Mothers Are Like Clocks

Long ago, before we even had children we bought this large clock for our kitchen. It actually set itself automatically and changed when the time changes twice a year. It was just a simple analog clock, so I never did figure out how it could adjust the time like magic, but it was faithful to do so.

The clock moved from Texas, to Kentucky, and finally Ohio where it adorned our kitchen once more. It wasn’t the cutest or trendiest home decor item but it had an important purpose. Our son even learned how to tell time the old fashioned way thanks to that clock. I’ll admit that it had gradually sped up over the years to the point that I knew it wasn’t perfectly accurate, but it still helped me stay on schedule. It just kept faithfully ticking away.

That was until recently when the clock stopped.

I thought it was 12:55 pm for two hours before I realized what happened. I panicked and rushed out the door to pick up my kids from school. When I returned home I immediately went to change the batteries. The problem is that it still didn’t work. We tried different batteries. We tried reseting it. Even the fixer of our family couldn’t revive it. So we had to face the fact that after ten years of service to our family the clock had come to the end of it’s life.

Time of death? Unknown.
Bad joke. Sorry.

Anyway, into the trash it went and about a week passed by without the clock hanging on the wall. Even despite our phones, computers, and other various digital clocks I had relied on that one for so long that I thought I would loose my mind if it wasn’t replaced soon. I looked up at that blank spot on the wall probably 20 times a day. I expected to see the time only to be repeatedly disappointed. I feel lost when I don’t know what time it is.

Today we finally replaced the clock and life can proceed as normal.

With mother’s day around the corner this got me thinking. Moms are a lot like clocks. As a child you rely on your mother to keep time, to get you where you need to go, to maintain a steady rhythm, to be there to keep the machine running non stop… like clock work! Then one day you grow up and enter adulthood and you realize just how much you looked up to your mom. It’s in hindsight that you can fully appreciate the depth of what she did for you.

When I think about my old clock I see so many parallels to my mother.

I don’t know how she did it all- all the time, but it happened. Like magic. And if sometimes her timing wasn’t perfect it didn’t matter because she got the job done. She served our family faithfully. She was committed every second, minute, and hour of every day. Her purpose was and is invaluable.

She taught me how to cherish the time.

So this is for all the mother’s out there that are constantly running. To the moms that are a source of reliability and consistency for their families, and those who are trying to embrace every moment as time marches on. Your role in your family is obviously deeper and more intimate than any old clock, but maybe next time you look at the time you can think about the bigger picture because whether you feel it or not, I can assure you that you are appreciated.

 Happy Mother’s Day.
By | May 1st, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Uncategorized|16 Comments

The Hardest Job on the Planet

I saw this comedian on youtube that was joking about how the statement motherhood is the hardest job on the planet is an exaggeration. He compares motherhood to coal miners dying of the black lung, implying that risking your life for a job would be harder.  I would never describe motherhood as life threatening, but in a few rare cases it actually is. The comedian then dramatically explains how difficult it must be to bend down and put a dvd in the dvd player while you are still in your pajamas. The most ignorant thing he said was how mothers can send their kids to bed ANYTIME THEY WANT so that they can have a drink and watch The Price Is Right.

Would’t that be nice!?

Now I understand how comedy works, and even though I think this guy has no idea what he is talking about I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that everything he said was 100% sarcastic. However, there are people out there that buy into his idea of motherhood as a brainless effortless gig and that is why I want to talk about it.

First off I would agree that there are plenty of more physically and intellectually demanding careers out there. Being a mom isn’t even really a job at all in my opinion. One reason is because unlike a job, motherhood isn’t just an investment of time and skill, it demands attention from ever fiber of your being.

During pregnancy a mother’s body will literally be stretched and strained to it’s maximum potential in order to create and sustain a new human. After her body pushes the baby out of her (something I’d love to see that comedian try to even fathom) then the child will depend on her for not only physical nourishment, but the love and care that has been scientifically proven is necessary for life. There will be times she will be stuck in a car with relentless screaming that could bring a soldier to his knees. She will clean up vomit and feceses more times than you can count. Her nipples will probably be bitten, her sleep will be stolen, and her hair will be pulled. All that and we aren’t even through the first year.

