the zoo [ guest post ]

Today’s guest post is from my dearest friend of over a decade, Ashley Hartfelder. She is a certified boy mom (the latest little dreamboat born one month ago!), teacher, curriculum-writer and cheese connoisseur. She does all the things and I’m overjoyed she a) found the time to write this piece and b) is allowing me to share it with you. To read more from Ashley, check out her blog

If you were to ask me what I am fearful of, I could easily spout off a minimum of twenty different things before you were able to add creamer to your coffee. If you were to ask me what I am confident in, I would need a solid amount of quiet think time to really ponder those things.

I have recently had my world rocked, rolled, and rearranged. I became a mother of two about a month ago. Last week was my first big venture out (I mean a real venture out) with both my boys. I find it both humorous and bewildering that we chose to venture out to the zoo. My house is currently a zoo. My mind is a zoo. My heart is a zoo. My entire world is a zoo. So of course I thought we’d fit right in at the Nashville Zoo!

My three year old is more passionate than he is skilled, bless his heart. He is so spirited, full of life, and ready to take on the world. My one month old is as calm as a cucumber. He can’t be bothered! After I had loaded down my new/used double stroller LIKE A BOSS, we made our way to the entrance. I kept seeing kids everywhere. I kept seeing school busses everywhere. I kept seeing people and people and more people everywhere. I gripped my stroller a little tighter, gave a stern warning to my three year old to stay in the seat, and pushed forward. It was right there in that moment that the fears completely consumed me. These fears make my house, my mind, my heart, and my entire world feel like a zoo. My surroundings feel chaotic, loud, and raw. Just like a zoo.

The fears spilled out…

  • There are too many people here. Oh, please let my big kid listen to me.
  • I should have packed organic snacks for us to eat.
  • Why didn’t I wear something that covered up my belly that still looks as if it’s carrying a baby at 20 weeks?
  • I forgot to put sunscreen on my kids.
  • I hope no one sees me put formula in this bottle because they’ll judge me for not breastfeeding my baby.
  • Someone is going to see my tiny baby and think ill of me because I got him out of the house too soon.
  • I have called my ig kid’s name at least 18 times and he still isn’t listening to me. I can only imagine what these other people are thinking.
  • I should not have spent money on this food knowing we have food at home I could have packed.
  • Everyone saw my big kid fall down and get hurt. I’m sure they are all thinking how I wasn’t paying attention to him because I was paying attention to my baby.
  • I should not feel so overwhelmed. People do this all the time. With way more kids.
  • I should not feel so pathetic as a woman or a mom. Look at all the women around me rocking mom life.
  • I feel so guilty for feeling so frazzled, frustrated, and completely defeated. I have two beautiful boys to be thankful for.
  • I really should have been kinder to my husband when he offered sound advice about all fears and a listening ear rather than assuming he thought the worst of me and was just talking to talk.
  • Look at her. She has it altogether. She’s even got the food cut up and sorted into containers for her kids to easily access. She’s got water bottles for all of them. She’s got sunscreen to reapply. The kind
    ithout chemicals. All she has to do is say her kid’s name one time and they listen. She says “let’s go” and they follow. I bet she is a fantastic cook and never burns the green beans (Who burns green beans?!?!? I DO.). I bet she was kind to her husband when he left this morning before work.
  • I probably shouldn’t even be writing about these fears I have. I’m sure there is someone, somewhere who has fear rooted in something so much deeper. I’m sure someone is reading this right now thinking how great I have it, how I think the sun comes up just to hear me crow. I’m sure someone is thinking I just need to zip my Mississippi lips and appreciate what I have.

But I won’t zip my lips. I won’t stop writing. Because it’s real. We all have fear factors we face every single day, every single hour, and possibly every single minute. As humans, we love to stereotype. We stereotype fear. We stereotype people based on perception. We stereotype based on what we know as an outsider. So, let’s get real for just a second.

Letting fear consume us is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. It’s not even worth a single minute of the day we are given. Don’t worry though, I’m choosing not to end this post with some simple, three step plan. I’m ending with four words that have not only rocked, rolled, and rearranged my world, but also my thinking. Fear is a liar. Choose not to listen to fear today. Choose JOY. Choose LOVE. Fear is a liar.

P.S. Take a listen to this song all about fear being a liar here. It is a beautiful song full of TRUTH!

P.S.S. If you like the verse below, you can find the free printable here!!

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