Caddyshack to Daddyshack

Carly told me I should write a guest post for her blog and honestly, with how much better she is at social media and sharing her thoughts, I feel kind of like I’m on Ellen or Oprah. My wife is the rock of this family and has impressed me in so many different ways in the 10 years since we met. I, on the other hand, sometimes feel like I really am her 4th kid behind the dogs and McKenzie. So I open with a heartfelt thanks to her for everything. Literally everything.

I am guilty of being a little less than generous with the sharing of my feelings. Not sure what that’s a product of, but I have numerous ideas. More on that maybe in another post. Carly has decided it is time to embrace the imperfections in our lives in order to become a better person and I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy. Especially in this time of 24/7/365 exposure to information, there are plenty of ideas on how to be a better mom, dad, kid, student, golfer, athlete, person, gardener, gamer, homeowner, renter, driver, drinker, non-drinker, friend…you get the idea. There is always someone telling you how you are supposed to be acting in every conceivable situation and/or how they are doing it better than you. Friggin’ exhausting if you ask me. I want to go back to the days when we were told to be ourselves, and that was good enough.

Being yourself is so hard. So you should never do it alone. Relationships are where the magic happens (in more ways than one). Am I too old to make that joke?

You are certainly built by your overall personality, and that doesn’t change as frequently if ever. You are shaped by your infinite amount of previous life experiences that no one knows anything about, even if they saw it on Snapchat or Instagram, #nofilter, #reallife, #hadtobethere. But you are also a reflection of the relationships you choose to maintain and strengthen.

Gee, Chris, thanks for the self-help talk.

You’re welcome! So where am I going with this? I’ll tell you where: Daddyshack.

Every phase of your life is different (this is where the changing self comes in). Your parents have warned you FOREVER that time flies and you should enjoy each and every moment because you’ll be “old” before you know it.

And dammit, they’ve been right every time.

When I found out I was going to become a father, on a golf course, via text message with a picture of the test, at 9 AM on a Saturday morning, you can only imagine the thoughts that ran through my head. Will I be a good father? Will I finish these last 10 holes under par? (I finished 2 over, PGA here I come) Where does one go to figure out how to be a father? Is there a course? Can I take it online? Can’t put anything on the internet that’s not true, so that could work. But, most importantly, in that moment I realized that life was going to change in a huge way. There were plenty of dudes out there that told me that life was “over” and I could say sayonara to golf on the weekends, strip clubs, riverboat gambling trips and eating meat. This bothered me in two ways. One, I felt like I was an outlier in that I was actually EXCITED to be a Dad and two, why the hell would I want to gamble on a steamboat?

Caddyshack was quickly going to become Daddyshack.

I was and still am pumped that this phase of my life is here.

We tried for so long to start our family. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think it was all over for me as a man and why I was so happy.

More importantly I think I was prepared because of my relationship with my amazing wife. In the 10 years we’ve been together, I have always thought we have pretty great communication skills (most of the time). I always get harassed for having to “check in” with Carly about plans after work, making tee times, going to sporting events etc. But I have always had a solution and a reason. Carly is my best friend (insert eyeball from the masses here). Cliche but entirely true. I can say this because we share so many great interests. Football, American football, golf, movies, superheroes, the outdoors, the list goes on. Sharing these things has always helped us connect and half the time “checking in” usually comes with an invitation.

Every relationship is different, I know this. There are many ways to be in love and have a successful relationship or marriage. I am definitely not telling anyone that “if you’re best friends with your wife, everything is wonderful! #besties #wifebff #ballandchainsoundslikefun.” That would defeat the purpose of my message.

You do you. If it works, it works. AND DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU HOW TO DO IT.

My relationship with Carly is the reason why turning Caddyshack into Daddyshack never scared me. Even though so many internet sources, books and other sources told me to prepare for the worst. That I should prepare to lose my trips to the pub, sporting events and tee times. Well, McKenzie was in a pub within the first few weeks of life, she’s going to a Liverpool match in July and Carly and I have plenty of golf outings on the calendar (yeah, I do have to keep a family calendar, so what?).

We want to expose Kenzie to all of our favorite things so that she can share them with us as well and eventually roll her eyes at them as well. So we keep on doing what we love doing and adjust as needed, because that little bundle of joy is the best thing that ever happened to us and she is our world. But that world does not have to be free of all the things that you enjoyed pre-toddler tantrum machine. Include the baby bear in all that you are able and enjoy what you can. We haven’t regretted it. Even when she is melting down because the straw fell on the floor for the 50th time or we wouldn’t let her play with the fork on the table.

Live your life. Take care of your partner. Keep your relationship strong and remember how you feel for one another. That is the foundation of embracing and enjoying all the changes that will come your way as you get older.

I’m not telling you I know how to do this. I’m just telling you I know that YOU can do this and anything else with the support of those around you.

Of course, I now have to golf at 6 AM and find myself singing the number of the day song from Sesame Street on the way there, but my game has never been better on and off the course.

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Gunga ga-lunga,

Chris

Checking off another “First”

Last night was MCG’s first night in her big girl room. I still can’t believe that she’s toddling around, saying 40+ words and growing into her own personality. At 14.5 months old she already seems to be more little human and less my baby. Every day she learns more and grows stronger. As I think about the last 2 years of my life (pregnancy-present), I find myself being very reflective. It feels like it was just yesterday that she was snuggled into her infant carrier while we strolled around Target at 4 days old. Or how I would lay her down to nap in her rock and play and just stare at her perfect face while she slept. Where has the last 14.5 months of my life gone? It seems to have vanished into thin air.

People would always tell me to relish the time when they are little; The quiet moments while they slept on your shoulder, the closeness of nursing, the sweet coos and the intoxicating smell of baby. At the time I truly thought I did a great job of being present and taking it all in. I still think I did the best I could to cherish those moments. But the evil truth of it, is that I don’t remember it very well. I look back now and wish that I would have done things differently. I suppose that’s why the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” exists. Every time MCG takes another step towards adulthood (I know, I know! Don’t be crazy Carly, she’s only 1!) I find myself becoming more overwhelmed with emotions. She’s just not a little baby anymore, and as a mama, this is hard to accept.

If you’re a new mom, a mom-to-be, a woman trying to be a mom, a someday in the distant future mom, this is my plea to you. Please listen. Take it all in. cuddle them more, you’ll never regret it. If you’re a grandma or a mom of grown children, teens, young children or toddlers, this is me telling you I get where you have been and I feel for you. These transitions are hard on us moms. Every time something changes, we realize they will never be the same again. This post is a weepy, sob story, love note from a mama of a not-so-little anymore baby telling you what I wish I would have done and what I am so glad I did while she was little. Take it or leave it, but know, I speak with my whole heart.

