Category Archives: Blonde Mom

No pants, no shoes, new mom.

I finished Girls’ final season late last week. In the episode, the character Hannah was found walking around without pants or shoes on outside. The officer who had stopped asked what she was doing. Her response was “well I just had a baby.”  End of discussion. It was such an accurate portrayal of how it actually feels to become a new mom. Everyone’s journey to motherhood is different. Everyone’s is difficult its own right.

Recently, I was discussing how I believe my emotional journey began the minute Lennon was born. By that I mean, I used to be apathetic. I rarely let things bother me (even when they should’ve). I let things go quickly and I wasn’t truly passionate about any cause. Having Lennon has changed me in the obvious ways and not in the so obvious ways. She’s from the inside out.

I have found that I care much less about what others think. In that, I value their thoughts without allowing them to sway my belief. Although, my desire to understand their perspective has deepened. I have found that the persistence I had before is nothing compared to what is now. I have learned that my gut is 99.9% always right. I have learned that I don’t have to like everyone. I don’t have to let things go when people wrong me. To clarify, I don’t mean It’s okay to hold grudges or dwell on anger. I do mean it’s okay to recognize the wrongdoing, move on, but not cave to their thinking. 

I say my emotional journey began with Lennon. I’m not sure it really did. I just now recognize in order to raise her to be the independent, strong, and capable woman she will one day be I have to show her what that looks like. To me, it starts with mastering my emotions, sticking up for what I believe in, and not giving others my power.

I may be found not wearing shoes, no pants and walking around seemingly aimless. The truth is, I don’t have to explain anything. I’m a new mom.

Bands that Bond Us

I remember the day we found out something was wrong. I could feel it in my gut before we even did the routine ultrasound. The emotion, the worry, the fear is indescribable. I could not form words to pray.  All I could muster was to tell God I was mad at Him.  It was unfair. It was hard to look at those around me experiencing the joy they had with their pregnancies and babies. Why?

The worst is when you feel like you have it under control then when you go to speak – you break. One particular call was with my Dad; I recall being angry with his reaction to the news. He was unphased. He said, “Rachel it’s obviously something you can handle.”  Our baby was our baby, and she’d be fine. Three months later and he was right.

I allowed myself three days to feel. Then it was time to move on. Accept the unknown.

There she was. Born way too early but right on time. I recall looking at her through the box as she looked right back. Her tiny little face. Her eyes were wide open.  At just two pounds and some change, her personality shown. I saw her legs. I saw the scars the bands left. At this moment, I wanted no different. She was my baby. She was made this way. The bands were no longer evil.

Everything about my pregnancy and the aftermath did not go as envisioned. You don’t expect to be pregnant only six months. You don’t expect to get to know your baby through the lens of a Hospital. The milestones you experience are not the milestones you prepare for. One of the biggest moments was being able to hold her with no wires attached. Going from being allowed to hold her an hour a day to being able to hold whenever we wanted.

Her amniotic bands had bonded us before she was born.  We knew the longer she stayed inside; the more damage would be done. Although my water breaking at 25 weeks has no exact relation to the bands it’s proof that even in anger, God hears.

The journey into parenthood did not come easy. I realize it’s never easy. You’re never ready. When it happens, when life throws you curve balls you just become ready.

Her bands have already taken me to places I never saw coming. I know she will continue to inspire and motivate me into the person she deserves me to be. She’s already the daughter I always wanted.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

Keep on Keepin On

Over the past six weeks, life has changed immensely. From having a baby three months early to navigating the waters of my ever ebbing and flowing career. One thing I have been clear on since leaving my full-time job back in 2015 is that I never want to work a 9 to 5 again. Now, that I have had a baby this is ever more important as I never want to sacrifice my time with her for money. I never want to miss an important event. I never want to sacrifice travel and opportunity due to the parameters inherent with a corporate career. All this to say, I’m proud that I have been able to create a lifestyle business by working with and for like-minded individuals.

The biggest challenge has been time management. When given the opportunity to create your own hours, work on your own terms, autonomy is your worst and best friend. All that to say, I have learned (am still learning) a few things to keep the balance while getting the job done.

