Lessons From Nap Time

I watched you today, sweet boy.
You were fighting your nap on the baby monitor. You were rolling around and rocking back and forth on your hands and knees to practice getting ready to crawl any day now. Your blanket was crumpled up in the corner of your bed. Your stuffed lamb was out of sight, probably on the bedroom floor after you had chucked him out of the crib. You’ve definitely got a future baseball pitcher’s arm.
As I watched you, I was laying on my bed down the hall. Your daddy and I were both tired from the night before so we thought we’d catch a nap at the same time as you and your brother. You big brother was already asleep in his room. But, you had other plans.
You started to cry then.
I looked over at your daddy, who was already drifting off to sleep. As daddy tends to know, he knew I was watching him, looking for an answer to an unasked question. He opened his big brown eyes and said, “Just go get him and bring him in here.”
Bring him in here?
I found the idea peculiar because in our four years of parenting thus far, we had yet to sleep with a child in our bed. Your brother was/is a good sleeper. You didn’t follow in his footsteps in that respect.
As always, your daddy knew just what to say. So, I stumbled down the hall to get you. When I opened the door you smiled your big toothless smile and sat up in your crib. I love how every time I pull you out of it, you make me feel like a prince retrieving the princess from the witch’s tower. Cribs aren’t really that bad are they?
I brought you into our room and handed you to your daddy who greeted you with open arms. I plopped down on my side of the bed as he set you in between us. You looked around the room as if to study it for the first time. You’d been in here plenty of times while helping me fold laundry or resting on the bed with me and our cat after I’d taken you out of the bath tub and dried you off. However, this was different.
I could see it on your beautiful little face. Mom and dad here at the same time. What in the world was going on?
Oh but you didn’t stay put for very long! The novelty of looking back and forth between me and your dad got old real quick, and you were rolling around in the nest we’d created for you with our two bodies resting on each side of the bed while facing you.
You’d touch your dad’s beard and when that got boring you’d roll back to me and try to pull at the design on my t-shirt. All over and in every direction you went. Countless times we had to keep you from getting too close to the edge of the bed. Our little wiggle worm.
Finally, we both tried tucking you into us with your back against our chests to try and get you to sleep. This did not work.
You started to fuss. So, I grabbed your bottle off of my dresser and held it for you. With my other hand, I caressed your hairline where it meets your face. You looked into my eyes as I did this, brown eyes meeting blue. We repeated this process until ever so slowly I saw your eyes starting to get heavy. Your dad looked at me and gently closed his own eyes.
You were both soon sleeping.
Not me though. I watched you as your breathing started to get heavy. I held my breath as you spit out the bottle and rolled towards your dad. He opened his eyes briefly to rest his hand across your midsection. You were still asleep.
You both slept. As your dad started to gently snore I shifted my gaze towards you because if you had any part of me in your DNA, this would wake you as it often does me at night. I love your daddy, but he snores – a lot. You did wake slightly. So, I was there to run my finger through your hair again, and out you went again.
The two of you slept for an hour. I rested on the bed, being as still as humanly possible as not to wake either of you. I should have slept. I was tired from the night before after all. But, I opted to watch you instead, my sweet, second born son – with perfect skin and eyelashes for days. You had frogged your legs and one of your little chubby hands was laced through the afghan blanket we had carted with us from your room. The other rested comfortably on our king sized bed.
Your daddy was fast asleep by now as well. You were both facing me so I found it almost impossible not to look back and forth at you both. The similarities in your features still amazes, as you are his little twin. I could almost see into the future as to what you may look like someday. I wonder if your hair will turn from the strawberry blonde color it is now to your daddy’s dark brown? Will you grow a beard like him? Will your hands be calloused and worn like the ones in which he now rests his head on? Will they bear the scars and reminders of a working man’s hands? I’m sure no matter what you do someday you will resemble your daddy in some way.
As the hour passed and I braved sitting up to look at the alarm next to the bed, I knew you’d both soon wake. Your daddy opened his eyes first. He and I smiled at each other and mouthed words in silence. I whispered for him not to move as not to wake you and he quietly asked me the time. We stared at you, our sleeping angel, and smiled back at one another. This was all new to us, a precious moment in time. Your brother could never hold still long enough to fall asleep in bed with us.
You started to stir, and as your eyes popped open I was the first thing you saw. I told you that it was ok, knowing you were wondering where you were. Then, your signature gummy smile sprawled out across your beautiful face and you tried to sit up. You looked back at your dad, and he kissed your cheek. You were yet again surprised by the fact that you were in bed with the two of us – mom and dad there just for you.
Before long, we were back downstairs getting ready for dinner. Your big brother had woken up shortly after and when I went to get him out of his room I gave him a big hug, knowing that soon you would be his size. He was no longer a baby of course, but just lying there on our bed with you for that hour of nap time, reminded me at just how fleeting time really is in the childhoods of my children. It’ll be over before I know it. But, that afternoon nap was so special to us all. I hope we can do it again sometime, my sweet boy.

