Friday, February 8, 2008

Motherhood Musings

I don't have any cute pictures to post (because we haven't been doing anything fun). I don't even really have any funny stories to tell. It's February in New England and I'm longing for Spring like I never thought was possible. Everyone, everywhere has been sick and though we've been spared the really nasty stuff, it's been enough to make getting out the door (which was hard anyway) impossible. So instead of funny cute stuff tonight, I decided to share my latest thoughts with you. Who knows where this may lead!

The babies have both been cutting molars and it's been brutal. Last night was the first time in a few weeks that all 3 kids slept all night long. Lucky me though, I still got up a couple times out of habit. Anyway, a few days ago they had all woken up really early and since they're all in the same room it's often impossible to get them to go back to sleep without some trickery. On this particular morning I failed and they were up early. Both babies were losing it and clinging to my legs crying "mama, mama". I don't know what I was trying to do but I couldn't do it holding them. It had been such a long morning and I was losing it fast! I kept thinking how nice it would be to live next to my parents on days like this. A grandma can come in handy sometimes and I feel like we're all getting gypped a little because ours are so far away. I digress. So the babies were clinging and crying and I felt like crying. There was so much to do and so many people who needed me. I was exhausted and thought that I just wanted my mom! In that moment it hit me, that's all they want too. They just want their mom... and it's me! With a deep sigh, I stopped what I was doing, picked them both up and held them (which didn't completely stop their crying-or mine- but it made us all feel a little better.)

I've been trying so hard to focus on what's really important in life since these two little babies, who are now crazy-into-everything kids, came into our lives. There have been LOTS of days (who am I kidding... uhm, every day) where my laundry/dishes/cooking etc. doesn't get done. I feel like I've been in survival mode for a long time and now that I'm starting to come out of the fog, the weather is so nasty that we can't do anything. Being cooped up in this little house isn't good for any of us.

I think being a mom is harder than I realized it was going to be and harder than most of us will admit to each other. I love blogging but I think it gives us all a rosy/perfect view of our lives. You see my projects and my kids looking perfect in pictures and think, man... she's good. What you don't see is me questioning my decisions, wondering if I'm doing things right. You don't see me giving up on making them eat whatever it is they've decided is yucky today. You don't hear me yell (when did I start yelling???) You don't see (unless you look closely at the background of my pictures!) my huge pile of laundry and messy floors. You don't know that I've traded make-up, cute clothes, and hairdos for my yoga pants, sweatshirt and ponytail.

One of my very best friends told me once that she feels like motherhood has brought out the worst in her. At the time I was surprised and disagreed (both about her and about me). Now I hate to admit that I think she might be right! It's just the demands and craziness of the day combined with exhaustion (will I ever again sleep for more than a 3 hour stretch?) seem to get the better of me and catch me off guard. Let's just say that some of my proudest moments don't come after sleeping a choppy 4 hours a night.

I wish sometimes I could slow the clock down and savor these times when the kids are so little and innocent. I wish I could spend more time holding and kissing and playing. The other day I was getting worked out about something and Lila took my face in her little hands and said in a very motherly tone, "Mommy, you're just getting stressed. Calm down."

Tonight when I put everyone to bed they were all so sweet that I forgot about the stresses of the day. I was holding the babies trying to sing to them before I put them in their cribs and they started trying to kiss each other. Abby was giggling so hard. Oh, how I LOVE the sound of her little laugh! I finally just left them laughing and playing together in their cribs.

Then when I put Lila to bed she was so in love with me she could barely stand it. She kept looking at me all googely-eyed, kissing me and telling me how much she loves me. I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I'll take it! Apparently she doesn't care about all the millions of ways I come up short. Truth is, she probably doesn't even notice!

My favorite moment of the day is usually right before I go to bed. I sneak in and look at them all while they're asleep. Johnny thinks I'm nuts and that the risk of waking them up isn't worth it. I disagree. Watching them there sleeping, Abby twisting her hair, Zack sucking his finger, and Lila snuggled up to her "squeezy blankie"... it just melts my heart. I'm always more in love with them than ever at those moments and I remember why I get up every morning at an hour that feels intensely unnatural. I remember why I wipe noses and bottoms and tears all day long. I remember why most days I decide that the time spent doing my hair could be better spent playing, tickling, or talking. These are the moments that make it all worthwhile. These are the ones that I'll remember when I'm old. My mom always reminds me about the poem that says, "quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep... I'm rocking my babies and babies don't keep."It's true I guess. Before I know it they'll be grown.

