Monday, 26 May 2014

Overwhelmed Much?

I never want to complain about my kids.  I am blessed to have all three of those beautiful little miracles but..... just because I'm thankful for them doesn't mean that life suddenly becomes easy.  Today is what I call a "drowning day".  This was one of those days where I feel like no matter how hard I try I cannot seem to keep up with life or accomplish anything. My "to do" list feels endless.  This is not a list of projects I would like to do, these are things that I have to do. Things like grocery shopping, washing the peed on sheets, emptying the Diaper Genie before we all throw up from the smell.  Oh, and laundry.  Now I'm not talking washing clothes and then folding them nicely and putting them away.  I'm simply talking about getting them clean in a heap at the bottom of the basement stairs.  At least we have clean clothes.... good luck finding your outfit in that heap..... and don't look at me if it desperately needs ironing.  Seriously, next time you are with any one of my family members take a look at our clothes.  Guaranteed we will be wearing something wrinkled.  I am not proud of this.  I am not proud of the fact that most of them time our laundry does get folded is because my mom was over watching the kids and she folded it for me.  My kids already know the drill when I tell them Grandma is coming over.  We go into code red cleaning mode.  My daughter will run around the house putting things away saying, "we have to clean up before Grandma gets here otherwise she'll have to clean the whole time she's here!"  I will admit, while hanging my head low, that sometimes when I know my mom is coming I'll drop a few things off my endless "to do" list because I know that she will help me out by doing them without me even asking.  Does that make me a bad daughter? Sigh. Some weeks I don't even care if it does because, truth be told, I am exhausted about 98% of the time.  I don't think my hubby or myself have had more than five hours a sleep per night for the last few weeks.... and, no, those five hours are not in a row.  They are broken up between one kid who can't sleep because they are coughing, one kid who has peed the bed, one who is teething and screaming, one who had a bad dream, one who is too hot and then one who is thirsty.  I know what you are thinking, "you only have three kids and you just listed six different reasons that they wake up at night".  Rest assured, all six of these things can easily come up in one night.  And, on those really frustrating nights, they all come from one kid.  Does anyone out there know what it feels like to wake up feeling well rested?  If so, can you just explain it to me?  I think the mere description might be enough to get me through a day.  I can vaguely remember lazy Saturday mornings when I slept until my body ached because it had been laying down too long.  My body still aches now when I wake up but that's because I did a bazillion squats just getting in and out of bed and then pulled a few muscles trying to cuddle in a small bed with a squirming kid and then topped it all off with whacking my head of the bunk bed while trying to sneak back to my bed.  Oh ya, and the sound of my scull impacting the hard wooden bed (why didn't we buy one made of particle board!) woke the kid up.  Commence fitting into a small bed with a squirming kid.  Sigh.

My hubby and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary next month and we are celebrating by dumping the kids at grandma's house (ha ha ha ha ha *see paragraph above to understand laughter) and staying at a hotel for the night.  We were able to get an early check-in at the hotel.  I don't know about you but in my younger years I always imagined checking into a hotel with my husband and ripping each others clothes off the moment we arrived (sorry if you're reading this mom..... and my husband's mom.....) but when we found out we could get an early check-in we were both excited because we could take an afternoon nap!  And, no, nap is not code for anything.  We just want a few hours of totally uninterrupted sleep so that one of us doesn't fall asleep during dinner.  Isn't that romantic?

I think that pretty much sums up this sleep deprived rant.... plus I can hear another kid waking up coughing.  Kids are wonderful and they really truly are a blessing but if you are raising some and you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed and sleep deprived like me, you are not alone.  Let us moms unite as we daily take up our battle with our cups of coffee as our sword.  We will win this battle and one day we will realized that we are drinking less coffee and getting more sleep and that our kids have turned into strong, independent, confident, smart and compassionate adults because we never gave up.  Never give up.  Next time you run into a friend who's a mom give her a hug and buy her a cup of coffee and remind her that she is not alone.  Remind her that there a millions of us all over the world who feel just like her.  And remind her to look her little miracles in the eye and remember that it's all worth it. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

A Mother's Day Lesson

So, yesterday was Mother's Day.  Year after year when I imagine Mother's Day I think it will be my day to kick back, relax, sit in my lawn chair and drink coffee all day.  After six years you would think that I wouldn't let my imagination get the better of me.  I am still a mom on Mother's Day.  My husband does a wonderful job trying to take care of everything for me so that I can relax but there will still always be a little finger poking me in the face at 6:30AM asking me to open the present she made for me at school.  And, there will still be the baby who will not fall asleep for his nap unless mommy is there to give him a final kiss before closing his eyes.  And, there will always be that little boy who truly believes with all his heart that a mud pie and a handful of dirty weeds is a the best way to tell his mommy that he loves her.  I guess I will relax when they are all teenagers and simply grunt at me to say "Happy Mother's Day".

