Change, Persevere

Hold On

Today I brought my son to his 9 month check-up. As I pulled in, as I have done the past 3 months since he was born, I couldn’t help but remember the previous times driving him to this very spot.

When Chase was born, we were both undergoing job transitions and money was tight to say the least. I remember not being able to afford the family plan for insurance of $850 a month and having to put Chase on Medicaid. I felt like such a failure. Medicaid? That’s for those who are down-trodden and have no option. How can that be us? How did that get to be us right now? How am I earning that low that this is where college brought me? I felt like a failure, a complete failure.

This was a time in our lives where I’d have to search out which credit card to use for medical bills because of Greg landing in the ICU for 5 nights the months prior due to Lyme Carditis. It was a time where I wanted to cry all the time and couldn’t see how life could possibly get better. We were two professionals, two people with degrees, two people with solid values and work ethic. But there I sat staring at hospital bills and screening my calls.

But this time, this time when I pulled into the pediatrician’s office, it was different. I was peaceful, resolute, and sure of myself. Those hospital bills are now paid. Our family has great insurance that’s mostly all employer paid. Those two professionals now have stable jobs. That baby we had in December, is healthy and oh so happy.

My point in writing is this: many times when we go through really tough times, I mean, knee-jerking, wind out of our lungs, bad times, we get tunnel vision. All we see, is our problems, it’s like the wall paper of our brains just “bad times”. We dread the phone ringing, the mail in the mailbox, or the doctor’s report. However, we also need to know this, that the storms do pass. The crap does go away with a big shovel. If we are willing to just take another step forward, to survive another day, it will get better in time.

9 months ago, I didn’t see all this as possible. I didn’t see a savings account back in our future, a healthy spouse and baby, a healthy me, new and better career paths, a better home, bills paid early. But as I pulled into that drive today, such a simple thing really, I saw hope. I saw what time and hard work can do with prayer. And I gave God some seriously overdue thanks.

So hold on, mama. Hold on in your tough times and know we see you sitting in your car, your bathroom, your office, in tears. We see you struggle, we see you feeling alone like it’s only you. It’s not. Just hold on for another day.

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Family

Family

This week, we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We are also celebrating our happy healthy baby and new family. It may seem little but we are super proud of it. It’s been a rough four years. No one tells you when you’re first setting out about how hard it is, how you will not take off into the sunset in a carriage with unlimited resources.

They don’t tell you you’ll struggle after college, that a good job isn’t guaranteed– despite what your “advisor” told you. They don’t say that there are days you won’t “feel” love. They don’t mention that your spouse might end up in a trauma unit, even if he’s perfectly fit. They don’t mention that miscarriages happen to healthy young women. They don’t mention your baby might die in labor, even though your pregnancy was stellar. They don’t mention the bills are real– they come every month and can pile up– especially after a job loss or change.

But they also don’t mention this. When you’ve had a horrible delivery, but you watch your husband hold your son for the first time–decked out in a surgeon cap. They don’t mention how happy you’ll be when you watch your baby sleep or hear him snore. They don’t mention how you’ll hold a new bond–the three of you, and how much love you’ll have. Or even the amazing adventures you’ll go on together, despite life’s imperfections.

Somehow, because of the roughness and the growing pains, these fleeting moments are precious.

 

Family, Growth, Personal Development

For Better Or Worse

Today marks four years of marriage for us. During this time, I’ve learned why the vows are what they say. During this time, I learned the weight of those words. We have had richer and poorer, sickness and health. We’ve felt the better and the worse.

This is going to be brief. But basically my message is this. If you hit moments in your marriage where you question, doubt, don’t know if you’re doing something right, you’re in good company, most of us don’t. But day by day you learn. You learn more about your spouse but mostly yourself. Just like motherhood is new and when you start, you won’t have it figured out, you won’t in a new marriage either.

So today, trust the process, love your spouse and give yourselves permission to not have it all together. None of us truly do; don’t give up.

