11 October 2017

Reeling It In

Hello Loves,

Welp...this is it. This is me officially deciding that I need to reel it in bit. I have spent the last few years consumed in the world of YouTube. Trying to make my presence aware and struggling to find the balance between how much to share and how much to keep private. Walking the fine line between wholesome family vlog, and invading my family's privacy. Trying to keep up with the "big" YouTubers while not losing who I am at the same time. I love video taping my family's milestones, and capturing memories to keep forever. Having these moments saved so I can have them to recall when I have forgotten how my children sound at three years old when they laugh, or how the faces they made as infants. I love making these videos in montages that I can save, organize and find easily. But I am not enjoying the stress that I have placed on myself to meet deadlines for people I don't even know. I have not enjoyed spending hours editing vlogs while leaving my children in the background to play by themselves. I have not enjoyed missing out on sleep, and prioritizing vlogs over homework. I don't enjoy these things because the benefit does not out-weight the risk. This is my life, my ONE life. And I don't want to say that I watched it go by on the 3' LCD screen of my Cannon Powershot camera. I've missed blogging. Taking the time to sit down and allowing my fingers to do the talking. Sharing my thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories in words. Allowing my words to paint pictures and tell stories. I have no intention to stop taping my family, I just don't intend to share every one of those videos with the world. This is me realizing what is important and putting what matters first. This blog will the the place to which I will share updates, adventures, memories and more. However, there is no schedule. I will blog if I can, when I can. Until my next post enjoy some sweet photos of my favorite Tatum Tots!

16 February 2016

The Outside Looking In

I have spent my entire life being unheard when I speak, unseen while surround by many, and the source of annoyance to others. I have mastered the art of reading subtle body language. The roll of one's eys, the silence that accompanies certain conversations and topics, the heavy sighs, leaving the area I am in, the side eye that one person will give another. I may be annoying to you but I am not stupid, deaf or blind.  And while your subtle nuances will always hit with a certain sting to my heart, I want you to know that your venom only makes me stronger. I refuse to allow your opinion of me to shape my own identity. And maybe rather than judging you should listen. Maybe just maybe, there is something deeper in my annoying superficial words. I hope you know your actions don't weaken me, but in fact weaken you. You become placed in a distant branch on the outside of my life. Enjoy you perch on the outside tree looking through the window, because you have broken my trust and no longer will you be allowed through my door. I have no time games.

28 January 2016

It Takes A Village {The Lonely Stay-At-Home Mommy}

Lately I have found myself in a funk. The Washington winter months have always been hard for me, but this year has been particularly difficult.

I can't exactly pinpoint what has caused this shift, but the truth is, I'm bored and I am lonely.

Being a stay-at-home mom has been one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done, but it has also been the most difficult. The transition from working adult to stay-at-home mom was seemingly easy with my first . I enjoyed my endless time with this tiny human of mine and as she grew and my family grew in size, the struggles of parenting grew too. More mouths to feed, more laundry to wash, more messes to clean, less time for anything, and pure exhaustion became my new normal. It has always just felt like part of the job though. My days are filled but so is my heart.

Lately I have found myself bored, sick of cleaning, tired of being inside and so desperately missing companionship.

There is always something to do, something that needs to be cleaned, a bill that needs to be paid, somebody that needs to be called, a mouth that needs to be fed, a diaper that needs to be changed, a floor that needs to be moped, laundry that needs to be folded, a boo-boo that needs to be kissed, homework that needs to be done, vlogs that need to be edited, dinner that needs to be cooked, orders that need to be made; there is always something!

However, I am still bored. Bored because I feel as though I have no purpose, no mission to complete for that day, aside from 'keep the kids alive, and happy' and 'do your chores.' Each day is groundhog dayish; wake up, feed kids, entertain kids, clean house, try not to loose my mind, cook dinner, put kids to bed, fall asleep doing homework, wake up and repeat.

I find myself desperate for something I want to do. I want to do something that doesn't need to be done. I want to go snowboarding, I want to take a dance class, I want to attend a Deaf social event, I want to ride go carts, and I want to go horseback riding, I want to learn to the play the guitar and/or the piano, I want to use the sewing machine I got over a year ago for something I want to make NOT something somebody wants me to fix. I want to go on a date with my husband, and not just dinner and a movie (one of the above mentioned would be nice.)

I know my purpose as a parent is raise these three wonderful gifts of mine and provide for them in the best way I possibly can, but I don't want to lose myself in the process.

I am lonely. Becoming a stay-at-home mom is one of the most isolating things I have ever done. I have a handful of acquaintances and a couple of people I call friends. However, there is no one that I could call a close friend. No one who I talk to on a regular basis. No friends that I can just call and talk about anything with. No  one that lives close by. My life prior to kids was always filled with companionship. I grew up in a house with many siblings, cousins, aunties, foster chilren and people. I went to college and roomed with 7 other roommates, I joined the military and had friends wherever I went. And suddenly I have found myself alone.

I wasn't prepared for the loneliness that accompanied being a stay-at-home mom. When I imagined being a stay-at-home mom, while pregnant with my first, I pictured making friends with other  mommies and us watching our kids play while we sipped Starbucks and laughed and talked. But it wasn't long into mommyhood before I realized that making friends as an adult is much harder than I thought it would be. Lifestyles are different, schedules don't always mesh, children don't always play nicely and parenting philosophies are not always the same. I have tried playdate groups, but never seem to find a decent connection with anyone and usually feel as though I am trying way to hard to be someone I am not. My connections never feel natural or right.

I miss adult conversations that have nothing to do with my kids, because lets face it, if I am not talking to my kids I am talking about them. I miss being silly and goofy, I miss having someone to play board games with, I miss the literal LOL's where I  laugh so hard my side aches and my cheeks hurt, and I miss having someone to call when you just need a friend.

And just to clarify it's not just the hard times that make me feel lonely either. It's also the times when I take the kids to the zoo or on a hike, but there is no one to share those special moments with. The special moments when the baby does something new, or you teach your daughter to ride a bike with no training wheels for the first time and there is nobody around to share that pure joy with you. I am not unhappy, In fact I am quite opposite. I love my life, I love my husband. I love our three children, our dog and our beautiful home. I just miss friendship and companionship. I have so much happineness in my life  and I truly am happy, however, happy wives and stay-at-home moms can still be lonely.

And the worst thing about these feelings is the guilt that accompanies them. I feel guilty there is someone out there who wishes they had kids to complain about staying home with. I feel guilty that as I complain about staying home where there is someone who desperately wishes they could be at home with their babies right now. I feel guilty for crying in front of my children because I just need a break and someone to talk to.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I feel like I am doing this alone. I am still waiting on this village of people to show up so I can have somebody to talk to. Human are not made to be alone, it just isn't the natural order of things. It's far too lonely.

I do want to clarify that I do not take for granted how fortunate and grateful I am to be able to be home with my littles. I truly adore being able to raise my babies and watch them grow, but sometimes this job can be a lonely one. I am also so thankful and grateful for my hardworking and loving husband who makes this even possible for me.

28 October 2014

{Happiness Project } Letting go of the Christmas Stress

{Over a month ago I began my Happiness Project; a process in which I form habits that aid me in becoming a better ME; physically, mentally, and emotionally. And with these new habits I hope to better appreciate the happiness that surrounds me. I plan to spend the next 12-18 months tackling projects, eating better, excising, going to therapy, organizing and doing a list of other projects/activities that will help me reach my goal in becoming a newer, better, happier me. You can find the introduction of my Happiness Project HERE. During this process I plan to document my journey via blogs, vlogs, and journals. I hope to share my experiences, new skills and knowledge with others while at the same time keeping a record for myself. Thank you for joining me in my Happiness Project!}

I know it is only October 28th, but the fast approaching holidays has had me slightly stressed out. I love the holidays, it is truly my favorite time of the year. Cool air, delicious foods, pies, the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin, the glow of Christmas lights, hot toddies & egg nog, and the the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from this time of year; it all makes me happy.

