Small Gestures

Sometimes the smallest of gestures can be the biggest.
Sometimes the smallest of gestures can be the biggest.

I’ve been a mama of two for almost a year now but I still feel like I’m getting a handle on things. I do have days where although I feel somewhat overwhelmed, that I do have a handle on things.

It seems like it’s always tough after a long weekend, especially a long holiday weekend.  We didn’t have the greatest of nights due to residual fireworks and excitement.  O didn’t fall asleep until well pass midnight but managed to wake up early like he normally does.  After a cup of coffee, we set off to do errands.

I found a garden center near our place so I wanted to make a stop there to let O explore.  He couldn’t get enough of the place.  O couldn’t walk anywhere fast enough.  Well more like I couldn’t walk fast enough.  He was pulling on my arm to places and decided that he would be better off venturing ahead while I caught up.  I definitely didn’t mind since we had the place to ourselves and the people working there were so sweet as O approached them.

My little garden center explorer.

Three stores later, including the quick trip to a garden center, both boys were ready for lunch and a nap.  However, my gas tank had other plans.  I have a hybrid vehicle so stops at the gas station aren’t frequent and I tend to not look at my gas tank gauge as much anymore because of it.  We made a stop at a gas station that turned out to be nothing but quick.

The lines to gas up cars were long but for whatever reason it didn’t bother me even with O being relentless with asking to move the car and W whimpering in the back because he was over being in his carseat.  I think if this occurred a few months back, my PPD/PPA would have got the best of me.  I would have probably started to get anxious since both kids were getting restless and there was nothing I could do about it.

When we did get to a pump.  I didn’t realize the credit card/debit machine wasn’t working.  Again, this is something that could have easily created an moment of anxiety.  However, I scooped both kids up and headed inside the gas station store to pay.  O seemed excited with the prospect of going into a place he’s never been before while W was content being in the baby carrier.  As I was explaining the situation to the owner of the store, he began to apologize for the trouble.  I kept reassuring him that it really was not an issue.

As we made our way back to the car to pump, a gentlemen that was pumping near our car smiled and asked if I needed help with putting gas in the car.  I reassured him that it was fine and thanked him but he insisted.  He pumped gas in my car and explained that he also has two children that are close in age and remembers how difficult it would be to run errands with both when they were so young.  I offered to pay for some of his gas since I was so thankful for the help but yet again he insisted that it was fine and that he already pumped gas.

Then as I was placing O in his carseat, one of the gas station workers ran up and asked if I needed help.  He started trying to open the gas tank and asked what gas I needed.  It took some time to explain that my car was already gassed up since there was a language barrier.  Apparently the owner felt so bad that he told one of his employees to gas my car up for me.  Again, I was feeling incredibly grateful at the small gestures of kindness the boys are I were receiving.

Just small gestures like that – offering to put gas in someone’s car – can make a difference.  It just shows that there are so many small pockets of kindness that occur or can occur during your day.  Simply smiling at someone, greeting someone as they walk by, holding open a door for someone, or even just asking someone if they need help.  These gestures may seem small but can mean so much.  They can also be needed.

In a world where everyone seems so busy and where people often choose to walk by someone that needs help, such small gestures are heartwarming.  The day is only halfway through for us but I feel like it’s been a great one already.  Not only do I feel grateful for such kind gestures but I’m pretty darn proud of myself for not letting my PPD/PPA get the best of me today.  It’s all about the baby steps.  It’s about trying to remember to focus on important things.  Here is to more days with fun adventures, conquering personal battles, and kind gestures not only from other people but to do more of them myself.

signed, dee

Amidst all the Motherhood Chaos.

Motherhood is chaotic in itself, add the rest of life, well it can be overwhelming at the least.
Motherhood is chaotic in itself, add the rest of life, well it can be overwhelming at the least.

It’s been some time since I’ve posted.  It almost feels forever.  I found myself in a strange place during the middle of last month.  It felt like so much chaos was going on, not only in life but internally as well.  Motherhood itself is filled with chaos daily.  For whatever reason, last month just felt like a pile of chaos on top of another pile of chaos.

