Where Do I Go From Here?

Sitting with my 3 year old last night after she woke up from a nightmare, my heart just stopped as I read the news, the nightmares are outside our front door in this sinful fallen world, and I wish I knew how to protect my babies from it.

I have avoided these topics, continued to shy away, not wanting to get into any real discussion, and then this week, something hit me between the eyes as I watched those videos of those men being shot, and now the stream of people peacefully protesting and running as LEO’s are being gunned down, I am a part of the problem. For me to avoid these conversations for fear of what people may think, is my complete fear of man taking over. For me to sit back and not say anything is standing idly by as innocent lives are taken, so after so much prayer and a lot of thought, I am done being silent.

We have become a nation of keyboard warriors. We us social media for our platforms, we don’t sit down and speak with others anymore and genuinely listen to one another and their thoughts, view, beliefs and ideals, to maybe learn something, gain a new perspective. We stick to people that act like us, believe like us and have the same thoughts we do about politics, world issues and so on, but aren’t we supposed to be iron sharpening iron? How do we expect to grow, learn and understand if we shove our heels into the sand and refuse to listen to one another?

I will never understand what it is to be a black person in this nation, and we can no longer sit here and say racism isn’t as bad as it was, that’s like saying this murderer wasn’t as bad as the last. We can no longer be silent, there is evil everywhere and just like we don’t want to be sitting back having our LEO’s (who the majority are out to protect and serve every day) being grouped together because of the actions of a few, we cannot continue this path of grouping an entire race together because of the actions of a few. Just like I will never understand what if is to be a black person walking through this scary and crazy time, I will never understand what it is to have a loved one be in law enforcement and wonder if they will make it back that night, because the tensions in this country are just too high and people on every side are on edge.

Just because I stand up for LEO’s doesn’t make me a racist who condones the actions of some of the men and women who wear that uniform, and just because I stand up for my friends who are black does not mean that I am against LEO’s and the people who defend us. That is where the problem comes in, we have to be one way or another, we cannot admit there is major injustice and legitimate fear for our black brothers and sisters, because apparently that makes us against LEO’s, and that is not the case.

My baby girls have the most amazing people in their life at daycare, church, from Gainesville and everywhere and I love that they don’t see skin color, they see another human who gets hurt when they fall, cries when they get sad, and laughs when they are happy. Demi loves her Uncle Giddy, Aunt Ashley and Uncle Max and sees them the same way she sees her Uncle Jobie and Uncle Stephen, no different. #blacklivesmatter isn’t negating that all lives matter, or saying their lives are more important than ours, if you really take the time to talk to someone, you would find out the alarming rate at which blacks are killed each year (spare me the actual numbers because you need to look at the percentages of black men and women who live in this country compared to everyone else), you look at the Stanford rape case and the minimal sentence that 19 year old got, and then go back a few years to a USC Football commit who was told to plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit because it’s better than going in front of an all-white jury. If you can’t see that there is a serious problem in that, then we are part of the problem, and repeating over and over that all lives matter is truly like Cain saying in regards to Abel, “I am not my brother’s keeper,” because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that a group of people is experiencing discrimination, and we don’t want to have to admit we may be a part of this issue.

I pray my children grow to love unconditionally, no matter who the person is. I pray I am helping create a country that can cross these divides we have for our children’s sake. I pray when we adopt a child from foster care, that maybe just MAYBE something has changed so if he is of a different ethnicity I don’t have to have a different conversation with him then I do my girls. I pray I watch my tone, the way I speak and the words that come out of my mouth in these events, because hate, discrimination and division start with me, Michael and what we teach in our home. Most of all, I pray for our nation, I pray we can come together, arm in arm, and mourn with each other the terrible loss of life that has occurred this week.  I pray we remember first and foremost, we are American, we all bleed the same color and no one should be treated differently because of their beliefs, gender, skin color or anything else. I pray for our law enforcement officers and their families as they go out every day and the greater majority defend their communities and country. I pray for my black brothers and sisters in Christ, that I am no longer a part of the silent majority who may fear to speak up because we are such a divided nation right now! With unity, evil cannot win, we must come together and talk about these things, have a dialogue, or we will continue to fall down this rabbit whole that only leads to destruction, more racism and more innocent loss of life.

Advertisements

What Am I Teaching My Girls?

I really try not to get involved in too many political things on social media, because we no longer live in a world where you can have your opinion, I can have mine, and we still walk out the door, friends who just don’t agree on everything. For some reason we have all become liberals, conservatives, racists, bigots, tea party nut jobs, socialists, greedy, welfare handouts and the list goes on. Where do we draw the line?

Recently, I had my status blown up, and my phone about wanting to buy my daughters swimsuits from Target. First off, have you seen the cuteness that Target sells? They make it hard to walk in there with one thing in mind and not walk out with a brand new summer wardrobe for both your 3 year old and 1 year old, but I digress. This whole bathroom issue really struck at the core of what I feel and believe, and where I stand as someone who is a professed follower of Christ. As I sit back and look at some of the reaction of Christians, whether its boycotting or walking into Target with their Bible and tribe of kids in tow, I can’t help but wonder, are we walking this example out in every other facet of our life?

I have two little girls who watch everything that I do, my 3 year old mimics me to no end, she is my little shadow. As I watch her repeat things I say and do, it makes me questions my actions, my responses, the way I talk about issues and things going on in our society. We are called to love the sinner hate the sin, that doesn’t mean screaming from the rooftops in someones face they are going to hell, that means loving them, praying for them, being there for them, even if you disagree with them on issues. I have friends from numerous walks of life, political affiliations, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions, gender and so on, I love each of them and the ones I am close to I let them know I am praying for them when they are going through something, or being there when they need someone to talk to. If I decide to pick and choose who to allow to be close to me, who to allow to be in my life, who to allow to have a relationship with me, what am I teaching my little shadows? Am I teaching them to surround yourself with people exactly like you, people who think like you, act like you, look like you and talk like you? Am I teaching them its completely ok to boycott some things, but not others who may have the exact same policy, but have not come out as heavily as Target about it? For those that don’t know, Targets policy has not changed, they just restated what it has always been, and FYI they arrest a man who dressed as a woman and peeped on people last year and had him prosecuted. This isn’t something they just decided to jump on, but for those of us so heavily determined on this boycott everyone who has this practice, have you really looked into the list of companies that are LGTB friendly and scored 100% on being such? As I write this, I don’t want people to assume that I am just sitting here throwing my faith and what I believe out the window, not in the slightest, but I do believe that we are called to look at the log in our own eye before looking at the speck in others, that we are all sinners living in a fallen world and deserving of death, and that by the absolute grace and mercy of God, He has given us hope for eternal life with Him. That doesn’t mean that all of the sudden the whole world is against us, it just means that this is just our temporary home, our home in a fallen world that we are called to be light in.

When I look through this entire debate, the same things come up:

  • Why would I send my girls into a restroom where men could be?
  • This is opening a door for sexual predators
  • Now any man can walk into a women bathroom/changing room ect… no questions asked and he has every right and thats putting my family in danger.

My question is, why do only girls matter? Young men are sexually abused and assaulted every single day by other men, and I don’t see us freaking out about that, or the fact that women can go into the mens restrooms? There was a story a number of years back about a mom who went in to check on her teenage daughter who had been in the bathroom at a mall a little long and she walked in to her daughter being drugged and pulled out of the stall by a woman. Sex traffickers come in all genders. The other question I would pose, is as we begin to protest all these gun laws and the government coming to take our right to bear arms, we sit back and say it doesn’t matter to criminals if there are guns or not, they will find a way to get them. How is this different when it comes to bathroom policies? All of the sudden a child molester or sexual predator thinks to themselves that NOW they can go into a restroom or dressing room of the opposite sex?

Why are we allowing fear of what could happen run our lives? There are many things that could happen to any of us. My husband is a pharmaceutical rep, he drives up to 3 hours away sometimes, he could die today on the way home, does that mean I don’t ask him what he would like for dinner tonight? If my daughters want to leave town for college one day, am I going to let the fear of not knowing where they are all the time dominate my mind? I have to trust that I have raised two girls who love the Lord and who are going to do their best to live their lives to serve Him, KNOWING they will fall short, KNOWING they will be tested and tried, KNOWING that He has a wonderful plan for their lives. What am I teaching them in these precious moments? Am I teaching them to fear every man that walks by them on the street? Every person they are standing next to in a bathroom? Every dressing room door they hear open or shut? If they are watching me, and this is how I act, how I live, all I am teaching my girls is fear, anxiety, and judgement, the very things I am told not to do.

I am the most messed up person I know, I suffer from depression, anxiety, trust in others, and so many other things. I have been hurt so deeply that it is hard for me at times to grow close to people for fear of them not being a true friend, and I tend to pull away as I get close sometimes. The people who have hurt or abused me have never been the people that I didn’t know, it has always been someone I trusted, someone I looked up to, someone I was close with, hence my fear of losing friendships or being betrayed. Why would I ever want to pass those traits on to my daughters? Do I want them to be cautious in life, yes. Do I want them to live life to its fullest, you bet, and you cannot do that with your life dominated by fear of what could be or what could happen. The thing I love about my home, is my girls have my husband to look at, a man who loves everyone, believes the best in everyone, and prays for everyone, no matter what. He sees the good in all things from the most amazing lightning storm, to the tiniest blade of grass that is unusually green, he has such a positive outlook on life, but is the same time cautious and prays over major decisions. I pray my girls model him.

