June 2016

Why I’m Not Sorry For Being Selfish This Pregnancy

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It could be that it’s my third rodeo. It could be that I have two other little people demanding my attention all day in addition to the one kicking me in the bladder and wreaking havoc on my sleep habits. Or it could just be pregnancy as usual. For whatever reason, I’ve never been more aware of my limited gas tank than I am right now.

At just over six months pregnant, I’m in full-blown selfish mode. I’ve put my notice in at my part time job so I won’t be working outside my home anymore. Sure the extra income would be nice, and I wasn’t really working that many hours anyway. But I don’t care. I’m done.

The housework has entered a state of suspense. Sometimes it gets done. Sometimes it doesn’t. Gone are the days where I need everything picked up before I crawl into bed. And things like dusting? Ha. Why bother?

Oh and cooking? Don’t get me started. Unless it’s down the bulk Mac and cheese aisle at Sam’s Club.

Even cuddling. Yep, that’s right. I have reached the point where I have actually turned down requests to cuddle from my children. Before you get fired up, they basically are snuggled all day long so there is no shortage of displays of affection in our household. But there comes a point where my gas tank is empty. I can’t be snuggled, groped, kissed or petted anymore. So instead I politely explain that Mommy is having her recharge time, just like we have to do with the iPad, and she would be happy to snuggle in a little while when she is recharged.

My poor sweet husband comes home from a long day and is handed a toddler to feed and a phone so he can call in take out as soon as he walks in the door while I collapse on my face.

There are even times I have excused myself from joining the family for breakfast in favor of retreating to eat alone for a few minutes while watching any show that isn’t on Kids Netflix.

I normally chalk it up to hormones. Even though I’m usually exhausted by the end of the day, I love being a stay-at-home mama to my littles. I enjoy the endless snuggles and can handle the cooking and the housework (mostly) and put off my recharge time until everyone is in bed so that I can be super mom when they are awake.

But that was when there were two.

I’m very aware of the approaching deadline that will bring yet another human that will need fed, snuggled, changed, and bathed. And I’m also aware that there will still only be one of me. My heart may expand to make room for a new little person but the hours in the day won’t. And it hasn’t been long enough since my last baby for me to forget the wrenching absence of sleep and energy. It was hard. And now I will do it all over again with a toddler and a first grader in tow.

So the truth is, I’m being selfish. On purpose. I’m choosing to make the time to choose myself. I’m intentionally hoarding alone time and personal space and quiet and rest. I’m saving up. And I’m not sorry.

Because this time, these snuggles, they won’t last forever. Time is already moving too quickly. There are already days where I don’t have the energy to fully appreciate this sacred time. I don’t want to simply care for these three beautiful, fierce, energetic little girls. I want to actually savor the experience of being their mother. And in order to do that, I need to save up all the energy I can, whenever I can.

Sometimes that means being a little selfish.

The picture I didn’t take today 

The toddler is finally brave enough for me to set her down in the quiet, peaceful public library. Which is great because it makes carrying the stack of books a little easier on mama. 

Unfortunately, it also means she is free to pull things off of shelves. 

And not just anything. She usually chooses a heavy magazine box full of paperbacks on the tallest shelf she can reach. Because who doesn’t love pulling heavy things down onto their own face?

Of course I intervened. 

Which resulted in a knock down drag out run screaming to the nearest book shelf and bite the books toddler tantrum. 

You know those pictures of toddlers throwing fits with the captions about the ridiculous reasons behind the tantrum? I so wanted a picture with the caption “I wouldn’t let her pull a heavy box of books down onto her face.”  

But my phone was in the car because my hands were full of books. So. That’s the story of the picture I didn’t take today. 

Showing Her My Awesome 

The toddler was contently eating her breakfast, minding her own business

The six year old was on the bench beside her highchair jockeying for her attention by flinging her legs into the air, singing in a high pitched voice at the top of her lungs, and generally doing everything that makes her mama crazy at a normal hour of the day, let alone at breakfast. 

I took my deep breaths and drank my coffee and finally I reached the point where I just couldn’t.

“Child,” I said to aforementioned six year old. “What is it you want from her?”

The response?

“I’m just showing her my awesome.”

Well. Who am I to get in the way of that?

A Rant About Manners

Some days I wonder why I even bother lecturing my children all day long. 
Then we come to a public place and see pre-teen boys sprinting through a swimming area so fast they literally ran into me and almost knocked my children over, kids with no adult in sight cutting in front of a family with small children to get on and off the elevator, and the entire time we have been in our hotel room there hasn’t been a three minute stretch of time without the pounding sound of people RUNNING down the hallways screaming. 

And I have to believe that, even though constantly reminding them about manners and encouraging them to be aware of the people around them sucks, if it makes them even SLIGHTLY more considerate human beings, it will be worth it. 

In Yo Face

Teaching a six year old and a one year old how to play appropriately together. The six year old’s version of playing with her sister involves chasing, spreading out in the middle of the room so that there is nowhere to walk and grabbing at her, putting toys in her face, overwhelming tickling which usually just means tripping her, and constant high pitched squealing and giggling. So far my teaching strategy has been to intervene every time she is doing something to the toddler that I would find irritating if someone was doing it to me. 

I think I’m going to have to lower my standards.

Big Little Gratitude

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Parenting is full of opportunities for profound gratitude. Just being able to conceive a child is a miracle in itself. And then to grow a healthy child, have a safe delivery, and watch that child grow. Being a parent has brought deeper, bigger gratitude than anything I’ve experienced in this life so far.

It’s also brought little gratitudes that I never saw coming. One of these I experienced last week at my daughter’s 6th birthday party.

She is my oldest so she is the one that’s helping me to figure out all these new stages of growing and parenting. One of the new developments in this stage is the presence of “friend birthday parties”.

Since her birthday falls in June, and since this was our first year in school, we got invited to more classmate and friend birthday parties this year than ever before. I think we had one month in which we had a birthday party to attend every weekend for the entire month.

Like any kid her age, she loves these parties. And as a parent, I’m unbelievably grateful that she is invited to opportunities like these, even when it feels like one more thing to add to our busy schedule.

But the real gratitude came when it was time for her own party.

I got caught up in the planning: booking the venue, ordering the cookie, organizing balloons, making party favors, scheduling activities, sending invitations, managing RSVPs, etc. When party time arrived, I was fully in the “getting shit the zone”. But once the festivities had kicked off, I paused a moment to look around and take a breath.

And I realized that each one of these kids’ parents had taken the time to shop for a gift, wrap that gift, and transport their child to the party on time. Just so that they could come celebrate my child. So that she could have a special day that was in celebration of her.

It may not seem like a big thing, but it is. It’s a big, big thing. And I’m unbelievably grateful.

So to all you parents out there who showed up for my child when you didn’t have to: thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.