In the blink of an eye

As a mom/wife/mom/sister/friend/ daughter/ I don’t think we’re ever prepared for the next stage. The next stage in life, what’s waiting just around the corner, or what’s to come. No one tells us about this. Until we’ve transitioned. Until we are in the thick of it. Kind of like childbirth. No one tells you about all of the gory, painful, body changing that happens until you experience it yourself. 

Our family is typically in a state of chaos. Too many activities, too many places to be, too many games, too many invitations, not enough organization, not enough planning ahead, not enough hands to help. It’s usually all about the not enough and too much, mixed in with a little bit of being 15 minutes late to everything. And while we still have our chaotic days and moments, trust me, I’m noticing a shift. Those crazy and chaotic days are becoming fewer and far between. This is the stuff no one talks about. No one tells you about this. And in the blink of an eyes it’s gone. No one tells you about the day your kids actually entertain themselves, and are capable of feeding themselves. Or the day your kid would rather spend sleeping over a friends house than curled up on the couch with their family, a redbox movie and popcorn. I’ve heard people say it, I’ve read the poems, I’ve listened to the lyrics on the radio but now, now I am living it. I am living quiet Friday nights with kids who get along and find playmates in their brothers. Life long friendships are being formed while I soak in a bubble bath. In the blink of an eye. Saturday mornings where everyone sleeps in, or quietly lays in bed, or better yet serves themselves and their brothers breakfast while you are in bed with coffee and a good book until well past 10 am. Sunday mornings where your children beg and plead to go to church service because they actually know what is going on, love singing and worshiping the Lord, and are no longer clinging to your side when you drop them off at children’s church while you go and enjoy service sans children. In the blink of an eye. They can get themselves in and out of the car, and grab their backpacks/cleats/instruments without your help. And buckling seat belts? Forget it they’ve mastered it to the point where you even offering to help them is embarrassing. In the blink of an eye. Gone are the days of 7 am wake up calls, co sleeping, carrying babies on your hip/in a sling just so you can accomplish one.thing for the day (as are the toned arms from carrying said babies), gone are meet ups with other moms so your kids can interact and socialize, but mostly so you can put on decent clothes and justify a starbucks drive thru run all the while having adult conversation with other mommas. In the blink of an eye. Gone are the days of their survival being dependent on you. Now they have chores, and night time routines they can facilitate and manage themselves. Gone are the days of figuring out the most efficient way to bathe 3 kids after a long day. Now they can decide who showers first and who helps their youngest sibling shower. In the blink of an eye. The days of biting one another are replaced with tattle tales. The days of boo boos needing mommas hug are replaced with them searching for the box of bandaids themselves. Cries for “momma”are replaced with “I’m bored.” The days of monsters under the bed and in the closets are replaced with wanting to watch movies with those monsters. In the blink of an eye. Diaper bags, strollers, and sippy cups are replaced with skateboards, scooters and bicycles that they can ride by themselves. 

Mommas take it from a momma who had 3 babies in 4 years. Who spent 5 years of my life either pregnant or nursing. Years of diapers followed by months of potty training. 100’s of hours spent playing on the floor with cars or trains or doing whatever it took to stop the crying. Hours upon hours deciding whether or not a fever warranted a 3am call to a pediatrician. Nerves that are shot from dropping your oldest off for his first sleepover as you drive off with hot tears streaming down your cheeks secretly hoping in an hour he calls you to come pick him up. But the phone never rings. Until the next morning when he’s successfully had his first sleepover, and isn’t ready to be picked up until after lunch that day.

In the blink of an eye it’s all gone. Nursery rhymes are replaced with Fetty Whap on the radio and the whip and nae nae dance. Rice cereal and breast milk are replaced with late night drive through runs after sports practice.

