Today Lola and I attended an exercise class for parents with babies. I reached a place where I realized that it was absolutely necessary. I am full aware that the hour that I spend working out could be a load of laundry folded, a blog post written on my personal blog, or a host of other things checked off my to-do list. At the same time I understand that it could be anything but. It could be multiple attempts to get the laundry done interrupted by Lola’s quest to get everything to her mouth or getting lost in all the cute little ones popping up in my Instagram feed while mine sleeps.
I have decided that the least I can do for my own sanity and for my health is to devote an hour to making me better. I’m not ready to say no to cupcakes but I am ready to start feeling better physically and emotionally. I am ready to show my children that I really do value myself, so much so, that I am willing to make more of an effort to take care of me.
Today was grueling and it took everything in me to refrain from saying “I can’t.” It was my first real work out. Yes, I’ve been on walks but that was where I drew the line. I know tomorrow it is going to take everything in me to get my achy body out of bed and lace up my workout shoes. But I want this. I want to make it to day two and make it through day two. I want to do everything I can to increase my chances of being there for all the days that blend together to fill up this gift we have called life. While I would love to fit into my old jeans without worry that they will rip if Lola drops her binky (pacifier) and I reach to pick it up I am more focused on feeling good.
For me the challenge is staying consistent. That has been my struggle even prior to becoming a mom of two. I remember I had finally started working out (again) and even tried to continue to workout after learning I was pregnant, but the discomfort and challenges I experienced while pregnant were enough to cause me to give up. And now I’m back at it.
It isn’t just the showing up the first day part. I admit that does take effort but for me the greatest challenge comes on day two – it’s the showing up again and again. It’s telling your body that it can as it attempts to suggest otherwise.
As mothers we show up for the people we love each and every day. We find the strength and ability to do things we never thought we could do or would do because we want to help the people we love. Today was the day I decided that I’m worth showing up for too. This is a decision I will have to make over and over again.
For those of you moms who work out how have you managed to stay consistent when it comes to self-care?
This letter was originally written on 5/22/13
Dear Jalayla Bee and Lola Bee,
Over the past two days I have attended two college graduations. And each time I walked onto the campus I felt a touch of nostalgia. Oh to be a student again. Young and full of promise. For me college was a big deal not just because of the book smarts and the friendships made, but because it was while I was in college that I made the transition into adulthood. It was that campus that I walked around with a pregnant belly attempting to conceal it hoping no one would stare at me despite feeling like everyone was. That’s what happens when you are 19 and pregnant but look more like you are 16 and pregnant. I remember wearing my ring on my finger thinking people would judge less if they thought I was engaged or married. I mean did it really matter that I didn’t really want to be married. Feelings of shame caused me to hold my head low and sit out of direct eyesight from my professors. All day morning sickness caused me to leave class early, sit in my car crying, and almost fail astronomy. May couldn’t come soon enough. Summer break brought an escape from the stares of my peers at least there. And September when everyone else was waiting for the weekend to end (or wishing it would never end) so they could return to school I was birthing a child and my second chance.
This post was written on last week. Given the feedback I received from Disney Baby readers both on the post and on Facebook I wanted to go ahead and share it here too :)
A week from now Lola will turn 9 months. 9 months! The day before yesterday I had a moment where my head was racing with all of the things I had to do and then something came over me and said “Stop. Just hold your baby.” So I did. Instead of putting her down after she had fallen asleep in my arms I stared and got lost in her eyelashes, her chubby fingers, and the two top teeth that are on their way down.
I reflected on all of the things Lola has done in the (almost) 9 months she has been with us, each one of them so special given the fact that we still pinch ourselves wondering if this is all real. My little firecracker is on the move; she’s reaching and rolling like crazy. What she isn’t doing is crawling.
Read more here.
This weekend we went to Venice Beach. It was a nice escape from the crazy hot temperatures we have been having in the valley. We walked around and 5 minutes in I wondered if I made a mistake by obliging my daughter’s request to go to Venice. See one of the things that I love about Venice is that nobody cares. You can be silly, or crazy, or just plain weird and no one cares because they are too busy dancing to the beat of their own drum. However, the problem is there were (and always are) some people who seemed to not care at all which resulted in some teachable moments and some “what was I thinking” moments. I mean, how did I not realize there was a Freak Show?! I missed the memo on that one. And I felt bad because my 8 year old said she had fun but some of it scared her. I know the feeling.
That night I prayed that her dreams wouldn’t be muddled by images of the scary things she saw and instead she would focus on the things that made her eyes grow wide with excitement and wonder, and also on the bread pudding that we almost missed out on because her mom couldn’t figure out what the GPS on the iPhone was doing.
Not the “Green Doctors” or all the other words that we read on cardboard signs and t-shirts. But this:
And me, I will relax (not entirely but a little) because at the end of the day she was fine and she learned that many things in life are a mixture of the lovely and the less lovely. Some things are amazing and also out of this world in both a good way and a not quite as good way. Some things (and places) can be fun and exciting and at the same time a little bit scary (Raising a child is beautiful and fun and amazing but at times it can be scary). It is a lesson we learn time and time again as we embark on new and unfamiliar experiences.
But for now I’m grateful that her daddy and I get to hold her hand and help her navigate and sort it all out. And I hope and pray that we can prepare her for a time when she will no longer always be able to reach up and grab my hand at the sight of the unfamiliar.
Still kicking myself about the whole Freak Show part though (would have took an alternate route and bypassed that part). But I’m high fiving myself about that bread pudding :)
Linking up with Selena of Le Petit Reve for #RealMamaLife
Good evening lovelies! Lola has been teething so our nights and been especially tough this week. My poor babe has finally fallen asleep for a bit so I am popping in to say hello and share my latest around the blogosphere.
Today we headed to Venice Beach to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the sunshine. While there we also tried this:
Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream and Celestial Chocolate Chunk bread pudding from Schulzies. Bread pudding isn’t really my thing but after reading about how good this place was I knew I had to try it. Believe the hype people. This place is good (You can see a couple more photos from our afternoon on Instagram if you’d like).
And now without further ado, here’s some of my latest for Babble and Disney Baby
15 Reasons Disneyland and California Adventure Make the Perfect Date Destination
22 Things I Want My Daughters to Know and Learn Before They Become Mothers
Mother Knows Best: When it Comes to Your Love Life Your Mom’s Opinion Matters
On Life and Love: 5 Lessons Our Mothers Have Taught Us
10 Quotes About Grandmothers
How Becoming a Mother Changed Me
5 Disney Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
On Believing All the Way
Made With Love and Baby Feet: 10 DIY Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day
To all the mamas out there Happy Mother’s Day. Wishing you a day filled with love and joy! xo
p.s. In case you missed it:
The First Long Goodbye because saying goodbye to our littles, even just for a little while, can be tough.
There is nothing that has shaped me more than being a mother. I don’t believe I would be the woman I am today had God not bestowed the honor of being a mother to two of his most precious angels. My daughters inspire me to keep going. Having struggled with depression for so long sometimes I have to dig a little deeper to move, in order to keep from becoming stagnant and in order to prevent me from being complacent while a life that I fought so hard to find joy in passes me by.
My children have fueled my desire to be better; they have shown me that I am stronger and braver than I could have imagined. They have shown me that God can take a horrible situation and something ugly and create something good and beautiful. They have taught me that life is a gift. Each day I get to wake up and live a life as their mother is a gift and I will forever be grateful that I was handpicked by God to be the vessel He used to get them here.
My children have changed my life. They have no idea how grateful I am for their existence. I have often referred to my first born as my saving grace because before her the road I was headed on was one of self destruction. I didn’t love or value myself until her. Out of my immense love for her came the realization that I mattered too. I have a long ways to go in the self-love department but prior to her I failed to realize my own worth and potential. In wanting more for her I began to want more for myself. I began to dream bigger dreams and watched them come to fruition with her by my side.
And then came an unexpected blessing. Another child and as a direct result of her presence came a leap of faith that I would have never dared to take had there been no her. And also the realization that life still has so many great things in store for me; I simply have to open my heart to receive them and stop placing limits on myself and more importantly on God.
There are times when I am so scared because I hate not knowing what lies ahead. I don’t know how long some of the amazing things happening in my life right now will last. But I think back to two times in my life when I was afraid. In these moments I carried my children in my belly. I didn’t know what life had in store for us but after knowing of them I couldn’t fathom life without their presence. And as difficult and scary as those times were we made it. The unknown never prevented us from getting to where we were supposed to be.
My children are agents of change. God used them to change my life in miraculous ways. When it is hard to hang on they are my constant reminder that joy cometh in the morning. They are my morning.
For more on how motherhood changes you read these words shared by myself and 10 other mamas forever changed by the arrival of their little loves. Read their words here.
Dear Jalayla Bee and Lola Bee,
For Mother’s Day I wrote you a letter. It’s about some of things I want you to know and learn before you two become mothers. You can read it here.
I will be back later this month with some updates on all the amazingness that is happening in your worlds, things that result in my world being pretty amazing also.
Love Forever and Always,