The Messy Part of Motherhood (& the silver linings)
The day before her birthday, Lil' Boo was sitting in her stroller waiting for us to go on a walk.
Right before we left, this happened:
Me (making some serious and loving eye contact): Today is Livi’s Eve!
Livi: What’s that?
Me: That means tomorrow’s your birthday. And we’re going to wake up and eat your favorite breakfast, then Daddy and I have a special surprise for you, then Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Katie are coming over and we’re going to eat cake and open presents. It’s going to be the best day.
As I was talking excitedly about all the things we were going to do on her birthday, by the end, I was smiling through tears. Then, she just looked at me, cocked her head to the right and gave me the most gigantic hug and told me she loved me.
In that moment she passed the threshold from two to three. I didn’t need a mile marker or another candle as a reminder.
Like many mother’s, I’m sure, I’ve spent my fair share of time before her birthday nostalgically replaying videos, looking at old photos, and replaying memories in my head. Thinking about how much life we’ve already lived together these last three years makes my heart swell. My world has gotten exponentially better. And my heart exponentially bigger.
Behold, this list is something we can all relate to: the stuff I find myself rarely feeling grateful for, wishing away, or blocking from my memory. To put it more bluntly, this is the really messy stuff. That hard parts. But the little reminders that my child is alive, bold, and loved— and I’m so grateful for that.
So today, Livi, this list is for you. The days are long, the years are short. And oh, they're already dwindling. Thanks for making all my dreams come true.
1. SLEEPLESS NIGHTS. After long days, and often sleepless nights, sleep deprivation and hanger can start to curdle in my veins leaving me (often times) less than pleasant. But sleepless nights means your heart is beating, and you’re dreaming big dreams.
2. THE LONGEST BEDTIME ROUTINE. One day when I crave spending time with you, I won’t think the bedtime routine was the longest. I’ll miss reading 10 books to you, and seeing water everywhere from a little girl who loves splashing in the bathtub, and I'll miss you singing to me right before bed because you don’t feel like going to sleep. These long bedtime routines remind me that you still outwardly want to spend time with us, and I'm so grateful for that.
3. BEING PICKY ABOUT CLOTHES. Sometimes we spend 20 minutes in the morning before I go to work fighting about what you’re going to wear. Sometimes you wanna wear pajamas. Sometimes ya wanna be naked. And sometimes you hate the clothes I've picked out that day (even when I give you options!). This shows me that you’re already an independent woman and thinker with a mind of your own.
4. DIRTY LAUNDRY. Thank you, Livi, for reminding me that life exists in the little nooks and crannies, like jumping in puddles and running through sprinklers. All that dirty laundry reminds me you’re living your life to the fullest.
5. SCRAPES & BRUISES. This is proof that you’re trying. It reminds me that kisses and hugs are still a great source of comfort, and that a popsicle can fix almost anything.
6. MELTDOWNS & TANTRUMS. No, Livi, you can't have chocolate for breakfast, or watch Mickey Mouse in the car. When these tantrums and meltdowns occur, I'm reminded to check my maturity and communication skills. Good communication helps connect us in these moments of minor crisis. You’ve taught me that eye contact, a gentle smile, and a warm hug can do wonders. And rephrasing our words into “how can I help?” vs. “stop crying” lets you know I’m listening.
7. MIRRORS. Call it cliche, or just downright mushy given the circumstances (yes, a birthday--- did I mention I’m dramatic?), but raising a child has encouraged me to become more me. If you’re watching everything I do, I better try harder to keep doing the best I can. So thank you Livi for reminding me that I’m important, too. That when I work out, take care of my body, and work creatively, that you can do all those things, too. And we can do them together.
8. BEING IMPERFECT. Unconditional love exists in our ability to love without condition. And you have shown me that no amount of tantrums, messy hair, or naughty words (whoops... did I mention she repeats a lot? :|), could ever keep me from loving you.
9. TELLING ME "NO." Thank you, Livi, for telling me "no!" sometimes. When you tell me that, it shows me that you're learning how to set boundaries, teaches me that I need to explain myself better, and reminds me that you're learning to make your own decisions about your life and what you want.
So thank you for teaching me about life. In more ways than I can put into words, you’ve reminded me how to live. I hope one day you get to read this.
Sending all you mamas out there a happy Mother’s Day, and so much love. May your coffee be warm, and your breakfast be in bed.
Did this message resonate with you? If so, I'd love to hear more. Send me a quick comment below, an email, text, or a hug if I see ya! We're all in this messy life together!
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