Payment by Toddler Hugs and Kisses and Baby Giggles and Grins

Sometimes being a stay at home mom and being able to contribute zero dollars to the family funds is frustrating. I went from being a very high earner with my retail management job to bringing in zero. We made the choice as a family to go from two incomes to one. This was definitely a hard decision to make, but the “pay” I get from my job now is priceless. I am going to admit I wonder if I made the right decision some days because I feel like we aren’t where we want to be financially. My husband is great at reminding me that what I am able to give our boys now is so, so very important. I am so thankful for his never faltering attitude about our decision for me to stay home with the boys. But, still I feel a little guilty now and then about not contributing to our cash flow.

When I was at my management job I had a handful of older ladies that were retired and working for fun that had been SAHMs for their kids years and years back. I remember one of them telling me a few days before I left my position that staying home with your kids is so amazing and to remember that sometimes money might be tight, you might not be able to go out to eat or go out of town as often, but it was the most valuable thing you could do for your little ones. Every time I wonder if I made the right choice for our family on our financial side, I think of her. I remember her telling me that so vividly and wondering if I would have those days and sometimes I do. So maybe it takes longer to pay off a credit card bill or a car payment. That is okay and I have to remember to be okay with that. If you are feeling like things are tight because you are staying home with your babies just remember you are so valuable. The value you are giving to your kids surpasses any amount of money a salary could pay you. You, stay at home mama, are priceless.

Believe in Me

There is so many reasons why I love J so much, the list grows each day. Something I have noticed lately is he truly, 100% believes I can do anything I set my mind to. This is the man you should marry. The one who sees your potential and doesn’t hesitate to encourage you to follow your dreams.

I wanted very badly to stay home with our baby boys, but I did have a lot of doubts before leaving my career of 11 years. I wondered if we could budget and stick to it (we still have work to do here). We both made good incomes and one of our incomes was enough to live off of but there is a major transition time from going from two incomes to one. When I was still working we could go out to eat all the time and go for quick weekend trips whenever we had the time. That was the thing, we didn’t have as much time together. Now we have time but sometimes we don’t always have the discretionary income to do whatever our hearts desire, which is okay. It’s great to have the extra money, but I wouldn’t trade the time with my boys for the money again. I doubted our abilities to budget, but J never did. He kept telling me when I was trying to make this decision to leave my career that we would make it work. Here we are, 7 months after me leaving my job and we are making it work.

Still, some days I feel like I am failing at being a stay at home mom. The baby has been cranky and crying all day and my toddler has been defiant. Some of those days I just want to cry, some of those days I do cry. J always hugs me and tells me I’m the best mom and that there will be hard days. Sometimes his hugs are all I need to know that it will be okay and tomorrow will be better.

There are two things I always wanted to do but never had the time when I was working. That was to blog and to start my own Etsy shop. Now that baby B is enjoying sitting in his rocker or swing, I feel like my hands are freed up. I was nervous to do both of these things, but J knew I could do it. He always believes in me and that is invaluable to me.

It doesn’t matter the situation, he never loses faith in me and frankly, he believes in me more than I do most of the time. As we get older we definitely change what we value in our relationships. I know now that J always believing in me means he will always believe in us. I can’t tell you how much love that fills my heart with. That is definitely the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

From Our Wedding Day in Eagle River, Alaska. I was 4 months pregnant with Baby B and it was far too cold for this AZ girl to be wearing that dress, but I did anyway.
Photo Credit: Uros Nikolic

Guardian Angels Come in All Sizes

We all have a special connection with all of our children. We all live to care for our littles and shower them with love. Sometimes, even with our best attempt to hide it, we need a little extra love and care when we hit a rough patch in life.

When my ex and I first split I had a really hard time with it. I felt like I didn’t have a reason why we were splitting, but it was obvious it was over. I was depressed. I had never been so overcome with grief in my life. I felt like my future and all the plans I had made for our family just slipped out of my fingers and were gone. But, there was this amazing little boy we had. At the time of the split he had just been 2 for a month, he was so little still Since the split, he has been my shadow and he has taught me so much.

He hugged me and patted me when I was crying on the kitchen floor. He tried to feed me when I wasn’t eating. He showered me with his little love because as much as he needed me, I needed him more. Because of my little guy I was able to pull myself out of that rut and quick. I started to work out and take walks with my dad in the evenings. I started seeing a therapist to help me work through what I was feeling. I started to find new hobbies to fill my time when my son was with his dad. And when I decided to start dating, my little guy helped me there too.

When I met J it all fell into place and things seemed too good to be true. I had felt like I had truly met someone that knew my soul. But, when my son met him that’s when I knew for sure that J was the one. My little guy has always been shy when meeting new people. When he met J, he hugged him and let him carry him the first day. He instantly took to J and that was the stamp of approval I needed. Nobody else’s opinion even mattered anymore.

As I sit here and type this blog, my little angels are right beside me. My eldest in the chair next to me playing and my baby boy in his rocker to my other side. I strive to be the best mama to these little guys that I can be. I will never forget what my first born babe taught me when our lives were changing so much. Sometimes the hardest lessons we learn are taught by the tiniest guardian angels.

Little Treasures

We tend to move through life fast. Caring for an infant, a toddler, and my husband tend to keep me pretty busy. Currently my infant doesn’t want to be put down ever, like not even for 5 minutes. I have decided to just wear him most of the time to at least free up my hands. My toddler is energetic, busy, and always calling for mommy. My husband, I love this man to death, but he can never find the work pants hanging where the work pants are suppose to be hung. (We organized his closet with work clothes and non-work clothes, so this has helped.) We can get so wrapped up in all these little things in life that keep us going non stop.

This is why I love Sundays. The day of the week I know that my hubby will always be home. It’s the day of the week we can take it slow and enjoy each other. My hubby and I can lay in bed and admire these two little perfect boys that through the night ended up in our bed. We can look at these sweet little angels that are off in dream land and sometimes Baby B will smile in his sleep. We can make coffee and breakfast together. We get to run errands on Sunday together or we get to enjoy eating lunch out together. It really doesn’t matter what we do because we are doing it together. We get to appreciate our togetherness and the fun things our boys are learning and doing.

So go ahead and take a day that you ignore that heaping basket of dirty laundry or those dishes from dinner the night before. Take a day you don’t have to do anything, but you get to do things together. Even if its like us and its just fun to go to the grocery store together (and easier with my husband there too). Take in the smiles from your loved ones, the house you’ve made a home, together, and take in all those little treasures.

Down Day

Thursdays are always a little quieter in our house. It’s the day of the week, every week, that my 3 year old son is always at his dad’s house. This day is always a struggle for me, so I call it my down day. Down day can be interpreted two different ways and how we handle that determines how our day will go.

The first way to interpret down day is to be down, sad, and cry at everything. I’m not better than this interpretation of down day, I have done this many times. I will feel sorry for myself and make myself feel like the victim of the situation, of my previous marriage. I know that many parents with joint parenting time feel the same heartache I feel on these days; knowing that I’m not the only one that feels this way helps me on these days. I have to remind myself that my son needs his biological dad too, he needs to know him, he needs to spend time with his grandparents. That is all good for him and what he needs always wins over what mama needs. When I feel like I’m doing what is right for my son that makes me feel a little better too.

The second way to interpret down day is to think of it as a reset day and to reflect on what’s going on in our lives. And now I have a baby B to snuggle with and reflect with on these down days. When I start my day as this kind of down day, my day is much brighter. I reflect on everything I am thankful for and maybe even get a few extra chores done.

Down days aren’t easy but we have to make the most of the cards we have been dealt. We can’t give in and be down and sad on these days because we need to take care of ourselves so we can be the best mamas and daddies that we can be when all our little ones are around. We don’t want our littles to feel bad or guilty when they go to their other parent’s house. That’s not fair for them. Yes, sometimes we will be sad and give into that down day but we don’t have to stay there. This year I AM going to have more down days that I reset and reflect and less down days where I am sad. If I end up having a few sad down days here and there, that’s okay. We have to have a goal and even if we mess up, know we are doing the best we can.

The Year of Change

2018 brought many blessings to our new blended family. J and I decided to elope in Alaska after finding out we were expecting, which was magical to say the least. So, J put a ring on it and then we started this journey of marriage together…for the second time. Neither one of us expected our second marriage to come so quickly but sometimes good things happen fast.

Late into the summer of 2018 with a very pregnant and uncomfortable wife, J decided that he should suggest me staying home with the boys. I struggled with leaving my career. I had spent the last eleven years after college dedicating myself to my career in corporate America and I honestly wasn’t sure who I was without my job title. After a lot of contemplating and tears and reading other women’s stories about making this transition, I decided to go for it. I wasn’t sure how or when to break the news to my boss until one day I just blurted it out. Wow! What a feeling of relief and excitement, and oh my god anxiety! Like I said, I wasn’t sure who I was without my job title. I was about to find out! I left the job title behind and settled with a part time position with the company that I had given my last eleven years to. That position and my 3 year old kept me preoccupied until I went on maternity leave.

At the end of October we welcomed the newest member of our family into the world, a beautiful baby boy. This is boy #3 into our blended family and we couldn’t be happier. Since having this little guy I have struggled with the thought of even going back to work part time. I’m having the same issues I had with my first son. Who can take care of my baby as good as me? Who can I trust with this little human? Even if it is only a few days a month, who could do this?!?! No one, it has to be me. So, here I am declaring it out loud to the world I am going to be a full time mommy and that is it. They say smart mamas raise smart babies! I’m excited to see where this journey at home with my two babes takes me and excited to share what I learn along the way.