The Mom Look (part 1)

Now let me start with this…  I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve let myself go.  😉  I clean up pretty well on the rare occasion that I need to (or when my husband is home from work, and  I don’t have to choose between shaving my legs or applying eye-liner).  But let’s face it, I’m thicker around the middle than I used to be (two C-sections in your thirties will do that to you, apparently), more practical in my wardrobe (every article of clothing has to pass the, “Can I lift a child and squat regularly in this?” test), and I’m more focused on keeping everyone alive than I am caring about eyebrows being on fleek (or whatever it is that the makeup gurus are obsessing about these days).  

This is just the phase I’m in right now…  Yes, it’s a precious and beautiful time of life; one that I’ll look back on and sigh about how quickly it passed!  But one that is also very fast-paced and focused solely on little ones.  I have an over-active three year old and a one year old who thinks she’s queen.  As much as it’s a blessing, it’s also a bit like having a front row seat on a runaway train.  They roll out of bed, racing to start the day, and look adorable; I’m more closely resembling a crazy person who hasn’t slept in years.

Some days when we go out, I’m fairly certain that it looks as though a homeless woman has kidnapped two baby Gap models.  I usually pop a hat onto my head and lower it over my face, trying to hide as much as possible.  Or I wear a “This is mom life” T-shirt as an explanation for my frazzled look-of-the-day.

Personally,  I think that moms – in all of our exhausted and frazzled glory – should be treated like royalty.

I’m talking like, “Oh, you’re a mom?  Why don’t you go ahead of me in this long line then?  In fact, let me pay for your coffee!”

WE should be the epitome of gorgeous and sexy, not those pristine models who can’t open a can of tuna for fear they might chip a fingernail.

Right??  Am I right here?!?  

I mean, it’s not like I don’t try to stay on top of the self-care bandwagon.  But my children seem pretty determined to harm themselves quite drastically multiple times a day, so – you know – the curling iron can wait.

And when I do decide to invest in nice beauty products, it can be a little traumatic for all involved.  Can we just be honest and admit that walking into Sephora to buy makeup when you’re a mom of little children can be a humbling experience?  It’s usually something that I avoid at all costs (mostly because my budget can’t afford the cost).  But every once in awhile, I get this sudden burst of inspiration and think that maybe a mystical lotion sold there will hide the circles under my eyes, plump the furrow lines between my brows, and make me magically appear 10 pounds lighter.

Because hey, a mom can dream.

The problem is that most times, I run there; because my husband has kindly suggested I take two hours of child-free time after a particularly LONG, hard day.  And by ‘run’, I mean ‘run’.  I don’t stop to pass Go and to collect $200.  I grab my keys and rush out the door before he realizes that he has agreed to be zoo keeper of two little crazy monkeys.  Stopping to change or to look myself over in the mirror is too risky, because that is five minutes of time during which he might change his mind.

As the words, “You’ve had a long day, I think you need some time to yourself-” are leaving his lips, I am gone.  By the time has felt the first tinge of fear due to the chaos surrounding him, I am on the highway and sipping an iced coffee from Dunkies.    (He loves me and supports me so much that I highly doubt he would ever change his mind.  But again, it’s a risk I’m just not willing to take).

So there I am, walking into Sephora looking like a woman who is living out of her car.  I know this, because Sephora (unlike my home) is full of mirrors.  And to be honest, even if these mirrors didn’t exist, I’d get a pretty accurate depiction of my appearance by taking in the reaction of the employees.

😂😂 very true. I was at my gas station in rollers on Friday embarrassing my son. It was fun 😊

One time (okay, it’s been more than once) I was so desperate to leave the house that I actually left for the mall without looking myself over once.  Because I was in survival mode.  And who, in survival mode, really cares about how pretty they look?  If your house is being engulfed by flames, you’re not going to stop to fix your concealer.  And if you’ve had a nonstop, insane child-rearing day followed by an amazing husband who lets you run away for a few hours, well, same difference.  You RUN!    (… to be continued)

 

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You Know You’re a Mom If…

Which ones can you relate to the most???    And what’s YOUR “You know you’re a mom if…” moment?  

