What do your true colors look like today?

“Life and light are greater than the darkness.”

“It is okay for someone else to struggle. Furthermore, it is okay to not fix it / solve it / discredit it.”

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.

Do you ever put a book down and get side tracked… for months…? Gosh I’m so bad at finishing books, but here I am again, chapter 7, Tell the Truth. It’s a simple concept but it is OH so hard. I don’t necessarily believe that Hatmaker wrote this chapter in the way that I’m interpreting it today, but it hit me hard.

As I sit in quarantine for the second week because of the corona virus health recommendations I am scared. This is how I’m interpreting Hatmakers request for truth. Y’all! I AM SCARED! And I’m pretty sure that’s ok. I’m scared for myself and my family for our finances and for our health.

I truly believe that if we allow each other to be scared and stand (6 feet apart) with one another then we will get through this pandemic.

Maybe it’s just me but I have always felt as though I must be strong. If I am strong in adversity then I will get through it faster… am I as strong as the facade I put up? Is it helping me grow as an individual to fake strength?

“It is good to remember in community, and even better to practice individually, that light trumps darkness. If you’re concealing a dark struggle, you guarantee it’s power if it’s shrouded in secrecy. Buried, it is free to hinder you, grow in your imagination, and truncate your future. It can hold you back, destroy relationships, and break your spirit. It can absolutely wreak havoc on your authenticity, as the inside contradicts the outside day after day, month after month. Secrets are wild and free in the dark.”

Is my fake strength wreaking my authenticity? Do you even believe my strength is real? Are those that are close to me wishing that I’d just be honest with them, and maybe more importantly, myself?

A friend posted on FaceBook today that the suicide hotlines have skyrocketed. I suppose that is a good and bad thing. Good that people are reaching out to someone in order to get help before a terrible next step is taken. But an absolute tragedy that they don’t have people in their lives that they can reach out to before this hotline. Y’all! Check in on your friends and family. Y’all! Be honest! Tell the truth! Don’t fake strength because of a fear of vulnerability. If you are the one getting the call from a friend that is being vulnerable your job is simple. So much more simple than we often make it. Hatmaker says, “Pulling something difficult from it’s dark hiding place and into the light is innately healing. When we bear witness to this bravery, we should simply receive it gratefully, knowing the heavy lifting is already done.” It is absolutely NOT our job to fix our friends! Help, yes, but not fix.

Hatmaker goes on to say, “Then your good people blast their light on it, shining truth and love and compassion and understanding, and it withers even more. With every I am here and I’ve been there and You aren’t alone and God has this, your scary truth gets less terrifying, less overwhelming, less paralyzing. It becomes fully exposed with no secrets left to threaten you. You are 2 Corinthians 4, because although this darkness pressed you so hard, it did not crush you. Perhaps it struck you down, but look at you: You are not destroyed. You see that in the light. You are still standing. If you are still breathing, there is hope.”

I am not destroyed! I am scared, but that will not end me. These “uncertain times” will not crush me! (Anyone else tired of that phrase, “uncertain times”? Sorry, anyway…) If we are open and honest with each other then I think we will come out on the other side of this actually stronger, not fake stronger. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, then we link arms together (metaphorically of course) and remind one another that You aren’t alone, therefore we will be stronger together! (That was my If Then Statement that I learned back at Veritas in my 9th grade Logic class… how’d I do?) If we are together, shedding light on one another’s darkness, sharing truths over one another’s lies the darkness has no place to go but away! “The darkness has not overcome the light, and the light is ours.” When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light does the darkness stay? It is impossible.

I want to do my part during this scary COVID-19 pandemic. While my friends are seemingly far away just because we cannot see each other, I still want to stay close. I have been texting and Facebook messaging people every day. The conversation might not be long but at least connection has been made. I know that when I get a Thinking of you text it warms my heart a little.

