Monday, January 9, 2012

What I learned in 2011

I was thinking through some of the life lessons that I learned last year while pondering goals for the new year and these are my thoughts....

* I remember that I was so so worried about transitioning from a working mama to staying home. While I was working, I treasured my days off and made the most out of play dates while keeping my house clean for the most part. I always admired how nice and neat Emersyn played but it turns out, we were just never home long enough to make that big of a mess. Now that I've been a stay at home mama for a year, and spent a lot of the early part of 2011 at home due to me have NO energy and morning all day sickness, I have come to realize that three year olds are capable of making a mess and making it real quick. And you know what? It's just a season. My house is far less put together then it was when I was working and for that I am grateful. It's messy because we are here more, praise the Lord. I used to be really unhappy whenever the house was messy and I took out a lot of my rage on my poor husband but I've learned to let things go and enjoy my family more. For that I am happy.

*I learned that nagging is pointless. I used to get really irate and controlling when it came to things I wanted Brett to do around the house and I just decided to not be that way anymore. It's obviously a simple concept but not easy to do sometimes. Now that the home and our kids are *my job*, I try to make Brett feel appreciated at the end of the day and have gotten better about the nagging. You attract more bees with honey, isn't that what they say?

*I learned that having another baby wasn't as big of a deal as I thought in some ways, but then a bigger deal in others. For instance, during the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Everett, I kind of felt like a chapter of our family was closing. Brett, Ems and I were the three amigos and now we were going to have this other kid with us all the time, ha! It was a strange concept I know. I didn't truly get to bond with Everett until he was born because I think it almost felt disloyal to Emersyn in a way? I'm not sure. But anyways, when Everett was born it was instantly adoration at first sight and he has only enhanced our lives and not taken away from it in any way, just like when Emersyn was born. So in that way, adding him to our family wasn't as big of a deal that I thought it might have been. However, I had no idea how crazy busy it was to have two kids. I mean, of course I knew that I was having another baby which would obviously require more attention but wow, I didn't expect Emersyn to be so challenging in addition to the the challenge of a newborn. I expected sleepless nights but I didn't anticipate the crazy whiny age that three is. I am getting better at finding my balance but there were weeks and weeks when I would feel like all I was doing was wiping bums, changing diapers, feeding, nursing, cleaning up, and then repeat. Two kids is far busier then I expected and in that way, was more of a big deal then I anticipated.

*I learned that there is no such thing as a perfect friendship and that people will come and go in your life. Friendships have seasons sometimes and rather then dwelling and obsessing, I've learn to let things go and just accept the friends that the Lord has placed in my life. I read a book recently that said "start being the kind of friend you want to be and stop thinking about how you let your friends down." (The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker). I was so encouraged by that. I can't tell you how many nights I lay awake at night thinking about things that I might have done or not done to let a friend down. I should have texted this friend, I should have written this friend a card, that friend would have appreciated dinner, etc. I have had people in my life tell me that I am selfish and not good enough and that messes with your head. I don't believe those lies anymore though. I AM good enough. There is always room for improvement but friendship isn't something where you worry about not doing enough or saying the wrong thing. It shouldn't be HARD. There are friends in my life that never seem to have time for me due to their lives and schedules and that is okay, they'll come around eventually and in the meantime, I'll love them from afar and still send an encouraging word their way every so often. We're all at different milestones in our journeys through life and it's so much more worthwhile to cheer each other on and learn to be patient with one another.

*I'm less uptight about holidays. I think I've had to let a lot of things go now that I'm a mama to two and having picture perfect holidays is no longer a priority. I used to get upset at thrown together holidays that lacked the perfect table centerpiece and place settings. I've come to realize that hosting and entertaining is a talent and has a lot do with our individual temperaments. Being expressive, I love to make everything fun and decorative. Not everyone is that way and that's is okay. I had a much better holiday season but letting the little things go and just enjoying being with family. Having 4 adults, two children, a cat and a dog that sleeps in a large bed with multiple blankets in my living room made for a somewhat chaotic holiday but it was okay. Memories were still made and they were wonderful.

*I learned that it's not worth it to compete with other moms. Instead of getting jealous and bitter at mom's that plan these ah-mazing birthday parties complete with handmade crafts, I compliment them and admire them instead. I learned that when I realize my value as a mama, I don't have to try so hard to earn my husband and kid's admiration. My kids and husband don't care if I make them a cake from scratch, from a box or buy it pre-made at a store...they just want to sit down and eat it with me. I could run around frantically cleaning when my husband gets home from work while he takes care of the kids but he would much rather we sit and read stories as a family. I'm learning to live more in the moment and worry less about the presentation.

*I learned that I am only able to pour into my kids what I let God pour into me. If I'm not seeking the Lord each day for patience and understanding, I will lose my mind by the time Brett gets home. I am STILL trying to conquer this awful bad habit of not getting up early enough...hopefully that I will be what I learn in 2012.

*I learned that I truly love blogging and sitting down to write meaningful posts. Sometimes I'll write things without thinking and then re-read them and think, "wow...I really needed to hear that". It's like a way of getting a message through to myself.

*I learned that good parenting doesn't equal perfect children. Bummer!!!!!

*I learned that a handmade less then perfect nursery for Everett was so much more fulfilling to create then Emersyn's picture perfect store bought one. Yes, her nursery was darling but the hand made touches that came together in Everett's nursery are just SO fun!!!!

*I learned that the unexpected can be the greatest blessing ever.

*I learned that marriage and dates are something to be continually worked on and that having kids makes finding time to connect and just be Brett and Patti, husband and wife near impossible at times. Thus, the importance of dates.

*I learned that you actually can buy too many Groupons, LivingSocial deals, etc. Ooops! :) I blame late night nursing...I can't tell you how many times Brett woke up to me buying something on Groupon at's like he sensed the transaction going through!

*I learned that ironing provides the same satisfaction that vacuuming used to. Guess what? Vacuuming no longer brings me the thrill it once did. I think it's because our carpet needs to be replaced so badly and so when I vacuum, it doesn't transform the room the way it once did. Steam mopping however.....don't get me started!

*I learned that finding the positive in situations with Emersyn works SO much better then the negative. Example: "Emersyn Grace, pick up these toys right now!!!!" doensn't work nearly as well as "Ems, you are such a smart girl...if anyone can pick all these toys up and put them away correctly, I know it's YOU!!!!". She really digs the words of affirmation, as does her mother. Maybe Brett should try this tactic with me regarding chores.....

2011 was an incredible life changing year and I'm so excited and looking forward to all that 2012 will bring!!


Melissa said...

I love what you said about friendships, SO TRUE! I've heard you say before too that you love your low-maintenance friends. LOVE IT. So true. Love my friends that are easy & understanding that we can't always get together.

You had lots of great lessons in '11! :)

Dara Wills said...

I so admire how involved you are in your church. That is def something I need to work on. And I hear you about the house being messy while being home! You're awesome :)

LeAnna said...

Ahhhh! This is so full of things I relate to. The friendship thing, YES. Oh my goodness, I've cried many a tear over that.

And holy whiny three year olds, batman. I was not prepared.

SO thankful for a loving God who chastises His children. It might mean hard lessons from time to time but praise God, He doesn't want to leave us the same as we've always been!!!

sister sheri said...

Patti! These are such wise words. I am so glad you wrote them down so moms of all ages can glean from them. You have so much to offer. And to think you are blogging... raising two kids... AND planning a retreat??? Ummm... you are amazing!