The last couple of weeks I feel like I’ve been attacked and hit with so many grenades of the insecurity kind that I feel compelled to share with you ladies some thoughts on the subject.
Why are we, why am I, so negative and shameful towards my body?
All our body ever does is carry us through life, give us babies, feed the babies, give comfort hugs to those near us, waves hello, gives goodbye kisses, and welcomes home our loves ones. It protects, strengthens, comforts and loves on everyone else, so why don’t we do the same and protect our body by treating it properly and dressing it with respect and grace it deserves. Why not take time to strengthen our body at the gym, by going for a walk, eat proper fueling nutrition to give it power to keep going. Take time to comfort the body to let it heal, like after giving birth for example, and let the body rest on a regular basis (this one is hard for me, I tend to go and go until I’m really hurting) and take a day out of the week for a sabbath – no hard work physically or mentally.
After all the love our body gives to the husband, kiddos, hugs our friends, and pet the fur babies, I strongly believe we need to find time to actively love our body back. For me it means mani/pedi on a regular basis, sometimes a massage or a bubble bath with some alone time. The biggest fight in actively loving yourself, in my opinion, has to come from your mind. This battle every woman has to fight on her own and woman, I FEEL you these past few weeks. If YOU have been fighting in the battlefield of the mind against the weapons of insecurity and loneliness, I am with you.
You are not alone in the fight.
You are not alone because we, all and every woman, feel you.
You are not alone because God is there to catch every tear and hold your hand through every valley to help you walk out of that battle. Remember, you may not win every battle, and its ok because you just need to focus on winning the war. And I believe that you can and will win the war, you will build your self esteem, self love and self worth; you can do that by arming yourself with the strength of God, His love for you, His healing words and the perseverance to push through.
I am an introvert, it may be hard for some to believe that – but I am, I am just a very social introvert. When I am experiencing these attacks and the struggles I tend to close in and not share my thoughts and feelings with anyone, and let me tell you, it’s harder to get through when you’re dealing with it alone. So, find a friend or someone who loves you and will help you through the process. Talk to God in a way that works for you and you will find that your battle is almost over.
Today is Mother’s Day. You would expect that I would be thinking about what it means to be a mom and how motherhood changed me. But it’s not what I am thinking about.
I have been a mom for five minutes and I feel like I still have so much to learn! Every day brings new joys and new learning experiences, new opportunities to learn about myself and about my baby. One day I hope to be like the mom my children can adore and see Jesus through every word (thats hard for me), and every eye roll, and every hug and every tear.
This past week my thoughts have been consumed by more insecurity and negative thoughts of my body, my wifery (if that makes sense), and the way I am doing this motherhood thing. Today I am thinking of WHY. Why is it that some days I am not able to see past the imperfections of my body and feel proud of what the stretch marks mean, and feel proud of the wide shoulders and strong arms that carry a big baby boy around all day long?!
Why is it that some days I am not able to see past my questions and struggles as a business woman to confidently help others?
Why is it that the emotions and insecurities I used to struggle with as a teen are not going away? Maybe this one you also feel with me.
Every time I share my thoughts with a woman or a teen girl, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a married and a single woman, I find we all have something in common. We, a woman, each have the girl inside who is scared and wants to be loved for who she is, especially on the days when she can’t love herself. I feel like a lot of my adulthood revolved around either hiding this girl or pleasing her need to sulk in loneliness.
Today I would to speak to that girl whom you like to hide, from one soul sister to another.
I am with you.
Let me hold your hand, look deep into your eyes until the human connection makes you teary, squeeze your hand a little and feel that lump in your throat that you’re unable to swallow.
I am with you. I feel your pains. I feel your insecurities. I see the imperfections in the mirror.
I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are not alone and NO, you don’t look bloated, and NO, you don’t look 4 months pregnant. People don’t see what you see, they see the smile, the genuine laughter, the strong hugs you give that take your breath away a little, they see that bright lipstick, they see your hair curl and fall into your face, and they think its cute.
