This is 32

Today is my birthday…thank you, I will have a happy birthday. Today I turn 32 years old. I am 32. I am 32 and I’m married and have an almost two year old. I’m 32 and have lived life. Or have I? I have no idea why but this birthday has made me question more than any other birthday whether or not I’m living the best life I could be. 29 came and went without worry. 30 was no big, I was pregnant with Eva and didn’t really do much. I was too tired to. 31 Eva was almost a year old and again I didn’t really do much because I was just too tired. This year I didn’t want to do much because I didn’t want to. But why? What’s the reason Kicky Housewife? What’s the reason?

When I sat down to write this post I was going to write about how I was going to make 32 my bitch. I was going to wake up every day and show myself and everyone that I woke up with reason and a plan. The truth is this past year I’ve felt really lost in myself. In retrospecting yourself you really look at the good and bad of yourself. Not strengths and weaknesses, because in my experience we’re never kind enough to ourselves to give it the label of strengths and weaknesses. They are the good and the bad.

My good:

1.) I’m a good mom: I love my little girl with the passion of a thousand suns. I have thrown myself into being Eva’s mom. She is an independent, loving, empathetic, sassy, hilarious toddler and I get credit for growing and nurturing that.

2.) I’m a good wife: I was insanely lucky the day I met Tim. I found my life mate, the love of my heart, and he quickly became my best friend. Even before we were married I was the best housewife I could be.

3.) I am creative: Being a mom sometimes you have to get creative. Whether it’s making crafts, playing with dough (Play or otherwise), making train towns, or teaching your child about their body. Thankfully doing these things comes easily to me and I’ve never been so grateful for that gift before.

4.) I’m open minded: You don’t go through 32 years and live in a new state, go through toddler play groups, and be a human without being open minded. People are who they are and it’s not my place to judge that life.

My bad:

1.) I’m Eva’s mom: Amy doesn’t live here anymore, Eva’s mom does. It’s great to throw yourself into your child’s life. At some point in Eva’s life though, I’ve kind of lost myself. I tell myself that it was a necessary evil because I literally don’t have time to be anything but. This is why moms have started so many blogs and vlogs and bogs and cogs. We get to be moms and talk about mom life but we also get to be ourselves and for a few minutes be who we were before becoming so and so’s mom.

2.) I blame myself: For everything. Tim gets annoyed with me sometimes because I apologize for things that are clearly not my fault. When I was in labor with Eva I kept apologizing for screaming or crying. At one point Tim said, “I don’t understand your goals for today.” Get the human out, don’t apologize should have been my only goal.

3.) I’m too emotional: I blame it on having Irish Italian heritage. I come from very passionate people. I’m loud, my family is loud, and we all cry. I hate it. For a while I had it on lock down and didn’t really cry at much, but the older I get the more I cry and get upset over nothing really. Aging, you crafty mistress.

4.) It was too easy: It was too easy to think of my bad list and expand on those qualities. I could have written 10 more bads easily. Coming up with four goods was difficult and took about twice as long and each point was twice as short as my bad.

This retrospect has made me wonder, what do I want from my life? Who do I want to be? I want to be a good mom. I want Eva and whomever else to look back at their childhood and say, “I had an amazing childhood. My mom was a total badass”. I want to be a good wife/daughter/sister/friend to all the people. My family, blood and chosen, are insanely important to me. As much as I try I feel like I am failing them constantly. I missed a text somewhere or haven’t checked in enough. In wanting to be all these things I need to figure what I want to be for myself.

I want:

1.) To be more kind to myself. Every time Eva does something awful that a two year old does it’s not because I’m a horrible mom who is raising a brat. I’m a mom raising a toddler and by god is that a different breed of raptor.

2.) I want to stop not wanting to do things because I think I’m too fat. Going through pregnancy, labor, raising a human, being pregnant and having a miscarriage all within two years has put my body through the Olympics of ouchies. Depression, lack of motivation, and not amazing self esteem has led to some unwanted pounds and shapes. Still, it’s my doing. Eva nor my family and friends should suffer those consequences of that feeling.

