The Untold Story of Being a Stay At Home Parent

Before having children, I only dreamt of being able to stay home with my kiddos, being able to be apart of their growing development. I honestly never dreamed I’d ever have the opportunity to do so. Then, God blessed our family and as of now I am able to watch after my son while expecting another one on the way. Although there are so many wonderful things that you get to experience while staying at home with your child, there are so many challenges that come with being a stay at home parent. I am not here to complain, I know I am very lucky to be able to take care of my child but there is so much that people just don’t understand about how much it takes out of a person.

I used to work a full time, career path job. I was a project coordinator for a promotional products company in the San Fernando Valley located in California. I have always held a steady, full time job since I was 18. Being able to fully depend on myself financially is something very empowering and gave me a sense of security. The challenge from this transition is the guilt I feel when I’m not able to help out my family financially. On the months that we have struggled financially, I have really felt the blow of being a burden and just have had the feeling of being a useless asset to our family. Yes, I know I am at home – cleaning, feeding the baby, cooking dinner, washing and folding the laundry, constantly going. But for some reason, it just never feels like its enough.

When my son was old enough, I started my own Etsy shop. Thankfully, it was quite a success but then I struggled with time management and I was often left with not enough hours in the day to get everything finished. I would work until 2 in the morning to finish up orders only to come in to the next room and see it in shambles. The dishes needed washing, the trash needed to be taken out, my son would wake up every hour if I wasn’t sleeping or cuddling next to him and my husband would come home to no meal cooked. I felt like a failure.

Although I was able to make a decent profit and help pay for some bills, something was always suffering. I felt I was neglecting my son’s needs and often just left him to cry so I could finish what I needed to do. This left me feeling so guilty, because he still needed me. I often snapped at him because I was exhausted trying to keep up with so many things – I had to finally close my shop because I realized that I was a wife and mother first.

The guilt never really seems to go away because the grass always seems greener on whichever side you’re not currently on. Women who work bring home money but don’t get to see their children grow up. And stay at home mothers get to watch their children grown up but then are left with years of non work experience and are deemed unemployable because of their lack of “in field” experience. There’s the misconception that we just stay at home and do “nothing” all day – but let me tell you, some days I feel like I haven’t stopped. Being a stay at home parent can be very lonely, especially because you don’t get any interaction with other adults unless its John from Citi Bank trying to collect on your bill. The feeling of neglect is overwhelming sometimes but I often don’t say anything about it to anyone because I truly appreciate my husband for what he does for us and I love my son. I know that its neither of their intentions to have me feel unappreciated.

There is usually no one else to talk to about our struggles so there is no venting allowed. If you do open your mouth, you are often faced with the judgements and criticisms of others telling you “well, you’re lucky that you can even stay home,” or “they will only be young and rebellious for so long until they want to leave with their friends (regarding your kids),” or “girl, you’re so lucky – you don’t have to go to work,” etc. I often just keep my mouth shut because no one will truly understand unless they are in a similar situation.

At the end of the day, yes I do feel so very blessed that I get to be watching over my son and taking care of our home. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to watch him grow and learn and just to continue to grow that bond with him. Although it is very challenging, I would not change it for the world. But it will be a constant struggle and adjustment because there are some days when you need time to yourself. To recharge your batteries, to go out and actually be able to indulge in the soup and salad combo at Panera Bread without feeling guilty for it because the amount you spent there could have been split for a meal for you and your kiddo.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, the guilt might not ever truly fade. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you are an irreplaceable part of your family dynamic. Your family depends on you to take care of the things that they don’t see and take for granted because someone else (you) is getting them done. You are feeding, nurturing, comforting, and loving your family and that itself does not have a price tag my dear. Your “office” will always be dirty, filled with soiled diapers and sippy cups that need to be cleaned but your heart will always be full. One day, all the chaos will settle and you will miss the pile of dirty laundry on the floor with a side of Tonka trucks by the side of the kitchen. Give yourself the time that you need, make your husband stay at home while you take a long drive to 7-ll and get yourself that slurpee. Blast the radio and let your hair dance in the air in its full mom bun glory. And if you see a fellow stay at home mother, salute her, encourage her. Let her know that she is appreciated.

