It's 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I took a selfie in my room. Bed is made up with substitute blankets while everything that usually outfits it gets washed. Both kids ended up sleeping in it with me & that makes for some messes you probably don't want to know about. My mirror is kind of dirty and there is my new favorite Noonday necklace & scarf in one corner, a card from a dear friend stuck in the other side. I am freshly showered, no make up, wearing a Krochet Kids t-shirt I adore & am sporting a belly seemingly made of a batch of pizza dough, and am feeling pretty cute and good in my skin at the moment.
At the moment, I'm feeling I could stay a little chunky forever & it wouldn't really matter because I have two beautiful kids that stretched out that belly, I am learning to be free from so many self-imposed food rules, and I am working through the 30 day shred mainly because it's stress-relieving and I like to feel strong. I am spending a lot of time I would normally spend thinking about food on other things, and despite the fact that being alone with little kids for too long can be maddening, I'm sure I live a pretty sweet life.
I decided against posting the selfie, even though I like what it represents because I can picture the comments about not being too hard on myself. I know what we will do as women; we will compare; whether we think we look better or worse (which usually actually has to do with where we sit mentally); we'll make guesses about pounds or make it about the appearance of something.
I believe in presenting our true selves. I do. You guys, I love bright colors. I love a simple look with a loud pop, bright red Toms, big earrings, and loopy scarves. Some times the "self" I am presenting is "hey, I'm tired and worn and I'm doing my best here." That's okay, too. But the clothes & the make up is just the icing. Let's make it good icing, but let's not make the whole celebration about it.
I'm excited about this whole intuitive eating and fair trade and learning to live a better, more ME version of myself in large part because my kids are going to see that. I want them to love every inch of themselves and use it for the best possible good they can come up with.
Speaking of which, Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass is on repeat over here.
Let me start off by saying that a sizable portion of my brain seems to be dormant. The rest is mainly focused on parenting two children while running on too little sleep and not going crazy while doing it.
I didn't go crazy yet, so I'm counting last month as a win.
Here's a look at September's goals & what I did with them.
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.) I did read, but I didn't finish. I also read a good number of blogs on parenting this month.
2. stick to my running plan. I did...for a while. Towards the end of the month, I found I needed something a little gentler. I originally started running for stress relief, but the lack of sleep had me going for more movement in the form of walking and yoga.
3. save sweet treats for the evening- if I start earlier than that, I can't seem to stop! I kind of forgot about this one...could be why I've been having such trouble curbing my sweet tooth!
4. go on an actual date (no kids allowed!) with my husband. I don't think this happened. We did create a schedule that includes an at-home date night, though.
5. purchase a couple of outfits from thredUp that I feel cute in. I did purchase a workout outfit I'm fairly happy with. The top is a cherry red, which isn't normally something I'd go for, but it fits well, so there's that.
6. have our "new" neighbors over for dinner. (They moved in several months ago, and we just met them. Ahem.) Nope. This did not happen.
7. get a (very) part time job in place. No again. Anything that might work for our family hasn't come together yet.
September goal progress could be discouraging...but I'm fairly new to this goal-setting thing. I'm good at coming up with ideas and plans, but follow through? Actual goals? No. It's possible that my first goals needed to change, I don't know & I'm viewing this as practice.
Just writing this post has me thinking of a handful of posts I want to write. Maybe those will happen?
In this mean time, here are my goals for October:
1. Stay within my food budget for the month.
2. Keep working through issues with food/ letting go of eating-related anxiety. I'm seeing some good progress with this- something I might sit down and write about this month.
3. Finish Parenting with Love and Logic.
I'm linking up with Hayley to share Goals with Grace.
Be warned that this post may be bit all over the place. I am currently waiting for the coffee to brew and taking an opportunity to write while I can.
Intuitive eating is going well. I'm planning to write more about that "soon." Soon is relative these days.
I'm starting to understand why some moms wake up at 5 am to get their "me" time. I've been running on days when my husband or my mom can watch one or both of the kids (sometimes Nolan rides along in our Jeep stroller), and I come back feeling so refreshed, even in face of the fact that my body could use a lot more sleep. However, this arrangement isn't quite sustainable. We are entering CRAZY BUSY season at Tim's job &my mother is just one person who has other things to do than meet all my needs (she helps me a LOT and is a major factor in me not taking up permanent residence in Crazy Town these days). This means I need to find another outlet & way to feel like "me."
Raising a toddler and a baby can be maddening. Reason is not a tactic that always (often?) works with them. I'm spending my days mitigating messes, talking out requests, giving hugs and handling BIG emotions (ie. MANY tantrums & tears). I'm trying to be a creative parent, allow my son to live even if it means many, many messes I'll need to clean up (of course, he helps, but there is usually still a mess left over), meet the needs of two kids that don't always align. I am trying to differentiate the times when I say no just because I don't want to deal with something or I'm worried about irrelevant implications and the times when I say no because it's necessary.
Even now, while I write this, my 2-year-old seems to have found out that I am stealing a slice of peace for myself and is right by my side asking questions, some of them repeated, some of them seemingly illogical (for example, "but why?" when unprovoked and unattached to a conversation).
And what's more important? Being present for my son or finding bits of time where I can be myself and get some refreshment (writing does that for me)?
People, I am choosing this life. It is challenging me, but it's a life I want to live.
I just need to figure out how to live well in it, and not just get through it.
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.
When I talk about my body bouncing back, I am referring to what I can physically do. I am talking about feeling at home in my body sooner than I expected and sometimes feeling cute in an outfit I put together. This will never be a blog about pounds or weight loss. I won't be posting any "body after baby" progress pictures, although I do sometimes find those interesting on other blogs.
I think it's probably time for a blog face lift (new name, new tag line, an air-ier look, more resources). That may not happen for awhile, so in the mean time, here's what you can expect around here between now and the next few months:
Wellness. I am determined to live my life as best as I can. For me, that starts with what I put in my body. I've gone back to good old fashioned pen and paper food journaling because it makes me accountable to myself and it works for me. I also have a default setting of stress eating, which is triggered during times of stress. Because this fall is going to be a challenging season for our family, expect plenty of posts about living well (or not) when all of me is screaming,"just numb it with food!"
Spending. We all spend spend SOME money, yes? I'm always on the lookout for ways we can buy our products that don't come from children, slaves, and otherwise oppressed and abused people- even BETTER if buying those products would actually contribute to community,sustainable businesses, and quality of life. Oh! And I need to be able to afford said products. This is where my heart is. Expect lots of these posts.
Motherhood. Because I'm now the mother of TWO. This is new and different, and even if it wasn't, raising humans with their own personalities and otherwise unique makeup is a BIG deal. It's a lot of patience for them and for me, a lot of okay, let's try again. It's a lot of snuggling and listening and paying attention and energy. My kids are very much the biggest time priority of this season of life for me, so there will be plenty of these kinds of posts, too.
Do you blog? Please link up here! What do you write about?
I met my adventure-loving, heart-stealing son face-to-face almost 14 months ago.
I loved him right away. I loved him as he was growing inside, as I felt him moving, rolling, kicking. I sang to him, talked to him, and ate in ways I thought would benefit him. I held him as soon as he was born; I could hardly believe he was right there, skin touching, even though it should have been easy to believe after 4 hours of pushing him into day light.
I marveled at his tiny toes and rocked him for hours and talked with my husband regularly about just how lucky we were (and are) to have such an amazing little kid bestowed upon us.
I have a secret, though.
The way I feel now about motherhood, about him is the way I thought I would feel when he was first laid on my chest. Nolan grew on me over the span of a year. I feel like I need to remind you that I always loved him when I say that, like maybe admitting he grew on me is saying I didn't love him enough in the beginning, that I somehow failed as a mother right off the bat.
The first year, or maybe the first 10 months (I can't remember now), were not easy. I repeated often that motherhood is or was harder, but better than I expected.
Maybe I've said that too much in writing and in person as I tried to explain away why everything about me was so different (or at least it seemed to me), why some days I couldn't remember what I was told 10 minutes ago or the only stories I had to tell were about something I'd learned about motherhood.
Sometimes it feels like there are secrets about motherhood that you aren't let into until you're living them. It's okay to voice those things. It's okay to say I had no idea how hard this would be when I signed up. It's okay to laugh about the silly things you said in a tired fog, take a real break, do something that's not baby related or say I don't know what I'm doing.
It seems silly to me that so many of us are doing the same things at the same time by ourselves- in different ways, sure, but if we're respectful of each other's choices, we should be able to do more life together, shouldn't we? I'm still working toward solutions for this one, but sometimes a simple "it's normal to feel that way" is enough to tide me over or take the edge off.
