Category Archives: Mom Stuff

A Daily Taste of JOY

Pretty much everyone in the world has heard of Candace Payne and has heard her laugh more times than you can probably even count. You’ve all seen her video, and hopefully all of the follow-up videos and stories that show all the blessings that are coming her way. Just for being HER.

Candace became a little ray of sunshine in a world that, lately, seems to be filled with more darkness and despair. (According to the news anyways). That funny mask, the little snort and the un-containable joy reminded us that joy really is in the simple things. We just need to open our eyes and find them.

I for one fell in love with the Happy Chewbacca. Not because I love Star Wars & laughing & dumb videos, but because I witnessed joy in it’s purest form. It was contagious and it ignited a fire deep within my soul. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a pretty happy person, that I love Jesus, that I love laughing and that I, more than anything else in the world, want people to feel loved and accepted. No matter where they’re at, or what they look like, or how bad they’re feeling inside – I want them to have the same joy that Candace felt when she put on that goofy mask.

So – in response to my new best friend Candace’s story,  (Yes, I’ve decided we’re meant to be besties. Along with Melissa McCarthy & Rebel Wilson. Because seriously, how stinking awesome would that be? Chubby, happy and hilarious – we will be epic.) I’m starting my own happy story.

For the next 30 days, I’m going to share a little piece of joy that I’ve found in my world that day. It may be big, it may be tiny, but it will be something that made me stop and appreciate exactly where I was at, at that second.

Hopefully, it will remind you to find the moments in your life that take all the darkness away and just help you feel happiness.

Please feel free to share your joys with all of us as well because frankly, there can never be too much of a joyful thing.

My Daily Joy ….. 

I’ll be the first person to admit that this “joy” will seem pretty lame-o but at 7:00 am, it filled my heart with so much joy that I almost couldn’t contain myself. I went to make school lunches for the 6 and realized that we had no bread. I stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out what random pantry items I could throw in a bag and call lunch, when I remembered. Quiznos4lunch. I went online, ordered them lunch for delivery and then sat myself down on the couch to eat my cup of ice while the little’s ate cereal.

It’s the simple joys people, simple joys.

 

Consumed.

It’s all-consuming, isn’t it?

It does something to you the minute that you find out it’s real. It takes over your soul, your mind and your body. It quickly takes control of your heart with a grasp so tight that it almost takes your breath away. It screams so loudly that it’s hard to hear anything else. It turns you into we.

It makes you a better person, but it makes you so unsure of yourself. It makes you stronger, but it causes you to drop to your knees more often than anything else. It fills you with unspeakable joy, but it’s quite often wrapped in tears. It causes you to beam with pride while you hope that no one notices the bumpy road that got you to that moment. It is everything you ever hoped and wished for, but until this moment, you had no idea what that even meant.

I became a mother, and my world as I knew it completely fell apart.

From the moment of conception, I’ve been consumed by something that’s hard to even describe. It’s a fire that fuels my every thought, my every hope and my every breath. It’s a voice that roars from the core of my being. It’s a force that pushes and pulls me in ways that I could never have prepared myself for. It’s a warmth that fills every empty spot within me. I simply do not exist without them, and that’s the most terrifying yet incredibly wonderful thing ever.

My children changed me.

Because of them, I am a much better version of who I used to be. Because of them, I am braver than I ever dreamed possible. Because of them, I’m learning how to do things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn. Because of them, I’ve experienced true love without strings attached. Because of them, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve worried and I’ve accomplished great things. Because of them, I am strong. I am fierce. I am awesome.

Because of them, I found myself.

Motherhood has consumed me. It has not made me weak. It has not made me less than. It has not made me “second”. It has made me who I was meant to be.

  

 

 

Mirror, Mirror

It’s been one of those weeks. Sharing as reminder to myself and you.

More than Okay

Crooked Tooth.

Double Chin.

Messy Hair.

Freckles.

Huge Feet.

Too Fat.

These are the things that I see when I look in the mirror. These are the things that the world sees when they look at me. These are the things that I hate about myself, and sometimes they’re all that I see. But these things are not Me. Or are they?

My crooked tooth has been there my entire life. It is the one tooth that messes up my perfectly straight teeth. It has driven me crazy. FOREVER. But maybe it’s what gives me my super amazing singing voice, and helps me to bellow like an angel. Totally grasping here, obviously.

My Double Chin. Well, that seems to come and go. But it’s most definitely been there more often than it hasn’t. And now as I’m seeing less and less of it every day, it’s freaking me out a…

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Little Girl No More

We are sending you to the hospital to see if your baby is still alive.

