Author: moderatemotherhood

I’m Drowning in 3-Year-Olds (And Elsa Perfume)

I’m Drowning in 3-Year-Olds (And Elsa Perfume)

children

You know what I’m quickly finding out when it comes to writing a blog about motherhood? Motherhood itself makes it pretty difficult to stop and blog about it. My design blog has always been a kind of mental escape for me. But, stopping in the middle of mothering to actually write about mothering? It’s not always on my list of things to do for the day. I have lots of thoughts and stories to share, but by the time I sit down to write them, another crisis always arises.
For example, as I was just writing that first paragraph, I had to stop because of the wailing sounds I heard coming from the top of the stairs. Not “that’s not fair” kind of wailing, but wailing like someone had lost a limb or found-a-dead-animal-in-their-bed kind of wailing. Alas, it was almost as serious. The twins had decided it was a good idea to submerge their older sister’s new American Girl doll under water (“she was dirty”), and my devastated nine-year-old swears that putting the head under water will cause the doll’s blue eyes to turn gray. Huh?! Is that even real?
Anyway, onto the next drama-filled moment. . . I know it’s coming in just a minute.
Honestly, when the ultrasound tech told us we were having twins, I only thought of the difficulty of having two newborns. I’m here to tell you that was nothing compared to having two three-year-olds. I often refer to them as “destroyers of the universe” because if there’s something to ransack, they will find it. While I was getting dressed yesterday, they managed to pour a bottle of “Frozen” perfume out in the bathroom (you can only imagine what a room full of Elsa’s scent must smell like) and put nearly a whole tube of Chap Stick on their faces. I’ve learned that I will end up paying dearly for every few minutes of “peace”I have.
So, that’s what I’m doing and what’s going on with this blog. I know all of these things will strike me as super funny when I look back on them one day. Now, if I can only find the time to write them down so I’ll remember any of it.
(image by Hart to Hart Digital Photography)

The Parent (Peer Pressure) Trap

child

I once heard a sermon on parenting where the preacher said you never experienced peer pressure in your teenage years like the peer pressure you’ll face from other parents once you have kids. At the time I heard it, our oldest kids were around toddler age, but it stuck with me. And, I’m starting to learn exactly what he meant.
We’re entering the age of new freedoms and trying to decide what the “right” ages are to do what. . . Cell phones, sleepovers, technology limits, bedtimes, etc. Who knew there were so many decisions to make when your kids started getting a life? (Well, I’m guessing that many of you have already been there, done that.)
To be honest, our kids haven’t given us a lot of grief (yet) about the things we’ve said “no” to so far. Maybe a little whining or stomping off, but nothing that they didn’t get over pretty quickly. For example, we have done very few sleepovers so far. (Only a handful with our oldest when we knew the family well.) So, when I politely declined for one of our other kids, I was surprised when the mom told me that I was going to “have to” let them sooner or later. Have to? Hmmm. As it turned out, I told my child no, heard some complaining and went to pick her up at ten o’clock. And, to my surprise, she was fine when she got in the car. Happily told me about the party the entire way home, without one mention of the sleeping over part.
Sometimes, I feel like a big, overprotective momma bear. But, I also think that when I hear that small voice telling me to be cautious with them, it might be the Holy Spirit quietly nudging me for a reason. So, why do other parents make us question our judgement about our own kids? Why do the rules we make for our own families have to be justified or explained to anyone else? (They don’t, by the way.)
So, I’m curious how you’ve handled peer pressure from other moms/parents when you’ve made an unpopular choice for your family. I’d also be glad to have the whole sleepover conversation, if you’re up for it. . . #parentingishard

(photo & “Be Brave” canvas from Lindsay Letters)

10 Make-You-Feel-Pretty Dresses

For my getaway last week, I had to dress up (like a real person) almost every day. When my main outing is normally the grocery store, it’s nice to buy something new and a little out of the realm of what I usually wear. I came across this red lace dress online and fell in love. I deemed it my birthday gift to myself and ordered it right away.

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lace skater dress
(By the way, I’m 5’3″ and was surprised at how much I loved this length.)
I believe a dress that makes you feel pretty is worth every penny. For me, it’s something classic, modest and feminine. And, a great color doesn’t hurt.  In case you have an upcoming holiday party–or just need to feel like a new woman–here are nine other pretty options:
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lace sheath dress (also comes in black)
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stripe dress
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black & white lace dress
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red scuba dress (Also love this one in navy!)
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shimmer sheath dress
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florette maxi dress (Will one of my tall friends please order this?)
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navy a-line floral dress
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mirror bodice maxi dress
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bow fit & flare dress

Where’s Your Wedding Album?

We celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary yesterday. And by “celebrated”, I mean I took the kids (who were out of school) to the zoo with another friend and her kids while my husband worked. Then, we topped off the celebration by rushing back for basketball practice and ordered pizza. Awww, the romance when you’re entrenched in life! (I am promising myself that we’ll at least go out to dinner alone in the next few weeks. . .)

And, since we just moved, our wedding album reappeared and has been floating around the house. I started to stick it in a drawer, but then thought the kids might have a fun time going through it. I remember I loved to look at my parents’ wedding photos, until I got to the page where it was just the two of them hugging on their ring bearer. I’m not sure how old I was, but I do remember being infuriated that they would ask another kid to be in the wedding and not me. That all didn’t make sense until later. . . 🙂

I was expecting a lot of oohing and awing–especially from my girls–when they looked through the pages of our big day. Instead, I got a “you look weird”, “who are all of these people?” and “there’s Grandmommy and Grandaddy!” Oh well. Even if they were less than impressed, I decided to keep it out where they could look through it anytime. What’s the point of paying all that money for pictures and tucking them away never to be seen again? And, so what if they rip the pages? Weren’t they actually the ones we preserved all of those memories for in the first place?
And, until they’re interested (and I think they will be eventually), it’s good for me to look back and remember that there was just the two of us before all of us. I can look at the pictures and remember how excited I was, exactly how I felt right before the doors opened and I got ready to walk down the aisle, the guests who came in late and almost messed up my big entrance. Ha! (No, but seriously, I do remember. . . )
So, do I dare ask where your wedding album is? Should we all start a “put-your-wedding-album-out-on-your-coffee-table” movement?

When Did You Start Drinking Coffee?

coffeeHave you always been a coffee drinker? I’ve always wanted to be, but didn’t actually start until after our third baby was born and didn’t become addicted until after I had the twins 3+ years ago. To tell the truth, I had a very bad habit of drinking a cold Diet Dr. Pepper every morning for years. Then, in the groggy days of having a newborn, a three-year-old and a four-year-old, I added coffee along to the mix. Can you say nervous jitters?!
I finally broke the diet drink habit (well, only in the mornings) and am now a full-fledged a.m. coffee drinker. I’m pretty sure I drink more than the recommended dosage. (Usually, it’s two of these big cups–my favorites from Target.) And, I will one day mature into a black coffee consumer, but for now, I’m a pumpkin spice (or vanilla, depending on the season) creamer kind of girl.
What about you? When did you start drinking coffee?
(And, how much do you really drink?)

While I Blog. . .

mom and baby
I told you guys from the start that this “side blog” thing might be a little sporadic. I have some set time each week that I work on my design blog, but this one is just as I can. I’ll usually just pull up my drafts and write a little here and there or just jot down a quick “mommy thought” that I want to share with you later.
Last week, I thought I had a few minutes to write while the twins were consumed with the Bubble Guppies so I sat down at the desk in my bedroom. Within two minutes, I suddenly found myself getting an ambush makeover as I was typing. I thought I’d snap a few “selfies” of the process for those of you who have asked, “how do you find time to write two blogs?”. Well, now you know the answer. . . I don’t.

The Breather Years

family
I recently heard a mom (of grown children) refer to the ages between eight and twelve as “the breather years.” With our oldest being eleven and our youngest (two) being three, I feel like I’m experiencing several phases at once. I am loving that I’m able to have real conversations with my older kids and that they get my humor. (At least someone does. . .) But, finding time to sit down with them when someone else isn’t clamoring to get my attention (or needs some juice or bathroom assistance or new underwear) is a challenge.
I caught myself thinking the other day that “when the twins are eight, we’ll all be able to finally have normal conversations.” Then, it hit me that my oldest will then be 16 and probably off with his friends, driving(!) in an actual car and might not want to talk to me at all. . . So, I’m vowing to try harder to sit down with my oldest kids after the others go to bed and do whatever it is they’re doing (which is watching The Voice, as of late). But, trying to soak up every age when there are so many different ages is something I’m trying to figure out.
What age has been your favorite with your kids so far?
(Tell me it’s the teenage years. Please.)
And, if you have several kids, how do you enjoy all phases at the same time?And, finally, if my kids are spaced out over an eight-year period, when exactly does that mean I get my breather? By my calculations, it’s somewhere around 2030. . .

A Letter To Myself 11 Years Ago Today. . .