1. I wish I let MCG fall asleep on my shoulder more. She’s an incredible sleeper. We are so unbelievably lucky. We let her sleep in the rock and play until 4 months when we transitioned her out of our room and into her crib. After a couple rough nights, she fell in love with her crib. I don’t think I’ve ran into a lot of people that can say that their baby happily says “night night”, smiles when you lay them down, and consistently sleeps through the night and for naps. I would like to think that the reason she loves her bed so much is because we have made it a special environment for her. She has her soft sheet, her boo-boo, her aquarium and her “Eddie.” (Side note: Eddie is an elephant lovey from Pottery Barn kids that we named after Chris’s dad who passed away. She started using it when she was very little because she loves to have something close to her face. “Eddie” is one of the very few lovey’s we found to be small enough where we didn’t find it a safety hazard for her from early on.) But truth be told, we made her love her bed so much that she doesn’t want to sleep anywhere else, including on mama or dada. I should be happy about this, she’s a self soother and independent sleeper. But instead, I’m weepy. I miss those early days when she would cuddle in on my shoulder, when she would fall asleep while nursing. I wish I would have let her sleep on my shoulder more so I could feel her little heart beat and feel her tiny little rhythmic breath on my shoulder. I wish I didn’t always lay her down because she “had to be on a schedule.” I wish I would have cuddled her more. So cuddle your baby. Maybe they won’t be the best sleeper. But you’ll have that special time together. You won’t regret it!

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2. I wish I was in more pictures with MCG The dreaded postpartum “I look fat” don’t take my picture syndrome. It’s so real. I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans around 8 weeks postpartum but I certainly didn’t look the same in them. People tell you all the time that it takes 9 months to grow a baby, so give yourself a break. It takes at least 6-10 weeks for your uterus to shrink back to your new “normal” size. Your body will never be the same. Embrace it! Own it! YOU GREW A FREAKING HUMAN and then…GAVE BIRTH. You are a ROCKSTAR LADY! That being said, hindsight is 20/20. I didn’t feel confident or comfortable or anything of the sort. I stayed out of pictures because I didn’t like how I felt or looked. And I wish I hadn’t! There are SO many pictures of Chris, the dogs, my family and friends with MCG. There aren’t a ton of me and her, especially early on. It makes me sad. I should have jumped in those pictures and been proud to have grown such a fabulous human. So listen to me ladies, get in the picture! Tell your hubby’s, your partner, your boyfriends, your people to take the damn pictures. I’m glad Chris didn’t listen to me when I said not to take them. I’m glad to have these memories. I’m proud of who I am, mama.

3. I’m glad we took MCG everywhere with us. MCG has been in many breweries, restaurants and pubs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s a regular at Barry’s Old school Irish and Maria’s Mexican restaurant in the Village of Webster. Don’t worry, if we are there, you’ll know it. Not because she’s a screaming maniac, but because she loves to greet all the tables and make her presence known. We’ve traveled with her and been on many adventures. It hasn’t been easy, but its been great making these memories with her. Last summer we went on a quick weekend trip to Lake Placid. It was a really fun trip, but also in the middle of a serious nap strike. MCG transitioned out of her infant carrier at 4 months because she hated it so much. That meant she had to be held if we went anywhere because she couldn’t quite sit up on her own. I remember eating one dinner that weekend in shifts. Chris would take a screaming MCG for a walk down main street while I scarfed down food. Then we would switch. Looking back now, we were miserable but made the most of it. Those memories are totally worth the aggravation. And while it isn’t exactly easy to dine out with a very busy and active toddler, sometimes it can be fun too. We have had very few experiences where anyone has been less than understanding. Most of the time we get smiles and I’d like to think we help people remember what it was like for them during their early parenting years. Most people are happy to see an adorable little kid with pigtails saying hi to them while waving their guacamole covered hands.

4. I’m glad I took weekly and monthly pictures of MCG At first I thought i was going to be THAT annoying mom posting weekly updates of her kid. I mean, who really cares what a 46 week old kid is doing? But I am SO GLAD I took the time to document her first year. What an incredible transition it is from newborn to 1 year old! It was great to have the weekly pictures to look at and compare. It was also a nice way to keep people who we don’t see as often in the loop as far as what MCG was doing. AND its a nice way to look back on her milestones and changes in personality based on the captions. I put all the pictures in an album (YES, PRINT YOUR PHOTOS PEOPLE!) and have all the captions written out as well. It’s easy to look back and see when she took her first steps and what her favorite things were. I think of it as a modern baby book!

5.I’m glad I let other people take charge of her care at times Being a Type A person usually means I’m in charge and in control of the situation. But babies have a funny way of making you check your ego at the door. They do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it. If you think about it, they are little dictators. So when I, the Type A crazy lady became a mom, I had to learn that I couldn’t do it all. So I let others help. And I’m SO GLAD I did. Not only did letting others help give me the much needed break for my sanity at times, but it also made MCG comfortable with people other than just me. That break also allowed me to watch others enjoying the little miracle that MCG is. I realized when I took a step back and just watched my parents, my sisters and other friends and family interact with MCG, how much she had changed all of us for the better. She has been a true blessing in our lives. I’m glad I took the time to watch how much other people love and care for her. It fills my heart with such joy.

6. I’m glad we stayed up too late having dance parties and splashing in the bath tub Bedtimes can be pushed back if we’re having fun. It’s as plain and simple as that. Will we pay for it the next day? Sometimes. Was it worth the giggles and memories made? ABSOLUTELY. Get on the floor and play with your kiddos. Turn on some fun music and teach them to dance and sing and enjoy life. BeeGees and any disco music is a favorite in this house. We frequently stay up a little too late because we are having too much fun. Put on a swimsuit and get in the bubble bath with your kids. Splash and laugh. Water can be cleaned up with some extra towels. Make up songs to make wiping boogers easier (thanks GiGi for the boogie wipe song!) Try to make life fun for as long as you can.

7. I wish I took even more pictures and videos of MCG Thank goodness for TimeHop and Facebook memories. Each day I open up my app and see pictures and videos of my sweet, teeny, baby girl. But they aren’t enough. I wish I had more memories of the past year. I wish I took more time to capture those moments. But then again, I’m glad that I lived them instead. Our world has become obsessed with capturing memories. Its laughable, but many people see their life through a phone or tablet screen. As much as I would LOVE to see even more pictures and videos of MCG at that stage in her life, I’m glad I put the phone down and was present. Ask friends and family if they have pictures of your baby. My mom just sent my sisters and I this picture today with the caption “Hello my beautiful girls! This pic is by my desk and makes me smile. Look how little Kenz is! Love you all to the moon and back!” Just because you don’t capture a moment doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. And sometimes moments are meant to be captured. Those are the special memories you have in you heart.

