Mother’s Day: A Reflection of Happy

eemothersday

I wrap my new baby in my arms and feel an overwhelming sense of love –and fear. Since her arrival my life seems disjointed, chaotic, jumbled. I am thinking in circles. Round and round the clock goes. Tick. Tick. Tick. My house is an organized mess. My thoughts are exhaustively incoherent. Am I doing this right?

Months go by. And so do the gurgles and spit-ups and dirty diapers. Her first smile enthralls me. Finally, I think to myself, a nod of approval. And then comes a giggle. One, two, three more. Sitting up, crawling, first steps. I am flooded with encouragement.

Years go by. And so do pre-school and kindergarten. A new baby brother to love. I am standing in my kitchen and this blonde-haired, bright-eyed, six year-old beauty runs up, tugs at my skirt, and grins.

I smile widely. Right back at a ya little one.

And we continue on.

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy every second! Much love to you all… ~lisa

The Spirit of the Holidays – Conversations with My Six-Year-Old

spirit

The holiday season is in full swing and the spirit of the year can be found all around us. Everywhere I turn I see beautiful wreaths hung with red ribbon, trees twinkling in the night, and smiles on the faces of strangers. I absolutely adore the generosity and purity that flows within us this time of year. I sincerely hope my children will learn and understand the importance of giving to others. I pray that I  teach them to hold dear their loved ones and to cherish their friendships, their health, and their opportunities in life.

After a few recent conversations with my six-year-old Ella, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the magic and innocence of childhood. That, and the fact that she made me laugh, a lot.

The Spirit of Remembrance:

Ella: Mom, I need the binoculars.

Me: For what?

Ella: So I can go outside and look for Great Grandma Nonny in the sky.

Me: Okay, but it’s kind of cloudy out so you might not see her.

Ella: Oh. Oh well then maybe I can see a bird poop while it’s flying.

The Spirit of Knowing Who’s Boss:

Me: Ella, you forgot to make your bed this morning.

Ella: I know mom. It’s just that I have coat room clean-up at school this week.

Me: Well that’s no excuse for not helping out at home.

Ella: Mrs. M said that coat room was my only chore for the week.

Me: At school, not at home.

Ella: Oh yeah. And she is bigger and older than you. And she wears red lipstick.

Me: So.

Ella: Exactly.

The Spirit of Conversation:

Me: Ella, what do you want Santa to bring you this year?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen (my four-year-old): A can of what?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen: A can of PEE? <giggle>

Me: No potty talk. <Snort>

The Spirit of Supporting Our Troops:

Ella: I want to join the army.

Me: When did you decide that?

Ella: When I saw how much stuff they had there.

Me: What are you talking about?

Ella: At that place where they have tons of stuff. I really want to join there.

Me: Are you talking about the Salvation Army?

Ella: Yep. That’s it. Can I join?

The Spirit of Friendship:

Ella: Who is ‘Tot’ and where does she live?

Me: What? Who?

Ella: You know, that girl named Tot. I heard she gets tons of toys.

Me: You mean Toys for Tots?

Ella: Yes. Can you call her mom for a play date?

The Spirit of Health:

Ella: Mom, can we do yoga together?

Me: Sure.

Ella: Okay, just bend over and I’ll climb up on your back.

Me: Ummmm. What yoga pose is that?

Ella: The one where you carry me around the house until your legs fall off.

Me: Uhh.

Ella: Come on, it will be good for you.

Giving Thanks

May you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

May the joy of the holiday season be with your family.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the inspiration, the support, and the unity in motherhood we so desperately need.

Much love mamas!

Shine on! ☀

15 Things Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?)

In light of the election that took place last Tuesday and a country divided, I was inspired by a post from treehugger.com which highlighted 26 Things We Can All Agree On. I began contemplating the subject of motherhood with its diverse outlooks, beliefs, and countless ways we’ve amassed to raise our children. Aside from our individualities, are there any fundamental, concrete principles that all mothers can agree on? I hope so! Let’s face it, we all have an opinion, but at the end of the day what binds us is we all answer to that word, “Mom.” Or Mommy or Mama or Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom! or Madre or Mamacita or Ma or…well you catch my drift.

