I am having the worst time with my self image lately. My inner mean girl is acting like a total bitch. I can’t seem to shut her up. I remember feeling beautiful when I was pregnant with my first son. I would flaunt my bump, my hair was shiny and full and I felt confident in myself. When I look back at pictures my beauty seemed to shine from the inside out. Being pregnant the second time around was a little different but I still felt good about myself. This third time around I am on the struggle bus when it comes to confidence. My body has housed two humans prior to this one, I’ve undergone two c-sections, I’m older, my hair and skin don’t shine like they use too and I can’t help it when look in the mirror I feel down. It’s an awful feeling. I’m trying to shake it, I’m trying to show myself grace and see myself through the eyes of my loving husband and beautiful boys but it’s hard.
I’m my own worst critic (aren’t we all?) and my inner mean girl needs to be silenced. It’s so crazy the world we live in…it’s impossible not to scroll through social media comparing yourself to others. Thoughts like I was I wish that fit, I wish I had that lifestyle, that house, that hair, that body. When I decided to write this blog I had no idea I would spend countless hours comparing myself to every mom blogger out there. That I would scroll though admiring other bloggers flawless feeds and feel hesitant to post pictures because they weren’t perfect. I wanted to write this blog and share glimpses into my life to connect with other woman and hopefully inspire honesty and real life moments. Now I find myself overthinking every move I make on social media. This is an awful way of thinking and it’s contributing to my bout of depression that came on over the last month. So guess what I’m going to say F it! I’m going to be me. I’m going to keep sharing my heart because it feels good when I put out into the universe my thoughts and feelings.
I’m lying here on the eve of my 31st birthday knowing I must make a change. I must shift my mindset. This year I am vowing to love myself and be seen. I know this will be a journey with ups and downs but it’s a journey I must embark on. The journey of self love. Whose with me?? Let’s stop comparing and start loving ourselves.
A couple weeks ago my husband completed his year long probationary period as a Firefighter! He is the silent celebrator, super modest about his accomplishments; but me…I’m over here wanting to scream from the mountain tops HE DID IT, WE did it! He threw his heart and soul into making his dream become a reality. I could not be more proud of him. To say this journey was difficult does not seem to do it justice. It was a long road with too many bumps to count but with each passing day, week, month we overcame every obstacle together. I’ve spent time over the last couple weeks scrolling through pictures of last year in my camera roll reminiscing about all we’ve gone through. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we came out of this year whole; well not only whole but so much stronger than when we started.
Johnny started his 22 week long academy in February of 2017 just 12 days after Ben turned one. He missed out on trips, family parties, being present when both our boys had surgeries but with each missed event he kept his nose to the grind stone. Johnny was dealing with physical, mental and emotional exhaustion while mama held down the fort; and dealt with all of that same exhaustion just on a different level. The meal prep alone felt like a full time job; I’ve never rolled so many breakfast burritos in my life! Monday through Friday he left before the sun came up and sometimes didn’t make it home until the boys were in bed. Some nights he came home so exhausted he fell asleep the moment he walked in the door. The weekends were spent studying. I’ll be honest, there were moments during last year that I felt alone with our boys, although I knew that every sacrifice we were making would pay dividends in the end. I cried a lot, we fought, we made up, we leaned on family and each other and WE DID IT! Watching Johnny graduate academy as the Valedictorian of his class was one of the most special days of my life. It felt so amazing to be by his side through this tough process and come out victorious!
As shift work started in July it was game on. I was surprised by how well we adjusted to the 24hr shifts. What was/is extremely difficult are the days he comes home from working a shift where they got rocked and he’s so tired he can barely keep his eyes open. The first few of those days were rough! I was like HELLO, you’re home and it’s your turn with the boys but he couldn’t function himself let alone take care of them. I had to make a conscious effort to change my mindset for those times. Change from resentment and anger because I was exhausted too, I have to work too, I’m growing another human, I’m taking care of two boys and I don’t get days to sleep and recover!! I shifted to I love my husband, he is working so hard for us, he achieved his dream and the stress of being on probation in combination with the exhaustion and adjusting to the shift work should allow him grace. Once I was able to shift my mental model around that we’ve been able to combat those tough days with love and grace.
