Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Which I Need to Take a Nap, but Don't Like to Admit It

After writing that title, I realized I'm not much better than Anthony!

I’ve been feeling rather depressed lately.  Really I think a big part of the problem is sleep deprivation.  The night-owl  husband often keeps me up rather late, the little girl keeps me up through the night, and the little boy has me up rather early.  I’ve discovered my family is actually one of those 60s cults that deprive their members of sleep and restrict bathroom privileges.  Help!

In seriousness, I know periods of little sleep are sometimes just an occupational hazard of early motherhood.  I am trying to do better about getting to bed earlier and not feel guilty about taking naps if I have the opportunity.  That touches on my other, more serious problem.  Feeling discouraged and guilty that I need more rest in the first place.  And I do need it, I must confess.  Every time I try to deny my body’s needs I end up crashing.  We did the mastitis thing over the weekend again.  Yuck.

You see, I do this thing where I compare myself to other mothers.  I realized in prayer this morning that I’ve been trying to compete with absolutely everyone I know.   If Jane can do X, then I feel like I should be able to do X too or I lose.   (Anne doesn’t take naps!  Emily doesn’t ask her husband to do the grocery shopping!)  There’s a poisonous pride working in me that I didn’t realize, making me feel discouraged by the very women who would give me encouragement and help.  Lest any of you reading feel awkward, by the grace of God I have been spared feeling jealous of other women's apparent superiority.  I don't hate you for being better than me, I just wonder how you manage to be so awesome.

This post might just reveal me as totally lame and insecure to boot.  I probably am.  I sure feel it!  But I think I need to blog about it because I KNOW I’m not the only one.  And also reading mom blogs can be a great way to fuel that insecurity, so a little perspective would probably be a good thing to have out in internet-land.  Generally I severely edit which parts of my life make it onto this blog.  You won’t see me posting my deepest, darkest secrets.  Mostly just fluff about some pretty thing I made or yummy thing I cooked or cute things my kids do.  If all anyone knows of me is my blog, that’s not the full story.  Same goes for everyone else.  Also in real life, we generally don’t let everyone know everything, nor should we.  The obvious conclusion is just because I’m not doing what someone else is, doesn’t really give me enough information to compare myself to her.

The whole above paragraph actually doesn’t matter, because I shouldn’t be trying to compare myself to other mothers at all!  Ryan tells me this all the time.  He’s right of course.  But it’s so natural to do it!  I want to know if I’m doing a good job.   I’ve been so conditioned through school to gauge my performance by everyone else’s.  (Class rank, grade on the curve type stuff.)  If I got a bad grade, it was softened if half the class failed, too.  Also, I got used to always being at the top of the curve and getting straight A’s.   I’m not on the Dean’s List for Mommy University.  I don’t have constant affirmation from 100% on every weekly task.  Boo-hoo.  In my head I often unconsciously translate things in to grades.  I got 7/10 things done on my list today.  C- for me.  Anthony was defiant and I completely failed at not escalating that particular situation.  F!  I also tend to take the “A” moments for granted, as just doing what’s expected.  No wonder I’m so discouraged.

I have to internalize that only one Person is “grading” me.  And He has a completely different rubric :  He asks for faithfulness, not success.  What matters is that I sincerely do my best to do His Will at every moment.  Accept my weakness, so that I can accept His strength.  What prompted me this morning was a line in Abandonment to Divine Providence that said that the thoughts that distract us in prayer reveal what we value above God, what we are not entrusting to Him.  I have to surrender my vocation to Him once again, because I simply cannot do it on my own.  I must come to rely on His grace, but first I must truly believe that His grace is sufficient for me.  This all sounds like platitudes.  But it really is true, I know it.  Maybe I could write about it better if I were actually doing it.  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 
Forgive me if this post is rambly and not that fabulous.  I haven't slept much lately.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: All Four in Less than a Minute

round button chicken
This is a pretty good summary of life with two little ones!  Enjoy, and check out everyone else's PHFRs over at Like Mother Like Daughter.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Our second batch of radishes is ready.  We've got lots!  I didn't really know what to with them besides slice them into salads, but emboldened by my success in April I planted a lot.  If you leave them too long, they get tough and bitter instead of the delicious mild peppery flavor they are now.  They don't keep long once they're pulled, but that's not a problem!  I've been snacking on them all day.  I've learned the French like to eat them with butter and salt.  I tried it, and it's good, but I definitely think that eating a plain handful that were in the ground five minutes ago is the way to go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Day in the Tunnel

The "tunnel of parenthood" is those early years, when your kids are all still very young, very dependent, and you're still rather unsure of yourself too. I will often think of it when things are tough in my life as a mother. They will not be this way forever, they will get more independent and reasonable, although it's sometimes hard to see that light. Like today.