We as Christians are given such an amazing opportunity in this world, to love, befriend, care for and pray for our fellow man, and we only get one shot in this short life we are given. Making sure I instill a fear of man and anyone who disagrees with my beliefs is definitely not on the list of things I hope to pass down to my girls. Caution, aware of surroundings, knowing where you are and letting people know where you are going, thats one thing, but refusing to step foot into a store because there is the possibility that someone all of the sudden had the thought to commit a crime they wouldn’t have committed before is not something I want them to think overtime they go somewhere or anytime they meet someone. I want each opportunity they have to be a chance to show Christ’s love, I want people to wonder why they have so much joy in their life, I want them to have conviction and stand up for that conviction, but that doesn’t mean cherry pick the companies and places with who is the “It” place to boycott for today on social media. I am all for standing up for what we believe in, but in a day in age where we as Christians are seen as hypocrites who are speaking one thing and doing another, we cannot pick and choose which company or cause we feel like protesting, we must stand by our convictions and words, realizing that we need to do our research and boycott like minded companies if it truly goes against our personal convictions. We also need to remember in this that we are called to be light in darkness and remember the people Jesus would hang out with when He walked this earth, He didn’t pick and choose the people He thought would be good for His cause, He loved and reached out to everyone, from the healthy to the lame, rich and poor, criminals and law abiding citizens.

My pastor said in a sermon a few weeks back that many people want to go back to when America was great and he posed the question of when would that be? We continue to say we need to go back to the days of Christian values, but if we go back to when prayer was allowed in school, then we are going back to segregation as well. If we go back to a time where prohibition was in place, then you are also go back to more corruption and greed then we could imagine. Prayer not being in our schools isn’t the problem, alcohol isn’t the problem, drugs isn’t the problem, neither is what bathroom someone uses, the problem is we are all fallen people, living in a fallen world, praying for a Savior to rescue us, all the while, many of us, turning our back on the same people who need rescuing by a Savior, just like we once did.

What Picture Are We Seeing?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I can put 100 people in a room and show them a picture and you can bet that you will have 100 different depictions of what was going on, but only the photographer truly knows what was happening at the moment he/she was taking that picture. We can all speculate, but that is all it is, we don’t truly know the story.

I tried for 3 days to have a natural birth. I was induced on Friday at 3:00 PM and after two rounds of Cervidil, two rounds of Pitocin, a cook’s balloon, breaking my water and bouncing on a ball for hours on end, my daughter only got to be 3 cm. If I did not want to have a natural birth (yes medicated, but natural on the other end) do you think I would have gone through that for my sweet girl? I tried everything I could, I was swollen, they were pulling needles out and I was no longer bleeding and finally, Monday morning at 4:00 AM when her and my heart rate dropped for a second time and they had me getting oxygen, I started crying asking for a C-section. Unwilling to go through that again, I did not want a VBAC, my baby’s health was more important than my birth experience, so I scheduled a C-section for our second child, I did not think twice about it because I knew it was best for me and her.

With both girls I did everything I could to breastfeed. My first daughter would not even try to latch. We sought lactation specialists and she would not even look twice at it. The postpartum depression was so bad, we had to stop because I was beating myself up. Fast forward to my second daughter, she latched, but I wasn’t producing enough milk for her. She would nurse for hours and still be hungry. I would pump and pump and barely anything would come out. As the depression made its way back again, and the emotions got to me, we had to stop again because she wasn’t being fed, and she needed to eat.

I know so many women who tried everything they could just like I did in both of these situations. They worked so hard, but guess what, it just didn’t happen. Me, I will never have the chance to breastfeed again, and it breaks my heart, but my child is fed and happy, so what would I rather have?

We as women around April fools, post reminders to be careful about your fake pregnancy announcements, because you never know the pain and suffering of a woman who so desires to have a child but cannot. We love them, are there for them and remind one another to be sensitive to this. Why are we not doing this with every aspect of motherhood? Why are we not encouraging one another for just making it through the day in one piece? We like to pretend we have it all together, but not one of us does, because no matter what, at one point we were all a first time mom, afraid of something happening to this little life we are now in charge of.

When we see a mom bottle feeding, we assume she didn’t try hard enough or was too lazy to really seek help and do what she needed to do to breastfeed. We don’t look deeper at the pain in her face as the other moms pop on their covers and begin to have that beautiful emotional attachment with their children that they so desire. Instead of lauding on their workforce for being a nursing friendly environment during National Breastfeed Week and the fact they are able to pump without fear of missing work time (which one of my amazing sorority sisters posted about for her National Breastfeeding Week and I thought it was fabulous), we post things like breast is best and go on and on about how much better it is then formula. We all know breast milk is the best thing for a baby, but what we don’t see is the mom who is reading that Facebook post thinking she is a failure for being unable to breastfeed her child and once again condemns herself thinking maybe she really didn’t try as hard as she could. We miss the feeling of fear as she pulls out her formula. We don’t hear the shakiness in her voice as she tries to explain how difficult it was to breastfeed and how hard she tried. We miss the fear as her baby is losing weight at doctors’ appointments but she feels like she is feeding all the time. We miss the mom who feels like a failure because she couldn’t produce enough milk and her baby is still hungry. We don’t see the frustration of a woman who just pumped for over an hour and barely got an ounce of milk. We fail to see the strength of a mom who knew her baby being fed was most important and gave up the dream of breastfeeding so that her baby could be healthy.

