Sunday, November 14, 2010

spidey, a 4 year old, and being a mom. a good one.

what is it to be a good mom? i'm thinking out loud here.

seriously, though. i often ask myself what it means to be a good mom. good being someone that would be considered above average in...what?

*is in loving one's children?
*teaching one's children to read in a timely manner.
*is it non-matted hair and cleanly dressed children that prove to the world that yes, i am a good parent.
*is it the fact that our babies gain weight when they should, smile when smiled at, and want to be share with others.

are exceptional 'mama hood' skills based on the age when a child can make their own bed?
if it's the earlier the better? (i failed)
*is it the passion with which we speak of our children and in my case, maybe write about our children and their lives and the adventures that come from being a parent to them.
*is it that way we honor or discipline them.

*is it measured in the ingredients we buy to prepare a homemade meal.
maybe it's just a meal period. fast food or otherwise.

i often sit and wonder who and what decides the level of measure used in which to grade: ability, love, and skill level in parenting. who gets to do that?

we have heard many times by our parents that we {at birth} didn't come with a manual.

isn't that the truth.

i remember thinking that i was glad babies didn't come with manuals because, being the insecure new parent that i was, i didn't feel that i was doing many things the 'right' way. i almost definitely felt that i could always do better: i should give medicine to a screaming baby quicker; i should master the transition of sleeping baby to crib with not so much as a soft whimper before the little bundle fell dreamily back to sleep; i should master the laundry, dishes, and vacuuming of the house all while the baby slept in 45 minute intervals before the next feeding where once again a cracked and sore nipple would nourish the ravenous little angel back to sleep; i should have thank you cards out in timely manner; have a perfectly coifed home that smelled good and opened it arms to any visitor that happened upon us.

is being a good mom one that always looks good before the hubbster returns home from work? one that doesn't complain about the day's monotony or boast of it's rewards?

is it being a good everything while not being able to shower in peace OR maybe being a good mom is not minding at all that you have to lather your head and body in one quick minute while running a dull blade over your hairy legs while brushing your teeth with the other hand all while watching your baby through the steamy haze of the bathroom shower pane...scream and writhe in the bouncer seat?

....after all, it's just one little baby.

dinner, makeup, showers, and teeth brushing all seemed to be these huge unmanageable tasks. things that i took for granted before becoming a mother. we are all guilty of that. but what did we really know.

we knew that by becoming a mother, we were giving up a part of ourselves to be something bigger to someone so small. we do willingly and without thought or complaint.

we vulnerably love our babies when they are sick. we rock them back to sleep in the dark and quiet night. we tiptoe back to bed a few times before daybreak and before anyone even realizes we were gone. we remain tired for months. we love, we worry, we do the best we can with what we have read and think we know. what i know now is that we don't know anything about anything and being sleep deprived, dirty, and maybe a few pounds heavier with baby weight doesn't help our esteem either.

we love our babies. our toddlers. our children.

when we mothers become busy juggling a hundred different things that are both on our 'to do' list and wish-to-get-done is really easy to question yourself. at least at one point it was. it was until i realized that being a good mom has nothing to do with how quickly your child can read, tie his own shoe, or say their ABC's backwards.

no, it has absolutely nothing to do with that.

it also has nothing to do with how clean the house is or how small your laundry piles are. you forgot to change your baby for three hours? it's okay. we've all been there and we will be there again. one dirty diaper does not a shitty mother make. sorry. no sir.

and if you're not doing your best, then you know you need to make changes, but for the most part...we're rocking it out.

so, if i were in a college class and i was asked the question i have been pondering for over an hour. i may say...

that what makes a good mom to me is one who loves her children passionately and with everything she is. one who tells them they are proud of them through their mistakes and celebrations. they are both needed. i would say that their is no such thing as perfect and that winning is by far, not the most important part of game. quite the opposite if you asked me.

i think that part of being a good mom is being open to other's criticisms even though it is not easy; saying sorry and being open to forgiveness.

i would say that it may have more to do with the things that can't be measured than by the things that can.

to me, being a good mom is saying to hell with something that can wait and going the park or building a castle out of blocks. sometimes, being a good mom means that we have to say that playing is for later, "i'm busy now guys. go play on your own!"

