And Then There Were Two

Excuse the blogging hiatus, but I think you’ll understand when I tell you, we are adjusting to life with two under two over here; beautiful chaos, as I like to describe it. As I sit here and type this, reflecting on the past 8 weeks of our lives, the best word I can muster up to describe my overall emotion is: overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with LOVE. I have added a new “love of my life” (3 in total now – I’m a lucky lady), our son, Gavin Michael who recently joined our crew. I call him Mr. Sunshine because he’s the happiest little guy. When you smile at him, he can’t help but smile back — even if he’s crying, you can see his face trying to hold back a smile. I’m smitten.

Overwhelmed with EXHAUSTION. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours straight in 8 weeks and the fact that I’m even able to string together sentences right now is quite the miracle (so please excuse any typos, run-on sentences, etc.). “Napping when the baby naps” only applies to life with one child. Naps for Mom are null and void when you have two in the house. Write that down.

Overwhelmed with GUILT. Oh, the mom guilt is on FIRE while making the transition from one to two kids. My heart sinks every time my daughter asks me to hold her while I’m holding or nursing the baby — poor thing is not used to having to share Mommy. And I feel like the worst Mom in the world when I’m so busy fixing my daughter lunch that I don’t realize right away that my son is covered in spit-up in his bouncer – when did that happen? Trying to split my time and attention between the two of them is the most difficult, heart-wrenching obstacle I’ve experienced in motherhood so far.



Overwhelmed with TO-DO LISTS. Turns out life doesn’t stop moving when you have a new baby. Nope. It just keeps chugging along at miraculous speeds. And laundry piles up, dishes accumulate in the sink, grocery shopping trips lurk just out of reach (maybe we’ll make it there tomorrow), friends and family expect call-backs and updates, and there are just never enough hours in the day. Never. Life in general, is harder.

Overwhelmed with HAPPINESS. Among the chaos, the tears, the temper tantrums, the 3 A.M. feedings and the constant mess, there’s this thick layer of happiness that cushions the “hard”. It’s quite incredible, really, that among all of these struggles — arguably the hardest and most grueling life moments — happiness still permeates through our house. Are we all stressed, tired, adjusting to this new life? Of course! But are we all happy? Yes! And that’s what keeps me going every day, because my heart and soul are full.

So I’ll take the “overwhelmed” feeling and all it brings — the good with the bad. Because in the end, this is our life — the stuff memories are made of — and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

adjusting to life with two under two




Baby Boy’s Vintage Sports Nursery Design

I must admit I’ve been having way too much fun decorating baby boy’s nursery. We decided to do a vintage sports nursery theme since my husband was a huge athlete growing up and still had many old sports pieces from his old room that I wanted to incorporate into the overall design. I didn’t want the room to be overrun with the sports theme, but just wanted to add some key elements to give off the vintagy-sports look and feel. I’m so happy with the outcome and even happier that we are all ready to welcome Baby G in just a few short weeks!

vintage sports nursery design

I love the two glass french doors that open up into this little room in our house. We decided to add some privacy with some simple white faux-wooden blinds from Bed, Bath & Beyond to keep it neutral and light.




vintage sports nursery design
Rug // large wooden ruler // vintage cradle // gray glider // big block wall letter

I purchased the rug first because I knew I wanted to incorporate navy blue, and this rug from rugsusa.com had a sports-look and feel, so I thought it would fit nicely with the theme.

The cradle was handcrafted by my grandfather in 1983. I slept in it when I was a baby, my two sisters and two cousins slept in it when they were all newborns and my daughter used it a couple of years ago as her first cradle. Now, the tradition continues and baby boy will sleep in it when he arrives! We put a fresh coat of antique white chalkboard paint on it to keep the vintage feel.

The big “G” on the wall was inspired by my niece’s nursery – and we opted for a masculine navy blue color from Pottery Barn Kids.

I’m sort of obsessed with the wooden growth ruler from Lex’s Little Darlings on Etsy and can’t wait to start documenting the kids’ heights as they grow.

vintage sports nursery design
dresser // baseball knobs // gray glider // American Football pillow // sports toy bag

vintage sports nursery design

We already had the dark brown 8-drawer dresser from Ikea (which serves as the perfect height for a changing table), but I found some adorable wooden baseball knobs from ATG Stores online to add to the drawers and dress it up a little bit.

The “American Football” vintage throw-pillow and the big blue sports toy bag are from HomeGoods. We also had the gray glider from my daughter’s nursery, which we originally purchased from West Elm and works as an extremely comfortable and smooth rocking chair.

vintage sports nursery design
metal basket // baby boy shoes

My husband had a few of his old home run baseballs saved from when he was growing up, so I took those and added some new baseballs from Big 5 to a metal basket I found at HomeGoods.

We received these adorable baby boy shoes (from Carter’s) from a friend at our baby shower, so I had to display these as well. :)

And I’m OBSESSED with this crazy green cactus that grows right outside the nursery window – the perfect backdrop for a little boy’s room!




vintage sports nursery design
blackout roman cordless navy blue shade // starstruck changing pad cover // dresser //dresser knobs

The two little baby baseball player paintings above the glider are vintage from my husband’s nursery when he was a baby and the framed football player on the left is a signed photo of Troy Aikman that was also my husband’s when he was growing up (he’s a huge Cowboy’s fan). The white frame on the left has my daughter’s two feet prints from when she was born and we plan to replace the ultrasound photo of baby boy on the bottom with his own two feet when he graces us with his presence.

I also love the Aden and Anais organic cotton changing pad covers, so we added the starstruck design for baby boy.

vintage sports nursery design

More vintage fun from my husband’s old nursery including the two Cowboy’s football figurines, old Texaco piggy banks and airforce airplanes. My Father in Law also gave us baby boy’s very first Air Force football.

My sister made the awesome navy blue “G” mounted on a wood stump for our baby shower and I loved it so much I had to incorporate it into the room – so rustic and fun!

Overall, we were able to turn this small little room into a functional and cute baby boy’s vintage sports nursery. We can’t wait to welcome our new addition soon!




Coming to Terms With Life As A Stay-At-Home Mom

life as a stay-at-home mom

After 15 years of working my way up corporate ladders, becoming a stay-at-home mom was definitely a bit of a culture shock. I found myself suddenly dreading the question: “What do you do for a living?” For the first 3 months of being a stay-at-home mom, I answered this question with a lie. Not because I was intentionally trying to mislead the interrogator, but simply because I hadn’t come to terms with my new role yet. In my mind, and my instant gut reaction – I always responded, “I do marketing for Hyatt Hotels.” I was proud of that position, I generally liked telling people what I did because it was an interesting role and I worked hard at it. I was successful.

After I finally realized that I was telling these lies, I switched my story to a more truthful tone, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.” The reactions this response prompted were unexpected, to say the least. Depending on who I was speaking with, I either received blank stares, a judgmental eye, or pure and simple jealousy. I could physically feel these acquaintances writing me off as someone who perhaps lacked education, work ethic, determination – maybe some even thought I opted for the easy road and now lived some “cush” life without a grueling 9-5. Others simply felt they probably had nothing in common with such a simple-minded person or simply couldn’t relate. Fellow mothers, who didn’t or couldn’t give up their jobs after having children either seemed to judge me for wasting my education and a spot in corporate America or looked at me envious of my “easy-breezy” lifestyle.

I’ve come to despise these reactions, hence me hating the question itself in the first place. I found myself desperately wanting others to know that I was educated, that I put myself through college and have worked hard for everything I’ve ever had, and that prior to becoming “mom”, I was climbing the corporate ladder with one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. I was not lazy, I was not on some “free ride”. For some reason, I needed people to know that, so I found myself working my past resume into the conversation somehow – proving my self-worth to these outsiders who had probably already made up their mind about me the second “stay-at-home” left my lips.



The only time I ever felt validated for my “stay-at-home mom” title, (besides my husband telling me how grateful he is for me – he’s a gem) – was when my husband’s grandfather looked me straight in the eye and said, “I think it’s so wonderful what you’re doing for your family – staying home and raising your daughter. You should be really proud.” That simply stated compliment was so shockingly different from the other responses I had grown accustomed to hearing, that I fought back tears and could barely spit out a muffled, “Thank you.” 

