I have a fascination with Parks and Rec lately. My husband started to watch it and I was hooked. We finished our binge and I could probably re-watch it tomorrow and still find it funny. I am not normally one to binge watch shows without my husband. Actually I probably only watch TV when my honey bunch is home.
Well any ways, one of my favorite ideals I took from watching Parks and Rec is Donna Meagel’s and Tom Haverford’s Treat Yo’ Self Day! Seriously GENIUS! I mean what better kind of day?
For those of you who aren’t familiar, you gotta watch it!
Treat yo’ Self day is a day that you get yourself whatever you desire! A day where you don’t even think about anyone but yourself. Selfish? HELL NO!
Look I spend my days with four minions constantly on my tail. Although I created those minions and yes I absolutely adore them, I think a day just for mama to do whatever, buy whatever, go where ever, and eat whatever (without swapping spit) is perfectly ok!
I think this year I am gonna set money aside so I can have my self the biggest TREAT Yo’ Self Day. I will build myself a list and do it all.
My Treat Yo’ Self List
Watch the Sunrise
TONS of Boutique shopping
Salt water Jacuzzi
Sit by a lake and read or draw
Get myself New boots
Seriously I could go on and on! I need like 2 Treat Yo’ self days or maybe even a Treat yo’ Self weekend! One has to be for all the shopping and stuff and the other for an Outdoor adventure palooza! Hiking, fishing, swimming, and shooting, the works!
I don’t think it is selfish to have a treat yourself day. I think that we actually all need that especially mamas! We spend an incredible amount of time investing and advocating for our children and family that we forget to take care of ourselves! We become run down and tired it just makes since to me that we really take at least one day a year to pour every thing we have into ourselves.
What would be on your Treat yo’ Self list? Tell me!
there are four of them and ONE of me!
“Oh you just have to….”, “Maybe you should…”, “You need to….”
Seriously just put a sock in it y’all
Wyatt is missing a sock, Raylan’s hair needs brushed, Jaydon probably didn’t shower today, Cheyenne is well a “fashion diva” as in nothing matches, and mama is about 3 liters and an IV drip shy of enough caffeine to keep up with it all.
Most days it is a struggle and I often feel like a failure. Over the last year I kept reaching out to my friend who also is a mama of four and hers are all boys. Like me she is an Autism mom. She had been dealing with it for a bit longer than I, so every-time I was lost or upset I reached out to Lena (lay-nuh) 😉 and asked for help or just for her to listen to me complain. She’d always tell me don’t waste my time on people who aren’t worth it, don’t listen to the negatives, or even that people think they know it all, but they don’t, and most of all find my tribe.
For a while I struggled and I tried, but everyone seemed to come up short, we just did not mesh well, they really didn’t understand life with multiples or a special needs kid. Life can be different and challenging with Autism, so finding other parents or even friends who aren’t parents that are open to learn or have first hand experience with autism can be grueling.
The year leading up to Raylan’s diagnosis was dreadful and heart wrenching at times. I felt incredibly alone, stressed out, and both mentally and physically exhausted. Raylan never slept and I had a newborn baby. There were days I just never thought I would make it through. Days when both boys would cry and I would sit with tears in my eyes too. I was constantly hearing everyone’s opinions and everyone’s advice. People can be real assholes you know. Telling me what to do, but no one was here to help me. Or telling me I use my kids for an excuse….
NEWS FLASH MY KIDS ARE MOST LIKELY ALWAYS MY EXCUSE, there are four of them and ONE of me!
“Oh you just have to….”, “Maybe you should…”, “You need to….”
Seriously just put a sock in it y’all! No one really knew exactly what to say or do they just wanted to fix my kids and my situation. No one really wanted to just be there, It wasn’t until I started to really focus on figuring out how to do life with 4 kids and one who is Autistic, that I shut everyone down. I became exhausted with opinions and eventually they just went in one ear and right out the other. I had to do what I thought was right for my kiddos. I had to find my tribe.
I have a lot of “support” on facebook, but not enough actual real life connections. That’s what a tribe is though. I needed real life relationships with people that either understand or wanna understand. You cannot build connections with people who don’t want to have a true connection and you cannot force friendships.
I wasn’t looking for just other moms who had four kids or even other moms who have special needs kids. I was looking for friends who get it. You know friends who if I call saying “I have no idea how I am supposed to make it today, Wyatt just painted my walls in finger paint made from crap. I haven’t showered in 3 days and I smell like a swamp creature!” Will return by saying ” I get it girl, it is OK we can reschedule” and truly mean it in the most sincere way. Friends who if I fall off the map for weeks at a time will not let me go alone. They will message me to make sure my kids have not suffocated me or that I haven’t fallen into a black hole. I needed true friends who weren’t trying to just fix me or my kids, but really stuck by my side even on the bad days.
