Tag Archives: stay at home mom

dadda’s hoodie

17 Jan

I obviously love my kiddos. And I love it even more when they do cute things that just make you want to die. Like the fact that Cruz HAD to wear Jason’s hoodie- to be like him of course! Cruz loves jackets. He gets upset when it’s time to take his off. That we can’t figure out. But when he put Jason’s on, it was too cute. I think he really felt like a big boy!

*Sigh*

He’s the best.

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green seat baby

8 Dec

Does anyone remember this?? We had so much fun with this when Cruz was a baby, you KNOW we have to do this again.

When Cruz was little, we started a blog called Green Seat Baby. We have this green bumbo seat that we took EVERYWHERE with us and snapped funny pictures of him in it. It was a lot of fun and we had a million laughs along the way while doing this. I thought I’d put Rider in the seat to see what happened. He’s only 3 months old, so I wasn’t exactly sure if he’d sit up or not. But he actually did really well! He likes sitting up more than being on his tummy. So while I do give him lots of ‘tummy time’ each day, I’ll be giving him some ‘green seat’ time as well as a part of his activities. He loves sitting up and looking around. There is a lot to look at and watch, after all. Cruz is always running around like the Tasmanian Devil! Ha!

And I couldn’t get the camera out and not snap a picture or two of Cruz as well. He never wants me to take his picture UNLESS I’m taking pictures of Rider. And I actually got a smile out of him!

Stay tuned for more fun pictures in the future of Green Seat Baby #2! And in the meantime, check out how little and adorable Cruz was when he was the Green Seat Baby, here.

comparison kills

29 Nov

I’ve actually seriously taken a few days to even consider if I should write this post. After my slight freak out last week, I’ve since thought that it would be way easier to pretend it didn’t happen and to continue blogging about the daily happenings of my two boys. I guess I need to address it, if for no one else but myself.

The truth is, I’m not 100% completely sure what happened. I mean, I think it’s a combination of things, really. I’ve gone back and forth. Am I just tired? Am I just overwhelmed? Is it PPD? Am I just not organizing my day right? It’s probably a combination of all of these things. Although Rider is a great sleeper, I am exhausted. I am totally overwhelmed with trying to run our own business and balance two kiddos. It’s a lot of work to do ONE of those things independently, let alone all at the same time. I don’t think I truly have postpartum depression, but I do think my hormones are still balancing out and I probably have had a touch of PPD or at least the baby blues. I honestly don’t think I require medication, but I’d be the first to seek help if I truly thought that’s what I needed. It’s definitely a challenge for me to organize my day the way I want to. I have a toddler and a three month old. Enough said.

But this isn’t brand new stuff. Every mom deals with all of this and everyone seems to make it ok, right? I found myself looking around and wondering how everyone’s so happy and how everyone is making this mom thing look so easy. And I found myself wondering what their tricks were, reading facebook posts of everyone’s happy moments and feeling like I was sinking a little bit. I started believing a few lies that were anxiously being planted into my brain, comparing my abilities to others, and also feeling like I am too busy to get all of this done. How am I going to do this? How is everyone else doing this??

I saw a tweet last week that nailed it on the head for me. It was a comment that simply said, “Comparison kills joy.”. A comment that I completely agree with and at first read, I thought that only applied to the artistic world. Meaning, I shouldn’t be comparing my photography to other photographers work- which is still true. But the more I thought on it, the more I realized that this actually definitely applies to my entire life. Especially my ‘mom life’. Isn’t it so easy to compare yourself to other mom’s? To other’s lives? To other’s kids? Houses? Cars? Money? Jobs?

The list goes on.

And in a season where I’ve struggled with finding joy and delight in all the things I have to do, I still find myself looking around and wondering how everyone else is doing this. Comparing myself to other moms. Comparing myself to others’ lives. And it’s absolutely killing my joy. What a true statement, don’t you agree? It’s a dangerous place to slip into. Comparing can turn to envy. Envy to jealousy. And jealousy can destroy everything around it (James 3:16). All comparing myself to others was doing, was creating anxiety. Which I struggle with anyway.

