Mama Gut to Mama Guilt

One minute I have full confidence in my Mama Gut and the next I’m wrecked with Mama Guilt! Sheesh! The twins started school and Melle has been crying each morning when I leave. He is breaking my heart! I texted my mom thread on my way home and asked if 3 years old was too young for full time school…

I’m on maternity leave for a few more weeks and the mom guilt has set in hard. Should I have kept them home till I went back to work? Now, logically I know this is not a good plan. I need time with Jacoby before I go back to work and they need this slower transition into school before I go back to work too. They are there from like 8:30 till 4:00 and when I go back to work it will be 7:00 to like 5:00 or 6:00! That’s a long day at school! Part of me thinks – 3 years old and they will be spending more time with people I don’t know than they will be spending at home… I do not like that. However, I don’t have a choice, so buck up buttercup, get over this unnecessary guilt and let’s figure out how to make this fun for Melle instead of focusing on the daily tears!

So, Mamas reading this, or school teachers, or just people with some good insight: what are the tips and tricks here?? How do I help Melle get excited about school? I want him to enjoy his day and then I also want rid of hearing him wail each time I drop him off! Bless it.

With the twins I had far less mom guilt because I was able to have more grace with myself. I knew raising twins was going to be tricky, so I allowed room for myself to question things, to trial and error, to be stubborn on transitions if I wasn’t ready… I knew I was spinning a lot of plates in the air and I was able to logically let go of the guilt and embrace grace instead. This time around has been harder for me to be gracious to myself. I’ve allowed the feeling of “bad mom” to creep in when it comes to the twins and Jacoby. I have to focus on Jacoby more and the twins aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve and that is not being a good mom. A mixture of hormones and sleep deprivation have caused me to lose my temper more and that is not what these kids deserve. I feel like a bad mom is a phrase I have said to Jamelle a few times this month. And then, like I said in my previous blog, I feel like I haven’t really been able to connect with Jacoby like I did with the twins early on…

Stop! That is enough! I want to be a powerful enough person to see through the devil’s evil schemes and call this for what it is – bull shit. I’m a freaking great mom! I love my kids to the moon and back, I may get frustrated a little easier these days but that’s part of hormones and sleep deprivation and, like my amazing friends around me have said, the twins won’t remember that anyway, they are only 3! I might have less energy than I usually do, less energy than what is needed to really keep up with the twins, but I also have GeeGee here for another week, and YiaYia and Bappa here to fill in the gaps. When Jamelle gets home he chases around the twins and plays their silly games and reads their long, terribly boring and incredibly repetitive books. The twins have an amazing circle of people around them and if I can re-embrace the It takes a village approach then I think that will begin to melt away some of the mom guilt. If I can remember that raising twins and developing a routine with an infant is, simply put, damn difficult then that will help melt away some of the mom guilt. If I can keep in mind, and then be reminded when I forget, that 3 year olds cry when they get dropped off at school… this is normal and he will not develop an attachment disorder because of it. Come on Lauren. Kids cry. He will be ok. I texted my mom thread this morning on my walk home from dropping the kids off and all 3 of the moms said, oh yea my kids did the same thing! One of my girlfriends texted me that the teacher told her – by the time you got to your car your son had quit crying and was playing with the other kids. Come on son! Why you gotta be that way! So, if I can remember that Melle’s reaction to getting dropped off at school is quite normal then more of the mom guilt will melt away.

Whatever is left after all of those reminder; whatever mom guilt I am still carrying around with me that makes me feel depressed, that makes me want to cry in my morning coffee after I drop the kids off at school, that makes me cry myself to sleep because I’m so overwhelmed with the day that has ended and already overwhelmed with the day that will soon begin… the mom guilt that remains – it can go straight to hell where it belongs. I do not think guilt a platform on which God operates. He does not drag your heart down and fill your thoughts with negativity in order to get you to do better! God is love. I want to be motivated by love. I want to maintain a heart connection through love with the twins. I love them, therefore I want them to learn to obey, learn manners, learn to be kind, learn to use their inside voices (Melle…), learn to share, learn to make good choices and also learn to set appropriate boundaries. I choose love as my motivator, not guilt.

This is a pep talk for myself. This is a daily battle I choose to fight. This is not always something I am successful in each day, but luckily each day brings a new opportunity to choose love and to choose to fight against mom guilt.

When I walked out of the school this morning I had tears in my eyes. Even as I was rushing off the premises with a mask on my face – the check in teacher asked if I was ok. She assured me that this was normal and that he would certainly be ok. Then my mom text thread reassured me. They encouraged me and reminded me that the kids are going through a lot of transitions right now and that it might be hard on all of us, but in the end they are all good things!

Get yourself a good group of friends to surround yourself with. Friends that also practice choosing love and never guilt. Make choices through the day to reject negativity – negative people, negative influences, negative thoughts. Practice choosing love, practice being motivated by love, practice motivating other through love.

I’m excited for the rest of my day now! Thanks for following me through my pep talk! I hope you are inspired and gained a bit of perspective that will allow you to let go of the mom guilt. No good will come from it. Let it melt away as you tell yourself truths about the kind of person you really are. You love your family with all your heart. You work hard. You desire good things for your family. You will make hard choices for your family in order to reap the good benefits down the road. You will continue to stay up late or get up early or get up at all crazy times of the night to – do laundry, make lunches, clean bottles, breastfeed every 2-3 hours and then pump… online shop for school supplies or birthday surprises or whatever it is that they need and will make their hearts jump for joy! You are the absolute best mom / wife for the family that God gave you. Choose to remember that.

Mama Gut & Text Threads

When I began this blog I thought about what I thought motherhood would be like and looked at what motherhood is actually like. “Becoming a Mama, it’s everything and nothing like I thought it’d be.” Its so incredibly true. Was becoming a mom harder than you thought it’d be? Was birth harder than you thought it’d be? Was the new born phase, was the toddler phase, was sending them off to school, was discipline, was dealing with their tears (regardless of logical or not) harder than you thought it’d be?

I have an incredible group of moms that I’m friends with. We get to actually see each other about once a quarter… you know how life with kids is… BUT we text weekly, sometimes daily. One of my mom friends on our text thread asked a question last night that I think is a very valid question. “This parenting thing is overwhelming. Why doesn’t anyone prepare you better?” It’s so true!!! You’ve heard the saying right? “With children it feels like your heart is walking around outside of your body” (or something to that effect) When they hurt, it’s like pain you’ve never experienced, right?

The pain is so intense when they hurt, but the joy, oh the joy they experience is so contagious, isn’t it? When they are proud of themselves, isn’t that the coolest feeling? When they are excited for the snack they love or the show they enjoy, or getting to play outside or… I mean the list is long!! My three year olds are inspiring! I wish I found joy throughout my day in just even half of the things that my kids do! I will say though, I do find joy in them. They are my heart. When they hurt, oh sweet Moses, it’s so difficult, sometimes I’m literally choking back tears. But when they feel excited and experience joy, my whole body feels lighter; interestingly enough, sometimes I have to choke back tears!

Infants are a bit different though. They don’t react to things; they are either content or they cry. Don’t get me wrong, I still find joy in my little tiny people, but it’s totally different. I found myself staring at the twins randomly with tears in my eyes, I was so in love and so in awe. I had time to hold them and let them sleep on my chest. I had time to watch them sleep and take note of their sweet little movements. Having twins was hard and when Jamelle was done with his 2 weeks off life was chaotic when I was home alone with them… but that was nothing compared to life with twin 3 year olds and an infant.

