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Life AFTER Kids; Me and My Earnest Marriage.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day; a day full of love, roses, chocolates and well a celebration of the one or ones (like my kiddos too) that give us all the heart eyes.

Since we have had children, Valentine’s Day morphed into celebrating them. We usually have either a color or heart themed dinner followed up with a family night of fun. This year however, I wanted to be more intentional on celebrating my marriage.

My situation may sound like yours, I am a stay at home mom – day and night I am always on call. My husband (bless him) holds 3 part time jobs (which feels like 3 full time jobs most days); all so I can be home with our children. To top it off he is a full time (unpaid) pastor in the church we attend. Needless to say, sometimes the busyness of life like this takes the focus off of just “US.” This Valentine’s Day, I needed to change my focus to just him; trust me y’all he is worth it!!!

I took myself back to our dating, early marriage and pre-baby days. We took off on whims, laughed a lot (well, we still laugh a lot) but I remember waking up in the morning or finishing work in the evening and I could not wait to see him. So I went back there, two younglings blessed and in love – I started to be her again. Everyday I try to get back to that cute 23 year old and date my husband again. Do not get me wrong – we go on dates but I can honestly say I have not been dating him. I talking full on, thinking of you texts, his favorite meals, surprise date nights, and big squishy welcome homes when he walks in the door.

I know we talk about keeping our marriage a priority but I needed to do more than say it is. I am working hard to know it is. I am honored that this man is my husband, I want him to feel that honor. Soon enough our kids will be grown and gone, but I do not want to wait to focus on him until then.

Any other moms relate?! I mean I know, between homework, a demanding 16 month old who is still nursing, colds, flus, a preschooler blossoming before me and my own sanity – needing to share my attention can seem daunting but it is necessary. So this Valentine’s Day, we will be off for three days (2 nights) there are surprises planned, dinners planned, fun to be had; and because we are responsible/practical adults – we also scheduled our tax appointment because we will be kidless (I mean, adulting is hard and annoying sometimes)!

There are seasons in any marriage, and the children season seams to be rewarding but trying one that really does test many limits. But it is also worth it to stop, slow down and focus on your marriage – at least it has been for me. Taking myself back a decade and reminding myself how in love with my husband I really am has changed my outlook during this crazy time. Dating again may not look as grand as our weekend planned (taxes and all); but it can start with flirting, hand-holding, letter writing or even learning each other’s love languages and spoiling each other in them – every moment invested in your marriage will come back ten fold.

x. earnest mom.

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Best Mom Ever. Attainable or Unrealistic?

Truth be told. The idea of being the “Best Mom Ever” is actually both attainable and unrealistic; it all depends on how you look at it.

Rewind to 9 years ago when I welcomed my sweet, darling first born child. I was absolutely convinced that I was meant to be a mother, but I was also meant to be a mother to only one child. I still remember the moment when he was about 9 weeks old, swaddled, sleeping and full of milk; I looked down on his darling cherub of a face and cried. I cried feeling how full of love my heart was and knowing 100% that I could never have another child because I could never love another child as I loved that sweet sleeping babe.

I gave him the best I could; I mean I was a brand new mama and all those mama bear instincts were at the forefront and I served up being the “best mom ever” every moment I could. Breastfed because I knew breast was best, until my breast was no longer best and we supplemented; I fed him only “organic, zero food dye, and low sugar/zero artificial sweeteners of any kind” foods; making all my own baby food. I cloth diapered his sweet little butt, used all organic soaps and shampoos, natural lotions free of all the stuff that was bad for us. (Trust me, I was THAT mom standing in the aisles of the supermarket reading EVERY INGREDIENT in EVERY PRODUCT that would come into contact with my baby). He did not drink any kind of juice before 2 years old, honestly had nearly ZERO screen time before 2 (as recommended by ALL the professionals), slept through the night by 9 weeks; and ugh, if I go on, this current mother of three will may straight up disown that intense mama of one, bless her little mama heart!

Once baby number two had come along, my heart honestly grew. (Yup – full on Grinch style, I mean as a mother of three now I know that my heart has grown three sizes). Anyways, as a mother of 2 week old and a busy but adorable 4 year old I convinced myself that I had given the best I could ever be to my first born and from here on out, every consecutive child after him would inevitably suffer since they would be getting a more lax, hand-me-down kind of mama. Man – I really let that though dictate the last few years of my life – and it actually makes me a bit sad that I accepted that lie, that only I had told myself. “He got the best of me, and well good luck all future kids.” So when my second born watched Sesame Street before 2 years old, PROOF. When she ate non organic fruits and veggies, PROOF. When she took a pacifier until 3, slept in our bed until 2.5, definitely drank juice before two and I could go on and on but needless to say I proved daily how terrible I was as a mom.

My third child, he is wild and squishy, loving and juicy all at once. He is barely 1.5 and loves watching Cars. He was walking, no running by 10 months and has eaten all of the foods – organic, non organic, GMO and non-GMO and truthfully even even straight from the trash can and until about six months ago I shrugged it all off with this thought that “The Best Mom” no longer exists because she was all used up with my first born and now, she will never be seen from again.

Reader; I tell you I was wrong…so wrong. I had an epiphany this summer. It was raining, we were stuck inside and my children were way MORE than “slightly less than tolerable” – I mean this mom was done. I told myself I am the worst mom ever because only the worst mom ever could raise such little terrors at that moment. In my haste and anger I stopped getting after them, walked into my room and said “Mommy is on a time out.” I knew that I was so angry that if I went bonkers, at least I would spare them from that unpleasantness. But as I slammed the door so hard that the sign fell off the wall next to it, and my oldest said “uh-oh, she is really upset.” I realized; I will only ever be the best I allow myself to be.

That was a wake up call. Before that moment, I secretly told myself daily, I was a bad mom. I had over heard friends complain about my children’s behavior (which in their defense was TOTALLY normal behaviors for 8,3 and 1 year olds when birthday cake was present) and told myself it was because I was not a good enough as a mom. Even while writing blogs and posts about lifting other moms and getting through motherhood together; I was still silently shaming myself. But in that moment after the door slamming, it was like I heard myself say “okay, maybe not ‘The Best Mom’ but I am the best mom for my kids.”

And that was it, I am not the mom I was 9 years ago (phew because she was exhausted trying to be the BEST MOM EVER) but I am also not the mom I was when I was a mom of two. But I am the mom that God saw fit to bless with these three beautiful little souls. He chose me. I want to live every day trying my best to be that mom. The imperfect, loud laughing, introverted, impatient, hard loving, life speaking, hug giving mama that I am. I am satisfied today, to be earnest and perfectly-imperfect.

So, is there an actual “best mom?!” YES, yes…YOU. You mama are the best mom for the little ones that you tuck in and kiss at night. You are the best that could ever be for them and in that, there is so much perfection. Perfect love, even in the mess ups, forgotten play dates, I mean – I know I have accidentally let me kid fall off of the couch. But perfectly imperfect for our children is exactly who we were meant to be. The best moms ever! And just as every child is different, every mom is different but if you are worried about being the “best mom,” you probably already are. Give yourself some grace, we all deserve it and know – even in our low moments we are still the best mamas for our littles. Trying your best looks different every day (also looks absolutely different for every family). What a blessing it is that children are so forgiving and wreck less with their love, because even when we mess up they still come back to us with the best hugs and kisses ever.

Be encouraged today mamas, and know you are the best mom your children could ever have! Imperfect, but perfect for them.

x. earnest mom.