Loving yourself even when…

Up until fourth grade I was homeschooled. I excelled academically, but, craved the social interaction of other kids my own age. In fourth grade, my parents put me into Hood Canal School. I will never forget how terrified I was that first day. I remember every detail about my first day of school – I remember what my binder looked like, I remember what I wore. I especially remember feeling like everything about me wasn’t quite right compared to the other kids – I didn’t know what pencil to use, or what binder was cool. Luckily, I quickly made some wonderful friends who helped me navigate this new normal.

There was one friend that I grew closer to as I continued at Hood Canal. She was wonderful to be around. She was inclusive and made those close to her realize that they were HER best friends. Many social decisions I made during that period were strongly influenced by her. In sixth grade, she gave me a “best friends” necklace and I wore it proudly. I watched as she would bring others close to us and then alienate them. I just never thought it would happen to me.

During eighth grade, she and I had made grand plans for how high school was going to be for us. Over the summer, she made other plans. The first day of high school came and it was clear to me that our plans that we made no longer included me. She had replaced me. I remember feeling so exposed at lunch time, seeing the table I should have been sitting at and realizing I was not welcome.

Telling this story, I now have the perspective to know that this event was so small and so common. Time offers perspective. Her leaving me in her tracks encouraged me to make many friendships that I still have today. Honestly, it was a needed push to get out of my comfort zone.

However, in the moment, I had ZERO perspective. This was everything to me. I was devastated.

This event was the first time that I realized that I couldn’t control things or people but I could control what I ate and the reactions I would get from losing weight. From them on, when things got stressful, my immediate response was to control what I ate.

When a stressful time would come – my first heartbreak, my second heartbreak, starting college, getting married, my first instinct always was to control what I ate (or didn’t).

This coping mechanism is still very much a part of me even today. When I have a stressful day at work, at home or in a time of transition especially, my instinct is ALWAYS to control food until things around me calm down.

The problem with this method is that it doesn’t actually help manage the stress of a transition. It is a coping mechanism that truly is not a benefit to anyone involved. I want my boys to learn how to properly cope from me. I never want them to think that a way to manage stress is to skip a meal or be overly restrictive with their diet. Just that thought, breaks my heart.

Today, I am choosing to love myself even when.

Even when, times are stressful, my body deserves nutrition.

Even when I want to control, my body deserves to be appreciated.

Harrison Tate is ONE!


You *literally* came in like a wrecking ball. Your dad, Aiden and I had no idea how much of a wrench you would be in our fairly well-tuned life. A few things I have learned about you in your first year.

1 – You have the most contagious laugh – it is a full body experience and one of the best noises I have ever heard

2- You love your brother in a BIG way

3 – You love food (Nursing, steak, bacon, broccoli, etc)

4 – You firmly believe that sleep is over-rated (please reconsider this point)

5 – You bring people together – you love your people fiercely and make them feel like a million bucks

6 – You challenge me – I thought I had parenting semi-down and you require me to be a different parent to you (I promise to keep trying to figure it out!)

7 – You have increased my ability to love – before I had you I was terrified I didn’t have “room” to love anyone as much as I love your older brother, but, my ability to love has increased a “Harrison” amount and I now have more love to give

8 – You have helped your brother become more flexible, adaptable and patient. You challenge him and he loves you so much!

9 – You love to be sang to and I love to sing to you!

The song I sing to you every night:

“When Jesus gave you to us, we loved you from the start.
You were just a precious angel, our perfect missing part.
We love your sense of humor and your beautiful sweet smile.
Harrison, you are OUR heart”

We love you, our crazy red head and are so thankful that we get to be your parents!

_DSC0618 _DSC0591 _DSC0632 _DSC0641 _DSC0650 _DSC0654 _DSC0657 _DSC0658 _DSC0666 _DSC0686

We love you Harrison Tate!

Top 10 things NOT to say to a working mom

I do feel like I need to mention that this post could just as easily be written about the “Top 10 things not to say to a stay-at-home-mom”, “Top 10 things not to say to a working-from-home-mom”, etc. The label you put before the word “mom” matters not at all to me, and I want to make sure I make that clear. I am writing this post from my perspective because I have heard each and every one of these statements before.

Side note, if a work-from-home mom or stay-at-home mom would like to write a similar post, I would love to publish!

So with no further ado, here is my list.

  1. “How difficult is it for you to have someone else raise your kids?”
  2. “You must LOVE having so much time to yourself”
  3. “I have moments where I miss the adult interaction, but, I choose to put my kids first during this phase of life”
  4. “Can you not afford to stay at home?”
  5. “Don’t you think you’ll regret missing so much…you know they grow up so fast”
  6. “Don’t you miss them during the day?”
  7. “Do you worry about them during the day?”
  8. “Don’t you feel selfish?”
  9. “Do you worry that you’ll miss first step, first word [insert other first]?”
  10. “It must be so nice to be able to go to the bathroom BY YOURSELF!”

