Meaningful Mommy

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Can someone explain to me why time flies by so fast once you have kids?!

Ok, so I need some answers. Why, pray tell, does time seem to fly by faster than I ever thought possible since the birth of my children?

I do have a few speculations:

1. You are no longer thinking about yourself. I think that once we become responsible for these little humans we cease to be so egocentric and instead become hyper focused on our children thus time also ceases to exist. So BAM! All of a sudden hours have flown by while we sat on the floor playing dolls, trains, cars and dinosaurs…

2. Our hearts begin to beat outside our bodies and in our little loves. Like literally these tiny humans take our hearts right out and start walking around with them in their little hands. I’m sure that has something to do with time beginning to speed by in the blink of an eye once we are parents. It’s because we no longer have control of our hearts, they do.

3. We’re older. For some of us we waited a long time to start a family and it was something that always seemed “way off in the future”, but now that t’s here our “future” is marked by points in THEIR futures, not ours. Their first steps, first words, first foods, first birthday, starting preschool, starting kindergarten, learning to read, learning to write, more birthday milestones, school milestones, etc.. All the way to the wedding and families and lives we hope they have someday. All that projection moves time, I swear!!

4. We’re tired. I know lack of sleep can do some funky things to the brain so I know all parents of children of any age are sleep deprived. We never catch up because there isn’t time so we stay perpetually tired. We are all still trying to find that lost 2,347th hour from when our children were 18 months old…Oh, did you get a sleeper? Well, that’s ok, you’ll lose sleep with your teenager…Paybacks are sweet! Ok, I’m just kidding, I’m glad some of you aren’t as tired as I am, and if paybacks are true, I will be not sleeping while both my GIRLS are teenagers due to my karma from just being a teenage girl myself a loooong time ago (which probably seems like yesterday to my mom).

5. Talking to other parents. I think this just cements the time conundrum. Other parents tell us ALL the time how fast it goes and there is power in those words. We hear it and we believe it. They must know right?! Their kids are older than ours. Our parents say it to us. The great grandparents say it. “Just wait, it will all be over in the blink of an eye”. “Enjoy the time while they are growing up, it goes so fast”. “Just relax, every stage is just a short minute in the longer time of life”…I mean geez, if hearing that all day everyday at least 50 times doesn’t make time seem faster, then I don’t know what would. It’s the power of suggestion! Totally real!! And to make matters worse we share these sentiments with anyone whose kids are younger than ours to just keep this time warp moving along at the speed of light.

So here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to hang on and enjoy the ride. I’m going to make each and every fleeting moment last as long as humanly possible. I’m going to cherish all the bumps, hills, valleys, high points and straight stretches along the way. I will do my very best to live in the moment and let the future take care of itself while I love these two sweet beings with all my heart. Yes, the very same heart that they full well know they hold in their sweet little hands <3

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I’m pre-occupied…it’s a good thing!

So… I’m pre-occupied. More than usual anyway because what parent isn’t pre-occupied almost all the time?? Kids do that. It’s sort of mandatory to be pre-occupied when our hearts begin to walk around outside our bodies…those kids take up a lot of brain & heart real-estate! But what has taken me sort of on a tangent thinking path is the idea of a sole proprietorship.

I’m starting to think about what I may want to do part-time when my 3-year-old starts school in a couple of years. The wheels are turning and I think I have a general idea but the planning is taking up a lot of my free time. Free time which used to be reserved for writing this blog. Seriously, my free time is limited!

I will have to start sharing my ideas and gathering input because most of you who read this could give me some great insight for real, I’m sure!! I’ll give you a clue. It has to do with parenting education…..I’m pretty excited and have even bought a few domain names in preparation. They happened to be available so I went with it. I’m hoping the business name I like isn’t taken already.

Well, I’m off to study and read and plan and write some…along with the 7 million tasks I have rattling around in my head at any given time! Crud! I think I just remembered a dentist appointment on  Tuesday. Hmm…I’m pretty sure it’s mine since I just wrote about my daughters experience. Her appointment took up some serious heart and brain real-estate for a while. You can read about it here if you happened to miss it.

