Tuesday, November 6, 2018

How Diaper Changes are Shaping Me into the Woman God wants Me to Be

How Diaper Changes are Shaping Me into the Woman God wants me to Be 
By Abby Watson
It’s Monday afternoon and I just noticed my two year old smells like pee. He should, I mean it has been (several) hours since I changed his diaper and it’s practically hanging down to his ankles. It isn’t a case of being too busy or distracted, or even neglect. It’s simply this: I don’t have the courage to do it. When he was a baby diaper changes were so easy! He just laid there sweetly and let me go through the motions. Today, diaper changes are like a wrestling match with The Hulk: kicking, screaming, and smashing included. 
I try the ‘leg over the body’ maneuver, but it doesn’t work. Then I yell at him. Yell. Of course that doesn’t work either. Now I’m frustrated, and ashamed, and my heart is beating fast. Somehow I manage to secure the last latch on the diaper. Finally! He immediately stands up and rips it off with a single swoop of the hand. I pin him down for match number two. Then I try the pants. Each time I get a leg through he kicks it out again. I’ve reached my max. I’m certain there is actual steam coming from my ears. I throw the pants on the ground, slam the door, and shut myself in a different room. I lay down on the floor and cry. Like, ugly, angry sobs of shame and self-pity. 
“I’m so tired of this!” I scream to no one: maybe God. I’m better than this! How has my life been reduced to yelling at and fighting with a two year old over Every. Single. Diaper change?  I have serious skills that served me so well in the office all those years ago. Now, I can’t even change a diaper.  
I let myself think these experiences are degrading – slowly destroying the woman I once was. You know those people who say motherhood is divine? A holy calling?
Did they even have children? 
Interestingly, three minutes after our fiasco my two year old is no longer crying. He walks out of his room saying, “pants” and lays quietly on the floor while I finish what I started. He continues on totally un-phased by what happened, while I feel exhausted, sick, and angry the rest of the day.  It’s like he says “Mom. That’s just a thing I do because I’m two. It’s no big deal and it’s over now so I’m happy.” 
He forgets about it, but I make the diaper change, and my reaction, mean motherhood sucks. I’m a bad mom. My child is difficult and I should go back to work where I’m actually good for something. 
But it doesn’t mean any of that. 
It means that it’s hard to change my two year olds diaper and sometimes I get angry. It’s just a thing I do because I’m a mom and raising humans is not an easy task. It’s no big deal and I can move on now. Tomorrow I’ll bribe him with chocolate chips and diaper changes will be easier. See? I’m so creative and good at problem solving, and anyone who can get a diaper on The Hulk has some serious skills. 
At the end of the day, a diaper change does not define me. It’s just something I do not who I am. I still have those same skills I used in the office. I still have my hobbies and interests and things that bring me joy. I’m a stronger woman because I have to figure out how to manage difficult mom things, and perhaps that is what makes motherhood divine. Every challenge as a mother is refining me into the woman God wants me to be. No more mom-guilt and poor-me attitude. I choose to let myself struggle and make mistakes, and then move ontrusting that it’s all part of my classroom experience called Life. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Second Amendment

I've been thinking a lot about gun control today. Another mass shooting this week has a lot of people thinking about gun control.  Mass shootings are tragic and really do make me question our right to keep and bear arms. Maybe we're misunderstanding the original purpose behind the amendment.  It seems like we should make it harder for crazies to get guns. My dear Watson and I usually disagree on the subject. He loves guns and he loves his right to have a gun in order to protect his family. But, we've had conversations about how we will never own a gun for protection. A gun for protection means it's either always loaded, or the ammo is close enough that you can load it fast enough to actually protect your family.  This increases the risk of scary mistakes when you have curious kids. Our guns are for recreational purposes only (hunting and shooting targets).  If guns are just cool and fun to have, then again, maybe we should be making them harder to get. We don't want dumb people to have guns, right? (My dear Watson says that although we won't keep a loaded gun or ammo anywhere near, in the end, our guns really are for protection even if we never use them as such. I get his point). 

I did a little reading today and sort of reached an understanding about my stance on gun control.  It seems to me like the biggest issue for the founding fathers when they wrote the second amendment was to make sure they created a check (checks and balances ya know?) in the case of tyrannical government.  As long as the people are allowed to have guns, the government really can't ever become oppressive and tyrannical. Americans are born with an appreciation for our rights, and we'll fight for them. 