Today is officially my 11th mom-iversary. Or, my oldest baby’s eleventh birthday. The day life changed as we knew it. The day I became a mommy.
I was beyond excited, shocked that he was really ours, amazed that giving birth wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought (my ultimate fear growing up!), and a nervous wreck that I would somehow break him.

babies
image source
If it were possible to send a letter back in time, this is what I would write to my 27-year-old self now that I have a little experience under my belt:
Dear Brand New Mommy,
Yes, this is really happening. Your life has forever changed–in the best way possible.
Believe it or not, you’ll soon be able to change a dirty diaper while eating your breakfast, and cleaning out someone else’s nose will become something you don’t give a second thought to.
There is no way to tell you how wonderfully sweet this blessing will be to you and how much more you will love him every day.
In just a matter of a couple of years, this little babe will enter toddlerhood and will frustrate you (although impossible to imagine) and overjoy you all at once.
Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. Nobody is looking at you to fail.
It’s okay to have mommy meltdowns and to want time alone.
Although, going to the bathroom alone will become a thing of rarity. Be prepared. There are no bathroom breaks with this job.
Breastfeeding is hard. Don’t let the lactation specialists tell you otherwise. Don’t do something out of guilt. Do what works best for your family.
Your stomach will not always look like this. It will get better. You will fit into your clothes again–but not next week.
If someone offers to help, it’s because they want to. So, say yes. Or, say no–if you’re not up for company. That’s okay, too.
You are the mom. You can change formulas, food, diapers, etc., without permission from your pediatrician. God entrusted you with this baby, so trust yourself.
Crying babies are not necessarily colicky. Take other people’s advice (for fussing, for teething, for gas pains, etc.) with a grain of salt. You will know your baby better than anyone else.
Even if you don’t leave the house, get dressed and put on some makeup at least every few days. If that’s too much to ask, just putting on a clean t-shirt (free of snot and spit-up) can make you feel like a new woman.
It’s okay to call your mom and cry over the phone just because you’re so tired.
You might want to start drinking coffee now. You’ll learn to like/love it.
Count your blessings that you have a husband who changes diapers and bathes and feeds the baby. Not every daddy does.
Don’t be afraid to put the baby in the car and go places. You will figure it out moment by moment. It’s not as hard as you’re imagining it to be.
Rocking him and staring at his face while he sleeps is a good use of your time–no matter how much laundry is piled up.
And, yes, he’s the most beautiful baby ever born. (They always are.)
Now, go take a nap. You’ve got years of baby blessings ahead. . .

I Didn’t Just Say That. . .

my childYou know those sentences that as soon as they leave your lips, you know that surely no one else in the entire universe has said the same ridiculous statement? Those things you would’ve sworn that you would never ever say before you became a mom. The kind of sentences that make you wonder what your life has become. Because they’re usually too ridiculously crazy to remember, I’ve started logging my favorite ones in the notes on my phone. Here are three from the last couple of weeks, for example. . .
Quit eating her hair with a spoon.
I’m not going to sit by you again if you keep putting rice in my ear.
You! Bring my bra back right now!

You know exactly the kind of things I’m talking about now, right? Alright, give me the best, most ridiculous sentence that’s come out of your mouth in the last week. The least we can do is provide comic relief for one another during these days.

On Starting a Second Blog. . . (And Fear of Failure)

I will tell you that I wrote the previous (first) post several weeks ago and finally hit publish–with great anxiety, I might add. Oh, and I didn’t tell a soul. You would think after being a full-time blogger for more than five years that I would have the hang of this by now. But, a starting a second blog that’s more about me and my personal thoughts. . . Well, that’s just scary.
Truth be told, I don’t know what this particular blog is going to be about. The title suggests motherhood (and I certainly hope it’s a huge encouragement to moms!). But, deciding whether this is going to be the place to share my mommy fears, my pet peeves or my favorite nail polish color–well, that’s still to be determined. I’m leaning toward light-hearted conversation with a little of the other (deeper) stuff thrown in, depending on the day.
Then, there’s that fear of just being able to keep up with it all. I love to write. I have thoughts spinning around in my mind all the time that I want to write down. (Of course, these brilliant ideas always happen when I’m driving down the road or just as I lay my head down at night.) Writing is very therapeutic for me, but then I think, should I really add something else to my plate right now?
What if you don’t like me as much as you think you do? What if you think I’ve got it all under control (thanks to the pretty stuff I show you on the other blog) and then my cover is blown? What if you think my house is always neat, my kids are always well behaved and I never lose my temper? (Boy, you’re getting ready to be so disappointed.)
But, then I’m reminded of the Voice that’s been quietly telling me I should be an encourager to young moms. The Voice that tells me we need a lot more transparency among “girls” of all ages. The same Voice that has made me feel a little unsettled by all of the crazy I’m also guilty of trying to keep up with. I’m pretty sure I know Whose voice that is.
So, I guess I move forward, and if it’s a failure (meaning I can’t keep up with this, I’m uninspired, nobody reads it, etc.), then it wasn’t meant to be–and that’s okay. Right?? The biggest part of doing anything scary/new is just the act of starting.
Thanks for letting me work through these thoughts with you. What new thing are you scared to try for fear of failure? We’ve all got something.