Ladies, We Can't Have It All...And That's OK

This post has been percolating in my heart and mind for a while now. Even though we're still a few weeks away from Little Nugget's arrival, I'm already undergoing some pretty drastic changes as I enter into motherhood. It's mostly wonderful and life-changing in absolutely amazing ways. But sometimes it's also tough, it's a struggle, and it's unexpectedly sad.

I've Arrived

I grew up with a very blue collar upbringing, which is not to say that I was lacking for anything. I say that with pride, in fact. Both of my parents worked very hard, they worked with their hands, and they wore jeans. I know that sounds weird, but you get my point. I didn't come from a family of suit-wearers. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. We had two family businesses that my folks ran like champs, and my brother and I got to witness hard work front and center, every day. It wasn't always dignified and it certainly wasn't often fun, but it was invaluable and deeply ingrained in me a work ethic that I appreciate more and more with every new job and life lesson I see play out.

That being said, it was recently that I had one of those self-reflecting moments where I felt like I had finally arrived, career-wise. It couldn't have been more than a year ago, and I don't even remember the exact moment it dawned on me, but I came to the realization that I had made it. 

I was in Colorado for one of my monthly visits to the headquarters of the start-up for which I worked. I looked up for a second and took in the sight of this little girl, looking very grown up and very polished. My nails were manicured, my venti Starbucks was in hand, my handbag was chic, my outfit was a tasteful mix of tailored blazer and hemmed denim, and I walked with the confidence of a young woman who fully owned her VP title. In some ways, I felt like I was playing dress up, but when I attended subsequent meetings and unabashedly shared my two cents on the matter and helped mold our collective company, it was clear that I was actually contributing something. My voice mattered, and I was someone who people many years my senior were trusting to own my job fully.

A Shift in Perspective with my Morning Cup

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when I got a fresh dose of perspective. I walked across the street to the Starbucks from the hourly writing gig that I took mid-summer to earn some form of income in the wake of the official news that our start-up had stalled out. As much as I enjoyed tackling a new post as web copywriter, it was a total lifestyle shift for me. I went from working out of my home (when not in Colorado) to working in an office again; I went from an impressive salary to a wage that I made circa post-college graduation; I went from dressing like an executive to dressing like a college student (which, to be fair, wasn't all bad on the mornings that I felt too pregnant to muster more than jeans and a t-shirt). I'm less complaining and more so trying to convey that it has been a far bigger shift than I think I've really processed. But life happens, and bills need to be paid, so there you go.

Back to the coffee shop...

I'm waiting for my venti coconut milk latte at the counter at Starbucks -- and I'll mention that it was a venti only because it was the one morning out of the month on which a local bank covers coffee orders for all the local folks who work in the area, which is decidedly awesome and one of my favorite days of the month -- when I looked over and saw a young woman, looking ever so chic and professional, about my same age. She was wearing a beautiful sheath dress under a stylish blazer, simple jewelry, a tasteful ponytail, and her hands were beautifully manicured in a soft pink. We briefly made eye contact, and for a moment, I wanted to cry.

The very next moment, however, I smiled and let it soak in. I fully immersed myself in the reality of where I was, where I had been, and where I was going. There I was, 8+ months pregnant, waiting for my free coffee with far too much excitement, and realizing that a new season was upon me. 

A Season for Everything...

My arrival as a career woman -- or at least my perception of such -- had come and gone, and here I am on the cusp of...gosh, I hardly know. I imagine it'll consist of sleepless nights, sweatpants, sippy cups, and a ridiculous amount of time spent staring at a tiny human. 

I'd love to tell you that I've only looked forward with excitement and joy, but that wouldn't be the whole truth. I mean, it's absolutely true that I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to get to be Mommy to this Baby Boy, to M's son. But I've also looked back at the past -- near as it may be, relatively speaking -- and I'm mourning a bit. There's nothing to say that I'll never again dress nice, travel, or have a career-type role, but I have to imagine it will come with race cars stuffed into my Louis Vuitton, shorter nails so I don't scratch at bath time, and holding back tears as I try to enjoy being wined-and-dined because I'm away from my child(ren).

Because here's the thing: we can't have it all. We can't do all the things because we're split as women. Split between being a good wife, a good mom, a good colleague...and any one of those roles is a full-time gig. I'm not saying in the slightest that men don't also have these seasons of change and identity-crises, but I do know what it is to be a woman who just wants to do it all. And I can't. 

