Mom blogs are one of the greatest contributors to my surviving motherhood this long. Mom blogs, friends, and chocolate…. The order is hard to discern. Friends are here, in the flesh, for the SERIOUS vent session when you need it, yet blogs give it to you straight. No chaser. Something about writing provides that level of anonymity and plausible deny-ability, should you get called on a comment you made you could plead temporary insanity after the fact to get out of it. Chocolate needs no explanation.
I just kinda assumed everyone reads mom blogs as religiously as I do to maintain their own levels of sanity. It dawned on me, I have plenty of friends who have no reason to peruse those blogs yet because they haven’t stumbled their way into this NEVER. ENDING. SEASON. So I created my own top 10…. Here we go!
1. All the rules you hated as a child, they’re back, in spades! Technically they’re all good for you, sure, which is why they were rules we had to obey in the first place. BUT…I can’t be the only one that FULLY embraced sugary cereal, going to sleep WELL past curfew, and embracing my inner thug through some questionable rap lyrics?!? When you have lil ones, kiss those things goodbye once again, some what begrudgingly, at the realization you THOUGHT you were the parent and got to make the rules. Since they mimic everything you do, and you don’t want them on a sugar high after breakfast, or telling the local grocer that they ‘like big butts and they cannot lie’. Technically you COULD still stay out past curfew, and do in an attempt to hold on to whatever semblance of adulthood you thought you’d achieved, but you regret it EVERY. MORNING. when chipper little souls bounce into your room at 6am and your eyes feel glued shut.
2. Hallmark & Huggies are LIARS!! All those sweet movies and commercials with cooing, soft, clean little snuggle bugs represent a whopping 5 to maybe 10 percent of their existence. The other 95% of the time, you are both sticky smelly messes from breast feeding spray attacks, leaks, etc…. or when you finally exit that stage you’ll spend hours of your day cleaning the pureed vegetables out of their ears, hair, off the wall, the seat, yourself, you get the picture. You think once they gain mastery of eating you’re home free…. 6 years in, I still have to grit my teeth to say the CHAIR, your shirt, pants, etc… is NOT a napkin, and on a good day maybe only 25% of their plate still falls on the floor :/…. SO NOT CLEAN!
3. My world went from black and white, to the widest spectrum of color I’ve ever known. I didn’t realize I was living in black and white before kids, I was pretty confident my world had plenty of color, and it did…. just not to the spectrum kid’s open it up to. I’m not gonna say one is better than the other, because I hate those blogs that try to say THEIR way is THE only way to happiness. Before kids and after is not things you can compare…. its not apples to oranges…. its apples to elephants. There were things I LOVED about black and white…. the simplicity being the KEY factor. Kids are messy. Not mearly in the sense of physical mess, though there is PLENTY of that, but they force you to look at your own mess. I didn’t realize HOW much I liked control before I had kids. I pretty carefully controlled just about everything, including my responses to situations. Kids are like mini-ninja-mind warfare terrorists…. They concoct such an incredible array of situations you could never expect that you see your true colors shine through in ways you might not have expected…. Working that out can be a painful process, but its a slightly more tolerable pain, because God made them cute for a reason…. so we wouldn’t kill ourselves or them.
4. If you don’t have that immediate ‘bond’ with your child the second they place it on your chest in Labor & Delivery, that doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out for this. NO ONE feels cut out for this, but the wise people are right, love is a choice and not a feeling. If you choose love enough the feelings follow, sometimes they take longer than we think, and we’re convinced we’re not normal, but eventually they show up. I cried and cried with Caleb, he scared me to death, I didn’t know what I was doing, I thought he deserved better, but despite massive feelings of inadequacy when he cried I’d show up. A diaper change, a feeding, rocking, walking, when he needed me, I was there. Eventually we got the hang of it together and the love grew everyday, until that one day when I could finally see him and even though it was just months prior when I couldn’t imagine a life with him, I finally couldn’t imagine a life without him.
5. Kids will CONSUME you, if you let them. Don’t let them. If you lose yourself in the process of Motherhood what example will your kids have to follow. If you want them to pursue their dreams, show them an example of you living out yours. Make time for yourself, for your marriage, because when the kids are gone, you and your spouse are what’s left…. make sure what’s left is in a healthy place when that time comes…. Dream about what that time will look like. Traveling is in my dream, and lots of it! The hubs and I are gonna see the world!!
