How becoming a mama has made me feel beautiful.

My kids have shown me to see the beauty within myself.

My transition to mamahood hasn’t been an easy or smooth one but it has given me so much in terms of personal growth.  Mamahood has changed my life in many ways. It has especially made me unapologetic of myself – flaws, quirks, and all.

I was one of those awkward girls growing up.  It seemed to be especially apparent during middle school and high school.  I know a lot of people say this, but I really didn’t feel that I fit in. Thanks to genes I was skinny, very light skinned compared to my peers, and shy.  Add being mixed race in a community where there were a handful of us – it made me feel self conscious.  I didn’t look like anyone else and people made sure to point it out.  When I would receive compliments, I would just have a blank stare or laugh it off.  I never saw myself as beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, or anything closely related.  Probably the hardest things for me was trying to navigate through life and accepting the person I was – quirks, strengths, looks, etc.  Even writing this post has taken some time to be able to verbalize my thoughts.  It’s been sitting in my drafts for almost a month.

Becoming a mother changed that for me.  It was no longer about myself or worrying about how I looked.   It was about this tiny and fragile human that was delicately handed to me.  I see pieces of me in each of my children.  The same pair of lips and skin on my first and the same large eyes and smile in my second.  I see the silly sense of humor I have budding with my first.  Then there is the determination I have that I’m beginning to see with my second.

Tee from: parentees.co
Tee from: parentees.co

 

I’ve had my ups and downs with accepting myself.  The one thing that has been constant through out all of this is God’s presence.  I would find myself feeling so low but managing to pull myself out of it once I poured my heart and thoughts to the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

Placing that trust in Him, with all my heart, has given me the blessing of my beautiful kids.  Being blessed with both my children has only intensified that faith that I have.  Time and time again He has given me tests to show me my worth, my own beauty, the beauty that he has given me.  My children have been able to open my eyes and extend this further. They have shown me that they love me and see the beauty in me.  This is regardless of what I’m going through, what I’m trying to over come, or how I may see myself sometimes.  My children have pushed me – with God’s help.   There will no longer be apologies regarding who I am.  I am moving towards accepting my flaws, embracing what makes me unique, and starting to look at myself as beautiful – as God has made me.

 

Life Lessons I’ve learned in Mamahood (so far).

I haven’t been in a Mama for too long but having two kids fairly close in age has been a real learning experience for me.  So far it has been crazy, humbling, and empowering all at once.  I know I have a lot more to learn and many of this has been said before but they’ve been replaying in my head more often as of late:

You have no one to impress.
With my first, I always felt like my every Mama-move was being watched. It isn’t a competition over who gets to milestones first.  For me, it’s about how can I keep nurturing my child for his benefit.  It’s also about understanding that children are individuals that learn at their own pace and time.  I’ve learned to go with the flow with certain things. Not necessarily give my son full reins in this parent-child relationship but listen and watch him for cues on how to communicate and connect with him.  My focus is my children and not impressing anyone.

Taking a stand is important.
Everyone seems to have the “right way” to swaddle a baby, hold a baby, feed a baby, etc.  Not to say that some of the advice offered doesn’t work but it’s all about taking it under consideration.  It’s one thing to have advice offered and another to be told how you should parent.  I’ve learned to take a stand for what I feel is best for my child.  This has made me appreciate everyone’s motherhood/parenthood journey.  Everyone has something that works for their child.  It may not work for you but that’s okay.  Just because someone insists on a particualr technique does not mean you have to so it.  In this sense, becoming a mama has made me some what of a stronger person.  I know my babies well, and so far have had pretty darn good intuition on what works and won’t for them.

Everyone is going through their OWN mamahood journey.
I think it becomes easy to judge a Mama with the kid having a meltdown at the store.  I’ve had my fair share of meltdown moments already with my toddler at the store.  I have had a mixture of the frowning Mamas to the nod of sympathy.  Everyone’s mamahood journey is different and while it is easy to make assumptions, it’s better to lend an understanding hand.  It’s hard to say what exactly a Mama is going through that very moment a publicized meltdown occurs.  They could have had a teething baby that didn’t sleep the night before,  a partner that is deployed, dealing with PPD, or a combination of so many other things.  Honestly, who has not experienced their child have a meltdown at least once at the store or other public area?

Asking for help is more than okay.
Sometimes you can’t do it all.  As someone that was so accustomed to doing things on her own and in her own terms, this was a large humbling pill to swallow once I became a mama.  This was something I really has to accept during my last pregnancy when complications occurred.  Mamahood can be very lonely, especially when it’s your first child, being surrounded by supportive people often helps. Asking for help does not make you less of a person and there will be people more than happy to help.  It will be a testament to how many people not only love your child dearly but you as well.

Whatever is going on, it will pass.
I’ve had too many nights where for whatever reason one of the kids does not want to sleep.  Nap time seems non-existent, everything I do doesn’t seem to help stop the baby from crying, or sometimes the only way I can get my toddler to do anything is talk like a pirate (the entire freakin’ day).  It’s hard to remember, during the moments of pure exhaustion or helplessness, but it will pass.  Sure you’ll have a new set of things to worry over or become exhausted from but it usually leads to some pretty great moments.  Currently, we have a teething baby and it’s leading to some pretty exhausting days and sleepless nice.  I’m reminding myself that a smile with some cute little baby teeth will be approaching.

Forgiveness is needed and more than once.
Sometimes you just mess up. You forget to buy baby wipes and diapers. You didn’t wash any of the bottles. An extra change of clothes was not packed in the diaper bag.  You spilled 6 oz. of breastmilk you just pumped. Okay, maybe the last one is a little hard to forgive yourself for but things happen. It isn’t always a perfect motherhood journey. You end up googling things and scaring yourself. Doubts creep into your thoughts and can leave you questioning everything.  The thing is, your baby loves you no matter what.  That smile they give you once they see you tells you everything you need to know.  You’re doing a good job and they love you dearly.  Be gentle with yourself because honestly you are doing the best you can.

Unplug and detach.
Sometimes you don’t need to have your phone or camera ready to document things.  Not everything needs to be shared on social media. There are certain things that seem so much sweeter when in the moment.  It’s a nod to being more present and less attached to devices.  As much as I love documenting a lot of moments with photos and videos, the times I remember most and always seem to look back on are ones where my phone or camera is not in my hand.

I’m sure I’m going to add to this list sooner rather than later.  It’s a nice reminder for myself as I type this all out.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far in mamahood or parenthood?

A Mama, yes, but so much more. 

enjoymamahood.com
I'm still trying to get a handle on being a mother, a wife, and striving to be a stronger woman for myself.
I see glimpses of that strong and successful woman.

 

I feel like I’m in a strange point in my life. I’m trying to transition to a career that is completely new. I’m trying to figure out how to be a Mama to two children. Trying to be a good spouse is thrown in there. I’m also trying to find some inspiration to get back into art.

Before the babies, I would pour myself into books and finish through them quickly.  I would be able to draw or paint when I felt like it.  Going out for a quick bite to eat was not a process that consisted of wrangling children to get dressed and my hair half done.  Food was enjoyed and not quickly inhaled to ensure a toddler wasn’t wandering around a restaurant or grabbing everything breakable.  Sleep?  Well there was definitely much more of that.

I feel that I have done my best to take on new roles in mamahood, as a wife, and as a working mama.  I have been doing my best to intertwine all three but forgot about doing things for myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my role as a mama and as a wife.

Despite what I’m going through, I love being a Mama.  My husband and I have our ups and downs but we’ve tackled so much so far in marriage.  It’s definitely been a journey but there have been a lot of moments of happiness and laughter.

The working mama, well I’m still adjusting to that.  I’m in that group of mamas that really want it all career wise but in the comfort of her home to be with her babies.  Right now I’m doing my best to just enjoy my leave from work.

I think it’s wrong to consider mamahood as just revolving around kids.  I’m beginning to see that it encompasses so much more.  As mothers we of course put our family first and ourselves last.  I always thought that being a Mama meant just that – family first.  Being able to allow myself, yes allow myself, to have time for myself is something I’m struggling with.

I believe I’m slowly moving towards the woman I want to become.  I know that woman that is strong and beautiful in her own way is in there, I see glimpses of it from time to time. A woman who is a mother that not only loves her children fiercely but encourages them to grow.  A wife that continues to communicate, have fun with, and grow with her husband.  A woman that learns to balance time for herself because she deserves it too.  A woman that is successful and loves what she does, whether working for a company or building her own business.

So I will continue to squeeze in time for painting or drawing. I will give my boys as many kisses as I can and hug them if I can wrangle them in.  I will keep scribbling down ideas to become my own boss.  I’ll try to remember to not get too frazzled with everything going on but I won’t make any promises.  Most importantly I will continue to keep moving forward to that woman I keep catching glimpses of and learn from this whole process.

Enjoymamahood Journey: PPD

enjoymamahood journey: ppd

My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) has been a very tiring one.  I’m learning that it’s okay to have bad days just as it is okay to have the good days.  Although I’m having my good days, it does not necessarily mean i’m not having an internal struggle with myself.  I’m often reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and that I’m doing pretty good at this motherhood thing.  It may be filled with a lot of yawns due to a sleepless night.  It may also be where I push myself a little harder to get myself and the boys out of the house.  It could also be that I simply was able to get the laundry from the washer into the dryer.

The bad days are still there.  Definitely not as much as before but there.  I am awake, I am functioning, I can get things done.  Often I feel like I’m walking in my own cloud space.  I’m still reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and look at how happy my babies are.  I get so sucked into the fog of my thoughts that I stare off into space.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I doing this motherhood thing right?  Why can’t I be happy?  Why do I feel so down?  “Why?” complies on top of more “Why?”

