Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Joyful Thanks

Around and around the hands of time seem to go faster and faster. I try to slow the passage of time with photo after photo and journal after journal of the endless moments that fill me with a joy and awe that at times is beyond anything I imagined possible because to be here living this life with you really is the happiest of dreams come true.

This life is chaotic and overwhelming and as much as I may think I want to slow the hands of time, I swear we're running the time up faster and faster as we move from one thing to the next. I take the pictures; I record our life stories here. I don't want any of us to forget the highs and lows of this  journey together the five of us have embarked upon.

There's always rough moments in this life- in any life- whether it's the paycheck to paycheck stage, whether it's a house and all its needed work-desired or undesired-, there are health scares and struggles that leave you in a desperate fear for the ones you love, there are disagreements with the ones you love, there are struggles with how to do right for your kids, there's the stress of your job or career. It all adds up to a lot of sweat, tears, and sleepless nights.

But at the end of the day-the good and the bad- there's always gratitude in my heart that this is the life God chose for me. Life likes to knock us around and at times is quite on the mission to steal our joy. I'll be the first to admit I let it steal mine. When the job is harder than hard, when the money in the bank account seems to be running low, when our own health or the health of those we love is threatened, and quite honestly when it just feels like things aren't going my way I let my anger and quick temper take over.

There always seems to be the question of uncertainty hanging around with what's around the next corner in life whether it's health, finances, career, or just life in general, but I'm learning to be content in the now. Right here, right now with my little family of five just living the ordinary, not really sure what's around the next corner but content to be where we are at that moment, is a great place to be.

Wishing you a blessed and joyful holiday season from our family to yours!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

The How and the Why

The pile of suitcases use to give me the thrill of adventure ahead; now they taunt me with the amount of work ahead to get five people packed and loaded to make a trip. As much as I dread the packing, I know my husband also dreads the six to sixteen hours ahead driving across country. I'm sure sometimes he thinks he'd rather poke himself in the eye with sixteen needles rather than endure one more hour in the car. Can't say that I really blame him.

With each kid and each passing year the road trips home to see grandparents and aunts and uncles seem to become more and more work. Yet over the years the number of trips made seem to go up rather than down more years than not.

The summers come, the holidays come, the wedding dates, the big birthdays, the momental anniversaries and we load up those suitcases, we strap everyone in, we empty the bank account on gas and countless dinners out and hotel stays. We take to the roads driving through blinding sun, pouring rain, snow and ice,  adding miles beyond miles in cars that don't last us much more than five years with all the miles we put on them.

We now face the tears of constantly saying good bye. There's usually barely a day, sometimes only a few hours, to unload and unpack before launching back into a full work week.

There are always reasons and excuses to not pack it up and go, and to say they don't cross our mind most trips would be a lie. But then we remember the reasons to go.

1. The lifelong relationships they're building with grandparents, aunts and uncles,  and cousins despite the distance.

2. A cornerstone of the foundation of their childhood we're building with our dedication to spend time together as a family and with the rest of our families.

3. The countless memories that will fill their childhood memory box.

4. The gift of time- time with us, time with grandparents that one day won't be here, time with cousins that will grow up one day.

5. Live, laugh, and love- all three are out there on that open road from one destination to the next where we live in the adventures we seek and in the moments with the ones we love. Laughter echos inside that closed little space of the car and in the family gathered around the table celebrating whatever in life is worth celebrating at that moment. Love is there in that car, in those hotel pools, it's there with the family that only gets to see them every so often. It is everywhere around them, and the greatest thing is they know it and they know it well.

There s always the question of how and why we do it. Sometimes the how is not pretty- it's sometimes the grumpy parents, over exhausted kids,  occasional disaster mishap of getting from one destination to the next but the why- the why- is the beautiful reason and why we won't stop anytime soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Shattered Glass

Image provided by I Pin Image
The pieces lie there shattered at her feet. Broken glass split her image into tiny reflected pieces , distorting where one part of her ends and another begins. She bends down to begin to gather the broken shards as tears slip down her face as she doubts whether it can be put back together to the wonderful image it once was.

Even if she could piece all the pieces back together again, there would be no way now to hide the cracks of imperfection in it's forever altered image. As she set about putting the pieces back together, she began to notice how the light from the other side blazed through the cracks, giving the shattered glass a new look of wonder and beauty.

She stared  at the broken expression starting back at her in the cracked glass. Her recent darkest truths to herself left her feeling shattered in a million pieces like this broken glass. The truth of her realities shattered her sense of self, breaking her down to the truths she avoided seeing for so long.

But just as that broken glass pieced back together into a new flawed version of its original beauty maybe there was a light and beauty to be found in putting back the pieces of herself to create a new image, constructed of the shards of who she use to be.

Just as there was no way to hide the cracks in the glued back together glass, her cracks as well would remain there for others to see. But maybe in displaying her truths and flaws a new beauty and light would be lit to empower and inspire.  Maybe there would be beauty to be found in her shattered hard truths too just as there was in the shattered glass at her feet.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Join Us for Our Online Mompreneur Shopping Expo

With our modern day social media age an opportunity has been created for moms to build more financial freedom for their families from the comfort of their own homes while they tend to the needs of the household and their children.

Some do this as their only source of income and others do it as an additional income, but either way there are a lot of mom boss ladies out there. I really wanted to be able to support them this holiday shopping season so I'm hoping to do that two ways: one in hosting an online shopping event for others to support their business and two I plan on doing some of my Christmas shopping with them. I also plan to tag my husband with all the things I want him to get me from them as well!

This holiday season next weekend, November 17-19, nine of us will be running sales and specials at our online facebook event here . It's a public event so anyone can come join us and shop. Husbands are very welcome so let them know you might be tagging them with things you'd like for Christmas. But if you're an early shopper or just not very active on facebook or hate getting all the notifications- which we're going to try to minimize by having a set schedule of who posts when so you're NOT hit with 10 notifications an hour all weekend - I have linked below all of our vendors and their sales pages so you can start shopping right now if you'd like or just come back to this blog post during or even after the event to do some shopping. The only thing is there may be certain sales that only run the weekend of the event, but as you know sales tend to run all the time; they just change date by date so happy shopping whether it's now, at our event, or even in the weeks after the event if you're a late holiday shopper.

Now to introduce our vendors:

Myself- I am Angela Williams Glenn, author of Letters to a Daughter - an interactive journal between a mother and her daughter with thirty two mini inspirational essays to inspire conversation between mothers and daughters. No matter what age mothers begin the journal with their daughter, whether she’s young or grown, it will be gift daughters will treasure, as a mother’s words of wisdom will forever be logged here for her daughter to cherish for the rest of her life. You can get the journal for $11.89  right now with checkout code LULU15.