And you know what? That's just going to have to be OK.


Second & Third Trimester Favorites

Circa 2nd Trimester Bump
Way back when, I shared my First Trimester Favorites. It's been almost five months to the day since that post, and I figured it's high time I share my second and third trimester favorites before Baby Boy makes his arrival. I'm combining second trimester and third trimester because let's be honest, I can't remember one week from the next, much less when these officially became clutch in my book.

Also, you get no cute Pinterest worthy graphic this time because 36 WEEKS PREGNANT.

This Little Girl's Late Pregnancy Must-Haves

Maternity Jeans

Even though I did splurge on a Maternity Stitch Fix earlier in the pregnancy, I otherwise decided that I would spend very little on clothes during this whole ordeal. I have a hard enough time shopping for clothes for myself when I'm in shape, so it was a no brainer to just stretch my wardrobe (literally) as much as possible. One thing I did buy and have zero regrets about is a pair of maternity denim with a full panel waist. I tried on several styles, and some just downright confused me. The ones with the little stretchy notch and button waist? Who are those fitting? Because, no. I did, amazingly enough, find a total winner at Old Navy. Their Full-Panel Skinny Jeans were perfect and have held up beautifully for my whole pregnancy. I wear them all the time, which you can't beat for under $40!

Sippy Cup (Ahem...Water Bottle with Straw)

We are no stranger to Hydro Flasks around our house, and I blame M. They're really awesome products and my 16-ouncer gets a ridiculous amount of play keeping my coffee hot on a daily basis (albeit still decaf these days...Hey, remember caffeine?). M surprised me with a 40-ounce Hydro Flask water bottle when we got our walking orders from the birth coach to drink 120+ ounces of water per day. It sounds like a lot, but once I added the straw top, I found that it wasn't difficult at all, especially given how cool water stays in these bad boys. This is a Mama Must-Have in my book.

Epsom Salt Baths

I am no stranger to epsom salt baths, especially when coupled with my beloved Young Living Essential Oils. However, they have taken on a new level of divine goodness the more preggers I get. Every time I sink into a warm tub, it's like a long-awaited hug and it's beyond wonderful. It was this very feeling that convinced me to labor and deliver in the water, assuming all continues to go well to allow that to happen.* Not only are these baths incredibly therapeutic, but the relaxation and temporary break from feeling so very heavy is heaven. Mamas, get you some QBT (Quality Bath Time). But bear in mind, you may need a spotter.

Husband-Coached Child Birth

I read a lot of books during my pregnancy, and most were really helpful, but one that stood out was Husband-Coached Child Birth by Dr. Robert Bradley. We read this one during the course of taking Bradley Method classes, which I honestly cannot rave about enough. The book can get borderline preachy, but the dude developed the method and wrote about it, so he's got a pass. If you're considering natural childbirth, I highly recommend taking a class locally (you can find them on the Bradley site). I wouldn't consider the book a replacement because I love the live interaction of a class and getting to hear the perspective of an instructor who has actually been through natural L&D, but it's a great supplement and provides additional detail that I found beneficial and helped M and I both feel really prepared for what lies ahead.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bars

Since part of being a good Bradley student means following Dr. Brewer's pregnancy diet for optimal nutrition, I had to do some serious work to up my protein intake. I'm a vegetarian and notoriously roll my eyes at the "How do you get your protein?" question, but getting up to 80 grams per day was no joke. I started eating fish a few years ago (so yes, technically I'm a lacto-ovo pescatarian, but how annoying does that sound?), so we eat a lot of salmon up in here, which has been a great source of protein and omegas. But when I started working in an office again and crazy life got the best of me, Quest Bars became my new BFF. My brother turned me on to them and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ones are my jam. 21 grams of protein per bar? Yes please, and thank you.

I've got more maternity/pre-natal posts up my sleeve as things crank down a bit in anticipation of Little Nugget's arrival, so be on the lookout for those. I can't believe we're just a little over 3 weeks away from his due date! So excited to share this next chapter with y'all...

*We were initially going to deliver in a hospital under midwife care, but decided a few months back that a birth center was more conducive to the L&D experience for which we were shooting. I'll probably elaborate on that more one of these days.


Humorous Pregnancy Realities

There are plenty of posts and articles out there that will warn you all about the unexpected realities of being pregnant and having children. So much so, in fact, that it's fair to say you've been effectively warned. Be it the truths of the quippy, borderline-gross variety, or those heartwarming little ditties that you feel like you have to read just to continue on (as though there were anything to do about it anyway once you see those double lines).

