Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On Parenting Our Hypothetical Children

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Do you remember your pre-child days? Remember all those things you swore you'd never do or let your child do? I do.... And I swear, most of them have gone by the wayside. Being a momma comes down to survival mode. We have to pick our battles.  But what are some of those battles we previously thought we'd win?
 
 
There's nothing I love more than hearing from other momma's about their journeys in motherhood. So on both my personal page and blog page, I asked,

 Before you were a parent, what was something you
*swore* your future children would never do that
you allow now that you are actually a parent?

And here's what everyone had to say.....

Time outs. lol I thought they were useless, they pretty much are, because it doesn't stop the behavior ...but I more so do it so I can compose myself and get 4 minutes of peace.

I hate the word "suck", but by the time they were in high school I let it go. They kept their mouths pretty clean around me even though I was smart enough to know that away from me it was a whole different story.

Let them have snacks at church. I let them watch way more tv then I ever thought I would.

My daughter is going to be five in January and still has a binky at bedtime.

Having my children sleep in bed with me. I did good with my other two and so did my husband with his two with the twins it went out the window the day we got them home from the NICU. I let them sleep with us ever since or with one of their siblings. Shame on me...

I always swore I'd never be too busy for my kid. They'd always have 100% of me, all the time. Nearly 17 years of this, and I can tell you there are definitely times when my kids didn't get all of me, or even the best of me. But I'm ok with that. It's helped my kids to realize they're not the center of anyone's universe, which is helping them to learn empathy.

Definitely sleeping in bed with me, I always thought it was dangerous! More dangerous is the seriously tired mom zombie. Once I snuggled her close and realized we were breathing in unison I knew that cosleeping could be safe! I do love all of her soft baby breaths and her sweet baby smell when she sleeps peacefully lol

Eat crap. I wasn't going to raise a picky eater! My kids would like flavors and veggies. Yep! Kids are their own people and you can't make them do anything! I have one picky eater and one who does eat anything.

Eat in my car.

Formula feeding. I was going to be that mom who would master the art of breastfeeding and avoid formula at all cost, cause it can't be THAT hard, right?! I got a huge reality check. My supply wasn't enough to sustain my son 100% of the time so I had to supplement with formula.

I said I would NEVER let the kids have a TV in their rooms.... fast forward to Christmas this year. 3 TV's with DVD's were wrapped under the tree. Sometimes you just need to put on a movie and have the kids be separated!

Sleep in a bed filled with stuffed animals.

I swore my children would not be allowed to sleep in bed with me....5 years later my daughter and I share a bed....it's just easier that way. I learned if you want to be able to sleep, sometimes you have to change your beliefs.

I know it's not really a big deal but I always said he wouldn't go play or open his Happy Meal toy before he was done eating. He opens the toy first and goes play right away, but he still eats his meal, 1 bite every time he comes out of a slide.

Sounds weird (and has a story behind it).... Watch Disney movies.

Play with Barbies... eat fast food... homeschool...


I love that so many mommas were comfortable enough to comment. I relate to ALL of them. I taught preschool for so many years. The guilt I have for all the judgment I passed is ridiculous. There's such a huge dissonance between being childless and thinking you know what is appropriate/needed to solve a child-related issue and actually being a parent and meeting the needs of your child with all the emotion involved.
 
Simply said, it's easier to parent when you aren't an actual parent. Once these tiny humans enter our lives, our emotions, hormones, and rationale are altered.
 
And that's okay. Different kiddos require different parenting styles. There is no "one size fits all" approach to raising children. Sometimes we have to adjust our previously held theories and beliefs to fit the darling little ones we are gifted.  How have your views changed since you became a parent?




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Monday, June 19, 2017

And So I Rock Her

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It's late at night. You're rocking baby while your partner sleeps soundly. At their moment, you are alone in the world...
You feel isolated.
You feel a bittersweet frustration.
You feel smothered and nurturing simultaneously.


Have I ever told you that I don't remember the last time I rocked my son (now 8.5 years old) to sleep? I don't. I've no recollection of the last time I held him. And now, in his burgeoning boyishness I've no memory of when I last held his sweet little body, folded perfectly onto my frame. And it saddens me. It breaks my heart for the boy-baby that he used to be and has grown out of.
 