1.   Your house exists in three stages – messy, messier, and oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty.

2.   The messy version of your house starts to feel clean, because it’s only messy.  There are two much worse levels…

3.  You have an evacuation plan in place in case an unannounced visitor pulls into your driveway during the oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty stage.

4.  You can lift a 25 lb toddler while carrying 50 pounds of groceries, talking on the phone, and clipping a three-year-old’s toe-nails.

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5.  You know better than to lick your hand if there is a brown smear on it.  Although it may look like chocolate; if you’re a mom, there is a very high probability that it is not an edible confection.  (A movie that shows a mom licking her hands in order to decipher whether or not a brown smear is poop or chocolate was obviously written by a man).

6.  You’re really good at picking things up with your feet, because your hands are never free.

7.  You wear leopard print, not because it makes you look fierce; but because the pattern hides milk stains, chocolate stains, poop stains, spitup stains, and ketchup stains.  Leopard print is the ultimate stain hider.  You therefore like leopard print.

8.  Nothing puts fear in your heart quite like the color ‘white’.

9.  Forget heels, polish, lip gloss, and jewelry.  Your epitome of THE perfect night is now a hot bath, bubbles, flickering candlelight, and a bowl of peanut m&m’s.

10.   If you don’t have time for the hot bath, bubbles, or flickering candlelight, then the peanut m&m’s will do.

11.  If you don’t have peanut m&m’s, you’ll totally take five minutes of being locked in the bathroom – alone – for 300 seconds of refreshing quiet.  (Turning on the fan is a must, so that you can’t hear the children screaming “MOMMY!” despite the fact that they are with their daddy).

12.  Coffee is your best friend. (Anyone who brings you coffee is basically your soulmate).

13.  You forget to buy hamburger buns while grocery shopping, so you use it as an excuse to run to your happy place:  Target.

14.  You are proud of yourself for leaving Target with only one item!   I am woman; hear me roar!  Problem is, you accidentally bought milk instead of the hamburger buns.

15.  You’ve washed the same load of laundry three times, because you keep forgetting to put it into the dryer.

16.  You have a secret stash of taboo foods (hello, chocolate) hidden behind the broccoli and another nestled beneath the frozen veggie burgers.

17.  “We don’t turn on the blender until we’ve put the cover on first!” is something you say now.

18.  You know, first-hand, just how much of a mess can be created when a blender is turned on without the cover.

19.  You run out the door so quickly that sometimes you freeze in the middle of the supermarket and look down, just to make sure you’re wearing pants.

AND…

20.  There is so much love in your heart for little humans that you think you might explode.

Treasures (Part 2)

Despite the humor and sweet moments of parenthood, there are definitely patches that are really tough. Sometimes I feel like a bouncy ball in a yo-yo world, and I want to throw my hands up in the air in defeat, wondering “what did I get myself into?” I think the lack of sleep and personal time doesn’t help matters any, because – as much as we like to claim superhero status – we moms are human at the end of the day. We really do need sleep occasionally and a moment – here or there – to collect our thoughts.

(Or so I`m told…).

During those long days, it can be hard to see the big picture. To remember that being a mom is precious and that moments with our little ones are all too fleeting. Because right here and now, hours feel long. Everything hurts, including your feelings. Patience is running low. Anxiety levels are flaring. And exhaustion is taking its toll on your body.

sure i could parent without screen time. I could churn my own butter but let's not get crazy here

The funny thing is that I used to say, “sleep is over-rated” as though rest was an appropriate subject to joke about. These days, I’m fairly certain that it isn’t. I mean, I’m at the point where I’m using an under-eye concealer that’s called “Well-rested”, and I am seriously contemplating the pro’s and cons of ingesting it. (A few sprinkles into coffee shouldn’t hurt anything…).

It’s so easy, during this stage of mommyhood, to wish away these sleepless nights and to dream about the days when we can enjoy a full night’s sleep. It’s so tempting to look forward to the quiet evenings, when we can slide into soft, flannel sheets and close our eyes to hours of uninterrupted rest. To imagine using the bathroom alone, cooking without tripping over little bodies, grocery shopping while not leaving behind a trail of cracker crumbs, and actually being able to sit in the adult portion of church.

