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a few thoughts on life…

Okay, so I realize that I post a ton of photos on my blog but don’t post very many updates on how we are actually doing. Several years ago when I started my blog, I had time to really sit and think and write and revise, and well, I loved it. I got hooked on blogging in the first place because I loved to write. I only owned a point and shoot camera at the time, so there was more writing and fewer photos. And poor quality photos at that. But I loved it. I do not consider myself a writer; just someone who enjoys the therapeutic effect that writing can have on the mind and emotions. I enjoyed blogging. I enjoyed jotting down everyday things or talking about more profound things, like what God was doing in my life.

Now, with kids, I find that my blogs are very image-driven rather than text (content) driven. Sometimes I am fine with that, other times it really bothers me. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not using my blog in a really productive manner, but then I think about the fact that documenting my family’s everyday life IS productive.

Okay, so I might not have time at this stage in my life to use my blog for a profound platform, but for now, that’s just how it has to be. Most days I feel the pressure of many responsibilities and I feel happy just to take care of the kids, keep the house in order, shop and cook meals, and keep up with the books for the business. I’m usually content to snap a few photos of the girls once or twice a week, edit them quickly, upload them, say a few sentences, and call it a blog post. Writing anything beyond a cursory overview has started to seem unattainable.

Then there are nights like tonight, when I am more reflective, and decide to stay up too late blogging and will pay for it tomorrow. Thinking about life. Thinking about this crazy world that we live in. Thinking about how I have so much to learn and so far to go.

Parenthood is so much more difficult than I give it credit for. We had to discipline Alana tonight, and it really hit me. Having a newborn is the super duper easy part. No, believe me, I get it, it’s very difficult in it’s own way. It’s physically draining. Babies are so dependent. But honestly, this second time around, I’m learning that for me, Sierra is the easy one. It’s coming face-to-face with the reality that I am training and molding a 3 year old human being that REALLY gets me thinking about what “difficult” can truly be. My flaws seem to glare at me in a way they never did before. I worry that she will be less than the her best…because of me. I look into those amazing eyes and I worry.

I feel so unprepared some days. I feel so inadequate. It’s the notion of the mom who has it all together…this person who, in my head, is a much better mother than me. She wakes up early, before her kids do, so that she can spend quality time reading her bible, praying, getting ready for her day. She prepares a home cooked, healthy breakfast for her kids, and goes straight into some reading time with them or curriculum or something educational. The TV stays off all day. She purees organic vegetables for her baby while her toddler munches on carrot sticks for a snack. When aforementioned toddler disobeys, she always handles it with patience and grace. She has a perfect balance of authoritative presence and love. She plans meals for two weeks so that she only has to grocery shop bi-monthly. And she’s a fabulous couponer…she buys $350 worth of groceries for $67. She cooks healthy, delicious dinners that everyone enjoys, gives toddler a bath, then baby, then puts them both to bed and has a reserve of time and energy for her husband. She exercises and stays fit. She loves people well. She has many friends because she has been a good friend to them first. She’s not selfish.

The problem is that I feel like I am all of those things above…SOMETIMES. I have been ready for my day before, but I am not always. Most days I wait until the last possible moment, when I know Sierra will want to nurse, and I peel myself out of bed to get her. I love having my quiet times, but they are not consistent. Some days we leave the TV off and read, play and learn. But there are many days when she watches more Curious George than can be healthy. Many evenings I prepare healthy home cooked meals…but then there are the days when I didn’t even THINK about what we were having for dinner until 4pm. Sometimes I feel so triumphant to have handled a difficult situation with Alana with patience…and then there are many times that I feel at a complete loss as to how best deal with her. And I certainly need God’s help to love people and to serve them.

Since I really need to stop this stream-of-consciousness writing (lest I type all night), I will post a few random observations about my life as of late.

1) Having two kids is very manageable most days, but some days I actually think I will go insane.
2) Sierra is a very sweet, very smiley, very pleasant baby and we all love her very much. She brings laid back balance to Alana’s unparalleled energy.
3) Time is flying by faster the older I get. The newborn stage didn’t fly by at this rate the first time around. This strikes me as both good and bad.
4) Now when I go somewhere with only Sierra and Rich is watching Alana, I always feel like I’m missing or forgetting something because having only one feels so easy.
5) I can nurse anywhere this time around. I have my shawl, which I’m much more comfortable with now, and because Sierra is a rapid nurser, it’s a piece of cake)
6) I am so blessed and so thankful for the friendships in my life. God has given me a wonderful family and beautiful friends.
7) The bible study that I attend for moms on Wednesday mornings might actually be keeping me more happy and sane than I am even aware of.
8. Trying to run errands or shop can be masochistic in a way that having only one child could not have been. At the mall recently, shopping for a friends’ birthday gift, I literally gave up, in tears, and headed home, complaining to Rich on the phone about how difficult having kids is. I was annoying even myself with my whining.
9) I want to complain less and be CONTENT with everything in my life. The hard wood floors that I want, wanting the house exterior painted, etc. I want all of my wanting to subside. I want to be content in all things. I have so much to be thankful for. Life.is.so.not.about.stuff.
10) I want for God to make me who HE wants me to be. Not my own version of the story. I want His. But I’m often very scared about what that might mean – what kind of sacrifice it might involve. I fear way too many things.