* Originally written in fall 2017

5 Mom Phrases I LOVE Using That Drive My Kids Crazy

Here is my first original piece on Perfection Pending by Meredith Ethington…


“Do you remember when you were a child and you would do something or say something to your mom and she’d give you a one sentence reply that either really irritated you or wasn’t the response you were looking for? Mom phrases if you will.
Most of them were old adages passed down from her grandma, to your grandma, to your mom. Sayings that over time slipped off of the tongues of moms everywhere, even if they made no sense they somehow became logical with each passing generation. To the displeasure of kids everywhere these responses would stay in our memories and spoken to our own children now that we are the adults in the situation.”

Read the rest here

My Husband and I Considered Divorce; This is What Kept Us Together

My latest piece on Her View From Home:



“My husband and I have been together 14 years and married for eight. To some that may not seem like a very long time, but to us, it’s a very long time. Like so many other marriages, we’ve been through a lot as a couple. We’ve struggled. We’ve fallen down. We’ve both thought about throwing in the towel many times. Yet, here we are, still married.
The past few years have probably been the hardest on us overall. We suffered two miscarriages in 2015, got hit hard with an autism diagnosis for our older son, struggled financially from the aftermath of us both going back to college as adults, sold a house we spent all of our hard-earned savings on at a loss to get into our dream home, all while welcoming another baby and both secretly battling crippling depression and anxiety. All of the things that we’ve been dealing with over the past few years came to a head in 2017.”

Read the rest here

I’m Not a Hobo, I’m Just a Stay-At-Home Mom


I was once at a playdate with a fellow stay-at-home mom friend and she said, “I make myself shower, get dressed and put on makeup every day just to feel like a human again.” She went on to tell me it was the one way she felt like her old self, the before kids woman she used to be before her life was consumed by breastfeeding and trips back and forth to preschool every day.
She’s a better woman than me.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom five years ago, I used to be the same way. I’d plan my shower and beauty routine around my son’s morning nap. When he woke up, we’d hop in the car and head to town to run some errand or go visit this relative or that friend, just to get out of the house and be a part of society.
Until one day, something changed.
I can’t really say there was an event that changed my desire to make myself “presentable” to the world outside the walls of my home. But, gradually I stopped putting on so much makeup for our outings and I started wearing sweatpants more than jeans.
By the time I had my second baby, I became a minimalist in the getting ready department. I basically took a shower and did all of the other basics to maintain my overall hygiene (brush teeth, pluck eyebrows, etc.) but that was about it. No makeup, no fancy hairdo, and certainly no flashy clothing. When I get out of the shower, I put clean pajamas on. Yes, pajamas. Or yoga pants with one of my husband’s oversized t-shirts. In the winter, I toss on one of my 20 black ski hats (I love hats) and I’m done for the day.
Most days I resemble a hobo or vagrant (a decent smelling one) more than the fashionable gal I once was.
I get my son off the bus like this. I go to the grocery store like this. I go to my son’s school like this. I go to doctor’s appointments like this. You know why? I don’t care enough to get “all dolled up” anymore. Who’s got the time? I mean really?
Do you think my sons’ teachers (who are also moms) give a crap if I have mascara on? Or do you think my dentist minds if I have a full face of foundation on while she’s drilling at a cavity in the depths of my mouth? No, she probably would prefer not to have remnants of my makeup caked onto her medical gloves and white coat from leaning over my face. And guess what? The teenage kid at the grocery store check out has probably seen 50 other moms already this morning, and he probably didn’t notice which mom had her hair blown out as the salon and who barely had time to run a comb through hers.
You know who else doesn’t care if I am wearing my Reba McEntire concert tee, purple leggings and red beanie when he gets home? My husband. He doesn’t care. He loves me regardless of my sense of fashion. I believe the words “I can’t even tell the difference between when you have makeup on and don’t,” have even come out of his mouth once or twice. Reason 6,876 why I love the guy.
My kids don’t care what I look like either. All they care about is if I fulfill their order for more juice and agree to read them another book before bed time. To them, I’m mom—regardless of if I’m dressed up with full makeup for a night on the town with my guy or still in my pajamas at 11 a.m. I’m still mom to them.
There will come a day when I’ll return to the workforce and I’ll have to wear pleated skirts, nice blouses and yes, even makeup. I’ll look on point everyday all day and I will probably care more about those things then. But for now, I don’t mind rocking my sweatpants and being a minimalist in all things glamor. But for now, these are the days I get to be present with my babies in my most sacred space—my home. The days I get to dress how I feel: safe, comfortable and practical. And also in Target, where I also feel at home.

