I can’t afford it. 

I found myself yawning while reading my toddler stories before afternoon nap. This is not uncommon. Even after getting 8 hours of sleep, I’m tired. Both of my kids sleep through the night. My eldest sleeps from 6pm-5:30/6am. My baby sleeps from 7/8pm-6am. I get good sleep. Yet, I’m always hustling off to nap and bed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, putting off self care and my creative projects to yet another day in the future.

I can’t afford to be lethargic by noon. I can’t afford to be wiped out physically and emotionally. I can’t afford to go to bed 5 minutes after my baby. I can’t afford to be moody.  I just can’t afford it anymore.

​As you can see my boys are full of energy, and I need a full tank to keep up!

I want to be a kind, present, and patient mother, so I can’t afford to eat garbage. When I eat sugar, I’m reactive. I rollercoaster all day long and need sleep whenever I can get it. I’m like a child throwing tantrums when things don’t work out the way I need it to. I want to create my art. I can’t do that when I’m continually playing catch up on sleep to help balance me out. I want to play and chase my kids and feel good in my body.  I can’t do that when I feel tired and fat without the time to exercise. My time now is too valueable. How I eat and how I live must support the dreams I have for myself and my life.

I need to do better, for the love of myself and my life. I can’t afford not to do better anymore. If I want to have the life I dream of, I can’t afford to stay the same. 

My kids have forced me to prioritize. My schedule has forced me into choice. Before kids, I had a million hours and unlimited time. I could nap, drink, binge, get some work done and do it all over again. Sure, I was still loosing my shit on the regular, but I had time to do it. I don’t have time to do that anymore.

I currently have about 2-2.5 hours of my day to dedicate to self care and self expression. I can’t afford to be sleeping at that time. When I say self care that includes everything. From waxing, washing, work outs, journaling, meditation, organizing, and cleaning. Self expression includes blogging, artwork, home projects, new business ventures, dreams for myself, or even watching Netflix. Basically those two hours a day are the only kid free time I have. And lately, nothing is getting done. I have time, but not the energy to use it. It’s not a time problem, it’s an energy problem.

After another day of eating whatever for convince and feeling like crap by noon, yawning and needing a nap, I finally had to re-evaluate. How am I going to spend my days? Since I can’t control my “free time” can I at least make the most of it? That’s when I realized, eating for convience is making everything inconvenient. I continually feel stuck, angry, and bitter because I have no time for myself. Because the choices I’ve been making are wiping me out, and I just can’t afford to make the same choices anymore.

I need the energy to do my artwork over naptime. I need focus to be patient with my toddler. I need to feel light in my body so I can go for a run when my kids go to bed. I can’t afford to sleep off food hang overs anymore. I can’t afford to ride an emotional reaction roller coaster with sugar anymore.

I just can’t afford it. 

I write this on the last day I need to nap at noon. The last day I made choices that have kept me feeling pigeon held in my own life. For tomorrow I will make choices to allow for more in my life.

Finally, I don’t care to “have it all” in the kitchen, so I can afford to have it all in my life.

God is showing me the need to prioritize what I want. I can have it all in life, by making choices to promote what I really desire. Time to write, time to paint, time to run, time to play, time spent being present and kind, and time spent being nurturing to my kids. It just may mean that change needs to happen, so I can afford to do more and be more.

I didn’t want to change. I’ve been fighting dietary changes for over a decade. I’ve danced with change, but never took her home. I’ve been totally aware of how eating clean makes me feel a million times better. It just took me this long to see what the full value of eating differently is.

It’s not just about weight loss or looking good. I could never change for those reasons, because it always felt like it was for someone else. I rebel against direction and being told what to do. I can’t change because I “should,” or society says so, or acceptance from others.  For me, I needed to see the value that this change would bring my life, beyond appearance. Finally seeing that eating differently would give me a balanced mentality, sustainabile energy, and better use of my free time- I was sold.

When we see the value of a change for ourselves and our lives, then we will change without resistance, and move forward in joy.

I needed to become stuck and frustrated in my life. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to see the value in making changes in my diet to support my desires. I want more energy. I want more time. I became so frustrated, I would do whatever it took to have it. That meant change. Not the changes I wanted to make, but the changes I have to make, for my desired life.

I have a choice. To continue living the way I have been, or change. I choose change. And for the first time, I want to change! Making these changes in my lifestyle and diet no longer feel inconvenient to me. I can finally see how making these new choices is giving me what I really want and need right now. It’s actually making my life more convenient. While some of my new lifestyle choices may be inconvenient for others, it’s the best thing in the world for myself and my life. I will be a better version of me, and that’s what the world wants anyways.

Thanks for reading! I’d love some feedback! Wanting to read more about change and getting on board with it? Looking for some healthy lifestyle swaps and how to support a more energetic you?  Let me know what you’d like to read about by leaving me a comment below!

Happy trails! -Chelsea

Press Play. 

I have been going through this phase lately where I’ve been looking forward to crossing another day off on the calendar. This season of life is pretty challenging. Having a toddler and an infant is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. Somedays it feels really good just to cross off day having survived it. And somedays my Facebook scrolling goes on a little too long and I find myself yearning for a different time of life.

