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Dec 30

Life Update – December 2020

Hi all! I’ve missed this space and am happy to be back sharing pieces of my life and what I’m learning with you! I hope you made it through 2020 okay and that we can return to the parts of life that have been off limits. I can not wait to get vaccinated! Today I wanted to share how the last 6 months have been going.

But first, I’ve launched a podcast version of the blog. It will be me narrating the blog posts for you. It’s for those of you who, like me (!), prefer to listen over read. The podcast isn’t up on every podcast platform, yet. For now you can find it on Anchor or Spotify.

No side hustle + things take time.

I want all work to have a place. Part of me stepping away from blogging last year was I started working on having a routine I stick to and not putting things in a place they don’t belong. For instance, not cramming work in on days I’m home with my kids because it left me feeling frenzied and overwhelmed. I want to be calm. When putting all the things I need to do in a week in a place (client work, continuing education for work, days I’m home with kids, housework, family needs, my self care needs, blogging, time with Andrew), I realized I had no time to blog. If I wanted to keep blogging I’d have to find a dedicated time to do that work.

I’ve been running my life trying to believe that things that take time don’t actually take time. For instance, just cram in doing the laundry or dishes whenever you can…but I don’t like that anymore! I end up feeling like I can never get a grasp on anything. Laundry takes time. Dishes takes time. Everything needs a place and I want the tasks I need to do to be less of an afterthought. I rebel against structure, but I’ve been realizing the necessity and value of it lately. I follow a structure to live, I don’t live to follow a structure haha. I follow Jordan Page on Youtube and I got her productivity planner. It’s laid out for you to customize your day into a block schedule and I like having a dedicated space for laying out my day that isn’t in my bible study notes/journaling notebook.

I’ve been working on working during the day, but at the end of the day acknowledging that I did all the work God prepared for me today and I’m going to rest. At one point side hustles were a lot of fun…this is no longer that point of life. I need to be going to bed by 9pm (some night 8:30pm because I’m exhausted) and getting as much sleep as possible for the nighttime and early morning wake-ups that come along with the package of parenthood. This was so hard for me to accept after having Jo, that I could no longer work how I wanted to work and had to find a new work flow (actually, still finding a new work flow), but overall I’ve adjusted and settled into my role of mom more and more in the last 3 years.

Parenting

I recently heard someone say, “I’m running my family like I’m the smart kid in the group project” and I laughed so hard because it is so true for me. I don’t know how to fix that, because I do feel like a lot of the family pressure is on my shoulders and if I don’t continue being “the smart kid in the group project”, you know, the one who gets it done and makes the A happen, xyz won’t get done. But I guess there are different ways in which Andrew is the “smart kid” in our family and ways I am…meaning, we each have different strengths we bring to our family. 

Marriage counseling has been really helpful for us, specifically when it comes to how we handle conflict and communicate expectations more regularly now, albeit we’ve only gone to 4 sessions because it’s very vulnerable and ended up being extremely difficult for me, so we ended up taking some time off and for me to continue individual therapy.

Since if you read this blog you likely either know/care about me in real life or struggle with mental health on some level, I do want to be transparent for that latter group that I ended up starting an SSRI again recently after a bit of a poor mental health downward snowball. I find mental health issues in myself rather inconvenient, like “ahhh I don’t have time for this.” I found a PCP who specializes in mental health – she’s an LPC and a MD. And with her, along with my therapist who I see regularly, we have a plan in place that I’m happy enough with. I share because women I view as powerhouse women who have shared their struggles with me when it comes to their mental health struggles and particular thoughts they have has been the most powerful thing in normalizing and decreasing the frustration/annoyance/this-is-inconvenient feelings that can come up in me around my mental health struggles. 