Having said all that, I did have a really special moment this year.  We were at church in the morning and the baby will not sleep in my arms anymore so grouchy him and I spent the morning in the foyer.  During that morning I found myself sitting beside a friend who had come to Canada from China in January to study.  This Sunday morning she was holding her beautiful two year old girl who had just now arrived from China after being separated by an ocean for over four months.  As I was sitting with her my baby boy was fussing and would not drink him bottle.  Then along came a friend from Nigeria who popped her sweet four month old boy on my lap and took my fussy baby and convinced him to drink his bottle.  As we were all sitting on that bench in the foyer I had to smile.  Three different nationalities from three different parts of the world.  We all grew up in different countries, speaking different languages, with different upbringings.  But here we sat with our kids scattered in each others arms.  We were all moms.  We were all raising our children differently with different cultures and languages but as we sat there and chatted it didn't matter.  There is something about children that brings people together.  Maybe it's their funny expressions, their clumsy movements, or their adorable little noises.  I think maybe it's how they smile at anyone who smiles at them.  They meet a new baby and they don't care if that baby is bottle fed or breast fed.  They could care less what foods they were introduced to first.  They don't care what brand of diaper the other baby is wearing and they certainly don't care if their outfit is from Walmart or The Gap.  They don't care if that baby is long and skinny or short and chunky.  They will pat that other baby's head and smile whether their hair is long and thick or shiny and bald.  They will giggle together when one of them falls down and giggle even harder when the other one falls on top.  They will sit and drool all over themselves and not care what the other one thinks.  Maybe babies bring us together because they will smile at us just because we are there.  They will love us regardless of what we look.  They don't compare us to one another or judge us for our faults.  I always thought I had some growing up to do but maybe I have some lessons to learn from the baby I assumed I was supposed to be teaching.  Maybe, from time to time, this mommy needs to remember to see the world through her baby's eyes.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Lasts of the Firsts

Tonight my baby boy fell asleep in my arms.  I sat there snuggling him and thinking about the past few weeks.  I'm sure he is growing up exponentially faster than his older sister and brother.  Last week we took him out of his baby car seat because one more week of him in that thing would have sent me to physiotherapy for arm and neck strains.  Now that baby seat is sitting in my laundry room.  It looks lonely.  For the past five and a half years it has been transporting our babies places or sitting in the crawl space anticipating the next arrival.  I remember the day we bought it and brought it home.  I carried it around the house pretending that the baby in my belly was sitting all snuggled up in that seat.  When L arrived I was so excited to strap her into it and take her home.  My hubby walked tall and proud out of the hospital carrying his new baby girl.  We argued over who got to carry it into church the first Sunday after L was born because we were both so proud to show her off.  These same situations happened two more times.  And now, the last baby is growing up and that car seat is no longer needed.  I know it seem ridiculous to feel so sentimental about a car seat but I am slowly realizing that certain phases of our life are finishing and will be gone forever.  I am so amazingly blessed that I got to tell my hubby that I was pregnant three times.  Then I got to feel three little people rolling, kicking and dancing inside of me.  Then we got to meet those little people for the first time.  Three times we got to bring a baby home.  Three times I got to snuggle a newborn that smelled like baby soap and Pampers.  Three times I got to see a baby smile for the first time, sit for the first time, stand for the first time.  There are so many precious memories of my babies firsts that are now memories of the last time we will see those things.  It's bittersweet really.  We are content with our family of five and we are looking forward to new and exciting stages of life but it's a little bit hard to let some of the "firsts" go.  I hope I remember to take the time to be in the moment.  To take the time to really remember what it felt like, smelled like, sounded like.  If I could give any advice to other moms it would be to stop.  Just stop.  Think about where you are.  You are the only person in the world who gets to be the mommy to that baby who just laid eyes on you for the first time.  You are the only person in the world who gets to be mommy to that baby that just smiled at you for the first time.  Do we really understand what that means?  This is where it all happens and this is the stuff that at the end of our lives we are going to care about.  This is life.  

So, tonight as I snuggled my baby boy I realize how big he was in my arms and then I realized that soon he will be even bigger.  So, I sat there.  I just held him in my arms and I felt his warm little body and listened to his quiet little breaths.  At that moment I was the only person in the world who got to snuggle that little boy.  This is life and I'm not going to take it for granted.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Life is Like a Leaky Faucet

I've had a few people ask me lately if I'm still writing my blog.  I always plan on writing but, truth be told, I haven't felt super inspired lately.  When I started this blog I wanted to encourage people either by having something uplifting to say or by sharing my struggles so that others who feel the same way know they are not alone.  I suppose this post may be the latter.  Lately I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with life but I didn't realized it until very recently.  There have been times over the years when life feels out of control or so busy that I can barely keep up but that's not what has been going on.  Maybe it's just the long winter or maybe it's learning to juggle three kids but life has been feeling a bit like a leaky faucet.  Nothing overwhelming has happened lately.  Nothing crazy or stressful has come up.  No new changes are facing us.  But day by day little things start adding up.  

A couple of months ago we had a leaky faucet in our guest bathtub.  I didn't think much of it until one day my hubby put the plug in the drain and the next morning there were several inches of water in the tub.  I had no idea how much water we were wasting until I took the time to notice.  Much is the same with life these days.  I didn't notice how much all the little things were adding up on me until I sat back and took stock of what life was like at this particular moment in time.  I have been going through the motions of life every day but it was all adding up. 

