Pregnancy Update

Here it is–6 months into my pregnancy–and I’ve barely documented any of it!! It just goes to show how different it is the third time around!! Honestly, most days I am so busy running around with the girls that I don’t even think about being pregnant; that is until the end of the day when I collapse on the couch, totally exhausted!!

The collage of pictures are ALL the pictures I have taken during this pregnancy. I know; pathetic!! And none of them have even been with a “real” camera!! The first picture is from the start of my “bump”-at 14 weeks, and the bottom right picture was taken this week-at 26 weeks. I honestly cannot believe that the baby is due in just 14 short weeks. With Leah (and a little with Claire) I was counting down the weeks until the baby would be born, but with this one I am taking the pregnancy one day at a time, since I know my life is going to get 5x crazier once this third kid makes his/her arrival!!

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At the end of January I had my 20 week ultra sound. We went into the ultra sound with the decision NOT to find out the gender, and we were (somewhat surprisingly) able to stick with our decision! This is our first time going the “surprise route” and I honestly thought the not knowing would bother me a lot more than it actually does. The idea came to me back when we were trying to get pregnant and month after month I was praying (begging?) God to get pregnant and to bless us with a healthy baby. It really hit me during that time that I never, ever thought about whether I was hoping and praying for one gender over the other, I simply wanted whatever baby God blessed us with. So, once we finally got pregnant, I decided (and so did Brett!) to continue my prayers of gratitude for this baby, this beautiful, wonderful baby that God blessed us with, without any thought or pressure on what the baby’s gender is. And it really has been reassuring and somehow completely peaceful, to pray for this special child, without a care in the world about whether baby is a boy or a girl.

That being said, obviously I am SO excited to find out who this sweet baby is come June! The girls change their minds daily on whether they think baby is a brother or a sister. Currently they are both saying sister, but I think Claire’s opinion may just be an echo of her big sister’s. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Leah has been such a sweet big sister already, hugging my belly and talking to the baby and giving us name suggestions. She is not really into any boy names (no surprise there!) but her current favorite girl names are Margaret (after Daniel Tiger’s little sister of course!), Stella, and Velvet. It’s been very sweet, seeing her be so involved with this pregnancy!

As for how I’m feeling, it’s been very different from my first 2 pregnancies, but I think it’s because a lot has changed since my last 2 pregnancies. This is my first pregnancy as a stay at home mom, and although I initially wondered if that would make it easier, I have quickly realized that is not the case. Brett also now has a job that requires a LOT of travel, which means that I may go a week at a time solo parenting, which has only added to my exhaustion. Besides that, however, I am feeling really great!! I am still hitting the gym 3-4 times a week and am sleeping comfortably. I definitely sleep a lot on my back (I know, I know, a big pregnancy no no!) but it hasn’t proved to be too uncomfortable yet and I haven’t started needing to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, so I’ve still gotten pretty good nights sleep. (Well, as long as my other 2 children allow it, of course!)

As for weight gain, I seem to be right on track to gain the same amount as I did with my earlier 2 pregnancies. I don’t gain any weight my first trimester, and by 20 weeks I was only up 3 lbs. However, I know from experience, that my body has an uncanny ability to catch up, so I had to laugh out loud when I went back in for my 24 week appointment and I had gained 10 LBS in ONE MONTH! Like I said……I know how to make up for lost time. ๐Ÿ˜› Now, 2 weeks later, I am up another 2-3 lbs for a grand total of a 15-16 lb weight gain. With the girls I was up 33 lbs by the end and I have a feeling I will be right on track with this one as well.

This belly is definitely a lot bigger than the girls and it is so high! Baby was still breech at 20 weeks (where as the girls were both head down by then) so I am not sure if that is making a difference with how high the belly seems to be. Baby was right on track growth wise at 20 weeks and all looked great. The only “concern” was a bit of fluid that was backed up in the baby’s kidneys at the time of the ultra sound. My OB reassured me that it is VERY common at that stage in the pregnancy and I will have a follow up ultra sound when I go in for my glucose test in 2 weeks, just to monitor baby’s kidneys and make sure the fluid back up hasn’t gotten any worse.

