Tag Archives: mom

Consumed.

It’s all-consuming, isn’t it?

It does something to you the minute that you find out it’s real. It takes over your soul, your mind and your body. It quickly takes control of your heart with a grasp so tight that it almost takes your breath away. It screams so loudly that it’s hard to hear anything else. It turns you into we.

It makes you a better person, but it makes you so unsure of yourself. It makes you stronger, but it causes you to drop to your knees more often than anything else. It fills you with unspeakable joy, but it’s quite often wrapped in tears. It causes you to beam with pride while you hope that no one notices the bumpy road that got you to that moment. It is everything you ever hoped and wished for, but until this moment, you had no idea what that even meant.

I became a mother, and my world as I knew it completely fell apart.

From the moment of conception, I’ve been consumed by something that’s hard to even describe. It’s a fire that fuels my every thought, my every hope and my every breath. It’s a voice that roars from the core of my being. It’s a force that pushes and pulls me in ways that I could never have prepared myself for. It’s a warmth that fills every empty spot within me. I simply do not exist without them, and that’s the most terrifying yet incredibly wonderful thing ever.

My children changed me.

Because of them, I am a much better version of who I used to be. Because of them, I am braver than I ever dreamed possible. Because of them, I’m learning how to do things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn. Because of them, I’ve experienced true love without strings attached. Because of them, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve worried and I’ve accomplished great things. Because of them, I am strong. I am fierce. I am awesome.

Because of them, I found myself.

Motherhood has consumed me. It has not made me weak. It has not made me less than. It has not made me “second”. It has made me who I was meant to be.

  

 

 

I See You.

To the Mom standing at the back of the grocery store trying desperately not to cry while her toddler screams uncontrollably, I see you.

To the Mom that has just paid a babysitter to watch your kids so you can go and sit in your car up the street and read a book, I see you.

To the Mom that has just dropped her kids off at Ikea Smaland to not go shopping but to just wait at the restaurant in peace until your pager lets you know your break is over, I see you.

To the Mom that has left the television on for the past 4 hours straight just so you can lay on your couch uninterrupted, I see you.

To the Mom that is trying desperately to keep your eyes open while your kids play at the McDonalds playplace, I see you.

To the Mom that is hiding in her ensuite bathroom while her children sit on the other side of the door crying for Mommy, I see you.

Truth be told, I’ve been you.

I’ve been the Mom that is so tired that I can no longer think straight. The Mom that is looking for places to hide from all the noise and chatter that just doesn’t ever seem to stop. I’ve been the Mom that gives up on everything that I thought was important, just so I could get through the day.

I’ve been this Mom and I’m still a friggin’ good Mom. I need to remember that. You need to remember that.

This job that we’ve been blessed with is not an easy one. It truly is a gift that we have been given and sometimes it’s a craptastic gift that you’d love to return, but you don’t. Instead, you wrap it up at the end of the day and reopen it tomorrow. Tomorrow has been my saving grace on more than one occasion, and I for one am thankful that the gift of starting over is always available.

Every day I look into the eyes of my children and I see me. I see the best of me and sometimes the worst of me, and that can be a little bit scary. But at the same time, when I look into their eyes, I see how deeply they love me. How they see nothing but their Mom. They love me in spite of me. They love me regardless of how badly I screw up or how many times I’ve failed them. They are my gift.

I wish I could always remember these words when I’m in the middle of one of my really bad days, because more often than not, I don’t. But in my heart, I know them to be true. I may have moments filled with nothing but weakness but those are actually the moments that are making me better. It is during these days that I find out that I’m actually a stronger than I ever dreamed possible. It’s in these moments that I realize that being a Mom is exactly what I’m supposed to be.

So next time you find yourself desperately trying to escape a moment filled with craziness and noise, remember that you’re not a bad Mom. You’re not broken, you’re not a screw up, you’re not a failure and most importantly, you are not alone.

Welcome to the Imperfect Mom club. It’s where all the Good Mom’s hang out.

A little bit of Hope.

The phone call arrives from the jail that I’ve never visited. I can’t go there, because it’s the place that I’ve been fighting to keep kids out of for so long. Somehow it’s become a part of my story, and I hate it. I hate that everything I fought against has now become a comforting and safe place, and seeing that particular number on my call display gives me peace somehow. She is safe. Again. I hate it.

