Is My Glow Showing?

I subscribe to Magnolia magazine because I’ve never disagreed with Joanna Gaines’ taste, hustle, or passion for family. Unfortunately, my love affair may have come to a screeching halt when she was quoted to say, “I have always really enjoyed being pregnant-- because I tend to feel my best during those 9 months.” We used to be cool JoJo. Do not get me wrong, pregnancy is a miracle and absolutely no part of me is ungrateful for my body’s ability to create life. I would withstand any amount of pain and discomfort if it meant my baby is waiting for me on the other side. That being said—let's stop with all this glowy, beaming, nonsense we claim as truth during pregnancy. If you did happen to have that miracle please keep it to yourself, claiming radiance is no way to make mom friends during playgroup.

As a whole my hyperemesis seems to have subsided and am left now with random spouts (pun intended) of sickness. Last week, I woke up feeling parched from a particularly intense workout with Fit4Mom the night before. Along with my conservative allotment of coffee, I drank at least 20 oz of water with breakfast. I had just started the process of loading up my kids to head out to the children’s art studio, ArtBeast, in Sacramento and Charlotte was frustrated because she has inherited my sensitivity to uncomfortable clothing which typically peaks every day in her car seat when the seatbelt causes dresses and skirts to become too tight and restricting. She had picked out a new fluffy tutu dress and was screaming while attempting to take it off. Madeleine used this opportunity to kick her leg out and lightly tap Charlotte on her feet, which as anyone with two kids knows, is the equivalent of challenging their sibling to a duel and this only made Charlotte cry harder. My 3rd, unborn child, determined to participate in her own way in the chaos; and so without warning the entire contents of my stomach projected out of my nose and mouth like that scene from the Exorcist onto our front lawn. The momentum rocked me off balance and I attempted to steady myself while blindly reaching out into our rose bushes only to grab a fistful of thorns. This lasted for exactly 3 minutes and 57 seconds and I only know this because I made it through one round of Elton John singing, “Can you Feel the Love Tonight”, which we listen to on repeat every moment we are in the car. Thankfully my theatrics quieted the kids since I just provided them with music and a show all before 9 o’clock in the morning.

So while we can agree on our love of shiplap and oversized clocks, Joanna and I disagree on pregnancy bringing out our best. What I can say is that I re-brushed my teeth, hosed down my lawn and we made it to ArtBeast without further puke or protest; because while in no way do I feel like a beacon of fruitful radiance, I sure know how to do the multi-tasking mommy hustle.

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MISSED ME, MISSED ME, NOW YOU GOTTA KISS ME

These days my daughters have begun to implement the policy “early to bed even earlier to rise”. I like to believe it is because they miss us when they sleep and are consumed by their love for us, which makes 4:30am slightly more bearable. Our bed has always been a place for everything: dogs, kids, breakfast and it was not an accident that one of Madeleine’s first words was “snuggle”. We are an “I love you”, kisses and hugs family because I will never let a day go by where anyone that lives in my heart questions my love for them. Love is simply too important.

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I’ve felt this baby move much earlier than science would suggest possible, but I’m sure, because I’m the only one that knows her. The stirrings of pregnancy are like a secret only a mother can understand. We are alone together for such a short time before I have to share her with the world. I remember when Charlotte was born and since she was the first grandchild on both sides, she was constantly being adored by everyone—but when she was out of my arms and our heartbeats were no longer inches apart, I missed her like I would if I had lost a part of my body.

I recognize by having 3 children that the individual attention allotted to each will be even less than before. My husband and I will be outnumbered, so we are guaranteed to miss one daughter’s band-aid application or back-to-school night, unless we start seriously considering the addition of a sister-wife to even out our adult-to-child ratio.

Several close friends have gotten emotional as they sent their kids off to TK or kindergarten this past week, and I recognize these emotions even though it is not yet our turn: we parents have always been there and now school is the first place we will miss out on watching them grow in new ways. I remember 10 years ago I visited a wild-life sanctuary in Australia and I watched a mother kangaroo struggle to carry her much-too-old teenage joey in her pouch. Back then, I felt sorry for her struggle. Now, as a mom, I believe that kangaroo is my spirit animal and was living the dream of always keeping her child close by. Just the other day Charlotte told me, “I wish I could be inside your tummy again, Mommy. Then we could be together all the time and I would never miss you.” How could someone so young, understand love so profoundly? And so I will do my best to be present for every snuggle, invest in a bed larger than a California king, while channeling my inner Mama kangaroo, all without missing a beat.

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Conscious Mothering

There is an internal war that rages within mothers around the world. We battle each other, ourselves and strangers to compete for the ability to have it all while simultaneously doing it the best. An impossible standard that reflects the perfect balance between not just one or two things, but everything. It is not enough to just be a mom, but we need to work, run marathons, clean/cook--all while maintaining an image of sanity and happiness with the perfect caption and filter for social media. In my husband and I’s decision to trade in our family-four-pack for an uneven, out-numbered party of five, I felt myself give way to an internal shift. For some of you this may have happened with your first, second or fifth child-- or you could completely disagree and choose a different way. But in my experience, today, I have consciously decided to go all in and wear my mom hat and fanny pack proudly as my main identity.

Somewhere in between one and two kids I became obsessed with the idea that my strong, independent, feminist-self was being suffocated by motherhood. I will never be the person I was before I became a mom. What a terrifying concept that I am not myself anymore. I had so many tiny hands pulling me every which way, I was scared I wouldn’t be strong enough to balance the weight of it all.

If I put my life into acts like a play, one would assume that I’d always be in the starring role. But this is not the case right now. It is not about me, it is about them and the little life inside I am growing. And the most important thing I’ve learned is that is ok. This act is theirs and mine will come later. I enjoy holding them up to the light so they can shine, in fact, it makes me the happiest I have ever been. Of course, I carve out pieces of time for me, my husband, my friends and extended family all of which makes my heart even fuller. But I am consciously choosing to put all my chips on motherhood. I will happily succumb to the minivan, softball practice, and bedtime stories because these are purposeful choices I am making. Motherhood doesn’t have to be like gravity where it exists simply because it does. How easy it is to take for granted these everyday motions and look around to watch every other mom somehow doing it all with more grace and a cleaner house. I now see that my kids were never pulling me down, but rather helping me step into the role I was meant to play.

From the second your child enters your life an internal alarm is triggered that ignites guilt, pressure, self-doubt and seems to magnify our inadequacies-- the results cannot leave any sane woman unscathed. We are never doing enough, being enough, giving enough. To which I say enough now. Enough. I have decided to let it all go and embrace my new mantra that in motherhood I may have lost my sanity, but I have found my soul.

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