When we see a mom with an abdominal brace, we think to ourselves, another C-section happy doctor, or a woman who just wanted to make sure she could have the baby around her schedule. We miss the hours of agonizing pain trying so hard to have the baby naturally, and the fear in her eyes as doctors swarm the room flipping off switches because her baby’s heart rate is dropping. We miss the tears as they wheel her back into the OR, that her birth story that came with immediate skin to skin and those precious moments in the delivery room of holding her baby for the first time is now gone. We fail to see that they held her baby up over a sheet, wiped her sweet little one off and then out of the OR went daddy and her new little one, she was all alone, on a table, with no one. We miss the scheduled C-section because of medical problems, or because it is just too risky to have a VBAC for her and the tears streaming down her face as she kisses her husband and any other family member’s goodbye and walks back to the OR by herself. We never get to see the fear in her face as she sits on a cold operating table while people go about their day talking about their weekend, all the while she is praying nothing goes wrong. We don’t see the tears as she can’t change that first little diaper because it hurts to bend over. We miss the strength of a woman who had to come home to not only take care of this brand new life, but herself after a major surgery. We don’t see the everyday struggle of just caring for her children while she is in so much pain. We don’t watch her husband helping her out of bed, helping her walk or even helping her lower herself just to be able to sit down. We don’t get to see a strong woman who is pushing through the pain, sometimes without medication so she can try and breastfeed. We see what we want to see.

Why can we not be sensitive and loving with our posts for these women just as we are with those who are unable to conceive? Why must we all have the same experiences? Why can we not be happy that each and every mother is doing their best to take care of their child? We are all moms, we are all doing our best, and we all need encouragement.

Every day, I wake up to my beautiful girls, hold them, give them kisses and listen to baby giggles, then I proceed to put my pants on one leg at a time and care for my child the best way that I can, giving them all that I have, just like every other mother is doing, no matter how they had them or what kind of milk they get. Let’s pretend, for one day, we are all united under one common goal, to be a mom that loves and cares for her children, because at the end of the day, that is all that matters, and that is the picture that I hope to capture every morning, no matter what someone else believe the backstory is.

IMG_3386

The Dangers of the Rear View Mirror

The rear view mirror. We use it every time we get into a car to drive. It is our guide for what may be behind us, so that we can glance back to change lanes or be prepared for anything unexpected that may be coming up behind us. The mirrors on our car are meant to help us, direct us and keep us safe, but they are not mean for us to stare at what was left behind, or the danger becomes what can happen in front of us.

I have been tried and tested by fire in my life. In my personal opinion, I have gone through hell and somehow come out on the other side. I know there are people who would look at the things I have walked through and say that yes she has been through a lot, but there are people who have been through worse, and they are right, but I firmly believe that God does not give us any more or any less than we are capable of walking through. Each one of us has walked through our own personally difficult times that have pushed our limits on our every day life, our beliefs and our overall will to persevere, it’s how we come out at the end that matters. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of my life story and what I walked through (if you would like to know please feel free to email me, I am very open and grateful for my testimony), but I will say I hit rock bottom, I believed that I had been abandon my family, my friends and most important my Savior. I was done, finished with everything and wanted nothing to do with anything that reminded me of the God I felt had abandoned me, but oh what He was doing and going to do in me was so beautiful I cannot even begin to express my thankfulness.
Why did I go off on that tangent away from mirrors? Simple, I will occasionally glance back in the rear view mirror during this slightly bumpy drive that is my life, but that is all I do, glance. If I concentrate too long on what is behind me I miss what is ahead. If we barely miss being in an accident, but spend all of our time staring behind us and the wreckage, the people who are hurt, the what could have been, all we are doing is setting ourself up to wreck down the road.
We have all been through something that has shaped who we are, something that has stuck with us, whether positive or negative, and those moments have either helped or hindered us in the life we are living. For me, my past has made me the woman I am. My past has shaped me into someone that can at times be a little harsh but at the same time truly tries to find joy in everything I do, even though I know I screw up a lot in the process! I know so many who have had things that have greatly impacted their lives, those impactful moments, whether good or bad, have caused them to not just glance in that rear view mirror, but stare and are unable to peel their eyes away to see what lies ahead. We cannot let the things of the past stay forefront of our mind and distract us from the lane change we may need to make, otherwise it begins to consume and define us to a point that we miss what is ahead and can negatively shape our everyday thoughts views on something that God has delivered us from, causing us to miss His grace in those trials.
Our pasts are meant to shape us, not define us. We are meant to learn, grow and be grateful from the constant wreckage we are being saved from, but to ensure that we continue to stay safe, we need to keep our eyes focused ahead, away from the distractions of the past, but still grateful we have the ability to occasionally glance back and be amazed by His constant grace to keep us safe, even through the fire.

