Moms are Women Too

Ladies, I am completely loving the entire woman empowering, survivor believing, standing strong together wave that we have been riding high on for awhile now. It seems like a long time coming, doesn’t it? It truly gives me hope and fills me with a sense of pride to be raising a strong and kick ass baby girl. It is my sincere hope that my daughter be an outspoken supporter and truthfully that my son is as well. There is one thing that has been weighing a little heavy on me though, I have noticed that while we are participating in so much woman empowering Moms are often not included.

Sometimes it seems that when we become mothers we become two different people, a woman as one and a mother the other. While we as women often feel like the only side that is visible is the mom side we try our hardest to still show the world, our children and most importantly ourselves who we were before they came along. While there has been an uproar in banning body shaming, slut shaming, and victim shaming, why does mom shaming not make the list? It is often difficult and disheartening to hear it from other mothers, but I have to be honest with you it is often frustrating and at times infuriating to get it from people who aren’t parents. I have always said, I was a much better parent, when I didn’t have children.

My family is preparing to make a trip out of the country this week and while I have a lot to pack before the trip, I am most anxious about the flight. Yes, I want to make sure that my babies are as comfortable as possible but my biggest stress is other people. Where the mom shaming ties in to all of this is my recent interaction on a Girls Love Travel board post. Now let me say that I think this site is an excellent resource and I have seen women from literally all over the world ban together to help a girl they don’t know traveling alone abroad who felt uncomfortable with how they were being treated by a man in a hostel. A woman on the site tagged another who was close by, and in a very short period of time that girl was picked up in a taxi by another member and safe! THAT is GIRL POWER. inspiring right? They also have rules in place that they call #GTLKindness which is so great in theory, but mom shaming is excluded from this “kindness” why?

I didn’t really follow the board much anymore but I did happen to catch a post written by a woman who clearly had no children going on and on about the huge inconvenience of having to sit next to a 5 year old, and the real kicker, it was solely because the parents wanted the “luxury” of extra leg space and didn’t want to be bothered with their child. Now, I can not speak for all parents but I have never met a parent that would leave their baby unsupervised with a completely random stranger for an unspecified amount of time for their own luxury and comfort. I was really upset by this post because I have seen so many like it. So I did what I usually don’t and commented. I truly had to, I felt and still do! that this was something worth speaking up. I did give a disclaimer and my comment went a little something like this, ‘ I don’t usually comment but this one made my blood boil a little. Moming is HARD and when traveling with babies we are STRESSED. We see the eye rolls, we hear the loud exhales as we are walking down the plane aisle.  I promise we are doing everything in our power to keep our children entertained and quiet. BUT at the end of the end of the day they are KIDS they don’t know any better, you should! Also! unless the parents explicitly told you that they weren’t seated next to one of their children for their own “luxury” you should shut the F up (I didn’t actually write the word) and stop assuming and shaming the parents. You do not know their circumstance or reasoning and it is not ok to publicly assume. Parents and our children are people too and we have as much of a right to be on that plane as you do. Next time you should consider charting a private plane so you don’t need to be bothered with other travelers.’ A bit harsh? Maybe. But I stood by it then and I absolutely stand by it now. Her post seemed obnoxious, entitled and not even remotely kind or considerate to people with children. Like I stated in the comment, WE GET IT. You don’t want to sit next to us or our babies on a flight. I cringe the whole way to my seat and try not to make eye contact. I have an entire carry on devoted to making sure they are quiet and entertained, and someone who doesn’t know a parents circumstance goes on and on about HER inconvenience.

My comment was met with many “likes” I’m assuming from other mothers who felt the exact same way, and some who touted that it is not anyone else’s responsibility to babysit your children on a flight, a comment that I agree with. It was also tagged with a #GTLKindness from a moderator. Imagine that? I am the one being unkind! I quickly responded that I didn’t think this mom shaming post was at all kind, and I hoped she was speaking in general as a reminder to all. I also have to note that I had seen several comments from various mothers noting that the site has become such a mom shaming hub, and that we should be considerate of parents as well. I was in the midst of explaining why we shouldn’t mom shame and while I would feel uncomfortable not having my children next to me at any time, but especially during flight, I am not going to pretend to know anyone else’s circumstances. It did not take me long to write the response, but I did not want to come off as ‘angry’ a term given to firm and outspoken women, and make sure that I hit every point. As I hit post, I realized that my post had been deleted. No warning, or anything other than the #GTLKindness that had been posted before which I had already responded to. No other negative word had been spoken by me and I didn’t even have a chance to respond, before being completely silenced. What was still standing strong? that mom shaming post. What does that say about woman empowerment? What does that say about where mothers stand on the ‘woman’ spectrum? Needless to say I immediately left this group extremely disheartened with the moderators and the female empowerment they say they stand for.

