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Yeah…Immaeatthat

Sep 02

mom life.

I wanted to share a mom life update today. As you’ve likely noticed, these posts tend to be more about me and my experiences in family life than about my kids stages and changes. When the kids were babies it felt like they were an extension of me and I didn’t mind sharing them, but now Jo is so clearly her own person and I like protecting their privacy as they get older.

^ Watching a rainstorm from the sunroom. Easily a favorite thing about this house!

Being off social media

The biggest reason I stepped away from social media was because I noticed when I was home with my family I’d be thinking about what was the best way to frame this shot for the internet. It bothered me so much to think about my life as potential moments to be shared. It took about 2 months for my brain to stop thinking about my days like this and now when I’m home with the girls I feel like I don’t have many ulterior motives to spending time with them (I do think social media can help one notice and draw attention to the joyful moments in the day, but ultimately decided it wasn’t right for me and our family). A simple, quiet life with my family and continuing to learn and know my worth in Christ is what I want. And a pool lol. I wouldn’t mind putting in a pool because holy crap if we’re going to stay in Houston (which I imagine we will) we’ve gotta figure out a way to help the heat be bearable. But ultimately, when it comes to social media, the more I lean out of other’s lives and into my own life/community the better my life gets. Life feels simplified, way more connected, and way less confusing.

I would at some point like to have a professional Instagram presence, but I don’t know if I can handle that or if I’ll just let it go. When I was building my nutrition practice I needed instagram and the blog to get client referrals, but that isn’t the case anymore as I have great therapists I work with in Houston and across the US who send clients who need support my way. The blog I love. I think it does a lot of good. Instagram I don’t love for my work. It’s fast and loud and shallow and lacks deep connection and engagement (imo).

Parenting with Andrew

Learning to parent with Andrew has been really hard. We ended up starting to see a marriage counselor and it’s been really helpful. This all gets really personal and I’m going to limit what is shared here. We’ve made a lot of changes and I don’t feel like I’m in the trenches of parenting alone anymore and that has helped significantly reduce my resentment towards Andrew. Specific changes I’m okay sharing: switching daycares so Andrew can help with daycare drop off and pick ups regularly, getting on a bath time schedule so each of us knows the nights we have off to do something rejuvenating, and Andrew’s started teaching me how to play golf, so once a week we try to make it to the driving range in our neighborhood before we pick up the girls from school.

^ I have no idea what I’m doing lol, but I didn’t miss the ball every single time!

We’ve gone through the Prepare/Enrich martial counseling questionnaire (maybe some of you have done it if you did extensive pre-marital counseling…we did not. Honestly I don’t feel like we were mature enough when we got married to handle pre-marital counseling.) and that’s given us a lot of helpful information to identify growth areas for us. There’s a lot of other things that have come up and I feel like if I can’t figure them out in the safety of my marriage (the safest and most secure relationship I have) I won’t be able to figure it out in other relationships. I’m grateful for marriage and the chance to know someone and be known so well. Ultimately I feel like counseling has helped us be more engaged and connected as a family and that is really important to me.

Things I’ve realized for myself:

  • Shifting my mindset to remember that every member of my family is needed as a part of my family, instead of thinking this person doesn’t fit into the vision I expected of my family.
  • Not suppressing myself when I’m frustrated (basically not avoiding conflict) will lead to a stronger and more honest marriage. Avoiding conflict will lead to division. And I’ve been thinking that avoidance for me is a form of dishonesty. And while avoidance appears to be more peaceful in the moment, it’s not in the long run.
  • Unchecked and building resentment will destroy our family. COMMUNICATE.
  • I now see avoidance of problems and unchecked resentment for what they are…schemes of the devil.

How to Stop Losing your Sh*t with Your Kids

I just listened to this book and really liked it. The basic premise was that in parenthood our buttons get pushed, so we have to find a way to make our buttons as small and un-pushable as possible through self care. Her self care recommendations are the “s’s”: single tasking (stopping multitasking), sleep, support, self compassion, space from kids, stillness, simplification of anything.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Do you really want to hinge your sanity on someone who licks walls and melts down over a misshapen piece of toast?”

