I Am THAT Mom.

I am also human, and working on myself one step at a time.

As I prepare to write this, I earnestly feel gutted. Today, I was THAT mom. The mom that I have seen a million times; trying to keep it together as she can feel the entire façade of “everything is perfect” start to crumble and slip away. At first it was hard, but as I realized that I am human I was forced to give myself some grace.

Let’s set the stage for you. Thunderstorms kept us indoors. So movie and popcorn it is, until the popcorn maker got knocked over spilling popcorn every where and cracking the side panel. It was an accident, stay chill mama – accidents happen and its just a popcorn machine. Then children kept climbing the counter, literally I was taking children down from the countertops. Things started to calm until the hall closet upstairs was completely dissected from its contents while I was cleaning the popcorn machine. By then, the window to prepare dinner was closed, my oldest needed to go to karate and this mama was waving her white flag. It was enough.

My vehicle was parked across the street at my mother in laws and since my youngest two usually refuse pants and shoes, I needed to move the car to my driveway to save them from crossing the street shoeless (I have learned to pick my battles, shoes make it to the car in case they’re needed but I do not fight them on – in these cases I prefer peace to the fight). I called all three to the kitchen and said “get your shoes ready and stay RIGHT HERE, I am bring the car over.” They get busy putting their shoes on and I hot footed it across the street. All of the sudden, as I open the driver door there is my middle little. She startled me, then I realized she had ran across the street unassisted and that her 3 year old brother is likely right behind her. In my fear, my frustration I yelled at her. Ouch, it hurts my heart to even write that as I have been really working on my volume and tone with my children, but I was scared. Scared she could have been hurt, scared my youngest would soon be doing the same or is elsewhere outside completely unsupervised. I yelled, right at her “you scared me, and what about brother?! IS he safe?! I told you to stay in the house as I ran across the street!! Why didn’t you stay???” Ugh. We ran back to the house, and my oldest and youngest were standing right where I had asked them to stay only three minutes before.

Now I tell you, I have seen this mom around, so many times. Tired, worried, stressed, overwhelmed, scared, angry, frustrated, and yelling at her kid. Until this moment, I had always viewed the “yelling” mom as such a villain – and to all the moms I have judged before, I earnestly apologize. This is so HARD. Not that I condone yelling at children, however when I was scared, overwhelmed and worried for the safety of my children, that panic kicked in and naturally my voice elevated.

As soon as I saw all three of my children safe (my oldest is 11, so legally he can stay 3 minutes with his siblings as I drive up to get them, in case you are worried lol); I knelt down, cried and apologized instantly for yelling. I asked for my middle little’s forgiveness, I explained how scared I was but that yelling was not appropriate and I am working hard not to yell anymore. Then something surprising happened, she apologized for not listening and saw how scary that was for me. I was taken aback. I did not expect her to mirror my actions, to recognize and acknowledge her mistake and my feelings. It was messy, it was hard, but even in my mama-meltdown epic failure moments, these brilliant amazing little humans are still learning forgiveness, empathy and owning their own mistakes.

Yes, I am THAT mom. I am the mom that struggles with keeping my temper, sometimes doesn’t get food to the table on time (by the way we ordered in tonight), allows too much screen time, gives in to some demands to avoid the fight, and yells when I do not mean to. I am also THAT mom who forgives quickly, loves fully, asks for forgiveness and apologizes to show them I make mistakes too, and would protect my children at all costs. I cry in the bathroom, laugh at the dinner table and hug with everything I have got. I am 100% that mom and proud.

x. earnest mom.

The Middle Matters. An Earnest Book Review.

Status

“Because grilled cheese without the middle is just toast.”

– Lisa-Jo Baker, The Middle Matters

Having been a fan of Lisa-Jo Baker since Surprised By Motherhood, I was thrilled to receive her recent book to review.  Lisa-Jo has an amazing way of storytelling that takes your life, intertwines it with hers and once you put one of her books down, you feel forever connected.  The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Good On You definitely delivers true to Lisa-Jo form.  It is honest, loving, filter-free and raw; when I read that last line of the final page, I closed the book and again, felt connected forever.

This book consists of truth-telling letters/essays to the middle parts of Lisa-Jo’s life; from the middle of her muffin top, to the middle of her failures.  She shares stories of motherhood and marriage that will leave you in tears; laughing tears, sad tears, happy tears and realizing you are not alone tears.   Lisa-Jo takes the hard parts of life and makes them bearable, especially when you know someone out there has experienced the same.  I love the idea of building villages by sharing our stories, this book was made to build villages; villages made up of all of us here in our middles.

