Monday, May 6, 2013

By: Michelle

This last and final post is by my friend, Michelle Pearson. She has a really great blog that is honest and real and gives tips and tricks on motherhood - particularly being a NEW mom as well as being a mom with multiple children. If you're not already following her youtube channel, you need to fix that ASAP! Her children are adorable, to boot.

Read on, friends. And bid adieu to Motherhood Month. Thanks to all the wonderful mothers who contributed this month. You all are amazing.

ps - We had a special going on during the month of April - Kids eat for $1 on Tuesdays. It's been so popular that we're going to keep it around for the summer! Hooray! Spread the word, y'all. 

What Motherhood Means To Me:

Before I became a mother 2.5 years ago I thought I knew what life was all about. I
had travelled the world, finished college, and served on a mission in Ukraine.
I thought I knew what love, sacrifice, and hard work meant.
Little did I know that my understanding of life would drastically change once my
first son came into my life.

When I first became pregnant it was the strangest feeling. I already knew I was
pregnant before any test or symptom could tell me so. I instantly knew that there
was life inside of me and I felt happy to know that I had a little spirit waiting to come
into this world.

My first pregnancy was not easy. I gained over 60 lbs. and felt miserable, hot, and
achey most of the time. No matter how I looked or how I felt I always knew that
what I was doing was worth it. When my first son Will came into my life I knew
I would never be the same. I was filled with love the moment I saw him.It was so
humbling to know that he needed me for literally everything. I loved those countless
nights when it was just the two of us and our rocking chair. I would sit there and
try to remember every detail. I wanted to remember how he smelled, the sounds he
made, and how happy I felt holding him in my arms.

I absolutely loved watching him learn to sit up, roll over, and walk around our
apartment. He was not the greatest sleeper, always wanted to nurse, and hated
the bottle. This made it hard to have babysitters and others take care of him. I did
however secretly love that he needed me so much J I loved watching the way his
big brown eyes lit up whenever I walked in the room. He made me feel like I was the
most important person in the world. . It was so fun to watch his personality develop
and see that he was stubborn just like his mommy. J

When Will was almost 2 years old my second son Max was born. Just when I thought
I knew what motherhood was about Max taught me even more. His bright red hair
shocked us all and made me smile every time I looked at him. I never knew I could
love someone so much.
His calm demeanor and easygoing personality brings such a special feeling and
spirit into our home. I look at him every day and wonder how I went 28 long years
without him in my life.

Now as I watch my two boys grow up I realize what motherhood is all about. It’s
about love, forgiveness, patience, service and sacrifice. We love those that we serve
and our children are no exception.
Motherhood is why we are put here on this earth. I truly feel it is the most important
job or calling any woman could receive. Motherhood is hard and will push you out of
your comfort zone. There will be times when you have no idea what you are doing
and you will wonder how Heavenly Father entrusted these little spirits to you. There
is however no other role on this earth that can give you so much joy and teach you
so much about Heavenly Father’s love for His children.

I still don’t know everything about being a mother but I look forward to the future
when I can have more children. I know that motherhood is a never-ending learning
process and it is preparing and shaping me into the person Heavenly Father wants
me to be. J

-Michelle Pearson

By: Lindsay Jones

The next post is by my friend Lindsay. We've known each other since Junior High! I love long friendships like ours. She's got the most adorable little darling, Kennedy. 

Read on for her love of motherhood.

Being a mom means everything. 

It means giving up many dreams because all your dreams already came true. It means sleeping half way off the bed, s

o a sick child can sleep comfortably. Being a mom means bodily fluids you never knew existed. It means seeing glimpses of Heaven everyday. Being a mom means "playing dolls" in REAL life, everyday. It means having weekend plans for the rest of your life. Being a mom means humility. It means thinking about food choices you never thought twice about before. It means planning for the future, forgetting the past and savoring the present. Being a mom means trying to model everything you want your child to be. It means putting band aids on fake "boo-boos" and cleaning off toothpaste on foreheads. It means strengthening your faith by following the lead of a steadfast and unfaltering two year old. Being a mom means laughing at every little thing your child does. It means tripping on toys and playing make believe. Being a mom means sleeping in is waking up at 7:00. Being a mom means a new motivation. Being a mom grows your respect for your parents. Being a mom is joy. It is really hard,

But being a mom is everything.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

By: Mari

Today, my friend Mari is sharing how she feels about motherhood. I've known Mari since my very first fall semester in college. I'll never forget a conversation we had we went out to dinner one night about our dreams of finding real success and totally believing that each other would find it.  She's the creator of Autumn Dame, a darling etsy shop with handmade goodness. This girl has amazing, effortless taste (always has)! Read on to see her darling newborn William.
What Motherhood Means to me...
My name is Mari Spiker. 
I am 27 yrs old.
I am married to a handsome, hardworking, and loving man.
We have been married for 6.5yrs & live in the beautiful Newport Beach, CA.
I enjoy spending time with our two families above all else.
I have a deep love for the autumn season.
I am spoiled with the most beautiful and wonderful friends in the world.
I love to indulge in terrible fashion television, Haagen Daaz milk shakes, and shopping.

