Let Go 

I’ve been doing this mothering thing for 4 1/2 years. You’d think I would some sort of clue as to what to expect. NEW FLASH: I don’t. I remember when I was a little girl and all I wanted was to grow up, get married and have babies. I didn’t dream of making it as an actress or singer, I didn’t want to be a teacher or a scientist. I wanted to be a mom and it didn’t occur to me that I might want more to my life. I know, that’s a recipe for disaster.


I believe there’s a lot of fulfillment in being a mother and it’s changed me in a way that I never expected. The love I feel for my family is so intense that it hurts sometimes. I know that I have the love of an incredible man and 4 beautiful children because God chose me to give them to. There’s noting I could have done to deserve this life. And yet I haven’t given it my full attention. I fall short in more ways then one when it comes to my wife and mom role. I have so much more to give and I don’t know how.


Pierre traveled this past weekend to our old stomping grounds (do people still say that?) in Maryland for a friend’s wedding. We lived there just before we moved to Michigan, I found out I was pregnant with Eva the week before we moved away. I cannot tell you how much I wish I was there. For the wedding, of course, but I also wanted to see my old friends and travel familiar streets. I wanted to connect with people I haven’t spoken to (in person) in years and feel like the Jamily from so long ago. Everything changed when we left. We became parents and somewhere in between the long nights and diaper changes, my priorities changed and I changed.


Little by little, I stopped taking care of myself and began taking care of my family. The change was so slow and gradual that I didn’t see it happening.  Then the real curve balls started to fly. Pregnancies, job changes, moves, babies and more babies. I’ve been so busy being a mom and wife that I forgot what it’s like being me. You know, there’s still times I stop before I answer when someone asks me my age. Sometimes I almost say 23, that’s the first number that comes to my mind. For a while I didn’t know why but I had a revelation. That’s the age I was when I left Maryland. The age I was before becoming a mom. Five years of hanging on to the past.


I’m not proud of this but, on occasion, I find myself looking back to the times before I had kids and wishing I was back there. A time when I knew what I was doing, a time when there wasn’t so much depending on me, a time when I didn’t have these little people to let down (over and over), a time when I knew who I was. The crazy thing about it is that even if I could go back to those times nothing would be the same. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago and I can’t go back. I’ve lived, I’ve changed, I’ve hurt. It doesn’t mean that those times weren’t special because they were. They shaped me and I met people I look up to and admire to this day. People who showed me kindness and friendship and leant an ear.


I can’t offer my husband and kids my best present if I hang on to my past. I can’t continue to wish I was somewhere else when I’m needed here and now. This is scary for me to write, to be so open and honest and vulnerable. But I wholeheartedly believe that I’m not the only one. Are you hanging on to something that won’t let you move forward? It can come in so many different forms, for me it’s motherhood but for you it could be a relationship or a career. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. When we let go we let the memories fade into our minds, we stop longing for a different time and we can enjoy where we are now. Be proud of the person you’ve become and if you’re not then change it. God’s love and mercy is new every day (Lamentation 3:22-23). We can start with a clean slate, make new memories and chose to live in the present and let go. 

Advertisements

Our Last Baby

My littlest baby turned one last week. ONE.

I know this is just another milestone in the sea of changes that come along with being a mother. But, wow, I didn’t expect to feel like this. The sadness I’m feeling has been hard to ignore. When we found out we were pregnant with Esme we immediately knew that this would be our last child. We took matters into our own hands and took that painful, yet necessary step that ensured us we wouldn’t have any more children*. In that moment I knew it was right. We both knew. We had a very feisty almost three year old and twin 9 month olds that were making me pull my hair out (little did I know it would only get crazier with those two). How was I going to manage another little baby?

We lived in Michigan at the time and had zero family nearby and our few friends were busy with their own babies. Asking for help has never been my strong suit. I was already doing everything in my power to keep the four of us alive and happy with Pierre’s work travels. I was terrified.

Apparently not a fan of candles..

