The Journey to Self Love, or Not  

This is not a pity post, this is a truthful post about the obstacles of loving yourself from the point of view of a young mother. 

I am twenty-three years old, I have a one year old and a two year old. Carrying my children changed by body forever. 

I know a lot of you will be able to relate to the feeling you get in your stomach when you look in the mirror and absolutely hate what you see. That exact feeling is what urged me to start my self-love journey. I couldn’t take it anymore, I was so sick of feeling down about all these marks on me, about the change in my breasts, about the loose skin I have all over. I wanted to be done with the feelings of hatred towards my own body. As I am quickly realizing it is harder to love yourself than I anticipated. 

I thought if I just told myself that my flaws are okay, they would be. I thought if I just immersed myself in loving my children and husband the love for myself would eventually just happen on its own. I thought if I just ignored all the true hateful feelings I have towards my body they would just end or go away. Well, needless to say, I was wrong. 

I was just trying to take the easy way out.. which I honestly need to stop doing. It has done nothing but prolong this whole process and journey. I feel like I am worse now than I was when I gave birth to my first son, because of all the excuses I’ve made. I have just justified hating myself. I’ve just blocked out these feelings of hatred and labeled them ‘normal’ and assumed it to be ‘self-love’.

I can sit here and say I love myself all day long. I can sit here and pretend that I am fine with what my body looks like. I can tell you I don’t feel jealous when I see other moms without a single mark from carrying their child. I could tell you I don’t feel sad about myself, or that I find happiness in the marks on my body because I earned them.. I could feed you these lines all day! I typically do, and they’re all lies. 

I do find myself feeling jealous when I see moms who have no marks, loose skin or saggy boobs from carrying babies, I feel jealous when I see other girls my age who have no flaws at all. I wish I could just be in my old body for one more day. I do love myself, I love the person I am on the inside.. I despise how I look on the outside; tired, run-down, and stretched out. I honestly find myself wondering how my husband even finds my body attractive anymore. When I look at all the marks on my body, I don’t find happiness in them.. I find happiness when I look at my children.. I find sadness when I look at the havoc that carrying children caused my body. I feel sad that I’m only twenty-three and can’t wear a pretty bikini comfortably. I can’t wear my favorite jeans because my stomach skin is too loose, I can’t wear pretty bras and tank tops because everything is just a mess. I dwell on the fact that I’m only twenty-three, and can’t take part of the normal things that I want to because I’m a mom and my body is chaotic. 

What I’ve been grasping is that these feelings are okay to have. All my feelings are valid, they are real. I think the first step in this journey should be confronting all these negative feelings. Pay attention to them, understand them. Talk about them or get them down on paper so they’re no longer inside of me. I wish I could just move on from this topic.. I’m as sick of talking about this as you are. 

Cheers to motherhood, I guess. And all the feelings we feel. 

Sincerely,

A tired mom, seeking self love ❤
 





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Buying a House at Twenty-Three

When my husband and I started to date, I lived at home with my parents. My husband was playing football at a small college living in an apartment. I was working as a cocktail waitress, who had never had to pay any bills, or had ever lived away from home. My husband had no money.. just a broke college student.. literally living off of ramen noodles. 

My husband broke both of his legs and ended up moving into my parents house with me. We both began to work and save our money to get our own place. We ended up renting a really small apartment, the absolute cheapest apartment we could find because that’s all we could afford. It was old, and not in great shape.. but it worked for us. That is where we welcomed our first son. 

Shortly after we had our first son, my whole family decided to move seven hours south of where we were currently living. We moved with my parents and lived with them again for about three months. Just long enough for us to get first and last months rent saved to get another very small apartment with our baby. We started renting a 930 square foot apartment (where we are currently living). Again, the cheapest we could possibly find so we could try to save some money to buy a home for our children. 

