Choose....

Choose Integrity every time, over whatever is fun, easy and or fast.

Choose to put yourself out there, knowing that the critics will come out to play.

Bring energy into the meetings, the room and the group that aligns with your values.

Talk about your emotions, even if it is awkward.

Approach things with a sense of Positivity and Possibility.

Hold others accountable. Hold yourself accountable. Don't be a flake.

Ask for what you need, even if it means being judged.

Don't over commit... try to not overcommit.

Extend a generous interpretation to the actions, intentions and words of others.

Stay true to your values.

Set Boundaries.

Choose courage over comfort.

Don't fight to take credit.

Believe that people are doing the best that they can.

Keep your "Marble-Jar" friends close.

Take your vault seriously. If it isn't yours, don't share it.

Show up. Even and especially when you cannot control the outcome. Show up.


Sincerely,


Carly

President

Trust in the Middle Ages... how do you do it?


Making friends as an adult is HARD work- and once relationships come to fruition, the bond can easily become deep for women. We often tend to share with each other things very different from what is shared by our male counterparts. Intimate details about our bodies, our fears, our children are exposed and we are vulnerable putting it all out there for the world to see.
But, how do we know we are ready to share and who we are going to share with? I don't know about you, but I have plenty of top layer, superficial, "hi, how's it going" friendships. I actually don't want any more of the, "my day is great, my life is great, and didn't you see my FB post" friendships. I want the nitty gritty messy vulnerable friendships. The ones that go beyond small talk. I want to offer help and to be helped. I want to share. I want to vent and to rest my head on the shoulder of a good friend. A confidante.
Brene Brown refers to these friends, the nitty-gritty-get-messy-and-vulnerable-with friends your "marble jar" friends. Here's the excerpt from her recent published title, Dare to Lead which echoes her initial introduction to the concept from her book, Daring Greatly.
"Ah, the marble jar, perfect.
We trust the people who have earned marbles over time in our life. Whenever someone supports you, or is kind to you, or sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar. When people are mean or disrespectful or share your secrets, marbles come out. We look for the people who, over time, put marbles in, and in, and in until you look up one day and they are holding a full jar. Those are the folks you can tell your secrets to. Those are the folks that you trust with information that is important to you."
Do you have marble jar friends?
It is my hope that during the past few years, as you have grown within the invisible walls of this league, that you have found some marble jar friends. That they have NOT shared your secrets and your worries without your consent, that they have not left you hanging or made you feel small about your parenting style...that when you moved on from nursing, that they hugged you and supported you. I hope your marble jar friend called you when her son got in trouble at school, and that you comforted her and reminded her that this was not a reflection of her efforts to raise a perfectly well behaved little boy. I hope that when her father died, you showed up. And maybe you didn't say a word- but you looked at her from across the room and helped to hold her up in her darkest moments. I hope she can call you if she finds out she is isn't feeling well, the morning she finds a mysterious lump or mark on her skin and is scared out of her wits. That she can shoot you a text with an unexpected positive on a pregnancy test for a child she hasn't planned.... And that she can say it out loud to you without being judged. That she can tell you she is afraid to live and afraid to die.
I hope you have found your marble jar friends. If you haven't, call me. I will bring my jar, my marbles and my boots and we will clean up the $hi+ together. Let's promise to find a way to lean in, find someone totrust whether we are in the Middle Ages, the dark ages... or peri-menopause. Whatever comes first yall. ALL. THE. AGES. #trust Years to build and just a few words to crush. Aspire to be the friend that your friends and peers can trust. Be a #marblejar friend.
Sincerely,
Carly

President

She's crazy!

She isn't going to nurse? She is crazy.

She married him? Didn't they just meet? She's crazy.

She drinks so much at parties, she is crazy.

She talks about sex, she is crazy.

She works full time, she is crazy.

She is pregnant again, she is crazy!

She is having a baby? She is SOOO old! She is crazy.

She tells everyone everything. She's crazy.

She quit her job, she is crazy.

She gets so much work done- she is CRAZY.

She videoed her baby's birth. She is crazy.

She ate her placenta??? She is crazy.

She had her baby at home, she is Crazy.

She gave her baby up for adoption. She is crazy.

She is getting divorced. Crazy town.

She moved in with her parents, and her kids. She is crazy.

She went back to school, crazy!

All she does is read, she is crazy.

She NEVER cooks dinner. She is crazy.

Her kids eat SO MUCH McDonalds! She is crazy.

