Kansas City Moms Blog Secondary Infertility

KCMB : Our Journey Through Secondary Infertility

Kansas City Moms Blog Secondary Infertility

I’m over on the Kansas City Moms Blog today talking about my experience with secondary infertility. This is something I’ve written about before, but never in as much detail. I think it took a few years for the sting of it all to wear off and for me to get to a point where I could talk about it. There was so much depression and disappointment in those years, it took a while for me to feel normal again. As a women, I felt like my body was broken. And as I’d had one child already, I felt like my own infertility issues were not as important. I worried people would think I was selfish because I already had a child, while so many others who struggle with infertility don’t.

“Months went by with no positive results. At this point, my mental and emotional state began to crumble. I wasn’t sure what to do, or who to reach out to. Most infertility groups were geared toward women who had no children. My one healthy pregnancy locked me out. I felt guilt over my sadness, thinking I should just be quiet and be grateful for the child I DID have. I was deeply depressed and confused. I felt like it was a cruel joke, that I could get pregnant when I didn’t want to, but now that we were financially stable and trying for a child, I couldn’t make it happen. My husband was supportive, but he couldn’t understand exactly what I was going through, and in turn, I stopped confiding in him. I felt like a failure.”

You can read more (including our happy ending to our fertility journey) over at the Kansas City Moms Blog.

Working Mama at Home in the Summer : An Update

We are almost halfway through the summer…can you believe it? Me either. In Kansas, we go back to school in mid-August, so July sort of feels like the beginning of the end. As a work-at-home mom for the first time, I was pretty terrified of summer. I’ve been super-lucky to have a packed work schedule, which I know is a huge blessing for a first time business owner, but to be honest, it’s been overwhelming. As I’m just starting out, I tend to say yes to every opportunity, because I’m not sure when another one will be coming my way. So far, my professional life feels very much like feast or famine. I am either so busy I don’t have time to sleep or eat or breathe….or I have absolutely nothing to do.

Tate on a Carnival Swing | Kansas Photographer

I’m so, so grateful we were able to find good childcare for the summer. I wouldn’t have survived this otherwise. In June alone I’ve had multiple photo sessions, my first art show opening, a trip to NYC for a photo shoot, I’ve assisted for other photographers on shoots and taught my first blogging workshop. We’ve also tried to make family time a priority, with a week long trip to western Kansas and a weekend at the lake. While all of these opportunities are AMAZING, I would have simply drowned without the help of our babysitter. She is flexible with my nutty schedule and the kids love her.

Grand Central at Night | NYC Photographer

Before I started this journey, I used to think work-at-home moms were the luckiest of all. They got to work AND be home with their kids. It was the best of both worlds! Right?! And while I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and I’m sure this schedule is the best for our family, there are still challenges. When Tate knocks at my office door, begging for me to come play with him. When Lucy says she’d rather I took them to the pool instead of the sitter so I could watch her do her new trick off the diving board. When the sitter leaves and I still find myself with a pile of work left uncompleted. When all I want to do is go to sleep, but there is a deadline looming and the house is finally quiet for the night. When I feel like instead of getting the “best of both worlds,” I’m getting the worst.

Kids at the Lake | Kansas Photographer

But if there is one thing I’ve learned during this journey, it’s don’t concentrate too much on the negatives, because the situation could be completely different tomorrow! Working for myself has given me the opportunity to try so many new things, I never know what is coming next. And that’s true with mothering as a work-at-home mom too. Some days feel perfect, and some days feel awful…but mostly what I feel is that blissful in between. Not quite perfection, but not the absolute worst either. Just purely okay. And for now, that’s enough.

A Pokemon Birthday Party!

A few weeks ago my sweet Lulu pointed out (for the millionth time) that she hadn’t had a “real” birthday party in quite a few years. She wasn’t wrong. As a mom, I excel at many things…but party planning is NOT one of them! Honestly, I’m just not much of a party person. I don’t love throwing parties, and they are the last thing I would want on my own birthday. I’m all about a few close friends and a movie night or something…and usually Lulu is thrilled with that idea. But this year she really wanted to throw a bash for her buddies, so I decided to put my party pants on and get with the program.

Once I told her a party was in the works, she immediately started ruminating on themes. Um, what? Themes? I was thinking I would win the Mom of the Year Award for throwing a party at all, and now it had to be THEMED? This is soooo not my specialty, but we talked it out and came to a compromise. Lulu wanted a “Pokemon” birthday party. I wanted to make sure this whole thing didn’t spiral out of control! So we took the middle road.

I didn’t print invites, but instead did a Facebook invite for a bunch of the kids (through their parents, of course) and then texted those that I missed online. We ended up with about 25 kids attending, which sounds bananas, but actually wasn’t too bad. Lulu wanted to invite a few boys this time around, not because she’s boy-crazy, but because the boys are the kids she plays Pokemon with. Have I mentioned how much I love this kid?

Lucy took some regular snacks like popcorn and chex mix, and labeled them as items from Pokemon (original idea found here). With the help of the kids, I made a couple dozen Poke Ball sugar cookies. We added a few pizzas, and we were good to go!

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Instead of gifts (which are a another huge reason I don’t like parties…I don’t like pressuring people to gift my kid who already has PLENTY of stuff) we asked Lulu’s guests to bring donations for KC Pet Project, a local animal shelter. Her friends didn’t disappoint, and we have two big bags of dog toys, cat food and dog food to donate. Next week we will head to the shelter and drop off all the goodies. I can’t wait! For party favors, I ordered a big pack of 100 Pokemon cards, a couple packs of Pokemon figurines and a mixed bag of candy and then we split them up into little gift bags for each guest.

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

The big draw for this particular party was Kona Ice Truck that arrived about halfway through. This was the BEST! The kids thought it was amazing, and it was an activity in itself! Who needs party games when the Kona Ice Truck is outside! The kids each got to make one (or two) Kona Ice’s and then flavored them with different syrups. By the time all the kids made it through the line, we only had about 15 minutes of party time left, and the parents were arriving to pick up their kids. It was PERFECT. Sure, it was messy, but we were outside, and the rain that night washed away any traces of the sticky melted ice left on the driveway and sidewalks.

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

The theme of this particular party was technically Pokemon…but for me, the theme was “easy does it.” I tend to go way overboard with things like this, stressing myself out beyond belief. Actually, that’s probably why I don’t love throwing parties! I’ve always figured, if it’s not going to be absolutely perfect, what’s the point? But this time around I just let go. The kids helped me make the sugar cookies, and they didn’t look like they were straight from a bakery. Lucy made the labels with old printer paper and stickers, not an elaborately designed font. The Kona Ice Truck didn’t go with the theme at all! But who cares? The kids had a blast, and when everyone went home, Lucy laid in bed with me and told me it was the best party she’s ever been to. And while I’m sure a lot of that was due to her friends, I think much of it had to do with the fact that I chilled out and just let them have fun, instead of trying to orchestrate everything. It was a good lesson for me. Sometimes when you let the little stuff go, parties actually CAN be a fun time. Who knew?

Pokemon Birthday Party


Lucy Pool May272015

So far, our summer has been pretty wonderful! This week I’ve taken a bit of time off (which as a freelancer means “I’m working from dusk until the kids wake up and then again when they are in bed until midnight!”) to enjoy the first few days of their school break with Lulu and Tate. I am thrilled that next week a new babysitter will be joining our little crew to help us get through the rest of summer with minimal work/life breakdowns. But until then, I power the computer down around 8:30 a.m. and we spend the day reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends and, of course, swimming. Now, the weather in Kansas City isn’t exactly pool weather yet, but my little fishes could care less! We are lucky to belong to a gym with a heated outdoor swimming pool, so we’ve been there every day this week. Tate is so much more independent this year, going down the slides like a big kid and refusing to wear floaties or play in the shallow end. He’s already serving as a bit of a mascot for the lifeguard crew, who know him by name and graciously chat with him as he asks them a million questions daily. From the moment we arrive at the pool, Lulu disappears and I usually don’t see her again until she starts to get hungry. Today Lulu said, “Mom, I love summer. I could swim every day forever.” I hear ya, sister. Me too.

Tate Swimming Memorial Day

Kansas City Rainbow Skyline

In Anticipation of Summer : A Work at Home Mom Dilemma

Can you guys believe it’s almost summer?! Me either. My preschooler has already ended his school year, and my third grader is done in two days! Ack. The summer months have become a little more challenging now that I’m a work-at-home mom. When I was in an office full-time, I used to lament the fact that my kids never really got a “summer.” I mean, sure, it was hot outside, but they still had to get up early and head off to daycare or camp in the morning. Actually, most of the time, summer felt just like the rest of the year. One of the things I looked forward to the most when I started my freelance life was getting to spend the summers with my kids. It’s so nice being able to let them sleep in a bit and not be so rush-rush.

KC Rainbow Skyline

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. I still have to work, but in the summer my childcare is seriously limited. I don’t exactly need full-time childcare, but part-time care is expensive and difficult to schedule. I have spent the last three months trying to find a summer babysitter that would be able to work part-time, but had several girls back out because they wanted or needed more hours. Which I totally understand, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating! Luckily, we have found someone awesome who will be helping us out this summer with the kids, but since she doesn’t start until June, I’m basically working around my kids for the next few weeks.

I think this is a challenge we all face, whether we are work-at-home moms, stay-at-home moms, or moms who work outside of the home. It’s easy to assume the other side has it easier, but in reality, we are all dealing with frustration, messy schedules and missed opportunities. When I worked in a corporate setting (which I did for most of my career as a parent), I would be so jealous of the moms that worked from home and got to spend more time with their kids. Now that I’m working from home with a flexible schedule, I miss the continuity and availability of full-time daycare. I hate putting the kids in front of the TV so I can take a conference call or having to turn down work opportunities because I can’t find child care. In fact, I’m writing this post from inside a local play place where I’m sitting on the floor in the corner while my son runs around to burn off some energy. It’s not exactly the most inspiring place to create!

But the trade offs will always exist, no matter what parenting path you choose. There aren’t any easy answers, and there are sacrifices regardless, so I try to focus on gratitude and the positives. I get to spend the summer with my kids. I get to work and create art. I get to be there on all fronts. I get to continue to grow, through different challenges and obstacles. And most of all, I get to choose. That is a complete luxery. When I worked in my corporate job, I didn’t love what I did for a living. I was unfulfilled and uninspired. The work was good, the people were great, but I wasn’t doing what I was born to do.

These days, I love what I’m doing. Is it perfect? No. Not at all. It can be frustrating, scary and stressful at times. There are days when I want to give up and just be at home with my kids, with no client obligations. There are days when I want to go back to an office full-time. But most days, even when it’s hard, I know I’m in the best possible situation for myself and my family’s unique chemistry. And now, with long summer days looming ahead, I know I am making the right choice for me. Am I doing it all? Hardly. But I’m doing my best, and that’s got to count for something.

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