Thoughts on Turning 35

I should have written this post last December. Because that was when I turned 35. But, you know, I was pregnant and sick. This led to me not having the energy or desire to blog much at all. Then we had baby #3 in January and I swore I would get around to it but we all know how these things go. It just didn’t happen.

I have a lot of thoughts on turning 35. Actually I had a lot of thoughts about it BEFORE it actually happened. It all started when I found out I was pregnant and went to my first appointment. My OB announced I was considered Advanced Maternal Age and I very quickly corrected her, “um, no I’m only 34.” What I really meant was – you bitch. I’m only 34 so don’t go calling me old just yet.

But then she quickly corrected me by telling me that I will be 35 at the time of birth so I will be considered Advanced Maternal Age my entire pregnancy. Oh goody. Here I am supposed to be enjoying this first prenatal appointment but instead I just end up feeling like crap because ughhh. Why do I have to get older?

When I turned 30 I was so excited. I remember feeling really good about myself. Landon was four-months-old and I felt and looked great (my hair was super curly from some sort of post-pregnancy hormone miracle). I really felt like I had the whole world in front of me. I had big dreams and planned on making them happen.

Then I went to sleep that night and woke up on December 6, 2013 and I was suddenly 35-years-old.

Wait, no really WAIT! How did five years pass by me so quickly?!

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t take these last five years back for anything in the world. It is in these years that we created our family, which is pretty darn cool. That is a huge accomplishment. But I’m feeling really unaccomplished in other areas of my life.

I truly believed that I would have a published book by now. But it’s kinda hard to publish a book when you don’t write a book proposal and you don’t query literary agents. Last year when I went to Influence Conference I heard Jeff Goins speak and raised my hand from all the way in the back.

“What do you think of self-publishing?” I sheepishly asked.

“I think it’s great. I think you and anyone else who wants to should go for it.”

That sealed the deal for me. Self-publishing is huge these days. E-books are huge. I have felt such conviction in the last six months to just DO IT, already. But there was that whole working full-time thing. And gestating a baby who made me incredibly ill thing. And keeping two kids (now three) alive thing. And making sure my house doesn’t turn into an episode of Hoarders thing.

Excuses – I haz them.

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Then I turned 35 and I had this Eeyore moment where I’m like, damn it. I didn’t do what I said I was going to do by this time. I’m old and this sucks.

I still kind of feel like I’m 25 sometimes. I forget that I’m really truly an adult. Until I see kids walk through my yard and I’m like, GET OFF MY LAWN. Or I see teenage girls wearing really short shorts and I’m like, WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?

Then I remember. Oh, there’s also the bill paying. Why are there so many people we have to answer to? What ever happened to that tiny little first apartment we paid $500 a month for?

It is mind-boggling to me that I am 35-years-old. And Naaman turns 36 in a couple months. He asked me the other day how old he is (we’re both losing our damn minds) and when I told him he would be 36 he looked like this 0_o

Me too, honey. Me too.

I’ve got new white hairs popping up all the time. I’ve got wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes. I’ve got aches and pains in my knees if I stand up too long. If I wear heels, which was every day when I was in my twenties, my feet hurt the entire next day.

I get heartburn. HEARTBURN!!! What the crap is that about?!

The only thing that makes me feel young is that I currently have an infant. When she goes to Kindergarten I will be 40-years-old. Now, I know what they say – age is just a number – but whatever. There will definitely be tears in my cheerios that morning.

People who don’t know how old I am are always stunned to find out my age. I guess I don’t really look 35? I will say that I still get carded for alcohol and every once in awhile I will get carded for an R-rated movie. I do the roger rabbit when that happens. Believe that.

The only resolution I created for 2014 was to lose 15 pounds. Which I did. On January 18th. I lost a bunch of weight :) But now I’m wondering if I didn’t sell myself short. I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth. But I know if I’m here tomorrow I will regret not starting on my biggest dream. And that is to publish a book. I don’t even care if anyone buys it. I just want to be able to say that I did it.