And because every blog post is better with photos (even wordy, overwhelming ones), here are a few photos of my sweet, sweet little Alana, who is so much like me it’s scary. She’s easily frustrated, she’s impatient, and she’s gonna have ME to thank for those character flaws. Thankfully, God created her with about a thousand wonderful qualities, so we will take the imperfections and pray for parenting wisdom πŸ™‚

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If you have read this far, you must be a true friend. Comment so I know you’re here πŸ™‚

  • Tobi Weldon - April 23, 2011 - 12:13 am

    My beautiful friend, I loved this post it was so real and honest. I loved hearing the reality of motherhood. I can’t wait to be a mom one day and it makes me even more excited that I will have a mom like you to look up to. Love you

  • kathy groves - April 23, 2011 - 12:19 am

    1. you are a great writer.
    2. i enjoy how open you are with your life.
    3. i feel blessed to know you.
    4. your children are very fortunate, as well as your hubby.
    5. having wee ones is work. they do grow up (fast).
    6. keep up the good work….worth it.

  • -brittanymoncrief- - April 23, 2011 - 12:25 am

    I love your heart and I love that you shared it. You described so many things that I feel as a parent, but have not known how to express. Thank you!

    PS You are an amazing mom! You have two very blessed girls!

  • Pix - April 23, 2011 - 1:19 am

    I am so glad you are going through all of this first! Knowing ME, I won’t actually glean from it – and will have to make all of my own mistakes, but it is good to know that even my perfect older sister doesn’t think she is perfect! πŸ™‚ I love you and am thankful for you. Not only because you are a great sister, but you are great example of a loving mother. Sometimes when I am over, I feel like I should be taking notes πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your heart. It’s really beautiful.

  • Jennifer Springer - April 23, 2011 - 2:35 am

    Heather,
    I know we aren’t necessarily “close,” but I feel as if we surely must and/or should be based on how incredibly accurate you put many of my own feelings/thoughts about parenting into words. I don’t know if you recall, but I, too, just became a parent to not one but two girls. The first is two (instead of the three years Alana has on Sierra), and the newborn is still very newborn (3 weeks) compared to your Sierra. Still, I’ve already starting formulating some of these very thoughts in my very foggy sleep-deprived but oh-so-happy mind. Thanks for putting it all out there. For sure a newborn is *way* easier, for sure I can much more easily nurse anywhere with this one, for sure Hannah (my first) seems far more assertive and fierce w/emotions and energy than my 2nd. And while Curious George hasn’t yet made a debut at our house, DVR’ed Little Einsteins have been played more times than I care to admit. For sure many more of the things you have said. Thanks again for sharing!

  • Dawn - April 23, 2011 - 8:14 am

    Such a beautiful post, my dear. Being a parent is the most difficult thing a person can do in life, but also the most rewarding. The days are long and the years fly by. Remember that you cannot do everything all the time, or everything well. Nights of leftovers or ordering in could be that small break you need in the day. Truly a 27/7 job has a little extra wear and tear. It’s okay to need a break and be sure you take those for yourself, and for you and Rich. Being energized physically and emotionally (as best you can at this stage) has benefits for the family. I always have exercised and made it a priority, because I would notice a change in my patience level with the family if I didn’t take care of myself physically. I didn’t like that feeling at all, and the family didn’t need it.

    It’s funny because our lives are a never ending lesson. I notice changes in perceptions, needs, desires each decade of my life and as my children grow. I do remember thinking that when Jack was born, how crazy hard it was being sleep deprived, and truly it was, at the time for me. Everything is relative to what we have experienced for US. Now, I look back and understand that was the easy part. But, I had to earn that badge I suppose. With my oldest entering puberty and the teenage years, I could never have imagined the challenges he faces and in turn I face, as well.

    Each stage prepares you somewhat for the next. Each stage is a bit harder. And when you realize, just as you have, that you are shaping a real person, someone’s friend, sister, wife, that is scary stuff!

