5 Reasons I’m Glad I’m Done Having Kids

Before I had kids, I thought I wanted five kids. After I had one, I thought, “maybe three”. After I had two, I thought “Remember when I only had one? THAT WAS AWESOME.” Just kidding (sort of), I really thought, “Two’s good.” And then, well, we went away without kids for our 10th anniversary, and…we ended up bringing one back with us. And make no mistake,  I am so glad we did. But I am also so glad we are not having any more. I got my tubes tied on the operating table when I had a c-section with baby #3 and I’ve not regretted it for one single second. Our family is complete and it feels great. And so does never having to have ankles the size of a California Redwood ever again. Which I think is a great segue into my 5 reasons I’m glad I’m done having kids.

1) I can’t seem to pop them out the right way, and major abdominal surgery three times in seven years was puh-lenty. Especially that first time when I got a paralyzed bowel and it hurt worse than labor, and that third time when my magic pain ball medicine they gave me after surgery DIDN’T WORK and the nurse didn’t believe me and I just wanted to die for a couple days. Pass.

2) My three wonderful, awesome, amazing kids have stretched me to my limit. Even though the older two are capable of doing lots of self-care, there’s not a minute of the day when I don’t feel needed, pulled on, and tethered to them. And sometimes, I can’t hear “Hey Mom” one more time without losing it. It stands to reason that if I had another kid, I’d hear it one more time plus one more time. I guess what I’m trying to say is, a fourth kid would definitely get the shaft. Because I’m about tapped out. I’ve got really good friends who keep popping out babies with no signs of stopping and frankly it makes me feel rather inferior because I would love to be that maternal angel who just wants to have all the children her loins can produce and love them each perfectly, but I. Am. Not. And then sometimes I feel guilty about having three kids when some people struggle to have one, and I think, well, what is the right way to feel? I don’t know.

3) Playing host to a growing human being for 40 weeks (which, let’s be real, is more like 10 months than 9. Somebody sold us a big ol’ LIE.) is totally miraculous but SO not enjoyable to me. Especially when at about week five, the 24/7 Vomitpalooza gets going. I had morning sickness with my first baby and I had alldayeverydayforthenextsixteenweeks sickness with my other two. And this may surprise you, but after about two weeks, the “Let’s count how many times and in how many different places I threw up today” game gets old. So does running from your desk to the bathroom that’s really far down a long hallway at work while your co-workers take bets on whether you’re going to take it or not. Oh, and…I didn’t like anything else about being pregnant either. Except getting to keep the baby at the end.

4) My heart is in three equal pieces that walk around in three little bodies. I worry about my kids. I don’t let anxiety rule my life, but having and loving a child means taking a huge risk with your heart. I took that risk three times, so I have three times the mom fears. And I won’t lie, having two kids with developmental delays has taken a lot out of me. Having to worry and stress about their development wore me down to a degree…I think it’s a big part of the reason I consider myself tapped out.

5) I like being back to me. I know it sounds selfish, but I nursed my last two babies til they were two. It will be two years next month since I’ve been a nursing mama. I loved nursing my babies but I like the way I feel not having to share my body anymore. I like the fact that my hair no longer falls out faster than it could grow in and that I can wear real bras and drink large quantities of caffeine and take an aspirin without worrying about passing anything along to the kiddos. I like walking around in my own skin and having it be…my own. At this point in my life, it feels completely and totally right.

There you have it…some reasons why I am really happy to be a mom of three and only three. I realize not everyone has this choice, but I think my reasons for not having any more are pretty good…and totally “me”.

 

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When Your Children Hurt Your Feelings

Tuesday the big kids had an early dismissal. As a work from home mom, early dismissals are my kryptonite. What complicates things even more is that our school’s early dismissals are always on Tuesdays. At 1:00. Jonah has speech on Tuesdays. At 1:15.

I can’t get from school to speech in 15 minutes, so I have to make elaborate plans to get my kids taken care of on these days. Happily, this past Tuesday, the mom we carpool with was able to take them to another friend’s house  nearby after school, where I could pick them up after speech at 2:15.

The big kids were SUPER excited to be going to their friend’s house. Win-win, right? I told them they would only be there about an hour, maybe a little less. I told them I would be there to pick them up about 2:15.

Speech ran a little late, so I actually arrived at 2:20. When I got there, I looked through the glass door and Joshua was sitting right there, 3 feet away from me on the couch, playing Minecraft or Terraria or something ridiculous like that with his buddy. He looked up and saw me and Jonah standing there.

The look on his face when he saw me was pure disgust.

It reminded me of that Michael Douglas line from “A Perfect Murder”. That’s not happiness to see me, is it?

I walked in the house, and immediately it started.

“Mom, why are you here already?”

“This is when I told you I’d be here.”

“Why can’t I stay?”

I offered up a few reasons. (Like, you know, maybe this family has plans and they need me to get my kids the heck out of their house.)

He had answers for all of them. Indignant, angry.

“I’m serious. WHY can’t I stay?” He  was so mad, so disrespectful. In front of his friend. I thanked God that his friend’s mom wasn’t in the room and I tried to control my anger. “Go get your sister.” I said in a low voice.

Sophie came into the room. “ALREADY???” she half-whined/half-yelled.

I calmly informed both kids that the needed to shut their mouths and get their shoes on or a serious punishment would follow. We made our exit. I was enraged and humiliated at their ungratefulness and about the disrespect they showed me in front of their friends.

When we got home, I sat them down on the couch, told them what they did wrong and what their punishment would be.  I had tears in my eyes and I explained to them how their treatment of me made me feel. So much wailing ensued. Wailing but no apologies. I sent them away from my presence. I was exhausted. Exhausted from being hurt by them, exhausted from having to control myself. Because let me tell you: screaming and yelling and hitting are not the right choices, but they are cathartic. Controlling yourself? Is exhausting.