Originally published on Her View From Home

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My Mother-In-Law Saved My Life


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When my husband and I started trying to have our first child, I had dreams of being the best mom in the entire world to our imaginary little bundle of joy. I’d take him or her on play dates, the baby would never cry, and we would just be one big happy family. Or so I thought.
Then, after two-and-a-half years of trying for our highly anticipated, much wanted firstborn baby, I gave birth to the most beautiful little boy I’d ever laid eyes on. He was perfect—six pounds, 15 ounces; 20 inches long; a head full of dark hair with his daddy’s eyes and my nose. I had to have a C-section because he’d stayed breech the entire time, so I only got to see him for a brief moment before he was whisked away to the nursery with his daddy in tow.
From the moment I was wheeled into the room where I’d spend the next few days, things went downhill fast. My nurses weren’t right on top of my pain meds so I felt like a train had hit me because of the debilitating pain from my procedure. I wasn’t able to hold my son very much that first day. Between being sick from the meds, being exhausted, in horrible pain, and visitors coming and going I felt robbed of those first moments with him.
That first night my husband and I got a taste of what our life would be like for the foreseeable future. Our precious, sweet little baby boy started crying and he literally didn’t stop for the next four hours. It continued when we got home and all of the elders in our family diagnosed him with colic. That’s when the crying started. Not from him, but from me. I’d cry for no reason. Sure, my life had changed but this was what I had wanted for so long—to be a mom. The weeks following were filled with no sleep, fights with my husband and a little baby who cried all of the time. All of the time. Only parents who have had a baby with colic, real colic, will understand the hell I am talking about.
I felt hopeless, lost and like a failure as a mom. On top of trying to find a way to calm my ever-crying baby, I was sinking deeper and deeper into a depression like I had never known before. It happened gradually and suddenly at the same time. Within two weeks of my son’s birth I lost 25 pounds. All of my baby weight, 9 months of weight gain to grow that tiny human—gone! Sure, it sounds good to some, but it is not healthy to lose that much weight in that amount of time.
It didn’t take long for those closest to me to realize I was dealing with postpartum depression and a bad case of it.
I struggled to bond with my new son. I didn’t have awful thoughts of harming him that sometimes accompanies postpartum depression, but I honestly wanted nothing to do with him. I knew deep down that I loved him, but my mind and heart could not come together. I had thoughts of suicide or running away and never coming back. It was horrible. It was only compounded by the fact that my son continued to suffer from colic. His pediatrician offered little help other than, “Sometimes these things happen and we aren’t sure why.” My husband’s depression matched mine and our marriage was circling the toilet bowl in what should have been our happiest of times. We were constantly at each other’s throats because of the depression, the colic, the exhaustion and the back seat our marriage had taken since our baby arrived.
That’s when an unlikely angel save my life.
Seeing how much we were struggling with life as new parents, my husband’s mother came to the rescue. She came to stay with us. She got up early every morning to relieve me of the night shift, and sent me up to bed. She did the laundry, made us dinner, fed the baby, and sent my husband and me out for dinner and a movie. It was Valentine’s Day, I remember having no appetite while trying to eat my burger at the restaurant. But, I did appreciate the time out of the house with my husband.
My husband was a full-time college student at the time, so when he left for his classes in the morning I was left at home with the baby and his mom kept me company most days. She and I hadn’t had the best relationship in the past. We were friendly with each other, but had very different views on life and what was best for her son. But, maybe because I had provided her with her highly desired first grandchild, things shifted between us. We bonded over him. She talked to me. She just listened as I vented and told her how I felt. She relayed her own struggles with depression after her own son was born. She understood. She made me feel better about it. But, most of all, she showed me it was OK to ask for help. She showed me patience and grace. She took care of all three of us when we needed it most.
Having her there gave me the time I needed to conquer my postpartum depression and adjust to my new life as a mom. She took some of the burden off of our shoulders. She seemed to know when we wanted her to step in and when we needed the time with the just the three of us. She was rooting for us and helping us.
I know some will say that I was weak and what kind of mother was I to have another woman take care of my baby? But, I was taking care of my baby. I was there, every day, doing everything I could to help him and when he wasn’t with me, he was being taken care of by his daddy or his grandma, who both loved him more than anything else. Unless you’ve suffered the emotional and physical rollercoaster that is PPD or you’ve had to live the nightmare that is a colicky baby I ask you to please understand why I accepted the help.
Eventually, with the help of those around me and my doctor, I came out of the fog that was my depression and became the mom I always knew I would be. My son continued to struggle with colic right up until nine months and was eventually diagnosed with autism. The two may have been linked but there’s no real way of knowing. But, to this day, even when she drives me bonkers by giving my boys too much sugar and giving unsolicited advice, I will say until my dying day that my mother-in-law saved my life. I’m not 100 percent sure if I mean that metaphorically or literally. Probably a bit of both.
It just goes to show you never know where help might come from. You never know when you will need it or really how to ask for it. You may have a hard time accepting it at first, but take that extended hand. When you are drowning, grab hold of that life preserver and hang on for dear life until you are back in safe waters. Mine came from someone I hardly expected, but boy, I’m sure glad it did.

Originally published on Her View From Home

To The Stay-At-Home Mama: Don’t Let Others Define Your Worth

I had a conversation with a relative recently. I won’t get into the details, but he told me that stay-at-home moms don’t deserve a “day off” and that what they do isn’t a “real job”.
I’m a stay-at-home mom. I have been for the past four years. I’m also a person who likes to feel accomplished and satisfied in the work I do everyday. So, it stung to have a member of my extended family basically tell me what I do every day is not worthwhile or even really necessary.
I ended my conversation with said relative at that time so I didn’t say something I’d regret. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve heard such mumbles about being a stay-at-home parent. Oftentimes, the opinions come from people who have never been a stay-at-home mom or dad.
I don’t want to demean working parents, because I’ll be totally honest, my hat is off to you. I don’t know how you do what you do and you have my full respect. No, this is about me and my fellow stay-at-home parents. The ones who have the privilege of being on the front lines of seeing our babies grow up. The ones who are in the thick of it day in and day out. The ones who have to multi-task our families needs with our own feelings of self-worth. The ones who never truly get a day off from our jobs because our jobs are our lives.
I want you, my fellow stay-at-home mama (or dad) to realize you are worth so much more than what others have to say about your “occupation”. Your title as a stay-at home parent doesn’t define who you are deep down inside. It doesn’t define the person who has a life outside of her home and children. It doesn’t describe your education, your passions, your thoughts on life.
Sure, we are in this phase of life when, the majority of the time, our needs come last and personal time is few and far between. We have babies grabbing at our pants, toddlers yelling to us from toilet seats, and we are always on the hunt for whatever possession our older kids have lost this time, not to mention making sure our spouses are happy, supported and taken care of. Heck, even the cat comes first sometimes.
We are the centers of our families, the little engines that keep on ticking all hours of the day and night so the train can keep moving. Because there’s no slowing down, not ever. We all do so much for our children, our homes, and our families that when someone we thought was in our corner demeans what we do every day, it really hurts. It makes us look inward and question everything we have become. It makes us wonder if everything we do every day is worthless, pointless, fruitless?
Well, I’m here to tell you it does matter. It is not for nothing. What you are doing is so important. You may not see it yet, but someday, you will. You will see it on his first day of kindergarten, as he turns to look at you one last time before he walks through the door. You will see it when she takes her first step, and you are there to catch her before she falls on the second try. You will see it when he calls you from work to thank you for remembering to put the fork he forgot in his lunch pail for him.
They will show you. The ones you stay at home for. The ones who rely on you to drive them, feed them, teach them, care for them, and love them. The ones who need you to be at home right now so your little tiny humans can grow under the daily care of one of their parents.
Maybe you stay home because you don’t have a choice. Maybe you stay home to save money on childcare. Or maybe you are laid off and this gig is just temporary. No matter what your situation is, whether you are a stay-at-home mom by choice or circumstance, do not ever let anyone ever make you feel you are not worthy of praise, time to yourself, or acknowledgement.
You are worth so much—more than you know.

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Dear Rainbow Baby, You Saved Me


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Dear Rainbow Baby,
I remember the day I found out you were here. I held my breath as I walked back into the bathroom, after the standard three-minute wait, and gazed at the white stick on the countertop. There were two blue lines and I had never felt so beyond excited and so amazingly scared at one time. You see, rainbow baby, you were very much wanted and needed more than you will ever know. Your momma’s heart had been broken not just once, but two times in the year prior to that test.
Your dad and I both decided not to tell anyone about your existence inside of my belly until after our first doctor’s appointment. So for those first 12 weeks, we bit our tongues and said secret prayers to God that you would stay here indefinitely, that we’d get to meet you on the other side of pregnancy.
With each person we told, I felt like I was giving away chances at your survival. I know that sounds crazy, but to me, letting others know about you was a big risk and putting it out into the world scared the hell out of me. Only a few select people were told about you until we got the results of our genetic testing back.
I’ll never forget the day the doctor called me and told me that everything looked really good and that you were a boy—which totally took me by surprise because I would have bet a large amount of money on you having been a girl.
With each passing month, I continued to pray and hope I would get to meet you. I religiously listened to your heartbeat on the fetal Doppler machine your nana had bought for me nearly two years prior, when I was pregnant with your first angel sibling. Nearly every night, I searched for your heartbeat, and when I found it I swear I would listen to it for over an hour. The beating of your heart was like music to my ears and I didn’t want to stop listening.
As you started to kick and I could feel you move, my worries lightened a little but not much. At every doctor’s appointment I was so scared they would have some kind of bad news to tell me. The anxiety affected my pregnancy and I was not able to enjoy it the way I had with your older brother.
And then, just like that, two days before your scheduled arrival via C-section, my water broke in the doorway of the upstairs backroom and phone calls were made to your daddy at work and both grandmas and we were on our way. You didn’t arrive until six hours later, because I had decided to eat an early dinner that afternoon and we had to wait to deliver you until it was out of my system. However, because of you, I got to feel real labor pains and the chaos of rushing to the hospital to have a baby. It might sound like I’m complaining, but I’m grateful for that now because I never got to experience that with your brother.
At 10:30 P.M. on a cold January night, we heard your seagull-like cry for the first time. Everyone in the operating room giggled at the sound of it. Not two minutes later, your daddy placed you on my bare chest and a huge wave of relief washed over my scared soul and I was in love once again.
I immediately thought how much you looked like your dad and noticed your quiet, calm demeanor.
As I got to know you over the next couple of days in the hospital, I appreciated the fact that you were such an easygoing baby, a stark contrast to your brother as a newborn. I offered up a quick thank you to God for sending me one of these “easy” babies I had heard so much about.
In the months following, as we curled up in the easy chair together in the middle of the night, I fell even more in love. We had our hard days, where we were both crying and tired but it was so much easier this time around as you didn’t have colic like your big brother did.
Today, at nearly a year old, I couldn’t imagine my life without you. I know that in order for you to exist I had to endure the pain of becoming a mom to two angels. Although my heart will always wonder who they would have been and why they could not stay here, I will always be grateful that I have you.
You are the surprise of my life. You are everything my heart wanted and my soul needed. The second I saw you I knew my family was complete. You continue to heal old wounds that have scarred me inside and out.
You are such a happy, beautiful little boy and sometimes when I look at you, I don’t know where you came from. From your blue-green eyes and strawberry hair in a family of brunettes and brown-eyed people, to your contagious smile and constant curiosity, you blow me away.
Always remember how much you are loved. Always remember how much you were needed. Always remember that you and your brother (and my two angels) are the lights of my life.
I love you always my Rainbow Baby,

Originally published on Her View From Home