I’ll be honest – it has been hard to connect with Jacoby. When the twins were 4 weeks old the only things I had to worry about were laundry and washing bottles. I had help, of course, from my mom and from GeeGee when she was here, but I had so much time to sit with my sweet new babies. This time around, with Jacoby, I don’t only still have laundry and bottles to complete, but I also have twin 3 year olds to raise! It’s so overwhelming! No one prepared me for this part of parenting! I remember with the twins that Brooklyn was calmed faster by Jamelle and Melle did better in my arms. With the chaos in the house now, I see Jacoby fall asleep in a snap while on Jamelle’s chest or in GeeGee’s arms. Ok. I’ve got to slow down and find time to stare at this baby! I need to let the laundry pile up a bit while I snuggle my sweet bundle! Why is this so hard? Was it hard for you? – the moms that brought home new babies with kids already in the house? This is just a whole new juggling act that I’m unfamiliar with.

So while the kids were napping today I made a point to sit and stare at my sweet Jacoby.

And now the kids are up. Jacoby is ready to eat and the twins are fighting upstairs. I can hear toys being thrown across the room, someone is chasing someone and Brooklyn is crying, “please share with me buddoh!!”

What are the rules here. Nobody prepared me for this! Do I let the baby cry so I can go upstairs and help calm the twins down? Or do I feed the baby and risk the twins destroying the upstairs? What is the next move people?!? ::The twins are upstairs watching Snoopy. I feel as though I’m channeling Charlie Brown, when he gets so exasperated and cries out with his mouth wide open and his head tilted up to the heavens. Basically, I am feeling a bit dramatic ::

Ok, in all seriousness though. I strongly believe in the Mama Gut. I think more often than not, we know what is best for our tiny people. With the twins I began reading a book and in chapter one it stated that infants needed to be picked up immediately when they cry, this was how they developed trust in us and a feeling of safety. Umm trash! Toxic garbage for a mom with twins!!! In what world can one single person be that kind of parent to two little babies. I’m actually so thankful for what I learned as a mom of twins. As dramatic as I felt in my last paragraph, truthfully I’m ok with a crying baby or even the twins losing their minds a bit upstairs. No one prepared me for this, but I certainly did learn a lot from round one.

My sister had a baby about 3 months before I had Jacoby. She had questions here and there and I frequently asked her what she thought would be best for Baby River, no one knows your babies like you do! The Mama Gut – we each have one! Trust it! Jamelle has a good gut too, I have to admit! Where I have missed it, he sure has some great instincts. I’m quite thankful for him.

The twins have started school. Last week they were there just a little bit so they could get acclimated and then this coming week they will go full time! I will miss them!! I will think about them and hope they like their snack, worry if they are eating their lunch, praying they make friends and praying harder they are the kind of friends that other kids want to play with. I hope they nap, please don’t let them cry when I drop them off (Melle did last week and GeeGee had to drag me through the parking lot and all the way home), I pray they learn lots and play hard. I will miss them but I am very excited for some time with Baby Jacoby. It will be so good for him and I, and we will have lots of time to connect and learn about each other! We will develop some good habits and I will work on my Mama Gut!

So for the remainder of my maternity leave I will focus on my baby. I will connect better with Baby Jacoby, I will let the laundry pile up a bit, I will not let the bottles go though – gotta stay on top of those. I will see the women in my life that give me energy and grace and love and perspective. I will try to rest when I can because, lord have mercy, I’m so tired. I will date my husband as much as possible with 3 kids under our care (this has been so hard – between the twins, the infant, Jamelle’s work and all the people in the house… I feel so disconnected from him! But that’s a blog for another day). More than anything though, my desire is just to get to know Baby Jacoby better. I want him to fall asleep in a snap in my arms.

Side note – I just want it to be known that I wrote this blog, start to finish, all in one day! The pictures above of Jacoby and I are from this afternoon while the kids were napping. This last picture of Jamelle and Jacoby is what I’m looking at now. Jamelle is knocked out, Jacoby is just enjoying the sound of Jamelle’s heartbeat, the twins are being silly and loud in their beds (probably both in Brooklyn’s bed by now, sitting and chatting about things like their birthday party that Melle keeps bringing up [it’s September, their birthday is in May] or hotdogs, or school, maybe Mickey and Minnie or Snoopy…) and I’m finishing up this post. I’m finishing up this post and enjoying an adult beverage. What a day!

Goodnight friends.

My Postpartum Experience

After I had the twins I talked a lot about my community, my tribe, the incredible circle of people around me and how very thankful I was for those people. We were able to enjoy the “it takes a village” approach with the twins through their first birthday… then at about one and a half years old, COVID hit and everything has changed. We still had a community but gosh it was different. I know you can relate. We had a village but we had to be more intentional. We had a tribe but it was more text threads and FaceTimes than play dates and drop by’s.

2-3 weeks postpartum and I’m feeling a bit more normal finally. For those that get a little squeamish, you may wanna skip this read… I’ve had a doozy of a recovery and I’ll tell you a little about it now.

If you read my latest blog you know that I actually went into labor right before my csection, which was pretty amazing!! Delivery went pretty well. Last time with the twins they had to stick me like a dozen times for the spinal block to finally take, whereas this time they got it in the first time! That was a pleasant surprise! I got super nauseous again during delivery and when they wanted to hand me Baby Jacoby I wasn’t able to take him because I really thought I was going to be sick…

The moment that we found out that Jacoby was a boy though… I was clear minded and feeling great! “IT’S A BOY!!” Jamelle and I squeezed each others hands and I laughed and cried! I am honestly still surprised! I thought for sure my baby was going to be a girl! Imara Cathryn Leta Blunt. Maybe someday…

They finished in the OR and we went to the recovery room. Jacoby nursed immediately without any issues. It was a dream, he was perfect. I couldn’t feel my legs, but otherwise I felt perfect as well! Grandma Yvette had come to the hospital with us and Jamelle went to get her. She was a puddle when she saw Jacoby and me. It was kind of a surreal. The whole thing was pretty special. Yvette started counting fingers and toes, looking him over like she does, kissing him and just melting a little more and more as she loved on him. We had let the family all know he had arrived and that he was a boy!!

When I was finally able to move my toes and ankles a little they went ahead and moved me from the recovery room back by the OR to the room where we’d stay for the next few days.

Technically I was only allowed 2 people in the hospital during my stay. Jamelle and Yvette filled those two spots. Yvette, Grandpa Marcus and the kids were all headed back to New York the very next day though and I couldn’t stand the thought of Marcus leaving without seeing Jacoby. So I begged my nurse to help us figure it out and, thankfully they did!! Marcus came in when he came to pick up Yvette. He was able to see me and Jamelle before he headed back home early Tuesday and more importantly, he was able to see and hold his newest grandson! Jacoby Marcus. Marcus is grandpa’s name and Bappa’s middle name is Marc – so Jacoby is named after both Jamelle and my dad. After Grandpa spent some time with us he had to head out too. So Jamelle walked him out and went to the car to grab our bags and whatever else we needed for our stay…

This is when things went downhill. As Jamelle and Marcus were leaving the nurse came in to check my vitals and that dreaded uterus check. Moms, you know what I’m talking about. They have to push on your belly to make sure that your uterus is going down… she began to push and it is so painful… then I felt warm all the way down to my calves. The nurse kept pushing and pushing and called for the crash cart and for more nurses and my doctor. People flooded my room. The original nurse kept pushing and pushing and I cried out, I can’t catch my breath, can you stop?!? I can’t, I’m so sorry! She replied, you’ve hemorrhaged quite a lot of blood and I have to keep doing this till the doctor arrives! My OB doc finally ran in and she jumped up on the bed next to me. On her knees she took over pushing on my stomach like she was performing CPR. She said, I’m sorry, you’re gunna hate me for this but just stick with me here. She put her fingers inside and started pushing from the inside and the outside. I couldn’t breath, the pain was unbearable. Then it dawned on me – I warned them to not let Jamelle back in. I didn’t know what the situation was looking like and I didn’t think he’d be ok walking in and not having a clue that any of this was happening. When they decided the pushing had sufficiently worked and they cleaned everything up, they let Jamelle back in. They had explained to him in the hallway briefly what was happening and when he came in he sat on the bed next to me and held my hand. I lost it. Through all that pain and the whole scary, unsettling thing I didn’t cry, but when Jamelle sat next to me and took my hand I just wept. That was honestly so overwhelming and so terrifying. They began to tell me what had happened to me and that I had hemorrhaged 2-3 liters of blood. From this point on they’d have to monitor me very closely. So every 15 minutes for the next few hours my nurse came in and laid me back and pushed on my stomach again… after a few hours it went to every 30 minutes, then once an hour and eventually they just had to do it every few hours till about 24 hours after the hemorrhage. Because of the amount I hemorrhaged, I ended up needing a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin numbers dropped. So 1 bag of blood and like 3-4 bags of fluids through my IV later, my hemoglobin numbers were looking better. Thankfully I only had to do the transfusion once and my color and some strength began to come back to my body…

During the process of laying me back each time and pushing on my stomach is when we discovered there was air trapped in my abdomen from the surgery. I started getting a side cramp at one point in the night. Then it traveled up into my right shoulder, and from there into my neck. After what had happened earlier I thought I was developing clot in my neck somehow. When I spoke with the nurse she said that when there is air/gas trapped in there post surgery, it can cause pain in the shoulder because of the air pushing against the diaphragm. The occasional pain became more consistent and each time the nurse would lay me back for my uterus check the pain was so intense when I’d try to take a breath that I just wasn’t able to breath. It got to the point where my nurse was getting pretty concerned. She mentioned to me that she was going to discuss a chest X-ray first thing in the morning when my doctor was back in.

The following morning my doctor was not in the hospital and a different doctor that I had never seen before came in to check on me. She leaned me back and checked my uterus and the breathing issue had let up a little. I told her about the previous times I had to lay back and how painful things were and mentioned the potential chest X-ray. She looked at me like I was so dramatic and said, what would a chest X-ray accomplish?? I told her that was what a nurse had discussed with me and that doctor basically told me I was fine and there was no need for a chest X-ray. I needed to get up and walk around five times each day and that would alleviate the air / gas that was trapped. Then she left.

Cut to a week later and I was in the ER for a full work up to make sure I hadn’t developed a pulmonary embolism. I was so frustrated that we weren’t able to just take care of those tests while already in the hospital! I called my doctor and explained that this was a concern from a few nurses and one doctor walked in and told me I’d be fine… now a week later I was driving myself to the ER for the exact same concerns. I was so frustrated.

Back to the hospital stay, a few days out from delivery – I actually was improving a bit which was a relief. My pain from the air was subsiding a bit, however, now because of the IV fluids and transfusion my legs were beginning to swell! My feet were about three times the size they ought to be and my knees were so swollen I could hardly bend them. I had swelling all the way up to my waist. Lord have mercy… this made my five times a day walk around the hospital floor fairly difficult and painful. “Even though it seems counterproductive- lots of water and you’ll eventually pee it all out.”

We had planned to head home Wednesday but we stayed till Thursday. Finally Thursday was here, we were ready to get home to the twins and some normalcy!! Our homecoming was very fun. The twins were so excited to see us and to meet their new baby brother. They had put up Welcome Home signs and decorated for us!! I held Baby Jacoby and Brooklyn was by my side, then Jamelle held him and Brooklyn was by his side. She is in love with him. She wants to help with everything now! She is my “big big helper!” Brooklyn helps with holding the bottle and getting everything out for a diaper change, she loves to pick out his daily outfits and helps me rinse bottles after I’ve soaped them up. She is a very loving big sister. Melle… umm Melle will enjoy Baby Jacoby more when he is able to be a bit more interactive I think!

I wasn’t able to lay down in bed because of the air that was trapped so we pulled the recliner up to the bed and I slept with my feet up on the bed in the chair. This was helpful to allow the swelling to go down and alleviate the pain for at least a little bit of the morning. The first time I tried to lay down in bed I had a panic attack. I know logically the simple act of laying down in bed wasn’t going to cause a hemorrhage… but that was all I could think about when I laid back. Jamelle was already asleep next to me and Jacoby was conked out in his crib. I had to leave the room and sit on the couch for a few minutes to calm down. A few tears and some deep breaths later I found my way back to my recliner and slept there again. It was at least a week before I was able to sleep in my bed. I was so incredibly thankful when I was finally able to sleep in bed again!

A week and a half after Baby Jacoby was born is when I went to the ER. The pain in my chest came and went, some days it was uncomfortable and others I felt like I was hyperventilating because I could only take shallow breaths because of the pain a deep breath would bring. I’ll spare you the details of the day to day though. I had been at the breast feeding clinic and asked the nurse there about my breathing issues and pain. She was very concerned and encouraged me to call my doctor and explain where the pain was (straight through my chest and into my back). So I called my doctors office and they told me to go to the ER. I cried the whole way there. The first 2 weeks of postpartum were filled with lots of emotions and tears. Gosh these hormones are no freaking joke y’all. So the first blood test they did showed elevated levels which indicated a clot somewhere. After quite a bit of wait time they got me back for a cat scan. Have you ever had one? Man, they tell you that the dye they inject will make it feel like you’ve peed your pants and I thought, ok whatever… oh gosh! I was convinced I peed my pants! That was the craziest feeling! Anyway, at that point my sweet nurse knew I had a baby at home and needed to pump so she really helped speed things along. She was so incredibly sweet the whole time I was there (3-4 hours) and helped really speed things up for me at the end. Chastin was her name. If you know her, tell her thanks for me!! She made being in the ER almost pleasant. So she got the doc in there pretty quickly after my scan results were back and he said there was air in my chest but luckily no other issues, no pulmonary embolism or otherwise.

Throughout these few weeks postpartum I have had friends and family checking in on me daily. They have brought me meals with very specific ingredients so as not to worsen the gas issue… they have dropped in to give me love and hugs, they have prayed for me on their own and beside me. I’m thankful that now I can just focus on simply recovering from surgery and taking care of Baby Jacoby, and the twins… y’all. Have a baby with 3 year old twins in the house… it is no joke friends. These kids are awesome but sometimes they are the source of my tears! Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy… oh my gosh! I need some space y’all!! I’ve had so much help at home starting with my incredible husband that was able to take 2 weeks off work to stay home with us. My parents are quick to swoop in and help with Jacoby, but mainly the twins, which has been such a blessing. And now, GeeGee is here! She has been here for a week and that has been so fun. She took the twins to the Great Wolf Lodge for a night and has been either keeping the twins busy or holding a fussy baby since she arrived.

As absolutely terrible as the first bit of recovery was, the way my people showed up was God’s way of reminding me of a few things I believe. First of all – don’t forget about the incredible blessings I have surrounding me. My family, my dear friends, my church… I have an amazing circle around me. Second of all – “it takes a village” still applies, even though we are still in the middle of COVID. I cannot do this alone, the first two weeks proved that very quickly. And, silly me, I always seem to forget this, I’m not meant to do it alone. People are not just here to help, but they want to help! Third of all – the power of prayer is real y’all. Lots of prayers for my physical healing but then also for my mental health. The hormones are still fluctuating and I am still crying at the drop of a hat… but my anxiety and fear have subsided and I know that this is a result of many prayers said on my behalf.

If you’re still with me here at the end of this one – thanks for sticking it out. I know it was a long one. Jamelle was just sitting across the room from me and asked – how long have you been working on this blog? Umm 5 or 6 days now I think? Sheesh, there is just never a long enough quiet moment anymore. I have had a lot of people asking me and asking my parents how I’m doing and now I can say – I’m doing great. Not only am I doing great but I think I have a better perspective now on the other side of all this than I would have if everything would have gone smooth as butter. I’m not necessarily saying I’m thankful for the hemorrhage and the trapped air and swelling and… ::deep breath:: even as I wrote this blog there were moments I had to fight back tears because these last few weeks have been traumatic and just plain hard!! But what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. Right? And I believe I’m stronger in my friendships and in my faith through all of this.

Feel free to bring me food though, I’m not that strong y’all! If you think I’m cooking, you are absolutely crazy. Or just keep praying; that’s helpful and appreciated too.

God’s funny, isn’t He?

This blog is going to be pretty raw and to the point… maybe some spelling errors here and there and autocorrections that were mistakes…

I’m currently sitting in a hospital bed at Stormont Vail in labor!

This weekend has been a dream. I want to capture as much of what this weekend brought while it’s fresh in my mind. My family from New York came into town to be with us and to meet the baby. Unfortunately with COVID, only Yvette will get to meet the baby because of guest restrictions. Saturday was my due date and if I had gone into labor on Saturday then I’d have probably been able to go home Monday or Tuesday. My family plans to leave early Tuesday morning but they would have waited around so that everyone else could meet baby Gecko. So I really feel like I tried to make things happen. I had some discomfort and some things happening (that honestly had been happening for weeks now…) that I had convinced myself that I might be in labor. So I called the hospital and asked about – should I come in? If I do come in and I’m not in labor can my doctor go ahead and do the csection while I’m there? Hmm I bet the lady on the other line was like What mom? It doesn’t work like that around here!

I was pretty stressed because I hate the idea that Jamelles father won’t get to hold and meet Baby Gecko. I hate that. I don’t like that Uncle Zae and Aunties Jade and Amina (Brooklyn and Melle call them Uncle Jade and Uncle Amina!!) I hate that my siblings won’t get to hold and snuggle Baby Gecko. So I think I was really trying to force things and make them happen. Jamelle came in and gave me a pep talk. Told me I couldn’t carry that weight, this was all in God’s timing and that I just needed to let it go and trust Him. That helped. I’m so thankful for him.

So back up a little. My due date was 8/21 but my csection is scheduled for 8/23 because I really have always thought I’d have a natural childbirth. I wanted to experience labor. I wanted to have some semblance of real labor – contractions, that moment of – Ok babe! I think we better head to the hospital! It’s time! So I didn’t schedule early, I thought for sure I’d go maybe the week leading up to my due date. Well here we are 40 weeks and 2 days. I had some Braxton Hicks contractions along the way, but I never went in to active labor. I was disappointed, but this morning I woke up ready to have a baby – no matter how it happened!!

So back to this weekend. We spent so much amazing time with Jamelle’s family! We stayed up till between midnight and 1:00am all 3 nights! My mom even stayed up with us. So most of the evenings were spent talking, laughing, crying; talking about food, talking about the future, talking about our families and where we all come from. These past few days have been so special to me. I count Gecko’s birth story as a 4 day journey. I’m so blessed by my entire family, the love they all have for each other and for Jamelle, the kids and I. Did I get caught up on sleep in preparation for this baby? Not at all! Would I change anything about this weekend and the time we spent together? Not a thing.

This morning I woke up around 6:30 because I heard the kids and they woke me up. I had planned on eating a small breakfast and coffee so that I wouldn’t be nauseous without food and get a headache without coffee. I knew it was against the rules but… what were they gunna do, not see me today? So I made my bagel and coffee and FaceTimed my sister Kristin and her husband Nate. They were out grocery shopping at 8:00pm their time – they live in Australia. Krissy, Nate and their baby River and I talked for an hour this morning while I ate. We talked about the new baby coming and how I was feeling about it all. They were SO excited for me and for our growing family. River is almost 3 months and she loves it when they sing to her. They sang You are My Sunshine to her a few times and it was so beautiful. She coos back at them as if they are singing a duet together. She is so beautiful and such a sweet and happy baby. What a special time that I was able to have a slow and quiet morning with my amazing sister and her family. We then got showered and ready and said bye to Jamelle’s family (because they leave early tomorrow and we won’t be home from the hospital yet) and kissed my first two babies and tried to help them understand that I’ll be bringing a baby home with me when we come back home in a few days. Said bye to my parents and they prayed over a safe delivery and a healthy and strong baby… jumped in the car with Jamelle and Yvette and let’s have a baby!

So when they asked I couldn’t lie, even though I wanted to! When was your last food or drink. 7:00 I said. Last night? …no, this morning… They continued through a long series of questions and did a COVID test and explained the things I needed to know and be aware of… And the CRNA came back and said, I’m so sorry, we can’t see you at the scheduled 12:00 time, we have to push the surgery back till 3:00 since you ate at 7:00am. BLESS IT! Yvette started texting the family to update them and my spirits just dropped. I felt so stupid. I knew everyone was so excited to find out the gender of this baby, to see this baby, to know that this baby is out and safe and I’m safe and just have me have this baby! And I felt so down in the dumps. I’ve been quite hormonal and emotional with this pregnancy and this just shot straight through my happy excited bubble this morning. I felt like I had let everyone down.

The nurses left and Jamelle and Yvette sat chatting and I just sat here holding back tears. I disengaged and just tried to focus on the fact that I’ll still have a baby at the end of all this. Yvette said, oh let’s call Granny back, she wanted to pray over you and the baby. So I got on the phone with Granny. Having her pray (and she sang to me too) for my baby and safe delivery and being exactly what a Grandmother is for their grandchildren… tears began to stream down my face.

Yvette’s sister has passed away a few years ago now. I have talked about her before on my blog. My mom lost her sister several years ago now and her mom – my Grandma Hazel. Brooklyn’s middle names are Hazel (after my grandma) and Indira (after Yvette’s sister). Over the last few days of Jamelles family being here we have talked a lot about Auntie Kendrah, Aunt Jo and Grandma Hazel. My 2 mothers and I have told stories, laughed and cried while discussing and reminiscing about these 3 beautiful, strong, amazing women from our lives. It’s been really incredible hearing and re-hearing stories about these women that had such a large impact in my life and Jamelles life.

So when Granny was praying for me, not only did it help me release the stress of what I had placed on my own shoulders – I let everyone down with that damn bagel!!! But it also made me miss the other women in my life that would have been calling to pray for me and more excited than almost anyone in the world for me! I miss them often. Here I am crying again…

So anyway! I then told Jamelle and Yvette what I was feeling and cried to them a bit and with a few choice words Yvette told me to forget about them and that stress and let it go and give it to God. Jamelle reassured me that, again, this is all part of God’s master plan and it is all part of God’s timing. I’m so thankful for them.