Y’all, I cannot tell you how important having a true and tested tribe is. Now days friends and family are many behind a computer screen. A tribe though, is bonded with understanding and unconditional love. I am proud to say I have found my tribe this past year. Some of the people in my tribe haven’t even met one another, but have proven that if tested they will pull together if I need them too. I have moms in my tribe from Raylan’s school who really get it and haven’t even known me long, but have literally jumped with out hesitation to help me. I have members of my tribe who don’t even have kids, but if I tell them I need a moment or I am going to loose it, they are at my front door as soon as I hang up.
My tribe is made up of many people, from many walks of life, but they all support me and I will support them.
The beginning of summer 2011, I began my fitness journey, weighing 208lbs.
I hired an encouraging trainer when my daughter was roughly about 15 months old. Her eccentric personality and exciting bikini competitions kept me motivated. I wanted to accomplish what she had accomplished. I followed her strict food and exercise regimen by severing all my ties with my beloved foods. I began taking supplements that I did not understand. I couldn’t tell you why or even what I was taking. All I know is Ali told me to take them and if I wanted to look like Ali then it was vital for me to follow her program to the exact tee. Ali was wonderful, I dropped weight, and I continued this journey even after I ended my training program with her. However, I still needed to look like Ali and compete. I continued to just repeat the original program she had written for me, never allowing myself to cheat and never allowing myself to rest. I was down to 135 for 208 and to me I was still not skinny, I was still fat no matter what anyone said.
Shortly after I hit my goal weight I decided to become a personal trainer. I studied the key points of my NASM study guide, I watched all my lectures, and outlined my whole book, but I really wasn’t listening to what I was learning. I studied just enough to pass my test, earn that certification to become a NASM personal trainer. Soon after I became a trainer I was hired on at American Family fitness. I learned one of my coworkers competed in bodybuilding and I just needed to train with him so I could compete as Ali did. I strived to look like her, not taking into account that I had children and she did not or that our body types were very different. I just wasn’t paying attention to anything I had learned over the past year. I hired Salby to walk me through my competition prep.
During my competition prep I remember spending countless extra hours in the gym, even though my work day was over. I would stay to practice posing, complete slow paced cardio, or to lift just a little extra; anything to get me there faster. The competition began to run every aspect of my life. Members of the gym started to pat me on the back and set my accomplishments on a pedestal, because they began to notice the change. It however was not enough, I wanted more. To them I was committed and they were so proud, but what they didn’t see was just how unhealthy I had become!
EditIn the midst of competition prep my relationship with food became even darker. As I prepped many things were cut from my diet. My cravings became more than I could handle. I craved sugar, sodium, and many other nutrients because my body was lacking in so much. In secret I would binge on multiple candy bars in one sitting or eat a whole box of sugar cookies and then drink a recovery shake to be healthy.
I began suffering from amenorrhea (an abnormal absence of menstruation) from the countless hours of extra cardio and workouts, that I did not fuel my body properly for. I became easily aggravated and impatient with my loved ones (who were originally my inspiration). My health began to suffer and my relationships followed.
Because I spent so many hours in the gym my children were often in the care of babysitters, instead of much needed time with me. Never wanted to be the mom who put myself above my family, but I was slowly becoming that. I am so blessed that they loved me through it. My poor husband saw a selfish woman replace his wife. I treated my beloved family as if I was more important. When I first became a trainer my client’s programs always came before mine. I would research their questions and medical conditions. From there I would design a program meant especially for them. I worked hand in hand with their health providers to ensure they had the best program designed just for them. As I got further into my competition prep I became the very trainer I loathed; a cookie cutter trainer! I started giving everyone the same workout even if it wasn’t what they needed, I came unprepared to training sessions and my clients began to notice the change and my relationships with them were hindered. The moment I started to put my training above them was the moment I lost their trust. I became so consumed I didn’t care and I was acting as if I was better than them. I never treated anyone that way before and in fact it bothered me when I would see a trainer treat their clients this way. I went my whole prep blinded and harming those nearest and dearest to me.
Now nearly 6 years into my fitness journey I can finally look back and see exactly how
unhealthy I was both mentally and physically. I have 4 beautiful children who I spend every waking moment, with including my workouts. There is not a day goes by that I wish I could’ve changed that brief period of time that I missed out. I feel healthier now at 150lbs than I ever was at 120lbs. It is my goal now as a fitness and wellness professional to help women create realistic/manageable goals while maintaining a healthy mind and body. As a wellness coach and fitness professional I have familiarized myself with the signs of eating disorders so I may refer my clients to receive the help they need. I will help my clients to lead a healthy life in all aspects not just looking “fit”, because fit doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.