Spit-up, throw-up, early mornings, late nights. Infants, toddlers, teenagers. Just when we think we have it all figured out, motherhood throws us another damn curve ball. Well at least she keeps us on our toes. I for one am up for the challenge. You?

15 Things All Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?):

1. Motherhood is tough. This ongoing journey of ups and downs and winding roads is ever-changing and ever-challenging. Motherhood is an enormous task which reaps enormous rewards.

2. LOVE is all you need. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I. LOVE. YOU. Tell them. Show them. Repeatedly. Again and Again and Again.

3. Mistakes are inevitable. They happen. More often than not. Let’s recognize the ones we’ve made and look to a future of not repeating them.

4. Every child is different. But wait a minute, my first baby slept through night no problem. Uh huh. Doesn’t mean a thing. The sooner we realize that not all kids are the same, the better off we’ll be. Agree?

5. Mom Guilt. We all have it. We all recognize it. We all need to get over it and stop putting so much undue stress and pressure on ourselves. What’s the deal with us doing that anyways? Oh right, mom guilt.

6. Children are our teachers. There is so much we can discover about ourselves from our children. We just need to take the time slow down and learn the lessons. Patience, tolerance, spirit, hope, passion, honesty, excitement, acceptance…

7. Time goes by too fast. Days are long, but the years are short. A first-born will soon be taking a first step. Savor every moment. Yes, even that moment when the baby is crying incessantly and the toddler is yanking on your leg telling you that she just flushed your keys down the potty. Okay well not every moment.

8. Self-confidence – We need it, desperately. It’s right there inside you. Find it. NOW.

9. Mother’s change the world. We are raising future generations. This requires no further explanation. 

10. We are all in this together. Although we are highly diverse in appearance and culture, our instincts at the core virtually remain the same. To teach, to nurture, to bring up compassionate, hard-working, intelligent, healthy, responsible human beings that contribute something positive to society. Not too much to ask for, right? If you’re doubt, please refer to #8.

11. A Step-by-Step Guide to Motherhood DOES NOT exist. In motherhood we learn from that thing called EXPERIENCE.

12. We CAN NOT please everyone. Not even going to try to.

13. Sleep is a necessity. For mom. For dad. For kids. For sanity.

14. Taking a [hot/cold] shower may equate to a week-long vacation. I was going to attribute this one to new moms especially, but I think all mothers can agree that five minutes in the shower has the ability to renew and recharge us – even if we have ‘mommy brain’ and think we can hear someone calling our name the entire time.

15. Balance is something we all strive for. On the outside. On the inside. Within our family, within our friendships, within our careers, within ourselves.

“Motherhood brings as much joy as ever…Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop her (his) own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.” – Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

Have more to add? Please do so below! ♥

5 Mommy Stress Busters

Let’s face it, as moms we are always on the go, go, go. From laundry to diapers and car pools to dinner. We are everything to everybody. We are the master chef, boo-boo kisser, healer, driver, doctor, baker, comforter, lover, finger painter, book reader, game player, fort builder, the list goes on and on. Oh, did I forget to mention dog walker and pooper-scooperer?

It’s inevitable that every one of us will have to face and address the stresses of motherhood at some point and time. Often we may feel as though we are drowning in a sea of dirty dishes, messy bedrooms, and Hello Kitty Band Aids. To survive as a mother, it turns out there are probably a million things we can wish for to make life easier for ourselves (cue – housekeeper, personal cook, and nanny). But to combat stress and help bring balance to our day, I’ve counted five important ways:

1. Breathe In.  Take a couple of deep breaths throughout the day particularly when feeling overwhelmed. Practice releasing them slowly and evenly. This will help calm our anger or frustration and teach our children that how we handle a situation almost always stems from how we react to the situation. Very often as mothers, we tend to overreact to even the smallest of things. Starting now, let’s rely on those few breaths to help us focus on what’s going on in front of us.

2. Let Go. Yes, there are things around us that drive us bananas on daily basis (or an hourly basis?) Let’s try to let those things go. After all, is it really necessary to skyrocket our cortisol levels just because Elmo is singing the same damn song over and over again and we think our ears are going to bleed? No. Well, maybe.

