Saturday, October 26

Waving My Wand

Are you a momma who has ever wished she had a magic wand?

A magic wand to...

  • Make meals
  • Sort, wash, dry, fold and put all of the laundry away
  • Do your grocery shopping
  • Organize your children's school paperwork
  • Organize the itty bitty pieces that belong to your children's overabundance of toys
  • Clean up after making meals
  • Plan meals
  • Make more meals
  • Make all the beds in the house all at once
  • Clean the inch thick layer of dust off of the cabinet hanging over the toilet and on ALL light fixtures
  • Pull all of the out of season clothing out of closets, sort it and put it away. Then hang all the new, in-season clothing for multiple children.
  • Go shopping for boots, gloves, hats, socks...all the warm weather stuff...for multiple children
  • Return the endless bounty of things that wind up needing to be returned because they are defective or don't fit and wind up sitting in our mud room until that can no longer be returned 
  • Iron your clothes that have been crumpled at the bottom of your bed or in a laundry basket for too long
  • Make your weekly Target trip for diapers, and toilet paper and wipes and juice boxes and stickers and crayons and paper and...the list goes on.
  • Take your shower for one minute- cleaned, hair washed,dried and ready to go (why must this take SO long?!)...while we're onto this...maybe the wand can shave my legs, dye my roots and paint my toenails all at the same time...
  • Organize my refrigerator and freezer so I don't buy a 17th bag of frozen peas because I was sure we were out of them! 
I'm sure you could all add a lengthy number of items to this list as well...My friend Dana from church wrote this on Facebook yesterday...
"I feel like I'm about a month behind on life."

Oh momma, I feel you! I do too!

If the magic wand could just do all of those things for me I could finally more consistently get around to the things that feel more important to me...the things that I wind up feeling guilty and sad for not getting to...

  • Going on dates with my husband
  • Going for long walks with my kids
  • Working on memorizing Bible verses with my kids or listening to good music or taking them to the ballet...
  • Working on the blog posts that I'd love to share or starting the book that thumps around in my heart and mind daily. 
  • Making cookies for my neighbors. 
  • Eating my lunch without shoveling into my mouth like I'm in a donut eating contest vying for the most amount of food in the shortest amount of time
  • Pulling out my vegetarian cookbook and trying something new

This list could go on and on too.

I know. I know. We're supposed to put those things on the second list FIRST. But it's HARD...isn't it? It doesn't quite work that way all the time. 

I have another confession here...

I never expected motherhood to be this all consuming. To be this...dare I say it aloud...overwhelming. 

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now. 

No one told me you would love your kids SO immensely, but that they would present so many new needs and demands and "to-dos" into your life that you would feel like you could hardly keep up. That you would begin to feel like a cooking, cleaning, shopping, management machine...

That you would feel like you no longer had time to do the things you used to love to do...That you would feel like you were running so fast and so non-stop just to keep up with the daily stuff (we're not even talking extras here!) that you feel like someone should give you a permanent brown paper bag in case you start hyperventilating. 

That you would TRY your best to enjoy the moments, just like everyone says, but that you would be quite surprised by the fact that they must be enjoyed in the midst of such chaos. 

Who knew?! 

...That you would feel sad that you no longer had time to do the things you used to like to do and that you would then feel sad for feeling sad because it somehow felt like you were a bad mom for feeling sad about it all...

I haven't blogged a whole lot part because I haven't had the time. 

In part because I feared that if I sat down to blog it would all sound like this...blah, blah, blah...overwhelmed...blah, blah, blah...tired...blah, blah, blah...this is nuts...blah, blah, blah...did I mention that I'm wee bit overwhelmed?

Here's another confession...Somehow, when you have your first child it feels ok to mention that you feel this way. It's all new. It's a life change. You're allowed to be shocked and feel a little crazed and dizzy and hazed. 

By baby feels, ironically, like you should have your act together. Like admitting that you feel overwhelmed is going to make people look at you like you're whiney and need to get your act together. 

So friends, I'm sorry if I sound whiney...I AM trying to get my act together...I SWEAR. 

I went on a field trip with Ella yesterday and was having a chat with another mom, who also has three (her youngest is 8 months old), about all of the craziness in our lives. 

I might have let my guard down and confessed that it all felt overwhelming.