The Mommy Books Lie

10897846_776167223259_6372014157017995588_n

First time mommy-hood, such a wonderful feeling! From the moment you find out you are pregnant you begin blowing up the Pinterest board with girl room ideas, boy room ideas, gender neutral, whatever you can possibly gain inspiration from, you Pin that sucker. Next comes all the books that tell you everything you will ever need to know about becoming a Mom and the wondrous joys that lie ahead of you and while yes there may be hard moments, that precious angel you are holding is worth every last bit of morning sickness, swelling, discomfort, labor pain, long nights and everything else you can think of, and yes they are right, both of my girls are completely worth it, but my question is where is these books are the sections for moments that no mom talks about? Where is the real, down to earth, and honest to goodness truth for some of us moms that don’t believe in the skittle crapping unicorn that is their version of Motherhood?

I know it may sound stupid, but the most accurate parenting book I have seen is called “My Kids Are A**Holes.” The person who wrote this book also has an awesome blog called Baby Sideburns, while yes to some people I know you may read that title and just think to yourself “How could you ever think that a book titled that would be an honest depiction of parenting?” Well because it is. Yes you may not curse or be the biggest fan of it, but good gravy there are times that I have sat back and said to myself, “dang my kids are really annoying, I mean REALLY ANNOYING…” I read this book on my way to Hawaii and did not stop dying of laughter the entire way through, thinking to myself, “WHY COULDN’T I HAVE FOUND YOU A YEAR AGO??” I spent so much time reading and researching all of these ways that I need to be a parent, hearing all the things you are going to go through and how to handle it, when truly I should have been reading books from parents who didn’t sneeze their child out of the womb with no labor pain, got to a point of walking around in yoga pants and a sports bra, because the second you get dressed some bodily fluid is going to come out of somewhere, felt like telling Mickey Mouse where he can stick his Clubhouse, along with wondering if those people truly never pop their kid in front of technology.

The things I have learned from my very inexperienced two years of motherhood are this:

1. Plan your labor and delivery all you want, the more you plan, the more your hopes get up for this perfect, beautiful little love song of a delivery, where everyone is signing in unison and your child comes out smiling, un-medicated, and ready to latch on to you to breastfeed right away, the more you are risking them to be crushed under the weight of your beautifully written out birth plan goal.

My first labor was more or less like nails on a chalkboard, while the Hot Dog Song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on repeat. I was called on Friday around 1 PM and told to come in after blood work came back that concerned them. At 3 PM I was induced and at 6:07 AM I had Grace Demeaux Ross! What made it so miserable??? It was 6:07 AM MONDAY MORNING!!!! That’s right, 3 days of having every doctor in that joint get a long look at my business, with everything you could shove up me, shoed up me, to a point where my husband asked if we threw a coax up there is we would get better cable. They gave me the epidural at 2 CM they felt so bad for me and still the most dilated I became was 3 CM, HELLO C-SECTION!! Seriously, birth plan, what birth plan. The only time things went to plan was with Tory who was a scheduled C-Section and was born at the time she was supposed to be, but still both pregnancies were so stinking miserable, we cut those tubes so fast it’s crazy, and I told my husband to looked over there and make sure they are clamping down on those suckers nice and tight!

2. Even if you have a dream baby who sleeps through the night, is super awesome, barely cries and their poop smells like a dandelion field in April, at some point that child will have their horror movie switch flip on. There is no warning, no gradual progression of bratness, you got nothing. One day you wake up and ask your child if they want the same juice, fruit and oatmeal they have been eating since they were able to eat and the next thing you know it’s like the end scene of Carrie at the prom, and junk just got real in your house. You are sitting there watching this happen not knowing what to do and it hits like a freight train and the next thing you know, you regain consciousness enough to start cleaning the oatmeal out of her hair and yours while you say forget it and give her some cookies just to make sure she at least ate something, because its apparently illegal to not feed your precious angel baby. Anyone who acts like their child is perfect is that mom on social media telling you how you are doing everything wrong. Which brings me to point number 3.

3. YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING WRONG! Things that you didn’t know you sucked at until another mom told you that you did:

  • Putting on a diaper – don’t even get me started with the fact that you use disposable diapers
  • Wiping them – apparently there is a way to wipe their butts that isn’t wrong, but you haven’t found it
  • Feeding – I did everything under the sun to try and breastfeed and I couldn’t, but if you didn’t breastfeed you must not have tried hard enough, and FYI breast milk ensures brain development far superior to any other thing in your life. You will most likely cure cancer, find proof of life on mars and create the first unicorn, while all of us formula fed kids bask in your glory… Sorry formula kids, I guess Steve Jobs wasn’t that great! By the way I know not all moms are like that, but for real there is always that one mom.
  • Anything else you can think of! I have apparently completely screwed up my daughter for life by allowing her to suck her pacifier that fell on the ground, laying on the floor with our dog has obviously killed her twice, piercing her ears, OH GOOD GRAVY this alone has scared her for life and those holes never close up you know!
  • Oh you work, well great job on letting someone else raise your kid…. I am sorry, what do you call school??? So you are telling me that you hold little Johnnies hand all through the day and watch what he does when he goes off to school? Because I can tell you, that may cause some emotional damage in middle school…. To you.

I swear had someone warned me about mommy wars and the fact that I am wrong at everything I may have posted even more on social media just to be that person.

4. Sometimes the only way to shower so you do not smell like a rotting corpse that has been ravaged by zombies is to pop your kid in front of a TV. No my childs brain has not gone to mush yet, actually she is learning a lot from that miserable little mouse, but still, I have a 2 year old and an 11 week old, and I don’t know about you, but I think my office and my husband enjoys me smelling like almond butter over formula, spit up and poop.

5. You will get in the car and drive without the kids, singing along to the radio, only to realize you have been listening to the Sophia the First or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Playlists for the past hour, and now realize you know all the songs, can name the exact episode and where in that episode it is being sung, and remembering a time when you could ride in the car thinking you are super cool with your sound system and rolled down windows living the care free life. Now that sound system plays the same songs over and over again, the windows are rolled down because you know someone has something nasty in their diaper, and even if you are by yourself you can only carry one passenger because the ginormous car seats in the back. Oh and FYI, you will find that common bond with other parents, no lie my boss and I went to eat at Chipotle and sang half the songs to the Sophia the First soundtrack there and back and have been humming them around the office since, crazy, yes, but that little princess has some catchy tunes!

There are so many more things, but just like those million books cant sum it up, neither can I, not because I don’t want to try, but mostly because I lost people like my husband after the second sentence and at this point I am typing for myself to have some fun, keep myself busy, and hide out from the nastiest diaper I have ever smelt come out of a 12.5 pound baby, that I somehow managed to trick my husband into changing….. and we have discovered she wasn’t just wet, so yeah, I think hiding is about to cease as I hear him begin to scream “BABE I AM NOT CHANGING THIS, OH MY GOSH ITS ON MY HAND, I NEED YOUR HELP…” Oh the joys of parenthood and the marriage changing dialogue that comes with it, but that’s for another day!

Why Cant We Just Talk About It???

I have two of the most precious gifts I could ever be given, their names are Demi and Tory. I am obsessed with my girls. I love their little personalities, I love the way the laugh and smile, I love everything about them. I am that mom who blows up Instagram and Facebook with hundreds of pictures of my girls and is always beaming with joy for my sweet babies. I am that mom who puts up that perfect little life with her sweet little miracles all over the place, because that is what people need to see, no one wants to know the hardships on the other side of that computer screen, and we sure as anything don’t want to talk about it. 

I remember so vividly the day I snapped with my first daughter, the day I had no joy, the day I looked at her and wished I could take her back. I called my husband who was in Pensacola for work and begged him to come home, I couldn’t look at her. She wasn’t crying, she wasn’t moody, she wasn’t anything, she just laid there looking at me, and I didn’t want her. 

Fast-forward 22 months and my second daughter Tory is born. Surely this is something that I should be able to handle, I mean we have been there before right? I know all the symptoms, I know all the signs and we know what do to do to take care of it. It hit like a freight train, but this time, I took it out on my oldest, instead of the newest little one. My oldest daughter was hit with so much change and now her mommy couldn’t handle being around her again. Everything she did bothered me, I was annoyed at everything and couldn’t help but be so angry at her all the time. My husband kept saying he doesn’t recognize who I am because I am so angry all the time, not even sad, just angry. 

My baby is 11 weeks old. I am still battling emotions and the anger every single day. I have often wondered why this is something we don’t talk about, why this is something just swept under the rug and pushed aside. I think some of it can be that we are so afraid that we will be seen as ungrateful for this beautiful little miracle we have been given, while so many crave to be a mother, I think the other part is that you just don’t talk about those sort of things, but why not? 

Could you imagine the impact just feeling like you can openly talk about postpartum depression would have on so many moms? Letting them know they aren’t alone, you are not crazy, you are not a horrible person for thinking what you are and its ok to say it out loud so you can get help. I wish I could go back and look at myself after my first pregnancy and say all of those things, just to help me realize I wasn’t crazy or a horrible mom. I have to talk to myself daily and tell me those things even now, when I just want to disappear in the night and leave it all behind, when I struggle with everything that comes with being a mom of two girls. 

