Hi! I'm a Latter-Day-Saint (Mormon)...but I'm definitely not typical...

Friday, May 11

Thoughts As I'm Doing the Dishes...

Tonight...I was doing the dishes. As I was doing the dishes, I thought about my life. I thought about the people who come over to my house and how so often...well, every single time, there are dirty dishes. I apologize for the dishes and the mess that is my house every time. Every. Single. Time. Then I thought about how I don't care...because I refuse to be the mom who, after working in an office the whole day, comes home and cleans. As I was doing the dishes tonight, I realized that my son was cuddling with our cat on my bed while watching Octonauts and I wasn't in there! I wasn't with him! So, as usual, I stopped doing the dishes and spent time with him. He would go to bed soon and I wouldn't get to spend that time with him anymore. My time is limited. My time with my children is SO limited each week...I can't be that kind of parent who cleans when I could love on them. SO....my house is dirty. That is my house...and now that explains why it's the way it is. So...in case you come over anytime soon, don't wonder. Now you know.

Then, I started thinking about my husband. I do this often, especially when he's gone. He and I have a weird relationship sometimes. We are SO different...polar opposites in some things that would make things so much easier if we were more similar in those areas...it makes me laugh. But, isn't that life?! Being LDS/Mormon, we really didn't date long or get to know each other very well until after we were married. Getting engaged a month after you meet and then married 4 months later doesn't give anyone much time to get to know someone on a deeper level, really. Anyway, as I was doing dishes, I thought...for the millionth time since I've married Clayton...what was I thinking?! WAS I thinking??...before I married a guy who was in the military and wanted to be a cop...was I thinking, at all?! I had NO idea what it meant. I didn't know how often we would have to go without talking...a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there. We are in another of those times right now. No talking until the 19th...yeah ok. That's fun. What was I thinking?!

Then hindsight kicked in. I got one of those "glimpses" tonight as to why I have gone through some of the things I have in this life. It was very clear to me tonight...why a lot of the things have happened in my life have happened. The very first thing that came to my mind was my age. I was 32 when I married Clayton...he was 26. I had dated a LOT, had my heart broken many times, had a couple failed engagements. I'd been put through the ringer with relationships a little. Nothing abusive, but LOTS of heartbreak. I had also been raised by an independent, single, mother. I understood tonight why. The whys all came together and told me...with Heavenly Father's inspiration...I had to go through those things, and it took time...so I was older when I got married. I had to be wise. I had to go through very difficult, trying times...heartbreak...depression...financial burden...etc...to be ready for marriage with my sweet Clayton. I have learned determination, perseverance, understanding, acceptance/etc. through my challenges. But the MAIN thing that I have learned, through all of my life experiences, is to find happiness in my current situation, no matter what it is! I refuse to be negative, beat down, depressed/etc. over my current life situation, no matter what it is - I'm not perfect at this, but I've had lots of practice and it's a constant work in progress! I have such a strong desire to not be negative that mentally making myself go through a checklist of blessings in my life every so often helps me be happy!

It's amazing how Heavenly Father teaches us!! His blessings are so abundant...no matter our life circumstances. It's our choice to SEE those blessings. It's not been an easy time with Clayton gone since the beginning of this month. My kids have both been sick...back-to-back...but it's taught me that I can handle it on my own without dying! (Haha! But seriously...) Having sick kids has made time go a little faster. A blessing of him being gone is that I get to look forward to seeing my husband again...I always love seeing him again for the first time after he's been gone. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" isn't just a fun saying...it's so true! When he is gone, I'm caused to reflect on everything he does for me and our family (because I have to take over those duties when he's gone) and how lucky we are to have him. He's an amazing huband...he works 3 jobs usually without any days off for a long time...he insists on being involved with the kids when he is home and always desires to help with whatever I need. He sees things on such an equal plane...it's beautiful. I'm SO lucky. I'm SO blessed. I'm so glad that I was able to reflect on how my life has led me here, and how it's all worked out beautifully...exactly like it was meant to. I'm so glad that I was taught all of these things...as I was doing the dishes.

Monday, February 19

I'm Not That Kind of Mom

When I got married at 32 years old, I had had many years of dreaming about children and thinking about what kind of mom I hoped I would be. I had heard stories of the bonds that mothers had with their children and had long wished for those same bonds for myself with my own children. I had nannied for about 3 years to help teach myself how to be a good parent and as well as to get my child-fix to make sure I never married for children and not love. That worked, by the way. My baby-hungry feelings were calmed and I enjoyed every moment I spent with every amazing child that I had the opportunity to nanny and spend time with.

When the time came for me to actually get married and start a family of my own, let's just say I was more than a little ecstatic! Clayton and I started our family very quickly, getting pregnant within the first couple months of marriage. I endured a very sick pregnancy with my son with no small of amount of puking and poor food choices. I still gained 50 pounds and completely disliked being pregnant.

Not everyone talks about it, but I think one of the things that new moms do constantly when they are pregnant is imagine the first time they see their baby. What will it be like? How will it feel to see my own child for the first time? We have all heard the amazing stories of the "instant connection" and "overwhelming love" that most new moms seem to speak about. I was SO excited for this experience! I dreamed and daydreamed about it. I imagined what he would look like and who he might be like. I tried to imagine, but had a hard time guessing what this "new mom love" and "instant connection" might feel like.

The day came to deliver. My water broke that morning and we got the hospital about 1 hour later. I was having regular contractions and was ready to check in!

Soon after I saw him...my son! I saw him...and he was some baby that I had pushed out of me. I had never met him before. Clayton and my mom both cried. But I didn't feel anything new but sore and tired. Where was the connection that people had talked about?? I thought to myself that I just must have not gotten a good enough look at him, because they took him so quickly to measure/check over him. I waited until I got to hold him again. Well....time passed and I still didn't feel a connection. Jayton - my new son - was not great at nursing. In fact, nursing hurt worse than my natural childbirth a lot of the time. The only time I spent with my new child was either painful nursing or rocking him to sleep. There wasn't really a lot of interaction. Lots of family and friends came over or saw me at church/etc. I CONSTANTLY got the "How does it feel to be a mom?" question those first 3 weeks after he was born. I always answered very honestly - "I don't know. Ask me in a couple of months when I feel like one."

I didn't have an instant connection. I didn't feel like a mom to him. If anything, I felt like a cow who had to fulfill needs from a baby that she didn't even know. I had a breakdown to my sweet husband about it one night and he dealt with it amazingly. We had gone to a birthing class together and had both been warned about baby blues, so he was aware. I had a breakdown about how hard everything was and how I didn't even know if I loved my son. I felt like a horrible mother. Yet...I didn't even feel like a mother.

After some time passed, and I had gotten medication for an infection from breastfeeding, things changed. When Jayton was about 3 weeks old, I looked at him, and the feeling overwhelmed me. I was a mother, and he was my son! I looked at my baby and he finally felt like mine. It was an amazing feeling and one that I had waited for for so long. What an amazing feeling it was...to have a baby that was mine and that I felt such a strong love for.

The second time around with my daughter, it wasn't much different. Although she was an amazing breast feeder, I still just didn't feel that automatic love or connection. I thought that I definitely would because I understood what being a mother was this time around...but I just didn't.

But the difference with this time around is that I knew that feeling would come. It took longer with Kaylee than Jayton...about a month. But guess what? That's ok. I knew Jayton better than Kaylee and attributed it to that. For me...motherhood grows on me slowly. It's not automatic but it's a beautiful and surreal connection.

What an amazing gift motherhood is! It's never as we expect it to be, but isn't it a wonderful and crazy ride?! I'm so glad I get to experience it.

So much love to all of you,