I kept wincing and breathing heavy but I’m also overwhelmed and emotional so I didn’t pay much attention. Yvette finally said, are you in labor? Huh? No, I mean, I’m increasingly more uncomfortable, but no probably not, right? So the nurse came in a bit later and I asked if she could tell from these monitors that they have strapped to me – “Can you tell if I’m having contractions from all that?” Sure enough! She said, oh yea! You sure are! Looks like they are every 5 to 7 minutes apart right now. God’s funny, isn’t He? This is what I wanted!

Jamelle and Yvette left a bit ago to get lunch and I thought – I don’t want to forget anything about today. I have told you before that this is my open diary. So here I am, Dear Diary, today is August 23rd and I’m sitting in a hospital bed…

I’m so thankful for today, for this weekend, for my family, for this experience. I’m not rushing anything. This is all in God’s timing. 3:00 will be here before I know it. In the meantime I’m going to be thankful and experience these contractions!! Every 3-5 minutes now!

38 weeks – then and now

38 weeks on the dot I was scheduled for a csection and I met my twins that day. Jamelle and I woke up, had a cup of coffee, FaceTimed some family members that were far away, prayed a bit together and left for the hospital. 38 weeks of pregnancy and on that Friday, May 11th I knew exactly what was going to happen! Well… I didn’t know how long the triage would take. I didn’t know how many times they’d have to stick me to make the epidural work. I didn’t know how numb and completely unaware of my lower half I’d be! Wow that was unreal… I didn’t know what Jamelle’s reaction would be and that he’d actually walk to the other side of the OR and cut the umbilical cords. I also didn’t know he’d stand up and accidentally look over that blue curtain (because my man is super tall) and accidentally see what was happening to his wife and almost pass out. Lord have mercy, if he would have passed out… I took his hand and squeezed it, “Babe, you good?” Then one of the nurses said, “Dad! You better sidown!” Oh bless. Thankfully he sat before anything dramatic or tragic happened! I didn’t know what it would do to my heart while I watched him hold a baby, skin to skin, as I held the other baby, skin to skin. I didn’t know how much I’d fall in love with how my parents immediately fell in love with their grandchildren! Their elation, their awe, their gentleness toward those children was so beautiful. I knew I was having a couple of babies at 38 weeks, but I suppose that was really all I knew.

38 weeks of this pregnancy and it’s just another day! So odd. So odd that so much happened at 38 weeks with my first pregnancy, yet with this pregnancy we played outside a little, we ate all our normal meals at normal times, I folded laundry, we played catch and we read books… it was about as normal of a day as any!

I’m torn. I’m ready to get this show on the road. I’m ready for the aches and pains of 9 months of pregnancy to be over. I’m ready to count fingers and toes! I’m ready to smooch this baby all over. I’m ready to find out if this baby is a boy or a girl!!! There are so many reasons I am ready for this pregnancy to be over. I was hoping that maybe 38 weeks would be the finale of this time around as well. However, I am also enjoying some quality time with my family of 4 before we grow to 5!

I tried to remind myself throughout the first few years of Brooklyn and Melle’s lives that I didn’t want to wish time away. I didn’t want to wish for the future. I can’t wait till they can walk. I can’t wait till they can communicate. I can’t wait… for all the things they will certainly learn in the future. And once they start – talk, walking, communicating…. they will never stop. We will never have the sweet time of now back. Gosh I absolutely loved that new born stage when it was just myself and the babes at home… I mean, let me clarify, there were moments I loved when I was home alone with them… there were also moments when the twins and I were home alone and Jamelle would come home to all 3 of us crying. The sweet moments though, oh guys, they were the most precious of memories.

Oh gosh. I’ll never forget what it did to my heart when they’d both sleep on my chest, they’d put one hand on my neck or on my chest. Their hand on my skin, just resting there, almost as if to say, “As small as these hands are, I’ll hold your heart Mama and I love you.” They were so small, but those moments were so big. I do not want to wish time any faster. Life is a bit more of a blur now. The twins are 3 and the slow still moments are very few and far between. Then when Gecko arrives, man, the blur will be unreal. I hope and pray I am able to savor the little things as I did 3 years ago. This time around the sweet moments may look different!

Y’all, when we bring Gecko home from the hospital and my twins get to see their baby sibling for the first time. My heart is already melting! I cannot wait to see my 3 year old babies transform before me into big siblings. These moments will be beautiful and (I hope) full of tender love from my bigs to my little. I hope that somehow, miraculously, time slows a bit and I am able to take it all in. I hope that again, I will remind myself to not wish time away. As I pack my hospital bag it is similarly exciting packing a boy and a girl outfit to bring home Gecko in!! It’s funny to me that I am still packing an outfit for each, but for completely different reasons!

This 38th week looked very different than last time. This pregnancy was quite different than last time. This birth will be different and this baby will be different. I’m thankful for these differences. I pray I can cherish the differences.

38 weeks with the twins!
Wearing Jamelle’s shirts because they were all that fit me there at the end!! Also I loved that this shirt said Brooklyn… I wore it quite a bit and I still do!
38 weeks this time around! My dear friend threw me a Baby Sprinkle at 38 weeks too. Another silver lining about not having this babe too early, right?

This afternoon I put the kids down for a nap. I gave Melle a hug and kiss then tucked him in. I walked over to Brooklyn’s bed and picked her up. She put her head on my shoulder, patted and rubbed my back and said, “Mommy, I so so lub you. I so so glad you are here with budoh and me today.” Ok Gecko, I have about 3 days left of work. You might need to give me the full 40 weeks or at least 39 and a half so I can be done with work and spend some really special time with my first babies. I so so love them and I want to make sure they feel so so important to me and so so loved.

Define: Grandiose Opportunity

Here is the real deal. This is really where I am at these days and how I’m feeling. I struggle between feelings of – y’all better keep one eye this way because you don’t wanna miss it, I’m going to do big things… and – what am I doing with my life, I feel like I’m just sitting around getting older… Can any of you relate?

Just over a year ago now, when I started Women Against Racism (WAR) I was on fire, I was freaking hot about what was and still is happening in our country against people that look like my incredible husband and my beautiful sweet children. I have felt for decades now that God was going to use my life in a big way. When WAR started I thought, this is it. I spent so much time reading and dialoguing, brainstorming with other women in my same shoes (raising black or mixed kids, losing sleep at night thinking about our babies being in the shoes of these black victims), hosting conversations, spaces to come together and pray… We were do’n something y’all! In my head I was preparing and being prepared to lead a powerful group of woman who would change our culture. Then… through a series of events our group ended. I know that no matter how fired up I am I cannot do this alone. So I was left a bit stranded. I still have ideas, my heart longs to create, cause, and inspire change, but I am just one woman. I feel as though the problem is too great for me to tackle on my own. So I sit… and watch myself grow older.

So there’s all that…

Now. My new fear is that I am so focused on what I ought to be doing with my life that I’m missing the big important things right in front of me! I want to be a life changer right here in my own home. My daughter was playing with some magnetic block toys, trying to accomplish something very specific and the magnets kept coming together in the wrong way and she said over and over, I can’t do it mommy! Please help me! I can’t do it!! On the verge of tears, she put me on the verge of tears as I spotted an opportunity. You can do it honey! You absolutely can if you just keep trying and don’t give up! And I tried to help her step back and think about different ways to accomplish the task she kept trying, I encouraged her, I cheered her on and – SHE DID IT! I was so filled with joy when she did it and she looked at me with pride and surprise all over her expression! I knew it! I knew you could do it!

