Dear younger me.

Dear early 20 something me:

Hi, cupcake. It’s me, your 32 year old self. There you sit, somewhere between starting to date Dading at 19 and starting to work at the company you do now. Here’s what you have to look forward to:

You’re going to marry this boyfriend. You’re going to have two beautiful boys and that family you always dreamed about. You did it- you found your other half. You never thought you would but no, you don’t end up alone and lonely. You end up fulfilled in ways you never imagined.

You’re building a house. Yes, you read that right. You are actually getting that dream house to go along with that dream family.

But guess what? You almost lost this man because you thought the grass was greener. You are thankful every day that you came to your senses before it was too late. You learned a hard, ugly truth about yourself that you will hate about yourself for the rest of your life. You learned that you don’t really know what you are capable of until you are in that situation, and sometimes you won’t like the answer. But you also learned that those dark times led to personal growth, and you wouldn’t be the person you are now without them.

You learned that you are strong. You carried two babies inside your body for 10 months. It was hard, so hard sometimes, and you wanted to give up. But you did it- and I don’t want to freak you out but they were BIG babies, to boot. You aren’t as thin as you were in high school, and it sucks, but you have done amazing things with this body and you try every day to love it for what it has given you.

You learned to struggle. Financially, emotionally. You were crippled under the weight of anxiety, and you learned to overcome with an amazing support system. You opened up to the world about it in your blog- yes, you’re a mommy blogger! Surprise! No, we don’t have a mini van despite Dading’s best efforts. By opening up, you found your voice and it helped you grow as a mom, as a person, as a wife.

You learned to say no, you learned to let go of those who didn’t help you grow. It hurt, but you did it. You have experienced loss, you have made tough choices for your family, and you have learned that things can turn out ok, even when it seemed like they were falling apart.

You still wear your heart on your sleeve, and it still blows up in your face sometimes. But you don’t change it- couldn’t if you tried. You still love fiercely and whole heartedly. Your firecracker temper is even worse now, but you own it. You have learned to stand up for yourself, although that one you are still working on. You have learned to do things without the support you sometimes needed, and it has made you stronger.

You have learned to have big dreams. You have figured out what you want to be when you grow up finally, and are working towards that goal right now.

Don’t change a thing, and be excited for the wonderful things that are to come. You are ok- you are loved, you are smart, you are making it. I am really proud of you, and all the things you have done, and the things I know lie ahead for you.

Love, Me.

Chips are for guac, not shoulders.

We all have that one friend, that one coworker, that one family member who is always negative. The wine glass is always half empty, everyone is out to get me, whoa is me blah blah blah. If you are saying to yourself “I don’t know anyone like that”- you might be that person in your circle! Time to re-evaluate your life choices, kiddo.

I am like the most hypochondriac (hypochondriacal?) person I know. I think it’s rubbing off on the kids at this point. The sky might always be falling on chicken little me, but I am not a negative person. And I despise being around negative people.

I love Rachel Hollis. I credit her with firing up my entrepreneurial gene and fueling my self help spirit. If you are a female and have never listened to Girl, Wash Your Face or my current listen- Girl, Stop Apologizing- you are doing yourself the biggest disservice ever and go download it on Audible like yesterday. It is life changing, I am dead serious. In the book, I am at the part where she talks about your circle of friends, and how they can negatively or positively influence you.

This works in all relationships in my life. Negative coworkers make me not want to go into work in the morning. Spending time with negative friends leaves me feeling agitated and unhappy. Family members that can’t last 5 minutes into seeing them before they tell you about the latest injury or friend that passed away. It’s super depressing.

DadingWITHOUTanxiety and I are struggling with a lot of shit right now. Selling your house with two little monsters ain’t a walk in the park, I’m here to educate you. We have so many house showings where we have to be out of the house that we are basically homeless at this point. Having a ton of showings is a good problem to have, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t totally disruptive to our day to day life. The stress of hoping your house is good enough that people want to buy it, that it stays clean and decluttered enough that they can envision themselves living there. That nothing goes wrong with the house while we wait for a buyer. And a really big one- that we get to house closing ASAP because we are also making payments to the new house while this is going on. So, a lot of shit.

The power of negativity plays into this too. You feed off the emotions of others. When I get too stressed, Dading is there to say its ok and calm me down. I attempt to do the same for him, although I will confess he’s much better at it than I am. If we are both maxed out, all we do is stress each other out more.

It is so important to surround yourself with people that lift you up, instead of bring you down. And if you have people you can’t really avoid, like family or coworkers, it’s important to give them as wide a berth as you can. From experience, they are never going to change and it’s a hard lesson that I am still learning that it isn’t my fault. And for those people that are worth it, and are feeling down, lift them up and help them through it. We talked about this before, in my blog about return investments. Give your energy to those that deserve it, and those that will return the favor.

Eat your chips, don’t carry them around. They get stale, and nobody wants that noise.

