Category Archives: Mommyhood

Layers

What makes you uncomfortable? Public speaking? Airplanes? Social gatherings? Visiting your in-laws? Regardless, we all have our ‘things’ that make us uneasy, hesitant, unsure of ourselves – right? It’s all about that ‘comfort zone’ and what brings us out of it. How do you break out of yours? For some of us, it’s not so easy. Here’s a look into my world…

I’ll be very honest in saying that the thought of being a normal, functioning human being was inconceivable after having my son three years ago. Thrown into a new world of parenting, I was exhausted, fat, and scared to death of simply ‘being.’ I’m sure most first-time parents are terrified, but let it be noted – I was an extreme case, to say the least. For practically the first year of my son’s life, I was not just a stay-at-home mommy – I was a recluse. I did not enjoy being outside, I did not enjoy seeing other human beings, I did not enjoy most aspects of life at that time. Depressed? Maybe. Okay, yes, I was very depressed. More so, I was trapped in my safe little world that I had created. My comfort zone was suffocating me.

In retrospect, I can’t say specifically what happened over the last couple of years that slowly brought me out of my home and into the world again. Baby steps, perhaps. But steps in the right direction, nonetheless. Readers, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit how closed-off from literally everything I really was two years ago. During the early months of Lucas’ life, it was all I could do to muster up the courage to take a shower and go outside to push him in the stroller for a few minutes. The simple thought of being around people gave me anxiety. Trips to the grocery store were out of the question. Shopping – was a disaster. Going to a park to get some fresh air – forget about it. I was frozen in time, desperately trying to care for another human being while I could hardly take care of myself.

As I said, embarrassing. I felt like a failure. I saw nothing but the negative in myself. What had I amounted to at that time? College dropout, new mother, and struggling to simply ‘be.’ I was spinning. What was this life I had created? What was this life that I painstakingly refused to live? What would it take to get me out of my comfort zone?

Friends, this is difficult to talk about – but honestly, it’s the first layer of myself that I am peeling away at; the layer of guilt, shame, and fear that I want to share as a reminder that it is possible to keep living when the world seems like an impossible place to be in. It took a couple of years to realize that I needed help. REAL help. Therapeutic help. I needed an outlet to stay sane; to feel again; to remember who Kiley was. This blog has been my saving grace. An outlet to purge my thoughts, fears, regrets, everything. And YOU, readers, have been my motivation to keep going. All of you. Friends, family, ‘strangers’ who have become the best of friends to me.  You guys are the ones who challenge me to not only keep going, but also to keep breaking down the walls of comfort.

I think there is always more we can do to challenge ourselves. With extreme social anxiety, I’ve used my son as my security blanket for social situations. He has become my ‘go-to’ guy when anxiety surfaces and I feel I’m losing control. Lucas centers me; he distracts me at times from my nervous feelings; and above all else he is the smile on my face during those panicky moments in public. So, lately I’ve wondered: What can I do to challenge myself? What can I do to get out of my comfort zone?

Thus, I’ve found modeling. This really is quite an amusing topic. Who would have thought that I – anxiety-ridden, self-conscious Ki would take up modeling as a means to break free from comfort? But hey, I’m quite the impulsive, odd woman, so friends and family shouldn’t be too surprised by this decision (This is your cue to chuckle, guys – I’m learning to laugh at myself as well). You know, it really doesn’t make sense that I would choose such an industry to be involved in – seeing as how I have many body image issues, it would probably not be advised to take on a world where confidence is THE most important quality to have, when I seemingly have very little, if any, confidence at all. Okay, I digress. Maybe the point here is I make everything difficult on myself. BUT! I’m DOING something that is beyond freeing, beyond therapeutic, so far beyond my comfort zone.

