Category Archives: Reaching goals

Back at it again!

Aww yes! It has been a good almost 11ish years since I held down a regular job that didn’t involve me being an entrepreneur. I was apart of the mommy drain (not returning back to work after having a baby). After establishing several successful businesses and a good chunk of my kiddos are going to school, I often wondered if I would ever return back to the corporate world? especially after I finished my education. We all know being a SAHM ( or SAHD) is it’s own challenge in itself, but add in working from home…the party really gets wild. For a lot of people Covid forced parents who worked outside the home to suddenly become WAH parents. For us, this didn’t apply because I was already a SAHM.

I knew this day would come because originally I never wanted to be as they would say “just” a SAHM. I think I worked harder than I ever have being a SAHM and being self employed. I enjoyed having a career and the adult interaction. Being a stay at home mom can be lonely at times and can impact mental health especially if the person had an abrupt lifestyle change. This is in no way to shit on being a SAHM because trust me it has had a lot of perks. Did I always enjoy it? fxck no! but I am also glad I was able to comfortably enjoy it at the same time. SO after some back and forth, chats with my beau, and trying to really figure out what I wanted to do…One day I just said to hell with it, and I took a leap and revamped my resume and started slanging applications in all directions. However, I was adamant…if I could not work from home I was not interested in returning back to the corporate world. The conditions had to be really RIGHT or close to PERFECT for me to give up my SAHM lifestyle. Now if you have been following me forever, then you may be surprised that I am returning back to work.

I think I put in like a million applications and got discouraged at one point (ok several points). My husbae at first wasn’t really feeling the idea. To my surprise, I landed several job interviews quickly. Some were not a good fit at all and I had to decline. Yes, some companies were not cool with the fact that I have basically been off the grid doing my own thing forever, and some were intimidated by me having an advanced education for some of the more entry level careers that only required a bachelors. It is widely known that companies do not favor people who have taken significant time off to care for their home and families, so you have got to really sell yourself! I was determined to find something that would value my worth, compensate me well for it and respect my wishes to maintain as close to the lifestyle I am used to within reason. Now my first few interviews I totally bombed those because I was def out of touch with the process lol!

10 tips for returning

back to work as a WAHM

  • Utilize social media to connect with other moms who work from home. NETWORK! They may have job leads! Pick their brain, ask questions to get an idea of what to expect and maybe some things to try to make the transition easier. It is always nice to have someone to relate to. I am a member of several SAHM groups, but when I solidified my decision to return back to work I joined a few. They are def different from SAHM groups just a heads up.
  • If you are returning back on your own terms def do not pick something that you know you will dislike. For example sales. Yes sales jobs are very easy to get with no experience for some companies but selling things by cold calling or leads is not for everyone. Try to scout out jobs or positions you feel will be fulfilling and enjoyable. Do not become desperate for a job. Stay focused and try to target jobs that really align with your background and skill level. Be open to trying something new within reason.
  • If you have a baby or smaller children who may be noisy etc, opt for positions that do not require or have limited phone interactions. There are jobs that are remote that are text, chat or e-mail based.
  • There will be disruptions. Hello KIDS (and pets) ! Try to limit the distractions and disruptions by planning ahead. If you are in control of your schedule, opt for working during naptime if you can. Make sure kids are settled, changed, fed etc.
  • CREATE A SCHEDULE AND TRY TRY TRY TO STICK TO IT! Try to start the day the same way on the days you work. You both will need to be on a schedule. Checking emails, meetings, Movie time, snack time, lunch time, nap time etc.
  • If you are uptight about screen time, this is the time to get over it. Screen time isn’t all that bad. It’s the content. This is just my opinion, but your kiddos will def utilize screen time a lot while you are working to stay occupied and quieter.
  • Make a to-do list that is doable and reasonable. Laundry, cleaning, etc. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to do it all in one day.
  • If you have access to a helping hand, accept the help.
  • When your attention is divided between your laptop and your kiddos, it is easy to lose track of time. Use your time wisely and pay attention to the clock. Try to limit the temptation of social media during productive time. There are apps that can help with this if you need help not accessing them during certain times of the day.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself and set boundaries. Easier said than done. You may think you can do it all and try to prove that you can. Don’t be unrealistic. This is not healthy behavior and will surely ruin your work/life balance. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. Being a WAHM may have it’s perks and conveniences, but like being a SAHM it is not easy. Accept you will still be a busy and sometimes tired human.

If you are deciding to return back to work as a WAHM after being a stay at home mom, just know the process may be frustrating and take weeks or months; but once you find your right gig, you can make a way! Think about it, you made a way to survive off one income for this long and taking care of tiny humans etc. alone each day. Support being a SAHM is important for success, and support is a big key to success with this new adventure of being a WAHM. We will see how this goes!

We are all mad here

My previous mental healthcare provider for a lack of better words was complete shit. I have wasted 2 years of my time with them. I recently became fed up with them and started to look for a new doctor. I came across this service called Cerebral. They basically offer virtual mental health services for a monthly fee * They do not deal with patients who have severe issues*. They have medication management, therapy and counseling. My anxiety has been pretty well managed; however, the depression not so much. I have felt for some time now that something still wasn’t right. The meds I was on were working to an extent but not 100%. After they fucked up my treatment plan and my medications, they basically stopped following up and fed me bullshit when I have had appts. After my first appointment with my new provider via Cerebral, it was determined during my extensive appointment and assessment that there was something else going on and not what they thought or guessed. My anxiety was confirmed. The OCD was confirmed. The PMDD was cancelled out and the MDD (depression) was basically a competency error of my previous provider’s part. Depression is sometimes confused with a few mental health disorders. One of them commonly being Bipolar disorder; which is sometimes hard to diagnose.

