January 14, 2013

Seriously? Enjoy Every Minute? (I hope you're not dissapointed in me.)

By Amy
I wrote this a few days ago.  Don't worry, I feel much happier now!  Please don't stop reading before the end, cause the ending is happy, I PROMISE!  :)

You know those elderly ladies at church who see you with your baby and tell you with a wistful smile, “Be sure to love every minute!”  I wonder about that.  I know they are missing their own children, but still I wonder…really?  Is that even is possible?  Or is there something wrong with me that there are minutes (or longer…) that I really don’t love? 

Some may be disappointed in me when they read post, but I started out in this blog wanting to be very honest, especially about things that we all deal with...I hope that even in our struggles, we can lift each other! 

Well, here goes: There are days when I have a hard time being a mom.  I struggled a lot (like, A LOT.) when I first had Hayden, but slowly over time, the bad days outnumbered the good, and now the bad days are more like a bad half-a-day every couple of weeks. 
But today was one of the bad days.  I don’t mean a day when things go wrong, cause pretty much every day there is a blow-out, food flung, being late to an appointment, or a cranky baby, etc, …I am talking about the day when it gets to you.  Emotionally and spiritually.  Days when I have thoughts like, “This is really crappy.”  And “I really stink at this.” 

For a few days, things had been pretty rough.  Finally, Hayden got over the stomach flu (…some bad puking—twice in the car—and diarrhea…) right in time for me to get it.  My sweet husband took over baby duty that night after he heard me ralfing into the toilet (He informed me I sounded like a dragon…even in my miserable state, that was pretty dang funny) and I slept till morning.  

The morning brought a super cranky baby and I still felt awful.  He also wasn’t eating-I guess he didn’t have much of an appetite from having the stomach flu.  So I was worrying about that.  But at lunchtime, hallelujah-- Hayden FINALLY ate something!  

Then-- suddenly...he pukes.  Like a fountain.  And it just…kept…coming.  As it happened, I thought of how long it had taken to get even 3 ounces of food down him, and I almost swore (I don't cuss, so that it a big deal.)  Poor babe.  He looked so miserable.  I unbuckled his booster-style high chair from the chair underneath, and carried everything, babe and all, and set it into the tub.  Patrick (my night in shining armor...THANK GOODNESS this happened while he was home) hosed baber, his clothes and the high chair down after which I took baber into his room to dry him off and put on his third set of clothes for the day.  It was nasty and smelly and I still didn’t feel fabulous, so I was concentrating on controlling my stomach.

Amidst all of this, I thought about my experience from the previous week--I thought for a few days that I was pregnant, but it was a false alarm.  As I pulled dry clothes on him, trying to comfort him as he cried, I noticed the familiar dull ache of cramps when I am on my period, and relief washed over me.  I thought, “I'm glad I am not pregnant.”  And then came the whole avalanche of guilty thoughts intermixed with more guilt-causing thoughts: “What is wrong with you?  You love your son.  You know how many women are longing to have children? “ then, “But, can’t I just adopt three-year-olds?  I like kids a lot!  Babies are just so hard!”  Then, “Good grief, you probably will be unhappy with each stage he reaches.”   

Discouragement.  Self-Doubt and deep guilt for how I should be such a better mom and how I should “love every minute”.  Well, covered in puke, feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, I thought defiantly, "I DON’T love this minute.  This is really hard."  

I saw my husband come out of the bathroom and I started to cry.  I told him, "I was so happy thinking our son was finally getting better and eating again, then he pukes all over….he keeps getting sick, he's been sick almost twice a month for the past four months," then, with a sob, "And...I feel SO guilty for how ok I am that I'm not pregnant."  Patrick didn’t say much.  He just hugged me and the bewildered baby in my arms (Why is momma crying?)  

After I put Hayden down for a nap, I got into my own bed for some rest.  Patrick came and cuddled with me for a while.  After he left, I snuggled down into my delicious bed and thought to myself, “I asked Heavenly Father in my prayer this morning for charity and love.  To be a good mom.  Why do I feel so bad?"  Then I sent Him a quiet plea, "Father, please help me feel peace.”  

