Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wanted: Mom Friends

I’m in that season of life that I hate so much. As I type that, I think, “I shouldn’t say I hate it. That doesn’t sound like I believe in Jesus. I should write something inspiring about thriving in difficult times.” But the truth is, I hate this season when the friends I’ve lived life with are 1,000 miles away and it’s time to make some friends a bit closer to home. Who am I going to tell that I got stuck in skinny jeans in the Target fitting room? Or that my kid spent five minutes licking the front door? Or that I fell asleep crying last night because reactive attachment disorder is so pervasively awful and sucks the life out of me? Well, the internet, I guess.

I went to my first park play date in Waco yesterday. It was so hard. I left first, because after an hour I was just done. One of the kids was having a really difficult day, and I arrived exhausted and not up for introductory small talk. I couldn’t think of anything to say except, “Hi, my name is Katie. These are my kids, and we are all straight up crazy!” For some reason, that just didn’t feel like the way to go. 

Can I tell you that I hated where my heart went next? Straight to the oh-so-stupid comparison game.

For the love, whyyyy did I wear a worn-out college t-shirt with jeans that don’t fit and walmart shoes? When I get home I need to hide these things from myself. I own cute clothes and need to wear them!

Her hair is so perfectly colored and curled. Have her kids not rubbed jelly in it, forcing a ponytail to appear? Maybe her kids eat like humans, not rabid squirrels. That’s probably it. Or maybe they don’t eat jelly!

How does someone have time to acquire a monogrammed necklace? And a Kate Spade bag? And Tiny TOMS?

And on. And on. And why? I left not with a potential friendship, but with a heavier heart, having spent all the time worried about shallow things and desperately trying to squash the crazy in my life that refuses to be hidden. And then I took all four kids to the grocery store, because apparently I wasn’t grumpy enough!

Oh, this season. Leaving behind my sweet friends in North Carolina was the hardest part about coming back to Texas. In our last week there, I told PJ, “I know that in a year I’ll be such good friends with people I haven’t even met yet, but right now that year seems so long and lonely.”

And yet, God provides. Our family hangs out with us oh so much as we’ve crash-landed in their daily lives. We’ve been invited to things, by people who know about all the crazy. Tonight and tomorrow, I get to spend time with ladies who love Jesus just like I do. I came across a book this week called Women Are Scary: The Totally Awesome Adventure of Finding Mom Friends. It looks like a wonderfully timely read, as I start this awful awesome time of making friends again.

New friends: I can’t wait to meet you, and I’ll try really hard not to be scary. Current friends: I love you and I’m so thankful for you.

Until that next play date…

Monday, March 23, 2015


Yes, I know I did ALL THE THINGS wrong. I’m tired? We haven’t had a routine for a month? My kids are a wee bit crazy? All of the above?

Last night was the first night that we have had to take care of all our kids at bedtime since we arrived in Waco almost two weeks ago. Can I get a PRAISE THE LORD?! Huge shout-out to all our nighttime helpers who have put our little monkeys to bed for us.

But last night. Oh, last night.

First of all, I was determined to get everyone to bed early. HA! The kids can sense that! And make sure it doesn’t happen!

I started baths at 6:30. Calm, warm baths. After that, everyone was playing a game or watching Cinderella on tv, calmly. At 7:30 (Seth’s former bedtime, though he’s happily adjusted to 9:00), I said, “Say night-night!” Commence screaming tantrum, complete with fast-moving “fit feet”. (If you aren’t familiar with fit feet, just do high-knee marching at warp speed all over the room while screaming.) Well, too bad, so sad. I put him in his crib while he continued to scream. A helpful child soon went in to inquire about his preferences about the sound machine/fan/juice flavor/diaper/lack of parental attention. More screaming. Sigh. I went in to soothe, but he only yelled for DADDY. An hour passed, and I was more than ready to watch The West Wing, our current nightly ritual. I got Seth out of his crib and laid down with him for 20 minutes, ignoring his requests to leave the room and pretending to be asleep myself. Finally he was calm enough to go back to his crib, and I told him I’d pat his bottom if he didn’t fuss. Dumb. I am so dumb. Was this my first night to put a child to bed??

