Mexico and french fries.

Tonight Bella and I were running some errands when we passed by where my husband works. Bella said, “Look! That’s where daddy works!” I told her she was right and then I asked her if she knew what the name of the place was. She said, “MEXICO!” We have been trying to explain to Bella that Daddy was born and grew up in another country. I think she’s a little confused.

Later I went through the drive through at Zaxby’s and I asked Bella if she wanted anything. She said no, that she wasn’t hungry. However, when she heard me order and realized what I was getting she suddenly realized she was practically starving to death.

“Why is it taking so long? I’m so hungry. I’m starving. I need those french fries. I need them right now. Why is it taking so long? It’s hard being patient. I CAN’T STAND IT.”

She ended up eating all of my fries.

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Stop with your logic, 4 year old.

Bella spilled something and I said, “Ruh Roh.”

Then the following conversation unfolded:

Bella: “What’s a ‘ruh roh’?”
Me: “Well, it’s like ‘uh oh’.”
Bella: “But you didn’t say it right, why did you say it like that?”
Me: “Well, that’s how Scooby Doo says it.”
Bella: “But he’s a dog.  He says ‘ruh roh’?”
Me: “Yes.”
Bella: “Why does he say it like that?”
Me: “Well, he can’t talk well…because he’s a dog.”
Bella: “Dogs don’t talk at all.
Me: “You’re right.”
Bella: “So why does he say ‘run roh’ if he can’t talk?”
Me: “Well, I mean, it’s a cartoon…”
<<<<blank stare>>>>
I win at parenting and explanations.

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Kitty Surprise

One evening shortly after I had gotten home from work, Bella informed me that she would like to go to the toy store to get a new toy. For a couple of years, I could get away with taking Bella to the dollar store or letting her pick an item from dollar bins at Target. Those days have passed, my friends. She knows what a good toy is now and has figured out that they aren’t in dollar bins.

The toy she was asking for is one she found while watching toy review videos on YouTube. I had no idea these types of things existed until I had kids, but they do and they typically have a pretty big following.

Some of Bella’s favorite channels are:

Cookie Swirl C (Here’s a link to random review. Prepare yourself. It’s psychotic. )

Disney Collector (I can stand this one more than Cookie Swirl.)

Anyway, somewhere on the YouTubes, Bella found Kitty Surprise and decided she needed to have it in her life ASAP. I told her no, we were not going out to buy a $25 toy on a random Wednesday, but I would be happy to get it for her if she would save her money for it. She gets a few dollars here or there from us as a reward for putting away toys, helping me clean, and helping with the baby.

She got pretty angry about being told that she would have to save her own money for this object of her desire. She wasn’t entirely irritated by the “having to use her own money” thing, she was more upset at the idea of having to wait.  She realized that she did not have $25 (she doesn’t know exactly how many 25 is, but she knows it’s a lot.) She threw a bit of a tantrum and shut herself up in her room for awhile. About 15 or 20 minutes later, she emerged carrying her art kit. She set up shop on the coffee table in the living room and started working on something by herself. This is a frequent occurrence in our house (the art kit, not the tantrums.) I didn’t ask any questions at that point. At the time, I was feeding Lottie applesauce in the kitchen so I was just glad Bella had calmed down and was playing quietly on her own.

After a few minutes, I happened to look at what Bella was doing and it looked a little interesting, considering the discussion we had just had about saving money. I asked, “Whatcha doin’, Bell?” And she said, “I’M. MAKING. MONEY.”

photo-6

 

photo-7

 

Sometime later, after the green paint on the on her money had dried, she stuffed the bills (she made 2) in her purse and sat it by the back door and informed me that DADDY would take her and her money to the store the next day to get her toy.

He didn’t take her because I told him not to; he kinda wanted to because he thinks she is genius for making counterfeit money but I informed him she is also being sneaky and manipulative.  A few days later she was still talking about the toy, but no longer throwing tantrums or whining. Meanwhile, she had actually saved a good bit of money because I happened to post about her money making endeavors on Facebook and then people started donating to her cause.