It's normal to feel like some parts of my day are mundane. Nolan can repeat the same activity over and over and over...I don't have to think his actions are interesting at every moment. ( Often, giving myself permission to feel less than thrilled means I end up transferring the energy I'd spent on fighting my feelings and carrying guilt to look for ways to enjoy the mundane parts. )
It's okay to struggle through the process of learning to be a mother. No matter what you may think about mothers' intuition, doing anything well requires effort. Keep on truckin'. It'll pay off.
Get educated (but stop before you head starts to swim in all the parenting theories out there), and then do the best you know how to do for yourself, your child, your family. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. (<--Not concerning myself with irrelevant opinions is a practice for me. Sometimes I am successful; sometimes I am not.)
Ignore all suggestions that you are spoiling your child by hugging, holding, or otherwise responding to their cries.
Remind yourself every day that you are equipped with whatever you need to be the right mama for your baby.
It isn't likely that one action or inaction is going to make or break you or your child's spirit. If you notice something about your parenting choices you don't like, don't panic; just move on and make the appropriate change.
All those cliches about enjoying them because time moves so fast? I'm pretty sure there's truth in there. Take time every day just to marvel at your kid.
I'm rooting for you.
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.
I should probably be sleeping right now.
I've been awake since 4 am, and at this point, I can't just go back to sleep. Which is okay, because I'd love to spend some time with my keyboard.
Nolan's been sleeping through the night lately, in his own bed. Getting him there took nearly a year, but we got into a good rhythm just before we left for 5 nights in Gettysburg. I thought that might be the end of that. It wasn't.
The past 2 or 3 nights, though, he wakes up upset and needing to snuggle. We are just about done with breastfeeding, and I think he misses all that comfort and extra cuddling.
Maybe I do, too?
Yesterday, Nolan's grandparents and Aunt Steph came over for cake and to shower him with so many presents. (We decided against a big party this year.) It was lovely. Nolan was showered with lots of attention and love, which is exactly what I wanted for him at his birthday celebration.
I was surprised to find out that I didn't feel the way I thought I would. I thought I'd feel warm fuzzies and movie-worthy magical moments, or something like that. Instead, I just felt sad.
I know that seems strange, doesn't it?
I just remembered today that I wanted to make a banner out of pictures of Nolan's first year. I really wanted one, but somewhere in Tim's traveling and getting sick and me trying to wrap my mind around how to adequately celebrate a year of being parents to an amazing little kid, I forgot. I also really wanted to take Nolan to the park yesterday. It was a beautiful day, and we need to get ourselves into the sunshine as much as possible these days, but I knew I couldn't do it all in time, so I stewed. I mean, I was really grumpy for a little while. And then I wised up. Everyone would be fine with out a banner, right? We went to the park and climbed the stairs, slid down slides, crawled under a bridge, rode those springy things that rock back and forth and make me nervous every time. We ran through leaves and found a basketball and enjoyed our neighborhood on the trip up and back. At one point, I answered a text just as Nolan looked back at me in a look, Mom! kind of way. It broke my heart that I was on my phone just when we was trying to share a moment with me, so I put it away.
The whole experience was just good. Just what we both needed, I think. But it meant there were no decorations. Although I still feel like I made the right choice, I just know I can do better at putting together a get-together than that. I know Nolan doesn't care and only I do.
I just...maybe it's the time change(I struggle with S.A.D) or my little boy growing up or the not knowing how to wrap up this past year in a nice and pretty way, but yesterday was just emotionally difficult for me.
Steph stayed afterward last night and we drank wine, and I so needed that.
My husband listened while I tried to explain the mess that was in my head, then hugged me tight and rubbed my feet.
Today, I am going over to a dear friend's house, where I will share a meal with some of my favorite people. Kelly and Lindsey both have adorable, crazy little boys, too, but they are older than Nolan. I know they'll commiserate with me and make me feel like I'm going to be okay.
And I am. I'm okay.
In list form, the things in this post that are so good in my life (as in, things I am thankful for)(because I think I do need this right now):
#7 (still continuing that list and trying to get to 25 before Thanksgiving). Time to myself, in the morning,my prime time.
#8. Nolan is sleeping (mostly) through the night! In his own bed!
