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The work

July 17, 2019

Why do I feel so guilty?

This focus on me.

The work to become who I’m meant to be.

Peeling back the scabs and reopening the scars

What isn’t mine?

What is of the stars?

Underneath is an unbroken child

True love and dreams

She was born of the wild

But the world told her no

Her voice became quiet

She defaulted to rules and shame

She did the right thing

And feared when she didn’t

To never dishonor her name

She whispers to me through all of the noise

And debris of stories told

I am.

I am.

I am.

Her voice echos below and I am torn

Between the guilt of trying to break free

Or the guilt of leaving her behind

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Anxiety attack

July 11, 2019

Once it had subsided

I tried to explain it

But the words made no sense

Failure

Drowning

Tightness

Suffocating

Tears

Heavy

Frozen

“What triggered it?”

I don’t know.

Maybe that thing…

But that doesn’t seem enough

Maybe everything…

But then I am ungrateful

I have a good life

And should not feel this way.

The anxiety has subsided

And the shame sets in.

Next

July 10, 2019

Remember remember remember.

There’s that

you keep forgetting

There’s this

you keep procrastinating

And that other thing

Why haven’t you taken care of that yet?

And a hundred other things

Some trivial and some more important

Waiting in that long line that continues all the way around the corner

One in

One out

Too many on the dance floor

Tisk

Task

Check the box

But the line outside is growing infinitely

And each new checked box

Requires more effort

Less purpose

Less reward

But the fear of being trampled by it all

Keeps the line moving.

Next.

Humanity

July 2, 2019

It was sunny and a humid 93 degrees as I was driving along Bannister Road and moving slowly through thick traffic. Stopped at a light, I observed the backyard of a townhouse where a middle-aged man was on his knees in the grass with a not-yet-inflates swimming pool spread before him. He was fiddling with the pump to get things going. I don’t know who the pool was for: maybe grandchildren were coming over that evening, maybe he has a dog that needs help cooling off on steamy days, or maybe he just wanted to pull up a lawn chair, soak his feet in the cool water, and relax with a beer. I couldn’t think of a situation with that inflatable swimming pool that didn’t involve some combination of peace and joy, and it made my heart swell with happiness to catch a short glimpse of the good times to come.

I’ve passed her in the halls at work several dozen times. Her bleached short hair, her simple, no-nonsense clothing, earbuds always in place to shut out the world around her. She looks down, no eye contact, expressionless as her mind is lost in whatever she’s listening to, or maybe she’s very unhappy. Everything about her seems closed off from the present moment and I’ve wondered what she does here, if she has friends, and what she’s like outside of the corporate walls. I assume she’s an artist since she’s so independent and I’ve never seen her speak or walk with anyone else. And I laugh at my own stereotype of artists since I am one and know so many that are nothing like my perception of her. I can’t decide if I am worried about her loneliness or jealous of her utter lack of concern with anything going on around her. And then one day it happened. I passed her and saw her light up with a joyful smile, and my heart felt relief. But she wasn’t smiling at me.

The sun had finally come out that mild Saturday morning in May. I had recently finished getting all our garage sale items set back out in the driveway and sat down in my lawn chair. There was the usual mix of random household goods and clothing and toys that our girls no longer needed. A young family walked up, with a two-year-old boy, and he immediately made a beeline for the pink and purple colorful riding toy that Layla got for her first birthday. It was a car with a horn and little piano keys on the front that played different songs. He had barely begun to scoot around on it when his dad grabbed him and said “No son, that’s a girl toy.” And they walked away without purchasing anything.

I was leaving work one evening last Spring, walking through the long halls to get to the parking garage. My head was down, perusing my phone, but in my peripheral vision saw I had to slow to a halt because a man was stopped in the middle of the hallway. When I looked at him I saw him with his phone, pointed at the ceiling, and noticed a skylight there I had never seen before. The sky was blue and bright, with fluffy white clouds slowly passing above. After a long, dreary winter, I too shared his excitement of this unexpected view of the bright blue above. I was happy to slow and give him that moment, and overjoyed to happen upon someone finding beauty in unexpected places.