She spends so much on her kid's clothes, she is crazy.

She is always in heels. She is crazy.

She is friends with everyone. Crazy-town.

She seems to not have any friends. She is crazy.

She is gluten free. She is crazy.

She is soooo skinny. She must be sick. She is pretty crazy.

She told everyone that.... Again! CRAY-CRAY.

If this is crazy, then I love it! We are all different, ladies. Embrace each other, love each other, understand each other. I say, let's be CRAZY together! Let's be crazy enough to love each other without judgement and without prejudice. Be crazy enough to lean in and be ALL IN. Let's rise above the judgements and choose to peel the onion back rather than judge each other- even when (and ESPECIALLY WHEN) things get crazy.


Signed...

Crazy Carly. Love you all!

President

Excerpt from "Heather Gets Healthy"

A Letter to My Children about my Post-Partum Depression

To my sweet babies....


My dear, sweet babies. I wish I had a different story to tell about the past few years. I wish I didn't have postpartum depression. I wish I didn't have to write this letter. I wish I didn't have to say, "I'm sorry." The past few years have been shit, I know. Blow after blow, until I wasn't sure I could take it anymore. I was hanging on by a thread, barely surviving each day. It all began four years ago, when it was just me and you, Benny, and when Julia was growing in my belly.

Antepartum depression - depression during pregnancy - hit hard, and yet I had no idea. Our living situation was challenging at best. We were in the process of building our new home, and faced delay after delay after delay - all while I was pregnant. I was so scared we wouldn't make it into the house in time for the new baby. And worse, as a family, we were apart - with you and me, Ben, living with Mimi and Poppy, and Dad living 2.5 hours away, which was closer to his job. It broke my heart to see you missing him each day, and all I wanted was for us to be together under the same roof again. I wrongly assumed my grumpy mood and snippiness was because of this tough situation, but really, there was a chemical imbalance brewing in my body, that I didn't even know was there.

Julia, after you were born (luckily, we made it into our new house in time!), things continued to spiral, but at that point, it had been going on for so long, that I thought it was normal; That I was just a grumpy, miserable person, and there was nothing I could do about it. I figured my personality type was just, "miserable," and continued to be a horrible person to everyone I loved. I feel awful looking back at photos from this time, looking at your sweet little innocent, optimistic, loving face, Ben, and knowing you took the brunt of my illness. You didn't deserve that. I desperately wanted to be better for you, and went to bed each night wracked with the worst guilt imaginable. I am thankful I managed to pull it together a few times a week, to do a fun activity, or something with just you, but that didn't erase my guilt.

I think back to those endlessly long days - being stuck in the house, no energy or desire to entertain you, lots of screen time, and lots of yelling from the person who was only supposed to show you unconditional love. My heart breaks for that little boy, so full of love for his mama, trying every day to make her happy. Bopping around the house with boundless joy, ever-present need to please, and a love for trucks - I have no idea where that joy came from, because you were tied into my misery - a situation that you never asked for, but never complained about. My strong, sweet boy.

And my dear Julia, I wish I had taken advantage of my time spent home with you before I returned to working full-time. I so deeply regret not doing more with you and your big brother when I was home, but even more so, I regret how my depression affected you later on. While Ben is low-key and mostly dealt with me with little protest, you are strong, stubborn, and spirited. You challenged my mothering skills and pushed me to my limits, and I lost control, yelling more than I care to admit.

I'm supposed to be the calm, supportive one. I'm supposed to show you unconditional love. I am the adult, you are the child. But I acted like a child a lot, very immature, throwing my own tantrums as you threw yours. You desperately wanted my attention, love, and approval, but I was unable to give it to you in the way I wanted to.

Nothing brings me more joy than knowing we've repaired that damage, and you've become my little buddy.

And my sweet William. I am grateful that I started getting help shortly after you were born, and that my joy in life is babies, so because of that, you were mostly protected from the worst of my symptoms. Your snuggly, loving nature really helped get me through the darkest days. It soothed my soul to have you fall asleep on my chest, or watch you nursing.

I am sorry I didn't recognize the signs of my antepartum depression, and later, postpartum depression and anxiety, for such a long time.

I am sorry that I had no idea what was happening inside my mind, and thought it was normal.

I am sorry that every single thing annoyed me, from your little voices, to the hamster wheel of motherhood tasks, to your incessant questions and requests, and more.

I am sorry that I saw the sadness in your eyes when I yelled, and that I still was unable to stop.

