Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My First Mother's Day

This is a difficult post to write, but I need to get my thoughts out in the open so I can move on.  I want to preface by saying that anything I write today in no way diminishes my love for my sweet Noah.  He is a gift and a blessing for whom I am so grateful.  The happy posts that I have written about him so far are all true.  I love this kid to pieces!  However, I keep feeling this nudge deep within me to also share the struggles I've faced.  Maybe it's because it will help me heal or maybe I am speaking to another mom reading this who is going through my struggles or who may in the future.

Mother's Day was very hard for me.  I cried all day.  Noah kept me up most of the night, and Michael was sick so I was sleeping in the spare room and was so uncomfortable during the few short spans of time that I could have been sleeping.  Michael got up the next morning and made me breakfast, which was so nice of him.  But he didn't say "Happy Mother's Day" in the first 15 minutes I was up, so I complained and made an issue of it.  I was grouchy.  Michael went to work at 10 am and came home at 5 pm. I passed Noah to Michael, and I went to work at 5 pm to prepare for a conference we had yesterday.  By the time I got home, Noah was cranky and tired, and I was starving.  Dinner wasn't ready, so I ate some almonds and got Noah ready for bed and nursed him til 8:30.  I ate my cold dinner around 8:45.  We had no family time on Mother's Day.  We didn't go to church, have a nice lunch or dinner, or even take a walk.  It was a typical, tough day.  It was reality.  If I stayed true to myself on Sunday, this would not really have bothered me that much.  Michael and I aren't big holiday people, and I think that sometimes our culture puts so much pressure on us to do every holiday so big.  But this was my first Mother's Day, and I guess the expectations were set a little higher.  What made it more of a struggle was getting on Facebook. I should have turned my phone off on Sunday, but I guess I like to torture myself.  Every mom I know looked like they had the most glorious Mother's Day ever, and it was heartbreaking for me to see on Sunday.  The tons of texts I received were so nice and thoughtful, but they only made my day more difficult because I didn't feel like sharing in the happiness.  But I do sincerely appreciate all of them because everyone who sent a text sent it with love.

Many, if not all of us, don't stop being a mom just because it's Mother's Day.  Diapers need to be changed, babies and children need to be fed, the house doesn't clean itself, and the laundry doesn't get done.  I would have loved to sit on the couch and watch movies or go shopping like culture tells me to, but that's just not real.  For us it isn't anyway.  What is real, is that moms like myself are struggling, and this day may be very hard for them.  I sincerely realized that Mother's Day wasn't about me.  It's about Noah and honoring the gift he is.  It's about having compassion for other moms who need help.  Single moms, moms of multiples who are exhausted, moms who work seven days a week to make ends meet, moms with no family to help give them a day off, moms who have lost children, future moms who want desperately to be pregnant, moms of special needs children, working moms who want to be stay at home moms, stay at home moms who need a break and some fresh air, and moms who have wayward children and are praying every second that they will change.

If Mother's Day was all that you imagined, I am so happy for you. You deserve it as a mom for all that you do, but for many of us this day was hard.

I may be too honest sometimes, but I think it does a disservice to all women when we pretend that things in our lives are perfect.  It's a lie to ourselves and to them.  I believe I have offended a few of my friends in the past four months who have asked me how I am doing, and I tell them the truth...the hard and ugly side of being a mom.  It's as if they cannot believe I would actually say that being a mom is not the most glorious thing I've ever done.  It's taboo to tell the truth for some reason.

Truth: Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever done.  I cry a lot, and I daily think about the freedom I used to have.  It would still be be hard if Michael didn't work 70+ hours a week.  It would still be hard if I lived in Arkansas and had family around me.  It would still be hard if I didn't have to work. It would still be hard if I didn't struggle with anxiety.  It would still be hard if I had physically healed from birth already.  It would still be hard if I could tote Noah around with me and live the life I was living before he came.  It would still be hard if I got more than 6 hours of sleep a night.  It would still be hard if I wasn't the one who fed him all the time.  It would still be hard if he was smiling and happy most of the day.  If Noah was the most perfect child on Earth and we had two nannies, it would still be hard because the emotions, fear, second guessing, comparison, guilt and tough decisions never end.

I am struggling with my role as a mother, but my faith in God and having an eternal perspective help tremendously.  This time of struggle will pass, and I hold on to that.