She might have been totally candid and laughed while she said, "Oh gosh...I feel overwhelmed EVERY day of my life." 

I might have wanted to give her the most giant hug ever because her one moment of honesty helped me feel a little bit better about how I was honestly feeling. 

Instead I decided to be brave and just share it all here...that way if anyone else is feeling this way you can feel a little bit better too.

Dear Tired and Overwhelmed Momma, 
I want you to know that you are not the only one feeling the way that you do. I feel that way too! I'm sorry I can't come over and help you with all that needs to be done, but know that my house is JUST as messy as yours and many parts of my life feel just as neglected as yours and I'm hoping we'll be able to stand back and laugh about this all someday...
 I wish I could come over and give you a hug right now. I would sit in your mess or your could sit in mine and we could just laugh about it all. Laughter IS one of the best medicines (next to prayer!). I often think about inviting you over, but it feels...well, messy and overwhelming to do so...but maybe I'll get past that and just do it one of these days anyways. 
For now...we must try to do the things on our "B" list despite the things on our "A" list. We must love and hug in the midst of messes and enjoy the small moments in the midst of chaos. 
  Even though we feel disconnected sometimes, we're all actually in this crazy mess     together and I'm saying a prayer for you today.  

                                     Blessings to you, 

To leave you on a lighter note I must give my husband partial credit for inspiring this blog post. I was heading out of the house this morning to come to Starbucks to eek a blog post out of my hazy brain...I was going through the list of things that needed to be done and why I should not be going to sit at Starbucks to write a blog post (can you say major mommy/wifely guilt?!).

He said, Lisa, you need a magic "let it go" wand. When all of this stuff starts to make you anxious you need to wave the wand and say "let it go".  He asked Ella to bring him one of her wands. He handed it to the baby and let her wave it around for a minute (before she could put it in her mouth!).

"Let it go mom! Let it go." 

How can you not laugh at that?

So, I walked about of the door with my big computer bag and my books and my pens and my paper. I'm trying to let it all go...even though I confess I'm writing mental to-do lists as I sit here. I realize this is a season and we'll get it all figured out...or, at the very least, we'll get through it. Hopefully with a smile on our face and a pocketful of crazy memories.

And I suppose, if I really did have a magic wand, and the only thing it did was to  help me "let it all go" I'd probably be on a better road to mommy perspective recovery.

Really, at the end of the day, it's not about what we do or don't do or need to's about our perspective in all that we do.

I'm going to keep waving that wand (or having Aubrey do it because it's way cuter !).

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  Philippians 4:6


Sunday, October 6

Losing My Mind...

     You know it's been a long and somewhat chaotic couple of weeks when your Google searches look like this...

     Ah yes, the days of "mommy brain". 

     I'm not sure how long it actually lasts...I think I'm still attempting to recover brain cells from when Ava was first born and it's only gotten worse with each subsequent child.  Some women will tell you that it starts to come back when your kids leave the house, but oh wait, by then you are close to wearing bifocals and losing your memory due to age so that's not so helpful. 

     My mommy brain stories are beginning to become the stuff of legend around these parts...Like the time shortly after Ava was born and Scott and I came into Buffalo to visit for the weekend (we were still living in MA at the time) and I drove his younger sister Caitlyn and I to the gym in his step mom's car. Caitlyn and I were in the gym for almost a full hour when we decided to wrap things up and head home. I reached into my pocket for the keys...nothing. 


     I looked in the locker. Nothing.

     At the front desk. Nothing.

     In the cup holder of the treadmill I had been jogging on. Nothing. 

     It finally dawned on me that maybe we should run out to the car...that perhaps in a moment of distraction I had left the keys on the front seat of the car, or somewhere else inside the car, as I grabbed my water bottle and headphones to head into the gym. 

     As we approached the car I noticed exhaust emanating from the back into the cool winter air. 

     No way. It couldn't be. The car could NOT still be on. Still. After an entire hour. 

     I looked at Caitlyn. She looked back at me. 

     "Lis! Hahaha. Is the car still on?! Nice work!" 

     Good heavens it certainly was. Not only had I left the keys IN the car I had left them in the ignition with the car running! 

     I'm guessing you can see why Caitlyn has never let me live that down. 

     ....Soooo... I thought I was recovering. I mean I'm not always the most organized momma and I do lose my keys and wallets and debit cards from time to time, but things always show up...somewhere. 

     Which leads me to two recent stories that just might top the keys in the ignition at the gym story...about how things, somehow, came back to me after being in places they should not have been! 

     Namely, my wallet. 

     Several weeks ago I decided to get my grocery shopping done in the morning with  Ella and Aubrey so that our evening would be more relaxed and I wouldn't have to run out right after dinner. I've figured out how to carry Aubrey in the front pack (which she much prefers to the cart), and Ella at my side while working through a pretty hefty grocery list so all was going well until...

     Until, we got out to the car and swarms of pesky bees were shooting about, dodging my cart,  and flying around our car like an attack of the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. 

     I quickly threw Aubrey's carseat in the back of the car, hoisted Ella in and slammed the door shut. I then threw our 20+ bags of groceries into the back of the truck as quickly as I could, shoved my cart in front of the car (no, I did not take the time to walk it to a judgement allowed for women with small children!) and skirted into the driver's seat as fast as possible. 


     Grocery shopping done. Bees dodged. Now to stop at Tim Horton's to get Ella a sandwich for lunch so that she could eat as soon as we got home and we'd be all set. 

     We drove the three or so miles to the nearest Tim Horton's and were waiting in the drive-thru when a lady in a white convertible behind our car started waving at me. 

     What in heaven's name does this woman want? Do I know her? Did I cut her off? Does she need to cut in front of me to buy her donuts? 

     I roll down my window to find out. 

     "Mam! Mam! There is something sitting on your bumper. It looks like a wallet!" She followed it up with a high eyebrow raise that said, And if it is I just might think you are an idiot. 

     I get out of the car...mortified...without even having to look I know that what she is saying is most certainly true. In the middle of the frenzy of getting two kids in the car and shooing bees I had stuck my wallet on the bumper, loaded the kids and then the groceries and drove off on our merry way. 

    My wallet apparently hung on for dear life...For THREE miles! 

     I sheepishly shook my head, rolled my eyes in an "I can't believe myself" sort of way...grabbed the wallet off of the back of my bumper and got back in the car. 

    "Mom, what did that lady want?" Ella innocently asked. 

    "Oh honey...mommy left her wallet on the back of the car." 

     She apparently didn't think that was too out of character for me because she pretty much shrugged her shoulders and began giving me the low down on the type of donut she wanted for dessert. 

     I shook my head all the way home and started to internally question my sanity. 

     I also tried to look for a silver lining in the story... I'm always trying to figure out the learning lesson, or the God lesson in my every day shenanigans. Perhaps it is the former teacher in me, or even better the part of me that has always loved to learn. Or maybe it is that such ridiculous things seem to happen to me that I am convinced that either someone is following me in an attempt to get footage for America's Funniest videos or God MUST be trying to teach me something. 

      We are, after all,  always changing, growing, and hopefully becoming better versions of ourselves, right?  I'm learning this as a mom...that I am constantly presented with opportunities to grow, to change, to do something a little bit differently next time...

     Like maybe to not leave my wallet on the back of the car no matter how big the swarm of bees! 

    Or perhaps a lesson in slowing down. Who knows? 

     By the time we pulled into the driveway five minutes later I was laughing to myself. How did that wallet stay on the back of the car for all of those miles?! I swear I could hear God looking down and laughing at me a light hearted, "Oh Lisa" sort of way. The way we look at our own kids when they do something so ridiculous that it is actually funny... the things that make me look at them, roll my eyes and say, "You are such a goofball!" 

     It seemed to me that the fact that my wallet stayed on the back of the car was akin to a small miracle in my life. The kind of small miracle that says, "See, I'm with you in the crazy details of life right now. Wallet, kids, bees and all." 

    It was the little iota of encouragement that I needed to carry me through the rest of the day.

    It may be a story that Ella tells people for years to come..."Oh my, she does stuff like that all the time, but we love her anyways!"  

    Anyhow...there is actually one other story...that includes my wallet...that happened just days after this and actually did prompt that "memory loss" google search on my computer. However, since it's getting late and I'm a tired momma, I'm going to leave that story for another day... 

     In the meantime be encouraged by your own crazy moments.  Maybe God is using them to teach you a lesson about parenting, or just to remind you that He is there...either way, I can promise you that laughter truly is the best medicine, even when it is at yourself.