Enough

We all have the days of thinking we aren’t cut out for this parenting gig. Whether your kids are young, teenagers, or adults, feelings of failure just pop up every now and then. We get frustrated, lash out, wallow in parenting guilt, apologize, and tell ourselves we’ll be better next time. Or we have the days where we give the kids the easy meals (you know, cheerios in a baggy, PB&J, frozen chicken nuggets), and let them watch tv for way longer than we’re willing to admit. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m almost certain it’s not.

Or maybe your child(ren) are adults and you see them hurting, trying and failing, getting lost in things they shouldn’t, and you wonder if you did something wrong to allow this to happen. You think you should’ve prepared them better, that maybe if you did XY&Z, this wouldn’t have happened.

We just all feel like crappy parents sometimes.

My parents did a freaking amazing job at raising me and my six siblings. I’m honestly amazed when I think back to childhood and can now see troubles they faced, things that must have been so stressful to them, and yet I don’t remember once being stressed. I also remember the lazy days of snacks as meals and movie days. I remember my mom declaring game day over school (some of my favorite days) and we’d all be so excited. In reality though, I bet sometimes she just needed a break from me spelling the word “cooperate” wrong a dozen times or not understanding fractions for the life of me. 

My point in that little snippet of my parents and siblings is that it reassures me that I know I have the best parents anyone could ask for since I know that things have never been perfect. There were off days, there have been dramatic, heart shattering things happen in my family. And I hope my parents never think they weren’t or aren’t good parents or that anything that has happened in our (my siblings and I) lives is due to their parenting, especially choices we made personally. 

I look at this and try to give myself the same break. Life can be hard. Parenting can be hard. My kids are still young, and I’ll have many days ahead of feeling less than perfect, less than okay. There will be things I can’t foresee happen, there will be things that make me question everything. But I’m the best parent to my kids. You’re the best parent to yours. This parenting gig doesn’t come with a manual no matter how much we wish it did. We have these little humans to raise to the best of our ability. We have off days, they have off days.. But as long as we try our best, pour love into their hearts, speak hope and strength to them along with the truth they need, we are doing our best. You are doing your best. And if you’re my mom or anything like her, I guarantee you that’s enough. More than enough. Actually incredible and you’re kind of supermom.

Where it all starts

Don’t tell me my feelings aren’t valid. Don’t tell me I’m making this up in my head. 

When you’re 10 and you’re told you’re not skinny enough, you will end up crying in your bed. When people laugh because the swimsuit doesn’t fit the same, but you’re told it’s just a phase, you don’t just go back to feeling okay.

When you’re 11 and you’re told to stop eating, you start to wonder why this is happening, why you’re different than the rest of your friends and the only one who isn’t playing.

When you’re 12 and they say your belly shouldn’t be sticking out, that you should look into diets because being skinny is what being pretty is all about, you realize maybe that’s why your friends are nowhere to be found.

When you’re 13 and you cover your face with makeup trying to cover up your emotions and hide, people make fun of the way it looks and you laugh it off like you aren’t breaking apart from the inside. 

When you’re 14 and you get your first stamp of approval on your body, being told you look skinny, everything feels right and you decide you can continue to go hungry.

… When you’re 23, and you still can’t wear a swimsuit or go out of the house dressed for summer without a lump in your throat, you realize it’s still that 10 year old girl living in you and looking for a way out. 

Goodbye, 2016.

This year started out a bit rough and is ending pretty great. A few highlights from the year:

  • We moved out of an apartment I couldn’t stand into a cleaner, brighter, bigger, and overall better apartment.
  • We found out on Mothers Day night that we are welcoming another little babe into our lives, and she’ll be here in the next few weeks! (38 weeks today!)
  • My husband got a new job which is an answer to many many prayers over the last 5+ years.
  • My marriage is in a better spot than it has been probably since the first year of marriage.

It’s been a good year in my personal life. I have so much to be thankful for and even the hardships this year have or are working out for the better.

I have a few resolutions for 2017 but only one I’ll share here, which is to write every single day of 2017. Whether it’s on this blog, or in my journal, or (probably most often) on the new WordPress account I just created, which you can find at: https://rhoadestocreativity.wordpress.com/ . This WordPress account will be primarily for building inspiration and creativity which will come from a writing prompt book I got for Christmas from my super thoughtful brother. There are 400 writing prompts and I’ll pick a different one for every post I make. Feel free to follow that one as well!