So there it is!! The first pregnancy update at 6 months along!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Aches, exhaustion and all, I seriously love being pregnant and I am enjoying every, single minute of carrying this child!!

The house!

Even though we are just in the very beginning stages of our house remodel, I figured I would show a few pictures of the house, both when we first moved in, and what it looks like right now! When we first saw the house, to say it was “rough” would be an understatement. However, as soon as we walked in we could see the potential and the beauty that the house contained (under layers and layers of grime and disrepair!) and we felt excited at the challenge it would be to restore this home back to its former glory.

Here is what the house looked like when we FIRST walked in, after the previous owner had moved out all his furniture (although leaving random things behind like books and a throw rug!) And yes, you better believe I hired a cleaning crew to deep clean the house from top to bottom before we moved in!! (Which, side note, took a team of 4 women over 8 hours!! That’s how incredibly disgusting it was!!)

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Pretty rough, am I right??!

So, after 6 months, here is what the house looks like now!

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20170120-img_0114So! What have we done?? Here’s a little run down:

-Painted the entire house

-In the upstairs bathroom we (as in my husband :-P) re-grouted the nasty tub and shower, painted the vanity, built new doors for the vanity, painted the medicine cabinet doors.

-Ripped down the stained, horribly dirty and dark wallpaper in the stairwell, fixed any plaster problems, then re-papered the stairwell with a new wallpaper.

-In the kitchen we built some open shelving, painted all cabinets white, bought a new kitchen island, bought a new stainless steel fridge and painted the ugly back splash.

-In the process (so not pictured!) is the project Brett is currently working on: a new mantle and mount for our tv above the fireplace. Pictures of that will be shared once completed!

Obviously outside that list are many, many small projects and fixes that we have done, those are just the more “major” projects that came to mind!

We really wanted a complete kitchen remodel to be our first project this year but then we got pregnant with number 3 and we decided that a remodel of our third floor was more important (even though I’m still DYING for a new kitchen!!!) Right now the third floor is just a HUGE open space, but in a few months it will be turned into a large bedroom for the girls, a playroom, and a full bath. That will enable us to turn their current bedroom into the nursery and still maintain the last bedroom as an office/guestroom space. We have been meeting with our contractor (and crew) to draw up all the plans, but as soon as they start I’ll begin posting some before/during/and after pics! They are estimating the project will take about 6 weeks.

Then, hopefully in a few years once we financially recover from a giant third floor remodel, we will be able to do my dream kitchen!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We also want to add a master bath/walk in closet and finish the walk out basement, so we have plenty of projects coming our way in the future! Hope you enjoyed our little home tour! It may be a HUGE project, but we are loving every inch of this house!!

 

The story of baby number 3

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Since getting married (and probably well before that!) Brett and I always knew we wanted “at least” three kids. We have always joked “Definitely three, but we’ll have to see how the third one is before committing to a fourth.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So when Claire was around 18 months, we started the whole “pre-baby planning schedule” that we did with Leah, 2 years earlier. I started weaning Claire and was officially done nursing by 19 months. I researched and then scheduled an appointment with a new OB (both because I was way overdue for an annual exam and because I didn’t yet have an OB here in Asheville) and got a clean bill of health-my uterus was ready for a baby! For those of you who have been reading my blog for quite some time, you may remember that I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20’s and was told-by more thanย  one OB/GYN-that getting pregnant may prove difficult. But with Leah it only took 2 months of trying and with Claire we got pregnant right away, so I was feeling pretty confident that this one would just follow suit with the others!

