Today’s post is brought to you by pure frustration. I have given up so much of myself as a person since becoming a mom. I have given up sleep, exercise, privacy, and hot coffee to name a few. My little one will be 2-years-old in May and I don’t care if this sounds harsh, but I dislike this age very much.

My child is glued to me <literally> and what I mean by glued is: I wake up and she is attached to me from when I drink my coffee on the couch to when I try to eat my breakfast to when I use the restroom. She is at my side. She even insists on sitting on my lap when she eats – every time. I love her unconditionally but I cannot get a break, and I’m tired.

I have tried to be tough about it and not give into her demands. I have tried you guys, really tried. But I’m butt fucking tired! My husband always catches up on his sleep on the weekends since he works two jobs and guess what? Mama never gets to sleep in or have downtime unless I’m at work. And the one thing I refuse to give into is letting her sleep in our bed. I learned with my oldest if you have a young child in your bed – you never rest. And I cannot not rest and not have any bit of alone time during the day. Guess I choose my battles.

If I have to choose between sleep and eating, I guess sleep wins because I never get enough of it. I am writing this while she at the moment is sitting on my lap playing with her sister’s tablet. This is my downtime. She is not crying or demanding something, so I guess I’ll take it when I can get it.

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Often times I am in a hurry. A hurry to get the kids ready, a hurry to get out of the house in the morning and into work, a hurry to get home from work. A hurry to get back home anytime I leave the house. It seems my life is nothing but a rush.

The other day I was sitting with my toddler in her room, in the dark, with Coldplay music playing on my phone. As this is our normal bedtime routine, I stopped being in my head so much to really enjoy her and the moment of holding her. Her smell, her softness. So often I forget to be in the present and I just do – not really feeling the moments, rather just going through them. I’m in my head a lot. What to clean, what load of laundry I need to wash, will I be able to watch TV tonight? Random thoughts. Thoughts that rob me of my present. Thoughts always of the future.

My children are growing fast. Too fast. They say, “The days are long but the years short.” True, I agree that saying is very true but what they don’t say is when you are in it, when you are really in it, you want the time to pass. When your infant isn’t sleeping, you want her to be old enough to sleep through the night because you are tired, deadly tired. And it seems day and night run into one giant cloud. It evaporates quickly and you realize your child is 6 months.

At 6 months and beyond, you and your baby may be sleeping better but your baby is also learning new skills, like how to crawl. You child proof your house and tell yourself it’s a short-term thing, this too shall pass. You try to enjoy the days, and you do but they seem to fade. And before you know it, your baby is now walking. And from walking to running and getting into things they shouldn’t. You like how they have independence now but they also have no common sense. Children ages 1 to 2 usually walk around with shiners on their face for this very reason.

But not only do they hurt themselves because they are still klutzy and lack the mental ability to understand everything, they are also cranky as hell. Usually because they can’t vocalize their wants, and this can be an extremely hard time depending on your child’s temperament.

But then they turn 3, and you start to see more and more of their capabilities, their personality. You see them losing the baby fat more and more each day and while you like who they are becoming, you miss the baby you once held in your arms. They might be potty trained now but still have accidents here and there. Bed wetting, peeing their pants, having meltdowns at the grocery store, all the usual stuff that comes with being 3. They are eager to do, yet still, lack the knowledge in understanding that a cookie is a treat and not a meal. They get under your skin – you wish they were older and could understand why they can’t play outside in their underwear.

Age 5 comes around and you are finally able to breathe and you notice the maturity that is forming. You take a step back at the person your child is becoming and you are a bit in awe. You remember the sleepless nights, the colic, the tantrums, you’ve been through it all and now, now not so much. It makes you hold still and realize that time has passed and is passing too soon.

Just 5 years ago you nurtured that sweet baby with the sound of your voice, the warmth of your body. Just 5 years ago you cried because you were at a loss to get her to sleep. Just 5 years ago you learned that motherhood was more than just changing dirty diapers and singing lullabies. Just 5 years ago you were a new mom and now, now you feel like a pro. Just 5 years ago…

5 years from now your child will be that much older. Life with littles is patchy. It’s up and down, left and right. And it doesn’t stop. Time doesn’t stop. So snuggle and kiss ‘em more. Because years from now, this will all be just a memory.

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I never quite knew it, but I have waited for Five.

Five is wondrous. Five is kind.

