I’m Not an Expert, I’m Just a Mom

 

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Sometimes I really love washing dishes. There’s just a bunch of dirty, saucy, food-bit covered mess in your sink and you just scrub the life out of it and then you’re done. Check it off the list. I freakin’ conquered that dish mountain. And that is pretty much the only thing about my day that I can 100% master.

Because then my two year old REALLY needs a bath. And I’m pretty sure I’m not giving my 11 month-old as much love and attention that I gave my daughter at that age. So am I totally ruining their lives now? Am I picking favorites because my son stars in my snapchats more than my daughter? And all my daughter wants is for me to play with her but the floors are a mess and my son keeps licking them so that needs to get done too. And I’m pretty sure I’m doing nothing perfect. But I just love my kids so damn much.

And that is motherhood come full circle. We figure out that there is no game plan. No matter how sure you are that you’ll be awesome at it, nobody actually is all the time. You realize that the neat framework that you want everything to fit in is more like guidelines. You just make the best choices you possibly can in that moment, you do it with love, and you make sure your children know that. No amount of baby gadgets from your shower or click-bait buzzfeed articles can tell you how to do it. You can babysit your nieces and nephews, work at a daycare, soak up every bit of it you can in hopes that you’re somewhat prepared but you just won’t be. And that’s ok.

Love. Lovelovelove. You just need to get up everyday and change that diaper with love. Read that story for the millionth time with love (and character voices always!) Stop mid workout for snuggles.

Because that is the adventure of motherhood. Maybe I’m not climbing Kilimanjaro. I’m not traveling the world or going out every night. Let’s be honest, most Friday nights I’m home. But everyday I’m growing. I find new depths. While I may not be changing, I’m discovering. Discovering new and far-reaching capacities within myself that I never knew were there. My capacity to love grows. And it’s hard, occasionally magically, constantly messy, always challenging, and it’s making me stronger.

I hope wherever you find yourself today that you’re discovering things too. Challenge yourself! And it’s not always in the big, magnificent gestures that growth happens, but the everyday push. The persistent effort. Grow. Struggle. Discover. Be happy.

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On My List: Super Mom Edition

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Lately I’ve been suffering from Super Mom complex. I need to do everything. Be everywhere. Organic meals. Lots of baked goods. Totally crafty household. It’s horrible. The truth is, I don’t typically get around to these things but they weigh on my mind, make me feel like I’m not doing enough for my family. Maggie is watching way too much Disney Junior and her food is ridden with GMOs and the laundry isn’t done. I always find myself tripping on that Super Mom cape.

But, I’m trying to make 2015 different. I won’t call it a New Years resolution. Self-evaluation is better. While I’ve been struggling with the realization that I can’t do everything (shocker), there are some things I can do. I’ve resolved to stop worrying about my Super cape and make some time for myself. To stop being a martyr and start being a role model. This year holds lot of changes for our family and I’m bent on starting it out right. Not to mention, capes are just not sensible day wear.

Here are a few things that I’ve found fun and simple to maintain for myself over the past few months.

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1. Ballet Beautiful. I was super excited to discover the Ballet Beautiful workout series! After 5 years of studying ballet, and being a few years out of it, it feels great to get those same muscles moving again without dragging myself to a Barre class. After 2 months of steady workouts, I’m totally hooked! The website has a ton of options from video chatting into live classes online, streaming customized workout videos, and dvds. Founder and trainer Mary Helen Bowers is very calm and encouraging in each video, which is nice when it feels like your legs and ass are on fire.

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2. I’ve been taking steps to make reading more of a habit in my life. Even if it’s just a little before bedtime, in a waiting room, or while the baby is napping. This book might be so 2012 (but really, gimme a break) but I’m really enjoying Pamela Druckerman’s French parenting wisdom in Bringing Up Bébé. I usually have a hard time getting through any sort of self-help/advice book but this is a hard one to put down.

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3. Between cold winter winds and and daily diaper changing, my hands are a wrecked! Cracked, peeling, bleeding. It’s a real pretty picture.  Basically pain is a great motivator and I’m bent on treating my hands to some TLC. My two must haves: Ducray Ictyane Hand Cream and Lemon Kitchen Hand Scrub. A gift from a friend who recently travelled in France, Ducray Ictyane has rave reviews in Europe and I’m definitely seeing results. As for this yummy homemade hand scrub (also gifted from a friend), this is the perfect quick mani treatment. My hands were glowing post use!

Raising a Reader, Not a Tweeter

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I doubt there is a responsible parent out there who hasn’t worried about the kind of world they have brought their children into. Trends come and go, each stranger than the next. Technology is evolving. Morality is dying. I’m painting a real cheery picture here. I just worry that the simple things will be (or already are) lost. Mainly, that my child won’t read.

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Go Home Halloween, You’re Drunk!

Halloween is probably the holiday I hate the most. Call me a party pooper but I just dislike it. I’m thinking this started at the age it became uncool to actually wear a costume. I still don’t see the problem with the good old sheet over your head with cut-out eye holes. Call me crazy but the ghost costume gets me every time. Continue reading

What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

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Holding a positive pregnancy test. Scary. Exciting. Amazing. Joyful. Scary. If some form of fear did not cross your mind the first time you pee’d on that stick and it meant something, you are a far stronger breed than I.

For me, this is where it began. It was real now. I was having a baby. The world that I so foolishly thought revolved around me just got itself a moon. Naively, or stupidly, I felt somewhat prepared. Growing up with 5 other siblings, babysitting for other large families that we considered an extension of our own. I had the mechanics down. Diapers, late nights, no big deal. And I’m sure the whole nurturing a human being thing would come in time, right? While I was aware that things would be changing, I clearly did not realize that I needed to change the most. Continue reading

What You’ve Missed

So if Summer was busy then Fall is insanity. I’d really been looking forward to switching gears and slowing down but things are booking up fast (oh the ball and chain that is popularity…). But here’s what you’ve missed

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Maggie got a taste for world travel, and developed this weird gremlin smile. Continue reading