Tag Archives: motherhood

Make Them Strong By Being Weak

My one wish for my children is that they are stronger than I am. A lot of people that know me personally have made comments about how strong I am and how much strength it took to walk away from a destructive relationship. Well, that might be partially correct, but it is also partially wrong. I had to be weak before I could be strong. I had to become completely broken before I could muster up the strength I needed to walk away. To stop a cycle and prevent my children from repeating the cycle because it was considered “normal” in our home.

My children have always viewed me as strong. My daughter has told me many times “mom, I can’t find your weakness. I mean, I know us kids are your weakness, because if someone hurts us they hurt you, but you come out swinging with all your strength that you have to protect us and fight for us.” Well, my sweet daughter’s perception is correct. New Years Eve gave me an opportunity to speak to my daughter, who is in the formative years of her life, developing her own personality, figuring out her future, and what she wants. We had a very raw conversation about the relationship her father and I had and my wishes and worries for her, her sister, and her brother. She asked some hard questions, made some quick and wise observations, hopefully realized that the by her mom being weak, she will be stronger because of that.

My daughter, because I was weak, realizes that she can set healthy boundaries for relationships, friendships and romantically. Because I was weak, my daughter knows that life will knock a person down, but that weakness eventually turns into strength and the person gets up, dusts themselves off, and goes forward in life. In my weakness, I made my daughter strong because she will know how a woman is to be treated, how a woman is not to be treated, and she will find a person that is set apart for her that will fulfill the desires of her heart in a relationship. My daughter saw me weak, and stay in an environment where it was not healthy, and because of that, she knows she does not have to remain weak and stay. She will be stronger and walk away sooner, to preserve her spirit, her heart, and her soul. In my weakness, my daughter saw me lose my identity, my passions, and myself. But my daughter, she will be strong and never lose those parts of herself and have to rediscover them.

Being weak, while most view it as a negative characteristic, really is my greatest strength. While I was weak, I was teaching my children how to be strong. Strong for themselves. I was given then one, big life to impress upon my children life lessons. I hope a life lesson they take from watching their mother be weak, was that while in her weakness, she found her strength. The strength to pull herself together everyday, to rediscover her passions, find her own identity again, rise up with a renewed strength. I am grateful for the weaknesses that my children have seen in me, because they will be stronger than I ever could be. I made them strong because I was weak. There is something to be said about finding your strength in your weakness, because it is utterly true.

R

You can visit R’s blog page here:

https://thedignifiedgrace.wordpress.com/

When Life Gives You Postpartum Depression

We’ve all heard the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  But what about when life gives you postpartum depression?  What do you make with that?

August of last year I gave birth to my 3rd baby and I dealt with postpartum depression after all 3 children were born.  With the birth of my first child, my life was a bit hectic.  I had only been married for a year and was still trying to figure out how to be someone’s wife let alone a mother.  I had preeclampsia during my pregnancy and had to be induced 3 weeks early.  There were complications during the birth, but thankfully I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  But now what?  I had no idea what to do with this baby.  I wanted to nurse but at that time I was so young and couldn’t deal with the pain of nursing.  I literally cried every time he would latch on.   He was also extremely jaundice at birth so I was told that I would need to supplement him with formula until they cleared him.  The formula they gave me at the hospital severely upset his stomach so our first night at home he literally screamed his head off the entire night.  I remember feeling helpless, exhausted, and like a failure.  I was his mom and I couldn’t fix it.  Everyday seemed to get darker and darker from there.  I loved my baby and finally got a formula that he could tolerate, but I was still so down.  A large part of this was extreme fatigue.  But I also found that I had no patience for adults at all.  People breathing just irritated me to no end.  Everyone wanted to come hold the baby or look at the baby.  No one seemed to be interested in how I was doing or feeling.  No one was asking if I needed help with anything.  I was drowning in laundry and bottle washing and all anyone wanted to do was see the baby.   I didn’t know much about postpartum depression or “baby blues” at the time.  I just knew that I couldn’t tolerate being around people and I felt completely alone.