As I stood inside the almost empty nursery this morning, I cried. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. She’s an independent toddler-lady who, aside from wearing diapers, could take over the world.  I don’t know why the big girl room transition has hit me so hard. I thought it would be her first birthday that made me break down crying. But for some reason this week has been the major transition. She went from being spoon fed to eating pouches on her own overnight. She went from needing to be carried out to the car and up the stairs to walking and climbing on her own. She all of the sudden seems to not need me as much. So the timing of the first night in her big girl room seems to be perfect.

And that gets me thinking, How many more “firsts” do we get to share with her? We were so desperate and excited for all them early on. I couldn’t wait for the first smile, the first crawl, the first word (mama!), the first foods, the first steps, and even the first night in her big girl room. Now I just want to press pause and hold off on all the rest of the “firsts.” She’s not ready! Or maybe it’s me who isn’t ready.

But ready or not, time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down. And if my crazy life has taught me anything so far, its not to take any moment for granted. Life is simply too short to not enjoy every moment. So for now, I’ll put MY big girl pants on and go get the not-so-little MCG up from her nap in her big girl room. We both survived her first night and nap in her pretty, purple, rainbow room. And even though we’ve checked one more “first” off of the list, I’m grateful for all the “firsts” we have left. And tonight, if she’ll let me, I’ll cuddle her a little bit longer and let her rest on my shoulder. Because she’s only this little for a little while longer.

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As always, thank you for reading and being a part of my life. Be present. Be kind. Be well.

Carly xoxo

To: all the women (this Mother’s Day)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous ladies in my life! Today, all women deserve to be celebrated regardless of your “mom status.” Here’s my note to all of you. To all the women out there who are dog/cat/bunny/bird/any other animal mama’s: you are an excellent mama. You love your babies with all your heart. You don’t care if they are furry, covered in feathers or gills. Your love for them shows in how you care for them. You go mama. To all the women out there who are working mama’s: I’m not sure how you do it. But you are rockstars. You manage a career and a household. You are exhausted and stressed and still find time to show your littles love. You’re incredible. Whatever you can give, it’s enough. You go mama.To all the women out there who are Stay at home Mama’s: it’s not easy being with your kiddos every minute of the day. Sometimes it’s crazy, sometimes it’s lonely, and sometimes you just want to drive with the windows down with explicit music on instead of Elmo’s greatest hits. But you’ve sacrificed career, money, and sometimes sanity to raise your kiddos. And you’re doing a great job! You go mama.To all the women out there that want to be mama’s: your time is coming! Don’t lose faith. It’s a long journey, sometimes through treacherous infertility waters, but when your time comes, you will be a GREAT mama. Don’t give up. It’s worth it!To all the women out there who can’t have kiddos, didn’t have kiddos, or whose kids didn’t have kiddos: Your support as a part of any mama’s tribe is more important than you know. Just because you didn’t birth someone doesn’t make you any less important in our lives. There are so many women in my own life, other than my mama, that I couldn’t live without. Thank you for supporting everyone else on their journey, even though it may be difficult for you. I promise to share my kids and let you love them as your own. Thank you for being a wonderful woman!To all the women out there who have adopted or shared their children through adoption: you have either given or received the best gift possible. Thank you to my own mother in law for opening her heart to my Christopher. So many families have been made whole by the wonderful gift of adoption. So thank you for giving your child to a wonderful home. Thank you for allowing them to be raised by another family who needed them! You did great mama. To all the women out there who are grandmas: you make every day more special. Not just for your grandbabies, but for your kids too. You support and you love unconditionally. Thank you for being a shoulder to lean on, cry on, rest on, and love on! You’re an amazing lady Grandma/GiGi/nana/Mimi/granny/Grammy/etc!To my own mama: thank you for teaching me to live and love with such passion. I respect and admire you even more now that I’m a mama. I’m not sure how you managed to raise 3 successful women, but I hope one day that my McKenzie feels the same way about me. I love you mama. I admire your strength, conviction, and passion to help others. I hope that I am even half the mama you are to me. To my three kiddos: Darwin, Chewie and McKenzie. Darwin, you made me a mama for the first time. You taught me how to care for another living thing. I love your grumpy old man personality and how you won’t leave the bedroom in the morning without me. You always know when I need a little bit extra love. Mama loves you. Chewie, oh my sweet cuddly bear. Thank you for bringing me your prized possession, your hula squirrel, as a gift this morning. You are the kindest animal I’ve ever met, and all you ever want is love. Thank you for being our crazy doodle whose tail never stops wagging and whose heart is so full of kindness and love.McKenzie, my love grows every day for you. I can’t believe how fast time is going and I wish that it would slow down so I could savor these precious moments with you even more than I already do. I hate that you are sick with the sniffles right now but love the extra cuddles from my normally independent baby. Thank you for teaching me patience, overwhelming pride and a level of love I didn’t realize was possible. You are a true miracle to daddy and I. I love you and your open mouthed kisses more than life. To my husband: thanks for making me a mama. I love our three kids and our insane life. Thanks for being a part of my motherhood journey and for your constant support. I couldn’t be a good mama without you. To all the mama’s out there: thank you. Thank you for being a mama. For loving you littles. For teaching them to love and helping them grow. You got this. You’re amazing. You have given up your body, your rest, your time, your careers, your self. And you wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s scary, exhausting, stressful, but most of all, rewarding. Motherhood is the greatest gift in the world. So kiss them and hug them and love them until they feel smothered! Soak up your littles, no matter how big they are today. For they are the reason we are mama’s. Happy Mother’s Day ladies!

1 step forward, 10 steps back

Have you ever felt like you just can’t catch a break? Like the whole world is conspiring against you? Like no matter what you do, things just can’t go right?

This is my life right now. This is the all-encompassing theme of my hive struggle. Every time I think we have made some sort of progress, no matter how big or small, something comes along to remind me that the hives are in control and winning. Every time I take one step in the right direction, those itchy, red son of a guns smack me right in the face and put me 10 steps backwards. I’ve got to be honest with you here, I’m so tired of it all. I’m so beat down mentally and physically. My poor body is fighting so hard and it’s just not winning. My positive attitude is diminishing. The negative side is creeping through. And although I know I need to change my perspective and be grateful for what is going well, I can’t seem to see through the pile of crap holding me down.

I’ve always promised to be honest with you guys. And excuse the language here, but shit’s about to get real. This isn’t a post about how to change your negative feelings and be positive. It’s not a post about how to persevere through your troubles and angst. This is a post about where I’m at right now. And it’s not pretty. With social media being so prevalent in our lives we tend to only see the good and positive sides of things. But that’s not real and it certainly isn’t honest. So here’s a dose of honesty for you. I’m about to vent, so if you’re not interested, as I always tell Chris, now is the time to leave.