My husband has worked 12+ hours a day for the last two years. When I say 12+ hours I mean 12 hours at the least, per day! Sometimes he is at work for 18 hours at a time. He has not turned down one hour of overtime. He has not turned one job down even if it was nasty, dirty, or grueling. He has skipped breakfast and lunch most days for those two extra hours of work. He gave up his dreams to work two, sometimes three jobs at a time. When I think about all the things he has sacrificed for his family I get so emotional, it’s hard to work the way he does. It is exhausting. He comes home with a smile on his face, covered in grease, dirt, paint, old food .. all kinds of things. He is run down, and tired, but continues to get up every morning and work so we can give our kids the life they deserve to have. 

We take all the hand me down clothes that we can get for our kids! They play with hand me down toys a lot of the time. And for holidays they gets one present from us, sometimes no presents at all. We have done this solely to save all the money we can, so eventually they can have anything they want or need.

My husband and I don’t buy presents for each other. We don’t buy stuff for ourselves. We don’t treat ourselves even when we feel like we really deserve it. We don’t go on dates. We plan the cheapest breakfasts, lunches, and dinners possible. We don’t own a car.. we don’t take our kids places that cost money. We don’t get our hair cut.. or go on family vacations.. we don’t get to travel to see our family because we literally have to save every penny that we earn. These are just some of the sacrifices that we have made to be able to buy a home at 23 years old, living on one income.. while supporting four people.   

When we started out , we didn’t have bath towels or bed sheets.. we had no dishes or any pots or pans. My husband had been wearing the same shoes for about three years and had the bare essentials clothing wise. We spent our weekends going to thrift shops and yard sales. Buying our dishes for ten cents or fifty cents! We only bought the things that we REALLY NEEDED.  Now, two years later, after some bargain shopping… We still only have a few cups in our cabinet, a few plates and bowls.. the pots and pans that we need.. we have a linen closet with a few bed sheets a hand full of pillow cases, and about four bath towels and a few pool towels. 

What I’m getting at is that even when we did have a couple extra dollars to spend, we didn’t. Even if we knew we could use new underwear or a new pair of shoes we didn’t buy them, we put the money in our savings. Even when I could’ve spent extra money on groceries, I didn’t. I got our necessities and put the extra cash in savings.  Even when we both wanted to surprise our kids with new shoes or gifts, we didn’t.. and it hurt every single time. But, we told ourselves, that it will pay off.. our kids will get what they deserve. And they are getting just that ! A specious brand new home, with a back yard to run through and play in whenever they want. 

We started with nothing.. we had nothing handed to us. We stuck together and worked as a team to get the things that we have now. We fought for this. If you set your mind to something, you can accomplish it! If there is a will, there is a way.  

Buying a house is our biggest accomplishment thus far. It has taken so much hard work.. and self discipline. It has been a long and annoying process, especially because we are so young. We don’t have much credit history, or renters history. It’s been tough. But by the grace of god, good teamwork, and a ton of saving, we got it all done! 

We are young parents, with two children. We have no college educations, no idea what we are doing most of the time, we don’t come from families that have money.. the odds were against us..  But good old fashioned hard work and dedication can get you everything and anything you want! Trust me, we are examples of just that! 

We are so blessed and grateful for everything that we own. We have never been materialistic people, and we never will be. We are rich with love and that is the best type of wealth there is. 

Thank you guys for reading and as usual if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask or share!

Until next time,

Alex ❤




Day Three

As you guys know, I have a two year old with bronchitis and a sinus infection. He is running a fever, even on fever reducers and is absolutely miserable. The problem I am currently having is that I cannot for the life of me get him to take his bubble gum flavored antibiotic. 

So far I’ve tried:

Letting him taste it, because really it’s not that bad. He thinks otherwise. 

Mixing it with Hershey syrup. A definite no go 

Mixing it with any food that he enjoys. Also a no go. 

Putting it in a bottle with milk.. nope. 

Mixing it with chocolate milk.. as you could guess, that didn’t work. 

