Motherhood

The Struggle is Real

June has kicked my butt. Although I probably shouldn't blame the month itself. It didn't do anything to me. It's just that the sequence of events and circumstances this month have teamed up together to try to single handedly take me down. Dramatic? Maybe. But it feels like an accurate depiction. Anyone else? (Raise your hand if you've been personally victimized by June)

I've been putting off writing about all of this for a few reasons:

1. I felt overwhelmed and incapable of putting all of my thoughts into legible sentences.

2. I felt like such a mess so I didn't see the point in writing. 

3. I didn't feel like I had anything of value to say. I don't want to just word vomit on you.

4. It's easier to zone out on TV than it is to sit and process your thoughts.

But I can't run and hide from it anymore. So although I feel a little terrified that I'm not quite sure where this is going and none of you even care, here we go!

First let me just say that I am fully aware that a lot of the aforementioned thoughts are lies. So let's acknowledge and replace those first, both for my benefit and yours.

1. I am not incapable, even if I feel like it.

2. I'm not a mess, even if I feel like it.

3. My words are valuable and important, even when they don't feel like it.

4. Well....the TV thing is true. But probably not healthy haha!

I also know it's a lie to think that none of you care. Some of you may not, but if you're here reading this then I know that you have to at least care a little bit. Even if caring just means you want to see the Hannah-crazy-train-wreck-show. WELCOME ABOARD!

I've shared a little bit of where my head has been at over in a few social media posts and stories. Let me briefly catch you up - Jonathan and I took a week long kid-free vacation, and the day after we got back was the first real day of summer with all 3 kids at home with me...all day long. I truly believe that the intense shift in my stress levels (from pure relaxation to full time SAHM to three young kids in the summer) caused me to crash a little bit. My body didn't know how to handle the influx of stress so it went into total fog mode. No energy, no clear headedness, no motivation. I was basically in survival mode trying to navigate how to function with breaking up constant fights between my older two while a very cute toddler had taken up the new hobby of screaming at my feet for the majority of the day. Maybe you saw this adorable picture I shared a few weeks ago?

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The reason they were all able to climb on top of me was because I had been sitting on the floor feeling overwhelmed and foggy and stuck. One by one they made their way to me and thankfully pulled me out of the funk for a few minutes. Being home with three kids who have no way to understand "mama is struggling" is so hard, y'all. And can I also just take a second to say that it is not normal for a person to be yelled at all day? It's not normal and I don't need to beat myself up for feeling insane after multiple days of someone yelling at me or near me for 12 hours straight. That's basically torture. Again, dramatic? Maybe. But I'm thinking that more than a few of you are nodding your heads in agreement.

All of this was the first week of June. So around this time I was also starting to add stuff to my planner for the coming month here and there, which means I was constantly seeing "SURGERY" written in my planner for next month (if you're new here, you can get filled in on all of that in my last post). Everyday I would get that little nagging reminder, which would lead to a little bit of tightness in my chest. But I was in the midst of full time stay at home mom-ness so there wasn't time to freak out about it, or really even stop and think about it. So there I was trying to dig through this new borderline depression I'd found myself in, and in walks anxiety. 

Here's where some of my thoughts and feelings get a little tricky. Deep down, I know that I'm ok. I am at peace, I know I'm making the right decision about having this surgery. I know that I will be ok regardless of anything that happens. I am actively walking with Jesus through both the days leading up to this surgery and just the day-to-day parenting stuff. So when I tell people "I'm good", I mean it. But at the same time, I'm really not that good. I'm freaked out about a 8+ hour surgery. I have no idea what recovery will look like. I'll have to be away from my kids for a while to heal. I can't get any of the things done that I have been working on and planning the last few months (blogging, the shop I'm trying to open, art, etc.) because my kids are home with me all day. My brain is wiped at the end of the day. I am stressed to the max with being asked approximately 7 million questions per day, breaking up fights, dealing with my 4 year old's epic meltdowns, trying to navigate my 6 year old's sassy attitude, having a toddler scream at me every time I go to pee...not to mention trying to maintain solid friendships and a good marriage....and ya know, function as a normal human being. So while I am good, I am also kind of a disaster right now. 

