Humanity Over Viability, Love Over Logic

On October 28, 2007, our first child was born.  A girl.  She came unexpectedly 9 days before my due date.  I’d known we would have a girl first.  Call it Mother’s intuition (or that I had a 50/50 chance of being right), but I did have dreams about a daughter.  That she would have a full head of dark hair?  That was a surprise.  She was born with a furrowed brow.  She was predestined to be headstrong and passionate from the womb.



We worried we wouldn’t be able to give our little girl a brother or sister after a year of failed attempts.  But our twins were born January 6, 2011 at 34 weeks gestation.  I had my theories about which of my two little boys would be the leader based on which one moved the most for those 34 weeks!  For the most part my thoughts have proven true, although I think the “little one” has more than caught up to “big brother” in both size and personality.



Baby brother was slightly unexpected so soon, but welcomed completely nonetheless.  Our little Lochstar was born on November 25, 2012…two and a half weeks early (per the norm).  Coming home to a 5 year old drama queen and two 2 year old monsters all competing for attention, he was sort of thrown into the lion’s den.  But he held his own from day one and has absolutely never let anyone walk all over him (as you can see from the gesture in picture 2).



I . LOVE . THESE . CHILDREN.  I could use the cliche that I’ve loved them “from the moment I laid eyes on them”.  But that’s not entirely true.

I loved Lochlan when, at 20 weeks, I found out I was having a 3rd boy instead of the sister for Jade I’d been hoping for.

I loved Calder when I realized the poor kid was getting pushed out of the way by his brother.  And when the doctor told me the reason for his smaller size may be because “Baby A is stealing all the food”.

I loved Everest when I felt his constant kicking against the same spot on my ribs for months as if he was slowly digging a tunnel out of prison.  He couldn’t wait to get out of there and take on the world.

I loved Jade the second the ultrasound confirmed that I was going to be a mother.  And even more when the next ultrasound confirmed I was right: I was having a daughter.

I loved them more each time I heard their heart beats, felt their hiccups, saw a picture of them sucking their thumb (and realized that it would still be a comfort to them in the “real world”), laid in bed with my husband’s hand on my belly waiting for the wave of a back flip or the press of a tiny foot.

I loved them when I finally got to look into each of their eyes, to kiss their foreheads, to feel their grip on my finger.  To tell them I LOVE YOU in person.

I knew my children — I LOVED my children — before they came into this world.  As soon as I saw and felt their first movements, I knew they were perfect and miraculous creations with immeasurable potential.  I love them more every day as they grow into the people they were sent to Earth to become.

It has been a privilege and a blessing to be able to give them that chance.

While it is an overly ambitious and probably futile dream, I hope that one day we will all — the human race in its entirety — realize how much value each human soul has; that every child that is conceived, planned or not, wanted or not, deserves a chance at life; that an unborn child absolutely does not deserve the pain and torture that is inflicted on them by a woman who chooses not to have the title of Mother; and finally, that we are accountable for our actions, whatever the consequence may be.

“Every single adult now was once 20 weeks old in the womb and we can look at each other and understand that the difference between a child in the womb and any of us now…is time. That’s a human being we’re talking about, and that human being has value.”   -Senator James Lanford (watch his incredibly powerful speech below)

The results of the decision to give a child a chance at life are beautiful and miraculous.

These are my miracles.

Jade Ondrea – 7 years old – Loves dancing, singing, reading, creating, learning, and making friends, dreams of being a Popstar, thinks all meat tastes better if you call it chicken, feels all things passionately, lives in the moment.


Aaron Everest and Calder Reed – 4 years old – Love robots, planes, rockets, superheroes, swimming, jumping, falling, make believe, playing dressup, getting attention, birthdays, and each other.


Lochlan Bradley – 2 years old – Loves bikes, baths, running, throwing, cousins, swings, slides, and most of all, his family.


Don’t be caught with an empty vessel

In this season of my life, there is very little that is more satisfying than a stocked fridge or pantry.  It gives me a sense of control.  A sense of accomplishment.  It means I’m prepared for the potential disasters that may lie ahead.  It is the picture of time well spent.  A bright future.  I went shopping today.  It is going to be a good day.

IMG_1014Don’t judge the contents of the picture.  Sometimes, when you go shopping with a 1 year old, two 3 year olds, and a 6 year old, its about quantity…not quality.  Today I’ve got quantity.  And like I said, today is a good day.