The concert was several songs into the show, and I observed the young woman slouched on the seat in front of me scrolling through her phone, which continued for much of the show. It was one of my all time favorite bands, and I felt judgmental, almost offended that she would waste a concert ticket to be there on her phone. But later at an interlude, the lead singer addressed the crowd, calling on anyone who’d ever felt different, like an outcast, and struggled to find their place in this world. I saw her take notice for the first time and raise her hand with hundreds of others. He told us all that we mattered, that we were enough, and that we all had something unique and special to offer this world, and then dedicated the next song to the crowd. Her demeanor changed dramatically, from a sullen, apathetic brat to a person who found her tribe. She danced and swayed and hugged those around her, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show. I felt a pang if guilt for judging her initially, but was filled with gratitude as I watched her blossom in the dark midst of the crowd.

Presence

June 28, 2019

I miss you when I am away

Your laugh

Your smell

Your touch

The Golden hazy image of your smile and curls warm my soul

I dream of our next moments together

Envisioning the wild perfection that you are

And then you are next to me

The buzz of your breath and voice and body are powerful and unwavering

Your energy crushes and exhausts my quiet spirit.

I remember how I missed you before

And I breathe. This is what I dreamed of.

And I burn slowly as you ignite.

Poetry is for anxious writers

June 27, 2019

Writing is therapeutic for me, but like anything in my life, it’s easy to overthink. When my anxiety is high I get overwhelmed by the idea of writing a blog post. I don’t have the energy to compose and clarify, edit and smooth. So I just don’t do it. Which leads to stifling and bottling up of my thoughts, which I must corral and release for my health.

My therapist asked if I ever just journal in free form thoughts, without worrying about how it reads or who’s going to read it. Which I do, a little. But part of the joy in writing for me is the ability to connect and build relationships, which doesn’t happen in the confines of my bound paper journal. But free verse poetry is something I love to read and might be the perfect solution for my fickle mental discipline. More importantly, realizing and honing my artistic outlets is something I’m trying to fit into this life more. I know it’s one of the most original and intimate parts of me, and a gift I cannot keep to myself for fear or logistics or any other reason.

So, I’m introducing free verse poetry to this blog. And without further adieu, my poetic debut, about…poetry.

I’m tired

I’m unsure

Fear and discomfort constantly nag

The ideas and images

Thoughts and dreams

Swim in my brain like a current

Without form, boundaries or direction

There is beauty in the rough

The vague

The impulsive

Scattered thoughts for a scattered life

Raw sense for the moment.

The power of hand soap

April 30, 2019

A few weeks ago I got a company-wide email inviting me to volunteer across the street at Children’s Mercy for a Mother’s Day card signing campaign for “Mercy Moms” – whose children are patients at the hospital. I immediately blocked my calendar hoping I could make it. When I got to the office today and saw the event on my calendar for this afternoon, a wave of panic came over me. Was I ready to drive into that familiar parking garage with the “friendly” color-coded floors? Could I maintain composure in that lobby, the one I remember walking out so many nights in tears after leaving Layla alone for the night so I could go home, be with Skyler, and get some decent sleep? I hadn’t been back there for maybe 3 years since her follow up visits are at a different location. I see the building from my office window and hear the helicopters transporting critical patients several times a week, but it’s been a safe distance, though not without a shudder and prayer every time I hear the rumble of the helicopter.

Thankfully my work schedule held and I wasn’t able to find an excuse not to go. I circled the familiar garage and found a spot on the Purple Airplane level and made my way through the lobby. I didn’t have to go far before I found the volunteer organizer and was directed to an elevator upstairs, to an area I had only seen maybe once in my time spent there. The volunteers gathered in a meeting room, and a woman told her daughter’s amazing story of beating an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I sat next to an older couple who’s son was about to graduate high school, but had spent a lot of time at the hospital in his early life. That couple and I both declined the hospital tours that were being offered; we had all seen enough of it with our children.

