Saturday, October 4, 2014

To All The "Mom-petitors" Out There....

This is something that has been weighing on my heart and my mind so heavily lately. I feel like it's everywhere I turn, and it has become an exhausting challenge to avoid it. 

It's mom competition. I thought teenage girls were bad. Whoa. Moms take it to a whole new level. 

It seems like there are so many women out there who just seem to think that they are doing this SO much better than anybody else. Or at least they want everyone to BELIEVE they are doing this so much better than anybody else. And it's breaking my heart that I associate with so many of them, and as a result, I have found myself in a deep, dark hole. Doubting myself as a mother, and as a woman. 

I recently spent two weeks having slipped back into a state of depression that I haven't experienced since college. And for what? Because other women chose to make themselves feel better by making ME feel bad. And you know what? I let them. 

I let them convince me that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't worthy of the beautiful life God has blessed me with. Above that, that I wasn't worthy of my two gorgeous boys. I let their voices be louder and stronger than God's. I let them take over my heart and get into my head in ways that NO mother ever should. I spent days crying, feeling defeated, feeling worthless, feeling like I had NO right to be a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a child of God. 

I wasted two weeks. I let them win for two weeks. Not anymore.

So let me just be real. I'm not a sugar coater, a "everything is perfect" kind of gal. I tell it how it is. The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly. I'm real. I don't like to lie and cover things up to make things look nicer. Who is that benefiting? Nobody. In fact, it would probably make other moms feel like crap suddenly because they think I have it all together and they don't. Well let me tell ya…..I don't have it all together. Not even close. Here's all the ugly.

My pregnancies aren't perfect; they're hard. Really, really hard. So no, I don't LOVE being pregnant. It's not my favorite season of life. There are parts I absolutely adore. Feeling my baby flutter. Watching him move around. Hearing his heartbeat. Seeing his face on ultrasounds. But there are other parts that are just downright hard. Getting shots weekly. Taking mountains of medication every day. Spending months in and out of the hospital. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Look what I got for it. But just because I wasn't glowing and telling everyone how amazing it is every single second, apparently means I'm not grateful. Wrong. I am SO grateful. So grateful for the miracles I have been blessed with. Grateful for the science that made it possible for me to carry those two babies as long as I did. Grateful for the experience because it made me realize THAT MUCH MORE how precious life is. I am so grateful. But I don't think it was all rainbows and butterflies. Sorry, not sorry.

I didn't breastfeed. Oh my God. Hold it. What? I'm a demon. I should burn in hell. Right? Wrong. I couldn't do it. Physically, my body couldn't do it. Emotionally, I couldn't do it. I beat myself up for MONTHS after each boy was born over the fact that I couldn't do it. I let myself feel like such a failure. And then I realized that my formula fed babies are just as loved, just as close to me, just as healthy. They're fine. We're all ok. And I was ok with it. And then I let other mothers make me feel bad again. Don't I know what they're missing out on? That's why they don't bounce back from colds as fast as others. They're never going to be as smart as that breast fed baby. STOP. None of that is true. And even if it was, so what?? I made a choice that was right for ME and for MY FAMILY. Just like you made the choices for yours. I don't criticize you for breastfeeding, that's insane. Part of me envies you. Other parts of me thank God that my husband could help with 3AM feedings when I just couldn't hold myself up anymore. I promise you, my boys are so fiercely loved, and that has NOTHING to do with where their food came from. 

I vaccinate. Yep. Shoot 'em up with crazy things every few months. That's what is right for US. It's MY peace of mind that they are protected from ungodly illnesses. I trust the science behind them, and that's that. I don't think you're less of a mom if you don't vaccinate. I know how loved your babies are. I know that you're doing what you feel is best for them. I applaud you. Good for you! YOU'RE the mom, you make the call. Same applies to me. So stop telling me I'm poisoning my kids. I don't think I am. And I won't tell you that you're careless and crazy. Because I don't think you are. 