I am also the writer of Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas- a book that examines the perceptions and expectations of motherhood in our 21st Century digital world. Each mother walks her own path with her children.  This book will leave you with a humorous and inspirational look at the individual journey of motherhood that takes each of us from the girl we were to the woman we become. You can get this book for $6.80  now with checkout code LULU15.

Also feel free to join our free facebook community to get daily bits of humor and inspiration in your facebook feed. I am also published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books for moms, and these as well make great gifts for the teachers and daycare providers in your life so feel free to contact me at glennbabies@gmail.com about purchasing those directly through me.

Leslea McKillip with Lipsense:

I'm  your Lipsense lady!! Have you heard about Lipsense or senegence cosmetics?!?  I have never been a huge makeup person until about a year ago! I got a couple of tubes of this Lipsense stuff and BAM!! I was hooked. My lips have never felt so amazing!! Choose a color or two and a gloss and you are good to go!! Check out www.senegence.com for more details, but please order through me at sprinkleoneself@gmail.com for the best service!! Thanks so much!

Tammy Gragg with Young Living Essential Oils:

 I am with Young Living Essential Oils. Did you know that Essential oils support all 12 systems in our body! They are used for hormonal, sleep, and emotional support as well!! I use them for cleaning, in my skin products, and my laundry!! Essential Oils are the most powerful part of the plant. I encourage anyone to research the benefits of essential oils!! They are sooo versatile and amazing!!! I have an Educational Facebook Live class once a month that is completely free to attend that explains the benefits and uses of the oils! Please message me, Tammy Williams Gragg to be added to the event! Young Living offers Membership or Retail Option! Here is my link to check out these fantastic oils! Please message at tammygraggyloils@gmail.com with any questions!!

Erin Staponski with LuLaRoe: I have been with LuLaRoe since 2016. I love to help women feel good in the clothes they wear and life is too short to wear boring clothes. Join my facebook group to catch the latest styles and deals this holiday season and into the new year.

Tara Simpkins with Thirty One
 I will be your Thirty-One Consultant for this shopping expo! If you are not familiar with Thirty-One Gifts, here is a little bit of info! We offer a wide variety of "giftable" products including signature purses, jewelry, totes, and other organizing solutions that help organize your life! Each season we develop new products built on the idea that our products must be functional, fashionable, and make great gifts! We offer our customers unique opportunities to personalize many of our products by adding icons, words, initials and phrases through embroidery, print, and laser etching! The name Thirty-One comes from verses of Proverbs 31. I specialize in helping you find the products that make you happy, help organize your life, and help with finding the perfect gift for that special someone!
Please feel free to browse my site and let me know if I can be of any assistance to you and your shopping needs!   


Jessica Ballenger Hoyle with Scentsy:

Check out my website but contact me directly at jvhoyle@hotmail.com to order. I always can offer the best deal on shipping and our products.  

Holly Simpkins with Paparazzi Accessories:

Hi, my name is Holly Simpkins and I am a Paparazzi Consultant. I started out as a customer who was buying jewelry then realized how addicting it was and also realized I could sign up and sell it to others who could and would also love it too. I absolutely love the products that are available and love the fact that there is always new items coming out 5 days a week therefore allowing there to be NO catalogs. Its only available through consultants like myself so please it would be my privilege to be your jewelry lady.

Paparazzi Accessories are trendy, affordable and for all ages including the men in your lives. Also this month only being customer appreciation month, when you shop my online website and spend $35 or more you'll receive a FREE piece


Sandia Pantano with Sandia Pantano Imaging and Photography:

I'm Sandia Pantano, a wife, mommy, OB/GYN Ultrasound Technologist, 3D4DUltrasound Imaging Technologist and Photographer! My love and passion for Newborn and Maternity and Childbirth Photography stems from my past/current field of Ultrasound technology in OB  and 3D4D Imaging. I believe that both require a special eye and passion for and without either, it would not work and because I am a seasoned ultrasound tech of over 10 years I feel very comfortable  working with Maternity and Newborn family/clients! It's what I do everyday! I love having the privilege to work with maternity, family, newborn clients to provide them with precious moments,  captured and frozen in time to cherish for a lifetime.  It's a win win for me all around, especially when some of my patients I see  turn out to be my clients! So its  literally "Photography from the womb and beyond" for some of my patients and I just LOVE it! I am in the Baltimore/DC area  contact me @ 703-581-2044 to set up your holiday mini session appointment for only $65 or "like" my facebook page to enter the holiday mini session giveaway for a free holiday shoot.  

Sarah Ryan with Pampered Chef: I’m Sarah, your Pampered Chef Consultant. After 7 years with PC I’ve learned something really important... everyone eats 😂! Grab great gifts for the bakers, coffee drinkers, pizza lovers, health nuts, wine enthusiasts, experienced and inexperienced cooks, busy mamas, manly men and even the kids in your life right here.  I'm looking forward to helping you find the perfect Pampered Chef gifts and maybe a little something for you too!  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Stepping into Motherhood Community

One of the greatest roles my dad played in life was coach. He LOVED it. For fifteen years my dad coached probably well over two dozen different girls from their little girl years on the t ball field to their late adolescent years on the softball diamond. He didn't make a buck from this work, but man you knew he loved it. And he was good at it; not so much because we did win more games than we lost, including bringing home some nice hardware from more tournaments than we could count (though he could probably give you the exact number), but he was  good at it because of the way he had about talking to us girls and he just had a way about teaching you about more than just the game.

To some people that's what they remember about my dad- that he was a coach-not what he did to actually make money. Sometimes the things we do and what we're known for isn't connected to the life's occupation we choose to make our money. Our greatest accomplishments aren't always connected to our careers or paying work. In fact, the things we're probably the most passionate about and that have the biggest influence on others is probably something we don't make much, if any, money for.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My mom says since I was in the second grade, and it really was from about as far back as I can remember. Though I've ventured out with sharing my writing five years ago now, I still avoid really "talking" about my writing in person because in the writing world it seems if you're not making boo koo dollars and known by more than your small circle of readers then are you really a writer? This is where I often come back to the example with my dad. No, I am not some rich and famous author.

The thing about modern technology is it allows me to do something I love and connect with moms and readers. I am for the most part a little unknown writer. Though Chicken Soup for the Soup tells us publishing with them makes us a published author, and today's modern world has opened a door for independent authors, I still see myself as a writer, a published writer, but a writer more so than an author. I once read where a writer is something you are; whereas, an author is more a label for an occupation that provides you income. I was a writer as an eight year old kid and now I'm still a writer at 36 years old but with more than two readers these days. I have gotten to work with publishers like Chicken Soup for the Soul and I did work with Disney's Babble top writer on my Letters to a Daughter (who does make six figures writing essays for moms so maybe if I dream big enough maybe one day I'll be her :) ), and those were neat, growing experiences for me as a writer but I'm still just a writer and I'm okay with that.

