Eff Last Week. For Real.

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Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

Yikes. So it’s been over a month since my last post. But, I warned you I would be around less.

In my seemingly never-ending quest to move full-time into freelancing, I’ve been busy making a presence on Medium. I’m about seven years late to the game there, but I’m able to earn a little bit of money from my writing. If you happen to be a Medium Member, I would love for you to give me a follow.

September blew by at the speed of light, but this past week was especially long and horrible.

It began a week ago with me going to bed feeling really nauseous and bloated. Uh-oh, I thought. And around midnight, I got that unmistakable feeling in my stomach and throat that I was gonna hurl. And hurl I did. I got up another five times during the night to dry heave my guts out (sorry).

I had fortunately already planned to work from home on Monday because my beloved senior dog, Toby, was not doing well and hadn’t eaten in a few days. He had been battling aggressive tumors on his left side since April, which we even had removed in May and grew back worse two weeks later. I knew his time was coming and wanted to spend as much time with him as I could.

Monday afternoon rolled around and while I was starting to feel better, daycare called and my oldest had hurled into a trashcan and needed to go home. And given their 24-hour symptom-free policy, he was going to be spending the day home with me on Tuesday as well.

As our health improved and my dog’s declined, work was causing me grief. By the time Wednesday came about, I felt like I had aged five years. Wednesday night it pained me to see and hear my Toby. He was breathing heavy and was obviously uncomfortable. On top of that, he hadn’t eaten in over five days (despite me and the vet’s best efforts of any food imaginable and medication) and was skin and bones. I knew we had run out of options to make him feel better. The final gesture of love I could give to him was to end his suffering as peacefully as possible.

So Thursday morning I made the call to the vet and we agreed it was his time. I spent the rest of the day with him, just lying with him and talking to my boy of 12 years. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we got outside for a bit to lie in the grass.

I was a wreck. All-day crying for me. But when the time came, I felt an overwhelming peace. He was ready and I was ready for him to be happy and free of pain.

But oh, how I love and miss him so.

So last week was shit and I’m hoping for a turnaround this week. But the next couple of weeks bring busy weekends, which is every introvert’s nightmare.

The one productive thing that came out of last week is my capsule wardrobe. I’ve been toying around with the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a while now, and finally decided to give it a go. I’ve been narrowing down my closet for weeks, slightly disgusted by the amount of clothes I owned and didn’t really wear anymore.

I’m adhering to a new philosophy of “being more with less.” I ran across Project 333 and fell in love with the idea – 3 months, 33 pieces in your closet to wear.

This also means no buying clothes unless an item is damaged and needs replaced.

I’m trying to be more mindful of my purchases and really buy what I need. I don’t like clutter and a mountain of stuff, so I’m totally onboard with living with less.

Has anyone tried a capsule wardrobe? Have you significantly downsized your closet or belongings? What have you gained in the process?


Are you following me on Instagram? I’m currently documenting my journey of being more with less and would love you to join me!

Seeking Freedom

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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

So it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted, and it wasn’t even my post! Yikes.

I swear, I’m not slacking.

What I am trying to do is hustle my fairly large buns off to make a change in my career. I’m a writer. I’ve embraced it and my confidence has grown in telling people that’s what I do.

However, what I’ve learned is that I am not a corporate career-sy person. Structured office, desk life is no bueno for me.

I get bored and I want to rebel against authority. I have no idea where this came from, since I grew up being the biggest rule follower, but this is where I’m at.

So I’m trying to hustle to piece together enough freelance writing gigs to cover our basic needs. I’ve come to terms with leaving the security of a 401k match and paid time off, and feel that the trade off for improved mood and less stress (and more time with my boys) is well worth the trade.

What does this mean for this site? I might be posting less. At least, for a while.

I’m currently working my full-time Monday through Friday 8-4:30 gig, parenting two young, active boys, and picking up side hustles. I have been pitching my writing on other sites who pay and will give me exposure and expand my reach.

A hustlin’ mom’s gotta do what a hustlin’ mom’s gotta do.

I’m doing all of this extra work to get to a place where I work less and have more freedom to work when I want and write what I want.

So, please, bear with me while I try to make my dream a reality.

 

Guest Post – She Speaks From the Dark to Give You the Light

I am posting a very special guest post by Stepping Into Motherhood. This post originally appeared on her blog. You can also see more by following her Facebook Page.

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Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

I am continuously awed and inspired by the bravery, the grit, the courage, and the perseverance I see in the women of today. They are all around me. They are in the girls I use to go to school with, they are in the women I’ve worked with, they are in the moms of my children’s friends, they are in the women I call my closest friends, they are in the women I’ve met online that bravely share their stories, they are in the older women that came before us, and they are in my cousins and my sisters.

I’ve come to see the woman of today is a force to be reckoned with; there is a strength within her that outshines the outdated thinking of her inferiority. I’ve seen these women face down cancer, lose their parents at young ages, lose unborn babies sometimes more than once, struggle with mental health and eating disorders, raise their children alone, speak out against their abusers, and leave their cheating husbands.

I’ve seen them become leaders, become entrepreneurs, become teachers, become women of the military, become counselors and social workers, become speakers and writers, and the list of what they have done, what they have overcome, and what they can do goes on and on.

Maybe one of the most inspirational things of all is her place is no longer one of silence and submission. She bravely speaks her truth. Often she tells her stories from the dark places in life that could so easily swallow her into the abyss. A whole generation of woman have stepped forward to write and speak from the dark to give others the light when they find themselves lost in the very same darkness.

No matter the battle she faces, she owns it. There are moments meant to test her, sometimes break her, and in the very toughest moments meant to shatter her. But good or bad, she owns it, and rather than let it tear her down she will use it to rebuild herself back up. As she rebuilds herself out of that darkness you can bet she’s reaching her hand out to pull another lost in the same darkness up beside her.

She’s found there’s empowerment in sharing her stories, in speaking her truth loudly and boldly because despite those who may not want to hear it there is one that needed that lifeline back to the light.

As we raise the next generation of girls and women, we are paving the way for a future where she doesn’t doubt her strength, her power, or her place. Keep telling your stories, ladies, keep owning them, even in the hardest moments, because we are rewriting the story of the woman. She is no longer meant to be silent. She will tell her stories; she will tell her struggles; and she will tell her truth.

We are giving a voice to things like miscarriage and lost babies, mental health and eating disorders, breast cancer, abuse and sexual harassment, equality in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our society.

Having a baby changes everything in a marriage

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Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

*This article originally appeared on Her View From Home.

I know you’re nervous. I know you’re excited. I know you’re feeling a love you never thought possible. A newborn baby, or a child placed in your arms—your child.

You’ve been overwhelmed by polite smiles and unsolicited “words of advice” about how to care for your new child. Most of these you can take with a grain of salt. Every child is different, and you will figure out what works best for you and your family.

But there’s one that I have to underline: kids change everything.

If you birth a child, your body changes. Any disposable income you had pre-kids will now go toward diapers and footie pajamas. Your once tidy home will become a bottomless pit of laundry and baby bottles waiting to be washed. It’s true—kids change all of these things.

But there’s something else lurking in the shadows—your relationship with your partner. It’s the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it but they don’t want to acknowledge it.

Remember that person you loved so much it actually hurt your heart to be away from him? Remember that person you spent hours and hours talking and laughing with? Remember that person you walked down the aisle toward and promised to love and cherish forever? When kids arrive on the scene, your relationship will be challenged like it never has before.

Raising kids is hard. The sleepless nights (or years) of babyhood. The constant touching as little ones climb on and cling to you. All of the things you must remember: When did the baby last eat? What time is the doctor’s appointment next week? What are we having for dinner tonight? The feeling of being so needed will burn you out like you’ve just ran a marathon 10 times over.

