Raising Littles Without a Village

They say raising A child takes a village.

To all of you raising littles without a village, I salute you.

I understand your struggles.

I understand the exhaustion.

I understand that your patience can be stretched thin…reaaaaaaal thin.

I understand how easy it is to completely lose. your. shit.

7 days a week 365 days a year you are with your kids without the option of casually swinging by your sisters house to drop the kids off so you can have an hour alone, completely stress free. Or calling your mom up because your husband is out of town and you desperately need help.

I’ve made plenty of friends who have offered to watch the kids. But calling a friend who has their own children and families to worry about makes me feel as if I’d be putting them out (even if I wasn’t). Family is different. Family is 100% guilt free. “Hey Ma…can I swing the kids by while I grocery shop”? I wish….

Date nights.

A date night to you and your husband is rushing to get the kids to bed by 7 on a Friday night so you can turn on a movie and maybe just maybe make it all the way through without one of you falling asleep.

If you do plan to go out and end up finding a babysitter…someone you trust with your precious little angels….a $50 date night quickly turns into a $75+ date night.

On the weekends my husband and I try to let each other get a break in. We take turns taking care of the kiddos. He usually goes fishing before the sun comes up on a Saturday. On Sunday, I usually go to the gym with my girlfriend (whom I’m not sure I’d survive without). Then I’ll usually grab a coffee and run errands.

During my time alone, I have a lot of time to think. It makes me want to call up my mom or sister to come have lunch with me or walk around a mall together. The loneliness sets in. Sometimes I don’t even like to have alone time because of the sense of emptiness it brings.

My husband goes out of town for work once in a while. Everything falls on me. This is when my anxiety rises. I become extremely stressed. Changing Diapers. Breakfast. Play time. Lunch. Naps. Cleaning. Snacks. Laundry. Dishes. Wiping more asses. More play time. Dinnertime. Baths. Bedtime. Middle of the night wakings. Sometimes I am not even sure how I survive 4 days without him, alone.

And you know…It’s not only about needing the help, wanting a break, or being desperate for a date night. Its about my children growing up surrounded by unconditional love. Having people around them who would do anything for them at the drop of a hat. Spending the night at grandma and grandpas with their cousins making special memories that will last a lifetime.

But recently I’ve learned as a parent you can’t dwell on negativity or that will reflect onto your children. You have to rise above and you have to find a way to create your own village.

I am so thankful to have met a group of women I can lean on at any given moment. Some of these women I wouldn’t survive without. This group of women encourage me, they make me be a better version of myself. They make me a better mother. They love my children like their own. And I couldn’t ask for more.

One Pot Vegetable Soup


I just have to start this off by saying I’ve never been a huge fan of vegetable soup but a recent cold left me unable to taste or smell anything! The only thing that sounded good was S O U P! So I gathered up everything I had to make a delicious bowl of comfort food. After looking up recipe after recipe and not liking the looks of a single one…I created my own!

This recipe is a must when you are sick or even just a cold winter day. The broth is so good and incredibly satisfying. We like to make it with a loaf of garlic french bread. There was so much leftover, we were able to eat it for two days and still had more to freeze for later!

It’s one of the easiest soups to make and you only dirty ONE pot! Its also toddler approved!

Ingredients:

4 cups beef broth or stock (I used stock)

5 cups water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-2lbs lean ground beef

1 small-medium onion diced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 can petit diced tomatos

1 bag of mixed vegetables

3 cups kale

2 diced potatoes

1 packet Lipton soup & dip mix

Instructions:

  1. Add olive oil to large soup pot. Once heated, add onions and cook just until tender then add the ground beef. Season with garlic salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink
  2. Add in tomato paste and mix in with the ground beef
  3. Add the Beef broth and water
  4. Add potatoes, bag of mixed vegetables, kale, petit diced tomatoes & stir
  5. Stir in onion soup mix & salt then simmer with lid on for approx. 30-45 minutes
  6. Serve with garlic french bread and enjoy!

The joy in this recipe is you can always add noodles for the kiddos, or change it up a bit with whatever vegetables you and your family love!

Enjoy!!!

Pre-pregnancy to Postpartum Body

Pre-pregnancy – Before kids it’s so much easier to make time to take care of yourself. Sometimes I look back and wish I would have taken more advantage of all of that me time! Getting to the gym was a breeze…I just hopped in the car and away I went. Meal prepping was done without a kid hanging onto my feet and another wanting to be attached to a boob. I could make hair appointments when I wanted. Take a nice, long, hot shower. Do my makeup. You know…it was just, easier.

Pre-Kids!
5’1
123lbs
Pre-Kids!
Pre-Kids!

