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Things that smell weird:

crayons * packaging tape * pens * money, especially coins * fridge * water

Things you think before you eat:

how will this feel coming back up? * did I throw up the last time I tried it? * does it have way too much taste like those salty saltines I just had and lost? * if I try it, and lose it, can I try it ever again–aka do I want to ruin this food for me for life? * how far away is my throw-up bucket or the toilet?

Things you think before you fall asleep:

should I take some vitamin 6 + unisom or will that wake me throwing up? * maybe the morning will not come and I get to sleep for two days * will tomorrow smell like today? * I probably have to cancel with that thing for tomorrow–why did I schedule anything?

As I lay on the ground, watching my kids play and make fun big messes, I think how long will I feel like this? and how can I make it through the morning? But usually by lunchtime I’m okay for a few hours and I rally and change poopy diapers, and drive people to lessons and school and make dinner. Once dinner rolls around, I’m down for the night, marveling at how upright I was just hours before.

My husband shoulders a lot. My family helps tremendously. And the older kids are old enough this round to get it, to an extent. They’re nurturing and loving and don’t complain when I ask them to watch their brother while I need to go to the bathroom.

You may be thinking why is this woman having more kids? Isn’t this destructive to the kids she has? If I had to work outside the home, or do much more than love up my kids in the morning and make sure they’re safe, I probably couldn’t. Given we expected another pregnancy to go this way, we carved out expectations that are reasonable, activities that are doable for the kids, and the other adults knowing and offering to help more.

It’s a weird thing, being pregnant. You feel a little guilty that you are lucky enough to be pregnant, and hopeful that your baby will go full-term (or close). You welcome the news of other friend’s babies on the way with joy. You cry extra hard when your friends still face infertility after so much trying.

If you’re like 70% of women, you’re probably feeling nauseated, tired, and sick your first trimester. If you’re like a much smaller slice of the pregnant woman population, you suffer from extreme nausea, loss of fluids, dehydration, and it can last the whole time. My first three pregnancies fell into the latter category and this fourth one is tracking right along. I know it will pass, come December. And until then, I’m just lowered my low expectations. Wink. Wink. Nod. Yes.

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purse: c/o Lily Jade * lips: Hint of Tint by Brooklyn Herborium * sweater: similar cashmere here * dress: REI * boots: Bogs

 

Lately, with a new baby on the way, I’m feeling like I’m either improving in my role as a mom or I’m really really letting everything go so that it feels like it’s getting easier. Hard to tell which. You’d have to ask the kids. They’re gonna say I do a lot of #laydownmothering so probably letting it all go.

But as I do watch the story of my motherhood unfold before me in the form of their aggressive hugs & sibling squabbles, I see more and more that this isn’t my story. It’s our story. I can be the best mom I think I am, thank you pinterest and instagram for the affirmation, but if I’m not connecting with them in a way they need, I’m not actually being a great mom. This give and take goes back and forth with three human beings separate from myself. Parts of the day they love me, parts of the day they loathe me, and much of the day they’re consumed with their own adventures and ignoring me and my calls to come in for lunch.

Even how this new baby, only 7 weeks inside me, has taken our family to another level surprises me. The kids are unified in few things (aside from love of hot dogs and aversion to asparagus–I means, how is that possible? dripping with butter and salt, roasted?) but their fierce interest in baby is across the board.

Pulling up my shirt to get at my puffed-out-post-third-child-mama-tummy-not-from-this-pregnancy and smother it with kisses and sighs of ahhhhh he or she said they love me! is a daily and even hourly occurrence. The bloom may fall off the rose as they do have to wait until December to actually hold the babe, but at this stage, he or she is still captivating a trifecta of affection.

My own vision of motherhood strains and groans and grows along with our family size. My story, their story, our story, is a day-to-day attempt to be loving and patient and kind. Hopefully they keep on loving each other as they grow!

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I love that the Madeline is either a backpack or over the shoulder bag. Its leather is the perfect durable softness needed for a bag attacked by children that’s also doubling as a purse! I really love the company and the promotion of community they’re always doing. Family-owned and operated is a gem these days–and I met the owners at a conference two summers back. They’re as real and delightful as they seem on social media. Follow their facebook and instagram accounts to see the community I’m talking about!

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Lily Jade was so sweet to send this Madeline in Brandy over and wants to give one away to one of you! Tell your story of motherhood either in social media (hashtag #storyofmotherhood) or linking through this link. I hope you win!! The Lily Jade #storyofmotherhood Giveaway!

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amazon links affiliate. lily jade purse a gift but views are absolutely my own!

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I loved writing my little advice column for me and myself when I was in my 20’s and single and I absolutely LOVED all your responses!! Go read the comments!!

Then tonight I got to thinking about what it’s like up here in the mid-thirties, married, with kids. My oldest featuring a tee from his favorite CD: Cake for Dinner.

Despite being fraught presently with the blur that double pink eye can bestow to moms dropping eye drops in the moving target of kids’ pupils, I am cogent enough to look around and see my insecurities in this state of life that looks all well-assembled from the outside.

I have a loving and hardworking husband. Bonus points that he’s handsome.

I have three cute kids. Cute when they’re not ripping each other’s lego creations apart.

I have this fancy old house, oh, and I used to practice law so somehow that means I’m smart (except my house is very dusty as is my brain).  

The insecurities in our married, kidded 30’s are very real, even if not apparent to the naked eye. On a daily basis, my brain twirls through these first-world problems:

1) Did I explain that properly to my kid or am I completely bluffing my way through parenting?

First born kids get all the practice hits, right? (baseball analogy, really? wow, mothering a baseball fanatic has changed me.) If I don’t show compassion and exhibit love constantly, will my children feel unloved and under cared for? Are my answers ones that will satisfy them and make sense? Am I overthinking this?

2) Am I where I thought I would be at this age?

I told you guys a while back I had this existential moment watching an acquaintance’s super amazing cover video. My face felt hot as I watched and thought jealously, I could sing like that. I used to really have a voice. I should be singing cover songs. Maybe there’s an app on my phone or my computer that’s like a voice recording one so I could resurrect my briefly-dreamed of singing career. Before I pulled my head out of the tunnel of other-life fantasy, I also glanced at her wrinkle-free beautifully made up skin and contemplated my black heads on my nose and chin.

I’m embarrassed to admit this one!

(I thought I’d probably be married with kids in my 30’s but of course I had no real clue what that would look like.)

3) Can I ever stop nagging my husband?

Can I really bite my tongue and hold back all the corrections I want to issue? On the phone with a close friend who’s single in his mid thirties the other night, I realized a big difference between being married and being single for me, as I said it aloud. Instead of worrying about who I will spend the rest of my life with, I find myself worrying about how to treat the man I’m spending that life with charity, kindness, and respect.

4) Am I being mindful enough?

Do I practice gratitude? Am I gripping these moments with my kids with just the right finger tension–not too helicoptery and not too nonchalantly? Will I remember doing the best I could with what I had to offer them or trying to escape the annoying parts of mothering, and in doing so, missing out on the equally rewarding parts?

5) Am I regulating my time appropriately?

Do I say yes to the world to help, be, give, and do without taking care of myself and my dirty sinks? Are my motives for saying yes pure or do I want to be seen as the loving, giving friend and get those pats on the back that my sink refuses to give me, mysteriously?

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We’re all floundering on this journey together. Maybe some of these struggles & thoughts resonate with where you are. Maybe you’re just jamming along with this and feeling like everything is peachy. It simply helped me to take stock in where I am and how I can improve after looking back at my 20’s with all my nostalgic wisdom. Slow double wink.

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