But now? I have an ache in my heart knowing that time is passing and Esme will only be this little for a short while longer. I’ve been so busy living in the “keeping us alive and happy” moments that I’ve missed some of the “enjoy this last ______” moments. The thought of not having a baby to carry or rock or nurse anymore is harder than I thought it would be. And I knew this feeling would come, I just didn’t expect it’s intensity. A new phase in my life where I can move on from pregnancy and nursing, that I found tedious and some days, I’m ashamed to say, a little inconvenient.

A lot has already changed since Esme was born, and in the 9 months previous. The major changes included moving from Michigan to Florida so we could be close to family and job changes for Pierre which meant more travel for him. I left the dear friends I made in Michigan, I had to swallow my pride and ask for help (I’m still learning how to do this) from my family. I had to overcome my insecurities and accept that my family was proud of me as a mother and my choice to raise my children differently than any of the women in my family had was a strength, not a weakness they looked down on. The twins had to grow up just a little bit faster, Eva too. I’ve dealt with guilt from knowing I haven’t given a particular child enough attention. I’ve had to make hard decisions.

Not a fan of cake. WHO IS THIS CHILD? 

So here we are, on the other side. The side where we move forward and can’t go back no matter how badly we want to. We look to the future with zero cribs and no more diapers. We look to walking and no longer crawling. We look forward to a time when I don’t have to cut food into little pieces. A time when no one needs me to wash their hair or lace their shoes. A time when I won’t hear “mommy” or “mama”, only “mom”. I challenge myself to look on to the future with a joyous heart. Because just like this unexpected heartache, I don’t know what the future holds, I can only prepare my heart and hold strong to God’s promise.

um. we may have put her in a build-a-bear outfit. SHE’S TINY

 

*Look, I know everyone has their own views when it comes to having children and how many and how. I respect that everyone makes this decision with their own beliefs at heart and I do not judge you for your decisions. You know what’s right for YOUR family and I know what’s right for MY family. So, no hate mail, K?

Double Standards & The Terrible Twos

The only thing worse than raising a toddler during the “terrible twos” stage is raising two toddlers during the “terrible twos” stage. And I actually thought I got a pass with Eva because it didn’t actually hit with her until she was 3, a stage I called “threenager”, it was just awful. Let me tell you what my little darling twins are up in this stage of life.

As I type this after 8P, I’m watching the twins on the video monitor run around their room pulling sheets and pillows off of their beds. They like to remove the pillow cases and fill them with their blankets and lovies (Pierre has a stuffed bear he sleeps with and Olivia a baby doll). Sometimes they stuff their blankets under their mattress, which of course, involves them MOVING the mattress and lifting it. I honestly don’t know how they haven’t been seriously injured by now. Thank God they’ve never hurt themselves too badly. They move the beds around, they jump from one bed to the other, they crawl under the bed, they physically try to climb the walls.

untitled-72

On the day the photo above was taken they had removed one of the mattresses (seen in the photo upside down and turned 90 degrees), they ripped the plastic liner on the other mattress and the Star Wars pillow on the left of the photo had been torn open and the fuzz was everywhere. You couldn’t see it in the photo because it was taken with the video monitor and the infrared didn’t catch it. Oh man, was I fuming. Mostly what runs through my head in these moments is “WHY?” What possesses them to do these things? What makes them think it’s a good idea? It’s so frustrating.

You guys, this is just two days worth of “bad” stuff they do when I’m not in the room. When I am around they talk back, they say “NO“, they scream at me when they don’t get their way, they do not listen when I call for them or ask them to complete a simple task like put a toy away because it’s bedtime or put your trash in the garbage can. They throw tantrums over not getting the cup they wanted at dinner time or if a sibling looks at them funny. This is basic stuff, people. Yet they have to resist my every call and request. Here’s where my theory comes in.