The other day, I got home from work and started loading the kids up in the car to run some errands. Bella asked where we were going and I told her we were going to the store to get some things. She asked if we were going to the grocery store, and I said no, we were going to Target and she asked if she could get her Kitty Surprise. I said we could find it and see what the price was to see how close she was to saving enough money. She then informed me that we needed to go to Toys R Us (thanks a lot, YouTube toy review videos for being so INFORMATIVE) because that’s where the toy was. Apparently it’s an exclusive item.

So. We went to Toys R Us. She found it, and the box DID say it was a Toys R Us exclusive, so, she was right.

I ended up letting her get it and she used a gift card I had (but I took up the money she had saved, she hadn’t actually saved enough, but I let her go ahead and think she had.) I know, I know. I kinda gave in a little but it became worth it, keep reading.

So anyway, to give you a little information on this coveted Kitty Surprise toy: it’s this mother cat that has a pouch on its stomach that you can open and close back up with velcro. What’s in there? Hedgehogs. I kid, it’s kittens, obviously.

First of all, Bella couldn’t wait until we got home to open the thing, she managed to open the packaging and get that cat out of its box by herself. I can barely accomplish that on my own and I’m usually using box cutters, scissors, knives, and machetes to free her toys from their cardboard prisons.

Then, she eagerly opened up the cat’s pouch to see how many kittens were stuffed up in there. There were 4, in case you were eagerly anticipating that information. She squealed with delight, “LOOK, MAMA, LOOK. THERE ARE FOUR KITTENS! LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE! LOOK AT THEM! AWWWWW!”

Then she stuffed the kittens back in the pouch and closed the mama cat back up.

Then the things happening in my back seat started to get a little weird. The next few minutes went something like this:

“Mrrrrrrrrr. Mrrrrrrrr. Meoooooooooow.”

I started staring at Bella in the rearview mirror. She continued with the strange cat moaning and then she started making various voices:

“I…..can’t do it! Mrrrrrrr! Meeeeeeoooowww!!! Mrrrrrrrrrrrr….”

“Yes you can! I can see the baby kitty!”

“Meeeeeeeowwww! Mrrrrrrrrr!”

“I can see it! Here it comes! Here it is, look at your baby kitty! Awwwww isn’t she cute?!?!?”

Meanwhile, I was like, “…..W.T.F.?”

I was legitimately confused on how my child knew specifics about birth but when I told my husband and mother about this occurrence they didn’t seem as surprised. So, I don’t know what it is exactly that Bella is doing on their watch, but I suspect it might involve education about cat births..

 

 

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Bella’s costume ideas for Halloween

Bella has been saying for weeks that she wants to be a butterfly for Halloween. Actually, she wants to be “Butterfly Girl.” She got the idea from one of her “Ladybug Girl” books. She wants ME to be “Ladybug Girl” and her daddy to be “Bumble Bee Boy.” When asked what she wants to be for Halloween, she will consistently give these same answers (except that sometimes she will leave off the who “boy” and “girl” part and just say she wants us to be the specific insects). Her answer for what Lottie will be, however, has not been consistent. One day she didn’t know and seemed confused by the question. One day she said, “Tinkerbell.” But the other morning when asked by her father what she was going to be for Halloween, she said this:

Bella: “I want to be Butterfly Girl. And I want Mommy to be Ladybug Girl. And I want you (Daddy) to be Bumble Bee Boy.”

My husband: “And what is Lottie going to be?”

Bella: “…..a fly.”

And there you have it.

 

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Pay it forward.

This week has been long. Work has been busy. My husband works evenings so when I get home, I usually also have the kids by myself. By the time I get them (when it’s “my” turn) they’re both tired and grumpy because it’s 5 pm and they’ve been up all day and my husband has usually taken them out to various places and activities during the day.  I usually try to do something fun that they are both almost always pretty whiny about. Then I do dinner, bath, story, bed. By then it’s almost 10pm and I’ve still got emails to respond to and laundry that needs to be folded and dirty dishes in the sink and a million other household chores. I try to flop into bed by midnight at the latest.

Then I get up the next day and repeat the whole thing all over again.

