because defining one’s self is a work in progress.

Suffice it to say that this blog began as a mission of optimism- but let’s call a spade, a spade, it was a distraction; one that I needed desperately to find some level of control at a time where I felt as though I had none. To an extent it filled that need and predictably, by way of accountability and integrity, we were able to set goals and achieve them, learn from our missteps and plan (to the best of our ability) what we needed to do for personal and familial growth and development. 

I struggled with blogs for years, it’s an awkward notion- like successfully making and serving your family’s oldest and unmatched recipe, self-indulgent yet satisfying. Something not at all natural to me but I love to write and an electronic journal is what I have viewed it most as, until my most recent affirmation. This blog is an unintended, developed, working definition of myself; an in-the-works encyclopedia of K.A.Fowler v.ii

I started at v. ii because v.i is too hard to write and will take years of retrospect, wine and possibly therapy to put into words lol. 

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As I have gotten older, granted I’m not old nor am I wise, but as I have experienced the infamous transition from adolescence into and through early adulthood and searched the “me” inside, I have developed an interesting yet unexpected perspective; an ability to own my shortcomings, my strengths and boldly say things aloud about myself that I have always known but feared. So, why now? Why has it taken so long? For one reason or another it seems as though I kept this all buried allowing others an open-invite to simply make their opinion and judgments. I can take criticism. I have skin like my father’s rough-leather-tough but with a few tiny cracks here and there that allow some things to unintentionally seep through.

My Dad did not hide that everyone would always have an opinion (insert his famous ” like assholes” mantra to follow) but the only one that mattered was mine. I know the real me, I know the real story. Why care about everyone else? Except that I do. The difference is that I only care about those who matter to me. In my experience the general population is more interested in impressing “the man,” (whoever that is) the woman dressed better (so presuming status)- the suit, the bartender, the waiter, the unknown person making a first impression judgment, etc. etc. To be frank, I don’t give a shit about this person. Think what you want of me, if you don’t know me it doesn’t matter; but if you do- that’s when it does and that’s how I am different. I want you to know the real me. If I take the time to like, respect and perhaps love you in any capacity I have a weakness for needing reciprocity. I do however follow-suit with my father, you don’t need friends. This is true, I don’t. Friends are hard to find and as grown-ups, slightly overwhelming when your typical playground is the local watering hole you don’t want or ever choose to attend comparable to the sandbox, who knows what’s really in there. But, what I have learned is that I do need family and my friends are my family. My closest girlfriends know more of my secrets than my cousins, aunts, even sisters, if I am being completely revealing. I want and plan to grow and grow old with my family-through the good, the bad and the ugly. I fight with and, more importantly, for my family. But what about the dysfunctional family? Don’t we all have one to some degree? What do you do then? Food for thought I suppose…I digress. The best part is that among our many acquaintances there is and will always be room for these individuals to turn into family and when it comes to family, and perhaps some foreshadowing in the years to come, the bigger the better.

Growing my family has made my perspective that much more transparent. As a parent, an aunt and a Godmother, I try to see the world through the wide-eyes of these little beings but the world is cruel and sometimes I wonder if bringing my own girls into such a place was an injustice. A bad start from the beginning? But it was a completely selfish one, as a person who was once uncertain about her family-tied future, once I committed I went for it and could not imagine my life without them or him. This may be one of the few known things I can acknowledge. The misconception of growing-up is that at some point, you do. You have a foundation and an education and are supposed know all that you need to. Don’t grown-ups know everything? Isn’t that why we are educated when we are young? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I don’t think learning even starts until you are post-graduation, real-world bound or submerged. Or at least that’s what it has been for me. Which makes mailing my lifetime-loan-payment more annoying than a black fly bite. Hence why, I don’t try to pretend to understand. I openly admit that “I do not know the answer.” In fact, I’m seriously hoping my girls realize I’m human before they are old enough for it to be a life-altering and heart wrenching awareness as it was for me. I try to tell them often “Mommy doesn’t have all the answers.” “Daddy and mommy aren’t perfect” I’d rather disappoint them now when they are at an age where forgiveness just happens and isn’t a choice, now that’s a way to live! 

In summation, here are 10 things I’ve learned to accept, love and own about myself through this journey thus far.

  • I’m the most extroverted introvert one may ever meet.
  • The best thing I ever got from my Dad was tact. I am too honest and open, if you want me to listen only, I will; but if you ask my opinion or for help I’ll tell you what I see, hear and think. It may not be what you want to hear but even the hardest conversations can be sweetened with a little tact.
  • I am the farthest thing from romantic but very sentimental
  • I am stubborn and suck at being helped. At 29 I still turn away from even Brent when I’m feeling vulnerable. Heels in the mud; big girl panties and all.
  • I have a few standout childhood/adolescent and even early adulthood moments that are humiliating beyond words. Some of which have been documented and the thought of trying to fit my square-self into a round hole for the sake of fitting in makes me cringe and I’m still struggling to understand how it has made me, me and how I allowed there to be evidence of it all lol. (Something I accept but the loving and owning part is still a work in progress)
  • I hate crying but do it all the time; usually at the most unexpected moments #annoying
  • I am loyal and unselfish- I will do anything for anyone even if they’ve hurt me. I can forgive and forget, trust and trust again-      a trait that has landed me ridicule and heartbreak but to quote the highest gross Disney film and the most popular snowman (at present) on the planet: “some people are worth melting for” and the people I love or have loved, all of them, are worth it to me still because at some point I found worth in them.
  • Kindness is the most important thing to me, if I can teach my children how to be kind all of the other quality traits will follow suit
  • My faith isn’t about a place it’s about a relationship, a private one and when those who doubt it on their own or to me I pose      this question “isn’t it better to have faith than to have none?” I believe in my God and I’m steady in my ground but if by chance I’m wrong, what harm does it do to live a life hoping and having faith that there is something bigger rather than living a life negating or finding reason to ridicule that there isn’t?” 
  • I’ve been accused for years of being a pessimist- I am not. I am a working optimist aka: a realist. Someone terrified of reality but energized by the mere sight of a sunrise.

