Raising two kids: It gets easier

Last weekend was full—in the best way.

On Friday night, a high schooler who lives across the street babysat the girls while Eric and I went to the opera. We dressed up, met up with friends, had a fancy schmancy drink and enjoyed the Portland Opera’s The Magic Flute. We hadn’t been to the opera—something I truly love—since last Valentine’s Day.

Portland Opera The Magic Flute - Ten Thousand Hour MamaOn Saturday we met up with a friend and his kids for a round of disc golf and swimming in the river at Milo McIver Park. Then we went to my brother’s house, where we played corn hole and let Peeper plant cucumber and lettuce seedlings. To round out the day, friends and their baby came to our house for dinner.

Parenting gets easier riverFinally, on Mother’s Day, we drove up Mt. Hood for a hike along the Salmon River.

Parenting gets easier family hikeOn the drive back home, I reflected on the packed and truly fulfilling weekend. It struck me that we never could have pulled off all those activities—some planned, some impromptu—just a few months ago.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to me: I see you

This is the final post in my Happy Mother’s Day to Me series—written by yours truly. I have been inspired, humbled and and motivated by the many mamas who have contributed their stories and messages to themselves. Check out all the posts in the series, and don’t forget to wish your mom a happy Mother’s Day!


Dear Me,

Happy Mother’s Day! You will be hearing this greeting from all corners—family, relatives, friends. But I wanted to tell you again. After all, I see every moment you spend with your kids—the good ones and the ones you wish you could take back. And I’m here to say, you are a good mother. 

I am that voice in your head. Not the one that whispers, “You are messing this up,” “Why can’t you get it together?” or “What’s wrong with you?” That voice if full of shit.

I may be quieter, but I am honest. I am true. I am the one you should listen to.

I am the cheerleader who is rooting for you especially on the days you think you just can’t for one more minute. I am the one giving you high fives for getting both kids out of the house before 9am, or for that killer read-aloud voice, or for simply making sure everyone is fed. I am the one telling you that you are enough. 

Happy Mother's Day stroller Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: What I Want for Mother’s Day

This guest post is by Janica Larson, an encouraging and supportive blogger studying to become an integrative life coach. She shares healthy lifestyle hacks at Simply Living with Janica. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


What do I want for Mother’s Day?

That is a question that my husband asks every single year, but I never know what to say. The things I want these days aren’t really fun gifts.

What I want for Mother's DayI need a haircut, my blender is getting really old, and there is a new line of workout gear I’ve been eyeing up, but haven’t pulled the $29 trigger. I guess what I really want is a vacation (then I need to find a sitter or plan a vaca around kids activities) and so then it really isn’t a vacation for me, but another task on my to-do list. Maybe someone to come in and clean the house would be awesome!?

Fun, right? I have a list of all of these things that I want, but they are just things. They aren’t really a show of real, deep appreciation of what I do as a mom or thoughtful and romantic gestures to show how much my family needs me. Isn’t that the point of Mother’s Day? Show Mom how much you care! (Also, when did Mother’s day become another “holiday” for buying stuff?)

I definitely don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I know he just grabbed that card at the gas station on his way home from work. And asking me, “What’s for dinner or did you want to go out?” isn’t my idea of thinking about what would be nice for me.

I don’t want a gift for Mother’s Day this year.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: Celebrating All of Me

This guest post by Ali Wilkinson, the hilarious and thoughtful mama behind Run Knit Love, is part of a series called Happy Mother’s Day to Me. (If you don’t already follow her blog or Facebook page, you’re missing out!) In this series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mothers they are—and like Ali, they are celebrating all they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

Celebrating all of meI’m about to tell you a terrible story about myself. I know that may seem contradictory, since this is supposed to be a celebration of motherhood, but bear with me.

On Sunday night, a duck flew onto our neighbor’s roof. It felt surreal, like an omen. I mean you see ducks fly, but have you ever seen one on a roof? We debated getting a ladder to help her down, but then she casually, awkwardly flew down to our yard and started waddling around, looking pointlessly for her crew or for a lake—neither of which were within a mile of our yard.

Our neighbors across the street have an almost-two-year-old. He was playing out front with his mom, and I ran over to invite them to see the strange sight.

We admired the duck for a while, and then followed from a distance as she hopped down onto the street and began to walk away, as if it were totally natural. Taking the duck’s cue, we went our separate ways.

As I walked back up the path to our yard, my head filled with thoughts of wise and lonely ducks, the top of my left foot came sharply up on the underside of a rock overhanging the path. The pain was bright and harsh, and my foot immediately began to swell and discolor.

It’s Tuesday now, two days later, and because of a few things—namely, my three children—I haven’t had time to get it X-rayed yet. But it still looks like I have another foot growing off of it, and an angry purple C snaking around my toe.