With the birth of my second son I was older and experienced at this mom thing.  I thought I would be ok this time.  Unfortunately, postpartum depression is not the type of thing you can control.  I will say that communication is a big help.  Years after the birth of our first son, I told my husband exactly what I was going through during that time.  He had no idea how bad it was, I wore that mask well.  He remembered what we’d discussed and made sure to be in constant communication with me about my feelings this time around.  He was such a great support system for me, which is crucial in dealing with postpartum depression.  We were also apart of a new church and they had truly become family.  They brought meals over so I didn’t have to worry about dinners for the first few weeks, which was amazing.   My older son has some great friends with some great moms that checked on me and came over to help out. I was also honest with my doctor about my feelings as well.  Again, I loved my baby and never had negative feelings toward him.  It was everyone else that I couldn’t tolerate.  And the wave of emotions were completely crazy this time.  I remember standing in the aisle at my local grocery store looking at rice and tears were streaming down my face.  I didn’t know why I was crying but I felt such a deep sadness in that moment.  I felt stupid for crying, especially in public but I could not stop.  I hated feeling out of control.  I stayed home for 12 weeks with my son.  The first day I went back to work, I literally sobbed the entire day.  I missed my baby, I missed my older son and everything around me was an irritant.  I began to feel more like myself after about a month or 2 after that.

My daughter was born 15 months ago and I was completely prepared…so I thought.  I will say, I did not feel as bad as I did the first two times.  But that impatience reared its ugly head as it had done both times before.  Also my middle child, then 21 months old, was now going to be staying at home with me and the new baby as I have transitioned to being a stay at home mom.  Let’s just say he was less than thrilled about this little girl coming into our home and stealing his shine.  He began to regress, waking up at night crying and wanting to nurse all the time.  Again, thank God for my husband.  He was such a huge help.  He would get up with me and I’d take one child and he’d take the other.  Our church and friends were also there to help as well.  I didn’t cry in the grocery store, but I have had crazy emotions and that helpless overwhelmed feeling.  Fortunately, my now 3 year old had adjusted to our new normal and adores his baby sister but that transition period was hard for both of us.

So to answer my initial question, what do you do when life gives you postpartum depression?  I’m not an expert but I would say you get honest and get help.  Don’t be embarrassed by your feelings.  You are not alone and you don’t have to be.  Find a support system, people you trust.  Whether it’s your spouse, friend, church…tell someone!  Make sure your OBGYN is aware of your feelings as well, especially if you have had thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.  Postpartum depression can be a dark road but you don’t have to go at it alone.  There’s light at the end of that tunnel momma, just hold on!

~1spentmom~

A Letter To The Obscure Hero

To The Obscure Hero….

Hey there!  Yes, I’m talking to you. The one who got up super early before everyone else this morning just to enjoy a few moments of quiet and throw a load of laundry in the washer.   The one who packed lunches, brushed hair, and made bottles while her coffee sat on the counter getting cold.

You!  The one who threw a cookie in her mouth on the way out the door because she didn’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast.  The one who loaded all of the kids into the car, dropped everyone off and applied her makeup while sitting in traffic and drinking cold coffee.  The one who was exhausted by the time she arrived at work but never let it show once she walked into the office.  The one who prayed that the child who didn’t feel so good last night was able to make it all day at school so she wouldn’t have to leave work early.

You’re the one who stopped at the grocery store on the way home after a long day aimlessly wandering the aisles hoping for an idea of what to make for tonight’s dinner.  The one who picked up all of the kids and hit the ground running helping with homework while starting to cook a meal.  The one who threw that now partially dry load of clothes from earlier into the dryer and started a new load after cleaning the kitchen from dinner.  The one who gave baths, read stories and tucked everyone in for the night.

It was you who sewed that button back on that dress shirt that your child needed for tomorrow night’s orchestra concert.  That was you who was completely spent but stayed up an extra hour scrolling through Facebook and playing games on your phone just to enjoy the peace and quiet.  That was you who woke up at 2a.m. to feed your crying baby and soothe them back to sleep all the while barely keeping your eyes open.  You, who crawled back into bed counting the few remaining hours of sleep you would get in your head.  And you, who woke up before the sun to do it all over again.

Yep, that was you alright!  I knew I recognized you, you and me…we are one in the same.  Well listen, I just wanted to tell you this incase no one else has.  I see you.  You matter.  You are loved. You are a hero.