I also want to say that even though turning 35 seemed to be a little more difficult than turning 30 – I wouldn’t want to go back. No way, no how. I love my life right now. I love my family. Going back to 25 might get me less looks when I walk into H&M but I also wouldn’t have my husband or my kids. And that would suck.

In other words, 35, you’re a-okay. But get on it, Molly. Before someone suggests you drink Boost.

Filed Under: Birthdays, Mommy Moments9 Comments

I really don’t know how to write this . . .

I really don’t know how to write this post. To be completely honest – I’m probably gonna muck this up and make some people feel worse. But I really really need to try to say this.

I haven’t written in over a week. It’s mostly because I’m busy. But there is another reason. I recently wrote a post called Our Table is Full. Now, I’m not the best writer on the internet (shocking, I know). But I had been trying for three months to put into words what it was like to go from two kids to three kids and I was happy when I pressed publish because I finally felt like I nailed it. And I had even spell-checked, which at this juncture in life is a huge accomplishment. At one point I had a journalism degree on the wall and an AP Style Manual on my bookshelf. They are probably in the basement with the boxes we haven’t unpacked when we moved three years ago. Ahem.

Anyway, I shared the post on my blog’s Facebook page. And it was shared by a few other people. And before I knew it – it had become one of my most popular posts I’ve ever written. It didn’t go viral or anything. But I was proud. I felt like I had written something that many people could relate to and appreciate. To a smaller blogger I will liken this to a dessert buffet. I’ll have one of each, thank you very much.

So I spent the day feeling pretty awesome as the hits to my blog kept rising.

Then in the wee hours of the morning I received an email from a reader of my blog. She started out by telling me that she has always liked my blog, rarely ever comments (who does anymore?), but my post had rubbed her the wrong way. She wondered how I could have the nerve to write such an insensitive post when so many women out there would LOVE to have even one child but can’t. She told me that she got the general gist of what I was trying to say but that I needed to be more sensitive to others who will never have a “full table.”

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Maybe I deserved that? Believe me, I have now read over that post at least 100 times because overanalyzing is my thing. I’m really good at spending inordinate amounts of time on things I can’t change.

I have been blogging for more than seven years. And in that time I have read hundreds of heartbreaking posts from my blog friends who have endured things I can’t even imagine. Infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths, the deaths of their sick children, the deaths of their healthy children, the deaths of their husbands, friends, mothers, fathers, siblings, pets. Loss of sanity, loss of jobs, loss of homes, loss of limbs (no really), loss of finances, loss of businesses, loss of marriages. I’m not kidding when I say that I have literally wept so many tears for these friends, most of whom I have never even met. My heart drops into my stomach every time I open my reader and realize I’m reading, again, about someone else’s suffering. Oh, this world makes me hurt sometimes.

Is my sadness enough to take away your pain? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But I want you to know that I internalize the pain of others. I think of those who are hurting often. There happen to be people in my life who are hurting right now. It pains me to know that I can’t solve their problems. Knowing if I had the answers for them and the power to change their circumstances, I would do it in an instant. I really would.

I’m not trying to be defensive about receiving an email from a reader that didn’t care for how I worded something. It has happened before and I’m sure it will happen again. But I’m kind of stuck as to an answer. If I wrote so as not to offend a single person – then I wouldn’t be able to write about much of anything, you know?

I can’t write about politics because, whooooo boy, no one can agree about anything when it comes to the U.S. government, amiright?

I can’t write about my parenting philosophies because if there is one thing that brings out the internet snark it’s parenting. (seriously, if I see one more post about what I am/am not supposed to do as a mother I’m going to throw something).

I can’t write about God because there are a million different faiths, man. And I might offend someone if I write the word Jesus.

And I can’t write about transitioning from a family of two to three because someone out there doesn’t have what I have. And they think I’m not grateful enough to deserve it.

Wait, what?

Look, I’ll admit to being a little nervous whenever I post a photo of my kids on instagram. I know that many of the women who follow me have had miscarriages and/or lost a baby in the last year. My heart absolutely aches for them.