Brett and I started trying to get pregnant in May and I was feeling optimistic that it would happen right away. I was healthy, I felt great, and my cycles had been normal for months. May ended…with a negative pregnancy test. I was obviously disappointed, but was trying not to feel too upset, as we had just started trying. Then came June…with another negative test, and July….negative. By this time I was starting to get a little worried. I know for many, many women, 3 months seems like no time at all, but for me, with my other 2 pregnancies happening so quickly, I felt like something was “off.” I scheduled another appointment with my OB to have a more thorough “check,” mainly to give me some peace of mind. In the back of my mind I just kept thinking about that PCOS diagnosis and how maybe we just got lucky those first two times!

At my OB appointment I had an ultra sound and it was discovered that I was only “partially ovulating,” something that before then I didn’t know was possible! Apparently, even though I felt like I was ovulating, and was still getting regular periods, my follicles were not growing to “full maturity” and were much smaller than what was needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Thankfully, she told me, it was an “easy fix.” A super low dose of Chlomid should be all I needed to kick start my body into “full ovulation.”

With renewed optimism, I started my first round of Chlomid that month (thankfully my appointment was at the perfect time to start a round!) and a week later when I came in for an ultra sound, I was told I had a large, healthy follicle all ready and waiting! I went home so excited and sure that it would happen that month, but then, 2 weeks later, came a negative test.

So there we were, now September, when I went back in for round two of Chlomid. After a week on the meds I went in for an ultra sound and saw two healthy follicles, ready to go! My doctor jokingly warned me that if we definitely did not want multiples I should go ahead and skip this cycle. But I knew that there was NO way I was letting a cycle go by without trying! Besides, although going from 2-4 kids would be a lot, Brett and I have always been under the impression that God will give us the child/children we are meant to have so hey, if it ended up being twins we would just be doubly excited! I was mostly feeling optimistic that having two follicles meant doubling my chances of getting pregnant and I was hoping this would be the month!

For anyone who has been pregnant, or has tried to get pregnant, knows, that 2 week wait is the WORST! I had promised myself (and my OB) that I would NOT test early so I was waiting until the day my period was due to take the pregnancy test. By the end of that 2 week wait I had 100% convinced myself that I was not pregnant. I was feeling gross and crampy and exactly how I usually felt right before I got my period.

The morning of “test day” (October 7th!) came and I woke up at 6 am, unable to sleep any longer. I snuck out of bed and immediately went into the bathroom to test. Because this was our 5th month testing, I had bought a bunch of those cheap “dip strip” tests off of Amazon and so, when I saw that it was positive I didn’t know whether to believe it or not!! I ran into our room, yelling Brett’s name (and basically giving him a heart attack) and crying, not even believing that I was finally seeing a positive test.
preggersobviously I had to take a picture of it right away!!

Since I didn’t trust the test (and basically just wanted insurance that it was right!), I immediately got dressed and raced out to CVS to buy another test. It was so funny because when I put the pregnancy test up on the counter (unable to hide my giddy, probably a bit insane, grin), the woman at the register told me that I was the 4th woman to buy a pregnancy test that morning and it wasn’t even 8 am!! Must have been a popular baby testing day!!

I rushed back home, chugged a glass of water, took the test and was ecstatic when a big fat positive appeared.
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I know so many friends who have chosen to not share the news with their kids (who are old enough to understand) until they are far enough along that they are out of the “risk of miscarry stage” and when it’s safe for their kids to be blabbing the news to their teacher at school, but I just couldn’t wait to share the news with Leah! She was so, so excited and kept asking about the “baby in my tummy” and whether I thought it was a girl or a boy. Thankfully she is also a quiet, introverted kid, so I knew she wouldn’t be blabbing the news at school (and she didn’t) although she enjoyed talking about it at home quite a bit!

We already had plans to drop off the girls with my parents that night for a sleepover and so Brett and I could have a date night (My parents live in town, about 15 mins from us, and they watch the girls overnight about once a month so Brett and I can go out on a date night and then sleep in the next morning!) so it was perfect timing to share the news! (Again, I know some people wait to tell even family until after their first appointment, but by this point my family all KNEW we had been trying for months so it felt cruel to lie to them and keep from sharing the news when they had all been praying for us for so long!). I dug up Leah’s old “Big Sis” shirt from when we got pregnant with Claire, and stuck it on Claire to wear over to my parents.
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As soonย  as my parents opened the front door I all but yelled “did you see her shirt?!” I just couldn’t hold it in any longer!! Obviously they were thrilled and we facetimed with Brett’s parents the next day to share the news as well.

For the next few weeks until my first appointment, we wereย dying to know whether there was one baby in there or two!! I have to say, as much as I would have LOVED twins (seriously, I think that would be so fun) I may have breathed a small sigh of relief when I only saw one baby in that first ultra sound. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll stick to having one baby at a time!

So there you have it! The (long!) story of baby number three!! We are so incredibly thankful that we were able to conceive another child and, although I know I felt like the months were endless, I also know that there are women who struggle for years to conceive, so I know how blessed I am to only need 5 months and 2 rounds of Chlomid. And if anything, having a little “struggle” has just renewed my realization that getting pregnant is a miracle. It is such an amazing, wonderful blessing and I will never, ever take it for granted!

As for how this pregnancy has been compared to the others…(without going into too much detail because man oh man I know this post is long enough already) it’s been rough. And I don’t know if it’s all due to this pregnancy or due to the fact that I have two other kids to run after and care for. haha. But I was very VERY exhausted and nauseous the first trimester and, at 18 weeks, I STILL get nauseous almost every single night after dinner (if baby had it his or her way I just wouldn’t eat after 5 pm EVER). Thankfully my energy levels are rising again and I have been able to get back to the gym and make it through my day without napping. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll do some belly pics and updates soon (maybe 20 weeks?) but we all know that this is baby number three and s(he) will be lucky if I snap a pic of this belly more than 2 times throughout this whole pregnancy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s do a big recap

So remember about 9 months ago when I said I was going to start blogging again?? I think I blogged twice and then…..silence. I know I sound like a broken record, but I promise I’m starting up again! Life has been crazy in the past (almost) year (!!) so I will do my best to catch you all up. (Those of you who are still out there. Anyone??)

The last time I left off, we were living here:
oldhouseOur beautiful rental house here in Asheville that we loved, and had no plans on leaving anytime soon.

Well, that all changed last spring when we got a call from our property manager. He told us that the owner of the house was planning on selling and he wanted to give us a chance to make an offer before it officially went on the market. We were so incredibly nervous, not to mention a bit devastated, because we had NO idea what the owner wanted for the house (the property manager was NO help in giving us an idea with the price the owner had in mind…) and we started to realize that there was a good chance that we may have to leave our wonderful, well loved home.
For the next week we researched and went back and forth on what type of official offer to make. Finally, we settled on a number, presented it to the property manager…and waited. A day or so later, the manager got back to us with a price….a HUGE price that was well out of our range (and well above what we truly believed the house was worth). We brought up our asking price and tried our best to meet in the middle, but to no avail. The owner was holding firm on his price and there was no negotiating.

It was a HUGE blow and I cried for DAYS thinking about having to leave our amazing neighborhood. Over the year that we had lived there we had fallen in love with the house, yes, but mostly we had fallen in love with our neighborhood and neighbors. I had imagined walking my kids to the elementary school less than a mile away, teaching the girls how to ride their bike down the street, years of walking to the local playground and our favorite ice cream shop, and it was devastating to realize that it would no longer be a reality.

We met with a realtor and started researching houses in Asheville (at this point we knew we might as well buy and not rent again) but there was NOTHING that we found that I came even close to liking. And then, in a stroke of genius, (and last ditch effort) Brett emailed the neighborhood association and asked if anyone was planning on selling their house, and low and behold, one of our across the street neighbors emailed us back right away saying that he wanted to sell!!!

newhouseThis is a view from the front yard of our old rental house, where you can kind of see the house that wanted to sell to the right, looking like it is lost behind a bunch of trees.

We went over and met with the owner of the beautiful (but in great disrepair) Victorian house (a super sweet, older gentleman who had lived there for over 30 years!!) and within a week we were under contract for our new home!!