“No one effortlessly has life together in a consistent and ongoing way.”

“You can’t willpower your way out of exhaustion.”

“I am [Jojo and Ella’s] prefrontal cortex until they’re in their 20s when it is fully developed. They make decisions off of their limbic system. Your limbic system comes into play if your prefrontal cortex goes off-line because of exhaustion, constantly getting your buttons pushed, overwhelm, etc.”

And my favorite: “Don’t practice something you don’t want to get better at.”

Daily prayer for days I stay at home with kids

I feel like we are in a particularly fussy season with the girls lately. It brings me to the edge of my sanity (daily. Parents of older kids, is this my future? Or does it get less taxing?), so lately something included in my morning prayer has been, “Lord, help me notice and enjoy the times the girls aren’t fussy today.” It has helped.

The few jobs I had in high school and college I hated because at all of them I would find myself watching the clock, wishing the time would pass faster. One of the criteria I wanted for my career was to have a job that I enjoyed enough that I didn’t find myself staring at the clock all day. In my professional life I’ve found this and enjoy my work, however days I stay at home with the kids I find myself watching the clock…in unbelief that it is somehow ONLY 1:30PM (or worse, only 9:30am lol)! It makes me sad, but I think it just is what it is. Days with littles are exhausting and long and lacking compliance. So many times a day I feel myself wanting just that…the children to be compliant. For instance, “hey you guys, let’s put on our shoes and get in the car.” And then for that to actually happen without me intervening sounds like the stuff of dreams!!

We have considered sending the girls to school 5 days a week instead of 3, but honestly I miss them and want to spend time with them after being away from them during the days I work, even if an hour into those days sometimes everyone is a hot freaking mess of emotions and I’m like this is what I was missing yesterday?!!! Oh, the ups and downs. And I don’t feel like sending them 5 days would fix my motherhood struggles. I’d rather just stay the course at the moment and keep bringing more ease into our days through massively decreased expectations and accepting that life with littles, while I expected it to be effortlessly fulfilling and fun, is for sure magical and wonder-filled, but also boring, messy, involves more tv than I thought, involves more me working on my computer sometimes, exhausting and, as aforementioned, lacking compliance.

^ Isn’t this such a classic family photo? I’m so thrilled we captured this moment loll

I’ve also been praying a lot for me to clearly be able to see and remember the purpose of motherhood and to just have a biblically realistic view of this time period. I don’t expect it to be all joy, but I feel I swing towards the chronically pessimistic side of things a lot. I want to be honest about what causes me to groan (like literally I emit a low frustrated groan from my mouth regularly), but I’d like to be able to shift into a more hopeful groaning space. Our small group is about to study Ecclesiastes, so I’m hoping that will be helpful around what it means to walk with God through the fog of seasons and have more realistic expectations. Any women who want to give me encouragement in this area, I’m all ears.

Fun with the girls

I love to do things for the girls that I think they’ll have happy memories of. For instance, for Jo I’ve started doing hot chocolate and bath time randomly, where she drinks a fancy milk frothed hot chocolate in the bath and it’s so extra but she loves it and it’s a fun something special to do.

Also bath related, one of my favorite things to do lately is when Ella is taking a nap Jojo and I will get in a bubble bath together. I’ll put on a face mask and relax and Jo will play with her bath toys and bubbles…all while playing the Frozen 2 soundtrack and we sing the songs together. If that buys me 5 minutes of peace and I end up with only a few bath toys to the face it’s a victory.

And one day a week we’ve started getting kolaches and going to a park with a lot of open space to starting the day with breakfast and playing outside. I really enjoy that and it feels like special, important time together. Typically the girls just go in their pjs and it just feels really thrown together and fun.

And lastly, both Jo and I love Wild Kratts. That show is so good!

Motherhood is humbling.

When Jo was about a year we were out at Chick-fila and I remember another mom losing her mind on her 5 yr old son and screamed, “all you ever do is disappoint me.” At the time I remember being horrified, but then just this past week on an exceptionally fussy day I had the thought, “all you guys ever do is frustrate me” towards my kids. Motherhood is a hard and humbling job.