The challenges only increase as the child grows and it’s not a bad thing, but it certainly is NOT easy.

The emotional side of motherhood is far more intricate and complex than any job could ever be. Some people may feel like they are emotionally invested in their jobs, but mothers are attached at the core of who they are. When the child suffers the mother feels the same pain multiplied. The intensity of her passion for her children is pumping through her blood because those children are a part of her and share her DNA.

I could go on and on about all that motherhood entails, but I have already wasted too much time responding to a really stupid youtube video that was recommended on Facebook, and the only thing worse than that is that I also read a couple of the idiotic comments. Apparently there are a lot of oblivious people out there who really do think moms sit around all day playing Candy Crush Saga and snacking on sushi or something.

Just to be clear as I wrap this thing up, some women birth children, but never become mothers. Some women never birth children, but are the strongest mothers of all. It’s a relationship, a lifestyle, a gift, a sacrifice, and a calling, but not necessarily a job.  To say motherhood is job implies that you are paid, or that you can go off duty, or retire. So I don’t think that motherhood is the hardest job on the planet because that statement isn’t powerful enough to describe what being a mom really is.

By | April 9th, 2015|Family, Motherhood|11 Comments

How To Never Offend Anyone

I feel like I have seen it all when it comes to online links
touting things you should never say.
What not to say to a mother of twins
What not to say to a single mom
What not to say to a parent that has adopted
What not to say to a person with an eating disorder
What not to say to a person with an unusual birthmark
The last one I made up, but the rest are real, and I could go on
and on.  The more of these taboo comments that I came across, the more
I became fearful of hurting someone’s feelings. I recently saw one that
should have been right up my alley titled 10 Things You
Should Not Say to Moms With Multiple Children
The picture that goes along with the post is a mom with three
children and a grocery cart. Hey, that’s me! I go to the grocery store with
three children far too often. I like to joke that I am in my 30’s, but I can
still turn heads. The punch line is that I turn a lot of heads with the way my
kids behave when we are out in public. I have had at least 100 strangers tell
me that I have my hands full. It’s true though. My hands are usually literally
carrying things and figuratively juggling things.
“You have your hands full” is just one of the things
the article considered “tactless commentary from intrusive
strangers”. Another statement you are not supposed to say to me or
other moms is “lots of helpers” along with “Enjoy these
days. They grow up so Fast.” And last on the list is “the silent stare”.
If you read the article it explains why you should not say/do these things, and
I get where the idea comes from because I know it feels redundant when you
are on the receiving end. I have even vented about the cliché
statements before. 
So I came up with this idea. Instead of having all of these
“things you should never say” lists to sift through online. I have decided to
just sum it all up into one nice little politically correct paragraph.

 If you find yourself in an environment that is also
occupied by a mother with children, or a person with a disability, or
someone who has experienced tragedy, or is breathing, then you shouldn’t say
anything, unless it is from an approved list of one liners preferably
customized by each individual that would be receiving the
comment. And be especially careful of how you look at said individual.
Don’t look for too long to imply staring, or too short to suggest that you
don’t enjoy seeing them. In fact I would avoid looking at them at all. Then
again that could be the same as ignoring them, which could be considered
offensive too. Instead you might want to try not being around people.
Ever. 