I’m blaming Oprah! I have been chewing on this idea for a while, but I’ve decided that there isn’t any reason it couldn’t work out. I am going to write about Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend but I am waiting for some awesome photos to be sent to my inbox. Stay tuned and good night!! :)

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Fall is here…no really, in my house :)

It’s Fall…so far so good. I like this season along as I can stay inside and watch the leaves blowing around. Wait, actually there are leaves blowing around in my house because my daughters bring them in by the handful. On our walks home from school they are collected by the dozen with plans to make leaf crowns and tiaras. The leaves are being glued to paper, cardboard and left on the table, floor and the furniture. I am constantly picking them up.  I don’t really mind. I’m still inside most of the time so I’m happy! The weather has been pretty beautiful lately so I really can’t complain too much about the times I am outside. I also finally figured out if I buy the right gear for the weather such as rain boots, warm boots, waterproof warm jackets, hats and an umbrella it isn’t so bad. Yes, I said umbrella which I was told by a woman up at my daughters school that people from Washington don’t carry umbrellas. I had asked her if she would like to stand under mine one afternoon when it was pouring and she was the lone soaked person within a sea of umbrellas and she laughed at me. Like out loud and told me that is why she lives here and that real people from the Northwest don’t use umbrellas. I just smiled and said ok. I did not tell her that I am a native of this area, as are my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. It sure doesn’t mean I have to like getting thoroughly soaked. I am blaming her rudeness on her obviously water soaked brain. A simple no thanks would have sufficed. Anyway, along with being warm and dry I find my solace in yummy fall scented candles. I have stocked up. The candles and my fireplace are burning brightly, I am warm and cozy, my chai tea is spicy and lovely. I am happy :)

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The Life You Want Tour (pre-tour)

I am going to see Oprah. Yes, OPRAH!!! The Life You Want Tour is coming to Seattle, WA tomorrow and I will be there with two of my close girlfriends. I am so excited!!

I first met Oprah ( on T.V) at my friend Gigi’s house after school Freshman year of high school. We would take the bus home from school and rush to her house to make our snack of toasted sourdough with marmalade and mozzarella cheese. Try it! It is really good ;) We would then settle in and watch Oprah at 4:00. Without fail!  I have watched Oprah off and on since then and have always wanted to see her live in some venue. And now she is coming to SEATTLE!!!

This tour is a two day affair full of inspirational speakers and I’m sure lots of laughing and probably some tears. I am ready for it all :) This is going to be a wonderful mom’s weekend to dream and envision where the year will take us! I really have no idea what to expect except I have a feeling that it will be something I don’t ever forget. I can not wait to be inspired!

Get ready for some new wisdom and meaningful awesomeness! (To be continued……)

Here is the link for more info! http://www.oprah.com/app/oprahs-tour.html

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What?! My daughter has a cavity?!!

My daughter had a dentist appointment today. Not just for her regular 6 month check up but for a cavity to be filled and sealants put on her 4 big girl molars that I’m pretty sure caused the cavity in the first place!! Well, I know that the ‘sugar bugs’ as her dentist calls them are the real culprit, but I blame the big girl molars moving in before any of her baby teeth are even loose cramming her baby molars together and in that tight tight crack is where this cavity was hiding.

I am that mom who because we fortunately had great insurance that covered teeth took her daughters to the dentist starting at age one and then every six months. I have a thing about teeth and dentists. I don’t really like either of them. Wiggly teeth gross me out, the idea of them falling out makes me throw up a little and then the fear of a dentist is just icing on the cake. I brush, floss and do the same twice a day to my kids. I did not have a cavity until I was 24. I expected my daughters to follow suit. But at the last check up 4 days ago (yes we were at the dentist twice in a one week period) the dentist showed me a ‘suspicious gray mark’ on my five and a half-year olds x-rays. A cavity, albeit a small one, but one none the less that needed to be filled because she won’t lose THAT molar until she is 10 or 11. WHAT!! A cavity. I’m sure the blood drained from my face. MY daughter the excellent tooth cleaner had a cavity. How could that happen?!

Ok, I know how. I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted to hide my head, keep it a secret. But my daughter didn’t allow that to happen. She bravely told her teacher while I was volunteering in the classroom that she was leaving early to get a cavity filled. The teacher looked at me and I managed a weak smile. Yes, I know, and yes, we brush AND floss…My daughter didn’t bat an eye. She told me there are lots of kids in her class with fillings. Silver ones which she hoped to get. (Hers is not silver, but white blending in nicely) much to her dismay. She told the school secretary all about her cavity as I signed her out. Again I wanted to whisper hush but I did not. I obviously suffer from cavity shame.

