30-Something Mom Seeking Sexy

I never thought I’d do a boudoir photo shoot. 70 pounds ago, I thought that it was something only skinny bitches did. But I kept hearing that it was something that would boost your self esteem and that’s pretty much always good news, so I looked a little closer. And I figured it may also have a pleasant unintended outcome, too. My guy is hard to buy for anyways and if I can make him like me more, I’m in favor of that.

The Prep

I planned it so that the day before my boudoir shoot was devoted to me prepping. I was off from work. The kids were at school so I had time for me. I went to the nail salon early and had the whole place to myself. I got an acrylic set of fingernails and a gel pedicure to ensure it lasted. I even had my eyebrows waxed. I felt amazing, even before my shoot. I dyed and deep conditioned my hair. I even shaved everything below the neck.

Her instructions were pretty detailed. I was given enough time to do up to three outfit changes so I made sure the night before to lay then all out. I didn’t have three outfits that I loved so I kept to two. I mean, at that point I wasn’t even sure I was really going to go through with it. But I did.

Embracing New Experiences

When I walked into my boudoir shoot I was visibly nervous. Katie welcomed me and smiled warmly. The shoot was at her home (As a lot of boudoir shoots are) and after meeting her and seeing how kind she was, I was just glad I wasn’t going to get murdered, honestly. Prior to the shoot we had exchanged several text messages and she even sent me google document with detailed instructions on how to prepare for my shoot. So I guess I was “prepared” – even if I pulled up to the address feeling ready to puke.

But then there was Katie. It didn’t take long before I was feeling a bit more at ease. After reading reviews of other boudoir photographers, I’m convinced this is the thing they have in common: They can make you feel comfortable, even when you’re entirely prepared to be awkward and weird. We talked a few minutes about what I wanted and I showed her the outfits I’d chosen. She was very reassuring and suggested I start with the more modest outfit. She said by outfit number two, I’d have the confidence to rock it. And boy, was she was right.

She Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

She took the time to make sure all my poses were, not only flattering, but that I was comfortable with each. She showed me a few images here and there as she shot to build my confidence so the more she shot, the sexier I felt. It was the most secure I’ve ever felt about who I am, while still feeling so vulnerable at the same time.

I did the shoot for me. But showing my better half the results? Well, let’s just say he was pleased, to say the least. And even better, he was proud, mostly. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time but in these images, I finally saw it, too. He was proud to see that I saw it. All my hard work; raising two babies, weight loss and just everything that a working mom life entails. I still saw a sexy, strong, powerful woman in those pictures and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again.

So thank you a million times, Katie; for an amazing experience. I can’t wait for our next collaboration. Check out her website and Instagram to see all her amazing work.

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons I don’t belong in your bougie mom clique

So I feel like I have to start this off pretty blunt.

I LOVE MY KIDS. I SWEAR I DO.

I spend most of my days (and even nights) trying to figure out how I can be a better mom. I mean, I literally lose sleep over it. I see other parents and I always compare myself and think I’m just not doing enough. Or if my daughter is having a fit, I think if I was a better mom maybe I could have nipped this in the bud a long time ago. But, I do try my hardest to be the best mom I can be to my 15 yr old and 6 yr old children. So here is a list of reasons I’m not a great mom.

My Kids’ Diet

My son, that giant man child of mine, is currently 6 ft tall. I swear all the hormones from the over processed foods are shooting my kid through the roof. My daughter wont eat most vegetables and recently has sworn off any meat except chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. Her diet consist of rice and beans or pasta. Meanwhile, my son will eat all his food, her leftovers and then some. With hundreds of options for me to make – none of which my daughter will eat and all of them my son will – I don’t feel especially adventurous. I try to take the easy way out most nights and that includes Easy Mac. Not the greatest, but everyone can agree and eat it with out a fight. Most of the time.

Hygiene

My kid hates bathes. She has sworn off bathes and without much fighting, she flat will not take one. Gross, right?? Well I have figured out a way for her to take bathes with less of a battle. BATH BOMBS! She loves them, but to ensure my kid isn’t going to get a UTI, I opt for the more expensive ones. This is putting a pretty hefty hole in momma’s pocket but no more crying, so I’m taking as a win.

Directions

My kids can not for the life of them follow directions. Like “Can you please get mommy a towel from the linen closet?” Often results in them walking to the linen closet (the home of all things towel like) and tell me they can’t find any towels. Or they’ll come back to me with toilet paper. I mean … but why??

Mommy Juice

I drink wine in front of my kids. I don’t get hammered in front of them, don’t get me wrong. I’m not an alcoholic or anything. But I do have a glass of what the kids refer to as Mommy Juice.