THANK YOU to this sweet old man for understanding what it meant to stay home with children — he should know, his wife had stayed home with five! And he was right — why wasn’t I proud of my new title? Why was I letting these negative reactions and judgmental tones determine my own self-worth?

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room — I am lucky. My husband is the breadwinner and he works extremely hard to financially support our family. When my daughter was born, I made the decision to leave the corporate world and stay home with her. A decision that I know many of my friends and acquaintances never had the opportunity to make because of financial or family situations. Others did have my same decision, and they chose careers over staying home, and to that I say; to each their own, no judgement here. I could have easily made the decision to go back to work and continue building my career – it was a close call. But in the end, I decided that I loved my job, but I loved the idea of staying home and raising my daughter more. The decision was mine, and my husband’s, and we made it together.

But let’s get one thing straight — staying home and raising a child/children is as far from “cush” as it gets. You punch in for this job and you never punch out — unless you go back to work of course. I’ll tell you what looks really “cush” to me right about now — sitting in my old private (and quiet) office, answering emails and phone calls while having uninterrupted conversations with adults, attending high-level meetings in my perfectly pressed suits and manicured nails, and receiving praises and raises for a job well done — that sort of lifestyle feeds the ego.

Often being a stay-at-home mom is a thankless existence that requires you to pat yourself on the back every now and then — a role that often gets lost under stereotypical labels associated with yoga pants and loads of laundry. (Dont’ get me wrong – I do wear yoga pants and I do A LOT of laundry – but the point is, there’s more to my job than that). Unlike my past corporate life where I kept my eye on big goals and projects, I now live and breathe by the small accomplishments my toddler and I achieve throughout our day; like teaching her how to pick and smell flowers, brush her own teeth, say please and thank you, or eat all of her veggies (well, the veggies are a work in progress).

When you’re consumed by these small, sometimes mundane, accomplishments every day, it’s hard to see the big picture that paints the importance of a stay-at-home mom. It’s hard to truly grasp that these small actions that fill our days are molding my daughter into the woman that she will become someday.

It took some time for me to appreciate my new role and what it really entailed. When I finally stood back and realized that I’m the biggest influence in my daughter’s life right now and my constant presence and guidance is impacting her overall existence, my role as a stay-at-home mom seemed larger than life. I suddenly could care less about outside judgement or not feeling “appreciated” enough in society. Me staying home with my daughter was working for our family, and I couldn’t ask for a better reward.



Things That Become Difficult When You Have a Toddler and a Baby Bump

I’ve been lucky enough to have two “normal” pregnancies with no complications so far, and for that I am thankful. But, I will not lie, this second pregnancy has been much harder than my first. Maybe it’s because I just blocked out some of the less-glamorous aspects of being pregnant from my memory after the first time, or maybe it’s because I now have an energetic little toddler running around 24/7. Either way, the simple, small tasks of every day life have become increasingly more and more difficult when you have a toddler and a baby bump. Here are a few that come to mind:

toddler mom

1. ROCKING YOUR TODDLER TO SLEEP OR CUDDLING BEFORE BED TIME
Gone are the days when my toddler can cuddle up on my chest before bed time. She still tries but it’s not the most comfortable of places with a huge basketball between us. The cuddle sessions have evolved over the last few weeks from cuddling on my chest, to cuddling on the side, to now cuddling with Dad. :(

2. PUTTING YOUR TODDLER DOWN TO SLEEP IN HER CRIB
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! Belly bumps make it almost impossible to gently place a toddler in her crib for nap time or bed time – especially if the mattress is on the bottom level. My only solution is to reach in as far as my baby bump will allow and then ever-so-gently drop my toddler onto her mattress while saying a quick prayer that the minor fall doesn’t jolt her wide awake. This works about 75% of the time, and that percentage keeps dwindling as the bump gets bigger and the height of the drop increases.