I slept for a blissful hour and a half.  When I woke up, Patrick was playing with Hayden on the living room floor.  He had woken up from his nap before me, and Patrick got him from his crib, making sure I got to finish my nap.  They saw me walk in, and Patrick said, “Look it’s momma!”  My son’s face lit up and he clumsily started crawling towards me.  And my heart melted/mended all at the same time.  

I met Patrick’s eyes and smiled.  I scootched down closer to my baber.  I held him close and asked him if his tummy felt better and he did his little happy squak at me….I felt the love well up in me for my sweet little son and my thoughtful husband...and I knew I was fine again.  

I thought, “Now this is a minute I love.” 

I guess that's the secret.  We have to soak in the beautiful moments and cherish them.   Then, when our day is awful, just like opening up a tiny treasure box, we can think back on our most beloved moments, and realize again that life is good.

Even during a day that is messy, mundane, frustrating or all of the above, I want to “find joy in the journey”.  I want to focus on the good.  Because, 40 years from now, I will be that elderly lady who sighs while watching a young mom and I'll think, "Oh, how I miss those days and my sweet babies."

Playing with Photo Booth on the computer

Hayden, trying to grab the laptop...ha!
I'm sorry for the miserable story, and I wish I could better express the thoughts and words in my heart, but much good came out of that day.  I realized that even when I am discouraged, I love my life and the people in it, especially this sweet little baber.  And that brings me so much joy!  

Moms, how about you?  Do you feel guilty for those moments you don’t love?  How do YOU find joy in your journey?  I really want to hear! :)


  1. I can totally relate to this post I am sure every mom can relate to this post. right after I had my first child I had really bad postpartum depression. being a mother was a ton harder than I thought it would be and I went from working and being around people to staying at home and I felt lonely definitely not what I expected and the guilt set in. I found out when she was only four months old that I was expecting again!!!! overwhelmed doesn't begin to describe the feelings but I quickly developed a love for the good and the bad times and now with three children I couldn't picture my life any other way.among the fighting, the crying, the fits I wouldn't have it any other way because without the bad we wouldn't know the good!!! and the good is great I haven't perfected the parenting thing and will always be learning but I have learned that it is ok to have bad days it doesn't make you a bad mom it is normal! I love my little sidekicks and don't know what I would do without them

    1. Thank you Susie! I agree, it can be very isolating, especially after leaving a job where you see tons of people every day! Holy cow, 4 months after having your first you were pregnant!? You are amazing. I am scared to have more babies, but I want a couple of kids, so I gotta have babies to get there! :) I appreciate you saying that bad days don't make you a bad mom, cause it's normal. Hallelujah. :)

    2. Ditto to Amy: I love "bad days don't make you a bad mom"

      Someone should put that on a cross stitch.

  2. When I was reading your conclusion about soaking in memories, cherishing them and then opening the treasure box later when needed, this quote came to mind: "It is said that God gave us memory so we could enjoy the remembrance of roses in winter."

    Also, I like what this article says about focusing on the small victories(I don't know if you have read it yet): http://www.daringyoungmom.com/2012/12/19/drops-of-awesome/

    1. Yeah, her article is great! I love that quote, also!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Those days come and I always feel so guilty for having "off days." It feels good to hear that other mamas go through it and also to have a good reminder to savor the good. I'm loving this blog!

    1. I'm lovin you reading this blog! :) Thanks Erica!

  4. Can I just say,"Amen,sista"! I think those old ladies forget the hard times with their kids. Which is a good thing right? Some days I feel like I trudge through and do a happy dance when everyone is in bed. This is not always, but I'm human and get worn out. It certainly is wonderful to have a sweet moment during a bad day to give your heart a lift. I've been there too. When the day is gone and all is quiet I still smile and thank God for my sweet kids.

    1. Bahahaha! Yep, the bedtime happy dance. But it's ok, cause we do lots of happy dances with them while they're awake too! :) Thanks Melissa!