Ok so that was big! That was one of those big things that I feel as though God has placed in my path and I don’t want to miss those because they didn’t look the way I thought they would. If I can teach my daughter confidence and independence, if I can instill deep within her soul, her make up, her mental that I see your struggle, but I also see your abilities – and I believe more in your abilities than I do in the problem that you’re facing. Oh man y’all! That could change the world! I know my story is nowhere finished, my journey is far from complete… but if I can raise a young woman and a young man who believe in themselves and also know how to encourage and pick others up along the way then I have done great things.

I do not want to miss these opportunities.

I feel a bit overwhelmed with baby #3’s quickly approaching arrival. Y’all if this baby doesn’t come early I’m less than 2 months away. What in the actual heck! I lament a bit about how I have not focused on this pregnancy like I did with my twins. I prayed often over the twins. I daydreamed about what they’d look like, if they’d have Jamelle’s features or mine. Please please please give me dimples and blue eyes!!! What would they be as they grew up, where we would go as a family, what Jamelle would be like as a father, how I’d feel finally as a mother… Working a full time job, coming home to twins, and trying to sustain any sort of social life / friendships, I have thought very little about this pregnancy. I’m sort of crushed by that. It also leaves a small, deep down, dark, very real fear that this is how I will mother this child. The not so anticipated (if you know my story about the twins and getting pregnant the first time – it was quite a journey) second pregnancy, the singleton baby that couldn’t live up to the hype of their older twin siblings. Don’t get me wrong, I truly am so excited about this baby, but the attention that I am able to spare is just so few and far between.

Today our church had a BBQ out at Clinton Lake and another mom was asking me about the anticipated 3 children family and she asked, let me know how things are going for you. I don’t remember exactly what she said but essentially she stated that she is at the point where she doesn’t know if they should go for a 3rd baby because of the fears that I just stated basically. How do you give quality time to each child, how are you purposeful in disciplining and raising each child, how do you divide your time, your love, you between that many kids. (I’m taking some liberties here, she didn’t really say all of that, but she started the conversation and I finished it here…) Part of me feels like the Grinch. Not the mean one, but the best part where his heart grew three sizes that day. My heart doubled when I had the twins and it will do it again when #3 (Jamelle and I call the baby Gecko because Melle is Catboy, Brooklyn is Owlet, so #3 is Gecko [iykyk]. I hope you don’t mind but referring to my baby as a number is just so depressing, so from here forward I’ll be referring to bebe as Gecko). So honestly, I don’t think so many people would have so many kids if there wasn’t enough love to cover them all. So in my head I know that I will be a good mom to Gecko, just like I am to Melle and BB. But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I am nervous. I want everything for my children. I definitely don’t want any less for Gecko than what I want for my first babes. But also how can that be true if I haven’t focused on, prayed for, dreamt about nearly as much as I did during my first pregnancy.

Maybe it’s about being more intentional. I was very intentional with my time and my focused energy when I was leading WAR. I was still working a full time job and spending time with my family, raising twins, but when it was important I was able to make it happen. So maybe it is about refocusing my energy from constantly managing the twins when I’m around them (which isn’t necessarily helpful in their growth) to letting them figure some things out for themselves and learning how to care best for Gecko! Breastfeeding will be a new challenge, I wasn’t able to do that with the twins. Learning how to sleep train one baby while a couple of three year olds play loudly and sing and scream! The twins were so different. So incredibly different in what they liked and didn’t like, in what made them happy or smile… even from just a month or two old. Will Gecko like being swaddled, will they like tummy time, a pacifier or their thumb, classical music or quiet (God help us of Gecko likes it quiet…) will Gecko calm down when we take even just one step outside like Melle did? Or maybe something completely different! I’m excited to learn how to be Gecko’s mom. I’m also very excited to see what Brooklyn and Melle will be like as big siblings. I cannot wait to be a family of 5!! What an unreal realization! Just over 3 years ago we were just 2 and soon we will be 5. That is so amazing.

I don’t want to miss the life changing opportunities within my own home because they are not grandiose enough. I want to be sure to be tuned in to what is going on under the surface of a bad day for anyone in my family. Sometimes the tears are just from exhaustion, but if they aren’t, I want to be clued in and I want to be there to lift their spirits and encourage. I want to instill deep into my family characteristics of a can do attitude, of loving one another, even when it’s hard, of caring for people (I’m not just talking inside our family!) gifts of encouragement, of wisdom, of hospitality… y’all I have high hopes for this family!! So I need to be just as intentional as I was with WAR to read, to study wisdom, to study raising kids in a Godly way, finding ideas of how to get my family in situations where they can practice these characteristics, these gifts…

I hope you know, and if you read enough of my blogs I bet you do, this is my therapy. I don’t outline these posts, I don’t put a lot of thought into where a post will begin and where it will end… we are currently on a single income and I cannot afford therapy y’all so this is where I go. I’m an external processor and you are a fly on the wall here as I lay on the couch and pour out my soul. I am also weird because this feels so therapeutic and does me so much good but if I had to speak all these things out of my own mouth… y’all I wouldn’t. Why is it easier to blog than it is to speak words that reveal my vulnerability. I’m not sure but all that to say, thank you. Most of you I know, some of you I don’t know and yet, here I feel safe. Thank you for letting me work through my frustrations and fears here. Thank you for tagging along and thank you to the few that comment. I appreciate you being my free therapy!

A peek into my inner crazy…

With this new sweet babe on it’s way into our family I’m trying to think about what I still need. I honestly don’t need much. I kept a lot from when the twins were little so I don’t need clothes, I don’t need a baby bath or the baby gym, I don’t need a baby swing or a crib…

Last night I began putting together a registry on Amazon and this morning I continued adding more things. The first fourth of the registry is diapers, wipes, a new diaper genie, per Jemelle’s request. A few necessities that we will need at the end of the summer. The rest of the registry I looked for toys to help this baby learn, toys to help them explore new shapes, colors textures! And books!! Lots and lots of books.

This morning when jumping into the shower I decided to look on YouTube for some recommendations of books for brown kids. There is a cool show on Netflix called Bookmarks, where books about and for black kids are read! Look it up, if for no other reason, to bring diversity to your or your kid’s TV time.

The book I randomly clicked on was about a child coming back from break and the teacher asked what all the student did over their break. Many of them traveled and the child in the book stayed home with their sibling while their parents continued to work through the school break. Part of me found issue with this. It was putting that child into a “less than” life while the rest of the white kids went to Florida to the beach, or Spain and France… then it began to speak to the child’s heart. The book described how the child would feel walking into a room where no one looked like them. It described how the child felt when they’d say something in class that the other kids wouldn’t understand and how it would feel as the kids giggled and laughed till the teach decided to step in and quiet them down. The difference in their clothes and in their foods… essentially painting a picture of the difference in cultures.

I found myself in tears. I was angry, frustrated and overwhelmed.

I don’t want my kids to feel different! I don’t want my kids to get made fun of because they are different or because they walk into a room and immediately feel as though they don’t belong.

However.

They ARE different! They shouldn’t feel less than because they are different, they should be proud of who they are and of the culture they represent! They should be proud of the strong black men and women who came before them, whose blood runs through their veins! I want them to be proud of who they are and what they represent. I don’t know how to teach them that other than these books and that frustrates me. I don’t have life experiences to pull from in order to empathize with them as they go through these hard things. I want them to be strong young men and women. I want them to face these trials with strength and confidence. And yet part of me wishes that I could save them from these situations. I find myself staring my own white privilege in the face and it is clearer than it has been in a long time.

I talked to Jamelle about this a while this morning. I lived in the Philippines for a bit in high school and we were putting my experience there up next to Jamelle’s experiences of being black in America… no comparison. Nothing at all like it. I cannot pull from my life whatsoever to help understand what Jamelle has and will continue to deal with; or what my children will have to endure if America doesn’t change. My white privilege is blinding when we have these sorts of conversations.