We met a lot of Asylum seekers from Africa while we were in Portland last year. They're running from their country because their government is out to get them. If they were gaining too much recognition at work, maybe they were part of a resistance group or just simply educated, the government would find them and kill them and their families unless they could escape. Many of them have scars from the savage abuse inflicted on them by their government. Many of them had to leave their families behind. I don't really know, but I'm guessing the people in countries like this don't have a right to bear arms. Or if they do, it's extremely difficult to get them. 

Our government is powerful, but if we're just talking about numbers, the number of people in our government is a lot less than even the number of people in my small city. Just the idea of that, and the fact that those people are allowed to have guns, places a check on our government. For me It's not so much about our right to actually shoot people (I don't support shooting people), but about our right to gather together and protect ourselves and our families from a tyrannical govenrment, should one ever come into existence. 

In the end, I support the right of individuals to own guns. It means we have to keep them affordable and they can't be too hard to get. I also support finding some way to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong kinds of people. My dear Watson says the hard thing about that is if you give them an inch, they'll go a mile.  If you add some controls, where will they ever stop? 

P.S. I don't claim to know everything. For me, this is about coming to understand how I feel about issues that affect me. Feel free to disagree. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to keep A 15 Month old Entertained...or Not

Since returning from Utah, I've been scouring the internet (a.k.a. Pinterest) for ideas to keep my 15 month old busy....on a budget, in small town, in a house with no AC.  This is my report on some of the ideas I found that worked for me. 


You can easily make your own Play-doh at home (sweet! budget friendly). It takes about 10 minutes to mix together, an hour for it to cool, and then 10 extra minutes per color that you want because you have to knead the dye into the doh by hand.   So after a couple hours you have yourself 3 to 5 colored play-doh balls and a sore hand and forearm. But the reward, oh the reward, is excellent.  This amount of work will give your 15 month old approximately 120 seconds of F-U-N. Put the play-doh in a Ziploc bag and it may take your baby long enough to open the bag for you to put away a few dishes. 


All you need is a little table or desk (found one for $1.50 at the thrift store, check!) and a few supplies like crayons, colored pencils, paper, tempera paint, etc.  You probably won't even get as far as painting because coloring with colored pencils will keep your 15 month old occupied for so long. 20 seconds.  Two marks on the page and you've got yourself a regular Picasso. Taking the colored pencils out of their case will buy your toddler a few extra seconds of play time.  


If you really want to keep your 15 month old entertained, Bubbles will mesmerize him for 5 whole minutes. One minute of you showing him what to do, a couple minutes of him dipping the wand in the bubbles and then IN his mouth, and then if you're really lucky, he'll dump the bubbles all over the floor and, BAM, a few more minutes of play time splashing around in a soapy mess. 

So after a few hours of prep time, a few dollars out of your pocket, and a boat-load of clean up, you can keep your 15 month old entertained for ten and a half minutes of your day. 

Pinterest Fail.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom's Day

My baby is one today.  I find myself more emotional than I expected as I think about how this time last year he entered our lives and we had no idea how much we loved him

This child has had 100% of my attention 24/7 for an entire year. He is hooked to my hip, my buddy, my pal. Even though I'd give anything for him to sleep well, I miss him when he sleeps. I love him so much. I'm afraid that as he grows more independent,  my love will somehow change. I don't want that. I wish I could put this love in a jar and save it forever. But, then, if I had jarred my love for him last year when he was born, I would never have known what it felt like to love him as much as I do today. 

My mom is famous for saying that love doesn't divide --- it multiplies. No matter how many children I have, I'll always have enough love to love them more each year. And so it goes on for infinity.

I've been taught all my life that the most important work I can do is within the walls of my home. I've been taught that motherhood is divine. The last year of motherhood has not necessarily felt important or divine. It has mostly felt hard. But, I believe what I've been taught is true, and I'm on a quest to KNOW it for myself. I'm starting an Instagram journal where every Monday I'll post something that helps me understand the greatness of my role as mother. I'll call it #motherhoodmonday.  I hope to keep it up for a year, and print a chatbook at the end of the year complete with all I've learned. I hope in a year I'll understand a little better,  and I have a feeling the learning won't stop there.

I love my mother, I love my mother-in-law, and my sisters who are my second third and fourth mothers. My friend said the other day that we are all growing to be mothers. These women in my life are redwood trees and have helped me become the little sproutling that I am. Thank you for watering me and helping me to grow. Here's to motherhood!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


For some reason I love Sherlock Holmes. I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized there is absolutely nothing to love about his character. No matter what show you're watching (or book you're reading if you do that sort of thing), he's self-centered, impulsive, tactless, and just down right mean. He's basically no bueno.

