Mama, Party of 1

Mama, Party of 1

Let me start this by saying, I am in no way an expert on mothering, parenting, or postpartum depression or anxiety. I’m not an expert on anything. I’m still learning about myself, but felt like sharing some of my experience might make someone else breathe a sigh of relief and/or go get help.

I have read what feels like hundreds of mama blogs and articles that say that mothering, especially early motherhood, is lonely. Its true. I found that feeling alone allowed all of the not-so-great feelings and criticisms in my head the perfect environment to grow. Add to that the major nose dive my hormones took after birth and it was the perfect breeding ground for depression and anxiety.

First, in the early stages, you’re up at all hours of the night with someone who is screaming in your face. You don’t know what’s wrong and they can’t tell you. You can’t exactly text your friends to complain, ask for help, etc. because they have jobs and lives they have to live the next morning. If you do happen to locate a mama friend in the same stage as you, you don’t want to text them if they aren’t up because sleep is a precious commodity. Then, by the time it is socially acceptable to text them, you have either forgotten what you wanted to say or you want to continue with the “this is bliss” facade so you say nothing. Don’t get me wrong, my friends sent me 100s of text messages and I tried my hardest to answer them. Most of the time, though, the conversation ended when I read their message and forgot to respond because I was called to play in the floor, someone had just spit up all over themselves and me, or I had fallen asleep with a baby on my chest.

This leads us to the other bit of isolation that comes in early mamahood. You look and/or feel like a hot mess 98% of the time. It seems hypocritical to say “I’m alone, but leave me alone,” but you don’t WANT people around. You’re exhausted. You’ve just been through the most extreme thing you’ve likely experienced to this point. You are trying to learn a new HUMAN. You haven’t showered. Your organs are rearranging. You may be healing from major surgery. Your hormones make you cry over football games and commercials. It’s not a good look. Then you look around one afternoon and cry because you’re by yourself.

Next, you’ve got the fact that society makes everything a competition-especially when it comes to women. Are you breast-feeding? Are you formula feeding? One will certainly kill your child or alienate them from their other caregivers. Working? Staying at home? You’re either depriving them of connection or giving up on yourself. “Is (insert trendy name) walking yet? That’s too bad, my so and so walked by then.” “When did (trendy name) learn to use the potty? OHHH my blah blah blah was potty trained by 3 months old.” Considering you can be burned at the metaphorical stake for snapping a picture of yourself wearing your baby “incorrectly,” it doesn’t exactly make you want to walk up to someone in the park. Unless, of course, your kids are both eating from the same pile of rocks, in which case- you are my people.

So, what do you do to keep yourself “connected” on your own time, but not keep your friends up? You unlock your phone and flip through social media. That feels safe. Your friends “live” in there. You comment on pictures, send memes, etc. You may be brave enough to ask mothering questions to the right group of people. The problem comes when you start seeing everyone able to leave and enjoy life. You’ve missed celebrations or work functions or a multitude of other events. You see the Pinterest perfect parties, well groomed children on the hips of well put together women, and you see people who aren’t at home alone all day. Well…that backfired.

Here is what I learned. You shouldn’t have it all together, nor should you have all of the answers. So, screw social media and society’s opinions of how you choose to mother your children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, reach out, or let yourself or your home be seen at less than your/its best. Those who love you couldn’t care less about the dust bunnies under your media console. The only reason you’re noticing them is because you’ve been breast feeding for 45 minutes while binge watching “Scandal.” Those who love you do not care that you have spit up and/or poop on your shirt. They love you and want to see your name pop up on their phone with an invite to come have coffee, rock the baby, or bring wine. Ask a friend or two if its ok to text them at 2am. No, they may not answer immediately, but you will still feel connected to them. I found that my connection to others was what pulled me out of my dark moments and that sometimes I could feel alone in a room full of people simply because I didn’t speak how I was feeling so someone else could say, “me too.”

