Print Friendly and PDF

The crying was relentless. And it kept getting louder. I pulled myself out of bed and shuffled myself downstairs, disoriented and angry. Why is she still crying?


I found him in the kitchen. Calmly stirring the milk on the stove and tasting it with a spoon like he was Julia Child. Violet, then six months old, was in her vibrating chair on the floor, deeply offended and bawling her brains out.

“Couldn’t you hold her while you were making the milk?”

“Can’t you make the milk a little faster?”

I wish I could say these were thoughts. They weren’t. They were statements I made out loud to my husband, who was simply doing his best. It was 3 a.m. And he was trying to let me sleep. My perfectionism wouldn’t allow it.

FEATURED VIDEO

It took me over two years to be able to look back at this event, and many others like it, with a fresh perspective. It took nearly breaking up my home, destroying my marriage and obliterating myself to see what was right in front of me; to see what was there—all the abundance—instead of all that was missing.

And why did it take so long?

Because in becoming a wife, entrepreneur and mother to twin girls in the span of three years, I had left myself back at the train station.

When you give birth to twins, one of the most common expressions you hear is, “But you had twins!” Still overweight by fifteen pounds two years later? “But you had twins!” Struggling to have intimacy with your spouse? “But you had twins!” Unable to get your business to grow beyond its plateau? “But you had twins!” The magic excuse for everything. And so for a while, I accepted it all, not realizing that the problem wasn’t that I had twins—the problem was me (or the lack of me, I should say.)

When I was younger and free from responsibility, the through line that connected everything was passion. I was passionate. I knew what I loved, what made me come alive and I pursued these things on a daily basis. From making music to traveling and writing—I did what my soul needed to do. And I didn’t need perfection. I simply needed experience. Rich imperfect experiences.

As I grew older and responsibilities mounted, two things started to happen—I became a perfectionist (which means I was not only hard on myself, I was extremely hard on everyone else), and I became a self-sacrificer. Now, neither of these things was a stretch. I am the latest in a long line of superwomen who are adept at martyring themselves in service to others.

Take my genetic predisposition and pair it with my inherent tendencies as an empath, and I really didn’t stand a chance. I went to law school because it was the right thing to do. I stopped going to concerts because it didn’t make sense to spend on them anymore. I had the girls and suddenly stopped doing anything that wasn’t in service to them. “But I had twins!” I exclaimed to myself. I may have gained two babies, but I wasn’t doing them any favors by completing losing myself.

The worst part about this new me, this perfectionist self-sacrificer, is that it made me an awful wife.

I didn’t trust my husband to do anything right, despite needing him so fiercely. I stopped bringing myself, the vibrant passionate woman he married, to the table. I was a million shards of glass held together by a thin skin. One wrong move and I would cut you, and at the same time cut myself.

Eighteen months ago, I reached my limit. I decided to treat myself to a piece of jewelry I would wear to remind myself that I’m still here, despite the glass. And despite the lack of passion. And despite the extra fifteen pounds. I put a ring on my pinky and took a vow—I promise to choose myself, to honor myself and to remember myself on a daily basis.

The change didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen without support.

A personal trainer got me to connect with my long forgotten body. A therapist helped me connect with my long abandoned mind. Friends who understood sent me reminders to get blowouts. Friends who didn’t receded. My parents babysat every Friday night and my husband let me back in without question despite being shut out for years. And my daughters recognized that mommy is happier when she comes back from the gym or after a date night with dad.

And so I began to shed the weight—both physical and emotional—and used that freed up space to get to know myself again. Turns out I’m not the same woman I was six years ago when I got married. I look different (I prefer my hair to be short and blonde and my clothes to be black) and I read different books (more light fiction and less literary fiction) and I listen to different music (okay maybe not all that different since the music of my twenties is so much better than what is out there now.)

The important thing is—I’m getting to know her.

I’m finding my ‘me.’ And I’m honoring her through self-love and self-care. I’m on my priority list—each and every day. And I’m excited to have partnered with my best friend (The Far in Fred+Far) to create a company that helps other women make the same shift.

Loving yourself has an incredible impact on your ability to know and love others. It’s really an amazing thing. Self-love for so long was associated solely with narcissism. You would think self-love makes it harder for you to love others. But it doesn’t. Exactly the opposite. When you are full, you have a well to pull from in service to others. You’re able to listen, really listen, instead of controlling every conversation. You allow others to be—because you finally allow yourself to be—exactly as they are.

If I have another child—and I hope I do—the next time I hear the baby crying at three a.m. and notice the bed is empty, I will smile. He is there. He is handling it. He is letting me rest. Everything is okay. I am okay. I am lucky.


This article was originally published on The Huffington Post.


Join Motherly

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

The sale is up to 50% off in select styles, but in all the colors of the rainbow! We don't know how long the sale will last so act fast because some sizes are already on low stock!


Here are our favorite styles to shop from the sale:

The original grab handle boot in light blue

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 50% off right now.

$28

The classic gloss boot in blue

Original Kids First Classic Gloss Rain

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

Chelsea boot in yellow 

Original Big Kids' Gloss Chelsea Boots

Originally $75, the Chelsea boot is 40% off right now.

$45

The original grab handle boot in pink

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The classic gloss boot in yellow

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The camo boots

Original Little Kids Storm Camo Rain Boots

Originally $75, the camo boot is 50% off right now.

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."

FEATURED VIDEO

She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)



As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."

News

Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$70

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

FEATURED VIDEO

So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.