Lifestyles of the moving and exhausted.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s because…. we are moving! We are selling our house and building our dream house! This is something DadingWITHOUTanxiety and I dream about when we have those “what if we won the lottery talks.” We never thought we would actually be in a financial position to buy a house. I know I always say we are broke AF and don’t worry, that is still very true. In the 9 months it takes to build our house we are bunking with family, and the sale of our house allows us to pay off all our debt and live off one paycheck while we wait. It’s this perfect mix of events that allow us to do this. We are thankful to our parents for allowing this to happen- taking on a family of 4 with a puppy is no small task, especially with our particular breed of beasties 😉

Everyone who’s ever moved knows it is a bitch. Having the honey-do list of things that need fixing up before it is selling quality, having to pack all your shit so you can stage the house, etc etc. We are super fortunate to have the best realtors ever- shoutout because I know mine reads this blog- and we know we are in good hands. This will be our third time moving, and in case you were wondering- it’s still just as fucking exhausting. I’ve made and cancelled plans like a thousand times with our friends because I overestimate the amount of free time we have right now.

Something that has been nagging me is that I feel guilty for building this really nice big house. When we show off the model home to anyone, I feel like I am bragging about it. It isn’t a mansion by any means, but for us it might as well be. How screwed up is it to feel guilty? We work hard, and we worked hard for this house. It isn’t normal to feel guilty about something you earned and worked hard for. Is house guilt a thing? I’m going to have to work on this.

Obviously, my anxiety has been through the roof lately. Because I have an anxiety disorder, I never know how much is normal person anxiety, and how much is me. I know moving is stressful for anyone with a pulse, so I guess I’m going to have to give myself some slack on this also.

This is an exciting journey and milestone for our family, and thank you for allowing me to share it with all of you 🙂

Return investments.

Something that has really been on my mind these last few weeks is investing. Not in money (you have to have it to invest and we are broke as a joke y’all), but in people. I have a horrible habit of putting people on pedestals. And, of course, they end up disappointing me. I know it isn’t fair to them to do that, because everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. And they aren’t me, so they are never going to react the same way I do, or do things the same neurotic OCD way that I do them. Sad for them? Pffft, totally.

This is something I have struggled with for years. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I over share, and I pay attention to other people and what’s going on with them. I am a good listener and I try to be there for people. It has been hard to find my tribe that puts in the same effort. I’m not tooting my own horn- I am finally at a place in life where I have some self-worth, and know the things that are important to me and things that make me a good friend.

I think it is this self worth, that I have finally acquired through therapy this past year, that has made me see how much effort I put into people that don’t give it back. Sometimes it’s never texting back, sometimes it’s responding curtly to a friendly email, or someone who doesn’t listen to me when I talk. These are all examples of things that have happened to me, and unfortunately I have a longer list. It used to disappoint me so bad, but now it just makes me angry. Why do I waste so much time and energy on people who don’t really give a fuck? I used to think it was a reflection on me. Now, I know it has everything to do with them.

Life is short. Invest in people who will return it in spades. Let those friendships go that aren’t helping you grow as a person, and are holding you back. Be ok with it, because it isn’t healthy for you to be the one putting in all the effort to keep it going.

You guys, this has taken me YEARS to figure out, and it is so empowering! I still get hurt by it, but my first instinct is to get mad now. The world is so full of negative energy, and if someone turns up their nose to a little bit of kindness and caring, then I’m going to take my investment to a different bank. I would rather be surrounded by just a few people that care, rather than a whole crowd that really doesn’t. Is this a 30’s thing? Someone do a TED talk about this and get back to me.

Live your truth.

So I spend a lot of time reflecting on my personal journey, both with mental health and finding out who I really am. Lately I have been thinking about what it means to live your truth, as we so often hear the expression. I have never been the person to spend money on myself, or buy things for myself- but lately that has changed. I have hobbies, my crafting business I have started (Self Shoutout: check me out on Instagram @MandyBearDesignShop), and goals for my life that I have just kind of figured out (full disclosure on that later, don’t worry guys. It’s top secret for now though 😉 )

And in typical #momguilt, I have felt so guilty about that! I feel selfish for wanting things for myself. How dare I? I have a family! But then I think- if I don’t show up for myself, what example is that setting for myself and my boys? Is it shameful to want to grow myself, both professionally and personally? Am I not also doing these things to give my family a better life and better opportunities?

We have to live our truth, boys and girls. Even if it takes you 32 years to figure out who you are, who you want to be, what you want out of life and where you are headed- you have to listen to that voice inside you (your gut, as my Granny would say). It’s ok to have dreams and ambitions, and they don’t make you any less of a mom, or dad, or spouse.

My truth is that I am not perfect. I struggle with my weight, my self image, and my anxiety. But I show up every day for my hubs, for Biggie and Smalls- and dammit I’m trying to show up for myself too. My truth is that I do exist outside of being a mom. I have hobbies, and interests, and dreams. My truth is that I want more out of life than the status quo. I want to grow, and keep growing, and keep learning. I want financial stability for my family.

We have to be truthful with ourselves. It’s really hard to admit that just being parents is not always completely fulfilling. It’s ok to want more for yourself. It’s ok to go out there and grab it by the balls and make it your bitch. Because in the end, our kids are going to see that they can do and be anything they want, because Mom and Dad did it their whole lives.