This past week was a rollercoaster. We had a blast in Chicago, but we partied hard, didn’t get enough sleep, and flew on two different circulated air, germ factories (as Chris likes to call airplanes) within 48 hours. Kenzie and my mom were both sick when we were gone and I caught what they had when we got back. Both of them kicked their virus within a couple of days, but not Carly! As Chris likes to say, I never do anything half-assed. So leave it to me to turn a small cold into a much bigger problem.

As far as the hives went this past week, I was ok. They were still there (aren’t they always 🙄) but nothing nearly as bad as they have been. Even though I had a bit of a cold, they seemed to be at bay. Here’s the worst part about the hives being calm. I spend the entire time that I’m not covered in hives paranoid about when I will be again. It’s so ridiculous. Trust me, if I could change this I would, but patterns are patterns and for me the hives ALWAYS come back.

Friday comes along and I wake up covered head to toe and my cold seemed to be worse. My lips were blown up and my spirits were knocked down. I was eating pink Benadryl tablets like candy and praying I didn’t have to take any roids. Chris and I had a fun night out planned with our friends to see Trevor Noah, and I was freaking out trying to pick an outfit that would cover the majority of my red spots. After my 5th outfit change, my mom kept telling me you could barely notice the ones on my face and Chris repeated to me countless times that we would be in a dark theatre and no one would see. But here’s the problem, I KNOW THEY ARE THERE. These stupid things take so much away from me. They destroy my confidence, they amp up my anxiety,they depress me, they make me feel sad, angry and defeated all at the same time. I want to not feel any of these things, but anytime I make progress in that department, they find a way to cut me down again.

Fast forward to yesterday: I woke up unable to talk or swallow without being in massive amounts of pain, because that’s good right? Let’s set the record straight here. I had my fair share of tequila on Cinco de Mayo but these weren’t hangover symptoms. I’m sure the drinking didn’t help, but I was covered in hives on Saturday and refused to let those itchy, red devils take away another fun day with friends. So I drank some margaritas, stayed up too late and had a grand old-time sitting by the fire in my backyard. And now I’m paying for it. See that’s the other thing about the hives, if I do something to spite them, they retaliate worse than a toddler. I say “screw you hives, I want to have fun regardless of you!” And they say, “hold my beer.” (If you don’t get that reference, look up “hold my beer memes.” You won’t be disappointed!)

I spent all day yesterday in bed and on the couch with a fever. I went to bed at 7pm filled with every cold and cough medicine you can imagine and slept until 10pm. Then the coughing started. Not only did I cough so loud and frequently that Chris tried to sleep in the other room, but I also woke up the baby. I told Chris to go back to bed and moved myself to the recliner in the bonus room where I managed to get about an hour or two of sleep. Chris had to call into work because taking care of Kenzie is my job and I’m so sick I couldn’t do it. Plus I needed a ride to the doctor’s office where they diagnosed me with a severe ear infection and upper respiratory infection. Again, I can’t do anything half-assed.

I think my favorite part (this is sarcasm) about being sick is that my hives flare even worse than normal. They get mean and nasty because they want to be he only things messing with my immune system. They are big, red, puffy, hot, and they hurt to touch. So on top of being miserably sick, I also get to deal with a terrible breakout.

I saw a different doctor today than normal because my PCP is out of the office on Monday’s. I had to explain the whole stupid hive saga to her. While she was doing my checkup, she was saying that she could see the hives on my hands and feet (had to wear flip-flops because my feet are so swollen from the hives) but wondered if I had any elsewhere. I sarcastically laughed and showed her my legs and torso. The look on her face was priceless and confirmed what I already know, that I’m some sort of hive monster. My incredible allergist told me a few weeks ago that I am the worst case of hives she has ever dealt with. She didn’t say it in a mean way and I certainly didn’t get offended. She just solidified what I already know. Getting a cure for these things is damned near impossible.

You may be feeling bad for me right about now, and that seriously isn’t my intention. But it’s important for me to be honest about how I’m feeling. I’m not sure venting here will make me feel better, but at least I can get some of it off my chest.

I’m feeling incredibly guilty that Chris had to take another day off of work. I’m feeling terrible about not being able to take care of Kenzie, because that’s my only job right now. She’s been reaching for me and saying “mama” and I can’t pick her up and make her feel better. I’m so mad that I finally had a couple of good days but now I’m back to where I was before. I’m so tired of feeling sick. I’m only 30. Aren’t these supposed to be the best years of my life? Why do I have to take at minimum 8 pills a day? The medicine I take makes me gain weight and no matter how healthy I eat or how many miles I run, I can’t change that. None of my clothes fit, I hate how I look, I hate so much right now. I know I should be thinking about all the wonderful things I do have (family, my kiddos, friends, my home, etc) but that’s almost impossible to do when I’m so bogged down with negativity.

Yesterday I cried on my dad’s shoulder and told him that I was tired of being sick, tired of feeling this way. He told me that this is just a bump in the road, a really big bump, but just a bump. But here’s my question: when will I hit the pavement? When will it be smooth sailing? And if I ever get there, how long will it last? Because right now, as far as my eyes can see, there is nothing but bumpy dirt road. And man, that’s just so depressing.

My Tribe

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My tribe. My people. My family. My friends. My circle of trust.

These are the people I can always count on. The ones who know what to say and what to do to help me get through life.  My tribe is full of the people I CHOOSE to spend my precious time here on earth with. And that’s the beauty of my tribe. I choose who is a part of it.

My tribe is an exclusive group. I don’t just let anyone in. Even though I’m only 30, I’ve had a fair share of life experiences that has made me leery to trust people. I’ve been burned badly by family members and by people I thought were my friends. These experiences, although painful, have helped me learn a lot about who I want to surround myself with. In my short 30 years, I’ve learned a lot about my tribe and who I want to be a part of it. I hope that my experiences can help you realize what you want from your own tribe and help you surround yourself with the kind of people who will make YOU a better person.

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People come in and out of our lives for a reason. Cherish the moments with them. Realize that each friendship, each person we invite into our tribe, has a purpose.

My favorite part about having a tribe is that it is ever-changing. I’ve added some wonderful people to my tribe within the last year. Some of the people in my tribe have been there my whole life. I’ve lost some wonderful people and also gotten rid of some less than stellar individuals. As we continue to grow in our lives and our perspectives shift, it would be unrealistic for us to expect our support group to be the same. One of my very best friends in the world is Jennifer. I have known for as long as I can remember. We grew up together on Salem Road. We went to Ivan Green, Durand Eastman, and Eastridge together. And then, in 8th grade, I moved to Webster. We didn’t keep in touch. It wasn’t intentional. It was before Facebook, cell phones and texting. We were too busy with our own separate lives. We drifted apart and she wasn’t a part of “my tribe” at that point in time. Flash forward to the fall of 2007 when I was severely injured playing soccer in college. I had to withdraw from classes and come home. I was devastated. All my friends and my then boyfriend was in Michigan. None of my high school friends were back. I had no one. Jenn reached out to me on Facebook when she heard what happened. I remember her coming over with all the seasons of Gossip Girl and a bag full of jelly beans. We sat on the couch in my parents living room and that day she pulled me out of a really dark and very alone place. From that point on, we were inseparable again. Jenn introduced me to a whole new set of friends here in Rochester, many of which I still talk to today. She taught me to be more confident and to put myself out there. She took me to kickball and parties and I spent numerous nights on Jeff’s (her now husband) futon. I am forever grateful for our friendship. Even though we don’t talk everyday (our 3 little girls kept us busy), she’s an important part of my tribe. It’s crazy to think that Jenn came back into my life as exactly the right time. She saved me. Surround yourself with people who have positive impacts on your life. Embrace those friendships and be present in them as long as you have them!

struggle

Your tribe wants to help. They know when to help and how to help. Let Them.

I have struggled with asking for help for as long as I can remember. I am a very independent woman. For some reason, asking for help has become a statement of weakness to me. I feel guilty that I can’t accomplish something on my own and have to ask for help. I feel guilty that someone else has to take time out of their day to do what I can’t do. As I’m typing this, I realize how crazy that sounds. I’ve been working on my mindset and trying to change my perspective mostly because of something my Mom said to me recently. I was apologizing for the 100th time that she had to stay home from work to help me with McKenzie on a particularly bad hive day.  She told me to stop saying sorry. She was here because she wanted to be here. She was here because she wanted to help. She was here because she knew that I would do the same for her in a heartbeat. She was here because she needed to feel like she could help me.  In my original post “My Why,” I discussed the concept that sometimes the best you can do for someone else is allow them to be apart of your struggles and allow them to help. By being a strong, independent woman, I shut people out unintentionally. The greatest part about my tribe is that they don’t let me. Surround yourself with people who push back, with people who don’t allow you to struggle alone. Those are the people you want by your side.

see you smile

The people you mourn with should also be the people you celebrate with. 

Many of you may not know, but we lost my father in law back in January of 2010. Chris and I had been together 9 months when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (SMOKING KILLS! DON’T FREAKING DO IT!) We lost Ed 5 months later after a horrible month-long hospital fiasco.  And wow, thinking about it now, those were really hard times. As I sit here typing, I have tears in my eyes. All of the feelings are overwhelming. I don’t think about it much. I’m sure Chris doesn’t either. We were only kids. Chris was 24 and had to do the unthinkable and bury both his mom and dad. I was 22, in my own horrible rock bottom situation (I’ll explain this in another post) and trying to figure out how to take care of our house, puppy, and Chris. We were both lost in our own ways and struggling. But our tribe stepped in and did everything from driving Ed to appointments (thanks Auntie!), visiting him in the hospital (Ya-Ya’s, coworkers, my parents), taking care of our baby puppy Darwin (thank you Matt, Kim and Shannon), and taking care of Chris and I (too many to name). Months after Ed passed away, Chris proposed in Disney World and we began planing the most epic wedding ever. When going over our guest list with each side of the family we ran into a problem. There were just too many people. We needed to make cuts. It ended up being easier than we thought it would. We decided that if they didn’t care enough to come to Ed’s services or even check in on us after he passed, they weren’t invited. That seems fair and realistic doesn’t it? If you didn’t want to be there for me when times were hard, why would I invite you to celebrate with me on the happiest of days. Yes, we ruffled some feathers and made some people angry. But we’ve held our ground on this ever since and its been freeing. Surround yourself with people who will hug you when you’re sad and raise a glass with you when you’re happy.

yourvibeattracts

Do unto others. Pay it forward. Be a friend you would want to have.

I never quite understood the phrase “it takes a village” until MCG was born. On top of having a baby, add in the hives, and I know for a fact, we wouldn’t have made it this far without our tribe. In the last month alone, I’ve called in favors from just about everyone in my tribe. My sisters have sacrificed countless nights to help me with Kenzie. My sweet neighbors, the Meredith’s, have changed diapers for me when my hands were too swollen to do it myself. My aunt Nancy showed up with home-made anti-inflammatory soup and aloe to help with the itch. My dear friend Whitney brought a 12 pack of Saranac and pizza on a Friday night, gave Kenzie a bath, and proceeded to make me laugh when I needed it most. My parents gave up a whole weekend to let us take an adults trip to Chicago, and it was so much fun. Miss Amy showed up with flowers and a big hug on the day I needed it most. There are so many people who have brought us dinner and sent such kind and supportive messages. I can’t begin to tell you how much it has meant to Chris and I. You all have helped us more than you will ever know. Thank you for your love, generosity, and kindness. We promise to pay it forward.

Which brings me back to “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Chris and I have been deeply humbled by all the support these last few weeks. I’ve cried numerous times, happy tears though, because I never realized how many supportive and wonderful people there are in my life. I was talking/crying to my sister the other day and talking about how I couldn’t believe the outpouring of love we were receiving. Her response was a simple one. “Aren’t you always the one remembering birthdays, sending cards and gifts, being generous with your time and money, reaching out to someone you know is struggling, reminding people how much they mean to you?” Wow. That was a thinker. I guess that I do all those things. But I don’t do it so that people will do it to me. I do those things because I feel good about helping others. And when I saw the quote “your vibe attracts your tribe” I realized that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. My overall positivity (most days, definitely not all of them) and my charisma has attracted people to want to be my friend, and want to be apart of my tribe. Although I’m judgmental at times, I try to be as accepting as I can be. I want to raise McKenzie the same way my parents raised me: to love and respect all people regardless of race or religion or sexual orientation, to give everyone a second chance, to give back and give away, and to share all our blessings. If that behavior attracts the kind of people currently in my tribe, I’m doing something right.

nolongerhappy

Lose the negative people in your life. They are only weighing you down.

So, I can’t really go into detail on my own personal experience on this one. I don’t want to offend anyone or make anyone angry. That is exactly the opposite of this blogs purpose.  Here’s what I can tell you. There have been people in my life that I refer to as “energy vampires.” (I want to give credit where credit is due, but I have no idea who came up with the term. I heard it from a friend a long time ago.) Isn’t that the most brilliant term. You’ve been around people who the minute they walk into the room they suck out all the positive energy and fill it with negativity right? Think of energy vampires like the Dementors from Harry Potter. They make everything cold, dreary, sad, and lifeless. Well, newsflash people. You can’t be happy when you’re around energy vampires. They don’t want you to be happy. They are usually the type of people who aren’t happy unless they are mad. We all know at least one of these people and I would even guess that many of you have them in your tribe. I used to. But i couldn’t take them always bringing me down. My tribe needed some gentle housekeeping. So, I ditched them. I gently minimized the time I spent with them until we didn’t see each other anymore. And I’m better off because of it. Stop surrounding yourself with negative people. Your tribe should be a group of people who inspire you, who challenge you, who WANT you to be better off.