~1spentmom~

All My Guilt Tucked In A Suitcase

All My Guilt Tucked In A Suitcase…

There are two sides to every story, two sides to every coin, and two sides to every single parent.

I constantly feel torn between the mother in me and the single woman in me.

How do I balance it?

Am I giving each side enough attention?

I am grateful that my kids have fathers in their lives that allows me to have a break, but there is still a tremendous amount of guilt for taking advantage of that time. I go on dates, I visit bars, and I attend concerts all while trailing behind me in a suitcase is my mom guilt. All tucked nice and neat are the little what ifs and should ofs of my life. I always tuck away my wish I would of thoughts into my guilt suitcase and carry it along with me, every shift at work, every date I go on, and every night when I fall asleep without little toes in my face.

l’ll always wonder what my children do when they are away from me, even though I know they are safe and happy at their dads, I still wonder. It’s a part of being a mom! I’ll always tuck away my wish I would of thoughts into my guilt suitcase and carry it along with me, every shift at work, every date I go on, and every night when I fall asleep without little toes in my face.

I’m a strong 27-year-old woman who’s succeeding in her career and raising 3 children, but there are days I still doubt myself, and doubt the balance of it all. I’ll be standing in the middle of a dance floor and flooding me are the thoughts of what are my kids doing right now and begin wondering why I’m even out to begin with.

On the other hand, there are days I’m standing in the middle of a pile of laundry and wishing for that mixed drink in a loud bar.

There’s no magic formula for being a single parent or trust me I would trade my guilt suitcase in for it. It’s a crazy ride, and I’m riding it with my hands up. I’m proud of how far I’ve come post-divorce but there are still days of struggle and doubt. I must force myself to take a step back and see what I’ve accomplished and see what happy and healthy kids I have and know that I am doing the best I can.

I’m their mother, their strong courageous mother, I’m also a vibrant beautiful 27 year old who needs a little fun every now and then.

~Serendipity

Confessions In A Communal Mirror

I put my makeup on at work today in front of the mirror

Standing in a public bathroom in unflattering lighting.

Annoyed looks from the younger women.

Sympathetic looks from the older.
I want to tell the youths that I’ve been up since five thirty.

This morning I checked my emails for fires, then roused two children and corralled them to school. That I had to issue 20+ reminders to my ADHD son to keep him on task, because his meds hadn’t kicked in yet. And that I had to remind myself to be intentional about paying equal attention to his brother so he wouldn’t feel ignored. That I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
That I had a 7:30 parent teacher conference with a team of devoted educators. And that afterwards I finished my grocery shopping, on my phone, while sitting in the parking lot.
That on my commute this morning I called the vet, the pediatrician, the pharmacy, and an electrician, because there’s a light in my basement that is always on and won’t turn off. I ate my breakfast at red lights and finished caffeinating in a parking deck, and  I will likely eat my dinner standing at the kitchen counter.

I want to tell them to be careful of the partners they choose, and life has no assurances so be smart when you pick your path. I want to tell them that even if their world burns down one day, they have the power to rise and to create something new.

I want to tell them that I’m proud of myself, and of my kids, and of our messy beautiful busy life. I know that if they knew these things, they’d be proud of me too.

But instead I just smile and nod at those whose I eye I catch while applying my make-up in the mirror.

~Leona

The Muscles We Don’t See

When I look at mothers, I value the muscles you can’t see…

If we are fortunate, we have friends or family members that tell us how strong we are. I have someone in my life that champions me. And, I appreciate that. But those on the outside looking in only get a glimpse. Because until you are a mom, you are not able to comprehend what it takes to survive.

Moms have the endurance of long-distance runners. Every day is a marathon. It feels like a sprint but it is a marathon. As soon as she is out of bed – actually, before that…as soon as she is awake – she is going. There is so much to do and life demands a consistent pace if there is to be any hope of getting even a portion of it completed. If this marathoner appears to be breaking stride or shortening the distance, don’t be fooled. This woman is always moving swiftly – thinking, planning, preparing, and plotting the entire time.

Mothers are incredible jugglers. You have not seen someone multi-task until you’ve seen her handle a day. Yes, we all know what studies say about multi-tasking but she proves them wrong and takes it to a new level. Making dinner, while correcting homework, starting the laundry, answering a teacher’s email, signing a permission slip and answering the phone, all while asking the kids about their day and while still wearing her work clothes. And, dinner makes it to the table on time, and the kids feel none of the effects of this whirlwind because her focus is seemingly only on them. Now that is impressive, and it is only one hour of her day. That juggle is nonstop and requires incredible muscle.

Mothers are tremendous containment specialists. When there is no one at home to confide in, to share the burden of decision making, advocating and disciplining, she needs to contain that frustration, struggle and self-doubt and put it aside as best she can.  Mom has grit. There is not enough time or energy to let that doubt and fear creep in. But it is there. It is always there. So, she shoves it down or back or into a box and moves ahead with her head high, knowing (or at least hoping that) she is doing the best she can.

No one sees all of this. And, yet, it takes a more strength than most can imagine. Not even the mom’s closest confidant truly sees the triumphs and tears, the disappointments and the dance parties, the hard days and harder nights. But in all of those moments, the real muscles are formed and refined and flexed. Mom doesn’t worry about who sees. She isn’t looking for sympathy. She doesn’t have time for that. She might need a little understanding and a little grace, or just a knowing smile from a fellow mom. She might not know where the strength she needs comes from. But it is there. Quietly growing and building, depleting and then building again.

It is those muscles, the ones no one sees, that help moms push through, carry on and strive for more.

 

Samantha

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I want to hold her hand…forever.

The love of my life has been twelve for not quite a month and in that short time and especially lately, I have been taught some hard lessons.

Like I am pretty sure I need her more than she needs me.

At least that is the vibe she is sending me.

She recently was away with her Dad for a week. I texted her everyday. Her answers back were short. Meanwhile, I’m at home practically begging the dog to hang out with me. It’s not that I don’t want her to have fun, but can she miss me. A little?

She definitely laments when I feel compelled to sing loudly to music in the car, but I feel that is actually a rule for tweens.

She has remarked once or twice I dress like a teenager. But again, I feel that’s a requirement.

The punch to the guts are being asked why I am in her room. Do I plan on staying. Tucking herself in and now not even really saying goodnight to me.

Maybe I get a good morning.

If… I’m lucky.

However, the one that stung the hardest was a recent Saturday we spent together.

G & I make sure every Saturday we make plans. It can be as simple as watching a movie to as complex as a road trip, but with her fast approaching her teen years I want time with her. It’s our time to put everything away and just be.

We went and grabbed lunch and as we were getting ready to leave I asked her if she wanted to go anywhere else.

She said the mall.

I think I almost spit out my tea. My sweet girl is not a shopper. The only way she will go to Target is if I feed her and stick to a list. If we do go shopping once she is done. She is DONE.

I asked her again just so I was sure.

She said yes.

She wanted to go to Hot Topic.

There it was!

Hot Topic is her place. My free spirit loves anime and t-shirts and plushies (that’s tween for stuffed animals).

Hot Topic carries all her favorite shows and movies in some form of backpack, shirt or pin.

I sighed and said fine.

She smiled – huge.

I have always been the Mom who holds my child’s hand. Because I love her and I’m a bit overprotective.

We walk into the mall I hold my hand out which is code for grab my hand. My dutiful daughter does but also lets out a huge sigh.

I say quietly while we are walking “if it’s uncool to hold my hand I get it. You don’t have to hold my hand.”

She drops my hand and says “I’m letting go because you said I could, but yes it’s not cool.”

Mommas(!)

She must have noticed my face.

“Mom I love you, this is great. I will walk next to you.”

“Thanks, ok.” I squeak back.

We shop.

I spend WAY too much money on a t-shirt for her.

When we got home she thanked me and quickly retreated to her room.

I found her a bit later.

Asleep.

I laid next to her… she grabbed my hand and held it.

G and I continue to enter uncharted territory and it’s rough sometimes.

But this is what I know, I will be 100 and she will always be my baby, my sun, my moon, my stars, the reason I try to be better.

Even if she won’t hold my hand at the stupid mall.

