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Today I was talking to my sister-in-law about life and how women can sometimes be really freaking awful to ourselves. I started to share with her / admit something to her that I think is also important to share with you (whoever is reading this).
For years I was envious of a friend of mine. I wanted what she had … her hair, her clothes, beauty products, the way she had it all together, etc.One day, something happened. Maybe I opened my eyes wider maybe I just became aware of reality. Her husband started to share more on social media. He shares photos of the same home, the same kid, the same woman I have been in complete awe of for years. Suddenly, they all looked so different to me.
Her versions are perfection. Flawless/ Seamless. Every frame looks like a page from Crate and Barrel. Even when the kids are a mess they look like an advertisement.
His. One day a photo stood out to me more than the rest. His photo looked real life. The kid in the photo had mismatched clothes on (like most kids that are determined to dress themselves) his child had boogers on their face and the biggest smile. This photo made me get lost in the Rabbit Hole … I began to scroll back through other photos and noticed that the perfect woman was there with the same leggings I had on with messy hair & an exhausted look on her smiling face. The home I used to envy looked like a mess in the background and I notice that she too let laundry sit in baskets. I pretended they had also been there for 6+ days.
Now I know that His photos were not an intentional complete raw/real opposite of hers. It is just obvious to me that he just does not care about hiding the basket of unfolded underwear & mismatched socks. He doesn’t think to wipe the snot & dried snacks from the bottom lip before capturing the moments he is in. He is truly IN the moments he captures. This life that I am slightly ashamed that I have been chasing – the one that she has been portraying is not real life. Not all of it at least.
I still admire this woman, I still think she is magical and I love so much what she stands for and how she does life BUT I am also really ashamed that I lost focus of my perfect storm. I’d take this mess over anyone else’s in a heartbeat. So here is to keeping it real, messy floors, un-done dishes and homes that are decorated with toys & memories like mine.
last night I was busy so I didn’t blow-dry my hair after my shower like usual which means crazy, wavy hair today. I tamed it down a bit did my make-up, wore a new shirt today and then said “babe, be honest … does my hair look okay or all wacky?” he said “I did notice it looked a bit wild today” – I appreciated the honesty and went with a ponytail.
Grayson got a sad look on his face and said “Mama, I like your hair long – can you take the hair thing out and leave it down” – I did & smiled.
When Lucas came back to the kitchen, I told him what happened. Grayson then said “Dada, I like Mama’s hair like that. Can you not tell her it looks crazy” then smiled at me like I was the prettiest Mama in the world.
Gah. I love that kid. Embrace your ‘hot mess’ selves, Ladies … to someone YOU ARE the most beautiful woman in the world.
:: I am not crying::
How’s this for real life. I, Rachelle, I am a complete mess right now.
It has been one hell of a year. Becoming a Mom of two, working hard on trying to building a business (two actually), working two positions at my day job: full-time, maintaining a home comfortable for my family and so much more… I feel like I have lost direction.
I am spinning. I am exhausted. Throughout all of these changes I have put ME/MYSELF on the back burner most days. I truly feel like I am living in survival mode and failing.
I am not writing this for attention or a ‘poor you’ response. I am not sharing this to make my life feel so much busier than anyone else’s. I share because I know I’m not alone. I share because I need to broaden my network of people that have gone through this phase and made it out. People that are currently going through it and hiding it like I do – every day. I also need my parent friends to know, YOU are not alone. This shit is hard – it is so very hard.
We are all doing the best we can … to get out the door every day on time, sitting in our offices from 9-5 only to rush home in traffic to get the kids. To make dinner that sometimes doesn’t get eaten. To clean our houses that never look that way. To dry all the tears including our own. To not loose our effing binds. To breathe.
I know I am not alone even though it feels like it. This is just a really, really, really tough chapter. I am in survival mode. I take on more than I can do most days because it is in my DNA to try and perfect too much. I don’t say ‘no’ because I fear I will disappoint someone. I know I don’t show up to the parties, the girls nights, the weekends away, the play dates – its not that I don’t want to – its just – that I don’t want to. It’s not you, right now, its me.
If you’re a part of my life … please give me grace, maybe even advice. I am trying the best I can to find balance, which feels more like trying to take a deep breath under water. Don’t worry – I am okay – I am just really exhausted & don’t really know what it is that I need right now to find balance. I love this life that I have been blessed with I just need to find ME again so I can love it a little bit harder.
