Thursday, December 9, 2010

Being Okay

I'm trying to be okay with that pile of crumbs beneath the dining room table.

There are much more important things to worry about; my children, for example.

But I'm having a hard time being okay with it. I keep a small vacuum right beside my dining room table so that I can immediately suction the offending bits that my girls (purposely???) leave for me to clean.

If I tallied up all the time I spent thinking about those crumbs, or actually vacuuming those crumbs, or getting on my hands and knees to dig the sticky ones up with my bare hands.... well, that would just be a lot of time.

I can sometimes go a whole day without washing the dishes, or doing the laundry, or dusting, or cleaning the bathroom...

But those crumbs. They haunt me.

I think what it is, is that crumbs are a pretty easy fix. Especially when you have a vacuum plugged in and ready to go. When my days begin to feel out of my control, and my kids are running around like horror film victims, and my hair hasn't been washed in 3 days, and I'm still in my "comfy clothes" (aka, pajamas), at 3 in the afternoon, I can simply vacuum the crumbs, and I feel like I've accomplished something. I've fixed something that needed fixing.

I'm still hoping to one day be okay with a few crumbs, in exchange for a few more quality moments with my girls, or at least a more relaxed spirit. But until then, I suppose the crumbs, in a way, help keep me sane. And anything that helps to keep my sanity, is certainly a friend, not a foe.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

10 Tips for Feeling like a Woman in the Midst of Motherhood

1. When you haven’t showered in two days, and you have no time for one, make yourself feel clean and pretty by doing a quick shave of your underarms, dabbing on a little perfume, and donning a smidgen of lipgloss. You’ll feel like a new woman.

2. Put on a bra, woman. Nothing will bring you down in the morning like the feeling of your girls hanging low. Not a sports bra. A real bra. A pretty bra. Don’t cheat on this one.

3. Invest in a good “waterless shampoo”, aka, white powder marketed especially for soaking up extra oils in unwashed hair. It will do in a pinch when you only have 15 minutes to get yourself and your kids out the door.

4. Please wear clean underwear. I find that whatever I tell my 3 year old, I too should do. I know you just put some clean panties on before you crawled into bed last night, but it’s a good idea, anyhow.

5. Wear jewelry. Even if make-up didn’t make its way onto your face, a pair of dangly, shiny earrings will distract from your dark under-eye circles.

6. Send your husband a flirty email or text. It will make you feel like you are still having sex on a regular basis, and perhaps your husband will send one back to you and you will feel like you are indeed still a woman, and not just a frazzled mommy.

7. Brush your teeth. I know a lot of these bits of advice seem to be centered around hygiene, but lets face it; hygiene has become secondary in these difficult times.

8. If you don’t get out for anything else, at least get out for a pedicure periodically. Nothing makes me feel more unattractive than when my feet look like I’ve been wandering around in the desert for 40 years. A clean coat of polish and a good scrubbing can go a long way in making you feel like a functioning member of society.

9. Go on a date with your husband.... without your kids. I don’t care if you have to bribe your neighbor to watch them while they sleep, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!! None of this stay-home “dinner and a movie” stuff involving Chinese take-out and a Netflix. You need to be out, be seen, and have a reason to put a decent outfit together.

10. And last but not least, keep a picture of yourself around the house (on the fridge, on your desk, wherever you will see it throughout the day), of yourself BEFORE kids. Make sure it’s a picture that you love; you were having a great hair day, you were on a fantastic date, you were feeling skinny, whatever. You need to be reminded throughout the day that you are more than this over-caffeinated, unshaven, stinky (yes, I said it) mommy. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is amazing and your kids will make you smile and you will not be able to imagine your life without them... however, it is a good thing to remember that you are also a fabulous and beautiful woman.

Now, go put on a bra.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I didn't know how I was going to parent 3 girls under 3 years old. It was a mystery in my mind.

I didn't think I'd be able to take 3 girls three and under into Costco on my own, let alone take Bella "potty" there while watching the other 2 AND my things.

I didn't think I'd get any sleep. It's still not enough, but it's there.

