Author: Alley Plake

Mommy Fuel

To the mom at pick up:

Hi. We don’t know each other. I have a feeling we’re more alike than we realize. For starters, I imagine you’re pretty tired. Did you rush here to pick up your little with as much excitement as you felt when you dropped them off this morning?

Me too. Free at last!

“Free at last!” can mean so many things! Maybe you’re at home with the younger kids or doing the laundry and errands to simply make life simple when your husband comes home. Maybe you’re rushing off to a board meeting, leisurely off to the gym, or maybe you’re battling depression alone all day.

I love nothing else more in this life than my son. My only child. My only four eyed, combed hair, argumentative son. But man… does he wear me OUT!

Don’t act like you can’t relate! You aren’t alone.

I’ve always said being a parent is the hardest job you will ever love. Don’t believe me? Would you give up everything in a second for them but you’re constantly tired and finding fuel in places you didn’t know existed?

Let’s credit our littles with unknowingly forcing us to find parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed. That’s some powerful mommy fuel they’ve given us!

Recently I’ve done my best to look at people around me and have a glass half full. I’ve focused more on what we could share rather than how we are different. The word “differences” is often used in a reason for divorce. Irreconcilable differences. I’m looking for more reasons in my life to connect to people than push them away.

Look for the connections. It’s powerful.

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The Life Inventory

Taking inventory of your life isn’t easy. It’s proved to be quite humbling as I’ve stood in front of the mirror with my entire life reflecting back at me.

My music. My friends. The words I use. How I react to situations. The list of people I’ve wronged. All of those ugly moments we hope no one ever sees.
I’ve lost friends. I’ve gained friends and been thankful for the ones who understand me and are still around. My circle is smaller than ever but the peace I’m feeling is larger than I could have hoped for.
As a single mom in my early thirties, I’ve dated a fair amount. It’s been mostly a series of pathetic first dates that leave me feeling more lonely than when I arrived. However, taking inventory of my life has made me more aware of the people I owed apologies to for things I didn’t handle right. I’ve called people who weren’t expecting my call and I’ve apologized for things that have often left them surprised and confused yet they welcomed my words. However, something was still off.
I prayed.
Then I prayed some more.
No. Don’t tell me I have to apologize to him.
I knew what had to happen. I had to swallow my pride and apologize to my ex-husband and my sons father for leaving SEVEN YEARS AGO.
I prayed for months about this conversation. I sat at every stop light in the city rehearsing exactly what I would say until I could recite it in my sleep. I felt pretty darn good about it! I wanted this conversation to happen. I wanted peace in my life and I felt confident I could handle this.
There I sat in Starbucks and with every door that opened my anxiety level rose. Every well constructed sentence left me and I became more panicked that I would leave our conversation with the regret of not saying what was on my heart. As a writer, I knew jotting down my thoughts would help provide some clarity so off I went. I had twenty minutes to spare and my pen couldn’t keep up with my mind.
A letter to my ex husband:
 
I’m more nervous waiting on you as I sit in Starbucks than I was for our first date back in 2003. I was a naive college freshman. I’m the one who has called todays meeting. The fact that you have agreed to meet with me is a miracle itself. Why am I nervous? After all, I’m the one who left! I wanted out so badly that I was willing to change the lives of people I claimed to love the most. I am about to deliver the most humbling apology of my life and I don’t think you’re expecting it.
 
I feel like this is the right thing to do but that isn’t keeping my nerves as calm as I‘d like. Will you hear me out? Will you interrupt me to air your own grievances? Will you trust my sincerity? Will you take advantage of my vulnerability?
 
Anything and everything is possible today. My motive is pure. I have prayed about this for months. I’ve asked God to speak through me to bring peace for all of us. I’m taking the first step to peace by apologizing. The truth is that I do not want to rekindle with you. I do not want to be disruptive to your marriage. I do not have romantic feelings for you. I‘m asking for your forgiveness and expecting nothing in return.
 
I‘m sorry that my need to leave our marriage hurt you. I know that it broke you. I was so unhappy I had to leave no matter the cost and I accept that. I’m sorry I broke up our family by walking away.
 
I’m sorry that my instinctive need to defend myself caused me to be less than transparent with you as we navigated our co-parenting relationship. This led you to fill in the blanks with less than savory ideas of me. I am certainly far from perfect. But I am so far from the cold, calloused and reckless mother you may have thought I‘ve evolved in to. 
 
Together we created the most precious and magical child. I recall dreaming as a young girl of the day I would become a mother to a little boy. The day our son was born, my most intense and pure dream became a reality. You helped make this a reality in my life and for that I am so grateful. I praise God routinely that us, together, were chosen to be his parents.
 
I am seeking peace in my life but more than anything today I recognize we need healing . Why are we so bitter after so much time when we are the ones who are so blessed? We are the only two people who will even know the panic of when he was born and we didn’t hear him cry. While your words told me everything was fine, our love and concern was unified in our eyes. I’m the only one that will ever know how white your knuckles were as you drove us home from the hospital on that raining day in October. 
 
Why am I seeking this now? I‘ve prayed consistently and specifically. I’ve prayed for peace and clarity. And this conversation is where I‘ve been led. Today I am asking for your forgiveness. What can I do to earn that?
 
As he sat in front of me, I just couldn’t keep it together. I’m emotionally pretty tough but this owned me. I attempted to read the above letter but failed miserably. After restarting my thoughts three times, I quietly asked him if we could sit in my car. His typical confrontational and domineering stance towards me was no where to be found. Instead I witnessed a compassionate person who gathered my things for me and told me take my time. He listened to every word I said, not interrupting once, and more times than not had tears in his eyes.
When he left my car, I cried again yet for different reasons. I was so thankful he heard me. I was so thankful I was faithful to where my heart had been led. I was annoyed I had ever let anxiety creep back into my thoughts. More than anything I was so relieved for our son! He will always be the winner or the loser of our actions.
For the first time since our divorce, I felt like I had a coparent I could count on. I felt like we were walking the same path with the same goal to raise our son as happy and as healthy as possible regardless of our marital failures.

A Quest for Peace

2018 is here but I’ll be writing 2017 until June as per the usual. If you stumbled upon my blog in 2017, you know it was a hell of a year for me. Most of it I was in the dreaded “fake it till you make it phase.” I made it. Sometimes barely but I’m here and standing.
There are good people that unfortunately got the worst of me. I owe apologies to some of you. I think life has finally leveled out for me. I was blessed enough to wrap up the year with a life changing trip to Africa over Thanksgiving. And boy, did it ever change my life. But now what?
I want peace. 
But what does that mean exactly? It likely has a different definition for each of us. Having peace from struggles and bondage we manage to walk through life with will be different. We’re all human. We all fail. I think failing forward is something to celebrate though.
Why do I want peace?
I came out of the womb struggling. Literally. The cord was wrapped around my neck. I’m stubborn so I managed to wedge my foot in between the cord and my neck. That likely saved my life. That same perseverance has saved my life both physically and emotionally time and time again.
I want peace so badly because I finally felt it in Africa. I’ve never felt it so powerful and obvious. I vividly remember a moment where I stood at the top of a hill at a school. With my back turned to instruments being played, singing and laughter, I took in the greenest rolling hills I’d ever seen.  I was finally alone. Tears filled my eyes because I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of peace. Excluding the absence of my son, I could have taken a one way ticket and stayed until my welcome was worn out.
Let me paint a more clear picture. This is day four of our journey. At this point I had spent days feeling guilty for where I was blessed enough to rest my head each night. I had a clean pillow and a mattress. I had windows. A lock on my door. And an actual toilet. I had just gifted a child I connected with a mosquito net. When she realized what was happening she gave me the most fierce hug I had ever felt.
How do I get that peace? Here. In America. In Dallas.
What I’m finding is in our busy lives here, it’s more about evaluating what is in our lives first. Personally, I can’t possibly add in something else to my life without removing some things. Ask yourself a few questions. Is this bringing me joy? Peace? How is it enriching my life? If you don’t have a valid response, opting out of it may not be a bad option. Let’s take social media as an example. (Ironic I know since I’m writing a blog that is shared via social media… stay with me though.) If you removed yourself from all social media, do you think you would be as connected to your current group of loved ones or friends? What percentage of the relationship is part of the “fakebook” world? I’m not dissing social media as much as it may seem.  It’s more of a personal inventory. Am I pouring my energy into what I should in my life? If I answer honestly, no. No I’m not.
What’s the plan?
My plan is simple. Delete my social media for one month. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. After one month I’ll write about what I’ve learned, what I miss about it, and how it’s affected my life mentally, physically and spiritually. I plan to spend more time taking care of myself. More time in prayer and reflecting on where I am. Sitting in silence and taking in life isn’t a bad thing. It’s often quite difficult to do for this small town girl in a big city. I’m always on the go as I juggle being a single mom, employee, friend, and my sometimes nonexistent love life. However, I think if I just slow down and take in what’s actually happening in my life, I’ll find more of what brings peace to the world around us that so many of us miss daily.