There is something to be said for the sheer panic that I feel right before a fashion show or photo shoot. There is that ONE moment where my mind screams, DON’T DO IT. YOU WILL FAIL. And I have a choice. To do it now, or be swallowed up by the thoughts that have been bringing me down for years. I have a choice. Do I listen to the, “You’re not pretty enough; You’re not skinny enough; You’re not good enough?” Or do I walk out in front of everyone, fully exposed, and say – Fuck all of this self-doubt and self-loathing – you are here, now, be you and no one will take that moment away from you...

Really, the choice is a daily battle in my head. No, I don’t model every day. But my mind speaks very loudly, readers, and some days I struggle so very much. I can’t even begin to tell you how tough the battle with myself has been recently. I think I offer this story to you because in pushing myself I have come to know myself better. I’ve learned that I break easily, but each time I break, I grow a little stronger. Each time my mind aches and I see nothing but ugliness in the mirror, my heart grows a bit stronger as well. I mentioned baby steps earlier in this post. I am the epitome of baby steps. And I am okay with that. My journey is very slow, very hesitant, but fluid nonetheless. Readers, make it a daily challenge to yourself to get out of the comfort zone you have created. You will see the good, the bad, the strong, the weak. You will see all sides of yourself.

There is nothing more beautiful than getting to know oneself. There is nothing more beautiful than loving yourself.

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***Photos courtesy of Mike Washington Photography***

 

 

Cheers, readers

 

Trains

Some days I wonder if Lucas is my child. I really wonder, “Should I take a maternity test??” He is just so brilliant, so social, so – opposite — from me.

 

I think such thoughts, with sarcasm of course, but I really do wonder. I do. I wonder if he is going to be like me? In what areas of academia he will take after me? I wonder if he will be stricken with anxiety, like me? Or if he will be of an even temperament; calm, cool, collected, like his dad? (Fingers crossed!!!)

For thinking such thoughts, I know my Karma is dealing her hand to me every morning before the sun is awake. How? You might wonder.

Trains.

 

Before I can even open my eyes in the morning, it happens without fail – Lucas is screaming and crying in desperation. Running out of his room and into the hallway. Why??  Answer again: Trains. We live on a relatively quiet road. Quiet, except for the fact that a rather busy railroad track is located practically in our backyard. Ah, so lovely at first to admire the passing trains – three years ago when we first moved in. Yet, now. Those damn trains have become Lucas’ obsession. I’m not even sure if obsession is the strongest word to use in this moment. He lives trains. He breathes trains. If he could eat trains, I’m sure he would be delighted. The first train passes at 6AM, and Lucas runs out of his room, down the stairs, and outside to say “Hi” and “Bye” each morning – accompanied by a parent, of course.

I just cannot tell you how awful and beautiful this situation really is. I begin my day with screaming, crying, sheer panic (if you ask me). Anxiety about whether I can scoop him up and rush him outside quick enough so as to ensure we DO NOT miss the first train, really, it’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. Side note, now that I’m thinking about it — is this a means of spoiling him?? Ahhhhh, I will blog about this at a later date. Awful, as I said.

Yet, so wonderful. We all have our ‘trains.’ Don’t you think? We all have our passions – often disguised as obsessions, right? So why should I be so stressed, so impatient with my lovely screaming wake-up call? I can relate to little, panicky Lucas. I see an opportunity to write and I think, “Ahhhhhhhh!!! The thoughts are flooding, get it down on paper NOW!!!”  I become quite obsessed in those moments, frantically searching for the first sign of a decently sharpened pencil and any piece of paper (receipt, paid bill, unpaid bill for that matter) to ensure my thoughts have a final destination, a place to rest while my mind recovers from the downpour of thoughts. Obsession, as I said. Beautiful – because quite honestly – it is a love. A creative love, a passionate love, a love deep down in my core. That obsession, that constant state of — “What can I create today? What will I write today?” – That is the same fuel in Lucas that boils as he is running, tears flowing, to see his love, trains.  

I think we have to remember to appreciate others’ paths in life, even if we do not quite understand them. We have to really look at what drives others, what motivates others, to do what they do. Look around at your loved ones, family and friends alike. Do you see their trains?

