Friday, August 28, 2009

Mirror, Mirror


Lets talk about mirrors.

Mirrors are kind of a love hate relationship for me. They often tell me what I don’t want to hear and unless I’m feeling super sexy (which comes from a lot of work that I deem totally unnecessary and only in the name of a few photos that may or may not end up on a public forum like facebook) I only use them because they are a necessary evil. Did I get the toothpaste off my mouth? Do I have any bumps in the dirty-no-time ponytail I am sporting?

Of course, there are others who love mirrors. Women you will catch practicing “the look” before they go out or who will look at themselves any time there is a mirror around. Women who put in the time to be pretty. I’m rarely one of them.

This leads me to giving birth. WHAT? How did we go from glamor mirrors to birth? Easy.

When my son was born I had one HUGE fear- that I would defecate right on the table in front of the nurses, the Dr., and my husband as I pushed with all I had to get him out of me. I am now willing to admit that this may have been a huge reason he had to be vacuumed out of me, but I digress.

For pushing encouragement, the nurses thought I should LOOK at my netherlands and the head that so desperately wanted to emerge from it as motivation to push harder. Mortified and determined to suck him back up the birth canal, the mirror did the opposite. I have never seen something so disgusting and it was happening to me! It was not this beautiful, natural right of passage, it was parasitic and mutating.
(Pregnant women are allowed to cuss).
The nurses carted the huge, towering over my area mirror away at my husband’s urgency only I couldn’t shake the image from my mind. Now, not only did I have the fear of public defecation, I had a swirling vision of my personal mutation that caused me to consider: was this worth it?
Can I undo this?
A human (I repeat, a HUMAN) is coming OUT of me and he was destroying my body!

Screw mirrors.

Mirror, Mirror Standing Tall, Show me my hoo-ha before it all!

images by simple moth

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keys, Please?

Women as creatures are both friends and competition. Women as mother’s and wives? The same yet enhanced. As wives we fight for our husbands to break free from their mother’s talons, we ask them to choose us-put us first. As mother's we know their future does not include us being their number one, but how does the mother in us let go? As wives, we begin the sculpting process of our own family and at times, must play tug of war with the women who have defined their lives by their mothering us. No mother wants to let go, but we all must.

In the beginning there is the desire to be part of the “in crowd.” Being the new girl/guy at school, you play nice; you want to be liked, you want to be accepted. Soon, you’re “in” and the quest to be to be known and recongnized is yours. You spend a few years in a power struggle if you're all strong enough, each of you fighting for something different but desiring a similar end. At the root of our being as women is loyalty to those that are in our pack but to those who threaten the unity and the solidarity of that pack? Prepare for battle.

Perhaps we need a big meeting with coffee and gluten enhanced pastries and the opportunity to say, “My name is Allegra and I am the wife and mother of my family,” or “My name is Carol and I am a mom-aholic.” We need an opportunity to collaborate on how to work together as a team or simply hand off power. An analogy?'s one- As a mother, you build a house, you live in it, and then you sell it. Please, think back freely on the good times you had with that house, but you have to give the new owner the keys. You don’t drive up to that house every day anymore because it’s not yours, you can’t decorate it as you wish, you can’t tear down walls as you choose, you must knock every time and wait to be invited in. You must learn to love your own home and let the old home be enjoyed by someone new.

Indeed, I am a mother in my youth nowhere near handing my keys off to the next owner, but I do pray about the next owner and I know the hand off is just around the corner. Yes, I’m sure, one day I will understand exactly what I’m talking about and eat my words like they’re raw chicken, but you don't have to tell me that. At some point, if the transition is a tough one as I know many are, we are challenged to say, "Your old house is my new house. Thank you for the love and care you have put into it, but will you kindly give me the keys now?"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Marriage or Motherhood?

I stumbled across a blog the other day that has had me thinking ever since. The entry was centered around the question, "Is being a wife or a mother harder?" The writer expressed her opinion that marriage was harder. She exposed her truth and it saddened me as she expressed that marriage is something she feels she can walk away from a while children are not a being that you can divorce.

I have been reeling in the brief moments of silence I have over her answer and over what my answer would be. My answer goes something like this...

Marriage is work. There are days that it is easier to wear than others. Marriage can feel like the confidence of wearing a new shirt or it can resemble a freshly washed pair of jeans that one can't squeeze themselves into some days. On the "tight jeans" days thought it just means I have to work a little bit harder--I have to stretch the pants out until they loosen a little, make them fit the way they did before putting them through the washer. At the end of the day though, when I've put in the work to wear them in again though, they feel good, comfortable, and irreplaceable. In the grand scheme of things, a good pair of jeans is just as good as a brand new shirt.

I realize I am comparing the most sacred union between man and woman to clothes but I can't quite find another way to say what I am feeling. If marriage were easy, we wouldn't see so much failure. If marriage were easy, counselors would be out of jobs. If marriage were easy, making light of the disagreement the night before with your friends wouldn't be as funny.

For me- marriage is easier than motherhood if we're creating the notion that these two roles are jobs.

I ultimately chose to be married. Christan dropped down to one knee and held out a diamond ring and asked me, "Will you marry me?" and I said "Yes." I said yes to the days we'd look at each other with the eyes of new lovers and to the days where we'd wonder if our emotional bank account would make it. I say yes to him and to us every single day. In marriage, I have a partner and a friend who tackles the have-to's with me. I have a friend who knows me better than I do. I have a friend who holds my hand when we are walking freely from worldly stresses and when the going gets tough. In marriage I have a true love and an eternal friend.

In motherhood, I have a being who is in constant need of me. Sometimes the sheer weight of motherhood feels like it could break me. The voices of women who have all of the answers, the lives of women who have different arrangements, the pressures to prepare and to be everything at every moment. I can hold my son and be both in awe and exhaustion simultaneously. If anything, motherhood makes marriage harder. Now I have two people who need me with one significant difference: one is independent the other is entirely dependent. Mothering within marriage calls for an extra cup of alertness--to be alert enough that I don't put my child above my husband for according to what I believe, it is God first, Husband second, and Son third (however, that priority list often gets skewed.) It's easy though to forget the independent person in my life and focus on the dependent one who cries or giggles with all that he is at any given moment.

In the end, I realize that any one could look at me and tell me what I'm doing wrong or how I need to be more grateful but what they don't know is how grateful I am. I am grateful beyond words for the life I have, for all that I have been given and do not deserve. In my humanity, however, I struggle. I struggle with who I am, who I am not, and who I want to be. Motherhood and marriage are amazing blessings and like anything in life, they have their trying moments.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

i'll do anything!!

I want to fix it.
I want to make it right.We are blessed with so much.
We are.
We have a home, we have running water, we have love.
We are the have's and NOT the have-not's.
There are moments though when what we have doesn't seem to be enough.
In those moments I pray for truth to invade and defeat the lies.

Christan and I share a common heartache: we are not the one's with our son every day.There are days-many-when I don't think I could be a stay at home mom.
That is a lie.
The truth is, I would be a wonderful stay at home mom but it isn't something I can fathom now because we have to work.

Some days we get caught up on our failures but the truth is we are fighting every day to make the dream work for our family. We DREAM of raising our son and only having a babysitter when we want to go out-- not because we NEED to work. Some days it's easy to see what others have and feel like we ARE the have-not's. It is easy to say, "It's not fair."

Today I feel consumed.
Tell me what to give up!
I'll give up anything not to know how much it hurts my husband to drop our little boy off.
I'll give up anything just to know that our little boy's smile doesn't break into hysterical cries because he knows he's being left again.
I'll give up anything!!!Lord,
help us find a way
fill us with truth
defeat the lies!
allow us to look to you!
close our eyes from looking out
keep us from wanting what others have
allow us to embrace our gifts
allow us to be filled with the joy of your love for us.
guide us
protect us
show us the way
give us the courage to obey
how can we live with less so we can embrace so much more?!
thank you for your goodness, Lord.

Ouch, that hurt a bit!

I got something in the mail yesterday. It's something that has left a little pin prick in my heart. You can all correct me if I am overreacting.
It seems that two things in life bring about great amounts of advice. The first is when you get engaged and are planning to be married and the second is when you decide to become parents. Advice is everywhere. Unless you have a strong filter, or develop one, the advice that sounds a lot like "have to's" will drown you.
I remember at Christmas in 2007 I was six months pregnant and we had just moved back to the central coast four weeks before. There we were in our economical Toyota Echo on my extended family's property that makes an Echo look like a Tonka toy. As I was uncomfortably crawling into the passenger seat, I received advice..."You really should buy a house. A baby can't live in an apartment." My heart hurt. I knew the person saying it was saying it out of a place of wanting that for us but what I realized, sadly, was he had NO idea how much we WANTED that, how hard we were both TRYING for that. It popped a little piece of me and deflated it. All I could do was stare at my bulging belly and think, "I am trying. I want to give you the world, sweet baby. I want to give you the world!"
Since Ashton came into our life, Christan and I have been working SO hard to figure out HOW to break free from the rat race. How do WE achieve our dreams? Two months after Ashton was born, Christan started our LLC, ChristanP Photography. We were sprinting for freedom. It has been a slow process that on good days is more than a natural high and on others, leaves discouragement and a heavy heart. We have invested HOURS of thought into HOW to provide for our son, HOW to free me up from working so I can RAISE our son and run our business from home instead. We decided that if we sacrifice now, we will have a pay off later. The sacrifice has been Christan and I both having two full time jobs. He designs websites and comes home to edit photos and I work and then come home to care for our son and run the home.
Yesterday I received a book. I received, "In Praise of Stay At Home Mom's" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It came with a note. The note said, "Points to ponder." While it may be a great book and I applaud its message (Stay at home mom's have a VERY hard job) I felt invisible and overlooked. Does the sender genuinely NOT see what we are doing, what we are sacrificing, how we are TRYING? So now I say, "I cast out this message that hurts my heart!" While the intention may be good, it seemed insensitive and misinformed. It hurt.
This is a description of the book:

They number in the millions and they are incredibly important to families and to our society, yet they are under appreciated, little respected, and even controversial.

Who are they?

They are the stay-at-home moms.

These are women who know in their hearts that staying home to raise their children is the right choice for the whole family. Some do it from the outset of their marriages, while others make the difficult transition from career-driven women to homemakers. Either way, it is a choice that is incredibly rich and rewarding, not to mention challenging.

Now Dr. Laura, building on principles developed during her long career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, provides a wealth of advice and support, as well as compassion and inspiration, to women as they navigate the wonders and struggles of being stay-at-home moms.

Learn how:

  • to hold your head high and deal with naysayers;
  • to see the benefits of being home not only for your children but also for your marriage;
  • to understand the changes you see in yourself;
  • to realize that the sacrifices you endure now will make for lasting bonds and a stronger family, in addition to a more cohesive community.

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms is a special book, a profound and unique understanding of how important it is for mothers to raise their own children.

I'm sure you can pick out the points that would hurt my heart-- like "how important it is for mothers to raise their own children." I wanted to scream IF YOU THINK I DON'T WANT TO BE THE ONE WATCHING MY SON GROW UP, YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISTAKEN!!

But I step back and I look at the big picture: I have a wonderful son, I have an amazing AMAZING husband who is busting his BUTT to make our dream reality, and I am a great mom! I am. It has taken me 11 months to accept and KNOW that but even if I work, I come home and get to be a great mom.

I am a great mom even if I work.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Oh my gosh, I'm crazy!
That must be it- I'm crazy.
Why am I cussing in my head and have a crazy desire to punch someone?
What is WRONG with me?!
Where's my calendar?
Ohhhh...of course.
I pull my hand from my pocket and reach out to shake the hand of my old friend,
"Hey, Hormones. So, it looks like we've got a few days together. Just so we're clear-I hate you!"
You're lame, Ovulation!
I guess my friend is right, "Knowing is half the battle."

Dear Husband:
You know yesterday when I was a cranky ______? I'm really sorry about that. I mean, I know I was tired but as it turns out, your favorite version of me is going to be around for a few days. Good news is, I'm still working like clock work SO when I do get on board with that 2nd kid concept, all will probably go as planned. Too bad having the kid(s) you love so much means having this Devil Wears Sale Items version of me around so much, eh?
Sorry. Really. I can't say it's worse being me than you but if you consider all inclusive self loathing (you know the: I'm fat, I am a bad mom, I hate our dirty house, I want new clothes, I want a vacation, I will never be good enough, everyone has it better than poor old healthy, blessed me....) worse, then I win, unlike when we play connect four. (You always win that game!) The good me will be back just in time to leave you alone with Ash for 4 days.
Wife of the year, right? I know. I owe you a boys weekend. Plan it before evil me comes back.
Gah, she's really a pain in the *$#.
NO matter what the crazy me says, dear, I love you and truly, I'm so sorry about her.
She really is awful!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Momma's Vow

I remember the first three months of being a mom.
Those were emotional and exhausting.
All I wanted was for my baby to grow up.
Now I look at him and all I want is for him to stay small.Perhaps it's true, the grass is always greener, but daily I work on sitting on the green hill that's been given to be and enjoying the view.

I admit, it's 93% great.
The other 7% that is the good but not great really comes down to me.
The other 7% has to do with maintaining the "me" that I refuse to lose and believe that this refusal is Ok.
I really do love being my son's mom but I see what losing yourself in anything can do, let alone a child.
I refuse to let my son be 110% of who I am.
I refuse to lose the "me"-ness for eighteen years only to leave me empty when he leaves.
I refuse to leave him with the burden of fulfilling me so I aim to fulfill myself in the other things I love: the Lord, my husband, my hobbies, my friends...ME.I know there are Mom's out there who are laughing at me and thinking,
"Oh honey, it's unavoidable. They change your life forever!"
My son has more than changed my life.
He's changed how I love, how I learn, who I want to be, and exposes the worst of me--the things I want to make better. He IS a life change but I never want him to be what defines me.

I know that one day he'll get married--and I swear to be a wonderful Mother In Law!
I know one day he won't come home for Christmas--and I swear I'll be okay with it!
I know one day he will have his own traditions--and I swear I'll be happy for him!
I swear these things but I realize people change.
I should say I desperately WANT these things!

Oh me, oh my!
I think about these things ALL the time!
I talk about these things once a day with my husband.
We plan for his future in ways that are so FULL of hope and love and life.
We sacrifice now for his future benefit.
We build what we do in our present so later it will be his gift.

All of the things I desire for him come from a place I have never known before.
In my heart of hearts, I always knew that having a child would make me understand God's love for me in a whole new light.
I can only imagine what treasures and what dreams He has in store for me.
How amazing that it's even more than what I want for my own son!
How unfathomable that He loves my son even more than I could.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Selfishness & Sacrifice

How often have I complained of the moments I miss with my son because I work?
No need to answer--I know--too often to count.
Today I sacrificed tardiness to hold my boy.
Today I wanted to be his mom--to change him, dress him, feed him, hold him. I wanted to cure the tears and the purple face as he gasped for air at the thought I'd leave him alone in his crib again.
I folded him in my arms and I sat in his rocking chair not caring if I'd get in trouble or if I had to call in and say, "I'll be late." I have a job, I have responsibilities but in this moment, my son was my priority.
I want every day to be the day I wake him, dress him, hold him.
I wait to pack up the "old life" anxiously.Have I told you of my husband's sacrifice?
Relentlessly studying and searching for new ways to free us, he smiles through it.
He started a business--one we were partners in until I threw my hands up saying,
"It's too much!"We have prayed for success--prayed for photography to become full time.
Now, as his schedule thickens it's my turn to sacrifice and my selfishness stands in the way.
I sacrifice my time with him.
I sacrifice my sanity when Ashton and I want him home at night.
I am not sacrificing anything.
I tell him, "When you work 2 full time jobs, I am working two full time jobs."
I have said it before
We sacrifice now so we receive the pay off later.
Now is when those words are being tested.

In one breath, IPRAISE the Lord that Christan is now booked with only one free weekend in August--the only free weekend until mid-October. In the other breath, I wallow in self pity as I realize that I lose time.
This mission--this dedication my husband has is unreal.
His goal: One of us WILL be a full time parent!
One of us will be home full time.
I don't care which of us it is--I just want our little boy with us.
I am learning to develop encouragement vs. discouragement.
My sad words of, "I miss you. I want our time," will hurt him.
He wants those things as much as I do. It's WHY he's doing this!It makes me selfish with the free time we DO have.
NO-I don't want to spend that time with other obligations!
NO-"You" are not allowed to make us feel guilty because we can't be everywhere!
This is about us.
Not to me.

Selfishness & Sacrifice
Freedom the ultimate goal.

You know I miss you when you are gone.
You know I want you here with me.
You NEED to know how much I THANK YOU for your selfless sacrifice.
You NEED to know that I promise to work on my selfishness.
I'm SO Proud of what you are accomplishing in the name of Our P Pod :)I wait for OUR days.
In love,

{images from fabbrunette}

Saturday, August 1, 2009


She didn't dream of a big dress.
She never thought of bridesmaids.
She didn't picture a day.
She never even imagined a groom.
She had a plan:
White house. White BMW. White Furniture. One Cat. Sea Grass.
She protected herself:
No love. If no one comes in, no one can go out.

She found Love in Him and life changed.
She wanted what He wanted.
She met him.
She waited.
he found her.

She dreamed of a simple dress.
She thought of a few friends & family.
She pictured a moment on a beach in the fog.
She knew her groom.She thinks often of the best "mistake" she ever made.
The one "mistake" no one will let her forget.
She hurts now for the punishment she received.
She is grateful--if she couldn't have the dream she would have her moment.
He loves her every day.
Everyone tried to take that moment away.
A moment no one else could own
Lingers in her memory like a treasure box.
I hope that one day I will forgive
Never could I have imagined it happening like that.
Go and do what you must to own who you are! I will love you regardless! Just love me the same.
{inspirational photos from fab obsessed}