Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

The Vulnerability of Motherhood

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The vulnerability of motherhoodI had written a funny post earlier today about the trials and tribulations of motherhood that I planned to submit for this article. It was mostly complaining about the everyday things you routinely see us moms complain about; lack of sleep, the regular cacophony of whining, lost shoes and arguing about hairstyles. Then we heard some devastating news that a family we knew was experiencing their child’s relapse with cancer. It really broke me down. This awful thing, this could happen to any family and it happens to so many families. Mothering, at the core, is just a permanent state of vulnerability. And with vulnerability there is worry. There is so much worry.

No one can properly articulate the level of pure unconditional love or amount of worry you will feel when you give birth; you have to experience it. There are no comparisons. It is not like the love of a pet. It is not like the love of a spouse. Motherhood is so much more of all your feelings. You worry about providing them with guidance, their health, where and how to raise them, if they ate enough veggies today. You worry about how they treat others, if they’re reading fast enough, if they get enough sleep. You worry about them riding in cars with other people, if you’re doing enough, or maybe doing too much. In motherhood, there is so much concern.

As a Mom, you give all of yourself unselfishly for a lifetime; your heart, your wisdom, your time. You pour it all into these tiny bodies. Then, you pray.  You pray, and you pray, and you pray. Please keep them safe. Please keep them healthy. Please let them grow into compassionate, intelligent adults. We pray that we may never have to exist on this earth without them. The selflessness you feel becomes an everyday love letter to your children; there is nothing you wouldn’t do for them.

And in between all of that fretting, life goes on and you cherish this tiny human you agonize so much about. You snuggle them tight, you soak in the smell of them after a bath, you experiencing your childhood again through their eyes. You watch them grow. You laugh. You laugh so hard and you realize that it is all worth it. Motherhood is worth all of the vulnerability and all of the worry.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

Motherhood Gets Better

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Motherhood Gets BetterOkay. We get it. You’ve survived the tiny phase, where there is a divisive debate between which stage is worse: two years old or three years old. Your kids know how to make themselves breakfast, and the rare night-time interruption is the result of a bad dream instead of needing a nipple in their mouth every two hours. Going places isn’t a big deal, as it doesn’t consist of an hour of trying to find socks, and shoes, and of course you pooped in your diaper right before we head out the door, and let’s get you buckled in your car seat, and omg how did you poop again you just pooped how does this even happen?!?

You’re busy navigating the older stages. You have plenty on your mind, and the work isn’t necessarily easier, just different. Here’s the thing, though—for you, the trenches weren’t that long ago. Look back for a minute. Did you have support? Did you have the occasional adult to talk to? Did you bounce ideas off of someone? Do you remember cringing at the thought of grocery shopping with the kids, but also relishing the idea of maybe exchanging small talk with the cashier as your sole form of adult interaction for that day?

Human beings require connection in order to survive. Motherhood has transformed from this “it takes a village” mentality into something that has become incredibly isolating. We are now programmed to show only our shiniest moments on the Internet, while quietly dwelling in a reality filled with poop, tantrums, sleepless nights, fevers, and more poop. So sure, your friend with her tiny child may come over, and while the tiny child is ripping books off your bookshelf your friend may ask, “Is homemade baby food really worth the time and effort?” but what she’s really saying is, “I’m overwhelmed, and this is hard. You’ve survived this hard part—please support me while I try to figure it out myself.”

In a culture where we seem so prone to disconnect from others, let us seek opportunities to reach out and uplift when we can. We can never guess when it’s going to be us who needs a little help reinventing the wheel.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

What I Learned During My Baby’s First Year

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

what I learned during my baby's first yearWhen you have a baby you focus on milestones throughout the first year. Your doctor, family, friends, and the Internet tell you what your baby should be learning at each phase of life. But what do we learn as mommas? Here are some things I learned during my baby’s first year.

  1. Nursing the second time around is so much easier. I have dealt with plugged ducts and a nasty infection from bite marks, but otherwise, it has been great. Latching was so much easier. Understanding what is going on is so much easier. I wish I could go back to nervous, first-time mom me and tell me to chill out about breastfeeding.
  2. Babies are all different with sleep. My son is not the greatest sleeper. He turned 1 this week, and I am still getting up two times at night to nurse. By my daughter’s first birthday, I had enjoyed many restful full nights of sleep. Levi has other plans, however. He naps so much better at home in his crib. Johanna loved to nap in her car seat or in the Boba carrier.
  3. Time is precious. Looking back on the past year, I could cry. I didn’t take advantage of the precious moments with my little boy like I should have. We moved twice during his first year, and many days were filled with tears of frustration, stress, and nerves of having two little ones alone with me. Instead of holding him close and rocking him, many times he had to cry in his crib so I could take care of his sister’s needs. I know I can’t change any of that, but I want to enjoy each moment with him now. I want to look back and remember the giggles and smiles.  It’s okay if laundry piles up or we don’t make it out of our pajamas. Babies don’t keep.
  4. Support from my spouse is a must-have. I am very blessed to be married to a helpful husband. He loves his children and takes pride in taking care of them and being involved in their lives. We moms need support. Whether it’s from your spouse, family, or friends, you need it, momma. We need breaks. It’s okay to take time away. We need our sanity so we can be better moms.
  5. Life without my kids would be so boring. I can’t imagine my life without Levi or Johanna. It’s so hard to remember what I did before them. I do know I was much more rested and fixed my hair more, but those things don’t matter. I can’t imagine a day without their snuggles and smiles.