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So find your tribe, and love them hard. Love them real. Just love them. Be present. Be grateful. Be you. That’s all anyone should and can ask of you. If they want or need more, think about whether or not they belong in your tribe. Your tribe should raise you up, not bring you down. Your tribe makes you a better you.

So, My tribe.  You know who you are. This part is for you.

Thank you for encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Thank you for helping me through some very dark and trying times. Thank you for just knowing what I need and when I need it. Thank you for drying my tears and for giving the best hugs. Thank you for loving my Christopher as much as me. Thank you for pick up prescriptions and changing diapers. Thank you for researching urticaria and looking for a cure. Thank you for loving our sweet little miracle and our crazy fur babies. Thank you for watching 7 million soccer games. Thank you for driving hours and hours to see me for 30 minutes. Thank you for standing up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself. Thank you for calling to say hi. Thank you for being my voice of reason. Thank you for the hours of advice. Thank you for the years of friendship. Thank you for the lemon you gave me last night. Thank you for the 6 pack and whiskey. Thank you for car rides with the windows open, music blaring, and no words spoken. Thank you for the most majestic sights I’ve ever seen. Thank you for making me love nature. Thank you for trips to Dunhams and soaks in the hot tub. Thank you for the trips to the zoo. Thank you for the much-needed parents weekend out. Thank you for sharing your passions with me. Thank you for always making me feel welcome. Thank you for teaching me how to cook. Thank you for sharing your pain. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your laughter. Thank you for being my legs when I can’t stand on my own. Thank you for scratching the hives for me. Thank you for bringing dinner. Thank you for trusting me to share my knowledge with your kids. Thank you for making me an Aunt. Thank you for making me a godmother. Thank you for making me a part of your family. Thank you for wanting to be my friend. Thank you for wanting to be in my tribe. Thank you for just being you. You’ll never understand what your love and support means to me.

Love always,

Carly XOXO

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Mid-flight thoughts…

Hi from 32,000 feet! Today’s post was supposed to be about “my Tribe,” but I got sidetracked trying to prepare for our quick getaway to Chicago and honestly didn’t have time to finish it. I could have posted what I had, but the recovering perfectionist in me couldn’t do so without an edit. So here I am, in seat 6A, eating my peanuts, listening to Elmo’s greatest hits (I forgot to download any new music [insert face palm emoji]) and typing away.

This weekend away is really important to me. It serves several purposes. It’s an opportunity to see my “little brother” Patrick, a chance to escape all the craziness at home (work, hives, etc.), and it’s time for us to be Chris and Carly and not mom and dad. Don’t get me wrong, being “mama” is absolutely the most rewarding job that I have ever had, but a vacation from any job is necessary to stay sane. With all the hive craziness lately, I’ve really struggled to maintain my identity as Carly. I’m really excited about a weekend full of beer, brunches, and adult fun.

None of this would be possible without GiGi and Papa, who are taking over the house and caring for our zoo. So, thanks Mom and Dad for giving Chris and I a chance to spend some quality time together. You’ve always told us that it’s important to keep the spark alive and give our relationship attention. We wouldn’t be able to do that without all your help. Thanks for loving our babies, even with fevers and colds (so sorry)!

Now to share why I’m sweating and out of breath while sitting on the plane. Our journey to the airport was nothing short of ridiculous. We left home at 3:25, but we needed gas. I grabbed us coffees at Dunkin while Chris pumped gas. Of course my simple coffee order turned into a 10 minute wait because they were out oo cream and hazelnut flavoring and had to refill everything while I waited. The thruway was swamped on a Friday afternoon, because of course it was. I thought our flight took off at 5:20 and made Chris panic. Thankfully it was 5:40. We didn’t pull into the airport until 5 at which time Chris told me we were looking for the green parking lot. I made Chris turn by a green sign which ended up being departures instead of parking. Oops. We had to do a loop around the airport at which time we were following a cop through a 5mph zone, because of course that would happen when we were running crazy late. It took us 5 minutes to find a spot to park and we rushed out of the parking lot so fast I have no idea where we parked. (I just asked Chris if he knew where we parked and he doesn’t know either. I guess we will deal with that problem when we get back.) I felt like we were in a movie running through the airport with all our bags. We finally made it up to grab our tickets completely out of breath and realized our flight was delayed 20 minutes. THANK GOD. But don’t worry, the security line was the longest I’ve ever seen it in Buffalo. But we made it through security with enough time to go to the bathroom and buy a water.

When we finally sat down in our seats on the plane I started thinking. And as we were taxing out on the runway, I found myself panicked for the first time on a plane. Chris and I haven’t flown since McKenzie was born. There’s nothing like leaving the most important thing in your life on the ground to make you worry about going up in the air. It’s really crazy how the minute Kenzie was born everything in my life completely shifted towards making sure her life was the best I could make it. That’s includes me being around. I didn’t panic about leaving her with mom and dad, in fact she waved and said “bye” to us as papa held her and we walked out the door. I didn’t have time to panic as we hit traffic on the way to buffalo and barely made it through security in time to board out plane. But as soon as I sat down I was nervous and my palms were all sweaty. I said a quick prayer as we were taking off to all my angels to get us safely to Chicago. I don’t think I’ll be able to take a deep breath until we are on the ground at Midway.

As we climbed higher in the air and I waited for the all clear to use my iPad, I looked through my photos for pictures of Kenzie and the boys and watched videos of them loving each other. I realized just how much I’m going to miss that sassy little beast baby, the grumpy old man doodle and the tail wagging cuddle bug puppy. That’s the craziest part about being a parent I think. The push and pull between your old life before kids and wanting to be there for all your kids moments. You can’t wait to get away or even just go on a date, but you end up spending the whole time thinking and talking about your babies at home. And you know what? I’m totally fine with that. I’m going to have so much fun adulting and brunching and hanging with Chris this weekend, but I can’t wait to get that FaceTime notification and see Kenzie’s sweet face and hear ” hi mama.” Because, even though I need Carly time, “mama” is who I really want to be right now.

Signing off from somewhere over Michigan in crazy turbulence (because of course it’s a bumpy flight.) As always thank you for the love and support.

Carly xoxo

Embracing your IMPERFECT side

What in the world does the Honest IMPERFECTionist mean? Why did I choose that as my blog name? Why does spell check keep changing imperfectionist back to perfectionist? Why did I improperly capitalize a bunch of letters? Why would anyone want to embrace their imperfections?