I decided the reason I love Sherlock Holmes has very little to do with him at all. I love his character only as it is made softer by the one person who could ever penetrate his hard shell: his BFF, Watson. 

Watson brings out the good in Sherlock. He (or she if you're an Elementary fan) possesses an incredible ability to cause Sherlock to think twice about his actions. And Sherlock doesn't think twice about anything. Watson shows us that Holmes does have a heart, does care about being good and does care about helping others. I love Holmes because of his deep-down goodness brought out by Watson. None of us would like Sherlock without Watson.

I just get teary every time a Sherlock character does something subtle to right his wrong after a good lecture from Watson, which he pretended not to hear or care about.

The thing about it is, I feel like we all have our own Watson. It just so happens that mine is actually named Watson. He softens my sharp corners, highlights my good side, continues to love me in spite of my insensitivities. He cools my jets when I'm going crazy, and together we solve all sorts of crime (okay not really crime). I am a much better person because of him.

Here's to wishing my dear Watson a very happy birthday. You're my everything babe, and we're gonna make it. 

Gas Forever

Baby boy is a little ornery these days. His gas is still going strong. His new thing lately is to grunt and push really hard while he's nursing. Sometimes he just goes right ahead and bites down while he's at it. OUCH! He doesn't even have teeth yet, so, that should be fun. I remember his first gassy night very well. He was 10 days old and my dear Watson had just left for Maine. He grunted all night long. I'm hoping his system gets worked out sometime in his life. He may have a hard time making friends if he grunts red-faced and cries every time he has to toot or poop. Can you imagine him at 16? Or 30? Aye aye aye. 

Pretty much no two days are alike. I feel like that's enough to make anyone crazy. I guess the trick is not to have expectations. Thank your lucky stars if it's a good day, but don't expect it to continue tomorrow. On the other hand, one bad day doesn't mean every day to follow will be the same for the rest of your life and all eternity. Not that I've ever felt that way, I'm just sayin. 

I should mention that he is an excellent sleeper at night. He sleeps 8 or 9 hours straight almost every night. 

And I should also mention that sometimes he turns his head, looks me in the eyes, smiles, and gives me a sweet kiss. Seriously? By the time my melted heart retains it's usual shape, I've forgotten everything that was hard that day. He's my pal. I love having him in my life. 

This was us after my half marathon last month. That was super fun, and I even caught up to and beat one of the girls I had my eye on to beat the whole time.

He has been loving the swing and slide at the park lately.
Chunky legs!

My dear Watson picked him up in his blanket like this and carried him around. You can tell by his face what he thought about that.
This is kind of like that face I was describing earlier. So sweet.

My crazy kid! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Super Power

Here's a riddle.  It's something I get forced into doing every day, and somehow becomes priority even though I don't want it to be. Although I finish it everyday, if I want to eat dinner there is always more to do the next day. I can't let it sit or it starts to smell. It's taking over my life. What is it?

DISHES. Okay, that wasn't much of a riddle. Oh well. Excuse my language, but dishes suck. To me, the extra cost of paper plates is so worth having fewer dishes. Seriously, it is sooo hard to stay on top of them. (Insert more complaining here because I really really hate dishes).  If I could choose a super power it would be a dish-doing power. With just a wink I would be able to unload and load the dishwasher AND do all the hand wash. 

On another note, this is what we've been up to lately.  

There's a small island just north of us called Mackworth Island. It's home to a school for the deaf and apparently a lot of fairies. There is a trail around the perimeter of the island, and for an on-your-honor $2, you can walk around it and enjoy some great views. There are a few places where you can build fairy houses out of the natural surroundings. There are rules about the houses like they can't be more than 3 feet high and you have to use natural stuff found on the island, etc. We saw some neat ones, but this (above) was definitely the Beverly Hills of fairy houses. Here's a view from the island:

We've been having families over for FHE (https://www.lds.org/topics/family-home-evening) each week. Here are some of the crafts we've been doing for the activity:

Button caterpillars.

Family hand art. Redd's pointer finger isn't really shaped like that. Something went wrong during the cutting phase. 

We visited another nearby lighthouse. You can walk all the way up to it by jumping along the giant rock path that precedes it. Then, on the other side you get a wicked spider show. There are tons of nasty webs and spiders. They ARE the spiders that bit Spider-Man, I'm sure of it.

And as always, Redd has been up to being adorable.

 Resting his feet on the stroller. We were just trying this out around the apartment complex. The straps don't tighten enough, so he isn't quite big enough for it yet.

Those hands are constantly touching and grabbing everything.