From 1 to 2, 3 to 4

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The notion that we’re going from one child to two, a family of three to a family of four. It has been weighing so heavily on my mind.

I always said I wanted two kids. For as long as I can remember and I assume that to be a product of what I grew up in, a family of four. Four just sounds right in my head so I’ve always just seen that as my future.

I remember taking the pregnancy test. Kennedy wasn’t even 11 months old yet, just a couple days shy. My period was due and I knew it wasn’t coming. I hadn’t said anything out loud but I had a feeling I was pregnant. Kennedy woke up at 4 AM and I fed her a bottle and placed her back in her crib. I had to pee. Just as I was about to go I stopped and thought, “THE TEST!” I bought two the day before and had them in my car. I rushed out, grabbed it and went to take it. It was blazing positive almost instantly. I was in disbelief.

I posted a picture of it into my mom group and said…”Uh, this just happened this morning…” My mind was a blur. I stayed up because there was no way I was going to be able to sleep again. I got ready for work. Kennedy woke up so I got her ready. I wondered if I should tell Anthony right away or wait til I took a digital test. He came into the kitchen and I instantly said, “I have something to tell you.” He looked a little confused. I whipped the test out of my purse and handed it to him. He was SO excited. I was excited, nervous, terrified, amazed, basically every emotion known to mankind.

It didn’t kick in until later but it kicked in when I took two more tests and had two more positives that I was sad. I was mourning. It happened when I looked at my sweet K and realized I was already giving her a sibling. I was already going to take my attention and split it in half and my heart broke. I cried. I felt horrible and like I was ruining something, that I was going to ruin her and I.

I got home and I stared at Anthony and cried again. He asked me what was wrong and I explained it to him. He hugged me and said it was going to be okay and I deep down know he is right but it still didn’t feel right in that moment.

I was terrified to have a daughter when I found out I was pregnant with Kennedy. There’s always this stigma that girls are “Daddy’s girls” and boys are “Mama’s boys” so I thought that I wasn’t going to have the connection to her that I wanted because of it.

Was I wrong. I’ve tried to explain it in a way that can be understood but simply put, she is my little soulmate. While our kids are half of you and half of your significant other, and most commonly we refer to our significant other as our soulmate, which Anthony is, but I think you have more than one. There are people that just touch your heart in a way that in unexplainable.

My little fireball K is one of those. She softened me, she taught me patience (even though some days there isn’t enough of it), she’s showed me unconditional love, pure joy, humor, silliness…I could go on forever. But what really gets me is her heart. She’s a lover, through and through. She will come up to you while you’re in the kitchen and cling to your leg. If you’re sitting on the ground, she’ll walk over to you turn around and lower herself into your lap. She’ll walk behind you while you’re sitting on the ground and hug your back and then look at you over your shoulder as if to say, “Hi, it’s me!” Her giggle is 3 times the size of her, her smile is too.

It’s those things that let me know she’s going to love being a big sister which helps me as a mom process going from 1 to 2 little ones and that our family of 3 is about to be 4. She’s going to give us plenty of shouts of her 3rd favorite word, “Bayyyy-beeee” when she sees him and I’ll turn into a puddle of mush. Even though it’s going to be an adjustment I’m thankful my little Kennedy was my first born. I don’t think I could have had a more perfect little soul to teach me how to be a mother. I’m thankful for her and that time I’ve had of just her, Anthony and I.

I think I’ll still be nervous for this coming change to our family but we aren’t too far off from our new normal. It’ll be March before we know it! Until then I’ll soak up the time I have and make sure we have plenty of Kenny dates with lots of hugs, giggles and cuddles.

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Almost a year.

It’s almost been 365 days since I went to my last doctor’s appointment before I was put on bedrest. Which means it’s incredibly close to my daughter’s first birthday and I’m trying to wrap my brain around where the heck the last year went.

It’s been such a year. In so many ways. More than just with the addition of a child, there were so many changes, surprises, frustrations, victories and everything in between.

I remember the day my maternity leave started abruptly. It was a week before I planned for my leave to start and it threw me through a loop. What was supposed to be a routine visit ended with me heading to the hospital for monitoring and testing.

Monitoring and testing became my new normal until my daughter was born. Every Monday and Thursday I had to go to my doctor’s office for an NST scan. I sat on the monitors for 30 minutes or until the nurse was satisfied with her movements and my readings. The same comment was made every time one of the scans started, “If we don’t get enough movements, I’ll have to send you to the hospital.” Nothing like some nervous energy and a pep talk to your baby in utero before the machine started going.

Those twice a week appointments and days of staying home lasted for a little over 2 weeks. I was getting used to bedrest when my water broke that Wednesday night. 36 weeks 5 days, and my water is broken. My husband is at work for the night. Friend is out of town that lives nearby. I’m panicking. My brother saves the day!

Off to the hospital where the reality sinks in that I won’t be going home until I have a baby in my arms. I prep myself for what labor will be like and how I think it will be until I’m in labor for 33+ hours and we decide to have a c-section. Now I have to mentally prepare for surgery.