Why not hop on for a ride? You may not know where they are going. You may not even reach a destination on their trip. But why not sit back and enjoy the scenery? Take a few pictures, perhaps. Share those moments with them. Enjoy the ride.

 

Cheers, readers.

Take time

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Convinced yet to visit the Indianapolis zoo?

I think these pictures speak for themselves! A sunny Sunday afternoon turned into a day of exploration at the zoo. I often write about chasing dreams, battling anxiety, and suffocating my fears (all a bit heavy at times) — but this post is a simple reminder to take time to relax, enjoy the warmth of the sun, and find beauty in all things. The zoo is a perfect place to do just that.

 Don’t you think?

 

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Follow me on Instagram for more photos!

@kileybdub

 

 

Lucas’ Life Lessons

I’ll just say it now – Mom and Dad, you were right. All those times you scornfully looked me square in the eye and preached, “You’ll never understand until you have children,” well …. I couldn’t agree more. Luckily for me, I’m saying this in a positive manner – as Lucas has yet to test the waters and challenge my strength of discipline. Perhaps this blog post is for you guys. Perhaps it is for all of my naïve friends who have yet to experience the joys of parenthood. Perhaps it is simply an opportunity to reflect upon what Lucas has taught me thus far.

Three years ago, I knew nothing about what it truly meant to be a parent. I assumed it was all about teaching the child — raising him to be an intelligent, responsible, loving adult. Fast forward to three years post childbirth; I smile at the beauty of my ignorance. Only a fraction of parenthood is about teaching the child. What most new parents cannot know is that an even greater piece of the equation involves forgetting what you know and beginning to see the world anew – with curious eyes and an awakened mind. We don’t have all the answers, and sometimes it takes new beginnings – even a new life – to truly understand this.

I love the thought that ‘we can always begin again.’ As Lucas takes my hand, I am beginning to appreciate the absurdity and preciousness of the present moment.

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Enjoy the simplest of lessons Lucas has taught me over the years!

 

The best snuggles require drool and lots of snoring

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Imaginary play surpasses toys/games any day

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The messier the play, the better the day

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Always give something/someone a second chance — first impressions are NOT everything

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It is OKAY to cry (thank you for reminding me of this)

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No dream is too big

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Have no fear

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If you need help, ask for it

Big and little

The best days are the ones we never planned

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I love you, my little man. Never stop inquiring. Never stop exploring. Never stop dreaming. And never, stop teaching.

Mommy and baby 

Love,

Mom

 

 

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Related:

My Birthday Wish

Multiple Personalities

I have multiple personalities. I am an actress. I decide which role to play every waking moment of the day. One minute I am the loving, nurturing mother to the guy around which my world revolves. The next, I am texting friends inquiring about jobs, weekend plans, and drunken escapades from the previous night’s work party. Just as I designate warm- and cold-weather areas in my closet for clothing to reside separately, each role I assume reigns over a separate, yet cozy, lair in my beautifully chaotic mind.

Unfortunately as of late, it is more difficult to compartmentalize all of my ‘roles.’  I often find myself lecturing friends; giving parental advice; and loaning a dollar here or there only to be acknowledged with, “Thanks, Mom.” (Lindsey – you will never live this down!) Sadly, I am over-empathizing and psychoanalyzing friends so much so that a text is no longer reciprocated with, “Hey Ki, what’s up?” but rather – “Hey mom, how are you?” Good grief Charlie Brown! Since when did my friends start to view me as a MOM? Or worse – a substitute for their mothers? (Only at the most dire times when their lovely mothers are unavailable to chat, of course) I guess I figured that if I was compartmentalizing in my own mind, then my friends were doing the same, right? Wrong.