It took me a long time to come up with the appropriate name for my journey. My tribe [I talk all about what this means next blog post!] and I brainstormed hard about my values, my purpose, my identity and my ideas. I kept coming back to the terms chaos, honesty, journey, embrace and imperfection. I realized I needed to build on those “core values” to come up with the “perfect” name. And thus, the honest IMPERFECTionist was born. In order to fully explain why I chose this name however, I think its important to break it down into pieces. So, lets start with Honest.

Honesty itself is a very simple concept. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines honest as “good and truthful.” That seems simple enough. But the act of being honest is a bit more difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to lie and more fun to be bad. Sometimes being truthful can hurt someone’s feelings. But the phrase “honesty is the best policy” is exactly what I’m going for here! I promise to be honest. I promise to write each entry from the heart. I promise to be truthful about my feelings and not sugar coat what’s going on. I may not always say something in the nicest way and you may not agree with what I say, but I promise it will be good and truthful.

Now to the made up word, “imperfectionist.” Urban dictionary (I am ashamed and can not believe I’m using this as a literary source [insert face palm emoji]) states that imperfectionist is defined as “being good at being imperfect.” What is imperfection then? Obviously its the opposite of perfection. So lets start with that. Merriam-Webster (finally a real source) defines perfectionism as ‘a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable; especially the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness.”

Talk about a mouthful. Let me break this down into layman’s terms for you. Being a perfectionist means that anything less than the absolute best is wrong. It means you have failed. It makes you feel like everything you do means nothing unless its perfect. Harsh, I know. But it’s the truth.

Before I go in-depth about being imperfect, I feel the need to share my personal story of perfection. Many of you who know me well understand my perfectionist tendencies.  If you don’t, you’ll understand quickly that I strive for perfection daily and it usually gets me into trouble. (HELLO CARLY, YOU HAVE A CHARACTER FLAW!) The scary part is that I’m not sure where my need for perfection came from. My parents never pushed me to be perfect as a kid. It was always “did you try your best?” NOT “do it again until its perfect.”  So why is it that so many of us aim for perfection?

I don’t think it’s a problem to aim higher, to strive for better, and to be the best at what you do. In fact, those are still my personal goals. Those goals helped me to achieve great success at a multitude of things, including playing Division I soccer, having a professional career, and many personal achievements as well.  I think as I have gotten older (and I’d like to think wiser) I’ve realized that perfection and success are not one in the same. I believe that it is possible to achieve success without being perfect. But most perfectionists can not define success without achieving perfection.

I found this awesome article “9 signs you may be a perfectionist” by Elizabeth Lomabardo Ph.D. that really made me reflect on my own perfectionist tendencies. Your personal definition of perfection may be completely different from mine. Understanding what perfect means to you will help you learn to embrace your imperfections. Follow along with these 9 signs and my personal interpretation of them. Do some self-reflection and think about if these relate to you.


  1. You think in all or nothing terms – I would define this simply as being inflexible. You only see things in black and white, there are no gray areas. I think that people with analytic brains tend to do this more than people with more creatively driven brains. As I have gotten older, I hope I have trained myself to be more flexible. After all, change is the only constant in life. And as Darwin (Charles, not my Dog) has taught us, Adapt or become extinct.
  2. You think, and then act in extremes – When I’m in a particularly bad mood I tend to fall into this trap. For example:  “I’m already fat from all the meds I’m on, so give me all the cookies.” I totally fall off track with eating healthy and to be honest, I don’t even have that much of a sweet tooth. But when you realize that perfection is unattainable, it is easy to just go to the extreme and fall of the wagon.
  3. You can’t trust others to do a task correctly & you struggle with delegation – THIS IS ME. I admit it. My family has referred to me as the “dishwasher nazi” at times. I’m semi proud of the fact that only I can correctly load my dishwasher. I guarantee I can fit more dishes than anyone else in there. But guess what, as long as the dishes are getting done and I’m not the one washing them, I need to be okay with it. This is a struggle for me. I’ve gotten better over time with delegating but there are just some tasks that I must handle myself!
  4. You have demanding standards for yourself and others – I expect everyone to put in 100% of their effort all the time because that is the expectation I have set for myself. Anything less than 100% isn’t acceptable. BUT, this is totally unrealistic. I have to remind myself that I am different from other people. I can’t expect them to do exactly as I do. Plus, their 100% and mine may just be different. My Dad, Tom, is constantly reminding me to lower my expectations of others. This may sound kind of bad, but I think it’s so important. Just because I was generous with my time and effort, doesn’t mean another can be. They could be struggling or honestly just incapable of being empathetic. It doesn’t make them any less of a person. Lowering your standard doesn’t mean changing how you act, just what you EXPECT other people to be able to do
  5. You have trouble completing projects because there is always a way to improve on what you have done – This is my life as a crafter. I can’t tell you how many times I have worked for HOURS on a painted glass that should have only taken me 30 minutes. I get close to finishing it and I realize I don’t like the orientation on the glass, or how the letter “o” isn’t perfectly even. I started to remind myself that people are buying a hand painted glass. If they wanted perfection, they would buy a screen painted glass of Amazon. The benefits of hand-made gifts are that they are entirely unique and personal. Having a small flaw here and there isn’t a terrible thing! Plus, I guarantee I’m the only one that sees these “flaws.” I would never send out a glass that I didn’t think was made well.
  6. You use the word “should” a lot – UGH. GUILTY. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kid of bossy. I catch myself doing this frequently and its honestly something I am working hard to fix. Example: My wonderful husband (who admittedly drives me insane sometimes) was cooking a meal for us recently. I watched him use a pan that was too small, so I told him that he SHOULD use the other pan. He rolled his eyes. Then I told him that he SHOULD use a certain knife to cut the veggies. HOW FREAKING ANNOYING AM I?! Why can’t I just be present and grateful that Chris is cooking for me after a long day of work? It’s definitely something I have acknowledged and am working on.
  7. Your self-confidence depends on what you accomplish and how others react to you – Anyone would be crazy to say that they don’t feel a burst of pride and confidence when someone tells you that you’ve done a great job. I feel that pride when I get feedback from coaching or good reviews on my Etsy page. But I’m going to give major Kudos to good ole Barb and Tom for this one. They cultivated my self-confidence at a young age and set the foundation for me to feel good about ME. I truly don’t feel as if I need positive reinforcement in order to feel good about ME. But its taken me a lot of therapy (heck yes I go to Therapy!) and self-care to get to this point. I still have the days where I am down on my appearance, drive, or work ethic, I know how to work my way back to confident Carly. I know many people do need that validation and encouragement both in their professional and personal lives. Don’t feel ashamed by that. Instead, work on ways to make you feel good about you. [see upcoming post about using a gratitude journal]
  8. You tend to fixate on things that you have messed up – If any of my soccer girls are reading this, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU! Focus on the positives, realize and accept the negatives and move forward. Without making mistakes, we can’t learn. Athletes are notorious for this one. I remember a teammate who would score 3 goals, work insanely hard during a game and would come off the field miserable. No one could understand why because she seemed to have the “perfect” game. But in her mind, she focused on all the passes she didn’t connect, all the traps that bounced out of reach, and that one goal she SHOULD have had but missed. HELLO LADY, YOU SCORED 3 GOALS AND YOUR WORK ETHIC INSPIRED OTHERS TO WORK HARDER. Don’t forget about your mistakes, but accept them, learn from them, and move past them. Barb always says “Accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives.”
  9. You procrastinate or avoid situations in which you think you may not excel–  Who wants to do something they are bad at? Answer: No one. It sucks to be the “newbie” in any situation. But if you embrace the chance to do something new, you can realize it may be fun! For example: We tried curling this past winter with a group of my Brother and Sister-in-laws friends. It was a riot, and SO MUCH FUN. And guess what, I WAS TERRIBLE at it. I figured being an athlete I would be able to figure it out quickly. Let me tell you, after falling on my face 3 times on the ice, I can tell you that those Olympic curlers are bad-@$$. Even though I was bad, I got a little better by the end of the lesson and I had a great time with friends. In fact, I think I even want to try it again next winter. Moral of the story is, you’ll never know until you try. And if you try, and suck at it, try something else. Everyone is good at something!