Everything goes perfectly! She’s here! Holy moly…I’m responsible for this little human. How do I do this?! Euphoria, joy, happiness, every emotion known to mankind, I’m feeling over the course of the next few days. We get the hang of it and it’s time to go home from the hospital. Wait…we’re going home ALONE to take care of a baby?!

There’s not much sleep for the first few days. Our little girl is nocturnal. Party all night and sleep all day. Only way to get her to sleep all night is to hold her. We take turns. We try to stay awake but we fall asleep while we hold her and jolt awake. It’s HARD. A few days in I remember looking at Anthony and saying, “What did we do?!” The sleep deprivation was getting to me. She started sleeping at night, so we did too. We fell into a groove.

Bliss! For several weeks everything was so simple and we had it down until cluster feeding began and the newborn sleepiness wore off. She wanted to eat All. The. Time. She was more aware and I felt like I had to entertain her more. Trying to figure out the right thing to do was a lot!

My maternity leave came to an end. I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact I was going to be leaving my baby behind. How could I? Am I a bad mom? Google, how to become a stay at home mom. I cried to work, once I got to work, and on my way to pick her up. It got easier to drop her off but I still wasn’t adjusting.

Work was hard to get back into. I felt like I missed a lot and I couldn’t get my feet under me. I felt defeated. I felt like I was only good at being a mom. What was I doing?! New organization, new team members, I was so lost. It took me months to find my way. In this time Anthony had new jobs too, it felt like we were never on solid ground. When will it all just stop.

April. It stopped in April. By now we had a babbling, rolling and crawling baby. Things were fun but oh were they tiring. Always on the move. Wanting to eat more real food. Growling at us while we ate. Separation anxiety starts and I can’t leave the room without tears if we’ve been apart all day. It’s draining. But I’ve found my groove. I learn how to work hard at work and when it’s time to go at the end of the day I put my mom/wife hat on and handle it all. I finally feel like I’ve got it all working together.

Until, something else changes. A work schedule. A late meeting. Daycare hours shifting. SOMETHING. There’s always something. What I’ve learned the last year is that especially with the addition of a child, things are always going to be ever changing. Having a plan is good, but it isn’t the FOR SURE thing. Being able to adapt to change has been my biggest friend in this journey. It will continue to be. I’ve come to terms that my type-A self can’t beat life as a parent. There’s always going to be a curve ball and I’m going to have to adjust to it.

Now…in a few weeks when my daughter turns 1, I will be a hot mess. My baby will no longer be a baby and we take the next step! Which…is she a toddler or not? This is the great debate but if she’s walking, I’ll go with Toddler. 🙂

 

10.5 Months

10.5 months old.

My daughter has been on the outside longer than she ever was on the inside. She’s gone from a squishy little newborn that you could set down anywhere and she wouldn’t move a muscle (why did I not cherish those moments more?) to a completely mobile fearless almost toddler in what feels like overnight.

I used to roll my eyes when my mom would say, “You kids just grow up so fast!” They said it all the time but it’s never felt more true or more real til right now.

I’m finding this stage so far to be one of the hardest ones, if not THE hardest so far. The hard part at the beginning is the adjusting. You just went from only having to care for yourself to caring for someone else entirely and continually putting their needs above anything else. For me, doing that was natural, but it’s exhausting and it’s an adjustment.

After a few months go by, you go from super sleepy newborn, seriously, it felt like all she did was sleep those first couple months, to a more curious baby. While they still aren’t mobile, they’re awake more and yearning for your attention, which who isn’t going to give it to them, they’re so cute and cuddly.

Then they start rolling around, and that’s SO exciting. You see their little wheels turning and they figure out how moving their leg one way and arm the other gets them from their back to their tummy or vice versa.

They then master the roll, they become barrel rollers. This is how they get from one side of the room to the next and it’s SO funny.

Then they learn to sit. Which at first is comical because they fold in half like a pancake and just have no clue how to get out of the described position. You do some silly, but beneficial, exercises with them to help them learn how to sit up. When they finally are able to hold themselves up it’s SO exciting. They look so happy and you can almost see the look of, “That’s how the world looks at this angle!” radiating from their faces.

The next step, unless they skip it, is the booty scooting. They want to move but they aren’t sure how yet so they just wiggle until there’s forward movement. Again, this is a hilarious move!

Transition to crawling…this is where life get’s so wild. They first are little army crawlers and pretty slow so you think, “How cute!” Then they turn into speed demons. Seriously have you seen a confident crawler? They ARE SO FAST. You put them down and they’re in a totally different place almost immediately.

At this point their motor skills are in overdrive. They can pinch and pick up small items. Everything goes into their mouth. They want to try all of your food. They want to eat paper. They stand up in their crib. They start using words like mama and dada. They spot you across a room and if you leave their line of sight after they see you, they meltdown. They’re attached to you.

This is the most difficult stage so far. I arrive home from work and have to strategically put my stuff down because if I have to pee and she sees me, and then I disappear she cries so hard. If I want to eat something and I’m not comfortable giving her what I’m eating, I’m hiding in the kitchen eating. You can’t leave them unattended unless they’re in a full baby proof space, which there is no such thing unless they’re in a box, but they’ll try and eat the box anyway. They stand up everywhere so putting them to bed can be a challenge because if they don’t want to be in there they pull themselves up and stand there until you come back. They realize when you’re dropping them off somewhere and some days that just fine but others they are not happy about it.

This is the most difficult stage. It’s so hard because I realize she’s not little anymore. She doesn’t count on me to feed her anymore, she feeds herself if I hand her a bottle or a piece of food. She no longer wants to be cuddled every second of everyday, she wants to crawl and explore. She doesn’t need to be wrapped up like a burrito to fall asleep anymore. She’s outgrown several of the toys I put her in. She’s flown through her clothes and wears 12, 18 or 24 month items. This age is hard because I’ve gone from being her constant to feeling like sometimes she doesn’t need me at all. That she’s gone from not being bothered or aware I left the room for a second to freaking out if she can’t see me. It’s hard because I’m in limbo of infancy and toddlerhood and I have no clue how to make that transition work.

It’s hard because now I’m worrying about sleep training and what method to use. What allergens to give her to see if she has a reaction. Not being too close of a shadow behind her so she feels confident to stand on her own and get ready to walk. A whole new set of issues is about to arise as she gets a little older and all the possibilities makes my head swirl.

While this stage is hard, it’s also rewarding. She recognized me and her daddy. She knows who her other caregivers are and gets so excited to see them. She laughs so hard and at pretty much anything. She’s shows her delight for bath time and her disdain for being changed. She is spunky and still the biggest lover of people. She is the light of my life and her daddy’s.

While I find myself at moments like I did this morning and my wits end and my patience was shot due to poor sleeping, I know at some point I’ll miss this stage. She’s not always going to be learning this much, loving so hard all while getting 6 teeth at once, and while it’s a lot for all of us to handle at one shot, we’re doing pretty darn well if I do say so myself.

This age is hard, but it’s not forever, just like all the other ages so far have proven to me. Nothing with these littles is forever and it all flies by so fast so on a day where you feel like your patience is GONE, just know you’re not alone and while it feels never ending, this stage and age will be in the rearview mirror.

While this age is hard, I’m sure there will be harder ones and I’ll be wishing I was back here, which is why I am documenting this time. They’re only little for a little while ❤

 

Baby “Must-Haves”

I’ve been wanting and meaning to write a “must-haves” list of baby products that I’ve basically been thanking God for since Kennedy was born, what better time than now to do so, especially with so many friends of mine that are now having babies I’ve had to seriously ponder what things made a HUGE difference for us.

Here is my disclaimer: all babies are different and without a doubt they will tell you what they do and don’t like, it’s all trial and error after all! Also, I am just giving my full and honest feedback on items that I’ve used, none of this is sponsored, just my go-to items! I think I’ll also add at the end things I never used and wish I didn’t purchase, just for fun.

Here we go!

Rock N Play Sleeper (or a similar product)

I SWEAR by this thing. I honestly give it the credit for helping me get Kennedy used to sleeping in something other than my arms. We had the Ingenuity Soothing Light Rocking Sleeper (that was a mouth full) which is a comparable product to the Rock n Play. This was a cozy, slightly inclined sleeper that made Kennedy feel cozy and like she was being snuggled. I remember after about a week and home and taking turns with Anthony at night of holding her while she slept, I prayed to God that I could place her in the sleeper and she would stay asleep. What do you know…3 hours of uninterrupted night sleep! Small victories people. We used this for the first couple months of her life and for the price and ability to sleep, totally worth it.

Wrap Carrier

I adored baby wearing for so many reasons. One, it kept snuggle time a priority and two, it gave me two free hands when I just needed to get something done. I had the Boba Wrap which I truly liked a lot. I did some research on wrapping and I landed on this one due to the price and ability to buy it in store so I could test out the fabric. There a MANY brands with this same style so just note that Boba’s fabric is a bit thicker so it does wear hot, if you want something lighter I would opt for a Solly Baby Wrap, their fabric is lighter and breathes easier, perfect for warmer climates or seasons.

Velcro Swaddles

Swaddling saved my life. Well when it came to sleeping anyway. We used the SwaddleMe blankets until Kennedy was rolling over at about 5.5 months. These are SO easy to use with the velcro and they stay on so well. Again, when baby needs to feel cozy and wrapped tight, these were a no brainer. We owned 6 in the small size and 2 in medium and used them religiously!

Baby Bouncer

We didn’t initially own one of these until I was on the phone with my mom one day telling her I needed a place to put Kennedy that was more than just laying flat on the floor on couch next to me. She said she used a baby bouncer with me and it was a lifesaver. We picked one up second hand, it was a Fisher Price Baby Bouncer, holy moly it was such a blessing! It had a mobile for Kennedy to look at, played music and had a light vibration which would put her to sleep sometimes. We used the heck out of it and had to replace the batteries multiple times because of how much we used it.

Nosefrida

Probably not the most appealing looking thing or concept but let me say, stuff noses stand no chance against the Nosefrida. I know many will say you can use the bulb they give you at the hospital, this thing is no match for that, it blows it out of the water 100x over. Must have this at home or in the diaper bag!

Pacifiers

These were a no brainer for us. She didn’t NEED one but in those fussy moments we liked being able to give her something to help calm her down. There are sooo many choices out there, but it’s definitely trial and error to find one that they will take. We were, and still are, huge fans of the Mam Pacifiers.

Bottles

Whether you plan to breastfeed or not, having bottles on hand is super important. I attempted to breastfeed but ended up needing to formula feed. If we didn’t have bottles, I wouldn’t of been able to feed Kennedy that night at 2 AM that she was screaming out of hunger. We are huge fans of the Dr. Browns bottles. They have several size options and are great for gassy babies.

Things I wish I didn’t Buy

I may have some stones thrown at me for some of these but I’m just being honest.

Diaper Genie

This has got to be the grossest invention of all time. I didn’t think anything of it until after Kennedy was born but wowza. Just think, you’re putting only used diapers in one little pail that will eventually need to be emptied. One, two, three not it on that chore. Mine is currently sitting in my garage.

Formula Bottle Maker

I had high hope for this thing as we were having several wake ups per night but was so severely disappointed. We bought the Baby Brezza Formula Pro and were soooo frustrated with this thing. It didn’t measure water properly and I wasn’t confident in the amount of formula it dispensed either. As a first time mom, I couldn’t confidently feed my child when I knew it wasn’t working properly.

Socks

I just can’t keep them on her feet. Still can’t, so I wish every single pair I had ever gotten just went straight back to the store!

There definitely are items that are a no brainer, diapers, wipes, onsies, those are all pretty universal!

I will say, Babyganics makes one heck of an absorbent diaper that’s PERFECT for nighttime diapering. We are huge fan of the Kirkland brand diapers and wipes from Costco, you get so many for a great price. Carter’s clothing runs perfect in the size spectrum, Gerber runs a bit smaller.

We’re HUGE Graco carseat fans. We bought the Modes Jogging Travel System and the Extend2Fit Carseat, we love both so much.

I’m sure there are some other items that we used pretty religiously but the ones listed above come to mind immediately. Hopefully this list can help another momma that’s trying to complete her must-have list before baby arrives!

Round of Applause for ALL The Moms

I’m in awe of moms and all the things that they do. My fellow mamas give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve one.

I had the nice change of pace to work from home the majority of this week, which is something I’ve strongly considered pursuing as a way to still be in the workforce and be at home with my little one more. Let me just share, IT’S FREAKING HARD.

I think there is a stigma that working from home isn’t the same as working in an office, which isn’t something I completely agree with. I think in past time, that could of been a valid argument but with the advances in technology, you can work from virtually anywhere. It’s nice for those of us that need a change of scenery than our cube walls or who work best at really weird times or the day or who may need flexibility one day to the next.

So back to my point, working from home, with a mobile 10 month hold is just in a league all it’s own. I bow down to the women that have figured out the mathematical equation it is to occupy your child, make sure they’re not going to blow the house up or hurt themselves, all while being able to focus on their work and make it through the day with happy kids and a checklist that is complete. You are the best multitasker of the century for being able to do ALL of that, daily.

I admit, on Monday, Kennedy took two glorious naps, first was a 2.5 hour long snooze, which she NEVER does, and her second was an 1.5 doze. I got SO MUCH DONE in those 4 hours.

Now…transition to Wednesday…we were on a nap strike and she just paraded around the living room saying “Mama, Mama, Mama” which is super adorable and I was totally okay with it until about 12 noon when I realized I’d gotten 1 task done out of my 4 I needed to complete. Panic ensued. I worked a lot later in the day that I normally would if I would of gone to the office, I was DRAINED.

Thursday…same story. I was lucky enough to get a really good 2.5 hour nap out of her in the afternoon and I knocked out all my projects but my brain was fried afterward.

This was the taste that I got of being a work from home mom. It was so super difficult. I had no time to clean my kitchen, I tossed 1 load of laundry in the wash and got it to the dryer but it’s still sitting in my house unfolded, that was on Monday that I washed those clothes by the way.

Being a work at home mom doesn’t mean it’s “easier”, truthfully those few days I had at home working and caring for Kennedy were some of the most tiring days I’ve had since I returned to work because I’ve only had to focus on one or the other and not both at the same time.

So, I’ve been able to experience, or course not for long periods of time but still, in general experienced, being: a stay at home mom, a work from home mom, and working mom. Let me tell you, there is none of these 3 lifestyles that is easier than the other. They all have their challenges. I’ve had a hard time accepting my current lifestyle as a working mom but after being a home and working, I can say that some of the things I enjoy are the routines we have (I LOVE routines!), structure to my day, being able to focus on Kennedy only when we’re at home and work only while I’m at work, and being able to do work I actually enjoy and I can feel stimulated by.

I enjoyed working from home because I got plenty of breaks with my little one throughout the day and knew she was close by, all while still doing state brain stimulation that my work provides me.

Staying at home and focusing on Kennedy and my family, I felt connected and very in-tune with all the needs of our home and my little girl. There are serious benefits to each one of these roles and I myself am guilty of thinking “one is better than the next” but after getting the chance this week, I can see how each of these different “types” of moms have their struggles.

