Motherhood at 7 Months

Early last month, Evan stopped sleeping through the night, classes ended, John and I were bickering frequently, I had mood swings all over the place, and was feeling exhausted while also trying to get back into a running routine. Deep down I was also pretty scared about being home with E all summer, and was facing a lot of resistance from myself in just settling into the role of “stay at home mom” despite that was my choice. Lots of talking, crying and writing later… I am heading into month seven of motherhood in a MUCH better place.

  • I’ve started to be able to recognize my (hormonal) mood swings better and have tried to be very open with John when I’m feeling a “low mood.” It has helped me feel understood and cared for, but it’s taken me being willing to be more vulnerable than I ever wanted to be to make that happen. It’s been worth it for all of us.
  • My confidence as a mama is growing every single day. Being home with him has helped me see how much I actually do for him, and how much he responds to my efforts. He’s going through separation anxiety right now and while that can be frustrating and sad at times, I try my best to never let him see that – I know he’s going through this period because he has a healthy attachment to me, and that makes me feel so good.
  • Focusing on having fun with him is so much easier now as he’s getting older. We read books, we play games, we (I) sing songs, and I try to do as my mom does and “make everything fun.” Mostly, he practices crawling and I cheer him on, catch him, etc. But I sneak everything else in there for some diversity. He is one determined baby!
  • Looking to E as my report card for how I’m doing as a mama and turning off the other noise has been a game changer. I was trying to find feedback and encouragement for a “job well done” all around me, and falling short. After his 6-month checkup it kind of clicked: big picture, I am rocking this mama thing. I mean, I’m making mistakes and am just doing the next right thing all the time, and I never really know if anything I do is “right” or “wrong” (those two words really don’t seem to exist in parenting)…but I’m rocking it. John and I have a healthy, happy, thriving, vibrant little person in our home who is meeting and exceeding milestones. That doesn’t just happen. We didn’t just get lucky. We have done that.
  • I made a summer bucket list with the best of intentions, and I’m so glad to have done it. However, I greatly underestimated how much effort a sleep schedule is and I recognize we’ll likely not get to a lot of things on that list this summer, and we’ve already done plenty I didn’t expect. As such, I’m updating it as we go, so by that end of summer it’s an accurate representation of our summer highlights. It’s a living list instead of a to-do list.
  • John and I are working on our marriage one chapter at a time, every night. We’ve been having quick and light dinners on the patio after E is in bed, chatting about our days, and reading one chapter from this book every night. His dad gave it to us for Christmas in 2012 and after a recent argument, I remembered it, and we started working through it. We’re going on a month of doing this and it has been such a bright spot during this transition period. We both recognize our marriage is the seat of the happy home we both crave and I’m thankful every day to have picked a man who is willing to do the work.

— By next month I imagine we’ll have a crawling baby and life will be so vastly different than it is right now. That “time is flying” cliche is so true in parenthood, and it’s a good reminder for me to enjoy every stage. Even when sleep deprived. 🙂

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Evan at 7 Months

  • sleeps on his belly w/ his butt in the air
  • turns his mobile on, and “plays” in his crib for about 30 mins before waking us up in the morning
  • is getting on a pretty good sleep schedule…rough 3 weeks in May but we’re all working on it
  • is putting himself to sleep about 80% of the time now
  • world class scooter, but gets so frustrated because he is…
  • thisclose to crawling
  • pulls himself up on me when sitting on the floor using my clothes or my Chew Beads
  • recognizes the words “baba,” “mama,” “daddy” and “grandma”
  • babbles constantly
  • says what we’re pretty sure is “dada” but we’re not sure if he actually means daddy or not
  • still makes crazy dinosaur noises (mostly at home when he can really let loose)
  • is generally pretty friendly with new people, but reserves smiles for those who really work for them
  • initiates hide and seek w/ daddy
  • loves bathtime (soaks John’s shirt and pants every night w/ splashing)
  • really enjoys eating; bananas, and other fruit mixed with plain Greek yogurt (blueberry/pear/purple carrot from Plum is a current favorite)
  • is not a fan of egg yolk (can’t blame him, but going to keep trying when he’s a little older)
  • is getting better at using his Nuby transition bottle; mostly wants an actual bottle only right before he goes to sleep
  • drinks okay (with much assistance) out of actual cups! Considering a baby cup for at home after this article and others like it – makes a lot of sense
  • spends most time rocking a diaper because he loves to make a mess while eating (and I let him – you’re only 7 months once, right?)
  • is the happiest person I know…seriously

We are so proud of our little man, and I feel lucky every day that I get to be his mama. 🙂

Making a Sensory Board

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Evan is obsessed with textures. For about the last month he’s gone through life with both hands extended, looking to grab, smack, and scratch on anything and everything in his path.