You are beautiful! Especially because it is Mother’s Day take a moment to love you, the real you. If you are a mother and if you are not, take a moment to hug that young girl who’s hiding deep inside, bring her out to the sunshine (even if its raining all weekend like it is where I am). Spend a minute with God and let His presence and truth fill your heart with hope. Because when you are filled with love only God can provide and truth only He can make true, you will be equipped to love yourself truly, be a better daughter, a kinder friend, and a more patiently loving wife.
Take time today to beautify. I love that word because to me it brings hope. You can take anything and make it more beautiful! I believe God does that with every one of us! Start with your hair, do something special, not like every day, add just a little more mascara then usual, wear the good shoes and that dress that makes your body curve in just the right ways. (if you don’t have a dress like that talk to me)
Go out of the house, love yourself and go love on your mom. Bring her flowers with some good quality time.
I am a mother now and I love things, but no matter how many things I have on my wish list, the best gift for me is spent with my baby when I don’t have to worry about taking care of anything else but him.
I am a mother now, but I am first a woman. I believe that if I am a better woman then I will also be a better mom. If you’re not a momma yet, take the time now to better yourself and prepare because that strength you will need later.
I hope you will be inspired to be the best version of yourself, the woman God wants you to be. Set aside and fight insecurities! Encourage the woman next to you! Hug your mama extra tight tonight.
your soul sister.
P.s. Photos are taken by Delaine, a New York City photographer. It was a dream to work with her! Something you may never see, she really is good at what she does, is how busy and hectic that morning was for me, my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it, the dress I wanted to wear didn’t come in on time, and other stuff that just kept getting in the way of how I wanted to feel that day. So I put my good shoes on and wore a little extra mascara.
p.s.s. Blue shoes are my favorite. It’s the best statement color because it looks good on everyone!
When you have a good time you forget to take pictures, you get lost in the moment of joy and bliss.
When you are enjoying the company of your date you usually forget your phone, your world.
Forget the world for one night of the week and no matter how hard it is, spend time with your husband, spend time with your wife. Hold hands, hold each other and most importantly, leave the phones else where.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for your date night when the kids are asleep. Take 15 minutes, half hour or the whole night, once a week to grow closer to your spouse, the most important relationship, after your relationship with God of course.
Make a gourmet meal together. One of you can take the time to grocery shop and pick out a special recipe – this can be the time to recreate your first date, or your favorite date from the past. Get dressed up in your fancy clothes, use the wedding china and get some candles.
Exchange a massage. Pick a body part, because the woman who cares for a child all day long will never complain about a foot massage.
Bubble bath and wine – the rest is left to your imagination.
Work out together. Who knows, a little sweat and then a shower is good for the marriage.
Go down memory lane and look through pictures/videos from when you were dating, from the wedding, vacations or honeymoon.
Have a dance party.
Get blue apron and cook a meal for your spouse and enjoy the conversation once kids are in bed.
Learn a new dance move or a new style together using youtube video tutorials.
Host a dinner party and enjoy the company of another couple. Nothing like having people over to make you feel like normal functioning people of society.
Make a meal for a family in need. Cooking together brings you closer. So it’s a great idea to let that benefit someone else. You can find out from a church or local charity who may be sick or in need of a meal.
Do a house project together. Pick something small that will allow you to DIY together.
Do a yard project together. You will spend time alone, rely on each other and learn new ways to communicate when doing, at the same time another topic to discuss other then kids.
Make 15 sandwiches and deliver them to the homeless. Ok, one of you will have to stay home with the baby monitor, but you’re doing a good deed at the same time!
Read a book together, even better to each other. Pick wisely on this one, there are plenty of adult books to read, some with lots of pictures. Just saying.
Make your favorite cocktail and enjoy a relaxing evening with your favorite martini.
Bake cookies, put them into cute little bags and drop them off to the neighbors mail boxes with inspirational quotes, without signing who its from. Chances are the baby monitor may work when you walk across the street, depending where you live, and you’ll get an adrenalin rush making sure no one can see you
Watch a movie together. This may be a go to for most couples, just make sure you don’t fall asleep.
Do a spring cleaning project.
Do a wine tasting. This is one of my personal favorites especially after 9 dry months.
Paint something together – can be a weekend project instead of just one night.
Start learning a new language together, even if it’s youtube videos, even if its just for humor.
Have a TV show marathon. 24 works great for this one, or it’s just a great way to catch up on all your favorite shows with some pop corn and cuddles.
Sit in front of the fireplace and make out like teenagers. If you’re in upstate NY, this is a good one right now, it’s been incredibly cold and windy for March.
Organize each others’ closet. Spend some time doing a runway show and let your spouse choose what clothes stay and what needs to be donated (bonus is saving money on date night so you can do some online shopping for new things after this one)
Appetizer tasting. If you are tired of cooking for date night or tired of cooking period, pick up your favorite appetizers and do a tasting like the professional would.
Fold laundry. If you don’t have a lot of time, or if you just have a lot of chores to catch up on, do the chores and make a little competition out of it. Whoever folds laundry first picks their reward of choice. You may be surprised that it will become your husbands favorite date night yet.
Do a pedicure for each other, because men like to have their feet soaked and massaged too, they just don’t know it yet.
Watch your husbands favorite sport, who knows, you may like it.
Get take out and sit on the floor for dinner like you’re in college.
Go for a walk, even if it means a lunch date and your baby napping is in the stroller while you’re walking.
Sit down to plan your next vacation. You can dream right? There will be a time you can travel again just the two of you or you can take your new baby with you (be on the look out for my post about traveling with an infant).
Mini golf. You can buy a mini gold starter kit on amazon and move some furniture in the living room for a night of simple fun.
Coffee tasting. There is something about being a new parent – you are always drinking caffeine. So why not take advantage and french press locally roasted coffee.
Bubble bath and wine. Because this one deserves a repeat on my list.
Ask your spouse to teach you something, it can be sports, a favorite hobby or maybe cooking your favorite dish.
Play cards, or board games. Whatever your favorite one is out of the two.
Have you seen the movie “the fault in our stars”? There is a scene where the two kids in love lay on the grass and stare up at the sky. So do that. During one of the blood moons my husband and I climbed on the roof of our porch through the window, just looked at it for a while and took pictures. Whatever your version may be.
Run through snow in your underwear. You may want to do this one at night to not scare the neighbors. If you don’t have snow – find a way to take a mud bath, even if its just for your feet.
Breakfast in bed. Because weekends are the best and kids take naps during the day, and no one will notice if breakfast is at lunch time.
Skinny dipping, it will be even more fun if its in your neighbors pool. After midnight of course.
Play chess, or learn how to.
Have an indoor picnic.
Facials and those little cucumber circles for your own children induced dark circles. If your man is helping you out with kids, or if he’s just working really hard, then he will definitely enjoy this little spa at home kind of time with you.
Order pizza delivery and pig out because you can still wear maternity jeans after the baby, they call it the fourth trimester, or firth or something..
“Husband does my makeup” it’s a youtube thing, and I think in the end if you can get your man to do it you will end up on the floor laughing so hard trying to not wake up the kids that you will appreciate the silly times more then you think you would.
Five more to go, you’re almost at the end of the year ideas. So I just want to stop and pause and tell you that it’s ok to just take a nap. Sometimes it’s ok to just sleep when the kids sleep.
Take a long shower together.
Make a time capsule video or letter. You can make it for your kids to view years later.
Bake or make your favorite deserts (because not all couples have the same favorite desert) and sit down to talk about your goals. With kids and life in the way, it’s not easy to keep your eye on the prize. Talk about your goals and review the ones you wrote down in the past. They can be individual, or goals and dreams for your family as one.
Ice cream sunday night. It’s a great desert to just skip over. Also since its so sweet, take time to talk about your financial goals. They usually will be a bit bitter with a look into the future, so dream sweet big dreams for your family financial future. The more you talk about it, the more you will stay on top of it.
Pick your favorite date night idea out of the list above and repeat. Because why not.
I had a fun time with this list, what’s your favorite date night to spend with your spouse?
Ladies, love your man. Men, love your woman and hug her extra every night.
Yes. That dreaded by every woman word. Especially pregnant women.
Ladies, Im not immune.
Last week I found my first stretch mark, I won’t tell you where or show you, but I started to get bothered by it. I literally thought I was immune and it was going to get by me. I am entering month 8 of pregnancy, so close to the end, and already having a really big belly I thought I was the lucky one! My weight gain was consistent and I didn’t do anything special to prevent the stretch marks.
And here they are. In two spots. Just hanging out.
Immediately my mind went to that time when I will be on the beach next summer, in a two piece bikini, looking super hot with my new body and the cutest little boy running around. Just as immidiately that vision blurred into something horrid where I haven’t lost the weight and start hiding behind a full on moo moo in the middle of the summer heat just to hide these tiny stretch marks like they were shaming my body.
To all the women with stretch marks, the scars of life, the proof of REAL life, to every woman with a real body and the deep desire to be accepted for the beauty that she is, I FEEL you. I’m part of the stretch mark club now too.
Being in this exclusive ‘you have to have been there’ club I’d like to invite you on a new journey; instead of letting your mind go to the shame department on your body that’s full of life and stories, and often miracles, take time to celebrate your body, honor it and treat it for the worth it is! A miracle maker. It gives you life and it gave life to the children you have, or will have.
I am realizing that stretch marks have nothing to do with the lotions and oils you use or don’t use. It’s more genetic then anything. Ultimately there is barely anything you can do to prevent them, but you can help your body recover well and make them less apparent by the food you intake, the exercise and honoring your body. I eat organic food, take walks for exercise now while pregnant which is as much as I’ve told myself I can do during the summer heat, and still I’m in the club.
How about we worry less about the ‘battle scars’ and worry more about the way we feel about them transferring to our children, our daughters’ security and self esteem, our sisters, our friends and our own self worth that directly effects confidence and even work performance. How about we take the time to celebrate our body as a temple where God can live and heal our hearts from all the negative and the beating we give it?
I wish I could tell you that I have a secret weapon, a way to get get rid of the stretch marks or the negativity about self-worth inside your own mind. I have nothing except words of encouragement that you’re not alone.
I do wish to tell you what my secret potion is, my secret strength and constant; and it’s not my husband, or friends, or food diet. It’s the confidence in the God who loves me, created me the way I am, heals my heart and helps me win these battles daily. Because let’s face it if you’ve been in a battle inside your own head, against yourself, you know you would lose. Don’t let the enemy take away your joy.
Embrace every freckle, every stretch mark, every mole, every single imperfection that perfectly makes up you as a whole! You’re beautiful.
At 31 weeks pregnant I probably shouldn’t be doing much of anything intense or physical work. I am not one of those Instagram perfect, with a tiny belly working out every day girls. I eat carbs, a lot, and don’t have the energy or strength to keep a routine at the gym. Walking the dog for half hour is as much as I can get in this summer heat.
At this stage God is teaching me to chill out.
It’s not the first time that’s happened to me. I typically take on too much, get busy moving and doing that I forget to have quiet time, relax, let my body rejuvenate and calm my own thoughts down to hear what God is saying. Ever been there before?
Pregnancy in the third trimester just took over my body one day and told me to sit down. For the whole day. The first time that happened, I was taken by surprise a bit, since I had all the energy to get stuff done, even travel during the second trimester. Now I’m learning a new meaning of rest.
Here is the deal, my mind always seems to be going at 85 mph speeding thru topics and pictures and memories in my mind, when my body is busy I pay less attention to the chaos of my thoughts, and it’s easier to not have to be reaponsible for what’s in your own head. I am finding that it’s not a good thing to be unaware or not want to be aware of your own deep thoughts, fears, desires (usually the ones you don’t want to say outloud because not only you will judge yourself but others will too), and anxiety. It brings pain when your body just stops and you face with the reality of your own soul spilling out at this high speed chasing your peace away.
My body can’t rest when my mind isn’t at rest. How about you?
