I Want To Be A Present Parent

Parenting – it’s so many things – all at the same time. Who knew you could feel so many emotions at once!

Excitement, exhaustion, joy, frustration, fulfilment, drained, exhilarated, defeated. I could go on.

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the craziness of being a parent. To get caught up in managing everything and finishing all the tasks on the to do list. You can find yourself lost in the middle of it all somewhere between changing 10 diapers a day, preparing three different meals-three times a day and an endless pile of laundry. But I am reminded today to slow down. To let the laundry sit a while more, to leave the dishes for an hour and to just be with my kids. Sometimes it’s easy to just get lost in doing everything for your kids. It’s hard especially when they’re small and they are very dependant on you. But even more than they need you to do things for them, they need you to take time and just be with them. Play and laugh with them. Learn with them. Hug them. Listen to them. (I know the stories three year olds tell can be hard to follow sometimes – listen anyways).

I am reminded today to just take time to BE present with my kids, not distracted by all I have to finish or work or preparing things for the following day. But to be completely there for them and to take time with them. I know it’s those precious moments that I will remember and cherish for years to come (not the 1 million loads of laundry I did) and that they will appreciate those times more than I’ll probably ever know. These early stages can be demanding it’s true, but I don’t want to miss out on special moments because I’m too concerned with doing instead of being. 

So here’s to having a slightly messier but more joy-filled home. It’s like that saying: “T-I-M-E  – how kids spell love.” Take the time, I believe it will make a bigger difference then we could ever imagine.

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What a tired Mommy you know needs to hear today.

Photo Credit: mommyshorts.com

Photo Credit: mommyshorts.com

Do you have a friend who is a tired mommy? A co-worker? A daughter?  A sister? A wife? Then listen up people! I’ve read quite a number of blogs with similar lists – some variation of, “What NOT to say to a tired mom or a mother of young children.” They are all right and true and I tend to agree with them completely. But I want to take the opposite approach today and tell you what that tired mommy in your life needs to hear you say. So please, take notes and say these things often – it will make a bigger difference that you could ever imagine.

1. “You look great today!” or “You’re beautiful.” or “That outfit looks great on you.” or “I love your hair/make up today.” You get the idea. Us tired mommies –  we need some love and encouragement! Compliment us. PLEASE. We spend most of the time in sweats covered with snot, baby puke and drool, trying to cover up our huge bags and dark circles, with our hair up in a crazy-lady bun. – We need to be reminded that we are beautiful. So please take every opportunity you can give us a compliment. It will make our day and boost our confidence – especially when we’re emotionally on the edge because of never getting a full night’s rest.

2. “I’m so sorry.” PERIOD. Just stop right there. Please restrain yourself from offering cliche phrases such as, “It will get better” or “This too shall pass” or “Enjoy these moments when they’re small, they grow so fast” etc. While these phrases may have some truth – they’re not helpful. All we want to hear you say is, “I’m sorry.” Just knowing that we have your sympathies helps more than you know. Support and sympathy are what we need – not solutions. Maybe something worked great for your kids – I’m all for the sharing, but when we’re so exhausted we are barely holding it together – we don’t want another option to try out. We just want you to sympathise with us. Give us a hug and tell us you’re sorry and you’re there for us. That’s it. You might not think that will really help – but it will.

3. “I am bringing dinner over tonight.” or “Go take a nap – I’ll watch the kids.” Don’t ask us what we need – while your intentions are good, because we want to appear as though we’re not falling apart, we’ll never tell you what we really need help with. We’ll say we’re doing fine even when we’re not. So instead of asking what we need – just take a guess and do it. Bring over dinner. Bring over chocolate. Watch the kids while we take a nap or just have some alone time. Take us out for a coffee. Arrange a babysitter for the kids so we can get out for a date night with hubby. Anything will be greatly appreciated.

4. “Your kids are beautiful.” A compliment about our kids is as good as complimenting us. It makes us feel like we’re not totally messing them up. 🙂

5. “You are an amazing mom and you’re doing a wonderful job with your kids; they are blessed to have you as their mom.” This statement (or a variation of it) is more important than I think I could ever convey in words. Please use it. We’re exhausted and it’s easy for insecurities to creep in and for us to doubt our abilities as a parent. We need to hear often that we’re doing a good job.

Thank you for reading. Please put these few things into practice. Say these things to the tired mommy in your life and you might be surprised at the changes you notice in her. Oh of course she’ll still be exhausted – but maybe, just maybe, she’ll be a little happier and able to cope better despite the lack of sleep.

