#momfail

Last night I was putting C to bed when she turned to me and asked in her innocent munchkin voice, “When I was dizzy, why did you just pat me?”

Oooo-kay.

Flashback to a few weeks ago. C had woken up one morning feeling like the whole house was moving (which could be possible since we live in earthquake territory). We guessed she had caught some kind of bug that was making her seasick on land. The poor girl couldn’t even sleep because the dizziness got worse whenever she closed her eyes. 🙁 So there we were, the two of us on the bed with me trying to console her by rubbing (or in her words, patting) her on the back.

“I don’t know. I thought it would help,” I answered sheepishly.

She continued giving me a talking-to. “You should have given me a bowl.”

“Okay,” I acknowledged. (To my credit, I did get her a tupperware bowl from the kitchen later on when it looked like she might lose the contents of her stomach.)

“You should know,” she admonished. “You’re a mom.”

Ooh, ouch. Can we say #momfail? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Who did C think I was? Superwoman? A mind-reader? Apparently, neither. She just thinks I’m a mom.

Her mom.

And as her mom, I wanted to tell her I’m only human. I’ve never done this before, and by “this”, I mean the whole mamahood thing. The crazy and wonderful “be responsible for raising a person” gig. For the past 9+ years, I’ve been learning every day on the job and it’s been a steep learning curve. Some Most times I don’t say or do the right thing, and I know I could do better.

Yes, dear daughter, I am a mom. And there’s obviously a lot I don’t know, but I’m taking notes (thank you, little teacher).

There are some things I do know though. Mamahood is easier when I admit I don’t know everything. My heart stretches and expands when I am open to hearing you and learning from you. As you are gentle and patient with me, I grow in my gentleness and patience for you. Being a mom has been the most terrifying and humbling experience of my life; it has also been the most impactful. Honestly, I’m a better person because of you (and E).

And the most important thing I know is this: You are mine, and I am yours.

What an honor it is to be a mom.

Your mom.

IMG_3482

My superhero daughter. 🙂

Take a listen to this beautiful song about mamahood by Mindy Gledhill, “Hourglass”. It was introduced to me by fellow mama blogger Amy of Swag on Momma.

How have your relationships with your parents and/or children shaped you?

More Beautiful for Having Been Broken

Hubby has over a dozen scars and a story to go with each one. Recently at dinner, C pointed to a puckered line on his wrist and asked, “How did you get this?” The answer for that was ice skating. The scar on the other wrist? Roller blading. Then there’s the quarter-sized indentation on his knee left by a sharp metal pipe he ran into as a kid. And the perpendicular line across his eyebrow from when his sisters played catch with him (and he was the ball).

I, on the other hand, can count all the scars I have on half a hand, and would be more than happy to forget the reasons why I got them. Falling down a hillside while hiking just doesn’t sound cool or adventurous. Neither does getting burned from falling into a large pot of hot curry chicken (though it does explain why I didn’t like the taste of curry for the longest time).

Even with my tendency to fall, you can probably guess who is the more careful person between hubby and me.

But regardless of how careful we are, it’s likely that we all have gotten scarred in our lives. Sometimes these scars leave visible marks on our bodies, other times they are invisible marks on our hearts.

The truth is that life is hard and we all get hurt sometimes. In the crazy, imperfect world we live in, brokenness is inevitable. The challenge is to know what to do with your broken pieces.

I was really moved when I saw this picture on Facebook this week:

Kintsukuroi-Collage

 

Did you know the Japanese have an art of repairing pottery with gold or silver? The reason they do this stems from the belief that the bowl or plate is more beautiful for having been broken. Instead of throwing out the cracked pottery, they find worth in it. They even add precious elements to it to create something new. What was once considered useless and of little value now has purpose and a cool story to tell.

What if we could take our broken pieces and see them as worth saving? What if we viewed our scars as evidences of courage, strength and resilience? I think we would be able to see the beauty in ourselves (and other people) so much clearer.

The interesting thing about scars is that they are a natural part of the healing process. It’s the body’s way of taking what was injured and making it whole again. I believe the same can be done with our hearts. With the love of Jesus and the people in our lives, we can find healing for our hearts, too.

Take a listen to Rachel Platten’s song, “Stand By You”.

