To The Mom Who Is Constantly Denying Herself

It never really seems to slow down. Whether it be the constant sleep interruptions in the middle of the night from a hungry baby or a kick in the face from your toddler who never learned to sleep in his own bed. The day constantly goes, and momma doesn’t seem to get to lay down and breathe in.

The morning starts for most, but for you it’s not much different from when you try to get the kids to go back to sleep constantly in the middle of the night.

Then the chocolate milk and Lucky Charms demands start as your toddler whines for you to get up and turn the TV on! You get up, running on 4.5 hours of interrupted sleep, pick up the baby who’s trying to climb off the bed and head towards the living room.

After you have turned on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, you head towards the kitchen and pour a bowl of cereal for your whining toddler. Or rush to whip up some pancakes at his request. Of course, always rushing because he must have them NOW! Thankfully, the baby is much more understanding and entertains himself. When he’s finally bored, he will crawl into the kitchen with the most adorable face you have ever seen. Then you remember to prepare his baby cereal. Once they are both fed, then the fun starts!

I don’t know if it’s because I have two boys, but there always seems to be wrestling and smashing of toys. But my favorite is the jumping on the couch and body slamming mom. Yes, pure joy. Playtime continues throughout the day and in between time, I’m picking up toys, putting baby down for nap time, preparing toddler’s lunch, washing the piled up dishes, picking up baby who has awoken, feeding newly awoken baby, preparing bath time, vacuuming crumbs off the floor, washing and or folding laundry, etc.

Nap time can not come sooner but both of their nap times do not always overlap which can be frustrating because I could really use that hour to just sit down and breathe. I’m constantly going, constantly doing and by the time my husband comes home, there’s never any visible proof that I’ve really done anything. New dishes will pile up, more dirty clothes will add up and make new piles of laundry meanwhile I think I’ve worn this tshirt and pajamas for two days now and my hair remains in what seems to be a permanent messy bun. And it’s not one of those cute messy buns you see on the tv shows.

It’s been months and I haven’t had a day to myself, my husband works so many hours that he can’t really alleviate any of my “mommy shifts.” And when I finally do get the opportunity to branch off and do something on my own, I don’t end up doing so because my kids start crying out for me as soon as I walk towards that door. I mean, I can’t jump in the shower without my toddler having a panic attack- later I realize that he just jumped in fully clothed. Either that, or I’ll go to the store and see someone else’s kids and immediately miss the crap out of my children. Sometimes I feel like I’m the cause to a lot of the stresses of my motherhood journey. I’m either always wishing to get away on my own for a little bit, but then I end up glued to them in fear that something may go wrong or end up hurting their feelings because they rather me stay home with them.

And don’t get me wrong, loving up my babies is probably the best feeling in the world. Nothing could ever compare to the silent giggles I see when my toddler giggles at his favorite cartoons, or the joy I feel when they are finally getting along and playing together. Or when I get mad at one and they defend each other. When my toddler is feeling cranky and only my mommy kisses make him feel better, or when the baby is tired and only my arms will bring him the soothing comfort until he drifts off to sleep. It is the most rewarding and exhausting job I have ever had. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But some days, I feel dizzy. Dizzy because I haven’t slept in months, haven’t stopped going in circles. Haven’t gone out to have any kind of adult time, whether it is a date night with my husband or just to go shopping at Target by myself without a screaming child. You see, I want to do so much but I don’t have the time or capacity to do so. And like most mom’s, I struggle with my identity outside of being a parent.

The world makes you strive to be more than “just a mom.” Oh, you’re just a mom? It’s probably the most gut wrenching part of a conversation for me because not only does it downplay all the hard work I put in into being a mother but it suggests that I am unfulfilled and need to be striving to be more. I feel like I will always struggle with this as I have so many goals and aspirations that are outside of motherhood for me. But for now, they have to be on hold. Yes, for now I am “just a mom.” But for now being “just a mom” is more than enough for me. Because my babies need me now, and everything else can wait because I promised to put them first when I chose to become a mother. And as long as the Lord will allow me, I will do just that. For God promised me that if I put my trust in Him, He will supply all my needs. (Psalm 84:12) (Proverbs 3: 5-6) (Philippians 4:19) (Matthew 6:31 -32)

So, for you momma’s who are struggling with getting time for yourselves, just to feel like a person again. Remember that your sacrifices are accounted for and one day you will have all the time in the world. Because babies become adolescents, and adolescents become young adults, and young adults venture off to college and leave mommy all alone. In this moment, you are tired and it’s hard but this too shall pass. So hang in there and don’t loose hope. It’s something I have to constantly remind myself as I’m running on fumes constantly and refilling my coffee cup. But their sweet little faces are worth it. I find my worth in them and in what Jesus has called me to be for them. A selfless, devoted (and sometimes very cranky) mother. (2 Kings 4:30) (John 3:30)

What you do is more than enough. Who you see in the mirror might not look like the person you used to be, but to your children you are everything. And that is more important than how the world may see you now.