Last night as I ran through the nightly routine of cooking dinner, cleaning up, prepping for the next day – I made myself STOP. I made myself slow down and rearrange the steps I made. I forced my brain and body to move with more intention and I stared at my children & got lost for a moment.
I reminded myself that these not so tiny anymore humans that need me so bad, right now, will not be so needy one day and I will need them. I picked up my toddler, placed him on the counter and asked him to help me. He cut all the grapes that I had just washed. He cut them with a smile & pride. Without being asked or encouraged to, fed his little sister as she watched from her highchair. Looking back at last night – THOSE are the moments. The big moments – the ones that take center-stage in the memory bank.
I am a Mom. I am trying and on most days I feel like I am trying so damn hard to figure it out. Just like you. Over the past week I made a promise to myself, my family, my kids … to start slowing down and being better. calmer. Filled with more grace & passion and less irritation & hurry. As a Mom, there are things we go through that play factors on how we feel and act. Things we don’t always talk about or recognize.
I just crossed the 10-month mark of breastfeeding my second baby. This is a prideful accomplishment for me but also one that brings a lot of baggage & let me tell you what … it isn’t designer.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful privilege that my body has blessed me with the ability to do. I was able to breastfeed our son for 16 months. I felt proud, happy, so good & yet, so broken.
There is a dark side to breastfeeding that a lot of women don’t openly talk about. The part of the journey that causes emotional ups and downs (way downs). The sleepless nights because that sweet baby only wants Mama and what she can provide. The days when you are in tears, ugly, can’t breathe tears because your body senses fear and stress & decides not to produce enough that day. The feedings that end because you’ve been bit, pinched, hit – yeah, that happens. And then there is the part that hurts the most … the hormones that are so viciously cruel. They are the mean girl of the world. They come out of nowhere and truly make you feel like a worthless human. I know that may sound extreme BUT if you are a breastfeeding Mama or even a Husband that has seen your Wife throughout this journey you too know this is real.
Y’all – I have recently cried tears that made me feel like every ounce of air was being sucked from body. Ask me why – my answer: I don’t know. I just felt broken.
My body was and is still (but better) stressed and overwhelmed and ready to end this journey. We are two months away from One Year which is my goal for my daughter’s breastfeeding journey. Last week I was really stressed about it all – my body felt the fear and reacted. It reacted by not producing. As a working out of the home, Mom, I have to pump throughout the day in-order to provide for my daughter at daycare. I usually pump 4-6oz, per pump session – 3-times a day. Last week my body yielded 1-2oz. Do you know what this did to me? It wrecked me. It made me feel like I was failing. Like I was broken. Like I was doing something wrong. Now, I know this is not fact but in a moment of Mama Panic – I didn’t. I knew fear and pain and sadness.
I turned to my Husband because HE is my comfort. With tears in my eyes I sent him an email after a stressful morning in the house all because I was emotionally toxic and well, mean.
“I just feel broken babe. I hate how I feel. I think I need to stop breastfeeding or at least get formula this weekend and supplement a bottle or 2 a day. I feel so stressed out like my body is failing at this and its not a fun feeling. I am starting to hate this relationship (breastfeeding) between getting bit, not pumping enough, etc. I dont have enough milk to give her bottles Monday. I feel broken about it.”
This Man. This amazing, selfless, strong, keeps this ship afloat, man broke me with his response:
“I completely understand babe and i empathize with you. To hear about how many woman cant do it at all is a testament to you as a mother. Imagine the total number of ounces you have fed our kids over these years. How many bottles washed… How many hours spent feeding or pumping… How much money you have saved us. Its super hero status babe!! Thank you for all of it!! I don’t blame you for wanting it to end. And honestly she is so close to being one I can’t imagine it making much difference stopping at 10 months or 12.”
Be still my heart – after reading that my heart calmed and my body felt a sense of safety like no matter what I decided to do – everything was going to okay!
I did buy formula which she didn’t care for. Over the next few days my body, the one that kicked my ass the week before, decided to return to normal – with me – and started producing 4-7oz a pump session. Moral of the story. Take care of your mental health to keep your physical health in-line. That and marry a Man that has the ability to make you feel like you can do anything. p.s. I love you.
Are you a breastfeeding Mom? What do you do to take care of yourself? Both Mentally and Physically?
List of questions to fall in love as seen in the New York Times
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.