    When Jack was getting to the point where he needed more than a diaper change and to be feed, when we were getting into behavior, I was scared out of mind. I had no tools to deal with teaching a child anything, or at least it felt like it. I love my parents, but they where not the example I wanted to to model. I was fortunate to take some parenting classes that have helped make me the parent, I would most want to be (still very far from perfect, but perfect is unattainable).

    The classes were through International Network for Children and Families.

    http://www.incaf.com

    They have an instructor in Knoxville. They also have many books, etc., however, if you had an opportunity to take a class, I highly recommend it. There are role-playing activities that I found extremely profound and helpful.

    Another book I liked was “Siblings without Rivalry” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.

    As always, thank you for sharing your words and your pictures! Love to you all!

  • kellie - April 23, 2011 - 10:17 am

    Great post Heather! I’ve missed reading “real” posts from you. You know, the ones with words too πŸ™‚

  • amber - April 23, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    Love you, heather. I think you’re an awesome mom.

  • Meg - April 23, 2011 - 12:06 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this sweet friend! You’re an amazing mother, just as graceful in the good moments and bad, likely better than you imagine. It’s comforting to know that someone else feels little successes and failures in everyday life (:

  • Mom - April 23, 2011 - 6:24 pm

    Very thoughtful and accurate post of a mother’s feelings, Heather. I know I felt the same way when you girls were small, and I think every mom must feel this way during seasons. The mom you described is really about 10-12 women combined, I think. And that’s ok. If we had it all together, we wouldn’t need God or His Word. And we do need Him. And we need that parenting manual we call the Bible. πŸ™‚ That is what makes us wiser and more confident in what we’re doing, as it puts perspective in our lives. That’s what He is teaching you every day. Perspective. Great word!

  • Nathan Holritz - April 24, 2011 - 9:37 pm

    You got me all emotional with your words and the beautiful pictures… and then I scrolled down a little bit too far and saw Amber’s goofiness and that kinda killed it hahahahaha!

    Seriously though, love the honesty. Proud to be your friend.

  • Lacey - April 25, 2011 - 10:43 am

    Your post reminded me of two things that I’ve been reminded of a LOT lately.
    #1: 2 Corinthians 12:9&10
    “But he said to me, β€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
    And really who likes to be weak? But it’s very easy for me to understand and be okay with the fact that when I am weak, God can be seen more in my life because others know that it is not by my own strength, that I can go on.
    #2: A song that I LOVE is called Blessings by Laura Story and this is the chorus:
    Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    And what if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know You’re near
    What if my greatest disappointments
    Or the aching of this life
    Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
    And what if trials of this life
    The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
    Are Your mercies in disguise

    (I LOVE the line “or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.” SO true, and isn’t it great to know that we have a promise that it won’t always be that way, that we won’t always be worn, worried and tired, but that we have a hope of a better place to come? πŸ™‚

    Love you and you’re doing an amazing job!

  • Sarah Holland - April 25, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    I love reading ‘mom’ posts. Especially now that we are moving to TN and I have no more excuses for putting off having a baby πŸ™‚ You are an amazing mom.

  • melinda nicodemus - May 3, 2011 - 10:01 pm

    I read your stuff Heather and I feel you and I are kindred spirits. We really should be better friends πŸ™‚ Every word you wrote I have said myself before. If you were the perfect mom imagine how hard it would be for your girls to live up to that when they themselves are mothers. I love to see moms make mistakes, lose their patience, have messy houses, and see their kids throw tantrums because I realize I am normal. God made each of us unique and wonderful and “perfect” in his image, flaws and all.

  • Pleasant Vonnoh - May 3, 2011 - 10:32 pm

    I think all mom’s have “mom guilt”. No matter how many children we have we feel like we could be doing better and we secretly compare ourselves to other moms. I will never forget when I was taught during a Bible study that the Proverbs 31 woman did not do all of those things every single day of her life. Those were all stages of life that she went through. Now that my babies are six years old I am starting to see that and I’m starting to see the stages that we’ve been through and will go through soon. I promise, it gets easier. And once your girls start school, time will FLY!!!! Enjoy it now! Forget a perfectly clean house and play with them, watch movies with them, bake with them, enjoy them! πŸ™‚ They will never remember if the toys were always cleaned up off of the floor or if the laundry was always clean, folded and neatly put away, but they will remember the memories you make with them! πŸ™‚ You are a great mom! Keep up the good work!

  • Michelle Richards - May 3, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Oh Heather, I could have written your post word for word (okay, change some details, but you get the point!). GRACE. That is possibly the best thing I have learned thus far in this parenting journey. We need to give ourselves some as moms, and I am thankful for it from Christ. In exchange, showing it to others, especially our children is so important. Celebrate your successes. Enjoy every moment, as you know they go by too quickly. I can’t say it gets any easier, but with a heart like yours, you’re learning as you go and you get better. xo

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