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My husband is gone a lot for work and it's hard on *all* of us

It is hard. Harder than you think it is.

My husband is gone a lot for work and it's hard on *all* of us

It's 8:00 am, and the baby's checkup is at 8:40. I quickly run through a mental checklist: wipe the oatmeal from her face, get her dressed, get my son dressed, fill the dog's food bowl, and load the kids in the car. This whole enterprise would be easier if I had backup if I had a co-pilot that could swoop in and make sure my son brushes his teeth or fill the dog's bowl. But there is no co-pilot.

I'm flying solo as I do many times a month when my husband travels for work.

To be clear, solo parenting is much different from single parenting. Single parenting is parenting completely on one's own. It involves juggling a job outside the home with school drop-offs and pick-ups and possibly coordinating with a co-parent. And many single parents don't have a co-parent to shoulder the burden.

Solo parenting involves missing my partner for a few days at a time, but knowing that after a few nights, they will arrive home again.

Solo parenting means that I wake up before the kids to make sure that I can get showered and dressed because no one is here to hold our daughter for 15 minutes so that I can jump in the shower.

Solo parenting means that I cook dinner while wearing her on my back because dinnertime coincides with her witching hour, and she will not suffer the indignity of being put down.

Solo parenting means that I wipe our son's tears away because he misses his dad, and it's hard for a 5-year-old to understand why Dad has to travel.

It is hard. Harder than you think it is.

But I also know that traveling so much can be hard for my husband also. I know he misses playing catch with our son after dinner and cuddling with our daughter before bedtime. As present as he tries to be for our family, he has missed important milestones because of his job. When our son graduated from preschool, he was not sitting in the audience, and I know that his heart broke thinking about missing that special moment.

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These products will ensure the best night sleep without your partner

But, while he was missing graduation that day, I was the one doing it alone: making sure we made it there on time and that both kids were presentable; trying to soothe our daughter as best I could because we were missing her nap time and hugging our son tightly at the end of the ceremony because he was overwhelmed and afraid.

At the end of that busy day, my bones ached with exhaustion, and I longed to sit on the couch with my partner in life and decompress with a glass of wine, but he was not there.

So, to my husband when you come home weary from traveling and see that the recycling has piled up or the playroom is strewn with toys or our bed is unmade, please take a deep breath before uttering a frustrated word.

Realize that I have been walking a tight rope, balancing the needs of a 5-year-old with the needs of a 1-year-old for days on end by myself.

Realize that after I get them both to bed, I don't have the energy to tend to the recycling or organize the playroom. Offer to take over for a bit and let me take an extra long shower or meet a friend for a glass of wine.

And please give me a hug. Because I've missed you.


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My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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