Friday, May 25, 2012

Operation Get My Life Back in Order

Well, I'm not exactly off to a great start considering it is 10AM and I'm watching morning talk shows and blogging in my pjs (while Sam naps), but I'm pretty sure a little R&R is a pre-requisite to anything "productive" I might do this weekend...

Thank you someecards.com for always putting my feelings perfectly into words.

This is a four day weekend for me, and BOY do I need it!!! I'm going to spare you the whiney re-cap of the last few weeks and just say that they have been hard.  Everything is fine (good, even); but, the word "busy" has taken on a new meaning recently.  My (lovely) sister posted this photo of my guest/dressing room on Facebook earlier this week:

Thank you Kathryn!  (Revenge is sweet.)

Add in too many Excel spreadsheets to count, and that pretty much sums everything up.

So, today officially begins Operation Get My Life Back in Order.  It will include two days of insane cleaning and organizing (I PRAY that's enough), and two days of rest and play (which are equally important).
Art from Red Letter Words.  I think I'm seriously going to order this for my life house.
I miss blogging regularly; but, I'm going to postpone my "return" just a little longer until I get everything else under control again.  I'll see you (hopefully) on Tuesday.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!  And, thank you for being the best blog friends a girl could ask for (and forgiving me for my terribleness with email, comments, etc. etc. etc.).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What is Wrong With My Blog?

Uggg... I'm sure it is just because everything else in my life is so crazy busy right now; but the fact that my blog layout is messed up is driving me CRAZY!  Does anyone know WHY my sidebars have disappeared and re-located themselves to the bottom of the page?  When I look at the "layout" tab on Blogger, everything looks normal.  Any suggestions?

Also, is anyone else having trouble commenting?  (I realize this is a totally ridiculous questions because, in order to actually answer, you would have to... comment.  But, whatever.)

Thanks guys!  (And, thanks for the laughs yesterday... You are the best!)
.... And, just like that.... The problem is solved.  Literally, all I did was hit publish.  Oy vey. Sorry for a total waste of your 90 seconds this morning.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Midweek Confessions


- It is not even 6:30, and I've already had my first near nervous breakdown of the day.  And, when Jeff came downstairs to rescue me from my misery, I immediately went to my blog for some stress relief.  It's no exercise or prayer, but it's better than drugs or alcohol, right? 

- Sam has entered the "Terrible Twos."  Who taught my ten month old to have temper tantrums already (at 4AM, no less)?  It's going to be a long 18 years... Did I learn nothing last week?

- I'm pretty sure I'm getting kicked out of the Junior League for not attending enough meetings this year.  I definitely am ending the year "in poor standing." The worst part? When I realized this, my very first thought was "this will make a good confession."  Sad.

- I am over a week late on Sam's 10 month update (and everything else in life).

- I bought a co-worker/friend a box of expensive cookies on Sunday to thank her for all her help last week.  I really had to beg Jeff to let me buy them. (He did not understand the importance of having expensive, well-packaged cookies to make up for the fact that they were store-bought.)  Then, I had a terrible day Monday and forgot my lunch.  Let's just say the cookies never made it to my friend.  /div>

What are your confessions this week?  Grab the button and link-up below! I've missed you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Letter to New Moms (and Linky)

First, it has to be said... THANK YOU Libby, Sara, Leslie, Erika, Lea, and AP for your wonderful posts this week.  You girls are amazing.  (If you missed any, I've added a link under "Popular Posts" on the sidebar.  Check it out.)

The last six days have been good. (Well, work has been miserable... but I'll spare you my whiney voice for now - the blog has been good.)  I have found myself laughing, crying, thinking, praying, and, mostly, nodding and saying (sometimes out loud) "YES.  EXACTLY. That is SO me.  That is SO true" through this series.  I really feel like there isn't much I can add to what has already been said.  We are united in this.  We understand each other (perhaps even a little more now); and, sometimes, just knowing that is the only thing we need as new moms...

Organizing and hosting this series has been really important to me... In so many ways, I've forgotten what those early weeks were like (thank the Lord); but, another part of me - one that only comes out in those sentimental mama moments like when I'm holding a sleepy baby fresh from a lavender bath, or after I've read back over the posts I wrote here when Sam was just a new guy - remembers every single detail... And, strangely, misses even the hard ones...

Today, I'm taking a slightly different spin on this (you are allowed to change the rules when you made them, right?)... I'm writing to myself as a new mom.  (Remember this post I wrote when Sam was three weeks old?  It was so hard to write.  I was really stressed out then, and worried - if I'm being honest - that maybe I wasn't cut out for motherhood.  Think of me then when you read this letter.)  It may mean nothing to any of you, but I have to write it... I have to pause this morning - as I watch my 'big' ten-month old boy crawl around the room giggling audibly at Addy, and remember a little...