Morning Funny Memes 34 Pics

Last night was one of those long nights. By 4am, I decided to just stop fighting it and succumbed to the fact that I was not going to get more than a few hours of sleep. I pulled a fussy, teething Princess K out of her crib and soothed her to sleep by rocking.

A few gentle, quiet snores let me know that she had fallen into a restful sleep after a night that had been long for both of us. I softly kissed her head and let my chin gently graze her fuzzy hair. I breathed in her sweet baby scent that is almost gone forever. And I realized that – even if these days are difficult – they are also the days that I will one day look back on with much nostalgia.

One day, B-Boy and Princess K may decide to travel for college. They’ll get married and move into houses of their own, hopefully not too far away. B-Boy will be taller than me, stronger than me, and capable of making his own decisions. He’ll be a grown man. Princess K may have babies of her own.

And I’ll then wish that – even for a moment – I could go back to one of these sleepless nights or chaotic days, during which they are still small enough to be snuggled in my arms. I’ll wish that I could cradle her in my arms just once more and feel the softness of her skin against mine. I’ll wish that he needed me for everything, for just one more night…

I`ll even miss the crazy,hilarity that my three year old son brings to each day. 🙂

I know that one day I`ll wish I could travel through time,just once,to one of these long,exhausting nights so that I could hold them close.

So even though I’m tired, I will try oh-so-hard to cherish these moments. When she cries during the night and wakens me from sleep, I will greet her with a bright smile… with a gentle song… with arms that are eager to hold her. And when he finds yet another thing to explore, take apart, and examine, I will greet him with patience, love, and a sense of humor.

I won’t be able to every time. But I sure will try to most times!

Even if I am exhausted, I will remind myself that these moments will not last forever. Because while there will be plenty of time to catch up on sleep and sanity one day, these are the moments that are all too quickly just a priceless memory. 🙂

Treasures

Let me set the scene…

Teething and cranky one year old is screaming at the top of her lungs in a stroller, despite all attempts to appease her. A three year old is sitting in the middle of a cold, campground road, yelling that he’s mad and that he won’t take another step until mommy and daddy let him go swimming in the lake.

(We’re mean like that and won’t let him swim due to the “High bacteria count, please do not swim,” signs. Apparently, the risk of growing a third arm due to splashing around in contaminated waters is a risk he is willing to take).

And mommy and daddy are just standing there, taking in the chaos in front of them and wondering how it all came to this.

Nate says: “Where would we be right now if we didn’t have kids?”

I reply, after sighing: “Probably sitting on a beach in Hawaii. I’d be SO sunburnt right now from laying out in the sun too long.”

Nate nods in agreement and says: “I’d have eaten too much of my delicious, southwestern omelet and homefries for breakfast, so I’d be feeling sick.”

Me: “That time-change on the flight over to the islands is really exhausting.”

Nate: “Palm trees are so overrated.”

I say: “Yeah, we’d be really miserable sitting over there in Hawaii if we didn’t have kids!”

We were being tongue-in-cheek, of course, and had our laugh before collecting our children and trying to bring order back to the moment. (Then again, as you already know if you’re a parent, getting everything and everyone in order is basically impossible. Still, you can’t fault us for trying).

Motherhood Parenting

As parents, despite the indescribable love we have for our children, we all face those days. (If someone tells you that you need to enjoy every…single…moment of parenthood, they have either never been a parent, don’t remember what it was like, or they had angelic children who never once had a temper tantrum or poop explosion).

Now if I’m going to be completely honest, it’s been tough these past couple of weeks. My little dude has – as of late – decided that he is allergic to sleep and hates it with every fiber of his being. This is after MONTHS of him happily falling asleep the minute we’d put him to bed (which was, as I’m sure you can guess, quite amazing).

These days, we put him into his bed; and he’s sliding off of it like a slug before we’ve had the chance to close the door behind us. It’s a battle of wills, and my son is winning. So I am now Googling how to be a joyful mom amidst great suffering.