3. MAKING MEALS FOR YOUR TODDLER
Nausea and food aversions have made it pretty difficult to whip up any sort of weird-smelling vegetable, chicken, or any other food that doesn’t sit well with me on that particular day. What’s worse? Watching your toddler attempt to eat said food while she smears it all over her face and the high chair. I’m still trying to perfect hiding my look of disgust during meal time. “Mmm, yummy green beans!” (barf!)

4. READING WITH YOUR TODDLER ON YOUR LAP
My daughter LOVES reading books so this has been a big adjustment for us. No longer can she sit directly on my lap while turning through the pages of her favorite books. We’ve switched our routine to her sitting directly beside me, tucked under my arm enjoying Good Night Moon for the 50th time that day.

5. PUTTING SHOES ON A TODDLER
Bending down to almost ground level to place shoes on a moving target is quite the challenge. I’ve found that counters come in nicely, if you can get your little one to sit still for more than 5 seconds and not jump off!

6. OVERALL EXHAUSTION
During my first pregnancy I worked full time, and often kept long hours at the office Monday through Friday – I thought that was tiring, even though I had the weekends to rest and do nothing. Now, this second time around, staying home with my 18 month old daughter is sort of like completing an obstacle course over and over again, 24/7. I chase her around, bend down then up to pick stuff up off the floor, lift her up and then down, carry her around for long periods of time, etc. Let’s just say, I hit the couch hard after she goes down at 7PM every night.

I know life is about to get a whole lot harder with “two under two” in the house, but at least I’ll be able to bend down and touch my toes when that time comes. 😉

Pregnant moms with toddlers, what else would you add? 

9 Signs Your Baby is Now a Toddler

I know this sounds cliché, but I’ve really enjoyed every stage of my daughter’s life so far. The newborn stage was so cute and cuddly – exhausting because of the no sleep part, yes – but the cute, silent cuddles were precious! Then the crawling, babbling stage was so fun – watching her take the lead on where she wanted to go and discovering her surroundings on her own. Now, we’re in the toddler stage at 18 months old and I think it’s a riot! Walking, running, talking – her little personality shining through in everything she does. I also understand her preferences now – for example, I’m pretty sure her favorite color is purple because she will only write with the purple sidewalk chalk and she usually picks out stickers or toys that are primarily purple. It’s a fun age but it’s also a messy, mini tornado type of stage – in a hilarious way of course. Here are 9 signs that your baby is now a toddler:

1. You can never find your keys, your lip gloss or your credit card because your toddler goes through your purse, daily, and hides all of its contents around the house.

2. You find strange things in your purse (mostly everything you don’t need), like sea shells from your beach walk last week, a doll’s hairbrush, and a toilet paper cardboard roll  – all strategically placed there by your toddler.

3. You are constantly restocking your first aid kit with band aids and ointments because your toddler has bruises, scrapes and cuts all over her knees and legs from falling at least 5 times per day.

4. You’ve considered, or have already executed, hiding a certain book from your toddler, because you might have to check-in to the loony bin if you have to read it just ONE…MORE…TIME.

5. You’re at the weird in-between stage at the park where you’re not quite comfortable letting your new toddler crawl up to the top of the jungle gym and go down the slide by herself, but that’s all she wants to do in life – so you climb up there with her and find yourself in a sea of kids – trying to fit through the small doorways and bumping your head around every corner because, well, this contraption was not made for adults!

6. You have no less than 25 pieces of Tupperware in your fridge all filled with different meals for your toddler because on Monday she LOVES Mac ‘n Cheese and turns her nose up at green beans, but on Tuesday she MUST have green beans and looks at you like, “are you kidding me?” when you try to give her Mac ‘n Cheese. It’s an uphill battle.

7. Your toddler has a newfound obsession with shoes – her shoes, your shoes, your husband’s shoes – she does not discriminate. And you know it’s going to be good when you hear a “clomp, clomp, clomp” coming down the hall.

baby is now a toddler

8. You have to be on guard around your toddler, because at any moment she could poke you right in the eye and say, “eyes!” Or jam a finger up your nose and exclaim, “nose!”. Learning the human anatomy is so fun!

