bad bitches gotta eat donuts.

The older I get the more I realize I have little to no self-control.

I’ve started so many diets. Like, it’s embarrassing. I decided to try the Military Diet just to kick start my “usual” diet (a mix of low carb and intermittent fasting) last week because I thought “Hey, I like everything on this list and it’s just 3 days. Easy Peasy.”

Not easy peasy.

IMG_8760

Day one: Mark brought me home a donut first thing in the morning. It was a pink donut with sprinkles and he knows that’s my favorite. (I’m Homer Simpson at heart.) Don’t let anyone tell you that there are only five love languages because there are six and the sixth is Food. So like.. I had to eat the donut. Rules is rules.

Day two: I told the fam to just do whatever they wanted for dinner. They chose pizza. I had one bite of cheese bread dipped in marinara. Then I scarfed the whole thing in ten seconds flat, my new personal record.

Day three: Mark wrangled kids all day so I could tackle cleaning our closet. A distraction! I could totally get through the day without cheating! I proceeded to make him lunch and ate three of his fish sticks and a large spoonful of mac and cheese.

See? No self-control. BUT I did lose 3lbs! Honestly I don’t feel too bad about it. Bad bitches gotta eat donuts. (Babe, put that on my headstone when I die please.)

shot out into the sunlight

voyage

 
For the first time in almost a year, I finally feel…stable.

I started taking Paxil about a month ago after being tired of feeling like I was drowning 24/7. I’m not sure if it’s the meds or that the kids are getting easier to manage, or maybe the combination of the two, but I feel genuinely happy and less batshit crazy lately. I worry less and play more. I yell at my kids far less. I don’t feel like I’m buried in chores and I’m finding more time for myself.

Yes.. TIME FOR MYSELF! The dream.

Dex has started taking one long nap a day instead of two shorter ones, so he and Cora nap at the same time now for 2-3 glorious hours. 3 hours to myself every day! This is something I dreamed of months ago. Yearned for. NEEDED. And Dex is now walking (still a little wobbly, but we’re there) so he can keep up with Cora a little better and they entertain each other more. I can cook dinner without someone losing their mind now, guys!

I also joined a couple of 2 under 2 mom groups on Facebook and wish I had done it sooner. It’s so nice to know I was never alone and most of these moms feel like they’re slowly going crazy too. Every now and then there’s a reassuring post from a mom whose kids are now 4 and 5 and you can see how much easier things will eventually be. Hope! haha.

And now I’m coming out of the fog and seeing that we’re going to make it. I don’t regret going the 2 under 2 route one bit, but man this last year has been one of the hardest of my life.

– amanda

feeling things

I always wished I had some kind of cool “I’ve loved photography my entire life!” story like every other photographer, but the truth is.. I just awkwardly stumbled into it. (I seem to awkwardly stumble into a lot of things in my life. Hello, my name is Amanda, and my whole life is one big awkward stumble.) The fact that it blossomed into a business that helped shape who I am was nothing short of a miracle, guys. I will say, however, that the first five years or so I absolutely LOVED it. I worked my ass off, but I truly enjoyed taking and editing photos.

After that five year mark, it somehow started feeling more like work and less like fun. I worked constantly and started to grow bitter. I stuck it through, but by year seven I was D-O-N-E. I stopped scouting new locations, I stopped trying new poses, I did the same editing on every photo, and I just genuinely stopped trying.

When we found out we were expecting Dexter I knew I wanted to quit photography and just be a mom for awhile. (Spoiler: being a mom is way harder. hahaha.) I even sold my camera because A) I was tired of looking at it, and B) I couldn’t be coerced by friends/family to take photos for them. (This still happens, by the way.)

For a solid year I was totally fine using just my iPhone for photos. They weren’t always perfect but I’m just photographing my kids, so it’s not like the quality of camera would erase the Koolaid stains off my kid’s face.

I had toyed with the idea of splurging on a Fujifilm X-T1 and after renting one and L-O-V-I-N-G it, Mark got me one for my birthday. (He’s a keeper.) I’ll honestly say I don’t pick it up every single day, but I do find myself having fun toying with settings again, and trying different ways of framing a shot. Editing is getting fun again, too. We’re taking baby steps.

img_6384img_6394img_6398img_6402

I have no intentions of starting a business anytime soon but that dream is coming back. It’s different this time, but I do still see photography in my future. For now we’re just slowly getting reacquainted.

– amanda

mom guilt

One of the things I promised myself upon turning 29 was dropping the guilt I feel when I take some time to myself. Is “mom guilt” a thing? Do you other moms feel it? Am I just batshit crazy?

I never want to leave Mark with both kids running rampant, so I always try to leave during one of their nap times and stress over making it back before they wake up. Like hauling ass through the grocery store picking things off shelves before I know Cora will be up. I have no idea why. Mark is fully capable of taking care of both kids and I trust him 100%, but I feel immensely guilty the entire time I’m gone. I leave to go to Starbucks to write up blog posts and literally can’t focus on writing because I’m terrified the shit will hit the fan while I’m away.

In grand retrospect, I think I worry this because it’s happened to me enough times. Mark would be at work or having lunch with a friend or something and everything in our house would go to hell. A few months ago there was a whole diarrhea / vomiting / fit-throwing escapade for a couple of hours that involved me and both kids and I still haven’t fully recovered from it. I did so many stressful bedtime routines while Mark was away for a job that I’m terrified to let him do the whole routine. (Even though now the kids are a breeze to put down for the night…at one point both kids screamed bloody murder during baths, Dexter had to be rocked to sleep while Cora screamed bloody murder some more in the hall, then she’d scream bloody murder after I put her in bed, and then Dexter would wake up screaming bloody murder riiiiight after Cora chilled out. Wouldn’t go back to those days for anything. Went on a tangent there, sorry not sorry.) Again, not because I don’t trust him. I just literally hate to put him through it.. Wait, is this what having a heart feels like?

download

I know myself well enough to know that time away from the house and away from the kids is good for me. It sounds nuts, but I literally need it. After too long of being with anyone I legitimately go insane and I have to get away. My brain literally just replays the phrase “I need to leave, I need to leave, I need to leave..” I get short with the kids, I find stupid things to get mad at Mark about, I take everything personally, and I find myself missing the days when I lived alone. And even then…even when I know I have nothing left to give…I stay home and “mom”. Because I feel like there’s some part of me that has to, for whatever reason. Like it’s my job as a mom to be at everyone’s beck and call.

The times I do leave, for just a few hours, I come home a completely different person. I genuinely start to miss my kids after an hour. I’m ready to tackle chores without feeling salty about it, I’m ready to play with the kids, I’m ready to laugh with Mark, and I just mentally feel better. So why don’t I do it more often? “Mom guilt” remains the biggest mystery in motherhood for me.

– amanda

the year i disappeared.

I always had a small amount of anxiety over going places when we just had Cora, but I was typically able to overcome it since she was a fairly easy baby. After Dexter was born, that anxiety has built up slower and slower, grander and grander.

Something about getting two small kids out the door wears me thin. I’m telling myself it’ll get easier as they get older, but right now it fucking sucks. There’s packing the diaper bag, which is a feat in itself…diapers, wipes, snacks, formula, bottles, sippy cups, toys, “How long will we be gone?”, “How much/many of (insert random baby item) will we need?”. And then there’s the actual act of getting everyone out the door. Dex goes in his carseat, “Does he have a fresh diaper?”, don’t forget his blanket. Cora needs her blanket too but she’s also going to want to take every. single. stuffed. animal. she. owns. There will be a battle of wills. (Mom wins 8 out of 10 times.) She’ll take her precious time shuffling out the door as I stand there holding her brother in his carseat, which very likely weighs half as much as me. Load everyone up, buckle everyone in, pray you don’t hit too many red lights because Dexter hates when the car stops. Play lots of “Can’t Stop the Feelin’” by JT because that’s Cora’s jam.

And then there’s the unloading and releasing my minions out into the world, praying no one cries, no one poops, and nothing breaks.

download

I’ve missed so many things this year outside the walls of our home. Family gatherings where I stressed too much about taking the kids out of town, so my mom took them and I stayed home and did some random task I had been putting off until I was kid-free. Birthday parties for friends and their kids because they’ve collided with nap times. Baby showers for people who attended OUR baby showers because again, nap times. My life revolves around not missing naps because I fear cranky babies. It’s absurd.

I’ve also noticed when we leave the house I come home feeling scatterbrained because there’s always SOMETHING in our house that needs to be done, so I walk in and think “I totally could have been cleaning up the kitchen the whole time we were gone.” Or something equally as ridiculous. As if the house would just crumble to shambles if I were to leave it for three hours.

And while we’re on the topic of “disappearing”, best of luck trying to contact me. You can call me, but I’m not going to call you back unless it’s REALLY important and even then you’re going to have to wait until both kids are napping, which is like…a solid half hour out of the entire day. You can text me and I’ll read it while doing dishes/laundry/insert chore here, but I’ll eventually forget about it and possibly respond a day or two later. When I get a moment to sit, to truly rest.. I mindlessly scroll Facebook. Occasionally I’ll post a photo on Instagram that I had taken hours before (almost everything I post is a #latergram). Basically anything that doesn’t require any significant thinking.

