Tag Archives: different stages of motherhood

Motherhood: The Half-Time Report

My daughter turned nine years old yesterday. She is my eldest child. When she was born into this world, I was born into motherhood. Now, this morning, the day after her ninth birthday, I realize she is closer to her eighteenth birthday than she is to the day she was born. With the revelation that I am, essentially, at the halfway point of my parenting career with her, it’s hard not to take a few moments and consider where I stand.

I stand a near-decade away from those interminable nights of lying awake wondering if my brand-new daughter was safely asleep in her crib down the hall. While she slumbered, I wondered if I should swaddle her tighter, use organic bath wash, or pay more attention to “tummy time”. I would gradually drift asleep with one thought remaining, “I guess I will do the best I know how.” My feet are firmly behind the war-zone lines where battles and wars were fought regarding which side of the slice of bread the jelly goes on, why sandals are not appropriate winter footwear, and why toddler hands do not belong near a stove-top. Those battles were sometimes long and drawn-out when the wee toddler showed the determination and stubbornness that had only been seen in the likes of… well, her father. My strides have taken me through emotional storms of postpartum hormones, seemingly insurmountable doubts of my parenting abilities, conflicting desires to hurry-up this tedious job and at the same time beg the clock to just SLOW DOWN FOR MINUTE OR TWO OR THREE!!! I have slipped and fallen; I have tripped and stumbled; and I have skipped and leaped and jumped a time or two. I have stepped along so many milestones cheering her on; first steps, lost teeth, two-wheel bikes, new schools, diving into pools. The moments have been photographed or recorded, but mostly the journey is imprinted on my heart.

I am here with nine years of parenting history behind and look out towards nine more years ahead. I just might have an idea about what the future holds for me. I will pace nervously in my bedroom during MORE endless nights wondering if she is safely asleep in her bed down the hall, or at a friend’s house, or in her college dorm. I will wonder if I should sign her up for more extra-curriculars, let her go to the movies with that boy, or insist that she make her bed every morning. I will try to find my sleep with the thought, “I am doing the best that I know how.” I will continue to try to find solid footing on battles over clothes and friends and school-work and tone of voice and curfews and music choices and music volume and cell phones and social media boundaries and car keys and which college to attend and so much more. I hope that while she may not look at me and see a friend, that she will also not look at me and see a foe. I hope our battles will be interspersed with peacetimes at coffee shops and practice fields and laying on her bed talking about whatever comes to her mind. I am confident that I will have to stride through tween/pre-teen/teen hormonal angst like none I have ever imagined. These next nine years will surely make me second-guess my mothering instincts and continue to have a love-hate relationship with the clock… it’s unfailing ability to neither tick faster nor slower. I nervously step up to the milestones that lie in front of me; school dances, wins and losses, driver’s license, first loves and heartbreaks, and so many more “real life” moments that will be so very important to her along the way. I hope I will know how to encourage while giving her space, letting her fall but giving her a place to land, letting her know she will always, always be my baby girl.

So here I stand, closer to embracing my daughter as a young woman than I am to snuggling her new-baby self.   I am not sure if I want to cry for days gone by or smile for adventures to come. For tonight, I will probably just sit down and do both.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…
well today’s blog is worth five doodles:Nine 4

Nine 2

Nine 3

Nine 1

Nine

Today’s quote isn’t famous, but just a reminder:

“I’m going to do the best that I know how.”
– an average mother


A Shout-out to All the Bus Stop Parents

It’s the first day of school here. On this big important day of the year, it’s important to take a moment to acknowledge the people who work tirelessly through the morning hours to get our mini-people ready and on their way to educational progress…. Otherwise known as… The Bus Stop Parents.

