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the role of a mother.

warning: this post is going to reveal some ugly truths about me. maybe we can still be friends?

i’ve recently been struggling with my role as a mother and what that really means.

i know we all have a different journey in parenting. but i’m stumped some days, as to what in the world to do with my littles all day.  i read blogs and pin crafts, but HELLO, my kids are like 18 months old!!

play dough goes in their mouth half the time, they “color” for about 2 seconds, and just when i think i have some great activities planned for the day, we’ve blown through them all and it’s 9:15am and i feel utterly defeated.

 

(this was taken this morning & they played together for about 2 minutes. then they threw the little pieces everywhere and it took me about 30 minutes to find them all, get a baggy to put them all in, and put it up where they couldn’t reach and destroy the game when i walked away later)

THE BACKSTORY.

because Jackson has Down syndrome – he’s not doing the things a typical 3 year old might do – he is more along the skills/cognition of an 18 month old.  he isn’t talking yet, and still requires a lot of TLC when we go out together on outings due to some sensory stuff.

at this point, i essentially have the equivalent of 20 month old twins.  jackson (3) and madelyn (20 months) are the same size. they eat the same things. wear the same size diapers. nap at the same time. bathe together. go to sleep at the same time, etc.

THE TRUTH.

the real and honest truth about the upcoming week (spring break, no beach plans!) is that i’m stressed about my sweet Jackson being home all day and my not being able to provide and be everything he needs.

spending the days with madelyn is easy – because she loves everything we do. the world is a magical place for her: she loves getting ready with me, brushing my hair, and she mimics everything i do. she’s eager to learn and she HELPS me teach her. she points to things and wants to know what they are, and she remembers the things we talk about. the other day, she had been too quiet so i went to find her – and she was in my closet trying on all my clothes! i didn’t teach her to do that! she just DID it!

everyone always says, just talk to your kids! that’s how you teach them!  well, i have spent the past 3 years talking to jackson. reading to him. making the “B” sound a zillion times. making the “mmmmm” sound a zillion times.

but having madelyn has helped me understand the process of learning on a whole new level. i am simply doing normal life and she is picking up on things – and it’s a natural part of her development. it finally makes sense to me.

but jackson? not the same. not the same at all. he has zero interest in animal sounds. or colors. or pointing to things in books. it has been an extreme challenge to know the balance between pushing him along and letting him just BE.

so why does spring break make me nervous?

at school, he gets: Speech Therapy, Music Therapy, Occupational Therapy, sometimes Sensory Integration Therapy . . .the list goes on. they are extremely structured and he knows what to expect in his daily routine.

but here?! at the house!? with 12 hours on our hands?! i’m sorry to say but i am not one of those home school type moms.

i want every minute i spend with Jackson to be intentional in helping him “succeed”.  to learn to talk. to point to things in books. to recognize animal sounds. to play with toys appropriately and not just throw them. but the truth is: HE DOESN’T CARE.

he would be happy playing with my hair for 45 minutes at a time, or simply sitting on my lap snuggling.  he has recently discovered our broom and can literally sit with that broom for 30 minutes and run his fingers through the bristols. he could flip the pages in books all day – without noticing what’s really on the pages. he takes Woody and throws him off the piano over and over and thinks it’s the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen in his whole life.

but i feel guilty when i let him do these things. i make it about ME. i think, “oh no!!  am i the worst mother on the planet!?  i’ve let jackson play with that broom now for 20 minutes straight! shouldn’t i be singing the ABC song over and over with the phonetic sounds so he’ll learn to speak quicker?! shouldn’t i have perfectly planned crafts that initiate his fine motor skills!?”

THE REVELATION.

tonight my {awesome} husband just looked at me and said “babe, Jackson is not going to start talking this week because you work with him on it 24/7. he’s going to talk when he wants to talk, and it’s not up to you.”

hmmmmm. thanks. thanks for that.

so as i was putting on jackson’s pajamas and giving him his nightly massage tonight, i began wondering what the role of a mother is. is it to say “bbbbbbball” a zillion times? to make sure my kids have their ABCs and numbers perfectly memorized before pre-K like all the other kids?

as i was wrestling with this, jax was just looking at me smiling and laughing, and our eyes were locked on each other. he felt comfort that he knew the bedtime routine. he felt LOVED. he felt like he was the only thing in the world right then that mattered. he grabbed my hair and pulled my face down to his face on the changing table — like he always does — and i hugged him tight and kissed him over and over while he laughed till i know his belly hurt.

and i knew that THAT was what i am supposed to do as a Mom.  i buy new jammers when their current ones creep a little to far along the calf. {or when your jax learns how to smear poo all over the crib in the middle of the night and we must revert back to full one-piece onesies}.

