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.

 

Staged By Social Media

It has taken a few weeks for me to finish this post, mostly because I really wanted to make sure it didn’t come across too negatively to my readers. After coming back from my trip to California to visit family, and then during the 4th of July holiday, I really took some time to be present in my family and reevaluate a few things.

I have mentioned before that I really struggle to be present and focused sometimes, over indulging in my technology due to social media, emails, blogging, etc. It get’s very challenging sometimes, trying to keep up with this social media game where you’re constantly chasing after more followers or likes in order to maintain some sort of relevancy on social media. It’s just the nature of the game- blogging is a competitive thing where there are so many talented bloggers out there that you have to make sure you are always creating great content. It gets challenging for me because I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing it all the while trying to stay true to myself.

Lately it had been feeling very forced for me, always chasing after that perfectly staged picture that just never feels natural. Getting overwhelmed by trying to finish writing a post, product review, all while making sure my toddler gets fed, bathed, watched, etc. I’m in my third trimester so running after him and making sure all his needs get met is physically exhausting because I’m caring another little in my belly. He is a handful and he needs my patience more than anything, but there are times where he really pushes me and I feel badly for having my attention elsewhere all because I’m doing the “blogging” thing.

So why did I start this blogging adventure?

I did it because I wanted to share my experience. I know I’m not the only hot mess mom out there, still trying to hold on to the little bit of identity left within her. You know, everything you loose in the process of motherhood because you are no longer just for yourself – but you belong to your children. You start to dedicate your life more to shaping and creating the lives and atmosphere of your tiny humans. Whatever time left you may have for yourself, you will probably find it schlumped over the couch trying to catch up on sleep.

I did it because there are stories to tell, that could help others like myself. Especially when it comes to my faith. I try to stay true, I try to provide a hope and an outlet for others that may be struggling with the same experiences. I want to give others hope through my failures – maybe provide for a reason to laugh. I am not perfect, and thankfully God does not require you to be, but it’s my way to reach out there to people I may not have ever gotten a chance to meet personally – and maybe form a connection. Through that connection, maybe I could offer support or healing.

I did it because, I enjoy to write. Not everyone is going to like what I write, but its always been an outlet for me to let it out and keep my sanity. Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a notebook full of thoughts, poems, stories and songs.

So then, why have I become so obsessed with the number of followers and likes on my pictures? Why have I become so focused on the number of comments on my pictures? Am I getting away from why I started this in the first place?

I took a few weeks off just so that I could ground myself and realize that although I may not have all the followers or picture likes in the world – that is not why I started all of this. I do not want to force real connections or real engagement. If that means it may take me more time to build those relationships, then so be it. I want to be able to present during life and not miss out on every milestone that my kiddo goes through. I don’t want to force him to take that “perfect” picture only for him to hate being in front of the camera because mommy is making him take another picture. I want to laugh, I want to live, I want to be present and just be in the moment.

So I encourage you to let life happen and just be apart of the ride. Take that picture, post it, and who cares if it isn’t in the perfect lighting. Be blind fully present, take in the moments because one day, they will just be pictures and memories. Enjoy your lives, don’t live it for others or for that perfect moment of product placement. Be authentically you, even if the picture doesn’t agree, or the hashtag doesn’t fit. Be true to yourself.

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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