When we got pregnant – yes, we… it takes two to tango – I never imagined how awkward it would be trying to integrate 20-something Kiley’s lifestyle with, err, Momma Kis lifestyle. When friends ask, “Hey want to meet up for dinner tonight?” my first thoughts are, Oh shit – does that mean Lucas is invited? Should I ask? Do I need to get a babysitter? Who was the last person to babysit Lucas? I wonder if so-and-so would mind watching him a second time this week? Even more awkward, truthfully just plain heartbreaking, is when 20-something Ki wants to go out on a Saturday night and has to break the news to bright-eyed Lucas that mommy isn’t partaking in bath, books, and bedtime. Serious Catch-22 happening here, people!! Rock and a hard place!! Welcome to mommyhood, readers. Oy vey.

I play many roles. All of which leave me feeling stressed, anxious, mentally exhausted when tackled individually. Isolating Momma Ki from alter-ego crazy Ki is one of my biggest challenges recently – aside from battling a stubborn 2-year-old who refuses to use his Cars potty – but I digress. Balancing both roles is a daily conundrum. And yet, I am certain that integrating the two is the only solution to maintaining an ounce of sanity in this self-imposed frenzy of a world I call mine.

I prefer not to be the Mom of the group with my friends, but just as I am warming up to reality that I am — in fact — a momma, perhaps I should get cozy with the idea that my friends view me as one as well.

Will 20-something Ki ever accept Momma Ki? Ha, I’ll probably keep on trudging the path of multiple-personalities until my bones grow old and heart, weak. But who knows, maybe I’ll come around one day. Hopefully my inner post-Oz Dorothy scolds me just enough to guilt me into putting on my big girl, Ruby red slippers so as to walk the road toward accepting every part of myself. After all, it is only I who holds the power to change how I view myself. Just gotta click those heels and have a little faith! Such a long road it is. 

And yet, it is an even longer road running away.

 

 

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Learn to accept, love and better yourself

Cheers!

Mother’s Day with Macy’s

I’d like to be completely honest and say that I cringe every time someone refers to me as a “mom.” Let’s face it –many phrases associated with ‘mom’ carry a negative connotation:

  • Mom jeans
  • Helicopter mom
  • “Your momma” jokes
  • MILF – please forgive me

We hear ‘mom’ and society paints for us an image of a woman in baggy sweatpants schlepping a diaper bag — not the beautiful soul hidden behind the veil of dark circles and unkempt hair.  I hate to say it — but in today’s world, ‘Mom’ evokes a tired, washed up, wrinkled image. And I’d like to take this opportunity to say to society: Moms are wonderful, beautiful, sexy people too!

Why such negativity surrounding the beings who create and harbor (for nine months) THE continuing existence of humanity? Our bodies are not something to be looked down upon (or over sexified – MILF, ugh I’m sorry). Quite the contrary, I believe. Our bodies should be viewed as shrines to the life we have created and brought into this world.  Instead of focusing on stretch marks, shrunken breasts, and wider hips — open your mind to the transformation of a once untouched canvas now artistically painted as new life once bloomed within. Our bodies are beautiful sacrificial vessels inside which growing fingers and toes formed and now touch and walk this earth.

I recently decided to let go of my aversion to the word ‘mom,’ and embraced it fully this past Mother’s Day. A few weeks ago, I agreed to walk in Macy’s Mother’s Day fashion show in Indianapolis. As all of us moms arrived that morning to glam and prepare to strut our lovely vessels down the runway, I began to realize that there doesn’t need to be a negative connotation associated with the word ‘mother.’ I chatted with a few of the ladies and noted their views on the fashion show event — it is an opportunity to showcase fashionable, trendy looks at all ages of motherhood. It is a moment in time, not to focus on the duties of a mother, but rather to focus on the beauty of the women who are fortunate to be called ‘mothers’ and who embody so much more all the while. To my surprise on the day of the event, I walked down the runway feeling confident, beautiful, and proud to be called a ‘mother.’

