This is a mama post. Maybe you will be able to relate, whether or not you're a mama?
I don't know, but I know that I've felt the need to be honest about my mama dirt. Because maybe you're in the trenches, too, and you love your kids, of COURSE, but some days you feel like you're going to lose ALL your marbles. (I know this isn't just a me thing.) Maybe you're living a different kind of challenge, and you wouldn't give it up for the WORLD, but like I have in the past, you feel like you're not "allowed" to talk about the tough stuff because you chose this? (Has anyone else felt this way?)
I am the mama to two beautiful children and the wife of the best guy I know. I am sleep-deprived, and maybe I should be napping right now, but I feel like a bit of writing is what I need, and I hope I'm not wrong.
I am on-call as a mom ALL the time. No hours off because I am breastfeeding (my choice) and Selah's not yet at the recommended point for bottles (although we may try today for the sake of sanity). Nolan (my son) and I are trying to process what this new life looks like; he loves his sister, but he doesn't quite love sharing my attention. I just want to be left alone for a guaranteed hour.
Last Tuesday, at just about 3 weeks postpartum, I went on my first run and crossed my fingers that my body would be okay with it because I NEEDED it. I'd told my husband earlier that day that I suck at this job. Nolan and I had "started over" probably 25 times that day, and I called my sister crying that Nolan needed a new mom. My mom was planning to stop by after work, and I hopefully asked her," how long are you planning on staying? Do I have time to go for a run?"
Nolan skipped his nap that day (as he worked hard at doing the rest of the week) and was a verified MESS, so my mother cheerfully called my father in for back-up, telling me to take my time. I came back feeling SO much better, was able to enjoy
Thank God for family (blood or not!), without which I'm not sure how I would be functioning right now.
Later in the week, I learned that when my husband asks me if I want to go for a run just when I am dragging myself down the stairs too early in the morning because I need to make coffee, I should say yes, no matter how tired I feel. Running makes me a happier, nicer person. It's a healthier drug than sugar, my default medication and it's a WAY better choice than snapping at my husband because I'm tired, frustrated, & by my rationalization, he's an adult and can handle it.
1. read Parenting with Love and Logic (I'm feeling like I could use some help as we navigate this new season of Nolan no longer being the only child.)
2. stick to my running plan.
3. save sweet treats for the evening- if I start earlier than that, I can't seem to stop!
4. go on an actual date (no kids allowed!) with my husband.
5. purchase a couple of outfits from thredUp that I feel cute in.
6. have our "new" neighbors over for dinner. (They moved in several months ago, and we just met them. Ahem.)
7. get a (very) part time job in place.
Linking up with The Tiny Twig's Goals with Grace.
Selah was born 15 days ago. I had grand illusions of writing more in these past 2+ weeks than I have, but typing out just how many days we've been doing this family of four thing (only 15?!) gently reminds me that I'm still in transition/survival mode.
So, hi. I'm glad to be here. I've missed this space. I have a Real Food Friday post ready for tomorrow, but then I can't guarantee when I'll be back. I'm planning on soon because this place is my therapy.
My body is recovering much better/faster than I thought it would. I attribute this to mostly good nutrition + eating grassfed gelatin nearly every day.
I love getting out for walks with Selah in the Ergo, but the highlight for me was last night. Nolan wanted to "go for a run," and Tim was holding Selah, so my little buddy and I went running around our neighborhood. We both had a blast, and so far, I haven't "paid for it" like I thought I might.
I don't really have a specific plan for getting back into exercise, but so far, Nolan has it covered. He loves to go for bike rides, runs, and walks. He sits in the stroller because although I could put Selah in there, he says the stroller is "his." I go with it because as a toddler with a new sibling, there's not much he can call his own that can't be claimed by someone else at any moment. Sometimes this means I push him in the stroller and carry Selah in the Ergo. So far, I see no need to sign up for a gym membership.
I do still have to say no to things I'd rather say yes to because I need the sleep. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and I know I need to take care of myself for no other reason than I want to be present for my family.
I am still spending some time in the kitchen when I can because it's so life-giving to me, reading (blogs and Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted), getting out because we all need it, and holing up at home because we all need that, too.
I am clinging to spending time with people who I can easily say,"hey, I have to go lay down," or "hey, I'm so tired I'm having trouble putting a sentence together." I'm finding that I have quite a few of those people in my life, and I feel lucky and also happy that at least in some ways, I'm a little more forth-coming with my needs and a little more confident than I felt after the birth of my first child. I feel like I'm growing up along with my children, like we are all learning from and for each other. I am tired, tired, but they along with their amazing father are my treasures, and tired or not, I know this life is so good.