20 days ago I became a mother.

Instantly my life has been transformed into a richer, fuller, and happier existence. How I viewed myself changed. How I viewed the world changed. Everything changed.

This child had lived in my dreams my entire life. The idea of becoming a mother seemed surreal. I have the greatest example of motherhood in my own mother. She has made being a mother seem like such an honor. Being her child I always felt loved, supported, and encouraged. Life with her was full of magic and she had a way of making the hardest times seem wonderful.

As a girl you "know" you will be a mother, but you can't imagine seems so far off in the future. As a young married woman at 21, my focus was to support my spouse through law school and then we could start our family. As with almost everything else in life, nothing goes to plan. Our story of infertility is not uncommon. Sadly, many face this trial. We struggled for over 3yrs and it felt hopeless. During this time, I felt as if my heart had broken. That "off in the future" feeling I had as a girl had turned into a desperate, suffocating reality that I may never experience the thing I desired most. So, as you can imagine the emotional roller coaster coming to an end the day we found out we were finally expecting. Those 9months were full of ups & downs, but man how they flew. My excitement and anticipation only grew.

On April 1, 2013 my dreams came true and I met the other love of my life.
Our son, William.

The moment I held him in my arms I felt as if my heart might burst. I had been so excited & thought about holding him for so long--but I had no idea how this boy would make me feel the moment I met him. My sweet angel. My little miracle. I thank the Lord every single day for this blessing.

My experience with motherhood, tho very brief, has meant more than just joy. More than just sacrifice, sleep deprivation, or an entire life transformation. Motherhood means everything to me. This child has made my heart whole again.

I look forward to this new life of mine. I have never been happier or felt more complete. The adventure & the dream have begun! I hope I can give him a life like mine--full of wonder, magic, and love. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

By: Elle (of Solly Baby Wraps)

Today, my friend, Elle Rowley has contributed to Motherhood Month. She's the genius behind Solly Baby Wraps. I could talk for hours about how amazing this wrap is and how it's so far above any other infant carrier on the market. Elle and her product have been featured in so many places [check out the many places here]. Not only is Elle a driven business woman, she's also an effortlessly beautiful and savvy mama that eloquently and honestly writes about her life as a "Mamaprenuer" (love that phrase, Elle). Blog found here.

Lucy and I were lying there together on the intricate quilt Jared’s great aunt made, the kind I will never be able to make, crying like babies. I guess it’s important to note that she was a baby, a three-month-old with colic to be exact, and I was a 25 year-old woman who was supposed to be her mother.

Only I didn’t know how to be.

Which explains the crying. (Hers and mine.)

I finally got on my knees and whispered a prayer for help. The kind of prayer you don’t forget, the kind you feel like your whole life depends on. I pled that I could be the kind of mom that little girl needed instead of the weak, tired, frustrated, ball of tears that I was. I prayed for strength and for patience and understanding. Then I offered up everything. I said I would do and be whatever God wanted me to be if He would help me do this right. This was one thing I just couldn’t screw up.

I wasn’t transformed into Mrs. Brady, but I felt peace and warmth, and the feeling that it was going to be okay. More importantly, I felt that I was enough and that, even with all of my imperfections, I was supposed to be Lucy’s mom. That confirmation carried me through many moments of feeling inadequate and unequipped as I watched other new moms take on the role effortlessly and led to me becoming a much better, happier mother.         

I used to be ashamed of that memory, but now I feel proud. In a weird way, that is what motherhood is to me. Not the fetal-position-crying-with-your-baby part, but the striving to be better part. To me, motherhood is about learning to love more, being humble and honest enough to admit when we need help, with the added bonus of finding that we unearth our best selves as we kindle these new spirits and teach them . 

It's really such an astoundingly beautiful process that sometimes gets clouded in the day-to-day grind of nursing and dirty diapers and all of the seemingly mundane tasks that motherhood brings. So the next time you feel overwhelmed by your fussy baby or changing your spit-up covered shirt for the third time in a row begins to feel burdensome, think for a minute about who all of those "mundane" tasks are helping you to become. It will probably make you hold that baby a little closer and, who knows, it may even make that stinky diaper smell a little sweeter less stinky. :) 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By: Heather

This next post is from my awesome sister, Heather. She's owned a super successful photography company that now is based in Philadelphia. She's got the most ADORABLE little red headed baby with the best little personality. I love that my Scout and her Madeline get to grow up so close in age!

