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Feeling Defeated

While the Green Bay Packers are getting defeated in reality tonight, (insert crying face) I’ve been thinking about how I’ve felt defeated lately as a mama.

Mothering teens is rough. Mothering period is rough. The fact is children are going to be children. Do we expect too much from them? Probably. Do we get frustrated too easily? Definitely. Do we still love them unconditionally no matter how much they mess up? Absolutely.

The truth is while I believe that I am putting too much pressure on the kids… I’m actually putting too much pressure on myself as a mom. I am constantly worrying about whether their rooms are clean, whether they’ve done their homework, did they remember to take a lunch today, have they brushed their teeth… when really… I end up worrying myself to pieces and I STILL find myself failing at something.

I try to tell myself to let it go… they’re only children for such a short time. I read reminders daily all over the internet about how the dishes can wait and we need to take advantage of the time we have with them. I’ve read the mom blogs where other devoted mamas are inspiring women to shake it off and enjoy the simple things. I’ve read stories of parents who have lost their children and would give anything to have these parenting problems again. Tomorrow is never promised. All of that is SO TRUE.

But when you’re in the moment.. it is hard to remember all of that.

When you’re tween daughter gets the award for Miss Attitude of the South or when your five year old is throwing a tantrum because his Legos won’t stay together. When one of them decides to spill an entire cup of apple juice on your freshly mopped floor. Or how about when your middle schooler believes he is God and makes an argument about every little thing. It. Is. Hard. It is hard not to just want five minutes of peace in the bathroom. It is hard to not want them to go to bed at 7:00. It is hard to NOT yell and scream when they are pushing your very last button.

So how do you handle it all? Just take it day by day and one day they’ll be all grown up and then you’ll feel guilty all over again because they’re gone? The guilt cycle is fierce!

Choices. We have choices. We have to choose when to lose it… do I want to lose it in the car because they won’t stop hitting each other or do I want to lose it later when they’re fighting in their bedroom? We have to choose what to stress about.

Learn to let things go even when it feels impossible to. There are always going to be other factors that are weighing in on how you react as a parent. Parents are loaded down with stress from finances, jobs, relationships… the list could be endless! The stress isn’t going to disappear but we can control our stress levels by how we react to situations.

That is huge in parenting. Our reactions are not only shaping our children’s personalities, and teaching them values, but our reactions are also completely controlling our own happiness.

The ups and downs of parenting are just a part of it. We aren’t going to do everything perfect. God knows I make mistakes daily. We will be wrong sometimes. Just know they are children and they are not going to think or act on your level. They are going to make mistakes whether they are five or fifteen. They don’t act responsible because they aren’t yet. They need our help to get there.

When the going gets tough and the tough gets going… think about your choices. Know they will love you no matter what. While you are in bed contemplating how you could have handled that argument with your nine year old differently, she’s probably already forgotten about it. Children forgive and forget much easier and faster than we do.

Those mom bloggers are right! With each new day, know that it’s another chance to love your kiddos. You are everything to them, too. Sometimes we just forget how significant that is.

Xoxo,

MK

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

This pregnancy has been a whirlwind of emotions so far. I will be 19 weeks this week and after losing our last baby at 9 weeks, I am still extremely nervous every day.


Every time I go to the bathroom, I can’t help but look for the one thing that has the potential to change everything… blood. Every time I feel any kind of pain, it sends off alarms in my head. Every minute of every day, I have to try not to think about what could go wrong.


Am I drinking enough water? I forgot to take my prenatals. Maybe I’m sleeping the wrong way. I’m not eating healthy enough…. All of these thoughts that I have this time around because I’ve experienced how quickly babies can be taken away.


It‘s hard to see the future when the future has been ripped away from you before. It’s hard to imagine I’ll actually give birth this time or that we’re actually having a baby. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, even when I’m looking at this growing belly or putting on my maternity pants. Who would have thought that buying onesies and tiny hats would be scary?


I’m terrified. Nothing is promised and theres no guarantee I’ll be pregnant.. even tomorrow.