Thursday night (last night- or this morning, actually) was particularly awful. The girls started waking up at 4 am. Bella pretty much got UP for the day at 4 am, which may or may be my own fault, because the evening before she fell asleep at just past 8 which I knew would be bad news for me the next day. She usually goes to sleep somewhere between 9:30 and 10. But last night, she just went into my bed, curled up and fell asleep, she was obviously exhausted.  What was I supposed to do, wake her up and make her stay up til 9:30? I thought about it, but I didn’t. Instead, I went ahead and knocked out the chores early and settled in to actually watch a movie. It was Divergent.

Lottie was not asleep, but she was happy to sit in my lap quietly and chew on teethers while I watched the movie.

So, Bella started waking up at 4. She wanted to watch tv. Then she wanted some milk. Then she went to the bathroom and lathered up her hands with soap and couldn’t get the faucet to turn on because her hands were all soapy so she needed me to do it. Then Lottie was crying. Then Bella wanted breakfast. Up until then I had been trying to continue to sleep while leaving Bella to play quietly in her room. Obviously that wasn’t working out, so I gave up and got up for the day.

Then Bella started cocking an attitude with me, which is a serious problem we are having with her at the moment and I’m hoping it’s just a stage. She throws things and attempts to boss us around: “I don’t want to, YOU do it. YOU pick it up. YOU do it. Bring me my juice! YOU get it. YOU do it. I don’t want to. I’m too tired. I’m busy.” We aren’t actually obliging her, but she still continues to shout and try to assert herself. Anyway, I ended up sending to her room until she could behave and speak to me in a more appropriate tone and manner and then she was squalling and crying and calling me mean mommy and telling me she just wanted me to leave her alone and go to work. So that was delightful. What happened to my baby that begged me NOT to go to work because she wanted me to stay home and snuggle with her?

Anyway, by the time I got out of the house I was tired and frustrated and worried about what is going on with Bella.

It was such a bad morning that I decided screw it, I was going to stop for good coffee. I don’t usually stop for coffee anywhere, I just make it at home in the Keurig. But at the end of a long hard week, after a night of very little sleep, on a morning when I had been fighting with my daughter, I felt that good coffee, lots of it, was in order.

So I pulled in Starbucks and it was of course, packed. Then when I kind of got close to the ordering screen, the SUV in front of me had pulled forward, but seriously only pulled forward about a foot, so their entire car was still in front of the ordering screen and I was still waaaaay far away from it. But that didn’t stop the employee on the other end from persistently trying to take my order: “Can I take you order. Hello? Can I take you order? Have we helped you already? Hello? HELLO?” So I was trying to shout at them while I wasn’t close to the screen and they couldn’t hear me and the whole thing was awkward and frustrating and I was cursing myself for thinking that it was “SUCH A GOOD IDEA TO STOP FOR COFFEE!”

By the time I got to the window, I was fuming and just ready to call it quits for the day even though it was only 7am.

But then the Starbucks employee handed me my beverage and said, “The car in front of you paid for yours.”

And suddenly, just like that, my day got a little better.

I’ve read about these random acts of kindness and “pay it forwards” but I’ve never been on the receiving end. It was a definite pick me up at the very moment that I needed it, so thank you for that, kind stranger.

And I will pay it forward on my own soon and hope that my random act of kindness touches someone as much as it touched me today. :)

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My relationship with social networks.

Lately, some things have changed for me and for my family.

My husband and I got in a heated argument a few weeks ago. Do you know what it was about? Our phones. Somehow we had gotten to that place where one of us was always staring at it. Habit? Boredom? Addiction? I don’t know. All three, probably. We would be taking a walk with the kids, or at the park, and one of us would be staring at their phone. We would be having dinner, not talking, staring at our phones. One of us would be talking to the other and that person would be saying, “uh huh” and “yeah” and nodding like they were paying attention, but they weren’t. I was sometimes “that mom” taking a picture simply to :”Capture the moment! Share it on Instagram! On Facebook! Wheeeee!!”

Each of us realized the other was doing it, “Stop looking at your phone and look at me, listen to me, be with me, be with the kids,” one of us would say to the other. Then within 20 minutes, the one that just got called out was saying it to the other.