Earlier tonight my dad mentioned that he has noticed the polar opposites come out of people during these uncertain times. People are showing their true colors a little… can we train our colors? Yes, I believe we can. Dad and the fam were discussing the posts that are just so dark and negative are probably coming from a place of fear and hate – hate for the virus maybe, hate for the rules being forced upon us, but I think they’re also coming from a deep fear. So let’s be honest people. Instead of shrouding you’re social media posts in dark negativity, that is reaffirming the darkness in your own hearts… let’s refocus our colors. When our true colors show don’t we want them to be beautiful, life giving colors? There are a few companies and small businesses that are going to suffer greatly, because we all are suffering right now, but instead of pointing out the horrors around them, instead of pointing fingers at those in charge and those making the new rules and placing blame on them (we are all trying our best right now, especially them), instead of fear and hatred based words they are shedding some light. Inspiring hope to those that will listen and to all of us that need it. Inspiring people to respond in love. Encouraging others to post about the hero’s in our healthcare system and encouraging laughter and joy. That is what I want my true colors to look like. Bright and beautiful, life giving, inspiring colors.

“Just tell the truth because it sets us free. This first domino unleashes a chain reaction of liberation. If we tell truth in the small things, our honesty is well-practiced when stuff gets dire. This creates a sincere community for which the earth is starving. In a world full of the fake, artificial, pretend, and superficial, we have the sustenance to nourish our starving hearts.”

I hope these little smiling faces inspire joy and spread some light into your day!

Figure out how you can inspire someone today. Figure out how you can shed some light today. Figure out who needs a friend and be the friend they need to the best of your ability. Let’s band together as a culture right now and come out on the other side of this pandemic with some refined beauty.

Thank you Kobe

As a parent, I’m broken hearted. The loss of a life in any situation is a tragedy, but this one just hit different. Kobe Bryant, his daughter, GiGi and the lives of 7 others in a helicopter crash shocked the world and many many hearts sank.

I do not claim to be a big Kobe fan. But I’m a fan of any person that is making a difference around them in a positive way. And through his tragic death I learned that he had lots of incredible plans for his post basketball life.

I’m inspired the most by the short tribute from Elle Duncan on ESPN. She talked about how Kobe was excited about her having a baby girl on the way and how he loved being a girl dad. She quoted him saying that he would have 5 more girls if he could! I have to admit, I didn’t expect that!

Jamelle and I found out at separate appointments the gender of our twins. We found out first that Baby B was a boy! We were elated! And I must admit we were relieved. Why? Why were we afraid of having twin girls? We had expectations of sports, competition, and all sorts of rough and toughness for our future.

Out of all people, I think I’d expect an athlete of Kobe’s caliber to have a desire for sons. He had 4 daughters and told Elle Duncan that he’d have 5 more without hesitation! THAT is inspiring to me. Our children do not need to fit into any type of gender stereo types. The way we raise them, the style of parenting can reflect us! Why were we so afraid of all girls?

If you have been around us you know, Brooklyn is rougher than Melle and she is tougher than Melle… I absolutely cannot imagine our lives without Brooklyn. She is so smart! She is so joyful, loving, silly and… dare I say, glimpses of athleticism! Jamelle states his favorite child often and it changes everyday. Oy vey! Regardless of who the daily favorite is, Brooklyn is his girl. They have a special connection. It’s beautiful. It’s sweet. It’s so special. Brooklyn is a daddy’s girl through and through. Why would I want anything different than what we have!

Here’s my point. We live in a society that has a hierarchy of value. The top is white men. What are we doing to ensure that our daughters feel valued? Well it’s definitely not dreading the thought of daughters! Kobe! You were an amazing #girldad and your pride in your daughters is inspiring.

I want to be so proud of my children individually that I inspire them to have crazy confidence. I want to inspire my children, other children and young people to try hard things, work hard, not allow any gender or racial stereotypes to create a ceiling on their success.

I was speaking to a mom this week who was telling me that her daughter was trying out for the school musical. She is a 6th grader and there will be 7th and 8th graders trying out as well. The mom told me that she was trying to keep her daughter’s expectations low because of how young she is… My mind immediately went to Kobe and his work ethic, his drive and his confidence. I understand where this mom was coming from; this is a new hurt that I’m learning, when your kids hurt… and I’m in the earliest stages of this phenomenon. How can something that doesn’t have anything to do with us hurt oh so bad. How will my children develop drive and grit if they don’t have high hopes and experience that let down? That pain will hopefully spark a desire to work harder; that pain will hopefully inspire a refusal toward failure. Kobe was so proud, bragging to anyone that would listen, about his daughter Gianna and her elite basketball skills. He was working with her and many other to develop them in their mutual passion – basketball.

I’m frustrated that I knew nothing about Kobe’s philanthropic goals till he was gone. Similarly, I knew very very little about Nipsey Hussle till he was gone. Can we have a few more conversations about the good that is going on around us? More conversations and louder conversations so that those in the back can hear it too? Tell me about those who inspire you! Please! I’m begging you to interact here. Leave me a comment below and tell me a few things:

  • Who are you inspired by?
  • How do you inspire others?
  • How do you inspire your children??

Thank you for reading all the way through today. I feel as though my thoughts are very fragmented on this one. My mind is sort of racing and I’m having trouble stringing it all together. I hope this post was not just inspired, but also inspiring for you to read.

Lastly, to the generation that grew up shouting “KOBE” when you put up a shot, don’t forget to teach you kids to do the same. I vowed with one of my best friends husbands that we will teach our kids that it’s what you do, it’s part of the jump shot.

quiet still moments

As I sat rocking in their dark room, Melle nestled up in my arms, Brooklyn asleep and lightly snoring in her crib, I giggled a little and thought to myself, “I never want to forget this moment.”

I find myself thinking that more often in the quiet and still moments. Don’t get me wrong, I love the silliness, I’ve loved having them figuring out real words (Melle, say basketball: “Bahbudah”), and little songs, playing together, being adventurous with new foods… but the moments that bring tears to my eyes, the moments that overwhelms my heart, joy just spilling over; the quiet still moments.

Maybe it is because these moments are so far and few between? Maybe it’s because in the chaos of silliness, chasing, playing and story time I don’t get a chance to realize how happy this makes me? Maybe the silence of these sweet moments allow me to self reflect? I’m honestly not sure… or maybe just simply I think that to myself during the chaos but the thought doesn’t stick because… it’s in the middle of chaos. (If you have any children at all, doesn’t have to be twins, you know the majority of playtime is silly, beautiful, chaos)

Being a full time working mom doesn’t give me many moments of calm and quiet. Being a mom of twins didn’t give me many opportunities for a baby to fall asleep in my arms. We are very regimented with the nap times and we never rocked anyone to sleep so they won’t even fall asleep in our arms…

Last night after I got off work I came home and Jamelle told me that he had put the kids to bed for a nap like an hour ago… they were screaming, giggling, playing around and had not slept. He had to leave for a basketball game (he’s a high school basketball coach) so it was up to me to either get them up or leave them to potentially fall asleep… I started some dinner for them and by the time I came up to get them Brooklyn had fallen asleep but Melle was still rolling around. When I walked in he popped up and put his finger to his lips shhhhhh because sis was sleeping. So in their dark room I picked him up and we sat together on the rocking chair. His no-nappin self was sleepy so he put his head on my shoulder and his little fingers started fidgeting with my rings and watch. We sat there rocking in the dark, snuggled up for a while. I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t antsy to get them ready to leave for basketball. I wasn’t my normal self, ready to be productive, be busy… I was more than content rocking together in the dark. My eyes got hot as I blinked back the tears. “I want to remember this moment forever,” I thought to myself several times.

Why are these some of the most precious moments? The quiet calm moments, and then I have to admit, the moments when I catch them singing. They love music. They crack me up with their dance moves and their conducting to the William Tell Overture (if you follow my Instagram then you have seen this many times! @LoLosLifeWithTwins) But their sweet little voices singing a song is also grouped in with overflowing my heart with joy.

I don’t want to be naive and blind myself to all their naughty shenanigans, but I do hope that I can remember more of the sweet moments, more of the snuggles, giggles, hugs and kisses, more than I remember the naughty disobedience. Those many many times when Melle touches the buttons on the stove and I tell him NO THANK YOU so Brooklyn rushes over in solidarity, looks me straight in my eyeballs and forcefully touches the same buttons that Melle just got his hand flicked for touching… lord have mercy, that girl! Sometimes I get so mad at her, and other times I have to turn my face away because I can’t hardly hold back a burst of laughter because it cracks me up!!

The rough times, the naughty times… somehow those are the easiest times to remember. I know I won’t have to hold those dear, those memories will flood back for years to come, I’m sure of it. I do hope the cute made up songs stick with me, the snuggles, the sweet whispers, the seemingly insignificant moments stick with me and continue to fill my heart with overwhelming joy.

Continued healing Continued growth

I’m not even sure I’ll post this. I’m writing to get it all off my chest because I’m an external processor and I have 2 hours to wait on my baby.

We woke up about 5:00am to get all ready and head to Children’s Mercy. Woke Brooklyn up around 5:40 and we headed out! She was singing and talking and slept a little on the drive there which put my heart at ease a little.

She was pretty suspicious of each nurse that we interacted with prior to surgery. She is my stranger danger girl and she does not care if her stank eye, side eye hurts your feelings.

The final nurse came in and that was the first person she didn’t cry with. She was so brave! We prayed for peace and when she needed it she had it. She never goes to strangers, that lady picked her up and walked all the way down the hall without a cry, a tear or even a lip quiver.

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Her mother on the other hand… lord have mercy. I was a mess. We decided Jamelle was going to find us breakfast down the hall and I told him to leave to go do that, then he looked at me and I burst into tears. It’s not even like I’m scared! I’m not worried for her I’m just overwhelmed with all of it. I did fine through all the PreOp stuff but when she left I just couldn’t keep myself together.

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Shoot I didn’t even finish my biscuits and gravy before our buzzer went off! “Please step into consultation room 1 and Dr. Fraser will meet you in there to discuss how Brooklyn did.”

What?!? She is done?? Holy smokes! 30 minutes and my baby is done! Dr. Fraser came in and told us she did great. They looked at both sides and she did in fact have a hernia on her right side. He even took pictures with a scope so that we could see where they repaired her. We will stay in the waiting room for another 45 minutes or so while she is in recovery and then we can be done! We can go home and just play, eat and sleep for the rest of the day.

I’m ready to cry again because I’m so relieved. I know that this is a very minor surgery. I know that the amount of this type of surgery completed by these doctors is quite high. I know Children’s Mercy is a trusted facility and they will take excellent care of Brooklyn but that didn’t mean I was ok.

I’m almost ok now. I’m much closer to ok now, knowing she is out of surgery. Dr. Fraser was so kind and answered all of our questions and that was so important. I’m very thankful for a surgeon that was patient and kind.

Sheesh Brooklyn. Let’s be done here at Children’s Mercy for a while.

I’ve been texting my family all morning and I cannot express how thankful I am for the people around me. My parents and in-laws, and my sister texting back and forth prayers, hope, luck and love. Then they celebrated when we told them that she was done.

We’ve had friends checking in and a close friend bringing dinner tonight. I touched on this during my last blog – I do not want to let this experience fly by without taking a moment to be thankful for the health of my family. I know some are not so lucky and that is heart breaking. I’m so grateful for my healthy children, my strong husband, my supportive family and my loving friends.

Miss Brooklyn was pretty sluggish for the rest of the day. She basically wanted to be held at any point that she was awake today. I rarely miss work, I had planned to go in after we got back because the doc said she’d bounce back just like that ::with a snap of his fingers:: but that just wasn’t the case for our little one today. So I thanked my work family for holding it down for me and I got as much snuggle time in as I could.

If you’ve been following along, you know she loves her DaDa the most, but she even cuddled up with me today some too!

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I’m not ok. It is Friday night, we are 2 days post surgery and I’m not ok. I don’t really know how to say that out loud though. That’s the reality right now with Brooklyn, I’m not ok. She has had some continued bleeding from an incision site and it is just throwing me for a loop. When you ask me how I am “I’m fine.” When a sweet sweet girlfriend asked me why she didn’t know about Brooklyn’s surgery before hand; I don’t know. I think I’m learning that I don’t know how to open up about these things.