But can my heart not ache for them and celebrate my joys at the same time without being insensitive? I still love those friends and care about their sorrows.

The truth is I’m happy, guys. Really really happy. It hasn’t always been like this. Please accept my apology if I lay it on kinda thick right now. My guess is that we will all suffer terrible losses in our lives. We don’t know how or when. But if I live long enough, which I hope I do, I’ll surely lose people I love. Hell, I already have. Twice. It’s just math. And it scares the crap out of me.

On my commute home yesterday there was a terrible three-car accident. I saw a silver minivan mashed up in the grass on the side of the highway and cops standing all around. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t put myself in their place and lose my breath over the fact that my happiness could be ripped away at any moment. It’s a sobering thought and one I have to try really hard not to have all the time. Hooray, anxiety!

I think I just keep writing this post now because I’m trying to end it on a positive note. And a car accident isn’t exactly positive so keep going, Molly. Wrap it up.

Anyway, if you’re out there and my post hurt you, I’m so sorry. All I’ve ever tried to do on this blog was spread that “hey, we’re all in this together even when it’s crappy” message.

I’ve shared my joys, my sorrows and even some of my deepest secrets with the internet world. Smart? Probably not. Therapeutic? Yes, yes, yes. I shared that my table may be full now but it wasn’t always that way. And for anyone out there who wants a full table but doesn’t have one – I hope so much for you that all your dreams come true someday soon. It hurts my heart that you may be out there alone and aching. I wish I could take it away or hold your hand while you cry.

The email definitely made me think about how I will post things in the future. But I hope you’ll also give me the freedom to keep posting my joys and my sorrows just as I would give you that freedom in your own space.

Filed Under: Blogging18 Comments

Our Table is Full

When we came home from the hospital with Sawyer my heart was so happy I felt like it could burst at any moment. I sat on the sofa, my newborn daughter nestled into my breast and I could have cried from the bliss of it all. I watched as my two strong, healthy sons wrestled with each other in front of me, sending fits of laughter into the air. I need only look down to see our new addition and how perfectly she fit into my arms and into our family. As sleep-deprived as I was – I couldn’t stop smiling. Life had just hit an all-time high for me.

Landon and Brigham were absolutely enamored with their tiny sister. They couldn’t get enough of her. I thought it was so sweet how they wanted to hold her, touch her, kiss her. My entire pregnancy I pictured them being big brothers to the mystery girl inside of me. I had a feeling they would be great at it but now I was seeing that come true right before my very eyes. It was magic.

Sawyer-35

But winter was relentless. After a month of being stuck inside with all three kids due to record-breaking low temperatures the magic wore off. Suddenly there was more bad behavior from the boys. More outbursts, more tantrums, more fighting (oh, Lord, the fighting), more disobeying. More broken toys, more backtalk, more crying, much much more whining.

Those constant kisses on Sawyer’s face that were so sweet in the beginning turned into me yelling at them to “GET BACK, YOU HAVE GERMS! SHE WILL GET SICK!”

I’ve never been much of a germaphobe. But after multiple rounds of colds and coughs and stomach flu tearing through our whole family this winter I became seriously worried that the baby would contract something horrible and end up hospitalized. And it would be all the boys’ fault, of course.

I could feel myself getting less patient, less forgiving. I raised my voice to them countless times. This accomplished nothing except for everyone crying, myself included.

At bed time I always try to cram in a day’s worth of hugs and kisses and love since there isn’t much of that going on in the hours before. I try but it doesn’t seem like enough. So I’m laying there on their beds literally trying to keep my eyes open by blinking hard. All I want to do is go to bed because I am so freaking tired. But there they are – these precious little souls – begging for me to stay, “Please, mommy, just sing me one more song.”

Guilt and sadness overwhelm me and I sing and pat their backs until their eyes become heavy and they seem satisfied. All the while I hear Sawyer crying, ready for her last nursing session before we put her down for the night.

