Well, let me just put it all out there from the get-go: being a mom to two babies is a lot harder than I anticipated.
Let me back up while I serve myself a nice, hearty slice of humble pie. I might have set myself up for a tougher adjustment because–eek–honestly…I didn’t think it was going to be hard for me. (HA! I am laughing and majorly cringing as I type this.) “Hard?” I thought. “Maybe for people who weren’t kindergarten teachers. If I could run a class of 22 5-year-olds like a tight ship, two little kids of my own will be nothing!”
Ha. HA. HA!!!
Um. 1) Kids are better behaved when they’re not our own. 2) Toddlers are their own entity. 3) Add hormones & nursing around clock to the mix …. I could go on and on.
Y’all, this is HARD. Mommin’ aint easy. Never have I ever tasted words so true in my humble pie. But here is the (happy) catch:
Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not my dream life.
It IS hard. Messy. Unpredictable.
Sometimes everyone cries at the same time.
But you know what?
I would not trade it for anything in the whole wide world. Any job, any salary, anything. Spending day in and out with my babies is exactly where I want to be and exactly where I’ve precisely known (for basically my whole life) that God has created me to be. It is an honor and privilege to shepherd and mama these little souls God has given to Mark and me. YES, it’s hard. But life is hard. I once read that you have to “choose your hard,” and this is how I’m choosing mine.Duster Cardigan, c/o
A Random But Comprehensive List of
My Ongoing Reflections…
- The toddler is harder than the baby. I didn’t really think about/expect that. Yep, Sterling is happy as long as he’s eating/sleeping/held/has a clean diaper. Nancy? Bless her. I love her SO much it hurts, but meltdowns can ensue at any second and can include any/all of the following: wanting to wear pajamas to school, dad leaving for work, wanting to watch Trolls, not wanting to watch Trolls, wearing shoes, wearing socks, getting in the carseat, not wanting me to turn on the DVD player, wearing a bow, leaving home…(yep, these all happened last week in one graceful morning where Nancy cried–hard–for an hour straight about ALL of the things.) This is some of the reason why she has taken on the nickname Unpredictable Pie.
- Given the above, seeking out that first child for one-on-one time is crucial. I even said to Mark last week, “I feel like Nancy’s love langue right now is puzzles.” Of course, it’s really not puzzles, but she craves that quality time more than ever before. Some of the sweetest times in our days have been evenings after Mark gets home from work when we all lay on the playroom floor and play puzzles with Nancy while Sterling is on his activity mat not participating in the big girl activity. 🙂
- Man-to-man defense is a real. As I’m typing this I’m wondering: maybe this is why Nancy has become SUCH a Daddy’s girl as of late. Generally speaking, I’m assigned to Sterling (duh, mooooo), and Mark has Nancy. They do all the fun things whether it’s reading, playing outside, or jumping waves in the ocean. During our summer beach trip I felt like we were more man-to-man defense than ever. It felt like we could spend all day during our vacation doing things separately because Sterling didn’t need to be out in the 95 degree heat all day, and of course Nancy wanted to be in the ocean or building sandcastles.
- Sooooo this makes making your marriage a priority a bigger deal than ever. I think back to our beach trip where I first started feeling like until after the babies went to sleep, we were basically ships passing in the night. I still feel that way some days. You HAVE to make an effort to connect, do things together, seek each other out, etc.
- Oh, the things I never envisioned myself doing: keeping a DVD player in the car for everyday use (nope, not just for trips), letting Nancy watch those weird toy videos on YouTube, leaving the house with dirty dishes in the sink, leaving the house with random things that Nancy has left everywhere. Also, I never realized that nursing in the car is like the best thing ever because of the above things…DVD player, not wrecking the house, etc. Parking lot nursing is my game–no shame.
- My baby boy + my baby girl. I love them the same but differently. Pie is my little sidekick and my best, best girl. We laugh at each other all the time and already argue about clothes. I love it. I know I have to be her mom for the next couple of decades, but I hope one day we can be best friends as well. Sterling, well, I just like have a crush on him. I think the hung the moon and wholeheartedly believe every boy mama who told me how special the bond is + how much little boys love their mamas. I love them both fiercely and ferociously.
- I’ve become a horrible listener to my husband. This started in the hospital room before we headed back home when Sterling was born, and I hate to admit that it hasn’t gotten much better. Mark says things to me, and I respond with one word (e.g. yes, what, no, pardon) as if I’ve listened to what he’s said, but the truth is like I just blacked out and can’t remember the conversation. There were tears over this (mine) when Sterling was 2 days old. Mark asked if he should bring Sterling’s car seat up from the parking lot and have it in the hospital room. I said “yes.” Then 15 min later when he came back into the room with the car seat I asked, “Why is that up here?” WHAT. I REALLY have to work on listening well because my brain is usually thinking about 53901 at once these days. I still am doing the same kind of thing and half/not listening while I’m packing lunches/doing the dishes/trying to remember to put spare outfits + more wipes in the diaper bag etc. It’s all accidental but it’s AWFUL, and I NEED TO MAKE IT STOP!