Lord willing, I'll have another three-week old sometime in my life; and I need to hear these things.  Maybe you do too.
Dear Self at Three-Weeks PostPartum:

Do not feel guilty that you have already left Sam for a few hours to have some alone time. He won't even notice you are gone until he gets hungry in another two hours. Taking care of yourself is important too. So, just relax and enjoy it... And, while you're here, there are some things you need to hear before you get too far into all this motherhood stuff...
3.5 weeks
First of all, you never should have opened that stupid Babywise book.  Look, I'm sure it works for some people; but you are a control freak (face it, it's true) and that book gave you... issues.  If you find yourself being tempted to go to it again in a desperate haze of exhaustion and anxiety, for "just one more" fix - STOP. Seriously, take a deep breath, call a friend, go for a walk...  you don't need that.  This is SAM.  YOU are his mommy.  You are good enough.  He will be OK.  Besides, he'll stop crying all the time soon, he'll work himself into a perfectly-manageable but not too-strict schedule in about three months, he'll smile and laugh and be so happy, and - by the time he's ten months (I promise it is closer than it sounds) - he'll be sleeping all night and taking glorious three hour naps.  Put.the.book.DOWN. (Oh, go ahead and put away all the other ones too - Healthy Sleep Habits, The Baby Whisperer, etc. etc.  You can read them in another few months when you actually know your child and feel at least a little more adequate as a mom.)

Speaking of feeling adequate, would you cut yourself some slack already?  Let me remind you - three weeks ago you had major surgery.  (If you forgot, just look down at your lower belly... remember now?)  And, for the almost ten months before that, you were single-handedly growing a baby inside of you.  You've already done A LOT right for this kid.  (I'm sure by the time he is thirty and has a baby of his own he will thank you.)  So you're emotional and you cry at least once a day (usually at 9:30PM on the dot)... YOU JUST HAD A BABY.  You are tired and take a nap two times a day... YOU JUST HAD A BABY.  You are still wearing maternity jeans... YOU JUST HAD A BABY. (And, let's just put it out there that you may as well get over that right now; because, you're going to be proudly rocking those suckers for the next six months until they literally tear and you are FORCED back into buttons and zippers.)  Your life is radically different right now than it was just three short weeks ago... It's OK to have trouble adjusting to that.  Change is always hard and - let's just put it out there - this is one HUGE change.

Despite what the movies and books and a lot of the blogs you've been subjecting yourself to reading may look like, you aren't supposed to have it all together right now.  We don't expect a brand new baby to just "pop out" knowing how to talk and walk and mow the lawn, do we?  Of course not... But yet, for some reason, you have convinced yourself that YOU should know how to do everything right away.  You're brand new at being a mom too.  Please try to love yourself just a little more and believe your husband/friends/etc. when they say you are doing great.  You really are doing great. 

While you're at it, don't worry about making meals or keeping your house clean for awhile.  (Shoot, you aren't fooling anyone with those shenanigans.  By the time you go back to work in nine weeks, your house will NEVER be clean and you will NEVER make dinner - don't create unrealistic expectations for anyone, k?) Your job right now is just to be a mom.  That's all you have time for anyway; and, I'm convinced that God made it that way on purpose.  Just feed that little "fat sucker," and change his diaper, and rock him and, let your mother-in-law clean your bathroom and your mom fold your laundry.  Oh, there will be plenty of that for you in the future... 

Ok, one more thing, you've got to hear this even though you won't believe it until later - This stage doesn't last forever...

In nine months, you will actually kind-of forget how hard these first few weeks are.  (Just like you are already beginning to forget how swollen and miserable you were when you were pregnant, and how much those blasted contractions hurt in the hospital.)  You will Pretty soon (although, probably not quite yet), you are going to feel like time is FLYING by.  You are going to look at your little baldy (yea, his hair's going to fall out never to be seen again) who is pulling up on everything and eating waffles and trying to talk, and not even recognize the little sleeping (or crying as the case may be) infant you are holding right now.  You will, somehow, miss these days.  You will even (gasp) think about doing it again sometime soon(ish) and vow to value it just a little more the next time around.

At one-week.
Now... Go drink another cup of coffee (it will be fine even though you are breastfeeding, trust me; just don't let any of those judgemental moms at the park see you doing it), watch The Bachelor on Hulu, and cuddle that little nine pound sack of goodness.  See you in ten months! 

Love,
Me
Ok, YOUR turn... I've been looking forward to this all week (and I really hope it's not a total flop).  Link up below with your own letters to new moms so we can relate to and learn from each other.  Remember: You don't have to be a mom to write a letter, just have something to say to new moms - anything.  Here's a grab code for the cute button Erika made us if you'd like to put it on your post. Have at it!

<a href=http://www.emyselfandi.com/><img src=" http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/m606/erika237/alettertonewmomsbutton.jpg" /></a>

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from Lea

WHAT a week it has been... Happy Saturday friends!! Finally!!

Today you get to hear from Lea - my best friend and resident pediatrician, counselor, and "talk me off the ledge-er."  Her words are especially special to me because they are words I have personally held on to through my own journey as a new mom... Although we live hundreds of miles apart, Lea's little boy Jonathan was born just six weeks before Sam; so, thanks to the beauty of cell phones and emails, she has been my "guide," always just a few steps ahead of me and significantly calmer than me. ;)  I'm honored to share some of her mommy-wisdom with you all today...

Dear New Mommy,


You are doing GREAT.

Seriously. You rock at being a mom.

No, seriously. You do.