And here I am now... with a 3 year old who still nurses to sleep and does not sleep alone for longer than 2 hours at a time. Like many moms, after bedtime is the only time I get to myself all day. It's when I decompress, get projects and blog posts done, and just get a moment for me, in general. And so often this time is interjected with long hours spent holding Sunny while she sleeps. And there are so many nights when I just want to be able to put her down.

And when I take the time to think about it I feel like a failure. I feel bad for both sides of this situation. Regretful that I've not helped her learn to "self-soothe" and sleep independently by this point in her life. Guilty that when she needs me in those sleepytime hours, I'm clambering for my space. It's a double-edged sword that cuts my momma heart in two. 
 
 
But it is what it is.
 
These days go by so quickly. She's turned from a snuggly little burrito baby into a gangly toddler seemingly overnight.  And someday, she'll be too big to be nestled against my chest. Someday, she'll think it silly to snuggle with Mom. So for now, I have to cherish these moments... savoring each one. Because you never know something is happening for the last time until it doesn't ever happen again.
 
And so I hold her.
And so I rock her.
And so I be the comfort she needs in the night.
I am her safe place.
And that is okay.
 



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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Truth About Miscarriage: Mourning Before We Rejoice

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They tell you not to announce a pregnancy too soon. Who "they" is, I don't know. I just know the ill-explained societal rule that you don't publicly announce until around 12 weeks. But when I got the positive pregnancy test, I couldn't help but tell a handful of close friends... my virtual momma tribe.
 
Because I couldn't contain my excitement.
Because I wanted those close to me to share in the baby magic.
Because I needed their support.


Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, the support of my closest friends was what kept me afloat during one of the heaviest times of my life. It's taken me a week to write about it. Partially because nothing I can say can begin to touch the pain, and partially because hitting the publish button makes this all real...permanent.
 
By the time I gave birth to my son, I had two miscarriages.  They were heartbreaking, but that was back before the days of social media. So I was stranded in my sorrow, unaware that other women were dealing with the same grief I was. Then I had my first baby. And a few years later, another one. And the darkness of that pain was diminished by the light those two little ones brought to my days. But still... I felt unfinished. Like I was meant to be a mother to more....

Fast forward to three weeks ago. I felt different. My little nursling, Sunny, said that her "nummies" tasted different. And even before the positive pregnancy test, I was pretty sure that I was pregnant.  Sure enough, I took a test, and...


And in an instant, I foresaw all that was in store for me. I saw that baby's face, felt that little hand upon my face, and heard that little voice call me "momma" for the first time. I was on cloud nine, ready to welcome the next little one into our family. Then last Thursday, I woke up and discovered I was bleeding.  I knew in an instant what was happening. A trip to the doctor's office for an hcg blood test, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound told us what we needed to know. 

And then I was sent home for my body to do what it needed to do while I pretended that nothing was wrong around my littlest two kiddos. I had to put on a happy face for my daughter's birthday party. My body hurt, my soul ached, and I was heartbroken. And I felt alone, because only a handful of people actually knew what was going on.

That first morning, when I woke up and realized I was miscarrying, I vague-booked... posted a status asking for prayers. But I wish that I'd had those prayers from the second I found out I was pregnant.  Because so many women feel awkward or silly announcing in those early days of pregnancy. But isn't that precarious, delicate, scary time when expecting mommas need their support system to circle the wagons and send prayers and super sticky baby juju?

Instead, we stifle the joy of having life grow within us because society says we aren't suppose to get excited too soon. And for a small minority of expectant mothers, that means harboring the grief of their loss alone.

Too many of us mourn before we rejoice.
 
Three of my babies have seen Jesus before they've seen me. This is the comfort I've found... the peace I can hold onto with my empty arms. Because unlike other losses, there won't be a funeral. How do I deal with this loss without a formal way to say goodbye?
 
A well-meaning friend tried to console me by reminding me I'd only been pregnant a few weeks. No. No. No. No. Something that other loss mommas may relate to is that you can ask any one of us how old our angel babies would be right now, and we can tell you. Mine would be 17 years, 14 years, and I would have a baby due in January 2018. Though their lives maybe brief, we remember their presence... on those milestones, our due dates, on the anniversaries of their expected births.
 
 
I'm handling this publicly because there should be no shame. No longer should we have to hide our grief. And perhaps another loss momma will find some comfort in my words.
 
I'm here if you need me or want to share your story to honor your precious lost little one. Many blessings.
 



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