This, here, is a Run Out the Clock Situation

It’s funny when Stanley says this on The Office, but not in real life people!

run out the clock

The scene: Picking up Josie and Cal from daycare.  2 hours and 23 minutes until bedtime.

Josie: I had a nice day!  I was the smiley face leader!  I shared with my friends! 

Then, she refuses to get in the car.  When I get a little stern, she screams.

Josie: Don’t look at me!  Don’t talk to me!

Like a champ, (ahem, Mother of the Year), I trick her into getting in the carseat and teach her why she has to be buckled up.  She belly laughs because she enjoys my story.  I’m hilarious, obviously.  I (naively) think that we’ve turned a corner that will give us anywhere from tolerable to amazing, heart-exploding moments the rest of the evening.

False.

The scene: The bathroom.  Josie is taking a bath.  1 hour and 37 minutes until bedtime.

Me: Josie, if you drink the water one more time, you’re getting out.

Josie drinks water while staring past my eyes into my soul with a smug arrogance only a threenager could pull off.  I pull the plug on the drain and try to keep my blood pressure down.

Me: Josie, get out of the tub or I will get you out of the tub and you will not like it.

(Nothing)

I wrap her in a towel and carry her, kicking and screaming, to her room. 

Me: You can come out when you’ve calmed down, dried yourself off, and put your pajamas on.

Josie screams, but after 15 minutes, is down at the dinner table in mismatched jammies.

And the night continued like this – Dinner (1 hour and 3 minutes until bedtime).  Teeth brushing.  (41 minutes until bedtime).  Toilet using (29 minutes until bedtime).  Everything you could possibly think of was a battle that I didn’t even want to be fighting.  (Is it bedtime yet?!?!)

Why does it seem like the world is absolutely ending when I try to wipe the mustard off of your face?  Unless you had serious plans to consume the leftover mustard in the overnight hours…

Why can’t you just go pee without first throwing yourself on the bathroom floor for 5 minutes?  I never have that trouble…

Why can’t you breeze through your bedtime routine so we can read books and snuggle and tell silly stories about school busses and spiders?  That would’ve been a much nicer end to our day together…

Even when I plopped her into bed, she refused a hug or a kiss.  Unlike her usual, “Check me LOTS!” she said nothing and rolled over.  I said goodnight and closed the door.

When I peeked in to check, she was already asleep.  Poor girl must’ve been super tired if she passed out a half hour early.  Probably better anyhow.

I wanted to tell her that it was all ok.  That tomorrow would be another chance to have a great day.  To be a good listener.  To be gentle and patient.  To be loving and kind.  I didn’t get to tell her that, but she wasn’t the one that needed to hear it.  It was me.  So I’m telling myself and I’m telling you that no matter your day, tomorrow is another chance.  To be the best version of yourself.

Even if tonight was a run out the clock situation at your house, tomorrow doesn’t have to be that way.  And even if it is, that’s ok.  You might not have control of it, and you know I don’t because I take up residence with a husband, a 3-year-old, a baby, and a tiny dog with a pinched nerve.  (What could go wrong?!)

But hope is for all of us.  Take hold, and take heart!  Tomorrow is a new day.

P.S. If you’re a regular reader and are now wondering what I could possibly give myself the Mother of the Year Award for tonight, it’s this: I “tricked” a wildly out of control Josie, who doesn’t like leftovers, into eating leftovers, by mixing BBQ sauce and mustard together for her to dip the very same meal she had last night in.  No cooking for this mama tonight.  Boom.  Mother of the Year.

8 Things I’ve “Counted” Towards Earning the Mother of the Year Award

Count everything!

I recently shared how I became Mother of the Year, which basically consisted of me giving myself the award every day for any reason possible.  And it got such great response, I thought I’d expand on my first idea of how to get started – which is, COUNT EVERYTHING!

It all began one day when Josie ate more ketchup in one sitting than I thought humanly possible.  At first I thought, “I am the worst.”  Then, in my desperate brain, I made the connection that ketchup is made from tomatoes, tomatoes are technically a fruit, so Josie just ate lots and lots (and lots) of fruit.  And then I sarcastically called myself Mother of the Year!

