As I sit here, about to embark on a new decade, I’m so proud of the woman I became in my 30’s! I became a mom to three of the most beautiful babies on the planet. I survived gut wrenching loss and grief. I became fierce in my pursuit of self care and in doing so lost over 100lbs and became a runner. I ran Five half marathons! I learned with each passing moment that I am loved endlessly by my husband and girls, as well as the family and friends, whom we call family, that surround me. I showed myself that I can handle a year long deployment without completely losing it. I proudly packed up our first home and we moved to another country, showing our girls the beauty and gifts of travel along the way. I persevered and planted seeds in California that have become roots in our new community. I am passionately dedicated to supporting military families just like my own. I made memories with friends new and old. Connected and reconnected with people whom are near and dear to my heart. I learned that I can accomplish great things and I WILL be forty and damn fabulous while enjoying every single moment. Life is precious and I will practice gratitude everyday and see the joys of life in my babies eyes, my husbands embrace and the love that surrounds me. Bring it on 40, I can’t wait to see what you hold for me!
I have been on this major kick to be my “best self” before I turn Forty in December! And man oh man, the pressure I have been putting on myself is UNREAL!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think putting a little pressure on yourself to rev up your drive and desire to accomplish goals is a fabulous thing, but there is such a delicate balance between employing a little self motivation and “goal-ing” / “self-help-ing” yourself into a place where you feel as though you are sucking at every aspect of your life.
I don’t think I have quite reached the level of feeling like a complete failure at everything I am doing, but if I don’t take some time to reflect on this right now, I feel like I could easily get there. I feel like, as women (and as mothers), we are under a constant veil of overhanging expectations but also assumptions that we are never at our best. Social media, self-help books, goal planners, bloggers, celebrities, fitness experts, diet plans…all of these things tell us, every single day in some way or another, that we are NOT enough. And I am OVER it. And while I am at it, I am also done with women shaming other women, and I am done with the mentality that we CAN and SHOULD be all things to all people.
Ok, so now that I have gotten that off of my chest, because clearly it was really plaguing my thoughts, I want to talk about my personal plan to recognizing where these expectations and external “bullies” start affecting me and how I am going to strive to manage their influence on my life.
First of all, Im going to start making my goals fit into my life and not let them dictate my life. Am I right on this ?! Just because I want to lose 20 lbs or eat healthier, or go back to school or whatever the case may be, doesn’t mean I am nothing beyond that goal. I do believe you have to step up your game and push yourself to meet your goals, but just because you are working toward something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to still enjoy life. You only get this one shot folks, don’t spend it all with your head down trying to get somewhere else. Stop. Look around you. THIS IS LIFE. Yes you can want more out of it, but don’t stop living it to get there.
Next, Im going to be ok with owning myself. The “Me” I am today is glorious! I am not going to be afraid to share that with the world. I also will not be afraid to be a little guarded, if I need to be, while I am figuring out my next steps in life. Setting boundaries, expressing the struggles and celebrating the successes will be a part of my life. Not only in reference to goal achievement, but in my every day world.
Lastly, I will to allow myself the grace and dignity to know when I need support and to have a plan on how I will lend support to others in my life. Lending support does not mean putting everyone else in front of yourself. On the flip side, receiving support is not a sign that you are incapable of accomplishing greatness on your own. It takes a Village, friends, to do this thing called life.
Find that balance for yourself though my friends. There is no perfect way to do this life. You deserve to reach your dreams and goals but you also deserve to do it in a way that keeps you authentically YOU.
Last night, after dinner, my hubby and I took the kids out for a walk/bike ride. It was a gorgeous evening …still sunny, a cool breeze to take the heat off after a scorcher of a day, and smiles on everyone faces.
There was a moment where I was standing in our driveway watching my oldest daughter ride around our cul de sac, carefree and fearless when I caught my darling hubby and youngest coming down the street to my right. He was watching her as a dutiful Dad should; with an eye out for any danger and beaming with pride. In that split second everything was perfect.