That was how our story began.

My baby girl began fighting for her life when my pregnancy hit the 13 week mark. For 28 weeks, I lost amniotic fluid, suffered through pain and cramping and listened to horror stories of what I could possibly expect at her birth. I watched her grow through the screen of an ultrasound monitor at 13 different appointments. I listened to her hiccups and snoring through the fetal monitors that I was constantly being hooked up to. I waited and prayed and trusted that she would make it, in spite of all the things that were being spoken over her.

We made it to her due date and when I went into labour, if it could go wrong, it did. It was quickly discovered that I had placenta Previa and a placental abruption. She wouldn’t drop and I was losing blood at an alarming rate. More praying, more trusting and boom, we had a baby.

She was perfect, and huge and beautiful and did I mention perfect. She was not at all what the doctors predicted she would be. She fought to stay alive in utero, she fought to survive her birth, she fought me on everything from that point forward.

MicahJoy

My little Micah Joy didn’t always live up to her name, and Joy wasn’t always something she was putting out there. She was headstrong and obstinate and did nothing that she didn’t want to do. She was bossy and determined and fearless. Thankfully, she was also sweet and kind and very helpful. She had the biggest brown eyes and one of the best smiles around. She truly was my little gift and miracle.

She didn’t always appreciate being a girl. Not because she wanted to be a boy but because she didn’t like girly stuff. She refused to wear any girly clothes, whether it be in style or colour. She had to have her hair cut super short, and she lived in track pants and Velcro runners. (Oh how I hated those outfits, but she was bound & determined to wear nothing else). She thought Barney was the most amazing show on TV, closely followed by Rescue Heroes and Wheel of Fortune. She ate dill pickles like candy and refused to eat ANY fruit, until she 12 years old.

At 2.5 years old, my Mom made her dress, she put it on and pouted for the whole 42 minutes that it was on her body. It so traumatized her that it took 15 years to convince her to put one on again. Thankfully she graduated or we might’ve had to wait until her wedding to see her in a dress.

At 5 years old, she discovered sports and there was no stopping her. Her first love quickly became softball, followed by ringette and basketball. If she wasn’t at school, she was on a field or in an arena somewhere. She was one of those kids that was just naturally blessed with athletic ability and it was so cool watching her try something new and excel.

As she grew older, we quickly came to appreciate her strong willed and determined personality. Through the years, she got stronger and stood up for herself and the people around her. She continued to do only what she wanted to do, and wasn’t pushed around by anyone. She held steadfast to her beliefs and morals and as a rule, she usually took the high road out of most situations.

She insists on making silly faces in almost all of her pictures. She does some of the weirdest things and laughs at other things that aren’t even remotely funny. She is adored by children everywhere she goes and her smile can still light up any room. She is goofy and loud and so much fun. She is her father and I rolled into one pretty cool being.

She has now graduated from high school, and is looking forward to all that lies ahead of her. I know that she will make wise decisions because she always has. She is way more reasonable and thoughtful than most kids her age. She is smart and witty, and has the same horrible sense of humor as her father. She lives in a baseball cap and a hoody, but that cannot hide how stunningly beautiful she is, which she of course, got from her mother.

She is everything and more that I could’ve ever hoped for in a daughter. She’s no longer my little baby but she is one of my closest friends. That little opinionated child has turned into an amazing person.

I love you Micah Joy. Thank-you for being such a great kid. I am so very, very proud of you. Now please stop piercing things and forget about a tattoo. xoxoxo

MJW

 

 

 

Me, Katy and Drifting

“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, Drifting through the wind, Wanting to start again?

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, Like a house of cards, One blow from caving in?”

Have you ever heard a song, and felt like it was about you? Well, me and Katy … we’re feeling it. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt like a plastic bag, but I have felt drifting. I have felt like there needs to be an end, and like I need a new beginning. I have felt like I’m not good enough, that I haven’t done enough, that I could’ve done a whole lot better, and that I’m a failure.

I quite often feel like I should be more than what I am now. I should’ve gone to school and became a doctor or a lawyer or something “important”. I should work harder on my businesses and be more passionate about becoming uber-successful. I should try a whole lot harder at losing weight and stop getting caught up in excuses and nonsense. I should want to try new things and discover the world.

Instead … I’m living a life that focuses on everything and everyone that surrounds me. It’s not my story, it’s theirs and it carries a massive burden. Is this “non-me” good enough to make them the best that they can be. My days begin and end with being a Mom.

I shouldn’t be content with being a housewife and a Mom. I should stop drifting along, and start focusing on something more.

But what is that? What should I be? Who should I be? Am I doing the wrong things altogether? Why do I feel like I’m just filling a role and shaping someone else’s story? I need to find me without losing them, but how in the world do I do that? Who will I become when the little’s leave, and I’m just here with me, myself and I?

Where does Mom end and April begin?

When I sit back now and look at all of the things that I think are super awesome about me, I realize that all of those things, are because of them. I don’t remember the person that I was before I had children. I remember times, and places, but I don’t remember “me”. I lived a very full and happy life, and experienced many things. I’ve been well off and really broke. I’ve been really sick and really healthy. And all of these things helped turn me into me, but NOW the things that I’m most proud of are the traits that formed because of them.

They are MY Story, and what a beautiful story it is.

I am strong.

I am resilient.

I am determined.

I am hilarious.

I am a Mom.

So maybe, just maybe I’m not actually drifting, maybe I’m just “holding” in the exact spot that I’m supposed to be. They don’t need to end, I just need to honour and accept all that they’ve helped me become. I, or should I say “we” need to be okay with the life that we’ve been blessed with ….our days may not be filled with paycheques or new discoveries. But what we do is nothing less important than that, and frankly, that IS. GOOD. ENOUGH.

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through

You’re right Katy …. I’ve already got all I need inside of me, and it’s all kinds of awesome. Watch out world, this girl is about to shine. My should’ve and could’ves have officially been blown up in one massive blast of fireworks. Now, who’s joining me in this lightshow?

Boom Mama’s. Boom.

 

“Firework” is from Katy Perry’s album Teenage Dream. It was written by Wilhelm, Sandy / Eriksen, Mikkel / Hermansen, Tor / Perry, Katy / Dean, Ester.

I See You.

To the Mom standing at the back of the grocery store trying desperately not to cry while her toddler screams uncontrollably, I see you.

To the Mom that has just paid a babysitter to watch your kids so you can go and sit in your car up the street and read a book, I see you.

To the Mom that has just dropped her kids off at Ikea Smaland to not go shopping but to just wait at the restaurant in peace until your pager lets you know your break is over, I see you.

To the Mom that has left the television on for the past 4 hours straight just so you can lay on your couch uninterrupted, I see you.

To the Mom that is trying desperately to keep your eyes open while your kids play at the McDonalds playplace, I see you.

To the Mom that is hiding in her ensuite bathroom while her children sit on the other side of the door crying for Mommy, I see you.

Truth be told, I’ve been you.

I’ve been the Mom that is so tired that I can no longer think straight. The Mom that is looking for places to hide from all the noise and chatter that just doesn’t ever seem to stop. I’ve been the Mom that gives up on everything that I thought was important, just so I could get through the day.

I’ve been this Mom and I’m still a friggin’ good Mom. I need to remember that. You need to remember that.

This job that we’ve been blessed with is not an easy one. It truly is a gift that we have been given and sometimes it’s a craptastic gift that you’d love to return, but you don’t. Instead, you wrap it up at the end of the day and reopen it tomorrow. Tomorrow has been my saving grace on more than one occasion, and I for one am thankful that the gift of starting over is always available.

Every day I look into the eyes of my children and I see me. I see the best of me and sometimes the worst of me, and that can be a little bit scary. But at the same time, when I look into their eyes, I see how deeply they love me. How they see nothing but their Mom. They love me in spite of me. They love me regardless of how badly I screw up or how many times I’ve failed them. They are my gift.

I wish I could always remember these words when I’m in the middle of one of my really bad days, because more often than not, I don’t. But in my heart, I know them to be true. I may have moments filled with nothing but weakness but those are actually the moments that are making me better. It is during these days that I find out that I’m actually a stronger than I ever dreamed possible. It’s in these moments that I realize that being a Mom is exactly what I’m supposed to be.

So next time you find yourself desperately trying to escape a moment filled with craziness and noise, remember that you’re not a bad Mom. You’re not broken, you’re not a screw up, you’re not a failure and most importantly, you are not alone.

Welcome to the Imperfect Mom club. It’s where all the Good Mom’s hang out.

A little bit of Hope.

The phone call arrives from the jail that I’ve never visited. I can’t go there, because it’s the place that I’ve been fighting to keep kids out of for so long. Somehow it’s become a part of my story, and I hate it. I hate that everything I fought against has now become a comforting and safe place, and seeing that particular number on my call display gives me peace somehow. She is safe. Again. I hate it.