When you have to continually suppress your feelings, like literally HAVE to because you can't have a freak out meltdown when you have three kids who need you, it's exhausting. Your emotions feel all over the place so when you sit down to try to sort through them, it feels impossible. Everything I do all day long is interrupted, so trying to keep a solid stream of thought once I finally have a second...my brain feels so scattered. I have to actively fight the lie that I'm not a crazy person. I know that Satan wants nothing more than for me to feel like something is wrong with me. And I have bought that lie so many times. It's like he is a child pitching a fit and screaming at the top of his lungs trying to keep me from being able to think clearly, to pray, to hear from my Father on what is true. And what's true? Satan is a totally defeated enemy. He has absolutely no power if we don't allow him to. 

None of my circumstances have changed over the last few weeks. My kids are still hard. My surgery is still less than a month away. I still feel overwhelmed and stressed out. But I don't have to manage all of that in my own strength. I can be weak, and it's ok. I can be honest when people ask how I'm doing, even if it makes some people uncomfortable. I can admit that I'm struggling. I can let friends watch my kids for a few hours. I can accept a homemade meal. I can find supplements to help my energy and mood. I can find a counselor to meet with. I can take lots of deep breaths and call on Jesus every single moment of every single day, and with a clear mind I can tune into what He is saying to me. He may not rescue me from my circumstances, but He comes to my side and rescues my heart, rescues my mind and thoughts. 

Has it been hard to admit how much I've been struggling the last few weeks? A little bit. It feels embarrassing to say you feel like you can't handle your own life. It makes me feel like something is wrong with me that I am not enjoying this particular stage of mothering a lot of days. Or that I'm not marking things off my (non-existent) summer bucket list left and right. But every time I've shared even a tiny glimpse of this struggle, I am so relieved and encouraged with the amount of you that say "me too!". So even though being the one to go first is hard, I'll keep doing it time and time again. I want to give every other woman out there the space to be vulnerable too, and to know she's not alone. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one struggling, but it's still so easy to believe the lie that I am. So I will keep shouting the truth and all my craziness from the rooftops so that no other woman will even for a second buy into the lie that something is wrong with her. That she's not good enough. That she should have it all together. That she should be "enjoying every moment."

This life has hard seasons, and we aren't meant to walk through them in shame or by ourselves. Don't be afraid to let your friends in it with you. Don't be ashamed to let God in it with you (He already knows all of it anyway). Let His peace transform and heal you, and let Him use His people to show you love and grace. I hope you feel that here - loved and accepted. Because you are all of those things and so much more.

I told you at the beginning that I wasn't sure where all of this was going to go. And I'm still not sure if it went anywhere. All I know is that you are my friends, whether we know each other in person or not, and I want to always be real with you. I want to share my heart and my journey with you, the good and the hard stuff. So if we were hanging out this is the conversation I would hope to have with you. Friend, no matter what you're going through, you are not the only one. Even if our circumstances are different, I believe we all understand each other more than we think. You are so loved, my friends!

Know Your Worth

Worth.

It's a heavy word that can cause heavy feelings. It's something most of us have struggled with at some point; I know I have. I spent a lot of my teenage and early adult years constantly wondering what I was worth, looking for value in other people, worrying if I was good enough and if I was doing everything "right". To be honest, I still let myself struggle with those things from time to time as a thirty year old mom of three. Being in the age of the "mommy wars" and the never ending "mom-shaming" doesn't help matters one bit. We see it every single day on social media. We may even see it in our real life circles: mom's bible studies, play date groups, work break rooms. It's sadly become a constant background noise. And if you let it start to define you, you'll drown from the weight of it. So today I just want to make a few things clear.

Your worth is not in your job title or stay-at-home-mom title.

Your worth is not in your kids' healthy and hand crafted lunches or their store bought lunchables.

Your worth is not in your clean house or in your dust covered mantle.

Your worth is not in your meal prep skills or your pizza ordering skills.

Your worth is not in your perfectly designed or perfectly destroyed-by-kids living room.

Your worth is not in your instagram feed.

Your worth is not in your group of friends or number of followers.

Your worth is not in how long you breastfed or if you formula fed from day one.

Your worth is not in your natural childbirth or in your scheduled c-section.

Your worth is not in your pinterest-inspired outfits or the yoga pants you pulled out of the dirty laundry basket.

Your worth is not in your sidle hustle, or lack thereof.

Your worth is not in when your baby slept through the night (or didn't).

Your worth is not in the parties you host or get invited to, or the ones where you didn't make the guest list.

Your worth is not in the amount of kids you have or don't have.

Your worth is not in how long it took you to get pregnant, or if you can't.