So I needed a break. And when I looked at the list of things I had to do that day that I posted that, blogging was the only thing at the time that I could cut out. And it’s the last thing I wanted to cut out. Blogging has been my daily ‘out’. My breather. My escape. My journal, essentially. A place where I can just get it all out there. I should have started blogging years ago. But last week, I just needed to take a step back and figure out what was going on to make me anxious. What was going on to make me feel so overwhelmed.

Comparison.

Isn’t it enough that we, as moms (and just women!) have enough on our plates as it is? Why do need to compare myself to what is working (or even not working) for others? Where is this ‘standard’ that I have to live up to? So often I feel like I’ve got to shower, have my makeup on, stay up on the latest fashions, bath my kids, have perfectly folded laundry, clean the house, cook dinner every night, grocery shop, clip coupons, run a successful business, breast feed, cloth diaper, make my own baby food, eat organic food only, have consistent date nights, have perfectly obedient children, and sleep eight hours a night to be a successful mom. And don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING WRONG with any of those things! But why am I trying to hold myself to these daily standards? Who’s standard’s are these anyways?? Why do I feel like a failure as a wife and mom if I can’t accomplish all of these things every single day?

I am not super mom. And I am finished comparing myself to others who actually might be super mom. Or who might be pretending to be super mom. It’s hard to tell. I could be comparing myself to others who appear to have it all together, but who are sinking just as I felt I was.

And the thing that I’ve realized and the thing that I desperately want for myself and mom’s everywhere is this: It has got to be OK that we can’t do it all. It has to be ok that laundry sits on the floor ALL THE TIME. It has to be ok that I can’t get my makeup on every single day. And Lord knows I’m not sleeping eight hours a night.

It’s OK.

What is truly important here? Does it drive me crazy that my house isn’t spotless all the time? Yes. It drives me nuts. But it has to be ok. I keep trying to remind myself to find the joy amidst the exhaustion of the season that I am in. And I am trying to prioritize my daily list and remember what ACTUALLY is important and forget the rest. Of course I want to keep the house up, raise amazing children AND work my business full time. But I’ve come to realize that those three things are each a full time job within themselves. THREE full time jobs. There is no possible way I’m going to get it all done all the time.

And it kills the perfectionist side in me. And Satan knows it.

I’d rather have it kill the perfectionist side in me than have comparison steal my joy. And at the root of it all, that is exactly what is happening. Why am I letting comparison steal MY joy? I have so much to be joyful over this season. And I am trying to take a stand and not let something as lame as comparison to others steal that away from me. How simple it is to forget though. I fall victim to this all the time. And it really can start to destroy you if you don’t stop it.

So it was a nice little breather, not blogging for a few days. I got my head on straight and realized that comparing myself to others is doing nothing good for my kids and my family. Everyone feels overwhelmed at times. Everyone feels like they have too much to do. Everyone wonders how to get all of it done.

We are not alone.

Comparison does nothing to help, but simply equips us with a sense of inadequacy. And isn’t this the last thing that our husbands and kids need? Every mom and woman feels like this. It’s taking a hold of these thoughts and the anxiety that will stomp these feelings in their tracks. Today I’m remembering, that although my to do list is tremendously long, it will not all get done. But my kids and husband will know that I love them. Even if we are only eating grilled cheese tonight.

dear cruz,

2 Jun

Mommy and Daddy have been so busy this month. May has been the one month looming on the calendar that overwhelmed me just from looking at our calendar. We managed to photograph 4 weddings, a good amount of lifestyle sessions, a boudoir shoot and a birth. Each of these experiences and photoshoots are things we are extremely grateful for, so there’s no complaining out of us! But it’s been a very busy month.

To top it off, we moved this month. And that means, we had to find renters, fix up and clean our home in Gilbert, find a new place for us to live, pack, move, unpack, and get settled. Mommy took one trip to California for work. Daddy took a trip up north for work. All of this, with all of our photo shoots AND the edits that are piling up all happened within the same four weeks of May.

In the blink of an eye, May was over.

I’m telling you all this because I’ve been away from you a lot this month. I know there are a lot of mommies out there that go to work every day and are away from their babies and children much more than I am away from you. And I’m thankful that we’ve found a way for me to be at home as much as I am with you.

