Hi Mom!

I see you. I see you feeling lonely now that your children are grown and on their own. I see you wondering where the years went – wondering if you did the best you could? I see you worried about your adult children, wanting to hold them tight and protect them just like you did when they were babies. I see you wishing you could always keep them safe. I see you as you wistfully walk down memory lane, thinking how it feels like yesterday that you celebrated first birthdays, tended to scraped knees, and told bedtime stories.

I see you, Mom. I see you in the way I raise my own son. I see you as I teach him what you taught me – to be a good and kind person – a person that loves God and loves others. I see you as I read bedtime stories and sing songs, just like you did with me when I was younger. I see you as I prepare breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners – again and again and again. I remember how you loved cooking for us as I endeavor to love cooking for my family as well. I see you when I cry over my son and when I pray for his present and future self as I know you cried and prayed over me. I see you as I kiss his boo-boos, dry his tears, and hold him tight just like you did for me.

I see you, Mom. I know you feel forgotten sometimes. I know you’ve always thought I loved my Dad more. I know at times you feel taken for granted and just a little bit sad that you no longer have littles at home. I read somewhere that children tend to take their Mother’s love for granted because they know that Mom will always love them. It’s a safe love – one that won’t go away no matter what. Well, I want to tell you, Mom, that I will always love you right back. I will always love you – I will always see you – and I will always need you. Happy Mother’s Day.

 

This post is dedicated to my real-life Momma with whom I have not taken a picture in quite some time (which may be why she thinks I love my Dad more?). She LOVED raising her daughters and now enjoys being with her grandchildren, but I know she still misses the times when we were little. 

The following post was originally written as a social media post in July of 2019. I wanted to add it here as a short post in the hopes of encouraging someone else who may be struggling through the same feelings that I was at the time. 

