Friday, January 13, 2012

real life.

i've been wanting to do a post for a while now talking about all my new year's goals and resolutions. you know, the one where i tell you my goals about the budget, the new amped up exercise plan, the spiritual lion i'm going to become, and the new, happy, patienter-mama i will be.

well, in real life, my iphone screen shattered just days into 2012 (breaking the bank), i popped a zipper, got my butt stuck in a chair, and slept away a migraine (and ate tons of cookies) instead of exercising, i have been stressing out majorly with church responsibilities, and have had sick kiddos again, resulting in many self-pep-talks, and breathe-in, breathe-out moments. "you can do this, Marci! choose to be happy! happiness is a decision! breeaaattthhheee."

translation = in real life, i suck. me + goals = fail.

but have no fear!

i will not give up! because in real life, goals are yours and no one else's, and you can always try again tomorrow or the next day- no one cares but you- and i know in real life it always works out. and in our real life, we've made some prett-y cool changes around here in spite of our crappy karma.

change 1) the girls are now sharing a room! M and i had toyed with the idea for a few weeks before Christmas, - both of has had shared rooms with our siblings growing up and loved it. i remember nights, my brother and i would laugh ourselves to sleep, and i remember sitting on the top bunk all together listening to my mom play the guitar/sing us to sleep. we mentioned the idea to Ellie once, and she got so excited, she wanted to move into Alice's room that very moment. what's the worst that could happen, right?

so the week after Christmas, we had an influx of kid-junk oozing out of every crevice of our house. when they'd go to bed in their separate rooms, i'd do a nightly walk-through and pick up all the little teensie toys that somehow didn't make it back in their rooms, all the stray socks and strollers- and soon enough there would be two gigantic piles of shtuff beside each of their doors. the house was never picked up = i always wanted to pull my hair out! lucky for my hair, turning Ellie's room into a playroom made a space for all the kid shtuff and saved my sanity. and having the girls share a room is just the cutest thing- especially waking up to hearing little giggles coming from their room. and while we've had our moments of losing sanity at 3 am (since they've been sick and have been waking each other up with hacking coughs and crying), it's been mostly awesome. i think all sisters should get a chance to share a room.

change 2) i decided to start being more intentional in having Ellie help me around the house- instead of her just being a sometimes helper (even when it's wayyy easier/more efficient to just do things myself). she's been helping me put away laundry, put the dishwasher away, pick up her playroom after quiet time, and even doing dishes. it's been awe-some!, and i don't know why i haven't started it sooner.

 change 3) a few weeks ago, M and i had a conversation that changed my life.  i had been bubbling over like a pot of spaghetti sauce 11/10ths too full, full of emotions and feelings insecurity and anxiety about being a mom. some were totally unwarranted, but some weren't. the down-to-earth truth was this: i wasn't feeling happy and fulfilled at home. and i was having a hard time keeping it cool when both girls would simultaneously melt-down...for the fifth time...that morning, and not reacting angrily. and then amidst the meltdowns, still getting all the other stuff done that needed to get done (Christmas gifts, cards out, shopping done, house clean, dinner done, etc etc etc). being mom is one big multi-tasking-juggling-balancing act, isn't it? and honestly, i felt like i was constantly dropping the ball. the girls were constantly unhappy. i was constantly short and snippy. and M was walking on egg shells...scared to ask the dreaded question: "how was your day?" (because a look of horror and scary eyes would be shot in his direction).  i'm sad to admit that this home-dynamic had been going on for several weeks (hence the 11/10ths full pot).

on the day of me and M's conversation, i had had a breaking point. i was trying to get the girls out the door for an appointment, and Ellie would not cooperate. she wouldn't put her shoes on (after asking her a billion times), and refused to come in the car. there Alice was in the car, screaming her guts out as i stood in the doorway trying to reason with this unreasonable child. at the last refusal, i hit my limit and demanded forcefully (yelled loudly) for her to get in the car. i confess, it wasn't the first time i had ever done that. of course she fell to the floor (Ellie is a mini-me: hyper sensitive and emotional) and sobbed even harder. steam burst out of my head, i picked her up, buckled her in her seat, and we were off. minutes went by, and the crying finally stopped (hallelujah!, i thought to myself). and then i heard a faint little voice from the back of the car say,


"What Ellie?"

"Do you like me?"