Putting it in a cup with juice.. I wish it were that easy.

Giving it to him in his sleep. The closest I’ve gotten to him actually getting a full dose, but still failed. 

Bribery with candy.. turns into a full blown tantrum 

Forcefully giving it to him.. he throws up 

I’m at a loss you guys. He needs this medicine and he hasn’t had one full successful dose. 

I don’t know what else to do, so if anyone has any advice please share in a comment or an email!! He feels absolutely terrible. He is usually high energy, happy, busy, and fun. But today he has just cried, whined, slept and laid around . I know that’s normal when they’re sick, but I still hate it. 

Sincerely,

A tired, & obnoxiously worried mom ❤

A Day in the Life of a Mom With a Sick Toddler 

Day 2 of bronchitis and sinus infection

Bryan started running a fever yesterday, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well due to the amount of affection he was dishing out. And sure enough, he woke up this morning awfully under the weather. 

I knew we were going to have a rocky day when he slept until 10:15 am. He’s typically an early riser.. he routinely wakes up around 7am.. anyways, needless to say.. he was feeling crumby. I scoped him out, had our normal morning convo which usually consists of “how’d you sleep” ” I missed you when you were sleeping” ” would you like some pancakes and juice” ” wanna play!”. Ordinarily, he just gives me a quick “yep” to all my questions! But today, unfortunately most of his answers were “no”.

So, off to the doctor we went! This is month two of this consistent nagging phlegmy cough, and runny nose. But since the fever kicked in again we had to get him checked out.. for the third time, in the last two months. Sure enough his white blood cell count was elevated and his pedi decided he has a sinus infection and bronchitis!

We will be riding the sick wave for the next 7-10 days! You guys know what that means.. 

humidifier 24/7

Vicks

Candy.. used strictly for bribery 

Lots of hugs and cuddles

Plenty of homemade broth 

Me stressing about him not eating 

Me stressing about his fever

Me stressing about every single one of his symptoms

Me stressing about sterilizing my house 

Pretty much just me being crazy!

All while keeping up with the house work, the cooking, the one year old, my husband, my dog, and myself (hopefully a little). 

If you feel my pain can I get a ‘heck yea!’

Just wanted to let you guys know what’s goin on in my crazy home. You guys let me know if you have any tips on how to coax a toddler into taking medicine! Wish me luck. Send the wine! 

Until next time, 

Alex 

An open letter 

I am hesitant to write about this, because for some reason people think that because you have depression you can’t be a good mom or a good person in general! I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember… I am a loving mother, a grateful wife, a supportive sister and a decent daughter.

Depression is different for everyone, it’s not a one size fits all kind-of-thing. Tasks as small as brushing your teeth and hair can feel almost impossible. Changing out of your pajamas can seem like the most uncomplicated thing to do for most people. But for me, some days, it feels almost undoable. It comes in waves, I could be on top of the world for a few weeks.. then before I know it, I literally feel like everything around me is just crashing down, or falling apart. 

Before I became a mother, I would spend days locked in my bedroom..Not eating at all, or binge eating. Not showering.. barely even using the bathroom at all. I spent a lot of time wondering what my purpose on this planet even was.. I felt lost most of the time, and constantly caught myself wondering ” what is wrong with me, why do I feel this way”. 

Now that I’m a mom, I have a sole purpose to survive. My children have chosen me to guide them through this life. There is no time spent alone(which I love). There is no time to lock myself away for days (which I’m grateful for). I’ve got two best friends who love me almost as much as I do them (my son’s). I have the reasons now that I’ve always needed to get up and get going. My kids are everything to me and I will never let my depression get in the way of loving them, protecting them, being available to them and providing for them. With that being said.. I still get hit by these massive waves of depression.. I still feel these feelings.. the only difference now, is that I don’t let them consume me.. 

When I met my husband, I was a mess. I truly believe he was sent to me exactly when I needed him! 

