Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time Marches On: year end review

It's New Year's Eve, which seems as good a time as ever to indulge in some optimistic and speculative writing.

2013 has been so full of love and light. Let's talk about the highlights:

  • Bird overcame his acid reflux. Hallelujah, this was a big one for our little family. We have seen his true goofy, caring, happy-go-lucky spirit and personality shine through.
  • Bird started walking right around his birthday - and put a complete end to any worry that he might be behind his peers in any way.
  • Bird found his words, and LOTS of them! My personal favourites are "I love you" and "Hug!" and "Hi, Mama!". And don't forget, "Daddy home!"
  • K. went and returned from a 7 week business trip. This was in no way fun, but I learned a lot about my strength as a person and mother and gained a lot of self-confidence as a parent.
Moving into 2014, I feel optimistic. I've been so incredibly fortunate, and for that I am so grateful. Now it's time to figure out how to give back to the world. My 2014 goal is service.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ho Ho Ho, here we go, go go!

The Christmas and Holiday season crept up on us!  We're somewhat ready here in the Bird's Nest, but there is always lots more to do this time of the year.

So far, we have:

  • Done 90% of our shopping, even capitalizing on some used deals and making some gifts.  For Bird, K. and his father made a Little Helper tower from this amazing website by a mom who can do it all and offers free plans so you can, too. 
Source: Ana White homemaker
  • Purchased our Christmas Day turkey. We'll be entertaining my parents on Christmas Day. My mum has so wonderfully hosted most of the holiday dinners since Bird's been born, but I am perfectly able to cook a damn good turkey dinner now.  K.'s brother-in-law has generously offered to do the Christmas Dinner for the gathering for that side of the family on December 22nd. 
  • Ordered our family photo christmas card.
This upcoming weekend, we'll be preparing the decorations and lights. I'm really looking forward to it.

As traditions go, we are planning the following as our family Christmas traditions:
  • Opening one gift each on Christmas Eve. The plan is to make it pyjamas and maybe a Christmas book/movie.
  • Taking a drive or walk and checking out Christmas lights in different neighbourhoods.
  • Baking Molasses Spice cookies.
  • Volunteering/paying it forward in some way, shape, or form. This year I have been volunteering with Feed Nova Scotia. Last year our whole family took up a collection of money amongst ourselves and bought gifts for needy children through our church.
What are your family's traditions? How are your holiday preparations coming along?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

In spite of fear

Let's talk fear of failure. We all have it to a degree, but it's how we deal with it that counts.

A few years ago, I went to a counsellor to discuss how I was feeling generally unproductive and unmotivated in my life. I was genuinely concerned about having attention deficit disorder or another similar issue that was holding me back. After a little diagnostic test, it was shown that I don't. The test did show that I am a type A personality and very hellbent on perfectionism.

This was a surprise to me because I don't like to work very hard. It's not easy for me to admit that on a public forum like this, but it's true. As much as I love to be seen as a hard working, intelligent, high achieving individual, I only work as much as I have to in order to give that outward appearance to others.  This is not because I don't want to be a hard worker, but there is always something - something just out of my mind's reach - that is holding me back from all those things that I truly want to achieve.

But, the counsellor said fear of failure is a very strong restraining force for many perfectionists. We are so afraid that whatever we put our hand to might not come out to our standards or to the high standards of others, that we don't even try.

Lately I've been heavily reflecting on my inner self. I've been thinking of my true inner values, my desired outcomes, all my goals and aspirations, and contrasting it with my behaviours. I've been struggling for years now with the disconnect between what I want from myself and what I actually *do*. It's been difficult.

This morning it clicked, though. It was like jumping into a very deep, very cold pool.

I am so afraid of failure, so afraid of looking bad in the eyes of others, and so deeply afraid of letting myself down. 

I'm also very heavily extrinsically motivated. I'm a people pleaser. I get my sense of value from others telling me I have value.

Right now, I'm not sure exactly where this leaves me. I'm not sure if it's possible to change where I get my self of self-worth from externally to internally. But I do know this: It's time to say a big old fuck you to fear. It's time to say that it's okay to be afraid of failing but to go ahead and try anyway. It's time to realize that nobody will judge me on my outcomes as long as they see I am trying.