maybe being a good mom is cooking with your kids or playing a special sport with them. maybe it's reading a book each and every night until they learn the words they need to know or maybe it's skipping the reading and telling your daughter that she is strong, worthy, and just as special as any other little girl in school. it's teaching her how to treat others the way that she herself would like to be treated.

to me, being a good mom is being the kind of friend that i want her to be and to be blessed with. it's being able to look at your baby and know that they need you forever and just as you and i are growing, learning, and adapting in this life...they are too and they need us now more than ever to be the best role-models we can be.

maybe it's asking them how their day was. maybe being a good mom is giving a hug instead of of spanking or a good yelling at. maybe it's the opposite.

what i am learning is that we need to listen to our kids. get on the ground and look up into their eyes when they talk to us. fall asleep with them while watching a movie even if you don't have the time. (you needed that nap anyway!)

being a family in whatever capacity that is to you...this is what's important to me.

being with each other and treating one another with respect and love. being in the present and being real, 'cause let's face it, we all make mistakes and can find room to improve. knowing that, reflecting on it and making that change...that makes us good anything!!!

loving and accepting.
supporting and teaching.
encouraging and feeding (spiritually as well as physically).

and by all means it means greeting them at the door with a huge smile and an excited hello!

and sending them out in the world with a full tummy and warm heart. it can be rough out there, but making a home they can fall into is what makes a good parent.

and even though at one time i thought there were...there are no rules.

knowing that time and moments are numbered and fleeting we should be making the best effort to remain true to ourselves while respecting that simple and irreversible truth.

love your babies. want to be with them. they feel it. they get it. they're onto us!

here's to a new week filled with more time together. i struggle with the balance of it all, i really do, but doing my best and loving this life and the lives we have been blessed with.

so, a perfect parent. hell to the no! a good mom. hear, hear. oh yes! thank you;)

our baby turned 4 last week. four years old.
it's at times like this that i want to freeze time and remember every last detail...




i want to remember how he takes my hand and kisses it for no other reason other than that he loves his mama. and he does it ten times a day. and i know it will stop and it would be weird it if it didn't eventually, but for now...i don't want it to stop because he is my little baby boy and i just want to eat him up. is that normal?

i love his serious face. the face he gets when he's trying to think something through. in an instant, that little face with crack the biggest smile and he will screech the friendliest greeting. it's our boy. it's who he is!

who he is is a spiderman lover!
he begged for a spiderman cake, a spiderman halloween costume, and real sticky hands just like spidey himself. he protects us from dragons and quicksand!

we celebrated with pizza, a few friends, and a token-a-picture...
which is a good thing because i didn't bring my camera! i'm loving this picture though.

happy 4th birthday, bubby! we love you, sweetheart!

one busy afternoon and a last minute trip to the splash park down the road and we had ourselves a grand time. i napped under a florida tree with nella bean while peyton, beckham, and lainey ran around the puddles like birds do in the summer time.

we ate toasted pumpkin seeds and drank kool-aid!


we kissed,
we talked about why the birds flew away every time peyton tried to catch one,

and we watched other kids play with brothers and sisters. it seemed like a pretty normal thing to do, but being here is's not. with the scratchy grass, red ants, and scorching heat, we don't often have ourselves picnics at the park. but we took advantage of the cool front and it was fabulous!

when it was time to head out, the kids wrapped their shoulders with the capes lainey had chosen just for them, so we made like superheroes and jumped!



being cooler out and with a couple of hurricane make-up days...we filled some of the time with a tea party in our front yard.





we ate fruit snacks and lunch cookies...and the most delicious pears. perfectly ripe.

photos courtesy of beckham d!








and when the good weather rolls in, the tablecloths are rolled out (the cheapo one that we used when we went camping last year, but fit the italian theme and i was serving lasagna!)


and we eat outside for lunch...



another little lovely that picks up when the air turns cooler and the christmas lights are beginning to be hung on high branches...
beautiful families grace my lens with their beauty. being busier poses some juggling, but i can't think of a more fun 'job' to master my juggling skills for.

ashley and tim just built a house and wanted to celebrate it with memories together before they start a family. i loved the idea and can i just say that i had am AMAZING time with these two love birds.