I’m being sarcastic of course. Hopefully you can see where I am
going with this. I understand why lists like this are such a hit. Some of them
truly do raise awareness about certain misconceptions. However, more often than
not we just want people to know what to say to us because we are insecure,
tired, hurt, or fill in the blank. I even considered doing my own list of
“What to say when you see a child with a disability” because my
daughter is deaf and has cochlear implants. It’s kind of hard to miss and I can
tell that some people feel awkward around us at times. The problem with my list
is that I would encourage people to talk with me openly about their thoughts
and curiosities. I love answering questions and educating people
on what the cochlear implant is all about! However, I have lots of friends
who are parents of deaf children and some of them do not like talking about it.
Or sometimes it depends on the day! So there is no list of do’s and don’ts
because there aren’t just “Parents of Deaf Children”-period.
It’s more complex than that.
Similarly there aren’t just pregnant ladies, or women
who have had c-sections
, or biracial couples, or introverts,
or working moms. There are just people! Individual people. 
Sure we all belong to certain groups and stereotypes, but that
does not define us. We are way too complicated to be narrowed down to a list of
appropriate conversations. We are all people that will offend other people and
will be offended by other people. On the bright side we are also diverse people that get to learn from one another. We get to share space and have community together. We engage. We form opinions. We form relationships and even friendships!  

I hate the thought that people would stop interacting out of fear of offending. Sure, there are going to be some jerks out there that say ignorant things, but isn’t there a Taylor Swift song about that? Shake it off, right? Because at one point or another, you will be offended. It’s happened to me. There are also comments that I just could have done without. For example when I was pregnant with a girl after I already had a boy I would have thought the whole world joined together to celebrate the fact that this meant I was done having children. Which, obviously didn’t stop me. Still, at the end of the day, I would rather be annoyed on occasion than disconnected for life. 

By | February 2nd, 2015|Motherhood, Special Needs, Uncategorized|15 Comments

Through Mother’s Eyes

This week I have been talking about books. As I already mentioned I recently read Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan and Surprised By Motherhood by Lisa Jo Baker . The authors themselves and the main premise of each book is very different. However, they both take a deep and personal look at their mothers in hindsight after becoming a mother themselves. It is amazing what truths are unveiled to them that were there all along, but it’s different when you look back. It’s different when you are a mom.

In Baker’s memoir, Surprised By Motherhood, she looses her mother when she is 18 years old.  Nearly two decades later she is looking at her young daughter and she begins to see herself through her late mother’s eyes. So much healing takes place in that moment. It really is a moving story that I highly recommend. That particular part of the story truly resonated with me. Because in that moment she feels like she has a glimpse of what her mom felt. It is then that she knows that she was loved and she knows that she was known. She couldn’t have experienced it in a way that was so intricate or detailed until she applied it to the relationship she has with her own daughter.

I didn’t loose my mother, but I did loose a brother. Zeb was diagnosed when he was 3 years old. He had Leukemia. He died when he was about to turn 7 and I was 9. We were very close. I grieved the loss of my little brother, the baby of our family, my best friend. I had closure though. I knew he was in Heaven, and the way that I missed him evolved over time.

Then I became a mother. Sigh. Motherhood changes everything doesn’t it? And much in the way of these two authors who saw their mothers in a different light after having kids, I did as well. I understood now the price that she paid, willingly and lovingly, to raise her four children. I also felt like I had a new understanding, although I could never know completely, about what she went through with my little brother Zeb. I hesitate to say that it opens up a wound, but the good news is that God is gracious and merciful and that His presence is a balm for these feelings. He can soothe even the deepest abrasions.

You see, I lost a brother and that was tough. I cherish the memories I have of him. However, I pray that I will never know what it is like to loose a son. As a young girl I had NO idea what my parents went through. Looking back at it with my new perspective as a mom I have to grieve all over again. Every once in a while I will hear stories about that time in our life. I treasure these stories. It’s a part of my life and I want to know everything there is to know about my brother Zeb. I take it all in. Even the hard stuff. It might be stories about his treatment, the chemo, and bone marrow transplant. Or pictures of how young my mother was when she had to endure all this at the age I am now. Or just the look in her eyes when she talks about it. The wholeness and peace that comes from above, along with the empty space that never goes away. And you never want it to.