What scars do you have? What stories do your scars tell?

The Four Upsides to Sibling Rivalry

Often times people who see my munchkins interact will comment, “They get along well, don’t they?” to which I will reply, “When they do, they do, but when they don’t …” This last part always ends in an ominous tone and is accompanied by an expression much like this one:

Image courtesy of danitiny2013/deviantart.com

Image courtesy of danitiny2013/deviantart.com

I hate sibling rivalry with a passion (especially after witnessing lots of it over the summer), but I have to admit I do appreciate the many teaching moments it provides (which I can peacefully and quietly reflect upon now that school is back in session). 🙂

Here are four upsides to sibling rivalry:

1. Learning to express yourself. Both E and C know how to speak their mind and express their emotions when they get annoyed, frustrated and impatient with each other. I consider this a plus because they aren’t afraid of conflict and they don’t stuff their feelings or opinions inside. They have a voice and they know how to use it.

2. Developing a thick skin. With all the name-calling and insults thrown around, E and C have learned to not take what the other says about them too personally. They have also learned to stand up for themselves.

3. Calling out bullying behavior. These positive aspects of sibling rivalry only come through when there’s a referee (aka. parent) overseeing the “battle”. E and C have learned from me and hubby what things are okay to say or do and when they cross the line into bullying (which are good lessons they can apply at school).

4. Learning how to make up. Getting the bickering between siblings to stop is only half the battle. The other, more important part, is teaching them how to make up. E and C understand the benefits of apologizing, forgiving, cooperating and trying again, and they practice them often (which is something we all need to know how to do).

So for all the times that my two munchkins drive each other crazy, I remind myself of the many times that they get along well. Such as last weekend when the two of them offered to pluck my white hair. Five minutes into the ordeal, I heard E say to C, “How about I find them and you pull them?” to which she heartily agreed, “Okay!” Five more minutes later, they had freed 19 white hairs from my head and put a smile on my face.

So yes, they not only fight well, they work together well, too. 😀

Side note: Eyebrow pluckers work great for pulling white hair!

Speaking of making-up, here’s Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”. It’s probably not the happiest song to pick for this post, but it’s one of my favorites.

Apologizing, forgiving and cooperating – which of these do you want to do better at?

Learning to Speak Up

On one of our recent visits to the library, C pointed to a boy and informed me, “He took E’s book.” It turns out that E had been handing her a book when it got intercepted by a small chubby hand. E, being the person that he is, remained silent and didn’t react. Meanwhile, C, being the much more feisty person that she is, instructed me to retrieve the book.

Aiya. Do I have to? I thought to myself.

First of all, I don’t like talking to strangers unless absolutely necessary and secondly, I dislike confrontation even more. So for me to approach someone – even a 3 foot someone – and point out the error of his ways had me shaking in my boots (summertime) flip flops.

Image courtesy of quickmeme.com

Image courtesy of quickmeme.com

As I debated what to do, I knew I had two choices. I could let the incident slide or I could speak up. The obvious answer was to go with door #2, but the problem is that I have always been a door #1 kind of girl.

Memories flashed through my mind of all the times I should have spoken up, but didn’t. Like in elementary school when a friend ordered me to play the part of a horse so she could ride around on my back. Or the time the dentist noticed tears forming in the corners of my eyes during my wisdom teeth extraction and realized I needed more anesthesia. Looking back, I know I should have expressed my feelings and needs in those situations, but I stuffed them down instead. The child me (and even the young adult me) didn’t believe I had the right to speak up, but the adult me is realizing that I do.

And the mama me really wants my kids to know they can always speak up, too.

So I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders and walked over to the little boy. I told him, “My son was giving that to his sister” and pointed to the book in his hands. He looked up at me and handed the book over without a single word. I clutched the book like a trophy and delivered it to C, all the while wishing I could high-five myself. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. And one I am building upon as I grow braver and stronger each day.

Take a listen to this cover by Boyce Avenue of John Mayer’s song, “Say”. The lyrics say so much:

Walkin’ like a one man army
Fightin’ with the shadows in your head
Livin’ out the same old moment
Knowin’ youd be better off instead
If you could only

Say what you need to say

In what ways have you grown braver and stronger?