Monster Mommy Moment – Nichole Style

I swear that if I didn’t know better, I would think that today’s guest feature might just be my long-lost twin sister! Nichole from in these small moments is someone that I connected with immediately, and as I’ve gotten to know her better, she’s become someone that I’m very close to and consider an incredible friend. So please help me welcome Nichole to share a Monster Mommy Moment with us!

No idea what a Monster Mommy Moment is? You can read all about how my weekly feature came to be here.

Nichole and I have so much in common it’s actually scary…well, not ‘scary’ scary, but interesting scary. She’s more than a friend, she’s also my writing God mentor, and is one of the hosts of the red dress club…where I first got my feet wet in fiction and instantly fell in love with writing.

I was even lucky enough to guest post at her place for Small Moments Monday back in October. It’s one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever wrote, and was proud to share it there.

But more than all of that, Nichole is one of the most supporting, kindest, and strongest women I’ve ever met. She’s beautiful inside and out, and I’m honored to be a part of her life. And? It’s Nichole’s birthday today…HAPPY BIRTHDAY my friend!

So grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy Nichole’s Monster Mommy Moment!

———-
To Be Sure

Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare’s very long ears. He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.

Katie’s whispered words carried through the baby monitor.

Another day with no nap. With each day that brings us closer to her fourth birthday, naps are becoming more elusive.

So, we have told her that if she isn’t tired, she may get out of bed, select some books from the stack that we have placed by her bed, and get back in bed under the covers. We have reminded her that while we encourage her to nap, if she just can’t sleep, this is her other option.

“Guess how much I love you?”

Katie’s baby brother, Matthew, is an incredibly light sleeper, so it always worries me when she makes any noise at all, as their rooms share a common wall.

Naptime is just so precious.  I need naptime as much as they do.

“I love you as high as I can reach…”

One of my biggest weaknesses as a mother is my reluctance to let my children grow up, to take on more independence. To trust in their abilities.

“I love you all the way up to my toes!”

As I went to greet her, I planned to congratulate her on doing such a great job of following directions, for reading quietly and not waking her brother. I planned to sit by her on her bed and snuggle her for a bit.

When I opened the door, there she sat. On the floor. With her pile of pink blankies spread perfectly across her legs, her stuffed white kitties by her side, Guess How Much I Love You on her lap.

Not in her bed.

He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening. “Guess how much I love you,” he said.

Her proud smile was met by my frown and hushed words of disappointment.

And then her face crumpled.

“I love you as high as I can hop!”

She had been so proud of herself…she had been quiet, read books, and hadn’t woken her brother.

In my haste, I lost sight of the bigger picture. I lost sight of the fact that she had done a great job. Why did it matter to me that she was on the floor instead of in her bed?

“I love you across the river and over the hills,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.

Sometimes, I am so rigid in my expectations that I forget that I want my relationship with her to be malleable and open, strong and comforting.

I saw myself through her eyes. Frowning, stern.
And my heart broke.

“I love you right up to the moon…”

I sat down beside her, gathered her up, and apologized.

I apologized for failing to see just what a great job she had done…what a big girl she is becoming.

I apologized for not truly seeing her.

It is in those moments, when I lose sight of the wonder of who she is, that I’m least proud of this job that I’m doing as her mother.

It is in these moments that I am reminded that I need to stop to listen more…to take the time to encourage her to grow.

As much I as I would prefer to fight it.

…and whispered with a smile, “I love you right up to the moon—and back.”

———-

I know that as a mother, I do this so much more than I care to admit…focus on what my kids are doing wrong instead of what they’re doing right. Little things don’t matter – it’s something that I repeat to myself a lot! Thanks Nichole, for sharing your Monster Mommy Moment with us. Knowing that we aren’t alone or the only moms to ever do something like this is exactly why we share them.

And now you all see why I I’m such a fan of Nichole’s. She’s honest, and not afraid to experiences that some parents are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit to. She’s not afraid to put herself out there in a less-than-perfect light – and that’s why I am so glad that she has shared one of her Monster Mommy Moments with us.

Thank you my friend, for reminding us that we are all sharing the same experiences, that we’re all in this together and that we can learn from each other’s mistakes experiences.

Now go swing by in these small moments and say hello to Nichole, and if you’re new there make sure to tell her that I sent you. I know you’ll really enjoy her blog!

Comments

  1. As you know, I love Nichole! I find this post very interesting b/c Sadie only naps a few days a week but will stay in her room…have quiet time, read and play. She got busted BIG time this week b/c I let her have freedoms. Freedom to be off her bed. She broke my trust though when she colored all over her walls and furniture…not once but 4 times. Sigh…she now has to stay in bed and I installed a video monitor. I thought I could let go a little…but I just can’t!

  2. So sad when the kids stop taking naps. I have many times lost sight of what my kids are doing right and instead focus on the wrong.

