Monday, April 23, 2018

You are doing a good job, Mama

I have always felt it is sort of strange when people tell expectant mothers how good they will be at being a mom. Even when people told me that I would think, "You don't know that. I could be awful at this!" But now, after nearly 18 months of this whole parenting thing I have realized that those people are usually right. Don't get me wrong, there are some less than great moms out there, and I have had my days. But the truth is most of us are just plugging along doing the best we can, and that is all we can do. We love our kids, and we do what we feel is best. So we will worry about things like getting the right humidifier or baby bathtub or which brand of bottles is best. We will spend hours hand stamping gold polka dots on curtains for a nursery he has yet to sleep in. We will check to make sure he is still breathing before we go to bed each night and miss him until he wakes. We will feel like our heart may explode every time he cries because motherhood runs deep, and we are doing a good job.

It is so easy for us to get caught up on things like missing naps and not enough tummy time or eating an animal cracker that he had stashed in his room for an unknown amount of time, but the reality is those little moments are not defining ones. He will not be unintelligent because he skipped a few naps, and my husband pointed out to me once that he has never known an adult who couldn't hold their head up because mom didn't enforce tummy time. That animal cracker? It is better than when he leaned over and licked the grocery cart handle because I left the cart cover in the van. Everything seems so big when you are in the moment, but remember that you are doing a good job.

When you start to worry about your newborn getting off schedule or holding her too much or clipping her tiny fingernails, you are doing a good job. You are worrying about what is the very best for her. You are trying to give her the very best chance of growing and developing into a smart, well-adjusted human being. You don't want to clip her little finger off because even though you don't know anyone who has actually done that, it seems like a reasonable fear in the moment. You are navigating a huge life altering event, insane things happening to your body, and taking care of the most precious gift you have ever received on much less sleep than normal. And you are doing a good job.

 When you drop the baby off at his grandma's because you have been home with him for weeks without a break, you are doing a good job. It is hard. It is hard to never get a break, and it is hard to leave him. You feel guilty. You genuinely miss him. But it is okay to eat your lunch on the couch and watch your favorite show just because no one is trying to eat things off your plate and you can. It is okay if you just need some mama time and only hit the high spots on your cleaning day because taking care of yourself is sometimes the best thing you can do for your child and your spouse. You know that little person needs you at your best, and you are doing a good job to give them the best you have to offer.

When you have to go to work while someone else cares for a sick kiddo, and you can only check in on your breaks to get updates on fevers and puke counts, you are doing a good job. You are using your resources wisely, and even though you want to be there and wear all the hats, you are aware that you are only one person. That realization gives you power and gives your child the knowledge and comfort that they have many people to love and take care of them. They don't think mom shortchanged them. They think they got a bonus when grandma picked them up from school and spoiled them until you got home. Your child is happy and healthy, and you are doing a good job.

Just like all moms I have had my good days and bad days. One day is mostly battles, and another is a long afternoon nap for Henry and sweet kisses and playing outside and giggles at bath. You win some, you lose some. But really, in motherhood you are just winning...even when it doesn't feel like it. Even on those hard days when you are crying because he just won't sleep and you tell him he is making you crazy even though he doesn't understand, and you eat two Little Debbie cakes and worry that he won't be smart because he doesn't sleep enough for proper brain development...even on those days, you are doing a good job.

God knew the attributes your child would need in a mama. You were designed to meet his or her needs. You will continue to give him or her the best of you everyday, make mistakes, and get back up and try again tomorrow. And you are doing a good job.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

DIY Kid's Modern Art

When I was pregnant with Henry there was no one more thrilled than his cousin Georgie. She was so excited that I wanted her to be able to contribute to the room I was putting together for him. She loves to do art projects and always says she is just like me in that respect, so I had to come up with a project for her. I had included gifts from dear friends, sentimental keepsakes from family members, and I wanted this addition to be something special and lasting. It resulted in a one-of-a-kind piece that I will always treasure.