Some days are not so.  The harder days look something like this:

I wake up (much too early) to the smell of pancakes cooking on the griddle, the sound of chairs screeching along the wood floor as the kids pull them out.  Pancakes are Aaron’s favorite breakfast, so they are our kids’ favorite too.  To them, pancakes are worth getting out of bed at 6 for. I drag my zombie-self out of bed and enter the fog that is my family in the morning.  I don’t feel like pancakes on most days.  I think to myself a green smoothie sounds like a good pick-me-up and I open the fridge to search for ingredients.


Okay, well I guess oatmeal will do.  I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal.


I sigh, and reheat the single pancake that is left on the plate.  As I wait for the toaster to ding, the kids have finished their breakfast and are asking for juice.

“We don’t have any juice kids, sorry,” I slur my words together.

“But mom, pleeeease!  I want some juice!”

I repeat that we don’t have any, “Would you like some water?”  Of course not.  Water?  Puh-leeeze.  The thought occurs to me that we should probably go to the store today, but a vision flashes through my my mind:

Everyone dressed, shoes on, in the car (“I have to go potty!”), back in the house (“Mom, I don’t want to stay in the car by myself!”), back in the car, to the store, find the ONLY cart that will fit my whole family + groceries (“Mom, I want to ride in the car part!”), fill the cart with three times as much as was on my list and none of it is healthy (“I have to go potty again!”), get to check out (“Don’t let them take our food!”), “Do you need some help out miss…?”, “No thanks, I got this”, out to the car, load up one kid, two, three (“Get back in your seats boys!”), four, return cart, get in the car…


“Mom, it’s hot in here!!!”  I think we can last a couple more days without food…I fill their sippy-cups with water.

I realize the toaster was done a while ago, and retrieve the pancake.  Upon seeing the last, lone pancake, the kids descend on me like sharks.  I cut it into quarters and tell them to go back to the table.

A few hours and many frantic petitions for snacks later, I submit to their pleas and load everyone up in the car.  It goes just as my vision foretold, with one exception.  The car-cart is not available.  Which means I can fit Lochlan in the front seat and the twins in the basket.  Jade will walk along side.  There is no room for anything else.  We decide to go to the deli for chicken fingers and potato wedges.

Later that evening, Aaron comes home.  “What did you have in mind for dinner tonight?”  He asks.  I look again in the pantry.  Maybe it will look different this time.

“How about pancakes?”  Pancakes sound pretty good right about now.

There is much more in a days work than this, but somehow I really do feel like with a kitchen full of food I can take on anything.  You never know what new kid-cravings (or aversions) the day will bring, and to be prepared is everything.  Having peanut butter on hand on an I-hate-ham-sandwiches kind of day could be the difference between tears and laughter — mine and the children’s.

At times like this, I think a lot of the parable of the 10 virgins.  If you know this story, you know that the 10 women who have been chosen to light the way for the bridegroom to enter his wedding celebration all start out with oil in their lamps.  However, half of them have the good sense to bring along extra oil in case they have to wait longer than expected.  The others run out of oil, their lights go out, and in the chaos of trying to find more oil they miss the celebration.


I think of this story almost every time we’re running low on food or any time I face a challenge that could have been avoided if I’d anticipated the possibilities.  This was a lesson I remember my dad teaching me in middle school.  Anticipate the possibilities.  It may be a lesson I need to learn many times.   It would be wise to learn this lesson sooner rather than later.

I read a quote recently.  “Sometimes we grow complacent, thinking we have enough to get by…Being wise means being prepared for the unexpected with an extra measure of faith, testimony, and Spirit in our lives.”  -Anonymous

The 10 wise virgins didn’t just attend the wedding ceremony with a lamp. These women also carried with them a vessel for the purpose of storing backup oil. I imagine that the foolish or unprepared women could have thought it’s inconvenient to carry something extra with me, or possibly my vessel doesn’t go with my outfit.  Either way they thought it was excessive to pack along something that couldn’t possibly be necessary or it just didn’t cross their minds in the first place.

Most of the time preparation is inconvenient or undesirable for one reason or another — Taking all of my children to the grocery store is anything but desirable — but the effort is worth the peace that comes with being ready when the unexpected occurs.  It is never foolish to be too prepared.