So tomorrow I'm going to do better than I did today. I won't be perfect, but I can be better. I'm going to take those sweet moments and store them up for when things get hard. I'm going to take deep breaths and some time for myself. I'm going to allow myself to mess up and sometimes I'll have to say I'm sorry. Most of the time though, I'm going to try to cut myself a little slack and realize that for the most part, especially the important parts, I'm probably doing a pretty good job. That's the best part of being a mom. You never get fired, released, or laid off. They're yours forever! And tomorrow, I'm going to love mine, and enjoy mine a little more!

29 comments:

Ethan's Mom said...

Em-
I totally needed this. Thanks.
-Mia

Tami said...

Okay Em, I left a really long, wonderful comment but then I went to change my username and it deleted it all.
Emily, I want you to know that I look up to you so much and that I really am impressed with the way you mother your children! I love the way your kids have turned out! I am constantly impressed with the way you can manage it all. I have always looked up to you and have been so interested in your life and this post was awesome! I have loved watching your kids grow up!!! Anyway, I hope you know how much I love you!
Plus...it's okay that the laundry isn't clean and the dishes aren't done. My dishes and laundry don't get done often either and I don't even have kids yet.
Keep up your good work and enjoy those babies while you can!
Sure love ya!
Tam

Libby said...

AMEN!

You're right that this is the hardest thing ever, and that it's also the most worthwhile. Isn't it crazy that those two co-exist? That even when we're stressed and everything's messy and everyone's in tears, we know it's important and we wouldn't trade it? (Except for maybe a few hours to go get lunch and a massage.)

Hang in there. You're all welcome over here for playdates/commiserating any time (if you decide that getting three kids ready and in the car is worth it!).

Rindi said...

Emily,
I was just saying to Greg the other day (after reading a similar type of post about the joys and difficulties of motherhood) that it is so funny how we, as mothers, all completely understand each other. We all are living through such a similar experience. It is the most difficult thing ever, but the strong ties of love keep us going far beyond what we would normally be able to do. One time Sunee told me that instead of being disappointed at how impatient we have been, we should be totally amazed at how LONG we HAVE been patient. It is just hard that on top of loving and caring for the kids, we have so many other things to keep up on (laundry, dishes, finances, church callings, etc.). But no one besides a great mother could continue to drag herself out of bed each morning and try all over again. I think you will find that everyone's comments about this blog are along the lines of total understanding and complete sympathy. We are all in the middle of the same trial and surrounded by the same joy. I know how you feel...and you are great! Keep it up. And, I'll keep trying, too!

Travis & Tanya said...

amen :)

The Stucki's said...

Emily great post...don't we all feel the same way?! This New England weather is about to do some Permanent brain damage!! We really should get together, and just think Spring is coming...right? I love your blog.

Ky

Chambers Family said...

Hey Emily-
What a fabulous and touching post. Seriously, I cried(something that happens a lot more now that I'm a mom). I totally relate.
That poem is beautiful too.
Thanks for the uplift.
-Stephanie

Jacee McGuire said...

I Loved this! I am so teared up right now. You are an amazing mom. My hair is always in a ponytail and I only have one, what will happen when I have three!?

Ellen said...

Emily, I came back to the Mom musings twice! I find myself nodding my head during the whole thing. You're awesome and sometimes I think if only I were more like you...
Ellen

Cheramie said...

great thoughts emily. i'm taking notes.

Jan Haws said...

Emily, You are an incredible mom. I am proud of you. I love you!!

Marianne, Clint, Andrew and Nicholas said...

Girl, you are the one that we are all trying to catch up to. i just don't know how you do it girl. and i also wanted to say that when lila said that about being so in love with you that she could hardly stand it, thats says it all right there. that you might not "feel" like you are perfect but to your babies, you ARE perfect. and thats the only thing that matters. so what if your house is a disaster, you should see mine on my "no massage days" its a war zone. but i so look forward to those days of not caring about anything that HAS to be done and just pushing cars around the house with the boys and taking them on nice long walks while they have to point and touch every single thing on the way. you are such an inspirtation emily and you have a wonderful spirit about you that makes all of us want to be better. thank you so much for sharing that post. it's absolutely beautiful. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
I cried when I read your thoughts on motherhood. It's been awhile since I watched my babies sleep, but I still remember how wonderful it was. I wish you were closer so I could give you some help. Last week I kept Brady and Emily overnight for pregnant Amy who had been up every night for two weeks with sick kids. She slept from 7:45pm until 7:00am (only getting up once to go to the bathroom). She was a new woman the next day. I don't know if I could do the same for you, but at least I could keep your laundry caught up. Yesterday MY mother brought dinner over for me and felt of my head and gave me some pity. It was great and I thought...you never stop being a mother or stop worrying about your babies. It's a great eternal circle...the circle of a woman's reach.

