We Are Mothers

We are the women with heavy eyelids, hectic homes, and full hearts.

We are mothers.

When our little one forgot his favorite blanket in the car this morning, we left work to take it to him. We wiped butts, played chauffeur, cooked dinner, cleaned messes, gave baths, read books, and chased away monsters. Not once today did anyone say, Thank you.

We are unacknowledged, but we will wake up and do it all again tomorrow.

We are mothers.

Dinnertime tonight was a disaster. Our big kids complained about everything, fought with each other, and didn’t want to eat what we made for them. Our toddlers screamed and threw food across the floor because they didn’t get a nap. In all of the chaos, we yelled at our kids. Then retreated to the bathroom and cried because we lost our temper with them, again.

We are frustrated, but we always forgive and are always forgiven.

We are mothers.

Today, we are so incredibly tired. It takes everything we have to put one foot in front of the other until our kids finally go to sleep. Our minds won’t stop replaying the endless list of chores we need to finish – clean up dinner, empty the dishwasher, switch out laundry because no one has any clean clothes. There is so much weighing on us tonight. Despite all of this, we just spent the last half-hour lying at the end of our child’s bed with our eyes closed, while they sang themselves to sleep, because they were scared and needed us.

We are overwhelmed, but we will always find time for our children.

We are mothers.

Long after everyone else, we finally make it to bed. Our bodies are drained, but our minds are still racing. Sleep escapes us, once again, because we are worried. Worried that we yell too much. Worried that we are too hard on our kids. That we are not hard enough on our kids. That we are not making the right decisions.

We are insecure, but our kids know we love them, so we are doing something right.

We are mothers.

When we discovered we were expecting a child, we knew things were about to drastically change. Caring for a baby would be difficult. We wondered how we would manage to fit a child into our lives. What we didn’t grasp was that being a mother would become our lives. That it would consume us.

Some days we wake up wondering if this madness will ever end because we don’t think we can endure another day. Other times, we stare intently at our children with longing hearts, hold their tiny faces in our hands, and beg them, Please stay here in this moment with me forever. But we know they won’t.

Our precious infants learn to crawl, walk, and talk too quickly. They challenge us through the terrible twos and threes. We fall in love with the inquisitive preschooler, always asking questions and saying too much at the wrong time. Our grade-school kids keep us busy with homework and practice, but we are so proud of the amazing little people they have become.

As tweens, we see the beginnings of the distance. Our children slowly creep away from us, and our hearts break, just a little. They transform into teenagers who assert their independence and suddenly know the answers to every question in life. Then they come back to us, as young adults who realize they never really had the answers after all. They marry, have children of their own, and we become grandmothers.

Through it all, we will be there. Motherhood has no finish line.

The days we endure with our children now, as insignificant as they seem, are the building blocks of their lives. Today’s struggles become tomorrow’s memories.

Even when we are gone, our sons and daughters will long for us, just as we will long for our mothers. Our children will cling tightly to every memory they have of us. They will find comfort in looking at their hands and knowing, These are my mother’s hands.

We will always be our child’s safest place.

We are mothers.


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(image via iStockPhoto)


The Poop Hug: A First Farewell To Diapers

This morning, my barely two-year-old loudly proclaimed to anyone within earshot her urgent need to “go poop”. While she is far from potty trained, she had been shouting this empty poop promise for days. Her follow through was seriously lacking because I had yet to witness the elusive poop that she so frequently spoke of. Despite my suspicion that this was just another fire drill, I scooped her up and ran to the bathroom.

As soon as she hit the toilet seat, I could tell things were different. She was slightly panicked. She avoided eye contact, leaned forward, wrapped her arms tightly around my neck in an awkward hug and went completely silent. You could have heard a pin drop, or in this case, poop drop. Because that is exactly what happened.  My kid had just pooped in the potty. Holy shit.

While I was proudly wrapped up there with her in our first of many poop hugs to come, two things came to mind. First, I immediately realized that I had absolutely no idea how to effectively wipe a kid’s ass. How in the holy hell does this work? Do I wipe it while she’s sitting there or standing up? Am I really going to have to ask someone this? Second, I knew some time in the very near future I’d be changing my last diaper.

I happily celebrated my little poop queen’s coronation, seated high on her porcelain throne, but I have to confess, I am far from excited about this. Proud? Definitely. Excited? Not so much.