i make my kids laugh. i pray over them. i hug them tight tight tight when they get hurt. i make eye contact and celebrate them as much as i can.

i take care of their every physical need: feeding them {somewhat} healthy meals. bathe them. and change their diaper often.

i make sure they can put themselves to sleep and get enough rest every night. i make sure they have clean clothes and tidy{ish} rooms.  i teach them about sharing and how to “obey right away” – and discipline you appropriately.

because little babies can’t do these things for themselves.

so every night we wrestle. we have dance parties. and we brush our teeth. and somehow, i must believe, these things will all work together to create independent little human beings that feel loved and cherished by their mama.

but forcing my Jackson to play with play dough? because it makes me feel better about MY role in his fine motor skills?

nah, i think i’ll pass on that this week. this spring break is about enjoying one another. and lying around nap mats for no reason.

and i just might let jackson run his fingers through the grass for 30 whole minutes if he wants to.

because i simply can’t resist that smile when he’s doing something he loves.

 

 

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CindyQG - Oh my, you precious friend. I laughed and cried as I worked my way through your blog just now. I can’t imagine your inner struggles. But, I loved how you worked through it while writing your blog…I think you’re on the right track for this week’s activities. What a fabulous mother you are! Though you don’t always feel it. May God bless your week with your babies! xo

Anna Brindley - Lovely–just plain perfect. I struggle too. Recently my revelation came while one of my children was at the hospital. I realized too, that the basics might seem basic but truly the basics are the most critical elements. Love, touch, acknowledgement, any attention etc.

Amanda - Sweet girl, I am so blessed to know you and your story. You are a precious mommy, and as I read I was hoping you would ultimately lean into enjoying watching Jackson have joy in those simple pleasures. What a beautiful realization. While I cannot imagine the daily pressures, I know you are loving him so beautifully!!!!

miabella - my sweet sister. while I also cannot imagine your struggles as tho they were my own, I know YOU. I know OUR mom. I know YOUR love. and i know that jax feels it. how could he not? you spend your time caring, sharing, with the sole desire to teach, and he is learning. like the hubby says, he will let you know what he has learned when it’s time for him. and how BLESSED are you to have madelyn as well, such a beautiful diverse family that will help you all craft your individual communicative skills for learning and teaching and sharing your mutual love in so many different ways! in these humble moments, smile back. :) I love you.

Laura - Hmmmmm… would it help to know that I had the same worries about raising you? I recently found a piece of paper from Way Back Then with lists on it like, “playing in the sun for Vitamin D, playing with other kids for social skills, playing alone for knowledge of self, playing with me for fun!” and a few of those things were checked off… Every time I see sweet Jackson and Madelyn now, they look like kids from a loving, secure, happy family. They coo and gurgle and laugh and smile and give eye contact and interact with the world around them. They seem confidant and alive! You’re doing everything right by just loving them! Those spring break days will fly by; you’ll see! Just remember to make some time when you think they’re safe and out of harm’s way to think about and care for YOU too! Oh, I wish I was there to give that to you… and I wish you could have come here! I love you so much, sweet little mother! ~Mom

social media + personality types

I carry a lot of guilt about not blogging more.  or tweeting more. but I love to Pin. I’m addicted. I naturally gravitate towards it and it doesn’t take any effort.

so driving around this morning, I had a genius revelation.  I’ll cut to the chase, and then elaborate a little more — if you want to continue.

Blogging is about the Past. Most blog posts are pictures of things that have already happened, or a how to of something that has already happened.

Twitter is about the Present. People tweet about things they are doing right this second. Or things you read/view in real time.

Pinterest is about the Future. My PinBoards are all about creative inspiration of the things i WANT to do, not necessarily the things I have already done. They are styles/fashions I’d like to wear, recipes to try, projects to create — all in the future.

So here’s where the revelation gets good:

I recently took the Strength Finders test, and turns out, my top three strengths were:

Futuristic: People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.

Ideation: People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

Focus: People who are especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.

This could not be more true of my personality. I am a dreamer. But I’m also a doer. But once something is DONE, I don’t really want to think about it. It’s not all that exciting to me anymore.

Helllloooooo Pinterest!  Pinterest is all about the future, ideas, and then doing.  I have a hard time blogging, because by the time I’ve done whatever craft I found on Pinterest, I sure as heck don’t want to take the time to upload images, make sure they are perfect, etc. . . I’m already repinning my Next Project.

there you have it.  i have a hard time staring the past in the face when there is so much exciting stuff to look forward to . . .

so, are you following me on Pinterest?! also, please follow May Books on it too — we are just starting out, so would love some followers!

