Finding Blessings in the Chaos

This morning I woke up feeling blessed.  I had one little curled up next to me in bed, and another curled up next to us in her toddler bed.  I couldn’t help but smile thinking about how amazing it is that God chose me to be their momma.  I reached over and rubbed the biggest little’s back, and kissed the littlest little’s head, and just took it in.

Fast forward thirty minutes.  I was in the kitchen trying to get everyone breakfast, being pulled in every direction.  The sun was shining in the window, a toy fell on the floor, a little brother was bugging a big sister.  “Moooooom!” was being yelled every ten seconds.  Some of that magic from earlier this morning started fading away.

M didn’t like the oatmeal with the strawberries, so I made scrambled eggs, that sat on the table untouched.  B threw his eggs all over the dining room and smeared strawberry juice all over the kitchen floor.  Some more of that magic from earlier this morning started fading away.

It’s so easy to feel so blessed in the early, quiet, peaceful hours of the day, but what I really need to work on, is feeling blessed in the midst of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is not one second ever that I am not thrilled to be their momma, but there are seconds when I want to pull my hair out and scream.  There are seconds when they push me to the very edge of sanity.  And it is in those seconds that I want to be able to stop, look at them, and embrace the blessing of being their momma.

I can’t guarantee that I won’t lose my patience, or raise my voice.  What I can guarantee is that I will be trying my hardest to find the blessings in the chaos.

So, mommas, I want you to join me.  When you are feeling down and defeated.  When your children are pushing you.  When you think you might just snap if you hear “Mooooom!” one more time.  Find a blessing.  Remember why in the early, quiet, peaceful moments of the day it is so wonderful.  Remember that God gave you this amazing job of bringing up these amazing little people.  And feel blessed.

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Making the Change

For the first (almost) two years of motherhood, I was a working mom.  I worked full time, Monday through Friday.  Luckily, my mom, and other family members, watched Madeline, and I was able to see her on my lunch break every day, but after a while, that just wasn’t enough for me anymore.

I felt like I was missing everything.  My girl was growing so, so fast, and I spent half of her life sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen.  This broke my heart.  My husband and I decided that it was time to change that.  We decided that it would benefit all of us to be home with Madeline.  We decided that we would figure out how to make it work on one income.

I just knew, in my heart, that this was what I needed to do.  I was not, in any way, passionate about my job.  There was never a time in my life where I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, until I had Madeline.  The second I held her I knew that the exact reason I was put on this earth was to be a mom.

Once we found out I was pregnant with Blake, we knew this was the perfect time to make the change.

My last day of work was June 20, 2014.

I remember thinking about how much time I would have.  The house would be clean.  The laundry would be done.  I would make animal shaped pancakes every morning, and special lunches.  We would take afternoon naps.  Are you laughing yet?  Why do we alway have the idea that things will be easy before we actually try them?  Easy, it is not.  Rewarding?  That would depend on your definition of “reward”.  Worth it? 100%.  Hard? More than you could believe.

It was a big adjustment.  It still is an adjustment, but I am definitely feeling more confident in my day to day life.  My house is definitely not clean.  Laundry tends to stay in baskets, and our sink is often full, even though we have a dishwasher.  There are toys, and books, and dustbunnies on the floor.  There are handprints on the windows.  Some days I’m lucky if I get out of my pajamas before lunch.  My days often consist of changing diapers in between meeting the needs of a screaming child.  BUT, When Blake said his first word, crawled, sat up, took his first steps, tried peas for the first time, blew a kiss, clapped his hands, rolled over… I was there.

Now, there are definitely things about this stay at home life that make me question my sanity at times.  There are days that I feel like I’m stuck in the movie Groundhog Day.  I load and unload the dishwasher over and over and over.  I wipe noses, change diapers, get little people food, attempt to clean the house, get dinner ready.  I don’t ever leave “work”.  I don’t get raises, or bonuses, or even paid for the matter.  Not in money anyway.  I get kisses, and snuggles, and laughter.  Amidst the insanity, there are things that fill my heart with joy.

Another huge adjustment was cutting back to one income.  It was the scariest part, because the world mostly revolves around money.  You have to pay your bills, and eat, and there are all these expectations of things you need, and things you have to see, and just… things. But, after figuring out what day care for two children would cost us, we wouldn’t have had the extra income anyway, so that made the decision a bit easier.  Although, there are still days when I have to remind myself of that fact.

We don’t always have a ton of money left over after the bills are paid.  We don’t have cable.  We rarely go out to eat.  But, we also don’t care.

Some days I am sad that I didn’t get to be home with Madeline from the beginning, but I like that I got to experience motherhood both ways.  It makes me certain that I am doing what is best for our family now.  Because in the end, that’s the only thing that really matters.

Let’s Have Another

June is Blake’s birth month.  June is also the month that I decided we had to have a second child.  Almost a year to the day, he entered our lives.

Let’s start at the beginning.  My pregnancy with Madeline was a piece of cake.  I loved every second of it.  Then I had back labor for two days before my water broke.  Then I had to push for four hours.  FOUR.  HOURS.  Then it took me over two weeks to be able to sit down without flinching.  Then I had undiagnosed post partum anxiety.  I was quite certain we were going to be “one and done”.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about being a mom.  My sweet little girl was, and continues to be, the love of my life.  I just didn’t think I needed any more.  I was completely content with giving this perfect little girl all of my love.

A lot of people would say things like “Oh, you’ll change your mind.”, and point out how close my brother and I are, and say “don’t you want that for Madeline?”  And I’d say, “Oh, she’ll have cousins”

On June 29, 2013, Ben and I stood up in our friends wedding.  The bride danced with her brother to “You’ve Got a Friend”, and I changed my mind right then and there.  We had to give Madeline a sibling, a life long friend.

Blake was born on June 28, 2014.

So, all of those people I mentioned before?  They were right.  I did change my mind, and I did want to give that kind of bond to Madeline.  I know not all siblings end up life long friends, but I also know what it feels like to have one that did, and I have to say, it’s nice to have that.  My brother and I have a different understanding of each other.  We have been through the same things, and although we are four years apart, growing up we were really close, and we still are today.

That’s not to say that only children don’t have that type of bond with people.  That they don’t have lifelong friends who just get them.  I just knew that I wanted to add one more little to our family.

There were a lot of things I was worried about leading up to Blake’s arrival, and the closer it got, the more panic attacks I would have.

Would I really be able to love another baby as much as Madeline?  (Yes)

Would I be able to balance my time equally between them?  (Eventually, yes)

Was this really the right decision? (Too late now, but absolutely)

Am I crazy for having them so close together?  (Yes, but then no)

Needless to say, we couldn’t imagine our lives any other way.  I will forever be thankful for my change of heart and the wonderful blessing that came out of it.

As Blake get’s older, and him and Madeline interact with each other more, my heart is so full with the sound of their laughter, with the way Madeline can get him to stop crying when nothing else will, the way they already take care of each other, the way Blake copies everything Madeline does, the way they hug each other, the way they fight with each other, the way I can already see the strong bond between them.  Every single day I watch them, and thank God for giving me that moment on June 29, 2013, and I am so grateful I listened.

Moral of the story?  Never say never.