Sweet spot.

Whenever I am asked how old my kids are and I say 6 and 3, the very next words out of my mouth are...
we are in the thick of it.
We are raising tiny humans
doing homework
balancing extra curricular
balancing really difficult careers
balancing a home
fighting through the storming
the tantrums
the rage
the meltdowns
the need for naps
and rest
the fighting to take them.
Until one day, a close friend changed how I view 3 and 6.
Until she explained, how with her own 3 and 6 year old,
we are in the sweet spot.
And, as with most of our conversations, it forced me to look at them, us, all of it, differently.
And how I can express my love for them always,
even in the difficult.
And then one day, instead of complaining about how in the thick of it we are, which we are,
about how much storming there is, because there is,
I started to view it from the sweet spot I was in.
Not just the crazy whirlwind that our life is, because it is.
Not because my son is owning three like he purchased it with his life savings, because he is.
Or how our daughter can be so mature and so immature all in the same moment, because she can.
But, the sweet spot.
The spot in which my kids aren't as needy,
but still in need.
The spot in which they are starting to create their family away from the family we created,
but we are still important in their lives.
They are potty trained,
but still need to announce going.
They all feed themselves,
but we all eat together.
We are not washing bottles,
but we are still filling cups.
Anna does chores that contribute to the home,
but is still waiting for me to help out, still calls for team work, so we can all be together.
She is reading, full books, all on her own!
But still loves bed time stories being read to her.
This, is our sweet spot.


They are becoming so independent.
Getting dressed on their own
setting up their imaginary play
doing homework
setting the table
taking care of our puppy
earning rewards
buying their own things from allowances
treating for her brother
riding her bike in the neighborhood
playing by themselves
getting so familiar with electronics.

they are still mostly ours.
Our time isn't over.
They are still so little,
and the little can be crushing, heavy, wonderfully heavy.
They adore us
want to be around us
love to be cuddled
and kissed
and snuggled
and read to
and tucked in
and traditions
and rituals
and team work
and team Houser
and puppy time
and Friday night family movie
and pancake Sundays
and love.
This is our sweet spot.


This is our sweet spot.
This is our time of being able to come out of the fog
but still feel the heavy of family on our back, on our chests, in our hearts.
This, is our sweet spot of family.
This is our time.
Our most loved and wanted and just wanted, not necessarily needed but just wanted time.

And this!

So, when I go to bed at night, and I am snuggled into my person,
touching toes and holding hands,
I am in my sweet spot.

When the kids announce when I have arrived home with shouts of
I am in my sweet spot.

When my daughter grabs for my hand and gives it a gentle kiss,
I am in my sweet spot.

When my son comes up to me just to tell me that he loves me,
I am in my sweet spot.

When we talk about our future and are excited for our graying years,
I am in my sweet spot.

When I recognize their happy childhood,
when I can see in their faces that I brought them joy,
I am in my sweet spot.

When I go in to give them one final kiss goodnight,
and all throughout the room you can hear their gentle breathing,
you can see the perfect on their face,
their curls mushed up against their forehead.
And I think to myself that my heart may explode out of my chest
and the joy that they place in my heart is so loud right now, it's going to wake them up.
And I kiss them over and over and they whisper to me from their dreams,
that is my sweet spot.

When we're storming,
brutal, battling storms,
and I am looking at you and wondering how I could have done this all differently
and instead of continuing the storm,
I take your hand and say
"you are the greatest thing I have ever done. You are one of my reasons, one of my purposes,
and you, you are the best kind of love and I simply cannot not love you. I always will, always, love you".
That, is my sweet spot.

When she cuddles up into me,
when she puts her arms around me to tell me that she loves me,
I am in my sweet spot.

This, is my sweet spot.



