Parental Patience: How to keep from Losing It

Hello dear readers! This week I am so truly thrilled to feature one of my favorite mama bloggers, the lovely Amy of discoveringwhimsy.com. Her blog is such a beautiful place to escape to while simultaneously being a refreshing dose of reality. I adore her writing and I know you will too. Make sure to subscribe to her blog and follow her on her social channels below so you can continue to enjoy her wonderful posts, ideas, and encouragements, then scroll down to read her fantastic post on parental patience!

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Parental Patience: How to keep from Losing It

My lovely great aunt always says patience is a virtue. I believe it is especially true when spending time with kids. Hats off to teachers since they are some of the most patient people out there. Kids will test and push your patience to the limits. Some days you have more patience and can deal with their testing with humor and teachable moments, a la Mary Poppins . And then there are the other days, the dreaded days, where you are not the parent you want to be. You have a lot less patience and you lose it. So on those rough days, what do you do to get back to the parent you want to be?

Over last few weeks, I have tried to be mindful on what made me feel better and what steps I took to avoid losing it. I also reached out to the community of awesome moms on Instagram to see what they do when they feel like they are losing it. Here are some of the things we do as parents to try to keep it together when our kids are pushing us to our limits. These were the top 3 responses from my informal Instagram poll.

Top 3 Tactics to Keep it Together

 

  1. Take a Mom Time Out! Many of the moms who responded said that stepping back and taking a break really helped. Some lock themselves in the bathroom, others go to the next room, but ultimately it is about giving yourself a bit of your own space to regain your composure.

My favorite quote from Jordan of Beautifully Imperfect Mama https://beautifullyimperfectmama.com/home/

“Most of the time when my toddler is losing it and I’m on the verge, I count to 4 for him and it tends to calm me down right along with him. If that doesn’t work I go into the bedroom and scream into a pillow then regain composure and go for round two 😂

  1. Breathing and Counting: The next most popular coping tactic was just breathing. Some moms use self-talk to remind themselves to breathe and others will count breaths.

Do what Daniel Tiger’s mom says and “when you’re feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four “, or ten or whatever you need.

  1. Fresh Air and Exercise. The third most popular tactic was to get outside and get some fresh air. I would agree that getting outside can really change your mood; usually for the better.

Here is a link to the Instagram post, if you would like to see what some of the moms I follow said, https://www.instagram.com/p/BVkqVb-ltla/ , check it out and feel free to add your own thoughts or tactics.

For me personally, I envision my patience like water in a well. There are some days my patience well is full, easily filled and I have bucket-loads of patience. Then there are other days I’m scrapping the bottom of the barrel for just a drop of patience. On days where my well is half full and the kids are pushing my buttons, I use the tactics the other moms listed above, but I also have some other things that really work for me.

Here are 4 things in addition to the list above that really help me refill my well.

Well Half-Full Tactics

  1. Perspective: I try to remind myself that there are 1,440 minutes in each day (Thank you Google for that fun fact). So even if we have a rough 20 minutes, I still have 1420 minutes to try and do better.
  2. Look at something relaxing: for me I love looking at stock photos, beautiful Instagram feeds or pictures of my kids, when they weren’t pushing my buttons, help me re-center.
  3. Coloring together is really relaxing and its fun for the kids. I have seen so many fun adult coloring books at craft stores, I finally broke down and bought one. I must say it is really is fun and I am enjoying it. Clearly for me, a creative outlet helps.
  4. Turn up the music: Music can be so soothing and a mood changer. Pick an upbeat song, turn it up and dance around! I dare you not to feel better!