When motherhood is hard I’ve noticed that my default thought is, “I must be doing something wrong.” Lately I’ve been reframing that by reminding myself that some days are just awful and nothing needs to change necessarily. Just acknowledging a bad day as a bad day and nothing more.

(^seems safe.)

Any tips or thoughts? I do have a lot of body image thoughts swirling in my head lately, but I’m going to save those for another post, since this one is already a bit lengthy and I’d like a little bit more time to think them through. See you guys back here next Wednesday!

43 comments on “mom life.”

  1. So much helpful and good stuff here, and I’m not even a parent! Thanks for sharing so honestly! That is something I have always and will continue to appreciate about your blog, and something that keeps me coming back.

    I read Ecclesiastes 3:11 about God making everything beautiful in its time, and asked myself if I’m looking for that beauty. You’ve given some great examples here of doing just that. Thank you!

  2. This was amazing. Thanks for being so honest! I am going to make my boyfriend read this too because I think it is just that good and important. :)

    I think this is a really hard time for everyone right now, regardless of what life stage they are in. It helps to know that others don’t have it all together either. Sending good thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I really think better days are ahead!

  3. Kylie, I started reading your blog when my second daughter was born in 2014 and I realized that I didn’t want to pass on my disordered eating behaviours to my children. It’s been such an amazing and liberating journey and I will forever be grateful for you and your blog.

    My girls are 19 months apart and I laughed when you mentioned that one of your coping mechanisms was to lower your expectations. It looks like you got this. I remember wanting to divorce my husband on a weekly basis and being angry all the time. It helped me to realize that anger was a secondary emotion and to dig deep to work through my issues. It was hard but also a period of immense growth for myself and my marriage. You’ll be okay.

    And yes, it gets so much easier! When my youngest turned 2 and then 3 everything just seemed to fall into place. My daughters are 6 and 7 now and it’s such a fun age with lots of amazing moments. 

    Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day!

    • Hi Alice! So glad to hear the blog has been helpful for you! I think we’re in an immense growth season right now too and it’s good, but exhausting. Thanks for the encouragement and for normalizing the situation. I appreciate it!

  4. I love how honest you are in your parenting posts. I thought of this blog post by Glennon Doyle when I was reading. It look me a long time to realize that every moment doesn’t have to be enjoyable, but I want to get better at recognizing and savoring them when they are.
    https://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/

  5. I loved this post. So honest and real. My girls are almost 11 and 13 and we are in a sweet spot. I love everything about parenting right now and I definitely could not say that when they were 1 and 3 (or 2 and 4 etc). I think you have made some great changes that will only enhance your self care, your marriage, and your relationship with your girls.
    Marriage is hard, especially (in my opinion) years 7-10 or so. We are on year 18 and its better than ever. We grow together and learn from our mistakes and the older we get, the better we get. I pray you experience that as well!

  6. Wow! So many things in this resonated with me and my kids are grown up and gone! It brought back so many memories when ours were little. I wish I had know these things then! And your words about social media…so good! Thank you! I needed to have that extra nudge from the Holy Spirit through you. Blessings on whatever day God gives to you.

  7. Marriage is so hard. Marriage counseling has been so helpful for us! I totally relate to this statement –> “Not suppressing myself when I’m frustrated (basically not avoiding conflict) will lead to a stronger and more honest marriage. Avoiding conflict will lead to division. And I’ve been thinking that avoidance for me is a form of dishonesty. And while avoidance appears to be more peaceful in the moment, it’s not in the long run” Definitely something I am learning! Always enjoy your honesty & your posts. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. I love your thoughts on counseling. Honestly, I think most couples would benefit from marriage counseling. I was just telling my sister the other day—it doesn’t mean you aren’t committed or that your marriage is falling apart (gasp)—it means that some seasons are really hard and it’s smart and helpful to seek help navigating those seasons well. It means you care enough about your marriage to actually look at the hard things and get qualified help to work through them. But I think sometimes (especially as Christians) there is this pressure that admitting you need help automatically means you’ve failed. That’s so crazy and unhelpful.

  9. Thank you for sharing and being open and honest. Marriage is so hard with young kids and especially with a baby. I love how you are learning to golf and making time for you and your husband to find time to enjoy each other. 

    My kids start school next week and I know our lives are about to change so much and I will miss them every day. I also know that it is important for me to take care of myself and I don’t do that when they are home. So hard to accept this. 

  10. Kylie, I want to thank you so much for sharing and for being open and real. Matt and I are not yet ready to add a child, but I would like for it to hopefully happen next year. That said, I am so aware of how much effort, work, patience, and selflessness will be required, but even still I can’t imagine it completely. The older I get, the reality of it all becomes obvious, and not that that will prevent me from trying to become a mom, I’m also not naive. It can be really scary and HARD. We had to pause our house search again because it has been such a nightmare. From the market being insane to us fighting, it has not been fun. We decided to seek marriage counseling, and while we’ve not gone for long, I can tell it has helped so much. The house search has been, at the surface, our main point of contention, but we knew it went deeper. We need that unbiased professional to help us navigate and cultivate better communication. You are doing a really great job. Your girls will realize how much you love them and all the sacrifices you made. It’s just as though you’re in the trenches right now, but I have faith you all will enter a much better stage. Covid doesn’t help either!

  11. My favorite quote of the post: “A simple, quiet life with my family and continuing to learn and know my worth in Christ is what I want. And a pool lol.” Same, girl!
    Honestly though I really appreciate your vulnerability as you speak about motherhood and marriage, it is so helpful for me. Thank you!

  12. Just wanted to confirm that the kid stage you’re in now is hard!
    But it will pass! I do think it gets easier in some ways as kids grow
    and need mom less intensely. From the mom of a 7 and 9 year olds- good and FUN days are coming!!

  13. Kylie, you have such a gift expressing yourself and conveying a message! I can see that you are an AWESOME mother. I had one boy / I think raising girls is more difficult (lol). Everyone experiences hard times in marriage…celebrated our 29th in July. I know social media is HUGE in our society, but it’s hard for me to understand it all (cuz I am old and thankfully did not grow up with it!) I wish I had had one tenth of your maturity and wisdom at your age! I look forward to each Wednesday post AND your girls are sooooooo adorable!!!

  14. Thank you for another real, honest, and beautiful post! I’m a long time reader of your blog and am now a new mother to a three month old daughter. Since becoming a mother, I have taken a step back from social media. I realize I get so much more done in a day and I really don’t miss it. Also, I can really focus on my relationship with God and spending time in the word. I want to be a present mother and wife, and figure out how to best do some part-time teaching online from home during this time. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance as a mother, wife, and believer. Your blog truly brings joy to my life and I enjoy reading your posts! Thanks for sharing!

  15. First of all, you seem like such a wonderful and mindful Mom! Good work! I am a new mom to an almost 3 month old so I have very little real world experience, but I do follow an account on Instagram I think you’d love. Check out @biglittlefeelings – they have really shifted my thought process with comforting and supporting kids, and I can’t wait to implement some of their techniques as my guy gets older. They may have some tips that are helpful to you in your current stage with the girls!

  16. I loved this post! Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable. I definitely had the expectation that motherhood would be “effortlessly fulfilling and fun” and I am still working my way through breaking down that expectation. Some days I wonder what even is the purpose. It is all SO. MUCH. WORK. But then when my baby giggles and smiles at me, all my frustrations disappear. A year or so ago, my husband and I read “Sacred Marriage,” and the tag line is what if marriage was created to make us more holy rather than happy. I also think this applies to parenthood. Being a parent is helping me realize how much I really do need Jesus’ strength and is ultimately molding me into someone more Christ-like than I would have been. You’re doing great mama!

  17. Love this and your realness and your perspective on real life / social media. Thanks for sharing. And you’re doing a great job with your girls!! Also love the idea of the “extra” baths – must copy!!!

  18. Thanks so much for the post! I’m a new-ish mom to a 9-month-old and the past few weeks have been trying, to say the least (teething, learning to crawl, etc). When you wrote “When motherhood is hard I’ve noticed that my default thought is, “I must be doing something wrong.”” I immediately thought YES. I find myself constantly doubting everything I’m doing and every decision I’m making (and then I take these frustrations out on my husband). But you’re right, some days just suck. I’m trying my best to embrace all of the ups and the downs! 

  19. So appreciate you, Kylie! I love your courageous vulnerability. Thanks for your bravery.

  20. I am always impacted by the honesty of your posts and hope you realize what a blessing that is to others. Something that has helped me greatly is remembering that God’s hand is in each moment of our days. He choose these specific little people to be a part of our family and He orchestrates each moment to shape us into the image of Christ. I believe motherhood will continually be a struggle in one form or another so that we are always aware of our need for God. 

    “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

    The most beautiful part of our inadequacies is that they are opportunities to point our children to the Lord. That when I blow it and yell at my son, I can use it as an opportunity to model asking for forgiveness and remind him of my constant need for Jesus. If we were ever perfect parents we would miss those moments! 

    I think you are doing a wonderful job and are already doing all the right things! Someone I enjoy reading/listening to is Sally Clarkson. Always so good! 

  21. Wow I resonate so much with this post! Relationships are hard work period and then adding in little people that can’t even think or speak throws another loop. I’ve found that stepping back from social media but keeping watching encouraging videos from moms I admire(several have Vlogs I’ve followed for years) helps me to see their days that aren’t perfect and they have a biblical view of motherhood. This doesn’t cause any competition or comparison and instead encourages me because I see moms ahead of me in their journey that are genuinely trying to encourage young moms to not make their same mistakes. I always recommend books by Sally Clarkson to any new or seasoned mom because I love her. Recently I started the book called “Memory Making Mom” and I’m loving it. The book starts with her story of almost losing her 6 year old and being in the hospital thinking of how filled with regret she would be if that was her shot at parenting. The rushed, distracted by phones, angry or annoyed mother that she had sometimes been. So it inspired her to write a book on the importance of family rhythms, traditions, etc for our kids to pull from later when they feel lost in life. And she points out that they’re the ones who choose which ones they’ll remember as special. So kolaches on random mornings might be the best memory instead of the time you spent hours or days planning some huge trip :) It’s inspiring and not overwhelming as someone who has very small children. 

  22. Thank you for sharing! I always appreciate hearing other people’s thoughts. My kids are 3.5 and almost 5, and it is SO much easier. I remember when they were 6 months and 2 or 18 months and 3… and it was just so hard. People would say, “it doesn’t get easier, just different!”…. um, not true! It’s still hard. We still have hard days, but I’ve been sitting down for the past 30 minutes while my kids have been playing with duplos in their room. That NEVER happened a year or two ago. I think for me, the biggest shift was when they were
    both fully potty trained and able to dress themselves. I can ask brush their teeth, then send them off to get dressed, put shoes on, and go
    wait for me on the porch… it’s awesome. 

  23. This is amazing! Thank you for being honest and open. I am a mother of 2 as well, what you mentioned regarding clocking in/job mentality of motherhood is so true. There have been many times were I felt like it was nothing but a job, that I couldn’t wait till the end of the day. I appreciate reminding us all that being a parent is also humbling. That is something I’ve been trying (not to successfully) to remind myself of.

  24. I’m a psychologist and I remember one day when my daughter was 3 years old, I lost it and raised my voice at her at the grocery Store in front of the grocery store clerk. I still remember the look that clerk gave me and feel so ashamed. I also remember looking around and hoping beyond hope that none of my clients were around. After being a mom for 10 years now and talking to my other mom friends, many of whom are also psychologists, I have learned that we are all human and will lose it at times. That day at the grocery store after getting in the car, I had a conversation with my daughter about how I regretted the way that I spoke to her and what I wished I would have done differently. I apologized to her. Now, when both of us get aggravated or upset, we both talk about how we’re feeling and what we can do to help. My five year old daughter told me to take deep breaths one day because that helps her feel better. I was so proud of her. A professor I had taught us that no one is perfect. That it is what we do with our mistakes that matter. If we were perfect, we would be setting our children up for failure because we would have unrealistic expectations. That is the most comforting advice I’ve ever heard about parenting. I love reading your honest reflections on parenting. It is so refreshing to see someone being authentic about such a hard yet meaningful role. My husband and I are working through the Love and Respect class and it has been so eye opening in our marriage.

  25. I’m a mom of three girls (5, 3 and infant), and I decided to give up my successful corporate job to stay home when my first was little. I meditate every single morning (even when my youngest baby was days old) on what I want to be that day. Patience is usually always there. But also being grateful, present, and whatever else I want to BE that day. This helps. Also, I’m truly always reminding myself that I’m lucky. I drill it into my head and I believe it to the core :) and finally, I try not to have a “this is a bad day” mentality. But more like “that was an epic, hour long tantrum and I lost my shit” and so I apologize and find something small to do to find the joy again. Bad stuff (attitudes, circumstances, etc) are inevitable, so bouncing back is the key. Solidarity! This is where the magic happens :)

  26. Maybe you’ve read this (or maybe it’s in the comments somewhere) but the book Risen Motherhood is SO good! I cannot say enough about this one. It points mom’s back to the gospel in everything from the mundane moments of motherhood, marriage, heart attitudes, transitions, etc. It has been so helpful in reframing my thoughts as I go through the days with my little ones (3 and 8 months). The podcast, same title, is also amazing. A must read for every mom!!

  27. Everything about this post is so relatable. My girls are 1.5 and 2.5 and I stay home with them while trying to work on my new business. I feel like I’m constantly losing my shit on them. I swear, if they would listen the first or even second time I said something life would be so much better for all of us! My husband and I have been married almost 10 years and these last few have definitely been rougher since babies came and I’ve lost the identity of who I was before kids. I’ve become a little resentful lately and your post has encouraged me to open up rather than keep it to myself as I have been. Also, I’ve been off social media for 5 years. I recently started for my business and am hating it but there’s no way around it. I’m still not on it for personal stuff but every day I get such an icky feeling when I have to use it. I really appreciate how honest you are in your parenting posts.

  28. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss you on social media :) but I 100% applaud your shift. And the idea that “the more I lean out of other’s lives and into my own life/community the better my life gets” is PURE GOLD. Thank you! I’ve been learning the unchecked resentment lesson too–its hard but I agree that communication early & often is key. We’ve even come up with code words as a shorthand to the other that the steam is building up, and that’s been helpful.

  29. I love how open and honest you are! You are doing a GREAT job! Bravo on stepping away from social media. One thing that brought me more stress while my kids were growing up were the pics on social media. You know, the whole family clean, laughing, in a clean house with a perfectly well balanced meal?!? Yeah, those! Life is perfectly imperfect and moms need to do what works for them at that particular moment. I love what you are doing with your kids. Also very happy for marriage counseling! We don’t know it all or how to make it all work. It’s so helpful!

  30. As a soon to be first-time-mom, I’ve loved reading your pregnancy journey with both girls and then your thoughts and experiences with motherhood. It’s so real and relatable – even though my child is not physically here yet – I know I will have many of these same thoughts and days and it some how calms me that you acknowledge and discuss it. Thank you for sharing and yes, please keep blogging!

    • Excited for you to welcome your little one, Victoria! Even if exhausting it’s definitely the most awesome thing I’ve ever experienced…all of it, from birth to toddler days.

  31. Thanks for being so honest and open, Kylie. I could identify with so much of this post, and you gave me some great things to think about, as well as the comfort of knowing it isn’t just me!

  32. I loved reading this post so much. I think God knew I needed it! My almost two-year-old is such a blessing and sometimes so frustrating! I am like you in that I always think I’m doing something wrong, but you’re right… some days are just HARD. I am going to use your idea of praying to acknowledge the non-fussy moments!

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