Here's Heather's take on Motherhood:

What Motherhood Means to Me

My sweet Madeline came into the world November 29, 2011. She was 6 weeks early and it was a bit scary for us... praying and hoping our sweet girl would be healthy and okay. Our prayers were answered as Madeline breathed completely on her own and was a beautiful, 4 lb, 13 oz baby. We were in the NICU for 14 days but it felt like 14 years. She was only in there because she needed to learn to eat better on her own. My husband and I felt so incredibly blessed that we had a healthy baby girl. 

It wasn’t easy having our baby girl in the NICU. We wanted so badly to hold her and cuddle her all the time. It made me sad each time we went in and seeing her lying there with wires all over her little body. However, I felt so much peace and comfort knowing Madeline was in SUCH wonderful hands. I couldn’t have asked for more loving, caring NICU nurses. Again, Nick and I felt so blessed that even though we couldn’t take her home, she was safe and being well taken care of. 
I wanted to share a few thoughts from my journal during that time: 

“Some of the most spiritual experiences in my life have taken place in the labor and delivery room and the NICU. Each tender moment I have with that little one ~ I try to bottle up and remember forever. Even though I am sitting in a loud, florescent lit, machine filled NICU... I am behind a curtain with my sweet little baby girl, and everything else disappears. It's just me and her. I cherish these moments I have alone with her, just holding her close and kissing her. I love to nestle her very close to my chest... skin to skin. I sit in the glider and rock her back and forth, back and forth. Today I hummed a few lullabies and "I am a child of God" to her. She was listening. My eyes filled with tears the thought of her coming fresh from Heaven and into my arms. I felt the deep, deep love our Heavenly Father has for her. What a precious sprit she holds. She's so innocent and so pure.” 

“Today has been extra hard for some reason. I hate the thought of leaving her at the hospital. 
It makes me sad that she doesn't get a whole lot of "human touch" because she can't be over stimulated. 
I often wonder... " Is it my fault she came early?" 
I MISS her so much. Our home feels empty with out her. 
So much emotion. 

However, I know she's in great hands. I know she needs this special time to grow and get stronger. 
I know she'll be home soon. and I know she's supposed to be here at this time. 
She is a miracle.” 
And she did eventually come home. I remember sitting in the back seat with her on her first car ride home and just watching her breathe in and out. I couldn’t believe she was all mine and that we were actually taking her home! 

Madeline has added so much joy and light to our home. How on earth did we ever live without her? 

Motherhood is no easy thing. In fact, it’s difficult. It’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do... but you know what? It’s also the most rewarding. I believe there is no greater thing on this planet that is more important than raising children, nurturing and loving them. Children are so innocent and so pure. 
Madeline is now almost a year in a half. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone since the day she came into this world. She brings us more joy than I ever thought imaginable. I don’t think I truly understood what love meant until I had Madeline. I am her mother and I have a great responsibility to rear her and teach her! She already has taught ME so much. She is constantly wanting to learn and she is so curious about the world around her. It is so fun watching her grow and seeing her love for life. She reminds me to stop and enjoy the little things in life... whether it be smelling the tulips in the nearby park or stopping to listen to the trees leaves rustling in the wind. She has reminded me to see life through a child’s eyes: so curious and so eager to learn.  I’m 29 years old and she has reminded me to just enjoy the little things in life. What a blessing! 
There is nothing more important to me in this life than fulfilling my role as a mother. There is nothing more important to me than God and my family. It’s such a blessing that God has trusted me enough to send sweet Madeline to be under my care. I am her mother, and I don’t take that calling lightly. I really try to soak up each day I have with her because each day truly is a gift. I continue to pray that I can be a loving & devoted mother to her because she deserves nothing less. 

This poem describes exactly how I feel: 

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep..

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.!
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

~ Author Unknown 

By: Kim

This entry is written by my adorable friend Kim. I've known her and her family since I was just a few years in to my college life. I love her perspective and I love that yummy little boy of hers!

Whenever I would imagine what type of mom I wanted to be, I would always agree that I wanted to be just like my mom! The end.

It hasn't been that easy. You see, I'm like my mom in some aspects and not like her in a lot of other ways. I can never be a mom exactly like her but I can strive to have the same ideas and do the best that I can and use her as my role model. 

Thinking a little deeper here, I think that being a mom is the most amazing, challenging, gratifying thing that a woman could ever do.