Pinterest Reject

I can not do anything on Pinterest. I feel like a failed mom any time I attempt to do anything I find on there and it’s a little depressing. I feel like that site was created to make creative moms brag and lord their epic-ness over normal people. All bow before the Pinterest Goddess, ye mere mortals.

I mean I get it, I may not be the worst mom in the world. But, sheesh keeping these kids alive requires lots of focus which I mainly have none of. But I try and I guess that’s what counts.

They are healthy and relatively happy. And that’s what matters most to this not-so-great mom.

 

 

The Timeless Struggle of Mothers and Young Daughters

I thought having a daughter would be the greatest thing in the entire world. I thought we’re going to have the most incredible bond and do all the same things together… I could not have been any more wrong.

Because I’m Pretty Sure My Daughter Hates Me

I mean there are days when we are the best of friends. Those days are mainly days I have all day to dedicate to her having fun. It’s when we do make up and nails. Also mommy isn’t trying to clean or organize so we are just chilling the whole day. She knows these days and toward the end of these “good days” I can tell she senses my fear.

Because as they say, all good things must come to an end. And our good days sometimes end badly. Screaming, crying, and throwing things. It’s horrible and on those nights I cry. I get so upset at myself and I think I fall back into postpartum depression. Is that a thing? Can you still have postpartum depression with a 6 year old? I know it sounds insane, but my head goes back to those colic nights where we both cried ourselves to sleep. And look at us now! …Still crying ourselves to sleep.

Oh and the reasons this child hates me.

It can be any number of things. If I hugged, kissed or had a date night with daddy I’m automatically in the dog house. He is hers and I am just the person who birthed her. As she puts it, I didn’t give her life, God did. That little brat, right? Pulling the God card to trump my work. I am also banned from picking out her clothes or shoes. She does not like how I brush and style her hair. I know what you’re thinking: what a spoiled kid.

Because there are days when I compromise. We pick out outfits together. We decide on hairstyles and bed time is a little smoother because I want her to have choices with her fashion. She needs to learn why I do what I do with picking out clothes and hairstyles. I.E. I like my kid to match and for awhile lice was going around so braids were our go-to hairstyle. But after work, I’m tired and there’s still dinner to get ready, so some nights compromise just isn’t possible.

Sometimes she’s just gotta do what mama says.

I am the mom and I always will be the mom. Unless I am causing her physical harm, that little sass queen will wear what I say, when I say it. Shocker, I bet! She hates me because with all her fussing and fighting, I still won’t let her wear Uggs to summer camp. She isn’t allowed makeup outside of the house. And bedtime is when I say, not when she is ready. I don’t always win, though, and those are the worst nights.

Those are the night she hates me and I hate myself a little, too.

Because even when I “win” the act of fighting with her still makes me feel like I’m losing. I will cry myself to sleep. I have no regret in holding her to the rules – don’t get me wrong. She hates me? Oh well. That won’t make me cave. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. (Not that I’ll ever let her see that.) It doesn’t always work out the way I think it should, it’s true. But she is alive, healthy, relatively well-mannered and most of all, she knows she is loved. I pray this is a phase and these fighting days days are numbered but honestly, next thing I know, she’ll be a teen and the struggle will start all over with a vengeance.

Oh boy. Can’t wait.

“The Talk”

I never really got “the talk.” I mean, not that I remember at least. I do recall hearing “Don’t let anyone touch you here or there.” But a sit down conversation about the birds and the bees? Not really. In hindsight, I may have been so traumatized that I just blocked it out completely. Either way, though, now it’s my turn to give it.

My son, my baby, my first born.

I could never have imagined Michael growing up and getting older. But we’re here now and he is the most gorgeous boy in all the land. He really is. Ugh! I am an obsessed mom, I know. But as cute as he is and as little I want it to happen, he is growing up. My baby is turning into a man and as his parent, it’s my duty to let him know what life has in store for him. Especially when it comes to sex.

By 14, I’m sure he’s heard a few things. Between movies, TV, and the internet there probably isn’t much he doesn’t already know. Or so you’d think. But the talk I want to have goes beyond S-E-X.

I want to talk to my son about consent, respect, and honesty.

I want to teach him that sex isn’t a bad word but a sacred one. I don’t want to scare my kids.

Lets be honest. In the right situation, time, and with the right person, sex can be amazing. I want him to know that all those things should factor into the decisions he makes, though. I want to explain that there are diseases, and that they all don’t have cures. How having sex with a girl can not only change his whole life but the life of someone else. A lot of people think that as a guy, its easy for him. No! That is the reason we have problems in society with regards to sex. Too often we force women to learn all these aspects and put the pressure is on them to keep safe, to say no, to find ways to not be seen or stand out, not to be “misinterpreted.”

