You got this girl!

You’re pregnant! Yay! After a year, or more, or maybe even less of trying you’re finally going to welcome your first boy, or girl into the world, congrats friend! You immediately start pinning pins on Pinterest, on a secret board of course! It’s way too early to let the cat out of the bag.

A few weeks pass and maybe panic sits in? Do you know what you’re doing? You couldn’t even keep a plant alive, how on earth will you keep another human being alive?!?! Now, I am not saying I am the baby guru, or baby whisper by any means…But, over this past year I have figured out quite a bit, and guess what… You will too!

I currently have four friends who are expecting for the first time…  and have had others who have given birth since I have. I’ve been asked by each of them questions, and even told things like “I’m calling you, I have NO clue what I am doing.”

I shared with them, so I’m going share with you too, the BIG secret (to raising children & being a mommy) to all of you who are expecting…

Wait for it…

There is NO secret! Sure, you can read all the books, Google anything, and everything on the topic (I would advise you to stay away from Google though), but the thing is… You know what you’re doing, you just don’t know that you know, yet.

Things will be hard at first, you might even cry there will be tears, and sleepless nights… But one day you’ll wake up and the things that used to be hard will become second nature, the  new norm. You’ll find strength within yourself that you never knew was there, you will literally amaze yourself. You’ll be a pro in no time, I promise. Your mommy intuition, and natural instincts will kick in. You will do what you thought you couldn’t, and you’ll make it look effortless. You got this girl!

Love,

Brittani, just a wife, mom & teacher

 

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Morning struggles of a working mom…

So, you’re a parent, the joys, and struggles of your morning routine are, well, interesting to say the least. I myself am a working mom and my mornings are nuts, chaotic, hilarious, and sometimes down right UGLY!

Morning struggles of a working parent are sometimes enough to spin you off the deep end, and might even make you want to crawl in a dark place and hide…But, that would mean losing your job, paycheck, house, and let’s just not go down that road…Ok…

I have compiled a list based on personal experiences to try to convey some of the struggles a working parent faces most morning…

  1. THE SNOOZE BUTTON: So, I  set my alarm about 45 minutes before my sweet boy normally wakes up… My logic is that I can be dressed and ready to meet his needs when he wakes up… But, there is this horrible invention called “the snooze button.” This little sucker is the devil himself! I swear, I push it once or twice and those 45 minutes are up, gone, BYE FELICIA! When this happens I usually have to wear day old, or two day old hair & apply my make-up in the parking lot at work…The struggle y’all!!!
  2. BLOWOUTS: Okay so, I didn’t hit the snooze button. I am dressed, bags are packed, and I’m ready to go with my kid in tow…Then, I smell it! The POO! If your one year old is anything like mine, he is all but still for this diaper change. Most of the time I end up with poo on me, or him which requires a wardrobe change of course.
  3. SNUGGLES: So on those mornings when I bypass the snooze button, and little man sleeps until I’m fully dressed, and ready to go; my favorite thing to do is to scoop up my son and steal some snuggles before he is awake. In these moments I completely lose track of time. I’m in the moment, savoring every single second. I’m saying prayers for our day. I’m thanking God for such a beautiful, and perfect little man to love. I’m not sure that I would count this as a struggle, the struggle in this though is that I don’t have to ability to just stay and soak it up longer.
  4. DROP-OFF: Drop-off at daycare can be brutal, especially on days where my sweet boy is extra clingy. The hardest thing I have to do each day when I drop him off is to walk away, add crying out for me, and reaching out for me… Heart… Broken… This doesn’t happen every day, but when it does it literally hurts my soul. His sweet teachers always tell me he calms down in all of about two seconds, but none-the-less it’s a horrible experience.

So, these are my top four morning struggles as a working parent. What are yours? Working parent or stay at home parent, I would love to hear from you!

Love,

Brittani, just a wife, mom & teacher 🙂

Why celebrate ALL women on Mother’s Day?

 

It’s that time of the year again. Flowers, cards, handmade items, Facebook status updates about how much we love our mom, and the cute little #Instagram pics of all the Mother’s Day goodies we received. It’s a wonderful day full of love, and appreciation, and its more than deserved.

You’re a woman arguably one of the hardest things to be on the planet, since we use both sides of our brains, it’s obviously harder than being a man. But, what if your not a mom in the traditional sense? Do we still celebrate you? Why, YES! Of course we do! All women are natural nurtures, we give of ourselves freely, we put others needs above our own, we protect, and defend those we love. If that’s not the definition of a mom to a tee, then I don’t know what you’re smoking!? I am a mom in the traditional sense, I carried my son for 38 weeks, gave birth to him, breast fed him, care for him on a daily basis, love him, play with him, laugh with him, go on walks with him, and the list goes on, and on. I’ve done, and do all these things so now the world recognizes me as a mom…But wait a minute, what about the teachers, nurses, coaches, day-care workers, aunts, friends and all the other titles childless women wear? Are they not also in positions that nurture, and protect children? I have several friends who are teachers and some are also coaches, they are young, beautiful, single, and also childless in the way the world would put it. But, I am here to tell you that they are moms, maybe not in the tradition sense… They love, laugh, play, care for, celebrate, protect, and worry for their students, patients, athletes, and or niece/nephew. They are role models to young people just the same as moms are. They too deserve to be celebrated this mothers day.

To all my friends who love Greyson like their own, to all my friends who are in the trenches of teaching with me, to all my friends who care for children in hospitals, to all my friends who are extraordinary aunts and especially to my sister who is an amazing auntie too! I celebrate you this Mothers Day! Others may ask why, and my answer is simple, you’re a mommy too!

Happy Mother’s Day to all women who love, laugh, play, care for, celebrate, protect, and worry for the little ones in their lives.

Love,

Brittani, just a wife, mom & teacher 🙂

It’s Not A Job, It’s A Blessing…

Have you ever had those moments where you word vomit, and even as the words are spewing out of your mouth you immediately regret them? You literally would rather eat your own foot than anyone else hear the words that you dared to utter…

Before I go on I want to make it clear that I am guilty of referring to my life as a mother as a “job,” don’t get me wrong it is work, there’s absolutely no doubt about that! However, I do regret ever referring to it as a “job” or a “second shift” as a I work outside of the home as a third grade teacher.

Over this past year I have followed some of my friends and family members journeys, and battles they have faced being a mother, and, or trying to become one. I have prayed for miracles in the form of my friends being able to conceive, and others for miricals of healing from illnesses for their sweet babies. I have felt true heartache for them, I have shed tears on their behalf,  I have begged the Lord for mercy on their behalf, I have prayed for their blessings (their children). I have also felt guilt, yes guilt for ever referring to my precious blessing as a “job.” A job, first of all is something that you clock into and clock out of. Being a mother is not a job, it is a blessing, it is life, it is a privilege denied to many. Sure, days are hard. There are battles, and days where you are completely and utterly defeated. There are days where you feel like you just can’t…

After being witness to so many of my friends and family members over this past year I feel such shame and guilt for ever referring to my son as a “job”.  Instead of bearing a bad attitude when my son wakes me up in the middle of the night I need to relish in the sweet moments of holding him while he is so small. The moments we as mothers share with our wee ones will pass all too quickly. I need to be grateful for the “messes” I get to, not have to clean up, the sleepless nights, the long hours, the dirty clothes, the smelly diapers, and all that’s in-between.  I need look at my son for what he truly is, a blessing, not a “job.”

To all the moms, it is hard, it is draining, but it isn’t a “job” it is a blessing often denied to many… When you feel discouraged, lonely, guilty, angry, annoyed and even a little crazy, look at your blessing, hug them, and be thankful for them.

From one mother to another.

With love,

Brittani

An open letter to my sons first teacher…

Hey there,

So, I know that you begin your year way before students arrive. I know how much time, and effort you put into the meticulous planning and arranging of your room. I know that you’ve spent countless hours debating boarders, and themes. I know that you’ve spent several of your own dollars making sure that your room is just right. I know you won’t sleep a wink the night before school. I’m sure my son won’t either. You’ll both lose sleep but, for different reasons. You’ll be too nervous, and he’ll be too excited…

I know the year can be long, hard, and rough. I know there will be days where you repeat yourself hundreds, literally, hundreds of times. I know there will be times where you lose your patience. I know that you will spend hours upon hours planning for authentic, and meaningful lessons. I know that you will spend grueling hours analyzing data, organizing stations, and planning for small groups.

I know these things because I am a teacher too, but I am also a mother.

As a mother please know I am sending you my best. I have spent so much time preparing him for this day. I have put carful planning, and effort into the person he has become. I have spent several hours raising him to be a gentleman, kind, and polite… We are still working on it though. I know there will be times where he is the one you have to repeat instructions for. Once again, please know that I am sending you my best.

You see this is something I have learned in my years as a teacher. Students come to us from all walks of life. Some have experienced more than others, and not always the good stuff either. Some might not know what you think they should before they enter your room… Regardless, you must know every mother sends their best, they aren’t keeping the “good ones” at home, I promise you.

So, on those days where you feel like you’re not getting through, you’ve repeated yourself for the millionth time, and lessons don’t go as planned. Please know, I’m sending you my best. I am thankful for you, and the investment you’re making in my son.

Sincerely,

Greyson’s’ mom & your fellow teacher

PS: You’re doing a great job!

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Initiation into mommy-hood…

Yay! You’ve just given birth to you first bundle of joy! Congrats and welcome to the club…But wait, physically pushing that baby out or enduring a painful c-section isn’t your complete pass into the society that is mommy-hood, oh no, you will experience several initiation activities before you’re truly a part of the club…

Below are some of the ways that you might find yourself being hazed I mean initiated into mommy-hood:

  1. Boogers, EW, especially when they aren’t your own that you find, dried and crusted in your lovely locks. Thanks kid!
  2. Poo & pee, you’re really not a mom until you’ve been projectile poo-ed or peed on. Hope you have your Tide Pen or perhaps a new shirt? Maybe you should just go home and change dear.
  3. Toys, they are EVERYWHERE, and they are always moving around… That bouncer, your shin probably found it last night at 2am on your way to make that bottle. OUCH, that’s going to leave a mark.
  4. Sleep, what’s that? You must perform all life and baby duties with little to no sleep, forever, until you die… You will never sleep again.
  5. Hair pulling, a hair-tie is now your best friend. Thick wavy locks? Sorry friend! Unless you tie your baby’s hands or force them to wear socks on their hands you best invest in hair-ties, pronto!
  6. Projectile vomit, see #2… You should probably start traveling with extra clothes, for you and baby
  7. Cartoons/Kids Netflix, say goodbye to all of your T.V. series, unless it’s after bedtime…and if your kids sleeping you should probably sleep too! Wait, no, you’re never to sleep again. Scratch #7… You can binge watch, Black List and Law and Order after the kids are down.
  8. Social life, what’s that? Unless you’ve got family close by or someone you trust to watch your children, all social activity can only take place on Facebook or Instagram, #awesome.
  9. Shopping, you will do more shopping than ever before except, nothing will be for you, whomp, whomp…

I’m sure this is not a complete list of the initiation process that is mommy-hood as I am a “newbie.” So having said that you more seasoned mommies please share a part of your initiation process into mommy-hood! I would love to know what is in store for me.

#momfail

So, I for the most part consider myself a pretty responsible and organized individual.  I’m always ahead of deadlines; completing house work, cooking dinner, running errants, preparing lesson plans, heck even working on higher education. Most items on my to-do list are done way before their due date. So why, why is it that mom duties seem to fall straight out of my brain!? I seriously have become the MOST forgetful individual on the face of the planet. When I pushed Greyson out did half of my brain come with him?

Here are a few of my recent #momfail moments, maybe you can relate?

  1. Just the other day we went to take family pictures and afterwards we went out to eat. As we were enjoying a lovely meal an aroma that was not quite as pleasant as my California Club made itself known…. That’s right a California Club with a side of “poo.” Lovely, right? So, since mens lavatories don’t have changing tables (PS: Why is that?) I was the lucky winner who got to claim the “prize.” I gathered Greyson’s items from his diaper bag…But…OH NO! Where were the wipes??? Did is seriously forget to pack wipes? Who does that? ME, #momfail! So I got to change Greyson’s poo  (which was more under the category of blow-out i.e., we had leakage) using restaurant quality TP, yippy! It was super durable, by the way… Outcome: now in BJ’s Brewery dumpster rests one of Greyson’s adorable onesies.
  2. Last Saturday my mom, sister and I hit the stores to do some clothes shopping and of course I had Greyson with me…. After shopping we were famished. We got to the restaurant (Ph0-V Noodle, its amazing!) and I began to prepare Greyson’s bottle (that’s right no boob juice here, and he is perfectly normal folks. That was a four month roller coaster btw) and guess who forgot to pack a bottle? This momma, right here, #momfail! Thank the good Lord I had some pureed peaches with me! Whew! Oh but I did drop is spoon while feeding him, twice… A little dirt never hurt… Just kidding totally washed it off.
  3. Laundry is a vicious cycle in my house hold it seriously NEVER ends, like, ever… I am constantly washing Greyson’s clothes to the point where it becomes mindless and when something is mindless mistakes are bound to be made.  The other day I threw all of this sleepers in the wash and completely forgot to switch them over to the dryer until bed time rolled around and I was looking for that sleeper… Seriously? Did my brain fall out of my butt? #momfail!

So, I guess what my point here is that we are human, we have those #momfail moments where we seriously have no idea what we were thinking, or were we even thinking at all? Life is nuts, there are deadlines, errands, homework, chores, laundry, and the list just goes on and on… The #momfail moments are bound to happen. But please momma, remember to give yourself grace in those moments and know how awesome you are. You might feel like a failure and when those moments come, and they will, look at your children. If they are still breathing then I say that’s a #momwin! You’re doing awesome! Keep it up girlfriend!

So, how do we do it….?

Blink, but not for too long….

Tomorrow at exactly 10:39am my son, Greyson will be six months old. That’s 1/2 of a year, 182.5 days or 4380 hours! Time is passing by at such an accelerated rate since my husband and I welcomed our sweet baby boy into this world.

So much has changed in past six months. I have learned several things from learning to function on little or no sleep to being an expert in burping, my son not me.  From all the tricks and trades I have added to my parenting tool box the most important one I have was not acquired during the past six months…

While attending college at Tarleton State University I joined many groups and organizations ranging from Alpha Gamma Delta, Student Government to Paradigm (a college ministry). During my time in Paradigm I was lead by Nick Cooper. Later he would be the one to marry Mikey and I.  I remember a distinct conversation we had the night before our wedding. It was right after our rehearsal at the Old Red Museum, in Dallas. Nick, Mikey and myself sat in a room and went over a few details. At that moment Nick took an opportunity to share some great advice. He went on to tell us how crazy the day would be tomorrow and how everything would pass by before we knew it.  He encouraged us to take mental snapshots throughout the day to focus on the details and to soak in every moment before they were gone. He demonstrated how to do this by simply blinking your eyes, quickly, he said “when you see something you want to remember just blink (quickly) and remember it, keep it with you always.” He was absolutely right! The day flew by, it was here one minute and the then next it was gone…

Throughout our marriage Mikey and I have experienced moments that were so special and incredible that we knew we wanted to keep the memory with us, always.  We would and still do look at each other and blink (quickly).  It’s our way of saying we want to remember this moment, always.

This advice given by Nick has carried over into parenthood.  There have been so many little moments that have come and gone already.  I find my self blinking just fast enough to keep the moment with me, always.  Moments like when Greyson first smiled, rolled over, laughed and reached for me.  The time is passing and will continue to do so. I will continue to soak in the sweet moments by taking mental snapshots.

For my friends out there who are expecting, have recently welcomed a sweet babe or maybe it has been several years since you welcomed your kiddo… It may sound weird but I encourage you to blink, not too long though. Blink quickly, quick enough to take that mental snapshot of all the sweet moments that are and yet to come.

Blink, but not for too long...
Blink, but not for too long…

It’s has been THAT kind of week…

This week has been THAT week. You know the kind where nothing seems right. Everything is in disarray and chaos. Not the organized chaos that you’re used to, you know the kind where the outside eye looking in has no clue what’s going on but to you it’s a beautifully orchestrated symphony and the rhythm is in your time…

This week was poop shit. There I said it, it was like Alexanders day… Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…Only it wasn’t just a day, no, it was an entire week.

Leaving my son each morning this week proved to be more difficult than in weeks past. I spent most of my commutes in tears. I cried out to God, why, why is this so hard? Will these feelings ever cease? Work presented new challenges and new demands (as if teachers don’t already have a full plate) lets just add more, shall we? Just for fun to see if they snap.  It was so bad that I actually applied for new job. Yes! A new job not in education. I was quickly brought back to reality, thanks to my sweet teacher friend who reminded me that I have the best job next to being a mommy.  On top of leaving Greyson each morning and work pushing me to my limits I had my first curriculum assessment of the year.  If there is one thing you should know about teachers it is that we take our test scores personally. They are a reflection of us and our teaching…. I have very high expectations for myself and of my students and we did not exactly meet them this go around. My house is a mess, I have no clean clothes and I may or may not have showered every day this week….. So, you get it. It has been a rough week for me.  Poor me, right? Wrong…

On one of my tear filled commutes this week I was listening to “I Will Praise You In This Storm” by the Casting Crowns… When the chorus chimed in I immediately broke.

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I was quickly grounded back to reality and my senses.  This week has been hard, this week has been my storm but regardless of where I am HE is with me and will see me through. I as I meditated on the words in the song I began to feel guilty convicted (there is a difference). Yes, my week has been rough but, there are so many others that are challenges bigger than mine. Instead of having pity on myself  I began to count my blessings and boy did my perspective change…

  1. Leaving my son for work is hard but I am BLESSED to have a child.
  2. Work is demanding but I am BLESSED to have a job.
  3. My clothes are dirty but I am BLESSED to have something to wear… Even if my jeans can stand up on their own after I take them off….
  4. My house is a disaster zone but I am BLESSED to have a roof over my head.

So, though my week to me has been trying I will chose to praise HIM through my storm. My prayer for you is that wherever you find yourself this week or next that you remember you’re never alone. He is with you through it all. He is making you stronger though the storm and while you’re walking in the rain you might as well count your blessings.