I hope all of you have had a great year, and if not, I hope you can start this new one with an optimistic and bright attitude and that you’ll find positivity even in the midst of hardships.

 

Goodbye, 2016.
Hello, 2017.

When the dust settles

Sleepy eyes,
one more click on snooze,
cuddle up closer.
I’ll take one more moment of silence with you.

Screaming kids,
spilled milk,
cheerios on the floor.
I’ll take this chaos if I can live this life with you.

Running late,
looking for coats and shoes,
running back in for the thing forgotten.
But I won’t forget how lucky I am to have you by my side.

And sitting here amongst laundry to be folded, toys to be picked up, outfits to plan out, work to get done by morning, I don’t mind.
My arms are full but my heart is fuller.
I’ll do all this and so much more if it just means that at the end of the day,
when the errands are ran,
when the work is done,
when the kids have been fed,
when the giggles have consumed us,
when the house is still a mess,
when their eyes have finally closed for the night,
when the dust settles,
I have you by my side.

After all, this is the life I once dreamt about.

Five’s a good number

I’m always telling myself I will write more, along with all the other empty promises I make to myself. It’s funny that the last time I posted here was the night before a big change in life.

We are welcoming our third bundle of love this January. Harper came as the biggest shock (and I mean the kind where I screamed and possibly used more profanity than I have in my entire life). It was a Mothers Day surprise and a kind I was certain I never wanted. Well, that’s what I told myself (and had others convinced of as well).

We waited a long month before mentioning this news to family because I wanted to get to a point where I was happy with the news, where I didn’t have to fake the excitement. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, considering I thought that moment wouldn’t come until I’m holding her in my arms.

Life is funny though. God is kind of funny, and the way I tend to ignore His plan isn’t very  funny. I haven’t shared this with more than a couple people, but there was always something in the back of my mind that knew we would have another little girl. Even at the point where I was most certain I wanted to be done at two, I still knocked out the picture of our family with a second baby girl. 

It’s as if God was trying to tell me His plan, and I pushed it aside because two kids was perfect. A boy and a girl, what more could I ask for? And I had plans of my own. I wanted to graduate with my associates this coming Spring and I wanted to go on for my bachelors and masters shortly after. I love that I can hold both kids hands and fit both kids on my lap and I love how close they are and how much love is in our family. 

But we needed more love. More joy. More cuddles and more smiles and more sleepless nights and more patience and more crying and more lessons and more trust in God. And I’m glad His plan followed through even when I didn’t want it to and when I tried to prevent that.

It really only took a couple days for me to get excited instead of the utter shock I was in. And that excitement has grown and now at 30 weeks the excitement is overflowing. Audrey can’t wait to have a little sister and every day complains about how long it’s taking for Harper to get here. The nervousness isn’t as prevalent this time around, and instead I feel as though I can focus on just preparing.. which honestly isn’t as much as I thought I needed for the first two. This time I’m just like “as long as we have diapers and some clothes, we’re good”. I mean really, newborns don’t require much. 

I have more I want to write about but I’ll save that for another post and that way I have an excuse to get back on here in the very near future. Thanks for reading. 😊

The last time

Jeremy and I took Audrey to see Daniel Tiger Live tonight (her favorite show) and dropped Noah off at my in-laws. We had a great time, and Audrey absolutely loved singing her favorite songs and dancing around to the music while the characters performed on stage. It was a lot of fun. But something about us taking Audrey out without her brother for the first time since before he was born made me realize how fast things have gone by..

I’ve taken Audrey out for mommy-daughter time before, and Jeremy has taken her out for daddy-daughter time before. But it was the very first time she was out with both of us, alone, with our attention focusing only on her. It was familiar but also so weird. And it got me thinking and realizing how this little girl isn’t getting littler. She’s getting taller, bigger, smarter, stronger, and learning more about the world around her. She’s always been so smart and a way about her that makes her seem like a mini-adult. She could hold conversations since turning two years old. I’ve always loved her free spirit and the tad of sass she has as well.

We got home from the theatre tonight and we told her it was time to get ready for bed, and as I always do, I said “Okay, go find your pajamas and I can help you put them on” even though I knew she would respond with “I can do it all by myself.” We saw her from the living room go into her bedroom, pick out pajamas, undress and re-dress, all while singing a song from Daniel Tiger.

