Friday, June 28, 2013

My Choice

I am not here to say myself, or anyone is right or wrong in their choice on this subject. When you’re a mother, this may be one of the hardest (or easiest) decisions you have ever had to make.

Stay at home?
Go back to work?

Some mothers will weigh out the pros and cons. Some mothers flat out don’t want to leave their baby. Some mothers can’t afford childcare. While some mothers have no choice. Whatever your choice is, you based it on your life style and family needs. No matter what, we are all mothers and we do what we think is best for our family.

My choice. Stay at home. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

1. We cannot afford childcare. Even if I had a good job, with my pay check and my husband’s pay check combined, we can’t fork out $500+ bucks a month for EACH kid! That’s crazy!

2. Without a doubt, I know my kids are getting what they need.

3. I can teach them things others places can’t (and sometimes don’t teach). Like common sense, morals and values, the love of a family, etc.

Most days…. I want to rip my hair out. With my 4 year old chasing the dog screaming while tracking mud through the house, with my 3 year old emptying out the fridge onto the kitchen floor or finding the art supplies and with her artistic abilities “decorate” the living room walls and floor, with my 1 year old on standing on the kitchen table in a pile of soggy cereal with his cereal bowl on his head splashing the milk everywhere or goes to drink my FULL cup of coffee and spills it all over him and the couch. And to think, this is an average day at my house…

Not only is the above paragraph real, but here are only a few of the many stories of what has really happened.

~ I came out of the bathroom to find Emily with the syrup bottle open and upside down, drizzling it on the living room rug and laughing at it getting on the dog who is licking it up.

~ To my kids, desitin is body paint and hair gel and baby powder is snow. They have covered themselves with it and when I find them they run and smear it everwhere they go, the couch, kitchen table and chairs, all over beds and pillows…

The kids have made a concoction of ketchup and chocolate syrup and layered the kitchen floor with it.

~ They have covered the kitchen counter with some flour and about a pound of powder sugar and “drove” cars through it, making my kitchen a sticky, winter wonderland.
We (5 bodies and a dog) live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 800 square foot house. The only time my house is half way clean is from about 9 PM to 7 AM. By 7:05AM you have to find your way through the maze of toys, books and clothes just to get to the bathroom. My house smells like sour milk, the floor is always sticky from juice and I cannot get the smell of pee out of my bathroom! The kitchen counters are always cluttered, the sink is always full, the laundry baskets are non-stop over flowing and the day I fold and put away all the hand towels is also the day I run out of them from cleaning up messes. I deal with non-stop very quiet whining from one kid, do my best to communicate with my “kitty cat” that refuses to say a word other than “meow” and try to figure out the wants of my teething 14 month old that only speaks in baby jargon.

(Some say being a stay at home mom is just an excuse to be lazy. But, regardless of how "easy" us stay at home mommies have it, I can guaranty that those who think this way will not last 1 day in my house.)
You might be wondering how or why I do it. The answer is simple............
I love my kids more than anything. More than warm food, more than daily showers, makeup or the latest hair style, more than cute clothes and shoes, more than a vehicle that doesn’t have siding doors, more than a full night’s sleep, more than a fit body, more than alcohol and parties, and more than extra money… I sacrifice more in 6 hours than most people do in 24 hours. I gave up working part time at minimum wage job not so I could stay home and do nothing. I gave it up for my kids. I wanted to be there for them, period. I am very lucky to have a husband who not only make “enough” to support a family of 5, but who also understands if I didn’t get to the dishes or haven’t started on dinner yet. Both my husband and I are proud of our lives. To us, no amount of money is worth leaving the kids with anyone else. I am proud of my choice. I hope you are proud of yours too!
(This picture was taken October 2012)

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Bod: Old vs. New

What is true beauty? The answer changes every day. Depending on your own mood, how your husband (or significant other) treats you, what the magazines say, everyone has a different answer to that question. Whether you’re a size 0, 6 or 16 we can all find something "wrong" with our bodies. "I wish I didn't have this nose" "I hate my hair!" "My thighs touch!" "My feet are too big!" Sometimes it’s not just one thing we don't like... We look in the mirror and hate everything. Some people complain but don't make an effort to change, some go over the top with working out, and some are just fine but gripe about the little things ("I hate my freckles").