6. You might think horrible thoughts about your kids…. Do not own them, they are NOT yours. This was one of the scariest parts of motherhood when I first had Caleb, and couldn’t get him to stop crying. My thoughts would deceive me at every turn, popping up with all manner of horrible thoughts, I thought I was a monster. I never acted on them, but couldn’t get them to stop popping up, and figured it was just because deep down I was a horrible person and I should never tell a soul about them. There is an enemy bent on our destruction, seeking to steal our joy, and peace…. He can plant those thoughts to torment you. Put the baby down, or lock yourself in a room if their bigger and call a friend or read truth, that you are the BEST mom they’ll ever have, breathe, and regroup…. its o.k, you’re not alone.
7. Your relationships with women will improve 100 fold after having kids. Before kids, I was one of ‘those’ girls that had a hard time developing great relationships with girls. I’d say it was the drama, or whatever, but if I’m being honest they all intimidated me. The moment you have a baby, you enter the ‘mom’ club… no men allowed. Its this INCREDIBLE, life saving, network of the most incredible women encouraging and supporting one another. You have this common bond, of creating life, bringing it into the world, nourishing it, and helping it to grow…. the stories differ across this colorful spectrum, but we’re in it together, and that feeling is amazing!
8. Opinions are like belly buttons…. everyone has one and they all stink! OH. MY. GOODNESS. Something about being pregnant or walking around with little ‘uns is like open season on fielding all manner of unsolicited advice….. Figure out how you want to deal with it before hand…. you can entertain their lunacy, stop ’em cold, or turn it into a game where you try to shock them by providing commentary that exactly contradicts their advice (even if you actually agree with it).. “What’s that you say stranger, you’re asking me if I’m breast feeding, as if my breasts are ANY of your business? No actually we started him on straight cows milk, fully pasteurized and homogenized as we feel that offers the highest nutritional value, and we don’t want him to get dependent on some artificial formula or anything like that.” It’s quite fun 🙂
9. Never say never. It’s like the kiss of death really… as soon as you say you will NEVER do something when it comes to parenting, it becomes an almost certainty that at SOME POINT in your parenting experience, that exact thing will happen to you. You think you will NEVER have ‘mom car’…. that horrible place where cherrios, cheezits, and small toys go to die. Then one day you open a door to unbuckle your child and half their closet, a pair of lost shoes, and garbage of all manner rolls out. It’s mind boggling really. You watch them all get into the car with nothing, and somehow at the end of the week the car is FULL of crap! You are SURE you would NEVER turn into that mom that’s at the grocery store still in part of her pajama’s with out a stitch of make-up on, and you can’t tell if a brush has seen her hair this week. Until one day, three kids in, when you’re still in that new born haze where you have maybe 2 hrs between the next nap, and you had to go through the mind-numbing process of finding shoes and socks for the other two in order to leave the house, which gobbled up an hour of that 2 hour window, and you only realize you look like absolute hell when you see yourself in the rear view mirror. ‘Screw it’, is the phrase you’re looking for as you pull away. Don’t beat yourself up, you made it out of the house with three kids for the first or second time, all on your own…. You’ll get better.
10. Nothing lasts forever. It might FEEL like forever, because let’s be honest…. every season of your life before this was usually around 5-6 years or less…. Grade School, High School, College, a job rotation or 3, they all had an ‘end’ in sight before you started, or at least the possibility for you to walk away should you want to. You can’t walk-away from motherhood. People do, you might say, but they are forever changed if they do. It marks you. It changes you from the second you are aware of it, and there is no going back…. So it happens then, as you stare down the rest of your life, that it DOES feel like forever… and it might freak you out…. but the seasons are still there, change still finds you. When you’re in the trenches of sleeplessness you think it will last forever. It doesn’t. When they’re teething and screaming at you, you’re sure it will never end. It does. When they get sassy and talk back, disobey, destroy, lash out, you start to believe this is who they’ll always be. It’s not. They will need you relentlessly and you might want that to last forever. It can’t. They are ours for a while, but their God’s forever, and so we do the best we can with what He gives us. We trust and believe He’s given us the exact amount of patience, discipline, tenderness, and love to turn them into the people He needs them to be, and then we have to let them go and trust that God will take it from there. I have to imagine at that point, you might feel like your heart will be broken forever, with part of it gone. I’m believing it won’t. I’m believing after we walk this crazy, unpredictable path, that drives us crazy, brings us to our knees, and has us doing things we NEVER thought we’d do, that our heart just gets bigger…. capable of encompassing more love than we ever imagined possible.
So there ya’ have it…. that’s my list…. Hope ya’ found it entertaining, freeing, helpful, horrible, whatever…. There are prolly a zillion other things I could add, but it’s a good start :).