I will drink it up. That and coffee. Oh, sweet coffee.
I've been wanting to post Selah's birth story since it happened on August 6th, but I've been a little preoccupied . One week from holding my daughter for the first time, here is a "quick" version for those who might be interested.
The night before my Selah girl's arrival, I told some friends I thought she would never come. That's how it feels sometimes.
I woke up to a strong contraction at 6 the next morning. No big deal; I've been having contractions for months (?), and I wasn't too hopeful that this was "it." When they persisted, I started timing them. Ten minutes apart, sometimes a closer. Hmmmm...
6:45 am- I really wanted to make a good breakfast. I got to work making coconut flour- based zucchini bread and slow-cooked zucchini, to be served with eggs, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese. And coffee with cream, of course. Always coffee.
7:00 am-I informed Tim what was going on out of perceived necessity- he was sleeping on the couch (something he often did toward the end to allow me the best possible chance to spread out and sleep comfortably) and even though I was trying not to make too much noise, I wasn't as successful as I hoped. But I was having regular, strong contractions, and I NEEDED to make breakfast!
7:15 am- I texted two dear friends to inform them about what was going on and invite them for breakfast.
8:00 am- I contacted my doula. I knew she wasn't able to come until 11:30 due to a mandatory deposition at her day job. No big deal.
8:15 am- One of my friends was able to come over (I think it was around this time?). We talked and cooked, and she ended up finishing the cooking while I stopped for contractions. I ended up taking my plate upstairs to eat in the bath because contractions were getting stronger, and I thought the tub might soften the pain, as it did during my labor with Nolan.
I stopped timing contractions, and just took them as they came. Faster and stronger. Tim took over without me asking him, arranged Nolan's pick-up time, made any other appropriate phone calls or texts, and told me when we thought we should leave for the hospital.
Nolan was uncharacteristically uninterested in me, a HUGE gift. Although I felt sad that we couldn't spend the time over breakfast that I wanted to that morning, I knew we'd be reunited soon and he'd be thrilled to spend the day with his Pop-Pop.
10:10 am- we left for the hospital, stopping for contractions on the way to the car.
10:20 am- Tim and I walked to triage slowly, stopping for many contractions. I could not fathom sitting in a wheel chair for any length of time. I was convinced I was traumatizing first-time pregnant mamas, but there wasn't anything I could do. Selah was COMING, and all I could do was live in that.
Full disclosure: Phrases like, "I don't think I can do this" came out of my mouth many times.
10:30 am- We check in. The woman at the desk seems unimpressed with my current situation, but since I've been to triage many times during this pregnancy (false labor and lots of non-stress tests), a nurse who knows and likes me gets a crew together immediately.
I get "checked." I've already determined that if progress isn't to my liking, I NEED drugs.
The team tells me to move to a delivery bed, but I. CAN'T MOVE.
The team waits for me to comply while my hero husband rescues me and pulls me onto the appropriate bed.
A lot of pain. A lot of coaching. A lot of feeling overwhelmed and almost completely out of control.
11:00 am. My Selah girl is born. We lie skin-to-skin for at least 45 minutes, and I am still in some pain, but it doesn't matter because she is here. Just when I thought she'd never come.
Selah Marie, 19.5 inches long, 7 lb. 2.3 ounces (my nurse told me I should own that .3 because I pushed it out. Ha!), cherished, loved, and treasured.
I'm full term + 1 day today.
That means if I go into labor, no one is going to try to stop me. Selah's got the green light to make her entrance into the world.
I'm excited OF COURSE. But you know how it is when you know something is about to change your life forever and you can never, EVER go back and there's a still, gorgeous calm before the (however beautiful) storm?
Do you know what I mean?
I can't stop staring at my boys. I can't get away from how things are going to be SO different soon. They will still be good, richer even, and soon, I won't be able to imagine life without my two best boys AND my Selah girl.
Maybe soon none of us will. But for now, Nolan is wanting his mama more. He KNOWS life is about to change in a big way, too.
And me? I'm just soaking them up.
My brother goes back to Alaska today after a too-short, two-week visit. I miss him already and cried when I saw this picture posted after he left.
That's really all I want to say about that, but I am about to post more pictures of our time with him, so it might be helpful to know that the tall, dark and handsome guy in my photos is my *little* brother.
Somewhere between the heat, increased activity, upped need for water and time continuing to march on, my you are getting to close to the end of your pregnancy symptoms really ramped up this week. A lot of cramping, a lot of Braxton Hicks, soreness, and some having to stop because I could not physically continue going forward. Totally frustrating for me because I've been eating well, exercising and doing everything I can think of to take care of myself and Selah. I feel like I should feel better and that labor needs to come soon because I don't know if I can handle a lot more of this.
