So you’re not fine, and that’s okay. 

I am totally a member of the good vibe tribe. I believe with all of my soul that if you send good vibes out into the universe that even hard things don’t seem so bad. My first piece of advice for pregnant mothers is to never say things like “I can’t do this anymore,” or “this is never going to end!” Or “I’ve never been more uncomfortable.” While I feel like screaming these phrases and more from the rooftops whenever there is a tiny human kicking all of my organs from the inside, if I don’t say it out loud it seems to pass by so much faster. You might actually find me saying things instead like “I’m doing really well” which is usually not the case. Life tends to hand out what seem to be unfair hands of cards sometimes and I’m generally the person saying “everything is going to work out! don’t even worry!” I’m never sure how it’s going to work out or sometimes I’m not even sure IF it will work out but I still say it. That being said I have this habit and I’ve always considered it a good habit, but lately I’ve found out just why it might be a bad one sometimes. 

I just had my third baby three weeks ago, my tiny girlfriend after being a boy mom for the last 6 years. My pregnancy was a rough one, which every woman that has ever had the slightly miserable privledge of being pregnant can say. After having two preterm babies my doctor went to great lengths to keep this princess in. It meant lots of shots of all kinds for the girl that loathes needles. It meant 11+ weeks of bedrest. I watched my husband and everyone else around me clean my house, make my meals, raise my kids all while I just sat there, it was hard. Every time someone dropped food off at my house or picked my kids up for the day they would generally say something to the extent of “You’ve got to be going crazy!” Or “This looks so miserable.” My response was always the same, “it’s hard but I’m fine.” A small awknowledgement that it wasn’t ideal but that I wasn’t weak and was fine. For some reason admitting that it sucked seemed like a sign of weakness or inability to do hard things and I’m not weak. 

Fast forward from the pregnancy and now we’re playing the seemingly impossible “let’s find a routine that works for us” game. We’re doing the no sleep thing, surprisingly because my 2 year old is the problem, not my newborn but it’s cool I hate sleep anyways, who doesn’t? My husband has a pretty demanding job so it’s generally just the 4 of us here and let’s be honest, it’s a mad house. We stay in our pajamas until…honestly, maybe bedtime. We are living on a strict diet of oatmeal, Nutella toast, croutons, spaghettios and frozen burritos. I don’t quite frankly remember the last time I showered and oh, I forgot to mention my two year old hates me for having another baby. 

Let’s elaborate on that last one shall we? Apparently I ruined my youngest child’s life when we had our very unplanned baby. If you ask him if he likes her, he simply answers “nope!” And carries on about his business. Thankfully he isn’t mean to his baby sister but I am a completely different story. By the end of a day of constant crying, being hit, having my hair pulled, being kicked, fighting him to eat just to end up covered in his spit out food and his sudden onset deafness when he’s asked to do ANYTHING, I could crawl into bed and cry. Now I can talk to my husband about anything and everything, and I do, which I’m sure he loves because after being home with kids all day he hears everything, every last detail. BUT being the positive ray of sunshine that I force myself to be at all times whenever he asks how my day was my answer is always a brief synopsis of the day followed quickly by “but it’s fine.” 

Tonight my fireball of a middle child was throwing a fit. The kind of fit that makes you creepily jealous of Helen Keller because she’s the only person to ever walk the face of this earth that could sit in the same room as your child and not want to die. So he’s in his room screaming because DAD is tucking him into bed instead of the mother that he’s beaten all day long. As I’m sitting on the couch with the baby, my husband calmly says goodnight to our son, leaves the room and closes the door behind him. Our child went bonkers. I started to feel my blood boil. My husband sat down and put his arm around me, I told him to go back and get him. He explained that our son needed to learn that he couldn’t act like that and that he would check on him in 5 minutes. Was he absolutely right? Yuuuup. Do you think I said that? Sure didn’t. 5 minutes was eternity. I stood up, and as I walked to the door I reminded him that while he wasn’t home to listen to the crying all day, I was and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I walked outside and slammed the door behind me. 

Turns out that I’m not fine sometimes. Weird, I know. What’s weirder is that I’ve always know that sometimes I’m not but saying it out loud seemed unacceptable. Admitting that what I had on my plate was overwhelming made me feel like I didn’t have it together like I should. In reality I’m not sure that anyone ever really has it together, maybe sometimes things just fall into place better. Maybe bottling up the reality of how you feel doesn’t actually make you stronger but instead slowly makes you weaker on the inside. I’m not suggesting that we all become that person that we all know that we don’t want to be around. The modern day Eeyore, living in a permanent state of doom and gloom. I’m not saying that we should never hold back how we feel or that we are incapable of handling things within ourselves because I still believe in good vibes. The honest truth is that you’re strong. You’ve totally got this, whatever your “this” is. Maybe you’re like me and it’s the kids and the fighting and the screaming and the time that you never have for yourself. Maybe it’s your job, or your relationship. It could be your financial status or health struggles but you can do it. All I AM suggesting is that it’s 100% kosher to verbally say, I’m not fine. When your neighbor says “woah, you look exhausted” it’s totally acceptable to say, “yeah I am, and it sucks.” When your spouse says “sounds like you had a long day,” a proper response sometimes is, “it’s been so long and I’m just kinda done.” You aren’t weak or incapable. You are not less of you because you said things aren’t rainbows and unicorns out loud to another human being. You’re honest which sometimes takes more strength then lying just to seem strong. 

So there you have it, sometimes I’m not fine. Which is totally and completely….fine. 

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To the rude woman who taught me to more fully appreciate my husband. 

My husband is loud. Like, so loud. His loudness knows no boundaries or borders but sometimes he does have a different volume setting. Louder. Now this volume setting usually comes to life while enjoying one of his biggest passions which just so happens to be basketball. We live in Utah so we love our Utah Jazz and have been so fortune to attend quite a few games this season. The past few years have probably been some of the harder times we’ve experienced so on the nights we have Jazz tickets we schedule a babysitter and I actually do my hair and makeup. We get ourselves some food and get to eat it while its still hot because we aren’t busy feeding our kids and we head to the arena. These nights have turned into my favorite nights. There is however part of the night that always puts me just a tad on the edge of my chair and it sounds like this, “C’MON REF! WHAT KIND OF CALL IS THAT? FOUL! FOUL! SOMEONE BETTER CALL THE COPS BECAUSE THAT DUDE JUST GOT ROBBED!” So while my husband stands screaming, you can generally find me pulling at his sleeve saying “Babe, sit down. Don’t scream.” And when that doesn’t work I just place my chin on my hands and wait until he’s done. 

I’ve always been very aware of what others think of me, and in some situations I don’t care but in a lot I do. Is that a good quality? No. Do I wish I didn’t? Absolutely. But the reality is that anytime someone is whispering even if they accidentally glance in my direction there is a good chance I’m going to feel like it’s about me. Queue me checking my teeth for food and smelling my own armpits. So I think it’s fair for everyone to safely assume that when I KNOW those glares are about me, my discomfort level goes through the roof. That being said, it’s no surprise that the other nights game pushed me over the edge. 

