May 4, 2016

My Motherhood

I've been wanting to put together a post for Mothers Day that's right around the corner. Just a collection of my current thoughts on being a mom to my two babies. Tuesday evening something...interesting happened. The experience went right along with the things I've been feeling lately. 
The story goes like this...
Bodie was out of town again and I had taken the kids to a nearby park to play for a while. It was my favorite time of day, the golden hour, and the weather was beautiful. We were the only ones there. I sat there on a blanket with Dash and had just finished nursing him. He was playing with the grass and Dollie was running around the playground with her toy giraffes just as cute as can be. I distinctly remember looking at each of my children in awe, just so infatuated with them. Feeling so incredibly blessed for this time I have with them, for the sweet spirits they are in my life, for the things they teach me. I remember looking at Dollie running around and thinking, "Just look at her. Is she really mine? And how did she suddenly seem so old?" The thought crossed my mind to grab my phone and send Bodie a text message saying something along the lines of, "Thank you for working so hard for our family so I can be with home with our babies, even if it means having to be away from us." But the text was never sent. The phone wasn't even reached for because Dollie suddenly came running toward me with a smile spread across her face and something in her hand. She had found something neat and was dying to show me. As she approached me and opened up her hand I about died. You guys, it was a tiny, not fully formed, itty bitty baby bird. Like, we are talking barely a beak, and barely nubs for arms and legs. No feathers. Just a raw, dead baby bird. I quickly swatted it out of her hand while letting out a screech. There was no question that she was seriously confused. I still don't even think she knew it was a bird. Not until I told her. Then she was really confused. I exclaimed, "It's dead, Dollie! And so gross! You cannot touch that!" I grabbed hand sanitizer and a wipe out of the bag and doused her hands. I picked up the bird with the wipe (but not before I snap-chatted it) and tossed it behind us. I could not believe she just picked that thing up like it was nothing! Ugh!!! Once I gathered my thoughts and settled down I realized that this was a teaching moment and that I couldn't leave her feeling confused and worried. In her eyes it was a hurt baby bird and I was telling her not touch it and that it was gross, tossing it aside. So, I called her back over and went to pick it up. I explained to her that it must have fallen out of its egg in a nest way high up in a tree, and that it was hurt and died. I softly wrapped it up in the wipe and dug a shallow hole in the playground bark/chips. We buried it and patted it down and told the bird goodbye. I still think she is a little confused, but it was lots better. Onto happier thing we went.
So, the reason this story reminded me of my recent thoughts is because it is the most perfect example of motherhood. Or at least what motherhood has been for me. 

I start out each day with some goals, some internal lists of things that need to get done. It might be dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, mailing, errands, blogging, editing photos, etc. But when you have small children things usually don't go as planned. It might take me longer to get something done, or it might not get done at all. Or it might all get done. Why? Because life with kids is unpredictable. Days are full of random things that you honestly cannot plan for. No matter what. When mentioning this very topic, one of my fave influencers said, "Things fall from the sky." Ha ha, yes! Pretty much. And kids make messes with itty-bitty things that make clean up forever long, they draw on things, they have diaper blow outs, they get hurt, they get hungry, then they have to pee, and then the other one needs a diaper change, and then the other one needs a drink, and then the other one found something on the floor and stuck it in their mouth and getting it out is like trying to pry open I don't even know what, and then one is ready for nap-time when the other one is not, and one gets mad because the other one won't leave their toys alone, and it goes on and on and on all day. Getting ready for bedtime is an entirely different situation. In our house, it begins at 6 am and ends at 9 pm, sort of. Because while Dollie sleeps great, Dash still nurses too many times to count throughout the night. (My fault)
My point with the story is this: 
Motherhood has us crying tears of joy because we never knew we could love so deeply without even having to try. It's the most natural thing and it's so powerful and put us in our most raw state. On the other hand, right after crying those tears of joy, motherhood has us crying tears of frustration because we cannot take one more night of broken sleep, or one more day of and also we are pretty sure we are the worst mother on the planet and that our kids deserve better. One second it's pure bliss, the next it's a dead bird in the bare palm of your 2 year olds hand. You never see any of it coming. And wow, does it come quick. The good and the bad. Both of them are sporadic and you just cannot prepare for it. 

Tonight before bed I had the pbs channel on and it was an educational documentary type thing about penguins. We watched it for a few minutes before changing it to Peppa Pig and sure enough, it had me in tears. The baby penguin and it's mom were separated and couldn't find each other among the rest of the penguins. A frigid storm came and the baby almost gave up and died trying to find its mom, but then they found each other and all was well in the world. Tears, people! Over the penguins. Couldn't have planned for that. Couldn't have planned for the melt down Dollie had minutes before bedtime and honestly I cannot even tell you what it was over. I think she was just tired. 
I could go on and on but I think you get my point. Being a mom truly is the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Mentally, emotionally, physically, all of it. It takes everything out of me. It knocks me down and kicks me and I just struggle at times. But the other thing about motherhood, at least for me, is it gives me life. It gives me a joy that I never want to let go of. It makes me feel incredible and powerful and important. My kids make me feel special, and needed, and wanted and like I am doing good and making a difference. They don't care that I have an extra 40 lbs on me, and that my hips are plastered with stretch marks. They don't care if I am still in my pj's at noon, or that my hair has been in a top knot for 3 days. They just want to be fed, snuggled, played with, and to feel loved. And in Dollie's case, to be told she's loved 100 times a day. Which is a very simple task for me to do. Motherhood makes me feel complete, and challenged, and never bored. It makes me work harder, have more goals, more dreams, and more faith. It tests me, over and over again, and always lets me have a re-do if I mess up. And those things are worth it. So, so worth it. 

Recently I was dealing with feelings of needing and wanting something more. Like, wanting something more outside of being "just a mom". Wanting to feel more accomplished. After months of feeling this way I came to this conclusion: My calling in life right now is to be a mom. Yes, I will always be a mom, but right now to *just* be a mom. Get it? So instead of being a mom, but also looking for other things to do make me feel more accomplished, I decided to embrace my calling and give it everything I've got. To not just "survive" but to be the absolute best freaking mom that I can be to my kids. Too many days I go to bed feeling like I didn't play with them enough, or I didn't teach them enough, or I should have been in a better mood, or just simply wondering if I did a good enough job giving them my undivided attention and if they felt the love I have for them. 

So now, instead of spending time wondering what *else* I can do in addition to being a mom, I am spending my time being a *better* mom. This is what is working for me right now. This is what I am at peace with in my life right now. Motherhood rocks my world every minute of every day. I could definitely make do without any more dead birds, but I'll take all the random, crazy, unexpected moments I can get. Because soon enough my motherhood role will change as my kids change and grow older. My days will change and be different and I know I will long for the days I'm in now. 
Cheers to all you incredible mothers out there. You are doing a great job. Your kids are blessed to have you. May we embrace this calling we each have and move forward making each day count, loving lots on these little people who have loved us unconditionally for their entire lives. 
Happy Mothers Day! 

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