Monday, February 20, 2012


 I'm huge. 
 I'm nearing 36 weeks and I find myself slowing down. I just polished off my ultra power TUMS and I'm ready to break into a fresh new batch tonight. This pregnancy is really flying by. I'm not sure I'm ready for this little guy to come out! I'll find myself at the library or children's museum with my three little ones and suddenly realize that soon I'll have another one. Sometimes it's hard to breathe in those moments.

I knew once I decided to conduct my own "Power of Moms" workshop that I'd be tested. Especially since my topic is "Taking Care of the Person Inside the Mom." I haven't felt very "taken care of" lately. You should see my toenails (no, you shouldn't).

The past few weeks have been particularly difficult and I've decided to place some of the blame on my exhausted and confused hormones. There have been days where I can't handle our regular routine. It's too much. One morning I woke up and walked into my kitchen where my sink was (of course) full of dishes. I had planned on getting them done quickly while the girls ate their breakfast so that I wouldn't have a meltdown during lunch time. I stood there for about two full minutes, staring at those dishes and telling myself to just do it. But instead, I pulled over a kiddie stool, sat down, and cried.

The next week, I was feeling much better. Then at church, of all places, my husband and I had a miscommunication about something small and it totally threw me off. I decided to pack up the girls and drive them to my mom's, thinking a little "getaway" was all I needed. Well, four hours in the car with three children under the age of five, by myself, was enough to make me rethink my strategy. At my mom's, I felt guilty because I had brought several activities to do with the girls for Valentine's Day and I didn't have the energy to do any of it! I was grumpy and tired. I stayed one night and then made the long four-hour drive back home, exhausted.

The next few days, I tried to catch up on the house and tidy things up. One night, while my husband was at a meeting, I decided that I just didn't have it in me to pick up the front room. In fact, I felt ANGER towards all the puzzle pieces and playing cards that were strewn across my floor. I started "scooting" everything into the corner of the room. That felt pretty good, so I began to throw the rest of the toys and coloring books and crayons into that corner until the entire room was clean. I even swept around the pile and vacuumed out my couches and cleaned the rug. My husband came home, looked around and started to say, "Wow, honey this place looks gr--" and then he saw my pile.

He decided to document this moment so we could laugh about it later...

And here I am, sitting contentedly on my clean couch. 

That following week, it was my turn to teach our little group in Joy School. I was doing fine until about twenty minutes before they all arrived. Once again, I sat down in the kitchen and cried. Then the kids came and everything was fine. We decorated cupcakes and I ate like four of them. Luckily for me, the kids were gems that day and I survived.

But I don't want to just SURVIVE. 

I DO recognize that my husband and I have chosen a tough road for the next few years by packing our children so close together. And of course I have all those thoughts about "What if we'd done this differently...?" and "WHAT were we thinking....?" But when I really consider those other options, I know we made the right choice for our family. So why am I having such a difficult time here? Why am I finding myself on that kiddie stool in tears more often than I'd like to admit?

There's more than one answer to that question, I believe. I just want to touch upon one answer that has become more clear to me in the past few weeks:

(Let me clarify: I have great friends. I need to rely on them more during these hard times.)
We all do.
I need to be around other moms and hear their experiences and see that I'm not alone. Motherhood can be isolating. I start to believe that I'm the only one who gets so overwhelmed that I can't even force myself to smile or cook a meal or listen to what my toddler is repeating over and over. And then I yell at them which makes everything worse. I sneak into their rooms after they've gone to bed and look at their tiny hands and feel so guilty I can barely see straight.

That's when I need to talk to a friend. The day after my last meltdown (just before Joy School), a friend and neighbor of mine brought me an entire cake. Not just cookies on a plate, but a HUGE cake. I love cake. But more than that, I loved being visited by someone who could relate with me. This woman had not only spent the time to bake and decorate this treat for me, but she actually packed up her kids and delivered it to me in person. And despite the fact that my one year old was constipated and crying miserably, we had a nice conversation.  (Did you know that karo syrup helps with constipation? See, I didn't know that). Her visit made all the difference for me.

 This is the cake. Don't ask why my kids have mustaches.

Don't we all have hard days? (weeks? months?)
I'm so so grateful for the women in my life who have lifted my spirits tremendously, sometimes unknowingly.

The next day I decorated the leftover cupcakes from Joy School and delivered a few of them to a neighbor who is a stay-at-home mother struggling with teenagers. We talked for an hour. I took a few more to another mother who recently lost everything in a house fire. 

We need each other.
Kindness is contagious. (So is happiness.)
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  1. Nelle I <3 you girl! Yes you need some mom friends.

  2. I need some mom friends! Wish I could come to UT and see you :-) You couldn't have said it better, and seeing your pile makes me feel better about mine.

  3. This totally made me laugh and cry.. Haha! You are too cute! I would LOVE to get together with you! I will message you my number.

  4. My dear Ruth! I wish we could make it happen what we daydreamed about in college that someday we'd live on the same street so we can go into each other's homes like we used to go into each other's dorm rooms across and down the hall! I have a friend here now who I do that with (my first "neighbor" girlfriend I've ever had) and, like you said, it makes all the difference. I find myself wishing it were you who lived a couple houses down too (not instead, but in addition to). THAT WOULD BE SO FUN! We could take off on GNO's (that's Girls' Nights Out, if you need a translation; a MUST for mothers!) in the middle of the busy work week. Go see a chick flick (that friend and I saw "The Vow" last week--loved it!). Or go pig out on bake shop cupcakes. Or go shopping for clothes without having to chase the kids who have crawled out from under the fitting room stall while you're half dressed. Or we could go drive really fast (okay, speed limit fast--we're needed the next day) on some country roads and let our hair fly in the wind while the music is blaring and we sing our lungs out. When we're done with our fun, you and I will park in one of our driveways until midnight talking in the car about anything under the sun (laughing, crying, commiserating, encouraging, sharing) until we realize that just because we're pretending we're back in college, we have a beautiful family inside sleeping (in their oh-so-magical-way of getting us to almost forget how far they pushed our limits that day as we fall back in love with their sweet, sleeping faces); they won't wake up any later the next morning just because we're out late, so back inside it is for each of us to our respective homes a stone's throw away on the same street. Yep, it will happen someday. You just wait!

    Love you and loved this post. You write what the rest of us are feeling. And you are a fantastic mom who I look up to so much.

  5. Don't fret over the who vs. whom, Ms. Editor. Let it go. :) Ha!

  6. Boy, I needed this...I always need to hear this. I feel completely the same way, life with little ones does feel isolating sometimes!! Mommy guilt on top of that really kicks it up a notch. There's been times when I've even prayed for a good friend, they really are so important. Thank you for sharing this, your family is so lucky to have you!!