I’ve been trying to grasp at what I can in moving forward with my PPD.  I have been reexamining why I’m blogging.  Coming up with a potential collaboration series within my blog/site.  I’ve been sketching ideas of a possible new venture.  I also wanted to make a big change with my faith and relationship with God and began to do so.  Blogging on here just became an after thought.

In the midst of all this, my family and I are dealing with the aftermath of being in an accident.  Last Tuesday we were rear-ended while running errands.  My husband was driving and I was in the backseat of our sedan with the boys.  I remember turning to W and reaching for his hand.  He curled his left hand around my thumb all while starting back into my eyes.  We then we got hit and I watched his face distort in shock and fear.  I think my husband started to swear.  O was babbling something in confusion.  I vaguely remember saying “What just happened?” as a ball of anxiety began to form within me.

Even thinking about it now it giving me anxiety.  I remember getting out of the backseat through the right side, legs shaking so badly that I was gripping the car to support myself as I made myself to the left side to take W out of his carseat.  By this point he was crying almost uncontrollably.  O was just wide-eyed and asking for a snack.  Throughout this I was praying. Praying in thanks and gratitude that we were all okay, the boys were okay, and praying for strength to be strong for my family.  My husband was so shaken up that he couldn’t talk so I took over with talking to the person that hit us, calling the insurance company, consoling the boys, all while trying to hold my own self together.

Right now O isn’t too fond of car rides.  It’s been some what of a daily struggle to get him to feel comfortable in the car.  Enticing him with a trip to the park doesn’t even do it.  On Monday, the only way I was able to get him into the car to a doctor’s appointment was if I promised that we’d go to a “plant store” after.  Right now all I can do is pray and take it one day at a time with him.  This has resulted in putting some of my own personal things aside, mainly making progress with overcoming my PPD.  It definitely has not been easy since I’m still dealing with pains and headaches from the accident.  I know they say that you have to take care of yourself first to help others.  However right now, my kids need me the most.

My little man with a green thumb

I’m not even angry with the person that hit us even despite what we’re going through no because of it.  What would holding onto that anger do?  Absolutely nothing that would be able to help myself or my family right now.  It also could have been much worse but it wasn’t.

This accident has shown me that I indeed can overcome my anxiety and collect myself more than I realized.   It has shown me that there is no better time than right now to start something I’ve been wanting/thinking to do.  The accident has reminded me to keep pushing forward. It also has shown me that rather than giving in, I pray.  Praying has been providing me so much comfort. Praying and seeking guidance from Him is what is keeping me moving forward right now amidst all the chaos – motherhood and life.

So I may not be blogging as much.  I may not be on twitter as much.  I may be using Instagram more.  I may also be focusing on other ventures.  I will continue on growing my relationship with God and practicing more mindfulness.  More importantly, I’m trying to work through all the chaos, not just for myself but for my family too.

signed, dee

 

Motherhood From Afar.

Motherhood from Afar
I’m starting to try to do “motherhood from afar” meaning I’m close by but giving my son a chance to experience things on his own.

We were recently at the park after almost a week of being stuck indoors.  The weather has been gloomy and cold so we’ve been indoors.  Once I saw that the sun was trying to make its way through the clouds, I scooped the kids up and took them to the park.

double stroller strolls

As I was settling W on a blanket I had placed on the grass, O began tugging on my arm to walk around and search for pinecones.  I don’t know what it is about pinecones but he loves to examine and collect them.  With O getting older, I’m starting to notice that he is much more independent and beginning to want to explore on his own.  I’ve realized that I like encouraging him to try things on his own too.  It could be a combination of the fact that W has the majority of my attention nowadays as he is much more mobile.  I quickly looked around and realized that we were the only people at the park, so I smiled at him reassuringly, and told him to go ahead to search for pinecones.

I was still smiling to myself as I watched him slowly make his way towards were most of the pinecones seem to be.  He looked back and I once again reassured him that it was okay to go on his own.  After he found the pinecones, he was smiling to himself as he gathered them, calling back to me from time to time.

Running back with the pinecones he gathered, he was laughing gleefully to himself, and calling out “Mama, mama, look!”  I could see the happiness and look of accomplishment all over his face.  He was so proud that he gathered them himself and even more so happy that I was smiling back at him.