So when yet another acquaintance asked how I was feeling, my frustrations came bubbling to the surface. I later vented the truth to my Aunt Mary Beth, who happened to be in town on the very day I needed her, and my mom. I just don't know how to answer that question to people I don't really know these days.
Thank God for people I can just be with. I'm feeling so thankful for the people who laugh at me when I apologize because I'm worried about being draining, help me laugh at myself, let me air my ridiculous complaints (even validate them!) and share their own stories.
Somewhere between getting in bed and getting up in the morning (I am often awake for at least a couple of hours during the night), I was reminded that I get to choose how to live out my upcoming days.
I've been experiencing some beautiful days, no matter how uncomfortable. I could choose to live with the weight of I don't think I can do this and this sucks OR I could choose to live out my days with the intention of living them and enjoying them the best I can.
Really, this is about choosing to live in misery or choosing to live in joy. Difficult choice, right?
I will still continue to be open about how I am really doing when it is the healthy choice to do so.
I will not dwell on what I don't like and can't control.
I will do what I can control, like leaving the dishes in the sink a little longer or accepting offers so I can rest when I need it.
I will make the effort to live and appreciate the life I've been given and not squander it.
This morning, I opted to go for a stroll on a new-to-me trail with 3 of my best boys instead of stay home and then my brother Steve treated us to a meal at one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Say Cheese. I am sitting and writing now. There are dishes in the sink that I will do...later.
I am awake when I shouldn't be and slept way too few hours last night (tonight?).
So I write.
So I look at the nights when I can't sleep (and there doesn't seem to be a particular pattern to these nights) as practice for those when I am up feeding/changing/snuggling Selah while my boys sleep. I am practicing for the next day, when I still have people, events, and appointments I've said yes to. I still have a son who needs and deserves my attention. I am practicing for the days when I will need to accept or even ask for help or say no or ask for a rain check more often than feels comfortable.
I am gathering up my resources- blogs I can check in with during the wee hours of the morning and tools to make not-sleeping almost, and maybe even actually, enjoyable.
I am treating myself to the kombucha I bought to split with Nolan after a patience-stretching experience at the grocery store. (I'll probably drink his share, but that just means I get to buy another one, right?)
I am reveling in the growing family that I adore. The house picked up by my husband while Nolan splashed in the bathtub and pretended to make me coffee and soup. The promise of a green smoothie and coffee in a few hours and the quiet that comes with being awake while the rest of my world sleeps.
Maybe practicing today will make the upcoming onslaught of sleeplessness a little more manageable. And if not, at least I've found some beauty in this time.
I continued to climb out of that funk over the weekend.
Several shared meals, 2 glasses of wine, many people I enjoy, an adults-only party where I remembered I like me (and I can be fun! and talk about more than my baby!), lots of chaos and laughing and loving the moment(s) made for a salve for my spirit that I needed very much.
I'm often the sort of person for whom life feels heavy much of the time. I enjoy it; part of my approach to life is openness toward all of the adventure that life has to offer.
Nolan has highlighted both of those things in me. I determined early on that I don't want to break his curious, adventurous little spirit by keeping him too safe. He does climb things and cause my heart to stop on a regular basis, but he is really enjoying exploring life. I love that about him and our life as a family.
Still, I'm never going to be a laid-back mom. I know, "never say never." I just don't see it happening.
I often wonder/worry over "am I really doing what's best for Nolan? for my family?"
I hear that's normal.
I look that at gap-toothed little grin, and I just want to give him everything. Every adventure, every opportunity. He turns me to mush several times a day, and then I'm back to the questioning how I can do what's best for him, for us, for the 3 of us.
Right now, I am looking for work, and I'm a mess of emotions. Part of me wants to stay home forevermore and just see what life has to offer us. I don't want to miss out on any snuggles, the sound of the giggle, or that look of wonder I love so much. I don't want to see his crazy little personality get stamped out and truth be told, I want to be needed.
I am needed. Money is really tight around here right now, and I need to find a job. I am both excited about the change (a chance to use my skills! adult time!) and not looking forward to it at all (having to say goodbye to my baby most days).
Nolan is at an age right now where he needs me, of course, but he needs independent play, and he can do it himself, thank you. It's so good for both of us; I know I'm going to have to learn throughout my whole life to let the little boy who is my heart on legs go because it is so good for both of us, but it is not easy for me at all.