hello, beautiful people!

the other two shoots are geared toward the upcoming holiday and you know that nothing else can get me any more excited. well, maybe spotting santa's sleigh over my house with all of my shopping done and wrapped up budget style would would get me all giddy too!

leah and her boys are precious together!

sweet, sweet family!

another adorable family...

fun and quirky! loved hanging with them.

recipe post is done! now i just need to get the photos uploaded! a giveaway on the next post after that...two actually!!!

i hope everyone is staying warm and cozy! make some hot cocoa and clutch a quilt for me.

oh, and hey...
don't ever let anyone try and to take your good away. and if someone else tries...plant a firm boot (or flip flop) on the ground and feel what you know to be true about yourself.

and as a best friend would say... to thine own self be true!

we know we are rocking it out one day at a time!


Kate said...

The pictures stirred my soul as always. The new header on your blog is amazing of your precious babes. Oh yes to the good mom!!! I loved this post it was so love filled. I hope this season of life has you grabbing all of the "for no reason at all" moments as savoring each second. Life does pass by to quickly and those precious babes grow into adults in a blink. Sending you much love my friend that you heart can hold. Bless your precious little family. You are a extraordinary mama!!!


Rhonda said...

You talking about Motherhood are my all time very favorite posts....You have us all figured out, Motherhood is such a universal bond!!
This and your post that your wrote at the club with your fears about P starting school is filled with so much emotion bring so much emotion out of me!!
I love your outlook on parentint!!
P & B are very lucky to have such a wonderful mom, and we are so lucky to be sharing it all with you!!
Hugs from PEI


Maria said...

Universal truths about motherhood, for sure. Looks like you nail it everytime by the looks on your kids faces. The are beautiful, happy, loving
(love, love, love the pic of you holding Nella & getting a kiss from Becks).
Is this weird, hearing a stranger calling your kid Becks? I feel like I know you all through these blogs but I would think it seems weird..sorry. Anyway, looked forward to a new post & this one delivered. Love your pics.

Jen Biasi said...

Heids, that photo of you and peyton is incredible! Is there a photography school for 4-year-olds? If so, sign up Beckham NOW!
You and I appear to be on the very same wavelength these days, what with the whole "perfection vs. imperfection" and "trying to bottle up the baby-ness"...
Good stuff, per usual. Love you.
(And holy eff, making a plain ol' lemon look spectacular!!)

Shaams said...

I have missed you! The pictures are beautiful, you are beautiful, your girl is looking so old and that boy of yours, adorable! What a fantabulous momma you are!

Can't wait for the next post!

Anonymous said...

You know friend..I think this post is one that will go down in the record books as "extraordinary." The tissues in the waste basket are proof! I remember 5 years ago when I was told I had cancer..the things that went through my head!! Oh could Gregg raise will she ever know how much I adored her and who would help to guide her to be the true. one. and. only. Gracee. Well I decided that I was gonna make it and that I was never going to take one single day with her for granted. I have stuck to my guns. I went from my very sterile everything in place house to one that on some days looks as if 50 people live in it and nobody puts anything away. I have spent five years doing nothing but trying to discover who my girl is...and in the process I found the real me. Not the "I have to please everyone" me...but the one who if fun is calling us will leave a pile of laundry in the middle of the pantry and not feel guilty about it. I found out that I am a very creative, free natured spirit. I found out I am a fighter. I found out that I am a peacemaker. And I owe it all to being a good mom. How liberating...I feel like I am giving my girl the best gift in the world..I want her to always look at life like a big adventure, full of learning and loving. I want her to never cave to the critics or bullies that want her to be just like them...I want her to fight for what is right not what is the easiest. You know I am a much stronger more confident woman now that my girl is in my life. I am a good mom.
Sorry to have taken up so much space on your comment section...but we do not live close enough to have this conversation over a cup of coffee and a cupcake so this will just have to do. ♥

ps. Happy birthday to that heavenly little chap that makes me swoon with those chocolate lollipop eyes...and again this was a lovely post.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amie said...

I agree...if you're a mom, you KNOW there's no such thing as perfect. You just have to let them know that they are ALWAYS loved, and the rest works itself out!!

Emerson is jealous of your tea party-we may have to do the indoor version here in MI. The snow will be here any day!

