Uncategorized

You know you’re a stay-at-home parent in the summer when…

I’m not gonna lie—being a stay at home mom in the summertime has its perks. Spending a lot of time at the pool and eating ice cream isn’t exactly something to complain about. But, no escape from the kids for a full three months can make a mom long for the ring of the school bell. Aside from the unavoidable fact that you’re home with children all summer long (which somehow seems way, way longer now than when I was a kid), here are a few ways you can tell that you’re a stay at home parent in the summer.

FullSizeRender (1)

1. You’re constantly covered in a mixture of sweat, spilled milk, chlorine and, most likely, urine. Hello, baby pool. Note to self: Just don’t think about why the pool’s already so warm on opening weekend.

2. You haven’t eaten anything for lunch besides PB&J crusts and the skins off everyone’s apples in weeks.

3. You keep buying new bathing suits at Target in hopes that your once weekly exercise routines in the kitchen are actually working and it’s just lighting, poorly made bikini tops or all the 18-year-old lifeguards making you look bad.

Continue reading @ Mommy Nearest… 

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Needing more than to be needed

As a mother who stays at home, works at home, wipes snotty faces and does everything else at home, on any given day, finding time to shower or go to the bathroom is a struggle. When I do, it’s hurried or a spectator sport at best, a crying, massive, ridiculous meltdown in the making at worst. One baby screaming in his crib and flailing his body against the rails while his sister throws things at him or down the stairs or tries to make him dance while he protests and cries harder. Who knew peeing (or God forbid, pooping) could cause such utter chaos? People with bladder control problems and mothers (so basically, just mothers)- that’s who.

The time I have away from my children at this point in my life is very limited. It is almost nonexistent. My husband travels for his job about half the month and during that time, I am holding down the fort and sometimes unraveling, briefly, then putting myself back together before too much damage has been caused. I am always hopeful that by the end of the day, tired children will go to bed easily, sleep well and there will be a few moments in the day for me. That I will end the day on a high note, feeling like I did the best I can do and once they are tucked in my good karma will kick in and I can put my feet up. Usually, that doesn’t happen, but I remain hopeful with each passing day that soon it will.

IMG_3340

Instead what almost always happens is some variation of the following. My daughter gets excited because she has me all to herself. There is no other adult in the kitchen to talk to and sneak glances to or to help me make dinner. Just a baby who doesn’t talk and a 5-year-old who never stops talking. If my mind drifts for a moment my silence is met with “mama!… mama!” I love her adoration of me, but sometimes, it is suffocating and it is overwhelming, especially now that there is another tiny person to feed, clothe, bathe and put to bed, too.

She is in my lap, she is pawing at my hair, she is covering me in garments. Her tiny hands are all over my body. They are on my bare breasts, cozying up to me while the baby nurses. On my face and neck and belly. They are everywhere. They are hands that I love more than anything, but they are playing a very intrinsic part in my combustion. I grit my teeth and take deep breaths and sometimes I say “mommy, needs some space,” but more often than not those words are lost on her.

This feeling rises up in me that I can usually push away. It’s just me. And it will just be me at 3 AM and first thing in the morning and when I’m at my breaking point. Even my breaking point doesn’t matter. There is no getaway, minus when my heart-of-gold neighbor with her own small child offers to take the crying baby so I can jog out my stresses before he implodes from separation anxiety or hunger or angry-baby-itis. Or when my mother watches him while I go to a long overdue dentist appointment, settle into the chair to watch Regis and Kelly and feel like I’m on vacation. That is, until they tell me how pregnancy and hormones have done a number on my gums and holy hell, that hurts and why didn’t I find time to come to the dentist in the last four years?

More often than not, at some point in the day that I start out having the highest hopes for, I feel completely defeated. And I ask myself “why is this so hard?”

On my husband’s most recent trip, my daughter stayed home from her morning preschool due to a mild fever the night before. She’d been running circles around me all day while I tried to not picture the entire lonely week ahead of me.  After hours of making dinner, begging people to eat dinner, cleaning it up, tantrums, baths, nursing, more tantrums, a teething baby who can’t sleep and big kid who was enraged about it, I lost it. I yelled. I sobbed. And then my “me time” that I’d been looking forward to, instead of spending it putting up my feet, watching The Mindy Project, I spent feeling the pangs of horrible, devastating guilt and wondering “how did I become this angry, tired, overwhelmed mom who yells? This isn’t who I wanted to be. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. In fact, it’s the opposite of everything I wanted to be. This isn’t what my motherhood was supposed to look and feel like. This is not my motherhood.”