We were given sheets of paper with printed messages from supporters who had sent messages through the Mothers Day campaign to hand-write onto the cards donated by Hallmark, and were encouraged to write our own personal messages as well. I probably signed at least 30 cards in my time there. Each and every one of them felt personal to me, even if I was printing someone else’s message. I imagined an exhausted and scared mother, spending her Sunday at the hospital by her child’s side. Maybe even having to leave that night and go home or next door to the Ronald McDonald House without her child. I imagined the lonely mother of a newborn, pumping breastmilk behind a curtain in one of the lactation rooms, dreaming of nursing her baby that is currently being sustained with an IV and feeding tube. I imagined the fear, the lack of control, and the feelings of guilt that she can’t help her child.

“You are stronger than you know.”
“You are an amazing mother.”
“You are not alone.”
“Your love makes a difference.”
“You are inspiring.”
“You are loved.”

As I was leaving I stopped in the lobby bathroom before hitting the road for my commute home. While washing my hands, another woman was washing hers and asked me about my volunteer sticker and what we were doing there. I explained and she said “Oh how nice, I hope I receive one of those cards!” I asked what she was there for, then immediately felt super nosy and awkward, and fumbled an apology with “Both my daughters had heart surgery here so it’s near and dear to my heart so I can’t help but wonder what others are going through.” She said her 3-month-old was awaiting cardiac surgery for ASD, VSD, and bicuspid valve (Layla and Skyler both split those defects). She explained how surgery kept getting postponed due to various setbacks with her son’s health, and that Dr O’brien (also our daughters’ surgeon) would be performing the surgery if the day would ever come. I listened and agreed and encouraged her that she and her baby were in good hands, and it’s so hard, but that she is so strong. I didn’t really know what to do but offer the empathy of someone who had been there, tell her how amazing she was, and remind her to get some fresh air and rest for herself. She was headed back to the Ronald McDonald House that evening, so we both made our way to the Purple Airplane parking level and went our separate ways.

A few minutes into my drive home, my nose itched. I reached up to scratch it and the distinct scent of the hospital hand soap I had used hundreds of times during my girls’ stays filled my nose and brain and sent me straight back to those fearful days as we fought for our girls’ lives. I remembered how dry and raw and sore my knuckles were from so much handwashing. I remembered long days of waiting for the next doctor’s report and watching the heart monitors like a hawk, jumping at every beep. I remembered wondering why we had to go through this, and TWICE! I thought of all the mothers who had come and gone, and those who would be receiving the cards we wrote that day, and of the woman I met in the bathroom with such a similar experience and how I was able to offer her encouragement. I then knew the answer to my questions, and I cried tears of joy the rest of the drive home.

I have found myself in a few situations lately where I’ve had to revisit the some of the most heartbreaking experiences in my life, in order to offer comfort to others who are going through similar things. It’s a strange and bittersweet feeling – like I can have true empathy and offer hope from being on the other side of challenges. And it feels like now there is a new reason for the pain and struggles I went through – that I can draw from those to help others. But I’ve also realized through this how far I’ve come. To be able to go back to those dark places and feel with those who are hurting, but not bring the hurt back with me to stay. I would never wish these experiences on anyone, but I am grateful for the personal growth and wisdom I’ve gained. And despite it all, I know I am right where I am meant to be.


That’s anxiety talking

April 24, 2019

“I’m at work and text my husband something random during the day and he doesn’t immediately reply. I know he recently picked up our daughters from Grandma’s and should be home by now. Maybe he’s napping. Or maybe they got in a fatal accident on the way home and I’ve lost them both. My life without them begins to flash before my eyes and I get choked up. But I decide to focus on my work because it probably didn’t happen and everything is fine. He replies a few minutes later and all is normal.”

