My Unexpected Joys of Motherhood

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When I was younger and I would daydream about having children one day, I somehow imagined having three kids. Three girls.

Having girls just seemed like the natural fit; the comfortable fit for me. I grew up with only a sister, no brothers. My sister and I always thought it would be cool to have one more girl in our sorority of two. Maybe we watched too much Charmed on WB. Who knows? Nevertheless, being around mostly girls is what I was use to, so the idea of having three daughters sounded like a fun time.

Fast forward to present time and I am a proud and dotting mother of three boys. Yes, that’s right. BOYS.

I clearly remember the first time I was pregnant and wondering if I was growing a little boy or girl inside of me. I found myself dreaming about a son.

I realized then that dreams change as we grow. My mere idea of motherhood as an adolescent was severely different than my real aspirations as an adult. I would have been happy with a healthy baby regardless of gender, but somehow my curiosity of what it would be like to raise a son made it exciting.

Out popped my little man, and over the next several months, I learned what an indescribable love it is to share with a child. I also learned that motherhood was natural for me. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it.

I experienced a deep revelation. I finally grew into myself.

Up until I became a Mom, I was a self-assured, happy-go-lucky sort of person. Motherhood gave me an entire new level of confidence and purpose that I never before experienced.

I liked the way I felt about myself as a Mom. My biggest challenge became more about not losing my identity of Self in the label of being a Mom. Most of the time, I felt Self and Mom were one in the same.

To make a long story short, a few more years went on and out popped two more little dudes that call me “Mommy”. The next thing I knew, the outside world labeled me as “Boy Mom.”

I no longer would be able to leave an airport, shopping mall or Costco without at least one person alerting me that I am heavily outnumbered. And sometimes I get puzzled looks and deeply concerned questions and comments like, “How do you do it?” or my favorite, “God bless, you.” Why thank you I think to myself as I smile politely and continue looking for the peanut butter in aisle 9.

Boys are loud. They are messy. They have a bottomless energy pit. Therefore, I totally understand the cause for concern about my well-being and I thank each stranger and acquaintance for checking in with me.

Here’s the thing—Although I always knew of the possibility, I not once actually expected Mother Nature would tip the scale on the same side three different times and stick a “Boy Mom” label on me, but here I am…

Loving my life exactly the way it is. Exactly the way it was meant to be.

Feeling the joys of motherhood, a privilege that I know many struggle to receive.

Enjoying my sons and each of their unique personalities.

Witnessing the growing friendships that my boys are forming with one another.

Obsessing over matching clothes and playing mommy paparazzi.

Stretching myself to explore and surprisingly enjoy activities I never would have otherwise.

Feeling proud to have the responsibility to shape some good men. We need more of them.

Daydreaming about the mother-son dance that I’ll get to do three different times.

Promising not to be the dreaded mother-in-law and feeling confident that I’ll be an awesome one.

Receiving love and the greatest joy from three amazing little kids that are all mine.

 

Life is unexpected. Life is full of surprises. Life is amazing.

I never in a million years thought that I’d someday marry the one and only boyfriend I had, who I met before I got a driver’s license. Never did I dream that I would change careers three different times before age 35. And no, never did I think I would be living in a house filled with 4 dudes, three that own a piece of my DNA.

But here’s the thing…

“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That’s what you call God’s Will.” – Unknown

Today, I thank God, the universe, the energy around me that has given me these beautiful little souls to be a part of my journey. They are the absolute loves of my life and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I love my boys dearly and I know deep in my heart, that I was meant to be their mom. “I chose you,” is what my eldest says to me all the time. And I am glad his brothers followed!

Life is full of unexpected surprises and being a “Boy Mom” has been messy, loud and the greatest joy of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and cheers to happy surprises on this crazy ride! XO

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7 Secrets for New Moms to Survive & Enjoy Newborn Life

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The reality is, there is absolutely no solution to avoiding an emotional meltdown at some point after you’ve popped out your warm, cuddly little angel baby.

Whether it happens moments after you’ve squeezed out this giant watermelon from your body or a few months later when you’re covered in turd the color of mustard (or what they are now calling Gen Z Yellow), that meltdown is coming.

And you will inevitably then feel “mom guilt”.

You will question your mental stability. You will question how this tiny 8 pound creature who doesn’t do anything but eat, sleep, and poop could possibly be the cause for you to be one straw away from going bat crap crazy.  As if you’re watching a movie on Netflix (remember those?), you see yourself beginning to unhinge, but somehow you just can’t grab the remote control quick enough to turn it off.

