Navigating life as a mom of two toddler(ish) kids, and all fun things in-between - fashion, beauty, home, and every day life.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Best Part

Before I had kids, I had this idea of what being a stay at home mom would be like. Prior to having kids, I was a Special Ed Teacher for five years. In the last two years of that time, we were trying for a baby. We had a very hard time. It took a year and a half. Then, I had a miscarriage. Trying for a year and a half, and a lost pregnancy. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. Three months after my miscarriage I became pregnant with Olivia.

Being a teacher during the first trimester of pregnancy is not exactly the easiest thing in the world. For that matter, doing anything during your first trimester isn't easy. I had terrible pregnancies. Very sick throughout, very little appetite, back pain, the whole deal. I would take my students on weekly trips in the community to teach them in a real life setting. On these field trips, I would look at the moms out with their babies - at the grocery store, the bookstore. I would be so envious, wishing it was me. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I would go to the gym in the morning, then trips to the grocery store, do some Pinterest crafts while the baby was sleeping, go to the park, do some mom groups. It would be perfect.

Fast forward a few years later. I have a 2.5 year old and a 15 month old. I am a stay at home mom...

...So just now, in the middle of writing, right after I typed the word "mom" above, Olivia said "Mommy I have a doodoo in my diaper." I stopped writing. I changed said poop diaper. Then, Steven enters the house from being in the backyard - with a huge chunk of dog poop on his shoe. So I scrubbed the poop off his shoe, and his hands, since he decided to play with his poop shoe. It is not even 8am. I can't make this stuff up.

Between the hours of 7-8:30 am (wake up until preschool drop off), I have usually changed four diapers. That's four diapers in 1.5 hours. My hands are so dry from changing so many diapers and washing my hands so many times a day that I usually can't wear my wedding rings because my finger is all irritated from so much hand washing. Not so glamorous. Pretty glamour-less.

The best part of my day is getting my kids out of their cribs in the morning. I am SO ready to see their little smiling faces at 7am. By 8:30, between getting the kids dressed, breakfast, cleanup, pack lunch, pack bags for the morning, dishes, change four diapers, break up a few fights over a toy, clean all the food Steven has thrown on the floor that the dog didn't eat for some annoying reason, get two kids in the car, make sure the dog hasn't escaped… by 8:30, I usually feel like I've run a marathon. Between 7 and 8:30, I have reheated my cup of coffee probably three times. I have the Today Show on in the background, but it's not like I've actually been able to hear any of what Matt and Savannah are saying. At 8:30, when I'm on my way to preschool drop-off, I am wondering what it would be like to be dressed in some cute, professional outfit, on my way to work with the morning routine behind me, ready to switch into work gear, then sitting at my desk, talking to a coworker with a hot cup of coffee, and finishing that cup of coffee. Or maybe even being on the train. Just me. No diaper bag. No kids. Maybe even reading a book.

Olivia's pre-school has curbside drop-off which I am extremely grateful for. The teacher comes to the car, gets Olivia out of her carseat, Olivia says "Bye Mommy I wuv you, Bye Stevie, I wuv you" and my heart melts as I watch her in the rearview mirror, backpack that's bigger than her on her back, holding the teacher's hand, smile on her face. I literally almost cry every single day as I'm looking in that rearview mirror. I feel like "She's Like the Wind" should be playing in the background. The dreams of being on the train, with my book, or with my coworker, for this very moment, have vanished.

So just like that, I've gone from wishing I was at work with my coworkers to wishing Olivia would jump back in my car because I miss her already. But I still have Steven in the backseat. And it's my time now with him. And I also feel a sense of relief that Olivia is taken care of for the rest of the morning and I only have one child to tend to. Back into mom-mode.

We go to the gym every morning. They have a daycare there. Steven loves it. I love it. We both need it. He needs the structure, the interaction, I need the break, the "me" time for the day. Is it bad that this is usually my favorite part of the day? Should I feel guilty about that? No, right? Don't you need that "me" time to be a better mom to your kids? Again, the sense of relief when I drop Steven off. Feeling bad leaving him? Yes. Equally as much relief? Yes. I do my thing. Exercise class. Shower (sometimes. HA). Go to pick Steven up. He RUNS to me. I'm talking like melt your heart biggest smile - the purest happiness you've ever seen. Maybe that is actually the best part about my time at the gym.

Ok, so the mornings are full. I'm happy. The same joy picking Steven up I have picking Olivia up from school. Bring her home, play. Naptime. For both of them. Yes. They nap at the same time. It usually buys me about 1.5 - 2 hours by myself. I can get stuff done. I can do whatever I want (in the house). You know what? This seems like a dream, right? How can I ever complain? I get to go to the gym in the morning? I have two hours "off" in the afternoon. I realize how lucky I am for those things. You know what, though? It can be lonely. Especially when it's cold, especially when it's rainy. Again, find myself wondering what it would be like to be at work right now, with adult human coworkers, talking about The Bachelor, Gwen and Blake's performance on The Voice, the lesson I just taught and bombed. Ok, I know work isn't all chit chatting, but there are breaks to chit chat. I miss that.

