Moments of Motherhood

There are so many pros to having your babies close together. They always have a playmate. You never feel like you have to ‘start over’ with the entire process because you’re already in it. You become pretty fabulous at juggling 20 balls in the air at one time and are ready for pretty much anything that can be thrown at you. Literally.

You go through sleep deprivation all at once, night after night, month after month, year after year. You don’t even notice the bags under your eyes anymore as they have permanently taken up residence and just seem to now fit.

And you’ve become accustomed to chaos, every second, of every minute, of everyday. So accustomed, that you wouldn’t realize the circus you are putting on for everyone in public. You’d probably join them and roll your eyes while shaking your head if you saw another family carrying on with the same antics as you are putting on.

But I, for one, happen to love my circus. My daily life craziness actually is the normal that I prayed for my entire life. Frankly, I wouldn’t trade it for the most quiet, organized, successful, well-traveled, well-rested lifestyle. But, that is just me.

When you have a crew like mine and you venture out in public, people have the opportunity to do one of two things: they either fall in love with you and adore your beautiful, entertaining monkeys by ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘awe-ing’ and chuckling at the tricks of your little performers or absolutely, positively despise you and are irritated by everything about your entire crew and each move and every noise.

But one would think you’d at least get some slack from other parents who are going through or have gone through the same things. Right? That they’d get it? They don’t hate you for being the one hogging grocery aisles with three shopping carts and three crying children or Heaven forbid, taking up three times the space on a sidewalk or one side of the mall or fairground pushing the double stroller. Yes, being the woman pushing the stroller; oh the looks could kill.

But the other parents are supposed to be on the same team. Battling the same battles. Fighting the same fights. Holding onto the same roller coaster ride that you’re currently being flung around on; white knuckles from holding on so tightly for dear life.

But, as with anything, you have your Negative Nancy’s and Debbie Downer’s. And unfortunately, they are everywhere.

At the grocery store, at church, at the park, at the mall, at the gas station, and sadly, they even find you out of town visiting family and friends. They’re everywhere. And the best part, they manage to sneak up on you with their ‘words of wisdom’ at the most opportune times.

The baby is bucking in the grocery cart but you must keep pushing through despite what the best parenting research says; show your child that you won’t put up with that behavior in public and leave immediately. Well, I apologize to everyone in Wal-Mart but I cannot leave and must get my groceries. It’s now or never. And before my trip is over, at least one or two other shoppers lean over and share, “Oh you just wait. It gets worse.”

My toddler is speaking out in the middle of church. We do what we can, take him out to the cry area, use as many quieting techniques as possible. Just then the older woman behind us whispers, “It’s OK, dear. Don’t worry. Mine went through that stage. He’ll grow out of it. But boy, hold on. You’ll have so many other issues to deal with when this phase fizzles out. You’ll be wishing you had this back.”

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and the kids are running around laughing at the park. Everyone seems to be having a great time until the baby falls on the cement from running ahead too fast and busts open her knee. A bystander pipes in, “Oh poor thing. You always hate to see them get hurt. In a handful of years you’ll be afraid to let them leave the house and have to worry about each time they get in the car with one of their friends or go out on a date. Ugh, I wish these were the boo boo’s I still had to worry about fixing. Just wait. It gets worse!”

All three kids are shrieking and running underneath the clothes racks in a store at the mall. Everyone in the store seems to be quite annoyed as if we are purposefully trying to ruin their relaxing day out. Another dad walks by and says out of the side of his mouth, “You think things are tough now, ha! You have no idea! It only gets worse.”

The kids are fighting and hitting each other in the back seat of the car while we’re filling up at the gas station. The person across from us chuckles as they’re being entertained by the impromptu WWE show going on in our vehicle and says, “Reminds me of how mine used to be. They still hate each other to this day, and they’re all in their mid to late teens now. I hope one day they’ll like each other.”

You’re at home for the holidays and run into friends of the family that haven’t seen you in a couple of years. You have the kids dressed in their best and are ecstatic to show off your picture perfect, beautiful, intelligent, personable, glowing children. Naturally as soon as they are approached and asked their name or how old they are, they shut down, stick their face into your leg, shake their head back and forth while screaming “No!”

The family friends are quick to respond, “Oh it’s OK. I’m sure they’re trying to adjust from being out of their normal routine and away from home.

Try to enjoy this time since they grow so up so fast and before you know it, they’ll want nothing to do with you. My kids never want to talk or be around me. Soon you won’t have this.”

When we get these comments, normally I do the infamous smile and chuckle and reply with something like, “Oh I can only imagine!” Or nervously laugh, “They’re something else, aren’t they?” But most of the time I want to look them square in the eyes and ask, “Really? Thanks a million for the great pep talk! Now I feel so much better! Whooh, that’s a load off!”

It’s tough being a parent for all of us. The different worries that I’ll endure and battles I’m sure to face, but I’m a mother; it’s my job to worry. There will never be another day for the rest of my life that I’m not worried about my children.