So the inner dialogue as I cried in the shower sounded like a crazy person trying to reason pain away, trying to skew reality into a more palatable situation. I don’t want this for my children, yet I want them to face it head on in strength. I wish I could keep them from the pain of feeling different, yet I’m proud of who they are and represent and I want to nurture their black culture and help them flourish in who they are while I know very little of how to do that. I know that Jamelle will do an amazing job of this. I know that Grandma, Grandpa, and GeeGee, Uncle Zae, Auntie Jade and Aunt Amina… I know that our family will teach them things and fill in all the gaps when they see the need. I know I can count on my crazy mother in laws to bring me back down to earth when I blow things out of proportion and become too emotional about things I cannot control. But that’s just it… when I became a mom the reality of a world that is out of my control became overwhelmingly apparent.

God, help me. Help me lament less and encourage more. Help me to reach out and ask for help when I need it, and help me to find proper resources to teach me while I raise my children. Help my children to have confidence in who they’ve been created to be.

Are you beautiful?

I had Jamelle take a picture of me the other day because I actually had a full face of make up – that like never happens – and my hair was actually done – again, rare – I had on a pretty cute outfit, and just haven’t posted a bump pic for a minute on Instagram… I made him take several so that it was a good angle and made me look just right. I was getting ready to post this evening and it hit me… Come ON!

Early in this current pregnancy when I first started showing my back hurt so bad! I found myself sucking in my stomach just out of habit… for what? That typically isn’t even my M.O. but still… Skinny Minnie is who we wanna be if and when possible. Come ON!

During my first pregnancy there were things I very purposely thought through in the hopes that they would make me a better mother and a better wife. One thing that I focused very hard on (and stuck with it quite well might I add) was not to tell my husband how to be a dad to our kids. I didn’t want to micromanage Jamelle to the point where he had little confidence in his parenting abilities, or worse, would rather just let me do it all so that he doesn’t get corrected… Now don’t get me wrong, we both have our opinions about certain things or we may catch each other at that breaking point where we are taking it out on the kids through frustrations and yelling… There are times where, behind closed doors, we lovingly correct each other or discuss how what had happened could have a negative long term effect so we ought to try another way… ya know, things like that. But in front of our children, I do not cut him down or discredit what he is doing. “BABE!” is about all that needs to be said in front of the kids in order for the other one to know – hey, too much, reign it in.

I feel like respecting each other as parents and building each other up in front of our children is of the utmost importance. The second idea that I focused on with a lot of intention was body image. When I found out one of the twins was a girl it was almost an immediate realization that my baby girl will not have body image issues if I can help it – and oh I will help it! Similar to the demons of racism, a hatred toward your own body is a learned behavior. Little girls love to be beautiful. Most little girls love to hear that their hair looks pretty, that their shoes are so sparkly, that their outfit is so fancy – that they are beautiful! There is nothing inherently wrong with the desire to be beautiful. Every little girl, every young lady, every woman possesses the ability to access their own beauty.

I cannot purchase swimsuits from Victoria Secret because they don’t make my size in pretty much any of the cute suits. What in the actual hell. Are you kidding me?!? I am a very average sized woman! There is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to purchase a swimsuit from anywhere and have it fit me and look cute… Anyway… VS isn’t the issue. The issue is the fact that small things like that, plus so many perfect life accounts on Instagram, plus advertisements parading unnaturally and sometimes unattainably tiny waisted, long legged models… compiling these quiet yet deafening messages over and over – it is almost impossible to be happy with yourself and your own body.

I want my daughter to love herself. I want to teach my daughter and instill in my daughter a strong and deep sense of confidence.

Through a lot of prayer, a lot of intentional conversations, a lot of modeling confident behavior… God, please work through me to help my daughter appreciate how beautiful she is!!! And where I fall short, please fill in the gaps because I know I won’t do this all perfect.

Jamelle Jr and Brooklyn. Boy girl twins. I don’t know and won’t know what this next babe will be till they are born! I’m looking forward to this surprise! There are things (for another blog) that I want to be sure are instilled in my son, but because we aren’t finding out if this little one is a boy or girl… those thoughts flood my mind again. If this little bundle is a girl then I want to double team up with Brooklyn in order to teach her to love her whole self! I want to begin a shift in my lineage of confident beautiful women. A generational change with myself and my daughters in the middle of it! I hope and strive to encourage women around me; I expect my daughters to do the same in their groups of friends.

You are beautiful. No matter who you are reading this, I can say in 1000% confidence that you are beautiful! If you do not believe that then you need to reassess the voices that you’re allowing in. Silence the accounts on social media that do nothing but make you feel jealousy and discontentment. Open the door and let people out of your circle that consistently bash on themselves or worse – on you. Search out people that lift you up, that encourage you and that speak truth over you. I’m here for you! @loloslifewithtwins Hit me up if you wanna chat. Girl, I got you!

That Instagram life
Reality. And still cute!
Belly band, oversized leggings I bought to wear after my last c-section and my husbands shirt. You’re welcome.

In Search of Joy

Yesterday was Brooklyn and Jamelle Jr.’s 3rd birthday party! We had decorations, friends, cake, presents, we sang happy birthday, we had candles… it was quite the party! Actually is was quite small and very low key, but that evening when we said our nightly prayer man my kids were full of thankfulness! Dear God, I thank you for this day (and for Bappa and YiaYia) and for Bappa and YiaYia and GeeGee and Grandma and Grandpa and all our aunts and uncles (and Uncle Zae!) Yes and for Uncle Zae

My kids are getting good at being grateful and having lots of things to pray for and about. It makes me very happy as they interrupt and interject all the things they want to pray for and be thankful for!

I thank you for such a fun birthday party for my kids, God! And thank you for (cake!) thank you for our birthday cake (and candles!) and for the candles (and presents!) and for all the fun toys we got from our fun friends (and Miles!) and I thank you for Miles and all our friends that could come help us celebrate our birthday! (And birday song!) and for singing the birthday song together!

Anyway, you get the idea. So at the end of most of our prayers I say, “Thank you God for all the fun and good things that You have given us. I pray that you will remind us to find joy and thankfulness in the fun things we have. I pray that we will have a good night sleep and that you will draw our hearts close to you [then together they chime in with me] in Jesus name, Amen!

The first time I heard the story of King Solomon in the Bible I was inspired. God told Solomon to ask for anything and God would give it to him. He asked for wisdom and God gave him wisdom. I have prayed for wisdom since I learned that God will listen and answer a request like that. Recently I have been praying for more joy and a thankful attitude when I pray with our kids. I want this for myself and for them. We are all born selfish. That is not a learned attitude, it is so very natural. I want, for myself and my kids, to learn to be thankful, gracious and generous. I think before one can be generous though, one must learn to be thankful. So I’m beginning to ask God for that first. I pray over my family the gift of a thankful heart. I also think that with a thankful heart comes more joy! I wonder if not just more joy but truer joy, and deeper joy.

I’ve touched on this before, but this pregnancy has definitely jacked with my hormones. I have really struggled to find and live in joy. I was so excited and happy during my pregnancy with the twins, but this pregnancy has been quite different. It’s not that I’m not excited, because I am! Any of you understand what I’m talking about? Things that I used to be able to handle just sends me straight over the edge these days. I’m aware that this pregnancy will end in about 3 months… my bigger fear is postpartum and trying to navigate these emotions on less sleep, twin 3 year olds and a new born baby… oh and my husband starting a new job and commuting 45 minutes away. I know it can be done! I don’t just want to do it; I want to do it with joy and a thankful heart.

