Permission to Feel

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which as landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” C. JoyBell C.

I have now had 3 surgeries in the last three years, I will call it my labor of love.

Two back to back C- sections within 18 months and recently umbilical hernia repair surgery; my girls are 3 and 21 months.

Before becoming a Mama I was what you called an independent woman with something to prove. Working hard was my middle name and achievement was my goal.

I was not the kind of women who would ask for help, in fact I was the friend called on to give advice and to lend a hand. This was a role that came naturally to me as I watched my Mom do and still do it.

So what happens when a type-a, independent, “I can rule the world”, women becomes a Mama of 2 in less than 2 years…

Well for a while she holds it together but slowly she starts to break..

She manages to run multiple businesses and take care of her girls while her husband, a police officer, works the night shift which leaves her eating alone and taking care of herself, the house and her daughters for 12 hours straight 5-6 days a week…

Her role as a wife and mother are satisfying to her but she quietly cries out for someone to see her and understand that while she wants and needs help, she “can’t” ask for it.

I reluctantly headed into my recent surgery to close the hole in my stomach left by my two beautiful babies because I knew I couldn’t do this alone.

  • I worried about the burden this would create for my husband who would have to take over.
  • I made lists of the things that I would still be able to do wanting to do “my-part” so I wouldn’t feel useless.
  • I secretly cried over the fear that my girls wouldn’t understand that Mama couldn’t pick them up and play with them, I didn’t want them to feel unloved.

But then I did something I have never done, I said “OK”!

I said, “OK” when the beautiful mothers in my MOPS group offered to make meals for my family as I recovered.

I said, “OK” when the mothers from my daughters preschool class offered to take the girls on playdates.

I said “OK” and meant it when mothers near and far told me to reach out if I needed help.

Motherhood is not a competitive sport that is meant to be won and you miss so much when you isolate yourself shouting ” I got it” from your island.

I have decided to give myself permission to feel sad, afraid, guilty, discouraged along with many other emotions knowing that I have a team of Mama’s around to comfort, support and fill in the gaps for me.

So, I’m going to own my story- all of it and love myself through it all knowing I don’t have to fight this particular battle alone!

Thank you to all who make up the village that surrounds me. My tribe is amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your life it not more important than mine…

Just an ordinary day on my morning trip to Starbucks..

But let me back up a few hours before that trip..

4am: first, “Mama!” cry from the hallway followed by my rush to take her back to her bed before she wakes up her sister.

4:05: HUBBY LEAVES FOR WORK

4:15am: repeat

4:20am: repeat

4:30am: repeat

5:00am: say, “WHATEVER!” and let her have her way, which entails her crawling into bed and somehow taking up the whole bed while she tosses and turns for the next 2 hours.

7:00am: ALARM

7:45:  CRA!!!.. forgot to hit snooze and get awoken with a foot in my face!

7:45-8:45: rush to get two kiddos ready, get showered, check my emails to make sure nothing urgent happened, take a look at my planner to figure out where I need to be, make coffee, make my shake, load the kids in the car..go back in for the book bag and lunch box I forgot.

9:10: drop child #1 at school with child #2 in hand.

9:15: drive to my little slice of heaven..STARBUCKS for coffee since I left the cup I made at home.

9:30: unload child #2, grab my purse and happily walk into Starbucks UNTIL..

A women races to the door in front of me and says,  “So sorry, but I’m in a rush to get to work.”

So, I let her cut in front of me and surprisingly, I felt sad instead of pissed off!

Sad that she judged me in my yoga pants and Momlife shirt for not having a life deemed important enough to value…

Sad that she assumed I had nowhere to be …

Sad that she had given no thought to how my morning might have been…

Sad that she felt that because she was dressed up in a business suit that her “job” was more important than mine…

When will we get it as women, as mothers?

It’s ALL hard, no matter if your rocking yoga pants or tailored business pants.