img_0155

I remember as a teenager Chicken Soup for the Soul books were all the rage, they were the books I read at my beginning – I love food so this will be a food metaphor – Chicken Soup for the Soul was like my appetizer in life and The Middle Matters is the main course, right in the middle of appetizers and desserts.  It is a hearty helping of comfort food that is necessary in this middle life of ours.  A warm serving of exactly what we need to remember, the scale is not the boss of us and we are the boss of our own emotions.  It brings delicious satisfaction to read Lisa-Jo’s words and know that she has been there too sister, and together we can all get through it.  This middle part is not always easy, often quite busy but is so worth remembering.  She reminds us not to rush through the middle just to get to the end, we must finish our main course before the dessert.  Slowing down to try and see the days as they pass is totally worth it.  Worth every moment.  Lisa-Jo dedicates the book to her late mother whom she says taught her: the harder the moment, the greater the story.  I love this.  Let’s savor those hard moments so we can share great stories with our fellow and future middle mamas.

img_0160

This book is one I wish I could buy for every woman I know, whether in the beginning of the middle, the middle of the middle or the end – we all need a book like this.  The Middle Matters is everywhere you can buy books, get out there and grab one for yourself and a few girlfriends!

Stay tuned to my Instagram for an (extra)ordinary giveaway next week!!

x. earnest mom.

The Middle Matters is published by Waterbrook and Multnomah and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance reader copy for my honest opinion.

 

It’s Happy Here. An Earnest Anecdote.

Status

“It’s happy here!” My oldest earnest little cried out amongst the laughter at the dinner table. As we all laughed together trying our best “dad” jokes, my heart leapt when I heard those words.

As a mom, I am constantly bombarded by the world, social media, parenting books telling me who and what I should be. That is all well and good I know, I do glean what works in our earnest home; but there are times I cannot help but look to those picture perfect Pinterest-Insta-Worthy pictures and compare.

Maybe if we did more crafts.

Maybe if we did more alphabet practicing.

Maybe if we played more sports.

Maybe if we ate more organic.

Maybe if I was more, more, more!

It is sometimes overwhelming to try and be more than I could ever be and in those moments, those self-doubt enemy of my peace moments, I need to tell myself “I am ENOUGH.” And when I cannot voice it to myself, the Lord does through my kids.

“It’s happy here.” Just three words but oh, the weight they carry. My children do not look to me and think “I wish you were more (fill in blank).” No, they run to me with huge open arms, squeeze me so tight sometimes I lose my breathe. It is incredible how they see the world – happy. They love me, as I am, whether my hair is combed or not, whether there are boogers on my shirt or not, whether I am perfect or not. Which I will tell you reader, the latter I am most definitely not.

“It’s happy here” is now my mama-motto. (Seriously, I had vinyl stickers made up and stuck to my kitchen door!) Remembering no matter what, in our home, or wherever we are together, it is happy here.

I do not know what it is in your home that will make you want to shout out “It’s happy here!” as my eldest did, but I charge you to find it. Seek it. Welcome that happiness with open arms, do not let the “picture perfect” ideals take away the happy time you have together. These sweet, sticky and delicious summers fly by in a flash. Find your happy, and keep it there. Sometimes, just ten minutes of happy a day can change the entire year; that is 3,600 minutes of happy in one year. You got this mamas, one day at a time, let’s look around and find moments that cry out “it’s happy here.”

x. em.

Oh Boy!! From Two to Three…WOW.

Status

As a mom of three now, life IS so different. People used to tell me that the biggest transition when having kids was going from 2 kids to 3. Well of course, I am one of the moms that have my own opinions until I experience it and it was TRUE!!  In all my life, going from two children to three has absolutely been one of the hardest transitions.  Earnest dad and I are officially outnumbered.

Our oldest, Earnest Boy 1.0 is in school Monday through Friday and that helps during the days, but he is 8 and needs his mama in ways completely different from the other two. Earnest Babe, she is now 3 and fill of energy, life, goldfish and lollies (they are vitamin C pops by YUMEARTH lol). We often struggle to find a happy medium between playing enough together as every 2 hours I am nursing, changing diapers and swaddling/rocking baby to sleep.  Of course, the Disney Dance Parties help satisfy her playfulness and gets mama a bit if cardio (Lord knows I could use more!).  The littlest, Earnest Boy 2.0 is well, a new wee babe and is awful demanding in the cutest ways!

Earnest Dad works two jobs so I can be home with the littles and so often when he is home, I am leaning on him 100% – in this life, I would be LOST without him.  Earnest Grammy (my MIL) recently moved across the street and what a help she has been in this crazy time of my motherhood journey.

A few weeks back all the demands took their toll and I found myself, after the older two were in bed, in tears.  I was exhausted, the house was a wreck, I had dry shampooed for about three days straight (mom talk for had not showered in 3 days), I am pretty sure we were all out of clean clothes and my fuel tank was empty. I remember Earnest Dad taking Earnest Boy 2.0, and telling me to go take a shower.   You better believe that night I left the conditioner in an extra 5 minutes.  In that shower, I had a huge wake up call; I was at the end of the 4th trimester, I was feeling more like a human again after giving birth but I had not been alone for more than 20 minutes in three months.  I needed me time.  I needed to take some time to “refuel” so I could be better for my family.  What good was I as a stay at home mom if I was completely depleted?

