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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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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intuitionMothers are pretty amazing creatures. Not only do we give life, care for our young, and multi task like a son of a bitch, we are also blessed with a magical dose of intuition. That’s right. It’s not Hocus Pocus that shit actually exists. And I have learned over the years, the more I acknowledge this unique gift, the more prevalent it appears. And luckily, for mamas, it doesn’t end there. As a mom, we can also sniff out bullshit like a bloodhound. After we become mothers, we are like human bullshit detectors. Whether it’s in someone’s body language or their verbal cues. We’re hip to it. Probably because dissecting others’ actions is something we do on a daily basis with our kids.

How many times have you asked your kid, “Did you do that?” Only to be faced with a look of clear guilt, but oh, how they try to hide it. Their little minds don’t quite match their facial expressions though, do they? If I am in one room and my kids are in the other and I hear the 1-year-old start to cry, I race in there to say, “What happened, why is she crying?” The look on my 4-year-old’s face is priceless. It’s usually a half-smile with a half scared look. Pretty damn obvious, sweet child of mine. But she doesn’t see her face. I don’t think kids this young want to be devious (I hope not), I’m guessing it’s part of their developing minds. And to see how far they can push our buttons before mom and dad crack in half.

I know my kids pretty damn well and can tell if they are up to no good, are upset about something, or if my oldest has to pee and has held it for too long. My 4-year-old has some strong will in her. Ever since she has been potty trained she continuously holds her bladder. I can remember days when she would only pee like two or three times per day, and I would have heavy concern. I mean I must pee at least two times in an hour, is three times per day even human?! Then I remind myself she is 4. And so is her bladder.

And speaking of my 4-year-old, she isn’t one to lie. I honestly cannot remember a time when she didn’t eventually admit a wrong. And yes, it might take a few minutes for her to tell the truth, but she always does. Go ahead, give me a pat on the back. Just kidding. I think the reason she is so honest is because she has realized that mom and dad WILL find out in the end. I guess this illustrates some level of maturity, really. She will be 5 soon. I do hope she stays this way. And even if she doesn’t, I am not too worried. You see, as a mom, I can sniff out the bullshit. I have an innate knowing when something is off kilt. And I’m not just talking about when I am dealing with my little ones. I can sniff out the BS when I am around adults, too. And I am willing to bet mama, you have this magic, too.

A good example of magical motherly intuition is when your child is sick. Sometimes, fevers can be scary when they spike then go down, only to spike again without any other symptoms. My little one had been super clingy for days, didn’t want to eat much, and was just getting over a cold. After a week of getting rid of her cold, she still had a fever. I thought it was odd, as her body should’ve already fought the bug off at that point. But, there in red it showed 102°. I knew inside (my gut) something was telling me she wasn’t OK. After taking her to our Pediatrician, and running some tests – it was later confirmed she had a Urinary Tract Infection. The cold symptoms had masked other common UTI symptoms, but nevertheless, I knew something wasn’t right. Mother’s intuition never fails. The more you acknowledge it, the more prevalent it appears.

Psychics say we all have within us built-in intuition. Like when we get a creepy vibe from someone at the store, or if were driving and we tell ourselves to take a different route home, only to learn of a bad accident that we could’ve been part of, it’s all within us. And it’s there to keep us out of harm’s way. But, when we have children, this gut response does get stronger. Call it a bond with your child, a keen knowing, whatever you want to refer to it as. It’s there.

Whether our children are dealing with an emotional or physical stressor – we just know. We sometimes have to press a bit to get the response our body and minds are telling us, and that’s OK. I will always continue to study my kids’ body language. If we analyze them enough, we actually become masters at picking up on theirs and others’ cues and bullshit. Because we are all human and have the same tendencies.

And we all know the saying, “Don’t mess with mama.” Because a mama always knows.

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photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

As a kid, it was very common for me to hear other family members complain about their bodies. I can remember shopping with my mom and hearing, “I look so fat,” many times. I also can remember my grandmother eating pie and donuts often, and saying, “Well I’m fat anyway,” if someone commented that she ate too many sweets.

I was always an average sized kid. I never watched what I ate or even thought twice about what I put into my mouth until I was about 15-years-old. My sister joined a gym in high school and started monitoring everything she ate. Then my close friends started eating everything with a “fat-free” label. Even when I babysat, the mom only had Diet Coke in her fridge. It seemed everyone was conscious about their body and what they ate or drank. They say behavior is contagious, and I guess it’s true. Because I too became aware of everything I ate.

Like my sister, I also joined a gym. We’d work out together after school and when we graduated high school, would meet at the gym after work. Always with one goal in mind: to burn fat; to fit into our jeans; to feel good about ourselves. I worked out every day of my life for years. I’d work out when I was sick, too tired, and didn’t have much time. It was probably a bit addictive… Actually, I still work out, but for an entirely different reason.

My body craves movement. I am not one to sit still for too long, and good thing, because my kids never let me anyway. But, after being pregnant twice, I have learned something about myself I never paid attention to before. If pregnancy taught me anything, it’s how to listen to your body. There are days I am tired to do anything other than laundry, and on those days I simply go for a walk or do no exercise at all. There are days when I have the urge to run a half marathon… and on those days I do some cardio or weights. There are days I don’t have time to exercise. And so I don’t. The difference now is, I truly enjoy exercising. And I enjoy it even more when my 4-year-old wants to participate. Like really participate. Sometimes she gets in the way. Sometimes she just watches. And sometimes she joins in (but always quits before it ends). And I know this is a good example for her.