My kid eats sweets. Cookies, cupcakes, ice cream. You name it. Does he do it every day? Nope. Does he live off of processed, high sugar, crap? Nope. But he does have it. Obviously more than some mothers approve of. That's ok. I'm letting him be a kid. I'm not going to deny him those things just because someone else shakes their head at it. And the subtle jabs in this department are insaaaaaaaane. I post a picture of my kid with a  cupcake, another mom posts a picture of carrot sticks saying how sick she is of seeing pictures of kids and sweets. Ok. Then don't follow me. Because I'm not going to stop. My kids get three well balanced meals a day. Fruit with each, veggies with lunch and dinner. They are strong, healthy boys. Right at the 50th percentile for weight, 75th for height, and guess what…..their heads are above 90!!!! Who knows….maybe the vaccines and sugar are so poisonous that their heads are exploding. Or maybe they're just so damn smart from their formula that they're brains are HUGE. Or maybe that's just them. And none of the rest of that matters. 

Did you know that there are preschools far superior to where I'm sending my child? And that it's important that I know that? Yeah, me neither. But I know now. This is the one that never phased me, for even a second. "Well MY kids school does THIS….." "His school doesn't do THIS?" My child ended up exactly where he is supposed to be. I am 120% certain. I'm more sure every time I drop him off and his teacher hugs and kisses him like he is her own. When he's so excited to go. When I get the chance to talk with the amazing women that I am now fortunate enough to call my friends. When I see him laughing and playing with his friends. When we are driving and he starts telling me about Jesus and how much He loves him. His school is perfect for HIM. I truly am SO glad that your child is in a  school that you feel is the best. That really IS great. Every parent should have that feeling, and every child deserves that opportunity. So I'm SO happy for you. But please don't try to convince me that mine is inferior. It's not. Don't make me call the state and get scores. 

And this is all just the MOM stuff. Don't even get me started on how I'm apparently horrible as a woman. I drink more pop than water. I don't run 4 miles every day. I dye my hair. I buy way too many clothes. I have been known to go through the drive thru. And use a can of "cream of something or another" as part of a recipe instead of going out back, wrangling the chicken, killing him, and cooking him up from scratch. I'm lucky if I get to shower every other day. 

Go ahead and call me guilty of trying to make others feel worse. And I will PROMISE you, I would NEVER want that. I've been in that dark place. I would NEVER wish that upon anyone. When I post a video of my kid walking at 10 months, it's not because I want to rub it in your face that yours didn't walk until 18 months, or that I think he's better. Not at all. It's because I'm his MOM and I'm SO proud and excited for him (annnnnnd, a little terrified….TWO walking boys? AH!). When I say that my kid sings his ABC's from sun up to sun down, honest to God, NOT trying to brag. Really probably more like complain because you can only hear that song so many times. I'm learning which women in my life I can say these things to, and which I can't. The ones I can are always excited with me, or sympathize with my pain over the alphabet. The ones I can't need to one up me; need to make me realize that because their child was breastfed he can say his ABC's in Spanish, but only twice a day because that's more socially acceptable. And only when he's eating his daily servings of granola and mango.

But on the flip side of that.... I'll also post a picture of the entire box of rice that my kid spilled all over the kitchen floor, my other kid slipped in, now everyone is crying, and I'm wondering who the hell ever thought I was capable of raising two boys. Surely, someone is up there laughing at me. My point? I'm not just going to show you the good, amazing things. No, I'm going to show you the messy, ridiculous things too.

I will probably always compare myself to other women. I think it's just my nature. Someone will always be prettier. Be dressed better. Have better hair. Be more patient with her child. Seem like a better wife. I'm really trying to stop this cycle, but it seems inevitable. BUT. I'm slowly realizing that it's all ok. It's ok if she's prettier and has nicer clothes. Applaud her for finding the time to put herself together, and be ok with the fact that I chose to sleep for 10 extra minutes instead. It's ok if she's more patient with her child (and her husband). I love mine just the same. Stronger than anybody realizes. 

Here's my point. Let's all just stop. Please. Every mother is doing her best. She really is. Just because her best doesn't look like your best, doesn't mean a DAMN THING. We're different. Aren't we all trying to teach our children that everybody is unique and different? And we should love them all the same? So why aren't we taking our own advice? 

I'm such a strong believer that girls criticize, and women empower. Let's be WOMEN. For the sake of our sanity. And for our kids. And our husbands. 

