10 Things I’ve learned being a Mom of Boys

Silly faced boys

  1. They have one level of volume LOUD.
  2. They eat… constantly.
  3. They will find dirt where no dirt has ever been found.
  4. They wear cleats in the house.
  5. They run everywhere they go.
  6. They have an inhuman burst of energy around 7:30 p.m. and it’s best to let them get it out before attempting bedtime.
  7. They are surprisingly sensitive.
  8. They laugh at anything that involves “potty words.”
  9. They are incredibly curious, making everything an adventure.
  10. They love their mama.
    < I CANT STOP AT TEN! THERE ARE TOO MANY MORE. >
  11. They potty train successfully when allowed to hit a target (preferably outside… like on a tree or off the deck. Yep, I’m that mom)
  12. They will wake up on the weekend an hour before the sun comes up, but you will not be able to drag them out of bed for school.
  13. They have to be reminded multiple times a day to, lift the toilet seat, put the toilet seat down, flush the toilet, wash their hands…with soap, and to keep their pants on.
  14. They smell like wet puppies after playing outside. Whether it be for 5 minutes or 2 hours.
  15. They consider anytime a good time to get dirty.
  16. They don’t understand why I would ever want to have privacy.
  17. They give real hugs. Not the ones where you barely connect. The ones that squeeze all your breath out.
  18. They use any opportunity to be naked. The less clothes, the better.
  19. They take everything apart (including jewelry, lingerie drawers and large purses) in order to put it back together so they understand how it works (even if it doesn’t go back together.)
  20. They crave love, affection, encouragement, admiration and security as much as any of us girls do, they just don’t show it or need it expressed in the same way.
  21. They need the freedom to be boys.

Y’all, I grew up with sisters. We had curling irons and a different brush for every hairstyle, rollers and special conditioner. We had makeup and purses, dresses and patent leather mary janes (only to be worn on Sunday.)

I came into this journey of mothering boys with no prior knowledge of how often they were going to use the word poop and think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. I entered into this commitment of motherhood never realizing that I would be considered the one with odd body parts.

Bella was my only one for 8 years and I have to be honest, nothing could have prepared My Bellame for the reality that is raising two boys to be productive members of society.

It is incredibly challenging, always an adventure, hours of laughter, many conversations that I don’t know the answers to, lot’s of prayer, goodnight kisses on the forehead, holding little hands while walking down the stairs, several, “I’m sorry for yellingconfessions, stock in Costco sized clorox wipes, a much larger grocery budget and a constant sense of wonder.Dahlias as big asIt now makes perfect sense to me why Chris has 2 first aid kits in our house and 1 in each car. I didn’t understand it at first, now I am so grateful for his prior knowledge of skinned knees, bumped heads and random cuts laden with dirt. I’m thankful for his preparedness for the unexpected.


I’m okay saying, “Go ask your dad.” when the boys come to me with questions about body parts I don’t have. Father and Sons

I’m okay letting them know that I don’t have all the answers.

As long as they know they are loved.
As long as they know they are enough.
As long as they know their Creator.

The days when they pull their hand from mine when walking down the sidewalk because they need to run, will be okay.

The afternoons they come in from soccer practice, cleats packed with mud and track it on my hardwood floor, will be worth it. (That’s what the vacuum is for… and swiffer… and mops.)

When I’m doing my daily round of toilet cleaning, I thank God for these little men that He is trusting me to raise.

Pure JoyI love being a mom to boys.

It’s never a dull moment. (Which is great! I bore easily.)
It’s always an adventure. (Who wants to sit around not living life anyway?)
It’s incredibly challenging. (I. Love. A. Challenge.)
It’s simple. (Have snacks EVERYWHERE you go.)
It’s immeasurably rewarding.

Okay moms of boys, sisters of brothers, wives who had no prior exposure to behind the scenes with boys, what did I leave out?

To my Beautiful Children

My Loves

It’s no secret that I have wrestled demons in the past. One of them being body image. As I read posts on social media raising awareness this week about eating disorders (ED), I cannot help but be grateful. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in the depths of my illness. In an effort to help others and avoid ever going back to that place, I cannot forget what that desperation and skewed sense of self felt like.

My body put up with 12 long years of abuse. Starvation, binging, purging, excessive use of diuretics, substances…many things that would cause bewilderment one day when looking back.

My relationship with food is still not one to be envied. It’s rather dysfunctional and requires much work on a daily basis. As with everything in my life, it’s about progress, not perfection. Someone once told me, “Even if everyday you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still one step further than you would be.”

If you remember nothing else from these writings, please remember this, “Let go of perfection. It will ruin you.”

I bring you into this conversation to acknowledge the times when I will say silly things like,
“I wish my thighs still fit in those jeans.”
Or,
“I remember when my stomach was flat and toned…before babies”
Or,
“I don’t even tan the same after having children.”
And any number of other things that are disrespectful to this body that has housed me for over 30 years.

It’s true that I am a mere version of my former self. It’s true that my thighs are thicker, my belly softer, my arms looser, my backside…well, let’s just say, things don’t sit where they used to. It’s also true that pregnancy, nursing, lack of sleep, unnecessary worry, baby carriers, and bending over cribs as slowly as possibly in an effort not to wake you after finally rocking you to sleep, had something to do with it. Those are the beautiful reasons for my transformation. The not so beautiful and less mentioned reasons are the results of my lack of discipline in the areas of exercise, eating junk food, staying up too late, not enough water, and various other things.

