The Label I Carry

The whole reason I decided to start therapy was because a coworker told me she was going to start going again. She gave me the name of her therapist and told me to go to her website and check her out. So I did. I immediately requested more info and before the day was over, I was set up for an appointment.

When I was talking about what I wanted out of therapy, I explained to my coworker that I wanted to find out who I was aside from being a MOM. As mothers, we lean so heavily on our label as “mom” and base a lot of our vision of our success on how well we feel like we are providing for our children.

Let me tell you why I think that SUCKS.

In today’s world, it is DAMN HARD to feel an absence of insecurity in what we are doing for our kids. There are so many conflicting ideologies on “what is best” for a child. When we feel the amount of success that we have accomplished is based upon whether or not people agree with our parenting choices, it’s sooo easy to feel like we haven’t accomplished much. As mothers, we can’t please everyone, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we sure do try. 

We are proud to be moms. We love our babies more than anything – it’s why we bend over backwards and dedicate our lives to making sure our children have everything. But that same dedication to our kids can result in a lack of dedication to ourselves. I struggle with this on a daily basis. My entire day is almost solely devoted to providing for my child; so much that I feel like there just isn’t enough hours in the day to focus on myself. I know it feels that way for a lot of moms too, so I think it is important that we are making not only our children and their health a priority, but also our mental and physical health a priority too. You can’t possibly be a good mom if you aren’t feeding your own flame every once in awhile. I think the issue here is that it’s so easy to fall complacent with only being a mom. And for some, that is all they want to be! Which is also totally fine!

But I want to be so much MORE. I want to be someone that is so much more than a mom. I want to love myself aside from the role my child plays in my life (Even though that role is huge!)

I want to indulge in all of life – not just the parts where I am providing for someone else. I want to provide for me, too.  

Finding Myself

I start therapy on Friday. I’m very excited, actually. I feel like the stigma against mental health is kind of diminishing and more and more people are trying their hand at therapy. In all reality, everyone just wants to feel better. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone about all of the feelings I have, but I’ve never been so lost that I felt that there was no other option.

That is how I feel now.

I am on an unexpected, anxiety-ridden rollercoaster of emotions right now. I have hit rock bottom and I scheduled the appointment without even hesitating. I need this.  

Yes, I am a daughter and a friend and a mother and a partner… but who am I when it’s not based upon a relationship with someone else?

Who am I?

I want to strip down and view myself in a completely vulnerable and open way. I want to look at why I do the things that I do. I want to find the meaning of all the pent-up emotions that never address. Why haven’t I addressed them? Am I a complete narcissist and have no clue? What can I do to make sure that I am focusing some of my energy on ME? What in my life has happened that has changed the way I form relationships with others? What can I do to improve the way I carry myself around those that love me? 

There is so much that I want answers on.

So much to discover.

So much to solve.

I am so ready.

A Letter to A Soon-To-Be Mom

Today I write in honor of a beautiful friend of mine that will welcome her first baby into the world in just three short days. I remember how short the days felt leading up to my induction date. Ever since I was a child, my biggest fear was always childbirth. It sounds almost silly now that I have experienced childbirth, but before you experience it yourself, there is no amount of comfort or ease anyone can offer. I do not write this to promise any sense of comfort, because I know it is a scary road that lies before you. I felt the same way and there was no amount of advice any mother could offer that made me feel any more assured.

So instead, I want to write about the amazing, incredible things that you will learn about who you are as a result of creating a life and welcoming it to the world.

 

Becoming a mother will bring out strength you didn’t even know you had.  There will be days that make you feel defeated, tired, stressed. But there is no day that will ever be stronger than you. Even when you think you’ve reached your limit, your motherly instincts and passion will overcome any obstacle. Every. Single. Time. You are far stronger than you think, even though you may not feel like it.

You were never truly complete until you met your child. You will look back on the days before you became a mom and think, ‘How did I ever feel scared to be a mom? This is exactly who I am supposed to be.’ Your confidence will go up, even though you may feel like you have no clue what you are doing. You will finally feel like all is right in the world and all the extra bullshit just doesn’t matter anymore.

The human body is incredible! Yeah, we may not always love what we see in the mirror, but the one thing that I have tried to embrace is just how amazing the human body is. One single egg grew into a human life and grew for nine months inside of you. Your organs rearranged themselves to make room for that beautiful baby. Your body stretched, squeezed, and grew. And it will continue to change in the coming months. Watch and enjoy it – You are spectating science from the front row. Try to embrace all the things that your body can do!!

 

I am not going to tell you it will be easy. It won’t be. You will be tested… But you will not fail. You will be tired… But you will not consider quitting. You will have doubts… But you will be very sure in what needs to be done. 

 

Maddi,

I remember the first time you walked into our house. A timid, beautiful high school girl with curly brown hair that laid on your shoulders. You walked with shoulders forward because I wasn’t very nice when we first met. But I grew to know you and realized I was wrong about the high school girl that was coming to my house. You were so full of knowledge, wonder, and confidence. You were not shy about what you expected out of those around you. You had a laugh that would everyone in the room smile. I never would have guessed that I would one day consider you my best friend, let alone be so excited to meet the life that you would one day create. I am so proud to call you my friend and so excited to see you become a mother. I know you are scared and I know you have been overwhelmed, but I have no doubt in my mind that you will be everything and more for our little Indie girl. After all, you will have all the love, support, and advice spewing from my heart. 

I cannot wait to meet this beautiful babe and I cannot wait to hear you rave about the joys of motherhood.

Love,

Chrissy

22 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

1. The only person that can ensure your own success is you.

2. The only thing that will ever make you ugly is how you treat other people.

3. Respect isn’t always easily earned, but it is always easily lost.

4. There is nothing you could do that would make me love you any less than I already do.

5. Being rich has nothing to do with money.

6. Don’t accept every apology you receive.

7. Smiling at strangers is a good habit to have.

8. You’ll never wish you ate less ice cream.

9. Don’t let people make you feel bad for dealing with your feelings in a way that helps you heal.

10. Your mental health is more important than any job.

11. You can change any situation by simply changing your mindset of it.

12. It’s okay to get frustrated. It’s not okay to take your frustration out on others.

13. Just because something is a rule, doesn’t mean it’s ethically right.

14. Family isn’t always blood.

15. Don’t break yourself in order to fix someone else.

16. Sometimes silence is more effective than action.

17. Never let honesty be an excuse for disrespect.

18. Grass grows where it is watered.

19. Your mistake isn’t as important as what you do to correct it.

20. There is a difference between a man that flatters you and a man that compliments you.

21. It’s OKAY to tell people NO.

22. Don’t let your kindness be mistaken for weakness.

23 Years of Adventure

Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. Twenty-three years of love. Twenty-three years of adventure.

I heard my birth story from my aunt and grandmother a bunch of times growing up. I think mainly because, as they tell it, it was a wild day! My mother was in labor prematurely and it was sometime in the morning when my aunt and grandma took my mother in to the hospital. I don’t know exactly how many weeks early I was born, but they had to life flight my mom from our local hospital to the hospital at the capitol, Springfield. My aunt and grandma tell the story that they actually raced down the interstate to beat the helicopter. They both swear they were in the hospital parking lot when the helicopter landed.

Sometime just after lunch I was born via emergency c-section. My back was actually up against my mother’s abdomen when they cut her open to deliver me, so I have a large scar across my back from where they cut me when performing the c-section. I was so small I wore doll clothes because preemie clothes were too big. I’ve been told it’s a miracle I survived.

But here I am. Flourishing in the sunlight, and dreaming of tomorrow. I have been blessed many times in this life. I do my best to slow down, breathe it in, and enjoy the things that bring me joy. In honor of today, I have made a list of a few of the things that bring me JOY!

  1. My beautiful daughter, Della Rae. Her spunky attitude and playful heart brings an overwhelming sense of pride every time I look at her.
  2. My handsome fiancé. Dylan’s passion for music and sly rhetoric reminds me that the simplest things in life are the most important. Our love is truly an adventure and I cannot wait to marry him in just over one year!
  3. The adrenaline rush that comes when you start to run.
  4. Sunrises.
  5. My family.
  6. Pumpkins patches and autumn weather.
  7. Hugs.
  8. Hearing “I love you”
  9. Good hair days.
  10. Singing in the shower and on road trips.
  11. The way my keyboard sounds when I type really fast at work.
  12. My daughter’s laugh.
  13. Hiking and camping.
  14. Pay day!
  15. Sunday morning snuggles in bed with Della Rae and Dylan
  16. Softball and basketball and football and hockey and any sport, really.
  17. Blogging and the friends I’ve made through WordPress.
  18. Mexican food and margaritas.
  19. Friends.
  20. Watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Some are silly, some are very common. But all bring me joy and make me enjoy the life that I am living. Today I am celebrating twenty-three years of life. A good life.

I am so very blessed. Here is to a life full of love and adventure!! 🎉🎁🎊

Gun Violence & A Parent’s Love

With the tragic and horrifying mass shootings that took place in the United States this week, everyone has been in an uproar about gun control. I get it. Let’s do something. But I think the one of the reasons we have such an awful gun violence issue in the United States is something that gun control simply cannot fix. None of what I want to talk about today has anything to do with gun control or taking away anyone’s right to bear arms. 

It’s easy to argue that the person pulling the trigger is responsible for the damage they cause, because that is the normal conclusion to come to when you hear of someone committing such a heinous act. And I would totally agree with that statement; however, there is another side to this that I feel is worth at least considering.

We have a gun problem. But more importantly, we have a HOME problem.

Since when did we become a nation filled with careless parents? Since when did we allow our nation’s children to be so disrespectful, lazy, and so careless about life? Since when is nearly 60,000 kids locked up in jails across America something that we are okay with?* Since when?

I know that most of America’s mass shooters haven’t necessarily been teenagers, but according to an article in The Washington Post, they are getting younger. Since the shooting in Charleston, more than half of shooters were under the age of 30. You may be quick to imply that it’s the younger generations’ fault that all of this is going on since they are the ones pulling the triggers. True. Ehh, kind of. 

What if I told you that children are have higher self esteem, communicate better, improved academic performance, and are less likely to have psychological and behavioral issues when they are exposed to love and affection at home? In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that children with loving and conscientious mothers grew up to be more resilient and happier adults. The study followed 500 children from infancy to their mid-30’s.**

I know with 100% certainty that I don’t have to fill this post with a ton of statistics, links to articles, and sparkly, mind-boggling information. You have the ability to google any topic you choose, so I urge you to go read up on just how important we are as parents in shaping loving, gentle, and soulful children.

It is absolutely critical that we show our children love and affection, and that has absolutely nothing to do with guns. Life can be busy and adulthood is overwhelming at times, but we cannot forget that we are raising tomorrow’s generation. Let’s raise a generation that is loving and passionate and gentle and open to talking about mental illness. Let’s love our children fiercely and show them that they have caring people that they can rely on – no matter what.Let’s raise a generation that knows that pulling the trigger of a gun is rarely a necessity.

You want to end gun violence? 

Quit teaching hate from within the walls of your own home. 

Stop whatever you’re doing that you think is more important (it’s not) and go love on your kids.

 

 

 

* – https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/youth-incarceration/americas-addiction-juvenile-incarceration-state-state

** – https://www.mother.ly/child/how-a-parents-affection-shapes-a-childs-happiness-for-life

Photos from Washington Post.

Good News … Finally!

Life has been absolutely CRAZYYYY lately… Is anyone else ready for fall, too? I haven’t had much time to put into my writing because I feel like I’m so busy I can’t even breathe sometimes. Everyone tells you it’s hard being a mom, but you can’t really prepare yourself for something like motherhood. I think what I miss the most about my life before my baby is that I had unlimited time to spend on myself. Not that I ever really did all that much, but the option was always there to pamper myself if I wanted to. My life has changed now to the point where I can’t even take a shower at a relaxing pace because I’m constantly worrying about what is going on outside of the bathroom…

However,

I do have some life updates that I feel like are worth sharing. I know we all get into slumps, and hopefully if you find yourself in one now, this will give you comfort that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

I got a promotion at work! I’ve been working at my current company for almost a year now. I was hired on last August for a part-time position. Five months later, I took a leave for the birth of my daughter. Two short months after that, I returned back to work. Not long after my return, my manager asked me if I would be willing to work full-time hours. Since I was in a part-time position, I would still be ineligible for employee benefits, vacation and sick days, holiday pay, and performance-based bonuses. So, in short, I was working full-time hours, but not getting all of the benefits that the rest of the full-time staff was entitled to. To be frank, I was getting screwed!!

A full-time position opened up within my department, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll just throw my name in the hat!’ My boss told me I’d still have to go through the entire hiring process of a three-person panel interview and online testing. Sooo, we scheduled the interview and testing. I walked out of it all totally disappointed and so sure they wouldn’t give me the job. I had envisioned the scenario over and over in my head and I felt like I had let myself down. It didn’t go at all like I thought it would. But of course, it’s human nature to be harder on yourself than what was reality. I was offered the job!!

I am now going to get good health insurance for myself and my daughter, a $2.50 raise, holiday pay, bonuses, etc. After some long, hard months, things have finally turned around.

I’m also officially enrolled at my university again to get a degree in Business Management. I start on August 26th. I’m suuuper excited to get back to learning and furthering my education. It’s going to be tough, but there is no one more determined than I!

How is your guys’ summer going? Our county fair started last night, which means FAIR FOOD, DEMOLITION DERBIES, AND VISITS TO THE BEER TENT! Can’t wait to hear from all of you! Sorry it’s been so long!

Mending My Crushed Ego

Okay. This almost pains me to write, but I always think it is important to reflect on who we are. So I’ll say it:

I am a jerk sometimes. And I lie to myself so that I don’t feel bad about it.

For some reason, today’s society tries to make us hard, cold individuals that classify all of our feelings as the same. In reality, everyone has their own traumas and experiences that shape their personality and language differently. Since when was it so normal to openly exclaim how much we hate our lives and how we don’t deserve for people to treat us in ways that we don’t like?

Don’t get me wrong.

Yeah, sometimes life just blows. And yes, you shouldn’t let people walk all over you… But for pete’s sake… I’m so sick of seeing everyone try to morph their own feelings and thoughts into the mold that they think that everyone else feels too. Feel your own feelings, take responsibility for the things you do, and do your best not to be a shitty person!

My fiance called me out today. He said, “Nobody can tell you anything! You always go straight into defense mode. Sometimes you’re just plain hard to be friends with. You say things that you shouldn’t, and sometimes you’re just plain mean!”

I opened my mouth to argue, and then I realized… If you argue, you’re proving his point. My mind was totally in the defense mode that he had just accused me of being in all the time. I sat there and pondered his words in silence as I stared at the ground. I was embarrassed- He was right. And the worst thing was… at that moment, I realized I had a shitty way of talking to myself. After I thought about his words, it made me think about how I put myself above others when I think to myself during conversation. For example, he told me, “You always think you’re right about everything.” And I immediately thought to myself, ‘Well I usually am!’

Wow.

How egotistical of me!! I actually thought that exact thought in my head. And I am extremely ashamed to admit it!!! So that is what led me to writing this for you guys today. Because let’s all be honest… We like to think that we are joyful, humble people, but are we really???

Later on in the afternoon, I grabbed him by the shirt and said, “Will you help me? I don’t want to be this nasty person that spews hate and anger, because I don’t think of myself that way.” When I think about qualities to describe myself, I lead myself to believe that I could never behave in such a way. It’s so incredibly hard to manage child rearing, full-time work, household chores and bills, a loving relationship, and making sure your mental health is in tact. I lost sight of my values and got enveloped in the stress of everyday life. I am not quite as great of a person as I sometimes like to think I am, and I can definitely improve. I’m just lucky I have someone that loves me enough to tell me when I’m wrong and willing to help me be the very best version of myself.

Dylan hurt my ego today. And I am sooooo thankful for it!

 

 

 

It Will Always Be Her

I love the way my daughter’s face lights up

When I walk into the room

After a long day of being away.

I can see she has missed me

Just as much as I’ve missed her

But then again,

I miss the days of

Being able to drop my things

As I walk into the door.

Oh, how a child can change your life

It’s beautiful and enriching

And I wouldn’t change a thing,

But sometimes I miss all the times

I used to be able to 

Invest into myself.

My happiness matters too,

But somehow I have fallen to the back

I am put on hold,

Because she will always matter more to me

Than even myself

I will give and give and give 

Before I ever allow someone 

The opportunity to question

Who I care about more

Because it will always be her.

It will always be her.

 

Story time!

Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t a fictional story… I haven’t had much time to put into my writing lately, but I wanted to give you guys a quick glimpse into what I’ve been up to lately!

1. I have a baaaad rash of POISON SUMAC. 🌿😭 A few friends and I thought it would be fun to go creek swimming, but to get to the water we had to walk through some high weeds and grass. We must’ve walked through a patch of poison sumac because OH MY GOSH my legs are broken out and itch soo bad! It has spread on both legs, both feet, up onto my hips, and on my bum! I’ve never had poison ivy, so when my fiancé broke out I didn’t think I would too! Turns out, I did and I have GOT to get to the doc because I can’t take this anymore!

2. We had nearly $500 stolen out of our house this past week. It puts a huge strain on paying the bills this month. We don’t know who did it or what to do now that the cash is gone. VERY frustrating!

3. I have a job interview for a full time position at my current workplace! After the awful poison sumac and stolen cash, this news was a light in a dark tunnel! If I get this job I will make $3 more an hour and be offered great medical benefits. Fingers crossed I get this job!!! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

4. Babies grow SO FAST. My daughter Della turned SIX months old on the 5th!! She is the best part of my day and it’s so fun watching her grow!!!

What have you guys been up to? Sorry I’ve been a bit absent, but I’d love to chat!! Drop a comment!