This post is not to shame or to call out only Girls Love Travel. It is so much bigger than that. This is not the only avenue in which I’ve seen people, places, and sites that scream woman empowerment stop short of extending that empowerment, kindness and consideration to mothers. We’ve got to do better as women. Just as we empower and support ALL women, don’t forget that behind the diaper bags, and food spit up stains, the dark circles under our eyes and children in our arms, stands a woman. We are worth empowering too.

Merry Mental Health And a Peaceful New Year

Hi friends! We are in the final countdown for Christmas and there SO many things we still need to get done. With so many things to still check off our list, it is easy to feel a bit out of control. Every year I always say I’m going to Christmas shop through out the year, that we are going to start sending out Christmas cards early so on and so on… Every year I am in the same boat, but maybe that is the thrill of it? At least that is what I tell myself! There is one thing though, that I have firmly checked off my list and I truly see a difference in how I feel through out the year and especially the holidays.

There seems to have been a big shift on where we place importance and finally it is on ourselves, our mental health and our peace of mind. It seems to me that in the years past there has been so much pressure on reconciling with people at the detriment of your own happiness. This year the message has continued to be geared towards keeping strong bonds with your family but where the big difference comes in to play is that while family is important, it is not more important than your own personal healing, and happiness. Family is, has always been and always will be the most important area of my life. As I get older and (hopefully) wiser I understand that while we all deserve love and acceptance not everyone needs or even deserves to be invited in to your space. I have met many friends along the way that haven’t spoken to a parent, a sibling, or other family members and it used to really surprise me. I remember often ending the conversation with “hopefully things will get better and you will be together again”. Sometimes though, it is not meant to and that is perfectly ok.

This is not to say that someone you are having a small issue with should be left alone, or that forgiveness is not worth exploring. But, if there is an issue that threatens your happiness and your peace, if there is a person who continuously causes you pain or attempts to make you feel small; if a person continuously disregards your feelings and ignores your boundaries, then it is ok to cut this toxicity out of your life. There is no guilt in speaking up for yourself or in knowing your value. Looking back, there have been times where I have let the comfort and happiness of others control my boundaries and my feelings. These last two years, inspired by my babies and how I want them to hold strong to their boundaries, I have been more assertive in protecting my peace. Heart racing, voice trembling and knees shaking I will say NO! to anyone that threatens the happiness or the comfort of myself, my children or my husband. We have one life to live, it should be shared with those that truly love you, encourage you and celebrate you. My wish for all of you is that you are surrounded by love, peace, health, and family- whoever that is to you. Healthiest of Holidays, and a peaceful New Year!

Give A Little LOVE. Have A Little Hope

HAPPY MONDAY Mamas!! I am feeling refreshed (well, for a mom of two teeny tinys!) and I can easily tell you why. My #MamaMustHave this week was #datenight! The Mr. and I celebrated 12 years together on Saturday!

The last few night outs that we’ve had, we’ve gone the “fancy” route. Of course it’s fun to get dressed up, especially because we don’t always get to anymore, but sometimes it feels like there’s so much pressure on the night because we don’t get them too often. So to throw it back to old times we went for causal fun and just hung out. You guys! We had the best night, we sat at the bar- no worries about getting the “romantic table” we laughed so hard and even ordered some shots 🙈 Although we love talking about our babes, we only talked about us. We laughed hard at our old 20 year old selves and reminisced. I love Billy as my husband, I adore him as the father of my children. But in the busyness of life, we often forget to value each other as best friends, as partners, and team mates.

We are very fortunate that we have my family very close by so we are able to have the kids taken care of by them. I know not everyone is this lucky and it can be difficult to get out of the house. Dating doesn’t always mean going out, some of the best memories we have or our best times were nights in. I know we get tired and it’s hard! So this week I challenge you mamas, set the intention for love. Set up your mind for love, and open your heart to it. Do one thing every day that you feel you are putting off or to enhance the romance.

Send a flirty text.

Post a love note on the mirror.

Go in for a kiss, the REAL THING not just a peck on the lips.

Ask him to dance.

Pat him on the butt.

Give him a wink.

Turn the tv off and have dinner at the table.

Bring up a funny or a favorite memory, and reminisce.

Hug. Hold Hands. Touch.

I also want to say, my last two mama must haves have been seemingly centered around my husband. As women, we always know when we need something from our relationships and often want our husbands to ‘just know’ what to do. (Maybe that’s just me?!) But I found that while I wanted my husband to be more loving, or romantic or whatever the case may be that I wasn’t showing those same actions in my relationship. Treat others how you would like to be treated, that’s what we teach our babies, right? When we are shown love, when we are praised we often blossom and want to do the same for the other. So while it may seem like maybe you are the one putting in the work at the beginning, you will see that return to you tenfold. Equally important, your babies will be a witness and learn how to love and respect someone and especially the kind of love and respect they will always deserve.

Let me know how you showed and opened your heart to love this week! I am always looking for new ideas. Let me know how it made YOU feel to woo your partner!

Damn Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I know there will be a lot of cooking, and celebrating, going on today and I am so giddy thinking about my babes gathered around the table with my family and truly engaging and being a part of all of the holiday cheer. This year while amazing, has gone by literally in a blink of an eye ,and I know that is so cliché to say, but really you guys how is it almost over? Being a mom is non stop, and being a mom to two under two- 14 months apart was such a whirlwind for me! Just recently we were cleaning out all closets to make room for our winter wardrobe (we live in sunny so cal! So winter means it is under 70 degrees and we consider that cold!) and I was looking at my baby boys newborn clothes and I started sobbing. Did I miss it? Of course we interacted with him, but I feel like with our daughter all of our attention was so focused on her that we truly soaked up every move she made. Now, my son is only (already!) 8 months old so I know we still get him for so long but 8 months! He is trying so hard to walk and chase after his big sister, he is so expressive, and is always smiling and laughing. I wish we could all stay like this forever!! That being said, I have chosen to reflect, REALLY reflect and not the typical “I’m so thankful because…” half thoughts that I’ve had before. I feel after all of the horrible things that have gone on this year we owe it to ourselves and our families to really stop and stare at them and wonder aloud “How did I get so damn lucky?!” So these are a few of the people and things I am thankful for this year!

  1. I am thankful for my husband. Loving is hard. It is not the memes and the movies all of the time. It can’t be and it shouldn’t be. Being a parent while finding time for yourselves is hard. Dating and talking about anything else besides the babies when they practically consume your whole life? Hard. I am thankful for my husband because he tries even when its hard. It is not always the grand gestures that he always used to make like whisking me away on a surprise getaway that does it for me anymore (babe if you’re reading this, surprise getaways are still nice though!) it is little things, subtle things, thoughtful things. We were all at the table the other day, and my babies were laughing and eating and we had the music going and Billy and I were meal prepping and ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz started playing and he quickly looks up at me and asks “you know what this is from don’t you?” In 2009, Billy and I took a trip to Hawaii. Our first big trip as a couple, we rented a convertible and drove all over that gorgeous island and that song played every 2 minutes on every station. It became sort of like an anthem for us and we heard it everywhere after that. Of course, the song is gorgeous and popular so that is why it was everywhere but in our world it was always playing just for us. It was and is ‘our’ song, one of a few. He asked me to dance, in the middle of the kitchen and there we were. In front of our babies, the song from our early twenties playing and us, 9 years later. This is how I want to think of him. Not all days are like this, But I have days like this. I am loved. Through the easy days, and on the hard days, through laughter and tears and stress and every other emotion imaginable- I am loved. I get to sleep next to someone who sometimes knows me better than I know myself, even after all of these years.
  2. I am thankful for my daughter. Oh my wild child, my free spirit, my carefree hair flying in the wind, laughs loud freely and courageously. I could write endless novels about how her hair glistens in the light, how her smile shames the sun itself. She is the kind of girl that is the pure reason poetry was invented, and songs are worth listening to, and gives an entirely new meaning to the word love in fact she gave it meaning to me. I’ve known love in my life time but there is nothing that can compare to the overwhelming emotion of having your first baby placed on your chest. I could and I will, but I am literally already crying. So Valentina, you are the reason the word thankful exists in my vocabulary and the reason it truly means something to me. You made me a Mother. My heart longed for you since the day I held my first baby doll. While so many little girls dream of their wedding and moving on the amazing ambition of a career, my heart always longed for you. I knew being a mother would be the greatest thing I could ever do, and while there are not enough things that I could do for you and not enough words in the english language to praise you, I am thankful for you.
  1. This is actually #2 as well. I am thankful for my son. My sweet, beautiful, growing up entirely way to quick, thoughtful, curious, and perfect little boy. My heart needed you. It called for you before my brain had time to catch up. You have taught this family so much and it is so clear that you were wonderfully and fearfully made solely for us. You were meant for me. The second you were placed on my chest, I recognized you. I’ve had you for only 8 months, but your soul and my soul are very old friends. If we do live more than one lifetime, my son and I? We are meant to be together through them all. I remember being so afraid of not being able to love a second child as much as my first but my God how I adored you the second you came kicking and screaming into the world. When we locked eyes my heart grew so big, big enough to give you and your sister more love than you could ever endure. More love than you will ever want, especially when you are in middle school and high school and mama still wants to smother you with kisses and pictures in front of your classroom. I like you forever, I’ll love you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. I am thankful for you.
  1. I am thankful for my heart, my love and the courage that they give me. While I am blessed much more than I deserve, it is not always easy. Being a mom and for me, being a mom to two under two is hard, some days more than others. I am thankful for my own endurance, my ability to keep moving forward and doing what needs to be done for my family. I am thankful for how much love my heart has to give to my family, even on the days when I don’t show it to myself. I am thankful for my courage and strength as a mother, to stand strong as their caregiver and protector. I guard them from everything and everyone that does not add value to their lives and while I know I will not be able to do that forever, I will absolutely try. I am thankful for this body that carried them and that nourished them long after birth and that will continue to nourish them in different ways as long as I live.
  1. I am thankful for cameras. I know the age of cameras and phones being everywhere is a double edged sword but there are a few great things about them. I have so many memories on video and over 18,000 pictures at my disposal and I fawn over them often. When I think and feel sad about missing my baby boys newborn stage I have proof at the tip of my fingers at just how much I’ve loved him, and stared and wrapped him up in my arms daily. I have so many memories of all the new things my girl learns every day, and how much zest she has for life. All the magic in the mundane of our everyday lives.

I am filled with gratitude for all of the people in our lives that send us positive vibes and love us and most importantly our babies. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done we are the ones that are together always. We are the ones that experience all of the ups and downs on a day to day basis and the ones that take care of each other and lift each other up. Today, I will not think about all the stuff that I do not have that I can’t wait to get tomorrow. Today, I will not think about all of things that are wrong, my perceived failures or the ones of my husband. I will hug them, love them, and be so unbelievably grateful to have them. Many, especially in this time of senseless shootings and horrid fires, do not have that privilege. Today, I am thankful.

 

Dr. Ford, I Hear You. I See You. I BELIEVE You.

When I first started really committing to starting my new adventure in to blogging, I was hoping to stay neutral when possible and not even touch on politics. In my personal life, this has not been the position that I take as I am pretty vocal about where I stand. I want to make sure that I provide an inclusive environment for all mamas that may have different beliefs than I.  However, I could not stay silent on this issue. Isn’t that kind of the lesson that Dr. Ford has sacrificed herself to remind us? I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!! I wrote down my initial feelings after watching the entire trial.

Watching the hearings and the strong, courageous Dr. Ford recount her traumatic experience I was constantly moved to tears. I lost count of how many times I would pause it and hug my girl and beg God or whoever was listening to please protect my daughter and my sister. I actually do this daily.

I want to say THANK YOU to women and men I admire that have so courageously, unselfishly and POWERFULLY shared their stories (especially my friends who have shared publicly) and to my very dear and self made friend who despite not always having support by her own family  constantly champions for women in EVERY arena.

Because of all of you I pray that maybe one day, especially in my daughters life time she will not fear for her safety SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN an actual BURDEN in this day. I wish that some day when her daughter excitedly shares that she got accepted to an amazing university she can wholeheartedly be happy and excited instead of immediately checking for the rape count in the area like I did with my baby sister- like I still constantly do. I hope that by holding rapists, assailants, and “horny teenagers” accountable it will be the beginning of women actually living their life without having to constantly look over their shoulder. I hope that one day instead of telling my sister to always look around her and make eye contact with any man she sees, ask her not to look at her phone while she is alone, not go in to restrooms alone and harassing her with data and stories until she is basically fearful every second of every day, men will learn to have basic decency and respect and leave us alone. I wish that one day as mothers we can feel at peace with our daughters experiencing life on their own instead of having constant conversations of which preschools and camps have constant camera surveillance.

As a woman I should not need to be fearful of going out with my children alone, yet this week I’ve already seen and heard 6 different stories about women and children being targeted. I should not have to make basic plumber or any home appointments only when my husband is home because I don’t want to be alone in my home when a man comes.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: LISTEN. BELIEVE.

Also, don’t perpetuate rape culture. These “funny” pictures of naked women, the crude uncomfortable jokes.. we are HUMAN BEINGS, EQUAL, not play things for your amusement. While sharing these “casually” might seem harmless, while some even BOAST about offending others, just remember that someone is watching and they can see something like that and take it literally, they can run with it. Luckily with all of the uprising of strong women and the good men standing behind us we are showing that we will not stand for it any longer.

Lastly for the ones who have never dealt with assault, who have never feared for their safety, who have never had to call campus security or gone to customer service at a store to walk them to their car because the sun happened to be down. THIS IS WHY WOMEN DONT REPORT. Because they get re victimized. Because sometimes, it is easier to keep your mouth shut and that is the most horrific crime of all.

Again, thank you to all of the courageous survivors who have so fearlessly taken back their power and shared their story. I hear you. I see you. I BELIEVE You.