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

1 Timothy 5:14

Sunday Sentiments and Target Mini Haul

Lately, I’ve been really thirsting for the word of God. As a mother, you tend to forget about yourself and the things that you need. You loose your sense of self because you get used to putting your family before you and because it becomes a routine, you start to ignore the things that remind you of who you are.

Well, I am not ashamed to say that I need Jesus. When my son was younger, I felt very uncomfortable leaving him alone in the church nursery that we used to go to, only because he was so little and I was scared that for some reason – something would happen to him and I wouldn’t be there to protect him. Maybe it was first time mother syndrome, who knows. But I had a tough time letting him go, especially because I am his sole caregiver at home for the most part – he’s never had a babysitter. Anyway, because of this inability to let go, I missed a lot of sermons and didn’t always get “fed” the word of God. Something, I feel that I desperately need.

On Sunday, we visited a new church and for some reason – maybe because my son is now older, I was able to let him go to the nursery a little more confidently. I was finally able to listen to the word and my soul felt delighted. It was a feeling that I missed. I miss hearing the word of God, I miss being apart of a church family, I miss being delighted in the Lord and worshipping. I am so excited to be getting back to church and I am so happy because I feel in a way that I am getting back to God. I know that you should never get too busy to forget to meditate on the word of God but it does happen. You have to remember that instead of dwelling on it, just get up and finally do something about it. There will always be a reason not to go to church – I know I have many: my son is too difficult to deal with in public, I’m pregnant therefore I am too tired and stressed, I overslept, etc. I am just glad that I finally put my excuses aside and went.

Psalm 43:4

Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God

After church, we went on a little Target run for the little man because since we will be taking our trip back to California soon – little man needed some new summer clothes and swimming trunks! Target honestly has the cutest things for kids – although I wish they had a larger selection for boys! Girls seem to have the majority of the selection. Preggo even tried to find some cute maternity swimsuits.

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Summertime fun in style at Thornton A. Sullivan Park

In Washington state, you have to put up with a lot of rain for the majority of the year. So best believe that as soon as the sun come out, everyone comes out to enjoy its beautiful rays of sunshine.

It was a hot, sunny day last Sunday afternoon and me and my husband were trying to decide if we were going to go out and do something. I was missing California and its beautiful beaches and poolside homes. I really wanted to get out and enjoy the sun next to a body of cool water. I don’t know what it is about the summertime that makes my body just crave being in the water like no other. Must be the California girl in me 🙂

So I went on my trusty Yelp app and came across Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett, Washington. I saw that it was a family friendly environment and we decided to give it a try.

Upon arriving, we noticed that there was ample parking space with a lot of friendly people that came with their families. I was already excited as me and my husband love the family feel, especially because we have a lot of family in California. We got out of the car and to the right of us was a huge playground for children with picnic tables and chairs for barbecuing and gatherings. They also had bathrooms that were not porter potties, which makes a huge difference to me. The scenery on our way to the water was just gorgeous, with the usual Washington trees and greenery. Then we got to the beach area, boy was I in love! Soft, sand at my feet with minimal rocks took me back to Cali. My son was so excited to get in that water and what was really comforting is that there were so many children there for him to enjoy the company of.

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I was a little bummed that I had not brought my bathing suit as I love to get in the water but momma still hasn’t gotten herself a maternity bathing suit. Instead, I opted to wear my newly received “Wifey” t-shirt that I had gotten from this company I found on Amazon called Awkward Styles . They offer a variety of novelty graphic tees, and have a huge selection. So I decided to give them a try because I can never say no to a graphic t-shirt that’s offered at a good price! I love its fit and cut, the supplied t-shirt is from Next Level Apparel – which previously being from the garment and promotional products industry, I can tell you is a good quality t-shirt. I can definitely say that I will be wearing this shirt often, and will probably re-purchase from the company because they do offer a quality tee at a reasonable price – which is everything to me!

Overall, the atmosphere at this park/ lake was very friendly and family oriented. I will definitely be coming back with my family and friends this summer and bringing a bathing suit this time so I can enjoy the sun!

 

 

Summer Styles with Pink Blush Maternity: Maternity Style and Giveaway

I have really never been one to wear or purchase maternity clothes, mostly because there weren’t any stores that I could really find with cute, fashionable, and comfortable clothes. Most maternity clothes fit too big, giving me that frumpy look which left me feeling down about how I looked.

So, my only options up until now were to purchase dresses and shirts that were a size or two bigger than my original size so that it would fit my growing bump. The problem with this is that, you can’t use these pieces after baby is born – thus leaving me with a bunch of clothes that won’t fit me afterwards.

Then I found Pink Blush Maternity! They offer an adorable maternity line that is not only fashionable, but reasonably priced – which is a big plus for me. Looking through their site, it was really tough to just pick out one item that I liked because they have such a beautiful selection of trendy clothes. I finally narrowed it down to the Ivory Lace Belted Maternity Dress, which I love! I really like the belted dress look, which gives you so many options to pair with different shoe styles and accessories! This dress comes in a variety of colors and sizes, which I love!

My first impressions on the dress:

-The fabric is breathable, which is really important for that growing and uncomfortable belly.

-The dress is form fitting, but not tight and grows with your expanding bump.

– Material is soft but sturdy, you can tell the fabric is of good quality and will hold up.

-Fashionable, which is so important because most maternity clothing lines offer some hideous styles

– Not only makes for an adorable maternity dress, but you can wear after pregnancy which makes it multifunctional

Another big plus for me was that Pink Blush Maternity is a small family run and operated company. This allowed me to contribute to a small and local shop, instead of bigger corporate companies who aren’t as mindful of their customer platform.

In addition to selling maternity clothes, they also provide a great selection of clothes for women who aren’t expecting, as well as plus size options. They even offer baby and nursing accessories – which I’m keeping an eye out for when baby #2 arrives.

Overall, a great company to purchase from! Great customer service and product packaging! I really recommend their products and will not only be a returning customer but I will be sporting this dress often and proudly! Thank you Pink Blush Maternity for helping me create my mom style and maternity experience! 

I will be running a special giveaway for your chance to win a $75 gift card to Pink Blush Maternity. Add some beautiful summertime pieces to your wardrobe and make sure to enter (instructions on my Instagram account here)! Giveaway will run until Friday, June 10, 2016 at 9AM PST and will be  Be sure to check out their site here to pick up some amazing maternity pieces for this summer!

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Update: My Life Right Now

Last week, my husband went away on a business trip leaving me to hold down the fort with my toddler and pregnant self. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled because I knew how much I would miss him and how much more I would have to step up my game around the house because he really helps me out in all avenues at home. With my sciatic nerve, especially during pregnancy – I can be left pretty immobilized at times so I was really worried when he left. Some days, just slightly bending down to pick up toys can leave my lower back in excruciating pain.

Well, it hasn’t even been a full week since he’s been gone and me and AJ already miss him so much. You don’t really realize how much your other half does for you until you are left to do it all yourself. Like throwing out the trash, or picking up your toddler when he escapes your grasp and runs off. There’s only so much a pregnant belly can handle!

I’m sure I’m amusing our neighbors when I make 5 trips up and down the stairs with arms full of groceries and a toddler on my hip. Ah, the strong will of motherhood! Honestly, I don’t know how I’m doing it. I’ve never been so exhausted and grateful for all that my husband does for us, without even having to ask him. I know I have one of the best ones in the book, which makes it so much harder because missing him is not easy.

Every time I open the front door, my son screams out “daddy” because he’s used to him coming home from work so he knows he’s usually the only one coming in the door. That’s the hardest. AJ misses his rough play and nightly shower times. He is so smart for such a small little guy.

I guess what I’m trying to say here ladies is, if you have a good husband – make sure they know how much you appreciate them. I know I always try to. I truly give it up to military wives who have to hold down the fort for months at a time while their husbands are deployed – I know it must not be easy! Thank goodness for technology and video chatting through cell phones! I can at least see his handsome face from time to time.

Expectation VS Reality

As a mother, you deal with your fair amount of disappointments and failures. You battle with who you used to be before you had children, and who you are now. I like to be somewhere in between the person who I used to be and who I am now. Although I truly admire who I have become, sometimes I miss who I used to be. A go getter, an entrepreneur, a singer, a project coordinator, etc.

Some days I feel like a failure. I’m not as energetic as some of these mom’s out there, I’m not always as friendly – sometimes hiding behind my sunglasses shielding my bare face that has no touch of make up. I’m not the yoga and Pilates preggo mother that I thought I would be. I don’t have a lot of mom friends in my area so as far as setting up play dates for my son, I definitely feel like a failure.

I think, I can at least rule at managing my home because that is my “office.” But reality sinks in, that no matter how many schedules I make, how many planners I own – life will happen. I can schedule laundry day, or grocery day or this is when I sit down and finally write my blog post day but life will happen and then I’m left with what I feel is nothing to show for.

In between trying to get the dishes done, chasing my toddler from playing with the electric chords, making breakfast, wrestling my son from swinging the dog from her tail, prepping for lunch, putting my pots back in the drawer from when my kid pulls them out to play, etc. Nothing ever seems to get done. I can schedule in between his nap times, IF he decides to nap today – life is as unpredictable as wintertime in southern California, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

An unpredictable schedule can be so disappointing when you have a desire to meet expectations. I am the type of person who, as soon as I get an idea – I like to test it out right away.

Expectation: I want to open an Etsy shop!

Reality: It actually took me about 6-9 months to finally put my idea into reality. My son was a newborn when I WANTED to start but I had to wait MONTHS before I got the ball rolling because I had no one to help me with him and it was really difficult working one hour at a time, in between his naps. Especially because he refused to sleep on his own until he was about 9 months.

Expectation: I want to start blogging!

Reality: I didn’t get to fully dive in to blogging until about a year after wanting to do it. I started with a journal, story telling about experiences in my life as a way to maintain my sanity. I have to say, I just re-started this venture maybe 3-4 months ago when my son was finally able to play independently. I still have to chase him around, mid paragraph to make sure he didn’t jam a toy in the DVD player. And on most days when I get on my laptop to write a post, he likes to psych me out and play with the power chord, occasionally pulling it out of its outlet and then laughing. -_-

In the end, as long as it gets done – you’ve still reached your achievement. I think its natural to try and put a time frame and deadlines to certain personal goals that we have in life, but its important not to live by them.  I think most successful people have experienced a fair amount of failures and met their own expectations in later times than expected – but they at least got there. You will get there, I will get there. It might not be at the time that I expected, but God always pulls through. He gets me there when it’s time for me to get there. You have to take the positives in life or else, you’ll constantly feel like a failure. You have to remember that YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! You are just going through another hurdle, so keep on persevering and finish climbing that mountain!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

 

Surviving The First Trimester: What They Forget to Tell You About Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first son, I went through a lot of physical challenges. At the time, I was working full time with a rough commute – had severe morning sickness for about 6 months, suffered through dizzy spells in my second trimester, and was severely underweight. Knowing all of this, I never planned on rushing into another pregnancy. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to have a second child yet as I don’t feel I had much time to give it much thought. I did want to give my son a younger sibling so I prayed about it for months, not thinking that I would conceive any time soon however.

Then, surprise! I was pregnant for almost two months already before I had even found out. This time around, I feel God had a little more mercy on me being that my son can be very high maintenance. I went through the normal morning sickness phase, the food aversions, the relentless fatigue, etc. Now that I am hitting the second trimester and thankfully most of those symptoms have pretty much subsided – I have been able to pay attention to the other wonderful pregnancy symptoms that people forget to tell you about:

Breathlessness

During pregnancy, as your uterus grows – it pushes all your organs up. You may experience breathlessness, as I do. Some mornings, after I attempt to have something for breakfast, I experience severe breathlessness. I feel like someone is literally sitting on my chest, preventing me from taking full breaths so my body has to work a bit harder to get that oxygen in. It is very uncomfortable and can be a bit debilitating especially when combined with pregnancy fatigue.

You Get Hairy

Now, I’m not sure if its the prenatal vitamins or what not – but when I get pregnant, it seems as if my hair not only grows faster but it grows thicker. I especially notice this thickness on my growing baby bump. Although it’s really embarrassing to admit, my growing baby bump looks like a monkeys belly. Ah, the joys of pregnancy!

Bleeding Gums

If you don’t already develop a distaste for your tooth paste during pregnancy, the bleeding gums are definitely not something you want to taste on a daily basis. My gums get so sensitive during pregnancy, just a simple brushing session makes my gums gush with blood. Its not only disgusting tasting, but looks like a crime scene when you spit it out. Overall, terrible feeling. Don’t even get me started on flossing! And then the paranoia of using mouthwash because it has a certain percentage of alcohol. Why does keeping good dental hygiene have to be so hard during this time?

Swollen Hands and/ or Feet

Now, this may differ for some people but for me – when I am standing for too long (washing dishes, taking a shower, etc.) my feet get extremely swollen. Not only swollen, but red and uncontrollably itchy! This can get really challenging when trying to get things done around the house, especially when you have to take care of another child.

You May Experience Morning Sickness For Longer Than Expected

Most pregnancy resources say that morning sickness usually subsides at around 12 weeks or so. Whoever made this statement makes me quite angry especially being that I experienced morning sickness for about 6 months with my first son. This time around, it subsided at around 4 1/2 – 5 months. It’s still really uncomfortable to eat, even though most of my morning sickness is gone – it seems that with a growing bump, there’s not much room for a lot of food.

There may be other symptoms that I am leaving off the list, what are the pesky symptoms that you struggled with during your pregnancy? Leave in the comments below.

Till next time!

~G

Trusting in God’s Timing: My Mother’s Day Story

Three years ago, I was sitting in church during a Mother’s Day service. The Pastor wished all the mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day and went on to state how we should be so thankful for all the loving mothers out there who sacrifice themselves to their families. I remember that morning so well, I remember the hot tears that flowed down my face. Embarrassed because I could feel people turn around to look at me, I tried to wipe them away but they just kept coming and I just couldn’t stop. My eyes were like a leaking faucet, and my pain was quite deep and noticeable.

You see, a few months prior I had lost my first child. The pain was so unbearable to me that I didn’t know what to do with myself, always feeling like I was missing something. I had lost a part of me that I felt I would never gain back. Every time I saw a child hold on to his or her mother’s hand, I would loose it. Every time a child spoke out “momma’ it was like a dagger to my heart. I wanted to be a mother more than anything in this world and I felt like this would never happen for me.

I miscarried at 10 weeks with no explanation given, no one told me why this happened…it just happened. For months, I questioned everything that I had done. What could I have done to prevent this? What did I do wrong? Was I being punished for something? I was hurt and angry at God that He could allow something like this to happen, even though I didn’t want to admit it – not even to myself. I wondered why for months until I just tried to let it go and give it to God but I wasn’t whole heartedly giving my burden to God.

We tried to conceive again, over and over and every time my period came – it was a new kind of pain and disappointment. I felt like I would never have a child, I would never be a mother. These thoughts would torture me and sent me in a depression where I would find myself crying all the time alone, to myself. I felt like I had no purpose and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was being punished for some reason.

