Unicorns, Donuts, and Sassy Pants

This. Is. Four.

It’s crazy how four years can go by in what feels like a blink of an eye. It seriously feels like yesterday when we were sitting (okay I was laying) in the hospital trying to decide what we’d name our sweet girl. Who would she be? What would be be interested in? Would she be like I was as a child or something totally different? From that moment, our world was forever changed.

Since that day, she’s blossomed into the sassiest, smartest, most hilarious little creature I’ve ever encountered. She loves crafts and science and riding her scooter. She lives for cake pops and Target runs and jumping on the trampoline. Gymnastics and dance are her love languages. She’s got her father’s sense of humor and my passion for learning. In short, she’s everything we could’ve ever hoped for… and so much more.

Parenting is a crazy dichotomy of wishing you could freeze time and wanting to fast forward because you’re ecstatic about the little person they’re growing into. I’m sure the next four years will pass even faster than the last, but one thing is for certain: it’s going to be glorious.

More than Mama

In these little years, it be incredibly hard to not let motherhood completely consume you. You’ve got these tiny little humans depending on you during their every waking moment. Whether you’re with them all day or not, they’re on your mind 24/7. And that’s great! That’s evolution at it’s finest— you’re hardwired to put their best interests above your own. There have been countless hours of sacrificed sleep, endless skipped meals, and definite periods of life where you’re kids looked like a BabyGap ad while you were rocking three-day-old yoga pants and a ponytail.

Sweet Mama, you’re doing an amazing job, but there’s something I want you to remember: you’re not JUST Mama. You’re so, so much more than that.

You’re a wife

Before those little sweet humans arrived, there was just the two of you. And when those same littles grow up, it’ll be the two of you again. Don’t let that spark fade, Mama. Kindle the fire, nurture it, and let it grow.

You’re a friend

Remember all those people you used to talk to before motherhood consumed you? They miss you. They’re still there, waiting. Reach out to them.

You’re a child

Funny how it all comes full circle. Those things you swore you’d “never do” or “never say” to your future children slowly manifest themselves to humble you and remind you to call your mother. Do it. Remind her how much you love her and thank her for raising a strong, self-sufficient adult (#humblebrag).

You’re a goddess

YAS, Mama. You are a mother-freaking goddess who should be treated as such. With no makeup on, dry-shampooed hair, and athleisure wear as a daily staple, you’re still fire. You are a strong and powerful woman who is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t forget it.

You’re a warrior

You have taken on one of life’s most noble tasks: you’re raising the next generation. You’re grooming and teaching and molding and sculpting these tiny humans into incredible global citizens who will no doubt change our world. You’ve got this.

You’re YOU

There is only one you, Mama. You’re the one that your littles need right now, even when you don’t feel like you’re doing enough. The world needs you, in all your stunning mama-goddess-warrior glory. Embrace it.

Xo

Balancing the Chaos

Alternate titles for this post: “Wait, What Day is it?”, “Put That on the To-Do List” & “What Was I Just Doing, Again?”

Anyone else feel like they’re living in a complete whirlwind? I feel like the past two months have FLOWN by and I’m just sitting here wondering why I have to flip my calendar so many pages. I’ve lost my groove and I’m not exactly sure why. They say that we have seasons in life and I’m wondering if this is one of those “you live in total chaos” seasons. Is that a thing?

I often associate fresh starts with beginnings of things. The first day of Fall, the first day of the month, the next Monday. So, like the basic B that I am, I’m going to start fresh this October. I’m vowing to get back on track (have y’all noticed I seem to “vow” a lot in my blog posts? It keeps me accountable so get used to it). Here are my thoughts on getting my life back to a comfortable-ish schedule:

Embrace my calendar/planner: when I was working full-time, I scheduled EVERYTHING. I had a planner that was broken down by hours and I loved it because I could literally pencil everything in to the minute (or close to). I need to get back to that. Not necessarily as detailed, but I need to put all of my to-dos in a central location. Not just my “need to’s”, but also my fun “want to’s”, because I seem to keep forgetting about those! For me, this helps me feel organized and helps my sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled mom brain sort out my days. I’m excited about this one. {P.S. what’s your favorite planner?!}

Be flexible: okay I realize this is completely contradictory to what I just wrote, but bear with me. I’m ALL about scheduling and planning. But at the same time, there’s a tiny part of me that’s usually totally “whatever” and throws the plan to the wind. There’s something oddly refreshing about being able to go with the flow and change the plan if the plan needs to change. Besides, much like classroom teaching, parenthood often throws off any big plans you have anyway.