But something happened in that moment where I decided that I needed to call myself that every day so I don’t get bogged down with the meltdowns and the poopy diapers and the sleepless nights.  So I started counting everything.  This is good practice, so take note.

What Counts on the Road to Winning Mother of the Year? 

Everything.  Like these 8 things.

  1. The Generous Food Pyramid: Anything that is derived from fruits or vegetables counts in this category. Pickles are cucumbers.  Ketchup is tomatoes.  French fries are potatoes.  Peanut butter and jelly is the perfect combination of whole grain, protein, and fruit.
  2. Peanut Butter and Jelly: Here’s where it gets fun. Anytime I give Josie a PBJ I give myself Mother of the Year because of what I mentioned above.  Anytime she gets something other than PBJ for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I also award myself the honor.  Seriously, guys, are you getting this?  Being extremely, overly generous to yourself is what it is all about.
  3. The Donut Ninja: One time I promised Josie a donut on the road to see Grandpa and Grandma. The gas station we stopped at only had Donettes, so I bought the big bag (obviously), and passed her a couple.  Then, because I’m human and was pregnant at the time, I couldn’t stop at just 2, so I secretly reopened the bag without raising suspicion, and shoveled in one tiny piece of heaven at a time until my pregnant self was full of sugar and regret.  It was amazing.  I held conversation with her, and even reclosed the bag.  If you’ve ever tried to sneak ANYTHING (but usually food) past your toddler, you know what a victory this was for me.  It felt good.
  4. Reverse Psychology: Enough said, probably. But here’s what’s working for me now.  Josie’s potty-trained and very adamant that she is only going to use the bathroom when she absolutely has to.  But before bed, I really need her to go to avoid any nighttime wakings or catastrophes.  So most nights my line is, “You know what, Josie?  I bet if you sat on that toilet nothing would even come out.”  And like magic, she’s up there tinkling.  I act all surprised and impressed and she loves it.  The downside is, she will no longer just go to the bathroom without me making this big fuss.  But mission accomplished either way.
  5. Formula Win: Cal is on formula, which is another story for another time. But dang, that stuff is expensive.  And he has expensive taste which is even more expensive.  And as we were figuring out which formula to give him, lots of moms suggested this super ridiculously expensive can of formula that was $40.  $40!!!!  For less than a week’s supply.  And he hated it.  So I called the company and asked for a refund.  Turns out they can’t give me my money but they can send me 2 cans of what he uses now.    And just for fun I called the store to see if I could get a refund on opened formula.  Yes I can.  Boom.  Got $40 back in my pocket and 2 full cans of the good stuff for my little man.  Life lesson: It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  6. The Belle Dress: This one is actually legit.  Josie was going to her first theatre experience to see the musical Beauty and the Beast.  And I really wanted to get her a Belle dress.  $22 at Target, ugh!   I hardly spend that much money on any clothing items for myself.  But I just couldn’t pass it up.  I was like a kid on Christmas Morning, bursting with anticipation and excitement at the thought of giving this gift to her and then watching her wear it to the show.  (Spiritual side note: this must be a glimpse into how excited and delighted God gets when He gives us all the great gifts in our lives!) It was worth every stinking penny.
  7. Laughter is the Best Medicine: Punishing your kid is hard sometimes. But when I put soap in Josie’s mouth for talking back, I just can’t help it.  I grab the first towel/burp cloth/sweater I see, bury my face, and giggle.  And she doesn’t see me do this, so that’s why I earn the award.
  8. Leaving Cal with a Stranger: Josie really really wanted to ride the escalator at the mall. You can’t bring strollers on those things, so I had a dilemma and it must’ve shown on my face, because the Guest Relations lady left her nearby kiosk and offered to keep Cal company while I took Josie for a ride.  And I said SURE!  I left my child with a stranger to watch my other child hop on the escalator like Buddy the Elf.  It was awesome.