I’m happy my little one is becoming more independent, but I am in absolutely no rush to give up diapers. Call me crazy, but I’m going to miss them. Over the past two years, I’ve become a diaper ninja of sorts. I can discreetly swap out a dirty diaper in seconds. I’m fairly confident I could change a diaper one handed and blindfolded. I’ve changed diapers at 30,000 feet, on boats, in the trunk of cars, in strollers, standing up. Pretty much everywhere but the dinner table. I’ve wiped the gamut of craps from every conceivable crevice. I’ve managed mustard-colored blowouts, and gagged through the nastiest of shits that accompanied my kid’s first solid foods. Diapers are my way of life.

Yes, diapers are expensive and kind of a disgusting pain in the ass, but who can deny their convenience? As things are now, I don’t have to rush to find a bathroom in an amusement park before my kid pees down her leg nor do I have to speed to find the closest pubic restroom, thirty miles from the nearest rest area when she is ready to literally lose her shit on a road trip. Right now, she just craps her pants and we worry about it a little later. Done deal. Am I missing something? Because I’d pick a diaper over that other shit any day. Diapers rock.

Let’s also note that most public bathrooms are absolutely nauseating, and the thought of being forced to take my kid into a port-a-potty is what my nightmares are made of. I’d rather deal with my own kid’s poop than deal with other people’s and the fear of my child touching anything in a public restroom. But, this is my new reality. I may not be ready for it, but tough shit I guess.

I haven’t really pushed potty training because I figured when she was ready she would let me know. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I will of course be my child’s biggest cheerleader during this new phase in her life. I would never discourage her in her quest to conquer incontinence. I’m just going to kind of miss diapers.

I’m sure potty training isn’t going to be as bad as I imagine. Before long, she’ll have this down. The accidents will subside, and I’ll wonder what the hell I was so worried about. She will be a big kid who no longer needs my help. Maybe that’s the real problem. Maybe I’m going to miss diapers because once they are gone, they are gone forever. I will never again see that little diapered butt toddling around the house. And there’s just something about a pair of cartoon character underwear that says, You’re losing your baby. One flush at a time.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Half-Assed Sexting

Sometime between dating in my twenties and having a kid in my thirties, sexting completely snuck up on me and became a thing. Having real sex just isn’t enough anymore. My man now wants my “virtual vagina.”Someone please shoot me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the sex. In real life. I just don’t have the time between wiping asses, working a full-time job, and taking care of everything at home to have pretend sex.

On a screen.

With words.

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image via iStockPhoto

Apology From The Former Know-It-All New Mom

Tonight, as I celebrated my child finally falling asleep by having a drink, I was overcome by an unexpected moment of clarity. I owe you a huge apology, veteran moms. It’s taken me a couple of years, but I totally get it. I finally understand your quiet chuckles and head shaking when I was a new mom and thought I knew it all. I realize now that I was clueless, and I’m a little embarrassed.

I was the eager new mom who spent nine months becoming a self-certified parenting expert through the Internet and books. My countless hours spent googling pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, sleep training, and parenting styles left me pretty much knowing everything (or so I thought). I thought my research in all things motherhood made me far more qualified than the skills you acquired through being an actual mother.

I was such a douchebag, and I’m sorry. In my defense, I was excited and wanted to do it all right. Seriously though, thank you so much for not smacking the ever-loving shit out of me in the beginning.

I’m sorry for practically murdering you with my eyes when you supportably mentioned that maybe breastfeeding wasn’t for me and that everything would still be ok.

I’m sorry for blowing you off when you suggested I unswaddle my baby to get her sleep.

I’m sorry for buying newborn art flashcards and insisting you show them to my child when she was too little to even see.

I’m sorry for burying the cartoon character onesie you bought for her in the bottom of the dresser because I swore she’d never wear anything like that in public.

I’m sorry for flipping out when you tried to feed my child a spoonful of table food a few weeks before the official date the doctor said to start her on solid food.

I’m sorry for getting pissed off when you gave my child a cheese curl.

I’m sorry for shooting down any of the advice you offered the first year with my little one because it contradicted what I had “read”. I remember telling you a few times that it’s not the way you’re supposed to do things anymore. Whatever it was.

I’m mostly sorry for being so incredibly obnoxious.

From day one, I was determined to do everything the “right” way. I would have a vaginal birth and breastfeed with ease. My baby would sleep contently swaddled in her own bed knowing she had the best mother a child could ask for. I was going to raise the brightest, most polite, and emotionally well-adjusted child anyone had ever raised in the history of the world. My child was never going to eat junk food, wear character T-shirts, and would say please and thank you every time she needed anything,

Only none of that actually happened.

