Tag Archives: motherhood

An Imbalanced Act

I have been contemplating re-visiting Fabrictherapy for some time. It seems like the pace of my life is so frantic that sitting down to write may be the only way I can give myself a chance to breath, rest, think. I came across one of my posts from almost five years ago “In her eyes” and found myself in tears. Partly because I don’t feel like I am giving my youngest daughter the same playful opportunities I gave my first born, and partly because I am overtired and fighting a cold.

So much has changed since I last wrote. My two oldest children are now in school. Sofia is a tall lanky seven year old, sassy as ever, and Charlie is courageous five year old, diving into the world of kindergarten. My little Anna and I are also diving into a new world: daycare. I inwardly shutter as I write the word. Millions of women put their children into daycare. Do each of them struggle with the same oppressing guilt? This guilt is heightened by the fact that my other two never went to daycare.

Will Anna one day ask me why she was put in daycare but I spent seven days a week with her older siblings? Will she feel that she is less valued because I chose to seek help with her care in order to pursue work opportunities?

She is only there two days a week but I ache for her ever bit of those two days. I wonder if she is crying. Is she asking for mommy? Is she wondering why I left her? How much can a three year old understand? The ironic thing is that I leave her in daycare so that I can work with other people’s children.

Since last time I wrote my interior decorating business has rather taken off and I started working part time as the Birth to Five Children’s Coordinator at my church. This combination amounts to a fairly flexible, fairly full time work schedule. I am lucky enough that two out of the four days I work for the church I am able to bring Anna to participate in the classes. She also participates in my interior decorating business, driving all over the lower mainland sourcing product, sometimes even shopping with me and a client. I am lucky to have such flexibility but I am not so sure that she is lucky to be along for the ride.

I read “In her eyes” and remembering the frequent walks and playful games I engaged in with Sofia when she was Anna’s age tipped me over the edge. Instead Anna gets dragged from client’s house to furniture store to fabric store then shipped off to daycare. What am I doing? Should I be doing all this? How can I find balance? I love my children to bits and pieces but I also love my work.

Does it boil down to an extreme move like stepping back from my business or simply better using the time I do have with her, with all of them. I know that being their mom is my biggest most important job. How do I do that well while balancing all these other bits of my life?

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You Know You’re a Mom When

You know you’re a mom when…

You begin calling your husband “daddy”

You stay up until 9pm watching Netflix and call it a wild night

You consider putting make-up on in the car an occupational hazard

You know you’re a mom when…

You call getting four hours of sleep in a row a “good night”

You can sing along to all the lyrics from “Frozen”

You become used to random people catching glimpses of your boobs

You know you’re a mom when…

You resort to washing yourself with baby wipes

You consider castoffs and crusts to be lunch

You can’t shake the feeling that you smell like poop (oh wait, what’s that on your sleeve…)

You know you’re a mom when…

You hear your baby crying when no one else can hear it

You ache when they fall and hurt themselves

You have busy hands, full arms, and a warm heart

 

 

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Humour at Home

Weary Bones, Thankful Heart

I’ve been feeling weary lately. Partly from having spent four days painting and stenciling my kitchen and adjoining room last week and partly from motherhood. I see a reflection of my own weariness in the face of most every mother I come in contact with. Not that they don’t love their children and enjoy mothering them, but it is tiring for all of us.

Yesterday at my mom’s house I lay in bed praying that the antsy little girl beside me and the screaming little boy in the attached room would fall asleep so that I could have a rest myself. They did, and as I lay quietly next to that little girl, I day dreamed of running away from them. I’m not afraid to admit that the thought crosses my mind from time to time because I know I never would, and I know that I am not alone in such thoughts.

I thought about jumping into my car and driving far far away, to a beach near crisp clear water, surrounded by trees, where I could embrace peace and quiet and perhaps an extra portion of happiness. I dreamed of lying on said beach in complete silence with no one demanding my attention. And even in this dream, my heart ached.