What I’m most proud of is us. I remember the day we got married; a line in my vows “you make me feel more love than I have ever felt before.” That sentiment rings more true today than ever before. He is my rock, my best friend, my soul mate and the man of my dreams. He is hard working, faithful, kind, devoted to our family and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. It’s no wonder god decided to bless us with three boys; he knew that the world needed more men like Johnny Soelling. So while some days are harder than others I am eternally grateful for this life we live together and feel incredibly blessed be his fire wife.
There are days when I feel like a rockstar mama. Days when I’ve got my shit together, everyone is happy and I feel on top of the world. Well those days are few and far between lately. Maybe it’s the third pregnancy taking its toll on my body or my acid reflux that decided to strike so much earlier. Maybe it’s the fact that my youngest just entered the “terrible two” stage or that my oldest is 4 going on 15 with an attitude to match. Maybe it’s that I’m still adjusting to being a solo parent a third of the time while Daddy is at the fire station…whew just typing that was exhausting!!! So what do I do when the weight of the world seems to rest on my shoulders??? I take deep breaths, ask for help, diffuse some essential oils and pray!
I find myself praying all the time these days. I’m not a particularly religious person, I don’t go to church but I do believe there is a higher power and that my spirituality has gotten me through some of my darkest days. So when my two year old, who isn’t verbally communicating, screams bloody murder in my face after I’ve told him not to do something…I say a little prayer. When my 4 year old, whose brilliance out shines most adults I know, is pushing my boundaries to the max…I say a little prayer. When my husband comes home from a 24 hour shift so tired he can’t function meaning Mama is on duty again today and the next day when he’s back at the station…I say a little prayer. Prayers and positive affirmations to myself are what get me through these long days. I pray for strength, grace and the ability to laugh when all I really want to do is cry.
And then my husband looks at me with the most loving kind eyes and my heart swells thinking of the life we’ve created together. My Johnny boy crawls into my bed before the sun comes up and whispers “you are the best mom in the whole world!” My Benny makes the sounds of a bear, a snake and a cow and the pride beaming from his face is enough to make my heart burst. You see moments are fleeting, the good and the bad. So I choose to let go of the bad ones and hold on tight to good ones. It’s not easy. Some days it’s hard to see through the toughness of motherhood. So when those daunting days come I think to myself some day I won’t be the center of their universe and that reality jolts me right back to where I need to be. Here with them.
Happy 2nd birthday sweet boy. Two years have flown by in the blink of an eye. I cannot imagine our world without you in it. When I was pregnant with you I use to worry about how I could ever love another baby as much as I loved your brother but from the moment I laid eyes on you all of my worry was washed away. My heart grew bigger than I thought was possible. I love you with every fiber of my being.
I call you my “Buddha Benny” because you have a heart of gold. Your loving spirit shines through those big deep blue eyes. When you were a baby your go to sleeping position was on your back with your arms wide open; I would always say I felt like your heart was wide open. I think it’s true. You have a big beautiful amazing wide open heart that spreads love like wild fire to those lucky enough to know you. You have a smile and an infectious laugh that can mend even the worst days. You give the best hugs and your willingness to pass those hugs out to your loved ones is a prime example of the incredible loving little being that you are. You have a light Benjamin David; it shines so so bright!!! I am blessed to be your mama.
With each day that passes my love for you grows. My heart is filled with excitement, pride and joy as I watch you learn how to navigate the world. You are so smart. There are days when I wish I could freeze time to keep you from growing up and moments I wish I could bottle up so that they would never pass. I promise to always love you for exactly who you are. I promise to help guide you and teach you right from wrong. I promise to lead by example so that when you grow into a man you will have a strong, loving and kind mother as your anchor. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. I love you sweet baby. Happy Happy birthday. I’m so glad that you were born.
Love always and forever,
Yesterday marked the beginning of the 22nd week in my pregnancy with baby boy number three! My emotions are flying in a million different directions… I’m completely freaking out about the idea of not knowing exactly how drastically my life is about to change! What I do know is I have to make a major change at work. I’ve been working in my family’s restaurants since I was 12 years old. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life in some sort of management role within our company. With the birth of my first son in 2013 I was able to continue as a fulltime General Manager with the support of my husband and wonderful mother-in-law, who was our fulltime childcare provider. Just before the birth of our second son in 2016 I was promoted to a District Manager position. I’ve been a fulltime working mom since I became a mother. With my May 21st due date quickly approaching and life circumstances changing it’s time for me to step back at work and throw myself into being more of a stay-at-home mama to my three boys. My plan is to cut back to a part-time position in a completely different capacity with much less responsibility so that I can focus on my family.
I have to admit I’m terrified for many reasons, but mostly I feel like I’m losing a huge part of who I am. I’m a strong competitive leader with a passion for my family’s business. We are on the brink of growth and the thought of not playing a vital role to further propel our company to greater success makes my heart ache. At the same time, my heart feels like it could burst into pieces when I think of missing out on what comes along with being home with my babies. In the last five years that I’ve been a mom I’ve suffered from extreme guilt. Guilt because I’m missing precious time with my sons; many firsts, doctors appointments, field trips, times when they were sick while I had commitments at work. Guilt if I did stay home when they were sick, fields trip I got to attend, running late because they needed me all while pulling me away from my responsibilities at work. I felt like it was a lose-lose situation. I could either be an amazing mama or I could be an amazing employee/boss, but I could not be both. I’m pretty sure feeling guilty is something that all mothers experience, but my guilt felt crippling. I vowed this year to show myself a little more grace in that department. I’m practicing doing what I feel in my heart is right and being OKAY with it!
In my heart I know I’m making the right decision to step back at work so that I can relish in these babies years that I know are going to fly by. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Several emotions are coursing through my body; excitement, joy, love and fear. I’ve had opportunity to be away from the house five days a week to be Madi. I missed a lot of the daily drama that comes along with being home all day with the kids and now I’m going to be fully submerged in it for the most part. I’m scared that I will feel overwhelmed and miss having such an important position at work. For so long, I’ve defined success by my accomplishments in my career…I have to shift gears. I’m going to redefine what success looks like! So here’s my plan… I’m going to focus on the great things; the extra long morning snuggles, the lunch dates, the laughs, the family time with my hubby and the beautiful chaos that is motherhood. I will focus on the mini triumphs day to day, I will take deep breaths and give myself grace. My family’s company will be there when all the boys are in school fulltime so for now I will enjoy the hell out of my babies while they are little.
I thought I should devote my first blog post to giving you a little insight into why I named my blog “Mama Mad.” My name is Madison, but I’ve gone by Madi my whole life. I’ve been a little mama since I was young. I am the oldest of three girls. My parents divorced when I was seven years old. My mom would tell you I became her little “partner” the day my dad moved out. My childhood was full of love and chaos. My mom suffered from clinical depression so while my sisters and I experienced some incredible highs with her we also experienced some pretty deep lows. Looking back on the circumstances of my life when I was a child I think it’s what prepared me to be the mother I am today.
As I transitioned into a young adult I assumed the role of “mom” at the first place I lived out of high school. I didn’t go to college, but I moved to a college town on the coattails of my three best girlfriends and a guy that I was totally in love with at the time. I lived in a house off campus in a neighborhood jam packed with college kids. While everyone was busy at school I kept busy keeping up on the house and making meals for everyone in the neighborhood. My friends nicknamed me “Mama Mad.” It was fitting…like what type of person moves to a college town but doesn’t go to college? Thank god I came to my senses! After a few short months I called my dad who came to my rescue and I moved home.
I met Johnny, the love of my life, when I was 20 years old. My journey into motherhood began a year and half into our relationship when I got pregnant. We were scared, but committed to each other. Together we knew we could give our baby an incredible life. I was going to be a mama for real! My heart grew immediately. Unfortunately, at 11 weeks we lost our baby. It felt like the earth beneath me broke. It was heart break like I’ve never felt before. We continued our year and half long engagement, got married, bought a house and when we felt like the time was right we got pregnant with our son, John. He changed my life in every way. My calling, to be a MAMA, had been answered. Our second son, Benny, came into the world about two and half years later. I spent my whole pregnancy freaking out about how this new baby would impact John and how in the world I would be able to love another baby the way I love him. False alarm, nothing to be worried about! I loved him just as much and in a completely different way.
Currently, I am 21 weeks pregnant with our third baby. We just found out that we are having another boy. I’m not gonna lie the wind was knocked out of me when I opened the gender reveal box to find a onesie that read “Super Brother!” As the sting of realizing I will never have a daughter wears off my heart feels so full because boy oh boy is there something special about son’s love for his mother that I can’t describe. I’m just lucky enough to experience it three times over.
To sum it up I think all mom’s could agree that the journey of motherhood is filled with a little madness and a whole lot of love. Considering my whole life has been that way I think “Mama Mad” is the perfect name for my blog. I look forward to sharing my stories and connecting with other moms who are in the throws of motherhood with me.
All my love,