And if you are a tired mommy reading this, let me tell you a few things:

~You look gorgeous today – your smile is beautiful especially when you’re smiling at your kids.
~I am genuinely sorry that you had to wake up 5 times last night with the baby/toddler – that just plain sucks.
~I hope someone in your life will read this and bring you a dinner, or some chocolate or let you take a nap or arrange to take you out for a break. You deserve it.
~Your kids are absolutely beautiful.
~Please believe me when I say – you are doing a fantastic job with your kids. You’re a wonderful mommy and those kids of yours are so blessed to have you as their mom.

OK. I’m off to get more coffee. Hang in there all you tired mommies! You’re not alone – and you’re doing a better job than you think you are – I guarantee it. 🙂

I stuck my hand in poop, how was your weekend?

Happy Monday morning people!!! (I know, a bit of an oxymoron, I’m purposefully being sarcastic since I believe it’s likely the only way I’ll make it through this day).

How was your weekend? It’s a normal Monday morning question. I’ve already been asked a few times. My answer? – Good. It was good.

The truth? It was NOT good. It was probably one of the worst weekends I’ve had in a while. But that’s not the polite way to answer the greeting, “Hey, how was your weekend?” – no one actually wants to hear details about your weekend, especially if they’re not good.  So on Monday morning, my horrible weekend just becomes a vague, “Good.” Lucky (or not) for you people who read my blog, you’re about to get the REAL answer to how my weekend went, just because I need a good vent before I can move on and tackle this new week.

I’m pretty sure I needed this sign stuck to me this past weekend:

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From Thursday I was on my own as Julius traveled to Kenya for his Grandfather’s funeral. Thursday and Friday went ok – Gabriel was grumpy because he had a cold, the nights were short as he was up a lot because of being stuffed up and coughing, but we made it through till Saturday. The day Julius was supposed to get home. I knew it would be evening before he arrived so I had mentally prepared myself to get through the day alone. The day was rough. The night before both the kids had been up for over an hour coughing at separate times – in addition to Gabriel’s normal schedule of waking up twice which means I hardly slept. So now I was on my own with the kids for the third day in a row and both of them were sick and we had had a rough night with little sleep the night before. It was not looking good and  just because I needed something else to deal with – the power went off at about 9am and was out all day until early evening. I had planned to call my Mom in Canada and catch up but I lost the sim card and couldn’t find it anywhere so I wasn’t able to talk to her. Plus since I wasn’t able to charge my phone, the battery died about half way through the day. The kids were nasty all day, Gabriel wouldn’t sleep longer than half an hour at a time so I couldn’t really rest while he slept. Ezra was grumpy and not feeling good and overly sensitive because of that. I was barely holding myself together when the power finally came back and I was able to charge my phone a bit and heard from Julius. He wasn’t going to make it home that night. I was on my own for another night and into the day on Sunday. I had a bit of a meltdown, I couldn’t help it. It was like the final straw and as soon as it was pulled, I fell apart. I was so tired I just couldn’t handle anything very well anymore. I had been holding my tired self together by one little thread – Julius is coming home today. You can make it until tonight.   So I was not mentally prepared to have to do another night and day alone with two sick kids. Nothing had gone my way – I hadn’t been able to talk to my family in Canada which would have cheered me up a bit,  I hadn’t gotten any rest; each night seemed worse than the one before and now I had to do it again all alone. But I got off the phone, wiped my tears and sucked it up for the boys’ sake.

Right after that, I thought I smelled something so I picked up Gabriel and went to check his diaper – he had pooped (no problem, he’s a baby, it’s what they do) but he had pooped right up until the very edge of his diaper and so when I went to pull his diaper out to check him I stuck my hand right in the poop. Lovely. Well  I got that mess cleaned up and Gabriel into a fresh diaper, and I got Ezra some chocolate milk and then I sat down. Before I could even think one thought Ezra knocked over his milk and it spilled everywhere. A huge chocolatey mess all over the floor. So I got the mop out and cleaned up that while Ezra cried and Gabe whined. We made it through the rest of the evening somehow and I got them to bed, cleaned up the kitchen, checked in with Julius and then crashed, praying that the night would be smoother than the previous two. Just when I think I’ve taken all I can handle and this night will HAVE to be better and I’ll actually get some rest…it turns out to be the worst night yet. Both kids were up coughing again large chunks of the night and Ezra threw up at one point – all over himself and his bed and the floor. And then just to top it off both kids were WIDE awake at 6am with no chance of them going back to sleep. I think I maybe got two hours of sleep Saturday night.