One thing that I have to work on every day is patience. Sometimes, after taking care of Zac, working, cooking, cleaning, and having hardly any sleep, it is hard to be patient but you have to be that strong and loving mom that you were made to be!

Motherhood doesn't start when that baby is put into your arms for the first time. I think that it starts the moment you decide to have a baby, or the moment you find out that you are going to have one. That moment, you have just given everything to that little human. In a blink of an eye, your heart belongs to them, your body is now there's, you feel sick and tired and you sacrifice a lot far before you even meet them. I think that it helps appreciate those little munchkins, more than you can imagine, before they even get here.

I think that being a mother means unconditional love and sacrifice. The first time that I saw Zac and they put him in my arms, we stared into each other’s eyes and I knew that I had waited my entire life for that moment. We were instantly best friends and I would do anything for him. I felt like the nurses were going to have to pry him from my arms!

Soon after, you realize that you will never have a real good night sleep for a very very very long time, or ever again. Your body would never be the same. You would get less showers, get ready for the day less, exercise less, go out on dates less, and go anywhere less. You give everything 110% to your family and still find more in you to give and are happy to do it.

Motherhood is something that you have to work on every day. I felt like I put on the right prescription of glasses after having been blind. The world is brighter with children and it is up to you to keep them safe and raise them to be the best people that they can be. How great and completely scary is that?!  I can't think of anything else I'd rather do! 

Being a mother is so gratifying! When I walk into Zac’s room and he gets the biggest grin on his face, all of my other problems go away. When he snuggles up to me and hugs me with all of his strength, I know that this is what I was meant to do. When we play and giggle together, I thank God every day that he would entrust this little angel to me to take care of. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

By: Clydie, my mother-in-law

This next entry is by my wonderful Mother-in-law. She's the definition of selflessness and goodness. I'm so lucky to have the BEST mother-in-law on the planet

Being a Mom

It took me forever to become a mom. So many hills and valleys.  Instead of morning sickness (but just as miserable), I waited and watched for an adoption to come through. Then the blessed day came when I held my first son, two days old (I was 35). He stared at me so intently that I wondered if he recognized me.  Instantly and effortlessly we bonded. It was so natural, that I’ve been dumbfounded when people expressed admiration for my “learning to love” my adopted children. (As if I had to practice or develop that love)! We adopted a second boy nearly five years later. Another soul-thrilling miracle.

Mothering is exhausting, startling and incredibly soul-satisfying.

·        Lack of sleep
·        No real down time (sure, breaks here and there, but the role is permanent)
·        Worry (about their safety, their health,  their choices, their growth)
·        Realization that motherhood is not that simple and  that you haven’t been as perfect as you had hoped/imagined.
·        Vocabulary growth (stunned by some of the multi-syllables that come out of their toddler mouths)
·        Unexpected talents (like fearlessly retrieving stinky debris from a swamp, when other boys and men would not, building an “automatic bed curtain,” paddling a canoe and singing on stage)
·        Questionable experiments such as building explosives, operating a restaurant (out of our home)
·        Seeing your kids “make-it” in the adult world—managing heavy responsibilities
·        Receiving counsel and comfort from your kids, who are also your most significant friends
·        Watching your children become parents (which makes you a grandma even when you don’t feel old)
·        Being a grandma!!!
·        Just being with them
·        Finally understanding your own parents a little better…and maybe even God (a teeny bit).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

By: Erin

Erin is a dear friend of mine who I met a few years ago. She really is one of the best people I've met. She has such a pure heart, is extremely witty, beautiful inside and out, and has GREAT taste. Her struggle to be a mother is something that's always touched my heart. Here's her take on what being a mother means to her:

When Ashley first asked me if I would write a post about motherhood, my first thought was, “Oh my gosh! I’m in that club now!” And my second thought was, “Oh, they’ll be terribly bored.”

Because you have probably heard a lot of stories that, at least from the outside, are exactly like mine. We wanted to have a baby, we had a year of “seeing what happens,” followed by two years of “well, I guess we’re going to have to REALLY try for this,” and now we are having a baby. I’m due in September and life is so good. We learned a lot of lessons along the way and had a lot of introspective moments, and blah blah blah. Woo!

But we all know that the inside of a story is much more than just that. So hopefully by sharing something I’ve learned I can shed some new light on a familiar tale.

To me, one of the vital aspects of motherhood is being wise and having perspective on life that you can pass along to your children. And struggling for so long to BECOME a mom has given me some of that.

Here’s the thing about wanting something and not getting it—suddenly, it seems like everyone around you has what you want. It seemed like every single time I got on the internet someone was announcing their pregnancy on Facebook or a blog post. I don’t know how many times I sat at my computer and cried because it felt like everyone else was getting handed to them what I was working so hard to make happen.

