Mommy’s Summer Bucket List

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After nearly 11 months since the first day of school, today marks the LAST day of school before summer vacation officially begins! We started this school year in early August in California, then moved to Washington this spring where they have an extended year due to excessive snow days this past winter…it’s been a long haul, and we’re all ready for a break. To celebrate the occasion I sat down with the boys this week and formulated a “summer bucket list”–a compilation of all of the wonderful things they’d like to accomplish over the next 10 weeks. It includes childhood gems such as making their own ice cream and sleeping outside under the stars.

As we were writing the boys’ summer bucket list the thought occurred to me that my own bucket list would probably look a bit different. Of course I want to eat ice cream and have adventures as much as (if not more than) the kids. Now that I’m on Team Mommy, however, my priorities have…shifted. As such, here is my Mommy Summer Bucket List:

  • Do NOT lose my cool when the kids whine that they’re hungry for the 3,000th time today. Especially if it’s only 10:00 AM.
  • Finally teach my kids how to tie their own shoes so I don’t have to tie them a million times a day for them. SELF EMPOWERMENT, people.
  • Wear my swimsuit like a boss. I’m gonna rock that thing like I’m Honey Boo Boo.
  • Remember to put on the dang sunscreen.
  • Read. Pinterest recipes, Lego instruction manuals, and books authored by anyone named “Seuss” don’t count.
  • Drink more wine. Our new hometown is the “Napa of the North” and boasts over 140 wine bars and tasting rooms. I’m going to have to drink a lot of wine if I want to make even a dent in the local offerings. This is basically just me supporting local businesses, which is basically community service, which basically means this is a social justice issue.
  • Resist the urge to hand my kids over to electronic babysitters every afternoon at 2:00 when we’ve all had enough of each other’s physical company for the day.
  • “Sleep in” past 7:00 at least once (this will probably require the assistance of the electronic babysitters before 7:00 AM, but this is a totally different purpose so it’s totally allowed).
  • Have 24 hours go by without saying any of the Phrases I Never Thought I Would Say (PINTIWS). Examples of PINTIWS include but are not limited to: “Don’t pee on your brother!”, “Pencils are not for stabbing!”, “Raccoons are not pets!”, and “Dude, where are your pants?!”.
  • Take a nap in the hammock. While “hiding” during a round of hide-and-seek.
  • Make friends with all of the other moms who have cool houses and pools in their back yards in hopes that they’ll invite us over to play.
  • Do not kill all of the plants in my yard.
  • Find a reliable method to minimize the number of public tantrums/fits/fighting matches between siblings we exhibit on our daily outings.
  • Eat healthy. And by “healthy” I mean that I will attempt to serve carrot sticks along with our hot dogs and marshmallows.
  • Drink water. Water mixed with coffee, cream and sugar is permissible.
  • Exercise. And by “exercise” I mean go to the gym multiple times a week to take advantage of the 2-hours per day of free childcare.
  • Do up-cycled craft projects with my children. All that beach sand I just vacuumed out of the car? Sand art! Red Dye 40-stained popsicle sticks? Popsicle stick log cabin craft!
  • Enjoy it. Because let’s face it, I only get 12 more of these summers with my oldest child…and only about 4 of those will be summers that he actually wants to spend any time with me. So no matter how long the days are (and they are LOOOOOOOOONG in the summer!) or how bored my kids get, just relish this season because it will be over I know it.

Now it’s your turn, friends: What’s on YOUR summer bucket list?

A Note of Encouragement For C-Section Mamas

A dear friend of mine recently had her first baby–a joyous event, to be certain, but one that nonetheless left her feeling a bit heartbroken. The beautiful, natural birth experience that she had spent 9 months dreaming about was shattered when her doctors wheeled her into the O.R. for a C-Section. She was devastated. And I can relate.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I planned an all-natural out-of-hospital birth.

It ended in a C-Section. I was devastated.

Twenty-one months later I was ready to deliver my second baby. This time, things would be different.  Since I’d had a previous C-Section I was denied access to the same birth center where I’d labored with my first baby. So, next best bet, I chose the best VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) doctor in my region to help me deliver my baby “naturally” in a hospital.

It ended in a C-Section. I had hope.

This letter is to all of you mamas out there who, like me, have unexpectedly been thrown on the C-Section Roller Coaster.

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Dear C-Section Mama,

This sucks. I know. And even though “at least everyone is healthy”, it still sucks. Yes, your baby is perfect and wonderful and safe. But that doesn’t change the fact that things just aren’t…right.

It’s alright to love your baby and still feel saddened by their birth. You wanted something different, something beautiful. Something that you experienced from start to finish–every pain, every squeeze, every push, every sensation. You wanted to know what it was like to feel life enter the world. That was taken away from you. And it sucks.

You spent months–if not years–dreaming about your baby and their birth. You read all the books. You ate all the right foods (okay, most of the right foods!). You exercised. You planned and you prayed. You did everything…right. Yet this still happened. It sucks.

And the worst part of all? You know that your body was designed to do this. A woman’s body is supposed to bear children and, one would assume, birth them at the appropriate time. Yet somehow your body has failed you in this most basic of tasks. It sucks.

While everyone around you is marveling at your new bundle of joy, you can’t help but feel a nagging feeling of loss. A loss of the experience you wanted to have for that baby’s birth–the only chance you had to experience that baby’s birth. And, you know what? That’s a fine feeling to have. Because, despite the joy and the relief and the love you are feeling right now, it’s also okay to feel the loss. It was real, and it hurts.

Know this, though, Mama. You are strong, you are capable, and you are going to be an amazing mother to this child. The birth experience that you lost does not define you, and this is only the beginning of the greatest adventure you’ll ever take. An adventure that will have many peaks and valleys, some expected, but many that you never saw coming. ‘Tis the spice of life.

There are other moms out there who have been through this very experience right along with you–and we’re all cheering for you. Not for your loss, but for your gain.

Welcome to the best role you’ll ever get to fill: Mama.

You, of all women, have definitely earned it!