So I'm not making boo koo dollars from this passion of mine, but I LOVE the connection and community with moms that have resulted from my little passion and that is worth way more than any kind of dollars. I've made most of my income from selling the four books I'm a part of, the second place my income has come from is what editors have paid me to publish something I've wrote, and the last two sources of income I've made has come from ads on my websites and product reviews. Because I'm not here to get rich and retire early, when I first started making any money from my work back in 2014 I wanted to use it to donate so here's the breakdown of how that's gone so far.

The Stepping into Motherhood community- and I say the community because without them I wouldn't sell books to make money, I wouldn't get enough reads to qualify for payment for the articles I have published on other sites, and I wouldn't aquire more readers that possibly buy books themselves or read and share the articles I get paid for- has raised enough money in 2014 and 2017 (I only blogged and didn't publish work for profit in 2015 and 2016)  to donate $75 to a childhood cancer non profit organization, buy a few gifts for an adopt a child one Christmas, $50 to a local elementary school, and now $50 to help a fellow community mom in need. Again I say this is a Stepping into Motherhood effort as it is writing income gained from readers that has led to these donations so thank you for being a part of the community.

I really wanted to use Letters to a Daughter money to help two moms in the Stepping into Motherhood community as they have encountered some of the toughest battles any of us moms could imagine this past year with breast cancer and having a stillborn death. I closed up October's book sales yesterday. I didn't get the initial sales I hoped for, but I think with the holidays coming around there will be more. We were able to raise the first $50 donation for one of the moms of the  Stepping into Motherhood community with the sales these last two weeks of October. I'm hoping with November sales I'll be able to sell enough books to make a $50 donation to the second mom in our community that could use a little help.

Both of these moms currently have GoFund pages at Doty Memorial Fund  and Taking on Cancer with Leslea too if you'd like to make a donation or share them on your personal pages. With the end of October though I've sold over 150 books and if I can hopefully sell out all the ones I have in stock currently I'll reach almost 200 sold books and definitely have the $50 to donate to the second mom of our Stepping into Motherhood community.

If you would like to support my writing and the Stepping into Motherhood moms, you can purchase a copy of Letters to a Daughter here or check out my independent author bookstore. If you're interested in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book contact me at glennbabies@gmail.com You can also email me at glennbabies@gmail.com for a discount on three or more copies of Letters to a Daughter or to package any of the four books I'm a part of together.

As always, thanks to my readers, because it is way more fun being a writer with readers than one with no readers!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Girl Mom to Boy Mom: Trucks, Balls, Pensises- Oh My!

"You don't have any brothers, do you?" the pediatrician asked in response to my question about my son's penis.

Nope. I was raised with all sisters. I'd been raising sisters for the past eight and half years until 18 months ago, so yeah, I know very little about penises and everything else around it. My experience up until 18 months ago was very limited in the world of miniature males. But in case my mom may read this I knew absolutely nothing about penises period until at least 18! On second thought, if my dad reads this, I was at least 25! No knowledge of male anatomy! So this boy mom world is a whole new eye awakening experience for me.

What a crazy world it is, too! They're so......different. They're rough, they don't sit still, there's a bit of this untamable, wild spirit about them. The thing is mine is sweet. He's not a get mad and hit you kind of kid; he's a pretty happy kid most of the time. But he'll playfully head butt you because he thinks it's the same as nuzzling you nose to nose. Never had a biter but this one thinks nothing of walking up to one of us and affectionately biting us in the back of the leg or the butt- whatever he can reach- he's not picky. I can be sitting down and he'll jump on my back and have me in a headlock, ready to wrestle me to the floor if he was just a little bigger. All of this in the expression of showing me how much he loves me, not ever because he's mad or angry.

This boy loves his trucks and balls- the sports balls! He'll launch those balls across the room right at you and ram those trucks right into your ankles like he's trying to bulldoze you right over. Silence means trouble is no joke with this guy. He covered our basement in small piles of cat food all over the basement the other day, and  you should never leave a boy alone for long or who knows what they'll destroy. This little guy doesn't mess around either when he tries to take things apart. He got out his dad real screwdriver and was attempting to unscrew the vent to our heater the other day. He's going to be a real fixer upper one day. Let's just hope he doesn't tear down the house in the meantime.

But there is a special sweetness about a momma's boy. He loves to cuddle and rock with his momma at the end of the day. I don't know whether it's because he's the baby or he 's boy but he's a bit needier than the girls when it comes to needing soothed back to sleep though. My husband reminded me the other day that I give him a hard time for babying and giving in to the girls after I once again gave into the poor little guy. But his sisters left him behind and it just broke his poor little heart so I just had to come to the rescue. Those baby boys really do grab at their momma's hearts.

Then, yes, there is the whole penis thing. Why are they so fascinated with it?  They are quite proud of it. Always wanting to touch it. Have to make sure it didn't go anywhere I guess. Apparently there's great pride in being able to stand up to pee too. With this big ole smirk on his face the other day he proudly stands up in the tub just to watch his pee arch back into the bathtub beside where his sister is playing. He thought it was cool; us girls not so much.

This raising a boy thing is a whole new world for sure! I can't wait to see what the years ahead are like because I'm sure this one will keep us on our toes. Look at him though- a little rough, wild, and rambunctious but how could a momma not give this face whatever he wants !

                          Check out my bookstore to get your copy of my newest journal book between mothers and daughters, Letters to a Daughter

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Strength and Power within Her

I have watched some women's amazing stories unfold through my connection with them whether it's been women I've known most of my life, that I've connected with through motherhood or here online, or women I've met through work. I think we underestimate the incredible strength of the woman; I think we underestimate our own strength.

I've watched these women move on from the heartbreak of their love moving on without them to building themselves a life of independence and a fulfilling career in politics, I've watched another realize life is too short to wait on your dreams after the passing of a dear cousin to successfully pursue her dream photography business, I've watched another battle breast cancer with three small children at home and a classroom of little six year olds that she was there for without hardly missing a beat. I've listened to the stories of others that have confided in me the heartache of multiple loss pregnancies but you would never know in the way they bravely carried on or courageously stepped forward to share their stories to help others. I've watched friends my own age say good bye to their parents at their untimely young deaths, yet despite their pain and grief they beautifully told the stories that would keep their parents' legacy alive for others that loved them and their own children . The stories of a woman's bravery and courage could go on for each of us.

These things have the power to break us down. For a bit maybe they do, but I've watched her- very possibly you- gather up those broken down pieces and put them back together into a new even more beautiful masterpiece than you were. Yes the cracks-the scars- are there but they just allow for the power of light within us to shine through now and reach out to the others that may now be empowered and inspired by our stories. It is in those crumbling moments when we've been broken down that we find we are stronger than we ever believed. It is in the moments we rise up, we overcome, and we carry those scars boldly that we tell the story of the power and strength of a woman for ourselves, for those that know us, and for those little girls that watch us.

