Staying Strong

So here they are; the tough years. 

The years that are going to make or break you.
The years that bring you to your knees. 
The years that make you second guess every decision in your life. 

Dear Married-Woman in a rough patch,

The days have been long and lonely. I see you sitting on the couch with your world spinning by you,. You're dazed and half- numb. The immense joy your children bring you is only enough to bring a smirk to your face. Half of you feels like it's gone missing, the half that your husband holds. You feel like you're going at this thing all alone, when you committed your life to some one who said they'd be by your side. He comes and goes, but does he see you?

You cling to the memories of sun tans and loud laughter. Late nights, long mornings, and how every day was an exciting adventure. Wind in the hair, music on blast, and lunch dates. Holding hands, that giddy feeling, feeling like the luckiest girl walking with that man by your side. You cling to just you two.

You can't believe you've arrived to this place, asking yourself; do I stay? Is this what I signed up for? Is this my life? Is this my marriage? 

Let me tell you, stay.

In a world where marriage has become a second class citizen and women who stay in "hard" marriages are viewed as weak. I'm telling you, please, stay.  Not for any one else, except yourself. And let me tell you something, women who stay are the strongest of them all. 

Women who stay endure the storm. They scream with rage, they cry in despair, all the while seeming perfectly calm to not interrupt the childhood of their children. They steer the ship, when they have no clue what direction it's going. They keep it afloat. Their lives, their heart, their marriage, they keep them afloat. 

Have faith in the decision you made about that man you married. It was your decision after all, and I know you trust yourself. You know he has a heart of gold, you know he is a good person. Why start second guessing your decision when things get tough? You knew they would get tough.

So here they are; the tough years. Fight through them! Kick, scream, argue, but get down to the bottom of it and rebuild. 

Fight for this life you chose. Fight for this love. Wake up and fight. 

The strongest of the women stay. You are strong. You've got this.

With love,

A woman on the other side


**This was originally written on September 18, 2015. It got lost in my drafts and I just stumbled upon it. At the time, my husband and I were going through a lot. I was writing the words I needed to hear, from some one, any one, but they never came. This is for you if you find yourself looking at a stranger at the end of every day- in the mirror and in your spouse. Take these words if you need them and fight for your marriage. I can confidently say now, on May 21st, 2017, the fight is worth it! **

Ramblings From a Mom About Motherhood

I seem to know a few women who are preparing to give birth to their FIRST child. We all know, there is nothing like the first time, for anything really. It's so exciting and full of wonder! So, I wanted to write a very encouraging, very honest piece on motherhood. It's been a riveting, confusing, awakening, loving journey, that has driven me to almost complete insanity and these are my words for YOU! 

You might not even know if you want to be a stay at home mom or a mom and a professional.
 For me, I was so confused about if I even wanted to stay home or if I wanted to work. And if you're a mom in your twenties, I feel like it's triple-y confusing, because if you do want to work, you're still trying to figure out what the heck you even want to do with your life. There are lots and lots of emotions and confusions about staying home or working or both. I bartended, worked at a hotel, photographed, and started about a thousand other "businesses," trying to make my mark in the world outside of motherhood. It always ended in frustration and more confusion.

My oldest child is almost five years old and I feel like I'm finally making some headway on finding peace with where I want to be as a professional and being a mother. So, if you're in the same shoes, my advice is to sit tight. I was trying so hard to start a business that had no real plan, every day with my kids running around and I was just over extending myself for no reason and causing more frustration than needed. If I would have just sat tight, the answer would have just came to me. They always do. So, try to sit tight, squeeze that little one, and patiently listen to the world around you- it'll whisper when it's time to go and remember, it is OK to find and be some one outside of "mom."

The best thing you can do is set yourself free from other's judgements.
Seriously, you cannot make every one or any one happy when you are raising a child. I'm talking about family, friends, and strangers. I don't know what it is about our society, but lots of people seem to think they can do a better job raising YOUR child, than you can. So, before you even have your baby, mentally prepare yourself to let go of the judgement.

This has taken a while for me to learn, especially in places such as, Target. Ya know, when your kid is throwing a fit, because you said no to the $3 hat. You can just feel the eyes of judgement and "wow, she has no control over her kids," and the head shakes. I instantly turn red and it usually results in me being angry at my own child, which is so messed up. Stand firm, proud, and brave in your conviction of "NO HAT."  These are lessons our children need to learn, and accepting a "no," is an emotional lesson (how hard is it even now as adults?!) and sometimes, it's at the expense of the innocent Target shoppers, but they don't rule the world. Shake it off, and continue shopping and I promise your child will stop crying.

Also, older people think they know better about everything. I'm a firm believer in age and learning lessons and gaining wisdom. I'm more than happy to learn and take away life nuggets from people that have been on this planet longer than I have, BUT, parenthood is a personal journey and I'm here to say, the way people are raised has EVOLVED. So yeah, back in your day, you didn't do this or that, but can you even communicate your feelings now as an adult or encouragingly criticize? I have noticed a real issue with people in their 40's, 50's and 60's, being unable to express themselves in a healthy fashion. Now, more than ever, parent's realize how important it is to teach our children how to share their feelings, spend time with them, allow them to believe they can do ANYTHING they want, express themselves, even the "bad" feelings, and all these evolutions require a DIFFERENT kind of parenting.

I would hope parenting looks different than 20-30 years ago, or what are we doing as humans in general? So when you get the ol', "Back in my day...," just smile and know you are doing AMAZING and you're going to raise a human that can speak their truth and their feelings from a calm, centered place...eventually. 

Stay balanced.
This is such a fundamental key to life, and motherhood. It will be extremely hard to rip yourself away from the mothering role, because most likely, you will LOVE it. You will want to spend every waking second giving your children everything they want and need. I did this for a few years, and I was spent. Completely burned out--which is probably why I tried to start so many random business ideas. It was my cry for creative help and it burned me out even more. If I could have just had one hour a day to use my creativity, I would have been way more at peace. And the thing is, I did have an hour most days, but I spent it cleaning, cooking, or mindlessly scrolling Facebook and Instagram.

If you are a highly creative person or have an entrepreneurial mindset, I think its super important that you take the one hour during the day light and focus that energy into something that makes you feel happy. Even if that's researching how to open a daycare or coloring in an adult coloring book. Take that time to get your creative wheels turning. 

Nobody notices what you're doing at the grocery store.
The first time I went to the grocery store with my daughter, I was petrified and my thought process went something like this, "How do I put the carseat on the cart? Do I buckle it? Should I put the cover over the carseat so people can't see her? How fast do I push the cart? Crap, people are looking at me, they know this is my first baby and I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't even know how to grocery shop. Why am I here? I didn't even make a list. Oh crap, she's crying. I'm just going to head home." Seriously the scariness of being a brand spanking new mom is REAL. But I just want to tell you-- NO ONE is looking at you and if they are, it's because your baby is so dang precious and a fresh new human is the most miraculous beauty there is in the world and they want to stare and forget about how life has banged them up. Whatever way you carry your kid through the store, I'm sure you think it's the safest, most loving way, and you got it! You do you, boo boo. You are a great mother! You'll see! 

You WILL go crazy.
Honesly, I'm a mentally stable person and I've been pushed to and outside of my stable boundaries more than I'd like to say. Children will make you question your soul, why the universe exists and what your measly body is even doing with it's feet on the ground. They will question, cry, whine, fuss, scream, pout, roll around, love, laugh, squeal, wonder, and live BIGGER than anyone you have ever met, ever. They will crack you and what you used to think of life. It is maddening and the most beautiful, wonderful gift you will ever encounter.

The whole world will look more dangerous and brighter, than ever before. Motherhood is a one ticket ride to the loon house, but the good thing is, we're all here! So, don't try to hide your crazy. Be honest with it, and sit with it. Honesty opens up doors and connections and feelings of "we can do this together!" We're all doing our absolute best and loving the crap out of the little humans that make us question our sanity on the reg. This is motherhood. 

Be kind to yourself.
Always. Especially in motherhood. Some days, you're going to go out there and conquer everything. The laundry will be folded and even put away, dinner made, you played outside, did art projects, ran errands, exercised, and the house is cleaned by the time the kids are in bed. Other days, you won't get out of your pajamas, it will be a movie day and it won't even be raining outside. This is the way of the world. So, those off days, show yourself some grace and know, your children love you just the same and you should love yourself just the same, too.

To wrap it all up, new (or seasoned) moms- find what your heart says about work and motherhood, strive for balance, don't let the judgement of others weigh on you, walk with pride in your motherhood newness and learning as you go, and know, you are not alone in the crazy, crazy unimaginable, unconditional love you feel for your child, that makes your heart and mind want to explode.

Oh, and HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, to the warriors of the every day. The every day, mundane, little bits, that add up to a childhood, that add up to a thriving human being. Happy Mothers Day to you!