Looking back on when I was pregnant with my first 3 kids, I honestly feel like I took those pregnancies for granted. That I.. got lucky.. that we made it through those 9 months that I realize now are so fragile and delicate. There are so many babies and mamas that aren’t that lucky. And I had no clue until it happened to me.


So many people have said to me, things like.. I knew it would happen for you! Or… I’m so happy you’re pregnant! All things we want to hear, but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking… when will we ever feel like we’re “in the clear” this time?


Don’t worry, there are plenty of moments where I am SO excited! We are thinking of baby names, asking about family names for inspiration, and we’ve even started buying a few baby things. We’re looking at car seats and I am planning on where to put the crib, and what new furniture to buy.


Every. single. moment. I am grateful.

Even with the worrying, I am thankful, and I won’t stop praying, praying, praying that our rainbow will be here this Spring, plump and healthy with all ten fingers and all ten toes! This holiday season we have so much to be thankful for and I will continue to pray for all of those other mamas out there who are pregnant and battling their own fears… and for those mamas who are still hopeful and trying.


Xoxo,

MK

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Mama

Ok confession. I’ve really been sucking lately at being a mom. No, no I know we all say that but for real. I Could sit here and list all of my “mom flaws” but what I really want to do is give myself this reminder: it’s ok to be imperfect and it doesn’t matter if you have a bad day. (Or week or month)

It doesn’t matter because these kids love us no. matter. what. Their love is so unbelievably unconditional.

I witnessed this last night. I have been a bear. A mama bear in the most literal way. I have had no patience, I may or may not be drinking too much wine, and I have snapped at them much too quickly over the little things. Last night, after all of that.. Heidi crawls up in my lap at 9 years old and lays her head down on me and begins to rub my arm.

That’s what I’m talking about. Our kids are amazing when we’re not. They will easily forgive us. What we beat ourselves up over most of the time doesn’t even register with them as a problem!

We put too much pressure on ourselves as mamas and sometimes it gets to me. I feel like I don’t do enough. I’m not as compassionate to their needs or as understanding when they’re upset. I hate that I’m sometimes dismissive when I want time for myself.

I want to be there for them and as our kiddos grow older I want them to trust that I will always protect and take care of them.

My daily flaws do not define me as a mother.

So I’ll try not to yell when they track mud in the house or don’t take a shower on the first command. I’ll try not to lose my temper when my girls almost kill each other. I’ll take a deep breath the next time Brady pees on the bathroom floor. I’ll smile when they complain about the dinner I cook (probably not as likely to happen).

I won’t be perfect but I can be better than I was yesterday. Hey, I’m just winging it over here. But the reality is this is the ONLY childhood I get to spend with them.

This is it.

One day they’ll be gone and grown and I’ll look back and either laugh or cry or more than likely…both.

But one thing I know for sure… No matter how many times I might feel like I’m failing… I will love them fiercely and if at the end of every day, my kids feel that love… I am good enough.

Xoxo,

MK

I Still Think of You

I think about you often. Some days, what happened feels so far away. We’ve been so busy with summer, vacationing, boating… all good things that bring me happiness and time with my family. Somehow I keep going.

But other days, you feel so close. Like you were here just hours earlier. Like I was just so sick yesterday. Planning and dreaming. Those are the moments it comes flooding back… the joy, the hope, the pain, the tears, the emptiness I feel inside.

There will always be something missing. Because we had a miscarriage.

I was 9 weeks pregnant when we found out that your little heart had stopped. That you had stopped growing. The week of my 32nd birthday I found out you had died. I had to have surgery so they could take you away from us.

My birthday will always.. pretty much.. suck. Not because of you but because I will miss you even more every year if that’s even possible.

Your brothers and sisters are growing up. Driving, middle school, dance classes, pre-k… we are all moving on but I still think of you.

The world keeps turning. The days go by. But I still think of you.

I think of how I would be preparing our home for you right about now. Nesting in full swing. Only a couple of months to go until we would meet you. I think of your chubby cheeks and baby smells. I wonder how fast you would roll over or begin crawling. I think of how cute you would look trying to be a ballerina like your big sisters. I imagine how much your brother would dislike you for coming in last, taking his stardom as the baby.

