Lessons in Positivity From a Diehard Pessimist

Anyone who knew me in high school or earlier, would definitely conclude that I am a pessimist. Those who know me now would probably not have a strong opinion, as I am not as vocal about my negative views these days as a used to be.

I always jump to the worst conclusions. Always. My attitude is that if I expect the worst, I won’t be disappointed.

It’s easier to be a pessimist, and to have low expectations. I’m not disappointed this way.

But just because something is easier and more comfortable does that make it what is best overall?

This attitude is comparable to never falling in love so that you don’t get hurt. Or never driving anywhere in fear of getting in a car accident. Or never having children so you won’t see them in pain. You won’t get hurt, but life is going to be incredibly boring and lonely. It is part of life to take risks, and part of life to get hurt sometimes.


Relating to this subject, I really love this book by Brene Brown, called Daring Greatly. In one of my classes in my final semester of grad school, we discussed the content of this book at length. Vulnerability and its importance are one of the main themes of the book. If you want an engaging book that really makes you think, and also causes you to reevaluate the way you view the world I highly recommend it. Buy it  on Amazon using the link below. (Disclosure: This is an affiliate link, so if you purchase something I receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use and love. Thanks for supporting my blogging!)

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead


Vulnerability is an uncomfortable subject. It’s what opens us up to hurt, to pain, and maybe even to ridicule. But it is also what provides us with the most amazing things that life has to offer. The most incredible experiences ever that are more than worth the risk.

When it comes down to it, pessimism (for me at least) is a way of protecting my vulnerability. No one, (including myself), can tell me that I failed if my expectations were low. While expecting the worst might stop me from being disappointed when things don’t turn out right, it causes me to live my life in a gloom and doom manner. Which isn’t great.

Lessons in Parenting

When I look at my son, there are just a few things that make him unhappy. He doesn’t like his choices to be limited. I won’t let him chew on my phone, or fall face first into an empty bathtub, or any number of things that are dangerous or destructive. This makes him mad because he doesn’t get to do what he wants. If he gets hungry, needs to be changed, or if he is bored he also gets upset. But that is seriously it. He doesn’t think about how he could possibly be hungry in the future, or that mom might thwart his future attempts to explore. He lives in the moment, and doesn’t worry about unnecessary things in the future. Worrying about the future is one of my most frequent pastimes.

It is obviously not possible for me to be as in the moment and carefree as my son is. I have bills to pay, a job, and a family to care for. But I can learn many valuable lesson from him, one of which is to not worry so much about the future. That bright ray of sunshine deserves a mom who sees the world through optimistic eyes. I need to strive to not always assume the worst. This way I can allow him to live his life a little more independently in the future (When the adventures he wants to take are a little more well thought out than trying to fall face first into a bathtub of course).

Have you caught yourself being a pessimist and found the motivation or technique to change? Let me know in the comments below!


For the Days When You Have Nothing Left

I’ve had those days. Days where you are too tired to get out of bed, where you hear the baby crying and you pray they will go back to sleep. When they keep crying and all you can do is drag yourself out of bed, pick them up, and lay back down. When you have nothing left to give, but you keep giving.

When people you love are doing all that they can to help you, and you can’t help but feel angry at them for no reason.

When it seems impossible to go to work, but you do it anyway.


Then when you get home and you just want to lay down, cry and sleep but people need you. You tell yourself that you can’t possibly do anything else, and you take care of the baby for 6 more hours and then you finally get to collapse into an exhausted pile in your bed.


And then in the morning you do it all over again.


I want you to know that it gets better.


Take care of yourself, and it will pass.


Take care of your body, and it will take care of you. Eat well, do what you can to get adequate sleep, and ask for help when you need it. Learn what is normal for you, and what is very much not normal, your body and your mind screaming for help. Unfortunately I have become far too familiar with the not-normal, the depressed, the angry, and the exhausted.


I’ve been absent from the blog this week because I have finally come out of my exhaustion funk. I have been busy, but not on here. I am cleaning the house regularly again, and I took advantage of my new found energy and overhauled the entire house. It was like nesting without an impending baby.


And it feels AMAZING.

I am determined to keep my house in order.

I am determined to do my best work at my job.

I am determined to recommit myself to my religion.

I am determined to lose the baby weight, the marriage weight, the grad school weight, and the antidepressant weight. I am embarrassed to admit to the world that this totals up to almost 40 pounds.

I want to be healthy for my son, my husband, and myself. I want to be happy when I look in the mirror, and to feel confident again.

