Mommy Monday – Flourishing in Play
Hey mamas. Today Brittany is sharing. Brittany and I met through church at our MOPS group. We were not in the same group and have not had the chance to sit down and make a personal connection (yet) but she is the sweetest and has the most darling little kids! Do you ever just meet people and barely know them but you can feel that they are awesome and sweet and kind? That’s how I feel about Brittany. I hope you enjoy her playful perspective on motherhood…
“What’s wrong with her? Why won’t she play with the toys I gave her?” I asked this question to my momma as we stared at my peacefully sleeping three-week-old.
My three week old.
Go ahead and laugh. It is funny.
Friends, I was absolutely clueless as a brand new momma. Now, to be fair, at the time that I asked this question I was running on next to no sleep. I was also muddling through the first signs of what would eventually become full blown postpartum depression. Physically and emotionally I was a giant mess by week three of motherhood and I can’t give much credibility to my deduction skills at that point.
So maybe, just maybe, there was a little more going on behind all of that naivety. But none the less, if you’ve been the momma of a newborn for much time at all then you know — week old babies do not play.
They sleep. Or they don’t sleep (depending on the type of baby you got). They poop. They hiccup. They concoct funny little expressions with their faces as their eyes adjust to the light of the new world around them. They cry. And then they sleep some more.
As far as my philosophy of play is concerned, I’ve come a long way in my six years since becoming a momma. I’ve learned that it is perfectly acceptable for a pig tail sporting toddler to wear the same tulle embellished princess dress out of the house for a month straight…and sleeping in that dress is no exception. Pizza and juice stains are okay too. Eye rolling from mom is not allowed because after all, she is a princess. Bless it.
I’ve learned that little boys love everythiiing on wheels. And that includes the neighborhood garbage truck. And it will become a Wednesday morning ritual to sit on the front porch and cheer for that garbage truck while it drives and makes stops along the way. I’ve learned that I too am to share in that excitement.
I’ve learned that building living room forts may be the next best thing to waking up on Christmas morning. That hide and seek is always better when The Tickle Monster is invited to play along too. And, I’ve learned that this momma hates (I mean despises) making little toy figurines talk.
Anyone else with me on that last one? For years I have driven myself crazy with guilt over this dirty little secret. If I’m really being honest, I would prefer to visit the dentist over being forced to sit on my living room floor and make Barbie Big Boobs talk in a sing-songy voice. First, there’s an inkling of jealousy over her well-endowed figure. Then there’s the loss of adult dignity I feel when I’m forced to enter Barbie’s make believe world. I’ve often found myself wondering, “What kind of momma doesn’t like to play with her kids?”
Around the time of my daughter’s second birthday I decided enough was enough. If I could accept an eccentric princess to accompany me on my trips to Target each week, then she could certainly expand her idea of “play” for me as well, right?
And so, I began to invite her into my world. The world of making banana muffins for our new neighbors, while teaching her to crack eggs and also that new people love to feel welcomed.
The world of running errands to Home Depot where we buy flowers and then plant them together in our yard as a surprise for daddy.
The world of gardening and squealing together over our first harvest of squash and the signs of our first budding tomatoes. The world where September 1st is always Happy Fall Day and we do everything Autumn related including shopping for new fall boots and smelling every new scent at the Yankee Candle Store together.
These are the things that I love and these are the things I am teaching my babies to love as well. These are the ways I am embracing who I was before I became a momma while I invite them to embrace and love this girl too.
You see Mommas, I don’t think playing with our little ones has to mean we are reduced to yoga pants and messy buns while sitting cross legged on the playroom floor, watching the clock and counting down the minutes until daddy walks in the door to be our saving grace.
I don’t believe God’s vision of flourishing in motherhood was ever that we should be made to feel less ourselves simply because we are in a season of nurturing and cultivating relationships with our children.
What if we expanded our vision of play to include the identity of who we were before we added the role of momma? What if we chose to introduce our little ones to that girl and invited them to love her too?
I bet they would embrace her for all that she was and all that she is and all that she is becoming. I bet they would want to be just like her. When you became a momma, you didn’t lose your identity. You simply expanded that identity and added a whole lot of beauty to it. I say this because maybe some of you are like me. Maybe some of you have felt lost in the midst of your role as “momma”. But that’s just so far from the truth.
You are still you. Now you just have the princess and super hero sidekicks to tag along with you.
You are still the girl who loves long distance running. You are still the one who loves theatre and dreams of someday wowing an audience again. You are still the artist, the singer, the writer, the yoga teacher, the lawyer, the animal lover.
No, Thomas the train did not ride in and take over. Barbie’s voice has not silenced yours. Choose to believe that you are more you than you ever have been and invite those babies of yours into the world of loving that girl too.
Photo cred: Jessica Fox with Pix-Elated Photography
“Brittany is a big city girl turned little mountain momma. Six years ago her little family left the city skyscrapers of Chicago for a new adventure near the mountains of Colorado.
At the time of their move, Brittany was walking a really hard road of postpartum depression. Brittany began writing over at Little Mountain Momma as a way to heal and rediscover the girl she was before she became a momma. She says, ‘Becoming a momma didn’t cause me to lose my identity… it simply expanded it.'”
She is still the girl who loves long distance running and thinks road trips were invented for her. Brittany still gets lost in cheesy 90’s childhood reruns and is a firm believer that everything is better with chocolate chips. These days she writes as a way to encourage mommas and to let them know they are loved and seen. At the end of the day, she believes we all just need that constant reminder!
Isn’t she great? While I was reading this I was sitting on the floor. In yoga pants. With my hair in a messy bun. Covered in food, spit up and who knows what else?! HA! I was laughing by myself while my kids ran amok around me. This was so great for me to read through. A good reminder than you don’t need to feel “trapped” into kid activities just because you’re a mom. They love doing the things you love (aka baking, reading, etc). I will be more intentional to let my kids into my world more often.
FYI, you can read all Mommy Monday blogs by clicking on the “Mommy Monday” tab on the top column of my blog. If you are reading this on your smartphone and don’t see the top column (under my logo) then scroll to bottom of this post and click “view web version” and then you will see the top pink column where you can click on Mommy Monday to read the other posts by these amazing mothers. Hope that makes sense! XO
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