Motherhood

Mom Life Picked Me

My shame story starts in 4th grade. Forced to prepare for the TAAS test, my third grade love for creative writing diminished into my 4th grade hatred of English class. I conveniently started getting tummy aches every day when it was time for English class and would instead visit the nurse’s office. I was miserable.

In 5th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. P, nourished my spirit & my love for math and all things academic. With this newfound confidence, I decided to run for student body president. I lost.

In 6th grade, all students had to choose between Art/Music/Drama OR Band. I can’t sing or art, so even though I probably would have been SPECTACULAR at drama, fear kept me from picking that route and I chose band. Percussion. Well, wouldn’t you know I can’t percussion either.

In junior high, I finally found something I was good at: volleyball. Freshman year, diving, rolling, and serving were my specialty. I was starting server and defensive specialist. I loved it. Until summer before sophomore year when we were required to run sprint a certain number of laps around the track under a certain time.  I quit my beloved volleyball to avoid the shame of never being able to complete those laps.

Oh, and there was the time I thought I would raise a goat.

In 10th grade, I failed the TAKS writing test. Me, the smart one, the intelligent one, the nerdy one, the straight A student. Failed. Big time. I hated school. With nothing left to enjoy, I ended up graduating high school early just to get away.

In college, I thought I would finally find somewhere to fit in. I applied to be an Aggie Hostess, a group of intimidatingly gorgeous, popular, rich girls who support the football team. Did I mention that I was still in braces at this time? Needless to say, I did not make the cut. Second semester, I joined a group called Aggie Sisters for Christ, but I never belonged. I applied to be a small group leader. 8 people applied and 7 were chosen. Rejected. I joined a group called Ags of Open Acts of Kindness. Served for two semesters and loved it! Applied to be on the board. 4 people applied; 3 were chosen. Rejected.  I graduated college early, chasing the belief that I could escape rejection. But, adult life turned out to be just as harsh. Online applications, job interviews, and rejection.

As women, we smush and smash and contort ourselves – trying to fit into the molds laid before us of who we think we are supposed to be. Who we are told we should want to be. When we are too big, too much, for those molds, we feel rejected. Too much, yet not enough.

When I gave up trying to fit in, the sting of rejection went away. I found a job I loved, a master’s program I enjoyed, and eventually a career path I am very fond of and plan to pursue. I met and married the man who showed me what true strength is made of and helped me discover a love of hiking and adventure.

I didn’t think I wanted to have children. I was sure motherhood would be one more thing I attempted and failed. One more way life told me I was too much, but not enough. But it turned out to be the only mold I’ve ever truly fit. I’ve made more friends since becoming a mom than I’ve made in my entire life. True friends. I’ve become even closer to my own wonderful mom and sister-in-love. Becoming a mother has made me a better, more patient wife.

My loud, my happy, my silly, my protective, my emotional, my strong, there’s room for it all in my baby’s heart. His heart is full; my heart is full.

Mom life picked me.

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness · Motherhood · Wellness

What I Learned Hiking 30 Miles With My Newborn

This April, my son and I completed the Hike It Baby 30 Challenge! Hike It Baby is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families get outside and get moving! There are local groups all over the country! The challenge consisted of logging 30 miles within the month of April. Before having a baby, 30 miles could have easily been logged over the course of 3-4 days. This April, I barely scraped by, hitting 30.17 miles on the last day, but I loved the challenge and I’m looking forward to the next one in September!

Here’s what I learned hiking 30 miles with my newborn:

1. Babies LOVE to be outdoors!! My son is happiest outside. This is a huge motivator for me to get outside every day, even in the rain.

2. Every mile counts. Some days, I would just strap him on and walk to the stop sign and back, logging just under a mile. I rarely was able to log more than 2 miles in one day. This was good though, because it required me to be consistent and get outside every single day.

3. The right carrier matters! I wish I had done more research about baby carriers before I had my little guy. I probably would have purchased a LilleBaby All Seasons carrier, but my Boba 4G worked out just fine and I’m looking forward to using my Onya Pure when he gets a bit bigger.

4. Motherhood doesn’t mean the end to your hobbies and adventures. Sure, it’s a little harder to squeeze in a hike and I worry much more about the heat and I have to pack three bags just to go to the local park for an hour, but it’s worth it to share the outdoors with my son. I hope he continues to love it as he grows older!

Motherhood

A Birthday Story

Ever since I can remember, one of my favorite things has been for my mom to tell me my birthday story. This consists of “When you turned 1, we had a carrot cake. You wore a pink outfit with big black polka dots. When you turned 2, we had a Little Mermaid party…” and on and on. Sometimes we remember them all, sometimes we get them mixed up. Some birthdays were unforgettable, like the now infamous (to me and my mother only) 12 hour birthday cake where we made a swimming pool out of mini M&Ms and teddy grahams with icing swimsuits or the time when I decidedly told my parents that “four-year-olds can do anything.”

Now, this fun tradition has been passed down to the next generation and my sweet niece will ask her Manna to hear about her “wittle daddy” and his birthday story.

Me and my brother are very lucky to have parents who always made our birthdays very special – and still do! Being that our birthdays are about 6 weeks apart, they could have made us share a party, but they always gave us our own day. We got to pick the theme, invite our friends, and there was always cake. Usually chocolate cake. With chocolate icing.

