There are very few points in time that I’d rather soak in then the ones where I’m cleaning up after a long, chaotic day; only to be reminded that the pains from scattered foot torture toys and alphabet fridge magnets are actually a blessing in disguise.
There's more, but when I sat down to write; these are what came to mind first. I think we all have different perspectives when it comes to what helps us get through the parenting game. It's definitely been eye-opening to witness this thing you made take on a personality of it's own; individually interpreting everything you've taught them. It's also amazing, and beautiful, and frustrating, and sad. I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little sad. Sad that I'm already buying 18 month clothes. Sad that I didn't get to experience breastfeeding like I thought I would. Sad because I feel a little guilty about the 'shoulda, woulda, coulda's' of my early parenting choices. Mainly sad because after this year, I will have a walking, back talking, NO shouting, gremlin of a toddler on my hands.
I know it seems like I'm going off on a random tangent, but lately I've been vibing so hard with my tribe. The collective group of women I'm lucky enough to call my friends & family. I have no idea how I've managed to hold on to the majority of them as long as I have (12 years plus, if you can believe that.) but God has truly provided a consistent flow of support throughout my life.
Just a gentle reminder for those of us that struggle with the day to day comparison game. It's hard not to wish, want, and chase after material fillers that fit within our Instagram squares. I myself am so guilty. It's important to take a step back and remember what's important. And I can tell you right now it's not going to be anything that's found inside of a mobile device.
Social media isn’t always going to authentically portray who I am as a mom, wife, friend, or sibling. There are moments where I struggle with the vulnerability I choose to highlight versus some of the uglier content that I choose to withhold. There are posts that I find myself second guessing and deleting in fear of judgement. All of which ultimately makes me wonder: how much of ourselves are we willing to be transparent about, and how much are we still hiding because we want to be approved of and liked by our peers?
That's about it! Like I said, this list isn't necessarily earth-shattering, but nonetheless, it's nice to know that these posts exist - especially for people like me, who have no idea what the hell they are doing with their lives half the time.
It is so easy to let the intimacy slip away from the forefront of your mind when you’re deep in the throes of parenting and life in general. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘nope, this isn’t MY relationship, looks like you have issues.’ then I applaud your perfection. Selfless acts of love do not come easily to me, as I am a naturally selfish person. In teaching myself to honor the little things about him that I continue to fall in love with every day, it sort of makes the idea of Valentines Day seem trivial in comparison.
There is no worse feeling than watching your babe be absolutely miserable, knowing there is really isn't much you can do to stop it. Yet, here we are, having dredged through the trenches for some time now. We've Pinterested, McGyver'ed, and have semi-successfully come up with a few clever ways to soothe our girl's discomfort. I wanted to share with you guys what has worked for us!
I was cleaning up my Charlotte's messy room today and was chuckling at all of the winter survival tools we've cluttered up her changing table with. This trooper baby has gone through a few colds, a double ear infection, eczema, and lingering congestion since late November. Her first AZ winter has not been kind to her. We've invested in some good baby probiotics, and I try and look at it this way: her immune system will be top notch by the end of her first year!
I have a kid! I know, I'm 7 months late to my own self-realization. It still hasn't settled. I'm sort of letting it ride out as slowly as possible. I like feeling the baby bliss; I haven't come down off of my first-time mom pedestal. Travis and I still look at each other at random moments throughout the day and proclaim "Were parents! We made a thing!" we might be total weirdos, but there is something to be said about creating a life with your best friend that never really loses it's cool factor.
Don't get me wrong, I'm painfully aware that I have limited photographic skill. My range is somewhere between a moody B&W of a patio table, and a shotty depth-of-field candid of my dog. As a kind-of adult, I understand these things take time, energy, and most of all, copious amounts of patience - all of which I have very little of. However, I thought with a little flick of the wrist and some fine-tuned googling, I could surely capture at least ONE decent frame-worthy shot of my sweet little angel and some Christmas twinkle lights.
Trav and I have both sat down plenty of times to discuss what our biggest desires are for Charlie. Honestly, before she was even a thought in the world, we would have talks about what we wanted most for our kid(s). Among them were some of the more typical requests:
Since birth, whenever we did tummy time with this kid, she would scream bloody murder. You'd think we were putting her through cruel and unusual punishment. I did some research, and it didn't appear out of the norm for babies to react this way, so once again, I wasn't overly concerned.
Along the way I've met some wonderful new faces, and have been able to bear witness to the incredible results hard work and perseverance will award you. The unwavering motivation I see in my social media peers, the businesses that have taken a chance on me, as well as my daughter, and my future husband; are all driving forces behind what keep me going on days that I want nothing more than to give in to the occasional letdown.
