Dear Instagram Mom

Sometimes I feel like my blog is misstitled. Like I feel almost as though it should be something birth control oriented because I talk about miscarriage and the hardships of parenthood, not the rosy aspects of raising kids. Seriously though, children are an absolute joy and my life would be so incomplete without them, but I would be dishonest if I told you they don’t drive me batshit crazy sometimes (sorry for my “french” mom…).

Today, for example. I have coffee every Friday with two women who are phenomenal. We get together over the roar of our kids playing/crying/nursing, and we intentionally talk about real things. One lesson you must learn as a mom, you don’t have time to shoot the breeze. You get to it, or get off the pot. I’ve always hated small talk, so this aspect of motherhood is one I fully embrace and quite enjoy.

So today my friend and I were discussing life, as per usual. And it came into my head that the woman we were lamenting about was the typical “Instagram mom.” You know who I mean. The one who Pinterests crafts and documents it. Who has a rocking body, despite an infinite amount of children/breastfeeding, and goes on weekly dates with her husband in which they are never tired, or just wanting to sit on the couch and sleep. She finds joy in every mother-f-ing second spent with her kids. She’s a DIY queen, and her home is always clean and in the best Joanna Gaines state.

Dear Instagram mom, do you exist for real? Dear Instagram mom who puts on the front– WHY?!? You are only causing SO MUCH STRESS for the rest of your peers. I’ve got wrinkles and stretch marks from my babies. Yeah, I try to work out once in a while, but most of the time I have to pick something that can be easily interrupted because I’ve got a four year old and one year old crawling all over me. For goodness sakes, I went to poop today and decided to close the door (God forbid) and opened it to find my four year old crying because he couldn’t find me. Seriously?

But my real questions are, when, dear IG mom, do you find time to shop/wear/keep clean the clothes that you have that are not only trendy but functional? What does your husband do that you can afford a $95 baby carseat cover that doubles as a nursing cover that the rest of us schmucks have to use a regular blanket for? How did you “just wake up like that” not covered in spit up or yogurt, or dried milk? How did you get your hair done just so? Where do you find your infinite drive and energy? And how are you and your husband so bright-eyed looking in your weekly date night pictures? How do you get a weekly date night? How are you not just wilting on the couch? WTF?!? Dear IG mom, please do not keep your secrets from the rest of us. Share them. Write them down and publish them for the world to read. I would gladly pay money to find out the secrets of your ways. Also, if this is just a front for your social media audience, I beg you, please stop it.

Sincerely,

Regular mom.

 

Being Me.

Happy Monday! I hope all the mothers out there, in every sense of the word, had a wonderful day surrounded by their loved ones yesterday. I had a fabulous weekend with my two men, who spoiled me with coffee, a new nightstand, the best burger I’ve had in a long time, and fresh donuts on Sunday morning.

But…this post isn’t about Mother’s Day, it’s actually about me. I know, so humble right?

So, sometimes–and by sometimes I really mean more frequently than I’d like to admit–I just have out and out pity parties for myself. I think about all the things I was going to do or could have done and wonder what it would be like if I had. I look at other women my age who are pursing something similar to what I wanted to do and finding great success in it, and that little bug of jealousy rears it’s ugly head, leaving me in a puddle of self-induced sorrow. Pathetic right? Especially when I snap out of it and take a look at what’s really around me every day.

Back in my early college days, when shows like The Hills were all the rage, (yeah LC!) I really wanted to pursue something in fashion. I loved it. I was always well-dressed in college, except for those inevitable 8:00 a.m. classes where sweatpants were mandatory. I’d often have people on my floors frequent my closet to borrow my clothes, or ask for my advice on their outfits before a big date or whatever. I liked playing that role. I liked being confident in what I wore, and being able to help others feel good about what they were wearing too. I had dreams of opening up my own shop someday, and even had an internship with a small boutique in Ft. Wayne, Indiana to start learning the ropes. Then, I met Kyle. When we started dating, I wasn’t thinking that this was the year I would meet my husband. But, lucky for me, I did, and plans changed. And they changed for the better. Sometimes I think back to opening my own little store, realizing I never pursued it, and feel that twinge of regret. But then I snap out of it, and I think, if I had, I wouldn’t be married to the man I get to call my husband. My life just wouldn’t be complete.