Meal plan: there was an (albeit short) time where I was sitting down each weekend and meal planning, then subsequently grocery shopping for the week. Man, did I feel like I had my life together! (I’m laughing, but it’s serious, folks.) We were eating healthy, not wasting as much food, and not spending as much money. Annnddd… then I stopped. So it’s time to get back on track with that one. If you don’t meal plan, seriously, start. Like, this week. You won’t regret it.

Give grace: insert. all. the. clapping. emojis. I’m so super guilty of making myself feel guilty. Do you do this, too? Should’ves and would’ves are thieves of joy and I’m not going to let them get me down anymore. I’m not saying I’m going full-blown “everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time”, but I am going to embrace the moment and accept things for what they are. I’m going to make small changes, work hard to make them stick, and be a-okay with it if those changes suck and we throw that plan out the window.

…There it is, friends. My list of “to-do’s” to get my life back in order. This is a definitely a crazy season of life, but all seasons end, so there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe one of these “fresh start” ideas will resonate with you and you’ll find a little bit of order from it. Or maybe you have a way better idea that I haven’t thought of yet—I’m open to that, too! Cheers to small, reasonable changes, y’all.

Let’s Root For Each Other

An open letter to the women who boldly told me “You don’t have to try so hard…”

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve found it pretty easy to let negativity and rude comments roll off my back. My mom drilled confidence into my head from day 1 and luckily, it stuck. Oddly enough, over the past few years, I’ve realized that motherhood has made me both more AND LESS confident. There are a lot of things I hold strong on and barely blink when people throw judgement, but every now and again, something hits hard. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why and where these sneaky little worries creep into my mind, but there’s no doubt that they do.

Backstory here: About once a month, Kyle and I get to have date night. I get to take my time showering and getting ready; I get to wear “normal” clothes. Sometimes – gasp — I even wear heels! This is my ONE night to feel fancy and beautiful and let my hair down (literally—it’s ALWAYS up in a bun). This past weekend, our date night was to a baseball game. I wore a Cleveland t-shirt and cut-off jean shorts. Rocked my Birkenstocks. My hair was unwashed, so I curled it (because every girl knows that dirty hair holds curl better than clean hair). I did my normal, ten-minute makeup routine, but I spiced it up with bright red lipstick. It IS date night, after all!

We met some friends for a drink at a bar outside the stadium. It was early in the evening and I made my way to the restroom. As I was washing my hands, the woman next to me complimented my makeup and while I meekly said “thank you”, I was thinking how sweet that was! I had a huge smile on my face and felt so good! She walked out… then walked BACK IN and said “You don’t have to try so hard… you’re beautiful, you know” with a nice thick layer of what can only be described as condescension. Me, being the awkward soul that I am, just giggled and thanked her while she finally walked away.

I thanked her. For what exactly, I’m not sure. I tried to brush it off as a strange, off-handed comment, but I can’t get past a few things about the situation:

  1. First and foremost… was that a compliment? A diss? I’m legitimately confused by this. #wtf
  2. If it was supposed to be a compliment, it sure didn’t feel like one. It made me feel uncomfortable and honestly, kind of bad about myself. Why do I look like I’m trying so hard? I literally barely tried. What does this mean?!
  3. If it was supposed to be a jab, in what world is it okay to just come at someone like that?! Women are already judged to the max 24/7; I don’t need it from a stranger in a bathroom.

Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure if you were being complimented or dissed?

Received a backhanded compliment?

Made to feel uncomfortable for simply being yourself?

I feel like that is really what this all comes down to. I’ve been thinking about the whole situation a lot; wondering why the comment bothered me so much. What she said seemed to really stick to my soul (whether or not it was the way she hoped it would). I think it’s because it made me feel bad for simply being me. I wasn’t putting on a front or trying to be someone I’m not. I was being exactly myself and how I feel comfortable. NEWS FLASH, random lady in the bar bathroom: NOT COOL.

All that being said, I’m vowing to let it go. I’m vowing to remember that I am exactly who I want to be and that no one is going to dull my light. Most importantly, I am vowing to never make another woman feel the way I felt. I want other women to feel supported, strengthened, and empowered in my presence. Let’s root for each other & watch each other grow.