Earnest Reader, I tell you now – I know moms need to take care of themselves so they can take care of others, but as noted early on I am one who needs to experience it to “get it.”  And now, I get it!  That weekend, I went and got my hair done.  Honestly, something I had not done in a decade.  Typically, I would just run to the closest quick cut place when the necessity of a cut came and in the interim I would just cut my hair myself.  Getting out and doing something for just me, made me feel new again.  Like I had shed the old skin of: pregnancy, delivery and postpartum delirium; and emerged a new brilliant, fresh, revived creature.

Since then, I have taken the time when all are in bed to paint my nails, because I love how I feel when my nails are painted. When I have a quiet moment, I read which is a great favorite of mine.  I have also taken the opportunity to go out with a few mom friends here and there.  These have all been #momlife changing for me.  Pushing myself to take time for me, separate from the kids, and my husband and just focus on me has been incredible.

Yes, we still have crazy days where the kids are having what feels like screaming competitions or challenging each other to see who can tell me “no” the most.  We still have days where the  laundry sits unfolded until we have worn it all and are all out of clean clothes; or dishes that sit in the sink for a few days and I earnestly consider tossing the whole lot and buying all new sets, lol.  But those days do not seem so cumbersome or overwhelming with these intentional breaks that I am taking.  Helping me take care of me, helps me be a more earnest mom!  This is one time, for the first time in my life that I am being completely selfish and feel wonderful about it!

What advice do you moms have out there for spreading yourself evenly to reach all demands but avoid feeling like that clumpy peanut butter that just ends up ripping the bread apart?  Please share, whether you have one or nine, how do you make time for you?

x.  earnest mom

 

Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Making Time for YOU

Status

Here is a feature from our Earnest Mom Squad member, Kate.  This one is all about you, yes, you mama – we see you, tired, working hard, hustling everyday.  This feature contains some great tips on how to make time for you, which will help you have a better time with your family.  x. em.

When you have kids, making time for yourself is hard…how do you think of yourself when you’re kids need you 24/7? I always remind myself that in order for my kids to have me 100% I need me.  Even if that time is only 10 minutes of showering ALONE, or a bubble bath while my husband takes our son.  Sometimes I put our little man to bed, and as exhausted as I am wanting to sleep, I light some candles and draw a nice warm bath with my favorite country music.  Of course right next to the tub I have the video monitor, because lets face it as much as we say we want to unwind and step away we think about them constantly, what are they doing, are they sleeping, are they hungry, are they crying for me.

Then there are the nights that ME time is holding my son while I put him to sleep and instead of putting him in his crib right away I hold on tight for as long as I can. These cuddles to bed won’t last long so I will enjoy them as long as I can as much as I can.  My heart melts when my son knows it’s bedtime and he rests his head on my chest on his own and puts his arms around me, he doesn’t know but those are the moments I live for. In those moments, I flash back to every second with him, from his first cry, to the first time he rolled to when he learned to talk and say “momma” and “dadda.”  A lot of the time, my ‘me time’ is mostly with my son.  I am the person I am for my son it only makes sense for me to make my me time us time for as long as I can until the day he thinks spending time with his mommy isn’t cool anymore.

 

Welcome to the Earnest Mom Squad Part Two

Status

Next, I would like you to all meet another member of the Earnest Mom Squad, Kahentiiosta. Please join me in giving her an earnest welcome

Hi, I am Kahentiiosta. I have three daughters, 9, 6, 6. The youngest ones are fraternal twins. I am married to Saveoun, we have been married for just over 10 years. We currently live in Southwest Ontario, Canada. 

I am a full-time university student in my 3rd year of school for my Bachelors of Social Work. Prior to attending school, I worked as a Early Childhood Educator. I spend most my time going between school, home and various volunteer jobs. I sit on the board of directors for an Aboriginal centre, parent volunteer for my daughter’s school, Indigenous Parent Committee participant amongst some other smaller places. My emphasis in school is Indigenous competency, early childhood education, and advocacy for children, and Adolescents.

I enjoy spending time with my family, going on weekend trips, rv’ing—when the weather is nice, swimming and enjoying outside activities. 

I breastfeed all my children and co-slept with them until they were old enough to sleep on their own. But whichever way people chose to feed and help their children sleep I am encouraging and will assist in finding solutions with issues.

Throughout the years and even now I am the go to person for advice on child rearing, as my children are significantly older than most of my friend’s children. I am always willing and eager to help with any issues and find a solution that works best for the family. Each family is different and as are all children, being aware of that is helpful in assisting with families.

We have had a very busy 4 years after my twins were born, but life is starting to slow down, when it comes to the busyness of dealing with a toddler, and newborns.

Each stage of life has changed our family and we’ve gone thru many transitions. Some we thought we would never get out of but in the end, we prevailed. I am grateful for a very supportive husband who encouraged me to continue school, even if it meant changing everyone’s lives. So far we have survived!

I’m grateful for the opportunity that Earnest Mom has given me to share some insight into my life, and thoughts. I look forward to hearing from everyone.