Long time, no post! It’s been busy in our family with work, kids growing up way too fast, family and so much more. All is well in the land of the C family. It’s hard to believe the boys are already 5 and 3. And though Little Man keeps asking for a baby sister, our family is truly complete.

I wanted to also share some fun news. A while back I was contacted by Shutterfly about featuring Little Man’s nursery on their site. I, of course, obliged them completely since nursery design because a HUGE passion of mine after having the boys.

Check out the post and some really cute boy nurseries, along with Little M’s room by clicking HERE.

Thanks Shutterfly!

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I don’t know exactly when it happened.

I definitely felt it building, but I couldn’t exactly grasp what was happening until they were gone.

And I didn’t even know they were gone until I was smacked in the face with the reality of it.

The fact that I’ve lost hold of my dreams. And that I don’t know how to dream anymore.

And it is painful how much I miss it.

I didn’t even realize that this was something that I was dealing with until my husband approached me with the simple question, “What do you want for your birthday?” In that moment, my mind was blank. Completely blank. Not in the way of, “Oh I can’t think of what I’d like right now, but I’ll keep you posted.” It was a blackness and nothingness kind of blank. I was struggling to grasp even a simple thought behind what I like, what I don’t like, something I’d like to do, somewhere I’d like to go, something I would like to see… I had nothing.

Seconds later I felt a snap, sort of like being electrically shocked awake, and what followed was what can best be described as a venomous, ranting verbal explosion on my poor husband that sounded something like this:

“I don’t know what I want because I don’t know anything about myself anymore. I don’t know what I like. I don’t know what I hate. I don’t have hobbies or interests or free time to even do those things if I wanted to. I don’t have any dreams for myself or for our lives anymore. I’ve forgotten how to dream! Or to hope for or want for anything. My entire life consists of taking care of you and the kids and working HARD and everything else, and I come last, if there even is a spare moment to take care of myself or even get a simple hot shower. So yeah, I’m turning 35 years old and I can’t even tell you one single thing that I want because I’ve lost myself in the last 4 years!”

I regret that it came out they way it did, and on my clueless husband, but I don’t regret in essence what was said. Because even through the ugly uproar, there was so much truth and such a reality that has been brewing in the back of my mind for YEARS now that I didn’t even realize was happening. In a way, I spoke it to life and opened my own eyes to the way I was feeling, without even knowing I was feeling it.

I sat down that night, notebook in hand, with the goal of trying to really self-assess and figure out what was really going on. I started with baby steps. Write down something you dream of doing, seeing, going to, buying, experiencing… anything. I  wracked my brain trying to come up with something and it felt like  cruel game of tennis in my head, where I would toss up an idea and send it on its way and negative thoughts, self-doubt, guilt, shame, and general ugliness would sock it right back, laughing at me and saying, “Oh come on! You can’t do that. It will never happen! You don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. You need to be a better wife, a better mom, a better employee. Don’t be selfish! Don’t even waste your time thinking about it.”

This happened over and over and over until I was in heaving, breathless tears. I can’t dream anymore. I am defeated.

Somewhere in the years of growing and birthing two babies and changing jobs, losing a job, starting a new job, supporting my spouse in a new job, buying and maintaining a home and every other curve ball that adulthood throws at you… I lost myself.

Mothers are the hardest working women. We throw every single ounce of our being into our families and caring for everyone else. It may be our role, our duty or whatever you want to call it. But I sincerely do not believe that God had it in his heart for a women to cease to live, thrive, grow and dream at the expense of raising a family. How did we get here?

Even as I think through this and type it out I feel like I’m being selfish. Like a little girl stomping her feet and exclaiming, “What about me?!” With so many influences and voices in our life telling us what is right and wrong, good and bad, valuable or not, it’s hard to seek out the truth. We live in a society of impossible standards. Impossible standards that we are all absolutely drowning in.