Haaa... bedtime

B-Boy is just a little too curious and strong for his own good, and he hates that bedtime forces him to slow down. During the day, he’s a bull in a china shop. If the bathroom door is left open, he’ll be caught covered in soap suds (from ankles up to his chin). He likes to push the kitchen chairs up to the sink, so that he can ‘do the dishes’. (This results in water absolutely everywhere). He walks off with TV remotes and forgets where he left them, unscrews light bulbs and absentmindedly leaves them in various spots throughout the house, apparently thinks it’s a good idea to fill his squirt gun with grape juice, turns on every light switch in every room as he passes through, opens the freezer to see if the peas are still frozen (and subsequently spills them all onto the floor), and pushes every single button he comes into contact with.

The kid is just into absolutely everything, which is fun when I’m trying to also watch his baby sister.

Here is a collection of the 51 funniest photos of the week featured on getsokt.com this week! If you have something to share and want to be featured submit your photos HERE.

Case in point…

One night, I was playing outside with B-Boy when I noticed a white article of clothing lying between the front bushes. I walked closer to investigate and saw other clothes scattered about, including women’s underwear. Once the wife of a Corrections Officer, always the wife of a Corrections Officer. My first thought was, “Is this some type of gang marking?” I literally freaked out for a moment, as I tried to figure out why there was clothes (and intimate clothes at that) lining the front of my house.

Then B-Boy proudly came marching up to me and exclaimed, “I throwed that!”

I suddenly realized that B-Boy had pushed against the bottom of our window screen (as it was getting old and already showing signs of tearing). He had pushed against the bottom of the screen until it detached from the rim and then proceeded to throw my clean laundry out the window. I honestly have no idea how long my underwear was hanging from our front bushes. (to be continued…).

Mom Brain

This is a repost from a previous blog post I’d written.  🙂
There’s so much discussion about how pregnancy changes a woman’s body, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the following reality that is:  Mom Brain.  It’s REAL, my friends.  Very real!  And it’s as if those adorable, dimpled fingers reached into my mind before exiting my womb and scrambled my intelligence into a jumbled mess. 

Now I can’t even talk correctly.

Mom Brain Strikes Again

Last night, I was trying to talk to Mr. Nate about yogurt parfaits. Yogurt! And instead, my conversation went something along the lines of, “I should buy some granola for your… your ugh… ugh… the ugh… it’s creamy… the ugh… oh man, what’s it called!?! It’s white…”

And my poor husband is shouting out answers like, “Icecream! Milk… Lotion!”

Seriously, our marriage has become a reality game show.  Who knew that having a simple conversation could be so difficult!

Oh, and don’t get me started on numbers. Someone just mentions the word “math”, and I drop into the fetal position.  Please, PLEASE, don’t ask me to add or subtract numbers anything bigger than would be appropriate for a first grader.  I’m a mom…  My brain is on an extended vacation.  

I seriously can’t remember anything.  If I don’t park in the same spot at the grocery store each week, game over!  I’m that woman pretending to chat on her phone while walking up and down the parking lot, trying to find her missing car.

(Wait, you haven’t done that before?  Oh the fun that you’re missing)!  

All the time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of Alzheimer’s someday.

Don’t worry, I fully utilize the panic button on my key fob if necessary as well.  In fact, I know that other moms use theirs to find lost cars as well (let’s be honest, ladies), so we might as well rename the fob’s function.  Forget “panic button” or “car alarm button” and call it what it is…  It’s a “mom lost the car” button.  In fact, instead of beeping obnoxiously, the car should respond by calling out, “Here I am, Gorgeous!”

I’ll take any compliment that I can get!  And basically any help that I can get too…

I at least used to have my little boy fooled into thinking that I had everything under control, because – let’s face it – little boys think that their moms know absolutely everything.  But now that he’s the mature age of three, he knows better.  Just the other night, I was trying to give him and his screaming sister a bath.  (Baby screaming just adds to mom confusion, I find).  I consoled Princess K, saying, “It’s okay, Baby.  Mama will bring you upstairs to get a bottle in a minute if you can just calm down.”