On the eve of Mother’s Day, I got a speeding ticket. While waiting at a stoplight, my two year old started whining for his pacifier (yes, he still has one, and I don’t care) that he couldn’t reach, and the infant was crying because he was sleepy and needed more motion to drift off to sleep. The light turned green, I started cruising off speedily to our destination (Lowe’s to get plants like every other family that weekend). Well, it was a 25 mph zone. I was not looking at my speed, but my crying baby and whining toddler in my rear view mirror. Praying that we would have some peace in the car shortly. Needless to say, I was pulled over, I got a ticket, and I cried. I cursed God, and said “Gee thanks for the Mother’s Day gift.” Meanwhile, my husband was 2 minutes behind me (driving separate to meet us at Lowe’s to haul some wood home in his car) and saw us pulled over by the police officer. This prompted him to call my cell phone. Which woke up the baby and he started crying again. Great, crying baby again and now I would also have to explain myself to my husband. When we finally made it to the store, my husband didn’t lecture me. He asked what happened, saw my tears, and let it go. He knew that I had already beat myself up for it, and didn’t add to the emotional torture.

Yesterday I got another speeding ticket, from the same officer. In a different 25 mph zone while I had my kids in the car. Seriously, who the hell actually drives 25 mph anymore.  Of course, my reaction was to cry. Of course, I was speeding and did it to myself. Of course, I felt horrible for not being a more responsible driver with my children in the car. Here’s the thing, I haven’t had a ticket in 10 years, and I got 2 within two weeks. I don’t believe in coincidence. I’ve been speeding for the last 10 years, just never “got caught.”  So why was life catching up to me? What’s the message? I’ve noticed that when things happen in 3’s, life is really trying to get my attention! So I usually tune in when I hit the second time. And, I definitely don’t want a third ticket.

I’ve always lived on fast forward. I’ve been trying to get to the next step, next stage, or next day my whole life. I take after my father in this way. His motto is “Go like Hell!” Impatient is an understatement when it comes to the both of us. I’ve always wanted to be older then whatever age I am. I’ve always looked ahead to what I would do next instead of enjoy what I’m doing now. Living for tomorrow and the goals ahead, always.

When it came to getting the speeding tickets, I had to ask what was I in a hurry to get to? I wasn’t late for anything and we had no reason to rush. Being a stay at home mom nothing truly is that pressing in our daily life. Sure, we have appointments to get to occasionally, but is it really a big deal if we happen to be a little late? Why is it so hard to just slow down? Heck, why is it challenging just to live on play instead of fast forward?

Then I started thinking about the kids. Why am I trying to speed up their childhood? What am I trying to get to? Am I trying to get to the stage where they are talking? When I’m done nursing? When they can fix their own snack? What about when I go back to work or they are in school? Am I wanting to get the the stage where they are adults and moved out and I have full ‘free time’ again? How about when I become a grand-parent? What am I rushing through the day for? What is so much better about tomorrow?

All of these stages of life are coming. We keep aging as we move through time. I will get there. Does rushing through the days make the 24 hours happen faster? Nope. Does it make it less enjoyable? Yep. I have found that when I look back at my completed stages of life, I do miss them. I loved living on Grand Ave in St. Paul with my best friend Andrea getting into all sorts of 21 year old trouble. I liked seeing my friends everyday and challenging myself in high school. I enjoyed taking hair classes and learning new skills as I grew as a hairstylist. I am sure I will miss these days of baby snuggles and toddler shenanigans. So, I’ve decided to enjoy the sleepless nights and making second lunches for an overly opinionated palate. I will enjoy holding small sticky hands as we cross the street. I will enjoy every diaper change and booger wipe. I shall savor watching my two year old snuggle his blanket and my two month old coo and smile at me. This includes all the crazy awful things about raising kids too. It’s time to just play, instead of rush forward, and let this movie unfold one scene at a time.

These two children are the people I love most in the entire world, and I’m rushing through my days with them. Ultimately we are headed to stages where we are less together as a family. Stages where our interactions change as we become less involved with each other. Right now, I have all of my children. I have their snuggles, laughs, tears, and poops. Yeah I get it all, all day long. It’s time to be here enjoying it, while the time is still mine. Time to get my mind off the future, my eyes on my children, and my hands off my phone.  I’m going to get to the future regardless. So I may as well slow down and enjoy.

Happy Trails! – Chelsea


Trail Mix.

Years ago on the start of my inward spiritual journey, I was told by an energy worker that one of the causes of my distress (anxiety and depression) is my need to label (judge) everything as good or bad. I live very ‘black and white.’ She mentioned that it was quite funny and perhaps serendipitous that I was marrying a man with the last name of Gray. She mentioned that it could be the start of new chapter of how I view life.

Nearly 5 years after that conversation I have come to see how I need to embrace a life of living in the gray. One marriage and two kids later, I can no longer afford to judge life events as cut and dry, black and white, or good and bad. I’m learning that life is a big cluster of mixed everything. It’s a really good trail mix. Perhaps in the end it will balance out and be a great combination of sweet, fulfilling, nutty, sustainable, bitter, and enjoyable moments. And like a good trail mix, you need all the flavors to get just the right taste. Maybe that is all life is, a giant human taste test.

This journey has made me. It’s made me grow into my faith. Sometimes by force, sometimes by choice. The earth is always moving under our feet, forward will happen. Just as we can’t stop aging (as much as we try), it feels like we can’t stop evolving. It seems that all humans desire changes. Of course, we all try to avoid changes we don’t want, but actively pursue ones that we do. Why do we desire change? Personally, I get bored and honestly like a challenge. It feels like most of my desires for change (new) come from within me, almost unconscious. Perhaps the drive to evolve is unconscious. It’s some soul level stuff.

So here I stand, on the edge of choice. I have had the desire to share my perspective of life through writing for a while now, and it’s time to try it. I have plans for what I will write about, but as plans do, they often change. Join me as I embrace looking at life from a greater gray perspective. That nothing is truly good or bad, maybe it’s all perfect in the end.

Happy Trails! – Chelsea Gray