The Space Between

For the women trying to live life in the space between it all.

Can we just all be super moms?

2

I’m a chewy, granola, crunchy, silky, helicopter, unicorn mom.

Oh, the labels. There are SO many ways to parent your child nowadays. I’ve been a mom for a mere 2.5 years and so much has changed since my first was born. I feel like we so easily label moms as something and then that’s who they are. You’re either crunchy or silky. What about those of us in between?

I formula fed my first and am breastfeeding my second. That alone makes me scrunchy. What? It’s all so confusing. I make my own baby food, except prunes – prunes, I buy. I cloth diaper and use cloth wipes – yay environment! I baby wear. I don’t co-sleep. I vaccinate. I use essential oils (a lot!) but I also use Tylenol and ibuprofen. We buy a lot of organic food but we also eat Goldfish. We extended rear face. I chase my kid around the playground with sunscreen and hand sanitizer, reapplying as needed. No shame in my pale, germ-free game. I combo fed both of my kids with purees AND baby led weaning. *gasp* No! Yes, I did. It worked great for us. We play outside a lot but we also have a lot of movie days. We do a lot of crafts but we also sometimes do nothing. I try to cook all meals from scratch but sometimes we have a frozen pizza. I had an epidural for both deliveries – I don’t regret it at all. I really wanted to have a home birth but my husband said no…and as it turned out if I had, I probably would’ve died. I don’t spank but sometimes I yell. I count to three a lot and say, “Use your big girl words” way more than anyone ever should.

My point is that NO mom is the same. Everybody raises their kiddos differently. These mom labels are great and all but we all really just need to do what’s best for our families and our kiddos. I think the fact that I fit into six different mom “categories” proves that. And these are just the first ones I could think of. I’m sure there are more. It doesn’t matter where you fit in, or if you even fit into any at all. What matters is you’re doing the best you can and what’s best for you and your sweet angels. Just keep being a super mom. That’s the only label that matters. Keep going, momma! You’re doing great.

25498301_10159731647430483_2426544305905605065_n

For when you tried your best.

0

Oh sweet momma, today you rocked it. You kept the kids busy. You didn’t turn on the TV once. You painted, you danced, you played doctor, you played with playdough, you colored a card for someone who’s sick, you let them paint some more, you kept your cool, you didn’t let the series of unfortunate events get to you. Thing after thing happened but you didn’t break. Not today, Satan. Nothing seems to go right but you’re trying your hardest to make the best of it. But you’re only human and you’re only one person so naturally, it gets to you. Time for a mini meltdown. Or a huge one. Doesn’t matter.

28279635_10160032828725483_2286892174143045796_n

Why do I even try? Why is this so hard? Why can’t things just go how I want them to for once? Why does it seem like the universe is against me? Why can’t this just be easy?

 I have had those days. Trust me, I’ve had them. However, tomorrow is a new day. You get to start over again! Looking back, I know we had hard days when my second was first born and even my first was born, but I truly cannot remember the details of them. I can’t remember a specific bad day. I remember the good ones, oh do I remember the good ones! But the bad ones? Not so much. This is just a moment. An hour. A day. A week. A season. It always gets better. Sip on some coffee, snuggle with your kiddos and know that tomorrow will be better. Each day holds new hope and promises. You’ve got this.

You are capable. You are amazing. You are super mom. You are radiant. You are a rock star. (You totally rock!) You are incredible. You’ve. Got. This.

My first week as a stay at home mom was a nightmare.

0

I’m going to preface this by saying, I’m SO thankful I get to stay at home with my kids. It’s such an answer to many prayers and truly a blessing for us. However, I expected our first week to be sunshine and rainbows and it wasn’t. Not. Even. Close. It doesn’t even make any sense because I stayed home before, I just had additional kids to watch. You’d think it’d be easier! Nope. It wasn’t. My kids lost their routine. They lost their friends. Now we wake up when we want, we eat when we want. We’ve been doing the same thing every day for a long time and now everything is changing. Why did I decide to use this huge adjustment and transition period to potty train my two year old? Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment because holy moly it was the worst idea I’ve ever had.

It’ll be so great. I’ll be able to clean my house and go outside all the time and potty train Audrey and have dinner on the table when my husband comes home. The laundry will always be caught up and I’ll be able to meal prep and make gourmet breakfasts. What was I thinking? Why did I think this would be easy?

Audrey is a mess because she’s trying to adjust to a completely new day to day life and Quinn has done nothing but scream and cry all day every day since Monday. Genius idea to schedule 6 month shots that first week. Good job, Alli.

My poor husband didn’t come home to a clean house or a meal on the table or a happy wife. He came home to a tornado of a house after Hurricane Alli came through trying to do her home cooked meals and a shell of a very defeated wife. I haven’t even had time to write a blog post until now because I’ve been so busy adjusting and figuring things out.

