We’re the lucky ones. I mean you, moms.

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#motherhoodisthebesthood

 

The other day someone told me that I was a really good mom. I was shocked. Me? Laura Weigel Douglas? The girl that still thinks of herself as a girl? The girl that asks herself several times a day, “Am I doing this right?” I almost died with relief.

I know I’m a good mom, it’s just that sometimes, I’m not sure if I’m a really good mom. I mean, I think I am. Am I? Agghhh, it’s so hard to know. Some moments it seems I have it all down, and the next thing I know I’m having to bribe my 4 year old with a chocolate bar in front of the last-person-in-the-world-you-want-to-bribe-your-daughter-in-front-of (I know that’s a long name but I had to get my point across, those people exist out there, the ones that judge you because your daughter has dirt on her face and chocolate on her cheek and I just couldn’t brush her hair this morning because I was too tired and I haven’t brushed my hair in a week).

What I’m learning, is that motherhood is a lot of little things mixed together, and doubt about how you’re doing is one of them. Thankfully, it’s not the biggest part. It’s more like a “pinch of salt” in the dough. For me, motherhood is a pretty basic recipe on a day to day basis. It has 3 ingredients: Choices, Time & Affection.

Choices:  Every single day, I’m faced with a bunch of choices. You are too, I’m sure of it. It starts early, the alarm goes off, and I lay in bed and decide if I actually have to wake up or if I can wait until my next alarm. I usually decide that I don’t need makeup today and I won’t care if I look like an 11 year old girl all morning with frizzy hair and rosy cheeks, so I press snooze (p.s. always by noon when I’m still the girl with frizzy hair and rosy cheeks I wish I would’ve just spent the extra five minutes with a hair brush, but oh, the extra sleep always wins at 5:00am). Then I have to decide what to do about breakfast, about my attitude, about what to do with the 2 hours I have before I pick up Isla from preschool, what to make for after school snack, etc. etc. Sometimes, just the idea of all the decisions I have to make is overwhelming, and I think part of that is because of the pressure I put on myself. I hold this little’s girls life in my hands. If I don’t sign her up for ballet next year am I going to destroy her chances  at adulthood? No, probably not, but weirdly my irrational mind sometimes takes me there.

Time:  I work full time. I write this blog and sometimes books. I watch Hallmark movies and horse shows. I read a lot (or at least did before I was a mother). I selfishly (and humanly) crave alone time because I am always with other people. Here’s what I have learned. We all have only 24 hours a day. We each get to choose where and how we spend it. I fight with myself every single day, trying to find a balance between motherhood, wifehood, myselfhood. I haven’t found an answer. I just know that on my last day, I’m not going to be excited that I watched one more episode of a horse show on Netflix, but I will remember that day Isla and I fed the ducks at the pond down the road. I am always trying to make that right choice, but I don’t always do it.

Affection:  This is what I do best. I’m the girl that will tell you I love you 17 times just to make sure you heard it. I’ll say it first and I’ll say it the most. I say it every single time I get off the phone with any member of my family, because it’s the truth. It’s that simple. So it’s easy for me to be the mom that is constantly kissing my sweet girl’s cheeks, because why wouldn’t I? She has the cutest cheeks ever. It’s natural, and I think it’s important. Affection is the way you show someone you love them and kids need that more than anyone.

I don’t always get the balance right, but I try to mix these three ingredients together in a somewhat even and responsible way. And you know what? Every day, what I am rewarded with is a PRIVILEGE. That’s what motherhood is. A privilege. We’re the lucky ones people. Let’s not forget that when we’re folding clothes or have to push pause in the middle of a horse show to read “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie” for the tenth time.

Let’s not get lost in the busyness and lose ourselves.

Let’s be the ones that remember how very blessed we are to have little ones that laugh and run and look at us like we’re still cool.

So this Mother’s Day, let’s be thankful, not perfect. Let’s spend the day proud that someone calls us mom. Today is our day to realize how very lucky we are. And then tomorrow, when I wake up and I’m tired,  I’m not going to care if I’m the frizzy haired girl at work because I have an amazing girl at home and I spent those extra five minutes cuddling in bed with her….yep, summertime she sleeps in bed with us (choices)…….but you know what, I just don’t think I’ll ever regret that.

❤ A work in progress

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day mom! You showed me what it means to put your girls first, every step of the way, every single day. I’m thankful and I’m privileged to be yours. In this equation I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one. Love you!

 

What is blue and black and black and brown and beautiful?