The words are a blur as they’re always filled with bravado and slang and nonsense. There are stories of conquests and bad choices and just plain stupidity. There are tears and apologies and promises of doing better this time. There’s fear, and sadness and the loss of hope. There is nothing that I can say or do anymore, so I just listen. I listen and pray and hope and wait. I hope that her desire for change will someday outweigh her desire to be cool and fit in. I hope that she’ll realize that her “friends” aren’t friends at all and that bad ideas and having each other’s back, does not a family make. I hope that she’ll grab onto that tiny glimmer of light and hope that is buried deep inside of her and not let go.

I hate it. I hate that I can’t fix it, that I can’t go back and redo her start in this world. That I can’t heal her hurts or help her forgive and move forward. That I wasn’t able to change her life.

He looks at me and says, “it sure is nice not having to do my job anymore to get food for everyone”. What job, you’re not old enough to work. “You know, going to people’s doors and asking for money for charity”. What charity? “Well, I just said that so I could get money for food for my brothers and sisters”. Okay. I’m glad you don’t need to do that anymore either.

He looked at me and asked “why don’t you lock me up in the closet when I’m bad”? Because I don’t do that. “But why”. Because that’s not how people should be treated. “But my Mom does that and she loves me”. Your Mom didn’t make a very good choice, but I’m glad she loves you. “So I won’t ever get put in a closet here”. No sir. “Okay, can I have a sandwich”?

They called their Mom on the phone, and begged and begged to see her again. They ask question after question that Mom just can’t answer. They collapsed in my lap sobbing, confused and torn by the feelings and knowledge of being completely safe and warm here, but being pulled by a love that they can’t deny. They can’t be little kids because the burden that they carry is so strong “Is Mommy safe, does she have food, where is she sleeping”.

She has done nothing wrong. She makes good choices and has achieved many great things. She has hope and a very bright future, and because of that, she’s been forgotten. Somehow, the darkness and bad choices that are all around her got more acknowledgment and support, and she’s forgotten. She works harder and harder to get their attention, but still the “bad stuff” seems to have more value.

I hate it. I hate that I have to do what I do. I hate the conversations, I hate the stories, I hate not being able to reply exactly how I want to, I hate that I must protect a relationship with a person that no longer even deserves that relationship anymore. I hate that their normal is so abnormal. I hate that someway, somehow I have to find a crack in their tough little amour’s, and find a way in. That I have to redefine a role in their lives that has already been filled by someone else. That my “right thing to do”, is so completely foreign and distant from what they know that they believe I’m wrong.

I hate that they have to be here in the first place. Not because I have them, but because the world, their parents, drugs, circumstance, alcohol, despair, depression, and abuse has failed them. It is so not fair, and how in the world am I supposed to “fix them”? How do you teach a 12-year-old something that most kids learned when they were 3? How do you make someone really truly feel safe?

So many of our days are spent running like a hamster on a wheel. It’s just a-round and a-round having the same conversations, working on the same skills, teaching the same things over and over. Many days are just about surviving and making it to bed time. I can spend hours open hours questioning my sanity and why I choose this life for me and my family. More often than not, I feel like I’m getting nowhere and that I’m not actually making a difference anymore. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, or if there’s any point.

And then I get something like this.

thenote

And I’m reminded. I don’t need to be perfect or change them completely. I just need to be their Mom. I just need to give them a little bit of hope and a whole lot of family. I need to remember that.

So now when I get the phone calls, and have the conversations, I need to remind myself that I’m not trying for perfection or that I have to fix all that has been broken. That burden does not belong to me anymore, and I think that I’m finally okay with that.

Our children, mine, the ones that I’ve borrowed and yours as you read this, deserve a safe place, and we owe it to them. My hope now is that when they leave us and move on that their wings will be strong, that they’ll know their worth, that they’ll always know that “home” means safe, and that they will KNOW that they are loved and belong to someone. This isn’t about being a foster parent, this is about being a parent. We all need to stop focusing on the stupid piddly pointless things and focus on what really matters.

Take a moment and look into your children’s eyes and let them see YOU. Let them see your heart, feel your love, and see that you’re on their side, no matter what. They’re not expecting you to be perfect, or even care if you screw up and do the wrong things. They don’t see our mistakes or bad choices, they see YOU.

