Mom Shaming

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about why I am a stay at home mom (see previous post). There are all these reasons floating around like daycare is horrible/for mom’s who don’t want to take care of their kids, it’s what I (as a woman) am supposed to do, yada yada yada. There are just as many reasons to NOT be a stay at home mom – less money, low self-esteem, divorce. It’s tiring hearing people explain their decisions.

The truth, for me at least, is that this is where I am supposed to be. Not because we can afford it. Not because my husband travels for work. Not because I am a woman. I am a stay at home mom because it is what is best for MY family.

That being said, as women, we cannot win this argument between being a working mom and a stay at home mom. If we decide to work, we are neglecting our kids. If we stay home, we aren’t living up to our potential or contributing to society. No matter what we decide, we will suffer the never-ending “mom-shaming”.

For some reason we are told that we need to do it all. We need to take of the children, our husbands, our homes. We need to work and bring home the proverbial bacon. We need to craft. We need to do volunteer work. We need to teach our kids. And we need to look good doing it. If we fail at one of these, we feel like we are failing at life. It is so easy to get wrapped up in any one of these things and look to them to find our identities. If we lose it, we lose our identities and we feel lost. Even if others aren’t “mom-shaming” us, we begin to shame ourselves.

Bad Mother

The only way I’m able to get around this, is to remember that my identity is not in being a mom. It is not in being a teacher, or a wife, or even as a woman. My identity is in Christ. I have to remind myself of this daily because it is oh so easy to be blinded by everyday life. This truth takes away so many of these burdens! I want to challenge all the mommies out there reading this (and MYSELF) not to let those thoughts of self-doubt and shame creep in. And almost just as importantly, don’t let those feelings of doubt be directed at other mommies. Whatever type of moms we are, we are doing GREAT work!

Cheers!

 

 

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What Not to Say to a SAHM

Before Lucy was born I was a teacher. I think that much of my identity was wrapped up in what and who I was teaching. Since having Lucy and deciding to stay home I’ve gone through a bit of an identity crisis (which I’ve heard is completely normal…at least I tell myself it is). I no longer had the typical 9-5 (or 7-6) job. I no longer dictated my own schedule. I couldn’t hang out with my friends the way I used to. I was lonely, tired, angry, bored, hormonal, borderline crazy. There were many times I wondered if I made the right decision to stay home…or even have a baby.

Over the last year, I have discovered a few questions/phrases/etc. that I HATE to hear.

1. What are you up to now? Oh you know…not much. Just raising a human.

2. You have plenty of time to ____________________. Yes. I have plenty of time to feed, change, feed, clothe, and entertain a 1 year old with an attention span of 20 seconds. Not to mention changing, feeding, clothing and entertaining a 29 year old husband with an attention span of just over 20 seconds 😉 On top of all of the “homemaking” crap I am expected to do (sweeping, mopping, meal planning, exercising, taking care of the dog, cooking, dishes, vacuuming, crafting, making baby food…I’m sure I’m missing something because I’m not so good at this part).

3. So what did you do all day? No comment.

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4. Oh, you’re not wearing yoga pants today. Oh…you’re being an ass-hat today.*

5. When do you think you will go back to work? When I friggin’ feel like it…ass-hat.*

I’m sure there are more…but my “mommy brain” can’t think of them. You know, since I haven’t been stimulating my brain for the last year. *

*Apologies for the snarkiness #sorrynotsorry

How to Talk to Little Girls

I have the best husband. He has a pretty good blog. Not as good as mine, but still pretty good 🙂 This one made me tear up a bit.

I am always finding these letters that parents “write” to their kids to teach them how to live their lives, and how to see themselves. One of my favorites is Tina Fey’s letter in her book Bossy Pants. I would love to see what my husband’s letter would say to Lucy.

Eric in ATL

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My daughter is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. I understand that I have a certain fatherly bias, but it’s true. Wherever we go, strangers approach and comment on how cute Lucy is, what pretty eyes she has, and how big her cheeks are. Women pinch her cheeks in public and tell us how lucky we are to have such a beautiful baby. This terrifies me, not because they are strangers, but because of how it will share the way Lucy thinks about herself.
Every woman I know struggles with self-image. Every one. 
 
Self-image dictates so many aspects of the lives of the women closest to me. Health, exercise, intimacy, self-esteem, self-confidence, clothing, work, entertainment. How women spend money, allocate time, build relationships, and value themselves ties directly to their perception beauty. (Not to mention its impact on men. A topic for another day.) Lucy is only about a…

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Lucy’s First Birthday

This past Saturday I was a Pinterest Mom. It was Lucy’s 1st birthday, and I wanted her to have a book themed party. I made a bunch of stuff out of a ripped up book. I think I did a pretty good job…I don’t think I will end up on a Pinterest Fail website.

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Birthday food…with GREEN EGGS AND HAM

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Green Eggs and Ham

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Daisies

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Smash cake on a book page cake stand

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Book pinwheels and tissue paper flowers

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Book page birthday banner

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Everything

Everyone brought lots and lots of books for Lucy and she LOVES books. I almost regret having people bring books, because that’s all she wants to do. I can only read “If I Was a Giraffe” so many times.

But instead of focusing on all the preparations, cake, balloons, etc. I tried my best to focus on Lucy. Not Lucy growing up. Not me surviving my first year of parenting. Just Lucy. She is beautiful, smart, sweet, strong-willed, and perfectly created to be my daughter.

Over the past few weeks, I have been struggling with the idea of idols (sorry, I’m going to get deep on you guys). As a stay at home mom, I think it is easy to make your kids your idol. It literally is your life. Your job is your kids. Your home is your kids. Your thoughts are your kids. This year, I have definitely caught myself putting Lucy before myself, my husband, my friends, my church, my God.

On the morning of the party, something hit me. LUCY IS NOT MINE. I have been blessed with the privilege to take care of her. She is part of a bigger picture…a bigger story. I am so excited to see what this story becomes. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her and how He will continue to use her.

Wants vs. Needs

Things I NEED to do:

  • Unpack my clothes from our vacation a few weeks ago
  • Put latches on all the cabinets so Lucy doesn’t pull all the dishes on to the floor
  • exercise
  • Meal plan
  • Organize the office
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Do laundry
  • Make baby food
  • Do the dishes
  • Blog more…yes I know I am awful at this

But thanks so this child (and my hubby being out-of-town)…

Lucy Does Not Want Eggs

*Note: She cried for about 30 minutes following this video*

…all I WANT to do is:

  • Sit on my butt
  • Socialize with adults who don’t whine
  • Drink bourbon. This feels more like a need at the moment.

Cheers.

 

P.S. I PROMISE to post pics from the beach and Lucy’s 1st birthday party soon 🙂

 

Feeding Frustrations

Today for lunch I made Lucy some chicken sausage, sweet potatoes, and cheese toast. I had leftover chicken and spaghetti squash. She decided she only wanted MY food. All other food ended up on the floor.

So I heated up some more chicken for her. She wouldn’t eat it unless it came out of my bowl. Eventually that didn’t even work! I’m just assuming she isn’t hungry, and her bottle at nap time will be enough nutrition for her.

Ugh.

Lucy’s Top 5 Toys

#5: Books

Lucy just loves to read! She loves all books, but her favorite is Goodnight Gorilla. I have to hide it in her room because if she sees it, she points to it and has to have it. What can I say? She is a little genius!
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#4: Grocery Bags

Lucy loves to help me put the groceries away!

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#3: Balloons

She really didn’t know what to do with it…but isn’t she cute?

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#2: Beer Growlers

They roll, they make a pretty sweet noise on the tile floor, and only a little left over beer spills out!

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AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

#1: Backyard Inflatable Pool

Obviously, Lucy loves it!

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**Disclaimer: I do not actually let my child play with plastic bags or drink beer. The pictures are meant to be funny, and were taken while I was learning what to baby-proof now that Lucy is crawling. Please do not leave hateful comments.**

**This is a No Judgement Mommy Blog!**

Shattered Phones, Zoloft, and the Grinch

So I’ve been MIA for a while…sorry. We have had a bunch of family in town, and honestly I was struggling with what to share. I knew I wanted to get a little open and honest and wasn’t sure how to go about it. So I’m just going to rip the band-aid off. Here we go!

I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband Eric travels for work. In fact, he was gone almost every week of our first year of marriage. When it was just two of us, it was hard, but since I’ve always been a little introverted, it was manageable.

As Eric and I started talking about having kids, he was worried about the traveling and missing out. Honestly, the thought of him not being around hadn’t even crossed my mind. I knew he would be a great dad. As a result, he requested a local project  to guarantee he would be home, at least right after Lucy was born. Well…that lasted about 1 month.

On top of postpartum hormones, single parenting was, and is, pretty awful. I really don’t know how people do it. At first, it wasn’t so bad. But it seemed like with every trip, things got a little worse. Right around 3 months, Lucy decided to stop napping. In order to get her to sleep, I would literally have to rock her for hours. As soon as I would lay her down she would start screaming. The sound would ring in my ears and was actually PAINFUL. I got to the point where I would cry almost every night (followed by drinking a beer).

Don't be fooled...she was screaming like a banshee before and after this picture.

Don’t be fooled…she was screaming like a banshee before and after this picture.

Things really got real a few months ago. Lucy started screaming around 10pm and kept going until 2am. No fever, not hungry, clean diaper. Just screaming. Eventually, so was I. I was screaming, bawling, praying, cussing…you name it. Then I lost my mind. I threw my phone against the wall and shattered it. Luckily I was able to call Eric on my iPad and he calmed me down. I was too scared to go back into Lucy’s room after that. I was so…angry. At her for screaming. At myself for not knowing how to make her stop. At Eric for not being there. Then the shame set in. I felt like such a failure. People take care of screaming babies all the time. Why couldn’t I handle it? I self-diagnosed myself with postpartum depression, and decided that I needed some help.

After seeing a women’s psychologist, I was not technically diagnosed with postpartum depression…just my own deeply seeded issues coming to the surface. Perfect timing, right? Now I’m seeing a therapist and taking Zoloft. I can’t tell you how much better I have been feeling. Eric has been home more, Lucy has been sleeping like a champ, and I feel more in control of myself. I still have my moments, but I’m learning how to control my emotions.

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Me and Lucy at the therapist 🙂

As I’ve gone through all this, and continue going through it all, I found other moms who have gone through similar things and I have learned a few nuggets of truth.

  1. Being a mom is excruciatingly lonely and isolating.  I have to be intentional about getting out of the house and having adult interactions.
  2. A screaming baby is NOT a sign of failure.
  3. Other moms are willing to help a sister out. They get it.
  4. Our children learn how to control their emotions from us. So I need to take care of myself to be the best mom to Lucy.
  5. It OK to let Lucy cry, so that I can breathe.

I know this is not the end of this part of my journey. Eric has started traveling again. Lucy is going to grow and her needs will change. It will not get easier…just different. But I love that girl with all my heart. When I think of her, I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes, and I’m not sure it will fit inside my chest any more. I need to take care of me so that I can take care of her.

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Baby Food Day!

Last week, I got some Little Green Pouches and so far I am loving them. I had a bit of purée in the freezer so we tried them out over the weekend, and they were successful! As a result, I’ve wanted to make a few more puree so I can use these when I go out to eat, when Lucy goes to school, etc. But I’ve also been wanting to get a little more creative with my baby food.

Lucy’s daily diet pretty much consists of turkey/chicken, berries, steamed carrots, and cheese. Sometimes I mix up the fruits/veggies, throw in an avocado, or add yogurt to her fruit. She is mostly self feeding, but she can’t eat a lot of healthy veggies because they are still too crunchy. I’ve wanted to introduce a few more things, so today was the day!

Who made that huge mess in the kitchen?!?

Who made that huge mess in the kitchen?!?

I made 3 types of food already, and in the process of making 1 more (the most adventurous one). Here is what we have so far:

Bananas & Spinach:

  • 3 bananas
  • about half a bag of raw spinach
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • splash of water

Add ingredients to blender and purée. Easy peasy. Tastes just like bananas and the texture is really smooth and creamy.

Spinach & Bananas ready for freezing

Spinach & Bananas ready for freezing

Mixed Fruit & Kale:

  • 1 bag frozen mixed fruit – thawed with juice
  • 1 cup of raw kale leaves – do not use the stalks or your blender will hate you.

Add ingredients to blender and purée. It takes a bit of time to purée the kale. Tastes a little green, but still sweet and fruity. I might add bananas next time to make it a little smoother.

Mixed Fruit & Yogurt:

  • 1 bag frozen mixed fruit – thawed with juice
  • about 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

Add ingredients to blender and puree. Its a baby smoothy…that I may drink some of!

Left - Mixed Fruit & KaleRight - Mixed Fruit & Yogurt

Left – Mixed Fruit & Kale
Right – Mixed Fruit & Yogurt

Here is my adventurous recipe that I will be trying. I found it on Weelicious and it looks pretty good. I will eat it if Lucy doesn’t.

Sweet Potato Coconut Puree

  • 2 medium yams, washed
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I might leave this out for now)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke several holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake for an hour (I put them on a piece of tin foil so they don’t drip all over the oven). When sweet potatoes are cool to the touch peel off the skin and scoop insides into a food processor with remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Cool and serve.

I have the sweet potatoes in the oven now. I will let you know how it turns out!

Now I just have to wait for Eric to get home and clean up my mess in the kitchen 🙂