God made us to spread good and love. Not criticism and hatred. Not to make others feel like less, but to build them up. Motherhood can be lonely and isolating. Why make it harder? Look at that mother standing across from you and realize that she is going through the same things you are. She faces the same challenges, she wants the same things. Just because she goes about them differently does NOT make her unworthy.

And take a look at social media for what it's worth too. All those moms that seem perfect….they only post the pretty, never the ugly. Trust me, there's ugly too. And those same women are the ones quickest to make a statement about your ugly. That's ok. Be REAL. Show the ugly. But don't forget the pretty too. Let us NEVER forget that motherhood can be beautiful too.  

The point of all this nonsense is this: NO mother is perfect. And trying to be MUST be exhausting. Just trying to be "good" is draining me. So to those of you who choose to put others down, and paint pretty pictures of yourselves, let me challenge you. Challenge you to take those walls down. Be REAL. Show your ugly. The rest of us aren't here to judge. We're here to say "we're all the same". You make people like me think a bad day is the worst thing in the world. I'm here to make people like you realize that I KNOW you have bad days too. So stop telling us all you don't. Just let it out. Cry if you have to. We're not going to judge. We're going to hug you. And tell you to let it go. Because we ALL need that sometimes. Including you "perfect" people. 

Now….carry on. I'm about to go pick up my vaccinated, bottle fed crazy kid from his less than perfect preschool and bring him home to eat something sweet. Because he's cute. And I think he deserves it. 

….And just for good measure….let's throw in some Garth Brooks. Because I heard this the other day in the car (on my way home from ordering TWO cakes for my son to smash to his hearts content in celebration of turning one….both laden with sugar), and it's kind of exactly what I'm trying to say here. Just in better tune and much more eloquently.

People loving people,
That's the enemy of everything that's evil
Ain't no quick fix at the end of a needle
It's just people loving people
Words aren't what they seem to be
Talk is cheap, but lies are free
We fear what we don't understand
We've been scared since time began
All the colors and the cultures circle 'round us on a spindle
It's a complicated riddle, but the solution is so simple
It's people loving people

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Essential Oils

I'm dusting off my small corner of the internet because I have fallen into something amazing, and I've had a lot of questions about it, and this is the easiest way for me to let it all spill out. 

Essential oils, y'all. 

But first, let me make a few things clear. I'm not a doctor. I don't pretend to be a doctor. Don't ever take my word over that of a medical professional. Also, I'm the daughter of a pharmacist and the daughter in law of a nurse. I will NEVER completely cut modern medicine out of our lives. I will continue to vaccinate my children. I will continue to give antibiotics and fever reducers when necessary. I in no way believe that oils are going to cure every ailment we ever come across and we will never need anything other than them again. 

Ok. Now that that's out there.

I AM amazed by oils and I AM sure you would be too if you gave them a try. 

I kind of fell into oils by accident. I had seen and read a lot about them through blogs I follow and other accounts on social media. I was intrigued, so I was excited to attend a class about them. I was skeptical, but I took the plunge and bought the starter kit. You guys… decision ever. I got nine oils plus a diffuser….and I have used every single oil at some point and the diffuser is running in our home DAILY. 

People keep asking me how I use them and if they REALLY work. Ummm yes. 

Landon came down with croup….AGAIN. Every time he has a cold or ANYTHING, he seems to get croup at the end. Which usually results in at LEAST a trip to the ER for steroids and breathing treatments, and has ended in a hospital stay from dangerously low pulse ox levels. So naturally, as soon as I start to hear that hoarse bark, I panic. It started at 10:30 one night last week and Jeremy was ready to get dressed and head to the ER. I asked him to let me try something first, and if it didn't work, of course, we would get in the car and go, no questions asked. I rubbed Frankincense (seriously….a miracle oil) and Peppermint oil, in coconut oil, on his chest, throat and back. People…..the cough stopped within three minutes. Stopped cold. He fell asleep and we NEVER heard that bark again. WHAT!? How is that possible!? 

Well…..croup is inflammation in the wind pipe / vocal chords. Frankincense is a NATURAL inflammatory. And peppermint helps open everything up. I am telling you, I was sold. 400%. I was in complete shock, and so was Jeremy, even though he still refuses to admit that these things just might be little miracle workers. 