***

“I’m getting ready for a gathering with friends and trying to decide what to wear. I really just want to be comfortable but not look like I don’t care. I try things on but I feel like I look fat in everything, and not like the body of a person who cares so much about health and wellness. I think my friends will look at me and think “sheesh, she should really be in better shape if she actually practices what she preaches.” And then I think about how I DO practice what I preach and that maybe what I preach is all wrong since I don’t look fit and maybe everything I’m passionate about is a complete joke and I’m wasting my time and energy on a farce and I’m a farce and going to make a fool of myself once I’m found out.”

***

“I’m locked out of my work computer randomly when I try to login one morning. It’s odd since I hadn’t even had unsuccessful login attempts. I call IT and start the unlock process and they ask my manager’s name. I wonder if I’m getting laid off that day and IT accidentally deleted all my credentials too early before HR got through the process. I think about how the heck we would pay our bills and how much I don’t want to try and find another job. But IT swiftly unlocks my computer and I’m back in business.”

***

“I’m laying in bed at night and hear a mysterious, nondescript noise. I wonder if we’ve locked all the doors and closed the garage. I imagine armed robbers entering our home and murdering us in our bed. I wonder if they would go upstairs and get our girls or if they’d be safe on the other side of the house. I wonder how long it would take for our bodies to be discovered. I get up and go check all the doors and go back to sleep.”

***

“I’m running late for an 8:30 meeting with my boss because my three-year-old was acting like a three-year-old and traffic didn’t help either. I’m sure that my boss thinks I’m irresponsible and disrespectful. I arrive at 8:37 and my boss isn’t there. I check my email and at 6:15 am she had sent a meeting reschedule for later that day, so I was never actually late.”

***

“I feel a small fleshy bump under my chin and rub my thumb over it back and forth. Is it possible to have cellulite on your chin? Or is it some form of chin cancer? How long will it take to spread? How many other little cancers do I have growing in my body and how long do I have to live? Could I survive chemo? Would I be strong enough to fight cancer? How could I ever say goodbye to my family if I lost that battle? What if my mom gets cancer? How do children lose their parents to terminal illness? How do parents lose their children to terminal illness or accidents? And now I’m heartbroken and holding back tears for every child and parent who’ve had to say goodbye long before they should’ve had to.”

***

“I write a blog post about anxiety and how it feels to me. I go back and forth trying to decide if I should actually publish it or just treat it as a journal entry for therapy. If I publish it, people will probably think ‘oh she’s crossed the line and shared too much this time. She’s kinda crazy and I don’t think I want to read her stuff anymore. She should be on meds.’ If I don’t publish it, then I’m giving into fear and not being myself. Vulnerability is all the rage right now so if I share it, maybe I’ll connect with others who feel this way too and we can all laugh with each other and comfort each other and not feel so alone. But no one is this crazy and if they are they are probably on meds and managing it so that makes me a stubborn hippie and people will think I’ve taken this holistic wellness stuff too far if I still feel this way and won’t take meds. Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about and should not be sharing wellness crap! But what if I did get on meds and they made me suicidal or they did the opposite and numbed all feelings whatsoever?”

These are all real thoughts of mine, all of them on repeat in some shape or form throughout my days. I once heard that it’s good to share your irrational fears with others because saying it helps it sound ridiculous and helps take the power of the fear away. And I can laugh about it because I’m just so used to thinking like this. It’s my norm. But the patterns remain and I catch myself in these thought patterns and sometimes I get annoyed and angry and exhausted. I sometimes think I am broken, but I also know there is a biological/neurological mechanism to why this happens and I am still a work in progress.

Anxiety is the brain and body stuck in or easily triggered into fight or flight, caused by trauma, stress, or other perceived threats. When I get anxious or find myself in these fearful thought patterns, I’ve learned to check myself and evaluate what might have gotten me here. Sometimes I just acknowledge the past events that may have impacted my nervous system more permanently. Sometimes there is a true underlying worry that I’ve been avoiding and need to deal with, and other times it happens when I’ve had too much sugar or caffeine. I also get this way when I haven’t been active enough to sweat out the nervous energy, and the day after I’ve had alcohol. And oddly, it’s often correlated with my monthly cycle. There are so many triggers for me, many of which I could control, but I definitely don’t have it all under control.