So there ya have it.  Mother of the Year.  You guys, we’re doing it.  We’re awesome.  And I’m pretty sure this list proves that.  What crazy ways are you earning Mother of the Year status?

8 Super Ridiculous and Mortifying Things I Did During Labor

Labor and delivery, like pregnancy, is not as glamorous as it is cracked up to be!  Spoiler Alert: It’s pretty gross.  As I’m nearing this very event, I’m replaying the ridiculousness of Josie’s birth in my head over and over and over again.  Read on for a few laughs, some TMI, and the ugly truth.

8 ridiculous labor graphic

It was a Tuesday morning.  The day before, the doctor had told me to call him on Friday to schedule an induction because he didn’t see any movement towards labor in the next few days.  He was wrong.  I woke up early Tuesday morning to hear my husband in the bathroom with what he thought was food poisoning.  Yuck.  Lying in bed, I started feeling some regular contractions, and so it begins.

As a relatively “normal” person, I could be embarrassed by what happened next.  But as a first-time mom in labor, with minimal dignity left (and unbeknownst to me, so much left to be lost), it was all just a part of the experience.

A couple things to keep in mind as you read this:  Ryan was getting sick this entire time, so not only was I in labor thinking I was probably going to die, he was also having some…struggles.  (Think, arriving at the doctor’s office and both sprinting to our respective bathrooms.)  Also, when I use words below like “asked” and “said” – what was really happening was I was losing my mind, screaming bloody murder.  Enjoy!

8 MORTIFYING Things I Did During Labor:     

  1. Losing it from both ends…and leaving it on the floor: [At Home.  7:30 a.m.]  Just before my contractions got painful and I knew this was labor, I spent some time in the bathroom…in the worst way, with no control of where certain excretions were landing.  Almost as soon as I was empty, my contractions became painful and we quickly started the process of getting out the door (quick shower, grabbing the hospital bags, calling the doctor).  Unfortunately, during that scramble it did not cross my mind to clean up the bathroom.  (Shout out to my mother-in-law, who called to see if there was anything she could do while I was laboring…and Ryan said, welllllllllllll…….)
  2. Mint-spitting: [Hospital Triage. 9:45 a.m.]  I had read on the internet (a dangerous game) that your mouth gets dry during labor so you may want a mint, so I packed some mints.  While I was being checked in Triage, I asked Ryan to get me a mint.  As soon as the mint hit my lips, my body rejected it.  But instead of taking it out of my mouth and asking Ryan to throw it away, I violently spit the mint to the floor and screamed, “I don’t want that mint!”
  3. Ripping off my clothes: [Labor and Delivery Room. 10 a.m.]  Finally in a labor and delivery room, wearing a hospital gown (backwards), a sweet little Patient Care Tech came in to obtain 2 pieces of information – my social security number and a copy of our insurance card.  While Ryan was getting the insurance card from my purse, I was shouting my social security number to her, one number at a time between contractions.  At about number 4, I got so hot I thought I may burst into flames, so I just whipped off that hospital gown and sat there, butt naked, mooing like a cow in front of this poor girl, shouting the remaining digits at her.  It took 10 minutes.
  4. Kicking off my blankets: [Labor and Delivery Room.  10:20 a.m.]  What?!  I’m now freezing?  Of course I was, I was naked in a hospital room.  So my body is shaking and my teeth are chattering and I’m sweating up a storm, so the nurse offers to bring me warm blankets.  After about 15 minutes, I’m so hot I feel like I could burst into flames.  Cue the ridiculous toddler-like kicking off my blankets and screaming, “I’m hot!  I’m hot!”
  5. The vicious cycle: [Labor and Delivery Room. 10:30-11:30 a.m.]  I repeat the above several, SEVERAL times for over an hour.  But never in a calm, “I think I’m getting warm so I’ll fold these blankets down.”  Always in an emergency-like state, screaming at the tops of my lungs.
  6. Begging for the epidural: [Within earshot of all of Central Indiana. 8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.] This started while I was being checked for labor at my doctor’s office earlier that morning. (Newsflash: they don’t give you an epidural until you get to the hospital.)  And the screaming for the epidural continued until the nurse finally told me that I’d have to be officially registered as a patient (that makes sense) and an entire bag of fluids needed to be dripped into me through my IV.
  7. Making the highest paid guy in the room hold my barf bucket: [Labor and Delivery Room. 11:40 a.m.]  It’s pretty common that after you get an epidural, your blood pressure drops and you vomit.  I did.  While the Anesthesiologist held the bucket.  Dear Sir, I’m so sorry that you got stuck with something so gross and way beneath your pay grade.
  8. Hot Doctor: [Labor and Delivery Room. 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m.]   Of course I’d get a hot doctor while I’m at my absolute worst.  And he’s just hanging out down there using mineral oil to create a slip ‘n’ slide (his words).  Luckily he only saw me post-epidural, so at least I was relatively sane.

[Labor and Delivery Room.  5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Pushing.  Josie is born.  All is well, and aside from bringing new life into this world, pretty uneventful (thank you, epidural!]

mama and josie

  1. Post-Delivery Bonus! Wetting the bed. :  [Post-Partum Room.  8:00 p.m.] The nurses told me I’d know the epidural was wearing off because I’d feel the need to urinate.  So when that need arose, I thought to myself, “I guess I can get up and walk to the bathroom now.”  What my brain must’ve heard and then transferred to my lower region was, “Pee now.”  So I did.  On the bed.  I apologized profusely to the nurse while she changed my linens.  And an hour later, when I felt the urge, it happened again.  Full bladder.  On the bed.  New linens.  But still no shame.

Like I said, I could be embarrassed by these things.  But as a pregnant woman, you slowly lose dignity over the course of 9 months…probably for this very reason.  And now, I’ve got this ridiculously hilarious story to tell.

To all first-time pregnant mothers: All or none of these things may happen to you.  Don’t be surprised either way.  You can do it!  (Also, I highly recommend the epidural…)

you got this girl

Why I’ve Been Hiding From My Own Blog

I started this blog because I really enjoy writing as an outlet for creativity and storytelling.  My highest goal is to share my story in order to create a community of women who may need to hear that someone else’s toddler picks up dead worms on the sidewalk in an effort to clean, kisses fish straight outta the pond, and throws fits at all the most opportune times.  That although I don’t sprinkle when I tinkle, I’ve lost bladder control far more than I’d like to admit during this pregnancy.  That most days I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing in motherhood, but I’m doing the best I can.

Aaaaaaand, I’ve only written about sprinkling whilst tinkling in the past month because we’ve just been going through it!  And what I actually feel and have thought that I should write about is a little scary… and not what you would expect from someone almost ready to pop out a kid.  But here goes…

Confession time:

  • I’m pretty terrified to have this baby: They say women forget the pain of childbirth because of the sheer joy of having brought a child into this world. It’s even in the Bible somewhere.  It is False. I remember every pain, every moment of chaos, every second of losing my mind to the point of spitting and yelling and ripping off my clothes (another post for another time, my friends).  So to know that at any moment this can and will happen to me again…you can see why I’m a little anxious.  (Million Dollar Idea: epidurals delivered to your house so your first bad contraction can be the last one you feel!)
  • I hate the baby stage: To be clear, I already love my baby.  And hate may be too strong of a word, but the baby stage is my least favorite.  Babies don’t do anything.  They aren’t interactive, aside from their smiles that come to save the day at 6-8 weeks old.  They can’t give you any indication of what’s wrong with them.  And the worst part is that you’re living with this tiny helpless human while you’re losing your mind with hormone shifts, night sweats, and no sleep.  Ummm, no thanks.  I’m not looking forward to this.
  • Josie’s longest phase yet about killed me: She’s just over 2 ½ and discovered that she has fears.  Specifically, wind and ants.  Seriously?!  And those fears have led to this stupid separation anxiety or something that made her scream as soon as we left her room at bedtime.  It was heartbreaking.  And although I can tell myself that THIS TOO SHALL PASS, not knowing when it would pass or how best to help her had me all worked up.  Seriously beside myself.  All day anticipating the screaming that would happen that night.  Sobbing as she was crying in her bed.  Mess.  And every night closer to bringing home a little baby.  (Update: as of writing time, we are 4 nights into peaceful bedtimes.  Thank you, Jesus!)