The words are a blur as they’re always filled with bravado and slang and nonsense. There are stories of conquests and bad choices and just plain stupidity. There are tears and apologies and promises of doing better this time. There’s fear, and sadness and the loss of hope. There is nothing that I can say or do anymore, so I just listen. I listen and pray and hope and wait. I hope that her desire for change will someday outweigh her desire to be cool and fit in. I hope that she’ll realize that her “friends” aren’t friends at all and that bad ideas and having each other’s back, does not a family make. I hope that she’ll grab onto that tiny glimmer of light and hope that is buried deep inside of her and not let go.

I hate it. I hate that I can’t fix it, that I can’t go back and redo her start in this world. That I can’t heal her hurts or help her forgive and move forward. That I wasn’t able to change her life.

He looks at me and says, “it sure is nice not having to do my job anymore to get food for everyone”. What job, you’re not old enough to work. “You know, going to people’s doors and asking for money for charity”. What charity? “Well, I just said that so I could get money for food for my brothers and sisters”. Okay. I’m glad you don’t need to do that anymore either.

He looked at me and asked “why don’t you lock me up in the closet when I’m bad”? Because I don’t do that. “But why”. Because that’s not how people should be treated. “But my Mom does that and she loves me”. Your Mom didn’t make a very good choice, but I’m glad she loves you. “So I won’t ever get put in a closet here”. No sir. “Okay, can I have a sandwich”?

They called their Mom on the phone, and begged and begged to see her again. They ask question after question that Mom just can’t answer. They collapsed in my lap sobbing, confused and torn by the feelings and knowledge of being completely safe and warm here, but being pulled by a love that they can’t deny. They can’t be little kids because the burden that they carry is so strong “Is Mommy safe, does she have food, where is she sleeping”.

She has done nothing wrong. She makes good choices and has achieved many great things. She has hope and a very bright future, and because of that, she’s been forgotten. Somehow, the darkness and bad choices that are all around her got more acknowledgment and support, and she’s forgotten. She works harder and harder to get their attention, but still the “bad stuff” seems to have more value.

I hate it. I hate that I have to do what I do. I hate the conversations, I hate the stories, I hate not being able to reply exactly how I want to, I hate that I must protect a relationship with a person that no longer even deserves that relationship anymore. I hate that their normal is so abnormal. I hate that someway, somehow I have to find a crack in their tough little amour’s, and find a way in. That I have to redefine a role in their lives that has already been filled by someone else. That my “right thing to do”, is so completely foreign and distant from what they know that they believe I’m wrong.

I hate that they have to be here in the first place. Not because I have them, but because the world, their parents, drugs, circumstance, alcohol, despair, depression, and abuse has failed them. It is so not fair, and how in the world am I supposed to “fix them”? How do you teach a 12-year-old something that most kids learned when they were 3? How do you make someone really truly feel safe?

So many of our days are spent running like a hamster on a wheel. It’s just a-round and a-round having the same conversations, working on the same skills, teaching the same things over and over. Many days are just about surviving and making it to bed time. I can spend hours open hours questioning my sanity and why I choose this life for me and my family. More often than not, I feel like I’m getting nowhere and that I’m not actually making a difference anymore. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, or if there’s any point.

And then I get something like this.

thenote

And I’m reminded. I don’t need to be perfect or change them completely. I just need to be their Mom. I just need to give them a little bit of hope and a whole lot of family. I need to remember that.

So now when I get the phone calls, and have the conversations, I need to remind myself that I’m not trying for perfection or that I have to fix all that has been broken. That burden does not belong to me anymore, and I think that I’m finally okay with that.

Our children, mine, the ones that I’ve borrowed and yours as you read this, deserve a safe place, and we owe it to them. My hope now is that when they leave us and move on that their wings will be strong, that they’ll know their worth, that they’ll always know that “home” means safe, and that they will KNOW that they are loved and belong to someone. This isn’t about being a foster parent, this is about being a parent. We all need to stop focusing on the stupid piddly pointless things and focus on what really matters.

Take a moment and look into your children’s eyes and let them see YOU. Let them see your heart, feel your love, and see that you’re on their side, no matter what. They’re not expecting you to be perfect, or even care if you screw up and do the wrong things. They don’t see our mistakes or bad choices, they see YOU.

Don’t ever question how strong that bond is, and never take it for granted. I’ve seen kids that have been abused beyond belief that still love their parents madly and deeply. They’ve forgotten about all the mistakes but they remember the love. So, as a Mom or Dad struggling with guilt and questioning if you’re doing everything wrong, remember this connection and honour it.

I fight every day to make that connection and some days I’m successful and more often than not, I fail miserably. But now instead of focusing on fixing, I’m focusing on strength, joy, safety and a whole lotta’ hope.

You should try that too.