Maintaining Joy in Parenting When Your Cup is Empty

I personally feel that, in motherhood, some seasons are more difficult than others. It’s been one of those for me lately as it’s been a little crazier at our house than usual. My husband is preparing for the biggest exam yet of his medical career and is literally studying 14-16 hours a day. I deliver food to his office door, and I honestly don’t know how he does it. His brain is amazing. Anyway, we don’t see him much/hardly at all. I’ve been going through a bit of postpartum overwhelm, my children are incredibly high energy and if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t been the mother I want to be lately. At all. My children are truly my world,the much desired beloved joys of my heart, and nothing hurts me more than feeling that I am failing in being the mother I want to be for them.

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When your inner Mama Bear comes out/don’t treat my kids differently due to your gender bias

I have realized lately that having children has definitely changed me, one area being my ability to deal with confrontation when necessary. But, this post is really about an experience we had recently due to the fact my children are not all the same gender. So, the twins had their first dance class this week. We’ve done gymnastics mommy and me classes but this was their first “real” class experience. They’ve been over the moon excited, and I found it’s a bit more difficult to find dance gear for toddler boys, which is ridiculous, I mean, boys dance too. Hello, heard of Mikhail Baryshnikov?! Anyway, they have both literally been counting down the days until class started.

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Five Easy Ways I make Myself Feel like I Have it all together every day (even when I totally don’t)

One of my biggest parenting lessons as a previous control freak has been you simply cannot control everything all the time when you have children. That being said, I do like to have a semblance of order and peace every day, for me it helps me keep my sanity and thus help me be a better mama. I can’t always keep the bathroom spotless and I can’t always have all the laundry put away (ok, maybe ever on that one hahaha!) but I have found a few easy, doable daily things that help me feel better about everything. I call them my daily sanity savers! These may not be your five things, but if you don’t have them already, I hope they can at least help you maybe find five things that help YOU feel on top of it all, even when you have tiny humans using you as a jungle gym and your house resembles a disco with the world’s tiniest ravers alive. And please share below I would love to hear what yours are!

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The Birth Story of Charlie Adam Lloyd

First of all, I want to give credit to my wonderful sister, Hayley, for photographing Charlie’s birth. It was no easy task in our cramped, tight and very dark little room, but it means the world to me to have Charlie’s birth documented, both in photos and videos. Working in such a dark room is nearly impossible for photography, but the twins were born under fluorescent lights and I was SO grateful for the dim calm this time! She also photographed the twins birth, (as much of it as she was permitted to at the hospital!) and I am eternally grateful for her love and labors at both events. She even hung in there when it got super gnarly, bless her brave heart.

I will admit to feeling quite vulnerable in sharing all of this, but, being able to read other’s birth stories and see their photos and videos gave me such strength before both of my births, and I am sharing our story in the hope that I can do that for someone else.

Watch Charlie’s birth story video here, and scroll down to read it <3

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Easiest DIY Toddler Bunk Bed (no sawing or additional tools required!)

Allow me to preface this with the statement that I am not an architect, nor am I a DIY expert, just a mom on a mission, so please feel free to ask for clarification on construction for this bed! 🙂

Ever since the twins were born, we’ve been a cosleeping family, and loved it. Many things contributed to that decision, not in the least of all which was space. (When you have one bedroom you do what you gotta do!) When our queen bed got too small we purchased a twin bed off of Amazon and sidled it up next to the queen mattress to make one bigger bed. When we found out we were pregnant with Charlie, I started making plans to transition them into their own beds as part of our home renovation. Well, the renovation took longer than expected (don’t they all) and suddenly Charlie was here and the only progress I had made was to remove the extra twin mattress and in its place put some toddler mattresses on our bedroom floor, so essentially we were all in the same bed still, it was just a LOT smaller!

