Tired Mama #momfail

I feel like I see a trend of these blogs being negative and I really don’t mean it, but damn I am in a bad rut lately. My toddler is oppositional defiant and mostly just towards me and my almost 11 month old wants to be held all day long and in my arms it all night long. He is up every 1-2 hours and Juliana is up 4-7 times a night screaming. I’m feeling like a bad mom lately because I will lose my shit at night when she keeps screaming every 5 minutes or for an hour straight #momfail. Nothing works…rocking her, putting books in her bed, getting her new water, changing her diaper, taking her mattress out of the crib to shake off the “spiders”, sleeping on the floor, putting her in our bed, etc. She is exhausting me lately. Friday was a really bad day- I went to pick her up at daycare and she refused to leave meaning I had to physically pick her up from the room and restrain her in her carseat.That was fun. I should have stopped there and not brought her to dance, but I felt like it would be nice just her and I. My sister-in-law babysat Hudson. Boy, was I wrong. It was terrible#momfail. She lasted 5 minutes, turned around and started crying to me. Then she ran back and forth to the door crying and laughing. I felt like one of those hot mess moms that can’t control her kid. I had to go into the dance class 3x just to get her. Thank God I used to teach there and know the girls who teach the class. Not sure if that’s worse or better actually. Restrain #2 of the night- she didn’t want to go in the car seat slamming her head and crying, begging to go back in. We tried that the week before. Not sure what the hell happened from the last few weeks where she did amazing. She was a whole new kid- focusing for a whole 45 minutes, doing all the dance moves and doing them well, looking back smiling at us, doing dance at home, and always talking about dance class. Okay okay, she’s 2.5. That night she woke up 4x and Hudson was up all night.Oh, and he ended up on our night stand sleeping. That was scary- #momfail. I slept a total of 3 hours and 43 minutes. I forgot to mention it was my birthday too. Howie was working, so I was flying solo. I’m okay, but I have major anxiety about night-time and having to get up with both kids.

The next day Howie and I ran a 10k for St. Paddy’s Day. We were excited, but bringing the kids takes 2 days to get out the door. Plus we were picking up Howie’s parents to come with us. Well, shit show #200. It was freezing, windy, Hudson wanted to be held and not in the double stroller, Jules wanted to walk around, and no one was able to see us cross the finish line. I couldn’t help but feel anxious as I ran because it was cold and I kept worrying about the kids. Jules woke up that morning with major boogies and complain about her ears. I know her tubes are loose, so I just brushed it aside #momfail. That night, my parents came down and took Howie and I out for a very nice dinner. It was like we were in Jamaica hahaha- we haven’t been out to eat by ourselves to a nice restaurant without kids in years. I drank and ate chocolate cake and cried to my dad because I was so tired. I actually cried. I am so burnt and tired and exhausted. I have slept 6 hours in 2 days and I am never alone or with my husband alone. I’m surprised Howie hasn’t divorced me yet, since I’ve divorced him overnight 3x a night for the past month. We got a text as we were leaving saying that Jules is complaining about her ear hurting and crying uncontrollably. She was at Nana and Papa’s with Hudson. When we got there, she had a fever and her ear was leaking #momfail. I gave her Tylenol and held her, but all she wanted was Daddy. Of course. We loaded them both in the car to go home, as I am buzzed beyond belief over one sangria and feeling all emotional and relaxed. Buzz kill- they both scream cried in the car so I had to lean over the car seat and nurse Hudson as Howie was driving. My anxious self was so nervous a cop would stop us while I was nursing him as he drove- that was a sight to see. Howie blasted meditation music (App- Insight Timer= amazing) and both kids were OUT like a light. They each woke up a few times, but Hudson more and Mama only slept about 4 hours.

Sunday was another bust as Jules was down for the count- lethargic, feverish, red eyes, red cheeks, not eating. We had to run errands and poor Howie’s parents had them all day Saturday and were exhausted because our family is a Goddamn tornado. We had to load our sick kiddos in the car and go to Costco and a few other places #momanddadfail. Thank God for YouTube kids and the ergo baby. Jules watched Daddy Finger on repeat and I wore Hudson. My poor shoulders are on fire lately because he’s in my armpit at night and wearing his 18.5lb cute fat self kills my shoulders. This has been a bad week sleeping and my shoulders are shot- never have they ever been so sore or jacked up. I mean, this is to the point that I can’t even sleep no matter how tired I am because they are tensed up and spazzing.

Sunday night, Howie’s family had a little party for me. Shit show #201. Holy crap. 3 kids under 3 in a small house with a pellet stove on and an Italian family. Juliana was the loudest, hitting Noah, Hudson is standing everywhere trying to touch the pellet stove or eat cat food, Noah under the table crying for cake, Cora asking us if we want more food, more food, and more food, Howard yelling at us for being too loud, and I just want to cry because I am sooooooo tired. Oh and I have a stye in my eye and I’m allergic to their cat which made it worse. Jules was declining fast and I knew I had to call out of work since Howie was working. Poor Jules wasn’t eating much, had thick green boogers, and ear discharge. I couldn’t even give them baths because it was too chaotic and crazy #momfail. Meditation music worked wonders on the way home and Jules was SOOOOO tired, she slept 12 hours straight. Hudson? NOT so much. Get out of my bed. Sleep in your damn crib! I love you, but dude, Mama needs some space so I can recharge and be a good  mama.

The ultimate mom fail- I brought Jules to the pediatrician today and turns out she has a double ear infection. No fever, but junky ears and her tubes are on their way out, which is scary because we aren’t sure if she will need a second set of tubes. Let me tell you, Juliana is a force to be reckoned with. She is fierce, feisty, moody, bossy, cranky, sweet, talkative, smart, intuitive, observant, strong-willed, determined, loving, protective, defiant, silly, active, energetic, and beautiful. I love her, but man it is going to be hard in the future. She was prescribed steroid antibiotic ear drops and thank God she wants to be a doctor because she takes them like a champ.

I love love lover her, but I am petrified for our relationship as she gets older. I already feel like we butt heads. I will never forget one day I was at a wedding and some woman who vaguely knows me through family and friends comes up to me and claimed she knew I would have a boy next. Mind you, Jules wasn’t even one yet at the time. This woman is nice, but overstepped her boundaries big time- judging me and my Instagram asking me if I had mommy issues and asked why I post fitness pictures of myself. Woah dude, mind ya bizz. This is me, not you and it has nothing to do with you. She proceeded to tell me that I am screwed and my daughter will most likely rebel against me and will always want Daddy and I will feel hurt. She claimed this will stem from my relationship with my mom when I was younger. Great. I had a boy- check. I already feel this weird angst with Jules- check. I try so hard to be a good mom- I try not to show them I am frustrated, I explain every question she has for me, I try to keep calm and patient, I try to  stay firm and consistent, I don’t raise my voice unless absolutely necessary, I praise when appropriate and let her know I understand she’s frustrated, I try to teach manners, and I really try to abide peaceful parenting. But she looks at me funny and tries to take advantage of me lately. It’s starting and I am feeling like a BIG failure. I just want her to go back in my stomach and I will replay year 1-2 when she slept and loved me and let me rock her. Please God, let her stay with me right here in this moment- where she loves ME and not only Daddy. Let HER be wrong.

Dear mama,

We are not failures. We are learning and we are sleep deprived beyond belief. It’s hard to rationalize anything when you are tired. Why do I still run if I’m tired? Do you skip meds? Why don’t you sleep when they sleep? Well, they don’t nap unless they are at daycare or in the car. At night, I am so tense and anxious because it’s like waiting for a bomb to go off when I am about to fall asleep. And then all night long they are both awake. Not all the time, but Hudson is yes.

As I write this, I am listening to meditation music with a heat pack on my neck and Hudson was able to transfer to crib while I went in the tub. I was so scared of him waking up that my heart was beating as I was in my jacuzzi. How sad. Well, he’s been in there for 1 hour and once I go to sleep, he will be awake. God help us tired mamas. Now I get why some moms go off the deep end. Seriously though, we got this. This too shall pass. Keep em young and they don’t sleep. They get older and sleep, but aren’t your babies anymore. Motherhood can be such a bitch sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Just wish I was the mom who can co-sleep comfortably and not feel my shoulders be jacked up and anxious every second during the night.

Breatheeeeeeee. We will wish for these storms again in our lives.

 

Another Friday night vent sesh

It’s 2am and I just turned 33. I want to snap. I am sleep deprived, I have a stye in my eye and I want to run away from my toddler for a few a days. She is bombing out of dance class with the most embarrassing behavior, making me chase her while she laughs and waking up every fucking hour of the night. She stalls and doesn’t go to bed til 10pm no matter how hard we try to be firm and consistent. She wants daddy all the time and I already feel a sense of overwhelming angst between us. She will scream this piercing scream or hit her head when she’s upset. If she doesn’t want to go somewhere she will stay grounded in one spot and could care less if we leave. Hudson wakes up every 2 hours and wants my boob and then I’m up for 3 hours at once. When I try to go back to sleep my body is restless and anxious as I wait for the next bomb to go off. All night long.