If you know me very well, you know I love to be the center of attention. I only like that when it’s good reasons – my wedding day, I’m the cute pregnant lady, the mama with cutie babes… but having people ask about Brooklyn post surgery or how I’m doing… I don’t know, but I’m not sure how to respond. I don’t know how to talk about it, I can cry about it but I don’t know the actual words to use. I kept telling people at work today about her the they’d give me a look of sadness and I’d say, “but it’s all good, she’ll be fine.” Why? Why do I have to be uncomfortable in that moment. Have I made them sad so I have to them rescue them from the sadness by showing positivity? They are sad because I’m sad, they are worried because I’m worried. I feel like I’m a pretty open person. I’m a pretty open book… I think I’m realizing that those things don’t equate to be comfortable with vulnerability. Is that true? I think that I thought those were the same thing. Being open was the same as being vulnerable, but maybe that’s not the case!

I’ve had so many friends say, please let me know if you need anything! Well that would require me admitting that I can’t completely handle this, is that something I’m capable of admitting? Is that the problem or is it that I don’t want to be a burden on others. If the roles were reversed I’d smack my girlfriends for even considering that they were a burden after I clearly begged them to let me know if they needed anything. So why am I different? It’s so silly! I don’t know what I need. A counselor, I think?

I bathed Melle tonight like regular but the nurse told me today not to submerge Brooklyn so I just kept the faucet running to kind of soapy washcloth / sponge bath bathe her… after she was cleaner than when we started (don’t know that I’d consider her clean, but certainly better than before) I dried her off and was getting her ready for bed. I sent Jamelle, my husband, downstairs to get the bottles ready and while he was downstairs I realized that I forgot to grab new bandaids. I tried entertaining Brooklyn to kill time till DaDa got back upstairs. She was already agitated with me by the time he got back. I hollered for him to grab the bandaids and by that point she had reached her limit. So Jamelle has to literally hold her down while I put fresh bandaids on her. She screamed and screamed. I haven’t seen her that mad in a very long time. I honestly couldn’t tell if I hurt her or she was just that made but her eyes were huge (usually squinty crying face when she is sad) and she was just screaming at me as if to say, “why are you doing this to me, you’re hurting me, you’re hurting me!!!” In a moment of panic I wanted to scream back, “you’re hurting me! Stop screaming like that, you’re hurting me!!!”

My heart aches for Brooklyn that she is not just back to normal, if she is hurting then I am hurting. I don’t know what I need. Does it really matter when I need though? Isn’t it more about what she needs? What the heck does she need? Add that to the list of hardest part about being a parent.

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We are a week post surgery and Brooklyn girl is basically fully recovered.

Man. I kinda lose my mind when my kids are down huh. I’ve reread my words above several times throughout the last week and I can’t help but be a little embarrassed by the intense emotion that I showed. But it was so real. I was sobbing when I wrote parts of this blog.

I’m ok now. I sure wasn’t at different parts of these last 7-10 days. But I’m ok now. In my very first blog entry, I promised to be real, to not only show the good but also the very real parts of my life. So… there ya go! I hope some of you can relate and I hope some of you cannot. I hope that some of you are able to keep your sh** together better than I did. I have a sneaking suspicion though that more of you are like me.

On… what, day 5 post surgery I think…? I let Brooklyn fall off the changing table because Melle was sneezing and snotting everywhere behind me. She is not my wiggly kid up there so I turned to wipe his nose and ::BOOM:: down she went. Ugh!!! Not ok. She was ok, I was not ok… then later that day my husband had an incident with her as well that left her a little bruised… FOR PETE SAKE! Brooklyn, you’re gunna be one tough cookie.

You know when you feel like you’re failing as a parent…? You don’t? Oh, good for you. I know, I know, things happen, she’ll never remember it… but shoot. I will!!

Brooklyn is ok now. More than ok, she is great. She is silly, running and playing, stuffing her mouth with every single goldfish she can get her tiny fingers on all at once!! (She is a disgusting eater y’all, if you have any advice to help her not stuff her face at every meal, please let me know!) She is dancing and talking and playing peak-a-boo and just being as fun as she ever was. She is doing great.

I’m doing good now too. I want to grow though, I want to continuously become a better and better mama, a better wife, friend, person. So I’m going to post this blog. I’m uncomfortable letting everyone in to see this, but I think this is a step in the growing process. This is how I define vulnerability, right here y’all.