#9. seeing Nolan so loved by his grandparents and his aunt
#10. Playing in the park with my son? One of my favorite things to do right now.
#11. Nolan's grandma and grandpa got him snow gear! So unless it's actually dangerous, our outdoor time has been given new life over what's supposed to be a snowy winter.
#12. I love my sister-in-law, of course, but I also really like her. I mean, I would choose her as a friend even if we weren't related. Also, I really just needed to relax and have a glass of wine last night, and she was there to enjoy it with me. That did me so much good.
#13. Nolan sleeping through the night means I can stay up sometimes and hang out with my husband, who I miss.
#16. French press coffee. (Oh, I didn't mention that? That is happening this morning!)
This little boy is a the joy of my life.
I know. This is news to you, right?
Sometimes, I start feeling like what I'm doing (with him, being his mom and all of that) doesn't matter because he won't remember. Of course, I can feel that way if I choose, but those thoughts aren't founded in truth, exactly.
What is it about somebody remembering something or not remembering that makes us (maybe not you, but sometimes me) think it is a good gauge for what is worth doing? Nolan will not remember what is going on in his life right now, but he will be loved (albeit imperfectly) during his most formative years. At his core, (I hope) he will know he is loved unconditionally. With that perspective, feelings of worthlessness don't really make sense.
I fill other roles, but
I am Nolan's mother.
There are so many ways to parent. I just keep attempting to learn. Keep thinking and paying attention, keep talking and listening.
Today, I was caretaker to one of Nolan's birthday buddies (we have two sets of friends who each had a son the same day Nolan was born) in addition to my usual little rascal.
In the beginning, I was breaking up every entanglement (the other boy is significantly smaller than Nolan)...but as I was observing them, I noticed that this is just how they did things. The being on top of one another, the grabbing of a toy, and then grabbing it back. The touching of faces and pulling of hair (although that got a little iffy sometimes).
I watched them, and I played with them, but I stopped intervening on every.single. thing. They didn't need that from me.
Several months ago, I learned that Nolan enjoys most things I would find scary or a little too rough. Most times, he thinks they are hysterical.
Being the mother of a little boy has been quite the learning process for me. I imagine it always will be.
I am a lover of food (for so many reasons! You might already know this.).
I appreciate healthy, satisfying meals.
I thrive on meals that are shared with others (even if they aren't the healthiest).
I think that food can be community glue.
I think there is more than one "best" way to eat because no two bodies are the same and because our bodies change in chemistry every few years.
Since the arrival of my baby boy and my new role as a mother, I've been experimenting with my approach to food. I need to marry my love of community-glue-meals, my adventurous palate, and my need for nourishing food that fuels days that include, but are not limited to, taking care of an active little boy.
I'm sharing what works for me right now because recently, I've seen that every time I share something that's is important to me or is a need, especially when it comes to something parenthood-related, there is always someone (often several someones) that come out of the woodwork to say, "me, too!" And usually me, too, and this is my take.
I love that.
How I approach food to fuel motherhood
- I don't eat any added sugar from Monday to Thursday. I do this to avoid sugar crashes and sugar "hangovers." Maybe I've become more sensitive to sugar with pregnancy, but those things are real. Most of the time, I can't afford them.
- By Friday afternoon, I kind of feel I've earned a real dessert (added sugar included) and I'm ready to kick back and relax. Tim will be with me much of the time, so I don't have to be so concerned with being on top of things constantly. This means dessert is a-okay.
- I allow myself to have whatever I want all weekend, including sweets. I'm still aware of how my choices make me feel, and I still make a lot of my usual healthy choices. I do say yes to the cake with the perfect icing that so many weekend parties seem to have and even eat dessert every day (if I actually want those things).
- I avoid sugar later in the evening on Sundays to avoid a sugar hangover on Monday.
- I drink coffee. I know a lot of moms don't, but this mom most certainly does...and I'm not looking to give it up any time soon.
- I eat a lot of plant-based fat. Peanut butter, avocado, olive oil.
- I don't subscribe to any one diet (as soon as I even try to, I am in mental rebellion), but my eating style is probably closest to Clean Eating during the week.
- I try to eat as much as often as I am hungry. Sometimes this is 3-4 times, and sometimes it is 6-7.
Now I'm curious- do you have a role you purposely fuel for? Nurse? Runner? Parent? Something else? What is it and what is your approach?