It’s been 23 years and she does cry every once in a while. Now that I am a mom I totally get that. I am sure she’s crying right now reading this (I am too). It’s weird the way life imprints dates, ages, places on your heart so that you can’t go pass them without tripping a wire. I am sure all of us have those times that serve as a memorial. For me, I think of my mom when my children (especially my oldest son) turn 3 and then 7. Z is seven now actually, and there was one night in particular, after putting him to bed and watching him drift to sleep, I just had to weep over the thought of what that would be like to lose him. I certainly don’t want all this to come across as an obsessive state of hopelessness and depression. It’s quite the contrary. On the occasion that these memories do arise I am reminded of the Savior’s sacrifice. I am reminded of the promise and the hope that we have through Christ. It’s also like rereading the living testament that my parents walk out daily as they prove the redeeming and powerful love of God in the midst of the storms. Lastly, I am honoring a precious little boy’s legacy.

As I read Lisa Jo Baker’s words and saw the healing that was evident through the pain. I also saw that at work in my own life and I am sure it can be true for you as well. We all experience different forms of loss and grief, and the way we grieve is as diverse as each one of us.

To bring this back to becoming a mom and seeing our moms in a new light I would like to share this little quote from Glitter and Glue,

“And it occurs to me that maybe the reason my mother was so exhausted all the time wasn’t because she was doing so much but because she was feeling so much.”


I don’t like to describe myself as exhausted, but if it looks like I am I can attest that this would be why. As these authors have described being a mother means feeling deeply. It’s braving the unknown only to feel your way through it. It’s not always easy, but of course it’s worth it.  

By | January 17th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Be There

I don’t know about you but I’ve had a lot of teachable moments in the past 31 days and I’m sure my children can say the same. In a lot of ways I feel like I’ve failed miserably practicing what I preach this month. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been focusing on it so much that I’ve made myself over think it, or maybe I’m just noticing it more because I’ve been writing about it. One thing is for sure though the enemy loves to tear us down and make us feel like we’re not good enough. I’ve had several people from friends, to my own husband and my mother tell me (in reference to this series) how they feel like they are not parenting the right way or that they didn’t do things the right way when they had a chance. 

That is not the result I was going for when I set out to write about Teachable Parenting. And this is what I would like to say to everyone that is reading this: 

Stop beating yourself up. I am talking to you. You, wiping your child’s nose. You doing the dishes. You getting disapproval from others because you let your child sleep with you, and you getting disapproval from your child because you won’t let them sleep with you. You who are late to get your child to soccer, and you who feels bad that you can’t afford soccer. To the bottle feeders, and the breast feeders, the loud mom, the mean mom, the Pinterest mom, and the laid back mom. 

You are enough. 

Please be encouraged. You are doing an amazing job. Your sacrifice is meaningful. You are capable and equipped. You are chosen. You are qualified. You can do this. 

To sum it all up I’d like to leave you with some advice from a young man who spent most of his life in prison. I met Brandon Young this past Sunday when a ministry group called Hope Royale came my church. The men were different ages and had different backgrounds, but their commonality was that they had all spent a good deal of time in jail and now have come to a place of restoration with powerful testimonies to share about their journeys. At the end of the service a panel was opened up for question-and-answer time. We were all encouraged to ask them anything we wanted. It could be about drugs, alcohol, jail, suicide attempts, anything. I hesitated because this was a big group and we had to speak into the microphone, but then I thought why not, this is a great opportunity for me. So I stood up and I briefly mentioned the project I’m working on about parenting and my question was “What advice would you have for parents? What one thing would you say to help them steer their children away from such hardships? Brandon looked me in the eye and he just simply said, 


Be There.

As he paused my eyes began to well up with tears with the gravity and complexity of the statement. He expounded just a little bit by saying “My parents weren’t perfect, but they weren’t even there. Just be there for your kids.” I thought it was interesting this 24 year old young man would say he didn’t need perfect parents. He just needed parents that were there for him. 

