What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me Before I Became a Mom

Take a good hard look. This right here is the real face of motherhood. This isn’t your average highlight reel. There’s no makeup, no sense of fashion — in fact there isn’t even a hair comb or a toothbrush at this point. I didn’t even slap a pretty filter on this photo. And, so you may ask … why in fact would you show anyone this picture of you? Why would you paint yourself in such an awful, unforgiving light? Why would you show the world this very unflattering photo of yourself?

The answer is simple. I am TIRED. I am tired of social media always showing me someone else’s highlight reel. Look anywhere on social media and you will find photos of what a Mom “should” look like. Lipstick, makeup, a perfect body and a perfectly taken care of house — all smiles and zero TRUTH. I am tired of not telling the truth of what being a Mom really looks like.

Here’s the truth about this photo. I was up most of the night with my twins. This time they are sick with a head cold. In fact, I was awake more in the night than I was asleep. In fact, my hubby is away for work and eventually I gave in and called my own Mom to come over and rescue me. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to call her. My hubby works away half the month and it seems as if my kids always get sick when he’s away.  And, for sure I know it won’t be the last time that she swoops in and saves me. (I am eternally grateful that she lives so close that she can do that.)

The truth is that I am drinking cold coffee by the time this photo was taken. I’ve gotten 2 kiddos off to school in good time, packed two school lunches, made 4 breakfasts to order, managed to use the bathroom without anyone banging on the door and I’ve looked at the dishes still sitting in my sink from last night more than once. And, after all that, I am ecstatic that I survived another night.

Momma, this is the real face of Motherhood.  It isn’t always roses and sunshine. And, that’s okay. What I want Moms to know is that Motherhood doesn’t (hardly ever) look like all those other people on social media. There will be times that a shower is a luxury and maybe even running a comb through your hair will be considered an accomplishment. But, Momma, don’t let all that stop you from seeing the most amazing moments. I’ll take the cold coffee and the dark circles because I know that there are many women who would trade places with me in an instant.

Despite what you may think from looking at this photo, I am insanely grateful that this is my life.

 

Dreams Do Come True

 

I have a daughter. She is a dreamer.

I never knew having a daughter could stir up so many emotions in my heart. Yes, she is a dreamer. She’s 8 and always saying things like … “when I grow up Mom I want to be a …” And all I can think of is — Don’t grow up. You are perfect just the way you are.

I want to hold her and kiss her gently on her head and tell her all the things I want for her. But then I stop. I stop because I don’t want her to grow up. I want her to sit with me a while more, snuggling into the crook of my arm. I want to sing with her and be silly with her. I want to hold her hand and feel the warmth and the softness of her 8 year old hand in mine. I want to lay beside her at night, reading her Charlotte’s Web and smelling her freshly washed hair on the pillow beside my face. She is beautiful and smart and carefree. She is every bit as beautiful as I could have imagined a daughter to be. When I look into her eyes I see her Dad and I see me. Oh, how I love those eyes. When she looks at me she sees me for who I am. She sees my flaws. She sees my imperfections. She sees all the things that I am so afraid to show other people. And yet, she loves me. Her heart is so big that despite all my imperfections, flaws and rough edges, she loves me beyond measure. And I her.

And, so I sit here not wanting to see her grow — afraid that the world will squash down that love, that carefree spirit, that dreamer inside of her.  I want to teach her so much. I want to teach her about love and kindness, friendship and faith. There are so many things I want to teach her. I want to teach her to shut the world out, but then I stop. This girl is a dreamer.

The world needs her. I need her. She needs to teach the world. She needs to teach me.

So I sit here holding her hand, smelling her hair and wondering how God has blessed me with such an incredible human being. And all I can think of is — you are perfect just the way you are, my daughter. Dream on little girl.

The world is waiting for you  … and me? I will be right here holding your hand along the way. Because I know, looking at you, dreams do come true.

Living YOUR Best Life


Four hours a week is all it takes to live your best life … maybe not even that much time. 4 hours. If your life isn’t worth 4 hours then you don’t have a life. Someone just told me that in a podcast that I’m listening to. And, honestly, I couldn’t agree more.

