KEEP DOING YOUR BEST

image1.JPG

Lately I've been questioning myself, as a mother, and it can be a disturbing feeling. 

Motherhood (and all the feels around it) can be so vulnerable.  My kids are never as cute as they may appear in photos. My hair is almost always greasy, and I find it painfully hard to put on makeup these days.  Some days, the mess of my house looks similar to the mess of my heart and my emotions. 

My kids have meltdowns constantly, they fight and scream at each other, and I wonder - how on earth am I fit to be their mother when basically I want to have a meltdown too? 

And then I get sucked in to wondering if I'm not doing things the right way.  If I'm being really honest - it's scary how triggered I can get from being on social media. It's like I fall in my own motherhood comparison trap.  Wait, I'm sorry - my life does not look like the photos on my Instagram feed - I'm sure you all know that.  And yet here I am, comparing my own life to all these other Instagram feeds.  My thoughts spiral downward and I think so negatively.  I start to think other people's ways of doing motherhood, life, everything - are better than mine.  What??

The culture we live in tends to breed a certain expectation - that you can do it all, and if you're not doing it all  - AND thriving - then you're failing.

I don't know about you, but I stumble into believing that lie.  Often. 

And yet I know I have my own motherly intuition and instincts that are unique for my children and my family. We as mothers can sometimes forget this, when we are already exhausted... and then we become frazzled, uncentered, and then trip ourselves into comparison storms. 

This is when it's time to take a step back, relax your shoulders, relax those tight muscles in your face, and gain some perspective. Dig deep. Because this is the truth: nobody else is in charge of your children. Nobody else is their mother. YOU ARE. Nobody else knows best. YOU DO. 

Note to self - take a deep breath. Find your center. You are doing hard work. And you are doing your best. Right now. This moment. You know instinctively, deep down, what is best for you AND your children. Stop checking Instagram constantly.  Put your phone down and look at your kids. Hug them and hold them tight. 

Keep your heart soft and your eyes heavenward. 

Keep doing your best.  

image1.jpeg

EMOTIONS EVERYWHERE

I am an emotional person. And I have an emotional child. Actually, make that two. And on top of this, I lean toward being what’s called a “highly sensitive person.”  So, I shouldn't be surprised that I bred two more of these. 

Turns out, my firstborn is a lot like me, I’m realizing more and more. Not surprisingly, there are books and loads of online resources about having a highly sensitive child... And as I sat down to reflect on this recently (let's be honest I was in the bathroom), about ten seconds later she bursts in the door with tears pouring down like double flowing waterfalls... for the sixth time that morning. And it was barely 9am. 

It's hard to feel it all. And to feel it so deeply.

Now, I realize that many kids will cry at the slightest hurt, physical or emotional.  Or when they’re not getting their way.  Normal. This is commonplace in my house of course - the not sharing, the constant power struggle, the fighting, the mean looks, words, and interactions my kids exchange.  But consider this: what about a child who may be an empath, like me? What if she already (at nearly 5 years old) has the paranormal ability to pick up on others’ emotional states… while also trying to make sense of her own emotions, which she can barely regulate?  

Back to the bathroom scene. She bursts in, crying/basically screaming about something outside that involved a ladybug flying away to the neighbor's house (trust me it wasn't an emergency), and I can barely hold myself back from shrieking at her, "PLEASE STOP CRYING!" because I just don't want to deal with this. Again. 

And yet, I get it.  

I'm sensitive too. 

Lightbulb on. Note to self:  Be compassionate. Be aware. I am literally the only calm in her chaos. Be mindful of what I say and how I say it, whether it’s directed toward her, toward my husband, or if I’m on the phone with a friend. Not only does she hear it, she also feels it.

And give her lots of hugs. More intentional hugs. Put my phone down, literally, put it down. Hold her.  Give her eye contact. Make her feel loved more than I think I already do.  But also, give her space when she needs it. She’s processing life, and her emotions. And that’s okay.  I know what that’s like. 

Check this out for some simple but practical tips on loving your highly sensitive child.

"Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in our tone and our behavior."  - Gordon Neufeld 

PS. My husband told me he's not a fan of my high-waisted bellbottoms. I may be a highly sensitive person, but my feelings weren't hurt.  Maybe because I love 70's fashion too much. There, I said it. 

DISTRACTED MOTHERHOOD

I thought I was not on my phone as much as "other moms" ... turns out, I was wrong. In fact, thanks to an app that tracks my phone usage, I can tell you I pick up my phone on average every 24 minutes, with 35 pick-ups a day and 245 pick ups a week. Oh and on Fridays I use my phone double the amount of time; I probably have FOMO on Fridays (fear of missing out).

I am on my phone SO much. If you by chance are not on your phone very often, stop reading this blog post and go give yourself a big treat because you are resisting the greatest temptation our culture faces: the temptation to spend life being a spectator and not truly living.

Smart phones are wonderful in many ways, and a game changer in our world. But like all good things, moderation is challenging in the face of instant gratification.

Motherhood is hard work, and I'm often looking to escape or at least be distracted. 