With Love,
Adrienne

~~~

Today in the shower I looked down and saw the scar left behind by the incision from my emergency cesarean. Like every other time, I felt disgusted. I wished it wasn’t there. I wondered if I would ever feel “normal” again. I thought about the stigma associated with cesarean births and felt like I had somehow failed in giving birth.

But I was also grateful – thankful – reminded of how blessed I truly am. Today I held my 23-pound child. Today I ran up and down the basement stairs doing laundry. Today I went on a “Mommy and William” adventure through the neighborhood. Today I rolled around on the floor tickling my little human while he belly laughed and crawled all over me. Today I can walk and play and do all the things. Today I am alive and I am grateful for that cesarean that allowed my beautiful baby boy to be delivered safely.

We are programmed to compare. After all, comparison brings in money. My hair doesn’t look like hers – I need whatever she is using. How is her skin so smooth? I must get that face wash! If I buy those jeans – that pair of shoes – this makeup color – that exercise routine – that (insert whatever it might be) – I will finally feel beautiful. I will feel right. I will feel complete.

So, we go about our days feeling subpar to the airbrushed model, that Mom in our friend group with the perfect kids, and the neighbor lady who always looks so put together with her stylish wardrobe. I don’t look like her, so I am less. I don’t act like her, so I am less. I don’t dress like her, so I am less. Now, I have nothing against that airbrushed model, the Mom with the perfect kids, or the stylish neighbor lady. What I am against, though, is the lie that we so easily believe. The lie that if we don’t look the same as someone else – if our hair or our skin or our body or our parenting or even our hobbies are different than someone else, that somehow, we are wrong. The lie that we aren’t good enough the way we are.

I want to add a caveat here, before you stop reading. You may think this is just a frilly post about how “I am perfect the way I am” and “I don’t need to change – if you don’t like me then leave!” But I assure you, it is not. I do actually believe that we should always be in the process of bettering ourselves. Learning is good. Improvement is helpful. Adopting the mindset that you have not arrived and are ever a work in progress is vital, I believe, in combatting stagnation and narcism.

But I do also believe that we are, in a sense, perfect the way we are, because we are the way God made us to be. Trust me, I would love to change a few things about my hair, my skin, and my body, and the things that I can change, I am working on. But I refuse to obsess over these things. I refuse to let them define me or control me. I refuse to enjoy my life less because of these things. Each day, I will continue to work hard to improve who I am, but I will also put on my bathing suit and play in the water with my son. I will dance around the house and yard with my son. I will take oh-so many pictures and videos with my son. And I will not apologize to the virtual world for the way my voice might sound or my potentially messy hair or any perceived flaw in my face.

I wish the same for you and for every woman of the world. I hope that you can see yourself through God’s eyes as one who bears His image. I hope that you will dance with your children without worrying about what others think. I hope that you will take hundreds and thousands of pictures and videos with your children for the memory’s sake without apologizing about how you perceive that you look. I hope that you play games in the yard, jump in the pool, chase after your children, and make as much as you can out of the moments you’ve been given with your children. I hope that you do it all with a contented confidence in who you are – in who God has made you to be.

I wish this for you and I wish this for me because our children are watching. Each of these precious little sponge-like shadows picks up on what we think about ourselves, learning from all that we say and do as well as what we don’t say and do. Let’s have some confidence in who we are and lead those precious little sponge-like shadows into a greater appreciation for the One who created them. Friend, your family needs a confident you.

I’m the perfect Mom – and so are you! Do you feel like you are? Probably not. I get it. I don’t usually feel like the perfect Mom either. I mean, after all, even if the entire day was smooth-sailing, there’s still “other people” to remind me that I’m doing something wrong.

You know what I mean, right? It starts in the very beginning when you announce a baby is on the way. “They” want to know what you’ll feed the baby – breastmilk or formula? Will you stay home with the baby or go back to work? Maybe work from home while taking care of the baby? What pediatrician are you using? Will you co-sleep? Cry-it-out? Do you plan to get the epidural – go all natural – have a cesarean? The questions and comments go on and on, growing as the child grows.

Now, it really doesn’t matter what your answer is to these (and so many other) questions. Whatever you say – whatever you do – it will be wrong. Your answer will be wrong to someone. Somewhere. You will have moments of wondering if you made the right decisions. At times you will feel like a failure. You may very likely find yourself questioning every single thing you do.

But I’m here to tell you that you are the perfect Mom. Think about it – God gave those babies to you to raise. He equipped you with what you need to raise those precious and challenging little treasures and you are exactly what they need in a Mom. Are you perfect? No. I’m not either! That’s not even possible. Are you  loving those children with everything that is in you? Are you doing all in your power to keep them safe? Are you making each and every decision with their best interest in mind? I know I am. And that, friends, makes me the perfect Mom…for Will. And it makes you the perfect Mom for your children.