I didn't think I'd be able to shower again, ever. So far this week, I'm going on 2 showers in 3 days time. Pretty good record, for me.

I feel like every day is a test of my limits. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired. I get to the end of the day, and I pray to God that I did something good while I was just trying to survive. I hope and pray that I did not permanently injure my child's psyche when I had a little break-down over stubbing my toe. I hope my kids' intelligence won't be too far diminished by the television I used as a "helper" on the hard days.

What am I saying? Every day is a hard day.

I read a "devotion for mothers" this morning, and it was talking about being joyful. That a negative and critical spirit is contagious (Sorry, Daniel... I've passed my illness on to you. I'm working on it...).

It also said that we as Christians should feel "free" and that our joy ought to flow from that. I'm not sure that Christ himself always had a perky disposition. He was stressed, and a little anxious at times, I believe. He was tested to his limits. I don't know that he was always happy about his Father's will for him, but perhaps he didn't lose his joy that it was all for a purpose he believed in. So I guess the question is, is everything I do for something I believe in? Am I willing to be this exhausted for a little while, in exchange for....


Will my kids even be grateful that their tired and grouchy mother chose to stay home with them? Am I able to give them everything they need from me? Of course, they're being fed, and clothed, and bathed. They are being put to bed at a decent hour, given naps, being held when they cry. They get kissed and hugged, and we brush their teeth and tell them we love them.

We are present. When they cry "mommy" (as disgruntled as I sometimes am), I will be there.

I will be here. I hope that's good enough for now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being Honest

I couldn't run this morning because I did a super hard-core Jillian Michael's workout dvd on Sunday, and I guess my body is still recovering from that. I didn't even get out of bed on Tuesday to run, and today I got up late. I started to run and I physically was unable. The muscles in my knees still feel completely maxed out. This caused me to settle into a walk and just listen to my music.

It's amazing how a song that I put on my iPod last year while I was depressed and feeling trapped can seem like a completely different song to me today. Being honest with you all (and realizing this is a public blog, but also realizing there is nothing secret about this), I still battle depression. And I've been off my medication for a blur of 3 weeks. My doctor thinks I have something called Bipolar 2, and I tend to agree. I go through rapid-rapid cycling, where I have a day or two of depression, then a day or two of "mania" I guess you can call it, and my "normal" moods are few these days. There's more to it than that, but I'll keep it simple for now. I have been having some moments of clarity lately that have made me decide I really need to be back on meds. My kids don't need this.

So, this song that I put on my iPod used to make me feel so miserable, and I sickeningly continued listening to it, reveling in feeling like a sad victim in my own life. I listened to only part of the song, really, and I must have tuned the other parts out, because I listened to it this morning and it made me smile. Like, really smile. Big grin. I probably looked silly, but it's true. I was really listening to the heart of this song, and I realized life is good, I've made some GOOD decisions about some HARD issues, and I am exactly where I should be. I don't know why a song that made me feel like a loser last year can make me feel like a strong and free woman today, but such is my life. Well, I do have a few ideas as to why, but I'll save that for another post.

Now, I could continue to write, but I couldn't promise it would make any sense. I must go to the coffee. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 8, 2010 something or from something?

So, I run.

I used to get up at 5:00am as a teen and run, and I remember being the most fit I've ever been. And the happiest.

My husband suggested we try something. We are both so tired, and so at our wits end, and so (hate to say it) out of shape, that we needed to act. He asked if I'd like to go running twice a week, on my own. Um, YES. Anything on my own at this point sounds completely amazing.

So my husband gets up early on Monday and Wednesday and goes running around our quiet town of Ripon, and I do the same on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have to say, I get so excited about it. I look forward (for once) to my 5:00am nursing session with Ivey because after I put her back to bed I am FREE! I don my running apparel, grab the iPod I was supposed to be using for the last 2 years (when could I possibly use an iPod? I need to be free to hear if someone is crying or whatnot), and go.

At first, while I ran, lungs burning, I thought of all the things I was running for (from?): I'm running from all the stress, all the mess, all the things that make me crazy. I'm running away from what I can't control. I'm running from myself. I'm running from my kids and all their needs. I'm running from last night's dishes.