Hard Days: where my well is close to being dry

But there are days, where my well is dry, very early on. These dry days are usually due to sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed with a messy house, plies of laundry, wanting to do something for me, but feeling like I can’t, or some combination of these things. These are the toughest and I feel the most guilt about these days. These are the days I’ve yelled and/or cried in front of the kids for something or another. Get out and Go

One thing that usually helps is to put everyone in the car and go somewhere. It doesn’t matter where we go, we just need to get out of the house and go! For me this helps because everyone is restrained in their own space. We will drive around, often we end up in the Starbucks drive thru and I get a chai. That first drink of spicy chai helps me escape for a second. After the chai, we go to a park if it’s not raining, if it is raining we go to Target or a bookstore wander around. People wonder why you see moms wandering around Target; sometimes you just have to get away.
Ask for HELP Another thing I’ve learned that helps to fill the dry well, I need to say when I need some help. I can’t expect my partner to read my mind to know when I need a break. After a really hard day or days, I ask my husband for more help. Sometimes instead of doing family time before bedtime, I might see if he can hold down the fort so I can have an hour or two just to myself. This helps so much and I can do whatever I want. This time is a chance for me to be just me and go to the bathroom without someone wanting to sit in my lap.

 

I hope these tactics help you think about what really helps you regain your patience. What fills my patience well, might not fill yours, so you will need to do a little reflection. Try to think about what you do when you are on the verge of losing it or when you lost it, how did you recover? Do you need a physical outlet to refill, a solitary or creative one? What does your partner do? Make sure you share these with each other. Write them down if it helps. If you have no idea, reach out to the community of parents you belong to like I did and see what they say. Parenting can be challenging even on our best days. Being mindful of what refills your patience well will help you get back on track on the half full or tough days of parenting.

 

Cheers,

Amy

discoveringwhimsy.com

 

When Love is in the House…It Doesn’t Matter The Size

Last year, my husband and I made the decision to ask my parents if we could move in with them for a while. This was prompted by several factors, not in the least of which included that our apartment complex had raised our rent and we had barely been making it financially before that, despite both of us working seven day weeks. As our twins were eight months old at the time, we decided that ‘pooling resources’ with my parents would be the best for our family in many ways.


It would provide us the opportunity to cut our work hours back a bit while also relieving some of the financial strain and permitting us more time with our children as well as with each other before my husband starts medical school. With my parents generous welcome, we packed up ourselves, our two babies and our three cats and moved into my parents loving, albeit tiny, home.


We knew it would be cozy, one of my two sisters was already living with my parents, along with her dog and my parents own three cats. So here we are, six cats, one dog, two babies and five adults all in one home. That’s quite the large group to have under one roof, and with that many people eventually something someone does is going to get on someone else’s nerves. Things that might not have been annoying before seem different when one has to experience it every day. And, no matter how close you are or how much you love each other, people are individuals with opinions and their own ways of doing things and so we are learning to compromise, flex, and adjust our own set routines in order to be successful in this living arrangement. We have come to understand that differences of opinion do not mean a lack of mutual respect and love, and I believe that is a tremendous key to our success.


Within this tiny home, we have two sets of parents, one seasoned pair and one new pair, an aunt, and infant twins. That is a tremendous amount of opinions and emotions. But it is equally a tremendous amount of love and life. Things like grocery shopping and bill sharing have not been a huge issue, as we are all focused on economizing and helping each other that way. And although things like home organization, personal space, and learning to balance keeping five adults and two babies clean with one shower is a daily challenge, where we are learning the most is in our routines and how we function with basic life tasks.


These tight quarters have forced us to put priority focus on communication. Despite the fact that I am blessed to have a very loving and close relationship with my family, in order to thrive let alone survive the circumstances, it is crucial that each and every one of us is confident to communicate and discuss when issues arise, both good and bad. And equally important that we discuss issues BEFORE they reach a critical status.


For all of us, it means remembering that discussion does not mean a lack of love or respect, rather the opposite. For example, my mother and I have a very open and honest relationship. If we irritate or frustrate each other, we talk about it and work through it because we value our relationship enough to do so. It does not mean we never disagree, but it does mean that when we do we work through it instead of shoving it under the rug. We respect each other enough to say, hey, this isn’t working the best let’s fix it, as opposed to not addressing issues and fermenting and stewing until we resent each other and want to blow the roof off of the house. This applies to every member of this house. We have chosen to respect each other and value our relationships enough to put the work in to make it succeed.


And so we are thriving in this tiny little house. We are sharing resources, joys, struggles and experiences, making memories, learning and growing. My children are growing up literally surrounded by people who love and adore them, and I see their confidence and self esteem blossoming every day. And of course, not every moment is easy, but we have found the harder moments to be completely worth it.


That is the case with all life and relationships, I think. To succeed, you have to put in the work. But if it is worth succeeding at, it is worth the work every time.

Five Tips for Taking Professional Photos of Babies At Home, (and Why I Take Month to Month Photos!)

Oh hey! Have you signed up yet for the weekly Parent Portal Newsletter?! Click here to sign up and click here for the latest issue!!! (It’s a free weekly dose of supportive parenting community you can enjoy in your pajamas!)

As I told my husband, (silly as this might seem!) I have often worried about having TOO many pictures of the babies. In this age of smart phone cameras hardly a moment goes by without being recorded. Which is a BEAUTIFUL thing, but I have literally worried about being able to choose pictures to use at events such as their future graduations because can you even imagine HOW many pictures I will have by that point?! How will I ever choose?! SO, my solution to this has been to religiously take month to month photos. No matter their mood or the weather, we take a photo every single month on their month birthday. While at first I just wanted to record their growth, this has also become my solution to how in the world I will choose photos one day! Haha!

 

 

 

At first I tried to use the same chair every time but I soon realized that would not be sustainable. So, I decided to go with a blank background and blanket (or similar) and try to have them sitting for at least one shot. Over the last sixteen months, I have done a lot of trial and error and these are a few things that have helped me get (mostly!) consistent, model and Pinterest worthy, professional looking photos even with just my iPhone.

 

Continue reading Five Tips for Taking Professional Photos of Babies At Home, (and Why I Take Month to Month Photos!)

Sweet Rides, Party Animals and Fun Outdoors-Twin Vlog 2

76th & Newbury Review

**I received free product from 76th & Newbury for this review however all opinions are my own**



When I was contacted by 76th & Newbury to review their products, I was both excited and nervous. Excited by their beautiful and expansive collection of products to choose from, and nervous for a couple reasons. First, because I had never ordered a customized product and had no idea what to expect, and secondly because having a severe case of mom brain renders all decision making far more stressful these days!

 

 

Continue reading 76th & Newbury Review

It’s Your Thing…Do What You Wanna Do (Even if Everyone is Judging You For It)

We’ve all talked about mommy shaming. We will talk about it more. Daddy shaming, mommy shaming, shaming in general is just a big pet peeve of mine. I was talking to my mother yesterday and she mentioned, “When did it become so wrong to have differences of opinion and be able to have a civil conversation about it?” But really, when did it? Having differences of opinion is a beautiful thing. If we were all programmed robots, all thinking the same thing, there would never be division. But imagine a world where everyone agreed all the time. I don’t think that’s beautiful. That is not diversity. Imagine a world where differences of opinion are celebrated, in all areas, personal areas such as parenting choices, lifestyle choices, etc. And while many claim that is what they aspire to do, not many actually do it. The other day my children ate peanut butter toast off my spoon while running around the play room. One friend’s children ate goldfish crackers that same day for breakfast and yet another friend’s children ate breakfast sitting down at the table like they do every morning. Each one of us parents differently and each one of us is giving our all to be the best parent we can be. And each one of us is doing GREAT.

Breakfast time at my house does happen more frequently as a free feeding carnival and once summer comes we will probably continue this tradition while they run around naked outdoors. (They will probably even pee in the grass…GASP). Even dinner time at the table can be a somewhat exciting experience with beans flying and squash face masks. But, my children do sometimes eat even breakfast at the table and my friends children do eat other things than goldfish. Parenting is not an exact science, and what matters is the big picture. Hey, at least none of us chew our food and spit it back into their mouths like Alicia Silverstone did with her son Bear…(Yep, I am totally sitting here still thinking that is weird BUT I would be willing to bet she made that admittedly disgusting choice because she truly believed it to be the best for her kid. I am just waiting to see what he thinks later, but I won’t shame her for it. I mean, that took balls to admit to in public you have to hand her that).

One of my friends just weaned her one year old, another just weaned her three year old. Both of them are amazing moms and neither one made a wrong choice. Each one made the best choice for her and her child. Each one should be confident in her parenting decisions, for they are both doing their BEST. I have doubts in my parenting abilities, just like we all do. Sometimes I even cry about it (just ask my husband about the other night when we all went to bed after 10pm and I was momentarily convinced I was destroying my children’s development by having irregular bedtimes and so we all three sat in bed and cried while the poor man tried to calm us all down). For us, naps and bedtimes differ because my husband and I both work and we made the choice to have flexible scheduling so we can spend more time with our kids. But, my children do nap, and they do sleep. Sometimes we go to bed earlier and they wake up at 8. Sometimes I work late and they wake up the next day at 10:00. They even sleep with us and our crew of cats and yes we are all still alive and well. And for the most part, I try to practice what I preach and own my parenting choices in confidence, but it can be SO difficult when we are inundated with not only everyone else’s opinions but we also have a zillion articles pelting us via social media every day on how we should parent and why we should do things a certain way. I mean, hanging out with other mamas can straight up give me flashbacks to watching Mean Girls with Lindsey Lohan. (That scene in the school where everyone acts like a jungle animal? Yeah, just replace the school with the park playground).

Why don’t we respect each other’s choices? (parenting and other wise). Why do we feel it is our own personal mission to ‘correct’ one another? I may not agree with you, and I’m not only more than willing to have a civil and respectful conversation about it, but also equally willing to admit that perhaps neither of us is wrong. Maybe we are both right. Maybe I don’t understand why you do what you do, and for that matter you may not understand why I do what I do, but I am going to leave it to the Big Man Upstairs to work that out. Let’s toast to our differences and leave it at that. I have many friends, (both mom friends and non mom friends) who I know have different opinions than I do. However, I am not going to let that effect my opinion of them or my love for them.

Because I also know that they truly are doing their best and acting on what they believe is the right thing to do. And it probably is. Just because it is different than my choice does not make it wrong. So, in the words of Aretha Franklin, “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do” and I will also add, “R E S P E C T”, let’s start socking that to each other on a daily basis, shall we?

Boobs are for Babies, (some thoughts on breastfeeding in public)

I think we can all agree breastfeeding, and especially breastfeeding in public, is a pretty hot topic these days. It makes sense, right? I mean, how you feed your baby should most definitely be part of everyone else’s business. (EYE ROLL). And I do not care whether you’re a formula feeding mama or a booby mama, I respect your decision and support you. And you should support yourself and respect that you made the choice you felt best for your baby. It’s your business. No one else’s. I chose to breastfeed my twins, and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, before babies I saw my boobs as far more sacred parts of my anatomy. These days, I see them as they’re simply what the good Lord gave me to nourish my children with. When they were first born, I was so focused on keeping covered at all times and nursing them discreetly. That idealized image shattered fast, and now I don’t even bat an eye when one of my babies needs to eat. (Because yes, they’re fifteen months today and STILL nursing, as my lovely friend Ashley said in the video we made Monday, people do ask that a lot, we will talk about that ‘still nursing’ topic more in a future post). Why in the world does society try to sexualize our babies eating?! It’s not sexy. It’s not erotic. It’s a lot of work!

And I personally agree with a statement I saw Kristen Bell made in this article, “When it comes to breastfeeding your baby, if you are too nervous to do it in public I think you are part of the problem…Women should own the fact that we are superheroes for the first however many months of your child’s life. It is your opportunity and your duty to feed your baby should you choose to breastfeed and be proud of it.” Now, I do not think you should feel guilty if you’re nervous about feeding your baby while out and about. It’s hard to not feel nervous when every time we turn around someone is saying something negative about it. But as moms, I do think we should fight back against the shaming and guilt and realize that WE are not the problem. If our society has forced some weird perverted concept into peoples minds regarding the action of nourishing our children in a manner in which our physical bodies were literally designed to do, I think we should actively resist it.