I am also incredibly proud to say that I am in the process of scaling myself off of my antidepressants. I am not ashamed of taking them, but I am happy to say that I am to a point that I no longer need to rely on medications to be me again (If you missed my article about my experience with postpartum depression, you can read it here).



I’m not perfect. All of my struggles aren’t suddenly gone.  But I’ve reached a turning point in my life. And I’m proud to say that it is a rare day that I find myself running on empty, with nothing left.
As corny as it sounds, I am going to be the best version of myself that I can be. And I am so excited.


*Update* A few days in, I realized (and readers expressed concern about this as well) that this was far too many goals to work on all at once. I am currently focusing on two of these and will work on the others at a later date! I got a little over zealous!

Why I Refuse to Apologize for My Loud Baby at Church

I don’t think there are many things cuter than a baby who has recently figured out that they can make sounds. In church however…it can feel mortifying. And I’m not talking about a melt down, I’m talking about happy screeches and shrieks.

My hubby works every other weekend (a crazy nurse’s schedule) and so every other Sunday I am left to wrangle our little munchkin on my own. For us Latter-day Saints (or Mormons, as you may know us) church is 3 hours long! You heard me right, 3 HOURS. We have Sacrament Meeting, Sunday school, and then for the last hour we meet in many different groups that I won’t get into right now. So for that long stretch, I am trying to keep my little cutie happy, and quiet. (hahahaha yeah right. Almost made it through that paragraph with out laughing, but I just couldn’t do it).

I took to a Facebook group of moms that contains many latter-day saints such as myself. I asked them what to do about my loud baby. My thinking was that maybe they had some hidden techniques or secrets that I hadn’t thought of yet.  They responded , and I was humbled by their answers, which I have listed below.

“Let babies be babies. 🙂  I don’t mind hearing all the babies and little kids making noises at church.  It’s adorable!”-Rebecca

“Eh they are just getting cute and adorable! Only thing that keeps my baby quiet (for a little bit) are rice puffs, Graham crackers, Cheerios…those kinds of things. But… it only lasts so long. Afterwards he gets full and wants to play and be loud!”-Cailey

And my personal favorite….

“Try not to sit close to the grouchy older people? Ha ha” –Whitney

I also asked my mom and mother-in-law for advice as well, and their answers were very similar to the ladies in my mom group:

Kierstin: “Embrace it!”

Mom: “Own it! Like, my baby is so happy! And: My life is so great! All true statements. Not recommended: Mom joining in on the sing song noises.” (My mom is so funny. Not something I would have ever said as a teenager, but it sure is true!)

After all of this, I realized something. It really is ok. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD IF HE MAKES NOISES AT CHURCH. I was being selfish, and making it all about me. Like many others, I worried people were going to judge me if my baby was loud, or that we would be distracting to other people. I need to relax, and be ok with him making sounds. Right now, this is how he is communicating with everyone around him, including me! I shouldn’t do anything to stop him from finding his voice, or stop him from talking. He is way too young to understand that it is ok to talk other places, but not there.

It might be a little embarrassing, but most reasonable people won’t be upset if a baby is cooing or squealing happily. So I won’t apologize for my loud baby. (Still working on this, but I am trying not to apologize). More accurately, I am working on not apologizing.

So chat on little buddy. You are amazing. Thanks for helping me grow as a person everyday. I’m incredibly blessed to be your mama.

Daily Miracles (Admidst the Monotony of Parenthood)

The daily monotony of parenthood can be painful, and boring. It can seem like an endless stream of diapers, feedings, and spit up episodes (and subsequent outfit changes as a result). But let’s stop and think about what is happening right now. It might not seem like it, but you witnessing daily miracles. And what is that?


There is a little piece of you, and a little piece of your spouse put together, months of growing, and thousands of miracles, and grown into an amazing being! A living, breathing, (adorable!) little person.

Every day they explore the world, and experience new things. Every day is an adventure. Everyday, they get a little bigger, get a little better at using their hands, a little steadier at standing or walking.

The other day, my little guy figured out that he had a tongue. He figured out that there was this thing in his mouth that he can move around, make sounds with, and blow raspberries with! He also figured out how to army crawl around the house (Which means I need to up my child proofing game…)

So when they grab everything in sight and shove it in their mouth? They are exploring the world around them with boundless curiosity. Everything is brand new to them.

When they scream when you leave the room? The world is a scary place with out you (even just in your living room), and they are still figuring out that when they can’t see you, you didn’t disappear and you are coming back.

When they bite your finger so hard they leave tiny teeth marks? They are figuring out how to use those brand new (razor sharp!) teeth!

When they head butt you so hard you see stars? They are figuring out neck control, and how to move that cute head around!

When they grab your face with their slobbery hands? (Or maybe shove their fingers up your nose…) They are figuring out that you have a face, just like them! How exciting is that?? There are a million more, but you get the idea.

With this perspective, everything isn’t suddenly magical unicorn ice cream with sparkly sprinkles. However, it can make it easier to be more patient. You are blessed to be able to be a part of this daily miracle, so do your best to enjoy it :).

You Are Flawed, and That’s OK!

We all have those days. Days where we feel like we aren’t doing anything right. Days when we question every decision we have made. We can’t pull ourselves out of a funk, and we just aren’t happy, no matter what. We feel horribly inadequate, and incredibly flawed.

I’m having one of those days today. Stressed beyond belief, and not for one specific thing. It’s for A MILLION reasons. Am I making the right decision for my family by working? But not working doesn’t feel right either. And I need to be exercising, eating healthier, and I need to do more baby activities with my little man, and watch less TV, keep the house cleaner, write in my journal more, spend more time on the blog (or maybe less??), do something with my hair other than always throwing it into a bun, and there is so much laundry to catch up on, and did I make the right call at work today?? And…


I had a conversation with my wonderful Aunt Sherry when I was home in California in December. I expressed to her that I worried about my decision to go back to work and if it was right, and she gave me a fantastic piece of wisdom. She told me that there aren’t any perfect answers, if your family is taken care of and you’re happy, then that is what matters.

So for someone like me, who is constantly over thinking EVERYTHING, that means that if my little family is getting what they need, then I can (try to!) calm down and stop panicking about whether what I am doing currently is the right thing to do, and if I am doing enough. It’s definitely a process.

While we should always be striving to improve, and attempting to find balance, it gets to the point where we need to love ourselves, and be ok with the fact that things aren’t perfect. Allow ourselves to grow, but be patient with ourselves. Because there are no perfect answers or magic solutions. Every family and individual needs different things. Most important of all though, your family needs you to be sane, and happy. They love you, and you should love you too! You aren’t perfect, you are flawed, and that’s ok!

When it’s not the Greatest Day of Your Life


I had the opportunity to write a guest post for Hot Minute Mom! Check it out here! Or read below!

I experienced one of the most beautiful moments in my life this weekend. What was unusual about this is that it wasn’t a romantic date, it wasn’t a holiday. I was sitting in church with my husband and baby, and the baby fell asleep laying across both of our laps. Really, it was just a Sunday. Nothing special, but it was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced in my life. I was so content, and so at peace, sitting there with my little family. It is one of the few times I have been able to enjoy a moment and not worry about other things. This moment made me think about what really matters in life.

Because the truth is, while we can’t deny the significant role big days such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays play in our lives, we spend way more of our time doing unexciting tasks. More often than not, our time is spent completing mundane activities. We might be at work, we might be cleaning the house (AGAIN? I mean really, with all the technology out there shouldn’t I have a self-cleaning house??) It can be easy to wish away the day, to wish for more excitement, but why? We need to learn to be content with quiet happiness.

One of my favorite quotes that describes this is from Jenkin Lloyd Jones:

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

Am I saying that you should learn to be happy in a miserable situation? No way! Take charge of your situation and make changes if you need to. But quiet contentment is BEAUTIFUL. Some of my favorites in my life currently are going to the grocery store as a family, or all of us cramming into the comfy chair together in the evening, or going for a drive in the country. And when I think back on my happy times in my childhood, the things that come to mind are family nights at home when we couldn’t contain our giggles, not vacations and or a trip to Disneyland. And while I have enjoyed our days that would be considered monumental, I am learning the importance of being happy in my daily life as well.

In motherhood, sometimes it is easy to think that I want certain things to pass by, like an illness, or teething, or certain phases. But really, each phase is wonderful in its own way, and I am doing my best to soak up every moment. Plus, I get more cuddles when my little man is feeling icky, and who can complain about sweet baby cuddles??

When I think back on my life, I want to be able to say that I lived in the moment, and appreciated what I had. I’ve been working hard to slow down, be ok with accomplishing less, and finding happiness in small things. This doesn’t magically turn our lives into sunshine, rainbows and unicorns, but it can help us see the small rays of light in our daily lives.