Once at the dentist it was all business. The Happy Air (nitrous) was put on, the movie chosen, the sunglasses in place. We met Mr. Whistle (the drill) , Mr. Water and Mrs. Air (self-explanatory), Mr. Bristle (some other tool), Mr. Raincoat (the rubber tooth cover thing) and it began. The cheek numbing ointment was put on and then the dentist came in to administer the numbing shots with a like 3 inch needle he conveniently kept hidden until the last possible minute. He pinched and wobbled her cheek and then started sticking that needle in. This is where I lost it. Tears started pouring out and I was a mess. My daughter? Oh, she was laughing away to WallE.  Unaware of the effect her plight was having on my heart.

Nora cavity

 

After an hour of cavity filling and sealant painting on those permanent back molars (the ones I’m still going to blame for my high blood pressure and the cavity) it was all over. My beautiful brave daughter didn’t make a sound except for a few giggles . Her only complaint was that her tongue felt like a huge hard rock. She chose vampire teeth from the prize box and we were on our way. We went to the store ( again she had to tell the check out woman and another who asked if we needed any help about her now newly filled cavity) where I let her pick out a small toy since I didn’t feel like the vampire teeth really cut it after what she’d endured and we grabbed a smoothie.

My  daughter is brave, and deserves to tell whoever she wants about her cavity and her new filling. I have decided to embrace the fact that no matter how hard you may try for something not to happen (like a cavity) it still may and that isn’t the end of the world. We try to protect our kids from broken arms, stitches, illness and they still happen. It is not a sign of bad parenting just a sign of life. We need to embrace all that may be thrown our way and hold hands in solidarity when it does. So here is to all the parents who have had to sit by watching their children endure something they themselves wish they could take their place being forced to sit with their hearts in their hands. We can do this. Kids are stronger than we think. And so are we <3

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Kid stuff overload…..times two

Our playroom is getting out of control. Like toys are multiplying on their own similar to rabbits, or hamsters or any rapidly breeding animal with a very short gestation.  I typically pride myself on organizing and separating toys, dolls, books, games, puzzles, etc. into their nice bins and baskets. I like order and for everything to have a place. It helps me feel calm…But now that Christmas is in 7 weeks…I know , crazy right?!,  it has come to my attention that we need to plow through this stuff asap!  Then I came across this article! There is no reason for kids to own or need so much stuff…it is actually better for them to have less! I love this idea!! I love anything that will benefit my girls while at the same time creating less work for me. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it!!

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/why-fewer-toys-will-actually-benefit-your-kids/

Joshua Becker writes a blog called becoming minimalist and I am hooked! This article titled Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids makes so much sense to me and how I want my families priorities to be aligned. Looking for the value behind the item and its purpose or benefit fits right in to my wish to live a meaningful life.  I also want my girls to rely on their creativity and look around them to find joy, not in an abundance of belongings. I would love to hear if anyone applies minimalist strategies to their kids belongings or their own and how it has changed their outlook on “stuff”.

And then I came across this!! Living Well Spending Less Why I took my kids’ toys away {& why they won’t get them back} The article discusses how the authors two children always seemed to expect a material gift from everywhere they went. They had a hard time picking up their playroom and their mother became tired of picking things up and took it all away. Fearing “permanent damage “to her kids she was surprised to find her children seemed to thrive in their toyless environment. They stopped asking for things and began entertaining themselves playing using their imaginations. Some toys were brought out occasionally but the kids were happy without. Hmmm….could I go this far?

I really enjoy the idea of less. I don’t know exactly how I feel about nothing…or the occasional toy. I do know the playroom needs to be cleaned out. We have toys that the girls have outgrown which I should donate. That will be the first level of minimizing the toys. Second I will ask the girls what they feel we should donate. And lastly I thing we will sort out what can rotate into the room and put most items away to be swapped out throughout the year.

What are some of your tips to toy management? What are your thoughts on less being more? Or the idea that none may be better?

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A promise is a promise…. from Yoga to Soccer….