If I ever hear her complain about her body, like when she can’t poop, or when she gets a boo-boo, I always remind her, “You only get one body, treat it kindly.” I wish someone would’ve told me that as a kid. I only remember hearing others complain about their bodies. But our bodies do the most important work for us. They carry our souls. They allow us to feel, to express ourselves. They give us mobility. How lucky we are if our body is healthy.

I will constantly remind my girls as they grow, to always respect their bodies. I think some people push themselves to the limit in terms of exercise, not eating enough or the right foods, and not getting enough sleep (which we can’t always control). And most of us know it’s wrong. We know we are sabotaging our bodies but do it anyway. In the long run, it doesn’t make us any healthier. It actually ages us.

I know if we listen to our bodies and treat them with TLC, they will always be happy and willing to carry us through our journey of life. As a mom, I feel it my duty to make sure my children love and respect themselves, their whole selves.

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I have a secret to share. I have always been a daydreamer. I was a late bloomer, too (another secret). In fact, I didn’t discover my real passion until my thirties.

After high school graduation, I had one goal. To earn money. After a year or so working full-time in an office, I soon realized I wanted to be something more than a receptionist. And so I enrolled in community college. I always had an interest in the arts, especially acting, and thought I would pursue that. I started going to school in the evenings while working full-time during the day. After a few acting classes, some general education courses, a good dose of reality, and deep consideration – an acting career seemed like an unrealistic pursuit. After all, I didn’t live in the right place. Michigan is a far cry from L.A. and New York. And with that mindset, I stopped pursuing it. The fire in my belly, I suppose, was not as strong as it needed to be.

I remember the day I had an “aha” moment (it seemed I had waited so long for it). I was leaving my Speech class at the community college and saw a poster on Communication Arts and all the careers associated with this degree. Maybe it was my answer to the question I was seeking in my young adulthood: what to do with my life? It appeared like the perfect fit for me. The imperfect solution to the drudgery of the business world. From that moment forward, a Communications Degree is what I went after; seven years later and I graduated. Still, at the end of my student tenure, I had not a specific goal in mind. What was I missing?

I felt like there was something wrong with me. A reason why I couldn’t be like everyone else and accept a life with a blasé career. Shuffling paperwork was OK for many. Many people I worked with seemed accepting of their choice. Even if I did hear them say, “It’s hump day” or “Only one more day till the weekend.” Leaving me to wonder that maybe, just maybe, others don’t really like what they do. But do it because they have to.

Years and years of working in an office benefited me. I was able to make my first home purchase, I always had a vehicle to drive, and I traveled, and even got married. I had the American dream minus children, but two dogs that made up for that. In all that I possessed on the exterior, on the inside – my soul – felt empty. I knew I settled with what life gave me and not what I truly desired. I wasn’t happy. I was an adult now but still had residual feelings of that young girl so unsure about her future.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Pregnancy. Yes, she was planned. Yes, I thought I was ready. Until I realized no amount of preparation, parental books you read, or advice you get from others prepares you for this life-changing event we call motherhood. The “aha” moment I waited for, for so very long – 32 years to be exact – struck down on me when I became a mother.

I had my awakening. I had my entire little world changed upside down. I honestly never knew if I ever wanted to be a mom until my thirties. And when I was blessed to be what so many other women are called; a mother, my soul finally felt complete. Totally and utterly complete. It was pure joy like I had never experienced before.

The searching for my life purpose, the constant soul searching was in another human being I created. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing can possibly compare to the love, the bond, the wholeness you feel when you become a mother. What I didn’t know then, what I know now, is that maybe the reason I never could find what I was looking for, was not meant for me. Because motherhood is what I was destined for. As a mother, I give it my all. I am always trying my hardest. I am always exhausted. But, at the end of the day, I know I do the best I can.

Motherhood has given me more gratification that any other accomplishment I’ve ever done. Motherhood has allowed me to relish in the moment of having a baby fall asleep in my arms. Motherhood has allowed me to nourish my baby with nothing other than my breast milk. Motherhood has allowed me to see how selfless I can be.

Motherhood has allowed me to see how much patience, and how little patience I have. Motherhood has allowed me to appreciate and love my body (with all the stretch marks) more now than I did in my twenties. Motherhood has allowed me not to judge others. Motherhood has allowed me to smile at a crying baby (and mother) in Target – because I get it now. I totally get it. Motherhood has allowed me to enjoy the little things in life; a hot cup of coffee, eating without being interrupted, driving in silence, taking a walk to clear my mind, staying up to 11 p.m. to watch a Lifetime movie. All of it. Motherhood has opened my eyes to everything.

It has changed me for the better. It has fed my soul. Motherhood encompasses more than just taking care of another life. Motherhood gives you an opportunity to be a better person. It pushes you when you think there is nothing left inside of you. It makes you appreciate the simple things in life. It wears you down, but it makes you get back up every time. It fills you with endless amounts of joy, but sadness, too.

Motherhood also makes you appreciate those adult interactions you have in that office for the career you were so unsure of. It allows you to see that a job title doesn’t define a person’s success. It merely provides for a livelihood. There is absolutely no greater, more important job than being a mother. Yet, there is no reward, no corner office, no fancy title – just a simple title, “Mama.” The sweetest word you will ever hear.

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