After all, you're not exactly new at this. You've been this kid's mom for nine months already, right? And everything seemed to work out ok from that first season of mommying. Just look down at that beautiful child in your arms if you need some proof.

Those earliest days at home with your little one are so so precious. And so so hard. The learning curve is steep (luckily)...

I remember in the early days of marriage, every single Saturday morning I would have a breakdown because I would wake up and our teensy apartment would be a mess and I would experience an overwhelming urge to clean it up, while also experiencing tremendous guilt that I am a bad wife for not keeping our home clean. Sweet hubby, after months of this routine, sat me down to talk about these weekly freak-outs. When he realized that I felt like I was not being a "good wife" when I saw our house all messy, he gently reminded me that I was no one's wife but his, and so in order to be a "good" wife, I only needed to be a good wife to him. (ie, He didn't care about a clean house; therefore, a good wife to him didn't equal a neat freak. Emphasis on the freak in this case.) I didn't need to conform to anyone else's standards, including my own preconceived notions. I just had to love him, and learn about him so that I could love him more.
First day face to face.
When my son was born, almost a year ago, I had to learn this lesson all over again. I had all these thoughts about what a mommy should be and do. After a few weeks of feeling like a failure every time things didn't go how I thought they should, I had to stop and revamp my thinking. Talking with Jon (again! What would I do without this guy?!) helped me see that the only mama that baby Jonathan needed was ME. And that he didn't want a mama that went by all the books or one who would be the best mama for another baby--he just wanted me to love him, and learn about him so I could care for him better.

Relearning that lesson in the context of motherhood was the most important one for me in the early days, and has made for a much happier first year. Listen up, new mommy: You are the BEST mommy your baby could ask for, and all you have to do is accept it and live it.

Once I let that lesson really sink in, I was able to be the mama I was made to be. In the weeks up to this point, I found myself wrestling between wanting to do what my heart knew was right and doing what I thought other people would advise. That dilemma was solved once I decided to be the best mama for my baby. I was freed up to trust my intuition. My mama-gut was already so tuned into this child; I just had to shut my yacky head up and listen. Heck, my body could even point me in the right direction--if I listened right, it was telling me when to nurse, when to rest, when to eat, when to cry myself into a big blubbery mess. This "body-knowing" really makes sense if you think about it; I had, after all, carried this kid inside me for nine months. Surely my physical being knows him pretty well, eh?

Once I became freed up to be the best mama for my baby, then I was able to abide by the number one commandment of mommying: thou shalt not compare. Easier said than done, but oh so important! I've had to repeat a little mantra to myself whenever I feel the comparison creeping in (I am a good mommy. My baby is right where he needs to be. I am a good mommy. breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.). And you know what I mean by compare. It does not mean don't talk to your friends about their babies and swap stories of ups and downs. It means don't let that little comparing voice come up while you're swapping the stories. It means don't let the envy bug bite you on the butt. It means that while you're talking to your friend, open up the space in the conversation for her and her baby to be where they're at, while you and your baby are at your place. That yucky comparison place happens when we allow other situations to crowd out that mama-intuition so ingrained in each of us. Don't let it happen. Feel free to compare, but don't compare.

Me and my bud. We've come a long way since that hospital room! :)
In this past eleven months of learning about Jonathan as a baby and myself as his mommy, each of these lessons has been forgotten and relearned several times. Just when I think I got the hang of things...   you know how it goes. Isn't that the story of our lives, mamas? It's especially true the first year, that I can tell you for sure.

Hey, new (or not-so-new) mama, thanks for reading my little thoughts about this BIG time in life. I'm thankful for YOU, for being able to connect with you through this most incredible mama-bond. We are all in this together.

Love,
Lea

Lea blogs about her family, her faith, and her career as a Pediatriac Physician's Assistant in Littleton, Colorado at Buck, Buck, Goose.  Be sure to check out her series "Medical Mondays" where she blends her professional knowledge and her personal experience to tackle all the issues we new moms are stressing over - like constipation, teething, and crying-it-out.  Oh the joy! 


Don't forget, tomorrow's the big day.  I'll have my Letter to New Moms link-up rarin' to go mid-day.  I'm really excited to hear from mamas of all types - remember, you don't have to have a baby to be a mom - with all different stories... See you then!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from AP


When Elizabeth asked me to participate in her guest series "A Letter To New Moms" not only was I absolutely flattered but I had to laugh a little because, let's face it, I have no idea what I'm doing. Even twenty-one months into motherhood with a second on the way (a second? who let me have another child?!) there are many, many days when I find myself both laughing and crying at what a beautiful mess my Motherhood Career has been thus far. The good news? We've made it nearly twenty-two months without seeing the inside of an ER and as of today, it looks like my child won't need therapy later in his adult life. I have to remind myself, it's only Friday though.

You'll quickly learn I'm all about the little accomplishments and a lot of laughter, New Mom. Remember that. Without further a 'do, here goes. You're in for a wild ride. 

Dear New Mom,  

  I know. I can't believe they let you leave the hospital with a brand spanking new baby either, with no more than a few printed sheets of paper, a half-deflated congratulatory mylar balloon and hope and a prayer. 