This is a game that Isla and I play. This game has saved me from many tears, both hers and mine, and it has also given me a lot to think about.

When Isla was just 2 years old, she could tell you the eye color of every single person in our family and a lot of our friends. It started with her just saying, “Auntie Cole has blue eyes. Sisi has blue eyes. Daddy has brown eyes.” On and on. She began it on her own and then, when I realized that she was some sort of eye color savant, I began to quiz her. “What color are Uncle Jesse’s eyes. What about Uncle Brad?” She was right. Every. Single. Time. It was weird, but I didn’t really think too much about it, I took it for what it was, that she was noticing our eye color. Looking back now, I can see that she was noticing our differences.

A couple of months ago, Isla (who is now 4 ½) and I were in the car when she pointed out that I had blue eyes and she had brown. This wasn’t really anything new, like I said, she has noticed this for years. But this time she wasn’t just telling me my eye color, she was explaining to me that my eyes were not like hers. She began to cry, sob actually, and told me, “But I want blue eyes like you.”

You probably can’t imagine unless you were there and I’m not good enough of a writer to really explain what it was like at that moment, but my heart broke. She was noticing that we were different, and she wanted to be the same.

I told her I wished I had brown eyes, that brown eyes were my favorite, just like hers and daddy’s and that brown eyes were beautiful. She cried for a while. My heart cracked into tiny pieces. Then I was finally able to distract her by playing a game of “I Spy”.

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This is how we roll:  Isla is doing some sort of bunny ears thing and I’m wearing a zip tie necklace she made me, because that’s the sort of thing you do when you’re a girl and a mom. 

 

This happened several times over the next few weeks, almost always when we were in the car. Then, the other day we were driving home through Bothell, I remember the exact moment, she was again saying that she wished she had blue eyes like mine and I was again saying I wished I had brown eyes like hers. I looked in my rearview mirror at the cutest, most adorable face in the world and said, “Isla, I spy something that is brown and beautiful. What is it?”

She thought for a moment and then a smile spread across her sparkly face as she giggled, “My eyes! Me!”

“You’re right, sweet girl.” The pieces of my heart superglued themselves back together.

“Mom,” she said, “what’s black and blue and beautiful?”

“Me?” I guessed.

“Yeah, because you have black hair like me and blue eyes.” We played a few more rounds and then on Isla’s turn she asked me, “I spy something that is blue and black and black and brown and beautiful.”

“Us?” I asked.

“Yeah!” She screamed.

We play this game all the time now. It’s her favorite and its mine too, because it always has the perfect ending. We’re different, but we’re the same.

 

Sincerely,

Half of something that is blue and black and black and brown and beautiful

Curtain rods….90 minutes of pure joy.  Kind of.  

Today I did something totally wild and crazy……I hung a curtain rod.  Really though, I hung the brackets, the rod and the curtains and I had to use a power tool (a drill counts, right?)  

Last year we had installed the cheapest, worst vertical blinds ever.  They barely closed, then they fell apart, then Danny half ripped them down in frustration, and then for the rest of the year our poor little sliding glass door had nothing to show for it but the leftover hardware still hanging on the wall.  So, today I went to the Home Depot to redeem.  It’s kind of weird when you realize your in a battle with a window treatment, but that’s how it feels.  

After buying new drapes and a curtain rod, I came home and took down the pointless-eyesore-brackets from our old blinds.  That alone was the very beginning and it was almost my undoing.   The screws were close to stripped and it took all my strength and a good 30 minutes to get 6 screws out.  

I read the instructions for hanging the new brackets, tried to put those drywall-screw-anchor-things in until I realized that there was a stud right where I was working, which bent the drywall-anchor-thingy.  I Googled “what do I do now….” ( lucky stars it was 2017 and we had google), discovered I needed to drill a pilot hole and then had to call my husband, ugh…….ONLY because I didn’t know where the drill was.  I had wanted to do it all by myself. Ugh, again.  

This is where things went most like expected.  I told him what I was doing, he wondered if maybe I should wait for him, I had to admit that he might end up having to re-drill and patch holes, but I hoped not,  and he told me where the drill was and how to attach the bit.  I measured, measured and then I measured some more.  I’m not good at math and I was praying that I would miraculously somehow figure this out in my head and that they would be level.  

Frizzy hair for the win! Hey, I told you I was working hard.

Then ….. ta da!  I did it! It worked out perfect!  It took me 90 minutes……to hang a curtain rod.  Ugh, for a third time.   