So a deal is a deal…a promise a promise…this one goes back 8 years when I asked my husband to try a yoga class at the YMCA with me. It took a lot of convincing, begging, finally deal making and a promise. He knows I have a hard time trying something new, combine that with being alone and I’m terrified. He loves me so he said yes. The deal made was he would try yoga with me if I would try soccer with him. My husband loves soccer and has always played. He was at the time on a co-ed team. I said I would. I convinced my husband to go to a few more yoga classes. He asked me to play soccer with him. I declined, over and over. I had never played soccer. I was again terrified to try something new, especially with my husband who might be embarrassed by me and his peers who may laugh.  He gave up asking…

Then a few weekends ago at our friends twin daughters birthday this deal came up. My husband is currently on a co-ed soccer team with our friends. They needed female subs to step in and they looked at me. “Megan, you should play…”, me shaking my head, “Oh, no….I don’t play soccer…” But then I remembered my deal with my husband (that I had never really forgotten) and I owned up. I smilingly admitted that I had told him if he went to yoga with me I would play soccer with him, but I emphasized that I had not played soccer since 7th grade P.E. Like I really, really don’t play soccer. I don’t know how many players there are, the positions or the lines on the field. Nada…They still wanted me to play. Join us, it will be fun…easy. Sure, ok…panic sets in.

The next day my husband hands me an old pair of soccer shorts informing me soccer players do not wear yoga pants. I also get a borrowed pair of knee-high socks. I’m terrified. Anxiety setting in….I won’t know what to do, they’ll laugh, it will be horrible. I put the shorts and socks into a bag with my tennis shoes hoping by showing up in my street clothes I have a greater chance to not be put on the field. We arrive, unload the kids who run off to play with the other players kids. I sit on the side trying to focus on breathing in and out. I hear our friend say, “You’re playing right?”…”Oh me, sure, let me go change…” I make it down to the field where everyone is getting into their positions and my friend yells, “Megan, you’re over here, mid-field.” I head out toward the middle(ish) area of the field where she is pointing. I admit to another player that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. She asks me if I’ve ever played soccer. I say no. She asks me if I play any sports. I mumble that I did gymnastics a loooong time ago….realizing too late she didn’t mean when I was in high school…again I’m awkward and embarrassed. She glances at me and says, “See her, with the red shirt on the other team. Stay by her. Stay between her and the ball and her and the goal.” I have no time to say anything because the whistle blows. I’m watching the action unfold on the other side of the field, it feels ok, I’m shuffling in front of the red shirt acting like I know what is going on and then suddenly she is sprinting toward the ball…oh god! I fly off after her and I keep up but it’s not pretty, I bump into her while apologizing over and over. She shrugs at me and keeps moving heading back to her designated field area. I follow her. I kept waiting for her to say, “What are you doing? Get away from me..” But she didn’t say a word. This kept happening. I kept chasing her and being in the way. My knee-high socks (minus shin guards) kept falling down. I kept tugging at them hoping no-one is paying attention. Another team-mate tells me to just keep doing what I was doing, I think they could see the panic in my eyes.  This went on FOREVER! Ok, about 30 minutes and I was exhausted, wheezing and sweaty. I mouthed to my husband, “Can I stop?”. He helped me call in a sub at the next whistle. I ran to the sideline and instantly switched to mom mode taking both my girls to use the park bathroom.

In the bathroom, my daughter informs me they will hurry so I can get back to the game and play some more soccer with daddy. I smiled. I had overcome my fear, made good on my promise and I was still alive. We went back to the game where I went in one more time until I was called out again by my daughter yelling for me to help her with her “mommy only emergency”. It was just another potty trip, but secretly I was happy for the break. My husband’s team lost, but they did say I really did well for my first game and never having played. They also made me an honorary sub (which I’m going to take as a compliment).

My husband knows how hard this was for me. As we were leaving he smiled at me and said it was fun to have us all there. I decided that trying new things and I remembered that looking like an idiot at times won’t kill you, something I had forgotten from my youth. I also decided that I have a lot to learn about soccer and I think I will take a few lessons before I play again, but I will bring our kids to the field to watch their Daddy play the sport he loves. Maybe they will learn more abut the game than I do and follow in their Daddy’s footsteps. :)

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Gun Control versus Mental Health Education: Another school shooting

I received a school district phone call message this morning informing me about a shooting tragedy at a high school in the town next to the city I live in. About 10 miles away. My stomach fell and my heart dropped in my chest. I could feel the blood drain from my face. The beginnings of a fight or flight reaction began to swell. Then the beginning of tears and disbelief.

