Real Life Lessons of Motherhood

I say things I never thought I would

“Take the plastic bag off of your head,” I said to my seven-year-old son.

“Why?”

“Because you can suffocate and die. How many times have I told you not to put plastic bags over your head?”

“A lot.”

Are my kids the reason for these ridiculous warning labels? Heavy sigh.

The weirdest things come out of their mouths too

Dominic-isms at ten-years-old

“What is shampoo?”

“Could you pass the Parmesan and …” stops to read label “Roman cheese”.

“I am going to get my Valentine a box of cigarettes.” He was thinking chocolates, but looking at a stop-smoking billboard.

Xander-isms at seven-years-old

“Three thousand, million, dillion dollars. That’s how much money I want and I also want everything to be free…for our whole family. Then Papaw and Grandma Fran could get everything they want.”

“I want a 16-hour delay, but I don’t want to miss lunch”.

“Cookies aren’t protein?”

Grocery success depends on your entourage

When my children were small enough to be contained in the cart for our entire shopping trip I could read labels, compare pricing, succumb to my own impulse buys. But then as they grew they no longer stayed in the cart and grocery shopping turned into a sick game of “don’t touch that,” “please stop running and sliding on your knees down the aisles,” “watch behind you,” and “no, we are not getting chocolate peanut butter dip.”

Now, when I walk into the grocery store, I secretly think may the odds be forever in your favor to my fellow shoppers.

Self-checkout is the worst

If you have children old enough to be outside the cart, self-checkout becomes more of an intense game of simultaneously scanning groceries while keeping them away from the scale with a live audience of all the shoppers impatiently waiting behind you. Why yes, yes I am self-checking an entire cart of groceries because for whatever reason my grocery store has no cashier lanes open.

To add insult to injury, who is the sadistic jerk that thought advertising candy at children’s eye level in the self-checkout lane was smart? Newsflash, it’s not smart, it’s evil. Instead of succumbing to your marketing tactics I am leaving with a crying child and right temple that may very well explode at any moment.

Pick-up or delivered groceries are from heaven

Amazon pantry started it all for me with delivering shelf-stable pantry staples to my door, but then Kroger one-upped Amazon when they offered their click-list service. Now I can order everything I need online and pull up to the store where some wonderful human loads my car up for me. I don’t even need to get out to help or to pay. They bring the iPad to me to swipe and sign. Then I just drive away, can you believe it? It’s like something out of a fairytale. No more self-checkout, no more candy aisle, my kids stay strapped into their seatbelts and we accomplish what we set out to do easy breezy lemon squeezy.

Blissfully enjoy the baby bubble

When I brought Dominic, my first child, home from the hospital I collapsed into tears because I was terrified. The weight of the world, his world, was now on my shoulders and would remain there until he grew into an adult. The magnitude and depth of this responsibility were incredible and I did not think I was capable.

Coupled with the fear was also amazement. Each time I looked at his tiny bird-like legs, his soft blue eyes, his bald wrinkly head I felt pure awe. The movement of his breath was rhythmic, chest up, chest down. Here sat a being, a human that had grown within me, with a beating heart and blinking eyes. It was a miracle, he was (and still is) my miracle. How is this even possible? I would ask myself over and over.

Nothing mattered outside of Dominic. My world revolved around meeting his needs. Rocking him as the soft hairs from his head tickled my neck, breathing in his scent, filled with more love than I ever knew possible. This is the bubble, treasure these moments. You may have other children, but the baby bubble will never be the same.

Parties in the early afternoon suck

I am the oldest grandchild in my family and naturally, I was the first to purchase a house, get married, and to have a baby. My family came to all of these celebrations. As my cousins got older I was also invited to all of their celebrations and I wanted nothing more than to go. Every invitation I received was for one or two-o-clock in the afternoon.

This is right in the middle of nap time.

Naively I went to the first few parties, skipping my son’s nap. It was utter hell. He was whiny, mean, and wild throughout the entire party, but it did not stop there. His crap behavior carried over into the evening right up until bedtime.

That’s when I decided the price was too high. It was just not worth the horror of missing the nap. I was embarrassed and stressed, my hosts probably wondered what kind of demon I was raising and both of us wished I just would have stayed home. So know that I love you, am proud of you, and are with you in spirit.

