As I am sure many of you know, I LOVE baking. I also value feeding my kids as much real food as I can, and I try to cut sugar intake where possible. So, I’m sure it’s no surprise that the other day I took advantage of the cooler weather by baking whole wheat bread, chocolate muffins (using whole wheat flour and bran), and whole wheat banana bread (sweetened with honey and bananas). Everything turned out prefect, and although baked goods may be a treat no matter how they’re prepared, these were all less guilt-inducing.
Darn, no picture of the bread or muffins...!
I was on such a roll (with a little help from my little ladies) that I thought I would try out a healthier granola bar recipe. Unfortunately, it was a little too close to supper time for me to undertake the task myself, or even help out, so I asked the girls to team up on it.
No problem! They have helped me in the kitchen a lot, and they both love baking, so it seemed like a solid plan. Well, at one point the recipe they were using said to warm peanut butter and honey in the microwave to soften the peanut butter and assist in the mixing. I was not paying much attention to their recipe while prepping vegetables, mixing up a marinade for our steak (and probably a few other tasks, just for fun), so when the oldest said she thought she needed to microwave the mix a little longer I barely glanced over at it before agreeing.
I’m not sure how long she warmed it for in total, but she created a cooked mass of peanut butter and honey. Not at all a mixable consistency. Uh-oh! We had company for supper that night and the post-dinner visiting was a pleasant interruption from recipe completion and peanut butter salvation. In fact, the oats mix is still in a covered bowl on my counter…
Another thing to add to today’s “To-do” list?!
Anyway, this morning while making oat flour crepes (so good) I saw the peanut butter in the fridge. Right, what are we going to do with that? I thought. In a moment of what I am choosing to call culinary genius, I came up with a solution! Peanut butter and chocolate sauce (or spread?) for the crepes! Since the oldest was the cooker of the peanut butter I thought she would want to assist in it’s salvation, and I was right. In she trooped and we made a nice little peanut butter and chocolate spread out of our solid mass of PB and honey. It was delicious, and is already half empty! Had I known what a success it would be, I might have taken a few pictures along the way. Maybe it’s best I didn’t, I probably would have burned my crepes from the distraction. 😉
It was this simple!
Since the peanut butter we used was hard (we actually broke it back up in my ninja blender), the proportions might need to be adjusted slightly when using PB straight out of the jar. However, I am sure I will be trying this again and will update and adjust the recipe as needed. If you try it out before I get to do that, by all means drop me a comment with any revisions you needed to make.
Without further ado or idle chatter, I present to you:
My Our Daughter’s) Bio Mom;
I am writing this to share my complex and often incompletely understood feelings towards you. Let me begin by thanking you for not terminating your pregnancies. Although some of what I have to say to you will be hard to read, I am ultimately grateful that you loved
your my our daughters enough to carry them to term, deliver them, and devote some level of care to them.
When I write “devote some level of care,” I am sorry that my words likely come across as angry or bitter. While I cannot deny feeling unpleasant, and even hostile feelings towards you numerous times over the course of years, I am not currently battling those feelings. At least not today.
On the day of
my our ten year old daughter’s birthday I thought of you.
I thought of all you are missing.
I thought of all I missed, and all you likely missed while battling your own demons. I thought of precious childhood memories and milestones barely noticed.
I thought of the damage you caused them.
I thought of your loss, heartache, and regret.
I thought of the hurt they have overcome, and the hurt they will have to overcome time and again as they hit life’s major milestones.
I thought of what they lost by not being with you anymore.
I thought of what they lost by not being with me at the beginning.
I thought of your childhood, your unhealthy relationships; your hurts.
As I pondered all these things, my emotions ranged from anger, to extreme sadness, to love.
Although I cannot pretend the start you gave my girls was the one they deserved, I do not hate you.
How could I hate someone who created the daughters I love?
How could I hate a person for her poor choices when I have not lived her life?
How could I not forgive you for your parenting mistakes when Jesus, and my children, forgive me for mine?