But, the point is, I did it by myself, this little house on the shoreline is cuter for it, my family won’t be blinded by the setting sun at dinnertime, and again, I did it by myself.  

I can understand that this might sound silly, that maybe there are other people out there that can hang a curtain rod in 20 minutes, but I swear, last year it would have taken me two hours.  I PR’d by like 30 minutes!  All I’m saying is those HGTV’ers better watch out, I’m becoming quite the handywoman.

Sincerely, 

The girl who now realizes she should have gone to construction camp…..is there such a thing?

P.S.  Later in the day I saw my girl hammering the nails down on the deck.  It reminded me of how important it is for her to see me doing these things, however small (and however long it takes me) on my own.  Just so she knows that she can too. 

The kind of mom who waits.

  

This is my view this morning.  Sitting in front of the closed door to my daughter’s ballet class…..for the next hour…..because I can’t move…..because she’s crying……and I’m her mom.  Here’s how this happened, not the me being her mom part (that happened about 5 years ago) the part where I’m stuck sitting in a little, teeny, tiny hallway for the next hour staring at a closed door.

I have worked Saturday mornings for about the last 15 year’s.  Until one month ago.  My schedule magically changed and now I’m a Monday through Friday kind of gal.  That means that I’m free Saturday mornings which is a total dream come true because now I get to take my girl to her ballet class.  I get to pick out which pink tights she wears, put her hair in a bun and slide in a couple of sparkly bobby pins.  I’ve done this once so far, here’s how my little beauty looks.  

This was a couple of weeks ago and I told Danny that it was one of the best mornings of my life…..I didn’t have to work, I got to play dress up with my sweetie (which I never get to do because I leave for work at 5 in the morning), I dropped her off at class and then I walked down by the waterfront and drank a coffee.  It was simply wonderful.  The next couple of weeks we were gone in vegas for one of her classes, I filled in at work another day, and so today is only the second day I get to do the ballet routine.  

I was so excited to do the whole magical thing all over again.  Buuuuuut, this morning when we got up, Isla was surprised to see me because it’s still new for me to be home in the mornings and everything went downhill in a 4 year old kind of way, from there.  We woke up early, couldn’t find her pet purse, then couldn’t get dressed without a million tears because isla Did. Not. Want. To. Go.    I had to literally pull the jammies off her, stuff her cute little legs into tights, and slick her hair back into a frizzy pony tail, no sparkly bobby pins were going to make it today. 

My poor baby cried the whole way to class, but the worse part about it is that she always tries so hard to be BRAVE.  It’s one of the things I both love love and hate about these moments and here’s why.  My girl loves dance class, she never cries, and I know she’s not crying because of going to the class, she’s crying because her mom is with her and she doesn’t want to leave me.  I remember having the exact same feelings for my mom. 

In fact, in 1st grade, I remember playing in my classroom by the door and hearing my mom’s voice in  hallway.  She was chaperoning my older sister’s class on a field trip, and hearing her voice and being apart from her was more than I could bear.  I looked around, saw my teacher across the room, and ran for it!  Out into the hallway, up the stairs, and into my mother’s arms.  Thankfully my mom was the best kind of mom, the kind that took her crying girl into her arms and instead of sending her back to class, let me skip and go to the flight museum with her.  I’ll never forget it.

So today, when we finally got to ballet, with my brave, quiet girl who had teary salt stains on her cheeks, I sent her in and hugged her.  I kissed those tear tracks, and went to stand in the hallway.  I had my running outfit on because I had thought that I would take these 45 minutes and enjoy the fresh air and use it for training for this ridiculous marathon I signed up for, but instead I stood in the hallway for just a minute.  

Then, just like I had expected, I saw my baby peek around the doorframe looking to see if I had left.  I smiled at her and then sat down on the vinyl couch right outside the door where she could see me.  

And here I’ve been.  They close the door once the class starts, but I said I would stay here, and stay here I have.  I’ve listened to Caspar Babypants sing “Sleepyhead” (their recital song) about 36 times, right now I can hear 18 little tap shoes going like crazy.  I didn’t run, I didn’t get a coffee or see the Puget Sound in all its glory on this sunny day……I just saw this white door that leads to classroom B.  But I know, that at 10:00am when it opens and I see Isla’s face, I’ll know that this door was the best view in the world this morning.  Why? Because I’m trying to be the kind of mom that stays, just in case my girl checks.  Just like my mom.  

♡ A rather lucky mom

Vacation is over.

Danny, Isla and I are on the airplane heading home right now.  We’re wearing tank tops with sweatshirts tied around our waists because we know the party (aka sunshine) is over.  