I don’t use perfect as a blanket statement because no one and nothing is actually perfect. But, if time could have stood still and took a photograph that felt the love and pure joy in that moment, that is how I would define perfection.
Five months from tomorrow I turn 40, which seems surreal. I am still a tad vain in moments of panic, thinking “oh my goodness, how did I get this ‘old’!” But more often I am reframing my thoughts and saying ” damn I am so grateful to be this age, living a blessed life and working hard to cultivate happiness and gratitude for myself and my family”!
So many people in this world don’t get to this age; Gone too soon for reasons that we may never truly understand. I can’t be the only one out here wanting to harness the joy in these moments and wishing I could bottle that purity to give away to those who need it most, knowing I will see moments like this again where I can refuel my tank of happiness.
In a world that is reeling from so much tragedy and uncertainty, fear and hate, we each need to find ways to see the happiness surrounding us and be deliberate in paying that forward. From a simple smile for a stranger to actively participating in our communities to fight for change, I believe that the ultimate goal is joy. Letting people be joyous; surrounded by moments of joy; and celebrating their joy in their own individual way.
My challenge to you today is to record a moment of joy in your day. Embrace that feeling, I mean REALLY take it in. Remember how that feels. Then, pay it forward. Pay for someone’s coffee, buy a meal for someone on the street. Donate to a cause dear to someone you know, Give a hug to someone who needs it. Stand up for someone who needs your voice. Whatever it may be, do it without want or need for repayment in that moment and I am sure the joy will start to spread around you. This is the life you are living so make it joy full.
Guys, today marks the end of 2nd grade and Kindergarten for my little ladies and I am really feeling the pull of my heartstrings this year. I mean, yes I am normally emotional during these kinds of milestones, but this year has me feeling more. In fact, I think even my girls are feeling it more as well. They have had definite excitement about the end of the school year but they are also sad to say “goodbye” to their classmates, teachers and their school community for a few months.
I’ve been asking myself, why? Why is this year so much more emotional? And I think I’ve come up with a few reasons that we are having all of the feelings right now.
First, this is our first time having summer vacation after our big move last year. So I think for me as mom, I am thinking where did that year go?! We are just getting settled into a routine and now we are messing with it again. Also, the sense of community I feel every day when I drop the girls to school has been a blessing. I have met the most wonderful group of parents this year who are all so very different but have been my lifeline to a social life when I was feeling lost. I will miss morning coffee chats at drop off and having that adult time to start the day.
Postings are emotional rollercoasters and this is one more reminder of that.
Additionally, and this one is no joke, my kids have grown so much this year it’s unbelievable. Honestly, I am blown away by how incredible my girls are. They have navigated this transition year so well and exceeded any all all expectations in school. They have embraced this new community and it has embraced them. They are laying roots here and making memories and I love their bravery. My heart bursts with pride to watch them grow independently and grow their bond together. On this last day of school, my hubby and I couldn’t be more proud of our little ladies if we tried.
Lastly, I think it’s the feeling of wow, we have really made so many memories and established some amazing “roots” in this new place in one year, but we only have two years left! And there is trepidation and anxiety that comes with knowing this is all only temporary. So with this marker of year end, the emotional pot is stirred vigorously for this MilSpouse. I was saying to hubby last my that I think I need a few more moves under my belt and maybe these feelings will seem more manageable.
For my girls, I think they are feeling emotional because they are wondering what it will be like when school starts again. Will it be as hard? Will it be as amazing as this year? Will my friends remember me? Will I continue to make new friends? What a rollercoaster this year has been for them as well. Just when they have a social circle and feel comfortable, summer vacation arrives and as much as we will try to have play dates etc this summer, it’s not the same and having that time with their peers daily. My heart aches for them. I will do my best to help them navigate these waters but it will of course still have it’s challenging moments no doubt.