3.) I want to remember why I am important too. I am a mom and wife but I am also Amy frigging Gagnon. It’s not even if I don’t put myself as a priority then I can’t be the best mom and wife I can be. It’s if I don’t remember why I’m important then what am I doing? Who wants to become a faceless person who is just schlepping around their kids without knowing or having known who they are?

4.) I want to know that it’s enough. All of it. I want to know that me as a mother to Eva is enough. I want to know that BEING a mother and wife is enough. I want to know that if I wake up every day and show up for the people in my life that is enough. I want to know that wanting more and figuring out what that is, is enough. I want to be enough.

So yes, 32. I am 32. The first picture of me below is me taking the time and being made up to go out. Something I loved doing before having Eva and rarely have time or energy for anymore. The second picture of me below is me without make up. The way most people see me most of the time. Both pictures are me. Not at the good, not at the bad. They’re just me. They are a 32 year old me. It makes me feel awkward to say they’re beautiful because they’re pictures of me, but they are in a way. Not because I’m beautiful but because I’m a woman standing there in her bathroom being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a listener, a care giver, a lover, a fighter, and a dope kid is. I’m all those things and probably more. We all need to take a retrospective sometimes and remember who we were, who we are, and where we’re going because it’s all beautiful. It’s 32.

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What I learned from therapy…not mine though.

For 21 months I had the perfect child. True, Eva was a monster baby and gained an amazing amount of weight every week. I remember going into breast feeding support group and saying, “She gained 10 ounces this week” and mothers jaws dropping. At one point a mom asked, “Are you hungry all the time? I mean all the times you’re hungry, yes?” From the beginning she was an overachiever. She was a little late in rolling but I was assured that was normal for children with large…fat reserves. Once she started rolling over she never looked back. She went from crawling to walking within two weeks time. She went from walking to running in no time without looking back. Even now she jumps in the air with plenty of air between her and the ground.

During the first year and half all your child’s milestones are judged in physical milestones. Every single milestone Eva has met and been very successful at. Of course I was a first time mother who worried herself sick with every single one thinking she was late for everything. Looking back, she wasn’t late at all. She was right on time for Eva and I should have never doubted her. We started going to a gym class back in September. In her gym class were a lot of other little ones around Eva’s age. I started noticing more and more that these kids were saying a lot more words than Eva.

I tried to let my attitude of Eva taking her time to achieve things shine through. Every month though that light kept getting dimmer. I have an amazing group of mom friends here in Exeter. These women and kiddos that I call the Baby Gang. They were posting videos or telling me stories about the funny things their babes were saying. I realized that I didn’t really have those stories. I had funny, “Eva did this with her food the other day” stories but no, “Eva said the funniest thing yesterday” stories. At first I was just trying to give her the time and patience to let talk to me when she wanted to. As more and more time passed that patience became worry. That worry became denial. That denial became blinders to the whole situation. My husband started saying more and more, “Babe, I really think we need to get some professional help here.” I wanted to throw up every time he brought it up.

Now, Eva is not non-verbal. By any means. She has some words that she can say and she can babble with the best tongues speakers. Which is great but not where she should be. At the beginning of February I finally broke down and admitted that she needed to be evaluated. Whatever it was that I was doing wasn’t working on getting her through this Hoover dam of speech. I called the numbers and by the grace of the gods got an evaluation a week later (thank you to whomever cancelled their evaluation. We are forever grateful!). I filled out a packet larger than my mortgage application and in we went. Me and two lovely evaluators sat on the floor with Eva and played with her. I was asked question after question. I felt pretty good about everything because they were impressed by Eva’s physical skills and her direction taking.