‘Til death do us part.

Change

When Change Is Bittersweet

The leaves are falling, the air has a new crispness, a slight chill. Children head back to their school routines, soccer fields span wide with activity. The smells of pumpkin spice and apple cider fill our noses with their sweet, yet nostalgic scents. If you’d ask me my favorite season I’d reply with fall.

When fall comes, we realize that summer is over, ready or not. It doesn’t come upon us at full force, it lovingly guides us through the new change, the new season.

It reminds us that things in life, rarely stay the same. What’s your “summer”? For me, it was new motherhood, now it’s watching my baby grow to a little boy. I find myself always in a bind of wanting to see who my baby will grow to be but then also wanting him never to change. Our summers don’t last. Children must grow, families must change, fall must come.

Even though fall is a bittersweet reminder, it’s the beauty of it that makes it more palatable. When I get down about change, I think of all the good that will come too. A new home means new memories. A college graduation means a new future. A grown boy means an amazing grown man one day.

Your summers should be sacred and your fall a reminder to treasure them and the process of change. Take in all the moments, when they’re babies. But also remind yourself fall is coming but it can be just as sweet and yet, nostalgic.

Change, Family

Breaking Comfort Zone

Missing my little guy very much.

But this is important.

Tonight we watched the Falls together and took in the beauty. It wasn’t the perfect time. It’s not the perfect of circumstances. It’s last minute (so not me). But here we are.

Normally I’d protest and say I’m too tired to go at night, let’s just chill in the room, read a book, stay in the life-numbing comfort zone. “We’ll go do that next time…” I would always say. But we didn’t wait for next time, we saw the Falls again at night, and fought against the comfort.

Because if we can take one thing away from the recent tragedies of this life, it’s that the perfect day may never come. We get one life. Only one.

Go enjoy your “Falls” at night. The book and comforts will still be there. Fight through and choose to explore.

#noregrets #trendingtruth #onelife

Family, Mom Life

Learning to Let Go

I swore I’d never be “one of those moms”. You know, one of the ones that gets upset when their kids go away or aren’t with her. The one who will have perfect balance instead. I thought I was immune to missing my child. But truth is, none of us are.

So today I pack my baby’s bag for a week to spend with Grandma. It’s great that family wants to help, it’s great that we have some family still around. But yet, it doesn’t feel like a vacation, it doesn’t feel like a “break”. It feels, at least initially, like my heart is ripping out. Because for all the blow-out diapers, for all the food spilled and the sleep lost, I wouldn’t trade in my little guy for anything. His giggles, his farts, the way he snores like an old man when he sleeps, I’ll miss it… for the next week, I’ll miss it. And mamas, that’s okay.

Our day in and day out routines are filled with many things, but it all really revolves around raising these little people. We are responsible for these little humans all the time. It’s a hard switch to turn it off, for me at least, probably you too. It’s a paradox; I want a break, but I want my baby too. But sometimes letting go and getting some time to ourselves, once we cry a bit, is a good thing.

So here’s what I do to make it easier:

  1. We meet during the day so it’s not super heart-wrenching.

I found it really hard to wake my baby in the night to go into a family member’s car and drive away. It felt like someone was taking our baby. I know it wasn’t the case, but it felt that way. So if you have to be away from your little people for work, or so they can see family and you can’t come along, do it during the daylight hours so it feels less gut-churning.

2. We meet in a place that’s not a home, a restaurant or a store.

When we met at our home, it felt like someone was taking him from us, yet again. Meeting somewhere felt like we were going to an outing and would “see him later”.

3. We make plans for the next week so we distract ourselves with being, primarily, a couple again.

Sometimes looking forward to the non-baby activities you can now do, is a great way to distract yourself. We found planning a dinner date, going to the movies or doing something else, really helped us to reconnect and feel less upset.