But the dreaded gift giving always dampers my mood a bit. What do I get? I don't have a ton of money, is this going to be enough? Where do I draw the line at who I buy gift for? What if I don't want to give gifts, will I hurt peoples feelings?

A few years ago Kev and I decided that Christmas would not be about gift giving for our kids (you can find that blog HERE). I want to set expectations low for them from the very beginning. I don't want my kids to expect that they will be showered with their own private mountain of gifts on Christmas morning. If I set this precedent early they will never know any different. And so far we have done good keeping to our word. We follow a simple riddle..."Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read and something to create." The kids receive gifts, their stockings are filled with goodies (healthy yet equally 'junky'), and they are happy (usually off playing with the boxes their toys came in). Plus they will also be receiving gifts from their uncle, aunts, grandmas and grandpas. My kids aren't deprived. They are loved, and they know it.

As for Kev and I, we don't exchange gifts. Our holiday gift exchanging fell away the minute our first child was born. There are more important things we could do with our money than buy jewelry and other items that would immediately depreciate the minute we swipe our card and leave the store. We love each other, we both feel it and the exchanging of a gift won't change that. And to be honest, I would much rather a night out with my spouse than have a gift under our tree on Christmas morning. We will always have stuff, I'd rather make a memory.

As for others I have decided that I will be putting a limit to the people I buy for. My one certainty is the children. Together, Kev and I have two nieces, and I plan to always buy a small gift for each niece and/or nephew. Kevin's family has an annual 'Secret Santa' gift exchange; one person, one gift, easy enough. That is a total of three external people, and that is where I draw my limit.

I love the holidays and I a refuse to allow the pressure of buying stuff to be something that stresses me out. I plan to spend less money on stuff and more time on making memories. We will bake cookies for others, go on winter adventures, donate our time/give back, visit Santa at multiple different malls and pick which one we like the best, watch the nutcracker, ride the Santa Express, eat way too much pie, watch 'A Christmas Story' on repeat, drink lots of rum, laugh and spend time with the ones we love. Because when we look back in years to come we won't remember the stuff we did/didn't receive; only the memories we had and the fun we had making them.

So if you are feeling the pressure of the holidays, don't. Agree to a 'Dirty Secret Santa Exchange' (way less stressful than the normal Secret Santa) among the family or no gifts at all. Lower your Christmas list and budget for the kids, and with the money that you save go have a family adventure! We only live once; and  living more humbly makes you appreciate more wholly.

21 October 2014

That Dark Place

I am in a dark place, guys.

It seems that more and more these days the mounting pressures of life is leaving me with the inability to cope. I am being pulled 100 different directions and I have no more stretch, no more give. I have been giving what very little free time I have to others. I know the struggle of needing help but having no one able or willing to do so; but I have stretched myself to thin. I am video editing, house hunting, babysitting, working on boutique orders, mailing packages and that is just the stuff I am doing for others. That doesn't include my massive everyday list of taking Kaydence to school, laundry, dishes, snacks time, grocery shopping, packing, house hunting, school, vacuuming, playing, trying desperately to remember to feed myself, Kaydence dance, dentist, appointments, doctor appointment, speech-language pathology appointments, school counseling appointment, pumpkin patches, parent-nights, honey do I have any clean socks, mom I am hungry, waaaaa (Kaylani screaming in hungers), will you do this window craft with me mama, Radar nudging by hand because it is noon and I haven't fed him yet, Kameron just got poop all over the bathroom, "Hello, may I speak with Mrs. Tatum. We are calling about the past due medical bill.", "Will you please stop hitting your sister with that cup.", "I emailed you yesterday in regards to the order I placed two days ago, will it be ready by Halloween.", "Mom, we still haven't gone to the pumpkin patch. I guess we  will never get to carve pumpkins.". My head is spinning. There is more to do in one day than there are enough hours and damn it I am doing this alone. My amazing, wonderful husband is working is tail off to keep us stable and I am here working my tail off to stay sane.

I forget to send emails, I rarely respond to text messages, I am late to EVERYTHING and I am just trying to stay afloat, but I feel like I am drowning.

I am in that dark place, guys.