We got to the game both in great spirits, so excited for our night away and time together. We found our seats and immediately I started feeling sick. This baby guys, she’s getting the best of me regularly, especially in large crowds where there are so many things to smell. Anyways, the game started and my husband was immediately in the zone. I attempted to pull on his sleeve a few times, I tried telling him to shush, I even told him he was being way to loud and needed to be quiet. When nothing worked I sat back in my seat and tried not to throw up. All of the sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman lean over and whisper to her husband while looking at me following one of my husbands cheers. My stomach turned, I knew she was talking about us. “Please sit down babe” I said. He just smiled and said “babe, I’m enjoying my night! It’s okay!” He was right. I was probably making assumptions anyways. I sat back in my chair again. Another yell “ATTA BOY! WAY TO GET TO THE LINE!” Again another glare and a whisper to her husband, but this time she rubbed his back and laughed as if trying to calm him down while he simultaneously put his finger in his ear closest to us. This was for sure about us and the discomfort set in again. They took a selfie of them at the game, she showed her husband the Instagram post, they both laughed, her husband said “seriously” and rolled his eyes and then she looked back at me laughing. 

And so this pattern continued for the duration of the game. Loud yell, followed by glares, laughing while rubbing her husbands back with frequent exclamations of “oh my gosh” or “woooooow!” I continued to tap him on the leg, pull on his arm, ask him to sit down and be a little more quiet while my anxiety built higher and higher. Finally my husband asked me what was wrong. I didn’t hesitate, “that woman down there is so rude! She’s constantly making comments about you and your loudness and constant commentating . She keeps glaring back at us and it’s making me mad and very uncomfortable! He sat down, grabbed my hand, kissed me and said “if that’s how they want to enjoy the game then let them, you enjoy it how you want to. Don’t let them decide how your night goes. Just enjoy it.” Then he said “I don’t even know why I sit down” and jumped back up without missing a beat. “YEAH! MAN I LOVE ME SOME GEORGE HILL.” 

While I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, I was heated but I’m going to blame it on my extra dose of hormones. I was so overwhelmed over something so small that my heart was beating out of my chest. I was frustrated with my husband for being so stinking loud and at that woman who was being so rude! I was already not feeling well and in my usual position on the edge of my seat ready to control his outbursts and she was just making it worse. I mean couldn’t she just have been like everyone else and just watched the game in her own fashion my husbands very obvious passion aside without being rude to other people? 

I excused myself to go to the restroom, not because I actually had to go but because I needed a breather. I sat in the stall frustrated and all of the sudden reality settled in and I felt awful. My husband was loud and it was obnoxious sometimes but what others didn’t know is that those games are our break from a reality that isn’t so hot most of the time. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He wasn’t sitting in an opera or a symphony concert hall. He was at a sporting event that he just so happened to love and was acting extremely appropriate for the setting he was in. He wasn’t vulgar or out of line, he was loud and that wasn’t hurting anyone. Then reality set in further, how long had I been trying to silence my husband or diminish his personality because I felt it was over the top when in all actuality it just wasn’t what I would say or do. I was horrified with myself. I sat trying to think if there was anything about me that my husband was constantly trying to change or telling me he didn’t like, I couldn’t think of a single thing. I sat there in a stall at a Utah Jazz game realizing that while my husband had excepted me 100% for who I was a long time ago, I needed to improve as a wife. 

I suppose I should take a second and say that there are things in a relationship that should not be accepted or deemed appropriate. Examples may include any type of abuse, a lack of support or help in your home and family etc. This article however isn’t about those things. I once heard a quote that said “You don’t have to love his passions, but you have to love that he loves his passions.” I can think of many things in my relationship that this quote applies to, his choice of music sometimes, his love for YouTube videos, his raw sense of humor, but those are part of who he is and I love who he is. My husband accepted my love of Desperate Housewives and Oreo obsession the day he met me. He accepted my absolute distaste for vegetables and my ugly cry and lack of using actual words when I’m mad. He loves me despite my inability to wash the clothes and fold them in the same day and my habit of being overly patient with my children even when they deserve some harshness in their lives. The point is that there are so many things that I do that could leave him sitting on the edge of his seat ready to control me but instead he loves me, not in spite of those things but because of those things. 

Since I’m a sucker for happy endings let’s get back to the Jazz game. So there I am, sitting on a toilet in a stall completely dressed for an excessive amount of time and I decide that I love my husband. Not that I’ve ever not loved him because let’s be honest from the day I set eyes on him I had to have him. I just decided that I love all of the stupid, annoying, obnoxious, non-hurtful things that make him who he is. I love that his laundry doesn’t make it in the hamper because he works so hard all day to take care of us that he’s to tired to even think about where his clothes end up and tosses them on he floor before crawling into bed. I love that at 7 AM in the morning when I’m wishing that I was still in bed that he’s driving me nuts with all of his energy because he’s happy to have another day. So I leave the bathroom and head out to the game, never mind that it’s the fourth quarter and I’ve wasted 3 others being mad at some woman who doesn’t matter, but I am on my feet. “LETS GO BOYS!” She glares. I smile. “LETS GET THE WIN! NICE BOARD RUDY!” This time it’s me yelling.  We scream our way through a close game together that night, me a little out of my element but him completely in his. 

Ultimately it’s just one of those things that made me realize that my husband wasn’t waiting for the fourth quarter of our lives to enjoy me and our marriage and our life. He’s enjoys it now annoying parts of me and all. No more waiting until the fourth quarter for me. No matter how loud he is. 

It’s okay. I’ve been there. 

I wanted a baby so badly that it hurt. Like physically hurt. I had been married for a while, in a relationship with the same person for 4 years prior and had wanted a baby long before my husband decided he was ready. Once we were ready, I couldn’t wait to have that little one kicking around inside my stomach. I was so ready for crazy cravings and a cute little baby bump! Heck, I was even ready for the morning sickness, the discomfort, the body aches, I wanted it all, whatever it took to get me that baby. I couldn’t wait until I was in the hospital and heard baby scream for the first time. I dreamed of being surrounded by loved ones and watching the looks on their faces as they held my angel in their arms. I was so ready, at least I thought I was.

Month after month passed by and with every month came a negative pregnancy test. I became more serious and started pulling out all the stops from prenatals to ovulation apps and more. Still, nothing was growing in that uterus of mine but what was growing was my anxiety that maybe I was incapable of having my own children. With each passing month, I lost more sleep, became more desperate and lost more faith that my time would ever come. A year passed and still no baby and I was becoming bitter. I became sick at the idea of attending the baby showers of those I loved. I was sick of watching glowing moms-to-be complain about their discomfort and pain when I would give anything to feel those things if it meant having the same end result as they would soon have.

“You will be a great mother when your time comes because it will come. One way or another, it’ll come.”

I saw pregnancy for what it was, given that I wasn’t or hadn’t ever been pregnant. I understood that it was such a short time frame in the grand scheme of life and would soon yield the biggest blessing that those moms would ever know. Posts on Facebook asking if I “wanted to buy a grouchy three-year-old for a day” would upset me. Why would someone want to give their child away when others just wish they had a child to annoy them all day. Bitter was the best word to describe me and I never saw it changing.

Fast forward and I suppose you could surmise that I ended up getting pregnant. It was a boy, and I got everything I wanted. The morning sickness, the cravings the body aches and all. I heard my baby scream for the first time and tears rolled down my cheeks. At times I wanted to get rid of my child for a day so that I could regain my sanity and didn’t feel a lick of remorse for wanting to do so. I could never have been more thankful for the blessing that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to receive. Struggling to conceive a child was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced and caused me the greatest fear I could ever imagine but who would have known that a close second would be the exact opposite. 


I was later divorced and when I met my husband my son had just turned 2. We had decided to get married and mutually agreed that we wanted to wait some time before having another child so we could have some time to ourselves when our son was with his dad. We dreamed of exploring and vacationing, sleeping in and staying out late, pancakes at midnight, road trips and camping every weekend, just the two of us. We had fast track plans to eliminate debt and purchase our first home together and I could not wait.