But since I am a full time stay at home working mom, and due to the industry I’m in, it does require me to be away from you some to work and to run our business successfully. This is so good for mamma- to have her own dreams, aspirations, achievements, goals outside of being a mamma. I see and understand that. I value it immensely too. But like every other mom out there, I’m also flooded with guilt from being away from you so much at times- even though I know you are always in good hands, taken care of by people who love you so much and who would never hurt you. But I still struggle with guilt from time to time while I’m away and working.

Or even if I’m in the same room and working.

I feel like no one prepared me for the amount of guilt that every mom feels at times. And I know it’s Satan, just trying to make me feel like I’m a worthless mother and that I’m not making good decisions for you. That I’m never spending enough time with you. That you’re growing up too fast and OMG, am I missing it??

It’s these thoughts that are very overwhelming to me. And I know I’m not the only one.

So while it’s on my mind, I wanted to make sure I wrote you a letter to remind you that no matter how busy we get, no matter how much we work or don’t work, you and your brother will always be one of our top priorities. You are always on my mind Cruzer. Dadda and I are always thinking about how we can make a good life for you guys and how we can provide for you and take good care of you. Mamma doesn’t like being away from you. But when I start to feel guilty, I try to remind myself about how truly blessed and lucky I am. I get to work at home with you there on most days. And while it does make for crazier days and weird working hours, there’s nothing I’d trade for it.

I try to remind myself that it’s good for me to have some space; to have my own thing that’s completely separate from being a mom. And while I do love being a mom more than anything, I do feel like there is a good balance in my life. Once I’ve had a crazy few days of work, it’s actually refreshes me to be a better mom in some cases. When I write it all out and read it over, it makes me feel like I have nothing to feel guilty over! Which is true, but every mom experiences it on some level and at some point.

Just remember my little man, when mamma has crazy busy days or months with work, you, dadda and Rider are always at the top of my thoughts and priorities. And always remember how God truly blessed me beyond words with the ability to work from home at something I love as a career more than anything I’ve ever loved as work in all my life.

When guilt creeps in your life, push it out. We have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

I’ll remember that too.

I love you forever,

Mamma

cruz on location

24 May

I mean, seriously. What is happening? How can one little boy possibly be this cute??

We recently took him on a photo shoot with us and were able to snap a few pictures while on location. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more genuine human being than this little boy. The more I get to know him each day, the more I think that my heart can’t possibly hold all the love that is bursting out of it.

He is the best. And I’m not sure what I did right in my life to make God think that I deserved such a cool and amazing kid. Although motherhood is the hardest job I have ever done, I never realized how much that wouldn’t matter. I don’t care how hard it is. I get to hang out with this amazing face every single day.

And for that, I know I didn’t do anything to deserve him. But I am so glad that God gave him to me and Jason.

meltdown

25 Mar

I had a complete meltdown the other night. It needed to happen, I think. It was good for my soul. And I can think a lot more clear now that I’ve gotten all my emotions out of the way.

I’ve been pretty stressed out these past couple weeks. We have a lot going on. Always. We always have a lot going on. Life doesn’t ever slow down for us, even if we try to make it. I thought once the holidays past, we’d be able to breathe. I thought our photography business would slow down a little bit, which I didn’t want and I did want all at the same time. I love my job and staying busy has just been amazing. I just thought that naturally, there’d be a slope in the amount of business we had after the holidays.

We don’t have an open slot until June.

Don’t get me wrong- I am incredibly blessed, grateful and humbled to be this busy. I get to work full time at home, with my son sitting on my lap! It doesn’t get any better.

Throw that into the mix with Jason starting a new job, trying to move up to Scottsdale, getting our house ready to rent out, actually renting out our current house, chasing after a toddler, buying a new car AND having another baby. Another baby??!! I have to be this busy AND add another baby to the mix?? Whoa.

This pregnancy has been completely different than my pregnancy with Cruz- including hormonally. When I was pregnant the first time around, I’m pretty sure I was on the brink of tears for nine straight months. I felt so bad for my family, friends and mostly Jason. Anything could piss me off, make me bawl or just simply insecure. It was so weird because I’m not typically like that at all. I’m an emotional woman normally, but to a healthy extent. During my pregnancy with Cruz, I was a wreck. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was horrible. So I didn’t have to deal with morning sickness or any major food aversions (except chicken!) but I was about to bawl in your face at any given moment the entire time. Awful.