But I've realized as I enter my 35th week -- which, WHAT THE WHAT -- that there are certain humorous elements of pregnancy that I've yet to be warned about. They're small, and it's highly possible that these are unique to this little girl, ever full of grace. (So much not.) But they're very real, and I thought I'd share some with you, dear readers.

The Shiz No One Tells You When You're Expecting

  • When you bathe, you will absolutely, 100% feel like a walrus. Perhaps if you have a very large tub, you'll feel slightly more elegant, like, say, a seal. But when you sink down in your average, builder-grade tub to get a nice soak and hopefully bring some relief to your aching back and hips, you're going to have to do a little rotisserie action to actually clean your whole body. And then you'll be stuck because your tiny wrists are no match for the behemoth that is your body these days.
  • Every time you wash your hands, you will absolutely end up with water on your belly. You don't have to be a vigorous washer or anything, and it's not like we're talking scrubbing in for surgery. If you're near a sink, you will have water splatter all over your lower belly. Step back to wash...same thing. Belly is a magnet for wayward drops. And cookie crumbs.
  • Want to get out of bed? Roll it out, Mama. There is no sitting up, no sliding out, just roll and hope for the best. Hopefully you don't land on one of the eleventy pillows you now need to get mediocre sleep. Make that effort count by waiting a few extra minutes and just knock out two bathroom breaks while you're at it.
  • You will run into everything. It's like your protruding tummy is a magnet for every chair, every corner, every bookcase, every doorway...you just will hit them. Eight feet of open space? Oh, you'll find something to nick. Promise.
  • Showering. It's nearly as awesome as bathing. Sure, you're upright, but want to give you feet a little rub rub? Yeah, it's not going to happen. Leg shaving will render you breathless -- not in the good way -- and you may pass out. In fact, it's very likely. A shower spotter would be advisable, but really, ain't nobody want to see that.
  • Whatever someone just told you, or whatever you just told them, it will evaporate from your brain the moment it's said. Write it down, record it, maybe hire a scribe. But your ability to remember anything is shot. Going to the store for a single thing? You must take a note. You will not remember said item. You will remember, however, Hostess Cupcakes.
  • Your appetite at some point will likely tank. You'll know you need to eat, but nothing will sound good, and the concept of having to select 3-5 meals a day will leave you so overwhelmed that you can't even. You might cry over the mention of the word "lunch." You still, however gain weight, and when you have just enough energy to get dressed, sit for 8 hours, and maybe eek out a meal (i.e. cereal all around), you'll also be told how important it is to exercise throughout the pregnancy. Just. Shut. Up.
But, here is it, the obligatory "it's all worth it." And truth? Duh. Of course it's worth it. Making a human is awesome. The reality that the constantly-moving little dude in your belly will some day hug you, draw you pictures, and make your family something new and amazing is something else. It's too good. 

So yes, you will feel like a clumsy buffalo for months on end, but you'll also get to be a mommy. Fair deal in my book, y'all.


Writing. So Very Much Writing.

Well, hello there. It's been ages.

Yes, I am still alive. And pregnant.

The reason I've been so quiet around here lately is not for lack of things to share. In fact, there are many experiences and moments I've had that I really, really wanted to nail down for posterity sake. 

But, to be honest, I'm running out of words.

You see, earlier this year, my day job as a Product Manager for a Healthcare IT company started to slow down a bit. Without going into detail--because frankly I still respect that company and have hopes that someday I can perhaps resume my role there--it was an IT start-up, and those are not for the faint of heart. I found myself in need of a regular, dependable paycheck, as we all do, especially given that it would only be a handful of months before I'd need to take time off to have a baby and, you know, raise him for a bit. (I'm hoping I can swing at least three months at home full-time with Little Nugget, and beyond that, I'm leaving it up to The Lord. But I have put in a request to work from home if at all possible. You can request things from God, after all.)

So, all that being said, I've been working the last month now as a web copywriter for a boutique SEO agency. It's actually been a really interesting experience already, and I feel like I've learned so much. I'm amazed at how relevant the training I'm getting is on so many fronts, and I feel pretty blessed to be working as a professional writer. As long as I've been at this deal, this is the first time (that I can recall, at least) that I'm getting paid to use my words. Pretty neat, huh?

