These are the Best Days

My shirt reads: “These are the best days”. Challenging, hard, and unbelievable — these words make more sense when I think of our current situation now. Everything about life is messy, and feels unknown, but it is up to us to decide what to remember and feel after this ends. While right now may seem like the farthest thing from “the best”, I hope we all can look back and think of all the positivity that came from this.

May all the children remember nothing but a time when all the moms and dads were at home and drawing and playing board games. May we remember watching our littles learn and thrive. May we remember getting creative and having fun. May we remember this as the time we all got to stop and be present.

Then, when this is over, may we never take for granted a hug from a friend, a trip to the store, conversations with neighbors, a school rush in the morning, a roaring stadium, a boring Wednesday, and most importantly: life itself.

A letter to the Stay-at-Home mom

Dear stay-at-home mom,

I see you.

I see you, waking up 5, 6, 10 times with your newborn who has her schedule messed up.

I see you, waking with the sun, with sleepy eyes, as you pour the first of many cups of coffee that will turn cold before you get a moment to drink them.

I see you, mom bun for the 3rd time this week because you haven’t had time to shower.

I see you, as your wild one throws another car at your head.

I see you, wanting to hold your newborn as much as you can because you know babies don’t keep.

I see you, trying your hardest to give all your love and attention to all your kids, while trying to juggle the housework at the same time.

I see you, serving lunch to your family only to sit down to a cold plate for yourself.

I see you, dressing defiant toddlers, wiping hands, faces, and bottoms all day long.

I see you, hiding in the bathroom as your children bang and kick the door because they have to show you something right that second.

I see you, sitting on the kitchen floor teaching your babes all about the world instead of doing the dishes that have continued to pile up.

I see you, cooking dinner while separating fighting children, only to not eat any yourself.

I see you, scared eyes as they jump off the couch for the 5th time today, because they’re being adventurers.

I see you, staring at the massive pile of laundry beckoning to be folded. But you know you won’t get to it for a couple more days.

I see you, stopping in the middle of sweeping to play playdoh because you know one day they won’t ask you to come play with them anymore.

I see you, kissing sleepy heads, tucking them in, reading stories and singing them to sleep.

I see you, getting them another glass of water and finally sinking into bed exhausted after a long day of doing so much, but feeling like you got absolutely nothing accomplished.

I see you, eyes weary, as you sit awake at night to get even 10 minutes to yourself.

I see you, keeping it all together when you feel like you’re falling apart.

I see you, loving this life and all the chaos involved. Never wanting it to change for even a second even though it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

I see you, mama. Because I am you.

They’re watching you, Mama

Self-love has always been hard for me. Even as a kid, I would imagine being skinnier, prettier, smarter, taller. I always envied girls who I thought were all of those things.

Then, I had kids very young and back to back.

Droopy boobs, wider hips and a wider waist, streaks of stretch marks. It’s difficult having kids and watching as your body takes on a completely different form. But, that different form grew my beautiful babies for 9 months. My body went through all the growing pains, all the contractions, gave me my 2 babies, and continues to grow my third. Those stretch marks are my battle scars and a very small price to pay for what I gained in return.

Now that I have a daughter, a son, and another daughter on the way, how I talk about myself and my body in front of them is so important. Sure, I could pinch my thighs and wish they were smaller, I could stare at my widening hips in the mirror, I could cover up at the pool, or wear longer pants in the summer instead of shorts, I could say how “fat” I feel as my stomach continues to grow to make room for my third baby.

My children are like human sponges and soak up everything we say and notice when we’re unhappy. I’m sure if you have kids, you’ve noticed they’re the same way. They’re watching you, mama. They’re watching you as you stand in the mirror for hours poking and prodding all the excess skin that sags down. They’re watching as you change clothes for the 7th time because you don’t feel good enough in any of it. They’re watching as you wish to look like the other mom at the park that bounced back within weeks of having her baby.

So instead, celebrate those stretch marks! Put on that sexy dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. Tell yourself how beautiful you are. Our kids don’t need a perfect, skinny mom, they need a happy one; one that loves the woman she sees in the mirror. This isn’t all to say you can’t try to better yourself. Strive to be fit, eat healthier, go on walks, work out; but meet yourself where you are. Love yourself, your whole self, fully and completely, where you are and for who you are right now. Our positivity towards our bodies will rub off on those little girls and boys we’re raising to be strong and full of self-love!

“My kid will never do that!”

We all know we were completely different parents before actually becoming parents, am I right?! We’ve all been there: walking through a store, a parking lot, or a restaurant and you hear a kid throwing the biggest tantrum! Or you see a kid climbing up everything like a monkey while his mom watches. You lean over to your friend or even think silently in your head, “my kid will never act like that!” I laugh a little now as I think about all the times I have said this!

Even as a new mom to a tiny baby not yet crawling, we think we’re invincible as we watch those moms carrying their screaming kid surfboard style. We used to think, “I would never let me kid act that like that!”, and now we salute those moms as we cross them because we know just 10 minutes prior, we carried our kids out of a building the exact same way.

Our strong-willed kiddos sure have taught us not to judge other moms! Even as parents with reasonably easy first kids, we get a kick to the face when the second one comes and wants to jump off of anything and everything and roll all over the floor! Yet another thing I used to say my kids would never do. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! With my first daughter, I was the kind of first time mom who never let her child touch the floor. Anything that touched the floor got wiped down and anytime she touched anything, she was immediately wiped down. I used a highchair and watched her with mama hawk eyes to make sure nothing gross came her way. Then came the second child, who wants nothing more than to roll around on the floor or to throw his food on the ground on purpose and then proceed to pick it up and eat it. Us moms of course just sit by and think, “Ehh, a good bath will get most of the germs off.”