I firmly believe that this generation of millennial parents can redefine how society views the modern momma. Truth is, (although still tired) we ARE energetic and ready to have fun. We DO wear skinny jeans and loathe ‘mom jeans.’ We DO enjoy getting dressed up and going out on the town. We ARE spontaneous, sometimes. We aren’t always in ‘mom-mode’ and enjoy the occasional beer and a movie night. We are still PEOPLE. So stop with the negative ‘mom’ comments and appreciate us for EVERTHING we are. We are teachers, listeners, psychologists, friends, lovers, daughters, aunts, sisters, individuals.  We have jobs, plans, and dreams, just as you do.

‘Mom’ is a multifaceted word. The people who stand behind that word have hearts, feelings, hopes and dreams too – just like you. So next time you hear someone speak ill of ‘moms’ or make a ‘mom joke,’ why not help educate the world and redefine what it means to be a Mother?

 

Cheers to a new outlook and to all you sexy mommas!

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Get the MACY’S look!

 

 

 

 

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Click HERE for dress details from MACY’S

(worn with Steve Madden Rant Sandals)

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To Want

Have you ever thought about not wanting, just for a second? Have you ever thought about what would happen if you asked about the world, instead of just asking for it? Who do you think you are? Who do you think I am? Why would you think you have any idea of what you want? Most nights you still go to bed confused, angry at yourself. When are you going to start considering the possibility that you are exactly who you want to be?
 –-Paraphrased from Charles Yu’s – Sorry Please Thank You
 
I came across these questions a few months ago. Up until that point in my life, I can honestly say I always assumed my life would be more – I needed to do more, be more, give more, love more, ask more, live more. More, more, more. But at what point does more melt into enough? Is there a finite ending?
 
Is life about continuously asking these questions of ourselves while filling our days with compulsive activity, only to avoid the real issues? Is the real issue ourselves? Are we the answer? I am told I want to be a certain type of person…. And yet I have never considered that who I am, at this very second, is exactly who I need to be, want to be, ought to be…
 
Who tells us we should do better? Know better? Be better? Who are they? Who are those people? At what point do we stop asking those questions and accept that who we are at this very second is exactly who the world needs us to be?
 
It’s an interesting spectacle – living with a child. He does not know anything but his own life. He does not covet, does not envy, does not fear. He is exactly who he needs to be. He is exactly what the world expects of him.  He is exactly what I need him to be. So at what point can we live like a child and expect nothing more of ourselves than who we are in that exact moment? Is that ever achievable?
 
Some answer no; I answer yes.
 
“An adult is one who has lost the grace, the freshness, the innocence of the child, who is no longer capable of feeling pure joy, who makes everything complicated, who spreads suffering everywhere, who is afraid of being happy, and who, because it is easier to bear, has gone back to sleep. The wise man is a happy child.” – Arnaud Desjardins
 
Sometimes, when all we have are questions, the simplest answer is to wake up. Be awake in this present moment – Love those who are right in front of us – Taste the kiss that is offered and gone in a heartbeat’s second – Breathe the air for a moment longer.
 
Be exactly who you are in exactly this moment.
 
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My birthday wish

My wish for this year, at twenty-three years young, is that my little man – when he’s ready – reads this one day.