 

newhome2newhouse5We were beside ourselves with disbelief. Here were were, devastated at the very real possibility that we were going to have to leave our beloved neighborhood, and yet a week later we were under contract on a house across the street!! And it truly showed us that God had a plan because, although we LOVED our rental house, we also knew that it was maxed out on space and that one day we would outgrow it (not to mention the teeny tiny backyard). So in taking that possibility away, he opened up the door to a MUCH better option!! Our new home, which I’ll just say we bought for well over $100,000 less than what the owner of our rental house wanted….has the possibility of being double the square footage (it has a walk up third floor/attic space and a walk out basement) and a huge backyard. The house also has so much more character and is definitely more our style!!
Now, all that wonderful house comes at a price and in this case the price is hard work. ๐Ÿ™‚ The house hasn’t been remodeled since the 1980’s and there is a lot lot lot that needs to be done (and a lot that we have done since we moved in back in July!) However, we truly are so excited about the work ahead because ever so slowly we are making the house our own and I LOVE it!!

Also, as a P.S., I would like to add that over 6 months later, our old rental house is STILL on the market, which goes to show that we are not the only ones who thought they were seriously off on their asking price. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our first major project is converting the third floor into a playroom, 4th bedroom and bathroom because….
20161212-img_0810We are expecting baby #3 in June!! We are so so so excited that our family is growing yet again. I am 17.5 weeks along now and am due June 16th. When we first moved in we wanted our first major project to be the kitchen remodel but then, when we found out we were expecting in September, we came to the realization that the third floor needs to be finished first so we can have space for all these kids! ๐Ÿ™‚

So there you have it! The two most major pieces of news for our family over the last 9 months or so. I know the pictures of the house in this post are just low quality Iphone pics, but I promise to do a post dedicated to what the inside of our house looks like now so we can start doing some before and after posts! We are just about ready to start our third floor project (we have been interviewing contractors and I think we’ve made our decision!) so I am sure I will have a lot of progress pics coming soon.

Besides that, I hope to blog a bit about this pregnancy and all things motherhood!

Thanks to anyone who may still be here reading this little blog (and let me know if you are I would love to hear from you!) and I promise many more posts coming soon!

A three year olds thoughts on money and homelessness

indexYesterday I had one of those “man am I doing this right?” parenting moments. Leah, in her innocent, naive, three year old mind is constantly trying to make sense of the world that we live in. And, for the most part, I tend to still see her as a toddler, too young to really grasp the hardships that she will one day begin to witness. But then, like yesterday, she will suddenly surprise me with her insightfulness and understanding and it will make me realize, yet again, that this girl isn’t a baby at all anymore.

We were heading home from the gym and we were stopped at a red light. Leah, gazing out the window, noticed a homeless man holding a sign asking for money. “Why is he holding that sign?” she asked me; as I glanced around trying to figure out who she was talking about. “He is asking people to give him money,” I responded. Leah thought for a second before adding her usual “why?” And this is where I found myself sitting back in my seat and really thinking about how to answer her. In what capacity do you explain homelessness to a three year old? These are the moments you wish there was some parenting handbook with all the answers. I thought for another few seconds before finally responding with a simple “Well, I’m not really sure, but he doesn’t have enough money so he’s asking others to share with him.” Leah gave a nod and seemed content with her question being answered. Glancing back in the rear view mirror I could see her tiny little face, deep in thought. A few minutes later she spoke again; “Mom? Do we have money?”

This question made me catch my breath because, in that moment, it hit me just how much I wished we had more money. More money to spend on vacations…shopping…buying a big, dream house. But the reality of the situation is that, compared to most, we do have money, and plenty of it. Enough money where I have the choice to leave my job to stay home with the girls, enough money to have a kitchen full of good, organic food, enough money to buy what we need and some of what we simply want.