Here is the thing that maybe some of you have already figured out. EVERY single comment on this list was said to me by another female. We should all take a collective moment to let that sink in. For emphasis, allow me to repeat… every single comment on the above list was said to me by another woman, in fact to specify, another MOM.

Ladies, allow just a moment to step on top of my soap box.

Okay, I’m on.

Some gender inequality exists and it sucks and I will continue to fight it for all of my professional career. Disability, age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc should obviously not be a consideration when pay, leave and promotion potential are on the line. But there is a whole other section of gender inequality that is PERPETUATED BY WOMEN.

Women, listen to me, men do not stand by the water cooler and ask each other if it is difficult for them to have someone else raise their children. They may talk about sports, or musical theatre, or work or whatever they want to. I beg of all of you, let’s stop this conversation. I hope I make it clear to everyone around me that I support you. I support your choices as a mom and let me tell you, I have some incredible moms to watch and learn from. I challenge each and every one of you to let the conversation stop with you. Behind every mom is a person. I would love to talk with you about what makes you who you are, how difficult parenting is, what your hobbies are, but, for the love of God, let’s please not continue to question our choices. I think it is fair to say that most of us are just trying to figure out how to be a mom, employee (if this applies), friend, partner, and every other hat that each of us wears.

Stepping off of my soap box.

Thanks for reading.



Recently, I have had a few people tell me that it seems like “I have it all”. I can’t tell you how much that bothered me. I should have been flattered, right?? Truthfully, I didn’t like to hear that because to me it is so painfully obvious that that simply is not the case. I pride myself in being transparent, and if, by some odd chance, I am giving that perception, I am not correctly portraying myself.

Someone once told me that “you can have it all, but, not at the same time”. I kind of smiled and thought I got it at the time, but, only recently have I truly understood what that means.

It really is true.

Right now, I am attempting to keep one child sustained (still his primary food source), I am trying to keep life normal and fun for kid #1 and I am trying to be a decent full-time employee. What is missing in the above-listed list? A whole lot. Time with friends for one. I can’t even begin to explain how much I miss spending time with friends. Right now, I usually have to choose between getting a run in (generally critical for helping manage my anxiety) and any other activity. Generally, I choose fitness for my break and the rest of “me” activities – including time with friends, one-on-one time with my husband, a pedicure (you do NOT want to see my poor feet) – tends to get pushed down my list.

People tend to describe parenting, or life I suppose, in “seasons”. I can’t even tell you more many times I have heard lately that I should “enjoy this season”, “it passes so quick”, “don’t blink your eyes”, etc.

Maybe this makes me kind of a terrible parent for saying this, but, I am sitting here blinking over and over and I am still in this fairly difficult phase. I still wake up three or so times every night, I still am spread too thin and I still am left feeling like this “season” for the most part is a flipping hurricane. The logical side of me knows that this WILL pass and my little will grow and not need me for each feeding and *gasp* at some point I might even miss it.

But, for today, if I hear one more catchy phrase about the beautiful seasons of parenthood, I might just choke on my freezing cold dinner and coffee.

Baby weight. Womp, womp.

I wanted to write and give a quick update on how I am doing with my weight post baby. I started this blog as a way to really study and write about various plateaus that occur while on a fitness or weight loss journey. At that point, I had NO IDEA that another baby was on the horizon. Turns out, there was and now that I am almost nine months post-partum, I wanted to document where I am right now and reflect. Having a baby is no joke. A body that I knew – strong running legs, fit arms, fairly tight stomach, all of the sudden turned into a bit of a stranger to me. As much as I attempt to embrace the incredible things my body has done – birth two children, nurse two children, run two marathons, etc, it is hard. Struggling with an eating disorder and healthy body image is not a struggle that stops when I get pregnant and it certainly does not stop after birth. 

I mean, seriously though, how cute is this baby?? harrison neeew 

I gained around 45 pounds with Harrison, 30 of those pounds came home with me after the hospital. When I came home from the hospital, I weighed 165 pounds and was pretty horrified at how my body looked. 

Within four months, I had dropped twenty pounds. I did very little physically, and was not tracking calories. I attribute all of this weight loss to nursing and losing the fluids I was retaining. 

At nine months after, I am now 30 pounds down and have officially lost all of the baby weight. 

Yay, right??? 

Here is the painful truth – I may have lost the weight, but, I am by no means the same shape. I have very little muscle and am still not used to my body. Each day, after having an eating disorder, the thoughts creep in, in some way. What I have learned, is how I respond to those thoughts is so important. I have two incredible boys who I want to pass on a positive body image too. When my mind says “you look FAT in that”, I so quickly try to redirect the thought to something positive. This method by no means works all of the time, but, I will not quit trying to replace the negative thought with positive ones. My boys deserve to have a mom that will wear a swimsuit, run around with them and feel like the rockstar that they see me as (at least right now). I am sure that over time, some muscle will return and hopefully I will be a bit more proud of the body that I have. But, for right now, I am really going to try and embrace this season and not be too hard on myself. 