It is so very important that we do not try to compare our selves to others! When we compare ourselves to someone else or set goals to be like someone else we are creating an uphill battle that we will not win. My goal is to teach my children self love and self respect at all stages. I want my daughter to know that being healthy on the inside is more important than being “fit” on the outside. I am thankful for that struggle and I am even more thankful that my eyes were open to just how unhealthy I was.
I write today with an extremely heavy heart. This morning the kids and I packed up to head out for our hike. It was a normal routine. Eating breakfast, packing lunch, lacing up our boots, and loading the truck up. Today was different, I just didn’t know how different.
The moment my boots hit the porch, I was plowed by the smell of burning pines and my eyes watered up from heavy smoke fog.
Instantly I knew it was going to be a possibility we’d not get to hike. However, my kids wanted to hike. So we drove up towards Laramie, that is when I began to sob.
Yes, sob. I couldn’t stop. The mountain scape was hidden behind a layer of wildfire smoke. As we drove closer we watched camper after camper drive away from the smoke.
My daughter cried. ” Mommy what about the animals” My son worried “Are people dying?”. I uncontrollably wept. The kids and I talked. Krystina cried “Mommy where are the water planes, why can’t the just put it out” I explained that even rain evaporates before it hits the fire because its so hot, how the wind feeds the fires and its destroying our lands.
We are in Cheyenne so the wildfires don’t threaten our home, but the smoke is so thick we cannot hike. The babies cannot breath and I cannot see without watery eyes. We had to turn around, but not without broken hearts.
My children wept and I cried. My brother is in Montana and it hurts knowing there’s nothing I can do.
Our land is under fire. The land that gives my son the much needed therapy he can’t get from any therapist, the land that is my fortress, the land that one day I hope to explore, and the land my children will one day inherit.
When I came to they were cutting my clothes, slashing my favorite pair of shoes off, shoving tubes down my throat, and sticking needles in my arms. It faded black again and I was gone. Once again I woke up in a strange place. Blinding lights were overhead and they were sliding me on a silver slab, my bare back was chilled and my body was limp. No matter how hard I tried to move my body laid still. No matter what I said they couldn’t hear. I remember feeling terrified. It was a terrible nightmare, infact the worst kind, the kind you can’t wake up from. I woke up thrashing about trying to pull my leg from the traction pullies and I ripped the pin in my knee holding my leg up.
When I finally fully came too it was almost Thanksgiving Day. The hospital room filled with people for support. Cards from everyone in my school and letters from close friends. My mom looked at me with such a heavy heart. It was her that had to explain what happened, it was her that had to relay the message that I would never be the same. Doctors around the clock and nurses too. I remember saying to a nurse as she tried to help me go to the restroom “I’m 14 I don’t need your help, I can walk.” And as I tried to take a step I fell to the ground. It was then I realized that I was broken. My mom helped me up and we both wept.
The thing you have to understand about me is even at 14, my world was outdoors. Everything I did was outside. I ran the woods with my friends, rode my bike on dirt tracks we built every summer, I lived and breathed tomboy. I was a wild one and I was proud of it. I would chant to the boys “Anything you can do I can do better.” if I couldn’t, I would not give up until I could.
Until the crisp fall night that a drunk driver threw a wrench into my life. My whole school year was put on hold as I was in rehab. I had suffered a brain injury, multiple broken/ fractured ribs, my femur broken, a lacerated spleen, and I was in a coma state for 2 weeks. Not only was my leg broken and I needed rehab to walk I also needed rehab to help me talk right again. My brain was jumbled and I couldn’t process simple words. I was starting all over.
Doctors told my mom it would be a while before I would be able to play sports again and even longer for me to ride BMX again. So much “she won’t, she can’t, she shouldn’t” I was discouraged.
They released me the 2nd week of December. Much sooner than anticipated, but I would continue home therapy, I would be in a wheel chair, and I was not allowed to start school again until doctors released me to walk down the halls. They had a fear that if I was bumped wrong I would crumble like the great Achilles.
My first weekend away from my parents I went to my friend Hazel’s house for the weekend. I walked couple miles accrossed the snow and ice on my crutches to see another of my closest friend, Bubba and his family. I was tired of being cooped up in the house. The cold hurt my leg. I shivered uncontrollably both from cold and pain, but I needed to be outside. I NEEDED to ride a bike, go fishing, and walk through the woods. I was determined that when summer came I would be myself again. I continued my therapy and I contiued to push.