I ended up needing a C-section, my kid wouldn’t latch on so I had to exclusively pump and bottle feed for a year. I supplemented with formula. My child hated to be swaddled despite me buying a dozen swaddling blankets and sleep sacks. After a while, we added to the learning flashcards with blocks and (gasp) Barbie dolls. My kid likes to eat potato chips and loves sugary cereal when she can get her hands on it. She doesn’t always say please or thank you and regularly throws herself on the ground in a screaming fit. My house is usually a mess, and I’m always tired.

Veteran mom, you will be happy to know that this morning, I sent my child to day care wearing a Minnie Mouse T-shirt and matching tutu because I found it on sale and because she loves it. Her hair was tangled because I couldn’t find the brush before leaving the house this morning. She smeared snot across her face, and I left it there as I hurried to get her into her classroom.

Being a mom is nothing like I had imagined, but I’ve settled in nicely. I’ve accepted that I’m not perfect; I make mistakes every day. I still try to do the best for my child, but in a much more realistic and relaxed way. I know enough now to know that I don’t have all the answers, and I value your opinion and advice more than ever.

So, thank you. Thank you for not slapping me silly. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for keeping your mouth shut and not putting me in my place. Thank you for letting me figure this out on my own.

image via iStockPhoto

I’m Over Being My Kid’s Favorite Person

Some parents believe their kids were born remembering tidbits of past lives as old-timey movie stars and what not. I’m totally on board with this idea. Kids can definitely come into this world with lingering memories from previous lives because I’m fairly certain my daughter is a reincarnated Chihuahua.

You know how lapdogs can be slightly neurotic and overly obsessive with a human they consider their ‘person’? This is my daughter, and I am her person. She is always following me, sitting in my lap, and incessantly jumping at my leg to be picked up. She has yet to shit on the carpet, but I’m pretty sure that’s coming. And I’ve decided I won’t rub her nose in it.

Separation anxiety, you say? Not a chance. This level of clinginess can only be explained by her past life as a miniature canine. I’ve considered calling a vet because this shit is getting out of control.

My child is obsessed with me. She is a hard-core mommy enthusiast, and there is no escaping or satisfying her need to have me. Her adoration is not a cutesy, Forest Gump peas and carrots kind of thing. It’s more like a white on rice, stalker kind of thing.

Our mother-child bond surpasses that of Gorilla Glue; it is covalent.

No level of closeness is close enough unless I’m holding her tight and our faces are smashed together. I’m thankful she doesn’t know where babies come from because she would absolutely try to crawl back in there when I wasn’t looking. Maybe that would be close enough. I doubt it though.

Some moms complain that their kids follow them into the bathroom. My child follows me into the bathroom, sits on my lap, and stares at me. I poop making direct eye contact with another human being. I guess this could prove to be a useful skill if I ever find myself in a correctional facility or a door-less bathroom stall struggling with a mild case of food poisoning, but in my current life, it’s just disturbing.

I shower under her watchful eye every morning. She stands with her head inside the curtain, and asks every four seconds if I’m almost done. The whole three minutes I’m in there. I’ve abandoned all hope that I’ll ever shave any of my parts again.  She just doesn’t have time for that.

I’ve read all the articles. I’ve tried to employ the recommended tactics. I tell her where I’m going; I tell her Mommy is always coming back. She is not buying into that shit. It is a well-known fact that as soon as I leave her line of sight, I vaporize. This makes her sad and stressed out, which makes me sad and stressed out because I’m a prisoner in my own home with a two-and-half-foot prison warden monitoring my every move.

Let me qualify all of this with the obligatory I love my kid statement. I do love my child, and I love that I’m her dude. I just don’t love the fact that her head is currently shoved so far up my ass that I’m starting to taste organic animal crackers. Honestly, I’m kind of over being her favorite person. It would be such a relief if she could enjoy the company of someone else. Just long enough for me to catch my breath and recharge. I am drowning in her love for me.

Everyone I talk to about this says the same thing. You’ll miss this someday. Bullshit. I’m wiling to bet I miss this about as much as I miss being constipated when I was pregnant. I know this will eventually pass. She will someday forget about her past experience as a preoccupied pooch. I’m just hoping it’s sooner rather than later because I’m losing my mind.

© 2015 December McIntyre, as first published on Scary Mommy.