Now, if you are still reading this completely self-indulgent piece, thank-you. I am uncertain as to why I am disclosing this information to what feels like such a reckless place of self-abandonment but it seems affirming. Something to reflect and keep as a retrospect to my 29 year old self in the years to come, should I be so lucky, nonetheless, thank-you for reading and I challenge you to make a list for yourself.

ox

Where Frugality Meets High Value….

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Motherhood is the point at which frugality meets high value. Don’t quite understand? Well, where else can you pinch pennies, and still provide bountifully? Watch dimes, but get paid high dollar? Know each and every cost of everything on the shelf- sales, clearance, mark-ups, but not recognize that you, yourself, are priceless? This friends, is motherhood. Where frugality truly meets high value…

With Mother’s Day only a few days away everyone is talking about their mom, posting TB pictures, remembering all that their mom has done for them. Thinking about the past, the present and for some, the future of being a mother themselves; I much appreciate a recent radio promo that said “what mom really wants is time.” This is absolutely true. Flowers are pretty and chocolate is yummy but time to simply be, is by far the best, and not to mention most cost-effective, gift I could receive. Time to be- with my family, with my girls, with myself, time to remember and time to cherish. Cherish the age and the moment; a day to reflect on all that I have given to create, and each day, work to develop these little humans. It automatically ties the past with the present. I sit in awe watching these little girls and often think about some of my favorite memories with my mom. Dancing to Tiffany in the living room, talking about boys when I was in JR. High, being the first to call and tell just about any news to, even today she is my best friend. Sure we have had our hardships, I think its par for the course with parents and children; but I could only hope that Madilyn and Charlotte think of me in merely half the light I think of my own mother. She paid such a huge price for me; giving when she had nothing to give, providing and loving when that was the only currency in her bank account and yet for me that was always enough. I didn’t need anything more. I never went without and I hope to be able to pay this and more for my children.

Yes, you pay a price in motherhood, I have said the unspoken words; but really, you pay a price for everything. Heck, water isn’t even free in 2014 so of course parenthood isn’t going to be. Motherhood is unique in its price though because there are so many lessons to be shared and learned about how to spend wisely as a mother but yet sharing our stories and embracing the trade secrets of ‘business’ success often turns into ridicule. Not to get into a rant, but one of my biggest pet peeves is mother-to-mother judgment. Talk about animals eating their own kin! Do not judge me for the choices that are best for me, my child and my family. What works for one will not work for another and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is wonderful if you want to work…go for it! It is wonderful if you want to stay home, relish in it! Neither is harder than the other, nor is either one easy by any stretch. Sure, ‘breast may be best’ but I was a formula baby and, although arguable, I think I turned out okay and I certainly don’t remember getting asked what I was fed as an infant on my college application. I think it’s awesome you had a great labor without pain meds, way to go! but please do not make me feel like my ability to deliver two full developed human beings is less of an experience because I opted for the epidural. And I’m sorry to burst the bubbles of any and all (nor do I mean to scare anyone) but labor is not the most beautiful thing, the process of growing and delivering a child into the world from start to finish is the beauty; labor itself hurts like hell and “beauty” is not exactly a descriptive I’d go with. It’s not about your choices that makes motherhood the hardest job, it’s motherhood. All of it. So before you judge me or the next mom who tells you she may not want to breastfeed or has decided to homeschool, try a lesson I guarantee you are teaching your own child…think before you speak and this Mother’s Day remember that every mother has earned their title and furthermore does not need to explain themselves for it. They deserve love and uplifting moments to credit their account for the difficult ones.        

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            28 wks with Madilyn Ruth                 29 wks with Charlotte Elise  

I digress. Often moms are the epitome of frugality. Their purse strings are tied tightly with hair ribbons and dirty socks, “no” is usually the highest charge and with low interest rates of sleep paid out. We are able to maximize credit with late night cuddles and often find our best balance from “overdrawing” our patience account is a lot of love and affection. There are days when it doesn’t always balance out and sometimes I know I go to bed feeling like I have nothing left in any account but I also know my ‘savings’ is always full. Regardless of what was “spent” that day, when I see them tucked in tight I instantly deposit insurmountable love and appreciation into my account; because loving something more than yourself is the price you pay for motherhood.

Never have I ever cherished a 4″ painted pot before. I love all of the handmade crafts that are permanent reminders of this little being that someday will be a memory of just that. Motherhood is a constant struggle but also a constant reminder of worth and value. I never considered myself to be anything more, or less I should say, than “the cheapest woman I live” but I have a mother’s depository that earns some of the highest rates possible and for that I already consider myself the Bill Gates of Mommywood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there. Past, present and future. Biological, step, surrogate;  adopted, foster, or temporary; godmothers, grandmothers, and mothers-in-law; to all young and old; soon-to-be, wish-to-be and hope-to-be. You are loved… you are rich… and you are worth it.

ox

UPDATE: Shortly after this was written on Thursday, May 8 I heard giggling and joyous laughter, coming from a bedroom. A beautiful perfume scent was quickly filling the air and when I went to see what they were doing this is what I found in a corner of their bedroom tucked behind a chair…

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for Mother’s Day, in addition to time, I would like (and need) new make-up.