  1. Keep yourself accountable. Regardless of whether your ‘boss’ requires you to track your tasks and time spent, do it anyway. It is useful for you to know how you are spending your time. It also allows you to track the results of your efforts in relation to the task required. I have used several programs in the past most recently TeamWorks, Trello, and Myhours. They are simple to use and allow for you to collaborate with your colleagues remotely.  I also use Slack to keep communication channels open without having to use email or texting.
  2. Keep a calendar. I use Google Calendar to keep all my personal and professional commitments. I even use it to schedule my gym time, my ‘home’ time as well as study time. I try to follow it carefully while allowing me the flexibility I crave. In doing so, I set commitments each day for the things that I need to accomplish.
  3. Keep a commitment to your health. As noted above, I put in my calendar time for the gym and home. This way I have pre-scheduled the time needed to take care of my health and hearth. I have also recently joined a group that my sister runs that fosters a community of people striving to stay fit and eat healthy. This creates another layer of accountability beyond the intrinsic drive. (if interested in that, you can email her by clicking here)
  4. Keep learning. Never stop reading, listening to podcasts, meeting new people and engaging with those that think differently than you. I have recently started diving more into podcasts. There is so much free information out there from experts in every industry. A few of my new finds are Side Hustle Nation, Tropical MBA, EOFire, & Growth Hack Your LIfe. If you can’t tell already, they are focused on the digital nomad or entrepreneur, which are obviously in line to the career and life I’m creating. I encourage you to read at least one book a month, subscribe to one podcast, meet with a new person or old contact every 6 weeks and spark new conversations. It sounds like work, but in reality, it will keep you focused and ahead of the curve.
  5. Keep your priorities in check. Constantly re-evaluate your priorities. By looking at your calendar and your activity you can start to see a pattern of how you are spending your time. If you start to see a shift towards one thing or another be sure to make sure that shift is in the direction of your goals. If not, make a shift back. Your priorities should align to your purpose. Make sure you are vigilant in keeping these at the top of your mind.

Any tricks or tips you care to share?

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

5 Ways to Thrive in the NICU [or any challenging environment]

Today marks the tenth day of little Lennon’s arrival. Although being in the NICU is not ideal, it’s been a great opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. There are a few things I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half on how to not just survive this experience but to thrive. If you’ve been in a situation like mine or one similar, what things have you learned to help along the way?

1. Positivity breeds positivity

When dealing with a seemingly negative situation count your blessings. It’s amazing what a positive attitude can do for you, your baby, and those around you. Austin and I won’t allow negativity into the room. So when we’ve been tired and start to get cranky with one another, we pause and focus back on having a positive conversation. We even change the tone of our voice! We want Lennon to be surrounded by positivity. When I was pregnant, I wouldn’t even allow myself to listen to negative music. So when music came on full of strippers and hoes or angst or anger, I changed the station. Even now, I focus on putting good in so that my output is good. 🙂 It’s amazing what our subconscious picks up.

2. Keep deodorant with you

In all seriousness, the NICU is warm. Plus every day I’m carting in my tote bag, our meals for the day, my massive Law book and more! So by the time I get up to see her, I’m already a bit hot! Then after my skin-to-skin care with her, I have to peel myself off the leather chair. It may not be cute, but the sweat is real! I’ve also read that after giving birth, you tend to sweat a  bit more as your body regains balance and eliminates extra fluids. Keep it fresh. Your baby and nurses will thank you.

Another quick tidbit is if you wear contacts be sure to pack some solution. If given the opportunity for a quick nap, you’ll need to refresh your eyes.

3. Be nice

You would be surprised at how rude people can be – well maybe not. In every interaction, we try to focus on being kind to those around us. People around here are under a lot of stress and emotion. It’s easy to judge and be critical of behavior especially when you’re tired and dealing with your emotions. When I find myself slipping into ‘judgment zone’ I try to focus and silently pray that the Lord will bless that person. This sounds soo cheesy! However, it helps me regain focus on what’s important.

4. Go home

It’s hard to leave your baby, Period. It’s important for her health and mine that we go home to recharge and rest. It’s that simple. Go home when you can and be sure to take care of yourself and your relationship with your partner. When your home take care of your to-do’s for instance, make dinner the night before or throw in a load of laundry. Each day choose a small task to conquer. Doing so will help you to avoid building a mountain ‘to do’s’ and allow you to focus when with your baby.

5. Get dressed

It’s so easy to throw on sweats, put on no makeup, and make little effort to look presentable. I’ve found though that by getting up and dressed my mind is better focused and prepared for the day ahead. I’m not in mourning. I’m not depressed. So, why look that way? By getting dressed, I’m setting myself up for a successful day. Again, the power of attitude can make all the difference in how we deal with the daily opportunities.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick