Working mom 

This is to the working Moms. This is to the women who pre kids and pre work life used to feel beautiful. 

As I lay here on my bed on a Saturday morning watching my sick baby sleep, I am overwhelmed with the huge list of things I should be doing. I am unmotivated and hell, maybe slightly depressed. This year has sped by. In less than a month, my little baby will be one.

I never really could grasp when  people used to tell me, enjoy your time with your husband while you guys are kid free. 
Being a mom has changed me. It has changed me for a lot of good, but there is some bad and ugly that surfaced too. My entire life I have been a go-getter, an overachiever, beyond motivated, a perfectionist, and I hate to admit it OCD. I  can stress my own self out with even the thought of my own expectations. 

This year I have let who I am go. As I try to adapt and learn about my new title as a mom, I have given up. I appearance wise am not the old Ashley anymore. I used to love how I looked and used to love taking a “selfie” because I felt beautiful. I truly can’t tell you the last time I got dolled up just because. The last three weeks, I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to get “all pretty” just because but guess what? I haven’t done it. I feel ugly, I feel unattractive to my husband, and I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Because I feel ugly on the outside, I have been letting a lot of ugly from the inside surface. Goals wise, I have given up too; I feel defeated. Every time I try to accomplish a task, J wakes up, cries, wants to be held. I’m not complaining or making excuses. She is a baby and baby’s need us but it has taught me patience but it has also made me bitter. My life is different than a year ago. Time management has been a bitch and things have been paused. I feel guilty when I’m away from J because I don’t want to miss a thing but I am running on “E”.

I’m exhausted. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night or even slept more than 5 hours total. I get up at 4 am everyday and don’t get home until 5 pm. I’m commuting more to work than usual and there’s a lot more preparing things the night before now. I feel like I’m the energizer bunny from 4 am-10 pm. 

My marriage. It has changed too. I feel like I’m in a business partnership. We make a pretty good team but we both have exhausting days. The weekend is a struggle to chose if we catch up on all our chores and soon schoolwork or do we neglect it and go do something fun or heck just sleep in and relax. 

Not too sure what the point of this post is but I do want to give a shout out to all the working parents out there. Also to the working parents with sick babies. This thing called life is beautiful, confusing, and challenging. I am thankful for all the support and friends that have helped me balance and learn how tough and rewarding mommy life can be. 

Now, time for some coffee ☕️ 

Mahalo Hawaii

I’m an emotional mess as I write this post. I started writing this post a week ago but have had a Hawaii hangover this past week. We said goodbye to our home and my heart broke a little as we handed over the keys. I always bitched about that house and the mold and how tiny it was but you know what? It’s where I took FOUR pregnancy tests in total shock I was going to be a mom. It’s where I flung open the door to the bathroom with a pregnancy test in one hand and a bib in the other and watched Daniel’s face as I told him he was going to be a daddy. It’s where we spent three Christmas’, it’s where we hosted the many family and friends that came to visit this piece of paradise, it’s where I watched my husband eagerly build all the furniture for our child’s nursery, and where we brought our sweet J. It’s where I watched my parents lay eyes on their first grand baby! It’s where so many amazing memories were made with friends who turned into family. 

This was the first true place I “adulted.” This is where I truly fell in love with Daniel. It’s where we worked through our difference; where we cried with each other, shared countless laughs, and where we expanded our family. It’s where the Army trusted me to lead Soldiers for the first time. It’s the first for a lot of things for me and for that I will forever be grateful.

May 16, 2013 Daniel and I got married in Hawaii, just the two of us with God and a complete stranger as our witness. Three and a half crazy and fulfilling years later and we have created so many more memories; all here in Hawaii. 

 

We have traveled throughout Hawaii, have hiked to beautiful waterfalls, scenic points, snorkeled amongst the most beautiful fish and sea life,  ate amazing new foods, and made life long friends. 

Sadly this Army life is crazy and it sucks saying “see you soon” to amazing friends that have become family. I’m not good with goodbyes at all and this past few weeks has been extremely hard on me. The hardest thing was watching all my friends develop a relationship with J. It warmed my heart watching how deeply they all cared for her. 

I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to blossom in Hawaii. I’ve meet some amazing mentors, I’ve learned hard lessons, I’ve led Soldiers, I’ve seen the most beautiful things. I’ve frolicked with the most beautiful animals in the ocean, I’ve hiked volcanos, and I tried everyday to touch the people and things in my life in a positive way. 

I will miss you Hawaii and you will always own a piece of my heart. Thanks for loving my family. Mahalo and until we meet again! 🍍❤️

To my Husband

To my amazing Husband Daniel, 

You earned a new title 7 months ago. You added, Daddy, into your identity and I have never seen an identity fit a person better. To say you’re an amazing Daddy is an understatement. From the moment we found out we were expecting you started preparing for your journey as a Dad. You stood by my side, catered to me, held me while I cried, built our babies’ furniture from scratch, and went to every appointment and class with me. 

The day my water broke we were both so excited and scared. But you know what? You stood tall next to me for the entire 24 hours I was in labor. You respected my wishes for my labor and encouraged me throughout it all. I will never ever forget when it was go time to push how amazed you were. You were the first person to put your hands on J in this world. As you pulled her into this world, she knew right then that you were going to be her guardian forever. She came into this world knowing she was safe and loved. 

Since the day J came in this world, I have seen a change in you. A good change though. You are even more patient than I thought you could be, you spend as much time as possible with J, you take her everywhere with you, she melts every time she hears your voice or sees you. I’m not even one bit jealous that she’s a daddy’s girl because she has the best daddy ever. 

You change her, you clothe her, you bathe her, you feed her; you do it all! A lot of women say you’re so lucky to have so much help. Yes I agree to that but parenting takes two. Daniel, you’re the best partner I could ever imagine. I woke up this morning to a quiet house and when I called you, you were grocery shopping with the baby. Yes you could have woken me to watch her while you ran an errand but you didn’t. Some people use their baby as an excuse but you NEVER have. I’m not always sure that I’m cut out for this Working Mom thing but it’s only possible because of you. I love you Daniel and you complete me! 

It’s here 

Absolutely sick to my stomach and possibly a slight depressed. This next week is coming quickly and I have to return to work. I am actually crying as I write this. The past 10.5 weeks has been the best. I have learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. I have learned to function on little sleep, I have learned so much about patience, I have learned about unconditional love, and I have incorporated poop/boob words/stories in my everyday language without even thinking twice. I have transformed completely and fully love my new title as Mom. I have never felt more needed and wanted in my life. Call me selfish but I love when I’m the only one that can calm my baby down. I love when she follows me with her eyes as I cross the room. I love that as soon as she’s in my arms she relaxes and I love how we snuggle up in bed every night together. Starting Wednesday I’ll be spending 12 out of 24 hours away from her.

Daniel and I have chosen to opt for a live in nanny to keep Jecelin as comfortable as possible throughout the day. Knowing she is home will make me feel better but I still feel overwhelmed. It’s my baby. Anyone should feel so blessed to spend the day with her. She’s truly a gift from God and she’s given me a new spin on life. 
So here it goes. My second letter to my little baby.

Dear Jecelin,
You are 78 days young today! You amaze me more everyday. Your newest trick is rolling over and you are so proud of yourself. You have been talking up a storm, you hold your head up like a superstar, you give open mouth kisses, you’re so ticklish, and you are starting to love massages. You are such a perfect little baby. I have to leave you next week to go back to work. I will not stop thinking about you throughout the day. Mommy has been acting really strong about it all but it’s hitting me that we won’t spend every single day together now. I hope one day you know how hard this is but why I’m doing it. I am already so excited for your future and I am trying my best to ensure you’ll always have what you need. I am sobbing as I write this and as I watch you peacefully sleeping on my lap. Your fur siblings and Madi will take good care of you. The best part of my day each day will be coming home to you. I love Jecelin Connie and I can’t express to you how blessed I am to be your Mommy and watch you grow.

💙 Mommy 

Torn- what is my identity?

I have been so torn lately. My heart has been aching, I’ve been begging God for the answers, and I’ve been sick to my stomach thinking about the future.

I have precisely a month of maternity leave left with lots of activities going on between now and then. This past year I’ve been so torn thinking about if I wanted to stay in the military or exit it and move on to something else. I have been in the Army since June 2009. The National Guard/Army has made up a huge chunk of my identity the past almost 7 years. Without this chapter in my life, my life would have been much different.

I may have not went/finished college, I would have never done ROTC and met my husband, I would have never become an Officer and get to lead Soldiers, I never would have lived in Hawaii; my life wouldn’t be the same way without this amazing experience of serving in the United States Army. The Army has given me opportunity I never could have dreamed of before.

The past year and a half though, I’ve been questioning if I want to continue my service. I don’t feel like I am making the difference /being allotted the time and training I want to in order to do what I originally sought out to do when I swore my commitment to serve and defend the greatest country. The Soldiers, the Leaders, the mission isn’t the same quality of what it originally was. I don’t know how to explain it better, it’s just not the same for me anymore.

Throw in a newborn that melts my heart each and every minute of the day and knowing that I’ll soon be leaving her for long days at work where I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing/bettering the mission. I feel like the military has become so much more political lately, wasting lots of money, and getting very far removed from our tactical missions and training. Garrison life is beating down our Soldiers mentally and physically. 
Also, throw in living on an island in the middle of the Pacific away from my family… It’s just hard and emotional a lot. 