::pain and hot tears stream down my face right now remembering this::

i immediately pulled the car over. i felt so ashamed that she had to ask me that. i turned around, looked at her, and told her that i not only liked her, but that i loved her so much it hurt sometimes.

and so i told M about it all. it sucked because i was embarrassed- he never loses his cool, and yet i do. why did that happen? i wasn't the mom i always dreamed i would be- and i wanted to change. i never ever wanted my kids to ask me if i liked them again.

he then told me something that i'll remember forever. he said, "what helps me with Ellie is to imagine what it would be like to be her- a three year old little girl. i just try and put myself in her shoes and it helps me a lot."

and so i've done that- (and increased my prayers on the subject x 100, and just flipped my negative switch to the "off" position). i think it's all helped- but i sincerely believe the difference maker has been that i've sincerely tried to put myself in Ellie's shoes. i'm still not perfectly patient- but i've been trying to look through life through a three-year-old's eyes, and it has helped me understand why it's hard to leave when you're having fun, why you'd rather wear a fluffy pink dress instead of pants, why you may cry inconsollably over and over again when you're feeling sick (or not feeling sick), and why you get upset when your little sister snatches your favorite baby... and doing that has given me the extra umph to be able to reason, play, and give a little extra love and encouragement without losing my cool. sure, it's not the first time i've ever had a parenting epiphany (just look under my label "being a mom," and i'm sure you'll find dozens of somewhat similar "i don't know what i'm doing" "why am i always made" posts), and i sure as heck hope it won't be the last. but for now it's made a huge difference in our home, and the the truth is: that advice changed me. and because of that, i know 2012 is going to be a great year.

side note: i'm so grateful for my hubby who doesn't judge me, but lovingly teaches me so much. i understand more and more how important it is to be a team in marriage and parenthood- and that you really need each other. i am blessed, i tell you. blessed.

a few extra pictures of my people and what we've been up to this new year:



{amy k.} said...

i love that advice too- i will keep it in mind!

LOVE the red pants, you definitely rock them! (and did you get that shirt at H&M because i have one that is verrrry similar!)

love your adorable family!

Ali and Bryan Packard said...

Marcie you're amazing! I think all moms have those insecurities sometimes...I know I do. I love hearing about your beautiful family. It makes us feel like we're still a part of your lives even though we live so far away and never get to see you. And the red pant are ferociously hot! LOVE them!

Kristy said...

Great advice. I've been trying harder to think of myself as a 3-year old boy (not so easy!) and be more patient with OP. It's really hard. Reading this was like reading a page from my own life. I go through the "I'm a terrible mom and I don't know why I chose to do this because I'm just going to screw up these little ones so much" at least once a month--we're talking major breakdowns about it. But I always come to the same conclusion--there's no way I can screw them up too bad when I love them so much. Hang in there--things can only get better, right? The only word I have to say about your calling is delegate--it's the only way we're surviving with me in the primary presidency and Todd as the YM president.

Kristin said...

You're great! I love it!

JoSue said...

Lots of times I don't think it's insecurities, I think it's that we believe we are the ONLY mom that yells, gets angry, forcefully grabs our kids, etc... Then we go to church or wherever and see all the other 'perfect' moms who are so patient and cool and think the worst of ourselves because we know we aren't. But just like you are looking at them, they are looking at you thinking that same thing. So many times people say to me, "you are such a good mom." They say that because of the three baby thing but I think to myself, 'well you haven't seen me at 6pm everyday for bedtime or when I threw the plate of eggs, literally threw, in the sink because no one would eat them.' I often read your blog and think I need to try and enjoy the little moments like Marci does! Seriously! The great thing about young kids is that they are so forgiving. I take advantage of that EVERYDAY and try to correct mistakes from yesterday. My 2012 goal that I made a few weeks ago was not to yell at the kids. So there you go. You're not the only one. ;) Thanks for the great post. Always inspiring.

Linda said...