In a million years I never thought I’d be on “the other side.” Seriously. But I am. And I’m here to tell you one day you will be too. Seriously. You will be. We have made it through the sleepless nights, the countless diaper changes, the emergency trips to CVS for Gatorade and pedialyte, the first day of preschool, the first day of kindergarten, the first day of soccer/baseball/piano lessons, the first jump off the swim club diving board into a 12 ft pool, the first time a coach had to pick up a kid to make it to a playoff game because another kid had tutoring, the first time all 5 of us came down with the flu, the stomach bug, strep throat, the first time we put our oldest on the bus for kindergarten at 8:30 and he didn’t return home until almost 4. For the mommas who are standing in the grocery checkout line sweating bullets because you have just survived a trip to the grocery store with 3 kids under 4 and you are sure you left with nothing on your list, but your cart is full because your kids were tossing God knows what in the cart, just so you could make it to that check out line- I know where you are standing. To the momma who is up at 4 am nursing a baby who she just nursed at 2:30 and 3:30 I know where you are. To the momma who doesn’t think there is an end to the tunnel. There is. Believe me there is. I have been there. I have lived it, and I am standing on the other side. And it will go in the blink of an eye. 
   
    
    
    
    
   

Goals for 2016

One of my top goals for 2016 has everything to do with health. If you haven’t already read this post, I encourage you to. If you are looking for the cliff notes here they are…3 years ago at the age of 27 I suffered a large stroke. Yes. Really. My road to recovery included 6 months of intense physical and occupational therapy, having to retest for my drivers license, and each day is still much of an uphill battle. So for 2016 I am making sure to make my health my top priority.
What does that look like? For me making my health my top priority looks like…

 
1. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every single night. For me this is one of the worst side effects of my stroke. One bad nights sleep leaves me feeling hungover. Seriously it’s the best way to describe it. Everything hurts. I have ringing in my ears, I’m unable to concentrate, and I have blurry vision and get dizzy very easily. No fun, so for me staying up an extra few hours simply isn’t worth it.

 
2. No alcohol ( well kind of ) don’t get me wrong I do like to have a good time, and let loose every once in a while and a glass of wine certainly helps ease my social anxiety when I feel it creeping in, but honestly the way I have been feeling the past year after drinking even just one glass of wine totally isn’t worth it for me. I almost immediately get a headache, and I sleep terribly on nights that I have even one glass of vino :/ if you read #1 you know why poor sleep is so terrible for my health, and don’t get me started on the tummy issues that I get as a result of drinking alcohol either. So my goal is rather than drinking 2-3 times per week it’s looking more like 1-2 time per month MAX! I mean come on I’m all about that healthy lifestyle but sometimes a momma’s just gotta have her mommy juice and loosen up!

 
3. Cultivating Community. This one is new for me. In middle school and high school we moved so much ( my dad was in the Coast guard) and I had such a terrible group of friends. This combination never allowed me to really develop and maintain that strong grounded connection with anyone. It felt like the minute I did we were either packing up boxes to move again, or I was being betrayed by another close friend of mine. For me at this stage and walk of life this isn’t an easy task. Or something people openly discuss. But so many of us walk this path. Loneliness. Everyone is already established in their own little groups and cliques and I’m all like ” hey guys, I’m over here… Wanna hang out?” No…but seriously. That’s what it feels like most days. I am working on this though. I have turned a new leaf though…Within the past couple of months I have joined an amazing and supportive yoga community who have made me feel like I belong for the first time in the longest time. Just me, as I am. No hoops, no tryouts, just open hearts! I’m looking forward to building a firm foundation on those already established connections to springboard me into deepening those relationships. And for me that looks like putting myself out there, which leads to #3.

 
3. Being vulnerable. In case you skipped past 1 and 2 this is a biggie for me. I don’t think I have ever once in my whole life been vulnerable. Up until now being vulnerable has just been too uncomfortable for me. It’s a door that was shut many many years ago, duct taped, nailed, and soldered shut never to be opened. My natural go to is to close up tight like an oyster shell the second real conversation happens. I’m more of a light and fluffy kind of girl. But what I am learning is that in order to live a life of connection, a life of joy, a life of compassion, caring, and wholeheartedness I HAVE to be vulnerable. I have to put myself out there and I have to let others in. As awkward and uncomfortable as it is it really is a good thing.