So, I’ll keep this short and sweet. Fuck you, media. Fuck you, Tabloid magazines…for photo shopping the living daylights out of every BODY you put in your magazines. We are not engineered by God to look like clones of each other. My body was built in the image of something much greater than my ability to “keep my man by trimming my waistline.”
Today I will remember that the small victories always outweigh the big ones. That in the grand scheme of things, granting myself the serenity I deserve, if only momentarily, lets in the endless opportunities I may miss otherwise. I will allow myself time to reflect, and in doing so, find means to forgive and prosper.
There are no keywords such as regroup, recharge, quiet time, me, introvert, alone....when you have one kid, let alone multiples. All of that silly nonsense goes right out the window when you are at the constant beck and call of tiny shrieking human(s); who by the way, could give zero pieces of fudge in the world if you are emotionally drained, or overstimulated by life. Some days, the energy you are required to exert greatly exceeds what you feel you can physically give; setting off the inner ping! of your ‘had it up to here’ maintenance light, warning that you’re running low on, well, everything; and to tread lightly.
Now, looking back at the blessings that came in the form of a mostly uneventful pregnancy and delivery, the strength and outpouring of support from our family and friends, and the overwhelming sense of unconditional love parenting has bestowed upon us; it’s hard to imagine what life was like before.
95% of the time, I am hovering over my daughter making sounds at pitches I didn't even know I could hit; just so she'll give me some half-ass grin in an attempt to get me to leave her the hell alone; because as her loud baby raspberries and facial expressions explain to me (yet again); she's not a damn show pony.
That being said, there are at least a few minutes of each day that the anxiety of not doing right by her hits me. God can reiterate time and time again how big his presence is in my life, and I will always question his motives. Trust was never my strong suit. All the mean while, Every time she hits a milestone, or recognizes my face when we lock eyes; there is no denying that the very core of me aches with the need to give this kid everything I am in order to make her existence matter.
It's not that I don't appreciate what my body has done for me. I have so much respect for the work she's put in, even after the many years of destruction and teenage angst I've riddled her with. She definitely doesn't owe me anything; so gifting me a baby was a pretty solid move on her part.
I urge those that are beside themselves with hopelessness, or aching so badly inside they feel like they are without purpose: speak out, and loudly. The worst of your very HUMAN flaws hold redemption. You are cherished, your presence is wanted, and most importantly, you are not alone.
It’s been really interesting/terrifying/horrifying/exciting/every other emotion ever; to listen to the stories/comments/pieces of advice/”constructive criticism”/chastising comments/every other novel of pregnancy-ism ever; from everyone, everywhere you go; most well intended and welcome, others, not so much.
It was weighing heavy on my heart to instill some 'woosah' if you will, with other amazing women that may need the occasional pep-talk like I do, specifically on days like today. The kind where you put a different shoe on each foot, and leave the coffee thermos on top of the car as you hurry to work, or to run around town like a chicken without a head.
Audrey’s first 6 months were a blur. I mourn for the moments I’ve missed. I look at pictures and try as hard as I can to remember that moment, but it’s just not there. My love for her grew, as I got to see her personality shine through and felt the bond forming day by day. It was a gradual love, that soon became the all-consuming affection that I thought I was meant to feel at her birth.
I wanted to share this video with everyone. Tom Bilyeu has a great Podcast, and every time I watch his videos, I am left feeling recharged and better about myself. This one is a little lengthy; however, I truly appreciate his bringing awareness and attention to May being the month dedicated to Mental Health. Please take a look, check his site out (linked above) and enjoy.
Did you know 1 in 5 women suffer in silence from some sort of mental health condition postpartum? What’s worse, is that there has been very little outreach and available resources for them to access. This isn’t okay. We should be highlighting the bad days. We should be confident in our abilities in spite of them. We need to be rallying around each other during our lowest lows, and our highest highs.
The reason I created Moms Behind Mental Health, especially when it comes to the maternal aspect; is because I wanted to shed light on a subject that isn't otherwise interpreted as "comfortable" to talk about. There needs to full transparency about how others live relatively normal lives despite the 'taboo' of their condition(s).
Having postpartum mental health struggles is so common yet for some reason, we shroud it in secrecy. We hide it away and feel like we are “less than” in some way. I am so appreciative of the fellow parents (both adoptive and biological) who experience these things that are willing to share candidly and without shame because it helps make this conversation easier to have.
I’ve always said that I will not parent the way I was parented. I’ve always said that I’m grateful, in a way, that I was raised the way I was. Because I don’t want that for my life, and I don’t want that for my children. I can stop the cycle. I can be the change. I am 10 years diagnosed now, and I’ve made incredible strides. I’ve accomplished more than what is expected of a Borderline. Every day, I have to check myself. Every day I have to assess what is a “normal” reaction and what is a Borderline reaction. But I’m doing it! I’ve been doing it, and frankly, I’ve been kicking ass at it.
