The Struggles of an Ambitious Stay At Home Mother

I feel like I am at a crossroad in my life where I will soon have to make a decision of whether I want to continue to be a stay at home parent or go back in to the working field.

Because I have worked most of my life, the transition of becoming a stay at home parent was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I always dreamed of being able to stay home with my children, I fantasized about how wonderful it would be while playing my own version of Mary Poppins in my head. But the reality is, that being a stay at home parent is difficult. Although it is rewarding and beautiful, it is a tough journey – sometimes even thankless with long, never ending hours. To top it off, it can be financially nerve wrecking especially since you are no longer contributing with a paycheck. The months of penny pinching become stressful and as a mother, you naturally put yourself last to make sure everyone else gets what they need first. Momma bear always makes sure her cubs get fed so luxuries such as shopping, salon visits, manicures…well, they are a thing of the past.

It can be incredibly taxing to go day after day of just doing without and putting yourself last. It can definitely take a toll on you emotionally. You look in the mirror to see a stranger with funky looking hair and deep eye circles starring back at you. Someone you just don’t recognize anymore. You start to question where the old “you” went; the go getter, the sharp looker, the woman who was always on top of things. Now you’ve become the lady with “mom brain,” wearing long shirts and leggings, covered in baby spit up.

But it’s all worth it right? I mean, children are everything?

Yes, they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything in this world. I can’t physically be away from my children for too long without completely freaking out. Watching them grow up to be these amazing tiny humans is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. But, there are times where I feel that my potential as a career driven individual is going to waste. I want to be able to contribute to my family in a way where my children will be able to have more opportunities when they are older, and in order for me to be able to give them that – I would have to go back into the working field. But the longer I stay home, the less work experience I am able to attain.

Sometimes, I see some of my past colleagues and their career accomplishments and I feel like I need to be out there. I mean, there are working moms out there who do it all…why can’t I? As a woman of faith, I am called to manage my home. And can I really do that while working outside the home? I believe that is one of my hardest struggles. I know there are women of faith who do work due to financial circumstances so then why am I struggling with such mom guilt?

I think when it comes down to it, we are called to be selfless, to give ourselves to our families and put their needs first. I know this is how God has designed the home to be. Do I see the blessings that have come forth due to me following this example? Yes, I definitely have. I believe I struggle with the definition of success. Most people feel they need to succeed financially and in career driven environments in order to feel successful in life. But, we forget how important it is to raise happy, healthy humans so we write it off.

The truth is that, one will always suffer. If you go back to work, yes your family will get less of you. You may have to hire a babysitter and a housekeeper. One day, I may have to do that and I am trying my best not to guilt trip myself for it because it’s just a process of life that doesn’t mean I love my family any less. I know I can’t have it all. But I want to be able to provide a bigger space that my children may one day enjoy. So until that day comes, I will try to enjoy every snuggle, every boo boo that needs to be kissed, every bed time swinging where my arms feel like they are going to give out on me. The truth is that I am just another over protective mother who is probably overthinking this whole thing. A mother that is just trying to make the best decisions for her family. I just want to do what is right for them, and make the best decisions in order to provide a better future for them.

 

Life With 2 Under 2: First Month

It’s definitely been a while since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and actually write a blog post. Every day is different and I definitely have my hands full so writing or posting has become less of a priority. To say that I get busy is an understatement because, I can add more busy to my currently extremely busy…if that makes sense?

My first month of having two under two has definitely been memorable. Your emotions range from happiness, to sleep deprived, and spiral into guilt really quickly.  One of the things I have struggled with the most is mom guilt. When I had my first son, I was able to devote all my attention to him. All my love was freely poured into him and now that I have added to my family, it is very easy to see where I start to fall short.

My second son does not get all my attention, he sparingly gets mommy snuggles and smiles. Aside from nursing him, he doesn’t get much mommy cuddles because his older brother needs me too – which constantly makes me feel very sad. My older son is getting close to turning two (ah yes, the terrible two’s are coming) and he seems to be requiring everything “right now” and all my attention  at all times – which can become very exhausting. Some days, when the baby is colicky and needs more of my attention, my toddler – even though he hides it very well – starts getting a little jealous. He starts acting out, jumps on me while I’m holding the baby, and can just be very difficult to be around. As soon as I put the baby down for a nap, there he is, waiting for me with his hands up in the air asking for me to pick him up. And how could I refuse him with his cute little face and big brown eyes as he looks up at me? Even though I may be exhausted and have to pee, I hold it in and just pick him up for a little bit. He’s still a baby. My baby.