 
4. Acknowledging and letting go of/working through my shame. The past couple of weeks have brought an awareness to how much shame I am carrying around, and how long I’ve been carrying it. My childhood wasn’t the best (hoping to be vulnerable enough later in the year to share more details on that), I didn’t make the wisest decisions as a teenager when it came to school, I became a very young mom ( without a connected community), I married young, I never finished college (though I did manage to rack up a TON of college debt), I had a terrible basically non existent relationship with my mother (thankfully it has gotten much better the past few years), I tend to be a very jealous person, I have a tendency ( in my eyes) to be selfish, and I’m sure there’s more but for now that feels like enough self mutilation! I promise I’m not a masochist 🙂

 
5. Living a life of authenticity in order to live life of happiness. Pure, passionate, heartfelt happiness. And I want my children to know this as well. I want them to know this possibility. Whatever path you are on, you can change it. My bible scripture for this year is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 I feel like a house whose roof just BLEW OFF and all you can see is bright blue, sun shining sky above. That’s where I am headed. My cracks are beaming with light!  Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we truly are. People are allowed to change. I’m allowed to change.  I’m learning this. I think because I have lived a life where the norm was stagnancy I felt like if I did try to live a more authentic life, everyone would think I was a fraud. A goody two shoes. An over achiever. Well guess what?! That NOT TRUE! And it’s okay if I have to tell myself that every single day ( I’m probably going to have to!)

 
5. I want to be of service. I have a servants heart. I love helping others.  I remember being a little girl and watching the commercials about starving children and just wanting to reach through the TV and hug each and every one of them. I currently volunteer at our Yoga studio as part of their Fair Trade Team. But I want to make a commitment to help others. When someone is sick. I want to drop of dinner. Fresh fruit. Chicken soup. Baked ziti. When someone is in need of a listening ear, I want to be it. When someone needs a hug I want to give it. This is important for my health in the new year because doing this makes me crazy happy!!! Like truly, down to my core, a little kid on Christmas happy. So I’ve decided I’m going to help others more! At some point in this life I would absolutely LOVE to be a part of a missions trip and work with children!

 
6. Holistic health FIRST– this year I am embracing all things holistic. The more natural the better. Chamomile tea, lavender lotion, daily meditation, yoga, Reiki. Lots and lots of water. Self care. Less social media. More real life. I’m learning technology is not connection- at least not for me. Most days it’s actually narcissistic. Chiropractic care. Reading and learning as much as I possibly can. Growing. Nourishing my mind, body, and soul. The Dalai Lama said “when we talk we are simply repeating what we already know. But if we listen we may learn something new.” How amazing are these words?! Another reason for my approach to holistic health is my hope in it healing my body. I have felt so exhausted and sick and have been dealing with residual effects, of my stroke, for 3 years and I’m sick of being consumed by frustration because my body won’t do what I want it to do. So I am taking charge of my health. I am the patient and I’m making sure my doctor has my health as her first priority. I am going through some testing to rule out anything serious, and to see if there are any underlying conditions that need to be medically treated. My prayer is that if I change my habits, eating, and wellness I can heal my own body from the inside out. I’m sure I’ll have more to post on this later.

 
7. Letting go of the guilt.  Mom guilt BE GONE! you aren’t welcome here anymore. This is your eviction notice. Bye bye! As mothers society places an incredible amount of pressure on us to do it all, have it all, share all, know all, want all, and if we can’t do this then they might as well revoke our mom card. I’m done with all of the soul crushing society has done. This past year has shown me that perfection is exhausting! Not only that but I can’t do it all. Obviously because when I did try to do it all I ended up having a stroke at the age of 27! Trust me when I say this-your health is not worth perfecting the latest Pinterest design for your 3 year old’s birthday party. It’s just not! In becoming more aware of my body and what it needs I am realizing how terrible and detrimental to my personal health stress is.  It really is a wicked thing.  When my older two were just babes we waited until they were 3 to send them to preschool and even then it was only a couple of days a week. We were fortunate to work opposite schedules so that one of us was always home with our boys. Then along came number 3. Preschool days increased for kid #2 and we added aftercare for our 3rd. Did I mentioned hubby and I both work full time? Well here we are with kid #3 who is in full time, five day preschool ( who is also the first kid dropped off and the last kid picked up) and our older two are in after care more days than not. And You know what? Sometimes as a parent you have to do what you have to do. End of story. No shame, no guilt. My kids absolutely love their schools and my older two beg to go to aftercare even on days when we don’t need it!

 
So that’s about it. For now. What is one of your top priorities/goals for 2016? Leave a comment below!