9. You must be careful what you say around your toddler because they will now repeat anything and E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G – including 4 letter words that rhyme with “fit” and are oh-so easy to pronounce. 😉

I love being a mom to a toddler because it is a new adventure every day! New toddler moms, what would you add to this list?

“All In” – a Reflection for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I’ve been doing some reflecting on what it really means to be a mother.

I’ve been on the recipient end of Mother’s Day for three years now. The first year, I was newly pregnant with my first baby and beaming with excitement and anticipation, not knowing what it would truly mean to hold the title, “mom”. I remember celebrating with my husband at brunch and talking about what we thought it was going to be like having a little one running around “this time next year”. We were bright-eyed, still selfish and probably a little nervous.  The second year celebrating Mother’s Day, I would classify myself as a “new mom” with a 6 month old daughter – my first true Mother’s Day because I then knew what it was like to hold this title. I knew what it was like to carry a baby for 9 months and then give birth to that baby and love that baby unconditionally. And I knew what sacrifice truly meant – giving up sleep, personal hygiene and maybe even a little bit of sanity, to care and nurture this tiny human. Now, here I am on my third Mother’s Day, with a daughter who is now almost 18 months old (seriously, where did my baby go?) and a new little bundle of joy ready to make his appearance, come October.

As I reflect back on the past year and a half and what it has truly meant for me to be “Mom”, I decided that being a mom means being all in. Just stop and think about the weight of these two words for a second: ALL. IN. There’s not much else in life you can say that about. You’re not all in with your career – even the most dedicated employees take a sick day or a vacation day and can mentally unplug. You’re not all in with your healthy eating and exercise routine – guaranteed you take a cheat day to eat a California burrito or you skip the gym on Sunday mornings so you can sleep in. But being a mom means committing and encompassing this role 100% of the time – even when you’re away from your child, you never “unplug” from being a mother. I don’t care if you work every day, work part-time, are a stay-at-home mom or work-at-home mom – you are Mom. And you’re all in.

pre-baby self

You’re all in from the moment you see the plus sign on a pregnancy test. You are carrying a baby and it’s time to start eating healthy, giving up certain indulgences (like glasses of wine, raw fish and unpasteurized cheese).

You’re all in when it’s time for your baby to make her appearance and you go through the most intense experience of your life: labor.

You’re all in when your newborn baby wakes up every three hours and you rock her back to sleep each time.

Mother's Day

You’re all in when you feed your baby milk, purees, solid foods – making sure to provide the best nutrition for your baby all day, every day.

You’re all in when you read and play with your baby – teaching her new skills and watching her grow.

You’re all in when making decisions for  your baby. You will research topics until you’re blue in the face, discuss in length with your pediatrician, take a quick survey with your mom friends and then decide what is right for your baby. You provide the care your baby needs, always, because she depends on you and you know what’s right for her.

And as your baby grows and goes through new developments and life stages, and as you add to your family with new babies, you’ll continue to be all in, forever. Why? Because you’re Mom.

Happy early Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful mother’s out there! And give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re amazing all day, every day! xo

 

Thoughts on Baby #2

I’m not sure why I was so shocked to see another positive pregnancy test. Maybe I thought I would only ever see one in my life, or maybe I thought my body had been through so much with the first pregnancy and the first year of motherhood, that it was physically impossible to get pregnant again. But, there it was clear as day, two little lines – baby number two was on the way!

My excitement was very different this second time around. I was of course happy for Mike and I to bring another little girl or boy into this world, but I was most excited for Blake. Just as Blake made Mike and I “Mommy and Daddy”, this second baby would make Blake a “big sister”.

I have two younger sisters of my own, and looking back on my childhood, there’s not a single memory without them in it. We were best friends, partners in crime, and soul mates for as far back as I can remember. We share the same core, the same history of how we were brought up – and I’m excited for Blake to have that. A true and unconditional love like no other.

Like Blake, I am the oldest, and I know the responsibility that’s in store for her – and it’s big. She’ll be the big sis, the one he/she looks up to, follows around and takes the lead from. I’ve begun looking at Blake in a new light – witnessing her gentle qualities and kindhearted spirit – this girl was made to be a big sister, and I am so proud of her already.

