The Space Between

For the women trying to live life in the space between it all.

Monthly Archives: April 2018

To the mom who doesn’t fit in.

1

Raise your hand if you’re the awkward mom. *slowly raises hand* I even raise my hand awkwardly. Ugh. I’m a super introvert. I’m awkward in social situations and I obnoxiously focus on my kids when I’m uncomfortable.  I just gave away my secret, but I really do. I’ve tried, I mean really TRIED to make mom friends. I really have. But it never works out. Do I ask for her number? Maybe ask if she wants to hang out some time? It’s like I’m dating all over again. Except joke’s on me because I’m more awkward this time around. Life isn’t fair. I’m in my mid -okay OKAY, late (whatever) 20s. Why am I more awkward now than when I was 17? Again, whatever.

Have you ever sent a potential mom friend a friend request on Facebook because you think you made a connection but then they never accept it so you’re just left in “maybe she didn’t really like me” limbo and lots of self-consciousness? It’s the worst. And then you see the potential mom friend again and you’re all awkward and sweaty because now you feel dumb. That’s me. It’s like sending the Do you like me? Check yes or no. notes in school all over again. It’s so nerve wracking!

In todays day and age, us moms need a tribe. We need a likeminded group of women that love us well and encourage us when we need it. Want to know what’s so awesome? They don’t even have to live near you! One of my best friends lives in another state and I have a few super close friends whom I talk to daily that I met in a group of due date buddies with my oldest. And now some of them are my closest friends. It’s like online dating but for moms! I never realized how similar finding friends is to dating but hey, the analogy works.

At the end of the day, you need to find love, support and encouragement somewhere. You need friends who check in on you and ask how your kids are doing. You need friends who will send you a meal when you’re overwhelmed. You need a safe place to turn when your kids are driving you crazy and you just need to vent. No judgment. No surfacy (yes, I made that word up) conversation. Nothing other than love and encouragement. Find the other awkward mom. She’s out there and she’s waiting for you! Find the mom who’s overly focusing on her kids to avoid small talk or awkward eye contact. Find the mom who has sent a few awkward friend requests herself. She needs you, and you definitely need her.

Mom Pressure

2

It’s 7pm the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I realized I didn’t get dresses for the girls for Easter. What kind of mom am I? Major mom fail. Ugh. I rifle through Audrey’s closet and find a cute, fancy schmancy dress in the back that a friend gave us last summer. It’s in her size. Score! I trot out to our back garage and dig through 70 billion totes to find Audrey’s old spring clothes from a couple of years ago. I find her first Easter dress and it’s 9 months. Score, again! Pretty Easter dresses – check. Now for the perfectly staged Easter picture. Not so check. Trying to get a sassy toddler and a 5 month old to both look at the camera and smile is near impossible. I couldn’t even manage to get Little Miss Sassafras to look at the camera.

IMG_8565

There’s so much pressure on perfection. Living in the social media world that we do makes it difficult at times to not play the comparison game. How does she get her kids to always smile for pictures? How does she get the sunlight to perfectly shine on her children’s faces? Why does her house always look perfect? How does she do it? Why is she so perfect? Here’s her secret. She’s not. Nobody is. It’s so easy to make social media our highlight reel and let everyone believe we’re perfect. But where’s the fun in that? Life is messy, raw, real, chaotic and a little bit sticky. (Or maybe that’s just my house – stinkin’ toddlers.) Why make it seem perfect? Why allow someone else’s highlight reel to put so much pressure on you? So what if you didn’t buy your kids Easter outfits? So what if you don’t realize until 7pm that your child only had goldfish for dinner – big, fat oops. So what if you forget about trick or treating and order their costume 2 days before? (Guilty – I also did that. Thank God for Amazon Prime.) So what if you forget about show and tell and your child takes the obvious last minute choice? So what if you shamelessly turn the TV on while tossing chicken nuggets in front of your child for the second night in a row?

None of it matters. None. Of. It. Matters. Period. I promise that all your child will remember is that momma tried. You tried. You did your best. At the end of the day your sweet baby still snuggles into momma because you are their safety net. Nothing bad can happen with momma around. You protect. You love. You provide. You cherish. And guess what? Despite the messes and the chaos and your crazy dry shampoo mom hair, your sweet angel looks at you and sees nothing less than pure, beautiful perfection.

Why self-care is so important.

2

Mom. Mommy. Mother. Momma. Madre. Mum. Mama. Mummy. So many titles for one extraordinary person.

Moms put everyone before themselves. There’s a running joke lately that talks about how many times moms have to reheat their cup of coffee because they’re too busy to drink it or they forget about it. I even saw something the other day where a mom said she just prefers it cold now – which for me, ironically, is now true.

IMG_8705

It’s currently 3:20pm and I’m sitting on the floor with my 5 month old next to me as I continually bounce her in the bouncer in hopes that she’ll fall asleep for the first time today. She won’t. But I’m trying anyways. I stop to type and she rings out again so I start bouncing again. The cycle continues. She’s been fed, changed, I gave her gripe water and Tylenol for her mean old teeth, all that’s left to do is sleep. But she won’t. As I sit with my naked face because I didn’t have time to put on makeup today and my “mom bun,” I look down at my unshaven legs and my leftover pink nail polish from my last pedicure that was in October of last year. Wow. I try to think of the last time I had a hair cut or color as my grays are growing with a vengeance. I can’t remember. I was pregnant at the time and my baby is now 5 months old. Yikes.

Self-care. It’s a phrase we hear a lot but do we do it a lot? I sure don’t. I tell my husband all the time I want to do this or that but I never get it done. I’m always so busy chasing my toddler or nursing the baby. I’ve “needed a hair cut” for the past few months. I even messaged a friend about getting in to get my hair done but I never followed through. Why do we always put ourselves last? As moms, we have to wear so many hats but sometimes I think we forget that we were a person before we were a mom. I was Alli long before I was Brandon’s wife or Quinn and Audrey’s mom. You may think this sounds selfish and that’s the stigma I’m trying to break. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. You can’t pour into others if your cup isn’t full. I always think of the “you have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others if the plane is going down” analogy. Have you ever tried to pour water from an empty cup? It doesn’t work very well.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a 7 hour trip to the spa or a mani/pedi or anything fancy. It can be waking up 15 minutes before your kids and drinking your coffee hot and scrolling through Facebook or reading your Bible. It can be as simple as ordering your favorite takeout or running through and grabbing a coffee. It can be as simple as doing a movie day so you can relax with your sweet kiddos. Take a break. Take a shower. Take 15 minutes for yourself every day. You deserve it. You’re worth it.

You pushed my buttons today.

0

Toddler moms. HOW DO YOU DO IT. Man, oh man. I’m the mom of a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old. Two kids, two and under. Whew. I end my days questioning everything. Did I handle that situation correctly? Did I love them enough? Did they get my best self or just my leftovers? Was I patient enough?

 Why is being a mom so hard sometimes? Why do we question ourselves so much? My sweet and sassy toddler got in my face today, crinkled up her nose and said, “No momma!!!!” My emotions went from upset to angry to sad to dumbfounded. Oh, Audrey. You pushed my buttons today. I’m sitting, nursing Quinn and Audrey walks up to me. IMG_6097“Fruit snacks and water,” she demands. So I ask, “Can mommy have a hug?” “FRUIT SNACKS AND WATER!” she yells then runs away. OKAY. You pushed my buttons today. We pull into the garage, I go around to the driver’s side to get Audrey out. “DADDY GET ME!” Alrighty. You pushed my buttons today. “Audrey, I love you.” “No say I yuv you!” Sigh. You pushed my buttons today. And it continues. And yet somehow, at the same time, she has the sweetest heart of any toddler I’ve ever met. Tonight, we sang our bedtime songs and we get ready to pray so we ask Audrey if she’d like to pray. “God, thank you for mommy and daddy. Thank you for Kinnie. Thank you for our food. Thank you for cheese.” She peeks open one of her eyes, “What else?” she whispers. “And thank you for our blessings.” I’m constantly in awe of her amazing heart.

 

IMG_8628I find myself frustrated on a daily basis simply because I’m a strong-willed momma raising a strong-willed toddler. But days like today when she snuggles into momma and falls asleep while I rock her, I realize I must be doing something right. Days like today when her sister is crying, and she lays down next to her and rubs her head and tells her everything will be okay, I realize that in the midst of the hard, daily battles she makes my life complete. She pushes my buttons daily but she’s constantly pushing me to be better and she doesn’t even know it. She’s helped make me the person I am. Her sweet kindness and tender heart inspires me daily. She makes me a better person.

I think we go into parenthood thinking we do all the raising but in so many ways, we do a lot of the growing. I never thought I’d look at my 2.5 year old daughter and see the person I want to be. Someone who prays for others. Someone who thanks the Lord for cheese. Someone who consoles her sister instead of being jealous of the attention she requires. Someone who loves so incredibly well. I pray that she never loses that sweet and tender spirit. And I pray that she never stops teaching me how to love others and have that sweet child-like faith. I pray that she never stops pushing my buttons because I don’t ever want her to lose her fire – even though that fire may leave me grumbling to myself most days. I pray that she turns this world upside down and continues to love unconditionally. I pray that someday she realizes that she can change the world.