“Yes,” I said to Leah. We do have money.” I went on to tell her how daddy worked hard for his money, how it’s the money he earns at his job that we use to buy food and new sparkly shoes. And how this was why we pray to God every single night to thank Him for our blessings. And my three year old, confident in a wisdom deeper than my own, understood. She sat there silently before telling me, “Mom, next time we see a homeless man, we should give him our money. Because daddy would work hard for more and this way, the man would have money and then he could pray and thank God for his blessings!”

And that’s when the tears came. As I sat there, trying not to let Leah see me cry, I realized that I need to do a better job showing Leah how we can minister to those in need. I’ll be honest, after years of seeing the homeless, I’ve begun to turn a blind eye. I see them at the stop lights and I feel my frustration start to rise as I frantically try not to make eye contact as I click the car’s automatic locks. And Leah is SEEING all of this. She’s witnessing my actions and filing it away in that little mind of hers. And I’m not saying that I’ll ever happily throw down my windows to hand out money to every person I see at a stop light, but it made me realize that I need to find other ways to show Leah how we can serve so it can hopefully instill a desire to minister in her own heart.

“We should, Leah.” I finally answered. “But until then, we can pray for him, okay?”

 

Claire at 15 months

indexThere’s so much I want to remember about Claire at this age. Being the second child, it’s hard not to make comparisons to Leah, even though I KNOW they are two distinctly different kids. The other day, while looking back at old posts, I came across a post I wrote when Leah was 18 months. From day one, Leah was extremelyย  verbal, but it still made me laugh when I realized that by 18 months Leah could count to three and, at her 15 month appointment, I was told by her pediatrician that she was speaking at a 2 year old level.

And then there’s sweet Claire, who didn’t say “mama” until after her first birthday and who just started consistently walking a few weeks ago. And that’s okay. These girls are so different, each with their own gifts and quirks that make them who they are. So, without further ado, here are some of my current favorite Claire-isms:

~The way she says “what’s that?” while pointing at everything. Claire is unique in the way that “what’s that?” was her first word. Not mama, not dada….but “what’s that?” Inquisitive from day one!

~The way that she still falls asleep in my arms every single night while nursing.

~How affectionate she is. Claire is definitely our cuddly child and she is always quick with a snuggle or a big kiss on the lips.

~The way she waves “bye bye” and always follows it with a big blow kiss while walking away.

~The way she admires and adores her sister. Yes, Leah can get a bit bossy with her at times, but Claire is so fascinated with everything she does and says that she never seems to mind! It’s been so much fun seeing them really start to interact and play with each other in the last month or so.

~The way she is starting to try to say Leah’s name; “Ya Ya!”

~The way she holds hands with Leah in the car, stretching her little arm across the middle seat to reach her.

~The way she thinks every animal says “woof woof!” even when Leah corrects her every time; “Claire, kitty’s do NOT say woof woof!”

~Her special bond with our dog Lucy and her love for feeding her every single thing she is eating (which, let’s be honest, is the sole reason Lucy loves her the most).

~The fact that she’s already a little comedian. The girl just knows she is funny! She will do something cute or silly and then turn to us to see our reaction, while loudly laughing at herself.

~The way she loves music and can’t help but dance when she hears a good beat, especially at church.

This little one has stolen our hearts from day one with her sweet and gentle spirit and her calm demeanor. She has such a fun personality already and I can’t wait to see what the next months bring!

 

Balance

indexThe day started off with a bang. Brett was out of town for the week and poor Claire (and let’s be honest, poor mommy..) had a terrible, sleepless night due to what I’m chalking up to be teething pains.

I let the dog out while Leah completed her morning job of scooping numerous small cups of dog food into Lucy’s bowl. As I readied the coffee maker, Lucy bounded in, tracking in a trail of either poop or mud paw prints. (My money was on poop). She made sure to dance around the kitchen for good measure before letting me corral her back into the mudroom for a good paw cleaning. “Stay out of the kitchen, please!!” I yelled over my shoulder to the girls. Of course, saying those magic words drew them both to the kitchen like a moth to a flame. As I attempted to scrub the prints with Clorox wipes, while keeping my patience with Leah, (“Why do you need to walk where I am cleaning right this very minute?!”) Claire chose that moment to dive face first off the bottom step, slamming her cheek into the floor. Which then left with me the momentary silent debate, “Pick her up and comfort her with my poop hands or let her lie there and scream??” Oh motherhood and the battles we face.

