What Being A Mother Gets You

Insert wry comment about stretch marks and a huge butt. Add in comical image of inedible, kid-made breakfast in bed followed by mom cleaning the trashed kitchen. Rim shot. Canned laughter.

Yes, the ragged, run-down mom image is hilarious and often true. But today I want to talk about the other real benefits mothers get. Because though motherhood gets rough sometimes, it has added so much to my life.

I’ve got my boys, my sweet Buddies. They are so fun to be around, and it’s a treat to watch them turn into people. They have great senses of humor, and they laugh at my jokes, which we all know is my favorite thing. It’s really hard to be grumpy for too long around them. They just create joy wherever they are. And I can’t adequately describe the calming feeling of their touch, the sweet little boy head tucked under my chin as they sit on my lap.

I was the definition of content watching my boys' first musical with them. They had to sit on my lap, and I got to hear all the murmurs of wonder they expressed.

I was the definition of content watching my boys’ first musical with them. They had to sit on my lap, and I got to hear all the murmurs of wonder.

I’ve gained inspiration as a mother because my boys inspire me. I watch them learn something new and not give up, and I’m reminded that you have to keep trying when something’s hard. When they overcome an obstacle, I am reminded that it only takes the will to do it to make things better. They inspire me to be a better teacher for all the other mothers’ babies. And they always inspire to be a better mother. For one, they forgive my frequent missteps. I look at them and know they deserve the best mom. I want to do right by them, and they let me try again and again.

Jack overcame stage fright and Alex has learned it's okay to make mistakes. Their t-ball team has been so great.

Jack overcame stage fright, and Alex has learned it’s okay to make mistakes. Their t-ball team has been so great.

Being a mother has also gotten me a tribe of women to count on and look to for advice. One of the hardest things after losing Carter was this feeling that I had been kicked out of the Mom Club. I looked at moms and their kids at the store and felt like a creepy stalker. I had no kids with me nor was I buying family things, so why the hell was I staring? But my friends who had kids knew that I was a mother and were good about making me feel welcome. And now the other mothers I know are an invaluable part of my life. They support my parenting and my personal needs. They offer a shoulder to cry on and reassurance that I’m not doing it all wrong.

Thanks friends for dinner and laughs.

Thanks friends for dinner and laughs.

And my mom friends send me pictures of beautiful Carter skies on Mother's Day.

And my mom friends send me pictures of beautiful Carter skies on Mother’s Day.

This Mother’s Day I just want to thank my sweet boys for bringing me all these gifts. I wish you’d have skipped the stretch marks, but I know they were given with love.

Seminar Stephanie Is Back

My first blogging conference was last October’s Aiming Low NonCon. It was super fun and changed my life and gave me new friends and was awesome. Before I left for that conference, I let my fellow attendees know what to expect with a post titled, “Things You Should Know Before You Meet Me.” It was educational and fun because I enjoy making things two, two, two things in one.

Now my second blogging conference, Blissdom, is nigh upon me, and I wanted my future new friends to be prepared. In addition to the traits I outlined in the post above, I wanted to tell you how I was spending this final non-work day before the conference. Hint: I am blogging instead of packing.

1. Wake up covered in sweat due to nightmare about not making it on time to any sessions at Blissdom. Not even the one I want to go to the most, Megan Jordans session called, “Uninterrupted Thought: Power of Focus.” (You’ll see why I need this session in just a minute.)

2. Log on to computer just to check for that one email I was waiting for.

3. Time passes. Hours.

4. Decide I need to get going and take a peek at my to-do list app. Oh! I need to buy a pretty pad of paper to make my Blissdom-specific to-do list. Time to get dressed!

5. Astonishingly complete three other errands before zoning out for 45 minutes in the office supply store.

6. Yell for missing kids in office supply store.

7. Find them, give stern, yet highly ignorable lecture on staying in sight at all times.

8. Nugget Store (what my kids call McDonald’s) because it’s 1pm, and I guess my kids need to eat.

9. Home for a nutritious lunch and right on that to-do list.

10. Oh! Facebook updates!

11. Crap. Hustle the kids off to quiet time, so I can get down to real business.

12. Turn on light in laundry room and turn around to shoo Alex back into his room.

13. Check Twitter.

14. Notice light in laundry room and get back to sorting and washing clothes.

15. See Target bag with T-ball uniform still inside untouched and remember I need to get that cleaned and ready for Saturday’s first game.

Hey, what's in that bag? It's been there 3 weeks, so now it's gonna be a surprise!