  The good news is? You won't break the baby and you will survive. In fact, there's this crazy little thing called Mom-Nesia that usually sets in during those first six weeks of your newborn's life that I firmly believe is in place so that the human race doesn't eventually die off. Because if we could all recall those first six weeks? I'm fairly certain there would be a lot of only children in this world.

  Congratulations, New Mom and welcome to the hardest yet most rewarding "job" you'll ever have in your entire life. The good news is that being a Mom is likely the easiest job you'll ever have. Now, I didn't say it won't be exhausting or emotionally and physically draining but you'll soon note, it's pretty darn easy. In fact, it's all of the other "stuff" that makes it difficult. 

  You'll be surprised at how quickly that "mothering instinct," the one you may have never thought you had, suddenly kicks in. It kicks in about as quickly as do your Mom Claws but that's a letter for a whole other post. But like I said, being a Mom is simple. Being the one thing your brand new baby needs? Comes much more naturally than you'll anticipate. It's the rest of life that becomes difficult. 

   The laundry. The cooking. The cleaning. Self-hygiene. I'm here to tell you that it's OK. Eventually you'll find contentment in the little accomplishments. One load of laundry every couple of days is no big deal, even if it had to cycle through the dryer four times. And if you manage to fold it and put it away? You deserve a trophy. A really, really big one.

  You'll soon learn how creative you can be when it comes to taking a shower and just how much "baby crap" you can fit in that too-small bathroom of yours to enable you to do so. I'm talking the bouncy baby chair, the crib mobile, two blankies, a change of clothes, seven pacifiers and your 110lb sheepdog. Oh, you don't have a sheepdog? Sorry, that must've been me I was referring to. 

  I failed to mention this will only allow for a five minute shower. During which you will be singing "The ABC's" at the top of your lungs. 

  Speaking of self-hygiene, don't be surprised if it falls by the wayside during those first few weeks. You'll soon consider your day a raging success if you find time to brush your teeth. You'll absolutely blow your mind when you can sneak in a 5 minute shower. You suddenly won't care so much anymore if you don't have time to deep condition. The only one who sees you all day is the baby anyway, and believe me, he doesn't care how soft and silky smooth your hair is.

  Don't be surprised at how little sleep you'll soon need to function either. It will likely be slightly reminiscent of your college days, minus the binge drinking and fraternity parties. But remember how you could party all night and still make it to your 8am class with some semblance of order and matching clothes? That's kind of like how motherhood is. Although some days, your clothes won't match. Just be prepared. 

  You'll get really crafty doing things with one hand and even your feet at times. You'll leave the house thinking you're prepared for a quick trip to the store and likely return three times before actually embarking on your destination because you forgot something or the baby needs to be fed. Again. 

  Spit-up or some other newborn bodily fluid will become your newest accessory. In the beginning, it will gross you out but as time wears on, you'll simply lick your fingers, dab at the stain and upon realizing it ain't going to disappear anytime soon, proudly sport your new "mom-badge" because you simply cannot venture back into the house one. more. time. to change your clothes. Remember, your laundry is sitting in the dryer, waiting to be dried for the fourth cycle.

  And in no time, New Mom, you'll look back at those first six weeks and wonder why you were so worried in the first place. Soon enough you'll have your proverbial New Mom Sh*t together... enough... and all the other Really New Moms will look at you with envy wondering just how you do it and do it so well. 

  And you'll recognize that look, smile at them and reassure them that it will all be OK. 

  And twenty-two months down the road, you'll find yourself sharing all that you've learned on a friend's blog in a Letter to New Moms.

  Good luck, God speed and don't forget to laugh at yourself. 

  Love always,

          AP


AP is the blogger behind one of my favorite daily reads, I Love You More Than Carrots.  She is relatable, real, and just plain hilarious.  She is also the proud mama to that adorable little blonde, Carter, and is expecting baby boy #2 very soon.  Thanks girl for your words of wisdom! ;)


And friends, don't forget the link-up I'm hosting right here on Sunday!  See you then.  TGIF!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from Erika (on Infertility)

This post is different from the first few letters you've seen here this week.  In fact, Erika isn't a mom yet - at least not in the physical sense... When I first decided to do this series, I knew I wanted to be multi-dimensional about it.  I wanted to reflect all the different sides to the motherhood story.  That includes, for some, the journey of infertility and years of waiting for an answered prayer.  I think too many moms (myself included) don't think about or choose to ignore that version of the story because, well, it isn't all snips & snails and sugar & spice; and, truth be told, we just don't know what to say...

That's why I asked one of my blog-friends Erika to write a letter this week... I will warn you that it is hard to read... It isn't exactly "feel good;" BUT, it is real life.
  For those of you in the midst of the infertility journey, my prayer is that you will experience some bit of comfort and know that you are not alone.  And, for those of you with children right now, I hope you will take/make the time to read this glimpse into sweet Erika's heart; and, like me, have just a little more compassion, a little more understanding, and a little more gratitude.  Alright, I'll let her take it from here....