So now you know my story about being a perfectionist and some signs to watch for in your own life. I hope you were able to reflect a bit and relate to them personally. If you couldn’t, congratulations you have reached perfection status and should move on to my next post. If you’re still here, congrats on being honest and realizing that nobody is perfect!

If nobody is perfect, then everyone is flawed. If everyone is flawed, then everyone is IMPERFECT. Just like I told you before, my mama Barb always reminds me to accentuate the positives in life. You may think that your imperfections aren’t positives, but I am here to tell you that they are. Your imperfections make you unique. Your imperfections are YOURS alone. Own them. Be PROUD of them. Recognize how they make you FEEL. WORK on them and in turn, Work on YOU! Self care is so important and most of us ignore it. One of my neighbors posted something the other day that really hit home with me. Why is it that we can go into target and drop $100 (Most likely on Magnolia decor because who doesn’t LOVE Chip & Joanna) on miscellaneous crap, but we can’t spend the time or money on taking care of ourselves? I personally think that most of the time it’s because we ignore our flaws and imperfections. We cover them up with make-up, hide our insecurities with humor,  and cover our mom pouches or extra happy pounds with particular types of clothing. Why don’t we allow ourselves to be imperfect? Why can’t we embrace the reasons for those imperfections? Why can’t we change our perspective and see positives in those imperfections?

I’m a 30-year-old mama who is covered in itchy red blotches most of the time currently. I’m fair-skinned and covered in freckles in the summer time. I have acne, and stretch marks and really big thighs. I’m bossy, I like things done a certain way and I hate being alone. Sometimes I over-help people and I really need to work on my boundaries. I’m passionate and fiery and will stick up for anyone else, but myself. I talk a big game but I’m a really sensitive, empathetic person. I’m Carly, and these are some of my imperfections. I’m proud of them. My imperfections make me unique, they make me stronger, they have taught me so much about myself. Instead of running from them, I’m learning to EMBRACE them. I’m learning to cope, and I’m finding reason behind them. I’m shifting my perspective and accentuating the positive.

Here’s my positive take on my imperfections. My hives have given me purpose, they have taught me to advocate for myself and my health. My fair skin and freckles are part of my identity. I love my freckles and hate covering them up with makeup. They tell the world a story about how much I love to be in the sun and my Irish heritage. My acne is annoying but it is also manageable. My stretch marks are proud scars of a lifetime of weightlifting and motherhood. I’ve earned them! My thighs are huge, and strong, and powerful. I can carry heavy things and run 10 miles. I’ve earned those thighs. I’m bossy and like things a certain way, BUT understand that my way isn’t always best. I’m learning to let others help and learning that being the boss has its down falls and perks. Being alone is lonely but also the best time to focus on Carly. I am learning to enjoy my alone time and to use that time for self-care. I’m learning to not over-help. People need to find their own way and I need to let them. I’m proud of my passion for life, sports teams, etc. I’m fiery and spunky and it’s ok if someone else doesn’t love that part of me. I love that part of me. I’m sensitive and empathetic and I’m proud of that too. I cry a lot, I wear my heart of my sleeve and I truly care about others feelings. It’s not always easy, but its worth it.

I encourage you to do this activity to help shift your own perspective. Write down your imperfections. When you’re finished you will see how much you critique and put yourself down. Go back and look at those statements and give yourself some love. Put a positive spin on your imperfections. Realize that although you may have things you want to work on about yourself, you’ve already taken a major step towards loving yourself and believing in yourself. This is how you embrace your imperfections!


So to wrap this all up, I’ll go back to answering my initial questions.

What in the world does the Honest IMPERFECTionist mean? Being an Honest IMPERFECTionist simply means, that it’s ok to feel however you feel, be whoever you are and accept your journey through life.

Why did I choose that as my blog name? I chose the name The Honest IMPERFECTionist because its my mantra, and it’s where I currently am and need to be in life. It’s not all sunshine and roses, its real issues, real feelings, and it’s OK!

Why does spell check keep changing imperfectionist back to perfectionist? Spell check is stupid and obviously a perfectionist. [see what I did there?]

Why did I improperly capitalize a bunch of letters? I capitalize IMPERFECT because I want to highlight the IMPERFECTions and be proud of them.

Why would anyone want to embrace their imperfections?   I think the better question is why wouldn’t we? It allows us to be kinder to ourselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean lowering our standards. It means that although we are not perfect, we can still strive for greatness and success. And most importantly, if we don’t immediately find that greatness or success, we can choose instead to embrace our imperfections and practice self-care and self-love.

That is exactly what I want this space to do for people. Encourage self-care and self-love. I want this to be a place where you can relate to others feelings, both good and bad. I want to celebrate our differences, accentuate the positives, but also be realistic and true. I want you to feel like you’re not alone in what you’re going through. So to end this, I’ll humor my husband and quote his favorite animated flick Toy Story and Randy Newman, “You’ve got a friend in me!” And I’ll open you and your imperfections with open arms.

Thanks as always for being on this journey with me!

Love,

Carly xoxo

***Tune in Friday to Read all about “My Tribe” and what the heck that means.***