The time had come to discuss contraception and I had made an appointment with my doctor to talk options but couldn’t be fit in until after my wedding. Given how difficult it was for me to get pregnant, and how dumb I was for not considering the difference in partners I didn’t think it was a big deal. Wrong. So so wrong. Needless to say, I was pregnant before that appointment even arrived, less than a month later. I cried. Not happy tears like the first time but sad, sad tears. This was going to ruin our plans. We would never get that newlywed couple experience now, and I was devastated. The worst part wasn’t even that I was sad but that I now had to look my husband in the eye and explain that what we had been daydreaming of was no longer an option, at least not for awhile. We were frustrated at first but like everything else, a short adjustment period later and we were elated.


Let’s hit fast forward again, our youngest child who was born 2 months early and spent a significant amount of time in the NICU is now 2. We’ve spent the last two years trying to get back on our feet and each day feel the weight of the world on our shoulders as we scramble to make our lives better for us and our children. We’ve put having another child on the back burner until we feel we can responsibly take care of another body in our home and this time we did it right, with birth control. We had finally started to gain some traction. We were moving in the right direction financially, my husband was making significant progress with school and I had a solid routine being the mother of two while still managing to balance my passions in life and taking care of myself and then it happened. How it happened I don’t know, I mean I guess I do. My birth control was ineffective.

I remember the morning I found out like I’m still in it sometimes. I woke up needing to know instead of just scaring myself. I rushed my children out the door early so I could swing by the grocery store before taking our oldest to school. I bought the test and took it right there in the grocery store bathroom as to avoid being home with my husband just in case it was positive. Of course, it would be negative right? I was on birth control! This was just precautionary. Completely precautionary. However, when I saw the word “pregnant” come up on the test my blood ran cold. Getting from the store to drop my son off at school and back home is a complete blur. Sounds safe I know but I was still frozen in what felt like an absolute nightmare. How was this happening? The last time, that was my fault. This time, I was taking birth control, I hadn’t missed a pill, and no I hadn’t taken any antibiotics. I went back to my empty home with my little boy and collapsed to the floor. When my husband came home a short time later I looked him in the face and said: “I’m pregnant and I’m sorry.”

“I want to be able to offer the love and patience that every child deserves and considering that I already go to bed at night feeling like I failed my TWO kids, how can I find more patience with three?”

The days, weeks, months that followed were ones that would teach me that there is an opposite pain from the one of not being able to conceive a child. That pain is the one that comes from feeling guilty for wishing you weren’t pregnant with the one you were able to conceive. Depression found me when the realities of how this was going to change our lives set in. Announcing we were pregnant to our loved ones was more of a statement of disappointment often accompanied by tears than an “announcement.” My husband was in school full time and worked full time and I felt like a single mom as it was, adding another child to the mix seemed impossible and insane.

People tried to comfort us or sometimes chastise us by reminding us that there are those out there that only dream they would be pregnant and that we should be grateful. While I knew it was true and had been there myself it wasn’t helpful and mostly made it worse. Some tried to help by telling us that we created something beautiful and that my body was doing something amazing. Again, while true it didn’t seem to lift my spirits but rather made me revisit the feeling I got to know so well 5 years earlier when I wanted nothing more than to get pregnant.

I was bitter. I found myself looking at others who had their own homes, were going on vacations, drove nice cars and more and felt angry that I was now even further away from stability and comfort. I was bitter at those that slept until 9 because right when I felt like I just got back from the no sleep journey I was about to trek on sleeplessly for who knows how long, again. Not to mention the hiatus that being pregnant forces me to take from the gym which has always been important to me.

I’ve heard it all at this point, I’m selfish, I get it. However, along with all of my selfish desires comes the deep desire to be able to adequately provide for a child and there’s nothing worse than the fear of wondering every day how you’re going to do it. I want to be able to offer the love and patience that every child deserves and considering that I already go to bed at night feeling like I failed my TWO kids, how can I find more patience with three? So while there are the selfish desires, the ones that maybe aren’t that important to everyone, the house, a car that you can rely on, vacations and trips with family and friends, there are also fears inside your heart that no one quite understands. As time has gone on, just as it always does, we have been able to accept our situation and make the necessary adjustments.

Life does whatever it wants sometimes and often it feels like it’s working against you.

We’re having a little girl and while I may not be sure how I’m going to keep my sanity, where I’ll find more patience, where exactly she’s going to sleep or how it’s all going to work, I’m going to be a mommy to a little girl. While we still have our ups and downs, I can now see this for the blessing it is instead of the curse that it felt like.

So to the momma’s out there that haven’t had their chance yet, it’s okay I’ve been there. There is nothing wrong with you. I know it’s hard to see those pregnancy announcements on your Facebook feed. It’s hard looking at your home and wishing it didn’t seem so empty. I know it hurts your heart to walk past the baby aisle in the grocery store and that wondering what your future holds is overwhelming. You will be a great mother when your time comes because it will come. One way or another, it’ll come.

And to the Mommy’s that find themselves buried in guilt for wishing they weren’t pregnant, it’s okay I’ve been there. You’re not selfish, you just weren’t ready. I know it’s scary wondering how it’s all going to work out. It seems overwhelming going through such a big life change that you were actively trying to prevent. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to accept your situation before finding peace within it. Things will work out the way they are supposed to. One way or another, they will work out.

Life does whatever it wants sometimes and often it feels like it’s working against you. It’s said that everything in life has its opposite and this is no exception. Where you may be standing in the storm wishing for sunshine, someone else may be standing under the relentless heat of the sun wishing for the shade and comfort of the storm.

Church with kids. The hardest most rewarding calling. 

Saturday night comes  and I get to fall asleep with the peace of mind that I don’t have to set an alarm. There isn’t a 6 AM wake up time on Sunday. It’s always been that relaxing day where I don’t have to worry about much of anything. When I was growing up my mom would make cinnamon rolls every Sunday for breakfast. We would watch cartoons, get dressed for church while my parents played what they liked to call “Sunday music” and then we would head to church together.

I loved church. I found so much solace in the quiet congregation silently worshiping and offering thanks to God. I was always so grateful for those that shared their testimonies of love, forgiveness, the power of prayer and more. I attended my classes and the hallways were always full of those that I would happily mingle with in between. The walls of the church were full of the spirit that brought such a feeling of comfort and what a blessing it was to share that feeling with those I loved. After our 3-hour church block, I would go home, find me something delicious for lunch, take a long uninterrupted nap followed by the awesome dinner that was always my mom’s Sunday tradition. Then it was just eat and chill for the rest of the night.

I’m now almost 27 and last night I found myself falling asleep on a Saturday night. But the feeling of peace has been replaced with a small amount, okay you’re right, a rather large amount of anxiety. Why? Because tomorrow is Sunday, and I have two small children.

I woke up this morning to the alarm clock that I’ve had for what will be two years in November. My alarm clock is almost 2 years old and woke up angry. I tried to convince him to climb in bed with me and watch a show so that I could maybe close my eyes a little longer but he was hungry so our morning started nice and early. Sunday’s have changed since I had children and while I find myself extremely embarrassed to say it, the happiness that used to flood my life every Sunday is often gone and in its place is left a pile of my hair that I swear I didn’t pull out in frustration.

My 5-year-old has a million other things that he would rather do than go to church. Somehow every Sabbath all of the toys that he’s had zero interest in playing with all week  are “lonely” and “need to be played with!” He would rather stay in bed and watch his shows because his feet hurt from walking all week long. He is tired because he didn’t sleep very well last night, even thought he slept like a rock.  How does such a small child already have such a long list of things that are more important than church? Getting my 1 year old dressed is like real life alligator wrestling. Avoiding the end with teeth as to not get bit and everything. By the time I get his pants on he’s trying to pull his shirt off and often times we go in circles for what feels like hours. I throw myself together and eventually, after all of this we get ourselves to church.

Sometimes sacrament starts off fine. But by the end of the sacrament service, the ground around me is covered in snacks, which I bring in hopes of lengthening the amount of time that my kids are at least manageable. I’ve been out to the foyer at least 10 times and my husband another 10. My boys are fighting over who gets what coloring book, even though they are completely the same half the time and of course they both need the blue crayon, RIGHT NOW! I find myself watching other families whose children are quietly sitting and I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Why are my children insisting on laying in the aisles and pulling things out of the woman’s bag in the row in front of us? I turned my back for a second and now the hymn book has been turned into the coloring book they have always wanted. They need every piece of bread when the sacrament comes by and they spill the entire tray of water.

When it’s time for class, at least my oldest gets to go and be with his friends and hopefully listen to his teachers. But I find myself in the halls of the church. The same halls that used to be full of mixing and mingling with loved ones. This time, it’s just me, and my youngest child. We walk the halls until church is over because the nursery is apparently like purgatory and my class is the local playroom. I watch him walking around the hallways and I wonder why I’m here. I have learned nothing today. I realize that I probably would have felt more peace if I would have stayed home and let my kids run wild. I’ve cried as I’ve tried to remember the last time I’ve felt the spirit. You know, that down to your core kind of feeling. Sunday’s have become a day of stress for me, and while the guilt eats me alive for letting those words come out of my mouth, let alone sharing it with whoever chooses to read this, there are no words more relevant to my life these days.

I lay my head down on my pillow and while it’s hard not to say “I’m never doing that again,” instead I choose to say “We will try again next week.” Why? Why do we, because I know I’m not alone in this, choose to do it again, week after week? A friend once referred to her daughter as borrowed when we were talking about our children and how we choose to raise them in this life and I’ve never looked at my children the same. While the beautiful children that I have been blessed with in this life are mine and they always will be, they were also given to me by a loving Father in Heaven who trusted me to raise them the best I could. He believed in me. He knew that during the good times and the bad that I was capable of being a good mother and doing what is best for HIS children that are in my care.

Church is hard right now, but my boys know that we go. They know that we love the Lord and that he loves us. They know that it makes our Heavenly Father happy when we choose to use our agency to attend services that invite the spirit into our lives and our hearts. Somewhere in between the 17 times that my 5-year-old’s teachers have asked him to stop talking, turn around, not play with his friends and listen, he heard that when he’s scared he can pray and his Heavenly Father will bless him, so he does that. The Spirit of the Lord resides in the halls of the church regardless of whether I am in my classes or walking the halls and it’s my choice to let it fill my soul. Yes, it’s harder to let the spirit envelop you in the halls alone then it is in a room full of women who love you and remind you every day what is means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Last week my son bore his testimony which I didn’t know he had, and while after his first sentence he needed help, his first sentence was “I would like to share my testimony and I know Jesus is real.”

My boys know that we go to church. They know that sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed and get ready when we just want to cuddle and watch Zootopia together for millionth time. They know that God comes first. They know that church is a priority and that if we follow the commandments and keep the Sabbath Day holy we will be blessed in our lives with the things that we stand in need of. So while church gives me stress acne and sometimes even a headache I have to remind myself that we did the right thing in making an effort to walk through those holy doors today. So I’ll eat my weight in chocolate, visit the temple this week, thank my Father for the opportunity to raise these sweet spirits that we’ve been blessed with in the gospel. So whatever church you belong to, take your children. No matter how hard it is. No matter how many times you’ve been drawn on by their markers, or how many Cheeto finger stains have been left on your shirt. No matter how many tears you shed last week from frustration, exhaustion or defeat, take them. Take them this week and next week and forever. While the challenge of taking your children to church can often extend through all ages and while their reasons for not attending are likely to turn from their toys to their beliefs, take them. You will be blessed and while that is important, there is no greater calling than that of a parent who raises their children in righteousness with the intent of helping them return to their Father in Heaven, even when the path to him is difficult. So take them.

 

Radio Silent 

I just logged into my wordpress for the first time in a long time and it popped up with a notice that said “it’s been two months since you’ve had anything to say, would you like to do that now?” I have to be honest with you all when I say that I’ve been putting off putting up a blog post because I just don’t feel like I have anything to say. Which I guess for those that know me seems weird as I always have something to say but for the past few months I’ve felt nothing. There isn’t any big topic that I feel like weighing in on. There hasn’t been an event that has pushed me to feel like contributing my opinion. I haven’t gone to bed with a topic on my mind like I have in the past and if we’re being real here, I’ve been stressed about it. The kind of stressed where all I can think about is the fact that I’ve been quiet for to long. 

So much has happened in the world since my last post. Many things that have been controversial and bring out all of the experts on the topic, which just so happens to be everyone most of the time. I’ve thought about posting about the election and my views. I’ve thought about sharing an article about my feelings about how hard parenting is and just how easy and quickly mistakes happen since we live in the era of perfect parents. I’ve seen blog entry after blog entry about gorillas and babies, crocodiles and exercising empathy and understanding and with each entry I think “there’s a person who is organized and has themselves together, I need get moving!” There have been many topics that have crossed my mind but I have very guiltily had next to no desire to write about them. 

The more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve realized that we live in such a loud world. A world where opinions are required on just about every topic. Where the loud oppress the quiet. Where if your opinion isn’t shouted from the rooftops and shared in your most recent Facebook post then it doesn’t count for anything. It’s a world now where everyone is the expert on the topic regardless of how educated they may actually be. No one who has a different view than you can possibly be right or have valid reasons for their feelings. I guess I’ve learned that being quiet means that something is wrong. That not knowing how you feel, or not having anything to say means that you need more education on the topic instead of simply meaning that you don’t have an opinion.

As I’ve looked deeper into my life, my attitude about silence reigns supreme through all aspects. Being in the kitchen doing dishes while my husband sits silently at the table across from me means that I’ve probably done something wrong, not that he’s tired and overworked. Sitting in my dark room at night with only the glow of my computer means I’m lazy for not blogging regardless of how many conversations I’ve carried on with children of all ages all day, or how many episodes of Sonic Dash I’ve watched, or listened to. I’ve found myself sitting on the couch, staring in silence as my child sits on his bedroom floor alone and thought, “he probably needs someone to play with him” even if he didn’t ask. No matter how long the day has been and how welcoming the silence is, there is always something else I should be doing. 
Silence is where I find who I am again at night after a long day of stress. Silence is where I get lost in my memories of meeting my husband, or the day my babies were born and smile to myself. I daydream in the silence about how someday I’m going to have a fridge that I don’t have to share and when I go to Costco I can get the big thing of yogurt instead of the small one because I don’t have to worry about storage space. Silence is where I save myself from ruining friendships and relationships because sometimes it’s more important to exercise love for those that have a different opinion or live a different life. It’s either that or steamrolling them with what you have to say or what you feel you need to say. 

So while I’ve been sitting over here stressing about how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I’ve found this side of me that needs to take more time to be quiet. It’s not necessary to be the expert on every topic or have the best opinion or comment about the news article that you just read. It’s not imperative that you are the loudest voice in an already loud world. It’s important to educate yourself. It’s important to be an involved member of society and a contributing member of your families and communities. Silence doesn’t mean lazy. It doesn’t mean you don’t know anything. It doesn’t mean that you should hurry and google something so that you can interject how you feel into the conversation being held at thanksgiving dinner. It just means that you don’t have anything to say, and that my friends is perfectly okay. 