  5. Fun blog Amy! Fun to see you and your adorable baby too. YES I totally get this post. One thing I've realized in the 4 years I've been a mother is that being a mom changes you in so many ways for the better. I've also learned that it doesn't make that change easy...at all. It's painful and exhausting at times. But then I look back and see how my heart has grown in it's capacity for love more than I knew was possible and how wonderful my life is with 2 grinning, giggling cuties running around my house (making a mess, but hey), and I am content. It also makes me realize how much I took those women with large families for granted when I was growing up.

    And as for old ladies who talk and give advice that is kind-hearted but stings somehow, I've decided to take it all with a grain of salt. Just like the older gentleman in church who talks about how his wife NEVER raised her voice or the lady who fondly remember growing up in a house that was somehow ALWAYS orderly and clean. I've always hated it when they said things like that, since I think to myself, "Crap, it's too late. I've already raised my voice. My husband will never say that about me." or I think guiltily about my less than stellar housekeeping at home. Now I'm realizing that time heals a lot and when I think back to the times when Brielle was just a wee babe I find myself wistfully thinking of her coos and sweet smiles and less of her thrice daily spit ups and blow outs. Everything looks rosier in the past tense! Hang it there! It doesn't get easier, but you become stronger and your patience does grow (slowly, but it's happening).

    1. Lori! So good to hear from you! Thank you for your comment. And yes, when it comes to women with large families, I 100% agree...I never knew! THEY ARE AMAZING. I also try to keep in mind, that as I have more kids, the others will be older...they're not all at the same stage at the same time! And, If I ever have triplets, (or twins for that matter) I am moving back in with my mom...haha!

    2. I love "Everything looks rosier in the past tense!"

      So, true! I'm glad it is that way so we can enjoy the good memories instead of reliving the bad ones.

      Remember that little old ladies are wearing their rose-colored-past-tense glasses when they comment. :)

  6. I think I have a semi competitive nature which makes me hate getting baby advice or having people tell me how hard it will be and blah blah blah. It's bad. I realize that. I need to learn from the experiences of others. But I prefer "googling it" myself or just eavesdropping on someone's advice without them knowing I'm taking it. I like to pretend that everything about having babies is a cake walk for me. I hate days when I have to admit defeat. Actually, I don't ever admit it. But I acknowledge it in my head. And now, for the first time, I am announcing to the public that having and taking care of a baby IS hard. That's what this blog is all about, honesty. And I have a lot of days, especially since I am pregnant again, that I am exhausted and I'm doing everything I can to get my baby to just entertain himself and leave me alone. Terrible right? Half of me wants to encourage independent play and imagination and all that jazz, then when baby does start playing by himself I am feeling guilty for letting him be alone. I feel like I need to be paying attention to him and coming up with structured learning activities for us to do together. I guess the right answer is balance. And more sleep. On my wish list right now is that Oliver will a) learn to walk before new baby gets here, and will b) start sleeping through the night before new baby gets here. And I have to bite my tongue when all the other moms tell me I will wish he never started walking. I have to learn that one for myself folks, because truthfully, these pregnant hips can't carry around his 26 lbs anymore and I will certainly have my hands full (literally) with baby #2 soon. I probably shouldn't refer to my new bundle of joy as #2, however appropriate it may be at times. Okay I'm rambling and spouting off in all directions now. Love the blog. Don't show this confession to my sisters, friends, or mother ;)

    1. Haha. I totally relate to wanting your baby to entertain himself and leave me alone. :)

      Amen on balance. That is something I have been working on lately. Making sure I spend intentional time with my daughter each day. Turn off the computer, etc. and give her a chunk of time just for her. I've been thinking about setting a timer for an hour for reading time, project time, artwork time, etc. So that she knows I'm all hers for a space of time, but then after she gets to read to herself/play by herself.

  7. Haha...Don't you feel liberated to admit it is stinking hard!? :) The funny thing about advice when it comes to babies: there is no one right answer! About sleep methods, about weaning and nursing and how to get them to play--what works for one mom/babe does not work for another. Go figure. And, AMEN, sistah on the independent play thing. I know we talked a bit about this on facebook...but, wowie...it is tough to figure out how to help them play without needing constant attention/entertainment! We will talk more about this.


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