A Wacky Day
Today has been a wacky day. The kind of day where my socks don’t match, and the house looks messy, even though I’ve spent all day cleaning. The kind of day where no amount of sleep can actually make me feel less tired. And of course I’m not the only one affected. The girls have been more combative and cranky but refuse to sleep.
I thought we were going to make it through the time change unscathed. That was naïve of me. But hope is naïve, and I wouldn’t change my fallible expectations for pessimistic ones. Besides, I don’t think we could have prepared better to change the outcome. I’ve found the best way to handle these situations is to be flexible and to focus on self-care.
I’m sitting here with fuzzy socks and warm tea, sipping away at a moment of glorious solitude. A moment before nap time ends and the crazy begins. A moment where I can recoup, recharge, and restore myself.
Do you take these breaks? I’m aggressively productive, and I have to remind myself that the pauses are just as important as the momentum. Just like a car has to gas up, we need to refill ourselves. And it’s a smart practice to refuel before you are completely empty. You don’t want to break down somewhere unexpected or without fuel. Sometimes when we really need a break, we no longer have the opportunity. Factor it into your lifestyle, and see how you can transform from surviving to thriving.
Will They Sleep?
There are two times of year that I absolutely detest. I used to not care as a child, but as a parent, Daylight Savings has become the dreaded behavioral shift in my household. Maybe if I didn’t have twins, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but getting the girls asleep at the same time has always felt like an accomplishment. Now with three, sometimes it feels like a miracle. Daylight Savings makes this even more difficult and wrecks us every year. But as I mentioned in my last DST post, California is actually considering repealing the Act that got us into this debacle in the first place.
For my family, this can’t come soon enough!
It’s only Friday, and I am already anticipating the worst, which means that if it wasn’t going to go badly by itself, I’m probably on my way to fulfilling my own prophecy. These situations often make me wonder: how can I plan for various outcomes without becoming a hot mess? Sometimes when we try to prepare for the worst possible outcome, just to be ready, it can actually make things much worse. Anxiety, worry, fear can creep in and make a difficult situation unbearable.
I try to relinquish my anticipatory anxiety, which is usually far more creative and gruesome than the actual experience, and then I just prepare to be flexible. I have a few different back up plans, but I try not to categorize them within the context of easy, medium, and hards cases. I just think of them as A, B, & C. This way I’m ready to roll with the day without worry.
Hopefully, I’m actually able to implement these tools, while we adjust to the time change. So far, I’m not doing a great job 😂, but I have faith that I’ll come around.
A Successful Park Outing
I took the girls to the park today to tucker them out, but to be honest, I’m not sure who’s more tired: them or me? We all start to go stir crazy when we’re cooped up inside, so either way, it’s essential that we get out. The girls are far easier to manage when we are out and about. Restaurants can surprisingly be easier than our dinner table. The park was definitely better than our living room. But I kind of feel like I was hit with a truck.
I often don’t realize in the moment just how much energy I’m expending until we get home, everyone’s in bed, and I sit down. Then I’m about as tired as someone who took Advil Pm. But it’s a good tired. The kind of tired where I’m proud of what I did to get there.
I don’t know if there are many things that make me feel better about myself than when I feel like I’m being an awesome mom, especially in an area where I normally struggle. Other than getting everyone out of the house, I also have a hard time being “fun.” I’m organized, compassionate, patient, attentive, consistent blah blah blah, but I have no idea what to do with my kids in the back yard. How long do we throw a ball back and forth? How do we imagine we’re running away from dragons? What kind of games can we play with chalk? I can execute a task, but I struggle to come up with creative activities. So if you’re ever wondering why my kids are running around laughing and I’m crying, it’s because I’m so thankful that they’re having fun.
Today was one of those days where we scampered around laughing and giggling and munching on snacks. These days are nothing short of magical for me. I can set a boundary to save everybody’s lives but feeling like a fun mom is really difficult for me. In these moments, which are becoming more frequent, I feel unshackled, as if my spirit can finally shine through the countless rules I’ve created. That’s too dirty. That’s not safe. That’s too much work. I’ve learned that having fun involves letting go of my control, and it, unsurprisingly, feels a lot like freedom.
A New Friend
I had a mommy play date today! I’ve only had a couple of those since becoming a mom, but I have yearned for them for much longer. In my twenties, I thought motherhood was lunch dates and park meet ups, and I couldn’t wait to bond with other mommies. But motherhood is far more complicated than this idyllic picture I had in my head. And carting multiple kids around takes a special mindset that I am just now acquiring.
I had a very difficult time being mobile with the twins as babies, but it was even harder for me with toddlers and a newborn. Now that the girls listen well enough to not run into the middle of the street, I can move us around safely to desired destinations. This has been a game changer. The girls love being out, and they behave better all around when they spend time out of the house.
And I feel as if I am starting to achieve my dream of deeper, meaningful, mom relationships. I feel as if I am building my mom network one wonderful woman at a time. And today I was able to add another extraordinary mom friend to my life, someone I have known with my mind but not my heart. We shared our stories with laughter and tears, with love and heartache, and I felt it was exactly what I had been missing since becoming a mom. I had met someone like me. Someone with three kids, twin girls, and was newly stay-at-home. Someone who had experienced grief in the midst of pregnancy. Someone with whom I could share my faith.
It was a pretty special day, and I look forward to more. I am thankful for my new found freedom in mobility because I no longer feel trapped within my own home, and I have more opportunities to bolster my support network. I’m feeling pretty grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow.
📸 @katieshuler 😍
The Baby Carrier
What are the parts of motherhood that make you feel insecure about your body?
I feel like there are a zillion, if we let it happen: bathing suits, special occasions, pretty much anything. But the one that got me today was the baby carrier. I don’t think I have ever worn anything that made me more aware of my post baby squishiness. It doesn’t make much of a difference in some outfits, but the one I wore today made me feel like I had rolls hanging out everywhere.
At first, I was horrified, and then I thought, why is this even a consideration? I had to take baby V with me to drop the twins off at preschool. I needed both of my hands to wrangle those two, and using the double stroller for just one kid can be a hassle. The baby carrier was really my only option.
So you wanna know what I did? (After I laughed at myself for being so ridiculous.) I strapped my baby to my chest and picked up my kids from preschool without a second thought. No one treated me differently. No one looked at me differently. But more importantly, I made a conscious effort not to care. It didn’t ruin my day to wear something unflattering. It actually helped me tremendously.
I was just another mom hustling all of her kids around trying to keep everyone alive, loved, and educated. What more could anyone ask of me? But more importantly, what more could I ask of myself?
Embrace the Chaos
Yev and I have been trying to have the kids help us with more things. Not because it is in anyway helpful… yet. I’m sure we’ll get to a stage where them cracking and beating eggs for breakfast will be immensely helpful; however, right now, it takes longer, extends cooking times, and ensures more to clean up. It also promises a fantastic toddler experience.
For the past couple of days, the girls have helped me cook breakfast, even though I never feel like we have enough time in the morning. And it can be infinitely more stressful, if you don’t have the right mindset. My only goal is that we have fun and hopefully get something somewhat edible out of it. Emphasis being on the fun.
The girls have absolutely LOVED dragging their chairs over to the counter to help me cook and pack their lunches for preschool. There is far more laughter in our house than tantrums, and I’ve had the honor of watching them blossom under the added responsibility. The girls grew up a ton when baby V was born. Being a big sister isn’t an easy task. And now that they have to be careful while we cook, I’ve noticed increased awareness and dexterity.
We also tried doing laundry together, and it went waaaay better than last time. One of my girls sat for 20 minutes trying to put a shirt on a hanger, with a giant smile on her face the entire time. The other two danced and crawled around, while mama actually got two baskets of clothes folded!
If you feel ready, take the leap, embrace the chaos, and let your kids try and help. It’s allowed for some incredible skill building and family bonding. All it took was patience and a ton of wet wipes.
In the wake of illness and fatigue, the vacation laundry still needs to be done. I spent the last two days sleeping during nap time, but today, the cleaning beckoned. We had clothes strewn about every corner of the house because my children had gotten into our duffle bags, under the guise of “helping.” They had art supplies everywhere. Not to mention the dishes that needed to be cleaned and meals cooked.