We fixed our bathtub faucet.  It was actually really easy. My hubby took the time to investigate what was wrong, go to the hardware store to buy the part, and replace the old worn out piece.  It took acknowledging that something wasn't working right and getting up and doing something about it.  I can't change my life and even if I could I'm positive that I wouldn't (ok, maybe I'd throw in a little extra cash for a winter vacation) but I can acknowledge that I'm a little overwhelmed and I can do something about it.  Ditch a few TV shows and get to bed earlier so I have more energy.  Make sure that I take the time to get out with friends who understand this stage of life I'm in.  Read a book that doesn't involve talking animated animals.  Find a way to stop the leaky faucet before the tub fills up and cracks.

The hot and cold are now reversed in our tub.  We have no idea why but we are used to it now so it isn't a problem.  Life is not rainbows, unicorns and marshmallows but we can make the best of it and with a good attitude the things that are not perfect will no longer be a problem.  In fact, it is often through our problems that we create our character. 
I'm not sure if any of that made sense but I feel better.  Now I've just got to figure out how the rattle in the front end of our mini van can be a life lesson.....

Monday, 3 March 2014

Let the Oatmeal Burn

This morning I was sitting on my comfy chair drinking my coffee when my three year old came up beside me and asked for a snuggle.  I scooped him up into my lap and he laid his little head on my shoulder.  We were snuggling for about a minute when I realized that the oatmeal on the stove was starting to bubble and I needed to stir it.  I was about to tell my little guy that I needed to put him down to go stir the oatmeal when I paused. So often I am running from one thing to the next.  My kids are so good to me and they easily come along with me as we run errands, grocery shop, clean the house, etc...  In fact they are so good I fear that I sometimes take them for granted.  I go about my busy life dragging the kids here and there, asking them to wait just a moment while I finish up one last email or while I respond to a text message.  They patiently wait which is a good virtue to teach my kids but do they spend more time waiting then they should?  I think they do.  It's time to ignore some things in life.  It's time to push distractions away when one of them asks to cuddle, or to play a game or for help with a drawing.  It's time to get rid of some things in life that make it so busy.  It's time to let the oatmeal burn because my little boy will not always want to snuggle with me on the big comfy chair.

This morning the oatmeal burned and I will gladly scrape the pot later.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

It's Too Heavy

I was in the kitchen getting ready to make lunch when I heard my little boy in the family room huffing and puffing, "It's too heavy.  I can't carry it." I went into the room and found him trying to carry a box full of stuff that was way to heavy for him to carry.  I looked at him and said, "If it's too heavy, just put it down.  You don't have to carry it by yourself".

How many times have I heard those words in my life?  So often I find myself burdened with so much stuff.  Stressful days, tough situations with my kids, rough patches in marriage, baggage from my past, news of sickness in a good friend.  It seems like everyday more and more "stuff" is added to my box of life and sometimes it gets overwhelming trying to carry it all.  But just like I eased my son's burden by helping him carry his little box full of treasures, God is just standing by waiting for me to ask him to help carry my box of stuff.  I don't have to be supermom.  I don't have to carry the weight of the world and all the awful things that go on in it on my shoulders.  I can lay it at his feet and ask him to carry it for me.  His shoulders are big enough.  His love is strong enough.  All I have to do is ask.

After a few items were emptied out of my sons little box he picked it up and said, with great confidence, "It's not too heavy.  I can carry it now!"  Today I am going to empty a few things out of my box.  I am going to lay them at the feet of the one who is strong enough to carry them for me.  I am not called to be perfect.  I am called to be his child.  I am called to trust him.

If this doesn't make sense to you, ask me about it.  I'll be glad to share how you too can get rid of your heavy box.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Year of 52 Blessings

Today on my way home from clearance sale shopping for next years snowsuits I went through the McDonalds drive through for a peppermint mocha.  I will admit that first sip made me feel a little sad.  Christmas really is over.  A week ago I was thrilled to pack up Christmas and get back to "normal" life but today as I was taking that pepperminty sip I suddenly felt a longing for the colorful lights, the adorned tree, and the excited shopping.  Now that I am home that feeling has certainly passed but I remember years past where I felt a very real sadness after the holiday season was over.  I'm sure I am not alone as January can be a very depressing month with the dark days and freezing cold.  But this year my little L and I decided that we were going to make 2014 into the year of 52 Blessings.  Every week we will be finding something that we can do to bless others.  This was our first week.  The challenge is finding things to do that are relatively easy to accomplish with three kids in tow and something that L can easily help with.  This week L decided to draw some pictures that we could mail to brighten someone's day.  L drew three lovely pictures and we mailed them to some of my great aunts and uncles and my grandma.  We wrote a little note that said we were thinking of them and hoped the picture brightened their day.  L is super excited to put them in the mailbox today after school and I must admit that seeing her excitement makes me feel pretty proud.  Looking forward to seeing what blessings we can come up with throughout the year.  Any suggestions?