The good news?

You are still human despite feeling like a drunk sloth. A human that loves her child dearly and is adapting to this new role of putting somebody else first. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day.

More good news?

There are ways to minimize these meltdowns and work through your emotions to build a positive experience for you and your family the way you, once upon a time, pictured it in your head before you actually became a parent.

Here are 7 secrets to surviving and enjoying your baby’s first 3 months of life at home. It’s possible, I promise. I am living, breathing proof. I have played the star role in this tear-jerking movie many of times, which brings me to this conclusion with great conviction:

1. Accept that it’s hard and that it will get harder before it gets easier. Once you fully accept that you’re not doing everything wrong, but that this season of life is actually that difficult, you will be more mentally relaxed to face the challenges. Accept that you will be at times emotionally and physically exhausted. Accept that things will go wrong at times. Accept that you will make mistakes. Accept that you will learn from those mistakes. Accept that you will succeed at being the best darn parent to that sweet, little cherub. Everything takes time.

 Nobody said it will be easy, but it will be worth it. And if they did. They lied.

The forecast is “scattered showers” for the next few months. You might get drenched at times, so just do a little dance and splash around. The reward is little rainbows along the way that will guaranteed, melt your heart.

2. Enlist help. Nobody is expecting you to be a martyr. Eat well. Replenish. You are the Mommy and there is no doubt you will be leading the show. You will be tempted to be the Super Mom that you are in all her glory without giving your body the rest it needs. Your body has housed this absolute miracle and then has undergone intense measures to debut this beauty to the world. Give gratitude to your body by allowing it to heal. Nourish yourself so you can nourish your child. And sometimes that means you need to enlist help.

Find a Mother’s Assistant if you can afford it. Enlist family and friends for some babysitting and meals. Lean on those around you to support you and your family.

 Then take it one step further.

Try to remember who you were just a few weeks before you became a mom. What were your interests and hobbies? What did you do to relax and unwind? What made you happy before you experienced this new form of happiness with your baby?

Find a way to bring that back into your day, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes. Do some yoga stretches if that is what takes you to your happy place. Do you love to sing? Are you an avid reader? Does doing your hair put a bounce in your step?

Allowing yourself to pull from your “old Self” into this new experience of motherhood will be comforting and rejuvenating.

3. Set daily goals and keep them small and achievable. When baby takes over your life, it’s easy to feel like a hot-mess. You know in a past life you were a fully, functioning adult that was able to accomplish more than taking a shower but it’s almost hard to remember her.

Write down goals for the day that are achievable. They can be as simplistic as “Eat a balanced meal”. “Do one load of laundry”. “Make a phonecall to a friend/family member.”

Cross off these goals as you accomplish them. Since you are mommin’ so hard day and night, it will feel satisfying to know that you were able to be productive outside of this new role.

As time goes on, your daily goals can become more detailed or ambitious. The key is to feel accomplished.

As much as you know keeping a tiny human-being alive all day is the most important job in the world, knowing you were able to that and more will feel satisfying.

4. Keep the social outlets open because it’s easy to become isolated. You were probably going to some type of workplace before you had your baby and now you’re on maternity leave or maybe you’ve decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Not only have you just acquired a brand new job with responsibilities far greater than any other job description (i.e. Keep Human Alive…yeah, that’s a big one), but now it’s just you and your baby. As much as that sweet pea’s coos are precious, you are really going to need to hear another human’s voice that sounds more than a little gargle.

Find a mom’s group. Invite a friend over for a playdate. Try to keep a decent spread on the social calendar, despite the temptation to throw in the towel. Your friends and family will lift you and pull you forward.

Does this mean start hosting potlucks every weekend? Oh, heck no.

But keep the communication lines open with family and friends, because this will energize you when the going gets tough. I unexpectedly made a group of SAHM friends once I had my baby and it was the biggest blessing because we were on similar schedules and I had people to talk to throughout the day, even if it was just through text messages.

Also, know that some of your current friends simply may not understand the changes you are going through, and that’s okay. But you do need to find a tribe that can relate and help you recharge. They are out there, you just need to be open to receiving.