Over the last year and a half I’ve made some pretty good decisions to help me LIVE my best life. What I can tell you looking back at who I was before I started this Happy & Healthy Life Project  is that I wasn’t living my best life. I was tired, exhausted, had high cholesterol and had a very pessimistic outlook on life. I had 4 kids and a hubby who worked away half the month and I ended up feeling sorry for myself most of the time. Yeah — I ended up throwing a gigantic pity party most of the time because I didn’t know how to fix things. And, if you know me, you know that I am a fixer. If one of my kids has a problem – it’s Mom to the rescue with a solution. If my hubby has a problem – he comes to me and we talk it through. But, for myself, I had a really difficult time because I didn’t know how to fix things. I was at a point in my life that not only did I want to be healthy but I needed to be healthy. My cholesterol numbers were extremely high and heart disease runs in my family. My Dad actually passed away at a young age because of it. And, being a Mom to 4 beautiful kids, I didn’t want them to have a Mom gone too soon from the same disease. I had a real fear of leaving my kids and hubby at a young age. And in that moment, when my doctor told me that I would have to bring my cholesterol numbers down or start medication, all those emotions of loosing my Dad at a young age came rushing back. All of a sudden it was real. I had a problem. But I was lost as to how I could fix it this time.

And, then one day on a whim I signed up to get some at home workouts streamed into my home. It was the best decision I’ve made in regards to my health journey – because if you’re like me … four kids and a hubby who is only home half the month – getting to the gym isn’t going to happen. And anyway, I never knew what to do at the gym when I did have a membership. I would spend an hour bouncing from machine to machine and not have clue what I was doing. This opportunity has allowed me to put in a 30 minute workout (ok somedays are longer if you consider that I also have to break up fist fights and do potty patrol with my twins!) and feel good about myself. This isn’t about weight loss for me. It’s about getting healthy. It’s about teaching my kids that taking care of their bodies is important. It’s about LIVING my BEST life instead of watching from the sidelines.

Listen Momma, if you’re anything like me I know you want to live your best life too. You can do it – just like I did. I don’t believe in diets. I don’t believe in starving myself. I don’t believe in counting calories, macros (what even is that?!) or any other crazy thing people do to loose weight. I believe that we are all meant to be different shapes and sizes. And I also believe that just because you’re a size 2 doesn’t make you healthier than the girl who’s a size 14. I know that life is meant to be lived. 

Has the road been easy? No. But – has my life changed? Yes, you bet it has. For most of my adult life my cholesterol has been high — but for over the last year its been normal. Yes, I’ve lost all the extra weight I was carrying around and I’ve lost inches, but the best thing about all this transformation — is that I  know I’ve done everything to ensure my kids have their Momma here for a long time. And, that right there, is priceless.

If you want to know exactly how I did it — I’ll tell you! And never forget Momma, you are stronger than your excuses!

Lots of Love,

J

 

The Secret to Being A Perfectly Imperfect Momma

The last couple of weeks have been a blur. Every night I am busy with softball for my kids and I’m not complaining here, I am just merely stating a fact. My life is crazy busy with 4 kids and a hubby who works away half the month. I get asked all the time how I keep everything together. You want the truth? Some days I am a total rockstar and I have all my ducks in a row before I even step out of bed in the morning. Some days. Definitely not every day. But some days. On other days I am lucky if I get my breakfast dishes done and in the dishwasher by the time that my older kids stroll in from school at 3:20. And guess what? Some days I count the day as a huge success if my kids get dressed. Some of you Moms may cringe at the thought of that. But after 4 kids and one set of twins, I have lowered my standards of what I think a successful day is. In fact, as I am writing this, it’s 3:10 pm and my twins are lying on the living room floor, sleeping under a blanket, with the TV still on after falling asleep while watching it, and one of them is still in their pyjamas. Ask me if I feel guilty? Nope. Ask me if I feel like less of a Mom? Not a chance. Ask me if I care what other people think of me? Not anymore.