Don’t be a Mixed-up Mom

The other night our family traveled a short ways to my sister-in-law’s house to help her with some yard work in preparation for gardening season.  Well, I had very little help to offer but I enjoyed getting some footage of my kids playing in the dirt.  As I watched my sis-in-law using the giant, heavy tiller, I turned to her daughters and said, “I hope you realize how special your mother is.  I would never be able to do that!” The next morning I was reflecting on the image of Heather in the garden and I said to Aaron, “You know, my talents have given me some pretty fun experiences, but I wish I had talents that were actually useful to other people.”  He, of course, disputed the idea that my talents weren’t useful (bless his heart), but I was still skeptical.  How could dancing or singing benefit my family in any way?

Later that day I found an opportunity to watch Dancing With the Stars while I folded laundry (I’m good at folding laundry!).  As I watched this dance segment I was so happy and I couldn’t keep from smiling but wanting to cry at the same time.  I watched it again and had the same reaction.  It didn’t forever change my life in a huge way, but it was a moment in a generally boring and monotonous mom-day that made my heart jump a little.  Okay, a lot.

Side note:  I’ve really been loving this show lately.  I think one of the biggest reasons is Candace Cameron Bure (DJ of Full House fame).  Her optimism and commitment to her faith and religion in the middle of raising a family and being in the public eye is inspirational.  Despite growing up as a “child star” she has still managed to stay true to who she is and people are actually rooting for her.  She is the perfect example of being in the world but not of it.  She has used her talents to inspire and make people want to be better.  Her children are in the audience cheering her on every week and one week showed her daughter telling her mother how cool it was to watch her mom out there feeling so empowered.

Remember in March I said I’d attended a inspirational conference for women?  Well at this conference one of the musical groups shared some thoughts about the talents they each wished they had.  One wished she was a better cook so she could make wonderful treats for her kids’ friends when they came over.  Another wished she was more organized so she could actually find clothes in her kids’ closets.  The last wished she knew how to garden so her family could be more self-sufficient.  They each admitted that these were not talents they had acquired.  Yet here they were, inspiring and uplifting people in a way that most mothers could never do.  One of them (ironically named Whitney) said, “God made YOU the mother of your children because he wants you to do ‘you things’ with them.”

I remember my mom getting out her old performance scrapbooks to share from her Broadway days and, on a good day, I would mmm-hmm and wow until she put them away.  Now I think my mom is one of the most talented and incredible women on earth who had one of the most rare opportunities any mother could ever have.  God made her specially for me.  She is my inspiration.  She understands the struggle it has been for me to stop dancing because she has BEEN THERE.  No one else understands that.

-1That’s her with President Reagan, by the way.

I’m still not entirely convinced that my kids are going to be inspired by the fact that I know how to dance or sing.  At least not yet — Recently I turned on an old performance video of mine for educational purposes and Calder threw a hysterical tantrum as he tried to climb up on the TV and turn it off — but maybe one day.

Sometimes I wish I had the talent of sewing, always I wish I had the talent of patience (it is a talent, and if you have it you are lucky), in the winter I wish I had the talent of skiing.  Almost always I wish I had every talent.  I’d be such a better mom if I had ALL the talents.

If you need to be reminded that this is not true, read The Mixed-up Chameleon by Eric Carle.  You can always develop new talents, but you don’t need all the talents to be useful to people.  Only the ones that make you, you.


The Privilege of Motherhood

From the top of the stairs: “Mama!”

“Yes?” I call from the kitchen.


“YES! What is it?”  I say louder.

“I need to change my diaper, I have poopies!”  My 3 year old says, immediately followed by, “I need to change my panties too because I went potty in them.”  This coming from my 6 year old.  This happened twice.  Today.

I’m not surprised.  She’s had the stomach flu off and on all week.  So in addition to my 1 year old’s teething-related bowel problems and my 3 year old twins who are still not potty trained, I have changed, cleaned up, flushed, scrubbed, laundered enough excrement in the last week to fill up every bath tub in my house (I have 3, one of which is a large soaking tub).


Astonishingly, I have been okay with this.  Of course its not a pretty site (or smell), but I watched this video again, after having watched it several years ago before I was quite SO up to my knees in all of this.  It hit me harder this time as I imagined what would it would be like for my children to be going through what they’ve been through this week without a mother to care for them.