Last night as I was giving Isla a bath, I was also putting our packed-to-the-brim suitcases out in the living room.  I was going over the morning plan in my head, because we were leaving early and I wanted to make sure we had everything.  

I thought of my parents dropping us off at the airport, rinsed Isla’s hair, imagined them driving away, scrubbed her brown little feet that are caked with dirt, and began to cry.  Why?  Because the thought of my parents dropping me off somewhere and them not coming with me is almost more than this 31 year 343 day old girl can handle.  I went into the living room and told my parents and Danny to always remind me of MY TRUTH.  (I’ll tell you what it is in a minute).

You see, Danny and my mom and dad were not shocked at all at my crying.   In fact, they’re used to it.  Here’s 2 examples of why. 

1993 (I was 8 years old):  My family was going to Hawaii for vacation and for some reason we were all leaving a couple of days apart.  My mom and Nicole went to Oahu first, Linds and I were coming a few days later.  My dad dropped us off at the airport and was going to come last, just a couple of days after us.  This was back in the day when my dad could walk Linds and I all the way to the plane.  We boarded, I had the window seat.  I looked out at the large gate window and saw my Dad standing there.  I started sobbing, hysterically.  I just couldn’t handle the feeling that we were separating.  Poor Lindsay had to console me for the next 6 hours.  

2014 (I was 28 years old):  On the last day of our Disneyland trip (with my whole family) I was pushing baby Isla’s stroller through downtown Disney.  Danny was at ESPN zone with my dad and brother-in-law’s.  They had music playing loudly on the street and Beyonce’s “Halo” came on.  Once again, I started crying.  Why?  Because I didn’t want vacation to be over, I didn’t want to have to go to work without my family, I didn’t want to leave Disneyland and because I just love Danny so dang much and it felt like “baby, I could see his halo, halo, haloooooo.”  (Even I realized how ridiculous this was).

So, here’s what Oprah Winfrey would call my truth, what I know about myself and is unchangeable…….I love my family and never want to be far from them.  So, the next time I dream of moving to Texas  (I am the only one in the family that has never moved away but I dream about moving all the time because we could buy the cutest little farmhouse and have horses for like $100,000) or the next time I think it’s a good idea to go to school or get a job across the country because that would be an adventure, please, please, please, remind me of what we all already know.  That I can’t even imagine my parents dropping me off at the airport or hear a Beyonce song without crying.   What can I say, it’s who I am, and I’m pretty sure turning 32 in a week and a half isn’t going to change that.  

Isla and I enjoying every second of vacation.


♡ The adult girl crying because she misses her mommy.

Why I run.  No really, why do I run?

I finished my half marathon today.   I did well, I PR’d by 15 minutes and finished with a time of 1:40:58.  My parents, Danny and Isla came out this morning to cheer me on as I crossed the finish line (with dead legs) and I remember thinking, thank God it’s over.  That’s all I thought really at that moment.   

When we got home my mom and dad asked me what went through my mind when it started to get hard (around mile 8 when my feet began to blister). I was laying on the floor and I looked up at them, my awesome, devoted, proud parents and told them the truth.  I thought:  Why I am doing this?  I leave my child to practice for this?  Ewwww, I think my blister just popped?  Oh My God, they’re going to make me run uphill?  

 All these thoughts circled through my head several times, until I had run the whole 13.1 miles.  

Finally, I rounded the corner, saw my family cheering for me and tried to finish strong.  They came up to me and I told then how hard it was, how I might never do this again.   I ate a protein bar and a banana,  got my ranking (81st out of 1134 females), then boarded the bus to go home, telling my cute family to please not smell me (it was bad).  

On the bus, I told Danny, “I don’t think I can do the full marathon.”

“You don’t have to, why don’t you just focus on the shorter races?”

“But I already signed up.” Eeke, and I told you guys.   

This is the thing about running……it’s so much like child birth.  The pain lasted the first 15 minutes after the race,  but by the time I got home and showered,  I realized that yes, I will be running a full marathon in 6 weeks.  That yes, my feet will be destroyed.  That yes, I am going to wonder again and again why I do this.  But, in the end, you have this wonderful thing.   You’re proud of yourself, you did something hard, and OK, it’s not really the same thing as giving birth but I can’t do that every 6 months so I’m making do with what I can.  

So, I’m putting it out there again:  June 10th marathon I’m coming for you, with my blistered feet and all!

♡Laura, the girl with the half-marathon limp