I found myself feeling jealous and only focusing on what was NOT happening. But slowly something changed in me. Instead of feeling jealous for what I DIDN’T have, I learned to be grateful for what I DID. Here I was, getting to sleep 8, 9, heck, 10 if I wanted, hours every single night! And no one has pooped on me, I don’t think ever. My boobs aren’t sore, I can exercise. I can go on dates with my husband and it’s not a whole big production. Life was pretty amazing and I wasn’t even acting like it!

I realized that I would play the whole compare my life to hers game with nearly everyone around me. But then I started thinking, “If I’m doing this, maybe someone else is too. And maybe they are finding something about MY life to envy.” Because that’s the thing. You can always find something to envy about someone else’s life, and vice versa. So why don’t we all just try being jealous of OURSELVES?

I started trying to really embrace my childless life, and savor those moments that might be impossible when a baby arrives. Going to the store and wandering around aimlessly, trying on all the things. Sleeping in. So much sleeping in! And rather than be frustrated that my body wasn’t doing the thing I wanted it to, I would be so proud of it for all the other things it could do. I ran races and hiked and always tried to be so grateful that my body could do those things. Many times when my husband and I would jump in the car to go to a movie or out to dinner, or even to Costco I would think about how nice and convenient it was to just be the two of us. And we tried to always talk about how fun our life was too. I remember once we were talking and I realized that friends of ours that got married the same time
we did had just had their third child. I mentioned that to Chris, and he laughed and said, “Suckers!”

Now, obviously I was not always this way, and there were hard times. (I’m secretly kind of terrified that one of my peeps will read this and be like, “YEAH RIGHT. She cried on my shoulder over this!”) But I

really believe that having to wait for this baby taught me the most valuable lesson about jealousy and gratitude that I ever could have learned.

And I hope so badly that I can remember this time for the rest of my life. And someday when my daughter (daughter! It’s a girl! I wanted a girl so badly and here we are!) is having problems feeling jealous of other people, I can remind her of all the wonderful things about her own life to be grateful for. And most beautiful of all, I can tell her the story of waiting for her.

A year ago I was actually kind of thankful to NOT be pregnant. We had a summer full of travel, and lots of fun activities to do. And taking a break from trying was so liberating. Not having to track ovulation or worry about the calendar feels so good.

But right now, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. For years and years I have wanted my oldest child to be a girl, and she will be! My greatest hope is that I can keep up the momentum I’ve started with this whole being grateful thing, because it makes life so much better. And I am so excited to begin creating a wonderful, grateful life as a new family of three.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

By: My Mom.

This entry is written by the woman who taught me how to be a mom and how to be a girl: my mom. My little sister and I have decided our mom is the definition of a Southern Belle, and we learned a lot from that very distinctive title. Any aspect of us that is social, creative, or hosting came from watching our mom as we grew up. She's a good woman, and anyone who's lucky to spend time with her leaves happier and felt more loved.

My daughter Ashley asked me to write a blog post on “What it means to me to be
a mother” I was thrilled to do so. As I started to think about what it means to me I
instantly thought about my two new granddaughters and the JOY they have
brought in mine and my families life. They are precious and are such angles and
it has brought being a “mother” a whole new meaning to me. I am now not only a
mother but I am a GrandMOTHER too!

As I have sat back and watched my daughters move into motherhood
themselves it has been so humbling to me to watch my daughters care, nurture
and love their babies. They both are so patient with their babies and are selfless
as they lose sleep and are exhausted and try and do all of the necessities
needed to take care of thier whole house holds. They are able to juggle and
hustle as they feed, rock, change diapers, giving baths, playing, cooking,
cleaning, working, and most of all loving their babes while doing so. It makes me
as a mother so very proud and honored that I have such lovely daughters as
mothers. I have thought deeply about when I was a young mother and how
exhausted I was and how many times I felt like a failure. Being a mother is not an
easy task especially if you are doing it right. Many times I hoped that my children
would have the self esteem and stamina to be able to conquer the world that
would eventually take them on. All of the sacrifice and selfless actions from a
mother is what gives that self esteem that is so needed. Only a mother can
provide that. So with all of the years of worrying, praying and sacrifice my heart is
content as I have sat back and watched my beautiful daughters take care of their
children the way they do. They are wonderful mothers and it just has made me
so very happy knowing that my grandbabies will grow up in the gospel and feel
the love that ALL children should feel in their young lives. It has made me feel “ a
job well done” by me as a mother myself.

