To Mom, From Toddler: I Am Doing the Best Can

To Mom, From Toddler: I Am Doing the Best Can

Hi mommy. It’s me, your toddler.

I want you to know something that might not be so clear all the time: I am doing the best I can.

Sometimes it seems like you wish I had a whole lot more figured out by now—like how to control my body and emotions all the time. Or how to manage my time, fix my mistakes, or keep myself busy on my own.

But, I haven’t been around very long, and this whole life thing is still taking some getting used to.

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Let It Go


Let it go!

I sit up on my living room couch - ears perked, mid-movie - as I hear my two-year-old daughter singing her rendition of “Let It Go” for the first time of the night...

The night- you know- the time when she should be sleeping.

Let it go!

I cringe knowing she will surely wake her sleeping baby brother as her lovely notes ever-so-gracefully escalate with each repetition of the key phrase.

The sound calms for a moment and then I hear a vivid recount of the Frozen book we read before bed.

Let it go!

I look in the camera and I see her holding up a book, like a teacher, arms flailing as she acts out Elsa and Ana creating ice palaces left and right.

And then I see it - the shadow of my son…popping up in his crib, arms stretched out to his sister squealing for her attention.

She continues reading and then I hear him utter two of the four words he knows to date, “Uh- oh!”

They go back and forth.

Uh-oh!
Let it go!
Uh-oh!
Let it go!

And suddenly my cringe turns into a smile.

I tell myself to “let it go.”

I fight the urge to hush them back to sleep.
I fight the fear of a horrible night of sleep for us all (because I know how this ends up.)
I fight the need to stare at the monitor, only to quickly gaze at the clock, as I count the minutes they spend awake and not sleeping.
I fight the habit of playing out the picture of a sleep-deprived day tomorrow in my mind.

And I choose to just let it go.

I choose to see their delight in each other’s company.
I choose to see the love in their voices and communication with one another.
I choose to see their playfulness when they know they should be horizontal and snoozing.
I choose to see their joy in just being present in the moment.

And though it can be hard for me, I choose to heed my daughter’s advice and I join her in her ice filled dream world of letting it go.

I might even sing a verse or two from out here on the couch...

You Won't Hear Me Tell My Daughter She Has To Do It All

You Won't Hear Me Tell My Daughter She Has To Do It All

My daughter won’t hear me tell her she has to “do it all.”

Instead, she’ll hear me ask God to keep guiding us both to do what we’re meant to do and be who we’re meant to be.

And she’ll see me doing my best trying to show her that we’re both better off doing what makes us feel genuinely happy —rather than endlessly finding ways to do all.of.the.things.

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Maternal Mental Health Matters

Maternal Mental Health Matters

“Why do you need to go to therapy? You seem so happy! What do you even talk about there?”

When my seeing a therapist comes up in conversation, I am often met with comments like this.

 

I used to feel a shade of shame and embarrassment knowing the implication here was that “unhappy” people are the ones that need therapy… and yet, there I was, returning to sessions week after week.

 But now, years—many years—later, I have shed the shame and replaced it with love.

Self-love.  Love that runs through me and floods out to my children.  And I am proud of that.

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The Women I Work With Are Warriors of Love: They Are Teachers and They Are Mothers

The women I work with are warriors of love.

The women I work with are teachers.

And they are also mothers.

 

By the time I see them enter school around 8am, most of them have already clocked in at least 3 hours of “work” at home. 

 

They’ve fed the babies, they’ve cooked the breakfasts, they’ve packed the lunches.

They’ve dressed the children and then brought them to where they need to be for the day. 

They’ve somehow managed to get themselves ready along the way.

 

They didn’t sleep at night, because, well… motherhood.  They were up answering the cries for mom in the wee hours of the night or were tossing and turning either planning for or worrying about a laundry list of items pertaining to their kids. 

 

And still, when the women I work with come into school, they continue to sprinkle morsels of kindness and patience over every other child they interact with. 

 

Sure, their job is to educate, and of course that is what they do – but, in the hours of a school day, they do so much more. 

 

They listen to children’s stories that seemingly never end with open ears, answer questions that have already been answered with open minds, and facilitate learning with tender precision. 

 

They take care of children’s boo-boos with bandages and walks down the hall for water, their shaken egos with life lessons and inspirational stories, and their broken hearts with quality time and understanding.