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Why Is It So Hard To Be You?

How do you just be you? I do not know where to start with this one without sounding like a crazy… I have not never felt more like myself than I do now. I am not sure why… or how… but I finally feel like the person I was years ago. This might be hard to explain..

I was married for many years and throughout most of my marriage I did not feel like I could be myself. I was trying to be perfect. What is it about being perfect and why do we feel we need to be perfect at times… perfect job, perfect body, perfect life…

I loved my life, however I was just not myself. I always felt like I was trying to live up to someone I was not. I felt like I was always trying to please someone. I am not a perfect mom or person. I tried to be perfect for many years.. I mean I tried to make homemade baby food, I tried to make craft projects off of Pinterest, and I tried to throw the best kid birthday parties.. The truth is, none of that is me.. I love my kids and I would do anything for them. But I am not the perfect mom… nor do I want to be.

I was a stay at home mom for many years and I did love it, however I might sound crazy or like a bitch, but I feel you also lose a part of yourself. I volunteered for Sunday school, PTA, field trips, etc ..thinking this is what I should be doing. I was even on the PTA board and it was definitely not for me… After many years and my kids were older, I was bored. I would try to create projects. I felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to do or that I didn’t really do anything important. I was trying to find myself again and didn’t know where to start. I wanted to feel important again.

I have no idea why I thought I had to be perfect all the time. I did not grow up that way, but I think over time I changed to be someone I wasn’t. I think it took years to get back to my old self or the person I am…I have just learn to let things go. I do not get worked up about all the things in life that don’t really matter. I do not feel like I need to make it to every event or have my kids go to every event. Sometimes we just need to stay home.

Slowly, I started to make my own decisions without feeling guilty. I had to learn to just say no to things I really did not like. Maybe they were things I had pretended to like for years. I realized I am more comfortable with a smaller groups. I do not like crafts. I do not like cooking. I do not like home projects. I like music. I like concerts. I like sitting outdoors…. So many of these things I neglected for many years. Mostly because I felt I would just go along with everyone else and not speak up for what I wanted. Or I felt guilty for wanting to do something I wanted. I finally realized that I didn’t have to live up to anyone or their expectations. I was myself.

I have learned that I do not get worked up over things now..I am late for everything and I have accepted it. Years ago, I would be yelling over and over again because we were

late. Then I realized, I have 3 kids and we are just never going to be on time for anything.

I am myself with my kids now. I probably let them stay up later than they should. I do not have them involved in every activity. My daughter wears the same clothes everyday almost, we wash them at night and she wears them again. Why? Because it’s easier and what does it matter…

It’s hard to learn to feel comfortable just being yourself. It’s hard to not worry about being the perfect mom, or wife, or perfect everything. I have learned that I do not worry over as much anymore. Somehow it works out. Maybe not how I wanted it, but it works out. I have learned to let a lot go, and I can be myself.

Thank you for reading…

Megan

Snarkydivorcedgal

Warrior Training

Warrior Training

When did my skin get so damn OLD looking??? These are the things that I am thinking as I look at last night’s video…51 that is how old I will be in about a month, 51 years on the planet with an 18 year old son.

18 years…where the hell did that GO??? 18 years of being a working single mom, 18 years of being solely responsible for every freaking thing—- how the hell did I even DO that???? Yet, here I sit…out the other side and in fact, I did do it and I did a pretty good job. The kid turned out pretty exceptional even in the face of my many shortcomings…

So what have I learned and what wisdom can I impart to help you through whatever stage of this adventure you are in?

Here we go…

*STOP worrying so much, it isn’t helping anything. All it does is make you crazy and honest to God shit DOES work out. We hardly ever can see how, yet it does and you simply HAVE TO TRUST THAT IT WILL.

*Be honest with your kids, let them see you be REAL…acting like you are OK when you are NOT OK just screws them up because they can FEEL that you aren’t right and you are usually all they have—-so let them see the warrior that you are, let them see that you can be afraid and do it anyway…let them see that you can not feel well and do it anyway…let them see what it is like to overcome things—it is only going to make them stronger, better adults.

*Kids KNOW, whatever it is that you think you are hiding from them, they already know—-so just be honest. Life is hard and we prevail, show them that—don’t make them think that there won’t be challenges—-show them what it is like to be real.