Since it is April and still cold and windy and feeling like February, I needed something to break up the routine of blocks, snacks, dinosaurs, cars, repeat. I thought this would be a good opportunity to bust out the crayons and share this fun and easy kid art that you will want to upgrade from a magnet on the fridge.

One of the best things about this project, besides how cute it turns out, is that it is so versatile. Almost any age can do it because you can use paints, crayons, pencils, or whatever age appropriate medium you have on hand. Just download the free template here and print out as many sheets as you think you will need. Then you can let the kids go crazy with whatever colors or designs they choose. It doesn't matter if they stay in the lines. I actually love how it turned out with Henry's scribbles spanning the entire page.

*In hindsight I would recommend letting them color the blank back side of the paper so there are no visible outlines of the triangles when you cut them out later.

After the coloring/painting is finished, cut around each triangle. If your kiddos are old enough, they can help with the cutting, or you can cut them out during nap time like I did. After they are all cut out you simply glue them onto another sheet of card stock in the same pattern as the template, and tada! Super simple and adorable modern art made by precious little fingers. Does it get any sweeter?

I would love to see your own versions of this, so be sure and share them on Facebook or email me here.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Three tips for styling your shelves

Not everyone is obsessed with styling, changing and rearranging their home as much as I am. It is a hobby of mine, and I can feel good about that because everything I do is to make my family and our guests more comfortable here. This is even more important to me since becoming a stay at home mom because it is space I live in pretty much all day every day. A messy house with problem areas and unfinished projects impacts my mood, so I am beyond excited to FINALLY have this cabinet completed and shelving completed in our living area.

I have had the three shelves there almost as long as we have lived here. This has fed my desire to constantly change things since I can rearrange my plants, books, photos and treasures any time the mood strikes. I get a lot of comments on my shelving and styling, so I thought I would share a few tips here.

Side note: I am one lucky girl to have a dad who can make pretty much anything. He does wood work, metal fabrication, and basically anything else I ask him to do. He likes the challenge, and I like my ideas becoming a reality. When I was struggling with this space and unwilling to pay a small fortune for custom cabinetry, he stepped up and knocked it out of the park.

1. Use items that vary in size.

When styling your shelves you want to use items that vary in height. For my shelves I chose my largest pieces first and alternated the height, and in this case, the material.  You want to avoid pieces of the same height right next to each other, and ideally you don't want two items of the exact same height anywhere near each other. After placing my bigger pieces I used a variety of smaller frames and other items to fill in between and ground the larger ones. You can use whatever you have on hand, and if needed, you can use books to elevate smaller pieces. Which leads me to my next tip...

2. Keep the eye moving.

This tip is especially handy when choosing your accent pieces. Once you have the base laid out with your larger pieces, you can be very intentional about what and where you plug in items that will keep the eye moving along. You could do this with several picture frames in the same color, multiple round objects, or like my example, repeating books and plants. Visual artists use this idea often to keep the viewers' eye moving throughout their work. For example, in a painting an artist may use multiples of the same object or repeating pops of the same color spaced in a way that visually balances the piece. It keeps the eye moving throughout the piece instead of getting hung up on one thing. The same goes for styling spaces in your home, such as a gallery wall or a large shelving unit. By repeating similar items you create consistency, and your eye will do the work to connect the dots.

3. Follow a diagonal

This goes right along with the first two tips. Once you have chosen your item/shape/color/size to repeat, placing them in diagonals will help your shelves feel balanced. See how my three plants create a vertical diagonal that moves your eyes down the shelves? Look again, and you will notice the books do the exact same thing. It isn't super obvious at first glance, but it is pleasing to the eye. Again, you could do this with a certain color, shape, size of photo frame, or any repeating feature really!

I hope this made sense. If I am being totally honest, all of this comes second nature to me. I am very visual and things like composition come very easily to me, but friends have pointed out that this isn't the case for everyone. I could go into a lot more detail on color scheme, texture, etc. but I wanted to share the basics of what to do if you are using what you already have like I did. If you have any questions, please send them my way!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's hard not being a mama

 Just after Christmas 2015, weeks after the above photo was taken, we found out we were expecting.

A week later I miscarried.

It is something I hope I never experience again and something I would never wish on anyone. I felt alone. I felt angry that the world just kept on moving along while I was grieving. I felt like I would never stop crying. I finally woke up one morning and realized that I would be okay, but the pain and fear don't just go away.

Longing to be a mama while surrounded by others who are expecting can be a dark place. Attending baby showers and torturing yourself with gender reveal videos on Facebook can foster a deep resentment and bitterness. Waiting is hard. Waiting in fear can be even harder. Waiting when you have had just a taste of the sweetness of motherhood only to have it violently stripped from you a week later is devastating.

I know more people who have experienced some version of this than those who haven't. And yet, miscarriages and infertility are something we don't talk a lot about. Instead, we continue to ask other women insensitive questions about when, how or why not. No matter how good the intentions are behind these questions, there are no words for the sting they hold to a woman longing for a child.

In an attempt to shed some light on something that is near to my heart and that so many women struggle with I have asked a sweet friend to share her perspective as she waits. There are not enough words in the world to communicate what it feels like to navigate this path, but I am thankful she was willing to share with us.

A couple months ago I was wasting time, endlessly scrolling through Facebook when a blog post someone shared reached out and slapped me right in the face. It was titled "Saying Your Dog is Your Baby is an Insult to Parents". Reading this post broke me. I don't take most things on Facebook too seriously, but this post really got to me.

Now I obviously understand that comparing children and dogs is apples to oranges. But for me, my dogs are the only living creatures I have to "mother" since my husband and I have struggled to conceive our own children. My dogs became my family when I was in college and have seen me through my best and worst times. They were at our wedding, come on vacations with us, they are a part of my family. Through my currently infertile tears I typed straight from my emotion a response that I realize the author won't read or agree with, but in that moment, it made me feel a bit better. Shortly after, my lovely friend Katie reached out to me offering comfort and support, and she asked if I might offer a few words from my perspective to share on her blog. I didn't hesitate for a second. One thing I've learned while on this journey is that when I decide to talk about it, I generally come across women who have fought a similar fight. I almost always find comfort by talking about my infertility issues with others. So, here's my story: My husband and I have been happily married for almost five years. We always knew we wanted children, and he would have been happy to get pregnant right away. I was more hesitant to jump into parenthood quickly. I wasn't too far into my current position at a job that requires me to travel frequently. I wanted to dive into work, travel and have some "us time" with my new husband. Fast forward 3 years, and I am turning 30 and telling him I'm ready. I pretty much assumed that meant I would be pregnant the next month.

After a year or so of casually trying to conceive my mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. In that moment, my entire world crashed down around me and my family. When the fog cleared, I suddenly was punched right in the gut with these cold hard realities: what if my mother is never able to meet my children? What if this is hereditary and there is something wrong with me? Why do things not seem quite right with my body? Less than a year later, we lost my Mother-in-Law to end stage Renal Failure. The guilt I felt from her never knowing her grandchildren was crippling. That set the wheels in motion to take charge of my health and dive into what was going on. Many doctors appointments, scans, blood tests, ultrasounds, biopsies and a hysteroscopy later, I was diagnosed with PCOS and Complex Endometrial Hyperplasia - which can eventually lead to endometrial cancer if not treated. I have completed my treatments for the Hyperplasia and am continuing my journey navigating PCOS, but in the meantime..I am still waiting to be a mama. When Katie approached me about what it's been like for me while waiting to be a mama for 3 years now, I started a list as thoughts randomly came through my head. Unfortunately I know there are women out there who can relate to many of these. Just know you are not alone in your struggle, and I encourage you to find someone to take the journey with you. 

It's hard not being a mama and feverishly searching for your name on those dumb “women that will get pregnant in 2018” memes on Facebook—as if they really hold all of the world's answers.

It's hard not being a mama and wasting money on pregnancy tests. You know it’s not going to be positive, but you can’t help but hope anyway.

It's hard not being a mama and instead mentally Putting “Dog” in front of every cute “Wife. (Dog)Mom. Boss” printed t-shirt you see.

It's hard not being a mama and hearing “Ugh. Enjoy it while you can. Kids change EVERYTHING,” from someone with children. I know that I don’t know how kids will change my life, but I desperately WANT to know.

It's hard not being a mama and having WAY too much house for just my husband and I but holding out hope that it will feel less empty some day.

It's hard not being a mama and feeling the enormous guilt of losing a parent before making them a grandparent. I’m still dealing with this as we lost my husband’s mother this past year. He was her only child. I feel guilty every single day that I wasn’t able to give her that experience.

It's hard not being a mama and feeling guilty because I haven't made my husband a father. He’s SO ready and SO capable. My heart breaks a little bit every time I see the longing in his eyes when he sees a father and child together.

It's hard not being a mama when you are a 32 year old woman on Facebook. The algorithms give you baby blogs, parenting advice, diaper ads, etc. Hey Facebook, how about you stop assuming things about me? I might just want to see wine and dog collar ads, okay?

It's hard not being a mama when you are constantly hearing about teen pregnancies and unplanned pregnancies by people who can’t care for a baby...why is it so easy for them? You can’t help but wonder, ‘why not me?’

It's hard not being a mama and avoiding the baby section in Target. It’s all so cute, and it just hurts that I don’t have someone to put in all the cuteness. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. (My husband does this too, which breaks my heart).

It's hard not being a mama when you go to your infertility appointment, and the nurse practitioner is super pregnant. Seriously? 

It's hard not being a mama when someone asks "When are you guys finally going to try to have a baby?" and feeling a little guilty when you very bluntly reply "three years ago." I see their reaction change to “oh crap, I’m so sorry", and it was never my intention to make them feel bad, I swear. Sometimes I just get tired of the question. Most of the time I can grin and bear it—today just wasn’t that day, and I’m so sorry.

It's hard not being a mama, but I have hope. No matter the pokes, prods, negative tests, questions, tears, and guilty feelings there is always laughter, support, cherished conversations, common bonds with other women, love and HOPE behind it all.

This is only my story and no one else’s. Every person’s journey is all their own, wrapped up in their own circumstances and emotions. Every day is different: some better and some worse, but no matter what, every day is a blessing and a day full of hope if I choose to see it. Living this journey has made me feel alone, selfish, incapable, less of a woman, less of a wife, and some days worthless. But it has also made me more aware of my health and my body.  I’ve become more open about telling my story and, in turn, I've found out that I am not at all alone. There are so many of my cherished friends that have experienced a story similar to mine. Heck, I even found myself opening up to my accountant during my tax appointment and learning about her trouble conceiving 20 years ago. It has made me so acutely aware of my priorities and what’s important to me. I’ve learned that life isn’t perfect, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve learned that I am enough, I am strong, and whether or not I ever become a mother- those things will never change.


If you are struggling with your own personal journey, there are probably a lot of resources for support and encouragement...but those aren't always easy to find or easy to jump into. If you are looking for a place like that, my friend Angela has created a Facebook group that is a safe place for women to grow stronger in a community of other women facing similar situations. This group is for you...

"...whether you are waiting on your first or your third, biological or through adoption. Everyone’s waiting looks different, but the journey can be hard no matter how it looks. Infertility, secondary infertility or waiting through the roller coaster of adoption can have you feeling so weary and alone. My hope is that this group brings daily encouragement to your wait. I want to share things that have been encouraging to me, along with a bit of my personal story."

If you would like to be added to the group, click here and request to join. If you know a friend struggling to conceive, one who has miscarried, is waiting on adoption, or any other version of this story, be there for her. Share this post with her, encourage her to find a group of women to support her, maybe help her find the courage to share her story. Remind her that she is not alone, and neither are you. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Before and After: Living Room

It's been a while since I have shared a before and after, but I just haven't been able to get it together over here. This room still isn't 100% complete, but I have come to terms with the fact that my house will always be a work in progress. And now I will let the photos do the talking. (Keep in mind the before photos are the ones we were sent before purchasing the house. I was so ready to start ripping out carpet and patching walls that I didn't really take any before photos.)


During: I did dig up a few progress photos I had taken on my phone almost three years ago.


Most of this space has been "finished" for a while now. We painted the entire house and installed the hardwood flooring before we did anything else. My husband added those upper shelves surrounding the TV while I spray painted those gold triangles on the wall in the dining room. We purchased our new comfy sectional right before Henry was born, but the thing I am most excited about is the cabinet my dad built. The transformation of this entire space still kind of blows my mind. It made the space feel brighter and bigger, and I LOVE it. We finally got the handles on, so I don't even care that it will probably take us another 2 years to do the finish work and trim around it.

It is sometimes discouraging to see makeover images from others because it seems like it was so quick and easy. This was not! We have been in this house for almost three years, and I still need to paint that banister, add finishing trim to the whole house, and my life dream is to replace the icky brown tile in my kitchen and guest bath. It will probably be years before that happens, and this project didn't happen overnight...but it was worth the wait!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Right where I'm meant to be

Recently I had my sweet mama friend Lindsey write a guest post about being a work from home mama. You could say she nailed it. She summed up what a lot of mamas feel every day as they drop off their babies and go to work to provide for their families. I originally asked her to write a list of why it is hard to be a working mama, but she went above and beyond what I had imagined. She so eloquently poured out her heart and shared how she finds beauty even in the challenges of having a family and a full-time job outside the home.

It is a little embarrassing, but if I am being 100% transparent I felt a pang of jealousy for a moment. Lindsey seems to have it all together. She is a great mom with a fulfilling job, a strong support system, and she is making the most of every minute whether it is with her kids or a little self-care to stay motivated. She is juggling it all with grace and is an inspiration to any mom. It felt like she is balancing life beautifully, and I can't even keep the crumbs vacuumed off the rug when I am home all day long. I felt like I should have more accomplished when my husband gets home from work. I felt bad for sometimes looking forward to bedtime so I can have some quiet time. I felt guilty for often using wasting that quiet time scrolling my Instagram feed instead of being productive, and Lindsey, God bless her, is buying groceries and working out on her lunch break so she can make the most of her time at home with her kiddos.

Then I saw where a fellow mama commented on Lindsey's post saying, "While I constantly question if what I am doing is right, at the end of the day I know I am where God wants me to be. If I were to stay home, I would still question it. Being mom is hard whether you stay at home or work."

I have been thinking of her comment ever since, and it has been so good for me. It was just what I needed to hear, and I am thankful for her honesty. It is easy to have a "grass is always greener" mentality, but it all comes down to what works for each individual person and their family. I can appreciate and admire Lindsey's success as a mom and a career woman, but that doesn't mean I am not right where I am supposed to be. While I do admire her outlook, her ability to let go and let others, and the example she is living for her children, our families have different needs. We are wired differently, and God has different plans for us both.

I know I am right where I am meant to be. I know if I had to get ready to go to work tomorrow and leave my baby boy with someone else I would be heartbroken, but we all have our own normal. If that is what I needed to do, we would make it work, but God has placed us in a position where I am able to stay home and be present for every smile and every milestone as well as every tear and tantrum. I am beyond thankful for that. Since I am not staying home in lieu of a high paying career, this makes sense for us financially. Since my family is in Arkansas, me staying home allows me the freedom to visit and keep in touch without worrying about vacation days. Since I was not working full-time even before Henry came along, paying for daycare is not the most cost efficient option for us. My child was made just for me, and I am designed to meet his needs in the best way I can. Right now that means being home. Next year may look completely different, but I am doing the job I was made to do at this point in my life, and it is an important one. I am not doing it any better or any worse than the working mamas, and it is not a competition.

 I am sure I am not the only stay at home mama who has thought they might be made for more than changing diapers and picking up the sames toys 75 times a day. Working mamas may sometimes feel like they were made for more than leaving their babies each morning and feeling like they barely see them long enough to tuck them in at night.  And we are more. We are all more. We are more than our jobs, whether they are at home with babies or 45 minutes away with coworkers who feel like family. We are mamas. We are mamas who are doing our best to honor our most important title. We are mamas who work hard at whatever we do, and we need a community of other mamas to build us up and encourage us. So if you are a working mama who wishes she could make after-school pickup, you are doing a good job. If you are a stay at home mama just trying not to lose your crap before nap time, you are doing a good job. It doesn't always feel like it, but you are. When you feel like you aren't, seek a friend to lift you up. When your kid takes an extra long nap, and you feel like you are walking on air, take that time to encourage someone else. We all need a cheerleader every now and then.

You are doing a good job, mamas. Keep doing the best you can, and your babies will keep loving you for it.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Its hard to be a working mama...

If you have been reading along here at Good and Lovely for any time at all you may have read my post about the struggles of being Mama as I stay at home with our busy guy. It started as an outlet about a sort of silly but very real situation. It was intended to be funny, but the truth resonated with a lot of mamas. I also shared how hard I know it is for my husband to be Daddy and miss out on the day-to-day stuff five days a week. I have really enjoyed the connections I have made through blogging, specifically these posts, and I love hearing how different things work for different families. Not only that, but I think it is important to acknowledge that there isn't just one way. What is right for me and my family will be far from the best solution for another. We all have our own struggles. That is why I asked Lindsey to weigh-in on being a working mama. I have known Lindsey for a million years. We have shared inside jokes, clothes, and I am pretty sure a boyfriend or two back in 5th grade. I did her nails for Prom, I remember her wedding like it was yesterday, and I took her maternity photos when she was expecting her first born. I have watched her beautiful family grow, and I admire her involvement and commitment to her people all while being awesome at her job and running marathons and stuff. If you are a working mama, her take will empower you. If you are stay at home mom, you will be inspired. Thank you, Lindsey, for pouring your mama heart out to us.

Being a mom that works full-time is probably exactly the struggle it sounds like. I have an immense amount of respect for moms that stay at home everyday with their babies with no real break from the chaos that is parenthood. I have thought about this a great deal since I have become a mother; work or don’t work, which is best? In my household there’s not exactly an opportunity to make that choice, so I’ve always worked. Hayes was just 6 weeks old when I returned to my job as a dental hygienist. I do know that if being a stay-at-home mom was best for my family we would find a way to make it work. That being said, it does bring about an interesting concept that being a working mom is actually better for my family. For each curve ball I try my best to take a positive spin, reassuring myself that the moments I miss in my children’s lives are not in vain. When it comes down to it, my struggles are the same struggles of a stay-at-home mom, time is the only difference. I have less daylight, less opportunities for quality time, and less day-to-day interaction with my kids than SAHMs. Even writing them down stings. Looking at them in the face makes you realize the things you sacrifice every single morning that you go to work. So why do it? I’ll go through the gamut of all the ugly things that come about from not being present as much as a SAHM, but I have actually learned that being a working mom is not all losses.

It is hard to be a working mama when there are no sick days for sick days.
For me, sick days are rarely the ibuprofen administering, doctor visit and fever snuggles type of routine. As a hygienist, most of my days are filled with scheduled patients that have been on the books for 6 months. Rescheduling is an option, just not the best one. With 2 retired/1 semi-retired grandparent(s) and a husband that has 30+ sick days piled up, I get kicked out of the picture pretty quick. In my heart, they need their mama, but in reality and practicality I’m not the most readily available option. I text and call all day long from work, checking on temperatures, scheduling doctor visits and coordinating prescription pick-ups. I ask for picture and symptom updates as my heart aches to just be at home, cooking soup, pushing fluids and binging Disney movies.

It’s hard to be a working mama when I would love to pick them up from school.
My kids are blessed with an extremely involved father. He drops off and picks up every day. He claims this is taxing, as I’m sure it is. They’re slow, cranky, hungry and unaware of what it means to be in a hurry. What I picture are all the sweet conversations I miss while school is fresh on their minds. How was it? Who did you play with? What did you learn? By the time ol’ mom gets home they are OVER IT. I rely on my husband or whichever grandparent has picked them up to relay pertinent information from the teacher or stories from the playground. I miss classroom parties, field trips and interactions with their school friends.

It’s hard to be a working mama when every evening fees like a race to finish line.
From the time I get home until bedtime it is a dead sprint. I start barking orders as soon as I walk through the door; “pick up your shoes, have you made your beds, pick up this mess…” It’s not exactly the “honey, I’m home,” anyone hopes for. I’ve used my lunch break that day to either exercise or buy groceries. Combine that with a busy work schedule, no break, a long commute, and I may be cranky, to say the least. There’s time for hugs and I’ve missed yous, but that quickly moves into dinnertime, bath time and bedtime. I live in a constant battle of letting them stay up later to squeeze in more down-time together, or giving them a bedtime that allows for more of that brain developing sleep. I feel guilty when I crave the me time that feels so necessary, but also selfish when I haven’t even seen my kids all day. Oftentimes, I stay up past an hour that allows for adequate sleep to squeeze in the time to wind down that I’ve been craving all evening. This fuels the caffeine habit necessary to remedy my self inflicted sleep deprivation, and it all starts again tomorrow.

It’s hard to be a working mama and keep house.
Gah, where do I start? I know we ALL struggle in this department. I can attest to the difficulty of cleaning with your kids at home with you all day long, but cut that time into a fraction and I’m left with less energy than minutes to catch up on dishes and laundry. I’ve come to accept that my house is a hot mess express. We dig for clean clothes out of the dryer and eat on paper plates, because survival mode, y’all.

It’s hard to be a working mama, but working with people feeds my soul.
I’ve heard this from so many working moms, but I will repeat; getting out of the house and having an adult conversation is some serious sanity-saving business. I have a commute that allows for podcasts, audiobooks and prayer that I feel like I couldn’t do without. I have coworkers that will listen to recaps of my weekend, gawk at pictures of my kids and listen to all of my complaining. They even let me ramble about my never-ending podcast learning. My patients tell me stories of their travels and give me advice on parenting. I meet new people everyday, which is integral to my extroverted personality. We have coffee, and sometimes donuts, and that helps. Some days I come home drained, but some days I feel I’ve been poured into. People enrich my life. If you have something to offer; advice, information, a laugh, a story, I’ll take it. Working has offered me an opportunity to be out in the world every day, learning from God’s people.

It’s hard to be a working mama, but I am proud of the work ethic I am displaying for my children.
Some of my earliest memories are my mom dropping me off at daycare. I’m actually glad to remember these because it gives me hope that my children will have that same realization that working isn’t my #1 priority, but it is something I need to do. My parents never grumbled over having to go to work, it’s just something they had to do so there was no sense in having a bad attitude about it. They showed me from an early age that you can make the best of being a working parent and that nights and weekends can be all the more special due to your limited weekdays together. Growing up in a house where both parents worked definitely gave me an “it’s just what you do,” outlook on vocation. Stay at home parenting wasn’t even on my radar so I set my eyes on finding a career I loved from an early age. I hope my kids see my juggling act as more impressive than disastrous, because it is possible to have a fulfilling career and happy home life.

It’s hard to be a working mama, but luckily I don’t have to do it alone.
It takes a village. I wouldn’t use a cliché if I didn’t have to. I’ve used their dad and grandparents as substitutes in almost all of your stereotypical mom roles. Parent/teacher conferences, soccer practice, immunization visits, class parties, haircuts, you name it, I’ve had to relinquish that control. That’s all it is. I want to be there because I feel like I should be there. Not one time has my child looked at me and asked me why I wasn’t present for a moment in their life. To them it’s mundane; to me it’s innate. As moms we want to be there for it all because we are frighteningly aware of our finite time (there’s that word again) with our babies. Time. It’s what it all comes down to. I’ve ultimately let it boil down to the fact that I’m letting go of time with them. It hurts, but I have to realize the time that I’m giving to others. They get more time than most kids get with their dad and grandparents because of the things I’m willing to let go of. If I’m going to give up my time with my precious children, I will make the best of it. I won’t pity myself for “having” to work. I won’t berate myself for feeling like I only have one foot in on their day-to-day lives. I won’t resent my tribe for being present in the moments that I can’t be. I won’t loathe a job that offers me a space to have a sense of duty beyond my household.

