30.

A lot of women struggle with turning 30. It’s the end of your 20’s. The wrinkles start. The hips are bigger, especially if you’ve had children, and your metabolism slows down tremendously. There’s also other things that happen…like weird dark hairs that grow into your chin that you have to pluck out. Or bleach. Or both. Things are not hopelessly saggy, like you can still rock it if you need to, but when the bra comes off, there is a definite drop that wasn’t there before. You know what I mean. Cellulite creeps in. It’s hard to stay toned, like you actually have to watch what you eat and work out. Not to mention the gray hairs and wrinkles that are starting to form.

Sounds dreadful, right? But 30. Thirty it is. I’ve arrived. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a bonafide adult. I’m 30. I have cellulite. And some to spare if you’d like some for yourself. I’ve nursed two kids for over a year, so things are not perking up like they used to be. I have gray hair that I dye. I have wrinkles and think it’s flattering when I get ID’d at the store to purchase wine.

Nothing pleases me more than going to bed at 10:00 at night, and I love, love, love to have hot coffee in the morning without interruption. I hate small talk. I know the kind of people I want in my life as friends. I don’t want to walk with you through your journey to “finding yourself.” I did that in college/early motherhood and I’m done now. I’m saving the rest of that energy for my kids when they will need it. I know the kind of mother I want to be to my children. I am starting to realize that my body is pretty awesome looking for a 30 year old mother of 2 who has been pregnant 5 times. I eat dinner before 6:00 every evening. And yes, I get annoyed if there are people out and loud after 11. I want to stay in and watch TV with my husband. I avoid crowds like the plague. I don’t know where to shop because I’m too old for Forever 21, but too cheap for Anthropologie. The last movie I went to see in theaters was the Minions, and this weekend, my husband and I went wine tasting and to a garden resort to stay with the rest of the geriatrics because those are our people now.

To me, 30 brings confidence. I am grabbing 30 and running with it, wildly and freely, in a way 20 cannot ever catch up with.

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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.

 

Another baby? It’s complicated.

It’s my “blog-aversary” I guess. So says WordPress. Four years ago I started this baby….and wow does time fly. Four years ago I started this blog as a rant of the struggles of first-time motherhood. And now that little baby I was talking about is four. He knows how to write his name. He knows the alphabet and he can count to 100. That little baby is also a fantastic big brother and says the funniest and craziest things. It’s nuts how life works out and flies by all at once.

I’ve been in kind of a funk these days. I know I talk about my miscarriages often, and many of you who read this blog may be tired of hearing about it. I apologize, and want to kindly remind you that you don’t have to read what I write, it doesn’t bother me one way or another. But be warned, this blog does touch on my unborn babies.

I have begun the process of writing a book I once dreamed about. Both my husband and the readers of this blog have encouraged me to push forward and make that dream a reality. Though it won’t be remotely written for many years, it is in the works.  Writing on this topic has been something I have been passionate about. Miscarriage and the loss with it has been so taboo in our culture and I’m tired of it, and so are the other mothers out there who have experienced it. It’s just time to talk about it and not in a “everything-works-out” kind of way. It’s time that miscarriage is recognized as the anger and grief inducing tragedy that it is. It should be called out for what it is: a life altering, never the same again, event.

But, that is only part of what is on my mind today. Really, what my mind is mulling over is whether or not to have another baby. I want another baby. I crave it. I hated being pregnant with Lennon, but in the long run, it’s so worth it. But honestly, I am petrified. The condition I have, which presumably caused my previous miscarriages, only worsens with age, so each day that passes, each moment, increases my chance of miscarrying all the more. And honestly, I don’t know if I can mentally and emotionally handle the possibility of losing another baby.

Recently, my husband and I have started a small group within our church dedicated to the common bond of miscarriage. Because of this and the start of this book, I have been dwelling on and reliving my experiences more graphically than  usual on a daily basis. It does a number on one’s emotional state. I typically think of my lost children at least once a day, but lately, I have been graphically re-living every detail of their loss.

I have been trying so hard to soak in the moments with my four year old and treasure the fleeting moments of babyhood with my sweet Lennon. But always in the back of my mind is the craving of another child, and the reminder of those I have lost. It’s a tough place to find myself.

I tried to fool myself into saying I was done after two living babies. I have a beautiful boy and the most awesome girl. Perfect, right? But I crave another. A few weeks ago, I held a friend’s sweet newborn baby and was so happy to give her back once she cried, but now–now I long for that moment when you hold a new baby for the first time. I want to hear those sweet and unforgettable newborn cries. I want that first look into each other’s eyes. I want to mother another child. But I’m scared of the journey to get there. My heart cannot take another loss. My heart can hardly manage another pregnancy. The mere thought makes my stomach churn and my eyes tear up.

Pregnancy is a complete crap-shoot. You don’t ever know until the moment that beautiful, pink, screaming baby is placed in your arms, that everything will be okay. And there in lies the risk.