I have learned through therapy, meditation, and studying the effects of stress and trauma that I am not my thoughts. I can recognize them, acknowledge them, breathe through them, but not judge myself or my thoughts. I thank my body for trying to protect me, and remind it that I am okay. I also know that my mind is creative and analytical and intelligent, and those qualities are my strengths, but they come with their downside, which leads me easily into anxiety. That’s where I find peace though, knowing that there is a purpose for my discomfort.

I should caveat that I am fully functioning mentally and my anxiety does not keep me from functioning in the world. This is also one reason why I haven’t yet taken medication. I completely support anyone that needs medication to help with normal function. I have sought other therapies and learned a lot about anxiety and myself, but if it ever became debilitating or dangerous, I would absolutely take medication. However my hope is that by working with it instead of against it, anxiety can find an appropriate place in my life rather than taking over.

The work is not done; maybe I will always live with this. But there are more tools and therapies and books to read and the more I learn, the more I love myself, so I am hopeful! In the meantime, I share my journey – the ups and downs, in hopes of making connections, learning and teaching, so the fear cannot control me. And I hope others can learn to sit with their anxious feelings and learn from them rather than run from them. Let them be an opportunity to listen to your body to find the balance and healing it needs, and maybe discover your strengths in the midst of it all.

Fat: Healthy Plant-based Sources – Part II

April 15, 2019

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will make a commission off your purchase, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I believe in. If you purchase through one of these links, I truly thank you for your support!

Fat makes you fat. Eat fat, lose fat. Fat causes heart attacks. Fat is Fuel. Any of these sound familiar? I’m not here to defend or criticize any of these statements. To sum up Part I, we need fat, we are built from fat, and fat makes veggies delicious! And we all know we should eat more veggies! So I’m going to share some of the best ways to incorporate healthy plant-based fats into your lifestyle. I’m not going into the proper amount of fat.  It’s another topic for another day that has a lot more if’s, and’s or but’s. This is purely about ways to incorporate dietary fat from plant sources for sustainable, delicious living that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Roasted or Sauteed Veggies

roasted broccoli and tilapia

A little blackened makes the best roasted broccoli!

How many of you thought the only way to eat veggies is to steam or boil them so they remain low in calories and “healthy?” I thought that for a long time, which meant I ate very few veggies because I just couldn’t stomach them. I believe eating should be enjoyable and not feel like punishment, so once I discovered you can use fat to cook veggies, I was hooked! It’s a toss up for me if I like sauteed or roasted veggies better, so I’ll share how we do both. For a veggie sautee, heat a skillet on medium. Once the pan is hot, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil, depending on your flavor preference (coconut oil has a distinct flavor, which I prefer with Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries). Throw in your chopped veggies, and toss to coat with oil, stirring occasionally to cook evenly and prevent sticking. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or drizzle citrus juice, cooking vinegar, or soy sauce/coconut aminos for a dash of flavor. We frequently saute broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, cabbage, kale, and spinach.

Roasting veggies produces a very similar flavor and texture as sauteing, but it’s obviously easier. I prefer to roast veggies if I already have a lot of other things to cook on the stovetop. I like to roast at around 400 to get veggies nice and crispy on the edges, so start that oven up and line a sheet pan with foil. Put your chopped veggies in a bowl and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive or avocado oil, and toss with a spoon so the oil can coat the veggies. Spread the veggies evenly on the sheet pan – the more space between veggies the more the edges can crisp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or other seasonings that you like, then pop in the oven. Roasting time will vary depending on the veggies and size of your chop. Denser, starchier veggies like potatoes tend to take longer.

