Mama, You Are Beautiful.

Yes, I’m talking to you.

Every stretch mark.

Every scar.

Every stitch.

Every bag under your eyes.

The milk-stained shirt.

The yoga pants with baby food splattered on them.

You are beautiful. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you haven’t showered in days. Believe me, I’ve been there.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had my little girl. I still cannot believe she is going to be one! It’s been the most rewarding and the most challenging year of my life. With everything going on, sometimes I forget about myself. Honestly, I feel weird for wanting time to myself when I know I should be doing other things. So I usually come last. Last to eat, last to shower, etc. I haven’t gotten my nails done or my hair since she’s been here. Granted, the coronavirus happened and shut everything down, but my point still stands. It’s a good day when I put on makeup. It’s a MIRACLE if I can do my hair as well. I know I’m not the only new mother who feels this way.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s okay to be a little selfish and do something for you. I know, I know. I heard the gasps and saw the large eyes in my head as I was typing that. However, I believe we need to be a little selfish once in a while for our mental health’s sake. I suffered with the baby blues, which almost turned into full blown postpartum depression. Thankfully I had my husband, mom, and mother-in-law to help me through it. They told me to go take a nap, to go out and get some air, to go and just take a break. They told me to take care of myself.

Sometimes it’s hard when you don’t look the same. There’s new rolls that you’ve never had before. Your hips grew. The pooch isn’t going away, even though you’re breastfeeding and you thought that would be the answer to losing the baby weight (if you can’t tell, I’m a little bitter about this one in particular). At the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that our bodies are incredible. God designed us so intricately and gave us the ability to grow a new human. Our organs shifted and our hormones went crazy all for this little one we so desperately love. When my baby runs up to me and gives me a big hug, it reminds me that every change we go through is worth it.

I want to challenge you. Take twenty minutes for yourself every day. I’m not talking about your time alone with Jesus. I’m talking about your time alone with YOU. Read a book. Go get your nails done. Rest your eyes. Ask your hubby to take the baby and other kiddos for a little while. If you’re a single mama, first of all you’re a rockstar, but maybe that time alone is trickier. I would suggest getting a friend or someone to come babysit for just a little while. Yes, I’m giving you permission to leave mom duty aside.

When the guilt starts to creep up on you, I want you to remember this: if you want to be the best you can be for your spouse, your children, your job, etc., you have to take care of yourself.

With love,

Em.

Mama, Get Off Your Phone.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. This is also to myself because I struggle with this daily. It’s something that I think many of us struggle with, regardless of whether we have kids or not. Our phones are a thief of our time. They also destroy our self-esteem. They create monsters inside of us called jealousy when we see an influencer’s new wardrobe, or their third new home in the last few years; each one more grand than the last. I should know because I’ve experienced these emotions and consequences. Yet it does have its virtues believe it or not.

Our phones connect us in ways past generations thought impossible. My daughter loves to FaceTime our family that lives 1,000 miles away. We can send pictures and videos instantly to our friends and relatives. Our phones also give us the ability to find the best deals on Facebook Marketplace, for example. Youtubers give us opinions and advice about products for our littles so we can make a sound purchase. See, I told you our phones have some good qualities!

Yet how many moments have I lost scrolling through Instagram, or watching video after video on Youtube? Moments of my daughter’s life and mine that I cannot get back. I believe that we would have so much “more time,” if we took a minute to see how much we waste on our devices. I love the screen time feature on the Apple iPhone. It was a rude wake up call to see how many endless hours I was wasting on my phone PER DAY. I’ll get transparent so you don’t have to feel as bad. I was averaging about five hours a day on my phone. What the heck?? I will also admit that it was mainly social media that was stealing that much of my time. Endless scrolling and mindless viewing.

I got to work and thought about what I could do with five hours of my day. I could definitely work on laundry. I could finish that book that’s been sitting on my bedside table for a year. I could throw in a thirty minute workout that I keep telling myself I don’t have time for. I could work on a mommy blog that I’ve been dreaming about (hello!) and make it a reality. There’s so much you could do that you “don’t have time for” if you looked up from your phone.

You know, it’s incredible how much comparison steals our happiness. I have to keep myself in check every day when looking on Instagram. I see her immaculate house, her expensive wardrobe, the endless hauls of hundreds of dollars she spent on a whim, the exotic trip that we all know cost her nothing because it was sponsored. That green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head and I become ungrateful for everything I do have. Do you want to know the secret to squashing that annoying monster? Get off your phone. If you’re a christian, get in your Bible. I cannot tell you how much better my day goes when I reach for His Word in the morning when I wake up before I open social media. If you’re not a christian, then I suggest keeping a notebook and write down a list of what you’re thankful for. How about the roof over your head? The fact that you were able to eat dinner last night? The fact that you and your family are in good health? How about the realization that it’s a luxury to have a smart phone? (Obviously these are examples, and it is different for everyone.) I remember always hearing, “If you have breath in your lungs, thank the Lord, because He’s the one who put it there.” How many times do we ever think about how blessed we are to be alive? Probably never. We’re too busy complaining about things we don’t have.

I hope this was encouraging for someone. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to someone else. No one in particular, I promise. I meant in general. I want to challenge you to utilize that screen time feature on your phone and schedule a part of your day where social media is blocked. Put your phone in your bedroom, in a drawer, in a safe, I don’t know. Just leave it somewhere you can’t get to it. Take a minute and breathe. Start on that hobby you’ve wanted to learn. Read a book. Journal. Go on that walk you didn’t have time for. Crack open those dusty recipe books and find a new one that looks delicious. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve done this. Leave me a comment or connect with me on the contact page! Or we can add each other on social media (I know it sounds ironic, but if it’s in your allotted time I’ll allow it ๐Ÿ˜‰) and let me know that my blog sent you!

Let’s to this challenge together. Starting the month of July. Let’s go.

With love,

Emily