Five is funny, silly, and laughing most of the time.

Five takes my breath away at moments I least expect.

Five plays by herself now and fusses even less.

Five says “I love you” at the most random of times.

Five is adventurous and eager to learn. Few obstacles get in her way now as her confidence climbs.

Five kisses her sister, even when she isn’t kissed back.

Five helps mom, and does so without request.

Five gives me a break now as she is more aware.

Five likes to color, always in the lines, with unique combinations inspired by Monster High.

Five is independent.

Five corrects me when I am wrong, which happens more than I care to admit.

Five is observant, with a keen eye.

Five has more patience than four, three, or two.

I know she will grow and spread her wings… but for now, I am going to savor her.

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There is a question that lingers in my mind from time to time. A question I pray has a positive answer. At times, this question weighs on me. Especially on the days I feel like I’m literally losing my shit. Days when I ask myself, “What did I eat today?” Because I honestly cannot remember and yet somehow don’t feel hungry. Days when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back. Those are the hard days. They are the days I often question myself, “Am I a good mother?”

Like most moms I know, I try my hardest to be a good role model for my kids. At times, I lose my cool and snap quicker; usually, it’s because my kids have taken what’s left of my energy reserves, or I’ve sat in an hour + commute, only to be met with tears when I make my way into the house. I can be inconsistent when it comes to discipline, and that’s usually based on how tired I am. This is bad, I know. I’ve read the books, I’ve listened to the pediatrician give me advice. None of that makes it easy, though. My kids have more energy in their little bodies than they know what to do with, which means they sometimes drive me up a wall. They get bored – often. My oldest will ask me to play Barbies with her and I cringe inside. Not because I don’t enjoy spending time with my daughter – I do! I absolutely do. But, Barbies are no fun at my age. I know how it all ends (sorry kid, but I do). And my daughter always makes me play Ken. I hate playing Ken.

If I don’t want to play dolls with my 5-year-old because I have a gazillion loads of laundry to do and dirty toilets to clean, does this make me a bad mom? I hope not.

There are so many mothers I know. And many mothers I follow on social media that are crafty, creative, and do cool shit with their kids. I feel like I fall in the middle of the spectrum with all that. I know it’s not right to compare myself with people I don’t know – but come on, I think we can all admit we do it. Does comparing myself to other moms make me a bad mom? I hope not.

I suppose others would name me a “helicopter” mom. I am aware this can have a negative impact on my children. I am aware my fears can become their fears. This is something I am working on. I never set out to be an overprotective mother, it’s not something I planned. My children carry my heart with them wherever they go. They are my world, and I try my damnedest to keep them out of harm’s way. Does this make me a bad mother? I hope not.

I watch other mothers with their kids and enjoy seeing the interactions. I like learning things from other mothers that I might’ve missed on my own. I get a little giddy when I am at Target and someone else’s child throws a tantrum, and thank God this time it wasn’t mine. It reminds me that my kids can be good in public, too. And I see how the mother handles the situation. Then Karma haunts me when we’re at a restaurant the same day and my children are acting like monkeys in a zoo, and the child across the way sits and eats – like human beings do at a restaurant. And I think to myself, “What do those parents do to get their child to be so good in a restaurant?” Because we never have much luck going out to eat. My kids don’t sit still for too long in restaurants, does this make me a bad mother? I hope not.

Mothers (and fathers) carry a heavy load. It’s damn near impossible to be a perfect parent. It’s OK to lose your shit every once in a while. As long as you get it back. Right? Hope so.

It’s OK to question yourself and not know the answer right away. Right? Hope fucking so.

It’s OK to get embarrassed when your kid is acting like an a**hole and you have to figure out a way (quickly) to keep it together. Right? Absolutely.

We are all just human beings raising tiny (crazy) human beings and trying are best at it. If you have to ask yourself, “Am I a good mother?” I bet you are.

If you show up and give it your all – you’re way better than you give yourself credit. Right? That’s what I tell myself anyway.

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“Nobody can have it all.” That is a line the character Fritz Curtis says in the movie, Baby Boom from 1987 starring the very talented, Diane Keaton. This comment in the movie is made by her boss, a man, just after he demotes her. You see, the character Diane Keaton plays, J.C. Wiatt, is a New York business woman. Her world of fancy business meetings and million dollar deals does a complete 180 when motherhood is laid upon her. I don’t want to give away the details of the movie, and if you’ve never seen it, by all means, search your On Demand or through Netflix now, because this is a must-see movie. It is your classic 80s flick, with the very sleazy James Spader, and instrumental background music in just the right places. It will pull at your heartstrings, but in a good way.