The combo of these three things, in addition to regular old life (full-time job, part-time job, wife, home remodel, a teeny tiny social life)…I was feeling really overwhelmed.  Emotional control has not been my companion during these last several months of pregnancy and change.  And while that’s fun for my This Week in Lisa’s Pregnancy segments on Radio Theology, it doesn’t make me feel “ready” in any way to have a baby.

Be it painful or smooth-sailing, It'll become part of my story.

How to Balance the New and Exciting with the Holy Crap and the Anxiety:

  • Tell someone: This week, as I felt like I was emerging from the (emotional) woods (mostly thanks to Josie’s tear-free bedtimes), I did an experiment. I told a guy I just met that I didn’t like the baby stage.  And you know what happened?  I got a high five and an “I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife.”  And we chatted about how the fun we have with our slightly older kiddies feels like the sweet spot.
  • Make peace: I’m about to pop. I can’t even change positions on the couch without sweating.  And there is a day coming in my near future where I’ll face all of the unknowns, probably at the same time.  This too shall pass, and be it painful or smooth-sailing, I will welcome it into my story.  And I’ll have a beautiful baby boy who we’ll raise into a wonderful man, and a big sister who will take this world by storm.
  • Take care: Through the roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks, I’ve practiced self-care by giving myself lots of grace in moments of chaos. I’ve gotten extra hours of much-needed sleep.  I’ve spent great time with friends and family while enjoying the break that extra helping hands provide.  I’ve pretended to nest (because the real pregnancy nesting thing must’ve skipped me).  And I’ve found a song that I sing out loud when I can believe the words and listen to when I can’t.

it is well with my soul

So friend, here I go, off into my last 4 ½ weeks of pregnancy (or less).  And I already feel better than I did when I sat down to write.  Sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation.  So if you can see yourself in any part of my story, I hope you feel encouraged and loved and inspired to hold your own confession time with a friend.  And if you can’t, share it with someone who may need some hope!

sharing your story is a powerful way to fend off isolation

learn-this-one-skill

Moments that invite fear.

These have happened to me SEVERAL times in the course of my 2 ½ year motherhood.

  • Josie has a really high fever.
  • Josie needs discipline for the first time.
  • Josie’s room thermometer shows a one degree drop, meaning that she must’ve died and is a human ice cube chilling the room. (I didn’t say they were all rational.)
  • Josie is ready for her big girl bed a lot earlier than I thought (as evidenced by the fearless crib climbing).
  • Josie wakes up in terror with piles of barf on her bed for the first time.

crib-climber

Or the latest, this week.  Twice I had moments of fear (compounded by pregnancy hormones).  One was when Josie was crying in bed after we had said goodnight.  She was beside herself, but we had also been through 2 weeks of her using every trick in the book to get back out of bed once she was tucked in.  And knowing that every possible need of hers was met, we let her cry.  I hadn’t done this since she was a baby, and even then I didn’t ever let her cry more than 10 minutes.  And usually she fell asleep after 2-3 minutes, which still feels like a full hour.  So on this night, Ryan and I set the timer.  5 minutes.  We’d let her cry and then go from there.  But during this time, I was gripped with every possible fear:

  • She hates me.
  • I’m letting her down.
  • I’m scarring her for life.
  • She really does need something and her life is probably in danger. Even though I can hear her crying, somehow she’s already dead.  (Seriously.)

It took me a full two minutes to calm myself down, to start speaking positivity and truth into my chaos, and to switch from fear to faith.  And guess what?  It took Josie 3 full minutes before she was totally passed out and slept all night.  And woke up with her usual smile and affection for her mother.