“Mama,” B-Boy corrected, shaking his head.  “We already upstairs!”

Thanks for pointing out the obvious, my child.

His new favorite thing to say is “Mama, you silly!” when mommy brain strikes, and I do something ridiculous  And trust me, ridiculous follows me around these days like a shadow, so it’s a good thing that I can laugh at myself.

I blame it on Pinterest for having me sleep deprived. #Funny #Quote

Case in point…

I had a meeting recently with someone of social status. Let’s just say that I wanted to make a really good impression. I’m talking trading out my typical attire of boot-cut jeans and flannel for black slacks, heels, pretty blouse, and a cardigan that was the perfect balance of feminine and business. I was the image of confidence when I stepped into the woman’s office.

*I am woman, hear me roar*

(Why is it that everytime I use that line, I’m leading into a really embarrassing story?).

Anyway, the meeting went really well, and I drove home in high spirits. Once back at my house, I eagerly ran through the meeting with my husband, telling him all the details. Then I froze. I had been just bending down to pull off my cute heels, when I felt a piece of fabric just peeking out at the bottom of my pant hemline.

So you know how sometimes, after washing and drying clothes, a drier sheet gets stuck to an item; and you find it later when you’re unfolding a towel or trying on a pair of pants?

Well, apparently, this can happen with underwear.

And – after doing laundry – a piece of my underwear had apparently been stuck in my pant leg and worked its way down to my ankles.  That is where it – thank you, Jesus – caught on my shoes and only ever-so-slightly ducked below my pant’s hemline.

You guys, I went through an interview and walked out of an office with underwear dangling out of the bottom of my pant leg.

THIS! This is why a mom NEEDS to look in the mirror before heading out the door. Or why she should actually look at her clothes when she’s putting them on…instead of blindly throwing things on her body while she’s also trying to watch a little boy and a baby. THIS is what happens when a woman is subjected to mom brain.

You know how they say that one’s life can flash before their eyes? This happened to me in that moment… Except I imagined – in a split second – all of the ways I would have reacted to underwear dropping out of my pants during an important meeting with a businesswoman that I wanted to impress.

Like maybe I would have just stopped, dropped, and rolled on top of it.  (Embarrassing… but still less embarrassing than scattering intimate clothing onto an office floor). Or I’d freeze in place, stepping on top of it and pretending to receive a very important phone-call that would conveniently keep me standing there until the woman had to leave for a drink of water…  Or I could have dramatically shouted, “What’s that?!”  And when the interviewer was turned, I could have quickly kicked the underwear into a nearby potted plant.

Missing...

 

All these ideas rushed through my mind as I was standing there in my kitchen and holding a piece of underwear that I had just pulled out of my pant leg. Because had this happened, it would have gone down as the most embarrassing moment of my life.  And trust me, my list of embarrassing moments is pretty long and juicy.

I could write a book!  Or at least a ridiculously long blog post…

Mom brain.  It’s terrifying.  It’s hilarious.  It’s real.

And so far, it isn’t getting any better.  Oh thank goodness my kids are cute!  🙂  They make every single one of these moments worth it!!!

The Postpartum Life Party

You did it! After nine months of swollen ankles, ridiculous food aversions and cravings, excited planning, nursery decorating, uncomfortable waddling, leg cramps, sleeping with a man-sized pillow that your husband was strangely jealous of, and happily comparing your growing stomach to fruits and vegetables, you delivered a precious, healthy baby.

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Along the way, there were ups and downs.  Laughter.  Anticipation.  Tears of joy and sadness.  And tears without really any particular reason, because pregnancy hormones have absolutely no mercy.  (I literally burst into tears one afternoon just because I saw a little squirrel that looked particularly sad and hungry).

But after it’s all said and done – no matter how difficult the pregnancy journey was – you would do it all over again.  Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel when meeting your precious, squishy baby for the first time.  (Sigh, is there anything more precious than a squishy newborn)?  It was ALL worth it!

What I quickly realized, however, was that the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pregnancy journey.  There is that one final chapter:  the fourth trimester that absolutely no one warns you about.  Because there is a postpartum journey as well, and it’s almost just as fun.

And by fun, I mean that it too includes all the ups.  And downs.  And laughter.  And tears.

Except this time around, you don’t get to wear cute T-shirts with whimsical sayings.  Because your Tshirt would have to say things like “Retired watermelon smuggler.” Or “I grew my tribe, and I’m still recovering.”    Or “What bump”?  Even “It took me nine months to grow this belly, and I like icecream too much to lose it any faster than that.  So don’t judge me.”

 Yeahhhh, that last one is kind of wordy.  Maybe I’ll save it for the postpartum greeting card line.

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But seriously, there are weeks of physical recovery and adjusting to changes in your body.  And then once you finally start to feel like yourself again physically, your hormones decide to throw a wild party all over again and your hair starts to fall out.  Postpartum hair loss is pretty much a kick-me-when-I’m-down situation and adds insult to injury.  But on the flip side, it does take your mind off of other great side affects of postpartum life.

Like constipation.

I was definitely not warned about post-partum constipation.  And it’s no joke (especially if you’re recovering from a C-section surgery).  Seriously, if you’re going to have a planned C-section, still take the Lamaze class; because you’ll need the focused breathing to survive your first poop.  One of my friends had actually bought me stool softener (and other survival items) as a gift before I went into the hospital; and I had laughed, thinking it was a gag gift.  After my C-section, her present was the best mommy gift in my house.

“Dear friend, thank you for the stool softener.  I think it may have saved my life.”

Before B-Boy was born, I hadn’t realized that the postpartum stage is just as much an experience as pregnancy can be; but I was more prepared for it this time during the birth of Princess K.  There is so much going on during the recovery, never mind the fact that you aren’t getting any sleep.  It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed, inadequate, unqualified, exhausted, and alone.  Even despite the joy and the beauty of bringing home a new baby, there are so many tough emotions swirling around as well.

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For me, the first two weeks after having my babies were probably the most beautiful weeks of my entire life.  I had a ton of help, and so I could focus on my newborn.  Those days of bonding, snuggling, and just resting my lips on the peach fuzz of their little heads were priceless.  My heart ran over with so much love that sometimes I just felt as though it might explode.

But as life began to fall back into normalcy (and the hormones and physical demands of recovery remained), it was pretty tough.  That first year after baby can be really hard sometimes.  You’re trying to ‘bounce back’ and to fall back into the pattern of how things once were (despite the fact that absolutely everything has changed).  Now you’re running on little sleep, following the schedule of a little human, and carrying around a diaper bag the size of Santa’s sack.

Arriving on time is a thing of the past.  Your new favorite color for clothing is that which most closely resembles spit-up.  Poop explosions haunt you in your dreams.

Everything is new, and you’re certain that – despite all the books you’ve read – you’re not qualified to care for this beautiful baby.  Google is your new best friend…  Is my baby eating too much or too little?  Is it normal for a baby to have that much gas?  Should they be sitting up by now?  And, “Google, how many hours of sleep does a mom actually need in order to live?”

As women, we so often overlook this part of the journey.  We don’t really talk about it much with each other, and the medical support completely goes away.  It’s very common for women to feel alone.  Ridiculously exhausted.  And less than human.

In reality, all we really need is support.  Someone to talk it over with.  Encouragement.  Assurance that everything we’re experiencing is normal and that it really will get better one day.  It will get easier.

One day, we’ll actually sleep through the night.  And not have leaky breasts.  And we’ll maybe even go to the store without looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.  

God created us women to be oh-so-strong.  But we’re definitely stronger together when we encourage those coming after us.  When we remind them that although the days do oftentimes feel long, the years are so fast.  And when we take the time to be the support new moms need, whether it’s folding laundry, dropping off a meal, babysitting siblings, or even dropping off a coffee.  (Can we all admit that coffee solves a multitude of hurt)?

Like pregnancy – the postpartum experience can be tough at times.  But it helps knowing that – also like pregnancy – it’s worth it.  And there will be a light at the end of the tunnel!