My husband is the first person other than my mom, dad, sister and brother who I’ve completely been my full self with. I share all my thoughts, dreams, and feelings with him.. I have since day one. He knows how my brain works, he understands me on an emotional level. Which is SO important. It’s crutial to have a partner who knows depression doesn’t define you, it doesn’t make you less of a person, it doesn’t make you weak, it’s not laziness, it’s not “all in your head”,  it’s not a call for attention, it is not made up.. 

To the husband with a depressed wife,

Understand that it has nothing to do with you, you are everything. Understand that feeling like this is out of our control.. if we could, we would choose to never feel all these feelings.. remember that even when we are raging, or completely silent, that we still love you. Remember, all the times you’ve remained patient with us will never be forgotten. Just know, that we know loving us can be difficult at times, and we wish you never had to deal with these awful bouts of depression. We will love you forever for fighting through these waves of emotions with us and for understanding that we aren’t broken, even though we might feel like we are.. 

Depression sucks.. 

But, it is a part of who I am. It is the reason I love so hard and feel so deep. Depression is the worst and some of the best parts of me. I find strength and comfort in the fact that no matter how down I feel or get, I always get myself back up and back on track, and I hope you can find the strength to do the same.

Until next time,

Alex

Love your Swim Suit

So, yesterday morning my sister sent me a instagram post that an editor at Sports Illustrated posted.. She was in her bikini talking about what she modeled. I instantly fell in love with her post. It takes balls to put a bikini on and post it on your public instagram page when you aren’t comfortable with yourself, especially when you have 120,000+ followers! She was encouraging women of all shapes, sizes, and colors to put their bikinis on and tell us what they model.. absolutely brilliant. So kudos to her!

Right after I watched her inspirational video, I instantly went to my closet and pulled my bikini drawer out.. Mind you, this drawer is in a little dresser I have facing the wall so I can’t even get into it without pulling it away from the wall. I keep all my old bathing suits in there… This draw is my dark place.. It houses all my brazilian bikinis that I used to put my pretty pre baby body into! So, needless to say, I kind of HATE this drawer.

I so badly wanted to just throw a bathing suit on, set my computer up and just record a quick video.. little did I know, it was not going to be that simple.

I closed my eyes, shoved my hand into my drawer and picked a bikini top.. I grabbed the matching bottoms and put it on. I was already feeling nervous, even though I was alone in my closet with my two children, my heart was racing. I didn’t even really love myself in a bikini before I had my children. I tied my hair up into a clip, and turned all my lights on and stood in front of the mirror… I was expecting to see a seriously terrible sight, I was preparing myself to hate what was staring back at me. But, I was surprisingly okay with the way I looked (rare feeling). I felt good in that bathing suit(also a rare feeling).. It was a little snug, but I felt decent. Which was extremely surprising, because I was expecting a full force breakdown.

I got my computer out, and set it up in my bedroom on my bed. I pulled the camera up to record my little testimony. As soon as I saw myself on my computer camera I was like oh hell no! I cannot post this on social media, this is a mess..

Then, I thought to myself lets just record one video and see how it sounds, and see how it looks! So, one video turned into probably 35 videos! I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t get it out.. I knew I didn’t look great but that was the whole point of doing this. I waited until my husband got home to show him what I recorded and he thought it was amazing.. he’s easy to please! I thought they were all terrible.. so I deleted them all and started again.. after maybe 20 more videos I just picked one..

My untouched up mom bod in all its glory in my white bikini posted on my public instagram page. with 7,000+ views and  67 loving comments on my personal page, and 17,000+ views on Health magazines’ instagram page, I am so happy that I got the courage to post the video! I am beyond happy that so many women could relate to it, and find a little love for themselves through me and my experiences.