I wish Blake could understand completely when I say to her, “you’re going to have a little brother or sister soon”. What I really want her to understand is that this little baby is going to make her life colorful and fun. This baby is going to give her a sense of companionship and the two of them will have their own little tribe. There will be fights, yes, but there will be so much more love and laughter. Life is about to change in a big way, for the best.

Baby Helms #2, we can’t wait to meet you!

baby #2

10 Signs You’re a Modern Day Mom

As I find myself immersed in this “mommy world”, I’ve picked up on a few new trends. I know they’re new because when I talk to any other mom from an older generation, the response is always the same – “Wow, we didn’t have that when my babies were younger!” Cue Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a Changin’. Here are 10 signs you’re a modern day mom:

  1. Your baby wears an amber necklace to help with teething. No one actually knows if it really works, but it’s worth a shot if it does, amIright?
  2. And what’s that lovely new necklace that YOU are wearing? Chewbeads of course! And you pick out a chewbead necklace based on what color will match most of the outfits in your closet (so anything that matches yoga pants).
  3. You read every blog or Huffington Post article about being a parent because it will either be informative or it will make fun of all of the modern day parenting antics just for entertainment (guess which category this blog post falls into? :))
  4. It’s time to introduce your baby to solids. But hold the jars of Gerber baby food, you have an important decision to make: purees or baby led weaning? Let the Googling begin…
  5. Your son/daughter owns Sophie the Giraffe and loves it! At play dates, you have to make sure to keep an eye on your child’s Sophie because it’s always the hit of the party and that is one expensive teether toy!
  6. All of your toys, baby spoons, bowls, bottles and – pretty much anything that your kid comes in contact with – are BPA free. Wait, children’s stuff made WITH BPA still exists?
  7. You have a B.O.B. stroller or a similar jogging stroller even though you hate to jog (I believe it‘s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild).
  8. You feed your baby nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, either whole or as a homemade puree, while you sit there eating a bag of cheetos (oh wait, just me? Moving on…) and if you dare feed your baby store-bought purees, you best believe they’re organic and you recognize every single ingredient on the label.
  9. Forget Cheerios and jarred baby food, your baby loves Puffs and baby food that comes in (BPA-free) pouches. And (surprise!) it’s all organic.
  10. One word: wubbanubs. Your baby loves them and you secretly love them because, seriously, how cute is that little stuffed animal dangling from their mouth?

What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below…

modern day mom

A Look Behind the Rose Colored Posts: Motherhood is hard

I wrote this post about a month ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch with Blake not sleeping through the night and not taking naps and I was really feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I’m happy to share that things have completely turned around since I first wrote this – more sleep for baby (and mom) does wonders for quality of life – mostly sanity! I still want to share this post though, because I think it’s very honest in showing that motherhood is not always butterflies and rainbows over here – as I know it may appear that way sometimes on this blog, other blogs or on social media. 

I write a lot about the joys of being a first time mom, because honestly, 99.9% of the time – it’s all joy – of course trying at times, but still all joy. Some days, I even feel like I’m ON FIRE – juggling all of life’s pieces with a baby in tow as if it aint-no-thang. Those are glory days! Then, there are the doomsdays – the 0.1% of the time where things just fall apart and you realize, this is hard. Today, I’m getting a little more personal than I usually do and sharing one of those days because – honestly – it wouldn’t be fair to always only show the bright side of being a first time mom. Plus, I think it’s therapeutic to say it out loud and share.

How are we going to make it through today?

This morning I just stared at myself in the mirror: dark bags under my eyes, a dazed look on my face and lifeless eyes staring back at me. How are we going to make it through today?

Blake woke up three times last night, once to eat and twice just to remind me that she was still there and that she knows how to roll over. I swear the second she learned how to roll from tummy to back to tummy – the child will not stop rolling. This includes rolling in her sleep, which means she’s waking herself up several times per night, which means I’m waking up several times per night helping her get back into a sleeping position. This has been going on for 8 weeks now and, to put it simply, I’m tired. Really.Freaking.Tired.