The second moment this week took a little longer for me to move past.  We met Ryan’s parents for dinner to drop Josie off so she could spend the weekend at their place, and so Ryan and I could be productive around our house and have a date night.  I kid you not, I LIVE FOR THESE MOMENTS.  Dropping her off is one of my greatest joys!  Sounds a little harsh, I realize, but when you have loving family members that regularly pour into your child, you take advantage!  And I’m never worried, but as I loaded Josie in the car seat in her Gigi and Papa’s car, I kissed her quickly and ran for my life before she really had a chance to get upset.  Josie was fine, and hadn’t cried when Ryan said goodbye either.  In fact, she said, “Bye Daddy!  See you on Sunday!”  What a relief!  But guess who actually did lose her mind?  Me.  I was crying before I got in the car, my mind racing with worry.  Worry that she wouldn’t sleep well in a “big bed,” or that she would wake up and be a bother to them in the middle of the night, and worry that she would die in a car accident on the way down there.  Seriously.  Every stinking worry I could have, reasonable or completely unreasonable, took hold of my mind.  Until I made the conscious decision to STOP IT.  And move from fear to faith. 

What’s the reoccurring theme here?  My first thought, in ALL of these scenarios is “I’m not equipped for this!”  Sometimes it is specific: My middle child, peacemaker personality is not equipped to be a consistent disciplinarian.  Sometimes it is vague: I’m not equipped for motherhood in general.  If I’m feeling this way as the mother of ONE TODDLER, how will I feel as the mother of 2?  As the mother of teenagers?  As the mother of grown children? 

But this is the trick, the key.  The speed with which I move from fear to faith directly correlates to the amount of joy I experience as a mother. 

Some thoughts on Fear:

  • Silly, irrational fear: Don’t stay here. Don’t live in this place.  Shut it down and move on.
  • Fear of inadequacy in a moment that doesn’t really matter: Figure this out quickly.  In the case of walking into Josie’s room at night and finding piles of vomit on her bed for the first time, I was paralyzed for 5 seconds before my instincts kicked in, and I moved into action.  We may not have handled this perfectly, but we did the best we could and in the end, it doesn’t really matter how we dealt with the barf.  Josie was safe and well-loved.
  • Fear of inadequacy in moments that do matter: Discipline. First, know that there’s a phase of “new stuff” every 3 weeks in a kid’s life. As soon as you get used to one thing, and feel like you’ve got it under control, your kid starts biting or hitting or talking back.  Something totally new.  This has happened to me so many times.  And the key I’ve found is that the more prepared I feel for each situation, the less time I spend in fear.  So, as soon as Josie started biting, I did some research, I asked friends and family for advice.  I chose a course of action, and moved forward confidently.
  • Reoccurring fear: Whatever this may be for you, take the time to dig into it.  Don’t ignore fear and pretend like you’re not experiencing it.  Set aside some time when you’re not crippled by said fear, and figure it out.  Get to the bottom of it.

Some thoughts on Faith:

  • Faith in yourself: When you become a mom, you really do get this instinct and are equipped along the way for what your tiny might throw at you (literally or figuratively). Take heart that you’re doing the best you can!
  • Faith in God: I really believe that God not only chose Josie to be my child out of all the millions of sperm and egg combinations, but also that He cares for and provides wisdom for us to parent her.
  • Faith as a Verb: This is the big one or me.  When I say faith, I don’t mean this abstract, just pray about it, just push fear aside and hope for the best!  Faith in action.  Equip yourself!  Read and research!  Ask for help from trusted sources!  And make sure you’re setting aside time for yourself so that you’re joyful and reenergized when these situations come about, not always drained and at your wits end.   

This isn’t easy.  Moving from fear to faith is super hard and takes lots of practice.  But it’s a skill worth learning – for your sake and for your child’s sake!  The more I practice this, the more confident I feel.  The deeper joy I find in motherhood.  The more freedom I feel to practice self-care and pour into people and things other than my child!  And as my family grows, and our lives transition over and over and over again as we raise our kids into adults, I hope to look back at this time in life and know that every step along the way I did the work to be confident and prepared in the next step.

the-speed-with-which-i-move