Don’t ever question how strong that bond is, and never take it for granted. I’ve seen kids that have been abused beyond belief that still love their parents madly and deeply. They’ve forgotten about all the mistakes but they remember the love. So, as a Mom or Dad struggling with guilt and questioning if you’re doing everything wrong, remember this connection and honour it.

I fight every day to make that connection and some days I’m successful and more often than not, I fail miserably. But now instead of focusing on fixing, I’m focusing on strength, joy, safety and a whole lotta’ hope.

You should try that too.

Mirror, Mirror

Crooked Tooth.

Double Chin.

Messy Hair.

Freckles.

Huge Feet.

Too Fat.

These are the things that I see when I look in the mirror. These are the things that the world sees when they look at me. These are the things that I hate about myself, and sometimes they’re all that I see. But these things are not Me. Or are they?

My crooked tooth has been there my entire life. It is the one tooth that messes up my perfectly straight teeth. It has driven me crazy. FOREVER. But maybe it’s what gives me my super amazing singing voice, and helps me to bellow like an angel. Totally grasping here, obviously.

My Double Chin. Well, that seems to come and go. But it’s most definitely been there more often than it hasn’t. And now as I’m seeing less and less of it every day, it’s freaking me out a bit. That extra chin has always been a part of me and now it’s leaving. Who knew that a big chunk of skin would be a security blanket of sorts? I am so weird.

My messy hair. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not exactly a “doer of the hair”. More often than not I leave the house without even brushing my hair. I have NEVER curled my hair, and my only requirements when I go for my yearly haircut is that I don’t have to do anything with it when they’re done. My hair does exactly what it wants … sometimes good, sometimes bad. A beauty queen, I am not but I don’t spend more than $80/year on my “upkeep”, which helps me afford a housekeeper. I call that a win.

Freckles. Or age spots. Or dots. Or whatever the heck they are, I am covered in them. Face, arms, legs, feet, etc. What is that about? When I was a teen, I had the perfect Cindy Crawford beauty mark, but then it moved near my ear, and 10,000 of it’s friends showed up. I’m now a speckly dot-to-dot, which I’m hoping will keep my mind active as I age. I’ll be my own “activity” at the seniors home.

Huge Feet. I can’t remember my feet ever being smaller than a size 9. Never. Now they’re a size 11/12. I have skis at the ends of my legs but they’ve served me well. I’ve managed to pretty much stand upright without any issues my whole life. My big honking feet have been what’s supported this big girl all these years.

Too Fat. Well, I cannot even come up with a good excuse for that one. I ate too much of the wrong things and now I’m fat. Period. But all of that “extra” has protected me when I fell, it’s kept me alive when we were broke, it keeps me warm year round, so we can keep the heat turned down low. It is my superpower suit, fluffy and fabulous but super nonetheless.

All of the imperfect things that stare at me everyday in the mirror are actually the things that make me the person that I am. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without these flaws, and for that I’m thankful. My flaws have made me stronger, more loving, more kind, and more understanding. They’ve helped me see the world through the eyes of someone who lives under constant judgement and ridicule.

As I sit and ponder my life, I now recognize that the things I’ve never really liked about myself are the very things that set me free. I’m fat, but I’m beautiful. I’ve got crooked teeth but a great smile. I’ve got whacked out hair, but it’s super thick and easy to leave alone. My feet are huge but they’re cute. My freckles make my face interesting, and not like anyone else. My double chin … well, I’m not sure that there’s anything good about that.

Point is, instead of focusing on what makes me unhappy about myself, I’m focusing on how those things make me amazing.

What do you see in the mirror? Look past that first glance, and look deeper. Imagine that you’re looking into the eyes of your child … what do you see there? Do you see any imperfections or do you see them through the eyes of love? We have no problem doing that for the people that we care about, it’s time we start doing it for ourselves.

I am the example for my children. They need to see a Mom that loves herself, and isn’t controlled by her imperfections. They love me no matter how good or how bad I look. They think I’m hilarious and fun to be with. They think I’m perfect exactly how I am. Today, I’m choosing to believe them.

I am not just a reflection in the mirror and neither are you. Our story cannot be seen in one glance, or described by a single sentence. So instead of trusting a mirror, trust the voice in your heart.

That my friends, is all that matters.

Screaming in Silence

Some days I wake up and I’m tired. I’ve had a great sleep and I’m refreshed and ready for the day, but I’m still so very, very tired.

Some days I can’t form a clear thought in my head. I know what I want to say, and I know what I need to do, but I just can’t get my thoughts together.