The Predicament

So after Blake woke up nice and early after a horrible night sleep, we all (Tucker, Blake and I) go downstairs and I let Tucker out in the backyard to go to the bathroom. Tucker, still being the pup at heart that he is, decides to dig a hole around some of our plants in our backyard and then proceeds to re-enter the house and prance around in triumph – tracking mud everywhere.  I finally chase Tucker back outside, shut the door and try to put Blake down in her bouncer so I can go clean the mud off of Tucker’s feet. But Blake begins wailing because she doesn’t like when I put her down during the day. You see, she’s going through a “stage 5 clinger” stage where she only wants Mama right now. I leave Tucker outside so I can pick Blake back up, but Tucker is barking and barking and  jumping on our glass door, smearing mud everywhere. I just sit there baffled because I’m not sure what to do at this point. There is a puzzle game in front of me: muddy dog, muddy house, crying baby – and at this moment, I don’t know how to make the pieces fit back together so we can go about our life.

I feel the urge to flee the scene and when I realize that Blake and I need to head to the grocery store because there’s no food (or coffee – yikes!) in the house and I’m starting to get hungry, I give myself a mental high-five, “Brilliant! Let’s get the hell out of here so we can deal with this mud fiasco later.” I’m also kicking myself for not going to the grocery store over the weekend when Mike was home to watch Blake. I need to remember to do that next Sunday so I don’t run into these “no coffee in the house” predicaments anymore!

The Incident

Blake and I complete our grocery store trip and on the way out of the parking lot, I sideswiped a parked car. A PARKED car. Are you kidding me? I get out and assess the damage which was quite minimal since we were going 2 mph, but still – ughh, why today? As I’m leaving a note for the owner of the car with my insurance information, she appears in a frenetic state and I immediately understand that this conversation is going to be much more dramatic than I had anticipated. I was right. Over the woman yelling at me and carrying on over her scratched bumper that was all my fault (she reminded me several times), I hear Blake crying from her car seat and I quickly end our conversation and tend to my daughter.

As we get back in the car to leave, I feel myself wanting to go anywhere but home because I know Tucker is waiting for me with muddy paws and our house is a disaster zone from his stunt this morning. I try to think to myself how I’m going to unload all of these groceries, while keeping Blake happy and having to listen to Tucker bark at me from the backyard. I shake my head at myself because these are all such simple tasks: unloaded the groceries, clean Tucker’s feet, vaccuume the house – but at this moment you might as well tell me that I need to find a way to fix this country’s current debt catastrophe – it just seems impossible.

Hi, it’s Kristin…I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment

Blake is in a mood when we get home because she’s about 20 minutes past her usual nap time, thanks to the incident in the parking lot. I put her down in her crib and then run to the car to grab the groceries. She begins screaming bloody murder as Tucker is barking and jumping on the back window. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. I count in my head really slowly to calm myself. After running up the stairs and putting Blake’s pacifier in her mouth several times, she continues to scream bloody murder even though her eyes look so tired, poor thing. I decide to let her cry it out for 5 minutes. I never let her cry, but I’m feeling desperate. I lay down on my bed, watching the baby monitor and note the time so I know when the 5 minutes is up. 2 minutes pass and you would think the child is getting tortured in there with her high-pitched screaming. I also hear Tucker barking downstairs and realize that I NEED to go and put at least the cold groceries in the fridge before food starts to go bad. I feel tears starting to flood. Why is this so hard?  I’d like to “dial a friend” and ask for help – “Hi, it’s Kristin – can you come unload my groceries? I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment. Thanks.” or “Hi, it’s Kristin – are you looking to adopt a 70 lb. golden retriever dog? I have just the one for you.”

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After some deep yoga breaths (oh yea, that fun relaxing thing I use to have time to do), I somehow collect my thoughts and “return” from my frantic mental state. I walk into Blake’s room, rock her for a minute or two and give her the pacifier. She goes right to sleep! I feel like I just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLL! A small victory dance ensues in my head.