I have held similar desires toward things like photography, or fitness, or blogging. I tried to be a photographer, but that just didn’t pan out for me, despite my efforts, and that’s okay. Instead, I get to use what I know to create great memories for my family, and there’s a lot less pressure involved. I get to do it for the pure joy, and nothing else. I’ve also really been into yoga lately. I have been taking a class from this lovely lady (but seriously, check out that link to her Instagram, she is insanely talented). I have always enjoyed the practice of yoga and the ability to see the small progressions your body makes, even in just one session. However, I also want to have more babies, and I can’t really be doing forearm stands while pregnant. Therefore, my dreams of becoming a really great yogi are going to be a little suspended, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I can’t lay a great foundation for my practice now, one that will really get me ready for doing things like a forearm stand someday in the future. And that doesn’t mean I should enjoy doing yoga any less. After all, it’s basically the only thing that gets me out of bed at 6:45 a.m.

photo 1-2

photo 2

And blogging. I started this blog in a different state of mind, as a frustrated mom of a colicky baby who felt so isolated. I loved my new role as mommy, but I also longed for something more. Everyone else’s life with their newborn seemed like nothing short of constant bliss compared to my scream-fests every day. When I wrote that first blog post, it was for nothing more than to vent. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself clearly, and I definitely had a few things I needed to get off my chest. After receiving a lot of success from my posts, I’ve toyed with the idea of making some money off of my blog. But I quickly realized, in doing so, I wouldn’t be writing for myself, I’d be writing for the potential of making money (for those who do, there is nothing wrong with that, I’m simply saying I couldn’t personally find that balance). Instead of writing when I wanted to, I’d feel pressured to keep up a schedule, which wouldn’t allow me to be as spontaneous and write from the heart. And for me, that’s okay.

I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, when is it going to be okay to just be me? And by that question, what I really mean is, when am I going to be okay with just being me?

I’m a major people pleaser by nature. I hate feeling that others will be upset with me or dislike me. Previously, to the point of completely disregarding myself and the things I enjoy in life to pursue what would make me “look good” in the eyes of whoever I was trying to live up to. Such a lame way to live life, and I’m finally starting to see that. A few times throughout this past year, I have been able to stand up for myself when I’ve been wronged, or haven’t wanted to do something, and it feels great! But I’ve got a long way to go, and part of that will come with rooting my foundation–being okay with my choices and being me.

In just a few short weeks I’ll be turning 27. That’s a lot closer to 30 than I used to be. I’ve always envisioned being 30 as reaching the pinnacle of “you-dom” (yep, just made that up). You are who you are, and you embrace it. Throughout your 20’s there is so much change and shifting in life, things that happen which begin to define who you are. Not that there aren’t any changes when you’re in your 30’s, or 40’s or 50’s, but I just feel that by that time, these changes probably occur with a bit more of a grounded foundation. At least, that’s what I’d like for myself.

Instead of choosing a career in fashion, I chose to get married and become a mother. And you know what? I’d rather wear clothes covered in peanut butter and yogurt and watch Mad Men and the end of the day with my husband than be doing anything else. I love being a mom, it’s my thing. Instead of being a super awesome yogi right now, I’m slowly learning the habits to get there, while allowing myself time to fully focus on my son while he still actually wants my attention. And I love that. It works for me. I love the opportunity to practice yoga first thing in the morning and to attend class on Tuesdays. It’s a great way to start my day and get a little me time in. My forearm stand is waiting for me in the future, and I’m happy with that for now.

photo

In the midst of my pity party last week, I was reviewing these feelings with Kyle, and he said something to me that I think is so true. Being a mom, or not being a mom, or wanting to be a mom, it just totally changes your entire world. It determines your priorities. We began talking about the different roles that moms can play. We determined that there is a bit of a scale when it comes to motherhood. There are the moms that live solely for their kids on one side, and the moms who have kids who live solely for them on the other, you know, kind of like an accessory. Then, there’s that sweet spot in the middle of the perfect balance. When moms prioritize their kids just right, while still prioritizing themselves and their own dreams. I think that’s the place every mom strives for, we all just end up somewhere different on the scale, wherever that may be.

But ah…that perfect balance.