5. Take a deep breath. Say I love you. Put your child in a safe place. Walk away for 1 minute. Give yourself a time-out. When you have tried everything- changing a diaper, giving milk, rocking, swaying, playing music, pulling out different toys, running the sound machine, taking a walk outside, singing a song, and whatever else you can think of that would look completely absurd to an onlooker (and you secretly thank God nobody is watching)—it’s time to walk away. Changing sceneries and being in silence may inspire a new solution, so give yourself a time-out. Don’t feel guilty about it. You are doing it to be the best version of yourself for your baby.

When your laptop freezes and you’ve tried every darn key on that keyboard, you finally hold down that power button for a few seconds, and voila—back in business.

Hold down your power button for a minute. It’s okay.

6. Openly communicate with your spouse/partner. At the end of the day, this is your person. When the tensions are high, and the sleep quality is low, the first person to end up in the line of fire is the beloved spouse/partner. When hormones are flailing and your milk jugs are leaking and your husband can’t remember where he put the burp cloths, you can’t help but unleash the dragon. But remember, this man right here is trying to help you and he’s also going through some major changes himself. Let him know how you’re feeling and be direct about how he can support you.

Dads, cut your lady a little slack…she has performed no less than a miracle to deliver this child and now her body is adjusting. It’s called 4th trimester. She needs you in the same way she’s needed you in the last 9 months. Remember those foot rubs you were doling out just a few weeks ago? Keep them coming. You think you’re being helpful by taking the baby for a feeding and doing diaper changes, but remember, your wife needs you too. Ask her how she is doing. Give her some extra hugs. Tell her she’s doing a good job. Communicating and being there for her is just as important as pitching in with your new responsibilities as parents. Trust me, this will go a long, long way.

7. Remind yourself that this is just a phase and it will get better. And no, you don’t have to love every second. Being a new mom is hard. People will tell you to cherish every moment.

 Let’s be real.

Who is thinking to themselves when the baby is incessantly crying when you’ve tried everything under the sun, “Oh man, I’m really going to cherish this right here. Because I’m going to really miss this.

Yeah, nobody.

It’s okay to not cherish every single second of the day. Don’t feel guilty for it. You are human and this doesn’t mean you love your child any less than those “other moms”.

It is however important to have gratitude for the peaceful moments with your baby. To cherish the cuddles, the new little movements and quirks you will discover each new day. To surrender to the deep love you are now experiencing which you didn’t even know existed in the world. And to be open to learn about yourself because you are growing just as quickly as your little baby.

Having gratitude is what will allow you to get through the hard times.

 

There you have it. A laundry list of ways to successfully survive those first few months after you’ve welcomed your newest and cutest family member.

Be kind to yourself. Allow help. Take breaks. Have gratitude. You have got this, my dear. You’re strong like a Mother.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression should always be addressed with a trusted healthcare professional. The thoughts and ideas in this article are not meant to be used as medical advice.

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Mommy 3.0 is the Coolest Version

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Mommy has been upgraded.

She is on her third and last iteration and it’s clear that this version is made to last.

Mommy 3.0 may have chipped nail-polish and lets the laundry pile up a little longer but she is so much cooler and here’s why:

  1. She doesn’t worry as much. She knows that rash will go away. She knows that the cluster-feeding doesn’t mean she is running out of milk. She knows when it’s something that will pass and when it really warrants a call to the doctor and the pediatrician loves her for that.
  2. She bends the rules. Sure, the kids can eat on the couch. Sure, we can have dessert before dinner. She knows that bending the rules sometimes isn’t really that big of a deal. And if bending the rules gives her a chance to fill up on an extra cup of caffeine, then the answer is “Heck yeah!”
  3. She takes risks. She wings it. Forgot the diaper changing pad? No problem, she’ll improvise. No diapers? Her scarf suddenly has a new purpose in life. This woman is innovative and for that reason, she’s a risk taker. If there’s a problem, it WILL be handled.
  4. She’s smarter. There’s been a lot of learning that has happened with each child. She has seen just about everything by now. Google, you have some serious competition.
  5. She says what’s on her mind. Want to know how that dress really looks on you? Ask Mommy 3.0. She lost her filter once she pushed out that last baby.
  6. She’s a great friend. She might not pick up the phone as often but she knows the true value of friendship. She’s that woman who will find a way to help a friend, even if it means adding one more thing to her toppling over plate.
  7. She’s always down for some wine. Somebody get this woman a glass, quick. She deserves… Every. Last. Drop.
  8. She’s such a mother hen. Her grays might be sticking up and she might smell like spit-up, but this woman has so much love to give. Drop your kids off at her house. Take the dog. Take that homeless looking fella. She’ll take care of them all.
  9. She’s easily pleased. She’s surviving on her kid’s leftovers, so she really won’t care what restaurant you choose. Anything you choose is an upgrade from eating over her kitchen sink.
  10. She’s so loved. She’s got one more little kiddo that gives her wet kisses. One more little dude that will bring home priceless scribbled artwork. She is their “home” and they make sure she knows it.

