it's official...

…I'm a mom!

Okay, if you're going to get all technical on me, I have been a mom for 11 months…20 if you count pregnancy.

But last night it happened. I was christened into motherhood. Because last night Blythe threw up. 

Now, before you get all "I can't believe you're writing about YOU when it was YOUR DAUGHTER that THREW UP you are a HORRIBLE mother…", let me tell you that she simply gagged on a piece [or five pieces she had rapidly shoved in her nearly toothless mouth] of cheese, which caused the naturally reaction of, well, IT.

If you don't know this by now, I DO NOT DO PUKE.  [It was on my list of "things you MUST cover with students on the first day of school": If you are going to throw up- GET THE HECK OUT OF THIS ROOM. I wrote a little about this one HERE. ] When we were both at home, if Kali had "gotten sick" I wouldn't even LOOK at her for days in case there was a slight possibility it may happen again at the exact moment I chose to glance her way. And now that I'm married, any time Brent has gotten sick I have to turn on a million fans just to drown out the slim possibility I may hear any noise coming from the bathroom. It's terrible, I know.

I knew this day would come. I knew Blythe would throw up at some point. And I'm not talking little baby spit up stuff. I can handle that.

But tonight when it happened…I felt like I finally leaped across the Grand Canyon into official motherhood.

We were sitting at the table, talking about how awesome THIS jalapeno popper chicken that I made was, Blythe perched in her high chair next to us. She had already eaten some pureed peas and peaches, and was now having a little turkey and cheese. She cough/gagged a bit, so I instinctively propped her up a bit more, and that's when IT happened.

I saw frozen in time for a solid five seconds. The worst part was, I had a bite of chicken in my mouth that I knew I had to will myself to swallow. I looked over at Brent, who flipped into super-daddy mode which, thankfully, unfroze me. I walked to the sink, trying to figure out what to do, while Brent says, "What's the plan of action here?" I tossed him a roll of paper towels and told him to get her in the bathtub! I had to help wipe her down a bit and then they were off.

I grabbed the paper towels and the clorox spray and tried to get the worst of it while averting my eyes [and by "worst of it" I mean, it really just looked like pureed peaches…but I knew it wasn't…and I couldn't trick my mind]. The entire roll of paper towels later [I think it was only half a roll to start with!], the kitchen smelled like bleach and Blythe was out of the tub, in her jammies, and smelling like Johnson and Johnson [Bless you, Brent].

I know it could have been…and someday soon probably will be…much worse. It could have happened while she was sitting on my lap at a crowded basketball game Saturday. Or in church. Or in her car seat. On the couch. Or in her bed. Or basically anywhere else. And she could have really been sick, and not just a gag reflex. Or Brent could have been at work.

So I will focus on the positive and realize that now I am truly a mom [or do I have to wait until she does IT on me to get that badge of honor?].

and really…I don't need to hear your stories in the comment section…I don't think I can stomach any at the moment. 


keeping the promise

Not too long ago I stumbled across a blog wherein the blogger is my age and a high school English teacher. So I kept coming back. Then said blogger decided to do an "online book club". Sold! I'd always wanted to be in a book club, where I could sit around and sip coffee with ladies and discuss literature! This was the next best thing and, let's be honest, with an eleven month old more of a reality.

All that to say, I'm reading books I don't know that I would have read if it weren't for this book club. Why? Because these are like "new york times best seller" books. You know the type. The type of books I typically avoid because, when it comes right down to it, I usually don't LOVE what everyone else LOVES. Too much hype. Too much "oh-my-gosh-you're-gonna-LOVE-this". And then I don't love it because I was told I would. Call me crazy [you may have already done that].

But…lo and behold… I actually kind of sort of really liked last month's book. I hesitate to recommend it though, or even tell you what it was because it isn't a…umm…nice book. Not only is it haunting but there are scenes that made me cringe and blush. I was glad I read it on my kindle because I may have been ashamed if someone saw me reading it. That type of book. But oh my the writing was lovely [minus the swear words…why must authors do that?]. If you MUST know, email me/comment [if your email is attached to your blogger comment…if it's not HERE is a quick how-to do that and then I can respond to your comments directly…please do that…I hate when I try to respond to you and can't :(.

The second book I started today. It is "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. I don't know if I recommend it yet. However, there is a particular line that stood out to me today while I was reading:

"How can you just break a promise?" 
"Sometimes people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
Isaac shot me a look. "Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway."

And so I sat, allowing myself time to think about the line; allowing myself time to agree or disagree. I do this a lot: like HERE

And I think it is a very simplistic and beautiful thing- love is keeping the promise anyway. Yes, it is. Love is keeping the "'til death do us part." Love is forgiving a forgotten errand, even when you've reminded him time and again to 'please-pick-up-some-milk', and keeping the promise anyway. Love is putting aside your frustration and anger, even when justified, and keeping the promise anyway. 

In a society that so quickly moves on when "the-feelings-just-aren't-what-they-used-to-be", or "I'm-just-not-happy-anymore", love is keeping the promise anyway. 

I just like when a book, good or bad, throws a little gem in there like this-- a little gift to stumble across. 

And that's all I really had to share today: 
- I guess I'm kind of sort of in a little book club [will keep you posted on books]
- Here is a line from my book. What do you think? 


the other side

A month after Blythe was born I wrote this: LIFE.
First day home from hospital
Now, here I am, 11 months in to this beautiful journey of life with Blythe Kathleen.

Whew. It's been a year.

The first three months were at times, if I'm being honest, pure hell. I hurt. I cried. I didn't sleep. I hurt. I thought my body would neverEVER let me function normally again. I felt like I was letting Blythe down. I tried so very hard not to resent her when she got hungry and I had to nurse her…again…because it hurt, so very badly.

around two months
And here I am on the other side. I say this because this week Blythe and I are weaning.


I've read many a blog, talked to many a mom, that cried when it was time to stop nursing. They didn't want to let that precious time go with their baby. Though I will agree that there is something unique about the experience, for me it was nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing I am sad to leave behind.

When Blythe was first born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed her. So I stuck with it. And I stuck with it. And Brent would bring her to me and then rub my feet to help me not think about the pain. I would call my sister so she could keep telling me over and over, "It gets better, I promise." My mom would sit next to me and tell me I was going awesome, and then she would switch off with my mother-in-law.

And then I got mastitis. Google it if you don't know what it is. Awful. I was running a 104 temp at one point. After I survived that, I made 8 weeks my new goal-- one year was too big, too lofty…too far away, so I would just try to nurse Blythe for 8 weeks.

around three months
And then I started bleeding. Badly. Sometimes I thought Blythe ate more blood than milk. I was about ready to throw in the towel, but instead went to a little class with Kali. I didn't want to give up until I'd tried everything, because I knew breastfeeding would be good for B but, since I'm being honest here,  I also knew that it was free and had not budgeted for even the cheap formula in my "I'm-quitting-my-job-to-stay-home" plan. There were a lot of factors, so I kept pressing forward.

The lactation consulted couldn't believe I was still nursing after she checked me out. Blythe was latching on fine, but without going into too many details, there were other issues at hand. She prescribed some cream and told me to take a week off just pumping to heal. This helped a little. I set a new goal: I would to nurse her until 3 months.

By the time three months rolled around, I was physically feeling a little better. Other mothers had jumped in when I wrote the "life" post and encouraged me to press on. I still did not like nursing. I couldn't just cover up and nurse her. I always had to isolate myself. And Blythe was a slow eater. She took AT LEAST 45 minutes to eat. I read a lot of blogs, perused a lot of pins on Pinterest, checked a lot of facebook statuses, and read a lot of books…because I was sitting and nursing, by myself, all the time. I heard the song on a Christian radio station around this time that said, I might let you bend, but I won't let you break, and it spoke volumes to me.

3 1/2 months
But I had made it to three months. So…new goal: six months.

Slowly but surely, Blythe and I carried on. And slowly but surely, we kept dropping feedings and by six/seven months we were down to FOUR feedings! FOUR! I could do four! Four is reasonable! So I told myself to buck up, hang in there, and make it to 8 months. "You can do it, Kels. 8 months! Let's go!"

And sure enough, we made it to 8 months. Though it no longer hurt, I still didn't enjoy it, but it was more tolerable. And by 8 months she could eat in about 20 minutes. Progress! Press on. Full steam ahead. [It was somewhere in here that I sent Kali a text, having figured up to the minute how long I had spent nursing Blythe…the figure was crazy…it was WEEKS' worth of time, just nursing].

This is when I set the goal: one year. I will make it to one year and then stop…cold turkey if we have to. Not one day over a year would I nurse her. [unless I had to of course, and then I'd put on my big girl panties (is this just a saying in my family?) and continue].

Well, last month I realized that my milk supply was dropping quite a bit. Blythe was becoming more disinterested in nursing, and eating a LOT of food. My excitement rose and rose as I knew the end was in sight. So I said to myself, "11 months will be great. 11 months deserves a medal of honor." So last week I dropped to three nursing sessions day, and this week we nurse in the morning, and she has drank formula from a sippy cup for lunch and supper splendidly. When the one little tin of formula I got is gone, I will transition her to cow's milk.
around nine months
And this weekend…this glorious, splendid, snow-covered weekend… I will drop the morning feeding. I will get to stop wearing nursing bras and stop hiding out [and unfortunately probably stop eating like a cow]. I will get to get Blythe up in the morning and not worry about her getting clingy and fussy right away because she smells breakfast on me. I will, in a way, finally get my body back.

This may come across as very selfish, to say that I haven't enjoyed providing food for my daughter [which is an amazing thing God gave us, let me say!]. But I will tell you this: these past 11 months, particularly because breastfeeding has been so difficult, have been more humbling than any other time in my life. I assumed it would be easy. It wasn't. I assumed I would enjoy it. I didn't. I assumed I would get all those warm fuzzies when I sat down to nurse her. I never did. I assumed I would be sad to let this time of her being so dependent on me, her mom, go. I am not. I've learned that what I think will happen, or how I foresee things, may just very well be wrong. And I've learned that sometimes moms just do what they have to do, and take the burnt piece of toast as they dole out the good pieces to others.

And I will say this: I will never judge another mother for how they choose to feed their infant-- if they want to breastfeed, great. If they want to do formula, great. If their child won't take either and they have to make custard and feed it to their 3 week old on a little spoon like Grandma Pat had to do with my father in law, more power to 'em! I'm so thankful that the people in my life, my friends and my family, gave me permission to do whatever I wanted to do and what I thought was best for me and Blythe. I will never forget them during that time.

But now? Now I will rejoice that the clock is ticking down, minute by minute, until I get to stop nursing! I have an hour long massage I've saved since before Christmas for this time to celebrate.

about two weeks ago, around 10 1/2 months
It's hard to see the end when you're so engrossed in the struggle every moment of every day. But this was a good reminder to me that, in all things, God is faithful and he never has left my side.


a little vday question

If you didn't know, it's valentine's day…you best be going to get some chocolate, either for your kids, your lover, or yourself.

Now that I've said that, here is this:

Around this time there is always a lot of talk about marriage and love and the glue that binds us all.  And here is where I've heard it said that couples should try to go to bed at the same time.

I guess I thought this was typical, but is it not? Do MOST couples NOT go to bed at the same time?

Off the top of my head I know of one couple that told me they go to bed at the same time no more than 2-3 times a year. That astounded me when I heard it, just because it was so different than Brent and me, as there are probably 2-3 times a year that we DON'T turn in at the same time.

But maybe I'm wrong, maybe we're the weird ones.

Some of our best conversations and fits of laughter have come from that time we have together when we slip into our jams, brush our teeth, and sometimes I even pop in my retainer. We both have put the day behind us and can just relax in one another's company. It seems strange to miss out on that time together. Sometimes if he is sleepy at nine because he ran 20 miles that day [I know this may not be a typical problem], I'll still crawl in next to him and we'll chat a minute and then I'll just read until it's lights out for me. And often when I was pregnant and exhausted, that role was reversed. But we were there, beside the other.

So my question: what is typical for you and your spouse?

And my follow up question: if you don't typically go to bed at the same time, how in the world do you warm your toes up enough to fall asleep?!


substitute teacher

I've been a substitute teacher before, but that was before I was a teacher.


I didn't feel the need to reorganize the classroom before. Now I do. Because I know how I want a classroom to function. I want to move the desks, I want to tidy of drawers, and I want to hang different posters.

It is also strange having approximately 2.5 seconds to learn a student's name before I need to holler at them to "heyYOUpayattentionjustbecausei'mnotyourregularteacherdoesn'tmeanyoushouldn'tlisten." Lucky for me, I'm good at names so "sitbackdownjohnnyboy…that'srightialreadyknowya".

It is also frustrating when I just need a pen…A PEN! Cripes, where do you keep the pens!?! Or scissors?! And FORGET it if I need to find a calculator.

I also find myself saying weird things to the kids like, "This isn't my first rodeo." What?

Lucky for me I have been subbing at the school where I taught, so MOST of the kids [that aren't totally oblivious to their surroundings] know that. This means I get to avoid MOST of the typical "let's create a circus" party that other subs get to experience. And I know where the faculty microwave is. And I know which bathroom stalls are less used. Win win win.

Unlucky for me, I don't really have a "I mean business" voice, because when I taught I worked HARD to develop mutual understanding and respect and RARELY, if ever, raised my voice. Well, there's only so much mutual understanding and respect that can happen in the 5 seconds while I take role. Enter my attempts at a business voice. But I still REFUSE to flick the lights at them.

And probably the worst thing of all is that I scrutinize sub plans. What the heck? Who does that? When I labored over sub plans I always prayed the sub wouldn't judge me if they thought the lesson was crazy or pointless or useless or a "filler". But when I say I scrutinize the plans, it's mainly the teacher voice in me saying, "This is definitely NOT going to take the full hour…oh boy…what to do when they get done?!"

However, subbing also means:

No lesson planning. No grading [unless teacher leaves me with a key and then I'll happily whip around a red pen for awhile…until it's time to go home]. If a kid doesn't understand the question, I can try and help, but can ultimately say, "Just wait for Mr/Mrs soandso to get back." No sweat off my back. Also, subbing means I get to show up right before the bell rings and leave right after it rings. AND it means a free planning period. AND it typically means I get to read a couple chapters in my book. AND it means I get to catch up with former colleagues/friends.

…But seriously, where are the scissors?!

:) [those of you I've subbed for, please note this is satircal. I love doing it … even if I want to rearrange your system to make it mine sometimes ;)]


"best of"

I got my "best of" page set up now. Click on the link above or CLICK HERE.

I kind of got lost in my blog archives for awhile and had fun reminiscing and laughing through everything I've captured about my life via this blog.


i like you

Nine years ago today a nervous Brent and Kelsey piled into a red Volkswagen Passat. Five minutes later, I knew he liked me and the butterflies haven't stopped.

You can read about this particular evening HERE… or if you're super ambitious you can click HERE and read our story from the get-go.

Over the years:


"the house isn't perfect and your neighbor has more jewelry"

This is a post that has been a long time coming. I have mulled it over for a long time, tried to think of what to say, and how to say it. And before I go any further I guess I want to write a little disclaimer:

This post is about my choice to stay home with Blythe. I know many of you have not made the choice to be a stay at home mom for a variety of reasons, and I want you to know that I do not write this to try and change your mind or condemn you in ANY way. I know some woman simply cannot, for one reason or another, be home, even though they ache to be. And also, those of you that are working moms are not really my audience for this post, no offense. I am writing this for myself, to process this large decision I have made and at times struggled with. I am also writing this for other stay at home mothers who are in my shoes, or who have been in my shoes and can offer me wisdom and encouragement. I am writing this just like I write all my other posts: to document a time in my life. And lastly, I am writing this in part so that Blythe may one day understand why I chose to stay home with her. [Also, I am going to quote from "In Praise of Stay-At- Home- Moms" by Dr. Laura [this may be, in part, a book review!], which several women have shown an interest in or asked me questions about since I mentioned it in this post.

And one other side note: I hate the acronym SAHM. I don't know why, but I do. It makes me cringe. It's kind of like how I don't like the word "PINTEREST." So I won't use that acronym, I'll just say "stay at home mom". Mmmmkay? 

I've written about this a little bit before. I wrote about my initial decision to leave teaching, a career I LOVE, to be at home with Blythe. Then I wrote about that same decision and how I was processing it after the school year started without me. I also wrote about some of the perks of staying home.  But this post is a little more all-encompassing than those, I guess.

Many people have approached me in the past ten months and said, "Don't you just love being home?" or "Do you get bored sometimes?" or even "Do you miss teaching?" And the answer to all of these questions is an emphatic, "YES!"

The decision to stay home was not necessarily easy for me, but I knew I was going to make it all along. Why? Because I had insider knowledge: I knew what it was like to be raised by a mother who was always there, always. I married a man who also knew what it was like to be his mom's job, and he was pulling for me to stay home just as much as I was because he knew the benefits as well.  We crunched numbers once or twice, but honestly [this may scare some], we didn't really worry too much about money-- we just knew we would make it work, however we had to. Dr. Laura commented on this in her book saying, "Forget "if" and get right to the "how"--and do it. Trust that you will make it work out. Once you're committed to the goal, you stop wasting energy on debate and worry, and instead stay focused on making it happen." 

We knew that if I stayed home we would no longer have the luxury to spend money easily, but we were BOTH willing to make that sacrifice. [And in a little side note, it has been amazing to see God work in this! AMAZING. Interestingly enough too, it has made us more giving, as we have seen God provide for our needs, so we have been more willing to be a conduit for Him to give to others]. And to wrap up this point, a quote from the book: "To prepare to be a [stay at home mom], make sure you want to give it all for your child. Nothing is more important than that baby. If you need money in your pocket to buy that latte, or go shopping for new clothes all the time, or go out to eat every other night get eight-plus hours of sleep, or a manicure/pedicure every week, then being a [stay at home mom] may not be for your. [Otherwise] do it-- your children will thank you every day." I actually had a friend once say, "I wish I could be a stay at home mom, but financially we probably couldn't." Instead of saying "Let me see your checkbook and let's figure out a way," I smiled and said I understood. But then she quickly added, "Actually, we COULD make it work… but I like driving my new car and I like shopping, so…" She has no idea how much I actually appreciated her saying this. She acknowledged what a lot of other women won't, and in turn I could respect her decision and she mine.

TIP: Someone very wise [my mom] once told me that one of the best things we could do to prepare for me to stay home [if that is what we wanted] was to live off one salary as much as we could while we were both working. I would add to this: get rid of as much debt as possible while you ARE both working-- pay down or pay off student loans and get rid of that car payment etc. 

But honestly, I knew the money thing would be the easy thing for me [Though I know that's not the case for everyone]. I knew the hardest thing for me would be to not be in the classroom. I knew I was a good teacher, and I knew I LOVED my students. I also knew I could come back to teaching, but I couldn't come back to being with my child in these precious days. So why was the decision so hard? In the back of my mind I knew what it was, but Dr. Laura put words to it for me: I had let our feminist culture convince me that staying home wasn't of "worth"; that if I was at home I was not only wasting my college degree but wasting the intelligence that God blessed me with [I have even had someone years ago tell me so much when I mentioned that I would probably stay home once I had kids]. She says, "Since when did raising your own children become something you have to defend or feel guilty for? ...'Motherhood and apple pie' once stood for the ultimate gift of being an American in a great country. Now, women who choose motherhood feel they risk being viewed as someone who will not work, is lazy, or just can't cut it in the real world. Many of you stay at home moms are suffering from feeling undervalued as a person because you chose to stay at home-- as though you are no longer a productive person in society and in your home." This is exactly what I felt for several long months, though I was afraid to admit that to others at times. Schlessinger wrote about a new stay at home mom who said she felt she had been "brainwashed to believe that motherhood was beneath the dignity of an intelligent, independent woman. She would watch people's eyes glaze over when she told them she was a stay at home mom, and she felt like she had to rush in with a "but, before I left I was ….," as if to prove her intelligence to them." That woman she was writing about could have been me!*

I felt invisible to the world, as no one saw what I was accomplishing. At times I couldn't even see what I was accomplishing, because nothing was ever really accomplished for good- no diaper remained dry or unfilled, no countertops remained clean, no floor remained vacuumed, no belly remained fed. Everything was so repetitive without what I was used to getting "on the job"-- acknowledgement or appreciation. This is where Brent stepped in. He acknowledged and praised my efforts, and that made ALL the difference. With his encouragement I could keep changing diapers and cleaning toilets. Someone saw worth in what I was doing. I was initially not enjoying it because I felt I wasn't being "fulfilled." Dr. Laura spoke to that saying, "One of the more obnoxious statements I sometimes hear about the lifestyle of a stay at home mom is this notion of fulfillment. Since the 1960s, there has been a shift in values from obligation to fulfillment. An activity has to give pleasure, or it is without true value." I realize now that my day to day may not always be fulfilling, but I am harvesting, and someday the harvest will indeed be fulfilling!

I also would feel guilty when I would miss teaching, but then I read: "Some stay at home moms have periods when they miss their work, and that's perfectly natural-- even expected! First of all, don't assume that feeling is an omen that you've made the wrong choice." I did let that cross my mind and doubted myself that my decision was the right one. Dr. Laura says, "Some [stay at home moms struggle while going through] the profound loss of [what feels like] any amount of independence. Suddenly work, with its lunch and coffee breaks, starts looking grand! And then your baby smiles up at you, and gently touches your face…; and then you're hooked in again: but only for a while, because those feelings just keep getting recycled from hour to hour or day to day." It is a tough cycle. It's repetitive and monotonous at times; isolating and exhausting at others. I don't have the luxury of leaving work and going home. But then I remember that I am getting to be my daughter's mom, not someone else. I get to rest easy knowing "that there are no worries about what [she] is taught or how [she is] treated, or how [she is] feeling, or what [she is] doing, because  I am there!"

Dr. Laura says what many people have always said: "Quality time needs quantity time to find a place to happen." So in the monotony and repetitive nature of our days, I also am creating a vast amount of time for Blythe and I to share QUALITY moments. And in those moments I remind myself that "Nobody-- ever-- will love [my] children like [I] would." 

The book also spoke about how stay at home moms can be criticized, with other woman telling them that by working and doing "important things" they are being great role models for their children, and giving their kids something about their parents to be proud of. I maybe haven't heard it in those exact words, but I've heard that none the less. And if no other part in the book spoke to me, Dr. Laura's response to this did. She said, "You don't have kids to have an approving audience. You have kids for their sakes, not your own. Children have very specific emotional and psychological needs, best met by a loving parent, not hired help." Jenny once wrote that when she had her daughter her mom told her, "This little girl owes you nothing. You owe her everything. You brought her into this world, and now you owe her all you have." I remember reading that a couple of months after giving birth to Blythe, and in the midst of wondering if staying home was really my "greatest calling." It helped remind me that indeed it was.

One last thing that I never even put much thought into while making the decision to be home was my marriage! It seems silly now because even though I've only been married five years, that is enough time to realize that EVERY decision we make has a huge impact on our marriage. And this one was definitely a bonus for that department. Dr. Laura says, ""Being a stay at home mom is not all about the kiddies; it is all about the family, and that includes a husband who needs your attention, affection, and approval as much as you need his….The most important nurturing and caretaking aspect of child-rearing is a quality marriage as the backdrop." Even before we had Blythe, I would get home from a long day at school, which sometimes included being there early for a meeting and late for practice, and I hardly had enough energy to change my clothes let alone make supper. I can't imagine adding "pick baby up from daycare" and "feed and bathe baby" and "put baby to bed" to the list of things I needed to do when I got home, not to mention "start a load of laundry" and "prepare supper for husband" and "clean toilets." Even if Brent were willing to help, and he would be, we would have very little time to intentionally spend together, and very little energy to do that well.