- I’ve never needed daily time in God’s Word more. These days of messy motherhood “in the trenches” do not go nearly as well if I’m not grounded in Spirit AND in Truth on the reg. (AAAAMEN.) I see the fruit of the spirit in my heart/mind/life in general SO MUCH MORE if I begin my day with Jesus.Best + Softest + Sweetest Baby Blanket Ever
(We’re obsessed and my mom, sister, and I all own at least one. Also comes in You Are My Sunshine!)
- One thing I hear in my head all day is “You are rich in mercy, slow to anger” (Psalm 103:8). Nancy can light up my anger in ways it’s never shown its head before. In arguments I’m never really a yeller, and I could not believe what I heard when I yelled at Nancy twice in the span of 5 minutes. It was a very “Who am I, and what just happened to me?” moment. Big example why time in the Word is so necessary. I recently purchased this book thanks to a friend’s recommendation and since then have had several other mama friends tell me that they’ve read it too. It’s currently sitting on my nightstand. I just need to actually open it. 🙂
- Online grocery shopping is my bff. Amazon Now, I love you. Amazon Prime, still my bff. Going to the grocery store with ONE baby instead of two? Sign me up! (But online is definitely the best.)
- Community. SUPER IMPORTANT. Every mama NEEDS other mamas in her life stage to be real + vulnerable with AND accountable to. Real. Vulnerable. Accountable. We HAVE to lift each other up, encourage one another, call each other out, grieve together, share advice, and pass around clothes/baby items/all the things for constant borrowing.
- I’ve gotten weirder about privacy. I don’t know what really spurred this one, but I’ve just been intentionally different about the way I share Sterling in this (blog) capacity. I guess my heart has just changed. And that’s okay.
- Speaking of this space, my heart for it has changed too. Before Sterling came along, Hope and I were treating this space like a real, dedicated, part-time job. We were putting in the hours and enjoying the fruits of our labor, both personally and financially. It was FUN! We were doing it together! We went to Dallas because of blogging! We were pumped to do ALL THE THINGS! And now…all the things exhaust me. Don’t get me wrong, I love this little space we have built. But my mama heart tells me I HAVE to guard my time right now, y’all. I have to guard it and steward it well. Blogging/social media is a funny thing. It looks so carefree and effortless, but a lot of work goes behind not just every post, but behind every behind-the-scenes thing too. All the platforms, emails, messages to respond to, Snapchat!, Pinterest!, backend web analytics!, adding searchable keywords!, optimizing SEO!, (!s because I never do those things in the correct blogger way), applying to campaigns, writing pitches, creating an editorial calendar, more emails, Instagram, linking everything for your Instagram, Instagram STORIES, resizing photos, editing photos, oh, hold up, see ya in an hour, I’m about to go down the Instagram rabbit hole looking at all the other bloggers/friends/inspirations on my feed… (You mamas who can balance this — MY HAT IS OFF TO YOU! I salute you!!!) Sure, I could pull it off if I wanted to. I know I could! That’s the catch. Right now I don’t want to. Because of my current life stage + my heart, Hope and I have redefined this space as a hobby. Not a part-time, side-gig, but a fun, life-giving hobby. So that’s where I am right now with the blog. Layin’ it all out there. I hope you understand! I love it here and will continue to be here! My presence just won’t be as constant as it was before two babies. 🙂 In the meantime I want to bring out the former teacher in me and be more engaged. Activities! Crafts! Messes! So many read alouds! I miss that part of me. That is also who I am. For complete honesty’s sake, I’m also really into working out right now. (Remember this post? I decided I couldn’t feel that way about myself for the first time and not do something about it…now I have a gym community that I love, and I’m back to my endorphin junkie self.) That commitment + self care practice also takes time–time that gets prioritized over the blog. All in all, I want to put down my phone more. I want to disconnect and really focus on being in the present and not scrolling. Blogging makes for a REALLY good temptation (for me personally, at least) to be attached to the cell phone. For this season, I have to take a step back and refocus on what isn’t right for everyone but is right for me right now.
- And last but not least, when these days in the trenches are long, I remind myself on how short the years are. This season is a short one. These babies, y’all. I only have 5 years with each of them before they’re in kindergarten for like 7 hours a day. (Insert heart flip.) Yes, indeed…the days are long, but the years are short.
All images by my sweet, sweet friend Cameron Faye Photography
Thanks for listening to my shenanigans and for your grace, patience, and love as I learn how keep on keeping on as a mama of two. I’ve got some learning to do because Lord knows I’m not done with babies yet…! (Though I promise I’m waiting a while before adding any more to this crazy mix ;))
Love y’all–mean it!