Mommy 3.0 is crushing it.

She’s faster, smarter and high in demand. She has quite the fan-base and she loves every bit of it.

She might have a few glitches here and there, but she’s definitely built to last. Just hand her a giant cup of coffee when she’s buffering and she’ll be back to new in no time.

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Top 5 Things to Pack for a Comfortable Labor & Delivery

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In honor of having a handful of prego friends around me, many of which are first time moms-to-be, I’m inspired to share my top 5 favorite things to pack for your hospital stay during labor and delivery.

Now, I’m not going to get into the obvious things like camera, cell phone, toothbrush…there are tons and tons of checklists available on the ‘net already that will cover all the basics.

This list covers all the things that I adored the very most during labor and delivery. Each labor was a little different for me, so this list is a comprehensive list between all 3 times I popped:

  1. Music Playlist Specifically Created for Labor. Music to me instantly changes my mood and creating a playlist for labor helped me get into the mood I wanted to have through the contractions and into delivery. Don’t make your playlist too early; within a couple weeks of your due date is ideal. This way you can go with your vibe at the time. Each time was different for me: With my first labor, I wanted it to be super tranquil, so I had music on my playlist that helped me feel calm and zen out. With my second, I was listening to workout music that was super upbeat and I was dancing and moving through my contractions. With my third, I was listening to hip hop and letting out my goofy side by blasting stuff like “Push it”. Go with your mood and how you want to embrace labor. I personally used Spotify. I was listening to my playlists from when the contractions started at home, in the car and at the hospital during labor.
  2. Robe and loose flannel pajama pants. The hospital supplied a gown, but I just didn’t enjoy wearing the hospital gear longer than necessary. Having a light, cottonish robe was convenient since I was breastfeeding every couple of hours. I’m picky about the material I wear, so if you’re like me, then stick to materials you enjoy. I was tempted to buy a silk/ floral kimono because it would be cute in pictures but I knew I wouldn’t dig the material. I picked mine up from Target a lot like this kimono style one. I bought one size up from my non-prego size. It was a bit snug but it did the job and I can still wear it. Win-win. Flannel pants were awesome because they were loose, kept me warm, I didn’t care if they got beat up, and did I mention they were loose? There is so much going on waist down, that having some loose comfy pants was the best. Think Christmas morning and you just got the most amazing gift ever. My flannel pants were actually my husband’s flannel pants…details details. They’re mine now.
  3. Nursing bras and a Nursing Tank. If you plan on nursing, then definitely take some nursing bras with you. In fact, I just started wearing mine during pregnancy. I bought a size up from what fit me perfectly during pregnancy to keep extra real estate for when my milk came in. If you are not going to nurse, still take a comfortable, supportive bra. I have been happy with this wireless full-coverage nursing bra made by Motherhood Maternity. And it’s on sale right now, guys. Woohoo! I also got use out of my nursing tank at the hospital when I didn’t feel like wearing a robe.
  4. Exercise Ball. So, no I didn’t pack this but I did find out from the hospital beforehand if they would have one I could use for labor. I started sitting on this every day during my late night TV binging in the last month of my pregnancy. It is comfortable to sit on and also is a great way to stretch. Having it during labor was very handy in order to get into a comfortable position when I didn’t want to stand. I could sit on the ball and crouch over the hospital bed and get some relief. Hubbers did a great job applying pressure to my lower back through my contractions when I had “back labor” the first time around. Having the ball helped me reach my goal before surrendering to the epidural. Oh, epidural..how I loved thee.
  5. Snacks. I didn’t realize how starving I would be getting my first go around. Luckily, the hospital I delivered at provided 24 hour dining (it wasn’t as bougie as I just made it sound) which was surprisingly decent. I delivered at a different hospital the second time and their food is probably where the saying, “It tastes like hospital food” came from. Yuck. And the little food they provided was only during certain hours. For this reason, pack snacks that you can munch on when other food is not available. If you’re lucky like I was, you will have family that can bring you some food too. A girl has to eat, right? Especially after an extreme workout sesh like popping out a baby!