After 45 minutes I finally heard the words I was fearing, “She does qualify for speech therapy”. I almost broke down. I was told by two professionals that my daughter needed help in growing into a person. Literally my one job. I wasn’t misreading their questions and comments though. Eva’s output verbal was at 11-13 months but her receptive verbal was 21-27 months. She could understand at a level higher than her age but couldn’t speak to us for her age. The most bitter sweet evaluation I’ve ever gone through. Her evaluators reassured me that they were very optimistic about therapy for Eva. She literally had all the other building blocks for her 21 months, she was only missing this top block. At the end I was putting Eva’s jacket on and I said, “Eva, can you help me?” and she put her arm through the sleeve and said, “I did it!” Needless to say, I was reassured again that they thought therapy would be effective.

Look, it’s all great. Eva was struggling with a part of her development and we decided to be proactive about it. I talked it through with Tim over and over again. I talked to my parents. I talked to my sister. I talked to my sister from another mister. I talked to the baby gang. I had to keep saying “She’s going to do speech therapy” over and over because I had to adjust and accept that idea. I feel like an enormous failure as a mother. Especially because I stay home with her. I’m the one who should be teaching her these things for life. I keep going over the last 22 months in my head. I let her watch too much TV. I let her eat too much junk food. She has too many toys. She doesn’t have enough educational toys. I didn’t read her the New York Times enough as a baby. I didn’t talk to her enough through her life. I wasn’t enough. I’m not enough for her.

Accepting that your child isn’t perfect in the sense of she will never need outside help is a hard pill to swallow. It needs a choking hazard warning. I’ve tried my best. I’ve re-framed IMG_20180217_201748482_LLit in my mindset of, if she was struggling in math at school we would get her a tutor. She’s getting a tutor for speech. That’s all. Tim and I have readjusted the way we try to help her with words. Apparently we raised an extremely independent kid who was probably frustrated with us trying to force her to talk and wanted to do it her way. So again, my fault. I let her roll away from me, that’s where this all started. I’ve even made a speech therapy binder for her to keep all the paperwork paperwork paperwork. I’m trying hard here, guys.

We had our first therapy appointment this past Wednesday. It was fine. It was to see where Eva was and get her used to her speech therapist. Eva was mostly excited to play with new toys. Here’s what I learned from therapy, again. I need to let go. I need to let Eva get there in her time. I need to stop doubting her and myself. She will talk. She will communicate. I need to be gentle with myself and realize I’ve given the her all the other building blocks and some extras. I need to trust Tim when he says that Eva’s perfect the way she is and so are we. I need to just be. I once again am learning I can’t control everything and that’s okay. I tell Eva all the time that things don’t go the way we want, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s called life.

Sunday November 26th

Sunday November 26th was the beginning of the nightmare for us. That morning I went to the gym and came home and started breakfast and cleaning up to put Christmas decorations up. I went to the bathroom and saw the worse thing possible. Blood. I was eight weeks pregnant and two days. My heart dropped to my stomach, I became light headed, and my mind started running as fast as it could. Short of breathe I told Tim that I was going to Walgreen’s to get another pregnancy test to see what it said. It still said positive. I called the on call OBGYN and told them what was happening. The blood lightened and stopped for the day. I was told to take it easy. No exercise. No lots of physical exertion. No stressing. I found the last one to be impossible.

I had taken a pregnancy test about four weeks earlier. I was excited at the idea of expanding our family, giving Eva a brother or sister, and bringing another kick ass baby human into this world. We wanted this since we had gotten married. We wanted multiple kids. We wanted. Excitedly we told family and gushed over the possibility of another set of feet to pitter patter through our lives and hearts. The truth was I knew it wasn’t right. I told my parents and broke down crying because I was so worried that something was going to happen. I told Tim almost every other day that something didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel pregnant enough. It took until Sunday November 26th for my body to catch up with what my mind and soul already knew.

Monday the bleeding got worse and I started having some light cramping. I was told by many people including the OBGYN that bleeding was common and mothers go on to have very healthy pregnancies and labors. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of these mothers. I knew my body was going through the M word. The Voldemort of the pregnancy world. The word that must not be named. I was going through a miscarriage. I spent the day going from trying to pep talk myself through it to crying a lot while holding Eva because I couldn’t give her the sibling I promised. We were scheduled to have an ultrasound on Tuesday and between Monday morning and Tuesday morning it felt about six years in time.