Friends of new mamas: If you get up to go to the bathroom or check on your own babies, or pets, or if you’re just coming in from a fun night out, check on your new mama friend. She is probably up or will be soon, and it is nice to know someone is still there in the wee hours. Stop by. Text or call her for her coffee order or ask what donut is her favorite and bring it to her. Don’t let her excuse her way out of it every time. If she’s told you no the last few times you’ve asked- don’t ask, just show up. Some of us are stubborn and need the push and you probably know when we’re being stubborn. Know that she might be struggling with connection, but also not have the ability to put her feelings into words. Give her grace when she doesn’t text you back at 9pm. She’s fallen asleep on the couch. Most likely like this:

“Julia, I’ve gotta go, we’ve got cows!”- Twister

“Julia, I’ve gotta go, we’ve got cows!”- Twister

Its been two months (and then some) since I’ve written anything here. It has been a tornado of epic proportions around here.

Ryker had an ER visit for a head wound and I had mastitis twice and strep once. Asher started gaining weight, but we were supplementing 2-4 ounces after each feeding, so we stopped breast feeding. I was “ok” with it. I cried a lot, but have made my peace since. We decided to put the house on the market. We’ve taken our first family road trip. I started back to work. I was “ok” with it. I have cried some. I imagine there will be some more tears. Ryker has started potty training. The last two months has been all. the. things.

Photos: Lindsey Simpkins Photography

Asher is sweet, easy-going, and has charmed us all. Ryker is the best big brother and gives hugs and kisses, shares his toys, and talks constantly about “his baby.” Watching their relationship grow and watching them interact is just as sweet as everyone said it would be. What no one explained in great detail is the shit show that is everything you try to do with a two-year-old and an infant. So for those who don’t know yet, I give you:

The steps to go to the store for 5 things.

Get two-year-old dressed. He doesn’t want the character Pull Up you have chosen. Manage a meltdown. Cue fussing baby. Explain to the toddler that you need to hurry so the baby doesn’t get sad. Toddler falls down leaving the bedroom in his socks and begins to scream as though someone has severed his leg. Comfort toddler. Toddler screaming insights baby screaming. Start the correct episode of Sesame Street after 3 failed choices to distract toddler. Pick baby up to calm him. Get puked on. Change baby. Stick your finger in poop. Dress baby, insert pacifier, place in Boppy within eyesight to begin getting dressed. Remember to wash hands (count this as a win.) Remove clothing, explain to toddler that everyone has boobies, insert pacifier. Put on pants. Explain to toddler that you don’t have a penis. Insert pacifier and shush. Put on bra. Insert pacifier and shush. Pull on shirt, pull up hair, and find flip flops. Pick up baby, insert pacifier, and shush. Brush your teeth and toddler’s teeth while bouncing infant. Place infant in one of the many “entertainer” seats. Cue screaming. Insert pacifier and shush. Race to find the “right” shoes for toddler and put them on. Baby has fallen asleep in entertainer. Gently pick him up, place him in carseat, and begin to strap him in. The “click” of the harness startles him awake. Cue crying. Grab purse, diaper bag, carrier, and drink for toddler. Open the door while bouncing the 50 lb carrier and say “Let’s go!” Use your most chipper voice. Try to remain chipper as the toddler declares, “I pooped!” Consider burning down your house. Open grocery app. Order 5 things, but add wine. Place order. Text husband for pickup. Remove baby from seat. Change toddler. Pick up baby, insert pacifier, and shush. Turn Sesame Street back on. Find your cold coffee. Try not to cry.

If that sounds terrifying, let me comfort you some. The next step is Ryker comes and kisses the baby, shares a toy, or says “It’s OK Asher,” when he’s crying because I’ve put him down to make lunch or go to the bathroom. Those moments make all of the crazy worth it. So, I may not get to physically go into a grocery store with my children for the next 3 years. Think of all the money I will save!

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I have bags under my eyes, I’m jittery from coffee, and I am thisclose to crying sometimes, but man I love these boys and watching them grow together and separately.