Definitely felt this way over the weekend.

Definitely felt this way over the weekend.

We made it through Sunday morning and Julius got home early afternoon. We took it easy and it was actually a good day. I’m very glad he’s home. I’m still exhausted since last night wasn’t a whole lot better (except there was no puke so I guess that was an improvement) but it’s a new week so I need to leave my awful weekend behind me and look forward.

There’s my sad tale, the true answer to how my weekend was. Aren’t you glad you asked? (Oh, you didn’t ask? Sorry).

My thought exactly this morning. Happy Monday!

My thought exactly this morning. Happy Monday!

So, how was your weekend? 🙂

Before I had kids…

Before I had kids…

…I don’t remember anything. OK. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly.  I remember a few things about life before kids – I remember…

~ Oh what’s that thing called – where you get to close your eyes and lay in your bed all night without waking up to a crying child or a toddler in your bed? – Right. SLEEP. I vaguely remember sleep.

~ Being able to do something, any task without being interrupted about 87 times…again vaguely.

~ Not having to pack a diaper bag or make sure I have all the kids stuff in my purse…even more vaguely.

~ Eating a whole meal without sharing half of it with my toddler…this is VERY vague – I don’t think I’ve eaten a whole meal by myself in a VERY long time.

~ Being able to go to the bathroom without a) my toddler/baby in the room b) my toddler/baby screaming outside the bathroom door or c) rushing like a crazy person so that I can make sure the kids aren’t about to hurt themselves or each other. This memory is hanging by a thread.

The good side…

~ I remember being a lot more selfish. Having kids will beat the ‘selfish’ right out of you (almost – no one’s perfect, except my Mom 😉 ). Having kids forces you not to think about yourself very much at all – because there’s no time to! It’s a demanding job but it’s a rewarding one and I believe becoming ‘Mommy’ has made me a better person in general. Being a mom is truly the most amazingly demanding and exhilarating job in the world.

Before I had kids…

~ I remember my heart being more… empty. I never knew my heart could be this full. Even with all the lack of sleep, personal space, and silence – my heart is FULL – bursting with a love I didn’t know could be this strong. And that makes it MORE than worth it when I have to deal with a tantrum, or a little person watching me pee, or getting pooped on. 🙂

 

Do you remember life before your children?  Do you really miss it? Let’s be honest – we wouldn’t trade it for anything! Sure we miss some of the luxuries of life before kids, but we also know that they grow up in a blink of an eye, and if we spend too much time complaining it’ll be over – they’ll be all grown up and we’ll be missing the days when they were more dependant on us as parents. So while everyone needs a good vent once in a while, don’t spend too much time there; enjoy these moments when they’re small and things are crazy because you’ll blink and they’ll be gone.

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Mommy Fuel

A few days ago I met a wonderful lady who has nine (nope that’s not a typo!) children. Yes – they are all hers and her husband’s and yes – they were all planned and no – they might not be “done” yet.  🙂

In a day and age where people just do not have really big families anymore it was refreshing. She seemed relaxed and easy going and all of her children are happy and healthy. At first, I admit I thought, “WOAH! NINE KIDS?!?!?” But as I talked to this lady a little bit, the shock wore off.  Sure nine is a lot – she knows that – but she loves kids (she grew up in a family of 12 kids) and she was so full of joy that it rubbed off on me. I don’t mean I want nine children now, but I definitely don’t feel guilty about wanting more than two. She admitted that it’s crazy at her house most days, and she has had to learn how to be a jack-of-all-trades but at the same time her house is filled with laughter and giggling, smiles, hugs and kisses. And I suddenly knew how she “does it.” I thought of one of my other friends who has three young children, close in age – she said she runs on “hugs, kisses and ‘I love you Mommy’s.'” And I remember relating to that statement. Whether you have one or nine that’s what you survive on. In between all the sleepless nights, temper tantrums, sibling rivalry and laundry there are such sweet moments; smiles, un-prompted hugs or kisses, an “I love you Mommy!” for no reason at all, and the contagious giggles. I like to think of these things as “Mommy Fuel.” It’s the stuff we run on! It’s how we keep going through difficult days (and nights). It’s what reminds us of just how blessed we are as Mothers. There will always be difficult moments but I’m pretty sure there’s enough “Mommy Fuel” to get us through. I’ve posted it before on Facebook, but it’s too good not to post again, I love this quote:

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Ain’t that the truth. Much love to all my Mommy friends. Whether you have one or nine they’re all blessings and it is a privilege to be a Mother.

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