It’s hard being a working mama, but I have realized that it allows us all a certain amount of freedom in one way or another.
I will make my commute productive through personal, therapeutic phone calls to friends; informative, stimulating podcasts; or KLOVE jamming and prayer with my Maker. I will use my lunch break as a time to exercise, buy groceries, pay bills, get an oil change, take a nap, whatever I can mark off my list that would take time away from my kids while not at work. I will use my family, when necessary, as surrogate parents, because they’re a better option than an exhausted mom. I will use what time I have with them contemplating the worth of frustration and impatience, as it is rarely constructive. Rushing through bath time and bedtime seems like the quickest way to my own bed, but when it’s all I have with them, I will relish it. I will delight in knowing that I go to a job that I love, because not every working mom gets to say that. If I had to leave my babies for a job that didn’t fulfill me, it would leave me desolate. I will let my house be a wreck and use my job as an excuse. I can’t do it all, people. I will continue to tell my kids that working is something I do to provide them with the lifestyle they love; camping, traveling, movie going, etc.

It’s hard to be a working mama, but my family worth working for.
I won’t lie, weekly they will beg for us to stay home in our pajamas and watch Netflix. While it’s tempting, I’m left with the same words over and over, “I have to go to work.” It’s somehow all worth it to know that when I get home that evening I know who I am beyond being their mother, and that regardless, they still know they are loved.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Motherhood is: Part Two

When I posted my "Motherhood Is" list a while back, I knew it could go on for days. I loved some of the suggestions you guys had, so I asked for even more. 

Y'all delivered.

                  These gems are from Cassandra, mom of three boys, and one crazy, little princess. 

Motherhood is ALWAYS feeling like you've forgotten something.

Motherhood is finding a bag of potato chips next to the toilet. 

Motherhood is packing two of everything for each child for your upcoming trip, and realizing after you get there that you forgot to pack your own socks and underwear.
Motherhood is trying to keep a straight face when your child is doing something totally hilarious that you know you should be mad about.

Motherhood is proudly wearing a team shirt to support one kid at his game, and afterward running to the bathroom to change into another team shirt before anothers child's game starts. 
Motherhood is silently having a panic attack when you make out your weekly schedule and realize you have 4 kids on 6 different baseball teams, and no idea how you will get them all to each practice.  
Motherhood is never being done with laundry. Ever.

Motherhood is laying in bed at night and going over where each of your children are, and strategizing what you'll do in case of a fire, break-in, random tornado, or the zombie apocalypse. 

Motherhood is secretly crying when you have to punish one of your kids.

Motherhood is loving and hating Christmas at the same time.

Motherhood is resisting the urge to turn into a crazy mama bear when you see a kid you know has been mean to your child.
Motherhood is sometimes tolerating your children's friends. 

Motherhood is often tolerating the moms of your children's friends.
Motherhood is worrying you aren't giving each of your children enough attention.
Motherhood is going to get your hair done, and getting a video from the babysitter of your three year old saying a bad word...a really bad one.
Motherhood is feeling like a failure every time something bad happens to one of your kids. 

Motherhood is feeling like a failure often actually. 
Motherhood is being so loved that you never have to go the bathroom alone, eat alone, relax on the couch alone, scroll through Facebook alone, or even take a bath alone.

Motherhood is taking a baseball bat to the face because your four year old decided to practice his swing while you're cleaning up something on the kitchen floor.
Motherhood is being more proud when your kid accomplishes their goal than you ever were accomplishing your own.
Motherhood, more than anything, is taking it one day at a time and just going with the flow. 


Thanks for sharing, Cassandra. I know I can relate to a lot of those...especially always forgetting something and laughing when your kid doesn't something bad. It's hard when they are so cute!

If you have more suggestions, send them my way. You just might see yours in a future post! 

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