It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

“It’s okay to not be okay” my favorite clothing store recently released a hoodie with this saying on it. I’ve seen it before, but I think now it’s the first time I’ve I’ve really seen and thought about it. What does that mean? Do I agree with this statement? As a mother, or even as a human, I have never given myself the grace to let myself feel the feelings I am. I can tell you all the bad things my ex’s have drilled into my brain but to be honest with you I am just as hard on myself if not more so than they ever were.

Growing up my mother made it look so easy to have it together. I know now that that is just what mothers do. They act like they have their lives together even when they’re falling apart. They take care of everyone else even when they don’t have anything left of themselves to give. If they’re hurt they take care of your wounds first. If you’re crying they give you the tissue to wipe away your tears first. Moms can’t be falling apart, if they do who is going to mom??!!

But that is BULLSHIT. Even though you are a mom, you still deserve to have feelings. You are still going to have rough days, you are still going to cry, and you are still going to get depressed. Being a mom isn’t a bandaid. It isn’t the cure. Sometimes motherhood can even make these feelings worse. You’re stressed from being a mom. You wish someone would bring you soup when you are sick. You just want to scream and cry and throw yourself on the floor, but someone told you you’re an adult and you’re not allowed to have big feelings like that anymore.

I am constantly reminding myself that I am the adult now. When I am feeling whatever negative feeling I’m feeling I tell myself to push that way down. No one cares if you don’t want to get out of bed today. Shit needs to get done. The kids still need to be fed, changed, and dressed. The house needs to be cleaned. I need to work. Etc etc etc. It never ends and it is never enough.

If you are in this same boat with me today, I just want you to know it is okay to feel like this. It is okay to not be okay. We aren’t just moms, we are human. We deserve the same amount of grace that we give everyone else every single day. The kids still may need to be taken care of, so take care of them. Get them dressed, fed and changed. But don’t take that shower. Don’t change your clothes today. Put on some cartoons. Do one thing for yourself on that day you are not okay.

This all doesn’t need to just apply to moms either. Sometimes dads may feel this way. Or people who aren’t even parents. I think we are our own toughest critics and everyone deserves that opportunity to just take care of themselves and not worry about anyone else.

I love me I hate me

Like a lot of people, something I have always struggled with is self confidence. I remember being in fifth grade. Other kids in my grade would make fun of my friend Hannah and I saying we were the fattest girls in the grade. I don’t remember if we were or not, but I remember the sting of those words.

Seventh grade

In seventh grade I frequently had problems with this boy. Austin. He often would pick on me. Maybe he was joking around, maybe he wasn’t. But I remember two instances specifically. One day I was sitting at my desk. Austin comes over and starts poking at my arm fat and told me I have, “lunch lady arms” (meaning they were flabby and fat) to this day I am still extremely self conscious about my arm fat. Another instance I remember Austin telling me he would rather kill himself than have someone like me like him. I didn’t like Austin romantically, but it still really hurt my feelings. I couldn’t be that bad.

In high school I remember the many many clothes shopping trips with my mom. I know we both hated them. I would try on dozens of clothes, and hated most of them. Every time would end in tears thinking about how fat and ugly I was.

Depression hit me hard in tenth grade. I really hated myself. I no longer wanted to be a part of this world anymore. I was ugly, I was fat, my father didn’t want me. Nothing was ever going to get better. I skipped school, I skipped classes. I passed the tenth grade by the skin of my teeth. That year I also gained 50 lbs.

The internal battle I was having with myself has continued past high school and college. It got worse after I became a mother. My body had changed in ways I would never think. Even though I didn’t gain much weight with Noah I still had tons of stretch marks left over. My breasts were never all that perky, but now they looked like they were trying to reach the floor. My hips were wider. My face was fatter. I now had two chins instead of one. Two months after having Noah I visited my grandmother who asked me when I was planning to lose the baby weight, mind you I had dropped 30lbs. It was even worse after having Evren. Not only did I not drop the weight after having her but now my stomach sagged too. I still have my pregnancy belly, only it is deflated with no baby.

Noah was only a month or two old here
Evren is only a few weeks old here. I remember feeling so crappy about myself here.

Something my therapist said to me recently has made me open my eyes a bit. She said, “fat doesn’t mean ugly.” I have kind of always known this. I look at other fat girls out in public and long to look as beautiful as they do. I realize now that they have something I do not. Confidence. They know they’re fat, but they also know they are beautiful. Your body weight does not determine how ugly or beautiful you are. Only you can determine that. I have two kids who are looking up to me. I need to start feeling better about myself. If my daughter or son came to me saying they felt the same way I do right now my heart would be broken. My kids deserve to have a mom who loves herself.

I am worthy. I am fat. I am beautiful. I am a good friend, and a good mother. I am funny and kind. I am selfless and caring. I am me. I deserve happiness. I deserve to love myself.

I would love to hear from you. Do you struggle with self confidence? Did you at one point? How did you overcome it? How do you hope to overcome it?

