Strength in Ownership

Seasons of Mothering

Strength

Can we just pause for a little bit to drown out the loud voices around us, and remember that time when we got too close to the point of literally pulling all our hair out? You can do this with me, girls! Just humor me, for a trip back in time. Come on now, seriously! I’m not sure I’ve got enough strength to do it alone, so like it or not, you’re coming with.

It was the end to another day, after the previous hours had me feeling like it’d never come. I’m at home, with the rest of “the mafia” present and not an ounce of strength left in my body.

Being the strong and enduring mom that I am though, I had already put out dinner; I did more pretend voices for my daughters baby dolls than I could handle; and I’ve been the bad guy for all of the things calling for consequences.

By managing to wear as many of the different hats that a working mom needs,
to say the least, it gets overwhelming.

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Like, game over. I’ve got zero strength left to give. Strong mom has become depleted mom.

Completing just enough to make me feel like I was a decent mother, now leads to getting closer to the end of the road – or bedtime, whatever. It was time for me to turn off the sound of anything semi-relating to a child, from echoing in my brain.

I’m off for the night. Or..I guess, almost.

So Close, Yet So Far

The bedtime routine: brushing teeth, saying the goodnights, undressing and putting on a nightgown, then saying our prayers, is the final things blocking me from my hookup with “the machine”, (grrrowl) and whatever the night has to offer. I’m talking about my DVR, of course! HELLO! It’s so attractive, how it asks for absolutely NOTHING from me. Dreamy sigh!

I’ll be there very soon, darlin’..right after I’m put through the bedtime ringer.

So an hour…I’ll be there in like an hour. Sigh of exhaustion. Continuing to push right through, I stroll into the bathroom, after performing a search-and-rescue for one single clean nightshirt. Walking in, I discover the bathroom is quickly morphing into, what I’m sure is, the Nickelodeon Kids Awards. Slime!

The reason I think this is because my wild-child has been proceeding to dump out toothpaste, and my body lotion, AND her Frozen bath soap, all in and around – if you consider 4 to 5 feet away “around” – the sink. Meanwhile, her toothbrush still holds strong, in the midst of everything, hanging from her mouth.

My daughter’s draping her body halfway up the counter – she obviously had to watch herself in the mirror – while her feet swing through the air; her shoulders take turns bobbing up and down to the beat of whatever song is in her head, and her hums vibrate as they make their way around the toothpaste foam and dangling brush.

Pretty sure I just cleaned in here. Right this moment, time briefly stood still.

Multiple choice time, ladies! How do we deal with this bit of chaos? Do we:

  1. Keep our cool, while moving towards the culprit, gently asking WHAT has possessed them (literally?), of this brilliant idea to have a science fair in the bathroom right before bed.

  2. Pull a Julia Roberts, and raucously pump our fists, giving a “Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!” to cheer them on for their creativeness.

3.Put on our most psychotic

“you can run, but you can’t hide” face, while uttering out a few words quietly – which actually sounds more like a raspy growl, as though we’ve been taken over by a Mortal Kombat character. “Finish her!”

I’m going to assume all of our responses are unanimous with choice number ‘3’. With that being said, bring it in, group hug!! Welcome to the club I like to call “Mom Games”.

I’d go ahead and offer you a glass of wine or something with a little more strength, but I’m sure you understand, I drank it all long ago. Cheers!

Bold Confession: I have no clue how to be a calm, cool or collected mom!

Excitement comes over me, when other moms identify and admit they too yell out of frustration, and aren’t always well-put-together.

Nowadays there’s many strong opinions forming, and as a mom, it’s easy feeling like we’re going about the whole “game” wrong. We DO yell; we DO express frustration with our kids. It’s easy buying into the hype – that unless we’re willing to change us, we can expect our children to have scars. All because of us.

There’s so many self-help books out there now,

that “show us the way” to living a life of peace and harmony, and post after post from others urging us on, to take action to become a newer, greater, better you.

Trending on social media is how you can learn to master the “art” of this, that or the other.

There’s many things others will deem as “unacceptable” when it comes to how we parent, and there’s always someone who believes they’ve found that “ready for purchase”, “one size fits all” solution. I can turn on the TV at any given time to hear about why breastfeeding may actually harm your child, or what protein drinks aren’t good for the kids, etc.

Let me be honest, I call BS! And I’m sure there’s a reason that, by my saying that, I’m damaging my children in some way, also.

My biggest problem with “how to’s” is that the media shoves then down our throats, and alludes to ways we SHOULD be doing things, as if what we’re doing already isn’t enough. Sure, there’s times I want to learn how to do something new, but I, can go about seeking that out. I don’t need anyone shoving it on me via every single media channel. I certainly don’t need help feeling badly about doing what I am. As women, we’re pretty good about making ourselves feel bad enough.

I’ve been raising kids every minute of every day for about 22 years straight, and I’ve still got more years to put under my belt with the last two continuing to do their growing. What this ensures is that, I’m no question going to lose it here and there. Does this mean that I should run out and buy a book? I assure you, that’s not going to happen!