I did have the realization over the past 6 months, as I was having some head sensations that required a visit to the ER and then a neurologist and upped my health anxiety, of: I ask and expect a lot of Andrew as a dad partly because I know how it feels when you’re told as a 14 yr old your mom is going to die or be in a vegetative state and helpful, loving, really great people try to comfort you, but they aren’t your mom. I guess I have this belief that I can protect my girls from that if they have a strong, healthy, deep attachment to Andrew, in case I do die young. Ultimately almost losing a parent when you’re a kid is a horrific. No one can replace a mom. But because I went through the threat of losing a parent so young what I need and want from my spouse to feel united as a family is different than what someone else might need from their spouse.

The growing pains of learning to parent with your spouse haven’t been fun, but I feel like we are really hitting our stride now and have moments of such joy because of our family life. Some of this might also be just getting out of the baby phase. Yet, the pull for me to add another kid to our family is still there. I’m not sure if we will. I remember reading on Cup of Jo one time about her decision to stop after 2 kids and that longing she always felt for a 3rd and her husband’s reasoning for not having another was, “you don’t know your capacity until you’re past it.” And I wonder about that for me. My most consistent prayer is around this. Mainly asking God to make the decision for us. Andrew has read Financial Samari for years and he recently had an article that I thought was one of the best I’ve seen on adding more kids to your family and I enjoyed reading other people’s experiences/opinions in the comment section. 

Even though I’ve found becoming parents and parenting with Andrew such a hard transition, there has been no greater joy in my life than having sex with the intention of creating a baby, growing that baby, anticipating the baby’s birth, seeing the sibling bond, then holding on for dear life until they aren’t a needy baby waking you up at all hours haha, and then you get these really hilarious, curious, fascinating kids who make you feel like you can’t breathe sometimes because you love them so much, and then it’ll be a lopsided relationship where you love them more than they love you and then they grow up and leave. What insanity!! A friend I love said recently that, “it’s easy for motherhood to look like a burden.” I think my response when she said that was, “ughhh. I don’t want a voice of reason right now! I don’t want optimism!! I’m tired and so past my capacity.” Between the hair loss, lingering aches/pains/changes from pregnancy, initial pain of nursing, lugging pumping parts around, brain fog from physical exhaustion, etc. it is a lot to go through, but it’s a helpful reminder that there is a lot of joy in being a woman and getting to partner with God to bring forth life. 

Enjoying my kids.

One of the things my counselor asked me the most over the past year is: are you enjoying your kids? I have a hard time owning that I don’t like being home during the week with my kids. I’d rather work. We switched to full-time childcare a bit ago and I struggle with if it’s the right decision, but it’s been the first time in 3 years that Andrew and I feel like we’re not running at our maximum capacity. And I do feel like I enjoy my kids a lot now. On non-client days when I’m doing blog work/admin work/working on new projects, etc. I have the option to get the girls early and it’s been such nice flexibility. I struggle to fully own that I prefer working full-time, since it is an option for me to not work full-time and stay home more with the girls. My mom worked full-time when I was growing up, so I know you can be a present, loving, good parent even if working full-time, but I still struggle with the fact that I do have an option to stay home with them more and I’m choosing not to. I mean, if I didn’t work we’d have to move to a less expensive area of town…but that is a choice we could make, but I’d rather not because I love our neighborhood and we had horrible neighbors before we moved here and I don’t want to leave the neighbors we have now.

The girls in school full-time could all change in a month if I decide I can handle more time at home with them again or if that is what the girls needed. In therapy I am working to gain a capacity for certain things in my life that are important to me, but right now me getting to work full-time has increased my enjoyment of my kids who I adore and decreased my resentment towards Andrew more than anything else I’ve tried….and I’ve tried a lot of things at this point. Andrew’s job does not allow him to help with the kids like I imagined my spouse would and I’ve had to accept that. What I want and what I was asking him for was not an option for our family. This still frustrates me and I can get into a mentality of screw you I’ll do everything myself then and go down this path of independence instead of unity for our family and the result is just me exhausted and feeling resentful and Andrew feeling that resentment and us not knowing what to do with it. His job provides a lot of wonderful things for us – health insurance, more than half our income, 401K matching. So since his job is inflexible, I’ve had to make a change to figure out how to consistently get more downtime for me. With the girls in school 5 days a week, I now consistently have 4-10 hours a week (depending on my workload), without kids, to do whatever non-work thing I need to, such as, run errands, go to doctor/therapy appointments, take kids to doctor if needed, get a massage, do joyful movement, do housework tasks, get dinner made, etc. We initially made this change to them in full-time school because I thought I was getting offered a book deal and would need more time to work on it. Then the publisher I was going to work with ended up feeling like the market forecast for the book wasn’t as good as they initially thought and I got a surprising, “Actually, we’re not interested,” after several meetings with them and creating a book proposal (it was a bummer). But ultimately a blessing in disguise because now I consistently have down time and don’t feel like I’m running around like a maniac. I have very little interest in doing anything with a screaming child in the car. I can not handle the noise. And I’m grateful that financially it was an option for us to get more childcare hours.