I pinned this idea for a DIY sensory board a while back and finally made a point to get it done. I raided my box of random craft supplies and wandered around the house looking for anything I could add that would be safe but interesting for little hands. Then I grabbed a piece of cardboard and my mini-glue fun and got to work.

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Materials I ended up using:

– shells

– wooden coin from a pub

– fake leaves and flower

– tin foil

– the top of his oatmeal container (sort of a Tyvek material)

– random assortment of textured/ patterned paper

– a photo (randomly in my craft box?)

– foil

– a water bottle cap

– crumpled piece of tissue paper

– piece of the front of my first mother’s day card (black and white, had a neat bumpy texture)

– bloodstone

– smooth rock

– foam letters

– paper embellishments (from Amy Tangerine)

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Obviously this is not anything I would let him play with unsupervised, but so far, he loves it. Sadie is a big fan, too.

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Other cool DIY ideas for sensory play:

Nature Sensory Board // Zipper Board // Sensory Play Date or Party // Rice, Noodles and Shapes

 

May Book Report

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Catching up on reading has always been one of my favorite things about summer, and I still love it just as much as I did as a child. Lately I’ve been relying heavily on iBooks because reading on my phone while E naps in my arms is about my favorite thing ever. I thought ebooks would hinder how much I read but I’ve found the opposite to be true.

In May I read…

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Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

Looking for some tips and advice about how to strike a better balance between work/love/play, I thought this would be a good choice…but instead, this book is a well-researched account of how things are for women, vs. how they could be if we lived in, oh, Sweden. Overall, I learned a lot from this book (like, I have it pretty good at work) but the only major advice I took away was when both parents work, it can be useful to allow your child to pick and choose what you participate in at school. For example, John and I will never be able to attend every field trip, but we can allow Evan to choose who goes to what and when, and then make arrangements with work to make that a reality once or twice a school year.

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Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry

I wrote about this book in this post. Mostly, a good read to remind myself to slow down, savor the days, and take care of myself in order to be able to give my best to my family.

The Husbands Secret

This was a fun read. A little too chick-lit for my usual taste. A bit predictable. But all-in-all, not a total waste. I needed an “easy” read at the start of the summer and this did the trick.

Delancey

Molly Wizenberg seems so cool. I LOVED her first book, and felt like I waited forever for this one. And I just liked it. It went by too fast, and I wish she’d gone into having her daughter. It made me crave pizza more than usual. But overall, I was probably too excited about this book, and it let me down.

We Were Liars

YA fiction is so easy-breezy to read, and I really think it’s great there are so many books for teens now, especially when they’re smartly written and we can all enjoy them as adults, too. I heard a lot of hype about this book and am glad I read it. Not a blow-your-mind book or anything, but a solidly good read. I finished this without much effort in about two days.

Bittersweet

This book. Holy crap. I loved every creepy, sexy, odd minute of it. It’s going to be hard to beat this one for me this summer, but we’ll see!

What are you reading? I’d love some book recommendations!

June Goals

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There has always been something so special about June for me. Maybe because it’s my birthday month? 😉

I loathe the heat of summer in many respects, but I also love all the things that summer brings, and June is the most summer of months (and obviously, the actual beginning of summer). I plan on soaking it up!

This month my goals are to…

Keep going with CouchTo5K training

As you’re reading this I am on week four which means I’ve made it to the halfway point. The jogging stroller has added to my overall per mile time, but I’m pretty slow anyway, so it’s no big deal right now. The idea for me is to get out there and get those miles under my feet three times a week as a commitment to myself, and thus far, I’ve kept up despite that somedays have been a real challenge between lack of sleep, soreness, and general “ugh.” Keeping the promise to myself feels awesome. Planning on registering for the Firecracker 5K to celebrate my half-way victory!

Go a Month Without Target

Don’t get me wrong…we LOVE Target. But we’re on a tight budget this month, and we’re both interested to see what life (and our grocery bills) look like without my go-to store. Also, how sad is it that I go to Target when I need to get out of the house? Pretty sad. So, none of that in June. Will I survive?

Try Pilates/Barre/TRX

I found a local studio and normally it’s pretty pricey, but they’re running a teacher’s special over the summer. I’ve long loved yoga and have been intimidated by pilates, but watching E “swim” on his belly to work up his lower lumbar in order to get ready to crawl something clicked. Call it weird, but I feel like my body needs pilates. My goal this month is simple: get my butt in that studio and give it a shot! Hopefully I’ll like it and I can start saying hello core strength and hello improved posture.

Happy “Summer” 🙂

Low Days

 

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I’ve come to realize it’s not so much the actual hours in the day, but the mental “always on” of motherhood that makes time seem like a speeding train.