I am just as certain that I have not felt the complex cloud of varied thoughts and emotions towards you for the last time as I am certain I have not struggled to help
my our daughters deal with their feelings towards you for the last time. The catch-phrase “the struggle is real” is tossed about for all kinds of humorous situations, but it applies perfectly to my feelings, and the feelings of my our daughters, towards you.
The struggle is real.
Even my feelings regarding you meeting the girls again one day move about like a balloon in a windstorm. I want them to see you well, and to know you, while at the same moment I worry that seeing you well could bring about more hurt and anger.
“Why couldn’t she get healthy for me?”
I am so glad I have a faith that tells me there is the opportunity for the redemption of all we have done, and all we have suffered through. I am so glad that God’s timing is always perfect, and that I can give that worry to Him. I am also glad that when I have a moment of ugly satisfaction that
my our oldest says that does not want to meet you again, even in that ugly moment, God still loves me. Believe it or not, I am also overjoyed that He has always loved you.
I pray you know that, or will come to know that.
For all the complex, oft guilt-ridden emotions I may feel towards you over the course of time, I am glad that through my faith I can always come back to this:
I hope and pray you are well, and remain well. I truly hope and pray you have found happiness and wholeness. I hope and pray you can forgive yourself, and those who have hurt you.
Until we meet one day, with love,
This phrase is one I have been wanting to write about for the last couple of days; how fitting that Mother’s Day is approaching and this topic is on my heart. When you saw the title “Mom Fail!” you may have wrongly assumed I would share some cute little anecdote that highlights the struggles and pains of motherhood; some relatable tale of frustration and “failures.”
While I love seeing mothers reach out to one another in solidarity, sharing not only the joys but also the struggles, I do not love the term “mom fail.” When this term first emerged I did think it was quite relatable and I have even used it a time or ten myself, though usually with a chuckle or smile. However, I have been experiencing a growing dislike of this term.
I did not fail when my child wore pyjamas all day. I did not fail when I did not have a lovely home-cooked meal on the table. I did not fail when I was snappy with one (or several) of my children. I did not fail when my house was too messy, nor when it was “too clean” (do not ask me when that was, that is more a hypothetical example). I did not fail when I spent 10 minutes on Facebook rather than playing with my children. I did err, I do err, and I will continue to err. To err is human. I would not dream of telling my child he or she FAILED when they struggled. My infant did not FAIL when he tripped and fell. My preschooler did not FAIL when he had a tantrum. My kindergartener did not FAIL when he picked on his little brother (likely resulting in the aforementioned tantrum). My fourth grader did not FAIL when she forgot to feed the dogs three days in a row and someone else had to do the chore for her. My sixth grader did not FAIL when she chose fitting in over kindness.
If I would not dream of saying my children failed when they struggled; when they made a mistake, when they were LEARNING out loud; why would I say I failed when I did the same? Motherhood is a glorious hodge-podge of smiles and tears, victories and struggles. We all have those days. The days when “mom fail” seems like a hard and true fact of our existence. Can you do yourself a favour? Please, give yourself a gift this Mother’s Day. Drop “mom fail” from your vocabulary. Maybe replace it with “mom life”, or “the struggle is real!”, or anything else that appeals to you. Maybe it is just me, I mean “mom fail” is cute and catchy in a way. However, I have decided to refuse to attach FAIL to anything I do. I have only failed if I refuse to try again; if I admit defeat and thrown in the towel.
In those moments when “mom fail” feels like a deep-rooted truth take a deep breath, and face that you are human. Struggling is okay. Do what you need to do to make it to the next “mom victory.” Ask your husband to take over, call a friend to come for coffee…eat cereal for breakfast. Most importantly, grant yourself the grace you would grant to your loved ones. Your mistakes are not failures, they are opportunities to learn and grow.
On the subject of learning and growing, please oh please stop comparing your life to blogs or Facebook posts. For the love of joy, peace, and your own sanity just stop. You do not need to justify where you are at in your journey. Is my house too messy or too clean? Am I too controlling or too relaxed? Am I too structured or too unstructured? While plenty can be learned from parenting posts and books, your walk is yours and no one else’s. Whether I am looking to justify my stance on an issue or looking to grow in an area, I will be able to find something written that agrees with me. I will also be able to find something that disagrees with me! While reading can illuminate in us an area we were previously blind to, nothing is as valuable as trusting and open relationships.