This is where I am, folks. Truly caught between a rock and a hard place. And seriously hoping time will tell.

“Burt, are we fuck ups?”

I know, I dropped the f-bomb in the title. But, it’s a quote, and it makes sense in this particular post. So, can we all be mature and get past that for a second? Mmmk, thanks.

The past two years have been a whirlwind. Those of you who keep up with my blog know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t, here’s a recap of some of the highlights: We moved across the country, suffered three miscarriages, my husband has gone through three job transitions, I was laid off from my job, we bought a house, and now we are expecting a little girl this January. Phew. That’s a hell of a lot to go through in a two year span. Oh, and through it all, Kyle and I are miraculously still married…but seriously. A move, a job change, or a loss of a child alone can put a marriage through the ringer. Going through all of that plus more in a short span of time has definitely made for some tense months. But we’ve prevailed, and we still are.

Something happens to your world when you know a child is coming. You start to look at yourself with a bit more scrutiny. You no longer let the days just simply pass by because you’re well aware that you’re shortly going to be responsible for another life. There is a shift in your actions. Even before your child arrives, you start doing everything for them. This is what’s happening in our world right now.

After Judah was born, that pressure has remained, it just somehow settled into a routine. Despite all these transitions and highs and lows, we’ve somehow begun to just go through the motions, doing things as expected. I just received a text from my husband, who inspired this post, saying that he’s realized how much he’s let society and other people dictate who he has become and he’s getting pissed about it. I think that’s amazing. Look at this man I’ve married, recognizing this and taking his life back!

This last time that Kyle and I decided to try again for a baby was our last effort. We had a hard road, not as hard as some though, when it came to having as second baby. So when you give it “one last try,” you also have to allow yourself to start to accept your life as it is. We were starting to become okay with just Judah. We were beginning to look into things like adoption (which is still very much a desire of ours in the future). I was accepting the fact that I might never carry another child again, and that was alright. I was also beginning to recognize that in a short time, I was going to need to find a new job, as Judah would be starting school. And then, we were lucky enough to become pregnant. And again, our perspectives, our lives, altered.

Kyle and I watched the movie “Away We Go” before having Judah, and we watched it again a few weeks ago. The characters in the movie are ridiculous, but there are comparabilities to each of the people that the lead personas come in contact with who also represent people in our lives. And there are similarities to that, “holy crap, we are going to be responsible for someone else and we have no idea who we are ourselves” plight that the main characters are going through. There’s a line in the movie before the official journey to find a home for the lead characters begins. Maya Rudolf’s character looks at her longtime boyfriend, played by John Krasinski and asks, “Burt, are we fuck ups?” I think this is something Kyle and I have asked before having each kid.

From society’s standpoint, I think we are. Sure, we’ve got a house, a dog, and a jankie fenced yard, two healthy kids, and a good church. However, I stay at home when we really can’t afford it, and Kyle barely makes enough money for us to sustain our mortgage. We’re on state assistance. We’ve never vacationed anywhere, unless you count visiting family, Kyle and I are both still wearing most of our clothes from college (and some from high school…it’s considered vintage now right?), a splurge on dinner out is a $7.99 pizza maybe once a month, and most of the things we own have been craigslist finds or gifted to us by our very generous parents. All this is maybe considered okay by society for someone just out of college, but we’re nearing thirty and have two kids. Hashtag winning?

I think what both my husband and I are going through is recognizing again that it’s not what jobs we have, how much money we make, or how many kids we raise that defines us. It’s the character we have, the friends and community we surround ourselves with, and the balance of all these things that makes up what we say about ourselves. And I think there’s a bit of that looming question, “are we fuck ups” that remains in everyone, especially during major transitions in life.

Point blank, it’s scary to look at your life realistically. It’s also really refreshing when you can begin to do so outside of what “the general public” expects you to make of it. Who decides that anyway? Who said by the time we were thirty we had to have it all figured out and a steady 401K ready for us when we reach the ripe age of 65 so we could gloat on our millions and become snow birds? Who says you can’t have kids until you make X number of dollars every month? We sure don’t. And let me tell you, Judah is one happy child. Money, career, it’s not everything.

We’re figuring it out one day at a time. Really, aren’t we all just a bunch of kids running around trying to parent other kids? Well, I’m taking a step in the direction of my husband’s lead and rediscovering me, outside of what society says I should or shouldn’t be. And my goodness, isn’t that one of the best things we can gift our kids with anyway? Nope, life’s not rainbows and butterflies in our house right now. There is a lot of financial stress and pressure and many tears (I am six months pregnant after all). But there’s also hope. We have Christ present in our home. Not always as much as he should be, but he’s there, leading the charge. I respect my husband fiercely. We love our kids deeply. We are far from perfect and far from normal in society’s eyes, but we’re doing our best, and I think our best is yet to come.

And, if you’ve never watched “Away We Go,” you should get on that. It’s not for everyone, but if you want to understand where we are, it’ll give you a pretty good glimpse.

Pacific City, OR

Pacific City, OR