While I was pregnant with Emery, I remember one of the nurses asking me how I was feeling during a prenatal appointment. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and hadn't been sleeping very well because of my bulging belly and the need to pee every five minutes, and responded that I was a little tired but otherwise fine. The nurse laughed and then made the comment that motherhood could make anyone tired, and that she personally didn't start drinking coffee until after she had kids - at which point a daily cup became a necessity. I remember chuckling at what I thought was a little coffee joke; it took me until three days after Emery being born to realize that the joke was really on me, and that any form of fatigue that I'd experienced during pregnancy was nothing compared to the perma-tired that motherhood would continue to bring me on a daily basis thereafter.
When Emery was a newborn I was SO tired ALL the time. I had gone about 36 hours without any sleep once she was born because of the timing of my labor, and then after that only managed two to three hours of sleep a night for her first three weeks of life because I was so worried about something bad happening to her while I slept. Extreme sleep deprivation didn't help my paranoia, and I found myself deeply consumed with mom guilt. I didn't understand why I didn't have that new mom glow and energy that I had read about in all of my natural birthing books, and found myself constantly second guessing my ability to properly mother my child. I was beyond tired, felt like a failure, and worse than anything felt completely alone in my feelings because all of the other moms around me in my friend group and on social media seemed to have their lives together perfectly and I was the only one falling behind.
Now that Emery is older and we're both getting more sleep, things are better, but I still have times that I just feel tired and can't seem to figure out why, and then I remember that sweet nurse, laugh, and remember that it's because I'm a mom, and that's just one of the perks that comes along with the job.
It's taken me a long time to get up enough courage to write about this topic because learning how to conquer my own mom guilt & fatigue is a battle that I'm still fighting, but I know that there's got to be other moms out there that are fighting their own guilt demons too, and if you're one of those moms reading this then I want you to know that you're not definitely not alone, and that you're doing better than you think. One of the things that helped me the most in breaking through my mom guilt was to realize that it's OK for life to sometimes not be ok. Motherhood is messy, and regardless of what social media wants to make us think, no one has perfect children or a perfect house or a perfect life, because that just doesn't exist. Once I was able to break through that mindset it made me feel more comfortable talking to Kyle and friends about how I was feeling, and I found that instead of feeling alone, I was able to feel like I had a support group of an amazing husband and mamas that could help me through my hard days and congratulate me on my good ones. I learned that it was not only ok but necessary to take time for myself and for my marriage, and that my support group would help make that happen because they all need it in their lives too. There are still days and sometimes even weeks that I'll feel tired (thus the timing of this post), but that's ok and doesn't mean that I'm a bad mom, just a mom that needs a good night's rest, some "me" time, or maybe even a cup of coffee. 😉
Some days when I'm feeling especially overwhelmed, Emery will walk up to me out of the blue like a heaven sent angel and give me a big hug, and in that moment it helps me to remember that everything is ok and that despite the challenges that motherhood brings, that the experience is overwhelmingly more good than bad. If you're reading this and need it, consider this message a huge from me (and Emery) to you, and know that you're an amazing woman and mother. Even when it's hard to tell, your kids love you, you mama tribe loves you, and amongst the craziness of motherhood, always remember that we're all in this together. ❤️
(a final note) : if your mom guilt battle goes deeper to the level of postpartum depression or anxiety, you're still not alone and it is a battle possible to overcome. ❤️ Below are some resources to help, and adding your OB doctor to your support group is a must. They deal with PPD/PPA more than you'd think, and their help really can make a world of difference.
So I have a bit of a confession to make. This year I 100% forgot our anniversary. If you were to ask me when our anniversary is I'd be able to tell you August 3rd without taking a breath, but for some reason this year August 3rd just snuck up on me a lot faster than I thought it would, and it wasn't until my sweet grandmother sent us a card in the mail that I realized how quickly the date was approaching. I so badly wanted to try and throw something special together for Kyle or have some really special way to celebrate, but a combination of conflicting schedules (thanks a lot ULSD for making Kyle have class on our anniversary for the first time in FOUR years 🙄 ), procrastination, and lack of funds was making it really hard for me to think of any ideas. Thanks to my sweet girlfriend wanting to make sure that Kyle and I were able to do something little to celebrate we'll be going out on a baby-free dinner tonight while she watches Emery, but the craziness of the whole situation has still had me feeling a little down, and made me do some serious reflection as to why I'd drop the ball on such a huge day. The only excuse that I could think of was that life just got us both really busy, and because of that the big celebration lost priority. Obviously this is something that we (mostly I) could improve on, but even in the absolute crazy business of life I haven't the slightest doubt that Kyle and I aren't still as crazy in love as we were four years ago (if not more so) when we said "I do". The only difference now is that because of how insane life can get sometimes, we've had to get creative in how we show that love. I know that Kyle loves me because he purposely stays as quiet as a church mouse while getting ready for school so that I can sleep a little bit later until Emery wakes up, and I show my love to him by waking up with Emery in the middle of night or on the weekends so that Kyle can get some extra rest. I know that Kyle loves me because he lets us get vegetarian pizza every week for dinner without complaining, and I return the love by trying to keep some sort of meat in the house for him to cook up whenever he's craving it. He compliments my outfits, and I pick up his dirty socks and scrubs off the floor without hesitation or irritation. I feel the love between us every time we get into a deep conversation, and whenever we send each other an article or comic through text because we think it'll make the other person laugh. The best part about being married to Kyle is that there is love for each other in literally everything that we do, and that love carries us through the toughest of trials and the craziest of days. We are planning a little family trip next week and will get to "officially" celebrate our anniversary while there, but this year I'm also feeling grateful for the small and simple ways that we've been able to celebrate each other on the actual day, and every day that we have together. The celebration is simple, pure, and full of love, and that is what matters most. Happy four years to us Kyle, I wouldn't want to do this life with anyone else but you. ❤️
Before Emery was born, I felt so sure of two things. The first was that my darker traits would most likely dominate in the making of our child, giving me a little "mini me" when I found out that we were having a girl. The second was that given Kyle's naturally analytical, more serious nature (as opposed to my somewhat flighty, loud crazy self) would assure me the position of being the "fun" parent. You know what I'm talking about; the parent that your baby is ALWAYS excited to see no matter what, the parent in the relationship that the baby will actively reach for and crawl to for playtime, and the parent who can virtually do no wrong in their child's eyes. The funny thing about pre-baby assumptions is that they're usually wrong, and these two assumptions of mine were no exception. Our daughter came out looking exactly like a miniature female version of Kyle, and although she likes me plenty, Kyle definitely takes the cake when it comes to the "fun parent" title. While pregnant I thought I'd be upset at loosing in the race of genes and affection from our daughter, but the second I actually saw Kyle become a father the day Emery was born, I knew without a doubt that I'd give the win to him any day of the week. With this year being Kyle's first "official" Father's Day, I thought that I'd indulge a little bit and let him (and all of you reading) in on a few things that Emery and I think make him such a wonderful dad. So, without any further adieu, here's our little list of love for our favorite guy. ❤️
5 Things Emery & I LOVE about Kyle (or Dada - still working on getting Em to say it)
A very happy Father's Day this weekend to all of the dads out there, and especially to our sweet Kyle. We love you dearly and really do think that you're the best!