To me motherhood is all about LOVE and SACRIFICE. Without those two things
motherhood could be a failure. The world thinks differently but if you are a mother
YOU KNOW that we must live in the world and not of it. SACRIFICE is the key.
Giving of yourself is a must! It is a constant giving!!

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have
your heart go walking around outside your body”. - Elizabeth Stone

Motherhood encompasses every area of a woman’s life. It changes the way you
think about yourself, your family, your friends, and the world at large. It changes
the way you look at life, the way you reflect, and the way you act and react. It
teaches you to examine things you never gave a second thought to before
delivery, and to question the things you always thought were right and true.

Motherhood is a beautiful ride, a wildride, and the most incredible journey you
will ever take, beginning the day the “plus sign” appears in the window and
ending, well, never.

That Is what motherhood means to me and now that I am a grandmother it has
become even deeper. I want the exact same things for my grand children that I
did for my own children. The worry and the sacrifice starts all over again! The
cool thing is I can love spoil and care for them then give them right back! I get to
watch from a far. It is JOY JOY JOY! Motherhood is JOY!!! Grandmotherhood is

By: [Gracefully] Kensie

This next entry is from a friend of mine who also lives in Provo. She recently sang at one of our music nights at The Awful Waffle and killed it! Aside from her beautiful singing voice Kensie has recently started a blog. [see the end of her entry for her blog description]

Since the prompt for this post is about what it means to be a mom, it’s only fitting that I
received my inspiration from my own mother. She made a couple great points recently.
She said, “There seems to be a lot of talk these days about mothers needing more time for
themselves to feel fulfilled. I do believe women need to do things for themselves but if it’s
all they focus on, they will miss out on true fulfillment.” To follow up, she stated, “To me,
mothering is not about the mother at all. It’s about those we are caregivers for. That’s why
we love our children so much… we love those we serve.” That, my friends, is what we call
hitting the nail on the head. What a smart lady!

It’s true when they say, “there is no such thing as selfless service.” While our intentions
may be completely selfless, there is always some sort of blessing we receive from doing
it. Motherhood is a challenging and heart-wrenching job, but I receive such a sense of
accomplishment from it. When my 2-year-old comes to me with questions and I watch him
learn his numbers or abc’s, I feel so happy that he feels comfortable enough with me to ask
and that he has a desire to learn. When I see him interacting with his 6-month-old brother
and making him laugh, I’m so proud that he’s learned to be so loving and gentle and funny!
When we set up his first big boy bed a couple weeks ago and the transition couldn’t have
gone smoother, that was a huge shock but also a proud moment realizing that my big boy
might be a little “bigger” than I realized. And then there’s my baby. When he learned to hold his own bottle or eat rice cereal a couple months ago, its proof that he’s already learning from his family. When he gives me a big grin because he recognizes my face or my voice, I couldn’t feel more excited that he knows who I am and loves me. So much of what my children do brings me a great sense of achievement because I helped make what they did possible.

I actually wrote about [our need to find time just for ourselves] not too long ago.
Motherhood can feel all-consuming and, if we don’t take time out once in awhile, we can
begin to resent our spouses and even our children for it. But my mom makes an equally
important point when she says “If that’s all they focus on, they will miss out on true
fulfillment.” There truly is nothing more rewarding for you and your spouse than watching
your children learn and grow and become wonderful little people because you taught them
to be.

Thanks, Ashley, for the chance to guest post on the Awful Waffle blog. My family and I
absolutely love the restaurant. My husband served his mission in France and Belgium with
Lance and he’s told me on numerous occasion that the Awful Waffle is the closest thing in
Utah County to true Belgian gaufres.

 - I’m Kensie and I blog over on [Gracefully Kensie]. I cover all the areas that maybe need a little more attention in my life- family, home, and me. Under those categories are anything
from outfit posts to pictures of my beautiful boys and the activities we do to homemade
cleaning and beauty products. [link to]

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Motherhood Means to Me

I decided that this month at The Awful Waffle would be dedicated to Mothers (and fathers). As a new(ish) mom, I’ve truly grown to understand just how amazing, difficult, rewarding, busy, slow, and fulfilling this job really is.