Look, I am by far the perfect Mom. In fact, I like to think of myself as a highly imperfectly perfect Momma bear. What? The thing is, I gave up on trying to be the “perfect” Mom long ago. And really by who’s standards? That Mom down the street who I don’t know? Or maybe it was the Mom at school drop off in the morning – you know the one – always wearing nice clothes, heels and seeming to have everything in just the right order. Or maybe it was the Mom I saw in those photos on social media – you also know the one – perfectly smiling with her kids all lined up at all actually looking at the camera, not a hair out of place. Isn’t it silly how we constantly compare and judge? It’s all around us and it’s constantly in our faces.

Listen, stop comparing yourself to any of those other Moms. Stop putting yourself down because you feel like you could never do what so and so does. Stop assuming that those other moms have their ducks in a row just because you’ve seen a perfect picture on social media saying that they do. The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if you’re like any of those other Moms. What matters at the end of the day is that you did the best you could with what you had. What matters is that your kids think you’re pretty darn perfect. And, the only people’s opinions you should worry about are the opinions of your kids and your significant other. In case you forgot, those are the people that matter.

So from one perfectly imperfect Momma to the next — chin up Momma you’re doing fine. You’ve  got this Mom thing nailed down. Just put one foot in front of the other. Think of all the really great things you did with and for your kiddos today.

Focus on all the things you DID do instead of all the things you DIDN’T.

Lots of love from this Momma Bear!

3 Tips to SURVIVING a Sick Toddler

Can you believe that we’re nearing the end of another month? Remember that old saying — ‘time flies’? Yeah, it’s true isn’t it?

The last couple of weeks or so have been a blur…

Our house has been contaminated with a nasty Strep bug … that sounds awful … doesn’t it? Well, it hasn’t been that bad but it has made 5 out of 6 of us sick enough to require antibiotics. Yeah … it was that bad. If you know me, you know that I don’t run to the doctor with every little cough, sneeze and bit of snot! If that were the case, we would be there ALL the time. Yeah, who wouldn’t right? If you have kids then you know how hard it can be to avoid sicknesses. I mean, I’ve got two toddlers, and keeping their hands out of their nose and mouths is a full time job. I hate to admit this .. but one of my twins is also a world renowned nose picker. Ugh. It’s so disgusting, but I can’t keep those fingers out of his nose. I’ve never had a nose picker before … so if any of you other Mommas out there have a suggestion on how to kick that bad habit to the curb, please enlighten me – its becoming a problem. But, I digress here … back to my story about our illness invasion. It was so awful that one day I had to get my 9 year old to cook dinner for the rest of the kids. He did well and I am happy to say that he was able to cook breakfast sausages, waffles and eggs like a boss. I would even venture to say that the other kids thought it was probably the best meal that was ever put in front of them. Yeah, thanks kids! I might just add that to my weekly meal plan! 😉

I’ve come up with my top 3 tips to survive illness with toddlers and in no particular order … here they are!

1. Accept the fact that you will be covered in whatever it is that your toddler is contaminated with. Honestly, I think I had more snot on my shoulder than anywhere else. And you know what’s ironic about it … you never actually realize that you’re covered in it until you’re standing in the grocery store line and the person in front of you is giving you that funny look – yeah, that’s always when I realize that I have dried toddler boogers on my shoulder.

2. Sleep is a mystery. Don’t even try and get any because the moment you try to get to bed ‘early’ to catch up – they will wake up! Trust me, my twins do this to me every time. It’s like they have a sensor in my bed. You know the one – as soon as your head touches the pillow, they wake up. You know what I’m talking about right? So don’t even bother.

3. Call in reinforcements when necessary. Accept the fact that you can’t do it all. I have a hard time with this one. Asking for help always seems like a big, fat failure. Even after having 4 kids. Even after being married to someone who’s only around 1/2 the time (it’s his job – he’s not a jerk people!) I still have a hard time with this. But after being a Mom for almost 10 years I can say that I’ve come a long way in this one. ASK FOR HELP.

Am I already at number 3? I could list another 3 but you get my drift, right? There isn’t a Mom out there who has all of her ducks in a row all of the time so don’t bother comparing yourself to another Momma-Bear. Just do your best and as the old saying goes … this to shall pass.

Lots of Love,

Jenny