Kids are excellent at siphoning out your energy. ALL. OF. IT. And parenting is work—a labor of love. With all of this extra devotion going toward a new dependent person, your romantic relationship with your partner often hits the brakes.

And no, I’m not just talking about sex. If you’ve recently had a baby, are still nursing said baby, and/or struggling with postpartum mental health, sex is probably going to be the furthest thing from your mind, and that’s more than okay. But that quality one-on-one time you enjoyed spending with your spouse before having kids is suddenly replaced by a crying baby or hyper toddler who refuses to sleep.

Kids bring an added commitment. You’ve added another title: Mom. Of course, children will often be a priority for you, especially when they are small and so dependent. But my advice is this, don’t forget you have another relationship that requires some TLC—your marriage.

I say this not to add to your already overflowing plate, but to make a conscious note of it in your mind. And certainly it isn’t all on you. Relationships are the culmination of two people—two parties responsible for putting in the work.

What I’m saying is that kids change a marriage. Things will never be as simple as they were before kids. But the addition of children does a beautiful thing: it brings attention to what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place. You see your partner in a whole new light.

When kids come along, you must find a way to connect to your partner. Find out what love languages he speaks and communicate what speaks to your heart. Make the time to be together now. Don’t wait until the fog of parenting has lifted and you realize you’ve simply become parents and not lovers.

Gestures don’t need to be of the grand variety. Little things go a long way. Sincere I love yous spoken softly in the dark. Bodies brushing up against each other as you move around the kitchen. Holding hands when you finally venture out of the house. Little love notes and “I miss you” texts throughout the day let each other know that while there is a new responsibility demanding your attention, your spouse still has a deep-rooted place in your heart.

 

I Gave Birth to Barnacle Babies

Photo by mauRÍCIO santos on Unsplash

I live smack dab in the middle of the country, no oceans around for more than a thousand miles. And yet, I have barnacles.

I took sail on my mother ship not knowing what to expect. I had an idea of what my course would look like, but you never truly understand motherhood until you are living it.  While I always imagined a close, loving bond with my children, I had no idea the severity of attachment would be so strong.

To my surprise, I was born not one, but two barnacle babies.

I don’t adhere to any parenting type (helicopter mom, tiger mom, crunchy mom, etc.). I’m just going with my gut and doing what I feel is right for me and my kids. Apparently feeling my way through motherhood has resulted in securing a strong attachment with my boys. I’d never even heard of attachment parenting until a few years ago when I started to research why my first baby wanted to be near me 24/7.

He started screaming at daycare drop off when he was four months old and didn’t really quit until he was well over two. Yikes. It split my tender mom heart to pieces every time I left him.

At almost four, he’s still very much attached to me. And his little brother? Possibly more so. If it isn’t me or his familiar daycare ladies, he will cry and/or run away. If I’m in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, he’s usually right there, clinging to my leg. I sit on the floor in the living room and both boys fight with each other who gets to sit in my lap, despite me having two (large) legs – one for each kid.

I know there are people out there who will tell me “Enjoy it while I can.” “They don’t stay little for long.” Blah, blah, blah. And I love my boys and how much they love me. That is no question. But here’s the thing: being so needed is so exhausting. Being climbed on and whined at WEARS ME DOWN. When they finally go to sleep, all I want to do is crawl into bed and enjoy my personal space while I have it. Because I know only a few hours later, the cycle will begin again.

Here’s the thing, moms, if you have kids who want to be with you, near you, on you, you don’t have to love every second. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Don’t let anyone guilt you about desiring some space – a single moment to yourself to catch your breath. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. We all know that we love our kids more than anything, but raising kids is hard. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. And if you’re an introvert like me, so much talking and physical touch zaps your energy.

I’m learning so much as a mom, about myself and what’s really important in this life. And the fact that my boys love me so much that I’m the first person they run to for anything is a blessing. I hope to always have a close bond with them.

So while my babies’ attachment may have caught me by surprise, I will nurture that bond and reinforce that I’m their safe space. Unconditional love will radiate from this mother ship right onto those barnacle babies.

 

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