I’d like to repeat what I said that the father shared with his daughter at her 16th  birthday which is that no matter where she finds herself he will be there for her. Just like Christ promises us, just like the prodigal son. Hopefully our children don’t have to go through all these dark struggles that we so strongly want to keep them away from, and there are things we can do to help them for sure. Of course  listening is important, chores are important, our words are important, our actions are important, but after 31 days and tons of tips telling you what I’ve learned about Teachable Parenting I’d like to leave you with one simple piece of advice from my new friend Brandon. 

Just be there for your kids.

 Be There.

This is the end of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable parenting click HERE.
By | October 31st, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|8 Comments

The Helicopter Has Landed

A couple years ago I sat in a waiting room watching a woman fold a million tiny origami
stars. Maybe a million is exaggerating, but she was working on it for a long
time. I asked her what it was for. She said it was her son’s homework assignment
and it was due tomorrow. I don’t remember all the excuses, but her main one
was “He’s never going to use this skill. I mean, if it were important I would
want him to learn it, but this is not something he’ll need to know in the real
world.”
I get it. I am not judging that woman, who knows what she
was going through. I could tell she wasn’t proud of it herself, but her
reasoning was lame. Her son may not ever craft another origami star in his
life, but will he have deadlines, tedious projects, assignments that take
precision and focus? He probably will and bailing him out is not going to help
him.
I never thought I would be the helicopter or drill sergeant
parent, but I have to tell you it does crop up. There have been a number of
times I have seen my son on the play ground with kids that I had a bad feeling
about and I would just go into mama bear/eagle eye/ lioness
/whatever-other-strong-animal-image-you-can-think-of mode. It’s hard not to
swoop in and rescue.  I knew this was a
tendency of mine and when reading descriptions for “the three damaging
motherly stereo types” from Wild Things it was confirmed. I saw that out of The Man Hater, The
Mother Hen
, and The Overly Bonded Mother I related to The Mother Hen a little
more than I wanted to admit. I think it’s natural and good that we want to
protect our children, sometimes that what we’re here for. We have to watch out that we aren’t being over involved though. Out of the three books
that I’ve been referencing they all mention the dangers of both hovering and controlling, and how they ultimately teach children to operate on the basis of fear and shame.
If we want responsible kids we have to give them more
responsibility. I went to a conference about this last year at my son’s school.
The advice was let them do their own laundry, walk to local destinations when possible, and
let them fail assignments too. I have already talked about how it’s okay formistakes to be made (especially when the price tag is low), but it bears
repeating because if we can’t shield our child from the pain of failure and suffering
in the world, what we can do is teach them how to cope with it now.
I’ll end with this excerpt from Wild Things “ If we don’t
allow the boys we love to suffer with the disappointments of life, we undermine
their manhood by sending them messages that say, “You’re weak. You can’t handle
life”. Intentionally or not, by our words and our actions we communicate to our
boys that they’re not capable or responsible.”

This book is written for caregivers of boys, but it applies
to girls as well. I want to see my children be stretched to their fullest
potential, even if it hurts to watch (gulp). Will you join me?   
This is day 23 of a 31 day series. For the rest of Teachable Parenting click HERE.
By | October 23rd, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|8 Comments

Being Fun and Unpredictable

I’ve given a lot of information over the past 21 days of this series. It’s been a little overwhelming for me and hopefully not too much for you. I feel like a lot of it is freeing and I am very passionate about the idea of Teachable Parenting, but I never want to come across as preachy. You can get so wrapped up in the “how to” parenting stuff that even the gentle discipline approach can become a beating for the adult. It’s not supposed to be that way.
Children are a lot of work, and it can be exhausting.
For the people that comment nearly everyday “You look like you have your hands full” or “they sure are strong willed aren’t they” All I can say is yes.
Yes I do have my hands full and yes they are strong willed, but I’d rather full than empty. I’d rather strong than weak.
It’s not as bad as it may look in passing. I get to have a lot of fun with these little fire balls. So, today I want to share a parenting tip that is more about enjoyment together.