I want to practice finding joy in the everyday things. I want to redirect my focus to see the beauty in my life instead of focusing on the frustrations or disappointments. I want to let go of things I cannot control. I want to find joy in the little movements my babe makes in my tummy. These special intimate moments shared between just the two of us. I hope I find joy in the sleepy dreamy baby snuggles. I want to look for joy as the twins figure out their new roles as big siblings to this sweet little one. When we brought Brooklyn and Melle home from the hospital the first time I developed such a deeper love and appreciation for my husband as he softly spoke to our babies and tenderly held them, cared for them and loved them. I want to experience that same joy watching Jamelle do the same things with this new little one. Sure I cried a good amount postpartum with the twins, it was overwhelming and intense at times, but overall it was incredibly beautiful. God, please help me find joy in this and the next phase of my life. Please help me to be thankful for the little things and to see things through Your eyes as our family grows. I want to lead my family by example and set the tone for my husband, my children and those that spend time around me. I want to inspire through wisdom, joy, and generosity. Jesus help me please. Remind me to refocus and practice. In Jesus name, Amen!

Last weekend my husband graduated with his bachelors and will begin his first teaching job in KCK come August!! WOOHOOOOO!!!!! BABE!!! You did it! I’m beyond proud. My husband is a very hard worker yall. Full time student while coaching high school basketball. Never lacking in his father and husband duties and the time that is needed to make his family feel loved and cared for. Still opening up with gym for kids to shoot around or guys from the church to come hoop. A friend to grab a beer with or watch a game and an active member in his fraternity (shout out to our Omega Uncles! Uncle Mike, Uncle Danny & Uncle Lance). Anyway, all that to simply say, I’m incredibly proud of my husband. We celebrated him for a day and that just wasn’t enough, so in these moments I have to sing his praises. Have to actually isn’t accurate, I love to sing his praises.

Grandpa and Uncle Zae surprised us from New York for Jamelles graduation weekend! Well Grandpa didn’t surprise us, but Jamelle’s parents decided it was important for his little brother Zae to come see Jamelle graduate so instead of Grandma we got to see Uncle Zae!! What a cool moment when Jamelle walked in and saw his little 13 year old brother in our living room. We haven’t seen him in close to 2 years because of COVID. GeeGee was here from North Carolina the whole week for graduation and the kids’ birthday! We saw friends at Jamelle’s party that we haven’t seen in 5 years I bet! What an incredible day.

I am completely worn out from a week of excitement. My feet hurt because I wore actual dress shoes for the first time in a hot minute. Lots to clean up and heaps of laundry to get caught up on… I want to focus on Uncle Zae playing basketball with my kids in the driveway. Grandpa going on a walk with us to our creek and bridges. Watching him love the open spaces and tranquility that is so different from his New York life. Finding joy as my kids taught YiaYia and Bappa about the Mystery Mountain toy they got from Grandma and Grandpa for their birthday. Seeing all the fun video and pictures of GeeGee and Dada taking the kids to the zoo and the aquarium! Then finally, I never want to forget the feeling my heart felt as my husband walked across the stage to accept his degree. This should all fill my heart for a lifetime worth of pride and joy… but how quickly it can fade as we move on with the everyday things. God help me refocus and fill me with joy!

Mom’n ain’t easy

I struggle to find that line of what should be shared between friends over a cup of coffee and what can be publicly shared with friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Each time I try to find that line I remember when I told you that this blog wouldn’t only be the highlights, but instead the reality of LoLo’s life with twins. So I write this post to hopefully say, in a round about way, I see you Mama. This is less about – someone tell me that I’m doing a good job, because if I’m honest, deep down in my heart I truly believe that I am in fact a good mother. But at the same time, if I’m also being honest, occasionally I forget and I feel like I’m not hitting the mark. So again, I write this to hopefully encourage the one thinking she is failing or thinking she is also missing the mark… because I bet, if you were honest with yourself, you ought to cut yourself a break and realize that you are the best mother for them.

My kids are terrible listeners! Are mine the only ones?? Ok they are not terrible, and obviously I know they are not the only ones… but dang they frustrate me! I read some books, I watched and learned from other amazing moms, I read the cute inspirational graphics that mom bloggers post on their Instagram pages… and yet! Those stinkers listen to my husband far better than they listen to me! I mean, I’m glad they listen to somebody, but why can’t that somebody include me… that sure does a number on my mental… Anyone else have that trouble? Do your kids listen to the grandparents better or the babysitter better than they listen to you? Then on top of that, just to pile on, when my son is finally listening, here comes sis… whispering in his ear to do the opposite of what I’m instructing!! Are you kidding me! Sheesh.

Mom guilt comes in an array of comments, occupations, weather types, and nutritional forms. “Is that all you’re gunna feed them for lunch?” “What a beautiful day outside, you better get the kids out in the fresh air!” “How much screen time do you allow your kids?” “You work full time? Outside the home?” “Poor mama, you look like you could use some help!” None of these questions or comments are wrong, rude, or necessarily inappropriate in and of them selves… but when you hear them over and over, or have to defend your decisions, reasonings, and ways over and over, or when you begin to question yourself and your abilities because of these questions… this is when mom’n gets super difficult. I believe there is a time to look inward and work on yourself as a mom; there are certainly times that you take advice or see the gaps in your parenting a make hard choices to change and improve. Then there are times when yes, dinner will include frozen pizza and goldfish crackers. If you think they need a vegetable then roll up your sleeves and get to work. No, I wasn’t able to take the kids out to get fresh air because I worked 50 hours this week and I don’t have a single pair of clean underwear that fits my large pregnant ass! So, alas, I did not schedule in a leisurely walk with my children, I instead washed and folded 6 loads of laundry, stripped and remade 3 beds, miraculously found said frozen pizza and cracker (by the grace of God, otherwise it would have been crackers only)… oh and yes, probably sat them in front of the TV a bit too much in order to preserve a bit of sanity today. Did you have any additional questions about my mothering that you needed answered?

Am I alone here people? Am I too sensitive and I need to believe people are inherently good and not judgmental or full of passive aggressive questions?

Part of me is being dramatic to drive home a point. Another part of me is so serious though. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I usually need a good cry and then… and this is the important part… I review within myself the good things. My children have never once gone hungry or without a meal (and even if they had to they would certainly be ok!). My children get so much love and learn from many people because I work full time outside the home. They learn social skills, yoga, they discover new foods and exciting new toys (Miss Bobbi has all kinds of musical instruments that are fun and loud and noisy and… ya know, things that we don’t have at our house. But they get to learn and discover those fun things over there!) They go on adventures to the nature trails with YiaYia and Bappa. I come home from work and with all the energy I have left I love my kiddos. I play with them and read to them, I bathe them and make sure they a clean and safe and loved. There are parts of every day that I miss the mark, but I have yet to meet a perfect parent. My kids are amazing children. They may not listen all the time or get a green vegetable at every meal, they might need a little more vitamin D than they get, or they get tucked into bed by someone other than myself sometimes… but are their lives lacking because of that? Nope, I don’t think so. I’ll call that a win and I’ll definitely take credit for that win. Jamelle and I are raising some sweet, caring, smart kiddos.

We are definitely good parents. Definitely.

It takes practice and a focused effort to shut out the lies and remember that you are the best mama for them. Believing that your best is the best. Not just the best you can do, but the actual best for your kiddos. Practice telling yourself that and believing that. Mom’n ain’t easy, but you are the best at it.