So friends, here I am, vulnerable and emotional and I’m asking for advice!
How do you MilFams cope with the anxiety and excitement and trepidation of short postings? How do you make the most of it all?
How do you other parents manage being so proud and loving watching your kids grow, while all the while screaming and crying at time to slow down just a little bit? I am at a loss on this one. How do we embrace the beauty of these milestone markers like the end of a school year and not want to dig in our heels and press pause?
Let’s start this conversation so we can all feel support and love, but also so we can add tools to the tools box to manage this difficult moments!
Happy End if school to you all and may you find fun, quality time and adventure this summer!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved babies! I never questioned whether or not I wanted to have kids but just had to meet the right person and know we were ready to embark on a lifetime of adventure and responsibility. I also know that if my darling hubby had never come along, I would have still found a way to be a mom.
My path to being “mom” wasn’t easy. My first pregnancy was a dream, until it wasn’t. At 33 weeks and 3 days my angel Addison was born, with no brain activity, after hours of monitoring, tests and finally an emergency C-section. She was tiny and beautiful but she wouldn’t make it to see 24 hours.
When we heard that our time with her would be limited, the feeling was surreal and beyond devastating. We had so many questions. We felt anguish and grief beyond anything I had ever known possible. I also carried guilt, unnecessarily, but I carried it nonetheless. What had I done wrong? Why is this happening? What is wrong with me? My first duty’s as a mom were not feeding my baby, changing her bum or bathing her. I rocked her, and held her as long as I could. We had her baptized and took photos. I held her until her final breath and then did something no mother, or father should ever have to do, I said goodbye.
Saying goodbye to the beautiful baby whom I loved from the first time I even thought I might be pregnant, was literally heart breaking. Watching my husband go to the funeral home to make plans, take care of me and cope with his own grief, was gut wrenching.
The days, weeks and months to follow were a fog and full of love and support, but still so empty. Hubby and I had nights of long conversations, tears, fear and loss. But what we did know what that medically, there was no reason to think we couldn’t have a healthy baby at some point. And if having Addison taught me anything (and honestly she taught me so many things) it was that we wanted to be the best parents to her by honouring her and remembering her. We also knew we still wanted to try again.
Less than 3 months later, it was New Years Eve, and I had ” a feeling”. I took a pregnancy test before going out with friends and sure enough, I was pregnant. I was over joyed, overwhelmed, and scared as hell. Luckily we had the most beautiful angel watching over us, as well as a team of doctors, and less than 11 months after we said goodbye to Addison, Ava Grace was born, with a grand entrance, healthy and perfect. Fast forward 22 months later and she had a gorgeous baby sister, Mackinley Paige. And our family was complete.
This Mother’s Day I will find joy in the paper crafts and hugs with my two little beauties here with me. I will spend some quiet time by myself with a few tears wishing a I could hold Addison just one more time and wondering what my now almost 9 year old would look like and what her personality would be like. I will wipe my tears and be thankful for her. I will also remember that being a mom is hard, but it is such a privilege that so many take for granted. In fact, sometimes I still take it for granted.
On those days when I count down the seconds until bedtime, when I raise my voice to stop the sibling bickering, when I find myself needing 5 minutes to be alone, I take a deep breath and know that someday they will be grown and I will miss their laughs and bickering in my house. I also remember that my journey to get here wasn’t easy and take a moment to practice gratitude for the joyous life I love with my family here, and my angel who watches over me.
This Mother’s Day I hope that my friends, family and those who may read this who are struggling to have a healthy baby know that they have our love and support, and we pray that they will be able to fulfil their parenting dreams at some time in someway that works for them. I hope that those families who have suffered loss, have found peace and comfort.
Becoming a mom often isn’t as easy as we would like it to be, so let’s be gentle with ourselves and with each other on Mother’s Day and all the other days that we are needing a mom, being a mom, or longing to be called mom.