I love you,
Mom
 
1.)    The world is scary at times: but remember it is beautiful all the time. Keep your eyes open, observe; you can find beauty in all things.
2.)    Brush and floss your teeth – you are stuck with them so the least you can do is take care of them. (Insurance doesn’t cover everything!!)
3.)    Don’t give your heart away too easily.
4.)    Enjoy your childhood… or if you’re grown now, I hope we gave you the best damn childhood you could have imagined.
5.)    Always give your mom hugs, she NEEDS them.
6.)    Study hard, but know your limits. It is okay to stress, it’s not normal to obsess. **Ask me if you need examples
7.)    Always keep a smile on your face. I know it’s hard sometimes, but your smile will help so many others… even on your worst of days.
8.)    Laugh A LOT.
9.)    Please consider college after high school. If you’re reading this and you already graduated, THANK YOU SWEET BABY JESUS. If you choose/chose not to go, I trust your decision and love you just the same.
10.)If the opportunity presents itself – travel. (You can always bring your old Mom, too!)
11.)If something makes you happy (and it’s legal) do it. If you have a passion, pursue it. Never think that I or your Dad will judge you. Your passion and love will only enrich your life.
12.)Give to those “less fortunate.” You wouldn’t believe the kind of help we have received from family and close friends in these first years as a family. I hope we teach you to return the favor.
13.)Listen. Listen to the rain, listen to music, and listen to people. Always take time to listen.
14.)Try not to alienate yourself. Tough times will happen – they happen to every person on this Earth. Your friends will be there, if you let them.
15.)Have confidence. You know I think you are the handsomest son I’ve ever had! Find what you like about yourself and remember how it makes you feel. Focus on your good qualities.
16.)ALWAYS ask questions, and ALWAYS work your ass off.
17.)Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ often.
18.)Be a gentleman to ALL women.
19.)Get lost in love.
20.)Talk about your feelings – your partner WILL APPRECIATE IT.
21.)Always call your Mom.
22.)Apologize when you’re in the wrong.
23.)Read. It’s amazing what a novel can do for your soul.

Colors, and Numbers, and Soup – Oh My!!

Quick mealtime fun!

Lucas isn’t a veggies guy, but there’s something about Minestrone soup that does the trick! Not knowing how nutritious it is, he gobbles it down like it’s going out of style.

So what does this have to do with mommy-baby activities?? Let’s get creative!

All you need is one can of Minestrone soup (or if you’re a master chef, you can make if from scratch, eeek) and a hungry toddler. Heat it up and let him/her explore!

Helpful suggestions to spark conversation with your child:

1.) Group the veggies according to color
2.) Count each individual veggie in the ‘groups’
3.) Sort by type of veggie
4.) Make up silly names for each type of vegetable – Lucas renamed some of his beans “baby beans” and “big beans.” (so creative!)

Enjoy the time spent with your child, and remember that although this is a simple activity – your child is building cognitive and sensory skills in addition to building a healthy imagination.

Cheers!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Ever looked at your pile of laundry and wanted to cry? Yeah, me too. This time will be different. Why? Have no fear; your 2-year-old is here! (Or, fill in the blank for your child’s age – you get the picture) I have a really simple game/learning tool that you and your child can do together that involves getting your laundry done with a fun twist. Best part?? If you’re a hermit like me you can stay inside!! Okay, seriously though, the best part is that it doesn’t cost a dime. (That is… until you pay the water/electric bill, but dammit let’s stay positive here people!)
 
STEP 1 – If your child doesn’t already know what a rainbow is, google a picture of one and discuss the colors. ROY G BIV! (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet for those of you who think I have typing turrets)
Here’s what I showed my son:
STEP 2 – Dump your mountains of dirty laundry onto the floor and have at it! Have your child sort the clothing with ‘like’ colors. If they’re anything like my son, they will talk for hours about how “this one” (referring to a green shirt) goes with “this one” (green underwear). Just nod and smile.
 
STEP 3 – If you have busy work to get done, do it! I.E. – dishes, bills, vacuuming. Hopefully your child will have fun sorting his/her color piles and put imagination to the test. If you have time to sort with your child, discuss the colors of the clothing and point out those colors throughout the house. IF you’re an over-achiever, try throwing some Spanish in there as well. “What color is this? Red. Rojo.” “Green. Verde.” Click here for a picture dictionary of English –> Spanish colors.STEP 4 – Help your child ‘create’ a rainbow with his/her sorted piles…

**This might seem like a silly idea, but when the chores seem endless, remember that it is never too early to get your child involved in helping out around the house. If you just take a moment to get creative, chores can be ‘fun’ for your little ones. If only teenagers thought chores were fun… Hmm, perhaps somewhere over the rainbow, they do…  (Cue Judy Garland)