Why I Will Actually Miss the Toddler Years

Toddlers. Tiny rambunctious humans with way too much energy and too many emotions to contain…full of NOs, questions and curiosity…they can be a handful. You may have heard of the terrible 2s, terrible 3s and so-on….but, what if I told you that I will actually miss this phase?

Just wait a sec and hear me out on this.

My oldest will be 3 in September and he’s now entering a really fun phase. He is potty trained, he can communicate more with us and is saying new words every day, he gets VERY excited about his favorite things and his attention span has lengthened so he stays occupied for longer periods. He is understanding the world around him more…what makes him happy & sad and so on. He is learning just what he is capable of doing…even when he thinks that he can’t, he will try it and be amazed at what he really can do. It’s really quite amazing for me, as a mom, to see him progress and learn as much as he is. It’s also so rewarding….because all the days of talking, repeating what things are and so on seem to be paying off.

It’s amazing and yet so incredibly bittersweet. Of course I want my babies to learn, grow and be independent, but it’s always a battle of wanting them to grow and wanting them to stay little forever.

There’s also the affection that my toddler gives us which may be the BEST type of reward for those long and hard mom days. He will randomly give me kisses or hug my leg. He gives us long hugs and squeezes…and then there’s the pats on the back that come with those hugs. It’s when his little hand reaches out for mine that makes my heart melt or how he stays glued by my side when he meets someone new. It’s when I lay down with him at night and he hands me his train book & declares “read”; one by one he will tell me which color each train is and the excitement on his face is priceless. It’s in that moment when a train in a book is enough to light up my son’s face that I know how precious this age truly is.

And how fast it will fade by.

Pretty soon, faster than I would like, my toddler will be heading off to kindergarten. He’ll be off making friends and he won’t want to hold my hand anymore. When I pick him up from school, he will excitedly tell me about his day and what he learned about, and I will sit back and smile. And as much as I long for the days of a little more time to myself, he will also grow a little more away from me.

Pretty soon, he won’t want the extra cuddles or kisses…and the random squeezes around my leg will become less & less. He will also grow out of his love for certain “kid” things and find the world around him less exciting. He won’t want to chat about the simple things and he will probably think I’m not so cool anymore. He will lose his baby face, grow taller & won’t want to be tucked into bed at night. And then will come the dreaded day when he won’t want me to kiss him in front of his friends (although I still will) & instead of picking flowers for his momma, he’ll be picking flowers for a girl. (although I hope he will still think of me from time to time)

So as hard as it can be parenting a toddler, I desperately try to remember that some-day when I have a moody teenager with a crackling voice, I will want these days back. And so I give my toddler one more squeeze and read him his train book one more time.

5 Things I Want Moms with Postpartum Depression to Know

Motherhood is overwhelming and it can be downright scary when your holding your very own helpless baby for the first time… so for any mama out there that may be going through what I did, here are 5 things I want moms with postpartum depression to know.

When I first became a mother, I had all of the emotions… but I was mainly happy; that little bundle of joy brought me so much happiness I felt like I could explode. It came easy for me(except for breast-feeding)…the late nights that turned into early mornings, the swaddling and the constant demands of motherhood. I had it all together.

And then I had my second son and things felt….different. So different. I didn’t just feel pure happiness this time around. I felt a sadness so deep; I felt more anxious and worrisome. I remember laying up in the hospital bed after he was born and crying because I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay right there and continue to let the nurses care for me but mainly….for my baby. You see, I didn’t think that I could do it…take care of a newborn and a toddler…I felt completely overwhelmed. I felt angry. I was depressed. I had postpartum depression.

 

5 Things I Want Moms with Postpartum Depression to Know

 

According to WebMD the early signs of postpartum depression include feeling sad or hopeless. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can feel like yourself again.

The health-care system fails us as mothers due to the fact that after we have our babies, we aren’t given ANY support or therapy towards postpartum depression. It’s not even really talked about. It’s like…..here’s your new baby, good luck! There are so many emotions coursing through our veins and often more times than not, we feel embarrassed or shamed for these feelings.

Here are 5 things that I would like to tell other moms that may be experiencing postpartum depression.