I’m going to share a screenshot of a text my amazing husband sent me and hopefully he doesn’t get mad – just kidding, he won’t! I’m so thankful for his encouragement and support. He has made this difficult transition much easier with his encouraging words and being willing to clean our disaster house after his long work days.

IMG_9747

Can we all sing together? What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Good job, guys! But seriously, how awesome is he?! I’m such a lucky lady!

Stay at home moms, I don’t know how you do it! We just finished up week 2 and it was much better but not any easier. My house is still a wreck. I’m hoping the ability to balance things and juggle will come with time. It does, right?!

When the Lord provides.

2

For the past few months it’s been laid on my heart that I’m being called to be a stay at home mom. I’ll be perfectly honest, my husband and I battled a lot about this because I kept bringing it up. It was all so silly and crazy because I would never quit my job. Ever. I love my job. None oIMG_8956f it made any sense. We’d fight and I’d get frustrated because I didn’t understand why I felt so strongly about something that wasn’t ever going to become a reality. It didn’t make sense. I even bought Erin Odom’s book You Can Stay Home with Your Kids in hopes of finding some good tips. Why? I have no idea. There was no reason for any of this. Then I got the news. In two weeks, I wouldn’t have a job anymore. Suddenly it all made sense. The Lord was preparing my heart for this for months and I didn’t even know it. He was preparing my husband for this conversation and preparing our household for what was to come and we didn’t even realize it. The days to follow were stressful. My husband very clearly knew the desires of my heart but the protector and provider in him was having a hard time coming to grips with losing an entire income. I prayed and begged and pleaded. I prayed a lot. I sought a lot. For the first time in a long time, maybe even ever, I listened. I listened with all that I had. I updated my resume. The Lord said no. I began to search for and apply for jobs. The Lord said no. I begged for clear and concise answers. I’m pretty sure God laughed at that. Well, maybe I can just work part time. The Lord said no again. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! Focus on your family. But, Lord, focusing on my family doesn’t make any money. Trust me. I will provide. I kept praying. I prayed and I prayed. All of a sudden, I felt this amazing peace. There was no fear. I knew there would be many sacrifices but I was ready and willing. I felt free. I felt excited. I had no idea what the Lord had planned – to be honest, I still don’t – but I know He has a mighty plan for my family.

The blessings started pouring in. The Lord was providing! Just like He said He would. I somehow managed to cut our grocery budget in half and now we’re eating better than we ever have before. How? I have no idea. I bought the same groceries I always do and yet this time they were a lot cheaper. I can’t explain it. Our phone bill was due to be dropped by $40 that month because they would both be paid off now. My bosses were extremely gracious and paid me for 4 weeks after I was done working. Little things began happening. Random free items, random discounts, bills that should have been more that were way cheaper than we could’ve imagined. Our eyes were opened. The Lord was providing. He wasn’t dropping hundreds of dollars from the sky but little by little, He was showing us just how powerful and mighty His great plan is.

Trust in Him. Even on the darkest of days, trust in Him. Give it all to Him. Listen. Trust. Believe. Seek. Pray. Worship. Know that the Lord will provide. And even though it may not be what you thought or look like what you wanted, know that He has the most incredible plan imaginable in the works. You just have to be ready to step out in faith and trust that He has a hold of you. He will always pave the way and go before us, we just have to trust and have a little faith.

To the mom who doesn’t fit in.

1

Raise your hand if you’re the awkward mom. *slowly raises hand* I even raise my hand awkwardly. Ugh. I’m a super introvert. I’m awkward in social situations and I obnoxiously focus on my kids when I’m uncomfortable.  I just gave away my secret, but I really do. I’ve tried, I mean really TRIED to make mom friends. I really have. But it never works out. Do I ask for her number? Maybe ask if she wants to hang out some time? It’s like I’m dating all over again. Except joke’s on me because I’m more awkward this time around. Life isn’t fair. I’m in my mid -okay OKAY, late (whatever) 20s. Why am I more awkward now than when I was 17? Again, whatever.

Have you ever sent a potential mom friend a friend request on Facebook because you think you made a connection but then they never accept it so you’re just left in “maybe she didn’t really like me” limbo and lots of self-consciousness? It’s the worst. And then you see the potential mom friend again and you’re all awkward and sweaty because now you feel dumb. That’s me. It’s like sending the Do you like me? Check yes or no. notes in school all over again. It’s so nerve wracking!

In todays day and age, us moms need a tribe. We need a likeminded group of women that love us well and encourage us when we need it. Want to know what’s so awesome? They don’t even have to live near you! One of my best friends lives in another state and I have a few super close friends whom I talk to daily that I met in a group of due date buddies with my oldest. And now some of them are my closest friends. It’s like online dating but for moms! I never realized how similar finding friends is to dating but hey, the analogy works.

