Things Moms Think (But Would Never Admit)

My kid is the cutest (or smartest or most beautiful)…you fill in the blank.

Your kid is more advanced developmentally than mine?  You’re probably exaggerating.

My baby looks tiny next to yours?  You must be feeding yours too much.

My baby is really chunky?  Yes sir, and I’m proud of it!

I could totally blame my indigestion on the baby and no one would ever know.

I’m trying to remember why I would have put the TV remote in the fridge.

I wonder if the other mothers’ bellies look like squishy biscuit dough?

Child, you are about to make me lose my mind.  But somehow I still love you anyway.

If the kids fall asleep in the car I’m totally stopping for a milkshake.

5 Things That Make Me a Better Mom

1. Being a stay-at-home mom.  I always knew that I wouldn’t want to work after my children were born.  While there have been times since I became a mom that I have worked (check out #2), I’m thankful that I haven’t had to work for the majority of the time.  I get to spend my days focusing on and pouring into my children’s lives, yet I also have the freedom to do some things that I’m interested in (gardening, writing, random Target day trips…).  I’m pretty sure I get more sleep that all the amazing working moms out there too.  I don’t have to get up early to rush out the door, after all.  Lots of sleep=happy mama.  

2. Having been a working mom.  For a time before Nora was born, I worked part-time.  I never thought I would work after I had children, but I did, and I learned a great deal through it.  First, how valuable my time is.  When you work outside the home, your time at home is precious.  You have to be incredibly diligent to keep your house running.  Second, how important it is to wake up and get going in the morning.  Even if I don’t have anywhere to be, my day is far more productive when I get up and going first thing.  Third, I have a new appreciation for working moms.  I realize how hard it is for them, even if they have to work or honestly enjoy their job.  As a stay-at-home mom once again, I’m much more productive and cognizant with my time.  In turn, I get a lot more done.  
3. Having a high-needs child.  I’ve talked about this before.  The gist is that I see my children for who they are instead of who I think they should be.  Most of the time, anyway.
4. Having a low-needs child.  My sweet, easy-going daughter has made it very obvious that my high-needs son was not my “fault”.  Each of my children simply has their own, unique personality.  I’m also thankful that she’s so laid-back because I would have probably lost my sanity otherwise.
5. MOPs.  I’ve been a part of our local MOPs group since Miles was just a few weeks old, and now I’m on the leadership team.  I love it and I have a huge heart for it.  In those early newborn days with Miles, and more recently as I’ve learned how to be a mom to two, my mom friends from MOPs were the support I needed.  I’ve gained some amazing friends through MOPS.  I also love the opportunity it presents to serve others right where I’m at…by letting motherhood be the common denominator.   

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.  

Feeling 22

I’ve never been a big Taylor Swift fan, but there was a day that I could sing “Picture to Burn” with all the bitter venom of the next girl.  Her songs were, quite simply, relatable.

When I first heard her newest song, 22, I thought it was catchy.  It was teenage angst moved into the next generation…the anthem of the single twenty-somethings stuck somewhere between the free-from-responsibility life of college and adulthood.  Sounded good.

And then I realized that I was 22 when my son was born.  For me, twenty-two didn’t mean making fun of my exes or falling in love with strangers.  I wasn’t “happy, free, confused, and lonely”.

I realize I wasn’t exactly the typical twenty-two year old.  I had been married two years, had a college degree, a mortgage, two dogs, and a baby on the way.

To some that may sound terribly sad.  They may feel like I wasted my years of freedom and tied myself down too early.  In many ways, they’re right.  I never studied abroad, worked my way up the career ladder, or spent a year on the mission field.  Twenty-two, for me, didn’t look like twenty-two for the rest of the world.

And that’s okay.  

You see, twenty-two looks like something different for everyone, simply because God has different paths for all of us.  For me, His path was getting married and starting a family young.  It didn’t include years of singleness and crazy experiences.

But lest you start feeling sorry for me, I want you to know that I really am a happy twenty-something.  I love feeling young and carefree and trying new things.  I’m blessed to have a husband who works hard to support us, so that I can have the time to both take care of my handsome little guy and pursue all sorts of interests in my free time.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I feel happier and freer than I ever have.  I know I’m right where God wants me.  I dream, and I see those dreams realized.  My days are simple, but incredibly rich and full.  My husband and I go on lots of crazy adventures…just with a baby in tow.

Yes, I’m a mom and a wife.  But I am not in bondage.  You see, true joy and freedom can only be found when you are right in the center of God’s plan for you.  And that’s where I am.

As crazy as it sounds, it’s possible to embrace both the responsibility and carefree spirit of being twenty-two.  I know, I’ve lived it.

And so I embrace who I am today.

I am a wife and a mom.  But I’m also twenty-something.