So for now, I’m MIA a lot of the time. I’m working on it. I’m haven’t touched anti-anxiety meds in yeeeaaaars but I’m feeling like I’m at the point where it’s time. I’m toying with the idea of seeing a therapist. (If any OKC friends have someone they love, please email me!) I’m a big advocate of normalizing mental health issues and feeling comfortable with getting help when it’s needed, and my gut is telling me I’m there. And that’s okay, because it’s not just about me anymore.

(Well if that isn’t the tagline for my walk through motherhood.)

– amanda

“my mom has knuckle tattoos”

There’s some kind of weird stigma that comes along with being a mom that tells us spending time on ourselves is either impossible or selfish. We know what image we’ve created for mothers: messy buns, two day old makeup, yoga pants, and husband’s t-shirt (inevitably splattered with spit up).

When I got pregnant with Cora I specifically remember someone telling me, after I had dyed my hair pink, to “enjoy it” because “moms don’t need pink hair”. I laughed and thought “Yeah okay.” I had several pastel hair colors throughout Cora’s first year, and then..

Before Dex was born I kept telling myself I needed to dye my hair to something low maintenance and eventually go back to my natural hair color. I had white hair that I LOVED for years. And I willingly gave it up because I had convinced myself that I didn’t have time to visit the salon for 3 hours every 6 weeks or so. I put off getting tattoos I really wanted for over two years. I told myself that fun things like wild colored lipstick were for the type of people who don’t have to cart kids through Target.

Looking back now I realize I got sucked into that stigma.

“I’m a mom now, I don’t have time for all that.”

“I have CHILDREN, I can’t wear that.”

Seven months into being a mom of two I’ve finally learned.. Making time is important. I’m important. The way I feel is important. Nothing about me has changed other than I’ve popped out a couple of kids. (Okay, they were essentially pried out.)

So yesterday I bleached my hair back (my sister-in-law is fantastic and puts up with my indecisiveness beautifully…let me know if you’re looking for an amazing hair stylist) and I got the knuckle tattoos I’ve wanted for six years. Yes, knuckle tattoos. (Ashley at No Regrets Tattoo in the Plaza District is the tits.) And today I’m wearing teal lipstick because TEAL LIPSTICK IS COOL NOW GUYS, WHAT IS THIS HEAVEN?! I won’t touch yoga pants with a 10 foot pole unless I’m off to the gym, because it’s just as easy to throw on my favorite jeans. And I will take 15 minutes a day for myself to do my makeup because I deserve those 15 minutes. *snap snap snap*

I can be me and still be Mom. I can give my best when I feel my best.

img_6266

Here’s to going to my first PTA meeting someday with a full sleeve and purple hair. Cheers.

– amanda

twenty-nine

Twenty-nine today.

Let me just go on the record and say that 28 probably wasn’t my favorite year. It wasn’t the worst (I wouldn’t go back to 17 if you paid me a million dollars) but I certainly don’t think it brought out the best in me. Sleep deprivation and some postpartum depression made me a monster while figuring out how to balance two kids under two. It’ll go down as the year I bitched about my kids too much. The year I had a baby that was unnaturally large, then I gained weight and was suddenly and rudely introduced to this weird body I was told I needed to learn to love. It’ll be the year I laid in bed every single night with a rapid heartbeat while I imagined my kids being kidnapped, the dogs getting hit by cars, or some other horrid thing. The year I overcooked, undercooked, or just royally fucked up more dinners than I got right because I got distracted by everything. The year I told myself half a million times that I was a shitty mom and I had no business being responsible for two tiny humans.

As I’m typing this I’m realizing that 28 was the year my brain and I went back into battle.

See, we’ve been to war a lot, my brain and I. Over a decade of it. We chilled there for awhile after I got pregnant with Cora and throughout her first year, but once Dexter was born and I got bit by the ol’ baby blues we’re back to all out warfare. Every now and then this think tank of mine pops out some good stuff, but more often than not I’m telling it to chill the fuck out and just. be. quiet. (It doesn’t listen.)

download

28 felt a lot like barely keeping my head above water.

I think for my last year in my 20s I just want to be kind to myself. I think it’s hard to be kind to others when you’re not kind to yourself first. I want to take care of my body because it’s done some pretty kick ass stuff the last few years. I would like to lose about 15-20lbs, but more than anything I just want to eat good foods and get to the gym more often to blow off steam…if I lose the weight, great. If not, I guess I’m meant to be flabby. I want to take better care of my mind, and let go of the guilt I feel when I allow myself some downtime. I want to give myself grace, because I’m horrible at that. I stress if every little thing isn’t checked off my list for the day. I need myself to remember that we’re seriously doing fine. We’re doing better than fine, really.

I’m positive that 29 will hold some fantastic things for our family. My hope is to be present. To chill the hell out. And to be kind.

Here’s to 29 and being kind.

And not voting for Donald Trump.

*runs away before someone uses the term “libtard” again”*

– amanda