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Miabella - Well, I have to say that I just *LOVE* your writing, and your ability to make me want to continue reading… right into the… oh let me stumble upon your Pinterest page… but NO! I have things to DO! I cannot get stuck in your world of ideas, for I shall have a hard time getting back to painting… all this to say I love you so much, dear sister, and miss seeing you on the webs.

boxes.

i don’t think you are ever prepared for all of the emotions surrounding a move.

it seems they come unannounced, obtrusive and inappropriate at times.

this past friday morning, i loaded up the babies and we flew to Midland for the weekend, while the packers came and put everything we own in boxes.

but at 7am when i left, the house was exactly as it always is — i might as well have only been going to the grocery store for some more milk.

even though i KNEW the house was all packed, husband and i were in mid conversation when i came through the door tonight – the same door i’ve dragged sleeping and crying and laughing babies through hundreds of times . . . only to find this:

boxes4boxes 1boxes 2

it took my breath away and i suddenly burst into tears for the first time in a few weeks regarding the move.

there have been times it would have been more appropriate to cry — for example, at our little goodbye shindig where we clung tightly to our dear friends and promised it wasn’t “goodbye” it was only a “see you later!”. after all, we are only going 4 hours away . . .

but no, i didn’t shed a tear. and it wasn’t because it wasn’t sad, because it was. the tears just didn’t come.

then there were other times, where i felt like i was cheating on my current life to even feel a break a smile about the possibilities that await us on the other end of all the boxes . . . because we are aren’t running from anything here. we are simply moving forward.

anyway. it’s midnight, and dark, and the house feels a little stuffy from being shut up all weekend. and there are boxes covering every floor, and frankly, i can’t even think about around now.

but tomorrow is a new day, and it will bring sunshine. and sweat. and lots of “ohhhh, and we can’t forget to do such and such before we get on the road!”

and we’ll greet the loading truck with starbucks and smile at the adventure that lies just a few miles down 45 . . .

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robyn - It’s so much, I know… But I have hope it will unfold well and that yall will have much happiness there. Love you!

mmmmmmmore.

last week we had one of our BEST speech therapy sessions, jackson!!

you are juuuuust now starting to sound out words — you do lots of signing, but you’ve been really stubborn about repeating any sounds or words.

your first {and only} word is Eat, with the sign, just like a true Man’s would be.

but last week, you were in the best of moods! you were laughing and charming Nikki & Lisa, and you wanted to please us so badly . . .

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we were working with a new toy, Tic Tac Tony {which i cannot find ANYWHERE, if anyone knows how to get it, let me know!!} and were sounding out More.  you have signed “more” since about 10 months old, but have never said it once . . .

DSC_0549

and all of a sudden, you just SAID IT!!!!!  oh, and you were so proud!!  you tried and tried . . . and what we haven’t realized {bad mommy!!} was that you need to be reminded to put your head down and close your mouth.  your mouth is open quite often, with your head tilted to the back, and MAN is it hard to say words like that!

so, you suddenly realized that if you put your hands to your mouth and help close it, you can do your M’s!!!  hooray!

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oh, i was so very proud of you.  there was a LOT of celebrating and hooping and hollerin’.

DSC_0558DSC_0562DSC_0561i will always celebrate the small victories with you, my jackson, because i know they are major victories for you.  i cannot wait for the day you say Mama . . . i’ll swoop you up and kiss those cheeks like crazy.  i lover you, jax man!

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robyn - you are precious. i am so happy for your kids to have you as their mama.

Alison Treadaway - Jackson is SOOO handsome! I teared up reading about this entry. Such a great boy you have there!

Best of wishes in Houston. I’m from there.. it’s not that bad!

in case you haven’t heard . . .

we are moving to Houston!  and soon!  here are the details . . .

mays-move-to-H-town

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rachel - YIPPEEE!!! Can’t wait to welcome you when you arrive!! XOXO

Ben Arment - CONGRATULATIONS!!

Cathi Mojica - Wow – what a wonderful adventure awaits the May family.

Morgan Bender - I’ve been meaning to connect with you!!!! Jan told me last week and I about wet my pants I was so excited!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so sad I’m not at Rise anymore even more now! Jackson is going to have the time of his life! We are in Austin now but will visit soon. It’ll be a bit before we can make it (baby #2) is due in October. We wish you the best, moving is hard but there is a reason. God is good and I’m learning He’s got this all figured out if I’d just let Him do his thing and quit getting in the way :)

Vik - uumm..that is the cutest stinkin post i’ve ever seen. Your creativity is endless. Love you all. Have a fabulous move!

Paula Stein - I feel like I’m always the last to know. My heart sank when I read the evite. :-(

robyn - This is such a super duper creative and fun way to share the news. I am excited about this journey and love yall tons!