4. If you’re not ready, it’s okay.

And most importantly, if you’re not ready, you’re just not ready. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your kids around. Or perhaps, they have a shorter trip to visit family. Sometimes, that’s a good way to ease into it. I know there was a time where I really wasn’t ready, but I didn’t want to disappoint family members. But mamas, that’s not okay. It’s you and your baby and your spouse FIRST. The family has to work around you guys. Sometimes that involves using a confrontational word. No. But it’s your new family, your new schedules, your feelings. Ya’ll come first. Listen to your instincts.

Growth, Personal Development

When Progress Won’t Come

I’m sure you’ve felt this way… maybe you’ve tried something over and over again and don’t understand why you just aren’t seeing the results. You have been eating healthy and not matter what, you can’t drop the weight. Or maybe you’ve tried to sleep train your baby and it feels like. It’s. taking. FOREVER. Possibly it’s a relationship that you feel you’re putting so much into, and not seeing a lot of reciprocation. I get it.

When I’m working on a goal or a plan and I don’t see results, much like the confused people at the Weight Watchers meetings, I feel like giving up. I think we all take the “lack of results” as a “lack of progress”, which actually isn’t true.

Something I heard Joyce Meyer say in a podcast was this:

“You may have to do the right thing for a long time before you get a right result.”

Wow, how true is that. Just because you aren’t seeing the rewards of all your hard work, doesn’t mean your work doesn’t count or you aren’t getting closer.

For instance, we have a family goal of paying off student loans. It’s hard, it’s daunting, and it takes time. But this is one of our many goals. Some months it feels impossible. But step by step, as we keep working together, we make progress. Sometimes progress is slow, but even slow going is advancement.

As a mom they say sleep training can take up to two weeks. Well that’s not super encouraging to the mom that’s trying to get her own sleep. When you hear that noise on the monitor and all you want is for some consistent shut eye, it’s not super encouraging. But you do it, you keep moving forward. And then that glorious night will hit — you will sleep the whole night with ZERO feedings.

Like a seed that’s planted in the ground, it takes time to sprout. Because we don’t see the sprout for a few weeks, doesn’t mean the seed is “broken”. And just like that seed, your goals will take time. Don’t dig up your “seed” prematurely and kick the dirt in because you don’t see instant results. Keep working at it mama, keep driving, and your plant will bloom… in time.

Mom Life, Personal Development

If We’re Being Honest…

If we’re being real, we all lie to people in our lives more than we realize.

  • We say that we can go to a meeting, when we really don’t want to.
  • We offer services and help to friends when we know we really can’t.
  • Sometimes we say we think our friend or family member has a great idea, when we think it’s horrible.

As women, as moms, we do a lot of “white lying”, trying to please other people.

Well you say, wait, that’s not really lying… I’m just protecting someone’s feelings.

Whatever the reason may be, if we aren’t being honest with others, we aren’t really being honest with ourselves.

Let me explain.

We want to make everyone happy. We want to avoid confrontation, and we desperately want to be liked and accepted. So that desire to feel comfort and conflict-free makes us sign up for obligations that we have no business or time to do/fulfill. It may just be something you don’t want to do. Later on, we become resentful at those with whom we’ve set up said obligation with. Because all we wanted was to say, “no” but because we didn’t do that we are now rotting inside and feel horrible.

Instead of committing to things we can’t commit to, or telling others what we know will make them feel good, we have to start being more proactive. We have to protect ourselves and say no.

There’s nice ways to do it, but to fear others responses to our boundaries, just isn’t an acceptable excuse anymore.

Because if we are being honest, we haven’t been being honest with ourselves. And that’s just about the worst feeling of all.

Life Balance, Self Help

How I Made My Schedule Less Hectic

Every night, I have this ritual. It’s after Chase has had his bath, his food, his stories and is sound asleep, albeit snoring. It’s after the work day is done, the phone calls, emails, and last minute memos. It’s after driving and dodging traffic and catching toys being flung in mid-air. It’s in the quiet time, when all I can hear is the distant train out the window and see the sun setting. These are my absolute precious moments–maybe this sounds familiar. But you should know if wasn’t always this way.