The thing is, I can’t live without them. They are embedded so thoroughly into my heart that in such a scenario there would be no peace to be found, no happiness to clasp onto. They need me and I need them too. They keep me going on the bad days, force me to get out of bed and enter into the world of the living. My  children help me to live life more fully. Yes, I am bone weary at times, but my interaction with them, the process of giving love and being loved in return, is nourishing to my soul.  I am weary but I am thankful.

and perhaps one quiet day at the beach is not too much to ask for 🙂

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Appearences Deceive

This morning I attended “Sports Day” at my daughter’s preschool and brought Charlie along for the ride. While sitting at the playground afterwards, a lovely mom from the preschool came up to me. She complimented me on how “put together” the kids and I always are and how I  always have a big smile and radiate peace.

Her intentions were the sweetest and I appreciate her view of things but I had to laugh (as did my husband when I told him). How deceiving appearances can be (though I never thought I could possibly appear this way to anyone.). Would those other moms who I envy for how “with it” they appear be just as bemused as I was at this kind of interpretation?

Perhaps I smile so widely when dropping Sofia off because I can’t wait for a break from my challenging “threenager” and perhaps the same smile emerges when seeing her after a well needed breather because I do really love her. Perhaps I look put together because my hubby ends up late for work on preschool days in order to help his frazzled wife get the kid’s ready and allow her a moment to throw on some lipstick (he irons my clothes too!). And radiating peace, well that’s got to be Jesus in me because on my own I am anything but peaceful by nature.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve spent the last week and a half grieving my (Steve’s) grandfather’s passing along with the rest of his family. That I am emotionally exhausted from both experiencing my own grief and being surrounded by others grief. The truth is that minus a week or two of sweet, productive, DIY bliss, I spent the month and a half before grandpa’s passing gradually spiraling downwards into a pit of destructive self loathing, depression, and eventually stupor due to an attempt to adjust my medications.

The truth is that my house is a total mess, my husband is the one who keeps the kid’s bathed, and I often feel that I won’t be able to make it to bedtime if I have to answer the question “why” one more time.

This is the truth of my life. Is it the same for those I view as “super moms”?

 

 

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Beauty and the Beast

Hello. My name is Heather, most often referred to as mommy, and I am the Beast. More accurately, my two, almost three year old brings out the beast in me.

Sofia is…spirited…and it makes me crazy. Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m not the only one in the house with an ear infection causing decreased hearing because she doesn’t seem to hear a thing I say. Or at least she doesn’t listen. Somewhere in my mind I know that she is displaying classic toddler behavior but this understanding doesn’t seem to sooth the Beast.

In return for her behavior I am short, snappy, and impatient towards her. I act like this until I am slammed in the face with my own shame when she snuggles sweetly into my arms for a nap time story and song.  And then I have to reevaluate. Thank God for the time naps give for mommy introspection.

Yes, her behavior is unacceptable but no, I cannot allow myself to become a short tempered beast. She learns nothing from this. Despite how infuriated, frustrated, and tired I feel, it is my job as her mommy to guide her towards beauty. She is a toddler and I am the adult she spends the most time around therefor she learns how to react to life situations from watching me. If I react with frustration and anger when she does not obey me, how is she to know how to react patiently when her brother frustrates her? The relationship is different but the reaction needs to be the same: loving patience.

I need this reminder on a day like today when she is testing me. She may need to be corrected and/or punished for her behavior but not out of anger but rather out of a desire to teach her and help mold her into a beautiful person. I have been worrying lately about what my spirited little girl might be like when she is a teenager, if she will be “trouble”. As I reflect on this, I see that the chances of that depend a lot on what I am teaching her now. And you know what they say: practice what you preach or you might as well shut up (okay, I added that last part).

So instead of going blue in the face when she behaves badly, my goal for the rest of the day (must take these things one day at a time), is to model loving patience, because if I want my little girl to be a beauty rather than a beast, I must show her how.

