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What Moms Don’t Tell

I was super young when I had my first two kids, so most of my friends hadn’t even thought about babies yet. I didn’t have a group of fellow moms in the trenches to unpack the woes of parenting with. Friends with older kids had already forgotten what it was like. So I thought I was doing it wrong most of the time.

When you are the only one who can’t pull it together, it’s pretty depressing.

Phoebe cryWith our second two babies, I’m older and hopefully a bit wiser. I still feel like I’m failing a lot, but thanks to social media, I know that I’m not the only one.

All the blogger moms out there, telling their traumatically funny toddler stories and epic Pinterest fails… they are a gift to us moms.

But I still see the other side of motherhood conversations too. We have plenty of moms projecting the “have it all together” image, with their success stories and perfect little birthday parties and their mommy guilt.

It’s easy for us moms to buy into that projection of “normal.” Always showered, a clean house, dinner (organic) on the table each night, and magical days filled by fingerpainting with your toddler.

Guys, nobody sane is able to pull that off. Not perfectly.

But I think, in the back of our minds, we all feel we are supposed to. So we post our few perfect moments. We only share our successes. Or we just stay quiet and suffer in silence.

Having more perspective this time around, I’m a lot better at reading between the lines.

I don’t feel intimidated by the mom who only posts her Instagram perfect moments, because I can see the edge of despair creeping around her tired eyes in the perfectly staged selfie of sandbox time with her toddler.

I know when a tired mama says, “Long day. So glad I can finally sit down,” that’s just the tip of her iceberg. The part she’s willing to share with the public.

Friends, I don’t blame us for posting our perfect, happy pictures of smiles and fun. That’s what we want to remember. And that’s what we will remember when the babies are big. Those moments are what last, when all the weariness is a distant memory.

But don’t be afraid to be real when you need to. And don’t ever think the rest of us have it all together.

We’re all drowning a little bit.


enoch cry  grumpybigkids

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Mom’s Day Out (to avoid insanity)

tiredlucyGuys, my sanity has been gradually unraveling. It has a lot to do with not sleeping for the past 17 months.

So I had a mental health day.

(Which means I spent the majority of the day with no kids.)

For you moms who haven’t had a childless day in 5 years, let me tell you what I did, so you can live vicariously through me.

First, I took a shower. No one interrupted. (I did have to break up a small fight between the big kids at the end, but who’s being picky?)

Next, I met my husband for lunch. No one tried to grab my plate and send it crashing to the floor. No one whined for bites of my food. No one interrupted our conversation. We actually sat in the bar area at a table with tall chairs, because we didn’t even need a highchair.

We ran an errand together, where we both got out of the car and walked right into the store. Neither of us stayed behind with whiny small people. We didn’t have to bring car seats or unstrap toddler seat-belts. We just got out of the car and walked in.

After Chris went back to work, things got really interesting.

I went swimsuit shopping.

Guys. I have no words for this experience. Is there anything more demoralizing to womankind?

OK, yes. I found out how to make it worse: I had a gift certificate to a store geared towards 15 year old girls who weigh 90 lbs. And I went there. For a swimsuit.

Just don’t EVER do that.

Apparently everything about me is wrong. Even my torso is too long. How can your torso be too long for stretchy Lycra? And half of me is one size and the other half is the next size up. Not the preferred halves. DRAT YOU, PEAR SHAPE!

I shook the dust off of my feet and went to the store beloved by all moms: Target.

It was still bad-ish, but manageable. And the lighting was more flattering, which helped a lot.

But, did you know Target only lets you take 6 items into the dressing room? I need way more than 6 tries to find a suit that covers all my important bits, without making me look 75 years old. And since it was the coldest day in the history of everything, I had about 5 layers on. After a few times of undressing and redressing, I was really tempted to wrap my coat around my almost naked, too-long torso to pick out the next suits to try.

Eventually I selected the least offensive option, and then I walked in the makeup aisles. Just because I could. No one grabbed the nail polishes. No one begged for Bonnie Bell (actually, do they still make that? I can’t keep up.) No one moaned about how bored they were.

I didn’t buy any makeup. It was enough to be able to look at my leisure. I did grab some “feminine products” that were on clearance, because this was my exciting day out.

After purchasing my swimsuit and girl stuff, I went to the in-store Starbucks (which we un-affectionatley call “Tarbucks.”) I ordered an awful Americano and sat at one of the 3 tables, reading Facebook and listening to other people’s kids have meltdowns. Because, you KNOW I wasn’t going to go home until I had to.

Finally my personal day came to a close and I drove home to my children.

And you know what? My babies are beautiful!!!

Phoebe is so sweet and smiley and adorably chubby. Enoch is hilarious with all of his cute antics. Leah is full of imagination and wonder. Isaiah is creative and constantly strategizing genius things to do.

I just needed to be away from them to really appreciate them.

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Feels Like Flying and Other Myths

feelslikeflyingThe other day, I read someone say that when you’re doing exactly what you’re created to do, you feel like you’re flying.

I admire the sentiment.

The concept actually kind of annoys me. Because I know I’m doing what I was created to do (for this season of life, anyway). And it rarely feels like “flying.”

Sometimes it even feels like drowning.

There are days where the big kids WON’T stop arguing. And there are no clean bottles. And the key ingredient for dinner fell on the floor. And the dogs have to bark at every car that drives by.

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. But it doesn’t feel one bit like flying.

It’s hard work. And frustration. And a nagging sense of futility.

But it’s something worth doing.

Worth-doing things don’t always feel shiny. Or glamorous. Sometimes, in the moment, they don’t even feel fulfilling.

If a sense of being on top of the world is considered the plumb-line for deciding if my pursuits are worthy, that scares me. Because it places A LOT of emphasis on my feelings. And offers me a chance to give up too easily on something that might be hard and painful, but still completely mine: Completely something I was created to do.

So I’m going to keep at it.

And in between all the chaos, there are moments that pull everything into perspective.

Like when the whole family agrees that dinner is delicious. When one of the big kids says something that let’s me know they really get the Gospel. When the baby grabs me by the earrings to pull me close for a sloppy kiss. When my son sticks up for his little sister in a playground dispute. When my husband cuts some of my favorite outside flowers and puts them in a vase so I can enjoy them inside too.

Those are the moments that feel like winning.

They are why, with my feet planted on the ground, I keep doing exactly what I was created to do. Because I believe beauty is found in mundane. Sometimes you just might have to look really hard for it.

But it’s there.

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