A Letter to My First Son

My brave little AJ,

Ever since you entered this world, you were a force to be reckoned with. You let yourself be known, told everyone who was boss, with your little Chewbacca rrr’s.

You’ve been strong willed since you were in my belly, never letting me eat anything you didn’t approve of. Heck, I couldn’t eat until around 6 months! You and I have always had a journey – it was just us two for two months or so while your daddy made a way for us in our new home in Washington.

You see, you have always been in my heart and on my mind. It was you I held on to when I was lonely, and I still do. I rely on your gentle hugs and kisses, you seem to understand me in a way I can’t describe.

You were the one I was hoping for, the one who healed my broken heart when I lost your first sibling…who now rests in heaven with Jesus. The hope of you got me through it all, and when you came into this world – you changed me more than I would ever know.

I held on to you, every step of the way. Impatiently waiting for your arrival. The bond that we share is beyond my simple understanding as I would shield you with my body, with my very own life I would anything to protect you little man. I love you with all my heart, soul, and very existence.

And now here we are, mommy expecting another little and you are soon to be a big brother! Mommy never expected in her wildest dreams that she could have another and although I am beyond excited for this wonderful addition, my heart breaks for the days that you will miss just having all of me – because now you will have to share me.

Although I know you are going to make an amazing older brother, I know some days will be hard for you. It breaks my heart that you will have days where you might feel alone, or left to the side. But know that you are irreplaceable to me. Having another baby will never change the love that I have for you. While watching you be a loving brother, I know my love for you will only grow.

So please remember, on the days where you feel sad because mommy couldn’t get to you as soon as you needed, know that it’s not because I love you less. Don’t believe that, find comfort in the fact that mommy knows you are an independent little guy and mommy relies on you now through this journey. You are becoming a big boy now, and as hard as that is for mommy to accept – I know you are only going to excel and do great things.

You will always be my baby, my first baby, the one I prayed for the most. The one that I shed countless tears for, the one that I was the most cautious with. God blessed me with you and I know He knew what He was doing when he brought you into my life.

Thank you for helping me realize who I truly am during all these trying times, thank you for bringing so much love and joy in to my life. Thank you for forgiving me when I loose my patience with you, you are so forgiving and loving with mommy – I honestly don’t deserve you.

I love you more than words could ever describe.

Love,

Mommy

 

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

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

 

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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Confessions of a Stay at home Mom

I used to always be aware of time. I’ve always liked to schedule my time to try and get the most out of my day. A typical day for me in the past would start with: getting ready for work, preparing lunch for my husband and I, feeding all my animals, and then off I was to my commute for work. Work from 9-5, off of work, drive to pick up hubby, and off we were on our commute back home. This was very single day, the same routine.  And then there was the weekend. Sounds kind of boring when you have an unfulfilling job and you feel like you’re lacking a purpose.

Now, I am a stay at home mother and although I have finally found the most fulfilling job that gave me a purpose – I still run in to obstacles. In a previous post I went on to describe my experiences with my “fussy baby” and although I love my new job, I can’t help to sometimes feel unappreciated. It seems to me that society really praises women who chose to put their careers before their family. Maybe it’s because not too long ago, women were not allowed to have careers? I mean, more power to you if you are pursuing your dreams – this is not a women’s bashing post what-so-ever, I’m just kind of tired of the misconceptions people have regarding what a stay at home mother really is.

I can remember a conversation I had with a friend a few years back; we were discussing our futures and aspirations. She went on to list off all the possible career choices she was considering and what her dreams were. When it got to me, I had a list too – one that I had put together because people expect these types of answers. But instead I chose to just be honest and say what was in my heart. “I just want to have a family and be a mother.” Well, the response on her face alone shamed me but when she finally uttered the words “that’s it?” I kind of felt embarrassed and went on to list off a few other career choices that were within the major that I was studying.

Now a days, we pay people to watch our children so we can go out to the world and pursue other things; careers. Some people don’t really have much of a choice and for financial reasons, they have to get jobs in order to provide for their families and there is no shame in that. There’s no shame in any of it, but why do I have to be ashamed for what I love to do?

When I was a working woman with a career, I did not find much fulfillment in it but obviously I had to work for financial reasons. I also wanted to make sure I had a strong working record to build a strong resume. All things I have accomplished, but didn’t fulfill me.

I know on most days, it’s hard for me to get through the judgments of other – what I like to call “Mean Moms.” They seem to nit pit at every decision that you make, or one up you every time you think you did something really great for your kid.

I think what’s important is to do what is right for you and your family. Whether that is to stay at home with your child or choosing to work – just own it. And don’t let others make you feel like what you are doing is wrong. No one lives in your shoes; no one knows your fears, your struggles, and your financial situation.

Just keep on rocking that mom life you’re living!

~G