It’s been weeks since my birthday (yikes I’m 35!) but I’ve been mulling all of this over in my head almost every day since my husband’s fateful question. I don’t have total clarity yet but I do know that something has got to give. Something has to change. Because I DO MATTER. My dreams DO MATTER. And that a life without dreams, without passions, wishes, desires, is hopeless. I’ve survived two years of the darkest, ugliest depression and anxiety I could ever imagine. I do NOT want to live a hopeless life anymore. I deserve a hope-FILLED life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”      – John 10:10

This verse jumped out at me the other day. Jesus didn’t say that he came for us to sort of exist and to do our roles and duties and just “be”. He came for us to have LIFE and to have it to the FULL. I love the version that says to have “life abundantly”. Oh my goodness, I could use some abundance right now. Couldn’t we all?

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how I’m going to make the changes. My guess is that it’s going to take all the small steps in the opposite direction of where all of this started several years ago. Carving out 15 minutes of quiet time each day to being to reprogram my thoughts and to spend some time enriching who I am. In effect, I am learning how to dream again. And that brings me so much hope. And hope certainly doesn’t disappoint.

What inspires you to dream?

I’ve received a lot of parenting advice over the years. Some bits, solicited. Others not. Some have been helpful. Others not. Some have “worked”. Some have not. Some in fact, have backfired. There have been certain tidbits that I have downright ignored. Some that I maybe even took for granted.

Just recently, one of those items came back to bite me.

It had been a long, painfully boring, yet somehow stressful weekend. Alone, for yet another stretch of days as my law enforcement husband was off at work. For a long period these times had fallen on weekends, which was starting to take its toll, to say the very least. After 40 hour work weeks and mounds of stress, the prospect of long weekends being the sole parent to two boys under the age of 4 was less than exciting.

On this particular day, my nerves were fried, my patience was gone and my emotions were running high. I knew it would take just the smallest thing to completely break me. So when our “smart” washer decided to flash up an error message (which never make any sense to me) and then proceeded to shut me out of actually doing anything about said message, like just shutting it off and re-powering (isn’t that the solution to everything?)… I lost it.

What followed was a loud, rage-filled, embarrassing display that included me banging my fists against the washer door, screaming, “Come on you stupid thing. Work! I hate you!”, kicking it repeatedly and then subsequently crying. Yes, I cried. Over a washer. 

What I wasn’t aware of was that my precious little then-3-year-old was watching from just a few feet away. He didn’t seem to react and instead just innocently asked, “What’s wrong mama?” I recoiled at scene that had just played out, and the fact that my child had just witnessed my outburst.

I tried to whisk the thought away and worked to distract him, likely by an episode of Paw Patrol or encouraging him to play with his little brother. But I was embarrassed beyond belief.

Weeks passed and I thought nothing of it, until I caught sight of my 3-year-old playing with his lunch box one day. He opened it, placed a few items inside and closed it. What followed was a loud, rage-filled outburst that included banging his fist against the box, throwing it on the floor and screaming, “Come on you stupid thing. Work!”

(Insert extremely wide-eyed embarrassed emoji here, right?)

I was horrified. In that moment, those sage words passed down by parents before me flashed through my mind. “Be careful of what you say. Children are always listening. They will repeat everything you say. They are little sponges. And they have an affinity for ‘the bad stuff’. Oh…. my…. gosh.

I couldn’t believe it. My children WERE listening. They WERE watching. They were starting to REPEAT. And it wasn’t good at all.

#ParentingFAIL

I felt like a terrible mom. I felt like a terrible person. I felt like a terrible everything. I couldn’t believe that was even a representation of me. And yes, these moments happen. It happens to everyone (please tell me it happens to everyone?). But it made me weigh out the way my children see me, and I truly believe that 80% of what they see is really and truly good, kind and respectful. But even 20% bad is not good enough and I must work on my words. I must work on my actions. I must be the best kind of water that these little sponges soak up.

As cheesy as it sounds, they are the next generation. You’d have to be living under a rock to not think that our society needs some pretty serious work right now. I hope I can contribute to making it better. To making them better. I have to.

Because, they’re listening.