We don't owe anybody our stories. For those that have bravely shared theirs I am forever grateful because I know the vulnerability in sharing our struggles. I do believe there is empowerment in our struggles. Whatever your struggles may be I hope you've found you are strong and there is bravery in how you carry on.

But it was these stories I've been honored to hear and watch and the awe inspiring strength of the women I know that truly inspired my Letters to a Daughter. No one has to know our stories but if we could bravely share them with our daughters they too can hopefully be inspired and empowered in overcoming the struggles they will face as they navigate broken hearts, chasing career ambitions and their dreams, overcoming the loss of loved ones and pregnancies, and in facing illnesses and battles that will try to hinder their momentum forward in life.

"May we know strong women, may we be strong women, and may we raise strong women," mommas!

My Letters to a Daughter is 25% off this week with coupon code LULU25 at checkout. Daughters, whether younger or older, will love this keepsake of your written stories that you choose to share with them.

                                     Photo credit Sandia Pantano Imaging and Photography

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review of the Ha-Ha Joke Coloring Book

My girls at 8 and almost 6 love to color. I'm always trying to find new color workbooks for them for our long road trips. Even though regular old color books work well, I like to try to find them things that are more interactive and different to give them some variety on those long evening drives like we have coming up this next week.

This week just in time for our trip we received the HAHA Color-Me Joke Book in the mail. My girls love attempting to tell jokes. I say attempting because usually they forget the punch line, and my husband and I are just left staring at them with this confused look on our faces before we force ourselves to laugh and then we laugh for real because their joke telling was so bad.

But with the HAHA Color-Me Joke Book they can actually read us the correct punch lines so we don't have to fake laugh for them. Not only are there 28 actual jokes they'll be able to read and maybe actually remember the correct punch line for but there's a picture for them to color with each joke. I'm sure on our upcoming trip my husband and I will probably even have the jokes memorized ourselves as they read them to us multiple times on the way up and back. There are also several pages in the back of the book for them to attempt to write their own jokes! And a few jokes with no pictures to color where they can draw the image  themselves to go with the joke.

The girls are excited to take them on our upcoming trip and I love that it will have them reading, coloring, drawing, and writing all in one book! These would make great birthday party favor gifts or inexpensive Christmas gifts for the littles on your list.

You can order your copy here for $9.99. For every book sold the author Neesha Mirchandani will be donating a free copy to a child in need.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month: We Won't Forget

I knew as I awakened in the dark silence of the night that the baby was gone. I could feel my body physically rejecting its presence, but the ache in my heart at the confirmation that my fear this baby would be lost too, would last long past the physical pains and discomforts.

I cried silent tears in the night at what was lost. I'd have to tell my daughters that we lost another baby again. They would be sad in the moment, but they wouldn't mourn the baby's loss on the monumental dates ahead that would have marked the baby's growth.  They'd never think of April as the month we would have learned if it was a boy or girl or that in August it would have been the baby’s birth date. The knowledge of those moments, as well as this one, the date the baby's short existence ended, are a burden a mother alone carries.

I will go about my days as if nothing is amiss while I quietly mourn what was not meant to be. Some will know and understand my loss while others may wonder how I can miss someone I never met. But a mother begins to sense and connect with her baby shortly after conception. I knew you, my baby, though I never saw your face, and it was only for a few short months. I imagined our future together that will now never be more than a lost dream. I will join the ranks of those women that mourn babies they never got to meet.

Though there may be more babies that follow- a rainbow baby they call it- for me to love, a mother never forgets the babies she has lost. I will often wonder what you would have been like. How you would have fit into the dynamics of our family and the relationship you would have had with your siblings? Few will ever even know of your existence but know your short little time with me left a lasting impression on me, and I will never forget you, my sweet angel baby that was never meant to be a part of this world.

Check out my recent essay on post partum depression here.
Join our online facebook book launch of my new Letters to a Daughter here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It's About the Relationship

At Christmas I gave my oldest daughter a journal book for us to write to one another back and forth in and I will probably start this tradition with my second daughter next Christmas. My hope is this is something we continue through their teenage years. At only eight years old I can already see both hers and my emotions getting in the way of being able to effectively communicate with one another at times. I want this journal to be a place where we can go after our emotions cool to reopen the door of communication between us.

We're only a few months into this third grade thing and I can already tell we've turned a corner here. A fellow mom of a now fourth grader warned me third grade was a big transition year. As Ave and I have talked about how school is getting much more intense with more homework, actual letter grades and so many tests it seems like, and more competitive sports, I've mentioned how this is just the beginning of things getting harder.

It makes me sad on one hand to think that already the easiest part of her childhood is already over. I know as she's stepped up onto the more competitive soccer field she's struggled self esteem wise with it, I've seen her hide the one poor grade out of about a dozen other A/B papers she brought home and then burst into tears when I asked her what she was hiding because she didn't want us to know she struggled with something the first time, and the friend drama already started in second grade and I imagine that's only going to get crazier from here. Though she hasn't hit puberty yet, I am afraid to see how much more emotional she's going to get in the years ahead.

I know we have high expectations of her, and my dad so kindly pointed out to me sometimes as parents we don't have realistic expectations of our kids. He's right. She's only eight, and I've always treated the girl as being older than she is. Though we may butt heads, she's a really great kid.  But she's my first and there are going to be so many growing pains between us as we figure out this preteen to adolescent to grown daughter thing in the next ten years.

Here's the thing, mommas, I'm going to make a shit ton of mistakes. Probably way more than her, but because I'll push her to excel, push her limits so she can reach her max potential, hold her accountable even when it breaks my heart because she thinks I'm the most awful mother, and I'll try to do what I think is best for her in the long run even if it temporarily makes her angry and frustrated with me because I'm her mother first and her friend second, the years ahead aren't always going to be easy. Her emotions are going to the get the best of her and though I'm the adult mine will probably get the best of me too.

I wanted us to have a safe place to be a calm center for us, a place that was for building our relationship, not adding to the tearing down of it that can result in those heated arguments between mothers and daughters. The constructive criticism and redirection and "parenting" would all happen as the moments unfolded but this would be a place for us to reconnect and rebuild our relationship with positivity and gratitude for one another. Despite all the trials and emotions of this phase of our life together I want there to be no doubt in her mind of the depth of my love and admiration for her in those tough moments now and for her to hold onto years down the road when maybe I'm not there to remind her despite her struggles she is loved and will always being amazing in her momma's eyes.

She loves our little journal, and I can always tell when she's read it as the encouragement I leave her in there seems to remind her despite mistakes and struggles she may be having I still think she's amazing. It was from starting this with her that I decided to create Letters to a Daughter. Whereas my writing at first started as an opportunity to do something I have loved since the third grade, it has become so much about building relationships. First I wrote here on the blog to build relationships and connections with other moms. That's been an amazing experience for me.

