Mommy Madness

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I’ve never shot a handgun before. This year, my husband bought one with his Christmas money. He brought it home last night and was eager to go out and shoot some cans with it. We live outside of town, so he headed out to the backyard.

I’ve always loved a good adventure, so when he offered to teach me to shoot it, I agreed. I shot probably five times just to try it. When we returned to the house, both of us realized that might not have been the best idea.

See, I’m pregnant. Almost 24 weeks along. We just found out it’s a boy.

Now, I inwardly shake my head at parents who follow their kids across the playground like they’re made of porcelain. Just let them be kids. And kids sometimes skin their knees. You can’t always be there to protect them, so teach them how to handle life’s bumps and bruises. Easy, right?

Not so easy when it’s your kid. I went into protective mother mode (i.e. high alert) and did research online to find–unsurprisingly–mixed opinions about the safety of shooting a gun while pregnant. Of course, the general consensus was to avoid it as a precaution since we still don’t know about all of the effects it may have on the fetus. Generally, the risk can come from lead exposure and loud noise on developing ears.

Just like that, I became the overprotective mother on the playground. Basically, my whole system went haywire with worry. From five shots in a matter of mere minutes.

I washed the clothes we were wearing, including the gloves I had on. Wearing the gloves had been a lucky fluke. I put them on because it was cold, but they may have protected me from some of the lead exposure. At least that’s how I’m validating it to myself.

I even soaked in Epsom salts the next day. My midwife has cleared me for Epsom soaks as long as I don’t let the water get too hot. And as an extra precaution, I soak for 15 minutes or less using a timer to be sure. It may not have done anything but ease my mind, but in that moment, that’s what I needed.

I have vowed not to target practice again until after the baby comes.

Now, logically, I know this probably wasn’t the best decision, but it happened once and only for a short amount of time. Most of the research cites high levels of lead exposure and continuous loud noise to be the main culprits for safety or developmental issues. I seriously doubt this one time will be detrimental to the baby in the long run. It was stupid and I shouldn’t have been so hasty, but I can’t go back and change it now.

So I guess this is my first real dose of parenthood. All parents make mistakes when raising kids. And our critical society is usually quick to point it out and lay on the guilt trip. But nobody’s perfect.

I didn’t have to admit my mistake to anyone. And I know I could receive backlash about it. It was an early lesson. For one, I need to stop being so hard on myself. I believe good parents do the best they can with what they know and what they have in life. They aren’t perfect, but they are trying to do the best thing for their kids. Even if someone else doesn’t think it’s the best thing. There are too many opinions out there. You’ve just got to trust yourself and your instincts and do what you believe is right.

Secondly, it’s easy to judge when you’re not the one in the hot seat. We should all learn to stop being so critical of how someone else is living their life. And on the other end of that, we also must learn to work through and past the criticism we may receive for our decisions and our mistakes. Even if that means powering through it while covering our ears.

So here’s to starting out 2017 with a dose of forgiveness towards ourselves and giving other people permission to live their lives and make their own decisions without our judgment. After all, we’ve all got enough of our own lives to live without dictating someone else’s.

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year everyone! Be good and gracious to yourselves!

 

 

Photo credit: AlicePopkorn via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Muddy Eyes

Photo credit: Viewminder / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Viewminder / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

As a kid, part of me dreaded the arrival of fall. What kid didn’t after a sunny summer of swimming pools and freedom from classes? Fall represented a time of being stuck indoors in a classroom. But at the same time, I didn’t really hate it. Call me crazy, but I was also eager to see my classmates again. Not that I would’ve admitted that out loud.

Fall is the end of summer. Leaves are falling, creatures are preparing to hibernate, and plants are going dormant. In one sense, it can seem like the end of life. But the end of one thing is always the beginning of another.

I’m happy to leave the heat of summer behind and put on a light jacket. This year has been a bit challenging–okay, tumultuous–at times. It wasn’t awful, but the hope that I had in January was quickly diminished. So yet again, for me, this fall is the beginning of a new beginning. We’re coming up on November, the national month to be grateful. But I’m not going to wait until then to acknowledge my blessings.

This year, I’ve felt very stuck emotionally, mentally, physically, etc. In every way, I have felt like I’m standing in a mud pit and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get out. And when I panic and fling my limbs around in protest, I’m only getting mud in my eyes.

And that only gives me bad visibility on the reality of my situation. Usually, things are not as bad as they seem. But how can you tell with dirt covering your eyes?

But even with that, I’m starting to see that I have an out. It may not come at this exact moment, but I feel like help is on the way. I’m not going to sink any deeper into this pit. I will break free, even if I have to be humbled enough to accept help in doing so.

And the bitterness of this year will be a reminder to me during the better times. I will realize how truly blessed I am. And I will know how good I have it and be grateful.

That’s a gift worth suffering for.

Main Character Mania

I am the main character of my own story. Duh. Sounds obvious, I know. There’s always a moment at the beginning of the story where the main character (MC) is going about their daily life never realizing that everything is about to change. A chance meeting, an event, or even something that seems minor can change the course of their entire life.

I feel like I am that MC, but I’m waiting, expecting, hoping for that change. And maybe that’s why it hasn’t come. The story can’t really begin if the MC is expecting the change to occur. Predictability doesn’t shape us the way random chance does.

Change always sends the MC off in directions he never anticipated. And despite the bad, there are always some good things to hang on to along the way. I mean, if Frodo didn’t leave Bag End, there would be no story. If Harry Potter never went to Hogwarts and learned magic, there would be nothing to talk about. We need those pivotal moments to push us in another direction.

Fiction mimics life. And in life, those unexpected moments can change us. They can push us into an adventure or give us ammo to conquer our inward struggles. Often, the change is not something the MC welcomes. We need to be bent out of shape before we can be molded into something better.

I feel like I’m at the beginning of my story. My daily life is nothing to write home about. When people ask me what I’ve been up to, I don’t have anything interesting to say. But this can change. I hope to be swept off into something bigger than myself. Here’s to expecting a new and exciting year in 2014.