Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tomorrow is new.

Yesterday felt like a fail. A parenting, spousal, personal fail of a day. There were bright points, sure-- an early Easter egg hunt, a first Beauty and the Beast debut for big sister…

But the majority of the day, not my best.

It was a day wrought with exhaustion, the numbing kind that all the coffee in the world won’t kick, and impatience. And after trying to motivate bribe encourage big sister that she can, in fact, poop in the toilet, “today’s the day, you can do it, we know you can do it!” for HOURS-- our frustration hit the wall, climbed on top of it, and fell off, head first and screaming. Eventually, husband and I caved, allowed the diaper, and gave each other the silent treatment as we were tired of arguing about what to do to make this happen. 
So, as I said, yesterday felt like a fail.  I went to dinner with a good friend (thank goodness) and was able to recharge – thank you Cadillac margarita. As I was driving to and from dinner, the guilt set in.  That nagging, awful guilt that tells you that you are a horrible mother, your impatience and lack of energy today ruined your children’s lives, and they will never forget this awful day.  That they are surely and most definitely ruined. 
It sounds extreme, but that’s mom-guilt.  That’s what she does… she makes us believe that we’ve failed simply because we didn’t have it in us for one day. Wonder Mom lost out to being human, and we allowed it to happen.

I am however, familiar with this guilt-- she tries to sneak her way in every day for any reason at all. So I chanted to myself a truth that I know on the way home from dinner: “Today was not a good day. Tomorrow is new. Tomorrow will be better.”

And guess what? It was. Today was just lovely.  There weren’t rainbows or unicorns flying over our house, but there might as well have been.  Husband let me sleep in, we had a slow morning of books and coffee, and at least 127 Easter egg hunts with the plastic eggs that were collected yesterday, and then we went outside.  I washed windows… WASHED WINDOWS. I don’t do that. In the 5 years we’ve lived in this house, today was the first day I have ever washed the outside of our windows *embarrassingly true fact.*  Husband mowed, organized the garage, and set up a play set for the girls outside.
Testing mom's window washing skills.

And the girls played and got DIRTY. I mean dirt under their fingernails, paint splattered, gravel falling out of onezies kind of dirty.  And it was magical. 

And after hours of fresh air, filling the dog water bowl with rocks and weeds and what have you, swinging, sliding, and moving gravel to various parts of the backyard, they came inside to a bubble bath.  Bubble baths hold their own magic, especially for siblings, I don’t know what it is, but the giggles… the bubbles… it’s euphoric. 

Bed time is fast approaching, that may be the true test of the day, but I am chalking this one up to a win.  It wasn't a “Pinterest” day, it wasn't creative or adventurous. It was an ordinary wonderful day, spent with my favorite people.  And it felt so good.

Yesterday was not a good day.  Today was new. Today was better.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The not-so-whispering voice.

I am a mama. A constantly awed, unthinkably tired, deeply inspired mama, of two very precious little girls. A mama that greatly admires other mamas that share their stories and make me say, "Oh, you too huh?! Thank goodness."

 My bathroom mirror holds quotes and snippets from other blogs that are applicable to the phase of parenting I am in at the time. Words of encouragement that I read over and over. Words that remind me that I AM doing my best for my girls, that I need to do better for my husband, and not to forget myself amid the madness.

Though I constantly question whether I'm doing or saying the right thing as a mother  (doesn't every mom wonder if the Match the baby animal to it's parent activity sheets are setting up a stigma that all families look exactly the same?! What am I teaching my child?! No? Just me then. Ok … carry on) -- this wild ride was meant for me-- I was meant for this and it’s what I live for. They are what I live for. 

With that said, lately I’ve been hearing a little voice saying "There’s more...YOU are something for YOU!" And that voice that started as a whisper and was drowned under 2am feedings ( and 4am and 6am and and and…), diaper changes, 3 year old tantrums and bed time stories, is getting louder. I'm feeling a longing to do a little something for me, and possibly for other women and mothers.

I often find myself thinking in a narrative voice. I want to write. I've wanted to write since I was a little girl. But all I've really written are love letters to my daughters in journals I've kept for them since finding out I was pregnant, and snippets of poems or children’s book ideas here and there. I want to do more. I want to share. I want my writing to make others say "Oh! You too?! Thank goodness." just as I do when I read something that opens the door and turns on the light of divine revelation.

And quite honestly, divine revelation to me could be as simple as “my child won’t poop in the toilet,” or as heavy as “having young children takes a toll on my marriage.” Anything I read that resonates and sparks the feeling of community and support among other 
women, hundreds and thousands of other mothers, or even  justone.
It makes me feel so validated I could cry.  The weight that flies off my shoulders as I take a deep breath and feel understood – by complete strangers – is so palpable. It’s a magical thing for me.

I'm what Glennon Melton refers to as “a feeling person,” and I very often burst into tears without a moment’s notice (a commercial set to good music – fuh-get about-it – throw in a baby – game over). My mom jokes that she can't remember one day during my childhood that I didn’t cry.  Truth-- it’s probably close to the same now. But I’ve learned to embrace it.  I feel things deeply. And those feelings are sparked sometimes by something as simple as a song with musical notes that just seem to hit me – right there. Sometimes it’s just an encouraging message from a friend. Big news stories, those get me too – I don’t watch the news often, I can’t handle it.  Most often these days, the tears are child related – a sweet gesture between sisters, a NEVER ENDING rambling story told by a three and a half year old with the most adorable lisp, the hard mom days, the easy mom days…

I mean, really. The tiptoes, the smiling big sister cheeks, the look... I'm crying right now.

And, quite often, it’s because I've read a post or quote that makes me scream "YES! THIS is it! This is motherhood! This is what I want to teach my children!"  I carry these words that I read deep within myself and use them to get through this ride that is motherhood, reminding myself daily of these inspiring revelations.

The truth is, the reasons for the “feeling tears” are infinite.

The point is, it means the world to me to read words that make me feel, that may make me cry, but mostly that remind me that I. Am. Not. Alone. I so badly want to be that voice for others, that voice that lights those deep feelings and revelations and helps them to acknowledge the life around them. I want to be that voice for me

So, here we are.  To quote Glennon Melton one more time (who are we kidding, I’ll be quoting her like crazy), “We can do hard things.” This is hard for me, sharing my thoughts, fears, frustrations – sharing myself – in a public venue.  But I’ve gotten so much from platforms such as this, and there’s that not-so-whispering voice… and she won’t shut up. I can’t drown her out. And I can’t very well tell my daughters that they can do hard things, things they think they can’t do (*ahem* poop in the toilet *ahem*) if I can’t buck up and show them that I CAN DO HARD THINGS TOO. So, no more excuses. Here I am, doing a hard thing, for me.

Welcome aboard.