A changed heart is a good heart.

I truly had no idea what I was in for. The closer the day of my flight to Uganda came the greater my concern for being emotionally and spiritually prepared for the journey I became. My concern was valid to say the least. On the flip side, I don’t believe one is ever fully prepared for what happens when you step off that plane and begin the process.

The first night in our hotel in Mbarara, I felt guilty for how nice it was.  Our 5 hour bus ride from Entebbe proved to be gut wrenching. The closer we got to Mbarara the more devastation I saw. The darker the sky grew the more broken my heart became. I saw small children without clothing simply playing with rocks because that was all they had. A small child walking in the dark carrying pails of water to his family will shake you to your core. There was a very distinct moment when I realized those commercials I had seen on the TV for years were so real. They are not over dramatized.

As they saw our bus approach they stopped everything. I could see their smiles for miles. They are so beautiful and happy yet likely don’t know when or how their bellies will be full again. I’m already searching for ways I can truly help this community.

On our first full day, we had the privilege to attend a church service unlike anything I’ve experienced. I’ve never felt the Holy Spirit as present as it was in that moment. The joy expressed to us, as total strangers, was overwhelming and welcomed. I wish the people in that church understood how much they showed us during such a short amount of time. I’m typically not excited about talking in front of large unfamiliar groups but I knew I had to give them my all as I was introduced. I had thought about what I wished to share. I thought about my testimony and ran through it over and over in my mind. I had every intention of sharing my story but I just couldn’t. I was so overcome with emotion when it was my turn I could barely get through a quick personal introduction without my voice quivering and fighting back the tears. During the service, a woman accepted Jesus as her savior. What a powerful moment to witness! I later saw her at a school we toured and I approached her. My intent was to pray for her but she seemed to be trying to avoid me but I was committed to acknowledging her in that moment. The closer I came to her I realized she has been through things I can’t imagine. She wore sunglasses to hide her missing left eye and terribly burned skin. I hugged her and simply told her how blessed our team was to witness her coming to Jesus today during the service. I saw a hint of a smile and she lowered her head and walked on.

A little girl named Rachel followed me from the church to the school that day. This is the first of many times I connected with a small child during our trip. She wore a pink knee length dress and a smile that would capture any heart. Her worn dress was only able to zip about half way up because of a broken zipper. Her face was dirty and her smile was radiant. She came to hug me at any opportunity over the next several hours. At this particular school, I saw the dormitory that the girls used to sleep in before moving to the newer school. They had bunk beds in a room far too small to house that many children. The swings out back looked rusted and were made out of a two by four. I felt thankful my tetanus shot was up to date. The children still flocked to them and looked joyful at the chance to experience what little fun the swings could provide them.

For anyone who knows me, you may recall how much I love pygmy goats. Uganda is full of goats. They are literally everywhere just like dogs are here. I ventured off in hopes to just pet a goat and recharge my emotional battery when I stumbled upon a young man named Douglas. I was quiet at first as I was attempting to process that I was even in Africa yet alone part of the recent church service and now walking through this place that unfortunately resembled a school.

Douglas is 17 and is part of the choir. At age 2 his mother abandoned him by running away. He couldn’t be cared for by his father because he was a drug lord. His grandmother cared for him until her death due to old age. (The average life expectancy is about 50 years old.) He explained his extended family would not care for him because he was simply “another mouth to feed” and he was sick at the time. He was orphaned until Parental Care took him in 4 years ago. He spent years living on the streets and searching for food in trash cans. I wish this story were rare but I quickly realized how many children can retell this story only inserting their own name.

It began to rain and we all took cover in a school house. I can’t tell you the joy my heart had as children flocked to me. Some of them wanted to play with my hair. Some of them just stared and smiled. Most of them wanted physical affection which I was more than happy to supply.

One of the most powerful moments of the trip was visiting a boys home. Uganda is filled with hearts bigger than the state of Texas but Dennis is quite the soul. He provides shelter for more than 50 children. I don’t know a time in my life where I was more broken and humbled. I recall standing in a circle holding hands and praying with about 50 people. At the end of the prayer I opened my eyes just in time to see a single tear fall from my eye and hit the dirt. This was such a raw, authentic and telling moment for me. I remember catching eyes with a woman on our trip just as this happened. I do believe we were sharing the same broken feeling. I could feel her heartache from a distance and I had just met her. I just looked down and had to keep wiping my eyes in attempt to get it together. This home is filled with young men who have been rejected, put down, and broken until they have no hope.

I’ve been home for almost two weeks. I was concerned the stories would sit on a shelf and my overwhelming need to go back would fade. But it hasn’t. I owe my service to their community for what they have provided to me. My heart is changed. Those are four very powerful words.

My heart is changed.

Dear Landon

Dear Landon,

This morning you woke up likely not any taller than when you fell asleep last night. This didn’t stop me from humoring you when you stood as tall as you could next to the wooden ruler that adorns the wall in the hallway. It did however cause me to pause and I thank you for that. I also thank you for the last eight years and for every single day ahead of us.

I love the tradition of writing you a letter every year for your birthday. They are stored neatly inside of your time capsule along with other “mom-like” mementos I’ve saved from that year of your life. We have certainly had a year to remember. We’ve had so many incredible moments and we’ve weathered a storm that you certainly have not deserved. From day one, I knew I was getting paid back for being such a strong willed child but how that trait has come to serve us both well.

I think many of us as parents think about the epic list of things we do for our children. And of course there are times I’m tired of picking up after you and simply don’t understand how jelly ended up on the bottom of your night stand. However, this time I’m in such awe of what you have done for me this year. You may be small but the heart and grace you possess is truly inspiring. Yes, you at just eight years old have inspired me countless times.

The major event that rocked us this year was when your stepdad left us. I’m finally at a point where I know it was for the best and you deserve so much more than what that situation offered you. I dreaded having to tell you our lives were being turned upside down. I expected you to cry and be hurt but what I wasn’t prepared for was what you said to me.  I think it’s important that I record how you reacted in that moment because it speaks to the heart you have and how caring of a soul you truly are. When I delivered the news, you looked stunned and your eyes filled with tears. You sat in front of me with your legs crossed and your head fell into your lap like you had just folded in half. I couldn’t hear your cries because you simply couldn’t get anything out. I held you apologizing for our situation. I reassured you that your feelings were okay. I rocked you and told you I loved you more than anything followed by another round of tear filled apologies. At that moment, you stiffened your upper lip and grabbed my hands. You looked me dead in my eyes and said, “Mommy, stop apologizing to me. You should not be sorry. You don’t want this. He broke his promise, you didn’t. You will find a good man.” And you hugged me. That’s all that it took for me to turn a corner and have the perspective we needed to find our bright spot again.

