Personal

The Comparison Monster

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Well friends, I have been Bitten. Hard. By the mean and nasty comparison monster. I didn’t think I was feeling that insecure about our life, home, style, etc, but as I sit here and type this, with the sound of ocean waves crashing, sipping my cold coffee and my two little girls napping peacefully, I realize just how harshly I’m judging myself. I should be putting my clean clothes away, cleaning a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned in over 2 months, filling out the paperwork I need for Jonathan’s doctor appointment this afternoon, or one of the other million things I told myself I should do in order to make my day seem accomplished.

Instead, I caught myself in an instagram scroll about 20 minutes ago, as I often find myself; scrolling and dreaming of the day when I will feel put together enough to share more of our story. Maybe when I have more time on my hands to sit down and write, or when we have more money and aren’t feeling completely overwhelmed by the debt that makes us live paycheck to paycheck. I’m waiting for the day that my photos look like “HERS” and when my walls are painted white, with farmhouse decor (even though that is NOT MY STYLE). I'm waiting for the day when our house is “in order” or “settled”, or when I feel like our life is interesting enough to share. I tell myself that even if I decided to START this little blog that I’ve been dreaming about starting for years now, no one is going to care. No one is going to read it because we aren’t as popular or as well known as other bloggers with bigger followings. So, Who is going to care?

So… instead of writing, I scroll. And the more I scroll, the more bitter I become, because I want to be doing this… I want to hustle. I want to write & share our life. I want to have a reason to work in my office again. I want to listen to uplifting podcasts about going out and chasing your dreams and not feel completely guilty that I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to be a stay at home mom. I want to be encouraging and to find connection with other women who find themselves in the trenches as I am. I want my husband to see that this outlet for my creativity isn’t just something to take me away from my most important work of taking care of our children. Ultimately, I want to be able to contribute financially and still stay home with my children! (And please don’t try to get me to join your MLM, because I’ve tried & learned I’m not good at that stuff.)

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I have listened to Mary Marantz’s podcast on Comparison at least five times now, and I could list out a million things from that episode that hit home because it’s all Gold. (if you haven’t listened, go do it now!) But the five biggest take aways for me are this (most of this is taken right from the podcast):

  1. Comparison is the thief of TIME. How many perfectly wonderful days have we lost because we felt small by comparison to what others are doing, wearing, experiencing?

  2. We need to stop sentencing ourselves to a life where we don’t have permission to show up and celebrate our wins anymore (regardless of how small they may be).

  3. Stop telling ourselves that “it’s not okay to be a WORK IN PROGRESS”.

  4. We aren’t all running the same race. So throw the confetti & clap for your own dang self.

  5. The ideal finish line of success is not a fixed marker. And you could spend your whole life putting off being happy, proud of & excited for the things we’re accomplishing simply because there is someone else further ahead, running a completely different race.

I miss spending time with these beautiful ladies.

I miss spending time with these beautiful ladies.

:MIND BLOWN: Now can you see why I’ve listened to this episode so many times? Not to mention, listening to Mary Marantz talk about anything, makes me want to stop in my tracks and listen. She’s the real-deal friends, and if you’re not already subscribed to her podcast, you need to. Click HERE.

So I’m going to do it. I’m going to show up for my own life, throw the confetti and clap for my own dang self, because I need this. No more excuses for why I can’t start, because the journey is still the story. And if no one reads this, and it’s merely an outlet for me to feel a little less alone then so be it, I’ll know that I tried and gave my best effort. Because I don’t want to wake up one day, with my kids in high school and realize that I missed my chance to document their lives when they were young. I don’t want to look back and say “man it was hard, but its all a blur.” Because I never celebrated the small wins or the little victories.

The Parable of the Peonies

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I felt the anxiety welling up inside as we pulled out of the driveway for a long weekend away. All over Instagram were gorgeous photos of Peonies, beautifully styled photos, and ours were just starting to bloom. "I know they are all going to bloom this weekend while we are gone and I'm not going to get to photograph them, style them or even enjoy them." 

It's been exactly 5 years since we signed the papers and got the keys to our little Burnt Orange Mid Century Mod House. In those five years, we've completed MANY MANY projects, but my most favorite outside addition was the two peony bushes that we planted out front. 

Every year since we planted them, I wait in anticipation to see how many blooms I will get that year. I panic and obsess over them. I fear that if I don't cut them all and bring them all inside that I'm going to waste them. One year, I even went as far as to try and put them in the fridge and save them for months later. But as I was showering the other day, I had this crystalizing epiphany. 

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Which is where the "Parable of the Peonies" came from. There were two maidens, both with gorgeous gardens full of Peonies of various colors. The first maiden would wait with anticipation as her garden blossomed. She would obsess about trying to make sure that she enjoyed every second of her garden, to the point that is caused her so much stress that she spent the entire time worrying she was missing it. She would anxiously plan out things to do with her flowers, photo shoots, social media posts, but then she would blink, and just like that the flowers had died and she forgot to enjoy the beauty that she was blessed with. 

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The second maiden, like the first, waited with anticipation for the joy that these gorgeous blooms would bring to her, and with pruning sheers in hand, she snipped a few stems for herself to enjoy inside. The sight & fragrance of the flowers brought her heart so much joy & as she looked over the bushes, she saw so many flowers and realized that there was no way should keep these all to herself. So she snipped a few more, wrapped them up, and decided to make a few deliveries to others who she knew would enjoy their beauty as well. Because when the day is done and the flowers die (as they always do), you will be left with nothing. But using something as simple as a flower to spread love, joy & friendship to those around you, that's a way to make them last far longer. 

