So it’s been a minute since I’ve written you. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. Just had other things which pushed letter writing to the side.
Neala you are almost two years old. Lincoln you are 3 1/2 months. This basically means I have little to no free time during the day. By the time you both are in bed, my body is so tired I can’t use my fingers to type. I mean, seriously. Feeding you, playing with you, chasing you and cleaning up all your poo has sapped all the energy out of me. It’s so bad some nights I cannot force myself to get off the couch while daddy is watching sports. The struggle is real children, very real.
Despite my “mommy of two littles” exhaustion, I am trying to read a bit here and there. I recently read a book where the author talks about letting go of impossible parenting standards. Boy did I need to read this. You see, when I quit teaching full time and took a part-time job I placed a lot of expectations on myself. I made a “Part-time Bucket List” in my head of all the wondrous things I would now have time to do. Here are just a few of the things at the top of my bucket list.
* Writing more letters to you.
Namely one per week. My sleep deprived brain told me you would somehow nap at the same time everyday and I would have time to sit, think and type.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. I don’t even get to eat with two hands most days. Typing only happens after 8pm in this house. And by then my brain is mushy mashed potatoes.
* A cleaner house.
Uhhh….not so much. Let’s just say your stanky little booties get wiped more than the kitchen counter most days.
*More time in the garden
Our new house came with a ginormous garden. Yay! Since Lincoln still takes 5 naps a day, I figured I would take Neala out to the garden in the mornings. She would entertain herself quietly while I picked tomatoes, green beans and peppers. She would play on her slide while I pulled weeds and dug up potatoes.
Neala- you definitely entertain yourself quietly. You climb into the potato patch and eat the dirt. Every.single.time. I’m pretty sure you think the garden is a giant edible playground.
When I’m done in the garden, you are covered in dirt and I carry you in kicking and screaming, “Tayta! Tayta” (That’s toddler for potato). Forget washing the veggies. I’m scrubbing you down in the bath because you look like filthy “tayta”.
* Age appropriate learning activities
I envisioned myself finding fun and educational activities for the both of you. Neala, you would learn and pronounce all your colors and shapes. You would know all the motions and words to famous nursery rhymes and perform them perfectly while I videotaped you.
You think every color is blue (pronounced boo).
I sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider while you repeat the words “itsy” and “wash” over and over. And over.
The moment I start to record you dancing or singing you stop and turn into a wild child. You run around in circles screaming.
The best is when I go to grab the camera. You take that as a cue to climb onto the kitchen table.
* Exposing Lincoln to a variety of books and tactiles
I would read books to you every afternoon while Neala slept to increase your vocabulary skills. Which would of course build up a rich network of words in your brain and make you the #smartestbabyever
I would find objects with different textures and run them across your hands to trigger new receptors in your brain. Exposing you to smooth, rough, sticky and soft surfaces will be so fun and make me the #bestmomever.
This hasn’t worked out well either. When I try to read you a book, Neala will run over and climb in my lap. (Did I mention I’m holding you? This makes for a very crowded lap.) We struggle to finish the book because she insists on turning the pages back and forth and back and forth 128 times.
You might be shocked to know the exposure to a variety of tactiles has actually worked out.
Lincoln your little hands (and sometimes your mouth) have touched:
Neala’s dirty hands
whatever Neala is eating for lunch
random things Neala has pulled out of top of the trash can
I mean, really. Go ahead and get the “Mother of the Year” trophy ready.
* Neither one of you would watch T.V. for more than 30 minutes.
Three words. Three life saving words: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
When we’ve played with all your toys, and pulled everything out of the bottom kitchen drawers. When we’ve read Brown Bear 17 times and walked out to get the mail. When I’ve changed five poopy diapers and chased Neala around the house begging her to put her clothes back on (That’s your new thing right now Sis. It was cute the first time. But now we’re over it.)
When I’ve danced and sang “Itsy” and played blocks and baby dolls and tea party and Can’t. Do. One. More. Thing.
Well, that’s when we watch Mickey. The “Hot Diggity Dog” song is a sweet melody in my ears. It means I can sit on the couch and relax.
I used to feel guilty about letting you watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for an hour.
But this book has helped motivate me to let go of unrealistic expectations.
I’m only halfway through, but my favorite quote so far is, “We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”
Yep. That pretty much sums it up for me.
I made my bucket list in an attempt to be an awesome part-time mommy. I finally had the best of both worlds and I was going to prove to myself and everyone around me how much I could accomplish with all this extra time.
But neither one of you care about that list. Your daddy doesn’t care about it either.
It’s a safe bet to say God doesn’t give a hoot about my part-time bucket list.
I need to stop trying to be an awesome mommy. An awesome part-time teacher. An awesome wife and daughter and sister and church volunteer and friend.
I just need to be wise.
It would be a lie to say I’ve stopped reaching for impossible standards and unrealistic expectations. There are still days I try to put on my “awesome at everything sweater” . But now it feels itchy and tight so I trade it for the very comfortable “I’m a normal mom t-shirt”.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
I’m asking God for wisdom in every area of my life.
I’m asking him to help me let go of the crazy hard expectations I set for myself.
I’m asking him to help me adjust my priorities. Happy children who feel loved is waaay more important than a clean house.
I’m also asking him to give me grace when I have to wipe your noses. It is the grossest thing ever and I’m pretty sure I throw up in my mouth a little every time.