Again, like I said above, I don’t think I’m going to be the one to solve mom guilt, but I don’t want any unnecessary suffering in my life. I know that life will have suffering, but I don’t need to add any unnecessary suffering or misery. Increased joy to be with my kids and decreased resentment towards Andrew are very good and important things and I’m okay making this choice in order to get those things and not have my current capacity so vastly exceeded that I end up semi-unresponsive going through my day…and this is something I still have to convince myself of some days.

We don’t have to have a traditional structure, but still need a structure.

We don’t have a traditional structure in our house, and while that is what I want, I’ve realized we do still need a structure in place. 2020 has been the year of dividing up childcare tasks between Andrew and I. For each week day we have it divided up and clearly written out on our wall calendar who does kids drop off, who gets up with the kids in the morning and who sleeps in, and who does bath time. It’s helped us work together much more and because of that help I feel like I’ve been able to do the household cleaning/organizing and cooking with less resentment because I feel supported. Random help is not helpful to me. I need consistent and predictable help with the kids from Andrew and that is what we’ve put into place.

I have come to realize that there are certain things I am more equipped to do than Andrew and vice versa. Sometimes (a lot of times) that frustrates me and I push back against some of the roles I’ve ended up taking and I end up feeling like I’m getting taken advantage of and like I’m in the trenches of parenthood alone. If I feel like I’m in the trenches of parenting alone I bring it up to see if it’s true or not and we see if anything needs to change and sometimes that turns into an argument and sometimes it’s a super simple change and I think those conversations will continue for as long as the kids are under our roof and I have no beautiful, easy solution here.

That’s baby Ella in the photo behind her. I’ve loved having that photo because it reminds me how much she’s grown and that we’re out of the newborn phase! Woohoo!

Order out of chaos

I think part of being a mom is creating order from chaos…constantly. I struggle to follow routine, structures, and schedules, but I’ve really been trying to put things into their place in 2020 and create a space and time for the things that are important for me to get done. For the past 6 months I’ve been consistently doing the household work and the structure has made me feel like I’m not always running around with my head cut off. Here’s what I’ve found has been working for us. There is still plenty of mess in our house that I don’t care about right now (like the girls rooms or the sunroom are constantly messes), but I’m really happy with the below changes and plan on making the effort to have them consistently stick around:

  • Laundry – Wednesdays and Sundays (wash, fold and put away all on these days so it doesn’t drag on and on and feel endless. Ask Andrew for help if I need it.) I tried to do the “one load of laundry everyday” thing, because a lot of people have recommended that, but that makes me feel like the laundry is endlessssss.
  • Sunday basket on washing machine – Another thing that has helped me was a recommendation from the podcast Organize365, which is to have a basket in your home where odds and ins you find throughout the week or pick up off the floor go. Then on Sunday you go through it to donate/throw away/put up.
  • Donation basket on dryer – I have a laundry basket lined with a trash bag that lives on our dryer now and when it’s full of clothes I bag them up and donate it. Now don’t ask me what to do with toddler clothes that are too small for Ella, because that leads me down a super emotional path extremely quickly of, “oh, I want another kid. I think. Do we have the capacity for it? Will it be good for our marriage? Do I keep these clothes/carseat/baby swing or give them away? Ahhhhh I don’t know!!” It’s hard for me to tolerate the uncertainty.
Car washing with Dad.
Watching the tall, tall pine trees in the neighbor’s backyard get taken down.
Jo was given a swimsuit barbie for her birthday and after opening it she immediately ran and put on her swimsuit and goggles lol. And you better believe I plan on having conversations about how barbie’s body is make believe and not all organs would fit inside her body, but I don’t mind having barbies in our home. I just plan to talk about it.
We did a little, family-only, birthday celebration for Jojo’s 3rd birthday and she LOVEDDDD it. That’s the happiest we’ve ever seen her; she was just beside herself with excitement. IT WAS AWESOME. I’ve been having fun for the kids birthdays just having the theme be “favorite things.” So we did Chinese takeout (noodles are her favorite food) and a pink filled cookie cake (bc the color pink is also her favorite thing).