It’s ALL hard, no matter if your giving a presentation to 50 board members or trying to get your kiddos fed and down for nap time so that you can clean up, prep dinner and put a load of laundry in.

It’s ALL hard, PERIOD.

So to that woman who cut me in line at Starbucks, your life is not more important than mine.. just different and that’s perfectly OK with me!

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You can’t take it ALL…

We have all been there… the dreaded “I have too many grocery bags to bring in and not enough hands” dilemma.

If I put 5 bags on one hand and 6 on the other and carry the roll of toilet paper under my arms, I think I can manage to get up the stairs and in the door without falling…oh wait, what about the kids??

Ok..well, if one walks and I carry the other than I can still put 5 bags on one and 6 on the other and then Cupcake can surely carry the toilet paper..until of course she tells me “Mama, I can’t..its too heavy!”

Now mind you, I have witnessed this tiny human lift a gallon of milk and her little sister, who although tiny still weights 18 pounds, so I KNOW she can carry the toilet paper BUT she was very clear to me in her declaration and it made stop and ask myself, “why in the world am I trying to carry all of this stuff at one time?”

I know why, I didn’t want to have to come back down to the garage when I just wanted to get upstairs, get them fed and hopefully down for a nap. Coming back down would be an inconvenience and an unnecessary step wouldn’t it?

In that moment I realized that I needed to revaluate what HAD to be taken up on this first trip and honestly it was just two bags- the rest could wait.

Wait for after their nap..wait for when my hubby came home..or honestly it could wait until tomorrow.

Being a very driven person has it faults sometimes and in this case it resulted in me thinking that something was urgent that wasn’t.

I’m learning in this motherhood journey that most of what I think is urgent just isn’t especially when I see life from the eyes of my two little sweethearts.

In that moment, my oldest wanted me to hold her hand up the stairs and my littlest baby wanted me to carry her without the added strain of too many bags weighing my arm down.

I heard God whisper, IT CAN WAIT...focus on what is right in front of you.

So I grabbed the bag with the milk, yogurt, fruit and eggs and headed up the stairs…oh wait….THE WINE!  I did go back down for that IMMEDIATELY 😉

Purposefully deciding what to “carry” each day has been the most significant change I have made in terms of being a more present Mama!

Most days I hear God telling me to carry much less than I feel I should carry and HIS will ALWAYS wins.

Make it a great day Mama’s!

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The first step away…

This is a big week for my 2.5 year old and an even BIGGER week for Mama.  On Wednesday my first baby girl starts pre-school.  I thought about keeping her home another year to hold her close to me a bit longer but I then realized SHE is ready because I have helped her along the way.

There have been many, MANY times when I prayed that this day would come…those prayers came fast and furious during one of her many meltdowns. The most recent one resulting from me NOT letting her buy size 5 BOY cargo pants and a shirt that said “Boy’s Rule!

Now that the day is here I feel like there are so many things I want to tell her as she takes her first step away from the safety of Mama’s arms..

During bedtime tonight I tried to fit all of these “golden rules” in after the 10th book we read, but she feel asleep before I could finish…a miracle in and of itself 😉

I decided I would write them down so I wouldn’t forget…

  1. Loving God does not mean you look down on those who don’t share your belief.  You are going to a Christian school because Mommy and Daddy decided that is best for you. You will have friends who go to different schools and as long as they are nice and caring- you can be friends with them too!
  2. You WILL look different than most of your peers and that is a GOOD thing. Be proud of who you are- ALWAYS!
  3. Your hair will get A LOT of attention. Just smile:) Your 2.5- the complexity of why your hair is different can be explained later..
  4. Not everybody will be nice to you. It breaks my heart to even write that and I may be tempted to tell a parent to meet me outside if somebody hurts you- I’m kidding..kinda 😉 There will be plenty of people who WILL like you. Focus on them!
  5. Tell me everything! You seem to talk from the time you get up to the time you go to bed and please don’t stop. I want to here about your day, the pink toad you saw that said hello, according to the conversation we had the other day and everything in between.. I promise to ALWAYS make time to listen!
  6. Lastly, even though you are taking a step away from me you are not leaving me behind. I will sometimes be beside you to witness your discoveries as you make them, in front of you to lead you when you are unsure of where to go, a close step behind to catch you when you get your feelings hurt and most importantly my arms will be forever open to embrace you WHENEVER you need me too.

This is the first time for Mama too so lets take it one day at a time…

Lets pave our OWN way and write the new chapter in this journey together!

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I didnt read the job description…

Im just coming back from an amazing weekend with some exceptional women and mothers/ As we all talked about our career goals and highlights I started reflecting on the hardest job that I have and will every have and that is being a Mother.

Think back to the steps you took when you interviewed for your most recent job. You probably did something like this…

1. Read the job description…

2. Did some research on the company…

3. Discussed the salary and the benefits…

4. Decided YES this is for me…

Ok now lets talk about motherhood- its a job right so shouldn’t the same steps apply? Ha!

1. You can’t do step one can you?

Lets be honest the real reason a job description doesnt exist for being a mom is because NO one in the right mind would take the job and in this case I do believe ignorance is bliss…It was so nice to live in that blissful land where you really thought babies were born knowing how to sleep all night and that teeth just magically appeared with no pain.

Before becoming a mommy I believed my 40+ hour work week was the hardest schedule I would ever have and that answering to my bosses demands and balancing work and my social life was just to much to handle that I would often sleep until noon on Saturday’s.

There is no way that I could have possibility imagined what becoming a mother would do to my life and more importantly my heart.

Speaking honestly I don’t always love being a mother. A mother is a custodian, cook, errand runner, maid, miracle worker, tantrum stopper, diaper changer, and on and on and on.

BUT I love being a Mama!

  • A MAMA is the woman responsible for shaping the hearts of her babies.
  •  A MAMA knows she should greet her babies with a smile every morning because that sets their day in the right direction.
  • A MAMA knows that her babies are watching her every move and that even before they can say it they want to be just like you.
  • A MAMA knows that her babies don’t care what she wears or drives just as long as SHE is present reading, laughing, playing and creating memories that will become the framework of their little lives.
  • A MAMA knows that she is irreplaceable and that no one else can take her place.

In order for me to be ok with taking a job I didn’t sign up for I had to stop calling myself a Mother and look at myself through the same lens that my baby girls do..the Mama lens.

A simple change in perspective can make even the most mundane tasks of motherhood more meaningful and I always thought mothers who said that were crazy. Seriously how can doing the laundry be FUN..come on!  But you know what it can be. When I say Cupcake its time to do the laundry she comes running with a big smile on her face and says “Mama, I help you”!

She takes each item one at a time and with all of her little effort makes sure it gets completely in the washing machine. When all the clothes are in, I lift her up and she pushes the button and says “Mama, I did it all by myself”.

That’s all it took for her to be happy in “her” little world!

When we take away all of the tasks of doing and achieving we can really get to the heart of motherhood. Loving my babies is a job I know I can do and can do well.

This is one position that will NEVER need to be filled by anyone else but ME and I’m happy with that.

Love is NOT about perfection Love is about intention and I intend to purposefully love by babies with all I have.  The tasks associated with Motherhood can wait what they need is for me to show up every day and love them with everything I have.

I promise to always be your Mama Always!

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What’s That Mama?

“What’s that Mama?”

“Mama, look!?

“Look over there Mama!”

These little questions are becoming the norm for my little Cupcake to ask me- ALL DAY LONG!  Right now, these questions are cute and innocent in nature and are mostly referring to the big truck we see as we drive to music class or a new sound she hears as we go about our day. This morning she heard a sound that I quickly said was a bird chirping and she said very proudly “No, Mama that’s not a bird, what is that OTHER sound?” I looked at her and said oh, that sound is a cricket singing and she said, okay Mama!