A few days ago my daughter had been throwing up all day, unable to keep anything down and barely able to sit up.  She said she wanted to sleep on the couch upstairs (in the same spot she hadn’t moved from in 12 hours).  I sat beside her rubbing her back and pushing her hair back out of her eyes as she breathed weakly.  Finally I equipped her with a big plastic bowl and a sippy cup of water before going downstairs to be with my husband.

We sat at the kitchen table playing a lovely game of skip bo (that I won) and trying to enjoy the much needed silence during the rare time when all 4 kids were sleeping, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed her to be closer to us.  I needed to hear her breathing.  So I made my husband go upstairs, pick her up and carry her, her blanket, cup, and bowl down to our bedroom to sleep on the floor.

It was the second night that we stayed up most of the night rinsing out the bowl, changing clothes and sheets, bathing, and rubbing backs (third night if you count doing the same for the baby).

My one child who hasn’t been sick this week (so far) is the one who laughs, cackles even, hysterically and uncontrollably in the middle of the night almost every night.  Usually I enter the room in a fit of anger, only to have him calm my rage by stroking my face and telling me “I like your eyes.  I like your cheeks.  I like your hair.  I like your fingers…”.  I can’t help but laugh as I say “I like you too”.


I’ve said it more times than I can count, and every time I feel a little bit guilty, but MOTHERHOOD IS HARD!  If anyone wants to argue with me that it is not the most difficult job in the world, feel free.  I will win.

But in the same breath I can say that I am SO lucky to be the one to take care of these children.  Everyone once in a while I get a glimpse of how in the WORLD God would think I can handle this.  I’m so grateful for the perspective that sick kids give me of my purpose.  It may be a thankless job more often than not, but this week I have gotten more thank you’s, I love you’s, and cuddles (from the one who can’t talk) from these little ones than I think I deserve most of the time.


“Its a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it” and I wouldn’t want it to be anyone else but me.

Through Heaven’s Eyes


The other night as I stood in the doorway to my daughters room before leaving for the night, I thought she looks like an angel.  In that moment I felt the need to say, “If I was in your kindergarten class, I think we would be best friends”.  She responded, “If you were in my kindergarten class, I would play with you every single recess.”

This exchange transpired after what I considered to be some pretty heart-breaking moments for a mother.  Moments that had me questioning whether she should stay in public school.  In the past I had heard stories of mothers pulling their kids out of public school because of the way they were treated.  First of all, I thought, buck up.  One day your kid will be out in the real world and they will have to deal with people.  But I also thought my child will never have to deal with that.  Since she could talk she has made friends easily.  In fact, on her “All about me” project the first week of school, she prided herself on her ability to make new friends.

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After the first week, I asked her, “Do you have a best friend in your class?”  Her answer was, “Garrett”.  Huh?  Garrett is not in your class and he is a year older than you…and he’s a boy, I thought.  Keep your cool, mom.  “Oh, ok.  Well what about the girls in your class?  What about Kapri?”  “Kapri doesn’t like me anymore.  She said she likes Shyloh better.”  “Well you can have more than one friend, right?  Tomorrow, why don’t you all play together?”  “I tried, but they didn’t want to play with me.” :*(

Later in the week, she came home wearing a necklace with her name spelled out in little blocks.  When I asked her where she got it and she told me, “Ali made it for me”, my heart swelled with pride that she had made a new friend who apparently cared enough about her to make her jewelry.  Until a little later when she came home and I asked, “Who did you play with at recess today?”  Wrong question.  “No one.”  “Oh?  What about Ali?”  “She decided she likes Shyloh better now too.”  What?? Who is this Shyloh and why is she stealing all my daughter’s friends?  Is she bribing them with candy?

Now no one needs to tell me that I need to stop asking her about who she’s playing with and who her friends are.  Bad move, mom.  I’m new at this.  The last thing I want to do is put pressure on her to feel included.  But she’s in kindergarten and shouldn’t all the kids the be nice to each other without judgment?

Well last night I received a message from her teacher asking me if I could stop by to discuss some concerns.  My mind reeled all night long with thoughts of what could possibly be the problem, whether it related to the playground stories I’d been told for the last few weeks, and how the perfect little girl I see every day could be struggling enough to concern her teacher.  Whether my anxiety was justified or not, I entered her classroom today with my heart pounding, feeling all eyes on me like I was being sent to the principals office and everyone knew why.