I am sorry our days were so boring, spent mostly indoors, with too much screen time, and not enough activities to spur your imagination and growth.

I am sorry that you were living with a mother who essentially woke up yelling, and could barely get off the couch all day. You didn't deserve that. You deserve so much more.

I'm sorry I couldn't be the mom I wanted to be during those years.

What you don't know is that I went to bed every night, with a feeling of intense sadness in my heart, and deep, piercing regret in my soul. I knew this was not the kind of mother I wanted to be - some ugly jacked-up version of "Mommy Dearest" (NO WIRE HANGERS!)

I want you to know that wasn't me. That was some ugly monster inside that I was fighting to get rid of, and I am so happy I finally did. I am now so much closer to the mom I want to be for you. I have been working so hard this past year to get better, so I can be the best mom I can be, for each of you. You deserve nothing but the best, and I would bring down the moon for you.

My only hope is that we can continue to move past this time, strengthen our bonds, and grow as a family. I want nothing more than for each of you to be happy, full of joy and hope. And I'm going to do everything in my power to make our home a place where you can flourish and be filled with nothing but love.

Signed, Your mom...forever and ever.
Excerpt from "Heather Gets Healthy"


Sincerely,

Carly Alacahan 

President

Holiday Stress...

No matter how Merry the Christmas season can be, it also comes with a lot of stress, especially when you're a M.O.M. Suddenly, on top of packing lunches, changing diapers, and generally acting as the CEO, COO, and chief secretary of your household- all while trying to not detonate the angry cries of a three year old because- well- you put her shoes on, you're also tasked with shopping for and wrapping dozens of gifts, endless holiday events, and the elusive job of making the season crazy magical for your children. It's enough to make you wish Santa could send some of his elves down to your house to help (and not just the kind that sit on the shelf.)

However, there are some simple ways moms like us can make the holidays more joyful and less anxiety inducing.


1. Find seasonal childcare. Sure, your regular sitter is booked through the New Year, but not all childcare hope is lost. Many gym, kids' play spaces, and park districts offer inexpensive holiday drop-off hours designed just to give moms time to tackle their holiday to-do lists.a. Here are just some ideas in our areai. Adventure Kidsii. Call College Sitters and book them for a few hoursiii. Southlake Moms usually has recommendationsiv. Local college kids home from schoolv. Mom Date-Night swap. One night you watch the kids, another night, your friend does!

2. Have your gifts wrapped. I can be a little anal about gift wrapping... who am I kidding- I use bags! But when I learned about the gift- wrapping services available in our area, suddenly the nicer gifts got even nicer! Even I had to prioritize ease and beauty over the almost too easy bags that take the fun mess out of it all. Splurge on gift wrapping when you shop online or find a local spot that offers the service, and you'll save yourself hours and rolls of tape.a. Here are some of the places that offer the service in our area:i. Paper Source, Southlakeii. The Gift Store, Southlakeiii. Prim and Proper Gifts, Fort Worthiv. Box & Ship, Fort Worth

3. Manage your kids' expectations. Sure, Santa is magic, but that doesn't mean he's endlessly generous. Make sure your kids know that not everyone gets a Star Wars Drone, Bey Blades (I had to google that when I saw the lists) or Hatchimal under the tree. Also, have your family donate toys, food, and time to those in need to help teach our littles about the reason for the season: giving, not receiving.

4. Don't say yes to every invitation. Between holiday parties for work and school, get-togethers with friends and family, Santa visits, light shows, concerts, and local Christmas walks, it can feel like there's a hardly a minute to actually sit back and enjoy the season. Give yourself permission to RSVP no to the next party you're invited to and to pick just one or two family-focused holiday events that you all enjoy. The best holiday memories, after all, come from spending time with your loved ones, not from the bell choir/Christmas tea/freezing lights tour you force your kids to attend

5. Limit gifts, especially for adults. Once you have little ones in your life, gifts for every single adult in your life can seem a little ridiculous. Suggest to grown-up friends and family that you limit how much you give and spend. Just be sensitive that kid-less family members might feel slighted if they're giving to your kids and getting nothing in return

.6. Celebrate your inner kid. Go make a snow angel, blast your favorite Christmas music, sit on Santa's lap, or buy yourself a generous "to me, from me" gift, wrap it, and put it under the tree. Whatever it is, find that one thing that has always brought you holiday joy and embrace it!

Sincerely,

Carly Alacahan 

President