Tuesday November 28th our nightmare came to life and it wasn’t this thought bubble looming over us anymore. They couldn’t find a heart beat. They couldn’t find a cell sac. They couldn’t find…anything. Needless to say the next hour of our lives was pretty awful. I spoke with my doctor who reminded me that this wasn’t my fault even though I went through every movement and food I ate over the last eight weeks. I had started going to the gym again. Maybe I worked out too hard. I ate lunch meat. Maybe I didn’t heat it long enough before eating it. I helped with yard work. Maybe I helped too much. I had to find the reason that I was having a miscarriage and I had to find how it was my fault.

The next few days were quick and also painfully slow. I was going through waves, tidal waves, tsunamis of emotions. I knew logically that my body knew there was something not right with the baby and that’s why this was happening. I would be perfectly fine and the next minute would be in tears devastated. I was a mother going through the M word. I was mourning the loss and trying to figure out how to function. I then got the call that I was technically still pregnant. My body was not shedding the pregnancy the way it should. On Friday December 1st our nightmare became never ending.

I went to the doctor’s and was given medical options to shed the pregnancy. I decided on a D&C and was told I could have it within the hour. We went down to the surgery center of the hospital. Tim dropped Eva off with a friend and we had to mourn the loss again. Before the surgery I started passing large blood clots and was told that it was good I was going into surgery because I was going to end up in the hospital that night anyway from loosing too much blood too quickly. Someone somewhere in the universe was watching over me and my family and we were in the hospital at that time for a reason.

Sunday November 26th was possibly one of the worse days of my life, if not the worse. The next couple of weeks were just me trying to figure out how to function again. I didn’t want to leave my bed or the couch during the day. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want…anything. The most I could do was be a mother to Eva but I wasn’t her mom 100%. I was a shell of a mom that did the bare minimum. We were lucky that my parents came and helped with Eva for a couple of days. I got amazing support from friends and family. The more people we told the more we heard, “That happened to us too.” We couldn’t comprehend how common this was and how often it happened.

This was truly the word that was not to be named. There is heart break and then there is loosing a baby or child. I didn’t think my heart could suffer that much heart ache. At some points I thought I would die from the heart ache. There is heart break. There is sadness. There is loss. Through it though there is help around you. There is love around you. There is support around you. There is life around you. We all go through the grieving process differently. For some keeping it bottled in is how they deal with it. For others talking about it helps them. For me talking always helps, but I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like because I was talking about the M word I was giving into it. I was admitting that I was sad and couldn’t function at full speed. Mothers went through this all the time, why was I so different? Why couldn’t I win over it.

I joined a support group on Facebook and learned that I wasn’t doing any of that. I was being a mother going through a miscarriage and a D&C. It was okay to be sad. It was okay to be angry. It was okay to be whatever it is I was because that’s what I needed to be. The M word of pregnancy carries so much weight because it’s clouded in so much secrecy. No one failed for having a miscarriage. No one did anything wrong. No one was being punished for something they did in their youth or childhood. No one deserves to know this heart ache.

There are still some points during the day that I am sad. I try to focus on the amazing aspects of my life. I am part of an amazing group of women whom I call the baby gang and their babies have turned into my babies. My best friend and I were two weeks a part in our pregnancies, in the end I still get a kick ass baby human. My parents came down without thought to do whatever they could to make the load a little lighter. I have a wonderful, hilarious, smart as a whip, sassy, heart bigger than her body, little girl who dropped whatever she was doing to hug me when I was sad. I have a husband who held me while I sobbed and never once made me feel like this was my fault and who just wanted to take the pain for me.

I learned that the human spirit is incredibly resilient. You keep going through it all because you have to. There are times you want to give up and throw it all in. And if you do for however long, that’s okay too. Sunday November 26th the word that shall not be named came crashing into our lives and took from us something that we already loved more than ourselves. Sunday November 26th our strength was tested, our marriage was tested, and our family was tested. Sunday November 26th was the start of a nightmare come alive. Sunday November 26th I became heart broken. Sunday November 26th I found out how strong of a person, wife, and mother I was.

Broken

As a parent you aren’t prepared for a lot of things. The realization that when they tell you that you are in fact pregnant that it is for the rest of your life. The idea that this small adorable blob is relying on your for literally everything and doesn’t understand nor care that there are other ways to obtain food, clothing, and shelter. The physical and mental stamina one has to attain in order to keep up with said blob. Plus a million other small nuances that you never even thought of until they happened.

Tonight wasn’t the first night I felt this one but it was the first time I was able to put some sort of label on it. Tonight I was broken. This is what an exhausted mother looks like. IMG_20171110_225714 This is what a totally and complete melt down looks like. This is what feeling like a failure looks like. This is what utter defeat looks like. This is what broken looks like. A raw unedited unfiltered broken parent.

For about two weeks our daughter has become a Tron baby and refuses actual sleep. Today she napped for about 20 minutes. We put her into her crib around 10:15 pm and at 11:00 pm Tim went up to gather the screaming banshee because she cried and screamed in her crib for a full 45 minutes. Without stops, without time outs for exhaustion, without anything. Tim played a video game to distract himself from the screams coming from upstairs. I cleaned up the living room and playroom to distract myself. After 45 minutes neither of us could take it anymore and Tim went to get her and I went into the bathroom and was just…broken.

I am so lucky and have an amazing support system. I have my family, my friends of 10 plus years, a group of moms that I’ve met here in Exeter, and my husband. They are always supportive and all of them are first to yell, “You are an amazing mom! You’re amazing parents” when myself or Tim doesn’t feel that way. Let me tell you something, when you feel like you are doing poorly at being a mom it does not matter what people are telling you. You get sucked into a black spiral with barbecue sauce of shame. I felt like everything I do is wrong. I don’t wear her out enough during the day. I don’t do enough of a bedtime routine. I don’t do enough. I am not enough. Eva deserves more.

I decided to write this post because you could have a 100 mom friends, have an incredibly supportive husband, and a best friend a text away but still feel like you are alone in everything. I was alone in that bathroom. I was alone in my feelings. I was alone in my failure. At the end of the day, am I a failure of a mother because my daughter won’t go to sleep? Of course not. I rationally know that but when you are exhausted and have been watching your child all day there is no rationality, there are no calming words, there is only the spiral and the barbecue sauce. That’s it. I wrote this post because I want other moms to see, you are not alone. You are not broken alone.

Thankfully Eva had exhausted herself crying for 45 minutes straight that she went to sleep shortly after we brought her downstairs. Unfortunately when she exhausted herself she also exhausted us. For about two weeks straight Eva hasn’t gone to bed before 11:45 pm some days with naps some days without a nap. She sleeps pretty late into the morning but personally, I need my break at the end of the day. I prefer a moment after war to assess my current situation rather than mentally prepare for the day’s battles. Tim and I weren’t getting breaks. He was working all day then helping with Eva while I watched Eva all day and through the night. It was taking a toll on our mental well being and each other. We get snippy with each other and begrudgingly tell the other that they can go to bed because they watched her the night before until 1:45 am.

There are a lot of cool moments of being a parent, but sometimes you feel like that’s all you get. Moments. Then the not so great moments feel like they turn into a epoch. The last two weeks our house is and was the ice age and there was no sunshine. Today was a better day. We woke up and started our day. Eva and I went and got bagels and coffee while daddy got some well deserved sleep. We carried on. This all may seem mellow dramatic because who hasn’t had a bad day, night, or week? Somehow it feels different. Being a parent of a child makes those dark moments different. You aren’t concerned about yourself anymore, the entire future of your child is in that moment. Sadly those moments just leave you feeling broken.

 

I’m a white housewife

This past Sunday myself and millions of people tuned in to see their favorite players jog out onto the field and play some football. On that Sunday most people found themselves picking their jaws back up off the floor after a very loud thud. Either teams did not go out onto the field for the national anthem or took a knee or locked arms with their teammates. After this happened there were scorch marks on social media sites from quick moving fingers. People outraged by what they had just witnessed. People applauding what they had just witnessed. People who wanted to point out that there were other things to focus on.