However, our conversation was helpful and relieved some of my worries, as she was just seeing my daughter through the eyes of a concerned parent.  “Your daughter is very smart, succeeding very well academically,” she told me, “But she is a little…well…bossy.”  Yes, I knew this about her.  Apparently many of the kids have been turned off by her unwillingness to compromise and share.  I understand this is common and even expected, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to hear that your child is feeling left out.

I’m struggling with the idea that THIS will be my life for possibly the next quarter century.  Maybe longer?  I hear that you actually worry about your children’s suffering long after they’ve left the nest…am I right?  Besides staying up at night with sick kids, this has been my first glimpse into the reality that my child is a real human being who is on this Earth to learn and grow, and will suffer just like anyone else.  How did I think I could prevent that?  Maybe because my daughter is special, different from the norm, raised by parents who CARE.  She is perfect.

  She looks like an angel.

This is where it hits me that, as a parent, we don’t see our children the way the world sees them.  And rightfully so.  The world can be critical, cynical, selfish.  And truthfully–regretfully–for several weeks I’ve had a resentful and even vindictive attitude towards these children (and maybe even their parents) who I believed have wronged my sweet, perfect daughter.  That is until today, when I entered the classroom, sat down with a small group as a volunteer and listened to the way these innocent children talked about their excitement for lunch, recess, their Halloween costume, the fact that THEIR mom was “coming to volunteer soon too!”  They feel no ill will towards me or my child.  How was it possible that I was feeling that towards them?  So to the members of Ms. B’s kindergarten class I say, I am SO sorry.  And also, Thank You…for helping my daughter grow into the little girl/young woman/human being that I know she can be.

And to my sweet, fun loving, beautiful–albeit bossy–little angel…I LOVE you to Heaven and back.


Better Than a Garbage Truck

Three and a half years ago, I had just gotten back from a dance festival.  My love for dance was rekindled (not that it had ever really gone out) and I decided to get back on track pursuing it as a career.  I had a 2 1/2 year old self-sufficient daughter and a supportive husband, so the world was waiting for me.

At that point, I had spent the last 8 months desperately wanting to have another baby.  When it didn’t pan out I decided maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me.  I did have one fantastic child, and now I could have the best of both worlds; I could be a mother AND a professional dancer.  I spent hours daily looking into auditions for all kinds of things, modern dance companies, ballet companies, reality shows (and I did actually attend the So You Think You Can Dance audition).  One day I decided that if I really wanted to pursue dance professionally, I had to really dive back into training.  I hadn’t been taking classes or performing regularly for 4 years.  I enrolled in college as a part-time student at my alma mater, which was an hour drive both ways.  I would drive 3 times a week, drop my daughter off at day care, and be in class for 3 hours.  I was in HEAVEN!  Almost literally, because my body was so banged up and bloody most days I thought I might die.  But I was so happy.  It almost made it worth it that I thought I may not have any more children.

One month after the semester started, I found out I was pregnant.

I was thrilled!  Obviously this is what I’d been wanting for almost a year now, and if I could handle being back in the dance world with one child, surely I could do it with two…

The end of the semester came around and, as I was struggling to make it through a class without vomiting, I scheduled my doctors appointment for my first ultrasound.  I continued to attend class until I couldn’t take it anymore and then I had to drop out.  I’d thought about skipping the appointment I made because I’d already seen one ultrasound the first time around and I assumed it’d be much the same.  But I had a nudging that made me go.  Alone.  While my husband worked.

One healthy heart beat.

Two healthy heart beats.

And then MY healthy heart about stopped.  We were having TWINS!  I cried, and shook, the whole appointment and the whole way home.  I actually did call my husband and told him over the phone because an hour (also the distance from my home to the doc) was way too long to wait.


Our sweet baby boys were born 6 weeks early, and after a short stay in the NICU we were headed home, now as a family of 5.  Obviously my dance career was put on hold but that was perfectly fine because my children were perfect and I was only  28 years old.  I had plenty of time.