Chrissy Teigen has been an active voice for normalizing breastfeeding since she had her baby, posting pics such as her feeding Luna on set  and openly talking about how truly challenging breastfeeding can be. If you’re a breastfeeding mama, I think you can agree that no one chooses to breastfeed because it’s easy. Yes, there are things that are easier about it, no heating up a bottle in the middle of the night, never forgetting the formula at home. But the facts are it’s hard. Your body pretty much belongs to your baby for however long you breastfeed. And no it’s not always comfortable, among other things (watch my rant about the less than glamorous parts of breastfeeding here ). Basically, breastfeeding your kid is beautiful but it’s also hard, and it’s a gift you give them that will literally effect them all their lives. Breastfeeding should not be shamed, or treated as something to do in dark corners away from prying eyes. I’m not advocating flapping your boobs around and squirting your nipples in people’s faces, (did anyone else see that article though? HILARIOUS). And I have to agree with Mila Kunis’ response to being shamed for breastfeeding in public, “If it’s not for you, don’t look.” Everyone can have their opinion on it, but if it bothers you, don’t stare.

I recently attended an awards banquet for one of my sisters who is a firefighter, and I admit to having a moment of hesitation when my daughter first went boob digging (because of course this was not an isolated event through the evening). I was surrounded by people in uniform and frankly I didn’t want to make my sister uncomfortable. But, she’s wonderful and hugely supportive, and simply gave me the ‘you know better than to think I care’ look when I glanced at her in hesitation as I latched my child. I breathed a sigh of relief, and fed my babies. And you know, not one single person batted an eye or gave me grief. I’m not even sure many of them noticed. I once read a comment someone made of likening breastfeeding to the act of procreating. WHAT IN THE WORLD. It is nothing like that. AT ALL. I firmly believe that breastfeeding mamas need to take a stand against that way of thinking.

And again, I am not pushing for us to all go out and wave our boobs around in the air and flash our nipples at unsuspecting shoppers. And if using a cover while out makes you more comfortable, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of that either. BUT, I do think we need to focus on changing our mindset and start viewing breastfeeding as a NORMAL life event. I am thankful for other amazing breastfeeding advocates, like The Milk Meg and The Badass Breastfeeder, who are actively working to change the situation. And, while we cannot control others, (not promoting rape culture here ladies!!) I do believe that how we view ourselves effects how others perceive us, so I say, feed those babies in confidence mamas! Feed them whenever they’re hungry, and wherever we are. Let’s be brave, let’s be proud, let’s show the world, BOOBS ARE FOR BABIES. And there ain’t no shame in that.

In Defense of Using Technology as a Mom

The other day, I did the seemingly inevitable. I dropped my phone in the toilet. I was rushing, trying to answer an email while simultaneously taking a fast pee break and SPLOOSH. There it went. I immediately turned it off in a panic, burst out of the bathroom frantically and dashed it into a bag of rice (which for the record WORKS, thank God, my dad also wrapped it in paper towel, highly recommend this method). Besides the obvious dread that my phone would never turn back on resulting in me losing precious information and photos, or that it would turn back on but be damaged somehow, was the fact that I had just lost access to emails, Facebook, Instagram, non-iMessage texting and everything related to my blog. My family lovingly reassured me that my phone would probably be fine, but the fact remained that for 24 hours I would be without my technological best friend. I felt naked.
In complete honesty, I still had my iPad, and wasn’t locked out of all my email accounts, but still. I use that phone for everything. I told myself this would be good for me, a 24 hour technology purge. I would probably even sleep better and feel rejuvenated. To my surprise, however, that was not the case. Let me explain.
First of all, a disclaimer. I do not live with my nose in my phone 24/7. I am not that person who is missing precious milestones because I was glued to my Facebook feed when my daughter took her first steps. But there are a few reasons that my phone enriches my life as a mom and I want to share why I am so grateful for the technology we have today.
Let’s start with the fact that I am that person who incessantly records those milestones with my phone camera. All it takes is a quick swipe and tap and I can watch my son saying “hey daddy” for the next three decades. I can even set it down with the camera on and record our moments together. One day when they leave for college I can sit on my couch licking my empty nest wounds and listen to their first words on repeat if I want. And of course there are many times I don’t record except in my physical memory because I chose to be fully in that moment. But I like having the option to do so if I choose. It’s a balance.