So you know what? We quit. No, seriously. We really did. No phones out when we’re doing family time. No phones out when we are eating. No quickly taking a bunch of photos and slamming them out there on social media instantly. Nope.

And you know what? I love it. More than that. I am IN LOVE WITH IT. So then I took it a little further. I’m now only looking at my Facebook or Instagram or Twitter (or whatever else) in the evenings before bed. Maybe once or twice I’ve glanced at it outside of this time frame but when I’ve done it, I’ve caught myself thinking, “Why am I doing this? I don’t want to look at this.” I imagine I’ve only broken the rule out of lingering habit. A habit that I’ve had for, what, a decade?

It’s not that I cut it out completely, or that I plan to really. I’m even still posting or sharing things. Usually it’s pictures, but most of the time I share them in evening and I took them earlier in the day. I’m trying not to post them “right then,” (GOTTA SHARE, GOTTA SHARE, GOTTTA SHARE.) A few weeks ago I went on a rafting trip with friends. I didn’t take any photos or have my phone out, mostly because I was on a river and you shouldn’t have your phone on a river. I still really wish I had taken some photos, not to just to put on Facebook, but just to have, for me. I’m not gonna lie though, I also kinda wanted pictures for the purpose of putting them on Facebook. Why did that matter to me? Why did it bother me the slightest bit? Did not posting pictures make it a less important event? It still happened, despite not sharing it with the world. I still had fun, my friends and husband had fun. What more did I need?

Probably for people to give me some “likes” honestly. That’s gross, right?

I just feel like I’m reaching a place (I haven’t totally reached it yet, but I’m getting there) where I’ve outgrown it. It doesn’t make it stupid. It doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone who still likes it or has made it a habit in their lives. It just means it’s not really for me anymore. It’s just not a priority. It used to be kind of fun but I really don’t find it much fun anymore.

By taking most of its presence out of my life, I actually feel HAPPIER. It was like a switch that I flipped. I didn’t know that switch NEEDED to be flipped but boy I’m glad I did it.

You know what I have come to realize about social networks? It really makes people get on my nerves.  People I REALLY, REALLY like. I can’t tell you how many close friends that I still love so much and would hang out with all the time, that I have removed from my feed because they make me nuts on Facebook. From portraying a life that isn’t entirely accurate (fluffing it up), to rants, to bragging, to topics they just post or talk way too much about, Facebook makes me dislike the people I really do like. I don’t know what it is about social networks. Do we just feel so much more at ease to say things that we wouldn’t have the guts to say in person? Do we just get bored and post things without really thinking about them and how they will affect other people? I don’t know.  I’m sure I get on people’s nerves too, specifically with the 10,000 pictures of my kids that I post and probably these blog posts.

Something I’ve really come to understand is that I like people better not seeing their Social Networking personalities.

So, all in all, I’ll be keeping the social networks I use around, and I’ll probably still post on them from time to time, it’s still a way to keep in touch with the people I don’t see very often. It’s still a communication medium where I can see what is happening with my friends and family and they can see me.

But I am going to choose actual interactions instead of relying on Facebook/ Social Media (I keep referencing Facebook the most because it’s the one I use the most, though I do use others). And I’m going to continue to cut out staring at my phone when I’m with people that are important to me. I’m going to continue to take pictures all the time, (because I do take them all the time, I have 2 small children) but I’m not going to be one of those people that’s all “LET ME CAPTURE THIS, LET ME PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, I WANT PEOPLE TO SEE WHAT I’M DOING.? Because you know, I really don’t care anymore. I don’t care if anyone knows what I’m doing. I know that sounds stupid, because here I am POSTING ON A BLOG. I guess I just felt like putting it out there. Maybe someone else has outgrown it as well. I haven’t really been “blogging” in awhile either, which doesn’t mean I’ve quit writing things. I’ve just not been posting them here. Maybe I’ve outgrown this blog, too. I need more time to think about that.

Life isn’t a competition. It’s not about showing everyone else what I am doing. It’s not about watching what everyone else is doing either and comparing what I’m doing with what they’re doing or comparing what they have to what I have. And I do it, I do it without even realizing that I’m doing it. It’s like this subconscious beast sometimes and I want that beast to die.

