HEY MAMA: A PLAYLIST

For when you're about to lose it all with your kid(s) and just need to dance it all out. 

 

I have a confession to make: I've become a gleek. I don't know how it happened, but amen for Netflix because, man oh man, does that show feel like a lovely spritzer at the end of a long long day. I'm not sure if it's the nostalgia of my youth, since the show is my entire high-school experience wrapped up in six seasons; or if it's the feel-good-lump-in-your-throat kind of scenes when I just need some sprinkles of light-hearted good...but one thing I have rekindled with recently, through my new friends (Glee), is that music is powerful in dealing with the world and our emotions.

Our perfectly sleep-trained, angelically-happy, smarty pants baby has turned into a self-biting, over-exhausted, "mine (with a 't' at the end)"-screaming toddler. The reluctant transition to toddler bed has been nothing short of horrible and I don't think Will or I have slept since May. This morning, Scout arrived at the foot of our bed at 5am, proceeded with a pitter patter of tiny feet, and a mousy, but strong, "Hi! I awake!" And I laugh until I'm crying come noon. 

When 10am hits, and the no-sleep-Scout is too tired to stay awake but it's too early for the nap, the tantrums come. And, here's the thing, the controlling-parenting style is just not working for this strong-willed babe and her little mama. So, I've compiled a playlist (two actually) that I can throw on in an instant and trust an instantaneous dance party to rise up. Most songs are inspired by the way Scout says words and the phrases she likes to say 96758694739068 times a day (example: Turn Down For What is inspired by "MY TURNT").  Warning mamas, some songs are explicit. 

Here's the thing, only I can give my kids a happy mommy. I believe in structure and rhythms, but I also believe that sometimes, you need to pull out your inner Meredith and Christina (Grey's anyone?) and dance it out. Dance it alllll out. Let the babe dance it out with you and let your own tears of frustration and overwhelm flood then laugh, mama. Laugh laugh laugh. 

So I've made a playlist for you that I've called **Dance With Me Baby (survival)** and one more called dance with me baby (mellow). One for the days of four cups of coffee and not leaving the house and forgetting to brush everyone's teeth; and another for those slower moments where you want to sing and remember, your babe is a treasure, after all. These playlists will be updated regularly as Scout and I learn each others' steps in this season and get our bearings on what life together looks like. And hopefully as she starts sleeping. 

DON'T CALL ME BLESSED

My final request to all who read this blog: love. Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters. Love each day like it’s your last. All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you. Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!  Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.  Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown. It has been my honor and privilege to love Daisy these last 8 years. I’m thankful for every minute; the joyful and the terrible alike.

I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:8-11 NLT) —Kate Merrick

Letters From a Mister: Don't Call Me Blessed.

I've felt like a failure of a parent the last few weeks, maybe even months. The stress of caring for the two under two, then the desire to collapse at bedtime only being met with two little boys stampeding through the garage door in full anticipation and excitement over what's being served for dinner; mixed with my husband being gone every single weekend for a full 24-hours, leaving me alone to load and unload a double stroller and two, rather big, babies to attempt to make it through the church doors; then having one child who is dying for independence, but lacks so many skills and ability to connect—I blame myself. I lose my cool; I neglect and tire easily. I put on screens and cry in the bathroom. The fridge gets empty and I cry because....really? Not again I just can't get back to the store again. I'm so tired. And then I wrestle with the bitterness and sadness every single day as I see my friends with littles have constant companionship in their not-so-perfect-but-still-great moms. And my mind crawls down this dark rabbit-hole of darkness; because that is one thing I lack: a mom. 

She can't come over and take the kids for an hour so I can just sit in quiet. She doesn't make meals or bake something, and cuddle my baby while I get a date with my husband. I'm alone in this; I'm figuring this whole mom thing out on my own. 

Even today; on this Mother's Day, I'm sitting alone while my husband leads 4, then one extra, service at church, for thousand's of other moms. I try to clean and plan and work but, my heart is heavy; so, I sit. 

And I scroll through the IG I said I would stay off of today: blessed daughters with great moms and blessed moms with kids; and I cringe. If I didn't have my kids, would I be considered less blessed? Am I less blessed and favored because my mom is an addict, who tormented me, who torments me still? Blessed is not the word I want to use today. Because my privilege of being able to carry two healthy babes and then adopt three more does not make me better. It is a grace to be treated and handled tenderly; that I take far too much advantage of each and everyday. 

So, dear Daughters, dear Sons, I take today as a day of marching orders, a Command; not of flowers and notes and appreciation (but thank you for all of it, I treasure them forever). I do not take today lightly because I know there are many out there who would do anything to have what I have; and this is grace. 

Here are my promises; my parenting manifesto: 

When you push, I will pull. I will pull you in and hold you close. Whether you're stinky or sweaty with tantrum tears and tired eyes. I will pull you in and stroke my hands through your hair. When you're too old for that, I will never stop bugging you with texts checking in, and calls to see where you are at, who you are with, and why you are where you are. I promise to bug you even when you try to shoo me away. 

I promise to learn. I will read and seek and pray. Because I want you to look up and see less of me  on screens and more of me quietly reflecting in a journal or a book. I want you to know that, ya, I might not have all the answers you need and this mama still has a lot of questions for herself and parenting feels like a crazy tornado but I will seek out those who have gone before me and those sages who have wise thoughts and words to offer. From weaning to potty training to speaking with honoring lips, yes, even to you my child. I will learn for you; and I will be open to learning from you, too. 

I want to listen; to champion and to laugh with you. I want to feel when your heart is aching and celebrate those triumphs with you. 

And I will be there with you. There will come a day where I will no longer be the expert in everything for you. But I will never stop walking alongside you—cheering you on as you choose your path and directions. There will be forks in the road and I may see a little farther ahead than you, but Sons, but Daughters, I need to let you choose which path you will take, and be there for you all the same. I will be there with you. In the fields, in the flood, in the fire, in the wilderness and drought and rain. I will be with you. As you then enter the passage of parenthood, as you experience loss and defeat, and anticipation and joy—Oh Daughters, Oh Sons, I will not leave you as orphans, because Christ has not left us as orphans. 

Lastly, but certainly not least(ly...)—I will love your Dad. I will love him fiercely. I will be honest to him about when he bugs me, but in ways that bear fruit. I will hold his hand and kiss him when you're around and in secret. I will love him tenderly, I will love him fiercely; and I will treat him as a soldier who deserves all my respect, because he is fighting for us every single day. 

You are a Grace. You are mine to borrow. And I am grateful for the duty and the call.