My identity has been Soldier and Leader for some time now. I’m scared. What would I do if I exited the military? What am I good at? What makes me happy? We only have one life on this Earth and damnit if I don’t live it doing something that makes me happy and impacts everyone surrounding me in a better way.

I am not one to sit around and do nothing. I strive for chaos and juggling many things at once. I have an undergrad in Speech and language sciences. Do I go back and pursue my masters to practice Speech Therapy or Audiology? That would mean I need to take the GRE. Do I want another baby in the near future? Daniel wants to stay in the military for a bit longer. Where do we go next? Not sure of any of the above. I keep sitting on all of this when the reality is within the next 6 months if I don’t make up my mind now, it could make the next year and a half way crazy for my little family. 

I am asking for many prayers and I’m hoping for some signs to lead me down the right path. As always, thanks for reading friends!

Dear Jecelin

Dear Jecelin Connie Sperry,

You are approximately 52 days young today! You have changed my life. I know every new mom says that about their baby but it’s simply true. I didn’t know what unconditional love felt like until I laid eyes on you. I fall more in love with you each minute I spend with you. You have grown so so much in the past almost 2 months. Dang, I can’t believe you’re about to be two months old! You have started being very vocal the last week and it pulls at my heart strings every time. You love to lay in your bassinet or pack n play and just babble away! You have also started to recognize colors and learn to smile and my oh my, it’s something else!  

   
You still love bath time! It relaxes you so much that sometimes you poop in the tub but daddy and I think it’s hilarious. You love floating on your back and kicking your legs in the tub!

 You adore your daddy. I think I could watch you and your daddy interact an entire day and never get tired of it. He loves you so much.

   
We are going strong with breastfeeding! It amazes me that you have grown so much just off of Mommy’s milk. 

  
Photo credit: Candice MacDonnell photography

You love to wear your sunglasses, you’re a cloth diaper wearing natural, you love to be carried/worn in the Lillebaby,  you adore FaceTime, you have rolled from your back to your belly once, your head and neck are getting so strong, you still like to party at night instead of sleep but it’s getting better :), and you love to snuggle with mommy and daddy! 

   
    
    
    
    
 It’s going to break my heart when I have to go back to work in a month. I am just going to soak everything I can in until then. 

I hope to write to you often so you can read this later. I love you, sweetie. 

  
Always and forever,

Mommy 

Mommyhood

23 days ago I started the adventures of mommyhood! It has been a very emotional ride so far. 

Photo credit: A Little Love
Photography (7 days new)
The first few days from being released from the hospital were painful. It was hard to sit down, my boobs hurt sooo bad (sore, scabs on my nipples, porn star sized boobs from fullness, and excruciating pain because of latch issues). I wanted to give up on breastfeeding. My boobs were so full of milk that it made it so hard for J to latch and my boobs felt like they had rocks inside of them. I read some mommy blogs and it said to pump to relieve pressure. I did that after stumbling through the directions of setting my pump up and pumped out 6-7 OZ of milk. Yes, I said ounces, not milliliters. I was my very own dairy farm😳. I pumped that much on top of feeding her every 3 hours. I was amazed at my milk production. However, everytime she cried because she was hungry I dreaded it. My toes would curl when she latched and I would hold my breath. I despised breastfeeding. 
A few days after delivery I made a breastfeeding consultation appointment and it truly made all the difference. Our latch improved, my nipples healed in a few days, and it was getting more enjoyable. I encourage all you mommas that plan to breastfeed to see a lactation specialist from the get go. Do not let your nipples get so torn like mine before doing anything. 
Breastfeeding was going much better but I started to feel down. It’s a type of emptiness I can’t really explain. I missed her in my belly; I felt lost. You may think this sounds crazy because baby J was here and that’s what I’ve been waiting for. I had the case of the blues. When J would fall asleep in my arms after feeding, I found myself staring at her crying. I didn’t feel connected to her. It was a strange and hopeless feeling. You know what though? I told my husband and he was so supportive. I felt like all I was to my baby was a giant boob. I am sharing this because it’s important. If you experience the case of the blues, TALK about it before it becomes a serious case of depression. 

 
Photo credit: Candice Macdonnell Photography 

My parents came out 9 days after the baby was born and it helped get me out of my funk. We explored things with the baby, they helped change diapers, let me get some sleep, and all that baby jazz 😎 it was so heartwarming watching them interact with their first grandbaby 😍

   

Photo credit: Candice Macdonnell Photography

As I write this I think how on Thursday my baby will be a month old and it is so bittersweet. I have watched her grow SO much these past 23 days. She has filled out, her personality has developed, and she has learned so much! I have gotten to watch my husband with my baby and it has been the absolute most sincere and precious relationship I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to watch their relationship grow even fonder.   

Photo credit: Candice Macdonnell Photography