3. Eat Well. What we feed our bodies determines our physical and emotional health. It also determines how we respond to our surroundings. We all know that a proper diet is essential to our own body’s nourishment. Why would we not want to advocate for that? I can’t think of any reason not to.

4. Move. Let’s make a pact that we will do something physical for ourselves every day. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I’m not just talking about going up and down and up and down the stairs at home (unless we repeat that about a bazillion times in a day, oh wait we already do!). I’m asking every single one of us to get our butts outside or to the gym or to the garage or basement or living room. And once we get there? MOVE IT! S-H-A-K-E it! Go! Take that quick run or do some hiking with the family. Practice yoga in the backyard or ask a friend to join you for a circuit training session. The point being – Movement is Life.

5. Love. Oh love. Love. Love. Love: Give it. Take it. Make it. Feel it. Need it. Nurture it. Keep it. Let it go. REPEAT.

sweet little experiment

Reblogging this one today! Enjoy! 

I was not prepared for motherhood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did read a decent amount of books on pregnancy and whole birth. I attended prenatal classes and breastfeeding classes. But all in all I think it’s pretty safe to say that nothing can really prepare you for motherhood besides motherhood itself. Yep, you gotta be in it to know it. In it to win it. Or in it to navigate through a system of trial and error, ups and downs, jubilation and frustration, invigoration and exhaustion- the list goes on and on.

I think most parents experience some ineptitude when it comes to the reality of raising children. At the hospital, I remember feeling apprehensive to the fact that they were allowing Nick and I to take our 6lb. 12oz, baby girl home. Handing us this precious little angel and saying: She’s beautiful. Good luck and goodbye.

The first thing I thought was: Oh, Holy Lord. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. 

Let me better explain myself. You see, when Ella was inside me I had everything figured out. Her schedule, my schedule, sleep time, feed time, playtime, potty time. If I remember correctly, I think I even had a list of do’s and don’ts plastered on our kitchen wall. I was extremely organized and the house was really freaking clean. Nesting sure got the best of me in my ninth month! The nursery was stunning, but practical. We did every thing in neutral since we chose not to find out her sex. Tiny clothes were all neatly folded and put in their proper place. Piles of baby booties and teeny hats aligned perfectly on the shelf. I had every thingamabob baby item you could think of. Most of which I would come to find out would never get opened, let alone used. That’s okay though because they were a piece of the pregnancy puzzle and my puzzle was almost complete. I reveled in the thought of perfection.

Then I had her. She was the most beautiful, innocent, precious soul. My heart was overflowing with love. Best of all, she was mine! Then we took her home. And within an instant, all of my scheduling and planning and organizing pretty much went to hell.

Schedule? What schedule? This baby eats when she wants, sleeps when she wants, and poops all of the time.

I was introduced to “poop up the back.” Um hello, no one ever told me about that. Surprise! It’s disgusting.

Laundry piled up.

Diapers everywhere.

My breasts hanging out all day long.

Nursing. Nursing. Nursing. And nursing.

Pumping. Storing. Pumping. Storing.

Glass of wine.

Pumping. Dumping.

Changing. Rocking. Changing. Rocking.

I was in a constant fog. We were up all hours of the night for days and weeks and months on end.

Our first trip to the pediatrician’s office and we left her diaper bag at home. Yeah, you heard that right. Not in the waiting room, not in the car. AT HOME. Who does that? The nurse was looking at us like we were two brainless idiots. I was looking at Nick thinking:

How the hell could you forget the diaper bag??!! I had the baby. I remembered her. 

Oh motherhood. With its winding roads. You never really know what’s around the corner or behind door number one..or two..or three for that matter. You never really know what to expect or what you’ll forget. What kind of baby you’ll have or what kind of mother you’ll be.

And thus begins our lifelong…

sweet little BIG experiment.

The Life of a Mother

Oil painting: “Mother and Child”
By artist: Gustav Klimt

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden.

She is a mother of tolerance.

She happily tolerates all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of resilience.

She happily bends and twists and turns to accommodate all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of strength.

She happily lifts and embraces all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of enlightenment.

She happily teaches and tests all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of grace.

She happily gives of her spirit to all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of fortitude.

She happily faces the challenges of all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of life.

She happily nurtures all the children who whimsically dance around her.

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden–

She is a mother of piercing love.

She is you.