10 minutes later we had a clean kitchen floor and a calm(ish) one year old with an impressive bruise sprouting on her face. I glanced up at the oven clock from my spot on the kitchen floor and realized that, if we hustled, I could make my favorite gym class. I rushed to changed, yelled at Leah 5 times to “PLEASE go potty NOW!” and “Just choose ANY pair of shoes, please!” and we made it to the gym just in time. Leah loves the gym child care (with constant movies playing, slides, and a climbing structure, what’s not to love?!) but Claire is ambivalent at best. Usually I can drop her off with no tears, but when she does cry, it’s usually the half hearted whimper that I know won’t last more than 2 minutes once I walk out the door. This morning, however, she full on monkey clung to me and SCREAMED when I tried to deposit her into the weary arms of the gym employee. “She’ll be fine!” I said, mostly to convince myself more than anyone else, and, taking one last look back at my devastated and screaming toddler, hightailed it out of there.

Once in the gym class, I was overcome with a wave of guilt. Maybe this isn’t worth it. Poor Claire had such a rough morning…maybe she just needs me…this is so mean and selfish of me to do. After setting up my spot in class, I doubled back to the child care to peek into the window (a great feature my gym has!) so I could check on Claire without her seeing me. She looked miserable, but wasn’t crying, so I accepted that she wouldn’t suffer any long term emotional damage from being left, and went back to complete my class. Of course when I picked up the girls and hour later, poor Claire was just standing there at the gate waiting for me, which hurt my mommy heart, but the child care worker convinced me that she was fine the whole time.

Later that day, while texting my sister, I told her how guilty I felt and how I couldn’t help but feel like I was being selfish, putting my own desires and needs about my child’s. She said she totally understood the feeling, but that these moments were just as important for Claire as they are for me. Listen, we all hate when our kids cry and/or get upset when we leave them, but what’s the other option? Never leaving?

Becoming a full time stay-at-home mom this past year has quickly taught me the importance of balance. I love my kids and I became a stay-at-home mom so I could spend my days fully engaged with them. And for the most part, our days are filled with play dates, mommy and me classes, library story time and constant puzzle completing. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t need to carve time during the day for just ME. Most days that just means sitting and reading in the afternoon while the girls nap, instead of hurrying around trying to complete as many chores around the house as possible during my 2 hour window. But sometimes it means dropping my screaming child off at the gym child care so I can get a workout it. Maybe not everyone finds their peace and center while squatting with a weighted barbell on their back, but for me, that’s MY time. My time to let go of being “mom” and instead focus on my body, my own breathing, my own needs.

Working out not only centers me, but it also makes me a calmer, stronger, more rational mom. After a stressful morning, that hour of weight lifting or cardio allows me to pick up the girls from child care and start fresh. It’s like the slate has been wiped clean and the stress of the morning has slipped away. And for me, that’s just as vital to being a good mom as the numerous activities we do for the girls each week. And, maybe this is just wishful thinking on my end, but I’m hoping that leaving Claire for small periods of time is good for her as well. With Leah I worked part time, so she was used to being dropped off at day care each day, but Claire is with me 24/7. Besides the gym and the church nursery, this girl basically never leaves my side. So it is my hope that this small bit of time away from mom will help her learn that it’s okay when mom leaves. The world is not coming to an end! And mom will always come back.

This act of balance is something I’m still working on. As a mom, it’s hard not to forgo your own needs for the sake of your children, because that is what being a mother is all about. However, I’m slowly learning to give myself grace, to allow myself to put my own needs first for the sake of my kids, every once and awhile. Because doing so is making me a better mother, and that is something I am always looking to improve.