I wish I had someone who could unpack all of my bags, wash all of my clothes, and put my entire house back in order. Guess what those magical beings are called? Moms! So unfortunately, I’m the one tasked with the job. Yev will help a little bit, but, let’s be honest ladies, no one puts the house back together quite like mom. So I’ll probably spend the rest of the week catching up, although I made a huge dent today.
I’m still recovering, so I’m taking it easy. But I feel tremendously better now that my home is somewhat organized. I felt like I was buzzing around in my head without being able to land anywhere safe. Now I feel as if I can finally rest.
I’ve found that my house is an outward representation of my inward experience. And sometimes when I can’t quiet my mind, I simply need to clean. Not only does the organization bring peace, but the act helps me process my feelings and emotions.
Sometimes the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed is to take a break, and other times, you put on some tunes and attack your house with Clorox wipes.
I Need a Vacation from my Vacation
I spent a wonderful weekend away, but now I’m exhausted. My house looks like a hurricane ripped through it. I’m sitting here with yogurt stains on my pants, courtesy of baby V. The sickness that threatened my health last week, has claimed it this week. I’m a bit of a hot mess to be honest, but I wouldn’t change it.
We had a classic weekend of food, family, and fun, but I’m in need of a vacation from my vacation. My kids don’t care that I’m tired or sick. They’re also tired and sick and in need of lots of hugs and kisses.
Being a mom never stops, but if we’re lucky, we get a couple of breaks to recoup. My mom comes tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Sometimes it can be really difficult to take care of ourselves, especially when the whole family is sick. Thank God for grandparents 🙌.
I’m a Rosie
I have a daughter named Rose, and I have gained something indispensable from her recently. I learn from all of my children continually, but this one struck home, especially in the season of life I’m in. I find myself comparing my life to others. The larger house, the larger car, the “better” mom bod, the more behaved children, the better spiritual walk. You name it, I’ve felt it. Some days are good, and I’m thankful to simply have a house or a car or children. And some days I feel envious of people with a pool or a “hotter” postpartum body or a thriving career.
Lately, I’ve just been struggling to simply be proud of me.
Well, Rose has no such issues. She is proud of who she is, and she has no intention of being anyone else.
Last night, Yev was cuddling with the girls on the couch, and he said, “You guys are my babies.” Rose said, “No. I’m not a baby.” Yev smiled and followed up. “Are you a toddler?” She responded with a definitive, “No.” “Are you a twin?” “No, papa.” “Are you–” “Papa, I’m a Rosie!” My little girl knew simply and irrevocably who she was. And it got me thinking. If someone asked me who I was, would I proudly reply, “I’m a Jacque!” Or would I be confused and unsure? Would I start to list all of my accomplishments? Would I tell you about my family?
My daughter knows that she is unique and lovable, and being herself is simply enough. What a wonderful belief to hold about ourselves.
📸 @katieshuler ❤️
Kids & Laundry Make Memories
I exclusively do laundry without my children present. It’s usually while they’re sleeping or out of the house. Well, today it didn’t work out that way. I took too long doing this or that, and they woke up before I’d even started folding. I decided to try what I saw countless moms do online: have your children “help” you fold. It was a disaster ladies. After an hour, I had one out of three loads done, and everyone was crying. I’m not totally sure why, but no one was happy. I stuck the other two baskets of clothes in the garage, turned on a movie, and cuddled with my kids.
My house was exponentially messier than it was when I started, and despite multiple group clean ups, it still looks terrible now that the kids are asleep. And you want to know what I’m doing about it? Nothing. Yev and I decided to use our emergency date night fund to order sushi, and I’m sitting here drinking wine, waiting for him to get back.
Is it just me, or does it feel impossible to keep the house clean? You would think that being home all day allows for multiple opportunities to clean, when in fact, it just amplifies your work load. The cleanest house I have is when I’m out all day. Because no one is home to make a mess!
But I continually hear, “You’ll miss these days. Hold them close.” I know they’re right, but when you’re in the lion’s den, all you can think about is getting out. You have a hard time enjoying the adrenaline rush.
Well, I bid you adieu. The hubs is here with sushi, and no one will stand between me and food and wine right now. Love you all 😘.
The Most Difficult Year of my Life
I feel as if I am walking out of the most difficult year of my life. I’m sure there are more hardships that will come my way, but I have never had my mental, physical, and spiritual health tested like I did this year. I have never experienced self-doubt or feelings of ineptitude on a daily basis before. I have always been a successful overachiever, and this year brought me to my knees. A year so stressful, I ground my teeth, cracked a tooth, and paid for a crown I couldn’t afford.
It has been exactly one year, since I became a stay at home mom. I quit my job when I was eight months pregnant with baby V. The twins were three months shy of being two years old, and they were a handful. I didn’t see how I could juggle a job, a new baby, and potty training toddler twins.
As someone who used to be the breadwinner, being home all the time took its toll on me. I lost my identity outside of motherhood, and I needed something to anchor me because I felt like I was failing every day as a mom. The terrible twos seemed to have an exponential effect on the girls, since there were two of them, and I had to navigate effective punishments and healthy rewards. All while keeping calm because I noticed the more I got upset, the more I escalated the situation.
I have never felt out of control like I did this year. My body was a mess. I was still building my strength back up from pregnancy and delivery. Making time to cook satisfying and nourishing meals was difficult with three under three. I had lows so low this year I thought I would need medication to cope. There were even moments when I wondered if I had made a mistake in having a third child too soon. Because dealing with toddler twins and a newborn broke me. It broke me and rebuilt me into a (mostly) confident mom.
To read the rest, link in Bio!
📸 @katieshuler 😍
My Little Dragon
One of my girls has been obsessed with How to Train Your Dragon. That is all she wants to watch. It can make it difficult to compromise on a movie, but it has been adorable to watch her passion grow. She runs around the living room, “flying” to the music. She insists on wearing fairy wings everywhere. And when asked if she’s a butterfly, she puts on a big smile. “Nope. I’m a dragon.” I love her ability to simply be her.
Not only does she prance around roaring like a dragon, not caring what people think, but she also simply doesn’t care what other people are doing; she wants to do her own thing. There can be an entire group of kids chasing each other, and she’ll stand in the middle and twirl, arms raised, looking skyward. Completely unaware of the chaos around her.
Sometimes she wants to join in the fun, and sometimes she wants to play by herself. She’s incredibly curious and strong willed, which accounts for the mischievous streak she acquired from her father. This means I spend quite a bit of time fostering respect and obedience without crushing her spirit. It takes an immense amount of patience, consistency, and prayer. And as much as some days are very rough. The rewards have been worth the investment.
My daughter knows who she is and what she wants. She is compassionate and considerate. She may march to the beat of her own drum, but she has learned how to work within the band. And that’s the cool thing about motherhood. You can learn more about human nature than you ever thought possible, simply by listening to your children. .......................................................
📸@katieshuler obviously 😍
Grow Your Relationships, Set Down Roots
How have your relationships changed since having children? I’ve found that becoming a mother has distanced me from some people and drawn me closer to others. I had no idea how my parenting style could impact someone else’s experience and vice versa, which can also alter our opinions of each other. Let’s be honest. Some parents’ actions we admire, others we vehemently disagree with, and then most fall somewhere in the middle. These interactions and beliefs change relationships.
Before I became a mother, I had lots of ideas about how I wanted to raise my children, but I never gave any thought as to how I would need to factor in the priorities of those around me. This has been an area of learning, growth, and humility for me. The most complicated part of parenting has been navigating this life with other parents because we’re all so different.
We exist somewhere in between the Self and the context of our relationships. How could we not consider those around us when raising our children? For example, my close friends and I all have different sleeping routines for our kids. It has made getting together more challenging, and sometimes that means we don’t see our friends as much. That means we communicate more through texting than in person. It also means we have to compromise on who hosts the party, who gets babysitting, and who just brings their kids along.
Yev and I had twins before most of our friends even had one kid, so I thought things would get easier once our friends were in the same situation. Things definitely didn’t get easier, but they did get better. My relationships have become a little tougher to navigate at times, but they are more meaningful and worthwhile. I feel as if I have grown roots deep enough to intertwine with those next to me. We draw strength from each other, and we have become equipped to battle any season of life.