“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

Ephesians 1:7

I promised myself I wouldn’t miss a week of writing blogs. I promised myself I would stay consistent. I promised myself I would stop procrastinating. I promised myself that I would figure out my systems. Do you know what these all have in common? I broke these promises. Every single one of them. But here is the great thing. I forgive myself, I give myself grace, because I am still growing and I put myself where I needed to be to be able to one day keep these promises. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can give, especially to yourself.

I have always held myself to extremely high standards – we are our worst critic, aren’t we? I have realized that I need to give myself grace and overcome the impossible and idealized version of myself I wish to become, and rather find the small steps to becoming an overall better mom, wife, girl boss, and of course a daughter of God.

Before I get into how I plan to do this, I feel as though I owe everyone an explanation as to why I have been so absent, and to fill you in on the chaos that has been our life lately.

I have mentioned on social media about Sutton needing her tonsils and adenoids out because of severe sleep apnea. It was scheduled for the beginning of September. Well…we drove the hour and a half the night before her surgery and stayed at my brother and sister-in-law’s house since we had to be to the hospital so early. That night, we couldn’t get Sutton to eat supper, she was too excited to play with her cousins. Then she didn’t want to go to bed, and neither did Auden. I also forgot all of the milk I had pumped for Auden the next day while we were at the hospital, so I was pumping every 2 hours trying to get something for her. We got to the hospital the next morning, got checked in, sat down, and Sutton threw up…I knew right then they were going to cancel her surgery for fear of her doing the same while being put under and aspirating the vomit. We get to the back into prep and we tell all the nurses what happened and it seems as though we are going to continue with surgery. Then she does it again. So we tell the nurses and the (very rude) anesthesiologist comes back in and basically accuses me of lying to him, not cool dude. Then the doctor comes in and we decide to reschedule. We gave her some applesauce and water and she was perfectly fine. Go figure. After some phone tag and trying to figure everything out the following week, we got it rescheduled for the end of September, the week after I had to shoot a wedding. I worked my tail off trying to get everything done so I had nothing to worry about during her recovery except her. The surgery went great and she is doing amazing! We ended up having to stay in a room that was literally just a little bit bigger than our closet and stay over night, it was exhausting for all of us. The couple weeks of recovery at home when she was still hurting were rough. She had no idea what was going on and that was the hardest thing seeing her like that and not being able to make the pain go away. But I am happy to say she is doing so well, but has developed quite the attitude and we are entering into a new stage of toddlerhood I am not sure how to navigate yet.

Aside from mommy duties, I am also a photographer — and the fall season in the Midwest is BUSY! It is prime time for weddings and family photos, there has been lots of late nights working and in addition to a sitter coming twice a week so I can work, the girls have also been going to my in-laws twice a week. We are all struggling with so much time away from each other, but it’s only for a few weeks and we can go back to cuddles on the couch and lots and lots of playing.

Lastly, my mental health. I wrote about my postpartum depression in my blog My Journey with Postpartum Depression and Letter to Other Mamas, and I’ve been doing well, but it has been creeping up again. After listening to Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (seriously amazing book!), and some continuous suggesting from a good friend, I started seeing a therapist. It’s going to be a long journey to deal with the many issues in my past, my self-confidence issues, and my postpartum depression and anxiety, but I know I am on the right path. And this is also how I am starting with the forgiveness I am giving myself.

1. Therapy

For years I have thought about going to therapy, but I could never follow through. I always said that the world would be a better place if everyone went to therapy, yet I myself wasn’t going to therapy (maybe she can help me with my hypocrisy too). Putting my mental health as a top priority will help me get my priorities straight and be the person I know I can be. Not the person I think I want to be, but a better version of myself; a higher version of myself.

2. Lots of Self Development

I am a book fanatic. I don’t get to read near as much as I used to, but I still love books. If I could have put all the money I put into school into books and travel, I think my life would be completely different. But I digress, I still like a good book. I never was a “self-development” type of person, it didn’t make sense to me. Then I joined an MLM company in college and learned the power focusing on bettering yourself can have. A friend of mine, the same one who helped convince me to go to therapy, gave me the Audible version of Girl, Wash Your Face, and turned me into in audio book junkie. I always thought I couldn’t listen to a book because of my deep passion for getting lost in the words, but listening to this genre of books has been a game changer. I will still read my novels, but whenever I get in my car my phone connects to my car and I start working on becoming that better version of me.

3. Talking with My Husband

Dominic sees what I do to myself even when I don’t. He sees how hard I am on myself, he sees me fill my plate with projects, he sees my passion for my work and my family. He is the mirror I need when I avoid any chance of glimpsing my ragged self. When I start feeling as though I am becoming that person I don’t want to be, I talk to him and he comforts me, and tells me that maybe I need to back off a little bit and then helps me figure out my priorities. If I haven’t said this before, he is amazing. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

4. Taking a Break

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I love my work! I have ideas that are beyond my own comprehension and I get so excited I can’t contain myself. Just between my dreams for The Message Mama and my dreams for my photography, my head kinda feels like it is going to explode. Which is when I start to lose focus on other aspects, like being a good wife and mom, and start beating myself up. So I have been working on taking breaks. Staying up late for one night, so I can take off the next day and spend it with the girls and my mom. Planning a trip to the pumpkin patch with the girls and my college roommate that I haven’t seen since her wedding 2 years ago. Taking a hot shower with a glass of wine and some music while I sing terrible and dance like no one is watching (because no one is watching, well until Sutton came in…). Going on a girls date night with my friends, going on a date night with my husband, going on a date to Starbucks with myself! Big or little, we all need a break to fill our cups.

Doing all of this allows me to give myself grace. To forgive myself for the impossible standards I set for myself, or as my therapist put it, to get myself out of the 1950’s stereotype I have put myself in as a wife and mom when I also want to be this rocking entrepreneur.

I broke promises to myself, and I would never break a promise to my friends or my family, but if I did, I hope they would forgive me because I would be truly sorry. And I am truly sorry I broke them to myself, so this is me saying “I forgive you, it is okay, don’t beat yourself up, learn from this, and try again.”