I think me going to work could be good...again, for both of us. No matter what I do during the day, it is still just the two of us the majority of most days. While we get out nearly every day (Nolan will grab at the diaper bag and repeatedly point to the door if I take too long), he still takes two naps a day and needs some recharge time. I could use a little more interaction with my peers, and I miss the thrill of seeing an event I put together happen smoothly (or at least appear to happen smoothly) or the light bulb moment happen for a student.
I know by now that I am rarely, if ever, alone in whatever I am dealing with or how I am feeling. I know there must be other mothers whose hearts are a mess over the best thing to do for their babies.
I think this might be the best thing I can do right now, and I hope it's enough.
My morning started early again.
I was just ready to get up, ready for some dark, quiet time alone with my morning requisite bottle of water, immediately followed by a hot cup of coffee.
I'm reading The Mission of God with a group of friends. It's the kind of reading I can't do all at once and still absorb. It's the kind of reading I'll sometimes do out loud to help me better take it in.
I'm really getting into it, loving it maybe, but I need to stop for a few minutes right now and express some thankfulness. Does that ever happen to you? I found myself so distracted (overwhelmed, maybe) by how lucky I must be, that I could hardly see the words on the page any more.
So. I quite understand if this is the kind of post you'd rather not read. It is, after all, early in the morning, and frankly, I'm not always in the mood to read, "oh, hey, look at me! my life is great!" posts, either.
But there are 25 days until Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!), and I'm wondering if you'd like to join me in writing out (at least) 25 things I am/you are/we are so glad to have until then.
My husband arrived home from a business trip last night. Nolan and I spent 3 days away last weekend and then this extra day away from his dad had my baby boy all out of sorts. (The boy LOVES his dad.) Last night, the 3 of us just hung out and played and it was probably all that time away from each other that created a moment when I just watched them and took them in and thought this is the good life.
I probably could write out 25 things, based solely on that picture. A dad who loves his son in word AND in deed. A son who adores, who basks in his attention, shows off even. Both of them my boys, my favorites. Of course.
They're number 1 and 2 on my thankfulness list.
I'm in the mood to record a few thoughts right now, so I'm going to attempt an unedited version while Nolan rearranges the furniture (ie. pushes the recycling bin around the kitchen).
I'm crossing my fingers that everything I was just thinking doesn't fly out of my mind this very moment that I decide to write.
That boy? The apple of my eye (<--that is literally the phrase that just came to mind, but not something I would normally say. You get what I mean, though, right?), but sometimes I just need a break from being a mother. Last night, Tim told me to plan to do something relaxing when he got home from work, so I headed to my sister-in-law's with a bottle of wine. We bundled up and sat outside on her perfect porch and just talked for a few hours and then I went home, excited.
Because I'd missed Steph and I'd missed having long, thoughtful conversations...and of course, by the time I arrived home, I was looking forward to some snuggles with a certain little boy.
I'm feeling particularly grateful and (maybe uncharacteristically) secure this weekend. Sometimes I find myself getting downright insecure, and you know what? It is usually the result of projections and assumptions when I really just need to have a conversation.
I could write and write and write tonight
but I won't
because my husband just joined us
(Nolan squealed with delight, of course. He LOVES his daddy. )
and I want to enjoy my family before Nolan goes to bed.
My grandmother rolled into town yesterday.
I went to the early yoga class, lacking sleep, 2 cups of coffee in my system, because I needed it.
I'm kind of addicted to my weekly class.
I rushed to get ready
That heart-melting action was happening while I was
brushing my hair
throwing together something to eat (because oops, it was getting late in the morning, and I'd pumped and exercised but had yet to eat anything)
But I had to stop and watch
at least a little.
It does something to my heart to see people who are so dear to it love on my son.
I wouldn't mind seeing that every day.
We-my grandma, my mom, and me-3 generations of woman who are so different and so alike-
We peeled ourselves away in search of a dress for my mom to wear to my sister's upcoming wedding.
The ways that we are alike just screamed at me this time.
We have the same love for having people over, for celebrating pretty much anything, the same laugh.
We laughed a lot.
It's hard sometimes, you know, being part of a family.
You have all this history, all these perceptions, all these stories burned into your being.
As the youngest of the 3 of us, I am and have been a child, an adult, and a friend. Sometimes the mix isn't quite right, and there's friction.
Yesterday was us, eating great food (I introduced them to a restaurant I knew they would love because the part of me that is them loves it, too), celebrating my sister, celebrating us.
And ok, I know nothing's really perfect because if I were to recall every single moment of our trip, I'm sure there were some that wouldn't qualify
but I'm going to say it anyway-
Yesterday was perfect.