Dear New Moms:
            For some reason, when I first started thinking about writing this “letter,” here’s how I kept wanting to start it: Dear New Moms of the Class of 2012. I don’t know why. But it made me laugh. And every time I mentally started this letter, that’s how it started. Dear New Moms of the Class of 2012. I felt like I was starting some kind of graduation speech or something, ready to impart my words of inspiration and wisdom upon each one of you as you embark on your magical journey of motherhood, joyfully commemorating your first Mother’s Days. But each time I started my speech, it lost momentum pretty quickly. Dear New Moms of the Class of 2012: I don’t know what to tell you, except that I wish I could be one of you. I was supposed to be one of you. Um, yikes. Depressing. No one wants to hear that speech.

So let’s ease into this thing by going back to my graduation metaphor. Sometimes metaphors are easier for me to speak in, because the layer of humor and degree of removal-from-reality helps me to deal with the topic a little better. And at this point in my infertility journey, humor and escaping reality are oftentimes all I have left as coping mechanisms. So let’s start with a metaphor, shall we?

Imagine you’re in high school. You’re an excellent student, and you have big plans for college and getting the heck out of your parents’ house. You and all of your friends are super excited about graduation and college—it’s all you can think and talk about. As graduation day approaches, your emotions are sky high—this is really happening! Graduation! College! My life is about to start! And then the day of graduation arrives. As you get to the arena, cute new dress underneath your cap and gown, your graduation advisor suddenly pulls you aside. “I’m so sorry, honey, but there’s been a mix-up. Some paperwork was misplaced…You aren’t graduating today. You need to give me back your cap and gown. You can go sit in the audience with your parents and cheer for your friends, though.” Umm…whaaa? You quickly protest—but my GPA is a 4.0! I didn’t miss a single day of school this year! I’m the president of the Student Council! but it is all to no avail. You are not graduating today. No one can really explain why, but you’re not. So you trudge up and sit with your parents, watching as your friends celebrate and toss their caps. After the ceremony, you explain to your friends what happened. Don’t worry, they assure you. It will all get figured out soon. You’ll get your diploma and be off to school with us in the fall!

But the weeks and months pass and it doesn’t get figured out. You get pushed from department to department, and no one really knows what happened, but you’re definitely not getting a diploma—looks like you’ll be back in high school come August. Your friends are sad, but depart for college as scheduled. You keep in touch with them frequently, but it’s tough hearing their stories about dorm life and sorority rush while you’re stuck re-taking classes you already aced and fighting with your parents about curfew. You resign yourself to the fact that you’re not going to be going to college this year, but hold out hope that the paperwork will get figured out and you will get to graduate next spring. You go through the motions of another senior year, jealously watching your friends adjust to college life. You take notes on their lives, confident that this information will come in handy next year when you start your freshman year of college.

But graduation comes, and once again, you are denied your diploma. Are you KIDDING ME? you think. Again, there are no good explanations—only that it’s not your time. One teacher even tries to encourage you by reminding you of how grateful you will be when your time DOES come. Are you serious? “My time” was over a YEAR ago! And once again you find yourself embarking on your senior year. Your friends feign interest in your senior year exploits, but are mostly busy planning the parties they host in their cool off-campus apartments, and complaining about how their other roommate never cleans up her bathroom. Well at least you HAVE a roommate and an apartment, you find yourself thinking. I still live with MY PARENTS!!!!! But that sounds petty, so you try to sound concerned. You leave nice comments on their Facebook photos of fun college events, fully aware that you yourself have long since quit making albums—who really cares about your 5th prom?

And this metaphor is getting really long, but here’s the thing: Pretend this scenario NEVER ENDS. It goes on and on, you keep not graduating and having to repeat your senior year, and your friends keep moving on in life. Even as they’re graduating from college, they occasionally try to encourage you that surely this will be your year. But those well-intentioned words fall empty now—really? You think this is my year? Easy for you to say—your graduation and life went exactly as planned..

This, dear New Mom Class of 2012, is a taste of what it’s like to live with infertility. In case you were wondering, I was supposed to be a member of the New Mom Class of 2009. And 2010. And 2011. And 2012. And yet here I am, still childless and waiting. Stuck. For God knows how much longer.

So what kind of wise and timely advice could I possibly have for you—you who embody my every hope and dream of the past four years? I could easily give you a list of Things Not to Say to Infertile Women...but you can find those lists anywhere on the internet (like on my own blog. Every day. Ha). I could wax poetic on the Top 10 Reasons I Want to Be a Mom...but really, this blog is quite long enough already. And that would make me cry. So I guess what I really want to say is this:

Be so, so, so, so thankful for what you have. ALL OF IT. The good AND the bad. Know that there are millions of women like me out here, watching you through teary eyes, our broken hearts longing for a chance to experience the sleepless nights, the difficult feedings, and the precious sweet smell of a freshly bathed baby. We would give anything-- and oftentimes, it feels like we already have. We've given all of our money and then some. We've subjected ourselves to the scrutiny of doctors and specialists and social workers, trying to earn the right to become mothers. We've hosted your baby showers and visited you in the hospital, despite feeling like we may crumple up and die from the longing in our hearts. We've prayed countless prayers that seem to have gone unnoticed, while people who have no idea what it feels like to mourn the loss of their dreams try to offer advice about how we should be feeling. So please don't take one single moment for granted. Rejoice in even the annoying parts of motherhood, knowing that the inconveniences are a small price to pay for the priceless gift you have been given. And when you're up all night, feeding that fussy baby, take a minute to drop down on your knees and thank God that you were chosen for this job. Be thankful. Be thankful.