Any thoughts? I love learning from you moms who’ve gone before me in all things marriage and childrearing!

47 comments on “Life Update – December 2020”

  1. Hi Kylie, I’m not a mom so I can offer no advice there but I do enjoy hearing about your parenting journey and process of finding solutions. I originally started following you on Instagram and reading your blog when I was going through recovery from my eating disorder. Thank you for being honest and vulnerable about your struggles with mental health. During my most difficult mental health periods, I was under the belief that I was completely alone in it and it was my fault. I’m so thankful for people like you who are willing to share their experiences! 

    • Thanks for reading, Danielle! One feeling I’ve hated most in life is that feeling you describe of “I’m completely alone. No one else struggles with this. Etc.” I like sharing to help people feel less of that.

  2. “Random help is not helpful to me” – that statement hit very close to home. Always having to ask for help also doesn’t feel helpful to me, especially because I feel like I am constantly offering help without being asked. I really like your idea of writing out a schedule each week of which parent is responsible for what. I think I am going to try this in the new year and hope that it lowers resentment in my marriage. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable with us! 

    P.S. I also recently started an SSRI for postpartum anxiety and man I put it off for WAY too long. I feel so much better and struggled for so long just because I felt like I should be strong enough not to need it. I now get better sleep and feel more present and calm. Now whenever anyone asks how I am surviving motherhood I respond with, “with the help of anti-anxiety medication”. Just trying to do my part in normalizing mental health help! 

    • Thanks for sharing, Molly. Yay for better sleep and being more present and calm!! My hesitation with taking an SSRI is usually because I feel like there is something for me to learn in the suffering, but it just got to the point of this isn’t okay.

  3. Oh man. I have never related to a post more in my life. I too work (almost) full time more by choice than by necessity and it has GREATLY increased my enjoyment of my child and helped me not hate my husband. Thank you for sharing!! 

    • Yes yes yes. I feel this.

    • I so relate to being reluctant to go on SSRI because of the feeling that “I’m supposed to learn something from this experience.” I have always responded really well to being on them, but I’ve gone through the cycle two or three times now of going off, slowly sliding into unsustainability over the course of a year or two, and going back on. I think I’ve decided that I just need to take the meds for the sake of my family’s stability. One thing that’s made that easier for me is at 33, I’ve finally figured out that I just have a lower bandwidth for some things than I think is “normal” or that I “should” be able to handle. (Thanks for setting the bar ridiculously high, Mom!)
      On that note, I ALSO enjoy my kids more and parent them better when I don’t care for them full time. My oldest started second grade this year in actual school, after years of struggling to find a way to homeschool. I finally accepted that the trade off was worth it, and our family is much healthier for it. I have so much more mental space to handle the “household manager” role and to care for my kids emotional well being proactively instead of constantly just being in reactive, survival mode. 
      Thanks so much for sharing. Praying for you and Andrew. And I do want to encourage you that I have grown the most spiritually and learned more about myself and and my family and how to engage with life well, when I have been on medication. 

  4. Thanks so much for this post. I’m about to have my first baby in just under 3 weeks. I have no idea what to expect in 2021. I have the option to stay at home and only parent, but also new work opportunities and flexibility because of how 2020 has changed the work from home environment…so multiple doors I’m assessing to figure out which one will be best for me and my family. 

    So much of what you said in the parenting with your spouse chunk felt really real and hopeful to me – like I have no idea what difficulties we’ll run into trying to parent. And my mental health translates to me constantly feeling like I don’t have capacity to handle life how I wish I could. So the snapshot into your life was so helpful because it gives me more options and mental creativity to recognize what needs I may have next year and ideas for how to address them as they come up. I think yours is the first acknowledgment I’ve seen of the fact that coparenting with a spouse requires work and communication and adjustments; it doesn’t automatically click into place. And that’s okay, and there’s ways to meet your needs instead of blindly accepting the parenting grind.

    All that rambling to say – thanks again. This post was a birth preparation piece I didn’t know I needed! 

  5. I am sooo happy you aren’t done with the blog for good – I always so relate to everything you post about and it helps me feel less alone and usually leaves me with things to think about on how I handle my own resentment/mom guilt etc. thank you for being vulnerable and sharing! 

  6. Oh how I’ve missed your blog posts, Kylie!

    My husband and I both work full time, so our 1 year old daughter attends daycare full time. And honestly, it is the best thing for us. I had a long maternity leave (20 weeks) and in addition to the rough newborn phase, I felt resentful that i was the one who was home with her all day every day while my husband went off to work (back when we actually went to offices…). I know myself and know that I need/want to work to feel like myself. And like you said, my daughter being in childcare full time helps me to truly enjoy the time I have with her. I don’t take that time for granted, I try to be fully present, not on my phone unless needed, etc. I get some subtle comments from family members who do stay home full time with their kids that make me feel bad sometimes, but i have to repeat “good for them, not for me” – something I picked up from you. :)

  7. I was so excited to see your post today! I’ve missed your posts and have enjoyed peeks of your life on IG. Whenever I think about household chores, I always think back to the movie The Break-Up, where Jennifer Aniston tells her partner, “I want you to WANT to do the dishes” and he responses, ‘who wants to do dishes?” Always cracks me up. I’ve been thinking about the division of household responsibilities because I feel like my partner and I have a very good split on chores/parenting roles, but I still feel like the household manager. I remember the birthday gifts, to grab the diapers for daycare and all those little random things. I don’t know how to pass off that mental load. I don’t want my child to grow up thinking that women are by default the household manager.

    • Also adding- the donation basket is brilliant. I always end up with random piles of books/clothes/toys/whatever to donate, so I’m trying out your method!!

    • Unsolicited advice — one thing that has helped my partner and I is that I made a giant list of all the things we have to do to keep our house running, including the mental load. We had a big conversation and divided everything up. Now I know which things I can completely take out of my mind not to think about because they are firmly my partner’s responsibility. It has helped a lot! I think we need to go back and revisit and redistribute now that we have 3 kids instead of 1. This book/card system also looks super helpful, though I haven’t personally used it. https://www.fairplaylife.com/

  8. I love your posts and glad you wrote again! I am about to go back to work full-time after having my first baby in October. I so relate to your choosing to work. I’m scared, but I also feel so depleted and exhausted after being hole with my son all day. I’m a perfectionist and bad naps, etc. (all the “normal” baby things) can be so overwhelming to me and I get to where I just focus on “if we had done this” and I do see it can rob the joy of parenthood. I also relate to how marriage with children has changed- I do appreciate your honesty and vulnerability! Please keep sharing as able in 2021!

  9. been a reader for many many years now and i just want to say your honesty, self awareness and openness has been a huge influence on me (both in terms of eating disorder recovery and just everyday life). thanks for always keeping it real with us.

  10. I don’t know you in real life and was trying to recall how is found you years ago. Reading tour post I recalled it was from cup of Joe! My dear friend is her aunt and introduced me to her and I stumbled upon you through her blog. Anyway, I’ve been married for 22 years (I am 45) and I have three children; 18. 14 and 11. They are my world. I just wanted you to know this post really hit home with me. Marriage is so hard and your honest thoughts about marriage therapy are  exactly  how I feel but have never felt comfortable voicing. I’ve had so many of the same struggles you’ve had. I just want you to know I appreciate  your honesty and I guess we all struggle. I wish I were brave enough to share as openly as you do because I can promise you, you are making a difference. 

  11. Great, honest update! I am a young, but tenured mom of 4, and it has been increasingly clear over the years that every individual parent’s capacity and needs are SO different. It’s really important to recognize that–not only for ourselves, so we can get our personal needs met, but also to show compassion, empathy and give grace to others. The comparison trap that is social media can really distract us from that truth! For our family, this year has been so unique because all six of us have been home full-time, working or distance learning (ages 11, 8, 6, 4) and I simply have to remind myself daily that it’s OK to rest/be less active/less productive right now. I have also come to accept that I will always be the bearer of the mental load, but I need to actively delegate care tasks to my husband or kids–and accept that they may not do them as I would, but that it is ok because they are not me. :)

    • Acceptance of the bearer of the mental load is something I’m coming to terms with, but still have resentment around. I’m never quite sure if certain things in family life that are difficult are things I should work to accept or work to change. Lately I’ve been thinking about the fallacy of change, basically the myth that if you pressure someone enough they will change, and how that shows up in my marriage (me towards Andrew)…and I’ve been working on that. That, along with noticing when I have a reaction to something and figuring out what is the truth here and not going along with the automatic thoughts as much.

      I agree our culture/social media does distract from the truth. I want my kids to see their dad in a caregiver role constantly, but also believe men and women are different with different gifts and maybe moms are uniquely gifted to be the more sacrificial one. That’s frustrating to me though. I told a friend recently when talking about marriage, “why am I the only one being sanctified over here?!!”

      That’s a great reminder to keep in mind you and your partner’s capacity and approach each other with compassion, empathy and grace. Another reason for getting on the SSRI, which I didn’t know when I wasn’t on it but now realize, was that grace went totally out the window. I started expecting perfection from those around me. So black and white. No room for grey. I’m glad I’ve had that realization and can take it forward with me!!

  12. I really enjoyed reading this post! I have 2 kids and work full time and am constantly practicing owning that fact that I enjoy working and would not rather be home full time with my kids. I’ve gotten used to the look of shock I sometimes receive if I vocalize this. ;) I also loved your talk about going from 2-3 kids. Our second is 3 months old, and we’ve noticed this transition has been easier for me than my husband, which really speaks to the “different parents have different capacities”. Great post, Kylie! Thank you for sharing so openly.

  13. I love your honesty!! What really irritates me is that society makes women feel guilty for having these feelings. Strong desire to have a child or children but then struggling to accept that our bodies grow and feed them plus we’re somehow the more nurturing, needed parent. I can really see how resentment would come about, but again, no one discusses this. Add to this that AS SOON AS a couple gets married, the questions about children come in full force. Even if a couple has a strong marriage, children are no joke. It will rock everyone’s world, yet couples feel the pressure to have a child sometimes before they are ready. Matt and I sought therapy this year to help our marriage, and I already know we’ll want to revisit therapy when we have a child. Thank you for opening up because I know it has helped me and a lot of readers.

  14. Hi Kylie! Thank you for sharing. I have really enjoyed your posts and viewpoint. I recently became a mom, my son is almost 5 months old. The newborn time has been a lot better than I expected in some ways, but still so hard (the past few days I have truly felt like a zombie as we deal with a sleep regression). I re-read some of your posts on the newborn stages and its so relatable. Thanks for the honesty! Also, your girls are so cute.

    I’m actually the primary breadwinner, so there was no question I would go back to work. I definitely have started to feel like a better Mom and more “myself” in the short few weeks that I’ve returned. For me, I could tell that just being solely focused on the baby was starting to be bad for my mental health (also, yay for SSRIs – mine has helped tremendously for 3 years), and giving up some control over decisions to my husband and our nanny has made me feel better. I struggle with some guilt that I like my job so much, but I think part of it is that I’ve always been dedicated to my career and thought it was highly unlikely I’d stay home (so I didn’t have to adjust expectations) and the fact that I have a lot of similarly-situated friends who are also working mom lawyers helps. I wonder if you could connect with other working moms to help you feel like what you are doing is more normal and make you less guilty? Just wanted to add my voice to say that many others feel the same as you!

    Also, I so relate to the resentment piece. I’ve been surprised how frustrated I felt just by the pure physical toll of pregnancy, birth, nursing etc. Like no matter what he did, my husband didn’t have to go through those things and cannot understand how hard it was/is. I think part of it is I had a tough pregnancy (and the pandemic didn’t help) and labor. I need to work on reframing these things as you have as a gift that I was able to do and brought me the joy that is my son.

    Wishing you all the best!!

    • I second finding some other working moms to connect with. It’s sooo nice. I have a Facebook group of other moms working in my field I adore!

  15. I’m so glad you are back! I will try to find your podcast.Reading these comments, it’s funny because my life is quite different than yours (and most of the people commenting, it seems, I’m not a mom!) but I really enjoy your blog anyway and appreciate the insight you have on things even if my own things are different :) Take care!

  16. Sometimes family parties are the best. I love the idea of a cookie cake.

  17. Mom to three over here (all girls, ages 7, 4, and 1.5) and I know how big of a decision the third child is! I read the article you linked to, and while it had some good points, it seemed really detached from the benefits of having a larger family. We definitely don’t have a big enough house or enough money saved, but I’m so happy we have our three girls and I’m so glad they have each other. One of the biggest reasons I wanted three kids was because I have one brother and we’re 5 years apart in age. Years ago, I asked my mom why they didn’t have more kids – she told me it seemed impossible at the time and couldn’t afford another one, but really regretted it. That really stuck with me, maybe speak to family for guidance? I know it’s a lot, but I hope you’re able to find some clarity with your decision!!
    On a related note, any time a family grows, it is stinking hard!! I also work full time (we need the income, but it also makes me happy!) and have definitely felt really lost for the entire first year after each of my girls was born. It’s so hard to balance life, parenthood, and marriage, I felt like there was no room left for me!!! A lot of counseling and time helped this, but know you are not alone! 

  18. My baby #3 is 4 months old and it is pretty wonderful. I knew I wanted at least 3 kids but I am feeling the same way about #4 (I have a while to think about it). I am 34 and death is also on my mind. What if something happens to one of us it starts to feel like a lot of kids. We also work full time and live in a very expensive area where the median house is nearing $1M. So our mortgage + childcare costs are very expensive (until school) and I feel guilty for having so many kids. I wonder if a 4th is possible but every part of me wants one more child. We are lucky in Canada we have 12-18m paid maternity leave and I hope my neighbors below can feel valued by their country as I feel. I feel guilty for being a working mother because I truly love staying home with my kids but I just can’t afford it and to also give them the things in life I want them to have. I don’t think you can ever win the guilt battle in your head. Some nights (like tonight) I have so many thoughts I just can’t sleep but that is part of being a parent.
    I am thankful my husband is a thoughtful partner/father and it still took us a few years to find our groove together. It sounds like you are on the right path and you two will be rockstar parents soon enough! Thanks for the update it is nice to hear from you.

  19. I absolutely loved listening to this post on Spotify. (I actually listened twice while I was on a very long road trip.) Can’t wait to hear more. Happy New Year!

  20. As always I just love your authenticity and willingness to openly share things that people often won’t except with very close people. It helps me so much to hear honest accounts of all of this as I’m deciding what I want for my own life- kids, etc. I so appreciate you. :)

  21. I absolutely love reading your updates. Thanks for your transperancy. It’s so nice for moms or anyone for that matter to know they are not alone. Prior RN and now stay at home Mom of 2 from Canada with kids around the same ages dealing with all the same struggles. I love the idea of creating time and space for daily tasks as I often do them at random point throughout the day and often feel as thought my kids are getting in the way rather than being my focus. Keep on sharing. You are encouraging so many!

  22. Kylie — this post was amazing! It resonated with me so much as a mom of a 3yo and 8mo twins.

    Thank you for being so vulnerable. I also enjoy my kids so much more when I am working full time. We don’t have a choice as much (we might be able to make it work if we made drastic lifestyle changes), but I am fine with that because I enjoy working and the break from little tiny people.

    Thank you for sharing about how your expectations with how Andrew would be able to support you in parenting are not aligning with your current reality. I think that’s so helpful to realize the discrepancy, accept it, and figure out how to realign your expectations.

    I love your realization that all things take time, and that needs to be planned/accounted for. So helpful.

    Gah, this is such a great post. I’m gonna go back and read it again, lol.

    • It was also interesting to read that Financial Samurai post about adding a 3rd kid because we unintentionally added a third kid when our second viable pregnancy was surprise fraternal twins! So as much as you can plan and logic your decision, sometimes it’s out of your control. Financially, it did not make any sense for us to have 3 kids now, but that’s what the Lord gave us, so we’re making it work! And honestly now that they’re not newborns, it’s a lot of fun! It actually had told a group of women at a conference that we wouldn’t have a third kid until our first was in public school… while I was actively (unknowingly) pregnant with the 3rd kid, lol.

    • Yes. Breaks from the little people are very helpful :) Thanks for reading and commenting, Lindsay!

  23. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! As a mental health professional who feels like I should have it all together, you really beautifully articulated that it is okay to need help and admit defeat. Like you guilt tends to gobble me up and spit me out. Having the choice to stay home full time but desiring to work is something I think about many times a day. I think this is also confounded by being a Christian mom, when 90% of the Christian moms I know stay home full time. In other words, at some point we need to do what’s best for us and our families and rest assured that the Lord will guides us where he wants us. We can’t please everyone, ever.

  24. Loved reading this–wonderful post! I wanted to provide an alternative perspective on the choice to work full-time instead of staying home (and please note that this is not at all meant to be shaming to stay-at-home moms, who are amazing!). My mom worked throughout my and my siblings’ childhood, and it was always something I was SO proud of. It taught me how to envision a career for myself, how to become financially independent, and how to prioritize my own needs. I truly think that you are setting an amazing example for your kids through choosing to work.

    On a related note: I read something a few months ago that more or less said “your job, as a parent, is to pursue your own happiness.” (Assuming that your kids are fed, clothed, and loved, of course!) It went on to explain that if you are constantly sacrificing your own health and happiness and feeling, then your kids will learn to do the same. And if they see you embracing what makes YOU happy, they will learn to embrace what makes them happy. This is not to say that parents should feel pressure to act happy all the time, but just to point out that pursuing choices that are good for you (even if they aren’t what you feel like you “should” be doing) is almost always good for your kids, too!

  25. I always worked full time, and it definitely allowed me to enjoy my children when I was at home, especially after we hired someone to clean our house. That cut down on my resentment immensely.

    My husband also has an inflexible job, and for years I tried not to add to his stress by asking him to do things, but finally realized I was angry all the time. I figured out what he could do, and wish I’d done that sooner. 

    Your kids will still need you for a long time. Mine still ask my advice and help with all kinds of things. My babies are 18 and 23. I always thought I’d be intensely sad when they left home, and when our oldest went to college, I was sad for a while. However, she came back home last spring when the university closed, and has lived here since. I adore her, but will be happy when she leaves home for graduate school. Once they’ve been on their own for a few years, it’s a tough adjustment for everyone to have her back.

    It’s not sad when they become independent adults, but it’s very sad when you realize your relationship with your parents has become one in which they rely on you for advice and help, and not the other way around.

    • Thanks for sharing, Susan. I think I too am realizing what my capacity and Andrew’s capacity is (and being less upset that our capacities are what they are) and instead just moving forward with that information and figuring out what we need to do. I appreciate the comment!!

  26. This line: “I’ve been running my life trying to believe that things that take time don’t actually take time.” YES. I am so there, and seeing you write that was a good reality check for me. Thank you!

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