 

In Wild Things the book recommends changing it up, being unpredictable or risk being dismissed. They give a story of a mother that made spaghetti and meatballs for her husband and two sons (ages twelve and fifteen) and served it on the patio behind their house. In the middle of dinner
she picked up a handful of spaghetti and chucked it at the boys. The salad and meatballs shortly followed. Both boys were so amazed that they just sat there,
stunned at first, and then began laughing harder and longer than they ever had in their life. None of their friends believed them when the boys told them what
had happened. This mother was neither predictable nor dismissed. She was a hero.
Now, I am not suggested scoring through pinterest for calculated ideas on how to be the unpredictable mom. I think you need to be yourself and I think you need to have fun with your kids in whatever way shape or form that looks like to you. Not everyday is going to be fun. You are the parent not the BFF, but the point is to lighten up from time time, especially if you feel like your home is becoming a purgatory.
My latest crazy fun family time which I haven’t shared on this blog yet, was the Color Dash Bubble Bash that I did over the summer. It was also a beautiful lesson in paying it forward because BB4K is an organization that helped fund my daughter’s summer therapy this year at her deaf school. Not only were we able to give through the money raised for the event, but we had blast! The event happened over a month ago and they haven’t stopped talking about it since.
That wasn’t some creative idea that I came up with and it doesn’t have to be. Or if it is like the spaghetti thing than that’s great too. Or it could be spur of the moment thing. Another recent super, crazy, fun activity was when my husband and son were flying a glider in the park and my husband decided to tape his phone to the plane to see video from the planes perspective.I gripe about my kids in a light hearted way because I want others to know that for most of us motherhood is not a cake walk and it’s normal to feel like your are loosing your mind. It’s also normal to feel like you are experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings everyday through the beautiful children He’s given you. They are a lot of fun, and sometimes it’s up to us to join in!

I previously mentioned the post I wrote called “Turns Out Mom Was Right” and I share some of her more unpredictable moments, which turned into unforgettable memories. I also explain why these experiences meant so much to me.

Think back to your childhood when did you see your parents kick back and loosen up? What were the times that you laughed the hardest? What kind of fun traditions or wild spontaneous memories are you building with your children?

 

I think you know what the next teachable parent challenge is! Have fun…

By | October 22nd, 2014|Motherhood, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|5 Comments

About My Parenting Journey

I figured since we will be doing this thing for 31 days, and you all will be reading my voice the whole time, I would share a little of background info.  I’ve got all the fun and casual details on my Meet the Messy Mom link, but I would still like to give everyone a little peak at my mom credentials. 
My three kiddos are all lovely and talented of course, but in very different ways.

My oldest son fits the stereotype of a little guy with glasses. He enjoys reading, writing, geography,
and math (where did he come from!?)

 I also have
a daughter who is deaf. She goes to school for the deaf and works very hard,
but she has a long way to go before she is caught up even among her peers with
hearing loss. At four and a half years old she is just learning to talk. It’s
all for good reason obviously, this isn’t about comparison and it is not a
shameful thing whatsoever. I just want to be transparent with you so that you
know that when I talk about Teachable Parenting I have an invested interest in special needs from one end of the
spectrum to the other.

Last but not least, I have a two year old boy who keeps my heart rate pumping and did I
mention he is two, and he is a boy? Yeah, I don’t think I need to elaborate too much on the parenting challenges I face there. 

Even with the differences they all have one thing in common. They are strong
willed.

I am not dissatisfied with
the personality of my children, in fact I wasn’t the one to even label them
strong willed in the beginning, but that’s what I’ve been told that they are at some point or
another. I usually hear it around toddlerhood

 He’s strong willed isn’t he
Second runner up to You sure do have your
hands full
Followed by Such a busy
little guy.
Or the sympathetic Is it nap time? 

I don’t want to sound bitter. I have said, and stand by my
statements, that parenthood is the best thing that has ever happened to me or my
marriage. It’s been the most amazing 7 years of my life so far.