*sigh*

This time around, I think I’ve been completely depleted of all emotions. I can tear up a little, and only at certain things. But mostly, I don’t really feel emotional about anything- especially not like I did with Cruz. Things that would normally hurt my feelings or make me cry, don’t. It’s weird. I’ll be thinking, Wow, that should really hurt my feelings but for some reason it doesn’t. Strange. So I’m sure it’s been building up inside for awhile.

I had a minor set back during one of my edits on this same particular night- the one with my meltdown. Don’t worry, it ultimately resolved itself. But, while I was in the midst of it, it sent me into a mild version of what I call, a meltdown. Jason was just sitting on the opposite couch from me wondering, I’m sure, What the hell is happening? I started sobbing about any and every little thing that’s been building in my heart over the past couple months- mostly about the things I listed above. After I finished sobbing- seriously about an hour later- and realized that it was midnight and that I need to go to bed, I actually felt a lot better.

The truth is, there is a lot going on in my life that is giving me so much anxiety. Which is stupid really, because at the end of the day, everything usually gets done right? Maybe not all the dishes or laundry or yard work. But the things that are super important always get done. But right now, I have all of these small and large tasks on my ‘To Do’ list everyday, and to be honest- figuring out how to do all of them AND be a full time mommy is super hard! I hit a wall the other night, got it all out of my system, went to bed and actually woke up feeling a lot more clear about my life and what actually is on my plate.

It’s amazing how a little meltdown can actually allow things to be a lot more clear.

I would never change where I’m at in this life. I wouldn’t change one single thing about it. Well, I actually would hire a full time maid to clean my house if I could afford it, not gonna lie. But aside from that, I wouldn’t change anything. BUT, for any mom- working inside the house, working outside the home, or not working at all, balancing everything is very hard to do. And at moments where I think we couldn’t possibly get busier in our lives, we do. And I’m still navigating how to actually do this thing called ‘full time working mom’. It’s not easy. Every day is a balancing act. And every day usually doesn’t turn out how I thought it would. I’m trying to go with the flow, release control and just focus on one day at a time. Not tomorrow, or next week or next month. Wow, that’s hard for me.

I’m so thankful that God’s grace is sufficient for me, today, right where I’m at. He sees me in my ‘meltdown moments’ and understands my heart. And it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only mamma (or woman!) who feels like they’re going crazy at times. We’re all just doing the best we can, with what we’ve been given. And that’s all we can do.

possible

22 Feb

I planned on going back to work after Cruz was born. Not only did I want to, we needed me to go back financially. Jason and I had worked out a good schedule between the two of us- I would go in to work early and leave early. He’d go in later and leave later. Meaning that Cruz would have only been with a sitter two to three hours a day.

That, we could have handled, both emotionally and financially.

I always wanted to be a full time stay at home mom, but just didn’t see when it would be in the cards for me. We are in ministry and everyone knows that you don’t go into ministry for the money. So I wasn’t sure when we’d be in a situation that would allow me to stay home full time. I knew it was the cry of my heart, but I was also trying to be realistic. So I was making the best of our situation and thought I had come up with a plan that would allow me to be the best working mom that I could be. Plus, I really did like my job and had every intention of going back.

Then, my entire world was rocked.

I was no more than 5 days away from my due date when I was sat down at work and informed that my wanted schedule was not approved. Astonished, I desperately tried to work out something; anything that would allow us to do what we thought was best for our baby. With no luck, I was completely devastated. In conversations that same week and prior to my maternity leave, I was told (and I quote), “You have three options here. You can be a full time working mom, a part time working mom, or a full time stay at home mom. I wouldn’t push it.”

Immediately after this was said to me I secretly thought to myself, “Wow, you’re talking to the wrong girl.”

See, I’m the kind of girl that likes to make things happen for myself. I like to strategize and figure out the best possible way to make things work for me and my family and I’ll do anything to make it work. In that meeting, I knew I had to come up with a plan that was best for my family. I wasn’t going to be bullied into working a schedule I wasn’t comfortable with. And I wasn’t going to settle for making less money than I knew I could make. I had a mix of emotions for the remainder of that week. I was devastated, panicked, furious. I was days away from meeting my son and my ‘plan’ (that would have worked perfectly) had vanished. With no time to find another employer who possibly would have worked with me, I spent the nights before my sons birth sobbing in his room while sitting in his rocker. I would sit up until 4:00 am with worry, crying out to God about what we were going to do.

We couldn’t afford daycare full time, and while many moms use daycare and I have nothing against it, I just knew that it wasn’t going to work for us. I wanted to be able to work, help provide for my family and still be a mom that was as hands on as any other mom. I’m a hard worker. I would have successfully done this. And I thought I was working at a place that would have put my family first and I was willing to prove that my work would not have suffered. I would have worked harder.

I went on maternity leave and then Cruz was 9 days late. I had started contemplating the idea of becoming a Pampered Chef consultant and I thought doing that part time would have been a great option that would have allowed me to stay home. I could have even kept my other job while being a consultant and that would have worked.  I started crunching numbers and rethinking the job that I currently had. I really struggled wondering, ‘If they can’t help me put my family first before my family is even here, how is it going to be once he arrives?” I had a hard time with the thought of going back. I felt like I had spent a year working harder than I had ever worked, and none of it mattered. I was just filling a position and could be easily replaced.

Then Cruz was born.

And everything they say about becoming a mom is true. It rocked my world in every way possible. And I knew that I had to be somewhere that would help me value this little guy the same way I valued him. I just didn’t know how or where or who that would be and it really seemed like I would have to go back.

I spent all of my maternity leave, in-between feedings and diaper changes, sobbing and crying out to God about what the answer was. What should we do for our family? How are we going to provide? Who should I trust to watch him full time when I go back? I couldn’t believe that I was spending my maternity leave worrying about this. I thought I had had it figured out beforehand and found it extremely unfair to have been presented with this as I was about to pop. I felt robbed of the maternity leave that I had always dreamed of. While Cruz was my focus in those early weeks, I was focused more on how we were going to make this work. Jason finally sat me down near the end of my maternity leave, after watching the worry, the sobbing, the heartache, and told me that I need to stay home. We’d work it out. God would provide. We need to trust. It was obviously not right for me to go back and we both agreed that everything that had happened to me was a slammed door. I should stay home.

So my maternity leave ended and I did not go back. That was never my intention when I got pregnant, but God obviously had other plans for me. So I left my job. Most people thought I had ‘just decided to stay home’, which couldn’t have been a more wrong assumption. We still had no second income for me. I started my business as a Pampered Chef consultant and it actually was going well. I made money, I liked it, it was easy. It wasn’t my passion, but whatever. I was able to stay home with Cruz.

I don’t need to tell you in detail what happened next. Because what happened next was that Jason and I started our own photography business and it exploded. God has provided more than I could have imagined and I am more than able to stay home with all of our children now due to the success we are having. It took a few steps of faith, a huge leap and major sacrifice for a few months while we were figuring it out. I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the first year of Cruz’s life. I  hadn’t shopped much for clothes. And my outings with other mommies were limited.

And it was more than worth it.

I’m not telling you this to brag. I am telling you this because I seriously (without exaggeration) have about 8 women in my life who have recently had babies and who are struggling with the same exact thing. They want to stay home desperately but don’t know how. They have to make a paycheck still and help provide financially. I get it. I have been there. Abandoning my job and hoping that something would work out was the scariest thing I have ever done in my entire life. And it was hard, requiring a lot of sacrifice. But I look back and I am so thankful that doors were slammed in my face while others were opened. Had that never happened, I’d still be working full time somewhere. I never would have ventured out to explore my true passion in this life.

I am a strong believer that if you want to stay home full time with your children, you should do it. It will be hard and scary and will require a lot of sacrifice. But you have options. I knew that those three options I was presented with were not my only options. I knew that I could be a full time stay at home/full time working mom. I knew that I could make it happen and I was on my knees about it for months. And that’s exactly what I am doing.

I can now say, that I am working harder than I have EVER worked in my whole life to try to balance it all. And on days when I feel like I am going crazy and want to cry, I remember that this is exactly what I wanted. This is exactly what I created. This is exactly where I am supposed to be. When I hear other mom’s talking about how they desperately want to stay home, I am always reminded that they CAN.

YOU CAN.

It’s not easy. It’s scary. And it’s possible.

* This is me on my due date, completely about to pop. I. Was. Huge.