This beautifully honest post reminds me of how I feel the " day after a rainstorm". One can see forever and the sky seems to sparkle , as if it was scrubbed clean by heavenly hands of all impurities. One can see forever too.... and in this coast, when one can spot Catalina... and the San Juan Islands.... well.... it's plain wonderful. So it is with our souls I think. After a good ol' meltdown.... or storm... one has the GIFT of being washed clean.... and have that " aha!" moment... thanks to a sweet husband or a friend, or a loved one, or even a perfect stranger... who inspire us. This is so healthy and so good for us! One thing for sure.... we will all hit many bumps in 2012.... on our path to self improvement. It may seem like these obstacles have the power to derail us from our efforts, like we just might slip into those old habits we are trying to change. But those storms.... can be amazing purifiers. The PLAN is therefore perfect... and you my darling girl with the red pants :) ... you are doing a fantastic job. When the next storm comes, just know, the day after is going to be gorgeous.... and you will again feel radiant with possibility. The girlie's room sharing is brilliant. Love it. The play room is adorable. I can't wait to come over and see it all. Thank You for inspiring me and reminding me of all the possibilities of this new day.
Te adora, Mom

Jenny said...

You have the sweetest mom. I couldn't resist reading her wonderful comment above mine. I love Mike's advice, thanks for sharing. I definitely have days when the girls drive me nuts and I lose my cool.

PS I didn't realize your butt was STUCK in the chair!! Ha. That makes the picture even more hilarious. I'm a little slow sometimes...

Erika said...

I am dying to have a toy room! I bet it's so nice. One day...

Ashley said...

Sobbing my eyes out.

I can't imagine a better mom than you. I'm not a mom yet, but I have four sisters and two sisters-in-law who are. I can tell you that those insecure feelings are not only common, but painfully frequent for a lot of people. But that's ok. It just means you care.

You are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thanks for always touching my heart. I'm going to have to bookmark all of your blog posts and come back to them for advice and reference when I'm a mom someday.

Sometimes I think it's weird how much I love your guts and I haven't been anything other than an online friend to you in years. Oh well.

Loves to you.

Mat and Brooke said...

Marce, I love you for being real. For being honest. For helping all of your fellow mamas out here who are dealing with a crisis-a-minute as well realize that we are not alone in our frustrations. You definitely show your complete adoration for those two sweet little girls plenty often enough to be validated in reminding yourself and the rest of us that being a mother doesn't come without a price!
When I read about your Ellie, she reminds me so much of my little Eric. Their bold personalities and iron will can make caring for them nearly impossible at times, but they're the ones who will grow up to be self-starters! They know what they want and will figure out a way to get it. :) I will always love Eric, but sometimes I don't like him...because he makes life so darn complicated!! (Sounds to me like you can totally relate.)
I am so glad you have a blog, because it makes me feel like you're not so far away. :)

P.S.: I love your red pants! When you look THAT good in skinny jeans, it doesn't matter if your butt gets stuck in a chair. Besides, that chair doesn't count, because it's a kid chair!!!

Megan said...

this post was great because
a) you rocked the skinny jean so now I think I *might* be able to (big, scary, giant MIGHT)
b) you made me realize that even you - a mama I look up to more than most - has a bad day every now and again
c)it inspired me
thanks for the heart-warming post :)

Danielle said...

I have been reading your blog for a while (I found it on a friend's blog) and have never commented. This post really hit home though, because this has been the story of my life for the last few months. I have a 2 (almost 3) year old and a 4.5 month old. My 2 year old is a complete handful, but I absolutely love her spunk. Unfortunately, however, this comes with a lot of frustration at her energy and drama. Add in the neediness of the baby and you have a crazy momma! Lots of tears are often shed on both sides! I, too, am really working on being the kind of mom I want to be, even though sometimes it seems so unattainable and far away. Thank you for sharing this post today!

Mat and Brooke said...

Hey Marce, I don't have your number and I need help with something. Will you call me? (801) 725-7342. Thanks! Love ya. :)

Ashley Aikele said...

Couple of things....
1. Your red pants are FABULOUS! Seriously, so cute. Its amazing what a little red can do in your life.
2. I seriously think you are one of the best little moms I know. Whenever I look at your blog I am always taking notes in my head about how I should do that with my kids someday. I am sure being a mom has its tough times but when your girls look back (especially at all the pictures) how are they going to remember anything except how much FUN they had?!

Liz said...

After reading this post I have been trying to be more patient with my little ones too and having them help me around the house. Thank you for being a great example. You are amazing and you inspire me. Life definitely throws us little curveballs and our kids are there to remind us to slow down.

Lacey Jay said...

this post was for me... i'm sure of it!

thank you for sharing your life that is a mirror to mine somedays.

this 'aw-ha' moment was what i needed too.