This years birthday letter is much different than in previous years. However, I don’t want to lose out on all the moments of you just being a silly seven year old boy. You say the cutest and silliest things. We love telling each other the jokes on the popsicle sticks. I love every night that you beg me to sing the sunshine song. I love waking up on the nights you’ve crawled into my bed just because you wanted to cuddle. I’m savoring every one of those moments because before too long, you won’t think I’m this cool. Just last night you stepped out of line and I jokingly said I’d “give you away or just sell you.” You laughed and asked how much I’d get for you. I responded by saying you were so special maybe a trillion dollars. In true Landon fashion, you said I should sell you for $2 because $2 bills are so rare as you smirked.

You often rush through your homework because you’re ready to play. You tend to your friends that fall and scrape their knee. You love everything Starwars. You love watching documentaries about marine life and dinosaurs. We love going to Goldrush Cafe on Skillman for our weekly breakfast date before school. You love finding details that I’m wrong about and calling me out. You love waking up early on Saturday morning and sneaking gummy packages into your room thinking I wont actually find those wrappers. You have little interest in organized sports but love swimming, math, and all things science related. You have a heart for Jesus that is so incredibly beautiful.

Landon,  I hope you always know how truly special you are. Not only to me but to everyone around you. Your laugh is contagious. Your witt is entertaining. And your spirit is 100% boy. I will always love sharing chicken nuggets with you and a fort is as good of a place to sleep as any.

Love,

“Your little mommy”

I’m Right Where I’m Supposed To Be

Someone recently shared a song that embodied everything I was needing in that moment. The title of the song itself spoke to me. I’ve been feeling very comfortable in my own skin and where I am in life. I’ve had an increasing sense of self awareness. I’ve realized that I am in fact exactly where I’m supposed to be. That’s a feeling you can’t put a price tag on and it has come only after a series of waves through very rocky waters.

Even considering my level of comfort in my simple yet beautiful life, I know something is missing. I have no idea when the last piece to the puzzle will come together. I find the process to be beautiful yet often uncomfortable.

For the first time in my life, I am truly being open about my knack for failing forward. I’m finding that it’s the only way for me to save my sanity and remain in control of my feelings. I’m not hiding behind anything anymore. It’s been so encouraging to read older posts and see how far I’ve come. I can’t even begin to thank those close to me for loving me through my failures and celebrating my successes. 

I’ve danced around writing about what I’ve been through. I’ve told half truths, omitted details, and been vague. My intent has never been to mislead people or hurt someone. It has been the result of shame and embarrassment. And that stops today. 

I’ve been married twice. I married my son’s father at a young age and that likely doesn’t need much explanation. I waited many years to get remarried. I thought I was the luckiest girl alive to have found him. I thought I had everything. I can assure you, the smile on my face was absolutely real and full of love and hope. 

I failed. We failed. He left on a Tuesday. I got a text message saying, “I won’t be here when you get home.” My thought was he had an appointment. After clarifying, I immediately bolted from my office in tears heading straight to my house. As the color left my skin, I absorbed the reality of what was happening. It felt like every dream I had with him was being thrown with haste into those suitcases. I begged. I cried. I fell apart. I watched him back out of the drive way. I watched the gate close. And that was it. Three hours later I walked to the school to pick up my son. I still wonder how well I hid my pain from him. 

It took me weeks to share my failure with my mom and best friend. I remember sitting in my living room with my best friend and saying my biggest fear was not making it out of it and still being a good person. I’ve had pain in my life but this was larger than life. 

I’m really sharing this story with the hope it will help even one person pull through a really dark time. I can honestly say that I’ve had a more beautiful life since my divorce. I’ve been shown more grace than I thought possible. I’m so humbled and thankful for every person in my life. I’ve realized how strong I am and I feel proud of that. 

I spent days crying in the bathtub for hours. I felt humiliated, devastated, angry, confused, and scared. I finally decided I wouldn’t let someone cheat my son and me of the beautiful life we deserved. I threw myself into anything and everything positive I could get my hands on. I took a volunteer position with the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce as Vice President of Philanthropy. I began volunteering in our city and that quickly put my life into perspective. As a result I’ve found a space that is comfortable and beautiful with love. 

I love thinking about something that is making me happy right now and tracing the steps backwards to find how I got to that place. I can honestly say that everything I love about my life right now happened because of something that felt devastating in the moment. There is always light at the end of the tunnel even if it takes a minute to find it. Reaching out for help is courageous. 

Is Starbucks Profiting From Our Sleep Deprivation?

I’ve been feeling pretty run down lately. My sleep habits have been pathetic. One factor is that my car was recently broken into and all of my Adderall was stolen. My doctor won’t prescribe anymore to me regardless of waving a police report in his face. Needless to say, as I sit here I’m prying my eyes open. The last few weeks I’ve found myself just struggling to even write a to-do list much less feel accomplished at the end of the day. Is this the real version of myself?

As a mother, I’ve realized how much I do not want my own child to begin taking Adderall at any point. I’m running a sleep company, I should know better than to fall victim to the dependency of Adderall. I began researching how to make it through the struggle of being cut off cold turkey from Adderall. Nothing has been helpful and I’m convinced Starbucks is preparing to offer me a job considering how often they see me. I stumbled upon an article published by Central Dentist who cites an article from The John Hopkins News-Letter  discussing children and mothers sharing sleep patterns. This certainly made my eyes finally open!

I could relate to so much of this article! I’m a mother to a seven year old boy and I’m submerged in all things sleep related on a daily basis. The study involved 200 healthy children age seven to 12 and measured their sleep patterns for one night using a home sleep test device. What stood out to me was when a mother reported sleep issues, her child would get less sleep, spend less time in deep sleep, and also go to sleep and wake up at a later time.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a lack of sleep can contribute to errors in judgement or sudden changes in mood, as well as a child’s ability to retain and learn information.

Sleep is so crucial to our bodies repairing properly, it affects our mental health, and gravely affects our quality of life. This is amplified in children as their bodies rapidly grow and as they are constantly soaking up life around them. Their growth and development is directly affected by the amount and quality of sleep they are getting consistently. I’m certainly adding “sleep habits” to the epic list of things I hope to instill in my own son.

To learn more about how you can ensure you and your children are getting your best nights sleep, check out www.CentralDentist.com!

 

Thoughtful Thursday: A Note to Peggy Sue

Dear Peggy Sue,

You’re the only grandmother I’ve ever really known. As I reflect on this, I realize it’s probably for the best. No one else could ever come close to you. It makes my day when someone says I look like you or favor your stubbornness. I regret not telling you how it’s been obvious to me from a very early age that you’ve always been the glue to our entire family.

Do you know how beautiful you are? You’re smart, brave, stubborn, classy, independent, and creative. I’ve watched you my entire life as you managed to keep your marriage together and make it look so easy. But then again, how much easier could it have been for Papa? He got to marry you! As wonderful and sweet as Floyd Leon was, he definitely hit the jackpot… and he knew it. 

Thank you for all that you sacrificed to make sure my brother and I got our annual summer trips to Silver Dollar City. It was so sweet and nostalgic when I had the opportunity to take my own son. I feel like that trip as an adult was even better for me thanks to you. 

Thank you for always making Christmas a winter wonderland regardless if there was snow on the ground. Christmas was always so much more than the gifts. You were the creator behind the humble house packed with love, silliness, and incredible food. 

I remember as a young girl sneaking away to your bedroom to spray your perfume. You always wore the most incredible scents. I learned to sew via YouTube videos as an adult hoping you’d be proud of me for mastering a dying art of my generation. It’s hard to believe that a plate adorned with tiny ducks wearing blue bonnets has the power to flood my mind with the most amazing memories.

As a mother myself, I often wonder if I’ve done enough. I can only imagine how amplified this feeling may be as a great grandmother. I hope you take a moment today to reflect on how very great you are!

Peggy Sue, I love you. You are beautiful.

Finding Home Base

I’ve done it again. The first step is admission, right? I’ve overcommitted myself in many aspects of my life. While my intentions are well it’s left me feeling like I’ve half assed many things I truly care about. That’s when guilt sets in. 

How did I let this happen again? Early 2017 was by far my most hectic and emotionally draining time period in years. I’ve previously mentioned how I mindfully chose to throw myself into everything positive I could get my hands on. It was very intentional with the purpose to avoid some devastating events to not swallow me whole thus affecting both my life and my son’s. Mission accomplished! I can’t even count the number of beautiful people that have walked into my life. I can not recall ever feeling more proud and humbled at the same time. My friends, both old and new, have picked me up when I needed it and celebrated my successes this year. Personally and professionally this year I have had lows that would make you shake your head and highs that would make even a stranger proud. So what’s next? 


I honestly feel like I’m exiting that “fight or flight” phase in my life. I’ve spent months just grinning and bearing it, faking it until I made it. Well, I’ve made it through and now I’m exhausted. I’m happy but tired. At least I’m not sick and tired of being sick and tired, right?

I’ve spent a lot of time just regrouping and evaluating things in my mind. I have intentionally been on a small hiatus regarding my blog. I needed a minute to not dissect everything I was going through. I needed to just live for a minute and then see where that left me. 

I know how and why I overcommitted myself. It was to keep my mind and heart busy. I was constantly surrounding myself with volunteer work and drowning myself in my “be humble, be grateful” mantra. I have no intention of stopping either of these things. I do have intentions to be balanced though. 

The million dollar question is what matters the most to me? That’s easy. My son. I’ll be room mom again this year. I’ll make copious amounts of videos with cheesy sayings scattered throughout while not giving a crap if anyone else actually watches them. I’ll spend my nights striving to be that Pinterest mom crafting the most adorable party favors with my hot glue gun loaded as I swim in a sea of craft ribbon. And yes, I could have easily just bought the damn favors for a reasonable price on Etsy. But that won’t satisfy me nearly as much.

The point is that balancing life is difficult enough for all of us. I like to think we all manage the best way we know how and it’s okay if we have some missteps. Admitting it and being introspective about how it happened and how we can get back on track is the real success. I believe the first step is asking yourself two simple questions. What or who is most important to you? What do you identify yourself as? When I did this I instantly felt like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders. My answers to those questions were, “Landon” and “a mom”. While I firmly believe I have an identity completely separate from being a mom, I know that will always be my home base. 

Thoughtful Thursday: 26 Days

It’s been 26 days.

photo226 days since I closed my front door and fell apart because I wouldn’t see the better part of myself for 30 days. I’ve almost made it. Only 3 more days to go! I’ll be back to complaining because he didn’t really brush his teeth and nagging him to put his dishes in the dishwasher. I can’t wait for him to ask me to read just one more story or have that stinky boy smell back in my house. I have a feeling it’ll smell a little sweeter.

As I reflect on what I’ve done with myself this month, I realize how busy I’ve purposely made myself. If you judge my life during the month of July solely by my social media you will be deceived. I know I used a lot of my free time for good. I volunteered, worked towards goals personally and professionally, had a lot of meetings, and spent more time with friends than I probably will the rest of the year combined. My social media profiles look like I’ve had the time of my life in July! Another reason why many people call it “Fakebook.”

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Don’t get me wrong, my friends are amazing. I’m so grateful! I have a lot of really amazing things happening in my life right now. But there hasn’t been a second go by that I didn’t know how long he’s been gone and how many days until he comes home.I’ve had to stay busier than ever to keep myself from being so sad that I bury my face in tacos and ice cream. (Not that there’s a single thing wrong with that!) I’ve had to keep his bedroom door shut. I waited until this past weekend to do all of his laundry. I wonder if I will ever get used to this?
If I hear one more parent tell me, “Oh that sounds amazing! How nice to have a break!” I will scream. You have no idea. It’s not amazing to not know if your child is okay. It’s awful. It’s pretty helpless and exhausting to go a month without a hug from your little. This isn’t a situation where they are off to camp for a week.
I can’t wait to get back to eating popsicles and building pillow forts. Perhaps the silver lining of my lonely July is that I have a reminder every year that I’m truly so fortunate to have a child as magical as mine.


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-XOXO