Before our boys were born, I was blessed with three beautiful baby girls. Each girl presented their own challenges, but each provided a unique love. Andi brought me perseverance. Bree brought me growth. Caidence brought me self-love. Each girl made my life better, I progressed forward as a new parent and a growing person.
I never considered what raising boys would bring me. I didn’t ever think I’d have a son, let alone two sons. So, when the boys were born I wasn’t sure what I would feel. It was different when I had the boys, I’d never had a NICU baby, it was my first c-section, I wasn’t able to hold them right away. It was a disconnect. I couldn’t feel for someone I hadn’t even seen. Heck, I couldn’t even tell them apart in the pictures that were taken. I was promised I would be able to wheel by and see them on the way back to my room. I was wheeled on a bed, through a hallway. I got to see their incubators, I didn’t get to see them. It was an immediate disconnect from the two little men who had shared the womb. I worried if I would be able to love them. I wondered if they would even “know” me.
The disconnect didn’t last long. NICU was a magical place, full of amazing people who cared for my boys like their own. It was even harder when I had to leave each day, not knowing what they were doing or what was happening. I didn’t want to be a burden, so I would only call once a day. Once Dax came home, I was able to bond with him. It was a whole new love. When Emrick came home, it was undeniable. These boys were “different”.
There is nothing like the snuggle of your baby boy(s). There is nothing like the smiles. There is nothing like the boy(s) becoming a “mama’s boy”. He just loves his mama all that much. And maybe, maybe I’m crazy. Or maybe, maybe I yearned for a boy for so long that this love was always there.
Perhaps I’m not crazy. Perhaps you are a boy mom too, you’re reading this and feeling the same way. Raising boys is just… different.
Hey Mama, I know how you’re feeling. You’re probably just like me. You feel stuck under the weight of your family, you feel like you do everything for everyone. You know you do nothing for yourself and to be perfectly honest, you’re fed up with it. This blog post is for you.
Unless you’ve been a mom (adoptive, foster, etc included), you just don’t get it. The problems we have aren’t truly problems. Instead, those problems are babies, toddlers, children and big kids all tugging in their own direction because they know they’re safe with us. It’s not a problem because we’ve adapted, we’ve survived whether they are one day old or eight-teen years old, we’ve survived. And, if we did it right, so did they! The problem is the way we’ve adapted. We’ve been taught by years and years of influencing that mom’s are last. We eat last. We bathe last. We care about ourselves, last. You’re nodding your head in agreeance here, aren’t you?
Since we know we’re last, we must be creative in our ways of “growing”. I’ve found a few ways to fit personal growth into my day, sometimes in just five minutes! I want to share these tips with you, my fellow mom. Why? Mostly so we don’t kill anybody, but also because we all deserve to water our own flowers and let them bloom!
So, You Only Have 5 Minutes.
Baby stop screaming for just a minute? Oh, he’s been sleeping for five minutes? Let’s get you some quality YOU time.
#1 – Warm your cold coffee and sip away. Take this time to reflect on how your morning went. What could have gone better? What can you do to make the day better?
#2 – Have a journal? Jot down your thoughts. Was the baby overwhelming today? Are you working towards a specific goal? How are you doing on sleep?
#3 – Phone-A-Friend. It’s hard not having any adult interaction! Feeling like you need a quick chat? Phone a friend and say hello! Most likely, they need the call just as much as you do.
#4 – Step outside for some sun. Have you been outside today? If not, step outside. Let the sun warm your face, close your eyes and take a deep breath. If you’re like me and live in the country, enjoy the silence. It’s a beautiful thing.
#5 – Eat! Quick, while you can, grab a snack! Are you hiding the Girl Scout cookies from your family? Go grab one and enjoy it. Want a healthier option? You go girl, eat that apple! You don’t have to share with anyone.
#6 – Rejuvenate your skin with a quick wash-off face mask. Close the bathroom door, start the shower for some steam and enjoy your live-in mini-spa. When the five minutes is up, wash it off and go about your day.
#8 – Listen to a Podcast. There are hundreds of podcasts available! If you have an iPhone, head over to the podcast app. If you have Spotify account, you have access to several hundreds of quality podcasts. Find your niche and press play!
#9 – Pick up around the home. Something bothering you around the home, take five minutes and focus on just one thing. Tidy up and you may feel instantly better.
#10 – Just sit. Yeah, I said it. Self-care includes relaxation. May you browse Facebook, scroll through Pinterest or envision yourself successful .
I have more than five minutes.
Say what?! If you have more than five minutes to yourself a day, you can certainly expand on any of the above tips or you can dive into more.
What’s helped me the most when I have more than five minutes is to plan out my day. I use a physical planner to record what’s for dinner, my daily workout, my work schedule and so much more. It’s been really helpful in holding myself accountable. Heck, this whole blog post was planned out.
At the end of the day, the only thing we want for you is to win. Whether that means vegging out, or building yourself up.
Let me just begin this with saying, I am not affiliated with CareCredit or Walmart. I genuinely just want to share something that works for me.
When we first found out that our little embabies stuck, my intimate thought was preparedness. How much will we need of each item, and the double it for two! Diapers, wipes, formula and bottles all became top priority.