Shay said...

Oh Emily..you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your not so good days with us. I think I'm the only mom that has those days and wonders what is wrong with me, so it's nice to hear it from you too! I can't wait till we can get outside and play! Till then, hold on tight, you are doing a great job!

Monica said...

Emily, this post made me cry and I'm not even a mom. Thanks for your insight into some of the real reasons for becoming a mother. You're such a great example for me, thanks.

Cassi said...

Em...so sweet. I miss you and seeing you in action every day. I just sat down and read this after wrestling Josh to sleep. This job is the hardest, and that is why it's the best. I might just cry all day now...love you.

Judi said...

Emily, that was so touching. You are doing such a wonderful job. I said to Mike last night...if only I could get a break for one night...but I am quickly finding out, moms never get a break because even if someone else babysits, you are still always thinking about the baby!!! and I only have one baby :) Keep at it :)

Scott, Heidi and clan said...

tears..thanks em.

Mindy said...

As I was reading this last night Aubrey was crying at my feet (she had been crying all day long) and Kay was jumping on our couch. It had been a very long day and I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. After reading about you picking up your babies and crying with them. I picked Aubrey up and just held her. She eventually grabbed my face and we snuggled a bit. It was so rewarding and without your blog I would have missed out on that opportunity. Thanks!

Andrae said...

I came upon your blog through a friend mines blog who lives in Arizona. I am currently in Utah but I just moved from Boston in October of 2007. I LOVED your entry. I laughed and I "cried". I wish that I could express myself as eloquently as you did. I too love watching my sleeping babies, at times I pick them up and rock them for a moment. I love motherhood and that the reward it brings is not so much tangible but eternal. Thank you for your thoughts they made my day brighter

AndraƩ Griffin

Eardley Family said...

Oh Emily how I love you!! I am crying tonight...what a wonderful post. Tonight was a little rough and I was not at my "best", but tomorrow I will do better. I miss you!!!

Sunee

bostonroms said...

I've been meaning to comment on this since I read it back before a bajillion other things happened. :) You're the best you know... I aspire to be like you and love how you and J raise your little munchkins. Now... being VERY pregnant and having slept on the floor of Sam's room since he was having a hard time in his new space and a big boy bed last night... and since Matt was so incredibly sick he couldn't do it... I'm running on about 4 hours of interrupted sleep. And yep. I think it's worth it.

I'd still MUCH rather do it all with more sleep. :)

James & Cari said...

Thanks Emily- I live vicariously through you. What I would give to have my twins both holding onto my legs saying 'Mommy' again. Your words really hit home today. Thanks!

Boston Paynes said...

I loved this entry on your blog. Oh how many of us feel just like you but aren't brave enough to admit it. Thanks for helping me take time to enjoy the simplest moments with my Jaden. Love & hugs !!

katieo said...

Oh Emmy.
Thanks for posting this. I have been feeling the exact same way. Love you.
Kates.

Andrea said...

Emily- I love love loved reading that. Thank you for the lift!! It is so nice to read someone else's thoughts on exactly what I am going through too. Three kids is doing me in!! I can relate in every way--except for the bad weather--well it did rain today- does that count? You really need to come visit us here in FL!! :) Miss you! Andrea

Brandiurafinegirl said...

Thanks Emily, that was awesome! I only wish we lived where I could see you being a mom!

Heidi said...

Emily,

You're an incredible mom, and a fabulous friend. I'm so grateful for you in my life!

The Pughs said...

Amen, seriously amen! I totally agree that motherhood can bring out the worst in you...and the best. I loved it when you said "when did I start yelling?" I was so surpirsed the first time I yelled I sobbed! I had no idea how strong the emotions of motherhood would be! Luckily they are strong to both extremes and we can love our kids more than we thought you could love anyone! Thanks for your post!