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Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Don't Have it All.

*This post is very random and doesn't include a recipe or much talk about food.  Enjoy.*
I don't have it all.

I know, shocking.

Recently I received an email from a reader thanking me for a recipe that worked well for her family and at the end of the message she said, "How do you seem so put together?"


That is the great thing about social media.  You can certainly come across like "you have it all", when really you don't.  I mean, you can lie to the high heavens and know one ever knows it!

Here's the thing I do have a pretty great life, but it is far from perfect.  If you've been a long time reader I've documented some of our personal stories.  Moves, births, job changes, cleaning up our debt, etc.  All of the same stuff normal people go through.  Each phase of our lives has change and I've had to learn to adapt.

This above photo is from vacation in August.  I'm a bit sleep deprived in the photo, I remember this.  I also need to lose the baby weight {working on that}.  But my kids and hubby look great!  This babe is a bit skinny, but she has chunked up since then {read more on that below}.

So here are some answers to that email I got a couple weeks ago.

When I gave birth to my first baby, I was hell bent on breastfeeding through the first year.  Then he came {over 9 lbs.} and he was hungry.  Like any new mom that first week is pretty much hell and heaven smashed together.  My milk supply was low at its best.  I tried it all, pumping round the clock, fenugeek capsules, drinking tons of water, eating fatty foods, pretty much everything except buying donor milk.  So after 3 months I called it quits.  Baby number two came.  Same thing.  Quit at 3 months.

And here we are at baby number three.  Same problem.  I did use some donor milk in the beginning to help supplement, but at 3 months when she wasn't gaining weight, I had to introduce formula.  But this time, I'm happy to say I'm still pumping away and giving her as much breast milk as I can, which is about half of what she eats during the day.  I have a goal of 6 months and we are about to five. 

I consider this a victory.

There was also a time when I was working full-time, then went down to part-time and then eventually this past May became a stay at home mom.  I remember thinking to myself in college how I would NEVER stay at home and not use my well-earned college degree.  I mean, how could anyone waste something that cost so much money?

Then I had kids.  I am the first to admit I'm not the best parent.  I have a tendency to be short fused with them at times, I'm not the best at creative activities and more often than not I'd rather have a quiet house than a loud one.

But with three kids under the age of 5, that just doesn't happen.  I see parent's posting photos on Facebook of their children's accomplishments and I'm at home thinking, "I made it through another day".  Did we accomplish much?  Probably not.  But, the kids are clean, we ate homemade food, we got outside and played and now they are tucked safely in their beds.

I consider this a victory.

As a family we are pretty thrifty.  More so than many, many of my friends and family.  We made a conscious decision two years ago to not spend beyond our means.

This means we stick to a budget, do not use credit cards and work our butts off for things we want and need.  This doesn't always fly in the real world.  It's funny when you look back....how did people spend 100 years ago?  If they didn't have the cash for it, they simply didn't buy it.

I can count numerous times that I've turned down various activities {dinners out, impromptu play dates, quick trips to the next town over to go to Target, etc.}, not because the money wasn't in the bank, but because that money was designated for something else.  Something better.  Something we are saving for.....new carpet, windows, vacation money, etc.

I may be the boring gal who doesn't go out and spend, but in the end when I do buy something it is because I've earned it, not put it on a piece of plastic.

I consider this a victory.

So.  I have this food blog.  Five years running!  I make 80% of our meals homemade.  We do not buy much processed food.  We grocery shop every two weeks, list in hand and buy what we need.

There are days when I would give my pinky finger to have a freezer stocked with frozen meals, that could be easily thawed, thrown in the oven and everyone would eat straight off the tray and dip everything in ranch dressing.  It would be so easy.  But instead, we've made the effort to feed our kids some pretty good food and forgo the crap food.

There are times I'd like to arrive to a gathering with a store bought appetizer tray.  Just once.  But I know everyone would give me crap.  A food blogger bringing something store bought to a party?  The horror.

Some days we still drive by a convenience store around lunch time and I'll pick up a slice a pizza for all of us with cash in hand just because I'm lazy and call it good.  Yes, I do that!  That meal doesn't involve fruits or vegetables.  I just try and not think about it too much and move on.

I consider this a victory.

I recently joined MOPS.  It is an international organization geared towards mothers of preschoolers {that's me!}. We meet twice a month.  I am able to drop off the baby in the nursery {the other two are in school} and I have two hours of undivided time to myself.  And I get to fellowship with other moms my age, going through the same thing.

Some weeks have heavy topics {addiction, finances, etc.}.  Other weeks we just socialize and are happy coming showered and having remembered to brushed our teeth.

I'm learning not to judge other moms for their choices.  We all do things differently.  Feed, clothe, school, etc.  I've found it is easier to give other moms grace, rather than judgment.  This can be hard at times.  We all think we are doing things the best way, but sometimes it takes stepping into other shoes for just those four hours a month to see there are "other" ways too.

I consider this a victory.

There are only 24 hours in a day.  Many days 11:00 a.m. rolls around and I swear it could only be 9:00 a.m.  When the kids wake you up at 5:45 a.m. it makes for a long day, yet goes so quick at the same time.

Most days I feel like I accomplish NOTHING and all I've been doing is picking up the trails left behind from my family members.  Or it's making one meal, cleaning up that meal and already thinking in my head what is the next meal.  {Can't they ever feed themselves?}

There are days that I never leave the house.  When I go to bed at night, I think, did I leave our yard today?  When was the last time I drove somewhere that wasn't a school run?

Then there are days that I purposely make a point to DO SOMETHING.  I tell the husband "I am going to ABC and I'll be back in two hours".

I consider this a victory.

There you have it.

I'm not superwomen and I've never claimed to be.

I wanted this post to be different and dive a little more into my life as a mom, wife and friend.  By no means am I trying to look down on how other families raise their children, cook their meals or do their shopping.  I'm just giving insight into some of my thoughts.

What are the victories in your life?

Would you like to comment?

  1. Steph@Been There Baked ThatOctober 12, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    This is great Ally, you're doing a great job! I think as women we have this preconceived notion that every other woman has it all together, when really we're all doing the very best we know how to.

  2. So well said, Ally!

  3. Thanks for the insight Ally! It's neat to get a peak into other people's lives. This is an area I've been hard on myself lately so it's refreshing to hear that other people don't have it all together either. I think to myself "I stay home, I should be able to have a clean house. I should be really organized so that things run smoothly", but I continually find that's not the case. Thanks for the encouragement. You are doing a great job in life!

  4. Very well said, Ally! Sometimes I wonder what the heck people see in me when they think I "live in a movie" (comment from a good friend the other day on FB). I should consider a blog that just tells people how it is. How trying to live in the present and enjoying what I have now, is such a tug-of-war with where I think I want to be in the future and figuring out what steps are needed to get there. Make sense?

  5. Yep, social media can portray that some people have it all. My blog is my happy place. If I wrote about all my concerns about my husbands health, if he'll qualify for disability so I won't have to worry about being 100% responsible for all our finances, etc., everyone would cry at the end of each post! I love your honesty Ally! We will meet one day! :D

  6. Total sense! But I still want to come to your cabin:)

  7. I think that sometimes we (bloggers) come across like we have it all together but I know for me it is mostly just that I try to keep my blog as a happy place and other than the occasional vent/rant it is usually positive.
    BTW - many years ago I was involved in MOPS - it was a lifesaver for me when I had a baby and toddler!!

  8. The biggest and best job you will ever have in your life is raising your family. You have chosen the best and it's good to see that though each day has it's challenges, overall, you can see that it's a good choice. I also think it's great to let your hair down and show people you are real. I was a MOPS mentor for several years and I think it's such a great organization and supportive of moms at home. I wish that there was an organization designed for single moms as they could use some encouragement as well - haven't figured that out yet. I enjoy reading your posts! Keep it up!

  9. Loved your post Ally! It was very real and personal, which I thank you for sharing. I love that you have found comfort in a MOPS group. I'm so happy that I have my "Story Time" Moms. It is great to be able to have fellowship with others going through similar stages in life.