I appreciate each and every learning opportunity I’ve had to see how other moms handle their business and all I have to say is, WE KNOW HOW TO GET IT DONE. One way or another, we take care of our families and ourselves. Yes, somedays we will fall short but as a whole, we are nothing short of incredible.

So thank you life for allowing to see things from all angles. I feel like God wanted this for me so I could understand the path I’m currently on. I appreciate more than I could of ever imagined. I also appreciate you ladies, it’s hard sometimes to describe the struggles you experience unless someone can experience them first hand and I bow down to all the moms. It isn’t easy but somehow we make it our own and I think you’re amazing.

Until next time. xoxo

 

Love Your Body

Let me just start by saying, the female body is one incredible machine. I didn’t understand how amazing my body was until I carried a child. There are some days I want to rip this body apart with what I think is wrong with it but I’ve put my foot down. I have no reason to look at myself and be upset with what I see because I know what it has done.

Let me take a few steps back. I was an early bloomer. I wore a size 8 shoe when I was in the 3rd grade. I reached my full height by the time I was 12 and I was taller than half of the boys in my grade. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb because on top of that I was also heavier. A middle schoolers nightmare! I didn’t have boyfriends or boys that were interested in me until high school and even high school was rough. I decided to lose 10 pounds over Christmas break one year so everyone would stop looking at me as the chubby girl and when I came back to school instead of, “Wow you look amazing!” I was greeted with, “Do you have an eating disorder?” Seriously, I couldn’t win. So my body image has always been skewed.

I’ve yo-yoed in the past and even into adulthood, as recently as 2 years ago. Before I got pregnant I was actually trying to lost about 20 pounds, I was the heaviest weight I had ever been and next thing you know, I’m pregnant. I was terrified. I instantly thought OMG, I’m not going to be a cute pregnant girl, I’m going to be a fat pregnant girl. Terrible, terrible! I wish I could go back in time. But I was about to learn a lot about me and my body.

I was anxious to have a bump, but also terrified because that meant I was growing in size. Once I started to show with Kennedy, I was SO excited. For the first time, I was okay with my body growing and gaining weight. I knew there was a reason for it. I was elated!

Once it got closer to my due date, all anybody could ask was, “Do you plan to breastfeed?” (which BTW…can we add this to the list of questions you don’t ask a pregnant woman?) I always responded with, “That’s the plan!” of course I was then greeted with the, “Good! It’s great for the baby, plus it’ll help you drop your baby weight. ” My next thought was great, a way to get rid of the weight I gained, I’ll be golden! Until I wasn’t.

If you’ve been following along on my blog here, you’ll know that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us. Throw that out the window and my next thought was, how on earth am I going to lose this weight? I started walking in hopes to drop the weight and I felt like I had to lose the weight fast, that’s just what you’re supposed to do…according to social media and other news outlets. I made the mistake of looking at these models or fitness gals that had babies and how quick they snapped back after having their babies and thought wow, I have no wiggle room, society expects us to go back to our prebaby bodies and fast. Again, I wish I could go back in time.

I was borderline depressed when I wasn’t losing any weight. I’d never been this heavy before. I didn’t feel like myself in my own body. My clothes didn’t fit and pregnancy clothes looked silly and I didn’t want to wear them. I cried. I cried a lot. I said I hated my body and I hated who I was in it.

I had to decide to do something about it though. I knew I had to get healthier physically but I was seriously concerned about my mental views on my body. I avoided mirrors. I didn’t try to get myself together if we went anywhere. I just didn’t care. I honestly don’t think I started to care until Kennedy got a little bit older and she was more aware of who Mom and Dad were and that she could count on us.

Knowing she counted on me is what made my brain transform on accepting and loving my postpartum body. This little girl loves me because she can count on me, she knows my scent, we have our way of cuddling where I know where to hold her just right and she knows where she can nestle her head and she can only do that with me, in my arms, on my chest, on my body. She grabs my face, my nose, my cheeks, anything, and she loves doing that. Knowing that she loves me and every single little bit of me has helped me accept where I’m at with my postpartum body and she doesn’t even know it yet.

I also have to give kudos to my husband, he was the first to remind me all my body has gone through to have Kennedy. He’s proud of me and what my body has done and has told me I should be proud of me too. So now, I am.

Just as everyone loves to remind us women how different every single baby is, we have to remember that every single woman is different. How you bounce back from having a child is going to be different than the women around you. No two bodies are the same. Comparing yourself to those around you will get you nowhere but down in the dumps. I admire the women that bounced back so well and quickly. I know those are the same women that worked out while they were pregnant and I wish that could of been me but my preeclampsia didn’t allow it. Which I will also say, sometimes what you want to have happen while you’re pregnant and what actually happens are two different things…I didn’t think I would have physical limitations while pregnant but did! The physical sacrifices made were so incredibly worth it to have my happy and healthy baby girl.

Whether you’re thinking about having babies, currently pregnant, recently delivered, a year or several postpartum, don’t ever stop loving the body that you have that carried those babies. Every single day remember to love yourself for the amazing things that you physically have done. Those little babies of yours think the world of you and won’t even know what physical insecurities you may have because to them, you are perfect.

 

My Mamas

I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” #true.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to fully explain who my village is or, as I call them, My Mamas. Yes, I have people I can count on in real life, but I’ve had these ladies since the beginning.