I’ve done and seen quite a bit in my life. Nothing excessively crazy, but still more than I ever thought I would. I’ve climbed the Stairway to Heaven, jumped off La'ie Point, swam near enormous sea turtles. I’ve hugged Ben Gibbard and met Jesse Lacey (music lovers of the late 00‘s will appreciate that). I’ve installed, sanded and stained hardwood floors. I drove a scooter as my mode of transportation in the snowy Utah winter. I sat and marveled in the greatness of the Parthenon. I hitchhiked across Greece to get to Athens (and ended up in a VW van with two chaps from London who were 65, unhitched, and just traveling from country to country, living in their van....Sorry, Dad!). I slept on cardboard outside the Milan train station and had to yank my cardboard away from a homeless guy trying to steal it from us (again, sorry, Dad!). I’ve witnessed streets full of angry protesters in Belgium going on strike (we stayed home that day). I’ve ordered an eclair in French to a Frenchman. I rode on a Vespa through Tuscany. I drove through Cinque Terre. I sat on the black rocked beaches of Nice. I watched the fountain show in Barcelona (set to the song “Barcelona” by Queen). I slept on couches, floors, and rooms of people I’d met only via couchsurfing (I love you guys!). I somberly walked the straight rows between the barracks in Auschwitz and stood in the gas chambers. I walked through Anne Frank’s secret room and saw one of her diaries in person. I reveled inside the great history that lies in the Colosseum. I met and fell in love with a family in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy who we’ve dubbed as our surrogate Italian family (they made Lance and me an amazing farewell dinner...which included pig hooves). I’ve walked through ruins of a Roman Bathhouse (which apparently are a dime a dozen in Europe so touching and walking through them are not a big deal) and touched the mosaics of their floors . I climbed the full 607 steps to the highest point tourists are allowed to go on the Eiffel Tower and soaked in the incredible beauty, landscape and architecture the layout of Paris offered. I’ve sat on the beaches of France, Italy, Sardinia, Spain, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. I backpacked through Europe for almost a month and wore the same 3 shirts and 1 pair of pants and only washed them once (in someone’s shower, mind you), and did so on a budget of $400. I clicked my heels like Julie Andrews/Maria did on the street in front of Captain Von Trapp’s house in Salzburg and ate a crisp apple strudel (if you watch that youtube clip, don't mind the Family Guy reference. It was the only clip I could find of the original song!). I walked through Mars Hill where Paul the Apostle walked. I had to take a friend to the hospital in the Netherlands and neither of us spoke Dutch. I smelled French milled soap and fresh-picked lavender at an open-air market in France. I broke into an abandoned waterfront Hotel in Belgium who’s glory days were in the 1940’s (and took home old rusted room keys I found). I’ve seen Gaudi’s incredible architecture in person. My running route for three months took me past the EU and Jubelpark. I’ve eaten many-a gaufre and frites in the Grand Place in Brussels. I conceptualized and executed the life of a successful European restaurant and have never compromised my morals or values to have that. I earned my degree in English Literature with a minor in creative writing from Utah Valley University.

I think I could write pages and pages of interesting and cool things I’ve seen and done, so I will stop there.

One might read even a few of those things and think that I’ve lived a full life so far, or that I should feel accomplished and fulfilled. The truth is that all of these things were cool, things I could cross off my bucket list, some things were things I’d dreamt my whole life of seeing (Rome, the Parthenon, Auschwitz) - but these things were never something that made me feel real joy or happiness.

I didn’t know what real joy was until I was blessed to be a mother.

Baby Scout grew in my belly and I continued to do the things I loved, mostly running my little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, around the clock. She grew quietly and easily for 34 weeks. One sleepy Monday morning when I was lying in bed, chatting with Lance (husband) about the day’s to-dos, my water broke and we rushed to the hospital. Baby girl was two days shy of 34 weeks, so the hospital put me on bed rest and strapped me to what felt like 20 different monitors. Two days later, my perfect 4 lbs angel was born and rushed to the ICU after 30 seconds of holding her. My amazing and wonderful parents rushed through the night to get to Utah from Texas, and my equally wonderful in-laws ran around getting last-minute things together for me and baby. I had sweet visitors drop in and my siblings came by to give me support. For almost three whole weeks I made the (incredible) American Fork NICU my home and made friends with my wonderful NICU nurses (if anyone is seeking an amazing hospital to go to for your pregnancy/pediatrician, I highly suggest using the American Fork hospital and the lovely Dr. Weipert). I literally slept in the hospital lounge and only left to shower. I wasn’t really allowed to hold Scout while she was in the NICU. Only every few hours to attempt nursing, which usually only lasted about 25 minutes and then I had to surrender her to her holding station. Most of the time I sat in a rocker and would just watch her breathe. Luckily, the biggest reason she was in the NICU was because she wouldn’t eat on her own. It was torture seeing this tiny body, smaller than my forearm, with a feeding tube in her nose, strapped to machines, never moving. All I wanted to do was to take her home and hold her, snuggle her, smell her. Finally, after three tiring weeks, Scout was discharged and we took her home. I’ve never felt so much relief and bliss in my entire life.

My life hasn’t been the same since.