I spend almost all of my time and energy loving the shit out of my kids. Finding these little magic moments in ordinary days. Kissing dirty faces and being easy going and making sure everyone has gotten enough enough hugs, kind words and discipline. And then I spend just a little bit of time wanting terribly to get away from them. Needing to get away from them. And it’s not because I’m a horrible person or because I’m not enjoying motherhood as much as I should be. It’s not because I’m emotionally unbalanced (well, maybe, a little). Mostly, it’s because “away” doesn’t exist. Breathing easy, being alone, working, writing uninterrupted by a poopy diaper, a spilled drink, or getting hit in the head with a sock monkey, it’s just not a part of my life. Or it’s so fleeting, it’s over before it started.

Even on my best day, when I’m calm, cool and collected, or do a good enough job pretending I am, by 10 PM, sometimes earlier, I just want to curl up in bed and not be needed. I want to do a good job, not a mediocre one, on something I get paid for. I want to prioritize something thats mine, instead of always letting my work, my ambitions, my “chances” slide because there is too much else that’s important. And I let that thought come in, that sounds something like “I can’t see them anymore today. Not right now. Please, stay in bed. Please.” And I let it wash over me and feel the enormity of the guilt that comes with it. Every ounce.

My motherhood experience is not all roses and I don’t need it to be. I don’t need to be told how much I will miss these times because I already know how true that is. The other day I was driving home and I started thinking about when my daughter was two with her white tuft of hair and her long eyelashes and her fearlessness. I got a tear in my eye but I couldn’t finish the thought because she yelled “mama!… answer me!” from the backseat and then it was gone. The opportunity to reminisce, to miss something, evaporated.

The fleetingness of motherhood is with me, always. But so is knowing that I need more than simply to be needed. Part of my motherhood experience is remembering me- the mother. And finding her and telling her she’s important, too. I love my children all the time, but sometimes, I just want to miss them. I want to know what it’s like to come up for air. And I want to know that that’s okay.

Uncategorized

A day in the life of my “baby moon”

I’m currently on my so-called “Baby Moon.” While this term can mean a trip you take BEFORE baby comes (dammit, I really should’ve squeezed in that one), it can also describe the period of time after baby is born in which you swoon over your brand new infant child all day, every day until you have to (at some point, ugh) start assimilating back into the real world. It could take weeks or months until you feel ready and I’m sure it varies from one postpartum mama to the next. But personally, I decided to take my second postpartum stint as slow as humanly possible, soak in the “babymooning” and just be easy with myself.

This is important primarily for two reasons. 1) I have no idea what else to do and really can’t handle much more than the swoon fests (in between nursings and burpings and diaper blowouts and being generally ill-rested) and 2) I really do like my new baby a whole, whole lot. Most of these days look the same and they are kind of starting to blend together. And while I am certainly loving up this new person as much as I possibly can, I can’t help but think the term “baby moon” doesn’t always seem to fit with the intensity of the nonstopness that is taking care of a newborn baby human.

IMG_4489

Here is what my baby-moon looks like on any given day.

Continue reading @ Mommyish…

Uncategorized

Thanks, but I already have a day job

My daughter wasn’t more than a few weeks old before people started asking me this question: So, when do you plan to work outside the home? I never knew how to answer it because I never had any idea (actually, I still don’t). But when my daughter was an infant, it seemed completely impossible. I was just beginning to get to know my child and that’s where I wanted to be. It seemed super important for me to be with my kid and my husband felt the same way and for that we made sacrifices. Both of us. A lot. 

For us, I like to believe it’s been worth it. But I’m not gonna lie, the early days or parenting weren’t easy financially or otherwise. I was constantly exhausted and overwhelmed and my husband likely was, too. But I can’t imagine how I would’ve felt about being away from my kid day in and day out. I’m not sure I could’ve handled that emotionally and given the costs of daycare, I don’t think it would’ve been worth it with what I likely would’ve been bringing home at the end of the week. Probably about enough to pay for groceries and that’s it. More power to the moms (AND DADS!) who can do it. I honestly think it’s amazing, truly. I know you’re thinking about your kid every chance you get and working to give them a better life. I know some of you don’t have the choice whatsoever. I know for some it makes your a better parent to work outside the home. But either way, I know you miss them all the time and I think you’re totally amazing.

Image

I just want to have my cake and eat it, too. I want to get to work, but I also don’t want to leave my kid/s and so I’ve always worked in some form. When Piper was just a few weeks old I started seeing personal training clients at our home in the evenings and on weekends. I had begun writing and wrote a couple of pieces a month for a website that, to my shock and awe, had decided I was publishable. I always craved work outside of baby-maintenance and nursing and diapering but it wasn’t easy to fit in. It was hard and sometimes I felt selfish for trying to do it. But I needed to be with my kid and I needed to work and I didn’t see any realistic way around either of those things. So I found ways to squeeze it all in, sometimes staying up late, working on weekends or whatever I had to do. It hasn’t always been pretty, though.