You see, this isn’t a thing for us. I’ve rarely patted him to sleep, and then only when he was an infant. But last night, the boy wanted to be patted allllll the way to sleep. If I stopped for even a second, he arched up in bed, looked at me with crazy eyes, and yelled, “PAT!” When I started patting again, he would relax, tuck his knees to his chest, and close his eyes. 15 minutes into these patting shenanigans, I thought he was asleep and stopped patting. “PAT!” For the love. Then I put my head down on the crib rail while I patted, contemplating the ridiculous situation I was in, held hostage by a tiny, pat-demanding tyrant. Seriously! Who gets to scream “PAT” and have their diapered hind end patted ever so lightly in a continuous rhythm until they fall asleep? My toddler tyrant, that’s who. This lead to an escaped snort-laugh, which resulted in, “PAT!” from the child that was almost asleep.

While I was patting my way to peace, the girls were sharing a room next door. You remember why we needed a five-bedroom house, right? Because they cannot share rooms ever ever ever. But they were sharing a room. I had already been in multiple times, so once I was released from patting prison, I went to the girls (who were whining for separate bedrooms because each was keeping the other awake by talking…) and said, “Sleep by yourself? The next person to talk gets to sleep by yourself downstairs. Next to the piano. On the floor. It won’t be nearly as comfortable as the bed you are in right now. You choose.” Well, it wasn’t my finest moment, but they at least feigned sleep from that point on. Apparently sharing a room with two beds seemed better than the alternative of sharing a room with the piano.

You guys. Two hours. On the first night that I had to take care of my own children. Finally, we turned on our show, but I promptly fell asleep and had to catch up on the episode while I got ready this morning.

Here’s hoping that Seth will remember how to go to sleep at bedtime tonight, minus the patting. I already have a staggered bedtime schedule carefully mapped out in my head, leaving just enough time for each kid to fall asleep separately while giving me time to get a full West Wing episode in before my own early bedtime. Don’t tell my kids.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

From Wake Forest, With Love

To my 2013 self, who hopped in a van in Texas with three kids, a dog, and a baby on the way to follow a dream all the way to North Carolina: here are some things I want you to know.

Leave the dog in Texas. You’ll be back, sooner than you think.

Eat at Lumpy’s more often. Shuckers, too.

You will make friends here. Amazing ones. You will. It will really hurt to leave, but it shows you were loved.

Girlfriend, I know that mommy-brain is real and that you’ve been cooped up in that tiny apartment for so long, but please hear me: taking your children to DC while nursing a two-month old is a terrible idea. I don’t care how much you love the metro and the mole rats. Leave the kids with your sister and just go to Chili’s or something.

You will figure out the roundabouts and where to exit to go to your destination without driving in circles. It’s just going to take awhile. You will never figure out the seminary campus, just FYI.

1000 square feet is not enough for your family. I know minimalism is hot right now, but please…get a bigger place to live. Now.

You’re going to hear “no” over four hundred times while PJ looks for a post-seminary job. Your hearts are going to break over some of those. But there’s a really good “yes” waiting, when you guys finally say “yes” to what God is asking you to do. It’s in Waco. Don’t freak out.

Yeah, I know it seems crazy to drive 40 minutes to church, but trust PJ on this one. FBC Durham is where you need to be. Treasure every week at church, even when you can hardly keep your eyes open. You will be convicted and challenged and loved beyond measure. You’re going to ugly cry on your last Sunday. Just be ready, and bring tissues.

The seminary schedule is hard. Take care of yourself. Put the kids to bed early or let them watch movies and take time to rest. You’re going to run out of steam a couple of times, but God will provide relief just before you utterly lose your mind.

Throw away that book that tells you that your two-month old will sleep through the night. Burn it, even. News flash: that beautiful baby doesn’t sleep through the night until he is twenty-one months old! You’ll survive somehow. By the way, he likes watching Charlotte’s Web on repeat at 2 a.m.

Above all, enjoy your time in North Carolina. Those endless, oppressive semesters really do fly by and you’ll be at PJ’s graduation before you know it. He looks pretty spiffy in that cap and gown. Oh, and your daughter will try to wear doughnut-print leggings to the ceremony. Just hand her a dress.

Trust Jesus.

See you in Texas.