This Christmas will be mine and my husbands third married Christmas together. Looking back, our Christmases couldn’t be more different. We had our first married Christmas. A year later, we had our first Christmas with a baby all the while closing on and renovating our first house. This year we are settled in our home, most of the big renovations are finished and we have a busy one-year-old roaming around.
Category Archives: tori
STAGES – I Thought I Loved You Then
Here is the latest installment in the STAGES series. I know you’ll enjoy this one by Tori Ten Hagen who is an EPFH contributor. Get to know a little about Tori here. You can find more of her stories over at her personal blog.
Multiple times since Owen was born I’ve gone back and looked at all of the pictures from his birthday. Walking laps at the hospital, laboring in the labor and delivery room, seeing his face for the first time. So many memories. One of the first pictures taken on that day was this one.
Every time I look back at that picture I think, “I just thought it hurt then…”
I thought those contractions that started at 4 in the morning hurt. Then when they got worse at 8am and we went to the hospital, I thought they were bad. Then at 11am as I walked the halls trying to progress labor further along I thought they couldn’t get worse. You get the point. The contractions didn’t get easier. They only got worse. 4am Tori, had no idea what was really coming.
Then, we got to bring our bundle of joy home. In pain, exhausted and without the rule book on what to do next everything seemed monumental and overwhelming. Post-partum hormones had me an emotional mess. We had a newborn and sleep was no longer happening in 8-hour stretches. I was nursing every 2-3 hours around the clock. I couldn’t just get up and go shop around Target whenever I wanted. I was embarrassed to admit it, and still kind of am, but I struggled with feeling a complete loss of freedom. Life had to be planned around nursing and naps. I couldn’t just think about myself anymore. I had another precious life to take care of. “Me” was no longer the most important thing. I cried to my husband and mom multiple times in those first few months…this is hard.
Now I look back at all of that and see my zombie hormone-crazy self and think, “I just thought it was hard then…”
See, being a mommy hasn’t gotten any easier. The post-partum hormones have packed their bags [thank goodness!] and I’ve found my mommy routine a little easier, but this mom gig is hard. The hard things about being a mommy have changed, even over 9 months. Some things have gotten much easier and some aren’t even struggles anymore. But as those melt away new struggles and new mommy learning curves appear right on cue.
Now, before you go thinking I’m a terrible, pessimistic, cranky mom let me explain…
I also look back at the first day I held Owen in my arms. I look back at those pictures and remember the feelings I felt on that day. It was love so deep and so strong that I didn’t think more love for my son was possible. The first night we had Owen I honestly slept about 30 minutes, and not because Owen wasn’t sleeping. I sat in our hospital room and held my sleeping son and I just couldn’t make myself sleep. I didn’t want to put him down. I tried laying him down once or twice but it lasted all of a few minutes before I picked him up again. I didn’t want to stop staring at him. I couldn’t have been more in love with my son.
But now after almost 9 months of getting to be Owen’s mom I look back at that night and I think, “I just thought I couldn’t love you anymore…”
I have woken up each morning since Owen’s birthday and I have gone to sleep each night and somehow managed to love my boy more. Don’t ask me how it is possible but it is. Somehow I think even after he’s off at college and one-day married and having his own kids, I’ll still be loving him more and more.
Being a mom has been and will continue to be one of the hardest things I will do. Being a mom takes up most, if not all, of my brain power on most days. When I took on the role of mommy a lot of hard and a lot of hurt came with it. And now as an adult looking back at my childhood and the things my parents put up with and went through for us kids, I know that the hard times and the hurt of parenting doesn’t really go away. Parenting is filled with hard life stuff. It is filled with snotty noses, poopy diapers and spilled milk. It is filled with toddler tantrums and teenage hormones. It involves kissing scraped knees and helping heal broken hearts. Being a mom isn’t easy and I don’t think it’s getting any easier.