untitled-131

I have a different perspective when I’m dealing with Esme. She’s about to turn one in a few weeks and is really starting to show her personality. If she throws a tantrum because a sibling took a toy it’s cute because she can finally stand up for herself. If she squeals back at me after I give her a firm NO it’s adorable. If she wants to put her dinner on her head it’s hilarious, better get the camera ready. When she hits me or one of her sisters it’s okay because she’s still learning and we take it as an opportunity to teach her how to be gentle. Are you guys catching on to the double standard? Now, I know that developmentally an almost one year old and a two and a half year old are miles apart. But here’s what I take from it. For a while we think everything they do is adorable and we enjoy watching them grow into their own little person who has individual likes and dislikes. But when they start to really branch out and test their limits we bring down the hammer. They go from having what seems like the whole world to explore to having rules to follow.

untitled-125

It’s kind of understandable that they act out and want to show a little resistance and individuality. And don’t get me wrong. I am not telling you to let your toddler do whatever they want or to let them walk all over you. NO. You stand firm and show your child that you are in control. But in a gentle manner that says, “Hey, it’s okay. We’re trying to navigate this stage of life together”. A new stage in their life means a new stage in ours as parents, too.  Because it isn’t just about us as parents. It’s not just our lives that are being interrupted, it’s their life too. Just because it’s a small life doesn’t mean it’s insignificant.

So I want to challenge anyone who needs to take a deep breath and start over with their little darling in the “terrible twos” or “threenager” stage. Try and look at the situation from their point of view. Have an open dialogue with your child when you feel you’re losing your patience. Mutual respect goes a long way even with a small child. Look, I’m not perfect and I lose my patience too many times a day to count. But I recognize that there’s a double standard in my own home and there is something I can do about that. I believe God can reveal things that we need to work on and maybe this is His way of showing me where I fall short. And that’s okay because recognizing that there’s something I need to work on will draw me closer to God as I ask Him to lead the way. At the end of the day I want my kids to see His light and joy through me.

Childlike Forgivness

I have been putting off typing this post for months. I think because it’s a lesson I have to relearn every single day. I’ve procrastinated long enough and tried to get this topic off of my mind but it’s eating away at me. WRITE ME, it yells. I have a slight pit in my stomach as I think of what I want to get out and say but I know that God is prompting me to say it because someone is going to read this and (hopefully if I don’t mess it up!) understand God’s love and forgiveness through it.

(Conveniently my mother-in-law just came home with the twins from a trip to the grocery store. I get to put this off for another couple of hours…) ((Aaaand back. Most of the kids are napping so I guess I’ll write this out now. ))

My kids forgive me wholeheartedly multiple times a day. I fail them over and over again and they keep on forgiving me and show me how to love. It’s amazing. I get frustrated and yell, I lose patience and wave them away, I’m in a hurry and rush them, I want to finally be alone so I push up their bed time, I feel lonely and I blame them. Does anything this sound familiar to other moms out there? Sometimes I feel like I’m so far from being the mom I want to be. I try and remember that we don’t have to be perfect people and cut myself some slack but it’s really the hurt in my kids’ eyes that make me want to be the version of perfect they need and want me to be.

When I mess up my kids are right there ready to forgive with their gentle little hearts and sweet smiles. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s exactly how God wants us to forgive those that hurt us. As adults we (I?) become hard-hearted and cynical. We’ve lived, we’ve felt pain, we’ve had troubles. But that shouldn’t hold us back from feeling the freedom that comes from forgiveness.

Holding on to anger will only hurt you and feed a cycle of self-pity, rage and blame. What a different thing it would be to raise kids if they didn’t forgive so graciously! I know I talk about my hardships when it comes to raising 4 littles a lot, but they bring me so much joy and happiness. Would that still be the case if they couldn’t forgive me for my mess-ups? I believe that God places His spirit of forgiveness on our children to be examples. 

They wake up happy to see me, a fresh start. They understand the true meaning behind forgive and forget. They don’t bring up the past, they are excited for the possibilities this new day holds. I wish I could forgive the way they do. Sometimes I think I’ve forgiven people for past hurts but then I realize I’m still holding on to that one argument. Feelings of “I know I’m right” or “If he/she could just own up and apologize”. It’s in those moments that I know I haven’t forgiven.

I’m not saying that we can treat our kids without respect and it won’t matter because they’ll forgive us anyway, but we need to seek their forgiveness. When my kids act out and hurt one of their siblings, or are disrespectful to me or another adult, I make sure they apologize, hugs and kisses included! Being a positive example to my kids is so important to me. I realize that they want to be like me and repeat things I say or do. When I know I’ve messed up I ask them to forgive me just as I ask of them to do when they mess up. They start to understand that they have to take responsibility for their actions or hurtful words.

But more importantly than all of this is that if we forgive then God will also forgive us. The heavy burdens we carry will be lifted! Knowing that someone has wronged you but you see them as the wonderful people God made anyway? Accepting that God loves them? That takes a humble heart, something I’m striving for every day. I’m thankful that God placed these kids in my life, He chose me to be their mother because He knew I’d need their example to draw me closer to Him.

 

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

What It’s Like Having Twins

I cannot tell you how many times in the last two and a half years I’ve heard this question, “What’s it like having twins?” In that time I’ve also come to know that twins are like unicorns to some people. They’re fascinating, rare and, if you tilt your head and close one eye, completely beautiful. When we found out we were having twins I had so many questions running through my mind at the same time, how could I care for two babies and a toddler? What would my pregnancy be like? What if they’re too born early? What if they overpower me one day? Will I ever sleep again? But one of the things I never thought about was how people would react to my twins. It seems so unimportant to think about what other people would say when I had legitimate concerns. So I thought I’d type this out for those who haven’t asked but still want to know.

untitled-3

Having twins is completely crazy. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s insanity. Who in their right mind would WANT to have two babies at the exact same time? And yes, even you, mother who has babies close in age so you think it’s funny to say it’s almost like having twins. It’s nothing like having twins, I’m sorry. This category includes my mom, she had my brother and I 15 months apart, but again, not at the same time. Carrying two babies for me was terrible. I’m 5 foot tall and have next to nothing in the torso department. My back was killing me by 20 weeks and my skin felt like it was on fire every day of my last trimester from the stretching.

untitled-232

My delivery was a complete nightmare. I had to be induced because my little angels didn’t want to be born on their own. I was in labor for 28 hours, I pushed out baby a (Olivia) and baby b (Pierre) decided to turn breech. I had 3 doctors try to pull him out by his feet, worst pain I’ve ever experienced, but were unsuccessful before his heart rate dropped and I had an emergency c-section. Then, 4 days after coming home I had to be readmitted for 3 days due to an infection from the traumatic delivery. I hadn’t seen my first baby in what felt like forever, I was trying to nurse two newborns and recovering from a vaginal and c-section delivery. It was a mess.

untitled-246

Thankfully, my body is resilient and healthy and healed over time (we even had a fourth baby!). I was up all night with babies, trying to make sure my firstborn didn’t feel left out and figuring out how to get the twins on a schedule. Eventually, with much trial and error, we got into a smooth routine.

untitled-102

I think the hardest time for me with twins is now. They are two and a half and every single day brings a new trial. It’s so hard. I literally cannot predict anything with them. With Eva I could predict pretty much every reaction to any situation. They are constantly challenging me and I swear they’re THISCLOSE to figuring out that it’s two against one. Their listening skills lack LISTENING and they think they can do whatever they want because they have an equal backing them up. They have their own language and probably mock me, they think because their twin tells them to do it then it’s okay. They talk back, they hit, they bite, they tell on each other, they wake each other up, they put each other in time-out.

untitled-62Sounds terrible right? It can be overwhelming, but then you see the loving moments. They hug each other, they kiss each other’s ouchies. They look out for each other, they make sure the other has a snack and a drink, they bring their twin a favorite toy when they’re upset. They have a constant companion and someone they know is always there for them. They have a bond that unless you’ve been watching grow over time you just don’t get it. It’s unbreakable and steady. I could not be more lucky to be their mom. And it isn’t even luck! It’s grace. God chose me to witness their love and bond firsthand. I absolutely don’t deserve that but He saw me fit to. What a blessing! I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t always approach it with such a positive attitude but I’m working on that. I’m not perfect and my kids certainly know that. They forgive me on a daily basis. God’s grace and mercy are alive and well.

untitled-12

I’m weary, I’m scared, I fail them daily and yet they forgive me and God shows me His great love through them. I’m honored to be their mother. And that’s what I tell people now when they really want to know what it’s like to have twins. It’s beyond hard and scary but I’m the luckiest mom in the world because I get to watch something so beautiful up close and personal. I could cry just thinking about it. It’s a wonderful reminder to take hold of the chaos in my life and create something beautiful with it. People experience miracles every day. My twins are my miracle.

untitled-12-2

School

I always thought I’d homeschool my kids. When I thought of sending my kids to school I’d get caught up in my own feelings about why they shouldn’t go to public school and thinking about the countless tragedies that have struck schools in the past. My fear and panic would send me straight into the “I’m homeschooling” conversation. People thought I was crazy. “YOU are going to homeschool all your kids?” Well, I failed. 


Yesterday I sent my oldest to school outside of my home and as happy as I am that she loves it, part of me is devastated because I feel like a failure. No matter how hard I tried to establish a proper school routine for her I just couldn’t get it right. So I was stuck between making the choice to send her to school or try and homeschool unprepared and taking the risk of her being ill-prepared in the future. Obviously sending her to school outside the home was the best option. 


I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the first day and even after dropping her off I questioned if it was the right thing. My husband held my hand and said, “I can’t imagine being with someone every single day for 4 years and then suddenly sending them off for a few hours every day.” He’s right. It feels like something is missing. I’m lonely and find myself looking at the clock every few minutes just waiting to jump in the car to pick her up. The twins asked for her about 10 times yesterday! So maybe the real reason I wanted to homeschool was because I want her close, I’m weak and can’t stand being apart from my kids. Being at home with my kids is all I know as a mom, the risk I took when I because a stay-at-home-mom. 

I know it will take adjusting and this is only pre-k! I still have time to homeschool when the twins are older if we want to! But here’s the thing I fear: she’s not going to want to homeschool with me. Maybe I’m not good enough to teach her. Maybe she’ll prefer to learn with someone else. It seems silly but they’re real fears. I shouldn’t feel bad about sending her to school. She absolutely loves it so far and I know she will thrive during this school year. So it’s really my own heart I have to work on. 

I want to share in her joy and excitement! This is a huge step! The guilt won’t make her feel happy about learning, it’ll only burden her which is the opposite of what I want for my daughter. Seeking God in this moment is crucial. I ask Him to fill me with his joy because ultimately that’s what I want her to see. Here’s to a wonderful school year where I can pull even closer to God’s light. 

Distractions 

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a post! I blame it on distractions. It’s easy to get wrapped up in life, that’s no secret. 

First, Pierre was home all week a few weeks ago and didn’t travel, just worked from home and that was beyond wonderful. With his schedule that keeps him away Monday through Friday, having him home for a whole week is such a treat. For the kids and me! We get to have meals together and not having to text or FaceTime constantly is nice, too! The kids love having their daddy around. 

After that my mom came to visit with my niece and we had a great time. We went to the Hands On Museam and the mall.

Then, we got some news that involves a lot of upcoming changes for our family but the next 6-8 months. NO I’M NOT PREGNANT. But as time gets closer I’ll start sharing bits and pieces. 

I’m all about change, I think I’ve evolved into someone who can roll with the punches. Exhibit A: twins. So I’m sure we’ll be just fine but the initial anticipation of change has caused me more anxiety than I expected. I’ve been trying to sort that out. Needless to say, the distractions have been at an all-time high.

The kids have been making their own fun and enjoying the summer. Eva starts school in a little over 3 weeks! I don’t know if I’m ready but time doesn’t stop so I’m going to have to be ready come August 15th! Pretty soon we’ll go back to school shopping and I’ll get all the feels. I have her uniform (!) ordered and one last visit to my mom’s planned before the school years starts. We’re all very excited! 

I hope you have a wonderful week! It’s Monday! It’ll be what you make it.