You know what the best part is? Both of those moms are doing a great job!! Your kids are fed, happy, and content! Whether you’re a clean mom with wipes on hand, or a ‘whatever’ kind of mom who lets your kid eat that food he wants to throw (a little dirt never hurt anybody, right?), or whether you’re somewhere in the middle; we’re all great mommy’s! We show so much love and commitment to these little crazies, and in the end, we’re all just trying to make it out the door without a full blown meltdown.

So, first time moms, moms with the easy kiddos, or even those of you who have yet to become parents, take it easy with the stares when you catch me carry my screaming 2 and a half year old and 1 and a half year old out of the grocery store because we’ve had 20 “5 more minutes” and are running late. And get ready, because y’all are in for it too! And to the moms who are sitting by laughing because you know exactly what I’m talking about, I salute you!!

Motherhood

Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is beautiful. 

Motherhood is love. It is loving someone else so intensely that your heart swells when you see them giggle.  It’s the kind of love you never even knew existed until you held your babies in your arms for the first time. It’s watching your babies learn to do things as simple as walk or talk and feeling overwhelmingly happy and proud. 

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It’s worry and fear. Fear that you’re not doing everything perfectly by the books. It’s worrying when your children aren’t right next to you at all times that the worst thing imaginable will happen. It’s watching your heart walk around outside of your body. It’s watching them fall, but teaching them to get back up again. It’s kissing boo-boos and big bear hugs. 

Motherhood is sleepless nights. It’s dancing in the kitchen in the middle of dinner. It’s blowing bubbles and daily park trips. Its rolling around on the floor, endless tickle fights, and big, deep belly laughs. Its never ending laundry (but for real, where do all these clothes come from and why does it never end?!) It’s letting go of perfection and learning to embrace the sticky fingers and wild hair. 

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Motherhood is the greatest journey I have ever been on. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted and nothing how I imagined it to be. Motherhood is perfect. It’s insane. It’s beautiful. Its difficult. It’s comforting. It’s incredible. 

Motherhood is amazing. I will take the messy days and the sleepless nights. I know one day I will miss it all. So, for now I will love every moment of this crazy, beautiful life. Motherhood is the best thing I ever could have asked for and I am so grateful for the beautiful children I was blessed with.

Take the picture, Mama

I love taking pictures. 

I take pictures of my kids, my husband, and pictures of my kids and my husband playing together. I’m the “wait, picture first!” type of mom. I take pictures of the sunset when it looks beautiful. I take pictures of flowers, and rainbows, and whatever memory seems special enough to want to remember it. 

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But somehow, in all the over documenting I do, I realized that I rarely document myself in these memories. 

Sure, sometimes there are those random pictures that I appear in, or the ones my mother in law takes that I usually hate (have I thanked you enough for taking those?), but I rarely post them and half the time I pick myself apart in them. 

I forget that my life matters too and seeing me in pictures is important. I forget that my children need to see me in pictures too, and that I need to see a record of myself growing up in motherhood and life, because these are the important years that I’m going to miss. 

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A couple of pictures that I probably hated when they were taken, but I am so happy to have now ❤️

So, moms. Get in the pictures. Ask a family member or a friend to take a couple of pictures of you and the kids. Or stop and ask a stranger. I know that’s hard, but ask a fellow mom if she could snap a quick picture of you with the kids. Then return the favor. Be in the family pictures instead of being the pereon behind the camera every time. 

When I’m old and gray, I’m going to miss these years, and the pictures I have are going to mean the world to me and I hope they’ll mean as much to my kids. I know that the pictures I hate and criticize now, I’ll feel so blessed to have in a few years. 

Take the picture, mama. 

I promise you won’t regret it. 

Those Clothes Can Wait

This week I felt like a failure.

A failure of a wife, a failure of a mom, even a failure of a person. Most of all, I felt as though I failed in balancing all of these aspects in my life the way I wanted to.

My house was a disaster most days and I finally caught up on washing clothes, just to end up with a massive pile of clothes waiting to be folded that will probably take me another week to do. We only made it to a couple of the fall festivals that I planned to go to, and only trick or treated in one neighborhood. While R napped, I catnapped next to E while she played on her iPad instead of folding laundry or cleaning. We ate too many chicken nuggets instead of the healthy meals I hoped to prepare.

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I just felt as though every good intention I had did not go the way I planned.

Do you know who didn’t care or even seem to notice that I didn’t have everything together? My beautiful children and my patient husband.  At the end of the day, my crazy kiddos were happy and unfazed by my imperfections. They laughed and played and my daughter told me she had so much fun trick or treating! My husband thanked me for the things that I got done around the house, even though I only noticed the things I didn’t get done. 

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It’s impossible to be at good at everything all at once. Even though you might feel like you have failed, chances are the kids or the husband didn’t even notice and just appreciated the time and energy you put into the things you did accomplish. The best advice I can give you is to not obsess over perfection, because it will drive you crazy and you’ll miss out on the fun you could be having instead. All you can really do is ride the crazy ride we call “life” and love every minute of it. Of course, you’re going to feel stressed or even feel like a failure, but we just have to catch ourselves when we feel we are starting to slip away from happiness. Try the best you can to give attention to the important aspects in your life, but don’t forgot to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished!

Sit and listen to the laughter of your children, or watch that scary movie with your husband on the couch. The massive pile of clothes waiting to be folded can wait.