sweet little experiment

Reblogging this one today! Enjoy! 

I was not prepared for motherhood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did read a decent amount of books on pregnancy and whole birth. I attended prenatal classes and breastfeeding classes. But all in all I think it’s pretty safe to say that nothing can really prepare you for motherhood besides motherhood itself. Yep, you gotta be in it to know it. In it to win it. Or in it to navigate through a system of trial and error, ups and downs, jubilation and frustration, invigoration and exhaustion- the list goes on and on.

I think most parents experience some ineptitude when it comes to the reality of raising children. At the hospital, I remember feeling apprehensive to the fact that they were allowing Nick and I to take our 6lb. 12oz, baby girl home. Handing us this precious little angel and saying: She’s beautiful. Good luck and goodbye.

The first thing I thought was: Oh, Holy Lord. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. 

Let me better explain myself. You see, when Ella was inside me I had everything figured out. Her schedule, my schedule, sleep time, feed time, playtime, potty time. If I remember correctly, I think I even had a list of do’s and don’ts plastered on our kitchen wall. I was extremely organized and the house was really freaking clean. Nesting sure got the best of me in my ninth month! The nursery was stunning, but practical. We did every thing in neutral since we chose not to find out her sex. Tiny clothes were all neatly folded and put in their proper place. Piles of baby booties and teeny hats aligned perfectly on the shelf. I had every thingamabob baby item you could think of. Most of which I would come to find out would never get opened, let alone used. That’s okay though because they were a piece of the pregnancy puzzle and my puzzle was almost complete. I reveled in the thought of perfection.

Then I had her. She was the most beautiful, innocent, precious soul. My heart was overflowing with love. Best of all, she was mine! Then we took her home. And within an instant, all of my scheduling and planning and organizing pretty much went to hell.

Schedule? What schedule? This baby eats when she wants, sleeps when she wants, and poops all of the time.

I was introduced to “poop up the back.” Um hello, no one ever told me about that. Surprise! It’s disgusting.

Laundry piled up.

Diapers everywhere.

My breasts hanging out all day long.

Nursing. Nursing. Nursing. And nursing.

Pumping. Storing. Pumping. Storing.

Glass of wine.

Pumping. Dumping.

Changing. Rocking. Changing. Rocking.

I was in a constant fog. We were up all hours of the night for days and weeks and months on end.

Our first trip to the pediatrician’s office and we left her diaper bag at home. Yeah, you heard that right. Not in the waiting room, not in the car. AT HOME. Who does that? The nurse was looking at us like we were two brainless idiots. I was looking at Nick thinking:

How the hell could you forget the diaper bag??!! I had the baby. I remembered her. 

Oh motherhood. With its winding roads. You never really know what’s around the corner or behind door number one..or two..or three for that matter. You never really know what to expect or what you’ll forget. What kind of baby you’ll have or what kind of mother you’ll be.

And thus begins our lifelong…

sweet little BIG experiment.

The Life of a Mother

Oil painting: “Mother and Child”
By artist: Gustav Klimt

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden.

She is a mother of tolerance.

She happily tolerates all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of resilience.

She happily bends and twists and turns to accommodate all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of strength.

She happily lifts and embraces all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of enlightenment.

She happily teaches and tests all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of grace.

She happily gives of her spirit to all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of fortitude.

She happily faces the challenges of all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of life.

She happily nurtures all the children who whimsically dance around her.

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden–

She is a mother of piercing love.

She is you.

fear and loving in motherhood

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
John Lennon

We want to know how we should live. We look for guidance from our elders, signs from the world around us. We find comfort in the familiar and challenge in the unknown. We mindlessly tramp through life almost as if robotic. We tend to forget to focus our teachings inwards. There’s a lot we can take away from the inside out.  We can find our fears, anxieties, visions, and happiness by reflecting on our true selves from within.