So hold that baby for a few more minutes. The dishes can wait. Don’t only take pictures and write in your journal about exciting events. Take a picture of your family having a movie night, or making a blanket fort. Don’t forget to enjoy today.

When Breastfeeding Isn’t Beautiful


My Story

Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. So natural, so easy, so wonderful…except when it’s not.

We had a rough start with our breastfeeding journey. My little man was in the NICU for his first 5 days of life due to low oxygen levels. He was so lethargic that we struggled to keep him awake during feedings. If any of you have been unlucky enough to belong to the NICU parents club, you know that they monitor many things, one of which is they weigh diapers to make sure those littles are getting enough to eat.

A few days in and my milk hadn’t come in yet. The diapers weren’t weighing enough, and we were instructed to begin supplementing. For about the 800th time since he had been born, I cried and cried. I felt like my body had failed me and my baby. I pumped constantly in my hospital room, and tried to breast feed him at every scheduled feeding. It was so hard, he was so sleepy and unwilling to feed, and covered in wires and tubes. I was trying to recover from childbirth, it hurt to sit in the uncomfortable chair in the baby’s room, deal with raging hormones, sore nipples, my new responsibility as a parent, my strange post pardum body, and overwhelming fatigue. One day, I fell asleep in the chair with the baby and was berated by one of the nurses. I just wanted to take my baby home. If I asked for help with breast feeding, the nurses and lactation consultants helped us but it was very uncomfortable to have them in my personal space giving me instructions.

We got to go home!

We were finally able to go home, and our little guy was discharged from the hospital. Things improved, I’m sure partially due to reduced stress and also the improved health of our baby. We still weren’t reaching our exclusive breast feeding goals, and every time I pumped any extra milk he would end up needing it just a few hours later. As the weeks went by, and I got closer to returning to work, I still didn’t have even a drop of milk set aside in the freezer.

I KNEW that he wasn’t getting enough milk from me. If I didn’t give him a bottle in addition to breast feeding he would not sleep at all, and was not content. I wanted so badly to exclusively breast feed, but I knew I couldn’t starve my baby by refusing to give him bottles.

The Meanie

I called the lactation consultant, and she was very unkind. She told me to quit supplementing, because every time I gave him a bottle I was damaging my supply. Absolutely good advice for people who have normal production levels, but TERRIBLE AWFUL advice for someone who is part of this unfortunate minority. She told me I could come in for an observed feed if I wanted, but heavily insinuated that it was unnecessary, and I was mismanaging breastfeeding.

I hung up the phone and cried. I took the baby to his hearing screening, and I called my husband to tell him how it went, and also talked to him about my conversation with lactation consultant. He was livid about the way she treated me, and reminded me that our baby was doing fine.

Pump, feed, pump, and repeat

I kept thinking that we just needed to push a little harder, just pump a little more, just take one more supplement, just try a different tea, just drink a little more water, just eat a little better, and everything would work. But it didn’t. This obsession with my milk production exacerbated the postpartum depression I experienced.

Everyone said that it’s ok, that lots of babies grow up using formula, and I wasn’t a bad mom. And I wanted to believe that, I really did. And truly, no one can understand the pain of this unless they have experienced it. I do realize that I was blessed to give birth to a healthy child, and to be able to partially breast feed my child, but it was still an incredibly difficult and painful experience for me. This isn’t something I am very comfortable sharing with the world, but I feel inspired to write about these experiences.

There is an idiotic stigma attached to the inability to breastfeed, or the inability to breastfeed exclusively. There are few inabilities that are met with so much judgment in our society. I was lucky to be met with an outpouring of support, but I know other moms who have not been so lucky.

The end of our breastfeeding journey

Our breast feeding journey came to an end just before my little one turned 6 months. I found a wonderful group of ladies with the same difficulty, and they have been an AMAZING support. They reminded me that my baby needed me more than my milk. It was the best choice for us for many reasons. I have no regrets about weaning, and I’m proud of what we accomplished together.

So please, stop attaching a stigma to bottle feeding. Stop the hurtful rumor that everyone can exclusively breast feed, and mothers who don’t are lazy. We all know that “breast is best” but when it’s not an option, FED IS BEST.


The Daily Habit That is Destroying Your Self-Worth

Sometimes we have days where we get to take care of everyone else. But somedays we have days where we are the ones who everyone else has to take care of. I had one of those days this weekend. This called my attention to something I do regularly that is harming my self-worth.