It would be so easy for me to say, “Not my prob, Bob.” I am a white housewife. I live in a higher middle class. I live in New Hampshire, a very white occupied state. I own my house. I am married to a man. I have a beautiful blonde haired blue eyed little girl. We are the poster people for the American dream. I’m one step away from taking NyQuil shots of being Ms. Doris Day. I could ignore what I saw and go on with my life. After seeing all the articles, opinion articles, editorials, news casts, social media rants, pointing of fingers I realized something. I’m a mom now.

Eva is only 16 almost 17 months old. She doesn’t speak yet and honest to god has no idea what happened Sunday afternoon. Just like she doesn’t know what happened in Charlottesville, VA last month. Part of me is glad that she is still in that blissful innocence age. Her biggest concern right now is how to move that empty laundry basket into the play room when it is clearly bigger than her. The idea that one day I’m going to have to sit down with her and explain racism in our country, boggles my mind.  It’s going to be up to me and Tim to explain what is going on around her. Explain to her what the other kids were talking about. At some point that innocence is going to be taken away and there is no amount of Gorilla Glue or duct tape I can use to cling onto it.

We as parents need to have a dialogue because here’s the cold hard truth. We the parents, the adults, are the ones who raise these children. We are the ones that give them the first views and morals of the world. We are their appetizers into a confusing utterly infuriating and frustrating buffet line of life. We have to talk to them about racism so they know how to avoid it. We need to talk to them about what ninja racism is because I’m sure you’ll hear many people say that it isn’t as bad as when our parents were young because at least groups of black people aren’t being beat in the street every day. Which, sure, that’s not happening every day. It still exists though. The black community still fights to go to Walgreen’s and not be followed because of their skin color. They still fight to not have horrific names scribbled across their garage doors and cars. They still fight to drive down the highway without a heart palpitation because they realized they were two miles over the speed limit.

Sunday was not an isolated incident. It wasn’t petulant children walking out of a test at school because they think the teacher is mean. It wasn’t a violent act that ended in arrests, tears, and the perpetual fear that we as a country are still fighting a civil war that supposedly ended 152 years ago. People are screaming that it was the definition of disrespect because there are men and women who fought for that national anthem and that flag that waves. A flag that represents freedom, passion, fight, blood, sweat, and tears. An anthem that still makes grown men weep and brings a sense of pride to the most non patriotic person.

Our country is phenomenal at selective memory. As much as our ancestors fought for that flag and as much as our friends and family still fight for that flag, we have to remember that the black community fought for it just as hard. “Well, Amy, wouldn’t that make it so important that they stand and respect the flag?” No it isn’t. People are arguing that kneeling is a slap in the face of military personnel and their family and friends. We don’t know what they go through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fought to protect that flag. We are forgetting that in the same respect most of us in this country don’t know what it is the be black. We don’t know what the black community goes through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fight every day. I can say with full confidence that I as a white housewife with a Prius will NEVER know what it means to walk into Walgreen’s and be followed because my skin is darker than theirs.

Colin Kirkpatrick wasn’t a spoiled NFL player who was stomping his foot and sassy walking away from his parents yelling at him. He was a black man who was tired. Tired of his family and friends being called thugs. Having every stereotype thrown his direction because his Afro was bigger. Tired of turning on the TV and seeing another race motivated story splashed across headlines with a angle this way or that depending on how conservative that news organization is. I have to be honest. I get it. People think he doesn’t understand what it meant to get that flag to wave but I have to ask, do you understand what it means to keep it waving? This country is a place of freedom. It’s a place where our crown jewel monument says, “Give me your weak, your poor, your hungry”. A woman with a torch to welcome any and all those who need that help. We fought to make that monument an testament of truth not flourish of language and I think it’s a disgrace we’ve let that ideology die.