Let me roll back a little bit. I was on a wedding website when Anthony and I were engaged because I had no clue what I was doing and I was the first one of my friends to get married. Flash forward to September 2015 when Anthony and I decided we wanted to have a baby. I logged back into this website because they had a section in their forum that was for TTC (Trying to Conceive), Babies, Parenting, etc. I figured, I can check this out since once again I’m doing something that I have no clue how to do or what to expect.

Well one of the boards was a due date month group. Once you tested positive, you’d join the month board that you were due and this was your group. I figured this would be really good for me since I didn’t have anybody in my life at the time I could talk to because 1. I hadn’t told a soul we were trying let alone pregnant 2. None of my closest girlfriends were pregnant or had a baby (there were a couple of girls I knew but I wasn’t ready to share with them at this time).

I joined the September 2016 mama group, I wasn’t sure how many of us there would end up being but our finally tally as of today was 37 women total. A Facebook group was created so we could all talk all lot more efficiently than on a website board back and forth.

I had NO idea how close I would get to these ladies! We’re literally, from all over the world. London, Sweden, Chile, Australia, Canada and the United States. We talk literally all day long. It was the most comforting thing as a first time mom and being pregnant that if I was panicking about something I could open my Facebook app and ask a question to my ladies and see what they recommended or thoughts on what was going on.

There were conversations on what car seats we were all buying, plans to breastfeed or not, thoughts on co-sleeping, suggestions for how to sleep better at night while pregnant, I could go on but we talked about everything, nothing has been off limits. Being pregnant was so exciting because I got to be pregnant with so many ladies at one time. We started weekly themed threads, which I will say postpartum have been amazing. Weekly bump pictures, ultrasound photos, etc.

Once our babies started to arrive it was even more amazing. We shared updates from the hospital rooms. #babywatch was like the best thing ever when you’d wake up to pee in the middle of the night and someone announced “MY WATER BROKE” and it followed with a bunch of responses that ranged from: WOOHOO, OMG, *eye emojis* SO MANY EYE EMOJIS. When Kennedy was born I was like, I need to post a picture to my mamas now! I don’t think anybody understood what I meant.

Flash to postpartum, when our babies were here. When we were up for hours upon hours at a time. Babies didn’t want to sleep at night time, babies feeding around the clock, not sleeping, not sure if you’re breastfeeding your baby properly, worried if you’re doing this right…they were right there. It didn’t matter what time it was, someone was more than likely awake, and they were your comfort when you needed it.

These ladies, my mamas, have filled a hole that I have had because I didn’t have any pregnant girlfriends in real life. I didn’t have any close friends that had just had babies or that I felt like I could pour my life story out to without them thinking I’m insane. They know EVERYTHING about me, and yet here we are…it’s May 2017, our oldest babies are going to be 10 months old this month, sweet Blake & Vanessa and our youngest baby just turned 7 months, Roscoe.

I’ve laughed so hard with these ladies when we shared funny photos and stories about things that happened in our lives. My heart has broken with these ladies and I’ve cried for them even though we’re thousands of miles away. I LOVE these ladies and these babies so much, but I love their friendship and what they’ve helped me become by just being there so much more.

I don’t know what I did, or how I got so lucky to fall into this group. They are the most loving, caring, hilarious, and beautiful ladies I’ve ever known.

I’m feeling far more emotional about this today and now because I got to meet one of them today in person and introduce our little ones to each other and it felt so normal. I wasn’t nervous to meet Stephanie because I knew she already knew who I was. Dylan and Kennedy are all set to go to prom in 17 years too.

I can’t explain how many times I thank God for these women. I don’t know where I would be without them. I feel like I’m better equipped to handle motherhood and on days where I feel like I’ve just sucked, they always build me back up.

My mamas, I love you all SO much, I can’t even explain it. You have made me a better woman and helped prepare me and continue to teach me how to be a better mom. I hope you know how much you are appreciated by me! It only seems right with Mother’s Day coming up that I express my gratitude to you all for being my rock and safe place to vent. Thank you for being the greatest ladies I could of ever imagined to do this mom life with. ❤

“The Working Mom”

I always thought I’d be, “The Working Mom” and I had people ask me ALL the time, “Are you sure?” “You really think you’ll be able to do it?” I always looked at them like they were nuts and thought, duh, that’s what people have to do.

Did I ever think to myself, gosh, staying home would be amazing? Of course I did, but it was merely a thought. My entire pregnancy I figured I would enjoy maternity leave and the one on one time I had with my baby but at its end, I’d be ready to return to the workforce.

Um…I was so incredibly wrong.

As I’ve mentioned Kennedy was 3 weeks early and I was placed on bedrest 2.5 weeks prior to her arrival. I started my actual maternity leave a lot sooner than I anticipated. I remember the second or third night Anthony and I were home with Kennedy and I turned at looked at him and said, “I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to go back to work, I have an aching and longing need to be around her 24/7.” I cried immediately because I just wanted to be around her and only her and my little family unit that had gone from 2 to 3 just days earlier. The next morning we both figured I was hormonal and I was just feeling all the emotions that come with being a new mom, which is pretty standard for all.

