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Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy


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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trying and Learning All Over Again

Raising kids has turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be. Honestly, growing up I said I would never have kids. I also thought I would be independently wealthy by 27 with a shaved head, so take that however you will.

I did not babysit – and the one time I did in college, I left crying because I just realized I was not a kid person. Then, when I was first pregnant, I read the books (all the books). Here’s a hint: the books did not prepare me.  The question keeping me up at night became “How am I going to do this whole mom thing?”

The answer is simple – I don’t know. Therefore, I try. It is hard. So very, very hard. And exhausting. Oh my word, it is EXHAUSTING. The mental aspect of loving two little people so strongly that it fills me with a strange mixture of joy and pain is enough to make me feel like I need a daily nap. Every day feels like I am learning, making mistakes, relearning. I go to bed every night and do it all over again the next day.

When my son was younger, I tried really really hard to make it look like I had my crap together. Makeup done, house cleaned, tied up in knots when we went out to a restaurant because God forbid he make a sound to disrupt the other patrons, and he always had adorable outfits with matching shoes. Thinking back, I was a tight ball of hidden mess. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was trying.

First Mother's Day
Here I am on my first Mother's Day
Trying too hard it turns out. I’m afraid now that some of my anxiety about how I was perceived, my son was perceived, my marriage and our family was perceived has been passed down to my sweet boy. There have already been moments where I can see he is wound tightly waiting for someone to see his mistakes. It hurts. It hurts, not just because it is my son, but because I recognize that one of my struggles has made its way into his DNA.

But, God knows it takes me seasons to learn things. I cannot learn them overnight. So, He blessed me with a second child that has made it impossible to try to keep up a fa├žade. I had to accept that I am so far from perfect in order to ask and receive the help I so desperately needed. Her fiery personality and strong-willed nature make her a force. A force that I know one day will own who she is and challenge anyone who asks her to be someone different. A force that has helped to carve into my uptight corners.

When you have a second child who does not follow the same rules as your first, you start trying and learning all over again. So, now I am trying to be more honest. Honest with my kids, my family, my friends and myself. And learning how much more fun it is to be with known and loved for all my imperfections – without makeup some days, a messy house most days, and a mom to loud singing (and often screaming) children with stains on their clothes everyday.

Christmas with no makeup and no perfect picture
Here I am today



2 comments:

  1. I needed these words 13 yrs ago! I have struggled, failed more than I'd care to admit, learned, and STUGGLED more. I have seriously & ashamedly felt like I couldn't let anyone see my mom imperfections because all the other moms had it ALL together, or so I was deceived! Just recently, I heard a comment on Focus on the Family that has stuck with & encouraged me...when we have a child, we have never been the mom of an infant, toddler, preteen, teen & therefore are learning & growing up with them. Thank you for opening up & being real!!

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    1. Oh, I love that idea from Focus on the Family! It's also true that you have never been a mom to each one of your kids at the different stages. My daughter is very different from my son at the same age. Constantly learning.

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