I definitely don’t know if I’m doing this motherhood or parenthood thing right.  I have moments where I want to hurriedly help him but hold myself back to watch him figure things out on his own.  I’ve been trying to make sure that he understands that I’m still nearby to help him but that he can try to do certain things on his own.

I know that in the future, holding myself back will be more difficult.  The situations and experiences he’ll be facing may not be full of happy moments.  I’m scared of the experiences he will face that will give him the feeling of disappointment, the feeling of loss, helplessness, and maybe anger.  I know those types of experiences will teach him such valuable lessons but it doesn’t make it easier for me.  One of the things I can do, even starting now, is to show him that no matter what I will be there for him.  Happy, sad, or disappointing time in his life – I will be there for him.  I may be doing motherhood from afar at times but I’m always ready to celebrate with him when he accomplishes something or open my arms wide to comfort him during the harder times.

signed, dee

These Mighty Mamas.

Image from littleandmighty.com
Image from littleandmighty.com

“Welcome to Mighty Mamas, an ongoing series where mamas share their candid and raw thoughts on motherhood. Our intention is to create a supportive forum for sharing without judgment. Mamas are so mighty and we are using that strength to build a powerful group of wonderful women who believe in motherhood.”

I’m excited to be a part of this next series of Mighty Mamas!  Head on over to the Little & Mighty blog to read more about myself and the 9 other Mamas in the series.  While you’re there, check out the Little & Mighty apparel too!

signed, dee

Life Lessons I’ve learned in Mamahood (so far).

I haven’t been in a Mama for too long but having two kids fairly close in age has been a real learning experience for me.  So far it has been crazy, humbling, and empowering all at once.  I know I have a lot more to learn and many of this has been said before but they’ve been replaying in my head more often as of late:

You have no one to impress.
With my first, I always felt like my every Mama-move was being watched. It isn’t a competition over who gets to milestones first.  For me, it’s about how can I keep nurturing my child for his benefit.  It’s also about understanding that children are individuals that learn at their own pace and time.  I’ve learned to go with the flow with certain things. Not necessarily give my son full reins in this parent-child relationship but listen and watch him for cues on how to communicate and connect with him.  My focus is my children and not impressing anyone.

Taking a stand is important.
Everyone seems to have the “right way” to swaddle a baby, hold a baby, feed a baby, etc.  Not to say that some of the advice offered doesn’t work but it’s all about taking it under consideration.  It’s one thing to have advice offered and another to be told how you should parent.  I’ve learned to take a stand for what I feel is best for my child.  This has made me appreciate everyone’s motherhood/parenthood journey.  Everyone has something that works for their child.  It may not work for you but that’s okay.  Just because someone insists on a particualr technique does not mean you have to so it.  In this sense, becoming a mama has made me some what of a stronger person.  I know my babies well, and so far have had pretty darn good intuition on what works and won’t for them.

Everyone is going through their OWN mamahood journey.
I think it becomes easy to judge a Mama with the kid having a meltdown at the store.  I’ve had my fair share of meltdown moments already with my toddler at the store.  I have had a mixture of the frowning Mamas to the nod of sympathy.  Everyone’s mamahood journey is different and while it is easy to make assumptions, it’s better to lend an understanding hand.  It’s hard to say what exactly a Mama is going through that very moment a publicized meltdown occurs.  They could have had a teething baby that didn’t sleep the night before,  a partner that is deployed, dealing with PPD, or a combination of so many other things.  Honestly, who has not experienced their child have a meltdown at least once at the store or other public area?

Asking for help is more than okay.
Sometimes you can’t do it all.  As someone that was so accustomed to doing things on her own and in her own terms, this was a large humbling pill to swallow once I became a mama.  This was something I really has to accept during my last pregnancy when complications occurred.  Mamahood can be very lonely, especially when it’s your first child, being surrounded by supportive people often helps. Asking for help does not make you less of a person and there will be people more than happy to help.  It will be a testament to how many people not only love your child dearly but you as well.

