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.
It has taken me way longer than usual to get this picture post up, probably because every time I think too much about how quickly Emery has changed and grown in just the couple of months since these were taken I end up ugly crying to an embarrassing level. Since her first birthday she has really come into her own personality, and it is a LOT of personality in the form of a pint sized toddler. I feel like I'm learning something new about her everyday, and am absolutely amazed at her ability to understand, communicate, and find joy in every aspect of her life.
emery || dress & white top: janie and jack | shoes: baby gap | bows: little ms. kays
kyle || polo: j.crew | shorts: old navy | shoes: sperry
me || top & skirt: j.crew | shoes & watch: target | lash extensions & nails: kami m. (email me for her contact info)
With school officially starting into the fall semester for Kyle again, I'm finding myself in a place where I'm trying as hard as I can to stop time so that I can just enjoy the little bit of summer that's left with my family without the added stress of school and work. Since I still haven't figured out a way to actually make time stop, I'm instead just trying really hard to live in the moment as much as I can, and really appreciate all of the little experiences day to day that I'm able to have with Emery and Kyle. Stopping and taking time to smell the roses has taken on a whole new level of meaning to me, and really trying to stick to that motto this past summer has given my life a whole new sense of joy than I've ever had the chance to experience.
As always, a million thank you's to my incredible friend & photographer Heidi for capturing these sweet pictures for us. She's now been able to capture our maternity, newborn, and one year pictures for us and I don't even know what I'm going to do when her husband graduates dental school a year before us and she moves away. Kyle sometimes complains that I make him take too many pictures, but if there's one thing that I've learned from becoming a parent, it's that time goes by much more quickly than we ever expect it to, and for me taking pictures is my way to capture these special moments and memories that we have together. I can't make time stand still (nor would I want to), but this is my way of slowing down and in my own respect smelling the roses. My family is my whole entire world, and I want to be able to enjoy and remember each stage with us exactly as we are. This blog will always be a sort of journal for me, and I'm so grateful for the daily experiences and the opportunity to document them.
Thanks so much to all those who read these posts and don't grow tired of my constant mushing over my family. These memories mean so much to me, and even though documenting them for my own purposes is the most important thing I love being able to share them with friends, family, and loved ones as well. Thanks for always being willing to join in on our simple joys. ❤️
This past week a new school year started for the majority of Kentucky, and with it came another year of nannying for me. This past spring the little one I nanny got a new baby sister, giving me a total of three babies (including Emery) ages two, one, and five months old. I can't even put into words after making it through this week how much respect I have for moms of multiples out there, especially when the babies are close in age. Seriously, ALL the admiration to all of you mamas out there that do what you do all day, every day. 🙌🏼 This past week I have been in WAY over my head, and staying organized and prepared for literally anything have been an absolute must to keep me from completely losing my marbles. While trying to learn how to balance everything this past week, the Boy Scout motto popped into my head of "Always Be Prepared." When the thought came to my mind I literally laughed out loud and thought to myself that moms need to live by a similar motto, except for that instead of just simply "being prepared", we also need to always be prepared for ourselves, any children in our care (including other people's children that we might meet on playdates, etc), and our husbands, for any sort of situation or disaster, whether it be an earthquake or a toddler meltdown in Target. One way that I've found to follow my "Mom Scout Motto" and keep myself feeling (slightly) more on top of life is by making sure that my diaper bag is packed with the right things and in the right quantities. I remember way back before Em was born and I was nannying just H, I made the classic rookie mistake of bringing everything but the kitchen sink with me wherever we went in a duffle bag sized diaper bag, and between carrying that and him ended up wearing myself out way more than was necessary. Over the past couple of years I've been through the scale of being overly and under prepared as far as diaper bag packing goes, and finally feel like I've found a happy medium of packing light while still packing enough, making life a little bit easier for all that the diaper bag carries for. 😉
My Perfect Balance of Diaper Bag Essentials:
That sums up my diaper bag must have's - I purposely kept it short because the older I get the more I realize just how valuable simplicity is in all aspects of life. The only thing that I almost added to this list but didn't was weather/activity specific essentials (bug spray, sunscreen, etc) because even though those are things that will sometimes be needed, they're not needed all the time and can be added in if the activity calls for it. Keeping my list to these simple five things has not only helped keep my diaper bag free of clutter, but has kept my mind free of unneeded stress and clutter as well, giving me more time to dedicate to Emery & the kiddos. When they're happy and taken care of, everyone feels good, and my Mom Scout Motto holds strong. 😉
With how busy Kyle's past school year has been, we were way past overdue for a little family getaway this year. When I asked Kyle where he wanted to go for a trip during his short one week break from classes, his response was somewhere where we could just relax and not have to feel pressured to do anything if we didn't want to. I honestly couldn't have agreed more, so after some thought we decided to take a trip down the south-eastern coast and road trip through Beaufort/Hilton Head, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Neither place is an overly large or busy city and both have much more of a relaxed, beachy/coastal vibe to them, which is exactly what we were looking for, and it seriously could not have been a better time spent. We played on the beach, ate ice cream while walking along the waterfront, and spent a day exploring Old Town Savannah seeing buildings and history that were older than the actual country. We never rushed anywhere, kept our activities minimal and simple, and really just tried to take things slowly so that we could fully enjoy the area, and more importantly, each other.
One of my favorite things about our family trips is the chance that it gives me to see my husband and baby in a new place and learn things about them that I didn't know before. One of Kyle's favorite parts of the trip was Chippewa Square in Savannah. From the moment we'd chosen our destination Kyle had put it on our list of places to visit because it was where the Forrest Gump bench scenes were filmed. I agreed and made it our first stop in Savannah, but once we were there realized that the reason Kyle has always loved Forrest Gump so much and the reason he was so excited to see the actual place was because it had always been one of his late Grandpa Terribilini's favorite movies too. It may sound silly, but I felt extra glad that we'd been able to take the trip there because it gave me the chance to learn something new about Kyle that I hadn't before, and now when he asks if we can watch Forrest Gump for date night every few months I'll understand more where it's coming from and more readily agree. 😉
As with any family trip, there were unexpected things and learning experiences that we had the chance to deal with along the way. It rained a LOT during our trip, and although I'd expected some rain, not even our jackets were enough to combat the torrential downpour that we received at certain points during our stay. It was also a whole new experience traveling with an excited toddler as opposed to the sweet little five-week old baby that slept through our whole trip last year in D.C. She was full of energy the ENTIRE trip, and so badly wanted to be able to walk around and touch everything that she possibly could. She kept herself up way past bedtime every night, and getting her into her carseat now is still a fight after making her sit in it for two - nine hour drives within a week's time. 😬 As with most unexpected adventures though, we learned that the best way to handle them was to not stress out and to just take things as they would come. Emery got her naps while driving to and from destinations, getting home took longer than expected because we kept stopping to let her out to get her wiggles out, and like already said we kept our schedule while exploring super flexible to allow for a toddler's explorations and unforeseen rainstorms. I feel like our flexibility helped to keep stress levels low and enjoyment of the journey high, making the memories one's that we'll always cherish.
Also, one last note of learning for myself and anyone else with naturally curly hair traveling to the south - just don't even bother trying or stressing over the mane. My hair was straightened on day 1 of our travels and within 24 hours it was back to it's naturally curly/frizzy state thanks to the humidity. HATS. That is the only solution. Or at least the easiest one in my opinion. 😜
Overall this was definitely a trip for the books. It gave us all the together time and fun that we needed to get us through another year of dental school and nannying, and we're already looking forward to the next time that our family can take another adventure together!
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate & Surrounding Shops (It is pretty expensive to actually see the Biltmore Estate & Winery, so we basically just drove as far in as we could without paying)
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. ❤️
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.