But until then, if you know a mom who’s currently living the postpartum life, definitely keep her in your prayers.  Tell her that she’s doing amazing.  Ask her if she needs any help around the house.  And please, just send her coffee!   🙂

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My Life as a Germaphobe

Before I had kids, I honestly didn’t give a whole lot of thought to germs.  I mean, I washed my hands at the appropriate times and followed good hygiene practices, same as anyone else.  But that was pretty much the extent of it.

Now that I’m the mom to a little boy?  It’s as if my eyes have been opened, and I see them.

Germs.  They’re everywhere!

Here’s the thing about kids.  They might not have knowledge of what germs are, but their bodies are attracted to germy things like magnets to a refrigerator.  Like moths to a flame.  Like an exhausted mom to a tall glass of iced coffee.

You get the picture…

I had no idea just how many germ-infested surfaces that I’m surrounded by during the course of a day.  But now I know.  And it’s a lot.

I can always envision the dialect going on in my son’s mind.

Out of my way, that kid is about to sneeze.  I have to move closer to him so that I can get sprayed directly into my eyeballs.

Or…

I wonder if I should take my bath now in the cat’s water dish or wait later for the swamp?  

And…

 Oh cool, there’s a gooey substance stuck to the bottom of my shoe.  I think I’m going to taste it. 

If I were rich, I’d hire a nanny just to follow us around with a large tub of disinfectant wipes.  I’ve been told time and time again that kids are hardy, but – seriously – how many substances can my son be subjected to before he self-combusts?

But I’m not rich, and I do want to raise a well-rounded little boy who can survive in society without having to douse himself with hand sanitizer every time someone coughs.

So I scream on the inside (loudly… like an Amazon woman) and calmly just smile and say, “We don’t play with the toilet plunger, Sweety.”

No, seriously, step away from the plunger.  

I can take dirt.  (I ate my share of it as a kid).  I can handle messes.  But licking shopping carriage handles, tasting pennies, and munching on a leftover French fry he found by a park bench?  I feel like my calm, sensible self is replaced with a panicked, crazed woman.

Seriously, why is my child’s mouth attracted to these things?  Does he not appreciate the fact that I’m trying to keep everyone happy, healthy and alive?

Don’t even get me started on public restrooms…  One of the last times I had the pleasure of bringing him into one, my son – after placing his hands over every square inch of the toilet seat – thought it would be sweet to say “I love you, Mama”… and to rest his hands gently on my cheek.

I almost fainted… right then and there.  But then I would have fallen onto the restroom floor and would have subsequently had to light myself on fire.

Mamma bear wants to protect her little boy from it all.  I want to wrap him in bubble wrap and then lock him in a padded room that has just the right dosage of fresh air, sunlight, safety, and Lysol.  I want to chase away the bullies, sweep away the rocks that will skin his knees, and ease the hurt that an oftentimes cruel world will want to throw his way.

But the thing is that even more than I want a safe life for him, I want him to live.

Hiding him away from everything that could potentially hurt him would destroy his chances of adventure.  Accomplishment.  Strength.  (Because lets be honest, it is the struggles we face and the moments that refine us by fire that reveal what we are truly capable of).

And those amazing moments that take our breath away?  Those don’t happen if you’re stuck in a giant wad of bubble wrap.  (Or so I’m told…).

As much as I want to protect him from everything, I’m learning that the only way to do that is to hide him away.  And I’d never want that for him.  So I focus on training.  Lovingly guiding.  Reminding him that public restrooms are not amusement parks, and that ‘no’ we cannot have a picnic on the bathroom floor.

Assuring him that even when the bullies taunt or experiences disappoint, he is incredible.  And smart.  And strong.  His worth and value is not found on the outside.  It’s who he is on the inside.

This world will hurt him.  And even worse than germs, it will hurt his heart.  But it will also strengthen him and teach him to rise even stronger than before.  Because he was created for a purpose.

I knew you before you were in your mother's womb

I just know that this little boy is going to do great things one day.  And it all starts with letting him play in a world covered in germs.