Rebecca said...

I love the new look! So classy and elegant!
This was beautifully written... aren't we all just trying to figure it out! xoxo

Anonymous said...


This post was exactly what I desperately needed to hear. Thankyou. Another sign that God has a plan... your words of truth and expression affirmed and comforted a random reader in exactly the way they needed to be comforted... your photos are beautiful...your clients must be overjoyed... i know i would be... your header is pure magic... another shot could never capture exactly what that header captures... thankyou for your words and writing... i really needed to hear that... and to GraceesMommy, thankyou so much for your commment... I struggle with trying to please everyone and wanting my house to be 'in order' but I do know what really matters... and I've been continuously working on living that truth... and not feeling guilty for letting go... i loved your comment and it helped me... so thankyou both.

Much Love, Val-Marie

Anna Ruth said...

I love all the Christmas pictures, it makes me so excited that it is coming right around the corner. Oh and Beckhams pictures are just adorable. He is such a little handsome boy. The tea party with the kids is for sure one way that makes you an AMAZING mom!

Sarah said...

oh, I'm going to have to read this one a few times. I love it! you are a wonderful mother and as Shakespeare would say, the elements are well mixed in you. I wish I lived closer to you so I could get you to take pics of my family, so thanks for the tease!

Jill said...

Oh, Heidi...I love this post about being a mom, a good mom!

Love, Jill B. (Overland Park,KS)

heather said...

Beautiful! All of it. Every word and every picture. An amazing post on what it means to be a mom.

Kelly Hutcheson said...

I've always thought that a mom that loves her kids and shows them daily is a "perfect" and "really good mom". There's no such thing as perfect except from the kid's point of view and that's all that really matters.

Btw, Beckham needs his own camera stat! That solo shot of you is the bomb-zola!


Kelle said...

One of my favorite parenting quotes is "there's no one way to be a perfect mom but there are a thousand ways to be a good mom." And you are exploring all those ways which makes you fabulous. Love the pictures! Leah's family ones are beautiful too. xo

Anonymous said...

Heidi - thanks for such a great post to help us all look at who we are as moms and know that good days or bad we're doing just fine. I'm fast on my way to having a newborn in the house again and the thought of going through late night feedings, days without showering and piles of dirty diapers is a bit daunting. Thanks to posts like yours I know I'll rock it out just like I did the first time!

Enjoy your great Florida weather, some parts of Canada are snow coated already!

Proud Mommy Tara said...

Hi Heidi,

I am a follower of Kelle's blog and found your beautiful blog through hers. Reading what being a good mom is to you was EXACTLY what I needed yesterday. You really made me smile and you outlook matched my own.
Your children are absolutely beautiful and I am really enjoying your photos and everything you share. Just wanted to say hi and thanks for the lift on a day when it meant so much!


Heidi said...

kate...tears. thank you.
missy, congrats. a new baby. i'm so happy for you. a tad jealous too. i
rhonda and joy, your comment made me cry. i'm so emotional these days.

maria, totally know what you mean when you feel likeyou know someone from blog world. it is really so cool!!

val-marie & glad this post helped in some small way. we're all just trying to figure it out. helps to know we aren't alone!

xoxoxo all of these comments are so real and honest. i flippin love that.

Maria Lamb said...

I just made a nomination for you.

A friend sent me the link to your blog. I am photographer and she said you and your friend, Kelly post tips.

I didn't expect this post. I needed it today. This is a good piece of information for other moms and I can see that it came from your heart.
Thank you. From my heart.


Patti said...

Heidi- this is crazy, but I just got online to come to tell you we made your pizza recipe(for like the 4th time this month!)and there was your comment on Lily's blog about my husband's letter..too funny, I feel like we just had a spiritual blog moment LOL!!!:)
Anyway- my husband raved and raved about that pizza- he was like- Babe! I'm serious- you could start a restaurant with this! I did give credit where credit is due: I told him "This is the famous Heidi Darwish Pizza." hehe
So ALSO, my daughter finally got her canon! And got her website up and must go check it when you have time and give her some tips. She's inspired by your beautiful photos.
And ONE more thing- we took a pic of the pizza and I'm linking back to your site to your you'll be famous all the way to Oregon:)

You look lovely as always!