And then, as my lungs stopped burning, and the euphoria of the endorphins kicked in, I began to realize what I was really running for (to!): My kids, my own happiness, my freedom (which really does exist!), love for my husband, love for my body and my desire to be fit and healthy again.

So I run. And it really puts into perspective my life. And I realize I have a great life. Aside from the pesky dishes overflowing in my sink, I have a pretty amazing husband, beautiful and adorable children, and I have to admit, a pretty rockin' body for someone who just birthed her third child.

Thanks for letting me brag on myself and please forgive for the over-use of parentheses.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Often I expect a lot from myself. Too much, in fact. I know this. But even with this knowledge, so often I still get angry, frustrated and depressed over what I haven’t accomplished. I forget about all the things I do accomplish in a given day.

I need to change the cycle. If I don’t, I will be one of those evil, angry women with a whip for a tongue. When I get angry or frustrated at myself, I lash out. My kids and my husband become fodder for my evil-mommy twin. I hear things come out of my mouth that make me feel ashamed. To finish off the cycle, my shame then causes me to feel more anger and frustration.

So, accomplishments: yesterday I kept my kids alive. In spite of cleaner being sprayed into mouths, jumping/falling incidents that caused bleeding mouths, cords around necks, etc, my girls are healthy and thriving. I’d like to think I have something to do with their survival. Speaking of survival, I’m also nursing an infant. She depends on me, my health and milk-production to be sustained. That’s a big deal, right?

Hhm... what else? I did the dishes, wiped up spills, changed diapers, got dressed (that’s important, but note I did not say “shower”), knit a little, soothed/nursed crying infant, went grocery shopping, held 20 month old while doctor cleaned out her ears, washed laundry, and made dinner for my family. Oh, and made my husband “happy.” =)

Dude, looking at all that, I would have to say I’m pretty awesome. Who freaking cares what I DIDN’T do? I rock like a hurricane.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life Without a Husband

I'm gaining a new found respect this week for single mothers. As my husband is off at a B&B in Georgia at some computer-nerd class, I am alone with my three kids under three--my youngest only 7 weeks old and still waking me in the middle of the night with her incessant need for calories.

I think so far the worst part is that there's no one to snuggle up to at the end of the day, no one to tell me I'm doing a good job; or that even when I feel like merely a disgruntled, un-showered mommy, someone still finds me sexy.

Come back to me, Husband! Parenthood is not meant to be a one-man(woman) show!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


In October of last year we discovered through ultrasound that we would have a third girl. My heart sank. I didn't want another girl, I wanted a boy. I went out to the car and cried. I didn't want to seem ungrateful in front of the technician who was telling us we had a healthy growing child.

I vacillated between guilt for being so selfish, and anger that God would not give me the boy I had prayed for before we even conceived. For goodness sake, we didn't even INTEND to conceive this child... therefore, I knew this child would be special, and had to be a boy.

For months after that ultrasound, I denied the "three lines" theory, and told myself time and again that I was actually having a boy. The tech must be wrong. I just "knew." I didn't buy many girlie things, I anticipated (vain faith?) that I would actually get what I had wanted all along.

And then March 19th came, and I delivered our baby girl in the hospital observation room while screaming at the intensity with which my body was doing this miraculous feat, and I knew it was a girl. And they put her on my chest, and I saw her, and I knew that she had been the one I'd prayed for all along.

The next morning in my hospital bed, staring at the tiny blond person that my body had made in 9 months time, I cried. I could hardly believe that I had hoped for another child. This was the special girl that God knew I needed. She was perfect, and beautiful, and... then the nurse walked in to me in tears staring at my newborn. She must have told the midwife I was in there crying, someone looked up my chart, and they were soon offering me the Zoloft I had forgotten at home. They reassured me everything would be alright.

But I already knew, everything was more than alright. It was exactly as it should be.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I remember my older sister talking a lot about being a mother before I became one. One frequent theme in these conversations centered around guilt. As a mom, she felt guilt for spending time with one child as opposed to another.

Me, I feel guilt over my morning latte.