We need to have conversations about race because it’s still relevant in this country no matter what overlaying issue you have. If you live here as an American citizen you have every right to stand or kneel and say, “I have a problem with the way I am being treated.” I desperately want to look at Eva and explain how things used to be here but how they’ve improved drastically. I want her to go into the world looking at every person for who they are, race and all. Now look, I’m not a political analyst. I am not a politically correct person. I’m not a part of the military and I’m not black. I’m a white housewife that has to raise her children to be better members of this society than what we are seeing right now. They have to be the change because there has to be a change. It’s starts with them, WE need to give them the push.

 

I see you

Having a toddler running your house and life can be exhausting. Honestly, put me and my toddler in a room with someone you’re trying to get information from, start Moana for 15 minutes and then shut it off. That person will talk real fast. As parents we try our best to do what’s best for our babies. We feed them, we clothe them (most times), we bathe them (most times), we cuddle them (all the times), we do a lot. Then that baby becomes *dun dun dun duh duuuunnnn* a toddler *shudder*. This gila monster that runs around with octopus arms and grabs everything in sight. They have negative self preservation and zero social etiquette so everything is up for grabs. We tell them, “No, don’t touch that” a thousand times before breakfast and, “I don’t know what you want….those aren’t words.” a thousand times before nap time. It is exhausting. To this though, I say to my amazing toddler, I see you.

20638134_10104291379288359_232226290667852263_nI see that you are bright and curious and have been plopped down into this incredible world with completely innocent eyes. You want to touch everything because you want to know what it does and how it works. You want to taste everything because hey, it could be food. You want to see everything because maybe it’s something you’ve never seen before in your entire life. You want to reach your little arms out so far that the whole world comes rushing into them because you can’t wait to get everywhere yourself. You’ve been given these amazing sensing gifts and you want to use them.

I see that you are trying. You are desperately trying to tell me what you want. You watch mine and dada’s mouths because you are studying how the words we make are made. You are trying to become more vocal when something isn’t right or when something is. You sequel with delight because that nice dude in the deli gave you a piece of cheese only to have me covering your mouth and saying, “We don’t scream in a store”. You are trying to figure out how fast your legs can take you and how far your voice can reach. You are trying to become this little person and you need help getting there.

I see that you are in fact a little person. Adults try to box in children and what their milestones are or what is wrong with them or when they are suppose to do things because I’m sorry my love, but you can’t tell me these things yourself. As much as I think you came into this world manufactured for my desires, you are in fact a little human. You have bad days, you wake up on the wrong side of the crib, you get hangry with the best of them, you get sad, you get excited for the little things, you love, and sometimes you just want to hang out. I see that you are trying to be that human I want you to be sometimes, but I need to let you be you.

I see your frustration. Once you weren’t a newborn anymore your decisions weren’t your21463062_10104392785639219_7513888671990358890_n own. We started putting you on a schedule. A schedule that we created. You don’t get to decide when you get picked up and put into a constricting car seat. You don’t get to decide when or what you’re going to eat. You don’t get to decide what activities we are going to do that day. You go with the flow and I know that gets frustrating. You want to run with the wind and dance in the rain, some days we will do that but today we have to go to the grocery store. I see your frustration and I promise you, someday soon you will get more say in these schedules.

I. See. You. Dada and I made you out of the best human emotion. Love. We wanted you so badly that it seemed like nothing else mattered. You were given to us and you were and are our greatest achievement so far. You are loved unconditionally and to see you become Eva has been our most spectacular journey. You are hilarious. You are sassy. You are caring. You take it in. You are inquisitive. You are fearless. You are independent. You are stubborn. You are not a morning person. You are so loving already. You are Eva.

Being a parent is the best and some days the worst decision I ever made. Raising a toddler isn’t a game it is truly a blood sport. It’s so amazing and parenting is one of the only things on this planet where you can have such contradictory ideas in one paragraph and it totally makes sense. While we focus on what it is to be parents and while our objective most days is to make it to the end of the day, we need to see our children too. We need to see them for what they are and more importantly we need to see them for who they are.