Let’s pause for a moment on
that number. SEVEN years. You could look at it like I have been training and
studying childrearing daily 24/7 which would mean I should have at the very
least a Master’s Degree right? Then the fact that I have 3 of children that
just makes me even more qualified to be on top of this mom thing. I mean, when
I went in for my prenatal appointments with my last child the Doctor was like
this is your third healthy pregnancy? I nodded yes and he said well then let me
step out of the way, you should probably be telling me how it’s done! You would
be surprised how many people got wide eyed at the announcement of my third like
I had reached a whole new peak of the mountain that only few travelers dare to
venture toward. Seriously.
Now on the other hand three
is not that many children. I have LESS children than most of my friends or my
mom or mother in law. And seven years is not really that long. In mom years I
am 7 years old. Forget the Master’s Degree I am in the first grade of
motherhood. First grade! I have just begun!
In other words I want my
reader’s to know that as I share all the wisdom of these books for this series
it is not to imply that I have achieved this high status as a caregiver and now
I am ready to show everyone how it’s done. I am just your average mom dragging
my daughter out of the play land against her will or realizing my son slept in
his clothes and wore them to school the second day in a row. That last one
happened one time, the other thing happens all the time. Anyway, my hope in
this 31 days endeavor is that maybe we could learn together, laugh together,
and have grace for other moms and ourselves.

 If your new to Messy Mom please introduce yourself. I’d love
to know where you are from, how many children you have and what ages they are, along with their social security numbers and genealogical history. Totally
kidding about that last part, but serious about making this an interactive
community. I can’t wait to dive into the next 26 days with you!
By | October 5th, 2014|Lifestyle, Motherhood, My Life, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Taking Pictures Alone VS. Taking Pictures With Children

Getting a great photo of a your children is a feat in and of itself. Getting a photo with your children takes olympic level skills! I just finished having family photos done with me, my husband, and our three children. As a photographer that has been in this situation behind the lens countless times you would think I would have it all together, but it’s different when it’s your own family.

I remember the days when I would take selfies for my myspace (yeah, it was a long time ago). Or my husband would snap a photo of me in the park out on a date. 

Here was the scene-

I think this light and this background right here would be good for a photo. I think I’ll stand here and hold this pose. Am I smiling too big or not big enough? Do you think this is my good side? Okay, eyebrows slightly raised, tummy sucked in, shoulders back, body tilted ever so slightly.

Then I look at the photo and see that my hair was sticking up in one place, or my shirt wasn’t laying flat. Oh MY! Taking a good photo is hard work. Let’s reshoot that again and again until I love the way I look.

Now let’s look at yesterday’s scene.

I think this light and this background is perfect, let’s pray that our children will miraculously stand here and look in the same direction for 10 seconds so that we can take a photo.

Okay, guys we are going to stand right here. No? Okay, let’s stand over here where baby Ezie is. No wait! Baby Ezie come back. Do you want to go on daddy’s shoulders? But you love daddy’s shoulders. Fine, let’s all sit. On the count of three say “Chuck E. Cheeeese”  Keep your shirt down sweetie. HEY! Do not pull your sister’s pony tail! Seriously, every one look at the camera. NO, don’t point at it, just look. And smile. Not like that, that looks like the Joker. Come on!  Alright, where is your sister? I think we lost her. Oh, there she is running toward that poison ivy.  Stop! Stop now! Hold onto my hand. Is this everyone? How about standing by this tree stump here. Hello? Is there anyone in this family that knows what a tree stump is? Stop pushing. If you don’t cut it out right now you might not see Mine Craft ever again! No. Don’t cry. We want happy photos. Fine, who wants candy? How much candy is this going to take? Ewww, gross. What is that smell? I think someone stepped in dog poo. Let’s check your shoes everyone. Bingo. Alright, try and wipe it off in the leaves over there. Goodness gracious! Moving on…

Not once did I ever think about my shoulders or my hair. There is no checking the preview to see how I look. No “place all your weight on your back foot” rule. Nope. If we have a photo of the 5 of us together where no one is crying or injuring someone then it’s a keeper. You don’t even have to have your eyes open. I went from having a 20 point checklist for how I looked in a photograph to just one qualification. Do I look sane? Even that is debatable. 