So all this is to say, my foot hurts. Especially when I put pressure on it.

Cut to this morning’s school drop-off. Because of the three kids thing, we have (cue ominous music) a minivan. Normally my two younger kids sit in the front row and my oldest is alone in the back in a booster seat, but we temporarily have another car seat in the back row, giving my oldest two a chance to sit together. However, due to this being a (cue music again) minivan, it involves a great deal of contortion and pressure on my foot in order to strap my daughter in back there.

My daughter asked if she could sit in that seat this morning, and I said, being all let’s foster independence, “I’d rather you didn’t, because it hurts my foot right now to strap you in back there.” When I came to the car to strap her in, she had chosen to sit in the back row anyway.

I smarted, I fumed, but I basically held it together, and worked through the pain to strap her in.

I then spent the entire drive to her school unsuccessfully trying to give my new insurance information to our doctor’s office so I could schedule an appointment to get my foot looked at. This was not super successful given that I was trying to give them my vision insurance. The day was starting off (forgive me) on the wrong foot.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: Loving myself more

This guest post comes from Selena Maestas, an integrative nutritionist who is super-serious about helping women accept, love and cherish themselves—as they are. Her Love YOU More Project is inspiring women across the internet to adopt radical self-love. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, Selena and a whole slew of mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!

Happy Mother's Day to Me: Loving Myself More - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Selena,

You are an amazing woman who has been through so much.  You don’t like to complain or whine about what has happened, because without it, you wouldn’t be YOU. You wouldn’t be who you are today. You wouldn’t have the insight and knowledge to help women the way you do.

But it still hurts.

And you cry. A lot.

As strong as you are, you are still soft.  You are full of emotion.

Tears are just your way.

Feeling is something you embrace.

You’ve learned that if you don’t feel it, it will eat you alive.

You used to hide those feelings.

You used to conform to what others expected of you and demanded of you. In fact, you lost yourself so deep, that you become physically ill.

But guess what?

What did that teach you?

It taught you to BE YOU. No matter what people think. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: My 100 year old birthday prize

This guest post is by Jenni Bost, expert party-thrower, generous extrovert and wonderful mama to two boys. She blogs about DIY entertaining projects and motherhood at A Well Crafted Party and organizes the blogging group Portland Bloggers—in addition to working outside the home. (Phew!) In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, Jenni and a whole slew of mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

mother's day family photo
Family Photos by Macey Snelson of www.momentsbymacey.com

Do you remember that feeling of never being big enough, fast enough, or strong enough? Living life through the eyes of my sons—with the knowledge that comes with getting older—is humbling to say the least.

My oldest son is four years old and very much enjoys growing older. While I wince with each creak of my aging body, I hear my son talk about his next birthday (not for many months yet) and all the joy that comes with that celebration. (He is totally my kid.) He often talks about “when I get to be 100 I’ll be faster than anyone” or “when I get to be 100 I’ll be a giant.” One hundred years is not old to him.

On a recent car ride and yet another discussion about his birthday he quieted in concentration and then quite seriously asked me, “Mom, do I get a prize when I get to 100?”

“A prize?” I asked.

“Yea, like a toy or a present or something?” he asked in explanation.

I laughed at the time and joked about telling him once I get there. However, the thought stayed with me for some time—especially as I had been mulling around about what I’d write about for this “Happy Mother’s Day to Me” series.

I work in the senior living field and know firsthand that living to 100 (or much older) is no longer the complete fantasy it might have been.

I also totally believe that a prize should happen if I hit 100 years old. The thought inspired my letter to my son for when I hit 100 years old.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: A look in the (rearview) mirror

This guest post is by Anna Godby, writer who also blogs about gardening with your family at Tiny Trowelers. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are—and the important lessons we sometimes learn when peeking into the rearview mirror. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

Snowflake after snowflake lands on the windshield. It’s impossible to see more than a few feet ahead of my parents’ Chevy Astro, ice covering everything in the darkness.  Yet somehow, I knew we would get home safely. After all, my dad was driving so I knew we would be fine and fell asleep.

Fast forward two decades, and I’m now the one clutching the wheel in terror as the snow refuses to let up and I have no idea where the lanes are. My heart is pounding as I envision a hundred ways for us to go off the road and wreck. Each time the radio cuts in with a weather and traffic update I clench my teeth in fear, especially for my two young children in the backseat.

I steal a glance in the rearview mirror to find them both sound asleep, snuggled in their car seats. Suddenly, a warm feeling of relief passes through me as I realize that my children put their blind faith in me just like I did with my own parents all those years ago. We made it home safe and sound.

Mother's Day driving home Read more