I’m a messy mom, and I have to be okay with that.

When I became pregnant I wrote a blog post about what I did and did not want to do as a mom. I had 12 points that I was worried about in becoming a new mom. Number four was bullet pointed “Letting them think that I think having a clean house is more important than they are.” Well, let’s just say that this bullet point has been proven true over and over and over…and over again since Eva was born. At first our house was a disaster area and I chalked it up to the fact that we had a newborn baby running the show. Everything else fell by the wayside down a ditch and in a river downhill from a toxic plant. It was bad.

Then a great thing happened. I was able to clean one room and then the other and another. It was as if Hygieia came off Mount Olympus and touched me during the night. It made me feel so much better. I had a touch of PPD after having my beautiful little Raptor. A big part of my anxiety was my mess of a house. I felt as though I was being a lazy mom and a wife that didn’t care about her house anymore. I knew so many moms that had babies the same age as my little one or younger. What was my issue? Why couldn’t I get it together? I already felt as though I was drowning in a sea of burp clothes and the feeling that I was personally never going to be enough for Eva, Tim, or myself.

Then months went by and things started piling up and out again. The kitchen dishes were monstrous. The laundry seemed to touch the ceiling. The dust bunnies were planning a coup under the couch. The anxiety started creeping back in. I dreaded waking up because I knew the second I opened my eyes I was just staring messes in the face and they weren’t messes that my child made, they were my messes. It was getting to be too much. I did what I should have done weeks beforehand. I talked to my husband. I explained to Tim that it was all beginning to be too much. I felt like whatever I was doing was never enough. I’m lucky that my husband actually listened to me and told me that he would take over kitchen duties after dinner so we didn’t have to wake up to dirty dishes in the morning. This helped a lot.

In what seemed like the inevitable our house is still a mess even today. Tim was doing great in the kitchen and I was able to stay on top of toys through the house and vacuuming the big chunks every night. Then summer started and we got super busy. Then Eva decided that sleeping when it was even a little light out was for the birds, she is a reverse vampire. Eva and I started doing more activities during the day. It never seemed like I had enough energy at the end of the day. I would look at all the toys around the living room at night and think, “Why bother? She’s going to take all of them out again in 10 hours.” At least we had proof that our child at least touches every single toy at least once a day even if it’s to toss it out of the way of another toy.IMG_20170803_225045 I think it was about last week that I finally thought, “I’m a messy mom and I need to be okay with that.”

I tell Eva constantly that life isn’t here to service us all the time and she needs to be okay with that. I’m sure there are moms or dads out there who would argue that housework is part of taking care of your child. That a clean house was needed to have a constructive child. Sure we all have messes every day but cleaning them at the end of the day it was important to have a house in order. I remember going to a friend’s house after she had a baby six months after me. Her house looked like my house after I spent three days cleaning because we had family coming over for dinner. I didn’t understand what gene I was missing that my friend clearly got.

Of course there are also parents who will argue for me and say that raising children is insanely hard and if you can make it to an end of the day who cares? Which I do totally agree with because I didn’t understand what it meant to just make it to the end of the day until I had a toddler. With a newborn time isn’t known so days meld together. A toddler at least has some sort of schedule so days do come to an end. If a clean house is your biggest concern of the day then you’ve had a pretty good day.

I’d love to end this blog post saying that I’ve embraced that idea that I’m a messy mom and that’s okay. When I’m falling asleep on the couch at 8 pm and ache from running after a 15 month old all day I can fully embrace this philosophy. Then the morning comes and I feel a little more refreshed and the daylight shows far more than the night time. I see Eva walking across the toy coal walk in the living room to get to her books. I have to move dirty dishes to be able to make breakfast in the kitchen. I kick shoes out of the way to get us out the door. Then the philosophy becomes a little harder. All I know is I’m trying my best. I’m trying to be a good and entertaining mom to Eva. I’m trying to be a supportive partner to my husband. I’m a messy mom but I hope to one day be a “There’s only big chunks around” mom.