I’ve been peed on, spit up on, pooped on, cried on. I’ve not slept a full night in almost a year (and naps? Forget it). I was one of those people who if they didn’t have 8 full hours of sleep they cant fully function. That literally immediately changed about me and I was happy (?!) to do it. I discovered motherhood wasn’t all lullabies and sweet snuggles. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. It was challenging and difficult. There was a time where Scout was acting like she had colic for about 2 months and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She wasn’t having regular bowel movements due to her premature body and I had to figure out how to solve that properly. I was tired and felt overweight because my body had stretched out so much during my pregnancy - but I was too tired to even look at the jogging stroller. Going places was a journey and had to be planned out carefully...which I found out the hard way once. I left her bottle AND wipes AND change of clothes at home. I went to Salt Lake City to run an errand and she was starving WHILE having an enormous blowout. I don’t recall how I managed to solve this disaster but I do remember feeling that the two of us were a little traumatized by the experience.

All of that being said, when I think of Scout, I don’t think of how hard it is. I don’t think about how I’m sleep deprived and overweight and don’t do the things I used to love. I really don’t. I think about my heart and how full it is. I never ever thought I’d love anything or anyone THIS MUCH. I feel like it is near impossible to describe how much I love this tiny being. It’s a kind of love I’ve never experienced. It’s so full and all encompassing.

Scout has brought so much in my life. I remember one time when she was about a month and a half, I was holding her and just watching her look around. Her eyes focused in the direction of the ceiling and she reached her hand up and giggled! Her first giggle! And I luckily happened to catch the moment on camera. I am convinced she could see her future siblings and guardian angels in this moment. I remember tearing up and laughing at the same time because it was so sweet and tender and heavenly all at once.

Scout has always been so sweet since even in my belly. She was calm and peaceful and she’s still that way. She’s literally a piece of Heaven living and breathing in my home and in my life. How did I get this lucky? How was I blessed with something so pure and so innocent and so rewarding? Scout brings daily happiness to me. When I’ve had a difficult day at work, she’s the only thing that can turn things completely around. Anyone who’s met Scout knows that she’s got a funny little personality and is living up to her namesake. She’s spunky and sassy and sweet and intense. To me, Scout is a living DREAM baby who only cries when she needs something and is only a little fussy when she’s teething or sick, and laughs and smiles all the time.

Even though I’ve literally traveled the world, met interesting people, have been on TV, and own a successful business, I can say all of those put together pale in comparison to what being a mother has done for me, how it’s changed me. During my travels and adventures, I’ve learned how to be scrappy, professional, savvy, (more) independent, and how to be respected in a Man’s World - but none of that means anything for me long-term or eternally. Being a mother has made me softer, more capable of love, more Christlike. I’ve learned the lesson of how to be 100% selfless. I’ve learned to understand what real JOY feels and looks like. I would literally give my life up for Scout with out hesitation if the time came. To me, that’s what life is about.

I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood and what it means for me, for my future, aside from being blessed and trusted with raising this perfect little human. Usually I am at a loss for words on how to describe how it’s changed me, but I continue to come back to the word JOY. Thinking of my future, I can think with assurance that I get to live that joy every day - no matter how difficult or tiring it may be. Knowing this joy ignights creativity and ambition in me. It encourages a level of compassion I’ve never known or experienced before (I tear up at huggies commercials...). My entire life I’ve dedicated most of what I’ve done/did to being a better person and finding ways to do that. As a 12 year old I studied Chicken Soup for the Soul, my scriptures, uplifting thoughts, and would write fervently about my thoughts on other people’s thoughts and experiences and how I could apply those lessons to me, and I continued on that search the rest of my adolescent life and early 20’s. I have over a dozen thick journals with only quotes and thoughts that I’ve collected over the years. My wonderful and incredibly insightful uncle frequently sends me “thought of the day” emails and I’ve always devoured them like I was starving. It was only recently that I realized I WAS, in fact, starving for finding that real joy and fulfillment. It’s only within this last 11 months of my life that I’ve felt fulfilled and satisfied, and it’s all come from the calling of motherhood.

Thank you for reading my novel about motherhood (that will never do justice how I feel about the topic). I’d love to hear your thoughts. I have many wonderful, amazing moms who are contributing to the prompt “What Motherhood Means To You”, which I will be posting throughout the rest of April. If your submission is chosen to be posted on the blog, I’m giving out $15 gift cards to The Awful Waffle - A small token of my appreciation to all moms and the goodness they’re doing in the world. Send your entry to theawfulwaffleshop @ gmail . com

Feel free to follow my personal instagram account - @AshleyCoslett
I shamelessly over-gram my love, Baby Scout.

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Come in and see us! Sometimes Baby Scout makes an appearance.


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