Anna, remembering the time when you were 2 turning 3 gives me intense anxiety.
Sometimes, just talking about those days, and the storming that came with them,
it brings actual tears to my eyes.
And the stubborn rage, it continued.
You would dig your feet in,
and so would I.
You would want your voice heard
and so would your dad.
And somehow we all thought that whomever was the loudest won.
You would expect to be reasoned with
and we thought we knew better.
So maybe we needed a different approach.
Maybe in order to teach respect, we had to show it too.
In order to teach kindness, we had to be kind, to you.
To teach being gentle and loving, and we had to be those things, with you.
So what if we place our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

Cole, you turned one, started to cry and have not stopped.
And we always wonder why.
It's not a matter of you don't have the words, you always have.
It's not a matter of we give in and give you what you want, we never do.
So maybe it's because you just need to cry and we need to accept that.
Maybe it's because our way isn't working.
And we now need to change our approach.
If we want to teach you quiet, we have to stop yelling.
If we want to teach you to listen, we need to listen to you too.
If we want to teach you to follow directions, we have to stop saying NO!
To the boy that can't sit still.
NO! to the boy that has to move.
NO! to the boy that wants to climb.
NO! to the boy that wants to touch.
NO! to the boy that wants to talk.
It's time to place our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

You are people.
You do not want to be controlled, you want to be guided.
You do not want shouts of anger and rage, you want to know what gentle feels like.
You do not want rules just for rules sake, you want to be respected.
You want a voice.
You want some control, some decisions.
You have bad days, because everyone has bad days.
You have moments when you are not being difficult, you are having a difficult time.
You are struggling and you need the grown-ups, the adults in the room to realize you are asking for us.
So what if we changed it all?
What if we put our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

And what if we remembered how hard we tried for you.
What if we remembered how great it felt when we felt confident in our ability to parent.
How wonderful you can make a life.
What if we remembered that we create childhood for you.
We are the owners of your heart for such a short period of time.
We have to stop waiting for a time period to be over and done with.
What if we put our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.


Giving myself a break

Parenthood doesn't care what you think you can handle, it just delivers.
And so does adulthood.
It all just comes at you, and you just have to respond and react. You have to decide.
And as the days, weeks, months grow more and more crazy, the person who gets my most critical thoughts, my most hated thoughts, is me.
I worry a lot.
About my health, our money, the house, the kids, careers, living in the moment enough, working hard enough, loving life enough.
My weeks, like all parents, are hectic.
And I judge...
myself, my person, my work, my mothering, my patience, my kids, my life.
I am hardest...on me.
Forever critical, of me.
Forever questioning of myself.
And that means one day I will be hard on them too.


And there are times, I catch myself slipping into a dark hole.
Spiraling out of control and I have to shut it out, take a deep breath and remember to,

Smile more.
#FocusOnTheGood, more.
Laugh with them more.
Eat ice cream for dinner more.
Chase them more.
Swim with them more.
Allow them to be siblings more.
Allow them to figure more out on their own.


I want my wrinkles to be laugh lines.
I want my stomach to hurt from laughter.
I want my skin to have color from the sun.
I want to run with my daughter.
I want to chase my son.
I want to find balance.
I want to react to things differently.
I want to read to my son, every night.
I want to cherish more.
I want to not worry so much about how quickly we are losing them.
I want to not feel them slip out of my fingers everyday, but remember that our relationship today dictates our relationship tomorrow.
I want to enjoy the moment without worrying what is to come.
I want to not worry period because it serves no purpose.
I want to be on a beach with them, sand in my toes, building castles in the sun.


Recently I read a letter a mom who was about to have her fifth child wrote to herself titled, my first time mom self.
And it reminded me that although we can never go back and be kinder to ourselves, we can starting now.
And with a long deep breath, with my eyes closed in a soaking tub I say,
I want to give myself a break.
I want to be gentle, to me.
Remind myself that I am trying, and therefore I am going to make it.
I want to focus less on all I have done wrong,
I want to not only see failures.
I want to be able to relish in some of the good I have done, some of the things I have accomplished.
I know I am not there yet, I am not done with any part of me.
But I have made some strides and I have created things that I should be proud of.
Especially them.
I never in a million years would have pictured all of this.
All of us, snuggled in one house.
I didn't realize how comforting you all would be.
I want to be humble.
I want to be kind, to me.
I want to stop doubting me.
I want to stop being hard on me.
Time will determine what happens next in every stage of my life.
But for now, I want to be gentle, to me, and
give myself a break.

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