I look like, I thought. No one is going to be looking that closely at me. And I am smothered with kids so if they do noticed that it looks like I just rolled out of bed they will figure I had a hard morning getting the kids out the door. I am not going to worry about it.

I got in the car and looked in the mirror for the first time that morning. Ehhh, not my greatest just-rolled-out-of-bed look but there’s no turning back now!  Some days I wear sleep deprivation better than other days. This was an other day. But I had already decided not to sweat the small things and just enjoy the day of getting to be a mother to my sweet kids. I am not going to snap at anyone or be a butthead because I don’t feel like I look my best. It doesn’t matter anyway. So I closed the mirror and quickly braided my hair into a side braid, hoping for a Katniss Everdeen look. It fell short.

We arrived to a crowded church, checked all four kids into the nursery, and headed to find a seat in the dimly lit sanctuary.

After one song, one of the pastors got up and said something sweet about mothers and then he announced that he was going to give a gift to the mom who has the youngest child in the service and to the mom who has the oldest.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

“If you have a kid who is a year or younger, please stand up.” he said with a huge smile on his face, like he knew what he was about to make me do.

I sat. My husband smiled and nudge me, “That’s you” he whispered sweetly in my ear.  I smiled back and looked around. No one else was standing in the whole room. Then I looked at the woman sitting two seats over from me as she held her 9 or 10 month old. She stood up. And, reluctantly, so did I.

The pastor then said “Okay, who has a baby younger than 6 months old?”

The lady next to me sat down. All eyes were upon me. The spot light seemed much brighter than normal as it high-lighted all the things I was sure were wrong with my appearance but was afraid to look down to examine.

Is my dress tucked into my leggings? Is my hair sticking straight up? Why didn’t I take five minutes to fix my face before I left the house? Did Pammy wipe her runny nose on me somewhere? I was suppose to just blend in and not be seen today!

Everyone was clapping. I don’t even remember if I forced a smile to everyone. I was mortified.

But they gave me a cool succulent in a magnetic pot for the fridge. I love plants and I love winning things so that helped ease my embarrassment.

On the drive home, I smiled and couldn’t believe that of all the days, I had to stand in front of a church congregation of strangers (we are new to this church) on a day I decided not to care about how I looked. Isn’t that how it always is? My husband asked why I was smiling and I briefly described my feelings.

“But you look so beautiful today.” he replied.

That man is the sweetest.  He truly is the best one. So glad I am his wife and mother to our kids. It was a wonderful and eventful Mother’s Day.

Thanks for reading! How was your Mother’s Day? Check out my other Mommy Mishaps if you need a morale booster. My pain is your gain.

All The Things

 

Definition:  All the things
1. every single thing or every particular of an aggregate or total; all said in a satisfyingly more dramatic way.
2. something extremely important articulated in a theatrical fashion to add emphasis.

“All the things” is my new favorite phrase because it seems to express that busyness is made up of lots of little things instead of a few big things. The word “everything” is too broad of a stroke for the endless tasks that make up a mother’s day.

Because life is super busy right now, I am trying to be a little more reflective in my day to day life.  A typical day for us is waking up in the 6 o’clock hour, feeding the kids several times through out the hour ( they like a staggered breakfast of a cup of milk, followed by a banana, a bowl of dry cereal, then maybe some yogurt), then we play outside, we come in so I can feed the baby and the kids play in their room, we read together, maybe we sit at the table and do some “school”, then its lunch, then naps, then dinner prep, dinner, play with dad, clean up, get ready for bed, bedtime, every. single. day.  Life is full and most everything in our day is something that I have to initiate or produce.  I have this problem that when there is a job in front of me (aka four precious children who are experts at making lots of messes, lots of dirty laundry, lots of tears, and need lots of one on one time) I basically put my head down, turn my mind off, and work. I work hard and constantly but I spend little time thinking on how to better myself and my strategy for getting to all the things.    I may be really good at sweeping, but if I never open my eyes to look for the dirt, then will my floor ever be clean? If you are sleep deprived like I am, I will give you the answer. The answer is no, the floor will never be clean if I don’t look for the dirt.  Basically, I want to clear my mind so I can look for the things in my own life that are out of place and need tidying.  There are things that I could do better and more strategically so that I have more time to relax with my family and less stress filled events in my day. But sitting and thinking about what those things could be ends up being another task on my plate that I probably won’t get to.

Gosh, there is so much to do and to think on and to worry about. Just getting through a day seems like an awesome cardio workout. I only thought P90X was hard back when I had time for it. I could do that in my sleep now AND nurse the baby at the same time!  Taking care of a family’s physical needs is one thing. But attempting to take care of everyone’s emotional needs is just so much more. We know that our kids won’t remember every time we fail them. But if they don’t get the crucial one on one times, the mercy instead of discipline times, or the tough love lessons at other times, will they have a bigger mountain to climb later in life?