When summer came, I felt like I was recovered, but The first time I went to ride a bike it was excruciating. I failed, I wasn’t myself. The pain was strong, but I was stronger. I fell only to get back up. I cried only to push through. When the physical therapist told me he had cancer and we could fight together, the rage in me to be stronger grew like a wild fire. He lost his hair, but contiued to push me. He said to me ” The cancer doesn’t own me, it never will. You’re an extremly strong young lady, don’t let this own you. Fight”.
Fight is exactly what I did. I fought to enjoy the things I did before. I pushed to be better than I was before. Freshman year came, I was still in therapy 3 days a week. I struggled in school because much of my 8th grade year I spent in a hosptial bed.
Freshman year I was angry and confused. So I would stay home from school to sneak outside when mom left. Breath the fresh air, climb on my bike, and just ride. I had not been released to ride my bike yet. My femur had not completely healed and one wrong fall I could rebrake it. I knew better, if I could just get outside and back on my bike, I would heal. My broken spirit would come back to life. So I skipped school to walk in the woods, ride on the trails, and listen to the sound of my tires hitting the ground.
Sophomore year the rods were finally removed, so once again they put me on restriction. And once again I pushed and I didn’t listen to them. I was strong willed. The words “Dont let it own you” repeated in my head like a box of firecrackers.
Shortly after sophomore year I heard that the cancer had taken Brads life. He fought with me and he pushed me, and he was on my side. I know he was saying all the way to the end “You don’t own me” Brad had his own battle, but that didn’t mean he’d give up in mine. Brad pushed me to say “YOU DON’T OWN ME”.
In loving memory of Brad, thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me that nothing owns us unless we let it. ❤Mickey
Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!
In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.
Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?
My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.
They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.
2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.
Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin
Everyday I learn something valuable as a mom. Children are so innocent and compassionate they remind us daily about the important things in life.
Keep trying. My children never give up on anything. They always push through whatever challenge life may face them with. It took me years to understand “Child like faith” and I can finally say that I whole heartedly understand. When children are faced with a challenge they rarely walk away. They have a unwavering faith that they will be able to complete said challenge and come out on top. They don’t second guess themselves. They just do it. Just push and try try again. Giving up is a learned behavior. When a child learns to take the first step, you don’t see them fail and never try again, do you? It’s not how they operate. My children don’t stop they keep trying again and again. You see my son really wanted inside that toilet. I’m not sure how he got in there, but I’m almost positive it didn’t happen his first try. He was playing while I was doing laundry and it couldn’t have been an easy task, but he wanted in there and he kept trying.
Keep learning. Children are always learning new things. And they don’t stop developing. We as adults stop trying to learn and we get the “What more is there” attitude and then we stop developing. We send our children to school so they may learn new things. It is so vital to keep learning and developing. Amazing things happen in our brains when we learn something new.
Keep smiling. My children’s sadness last for a total of like five seconds. They don’t have “bad days” only bad moments. They continue to smile no matter what they were just crying about two seconds before.
It’s ok to make mistakes. Kids are always making mistakes and learning from them. Krystina, is queen of mistakes. She once stuck a key in an outlet, she has not done it since. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. It’s when we continue to make the same mistake over again that it becomes a problem.
Smiles really are the best medicine. One smile from their sweet little faces and it can melt away the toughest situations. My daughter lost her two front teeth recently and when she smiles, I instantly become filled with joy. You can’t even help, but laugh.
Love unconditionally. No matter how many times I correct them or discipline them, they love me absolutely unconditionally. No matter how much Jaydon’s little sister drives him crazy he adores her. My children have the most forgiving and unconditional love it is amazing.
Make messes. When I first had children I struggled OCD something fierce! Every time they left a mess I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. Over time I’ve learned to let them make messes, and let them be responsible to clean up. If we never allow the house to be a mess we will always stress. So sit back and let the mess happen.
Sleep is entirely overrated. After delivering my fourth child I have decided I am never going to sleep again. I know that if it’s not the baby, it’s the two year old or maybe on some off moment it’s an older child. Most nights I’m lucky to get 5 hours straight.
Farts are always funny no matter where you are. Recently my two year old had discovered the noises his body makes during these bodily functions and boy does it make him giggle. I’m not sure why, but every child laughs hysterically when someone farts. It doesn’t matter who did it, you can almost guarantee it’s funny!
If they break something it’s not the end of the world. Everything is replaceable, but your children are not. One of my kiddos broke an irreplaceable trinket. It was just a piece of memorabilia. It shattered everywhere. My concern was not for the fact that that my pretty was broken, but if my child was OK.
Don’t blink. The most important thing they’ve taught me is not to blink. As soon as you do you will miss it. You’ll miss their tiny smiles, their little toes, and little steps. Don’t fret the small things and just don’t blink ever. . .