I cried tonight, real ugly tears as Jules ran around dance class quitting and then didn’t go to bed til 10pm- Howie’s working. And then she woke up at 1140 and 115 then again at 140. I’m pretty positive she will be up screaming again 5 or 6 more times. She was screaming then she was wide awake and I started crying as I was trying to rock her but really I just wanted to wear those really nice noise canceling headphones and leave her to cry in the crib for hours. Hudson fell asleep nursing and since Howie’s not Home I kept Hudson in the bed and surrounded it with pillows, but my restless self can’t sleep on Howie’s side so I had to move him to the crib so I could actually sleep. He peed all in our bed and I couldn’t even change him because jules was screaming just as I transferred him to the crib. He’s still asleep in his soaked jammies. #badmom

What did I do?!?! Yes my kids are healthy and happy and active, but Jesus Christ can’t I just sleep more than 2 hours at once? Can’t my body just feel relaxed? I have a damn stye in my eye because I don’t sleep. I am a walking disaster- just ask my work. Crispy, dry, unruly hair, bags under my eyes, late to wherever I go, bloated stomach, sometimes I don’t shower. I feel broken and tired and dirty and short tempered and gross and sick.

Then when I went in a few minutes ago I lost it crying and jules looked up and said, “Mama, I got you. I love you.” I always say that to her.

I must be doing something right…

What about me?

Today, in particular, I’m feeling the weight of the world. I am tired and cranky and exhausted. It’s not about me anymore though. It’s about the kids. I don’t mean to sound conceited or rude, but I just want it to be about me today. I want to curl up in a ball in my bed by myself, eat the whole pint of banana chocolate swirl gelato by Talenti, and watch This is Us. I don’t want to be at work or answer to anyone today. I don’t want to run or pick up the kids at daycare or pack lunches or write IEP’s. I don’t even feel like showering.

Last night was really tough. Juliana was screaming because she thinks we know what she wants all the time, so instead of using her words she will scream at the top of her lungs. Meanwhile, Hudson has blood all smeared on his face from his 2 front teeth that are ripping through his gums so he is restless and cranky as ever. He woke up every hour last night throughout the whole night. There were a few times that I actually slept on my hardwood floor while he and Howie slept peacefully in our bed. What about me? My eyes were burning so bad I was crying. He wants to sleep on my boob and if I try to put him in his crib, he cries and then usually hits his head on the crib or wakes Juliana up. I surrendered and just let him nurse, but then I had to pee and he loses his mind because my boob isn’t in his mouth. What about me? I just want to hug a pillow and sleep without anyone near me.

We dropped the kids off at Howie’s parents the other day so Howie and I could go to Home Depot to look at carpets and paint colors for our bedroom. Ahhh, finally alone time, but the clock is ticking. We spent a little over an hour there and I was starving. When we went to pick up the kids I couldn’t wait to eat dinner, but of course I couldn’t eat right away. Hudson came crawling at me like a bullet and wanted to nurse. Okay, everyone else gets to eat, but what about me? Don’t get me wrong, I love nursing. I love my kids. I love my life. I am thankful AF as the kids say these days. But damn, let me breathe. Give me a second. Give me one night I can sleep more than 2 hours at a time. Give me one meal where I can eat at an appropriate pace and not shove food down my throat while I clean the table and make sure the kids don’t choke. Give me one shower where I don’t have to rush because Hudson is crying his eyes out or Juliana is half way in the toilet. Give me one day where I can go to the spa and get my hair done, a pedicure, and a massage and I don’t have to rush.

Most moms or people will be quick to tell me to stop nursing. Yes, that’s a huge factor. Not as much of a factor as it was with my first because I have so much milk pumped I could feed a country. But I’m definitely not ready to stop since it is my last baby and this is the only thing I have to hold on to. Both my kids are active and into everything and when they are so busy, they don’t necessarily need mama anymore. Hudson still needs me and I love it. I don’t love it at 3am, but I am so in love with my kids that it trumps all.

I’m not writing this for solutions or opinions, just to vent and let other mamas know that it’s okay to take time for you. It’s okay to cry and feel like your identity is being ripped away some days. It’s okay to want to go back to a life where you had no kids once in a while because this is the most exhausting, yet rewarding job on the planet and we don’t get paid or enough recognition. I’m not saying we need to at all, but even our kids (and husbands) don’t understand how much of us we give to them. And when you give give give give give all day long (God bless stay at home moms), you are entitled to be burnt out. It’s okay. Take a step back and breathe. Set up a plan with your husband, wife, significant other, babysitter, and plan time for you. Schedule it in- even if it means driving to Starbucks and sitting there to write your blog or read a trashy book. For me, I have to actually leave my house to get any time or solitude. It’s OKAY to feel like this. This too shall pass. And on the other side of that, there are kids who love you SO damn much and even though they can’t entirely express it how we wish they would, they love you unconditionally.

And what about me? Well, I’m a damn good mom and I deserve time to recharge because that makes me an even better mom.

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36 Mom Realities

1. You can’t really wear perfume anymore because your nursing babes will choke on it. Hell, you really can’t be cute anymore unless you have a nanny, are rich, and/or you have help around the clock.

2. Can’t really be naked anymore because your toddler will tell everyone they saw your “Gina”.

3. Your car will be covered in spilled milk, dried boogers, poop, and goldfish.

4. They should only make baby jammies with zippers. Snaps shouldn’t be allowed.

5. It feels like a bomb might go off every night when you’re about to fall asleep because you’re afraid your toddler will scream bloody murder because there are “spiders” in her bed or your baby wants your boob stat. The screaming or crying at 3AM is terrifying.

6. You may not shower for days, you may forget to brush your hair and you might not even wear a bra.

7. Putting a toddler down for a nap or bedtime is a lot like putting your drunk friend to bed.

8. Having kids as much as 20 months apart is like having twins.

9. You will never enter deep sleep again.

10. You have nice things in your house or you can have kids. You can’t have both.

11.Babies who crawl everywhere really should have helmets. People will ask you why there are so many bruises on their heads. Please don’t call DCF.

12. You will hate your husband at least once a day if he works overnight.

13. The best thing to carry everywhere you go are wipes.

14. You will find food and toys crammed in every part of your house – vents, cabinets, under the bed, behind the couch, etc.

15. Never argue with a toddler. Be firm, consistent, and clear.

16. Toddler tantrums test your patience beyond belief. Stay calm.

17. Never yell at a toddler because they learn that behavior and will do it right back for the rest of their lives.

18. Watch what you say around your kids because most likely your business will be everyone else’s business.

19. Your lovely little cherubs will poop and pee on the floor at one point- or a lot of points.

20. It’s okay to lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes of solitude.

21. When you have two kids, you realize how easy it was with one.

22. Some days you think you are actually going crazy or plan running away, but really you’re just a mom. It’s okay to feel that way.

23. Some days your meals might only consist of goldfish, popsicles, puffs, Mac n cheese, and pirates booty and that’s okay.

24. Moms should get paid to potty train and teach their toddlers how to brush their teeth. Oh, and when babies teeth, we should get paid.

25. The iPad is a saving grace in emergency situations. Don’t feel guilty.

26. When you have a baby younger than 1 who is breastfeeding, they really only see you as a 2 huge boobs.

27. Everything is rushed which means time flies which will make you sad, but appreciate these crazy times.

28. Always celebrate the little things and the big things.

29. Toddlers are the toughest human beings ever. You will never understand them so just stop trying.

30. Babies usually prefer to play with things that aren’t real toys- especially your phones. Don’t waste your money on dumb cute toys.

31. Sometimes you have to take a bath with your kids and that will count as your shower, even if you don’t get to wash up yourself.

32. You will dabble with the idea of wanting to be a stay at home mom to begging to go to work.

33. Work will often feel like a vacation.

34. You will never ever stop worrying about your kids.

35. Always rely on one mom friend who gets you. You will need her.

36. You won’t know what love is until you have kids, I promise.

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Fit Mama

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I’ve always been a little OCD about fitness, especially after college. In college, I was a Division II cheerleader and competed every year at Nationals in Disney. In high school, I was a cheerleader as well. When I was younger, I played soccer, basketball, ice skating, and gymnastics. I was terrible at soccer and basketball. Since I was a cheerleader in college and practice was pretty strict, I never really gained the freshman 15, but I fluctuated a lot because I ate crap food. I was never a big drinker either…I’m still not a big drinker, thought I like wine or a cider from time to time.

Fast forward now, I am 33 years old on Friday and I have 2 kids. One of them is only 10 months old so of course I don’t look like I did in college…at all. But I will say I am pretty damn proud of my self-motivation. I run 3 miles a day Monday through Friday, a quick 7 minute mile on Saturdays after I teach Zumba s\Step and sometimes I will take a rest day on Sunday or do Core De Force kickboxing/T25 Ab intervals. I know what to listen to my body, although my mind begs for routine so if I can’t work out because I am sick or there are other priorities, I go crazy- this is all from my Dad.

I was never a runner, but I have trained and trained and trained and now I am a decent runner…not advanced by any means but I can run a 9 minute mile for my half marathons. In 2014, I ran my first half marathon at about a 10 minute mile and was in what I thought was the best shape of my life- pre-kids 105 lbs. Then I ran my second half 4 months later and shaved my time down to 9 minutes and 40 secondsish-again pre-kids and same weight- newly married and just pregnant before I even knew it. I had Juliana and thought I could never run again, but 6 weeks postpartum I ran 6 miles with Kim. Besides feeling like my uterus was going to fall out, I felt great and started to run more and more. It really is so hard when you train diligently and then have to re-train to get back to where you were. I ran my third half marathon in October of last year- 6 months postpartum and ran a 9 minute mile finishing at 2 hours 4 minutes. I felt amazing and definitely wasn’t 105 lbs. I actually struggled more to get back to pre-pregnancy with my second than with my first. Thank you nursing for helping me get back to where I was both times.

I don’t obsess over losing weight like I used to- especially as a college cheerleader they used to throw up in the air. I do obsess over when I can work out and get my run in. I know I need to vary my workouts, but I adore running. I love what it does to my brain, my mind, and my heart. I sneak out of work and run 3-4 miles before I pick my kids up at daycare. I catch up on The Bachelor, This is Us, or Grey’s Anatomy on my phone in the dark in my work clothes with my running sneakers. That is ME time. I could take a bath or lay down and watch TV, but I decided I needed to leak those endorphins and get my heart pumping. I do it for me and I do it for my kids. Anyone who knows me knows I can be competitive, but when I am running, just me, myself and I, the competition is me. Personally, I love to vary my speeds and inclines. I have pinned a few great HIIT treadmill workouts, but I typically start out running at 6mph, then every .10 miles I will increase speed to 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, back down to 6mph. Sometimes I will put an incline of up to 10.0 and walk at 4.0. My OCD brain has trouble walking, but some days I am downright tired and just want to walk. I will say one of my strengths is my mindset. Once I hit habit status, my mind doesn’t let me fail. I will always find a way- even if it means I have to put on Core De Force on my DVD player in the living room with both kids climbing all over me and the house. I crave endorphins- it’s like anxiety and depression medication. It’s good for my soul.

When I was pregnant, I was teaching Zumba 2x a week and taking a HIIT class. I stopped running with both pregnancies in the second trimester due to sciatica. I did acupuncture for both pregnancies since my posture was pretty terrible and the sciatica hurt so much- I swear by it! I haven’t taken HIIT since I had Hudson because having 2 kids really makes going to the gym difficult. I do teach Zumba Step on Saturday mornings and will run a quick mile while I blast the most inappropriate rap because I can. Out of the whole week, this is the time I don’t usually have to rush and for that I am grateful.

Another thing I love love love is joining challenges on Facebook or Instagram. For example, I just joined a plank challenge where we plank for a certain amount of seconds per day for X amount of days. I started doing a 2 minute plank so instead of learning up to a 90 second plank, I am committing to doing a 2 minute plank daily. I also joined a 50 push up challenge sponsored by DJ TANNER! Yes, DJ Tanner- judge all you want- she is amazing and such a fit mom. I am inspired by her big time.

Besides zumba, running, and challenges, I like to be part of a team or a group. I discovered an awesome boot camp group on Sunday mornings in the summer and fall. Again, with my schedule and Howie being a firefighter I can’t always commit to going. But when I do I feel strong. With all the running I do, it can be hard to feel strong because my body is memorizing running certain distances. If I had time I would vary my runs and distances but I am usually rushing to pick them up from daycare or relieving Howie from daddy duty, etc. In the nice weather, I love going for a good ol’ fashioned walk or jog with my kids in the stroller. My Fitbit is great for tracking all of this. Although, I will say it’s not amazing for people with OCD–> me. I will run around my classroom just to get my steps in.

My point is get out there. Do something for you that makes your heart pump a little bit. It doesn’t have to be crazy. You don’t need to join a boot camp class or attend CrossFit (which I used to be part of before paying $1760/month just for daycare). Take yoga, do a yoga DVD in your house, do some zumba on youtube, set a goal of doing 100 pushups in a month, take one class at the gym you love once a week, walk on the treadmill and watch your favorite show…do whatever it takes. I don’t work out to lose weight because. I do it for me- my mind and my soul crave it. Make it a priority.

The rest happens in the kitchen. I will make another blog on healthy treats I LOVE and can be easy to make. I don’t eat the best lately, especially because I am nursing and pumping and I’m pretty much a ravenous beast and starving every hour. I am not a qualified dietician or personal trainer, but I am a tired old beat up mama who just wants to let other mamas know that you’re not alone and it’s not as hard as you think. I have 2 kids who are hyper and on the move and I still make it work because I need it. I want to set a good example for my kids that being healthy and loving fitness is fun. Juliana already wants to be a runner and I will run a 5K with her soon. I love that she sees me running and striving to be fit.

You got this, mama. Do it for you and your kids. Start out small and see how amazing you will feel.

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I hate phases

“They grow up so fast. Oh, it’s just a phase. You think the terrible two’s are bad? Wait until they are three. I miss that age.”

I can’t stand it! I hate phases! I don’t want my babies to grow up. Yes, I complain that it’s hard right now trying to balance everything while having 2 active kids, but I am savoring every single second. I will cry and pout about being exhausted, but dammit, I love it all. I love this age and I love that they want me and need me. There may be a few days that I can’t shower or clean my house because I am so busy chasing them- one kid is behind the couch and the other is jumping off of it. As a teacher, I normally love snow days since I don’t have to work, but instead of lying on the couch watching Netflix relaxing, I am non-stop with Monkey 1 and Monkey 2. I know I will look back and beg for these times back. In those crazy moments, I am able to stop and breathe it all in. I am good at that.

Every week, Jules and I pick something to bake- our signature are pumpkin muffins and we just made avocado brownies. We blast our homemade Spotify playlist, bake, and jam. Hudson usually crawls around and plays in the kitchen. Lately, we bake and dance on snow days- this usually means I don’t go running, we stay in our jammies, dance, bake, and run around the house- all. day. long. Literally.

Every other night or every other 2 nights we all go in the jacuzzi- Jules, me and Hudson. Yes, I take baths with my kids. That’s when Jules begs me to shave her legs. Hudson loves the water and he can’t really sit up in the tub alone yet because he’s like a fat slippery pig haha. I want to create moments that my kids will always remember doing with me.

I try so hard to make time with just Juliana. I miss her. I miss us. Now that Hudson is getting older- there we go with the phases- he doesn’t want to be held or snuggled. He wants to crawl around and stand up on everything. Juliana actually wants to play with me. She wants to do puzzles (for hours), play with her dollhouse, bake, dance to her new guitar, go shopping (Costco and Target), play outside, etc. When she 1.5-2, she loved to play alone, but now she’s in the phase where she loves to play with people. She loves daycare and all of her friends. She loves dance class (although she didn’t love it last Friday and I cried). A few months ago, Hudson just wanted to cuddle and nurse because he really wasn’t mobile. This is why I hate phases. I hate time. Why does it have to go by so fast? There’s not enough time in a day. There’s not enough time in this life. A lot of people think otherwise, but this PHASE in my life is amazing. Everyday that passes by makes me nervous because I feel like my kids are growing up and soon I will miss this. I will miss them.

The other night we went out as a family and my heart was bursting. I don’t say it enough, but I love love love being with Howie, Jules and Hudson. It can be difficult to go out places because of all these damn phases. Hudson used to love being worn, but now he wants out. He doesn’t mind the stroller, but if we are at a stand still, he wants to get out and crawl around. Last night we went to the furniture store to get a new headboard and I wore Hudson. Jules can hang because she can walk or use the stroller. In the stroller I will sometimes let her use my phone to watch YouTube Kids. Hudson was okay for the first 15 minutes but then sees his sister playing on the bed or walking around and now he wants to get out and makes it known. I can’t hold him the whole time because he’s huge and I don’t want to let him crawl on the dirty floor. Oh, the struggles. We went to the guitar store too because Jules loves music. They both loved it and to see their faces when they heard the drums and piano was priceless. If I can remember and feel these moments, so will they.

Hudson fell asleep on the way home and Jules was wired, of course. So I got her dressed for bed and spent a little 1 on 1 time with her. We laid in our bed together just her and I and it was so special. She was playing with my hair, kissing my face, telling me she wanted to marry me, telling me she loves me and Daddy and Hudsie. We had a long conversation and cuddled for a half hour before he woke up. In that moment, she loved me. She forgave me for being upset that she didn’t finish dance on Friday or that I told her she had to sit to eat a popsicle. She loved all of me so so much. I really never ever knew what love was until I had kids.

Before I know it, they will both be walking and I will wish to go back to this. Then they will be running and fighting and I will want to go back to when they were just walking and listening to me. Jules loves to walk with us in the store. It’s so easy-going shopping with just her, but I remember going shopping with her before Hudson was born and it was a nightmare. She never wanted to stay in the cart or the stroller. Hudson will chill in the stroller still. I remember right before he was born- the day before actually- we went to Target at 8am on a Sunday and it was the first time I had her walk with me and she did amazing. She held my hand and stayed with me and even helped me pick things out. It broke my heart when I realized it wouldn’t just be me and her anymore. Those phases that she was going through were so clear for me. But when you add another baby to the mix, those phases pass without even remembering it. Thank God Hudson was an easy baby because I was still able to recognize each phase that she was going through.

The phases are life are tough, but beautiful at the same time. We all have to grow up and move on with life no matter what. Life doesn’t ever stop for us. It just keeps going and going and going. We raise our kids just to let them go. They get teeth just to lose them. They grow up to eventually take care of us. The circle of life is insane to me. The phases of life are so short. I can’t fathom anything bad ever happening to my kids and with everything going on in this world and in my circle of friends, you can’t help but be petrified. So live for those moments- the ones where you want to scream, laugh, cry, drink and sleep all at once. They won’t last forever and before we know it, they will be 13 and won’t want us anymore. I want to be their mama forever and ever and ever…in every phase of their life. Even when they hate me. Even when they don’t need me anymore.

I love you a million skies.

Love,

Mama

Dear strong-willed baby girl

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Toddlers- Emotionally unstable pint-sized dictator, with the ability to know exactly how far to push you towards utter insanity, before reverting to a moveable cuddle monster

I have never seen a more truer quote in my life. Life with one kid, let alone a toddler is a tough, but having 2- a toddler and an almost 1-year-old might actually turn my whole head gray. I can’t decide if I should be extra skinny because I hardly have time to eat or extra-large since I eat like shit and I eat it fast. I’m a grazer so I eat all day long, but not a lot at once. Of course, now my mini-me does the same thing! Monkey see, monkey do and that is scary. I will touch on this in another blog about women empowerment. This blog is all about my lovely little fierce, strong-willed and stubborn baby girl, Juliana. She has always been a little restless since birth, but now that she is coming into her own personality, things can be crazy. She is the sweetest, most loving, little girl, but she’s not a cuddler unless she’s sick. She is full of energy and can literally go all day long without a nap. However, when she doesn’t nap, she is a terror at night- meltdowns, waking up during the night, moody, cranky. When she naps, she’s a new kid. She’s been fierce and sassy since day one. She doesn’t give up EVER, which in the long run is a good thing. Oh and the energy? It’s unreal. I am dizzy watching her. I will say as she has gotten a little older, maybe crossing over that 2.5 year old bridge, she seems to have calmed down a little and taken interest in things a little longer- she can do a puzzle for hours and she loves playing with her dollhouse. She can even sit and watch something on YouTube Kids or Netflix for a little while. Before, I would beg her to sit and watch a movie haha.

Then there’s not getting what she wants. Oh God, help anyone in her path when she doesn’t get what she wants. For example, the other night she wanted a popsicle and I said she had to sit down to eat it because there are times she is walking around licking it and it drops on the rug or she carelessly puts it down on the counter then it melts. That’s bad parenting on my part because some nights I don’t even want to fight with her so I let her eat the popsicle and send her on the way because I’m usually trying to nurse Hudson. Oh this parenting thing is SO hard. I am trying to balance everything and be a good mom, but also on the same page as Howie. I don’t like negative consequences but when I am at my Witt’s end, I usually go right to negative. The struggle is REAL.

When we go out places now she is so great, whereas before she was never the kid to sit in the grocery cart and hang out. She was standing up, trying to jump in the back, wanting to walk. Dude, just sit down. SIT for one minute so I can run into Target and get a few things. Nope, we were in and out in about 5 minutes. Now, thanks to the random lady at Once Upon a Child, we have a free double stroller that BUCKLES them both in and I can run my errands. It’s so hard getting them in and out of the car that sometimes I just want to stay locked in my house. Then of course you drive to Target or Costco (since those are the literally the only 2 stores we go to) and one of them falls asleep. The best is when they both fall asleep and I get to sit in the parking lot and BREATHE. It’s rare, but it’s celebratory. In that case, the shopping can totally wait. We went to Walmart the other day and they both did excellent. At one point I had to give her my phone to watch You Tube Kids because she became cranky at the end- AKA trying to bust out of the stroller screaming. That was fun. Also, thank you Gordon, the coat police. That’s a mom win- if you don’t put your coat back on, the coat police will be very upset. Thank goodness Gordon didn’t think I was crazy when I introduced him as the coat police as I winked hahah!

And then there is bedtime. She was the worst sleeper in history before 1…maybe even up until 1.5 years old. She had tubes in her ears and it made a world of a difference. She sleeps great at night, but getting her to sleep might actually be the death of me, especially when I’m alone. Naps make me want to jump out my window and run far far away. Juliana is the master at stalling. She wants more books, more water, change my diaper, etc. GO THE F TO SLEEP! It’s so important to be on the same page as your husband because if there’s one wrong turn, those toddlers get it and suck you up like shark. I want Daddy! I want Mommy! And then part of me wants to throw her in the crib and leave, but I can’t do that to her. My emotions are insane at this time, but I will say that if you are consistent with boundaries and rules, she will eventually respond, but it SOOO takes patience and calmness. When I’m alone, it’s a true shit show. Hudson is crawling around the room, trying to climb the crib, Jules is playing with her dollhouse refusing to clean up. The other night I actually had to take her dollhouse out of the room while she screamed and tried to make herself puke. Then I had to shut her door while I put Hudson in the crib and run back in there to try to hold her and explain to her that it’s time for bed and it’s not a choice anymore. She gets it, but she needs to be done tantrumming to even hear anything. When she’s calm, she is able to reason- kind of like me as a mama.

