The Realization of Motherhood

I wrote this and submitted it to Huffpost Parents. Apparently it didn’t interest them. Well, I still wanted this to be read by someone in hopes of helping other mothers find their way in this parenting thing. Excuse the lacking recipe while I give these thoughts some air. Also, I had a really cute photo of my girls to add to this, but WordPress won’t let me upload anymore pictures right now. So here’s an old photo that was already in my media library.

 

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Here goes…

I am determined. I am stubborn. Those are synonyms in my book. I was the strange girl in school. Instead of writing names of boys I had a crush on all over my notebook pages, I was making lists about future goals and coming up with names for my future children.

I often regret wasting my adolescence on planning what I wanted the next 20 years to be like. As I grew older more and more people told me what a great mom/wife/doormat I would make one day. I loved hearing this! It meant my dreams were on track. Even through all the interest changes and chapter additions in my life, all of my roads on the map still led to babies, kids, family.

This is where my stubbornness comes in. There were plenty of signs along the way telling me I shouldn’t have kids. I ignored them all because once my mind is made and my eyes are set on a goal nothing can stop me.

  1. I’m really cranky if someone wakes me up. It’s all rainbows and sunshine if I wake up 5 minutes before you. If you wake up 5 minutes before me you better pretend I’m not even in the house until I decide it’s time to get out of bed.
  2. I struggle with anger management. I’m a lot better than I was as a hot-headed teenager, but still could use some work.
  3. I hate being interrupted. Especially by someone saying the same phrase over and over until I stop to look at them.
  4. I’m a bit of a control freak. Just a bit. Okay, maybe a lot.
  5. Once I start a project I prefer not to stop until it is completed. Staring at a pile of unfinished business day after day turns me into one of those cartoon characters that beat themselves over the head with a hammer until little birdies begin circling.
  6. Being poked, kicked, bit, scratched, pulled on, puked, pooped, and peed on by a beady-eyed little kid with a creepy laugh (it’s a horror movie thing) isn’t my idea of fun.
  7. Sleep is good.
  8. I love traveling. One of my many wishes in life is to see every wonder the world has to offer.
  9. Having a full wallet is nice.
  10. I like to enjoy my meals instead of scarfing them down like a prisoner.
  11. I enjoy spontaneity.
  12. I hate repeating myself. How many times can a person yell “No, don’t, stop that!” in a day? Roughly a thousand would be the answer.
  13. Zero patience should be my tagline.
  14. I hate messes. I’m a little OCD about it.
  15. I really do enjoy pure silence. I don’t even need music. Just give me a quiet room to reflect, some paper and a pencil.
  16. I’m an introvert. Big time. No let’s get down and boogie all night for me. I’m more of a let’s get down in some pajamas and chill.

All of this screams “DON’T HAVE KIDS,” right?! Wrong! Hello, stubborn over here! I ignored all those signs. Whizzing right passed them on the highway of life- speeding down it like a mad woman.

Somewhere in my youth my biological clock started malfunctioning. My mother used to tell people I was 10 going on 30. In all this planning I never gave much thought to the man I would marry that would help bring these pre-named babies into the world. I was too busy fantasizing about being wooed by J.T.T. to give reality any focus. Or was it Mark McGrath?

Anyway, not having an idea of the kind of guy I wanted to start a family with made things slightly more difficult. I clung to any man that gave me attention. No matter how wrong he was for me. Mistake after heartbreak after mistake just prolonged my process. I started to panic and made drastic changes in my life. I didn’t want to be a cranky, tired OLD mom. If I was going to be cranky and tired I still wanted plenty of good years left on my engine.

This is where my determination comes in. I survived all the wrongs and found my right. I knew it. He knew it. We didn’t care that our families didn’t know it. Got the guy – now it was time for… BABIES!

Boom boom boom! My life was finally catching up to my plan. Oh shit – what was I thinking?! Why did I ignore all those signs?! Simple. Now I’m over here worrying I’ll forget all the little things.

  1. How your curls fall into your eyes. (Seeing this when being woken up makes it a little easier)
  2. How you let out a sigh in my arms before I lay you down. (That sigh melts my anger instantly)
  3. How many times you annoyingly say “Mom!” wanting every bit of my attention. (I can learn to forgive the interrupting)
  4. How proud you are with every step you stumble into my arms. (I can afford to give up a little control)
  5. How you smell after you’ve been playing outside. (Projects will get done eventually)
  6. How small your hands are when you reach up to touch my face. (The sweet touches seem to erase all of the physical abuse)
  7. How you crawl into bed with us for midnight snuggles. (What are a few lost hours of sleep? That’s what coffee is for)
  8. How you follow me around for no other reason except you love me. (You would make traveling even more fun)
  9. How adorably you mispronounce words. (As long as my money is going toward you my wallet can be empty)
  10. How you hum when you eat. (Even if meal times are fast, you do make them more enjoyable)
  11. How you love every new discovery. (We can be spontaneous together)
  12. How you must touch everything. (Repeating myself isn’t so bad)
  13. How everything is followed by an inquisitive “Why?” (The patience seems to grow with each passing year)
  14. How you make that face when you know you’ve done something wrong. (Okay, I don’t really have OCD)
  15. How you randomly ask for music to be put on so you can dance. (I can enjoy silence when I’m old)
  16. How you have yet to realize your potential. (I will always make sure me being an introvert will never get in the way of your potential)

Yeah, motherhood is hard, but not in the obvious ways everyone thinks of. It changes you. It evolves you (hopefully for the better). It makes you aware of exactly who you are. All of those signs can define you and you can still be a mom. You just adapt to the changes. As depressing as it is, those changes are only temporary. Your kids will exit your life as quickly as they entered it and all that will be left is you. Don’t lose sight of who that is through all the fog.