Great angst ensued in the house. Eventually, a couple hours later, each came to me separately and apologized. Forgiveness was extended, though no clemency from punishment. But the rest of my day was shot. I often respond to emotional stress in a physical way, and I. Was. Spent. Just exhausted. I know I’ve used that word ad nauseum, but that’s what I was. Completely tapped out. I sat in my recliner with my laptop and tried to work and keep my eyes open.

Of course by the time Daddy came home at 7, all was cheerful. The kids found things to do and play within the confines of their punishment and decided life would go on. I made some coffee and tried to perk up. We had an ok evening.

But that look of disgust on Joshua’s face when he saw me played over and over in my mind. I guess I feel like neither of them was really sorry. I’m not ready to believe that next time will be any different. I guess we’ll see.

It’s just really tough when your kids hurt your feelings, and my skin is not so thick where they are concerned.

 

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On Rising to the Occasion #unstoppablemoms

I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

When I became a mother, I had no idea what I was doing. I think a lot of us can say this, right? Despite the fact that I had long hoped to become one, despite the fact that I had a wonderful mom and sisters-in-law to model motherhood for me, when it came down to it, I was clueless as to what I was in for. Luckily, with Joshua, I had a pretty easy baby. And even the tough times with him were pretty easy to get through. Parenting for me became a real challenge when he got old enough to discipline. When you had to tell that sweet baby “no” to keep him safe and teach him to respect others. But again, he was a fairly easy and compliant child.

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Me with baby Joshua, just a few days old. And oh yeah, I had a cat.

And then I had this one:

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Don’t be deceived: There was a time when I thought she might actually have horns under all that hair.

And my world was rocked. It was only after I went from one kid to two, from a laid-back kid to a difficult one, that I struggled as a mom. Sophie didn’t sleep for squat and neither did I. She nursed CONSTANTLY and I can remember being zombie-tired, nursing Sophie while trying to get Joshua on and off the potty, or get his lunch, or build a train track – all with a baby on my boob and running on a couple hours sleep.

But I did it. Because I’m a mom. And I think you don’t know what you’re capable of as a mom until you’re in the thick of it. But as hard as it was, time after time, I managed to rise to the occasion. Because that’s what moms do – we are equipped, I believe, to rise to that tired, messy, sometimes scary occasion over and over and over again. Because we know somehow that it is going to be worth it. We know that we can do it even when it feels like we can’t. And we do.

Now even though I think we as moms are totally equipped to rise to the occasion, we are still human. No one is more human than I, and thankfully when I REALLY needed help, I had family and friends who jumped in to make sure I wouldn’t lose my mind during those difficult weeks. I hope and pray you all had that, too!

When I was pregnant with Sophie, about 3 months before she was born and turned motherhood on it’s head for me, I met my best friend Luanne.

Jenny Lulee

I know that the Lord brought her into my life at this time for a reason. Just when mom life was about to get really hard for me, he gave me Luanne as an example of a truly Unstoppable Mom – one who faced all kinds of challenges and handled every single one with God’s help and who was always there for her kids no matter what the circumstances. Ever since I met her, she has been there to show me as one who has “been there, done that” (and a whole lot more) that I could do it, that I would do it, that I was the best person to be my kids’ mom. And she still provides me with this encouragement all the time.

Luanne was a single mom to two girls for a long time, working hard full time and taking great care of them, being and providing everything for them day in and day out through plenty of  heartache and adversity. She has mothered her girls through situations that are unfathomable to me. And done a hell of a job. And then she became a stepmom also, and homeschooled three children while dealing with some serious health challenges brought on by lupus, polymyositis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The fact is: Lulee (as I like to call her) has spent just about every moment of every day of the last 15 years in a lot of pain. Like, a lot. And 99% of you who have met her would never know it. I am a total wimp and I am quite sure I can’t grasp how much pain she has to slog through every day. And yet she has just worked through it. Mothered through it. Homeschooled through it. And now that her kids are grown, she works full time again through it and she Grandmas through it. She is truly, truly, unstoppable. I have never met a stronger or more determined mom. If you know Luanne, you know that God put her on this earth to be a mom. And luckily, to show younger (I had to, Lulee) moms like me  how we can rise to the occasion with the Lord’s help and do what he has equipped us to do -be unstoppable! She was a great encouragement to me through all my struggles with Sophie’s developmental delays, when I was very, very scared and it was very, very hard, I had a great example to look to in Luanne as someone who had walked through scary and hard things with her kids. And she encouraged me and prayed me through it. I honestly every day of my life don’t know what I’d do without her.

The Makers of Children’s MOTRIN® gave me this opportunity to write about my BFF Lulee, the most unstoppable mom I know, because they want to celebrate moms and what makes ALL of us unstoppable!  So they, and I have two questions for you.

What makes you unstoppable as a mom? Who is an unstoppable mom in your life?

The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® would love for you to share your unstoppable tips over on the Motrin Facebook page. Because one of the best ways we can help each other be unstoppable is to share what works for us! And what’s awesome about that? For every tip shared, they will make a $1 donation made to Safe Kids. Your tip might also win you $100 just for posting (all details on the Motrin Facebook page)

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14.  Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000.  For Official Rules, and complete details, visit www.unstoppablemoms.com. Sponsor: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.  To learn more about Safe Kids Worldwide visit safekids.org

Go give the unstoppable moms who have  inspired you a big shout-out today, and share your tips to help other moms, too!

Who’s the Unstoppable Mom in your life?? I’d love to hear all about her!

 

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