    • That’s exactly it, Jessica. It seems as though the more I have going on…the more that I have to accomplish, the more apt I am to lose sight of all of the great stuff she’s doing.

  3. Naptime is so very precious, so your frustration is so normal. I am sure she will remember the hug and the cuddle more than the frown. There are many times I have to remind myself to slow down and see the moment for what it really is instead of how I wanted/expected it to be.

  4. Dear Nichole, it is good to see you over here … you always sound as tho you have it completely together, your nurturing comes thro in all of your words. This post that you think is such a transgression, so small really, but you see it as a flaw … what blessed children you have, to have a Mom who always looks beyond.
    and hello Natalie … always a pleasure to visit!

  5. Both of my kids are too old for naps. But on the weekends or vacation days, like today, I miss naps!

    Too many times I focus more on my own expectations than my children’s actions. They are not doing anything wrong, just doing it different than what I expected.

    I think many of us can relate to this beautifully written post. That is one of my favorite books to read to my kids.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Evonne…
      She loves that book so much. My husband has read it to her a million times…beginning when I was pregnant with her. :)

  6. Oh my…I saw myself in these words. I saw myself scolding, being stern when I should have simply not cared.

    *sigh*

    It’ll all be ok in the end though, right?

    Right???

    • It’s so tough, isn’t it?
      To have clear expectations…to help them grow into amazing adults, while still being soft and loving enough to show them that our love is unconditional.

      This parenting thing is tough.
      Where the heck is my instruction manual?

      Love you, my friend.

  7. I have definitely lost site of the big picture so many times as a mom. Trying not to focus on the little things is one of my goals this year. Some days are success and some aren’t but I continue to try.

    • If only we didn’t have 8 bajillion responsibilities as parents. How lovely would it be if all we had to do was love them and play with them!?
      It would be so much easier to focus only on the small things.
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your words with me. :)

  8. Oh Nichole, that was such a gorgeous post, with one of my favorite books intermingled. *tears*

    I saw so much of myself in this post, the part of me that wants things a certain way, the expectation of it, and my rigidity with it. I will keep these words you gave us in my mind and say them to myself when I am not looking at the big picture, when my kiddos are doing their job as children.

    thanks as always, for reminding me. :)
    xo
    *Hi Nat!*

    • Thank you, Kir!
      That is one of the best books ever. Craig started reading it to her when I was still pregnant. We would get into bed and he would put his face close to my belly and read it to her every night. Such a lovely memory.

      “Doing their job as children…” I can’t think of a better way to put that! So very true.

      Much love…

  9. As someone who hasn’t had naps in this house since about 18 mos old, we’re WISHFUL when we want quiet time. We rarely get it. I know how it is, though, when they try and we only see what they aren’t doing. Well written!

    • In that moment, when I saw her face truly change before my eyes, I felt so terrible. It’s so easy to lose sight of just how much our approval really means to them.

      It’s a good thing they are so forgiving, isn’t it?
      Thank you for reading, Andrea!

  10. I fought so hard to keep my kids in a napping routine. I need to realize that they change just like I do and I need to be more flexible for them. I am so rigid in my expectations – which always seems to backfire on me.

    What a wonderful and honest and beautiful post.
    xo

    • Thank you so much, Tracy.
      Rigidity doesn’t seem to work very well, does it?
      There has to be a healthy balance. I’m working really hard to find it. :)
      Much love, my beautiful friend.

  11. Sometimes it’s really hard not to focus on the little things.

    • Especially when that’s how your brain is wired.
      Me? Well, I’m all about the small things. Sigh.
      I’m working on taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. I really am.

  12. I’ve come to realize it’s all about choosing your battles. And I’m impressed with
    her reading!!

    • I think that picking your battles is a wise idea. And a skill that’s honed over time? 😉

      Oh, how I wish that she was actually reading the book. We’ve read it to her so many times that she just knows it by heart.

  13. I forget sometimes it is the small things that build a strong relationship not my demanding them so we can do what I thought we needed to do.

    • That’s exactly it.
      Relationship building. Why should we treat our children differently than we treat the other people we have relationships with?
      You are so wise.

  14. Lovely post, Nichole. I can relate to the rigid expectations – going with the flow doesn’t come as naturally to me – but we learn to forgive ourselves and better ourselves and move on. What great tiny teachers kids are.

    • Thank you so much for your words here.
      Forgiving myself is challenging. I think that she forgives me more easily than I forgive myself.
      I have learned more from my children than I ever dreamed I would.
      This parenting thing is truly remarkable.

  15. Happy Birthday, Nichole! I agree – sometimes we get so caught up in what they are doing wrong than right. It’s unfortunately just like life sometimes focusing in on the bad and not the good. I love nap time too! My oldest is just over 3 1/2 and we are starting to see it disappear. Sad day!