But that is okay… because I love my boy more than that stuff. I will wipe snotty noses. [Seriously, I’m writing this after a day and a half with no shower and my son’s snot on my t-shirt] I will prepare myself for the tantrums to come and the teenage meltdowns in my future. I will do all of the hard stuff that comes with being Owen’s mom because I love him too much not to. When I get in bed at night exhausted beyond belief and look over at the baby monitor and see my boy sleeping I don’t remember the hard of that day. My heart aches with love for my son. Some nights I feel like that same Tori sitting in the hospital room holding her son for the first time, and all I want to do is go get him from his crib and rock him while he sleeps.
The hurt is real. The hard stuff is real. But gosh the love…the love is so real. The love doesn’t make the hard go away but it makes it worth it. The love doesn’t make the pains of being a parent hurt less but it makes them worth it.
When Owen is grown and has kids of his own I’ll look back at these years of raising my boy and I’m pretty sure the love will outweigh all the hard. I’m sure I’ll willingly tell him about all of the times he was a toot of a toddler and a punk of a teenager. I’ll tell him about all of the times he made me want to pull my hair out and nearly gave me a heart attack. But after all of that I’ll tell him I love him and I always will…
Other posts in the Stages series:
Stages – Introduction
The Brave Mom – By Tori Ten Hagen
This amazing wife, mom and writer happens to be my daughter. I just had to brag. It’s what a mama does. She originally posted this on her blog but gave me permission to share here as well.
Running On Empty
8:20am and I’m sitting in bed barely able to keep my eyes open as I feed my kiddo. See…we’ve hit a 4 month sleep regression wall BIG time, at least that’s what Google tells me. Call it what you may but we’re not getting much sleep around here and this momma is fighting to climb over the wall. Tears, tossing and turning and waking every few minutes have been my life the last two weeks and last night I decided it was time to put on my gear and conquer this. I rocked little man back to sleep a million times, each time laying him back down in his bed knowing he’d be up again in a few minutes to an hour. Spent all night reading up and racking my brain for every way possible to help my baby sleep.
Talk about running on empty…
But I did it and I’ll do it again and again, because MY sleep is no longer the most important thing to me. My baby’s sleep and his ability to be a good sleeper as he grows up has trumped every bit of rest I may get for who knows how long.
Little man is almost 5 months old and in that 5 months I have spent more time “tired and empty” in a physical sense than ever before. Lack of sleep. Constant worry and guilt that I’m screwing this whole thing up. A nagging fear just wanting to make sure that my kid is safe and healthy and that I’m doing everything right to protect him.
But here’s the thing…these days empty for me means my baby is full and taken care of. My husband and I…we’re parenting and not giving up on the hard stuff. We’re loving our kid even when sometimes that means tough love. We have years and years ahead of us of hard parenting decisions and tough stuff but we will do it because we love our kid more than “easy”. And even though that drains me, it fills me. I’m emptying myself to invest in and fill my son’s. That’s worth it.
I feel exhausted and can’t think straight a lot these days – “empty”. But my kid is safe. Somewhere deep down (some days much deeper than others) I know I’m not totally screwing this up. My kid is happy and he couldn’t care one lick about the mom guilt I feel. He’s got a big beautiful smile to prove it. My kid is thriving and we’re raising him to be a good, godly, balanced young man, even at 5 months old…or at least trying to.
Today I will roll my tired, running on empty self out of bed. Pour myself a HUGE cup of coffee (that I will have to heat up 12 times before its gone) and invest everything I have into my kid’s life. Before I know it he’ll be doing the same for his kids and I’ll be getting all the sleep I want. I want to know I gave him everything I could of me while he was still little.
I’m empty in the best of ways these days and seeing my son grow before my eyes is more than enough to show me I’m investing into one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. And honestly, that is one of the most fulfilling things I get to do.
Keep it up tired mommas. We’re doing just fine.
“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” Proverbs 29:17
…see even the bible says we will get sleep again eventually.