But I have a son and a daughter. I want them to both go out into the world and know all the same things about sex and everything else life has to offer. I can not control everything they will do outside of this house. But as a mother of a growing man, I think it is my duty to teach him especially that no one is your property. You don’t have the right to grab a boob or ass cheek; even if it is hanging out.

I want him to know what that makes girls feel and how it can tear a woman down.

Because one day it could my daughter with a boob or a cheek hanging out. How would he feel feel if someone touched or spoke to his sister in a way he didn’t agree? He should (and does!) empathize with all people, and he doesn’t need to picture the person as his sister, but he’s 14. It’s easier for him to see the impact when you apply a big kind of concept (like consent) to someone he cares about.

I know it sounds harsh.

Making him consider the repercussions of actions can be a harsh look, I know. But I believe that being honest and open with him will make him a better man and father. That is all I could ever ask for.

 

 

 

Self-care for the next generation

A few weeks ago my friend’s daughter ran up to me in tears crying because she had fallen and her sister didn’t help her get up. I hugged her and told that it was OK and that people aren’t always going to help you get up. You have to pick yourself up sometimes. I wiped her tears and she ran back down to the playroom and it was all better. If only it were always that simple.

Here we are now and my own 5 yr old comes home upset because she tripped at camp and 3 of her friends ran right past her and didn’t help her up. I gave her the same speech I gave my friends daughter but my sassy queen wasn’t having it. She looked at me and said, “Well from now on, then when I see someone down I’m not helping them get up!”

I stopped and couldn’t even believe what I was hearing.

I got down to her level so she knew it was important (Pro-mom move) and I said “No we don’t do that. You will continue to help people who need help. Don’t ever give up helping others because you didn’t get helped.” She may have understood or  she may not have but she agreed and she skipped away.

I am still left bothered by both situations. Both girls thought someone needed to pick them up. But why? I didn’t raise my kid to think that she was entitled to people at her beckon call. Let me tell you, if you met my friend you would know she definitely didn’t raise her daughter that way either. Still, my question goes unanswered.

Why assume that someone has to help us up when we fall?

Now don’t get me wrong, if I see someone down I am the first one to offer a helping hand. I think anyone who sees someone down should help them back up, always. No matter the reason. But, if I fall I don’t ever expect for anyone to pick me up. Nor should you.

Life is full of so many messed up things and people. There will always be times when you will fall down; literally and figuratively. And when you are down, it’s OK to be down. Take your time getting up when you can. As long as you remember, that you don’t need anyone to get you up. It’s nice, of course, but you shouldn’t always depend on others to help you up – no matter the reason for the fall.

It’s almost as if people are keeping score of who did something nice and who didn’t.

Now don’t get me wrong, if somebody wrongs you, you have every right to stay away from that person. But we shouldn’t bring that into our other relationships, and human interactions. Being kind shouldn’t reflect on how many people have been kind to us. I don’t want my daughter, at 15 years old seeing some on the ground and walking right past them because she thinks, “Well that one time at summer camp my friends ran right past me.”

So many people give up on kindness to total strangers because of one (or several) bad experiences, fear of rejection or just plain laziness. And it’s not to say that everyone is deserving your kindness but we shouldn’t be so quick to give up on all of mankind. Your kindness is a reflection on you; not of how many times you’ve been neglected.

I want to raise my kids to be strong and independent and not need picked up by anyone.

I think most parents want that of their children. But I also want them to be kind and thoughtful. You can be a strong individual and still help other people. Maybe in their kindness, they can help others grown their own kindness.

Insecurities

There are never quick fixes, at least never in the way you think. Leading up to the surgery I thought once I get this surgery done I would lose all this weight and then I will be healthy again and I’ll look amazing. Right?

Wrong!

I imagined my body looking the same as it did prior to kids all fresh and smooth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. The thing is, when I look in the mirror I don’t see all my progress. I am so clouded by the flaws I still see that I just can’t see it. The stretch marks are still there, the loose skin is just getting looser and my hair has started to fall out. I know that there are things I can never change. But it doesn’t stop me from reading another new article on stretch mark removal or reading all the ingredients listed on the Rogaine bottle for the millionth time.

I’m human. I have flaws and I know that. But every so often, I get this uncontrollable urge to Google quick fixes. (But that’s human, too, right?) I know there aren’t any and they wont work but what harm can it do? This is why I need to write. To force myself out of my old habits of quick fixes and get myself into real life changes.  If I’m publishing things, then I’m more likely to hold myself accountable.

I know I’m not alone; there are people out there with way worse insecurities than me. 62% of women all over the world feel insecure about something. That is roughly 2 billion women in the world. So I’m not alone. And neither are you.

For so long I have lived mortified about what has happened to my body. I’ve always blamed myself not enough lotion, not enough cocoa butter and probably could have eaten better as to not gain the weight. So many could have, should have, would haves.