Your worth is not in how long you've been married, or how many times you have been married. Or if you are single.

Your worth is not in your kids' outfits, smocked or thrift store.

Your worth is not in how many times you did or didn't hit the gym this week.

Your worth is not in that number on the scale or on the tag of your jeans.

Your worth is not what others say about you.

Your worth is not even in what you say about yourself, because we all know we can be our very own worst critic.

Girl, you are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for. And if you are struggling with defining yourself on all of the things you do, or as is the case with a lot of women, on all of the things you DON'T do...stop!

What you do is not who you are.

What you don't do is not who you are.

Your worth and value have been set by someone way bigger than you or anyone else, and there's not a single thing you can or can't do that will change that.

Worth can be defined as the amount you would pay for something, right? Do you know what God has paid for you?

Jesus.

(mic drop)

I'm worth the same as Jesus. You are worth the same as Jesus. I know this might cause some of you to clutch your pearls or mutter "blasphemy" under your breath, but please stick with me. You've heard it a hundred times..."For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." right? There it is, in scripture. God gave up Jesus for you. And that same God resurrected Jesus for you. And He's alive today so you can be alive in Him, too. God believed you were worthy, that you are worthy. So it's time for you to start believing it, too. 

Please let that really soak in today. Stop finding your worth and identity in things that don't last and things that aren't true, things that will never truly fill you up. He has defined your worth and made you right. You don't have to try to measure up. He loves you so much and believes you are worth the biggest price imaginable.

Dear First Time Mom

Hey new mama! It's a crazy thing, isn't it? The swiftness in which your life just forever changed. You've just been "you" all this time, and suddenly you are "mom." The rotation of excitement, fear, and doubt is on a constant loop in your mind. I remember that feeling when I saw those two lines on that little stick. "There's a baby inside of me! Oh God...Oh no. There's a baby inside of me." Cue happy/panicked crying. You could have (literally) peed your pants you were so excited and so scared. And now that baby is really here, outside of your body. Please don't freak out just yet. You've got some time to figure this whole thing out. Although let me just go ahead and admit that I have three kids and still don't know what the hell I'm doing a lot of the time, but I somehow manage to figure it out along the way, and you will too. "Mom" may feel like a title you don't know if you're ready for, but I promise it's a pretty cool club to be in. 

There are people who can teach you things like how to change a diaper, swaddle, feed, give a bath, etc. Those are important things that you for sure need to learn at some point. But I want to tell you what your heart needs to know going into this thing called motherhood. 

  • You will quickly realize why terrorists use sleep deprivation as a means of torture. It's legit. But you know what? At some point about 2 or 3 weeks in, you adjust. Sure, you're still tired. But suddenly your body just knows that this is the drill for now. And one day you will sleep a full night again, and it will be absolutely glorious! 
  • People will tell you to sleep when they baby sleeps. But they don't tell you that you might cry when the baby cries. Hormones. Aforementioned sleep deprivation. Having to take care of someone who cannot communicate what's wrong with them. Learning a whole new life skill. All of your lady areas hurting. These are all very justifiable things to be crying about. Just know that you're not the only one who has been on the new mama struggle bus. It's hard, and it's more than ok to admit that it's hard. 
  • Lots of people are going to offer to help you. They'll offer to bring you meals, fold your laundry, hold the baby, run errands for you. Take. Them. Up. On. The. Offer. Ok? Trust me. You don't have to be a superhero. There's a reason people are offering you help - because they know you need it! So don't try to act like you don't. You have nothing to prove. You just brought a human into the world for crying out loud!
  • As previously mentioned, no one really knows what they're doing. You know those moms who act like they have it all figured out? They don't. Don't believe it for a second. I know there are experts in every field who can tell you all the facts about all the things in their chosen area. But throw little people with their own personalities and decision-making "skills" (using that term real loosely here) into the mix, and all of your knowledge can just go straight to the dumpster. Then go ahead and light the dumpster on fire. This doesn't mean you're a bad mom or you are not qualified. This means you are a normal human being doing your best to keep other human beings alive.
  • Find yourself some mamas to hang out with who will freely (and kindly) tell you the truth: that some days are sweet and precious and some days are a total crap show. And that that's okay! Doing the "mom" thing is a whole lot easier when you surround yourself with other mamas; the ones who you can vent to, the ones who encourage you, the ones you can bounce ideas off of, the ones who want to make each other better in the most loving way. You know, the way friendship is supposed to be.
  • There are moms who will judge you no matter what you do. That's just the truth. Everyone has different opinions and you can't please everyone. So know who your people are so they can be the ones you trust to keep you in check.
  • It's true when people say babies don't keep. They change so much in such a short amount of time. But you know what? It's ok if you don't "enjoy every moment". You're going to enjoy so many moments that it will overwhelm you. But you may not enjoy waking up for the fourth time in one night. Or being spit up on. Or not being able to get all the things done without someone needing something from you. That doesn't mean you aren't grateful. That doesn't mean you don't love your baby.
  • You don't have to be like other moms. You were made with intention and purpose, and you were given your baby with intention and purpose. You are the right mom for the job of raising your child. No one else can do it like you, so don't try to do it like anyone else. Follow your gut, know it's ok to ask for help, and just be you. You don't have to be a precious mom if that's not your personality. You don't have to be a stay-at-home-mom or a career mom or the cute mom in carpool or the mom who complains all the time, or any of the fill-in-the-blank moms. Just be you. You and your baby will be better off when you just live fully into who you are.