They gotta figure it out

So, I’m sure it will be fine. The doctor assured us she will bounce right back. Sometimes I even forget it’s coming…

Being a mom is hard!!! Yet, I must say, comparatively, it has been quite easy for my healthy little family. I had a coworker that had to be at Children’s Mercy for a long time because her cutie little girl was sick. It took a while for them to all bounce back. There is a sweet sweet mama that I used to go to school with, her daughter has been in and out of the hospital for the first several years of her life because of a disease. Obviously, there are so many families that have to deal with health issues, or worse with their children.

So with all that being said; I feel very lucky that my children have been oh so healthy along the way so far.

We will be headed to Children’s Mercy early November for a super minor surgery on Brooklyn. I realize it’s routine for these doctors, if they thought it was risky then there would have been a much longer conversation prior to scheduling. The thought of anesthesia and surgery on my baby girl is just a little overwhelming. My husband is very confident, very strong and calming. He is amazing.

It is still hard to think about though. It’s just one of the many many times in my life as a parent that I wish I could take her place. How many times mamas, how often does that thought run through your mind? For your baby, for your teen, for your grown child… How many times have you wanted to Freaky Friday – Lindsay Lohan & Jamie Lee Curtis and just switch places??

This is just one of the many times that I’ll want to figure out how to spare my sweet babes from… something. However! I understand the need for my children to go through difficulty. I know that this is where one matures and grows, I know that trial by fire can produce a spectacular kind of beauty that is impossible to achieve otherwise. I know y’all, I know. Does that make it easier to sit back, hands in the pockets and let them go through it? Nope! And I shouldn’t say “hands in the pockets” making it sound like I cannot be there for my children, but I also know that I’ll have to fight the urge to just fix the situation so it isn’t hard for them.

I do not want my children to go through pain, but more than that, I want my children to learn to be strong, I want them to learn how to be confident in their decisions and confident in who they are as an individual. I understand that those things are hard to learn if the mama does everything for them. If I do not allow the hard things then decision making skills are not practiced, critical thinking is not developed…

It doesn’t make it any easier!!!

How do you do it Mama? Honestly, does it get easier the more you practice allowing them to go through the hard times? Allowing them figure it out and navigate it themselves? Does it get easier?? Ultimately, I know that God blessed me with these sweet little babes. I know that God cares more deeply for Brooklyn than I do. I know that God also cares about me as a mama and wants good things for our family. I know that next month I can rest easy in knowing that God has it all in His hands, in His control. And so I will do my best to begin that practice; I will begin to train my brain to stop trying to save them from the hard things. Next month Brooklyn has to have a minor surgery in order to make sure she is healthy. That is far more important than my feelings of nervousness and anxiousness. I want to put their health, their growth, their future in front of my own comfort. Always.

God help me.

Who deserves it?

Is it just me? Do you feel guilty when something good happens to you and you are the only one in the family that gets to enjoy it? Maybe it’s just me… you probably know how to enjoy life a little.

A week ago I went to an event (Lawrence Lady Boss Project – if you’re local please do yourself a favor and check it out!! Women supporting women. Strong, amazing women. It is so worth your time, find them on Instagram for more details) they drew my name and I won a massage!! I immediately began to wonder if I should “re-gift it” to my husband or my dad. Jamelle would love a massage and he deserves a break from the kids, he would appreciate it so much. My dad works so hard, mowing, cleaning, lifting… things… I don’t know what all he does honestly, but I know he works his butt off and deserves a massage! My mom takes care of the kids when Jamelle can’t. She is always helping and going above and beyond… she deserves some relaxation time.

I work full time, come home just in time (sometimes) to help feed the kids, play with them for a while, help bathe them, get them changed then down to bed… I’m up at 6:00 am and go till 8:00 pm. Why don’t I deserve the massage…?

Is this thought process a nurturing mother way of thinking? Is it that I want to make sure other around me are taken care of before I’m taken care of? How noble! I’m afraid that is not it. I’m afraid it’s a little less perfect than that. Could it be that I feel like I’m not doing enough as a mom to deserve the massage…? Do I feel like other people deserve the “self care” more than I do because they take care of the kids more than I do? I’m self reflecting here y’all, so please excuse the transcribed thought process here.