Whatever is going on, it will pass.
I’ve had too many nights where for whatever reason one of the kids does not want to sleep.  Nap time seems non-existent, everything I do doesn’t seem to help stop the baby from crying, or sometimes the only way I can get my toddler to do anything is talk like a pirate (the entire freakin’ day).  It’s hard to remember, during the moments of pure exhaustion or helplessness, but it will pass.  Sure you’ll have a new set of things to worry over or become exhausted from but it usually leads to some pretty great moments.  Currently, we have a teething baby and it’s leading to some pretty exhausting days and sleepless nice.  I’m reminding myself that a smile with some cute little baby teeth will be approaching.

Forgiveness is needed and more than once.
Sometimes you just mess up. You forget to buy baby wipes and diapers. You didn’t wash any of the bottles. An extra change of clothes was not packed in the diaper bag.  You spilled 6 oz. of breastmilk you just pumped. Okay, maybe the last one is a little hard to forgive yourself for but things happen. It isn’t always a perfect motherhood journey. You end up googling things and scaring yourself. Doubts creep into your thoughts and can leave you questioning everything.  The thing is, your baby loves you no matter what.  That smile they give you once they see you tells you everything you need to know.  You’re doing a good job and they love you dearly.  Be gentle with yourself because honestly you are doing the best you can.

Unplug and detach.
Sometimes you don’t need to have your phone or camera ready to document things.  Not everything needs to be shared on social media. There are certain things that seem so much sweeter when in the moment.  It’s a nod to being more present and less attached to devices.  As much as I love documenting a lot of moments with photos and videos, the times I remember most and always seem to look back on are ones where my phone or camera is not in my hand.

I’m sure I’m going to add to this list sooner rather than later.  It’s a nice reminder for myself as I type this all out.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in mamahood or parenthood?

Love is

O Wonder

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

I found myself reciting this in my head while taking a walk with O and W yesterday.  O was going back and forth between a slow stroll to running as if a fire was lit under his feet.  Some days I would say to either “hurry up” or “slow down” but that day was different.  It was if it dawned on me that maybe I should be taking a page from The Book of O.

I watched as he was taking in his surroundings.  Watching him gave me this overflowing feeling of such love.  His forehead would crinkle as he examined how the wind moved through leaves on a tree, his eyes widened as he watched a rabbit leap into a bush, and just stood still and smiled up at the sun.  I myself forget to enjoy such things.  I’m either creating a plan in my head on how I’m going to approach grocery shopping with two kids, going over the route I’m going to take to support group, or worrying over how I’m going to accomplish a paper with two wide-awake boys.  Just watching him made me want to slow down, enjoy what is around me and to marvel at what I have.

That same day, O woke up from his nap, yawned, looked at me and said, “Hi Mama. Love you.” and jumped off the sofa after I took a photo.  His simple sentences resonated within me.  Yet again, O was teaching me something.  Children hold such an innocence and honesty that adults often try to diminish so quickly.  O holds such a love for myself, his dad, our close family and friends, and the world around him.  He has been patient with me as I learn to be the best mother I can for him and W.  O has been great a reciprocating a love he is still continuing to learn.

Moments like this make me appreciate motherhood.  It chips away at the darkness that PPD often holds. O reminded me that he not only needs to enjoy all that childhood has to offer but I do too.I know easier said than done, but I do want to try. Moments like this make me love my motherhood journey.

Not so terrible toddler.

Toddler life

Oh to be a toddler. O is almost 4 months in as a big brother and he’s doing a great job. I was concerned at one point since he would just ignore W. Lately he’s been more attentive to his brother. I let him take charge during tummy time and he points out shapes and colors (those that he does know) out. O also has been wanting to hold his brother so we have a process when he does ask or motion to hold W. He knows that he has to sit on the couch, we the place W on his lap and he gently puts his arms around him. There are moments where he wants to carry W and has tried to pick him up himself but he has done so much better about W.

His little brother loves it and I can tell there is a growing admiration. W usually follows wherever O moves to and has a gummy grin. I’m excited to see how their interaction will change once W crawls.

Mom view
Toddler life is hard on the both of us but moments where I see them both enjoying each others company, well, having two so close in age doesn’t seem that bad.