Salad Dressing

salad with hemp hearts and avocado

Salad with healthy fats: hemp hearts and avocado

I know eating boring, low-fat salads have been a stereotypical girl-on-a-diet thing, but this girl here is breaking the stereotype. I actually love a big, hearty salad, and outside of having several colorful, nutrient dense toppings for the salad, a good homemade dressing can really bring it to life. Salad dressing doesn’t have to be complicated, either. The basics of a vinaigrette are 3 parts oil (extra virgin olive or avocado oil) to  1 part vinegar or other acidic ingredient like fresh squeezed citrus. Just those two ingredients shaken or emulsified with an immersion blender make a simple, healthy salad dressing, but you can liven things up with the addition of other ingredients, such as minced garlic, fresh herbs, berries, honey, mustard, or various combinations of the above. Don’t forget salt and pepper. My very favorite dressing is a home made, dairy-free ranch made with healthy, plant-based fats. Homemade salad dressing can be mixed up in a large batch and stored in a jar in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks.

Nuts and seeds

You know, nuts and seeds have come a long way. They used to be considered for snacking (think roasted, salted, chocolate-covered) or baking toppings, but in the last several years as people have been looking for gluten free and dairy free options, several nuts have risen to the occasion. Almond flour has become a popular flour for baking cookies and breads (my favorite healthy chocolate chip cookies are almond flour based!). You can get nearly any kind of nut butter, like cashew, almond, ,and sunflower seed butters, and some companies make blends of multiple nuts! I love to rotate these in between peanut butter to switch up flavors and nutrient profile. I’ve recently begun experimenting with chia seeds and hemp seeds. I soak chia seeds for at least an hour, if not overnight, in a nut milk, and then add to my smoothies. In addition to fat, they also have a ton of fiber and protein, so they are kind of a super food. Hemp hearts make a great addition to sprinkle on anything that you want to add a little crunch; salads, avocados, even a savory stir fry. Finally, there are some great new dairy alternatives like almond or cashew yogurts and I’ve tried some cashew-based cheeses that make a pretty decent substitute! So as long as you tolerates nuts, there are a ton of ways you can use them as a healthy fat source in your lifestyle!

Fruit

Fruit? Yeah, I said fruit. But really I’m mostly talking about the most amazing and perfect fruit ever, the AVOCADO! Avocados are a fruit, but are primarily fat and fiber. They have that amazing umami flavor and creaminess that goes with almost any dish. And if you need a snack to get you by till dinner, slice open an avocado and eat it with a spoon! They are ridiculously filling and full of so many beneficial nutrients in addition to the fat and fiber: B vitamins, as well as C, E, K, potassium and magnesium. Don’t let me forget the other fatty fruit, coconut! Coconut flavor can be a bit divisive, but if you like coconut, it’s a lovely addition to your fat list! Unsweetened coconut flakes can be used in baking and as a nice crust for seafood and chicken. The oil is perfect for frying and various desserts. And if you can find a jar of coconut butter, try to keep from eating the entire thing with a spoon! It’s also high in fiber and might cause some digestive distress if you overdo it, which is easy to do! Finally, coconuts also have an amazingly creamy milk (the kind that comes in a can, usually found in the Asian food section at the grocery store). This milk makes a great coffee creamer substitute, delicious, creamy smoothies, and is great as a creamy base for soups and gravies.

While it isn’t an exhaustive list, the above examples of plant-based fats are the main things I use to incorporate healthy fats from a variety of sources and flavors. What I haven’t yet covered are animal fats, which can still be part of a healthy diet. So stay tuned for Part 3 when I cover how animal fats aren’t terrible for you and how to incorporate them in a healthy way.

In the meantime, tell me in the comments below what your favorite healthy fat is? Yummmmm…I love fats!

Reasons I suck as a mom lately

April 6, 2019

The other night I got home and was having a pleasant conversation with Ronnie while he was preparing dinner and Skyler interjected “Yay! You’re in a good mood!” and I immediately felt embarrassed and ashamed that it was such a rarity lately that she was excited enough to call it out. To hammer the nail in further, she made a similar comment again a few nights later, and it just hit me how I clearly haven’t been keeping it together around here!