Hi, My name is Breyona and I am bipolar.

The crazy thing about all of this is I knew. I knew there was something else. I knew it was not just depression. It was not getting better, but it was not getting worse if that makes sense? It was more so semi managed by the wrong medication. I still had episodes of agitation etc. even on the main med. The reason I was failing so many drugs was because they kept giving me SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) medications and not medications meant for mood stabilization. So when I was in school obtaining my psychology degrees, I briefly touched on certain topics such as medications. I hadn’t gotten to that point in my education. SSRI’s are not the best thing to prescribe to someone who has bipolar disorder because it can induce mania. In my case it did. It has thrown me for a loop because hello! I have several degrees in psychology and a med education history (I dropped out). I basically diagnosed myself but then had several people tell me I was wrong lol. I was never in denial. I knew. At the end of the day it is called practicing medicine after all.

So here I am in 2021, writing yet another blog about my mental disorders only to completely change the narrative of this blog. I have always been a big mental health advocate but this is going to make me advocate harder for better mental health care. Since I have shared more about my journey with my mental issues, I have built rapport with a lot of my blog’s followers. There are a lot of people who can relate but in confidentiality. I hate that the topic of mental disorders (I do not like to use the words Mental illness) is still taboo especially in the minority community. I don’t care if people view me as being “crazy” or whatever, but in reality there are a lot of people who have a high level of intelligence that have a mental disorder. People get the misconception that when a person is diagnosed with a mental disorder, it means that they are not intelligent. Granted, there are some mental disorders that impact intelligence, not all of them do. Bipolar disorder is often called the dark side of creativity. A lot of “creative” individuals such as myself are commonly diagnosed with some form of bipolar disorder.

One of my favorite stories of all time is Alice in Wonderland. I have several tattoos with the theme. Even as a kid I loved this story. I was immediately drawn to the characters of the Mad hatter and the white rabbit who was always late. If you analyze the story, there are several things that stick out about the characters. Hence we are all mad here.

Alice was schizophrenic

The white rabbit had anxiety

The queen was a narcissist

The mad hatter had bipolar disorder or manic depression

The caterpiller had delusions of grandeur

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had ADHD

So what happens now?

So what happens now is, I begin my new journey of figuring out what the fuck is wrong with me and making it right. I will start the new medication soon. We are leaving everything else the same dosage and schedule wise. The only thing that changes is the SSRI will be eliminated and the mood stabilizer will be in it’s place. I am told I should see a big difference and get more relief within the next few weeks. TBH, I have been waiting for this moment since I was 13. I am glad that I decided not to continue to be told that I was wrong about how I felt. It’s my fucking brain after all. I am proud of myself for not giving up on me. I am holding myself accountable for my wellbeing. I refuse to give up on me period. I will be utilizing my time this year to get ready for our next move into our brand new 2nd home, sticking with my treatment plan and utilizing therapy once again (even though I know my triggers and have basically eliminated a lot of them, in case I have missed something), continue to grow my successful businesses, and work more on my art to really push my paintings. You can either be here for the growth and the glow up or unsubscribe/unfollow now because I am just getting started.

WTF is a Quarter Life Crisis?

IMG_20190630_134101_390

I hit the big 30 last August and I am only 50 days away from my 31st trip around the sun. My emotions have been all over the place as well as my thoughts about where my future is headed. I have had to assume new roles, take on more responsibilities and adjust the expectations of my wants and needs. I look back on all of the degrees I have obtained and the careers I didn’t have, and suddenly felt like I sort of failed to reach goals that I set for myself years ago. I should have been almost done with med school or at least a PsyD program by now, but the twins threw that out the window (for now). Quarter life crisis happens when you are in your 20’s or early 30s and the soul searching and stresses of life really start to build up and manifest themselves. Most people who have these crises are highly driven individuals like myself. I have been struggling because I feel like I am falling behind and not reaching my full potential. This, unfortunately, is true for a lot of moms, especially stay at home moms.

When you think about a life crisis, you usually automatically think about older people. Ya know? Like the movie American Beauty. Kevin Spacey had a mid-life crisis. He started to work out, become defiant and overall tried to act younger; even going so far as to do the cliche thing of buying a sports car or old school muscle car. This by far is not a mid-life crisis. There is no divorce, moving to an island or buying a cute ass 2-seater. This is soul searching and truly rooting into the adult that I am officially becoming. This is realizing that I am not 20 anymore. I am a mom of 7 kids, a wife, and a super educated SAHM. This isn’t WHO I am though. I am still Breyona, the blunt, spunky, rattlesnake that is sweet as a cupcake and a boatload of fun (when I want to be). I am also Breyona who has anxiety and depression and needs a bit more motivating and encouragement at times to keep pushing forward. I am Breyona who had to learn to love her new postpartum body and belly that will never go back to “normal”. This is who I am. I could have decided to continue to sulk in my imagined and sometimes overexaggerated misery; but instead, I got up one day and said, “you know what? Fxck this shxt.

IMG_20190707_141930_665

 

I cut my hair completely off…..I know I said I wasn’t going to have another Britteny Spears moment, but guess what…I did. I did the big big chop. I was always terrified of cutting my hair off. I thought I HAD to always have long hair. Ya know, because long hair is kind of like a beauty standard for most. A sign of “good health” etc. Well for me it was a pain in the ass. It took forever to style which resulted in me wearing basic ass hairstyles and not wanting to be bothered with it and not taking care of it properly. I didn’t cut my hair because I was joining the natural hair movement. I cut my hair to liberate myself from the responsibility of having to fxck with it all the time and not liking what I saw in the mirror. I felt invincible when I took those clippers and cut all of my hair that was left off. TBH I have never felt more beautiful. I feel fxcking fantastic. I have been fortunate enough to be able to rock short or long hair and still look really cute. At first, I felt like I looked like a lil boy, but as it started to grow and I saw how easy it is having short hair with no cares, I fell in love. I fell in love with this shaved head of mine. I fell in love with being able to see all of my imperfections and not being able to cover up and hide my birthmark that is on my forehead that I had covered for years.

Before I chopped off all of my hair, I did something else I had always wanted to do but wasn’t sure if I was going to do it or not. I got my nipples pierced…..yup I got my cold detectors pierced. Now it was completely random when I got it done, but I am so in love with my boobs now yall! The baby making chapter of my life closed one year ago and so did the whole making milk to keep a tiny human being alive. I finally got MY body back. Me piercing my nipples officially closed that chapter for me…not getting my tubes tied, not my beau getting a vasectomy, but me getting my nipples pierced. Unlike permanent sterilization, you can not see it. It’s not very tangible. But my titty ornaments are seen every time I am in my birthday suit or have sexy time with my beau. I know there will be no more babies and I am 10000000% fine with that. My nipple piercings have allowed me to remember I am still sexy. I am still young and spunky. Some people find intimate piercings to be trashy or slutty but to each their own. Not to mention they have made sexy time…just omg extra extra extra amazing (It was already the bomb beforehand….we have 7 kids haha).

Nipple-Ring-Breasts

Now that I have cut off my hair and pierced my tits, I have a physical reminder that I am fierce as hell and I spew confidence like I never have before. I walk with my head held higher and a little bit more pep in my step. Truth be told, I really needed this quarter-life crisis. Cutting off my hair and getting the piercing I have always wanted was the body positive shift that I was missing and needed. I was always worried about how my fupa looked but now I don’t pay that any attention since I have my new accessories. Now please keep in mind titty piercing hurt like a bxtch. If you don’t have a good pain tolerance this piercing is not for you. I got them both done the same day. Some people do one and back out on the other because it hurts so bad. I am not a quitter, so I took the pain and screamed like a baby gangster.

sexy-citrus-royalty-free-image-813743600-1530550900

One of the biggest things that I have noticed that contributes to quarter-life crises is comparison. Social media is the devil when it comes to comparing your life to others. We all do it at some point. It is more common than you think. You compare your progress in life to others…their careers, relationships, homes, cars, education, kids etc. Then you sit there like damn..what am I doing wrong? I am guilty of doing this with my body. 20s seemed to be about competition. Now that I am in my 30s, it’s all about living my best life and solidarity. My degrees don’t define me, nor does me being a stay at home mom and entrepreneur.  I am no longer wondering “There’s got be more to life than this?”.  Sometimes we think we have it all and sometimes there is still something missing.

IMG_20190616_165312_353

Finally, I have figured out what was missing and have spent the past year putting the pieces together. So my friends and savages, don’t be afraid of the quarter-life crisis…sometimes it is exactly the bxtch slap in the face you need to really start living and not just existing.

Until next time,Breyona

 

 

 

 

Live For The Moments You Can Not Put In Words

 I really LOATHE when people just assume that being a mom and all things momming are my entire life. I do have a life outside of (7) kids.  Life did not stop when I became a mom. But…at one point it kinda did and guess what? Anxiety, depression and motherhood don’t mesh well together. I can not stress enough to other mamas to take care of your mental health.

anxiety-1337383_960_720.png

It is a struggle being whole to everyone else when you are not whole for yourself. Recently the panic attacks have been happening a little more often than what I would like (hence the silence on the blog a little), this is partly from my whole experience of my babes being in the NICU and worrying about things. No one tells you that certain things related to the NICU don’t stop once the baby graduates out of it.  Did they burp enough? Are they getting too comfy while they eat? Can I switch from preemie nipples now? Are the bottles sterile enough? the list goes on and on. This time around a lot of things are purely baby led and it’s pretty cool just requires patience.

I have found a few things that seem to work great for managing my anxiety and depression. I have also been sharing these things with people who reach out for advice who have the same condition. I have taken pieces of advice from them as well. I have a set plan for management, but like with any routine such as hair care, skin care, diets, etc you have to switch it up after a while. You get immune to it. I have had to have a few mommy time outs when the kids are being complete turds behavior wise, the house is a mess, I am exhausted because of Twin A’s crazy sleep patterns and My Beau’s work schedule.  A mommy time out is where I remove myself from the parental atmosphere to clear my head and take a breather. I strap the twins in their rockers, put up the baby gates and tell the oldest two I am stepping outside for a sec and keep an eye on things. It is recharging and refocusing.

During one of my moments, I had what I affectionately call my “2007 Britney Spears moment” and I cut off my hair

britney-spears-shave-910b9356-3536-4945-8500-06613fa3286b.jpg

I did this last month (August). I wanted a new “identity” I wanted a fresh start so to speak. Okay so it wasn’t that drastic, but still you get the point.

smile

 

I usually sit on our back porch (until a spawn of Satan aka a bug) tries to be friends then it’s back in the house I go. If it is at night, I have the oldest watch the babies and I run a nice Epsom salt bath or take a shower. The times where I feel a panic attack coming on, I have to redirect my attention to something else. I grab a snack or play a word game on my phone. My Beau purchased me a Cricut Explore Air 2 for my birthday, so this has really been great for me so far. It gives me something else to do. I have found some of the craft making to be somewhat therapeutic.

I have been transforming my nervous energy into being productive instead of just sulking. However, I am not going to lie… sometimes I get frustrated and want to throw shxt.  I don’t know if you believe in zodiac related shxt, but I do. I am a Virgo. We tend to be perfectionist. It is a blessing and a curse. I really had to learn over time that perfect is not ideal. I like being okay and well. I guess the best way to describe my anxiety and depression is I am predictable in my own unpredictability. I like the direction I am headed and I am excited about all of the great things that are happening and this new journey I am on since I turned 30. If you love life, it will love you back.

mental-health-3301766_960_720.jpg

Taking time away from motherhood doesn’t make you a bad mom. Taking charge of your mental health is one of the most selfless selfish things I think a person can do. Growth doesn’t happen without provocations. Never forget that.

 

Until next time,Breyona

Fat Mama Part ii

 I am guilty of being obsessed with “snapping back” after my previous pregnancies. I share each postpartum journey to motivate other mommies and give them a realistic look at a true average postpartum body (Fat Mama). Not the body of a woman who was a fitness model or had a full on 12 pack before having babies.

weight-loss-2036969_960_720

This mama has a keg after birth. My “snapback” comes from patience, hard work, dedication, a little neglect, and being realistic. I am one of those mamas who loves food. I usually gain the maximum amount of weight allowed during my pregnancies, so I always have work to do afterwards. Funny thing is, my first pregnancy I gained 70 pounds. This was devastating to me. However, I knew that I would never go back to my pre-pregnancy size for a few reasons. First off I was 21 when I had my first kid. Secondly, I had been misdiagnosed shortly after I had him when I went for a mental health check up (not postpartum depression); and the medication caused me to retain weight. Third, my husband return home from the army after being gone for 8 months and two weeks later I was preggo with baby number 2.

Thanks beau

01N38O_e

After I had baby number 2, I was determined to lose weight since I had gained baby weight on top of baby weight. I tried Slim Fast and it was more so like Slim Slow and yucky. I did some research and found something more ideal for me. I did the 17 day diet and lost all of my baby weight without even exercising AT ALL. This was when I learned the true importance of nutrition.  It made me make a permanent lifestyle change.  If you aren’t willing to make a lifestyle change, you can not expect to keep the extra weight away.

 

colorful-doodle-3042581_960_720

When I got pregnant with baby number 3, I basically did what I didn’t do in the past. I ate the way you are “supposed” to while pregnant. I didn’t take in unnecessary calories, I was active, and I ate pretty balanced on top of drinking a ton of water. Guess what? I still gained 50 pounds. Do you see what I am getting at here?

My 4th pregnancy I gained 40 pounds, afterwards I lost all but 5 pounds or so of it. I stopped caring…because well, I knew I would possibly have another baby since we were on the fence about it. My 5th baby I gained 45 pounds and I lost all but 5 pounds of the weight again. I had the same thoughts, why do all of this extra work if I am going to have just one more? Well that one more turned into two more (twins) and here I am….one month postpartum. I gained 60 pounds during the twin’s pregnancy and it would have been more if the babies didn’t come early.

Here I am 2 weeks after my c-section in my granny panties bathroom selfie glory

20180511_092225

Having a c-section is def a game changer when it comes to losing baby weight. For one, you feel like pure shxt afterwards. The swelling is crazy, and your down time is longer. Granny panties are your new lingerie until the incision heals. Trust me, you don’t want any damn thing touching that incision. It might not look glamorous but this is childbirth and postpartum life and comfort is key!

This is the top I wore the day before I had my twins

20180430_084050

This is 10 days after my c-section supported

32350008_1663737343676176_1152712915225149440_n

I really hate the weird stage during postpartum weight loss when maternity clothes are huge and your pre-baby clothes are entirely too small. For me, my maternity clothes are huge because I had to size up so frequently to accommodate the twin bump. At one point I was buying 3x. Now pre-baby at most I am a XL. So naturally right after having them the 3x stuff made me look like I was wearing a trash bag. With the use of my girdle for support during the first week, I was able to fit a few pieces of my post baby clothes but was beyond uncomfortable.

(I no longer wear the girdle for support and my incision is healed for the most part)

 

20180519_221710-01 (1)

This journey is different because I have to really pace myself and take my time. There won’t be any hardcore dieting or exercising, even when I am cleared in 2 weeks. I plan to jump back in once I hit 8 weeks postpartum. I really want to enjoy my time with my twins once they are home. Losing weight can and will wait. It will happen over time. It took me almost 9 months to push my body to extreme limits by carrying two babies at once. I am still amazed and proud of myself for even surviving the entire pregnancy and then enduring a c-section.

 

20180519_220345-01

This time around I am being kind to myself. I am not ashamed of my F.U.P.A aka my kangaroo pouch and I am no longer going to hide it while it shrinks back down. Losing weight can be a mind game and apart of my self care routine is keeping my mental health in check. I am not about to drive myself crazy trying to fit into what our society has created to be perfect, or this notion that you have to immediately be pre-baby size right after coming close to death from having a baby. Embrace yourself and your body, one pound at a time. This body made me a mother and I love it. I am not ashamed and you shouldn’t be either.

The best part about my twin postpartum journey (Remy’s middle name “Journee”)… I don’t have to worry about losing all the weight and gaining my confidence back, all for my beau to knock me up again

maxresdefault

signature

NICU Life: Lessons

7things

It’s been almost 4 weeks and the girls are still in the NICU. I have been trying to stay busy to make the time go by faster and to not be idle. If I become idle, then I will start feeling under the weather. I need to be in a good mood for the other bundles of mayhem. School is finally out for the summer so I can get some relief schedule wise but now I have the demand of entertaining them around the clock and juggling making runs to the NICU to see the girls and drop off milk. These four weeks have taught me a few things and shown me a few things about myself that I never really paid attention to. It has also made me very in tune (more than ever) with my anxiety and I am tired of shaking hands with it. I actually had a panic attack the other day randomly. I haven’t had one of those in a long time, but I was able to handle it and it passed smoothly.

This is a time where I need support more than I ever have. The bond you instantly have with your children during pregnancy and after is indescribable. That bond is threatened when you have to spend time apart. You have to make up for the time lost and do the best you can. Seeing the girls frequently is challenging due to having other children to care for, and the distance of the hospital. Some parents make multiple daily trips to the NICU and some can’t go as often. Some can’t go at all due to different reasons. The hospital has a lot of resources for helping parents cope with the time apart and the guilt. The guilt of not being there. I get daily phone calls, and I can call whenever I want to check in on the girls. There are no visiting hours, but they usually like for you to be cautious about visiting during the times when the shifts change. When we visit, it is full of lots of snuggles and feedings. The girl’s feedings are an hour apart.

The other day when we visited, We saw a man carrying a baby car seat. He had the baby carrier and the base attached. We thought this was odd because most people just take in the carrier when they are getting ready to take their baby home, when the delivery is normal. We got onto different elevators. We joked that he must be a new dad since he had the entire car seat and base toting it around, and maybe he didn’t know that the base is supposed to stay in the car. When we headed back to see the girls, we saw the base dude beaming with excitement and looking nervous at the same time. He was a NICU parent just like us. The baby boy in the first pod, who we passed by on the way to the girl’s twin room each time, was going home. He was always swaddled in the cutest blankets. I heard the male nurse giving them instructions on proper car seat use as they were getting ready to do his car seat test as apart of the discharge process. I teared up a little. I teared up for two reasons: that baby was going home and who knows how long he had been there, and my girls weren’t going home yet.  Seeing and hearing that baby get discharged from the NICU was bittersweet. We will know that feeling one day soon.

Lesson number 1: Appreciating where we are in our NICU journey and how unique it is. Even though it’s not where we thought we would be or want to be, every day spent there serves a purpose.

libido2

When you have a baby in the NICU, certain things are a BIG deal. Such as being in a open crib and finishing a bottle during feeding time. Preemies have to learn how to eat. The girls have feeding tubes until their desire and reflex to naturally suck to either nurse or drink from a bottle using a nipple is developed.

Lesson number 2: Celebrate things other people take for granted. Little milestones are just as important as big ones.

IMG_20180514_154050_402

The device that delivers my breast milk into the girl’s bellies is done via feeding tube using a device they call “the pump”. They basically insert a large syringe that contains my milk into the machine and set a timer. The machine slowly pushes the milk through the baby’s feeding tube to complete the feeding.

Lesson Number 3: Biomedical engineering is such a underappreciated field of engineering. Without it many nurses would be extremely exhausted.

IMG_20180515_003343_088

Speaking of breast-milk, I never thought that I would be able to produce enough for both of my babies. I am a mama who hasn’t always been hip to breast feeding and had a low supply whenever I tried. I exclusively breastfeed my 4th child for 6 months. My 5th, we didn’t have much luck and I had thrown in the towel after repeated latching issues, no desire to pump and a milk supply that dropped so low there was nothing that could be done to bring it back up. Once I was feeling up to it in the hospital, a lactation consultant came to visit with a breast pump and a full on tutorial about exclusively pumping. I had a very good & strong start and I have been doing pretty good so far. Exclusively pumping is very time consuming, frustrating at times, and exhausting. The nurses and my friends have been very supportive and encouraging. This has helped me stay motivated and not throw in the towel.

Lesson number 4: I am more than capable of feeding my babies as long as I continue to trust the process and my body.

IMG_20180517_150256_240

My beau stepped right in when I was not able to bond with the girls after the surgery. He has changed a lot of tiny diapers and even dealt with a big blow out from Remy. Remy’s big blowout during one of our visits was a total life bleachable moment. Breastfed babies tend to projectile poop. He was in the middle of a diaper change when he lifted her up to put the clean diaper on and the shxt (literally) got real. It was EVERYWHERE. the cords, phone on the wall, the crib, her clothes, his hand… you name it!  You would think that out of all the diapers we have changed, we would’ve been quicker. We had to work as a team to tackle the mess.

Lesson number 5: The best way to prepare for tomorrow is doing your very best in the moments of today.

IMG_20180522_142513_397

The million dollar question is when are they coming home? Y’all we truly have no timeline of this. This question actually makes me sad. It is beginning to get a little mundane constantly answering this question. A lot of NICU parents all agree that this is a question a lot of us don’t really like being asked. We aren’t trying to be rude or secretive, we just don’t know. Some people ask in a way that is very insensitive. Actually some people are just insensitive period in a lot of the things they say and ask. Sometimes it is just best to be quiet or say let me know if you need anything. It’s not always what you say but how you say it.

Lesson number 6: Don’t let the way others behave destroy your sense of inner peace.

baby-376531_960_720

We are really hoping that our stay in the NICU is almost done. However, at the same time I would rather them be 100% cleared to come home instead of 80% to rush things along. They are working on their feedings and it is hit or miss…which is expected at this point considering how early they were born. Some days they finish multiple bottles, and some days they don’t finish any at all and are tube fed all day. We are remaining patient because regardless fed is best.

Lesson number 7: Find something positive in each day, even when on some days you have to look a bit harder for it.

IMG_20180526_174945_566

We are so happy and thankful that our girls are progressing very well and have had little to no complications that most 33 weekers experience when they are born prematurely. They are plumping up each day and are super cute! They are well on their way to coming home…when the time is right.

signature

 

When Plans Change

When Plans Change (1)

So remember how a few months back I wrote the piece Last baby sadness? we made the decision not to get the vasectomy done this past March after we had Kendall. Kendall turned out to be a girl and we both kind of wanted another boy. Since we are financially able and such, we both weighed pros and cons and ultimately decided  “screw it” let’s shoot for one more and then call it quits. I mean after all we have five kids already so what’s one more? So with the vasectomy cancelled, we set plans for our last baby for sometime next year. I wanted to be done with this portion of school in April and take a break. Although I wanted to be done having babies before my 30th (next August), I figured I could always celebrate a little later if things didn’t work out how we planned. Well, my body decided to say f what you have planned.

 

So August, I had big plans for my birthday since I was turning 29. I had plans to basically go all out and have fun and get shxt-faced; all that good stuff. Well August arrived and I basically skipped a cycle. I was so worried I was possibly pregnant then because I had just stopped breastfeeding and felt like my birthday plans would be ruined.  My cycle window came and went so I tested it was negative, life was great. I had a pretty wild party and had the time of my life and everyone swore up and down I was going to get knocked up from birthday sex. NOPE!

September came and my cycle decided to return with a vengeance.  It was like the apocalypse of all cycles. My body had to make up for the skipped cycle I guess.  I survived. hmm

After the cycle from hell, we rolled into October and everything seemed back to normal. It has already been concluded that I have an irregular cycle so I was expecting my period to come at a certain point but I always give it an entire week to see which day it is going to rear its ugly head. The week of my cycle arrived. I was prepared to embrace whatever mother nature’s bxtch ass threw at me. I felt a little weird the first few days before it was due and I know that weird feeling all too well. So I decided to buy a cheap ass test to see. Well it was negative. I was super crampy the next day and felt like an idiot having wasted a few bucks on a test and went ahead and got a box of pads and all my other monthly goodies. I use the period panties by THINX but not on certain days when it is due because I can’t always gauge if it is going to be a shxtty cycle or not. So I diaper it up until I see which level of doom I am at. So being that I had tested 4 days prior I had thought nothing of the fact my cycle had not arrived yet. I was beyond crampy and felt like pure shxt so I just knew it was coming. Well my suspicion was raised when we had to make a trip to the store so hubby could return a Redbox rental. He had an issue with the one he received out of the machine so he needed to address the issue with customer service. I wanted to look around, so I left him to do his business and went to the other side of the store. As I was walking by, a stinky old man passed me by and I almost puked everywhere.

WTH? I thought, and then it clicked. You need to take another pregnancy test. I thought about all of the crazy pork rinds (I call them skins) that I had been devouring and how I haven’t eaten them in years and the crazy obsession with lemonade I had been having. I jetted to the aisle where they were and snatched a Clear Blue Digital off the shelf.  I went to self check out and tossed it in the diaper bag and suffered through the rest of the shopping trip. Hubby ended up having to leave to take Kendall to a doctor’s appointment so I debated on taking it that day or waiting until the next morning while he was at work to take it. I was nervous as hell for some reason. I thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to take it the same day because I had already emptied my bladder and I wasn’t technically late yet. When we got home it was like the test was calling my name from the diaper bag. “take me”….So once hubby left I continued working on a cake order and then I caved. I ran upstairs and locked myself in the bathroom and took the test. I didn’t think it would work because my little pee sample was pretty pathetic lol. But nonetheless it immediately started blinking that it was working! The test was supposed to countdown and flash four bars before the results.

Well this shxt flashed two bars and BOOM! PREGNANT!

test

I sat in the bathroom for a while to process things and then for whatever reason I sat in my huge walk in closet staring at the test (don’t ask). I immediately thought about how I was going to tell him. I really didn’t plan this far ahead. I didn’t think things would happen so soon. So I put the test in the top drawer of my nightstand and went back downstairs with my heart racing. My hubby eventually returned home and told me about Kendall’s appointment, but he had also stopped by our favorite liquor store and picked up a butt ton of craft beer. Craft beer that I could not drink because ya know I was like 2 hours pregnant. I decided I needed to tell him. So I sent him on a dummy mission to retrieve something from upstairs and quickly set up my phone to record me telling him. Something I have never done before.

Once I had the phone hidden and at the right angle I told him nevermind about the nonexistent item I needed from upstairs. He came back down stairs, in a panic I asked him to help me cut out something for the cake I was working on. As he was working on that I ran upstairs to get the test. I didn’t think this through at all. I had nowhere to put the test because my yoga pants had no pockets! I shoved it in the band behind me and ran back down stairs. I was shaking lol I was so nervous to tell him (IDK why). So I started the convo off pretty casual and mentioned that we needed to return back to the store for a 3rd time (when we returned the rental that was our second time at the store). So he wasn’t really paying me any attention. So I told him I forgot something and mentioned prenatal vitamins. He took a second and then he asked “you’re pregnant?” and I showed him the test. Pretty lame way to tell him but it was still super cute. Now recording his reaction I was not sure what to expect. I figured either he’s going to cuss a lot out of excitement or say something off the wall. But his reaction made me tear up because it was just too damn cute. He was so overjoyed and happy and is still as excited about things 14 weeks later.

Now the following day was Friday October 13th. We were supposed to go to my friend’s house for a little onesie Friday the 13th party to watch scary movies and celebrate Halloween approaching. I knew there would be lots of alcohol consumed because that is what we do when we get together. We talked about it and made the decision to tell our small circle of buddies the news! In which they thought it was a joke at first!

So only a few people knew that we were expecting again, and lots of people had been asking me if I was the past few weeks but I kind of left a small trail of breadcrumbs but didn’t really tell anyone if I was or not. We decided we would wait for the right time to spill the beans to the world and everyone else. This baby did come as a surprise as far as timing goes but I am not complaining. I say I am not complaining because I am due in June and my 30th birthday is in August. So guess who still gets to get shxt-faced on their 30th bday next year!? This girl! I won’t be back summer time fine by then but I will make the postpartum body work. My due date is set for June 18th which is the day after my beloved granddaddy’s birthday. I know he is up in heaven smiling with his Atlanta Braves cap on and saying “that’s alright” which was something he said no matter what it was that you told him. It is still a little unreal that we are expecting our last baby finally!  It’s bittersweet and unexpected, and that’s alright!

signature

Having a large family is weird

having a large family is

The dynamics of family has changed a lot over the past few decades. The teen pregnancy rate has significantly dropped, women are waiting longer to have babies, and the average size of families has shrunk. Long gone are the days of people having at least literally a dozen kids (My grandfather had 11 siblings). Today, families are relatively small and more couples are deciding to remain childless. With that being said, these new trends puts me at the butt end of a lot of jokes and unwanted comments because I have a large family.

Now, if you have been following my blog, you will know that a super big family was not really in our plans (Then comes baby in the baby carriage…Lots of babies). We planned on 4 kids and not only did they come close together, we overachieved and while on birth control baby #5 popped up and surprised our asses. Now that the overall OMG we are about to have 5 kids shock factor and fear has been put behind us, it’s been a lovely 5 months of lots of adjustments and such. It has been crazy at times getting everyone ready to leave the house and running errands. The laundry is a complete nightmare and someone is always up to something….but oddly I wouldn’t change anything.

If you would have told me 8 years, hell even 29 years ago that I would have a large family, I would have hysterically laughed in your face. But now, this is my reality. I have 5 kids. FIVE kids….FIVE…F-I-V-E.. ONE< TWO<THREE<FOUR<FIVE!!!

kids

There are a lot of double standards that come with the comments in regards to the size of our family. When it was just Cameron, everyone asked if we were going to try for a girl or have another one. We had Kennedy and then everyone said that things were “perfect” because we had one of each.  Cody, everyone was like awww they get a new sibling. Kali, everyone was like OMG you are pregnant again, 4 kids?! and finally Kendall basically everyone was like WTF!? A lot of unwanted comments came from people who I know and although some were just trying to be funny, I wished they would keep their comments to themselves. This goes for strangers as well. I don’t see anything humorous about the size of someone’s family. I understand that it is a little weird now to have more than 2 or 3 kids. I get it, I totally do. But, for those of us who decided otherwise, your comments just seem really well, shxtt

I don’t need you to tell me how many kids I have. I know how many I have, they came out of my vagina. It really bugs me when people say something and throw in “well you do have 5 kids”. The number of kids I have, has not stopped me from accomplishing things, fulfilling my dreams, or living my life. Our culture has taught us and programmed us to look at multiple kids as irresponsibility. It has taught us to alienate those women who may be single moms who have multiple children. I have seen countless times on Facebook where some guy rants about a chick having too many kids etc. Or they won’t date someone who has more than XYZ kids. You know what? I appreciate stuff like that because, to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be with anybody who is shallow like that anyway. The size of my family may make me less desirable to some and I don’t care. I am not speaking in terms of dating because I am happily married, in love, and well taken care of; but in terms of friendships. Most of my good friends have large families as well. We have this “weird” lifestyle in common.

I do find it funny when I go out with my family that people stare, make comments etc. You would think that being an interracial couple would ruffle some feathers, but having a large family seems to be the focus now. When you have a large family, here are some typical comments and questions you will get:

  • Bless your heart
  • I couldn’t do it I have (insert number of kids) and I have a hard time keeping up with them, I can’t imagine 5
  • You must love being pregnant (Actually I hate the whole pregnancy process, I just want the baby)
  • Y’all need a TV in the bedroom
  • Your sex life must be amazing
  • Do y’all have any hobbies?
  • Are you on birth control?
  • You must be (insert religion) and don’t believe in birth control
  • Are you done having kids?
  • How many more are y’all going to have?
  • You have a basketball team
  • Time for a mini van (This will get you cussed out. I have a nice SUV that accommodates us and all of our shxt)
  • Your husband’s pull out game must be weak (we are married grown adults and not careless teenagers, why would we be using the pull out method? btw that shxt doesn’t always work)
  • How do you ever have time for yourself?
  • Is he getting fixed now?
  • Are you getting your tubes tied? (yes I am going to take the parts that are removed and strangle you with them)
  • Y’all are trying to be like the (insert family that has an entire congregation)
  • You do know what causes that right?
  • My favorite: Don’t ya’ll know where babies come from? (Yes, lots and lots of sex because we like sex)

Now, I used to get upset by the comments. Like really pissed off. But now, I expect them and laugh and comment back. There is no reason to be ashamed of the size of your family. I tell this to other large families too often. I have had people privately tell me they would love to  have a large family or want to have another baby, but are worried about what people will say. Well those people are not paying your bills, those people are not helping you tend to your children’s needs, those people are not helping you do laundry, buy groceries, change diapers, or anything constructive. If you want more kids and can take care of them, have them. Be fruitful and multiply.

We tend to care too much about the opinions of others even when we don’t think we do. I know I was hesitant to announce my last pregnancy because I simply did not want to be bothered with all of the stupid comments and jokes etc. I wasn’t in the mood. I was not embarrassed or anything like that, just at some point everyone gets tired of other people shxt.

Here are some of the misconceptions I have heard about having a large family:

  • It’s expensive: To be honest, our society has taught us that basically everything costs your soul. Going to college, getting married, and having kids. I see it as it is as expensive as you make it. If you buy all name brand designer clothes etc then yes this will be expensive to do with 5 kids. However, if you only buy certain items name brand etc, take care of those items and pass them down to the next child if they are in good condition, then you get your monies worth. Having multiple children allows you to really get the true value out of certain items like cribs, carseats, etc. The other costly thing is transportation. If you have a car you will likely need to upgrade to an SUV with third row seating or a van. For us, it was actually cheaper, because I had a 5 series BMW and traded it in for a Yukon and the car insurance went down. As far as food, buying in bulk saves you money (There will be another post in regards to how we “afford” a large family)
  • If you have multiple kids, it is impossible to give them all individual attention: We do things the same way we did when it was just Cameron. We read together, do special things together such as for the girls, I paint their nails, we play video games with Cameron, we take the tots to do things while the older two are at school etc.
  • If you have a large family you must have grown up in one: Nope, actually there are 3 of us kid wise in my family and as far as my husband goes, he has 4 half siblings total split between his biological parents.
  • This one is my favorite…You are on some type of welfare: I am just not going to comment on this one. Actually yes I am going to comment. It always tickles me when I go to grocery shop for my family (usually about $400 bucks every trip) and the cashier asks how am I paying? or the customer behind me makes a comment about the two carts and automatically assumes food stamps.
  • I haven’t heard that dumb joke or comment you just made about my reproductive life before: If I had a dollar for everytime…sooooo original
  • The older ones raise the little ones: How in the hell are they going to do that when they are little ones themselves?

trth

Although initially the thought of a large family sent my anxiety over the edge, now that I have one it has changed my perspective of a lot of things. It has shown me that I am capable of doing more than I think I can at times, and it has pushed me harder to become a better person, because I have multiple human beings that I will send off into the world one day. It has taught me that I have just that much more love to give.

17457436_1271170406266207_4727820443314624908_n

It has also taught me how to maneuver the multi-kid tank buggy at Target.

signature

Fat Mama

I am two months postpartum and it seems like the weight is slowly falling off; which is fine considering the fact I haven’t been exercising like I should be. I have my days of body shaming and my fair share of days where I am absolutely in love with my postpartum body. Kids are known for being brutally honest and sometimes the things they say can come across as them being little jerks. Sometimes kids say things that make you stop and think. Sometimes kids say things that make you get your shxt together.

I am a mama who loves to eat. I am an emotional eater as well.

eat

One day, my oldest daughter expressed to my oldest son that she did not like the way I looked. He was offended by this and came to voice his concerns over what she said. I called my daughter into the living room to talk to her about what she said behind my back. I asked her calmly, “Do you not like the way I look?” Without hesitation and to much surprise she said, “Mommy you are fat”.   It took me a while to process this and to try to determine which emotion to let shine bright like a diamond. I just thought to myself, damn….you must look that bad for a 5 year old to say something.

ok

I thought about all the tacos, beer, wine, sweets you name it that I had been indulging in. I thought about all the days when I said I am going to work out and I didn’t. I thought a lot of things. I didn’t have anything to say back to my daughter, who stood there staring at me in a way that was so nonchalant it made me feel worse.

tacos

 

I know my kid wasn’t some asshxle who was just trying to be mean, but rather a curious and concerned innocent kid. I ended up texting my husband and he could tell I was upset. He ended up calling me and we had a conversation about it. I immediately went in on the topic with every emotion imaginable. He kept reminding me that I had just had a baby, I was beautiful, and it (the weight) will come off with time. I felt a little better after the conversation and further pondered the words you are fat.

dough

 

That evening when I was relaxing in the shower, it hit me…My kid said this to me because I have said that about myself countless times in front of her. So obviously if I think this about myself, she felt it was okay to say the same things. She was just repeating what she had heard. I instantly felt like a even bigger pile of shxt and reality hit. I have a daughter who is literally watching everything that I do. I have to set a good example. I have three daughters. I do not want them growing up calling themselves fat or spewing any other forms of self hate or body shaming. I love myself and I need to stop saying things like that.

lovehate

Sure people tell me I look great to have just had a baby and I honestly feel the same way. Sometimes when I am in my birthday suit I look in the mirror at my lingering kangaroo pouch, stretch marks, and touching thighs. I think about how this body has birthed five babies. It’s pretty amazing. I know it took me 9 months to gain weight and it will take me about the same amount of time to lose it in a healthy manner. However, every woman is human and has had a point in their life where they felt their body could be a little bit better.  In today’s society, women have what is considered perfect shoved in their beautiful faces daily.

lovee

I may be a little overweight for now, and I am okay with that. I am however not okay with saying the things I have been saying about myself and I am not okay with hearing others talk the same way about themselves. One of the things on my list 2017: The last year of my 20s was to feel confident about my body after babies. I will no longer say those type of things about myself and when I hear another mama doing the same things, I will offer her a compliment and a little words of encouragement. I am on a mission and I temporarily got distracted. It may seem silly but I am very grateful my daughter told me I was fat because she caused me to sincerely and deeply self reflect and pushed me to do better and commit to self love.

Self love is not selfish. Our first and last love is self love.

love