It gets tougher when he starts to act up and I have to scold him or put him in time out because he doesn’t understand why things have changed and why I can’t tend to him right away. “Mommy has to pick up the baby because the baby is crying” as he cries while holding on to my neck, screaming “no momma, no!” It can truly be heartbreaking. If I get lucky enough to have them take a nap at the same time, momma finally gets to take a nap after only getting possibly four hours of sleep that night! Ah yes, the night time feedings of the newborn stage – cant say that was something I missed.

To sum it up – life with two under two kind of feels like a tag team match. Once you put one down, the other one tags you right back in. It’s a constant push and pull, a never ending guilt trip but at the same time, there are so many touching moments. Like when your oldest stops running around while the baby wakes up and gasps “ah, baby…cute!” Or when he comes up to the baby and gives him a big hug and kiss. Lights up my heart. Just knowing that one day, these two will be the best of friends is what gives me the fuel to not bash my head in at 3 in the morning while the baby wakes up the toddler and they are both crying for me to come get them. Sheesh! But most importantly, how they have helped me grow as a person, helped me see my strengths and weaknesses – and even with those, I have maintained being able to keep them alive? Thank you sweet Jesus for not only the heartwarming times, but also for the ongoing struggles that help make me stronger. A stronger mother, a better mother, a hot mess – but even with my weaknesses, they still love me, they still need me. Amen to that!

Date Night with The Husband

It has been just about 2 years since my husband and I have been able to indulge in a date night together. For the past 2 years, it has been all about baby and we rarely get to have any alone time for one another. With our soon to be addition of baby number two, a kind soul at the church we go to offered to watch our little one so we could get some alone time and although hesitant – I knew it was very much needed for us.

Before having my first son, my husband and I would always have a date night. Enjoying each others company and allowing for romance to sweep us off our feet was the norm. Then our son came along and our priorities shifted – our love did not stop for one another but I do think it left us with a feeling of longing for one another. I know I missed having all of my husband’s attention and I know he felt the same way in some instances.

I was finally able to wear a purse that was not a diaper bag or that had any sippy cups and diapers in it. It’s the little things that make you feel so free. My husband opened the car door for me, which is something I completely forgot he used to do, but made me feel so very special. We went to dinner at a wonderful sushi restaurant and were able to actually enjoy a meal without having to pick up food pieces off the floor and asking my toddler to calm down and stop screaming. It was liberating, yet something was missing.

The loud noise in the backseat yelling for cookies and car ride snacks was missing. My husband from time to time would jokingly say, “Hmm, is he knocked out back there, did he fall asleep or something?” We brushed off the feeling and continued on about our plans.

All the while enjoying ourselves, we realized how much we missed our son. He had become such a prominent part of our lives, although sometimes very disruptive and stressful – he was the little light that was missing. Because we became a family when he was born, and although my husband and I miss having each other’s full attention at times – we have morphed into something so much greater.

I think it’s still very important to have a date night with your spouse, not ONLY to keep your marriage healthy, full of love, and to keep the romance going. But also, so you can realize the blessings in your life. Having children is not easy, some days you want to rip your hair out and just run away and lock yourself in the bathroom. But the joy and love that comes with them is so irreplaceable.

God calls us to keep our marriages strong. To love your spouse before ourselves and it felt good to do that. I guess I am just so grateful to be doing marriage with someone that is on the same page as me. Someone I don’t have to convince to love our children and be a part of their every day moments. Someone who is equally yoked as myself, shares the same desire to love Jesus and be a servant of God.  We are not perfect, but our love for each other feels perfect. I feel I have so much to be grateful to God for, so undeserving of all this love and all the blessings he sends our way.