My number priority right now is not me, and I think that is okay. And, it may be a mom suit, but I will be rocking that mom suit! 


Any other moms out there struggle with body image after baby? 

Thanks for reading and following me on my journey!

Remove “No”

Running a marathon is incredible for so many reasons. I loved the catch up time with great girlfriends, the regimented training schedule and truly, I enjoyed running the races. For many reasons I am thankful that I have had the chance to join the proud marathon-running community. I am the one on the right in the below picture and my beautiful friend Laura is on the left. She was my ROCK through both marathons.

Mile 17

These days running a marathon seems like a super past memory, but, I will tell you, in some way everyday I think about the lesson that I learned mile 21.

Pretty sure, this is what my face looked like at Mile 21 –
Mile 26

I know for each person it varies slightly but right around mile 21, running is absolutely brutal. Your body tells you (emphatically) that you are straight up crazy, and it is time to enjoy a lovely brunch and for the love of God STOP RUNNING!!! But, the crazy part is, this is where, the physical side of running is so much less crucial than the mental game – you just say no. I told my body no at mile 21. No! You are not done running, we are so close, and this is not over yet. Of course I do also remind myself that of course brunch is coming and I will stop running soon. This moment of self doubt was so similar to the feeling of being dilated to an 8 while pursuing a natural childbirth and wanting to be done. What did I also do then? Well no, technically it was my incredible team and nurse saying no. But the word No was said and I was reminded that I cannot quit, I am so close.


My point is, I am not in marathon-running shape, heck I can’t run a 10k at this point. But each time I go to the gym or go on a run, I inevitably hit the point where I want to say no… And I don’t.  The human body is incredible, but the power of our mind amazes me even more. I happen to live on top of a beast of a hill and each time I get the chance to run it lately, I so badly want to stop but, my pride or my stupidity or whatever won’t let me. Barnes Hill you are not winning this! 

So, next time you are heading up that mother hummer of a hill, just say no!! You can stop, just not now. 

The RIGHT way to parent.

This blog has been neglected lately. It is hard for me to write in a fairly fitness-focused blog when my “fitness” at this point includes walking (not marathon running), pushups on my lunch time break (not fantastic crossfit workouts) and schlepping around my five month old in a car seat (can we talk about how flipping heavy those things are????).

Lately, my life is figuring out the intensely difficult task that is being a mom of two boys, working and trying to remain sane while still only getting a very limited amount of sleep.
Since my blog is obviously reflecting this period of time for me, I thought I would talk about a topic that in some way I think about every.single.day.

Mom wars.

Let me give an example. In high school, there was this group of girls, the dance team girls, and they were seriously cool. Being a choir-geek, I did not effortlessly fit in with those girls. I didn’t get invited to the sleepovers, or the parties, I just didn’t fit. I think many would say that they liked me well enough, just didn’t fit the “cool kid” mold.

On the other side of the Shelton High School parking lot (sticking with the high school analogy), is the jocks. These ones I VERY MUCH did not fit in with. They were basketball, volleyball or softball playing ladies who had a ton of shared experiences and were all super close knit. I didn’t have a sport, I just didn’t fit.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of friends, many of whom I still think fondly of today. But, I didn’t cleanly fit into any one specific clique.

The same cliques exist in moms – stay at home moms, working moms, attachment-parenting moms, formula vs breastfeeding advocates, cosleeping vs. cry it out or sleep training, vaccination vs not, etc. Here is the thing, I have heard myself say on many occasions suggest we all just do what our gut tells us to do and use the best information at that point in time to try and figure out how in the hell to balance this crazy thing that is parenting.

But, here is the thing. In the back of my mind, I always seriously think…but, MY choices are the right ones. Believe me, I do agree with the statement I made, but, I also do not apologize for feeling like my way of parenting is the best. For me, five years and two boys in, I am doing the best that I can with the resources that I have and I truly feel like I am making the choices that my boys need me to make. But, here is the thing, you (whoever you are), I am sure are doing the same thing. You are making the choices that your child(ren) need for you to make and are also doing the best that you can. I suggest, we all stop apologizing and dancing around the issue and simply admit that our parenting is the right method, but, also understand that it only is the right method for me and my children.

I think this thought process can be extended to all controversial aspects of parenting, or all controversial issues in general. The beautiful India Arie wrote in her song, “One” that “We can debate until the end of time who is wrong or right or we can see ourselves as one cause it all comes down to love”.

Keep on, mamas! Trust your gut, because I know I will continue to trust mine.