I am fat. I am beautiful.

The Apartment

Writing my post last night about new beginnings has me thinking a lot about where I was to where I am now. It feels like everything and nothing happened between now and then. Posted above are some pictures from the first apartment I’ve ever lived in alone.

There are only five pictures, and two of those pictures are from the same room. It is only a studio, but it might as well have been a castle to me. I had never lived alone before. This was scary. I had enough room for all of our stuff though. The apartment made my mother and I get creative with spaces.

I sat my work computer up in a corner. It sat on two cardboard boxes. In front of it I sat my moms llama lawn chair that she graciously let me borrow. Mind you, I was also pregnant so this chair hurt my back, (although it probably would’ve regardless). Often times I would be on call with a customer and you would hear my son running and screeching in the background. If you looked at him you would see him with a broom in one hand and his diaper in the other.

Thankfully, his diaper was still on in this one.

Shortly after moving into this apartment I decided I needed to find a job that was based in the state I was living in. I got a job a few weeks later working for another company whom I’ve almost been with for a year now on November 9th. This job started out in the office, so my son had to go to a babysitters house. Eventually though my pregnancy was too much on me and I was able to work from home. Ive now been working from home for nine months. My son is here with me and so is my daughter. How I do it…I don’t know! I’m losing my mind send help!! Anyways, long story short I enjoy the job I’m at now. Ive met some good people and it allows me to stay home with my beautiful children while still making money.

If you saw the apartment now, you wouldn’t believe it was the same one in the pictures above. Just like myself, the apartment too did some changing. It now has pictures of my kids and I on the walls. I have wall stickers. I have a memory bunny made out of my daughters hospital blanket on a shelf. My bed has a duvet on it now that I bought. Most of the stuff I entered in this apartment with my parents bought for me. Now, there are just as many things that I’ve bought in here that my parents have bought, if not more.

The bunny mentioned above. On its foot it has her DOB and weight/inches

It looks like a home. My son has done a lot of growing up here. He started occupational and speech therapy in this home. He’s talked sentences to me in this home. He has rubbed my back while I had my head in the toilet (morning sickness). He has cuddled up in bed with me watching Disney movies way past our bed time. He has went up a diaper size, started potty training, went up a clothing size, and has become a big brother in this home.

Staying up too late, watching too many movies
This was our first night home. He surprised me by giving her a kiss!

I have done some changing in this home too, though. I became a mother again. I learned that if you spend your rent money on Amazon the rent money just doesn’t magically reappear again. I have learned how to be alone, and to be okay with that. I have enjoyed the time with just my son and I. The few months where it was just us were priceless. Then when his sister came I have enjoyed the times where it has just been us three. I have put myself in therapy. I made doctor appointments I have been putting off. I have prayed. I have cried, and screamed. I went into labor in this home! I have learned how to set boundaries and communicate (still a work in progress). I have formed a relationship with the man who is everything I’ve ever wanted and plus some. This apartment was born into a home, and I was born into me.

Today!
Had to share a picture of her too!

The Guilt of Self Care

As a mom we are always putting everyone else first, especially our children.

If you ask a mom why this is 9/10 times I hear, “I just don’t have the time. I’m always busy taking care of the kids, I get them up (or my friends with young children say they wake me up), I feed them breakfast, get ready for the day, play with them, do some learning, then it’s lunch time, nap time. By the time it’s nap time the house is destroyed so I need to clean it. So I spend nap time cleaning and when they wake up it’s pretty much a repeat of the morning.”

Something I always like to tell my friends is, “we make time for the things that are important to us.” But getting the kids taken care of is important isn’t it? Of course. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of you too. It’s important to take care of you. Not just because your kids deserve a mom who is not stressed out all the time, but because YOU as a person are important, you matter, and you deserve not to be stressed.

When I became a mom for the first time I believed I had to do everything. If someone offered help I would immediately say no, even if all I wanted to do was say yes. Why? Because I felt guilty. I didn’t believe that I should need help. I’m a mom now, I’m supposed to do everything. Something I’ve taken note of from my own mother who loved to do everything herself and not accept help from anyone.

I had bad postpartum depression. I wanted to run away. I wanted to cry every second of everyday. This little boy deserves better than me I thought. A lot of people reassured me though that it was okay to accept help and to take care of me. Many of these people were people who did not accept help or practice self care either. How can I listen to advice that no one else was following? Now having two kids though, I’ve learned to accept that help. I’ve learned that it is necessary to practice self care, even if it’s something small like watching “The Office” instead of “cocomelon”.

I have included a picture above that has some small things that take 5 minutes. So no, “I don’t have any time” excuses! To anyone reading this, I challenge you this. Do ONE thing this week for YOU. Even if it’s something small. Make sure to leave me a comment with what you did I’d love to hear! I will include some things I like to do below for myself to give you some ideas.

Things I do to practice self care:

1. Read a book, even if it’s just one chapter.

2. Go for a walk, sometimes I do this with the kids. Even though they’re with me, it’s still nice to get the fresh air.

3. Watch a show or movie I want to watch

4. Listen to music

5. Go to the mall. I often go with my friend Ashley and we bring both our kids. But they sit in the strollers and it’s nice to get out of the house.

6.take a shower-with the door closed. No kids.

7. Go to target- I love to aimlessly wander the aisles.

8. Get my favorite coffee from Starbucks

9. Order my favorite food

10. Take a nap. The kids are sleeping. The dirty house can wait

The Anxieties of Having a Second Child

I’ve always wanted to have more than one kid. After Noah turned one it was extremely rough for me. I loved the toddler that he was turning into, but I also missed the little baby he used to be. He needed me a little bit less. He was way too big for any of the clothes that fit him just a few months prior. He started walking, getting teeth, eating solid foods, and exploring the world on his own.When Noah was 13 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified. Mostly of my mom and stepdads response because I knew they weren’t fans of the kids dad. To add some chaos to my life a couple weeks later I ended up leaving their dad, packing everything I could fit in my tiny Ford Focus and made the move from New York where I had spent my entire life, to Virginia where my parents are. My pregnancy was rough, and not just because of the endless morning sickness and SPD. I was worried. Worried that I wouldn’t love her like I love Noah. Worried that she wouldn’t fit into our family. What if she didn’t sleep good either? What if it was too overwhelming with two kids? What would I do? I didn’t feel a connection with evren my whole pregnancy. As sad as it is to say. I ignored her presence as much as you can being pregnant. I wasn’t excited. I dreaded her being born. Friends and family who had multiple children assured me I would be fine. But I wasn’t sure. I was convinced that I would be one of the only moms who didn’t love her second born.
Eventually though I went into labor. It wasn’t very long, roughly 6 hours from beginning to end. I was super out of it when she was born, but when the nurse placed her on my chest I instantly fell in love. They soon after had to whisk her away because she had stopped breathing. Time stopped. I held my breath. I started to feel terrible about all the feelings I had during pregnancy. Maybe this was my fault. What if she dies? By the grace of God and the nurses who worked diligently she started breathing again and she was handed back to me.

I looked at her sweet face, and everything everyone else said to me during my pregnancy came true. She wasn’t a burden on my relationship that I had with my son. She helped it grow. I appreciated every moment with them both a little more. She made my family feel complete. She filled a hole in my heart that I never knew I had. I was right about one thing though. I did not love her like I loved my son. I loved her in a different way, but not in a bad way. I loved her for being her. She has a completely different personality than my son does. Noah was up multiple times a night and still is. Evren sleeps through the night. Noah is clingy, sweet, and cautious. Evren is adventurous, loud, and fiercely independent. Two different people, but both loved immensely.
So don’t worry, mama. It’ll be okay. Your first born may be jealous. You may feel guilty for not spending as much time with them. But it will be okay. You will get through this. You will adapt just how you did when you were scared to have your first. That didn’t turn out as bad as you thought or you wouldn’t be having your second! Take some deep breaths. Enjoy the second pregnancy. Spend as much time alone with your first born as you want. When your second born is here make sure you include your oldest in caring for their sibling. It helps them grow a bond and it makes your oldest feel helpful.Get a group of mom friends if you haven’t already. Lean on them. Ask for help when you need it. You don’t need to do this alone. Even single moms, ask for help from family. If you don’t have family ask from friends. It’s okay to do that. Accept help when it’s offered. Mostly importantly, enjoy those two beautiful children!

The Mother

There’s a song I posted on my “About Me” page called, “The Mother” by Brandie Carlile. A song that always makes me feel like I am heard, and there are other mothers out there like me. The song starts out talking about being alone inside your mind, being tied to someone else, and being worried all the time. It makes me think about when I first found out I was pregnant with Noah. From that moment on I would never not be riddled with anxiety. It felt like I was holding my breath until the 13th week of pregnancy when I would finally be in my first trimester. When my second trimester hit then I started worrying about if we would make it to the magical week of 24. Viability week. When that came and passed then I started worrying about my labor and delivery. How bad would it hurt? Would he survive? Would I be able to breastfeed if he did? Will I be a good mother? When the nurse placed Noah on my chest all I could think about was how scared I was. Noah was so tiny, so fragile. “Are you sure I can actually take this kid home?” I thought to myself. My worries never went away. I would check him a million times during the night and a million times during nap time. Often, I would wake him checking on him. Even now, at two and a half years old I still look over at my son to make sure he is still breathing. Unfortunately, that anxiety didn’t go fully away with Evren but the feeling was definitely more manageable, I don’t check on her a million times a night, and I don’t wake her out of a nap to check on her breathing either. Now I religiously follow that expression, “dont wake a sleeping baby!” Anyways, give the song a listen. Let me know what you think about it and how you find yourself relating.