I really could go on and on about all the things I would tell a new mama. It's mostly all the things I wish someone would have told me six and a half years ago. Motherhood can be really freaking hard sometimes, but it is seriously one of the most amazing things I've ever had the privilege of experiencing. I know stepping into this new role can be scary, but you are cut out for it. You have what it takes. I am in your corner, and I'm willing to bet there are a tribe of mamas nearby who are ready and willing to be in your corner, too. 

Mama friends, leave your best advice for new moms in the comments below. Pass on your best bit of wisdom, the thing you wish someone had told you. I can't think of a better way to encourage a new mom than to stand with her and share all that we know, and let her know that she is not alone. This mama tribe always has room for new members! 

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Mother's Day Gift Guide

Could a blog for moms even be complete without a Mother's Day Gift Guide?! Guys, I'd love to say I'm one of those people that rolls my eyes at holidays like this, but I'm just not. Being a mom is the thing I'm the most proud of, and it just makes me feel good when there's a day set aside to celebrate that! I love that there's a day to intentionally tell my mom and all of the amazing moms that I know how awesome I think they are!  But real talk, am I the only one who wants to have zero of my normal "mom responsibilities" on Mother's Day??! Like, I'll hug and kiss my babies, but I'm gonna need someone else to change the diapers and fix the meals, ok?

Anyway, let me get back to why you're here: a gift guide. I wish gift giving was my love language, but I am a person that tends to get overwhelmed with choosing the perfect gift for someone. So I've made it my mission to help you (and me) out by narrowing it down to some pretty fantastic and unique gifts. These will work for your Mama, your Mother-in-Law, your mama friends, or if you want to just forward it on over to your husband, you go right ahead girl. Enjoy shopping! Let me know in the comments if any of these make their way to your cart, or if you'd add anything else to the list!

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1. Hand lettered print

 Art always makes a great gift, especially art that inspires. I have this print from Lindsay Letters hanging in the hall outside of the boys' rooms and I love it so much. I've also gifted the print to both my mom and my Mother-in-Law. It's such a sweet reminder of what a gift our children are. Lindsay Letters has so many beautiful prints to choose from - I have quite a few in my own home. A painting or framed photograph are also great gift ideas.

2. Gourmet Chocolate 

Does this even need an explanation, y'all? A fancy box of chocolate is always a win. I currently just keep a bag of dark chocolate chips in my pantry - the opposite of fancy. So a beautifully decorated box filled with gourmet treats would be so special to receive!

3. Motherhood Journal from J. Sperling Paperie 

This three year journal is absolutely beautiful, both in design and content. The layout is clean and simple, giving space to reflect on each week. It's a space where mamas can reflect on the highlights of their week, as well as their hopes and prayers. What a treasure it would be to look back on through the years or hand down to your children one day. I think this would make such a sweet and thoughtful gift! Be sure to check out their Me+You Correspondence journals as well. Jamie has graciously offered us a code for 15% off that will run until May 6th (the last day to place your order in time for Mother's Day). Use code CCHM15 at check out!

4. Bamboo handbag 

These cute bamboo clutches are so on trend right now. I think they are appropriate for any age, so if you're shopping for your friend, your mom, or yourself, one of these cute bags would be the perfect fit!