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Through Her Eyes

I have been going through a bit of an emotionally rocky time. These times often happen for no rhyme or reason and I pass through, unharmed, time and time again. My daughter is young enough to remain fairly oblivious of my mood changes during these times and for this I am thankful. To her all continues on the same and when I look through her eyes I see that no matter what life’s current circumstances are…

The world is a game. Life is an adventure.

Telephone poles are for climbing (unsuccessfully), puddles are for splashing in, roots are for jumping over, rocks are for jumping off.

Lines are tightropes to be bravely walked across and sidewalks are stages, meant for singing and dancing.

Bridges are inhabited by grumpy old trolls and the alphabet must be sung to gain safe passage.

Rocks are treasures to purchase chocolate twigs with, weeds are flowers to be picked and admired.

Everyone is a friend, regardless of age, to be greeted with a smile.

Cars have feelings and sometimes need kisses and coffee to make them feel better.

Through her eyes, the world is a very different place.

This sweet child has yet to be touched by grief or pain and embraces the world with innocence and curiosity. She helps me to see the good, the beautiful, in all that surrounds me. When I look at the world through her eyes I am able to let go of grief, pain, and worry. I am able to open my eyes to appreciate beauty, open my mouth to sing cheerful songs, and move my body to the carefree ring of our voices.

As we walk down the street, side by side, I am thankful for her perspective.

Thank you Sofia.

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Yee-Haw! Thoughts on Encouragement

If I believed in re-incarnation I would say that I must have been a cow-girl in a previous life. Seeing as I don’t believe in it, I will explain the following paragraph by confessing that I listen to a lot of JRFM (our local country music station).

This morning, after succeeding in climbing up a slide ladder she had never been able to climb before, my daughter, wild with excitement, yelled out “yee-haw!”. My first thought was, “what the..?”, soon followed by oh, I guess I use phrases like that when I express excitement over her accomplishments. (I have also taught her to say “chewbacca, chewbacca, chewbacca, spit”, as well as “honky tonk bedonk-a-donk” because they sound funny coming from a two-year-old but that is another topic and not one that will put me in a good light as a mother).

I know this must seem like a tangent but there was a logical process in my mind which led me to contemplate encouragement. I express frequent and heartfelt encouragement for my children’s accomplishments, however small, through words like “Good job!” and “Yee-haw!” as well as big mama bear hugs.  I do this, not because it is my “job” as their mom or because I am purposefully trying to foster self-esteem, but because I am truly excited to watch them grow and learn.

This comes naturally to me as a mother, but not as a person. Some people, like my husband, are naturally gifted encouragers. Others, like myself, are more inclined to be negative. For people who are naturally negative, the skill of encouragement needs to be learned and practiced. How different would life be, would our workplaces and friendships be, if we all learned to express to one another the kind of enthusiastic, heartfelt encouragement we express towards our children?

One of the reasons I struggled in my job as a nurse was the lack of encouragement in my workplace. I spent most of my time trying to keep my head above water as I struggled to learn the vast body of knowledge necessary for my work as well as fight the mental battle raging inside of my head. I can’t help but wonder how different, how much easier, my experience might have been if instead of only correction for what I had done wrong, I had received encouragement for what I had done right.

I needed this type of positive affirmation from my superiors and I did not receive it. In fact, in my two and a half years at that workplace I can’t think of one encouraging word that was said to me by my leaders. But I see now that encouragement goes both ways and that while I can’t drag it out of others, I can dole it out to those around me.

I hope to return to a casual nursing position sometime in the next year and it is my prayer that as I enter the workplace as a changed individual, strengthened through motherhood and emotionally leveled through medication, that I will be an encouragement to those around me. It will not come naturally but I hope to be able to take my experience as an encouraging mother and transfer it to an existence as an encouraging co-worker. Giddy-up!

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family