When it was finally time to pick our son back up, I think we both raced each other out of the car to see who got to the door faster. I left the car door open with my purse hanging out! As we saw his beautiful little face through the house mirror, as he threw his hands up in the air and gave his welcome “HI” – I think my heart melted. I live for those moments. Those moments where finally seeing you is the best thing in the world to them. My 35 weeks pregnant and hurting butt picked his heavy little self up and could not stop kissing his face. Like the first day he was born, always showered in kisses.

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.

 

Gloomy Days, Don’t Dull My Sunday Vibes

After a whole week of sunshine, it decided to rain this weekend. Sure, there were moments when the sun peeked through – but my heart was saddened when the sun decided not to make it’s permanent appearance.

When we lived in California, it felt like summertime every day. You start to take the sunshine for granted, now that we’re in Washington – I definitely appreciate the sun more and take advantage when it comes out to show off its rays.

Even though it was particularly gloomy, we still ventured out to get AJ out of the house for a while. Plus, I need to walk the baby bump. I took advantage of the gloom and wore some of my warmer clothes. I do love the fall season, so this outfit made me reminiscent of that beautiful time.

I love rock music, pop rock was the genre of the band that I used to sing in. So this outfit was definitely in reflection to that time in my life when I used to get on stage and sing my little heart out. I say little because I’m 5’1″…and a half!

What I’m wearing:

Black faux leather jacket: Forever 21. Grey stripped long sleeve shirt: Forever 21. Black under tank: Mossimo, Target. Gray fleece lined leggings: TJ Max. Military Boots: TJ Max.

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I had to include some pictures of my son AJ, I think he is a camera natural! Even though lately it’s been really hard to capture photos of him because he doesn’t like to stand still once we let him run free.

What AJ is wearing:
White and grey long sleeve shirt: Cherokee, Target. Caramel Khakis: H&M Kids. Shoes: Grey Checkered Vans.

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Staying Golden In The Evergreen State (First Blog!!!)

If you had told me two years ago that I would be relocating to beautiful state of Washington from Southern California, to say the least I would not have believed you. If you had told me that I would be 7 months pregnant during this relocation, I would have told you that you were completely bonkers! But that is what happened! Unexpectedly, my husband had to make a career move that would send us on our way to a new adventure through the Pacific North West!

When my husband first left, I was 5 months pregnant and had to stay in our Southern California home for two months while he got our situation settled. During this time, I still went to work full time and managed a heavy commute of about an hour and fifteen minutes (there and back)! I had a really rough pregnancy, which made things pretty complicated for me. For the first, I want to say 4-5 months of pregnancy – I couldn’t keep anything down. I could barely indulge in a crisp cup of water without hurling. Then when the 5 month mark came around, I suffered from dizzy spells that left me pretty concerned, especially because I had to tackle such a tough commute. I eventually had to stay with my parents for this period of time. They thankfully lived only 3 minutes away from my job which allowed more rest for me. For the normal person, this would seem like the ideal situation however I was a fur mommy to 4 dogs and a bunny rabbit. Yes, I am one of those people. So I had to still travel back and forth to make sure they were taken care of.

Anyway, when my husband finally came for me I was thrilled. My husband and I have a really strong bond – ever since I had met him, he just understood me in a way that no one else could. Not to get all sappy, but I love him with all my heart and soul. He is my best friend and someone I always lean on when times get rough. So when we were apart for two months – it weighed heavily on the both of us.

As we drove through California and onto Oregon in the big Budget truck we rented, we pondered upon this new chapter in our lives and wondered about all the new things that were to come. I had never seen so many beautiful trees and greenery; it was like a beautiful movie that we were experiencing. Although I was excited, I knew I would miss my family and friends back in California. I hadn’t lived anywhere else but SoCal for the majority of my life. I was born in Peru and moved to the United States as a toddler, so all I really knew was the San Fernando Valley. Even though I knew I would miss them, I had always dreamed about raising my children in a place where you get a full autumn and get to experience all the gorgeous seasons.

17 plus hours later, we had finally made it! Excitement and joy filled my body as we drove through what seemed to me to be an enchanted place filled with gigantic looking Christmas trees! Who doesn’t love Christmas all year long? It was like watching the movie Twilight, only without the bad acting and make believe characters and all.

There started our great adventure to the new beginning of our lives.

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