Tag

gratitude

The Days That Should Be The Hardest

Baby’s First Stuffy Nose #milestones

Both the little kids have a cold, generously passed down from their big sister.

This isn’t the toddlers first rodeo, so she is mostly a trooper. She’s a bit of a zombie and her nose runs like a faucet so I’m constantly harassing her with Kleenex and saline spray but she mostly goes about her business as usually with maybe a few extra snuggles required. Until suddenly she doesn’t anymore and she needs me RIGHT NOW and little problems feel like even bigger problems than they normally would be for a toddler.

Meanwhile, the baby is basking in the milestone of her first official cold. Her nose is runny. And, much like her toddler sibling, her feelings are much bigger than usual. She cries her saddest cry if not picked up quickly enough, if asked to burp after a meal, or if put in the carseat or kept awake for too long.

As I was snuggling her to sleep in one arm while pulling an emotional toddler into the rocking chair with us with the other arm today, I couldn’t help but think that this should be one of those hard days of parenting. Confined to the house with two needy sick kids in a pool of germs should be enough to send anyone over the edge.

And don’t get me wrong, it was not easy. I repeat, NOT EASY.

But instead of drowning in stress in these moments today, I found myself filled with gratitude.

To be honest, the feeling surprised me. Of all the wonderful, beautiful, gratitude inspiring moments of motherhood, I didn’t expect to be overcome with love while under a pile of crying, snot-covered children. Yet there I was.

Since then I’ve been thinking about it and trying to figure out why that was my reaction in that moment.

And I’m not sure it’s something I can explain.

The closest I can come to an explanation is to say this: that helping them feel better reminds me what a privilege it is to be a mother.

I get to be the one their tear filled eyes look for first. I get to be the lap they long to crawl into. I get the awesome privilege and responsibility of being the one they rely on to help them when things are tough.

Most days they look to me for their basic needs. I am the one who changes the diapers, the one who drives the car and retrieves the Legos off the top shelf and the one who rescues blankie from the dryer. I am the Keeper of the Snacks. I know the importance of this work, but for the most part, in its day to day setting, it is thankless work. And that’s okay.

But when they are sick, their needs take on a whole new level of urgency, and thus, my work takes on a new level of importance. When the nose has been suctioned clean and saline spray has been administered and vapor rub and tylenol are doing their work, when a fresh drink of water and a warm clean blankie soothe discomforts and mama’s arms open up to an inviting snuggle, I can feel the relief in their tiny bodies.

And know that I helped.

I know that the time I get to be home with them matters. But on the days when they don’t feel well and need their mama just a little more than usual, then it becomes obvious just how much this work matters. It’s the greatest, hardest, most important work I will ever do.

And all it took was a few runny noses to remind me.

5 Things I Want My Social Media Friends to Know About My Blogging

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Hey Friends! Last week I had my first article run on Huffington Post. It was a pretty fun moment for me. And you all were so amazing. You read the article. You commented, you celebrated, you encouraged, you shared. You all are one seriously amazing community of people and I’m so deeply grateful to be a part of it.

As I was sitting in awe of your badassness over the weekend, I thought of a few things I want you to know…

1.I want you to know why I do this. I write because it keeps me sane. I write because it’s like a scrapbook for my family. I write because I love to write. And I wanted you to know that it isn’t always easy. It is still scary to put myself out there. Every time I write a post I have to build up the courage to share it all over again.

2. I want you to know that we can still be friends, even if you disagree with what I write. I don’t write to try to change your opinion. I don’t write because I think I know something better than someone else (in fact, I’m certain that I don’t). I write to share my perspective, to share what I see, to open up an opportunity for us to connect, either by how we are the same or by how we can grow from our differences. I still like you even if we see things differently. 🙂 AND…

3. I want you to know that I’m totally open to any comments and conversation, as long as we can be nice to each other. I love it when people share their opinions back, even if it’s an opposing opinion. If we are friends on social media, I trust you to be respectful if you’re commenting on my “space”. I am almost always curious about different opinions and would love to hear another side of things. If you’re also curious and open to hearing new perspectives, we could have a great conversation.

4. I want you to know that I really do try not to bombard your news feed with my stuff. Here’s the truth: I get paid for some of my work. As a stay at home mama that’s a really cool thing for me. I don’t write for the money at this point, but it is a nice perk. When I get paid, it is based on how many views my article gets. That means, the more views, the more I get paid. And it’s really hard to find the balance between over sharing and under sharing. Sometimes when I share something, a lot of people miss it. So you might see me sharing something more than once. But I promise I think very carefully about how much I share so I’m not hogging your news feed. One of the hardest parts about blogging is promoting your own work, but I’m trying to move out of my comfort zone on this because, as a writer, it’s how you build your resume. If I didn’t plug my own work, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to be published on Scary Mommy and Huff Post.

5. Maybe most importantly of all, I want you to know that it really means a lot to me when you read, like and share my work. It’s not something I take lightly at all. There is a LOT of stuff on the Internet these days, so the fact that you took the time to read something I wrote is a big deal to me. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to have people comment on something I put my heart into.  Sharing your work for other people to critique and opening yourself up to the possibility of negative feedback is hard, but you all are always so incredibly supportive and I could ramble for days about how deeply grateful I am for every single one of you but I won’t. Just know it’s true.

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.

May 26, 2015

     
Today I am reminded how important these little people are. These little hearts that we get for such a short time. 

There’s nothing more important than loving them with everything we’ve got for every moment we get. The laundry and dishes will get done. The cleaning can wait. I know you’re tired, exhausted even. I know you feel like you’ll collapse if you have to get one more snack or blow one more nose. 

But this is sacred work. Heart work. 

And someday, you’re gonna miss this so much it will break your heart. 

So sit your butt down and build a Lego house. Or get your butt up and push the swing. Look her in the eye and ask her what she wants to play and then do it. And then when it’s finally time for her to take a break, pick up the baby and snuggle her and tickle her and look into her eyes. Give them everything you’ve got. 

And when you need a break, step away. Breathe. Cut yourself some slack and take care of you, mama. 

And then muster your strength, remember what a gift these little humans are, and get back in there. 

May 18, 2015

 
She had graduation tonight from the preschool daycare where she has gone since she was a baby. Even though she has only gone one morning a week for the last year, and most of the people who have taught her over the years don’t work there anymore, it still made me realize how much they did to help me raise her. 

I don’t remember what it was like to drop my ten week old baby off and go to work…it’s been so long ago. But I know that to have had a place for her to go that I could trust, a place that kept her safe and helped turn her into this  amazing little human being that she is today is one of the greatest gifts a mama could ask for. 

The Truth

You know that phase you go through on your way to almost adulthood where you confess to your parents all the stuff you hid from them in high school/college?

My preschooler is in that phase. 

They all start with a somber “Mom? Can I tell you the truth?”

Confessions so far include: every time she has ever snuck a granola bar, that one time when she was little that she told Grandma Dee she knew how to chew gum and then grandma gave her a piece and she swallowed it, and the confession that she has now stopped picking her nose and eating boogers. 

And no matter what it is, I give her a hug and thank her for telling me. Because I want her to know she can always tell me. Even though she will probably someday need to go through a period of not telling me, because establishing her own independence will be necessary, I hope that when she is ready to start telling me again, that I’ll be there waiting. 

April 13, 2015

 

I love this human. She makes me laugh harder than anyone on earth, she challenges me, and she makes me want to be better. Because I’m so grateful to have someone so amazing in my life that I want to do everything I can to return the favor.