I don’t think it can be denied that being a mom can be lonely, the coziest lonely if you will. I have children dripping off me 24/7 and I love it, but the facts are getting out and talking to other moms can be super hard right now. So, while I don’t live off of scrolling through my Facebook mini feed, I am very grateful for the friendships I’ve made via my social accounts. I love sharing mommy moments I have with other moms and relating to each other, even if it’s via our phone screens. We still empathize, connect, encourage and laugh together, even if it’s after 11pm and we do it via the use of a ton of wine and laugh emojis. I’ve made so many incredible and inspiring mommy friends all over the world, many of whom don’t even speak the same language but we can still connect and support each other.
And no, I am fully aware that cyber friendships don’t replace real in person laughing and connecting. But right now for my life that’s hard to make happen. I can click on the photo you posted today and comment and talk when I maybe couldn’t get together in person. I may not be able to hug you in person, but I can say I’m sorry you had a hard day and let you know I care.
Along those lines is the distraction my phone provides, sometimes in the middle of the night when my babies are nursing nonstop, I can’t sleep, and so I read or look at soothing pictures of the water. I’ve been nursing my babies a long time now, almost 15 months. I love it, and I cannot count the hours I’ve spent staring in their eyes while they did. But sometimes, when they’ve been nursing literally constantly, it’s hard. I feel like my nipples have been sucked clean off and all I want is to run away from all that touches me. And sometimes I get through those moments by catching up with mommy friends on Instagram, or retweeting some yummy recipes. (Did anybody see those mommy shaming articles that were circulating a while back about ‘brexting’? Yeah, shut those down). I distract myself, I get through it, and then I hold their hands and enjoy it again. Breastfeeding is beautiful, but it’s also a lot of hard work. (I talked about that in my last Monday morning coffee rant, click here if you haven’t watched it yet, and please excuse the background noise in that one).

And of course there are many ways to distract yourself, and reading is one of my favorite ways, but sometimes I can’t grab a book and I usually do have my phone, which also means I can read if I choose to that way. And yes, I’m a huge advocate for real life paper crack the delicious binding books but we are talking mom survival mode here. We do what we gotta do.
And of course, as in everything, balance is important. I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly be staring at a screen, for physical or emotional reasons! But I for one am very grateful for the opportunities we have with modern day technology and how much it enriches my life as a parent. What are your thoughts mamas?

Why I Don’t Do New Year Resolutions

Every year around this time I fight off a stab of guilt as I see everyone posting about their New Year resolutions. So many are blazing off to accomplish great things and achieve their goals. And it never fails I question my choice to not set a list of New Years goals, but in the end I stick to my resolve. For me, life goals are about the day to day process. Every morning I wake up and I really try my best. Sometimes that best involves wearing week old leggings, dirty hair, and four cups of coffee but that’s ok. It was still the best I had that day. Personally, I don’t work well with a super set list of new changes just because the calendar turned. For some people that isn’t the case, and if you’re a New Years goal setter, that’s awesome. You do you mama. And I’m not saying I never make a list of goals, or do crunch time and really work to change things.

But there is one thing I know I don’t need more of in life, and that is guilt and pressure. Ok thats two things. For example, today was hard. SO. HARD. It’s late afternoon and I still haven’t brushed my teeth. My hair is a sad and dirty mom bun, (but hey at least my sweats are only two days old). We’ve had fevers, teething, and seemingly endless screaming babies. I did scrub my pits in the shower while holding my son because well, we had a diaper incident, (thanks prune juice, but seriously it NEEDED to happen) and while I’m not overly fond of smelling poorly I really try to avoid smelling like actual FECES. Also, I am currently working on my second pb&j of the day as the first one face planted tragically onto the floor. (Five second rule doesn’t work when the floor is carpet and the item is smeared in jam). And, it’s still a little early for a glass of wine (though I was sorely tempted half an hour ago…).