I think about what you would look like. Whether your hair would be red like your big brother’s. Or if it would be curly or straight. Would you have your daddy’s nose or my big brown eyes? Would you have my petite feet? Would you love the beach?

Whenever I see other pregnant bellies I think of you. I think of you when I photograph other families. I think of you every time I see a bird flying above me or a dragonfly lands on my foot. I still think of you.

You may be gone and we will never meet you here on this earth. But some day I’ll get to hold you in my arms. Until then, I will continue to share. I will write about you. I will always love you.

And for now, I will still think of you every day and there will always be something missing in my heart.

Xoxo,

MK

It’s Just the Opposite

Usually you see my second photo here first and the caption is just the opposite of this one. There are so many people trying to lose weight… get thinner, skinnier… longing to look thin like this second photo of me and my sister. Wishing on every star they had a six pack and looked great in a skimpy bikini.

But let me tell you, that perception isn’t always better or worth it.

In the second photo I was fresh out of a bad marriage.. going through a divorce… trying to figure out how to bring my children through it… trying not to let my trauma of an abusive relationship affect them or the people who loved me which I failed at miserably. I was also so lost in who I was, who I needed to be, who to turn to. I didn’t respect myself or my body. I had believed what had been drilled into my head for the better half of four years.. that I was worthless and selfish. And it showed.

The second photo was taken today. I have never weighed this much in my life. My thighs have never stuck together, or even touched for that matter.. I’ve never had cleavage with the exception of the time I was breastfeeding all of my babies. I’ve never had love handles big enough to actually grab. I’ve always been ”the skinny girl.”

But I would take the body in that photo with the big hips and thighs over my unhealthy, too thin body that represents how unhappy I was any day.

Every time these photos pop up in my Facebook memories from that time in my life, it reminds me just how different life can become over time. Even in my recent grief of losing a baby… which was by far the worst experience of my life… I am way happier and at peace than I was back then.

It’s funny how life happens.. we don’t understand it at the time… when we feel lost or broken and a year later everything has changed. And every now and then a quick trip down memory lane reminds me not to complain when my old jeans don’t fit, to not be envious of other women who work so hard at the gym to look amazing, to not wish I was something that I’m not, or that I don’t want to be. Simply because I’m happy.

I remind myself that I am what I want myself to be now, because it’s my choice, surrounded with so much love in our home, even through all of our chaos and craziness that is a home with four kids… even through the sadness and darkness of losing a baby… even through the disappointment of not being able to get pregnant month after month… there is still laughter and joy and love and healthy kiddos surrounding us.

Those extra 20 lbs that I’ve gained are the late night dinners on the couch with my hubs watching our recordings of The Young and the Restless… the many dinners eating out because we love the memories we make trying different foods and restuarants. Those extra lbs are the extra couple of hours I get at home watching my kids play outside when I could be at the gym. They are the sausage and bacon breakfasts my husband fixes me on Sunday mornings when he feeds me in bed.

Whenever you’re doubting your self-confidence… the way you look in a bikini… or that dress you’ve been wanting to wear… remember that those extra lbs are the memories you’ve made, your freedom to live like you want, and ask yourself if you’re happy and loved for who you are now. For me, it’s focusing all of my energy on being a mom and a wife and finding joy in each little moment, each little memory. No matter how much I weigh.

Stop. Comparing. Yourself. To. Others.

You don’t have to be skinny to be happy. You don’t have to be thin to be pretty. You don’t have to be a toothpick to be loved.

So when you compare photos, it‘s actually just the opposite for me. This is a girl not wanting to change anything at all. This is a girl appreciating the stretch marks from my 3 pregnancies because I never before respected the “getting pregnant process” and how difficult it can be for some people. This is a girl loving the hips I have because they remind me that I’m in a healthy marriage where fights are few but worthy and making up is even better.

This is a girl who knows looking back on the first photo will make her heart happy no matter how much she weighed.

Xoxo,

MK