The Best of Pensacola Mom Collective: Top 10 Posts from 2021

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top 10 posts of 2021As we look back on 2021 and our first full year for Pensacola Mom Collective, we are sharing our Top 10 most-read posts from the past year.

These are the posts that were YOUR favorites, so on behalf of our PMC Contributor Team, THANK YOU for reading, sharing, and connecting with us over the past year!

10. The “Vanimal”

As a young mom, I swore I would NEVER drive a minivan.

Cool moms did not drive minivans. I wasn’t a cool mom, never have been, but I felt like the minivan would seal my fate.

Now, years later, I sound like a crazy person saying I miss my minivan. Hear me out young moms, middle moms, old moms, looking-for-a-car-moms, let me tell you how I came to love the “Vanimal.”

9. The Babysitter’s Club: Saying Goodbye

Somehow, we were blessed with our babysitter, Kaitlin. She and her husband were moving to Pensacola for her husband to attend flight school, and I’m so thankful I ran across her profile on Care.com before their move here.

The day we met her, my children fell in love, and so did I. I was finally able to take a breather with three kids under two years old. She came into our lives when Blaire was just five months old.

But, what I never thought about was that she would become a part of our family. And at some point, we would have to say goodbye. 

The last day she was with us, I gave her this letter.

8. Be Brave, Mothers of Strong-Willed Children!

“Oh my!” they would gasp uncontrollably as she strutted across the top of the monkey bars on foot. There were many delightful epithets. As stand-alone phrases each sound quite complimentary, but when partnered with distorted facial expressions and pearl-clutching, they are not.

Often, “better mothers” would stand at the ready to catch her in my “absence.” Since she first walked, I watched her master numerous death-defying acts without hesitation.

I often felt outsmarted and unmatched by her ingenuity and bravery, but I also believed in her ability to prevail.

Those moms were unaware that while I sat calmly on a park bench nearby, risk calculations were pinging in my mind. On the inside, I was gasping, too, but hello sister…can a Mama just have a respite while her kid plays at a park?

7. My Doctor, My Hero

The clock of a doctor and their spouse never runs on schedule.

Yes, we are beyond blessed to lead the life we live, but by no means was it handed to us on a silver platter. We’ve both made enormous sacrifices. He works endlessly to help people in need and on top of that has served his country as an active-duty officer in the military which included a deployment right after our second child was born.

His priority is gaining the trust of his patients and taking exceptional care of them around the clock. It comforts him to know he can provide our kids with a safe home to live in, a good education, and take care of our debt.

However, the mental toll and stress that comes with all of that are not to be taken lightly.

6. Paralyzed by Postpartum Anxiety

I skipped my friend’s funeral, and I have never truly mended from that choice.

The decision was not premeditated. My husband and I drove into town. I was dressed and ready. I had even pumped and prepared bottles. At the last minute, I panicked and bailed.

My friend had died and left her two babies behind in this world. I mourned for her the milestones she would miss, as well as the everyday moments. I lashed out at the anger that she wouldn’t see her son’s first steps or see her daughter off to kindergarten. She was now permanently separated from her babies, and in that moment, I was paralyzingly scared to be separated from mine for just those two hours.

I couldn’t leave him to attend her funeral. It wasn’t rational.

It was postpartum anxiety – something that ebbed and flowed through me for months.

5. I Remember the First Time I Heard the Word “Racist”

I remember sometimes feeling like an outsider at school or at church. I remember times where I’d watch groups welcome others that looked like them into their groups, but then I was left standing outside of that circle. I constantly questioned if people didn’t welcome me into their circles because I didn’t look like them.

And even as a young adult, I was told that I was “too Asian” or “not Asian enough.” Or that I was an Oreo– “brown on the outside and white on the inside.” While statements like that hurt me inwardly, I’d laugh it off to mask what I was feeling– that I just wasn’t good enough.

I felt like I was having an identity crisis all because of my skin color.

4. Is It Giving Up or Improving?

To me, marriage means that you and your spouse complement one another. Where one is weak, the other is strong. And at this point, we are no longer there. We have been together for over twenty years but have now been separated for about six months. I thought by separating; we would both miss one another, learn to appreciate the other person, and eventually come back stronger. I knew there was a chance my husband might realize that life was better single. Little did I know, it was me that would have an issue.  

I have given my all to someone for over two decades. I have amazing children that I am completely devoted to. But in the meantime, I have ignored myself and my need to accomplish things.

Now I am tired. 

I am tired of being married while also being a single mother.

3. Are You a Mompostor?

That’s right a Mompostor. I cannot think of one mom who has not compared herself to another. As mothers, a lot of us live in self-doubt and the thought that we are “faking it.”

We have a constant parade of thoughts leading to self-doubt in our abilities to parent. Am I spending enough time with my children? Am I making the right decisions when it comes to parenting? Am I raising good human beings? Unfortunately, there are other thoughts as well. Why does Jenny always dress fabulously? Mary always makes perfect lunches. How does Sarah have the time to throw a Pinterest-worthy birthday party? Did you see Kelley’s body on Instagram how has she had 2 kids and look like that? And lastly the worst thought of them all…… Why can’t I be more like her?

As mothers, we are always struggling with “Are we good enough?”

2. A Tale of Two Therapies

Eleven years ago, my husband and I decided we needed professional help to save our marriage. We loved each other, but was that enough? We were about to find out.
We hope you will read this together with your significant other and that if the conversation of counseling ever comes up by either side, you will give it a chance. You never know. It might just change your life.

What have you got to lose?”

1. Cherish the Thought

Loving each other has come easily; honoring each other is non-negotiable, but cherish?

Cherishing another person requires not only protecting them lovingly but valuing that person dearly and intentionally holding them close in mind constantly.

Can I definitively say I fulfill the vow to cherish him day in and day out? What does that look like in the mid-marriage stage of life?

As I dwelled on the word, I realized that unlike loving, honoring, keeping, and forsaking all others– marriage vows which are visible actions, easily recognized and measured– cherishing is so inward that we can’t really hold one another to it. Rather, we must hold ourselves accountable. And we have to trust that the other is doing the same because the failure to cherish one another is a slippery slope towards the cliff of indifference or neglect.

We are excited to continue this journey in 2022! If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us! We’d love to hear from you!

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The Navy brought Jen and her family to Pensacola in 2018 following a 3-year tour in Belgium. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jen’s career path took her to Washington, D.C., after college, where she lived until she married her husband, Tim, in 2007. Balancing family and career against the backdrop of military life has made her appreciate the importance of friendships, connections, and finding your “mom tribe” wherever “home” may be. While living in Belgium, Jen took on her most challenging role to date, that of a stay-at-home-mom to her two sons, Timothy and Charlie. In this position, she has been forced to face her fear of cooking, has learned that you never “catch up” on laundry and that she continuously works longer hours for less pay! Fueled by coffee, Pure Barre, and dry shampoo, she feels like she’s “winging it” when it comes to motherhood most of the time, but couldn’t imagine a more rewarding journey. She continues to learn from her kids every day.

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