So, over the last few months, I have been feeling this tug in my life to make some changes. I have been going back and forth over how I wanted to do that and what I needed/wanted to change, and what has been helping is writing out my thoughts. So here we are today, writing my first blog post. I don't expect this blog to always follow my photography journey. As a matter of fact, it will probably just be a place to chronicle the ups and downs of life as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, and business owner. My chaos in written form haha. SO, here we go...

Our children are my absolute everything. They are the biggest reason that I am so motivated to be more, to DO more, with who I am. I want them to grow up being kind, loving, and empathetic human beings. Daily, I struggle with the thought "Am I enough" for them because I am far from perfect. In my own head, the mom that I am is filled with anxiety, afraid of failing, a bit neurotic, not as playful as I feel I should be and constantly touched out.

Before becoming a mom, I WISH someone had been honest about the struggles that come along with motherhood. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have made a different choice, but I definitely would have spent the last few years feeling less alone and abnormal. When people talk about motherhood/pregnancy, most of the time, it is filled with statements of how wonderful and glorious it is. They tell you how lucky you are and how excited you should be, and as a woman who has experienced multiple losses, I am keenly aware of how blessed we are. They also fill your mind with this utopian reality of what you have to look forward to. So, over the years I have struggled because the mom that I am doesn't match up to the mom that I want to be in my head or the one that people built up in my mind.

You see, the mom that I want to be, gets down on the floor and spends hours playing games, makes messes because that's how memories are made, never EVER yells, lets the little things just roll off my back, shows up to every single PTA meeting and volunteer activity, and cooks homemade meals every night while we all sit around the table laughing. That is the utopia that I have been striving for in my head and constantly have fallen short of. One thing I do now, since becoming a mom, is I make it a point to tell my friends who are having their first babies, "yeah, some days are just gonna suck" BUT I also reassure them that those sucky days are far outweighed by the good days.

I mean come on, there is absolutely nothing like having your child randomly come up to you, give you a kiss on the cheek, and say "mom, I love you...you're the best". Our son is currently in this phase where he likes to say "mom, I love you" and then I'll say "I love you more". He will then follow up with "nope, I love you the mostest and into deep space and back again". Anyone who doesn't melt and automatically has a mood shift needs to go have a long talk with the Grinch because even his grumpy heart grew by the end of the movie.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, those are the types of stories that people lead with. Those are the type of stories you hear when you are pregnant that makes you say "sign me up for a house full of babies" and "That's the mom I want to be, how do I get there". Reality, however, hits home a lot harder. There is colic (and don't let them tell you it's normal, aht aht it's a symptom of something else, but I digress), physical therapy, occupational therapy, failure to thrive, feeding tubes, regular therapy, postpartum depression/anxiety, Epilepsy, and SO MUCH MORE. Between the doctor's appointments, the therapies, the school shuffles, the after-school activities, and running a business, finding the time to be "that mom" becomes something of a fairytale.

On April 16th, 2017 (I know the exact date because it resonated with me so much that I wrote it on a notepad on my phone haha), I heard a saying. I believe it was Pastor Kerry Shook during his sermon at the Woodlands Church (man, I miss that church), who said "Fairytales don't exist to teach children that dragons are real, they exist to teach them that dragons can be slayed". Let that sink in for a minute.

If that's the lesson that we are teaching our children, can I roll that over into my own life? Can I slay my dragon of self-doubt, fear, anxiety, and exhaustion?

The answer to that is...I'm working on it. But that's okay, at least that is what I'm telling myself.

I'm not a perfect mom, there is no such thing as a perfect mom, but one of the things that I felt was holding me back from truly becoming the mom I want to be is my own relationship with my mother. We recently had a talk and, while I won't go into the nitty-gritty of what we discussed, I will say that I feel this new lightness in my body and heart. My mom wasn't perfect, but she did the best that she could with the tools that she had and I can respect that. She may never be the picture-perfect mother that I had built up in my head, but if she can accept me with all of MY flaws, then I can certainly do the same in return.

So, that brings me back to my original point: The mom I want to be vs the mom I am. I am learning, slowly y'all it's a process haha, to reframe the way that I view myself as a mom. So here are the things that I am going to focus on (or at least try to):

The mom that I am:

* Cuddles with her babies whenever I can

* Sincerely apologizes to them when I say or do something wrong

* Says "I love you" as often as possible

* Shows her babies that it's okay to fall down as long as you keep trying

I'm not perfect, nor am I trying to be. I'm just trying to find a way to accept my imperfections as being perfectly imperfect (I know I know, cue the violin music).

Then there is this question, "how do I KNOW that I am raising children who are empathetic and sympathetic to others while I struggle to accept this chapter of my life? Well, I can tell you that there are definitely signs that will pop up when I need them most. 

For instance, there was a day where NONE of the kids were listening...like at all. Everything I said went in one ear and out the other, my anxiety was high, Jonathan was at work and I was just completely over it. The kids and I were sitting in Jonah's room and they were supposed to be cleaning it while I helped. Nope, that was NOT a day they wanted to do that. Everything collided into a perfect storm and I just sat at the edge of the bed crying into my hands thinking to myself "what am I doing wrong, why am I failing at the thing that I KNOW I was built to do". Next thing I know, I have three tiny bears hugging me tight and saying "It's okay momma, sometimes we just need a cry. Don't worry, you rest we will clean". They then went on to clean the rest of the room and asked to cuddle after. 

Is it possible that I'm already the mom I WANT to be? Can it really be that simple?

I mean, our children are smart, they are kind, they are adventurous, they are a little bit kooky but overall wonderful. Our journey together has its ups and downs and there have been tears from me and from them, but I'm slowly coming to realize that the mom I wanted to be, the one I built up in my head before Elliot was born, doesn't exist. 

The mom I am, Is a GOOD mom. The mom I am is strong and capable. The mom I am is more than enough for my babies. 

I will continue to grow, learn, and adapt as the days and nights pass us by...I will still have anxiety and fear, and I'll still fall on my butt a few dozen times BUT it's a marathon and I am definitely in it for the long haul.