I hadn’t really pondered it in the months that have preceded. I hadn’t even thought it would matter. But there it was. Staring me right in the face. Half-mocking me as I sat with my screaming baby in the waiting room of the walk-in clinic (on a Sunday, 15 minutes before they closed, no less). Sidenote: Ear infections are the worst.

Occupation:_______________

Never has a blank caused my heart to skip a beat and my brain to panic faster. I’ve always had a title. Cashier. Office Manager. Escrow Assistant. Customer Service Rep. But now…

What was I? 

The answer I knew was a stay at home mom (or SAHM as the internet has affectionately monikered it). But I felt weird writing that. No, I felt ashamed. Now, I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about the validity and importance of mothers at home. I’m not. We’ve all heard it. It’s an incredibly important role. It’s hard work. It’s a vastly underpaid position. Mothers are frickin’ incredible. That wasn’t the point.

This particular moment was just about me and how I never even realized how connected I was to my career. To having a title. To having an attribution besides mom of 2, keeper of house, wife of the tall guy. And how disappointing it was to be reduced to it on a simple medical form.

Who are you and what do you do?

Is that all we’ve become or are to become in this world? I settled on “homemaker” and scribbled it messily on the blank, turning my attention back to my squirmy 6 month old. But the thoughts lingered in my head for the next few days. What followed a few days later, comically, was the same topic at my MOPS group (a group for mothers of preschoolers). Basically, it boiled down to owning who you are and not settling for saying that you’re “just a mom”. 

Honestly, it has never bothered me to say that I’m just a mom. In my heart, I know that being a mom is incredibly hard, important, blessing-filled, irreplaceable, etc. and I’ve never felt I’ve needed to justify that to anyone who asks what I do. I’ve not required a more important sounding title than mom, at least not for myself.

But something about seeing it on paper, in black and white, felt so definitive. It had to be declared right then and there. It was a weird sting that I didn’t expect. I guess I am still coming to terms with all of the changes in my life in the last two years. In a lot of ways, maybe I’m still coming to terms with motherhood as a whole. It’s a wonderful journey full of such massive twists and turns. I’m grateful for it. That I cannot mistake. Grateful for the title of MOM. And super grateful for the ones I get to work with everyday. For them, being mom will always be enough. 

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Today was a bad day.

Baby B was inconsolable, whiny, and spazy most of the day. He didn’t want to be held. He didn’t want to be put down. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to sleep. He didn’t want to play. He didn’t want to not play (and I know this particular statement makes no sense, but hey, sometimes babies don’t make sense). He wanted to thrash and scratch and scream and whine. Frankly, by lunchtime I was cursing my very existence on this planet and simultaneously celebrating that that little monster finally surrendered to a nap. And then, there was that moment where I pondered posting my woes on Facebook and had to physically halt myself from picking up my smartphone. Stop. Wait. Think it through.

Because I knew what the resounding response to my vent-session would be. Well-meaning friends, family and fellow-mommies would spout of the joys of motherhood and how time goes by so fast and how I should treasure the good with the bad, or just take a deep breath and keep going, or even some perfectly sweet bible verse or inspirational meme meant to warm my heart and calm my nerves. It’s not the I don’t truly appreciate these sentiments and words from those who have been, or are in the trenches of motherhood with me (some days, I’m the one posting them!). But… some days…

Just let me have bad day!

Some days motherhood is NOT pretty.

Some days it is downright UGLY.

And exhausting.

Frustrating.

Depressing.

Overwhelming!

And that is okay. I need to know that it’s okay.  I need to know that I’m normal. I need to feel like hiding in the bathroom for a few moments with a lump in my throat and fists clenched in frustration is just fine. I need people to be REAL with me so that I don’t feel like a massive failure every day. Can we please do that, as moms? As friends? I don’t need to be reminded of time going by quickly or better days ahead. In my heart of hearts, I KNOW that this is just a bad day among many glorious and truly joyful days with my kids. I know too that the joyful ones will pour over these nasty ones and make them just a faint memory in time.

But today…

I need someone to just say “Amen, mama!”

Buy me a stiff margarita and big bowl of chips.

Or, pat me on the back, give me an awkward side-hug and say, “Word. I’m right there with you sister.”

Or, [sarcastic mommies will only get this], shout out with me “Kids suck!”

Because sometimes they do. 

This doesn’t make me a bad mom. This doesn’t mean that I don’t completely love and adore my children. This doesn’t mean I don’t love being a mom. This doesn’t mean I’m a mess. This doesn’t mean I don’t see the value of this time as a SAHM. All it means is, this day, this one right here. It’s been a tough one. And it’s okay.

Just let me have a bad day.

And pour me that margarita.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we are days away from entering 2015. Where are all these years going? I feel like it wasn’t long ago that the world was in an uproar over the coming of the year 2000 and Y2K. So how in the world is it nearly 15 years later. Answer? I’m in my (gag) 30s now. And how did that happen?!

2014 has been a tough one. Much tougher than I thought, because I don’t remember being terribly fond of 2013 either. In reflecting on the last 12 months, I feel like it has been my toughest personally, as a mother, physically and on my marriage. We have been through incredibly trying changes, big disappointments, challenges and transitions. Just before we welcomed Sweet B I declared to a friend, “I cannot handle one more change or transition! I will literally lose my mind if I have to deal with one more thing.” Word to the wise, never declare anything like that. It’s equal to saying “It can’t get any worse.” As we all know, it can, and it will.

This is not to say that my life is not full of incredibly rich blessings. I don’t ever want to short change or take for granted all the God has done. I have 2 incredibly amazing and healthy children, a loving husband of 6+ years, a supportive family, a beautiful home and a few golden friends that have been my rocks in these rough waters. But dang it, life is just tough. I think I said it best a few weeks ago when I declared to my husband, “I’m tired of being a responsible adult.” Hahahaha! But seriously…

Having said all of that, I have willed myself to look forward to 2015 with great hope, optimism and goals. I am not, by nature, a dreamer, but I have sadly seen myself cease to dream completely in the last few years. My days are too full of diapers, laundry, bills and To Do lists to dream, or so it feels at times. And that is a very sad existence. I don’t expect miracles in 2015, but I do have more hope than I have had in a long time.

My biggest project is me. But not in my typical perfectionist standard way. This year is about making real changes to bring forth true joy, instead of temporary happiness. Lasting peace instead of fleeting rest. Real ambition instead of effortless goals. Authentic parenting instead of social-network-driven performance. Deep love and dedication to my marriage instead of survival mode. I am excited for what is to come and I am praying for success.

What are your goals for this new year?

Cheers to 2015!

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