It's so easy for me (without even thinking about it) to text a friend, go on Facebook, get lost in search of friends of friends' adventures and trips around the world, and then add on those Google searches, diagnosing my kids' fevers or sleep patterns, or my own ailments. And before I know it I am lost, sucked into the abyss of my screen, my eyes bug out and my jaw is clenched and I just keep staring at my phone. 

This has also made me think about how our children view us on our phones. Our children make sense of the world based on our facial expressions. When I am on my phone, my face is not always expressing all of the different emotions. They look at me a million times a day and they are making sense of their world from me. My son Noah knows when I am on my phone and trying to multitask, he says, "Mom! Stop and talk in a real voice." 

Woah. 

I want to talk in a real voice. My phone consumption is a habit, and I want a new habit of using my phone less. Our world is moving so fast and our kids need us more than ever, they need parents who spend more time looking into their eyes -  instead of straining away with their necks down, eyes glued, and backs turned. 

WHEN MOTHERHOOD MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE HIDING IN THE BATHROOM

I am hiding right now in my bathroom. My son Noah (3.5 year old)  is crying hysterically for the 15th time today, this time because I put a little lego in the wrong place. Now I hear him screaming that my son Jed (18 month year old) is putting a plug fan in and out of the wall socket. Raising two toddlers feels impossible today.

Earlier I took off Jed’s diaper so I could give him some fresh air hoping to dry out his rash. I then went to go make lunch and I hear Noah saying, “Mama, Mama I just stepped in Jed’s poop.”  And then it dawned on me that is how it feels so many days raising little people. It feels like one child is pooping everywhere and the other child is stepping in it and walking around the house. I think to myself in the moment, you gotta be kidding me, I was just trying to HELP, I was just trying to help a little rash.

Fast forward to after dinner and I hear them yelling for me right now. I have to go back and do the bedtime routine. The one that involves more books, more sips of water, more rocking, more potty and the famous, “one more time” or “can I have a snack?.”  I think to myself some Mom out there has it figured out, I know she does. Her kids are not walking in poop, she is not hiding in the bathroom. She is taking selfies of herself with makeup on, and cuddling in white sheets or towels. OH WAIT, I do that TOO. We all see those pictures on Instagram and Facebook of Moms looking good raising their adorable clan. I am that Mom too, I post cute pics. Social Media is a highlight reel and those pictures of split moments of white sheet baby joy, and a clean and showered Mamas are never what the majority of the day looks like. And so, on this average Thursday, I to have to remind myself of that very truth: raising kids has beautiful moments...IN BETWEEN the hours and hours of hard work. I am trying my best to love my children well, and many days I feel I am working so hard  I can barely make it to the bedtime routine. Today was one of those days. A day that felt like I was just walking through smelly poop trying to keep everyone alive.

 

WHEN IT'S OVER

image.jpg

When it's over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

- Mary Oliver 

A POEM FOR MAMAS WHO NEED EMPATHY

I SEE YOU MAMA  

I see you mama, exhausted to the bone, comparing yourself to all those other moms with clean hair and their kids in cute clothes in the most perfect photos.

I see you, mama, trying to keep your kids happy in Target by feeding them snacks or handing them your phone to watch YouTube shows.

I see you mama, struggling with the guilt of working or not working, but wanting to work, but also wanting to stay home.

I see you, because I am you. We are in it together. I see you, mama, getting to 4pm miraculously and wondering how you'll make it to 7pm. I see you, because I am you.

I see you, mama, with your kids melting down, you want to melt down. I see you, because I am you.   We are one.

You need to know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

rss Block
Select a Blog Page to create an RSS feed link. Learn more

TREAT YOURSELF MAMA

Let's be honest, we work hard.  We all have those days where we feel burnt out & motherhood feels draining. The more that we do, the more we give, we extend ourselves for our kids, our husband, other family members or friends, and often don't have time, space, or energy to think about ourselves. 

I often still struggle with neglecting to take care of myself, and have talked to other moms about this often. We know that self-care is important, sure, but what does that even look like? Even getting a shower and a few minutes to myself in the bathroom sometimes feels impossible. 

I remember when I first had my newborn baby (my firstborn), I thought it was silly to treat myself, and I didn't think it was necessary. Sure, I was exhausted and probably wanted a hands-free break, but I remember feeling guilty for taking off and leaving my baby for just a few hours. 

The longer I've been a mother, the less guilt I have about carving out a time to TREAT MYSELF.  This may look different for every person. It doesn't mean you have to go have an entire spa day every week, but it may mean you hire a babysitter, ask your husband, or ask a friend to watch your kids for two hours while you do WHATEVER YOU WANT.  BY YOURSELF. Doesn't that sound freeing? And we, Honest Mothers, hereby tell you this: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.  

Maybe you need to treat yourself to some alone time, or maybe time meeting up with some girlfriends... Whatever it may be, remember it is HEALTHY to take a break once in a while. Because here is the paradox: Your kids will see a happier you and you'll be a better mother when you feel refreshed.