Yes, that's right, almost 8 months pregnant and I drink regular espresso on a regular basis. Here's the thing: I have two very energetic kids 2 and under who wake me up before my body really has had it's fair share of sleep (I'm sure no body else knows what I'm talking about). But after my coffee, I feel like I can make it through this day. In fact, I feel like I can be super-mom. I learned the technique of coffee-drinking in college, and so that's my go-to move. It improved my essays, and now it improves my mothering.

In my first pregnancy (heck, before we even conceived), I gave up my delicious addiction because it was "wrong" and "unhealthy" to drink coffee when you're pregnant. My daughter is brilliant.

In my second pregnancy, I allowed myself the 8 oz of brew per day, no more. Again, my second daughter astounds me.

In this pregnancy, I have a latte, maybe a couple cups of coffee, whatever. I only drink it in the morning, but I drink however much I feel I need. I don't monitor it very much at all. A friend encouraged me to switch to organic coffee, so I did that. Otherwise, it's full-caffinated all the way.

But I still feel guilty. Will this be the time coffee "does" something to my growing child? Will he/she be inferior to his/her sisters? Will he/she have all the proper parts? It doesn't really help when your nurse practitioner asks you at every appointment how you're doing with the coffee: "Have you switched to decaf?" "You know, coffee has been linked to preterm labor."

I don't know if my latte makes me a bad mother. I know in some ways, it makes me a better one. But no matter what, I have guilt. If it wasn't the coffee, it would probably be something else. There's always something to beat yourself up over. I guess I'm just choosing to let this one go, give myself a break, and tell myself that at least I don't drink or smoke.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Off?...What's That?

When I was single and without children, life was lonely. I remember being lonely when I'd go to bed alone. I remember coming home to my roommates who loved me, but had their own lives and activities, and I longed to have a family of my own.

Now that I have a family, I still have lonely days, but I'm never alone. I love my family and wouldn't trade any of them for ANYTHING. However, there are no days off in motherhood. There is no "weekend" of sleeping in and leisurely breakfast. There is no after-work shopping or pedicures. These days, I'm doing good if I shower every day. My hair is frazzled, much like my spirit, and my poor pregnant feet could use a couple of uninterrupted hours of soaking.

But I get up every morning, and I am a mother. No matter how I feel, or what I'd "rather" be doing, this is my mission: to love my girls. How many children are out there without a mother, or without a mother who cares, or without a home to live in at all? Too many to count. So no matter how frazzled I look or feel, I will be their mommy.

And then I'll pray to God that someone will take them for a day so I can at least get a pedicure.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Battling the Cliché

I am a unique and original woman. I am imperfect, but I do my best (God, help me) to be a loving mother, wife and friend.

This is my mantra. As much as I feel like a cliché when I stand in line with my two baby girls to pick up my prescription for my antidepressant. Or when I loose my cool and use an ugly tone of voice with my 2-year-old. Or when I spend 10 minutes cleaning up a puddle of pee. Or when I get banana in my hair because my 1-year-old had it smashed between her chubby pink fingers. I am not a cliché.

I remind myself that I am only one woman, doing the work of many. I am 7 1/2 months pregnant and I still expect so much from myself: I cloth diaper, keep our home sanitary (clean, not so much these days...), do the shopping, change the diapers, read stories, give baths, cuddle and tickle and give hugs. I do what I do because I choose it. I choose every day to be my daughters' mother. I choose every day to be my husband's wife. I do this because it brings me joy. Of course some days I'd much rather read a good book on the beach all by myself. No one asking for juice, no whining, no crying, no dirty diapers.

But I know that even a good book will end, and leave me alone on that beach, and the silence that only hours before brought serenity, would only sound like the roar of emptiness.

I am blessed. I usually dislike the term "blessed"--only because it suggests that in hard times or difficult circumstances we are "cursed." But, in the good and the bad, I am blessed. And when I feel like someone looking in on my life might see a cliché, I remind myself of who I am. I am a unique and original woman. I am imperfect, but I have 2 (almost 3) beautiful daughters, a husband who thinks I'm smart AND sexy, and I live a life of purpose.

And that's all I need to be today.