See this little guy? This is our beautiful toddler TJ. He’s just a little over two and a half, has wiry red hair and a personality to match. He loves trains and anything with wheels, and he would spend his entire life outside if we let him. He’s always moving, incredibly clever, and fiercely affectionate. He loves his baby brother and brings so much joy to our lives.
He also has autism.
A few months ago, I took TJ in for a checkup with our family doctor. Because he wasn’t talking as much as other children his age, she put us in touch with an early childhood organization that helps toddlers and preschoolers develop. After a few weeks of meetings, tests, and lots of paperwork, we got the diagnosis I had been dreading: TJ was on the autism spectrum.
The time since the diagnosis has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. We’ve had good days, bad days, and days straight from Hell. If you’re in a similar place, have friends who are, or think your child may have some sort of sensory or developmental challenges, know you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid.
Hi Beautiful Humans. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to live in a world where physical beauty truly doesn’t affect us? As a mom of two (and just as a woman!), I struggle with how I think about my appearance on a daily basis. That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Natalie today! Natalie is an image coach and mother of two, and she’s here to share some of her wisdom about beauty, loving our bodies and accepting who we are– both as moms and as women. I’ve loved working with Natalie, and her work touches my heart! I hope her words bless you today like they’ve blessed me.
Don’t you think that’s true? The more we feel we’re on top of everything the more we radiate and the more people radiate towards us! We all have that one friend who always seems to have it together, who never worries about people looking at her, judging her or talking about her– and we envy her carefree attitude to life. But, being comfortable with yourself is not an easy ask, especially when we are bombarded on a daily basis with societies idea of “Perfection.”
Hey Momma. You are pretty incredible, you know that? You are hard-working and super cool and so, so important.
Can I be vulnerable with you for a minute? (Seeing as I can’t actually hear you as I type this, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume you answered “yes.”) My first 2 years as a mom were the hardest of my life. I didn’t have a support system, I was dealing with major undiagnosed depression and anxiety, and I thought my struggles were completely my fault. I was convinced I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. Mothering my beautiful son, who should have brought me immeasurable joy, sent me into a state of panic and desperation almost daily.
Something needed to change. I needed help. I needed to take care of myself.
If you feel like you haven’t been hearing from me much recently, that’s because you haven’t.
One of the most important aspects of running a parenting blog for me is to remain authentic and be honest about my wonderful imperfections. And the past few weeks, those imperfections have been many. My anxiety spiked and the little Gremlins of Self-doubt seeped into my mind with a vengeance. I decided, for my own wellbeing, to step back from my blog for a bit and indulge in some R&R.
Now I’m all for working hard and being consistent in life, but I’m also a huge advocate of stepping back when you need it. R&R isn’t frivolous and unproductive. It’s vital to YOUR mental and emotional health. Taking a step back to recharge is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself– and for others in your life who rely on you. As a mother, I am ALWAYS more equipped to care for and raise my kiddos when I’m at peace and taking care of myself. Seriously, friends, self-love is SO critical to being a mom. Please take care of yourself, Beautiful Human.
I know the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is pretty widely attributed to King Solomon, but starting a book with “Meaningless, Meaningless, everything is meaningless!” sounds much more like an exasperated Stay-At-Home Mom of little ones to me. (Maybe that verse was written by his nanny…) Between the endless piles of laundry, messes that materialize while I clean up other messes, and the general mental chaos of trying to reason with an unreasonable toddler all day, some days I wonder why I bother at all. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t seem to matter, or when your best efforts only seem to scratch the surface. I certainly have my days when I look at the Mount Everest that is our laundry and just say, “Nope. Not happening.” And of course I have days when I spend 20 minutes trying to explain a simple concept to my toddler (like “No, we don’t pour lighter fluid on the baby.” Yep. Actually had that conversation once. #momlife) and I just give in to what he wants (not the “lighter fluid” day. Don’t worry! We’ve never had a highly-flammable infant.).
Feeling like what you do doesn’t make a difference is no fun.
It’s that time of year again! Early January, where everyone has rose-colored glasses looking towards the future and who they’re going to be. Skinnier, more productive, loved, successful, or just plain happier– who doesn’t want to become the best version of themselves? As a member of the World Wide Web, it would be remiss of me to NOT post about my rosy New Year’s Resolutions, wouldn’t it??
The living room is a disaster zone. Dishes are piled in the sink. My daily load of laundry isn’t folded. “Meals” today consisted of sporadic snacks. Baby Eli has a horrid diaper rash; he’s been crying so much from the discomfort that his voice is hoarse, and he’s barely been nursing. TJ has been so tantrumy and needy that I’ve wanted to just yell at him to leave me alone like a moody teenager. The TV has been on almost all day. It was raining all day so we couldn’t even play outside to take a break. I haven’t showered or done my hair or makeup in two days (or is it three?). I never even got TJ dressed today. And I have one of those piercing headaches right behind my eyes that just refuses to go away.
And yet, we survived.
Today’s post is a little off-topic but very relevant to my life– and to many others, I think. My dad passed away 6 years ago today. I was a senior in high school. Through the years I’ve learned several things from the ups and downs of grief, so I thought I’d share some very transparent thoughts with you.
10 Lessons From Grief
I love you, Daddy. I still ache from missing you. I think I always will. But I look forward to an eternity of your bear hugs and stories as we share in the unfiltered glory of God together.
“We will meet again, my friend. But not yet. Not yet.”