All throughout my life I have been small, short and very skinny. On my wedding day I weighed a tiny 86 pounds at the age of 23. In sixth grade I stopped growing at 4 feet ¾ inches tall. I was too small. I hated it! Size 0 pants would fall off of me, XS shirts hung off my bony frame. To make it clear, I did NOT have an eating disorder. I ate lots of food and loved it. I was picky, but what I did eat should have packed on the weight. Because of high school dance, I became very fit. My body was tone and what curves I did have were firm. I started liking my body, yet still too shy to show it off.

In the above picture I was on my honeymoon. I was 86 pounds, just under 5 feet tall and 23 years old. I look like a 12 year old… Yet, this is what magazines say is "true beauty". Like all women, I see models/other women and instantly start comparing. Even when I was 23 and "truly beautiful", my self-esteem was low, I found flaws: my middle fingers are slightly bent, my nose, a chipped tooth with a crooked smile and large moles on my arm and back. Like I said, even when we look good, we whine about the little things.
On my 24th birthday I was 6 months pregnant and weighed more than I ever have, 102 pounds! And the weight kept on coming. The last time I weighed myself before I gave birth to my son I was 122 pounds. I know right, most women just turned their nose up at me. You instantly hate me. But when you do the math, I gained 36 pounds during my first pregnancy. That's higher then the recommended weight gain for a healthy mother during pregnancy.
At this point in my life I was feeling joy, excitement, a little scared and FAT! Even with the reassurance from my husband “You’re so sexy!” “I love you more and more every day.” even with the simple love looks he gave me, I didn’t feel sexy at all. I had major swollen ankles, my face was chubby and my skin was stretched so tight it felt like my belly was going to rip open any second. And, surprisingly no stretch marks… yet.

After I had my son it took about 6 weeks to look normal. I didn’t get down to my pre pregnancy weight but in my mind, that was a good thing. But I will say that I felt very unattractive. When Michael was 4 months old I found out baby number 2 was on the way. There went my chance of toning up my body.
Above I'm with my 1 year old son and a very round belly. This was only a few days before my daughter was born. And still, no stretch marks... When my daughter was born she weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces. My doctor said because of my small size, me having an 8 pound baby is like an average size women having a 10 pound baby. Wow!
After I had Emily it took a long time for me to feel even a little comfortable with my body. Hearing about and seeing what celebrity had a baby but because of her personal trainer and endless flow of cash she looks better than ever, made me feel very insecure. Having 2 kids 12 months apart gave me no time for, well, me. I let my body go…
Only a few weeks after Emily's first birthday I found out (yet again) we were pregnant... After a miserable third trimester, I gave birth to a 9 pound baby boy! HOLY COW! Yes, little me carried a 9 pound child. No wonder I could barely move the last 3 weeks! And yes, this time I ended up with stretch marks. On my hips, butt, thighs, and a little on my belly. Now I hated my body! Not only is my skin stretched out, but now I have stretch marks too! I thought my body would never be beautiful again.
Here I am today, 28 years old with my 16 year old sister Rachel. I am happy with my weight at 111 pounds. I am an out of shape, stay at home mother of 3 kids. I had 3 kids in 3 years. After a shower I look in the mirror and like 98% of women out there, I do not like what I see.
I asked some moms how they honestly felt about their bodies before kids vs. after kids. Out of the women who answered (including myself); some feel no different, some feel more confident, some don’t feel comfortable but don’t mind it and some hate it… But they all have one thing in common, every one of them said it was worth it. Worth all the stretch marks, loose skin, tired eyes, messy hair, and little to no sleep. When I hear my kids laughing and playing together I couldn’t be happier. And even though I don’t like to show my body off, it doesn’t mean I’m not content. My kids are my life! They mean more to me then a toned body ever could. So I ask again, what is true beauty? My answer is, the mom who cares more about her kids then her own body image! What's your answer?