Fill Up. Empty Out.

BY KATE KOLE

I became a fitness instructor and yoga teacher before I became a mom.

The trend towards self-care and inspirational Pinterest boards took off during my training tenure and I enthusiastically turned into a spokesperson for the popular social media proverb, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I cringe a bit each time I recall the way I would readily offer that insight. After class, someone would share with me that it felt so nice to practice. That she knew she needed to do it more often. But between work, and family, and life, it was just hard to find the motivation, and space, and energy. I would nod. Understanding that of course, we all face obstacles. But she needed to take care of herself too, I’d say. Because how could she meaningfully show up for her work, and her people, and her life if she wasn’t tending to herself first? I posed the question rhetorically. Food for thought when she had the time to digest it.

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The Day I Lost My Chill

By Kate Kole

36 weeks + 6 days pregnant. That’s when I officially lost my chill.

It wasn’t as if things started off in an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of way. In fact, if you’d seen me just an hour earlier you might have assumed that I had it all together.

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What Do You See?

By Kate Kole

I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.

Life feels like that sometimes.

6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon.

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Her Life Isn’t Perfect Either

By Kate Kole

Communal restrooms and a shared cubicle for a bedroom were hardly my favorite part of dorm living in college. I habitually whispered “I’m sorry” to my roommate as I whipped up my morning smoothie before 8 am class. No need for an alarm clock when you have a blender on full speed just feet away from your bunk. 

That being said, what I’ve come to retrospectively appreciate, was the inability to fully hide anything. 

My friends knew when I had a hard day, because I had to cry somewhere. And unless I chose a dirty bathroom stall, privacy wasn’t really an option. Homesickness, insecurities, and academic struggles were on full display. 

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Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

By Kate Kole

Soon after our son was born, I developed a somewhat standard response to check-in questions. “Hard and best.” That’s how I described my transition into motherhood. Because it felt impossible to mention one without the other. The sleep deprivation without the joy, the loneliness without the fulfillment, the loss of one identity without the discovery of another.

Eventually, I graduated to the blessing sandwich.

You know, the “I’m grateful I get to stay home with him. Sure, sometimes it’s isolating. But I feel really fortunate to have this time together.” Or the, “He’s a really happy baby. Still not sleeping through the night. But all the smiles during the day make up for it.”

One good thing. One hard thing. One good thing again. Continue reading

Some Thoughts On Change

Some Thoughts On Change

By Jillian Stacia

I’ve had a lot of change lately. That’s an understatement, actually. In the last year, I’ve gotten pregnant, been promoted, had a baby, went back to work, quit my job, started freelancing full time, and dyed my hair blue.

Things have changed so much so fast, and I still feel like I am reeling.

Here’s what I know: I am happier than I have ever been, probably because I feel more like myself than I ever have. My life is finally a representation of my values, and that feels amazing and right and whole.

But I also feel like I’m floundering. Each time I start to find a rhythm, I am pummeled by change. The carpet is ripped out from under my feet, and I have to start all over again. Continue reading

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready

By Kate Kole

“Are you ready?”

With my due date now only 2 and a half weeks away, that’s the question I unsurprisingly receive the most.

My answer, almost always, is some version of “as ready as you can be.”

Because, I suppose, we’ve planned and prepared in almost all the ways possible. The nursery is complete, the car seats are installed and inspected, the hospital bag is packed, the breastfeeding and caring-for-a-newborn classes have been attended. I’ve flipped through What To Expect When You’re Expecting weekly for the last 9 months and I now know as much as you can know (or at least as much as I’d like to know) without completely freaking myself out. Continue reading

The Things I Never Knew Before Becoming A Mom

The Things I Never Knew Before Becoming A Mom

By Chelsea O’Neal

I never knew many things before becoming a mother. I had heard “stories” from other parents but like many people, I thought “surely those are myths.” And then I became a mom and boy did things change.

I never knew how scary it was caring for another tiny little human. How delicate I’d think she was. How afraid I’d be to make the wrong decision in even the simplest of situations. I never knew I wouldn’t leave the house on time ever again. Or that when I’d finally leave, I’d be toting around a giant bag of everything in the house.  Continue reading

Life Is Both.

Life Is Both..jpeg

By Kate Kole

When I lived in Houston, my favorite radio station had a weekly prank call segment where the DJ would regularly repeat the phrase, “honey, we all got problems,” with a thick southern drawl. It was like listening to a scene from SNL and I’d often laugh so hard that I cried, hearing the outrageous personal issues she’d list in detail to the stranger on the other end of the line.

Her voice and that expression have stayed with me over the years and I’ll often find myself replaying some variation of those words in my mind. They’re my reassuring reminder that none of us is without insecurities, imperfections, or self-doubt. That regardless of how confident, poised, and put together our lives may seem from the outside looking in, we’re all dealing with something, or more accurately, some things. Continue reading

Does It Make Me A Bad Parent?

Does It Make Me A Bad Parent

By Chelsea O’Neal

Does it make me a bad parent? That’s the question that kept running through my head the other day. That’s the question I repeated over and over in regards to every parenting decision I am making. Does it make me a bad parent?

Does it make me a bad parent if some days I feel parenthood is just a little too overwhelming? Does it make me a bad parent if some days I just want her to sleep all day so I can get a breather? If I get annoyed sometimes when she’s climbing all over me, fussy and wanting me to hold her? If every time she grabs a handful of hair and yanks and I just want to yell “stop!Continue reading