Late nights and early mornings are much harder for me during this time.  I wake up on my own.  There is no crying baby that needs to be consoled or fed.  There is no crying toddler that had a nightmare.  I wake up and I’m wide awake.  I put on a book on Audible and try to fall back asleep.  Often, I get up and do schoolwork.  Sometimes there is crying.  There is guilt for feeling the way that I do. There is definitely anger within myself for feeling this way.  There is helplessness due to feeling this way.  By the time I am ready to go back to sleep it usually is an hour or so before the babies wake.  I don’t let myself sleep in.  I get up and I take care of them.  I take care of things around the house.  We go run errands.  We go on a walk.  All of this is going on and I am encouraging myself to keep pushing forward.  Encouraging myself that this is just a bad day and I can get through it.  I’m encouraging myself with my boys smiles and their laughs.  I’m willing the cloud above me to just go away.

I don’t know how much of a good job I’m doing with masking this from my family and close friends.  It is tiring and I wish that it was something as simple as willing it to go away instantly.  I know that this is a process.  I know that it won’t be easy.  I know that there are good days and there are bad days.  Some people say it’s hormones and some people say it isn’t a real thing.  It is a real thing.  I not only feel it with every part of my mind and body but I am living it.  I am trying to not only live through it but find a way to live without it.  It’s hard not to feel like people will judge, especially those that you are close with.  Will they think differently of me?  Will they even want to be around me while I’m going through this?

For now I am taking it one step at a time.  One doctor’s appointment at a time.  I’m reminding myself to be present and be mindful.  That I am doing a pretty okay job with my babies.  They are happy, they are healthy, they are hitting milestones, and seem to love me even on my bad days.

What I do know, that even though I feel the way that I do, I am so SO very happy that I have my babies.  They have shown me such a love that makes my chest hurt from happiness.  My babies make it worth every step I’m taking to overcome PPD.

Never Too Close for Comfort

Baby wearing

Disclaimer: The thoughts below are my own.  I was not paid or offered anything in return for writing a review.

Just like with my first, I knew that I wanted to baby wear.  I was not happy with the K’Taan that I used with my first and child number 1 definitely did not enjoy it either.  I spent months researching slings and wraps and had settled for a wrap that I found through Instagram.  As much as I am happy with the Sollybaby wrap I purchased, I wanted something that I could throw on a little quicker.  I also wanted to have a backup to throw in my bag.  The experiences of forgetting the one and only wrap I had with my first child have forever haunted me (store runs without a wrap never turned out well!).

Like the Sollybaby wrap, I stumbled upon My Wild Bird through Instagram.  The My Wild Bird slings are much more affordable than other wraps that I had found.  What essentially drew me in to purchase one was the About section.   Taylor’s explanation was straightforward, honest, and just relatable.  I always find that I am the happiest with products that are in the small shop business.  You just know that there is a lot of hard work, time, and soul put into the product.

For me, especially after going through Postpartum depression with my first, being able to read words that I can relate to is a big thing.  I guess also just knowing that you’re either not alone or crazy in your motherhood research of baby wearing or breastfeeding is completely valid helps! It’s a strange feeling to know that this little human was growing in your belly for months and now you can hold them in your arms.  Being able to wear him is giving me as much comfort as it does for him.  The ability to chase after Child number 1 with ease also helps too!

Am I ready for child # 2?

My husband and I had touched on the subject of how soon we wanted to have another child after our first was born.  It seems like, once you get married, one of the first questions asked is, “When are you planning on having kids?”  Almost immediately after the first, we got asked, “So, baby number 2 now?”

While we were pregnant with our first child we briefly discussed it.  I knew that I wanted to just enjoy THAT moment, the first child.   For our family, we knew that if we could help it, we wanted our children close to age.

Fast forward to now, I can’t help but feel like we’re cheating our son out.   It’s hard not to think: “Did we take him out enough?” or “Are we cheating him out of being an only child?” and “Should we have waited a little longer?”

After the whirlwind of thoughts and self-doubts, it just clicked.

This is a blessing.  Not everyone is able to get pregnant.  Why. Am. I. Complaining?

So does this answer, am I ready for baby number 2?  The answer is no.  However, I wasn’t ready for our first child.  Although he has had a number of bumps and bruises, I think we have done fairly well as parents.  Ultimately, I don’t think any parent can be fully prepared for their first child or subsequent children.  This is where the doubts come to play and start running around in your head like a never-ending song.

I do feel like we can take what we have learned from our first child thus far and use it when our second child arrives.  This second pregnancy is already completely different from the first.  It’s only safe to say our next child may just have a different personality than our first.  I’m nervous still but excited to see what baby number 2 will bring to our family dynamic.