Thursday, January 19, 2017

Am I Still Brave?

I stood in my bathroom throwing makeup on and my hair in a ponytail so I could rush out of the house in time for a meeting downtown. My two littles, ever at my feet, were a little less energetic thanks to a stomach bug that hit our house hard. I was in a hurry. Flustered. Exhausted from being thrown-up on more times than I can count when my daughter spoke in an uncharacteristically timid voice:

“Mom,” she said.

“Yes, Nora.” I answered.

“Remember when we went to the museum?”

“Of course! With Aunt Betsy and Lauren?”

“Yeah, and I went down that big slide?”

“Yeah, I was so proud! You were so brave to go down by yourself!”

There was a pause as my sweet two and half year old finally got out what was on her mind;

“But, mom, I cried a little. Am I still brave?”

In that moment, I was no longer tired, hurried or distracted. I slowly bent down so I could look into my girl’s eyes and I said;

“Nora James, every time I have ever been brave in my whole life, I have cried a little! That just means you’re being REALLY brave!”

And, she ran out of my bathroom clearly relieved. I could hear her run to the living room to exclaim to her dad that she went down the big slide by herself, she cried a little, but she’s still brave!

Man, this girl is doing it right!

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
I feel this kind of raw bravery that is so often only possessed by innocent toddlers is needed today, tomorrow, and in the coming weeks, months and years. We’re going to need to get loud. To stand up for whatever it is we all believe. To make our voices heard. Shed a few tears. And be brave.

Let’s all have the courage to go down whatever big slide is in our future.

Cheers to 2017!

Friday, January 13, 2017

What I've Learned

I recently wrapped up a blogging opportunity with St. Luke's Birth Care Center. As we said goodbye to that blog which brought a diverse group of mom voices together, I decided to share what I’ve learned as a mom so far.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
Of that diverse group of moms, I represented a voice of a working mom. I work full-time outside of my home and am a mom to two kiddos who are seventeen months apart.  I’ve been a mom for a whole two and a half years so it’s safe to say I don’t have it all figured out. Even so, here’s what I know to be true…

We’re More Alike than Different.
Sure, you can fit me into a box based on my quick intro above. But, truth be told, I’m not very different than a stay-at-home mom with five littles. We all suffer many of the same battles and laugh at the crazy things our toddlers say. What binds us together is the desire to make the best decisions for our families.

It’s Hard.
This parenting thing, it’s really hard! I literally have no idea what I’m doing. I make things up every. single. day. I’m simultaneously exhausted from never having enough time and bored by the monotony of it all. I pray I’m picking the right battles, setting boundaries and loving them enough to see them grow into emotionally stable, happy and successful adults.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
 Stay on Each Others Sides.
My husband was insistent that my daughter couldn’t draw with a pen tonight. It’s a fairly reasonable rule. The pen isn’t washable. She’s two. Accidents happen. But, if I’m honest, I would have let her color with the pen. Will Nora ever know this? Of course not. Above all else, I choose my husband’s side. We are partners and that means we stay on each others side even we disagree. The conversation about why we disagree can happen later. After the kids are snoozing. But, in front of them, I want them to know what it looks like to be a party of a supportive partnership.

I Could Have Used Six Months.
I don’t have the answer for this one, but I know we can do better with parental leave. I was lucky. I took around twelve weeks off after the birth of each of my children. But, truth be told, I could have used six months. And, six months is an arbitrary age that feels right to me. I have so much to say on this subject but I will sum it up by saying this; I could have been better for everyone. With a little more time at home following the birth of my children I could have been better for my children, husband, employer and self!

We Need Others.
We need each other. We need the mom who has been there and done that. We need the mom who is completely different than us, and the one who is quite similar. It truly takes a village. Whether we find our village though online communities such as this one or offline activities, we need to lean on each other. We need to put away our judgement and righteousness and be there for one another. Because, we’re all doing important jobs and we can’t do them alone!
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