I have always wanted to be a mom of boys. Though I wasn’t the girl who dreamed of marriage and motherhood all through the tween, teen and twenties years, I had hoped to get married and to eventually have kids and in that dream, I somehow always pictured boys. Reckless, dirty, crazy, active boys. This is quite surprising considering I’ve always been a bit of a girly girl. I love girly stuff. Pink. Scented. Sparkly. Yes! But something about actually having girls terrified me.

I understand the male species. They are simple. They are easy. There are non-dramatic. They are straightforward.

Then I had Little C… and I started to wonder if I was cut out for boys. In a matter of weeks within Little C learning to walk there were bumps on the head, split lips, crashing and burning on the tile, carpet and pavement. And each time he fell and subsequently cried, my anxiety grew. Little C has not slowed down his active life. There have now been a shocking amount of split lips in his nearly 3 years of life, along with cuts, bruises, scrapes, black eyes, burns and more. “Ouchies” are a fairly constant thing in our home. So is the presence of a first aid kit and the request for, “more band aids.” Because Baby B wants to do everything that his big brother does (and he’s only 7 months!) I know I am in for a lot more of this.

Today while taking our daily walk to the mail box, Little C suddenly sprinted away from me shouting, “Mama, I go fast fast fast!” I laughed and encouraged him on, though my anxiety grew as he started to pass the “safe distance” from me and go careening into the “panic” distance. The distance that has me thinking of car accidents, stranger danger, painful falls and worse. I’m an anxious mom. I know this and I’ve come to embrace it and simultaneously force myself to calm down. I know that my boys need to practice their independence and I know that I need to encourage it. In that tiny moment though I took a deep breath and realized that right before me was a symbolic demonstration of what will become of my sons and I.

They started out clinging to me and needing me every single moment. I have had to remind myself on especially exhausting days that this will be fleeting and to enjoy it (though it has been tiresome with Baby B who is very very dependent on me). As time progresses and they grow more independent I know that the “distance” between us will increase and increase until they reach a time where they will be in that “panic zone” and will eventually run out into their own world. And I will be forced to encourage them on into greater things. Into making decisions on their own and eventually marrying and raising their own families.

Oh the sting of that thought! There is joy, fear, anxiety, pain and excitement all rolled into one. I am both eager for my boys to grow into independent men and painfully sad that they will do so and no longer be 100% mine. It’s a strange existence to be exhausted by your children and wish they would just grow up a bit and start doing more for themselves, while also feeling very attached to them and not willing to let them get any older, clinging to each moment and wishing that time would just slow down.

Tonight, Micah abruptly turned and ran his way back to me. I smiled, laughed and told him how crazy fast he was, slapping his tiny hand with a high five as he breezed past me. The mama heart in me explodes with joy for these moments, right now, where he will run towards me. Then I send up tiny prayers for God to guide me through the days where he starts to move away from me.

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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.

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