Still I got asked the question- When are you going to work outside the home? Which always made me feel like people thought what I was doing wasn’t good enough. It’s true, I didn’t make that much money. Still don’t. But I am working and working hard in more ways than one and I feel good about what I’m doing here and now. I like working and I want to work and a lot of times I find it more fulfilling than being home with kids because kids never stop. And the non-stopness of it could totally give anyone a drinking problem. And I probably already have one so… fuck. 

Taking care of kids is the most undervalued job ever. Do not think for a minute that I’m criticizing anyone who doesn’t feel that call to work outside of taking care of their kids because I’m not and I never would. I find the days where I don’t have time to retreat to the computer, to pound out my thoughts into the interwebs or get some sort of feeling of accomplishment back from the outside world the absolute hardest days. The parents I know that are home with kids all day without a break or a back-rub or a “hey, how feeling today? Good, great. You look nice, minus the spit-up in your hair” are my personal heroes.

In all honestly, I’m scared to go back to that place. I talk about it with my husband all the time. I’m about to have a new baby and for at least a few months know that I will never get a break. My work will be put on the back-burner again. My brain will probably not be functional enough to write anything because I find it really, really challenging to write something well thought out while being sucked on.

I’ll go back to the place of full-time mom when I had just gotten to a place of having mornings to work while my daughter is in preschool. I’m going back, back, back but this time I’m going to try and embrace it a lot more and ignore the “when are you going to work OUTSIDE the home?” question. Because I don’t know. If I can still write, teach a yoga class, great. If it doesn’t feel possible for a while, then it can and will wait until I’m ready. Maybe that should be my new response… “when I’m ready.” Or maybe, “when I fucking feel like it!” Jk. Kind of.

Image
Thanks, but I already have a day job

I’m not totally zen about it, as you can tell. I’m terrified. I feel like I’ve been digging these little paths for four years and I’m about to lose my way again. But if you see me around, please don’t ask me when I’m going to bite the bullet and leave my new baby and my four year old to go back to work because that’s what you think I should be doing. Just spare me. I’m already working pretty much all the time anyway even if you don’t want to see it. 

Uncategorized

15 things I wish every struggling mother knew

There is so much I still don’t know about parenthood. In fact, there is a lot I will never know. But I’ve picked up a few truisms along the way. Ya know, things that keep me from screaming into a pillow all too often.

These are the things I wish every struggling mother knew:

1. Patience, the kind that parenting requires, is not something  most of us inherently have- it is a practice. Let it evolve, let it grow and watch yourself do the same.

2. One day, sleep will come. It won’t be soon, but it will be worth the wait.

3. Luke warm anything can be too hot, drinks can be too cold and sandwiches can be “too sandwichey.” Act accordingly.

4. Your work is important. And the days where it feels unimportant, it is probably the most important.

5. Persistence is everything. Breathe, don’t quit.

6. Ignoring your kids sometimes is good for the soul.

7. Vacations are completely and totally exhausting in every way.

8. There will be a point in your parenting journey when you are certain you are doing everything wrong and that no one understands you at all. Disregard and move on.

9. The most important thing you can do is to have faith in yourself as a parent.

10. Kids repeat everything they hear on TV or in books. Choose wisely or take being called a “scrub” in stride.

11. In times of trouble, go outside, look around and remember there is a whole world outside of your four walls.

12. Yelling is pretty much never worth it.

13. Don’t believe anyone who acts like they have it all together. None of us are without struggle. Some just try harder to cover it up.

14. Childhood is magical and amazing. You’re the lucky one who gets to participate again. Don’t be a bystander.

15. For every difficult moment, or meltdown, or stage- this too shall pass.

2014-01-12 18.40.10

 

 

Uncategorized

5 “Workouts” only moms know about

There is a lot of physical labor involved in child-rearing. Much more than I ever anticipated. Though I exercise for sanity’s sake, having kids is kind of the best workout there is (given it’s not optional). Sometimes it’s pretty brutal, and or weird/gross, but one of the perks of having kids is that they keep us moving. Whether we like it…or not.

Here are a few examples of “workouts” only moms know about.

Let's get physical!
Let’s get physical!

1. Playing horsey, aka, crawling across hardwood floors listening to your knees crackle and gasping for air. I gave this one up a few months ago (since I’m 7 months pregnant) but it totally sucks and is the equivalent of any solid 30 minute sweat-sesh.

