The Space Between

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

Tag Archives: girlmom

For when you tried your best.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?!

Mom Pressure

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

You pushed my buttons today.

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Toddler moms. HOW DO YOU DO IT. Man, oh man. I’m the mom of a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old. Two kids, two and under. Whew. I end my days questioning everything. Did I handle that situation correctly? Did I love them enough? Did they get my best self or just my leftovers? Was I patient enough?

 Why is being a mom so hard sometimes? Why do we question ourselves so much? My sweet and sassy toddler got in my face today, crinkled up her nose and said, “No momma!!!!” My emotions went from upset to angry to sad to dumbfounded. Oh, Audrey. You pushed my buttons today. I’m sitting, nursing Quinn and Audrey walks up to me. IMG_6097“Fruit snacks and water,” she demands. So I ask, “Can mommy have a hug?” “FRUIT SNACKS AND WATER!” she yells then runs away. OKAY. You pushed my buttons today. We pull into the garage, I go around to the driver’s side to get Audrey out. “DADDY GET ME!” Alrighty. You pushed my buttons today. “Audrey, I love you.” “No say I yuv you!” Sigh. You pushed my buttons today. And it continues. And yet somehow, at the same time, she has the sweetest heart of any toddler I’ve ever met. Tonight, we sang our bedtime songs and we get ready to pray so we ask Audrey if she’d like to pray. “God, thank you for mommy and daddy. Thank you for Kinnie. Thank you for our food. Thank you for cheese.” She peeks open one of her eyes, “What else?” she whispers. “And thank you for our blessings.” I’m constantly in awe of her amazing heart.

 

IMG_8628I find myself frustrated on a daily basis simply because I’m a strong-willed momma raising a strong-willed toddler. But days like today when she snuggles into momma and falls asleep while I rock her, I realize I must be doing something right. Days like today when her sister is crying, and she lays down next to her and rubs her head and tells her everything will be okay, I realize that in the midst of the hard, daily battles she makes my life complete. She pushes my buttons daily but she’s constantly pushing me to be better and she doesn’t even know it. She’s helped make me the person I am. Her sweet kindness and tender heart inspires me daily. She makes me a better person.

I think we go into parenthood thinking we do all the raising but in so many ways, we do a lot of the growing. I never thought I’d look at my 2.5 year old daughter and see the person I want to be. Someone who prays for others. Someone who thanks the Lord for cheese. Someone who consoles her sister instead of being jealous of the attention she requires. Someone who loves so incredibly well. I pray that she never loses that sweet and tender spirit. And I pray that she never stops teaching me how to love others and have that sweet child-like faith. I pray that she never stops pushing my buttons because I don’t ever want her to lose her fire – even though that fire may leave me grumbling to myself most days. I pray that she turns this world upside down and continues to love unconditionally. I pray that someday she realizes that she can change the world.

When the days go by slow, but the years are so fast.

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IMG_5280Oh momma, just yesterday your sweet baby was trying baby food for the first time or rolling over for the first time or smiling for the first time. Now they’re saying words or sentences or headed off to school. Where did the time go? You must’ve blinked.

In the midst of the day to day, the days seem to drag on. Breakfast goes so slowly, naptime can’t seem to get here soon enough. That is, if they even decide to take a nap today. Snack time, dinner time, bath time, jammies, books, prayers, lights out. It all seems to pile up and yet the days drag on and you can’t wait until their sweet little heads hit the pillow, so you can have a break. Then the next day, you do it all over again. You do this every day. The days drag on. Then one day you look at your baby. I mean, really look at them and they look a little different. Your baby girl is starting to lose that baby chub and your sweet boy knows all of his colors. It seems like it happens overnight but really, it’s been a year. How did that happen? It seems like we long for the days where they can talk to us and tell us what’s wrong but when those days happen, we miss the baby snuggles. I’ve always heard the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I don’t know that there’s a truer statement that depicts the woes of motherhood so well.

We long for bedtime. We long for the weekend. We long for 5pm when daddy comes home. We long for date night. We long for the time we’re not so tired. We long for someday. And then, eventually someday is here and we long for those sweet, precious moments again. We long for them to fit perfectly in our arms and not sprawl across our body. We long for the tiny giggle from baby’s first tickle. We long for the late night snuggles and the stillness of our quiet house. Now they’re big. They run and scream and laugh and play. They don’t need us quite as much. They shake it off instead of running to mommy for the boo-boo healing kiss. They can tell us exactly what they need instead of mommy snuggling the cries away. They can walk and run on their own without needing our hands to steady and guide them. It goes by in a blink. Through the tired eyes, the days of unwashed hair and sleepless nights, we found joy in their babyhood. We found joy in their little cries and their faith that mommy and daddy will make it all better. We found so much joy in the little things, the little them. And now, they’re big.

The days are long, but the years are oh so short.

The Terrrrr-ific Twos

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Or maybe, the temper tantrum twos? I remember when Audrey turned two, my husband and I were ready for the “terrible twos” to start – we’ll say the terrific twos for the rest of this post. We were pregnant with our second – I think I was around 34 weeks pregnant with Quinn when Audrey turned two. We braced ourselves. But the “terrific” twos never came. Audrey was a joy. We got comments constantly about how well behaved she was. Everywhere we went people ranted and raved about our sweet girl. Theeeennnn her sister was born. Whew.

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I love my daughter with everything I have. But we’ve been struggling lately. I’ll be honest. I said I would be genuine and real, right? It’s not all sunshine and rainbows like the Facebook highlight reel suggests. There’s constant sass and attitude. Lots of back talk and hands on the hips yelling, “NO MOMMA!!!!” My parents laugh and tell me I’m raising myself. They say they can laugh because they survived my toddler and teenage years. My in laws laugh because they see so much of my husband in Audrey. I guess we had it coming. Some days I have grace and practice super mom-esque parenting but some days I match her sassy attitude a tenfold. Oops.

I posted on Facebook a while back because I was so in awe of Audrey’s sweet heart one day.

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I think you officially know you’re a mom when showering becomes an Olympic sport. Feed Quinn, toss her in the bouncer, start Bubble Guppies, then RUN to get your clothes and jump in the shower. Shower as fast as you possibly can while peeking out the shower curtain because you (think) you hear crying. Hurry and finish up and run back into the living room with sopping wet hair…only to find this beautiful sight. Audrey told me, “My sister was crying.” So she’s sitting there making silly faces at her to make her stop. My hair is wet, I’m out of breath but my heart is so so full.

Through all of it – the attitude, the temper tantrums, the sass (there’s SO MUCH SASS), the no napping, the pickiness, the “no momma,” and all of the not fun stuff, there’s moments like this. Moments where I’m reminded that my sweet toddler is just that – a toddler. She’s still learning who she is and how to control her emotions. She’s testing her limits and discovering the world. She’s doing exactly what toddlers do.

But even in the midst of all of the trials and tough stuff, I’m taken back to the sweet, beautiful moments. The moments where I see her true colors and the amazing girl she is. The moments where I realize that they really are the terrific twos.