Today I took both children to Mass.  Alone.  Already you know where this is going, I'm sure.  We went to the playground beforehand with the idea that if Anthony ran off a chunk of his energy he'd be better behaved.  Ha. 

This is how we spent Mass:  We arrived early enough but were actually late from going potty.  Again.  Settle in just before the Gospel.  Anthony whines really loudly; tries to pick up sleeping Katie Rose, waking her; tries to climb into my lap while I'm nursing, making me expose myself to the gentleman behind us; and/or tries to empty the diaper bag into the lap of the gentleman behind us.  We make a racket leaving for disciplinary action to be taken.  Anthony doesn't seem to care about said action, and just wants to play out in the vestibule.  Well, in my battle-fatigued mind I can't reward his misbehavior by giving him what he wants, so back in we go.  Rinse both hands in the holy water font and repeat.

By the time we finally get to Communion, everyone is done.  I had already determined that on the way back from receiving I would scoop up the long-abandoned carseat from our pew and make a graceful (i.e. immediate) exit.

About a third of the way up the aisle, Anthony plunks his bottom down and refuses to move.  Of course he's whining, too.  After a few awful seconds of standoff, I had no choice but to pick him up.  Mercifully, he shut up.  So here I go charging down the aisle, newborn in the ring sling, toddler under my arm as if I'm about to score a touchdown.  I certainly wasn't in a recollected state of mind to receive Holy Communion.  My state of mind was more like, "JesusMaryandJosephhelpmenow!"  I really, really, needed a major infusion of grace just then.  The priest seemed to think so, too.  He gave Anthony two blessings.

So we get back to our pew like this.  I have no choice but to put Anthony down in order to pick up the carseat and diaper bag.  Again that child won't follow me, and resumes his whining.  Now what do I do?  "Anthony, we're going home." Nothing doing. "Come on!  Now!"  The older gentleman is probably ready to kill me now.   "Come on, wee're going outside."  "OutSIDE!  OutSIIIIIIIIIDE!!!!"  "Yes, now come quietly with mommy." 

As I'm opening the door to leave, he turns and blows Jesus a kiss.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: A Walk in the Woods

round button chicken


I love the woods. Like Anne Shirley, I don't think I could live where there are no trees. I also love that we have some nice trails about a five minute drive away. Anthony, Katie Rose and I ventured out for a ramble this morning. Katie Rose was snugged up in the Moby wrap, so she didn't get into any of these photos, alas.

So here is one I snapped of her this morning.


Anthony is a good little hiker.  The trails are a bit strenuous in places for a two-year-old.  Lots of fallen trees to clamber over, tree roots to step around, and stone steps like these here.  Of course that all adds to the fun for him, and he is so proud that he can do everything all by himself!

So this isn't really humorous.  More curious.  The ground all around these tree roots has eroded away, leaving the roots completely exposed, reaching across a pit about four feet deep.  This was the best picture I got, because I have a toddler who is certainly curious!  It's amazing how complex the network of roots is.

A tired out little boy!  We walked about a mile and a half.  He's sound asleep now.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Naptime Craft Time

Anthony and I had a fun time making these paper stars while Katie Rose had her nap.  Yes, the two-year-old really did help make these!  I did all the cutting and folding, and he did all the gluing.  It was a good thing to do just the two of us, since he was able to get quite messy.  Note to all mothers:  Elmer's glue really does dry clear, even gobs and gobs of it!  Anthony is very proud of his "piddy" stars.

Each one is made of just two pieces of scrapbook paper and glue, which we had on hand.  So they were even free!

The instructions were in this month's Family Fun magazine, so I can't give step-by-step directions.  Somebody must have given us a gift subscription, but I don't know who!

The stripey ABC one is my favorite I think.