When in the world did she learn how to do these things on her own?

She hasn’t wanted me to help her dress for a few weeks now, maybe more.. She likes to do whatever she can by herself, and will only ask for help if she gets too frustrated. I didn’t realize the last time I helped her get dressed that it would be the last time. I didn’t realize the last time I buckled her into her car seat it would be the last time before she insisted she could do it on her own (and she’s getting very good at it!) and I didn’t know it’d be the last time she’d need me to brush her teeth, she just does it on her own now. I didn’t realize it was the last time for a lot of things…

And it’s funny, because some things are things that you wouldn’t think you’d miss. I didn’t think I would. I didn’t hope I’d have to do these things a lot longer. There were times I wished she could just dress herself so I could get something else done, or wish she’d brush her teeth so I could brush mine at the same time, or times I wished she’d go to sleep in her own bed so I could have ours to ourselves.. And she will sleep in our bed still, but she doesn’t ask to. She really only comes into our bed if I really want her cuddles (and let’s be honest, I usually do).

It’s just crazy to me. The last time will never be recognized as the last time. It will be recognized as another time, until days or weeks or months go by and you’re missing that even littler girl who needed you even more than she does now. I know she’ll always need me, and I know that because I still need my mom, but her independence will just keep growing and she’ll just keep getting more strong-willed, self confident, smarter, and more courageous. And I’ll be sitting here proud, but still missing the last thing that ended.

Savoring each moment can be really hard and nearly impossible. That’s okay. But it’s good to have those occasional moments where you do realize how quick things are going by and you’re able to appreciate the stage that is now.

Happy Mothers Day weekend to every mother or mother-figure. Let’s keep doing our best, and forgive ourselves for the moments we are less than our best, but still the best we can be for our kids. ❤

Anxiety

It’s something I try to keep hidden. It’s something I’ve dealt with for as long as I can remember. It’s something that haunts me, taunts me, and doesn’t seem to leave. It’s something I can’t explain. It’s something I don’t understand. It’s something I’ve been ashamed of. It’s something that worsens as time goes on.

I have good days. I have good weeks, sometimes good months. I don’t like talking about it because it’s something I can’t find the words for. I worry, a lot. About everything. I wake up nervous, I go to bed unsettled. I feel misunderstood a lot of the time. I feel lonely when I have the most amazing husband, the most loving children, an understanding and caring best friend, and the best family a girl could ask for. I don’t want people to think it’s something they can fix, or something they should be able to fix.

I get the worst scenarios popping into my head. I can’t take a shower with the oven on, I wont leave the house with the crockpot on, I wont go to sleep without getting up five times to make sure Audrey and Noah are still breathing, I panic when I hear sirens and Jeremy isn’t home yet, I fear it might be a loved one when I see a crash on the news, I will be driving and suddenly think about every single bad thing that could happen in the moment. I check my phone every 2 minutes when my babies aren’t with me.

And it sucks. a lot.

I was in the kitchen tonight prepping food for fast meals the next few days, and I started to feel anxious. I then thought of how maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if this person hadn’t done this or that, or if I didn’t get into this argument, or if this person hadn’t said this to me. Then it was like I got a voice in my head, and I don’t know quite how to explain it.. But I know it wasn’t just a coincidence, because it was as if someone was telling me something I did’t want to hear. It wasn’t just me. I heard “You try to blame others for your worries, fears, and anxiety, because you don’t want to face the truth.”

It literally was like a slap in the face. I was offended by my own train of thought. What does that mean? I don’t want to face the truth? What’s the truth?

Well that’s the thing. I don’t know the truth. I probably subconsciously do. But I’m concluding that was a preview to the things I’m about to learn. I feel like a lesson is about to take place in my life, and I’m going to learn things I might not want to.

One thing is for sure, I hate feeling this way. I hate not wanting to leave the house because my stomach is in knots, I hate making the excuse “because I feel sick” when I really just feel like I can’t face the day. I don’t want to let this get in the way of my hopes and dreams anymore.

When my mind says this is going to go wrong, you aren’t enough, you’re lost, you’re afraid, you wont make it, no one wants you, no one cares, God says  “Do not fear, I love you, I have found you, I’m giving you strength, I want you, I care for you.”