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How We Potty Trained Pain Free

**as always, my parenting posts are simply my sharing what has worked for my family in the hopes that it can help yours. I am not a parenting expert by any means, I am simply learning as I go (as aren’t we all!)**

So first of all, I’ll admit straight up, the concept of potty training terrified me from the beginning. It just seemed, so, HARD! And stressful! And messy! And nebulous! For me and my littles! But I felt like there had to be a better way, and what I would like to propose in this post is, I believe there is. I took a rather non-conventional potty training approach with my little ones and it worked absolutely beautifully for us. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t messy, it was so, NATURAL. And honestly, it wasn’t training. I just let them take the lead and they did it themselves. And, dare I say, it was so EASY. It really was. It was so so easy. When my son was barely over a year old, he suddenly started refusing to poop. It was seriously stressful and traumatizing for both of us. On a whim, I got a little potty hoping that perhaps the only issue was he didn’t want to mess his diaper. Lo and behold, he pooped on the potty that day and we never had another issue (or another single poopy diaper from him!).

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How we kicked the screentime habit in under a week

Let me preface this by saying three things: one, I am not a parenting expert. I simply love to share what has worked (or not!) for my family and hope others may benefit. Secondly, I do not believe that all screen time is all bad all the time. Thirdly, there are seasons of life and I believe some of those seasons will benefit from more screen time than others. I had been having that type of season, twin toddlers, very pregnant, and doing a major home renovation project. When we were in the thick of drywalling and it came down to my kids potentially eating drywall compound or watching more PJ Masks than I would preferably want them to, let me tell you what I chose….(hint…it didn’t involve a call to the poison control hotline).

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How to not only Survive but Enjoy Long Road Trips with Toddlers

I recently traveled to Tulsa Oklahoma and back from our Colorado home in my mighty but little RAV4 with my two and a half year old twins and my very kind parents so that I could attend the annual SeneGence Seminar. The trip was over 1500 miles roundtrip, over 750 each way! We drove it straight through each way, leaving early in the morning on a Thursday and returning that Sunday. It took us about 13 hours each time (including stops). I was pretty nervous before we left as to how my littles would handle it, we never spend a lot of time in the car let alone 13 straight hours. And so, I super prepared for the trip. And, it not only worked, they actually had FUN. Granted, by the time we arrived home Sunday we were ALL (adults included) ready to get the heck out of the car, but nobody was having hysterics. I always loved road trips as a child and want to do them with my family, so I was ELATED that this was such a good first experience for my littles. What I did to prepare really worked incredibly well, and while I do not wish a 13 hour straight through road trip on anyone, I hope these tips and tricks may help you be successful with any road-tripping you have in your future!

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Future Kings and Queens, and Nurturing Tender Confident Hearts

Have you heard that Audio Adrenaline song Kings and Queens? I cannot listen to it without crying…

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free

While the focus of the song is primarily about children in need, it always hits me HARD in the gut because in this fast paced world that only seems to be getting faster, children can so easily become caught up in the fray and forgotten.

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When it all gets to be a bit much…

It’s been (another) one of those weeks. You know the kind I’m talking about? Where no matter how carefully you plan, your plans blow up like a grenade hit them, one thing does lead to the other and no, absolutely none of it is something you can ignore and not deal with or there will be serious consequences. The coffee is ALWAYS cold no matter how many times you heat it, at least one of your children is constantly doing the finding boundaries/pushing buttons thing like their life depends on it (which in all fairness, it kind of does…) and the related tantrums to the boundary finding are ALWAYS in a public place you cannot escape from quickly and somehow always around judgmental folks that apparently were never children themselves but dropped from magical trees as fully poised perfectly behaved beings. And so you find yourself vacillating quicker than ever between feelings of passionate unstoppable burning love and pride in your kids and yourself to feeling like the most inept mother ever and wanting to drown in your continuously cold coffee.

I mean forget when it rains it pours cause sometimes it can feel more like when it rains it SNOW STORMS BIG A** ICE PELLETS.
I’ve set a scripture reminder to go off periodically through the day, and lately it’s been especially helpful. It doesn’t mean I am always zen and collected and that life never rattles me but at the least it helps me feel a tiny bit better because if nothing else because it reminds me I am trying. I read the scripture, and I take a big breath. It doesn’t mean I am instantly calm and everything falls immediately into place, but I am trying to be the best mom I can be. I do want to teach my kids to focus on the present, to let the past go, and to trust for the future. And it’s a struggle for me, some days more than others, but I AM TRYING.
And really that is what matters. We are trying. Even on the bad days, the failure days, the crawl under a blanket and cry by the potty days. We are trying. And really what does matter is how many times we get back up, not how many times we fall down. So cheers to cold coffee and warm hugs mamas, have a beautiful week!
Xo