I Wish I Could

I wish I could is the most hopeful phrase I know. It’s filled with possibilities. I like possibilities. They give me hope. Hope is promise. I like promises.

I was sitting there watching my son sleep last night and reflecting on how people say that I’m a good mother and I love my son. Great! But, doesn’t everyone? Doesn’t every parent love their child more than their own life? Doesn’t every parent’s heart swell with joy every time they think about their child?

Parenting is hard. Yes, I get tired. Yes, I get frustrated. Yes, I want to run away sometimes and lock myself in a padded cell and not hear the words, “Mom” or “Mommy” for a full 48 hours. That sounds ungrateful though. Not appreciating what God has blessed me with – but it’s the truth. It’s not his fault that I’m tired or this is my busy season at work. It’s not his fault if I get sick and he feels the need to check on me every (and yes I mean EVERY) 10 minutes to see if I’m okay. He’s just concerned.

This weekend was rough. I woke up this morning like “Ugh, I can’t believe it’s Monday already!” We had a great and exhausting weekend with visits to the pumpkin patch, swim class, my nail and hair appointments and dinner with his friends at Pizza Hut. As I stood above his bed watching him sleep (like I do many nights) my heart swelled with immense joy. I was truly grateful and blessed that I have an incredible little boy. As I stood over him seeing him in all his innocence, I started a list in my head. A list filled with hope and possibilities.

I Wish I Could:

  • Capture the sound of your laughter at this age because it is the best sound I’ve ever heard. It instantly makes me feel better and gives me hope that I’m not a bad mother when you get disappointed by me telling you no.
  • Teach you how to recognize, acknowledge and respect God’s favor over our lives. I don’t know why God has continually blessed us and keeps us even when I’m not the best person in the world, but I’m thankful. Truly thankful and blessed and I want you to be better than me in that munch.
  • Kiss away the scary. Sometimes you will wake up and I may not be there to kiss away your fears, but know that I am never far away. I believe in you and I believe in the fact that you are a big boy and this too shall pass.
  • Videotape your memories and thoughts when it comes to expressing your love for Jesus. You continually amaze me when you want to talk about Jesus, tell me about the Bible, be Jesus for Halloween or analyze how God is always watching over you even when I’m not there. You didn’t have a problem yelling out at Courtney’s 5th birthday party last week that we had to sing “May God Bless You” before we cut the cake because you want to honor God with everything you have and I am overwhelmingly in awe of who you are.
  • Always remember that I never wanted children. Because until you came along, my life was just ordinary and it was fine. But, the moment you were in my womb, it became extraordinary and I NEVER EVER want to forget that. It allows me to appreciate you and what you have done for me. Your very existence changed my world view. I am eternally grateful for that.

Motherhood is not always roses and laughter. I know there will be days that we will probably be ready to strangle each other, but I can’t take it for granted. The good or bad both matter and they mean that I am doing something right. I am not perfect. I am trying and I love being his mother because I now have purpose. To do what it says in the Bible, “Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (NLV)
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I Have My Moments

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook:

From the mommy diaries…I’m gonna pat myself on the back because I rock. After taking care of munch with his respiratory infection this week, missing work, missing his homework and not having time to write, I was able to Google translate his French homework packet in 2.5 hours last night, email the teacher with questions I didn’t understand, go to work today, knock out 2 of the 12 items due, pay bills, order his halloween costume, pay for Tae Kwan Do, order Chipotle for dinner, pick him up, eat and help him with 2 hours worth of homework to have him in bed by 9 pm because tomorrow is another busy day with the start of church school. Whew! ‪#‎momsrock‬ ‪#‎mommymoment‬‪#‎brennansmom‬

As many of you may have guessed, I have a supermom attitude when it comes to my son. That week, I was super proud of all the things I was able to accomplish in the limited amount of time with a sick child. I want to make sure that I am not only giving munch my best, but being the best with juggling motherhood and working. But, I have to admit it does get exhausting.

Why do I do it? Part supermom complex. Part insanity. I’m an overachiever when it comes to my son. I want to show the world that you can have it all. I struggle to make sure that my son never feels neglected by me (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc.). So, I am the mom who does custom holiday cards (complete with a fall photo shoot) and all. I send thank you cards, teach church school, attend Bible studies, attend PTSA meetings, update his website, blog, write my own book, order uniforms, buy new outfits for school pictures, take him to swimming, soccer, bake cakes, do play dates and attend every birthday party we’re invited too. Why? Because I’m crazy. That’s probably the simplest and best answer I can provide.

If I don’t do it, I feel like I’m somewhat being an underachiever and cheating munch out of opportunities that I didn’t have as a child being raised by a single parent. I feel guilty. I wanted him so much, but I want a career too so in order to make sure there is balance, I want to do it. I need to do it. But, doing it all exhausts me. It leaves me feeling drained and not having enough time to enjoy myself. It’s that whole supermom complex.

How bad is it? Well, this year I wanted to sign him up for cub scouts and went to the first meeting with him and his dad. He loved it! I learned all the wonderful things that the kids do and then I also learned all the things that the parents are expected to do as well. This was a heavy parent involvement chapter. I was cool with it. So, another 3 hours a week of more stuff to do? Sure, No problem. I can handle it. But, not everyone was up for the challenge.

His father had sent an email and said that he didn’t think he should do cub scouts now because he’s being over scheduled. I responded “Bye, Felicia! He’s not being over scheduled. He’s fine.” I huffed, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Supermom can handle it. Right?

Well, I could handle it or so I thought until munch got sick with a respiratory infection and I was out of work, in and out of the doctor’s office and nursing my six year old. I was tired. No school. Well, when you’re in a French Immersion program, you need to be at school. Missed days equal missed learning opportunities. We had to play catch-up. In my exhausted state, I sent an email back to his dad and said, “I think you may have a point in no cub scouts yet. While I disagree that he’s being over scheduled, he has a lot going on and school has always been our main priority and focus. That being said, I will wait until later in the year.”

Yep, I sucked it up and bit the bullet and realized that sometimes life will throw you a curve ball and you need to adjust. You need to regroup and refocus your priorities. I refocused and realized that the most important thing in the world to me is a happy and healthy child. It’s my number one priority. So, I have my moments of clarity that remind me that I don’t need to do it all or be it all. Munch will be just fine.

This is one of those moments.

Ramblings of a Workaholic Mom

I have been working crazy hours the last few months trying to wrap up this project at work. The majority of the parenting responsibility has fallen on my husband Lee. Lee has been a God send when it comes to raising TB (Toddler Brennan). Lee and Brennan’s relationship has grown so much in the past few months, that I actually get jealous some times. I was the favorite, but now it’s all about Daddy (who by the way TB refers to as Lee). I started to feel sorry for some of what I called my “parenting shortfalls” and have taken some corrective measures.

It’s Quality not Quantity Time

When we were growing up, my mom worked three jobs and was rarely home. The only time we were guaranteed to spend some family time together was on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. We cherished those times until our teenage years, when date nights and social lives intercepted. I remember people asking my mom how she raises such smart, inquisitive and well-rounded children and she would say, “I don’t worry about the quantity of time spent, but the quality.” She focused on letting us know that she loved us and cared about the young individuals we were growing into. She let us know that when she was there, we had her undivided attention. She asked us questions to determine where we were emotionally. One of my favorite times was TGIF (Thank Goodness Its Friday) time. We would order pizza and watch TGIF line-up on prime time television. We were a family. I remember that it was the quality, not the quantity that helped shape me.

Be Still and Be Present

I used to come home from work and think about what I had to do the next day because I couldn’t process that I had too much work and too little time. I would come home and say hi to Brennan, Lee and then get involved in other things (making lists, selling Avon, being Vice President of Public Relations for Toastmasters, working on a certification class, cleaning, washing clothes, talking on the phone or watching TV). I didn’t really focus my full attention on Brennan because I became distracted by everything. I learned to Be Still and Be Present. I came home and spent time with Brennan by reading his favorite books, watching Sprout and talking about his day. I wanted him to know that he was more important than anything I could have going on in my life. So I stopped and became ever present. I go to work later so that I can spend time waking up with him and getting him dressed. I rush home sometimes so that I can give him a bath before bed time. I scrub him down and watch him build blocks along the tub. I make sure to spend as much time with him on the weekends going to the store, visiting family and friends or going to community events. I even make it a point to take him to Chuck-e-Cheese once a month to make sure that he knows that I am around. We eat pizza, salad and play games. He laughs, runs and has a ball being with me. He says, “Mommy, I love you more” and I relish in his words remembering to always be still and be present with him.

Guilt be Gone

I used to pride myself on being a first-time mom and all the wonderful things that I would do to make sure that I had a “normal” life. I would buy Brennan’s clothes and shoes in advance of him needing them. I shop mostly sale items and eBay, but I loved the fact that I would never let my son wake up and not have shoes that fit or clothes that were too small. His room is filled with clothes with tags on it and boxes of Jordan’s and suits in closet. (Yes, he’s only 2). Last week as I was reminded that it was picture day at daycare. I searched for the perfect outfit for him to wear. I found his dark denim washed jeans and pulled out a brand new Ralph Lauren polo shirt. He was going to look sharp tomorrow for his pictures. I couldn’t find a pair of shoes to save my life. (Brennan now likes to hide his shoes in various spots and Lee was no help when it came to finding them.) I found a pair of casual shoes to wear with his outfit, but they didn’t fit. They were too small. I sent him to day care with shoes that didn’t fit with a pair of beat-up tennis shoes in his book bag to be changed right after pictures. I was embarrassed by my actions and my heart hurt so much. How could I let this happen? How could I not remember my oath to make sure that my son had shoes that he could fit and clothes that weren’t too small. I cried. I felt like a failure. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was doing too much and ignoring my son’s basic needs. I went out the next day and bought him two pair of shoes and more clothes. When Lee saw this, he told me that I was suffering extreme guilt and I needed to get over it. He said that we all make mistakes and that I can’t blame myself for this. I realized he was right. I needed the guilt to be gone. I needed to remember that I am not perfect and I will make mistakes, but forgetting to be on my game all the time does not a “perfect parent” make. When I came home that night and asked Brennan how his day went, he didn’t mention his shoes not fitting. He smiled and said, “Elmo mommy, Nina and Star on Sprout.” Guilt be gone.

So, if you’re feeling overworked and under appreciated, remember that being a parent is the most rewarding job you can do. Don’t fret over the quantity of time spent, focus on the quality. Remember that when you are home with your children that you are still and present in the moment with them. Don’t worry about the dishes, the clothes or cleaning. Focus on them and give them the best of you. Finally, remember that when all else fails, you’re still a great parent. Tell that guilt to be gone. You will have more important bridges to cross later on.