But I leave you with this thought to ponder: Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes. Be that start or that bridge for the next struggling Mama you encounter. A couple words of encouragement could be a total game changer.

Long is a local author and mother of three. Her column is published on the first and third Sunday of each month. She may be reached at

Moments of Motherhood

We are now living in a society where social media is able to do many things to connect, inform and publicize anything and everything you could think of. One of the most popular being Facebook, one of the main reasons I use it for is sole bragging rights of my children. I feel compelled to post about each milestone, every accomplishment, almost documenting each and every move they make. To say I am proud mother may be one of the biggest under statements.

But with that said, I also have been ‘connected’ to so many families who post the journeys of their children who are suffering and need as much support as they can get. To see and read some of the stories of what these helpless babies and children endure, it almost seems unreal; it’s just too painful and cruel for any person or family to imagine or endure.

For some of these children, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and although it may be a long, unthinkable fight, they have a cure, they have hope that at some point, this nightmare will be fought and beaten. For others, they will gain their angel wings all too early and leave this world before their lives have even had a chance to begin. With that said, despite never being prepared to say goodbye, some families are given a timeline signifying the days, weeks, months or at best, years, that they will have left with their child.

Although I pray that I will never be one to receive that type of earth shattering news, I think to myself that there may be the tiniest silver lining to this devastation, of not only living each day to the fullest with your child, but living for each and every moment with them; being in each moment, breathing each moment and physically living each moment with them.

After being delivered such news, a timeline in which you are forced to squeeze a lifetime of hopes, wants, and dreams into a time frame that doesn’t come close to being possible, or for that matter, fair.

But then

The trivial matters of life, well, they no longer matter, and for some, no longer exist.

This world that we coexist in with 7 billion other people, miraculously just shrunk down to two – you and your child. Anything or anyone that used to deviate your time, thoughts or energy from what is most important in life, no longer has that control.

The chores that need done, you realize that they will still be there waiting for you.

As soon as the laundry is caught up, there will be another load waiting for you to wash. The minute the dishes are done, there already is another pile stacked beside the sink to be cleaned.

The floors, the dusting, the sanitizing and the organizing, all things that are ‘OK’ to be on hold.

You will quickly come to find none of them will be moved or have disappeared, they will be safely waiting in each of their appropriate holding spots for when you’re able to get to them.

The constant daily demands, they no longer govern your day/life. The calls, texts, emails, or putting in extra hours to appease someone in a higher authority or maybe to even placate yourself, seem to be put to the wayside.

You now have a very distinct picture of what and who matter and all others can take a number and wait patiently for a response.

The “put offs,” the “this can wait until tomorrow,” the “we’ll do it, just not today,” those no longer seem to be a part of your vocabulary because frankly, this isn’t the case.

Today just may be your only option and when it takes Superman to make it happen, you politely say to the doubting others, “Please step aside and watch me make it happen.”

The saving of the money and waiting for the right time becomes a thing of the past.

Why save for a rainy day when it is already upon you? Wait until you have enough money to have kids. Wait until you have more money in your kids’ college funds to take them on that family vacation you all have been dreaming about.

“Wait until” … it has quickly turned into now. The truth is, you’ll never have enough or the ideal amount of money in each fund or each area of your life.

Use it on the people and things that matter, leaving memories permanently imprinted upon your heart that you’ll never find yourself regretting.

Could such a curse, such a devastation, possibly be a blessing in disguise? Is it possible that some parents are able to make more of their time in several, all too short months versus what some of us parents are able to do in several years? Unfortunately, I think this is absolutely true.

Life happens. It happens every single day. We work. We work long and hard. The laundry and dishes needs washed, the house needs vacuumed and swept and dusted, the bills need paid, errands need run, groceries need bought, meals need prepared, calls and emails need returned, and the list could go on and on.

But at the end of the day, can some of that wait? Is it possible that those daily callings are able to be postponed and put on hold?

I’m certainly not trying to be unrealistic and say we are able to live in a world where nothing needs or should be done besides basking in our children’s glory.

Not at all. But maybe a simple secret to be successful in this is to stay up later and wake up earlier. Let your children’s time be your time. Remember that they are only little for a short amount of time and before we know it, there will come a day that they no longer want or need to be around us nearly as much as we’d like or maybe even need.

Read that extra book at bedtime that you’re normally too exhausted to tackle. Wear out the words “I love you” and not only say it but show it. Wrap your arms around your loved ones twice as much as you normally do and when they ask why you’re doing this reply with, “just because.”

Take the time to put down the phones and the computer and look at your children and partner when they’re speaking to you; give them your undivided attention and not just hear them but listen to them.

So, if you knew today was your last day with your children, what would you do or maybe not do? What are you able to cut out of your daily schedule that doesn’t permit you to actually enjoy it, to spend an adequate amount of quality time with your children?

If we wake up with the thought that today was our last day, I think we would actually start living a more fulfilled life, one worth living for.

Long is a local author and mother of three. Her column is published on the first and third Sunday of each month. She may be reached at