That place that has me feeling alone. That place where I cry at night. Every. Single. Night. That place where I feel like I am doing way more for other people than anyone ever does for me. Ever. That place where if I don't keep busy I may fall apart. That place that keeps telling me "You're doing this all wrong." "You're stupid." "You're failing." That place where the guy who did awful, AWFUL things to you, that guy that stole your innocence at 12 years old sends you a Facebook request. And suddenly that dirty, disgusting feeling that rots your soul is back. And you hate your body, and when someone touches you it puts you on edge.

I am in THAT dark place, guys.

That place where you mourn your life pre-babies. That place where you just want to sleep more than 4 hours in a row. That place where most new parents can run to their mom or dad for advice when life and parenting gets hard, but you realize you have no one because your parents are cause of your pain. That place where you realize you never really have had a parental figure. That place where you realize when things get hard people step out, not up. That place where it really hit you that your grandma is never coming back. That place where your hands are full and your heart is heavy. That place where it hurts, and you smile to the outside world, but deep down inside you are sad.

I am in that dark place, guys.

Today I dressed and packed up a happy preschooler for school. She sang songs as I brushed her hair and giddily climbed into the car as we got ready to leave. And as we drove I found myself drifting to that dark place. I smiled on the outside buy inside I was lost. And as I pulled into the driveway of her school and parked the car, I could feel a shift in the air. And as I held my little girls hand as we walked up the hill to her classroom I could feel the tension in her body. And I we approached the door to drop her off it hit me. My daughter is in that dark place too.  She looked up at me and instantly started crying. She clung to my leg and sobbed. She said no words. She just cried and I didn't have to ask her what was wrong, I knew. This whole time I had thought I was putting on a pretty good show. I thought I was shielding and hiding this dark place from my kids but I wasn't. They know. They feel it too. And suddenly the acting out, the screaming, the yelling, the anger it all made sense. These actions are her 4 year old way of saying that she isn't coping well either. My distances, my anger, my yelling, my frustration; I am just channeling this stuff to my kids.

So after I finally convinced her to go inside and participate in school. I drove home. I parked our car in the driveway and I ran. My first solo, child free/dog free run. I ran, and I cried, and I ran some more. And I decided I would not do to my kids what my parents did to me. I will not have a pity party for myself. I will not give into this fear, anxiety and sadness. I will not lean on my kids so heavily that they are bogged down with the weight of my pain. I will NOT do this to my children. My children will know what happiness is because they will see it and feel it and know it. So I ran, and when I finished running I did the one thing that I have always been afraid to do. I called a therapist for help. Because lets face it, you can't hold a life time of physical, emotional and mental abuse in. It will come out eventually and without the right outlet it could be life changing and disastrous.

I have battled these lonely demons for far too long. It's time to get help.

I am in this dark place, guys. And if you are in the dark place with me, just remember to keep swimming. And know that you are not alone. Just call for help, I am in this dark place with you.

I have received a lot of concerned emails, text messages, and phone calls. I am sad sometimes, but I am happy. I am happy with my children, my husband, my life. There is a lot of my past I need to work through that keeps my spirit heavy. I am working through this, so that one day I can leave the baggage of my past right where it belongs; in the past. Thank you for your concern. 

15 September 2014

New Milestones {Preschool Bound}

Today was Kaydence's first day of Pre-Kindergarten. She has been anticipating this day for a few months now as we have school shopped and prepared for its inevitable appearance. I have seen pictures and heard stories of the weepy mom who cried the minute she got to the car after dropping off her teary-eyed and clingy preschooler for the first day. I have been trying to prepare myself for this milestone and the flood of emotions that would come with it. I already knew this was going to be hard for me. I knew I was going to miss her presence for the 3 1/2 hours she was gone and I knew I was going to cry.

But I didn't

I didn't cry. It wasn't hard for me. I didn't 'miss' her presence.