Realizing that a few of you, may very well have great coping skills and you fly off the handle way less than I do, good on you! Ladies like me, take note: this, in no way, means you and I should be self-critical. Unless we’re seeing what goes on in these women’s everyday life, then we know only a very minute piece of their story.

I’ll say this though, I’ve had the opportunity being in the presence of one or two of you sweet darlings, who prefer to give off the perception of perfection, and I can’t tell you how much I love listening to your versions of how great, and lovely your kids, husbands and pets are. Let me just get this one teeny thing out of my system though: Wait.

Wait, because if you really have been experiencing little dollops of joy coming your way for all this time, there will be a time when you’ll want – when you’ll NEED – genuine, strong, put-it-all-out-there women surrounding you. Because we all have the promise of a life with troubles. It goes hand-in-hand with being human. And we require others to do and experience real life with.

My world changed when I became “with child”! I had many solo conversations, coaching myself up with all the do’s and don’t’s of what I’d been believing to be true then. Dreams of being this perfect mom, that my kids would worship, were filling my head.

I don’t know if I did something wrong along the way, or..

After my first one came along, something really strange started happening. She like, was wanting to use her legs at one point? As though she thought they’d be good tools for movement or something? Crazy kid.

When she began walking, she certainly wasn’t gravitating towards the playroom, y’all! Noooo, ma’am. Kids love going to explore the places they’re unfamiliar with, until they learn otherwise, if even then. They like to stick their fingers into things.

My frustration felt like it was never-ending, which would lead to feeling like I just wasn’t cutout for this mom business. But during these early stages of adult life – at 18-years-old, I use the term adult loosely – I thought things would get better if “I-just”. I just need to figure out how to go to school, raise and provide for my daughter, and so on. In my quest to be a strong woman and mother, I began believing who I was, just wasn’t good enough.

Hello There, Daughter Number 2

The girls were now outnumbering me: their two to my one. Which made way for many moments of wanting to find the nearest corner to crawl up in and be in my own little world of emotions.

Time went on, and they were continuing to grow. They began testing my patience frequently. Sometimes, they felt like throwing caution to the wind, so they’d take a gamble asking me questions just one more time, even though I’d already said I better not hear about it one more time. Other times, being the gloriously expressive females they were, they’d get the stank face with me, alongside the sass that went with it.

I’d immediately respond to the things that were calling for it. And in my world, testing patience and giving a tad too much sassy personality, certainly were things looking for Mom’s response.

A Little Secret

My patience was little, my fuse was short, but as I sit here now, those same two girls – now 21 and 19 – would do any mother proud. I was a young, imperfect girl figuring out this new stage of life each day. Messing up is a part of my daily routine, but I know now I’ll never be the calmest woman, with the most level-head on her shoulders. Right or wrong, I react off my emotions. It’s the first way I know how to!

You know who else I’ll never be? The woman who’s looking down her nose on another mother, who’s making a scene by talking loudly to her child about the right way to behave in a store. Yay for you, baby girl! At least you’re doing something, and not just sighing in exhaustion to ignore the issue.

Like most of you women, I’ve been given the gift of a really wide-range of emotions. It’s something I’ve had to grow into, and figure out how to work. I conceal the way I’m feeling to the outside world, until I don’t.

What I know now is, my kids have experience in what it’s like having a very intense mom. When I get upset, they know, and feel it coming from a mile away, but when I’m proud (or excited, in awe of) that intensity shows up, too.

We’re certainly not a boring family. And I wouldn’t give that up for anything!

They Don’t Exist

There’s no woman alive, and most certainly no man, that’s been able to figure this whole mom game out. So ladies, stop listing off all your faults! Leave the regrets behind!

What does wishing that you’d done things differently really do for you, anyways? It’s pretty damn pointless, when you think about it!

My mom loved dancing and being silly with my brother and I. I remember all of us snuggling up and falling asleep next to each other many nights on our couch. My mother had the biggest Texas smile you’ve ever seen, when celebrating our accomplishments! And there wasn’t a person in the world she wouldn’t go toe-to-toe with being our biggest defender.

“What’s the point?”

My mother was a single, working mom for a good chunk of our life, doing everything the best she knew how (sound familiar?). But she was far from perfect, and she’d fly off the handle with us on many occasions. If you were to ask me how my childhood was, and what I’d change, though – I’d tell you about those great memories, and how I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s what sticks with our kids – the depths of our love, and the ways we show it!

I strive to be the best mother that I can be, because I had such an amazing mother!

There’s no question, my mom game is strong, y’all! And, I’m a strong mom.

Own It!

Declare your truth. Own that ‘ish! I sure do.

TALK TO ME, GOOSE: Have you bought into the hype of bettering yourself, because the media believes there’s some cookie-cutter way to mother? What happened as you tried to “Change Thyself”? Leave me your comments and some of your own experiences! Same or different, I’m interested in hearing.

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Author: J. Rut

Hi! I'm Jennifer: devoted wife, mom and Texan. Living that average late 30's lifestyle, which means doing my best to be fit - while drinking lots of caffeine -do things with my family, sell a house or two and be in constant communication with the Big Man Upstairs. Balancing it all gets insane, but there's not a thing I'd change. My life is a blessing!