If I could say anything to myself before the girls or after it would be this: 

Dear Mommy, 

It is ok, being a mom is hard. People acting like it is easy or they have it all together, they don’t. You are going to experience so many emotions, so many thoughts and are going to think you are the worst person on this planet, you’re not. You are not the first person to have these thoughts or experience these emotions, and you won’t be the last. It’s called postpartum depression for a reason, you just had so much change in your body and now in your life, it will never be just you and your husband again, but those sweet little miracles are so worth it. You are going to struggle, you are going to want to run away, you are going to wish you could turn back time and make it all go away, you are going to look at that little face and sometimes you may hate it, but don’t allow those emotions to take you over. TALK TO SOMEONE. Know you are not alone. Don’t listen to the age old saying of “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” or “be grateful for what you have,” you are grateful, but you are also going through something so huge right now, and something that can be so dangerous if you don’t just talk about it. People who are telling you that have never walked through this, and you cannot hate them for it, you have to understand they do not know what is happening to you right now. It is ok to go lock yourself in a dark room and cry and scream, it’s ok to be angry, it is not ok to let it consume you and take away these precious moments you have so little time to enjoy. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings, be honest about them. Don’t be afraid of what people will think, what matters right now is not what they think of you, but getting you better so you can enjoy these babies. You are a wonderful mom, and the first step in being a wonderful mom is taking care of yourself, so do just that, take care of yourself. Talk to your husband, he is there for a reason, and he wants to be there for you. Talk to other moms, I can promise you, you will find someone who has walked through it too. Don’t be ashamed, be proud that you are taking action. Now stand up and do something about it, admit you have it, or it will consume you. You have to much good in your life to allow this dark place to take over. Seek help, be open and start fighting this now. 

 

I still have my crazy thoughts, but they are less now. I still get angry, but I go to another room and just let it out but refuse to take it out on my babies if I can help it. I so wish this was something we weren’t ashamed to talk about. I wish moms were open about their emotions, their fears, their struggles, but that doesn’t fit this world we live in where our stories are so perfectly and strategically told on social media, where we try and be what the internet and other moms tell us we should be without realizing our experiences, our lives, our kids are all different and we are just trying to be the best mom we can be. Instead we sit back post our perfect pregnancy and motherhood experiences, waiting and hoping for someone to reach out and dig deeper.

Tory – One Month

IMG_2241Sweet Tory Kate was weighing in at 7lbs 15oz and 20 1/4 inches long on April 13th, exactly one month later she is already beating her big sister in size when Demi was 2 months old! Cannot believe how big my baby girl is already and how alert. She loves to hold her head up and listen to Demi talk to her. She is a pro at eating and sleeping, and mostly loves sleeping in her swing. Just like her daddy and big sister, girlfriend loves to sleep and at one month is already sleeping about 6 hours a night, which makes me very thankful for such awesome sleepy babies! And just like her big sister she hates being swaddled and that pesky blue bulb!

I love watching my two little babies together, and nothing makes me happier than Demi-Girl’s absolute love for her baby sister! We are so blessed with our two little babies and I cannot wait to watch them become the best of friends.

IMG_2248 IMG_2224

Our “Baby Gator”

Demi decided that being a Baby Gator in Tallahassee, she needed to make a statement for football season, and we had just the reason for her too…

DSC_1717

She had to show her orange and blue pride for what she thought of some of our rival schools….DSC_1718

LSU NCAA Football: Tennessee-Spring Game OSU AU Bama USC uga FSU

DSC_1729

She was able to hang out with her two favor players, Max and Gideon

DSC_1671 DSC_1674_2 DSC_1684 DSC_1677 DSC_1705 DSC_1695_2 DSC_1694 DSC_1663

After all of this was said and done she only had one thing to say…..

DSC_1741 DSC_1689

Another Baby Ross, making a “Gator Great” entrance April of 2015!!! Oh yeah and as always,

“ITS GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR….”

Forget Support, We Just Hope For No Judgment

Its so funny to me how when you have a kid, this is supposed to be such an amazing and happy time. Sure its a sleepless time where you are covered in spit up and poop so much you usually walk around in shorts and a sports bra, but hey even with those bags under your eyes and that stench of spit up or poop (not quite sure which one sometimes) its still a beautiful time, until the opinions start to come out.

