When you feel alone.

Isn’t it ironic that as a mother you experience some of the loneliest moments in your life, EVEN THOUGH you are literally almost never alone? I have grappled with this for months. The weird and all-consuming feeling of loneliness that becoming a new momma brings. My husband goes to work at 3 in the morning and comes home between 12-3 in the afternoon and then goes back to sleep by 7:30, on a good day, so my days are spent mostly with an 8 month old that hasn’t even learned how to say Momma yet. (Literally he says Dada, constantly, what is that even about?!) I sometimes don’t even speak until Chris gets off work in the afternoon, it’s long and exhausting and like I said earlier, lonely.

Recently I have spent a lot of time really thinking about that, because as I have met more moms I have discovered that we all have similar feelings. It almost doesn’t make sense. There are so many of us that you would think and hope we would ban together in united motherhood, sharing our fears and anxieties, taking time to build each other up when we really need it, yet here we sit in the quiet corners of the internet feeling judged, alone and afraid. Recently for me it was the overwhelming thought that this little person is not just a part of my life, but he IS my whole life. My body nourishes him, my arms hold him, my sleep is minimal because of him, truly so many aspects of what I once was are now wrapped up in every breath this little boy takes. Yet, lately, I have felt that I need to contribute more. Like I need to have a skill, a SOMETHING, that will help our family thrive. I completely discount the fact that as a stay-at-home mom, my job is 24 hours 7 days a week. Whenever Sailor is hungry I either take the time to nurse him, or prepare him food to eat. I change his diaper, clothe him, play with him, sooth him when he’s hurting and bathe him when he’s dirty. Yes, my husband jumps in when he can, but the bulk of these things fall on me. Not to mention making sure the living room doesn’t look like an 8 month old, freshly crawling, tornado hasn’t just passed through. The dishes, the cooking, making the bed, doing the laundry, the list literally goes on and on! Being a mom is NO JOKE. We desperately need to stick together. We NEED to uplift, encourage and grow together. Share our funny moments and our sad, be real about our disappointments and our desires. You guys, we need to stop feeling bad for wanting time for ourselves! Seriously, this is huge. I battle this daily. My time is important and in order to be a sane mom and human being let yourself take 30 minutes, if that’s all you have, to watch your favorite binge or grab a coffee. You deserve it.

When you feel alone remember this, you aren’t. There is a mom just like you, most likely feeling the same things, wishing she had a community to share with. Recently I have been stepping out of my box to try and meet moms, and man have I seen a change! Just having women who I can share with, who have common experiences, it makes a world of difference! Step out, be bold, surround yourself with people who are going through similar life experiences and watch as you grow! Take a second to think right now about all the moms on your Facebook feed, have you talked to any of them? If you live close, have you asked to hangout? Have a playdate? I challenge you to take some time later today and send a message to someone who you haven’t reached out to yet, I GUARANTEE that they will be so appreciative for the adult conversation. I know it meant the world to me.

Being a mom is not a cake walk, you will struggle, emotionally, physically and in our relationships, but if you push forward, forge friendships and pursue other moms, you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have to remind myself on a daily basis: being a mom is a JOY, it gives me PURPOSE and it is a BLESSING. Life is hard, motherhood is hard but remember that you are not alone, not now, not never.

 

PS, if you really don’t have anyone to message or talk to about things you are feeling or going through PLEASE email me! My email is ashdg91@yahoo.com and I would LOVE to hear from you!

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Mother’s Day.

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day. I woke up with such expectation of gifts lavished, a clean kitchen, maybe a chance to sleep in after being up most of the night with the baby, you know the stuff mom’s dream of! I honestly had built up this expectation of perfection, that there was NO possible way my husband could live up to it all, at least not without me sharing with him my desires for the day. Instead I expected him to just know, leading to me crying in the shower. Yah, I’m embarrassed to say that I sort of lost it on Mother’s Day. As I stood in the shower and cried, I really thought about all the things I wanted and didn’t get, I lingered on all the negatives and ignored any positives, I essentially was a child throwing a fit. I felt awful, why do I let myself get to such a point of emotional distress? Why do I allow for every bad thing to overshadow all of the amazing and good things that I am blessed with?

Just the night before my husband took me out to dinner for Mother’s Day. Bless his heart, he thought it was Saturday and I couldn’t help but fall in love with him all the more. He asked our close friends if they would watch Sailor so we could go on a very rare dinner date sans baby, and I was so blessed. We then came home, put the baby to sleep and watched a movie and sipped Moscow mules with our friends, it was such a perfect night! But sadly enough, in my mom mind of built up expectations, it wasn’t enough to carry over to the next day. I woke up with a fresh desire to be spoiled, I mean I don’t necessarily feel bad about the desire, but I do feel bad about my own lack of communication.

That’s honestly what I wanted to write about today, because I KNOW there are more of us out there. The ones who live in our minds and are constantly finding ourselves disappointed as no one can live up to the mountains of expectation we build around ourselves. We dream and wish and sigh as someone yet again misses the mark. As I stood in the shower yesterday I was so suddenly struck with the awareness that I am so stinking spoiled. Every single day. I am spoiled with a family, a husband that truly truly loves me DESPITE all of my flaws (there are many). I have a baby, a healthy little boy, who brings me so much joy, when I know there are so many women out there who desire a baby so badly, or who have lost their own precious ones. The mere fact that I can celebrate Mother’s Day with a child who is living is HUGE. Man, that one hit me smack in the face. I am BLESSED. Guys, I truly am.

After all of this, and my husband had sweetly took the baby out for a walk and returned with my favorite coffee and a breakfast pastry, I sat down and opened up my heart to him. Because while I was alone in our apartment, the dishes not done and the bedroom a mess, I realized that I married this man because he was my best friend. I vowed to be his companion, to encourage and uplift him and to share in all of the moments that life may bring, that means growing with him and becoming more “married” to him everyday. I can’t keep seething in unrequited expectations, embarrassed to share my true feelings with the man I said I would share my whole life with. What a horrible way to live! I am nowhere near perfect at this yet, but I know that yesterday was a huge stepping stone. If I want something from my husband I need to tell him, I need to bring him into my wants and desires so that they can become OUR wants and desires.

The realization that my son and future children would watch me and their daddy as we interact struck me yesterday. I don’t want to be the mom that lives in regret of her actions but is an example of openness to my children. That they learn how to swallow their pride and be the bigger person on a daily basis, seeking God’s heart and his will for the situation. After that conversation with my husband the day completely turned around. Not only because he now knew what I wanted and blessed me in so many ways, but also because I felt this weight lifted off of me. The weight of holding it all in and pretending like nothing is wrong, even though it is. The weight of always feeling disappointed and hurt when I can easily change the situation. The weight of walking around full of pride when I should be practicing humility.

My first Mother’s day was special in many ways, but especially because I was able to celebrate it with my sweet son and my loving husband, the two people who mean the world to me. Don’t let little things cause you to loose sight of what is most important in your own life, or tarnish moments that are meant to be fondly remembered. You deserve to feel “weightless”; so pursue intimacy, share your heart and grow into a momma that walks in humility and love.

Mom Boss.

What does this even mean? I see it constantly, and for whatever reason I don’t feel like it applies to me, yet I can’t even tell you what it means! Since becoming a mom I have gone through a process of falling in and out of inspiration. Losing the motivation to do anything that I love, like writing, drawing and reading, and instead taking all my spare time to literally do nothing. For some reason that becomes my go to because I’ve been going going going all day long, that anything, even if it previously brought me joy, no longer is restful. What is that about? Why does motherhood need to be something that strips you of your identity?

I have struggled with this, oh have I struggled with this. Does taking a stand for myself mean I am neglecting being a mom? Is it okay for me to pursue my dreams from the pre-baby days? I am enrolled in the Academy of Art Graphic Design program to start end of June, this has been a dream of mine for so many years and I never thought I would be able to do it! On a whim I decided to look into it and saw that it is totally doable and went for it, but ever since that day I have been riddled with guilt about it. Is this the right time, am I doing the right thing? Then “mom boss” pops into my head.

Being a mom boss is being the best mom you can be. It’s pursuing your dreams and loving your babies. It’s being a loving wife and still being yourself. It’s not losing who you are once you have a baby, but it’s folding motherhood into it. It’s embracing the chaos and knowing everything isn’t going to be perfect, but it’s yours and so it IS beautiful and perfect! I am in the process of becoming my own mom boss, I want to turn this blog into more than just my personal diary, I want to graduate with a graphic design degree, I want to have lots more babies and I want to love the person I am in the midst of it all.

“Mom Boss” to me is saying that I am worth it, not just my baby and not just my husband, but ME. That without taking the time to pursue myself, I won’t have anything left to give to my family. So I am taking a stand for me, and pursuing my dreams, diving into my passions and bettering myself through little things every single day. I am the boss of my own life and I won’t let motherhood swallow me whole. I am a mother, yes, but I was Ashlee first and she doesn’t deserve to be forgotten in the midst of the night feedings and diaper changes. So here I go, one day at a time, taking back who I was, finding joy, becoming a better person and of course, being a Mom Boss.

Lots and lots of types of days.

Swiftly the days go by, one after the other, until an entire week is gone, just like that, and what do we have to show for it? For some it may be an extra pound gained, or a wrinkle earned. Maybe it’s a project completed or a deadline missed. For me it is a baby growing and a husband working. It’s an apartment slowly coming together. It’s dinners had, and coffee dates attended. It’s a church service listened to and a birthday celebrated. It’s family time and movies watched. It’s a glass of wine after baby goes to sleep and a cup of coffee when he wakes up in the morning. It’s all the giggles and all the cries. It’s tears shed and moments remembered. It’s dreams dreamed and steps taken to achieve them.