 

For the record out of probably 200 tries we were able to get one decent photo. 
It was sent out with our Christmas cards and after all that effort I can assure I will have it hanging on our wall. So if my family can do it, there is hope for everyone. Just say Chuck E. Cheese!!!

By | September 24th, 2014|Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

The Beginning of the School Year Mom’s Wardrobe

It’s a new school year with a  clean slate and that inspires me*. No more roll out of bed, put shoes on and show up at the school in a wrinkled frump of whatever I wore to bed or picked up out of the laundry basket. I am turning a new leaf. It’s hard to say how long it will last, but I am going on a full two weeks *gasp* of having clothes picked out ahead of time. I am actually getting myself ready in the morning. 

Last week after lining up some of my favorite combinations I noticed a trend. 
Stripes. 

Along with trying to dress decent on a daily basis I tried to get photographic evidence. It wasn’t all that easy, but I wrangled up a few pics for ya, and I am going to use all of my God given restraint to forgo dozens of disclaimers about the way I look or the way the photos looks, because ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Now then, lets see some stripes!
This first outfit is a favorite go-to of mine. 
It’s casual, comfy, and summery. 
Shirt: JC Penny Clearance.
I wasn’t even looking for clothes, but it was such a rock bottom price it grabbed me and forced me to buy it.
Shorts: Old Navy (although I bough them at a thrift store). 
They are called the perfect 5 inch short and they really are the perfect fit for me. 
Shoes: Gap (a gift from a friend who bought them used). 
These are my favorite summer sandals.
So just how practical is this outfit for a stay at home mother of 3? 
I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Even though it’s great for so many family activities, the white shorts make it less than perfect for all the messy hands I deal with. Still, not bad. 
This next outfit I wore to the parent info night at Z’s school last week. 
Shirt: Forever 21.
I bought it used of course, do I have to mention this every time? I think I should so that I can show people the variety available second hand!
Jeans: American Eagle (thrifted)
Shoes: Gap clearance center 
And just because it’s so cute, here is a shot of SJ trying to wear my shoes. 
Why the low score you ask? Well, the outfit is fine, but this score has to do with how well it fits the busy mom lifestyle. It looses points for the low rise jeans because it’s no bueno if you can’t get each of your kiddo’s shoes back on without exposing your crack to all of chic-fil-a. Even if that was still the style, I wouldn’t be interested. It’s both outdated and just uncomfortable so those jeans are probably seeing their last days. Also, the shoes will not be worn in a situation where I know I need to chase toddlers. They are extremely difficult to run in. I am cool with high heels, but the flatness of the wedge just adds another level of awkward when I walk. I still like the way they look though. #wedgesnotwedgies
Lastly, I have another combo that has gotten a lot of wear this summer. The first of the two pics was a hair selfie, but you see the shirt pattern.
shirt: Old Navy clearance
Shorts: Aeropostale (thrifted)
Shoes: (same as above) Although, normally I would wear Sperry’s with this, but it was a hot Saturday and loafers can be stuffy. 
This outfit gets 4 stars because I wear it so often (shoot, I’m wearing it now). It’s comfortable, breathable fabric, modest, and both items stretch so it’s good for postpartum and all kinds of other body issues moms have to deal with. The reason I didn’t give a whopping 5 is because it’s pretty boring. These clothes are going to have to work hard to earn a 5. This is serious stuff. 
In conclusion, I have spent a lot more time considering what I am going to wear and sometimes even taking pictures of it. I am not going to lie, it was fun. I feel womanly. Will I keep it up? It’s hard to say, but for now that’s my 
“What I Wore Wednesday”


Pampers & Pearls
*If you have read Jen Hatmaker’s essays about the beginning of the school year mom vs the end of the school year mom then you  pretty much know what kind of mom I am.
By | September 3rd, 2014|Motherhood, Uncategorized|5 Comments