 

They notice and care about the little details within the personalities, behaviors, and lives of each and every one of the children they work with so they can help them to learn in a way that makes sense for them and socialize in a way that feels comfortable for them.

 

They plan with special thought and care, they lead with diligence and meaningfulness, and they communicate with compassion all day long. 

 

The women I work with do this while simultaneously still keeping their own children in the forefront of their minds. 

 

They do this while thinking about all the things relating to them—what they are doing, who they are with, how they are feeling, what they are eating, what they need to do later in the day—all the things.

 

They do this and then return home to care for those children. They take them to their activities, they feed them dinner, they give them baths and read them bedtime stories—but most importantly, they become a soft place for their little babies (even those that are not so little anymore) to fall.

 

They listen to the stories of their children’s days.

They ask them who they sat with at lunch.

They problem solve the things that may be bothering them.

They comfort them when something is upsetting them.

They hold them as often as possible, tell them they love them over and over, and consciously try to stop amidst the chaos and enjoy every single moment they have together.

 

I see the women I work with come and go from work on leaves after having a baby, caring for a child or a family member, or grieving a terrible loss. I see the women I work with come and go from work each day carrying the invisible, emotional load from home and from work on their shoulders 24/7 – a “load” that holds the hearts of all the little (and big) people in their lives that they care for day in and day out. 

 

I feel the women I work with come together to support one another in all of the ups and downs with hugs, prayers, and support in such an astounding way. They are all so busy constantly taking care of children that they often forget to take care of themselves; yet still, they never fail to be there for one another. 

 

When I think of all that the women I work with accomplish in a day’s time – all of the physical and mental checks off of a never-ending list—I am truly amazed.  But, within the four walls of our building, I see this truth: next to every strong woman is a group of other strong women holding her hand and encouraging her along the way.

 

The women I work with make the world go round… one child and one mother at a time. 

 

The women I work with are superheroes.  They are peacekeepers.  They are enlighteners, they are listeners, they are supporters, and they are inspirers. 

 

The women I work with are warriors of love…and of all things good. 

 

The women I work with are teachers and they are mothers.

 

 And I am grateful to know them.

 

 

Dear Daughter: I Pray You Always See the Beauty in Your Reflection

Dear Daughter: I Pray You Always See the Beauty in Your Reflection

Tonight, my three year old daughter wore her Elsa AND Anna dresses with her way too big, dress-up, pink high heel shoes on the wrong feet, three beaded necklaces, seven fancy hair ties worn as bracelets that made their way half way up her right arm, and a super sparkly purse perfectly placed over her shoulder.

She commanded, “ALEXA, PLAY FROZEN!” and when her trusty friend obeyed, she went near her and whispered, “Good girl, Alexa. Let’s dance.”

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I Am a Millennial Mom and I Call Bullshit on This Shame Game

I Am a Millennial Mom and I Call Bullshit on This Shame Game

I am a 32-year-old middle-class, millennial mother of two and I call bullshit on this “millennial shame-game.”

According to many articles and memes that have recently inundated my newsfeed, there is an entire cohort of entitled, unmanageable, lazy, and narcissistic young people scuffing up the shiny gold standard of those who walked this Earth before them.  And, apparently, I am one of them. 

Now, I am not a politician, an economist, an analyst, or a sociologist studying the trends of generations.  But, I am just like so many of you.  I am a smart, well-educated, hard-working woman and a mother who loves her children more than anything else on this planet.  And so, as I look back on my journey to where I am now and consider what I do every single day presently, I can honestly say that I would like to confidently and as politely as possible tell anyone who called me any of the adjectives listed above to please knock it off.

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18 Lessons From My Dad (That We All Can Learn From)

18 Lessons From My Dad (That We All Can Learn From)

1.     If you ever have a gut feeling that something is wrong with a person you are with or a situation you are in, trust it the first time. I have a very close friend that my dad adores greatly.  One day years ago I started to tell him about a particularly terrible situation of betrayal that she was in.  I started with, “She had a feeling…” and he cut me off there.  He said, “Honey, if you ever feel like something is not right, you need to trust that feeling the first time you’re aware of it and do something about it immediately.  Don’t wait around for things to get worse…because they will.”  It was a reminder that my own intuition is like a built-in compass that will always point me to my “North” if I am paying attention.

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