Dear Bethany,

It’s okay.

It’s okay that your dishes from four days ago are still in the sink.  The ones in the dishwasher are clean, and we all know you’ll get to them eventually. You have not one, but two dirty crockpots? No problem. At least you used them at some point.

It’s totally fine that you haven’t dusted in a while. Little children are still running in and out of your house, so even if you did, no one would notice anyway. Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t done you or your husband’s laundry in so long that he had to wear old underwear to work. He rallies for you and is proud that at least the kids have clean clothes.

And speaking of your awesome husband, it’s no big deal that you haven’t shaved your legs in a significantly long time. He’s also cool with it that you didn’t get the opportunity to shower today because your schedule and children were both slightly crazy. He’s watched you birth babies, and still finds you sexy. Honestly, there’s not really too much beyond that which will make you physically unattractive to him.

It’s not the end of the world that your child, after over a year of efforts, still will not always poop when he has to. This too, shall pass. Don’t stress over the amount of times you have to say, “stop making fart sounds,” “no, we are not talking about poop right now,” or “for the love, put your shoes on!”

You had canned soup for dinner last night? No big deal. A little processed crap never hurt anybody. At least you saved $20 and opted out on going through the McDonald’s drive through for the 85th time this year.

Don’t feel bad that you forgot to pack diapers for your daughter today when you dropped her off in the nursery and she ended up needing a diaper change and had to be put in a diaper much to small for all that junk inside that trunk. She survived, and the nursery workers have extra diapers just for moms like you.

You’re doing great. You’ve got this. Mom power and all that hoopla to you. Because you know what? Sometimes the stars align, your baby takes a long nap, your oldest is actually quiet during “quiet time,” and you get to clean your kitchen and listen to Kaleo at the same time. And, after that the heavens open and it’s 65 and sunny on an Oregon November day and you can get outside with your littles and rake the entire backyard with a 20 pound baby on your back. And despite being hit with a rake over a dozen times by a certain four year old who is very slowly learning spacial awareness, you got the entire yard raked and your kids got some precious vitamin D. Then, your babies entertain one another long enough for you to punch out this letter to yourself.

Don’t worry, mama. If you don’t get it done today, it will be waiting tomorrow, or the next day, or even the day after that.

You are capable.

Sincerely,

Yourself.

 

Motherhood Lately

Motherhood lately has been a pretty big guilt trip that I’m putting myself through. I’ve been short on patience where it’s been needed most. Slow to sympathize when it’s been requested. Motherhood lately has been the struggle to find that balance between surviving the day, and embracing it. It’s been difficult to look forward to going to yet another park or splash pad, or playing yet another game of car racing. Motherhood lately has been barely holding on and hoping for ten minutes of silence where I can change over the laundry, or do a few dishes. Motherhood lately has been kind of gray.

This summer has been a mix. It’s been mostly great, but there has been a cloud that’s slowly creeping in. We’ve had a steady busyness of visitors and activities, and still more to come. Our family has strengthened existing friendships, formed new ones, and assessed others that were maybe not what we thought. We’ve found ourselves a pretty solid family away from family, and we’ve felt so much love this summer. We’ve had visits from dear friends from far away and from my parents, and an upcoming vacation with Kyle’s entire family. We celebrated our beautiful boy’s third birthday. Not to mention we’ve finally made it through the first trimester of a new pregnancy. These events have left us feeling blessed and loved.

But despite all of this amazingness, motherhood lately has been a struggle for me. Everyone has their seasons, the highs and the lows, and I’m kind of in a slump right now. So, instead of constantly beating myself up about it, I’m attempting to cleanse that “I’m a half-assed mom” feeling through writing and hoping to start fresh.

Judah has been pretty fantastic. We’ve had tons of transitions and events this summer, as described, and through it all he’s been extremely tolerant and pleasant. Kyle and I were worried that all these guests and activities would make for one sleep deprived, fit-throwing child, but he’s surpassed our expectations and has proven he’s pretty much amazing and that we need to give him more credit where credit is due. I on the other hand, have not had this great of a report.

I’ve been in my first trimester for most of the summer, which means I was feeling sick, very anxious given our history, and pretty lethargic. Luckily, all these things are now starting to pass. However, dealing with this plus an energetic toddler can really take it out of you.

I’ve been getting down on myself lately because the place where I “work” (ha) hasn’t really been requesting a lot from me lately, which scares me for our bank account. I’ve also been going a little bit crazy…I haven’t been away from Judah this entire summer, except for that one time I had a doctor’s appointment and asked a friend to watch him while I had my annual pap smear. Just what you want to do with an hour to yourself, right?

It’s been a tricky time for me and Kyle too. Not being away from Judah also means not having husband/wife time. Kyle has been working so hard this summer to provide for our family. I am SO proud of that man. He has worked crappy job after crappy job so that our bills are paid and I can be home to raise our kids. It’s one of the biggest testaments to how much he loves this family. Though he’s finally starting to map out a career plan, thanks to the works of God, this summer has been no exception to that crappy job cycle that he’s just barely breaking out of. Though we are thankful for the work he has, I still think it’s okay to think it’s kind of sucky sometimes.