I feel pulled – tugged at – every single moment of every day. If Sawyer doesn’t need something then someone else does. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of noise (heavens to betsy, the noise). It’s a lot of guilt to know that I can’t give 100% to any one person in my family. And Naaman, poor Naaman. Let’s not forget about my husband. I fell asleep looking at him the other night and my last thought was – when was the last time I kissed him – really kissed him – with passion?

This is not a surprise to me. When I was pregnant I assumed that this new beginning as a family of five would be difficult. But it’s different to know something and then really live it.

I want to give my family my best. I want my children to know that I adore them and would do ANYTHING for them. I don’t want to yell at my boys. I don’t want to shame them for mistakes they make. Brigham spills a lot of the drinks we give him and I always end up yelling at him when it happens. But the other day I spilled a bottle of water and laughed at myself. In that second I thought about how horribly unfair that is to my son. I felt sick to my stomach. It’s just a drink. We can clean it up. He can help me. I think to myself, why didn’t you make it a teachable moment, Molly? You’re better than this! We’re going to end up on Nanny 911, aren’t we? Or worse yet – the Dr. Phil show.

To top it all off, I started an amazing job and I want to make a good impression. I want to do the best job I can there. I want to make a difference and have a successful career. I also want to get my health and exercise plan back on track after suffering miserably at the end of my pregnancy. But nothing of the sort is happening. In other words – this is a scale that is currently way off balance. I want to make everyone happy. But I’m not sure anyone actually is at the moment.

I know what you’re probably thinking. Sawyer is only 10-weeks-old. There isn’t much of a routine yet although I think it is getting better. I desperately need to give myself a break. The negative self-talk is at threat-level ORANGE. It cannot be perfect. Nothing can EVER be perfect, least of all parenthood.

Marriage ebbs and flows. Sleep trumps sex in the baby stage (always). Naaman understands this. I apologized to him and he told me not to ever apologize for the lack of romantic action. He’s a God-send, that man.

My boys will be fine as long as I apologize to them after losing my shit. You should know that about me. I will always always apologize to my kids when I mess up. Which I will – a lot. Sorry (see, there I go apologizing again).

This having three kids thing – yes, it is hard. Some days have been really hard. But there has been so much good too. I look around at the mess and the laundry and the dirty diapers on top of the diaper genie – because who in the hell has the energy to empty the diaper genie in the middle of the night?

Adding a third child to your family

I scroll through the silly phone pictures taken on a whim in the moment and realize that is really what it’s all about. It’s not about the whole day, overall. It’s about the little moments in between the chaos. And sometimes it’s the chaos itself that makes me laugh. I’m so grateful through it all. I’ll always be grateful – even when I’m sobbing in the bathroom mopping up puke #5 that missed the toilet by mere inches.

I remember when we were trying to conceive our first baby, happily oblivious to just how difficult parenthood could be. One night I stood there staring at our empty dining room table, my head cocked to the side in wonderment. I stood there, hoping and praying that one day God would fill that table with children. I pictured Naaman and I with gray hair. I heard knocks at the door. I opened it to our grown children walking in from the cold, joining us for Thanksgiving. There were hugs and laughs and I took their coats and they told me about how their dreams were finally coming together after finishing college. A big meal was served around that table. I only dreamed of these things. I still do.

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that – about what I pictured that summer of 2007. That all I wanted was a table filled with love and laughter. And now it is. It’s full. These people – the ones that drive me bonkers some days – they are my people. My family. My life is happening right now. It is overwhelming in the best way. My children challenge me to be better. My boys don’t need or expect a perfect mom. I will always be pulled in different directions. It will never be exactly even or perfectly fair. But I will love them, oh, how I will love them, until there isn’t a breath left in my body. And when they smile and hug me so hard after a long day I will know that they love me too, despite all my shortcomings.

It’s crazy and messy and hard and unbalanced and loud and imperfect. But our table is full.

And I need to go kiss my husband.

With passion.

 

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Filed Under: Adventures in Parenting, Marriage, Mommy Moments, Sawyer11 Comments