5. Earrings from Kathryn Chalas Designs 

How adorable are these earrings?! These are handmade by one of my dear friends. She's so talented and has great style. Check out her facebook page for lots of different designs - from leather to tassels to feathers!

6. Robe 

A beautiful comfy robe is a gift you can't go wrong with! There are a ton (over 500!) of rave reviews on this one from Barefoot Dreams. There are quite a few color options, which I love. I know it's a bit on the pricey side, but for something you would use every single day, I think a little bit of investment is worth it. I also found this more budget friendly one from Amazon that has great reviews as well!

7. Bath Soak 

I don't think I've met many women who don't appreciate a nice hot bath! Help a mama out and give her a treat to help make that bath even more relaxing and pampering. This bath soak from Indie Lee can be used to detoxify skin, improve circulation, relieve aching muscles and deliver softer, more supple skin (um, yes please!). The price point is great so you could easily pair this with a nice bath robe like I linked above, or some other pampering supplies like a good body butter!

8. Dear Mushka Essential necklace 

I have been drooling over the jewelry from Dear Mushka for so long now it's ridiculous. One of my favorite pieces is the Essential Necklace. All of their jewelry is inspired by scripture. This one points to Micah 6:8 - "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" This simple necklace calls us back to these basic directions. I love giving a gift with meaning, and every single thing from Dear Mushka is packed with it! Here are a few that are more specifically designed for moms:  The "Called" necklace is one you can personalize with special initials or numbers. The "Quiver" necklace has an arrow to represent your children, and you can add multiple arrows if you want! Shopping for an adoptive mama? The "Together" necklace was designed especially for her.

9. Swig wine cup

Forgive me for jumping from a beautiful and meaningful gift to a wine cup. BUT who doesn't need a great cup for their wine?! These insulated cups won't break and keep your wine at the perfect temperature. I think that's a pretty darn thoughtful gift! Pair it with a bottle of her favorite wine!

10. Magnolia Cookbook

Any Chip & JoJo fans out there? All of you? That's what I thought. The new cookbook from Joanna Gaines would make a great gift for anyone. Pair it with a cute apron, a handmade serving board, or these cute cooking utensils from Target.

11. Beach tote bag

This straw tote from Vera Bradley is basically one of the cutest things I've ever seen! It can be used as a great spring & summer purse or as a beach tote. Gift it on its own or pack it with a few essentials like a cute water bottle, a beach towel, a magazine, and some sunscreen and you've got a great gift!

12. Soy Candle

A candle is always a great and easy gift! Everyone loves them! And this lemon and sea salt scent is perfect for spring and summer.

13. At home gel nail set

While a gift card to go get a mani & pedi makes for a great gift, if a mama in your life doesn't mind a little DIY, this at home gel nail set would make an awesome gift! I have a light and polish set that I use on the regular. It's so convenient and saves so much money! This is a starter set but you can purchase other colors almost anywhere that nail supplies are sold.

14. Bracelet from Covered.

I shared about Covered. on my Holiday Gift Guide. Her bracelets are just so beautiful that I had to link them again. The quality is top of the line, and the price point is great! She adds new designs all the time so I'm sure you'll be able to find something you love. She also carries some other great accessories, so go check her out!

Last but not least I have to mention one of my favorite shops, SFT. Each month they put together a subscription box called the Lagniappe Box, and this month they have created one just for Mamas! I always get questions when I rock my favorite "Mama Tried" sweatshirt. Since the weather is heating up, this short sleeved version, along with the super cute Mama hat, are a perfect pair. The Satsuma candle also smells amazing! This would be such a fun box to gift to someone, or to yourself!

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I hope this list was helpful and gave you some good ideas! Let me know if you decide to get any of the things I have shared, and if you have any other great gift ideas I'd love to hear them in the comments. I know the other readers would benefit from all the great suggestions I know y'all have as well! Cheers to you, mamas! Enjoy the day that's just for you!

Some, but not all, of the items linked here are affiliate links.

A Day In The Life

Happy Tuesday! I can't believe it's less than a week until Christmas. That feels crazy to even write down. Especially since I have wrapped approximately zero presents and I still have a few things left to buy. So this coming weekend should be super fun, right? eeeeeeek.

Today I'm sharing a day in my life with you! I love other bloggers' posts like this. For some reason it's so fun to see what other people do in their normal lives. Hopefully I'm not the only one who is nosy likes these posts, ha! So without further ado, here's my Monday!