But as a mother and a daughter myself, as I've watched friends my age start to lose their own mothers; as my cousin, sisters, and I had a smack in the face with our own mortality with a cancer diagnosis to one of us last spring that thankfully is in remission now, and our newsfeeds too often remind us of tragic losses of young mothers I wanted to create something that was for us as mothers and daughters. I didn't want my writing this time to be about creating a relationship between me and other moms- this blog has already done that- but I wanted to give something back to readers that would give them the opportunity to build two of the most valuable relationships they have- the one with their daughter and the one with their mother.

It will be for sale in paperback for $13.99 and hardback for $21.48 next Tuesday. I hope you can attend the the facebook launch party that is next Tuesday through Thursday. Join the event to see how you can enter to win a free copy and there should be publisher coupon codes I can offer throughout the event to get the book discounted. My goal is to sell 125 books in these three days so I can hopefully donate $100 to three different families medical needs- two of which have been readers here since the beginning in 2012.

As always, thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sibling Rivalry: Her Success is Never Your Failure

I watched her sulk away, my motherly instinct torn between smacking her upside the head for attitude and wanting to give her hug to tell her despite her attitude and my lecturing of it I understood. Her sister just wanted her to recognize her success on the soccer field this year; it wasn't about her success in comparison to her sister's. She was just proud of how much she had improved since last year, yet sulky big sister saw it as another reminder of her struggles in the current season.

Though it was soccer to both of them, they were playing on two different playing fields- literally and figuratively. Five year olds can score a zillion goals a game because well really they don't know how to play and they just chase each other around like a swarm of bees. But the eight year olds playing travel ball for the first time had to build their skill, work hard for every little goal, and it was about team wins, not individual goals. This phase for them was just another valuable lesson they'd first learn from each other because this was just the beginning of them understanding how different the "playing fields" were for each of us.

How many times as grown women do we do the same thing my oldest just did to my youngest? How many times do we avoid congratulating someone or offering someone support because we see it as a reflection of our own short comings or flaws rather than just being happy for someone's victory because just as my younger daughter never saw it as being better than her big sister, more times than not, women don't see their successes and victories as better than someone else; it's just about personal victory in being better than their former self.

I totally get my oldest's struggle this season; it's been a knock to her confidence. Last week she scored her first goal of the season, and to see her pride in herself was something we all missed seeing this year. I know all too well though how we can let our failures or lack of success quickly overshadow the glimpses of success that we get. How many times do I myself let my own failures as a teacher or writer discourage and weigh me down to the point that I am the grumpy the eight year old I'm staring down at, trying to figure out how to tell her to manage her own frustration with herself without tearing down her sister in the process. I'm the 36 year old version of her- frustrated with some editor's latest rejection, frustrated with some latest walk through observation, frustrated with some parent's latest complaint. Those tend to overshadow my one in about five acceptances or positive feedback verse criticism or parent thank you verse complaint so my first reaction at someone else's success is to react in a somewhat similar salty way. But then I remember their success isn't about the lack of my own. Their "playing field" and challenges on their field to overcome to reach their successes are different than the ones I must overcome. We'll all reach our successes and victories in our own time, and they'll be mixed in with our failures and setback. This will be the case with their friends and the women they surround themselves with as well so I hope they always remember the biggest competition we're trying to best is not the girls or women in our lives but ourselves. 

I guess it's good to have a healthy sibling rivalry to some extent, but I hope they each learn their sister's successes is never their failure. They are each going to excel at different things and at different times throughout their whole life.

My Letters to a Daughter book for parents and daughters will be released later this month. Be sure to join the online launch party here for all the details.

Check out my latest published piece on motherhood after depression on Lose the Cape

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Looking for America

I saw the look of fear in her eyes. First that he slipped under the water, and then again as she looked around to see who had possibly seen her quick moment of maternal failure. As she yanked him upright in the water I told her, “My son just took a dunk too. They’ll both be fine though.”

She adjusted the hijab on her head and her now wet clothes as she nodded. I offered her a smile and her apprehension- whether towards me as a stranger or her sudden heart failure at her son slipping in the water- seemed to subside. She moved her son back closer to the edge of the pool so she could sit on the ledge like I was.

“How old is he?” I asked.

“Fifteen months,” she said in perfect English.

“Mine turns a year old in a few days. First boy. They’re a little more of a handful than girls I’m finding,” I said. She nodded, still seeming hesitant at my attempt for conversation.

Her son splashed in the water near mine. My son mirrored her son’s motions and before long the two were slapping at the water, giggling at the constant spray of water. “If only adults interacted like children,” I thought.  I looked around the crowded water park. As the children played they would make new friends. I could see my daughter going up and down the little kiddie slide a few feet away with a little girl she just met. She’d run up to me in a bit like she usually does and tell me how she made a new friend. That’s the way children played. They didn’t know religious, racial, or economic differences. They just saw someone fun that was willing to interact with them. But in the adult world we not only saw the differences but as the recent political climate has shown we attack those differences, thinking one made someone better than another. If it wasn’t our own judgments and bias preventing us from opening a conversation about our differences it was the judgments and bias we felt passed against us.

I grew up in the middle of white middle class America. I left home at 23 on a search for America. I wanted to see her sights, understand her history better, explore her culture, and meet more of her people. Even though I experienced my first culture shock on the outskirts of Washington D.C. where I found myself surrounded by people of varied races, religion, and languages, I’d learn to see her differently everywhere.

But as much as I came to appreciate and see the beauty in her diversity I also came to see how divided we were as a country in who we all saw America as. Some saw Syrian refugees as a threat to our national security; whereas, I saw the boy that sat in the back of my American Lit class that wrote a beautiful story about leaving Syria at the age of five to come to America for better opportunities. Whereas some saw Muslims as terrorist, I saw the boy that stayed after class almost every day to put up the chairs around my room after all his classmates left for the day and would tell me to have a nice evening or weekend as he left.  Some would see a random black man walking on the street as a possible threat, but I saw the big tall black kid in my class as one of the biggest gentle giants I had ever encountered in my life who loved to talk to and tease my daughter when we attended his wrestling matches. Some saw the Hispanic immigrant as the one taking what was “his” or “hers”, but  I saw the immigrant girl in my class as one of the hardest workers I’d ever taught as she valued her education as an opportunity to make herself a better life. Some saw the poor kid on free and reduced meals as someone expecting a handout, but I saw someone that had been dealt a crappy hand out of her control that approached each day with a hope and positivity so many others dealt more lacked. Some saw the homosexual boy as just acting out for attention, but I saw a boy that just wanted love and acceptance like everyone else.

