the weight of my words

I wrote this last year, and still find myself struggling in this. I've gotten better, but it can still be  a struggle. So I'm posting it here as a reminder to myself, maybe you need it to.

I've realized something ugly about myself lately. My words don't carry as much weight as I want them to. Maybe they never have, but it's something I'm really feeling convicted about.

I've been terrible at keeping my word to my kids... and that leaves a big lump in my throat just to type it out loud, but it's true. I've caught myself offering them an activity or reward to calm them down or to get my desired result and then I don't follow through. I don't play with play dough. I don't read that book again. I don't take them outside. Now I'm not sitting there lying on purpose, I get distracted with the baby, someone gets hurt, but also... I'm just not thinking about my words, I'm not committing to what I say... and I don't like it and I don't want to do it any more.

This isn't about doing all the things... and this isn't about saying yes more. I know that is a popular sentiment right now... Don't be the no mom, say yes to all the good things. I mean yeah, I would love to say yes to everything and do each good thing they want, not in a spoiled way, but in a if I could be in three places at once way.... I totally would, but I can't.

It hasn't been an issue with just my kids either. It's commitments to my husband. To my friends. To myself. There is so much grace there, however. My husband has heard me say SO many times, that I'm going to clean all the rooms and plan all the meals, bathe the kids, and get June Cleaver all up in this place... poor June. How the hell did you stand with all that weight on your shoulders? Point being... it rarely happens like I plan, and my husband legitimately never cares. The only one putting that on me, is me. This is not a gender role house... this is just a house where I am a stay at home Mom, and my husband works, and the rest of our life just gets doled out according to our strengths.

Either way, I want to say what I mean and mean what I say. I want my words to have weight to them, and I want people to expect what I tell them to.

I really think it's okay that you can't always say yes, but for me... this is about saying yes and meaning it, saying no and meaning it, and doing exactly what I say I will... and nothing less than that.
If I screw it up, grace covers that, but I want to try much harder to be true to my words... all of them. If I'm not sure? Then I'm going to say I'm not sure.

So here is what I'm going to be working on...

I won't promise anything that I'm not sure I can fulfill.
I won't say yes if I can't do it well because I don't want to do it. (Sometimes you have to suck it up, other times you can't and occasionally you just shouldn't.)
If I say yes, and I don't follow through... I will own up to it and follow through as soon as possible.
I will say no, and then I won't change my answer.
I will think about how my answers effect my family and myself.
I will reserve the word 'promise' for love and things that circumstances cannot change.

How do you keep your word?

national breastfeeding week

At some point I'll write the stories of how my babies came to be, but right now I want to skip all that and jump to breastfeeding.

My Instagram feed has been flooded this week with the most beautiful pictures of Mamas and their babies, as it usually is. This week the highlight has been breastfeeding because it's national breastfeeding week.

First off let me just tell you how much I support and respect this way to feed your babies. Seriously, it's a sacrifice, it's a lot of work, and y'all are amazing. I think you should be able to feed your babies anywhere, literally, absolutely anywhere, and the only thing you should get is support. Even if people see all you have going on, because what you have going on is a completely natural and beautiful nourishing relationship with your baby. Babies don't always like covers. Sometimes it's hot. Also, you're fighting a battle to normalize something that is completely normal. You might want to breastfeed with no cover because that's easiest and the best way for you. Every way is a good way. You deserve respect and you deserve people to let you be, and definitely not shame about having your breast uncovered. If someone has issue, it's their eyes... avert. I stand with you.

All that said. I've never had a "successful" breastfeeding experience, and I likely won't.

I'm pregnant with our fourth sweet baby, and we've done this three times now. With each baby, I've had little to no supply, and my milk never "came in". I still don't even know what that means. I never experienced "let down". My boobs stayed the same size they've always been. I don't put those terms in quotes because I doubt their existence. I know how it works, I read the books. I've seen mama friends deal with all of that. I've seen them experience the pain of bad latches and mastitis, and the joy of finally knowing your milk is there, pumping ten ounces on the spot, and all is well. When it works, it's beautiful.

It's just that it doesn't always work. When you're in that chair, trying the football hold and any other you can remember from Le Leche, it's different than reading it, and it's different than watching your friend. It's your baby screaming it's sweet pink head off now. My nurses told me I was a pro at the C pinch latch thingy, it's been a while and I don't remember technical terms. When my second boy was born and went to the NICU, I met with four lactation consultants and all said there was nothing else that I could be doing on top of what I already was.

My boobs just didn't cut it for my babies. There are a lot more details, and maybe I'll speak more to that another day. Right now, I just want to tell you Mamas who've been unable to breastfeed... I've been there.

While I still hold that breastfeeding is an amazing and natural thing. It isn't always best. Sometimes it's just not. Sometimes you know that without even trying. We are walking into the last half of this pregnancy, and we are pretty sure that we won't even try with this girl. Because our history tells us that this isn't what's best for our family, and that's okay.

It was so painful when I had to let it go the first time, it was equally painful but less shameful the second time. When we are had our third, I knew that he needed more, and I knew that I didn't have it in me to fight for something that I was sure I was going to lose at.

If you've been here, and you're seeing the beautiful pictures of mamas with their babies at their breast, and it's hurting your heart a bit, you're not alone. If you're seeing them and you feel like they're shoving the best way down your throat, (been there at a more painful time) they aren't trying to do that. They're sharing part of their story. Just like you can share yours. I remember posting that first bottle feeding picture and getting messages and questions about what happened to breastfeeding, along with all the tips I had already tried. That's hard. I get it... but ultimately what they think or say, no matter how well meaning, just doesn't matter that much. You have to do the best thing for your baby and your family and for you. Sometimes the most natural thing doesn't work, and something new becomes the most natural thing for you.

You're not doing this the easy way. I would have loved to not have to make a bottle in the middle of the night. I would have loved to just feed my baby with no equipment to remember. You're doing this a different way. Not an easier way, not a lesser way, you're doing this a different way. You did it a different way, and it's so completely okay.

When you parent, it's all left on the floor. You put it all out there. You give every single thing you have... whether you breastfeed, have a natural birth, co sleep, sleep train, cloth diapers, disposables, schedule your birth, if you throw the Pinterest party, or pick up a cake at Wal-Mart. When you give up one thing, all the energy from that thing, goes into something else. You aren't choosing the easy way, you're directing that energy into something else.

No matter how you did it, no matter how you're doing it, you're doing a great job... and there is so much past whatever mothering thing is hanging you up today. It's bigger than the party, how you feed them, it's bigger than you snapping at them this morning, it's bigger than take out pizza instead of making dinner. It always will be, there will always be more to put your energy into.

When something just isn't going the way you hoped it would, when you have to wave the white flag, when you finally have to accept that extra dose of grace you tell your friends about, put that energy into loving your people... that energy is never wasted.

blogging again

Do people even do this anymore? Blog? I don't even know, because I totally quit reading them. I mean, not completely, and not intentionally. Partially because I had like 5,683 on my phone, a kid was doing something cute, and so I deleted my feedly app to document said cute.

However, the past few weeks, I've been heading back to my old favorites and I remembered what I was missing... the community, the words, the heart. I've missed it, and it made me miss writing. So here we are. Here I am.

Honestly, I make no promises. I give you no schedule nor goals. Because truth be told, it's completely reasonable that I'll log into this once a month, stare at the page with my name and picture trying to process the many thoughts in my head, only to be sidetracked by a sticky toddler, and never return.

I would love to make this a thing. I would love to actually be a blogger. I mean, I've been talking about "starting a blog" since the early 2000s. I've started blogs, and ran away screaming from the pressure I put on myself to blog on a schedule. Schedules don't work well for me, perhaps an issue I should address, but I won't be doing that here.

So welcome. To my little inconsistent space... I have no clue what I'll be blogging about. Legitimately. There's a good chance you'll find a lot about parenting and church things, faith and Jesus things, maybe marriage things, possibly politics and feminism, I might share a good beauty product here or there, but probably not... because let's be honest... who has time to shower or shave, or do their hair? Make up? A lot of people, probably, but generally I don't. You'll know when I do, because I'll selfie it. Because if a tree falls in the wood and no one hears, did it really fall? So goes if a mom does her hair and her make up, but does not take a selfie, did she actually shower?

What you definitely won't find... good grammar. Seriously, grammar police, NEVER RETURN. Because my grammar will probably make you hyperventilate. This is a health PSA. You've been warned. If you've read this far, then you've been given plenty of examples. Come back at your own risk. You won't find good photography... You might find a pretty awesome filtered Instagram picture though.

You will just find me for now. Trying to figure out what I would like this space to be. Figuring out what my voice sounds like. I would love to invite you into that.

So I'll see you around, maybe tomorrow, maybe in September.

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