2. The toddler drag. Or, as I like to call it “lazy legs”. You’re walking through a store and your kids legs go limp. They’re tired of walking. They start to pull on your arm but you march on. The screaming and yelling and protesting kicks in but you must prevail! This one gets my heart rate jacked every time. Everyone is looking, you’re definitely sweating up a storm and you eventually end up pleading for mercy. Crossfit has nothing on this shit.

3. Coming in from the car. You have no less than 20 bags of groceries in your arms when your kid throws her school bag at you. The contents spill all over the sidewalk. “Pick it up!” you holler, but she’s already jumping in a pile of leaves and shit is blowing down the street. You notice the neighbor opening his front door and you start to speed walk knowing he will chat your ear off totally oblivious to the fact that you’re about to pass out or puke from exhaustion.

4. The morning routine. You kid comes in for “snuggles” which somehow turns into you fighting for your life through blankets and sheets. Pillows are coming at you, there’s legs flying about. You’ve learned to protect your nose and crotch because this morning routine is really quite terrifying. Pretending your asleep only makes it worse so after being stepped on, punched and headbutted 47 times, you get out of bed. The only good part of this is if you’re mad at your husband you can say “Daddy wants snuggles!” and you won’t be mad anymore. You’ll just feel really bad for him.

5. Baby squats. No, I don’t mean a miniature version of a squat. I mean squatting (or really doing anything remotely tiring) while holding a baby. The bigger they get, the more intense this exercise is. Once they are toddlers you realize you should probably try out for some extreme sport because you’ve become a monster, aka, strong as crap.

Can you add anything to the list? What other “mom” workouts do you do?

Uncategorized

30 before 30

Since my 29th birthday is juuuust around the corner (Aries, baby), I figured I better make a lofty list of goals for the next year that I probably won’t achieve. Not to sound like a Debbie-Downer! It’s just, I’ll have a new baby (and an old one) and um, yeah okay, that’s about it but… that’s a lot! I’m not sure how I’m going to have time to keep up with my writing “career” (I use that term loosely) or yoga-ing myself back into a human-being or, really, anything aside from wiping butts all-the-live-long-day.

But I still think it’s important to have goals! Goals you might not achieve but at least aim for. Goals that keep you sane in the middle of the night when you feel like your life has turned into an endless stream of feedings and diaper changes, feedings and diaper changes and wondering how you got into this mess and will you ever find your way out? Or, maybe that’s just me.

I’m not worried about turning 30. I don’t mind getting older and I hear thirties are awesome. They are also the new twenty. By the time I’m 30 they’ll be the new 18 basically so, I’m pretty much sold. But either way, it feels like I should have something to show for myself by the time I get to the big 3-0, aside from the two smelly butts I’ll be wiping. And I mean that lovingly.

Here are 30 things I’d like to accomplish over the next year and if I don’t, it’s really not that big of a deal.

1. Do yoga everyday. Even if it’s just meditating or deep-breathing and even if it’s only for ten minutes.

2. Read a book from start to finish. More specifically a book that isn’t about parenting, child-rearing, mothering, identity-crisis’s or babies.

3. Have a date night at least once a month that doesn’t end at 8 o’clock.

4. Go to a beach. Lay in the sun. Drink margs.

5. Paint more.

6. Knit more. Something besides hats.

7. Write a children’s book with Piper with hopes of turning it into a series.

8. Go camping. And find away to escape the mosquitoes from murdering me and only me, yet again.

9. Make more money than I made this year. Ha! That shouldn’t be too hard.

10. Write for a new publication.

11. Create a weekly yoga video for readers.

12. Take a class.

13. Teach a class.

14. Don’t watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

15. Breastfeed when and where I want to.

16. Take a nap. That’s right, just one. Let’s not go crazy here.

17. Do things with other moms.

18. Do things with people other than moms.

19. Take Piper on more play-dates.

20. Make a healthy dinner at least four nights a week.

21. Don’t yell, ever, at all.

22. Try a new food trend. A cleanse? Paleo? Something that doesn’t suck, obv.

23. Be mostly happy.

OR as happy as Piper on her birthday morning.
OR as happy as Piper on her birthday morning.

 

24. Have two or three wine-less nights a week, every week.

25. Do a yoga challenge for a month.

26. Don’t feel guilty about working (ha).

27. Get rid of cable.

28. Go outside everyday for an hour.

29. Be a better wife.

30. Finish my “book” even if it’s just 150 pages of crap that ends up sitting on my “desk” in the basement.

That’s about all I’ve got! If I cover half of those I’ll be pretty satisfied but why not shoot for the moon. What are your goals this year?