And while you're busy basking in your thankfulness, try not to be offended by our rapidly changing emotions and behaviors. Deep in our hearts, we are happy for you. We love that our friends get to be mothers (often several times over). We're also insanely jealous of you, and sometimes finding the balance of those emotions can be tricky, but we're doing the best we can! Don't hesitate to invite us into your fun little baby-centric world, because sometimes, depending on the balance of hormones and the phase of the moon, we just may be all about it. We may be able to engage in hours of happy new-mom talk, analyzing sleep cycles and debating the merits of different brands of diapers. And we probably would love to hold your baby (and there's about a 95% chance we won't try to kidnap him). But try not to be offended on the days when we can't. Because sometimes we can't. And it doesn't mean we don't love you or your baby, it just means we can't do it. Love us anyway. And think of something non-baby to change the topic to (suggestions: make up! Hunger Games! ridiculous things you saw online!) real quick-like. 

Happy Mother's Day, New Mom Class of 2012. I hope that on Sunday you felt loved and appreciated...but even more than that, I pray that your heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness for the gift you have been given. Every day.

And while we're on the topic of thankfulness-- thanks for putting up with me (and my fellow fertility-challenged friends). I know we're a crazy lot, but with a little luck, one day we'll break out of this awful season of life and be sitting right alongside you, comparing stretch marks and teething gels. For our sake and yours-- pray that the day comes quickly.

Love,
Erika
Erika blogs at Something Beautiful about her life in Georgia, her awesome hubby Matt, and her hopeful road to parenthood.  I've been following her blog longer than any other blog in my reader (we actually have the same wedding anniversary - which, somehow, connected us very early on in this gig). I like to think we have genuinely become friends over the last two and a half years - in large part because we share a sense of self-deprecating humor, a love for Mexican food, and a commitment to keeping it real.  I am SO honored to post this letter today, truly.  She is a brave woman... And will make one HECK of a mom one day. 

 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from Leslie

Hi friends.  Just popping in.  So far, my week of testing craziness is... going. Let's just say that anyone working 15 hour days normally (and I know plenty of people do) are officially my heroes... Anyway, I've missed our "regulary scheduled programming," but I hope you are enjoying these letters.  Today's letter is from Leslie who is a very new mom, herself.  I love that she wrote out some "lessons" she's already learned (in bullet points, because what new mom has time for any other style of writing?).  And, for the record, I especially agree with points three, four, & five. Enjoy!
Dear New Moms,

Hi There! My name is Leslie. As I'm writing this letter, I have been a mom for 6 weeks...so I don't have that much experience, but I'll fill you in on what I've learned so far. :) If I could give you any advice, it would be to...

-take pictures. I put my little girl in a gown that swallowed her in the hospital today, and it barely fits. You've heard this a million times by now, but they grow up SO fast...document every second.

-on that note, keep up with the baby book and a calendar. I barely remember what happened yesterday at this point, much less a month ago. I haven't been too good in this department.

-don't buy many newborn or 3 month outfits. Seriously...it's smocked overkill in my house. You'll rarely leave the house at this point, so sleepers and onesies work just fine.

-cuddle that baby, love on it, but also remember that you need your time too. It's going to be ok if he/she takes a nap in the crib...it may worry you to death the first few times though. :)

-if you haven't had your baby yet, don't go into the hospital with a definite birth plan that can't be changed. I tell you this after almost 24 hours of labor (16 on pitocin) and a c-section. It doesn't always go as planned, and as Miss Type-A here, I'm telling you that's ok...as long as you're healthy and you have a healthy baby after the fact, you've got what you need.

-remember your husband or significant other. It's very easy to get overwhelmed with this whole new world and forget them. Keep being romantic!

-talk to your baby. You're going to feel like a fool, but tell them how much you love them, tell them how special they are...it's never too early to start!

-listen to other mothers. (Most of the time), they're not trying to offend, just trying to help. But also take advice with a grain of salt...do what works for you!

-and most importantly, soak in every second. Time is just FLYING now. This is a lot of work, but it's also the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Try to take a moment at least a couple of times a day to stop and thank God for just how lucky you are!

I could probably go on and on, but that covers a good chunk of what I've learned. It's been a pretty educational 6 weeks! :) Good luck, and just take it one day at a time!

Sincerely,
Leslie Lambert
Leslie & Emma Ramey
I've been a loyal follower of Leslie's blog, Lamberts Lately, for a couple of years.  It has been a joy to watch as she and her husband Noah have welcomed their sweet baby girl after a very tough year of loss and waiting.  The three Lamberts (and their dog, Hardy) live in Alabama where Leslie is a teacher, part-time blog designer, and coupon extraordinairre. :)

P.S. Midweek Confessions is taking a little "vacay" this week.  We'll be back next Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from Sara

Dear New Mom: 

"I can't remember life before you and I can't imagine life without you."