Kyle has been working on a roofing crew this summer with the school system. Physical labor is difficult, and roofing in the summer is like slow torture. Not to mention, Kyle isn’t used to physical labor, which makes it even an even more difficult adjustment, but throw in a heat wave where it hasn’t been below 90 degrees in at least a month, and it’s just brutal. Needless to say, upon leaving the house at the crack of dawn and working in the heat for the better part of the day, without fault, he comes home every afternoon completely whipped out. He’s basically a walking zombie from Monday through about Saturday afternoon when he finally get some much needed rest. So, while he’s out in the heat, breaking his back for a meager paycheck to help with my lack of work from my “employer,”  that leaves me basically being a single mom.

Sure, I only have one kid to feed, potty train, and entertain at the moment, but it’s still hard. Sometimes, mommy needs her breaks. And sometimes I really just want to talk with my husband and hang out with him. But currently, it’s not an option. I know it will be over soon, and I can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. But despite this summer of being surrounded by wonderful friends and family, it’s also been a little bit lonely. And sometimes I feel very much like I’m kind of half-assing the whole mom thing. There are moments where I just want silence, and Judah wants to reiterate every thought that passes through his brain. There are times when I want to sift through my email for five minutes, and just can’t because I’m being bombarded with cars, and trucks, and monster noises. There is laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to be vacuumed, and beds to be made, and I don’t have the energy to do it.

Motherhood lately has been a trial, but it’s one that will only make me stronger in the end. I love my little boy to pieces, and I adore my husband and the way he fights to provide for our family. So, to all you other parents out there struggling to stay standing in this summer heat wave–solidarity.

photo 1-2

I’m a Writer, For Real.

Currently, my brain is scattered and I’m taking the title of my blog literally for this post. Bare with me.

Some of you who are my Facebook friends noticed a little change in my profile last week. I added a new job. Yep, I am no longer “just” the stay-at-home mama anymore. I’m the stay-at-home mama who works. I got a job as a content writer at this awesome marketing company. I applied there as a fluke, not ever expecting to actually get the job, but as luck would have it, I did. And so far, it rocks. How lucky am I to be able to help bring in an income for my family without missing a beat in my little guy’s day? It’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

I do not consider raising my son to be a job. It’s not, it’s life. This blog post, written by an amazing stay-at-home mama, was what first got me thinking about this. (Thank you for that, Kat). This is an important part of life for me, and I don’t want to miss a thing. My husband and I have made some great sacrifices so that I can avoid having to work the typical 9-5. We know that many of our friends and family think we’ve been nuts living off of one salary, and a social worker’s salary at that. For those of you who are unfamiliar, a social worker’s salary is also known as working for free. Not really, but kind of. But, to our neigh sayers, I did not need this job for the monetary value. Sure, it adds a little relief to our bank account, but we are and have been quite content living simply. The trade off of being able to stay home is totally worth it. But I did need this job for me.

I have been struggling for the last couple of months with what it looks like for me to be a stay-at-home mom. I have come to find out that I’m just not the mom who has a tidy house all the time, bakes things from scratch, (or bakes at all for that matter), and I’m definitely not crafty. I’m three months behind on Judah’s project life book, I am always forgetting to switch out the laundry, and my house looks like this… a lot… (lets keep it real people). So, adding a job to that, well, lets just say the last two weeks have been an adjustment period.

When I hang out with other people, I want to offer more to the conversation than a play-by-play of my son’s day. Of course that’s the most important thing to me, so you’ll probably get one anyway, but I’ve been yearning for something more for me.

Since staying home, I’ve learned that there are SO many mom’s out there who fit this bill: mom, photographer, blogger. Well, I too claim to be these things, so no shame, no shame. But I want to be something more. I’m not a successful blogger, I’m pretty sure the only ones who consistently read this are my parents, mother-in-law, and a few close friends. As you know, I recently launched my photography business, but it’s something that I know is going to take years to build, and I want to keep it as more of a hobby than my full source of income. Plus, I’m no where near the talent of this awesome photog mom, or this one.

That’s where my new job comes in. This blog has allowed me to have a creative outlet, but most importantly, it has made me realize how much I enjoy writing. Writing comes easily to me. It’s relaxing and I actually take pride in what I write.  At the risk of tooting my own horn, I know I’m pretty good at it too. Those close to me know that I don’t take pride in many things that I do (yay for insecurity!), but writing is not one of those. And this blog has made me realize that I can do something with my talent, other than ramble on wordpress. So thank you to those  of you who do read it and have encouraged me to continue posting. 

I feel lucky and blessed to be able to work where I do. Last week I wrote my content articles in my sweats while also being able to play with my son. Awesome!

I’m feeling nostalgic these days as my son’s first birthday is fast approaching (how did that happen?!?), and am extremely thankful for the journey that this past year has been for me and my family.

So, cheers to a new job, for being a stay-at-home mom, for being a blogger, and a photographer. And happy weekend to you!