Anyway, my point in all this rambling is, had I set some new hard and fast goals for this year I’d already be failing them. And at least for me, nothing is as discouraging as failing right out of the starting gate. And while that’s going to happen sometimes, I personally prefer not to set myself up for that scenario if I can avoid it. I mean, I have an ongoing goal of working out more/at all, and I will continue working towards that goal but at least I don’t have to face that I flunked my New Years resolutions before the first month was even over. Now I can just slide today into the big basket of ‘did my best and try again tomorrows’. Which, for me personally, is far less traumatizing.

And of course I have goals and resolutions, I have things I want to change, things I want to do better, or do at all. But they’re on my constantly working to evolve list, my ongoing life quest, my life resolutions. And even those evolve and change. But for me, it’s more doable to look at my resolutions without the fear of immediate failure due to the change of a year. And like I said, what’s important is finding what works for you and feeling confident in that choice, whatever it might be.

On Setting an Example of Balance

Click here for my latest Monday Morning Coffee Rant “Let’s Talk Body Image”

(as promised, the Apple Crumble recipe is posted above under the ‘Recipes’ tab, enjoy!!!)

img_2110I don’t think it’s a shocking revelation that becoming a parent is one of the MOST beautiful, stressful, all absorbing, all consuming life events that can happen to a person. Being a mom is without doubt the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. It’s also the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. The love you experience as a parent washes over you like a giant ocean wave and consumes your entire heart and soul.  As my mom always said, watching your kids really is like watching your heart walk around outside your body. I am completely, head over heels, in love and obsessed with my children. And no, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I do, however, think that this presents an interesting challenge. While they occupy my every heartbeat and breath, I also have to find a way to take care of myself not only because I am a human and have needs too, but because I want to give them a mother who is interesting, who has passions, who can teach them how to be their best selves by being my best self.

And no, I cannot do this every day. Sometimes (oftentimes) the mommy they get needs a shower, is emotional, tired, and drained. And sometimes I force my smile and pretend I actually got sleep last night. And sometimes I put on Veggietales so I can answer work emails in img_1994peace for ten minutes. And that is ok. We cannot be perfect every moment of every day. What matters is our long term approach. I want my daughter and son to grow up with self respect and self esteem, I want them to be brave and feel confident and deserving of pursuing their passions. I don’t want to give them a mom who is a potato, thus possibly leading them to one day become potatoes themselves. I want to give them a mom who is full of life, passion, drive and balance, and inspire them to become such people as well.

fullsizerenderBut if they grow up with a mother who does none of these things, what am I teaching them? If I never take care of my own needs and desires, never do anything just because it brings me joy, what does that show them? Is that the example I want to be? Heck no. And motherhood is sacrifice. An absolutely worthy sacrifice but sacrifice it is, there’s no way around that. Most days I drink my coffee cold, I buy their clothes and needs first, and I don’t always get a shower. And as I’ve said before, I think that’s the way it should be. I chose to bring them into this world, not vice versa. And I find joy in the sacrifice. I will continue to put them first, always.

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PC: @renegadedrifterphotography

But I do think it’s important to set an example of personal respect and self esteem, and that entails doing things for me. And don’t get me wrong, my children DO bring me joy. THEY are for me. I have never experienced such complete, utter happiness in my heart and soul as I experience watching my children flourish and thrive. No craft project, baked cake, or career achievement could even begin to come close to that feeling.

But I do love to sew, to bake, to write, to play music. And I do want them to learn to love such things also. And they will learn to pursue img_2103what brings them happiness when I share with them what brings me happiness. The joy I have in watching their little personalities develop is unequalled, my daughter is obsessed with cats and Pooh Bear. My son is obsessed with Duplos and figuring out how things work, they both love books and pianos. I want them to celebrate those unique qualities and feel confident in pursuing things they love, and so I am going to do my best to show them that by doing things I love too.

It really is all about balance, isn’t it?