1. Having postpartum depression doesn’t make you a bad mom. This was my first  thought in the beginning and I’m telling you right now, you need to dismiss that from your mind pronto. You’re not a bad mom if you don’t want to make a craft with your kid. You’re not a bad mom if all you can manage to do on a daily basis is feed and bathe your child. And you’re not a bad mom if you feel sad and if your baby doesn’t bring you complete joy. You’re not a bad mom.

2. Having postpartum depression doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. You can have postpartum depression and love your baby, even if right at this moment you feel indifferent. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. I also want to tell you that if you ever have thoughts about harming your baby, that’s not okay so PLEASE seek help if it’s getting to that point.

 

5 Things I Want Moms with Postpartum Depression to Know

 

3. Reach out to someone. I assure you, there is ALWAYS someone out there that understands what your going through so reach out to them whenever you need to; you don’t have to go through this alone. There are also crisis hotlines (listed at the end of this post) that are always available to you.

 

4. It will get worse before it gets better. I won’t sugar coat it…things normally get worse before they get better. I had a pretty low “low” with my PPD where I felt like things were never going to get better and my life would be in a constant fog. I want to tell you that it DOES get better…it won’t happen over night or maybe even a month from now, but there’s hope. There is a rainbow after the storm.

 

5. You have purpose. You were put on this Earth for a reason. Right now, you may feel like you don’t matter but I want to tell you that you do. You’re in the trenches of motherhood and you feel overwhelmed and broken but trust me, you have purpose. You are a warrior, a fighter, a strong and beautiful women! You have purpose, mama. You will be alright.

 

I wanted to share this with any new moms out there that may be at their lowest right now and to be a voice that says: you’re not alone!

 If you or someone you know may have postpartum depression, please know that there are resources out there.

 

Hotline crisis phone numbers:

Suicide

If you are currently having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Non-U.S. citizens can visit IASP or Suicide.org to find help in their country.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Anxiety

If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, or need some extra support, call womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662. Check out the womenshealth.gov website for more information and resources.

 

 

 

 

Before & After: What Having Kids Did To Me

I recently came across an old picture of me from a few years back. Let me tell you…the world always has a way of humbling you.

I was in my early 20’s and about 50 pounds lighter. This was BEFORE I had my babies. I was skinner, well-rested & actually had the time to care about my appearance.  I mean, I actually had the time to selfie. Obviously, time & babies will change a person. I’ve lost a lot of sleep in the course of 2.5 years.

My before picture was taken in spring 2014. Since then, I’ve moved four times (two times internationally), had two healthy baby boys, and gained around 45-50 pounds.

I’ve seen something a little while back about parents posting their before & after photos detailing how parenthood has changed them.  So, I decided to take an after picture of myself; for sheer amusement and torture, and did a side by side comparison.

 

 

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2014 & 2018.

You guys. Time really sucks.

 

Granted, on my before, I was getting ready to go out and had my makeup and hair all nice…you know, because I didn’t have children to run after. And on my after, I was only on my first cup of coffee and my eyebrows haven’t been touched in like 5 months. Anyway, you can clearly see the difference that only 4 years have done. 4 years. 2 kids. And battling postpartum depression. This is what it looks like. #nofilter

Perhaps someday I will get back to my before picture…back to my before weight. That would be amazing. In reality, it will probably take years….so for now, I’ll enjoy my babies while they’re still babies. This is real life, you guys. No nannies, personal trainer or someone to do my makeup. It’s all me. Au-naturel. I better learn to embrace it because I still have many years of toddlering to get through.

 

 

This was fun but…can I hand in my mom card now?

I’m going to be very honest in this post & let it all out.

I’m failing as a mom. There, I said it.