Then there, of course, is the terrifying advice that says, “Don’t neglect your marriage during these years. You don’t want your children to leave your house and you realize that you no longer know your husband.” It is as true as the advice that says, “Cherish every moment of your kids being young because tomorrow they will be grown”.  And then there is everyone else I care about that do not live within my home that I want to spend time with and show that I care for them.  But how can I do all the things?

It’s all so much.

I want to give and give and give so the precious ones in my life will have every opportunity to be their best selves. So that they never ever feel like no one in the world cares about them. Because I definitely care. I care so much that I will give and give and give more than I did yesterday. But it never seems enough. And then there comes the moment that I can’t give anymore, so I snap at someone. It doesn’t matter if it is one of the precious little ones or my sweet husband, it hurts to see them hurt by me.

So what is the answer? I think the answer is trust, and, as impossible as it sounds, rest.  Trust in God that only He can really take care of all the things my hands can’t do and trust that He will give me the strength to continue working on the things I can.  And as far as rest goes, I need to find a space to truly get away where no one needs me.

My husband has encouraged me to have an evening to myself (actually he is making me, no ands, ifs, or buts about it). Really it is just an hour where I leave the house, alone, and be by myself.  Its super weird and feels completely foreign. I want to go see a friend or something so I can laugh and joke and feel like I did before I was employed by Mommies-R-Us: Opened 24/7. And though I think it is important to have these times with other adults, I have realized I can’t ever be what I was before because I can never turn off “the mom” in me. But I do have to find a place in my head where I can rest from my job of being a mother.  So I am trying to be more reflective and introspective. And it is hard.

The only goals I want to accomplish during  this time alone are 1) truly learning how to be alone without feeling panicky like someone needs me or guilty for getting a moment to myself and 2) think of a practical solution to one situation that brings stress to my everyday.  My first goal will take a while to accomplish, I think. I don’t want to sound too dramatic like I never get to relax or that my husband doesn’t help me.  I have times of rest in the evenings at home but I am always on call if anyone should need another tuck in, a drink of water, a twisted sock that needs fixing. All the things that kids think of in the first 10 minutes to 2 hours of bedtime. I end up staying up later than I should because its MY time to do MY things. But I start the next day over tired because I fed a baby around 2 am, and had to help a newly potty trained kid to the bathroom around 4 am, and my other two decided to get up at 6 am on the dot.

Last Wednesday was my first attempt to go be alone. I got in the car, having no idea where to go. I went to three places that were closed. I live in a small town and never leave the house after 5 o’clock so I had no idea that things shut down in the evenings. I finally ended up at Starbucks with 49 minutes until I was due back home.  I got a drink and sat down outside on the patio and wrote in my journal. I wrote the words “This is torture but I am thankful for a husband who knows whats best for me”. So that was progress. Being alone for one hour helped me to remember how incredibly blessed I am to have a partner in life who is so amazing. He isn’t perfect but he is constantly thinking of ways to bring out the best in all of us.

As for goal #2, the one problem that I wanted to address in my first night away was ending my work day feeling settled. Usually, I leave dirty dishes on the table or stacked messily near the sink. Flour or other ingredients that went into making the dinner remain on my counter and a few random toys or various kid cups or spoons can be found lying on the floor.  I am not proud of this and it makes for a stressful morning. I have made attempts to fix it and have made some progress over the last year but I need a real plan.  So after the kids go to bed at 8pm or even before if they are occupied, my plan is to put everything away, dirty dishes into the sink with a rinse if not into the dishwasher, table and counters get a wipe down, floor is swept, and to declare the end to my work day, I light a candle to sit on the counter top until my husband and I decide to turn in for the night.  For some reason, I crave the ritual of lighting that candle in the evening and it has propelled me to finish my work so I can have that little reward.  It is an orange essential oil candle I found at Walmart (I have a lavender one as well!). Its the perfect end to a full day.

I get the whole idea that I need to put the oxygen mask on before I put it on my kids if ever in a desperate situation on a plane. The idea is you can’t help the ones you love if you don’t take care of yourself first. It goes against a mother’s nature to put herself first. But it still makes sense. If I can have an hour to be bored by myself so I can actually think maybe I will be able to stop feeling like I am playing catch up all day. I am hoping to truly learn that my family can do without me for a little bit so I can be better for them when I return from rest. So I will keep going out once a week to learn new things and to remember things I already know but have been too busy to articulate.

 

What ways have you found to make your day a little easier? Do you have a time in your week where you are able to get away and reflect? Thanks for reading and God bless!