By staying home I am able to not only invest in Blythe, but I am also able to create a loving, warm, semi-clean environment for Brent to return home to. I am also able to give him a, although exhausted and ready for adult conversation, fairly sane and rested wife. If I can't get to the dusting because I'm frazzled and just need to relax while Blythe naps, I can, and then Brent gets a happy Kels instead of an exhausted one at the end of the day. I wouldn't have that luxury if I were still working full time. I like what one man in the book said about his stay at home wife when someone asked what she did for a living. He simply responded, "She takes care of our world." And though being home is often "draining financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally," I think it has made me a better wife, and given Brent and I a better marriage. And this in turn provides Blythe a harmonious backdrop in which to flourish. [The book also speaks to women whose marriage seem to suffer because the wife stays home, and the husband isn't sold out on the idea, or doesn't like the "pressure" of being the sole provider for the family. If you feel like you fall more in that category, then I would HIGHLY recommend reading her suggestions and what other women that are quoted in the book have to say.]

And finally…. if you've hung in there with me this far…

If you're at home and need a little pick me up, maybe you'll appreciate these words of Dr. Laura as much as I did: "Stay at home moms are not stay at home moms because they're lucky, stupid, lazy, weak, scared, useless, spoiled, frightened, or any other condescending description. Stay at home moms are stay at home moms because they realize the blessing of the opportunity to make a profound difference in their own lives, their families, their community, and ultimately the world as they coordinate the lives of their family members so that no one feels neglected, unimportant, or unloved because of the limited commitment of their parents." 

In conclusion, staying home has not been as easy a transition for me as I thought or hoped it would be. I haven't had as many "acknowledgements" or received any raises or accolades for a job well done [unless you consider Blythe's kisses and giggles and Brent's astonishment at what I've accomplished at the end of the day]. I have struggled with the isolation and the monotony, but have also found comfort in other stay at home moms [shout out to Kali and Tiff who have gotten me through some boring days and tough mama meltdowns :)].

I can say this though: I do not regret at all the decision to be home with Blythe; I do not regret teaching her songs and animal noises, praying over her while she naps, rocking her when she's sick, or seeing all her firsts. I do not regret choosing to be my daughter's mom.

"Everything [your children] see, smell, hear, and do is a new miracle-- enjoy the ride, even though the house isn't perfect and your neighbor has more jewelry." 

*I made it through this time with the encouragement of a lot of amazing women- some former co-workers- who stood by me before anyone else, telling me I was a great teacher but that these kids that were "mine" would not be "mine" so much when "mine" really came along and to go be the best mom I could be so that I could come back and be a great teacher again someday, lots of family-- [My Aunt Lesa, in particular, who taught and then chose to stay home,  sent me a text the first day of school saying that she had sat on the porch and rocked her son and cried when the school bus went by the first day without her, but then he looked at her and "smiled a great big ole silly-you smile and I knew I had made the right choice. I think what is often misunderstood is that good teachers put that same kind of love, dedication and passion into their teaching as they put into their families. Then the choice which seems obvious gets a little cloudy. I would never change my choice, but it was not easy right off on that first day." And then she wished me a "gentle week." I cried and cherished that text, and her, so much for the weeks to come-- and I still do!], some women who never stayed home but still gave value to what I was wanting to do, and some very great friends, one of which, who stays home part time, told me very candidly that she had a lot of respect for me wanting to be home full time because she thought she would go nutty! [I appreciated her honesty more than she realized in that moment]. To these women, thank you thank you thank you. Thank you for validating what I was choosing to do. 

…and MOM: thank you for staying home with me.