I was 29 when I got pregnant with my first child. Aside from the horrible morning sickness..well..more like all day sickness…I absolutely loved being pregnant. Knowing what my body was going through to create a little human made me feel strong and beautiful. I loved my body as it was growing. I embraced all of the stretch marks. I went from 123 pre-pregnancy to 170 at 40 weeks pregnant. Somehow gaining all of that weight during pregnancy didn’t bother me.

After giving birth I didn’t want to look in the mirror at my body. I couldn’t. I had an emergency C-section after laboring 22 hours. Let just say that wasn’t in my birth plan. I was exhausted and needed to recover. I had a baby to take care of. My anxiety was at an all time high. I was wearing gigantic pads that went from my belly button to the top of my butt crack. My husbands t-shirts were the only things that fit me. My skin was saggy and squishy. My boobs were huge, hard, leaky milk jugs and my nipples HURT. I just didn’t feel like myself. Nobody really tells you this part of pregnancy. Most images online make you think motherhood is something like a fairytale. Not many people are willing to share the real rawness that comes with the aftermath of pregnancy. So it is hard to know what to expect.

Feeling like myself physically and mentally, took time.

6 weeks post-partum. I was cleared to start working out and wanted to document my progress. I’m smiling in these pictures but yet I am far from happy with my body. I couldn’t believe what I looked like. Self-love was nonexistent. I was literally mortified of my body. Completely insecure. Why?! Why should I be mortified when I just grew a baby inside of me? It was all in my head. I was judging myself. Nobody else was judging the way I looked. I wasn’t giving myself credit for everything I had went through the past 9 months.

6 weeks postpartum after 1st child
6 weeks postpartum after 1st child
6 weeks post part after 1st child

Having a newborn with no family around to watch him I started doing at home workouts. They were high intensity and it wasn’t easy at first. I often had to push my exhausted self to get them done. After a couple of weeks working out made me feel good, I enjoyed that time with myself. With having a bit of PPD and anxiety working out gave me a release, something to do for myself. It made me so much happier and it made me a better mom.

“Above everything else, genuinely love yourself first. Self-love is powerful and it’s the best love that you will ever have. When you love who YOU are, your relationships will be healthier and your life will be happier. Self-love sets the standard in how we allow others to treat us and how we treat ourselves. Your happiness and well-being is important. Protect it by always valuing who you are!” ― Stephanie Lahart

6 months postpartum – This is the point postpartum that I finally felt like myself again. I felt worthy, I felt strong again, I felt healthy. My clothes were fitting! I lost all of my baby weight and I looked better than I ever did before. I think breastfeeding helped too. They say that you burn 20 calories per every ounce of breastmilk you produce. So if your baby is eating 20-30 ounces a day….well you can do the math! I was burning tons of extra calories.

6 weeks postpartum – 6 months post partum
First Baby

2nd Pregnancy I gained about the same amount of weight as my first but this time I felt more like a beached whale. I had so much cellulite on my legs and booty. My belly literally couldn’t stretch anymore. I didn’t feel as beautiful the second pregnancy. Maybe it had something to do with the season. Let me tell you, being pregnant in the summer is rough! Its hot, humid, sticky and sweaty. Squeezing into shorts and swim suits at 39 weeks pregnant is not fun!

6 weeks postpartum – 6 months postpartum
Second child

I am not so much concerned this time with weight. I’m not stepping on the scale a couple times a week. I don’t have time for the added stress worrying about my weight taking care of a toddler and an infant. I just want to feel good! I want my clothes to fit comfortably. I want to look at myself in the mirror and feel like myself. That is what I am focused on.

“Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is your greatest and grandest responsibility. It’s about listening to the needs of your soul and then honoring them.”
– Kristi Ling

After you have a baby it is so important to dedicate time for yourself. I know that for me to stay sane with two littles I need that time for myself. That time I take for myself not only makes me a better version of myself but it also makes me a better mom and wife. The gym I have a membership to has an incredible child care center, I utilize that. I drop the kids off let them play and socialize and I take an hour or so to myself.

Our little secret….sometimes I even just drop them in the childcare center and go sit in the steam room then have a long hot shower.

If you take time for yourself during the day, don’t feel guilty…ever.

You D E S E R V E that time!

It’s okay to not bounce back like Kate Middleton right after having kids! That is NOT reality. It’s completely okay to be unhappy with your body but just remember what you went through the past 9 months. Give yourself some credit, you just created LIFE! Give yourself time! Breathe. Relax. Motherhood is TOUGH. Finally, most importantly don’t forget to take care of yourself first..you will be a better version of yourself for your family for it.

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.” ― Alexandra Elle

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