The Life Not My Own

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Things I Thought I'd Never Do

Today I let my son drink a nasty, not-even-100% juice drink.  I always told myself I'd never, ever let my children drink those things.  Yet, here I was, standing in the convenience store aisle, my son begging for the cool looking juice drink, and I gave in.  I was hot from the muggy day, desperately needing a nice cold drink myself, and waiting for my husband to get off work (yes, on a Saturday...again).  In that moment, the tantrum wasn't worth it.

We sat outside in the shade drinking our not-so-good for us drinks in peace, and I realized that one little fake juice drink wasn't going to kill him.

In my less than two years as a parent, I've done many things I thought I'd never do.  Bringing the baby into bed with us, waking him up from a nap, letting him eat Cheetos at a party, losing my temper with him, and even temporarily working outside the home...the list goes on and on.

Some of those things, like losing my temper with him, I regret.  I've accepted that I'm not perfect and that I make mistakes, but I definitely accept that I made mistake.  Most of those things, though, I don't regret for a minute.

I honestly wish I didn't come into motherhood with so many opinions and ideas.  Maybe then I wouldn't have woken up exhausted on day 5 of motherhood, crying with guilt because I finally gave in and let my screaming newborn son sleep on my chest in our bed.  Maybe then I wouldn't have wasted so much time on the internet searching for what was wrong with me as a mom, since my 3-month-old didn't follow the "rules" of how a baby that age should be sleeping or for how long.  Maybe then I wouldn't feel like I needed to pretend that my son only ever ate organic, healthy food, and didn't even know that junk food, artificial colors, or GMOs existed.

Motherhood is tough enough without trying to live up to all these expectations that we set for ourselves.  The truth is, God created me to be Miles' mommy.  He knew that I would be the best mother to Miles just by being myself.  Miles would not be any better off with the perfect, ideal mother that I dream of being.  Honestly, trying to be that perfect mom steals too much time, joy and energy that could be spent just enjoying being with my son, and enjoying being his mother.

As the years pass on, I'm sure I will do many more things as a mom that I promised myself I'd never do, and that's just fine.  The more I let go of those pre-conceived notions and ideals I have, the better mom I'll be anyway.  

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Life: An Update

Today I realized that I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and the only thing I’ve posted on here about it is our pregnancy announcement and one other post.  It’s not that I don’t have things to talk about…life just keeps seeming to get in the way.

I’m a SAHM to one busy toddler, so how busy could I really be?  The problem is that “Stay at Home Mom” is only a job description…not an accurate picture of my daily life. 

A year and a half ago, my husband and his father had the opportunity to buy the business that they had been running for a number of years.  That in and of itself was crazy.  Six months ago we had the opportunity to buy the counterpart retail store on the square of our little town as well.  Somehow, remodeling and revamping a 10,000 square foot retail space wasn’t enough…we decided to open a coffee shop AND a brick oven pizza place in part of the building as well.  Add to that the fact that my husband was taking 13 college credit hours this past semester, and you start to realize that he was really rarely ever home.  We hardly got to see him unless it was at the store, and we frequented it as often as we could. 

Life was crazy, to say the least.  I felt like a single parent many days.  I even traveled on a plane alone all the way out to sunny California with my wiggling, active “lap child” toddler son because my husband was far too busy to go.  I missed having family time.  I missed getting to eat dinner together every night.  I missed my husband. 

Yet, somehow we made it out and things have slowed down considerably.  Only now, I’m the one working.  My husband was needing help with some office work at the plant, and I’ve been working a few hours a day to help them catch up.  The rest of the day is pretty much a wash from my son being so thrown off his schedule.  Its rough, to say the least.

And did I mention that I’m really, REALLY trying to stay on top of my garden this year?  Yeah, life is full and crazy.  Yet, somehow amidst all this craziness little Baby Baker makes his or her presence known with near constant kicks and jabs.  I’m thankful for those little kicks.  They make me slow down and really sit and think.

So there you have it…a little snippet of my life right now.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before you hear from me again.  I’m not making any promises, though. :)     

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Second Baby Guilt

I’ve never really had baby fever.  I’ve never felt an overwhelming need to hold a newborn baby…never cried over a friend who got pregnant before me.  I do remember aching for a child of my own, though…a babe to fill my arms and turn me into this mysterious creature called a “mother”.

When Miles Patrick came along, he filled my arms and my heart more full than I could ever have imagined. Almost two years later, he still does.  Not once since he was born have I felt the need or craving for another baby.  Yet, today another precious life is being formed within my womb.  

Despite not having that aching for another baby, I knew that I wanted another child.  I knew that we needed another child and that Miles needed a sibling.  Let me assure you, this babe that grows within me is very much wanted.  We know that he or she is a wonderful little blessing being knit together to fit perfectly into our family.

Still, I find myself dealing with guilt.  The excitement I feel over this pregnancy just doesn’t match the excitement I had with my first.  I don’t know how many weeks pregnant I am down to the day.  Some days it takes me a minute to even remember how many weeks along I am.  This pregnancy seems to fly by to the point where I wish it would slow down because I just don’t feel ready yet.  I feel guilty because I didn’t, and still don’t, ache for this baby the way I did for Miles.  Does that make me a bad mother, or make this baby any less wanted or cherished? 

A second baby is so different from the first.  I know what to expect so much better.  I dread the sleepless nights and worry about breastfeeding struggles.  I wonder, and for good reason, if I will be able to keep my sanity with a newborn and a toddler to care for. 

Yet, I also know about the good parts.  I know what it’s like to hold your newborn baby for the very first time.  I know the pride you feel when your child takes their first steps, or the way your heart melts when they kiss your cheek for the first time.  I also know without a doubt that each precious coo, each sweet smile, will make up for all the hard realities of motherhood.

A mother should never feel guilty for feeling differently during her second pregnancy.  Knowing what’s coming does not make your love for this child any less.  In truth, I may not ache for a baby to hold, but my heart does ache.

What does my heart ache for?  My heart aches for the day when not just Miles, but another beloved child as well, will wake me up in the morning with tackles and eskimo kisses.  It aches to watch Miles transform into a big brother, and to give his brother or sister one of his sweet, wet kisses.  It aches to see one child on Daddy’s strong shoulders while the other holds his hand beside him.  It aches to sit out in our backyard on a warm spring day and watch my two little ones play with our dogs.  I may not ache for a baby, but I do ache for a child. 

There is no guilt or shame in that.    

And so to this baby due in October I say: “Precious little one, don’t let my dampened enthusiasm make you doubt my love.  Instead, know that, despite knowing how hard and exhausting and draining motherhood really is, I still chose you.  I may have ached for Miles…but I wanted you.

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