In my opinion I’m over all pretty relaxed and haven’t been stressing out over Zika or crazy unforeseen circumstances that can happen to my baby, but I’m still finding plenty to stress over when I have to face my own thoughts. Coming into this pregnancy and now having to rest regularly here is what I’ve learned.
You can’t hear what God is saying if your own engine “trying to fix whatever the problem is” is running. Too loud.
You can’t fully rest and be at peace unless your mind, body and soul are getting the proper resting time.
Your mind, body and spirit each need a different way to be in rest, be in peace.
Resting, being at peace and rejuvenating looks and feels different for everyone, you have to find out what yours is.
I like to have my nails done, sit there and not have to worry, of course it helps that I don’t get my nails all scratched up because I can’t ever sit still after I paint my own nails.
You cannot allow your mind to go to the scary place. Not when you’re pregnant, not when you’re a woman. The place where your fears and anxiety lurk waiting to destroy anything positive in your self esteem.
You need to surround yourself with the right people who will lift you up, make you dress up and go into public places, and pray for you at the time when you are least aware of how much you need it.
Be encouraged my single friends, pregnant ladies, young moms, and everyone who works too hard. Take time for yourself, to renew your spirit and mind, rest your emotions and hear what God has to say to you.
If there is a lesson in every life situation, then my pregnancy situation is teaching me to let go.
If you are a control freak like me, want things a certain way, have certain expectations and have high standards, you know how hard it is to let things go, and how hard it is to delegate. Sometimes it comes with lack of trust in people to do as good of a job, sometimes its pride, and sometimes there is no good reason at all.
If you’re honest with yourself, you will admit that you have a hard time letting go.
I knew that my OCD and expectations get in the way and often make it hard for me to let go, let God, or just relax and be able to enjoy life more. There is beauty in simplicity.
Do we ever loose weight how and where we want to? Is it ever in a timeframe we want? For 99% of women out there the answer is no. That’s how I feel about gaining weight during pregnancy. It’s not how I wanted it and how much I wanted to gain, but its my body making a human, you can only love it for that.
I wanted to have all the nursery items set up and done (via my DIY super powers). It’s still not finished and I can barely decide on the stroller to buy. This is the hardest one for me to let go of, and hire the right crew to do the work that needs to be done. (thanks to my husband who isn’t allowing me to do any physical diy stuff anymore)
I wanted to look and feel amazing during the entire time, I wanted to never throw up, I wanted to have this mom thing down, but you know that’s not happening. My first trimester came as a shock when nausea wasn’t a morning sickness, it was a 24/7 occurrence without the relief, comfort or ability to even move. I couldn’t wash my hair for over a month because it made it so sea sick and dizzy, thank God there are hair dressers.
Let’s not even talk about cleaning the house when you’re carrying a basket ball in front of you. Let’s just not talk about that.
(thank God for cleaning services and options we have today to get help that way)
Let’s not talk about the pregnant women who work out and have the best looking toned arms and legs until birth. Let’s not talk about that.
Letting go doesn’t mean give up.
Letting go of my own self, my expectations for perfection, often my own needs and my physical abilities did not make me weak. In fact, I think it’s empowering.
I think that a woman finds her true beauty when she is able to embrace her imperfections and love herself anyway.
I think the world is boring if everything is cookie-cutter, laid out in a perfect pattern. AND I know for a fact, the most interesting people I have ever encountered are the ones who dared, traveled, didn’t pay attention to what others thought of them, they dreamed big and loved deep.
I want to surround myself with women who are confident regardless of their imperfections, strong, encouraging and know their value. What I learned is that women like that know how to let go and know how to empower others by delegating. In turn they are able to empower themselves to do and be the best at what they are meant to be doing.
Letting go allows you to focus on your mission, on what matters most, on developing your strength. The more things you keep in control, the more you lower the quality of the outcome.
Allow me to encourage you to let go today, free yourself from the prison of your own mind and restrictions, and focus on what really matters, on what’s really important to you.
Follow and Share if you find these thoughts helpful to you! I’d love to hear what you think!