I first truly found America in those diversified classrooms of America’s youth, but as I searched to understand and appreciate her better I began to see her more. I started to see that she was everywhere as I traveled back and forth between the East Coast and Midwest. She was there in the farmers I saw working away on their fields across the plains of Ohio to Missouri in the hot setting July sun. She was there in the way the wait staff greeted customers with their southern hospitality in the mountains of Tennessee.  I saw her in the big hopes and dreams of the strangers I passed as we walked the streets of Hollywood. I saw her in the people that made it their life’s work to revitalize their small downtowns or their communities and schools. America wasn’t just a color of white or dark skin; she wasn’t just a religion of Jewish, Christian, or Muslim; nor was she who she was just because she was rich, middle class, or poor. Who America was wasn’t based on a race, a religion, or a certain income level though it seemed we saw her that way first. Rather she was a strong work ethic, she was hope, she was community, and she was acceptance. She was all of us- working towards achieving something the world missed. America’s hope was to achieve unity in our sense of work ethic and compassion in a world too often divided by our differences.

When tragedy has stuck our nation over and over again, as has been the case all too much recently, the heroes that stepped forward to risk their own lives and offer help were of all races, religions, political parties, and social classes. We all bleed red, and just as evil lurks in humanity regardless of the labels placed upon us as people, the heroes are cloaked in all labels of humanity too. It’s not skin color, political party, money, or even our religion that separates good from evil but what lurks in our hearts and our minds. The light and the darkness is there, hovering on the cusp of who each of us can be, and though it may be easy for some to always choose the light, our true American humanity shines through when we reach into the darkness to help pull one another deeper into the light of hope.  

I looked at the kids who made new friends as they played in that water park in the middle of Wisconsin in the middle of this country that I loved and hoped that maybe they would be the generation that could put the division of our races, sexuality, and religion behind us and be the kind of America she was always meant to be. Here in the hearts of our young is where the hope and acceptance of what America was lived. They were not cloaked in their skin color or their differences but in their hope for something better.
                                                     Image provided by Spirtuality Photo Ideas



Friday, September 29, 2017

Celebrate the Victories!

It is Friday, but not just any Friday for me this year. This week last year is when everything started to unravel at a rapid uncontrollable pace for me. All week my facebook memory reminded me of my struggles from this week last year where I was desperate for sleep from a then six month old that decided to have a sleep regression crisis all while I was trying to prepare for an observation in a class where though I had one more week than I do this year to memorize kids' names that my foggy brain could not grasp while I was also suppose to be getting papers graded on the new grading scale for upcoming interim reports on top of the usual chaos at home with chores and this kid has that and this kid has this.

I pulled this from the blog post I wrote on this exact day last year:
"So this week I failed. I feel miserably.  I failed at my job, I definitely failed as a housewife as the dirty dishes in the sink can attest to that, I'm not doing very well in the marriage department at the moment, my uncharacteristically crying seven year old and my four year old putting baby food in her brother's eye and not having a six month old sleep through the night might be indicating I'm failing motherhood at the moment too, and I even failed at being the damn tooth fairy this week."

I was trying to find the humor in it all but two half weeks later I reached a point I never thought I could reach. Hitting that crashing wall of reality was a huge blow to my self esteem and to my sense of self. No one probably puts higher expectations onto me than I do myself, and as much as I can sit here and say we all need to cut ourselves a break and love ourselves, I am sometimes the first person that needs to hear my own advice. I had this vision in my head as I headed back to work for the first time as a mom of three a year ago as I was also approaching the big 3-5 in October that I was going to nail this whole working mom balancing act. Year after year I felt like I fell short but yet felt a little more balanced and headed in the right direction. So when I failed miserably it was like I had a self identity mid life crisis, if that is such a thing.

Even though the unraveling of myself peaked in October, it was a longer road than I'd like back to myself. I know for all of us at some point it feels like every day is a fight- a fight with ourselves to be who we envision with who we are in that moment, a fight with being who everybody else thinks we need to be verse who we are, a fight to get over the failures and the let downs and get back up and move forward.

This past summer was the absolute best medicine I could have given myself. I got time away alone with my husband to just be "wife", I got to be a stay at home mom with my kids for four weeks and just be "mom", I put in a lot of working at home hours on preparing for the upcoming school year to focus on the  "teacher" me without the pressure of being teacher and put in hours as the "writer" me without having to battle time to fit it in amongst all the other roles I typically fill throughout a day. I got to individually dedicate so much individual time to all the roles that make me "me", but as approached going back to work and juggling all those roles at once again, my anxiety was through the roof. There was that little nagging voice in my head saying, "It's all too much. You can't do it. You're going to miserably fail again at balancing all the balls in the air."

But here I am at the end of the fourth week of school when the to do lists and the expectations seem to grow and start to consume you. There were about two times this week I could feel my anxiety start to kick in with some unrealistic expectation, but with a little help from my oils it passed quickly. Who knows what's around the corner but if there's anything I've started to learn it's to take the victories where you can. I don't know about you but sometimes it feels like there are way more defeats than there are victories. So here it Friday after staying after school to help students make up work this week before the interim cut off, catching up on grading for those irrelevant but must do interim reports, organizing the school's underclass portrait pictures for next week, getting the yearbook up and running this week, having some great teaching moments with kids in response to stereotypes and race, completing my book revisions to begin the final process to get it ready to publish next month, getting in two of my three workouts (Sundays are typically #3), participating in an online writing promotion event that though I wouldn't do it again I gave it a try, getting another essay accepted for paid publication, working some more on the kids' individual photobooks that I'm hoping to give them at Christmas, running kids every night but one to Girl Scouts and soccer practices, starting to look into refinancing our rental house, and even finishing the sixth book in a series I'm reading. And I feel great! I don't feel overwhelmed or crazy stressed. I feel like the girl that can do it again! I can do busy again. I can juggle the balls without completely losing myself or my mind.

It's not like it was a perfect by any means. I dropped my keys in the trash can one day after work so that was fun to dig out, my laundry- oh my laundry- it's ridiculous but who cares, I haven't mopped our new floors since we got them a month ago, my house is a DISASTER right now (but don't worry everyone will be pitching in tomorrow to clean it up because I think they know by now this is all of our house, not just momma's so everyone pitches in to take care of it),   I did lose my patience with my kids a few times, and I was going to attempt to cook chicken parm but then passed it off to my husband to do at the last minute so I only ended up being the cook one night this week when usually I've had two of the nights.

But it's all okay.  I'm calling this week a big win for myself. I wallow in my defeats sometimes way too long, so for today I'm celebrating the victory of this week.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's Your Happily Ever After, Mama

                                      Image provided by Sandia Pantano Imaging and Photography

As mothers, there are moments where we feel like we’re stuck in the early childrearing years of those days of runny noses, crying toddlers, butt wiping, and constant repetition of cartoons, activities, stories, and bedtime rituals. One minute we can’t wait for them to be older and more independent so they won’t need us as much, but then at other times we just want to savor these innocent early childhood days. But when it’s all said and done, it will just seem like it happened in a blink of an eye. These early years will feel like yesterday one moment and forever ago the next.