Xo

“I want you to know…”: An Open Letter to Myself

Hi friend,

How are you? Aside from all the niceties, REALLY how are you? You look tired. I know that you’re sick of hearing that, because obviously you’re tired. I know you get frustrated that you can’t do it all; that you aren’t the perfect mom; that you don’t have it all figured out yet. But there are a few things I’ve been meaning to tell you and I think it will be easier if I put it all down on paper.

I want you to know that you don’t have to do it all. I know that you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and that everything needs to be perfect all.the.time. That if it isn’t perfect, you’re failing as a wife and as a mother. I know it’s hard, but it’s okay to let things slide once in awhile. It’s okay to ask for help. If you let go of just a little bit of control, I promise everyone will survive. No one is expecting you to have it all together all the time.

I want you to know that you’re not alone. Motherhood is a strange beast. It can bring you overwhelming community and deafening silence. I know that it can feel like no one really understands, but how will you know if you never try? I’ve learned that adult friendships are often masked with a veil of falsehood. No one wants to admit their struggles or hardships. There’s this unspoken fear of looking “less than”. I want you to know that we’re ALL “less than”. No matter how it looks on social media, some days are picture perfect and you never want them to end… and others, well the others are filled with watching the clock until it’s an “appropriate” time to pour a glass of wine. That’s NORMAL. That’s REAL. Allow yourself some grace; you’re doing a great job.

I want you to know that I love you, despite how many times I might say otherwise. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The world is hard on you enough, so why be that way on yourself? Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. You might not have the perfect body and your nails might be chipping 99% of the time, but those things don’t define you. Remember that every imperfection, every dimple, every out-of-place hair makes you unique and tells your story. Your story is important. Let it shine.

I hope you know that I’m proud of you. I know that your days are long, busy, and often stressful. You worked tirelessly, often with little thanks. You’ve worked hard to get to where you’re at. Those degrees that sit unused on the shelf? I promise they’ll be worth it– someday. It’s hard to not know exactly where you are or where you’re going. For now, I want you to take some time for you. Be present in the moment. Give yourself grace. Live more “hands free” and free-range. Your life isn’t perfect, but it’s not supposed to be.

You’re exactly you and that’s just perfect.

Love you always,

me

 

Well, Here Goes Nothing…

Everyone has that one thing that makes them feel fulfilled. You know, that thing that makes you smile, no matter how awful your mood. That thing that just gives you warm and fuzzy, pure, child-like excitement. Do you know yours? I ask because I only recently discovered mine. My husband, Kyle, and I were talking about my reasons for starting this blog. As we sat and picked through my vision and what I hope to accomplish here, he made a statement that really opened my eyes. He paused and just stared at me.

“Do you know what I’ve noticed, lately more so than ever?

You seem like you’re at your genuine happiest

when you’re helping other people. Have you noticed that?”

Surprisingly, I hadn’t really thought about it before. It makes total sense, though, given my day to day. As a trainer, I help people reach their goals and find their confidence. As a special education teacher, I help my students become more productive members of society. And as a mother, I get to watch my children grow and learn and become the amazingly brilliant little humans they are. All of those things give me that warm and fuzzy feeling where I smile until my cheeks hurt.

Through blogging for FIT4MOM Austin and Austin Mom’s Blog, I realized that I *also* find joy sharing stories with others. I truly love reading about other women’s lives and being able to share my experiences with them (maybe I’m also just a tad bit nosey?! It’s debatable)  Sharing our stories is so, SO important. Why? Because motherhood is hard. Adulting is hard (yes, I am using “adulting” as a word). And we have a beautiful gift of the internet, which allows us to connect with people all over the world. How can we NOT take advantage of that?!

While I love blogging for others, I also feel like I need my own creative space. A place where I can write about my goof-ball husband, who finds it hilarious that I nearly jump out of my skin for no reason at all–at least once a day– because I’m a big scaredy-cat.Where I can write about my failed gardening attempts and how in my mind I have a bangin’ vegetable garden, complete with chickens and goats and a fully-functioning compost bin. Where I can write about the endless crafts and recipes I whip up with my kids as part of our semi-homeschooling curriculum that I make up as I go. And where I can write about what I struggle with as a wife, as a friend, and as a mother.

It’s my hope that this writing will help you find a little bit of joy. That we can build connections, near or far, over our successes and our struggles. That if I share a little bit more of my story, maybe you’ll be compelled to share a little bit more of yours. It’s always scary to put yourself out there, but what a shame it would be to waste an opportunity to connect. So, I’m inviting you to follow along on my journey. Maybe you’ll decide to share a little bit of yourself back, maybe not. Either way, here goes nothing…