Hey, what’s in that bag? It’s been there 3 weeks, so now it’s gonna be a surprise!

16. I have a cute new notepad! I get to use it to write down the T-ball reminder.

17. Grab office supply bag off kitchen counter and disburse all items including cute notepad.

18. Hey, that’s where my business card holder is! Sweet. I should totally put that on my packing list.

19. Did anyone respond to my Facebook post about attire for Friday night’s party? God, when am I going to shop for that? Better put it on the to-do list.

20. I have a cute new notepad! Tear off plastic cover and throw away. Dude, why is the lunch trash still out? sigh I have to do everything.

21. What’s that noise? Oh! The washer! Filling up without soap!

22. Repeat Step 15.

23. Start to-do list, boys’ packing list for Nana’s house, and my packing list.

24. OhMyGod that was just the biggest waste of most of a day. That would be funny for the blog.

25. Open computer again bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb, sorry, there was a glob of something on the ‘b’ button. I think it was food…..

You know what? I should probably close up this computer. And maybe throw it out the window. Hey, if you see me at Blissdom, will you check to make sure I packed the T-Ball uniforms?

For Addye: Musical Marriage Advice

This weekend my friend A’Driane is getting married. When I heard the news, I was instantly happy for her even though I’ve never met her beloved, Bert. Okay, I’ve never met her in person either. But I know her. I adore her. I admire her. I respect her. A’Driane and Bert work at their relationship. They are meaningful in their actions toward each other. They take care of each other. I predict a lifetime of love and laughter. Even though I know these two crazy kids already know a lot about love and how to stay knee-deep in it, I still want to offer some wisdom on the topic. And in my experience, the best love advice comes from country music, specifically 80’s country.

Islands In The Stream-Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers

If you go by Pandora’s rotation, 80’s country begins and ends with this song. And who can argue?

“Baby when I met you there was peace unknown.

I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb.

I was soft inside; there was something going on.”

When you’ve found the right person, your soul is calm and you finely comb your hair? And your insides got something going on. Yep. That’s love baby.

When You Say Nothing At All-Keith Whitley

Not to get all mushy, but this song makes me think of my husband. Thank God he doesn’t read my blog, or he’d be embarrassed I told you that.

“The smile on your face let’s me know that you need me.

There’s a truth in your eyes saying you’ll never leave me.

A touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall.

Yeah, you say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Trust in what you know about your spouse and how they express their love. Also, never underestimate the power of The Look. No, not the sexy times one, the Dude, Seriously? one.

Forever And Ever, Amen-Randy Travis

Lots of love songs make promises, but this one seals it with an “Amen.” A promise that’s a prayer is what marriage means to me.

“Oh, baby! I’m gonna love you forever, forever and ever, Amen!

As long as old men sit n’ talk about the weather, as long as old women sit n’ talk about old men

If you wonder how long I’ll be faithful, I’ll be happy to tell you again.

I’m gonna love you forever and ever, forever and ever, Amen!”

Now that’s a promise! Forever and ever. The end. The only problem is I can’t hear this song without picturing Randy’s mug shot.


Meet In the Middle-Diamond Rio

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: marriage requires compromise. When I’m feeling like I’m at an impasse with Michael over something, I ask myself, “Do you want to spend time with him being angry or being happy?” And then I answer myself because I have lots of voices in my head.

“I’d start walking your way.
You’d start walking mine.
We’d meet in the middle
‘Neath that old Georgia pine.
We’d gain a lot of ground
‘Cause we’d both give a little.
And their ain’t no road too long
When you meet in the middle.”

If all else fails, take a long walk and get your priorities in line. Make sure you have your cell phone so you can call for a ride home when you realize you’ve crossed state lines.

Close Enough To Perfect-Alabama

Bert, this song’s for you. I mean, it’s for you to live up to. This is how you should treat my girl.

“She kisses me each morning,
And smiles her sleepy smile
And she don’t have to say it;
I can see it in her eyes.
Don’t you worry about my woman
Or what you think she ought to be,
‘Cause she’s close enough to perfect for me.

Well sometimes she gets down and starts to cry,
But then again a lady has a right.
She’s everything I ever wanted; she’s all I’ll ever need.
She’s close enough to perfect for me.”

Did you know Alabama released an album every year in the 80’s? I have no idea what that has to do with marriage, but I’m sure you can think of some way to apply it.

So, turn up the volume and dance a little Texas two-step my friends! Here’s to marriage and to A’Driane and Bert!