I thought I had gotten to a decent place this year after spending January and February really dialed into my nutrition, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, and following my naturopath’s protocols pretty darn closely. But between some craziness at work and our recent family tragedy, it wasn’t long before I spiraled downward. It hasn’t been a complete disaster – my “reckless” behavior looks like a bag of chips fried in avocado oil with homemade dairy-free ranch dressing and a bottle of wine. That was probably my low point. Or maybe it was Taco Bell…but that’s neither here nor there. In reality those were one off events and I’ve still kept to at least an 80/20 rule with my own nutrition, exercising consistently and sleeping well.

But despite the steps I’ve taken to not completely wreck myself, my mental health has really taken a hit from the stress and I’ve been really down on myself in the mothering department, among others. Its easy for me to get into a rut of self doubt as soon as I get stressed or hit with a challenge.

Skyler’s been mentioning wanting new shoes, and when Ronnie took her last week, she had grown 3 shoe sizes! She also mentioned her glasses needed adjusted so we stopped by the eye doctor to get them fixed and the tech said the frames were completely broken and she ordered new ones! How did I not know these things?

She’s been begging to take gymnastics and I’ve been slacking on signing her up for a couple reasons. Money has felt tight for awhile. But when I look at our budget and expenses, we’ve got no problem paying the bills. For some reason we are just frittering away all our “extra” on little dumb stuff that I can’t even quantify. On paper we can afford gymnastics with plenty to spare. So I feel like a selfish jerk that we haven’t made that a reality for her. She’s so amazing though; she watches YouTube videos and teaches herself. She practices and stretches diligently and can do so many different and difficult tumbling moves. It’s shameful that she’s not being coached professionally!

The other reason I haven’t signed her up is because frankly, my days are so long as it is and I just want to come home from work, eat and relax with the family and get to bed at a decent hour. I just can’t do evenings of running around after work from activity to activity. I want to throw up thinking about that added stress! But then I realized I could go and bring my laptop and use that time while she’s there to actually write in this blog for one uninterrupted hour that isn’t past my bedtime, so now I’ve talked myself into signing her up. But then I feel guilty that it took a selfish reason for me to finally get on board.

When it comes to Layla, I’m a big time slacker because I can get away with more. Most days I drop Layla off at daycare and realize I haven’t brushed her hair or washed her face. I look at the other little girls with cute barrettes and pigtails and feel ashamed. Then again, Layla doesn’t care, the other kids don’t care, so why should I? She has the rest of her life to worry about how she looks, so why start now?

Since she was a baby, she’s been attached to me much more than Skyler was. She follows me around every room of the house, even the bathroom if I don’t swiftly lock the door behind me. Even then, she’ll pound on the door until I come out. If I sit down on the couch she’s immediately in my lap, and she doesn’t always sit still and snuggle. There’s a lot of wiggling and goofing around, with bony elbows and knees digging into my ribs as she wollers around. I try to soak it up for a few minutes and enjoy it since I know it won’t last forever, but I can only take so much! I’m an independent person so it really stresses me to never have any alone time or space. I feel guilty every time I tell her to sit next to me rather than on me, or go play in another room so I can do the laundry without questions and comments from the peanut gallery about every single item I’m sorting and folding.

I could go on and on and list a hundred things I am not doing and should be, or things I don’t do “right.” Don’t ask me how often I clean the house or make my bed. Don’t ask me how often anyone’s socks match. Don’t ask me how often my face is buried in my phone while nodding and carrying on a “conversation” with my kids. If I answered all that and shared my other weaknesses, my loved ones reading this might disown me, and it’s possible child services could get called. All I know is these girls are alive and happy and healthy, so I’m just thankful we aren’t in a worse situation!

Tell me, mamas, what are the ways you are feeling incompetent as a mom lately? Or maybe share some encouragement on something you are proud of? Comment below!