    • Elena…
      We’re still fighting the good fight. She naps about 9 times out of 10. And we’ll be starting preschool soon, so I’m hoping that helps. 😉

      Thank you so much for your words here. xo

  16. Happy Birthday Nichole! It’s so hard when we are aggravated yet kinda of proud all at the same time.

  17. One of my twins has frequent nap refusals, usually on the days when I desperately need a break. As frustrating as it is, she will come in with me and play or color quietly by herself for a long time. Or we get to read. Whatever it is, it’s very rare alone time that I get with just her. And looking at it through her eyes, it’s very rare alone time she gets with just her mom. :)

    • Leigh Ann…
      What a lovely little gift it is for each of you to have that alone time.
      And what an amazing mother you are to welcome that rather than think about all of the other things that you should/could be doing.
      We’ll blink and they’ll be off to college.
      Sniffle.

  18. Love ya both! Great story. I fear the day when naps get shorter and then stop. It is so lovely for now.

  19. I know this feeling, and I hate it. You did a beautiful job expressing the emotion, Nichole. And congrats on your big, good girl.

    Amen on needing naptime. I know I do.

  20. My mom’s famous parenting advice…..
    “Chose your battles and chose them well, as your children will remember long after you have let it go!”
    I never understood until I have had similar situations happen!

    Good thing children are the most forgiving!

  21. Beautifully written. I can sense your pride in Katie. A note from the other side of the nap spectrum: I celebrated the day my Katie (younger one) stopped napping. We were slaves to the nap schedule and once she gave it up we had so much more freedom in the day and she was in bed at 6:30 every night. But I do remember those days without naps. The 4 o’clock witching hour was so hard!

    • Thank you so much, Anne!
      She is such a lovely little girl and she so desperately wants to make us proud. I was so angry with myself for taking that away from her.
      A 6:30 bedtime sounds lovely!!! 😉

  22. Oh big sighs. I too can nearly recite that book by heart. Just reading it again in your post made me want to find Maddy and hold her tight.

    As the day nears that Maddy will no longer be an only child, I am doing my best to let the rigid “this is the way its done” attitude go, just so I can enjoy her. Its hard. Its hard to let go of routine, of expectations, of OUR plans.

    Oh Nichole, I love that you can share these REAL moments with us. Its hard to be a mom and harder when the world only paints the pretty pictures of motherhood. Thank you for the splash of reality and honesty. You’re still my mommy hero, maybe even more so!

    And happy birthday you old broad! I mean, hot mama!

    • I wish that I had savored those last days with just Katie even more than I did. Soak them in, my beautiful friend.
      Though you’ll still have special time with her after the baby arrives, the opportunities won’t be as plentiful.

      Thank you for your kind words…it’s so easy to talk about the ways in which we rock this mom thing. The mistakes are tougher…so much tougher.

      Love,
      Old Broad 😉

  23. Tim@sogeshirts says:

    Nichole you are one of the most loving parents around. I am sure that Katie will only remember all the praises and encouragement that you give her. Happy birthday!

  24. I do that too. It really is hard at times when we “need” that quiet time. I think it’s wonderful that you apologized to her. Our children need to realize we are only human too. I get frustrated and frown more than I care to admit…but I do always try to apologize for my haste…for my own agenda.

    Thanks for sharing this moment…we can surely all relate.

    And? Happy Birthday!

    • Thank you so much, Melissa.
      It seems that it’s my haste that’s at the root of every apology that I extend to her. I am guilty of biting off more than I can chew and then panicking a bit to get it all done.

      Maybe I need to learn better time management. :)

  25. I’m way too familiar with this battle, including the shared wall with a sleeping brother… My daughter does so many things right. Although I praise often, I am quick to attack the small mistake much more loudly than the praise ever gets.

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to do my best to remember this during today’s nap time.

    We do the best we can, each day.

    • The most wonderful thing about children is that each day is a new day. I am so grateful for that.

      And that shared wall? A nightmare! :)

      Thank you for reading and leaving your kind words.

  26. I love seeing Nichole here. And not just because I love her and her writing, but because she really DOES seem to have it all together. Her moments are always so beautiful, it’s “good” to know she does get angry. Although of course it’s NOT good…but she knows what I mean.

    This may be where Nichole and I are opposite…I tend to do well with going with the flow…but I also have not had to give up nap yet. Eek!

  27. What a fantastic read! Warmed my heart. I too focus more on what little man does wrong that what he does right some of the time. Especially now that I am pregnant and hormonal, and no that’s NO excuse and I DO need to work on it but it’s nice to know that everyone makes mistakes when parenting and I am not alone. Thank you!

  28. Naps are fleeting in our house. Sigh. I don’t don’t what I’m going to do with myself when they are gone for good.

    A lovely learning moment for all of us. Thanks, Nichole.

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