But in the end, this is now me. In all my wonderful squishy glory.

But with all my insecurities, still all in my own head. I want to be skinny, strong, and have great skin. I don’t think those desires will ever go away, nor do I think it’s realistic to expect to achieve those goals to a point where I’m 100% satisfied. I can own them for what they are. I can be skinnier and stronger if I got my ass up and to the gym. But that’s not the point and it won’t change the root of the problem.

When I look in the mirror, I just want to be proud of what I’ve accomplished.

If there is more I can do like going to the gym. I will do those things. But 16-year-old Jen with a perky set and flat tummy is a far reach. It will take me years to get over the body I feel I’ve lost. But the fact is, it’s a mental problem, not a physical one. And it’s a habit that I may never stop. But if me writing about it can help me own it and feel less of the shame (or help someone else) then I guess half the battle is won.

5 Things Dementia Didn’t Take

Deciding to bring grandma into my home was an easy decision to make. I didn’t stop to think what it would do to, or how it would affect, my family. Thankfully, my other half Carlos, was always on-board with the idea but honestly, neither of us knew what we were getting into or what dementia had done to her.

Dementia took my grandmother in ways I never knew possible. Being forgetful is something we all go through in spurts. But she forgets that I’m her granddaughter. When she asks me about my ‘sister’ I know she actually means my mother (or maybe aunt). She will sit in her room alone in the dark asking herself why she is doing it. She burns and ruins pots and lets the sink overflow. She made herself a sandwich and put the ingredients away in the pantry. We find mysterious cups throughout the house but if you ask, none of them are hers. She wakes up crying at night because she doesn’t remember where she is, so I run out of bed and lay with her till she falls back asleep. She has peeled the paint off the walls. She has left the house while I’ve been in the shower and she hates when I tell her no. Her independence was everything to her and for her own safety, she no longer has it. And she can’t understand why.

To be candid, I cry when I think about the future; Her future in particular. She never spoke of death or what to do if she gets sick. I don’t know what she really wants because it’s too late to know for sure that’s what the real her wants. And though it hurts to say, that’s how it feels.

Because even though I know she’s in there, I never fully know when she’s the one talking or when it’s the dementia.

So we have no plans if she gets bedridden or suddenly comes down with an illness. I don’t know what she wants if the worst happens. I didn’t plan to be making these decisions, but they will be mine to make one day. And sooner rather than later. We’ll take it day at a time and cross each bridge as we get there. So she’s just … with me. She will always just be with me. I don’t think I could ever let her go. And that’s a kind of plan in itself.

So while I lament what I’ve had taken, and more tragically, what she has been robbed of, I have to bring a sense of optimism into my fears. Because dementia will overpower me if I let it. And if she doesn’t let it overpower her, I can’t either. I’ll focus on something that will allow me to push ahead. I know it’s only going to get worse, so for now, I need to remember how blessed I am to have her.

And here’s what Dementia did not take:

1. Her Love of Life. I know she only gleams how serious her condition is from time to time; but she still sees it. All the while, though, she lives so carelessly and remains so in love with life. When we go to new places she gets excited and she loves our walks in the evening. We sit out on the front porch and chat with the neighbors as they walk by and they love seeing her. She has made so many new friends and the kids next door adore her so much so they call her grandma.

2. Her as My Rock. She still lets me lay my head on her lap as she strokes my hair. And when I cry, she cries no matter my reason for crying. And even if I lose that as time goes (and I know I will), I will have that foundation built into who I am as a person. I am stronger because of how she built me. I will withstand any storm because I’ve had her to show me how. She will always be my rock – Even when her dementia is the force I’m standing against.

3. Her ability to love. She tells me she loves me she every morning and every night. And anytime I walk out the door without her, I hear her prayers for me under her breath. She loves my children. She loves our neighbor’s children. She loves everyone. She isn’t bitter. She isn’t jaded. She’s a kind person with a loving heart. And, again, dementia may one day take that from her, but it will never rob the world of the kindness she’s spread during her life.

4. My Memory of Her. This may sound petty, but when dementia riddles the mind of a loved one, you’ll take every victory you can. Dementia can take her memories of me from her but it will never take away my memories of her.

5. Her. I guess what dementia didn’t take is the essence of her. Who she is is as a person is still inside her, deep down (sometimes it’s deeper than others). She is still her under that cloud of smoke and I still see her there. I know she’s there, even when she doesn’t. When she’s lost, I will help her find herself. As much as I can. For as long as I can.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s break the hearts of the loved ones suffering as completely as they break the minds of those who suffer. Research on Dementia and Alzheimer’s is so important to any advances in medicine and maybe one day, a cure. We can’t put a price tag on the significance of finding a medication that could keep my grandmother’s mind her own for even just a little longer. If you are able, please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.