The months kept rolling by, and still no positive pregnancy test. It had almost been a year and I was only 24 years old…what was wrong with me? I had myself tested, and the Doctor’s said I was perfectly healthy. I started reading Genesis and got really into the story of Jacob and how he married Leah and her sister Rachel. Because God saw that Leah was unloved by her husband, He made Rachel barren so that Leah could bare a child for Jacob, and then this specific verse got me:

Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.”

-Genesis 30: 22-23

I started balling like a baby, this verse convicted me and at the same time gave me such incredible hope. It was as if God was reaching out to me to tell me, “trust me.” It wasn’t until that point where I finally surrendered to God. I prayed to him during the whole painful process but I didn’t let my wall down until I finally just gave Him the burden. I asked for forgiveness and begged and pleaded to Him. I prayed to God, telling him I would try to be the best mother in my power and how much I would love that child. That weekend, I got a positive pregnancy test.

I was thrilled, but still scared because I had just had a miscarriage with my last pregnancy so I approached everything with caution. Now I have a healthy, rambunctious little boy named Alijah and he is my world.

You see, with my first pregnancy – me and my husband were not in a situation where we could properly provide for a child. We were renting a room in a house and were trying to save up to purchase a home. We didn’t conceive until we were actually in that home. But God had another plan for us: we were relocating to a new state. As per a previous post, we moved to Washington state when I was 7 months – almost 8 months pregnant for a job opportunity that my husband had. We are still here and are now in a position where the Lord has blessed our family and I can stay home with my child. Something I never imagined I could ever do. Also during this time opened an Etsy shop and also worked part time from home.

God knew what He had in store for us and although I suffered through a tragic loss, God not only blessed me with a son – He has blessed my womb once more and I am pregnant with my second child. Something, again that I never imagined I would achieve. All I can say is that, whatever you may be going through right now may be very painful. But you don’t know what lies ahead, God has something for you. He has a plan for each and every one of us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

Once I stopped trying to take total control of my life, stopped worrying and started to let go and “let God”…that was when I gained everything. Trusting God can be a scary thing but I guarantee that once you do it, the blessings will overflow and you will be healed. God will bless you more than you can ever imagine.

 

Mom of Boys!

So on Friday we confirmed that baby# 2 is a boy! We are ecstatic! I never imagined that I would be a mom of boys but I am so excited for this adventure! My mind wanders and I can imagine myself being that sporty mom that takes her boys to their athletic sport team events. Going on family sporting events and signing up for those mud runs. Now that I think about it, I feel like I would be the perfect mom for boys, being that I am quite sporty and tom boyish since childhood. I was the girl that would play sports with all the boys in the block and even played co-ed football in high school.

I feel that God chose this for me because He knew how I would thrive guiding my boys. Sure, there will be moments where I fail because I am not perfect. Sometimes, it scares me to think that I am going to have two rambunctious little boys tearing up my living room, but I am so excited for the love that we will share, and the future memories.

Being a mother, for me has brought out so many different emotions. It has been a time where I have doubted myself the most; my actions, my feelings, my existence. I second guess the decisions I make because I want to make sure I am making the best decisions for me and my family. Always thinking back to myself, “Was that the best decision for my boys?” And I’m sure all mothers feel this way sometimes.

To think, only a few years ago – I was so hopeful to be a mother. I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to be. Then I was pregnant with my first son, and when he was born I felt myself so blessed. I never thought I would ever receive another gift so amazing. Then little Jackson surprised us and emerged in a very stressful time. But I believe he was gifted to me to bring me not only extra joy – but I feel it was a way for God to reassure me that I was right on track. He was reassuring me that I was doing a good job, even though I had been feeling like I was failing at life- He was reassuring me that I was doing just what I was supposed to be doing.

 

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

-Psalm 127:3

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