I’m Doing My Best

I can feel it creep in every single day. It comes in kicking and screaming, punching me in the gut until I can’t breathe. It’s relentless and comes on without warning. I can’t ignore it.

“Mom Guilt is the feeling of guilt, doubt, anxiousness or uncertainty experienced by mothers when they worry they're failing or falling short of expectations in some way.”

It sounds ridiculous every time I talk about it. After all, I’m letting these feelings creep into my subconscious. I’m letting the feelings take over until I feel completely inadequate, but they are there all the same.

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In Sickness and in Health

I’ve been sick for over three weeks. What started as a simple sinus infection and sore throat quickly blossomed into a double ear infection that had me in tears all throughout the night. After ten days of antibiotics, I still can’t fully hear and can still feel the fluid sloshing around inside my ears. It’s been miserable to say the least.

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The Trenches

It’s dark. I look around for someone to grab onto but I’m alone. I try to move through but the quicksand around my ankles holds me in place. I close my eyes and steady my breathing.

This won’t last forever.

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Henry : 5 Years

Today I sit and think about the first time I met you. The doctor pulled you from me after a relatively easy labor and shouted “It’s a boy!”, and I burst into tears. I was so happy you were who I dreamt of. They laid you on my chest and you immediately stopped screaming and stared up at me with those beautiful blue eyes you still have today. I couldn’t believe it - you were here, and I was a mom.

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Harrison : 1 Year

I cannot believe you are a year old, I cannot believe how fast this last half of your year has gone, and I cannot believe that we actually survived this year. It was, without a doubt, the hardest year I’ve ever gone through. But at the end of the day, we have you - and you complete us. This past month has been a roller coaster (as it seems so many are), but you are officially a walking machine. You much prefer walking to crawling and each time I look over, you’ve pulled yourself up on something else and are a tiny walking human. It amazes me each time. Not to mention, I just love the new baby walk.

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My Hope For You

I have so much I hope for each of you in your lives.  

But first, right now in this moment, at ages almost 1 and almost 5, I just want you to feel as if you can be kids.  There is plenty of time for growing up and adulthood later in life. But right now I dream that you learn and explore, scrape your knees and have your hearts broken.  I hope that you dream your biggest dreams and truly believe that they are possible. I hope that you never stop laughing, never stop playing, and never stop being on each other’s side.  I hope that you see me and your dad as people to run to to make everything better.

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24 Hours a Day

I feel as if I am “on” and “working” 24 hours a day.  My only break during the day is the 1 hour of silence in the afternoon when the baby is napping and my oldest is having quiet time.  During those times, I pull out my laptop, get to work, and before I know it, the silence is up and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what needs done.  My break at night? The six hours of sleep I get each night - IF both kids sleep all night, which is a rarity. If not, I’m lucky to get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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Harrison : 11 Months

You can’t POSSIBLY be 11 months already, can you?! Just one short month until we celebrate your ONE YEAR of life on this earth. It feels like you just got here. But then other times, it feels like you’ve always been a part of our family.

This past month has been a roller coaster. We got to celebrate your first Christmas, while also dealing with a serious stomach bug affecting all three of you boys in the house. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best of holidays, but luckily we have a lot more to make up for it.

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I Don't Think You're Fat, I Think You're Strong

When I look in the mirror, I suck in my stomach, I turn a bit to the side, I see the stretch marks from my youngest son, and then I smile. It’s taken me a really long time to get to this place. I’m okay with what I see. Do I love my body? I love what it can do, I don’t always love what it looks like. But I accept it. My strong legs that propel me in a game of chase around my yard with my oldest. My strong arms that carry the weight of my youngest all day long. And even the stretch marks that marked the baby it took us nearly a year to conceive. I’m getting there. I’m starting to see the beauty in the mirror.

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Harrison : 10 Months

This month you’ve started to really let your personality shine through - and that personality is hilarious. You’re still stingy with your laughs, but we’re figuring out what makes you tick. You celebrated your first big holiday with Thanksgiving and as a baby who loves to eat, you were definitely in your element. Turkey, corn casserole, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, you were a fan of it all.

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The Reluctant Playmate

“Mommy, can you play with me?”

It’s the fourth time he’s asked in the three hours he’s been awake. We’ve played Uno, we’ve played Candyland, we’ve played kitchen, we’ve colored and painted and blown bubbles. And now I just want to sit. But the hope in his voice gets me every time. I’m supposed to want to play, right? I’m supposed to be eager to spend every single moment with my children because pretty soon they won’t be children at all and they’ll never want to play with me and then my house will be empty and I’ll feel so alone.

But the fact is: I don’t always want to play.

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The Worst Question

I can picture it like it was yesterday.  Me, Henry, and Harrison were sitting at our dark brown dinner table.  Brandon was out of town for work, again. It had been a long day of playing, rocking, feeding, screaming, coping.  I was counting down the minutes until it would be bedtime and I’d finally be alone. I set Henry’s paper plate of peanut butter and jelly in front of him.  Harrison had been crying for nearly ten minutes by now. Why? I’m not really sure, and I doubt he was either. But he was mad and he wanted everyone to know it.

I tried to feed him bites of the mashed potatoes he normally scarfed down.  He screamed more. I tried to give him a bottle filled with watered-down apple juice.  He slammed his tiny fists down onto his highchair tray. Over and over he screamed until he was so red in the face, I thought he was going to choke.

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Harrison : 09 Months

9 months! We’ve survived nine months - all of us! And just as last month, things are still improving month over month. You’re a happier baby, month over month. You’re a more flexible baby, month over month. You are so fun to watch these days. You are obsessed with the kitty, just like your brother was. You crawl to him, and open your mouth like you’re either going to kiss him or eat him. And then you rub your head along his fur. He doesn’t seem to hate you as much as he hated Henry, or, he’s just sick of fighting :) Either way, it’s so fun to watch you chase after him.

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Harrison : 08 Months

This was a month of first’s. You got your first two teeth (on the bottom). You said Mama for the first time (I will forever be glad that at least one of my two kids said Mama first). You are THISCLOSE to crawling but somehow still manage to get yourself around a room - I suspect a bit of scooting when no one is looking. You also got your first flu shot - and I didn’t even realize she had given it to you because you didn’t make a peep. I think it’s possibly those massive thighs of yours - couldn’t even feel it.

It’s been a great month.

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A Thank You Note to My Son

Over the past eight months, you have often had to play second fiddle to your brother. At first, it was the newness of it all as your dad and I tried (often unsuccessfully) to juggle this gigantic shift in our lives where we now had two kids to take care of.

After that, and for quite a few months in a row, it was that Harrison was a HARD baby. He didn’t sleep, he cried a lot, and we were beyond exhausted. We snapped at you a lot in that time, and we often didn’t mean to. But we were frustrated, angry, sad, and sometimes just miserable. And we took it out on you. When you asked us a question, or needed help with something, or got upset like any other four-year-old does, we snapped because we couldn’t take ONE MORE THING.

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MOTHERHOODSarah HartleyComment
Our Own Private Kingdom

The breeze is blowing through my hair as I push the purple double swing. I'm watching both boys, and they're both grinning, holding tightly to the metal chains.  Henry leans back and forth, trying to propel them higher in between my pushes.  It's quiet aside from the squeak of the chains and the babble between two brothers.

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Harrison : 07 Months

I can't stop thinking about how different of a baby you are these days.  From the first 5 or so months of your life to now, it's like we have a completely different baby living with us.  And let me tell you, we're all so much happier these days - you included.  You're a HAPPY baby now.  We even have strangers stop us, you give them that incredible grin you have, and they remark about what a happy baby you are.  And finally, I'm able to say "yes, he is".  Plus, we just have a lot of people stopping us to tell you how beautiful you are.  It's those big blue eyes man, so much like your brothers.  Between the two of you, you guys are always turning heads when we're out.

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I've Been Beating Myself Up

There was a time, not long ago, where I felt in control of my life.  Every day I got up and I knew what would happen, I could guess how I would feel, and I counted on that.  I can pinpoint when that changed.
It was January 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm.  
That is the exact moment that a beautiful little boy (who I was so convinced was a girl) came screaming into my life.  We named him Harrison.  And since then, over these last six months, I've felt anything but in control.

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Harrison : 06 Months

Oh sweet buddy, this last month was SO MUCH BETTER.  It's like you're a new baby.  Like we're a new family.  We're all so much happier because... YOU SLEEP NOW!  Granted, you still aren't sleeping through the night, but sometimes we get six or seven hour stretches and it's like I don't even know what to do with myself.

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He's My Last Baby

I knew I was supposed to put him down.  We're sleep training him after all, and I'm supposed to put him down while he's still sleepy.  But for some reason it just hit me.  Harrison is my last baby.  I'll never have another baby of mine at 5 months and 24 days old.  Tomorrow he'll already be another day older.  I felt the tears prick my eyes.

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