We started with diapers. Around the same time I had gotten pregnant, CareCredit rolled out the ability to purchase health and wellness items at Walmart and Sam’s Club. As someone who was working on rebuilding my credit, and this being the only credit card I had I found my niche. CareCredit has the ability to pay for most infant items. So every other week, I’d stop in at Walmart and buy a box of diapers and a box of wipes. Then, I’d make a payment on my card keeping the balance to a minimum. Did this help me? Heck yeah! Not only did I see my credit score raise steadily but I built up a stockpile.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stock up on much anything else due to bed rest and the boys coming early. However, what I was able to stock up on is coming in handy! We have lots of diapers and wipes, and when you’re wiping the butts of two you know you need them!
What’s next? I’m going to continue stockpiling every once in a while, but I’m also keeping the balance low for upcoming dental appointments for my oldest. Additionally, the boys will have alternate needs in the upcoming months and we will bend to those needs.
One of the many questions we’ve received is how we came how we came up with the boys names. We’re here to tell ya, grab the tissues this could get emotional. Before we begin, if you don’t already know all of my kids are named in ABC order. Andi, Bree and Caidence! The boys are named after three men who were important in our lives. Each man played a different role for us but, each man left this life too soon.
Dax Ramon Ruiz
Dax was Dax. He was the one name we never hesitated on, because it was just suiting. He had to be a “D” and so, he was. Fun fact, it wasn’t until we were looking for another name that we found this also aligned with Zoram’s Star Trek addiction. Dax in Star Trek is a deity. Dax means Leader and so far in his life that’s been true! Dax’s middle name is a passed down name to honor one of the three people we wished to honor. Ramon is Zoram’s dads name. He passed in Zoram’s childhood. We honor him by utilizing his name as Dax’s middle name, but more importantly we pass to our children the many life lessons Ramon taught Zoram growing up.
Emrick Keith Ruiz
Emrick. Let’s be honest, the name Emrick was decided on the operating table. But, we spent all morning getting names thrown at us in every which way. We had people to honor, and we knew the middle name long before we knew the first name. And let’s also be honest, thanks husband for the dig because I wouldn’t have been happy if he didn’t start with an “E” HA! Both of us liked Emerson, but we couldn’t give poor Emrick two middle names.. so he became Emrick. Emrick means Immortal. Em for Emerson. Rick for Rick Butler, an amazing man that treated Zoram like his own. I was lucky to meet Rick on a few occasions. Both he and Julie welcomed me from day one with Zoram. And although I wasn’t able to create our own memories I heard and still hear all the memories from Zoram. He is again another man we wanted to honor by passing down not only his name but the foundation he gave to Zoram unto our own children.
The final name, and the most important to me is Keith. For those of you who know me, you know this is my Dad’s name. The man who raised me to be well, me. The sarcastic, dark humored, strong willed me. When he passed in 2017, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Hell, 2017 was the worst year of my life by far. But, we all made it through. If he were here, he’d be crazy about his grandsons… all three of them, just like he was crazy about his granddaughters. The love he gave to his entire family will be the legacy that we instill in the boys. Love without limits, love without an end.
Emrick and Dax carry on three names of three strong men whom we miss, whom we love and whom we’ve learned from. The boys will grow knowing who they were named after. We will speak their names as if they were still living. We will tell stories both happy and sad. We will not let them be forgotten.
Yesterday I posted about taking one step forward in life, only to take three steps back. It was the day before that where everything seemed to take a turn.
That morning, I woke up to a pleasant email supporting my leave for the boys. It seemed like life finally came full circle and I could relax a little. I could relax enough to know I could stay home and wait for the boys to come home from NICU before returning to work. What a relief, right?! Wrong…
Even though I didn’t get a whole lot done during the day, I loaded up the kids around 3:15 and headed to drop them off with my mom so I could go see the boys. If you’re not from Tucson, you’re not familiar with our lovely under construction road Ajo. This road is extremely narrow, and with the many businesses, homes and apartment complexes on either side of the roadway it makes for a lot of close calls every day and many, many accidents. Unfortunately, that day was not my day. The car in front of me began braking, so I braked with ample distance. But then unfortunately the car in front of me was slamming on their brakes which caused me to slam on mine and skid right into it. Is it a huge deal? No. Heck no, we have insurance for a reason right? But, it was enough to frustrate me. It was enough to feel like I took two steps back.
Needless to say the cars in the shop, and Zoram drove me to see the boys. Unfortunately, Zoram is sick and is unable to see the boys. After the boys, I came home and received a letter from the physicians group that’s treating the boys. Fun fact, although the boys are in the NICU, the physicians treating them are not employed by the hospital but rather an outside group. That group is of course not contracted with our health insurance. Here’s the next step back. I called our insurance, the good news is it should all be covered. It’s still irritating, it’s still going to take a lot of appeals, phone calls and frustration.
The point of this post isn’t to just moan and complain. In fact, it’s a reminder. Life isn’t always easy. Hell, 99% of the time life is freaking hard. Make the most of the little wins. Our little win is the boys making it back to their birth weights. Our little win is our boys making progress every day. Our little win is the safety of all of our kids.
You have to take the good with the bad, the happy with the sad and just keep moving forward.
One more thing… I just want to emphasize the importance of communication with your significant other or spouse. Without Zoram, i don’t know how I’d be able to get through all of this. He’s able to calm me when I’m frustrated, he’s able to recognize when I just need space. We’re a team and despite the troubles we’re faced with, we know everything will turn out just fine. Now to just figure out how all the kids will fit in the Armada. #MomProblems