I find that will all our advances in modern technology, and the fact we are such a liberal country, the premise of this movie – from 1987  – is still very much relevant today. This movie will hit home with you. Especially if you’re a woman. Baby Boom is just what it is. A boom effect you feel after becoming a parent. Shit changes. Your life as you know it, will never, never, never be the same. Your heart will beat a little different. Your immune system will tackle random viruses. Your sleep will be lost. Your emotions will be exposed in every direction. There is no going back. And it’s not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.

It’s actually a beautiful thing. A beautiful experience to love someone so unconditionally. And you will witness this when you watch this movie. You make sacrifices when you become a parent. Many sacrifices. Some people cannot or are not willing to make certain sacrifices. A challenge most women face is to decide to stay in the workforce, leave it to raise their family, or find employment that offers work-life balance. You would think since this movie was made (almost thirty years ago) and with the technology we have today – there would be more work from home jobs, but the cruel fact is, there just isn’t.

I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. My employer has allowed me to work part-time for several years now. I know the society norm is for both parents to work full-time, and with the cost of living, it’s damn near impossible to have only one parent work. And that societal norm is unfair. It’s unfair to the mothers, but it’s really unfair to the child. Because the majority of women that work send their children to daycare – to someone who is not family. To someone who is a stranger to the child and parents. And usually from infancy.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many, many qualified daycare centers and providers. From a mother’s perspective, it’s just that much harder sending your child to someone you barely know and hope for the best. And that is what we moms (okay, parents) do in this country because most of us don’t have a choice.

Being a parent means accepting you cannot have it all. Unless you’re among the rich in the country of course, but if you’re like most, you are just making it – with two incomes. Accepting you cannot have it all as a woman is very important. Once you accept this, the standard you hold gets lowered.

Accepting this fact may help you breathe a bit better. You probably work 8:00ish to 5:00 p.m., deal with a commute, and rush home to get dinner on the table. Someone has to drop off and pick the kids up each day. Someone has to prep dinner. Someone has to get the kids ready for bed. Everyone needs to bathe. Both parents need to wake before the kids in the a.m. to get ready. It’s all a rush. And the itsy bitsy time you get with your child during the week might add up to 1.5 – 2.5 hours per night, depending on their bedtime. And this is our societal norm. This is what the majority of parents with young children do EVERY SINGLE DAY.

With such a rushed schedule, you can guarantee the laundry will not get touched until the weekend. The house will be in disarray during the week. Your children may feel or be neglected a bit, and it’s not for bad intentions on your part, it’s that the energy and time simply isn’t there. And if you’re trying to tone up your post-prego body, guess what? There will be no such thing as “me time” for yourself. So, accept it. Accept what Fritz from Baby Boom said. “You cannot have it all, no one can.”

Sacrifices. Sacrifices will be made. The question is… is to whom or what? And the only one that can decide that is you!

In this movie, the baby’s name is Elizabeth. She is a sweet, “agreeable” child. There truly is cinematic magic in this film – the cast is perfect. The connection between J.C. and Elizabeth feels entirely genuine. Diane Keaton wasn’t even a mother when this movie was filmed. You’d never know it. She nails the emotions we as mothers face; how you feel when leaving your child with a new sitter; how you feel when trying to juggle the work-life balance; and panic attacks. They’re real! I had my first one not too long ago.

I have a strong point to make in all of this. Please believe me when I say, when you become a mother, your world and how you view it changes. The career you worked so hard for, might just take a backseat when your baby arrives. And your employer might not care that your baby was sick all night and you didn’t get much sleep. They need you to produce. And it’s not their fault. The job has to get done. And we are all replaceable. Another point this movie illustrates.

“Nobody should have to make those sacrifices,” says J.C. near the end of the movie. She is right and yet she is wrong. Because as mothers, unfortunately, we are forced to make decisions and sacrifices. The corporate world is a rat race. Always has been, probably always will be. It’s up to you to decide at what pace you go, or if you go at all. Or maybe, just maybe, you have enough talent and luck to create your own pace governed solely by you.

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