My Darlings, when I look at you I know that you are my greatest investment.

When I stand naked and vulnerable in front of the mirror, surveying my body, familiarizing myself with the curves, lines and dimples that have claimed permanent residence on my frame, I run my finger along my cesarean scar reminding myself that just beneath the surface of this scar is a womb that cradled you until my arms would. Just below that layer is a vessel for life. How could I ever regret that?! When I turn sideways and see the pooch that has become a constant companion, I stand up a little straighter and remember how far my belly skin stretched as you grew into a living, breathing, human being. When shopping for the “perfect” fitting bra that eludes me, I am reminded that these breasts sustained three lives! How can I be upset by the inconvenience that I feel they sometimes cause me?

Depending on when you’re reading this, that last paragraph might make you cringe. I get it! I almost didn’t type it! But I’m not going to be a host for shame anymore. I’m not going to sit quietly while other women feel isolated in their thinking. I’m not going to allow anyone to tell me that I’m not okay the way I am.

The truth is my loves, I am more than okay. I’m fantastic. I’m better than I have ever been. This beautiful body has done more good than I ever would have given it credit for. After years of mistreatment by its tenant, it has been very forgiving.

If there was only one thing that I could tell you about body image it would be this, “When looking, thinking about and caring for your physique, remember to be grateful for its functions. There will always be something you wish you could change. Always. Why not focus on the miracle that is life? I think you will discover that you have everything you need to be an exceptional version of yourself.

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Finally, Pictures Of Gorgeous Women That Make You Feel Better About Yourself Instead Of Worse

Video

Grab your sister, daughter, mother, aunt, grandmother, BFF and watch this wonderful, refreshing message.

Five Minute Friday: Brave

This week’s word is one that I’ve used more in recent days than ever before. With myself…my daughter…my sons…it seems to be at the forefront of my mind. “Be brave. You can do this!” “Great job! You are so brave!” Sound familiar, Mamas?

I saw a perfect example of bravery from 2-year-old, Sophia today. It made me wish I was as brave and trusting of my Heavenly Father as she is of her earthly father. Her whole face smiled as she soared into the air without a single doubt that he would catch her. There was no fear in her eyes. She never took them off her daddy.

runningrunning to daddydaddy's armslift offin the airflyingthe catchback in daddy's armsHappy HeartTrue bravery, I believe, is running into the Father’s arms, ready for an adventure, knowing full well that as long as he is in control, there is nothing to fear. He always makes the catch.

No more pain

She went to be with Jesus and her earthly father, my grandpa Ed at 9:46. It was peaceful and I was with her.

This was the text I received from my friend whose mother has been battling an aggressive form of cancer that just recently spread to her brain.

A few short months ago I had the incredibly privilege of capturing four generations of women through the lens of my camera. I was honored when Erin asked me to come to her family home and record precious moments with her mother, daughter and grandmother. What a gift.

I would love to honor Krista by sharing a few photos of her with her favorite girls.

Thank you Erin for introducing me to your amazing mama who, in spite of the disease ravaging her body, never lost sight of the bigger picture.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

 

 

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; …And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. …These words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.~Revelation 21

When the silence is deafening

I pull into the garage slowly, being careful not to knock the side mirrors off. Though I have done this multiple times a day for six years I still have a tendency to nick the mirrors. I push the button to close the door behind me as quickly as possible. The boys have their headphones on and are watching the ninja movie for the umpteenth time. I look at the empty passenger seat beside me and it sets in. She’s gone…again.

As much as I love the fall season, I also dread what it means. Summer comes and goes, taking with it the bulk of my time with Bella. Chaos ensues with schedules, school and the many other demands that follow everyday life. As I sit in the car, staring through the windshield at the door leading into the house, I say in a whisper, “I don’t want to go inside and face the silence.” I don’t want to walk into her room to gather towels and sheets to wash knowing that her presence is no longer there. The silence is deafening.

Realizing that the tears are inevitable, I get the boys settled and head up to my room. Sitting down on the floor and looking up through the window at the blue sky, my prayer is one of hesitancy as I open my fists, in faith, relinquishing control.

“Lord, here we are again. In this place where words do not give adequate meaning to the void. How long will the sadness last this time? Will it be weeks or months? Will it be bearable? Will I be able to perform the daily tasks required of me? Father, I’m tired. I don’t want to go back out into the world. I want to stay here, on this floor. Allowing the carpet beneath me, the ceiling above me and the walls around me to act as tangible support, compensating for my lack of faith. I wish to withdraw from everyone and everything. You have already seen the week ahead. Father, I don’t even know how I am going to do everything I need to do in the time allotted and to add a heavy heart on top of it… It’s too hard.”

This verse came to mind.
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
…That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.”
Isaiah 43:1-4 (The Message)

So for today, in this moment, I will close Bella’s bedroom door and tend to the many other household responsibilities. I will be grateful and smile when I think of the conversations and time together we’ve had over the last few weeks. I will thank God for the ache, knowing that it makes the reunion all the more sweet.

I will meet tomorrow’s demands, tomorrow. Embodying the truth, today, that God always shows up on time and gives me the strength I need, when I need it.

Maybe you need to read this verse everyday too. Here is your downloadable copy You are mine

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