Another amazing testimony? My hair loss. It was bad, friends. I've written posts about it before, and after Luke was born, it took on a whole new level of craziness. I was at my wits end and nothing the dermatologist suggested was working. So I tried Cedarwood. I rub it in all my thinning (or BALD) areas before bed every night, and once a week, I add a few drops to my shampoo and let it sit on my head during my whole shower. Not only has my hairdresser asked what I've been doing, but the dermatologist herself was in shock when she saw how much new growth I have. I'm talking an inch and a half of hair on all my trouble spots. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you truly know how down I was about the struggle with the hair loss, you know how huge this is for me. And something so SIMPLE. And uh…cheap. My large bottle of Cedarwood that is probably going to last me a good 6 months was $11.25. Yep. And bonus: Cedarwood helps with sleep! So I rub it on at night and get new hair AND good rest! Winning!

These are just my two huge testimonies, but I have a million more small ones. A wart on my toe (so, so gross and no idea where it came from)….GONE. Thank you, Frankincense. Without freezing, cutting, anything. Just oil. The most stressful hour of our day (the witching hour….5-6pm, the last hour before Daddy gets home)….now peaceful and FUN thanks to diffusing Stress Away. Landon's craziness before bed and inability to calm down for at least an hour before falling asleep…..down to 15 minutes MAX thanks to Lavender and Peace & Calming. Stains on the leather in my parents motorhome that NOTHING would take off…..gone, thanks to Lemon oil. Ridiculous bug bites that would drive Landon crazy for a solid week….eased within a day by Purification. Strep ran rampant through both the boys a couple months back. We snuggled them, loved them, SHARED POPSICLES with them for two straight weeks. Jeremy and I came out unscathed….that's Thieves. Fevers that would be lessened but not broken by Tylenol or Advil….gone completely with Peppermint oil. Nasty stench in my washer and dishwasher? Disappeared with Purification. I could keep going….

And you guys….all of those oils (except the Cedarwood) came in my kit!! I was going to start off just buying a couple oils and see what happened….you have NO idea how glad I am that I just bit the bullet and bought the kit! I never would have known the power of these things, or how much I could change with them!

Honestly, there is an oil for ANYTHING. If you have something going on that you want to know about, ASK ME! I'll look it up and make sure you get something to do the job!

The next must haves on my list are DiGize which will help with stomach ailments (helloooooooo fear of puke), and Oregano which is another good one for germ fighting. I just stocked up on Thieves and Purification for the start of the school year as I send my baby off to preschool (!!!), because I can only imagine the kinds of germs that he'll be bringing home. I have a whole routine planned out using the oils, ask me if you want more information! 

For the record….I am NOT a distributer of Young Living Oils (at least not yet), so I'm not trying to make myself any money off of this. I truly believe in them and what I've seen them do for our family, and I would LOVE if they helped someone else too. Even if you're skeptical, seriously, ask! I can make you a believer!! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Years Eve, and is ready to welcome 2014!

Every year, I find myself making resolutions. And every year, I find myself swearing I'm going to keep them, and work really hard at them all year. Last year, I really did try to remind myself throughout the WHOLE year about my laundry list of resolutions, and I think I did a fairly good job at keeping them….most of them…..most of the time. 

But this year, it all seems a little overwhelming. All these promises to make to myself, when really, all I want to do is get some sleep and keep my kids alive and happy through each day. Right now, anything else I accomplish is just icing on the cake. And most days…..not much more DOES get accomplished. 

So….because of that, I've come up with ONE resolution, ONE word, to focus on in 2014. And I'm determined to make it work. 


That's it. Just simplify. (I'm starting with the simplifying of my resolutions… far, so good). 

I've been doing a lot of reflection since Lucas was born, and I'm realizing how overwhelmed and anxious I'm feeling about just about everything in my life. 

Our house… I feel like we're packed in, and I'm overwhelmed by the amount of, for lack of better word, CRAP, that we have and we don't need. So I need to simplify. I need to purge and clean and organize. I always feel better in a clean, orderly house, so I need to get on it. Plus, I'm drowning in toys. I don't know what Santa was thinking when he bought so many toys with so many small pieces that he KNEW a certain 2 year old would never keep all together, and as a result, his mother would spend a huge chunk of her day just trying to count and pick up said pieces. Going to drive me to insanity. Get it together, Santa!!!