As day dips into night, I am sitting at the table sipping tea with a friend. She is telling me about her busy life and the stress that accompanies it. She is mumbled and jumbled and even seems a bit sad. Her mind is running rampant with thoughts. Her face is distraught with the weight of the world lying solely upon her. She shifts uncomfortably on the wooden chair as her bulging belly overpowers her body. She is hunched over and exhausted. She is afraid of the morning. For in the morning her floating ship begins to sink, again. Her husband will leave for work and her two-year-old will triumphantly rule her day. Every minute. Every second. She will wonder what she is doing wrong. How she can possibly handle all of the things being thoughtlessly thrown at her. She is drowning in her own life. Is there a way to make it easier?

I tell her to take a deep breath. I inhale and exhale with her. We do it together, again. And again and again. I ask her if she would have it any other way.

I see a smile suddenly take hold of her. Her eyes brighten and her body perks up. She gently embraces her belly and twitches in delight as she runs her hands over the blossoming life growing inside her. She glimpses down in reflection for a moment and returns with resilient honesty.

Thank you, she says. Maybe this sounds sort of crazy, but my answer is no.

 

raising a child

Children are messy and noisy and loud and whiney.

Children cry and fight and annoy and bother.

Children stumble and fall and break things and scream.

We all know this going in.  Or at least we should.  From infancy through the teenage years (and beyond!) we are challenged.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Forever.  No joke.  How we react is key.  Is it helpful to share our frustrations with others?  Absolutely!  It makes the process of child-rearing real.  Is it healthy to bitch and moan about your kids ALL the TIME?  The answer is simple – no.

Let’s face it, raising children is a difficult task.  Adjusting to a newborn is probably one of the hardest challenges I ever had to go through.  It’s definitely one of the most grounding, mind-altering, loving events in my life.  Sleepless nights, endless laundry and diaper changes, 24/7 breast-feeding.  Coming to the realization that life is no longer solely about me.  The pressure of knowing that the choices I make in these early years will shape my child.  Dealing with inconveniences is inevitable, but it’s part of the story.  An essential part.  A part that teaches and tests.  A part that helps me dig deep within myself to see what I’m really made of.  The sooner I focused in on this, the sooner my vision and plan for my family came together.  As a mother, I fall on my face…a lot.  But I get up – again and again and again.

When will we realize that parenting our children is a privilege and a responsibility – not a hindrance?  Our kids need us to provide for them and support them and make important decisions for them.  They need us to be their teachers and their playmates and their boo-boo kissers.  Every day, we are molding them physically, emotionally, and spiritually through our actions or inactions.  Raising a child should be a wonderful journey, not a bitch-fest.  It requires an educated mind, a loving soul, and inexplicable acts of kindness.  All in all, being a mother is a thankless job, but it helps to remember that:

Children are wonderful and funny and pure.

Children are full of love and light and strength.

Children are inspiring and adventurous and beautiful.

Children . . . they string our joys, like jewels bright, upon the thread of years. ~Edward A. Guest

the real spring

Tuesday was the Spring Equinox in this part of the world.  A time for renewal and joy as the earth awakens from its winter slumber and life begins again.  Spring is the season of rebirth.  The smell in the air and the warmth from the sun brings us all a sense of peace and nostalgia.  We are reminded once again of the wondrous beauty nature has to offer.  The flowers are in bloom and the sounds of birds tweeting, twittering, and chirping bring music to our ears.  There’s just something about the way spring rides in and changes the minds and moods of everyone it touches.  It’s magical.

This magic also brings with it a long list of things that need to get done (you know, more to add to our never-ending list of mommy duties and whatnot), but it’s okay because it’s spring.  Spring cleaning makes me happy.  Dusting, vacuuming, digging, bagging, junking, watering, weeding, spraying, cleaning, and washing just seem easier to accomplish in the springtime.  I don’t know why, but as long as my windows are open and the sunshine is rolling in, I can clean every toilet and bathtub in the house with a smile on my face.  The same goes for rounding up dust bunnies from under the couch, giving the pantry a makeover, and sorting through the kids sock and underwear drawer.  And when it’s all said and done (if ever), the celebratory dance I do in praise of my now organized and rejuvenated home could not be more justified.

Spring is also a time for cleansing our inner souls.  A time for change.  A time to look within ourselves, to be conscious of who we are and who we want to become.   A chance to focus on what really matters in life and to reinvent ourselves as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as aunts, as friends, as women.

Here is my “real” to do list this spring:

Happy Spring!

lisa