I stole that line from my wedding vows and added it to each of my children's baby books. It's poetic and sweet and 100% not true

Of course I remember life before babies, how could I forget?
Life was unscheduled back then, 
Meals went unplanned.
Sleep wasn't a luxury. 

Oh the carefree days of childlessness...

Packing for last minute road trips, 
Watching full length movies with my eyes open, 
Peeing without interruption, 
Shopping without lists and time frames {and meltdowns}.


The good ol' days.


Yes, I'd be lying to say I don't miss parts of my pre-kid life or that I'm not sometimes envious of my baby-less friends.
I miss the freedom.
I miss the feeling of guiltlessness.
I miss my perky boobs.

This is not meant to scare you. 
Or serve as a warning. 
Or read like a chapter from Sara's 
book on parenting 
{which doesn't exist by the way}.


For all I know - and hope - becoming a mom has been the perfect fit for you; like a glass slipper to Cinderella's foot.

But what happens when the shoe doesn't fit?

Motherhood hasn't been all talking mice & fairy godmothers. My 'Once Upon a Time' started off with me being stitched up, stunned and totally ill prepared. I remember the nurse placing Saige on my chest and instead of the stars aligning and me feeling like my life finally had purpose, I just stared into her unfocused eyes and thought 'is this when I'm supposed to cry and tell the world how beautiful she is?'. I worried that my less than perfect reaction to her birth meant I was already a less than perfect mom. I worried that I was much too selfish, impatient, lazy,  fill in the blank  to be any good at this parenting gig. 
* for the record she was and continues to be unabashedly beautiful *

I kept my insecurities secret for a really long time. I decided I was the only mom missing pieces of my old life; the only mom not loving every second of motherhood; the only mom not wearing glass slippers and a genuine smile.

But then I started blogging. I started writing about my reality - the tears, the rookie mistakes, the loneliness, the mommy guilt. I started reading other blogs too and realized I wasn't alone in my daily struggles with nap-times and meal prep and getting off Facebook and into something other than pajamas. Finally - after one agonizingly long & lonely maternity leave - I felt:

understood / supported / normal
  
My hope is that this letter brings my fellow Ugly Step-Sisters that same kind of comfort. We can't all be perfect Cinderellas. It's okay to run around barefoot sometimes and if you don't feel like mothering happily ever after today, tomorrow or even the next, that's okay too. Just cause we do it doesn't mean we have to love every moment. Saying this doesn't make us villains - or any less of a mother - it just makes us honest.


Of course I remember life before my babies, but I can't imagine life without them; and, in my fairy tale, that's all that matters.


THE END.

Love, Sara



Sara writes candidly at SaigeWisdom.  She and and husband Trev live in Canada where they are raising two adorable tots - Saige (3) and Gabriel (7 months). We actually first "met" when she won the custom bumper similar to Sam's back in the summer... It was meant to be, because I think we are "blog soul-sisters."  I love her humor, her curly red hair, and the fact that she's not afraid to admit that she's usually a hot mess and sometimes farts in yoga class.  :) 


If you  missed it, read Libby's letter from yesterday here.  We'll have another one tomorrow; and, don't forget the link-up on Sunday.  Be writing your letters ladies, I know you've got lots to say!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Letter to New Moms from Libby

I am so excited to start my very first guest post series on E, Myself, and I... This week (in case you haven't already heard me talk about it ten thousand times), I've asked some of my favorite blogger/friends to write their stories/advice/encouragement/etc. in a letter to a "new mom."  I have some really great stuff in store for you all in the next six days!  THEN, on Sunday, I'm going to host a little link-up so that YOU can get in on the action and share your letters.  Sound good?  Ok... let's get started then.  Today, my friend Libby is kicking things off for us...

dear new mom,

you did it. you have a new child. your child. wow. what a joy it is. let that sink in. this joy is yours. all yours! along with that joy can come fear of your inadequacies. i recall the emotions that rushed through me those first hours and days. joy mixed with anxiety and a lot of..."i have no idea what i am doing." welcome to the club. although i had read a few books and had spent a lot of time with children before our little girl was born, i tended to err on the side of trusting my instincts and what seemed to work for us. i think there is a huge myth that when you become a mom it is supposed to be natural and easy and you should act and feel a certain way.

let me be honest and fair. it can be hard. okay, it is really hard. no one said it was going to be easy. but...the huge "but" i encourage you to cling to and hold tightly to is...it is worth it. it is all a part of becoming who you are going to be forever. the story of your child's beginning does not mean the ceasing of your own story. but instead a broadening, a widening, and a deepening of your own story. in this time of newness and lack of sleep you are becoming stronger than you ever thought you could be. you have a new and different purpose than you did before you became a mom. but for now try to breathe and relax. attempt to embrace the lack of sleep, hours of crying, and not knowing what to do with your emotions and the inability to cope with life the way you did before. think about what is going on inside you. i know for many of you that may be hard. the seemingly loss of purpose. mourning what used to be while balancing the new and sometimes not always fulfilling journey as a mom. you may feel like you have lost your sense of purpose, but actually you are gaining a whole new mission in your life. try not to worry about what else is going on outside your home or focus simply on your baby. but look at what is going on inside of you. even as i write this i keep pressing delete and retyping. i do not want to minimize the reality that motherhood is tough and the lack of sleep and isolation can be wearying...but i also do not want any of us to miss the joy of being pressed to the core of who you are - let me use caps for this (i never use caps): WELCOME TO THIS JOURNEY. the crazy insane emotions inside of you when you become a mom for the first time or even after your fifth child. it is so deep. it is so raw. it is almost unreal. but we are all different. we think and do things so differently...as a mom and as woman. the spectrum is so long and where you land on it is perfect for you. for your heart. for your family. for what fuels you as a mother. i hope you find that place. dig in and embrace it as your own while developing the ability to know when you may need to adapt and change for the sake of each child's personality, your own heart, and what is best for your family.