So what has seemed like mostly a dream so far just takes me to the dreaded afternoon. The hours between 3-7. Four hours. It's a long time, people. My kids are so close in age and so active and needy that I can't exactly bring them on errands with me. I can't even take them to the park without help. We can do playdates at friends' houses. If we can get five words in edgewise between the kids crying, falling, etc., it is lovely and refreshing. But things you are easily able to do with one - go to the zoo, to the store, the park, anything, it just is too hard with two their ages. Staying in the house from 3-7 is basically torture. They get cranky. They have tantrums. They are kids. You can't blame them. That's when I think "well if I was getting home from work around 3:30/4 like most of my friends are then I would be so excited for the hours of 3-7 because I would have missed the kids so much all day." Now, maybe that is not the case because my friends are also exhausted and/or stressed from the workday. I am not blind to that. But I can't help but wonder if it feels refreshing to spend time with your kids after you've missed them while you were at work.

Adam works a lot. He does a lot of dinners and often is not home before the kids go to bed. The days he comes home for dinner are certainly the best days. I love them. Look forward to them. But anywhere from 2-4 days a week, he is at work stuff. He works SO hard so that I can be this stay at home mom. I am very grateful for that. It is very hard to have this love/hate relationship with staying at home. It's filled with highs and lows, lots of diapers, lots of impatience, lots of time with your own thoughts, lots of laughs, lots of happiness, lots of cries (both me and the babies, depending on the day). It's not easy, which I think most people do actually realize. I think the hardest part is finding that balance between being a mom and being you, since your days pretty much solely revolve around being a mom. It's definitely not what I thought it was when I was out on those field trips with my students, longing to be those moms out at the grocery store with their kids.

I was walking out of the gym yesterday, holding Steven, and a woman stopped me. She said "I'm so sorry to bother you. Your son is just so cute. How old is he?" She then complimented me which always makes you want to continue talking to someone ;) We then got to talking more. She has twin daughters who are now 18 (but how does she look like that if she has 18 year old kids?! ok, side note..) When I told her about Olivia she said "You are the American Dream." It was really an odd thing to hear. It's not every day some stranger says something like that to you. She touched Steven's arm to feel his soft skin and he nuzzled up to me and smiled, as he does, and she went on to tell me that she would give anything to go back in time and told me something that we all hear so much - "this time goes so fast - cherish it."

This conversation was so serendipitous (LOVE that word). It's like she knew I was in the middle of writing about exactly this! So that brings me to this mom struggle that is SO very real. There are about 900 times in the day when I want to freeze time because these kids are so stinkin cute and how in the world can they get cuter!? And being a stay at home mom is the best thing ever and I'm so lucky. BUT, there are times in the day when it's like "ok, it'll be cool if we can fast forward a little so you can be just a little more independent and I can have a little more of a life." Is that mean?? I think that's the struggle. Wanting to treasure the moments, and at the same time, sometimes, wondering what it will be like when your kids are more independent and when you can have some more time for YOU. Wondering what it would be like if you had a job to go to every day, with coworkers to talk to, a different part of your brain to use, more of a balance in your life. Some days you feel on top of the world, others not so much. Some days my working mom friends feel envious of the friends who are stay at homes, and for us stay at home girls, there are many times we are envious. The grass is always greener. I love my time with my kids. Everything comes with its positives and negatives, ups and downs. I also realize that when my kids are 18 and 19 like the woman who stopped me in the gym, I'll probably be stopping some 30 year old, asking to touch her one year old's arm, and telling her that I'd give anything to go back, that this time in your life is the best part. Four poopy diapers before 8:30 and all.

No caption neessary
I'm sorry, but it was too fitting.

Yes, he is holding a pair of my underwear.


Trying to take down our huge lamp.
Appropriately stopping right in the middle of the grocery store to eat her snack.
The daily cabinet rampage.


Best grocery store date.

Some light reading.


Just tipping over some chairs. The usual.




  1. great photos. great post! the same thoughts i was having last night too O:)

    but i am CONSTANTLY being told by my working mom friends about how jealous they are that I get to stay home ALLLLL day! ups and downs to everything. that's what I tell them. it's either one way or the other and both are hard. so many old sayings to use haha - "can't have it all" why can't we "have our cake and eat it too?" ahhhhh

  2. Yes!! I have working mom friends also tell me they could never stay home! I guess we all just do the best we can :)

  3. Loved it!!! So honest and real!! I have so many of the same struggles!! Being a mama is fun but it's definitely NOT easy!

  4. So incredibly honest- you are one amazing mama!