As we stood outside of her preschool classroom. I held her hand. I told her to be nice to the other children, however, don't allow them to bully her. I told her to share, to be kind, to be patient and most of all to have fun. I told her that this was going to be a great experience and that she was going to love it. She nodded at all my commands and remarks with nervous excitement in her eyes. When we entered her classroom I signed her in and watched her timidly wash her hands and sit down in a circle at the front of the classroom, as instructed. I stood and watched other parents desperately trying to peel the tight grasps of their screaming child off their arm. I listened to her preschool teacher calmly tell us parents that it is fine for us to stay for a bit to allow the children to acclimate and I watched the relief on the faces of some of those concerned parents who had hoped she would say that. I watched and listened, and then I did the complete opposite.

I quietly signed to Kaydence "Mommy is leaving now. I will see you soon. I love you." She nodded in agreement, signed 'I love you' back, and after giving her one last big smile I walked out. I was the only parent to do so.

There was no anxiety, no fear, no sadness, no worry. I didn't cry when I got to the car and or when I got home.

You see, the truth is, I welcome with new milestone of our life. A few hours of no sibling rivalry. A few hours of only being pulled in two directions instead of three. A few hours to grocery shopping without filing the cart with kids before I even put a single item in it. A few more hours to do laundry. A few hours to run (since my jogging stroller only holds two). A few hours to accomplish things that would have been much more difficult with three instead of two.

Now, don't get me wrong. I adore my little girl! I couldn't imagine my life without the amazing little person who made me the mom I am today and I truly enjoy playing, interacting, and being around the wonderful little spirit she is. I am not "happy" that she is gone. I am happy that she is being fully engaged, entertained, taught, cared for and fed in a safe environment while I have a few hours to get things done that would have not allowed me to do all of those things with her. I feel as though it is a win, win for both of us.

When I picked her up, I asked her if she was nervous when I left and if she missed me. Her response:

"Nope I wasn't nervous and I didn't miss you at all!"

I guess we are both in similar places :-)

10 September 2014

Little Words

Oh, this blog of mine.

There is no writers block, for I am not a writer. I have just had few words lately.

Life is busy these days. And while busy is certainly not bad, it is most definitely exhausting.

My mind is full, yet I have nothing to say. The past few months I have just been riding this river of life. Some moments are raging rapids in which I feel like I am desperately fighting to stay afloat of my raft. While other days, I feel like I am riding an inter-tube down a peaceful and quiet lazy river.

I have slowly and unconsciously began to detach myself from the cyber world of ours. Living more in reality and not so much the fantasy of social media.

Social media, the place in which I have 150 "friends" but 98% of them don't even know my favorite color. The place in which I determine how popular I am by how many people liked my pictures. The place in which I determine my happiness by how much "stuff" I have in comparison to others. The place in which I gauge my parenting skills, based on the articles presented in Huffington Post-Parents.

I find myself more and more disgusted in what I see on my social media sites lately. People desperately seeking the validation of others. The smiling faces of well behaved children, never the screaming faces of the tantrum throwing toddler. Pictures of dreamy places we only wish for in our dreams. Boastful comments and post, meant to attract the attention of others while hopefully validating the account holder.

I find myself typing a FB post or editing an Instagram photo and then immediately asking myself "What do I hope to expect from this?"

"Why I am I posting the 300th picture of my beautiful view?"
because I like to hear people tell me how beautiful it is.

"Why I am posting a picture of most recent 10 mile run?"
because I can't wait for someone to tell me how amazing and determined I am.

"Why am I posting another picture of the thermometer and my sad son's face?"
because I want someone to feel sorry for me.

...because I want attention.

So I have scaled back. Less attention, more humbleness. No longer are my 'running backdrop' photos a moment for me to brag. I take the photo and then I savor this special time that I have watching the sunset into the Puget Sound while listening to the sound of my rapidly beating heart and deep heavy breaths. Because when I don't post that photo suddenly this moment becomes something sacred. Just me and my run. No attention. Nobody will even know of this moment, but I forever will. And that is special.

So as I reset and reassess, I find myself with little words. While others are desperately seeking more Instagram followers, more picture 'likes', more Facebook friends, more Youtube subscribers, more attention; I am realizing that I am just fine being nobody. Because being a "nobody" means I don't have to try so hard to be somebody I'm not.