A few other tips for your labor hospital stay are listed below because, well, I just have a lot to say:

-A going home outfit for baby appropriate for the weather. Remember, baby needs one extra layer than we do.

-A going home outfit for you. You will still look about 6 months pregnant, so plan accordingly.

-Car-seat properly installed. If this is your first time, your local fire department can install it for you free of charge and make sure it is done correctly.

-Toiletries. Think staycation. If you’re picky about your shampoo, take your shampoo.

-Prenatal vitamins. The hospital will supply this as well, but I wanted to stick to what I was already taking.

-Cameras, phones and CHARGERS. Clear out memory cards beforehand so you have enough storage space.

-Gifts “from the baby” to older siblings when they visit. Preparing older siblings is something we began quite early on in the pregnancies.

-A bag of essentials for husband or your delivery teammate that may be staying overnight with you.

-Coconut oil. I didn’t do this, but my doctor mentioned that some women bring it for lubrication during delivery. If you’re into that, don’t forget it.

-Breast pump. The hospital will supply this as well, but if you have questions on yours, you can take it and get some tips from a lactation consultant. Remember, most health plans provide a free breastpump via Affordable Care Act that passed a few years ago. Oh, how I miss our old President but I won’t get into politics.

Happy Laboring, ladies! What did you take that was helpful to you for labor? Leave a comment below for other soon-to-be Mommies!

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I’ve Been Baking and My Little Bun is Finally Here!

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I’m back!

I was focusing on my baking skills and juggling my two little sous chefs along the way the last several months. By baking skills, I mean I had a bun in the oven and now after a short 9 months of pregnancy (it really did zip by!) I’m a new mom once again.

This Mama of two boys has been upgraded to Mama of THREE boys! My little J is here and has brought so much joy to our family already. This little guy was just meant to be ours in so many ways and I’m feeling fiercely in love all over again.

My heart is so full that I think it could explode at any given time.

When I see the three of them snuggle up together or when my eldest becomes protective of his little brothers and declares he’ll always look out for them, or when I catch my older two in deep conversation, bonded by intense giggles, my heart is at serious risk of cardiac arrest.

These are the moments that give my life purpose, heart at risk of combustion and all.

Of course, now that my kitchen is closed and these were the last baking days my tummy would see, I can’t help but become even more excited about the future.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m completely and thoroughly enjoying each of these newborn days with my little bundle. I’m clinging onto each and every moment knowing that all the “lasts” with him, are my lasts forever.

It’s the last time I’ll have the feeling of a newborn’s weight on my chest. It’s the last time I’ll take in the sweet smell of a baby’s head as it rests on the nape of my neck. It’s the last time I’ll have the intense feeling of joy when my baby smiles for the first time with our eyes locked together.

There will be many lasts in the upcoming months that I will experience as a mother. However, there are a lifetime of “firsts” that are ahead for my family and I’m beyond eager to get the party started!

KetAnisha Krew Party of Five…Let’s do this!

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What I Learned in my First Year as a Stay-at-Home-Mom

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Over a year has flown by after putting my career down for a little nap and taking on a different adventure with my kids. I swapped out my work badge for burp cloths and the rest is history…

I have learned a great deal about myself and about this parenting gig over the past year. Although the learning is an on-going process as my kids grow and we are at the doorstep of new challenges and experiences, there have been valuable lessons on my journey so far.

Working Parent vs. Stay-At-Home-Parent. There’s no right answer. I have done it all by now: Travel to the office, work from home, part-time, and stay-at-home. Each one brings its own benefits and sets of challenges.

The fact is, we are all doing our best to provide for our families and there’s a constant evolution in goals, needs, and circumstances amongst us.  When the time is right, I’m sure I will enjoy diving back into my career. But right now, this is perfect. Not because being a SAHM is perfect, but because this is the best lifestyle for our family at this moment in time.

The truth is, we need both in the world.

We need a parents’ perspective out in the field whether she’s a teacher, doctor or politician. We need her role-modeling for our children that they too can be anything as long as they work hard. We need him to contribute to society while still wearing his parent hat, because let’s face it, our children are the future.

At the same time, we need the balance that stay-at-home parents provide. We need parent volunteers at schools, temples and churches that form a sense of community. We need someone to give our kids the attention and love they need to shape them into responsible and caring adults that will impact change in the world.

The way I see it, we are all a team. We are all contributing to our own families and to society in ways that we personally make the best impact, and there is no right or wrong way to do just that.