I got 10.5 weeks of time with my little girl before it was time for me to return to work. I was a mess. I cried the two weeks leading up to my first day of work and was doing everything imaginable to try and slow time down. I woke up at 2:30 AM that Monday and started crying. Anthony took off for work and I was alone waiting for the princess to wake up. I remember sitting in her room drinking my coffee and watching her sleep in her crib and I sobbed and sobbed. She woke up and in typical Kennedy fashion batted her perfectly curled eyelashes at me and smiled her big gummy smile. I stopped crying at that moment because nothing is cuter than that little face.

I dropped her off at daycare (which by the way, Jen, you’re the best and we are so happy you are the one taking care of our little girl) and I held it together until I started driving down the road. I called Anthony and burst into tears and cried the entire way to my office. My co-workers were kind enough to get me a welcome back gift and it was super sweet and appreciated by getting through the day was SO. HARD. The stroke of 3:30 I was out of there and off to pick up my girl.

It’s been exactly 4 months since I’ve returned back to work and it’s the hardest thing I have to do every weekday morning. As someone that’s always been very focused on my education and having a career, I have multiple times been ready to throw it all away to just focus and be with my child. I am longing for the ability to be with her as much as possible but as much as I want that, I have to keep reminding myself that right now in this season, that isn’t in the cards.

So what do you do in this situation? I spend as much quality time with Kennedy as I can. I get up early and get myself fully ready and leave 45 minutes to get her up and ready for the day and spend time with her before we walk out the door. When I get to work, I work and I get all of it done in the office so when the day is over, I walk out the door and go back to mommy mode. I pick Kennedy up and I get 2-2.5 hours of her being awake before it’s bedtime and I make the most of out if as I possibly can. No phone, playtime in her room, reading, bath time, all of that, I literally treasure every possible second. The weekends, oh they are my absolute favorite, more so than ever before. I take that little girl with me EVERYWHERE. I never knew that becoming a mother would change me as much as it has especially with my focus on work and what my heart’s desire is.

I totally understand now how women are torn and have to make decisions like staying home with babies or go back to work. It’s the hardest choice to make and right now in this season my husband (you rock!) and I are trying to figure out what exactly will it take for us to ensure one of us is home more with our daughter. 2017 is going to be an interesting year for us as we work toward a goal of making that a reality. For now I’m just trying to keep it together although some days I have no clue how the heck I’m going to get through! I do actually know though, it’s that cute little one that I pick up each day around 4:00 PM that keeps me going!

I want to say to all moms, working or stay at home, all moms have struggles they have to face in both of these paths and you’re doing an amazing job no matter what struggles you’re facing. We will all get through these things and it’ll be easier if we can lean on each other! Major kudos to my September Mamas, I’m pretty sure I would of fallen off the deep end multiple times without your kind words and support, you guys are EVERYTHING in this motherhood journey!

Becoming a Mom at 25

It’s funny, at 25 (since having Kennedy I have turned 26) I think that I’m a young mother. I’m sure there’s a lot of you nodding in agreement while reading this and on the flip side I have friends my age that have children that are in elementary school already, so I fit somewhere in the young spectrum no matter how you look at it.

I’ve heard all of the following remarks: “Why now?” “Don’t you know what that will do to your life?” “You aren’t done growing up, why have babies?” “Don’t do it!” “Kids change everything.”

I don’t disagree with one of these remarks…kids do change everything. I know most women my age couldn’t even dream of doing the things I’m doing now. Waking up at weird and all hours of the night to a crying little one. While it wears on you, comforting that cute little one that belongs to you is so rewarding, whether it’s 12 PM or 2 AM.

There have been plenty of times I’ve just wanted to “run to the store really quick” and those days are over. Instead I’ve got a sidekick to take with me on all of my shopping excursions. My sidekick comes with a lot of extra cargo too which makes it that much more challenging, but you know I’ve taken multi-tasking to a whole new level. I can comfort a crying baby while putting on a baby carrier and grocery shop while we work on nap time.

I think the hardest thing for me since I’ve become a mother is feeling like I can’t relate to the people I once had everything in common with. Over the last several years I’ve done a lot of things that make me less of a conventional millennial. I finished college at 21. I got married at 22. We bought at house at 24. I got pregnant and had a baby at 25.

Those first few weeks postpartum I felt very isolated. I wanted so badly to call my best girlfriends and cry but stopped myself because, who was I going to call? None of them have babies! Instead I would call my mom (seriously, moms are the best) and cry while she assured me I wasn’t the first mom to feel this way. It was still so hard.

I was upset because I felt like nobody wanted to come visit me and being on maternity leave alone, was just that, lonely. I was trying to adjust to being a mother and how all encompassing it was to take care of a newborn and all I wanted was some normalcy but I didn’t feel like I could find that from my friends or peers my age.

After I had my pity party for a few weeks of feeling isolated, I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t keep being upset with people that had no idea I was upset with them. It sounds super crazy as I type it out, but it’s true, I was mad at people and they had no clue that I was. I didn’t want to be that person. I decided I needed to have a reality check with myself.

I reminded myself that this, motherhood at 25, was what I wanted, deeply and truly, what I wanted. Just because that’s what I wanted at my age, doesn’t mean that everyone around me wanted or wants the same thing. That realization alone helped me more than anything because I reminded myself that it’s important for me to embrace all the different people and personalities I have in my life, which I think I’ve done a good job of ever since.

I also decided those feelings I had of being upset with people around me that weren’t constantly “checking” on me, needed to go. Expectations are never a good thing, especially when it comes to friendship and I felt horrible even admitting that I had any expectations!

Lastly, I took all the feelings that I had and told myself to remember them. There was going to come a time that my friends would be ready to have families and become mommies and that in that time in their life I want to be an open book. I want to be someone they can talk to if they need an ear to listen. If they ask for advice, I want to be able to give it but also remember that overloading them with advice is not my place, especially if it isn’t asked.

I’m taking this place that I’m in, of becoming a mom at 25 and absolutely loving it. I’m learning so much about myself and even more from this little girl that’s absolutely changed my life in the almost 6 months that she’s been born. Somedays are so easy and fun and others are a challenge but they’re forming me and shaping me in more ways that I could of dreamed. Instead of feeling confined and like I’m trapped, I can feel myself blossoming. Coming up with ideas and daydreams of what the future holds and how I will contribute to our family in several different ways. Being a young mom is fun and having a young family is incredible.

One thing I keep reminding myself is every person’s walk is different, and mine is going to be different than the person next to me and my journey is no different but I shouldn’t spend my time comparing my story to those around me. Instead, I’ll take my story and experience and use it to help others.

 

Next time I write I plan to talk a little bit more about my career and my struggles with being a working mama. Thanks for reading!

 

Your way is the right way

 

Moms. There’s literally a million different kinds of them, but we all want the same thing for our little humans, the best possible everything that life has to offer. You realize it more once you’re staring at your own little one in the face and watching their eyes explore your face that there is literally nothing more in the entire universe that you want, other than to give them everything that you can.

What is giving them the best possible life they could imagine? That answer is different for everybody. I think that’s something that a lot of us could use regular reminding of. No two parents or households are going to operate the same. What works for Kennedy and I won’t work for my best friend and her newborn. Can we talk about what works for us and what doesn’t? Of course! What we shouldn’t do is mommy-shame or bash based on their decisions and choices. There is a small exception to this rule of course like many other things in life but in general, I like to follow the rule of thumb that you just don’t tell someone else how to Mommy.

I say this after I experienced someone telling me that I was harming my daughter by baby wearing her. I did what I often do, packed myself and Kennedy up in the car to head to the grocery store to get food to eat for the week. Saw the same clerks/workers that I often do and some of them recognize me because I go the same day every week and they’re usually working. I’ve always had positive remarks when I’ve worn her in a baby carrier or just some weird looks because, hey, I get it, baby wearing isn’t for everyone. I was at the checkout and bagging my groceries when the woman across from me said something along the lines of, “Look at her, you’re squishing her and she’s all bunched up in there, aww, poor baby.” Cue the steam coming out of my ears and my heart and blood pumping a MILLION miles per hour, yet I could barely let more than a few words escape my mouth. I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of, “Oh, she’s fine, notice that she’s sleeping peacefully and this is nice and soft.” I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I was embarrassed. ME. I couldn’t believe someone would make sure a comment.

After being incredibly pissed off the entire drive home and then once I arrived in my kitchen to tell my husband what I happened, I had some time to think to myself about her comments. Was I irritated? Yes. But, I had to step away from the situation and ask myself, why would she make that comment? Maybe she doesn’t know anything or much about baby wearing, maybe she isn’t comfortable doing it because she never was taught how to do it, who knows? But I was allowing her viewpoint on parenting and how to do things get to me. There are millions of women that have to deal with people negatively projecting their opinions on their parenting style and it’s not fair.

I know I’m not perfect and there’s been several times where I’ve seen someone do something with their child that I didn’t agree with or that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing with Kennedy, but who am I to tell them I think what they’re doing is wrong when it’s just a different way to do it? After dealing with my interaction in the grocery store I decided it isn’t my place to pass judgement on another mom.

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again, being a mom is freakin’ hard. But it’s also unbelievable and quite frankly the best job I’ve ever had in the entire world. It should be a joy for all the mommies, not something that they have to second guess because someone might greet them with criticism for their way of getting it done. My hope, as more and more of my girlfriends and their partners start having babies, is that we can empower one another and learn from each other. I have been loving talking pregnancy, babies, and motherhood so much and I’ve found that to be greatly in part to my fellow September Mamas that I’ve been friends with for about a year now (thank God for the internet). 36 different women, all of us with different ways of doing things, but we’ve NEVER bashed each other for how we parent our babies. I couldn’t be more grateful! I’ve learned so much from them and now as more and more of my friends that I see in person regularly become moms, I hope I can take what I’ve learned through these ladies, and share it with more of my friends.

We must stick together mamas! With that being said, I hope to post a fun post next about Kennedy and her newest happenings. Give me a couple weeks and I’ll do a big 6 month update (excuse me while I go cry, how is she 6 months already?)

Love to all! xoxo