It's been a struggle to not worry and make myself sick. And believe me when I say, when he gets sick or a fever I over analyze the whole situation. He is 17 months now and I still worry, I still find myself asking if he is okay, am I doing this right. But talking it out with my husband, my family, my doctor has helped so much. Here we are today. My healthy, happy boy is here and lights up my entire life. I will get through this, we will get through this.
I had a really hard time deciding whether I should post something about what happened last night, since putting it on Facebook wouldn’t help the situation. But I don’t know, I feel like this has to be said out into the world so you can all see how little support mothers get from our healthcare system.
As we approached the day that we’d get to meet our baby boy I became very excited. I could not wait to meet him, and I spent hours thinking about what he would look like and what kind of little boy he would be. My delivery was a hot mess to say the least. We were scheduled to be induced and I spent the night having contractions. I progressed far enough along to have an epidural administered. Very soon after that the nurses could not locate my son’s heart beat and from there everything was like a fog. They told me they needed to do an emergency C-section. They had me sign a paper and told my husband they’d be taking me into surgery. He was instructed to wait for them to bring him scrubs and lead him into the room. It happened so quickly that our son was already breathing air outside of my body before my husband was brought in.
I began obsessing and panicking over everything. I was so worried about my health I constantly thought I was dying. I was at my doctor's office weekly and even made her run extensive blood tests. In the end, I was always fine but I couldn’t stop worrying. I had this thought that I was going to die. Then I worried about my little newborn dying. I obsessed about his every move. I never slept. I would wake up panicking to make sure he was still breathing. I couldn’t control myself.
At 20 weeks, I did a gender reveal to try and gain some sort of connection. We found out we were having a little boy! The only thing is, I never referred to him as a "him," only ever "the baby." I didn’t help with picking a name, and he was actually nameless until he was born. I was in such a state, I didn’t like want to feel the movements, like I had loved with my daughter; recording every moment I could. I began to hate myself so much for feeling so disconnected from my own baby.
No one is expected to be knowledgeable about the intricate details of every mood disorder, disease, term, or association related to the mental health community; Myself included. This does not mean we shouldn't continue to advocate what we do know, and that is ourselves. We all signify, and can relate to, at least one of the aforementioned visuals above. Whether we are raging an internal war to come to terms with our own admissions, or we bear witness to the public battle of someone we love, and hold dear to our hearts. Tolerance cannot blossom under ignorance; solidarity and compassion start home.
I knew going into my pregnancy that the chances of my experiencing PPD/PPA were pretty high, because I have struggled with anxiety and a bit of depression for as long as I can remember. What I did not fully consider, however, was how the impact of adding another person, hormones, and an overall sense of disarray, would amplify these sensations ten fold. The heaviness of what I was feeling was an entirely different beast that I had no clue how to get a handle on.
Happy HUMP day! It's supposed to be 107 here in Phoenix this weekend; so we are in full Summer mode over here. I know for most of you over on the East Coast, you're barely touching on Spring...needless to say it's inspired me to whip up some Summery desktop wallpapers!
So without further ado, Nikki takes Design is LIVE. I am going to leave the new brand on the Charlie takes Phoenix site; giving it it's own dedicated page. I'm really excited about the direction I'm headed, and am so full of gratitude for the people who have supported my endeavors and referred clients to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I am doing some design work for some special events coming up for West Valley Mom's (totally go check them out) but I wanted to do a few of my own as well! Please enjoy, print, and give away these adorable printable(s). Grandma's and mama's alike will love these. They are also great templates for teachers.
So I have been getting a lot of messages/emails/DM's regarding what exactly I offer in terms of design work. Although a general construct is is available over on my Instagram; I wanted to sort of go over the details of what it is that I offer; where my skill set begins, and where it ends.
I know, I'm the worst! It's been such a crazy past two weeks. Between my friends having surgeries, babies, and my own kid fighting off the double ear infection from hell; I've been a little preoccupied to say the least.
I have a TON going on this weekend; one of my closest friends had her baby, another friend is fresh out of surgery; so between visits with them and other things in between; I'm afraid this was the best I could do this round!
First and foremost: I had no idea what in the world Media Kits were for the longest time. I would occasionally run across requests for them while I was reaching out to brands to set up collaborations; but quickly shrugged it off as something only fancy, well-established bloggers provided.
Let's talk birthdays! My little had her first celebration this year. It was so much fun, and we were able to decorate for well under $100. I wanted to share some of the items we used, in case any other mama's were planning their daughter's first birthday!