Some days I catch myself looking at my kids and wondering why in the world I ever thought being a Mom was a good idea.

Some days I try and figure out ways to lock myself out of my house and away from the chaos that seems to thrive inside.

Some days I can’t come up with new answers to the questions that I’ve already answered a million times.

Some days I just want to scream, at the top of my lungs while I jump up and down and stomp my feet. But I never do, I just stand there in silence and leave the screaming inside my head.

Most days I wonder if I’m being the best Mom that I can be? Am I helping my kids become all that they can be? Am I good enough for them?

Being a Mom is tough. It’s also amazing and awesome and wonderful, but it’s still tough.

So often I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and cower from the responsibilities that have been given to me. It is my job to train them in the way that they should go. It is my job to shape their character, teach them morals and give them self-confidence. It is my job to be their example.

I yell at my kids more often than I should. I quite often forget that they’re not adults and put too high of expectations on them. I don’t go to enough of their school and sporting events. I let them eat more junk food than they should. I get mad at them when they don’t do exactly as I say. I give them irrational punishments that I always regret later. I make more mistakes than I ever care to admit.

But then I look into the faces of my babies, and I’m blown away by how incredibly amazing they are. Someway, somehow, I did that. My heart tells me that I’m a good Mom, but my brain quite often tries to convince me otherwise. Why is that?

Why do we as Moms do this to ourselves? Why can’t we just trust our instincts and the decisions that we are making? No one knows you or your family better than YOU, so why isn’t that good enough?

I’m tired. Tired of questioning myself and second guessing everything. I’m tired of fretting and worrying about each and every decision that I make. I’m tired of feeling like there should be more to my journey, and I’m ready to kick all my “tireds” to the curb.

Let’s make a pact. You and me and all the Moms around us. Let’s agree to be true to ourselves first. Let’s honour our families and the choices that we’ve made. Let’s own our mistakes and do better next time. Let’s love ourselves the same way we love our children. Let’s never let doubt convince us that we are worth less than we really are. Let’s trust ourselves. Let’s agree to give up on being perfect and instead work on being content.

So from this moment forward, the ground on which I stand is solid. I KNOW who I am. I am confident and am trusting in all that I know to be true.  I am an awesome Mom. A great friend. An incredible wife and a good daughter. That is more than enough for me.

And if one day I need to scream, out loud. That’s okay too.

keep-calm-youre-a-good-mom

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below. 

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

12 More Sleeps

Summer is such a lovely time.

Sunshine, rainbows and children filled with joyfulness and glee. Mother’s bonding with their children and enjoying all of the freedom that no school brings. Playdates with friends and trips camping at the lake. Making s’mores at the campfire and running through the sprinkler. Perfect, family awesomeness.

It sounds heavenly doesn’t it? And thankfully, that is exactly what my summer was like. Exactly.

Minutes turned into hours – hours into days – days into weeks and two months later, I’ve had all of the joy that one Mother could ever handle. My family happiness meter is filled to the top, and I’m ready to share my little bundles of joy with others. I’m willing to let them go so they can bless others.

Over the summer, their “skill” levels increased dramatically. They can now “sing” at the tops of their lungs for hours at a time. Perfect for music class. They can run for hours and hours, without seemingly needing a break and just might be your next track stars in the making. They’re also ready for walks in the wilderness as they figured out how to leave little trails of stuff wherever they go. I can rest easily knowing that you won’t lose them in the woods. They’ve also learned a lot about things being fair, and have reminded me on numerous occasions just how much they appreciate my teaching them all about that. And most importantly, they’ve had many “sharing sessions” over the past two months, and have “bonded” over toys and team building. It’s been quite inspirational actually. And now they’re ready to share their skills with you.

You’re welcome world. The Wiener Five are ready for school, and hopefully you’re ready for them cause ready or not, they’re coming. 12 more sleeps.

Enjoy them, I most certainly have.

backtoschool

This is Day Two of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to do some awesome reading … follow along with all of us “challengers”.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

The Hunt for a Happy Place

When I was young, I had a vision of what my life was going to look like.

I was going to be wealthy beyond measure. I was going to live in a mansion with servants. I would travel around the world and drive a really nice car. There would be much shopping, and many pairs of shoes. Jewelry, make-up and salon appointments would be a part of my daily life. It was going to be friggin’ awesome.