At the end of the day, you need to find love, support and encouragement somewhere. You need friends who check in on you and ask how your kids are doing. You need friends who will send you a meal when you’re overwhelmed. You need a safe place to turn when your kids are driving you crazy and you just need to vent. No judgment. No surfacy (yes, I made that word up) conversation. Nothing other than love and encouragement. Find the other awkward mom. She’s out there and she’s waiting for you! Find the mom who’s overly focusing on her kids to avoid small talk or awkward eye contact. Find the mom who has sent a few awkward friend requests herself. She needs you, and you definitely need her.

Mom Pressure

2

It’s 7pm the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I realized I didn’t get dresses for the girls for Easter. What kind of mom am I? Major mom fail. Ugh. I rifle through Audrey’s closet and find a cute, fancy schmancy dress in the back that a friend gave us last summer. It’s in her size. Score! I trot out to our back garage and dig through 70 billion totes to find Audrey’s old spring clothes from a couple of years ago. I find her first Easter dress and it’s 9 months. Score, again! Pretty Easter dresses – check. Now for the perfectly staged Easter picture. Not so check. Trying to get a sassy toddler and a 5 month old to both look at the camera and smile is near impossible. I couldn’t even manage to get Little Miss Sassafras to look at the camera.

IMG_8565

There’s so much pressure on perfection. Living in the social media world that we do makes it difficult at times to not play the comparison game. How does she get her kids to always smile for pictures? How does she get the sunlight to perfectly shine on her children’s faces? Why does her house always look perfect? How does she do it? Why is she so perfect? Here’s her secret. She’s not. Nobody is. It’s so easy to make social media our highlight reel and let everyone believe we’re perfect. But where’s the fun in that? Life is messy, raw, real, chaotic and a little bit sticky. (Or maybe that’s just my house – stinkin’ toddlers.) Why make it seem perfect? Why allow someone else’s highlight reel to put so much pressure on you? So what if you didn’t buy your kids Easter outfits? So what if you don’t realize until 7pm that your child only had goldfish for dinner – big, fat oops. So what if you forget about trick or treating and order their costume 2 days before? (Guilty – I also did that. Thank God for Amazon Prime.) So what if you forget about show and tell and your child takes the obvious last minute choice? So what if you shamelessly turn the TV on while tossing chicken nuggets in front of your child for the second night in a row?

None of it matters. None. Of. It. Matters. Period. I promise that all your child will remember is that momma tried. You tried. You did your best. At the end of the day your sweet baby still snuggles into momma because you are their safety net. Nothing bad can happen with momma around. You protect. You love. You provide. You cherish. And guess what? Despite the messes and the chaos and your crazy dry shampoo mom hair, your sweet angel looks at you and sees nothing less than pure, beautiful perfection.

Why self-care is so important.

2

Mom. Mommy. Mother. Momma. Madre. Mum. Mama. Mummy. So many titles for one extraordinary person.

Moms put everyone before themselves. There’s a running joke lately that talks about how many times moms have to reheat their cup of coffee because they’re too busy to drink it or they forget about it. I even saw something the other day where a mom said she just prefers it cold now – which for me, ironically, is now true.

IMG_8705

It’s currently 3:20pm and I’m sitting on the floor with my 5 month old next to me as I continually bounce her in the bouncer in hopes that she’ll fall asleep for the first time today. She won’t. But I’m trying anyways. I stop to type and she rings out again so I start bouncing again. The cycle continues. She’s been fed, changed, I gave her gripe water and Tylenol for her mean old teeth, all that’s left to do is sleep. But she won’t. As I sit with my naked face because I didn’t have time to put on makeup today and my “mom bun,” I look down at my unshaven legs and my leftover pink nail polish from my last pedicure that was in October of last year. Wow. I try to think of the last time I had a hair cut or color as my grays are growing with a vengeance. I can’t remember. I was pregnant at the time and my baby is now 5 months old. Yikes.

Self-care. It’s a phrase we hear a lot but do we do it a lot? I sure don’t. I tell my husband all the time I want to do this or that but I never get it done. I’m always so busy chasing my toddler or nursing the baby. I’ve “needed a hair cut” for the past few months. I even messaged a friend about getting in to get my hair done but I never followed through. Why do we always put ourselves last? As moms, we have to wear so many hats but sometimes I think we forget that we were a person before we were a mom. I was Alli long before I was Brandon’s wife or Quinn and Audrey’s mom. You may think this sounds selfish and that’s the stigma I’m trying to break. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. You can’t pour into others if your cup isn’t full. I always think of the “you have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others if the plane is going down” analogy. Have you ever tried to pour water from an empty cup? It doesn’t work very well.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a 7 hour trip to the spa or a mani/pedi or anything fancy. It can be waking up 15 minutes before your kids and drinking your coffee hot and scrolling through Facebook or reading your Bible. It can be as simple as ordering your favorite takeout or running through and grabbing a coffee. It can be as simple as doing a movie day so you can relax with your sweet kiddos. Take a break. Take a shower. Take 15 minutes for yourself every day. You deserve it. You’re worth it.