Since getting married 3 1/2 years ago (and especially since having a baby), I've really come to appreciate what were once extremely undervalued date nights. After a long week of work/school there's nothing more exciting than knowing that I'll get to spend some quality planned out time with my favorite person doing something that we both enjoy. The funny thing about date nights though is that the older Kyle & I become, the harder time we have actually making date nights happen. We still spend plenty of time together, but especially since Emery has joined our crew we spend much less time together that could be considered an actual "date night", nor do we have tons of extra cash laying around for us to spend on traditional date night activities. Back when we were newlyweds we had a bit more time to each other but still no cash because we were trying to save up for dental school, so we had to get kind of creative when it came to figuring out fun date nights. I decided to resurrect that fun/frugal mindset for our no-spend new year, and set to work to tweak 10 of your "traditional" date night ideas into dates that are slightly less traditional, but still just as fun! An added bonus is that the majority of them are also baby friendly, so if anyone out there is like us where your baby joins you on the majority of your dates, you can know that there's still some fun options out there for you too. 😉
That sums up our date night alternatives! Are there any favorites that you and your significant other have that aren't on my list? If so drop them in a comment below or share your free date nights on Instagram with #nospendnewyear so that we can all share in your fun ideas! I hope that everyone is having a great start to the year! I'd be lying if I said this no spend new year hasn't had a few temptations/challenges that I've had to turn away from, but it feels great to be able to save for a rainy day and still have fun in the process! Here's to the rest of January!
Before Kyle and I came out to Kentucky, I worked at a credit union for about 3 1/2 years. I worked through a total of four January's, and every year I would see the same trend of individuals coming in to work at their New Year's resolution to reduce the amount of debt that they had accured in the previous year. People would try anything from consolidation loans to cash only budgets, and unfortunately much like most resolutions, I'd see individuals slip back into their old spending habits by Spring to yet another year of overspending. Working so closely with people's finances had quite the impact on me, and that combined with marrying an extrememly frugal/money smart man, changed me from someone who loved shopping and spending to someone who still loves shopping, but also loves to save and enjoys a sense of fnancial security. Last fall, one of my girlfriends mentioned that she was trying to do a "No Spend November" and invited me to join in. At that point in time I had already started on my Christmas shopping and knew that it wouldn't be a realistic goal for me to achieve, but I really liked the concept and decided that it was something that I would still like to try and put into practice at a better time. That better time has come, and I am all set (and four days into) what I'm calling my NO SPEND NEW YEAR! I'm really excited to see the results of my little challenge, and hope that you'll join in on the fun with me! The best part about it? It's free! (Though let's admit it, it'd have to be to be a true no spend challenge 😉 )
So, here's how it will work. For the month of January, starting on the 1st (or whenever you're able to join in) and ending on January 30th, the goal is to not spend any extra or "unneccessary" money. To start the challenge, you'll want to sit down with your finances and first figure out what counts and necessary and what does not. For Kyle and I, it helped to write it down so that we knew for each of us what would need to be to cut out. Here's a basic example of our list:
Once you have your list written out, then the rest of the month is the easiest/hardest part of the challenge, which is to actually stick to your list of needs. It's easy because there's not necessarily any budgeting that needs to be done (which for me is always a challenge because it's so boring and tricky to figure out) but it is tricky becuase it requires having to be honest with yourself when out shopping and deciding what really is a basic need and what fits into what is inevidably the longer list of wants. It's only been four days and I've already had to remind myself that buying new clothes for Emery fits into the "want" catagory because even though clothing is technically a baby need, it's not so much a need when she already has a closet full of clothes that fit her just fine. 😉 I feel like the hardest part about these challenges is that they can sometimes seem to take all of the fun out of life because so many things do cost money (date nights, home decor, new outfits, etc.) which is why the second part of this challenge for me is going to be working to find ways to take the things that would normally cost money in order to have fun, and find different ways to do them for free! Throughout the month I'll be sharing money free ideas for date nights, fashion, home organization, and fitness and maybe even a few other things along the way depending on what I run into! I can't wait to get to the end of the month so that I can see realistically how much Kyle and I could save if we do cut down to just the basics! I know that it's not realistic to have every month be a basics only month, but am hoping that being able to see the savings grow will create a stronger motivation in the future to cut down on a few more of those wants to save for a rainy day in the future. I hope that you'll all join along with me! Do you have anything specific that you'd like to see done in a money free way? If so, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and I'd be happy to work through the challenge and put your ideas and challenges into a post! Do you have any special secrets on how you do things money free that you'd want to share? If so, email me and let's collab! I can't wait to see what this month brings and what fun things we can come up with along the way!
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.