Life, at least for me, is about living it to the fullest. It’s about being free and being happy with how I’m living and what I’m doing. The things I like, the things that my family and I do may not be the same things other people are doing. And that’s okay, it really is. I don’t need to compare myself and my life other people every single day, several times a day.

LIVING. Can I really do that when I’m consumed with “sharing” and stalking what other people are “sharing” too? I really don’t think I can. I’m a positive person, and social media makes me feel negative. Sometimes I read through the things that are being said in my feed and I just feel icky and sad.

So these are just my thoughts. Social media isn’t going away, it’s here to stay, I’m not stupid or in denial. But my relationship with it just isn’t working out. And I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

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My kid has ears.

I sometimes forget that my 4 year old can hear and understand things.

For instance, the other day my mom and I were having a conversation over dinner while Bella sat at the table with us. Something like this was said about someone: “He was probably good looking once, but now he always has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and he has really bad teeth.”

Then Bella said; “Why does he have bad teeth?”

Things like this happen all the time. I say things (but for the record, it wasn’t me that said it this time, it happened to be my mom, JUST SAYIN’)  in front of her and then realize she’s listening to me and it’s like “Oh..there you are..with you ears..that hear things.”

The best part about it is that when you say something in front of her about someone, it’s pretty much a given that she is going to repeat whatever it is she heard to that person the next time that she sees them. So if I’m ever avoiding you when I’m with my child, there might be a reason.

 

*For the record, I explained to Bella that he probably has bad teeth because he doesn’t brush them and eats too much candy because I’m not above resorting to scare tactics.

 

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How I got some peace and quiet at dinnertime

It’s funny that whenever I try to get my daughter to do something, like get her clothes on so we can leave the house, it’s hard to drag her away from whatever she is doing. She’s always playing with a toy, or a game, or watching a show. But when I’m trying to find just 5 minutes, JUST FIVE MINUTES, of peace, I can’t distract her with anything.

This evening I fed both kids around 5:30. Then I entertained them, bathed them, laid out clothes for tomorrow, folded laundry, swept the kitchen, vacuumed the living room <insert a long list of other menial household chores here>. I finally tried to sit down to shove some food in my own face around 8 and I could not get Bella to leave me alone:

“Mommy, come look at this.”

“Mommy, look what I did!”

“Mommy, I need your help!”

“Mommy, I want some more juice. ”

“Mommy, come help me reach this. ”

“Mommy, come play this game with me. ”

“MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY .”

I tried giving her a puzzle, legos, her princess castle. I tried putting on a tv show she likes and giving her the iPad. She wasn’t having any of it. Finally I told her mommy just wanted 5 MINUTES to sit down and eat something and asked her what it would take to get her to sit down and be quiet.

She said, “I want you open this ketchup packet, squirt it on this napkin, and let me eat it with my fingers.”

You know what? You got it, kiddo.

photo 1-2 photo 2-2 photo 3-2

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Things I became when I became a mother

When I became a mother, I also became lots of other things, like a nervous wreck, a sleep deprived maniac, and a Pinterest addicted psycho. But for real, here are some things I have become since I became a mother:

 

A napkin

If my child does not have somewhere to wipe her hands, she’s probably going to use me.

A maid

My child is pretty good about picking up after herself, at least in our own household where she knows what the rules are. That doesn’t mean that I’m not having to pick up little “Bella piles” that are scattered about the house (or where ever we go) sometimes. I fold her laundry and empty her trash and wash her dishes. As she gets older I hope to give her more chores and make her my own maid, er, little helper.

A jungle gym

My child climbs all over me like I am her own personal playground.

A nurse

I take temperatures, monitor rashes, and trick them into taking medicine. I hold hair back while they vomit and clean said vomit out of their clothes, off my couch, out of my bathtub, off the floors and walls and out of my car. I do a lot of things that pertain to vomit. I bandage boo boos and clean up blood and inspect and treat insects bites and stings. Last week I removed a tick from the back of my oldest child’s ear.

A broken record

“Bella, no.” “Bella, no.” ”Bella, no.” ”Bella, no.” “Put on your shoes.” ”Put on your shoes.” ”Put on your shoes.” ”Put on your shoes.” “Don’t lick that.” ”Don’t lick that.” ”Don’t lick that.” ”Don’t lick that.” I get on my own nerves.

A teacher

We teach them every day but as they get older, they ask more questions. “Where does the sun go at night?” “Why do dogs have four legs?”  ”Where do my boogers come from?” “Why is my hair brown?” I have to come up with answers to these questions.  I read to her. I’ve taught her about colors and animals and shapes. We’re working on the alphabet and numbers and how to write her name. I also teach her not to stick her hands in the toilet and not to eat gum she found stuck underneath the table at Chili’s. These are important life lessons.

A chauffeur

Well, this one is pretty self explanatory. My children can’t drive, so I cart them everywhere: school, doctor’s office, playground, dance lessons, summer camp. I spend more time running my children around than I do driving myself places that *I* need to go.

 

I’m sure there are other things. What jobs have you taken on since becoming a mother?

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Motherhood- why I did it.

I have friends that have kids. I have friends that don’t.

I have friends that have zero desire to have children and I’m down with that. You shouldn’t have them if you don’t want them or need them in your life to feel complete.

However, I, personally, always wanted to be a mom. It was probably the one thing I always knew. Career wise, I wanted to be a teacher, an actress, a writer. Probably a writer more than anything else, that’s obvious, why else would this blog exist? But most of all, I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to have a family, I wanted to have that bond, I wanted that guarantee that when I was old, there would be people around at the holidays and grand babies.

I never thought it would be easy. I baby sat. I was a server and had screaming kids at my tables every single day. I heard the horror stories from other moms. When I was pregnant, I knew what was to come was sleepless nights and giving up life as I knew it. I knew there would be vomit and poop and an insane amount of temper tantrums. Obviously, I didn’t fully understand how those things would play out until I actually had children. I didn’t know that there would be potty training regression and fear of bowel movements. I didn’t know how infuriating a preschooler could be in a battle of wits when they try, with every ounce of their being, to exert their independence. I didn’t know what years of sleep deprivation would feel like. But do you know what I truly didn’t understand at all?

What love feels like.

Until I had children, I don’t think I really knew what it was to love. Sure, I love my parents. I love my sister. I love my husband. I love my friends. But I .LOVE. my children. Who would I die for? Who would I throw myself in front of a bus for? My kids. All those other people? Maybe. I don’t know. I love them a lot but I would probably have to weigh the options. I’m just being serious. My kids? I don’t even have to think about it, not even for a fraction of a second.

My children have taught me how to feel, how to be compassionate. I cry a lot more these days and it’s either because my hormones are out of whack from childbirth or just because I’m a better person that is more sensitive to everything and everyone else around me.

So that’s what I have to say to the folks that don’t want kids and don’t know why anyone would. They make my life complete. They make me feel. They make me love. I felt before. I loved before. But did I REALLY? It’s a completely different experience now. They bring me joy in ways that I never could have imagined possible. They also INFURIATE me to extents that I never thought imaginable but you have to take the good with the bad. Nothing is ever perfect, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything else in this world.

So like I said, I’m down with folks that don’t want to have the babies. Not everyone should, trust me. It requires sacrifices and a whole lot of patience. But for me, it’s totally worth it. It has grounded me and I don’t, even for one minute, want to go back to my childless care free days. They’re nice to remember, and I cherish those memories and I am glad that they exist. But I don’t want to go back there because this is so, so much better. The joy that I experienced on my own was just ME, ME, ME. MY vacations. MY experiences. MY happiness. MINE. Things for me!!! Now, it’s mostly about things for my kids. And that may sound like it sucks, but it’s so much more satisfying than ME, ME, ME.  It’s a lot more work, and it’s a lot less me, but it means so much more. The excitement and happiness on my children’s faces is worth 10,000 times more than a new pair of shoes for me, or a trip to the Bahamas, or a night out on the town drinking over priced drinks. It’s so much more than that.

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