I so appreciated the words I read in Jen Hatmaker’s book For The Love when she likened a perfectly balanced life to a unicorn. It’s a cool idea but it’s not realistic. I found comfort in that and relief. Yet here I am. Quietly apologizing for the amount I work and the lack of time I have with my kids.

If you’ve stuck with me through my outward processing, I find myself here: I don’t think I deserve the nice things because the correlation between self-care, relaxation or blessings and time spent raising my children do not add up. My husband spends far more time, changes way more butts, makes all the scrambled egg breakfasts and plays on the floor more often than I do. My mom and dad do the same when Jamelle is at school or basketball practice. So do I deserve the nice things? All I do is work 40-45 hours a week, come home and soak up the last 2-3 hours with the kids and then crash for the night. Why does that not seem important enough?

Am I alone on this island ladies? Have you all found inner peace here? Am I trying to find the balance that I’ve already dismissed as unicorn-ish thinking? I’ve fought with myself all week, arguing that I absolutely do deserve the massage. Then I consider that I have a work trip this weekend and Jamelle will be taking care of the kids himself essentially all weekend. I know he’d love the break… ok I’m circling with my thoughts here. You get it. I have no conclusion to this particular blog. I always try to wrap up my thoughts with some encouraging thoughts and bring it all to a close with a nice bow on top. But I also promised in my very first blog that I’d be truthful and transparent. So here it is ladies. The inner thoughts and struggles.

I’d like to note here that I’m ok! I’m not overly upset or depressed. I’m working through this and would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve also struggled with this.

Just wanted to sneak in some cutie pics, these are free for y’all this time. You’re welcome.

For The Love, and Unicorns

Chapter 1. Actually only 5 pages into chapter 1 and I’m on the verge of tears. Not sad tears, maybe tired tears a little, but I think more relieved tears.

I’ve begun the book For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. My mom bought it for me years ago for my birthday or Christmas… mainly based on the name For the Love because I say that phrase all the time. I’ve been wanting and blogging about reading more so as my husband left this morning for errands and a haircut I decided to close FaceBook (only because there was literally nothing left to look at on Instagram because I exhausted its contents) and pick up a book! For the love! I’ve been thinking about reading a book, why is it so hard to just do it! (As I’m blogging 5 pages into reading, I’m smirking… it’s clearly harder than it seems…)

Anywho! Chapter 1. I won’t summarize the book for you because… I’m 5 pages in. I’ll just relay to you a small part of what I’ve read and how and why it’s brought me to tears.

I don’t remember the correct MLA format of quoting authors… do I use her last name then page number…? Mrs. Finger, my Jr. High English teacher at Veritas would be disappointed. Sorry Mrs. Finger, I’m just gunna go with my gut here and use her first name because it feels warmer to read. I’m certain that’s not correct.

Jen Hatmaker has just described the feeling we all struggle with. That feeling of looking at all of our friends and even people we don’t know from Adam on social media, watching stories, reading posts, seeing their flourishing lives, their successes, their beautiful perfection… and then taking a look at our own lives, our day in and day out struggles with family, jobs, friends, personal goals for the way we look or act… and that feeling of not measuring up, or worse – just straight up failure. Jen describes a typical day in the life of any woman as we tend to all of the needs in family or work or whatever… as we put out fires and put food on the table…

“then [she] has one last thought of the day: I am doing a terrible job at everything.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

This is beyond unreasonable. It’s destructive. We no longer assess our lives with any accuracy. We have lost the ability to declare a job well done. We measure our performance against an invented standard and come up wanting, and it is destroying our joy. No matter how hard we work or excel in an area or two, it never feels like enough. Our primary defaults are exhaustion and guilt.

Meanwhile, we have beautiful lives begging to be really lived, really enjoyed, really applauded – and it is simpler than we dare to hope: we gotta unload that beam”

The beam refers to her her daughters dream of being a great gymnast but she cannot master the balance beam… but that’s not the point. The point is I watch so many women compare themselves to other’s social media personas. And I feel the same way Jen feels. “Am I taking crazy pills?” These depressions that are sweeping the nation. Literally, all ages, all types of people, all genders… we aren’t happy with what we have, the skills that we have been blessed with or better yet learned and worked on, none of that is good enough anymore.