My "social media" accounts…. They're getting overwhelming. And it's a love-hate relationship that I have with them, which is really hard to work through on some days. In one respect, I love having Facebook and connecting with old friends, new friends, family I don't get to see often, and I love having that outlet to share photos and news about the kids with those that we don't get to see or talk to by other means. And I have found a community of moms on Instagram that I'm slightly obsessed with. I love seeing pictures of their kids, hearing stories, and getting their input on my own. I feel like we're all a close group of friends, even though we've never met. The encouragement and kind words are wonderful, and they're just what a mama needs some days. It's also nice to see their bad days, because it makes me realize I'm not alone. Who doesn't need that? But I find myself checking in on both of these far too often. And trying to pose my kids for superficial pictures because "that'll be cute to show everybody". {Just for the record, those superficial photos NEVER work out, so whatever you DO get to see, is just real life. What two year old and 8 week old are actually going to pose for their mother? Not mine.} But it's all getting to be too much. And I need to simplify. I need to stop worrying about what's going on with my friends cousins girlfriend's brother on Facebook, and start getting down on the ground more and playing with one of those toys with a million parts. I need to stop worrying about catching Luke's smile on camera, and just enjoy them when they come. What really matters is what's happening inside the walls of our own home, and our own hearts, not anywhere else. 

My relationships…. Ok so this one isn't SO bad. In 2013, I truly did revaluate certain friendships, and tried to distance myself from any of the negativity and drama. And I'm proud to say that I did pretty good. Especially once I got pregnant. I realized how many more important things I had to worry about and focus on, than insincere friendships. And I found the friends that truly DO mean the world to me, and are always there, always care, and that quite frankly, I missed. And I focused on those, and I'm happier for it. There are certain relationships that I still need to work on, I still want to put forth more effort into, and I'll work on that in 2014, too. But mostly, I'm going to work on the relationships that are closest to me, and take up the most room in my heart, starting with my husband and kids. And that's simple in itself. All they want is to be loved and taken care of, and I can do that….without effort. 

My life in general…. There are days when it all just feels crazy heavy, and I feel panicky. I'm not so unrealistic that I believe that I won't still have days like that. I have two kids, there are always going to be days when it's overwhelming. But on those days, I need to remind myself that laundry CAN wait, and the dishes in the sink don't HAVE to be cleaned right this second, and the house hasn't been vacuumed in two days? That's ok. And I don't want to go out and do that with those people? IT's ok to say no. Let's be honest, this will be the hardest one for me. My OCD can't handle a lot of those things. BUT, I'm hopeful that once the simplifying takes place on the house front, and things are more organized, and there's LESS, that it will come easier. That could be naive, but going along with one of my resolutions from LAST year, I'm trusting God and hoping that He'll show me the way to make it work, and to help me feel ok about it all. Because, yes, all of these things are enough to cause anxiety in and of themselves. 

So… what this is all means, and that this might be my last post for a while. Then again, it might not be. But when I'm not here, and I'm not posting pictures and status updates, I'm busy enjoying my SIMPLE life with my beautiful boys. Lucas is already 8 weeks old. 8 WEEKS!!! He's becoming a little person. I'm being reminded every hour of how quickly it all goes, and how little time we really have to soak it up and enjoy it all. I don't EVER want to look back and have regrets, and have to say "I wish I would have set my phone down and enjoyed them more". Nothing is worth feeling that way. And why in the world do I feel the need to have every random person I'm "friends" with know what I'm doing at any given time? It's kind of weird, honestly. And who REALLY cares? Aside from my mom? And she knows what's going on all the time anyway, does she really need a Facebook status to tell her? Probably not. Although, she may argue otherwise. Sandra, you don't. I'll call you instead. 

So my friends, I hope you have lofty goals for yourselves in 2014 too, even if it something simple. Because no matter how simple, change is always hard to execute, so congratulations if you're setting your mind to it, whether you accomplish it or not. And nobody says that your resolutions HAVE to be accomplished by December 31 of this year, I'm STILL going to work on my resolutions from last year, I know I haven't perfected them yet, but what matters is that I'm trying. And my "simplify" efforts will need to continue long past this year as well, but you've got to start somewhere, and I'm starting here