The joys of motherhood

Sometimes I verge on being whiny in my blog.  Sometimes I moan and groan about the challenges of motherhood.  And sometimes that’s OK, because I am all about being honest and real.  At the same time, though, I sometimes find myself falling into a pattern of thinking about how difficult and challenging it is more than how awesome it is.  And it totally is awesome.  I’d say 85 to 90 percent of the time I love it.  The other 10 to 15 percent of the time is often what gets stuck in my head, though.  Sometimes I don’t love it because my child is being difficult.  Other times I don’t love it, though, because I start thinking about what I’d rather be doing at the moment and focusing on myself (and this can totally just be that I’d rather be finishing cooking dinner than helping the kiddo go to the bathroom or something; not necessarily that I’d rather be napping or reading a book of my own for fun).

While I’m not my child’s servant, I am called to have a servant’s heart to everyone.  Right now, I am called to have that heart especially for her.  I am her mother.  I am the woman put into her life to take care of her and meet her needs.  I need to remember to do that more often with a happy spirit.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mope about and grump about.  I don’t begrudgingly take care of her 95 percent of the time.  But, I have my moments when I’m tired or grouchy or whatever.

And for those moments in myself (that I’m sure — or maybe at least sort of hopeful that other moms have, too; please don’t tell me I’m a bad mother!), I’ve decided to make a list of what I love about motherhood.  It’s been a while since I’ve done such a list.  The way I’ve felt of late in dealing with the sometimes difficult battles of toddlerhood, I need these reminders.

– I love having little hands seek to hold mine.  She knows I will keep her safe.  Just this week as we were walking into the grocery store, she looked at me while I was shutting the car door, before I could even say anything to her, and said, “Hold my hand, mommy.”  I love that little hand wrapped up in mine.

– I love getting little kisses.  At 2-1/2, the kiddo is now old enough to give sweet kisses that aren’t slobber filled.  I love the pecks on the cheek I get from her.

– I love giving kisses — lots of them.  On her sweet, smooth cheeks, in her soft, curly red hair, at the nape of her neck — everywhere.  I even sometimes kiss her knee as I’m getting her out of her highchair.  (Reminding myself to especially remember these; there will be a day I won’t get to kiss her nearly so much!)

– I love snuggle-buggleing with her.  Yep, that’s our own term.  And, yes, even as a self-proclaimed grammar fiend, I make up words.  Snuggle-buggleling is just snuggling.  She asks to snuggle a lot.  Sometimes she asks to snuggle just to get out of doing something she wants, but even then it’s not so bad.

– I love laughing with her.  I laugh more than I ever have.  My kiddo is funny.  I never know what she’s going to say.  Many, many times a day she makes me laugh.  Like the other evening when she removed the pepperoni from her pizza and declared: “This kid doesn’t like pepperoni.”  Or when she got her pretend knife out of her play kitchen to sharpen the cheddar cheese after we’d purchased extra sharp cheddar cheese at the deli earlier that day.  She makes me laugh so much.

My kiddo reading to some of her "friends" in her room. She loves books so much, and I love reading them to her.

– I love reading to her.  She loves to read.  She has a room filled with toys, but books are the first thing she goes for when she wakes up.  She loves for us to read to her.  And sometimes she reads back to us, which I also love.

– I love having a buddy with me when I go places.  Yes, sometimes it can be a struggle, but most of the time, I enjoy the company.  We chat about what we are doing and seeing.  We chat about where we’re going.  We chat about who we’ll see.  We chat about everything.  As an introvert who draws energy from alone time, this actually re-energizes me.  When I get to run errands solo, I usually miss my buddy.

– I love singing songs with the kiddo.  I’ve always loved music; I’ve always loved singing.  I really love singing with the kiddo.  She’s had times of being resistant to that lately because she wants to sing alone, but that’s OK.  I love hearing her sing.  I especially love when she makes up her own songs.

– I love dancing with a little one.  I’m not a dancer.  And I won’t dance in public probably ever.  But being silly doing the hot dog dance or swinging around in circles with a little person is way more fun than I ever imagined.

– I love getting to be a kid again.  I’m not a kid all the time.  I do have to be the responsible grown up most of the time, but I love getting to see the world through her eyes and take breaks from responsibility to play pretend games and do fun things with my kiddo.  This week I’ve gone to a pretend ball, eaten loads of pretend food, blown bubbles and played hide-and-seek.  I wouldn’t have done any of that without Lexiana in my life.

– I love seeing my husband as a father.  Without our child, I’d never get to see Chris be the daddy that he is.  It makes me love him even more — and I loved him with all my heart to start with.

– I love having little arms wrap around my neck.  I remember when she was a baby, and I’d just hold her.  I love that she can now hold me back when she wants to.  I also love that sometimes she just wants me to hold her and cuddle her just like I did when she was a baby.

– I love being in this in-between stage.  Right now my child is start part baby, part little girl.  She will tell you that.  Most of the time she wants to be a big girl, but sometimes even she will say, “I’m a big girl, but I can be a baby, too.”  Because she’s 2-1/2.  Sometimes she wants to be treated like a big girl and get to do big girl things.  Other times she wants to be held and coddled like a baby.  She’s caught in that in between place.  It can be frustrating to her (and as a result to me!), but I also know that it won’t be long until she’s fully a big girl and will not want nearly as many snuggle-buggles.  We’re also in that phase where she still thinks my husband and I are funny and cool.  I know it won’t be long until that ends as well.

– I love learning about this little person.  And, my goodness, she is her own little person.  She has her own interests and likes.  Some of them mirror my husband and me like her love for Green Lantern (my husband) or books (more me) or music (both of us).  She loves Mickey Mouse and friends while my husband and I never have had an interest in them (even as kids).  She’s also pretty into sports and recently picked out a football on a trip to the dollar store while my husband and I typically don’t even know what sport is in season.  She doesn’t care much for meat, generally prefers salty snacks to sweet and likes spicy salsa, just like my husband.  She loves breadsticks, M&Ms and spaghetti, just like I do.  However, she also loves pickles, cranberries, refried beans and coconuts which neither my husband nor I like.  There are so many more examples already.  And I love thinking about everything else that will develop in her life as she grows and changes.

– Above all, I really do just love being a mom.  Motherhood brings with it lots of struggles and exhaustion, but it also bring lots of joy and love and laughter.  I love knowing how full my heart can be with love.  I love teary up over sappy things because now I really, truly get them.  I love having the privilege of being called Lexiana’s mommy.  I’m not perfect, she’s not perfect and life isn’t perfect, but it’s good, so good.

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