Our pockets may be shallow, but we are rich.

Money guys….it sucks. It’s also awesome, but definitely still sucks. I feel like it runs the world or, at least, runs my life. Everything you do, whether it’s optional or not costs money. All of the necessities seem to be more expensive every time I go grocery shopping or fill up my gas tank. Buying my kids clothes, which seems like the biggest waste of money in the world costs more than most people spend purchasing a car over the span of my kiddos live’s.

I went to school with all of these people that are somehow living in huge houses, and have beautiful yards, their clothes are the bomb, their kids are dressed perfectly and they are ALWAYS traveling. I’m sure that most of them worked hard to get where they are  and I’m absolutely sure that money can also be a stressed for them, but sometimes it’s so hard to watch their lives when I’m over here working harder than ever before and I still feel like that green stuff is my boss.

My husband is absolutely going to hate that I’m announcing to the world that money isn’t our best friend right now, but it’s the truth and I figured that it’s probably something that a lot of people can relate to. Now am I saying that we’re dead broke and looking for charity? Absolutely not.

The point is that money stresses me out sometimes and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one in this boat.  We are currently living in my in-laws basement while we wait for a few things to play out and for those that have ever lived in someone else’s home you know, it’s both a blessing and a curse. I feel like I have to reassure people “Yes, I know you saw me in this yesterday, but here’s the thing, I did laundry last night and I promise it’s clean.” Sometimes we get bills in the mail and I just stare at them and want to cry because I’m so sick of having to give money to other people.

If you have kids, or even if you’re like me and love Disney and Pixar you’ve seen the movie Up and will recall how they are trying to save money to go toParadise Falls (which let’s be honest sounds like a dream). Every time it seems that they get a little bit of money to put in their savings jar, a hammer swings in to break it open so that they can fix their car, or pay a hospital bill and I couldn’t help but say to myself “oh, I feel your frustration Mr. Fredrickson, that is the story of my life.” I feel like every time I am blessed with excess money, there is some type of universal law that insists that something has to happen to take it all away and prevent me from ever getting ahead.

There have been so many times in my life that I’ve found myself living in a permanent state of doomsday. I get dressed wishing that I had something better to wear so that I can impress the people at my husband’s mission reunion. I follow all of these cute boutiques on Instagram and Facebook that are always promoting the cutest clothes for my kids and I can’t help but feel bitter that I can’t afford to buy them. I hate having to explain to friends and family that going out to dinner is out of our budget this time. It’s hard watching my husband wake up before the sun and climb in bed long after it’s gone down trying to provide for our family but still feeling like he’s failing at doing so because like it or not money does bring a degree of happiness even though it may not buy it.

It was last week that as my kids were re-watching Up (for I don’t know, the millionth time) and I was folding laundry complaining to myself about needing to buy more detergent because that stuff is EXPENSIVE that I finally saw something that I couldn’t believe I had never seen before. After every hammer slam and hands reaching into the jar for the money that they had saved to accomplish their dreams, they live each day with these wrinkly old smiles on their faces. There is never a scene of them at the fanciest of restaurants but instead, they climb up the same hill over and over for a picnic. There is never a time that you see them shopping for the hundreds of dollars in clothes that I wish I could go and get as I type these words. But rather you find them investing time instead of money.

It’s all too often that I have responded to the stresses that finances cause with tears because if we’re being honest that’s my go to feeling. But for the first time in a long time I’ve seen the value of my life just like the Fredrickson’s and that’s in time, not in my bank account. Ultimately when it comes to financial freedom there are obviously options that will allow you to pay off debt, make more money and spend less on essentials. But if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed because money is tight, or feeling bitter because you wish that you could have everything that you want it’s time that you reset your sights on how you are viewing what it means to be rich. We go to the gym or on a drive for our date nights. Netflix is our jam right now and Cafe Rio is sometimes a little out of our price range but we splurge anyways. Our kids are ripping holes in those Walmart jeans at the park down the street and my in-laws, who remember live upstairs, are watching my children grow from the very front row.

There are so many things that I could complain about but friends, even though I could broadcast my bank account to the world and they might not agree with me, I’m the richest woman I know. My children, my husband, my family, hot dogs on the BBQ with some good old fashion Kraft Mac and Cheese, my parents, siblings, friends and the occasional Swig Cookie. (PS they’re under $2.00 and DE-LISH!) Those are the things that make me filthy freaking rich. If you’re feeling like the world is caving in on you and that you will always be a slave to money, don’t you think it’s time to re-evaluate? I can promise you that while cold hard cash will offer you peace of mind and relief, it’s not what really truly makes you wealthy.

Also, in case you haven’t seen UP check out the snippet below! It’s the cutest thing ever!

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To the Mom Who Doesn’t Have Much Time Left

I swear the last 24 hours were some of the scariest of my life. The doctor told me to come into the office because of some of my symptoms and when I was crazy enough to look on the internet for what it could be I did not like what I saw. I over exaggerated the situation in my head. Soon the possibilities engulfed my mind until I couldn’t think about anything else. I was terrified and was sure that I didn’t have very long to live. Silly I know and for those on the outside looking in I probably seemed like nothing short of a crazy person, but seriously I was convinced I was dying.

Waiting for the scheduled appointment seemed like years rather than a day. Time ticked by slower and slower. To pass time I took my boys to the Zoo, it’s one of our favorite places. I watched my boys run carefree and wondered over and over what would happen to them if something really did happen to me. My mind was all kinds of doomsday when all of the sudden something changed. I started reflecting on the past couple of weeks and remembering all of the times that I should have been more patient. I remembered the look on my 4 years old son’s face when I yelled at him for continuously asking me to play with him when I didn’t want to. I thought about walking into my baby’s room at 3 in the morning, tired and sick of him crying. I thought about how harshly I laid him back down and walked away. I knew that I wasn’t expected to be a perfect mom and that sometimes it’s okay to not want to play with my kids or be frustrated by the crying but in this moment I couldn’t help but wish that I can done things differently.

On the drive home my oldest son was rambling about all of the usual things. He talked about Pokemon, told me the difference between hawks and falcons and asked if someday I would take him to see a really honey badger. I listened intently and was amazed and how much he knew. I looked into my rear view mirror and saw a boy that is about to go into kindergarten instead of the baby that I had always seen. He was growing up and I had never taken a second to stop and notice.

My baby is needy.Overly needy. He needs to be held, played with and distracted at all times. He won’t even hold his own drink still and he’s 18 months. It’s been the bane of my existence for the last few months but this day I found myself wishing he would stop playing with his brother so that I could cuddle him. When he did find me and reached those little arms up, instead of anger or annoyance I felt a sense of purpose. Slugterra, which apparently is the cool show for boys these days didn’t sound so mind numbing in the background. The noise that I often times can’t seem to escape was calming for my soul because it was my life that I was hearing.

I watched my baby in his crib longer than normal as I laid him down because I wasn’t sure if I would always get to have that view. I laid in my bed and scrolled through pictures in my phone of my family and was so grateful that in those moments I had the right of mind to take them and I found myself wishing I would have taken more. My husband came home and the feeling of love and the desire to take care of him and make him happy was overwhelming. I hugged him and held on longer instead of giving the quick hug and returning to my laundry. I laid in bed watching him do his homework and thought about just how hard he works. I wished that I would have been better at telling him how grateful I was and how much I appreciated what he did for our family. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

Needless to say I’m blessed that there isn’t anything wrong with me that can’t be fixed. My heart breaks when I realize that there are those sweet moms out there that have had an end date placed on their life but the reality is that while some might be blessed with more time, it isn’t much time. Every day our children are a little bit older. Each passing hour they learn a little bit more. They are human with real frustrations and feelings that may not seem important to us but to their little minds it is.  Their tears are sadness, pain and frustration just like ours. Sick or not, that view, the one of my child sleeping, it isn’t going to last forever. Someday my children will be grown and I’ll miss the sound of their tiny footsteps coming down the hall. The silence will need to be filled with the TV even if I’m not really watching it.