The truth is, who we are before we become parents is what shapes us as a parent. We all have our fallbacks and we all have our strengths. Your neighbor may spend countless hours a week preparing meals from scratch while you serve your child store-bought mac & cheese. That same neighbor may also lose her cool on a regular basis and find herself yelling at her kids more than she would care to admit. You may be the only one on the block that allows their children to watch as much television as they want. Hey, as long as you get time to get things done and they are watching what you believe to be enriching it’s no one’s business!

Is either of these right or wrong? No. We are all right, as long as we are doing the best we can. We are all wrong for judging others. No excuses there. Be kind to one another. Our energy is best spent supporting our fellow mommas. God knows we all need at least one good friend that understands and helps get us through those hard times. Now if you could just pass that memo around to all the mommy and me groups I might actually attend one.

Kinda Like Those Things

I’ve made Bubble and Squeak patties once, but I’ve never had authentic ones made for me. So when I came up with this recipe I was unsure about calling them by that name. Still, they’re kinda like those things. They easy to make and one of my better recipes as of late so I had to share.


Bubble & Leek Patties

makes 20 patties

vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free

  • 2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus a pinch, divided
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon oil, plus extra for brushing
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  1. Place potatoes and parsnip in a large pot with 1 tablespoon of salt and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until soft. About 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, saute the leeks in the oil with a pinch of salt until they are soft and begin to brown. Let cool.
  4. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Let cool.
  5. Mash the potatoes until there are no large lumps. Add pepper to taste, garlic powder, coriander, and sauteed leek. Mix well.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  7. Using your hands, form small patties and place on parchment.
  8. Brush tops with a little oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Carefully flip them over, brush tops with oil again, and bake for another 20 minutes. You could also pan fry them to desired crispness. I always recommend a cast iron skillet for that.
  10. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Note: The parsnip and use of gold potatoes should make this easy to mash and turn into patties without extra help from liquids. If you find your mixture to be too crumbly and dry try adding a tiny bit of vegetable broth at a time until they stay together.

Enough Already

A lot has happened since I last made a post. I feel I have lost myself in all the chaos. There’s not much I care about at the moment. I sure as hell don’t care about food. We’ve been ordering pizza, buying processed crap, and cooking less. It does make me feel a little terrible, but at the same time I don’t actually care. I’m just trying to make it through this season one day at a time. I’m quite numb. The only emotions I have felt a lot of lately are anger and loneliness mixed with a good serving of disappointment. I can’t even cry. The moments I have felt like crying these past few months, instead of tears, nothing. My overwhelming frustration has dried my well as if it were the sun. I am an empty shell.

As if my personal struggles weren’t enough you can’t turn on the TV, read the paper, or scroll through your feed without seeing the world continuing to crumble (at an even faster rate than normal, if that’s possible). It all makes me feel silly for sitting at home, successfully eating my feelings, over everything our family has gone through lately. After all we still have a roof over our heads and food to eat. So what’s there to complain about?

In the last 2 months- we have been to the ER once, the doctor 4 times, the allergist twice, and as of last week little tummy has a new specialist on her team of issues- a pediatric gastroenterologist. She has been to the lab twice for blood draws. Today she had to choke down some tasty barium given to her by a scary man with a mask on while screaming her head off and digging her fingernails into my arm so I wouldn’t let go of her while the big scary man at the other end held her down so the scary doctor to get some images of her GI tract. That still might not be the end of tests in this quest for finding out this mystery problem she recently developed. They’re saving the “best” test for last. “Best” as in she needs to be put under for that one. Her team of doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong, but they all seem to agree that something is up.

I’ve about had it. How many more tests and problems can she have? She’s not even 3 yet!!! Our medical bills were bad before. Now they’re are just getting ridiculous. We even have decent insurance. Still, we are swimming in medical debt. I’m tired. Papa tummy is stressed. How does she continue to have all the energy in the world with a smile on her face? I’m putting this out here for everyone to read so maybe my prayer will be answered.

Dear God, enough already! She doesn’t deserve this. Make the next problem mine. Why have you let me skate by without as much as a broken bone all these years? My life is worth far less than the potential my little girl has. Please, stop this! If you’re trying to teach me a lesson somehow, you’ve made your point. You already took one life from me. Don’t make her the next. I would gladly take on cancer if it means she gets to graduate, walk down the aisle, and experience all that this beautiful life has to offer. Just promise me there will be nothing else added to the long list of her medical records.

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Please excuse me while I work through all of this. Our life needs to return to normal and I need to find myself again. I wish happiness and good health to all of you.