I run down stairs, unload all of my groceries in record time (seriously, Guinness Book of World Records: Hi, I have a new one for you) and head outside to clean Tucker up. I finish my whirlwind of accomplishments with vacuuming the downstairs dirt and scrubbing the mud out of the carpets. BOOM. Success!

Sometimes You Just Need a Minute

Bottom line, motherhood is hard, and sometimes you just need a minute (or several). Simple tasks become a matter of moving mountains, and if one thing goes wrong, you feel incapacitated. I find myself questioning my old life, pre-baby: did I really juggle all those work projects at once and then come home and cook dinner like it was no big deal? Am I that same person? Where is that gal when I need her?

Raising Tiny Humans

Sometimes I underestimate what goes into raising a human. Just think about that for 5 seconds though… we’re raising tiny humans aren’t we? It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. This is the hardest job – especially on the 0.1% days where all seems lost and you have no idea how to get it together.

But don’t fret, I remind myself – 99.9% of the time, you’re doing OK, mama – you have it together, even if you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and any sort of “life order” – you’re rasing  your daughter, a tiny human, and that’s impressive.

The Mommy Project

My Unexpected Journey to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Leaving the corporate world to become a Stay at Home Mom was an easy decision that surprised me more than anyone. If you would have asked me  about my career plans 7 months ago, right before Blake was born, I would tell you that I planned to keep working and building my career. You see, I’ve always had a job ever since I was 14 years old. The day I turned 14 and was of legal age to work in California, I marched myself into Baskin Robbins/Togos and got myself a minimum-wage job scooping ice cream and making sandwiches – I was ecstatic for a paycheck all my own!

I continued working through my high school graduation and then moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University where I found 2 more jobs that allowed me to put myself through college. At times it was difficult to juggle class, selling advertising space for SDSU’s school newspaper during the day and waitressing at night and on the weekends – but I managed to graduate in four years. The week before I threw my black hat up into the air and celebrated my college graduation, I had already received a job offer from a company in Orange County as an entry-level sales and marketing associate.  It was a great first corporate job and despite me living in San Diego, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I commuted to Orange County bright and early every morning because I felt lucky to have landed a job straight out of college.



As the years passed I continued to bounce around from job to job, pushing myself higher and higher, gaining more real-world experience and building more equity in myself. When I landed my dream job with Hyatt Hotels, I thought, I’ve made it – this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Flash forward four years later and I was running the marketing department at one of the largest properties on the west coast. Nice suits, a new slick car I bought for myself and an office with a view – I felt important, driven and had big plans to keep scaling that corporate ladder.

The point of all this is that working is in my blood, my DNA, and I’ve worked hard for everything I have.  I don’t know how to not work. So when Blake graced us with her presence last November, I honestly didn’t think my mindset would change all that much. I had an amazing job waiting for me and big plans for my future. And taking into account all of my hard work, since I was 14 years old, how could I turn my back on my self-bought education and all of the years I spent investing in myself?

It’s funny how becoming a parent makes you blind and awakened at the same time. Once Blake was born, something changed in me. I wanted to be there when she laughed for the first time, when she said her first word and when she took her first step – I wanted to raiser her. I could care less about my journey to success – I suddenly was blind to all of those years I spent building my career – they didn’t matter as much to me anymore.   This little family that Mike and I had suddenly created – this was where I was supposed to be. It was so crystal clear and I didn’t doubt it for a second. I was also extremely lucky that I even had the option of becoming a stay-at-home-mom. I know many mothers don’t have that option because of financial reasons or don’t want to put their career on hold, and I totally get it and sympathize with them – but everyone has their own journey.

The Journey is the Destination

I love the quote, “The journey is the destination”. Even though I had bigger plans for my career, I didn’t miss out on the destination – my journey was the destination – and a destination that led me to a beautiful life, loving husband and adorable baby girl.  Now, I still do some marketing consulting on the side and of course I run this blog as a creative outlet, (remember, I don’t know how to not work?) but my full time job is raising Little Miss Blake. And forget fancy suits and an office with a view – this is the most important job I’ll ever have.



stay at home mom

 

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