Motherhood is like that project you have that you lose yourself in completely, only to look at the clock and realize “it’s 4pm?!” I’ll take that over boredom any day, but as a person who was never bored before becoming a parent, feeling this day in, day out has been a struggle. I’ve spent months thinking “next week will be different” and while each week is surely different, it’s never better or worse, but just a different version of the same loop.

I’m home with E during the week this summer so I’m adjusting to what it feels like to be a stay at home mom. I thought it would be easier than being a working mom, even compared to being a part-time working mom like I was just a month ago. And in some ways it is easier (mainly, the wardrobe) but in many more ways it is not.

Possibly it’s just an adjustment phase, but I really don’t think I am my best self when I’m “on” around the clock. I’m not sure it’s possible that anyone is. And perhaps therein lies the truest difficulty of motherhood: needing to be your best self for your children despite there being days when you just aren’t.

This last month of being home has been full of lessons, and I think my truth is that adjustment into motherhood seems to have less to do with if I am home or not, or how many hours I spend at work or with Evan…but rather, that there is a tiny human who occupies my brain 24/7. And as that tiny human gets bigger and starts moving around more, and is less like a tiny human and more like a tiny person day by day, he occupies even more of my heart, my time, and my thoughts. Motherhood is consuming. And it’s supposed to be.

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However…

deeply crave time to write. To think. To be “off” for even just an hour or two without interruption or an ear tuned to a sleeping baby. Writing is how I process the world. How I grow, and adapt, and feel alive. And I so need that, especially during transitions.

Getting that time makes me feel excited to dive back into singing songs and reading books and being 100% there with Evan. Not getting that time finds me cranky, distracted, and exhausted in a way that is at once physical and mental. It makes me feel lonely, and sad and in general, just LOW.

For months I’ve felt this way, and I haven’t been able to explain it well.

I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling it. There isn’t.

I thought it made me a bad mom. It doesn’t. 

I thought I would grow out of it. I haven’t. 

If anything, as he gets older I am finding I need this time, and feel the need for it even more acutely. Like water. Or needing to use the bathroom. Food. Sustenance.

Being creative is one of my greatest strengths as a mama, but it is also something I have to truly nurture as a person.

Realizing these things, admitting these things, means I need to be make a point to be intentional about the time I have and how I use it. I have to be stingy with the hours I have help, and I have to figure out how to juggle cultivating a strong marriage, getting back into shape and nurturing my work, while being a mama first and foremost. I have zero answers.

But I’ll figure it out. Because I have to. I owe it to my family to have fewer low days, and I owe it to myself to nurture the very parts of me that make me, well, me. Motherhood hasn’t changed that, and I finally feel confident enough to say that I know that’s okay.

P.S. It took me about seven hours between thinking about this, to getting out of the house, to finding a place to work (at the library, after I couldn’t find a seat at Starbucks). And I have 15 minutes left to hang out before I have to get home. But it was so worth. I needed to open my heart up and type through this stuff. It’s silly to anyone who doesn’t have the same need, but for those of you who do understand, as always, thanks for reading.

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And if anyone has figured it all out, I’m all ears. 😉

Summer Bucket List

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I’m off until August (when I start my new full-time job!) and I plan to make the absolute most of this summer.

Here’s some of what I think might be fun to do/see/accomplish (mostly with my little sidekick)…

Places to visit/things to do

Summer Saturday Nights Live at Brevard Zoo 

Pick blueberries at Meadors Blueberry Farm

Have a date night at Lake Eola and rent a swan boat

Take a dip in the Cocoa Beach Community pool

Check out Shooz in Winter Park

Go to an Orlando City Soccer game

Try The Mansion (lunch or dinner)

Go to a Manatee’s Game

See the Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center

See the Rubens at the Orlando Art Museum (Before May 25th)

Take pictures at the Maitland Art and History Museum 

Visit the NEW TRADER JOE’S (in Winter Park) after Grand Opening (June 27th)

Do a Lakeridge Winery Tour and/or attend the Heritage Festival 

Have a birthday breakfast at D.I.G 

Visit the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet and the Marine Science Center

Check out the Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter

Attend a Zumbini Trial Class 

Try Geocaching

Attend a Gymboree Trial Class 

Attend a Music Together Demo Class 

Do Glow-in-the-dark Mini Golf for a date night

At Home

Make lots of salads

Eat dinners on the patio w/John

Grow basil, tomatoes (and grass for the yard)

Get a kiddie pool to play in at my parents’ house with Evan

Layout in the sun

Setup a daily music routine with E

Play with spices when making baby food

Make a blueberry pie 

Personal 

Finish the Blog Life eCourse

Work ahead to plan for the fall semester

Write my literacy narrative to submit for publication

Run the Firecracker 5K

Read at least five books for fun and two books for work