So to all my readers! check out the #loveyourswinsuit campaign, share what you model for, even if you feel like crying when your getting your bathing suit on! your experience will help other women, your experience will let others know that they are not alone.. and that is one of the best things in the world ❤

Thanks for taking the time to read

Alex ❤

 

A Mothers Guilt

 

You know when you’re pregnant, and everyone wants to share their advice or their stories with you?  When other moms start telling you what the worst part for them was and what the best part was? The ongoing conversations about what to definitely expect? Well one thing that I hadn’t ever had a conversation about was mom guilt. Now that I have two babies I feel it double, all the time!

My mom guilt started as soon as I laid eyes on my first son Bryan. I felt guilty about every decision I made, as a first time mom at the time, I was unsure if I was even making the right decisions for him. In the beginning I felt pressured to listen to mothers with experience. So, to all the mamma’s who are doubting themselves, whether it be you are approaching your due date or just getting settled in with your little one, just know that just because another mother has an opinion does not mean you should feel obligated to follow their lead. You see, what it boils down to is I am a passive person. I couldn’t help but to feel a little guilty for not following every suggestion I received. With time, I settled in and realized, there is no one way to be a mother. I was constantly second guessing myself, I was torn between what I had been told to do and what my heart was nudging me to do. In hindsight, I would tell my first time mother self to always follow her heart. Now that I have two little ones I like to think I know a little bit about momming. Besides following your heart is just much less stressful.

The most mom guilt I have ever felt in my life was the day I went into labor with my second son. My first son was just 13 months old. I went into labor around ten in the morning, I remember my contractions starting and thinking to myself ‘oh my god, these are going to be my last few hours alone with Bryan’. So, I took him outside to play, then we played in the bath tub, then I rocked him to sleep on our rocking chair for nap time like I had done for his whole life. I remember crying and feeling so sad while I was rocking him, I knew that would be the last time I would put him to sleep just him and I. My contractions were about eight minutes apart at that point. I carried him back to bed, notified everyone that I was in labor and was getting ready to go to the hospital. My son woke up right before we left for the hospital, I remember kneeling down and giving him the biggest hug, and kiss. I just didn’t want to let him go I wanted to just stay in that moment. I couldn’t think about how painful or how close my contractions were.. all I could concentrate on was how guilty I felt for having another baby so soon. I felt so guilty because I could no longer give all of my attention to Bryan. I remember bringing Anthony home to meet baby Bryan for the first time, I was flooded with so many emotions. I felt an enormous amount of guilt because Bryan wanted all my lovins, and I couldn’t give them to him. I felt guilty because baby Bry only knew me to be his, I just felt guilty because I didn’t think I was capable of loving them both equally.

Fast forward, almost six months later! My mom guilt is completely different now. Today, I feel guilty for not getting baby Bry to the park.. I feel guilty for feeding him mac and cheese three days in a row for lunch.. I feel guilty for nursing my son Anthony almost all day and night. I feel guilty for raising my voice at Bryan for every little thing he does somedays..

I feel guilty for letting Anthony cry for five or ten minutes straight, just so I can love on Bry for a few minutes. I feel guilty because I don’t get Anthony on his tummy for tummy time as often as I should. I feel guilty because I’m two weeks late on his five month check up !

I’m telling you, I could sit here and list probably hundreds of things that I have mom guilt over.. I tell my mom all the time how I am feeling.. she tells me, still to this day she feels the mom guilt, about things she wishes she would have done with my siblings and I, and about things she wishes she didn’t do.. What I am really trying to say here is, I think the mom guilt is normal.. that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you think you could be doing better, it’s normal. When you just feel like crying because you feel like you have no idea what your even doing at all, that’s normal too! This mom guilt is okay to feel, it’s a feeling I will probably never get used to.. It’s one of my least favorite parts about motherhood.. But I know that I feel this guilt so deeply because I love my children so much, and I want to give them the best of me every single day.. I want them to have the best of everything.. I’m a work in progress, I am not perfect, I am learning how to be the best mom for my children every single day. I feel mom guilt multiple times a day, every day… and I bet you I’ll never stop feeling it. I am preparing myself for that ❤