For us the opinions started while I was pregnant, the ones of “I cannot believe you are going to have an epidural and put drugs into your baby” or “You are taking medicine while pregnant? Don’t you know what that will do to your kid?” Why yes, yes I do, my doctor told me what it will do, NOTHING, which is why he prescribed it because trust me this morning sickness is so bad if I don’t take this I will be in the same pjs until I give birth. At some point I just stopped saying anything back and would nod my head but good gracious the grief we began to get after we had Demi. I will never forget the first time someone was absolutely appalled that I had a c-section, like I had done sort of disservice to my child. I just wanted to scream “Lady, I had been in labor for 83 hours and was still only 3.5 cm, at that point what am I supposed to do?” My daughters heart rate was dropping, as was mine, they had me on oxygen and on top of that I was pre-eclamptic, had high levels of uric acid and toxemia, at what point is it ok for a woman to have a c-section and not be judged?

Breastfeeding was another big one, where people assumed that I didn’t try hard enough or take enough action with the lactation nurse, and I wasn’t giving my daughter the best shot at a good immune system. Yeah, I had gained well over 100lbs during my pregnancy, had been in the hospital 5 extra days after Demi was born with lactation nurses and when I got home was suffering from post-pardum so badly that it was making me resent my child for not latching and making me feel like I was a complete and utter failure for not being able to breastfeed my daughter.

Those two situations alone were enough to make me go crazy, I won’t even get started on the fact that I vaccinate my child and my husband works for a pharmaceutical company so that makes us all sorts of evil, but I digress. At what point did moms feel the need to become so judgmental and so condescending over the way someone is taking care of their child, or the medical procedures we choose to have. Now that Michael and I are thinking about baby number 2, the fact that I am not even willing to give a natural birth a thought after what I went through makes some moms cringe, and all I want to say is “you know what makes me cringe, natural birth. Please enjoy the labor I had and see if you are so willing to jump on that crazy train again.”

While I do have this awesome support system of a few moms who I love dearly and do life with as much as possible, its the moms that I don’t even know or the ones you haven’t seen in forever on social media that make you feel completely inadequate. Its like this whole social media thing has made people who would not be this confrontational in public all the sudden feel like they can scream their beliefs from the rooftops with the ability to hide behind their keyboard.

This whole being a mom thing shouldn’t be something where we feel condemnation or like we are failing because of our life choices with our children or how we gave birth to our children, because we all have this one major, absolutely beautiful thing in common… we are doing what we each think is best for our child and making sure we are doing everything we can to make sure they grow up happy, healthy and loved. Vaccinations, C-Sections, Natural Birth, No Vaccines, Breast Feeding, Formula, SAHM, Working Mom, it doesn’t matter the title, the choice or the belief, we should be able to surround each other with love and support for one another, not bashing and berating thinking that will suddenly make them come around to your way of thinking, because it won’t. As my husband and I sit here thinking about me re-entering the workforce, I am terrified of the inevitable responses of how a daycare is going to raise my child, or she must not be my priority that I know friends have heard, and as I started thinking about that, I wondered why we have become so callous to one another.

I am far from perfect. I mess up all the time, numerous times a day. Whether its the realization that I have been doing dishes and its been quiet too long only to find my poop covered 14 month old dancing in the living room playing with her dirty diaper, or realizing that those aren’t puffs she is eating but the dogs food, we should be able to come together, laugh, support, love and vent to each other about the every day craziness that are the little minions we call our children. No one understands what it is to be a mom better than other moms, and if we can’t go to other moms with our fears, tears, joys and excitement without views, opinions and judgements being shoved down our throat, who can we turn to? There is hardly a greater joy in this world that I have experienced then that slightly crazy, constantly gabbing, kitchen wrecking, Lonely Island loving, daredevil 14 month old we have loving dubbed the CEO of our house. Why not share in that joy with others who feel the same about their kid, may think a little differently than you and do things different as well, but hey you have one amazingly beautiful thing in common if nothing else, we are all moms!

 

IMG_1358

10 Months ~ March 27, 2013

DSC_0087

 

My sweet little monkey! I cannot believe she is 10 months! Why is time flying by so fast!! I love my big girl and how much fun she has with life! She is sitting such a long tiny looking frame on some fat little thighs that I think make up about 15 lbs of that 21 lbs! 30 inches long and feet that are still in size 3-6 month shoes, so its not easy for the walking when she tries!

Her favorite food is definitely chili, which Papi will gladly feed her anytime he is around. She loves to clap and say yay, and can say bye-bye sometimes depending on her little miss priss mood! She is into everything all the time, opening cabinet doors and drawers and then climbing into the cabinets or on the drawers. She is my little dare devil that will do anything and everything, usually fall hard and then get up and laugh sometimes! She is going to be a thrill seeker like her mommy! Can you say skydiving Demi???

She is all about daddy, so the second he walks in the door, I will say “wheres daddy” and that girl takes off like nothing I have ever seen and crawls at him like a crazy person! She loves playing find daddy, kissing her best friend in the mirror and dancing to “Happy” and “Timber” girlfriend likes to shake that junk in the trunk! She is getting so big and having so much personality, I cannot believe she will be one in 2 months and the personality of course will just continue to grow!!

DSC_0118