She is 2.5- and correcting me already..I’m in BIG trouble.

You see one day soon she will start asking me Why? and How? questions and she won’t be referring to sounds and trucks… honestly I’m not sure if I’m ready to answer what she may ask me!

My sweet Cupcake is smart as a whip and very inquisitive so I know it won’t be long before a simple one word answer will  NOT suffice and for the subject matter to be about the little differences she observes in the people, places and things around her.

You know I thought the difficult part of parenting was the late night nursing sessions and managing two little ones in diapers, which I’m still doing- wish me continued luck on the potty training business. Telling her not to pee pee on Minni Mouse isn’t quite working… but looking ahead I know that is NOT the hard part!…labor intensive, YES!.. but one day they talk back to you and that chapter of all of the baby books was missing from my copies!

I have been praying a lot for God to give me the courage, strength and the right words to tell her when she asks me character- building questions and I think he spoke to me clearly during a little trip we made to a lavender farm near our house.

At the farm you pick your own lavender and they give you a basket and scissors and send you on your way. There are rows and rows of lavender and they describe to you which ones will make the BEST ones and then off you go.

My Cupcake heads off running and begins to start pulling them out of the ground and I gently tell her “Honey, we want to cut them gently so we don’t ruin them!” and she says,” OK, Mama”.

She starts running again and says “Look, Mama!” as she spots a bunch of flowers that weren’t lavender and I said “Honey, those are beautiful but we are picking lavender today” She threw a bit of a typical toddler fit but I ran along and said “follow me!” to snap her out of it.

She did the best that she could to focus on the task but I had to help her a lot!  When I thought she was really going to lose it one of the workers asked her if she would like to fed the bunnies.  Then, the BEST thing happened…instead of running off she looked at me with her big eyes and smiled and said “I go fed the bunnies, Mama?” and I said “Sure baby, that’s fine!”

In that moment I knew God had given me my answer. Show her the way through your actions, guide her back on the right path when you see she is going astray and trust that she will look to you for guidance.

I know I’m going to have some pretty complicated questions ahead of me and I’m going to need a lot of guidance of my own when I have two teenage girls at the same time, but my experience at the farm taught me a valuable lesson. My girls will decide what to put in their basket of life by seeing what I put in mine.

I’m choosing to put love, acceptance, humility, patience, forgiveness, understanding and joy in my basket and my sweet girls will be watching as I do.

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A Compassionate Request…

To My Daughters Future Mother-In-Law,

Yes I realize this letter may be a bit premature since my little girls are only almost 1 and 2.5 but what I have to say has been so heavy on my heart that it couldn’t wait.

To a fault I’m fiercely independent in the I can nurse one baby while I play a pretend tea party game while emailing a work client AND cook dinner. While some of my fellow “wonder women” moms out there are nodding because they are too like this, I have to admit that this level of “mommy can save the world and everyone in it” doesn’t make relationships easy..In fact it has caused issues in every single one that I have had including my marriage.

You see when you are this take charge people around you often think you don’t NEED or WANT help. When others manage to ask you if you need a hand types like me quickly say “I got it” while inside they are secretly hoping that the person asking would just do it because its hard for types like us to accept a helping hand.

My 2-year-old daughter is already exhibiting signs of this “ I don’t need anyone to help me” mantra. She wants to pick out her own outfits, can put on her own shoes and tells me when I don’t put her toys make in the “right place”.

As much as I want to raise daughters who can save the world I also want my daughters to know that the right man will NOT need her to run everything in their life.

When you get married the days of proving you can do it ALL are over in my opinion. The competition and race to create an “illusion” of always being perfect and accomplishing enough tasks in one day that most CEO’s don’t even complete in a month are OVER.

So what does this have to do with you, my daughter’s future Mother in Law??

Here is what I pray you do for her future husband, your son!

***Can you teach your son that some of the best wives are strong independent woman because when you are weak she will be strong enough for you and then some!

***Can you teach your son that his wife should never do the job of 10 people no matter if she works from home doing outside work or works from home raising your children? You should ALWAYS contribute when you are home and when you are not home you should ALWAYS ask her how you can make things easier for her!

***Can you teach your son that no matter how many times his wife may say she doesn’t need help that she really does. Strong women are afraid to look weak for many reasons and its your sons job to tell her that asking for helping isn’t showing weakness and that its his JOB to provide a strong foundation for her to lean on!

***Finally can you teach your son that independent women may tell you that they don’t need you but that is the furthest thing from the truth? They need you but just don’t always know how to say and show it!

I’m raising some fierce little ladies over here who although may be tough little bundles of dynamite with a smile are truly loving, sensitive and compassionate little girls who I know will become amazing women.

Our society is teaching us that men like this don’t exist.. so you can you do me a favor and raise your son to be THAT man. I promise to do my part to raise his future wife to be his partner, best friend and team mate who will never leave his side.

Oh and I’m KNOW with out a doubt that Daddy won’t let them go until he is CONFIDENT she has found “THAT” man. This is ONE subject we agree on;)

Signed,

Your Future Son’s Mother-In Love

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Two under two…The Warmup!

Well I did it! I survived the infamous dreaded stage of motherhood known as “two under two”. For those of you yet to enter this phase or for those of you still in it- I don’t have any wise words or a list of must do’s! What I can tell you is that I learned three great things about myself and the person who put me in this position..my husband 😉

1. I may never sleep a full 8 hours again! When you have two under two there is ALWAYS some sort of milestone they are reaching at the most inconvenient time aka whenever you are trying to sleep. Somedays, Im not gonna lie, I wake up and immediately start daydreaming about bedtime. Solution- buy stronger coffee beans and grind them fresh daily- I can NOT risk the coffee not being strong enough. Weak coffee puts everyone who I encounter that day in danger;)

2. I NEVER sit down. I remember thinking I was busy with just Cupcake but oh if I could do it over I would take a nap EVERY SINGLE TIME she did. I mean I would proudly post Im napping at 12, 3 and then again at 5 with the hashtag #nappingainteasy. On the rare occasion that both of my girls nap at the same time- Im so shocked that I really don’t know what to do with myself. Most of the time I just stare at the monitor and the clock wondering how much time I have for ‘myself”. I don’t dare lay down because that sends off the silent alarm that is code for mama’s napping so lets get the party started.

3. Your marriage WILL be tested. Let me put it like this…in between the hours of 2am and 4:30 am exactly my husband is NOT my husband. He has looked at me as if the crying babies don’t belong to him and has even said Im too tired and rolled over and went back to sleep. If I kept a running log of all of the inappropriate things he has said to me during this time in the wee hours of the morning  our marriage would not make it. You see this is not my husbands finest hour (s) and he hates this part of parenthood. I had to learn that its ok to hate certain parts of being a mom or dad and that we have to work as a team. I have tried everything- kind words, bribery 😉 to get him to be nicer in the middle of the night but nothing has worked. So I just refer to his alter ego as” Mr. Meany” in the middle of the night and remind him to make sure my coffee is ready first thing in the morning!

Just when the fog had somewhat lifted and dare I say I have started to get 5 hours of straight “rest”.. I don’t use the word sleep anymore. Cupcake turned 2..

Well the joke was on me..that whole “two under two” stage was just the warm-up. Now folks the game has started. How did this game start you may ask? With her asking me the dreaded question out of the blue- “BUT WHY MOMMY?”

I was so shocked, I felt a slight bead of perspiration form, our eyes locked and she wouldn’t look away so I used the only tool I had and said…BECAUSE I SAID SO!

OMG people- Im so NOT ready for this!

This is it..I’m really a parent. No more just dressing her up in cute clothes with oversized bows. My precious baby girl now talks back.

Buckle up..its going to be a bumpy ride. Bring on the WINE and lots of it 😉

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