As I lie my baby down to sleep, I stared at her for a while longer after she nodded off. I gazed at her, tangled in her beauty and comfortably lost in the midst of my thoughts as they suddenly came rushing to me.

Here recently, I find myself asking for a handbook to parenting. But there is no handbook. It reminded me of the question commonly asked after someone loses a substantial amount of weight…”What’s the secret?” The secret is there is no secret. There’s just hard “work.”

Studies show a baby or toddler or child performs best while undergoing structure. I’m not going to reference anything. Just google it and make sure you read from a reputable source (aka a .org or .gov website). I agree with science to an extent. I am a RN and I HAD to understand the why’s to everything in order to wrap my head around it. I respect science and clinical studies this day in age. I understand there’s a lot of work that goes into it. Years and years of work.

But here’s the thing, no one teaches you (or has taught me) how to provide structure when you created a baby “backwards” as society has labeled it.

Jaisen and I didn’t get married before having a baby. We were both still figuring out what we wanted to do to be successful in our careers. We have risen (and continue to keep rising) from all time low places — with a baby. We didn’t get the gifts from the wedding we never had. We didn’t have our careers where we were “baby ready.” We are where we are on our own.

The thing is, you’re never ready to have a baby. When you have a baby, life just unfolds for you. Before a baby, I could not imagine life with one. After I’ve had our baby, I cannot imagine life without her.

So what about those who started out “backwards” or did things the “hard way” as society favorably labels. (But the way I see it, there is no hard way. There’s your path and there is mine…and so on and so forth.) Jaisen and I bust our asses. There wasn’t a foundation when we collided. We created one. We created our own path. He and I both work [a lot] to say the least. I’ve heard so many new mommies (and daddies) say they went back to school/are going back to school before their baby gets older because it’s easier to get it over with now….and mope about how they never get to see him or her.

Which brings me back to my baby. I’m not promised tomorrow. Are you? I’m not promised the next breathe I inhale. Are you? I understand…you have to put your leg work in…especially when your baby is a baby. You only want the best future for him or her, right? But there’s a balancing act we choose to practice. Yes, Jaisen is killing it in graphics/animating as well as with his Fortitude Creative ( business. I wear plenty of hats building my business as a 3D Microblading Specialist ( Jaisen and I also shoot weddings together. He designs logos and websites on top of his “day job.” I am a photographer on the side ( I have recently decided to make jewelry (mainly bracelets) and after starting yoga, I may want to teach a class from time to time (we’ll see). We both want (and will get) our prosperous career(s). We are both putting the time in now…While she’s a baby. And we both are still working towards turning our house into our home.

But if I could say anything to couples (or single parents) out there who had a beautiful surprise before you were financially ready, do your leg work. Hustle when you can and while you. But CREATE the time for your babies. These years “fly.” Before you know it, the memories of that baby seem fuzzy and faded as the years pass. I’ve been told by so many mothers and fathers how she or he cannot remember so many details about their baby growing into a little person.

I personally made an email account for Evelet and I write her from time to time. I take pictures of her and record her every opportunity I am presented. Every morning, she is a day older and every night, she goes to bed to wake up one day closer to the inevitable: an older baby.

Put your leg work in. Bust your butt for your babies. Do what it takes but make and create time to live in the very moment your baby begs for you to share with him or her. You are his or her world, you know. The sun rises and sets with you. The things we do with them now are embedded in them for the rest of their existence.

So studies show structure is nice and sugar and spice. Same nap time. Same bed time. Same this and same that. I get it. I understand. But that’s not for us. I’ll be damned if I’m going to put Evelet to bed at a certain time every single night just because studies say it’s the right thing to do. Especially if I haven’t seen her all day and she wants to play with her mommy. The right thing to do is to do what’s best for You and Your situation. There’s no cookie cutter situation. Our situation tells me to be with her no matter how many rules of structure I break. Besides, she gets structure at school. When she’s with mommy and daddy, we are with her too. And one day, she’s not going to want mommy to lay with her at bedtime. These moments are like water in our cupped hands….. slipping through our fingers.

So the secret is there is no secret. Be amazing. Do great things. Take time for yourself and your friends and your hobbies and bust your ass building your empire but remember your reason….. remember your Why. I’m pretty sure…when it’s all said and done, your Why boils down to the very same Why as me.

That baby who stole your heart without your consent. Irrevocably gone….Walking outside your rib cage. Never to return; unless only to leave you feeling breathless or a little bonkers at times.

But you know what? The juice is worth the squeeze.

Word Vomiting in my purest form,

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