My goal is to try to write a couple of times a week to share our crazy, funny life with those of you who aren’t close enough to enjoy it in person. Hence the name “Chaos (them) and Curls (me)”

A note to my Squish

A note to my Squish

Hi Squish,

It has been two years since I wrote you your note telling you all of the things I prayed for you and all of the things we hoped and dreamed of in getting you here. It has been the joy of my life watching you grow these last two years!

I was right about a few things from that first note. You look exactly like your daddy. You have my eyes. You are impatient, I am impatient, and your poor daddy manages us both like a pro. You get hangry (me) and have to have a routine (your daddy.) You have your daddy’s sense of humor, quick wit, and hair.

Now, you’re about to become a big brother. This transition will be a big one for everyone but you, most likely. You are such a smart, sweet, easy-going boy. You care about everything and everyone. You are quick to snuggle when someone is upset and want to help everyone “stop cryin'” if they are sad.


I can’t wait to see you grow into the best big brother! I hope you learn some things along the way. I hope you learn how to fight, because it will teach you how to make up. I hope you learn that no matter what happens, you and your brother belong to one another, and I hope you learn to count on each other. I hope you learn that it is ok to not like someone all the time, but that love is not something that stops.

You may never know a time without your baby brother in your life. You likely won’t remember a single day of your first two years. I know I don’t remember much about life before your Uncle Heath came into the world. I want you to know that it has been so precious for us to get to have you all to ourselves these last two years. We will show you pictures and videos, and I am sure I will miss the times when you and I had Ryker and Mama time- just the two of us. I promise you’ll still get those Ryker and Mama dates.

You are the best gift we’ve ever been given and we hope that Asher is a gift we can give to you. A brother and a friend.

I love you, sweet boy!



We have a date.

We have a date.

Dear baby boy,

Today I am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant. The midwives and doctors have decided that because of my gestational diabetes, if you don’t decide to make your own way, we will help you along on Monday, May 9th, 2016. Everyone thinks that having a “due date” is so exciting, but honestly, I’m a good bit nervous. I’m nervous for a few reasons, some obvious, and some not so obvious. I’m nervous because getting you here will not be without some pain. I’m nervous I might mess up, and I know I will! I hope I am a mama you are proud of, I’m sure going to try! Plus, you’ll learn having a plan is really not something that I’m good at in all cases, or at least not one that doesn’t change 3 times, so having a definite one- and one you get to control- is scary!

You’ll come to know that your daddy and I went through a lot to get to meet you. The loss of your siblings rocked us, made us rely on each other and God in ways we never knew we could, and made us question our faith and every decision we made. You can’t possibly know the number of people who have prayed for you to take your first breath since we announced that you were a little peanut with a heartbeat back in September!

I’ve been thinking in the last few weeks of things that I can’t wait for or am praying for for you. You started as a sweet little heartbeat, became a butterfly in my tummy, started to be a gentle nudge, and now you are a kicking, stretching, hiccuping little stranger. It is surreal to feel like I know you, but have never met you. I can’t wait to see exactly how much like your daddy you look. Every ultrasound we’ve had you have been laying like he was in his baby pictures. I can’t wait to count your fingers and toes, and kiss each one as I go. I have prayed for you every day since we learned you were growing inside me to be strong and healthy, and I will continue that prayer forever. I hope you have your daddy’s hair, sense of humor, and quick wit. I hope you have my eyes. I pray you become a man of God. I hope to “train you up in the way you should go.” I can’t wait to hear your cry, see your first smile, and hear your first giggle. I can’t wait to see your daddy with you. He is so excited to become a dad. At one point he asked if we could “Amazon Prime” you so we didn’t have to wait. You are such a blessed little boy.

Most of all I pray that you know how very wanted and loved you have been from the very beginning of your little life. We’ll have to learn from each other, and I’m sure if you’re like me, you’ll lose your patience, I’m sure I’ll lose mine, and poor Dad will just lose it. But, no matter what, I hope you know that I will always be there, I will always come running, and I will always love every little thing about you.

You are our greatest blessing and our something beautiful! See you soon, we have a date!

All my love,