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In Your Face

I am large and she is small. While I tend to her needs these days, I am stooped down often sitting on a stool while I’m dressing, diapering, buckling, or scolding her. And I’m right in her line of fire. I am the sight-line, the moving target for her assault.

Toddlers are spastic. They get excited when they eat sugar, are cold, or have to pee. And when they’re excited, they are likely to mess with and shriek at whatever’s in their face. Which means me at bath time, me at diapering time (now done while she’s standing up out of respect), and me whenever I have to lean over to buckle her into the car seat. In Your Face on Shalavee.com

When we are face to face, apparently it’s an invitation to poke at me, shriek at me, cling to me, or whatever other action suits her mood. The other day she bit my butt as apparently my butt was right at her eye level. She’ll squeeze my cheeks (face), puts her hands down my shirt, and now has suddenly taken to assaulting me with kisses.

When you have children, you already give up your privacy while peeing. And considering the lack of privacy they have when they’re diapers are being changed, I guess turnabout is fair play. I remember when Eamon was about this age, he came home from his daycare and told us that the teachers had taught him about “persable space”. We still use that phrase. We still don’t truly respect it.In Your Face on Shalavee.com

So my thought is that soon Fiona is going to need the same talk about personal space and permission. Because however I ask her to respect my body will teach her to tell others to respect hers. While she is terribly cute, she’s also most annoying pointing her spastic attention cannon at me.

Until she says very sweetly “You’re a very good Mommy”. Where does she get this stuff?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

I’m In Waste Management and Sanitation Control

I often joke that I’m in waste management. On the kinder less disgusting side, I’m the recycleables schlepper, the playroom toy drawer cleaner outer, and the seasonal wardrobe sifter through-er. I have all say in what’s good and bad in the fridge and the pantry as I do all the cooking. And yes I’ll scold you if you don’t recycle that bottle.

On the less glamorous side,  I am also the diaper changer and the cat-box cleaner. I understand that in order to have beasties and babies to love, you have to tolerate and not complain about the circumstances that bring your nose to the direct vicinity of other beings’ poop. But I can also tell you that my patience with all of this is wearing thin these days.Valentine's Day roses on Shalavee.com

Seems Miss Fiona decided to take a hiatus from her potty “training” (aka regressed) after her third birthday. She will pee all day at daycare. She’ll perch her little butt on all public toilets including the ones at the library, YMCA, and grocery store. But when she comes homes, there’s something about she and I and our relationship that she’s reticent to let go of. It’s a Baby/Big Girl issue and it’s all hers.

In a classic case of projection, she’s constantly accusing her brother of calling her a baby. Except he doesn’t. So she’s stuck straddling the baby/toddler line trying to live the benefits of both. Until last night when I got mad because she peed on the rug right next to the potty while I was sitting there. And after she stopped crying from the swat on the bum, I believe she was relieved I’d drawn the line. They always want to know where that daggone line is. No piddling on Mommy’s Rug! Then last week? She pooed in the bathtub. Sigh.Fiona in the tub on Shalavee.com

And in the cat-box realm, we have that old outdoors cat who’s been rehabilitated and I’m trying to get her to use the cat box I want her to use. Except that means in the meantime I’ve had a cat box awkwardly stuck in the middle of everything and the other cats zealously tossing the litter every which way. Sigh. Twitch. Sigh. It’s a lot of hard work with multiple boxes and diaper pails and I commend anyone who has more than one bum to change within a day. I am doing the best I can but I can’t say I ever aspired to be a sanitation expert. That just came with the Mom job.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Relentlessness of Motherhood

My go to word in describing parenting is relentless. My baby daughter, ungrateful and miserable, can cry at me at least ten times today, what feels like 70 percent of the day, beating me down further and further into defeat. The relentlessness is daunting.

You’re review is in. Fifty percent of today will not meet with her satisfaction and, according to her, you suck at parenting.

My top seven words to embody my experience with motherhood are:

  1. Chaos
  2. Temperance
  3. Perseverance
  4. Relentless
  5. Confusion
  6. Patience
  7. Exhaustion

All problems could be solved, you think, if only I had their money or their family. Those people with their 5 extra family members to spread out the stress of the 16 plus hours a-grueling-day of care-taking and giving. If only I had their time and money to buy nicer clothing to cover up my ever-widening butt until I could hire that trainer to help me widdle it down. For now, I wear my ill-fitting sweats, placing my greying thinning hair into something up-ish. My nails and cuticles dry and ragged for lack of care. I have that look of survival and neglect. That wild look that says I’ve thought about fleeing in my fantasies. The dull look of disbelief that this will get better no matter how many times people insist it will. Beaten and hopeless is all the rage in the truthful Mommy circles.At the grocery store years ago on Shalavee.com

If only I had the money to buy a SUV that I could comfortably load and buckle my child into without having the rain soak my back. Then I’d slip into the front seat and drive smoothly away to drop my privileged child off at that member of the care-taking team whose day it was to take them. Or I’d hire a housekeeper/child care-taking person as a stunt double so I could escape and make art or do lunch or have beauty salon time. Where’s my miracle money? My large ever-loving family? Where’s my get out of hardship free card?