This week has left me broken. I’m at the end of my rope & I don’t know what to do. My boys, whom I love dearly, are leaving me burnt out. My toddler, who is a very sweet & kind soul, is leaving me doubting whether or not I’m doing this mom-thing the right way. I feel like I’ve lost my way with him. I don’t know how to handle his tantrums, his outbursts, or his demands. I feel so annoyed at every little thing he does and jeez…doesn’t that make me sound terrible? But I’m being completely honest right now so pardon me because I don’t believe that there’s ANY parent out there that doesn’t get slightly annoyed or frustrated at their children from time to time. And if you tell me otherwise, well quit blowing smoke up my butt. Anyway, my toddler…. he’s a lovable child but he’s grown insanely jealous lately. He will rip toys away from his baby brother and go up to him and pull his hair for no reason. He will scream when he doesn’t get his way. Yes, these are all toddler-like behaviors but good lordy I was not prepared for it. And he doesn’t sleep. I dread the night-time routine because it feels like a literal torture-sentence having to deal with his little routine quirks – (he needs fresh toothpaste applied to his toothbrush twice and needs two books read…then he needs this night light on…. and this pillow here..now he doesn’t want THAT pillow, he wants the other one…. but wait..he doesn’t want this blanket on but now he does….) And then it takes negotiating and reassurance for me to be able to leave his room so he can go to sleep. Most nights, he will scream and lately I’ve found that Ricky coming up to calm him down really works. And he doesn’t sleep through the night anymore. He wakes up and finds his way into our bed… which is nice until he’s laying on top of me and my legs are numb so I move him over but he wakes up and screams for me to lay a certain way. It’s all very exhausting. He’s extremely needy for me and while it may sound like that’s not such a bad thing, I have to say that a person has their limit on how much they can be touched/climbed on/hanged on during the day. You can say that I’m lucky or blessed or maybe say that I’m ungrateful…and I can’t deny any of that. It’s just hard for me right now and very draining.

There have been days, especially this week, where I’ve lost my patience way too quick; where my voice was raised a little too loud; where I’ve needed to walk away because it was just too much. These days get to me….because at the end of the day, I’m sitting on the couch, kids in bed, and thinking to myself: thank god we just all survived today. we just made it through this day. And I know, oh do I know, that I was just barely skimming the surface at being a mom today. That I met just the minimum requirements of being emotionally there for my kids. I half-assed it. I kept the kids alive & that was it…but it was a freaking marathon. I absolutely believe that my boys deserve the world, and then some, yet every-day, I feel like I’m failing them.

For me, being there is just simply not enough. I want to give them everything I have and the whole nine-yards but most days, I’m just exhausted. And I’m not talking about physically exhausted because obviously two small kids will drain a person; I’m talking about emotionally & mentally exhausted. I’m suffering from PPD and every day is a literal struggle. I struggle to get out of bed every morning. I struggle to make my kids meals. I struggle to get outside to play with them or go on a walk. I struggle to sit on the floor with them & play. I struggle with finding the every-day joys of life. It’s really hard. It sucks. It isn’t fair….but it’s what I have to deal with. I’m struggling with depression & yes, my kids are very much getting the brunt of it. It’s totally not fair to them. Yes, they deserve a mom that is perky, enthused and patient. My husband also deserves a wife that is those things as well. I live with this every-day and the guilt is gut-wrenching. It’s a never-ending turmoil & I feel like I’ll never be better…be good enough.

I completely believe that my depression affects my kids but especially Beaux. I believe that he can sense my feelings and perhaps that plays a big impact on his own emotions/why he acts out. And I have no idea how to make it better. I’m taking the medication, I’m going to the therapist. I have my good days and I have my bad days. I was on the up & up for a while there, but in recent weeks, I’ve been battling the depression HARD. It’s funny because it just doesn’t go away….even on my best days, my depression is peeking around the corner at me, reminding me that life can never be too good.

I love being a mom and I can’t stress it enough how much I love my boys. But it’s hard. SO SO SO OOOOOO hard. I don’t have a village. I live in another country, 1,000+ miles away from any family. I have a handful of friends here that are very helpful & supportive, but I have a huge problem with asking for help when I need it the most (and feeling guilty for throwing my kids onto other people.) Being a mom was so much easier after my first was born. Sure, there were many sleepless nights and breastfeeding woes, but it was just….easy. I could bask in newborn cuddles all day long. I could dress him in the cutest, matching baby clothes and take pictures of him all day long. It was easy. And I thought (at the time) that it was hard. I LOVED being a mother back then. I felt like I gave my 110% every single day. Why is it so hard for me now?

Will it get easier?

Many tell me yes yet, many tell me no. I guess that’s just the life of being a parent.

 

I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone. I know how fortunate I am. I have many things to be happy for. This was a hard week, as I’m sure you can understand. We all feel defeated from time to time and believe that it will never get better. Here’s to hoping that tomorrow is better & sunnier.

Stay happy, my friends. <3

To the mom….

To the thirty-something year-old women that is childless and has suffered three miscarriages and always gets asked?: “when are you having babies?”

To the mother of four with another on the way that constantly gets those looks and questions of: “did you really want all of those kids?”

To the mom that only has one child and constantly gets hounded with the question: “when are you going to give him/her a sibling?”

To the mom with the awful postpartum depression that desperately wants another baby but can’t imagine going through that again.

To the mom that has all girls and gets asked: “when are you trying for that boy?!”

To the mom that has all boys and gets asked: “when are you trying for that girl?!”

To the mom that ate healthy and smart during her pregnancy.

To the mom that drank coffee and gave into her McDonald’s cravings.

To the mom that chooses to birth in her home with no drugs and a doula. 

To the mom that chooses to birth in a hospital with doctors and nurses around and gets that epidural. 

To the mom that has a well-thought out birth plan and three names picked out for each gender.

To the mom that just wings it and has no idea what she’s naming her baby.

To the mom that breastfeeds and nurses her baby out in public with no cover.

To the mom that formula feeds her baby.

To the mom that uses a pacifier to soothe and is in no hurry to wean after age 1.

To the mom that’s in no hurry to wean her baby off the breast after age 1.

To the the mom that lets her baby cry it out.

To the mom that co-sleeps.

To the mom that pushes her baby in a stroller.

To the mom that wears her baby in a carrier.

To the mom that feeds her baby Gerber baby food.

To the mom that baby-led weans.

To the mom that prepares healthy, organic and gluten-free meals for her kids.

To the mom that feeds her kid chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and the occasional Happy Meal.

To the mom that puts Huggies and Pampers on her baby.

To the mom that puts cloth diapers on her baby.

To the mom that keeps her home spotless.

To the mom that lets her kids eat off the floor.

To the mom that buys brand new clothes.

To the mom that relies on Goodwill and second-hand stores.

To the mom that reads to her kids and doesn’t allow any screen time.

To the mom that turns on the TV to Dinosaur Train to get a few minutes of peace and quiet.

To the mom that documents every milestone in the baby book.

To the mom that has no time to write it down but swears that she will get to it someday.

To the mom that rear-faces her kid’s car seat until age four years old.

To the mom that rear-faces until her kid is two.

To the mom that plans the most well thought out birthday parties with a special theme and spectacular cake.

To the mom that has a small celebration with a store bought cake around the kitchen table.

To the mom that stays at home with her babies and is there for every moment and milestone.

To the mom that works outside the home to provide for her babies.

To the mom that gifts her kids books, blocks and dolls.

To the mom that gifts her toddler an iPad.

To the mom that enforces a solid bedtime of 7PM.

To the mom that wings it on bedtime.

To the mom that chooses not to spank as a form of discipline.

To the mom that does choose to spank as a form of discipline.

To the mom that has a million pictures of her kids hung up on the walls of her home.

To the mom that still doesn’t have pictures of her second born even developed.

To the mom that decides to give her son only gender-specific toys.

To the mom that doesn’t care if her son plays with dolls.

To the mom that watches her kid tentatively at the park.

To the mom buried in her phone at the park because she desperately needed some “me” time.

To the mom that home-schools.

To the mom that puts her kid in a public school.

To the mom that makes crafts, bakes home made cookies and attends every PTA meeting.

To the mom that barely remembers to fill out a school permission slip and can’t sew to save her life.

To the mom that has never-ending patience and kindness.

To the mom that loses her shit way too easily then feels incredibly guilty.

To the mom that censors her kid’s music and TV shows.

To the mom that sings Eminem songs right along with her kid.

To the mom that holds everything together when she feels like falling apart.

 

 

This is for all the moms out there that do their best every single day.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation. 

We’re all doing what we can to get by. Please stop being hard on yourself.

You’re pretty badass.

<3