I met my amazing soon-to-be husband and we planned our fairy-tale wedding and then our life together. We talked about future hopes and dreams, and in my head, my vision was still alive.

We got married and we moved to another city. I didn’t move into a mansion but into a basement suite, in a place where I knew no one. I was not rich and was having to do all the cooking and cleaning myself. I was happily married, but I was not where I thought I should be. Suddenly, my vision was flung off to the side somewhere and reality set in.

I would spend days and sometimes weeks wondering if we’d be able to pay our mortgage. I was shopping in second-hand stores and only buying things that were on sale. The husband was always at work and I was home alone. I was going crazy from the peace and quiet that was now my life and I hated it.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband and I loved being married but I wasn’t prepared for the real world. I was 21 years old, had never lived on my own and had in fact, only lived with my parents. I never attended college and only had “life experience” to put on a resume. I was completely dependant on my husband, and had to rely on him for everything. If I needed to buy milk, or underwear or tampons, I had to ask him for money. I was madly in love, but totally trapped at the same time.

I eventually got a job, made some friends and fell in love with the city that I still call home. But for those particular moments in time, my vision had led me down a path of unrealistic expectations.

I adjusted to my new life, bills were paid, businesses started and failed. Travel and experiences occurred and then I dreamed of having children, and my wild visions went crazy again.

I was going to be a perfect Mom that bought her children only the best of everything. I was going to make their baby food, and teach them everything they needed to know. There was going to be hours spent playing and learning. I would do crafts and make up stories and play board games. They would be angels, and my life would be complete. It was going to be flippin’ fantastic.

And then I had babies. I was madly and deeply in love, but I was tired. With my first child, I had no clue what I was doing. I was fumbling about just trying to keep her alive. I let Barney and Wheel of Fortune teach her the alphabet and all of her colours. We played games and did fun things, but more often than not, I was stuck in “life” and not on her.

I then had a son, with more issues and trials than one could ever prepare for. He struggled to breathe, and learn and survive. Small everyday things challenged him in ways that were unfathomable. He was the cutest little thing, with the biggest smile and sweetest countenance, but man, was he a lot of work.

I never made a single solitary jar of baby food, I nursed them both for about 6 weeks and quit because I hated it. We tried crafts, but they both despised being dirty so that always ended in screaming. I became the Mom that loved her kids beyond measure, but one that purchased every single solitary thing from a store. I guided them and protected them and taught them how incredibly fabulous they were, but we didn’t go on nature walks or did all that much frolicking in the wilderness.

I absolutely hated myself some days and couldn’t believe how incompetent I was in many areas. I had become pretty much opposite to all that I had envisioned. I was SO not June Cleaver or even one of her long distant cousins.  Once again, my vision had set me up for failure.

Looking back now, I do know this, I raised some UNBELIEVEABLY AWESOME children. Someway, somehow, I did the right things in spite of myself, and this crazy dreamer head of mine. 30 children later, I get it. I know what’s important and what doesn’t matter. My vision was wrong, and was in no way “me”. That’s where I got lost…I was trying to create a story that belonged to someone else.

Life is a weird thing sometimes, we paint a picture and then get stuck somewhere outside of it. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t limit where you and where your path may go. Don’t set a standard that is unattainable. Don’t put unreasonable expectations on yourself or your children or your spouse. Don’t get caught up in the world’s version of perfect life, perfect wife and perfect children. That’s all crap and it doesn’t exist. Do not wait for something else, or another time or place to make you feel complete. Don’t judge yourself based on someone else’s standards.

Instead, Breathe. Enjoy the moments that you’re in, no matter how big the struggle may seem. If you can’t provide the “best” of everything, let it go. Who decided what the best stuff was anyways? If you need to run away or cry sometimes, that’s okay. If you feel like today was a complete failure, remember that there is always tomorrow. If you find yourself standing there wondering where it all went wrong, start again. Listen to your heart and find your way out to something better.

Paint yourself a new picture of “perfect” and trust in that. For me, that means happy faces running amuck and becoming people of character. They have the best of nothing, but have everything at the same time. It’s hissy fits and belly laughs. It’s unmatched socks and extra TV time. It’s unbalanced meals, unbrushed hair and a sink full of dirty laundry. It’s a husband and wife that love each other more today than they did yesterday. It is leaving this world a better place.

Let it go, and just be the best YOU that you can be. I hope you find your happy place.

charliebrown