I’ve got a bad case of hat head…

Of the many hats I wear in life, ‘Mom’ is most assuredly the most worn. Faded from wear, tattered and in desperate need of a wash, I slip it on every day – sometimes wear it throughout the night – and only briefly take it off when I have the privilege of switching it for the ‘Wife’ hat on date night.

My children exhaust me; wear me out, every day. Granted I only have two of them. But they are busy wee ones with growing minds and bodies, whose mouths can’t quite keep up with all they want to say and whose little legs just never seem to run as fast as they’d like them to. (Unless of course they’ve got their new shoes on.)

And while I know my Mom Hat was tailored specifically for me, there are those days where it just doesn’t sit quite right…the fit seems off…and I find myself wanting nothing more than to trade it in. It is on those days, I take that hat and I hold it tightly to my head, so that no matter what sort of storm may come up my hat will not fall off. My children know me by it; my husband praises me for it; my friends and those nearest to me see it and know just when it needs to be perked up…readjusted so that I am reminded of what a treasure it is. Because truth be told, of all the gifts I have ever received, that hat is the finest.

My kids are growing up. And while it’s true, they are still both preschoolers, my time with them at home grows short. These days are priceless. I will be the mom who drops her firstborn off at kindergarten and proceeds to ugly cry in the car until it’s time to pick her up. (I mean, for goodness sake, the waterworks are on full blast as I write this and it’s still a year away.) It has suddenly hit me square in the face that I will not ever get this time back. This is it. This is the only time in life where my children will beg me to lay beside them while they fall asleep; take my hand and, beaming with pride, lead me to the puzzles they were finally able to put together all on their own; ask me if we could please do hugs and kisses just once more, even though we both know there’s never just one more; snuggle in to my side and fit so perfectly it’s as though they have always, always been a part of me; ask me to fix things, while telling me normally Daddy does this but you can try and then he can fix it again when he’s home; bring me the picture they drew, just for me, because somehow they knew I needed it that day; run to me when they are hurt or scared because I am their safety net; rather sit with me than play with their friends; take my face in their precious, grimy, little chubby hands, and tell me I love you, Mom. You’re my best mom, just because they were thinking it in that moment.

These brief years are but a small glimpse into a child’s world of imagination, dreams and determination.  And so I wear my tattered, stinky Mom Hat with pride, day in and day out, because I know there is coming a time when it will hang somewhere in the house and only be worn when needed. And that’s okay too, because then I get to wear my Wife Hat much more, and date nights will turn into date days and weeks, filled with adventures with my husband; the man I love most in this world.

But for now, I am Mom. And oh, do you like my hat?

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Where I am today…

There was a point in my life where I could not have imagined I’d be where I am now. That being said, at this point in my life, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

I am a proud wife to the most creative, most innovative man I know, who also happens to be the hardest working, best looking man out there. He brings ideas and solutions with him wherever he goes; he takes time to play and laugh with the kids, despite what stresses his day may have brought; he loves me for who I am, not who I was or who I might be someday, but for who I am right now, on this day, in my current state. He is nothing short of incredible and I try hard not to take him for granted.

Me & Dean, my love for life

I am the exhausted yet privileged mother to the two most beautiful children in the world. (No bias here, whatsoever.) They are 15 months apart in age but my one-year-old son now weighs half a pound more than my two-year-old daughter. We seem to be done with Livia wondering “when’s this baby going back?” and it has been a joy and a blessing to watch them embrace each other as siblings. Watching them play and laugh together makes my heart sing; I thank God everyday for giving me such a beautiful family.

Eyan & Livia enjoying the perks of grocery shopping with Mama

Eyan enjoying his 1st birthday cupcake without inhibition.

Livia, such a beautiful and spirited little thing, loves to be outside.

From 2003-2005 I worked my butt off for a diploma in professional writing. Dean and I were married in 2006 and since we didn’t need me to work, I didn’t. When I did get a job it was as an administrative assistant, not exactly what I went to school for, and, though I was able to do a bit of freelance editing for a while, I have in no way ever been a career woman. Which is partly why I have recently  been really struggling to find any real way of defining who I am. So for the past two years I have defined myself simply as wife and mother. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not complaining. But when the other moms you know all start going back to work and sending their kids off to daycare, and you suddenly realize you’re the only one literally spending 24 hours a day with your kids, it just comes as a sort of shock. A wake up call to the fact that oh..yeah…this IS my job.

I started putting an immense amount of pressure on myself to become “that mom”. You know who I mean. She wakes up every morning before anyone else in the house does, despite how things with the baby may have gone throughout the night. She goes out for a 5km run, comes home but doesn’t have to shower since she’s so fit she never sweats. She sits and reads her Bible, prays for her family, friends, church and world leaders and enemies (aka ‘rowdy neighbors who wake up her children at night’). She packs lunch for her husband and sends his well-rested butt out the door with a heartfelt embrace. She joyfully tends to the children as they get up and go through the day; never needing to raise her voice or enforce a timeout, ensuring every meal is a nutritious one, the television isn’t on for more than half an hour but rather her children are stimulated by spending time outdoors or crafting or reading; everyone gets their nap in and dinner is ready and waiting for when her husband comes home. Once dinner is cleaned up and the dishwasher has been emptied and loaded, she dutifully plays with the children while her husband rests from his tiring day until it is time for the kids’ bath and bedtime routines. It isn’t until around 9.30pm, when the toddler really has finally gone to sleep and isn’t running out of the bedroom every ten minutes, and the baby is no longer screaming about who knows what, that she is able to switch the wash load over to the dryer, clean up the rest of the house and get herself to bed by midnight so that she can get up the next day and do it all over again.

Sound like anyone…ANYONE you know?

In so many areas, that is the person I want to be. And when I read over it, sure some things are exaggerated, but that is basically my day, every day, apart from the areas that I fail in miserably. I never get up before the kids. I can’t remember the last time I exercised. I rarely spend any quiet time reading my Bible or praying for those around me. I’m terrible at meal planning so our meals are hardly what one would call nutritious and Dean never has proper leftovers to take for lunch. Our TV is on for more like 3 or 4 hours in a day. I lose my patience with the kids all the time and at the end of the day all I want to do is sit and veg out; forget about the laundry and tidying up the house. It’ll be there tomorrow, right?

And you see, for a long time I was letting me tell myself how much of a failure in life I was because of all those things. I’m a mother after all, we’re supposed to have it all together, right? It wasn’t until I was starting to have physical and emotional breakdowns on a regular basis that I had to stop and admit to myself how unrealistic I was being. I am not Super Woman. I’m just not.

My doctor has been treating me for Postpartum Depression (PPD) for nearly 10 months now. It has been incredible to no longer feel as though I might pass out at any point and that there just might be a small sliver of me left inside. It has also been very humbling to have had to admit to myself, Dean and our family and friends that I needed help. Society places an unreasonable amount of pressure on moms these days to be the trophy wife and exemplary mother that some of us just won’t ever be. I’ve heard the term “Pinterest Moms” floating around a lot lately. Women whose homes are the inspiration for design magazines worldwide, having used nothing but recycled materials, and whose children are learning the moon phases using Oreo cookies, making edible crayons and homemade sidewalk chalk. I mean, come on. I love a good at-home project just as much as the next person, but I’m not failing if we don’t do them that often.

I guess what I’m getting at is, give yourself a break. Whether you’re a mom or a server or a cashier or a custodian or a teacher. Whatever it is that you do in a day, it’s okay to not do it perfectly. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be human; we all are. And as such, we are all in this together. Don’t ever take those around you for granted, and remember to love those you come into contact with. Life is a beautiful thing.