Because of this new role and the fact that I'm cranking out thousands of words of copy every.single.day, I honestly don't have much left at the end of a workday. I forgot how draining it can be to produce that much content, as I haven't been forced to flex those muscles so stringently since my years as an undergrad writing major. So while I'm enjoying it and I do feel like the constant creative output is keeping my brain sharp (or at least sharper than it could be if Pregnancy Brain was left unchecked), my own writing has suffered. 

But it's only temporary. We'll see what the months after baby hold for writing, and I'm hoping I'll eventually adjust and may even be more productive with my own content as a result of this gig. But in the meantime, that's why I've been slightly MIA. 

Not that you asked. 


Best Fort Worth Coffee Shops {According to a Local}

CappuccinoWhen M and I get the chance to travel, we typically rely on Yelp and recommendations from friends on Facebook to find some hidden gems in any given locale. One of our first searches? Legit coffee shop. These are easier to come by in, say, areas like the Pacific Northwest, Austin, major metro cities, etc. And now that I'm preggers and off caffeine for at least a few more months, it's even more crucial to find decent coffee shops on the road. Decaf offerings in most mediocre stops are sad at best, so my options are limited unless we find a place with a decent menu and barista expertise. (These are the places that when I ask for decaf cold brew--which has eluded me to this day--know to offer up a decaf iced espresso instead. They don't suggest hot decaf coffee over ice. And yes, this suggestion has been made. I can't.)

When we're home in Fort Worth, we typically enjoy coffee at home. It doesn't hurt that Hubs is an amazing barista, and we have plenty of fun machines and gadgets with which to work. However, we still like to venture out for a good cup o' joe on the weekends, and we love buying freshly roasted beans from some of our local favorites. (After all, best technique and best gadgets in the work don't mean much if you're work with crap beans.)

So without further ado, I present to you...

My Top 3 Fort Worth Coffee Shops

Avoca Coffee Roasters {1311 W. Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth 76104}

We noticed Avoca before it even opened in 2011 because of its convenient location right across the street from one of our favorite Fort Worth restaurants, Spiral Diner. Both are located in the charming Historical Fairmont district, and I think Avoca has been busy since they opened their doors. The first time we tried it, I loved the ambiance and beautiful wood tables, but the coffee was just OK. We chalked it up to early-day growing pains, and they are now our regular stop to restock on decaf beans. (Their decaf De Silva is so ridiculously good. Like, best decaf ever. And I hesitate to share that because they're already getting harder to come by. Soooooo, please don't take all my beans y'all.) The New Orleans Style is my go-to when drinking in, and they recently opened a smaller location off of Foch Street (in the bustling West 7th area), which should be great for mid-day coffee stops since their flagship location on Magnolia is always bumping.

Buon Giorno {915 Florence Street, Fort Worth 76102} 

BG will always have a special place in my heart because (1) M introduced me to this adorable cafe and roaster, and (2) it was my first taste of quality coffee that could be consumed without a ridiculous amount of sugar or cream. Their cappuccinos are consistently smooth and creamy, and I definitely have a weakness for their vegetarian quiches. This spot is located near downtown Fort Worth, and their roaster is in Grapevine (which is also a cute shop). This is where I often meet friends or colleagues to hang out for a few hours because it's cozy and a bit easier to find a table than others on this list. They're open late too, which is awesome when we're craving an evening coffee date. We even bought beans here for our wedding, both to serve and to fill the apothecary jars that we gave out as favors. (Just enough for French Press for two!)

Craftwork Coffee Co. {4731 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth 76107} 

The only shop on this list that doesn't roast their own beans (though they source some absolute winners, such as Tweed out of Dallas), Craftwork came onto our radar earlier this year because they're located just a few blocks away, right off the charming old bricks of Camp Bowie. This place is a really smart concept: they serve awesome coffee, as well as offer private and shared workspaces that can be rented out full- or part-time. Their business model is really solid, which is great because we want them to stick around! Their machine is absolutely beautiful (M has a crush on it, and I'm OK with that), and their decaf almond milk cappuccinos are hands-down the best I've ever had in a coffee shop. (The only rival? Capp a la Mikey. For serious.) The owners are super nice and regularly working behind the bar. Solid new addition, and we love having them in the neighborhood.

So if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, be it as a visitor or a Funky Town resident yourself, I highly recommend these Fort Worth, TX coffee shops. There are certainly plenty to choose from, and we're spoiled in that respect big time. Cheers, friends!

Do you have a favorite coffee spot in Fort Worth? Do share!