but know this...although each of our stories are different and the road to motherhood is vast and winding and sometimes a challenge...the ways it has changed me as wife and a friend and a sister and a daughter are like nothing i have ever seen or experienced. it's not just my relationships and commitments that are different, although they are...my heart is different. it is bigger and wider and i have found a whole new part of myself i never knew was there. (well…hello, libby).

when ava was 6 months old we found out that i had cancer. in a single moment our world seemed to crack a bit. our plans and our hearts shifted. they shifted forever. but as we walked down that road and entered into life as we had never known...what seemed to erase every sleepless night, temper tantrum, and screaming through the grocery store was...what if i missed all this? now a year after being declared cancer free and celebrating life and the true gift it is to be alive. i still yell sometimes. i sometimes loose it (ask my husband). i am exhausted after a random night where ava wakes up and asks for “more milky.” maybe it is not in that moment when i remember to be thankful and think about what if i had missed this? what if someone else was raising her? i try to always come back to that place because i know all to well what it is like to imagine life for ava without her mom. it is our choice to find the good in the midst of the bad and not forget the front seat we have been given on our children's lives as we watch them grow and learn. or what it is like to be the only person she wants when she gets hurt or is sick or is scared. it's me. her mom.
Ava
this whole mom thing can certainly be challenging. we will fail. we will need to ask for forgiveness. we will triumph. we will be proud. we will try and embrace the surprises and heartaches of motherhood in the best we know how...but the art of motherhood at least for me is finding the balance. how it all seems to fit together into what seems like a mess sometimes. but it works. what works for me may not work for you. so let's encourage one another and help erase the guilt as we discuss formula vs breastfeeding. schedule vs. no schedule. when to potty train. when to start school. when to say no and when to say yes. i want to say yes so much more. but balance that with teaching our children that they do not get what they want when we want it and how to remain grateful...no matter the circumstances.

for me a mother is...

an honor and a privilege. take it seriously...but not too seriously. live it up. make memories. go the extra mile when you would rather sit down. but along with that...enjoy a good nap when you can, watch max and ruby together (ava's favorite cartoon), and do not be so hard on yourself. you are a good mom. you are a good mom. if you really thinking about it...you are a great mom.

lastly...let's commit to never taking motherhood for granted. many women ache so deeply to be a mother. keep that in mind. i so often forget. it is about balancing the reality that many aspects of being a mom can be daunting...but necessary. i hope. oh, how i hope and pray that the joy that comes and swells up in our hearts for our own children is what we cling to and hold tightly to as we simply do the best we can...each and everyday.

happy mother's day.

love,

libby ryder.

Libby was one of the first people I thought of when I decided to do this series... In many ways, her first year of motherhood was a nightmare, with a life-changing cancer diagnosis just six months into her new "gig."  BUT, Libby handled her circumstances with grace and hope and beautiful faith.  Today, she is a wonderful, healthy mom to Ava (2); and, she is CHANGED. Forever.  She chronicled her journey (the ups and downs) on her blog Don't Waste Your Cancer and continues to write (in her signature lower-case and authentic style) about making the most out of your life.


Come back for another great letter tomorrow... And, would you mind saying a little prayer for me as I delve into the culminating week of my year - standardized test week?  Thanks friends!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Sam, Love Mama

Dear Sam,
I know technically this my first Mother's Day, but I celebrated last year too; because I already felt like your mama then.  I already loved you and worried about you and all the other things mamas do.  It is hard to believe that's been a whole year ago (even crazier that you are TEN months old today!).  Some parts of me feel like I've been a mama for my whole life, even when I was six and wrapping up beach towels to be my "baby," and other parts of me still can't really grasp that it is real... This is my life now.  You are MY boy. I am a MOM. Thank you sweet boy for making me a mama.  It is the hardest "job" I've ever had; but, it is (by far) my most favorite.  It is my proudest accomplishment and my biggest ambition.  I love you bud.
Love,
Mama

P.S. I'll forgive you for not saying "Happy Mother's Day" when you woke up at 6AM today.  But, next year, game on! ;)

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there today!  And, a special word and prayer for those moms that are still waiting for their own sweet baby... I hope you will feel peace and hope today, and know that you are NOT forgotten.
Absolutely LOVE this.  Free printable from Free printable from Simple As That Blog.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the first in my guest post series A Letter to New Moms, which will be going on all week while I endure standardized testing hell. And, start writing your own letters now for the link-up to be hosted right here one week from today.  :)


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