I'm learning to work on that whole contentment, & living in the moment thing and in case you were wondering, I haven't quite figured it out just yet, but I'm trying. Maybe it's the photographer in me, or the fact that I'm sadly too obsessed with social media, but I never feel like I can truly live in the moment if I'm not able to take photo documentation of said moment. 

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Have you seen this photo of the sweet little old lady enjoying the moment, as everyone around her is feverishly trying to document every second with their phones? It was like a punch to the gut for me, because it's easy for me to be one of those people looking at life through the lens of my iPhone. But when was the last time that you sat back, put away the phone, and enjoyed life as it was actually unfolding, minute by minute, and truly felt content with the season of life that you were in. Not telling yourself, well if I could just get to this point I would be okay. If I could just declutter the whole house, and get everything clean, maybe I won't feel so crazy. If I could just lose 20 pounds, maybe I'll be happier. 

There will always be goals to accomplish, laundry to wash, a house to clean, but there will never be another day just like today, so enjoy where you are and share your joy with those around you. Life isn't about the things you have, its about the relationships you build, the legacy of love that you create, and the ability to love others the way that Jesus loves us. 

Help Me! I'm Wasting My Own Time...

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Both kids are napping as I lay in bed, making my second round at Instagram & Facebook. As I mindlessly scroll, I think to myself "Why can't I ever seem to accomplish anything during the day?" Frustration & anxiety start to build, the pile of clothes that has been on my dresser for 2 weeks now begins to mock me and my stomach growling isn't helping matters.

I have just successfully wasted an hour of my life watching videos of the Kardashians (and I despise them), looking at random facts I didn't know about celebrity couples, trying to decide if it's "Yanny or Laurel" and the theories behind both, not to mention scrolling through hundreds of perfectly curated photos on Instagram that just make me feel even worse about my messy house & our lack of extra spending money. 

Are you starting to see any holes in my Life choices? 

I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm gaining weight at a frightening speed because of laziness & stress eating. I'm resentful towards my husband for having a job and towards complete strangers who can make motherhood look easy & effortless. And to top it all off... I feel incredibly alone. And while I'm being real honest, just admitting this all out loud is making me want to crawl into a hole and power eat oreos. 

I stare at the monitor during nap time, wondering how much time I have before they both wake up, wasting time as I try to decide what task I should accomplish first before my time is up. Before I know it, the littlest one starts to stir, I start to feel the anger and frustration starting to bubble to the surface, because I just don't seem to ever have enough time. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That is honestly how my week goes. 

Some days are honestly exhausting, but a lot of my pain and frustration is self inflicted. Phones are thieves, they steal so many hours, they steal moments away from my husband and kids, they steal my joy & confidence. And yet, I struggle putting it down. 

I’m going to start eating better. I’m going to start working out. I’m going to do more projects with the kids. I’m going to start a blog. I’m going to... I’m going to.... I’m going to.... look at my phone for hours and ignore everything I actually want to do in real life.
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Oh gosh, please tell me I'm not the only person who does this? Anyone? If you're nodding your head like a bobble head, let's make a plan. Let's put down the phone (yes, sorry, don't put the phone down just yet, if you're reading this on your phone...) & grab a pen and some paper and just start writing. Write down plans for the summer, dreams, goals, to do's, projects around the house, groceries you need to buy, dinners you want to try. Just dump everything in your head at this moment out on paper. Then color code it based on what it is... You can see how I did it in the photo. (if you can read my chicken scratch... yes I'm supposed to be good at handlettering, but I'm not that great at regular handwriting.) 

Now that we have our list, and we can keep adding things and crossing things off of this list, let's start trying to take steps to make these things happen. Maybe we make daily lists with small action steps for bigger items? For example, from my list, I realize that I have a lot of House projects I want to accomplish, mainly getting our stuff organized & Clean. We suffer from clutter. Mounds & mounds of clutter. So maybe my daily list will be...( 1. Clean off dining table. 2. Put away clothes on dresser. 3. Clean up art supplies in kitchen. 4. Put away Pack n play.) Four small tasks that will make a huge impact on my day. 

Okay, who's with me? Let's try to be more intentional, and maybe we will start to see more joy in our days, instead of the constant anxiety of never getting anything done. 

And this is my public cry for accountability. I'm going to hold myself to this, and if you need help being accountable, message me, comment on this, or just get in contact with me SOMEHOW and we will be in this together! 

Can I Bite You? Please...

I often get this crazy urge to bite my children. I just want to nibble on their cheeks, bite their toes or just completely consume them whole. Apparently, this is scientifically deemed a normal reaction. Here I was thinking I was crazy, and it turns out that scientists have actually done studies on people where this is extremely common. Not to be confused with the biological primal urge to eat your young, the term "cute aggression" coined in 2013 by a research team at Yale, refers to the almost-overwhelming urge to do violence to an object that we find incredibly adorable. 

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I know I'm extremely biased when it comes to my kids, but has anyone else ever felt cute aggression? It could be when looking at pictures of puppies, kittens, babies, really anything we find adorable! Mine really only comes out when I'm looking at adorable babies. 

I can't help but want to squeeze these sweet chubby cheeks. I found these pictures a few weeks ago, from back when Jonathan turned one and I wish I could jump in this photo and squeeze him tight! 

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Obviously, I try to resist the urge to bite my kids, because that would only teach them bad habits and then make them an undesirable play date, friend, human... because let's be real, who wants to be around someone who bites! (full disclosure, Jonathan has done this once or twice out of anger, obviously, we are working on it)