There is no tangible measure of success as a SAHM. When employed by a corporation or running a business, there are metrics that help us understand our performance. There is an annual review of goals and deliveries that provide a line in the sand to measure growth.

As a SAHM, nobody is giving me a “review”. There isn’t a nine-box, quarterly bonus or annual merit increase.

I struggled in the beginning because I didn’t know how to get the confirmation I needed that I was doing a “great job.” I wanted block one status.

Were my kids well-behaved enough? Were we eating home-cooked meals enough? Were the activities I was doing with my kids enough?

At first, these were the checklists I thought I was “suppose” to be following in order to feel successful. Turns out, these were not the measuring points of my success and it was almost petty to think that this is what my new “job” was supposed to be.

I eventually realized that it had nothing to do with making a list and seeing how quickly I could cross off the items.

Before I quit my job, a seasoned Stay-At-Home-Mom once said to me, “your home will be warmer.” At the time, I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but somehow those words stuck with me. And over a year into this adventure, I realized that is exactly it.

Our home feels warmer.

Our kids’ smiles are wide and my husband is happy and I can take credit by the little things I do for my family. And this joy is a reflection that comes right back to me. That right there is my “merit increase”.

A balanced life is a joyful one. Once it is achieved, there is no going back. The decision to stay at home with my children comes down to wanting balance in our family lifestyle.

With both my husband and I working outside of the home, every day felt like a mad dash. Although we were capable of the juggling act that it required, we decided we just didn’t want to do it anymore.

Life is too short to let it pass us by in routine and running off to the next thing.

We were able to hit all of our goals, so it wasn’t a matter of running out of fuel to accomplish everything we wanted for our family.

I was still breastfeeding and pumping like I wanted to be able to do for my baby. My kids were doing all the enrichment activities we sought out. We were traveling. We were eating healthy. Check, check, check.

But the thing is, we were spread so thin and there wasn’t room for more.

There wasn’t time to relish in small moments. Or have “left over time”, if there is such a thing, for personal growth and goals. We had a wonderful life, but we wanted more to take it to the next level.

After I quit my job, I started volunteering more at my son’s school. I started getting more involved in cultural activities with my kids. I began exploring my creative side that hadn’t gotten much love in a while. My husband and I were able to carve out more time to spend with each other. He was able to take on more challenging projects at work.

We were able to get the balance we wanted with one parent being at home. This allowed for our children to remain front and center and still be able to grow individually with a balanced lifestyle.

As our family grows and needs change, my husband and I will always make it a priority to achieve the balance we have now. It will probably look different than it does today at some point, but as life evolves, so will our formula.

Change can be scary, but regret is scarier. I am so grateful that I ripped the bandage off and just did it. Quitting my job was one of the most “off the beaten road” things I have ever done in my life. It was never part of the “plan”.

Over time, it became a desire in order to gain the lifestyle we wanted, and so we made it happen.

The biggest lesson has been to take the plunge without fear.  Change is good. Change provides us valuable lessons. Change is progress.

For me, it was about quitting a job to become a stay-at-home parent and create the family lifestyle I always wanted. For somebody else, it might be about taking a tough promotion. It could be about going back to school to get a new degree or starting a business. It could be moving across the country or maybe to the other side of the world.

Whatever it might be, desires are real.

We are here to achieve our dreams and only we are responsible and capable to make them a reality. From my experience, I would tell you to let go of your fears and just fly. Life is too short to always wonder about what might have been.

When heart, mind and spirit are one, success is only inevitable.

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My Baby is Turning One and I’m a Bit of a Mess

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My baby is turning one…ONE.

I cannot even begin to express how quickly the year has zipped on by. This past month, I find myself holding my little guy just a bit longer, staring at him during the most mundane activities and kissing his little toes with full realization that they won’t remain tiny and sweet forever. I can’t help but feel both joyful yet disoriented while thinking about how quickly we’ve come full-circle. To think that it has been an entire year since the world was blessed with the arrival of our little man feels unreal.

Celebrating my guy’s first birthday brings a bag of mixed emotions. Joy, gratitude, and love are just a few. With this birthday, I also feel sadness. This isn’t necessarily the feeling I fancy the most, but the truth is, I am experiencing a bit of “empty nest” syndrome already and here’s why-

  1. Many of the major “firsts” have come and gone. Of course, these are just a handful of “firsts” that we’ll have the sheer joy of witnessing throughout his life. But the baby books are all about the first year. Literally, “that’s all she wrote”. It’s an end of a chapter which is also the end of the entire book. I’m just not ready.
  2. The idea of putting my breast-pump away makes me excited and emotional at the same time. I’m grateful for the chance to provide him with the nourishment of my own milk for the first year of his life, and I know that there could have been many hurdles that prevented it. The sheer emotional satisfaction of breastfeeding is irreplaceable. At the same time, having the extra hours back in my day as I cut back on pumping has certainly been a welcomed change. It is all quite bittersweet.
  3.  The toothless smiles, the little arching back, the tiny fingers that involuntarily wrap around my index finger. Those are moments that I will never have back with my little guy. I didn’t realize when it was the “last time”, but somehow, those moments came and went and I didn’t even know it.
  4. With every year that passes, it is one step closer to my baby needing me just a little less. It’s inevitable and I want nothing more than to have a well-rounded, independent young man as my son. But the thought of my sweet angel no longer looking at me like I’m a rock star (I know that day will eventually come) is crushing.
  5. The excitement of welcoming a precious angel into the world is untouched by anything else on this planet. Reality is that this could very well be the last “first year” our family will experience together. Each milestone with my baby feels slightly more emotional because I know that it may be the last…ever.

The fact is, my little guy is doing exactly what he’s meant to do. He’s growing. He’s exploring the world and shaping his own perception of the universe around him. He’s learning, loving, and bonding with his family. He’s taking little steps in the direction of his bright future. These are all reasons to jump for joy and any logical part of my brain tries to remind my heart just that.

Our beautiful boy has been the perfect addition to our krew and I cannot imagine my world any other way. His wrinkled-nose smile, his giggles, his little temper and big personality are endearing and heart-melting.

I could not be more proud of my sweet, little baby and our family for evolving over this past year. Yes, I have moments of sadness thinking about the commencement and closing of his first year. But I am grateful for all of the moments we’ve shared and mostly for choosing me to be his Mommy. I feel incredibly lucky.

Happy first birthday to my little guy!

Keep rocking the boat little dude. I love you with everything I’ve got. 

P.S.- Your Mom will always be a rock star. You just may not know it.

 

 

 

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Happy Anniversary to my Hubbers!

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9th  Wedding Anniversary

On this very day nine years ago, my husband and I were giddy and excited to commit ourselves to being each other’s, forever. Another year has zipped by and we have the fortune of celebrating yet another wedding anniversary together.

As I sit here quietly, I reminisce about our life together. Our movie plays in my mind. We courted, bickered, loved, laughed, cried, argued, cuddled, joked, and dreamed together.

One memory that comes quickly in my mind is the time I finally sat on a rollercoaster for the first time. I was scared to death but he was right there next to me holding my hand and in his quiet, nurturing voice promising me that everything was going to be okay. With his comforting hands and loving words, he actually promised me more than momentary confidence to get through the ride. He gave me assurance that I could do anything I ever wanted. And whenever I would be nervous, he will hold my hand and whisper in my ear that it will be okay. I knew I would get through any rollercoaster in life as long as he was by my side.

Thank you Hubbers for being there with me along every step of the way of this adventure. Thank you for sticking with me when I’m rough around the edges. Thank you for loving me on days I make it hard to remember why. Thank you for taking me the way I am.

I promise to love you today, tomorrow and always. Happy Anniversary!

 

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Why I pressed the pause button on my career

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I recently put in my two weeks notice at work.

Just like that, I will be unemployed in a handful of days and I could not be more excited.

I’m a product manager for a company that plays in the well-being & healthcare space. It’s been a rewarding position both monetarily and developmentally and most people would categorize me as “lucky” to have flexible work hours, short commute, and a mission in which I genuinely believe.

Having a career has always been important to me and I never really considered taking a “time-out” until one day, in the far away future when I was sporting severe gray hair and moderate wrinkles. I am a planner by nature, and with some good decision making and blessings, my life has been a sequence of steps that have fallen into place. Pulling the plug on my career was a decision that I did not take lightly nor was “part of the plan”.

After having my older son almost 4 years ago, I was able to still find balance between career and home. We had a system that worked like a well-oiled machine. My kitchen sink was always empty, my laundry room was neat and tidy. I was able to conquer all the fun enrichment activities I wanted to do with my son, scrape up time to spend with my husband and friends, all the while excelling in my career. I became a master juggler. I would joke with my co-workers that I was trying to be “hot breakfast mom”. Maybe it was a silly fantasy but I always imagined making pancakes, even on a random Tuesday and we all would have breakfast together as a family before jetting off to work and school. Weekdays were not completely calm and collected but I was able to put pancakes in our bellies and that made me happy. All in all, I was able to accomplish a majority of my goals big and small. I was at peace.

Then came the arrival of my baby boy, upgrading us into a family of four. It is true what they say, my love wasn’t divided in half, but my heart doubled in size. What nobody told me is that the number of hours in the day would seem far less, my ability to focus would exponentially decline and I’d be left with guilt about all the things I wished to do but simply could not conquer. Making pancakes for the family on a Tuesday sounded like a joke. If I was able to shower and make it out of the house before 8:30am, that was a huge feat in and of itself.

I use to be a person who enjoyed each and every day but had fallen victim to always desperately awaiting Fridays just to catch my breath. I was finding less joy in every single day. I started to feel like multi-tasking was no longer something I was proud of, but rather something I dreaded. Being able to do one thing at a time, but enjoying it 100% became a rarity. I found that when I was at work, I had a running checklist in my mind of all the things that were sitting idle at home. I was always feeling behind. When I was at home, I was checking work email at nights to stay caught up so my projects didn’t slip. My life felt like a hundred meter dash with no finish line.

I felt like I was constantly fighting the clock and in feeling rushed, I was missing out on quality time with my kids. I was always hurrying them to the next thing in order to keep my own head above water. Rushing to school, rushing to swim class, rushing through dinner and then rushing them into bed. This is not how I wanted our days to be spent together. Often times, I was physically in their presence, but I was mentally somewhere else.

I needed to evolve and spearhead change. I needed to reflect on my purpose. I needed to do an inventory on how I was spending my time and what value it was bringing to my family. My most valuable and limited asset was time, and I needed to invest it carefully.

With every ounce of my being, I fought to keep up with everything; it turns out that there just is not enough time for everything. I realized that the trivial things such as putting pancakes in my family’s belly or being able to give my children undivided attention is what really matters to me. These trivial things add up to be in fact the big things. These are the things they will remember when they are grown.

I am fortunate that we are financially capable to even consider this leap and for that I am grateful. Once my husband and I realized this was financially doable, I was concerned about what indirect message I might be sending to my children and to some degree, even family and friends. I came to the conclusion that I’m not teaching my kids to give up when things get tough. I’m teaching them to prioritize what is most important to them. I’m teaching them about commitment and patience. I’m teaching them that there is a time and place for everything, and where there is determination and passion, there is success.  And there is no better time than right now to make a change.

Right now, I’m listening to my heart and it has a pretty good track record. I’m trusting it.

I’m doing what matters the most to me right now, in this very moment. A moment that will pass as quickly as it came. The future is unknown but one thing that I am certain of is my career can withstand a pause, but there’s no pause button on my quickly growing kids. And as cheesy as it sounds, I am excited to trade in my work badge for burp cloths and simply enjoy these little people that know me as mommy.

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye Baby Bump and Hello Curves

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Photo Credit: Ushna Khan Photography

After 9 months of pregnancy and growing a tiny human to perfection, we left the hospital with life’s most precious gift. With my new bouncing bundle came another little parting gift, my extra curves. Oh the curves.

I remember being at the hospital after baby #1, still looking 6 months pregnant. My mom even had me ask the nurse if it was “normal” for my stomach to look like it was still harboring a fugitive. After being told I’ll look that way for a while, I fled the hospital without even doing a double-take. I only had eyes for the newest little love of my life. In 5 1/2 short months, I was back to my pre-prego weight and I probably looked even more toned than before. I wish I could brag about how hard I worked to lose the weight, but aside from staying active with my new baby and breastfeeding, I didn’t do anything. It just happened.

It’s been 6 months after having baby #2, and well, there’s still a long way to go before I’m back down to my pre-prego weight. The muffin top has become awfully comfortable hanging out on what use to be flat abs. I think they’re back there somewhere! After my uterus ballooned up twice and now being in my thirties, my body is just different. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me initially. But I have completely accepted the evolution that my body has undergone to give me my two babies and for that, I am grateful. It really is nothing short of magic.

The extra pounds are a reminder of the home I once created for my two miracles. Maybe I’ll go back to looking fit and maybe one day I’ll be determined to try. But right now, I’m over the moon just being a mom. A curvy mom that is loved by her babies and that’s a far better feeling than fitting into a size 2 any day.

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