            We find ourselves lost in the shuffle of carpooling kids, practices, rehearsals, baths, meals, school activities, and play dates. This flow of motherhood seems to overtake our lives at certain points. At different points along the way it can seem like we lose sight of our own interests, our old friends, our own relationship with our spouse, our own career ambitions and goals because we are now on a road directed by our children. Some days we think about how this wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. Then one day the chaos will die down, our children will be grown, and we will catch ourselves trying to identify who we are again. As mothers, the role of momma overtakes every other identity we have ever had. One day they will grow up and even though we are still their mothers, their constant need for us gets smaller, and we are left with rediscovering who we are.  We will survive these early years of child rearing but we won’t be the same person we were before we began the journey. It’ll be this new woman that conquered childrearing, was supermom and superwoman at times, that we will be left with rediscovering at the end of this journey.  No matter our choices, motherhood is each woman’s personal journey from the girl she was to the woman she will become. Along the way there will be bumps in the road but we will survive.

Social Media can leave us with this myth sometimes that parenthood is always happy and wonderful. Social Media creates a clashing world of illusion and reality, but we can’t let the myths of parenthood shape our perceptions and expectations so much that we lose sight of who we are or who our kids are. We want everyone to know we have our happily ever after but real life is not a Disney story.

My oldest daughter is all about the Disney princesses. She loves to dress as one, she claims her daddy is her prince, and at night one of the princess stories is almost always selected for the night's reading. There's some speculation and concern out there about little girls' obsession with the princess culture and the misleading myths it creates, but a question my daughter asked me one night that left me thinking and pondering way past the last happily ever after line was, "Will I live happily ever after, Mommy?" I thought about how even though we know real life is not a Disney story, how does our belief in happily ever after shape our perceptions and expectations when we begin this life of motherhood and marriage.

As little girls we dream of our wedding day, who will be our prince, and how we will live our days out in happiness. I believe happiness is a choice we choose but even so there are challenges that we will all face throughout our lives that will challenge our faith, our love, that very happiness we fight so hard to have. I pray every day that my girls live long, happy lives. I hope they experience falling in love and experience the joy of starting their own families. But I don’t want them to be confused about what it means to live happily ever after.

Happily ever after exists in the moment we gaze into the eyes of the person we love and vow our love to one another. Happily ever after exists in the moment we watch our loved one fall head over heels in love with our child. Happily ever after is in the moments of watching our daughter dance on her daddy's toes and our son call mommy his princess. Happily ever after exists in the moment we are all together laughing and joking around the dinner table. Happily ever after is in the moments in the backyard camped out together around the campfire or under the evening stars. Happily ever after exists in the moments that laughter fills our house. Happily ever after exists in the moments we see our kid hit the ball out of the park, see them dressed for her first dance, and watch our child walk across the stage for graduation. Happily ever after exists in the moments we celebrate the beautiful, successful people our children have become. Happily ever after exists in the moments our children with their children gather in our home. Happily ever after exists in the moments we enjoy the quiet of our spouse's company.

So for every woman out there that’s ever dreamed of happily ever after just remember they are random moments that happen over and over again throughout your life. In between the moments there may be sadness and doubt but hopefully in the end you have lived enough happily ever moments to make your story complete. It’s your story, Mama, write it well.

Do you want to read more about embracing and loving yourself as the mother you are? Today you can get my book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas for $8 plus shipping.
I'm also a part of Chicken Soup for the Soul's The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide and their recent Curvy and Confident and have an overstock I need to sell so  message me at glennbabies@gmail.com for a signed copy for today's special of $12 including shipping payable through paypal or check.
Be sure to follow us on facebook.



Put Guilt in Its Place

Today's digital world puts unrealistic expectations of perfection on us as moms at times. Even if we can let the idea of perfection and society’s judgments go and are happy with the mothers we are, for most of us it still doesn’t completely eliminate the guilt we sometimes encounter as mothers. In my own journey I found letting perfection and judgment go to be much easier than letting go of the guilt. This one I find much harder to walk away from and at times have questioned my own choices because of my own guilt.  No matter what choices we make, especially when it comes to that tough decision of staying home with our babies or maintaining our career outside of the home, there can be that sense of lurking guilt. If we work, it’s the guilt that we should be spending every possible moment with our babies and nurturing them ourselves, rather than leaving them in the care of a babysitter or daycare provider.

If we stay home and sacrifice our career ambitions it could feel like we’re not contributing to the household finances or have guilt about giving up our own career or dreams. This tug a war of mom choices I feel has lead to an epidemic of mom guilt. I often wonder due to modern choices and media influences if today’s mother suffers from more guilt than the generations before us.

The thing is it wasn't the managing all the balls in the air that was so hard for me. Many of us have done that in our pre children lives. Many of us worked, had extra activities or commitments, went to school sometimes on top of a full time job, ran a household, and planned for whatever big life event was next. The modern, post feminist woman of today is incredibly ambitious; she can handle juggling all those balls in the air. I had managed multitasking well before I had kids. What I came to realize though was although I could balance lots of things, if I couldn’t give everything 100% in the past I was okay with that because I would always still accomplish everything. I could BS my way through any homework assignment if I didn't have time; I could put off cleaning the house or washing the dishes or doing the laundry. I could not be there 100% mentally for my job for a day or so when things got to be too much.  I was okay with doing all those things at once but only giving them 75% of myself when needed in order to get everything finished. But I was not okay with giving my kids 75%. They deserved 100% plus, but unfortunately with all the things as a working mom that I had to take care of in a given day, there are too many days than I care to admit that they didn't get the 100% they deserved from me. This is where as a mother the guilt overwhelms me at different points and makes me question every choice I make with raising my children.

To work on overcoming my guilt, I remind myself often to focus on the positives and not the flaws I see in my mothering abilities or choices. I remind myself that it’s not quantity but quality that matters. Even if I can't be at home with them all day, I try to make the best of the time we do get to spend together by coloring, baking, playing in the backyard, going for walks, taking family trips and adventures, and cuddling every chance we get. Hopefully, in the end they'll turn out to be the remarkable people my husband and I  know they can be, and our children will  know and understand how much we truly love them, even if it did seem at times we were too distracted with all the other things going on in life.

Sometimes though the mommy guilt is not even about working or not working, but rather it’s feelings of guilt that we didn’t make them a more nutritional dinner and opted for drive thru chicken nuggets again, that we let them cry themselves to sleep, that we yelled at them too harshly for misbehaving, that we don’t see our friends anymore, or that we took a night away from home to go spend time with our friends or have a night out with our husband. We feel guilty that we sometimes rush the kids off to bed so we can just have a moment to ourselves. We feel guilty that we want to go to work because sometimes work is easier than being at home.

We shouldn’t even go to Pinterest or Facebook to see all the great meals, crafts, parties,  home décor, and do it yourself projects everyone else seems to be mastering. Half of the time we even feel guilt for that. We see it as a reminder of what we haven’t accomplished yet. We think our kids are going to suffer because we’re not that “cool” mom that’s the jack of so many trades.  For me feeding my kids, finding matching decorations for their next party in the Walmart aisle, fixing the hole in one of their shirts, and making sure they got their homework done without coloring the walls or whatever else is victory enough. Our mothering capabilities aren’t dependent on our Pinterest successes. 

No matter what decisions we make something always makes us feel guilty or that we’re not doing something we should have done. We always wonder what it’d be like if we made a different choice. But there is no rewind button so I’m slowly learning to accept and make the best of the choices I have made and put guilt in its place, back in the closest with all the other monsters.  

Do you want to read more about embracing and loving yourself as the mother you are? Today you can get my book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas for $8 plus shipping.
I'm also a part of Chicken Soup for the Soul's The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide and their recent Curvy and Confident and have an overstock I need to sell so  message me at glennbabies@gmail.com for a signed copy for today's special of $12 including shipping payable through paypal or check.
Be sure to follow us on facebook.



Mother To Do List of the Bedroom

In the balancing act of motherhood I often feel the role I sacrifice the most is that of wife. I do "wife" things, but I feel that I'm so emotionally overcharged with all the other obligations of life at times that I neglect to put in the emotional connection that I should to my marriage. Marriage after kids is a different relationship than it was before the kids. I look at my husband and me in our crazy hectic lives with three kids, a dog, a cat, homeownership, two careers, side pet projects, and grad school and will occasionally wonder are we normal? Is this the way our relationship is suppose to be at this point? We're here together a decade later; we're a team working together to manage this crazy life we love but drown in sometimes.

Sometimes, I miss the him and I that we use to be. I think almost every mother I know has at some point proudly posted on Facebook how she traded her party nights in for her wonderful children and her thin, younger, sexier body for warrior stretch marks she now wears proudly. Maybe I agree with that most days, but I’m not going to lie. I willingly gave up my party nights for our three beautiful children I love more than anything, but every once in awhile I’d trade those comfy mom panties in to dig sexy out of the back of the underwear drawer for a fun night out on the town with my husband before crawling back into my old body in bed next to my five year old. I'm pretty sure there are days my husband misses that girl too. I wish for my younger, thinner body many more days than I care to admit. The muffin top look and stretch marks don't exactly shout sexy.

We all moved forward in this journey called life to the next chapter of parenthood, but why do we pretend that every once in awhile we don’t miss the girl we were before motherhood?  Don’t get me wrong; I love the who we are as mommy and daddy that we’ve  become. We are different and better people than we were then. But again as the fairy tale that we all envision as young girls slips further and further away and reality settles in, the everyday life of parenthood and all the balance that it entails, I hate the widening gap of who we use to be to who we are. We're so busy, we're so tired, and we're so overwhelmed. We love each other but don't know how to make time for just each other sometimes.

          We know our marriage should be on the higher end of a woman’s priority list; however,

sometimes what we envision and what happens isn’t always the same. Unfortunately, when all that

stress builds up sometimes our poor husbands are the scapegoat or target of all that built up mom

frustration. That can also be because as much as we love our husbands and as much as they help and

support us sometimes they just don't get it.

This is maybe when they ask those questions they should have just kept to themselves such as the times when they ask, "Ewww, are you going to shave your legs? Aren't you going to fix your hair or something? You're wearing that out in public?" Or the better ones after a LONG day, "You wanna have sex?" or "Why do you seem so angry? Haven't you already had your period this month?"

So here are my answers to those wonder husband questions that we all encounter at different points. First, if I get a moment, A MOMENT, to myself today, maybe even this week, shaving my legs is NOT at the top of the me list. My shirt? Sorry, it's covered in baby snot, tears, blood from those bloody knees, and whatever else comes out of these adorable little things we call our children, but I either didn't have the time to change it or I haven't had a chance to do laundry. But again what the public thinks of me is the least of my worries right now. Sex? Hmmm, I am so tired right now I feel like I'm running a race to a finish line I can’t see in sight. I haven't had a chance to shower, I probably haven't shaved my legs in weeks, my hair is literally standing on end, the kids are crying, the dog is barking, I just ate a half a pan of brownies for comfort and feel bloated, and I haven't had five minutes to sit down without someone needing or demanding something from me and you want to have sex! Last, just realize I have my period every Wednesday night through Friday because everything irritates and makes me mad at this point. At this point I don't want anything looking at me, touching me, pointing at me, or anything! So, yes, come the end of the week, I may be a little grouchy, tired, undesirable, filthy, and maybe a little overwhelmed, but I love you and will be better Saturday. Saturdays are a good day for sex but Wednesdays are not!

Sometimes it’s a hard decision to make between sex or sleep! As every parent has probably discovered sleep becomes a rare commodity at certain points in parenthood. Sleep and let's be honest I’m sure we all have sex less than we used to.  If our children are not zapping every last drop of our energy some of them are even set on invading every private moment in our lives. My eight year old once informed us she was "always going to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. Forever, Mommy!" I’m sure I’m not the only mother that is wondering how long it’s going to be until I have a childless bed again. I’ve decided the reason science says women have their peak in their sex drive in their 40s is because they probably have more energy than they’ve had in the last twenty raising children. I’m sure one day it won’t feel so crazy that we have to set aside a special day for sex or feel like we’re sneaking around our house again like teenagers to do the deed. It’s just when we’re living in the craziness of those early child rearing years, it seems so far away.

We all became women before we had children, but with the birth of our children we become a different woman. In the beginning sometimes it’s hard to find and identify with who this new woman is that now must balance motherhood with wife, employee, and whatever other roles we hold. We all hope to move the to do list of the bedroom higher up, and I’m sure our husbands no matter how high on the list we put it wish it were higher.

            Our spouses and our marriages need to be a priority though. This is something I am constantly working on as I continue my journey through motherhood. I don’t want to be strangers when our children are grown and leave home. Even though I do look forward to using that time to rekindle some romance hopefully, I know it’s also important to find ways to rekindle it now while we’re lost in the chaotic years of parenthood. It’s so easy to take each other for granted and fall into the daily routines that result from years of being so comfortable with one another, but as a child of parents that have been married for over 35 years I also know a good solid marriage is a wonderful gift to give to our children. So, moms, put daddy up closer to the top of the to do list and don’t feel guilty for those much needed date nights or even getaway trips  for rekindling your relationship and love for one another.

Do you want to read more about embracing and loving yourself as the mother you are? Today you can get my book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas for $8 plus shipping.
I'm also a part of Chicken Soup for the Soul's The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide and their recent Curvy and Confident and have an overstock I need to sell so message me at glennbabies@gmail.com for a signed copy for today's special of $12 including shipping payable through paypal or check.
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