I don’t want my children to stay little forever because each day that they grow is another day that they get to live and learn and love. But now that I’ve self diagnosed myself and created and overwhelming sense of fear that I might not see those days, I’ve held my children tighter. I’ve kissed my husband longer.I have the desire to do exhausting things with my children that they will look back and remember. I’ve decided that someday my time might be cut short and I don’t want to feel like I did this time. I don’t want to regret as much or wish I had done things differently. Am I going to lose my temper? Absolutely. Am I going to go for a run and then come home and binge eat the left over cake in the fridge? Yes. Probably tomorrow. Am I going to be frustrated with my spouse? Often. But maybe with the knowledge that this life is a short one, regardless of whether it ends at 24 or 105 I can decide to yell less and hug more. I can choose to be happily married instead of being right. I can want to be anxiously engaged or to not be involved. So while the days might seem long and the weeks might seem endless I don’t have much time left and neither do you. We might as well fill it with love, forgiveness, happiness, laughter and more. So stop reading and go kiss someone you love. Now.

to the mom

Hello to my Future

It wasn’t long after my divorce that my counselor requested that I do an exercise that at the time I thought was silly. She explained that as time goes on people change, desires change, expectations change and love changes. She knew better than anyone that I had no desire of ever getting remarried, but she still challenged me to write a letter to the person that I would find in my future that would change my mind. I put the letter off for a long time because it seemed silly and so unnecessary. I wasn’t married, I had no desire to get married and I never thought that I would find a man that would understand me or want my baggage. Making a list of desirable qualities in a companion was going to get me nowhere as I didn’t believe in checklists for love.

After multiple visits and her persistence I decided to appease her and write a letter to the man that was apparently going to swoop in and sweep me off of my feet. The challenge literally changed my life. I found so many parts of me that had become so broken that they were hidden very deep down. I found desires and dreams for my future that seemed so impossible that I didn’t dare to chase them for fear of finding disappointment instead. I had instead of making a list of qualities that I wanted in someone, poured my soul out to someone that I didn’t know I would ever find. The girl that was never getting married again finally found a little bit of hope that someday I would have that relationship that I had drafted on paper. The relationship that my heart wanted more than anything regardless of what I told other people.

The other blessing that this letter provided for me was the clarity of what I really expected from a relationship and the aspects of a marriage that had once made me so happy. It really helped me open my eyes to the realities that marriage and relationships are never set in stone but require so much work that is more than worth it. It helped me to become a complete individual looking for another complete individual instead of looking for someone to fill in my gaps.

This letter was sealed and was given to my husband shortly before we got married.

So whether you are married, single or it’s complicated I would ABSOLUTELY urge to write this letter. Put on paper what you want in a relationship and what you need as an individual. It doesn’t have to be a list but rather a prequel to a brand new relationship or a fresh kick off to one that might need some dusting off. Relationships are hard, but sometimes when you put it all out on paper in such a vulnerable way, it doesn’t seem so complicated. Here’s mine, it went a little something like this.

Hello,

If you are reading this, you have decided that you are crazy enough to be stuck with me forever because this time, forever really means forever. A while back from this moment I decided that I wanted to write a letter to whoever the person would be that would take a chance on me and Jax because I wanted to clarify for myself what I wanted, then you came along and here we are. About 8 months ago from writing this, I was married, had a beautiful 1 and a half year old little boy, was living in my own home, had a good job, and was very very happy until my world came crashing down. After that I told myself that I was strong, didn’t need a man, was going to take care of my family alone, and that I would be wise to never trust anyone but myself.

By now I’m hoping that I’ve learned to trust and love without limits in a way that you deserve. Love is a strange thing right? That feeling that gives you butterflies and sweaty palms, makes it so that you can’t think clearly, brings you more joy than you can imagine and also makes you more afraid than you’ve ever been. I’ve always said that the hardest part about being in love is that in order to TRULY love someone, you have to take down all of your walls completely, leaving you ungaurded and defenseless to anything and everything that might hurt you. But the most beautiful thing about love is that you are trusting someone enough not to. I suppose, seeing as how you are reading a letter that has been sealed in an envelope for some time now, you are the person that I’ve decided to trust with the side of me that has been so guarded for so long. If there is anything that I’ve learned from my past it’s that I’m not sure that I believe in fate, or soul mates. I believe that every day you wake up and you decide what you want in life, and then you search for it and fight to keep it. Relationships are hard, marriage is hard, parenting is hard but when you love someone you do hard things together.

I used to think that the phrase “I could never live without you” was romantic, but now I find it sad. The truth is that after the experiences that life has handed me, I know that I can live on my own but hopefully you find it just as romantic as I do when I tell you that I don’t WANT to live without you. Saying that I never could would suggest that whether I wanted to be with you or not I would stay, even if it wasn’t right. A very wise woman once told me that marriage isn’t two people that MAKE each other happy, it’s two happy people that are enjoying their journey together. The journey that we are about to take is going to be long. It’s not going to be easy and there are going to be countless nights and days that we spend stressed or upset. BUT if we can love each other through those moments, the ones that make you want to hide from the world, you get the reward of living through the good ones. The moments that melt your heart, the moments that the sun can’t possibly shine brighter than you. The moments that your cheeks hurt because your smile is so big. The moments that you realize who you are and what you want. You get to live in the moments when time stands completely still because you can’t take your eyes off of all that is in front of you.

So here we go huh? Riding into the sunset. Here is to living a life that is full. Full of Law and Order SVU re-runs. Full of countless trips to the zoo. Full of half-baked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and brownies. Full of doing the dishes turned water fight. Here is to the late night junk food runs and the nights we can’t keep our hands off of each other. Here’s to the joint workouts and complaining about the pain together just to do it again the next day. Here goes to have to split the DVR so that we can watch our own stuff. Having to fight for your side of the bed at night. Road trips full of loud music and gas station snacks. Dance parties with our kids singing into hair brushes and spoons. Camping, fishing, hiking, looking at the stars, knowing that wherever we are, we are looking at the same moon at night. Tickle wars and TV dinners because heaven knows I’m not that great of a cook. I’m looking forward to growing old ya know? It seems that once you start to grow older your spirit becomes more and more free. I can’t wait to share a seat next to you on our porch swing holding hands and reading a good book looking back and realizing that we made it, together.

This time around I’m doing this the right way. I’m falling so far in love that my knees shake when you kiss my forehead and I want to run to you when I see you because walking doesn’t get me there fast enough. I want a kiss every morning and every night. I want you to know how make a mean smoothie, sing the wrong lyrics to your favorite songs, pull me in and kiss me while I’m yelling at you for leaving your laundry on the floor. I want our children to love Christ and know that their Savior loves them because their mommy and daddy reinforce it every day. I’m ready for you to teach me how to not worry about the little things and help me through the big things. I’m excited to share my life with someone that will love me through the good times because they’re good and through the bad times because we’re fighting for the good ones.

