August Goals

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So…July came and went, I guess? Whoops! The “dog days of summer” are definitely in full swing here in Florida and I am feeling it. But alas, this month, as I transition back to work, start my “new” job, and return to working full-time for the first time in over a year, life is all about to change.

My goals this month are small and simple in theory, but will take a lot of discipline and adjustment:

Mornings @ the gym on MWF

July found me in a really nice gym routine, but 2pm workouts aren’t going to cut it anymore. Since I know myself well enough to not expect to get to the gym after a full day of teaching (and walking, walking, walking…), that leaves me with the early mornings. Emphasis on early. Like, alarm going off at 4:30am early. I’ve always wanted to be the person who could do this, and when I was running regularly, I got into a good 7am routine, but this feels like the major leagues of commitment.

However, what I have going for me is that I’ve never enjoyed the gym like I do now. It is a sanctuary of sorts. And there is a 5:30am spin class, MWF, that would totally kick my butt. So, here’s to new beginnings in August. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

Get Ready in the Evenings 

My plan to make our lives easier in the morning is to off-load as much as possible into the evenings. Which means: laundry, lunches, E’s bag, my gym bag (with work clothes picked out), teaching bag, purse, coffee maker set up, quick morning snack ready to go, and post-workout breakfast packed. Also, gas in the car, and gym shoes and socks laid out. I pretty much already wear gym clothes to bed (t-shirt, sleep bra and leggings) so with minor adjustments, I think I can just sleep in my gym clothes, hop out into my shoes, and load the car.

In the dark.

Half asleep.

While not waking anyone else up.

HAHAHAHAHAH!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in my journey to lose the baby weight is that where there is a will, there is a way. And my will really likes the progress I’m making, so I think I’ll just keep finding a way. 🙂

Happy August!

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. 🙂

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. 😉