It’s been a crazy snowy winter this year here in Idaho. I ran a few errands by myself, because my hubby was at work. I don’t know about you, but I’m proud when I leave the house by myself with the baby. (It’s a lot of work!) Then I realized that I wasn’t ready to go home yet, so I thought a nice drive in the country would relax me, right?


I drove around for a while, looking at the beautiful scenery, the gorgeous farm houses, and then I decided I should turn around. I drove into a dead end street, and turned around…and found myself stuck. I rocked it forward and back in reverse and drive, and nothing helped. A very nice lady was shoveling her walk nearby, and came over and attempted to dig me out, but nothing helped. I called my fantastic in-laws, and they came right over and pulled me out.


I was mortified. I didn’t feel deserving of help. I should have been more observant, and noticed how deep the snow was in the street, and what was I even doing driving around in the winter in the first place with my infant? How irresponsible was that? What kind of parent am I?

I was thinking about this afterwards, and when we go to help someone, do we think about how deserving they are? Do we think about the better choices they should have made, and then decide to not help them if they could have chosen better?

My husband is a nurse, and a large percentage of people come in the hospital as a result of poor choices, whether it be over a lifetime that results in bad health, or poor choices that result in injury. Does he evaluate if they could have chosen better, and then decide not to help them? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. As a counselor, when I work with people, do I decide whether they are deserving of help and proceed accordingly? No way! The fact is, most of us don’t deserve help, but people give it to us anyway.

We all make mistakes. I found myself stuck in the snow with my baby because I was a stir crazy mom who just wanted to be out of the house for a few extra minutes. Not because I was endangering my child, that was not my goal. So why was I treating myself so unkindly? The fact is, most of us engage in this self-destroying practice multiple times a day.

One of my favorite pieces of advice is that when you find yourself engaging in negative self talk, to think about whether it is something you would say to your loved one. There is no way that I would talk to my husband, son, or any of my other loved ones in the way that I talk to myself. So why do I treat myself so poorly? It’s something that can eat away at your self-worth, and it is something I am working on. I am working on replacing each negative thought with something positive. I encourage you to do the same. This is one step towards improving your self-worth.

I’m grateful for the kindness of friends, the kindness of family, and also the unexpected kindness of strangers. Please remember, you are deserving of help. You are deserving of love. You are worth so much more than you know. It is OK to need help. Remember that.

The Moment That Changed My Life Forever

There are a handful of experiences that shape our lives in a significant way. They are different for every individual, of course. One of the most significant is having a child. Being a parent is amazing. It’s hard. It feels impossible at times. And of course, you will find that EVERYTHING has changed.

There is a human being that I grew within my body for 9 months (Let’s be real, it’s longer than 9 months, but I won’t get into that now), gave birth to, and now needs everything done for it. Literally everything. Everyone tells you that being a parent is so incredibly difficult, it’s exhausting, the hardest thing you will ever do, but nothing can prepare you for it.  No amount of reading, research, or anything can prepare you for the emotional and physical exhaustion, the inner turmoil, and all the indescribable feelings that you feel as a new parent. I’ve joked that if people knew exactly what they were getting into with having a baby, would anyone do it?  Even knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again.

I was so terrified. I know my husband was terrified. And as two people with professions that required training that taught us a great amount about children  (a social worker and a nurse, if you aren’t familiar with us), I thought that we would be totally prepared. Not even close.

But when I looked into his eyes for the first time, and held that little being (He was not so little, being 9 pounds and 21.5 inches long) that I had been feeling move inside me for so long, it was absolutely indescribable. This isn’t a picture I have shared with very many people, and it is a very emotional picture to me, but it only captures maybe 1/1000th of the emotions I was feeling that day.

I’ve found strength I never knew I had. I’ve become more exhausted than I thought possible, and I have pushed past that to a state of fatigue that my pre-baby self could have never imagined. My marriage changed drastically, but in an incredibly positive way. Not only are we eternal companions, but we are the mother and father of an amazing child of God.

It is all worth it.

I also have a sacred role in raising an amazing spirit. Getting to know his beautiful personality, hearing those sweet giggles and coos, and watching him experience the world for the first time is absolutely incredible.

Parenthood is more than late night diaper changes and feedings, it is more than bathing, it more than rocking a fussy baby. It’s an unbelievably daunting responsibility, as well one of the most rewarding experiences this life has to offer. My life has changed forever, but I wouldn’t go back for anything.