I was brought to tears because I think of some of the strongest women in my life and I think of times that they have felt as though they don’t measure up. My mother is the first one that came to mind. My parents are having the Wagners to dinner tonight. She is making this incredible lime curry chicken to put on the grill but she has to zest the limes. The Wagners are a big family so she has to zest a lot of limes. She has been zesting for like 30 minutes down there! I’m not necessarily impressed with her zesting skills but more impressed by her love. My entire childhood is full of memories of my family sitting down to dinner every night together and almost every single night a home cooked meal to be shared. Even now! As Jamelle, the kids and myself are living with my parents – almost every night there is a home cooked meal on the stove. My mom loves to bless others and if that means spending the majority of her Saturday morning zesting limes then it’s not a problem! She often laments about how she failed as a mother because she didn’t teach my sister, Kristin, and I how to properly clean our bathrooms… seriously mom, that one is kind of our ongoing joke… but she will lament in other areas of how she failed us as a mother… good grief!! For the love mom!!! I can’t think of anyone who loves stronger, prays harder, sacrifices more time and energy for others… than my mom. She is part of the reason I was brought to tears as I was reading. Why do we believe so many lies about coming up short, or even failure… She is not depressed and she lives a very full and happy life, but sometimes those lies creep in…

My sister, Kristin, recently decided to delete her Instagram because of all the reasons I listed earlier. She was playing that comparison game with people who only showed the best parts of their lives. I’m not gunna lie, I have straight up cursed Krissy out because of the lies and the bullshit she has allowed herself to believe. (Sorry mom, I didn’t cuss in your paragraph, but this one is getting me fired up!) Stop taking those crazy pills!! Stop subscribing to these “invented standards” that not a single human being can measure up to! If you know me, you know that my sister is one of my favorite people that has ever lived and ever will live. She is the absolute best. You’d love her. It brings me to tears when I think of the comparison game and how it… screws with peoples psyche.

I also think about some of the amazing women I work with. Just the simple things being said during conversations with each other or with our patients… jokes about getting old, being fat, jokes about lives that are in disarray… jokes that are meant to be funny but are coming from a place of real hurt or frustration. I’m brought to tears as I read Jen’s words.

Finally, for myself. Jen also jokes about living a life of balance with family, work and community. She says a perfectly balanced life is like a unicorn, we have all heard about it, it’d be so cool to see it (or achieve it) but it’s just not real! The tears welling up in my eyes were also brought by a feeling of relief. I don’t have to apologize for my failure of balance or for my lack of perfection. I won’t stop trying to achieve a better family / work life balance but some days I have to stay late because a patient needed an emergency root canal so I missed getting to help feed the kids dinner. And other days I forget to pick up the birthday card for a coworker because my family and I had so much going on over the weekend! There is grace for the moments of imbalance. The unicorn idea of a perfectly balanced family / work life is impossible and that honestly makes me feel so much better!!! When I miss helping with dinner, you know who is there? My incredible mom!! The one that cooks amazing, healthy meals! If I’m not home then my mom helps balance that “beam.”

What I desire for women, for people in general, for the generation that lives their lives for social media… what I desire for people is to be happy with the things they’ve been given, the opportunities they have, find joy in your family, in your home. Stop comparing your family, your home, your kitchen, your playtime with the kids, your job, your free time, your travel plans, your life – to the invented standard that is portrayed on other’s social media. As Jen said, “we have beautiful lives begging to be really lived, really enjoyed, really applauded”

If you cannot find things in your own life that are really beautiful, really enjoyable and really worth applause. I’d like to challenge you to unsubscribe from the idea of a perfect life. Maybe unsubscribe from some of the accounts on social media that make you feel that way or, and this is a crazy idea, do like my sister did and just unsubscribe from social media altogether. If it is unhealthy for you then be done with it, just for now. Instead of spending your time scrolling mindlessly, pick up a book, pick up For The Love if you want! 5 pages in, and I clearly highly recommend! Maybe Jen can help us all figure out what living for the love of life looks like.