Anonymous said...

Dear Heidi.....
What does it mean to be a good mother??? It is a never ending journey.

Your beautiful, loving babies only want your attention, maybe a peanut butter sandwich a trip to the park or a treasure hunt.

For the love of God - how can you go wrong - look at them - I could eat them up! They are totally under your mommy spell. They love everything you do at that beautiful age.

But if you want to know stress and worry or if you make the grade then wait a few years..... I'm just saying....Try being a good MOTHER-IN-LAW!!!

Ok when they meet the one - the love of their life (Oh my you feel like chopped liver) All I know is how to be a mom - I'll see if she wants some attention or a sandwich or go shopping? OMG what should I do?

Do I call too often - drop in unannounced to be friendly - No I should call the house first give plenty of notice or I could invite them over or is it just too much? Am I overbearing?

He used to think whatever I did was special (like new socks for his game) now he has someone special. What should I do?

I hate turning on the radio and hearing...the worse person I know...mother in law - mother in law.

But then there was YOU.. I am so lucky to have gained a daughter. It wasn't worth the worry. He was brought up to love and care for you and it doesn't leave me out of the picture at all.

Heidi - I know it doesn't sound like enough but I am so lucky to have you in my life.

From the voice of experience - you are a perfect mother! Also hands down the perfect daughter-in-law.

I must give kudos to Jeffy also - he makes me proud the way he fathers his babies.



Patti said...

okay, so after having a mother-in-law moment (I'm the dreaded one)..and wondering if I am overbearing..this just made me cry. such a sweet relationship you two have!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely...I am honored to be a part of this journey we call "Motherhood" and be able to share it so closely with you. You are an AMAZING Mom! Linnie's words... no way to describe how they touched me... I see being a Mother-in-law in a whole new light... I don't even want to think about my babies leaving me... okay this made me laugh, cry and probably made my kids think I am completely off my rocker...what more could I ask from a post..perfect balance...Maybe a glass of wine??? See you Saturday! XO Jenn

iColossus / Monster said...

Heidi, this was such a great post. And such a great question to be in the inquiry of...what is a good mom?

I guess it makes me think of my own childhood...what was there, and what was missing.

And so of all the qualities that are awesome and nice to have, for me the peak, the the emotional connection. Yes, that's it, for me.

Thanks for highlighting this issue, Heidi!

Beautiful pictures.



Mama B said...

I have to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog. I thik your children are absolutely adorable, and continue to get cuter with every picture you post., Beckham is on my list of favorite boys names... LOVE IT.

Kris said...

I'm never perfect at this wonderful, beautiful, fullfilling, awesome job of being a Mom. But I think that is what makes me good. :) My little guy and I....we learn together. We teach each other such important lessons. It's an amazing journey and I am loving every single minute of it. Thanks for sharing your feelings....I loved reading it and even though I don't "know" sounds to me that you've got it all the important parts figuered out. And the love, and the good? it shows in all your pictures. Keep it up, momma! :)

Sarah said...

Oh my, just read Sito's comments. SO SWEET!!!

My mother-in-law died of cancer 6 weeks before we got married (but we had an early wedding so she could be there:

so I hate to hear people criticize the mother-in-law too as I miss mine so very much.

patsy said...

okay you have me in tears!! heidi, you write so beautifully and your pics are amazing as usual!! and i LOVE the new header...your kiddos have your beautiful eyes :)

patsy said...

oh and happy bday beckham...and gracees mom's comment, oh my goodness...i am so sorry it took you going through something so difficult but so happy for you that you found your true self ;)

Anonymous said...

Heidi - you're an awesome mom! You are you and nobody can change that and thank goodness they can't. Your family is lucky to have you. Family first!!! Everything else can wait. Love your blog and your pics are out of this world. - Unise

Ashley said...

Heidi- Your blog and photography are amazing! Your children (& husband) are so blessed to have a Mama like you!! This is very inspiring and hope I can be a Mom like you describe someday!
Thank you again for taking our photos and doing such great work!

P-nut said...

so i couldn't get through this post without tears! thank you heidi! i'll be reading that one over and over..
so needed to hear that.
happy birthday beckham :) xo

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