When people would ask me if having twins was WAY harder than having a singleton, I would respond, “No its surprisingly not!  I’m changing a diaper already anyway, I may as well change two :)”.  And it really wasn’t that hard, until they started being mobile.  It was at that point that everyone in my life began telling me, “You’re NOT thinking of having any more children right?  You’re done.”  Usually it came in the form of a statement, not a concerned question.  Usually I would laugh and just say I didn’t know.  “Maybe one day but definitely not in the near future.”  But for some reason my heart was already yearning for another when my not-yet-toddler twins were just a year old, although my desire for a dance career was still just as strong.

Baby #4 came just 11 months later.  This pregnancy was different.  Harder even than my twin pregnancy.  I’m sure no one had this intention, but I felt judged.  While during my first and second pregnancies I felt the need to tell everyone and show it off, this time I wanted to hide and if someone found out I felt I needed to apologize.  I felt like the judgment was coming from people thinking I wasn’t able to care for this many children, that it wasn’t fair to them or to me to keep adding more to an already stressful situation.  I told myself they were probably right and that this was it for us.

IMG_1221Any reservations I had about our decision to have another disappeared very quickly as soon as this sweet little boy was born.  I am in love.  And being in love with him makes me even more in love with my other children.  He is 9 months old now.  He’s making life more challenging with each passing day as he is now crawling, standing, feeding himself, all the things I previously had control over.  It is HARD.  Parenting is so hard (see this post).  But I have to be honest.  I don’t think he’s our last child.

The other day the kids were watching a Little Tykes show on the computer while I was cleaning.  I overheard some dialogue between the toy car and a stuffed bear.  The car had just been thrown into the back of a garbage truck on accident while he was attempting to ask the truck if he could help him with his job.  As the truck sped down the road towards the dump the little car worried that he wouldn’t see his owner again.  The little bear overheard his concerns and said, “You’re someone’s toy?? I think being someone’s toy is the greatest job anyone could ever have.”  The car asked,

“Really? Better than being a bulldozer?”

“Uh huh”

“Better than being a garbage truck?”

“Definitely better than being  a garbage truck.”

“Better than being a fire engine?”

“Lots better.  Fire engines don’t have homes or little boys who love them.  You’re really lucky”

“Hmm.  I guess I am really lucky.”

Somehow this silly show struck me really hard.  Especially when a few days later I was in the same room as the computer and all of a sudden I heard “You’re someones toy?” and the rest of the conversation ensued as I listened a second time.  I asked my husband if he turned it on just for me because he thought I needed to hear it.  He laughed and said no.  He had just woken up the computer to do something else and then left the room.  Apparently the computer had a mind of its own.

I also heard some very profound words today quoting a leader in our church, M. Russell Ballard.  Speaking of the responsibility of parenthood, he said,

“Be the very best and act the very best you can.  God will give you strength beyond your own as you strive daily to fulfill the most sacred mortal responsibility He gives to His children.  Be of good cheer.  God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failure unless you give up.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO grateful there are talented artists of all kinds who have chosen this as a career.  It fills my heart with joy to witness these beautifully gifted dancers, musicians, fine artists, etc. sharing their talents with the world.  They make the world a more beautiful place.  I am a dancer and I always will be.

But I am a Mother.  That is the job I have chosen.  I CAN do this, whether I have one more or five more or no more.  It was no accident and as arbitrary as my days may seem, these are the days that are going to help me reach my ultimate goal: Being in Heaven with my family for ever.  And as short as this life is compared to eternity, I think I can manage the decade or so of changing diapers, sleepless nights, picky palates, and rolled eyes.  It means I get to say I love you to someone every day.  I get to HEAR I love you every day.  And little kid hugs are just the best.

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Two Weeks Notice

Dear Employer,

I apologize that I have not done the job I was hired to do.  I know you thought I was capable but I guess I should have read the job description a little bit closer and not embellished my proficiency.  This is definitely not a job I can do any longer, and to be honest I’m not sure anyone is cut out for this job.  The pay is terrible, there are no vacation days, I don’t get a lunch break, I work WAY over 40 hours a week to the point that I’m pretty sure its not legal (I mean who works full time and still has to be on call for the graveyard shift 7 days a week??), I didn’t receive any training prior to my first day, my employees are disrespectful, and most days I feel that I haven’t made a friend since I’ve been here.  It really is the hardest job anyone could ever have.  So thank you for the chance to give it a try, but I am putting in my notice now.  I hope the workplace doesn’t fall apart without me, considering I am the only one in charge of almost everything here.