For those who are struggling through motherhood in your own season, I hope you find the honesty, hope and peace you deserve. You have earned it. What you do or don't do does not define you as a mother. Motherhood is not about rules and taking everyone's well intentioned advice. It's about what works for you, as unglamorous or counter cultural as it may seem.

It's about humility and love.
It's about acceptance and grace.
It's about sacrifice and strength.

Noah is a healthy and happy little boy, and that should be enough of a gift on Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy Fourth Month Birthday Noah Sean!

Noah Sean is Four Months Old...
Old enough to rock his Jordans!

And trust me, he has the personality to go with these kicks.

Mom, do these make me look fly?

My Amazing Noah -
How are you four months old already?  Your daddy says it seems like you should be a toddler to him, but these past four months have gone by so quickly for me.  You have grown so fast, and have gone from the 10th percentile to the 25th percentile on the growth charts.  You are really developing a personality these days, and I cannot wait to see how much more you shine in the months to come.  You full on belly laughed at me while I sang "Old McDonald" and snorted like a pig a few weeks ago, and you have been giving me sweet laughs ever since.  You are smiling so much more.  You still wake up cranky, but I get a few more sweet smiles than I used to from Three Month Noah.  

You are getting so great at holding toys and objects.  You can see me and daddy across the room, and you follow our every move.  You love toys that are soft or make crunchy noises. You especially love your lamb lovey when you take naps in the swing.  Your favorite activity is standing on my lap and pressing against my legs.  You are enjoying tummy time more these days, and you seem to be getting closer to rolling over.  

We are still swaddling you, but you are very good at breaking out lately.  You love music, and you love when I sing to you.  You also love being carried around as much as possible, but you don't like me to put you in my carrier. I wish you liked it more...I'd get a lot more done around the house.  You are ready for bed around 7 or 7:30 pm and sometimes you sleep til 6 in the morning and sometimes you wake us up throughout the night.  You are unpredictable for sure!  You love, love, love your hands and fingers, and they have replaced the pacifier for the most part.  

We took you to your Mother's Day Out orientation, and you will begin going next month.  I think you will like it because you enjoy being busy, but I am going to be so sad.  If I had my wish, we would spend every day together!

Your daddy and I (and Scarlett when you aren't screaming) love you so much.  We look at you and can't believe how handsome you are and that you are equal parts of us.  You are a miracle and a gift from God.  Our handsome prince!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Weekends with a little one are not what they used to be.  There is no sleeping in, lying around on the couch watching movies, or dinners out with wine.  Weekends now are spent catching up on housework and laundry, running errands, and going to the grocery store in between naps and feedings.  We are just as busy on Saturday and Sunday as we are Monday through Friday, but I feel like we are getting closer to a routine every day and finding time to relax.  It's about time :)!

We have always appreciated staying around the house.  We like to chill out and cook meals at home, so our new life hasn't been as much of an adjustment as it is for some who are usually on the go every weekend.  And most of those first time parents may still be on the go and just bring their little one along with them.  That's not really us.  We like to relax and stay in when we can.  We both get easily exhausted hauling Noah around, but it is getting easier as he is able to stay awake a little longer.  He can be a real piece of work when he doesn't get his naps in though, so we still like to plan around those necessary hours of peace!

A new weekend tradition that we have accidentally but happily started is hanging out in the backyard and making a pallet in the grass while Michael grills meat that we use to make meals for the rest of the week.  We started doing this because having meat already cooked throughout the week simply helped out at dinner time each night and I get tired of the crock pot, but we have really started to enjoy this time as a family being outside and enjoying the weather.

Talking to Scarlett and Me!

Noah has changed so much in the past two weeks.  His eyes have all of a sudden opened to the world, and he loves taking in everything around him.  We have huge trees that canopy our backyard, and he loves to lay on his back and watch the branches sway.  Whenever Scarlett isn't guarding the grill with Michael, she will walk by and lick Noah in the face and he gets so excited.  Noah has also started cooing and blowing raspberries.  I think that's his favorite activity, and you know he's in a good mood by the number of times he blows raspberries at you!

Blowing Raspberries

Blowing Raspberries Together

I'm learning to enjoy the simple times like this with our family.  I see how fast our babies grow, and I want to cherish all of these simple but sweet moments as much as I can.  I'd rather be hanging out together in our backyard every weekend than be anywhere else these days!

Daddy's Buddy