I’m sure by now you know that I have little to no self control when it comes to sweets. I’m grouchy in the mornings and am the pickiest eater you will ever meet even though I say I’m not. I love watching Desperate Housewives in my sweats and you will probably never be able to clean things the way that I like them cleaned. When I’m driving we listen to the music that I want to listen to and when you’re driving it’s probably the same. I tend to complain about pain more than is probably necessary and can be a tad bit judgmental because I always think it’s going to make me feel better about myself and it never does. I can’t hold still long enough to sit through a movie in the movie theater and cuddling with me can be a nightmare because I move entirely to much. But at the end of the day I love harder than a lot of people I know, and I find myself making my sole purpose in life the happiness of my family. I am spontaneous, I play hard and I’m all about fixing what has been broken, even when what is broken is me. I’m ready for the ride of my life and I hope that you are too. I love you, more than I think you will ever know, because you saved us, when it wasn’t your responsibility to do so. When I look at you, I know I’ve truly found love this time.

Love, Chelsie

More than it was helpful for me when I wrote it, this letter has been such a blessing to me since and let me tell you why. I’ve read and re-read this letter and it’s a constant reminder to me that just because we have kids doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still be spontaneous. It helps me remember that no matter how tired I am it’s still important to have water fights while doing the dishes and that it’s okay for the kids to see us kissing in the kitchen. It’s a reminder that before our day to day life became busy and sometimes monotonous that these were the things that were important to me and that I need to make sure to continue doing them to keep our marriage from becoming old or boring.

It is a reminder that once there was a lack of love in my life and that there was so much of me that so desperately wanted it. I wanted to be loved and feel needed then and now that I am it’s important to do the things that are going to make sure that it lasts forever.

The dark side of being Mom.

I was a vibrant person. I was free. I worked out every day, I shopped for new clothes frequently. I treated myself to lunch and dinner dates with my friends, took naps when I was tired. I loved cuddling up and watching Law and Order SVU while painting my toenails and eating peanut butter cups. I was the weirdo that loved opening up my windows in the spring, turning on the radio and cleaning my house so that I could put up all of the crafts and decorations that I had made in my spare time. Car rides were great because I was always the person rocking out a little too much with my music blaring and my sunroof open, drink of choice in the cup holder. I like to think that I was one of those people that others wanted to be around. I knew who I was. I knew what was important to me and what I stood for. I felt like I had a purpose and was accomplishing things as the days went by. I was the person that wanted to stay up late watching movies and go to Sonic to get a slushy at 1:00 AM. I was so carefree at that time and I felt so much happiness in my day to day living.

After getting married my eyes were always locked on those super cute baby bumps that I saw while out and about. I was always watching the moms talking to their babies while they were at the grocery store like they could understand them. I loved holding babies. Their smell was the best and those little toes were absolutely irresistible. We waited as long as I felt like I possibly could and then we started trying to make a little family a reality for ourselves. Soon I was pregnant. I was the one with the baby bump that strangers were always touching and seeing as how I was already a bad sleeper, (you can only imagine how I was sleeping now). But, nonetheless, I was going to be a mommy! I kept imagining this sense of purpose that I had always been so excited to feel! How perfect would it be knowing that those children needed me in a way that no one else ever would? I wish I would have known that I was about to take on the world’s most thankless job in the world. I wish someone would have told me that instead of improving my sense of purpose, it was possible that being a mom might actually make purpose more of a distant memory.

Our baby came home and things were so different. Getting into the swing of things was a little harder than I expected it to be but soon we had a routine and things were going great. A few short months had passed when I started feeling consistently down. I was always asking myself why when I was supposed to be on cloud 9 I was struggling to crawl out of bed in the morning. I was confused about why I couldn’t look at my child without feeling resentful when he was the most beautiful gift I could have ever been given. The brightness that I had expected to come from being a mom was a little darker than I had imagined it would be. I wasn’t enjoying things the way that other moms told me that I should and the guilt was overwhelming.

I soon became resentful of my husband. Can you believe that? My extremely busy, never has a second to himself husband was soon the target of my imaginary laser beam eyes. I was so jealous that he got to leave the house every day. That he got to go and have lunch with his co-workers. He got to talk with other adults and socialize. His day to day varied in ways that I could have only dreamed that mine would. I felt trapped in every way. Having two kids now my days never changed from the same old schedule. I woke up in the morning to a screaming baby and a hungry 4-year-old. We ate breakfast I cleaned the dishes, I cleaned the house, I did the laundry, I did more dishes, I fed them lunch, I made dinner, I cleaned some more, I did more laundry, I mediated fights, I fed them dinner, I did more dishes, I put them in the shower, I attempted to read them a book, I mediated more arguments, I put them to bed, did some last minute cleaning and then with every ounce of energy I had left I crawled into bed so that the next day I could repeat myself.

I felt my vibrancy leave me. I wasn’t the ray of sunshine that I was always so proud of being. There were so many days that I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I showered, or since I had actually taken time to put on my makeup. The gym which was once my place of solace soon became somewhere that I drove by on my way to the grocery store dreading my shopping trip. My nights of painting my nails and watching something that wasn’t animated were over because I just didn’t have the energy to do it by the time the opportunity presented itself.

What was my purpose? Was it really my job in life to follow these little humans around picking up the same toys day in and day out forever? Was my purpose really to make sure that they got showered and fed while I was going on three days without a shower and I hadn’t eaten all day because I was busy? I continued to push these thoughts to the back of my mind convincing myself that I was selfish for feeling this way, but one day the thoughts that I had been ignoring consumed me. I could hear my children saying that they were hungry but the energy that it required to feed them seemed a million miles away. I looked around my house at the bins of laundry that needed to be done and searched for at least a piece of the floor that was visible through the mess and I broke down.

I don’t think that it’s necessary to tell you about my fight or the day to day that comes with the baby blues or postpartum depression. What I do think is necessary is to explain that you are important. That this role that you’ve taken on as mom is important. I know that sometimes it’s hard to convince yourself to get out of bed in the morning because facing your day makes you feel like your going to implode. I know how it feels to hide in the bathroom, not just to get a second to yourself, but because your thoughts scare you. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve lost who you are and what is important to you as an individual to the title of being mom. I know the guilt that you feel for feeling this way. I know that you feel selfish and that sometimes that makes it worse. I know that you either eat your feelings or you don’t eat at all. I understand and I want you to know that you are not alone.

I wish that someone would have told me about the dark parts of being mom. I wish that there would have been someone that sat me down and explained that sometimes you lose yourself in what is required of you. Sometimes it’s not even postpartum that gets you but rather the loss of time that you get to spend alone. The lack of money that you have to buy yourself a treat for your hard work. Sometimes it’s sleepless nights, the endless days, the 6 lunches that you tried to feed your kids that all went to waste. It’s the time you lose with your spouse, it’s the time that you can’t go out with the girls. I wish that these beautiful angels would have come with a disclaimer and a warning that things could and would get a little bit more tough than I think I was ready for.

But here is the rainbow to this doomy gloomy post, there is help for the now and it does come to an end because those little ones will soon be grown. The person that you felt like you used to be is still the person that you are but maybe in different ways. My children aren’t new babies anymore and while I may feel like I’m beyond that darker time in my life for now these are the things that I found saved me from being completely consumed.

1. Know that you are more than just mom. Those little ones depend on you for everything I know, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that you are an individual with needs and feelings and passions. Those things require to be explored otherwise you find yourself feeling empty inside. You work hard. Harder than anyone that you’ll ever meet and you deserve to be rewarded for that. Ask a neighbor or a friend to watch your kids for an hour and ABUSE THAT HOUR! Go to the gym, take a drive, get your nails done, get a massage, sit in your car and rock out to your favorite throwback music. Do whatever it takes to continuously remind yourself of who you are and what you love.