No I won’t be looking forward to “taking care of myself” with a kale and flax smoothie tonight. Instead I’m thinking of making pasta with gravy, cheese, and deep-fried potatoes and a side of beef so that I can feel an ounce and moment of comfort that I never feel in my day-to-day existence. Wash it down with a 12oz glass of Shiraz and pray I can stay awake to watch any escapism television.Baby Fiona on Shalavee.com

Why is it wrong to want it to be easier than this? To want the release of the hardship and grinding daily agony. I want to feel light and unencumbered. I want privilege instead of lack. I want a child who doesn’t make me constantly feel like I’m failing her. I want to stand here in the winner’s circle and not the survivor’s circle. Like my mother did. Like hers before her. Because deep down I don’t believe there’s any other way for it to be but hard.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Creating Despite Your Life

Before 9am on day one of my challenge, I was in the craft room ready to get crafting. I had “cleaned up” the day before clearing just enough space to make more mess. I’d also made some more water-colored encyclopedia pages with Fiona to collage with. Including her in the painting process had worked out then so I was hoping to just roll through my creative time easily.Caitlin's collage card on Shalavee.com

All was well for a little while. She wanted to do more painting in the encyclopedia. Set her up, go back to doing something. Follow a whim, making a thank you card. Eventually, my focus is shifted back to her. She wanted to play with the fairy. Two minutes later, the fairy had no arms. In an attempt to super glue them back on, I spilled the glue all on my bench and on my hand. I was now irritated. Never give a two year old something you care about but don’t be irritated with her if you do and she breaks it.

The irritation was from the familiar “I told you so” dialogue lurking.

That dialogue might go something like, “And this is why I don’t even try to create while Fiona’s around. It’s just too much work and ideally I’d rather just create without distractions”. And while I agree to the ultimate wishful truth in this statement, I call foul. Because this is the same true/false statement that I’ve used the whole time I’ve raised a baby and have not been creating.Shannon's butterfly card on Shalavee.com

This Creativity Bootcamp is my self-appointed lesson in How to do Both. How to parent and carve out time for myself. How to drive through the wreck because Sister, that wreck is inevitable. As dear young creative entrepreneur Caroline Kelso recently said when speaking about what insight failure gives you,

And that’s why I hope you create too. Because you have to.

Because even the possibility of failure can’t deter you from bringing your ideas to life”.

Because when you ask yourself if it’s alright if you just don’t try again after that failure and the answer is a really obnoxious “NO”, you keep going.    I pushed through. After the poopy diaper happened. I kept at it. While the cat was walking over my bench and nestling into the basket with paper odds and ends. Despite Fiona grabbing everything in sight and throwing it on the floor. And even though I had to pee really badly. I made four cards. Three as thank you’s to dear ones in my life for the loveliness they gave me on my recent birthday. And one is for the Etsy shop. That’s right. Because why wouldn’t I use this opportunity to get myself over that fear hump too.

Stay tuned for a post a day every day of the month of October and more creative insights.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Summer’s Stutter Start

I truly had no expectations for the start of Summer. I was having a rough time anyway and didn’t want to predict it getting any rougher. But it still did. The same day that school let out, the two-year old got sick. And the next day, my husband had a tire blow out on the major highway. I then found out I’d allowed the children’s insurance to lapse and there I was in the strike zone again.

Worst of all, being underneath a sick and tantruming toddler for the next 7 days meant there was just no room for me. sick girl is still cute on Shalavee.com

I like having time and space to myself to create and feel productive and whole. In the absence of that, I feel ‘less than’, angry, and hopeless. Fed up and exhausted from the perpetual waking up of the child and the sudden relentlessness of my life, I felt shameful moments of rage and desperation and behaved in a ridiculously dramatic way to show to my husband that I in fact couldn’t handle all of this as well as he thinks I can.

I then explained that my mommy brain thinks I have to be watchful of the children 24/7. This consciousness ensures they’re kept alive but wears me out and could he please know that I do this and step in and say he’s got them for a while even without me asking? He may or may not have heard this but it was me saying something out loud. I need to hear myself say that I’m allowed a break.Rocking chair hug on Shalavee.com

My constant irritation by everything was exactly the opposite of the feelings of bliss and ease I’d had with my family on several weekends in the month before. What’s the difference I wondered ?

And as each day played out and eventually her health was restored, the insurance was renewed, the car was being repaired, and Mark’s work evened out, I began to feel better. And watching moments of tenderness between my children filled me with the gratitude I was missing. And I knew the spell had passed.

And then I knew what the difference had been.

Faith in my life. Faith in myself.

 

My family on Shalavee.com

When I thought about what really tweaked me during those really hard days, it was the belief that it would always be bad. My anxiety was climbing as I was silently predicting a future that would have me dealing with this stress perpetually. And I’d always be handling it alone. These wrong thoughts are called cognitive distortions. They are lies that we tell ourselves and then, when we feel the feelings of sadness, desperation, or depression, we say that the thoughts must be facts then because the feelings make them feel real. But they don’t. The distorted thoughts are the cause of the yucky feelings.

What I tell myself I believe.

I had myself believing I would always be alone, never have the help or support I would need, and that mothering a daughter would be the hell everyone has ever warned me about. But the truth is that phases ebb and flow. Bad spells come and go. Kids get sick and better. My support system was on vacation that week but they would return again.Siblings on Shalavee.com

What’s most important is that my kids don’t get the idea that I doubt my abilities to parent them. I spend quality time with them and they know that they’re loved. The sickness behavior screws it all up for a week and then it’s as if it never happened. And no, mothering doesn’t have to be the only thing that ever defines my worth. But I better get hopping on stuff that invests my talents for me and my hope into the future. So when the next tantrum and the next bad spell happens, I know I’ve invested in my goals and my getaways and my hope for my future. And that I’m not alone. That I’ve got my back too.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

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