Here’s to finding it, and here’s to working my way toward finally being okay with being me. Twenty seven, I’m coming for you.

photo 3 copy 3

Style File: Kyle’s closet

So…every year around this time, or as my husband would say most times of the year, I want to shop. I love clothes and fashion and am always interested and inspired by what other people are wearing. However, shopping isn’t something that’s typically in our budget, other than for Judah. I mean come on, who can resist buying baby/toddler clothes?? Usually, other than relying on Christmas lists and birthday gifts, we shop about twice a year, once for a few pick me ups, and another time more seriously. So, in the mean time, I have to get creative. 

First, I obsessively look at Pinterest. That usually gives me a good fix for shopping without actually being able to buy anything. It also inspires me to be a little more creative and try out some new mixtures with the clothes already in my closet. Then, I move on and actually want some different clothes. But what’s a girl to do when a whole new wardrobe isn’t really possible? Shop on your husband’s side of the closet of course!

I wear Kyle’s clothes quite frequently, but was actually inspired to write this post thanks to my friend, Alex. She’s got such a cute style and always looks awesome in whatever it is she wears. Last weekend, she was over at my house and was wearing her boyfriend’s t-shirt and cardigan. If she hadn’t mentioned it was his, I would have never known. And it just got me thinking, you know, there’s no shame in sharing. And, if your main squeeze has some great style and a love for cardigans, like mine does, why not benefit from it?

The two things I borrow most from Kyle are his t-shirts and cardigans. Lucky for me, I love baggy and flowy tops, so his oversized sweaters and shirts are perfect for my individual taste. Also, they are super comfy. And, did I mention menswear is in?

However, there is one caveat to wearing your counterpart’s duds: Don’t pair their baggy jeans with their baggy shirts or sweaters. Instead, if you’re going to rock his extra comfortable cardigan, pair it with some skinny jeans and boots, same goes for the t-shirts. You do want to highlight some of your feminine features while sporting those baggier tops. Vice versa with the bottoms. If you go for the boyfriend jean look and take it literally, wear a woman’s shirt, something that fits well and flatters your shape. Also, take the time to put on some makeup that day, do your hair, or both if you have time. I’m all for going natural, but wearing oversized clothes comes at a fine line of looking sloppy, so taking an extra five minutes to throw on some mascara or blow-dry your hair, will help you look styled without being overdone, especially when dressing casual, something I do every day. 

Here are a few “bathroom selfies” I snagged while Judah was napping. Excuse the hair–it hasn’t been washed…I opted for eyeliner today instead 😉 

The t-shirt:

photo 1Paired with some bangles and leggings or skinny jeans, this is an ultra-comfy look that’s pretty easy to pull off. Also, I sometimes like to do the “half-tuck” to give my outfit some more shape, like this:

photo 2The cardigan:

photo 4I gotta say, I lucked out when scoring a man who likes a good cardigan. I LOVE baggy sweaters. They are so easy and great for transitional seasons. Just roll or scrunch the sleeves a bit, pair with a feminine tank or blouse, (not like the t-shirt I have on in this photo) and you’re set. 

The Sweater:

photo 3Again, roll or scrunch the sleeves and you’re set!

I do feel that if you’re going to wear men’s clothes, there must be some feminine touches. Bangles, earrings, rings, or a necklace, and I’m a huge fan of a good pair of black skinny jeans. You can dress them up or down. I wear mine at least twice a week. And the shoes are important. I’m not a huge heels girl. I’m 5’7″ so when I wear heels I feel self-consciously tall, plus I’m terrible at walking in them, so these are perfect. They are not flats and they have a great point without being uncomfortable, plus they make me feel a little more feminine when I wear them.

photo 5

photo

 

What do you do when you need a shopping fix?

 

 

 

 

What She’s Wearing, Reading, and Listening to:: Bethany

Well, after I asked Jaime to give me her list, I figured I should give mine.

During our packing process, I did a closet cleanse. It was a little frightening for me to realize I was thinking, “oh, I can still wear this” about a number of items, then remember back to when I bought it, realize it was purchased my Sophomore year of college, and reflect on exactly how long ago that was. Yikes! Into the giveaway pile it goes.

Though it’s fun to go through your closet and see things that are attached to memories or phases of life, it also feels really great to get rid of them. It’s also saddening to come to grips with your consumeristic self when you realize you still have a closet full of clothes and yet you also managed to fill four garbage bags of unnecessary items. It’s a pretty good reality check. So, though I love shopping and buying things, I made a personal goal to cut down and be a little smarter on what it is I purchase.