Every time something like this happens I feel sick to my stomach and I feel a great sadness for the lives that were tragically ended today and the lives that will never be the same because of this act. And I wonder why. Why would a highschooler think that bringing a gun to school and shooting anyone and then themselves would solve any problem? Why do kids not know that emotions are fleeting and that they change? Don’t they know that they will grow up and their lives can and usually do get better? I guess they don’t. I guess they are so wrapped up in their emotions they don’t think about the lives of others, or themselves or their families…or in the moment they just don’t care. Why?

I have heard that a few districts near me have been doing school “shooter preparedness trainings” with the students and staff. Incorporating what to do if confronted by a shooter and drills complete with swat team vehicles and staff. I can’t help but think that more emphasis should be done to educate about managing emotions and building healthy emotional coping skills would be more beneficial.

I think that all the energy put into arguments on gun control and laws and whatnot should be placed on mental health education and awareness in communities and schools. And yes, I think guns should not available to many, many people who have access to them, but they are and always will be, unfortunately because if there is a will there is a way for anyone to find a weapon of their choice. The next logical step should be instead of focusing on the guns and who has them to focus on more mental health education and putting outreach programs in place and to teach kids that guns are not to be used as an emotional coping mechanism. I know that you would assume that is obvious, but I’m not so sure. I think unfortunately many of our kids and much of society has a low emotional intelligence and many often feel extreme discomfort with their feelings because of that. This leads to an amplified reaction to their emotions and a magnified response that usually includes violence or self harm. There is something very wrong.

In this school shooting two of the young victims were taken to the hospital less than 5 minutes from my home. One was flown to Seattle and from what information which has been released there were two deaths at the school. The shooter being one of them. I am praying for all of these children’s families, friends and their community as they join together to try to heal during the sorrowful and heartbreaking days, months and years ahead. Their lives forever altered.

My hope is that in this wake of yet another horribly tragic shooting the big conversations shift from gun laws to mental health education including communication about emotions and positive coping strategies.

Sigh…Now I’m off to hug my daughters for the hundredth time today. SiSigtoday. 

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What’s in a list?

A Q & A List About Lists…

What’s in a list?
Words…I guess, lots of words.
Words about what?
Anything really…in a line.
How?
Vertically, usually.
Why?
To group things, I think, an organizing system.
Like what?
Groceries, Directions, Goals,
Oh…they’re helpful then?
I don’t know, Usually they just create more lists.
Sub-lists?
You could call them that. Lists of lists.
Do you like them?
Yes, I really do.
They get you thinking then?
Yes, yes, I suppose they do. Although I use them mostly to procrastinate…
Ah…I see. Like this one?

Yes, exactly.

:)

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My heart wins.

Yesterday my 3 year-old daughter Audrey and I were talking on our way back from dropping her sister off at school. Our conversation went something like this.

A: “Mommy, when I’m 4 how old will sister be?” Me: “She’ll be 6.”  A: “What about when I’m 5?” Me: “She’ll be 7.”

A: “Oh, I can’t wait until I’m seven, then I’ll be bigger. As big as you and then I can be a mommy too.”  Me:  “Well, you will be bigger but not a mommy. You won’t be a mommy until after you’ve gone to college.” ( planting the college seed early) Then I asked her what she’d want to study when she’s in college. What job she wanted to have. Her answer melted my heart.

A: “I want to study to be able to do everything like you can.  I want to learn to be the best mommy just like you. I will learn to give the best snuggles and huggles. Wash clothes and make food and play games and go to the park. Oh Mommy, just everything, like you.”

Awww….my heart swelled. Then my damn brain tried to hijack the moment.

It thought to say, “Oh honey, you will learn so many great things in college. Don’t worry about being a mommy yet. You’ll have a career and travel and meet lots of people before you become a mommy. My brain wanted me to tell her that I don’t expect her to be like me. That she can be so, so much more. Whatever she dreams of being…so great, so smart and so strong.  But I didn’t go there. Not this time.

I left it as sweet as it was. From her eyes, at three years old, what she sees in me shooting straight into my heart. I’m holding it there. Close. For the days I feel I’m not doing enough. Or not good enough. For the days I falter in my confidence in my mothering abilities. For the days I fall short.

This time my heart was stronger than my brain. I am going to own this. I’m going to believe my heart and my daughter. Smile and accept this as a great complement.

In this moment, in my heart, I know I am exactly who I am supposed to be, my daughters mother. <3

My brain can shut it.

My heart wins!

My heart wins

 

 

 

 

 

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