The Bus Stop Parents come in all shapes and sizes. These are just some of my favorites:

THE “WE SERIOUSLY JUST WOKE UP TEN MINUTES AGO” PARENT
This one of my very favorites because the wardrobe of choice – who am I kidding, it wasn’t a “choice” at all… it was whatever happened to be within arms reach – is always spectacular and usually needs an explanation. “Yes, it’s August and yes I’m wearing my winter coat. You should thank me.” “Can you believe I can walk in my husband’s rain boots without falling over?! They’re actually comfortable.” “Who knew my third-grader’s flip flops fit me?!” “Yes, I am actually wearing a bed sheet.” And all these comments are said with a profound sense of victory because… hey! Your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 3

THE “GOING TO THE GYM RIGHT AFTER THE BUS COMES” PARENT

I’ve been this one many times. There’s always a far off stare happening. It’s the running dialogue if The Gym is actually going to be the destination of choice…. Maybe a trip to Target instead? Or perhaps a quick breakfast with a few other Bus Stop Parents? Or maybe just back to the couch to catch up on some shows? Sometimes it really is the gym and sometimes it’s not. Either way, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 7

THE “OVER-THINKING” PARENT

Whether your kid is in Kindergarten or third grade…. There are a lot of things to keep track of! The little ones can’t keep track of it all because, well, they are little, and the older ones can’t keep track of it all because, well, because that’s just how it works. So you have to keep track of it all. All of it. Heaven help you if you have more than one kid! Every now and again, it’s possible to over-think and second-guess yourself. Try not to do that too often because in the end, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop

THE “MORNING BREATH” PARENT

It happens to all of us. When you are busy keeping track of all that stuff (aforementioned parent)… you may just happen to forget to brush your teeth. The “hide behind the coffee mug” technique seems to be quite effective. You could also just stand on the outside of the group of parents or at least down-wind. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone loves the smell of a fresh brewed coffee, so think of that mug in front of your face as a gift to everyone else. Plus, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 2

THE “DAD” PARENT

We mostly had moms at our bus stop; it’s probably fairly common, especially in military communities. However, we were often joined by dads that didn’t need to go into work super early. Most of the time, the dads congregated close to each other. The moms could talk non-stop the entire time we waited for the bus and then for approximately 40 minutes after the kids drove off. The dads are always friendly and social of course, but just not quite as much as the ladies. And for some reason the kids always like to dump their backpacks by the dads’ feet. Talkative or not, it doesn’t really matter because those dads got their kid on the bus (occasionally without a backpack) and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 1

THE “WORKING/DOING SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF THE HOME” PARENT

Pretty much every day that our working moms or the ones who actually got dressed in “for public viewing” clothes, the rest of the parents would “oooh” and “aaah” over them. Almost like it was a fashion show… the dress pants! The buttoned shirt! The ballet flats! The make-up! You would think we had never seen each other before in anything other than near-pajamas. It’s very good for one’s soul to step out in skinny jeans, boots, and a sweater and be welcomed as if you are on the red carpet. Plus, you got your kid on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 5THE “CROSSFITTING PRIOR TO SUNRISE” PARENT

Some of us just rolled out of bed. Some of us have already run 8,000 meters, completed 3,789 burpees, 15,000 box jumps, and 694 pull-ups. It’s cool. To each their own. Even if those parents aren’t sporting their Crossfit t-shirts and chalk on their hands, you can probably still pick them out among the bunch; they are all gitty with post-work-out pheromones! You worked out already and got your kid on the bus, that’s a victory for sure!Bus Stop 4

I’m sure there are so many more ways to categorize the different kinds of Bus Stop Parents out there, but those are just some of the ones I relate to the most. I’m thankful for all my friends who have waited with me on steamy-humid days, through blizzards, and in downpours. The camaraderie of the bus stop certainly sends our favorite little people out into the world with a sense of security and welcomes them home with the knowledge that no matter what, today was a victory!Bus Stop 6


Military: 7 Signs You PCS’d This Summer

One month ago today we moved into our home. I’m sure there are many military families out there experiencing some of these moments right along with me….

  1. You can still spy one or two (or fifteen thousand, if you are like me) of those pesky moving stickers that never seem to EVER go away completely!
    PCS Summer 1
  2. While checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (because you need stuff for your new bed, bath, and… beyond) you pause for a good ten seconds when asked what your zip code is. Zip code… right. WHERE exactly am I again?!
    PCS Summer 2
  3. The idea of going school supply shopping is entirely daunting because, didn’t we just get here?! Now I need to be organizing myself and family for a new school year?!
    PCS Summer 3
  4. Your bucket list for the summer is ten miles long. You MUST see all the new sites RIGHT NOW! Because you know, before you blink you will be looking at a new set of orders and your bucket list will still be about nine miles long.
    PCS Summer 4
  5. You assume all your neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ages, until you remember it’s a military community and it’s summer and almost everyone is new too!
    PCS Summer 5
  6. Signing your kids up for summer camps and after-school activities feels like the ultimate test of your Mom-hood. This dance studio or that one? We missed soccer try-outs but will they still allow my child to play? Where, exactly, does that swim team compete? Wait, what time does school get out anyway?!PCS Summer 6
  7. There is a sense of immense possibility with each new person you meet and each new road you travel.PCS Summer 7

