The Depths of my Love for you

It was a typical Tuesday and my oldest was crying from her car seat that a “painful boogie [was] stuck in her nose” and when I went to stroke her head, she proceeded to use my pinky finger as her own personal booger catcher. The depths of my love for them are endless (pun intended).

This week I was carpooling with a group of beautiful Mamas to go stand-up paddle boarding, since we all happen to be experts in the art of balancing acts.

Naturally it only took us seconds to start talking about our offspring. After only a few hours together, I was able to compile this list of sacrifices, perceived humiliations (that we’ve learned to just take in stride), and struggles that we’ve had the honor of enduring on this unstable terrain called Motherhood.

Taking two separate cars on a 3-hour car trip in order to take apart and bring the baby’s crib so he would sleep at night on their “vacation”.

Sitting at a very crowded restaurant with friends while her child was the only one in her underwear because a drop of water spilled on her dress.

Being waved to the front of the line at Great Clips, because despite hiding the scissors in an overhead cabinet, inside a box, he was still able to find them and perform his first at-home haircut.

Calling poison control to inquire about your child ingesting deodorant, hand-sanitizer and Neosporin all before we've ingested our morning coffee.

Spending our precious alone time with various counselors, sleep specialists, or child psychologists to inquire about: sensory issues, biting, sleep regressions, and separation anxiety. Asking the tough questions like, "Why does my daughter love brushing her teeth, but then consider it physical torture when I try and dress her in anything with buttons or sleeves?"

Sleeping (or rather not sleeping) in their bed, next to their bed, or with them in our bed, outside the door to their room, in the hallway or anywhere that would allow for a few short minutes of rest.

 

There are no limits to how far we will go for our children. Luckily, I've lost the ability to be embarrassed over public: tantrums, nudity, or expulsion of bodily fluids. My children have used me as: a tissue, a pillow, a trash can, a blanket, a human shield, and a safety net (to name a few). It is a fair trade, though, since I use them as my sunshine.  

Motherhood: A Fine Line Between Humility & Humiliation

Just when I am starting to feel confident in my abilities as a mother or simply as a human being, my child will wipe a booger in my hair as I am tripping over a Lego. Just today I finally got ahead of the laundry only to open the washing machine and find that my oldest took it upon herself to change her nap time diaper by disposing of it in her hamper—which naturally ended up in the wash.

I’m going to go ahead and put it out there; many of the most dangerous and challenging moments in parenthood take place when I need to use the bathroom. I could probably rename my blog: Tales from the Toilet, but I'm not sure the kind of crowd I'd attract. These are the times when my children have stuck a bean in their nose, licked hand-sanitizer and attempted to ride the dog. Recently, on one such occasion I was cleaning our home for the 10 millionth time in two weeks. I thought I’d take a second to answer the call of nature when just over my head I heard the sound of tiny feet. I peered out from my seated position to see my oldest sitting peacefully on the couch, which left my only other offspring as the one venturing up the stairs (when she is not yet steady enough to be on the stair unattended). As a two-story home owner I can tell you, I’ve had nightmares about my children on the stairs, so I barreled out of the bathroom as pantsless as the day my children were born. I managed to catch my daughter at the top of the stairs, but didn’t pay any attention to my attire for the next few hours, since I was just so relieved she didn’t hurt herself.

After dropping my kids with my mom, I managed to finish cleaning. I was outside emptying the trash, mentally remarking on just how glamorous my life had become when my (male) neighbor (stay with me, I swear it's relevant) pulled up congratulating us on the sold sign on our front lawn. I told him about our plans to move and I went on to boast of our good fortune buying for the first time at the bottom of the market- even managing to throw around a fancy word like "equity". I wandered inside happy to have a second of adult interaction and it was in that moment I realized I had tucked my shirt into my plainly visible underwear. Now one might think this would be embarrassing, but see this is just a typical Tuesday for anybody with children.

In motherhood, we are constantly walking a fine line between humility and humiliation. My hope for you is always the former, but don’t be surprised when inevitably you get caught with your pants down.

I tell myself they are not laughing at me, but with me 😂

I tell myself they are not laughing at me, but with me 😂

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Lessons Learned

Mommy school has been in session for over 11 months now and here's what I've learned so far...

1). My love has no limit but my patience does

Charlotte will shriek eight to ten times in a half hour period, at an octave that could shatter glass. It is not cute or fun, but she has one dimple and I love her.

2). Opinions are like poopers, everyone has one

Please tell me all about your secret recipe to increase my milk supply. It sounds delicious!

3). There is no such thing as the perfect anything

Mother, baby, 1st birthday party. Leave wiggle room for error and throw a dance party for the small victories.

4). I am madly in love with my family

I don’t believe in "better halves" or in couples becoming “complete” when they get married or have a family. These clichés should be left to bad country songs where they belong. I love that there is now a person in this world who is half me and half my husband and that's a fraction I am comfortable with. 

5). Children put everything in perspective

Whether it is a petty fight about the organization of the silverware drawer or thinking about losing my grandpa this year, when I blow on Charlotte’s tummy and she laughs, I know I’ve struck some sort of gold nirvana and I allow myself to just feel happy.

6). Pain is a relative term

I no longer believe in the concept of “I can’t”. Motherhood has made me feel superhuman and I am therefore limitless.

7). There shouldn’t be a timeline for happiness

This year I turned 30 and I have heard too many times, “…when the baby comes” "...by the time I’m.....” “...when I have my ducks in a row”. How about now?  Now, feels pretty damn good people.

 

When Charlotte makes this face she's about to put something inedible in her mouth (in this case a leaf).

When Charlotte makes this face she's about to put something inedible in her mouth (in this case a leaf).

8). I need to give myself a break

Today I yelled at my daughter for shrieking too much, which makes about as much sense as spanking a child for hitting. This of course made her cry and now I feel like what I just wiped off her bottom. Kindly refer to #3.

9). Sometimes life isn’t fair

 The fact that Parenthood is in its final season makes me cry like I’m watching an episode of Parenthood. There have been 28 seasons of The Bachelor, but Parenthood only gets 6?

10). If my daughter thinks I’m funny, that’s all I need

Yesterday my daughter poked me in the boob and giggled for a minute. I will always come in a close second to our dogs but I've made my peace with that.

11). Becoming a mother has changed me

I’ve found that even in the darkest crevasses of motherhood, I’ve learned something new about myself. I am less anxious but more scared; softer and yet stronger. I'm kinder because my sarcasm is now more passive than aggressive and (fingers crossed) more influential. 

I realize my mommy education has only just begun and whether it inspires me toward wit, wisdom or wretchedness, stay tuned for more milestones and meltdowns.

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