This year, I almost forgot my own birthday.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been preoccupied with counting how many weeks old my sweet son is turning (23 tomorrow). Maybe it’s because I’ve a little busy fighting the almighty nap war, trying to learn how to make a more decent meal than tacos, starting a part-time job working from home, cultivating new friendships with the sweetest mamas around, and changing poopy diapers. So many poopy diapers.

Or maybe, it’s because I have fully embraced the fact that when you become mommy, you’re writing someone else’s birthday story. You’re the one who gets to remember the cake and pick the flavor until they’re old enough. You’re the one who gets to send out the invitations and make the reservations to rent the Y pool (wait, what do winter birthdays even do?). You’re the one who, even though you do it every other day of the year, gets to pour your heart and soul into your kid and give them a special day.

Today and forever, I get to be Will’s wife and Hawk’s mommy, and that is better than all the cake in the world.

Motherhood · Recipes · Wellness

If You Ever Get Tired of Tacos

You guys, I am bad at cooking. I burn everything, mainly because that’s the way I like it. I also have an unusual disdain for trying anything new. I’ve been ordering the same meal at the Cheesecake Factory (and every other restaurant we frequent) for 10 years. My usual weekday meals consist of eggs for breakfast and taco meat for lunch with a side of potatoes and avocado. Seriously. Every day. I really don’t mind repeating meals over and over throughout the week – it cuts down on cooking/cleaning time, wasted food, and decisions.

Honestly, I think my dislike of cooking is more of a lack of confidence, so I jumped on google and found some recipes that I thought I could try out. I found this recipe from Paleo Hacks and knew I could work with it. I am so excited to share, because it was delicious, free (we had ALL the ingredients on hand), and fun to make!

easy sushi recipe

Sushi Towers

1 filet mahi mahi (I pan-fried mine)
1 can salmon
-Mix each of these with a dollop of paleo mayo
1 cucumber
1 large avocado
1 cup cooked white rice
Makes 4 Sushi Towers

Layer a measuring cup with chopped cucumber, mashed avocado, the fish of your choice, and fill to the top with rice! Put a plate on top, flip it over, tap the measuring cup, and you have a super fancy meal!

 

 

 

 

Motherhood

Too much too; Not enough enough

Motherhood is full of questions.

Questions about baby. Is baby gaining too much weight too fast? Is baby gaining weight too slowly? Am I spending too much money on disposable diapers? Am I letting him cry too much? Am I letting him nurse to sleep too much? Am I being too rigid with a schedule? Am I being too flexible without one? Did I do enough research on vaccines? Do I wear my baby enough?

Questions about ourselves. Have I gained too much weight? Am I snacking too much? Am I drinking too much coffee? Do I exercise enough? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I producing enough milk? Am I drinking enough water? Do I swear too much to be a mother? Do I spend too much time on my cell phone? Am I too anxious?

Questions about our relationships. Do I sleep too much when I should be spending time with my partner? Do I depend on family too much to help with baby? Does each side of the family get equal time with baby? Do I try to control too much?

Questions about finances. Did I spend too much money on groceries this month? Do we have enough money for that vacation we so desperately need? Does my spouse make enough for me to stay home? Do I make enough money to send my child to the best daycare?

Ask any mother and I can guarantee she has asked herself these questions more than once. More than once per day, most likely. What we are really asking, though, all boils down to one question: Am I enough? Am I enough for my baby? Am I enough for myself? Am I enough for my partner? Am I enough for my employer? Am I enough for the amount of grace I need to get through the next 17.5 years? Yes, mama, you are enough. Give yourself permission to let go of all the “too” and embrace the enough.

Breastfeeding · Motherhood · Postpartum

Fitting in in a new world.

The first time I went to Milk Moms, it was two days after my baby’s tongue tie revision and it took everything in my power to get myself out the door. I arrived and it was packed. All the other moms were wearing jeans and mascara… I sure didn’t fit in. I left early. On my way home, I called my mom crying, telling her that I’d never fit in with these moms because they are so much better than me with the jeans and the mascara and babies happily nursing and napping. I had rendered myself unworthy of their friendship because I assumed I didn’t fit in. I assumed they had it all together. I assumed their babies cried less than mine and probably even slept in their cribs. I assumed they knew more about breastfeeding and birth and raising babies than I do. I assumed I was the only one who wasn’t completely on the cloth diaper bandwagon. I assumed these women didn’t have space in their life for this clueless mommy.

My mom reminded me that the most important thing is to just keep showing up. So the next week, I put on jeans and mascara and showed up to Milk Moms. And you know what? Those same mamas were wearing yoga pants and ponytails just like me. They are just other mamas who, like me, want to make new friends. Mamas who just like me had dealt with tongue tie revisions and painful breastfeeding. Mamas who are going to stay home just like me. Mamas who studied marketing in college just like me. Mamas who use disposable diapers! I’m not the only one! Mamas who love their babies and try to give them the best, just like me.

Turns out, I might not “fit in,” but I do belong. There is space for me, my loud laugh, and my disorganized diaper bag full of ‘sposies. As Brene Brown would say, fitting in is not belonging. I don’t have to be anything other than myself to be worthy of friendship. I don’t have to change anything to fit in, because I belong – ponytail, yoga pants and all.