The tantrums can be intense and sometimes I wonder if it’s normal. I used to wonder if she had ADHD or if food dyes affected her, or if her stomach hurt, etc. Any excuse to why she would tantrum so intensely hit her head, scream at the top of her lungs, make herself puke tantrum. Then I talk to other moms and realize this is normal, but because of her temperament and her strong-willedness, her tantrums are just extra intense. And let me tell you, she is the most stubborn and strong-willed child I have ever met and I have worked with MANY children.

But I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She will be a leader someday. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up: “When my get bigger, my shave my legs. When my get bigger, my be a doctor.” When she went to the hospital for a severe stomach bug and had to get an IV, she loved every minute of it and 5 months later, she still asks for an IV. She is smart, creative, and bold and will not let anyone walk all over her. She perseveres and never gives up. She loves dance class and does excellent- can focus for 45 minutes, took her awhile, but she can do it. However, when she went to MyGym for classes, she bombed out and I thought for sure we would have been kicked out. They sit in a circle and follow directions then get to use all the fun equipment. She walks in and darts straight for the equipment. Then I sweat in every part of my body and quickly apologize to the staff as I am trying to make her sit. Yeah, this isn’t enjoyable. This was also when she was exactly 2. We also tried gymnastics when she was 2. That was fun…NOT. Another girl her age did gymnastics and did amazing. Being a mom, sometimes you beat yourself up because you think something is wrong. But when she loves something, she loves it whole-heartedly and she got that from her mama. The temper might be from Daddy…just saying.

Toddlers are hardcore. You never know what they want. They think you know, but really you have no idea. They are perfect angels in Target and then we get in the car and it’s a raging heavy metal concert. Or she’s perfect with Nana and Papa or Mimi and Papi and then mama comes and she goes crazy. And until you understand them and give them everything they want, you are screwed. Watch out world.

One thing I will say that helps my sunshiny toddler is 1-1 time with just me. She gets 1-1 time with Daddy more than me since I am still nursing Hudson. After he was born, what killed me was when she said that I was Hudson’s and she was Daddy’s- not sure what we were, but she was claiming us. Poor thing is so used to being the center of attention, so I think a lot of these tantrums have to do with fighting for attention. I do love when it’s just me, Jules, and Hudson, but when it’s more than 24 hours I do start going crazy- that’s why I give stay at home moms MAJOR props. I went to Panera with Jules one night after dance class and it was the best feeling ever. I got to bring her to dance while Howie stayed with Hudson. Usually Daddy or Nana and Papa bring her. She wasn’t doing well when I came with Hudson- not earning stickers and acting out on purpose- looking for my attention. One of her teachers actually said she does better when I am not there. While I know that it was true, it really hit me hard. So when I got to bring her to dance and she did amazing, I realized she is fighting for my attention. We went to Panera after on a dinner date and it was amazing. We had a conversation and shared a blueberry peach smoothie then went to Target. She even walked with me. And Ms. Sassypants even picked out new sunglasses, bathing suit and shoes. She is SO funny that she even said, “My need new pants and shoes because they are too small.” She is right. She is getting bigger and I will miss her SO much when she grows up. But being with just her makes us both so happy and we need to remember to build in that time.

I totally get it- toddlers are supposed to tantrum. Tantrumming toddlers are normal, but it’s SO important to stay calm and consistent. They will scream and cry at all different intensities. Let them. Ask them if they are okay. If they are screaming their heads off, they most likely won’t hear a word you say. Remind them to take deep breaths. She reminds me to take deep breaths and I love that I taught her that. I believe in peaceful parenting, but know that it’s okay to lose your shit here and there. Try not to in front of them, but forgive yourself if you do. If you constantly yell at your kids, they learn to do it back. Don’t be afraid to set limits and boundaries and stick to them, even when they make the saddest and cutest faces. Know what motivates them and know that at the end of the day, they love you unconditionally.

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For now, I will buckle up and breathe. If I forget to breathe and remind myself that I am so very blessed with 2 beautiful and healthy children and a hardworking husband, I can lose it easily. Especially being a full time elementary special education teacher. Just breathe mama, you got this. Just breathe baby, you got this.

Like I tell my kids at work and my own kids, take a birthday breath. It will all be okay.