be THAT girl who shares her story…

When someone shares with you a piece of their story, they’re giving you a gift.

Tj Aneca

“Babe, I need to talk to you about something”…

Not the words I wanted to hear in that moment that night. I remember it like a broken record in my head. Those 9 words changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Thirty-nine years, living a life that was working and with that one sentence my whole world flipped. Not how I saw my life playing out at all.

Thinking that he needed to talk to me about the kids, as we lay side by side in the dark as we usually do right before we fall asleep, I asked him “what’s up?” “Teej, I can’t do this anymore.” Silence. “I can’t continue to help lead a congregation when I don’t truly believe that this religion is true.” Silence. “I am leaving the church.” Tears. “If you and the kids decide you want to continue to go, I will support you and go with you but just know that my heart is not there.” More tears.

So many thoughts were swirling around in my head but none of my words would come out. Just tears. I don’t think either of us really slept much that night. You could feel the sad tension between us. In my mind I played out every scenario. We continue to go and I ask him to join us. The kids and I continue to go without him with us. I take the kids and leave. I kick him out. We get a divorce. Weeks went by where we continued to go and put on our brave face. I could see how miserable he was which broke my heart. So, I did what I had taught my young women to do, I questioned.

Now questioning beliefs within some religions is not exactly welcomed. I never had because I was the girl that believed what her parents, friends and leaders said was truth. I just trusted that they knew and that was good enough but those 9 words challenged me. They made me dig deep and go somewhere I had never even considered going.

I remember I was alone that day. I had several hours where I would have absolutely no interruptions. As I sat on my bed with my phone in my hand, I put my hand on my growing belly and made a promise to my baby that I would try to make the best decision I could, not only for him but for the rest of us. I landed on the official church website. As I pondered what to search, I thought about one of the many topics that I had always felt uncomfortable with but was too afraid to question. I’m not going to get into specifics about WHAT I read but what happened next brought me to tears. As I read, I actually couldn’t believe what I was reading. My heart broke. In fact, I think a piece of it actually died. I just sat there in silence, tears streaming down my face. I remember actually saying a prayer out loud pleading for an answer. Asking for a sign to help me in my decision. Looking back, I knew. I knew that that aching feeling in my soul was telling me exactly what I needed to know. In that moment, I knew that this religion was not for us anymore.

I could not imagine life without my best friend in the whole world. The one who holds me when I need holding, the one who humbly corrects me when I’m wrong, the one who has seen me at my worst yet still seems to love me, the one who supports my crazy whims and ideas. The fact that I entertained the idea of letting go of that amazing human definitely opened my eyes. I need to question EVERYTHING! I may not always find the answer. Sometimes I just need to trust ME. Trust my own intuition because most of the time my gut feeling is right. The beauty of it all….this is a gift we all hold. We all know “that feeling” that we try to ignore. Maybe try giving it a chance. You just might find the next chapter in your story.

There is so much more to my story and I plan on sharing it over time. One day, this will be a book. A book titled, “Free To Be That Girl”. A story for my children about my journey and how I discovered my authentic self and my true purpose . This is not easy to write about because I fear hurting people I love but those that truly know me and my heart know that this comes from a place of healing. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far is that I have a gift to share and by allowing myself grace and kindness, I can help others find their true purpose.

be THAT girl who knows she’s a good mama

it’s like no one in my family appreciates that I stayed up all night overthinking them…

This is gonna be a long one friends so get cozy….

We have raised each of these incredible humans basically the same and they are all so very different. They each came with their own personalities which is what I absolutely love about them. Life would be so boring if we were all the same. Because we are not all the same and none of our kiddos came with a user manual, we are not going to know how to raise them the “right” way. We will make mistakes. We will not always know the answer. But one thing is for sure…we will do our very best!