Like most, I lost my cool many times. I was never angry, but just felt frazzled, out of control. Mornings were filled with trying to get out the door, trying to keep my composure and to not “snap”. It wasn’t until juggling a full family that I understood why there was a show about moms “snapping”… I get it now! Sometimes there’s just. too. much. But we can’t stop life. We can’t stop the pace, for the most part. So what do we do?

We take time and enjoy the quiet. After Chase is in bed and all has been taken care of, the house is silent, that’s when I recharge my battery. I do it on purpose. I’ll turn on some music or a funny video. Then I grab the vacuum, run the dishwasher, make the beds… but I do it to my own beat. There might be some dancing, I may call a friend while I’m cleaning, but it feels good to have some time to myself and regain some “order”. In a world where we can’t control much, controlling my personal time, bringing my space to attention, it just feels good.

Some might say, why not just let the house wait? But to me, there’s a feeling of accomplishment. Because I know when it’s done, I’ll grab my book, sweatpants, and a cup of tea, and I’ll drink the evening in. It’s my reward. And when I do this, enjoy the stillness of the evening, I take the time to remember all I’m grateful for. A house I can clean, a baby I can love, a space we can call our own, the job that I beat traffic to get to. I enjoy it. And it took a while to get to that place of learning to enjoy things, but cleaning every night, doing my ritual of downtime, it’s just so good for the soul. It recharges me, it makes me less edgy in the morning.

So if you can do it, take the morning, the evening, your lunch break, find YOUR moment. It’s so worth it and it’s such an essential part of taking care of yourself. Drink from your cup so you have something to give to others.

Impact, Life Balance

St. Jude’s Research Walk

Last weekend I did a walk for St. Jude’s with some friends and brought my son. Really, this shouldn’t be a big deal but it was.

Those who know me also know that I’m an outgoing introvert (yes, it’s a real thing). Maybe you are too. I enjoy being around others when it’s planned, but I also need that personal time in my “cave” at home to recharge my battery. It’s a delicate balance between socialization and hermitage.

Well lately being that I have a infant-toddler now in my life, I felt myself hermiting more than socializing. Any moms and ladies relate? Just to get out the door, there’s a stroller, car seat, bottle/formula, backup formula, toys, Tylenol for teething, blankets, diapers, wipes, it’s a never ending list of crap to bring. So why bother? It’s more of a pain than anything else half the time. So I’d just tell my friends, family, “Forget it.” Maybe we would do all this another time, another day, some day in the future when I feel like this is just less work and I have the energy for “life”.

But instead, I pulled my hair in a bun. I’m not sure that I brushed my teeth or washed my face, but we got dressed, grabbed the pack with all the baby accessories and booked it out the door for a 9 a.m. walk for St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

And this was huge. When we arrived it was a beautiful sunny day. Survivors shared stories. I thought how blessed I was to have this healthy little boy who isn’t fighting for his life, who is rambunctious and happy. But most of all, I understood why it’s so important to have this balance in our lives, both parts social and hermit. I missed my friends, I missed the interaction with others. I think for moms especially, it’s so easy to wrap ourselves up in the daily chores, and routine of life… dishes, laundry, poop, work and repeat… but man, was it so healthy to get out and do something fun. My child needed it and so did I.

So get out. You may not have the money for a spa day or to go to an amusement park, but just get out. Go for a walk, phone a friend, visit the mall. Something. I didn’t realize how healthy that is, how important it is. But you need it.

So when I feel myself getting too “hermit-like”, I make myself call a friend or do something. Because we need it, we need each other and we’ll feel better for it. Life is never going to be completely calm, there’s always going to be some crap to bring along. But we can’t wait for some day. Do it now, do it today, even if it’s not super neat or pretty and you can’t remember if you brushed your teeth.