I’ve always been drawn to classic and basic when it comes to clothes. I don’t have much color in my closet, and I’m okay with that. I’m also really drawn to flowy, oversized, and comfortable. And since jumping on the mom train, practical.

For this post, I did not photograph anything that I currently have, I just found some similar products online, thanks to Google and the ever-popular Pinterest. I think you’ll get the drift, and the photos are probably much better than what I would have come up with.

So let’s get to it.

What I’m Wearing

This winter (and every other winter, I might add) my must-haves include:

1. Dark jeans. I wear jeans every day, no matter the occasion. Jeans can be fancy, grungy, and practical. And the great thing about jeans is that you can usually use the same pair for each category! I have two of these pair of jeans in my closet, my current favorite being the black pair. I also have them in dark blue and a similar pair in grey. I love them and wear them with everything. And, bonus…these suckers are $10 at H&M. Yep, $10. You can find them here.hmprod

2. Flannel. And not just because I live close to Portland. Flannel is a great layering piece. It’s easy to throw a flannel on over a t-shirt, or under a sweater, depending on the look you’re going for. I currently have 3 flannel shirts that I rotate and love, each for different reasons. Also, flannels are about the only item of clothing that include color in my wardrobe. I love this gem that I found on Pinterest, but you can get similar products here, here, or here.

0f722d846fb83e74c427a0ecc1aa03f6

3. Oversized Sweaters. There is nothing like a comfy, warm, oversized sweater. Pullovers or cardigans, I don’t care. They can be worn over a pair of leggings for days around the house, or dressed up when paired with a dress, skirt, or my favorite–jeans and boots.  I would love to own this one here, but sadly, and not so sadly, I don’t have a few hundred bucks to drop on a sweater. You can find similar (and much cheaper) ones here, here, and here.

775b9098592b1926b27e5bb16ec86b15

3. Sweatshirts and t-shirts. Not your typical hoodie style sweatshirt or that free t-shirt you got from that one thing in college. Although who doesn’t love a good broken in hoodie, and you know I didn’t part with my most comfortable free college t-shirts. But, those stay indoors for me.  I’m talking about sweatshirts and t-shirts that you won’t feel totally gross in when you run into that really popular, always together girl you went to high school with when you’re out running errands with your screaming child. You can be comfy and still look okay, it is possible. Try throwing on one of these bad boys with a pair of skinny jeans and some flats and tell me if you don’t look put together yet just as comfortable as you would be in your oversized hoodie. Currently, I have two sweatshirts similar to this one in my closet from Forever21, and I have this beauty  on my Christmas list from H&M. You can find it here or similar ones here and here.

hmprod3

I also recommend a comfy t-shirt such as this one, also from H&M. I have it in black and love it. It’s also a great layering piece. Find it here, or find similar ones here and here.

hmprod2

4. Boots. Boots, boots, boots. I LOVE boots. I really loved classic Uggs, and still do, not because they look the greatest, but because they are so stinking warm and comfy. But, I decided to step up my game a little after my closet cleanse and become a little more adult with my shoes. Also, Uggs don’t really work well for the rain around here. So, instead, I’ve added boots like these, which can be found here at DSW, to my wish list.

img-thing

I’ve also had my eye on these rain boots, get them here:1534916-p-MULTIVIEW

And I wear boots similar to these at least twice a week. I got mine from this cute little shop.

brown riding boots women , brown boots, women boots

What I’m listening to.

Currently, I’m really behind in music. It used to be something that I made a priority, and I’m hoping to get back into that. Right now, I am listening to Lorde (I know, but I really like her) and Lord Huron. I also really love Young the Giant, and William Fitzsimmons.

What I’m reading. 

Reading isn’t something that I do, but again, I’d like to get there. Currently, Kyle and I are finishing up the last book in the Harry Potter Series. We decided to re-read it out loud together, and you can see why by visiting here (and yes, it has taken us a year, we know). After that, I’d like to re-read another all-time favorite of mine, The Great Gatsby.

I’m always interested in what others are wearing, reading, and listening to, so leave a comment if you’d like!

Also…I’ve added some new tabs to my sidebar over there ———————>>>>>>>>>> If you’d be so kind as to click on the “Top Baby Blogs” and “Top Mommy Blogs” links to vote for my blog if you think others would enjoy reading it, I’d really appreciate it. And, if you want to discover other great mommy or baby blogs, they’ve got TONS of great ones. Also, I promise that will be my last mention of that for a while 😉