It’s a whole slew of things, something new and different for every person. As a mother time is a heavy burden, each day holds a weight not previously felt. Each day your baby is slightly different, one step towards childhood and away from infancy. Each day is a day to either succeed as a parent, or a day to disappoint. Parenthood creates a magnitude to life that is not easily ignored. You are the one responsible for shaping a life. You are the caregiver and comforter. You hold this little one so securely in your arms, there is no way to forget or walk away from it’s heaviness, and it scares and excites you at the same time.

Each day passes, one after the other, creating memory books in our minds. There will be bad memories along side the good. The days where patience wasn’t in abundance, and days where love was overflowing. Motherhood has brought me to a place of reflection, a place of significance. My days are no longer my own, but ours. Right now it is me, my sweet Sailor Brave and my loving husband. Like they say in one of my favorite movies, “There will be lots and lots of types of days”,  let’s not lose even a single one to impatience or anger, but let’s be pursuers of love and joy and laughter. Let them be ones for the memory books, the ones you put on the shelves for others to read. I want my babies to remember life with the fondest of smiles, knowing that there were more good days than bad, and that their mother never ever stopped loving them, not even for a second.

 

Mom Bod.

This is an ode to the mom bod.

The bod that created and carried a baby for 9 (nearly 10) months.

The bod that stretched and ached and swelled.

The bod that went through hours of painful labor.

The bod that eventually delivered (be it vaginally or surgically) a baby.

The bod that gained pound upon pound to nourish the life growing within it.

The bod that postpartum will bleed and ache and force you into granny panties and maxi pads, all while you learn how to be a mom.

The bod that will go without sleep, night after night, and possibly a meal here and there as it nurtures and loves that sweet babe.

The bod that doesn’t think of it’s own comfort but gladly gives of itself to feed that babe, be it breast milk or formula.

This is the bod of a rock star woman.

A woman that deserves to be told that she is amazing, and capable and beautiful.

That bod is gorgeous, even with a few extra pounds and stretch marks.

That bod deserves leggings whenever it wants, coffee whenever it asks and that chocolate from Trader  Joes.

This bod made you a momma, so own it, love it, and stop wishing away those completely perfect imperfections.

Missing It.

 

 

This week I was hit with this deep sense of missing. Missing the days where life was seemingly carefree, and my biggest anxiety was whether I was going to wake up with a pimple or if my hair was going to cooperate. Nowadays my anxieties are a little more complex. I’m massively aware of money, the future of not only me but of my baby and my husband. I sit and think of budgeting strategies, possible career paths, vaccinations, diaper rash and teething gums. My thoughts are no longer about what movie I can’t wait to head to the theater to see, or who I can hangout with on the weekend. My life is full of bigger things than that, and yet, I miss those days.

For some reason I came up with the idea that it was wrong of me to miss the pre-baby, pre-marriage days. Those days are filled with some of my greatest adventures (literally and metaphorically). I spent the beginning of my twenties traveling the world and living in Australia. I spent my free time alone at Aussie cafes, writing like crazy, listening to music and drinking iced coffees. My weekends were filled with quick trips to my favorite neighborhoods, crammed in someone’s small car, still marveling at driving on the wrong side of the road. Windows down, hot summer days, music blaring and so much laughter I can still feel it in my gut. Those days were some of my best yet and I don’t feel bad saying it.

I have been immeasurably blessed with “good ole days”. I have memories that still bring a smile to my face. Getting married was not me filling a void, and having a baby was not the answer to my problems. Those are things that add to my already overflowing memory bank of joy. Those are the beginning of a whole new set of golden years. A whole new set of summer days and endless laughter. As a mother it is exhausting to feel not only the weight of your own anxieties, but the pressure of what society says is proper and right for a mother to feel. I am a mother, and a wife, and I am telling you it is okay to miss those days. Remember them as the blessing that they are; don’t linger and wish yourself back but thank God that he gave them to you to hold on to.

My heart is not stuck on those days, but it remembers them fondly. On days where things aren’t perfect, the baby’s crying, and there just isn’t enough coffee for your tired eyes, remember that as much as there are always better days behind you, there are far better days ahead. That’s the blessing of motherhood and of life, it keeps plowing forward, stacking memory upon memory for you to savor as you move along with it.

My 5 Things.

IMG_76265 things that blessed me this week, an experiment in finding joy in my everyday.

After months of job hunting and prayers, Chris got his first paycheck at a job that he loves! Such an incredible answer to prayer!

We put a deposit down on an apartment in our desired area, perfectly within our price point AND the unit is being completely gutted and remodeled, meaning if everything works out (prayers appreciated) we will be getting a “brand new” apartment!

I ran into a good friend I haven’t seen in over a year while grabbing coffee with Sailor one morning. Not only was it a sweet surprise but she was incredibly encouraging and really pushed me positively to start putting more time and effort into this space!

My sister-in-law Alex came home for a surprise little day and a half visit! She is a flight attendant for United and loves to pop in every now and again, which is great for me! Lots of laughs, games and family time make me a happy lady!

And lastly, Sailor has been taking naps EVERY day this week! They last at least an hour and I am so stinking proud of him!

I plan on making this a weekly project, giving me time to reflect back on the good of each week, instead of lingering on the bad.

Yours, Ashlee