2. Exercise and Eat Healthy. There is so much stress that can build up inside of you that desperately needs to find a way out. It’s like a disease and it will continue to spread until it’s under control. Whether you choose to do yoga, run, stretch, lift weights or take your kids for a long walk, get out and get moving. Eating healthy is hard. There you go, I said it. It’s hard and it sucks. However, you will find that what you put into your body will play a large part in the energy levels that you carry throughout the day as well as how you feel.

3. Watch your children sleep for 5 minutes. That’s it. After they fall asleep, which I know sometimes is the best part of the day that you just had, just watch them. There is something about your sleeping child that tends to help you remember just how beautiful they are. You get 5 quiet minutes where they can’t interrupt your thoughts to remind yourself that they are only children. I always found myself getting lost in the memories of them as they’ve grown. Don’t take more than 5 because remember, you need your time. I can promise that if you’ll take those short minutes, you will feel a refreshed love and appreciation for your sweet babies.

4. See a doctor. I am not one that will immediately tell someone to run to a doctor because I always feel that there are other ways and means to resolve feelings and thoughts. However, there are a lot of times when seeing a doctor will allow you to start winning the war that is raging inside of you. Life was never meant to be miserable forever. There are moments in your life that are waiting to be enjoyed. If you feel that your thoughts are scary and beyond your control or that you can’t find joy in your day to day, please seek the help that I can promise you from experience will open your eyes to the joys this life has to offer.

Remember that you are important and that while being mom is the most amazing gift you could ever have asked to be blessed with, there is more to you than this special title. There is a vibrant, beautiful, smart person under the stresses that you feel. So yes, while I am the mom of 2 beautiful boys and the wife of one amazing husband and the maid, and the accountant and the personal shopper and the personal banker and the doctor and the chef and the therapist and the taxi driver and so much more, I am still Chelsie, and I don’t deserve to be forgotten.

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He Didn’t Choose Me, He Chose Us.

I met my husband on a dating app. I know, it seems crazy but I was totally digging his 12 pack. That’s so superficial but I couldn’t help myself. His first question was also about what my favorite ice cream was and who wouldn’t be sucked in by someone that loves ice cream enough to make it his first point of conversation? It was the 24th of July when he asked me to breakfast, but it wasn’t just me he was meeting.

Let’s back up a little bit. I was a single mom at the time with a little man. He had just turned 2 and you know what they say about those 2’s. I had been dating for a little while and I was always upfront about my life and my son. I never wanted anyone to get caught off guard or feel like I tricked them. Raising a child is scary and I think that sometimes that can be the problem with single parents. All to often we find ourselves offended when people choose to opt out of a relationship because we have children and they aren’t ready for that level of commitment. The truth is that it’s about as fair to expect those that you date to want to become an instant parent as it is for them to expect you to give up your child to be with them. I lost a lot of relationships. It wasn’t necessarily me that men weren’t looking for but rather my situation that they weren’t interested in. I had decided to stop dating for a little while when I went on my last first date accompanied by my mini me.

We met at the Black Bear Diner. If you haven’t been there, stop reading and go now. Assuming that you’ve already been or that my enthralling love story has you hooked and you are still currently reading can I just tell you that I was nervous?? Like, butterfly stomach and sweaty armpit marks kind of nervous. I was busy trying to convince my son not to close the sunroof while his head was sticking out of it when the world entered slow motion. Go ahead, laugh, it’s cheesy, but guys….he was seriously attractive. I’m sure I stuttered when I introduced myself and who knew if this was going anywhere, but I was excited to find out if it was!

My son tried to sabotage me. I know he did. He spent the entire time screaming to open one of those jelly packs that they have on the table. My date was dodging silverware and picking things up off of the floor in between what seemed like every breath he took. Little man didn’t eat his breakfast, which I’m sure my date was super thrilled about since he paid for it. We cut the breakfast short to go to the park where my poor date was ordered around by this tiny human to push him on the swing, sit down on the see-saw and go down the very small slides, made for very small people. Let’s just say it was a tight squeeze for him.

I never expected a call after that date ended and while I was sad I just told myself that I didn’t want someone around that didn’t want my son too. We were a package deal. I guess since I’ve already told you the spoiler, you now know that he called. During the time that we were dating I was usually always on cloud nine but I had to wonder if he really was too. You see, dating me was different than dating other girls.It was complicated and required a lot of planning in advance. I couldn’t go out to the 10:45 PM showing of World War Z because I had a son that would be sleeping by then, hopefully. I wasn’t the girl that could pick up and take that last minute trip to Moab because traveling with a little one was much more difficult then going alone. Staying out late to go bowling with the sweet music and disco lights wasn’t an option because it doesn’t ever start until 10 PM. I started to wonder if I was taking his life away from him. Was it fair that just because we clicked that he had to give up all of benefits that the single life has to offer? No, it wasn’t. I decided to bring up my concerns.

“So, babe? I was thinking, are you sure that you want to do this? I mean, be with me? There are so many girls out there and while I really care about you, I just don’t want to take away your freed….”
I was cut off. He quickly responded by saying, “We are not breaking up, what would you like for dinner tonight?”
With no rebuttal I gratefully excepted that someone loved me. That they openly understood, or at least thought they understood the circumstances they were entering into and they still wanted to stay. That was something that I wasn’t used to.

We’re now married and OUR son is 4 and 1/2. We also had a honeymoon baby, woohoo for that, and he is 1 year old. They are both growing so fast and life has been nothing but eventful for the good and the bad. Sometimes our oldest yells at my husband, we lose hours of sleep to him constantly waking us up because he’s sleep walking and yes, it takes us an hour sometimes to convince him to eat his dinner. Do I get nervous that the hard times are just going to keep on coming as he gets older? Do I worry about the time that he first says “You’re not my dad!”? The answer is a nice resounding yes. But you wanna know what makes me feel better? He chose US. He chose to read books to our little every night instead of watching late night movies with his friends. He chose sleepless nights, he maybe just didn’t know how many there would be. He chose a little bit tighter budget. He chose to have less wiggle room to travel and less 1:00 AM trips to IHOP for pancakes. He chose to have a little less alone time and a little more family time. He chose the good and the bad. He chose the difficult and the easy.

When you get pregnant you do so without knowing what little quirks will come with your baby and you have to wait and see what attitude they bring to earth with them. You love your child, and because they are forever yours you learn to work with and around those little parts of them that may make things difficult but also make them who they are. In our situation, my husband knew that my babe was stubborn. He knew that he cried over the idea that he may have stepped on an ant and killed it and just about everything else. He had a heads up that he was a picky eater and that he had a hard time listening, but he still decided that he wanted us.

People ask us all of the time what it’s like to be in a mixed family and we have the same answer for everyone. We aren’t a step family. We are just a family. We have all of the problems that you would expect any family to have but we also have more love than I ever could have imagined. Will the problems of having 4 parents raising 1 child arise? I’m sure they will, but we’ve chosen to make peace and our child’s happiness our number one priority. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the importance of our sons birth Father in his life but we choose not to use the terms REAL father and STEP father. How much would we be discounting the numerous thoughts and prayers that went into his choice of becoming an instant parent if we chose to except that he wasn’t the REAL father?

For those that have a healthy relationship with a step parent whether you are married to them or parented by them you know what I mean when I say that there is no greater love. There are no words for the love that I see radiating from my husband when OUR son scores a goal in soccer. I couldn’t possibly explain what happens inside of me when I see them rocking out to the Pokemon theme song, or fighting bad guys. OUR son needed someone that would play in the dirt, pick up bugs, talk about superheros and laugh at the unexpected burp with him. He needed him just as much as I did and how blessed we are that he decided that we were his and he was ours.

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