Motherhood is a whirlwind. Most days I feel (and probably look) like a total mess. On any given day, I may or may not have gone to work with my hair unwashed and most likely in a ponytail, might have forgotten to put on makeup and once I even forgot to brush my teeth. We may or may not have overslept today, had 15 minutes to get ready, had to change pants as we were walking out the door because I remembered it was water day at school and he needed a swimsuit on instead and he might have had a Kraft single for breakfast in the car and part of a smoothie drink that spilled all over his shirt and had to change into a new one in the school parking lot. All hypothetical, of course (or not).
Yes, on any given day, you may find me standing there with this "whoa, what just happened?" look on my face. When you look at the photos and videos of my child from 6 or 7 months ago and compare them with those taken this week - you might see a little glimpse of why it feels like a whirlwind. My child is growing and developing at rapid speed. I was also inducted into motherhood by starting right out with a toddler. If that doesn't throw you into a cyclone of change, I don't know what will. Most days, my house is a mess with a pile of dishes in the sink, laundry thrown on the floor waiting to be done and discarded clothing, shoes, toys and various other items trailing all through the house. The old me who was totally OCD about keeping things picked up and orderly is nowhere to be found and I'm ok with that.
VIDEO FROM NOV 22, 2012
VIDEO FROM JUNE 2012
The me who thought I would totally rock as a mom is also nowhere to be found. All those years of babysitting like every single weekend seems to have done nothing whatsoever to actually prepare me for real life parenthood. In my mind as I pictured it - I pictured trips to the park and zoo and lots of laughing and hugging and silliness together. I pictured kissing foreheads at night and tucking a calm, sweet little one into bed, saying prayers together and him falling fast asleep after saying "mommy, I love you" and smiling at me. Thank the Lord above - those things HAVE actually happened and those sweet little moments are worth the other 8 out of 10 other days when it doesn't happen that way at all. Real life kind of reminds me of the Griswold family vacations where Clark has this family bonding picture in his head and then all goes haywire. Where my 4 year old two nights ago literally throws a tantrum for over 2 hours about like 10 different things that could all easily make this blog list had I actually taken a picture of the crying fits he was throwing. http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com/
By the way - that link... that blog... those pictures - one of my favorite things in the whole world right now because I totally relate. I laugh so hard I'm crying everytime I look at those pictures and those reasons kids are crying - it's for real - it's the age - they do that. I've seen it. I can't even count how many times I've seen Mihretu lose it over the silliest things... like him asking me to help him get the top off his water cup and then when I do help - he swats my hand and starts screaming at me saying "me do it". You either laugh or you'll cry in those moments because it just makes no sense. I try so hard to be consistent because I know that's so important in discipline. But man, it's hard to figure out what to even say or do in some of these moments where there's no rhyme or reason to the madness. He yells louder when I try to talk to him about it when he's upset. The only thing that kind of works is time out and just backing away while he gets it all out and letting him calm himself down. Then I can talk to him - AFTER he calms down. Unless it's like the other night when as soon as that fit was done, he was immediately crying about something different. He asked for snack and chose popcorn and I went and got it and by the time I sat the bowl in front of him - he started kicking and yelling that he wanted to pour the popcorn into the bowl himself. "Well, no sir - you do not get to do it when you ask like that! Besides, you didn't tell me you wanted to do it - you asked for popcorn and I got it for you. You need to calm down or I'm taking the popcorn away." He proceed to hit the bowl and knock popcorn all over and I followed through and took the popcorn away completely. Later when he finally did calm down and said he wanted a snack - popcorn was not on the list of choices. "You lost that choice earlier buddy." I gave him a few other appealing choices and that helped keep him from another meltdown about not getting to have popcorn at all. We made it through that night, went to bed earlier than usual and praise the Lord - the next night was 190,000 times better!!! All I can say is- thank God His mercies are new every morning cause there are some days, like the other night, when it feels like 3 hours is 24 hours and you're never going to get through. But somehow you do and I just kept saying to myself - this will pass - tomorrow is a new day - God's mercies are new every morning! I think it's pretty neat of God to give me a child whose name means Mercy in Amharic. I knew there were many reasons I didn't change his name. That right there might be the best one!!!
Other things about motherhood I didn't expect - sleeping a lot but always feeling tired. Or not sleeping through the night with a child this age (he won't fall asleep without me and once I do slip out - he wakes up almost every night and comes in to my room to climb in with me). He likes to run off so if we go someplace where we have to be outside near a busy street - I get stressed out cause I'm afraid he'll run off. Half the time, I end up carrying him cause it's faster and I know he won't run off but he's like 35 lbs and it's hot out this time of year so I end up super sweaty and feeling like I'm having hot flashes. My goodness. I told you I'm a mess. A hot mess:) ha ha When we go places, especially someone's house that doesn't have kids - I can't relax at all. I'm constantly worried he'll get into something dangerous or break something. I see other moms watch their kids out of the corner of their eye while they have an adult conversation and I wonder how they are doing it. Unless my child is at school or in Sunday school class or just in general - not with me at all - I cannot have a conversation with anyone for more than like 2 seconds. So if you try to have a convo with me and I am barely paying attention or just walk away in the middle of it - that's why. I'm watching my child like a hawk. Just call me momma hawk:) So yeah, at houses without kids - there's all these little glass bottles and knick knacks for decoration that little man of course wants to touch and admire - those are the things he notices and gravitates toward. At gatherings, I worry way too much about how other people in the room will respond to my child - like wondering if they are annoyed that he's being too noisy or too hyper or whatever. What I really want to know is why I even care? I mean, I don't want to be rude or let my child wreak havoc with no concern for those around us but... I think I need to find a better balance of letting kids be kids and not automatically assuming everyone in the room is unhappy about it. I was never unhappy about kids being kids when I wasn't a mom yet. I don't know why I assume other people will be. And even if they are - why is that my responsibility to worry about their reactions? It's not. So why are these the things that go through my head at gatherings? Am I the only one or are other moms experiencing this too? I'm getting better at it and getting more and more at ease but I know I still have a LONG way to go.
I guess all I really want to say in this blog post is that I don't have it all together. I suspect a lot of moms feel this way. And for those that don't - someday I hope to be there - to feel like I have a better grasp on this world of motherhood and not worry that every day I'm going to mess my child up for life because of how I did or didn't respond in every moment. For all of us overwhelmed moms out there - we just have to take it one day, one moment at a time and cherish those sweet moments, ask for God's grace and mercy in the hard ones and take lots of slow, deep breaths. We can do this. We might not (surely will not) be perfect at it. But God is teaching us and walking with us in it. And perhaps parenthood is the one place in life where we really get to experience His mercy because we really can't do it on our own nor pretend to be able to.
For all of us parents out there, just remember this: