Growing up I never thought I would marry or have kids. Not because I didn’t want that life, but I was convinced I would never find someone who loved me for me. I was always told by my peers, family, and strangers ways that I should change. “Lose weight.” “Wax your eyebrows.” “Dress nicer.” The list goes on. It took me a long time to grow into my skin and own it. Nearly 10 years ago I found the love of my life, Denis, and we now have two amazing children together: Evalyn (3 in August. Wtf!) and Dominic (10 months). The three of them challenge me every day to be the best version of myself. Especially my little Evalyn.

Baby Dom enjoying the park. (Photo Credit: Sasha Russell)

However, I still struggle. I struggle with how I feel about myself, with my position in life, and sometimes even struggle with seeing the successes and gifts that I have right in front of me. Recently this struggle has been quite overwhelming and on the forefront of my mind. I work full-time – 3 days in the office, 2 days from home. The days I am home are spent with my kids. A total blessing, that sometimes I fall short in recognizing. Like I said, they challenge me. Every. Single. Day. Many days this leaves me feeling like I’ve failed as a mom.

I always thought that I’d be one of those moms who does crafts and bakes cookies with my kids, and know how to keep them entertained for hours at a time. Many times I find myself begging my daughter to sit down and watch a movie just so I feel like I can breathe. Then about halfway through the movie, the guilt starts to take over. Could I be any worse of a mom? All these kids want to do is be with me. They want to be by my side – whether it’s on the couch, washing dishes, going to the bathroom – they want to be there. And yet I spend many a day yelling, “Get out of this room!” “Go in the living room!” “Stop hugging your brother so tight!” And my sweet Evalyn gets the brunt of it.

Evalyn showing off her sassy self at Plymouth Harbor. (Photo Credit: Sasha Russell)

She is a typical toddler – about to become a Threenager, but an absolute delight 99% of the time. She is inquisitive, explorative, witty, and charming. So filled with love. She is also bold, adventurous, assertive, and a bit whiney. She has an old soul and is intelligent in ways I never thought possible for a 2 year old going on 3. The antithesis to the big ball of stress that I have become, not just as a mom, but as a person in general, that is very skilled in pushing buttons that I didn’t even know I had. Did I mention she is about to become a Threenager?

Because of her, I live my life on the edge of my seat. Sometimes I fall off that edge and it’s not pretty. I yell, I scream, I cry. My husband and I try hard to keep each other in check if we are overreacting to her behavior, and lately I am the one being checked the most. We have a lot of outside stressors: work and finances being the biggest. I tend to internalize these stressors and let them build up. Combine them with being a mom of two – I am on the verge losing my shit. Every. Single. Day.

I’ve been trying really hard lately to let the small stuff go and recognize that I have no control right now over certain stressors happening in my life. There’s nothing I can do about our mortgage or my student loan debt. I need to accept and move on. I find the days that I can practice this mindfulness, are the days that I have the most fun with my family. They are also the days that I yell less and just enjoy the clinginess of my children, the bold personalities and remember how they opened my heart in ways I never imagined were possible. They give me life. They give me purpose. They make every success and every struggle worth it.

Maybe I’m not a mom that helps them with an art project. But, I am a mom (like the rest of us) who is committed to loving them, caring for them, and helping them grow to into the amazing people that I know they’re going to be. Buttons pushed and all. As I work on myself (and put down my phone), I promise a life filled with adventure, good times (even on a budget), and many memories. I’m taking everything one day at a time, and doing the best I can do.

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