To all my fellow military spouses out there who are settling in and exploring new hometowns… may this new adventure be your best! And in the words of Matsuo Basho, remember:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”


Schooled in Parenting (By My 8-Year-Old Daughter)

classroomThis morning while I was getting ready for the day, my kids rolled into a very intense, very passionate argument. The likes of which I’m sure haven’t been seen (or heard!) since the days of old. Or maybe last week.  Of course, this argument was about, none other than, Minecraft.  From what I can gather from my unavoidable over-hearing, my 4-year old was continually pushing random buttons on his Xbox controller while my 7 and 8-year olds were trying to build something (apparently it was a very important “something” that could not be delayed by random button pushing). I will set the scene for you: To find out what I learned, click here


The Risk of Raising Independent Children

We recently moved to a very family-friendly neighborhood, which also happens to be a military housing neighborhood. This move has given us the opportunity to live in an ideal setting to take the risk of raising independent children. My kids are ages 8, 6 ¾ (it’s important to him to remember the ¾), and 4, which to me are ideal ages to risk the lessons of becoming an independent child.

My kids are learning the importance of being accountable for themselves. No one else can answer for the choices they make. This accountability is teaching them to think through their choices first, act second. They are testing their nerve and finding out how far they are willing to push themselves, whether it’s the speed they ride their bikes or how high they climb a tree. With that test of nerve I believe they will gain self-confidence as they realize they can do new things because they pushed themselves, not because Mom or Dad told them to try it. They are building a frame of reference on rights and wrongs. They are getting better acquainted with their morals and listening to their own conscience instead of Mom and Dad’s voice. Continue reading about the challenges of raising independent kiddos…


Writing 101: Lost and Found (Part One)

Daily prompt: Write about something/someone that was part of your life and isn’t any more.

Twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-part series.

Continue to my story…


Motherhood: Happy Mother’s Day to the many different mothers out there

Infant Grasping Mother's FingerHappy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there! Happy Mother’s Day to all the soon-to-be Mommies and waiting-to-be Mommies and new Mommies and veteran Mommies. Today is a day of flowers and breakfasts in bed and long, uninterrupted showers. Today is also a day of tears and heartache and arms that long to hold another. On a day with such a variety of emotions, here are my wishes for each of you…

For the mothers-waiting-to-be, I wish you a day filled with hope and faith. May today’s celebration not be a constant reminder for the family you are hoping and waiting to build. I hope you will see the impact you have had on so many others in your life – a niece or nephew, a neighborhood child, a friend – where you have filled the role of mother… comforter, caretaker, encourager, rock. I will not pretend that today is an easy day for you as you wait and wonder what the future holds for you. But I do hope you are able to see all the ways you have already begun your motherhood journey and have made a difference in the lives around you. May your next Mother’s Day see your arms filled with your very own Little One… and if that is not the case, I pray your heart will be filled with love, faith, and hope beyond your wildest dreams.

For the soon-to-be mothers, I wish you a day of long naps and a chance to put your swollen feet up.  You are undoubtedly filled with excitement and anxiety for all that is to come in the next few months.  I hope today you will be filled with confidence in your abilities to be Mom.  I wish you calm and peace and joy about the life that is growing inside you.  I wish you calm and peace and joy about the many different kinds of bottles, pacifiers, baby swings, blankets, diapers, formula, etc. May you realize that the only thing you really need is a heart full of love for your baby and your best intentions… and a carseat, so you can bring Baby home.  I wish you find a few moments today to realize what a gift and privilege it is to have a chance to sculpt and nurture a brand new human being.  More Mother’s Day wishes…


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