Real Life Mama: By sheer power of will


By Sarah Shrader - Guest columnist



This is not a pregnancy announcement. I feel the need to start off with that so as to make sure we are all on the same page. Our family is complete. And besides, with the orneriness of Reagan, I am not sure we could handle another child.

But speaking of Reagan, this silly child recently decided that she wanted to do an overnight pregnancy challenge. Yeah, the same reaction I had. While holding back laughter as my spunky 4-year-old unzipped her feetie jammies, stuffed a plastic ball in by her midsection and zipped it back up, I questioned where in the world she got this idea. Not surprisingly, it came from good ol’ YouTube.

Many times, I have heard my girls talk about 24-hour challenges — staying in the bathroom for 24 hours, only eating candy for 24 hours, Mom has to only say yes for 24 hours. Of course, we have never actually done one of these challenges. I mean, let’s face it, I can barely get my girls to brush their teeth for longer than 24 seconds. They would never be able to withstand any sort of challenge for 24 hours.

Or so I thought.

You see, I underestimated Reagan’s drive; if she puts her little mind to it, she seriously can do anything. And while her initial goal was only to do an overnight pregnancy challenge as opposed to a full 24 hours, she was determined to sleep the entire night with that ball under her jammies.

I am sure you are questioning my parenting right now. This woman not only lets her kids watch YouTube (sometimes Mommy just needs a few minutes, OK?) but she also is condoning a 4-year-old pretending to be pregnant. To be honest, I actually questioned it at first, too. Am I sending the right message? Will she think getting pregnant young is a cool thing to do?

But then I remembered that she is 4! She thinks the way you get pregnant is by the act of getting married. See, now it sounds like we are instilling some good qualities, huh?

Our most recent pregnancy conversation went like this:

“Mommy, I want a baby brother.”

“Sorry, baby, Mommy and Daddy cannot make any more babies.”

“Well then, you will just have to remarry.”

“Um, no! I am married to Daddy!”

“I know. You and Daddy will just have to get married again because when you get married, you have a baby”

So, yeah, I’ll leave the birds and bees talk for a later date and embrace her hilariously, stubborn ignorance of wanting to sleep with a ball under her jammies. Seriously, I think every kid at one point has put a ball or balloon under their shirt and acted like they were pregnant. I know I did. And heck, most nights it’s a struggle to even get Reagan to put jammies on, so if she wants to take this challenge and is dressed and ready for bed, then let’s do it!

Come to find out, trying to sleep while being pretend pregnant can be, well, a challenge. Who would have guessed it? After some flipping and flopping around on the bed, I told her she would have to forego the challenge if she didn’t go to sleep. Oh, this child was not losing! Determined that she could do it, she was sound asleep within minutes of my warning. OK, maybe we should do this challenge a little more often; it may make bedtime go smoother.

Ah, but the burning question: Did she make it through the night? Let’s just say that when the bed-stealer came in to cuddle half-way through the night, she was lacking a pretend baby. However, upon waking in the morning, she didn’t skip a beat. Immediately she zipped that ball right back up in her jammies.

And honestly, I couldn’t help but smile at my sweet, determined little girl. Her wild imagination, strength of will and complete belief in herself not only tests daily me but also completely cracks me up. I swear God sent this one to me to remind me to laugh without measure, always do my best and — even if I don’t quite knock out a challenge — get up the next day and start where I left off. Oh, and she always keeps me both on the edge of my seat and on my toes.

So no, no new babies in the family — or grandbabies (thankfully)! Just your everyday weird family over here doing random pretend pregnancy challenges and literally laughing our way through life. But truly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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By Sarah Shrader

Guest columnist

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.

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