While I know Levi learned a lot during his first year, I feel like he’s taught me more. He may have learned to crawl, sit up, pull up, and mash up food, but he has taught his momma how to be herself. He has taught me to embrace the extra 5 pounds and just relax. He has taught me to smile when he gets messy in his high chair and not stress over the floor underneath. Most of all, my baby has taught me how to love.

I love you, Levi. Happy 1st birthday from your Momma. Teach on, little man.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who lives, writes, and loves her kiddos with all of her heart.

To the Girl at Target

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

To the Girl at TargetDear girl/young woman at Target today who said, “Ugh, I will NEVER let kids ruin my life like that,”

Yes, I heard you. I think you wanted me to. My four-year-old heard you and looked at me in confusion, to which I responded with just a smile, hug and told her I loved her. I wasn’t embarrassed, and she didnt need to be either.

Targetgirl, I’m not mad at you, so I’m not going to yell. I’m not even holding hurt feelings for myself. Instead, I just feel a little sorry for you. No, I’m not going to be one of “those” people and spew the cliche phrases that one day you will change your mind or that its different when they’re yours. Because I dont know you. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, you may not have been that way. I feel sorry for you for your inability to recognize that all women are different. We arent suckered in to motherhood, and it isnt a punishment.

Targetgirl, my kids didnt ruin my life. They didnt derail my plans, They arent my burden, or my jail. And any “life ruining” that happened in my life was done by my own accord, not theirs. Any undone plans were put on hold by me, not them. Anything I didnt do before them wasn’t done because of ME. I could have done them but my own choices, both good and bad, stopped me. And that’s okay. I’m only a week away from being 30, I have plenty of time. What’s better is I have plenty of time with them.

Targetgirl, my kids didn’t ruin my life because they ARE my life. They are the reason I live and breathe every day, the reason I work, the reason I strive to be healthy, the reason I want to help other moms and women–for the world they will inherit.

HildeTargetgirl, yep, my kids were being assholes. And you know what? That’s okay. I can be an asshole too, and as you showed today, you can certainly be an asshole. The only difference between us and them is that we’ve had years to learn how to be assholes in a more…socially acceptable way. We can communicate, control our bodies and emotions better, and understand WHY we want to be an asshole that day–that’s it! To be a human being, no matter what age, is to have jerk moments. Its just part of it.

So, Targetgirl, I’m sorry you think my kids ruined my life. Because despite my crazy hair and messy clothes from renovating my bathroom, I’m actually pretty stinking happy. I’m exhausted, broke, often touched out, and half crazy most days, but I’m happy. And if you dont ever want to be a mom, that is okay–I get it! Some women don’t want to be, and they should never be forced to be one. There are plenty of ways to prevent being a mom.
But, Targetgirl, just keep in mind. Just because YOU don’t want to be a mom, it doesnt mean that no woman wants to be one.

My kids didnt ruin my life. My life is good.

-Frizzy blonde Target chick

Bethany Cowin is a mother of two girls, hippie homemaker and soap maker. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Fighting the Failure Mindset

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Fighting the Failure MindsetLet’s just start with me being honest: I am not qualified to write this blog. As I sit here in my home, I am truly feeling like a failure. My 3-year-old just hit her baby brother. There are random toys all over my living room floor. I just put a Disney movie on so I could get a break and get a blog or two done.

As women we were born to be moms. I have never felt something so strong. But I do have my bad days. I lose my patience. I raise my voice. I spank my child when I say I won’t. I forget to dwell on the positive. Anyone else ever feel this way?

It’s so hard to fight this mindset. From the moment we become a mom, we are faced with expectations. Will you breastfeed? Are you using cloth diapers? Did your baby come into the world naturally? Did you circumcise? Will you bed share? Are you letting your baby cry it out? Are you using rice cereal? When will you start solids? As our kids grow, the questions and lists get longer. None of us can be perfect people, but we are the perfect parent for our children. Your children are yours for a reason.

So when this mindset creeps in, what do we do? Give into it? I admit, some days I do. Some days I just want to be a hermit and hide and think about how my children will probably grow up hating me and thinking about how horrible mommy was. Then, I have a reality check.

My kids have toys–lots of them. So far today, they are wearing clean clothes and have had two meals. We’ve been to the local YMCA where they could play and laugh and learn. So far, this day isn’t a failure. There are so many blessings right in front of us. Why do we miss them? I think it’s because we just forget to look.

Am I a perfect mom? No. I’ve made many mistakes today and I would love to be able to reverse them, but I’m not a failure. I’m here for my kids. I’m here to play, to kiss away the boo-boos, and nurse and rock my little boy. I’m here for comfort. I’m here for protection.

I may not have it right today, and I can assure you tomorrow will bring its own challenges, but I am not a failure. You, mom, you are not a failure. You are a work-in-progress. You are the perfect mom for your children.

You are loved.

You are enough.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who loves her kids more than anything.