Wisdom from a Western Mama – meet Dana
You know that friend you have, the one with the really great laugh? Yes, that one. The laugh you know by heart. The laugh your memory summons with very little effort, even through the baby fog, the tired thirties and the expanse of country that stretches between you. My friend Dana has one of those laughs. It’s infectious really. Her laugh is fully representative of her fun-loving personality; it’s this welcoming blend of fun and light-heartedness with just a touch of mischief. We met in high school, and we’ve been sharing laughs and meaningful conversations ever since – whenever the universe allows it.
Dana visited with her family this weekend from Colorado and I got to meet her real life babies, which I discovered are even more precious and adorable in person than they are in pictures.
The last time we saw each other 4 years ago, we were dressed in matching ivory and sage strapless bridesmaid dresses, standing up in a friend’s wedding. Jack was 2 weeks old then. I was a new mom, completely stressed out, and wishing I didn’t still look so “pregnant” in my dress. It was so fun to catch up on more relaxed terms.
We thought it would be fun to get together and collaborate on some Q&A’s about staying sane while raising little boys. Dana shares her passion for health, and the love of her sweet babies over at Sandbox Meditations. Dana’s boys are Caleb (3) and Ashton (1). One more funny story I have to share about Dana. We went to college together for a semester and then she transferred to a different college. We were coming outside of a bookstore and a complete stranger walked up to Dana and proclaimed that, she is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Dana shyly said thank you and the gentleman walked away. I’m assuming stuff like this still happens to Dana. I forgot to ask her husband when he was here. Beautiful and kind, she’s a winning combination of both.
Without further ado, meet Dana. Her thoughts on what we can learn from our little men.
1. What surprised you the most about having boys?
I’ve realized that boys can never get enough snuggle time or loving touches from their mommas. As rambunctious as they are, they can melt with a momma’s touch. And I love that.
Also, it seems like little boys have this sixth sense to find the most dangerous item or situation wherever they are. It’s really a remarkable talent. We can be playing in a giant, grassy park. And they will find the one sharp object within miles. And then they will think it’s a great idea to put it in their mouth and run full speed.
2. What about your personality do you feel is best suited to raise boys?
I think I’m good at sprinkling a little magic on things. I mean, I’m pretty good in the creative department, and I love involving my little ones’ imaginations by bringing life to ordinary things. One of my three-year-old’s favorite items of all time is a house we made together for his Buzz Light Year doll, I mean action figure. It started out as a cardboard box. But it evolved into one amazing little house. Complete with a hot tub, slide, swing and umbrella table. All made out of scraps and miscellaneous household items. I think fostering creativity is right up there with compassion and self-esteem.
That and I’m pretty good at finding the humor in what otherwise would be my daily challenges and frustrations. It often comes down to this simple choice: right now I can laugh or I can cry. And I would rather laugh.
3. Where do you find inspiration when it comes to doing the right things for your little guys?
I take it day by day, and often it’s more moment by moment. I try to do the best I can in any given moment by simply being present for it. And sometimes I just tell myself that tomorrow is a new day, and a new opportunity to get it right.
When times are tough, and I’m feeling exhausted or frustrated, I try to remind myself that one day I will miss this. I’ve also found that by taking the time to write down my thoughts on my blog, Sandbox Meditations, gives me the space to reflect, find gratitude and even humor in my day-to-day experiences of raising boys.
4. Name one thing your boys changed in you.
Before I had kids, I never considered myself maternal. Nor was I in a hurry to have children. I was very aware of the things that you lose (or so I thought) once you have children: your freedom, your body, your sanity. But I wasn’t aware of the things that I would gain.
Now, I have this new appreciation for everything, being able to see things through my children’s eyes, seeing life as a fragile gift. But more than anything, I find myself connected to every other mother out there.
As much as having children can be confining (while they are young, and your world revolves around their schedule), it’s also connecting. I read about another mother’s pain and it’s my pain. I read about another mother’s miracle and it’s my miracle. I feel things on such a deeper level. My boys have made me experience life and love in an entirely new way.
5. What would you tell an expectant mama who just found out she’s having a boy?
I would tell her four things:
1. You’re gonna need a lot of coffee, sister. Boys are loud, energetic, crazy little creatures that smell like little wet puppies at the end of the day. But do they ever love their mommas. They need lots of space to run, jump, and explore and lots of encouragement, cuddles, and kisses.
2. Before having a boy, the sound of silence was synonymous with serenity. After boys, the sound of silence generally means they are up to trouble. Like eating a tube of red finger paint quietly in the corner. Never trust the sound of silence. And that brings me to my next point.
3. You know those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? They will be your best friend after messy little hands touch everything in the lower half of your house. You can never have enough.
4. But most importantly I would say this: Congratulations. You have just won the lottery. Your baby boy will break open your heart, allowing the love and light to pour in. And you will be forever changed in the best way possible.
A work-from-home mom of two boys, Dana, is an employee wellness manager, yoga teacher, personal trainer and wellness coach. You can follow Dana on her blog, Sandbox Meditations, focusing on staying sane, healthy and mindful through kids and chaos, where you learn to find the OM in your hOMe.
Check out my answers to Dana’s questions here.
Happy Monday all.