When we share life, real life not just the Facebook highlight reel, we can learn so much about ourselves. In our most trusted relationships we can begin to see through another’s eyes. We can be lovingly guided through our struggles, and we can be shown areas where we are victorious! As much as I have enjoyed and felt enriched by words I have read, nothing has encouraged my growth as much as the relationships that I have invested in and the people who have invested in me. The people in my life are part of the reason I can now see I was NEVER “mom failing,” but simply “mom growing.”
I pray your growth is supported and encouraged, and that you could be a support and encouragement to others. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Happy Mother’s Day!
There will never be another today. Although at times it may feel as though one day runs into the next, as if motherhood is “Groundhog Day” lived out loud, there truly never will be another today. The monotony of everyday life: housework, cooking, and begging your child for what feels like the millionth time to sit in their chair and eat; it is so exhausting at times. At the same time it is all so fleeting. I know this is not the most original thought I have published, maybe some of you have already lost interest, but I am going here anyway.
Our daughters finally joined our family at age two and just under four years old. In the blink of an eye, our oldest was in kindergarten. While she was in kindergarten, our oldest biological son was born; now he is in kindergarten and she is in grade six. Just. Like. That. Blink and you might miss it.
Just over a year ago, I gave birth to our fifth child and as the time to return to work drew closer, I had a sinking dread in the pit of my stomach. I have always taken pride in my academic accomplishments, my career, and my dedication to whatever I invest myself in. So, it was as much a surprise to me as to those who know me best that I wanted to give up my permanent position in the laboratory.
Before I could make that decision, or even have peace with what I was feeling, I had to talk to my husband. Dylan said what any supportive husband might say, “I’m behind you whatever you decide.”
A few weeks passed and I still was not able to write the letter as my deadline drew near. What was it to be, a resignation letter or a return to work letter? Why was I having such a tough time deciding? One day I finally realized that Dylan’s supportive statement did not bring me peace because in my mind, he said he would support my decision, and although it was my job, it did not feel like my decision to make alone. I felt I could not make that big of a decision with Dylan behind me, I needed him beside me. Realizing the source of my hesitation I asked Dylan what he thought was the best choice, and he was again quick to respond. He shared that as soon as I mentioned wanting to leave my permanent part-time position he thought my staying at home would be best for our family. Relief flooded me like a wave and with little hesitation and no further consultations with those close to me, I wrote and sent my resignation letter.
As the letter whizzed through cyberspace to the inboxes of my direct supervisor and my manager I felt not even the slightest twinge of remorse. I had so enjoyed my year at home with my kids, my husband was beside me, and most importantly I felt God was with me in this decision.
My youngest’s first birthday has come and gone now, blissfully without the usual “return to work” panic of finding childcare and adjusting the kids to a new routine. I have worked a couple of shifts in the lab, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. The shifts I have worked have been on days where Dylan has been home or I have been able to ask the grandparents to sub in for a few hours.
Being primarily at home has given me the opportunity to spend time with people I might not have had time to spend time with had I returned to my position. I have been connecting with my kids, with family, and with friends. I have been able to invest in me, spending a little time exploring my own interests (writing and art), and I am so enjoying the opportunity to work on my own schedule.
The life of a mother is so hectic; just keeping the household functional, the kids involved in activities, and maintaining some semblance of a social life can feel like a full-time job. I feel so absolutely blessed to have the opportunity to engage in life in a new way in the fleeting season that is my children’s childhood.
Sleepless nights, temper tantrums, potty training and meal-time arguments; this too shall pass.
Falling asleep in my arms, the joy of discovery, “mom and dad know everything”, meals as a family; this too shall pass.
When these good and bad times pass, I am so grateful that I will be able to look back on this season and know I was here. For the good, the bad and the ugly. As my family has grown, my dedication to my career has decreased, and my dedication to family life has increased. Although there are hard days, I can honestly say: I love my life, and I would not want it any other way.
I am finding a beautiful balance.