I remember when Awesome and I were dating and we had the discussion about kids…you know…the one where you decide how many kids you want to have. I only wanted 2 kids. Awesome wanted lots. Almost a deal breaker but I was far too attracted to his hot legs to give a shit so I brushed it off and figured I would get my way regardless cause I am the girl. Haha! Soon after we were married and I wanted to start having babies, I quickly changed my mind on how many littles I actually wanted. I loved the thought of a big family, maybe not as big as his but bigger than mine. I don’t think we were ever set on a specific number we just figured we’d just know. Each one of our babes were planned…well, except one but that ended in a miscarriage. That’s another story for another day. I remember having number 5 and thinking to myself…can I do this again? Let me just say…do not decide that right after you pushed that watermelon out of your pinhole with no drugs.

Now, our number 5 was not an easy baby. In fact, I’m pretty sure I nicknamed him Satan. LOL! He was the worst sleeper EVER!! Picture this, Awesome’s last year of University (his 9th year). I birth a baby. One week later Awesome begins his last year of dental school. I’m up every hour to feed Satan. I have 4 other kiddos that need me all day (Kato had just turned 7, Kami was 5, Mari was 3, Mak was 1 1/2). By the time the hubby got home, I was ready for a nap. I clearly couldn’t keep functioning like this. I was on the verge of a break-down. So, Awesome being his awesome self, he offered to sleep on the couch with Satan every other night so that at least one of us was getting a good night’s sleep and could recharge. Oh….In case you are wondering….I was not nursing. We put a stop to me nursing when I had the first one. It did not work for us. Anyhoo, after about 4 months of “shift work” for us, he finally started to sleep a few hours at a time so we could get back to a “normal” sleeping schedule.

I remember when number 5 was about 3 years old, I begged Awesome for another baby. I knew that we were supposed to have one more. I just never felt complete even though my sleep deprivation could’ve been the one making the decision….who knows. He was a definite “HELL NO!” At about year 7 of bugging him, I finally accepted the fact that we would not adding another little Aneca to the bunch. Plus I started to do the math and figured that I was getting to old to be a mom. Keep in mind, I started at the ripe old age of 22. I was now 36…obviously too old right? (face in palm)

Well, as you all know, number six found his way into our family when I was 39. Ya…a story for another day but just like I knew, we were not complete until our little Daisuke (Dice) joined us. As hard as it all was to wrap our heads around the idea of a baby 10 years later, he has been the biggest blessing we could’ve asked for. He is such a good mix of all of us combined. He is definitely the center of our universe.

We have been through some really significant changes in our home in the last 4 years. We had a baby and left a religion that basically outlined our existence and purpose. No big deal right? LOL! Needless to say, as our family has grown up and moved forward, we have been through some major speed bumps. Through all of this change we have tried to do our very best in parenting our children with a new set of guidelines that we are still navigating. If there is one thing I know, it’s that in every decision and choice we have made, we have done it because we love our crew so fiercely and want them to succeed in life. Are we the perfect parents? NO! Are we fucking up? ABSOLUTELY! Will we continue to make mistakes? YOU KNOW IT! None of us are getting it right…in fact, I would say that it’s basically a crap-shoot.

So mamas….give yourself some grace. Believe that you are doing a good job and keep trying. That’s all you can do. I see you. I understand hard days….trust me I do. I have a teenage adult. I GET IT! I have those days too where I feel like an absolute failure as a mom. I have those days where I wonder where I went wrong. I have those days where I cry and make it about me. But I also have those days when those little shits hug me, text me, write me notes or even just smile at me, where I know I’ve done something right. Relish in those moments. Allow yourself to take some credit for the good things that they do or say. What I’ve learned is that I can’t control their choices but I can control my choices and how I am going to handle each situation that doesn’t go my way. Just like I need them to be patient with me, I need to be patient with them as they make mistakes and grow. Is it painful to watch them do that? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!! It has brought me to tears on multiple occasions but I keep going back to the fact that I know I’ve done my very best and that’s all I can do.

No judgement here Mamas! You go this.

P.S. Number 5 is no longer Satan….he is the kindest, sweetest, funny and quiet child ever!