*Take care of yourself, if you go down there is no one to cover for you—-your health and your well-being are a PRIORITY. PERIOD.

*KNOW YOUR WORTH —- I can’t say this one enough…I made so many mis-steps over the years because I didn’t understand my worth…don’t do that. Don’t settle, don’t ‘put up with shit’— know your worth.

*The kids are gonna be OK, they are going to make it. As long as you are doing your best and you are being authentic then they are going to be just fine…stop worrying.

*We are not perfect, we are not meant to be perfect—- we screw shit up, it’s human nature—- just keep doing the best you can.

*Don’t let fear stop you, have the fear and do it anyway—that’s all there is—just keep going, doing the next thing in front of you.

*Help as MANY people as possible, always.

*Give back everywhere you can, be generous of Spirit—everyone is fighting their own battles that we know nothing about—be kind.

*Take the high road, it isn’t crowded up there and don’t sweat it, karma never loses an address—let the Universe handle the people that were less than kind to you, you have better things to do.

*Always keep learning, reading, pushing yourself—-as I said before don’t settle—-keep pushing yourself, it’s how you grow.

*Talk to your kids, listen to them—-don’t be so busy trying to survive that you forget to LIVE.

*Have GRACE for yourself and others—not everything has to be perfect all the time—cut yourself some slack…I am telling you it all works out at the end of the story…

*Acknowledge the small miracles and have gratitude for how far you have come, we often are so busy just trying to get through the day that we forget to give thanks for the progress—there is always something to be grateful for.

It’s funny to be sitting in this place 18 plus years later, looking back on raising this boy on my own. At the beginning it seemed insurmountable, in the middle it was the hardest thing I have ever done, at the end it was the BEST training that I have ever had. I can produce results that nobody else can, I don’t let anything stop me, I don’t make excuses and my mantra has become “whatever it takes”—- I don’t accept ‘impossible’ as a descriptor and I KNOW from walking through FIRE and HELL that you can and you WILL get through whatever you are facing.

You know me, I am always straight with you guys and this was the hardest thing that I have ever done, raising this child with no child support and being the sole source of everything that he required for 18 years plus:). However, it taught me skills and strengths that I would never have learned any other way and it built me into a warrior that now helps other people——that part is my greatest blessing. Let my testimony become your inspiration—- if I could get out the other side successfully so will you…

Here’s to my approaching 51st birthday…let’s see what God has planned, it’s bound to be an adventure and you guys will be along for the ride.

Much Love,

Noelle

You Are More, You Are A Rockstar

You are more, you ARE a rockstar!

Over Memorial Day weekend I did something I think a lot of people in my life didn’t think I could do.

I traveled across the country by myself. I had a working vacation.

My vacation running a music stage for three days at a festival in Napa Valley.

I made sure the musicians got what they needed, got on and off the stage, all communication came through me. I knew one person. I had no car. It was a huge adventure.

The last trip I took my daughter was two and a half and was with my ex husband it was our five year anniversary trip to Jamaica. It was three months after we had started talking about splitting up.

Needless to say not a great trip.

After that my trips have been limited to family vacations. Work trips where there are always colleagues along. But nothing like this.

I think sometimes when you become a Mom people forget you are more than just a Mom.

It’s easy to assume because your life has changed maybe there are certain things you can’t handle.

People forget when you made the decision to leave you had to handle a whole lot.

That even now you handle a whole lot.

People sometimes assume because you don’t wear everything out on your sleeve, running around with rockstars is not something a Mom could do.

Some would say should do.

My biggest cheerleader was the one who got me the job. He has known me since I was in college. He has seen my ups and downs. He knows I’m not easily fazed. Also, as he put it since I work with children regularly and am a Mom this would be in my wheelhouse.

My point in all of this… you are more than the greatest job on the world. In fact because of that job let’s just be honest, you can handle a WHOLE lot.

Even a DJ’s assistant getting crabby because a band who had been going nonstop didn’t autograph a poster.

Or your daughter kicking you out of the bathroom mid hair dry.

Either or.

You a superstars.

Let’s call it- you’re rockstars!

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise