Saturday, May 21, 2016

What have I missed?

I have been a high school English teacher for five years.  For the past two years, I have also been a mother.  I'm not gonna lie: it's been tough.  I know there are so many women that successfully work full-time outside of the home and are also amazing mothers to their children and incredible homemakers, but honestly I have struggled with being able to do it all.  At one point I had to accept that I would always be lacking in one area of my life (i.e.: cooking, cleaning) due to the demands and responsibilities of the other areas (i.e.: teaching, mothering, surviving).  It hasn't been ideal, but it's been a necessity in order to support my family.  

In two weeks, though, I will officially be a stay-at-home mom (er, rather, a work-from-home mom - online teaching is a wonderful thing!).  With Baby #2 coming in August, my husband and I knew that it was time.  It was a very bittersweet decision, but I feel very blessed that this will finally be a reality for me.

I've gotten a small glimpse of what "staying at home" will be like this past week as I've had to miss work to be home with a "sick" little boy (apparently it's bad parenting to send your child to day care with a rash).  Up till now, Saturdays have been my day to spend with just Jackson and I.  Unfortunately, I am usually so exhausted from the work week and also overwhelmed by all of the house things that need to be accomplished (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing - everything neglected Monday-Friday), that I am not a very fun mommy on the weekends.

The two whole weekdays that I have spent with Jackson this past week, though, have been the best.  We made Belgian waffles for breakfast one morning.  We played with blocks and cars.  We spent an afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  We played with pots and pans, pouring water from one to the other.  We went to the park.  We played with bubbles... inside the house!  Throughout these two days of just the two of us, I've been reflecting on the past two years of not being able to stay home and asking myself the question: What have I missed?

I went back to work when Jackson was 7 weeks old, and during the school year he has been cared for by my husband, Grandma and day care.  I know I have been there for the big things: first crawl, first tooth, first walk, first talk.  But what about the little things?  What have I missed out on by not being home with my baby boy?

I've missed giggles and smiles.  I've missed getting him up in the mornings.  I've missed being able to wipe away tears.  I've missed establishing a daily routine.  I've missed learning opportunities.  I've missed hugs and kisses.  I've missed noticing personality traits.  I've missed doctor visits.  I've missed feeding him.  I've missed trips to the library and the park and the pool and the zoo.  I've missed making friends for both of us.

Jackson knows his mommy loves him, and I know that I am his favorite (sorry, daddy!), but part of me will always be sad that I missed so many of the little joys of his first couple of years.

The other part of me is just so grateful and happy and excited (and a little nervous) to be staying home with not only one baby boy, but TWO baby boys come August.  I foresee many more morning waffles and trips to the park in my future... and messes to pick up, and diapers to change, and dishes to clean, and laundry to wash, and mouths to feed, as well as cheeks to kiss, and hands to hold, and little bodies to cuddle.  I can't wait!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Motherhood Is...

Obviously this is a couple of days late, but these thoughts have been going through my mind since last Saturday.  From my own experience, this is what motherhood is for me right now, in no particular order.

Motherhood is being the last person to eat, and then never actually finishing your meal.

Motherhood is hearing your name screamed at you at least 200 times per day (this Family Guy clip is making a whole lot more sense now).

Motherhood is thinking that everything he does is the cutest thing in the world.

Motherhood is knowing that literally every surface in your home is probably covered in snot.

Motherhood is feeling lonely.

Motherhood is learning to never close your eyes when he is sitting on your lap because you never know when he will decide to throw his head back and break your nose.

Motherhood is repeating the same request 10 times in a row with absolutely no response or indication of compliance.

Motherhood is intentionally letting him make a mess on the floor with food or water or whatever because it is easier to clean it up than deal with the tantrum that would follow if you had said no in the first place.

Motherhood is crying all the way home from a trip to the grocery store with him and then vowing to never again put yourself through that trauma.

Motherhood is wiping boogers off his face with the underside of his shirt... or in the absence of a shirt, just using your bare hands.

Motherhood is being patient, and then losing your patience, and then yelling, and then feeling bad about yelling, and then asking for forgiveness and a hug, and then trying again the next day.

Motherhood is feeling inadequate in every way possible.

Motherhood is knowing that you are his favorite person in the world.

Motherhood is watching him color all over the walls, doors and windows because you are just so tired.

Motherhood is being proud of every milestone, no matter how big or small.

Motherhood is feeling your heart grow in capacity and strength everyday.

Motherhood is thinking that you are doing it all wrong.

Motherhood is being the only person who can calm him down when he's upset.

Motherhood is teaching him to say "please" and "thank you."

Motherhood is reading the same book over and over and over and over (I'm sorry, Dr. Seuss, but could your books be any longer?!).

Motherhood is just wanting him to grow up to be kind.

Motherhood is watching him take risks and wanting to protect him from the dangers, but also knowing that you have to let him learn somethings for himself and you can't protect him from everything.

Motherhood is singing him to sleep.

Motherhood is being amazed at how much he has already learned in his short life.

Motherhood is making funny faces and talking silly and playing games and all-around acting like a kid yourself.

Motherhood is thinking that everyone else is doing it right and has it all together.

Motherhood is letting him fall asleep on your shoulder every night and not really wanting to put him in his own bed because you love just holding him.

Motherhood is not understanding how such a little person can be so gosh darn cute.

Motherhood is realizing that you will never be able to talk logic with a toddler.

Motherhood is trying not to fall into the social media lie that everyone else's life is perfect and clean and fun and worry-free.

Motherhood is thinking that your almost 2-year old is a genius because he speaks in full complete sentences: "I did it!" "I want it!" (as a bonus, your English-teacher heart is so happy because clearly he understands subject-verb-direct object sentence structure).

Motherhood is an endless parade of dishes and laundry.

Motherhood is loving someone with "so much of [your] heart that none is left to protest."

Old photos from December 2015