If you hurt my child I will hunt you down

No one will ever love my child like I do. My love is deep, fierce, and unyielding. There is something incredibly special about a mother’s love for her child. This is impossible to understand until you become a mother.

This is not to dismiss the love of a father or future spouse. Those relationships are just as important however they are different.

William Congreve said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” I say… nothing. Instead, I quietly stalk my prey like a mother tigress and pounce when the time is right because if you hurt my child you deserve no warning.

Facebook is full of lies

Helpful hint, no one has it all together, everyone has different struggles, some are just better at hiding it than others. We all see her, the beautiful mom who seems to have it all figured out. She posts pictures of outings with smiling, well dressed, clean children. We are happy for her, but begin to wonder if we are as good a mother.

STOP RIGHT THERE!

That photo took one second. ONE. SECOND!

Think back on today. Can you remember one second that was picture perfect? I know you can. The problem is not your mothering. The problem is the question, Am I as good as X?

Parenting is messy, full of self-doubt and we are all learning as we go. Some days I have it all together, but most days I don’t.

Dr.Seuss said it best.

 

Parent YOUR way, teach lessons to YOUR children that are important to YOU. We are all different, including each one of our children and our differences should be celebrated. It’s YOU your kids love, not that other mom. So go mom like only you can!

Pinterest is full of fairytales

Have you ever tried to recreate something you found on Pinterest? Yeah, did it turn out like the picture? No? Same for me, every time I try.

Comparing your first attempt to someone’s best is like comparing your karate moves to a black belt’s. Yours will probably not be as good, but with practice and patience, I’m willing to bet it could get better.

The moral of the story here is keep it all in perspective and maybe try that new Pinterest thing a few times before debuting it at your next holiday celebration.

Prevention is the key to toddlerhood survival

Put everything out of reach and be aware that everything is climbable. The world is basically a giant jungle gym playground and all things, literally, every single thing goes into their mouths.

Some of my mom friends were determined to teach their toddlers self-control.

Well, if my friends are doing it, maybe I should give it a go.

Every few minutes my toddler would grab something that posed a possible threat and shove it right into his mouth. Up, down, up down, like a little game every time I sat down he would get into something that I would need to take away.

I was way too tired for that.

Instead, I de-cluttered my house and got rid of anything that was not toddler-friendly. Basically, my house was decorated with baby gates, Disney themed plastic toys, and pictures of my kiddos hanging on the walls. All cleaners, self-care items, toxic or messy products were put on the top shelf of closets.

One time I left my shave gel out…

 

Another time I left the baby powder down…

Danger lurks everywhere

Before I had kids I thought I protected myself from danger pretty well, but now I see the possibility of death in just about every activity.

 

“Mom, can I help dad mow the lawn?” Sure, go ahead and flip the mower on yourself and lose a limb.

 

“Mom, can we go to the zoo today?” Will today be the day one of the tigers gets loose or my kid wanders into a bear enclosure?

 

People learn through experience, yes I know that. I also appreciate the significance of learning from cause and effect. As long as there is no emergent danger (life or limb) I release the boys from my cocoon of safety so that they may gain the necessary experience.

 

I am also the mom frantically waving my children and husband closer when they have floated too far from the beach thinking of sharks, jellyfish, muscle cramps, undertow, etc. It’s all about balance, right? I balance irrational fear with measured risk taking like any good mom.

You are all your kids need

Overthinking is one of my best and worst character traits. I love to think about everything not in any kind of skilled way but just meander through my own messy mind. It’s interesting what floats around in there, the imagined possible outcomes to different scenarios (see above, danger lurks everywhere), the fascination of the simplest joys (enjoy the baby bubble), the ease at which self-doubt creeps in (facebook is full of lies). Do you know what I have learned from all that analyzing?

All my boys really want and need is my undivided attention. Still, at seven and ten-years-old they want to be near me, to hug me, to wrap up in a blanket with me in the evenings while we watch Animal Planet or Nat Geo.

Toys, trips, trinkets are all just fluff. It’s me they want. And that works out pretty great because they are all I have ever wanted. So let’s go mom the only way we know how, in our own special, unique way.


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