So yes, do your research. Figure out what you think will work best for your family. Be adaptable and gracious – know that people (mostly) mean well with their uncomfortable comments and questions. Love and protect those babies, children, and teenagers without abandon. Live in the joy of each moment with your children knowing that you are the perfect Mom for them.

I have one son – and he’s under two years old. So, I’m obviously a wise and seasoned parent with lots of experience. I know what I’m talking about – you should listen to me. My knowledge is vast.

Wow – do you hate me? Or, perhaps my audacity has caught your attention? Either way, the above paragraph is complete sarcasm. The only actual fact in that paragraph is that I have a son under two. I don’t have any parenting experience beyond an almost-two-year-old boy. In comparison to others, I really don’t know what I’m talking about. You certainly do not have to listen to me! But, you can – if you want to. 

The truth is, I do have something that is heavy on my heart as a Mom – really, as a human. Though only a Mom for roughly two years, I have been around others – adults, children, and in-betweens – for much longer than that. Again and again I’ve been astounded, caught off guard, and saddened by the lack of manners people seem to possess. I’m certainly not a perfect picture of manners. In fact, if you’re reading this, and my manners (or lack of) have offended you at some point in the past, please, PLEASE forgive me! I know, though, that my parents raised me to respect others and to say please and thank you. Always. No exceptions.

So, as an adult, when I hear someone being rude – and let’s face it, a lack of manners is just plain rude – I shudder. Why is this person acting and talking this way? Why isn’t he saying thank you? Where is her please? How is it that so many people aren’t using common manners to interact with fellow humans?

Then, later as an adult, I became a Mom. My husband, true to his nature, sought to make life as easy as possible for me. He bought the (overpriced) baby swing they used in the hospital nursery because Will slept peacefully in that swing while we were in the hospital. He installed a baby monitor we could control with our phones. My husband even equipped our house with smart devices that could play music, answer questions, and turn lights on and off on demand. How convenient, right? Well, yes and no.

You see, Will now follows Sean and I around the house, copying everything we do. He’s at that stage where he’s learning so many new words and practicing his speech through nonstop series of jumbled sounds (with a few decipherable words thrown in the mix). What he sees, he does. What he hears, he says (kind of). At some point it hit me that if I continued to tell these smart devices to do things for me, Will was going to learn to do the same. Oh, you need the lights on? Tell someone to do it. Do you want music playing? Tell the device! Also, why bother saying “thank you” because it isn’t listening anymore anyway (debatable, I know). How is my Alpha Generation toddler supposed to understand the difference between AI and actual real-life humans? If Mom and Dad can find out the weather, play music, control lights, and set timers without saying please or thank you, why would he need to say those words as he begins to communicate? Why can’t he just tell someone to do something? Why say thank you? It’s just a device – or maybe a person – it must be rather confusing for a child, actually.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I enjoy, appreciate, and benefit from technology. I am not blaming smart devices for a generational lack of good manners. What I’m saying, though, is our children are watching us. They are watching, copying, repeating, and all of the other scary things that happen as we raise these miniature versions of ourselves. As parents, if we don’t say please to the waiter or thank you to the cashier – if we don’t treat our fellow humans with respect – why would our children? I know they have minds of their own but they are so, so moldable. They do what they see and they say what they hear. We are responsible for teaching our children manners. They represent the generation that comes after us. We cannot grow lazy! It is up to us to instill a respect for others in our children. Do you want children that love others, show respect to all people, and make the world a better place? I do! That means that I have to live that way. My lifestyle must reflect those manners, and, my friend, so does yours.

Please, please lead by example and raise mannerly children, even in the midst of a smart home world. I can do it. You can do it. We can do it together!

Thank you!

Is there anything more humbling than a tiny human that copies what you do? My little guy is currently a year and a half and it seems like every day he does something new that stops us in our tracks with a feeling of familiarity. Apparently I shrug and say “I don’t know” a lot because Will does his own version of that now. Tonight during bath time, my husband pretended to have Will wash his feet. Will laughed hysterically and then reached for his own feet to wash. His new favorite bed time activity is sitting in his room “reading” his books like we’ve done with him so many times before. We normally laugh and find these little actions oh-so adorable. Who doesn’t love a tiny human that shrugs his shoulders and tries to pronounce words he can’t quite sound out? Sometimes, though, the copying is a painful reminder of my own shortcomings. The first time I saw Will grab my phone and lay on the ground “scrolling” aimlessly with his feet in the air, I gasped. Why was he doing this? Where had he seen this before? I knew it was me. I knew I had unwittingly taught my son the value I placed on my phone. He knew my phone was important to me and he wanted to play with it too. That moment was humbling for me but led to a conscience decision about the types of behaviors I want to display to my son. I know he’s always watching – always copying – always learning. I have a great responsibility to live a life that I would want Will to emulate – a life that I would be proud of seeing him act out. I know I won’t be perfect, but I can make the conscious decision each day to lead a life filled with the kinds of actions that improve the present and impact the future for good.