Your {soon to be ex} disgruntled employee

This, of course, is not a real letter.  But if I could quit my job today, this is what I would say.  I have just spend the last full two hours rocking a hysterically screaming baby while a two year old cried in the next room and there was nothing I could do for either one of them.  I haven’t showered or had lunch yet so I feel and look much like a zombie, but I put blogging first because I still hear some rustling sounds coming from the baby room and I’m not sure I have time to shower now.

The terrible thing is that when I think that maybe I should get a job, I have no idea what job I would do that would be worth leaving my home for.  I’m not qualified for any job besides working at the grocery store or a restaurant.  I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer (something else I thought I’d post about today so maybe later) but I live in a small country town and that is clearly not an option.  I’ve tried for 6 years to be successful at teaching some sort of dance but it almost always ends up backfiring.  And now the position that I thought was meant for me has been taken over by a middle aged man who has never danced before (no offense if you happen to be reading this, you really are great).  Note to self: Don’t take maternity leave and expect things to not change while you’re gone.

So maybe I shouldn’t quit my day job.  They say that one day I’ll look back and cherish these memories.  Maybe I should just go on strike seeking higher pay.


After writing this and feeling pretty proud of my observations about the difficulties of motherhood, someones words sort of fell into my lap.  And I need to share because while it doesn’t change anything it does put things into perspective.  So if you’re reading my words with your fist pumping in the air and feeling validated like I did that your job is so tough and you deserve praise, you also need to read these words.

Synergy, Assembly Lines, and a song

If you’ve seen the movie The Impossible, then you vividly remember the very long tsunami scene where the mother is being thrown around under the water with absolutely no control over what she gets hit by, gasping for breath every time she comes to the surface but then just as quickly being pulled back under and tossed around some more.  When everything “calms down”, she is pretty beat up, unable to fully comprehend what just happened to her but still forcing herself to move forward, unsure of whether another wave will quickly come and sweep her under again.

Now I don’t mean to compare my trials to what the victims of a tsunami go through by any means.  But this is without a doubt the best way I can describe what is going on in my head most of the time.  Complete uncontrollable chaos.  Trust me, I get many MANY people telling me how lucky I am, or giving me advice on how to combat the demands of motherhood with young children, or telling me I just have to accept that this is “survival mode” time.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

But this is how I survive a day.

syn•er•gy |ˈsinərjē|)
The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

For example, I keep my kids on a strict schedule that includes a nap.  If we miss out on nap time that day may as well have not existed, for any of us.

But nap time alone doesn’t make for a successful day.  I’ve found that without a doubt if I do not change out of my pj’s BEFORE I go into the kids room in the morning, I am already regretting it by breakfast time.

This co-op also includes but is not limited to having a meal plan, keeping an open mind about how long it will be before daddy comes home, not looking at the clock, saying “yes” sometimes, having a great mother-in-law, breathing, and praying.  Lots of praying.  Do I do all of these things? Rarely to never.

What I DO do numerous times daily is accomplish a lot of menial tasks in a mechanical sort of fashion.  Take diaper changing for example: diapers and wipes to my right, 3 blankets on floor, 3 boys on blankets, bottoms off, wipe, diaper, bottoms off, wipe diaper, bottoms off, wipe, diaper.  If I have time I’ll put the bottoms back on but usually the first 2 are up and running before I get the chance.  I’ll chase them down later.  And sometimes I get a chance to throw away the dirty diapers, but not always.  Lunch time is much the same.

Of course, what I added to my regime the last few days was covering the cups song.  I did this during nap time, bedtime, occasionally for a couple of minutes while the boys were strapped in eating lunch, in the morning while they hollered at me to come get them out of bed, basically any chance I got.  And as promised, here it is…

Cups (When I’m Gone)

It really did work.  In fact, I had a moment where I was rocking baby in his room and as I stared into his gorgeous eyes, smiling even, I actually said to him out loud “maybe you’ll have a little sister one day”.

In the movie there were many peaceful moments between the parents and their children, or one of the parents and a new friend, where despite the hardships they were okay.  Most importantly there were so many kind people along their journey whose service, in the end, reunited the family.

Whether or not the chaos ensuing daily for me is really happening or only in my head, there are moments of peace, and people, that I am very grateful for.