And I will always try. I'm too young to lay down and play dead and accept the status quo. I must move forward and live without fear.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How do you keep yourself mentally healthy?

I have long struggled with mild mental health issues. Of late, it has become very easy to let my self care fall by the way-side, which of course is going to result in a decline in my mental health. One thing I have certainly learned since becoming a mother is that to take of everyone else, I need to take care of myself.

This is what my personal mental health self-care regime looks like at its best:

  • I take vitamin D (2000-4000iu a day, depending on the time of year)
  • I limit caffeine to 1-2 cups of coffee, early in the day
  • I limit refined sugars
  • I get exercise daily. Even a short walk with Bird daily is so helpful. Outdoor exercise is best for me.
  • I take time each day to recognize what I have accomplished and what I feel grateful for. This is usually a list of five items under each heading. Even on days that are barely productive, recognizing small accomplishments keeps me from having negative thoughts about my worth. I write these out in my journal.
  • I often have to limit my social networking time.
  • When negative self-talk becomes overwhelming to me, I take time to write out the most common negative thoughts and then I craft rebuttals to each one. Then, when the thought pops into my head, I already have a planned way to shut it down. This is surprisingly effective. For example, if I routinely find myself thinking, "I don't understand why anyone likes me" I can rebut with "I am a kind person, a good listener, and I deserve to have the respect and love of others".
  • When negative thoughts pass into my mind, I acknowledge the thought and give myself permission to have the thought - but then tell myself that just because I am thinking a certain way does not mean that it is true or that it reflects my true self.
  • I spend time actively pursuing positivity.
  • When I feel like I am having more bad days than good, I re-examine my progress on all these points. If I am routinely doing these things and they are not helping, I know I need to seek additional support or help.
Tell me how you keep your mental health at its peak?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hello? Is there anyone home?

Of course I am speaking to my brain. I envision a hollow, echo-y sound because lately it feels like there's not a lot going on upstairs. Occupational hazard of being a stay at home mom.

First, an update on our dear sweet Bird.

Bird is an unbelievable 20 months old (well, in two days). This utterly blows my mind. It means he's going to be TWO in four short months.

He has become the happiest, funniest child.


  • chores - sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, laundry. These are things he actually begs me to do each day. It is so much easier to get these things done when your child is enthusiastic about just watching you do them. He has his mini-mop and regularly parades around with the full-size broom, saying, "'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"
  • Talking. Honey child never stops talking. He's mostly using one word statements, but due to his enormous vocabulary, there is very little he can't get across.
  • Going for walks, either to the neighbourhood playground or to see the duckies at the stream behind our hours.
  • Shuh-shies (french fries). He gets them every couple weeks and LOVES them. Mom of the year over here.
  • SuperWhy and Sesame Street. Hey, his father was away for 7 weeks. Don't judge. We watched a bit of TV twice a day - when we were waking up before breakfast, and when I was cooking supper.
  • When he is done eating and the food is still in front of him. He pushes it away and if it doesn't disappear he'll  dump the plate on the table or throw it.
  • When I don't let him mess with the washing machine buttons or dishwasher buttons.
  • Honestly, there's very little he just objects to.

Our favourite fall memories so far have been walks "at the speed of toddler," basically meaning walks led by Bird, a glorious trip to a corn maze, the costume party at a local play cafe, and Daddy's first few days back home in mid-October.

An update on me

Well, being a stay home mom is wonderful. And not so wonderful at times. We had 7 weeks where it was just Bird and I. During that time, there was a sleep regression, several teeth, and lots of idle days. Bird's nap falls right when most of the free playgroups and activities happen because although most toddlers nap in the early afternoon,Bird naps from 10-1ish. So we often have a hard time filling our days with things to keep Bird engaged and socialized. And, as a result, I have a hard time keeping myself socialized as well.  While K. was away, I started feeling very isolated and lonely because Bird goes to bed at 7. My friends all seemed to be busy with their families and day to day lives. I had a lot of help from family and a few friends did venture over to visit, which was so wonderful.

The theme of isolation and loneliness seems to be continuing, though. I have not gotten back into the swing of having a social life yet, although it's been a month since K. has been home. I honestly really miss having outside interests such as ballet, outings with friends, my Career Development Practitioner program, and even work. We have discussed the possibility of me returning to a part-time career, but I haven't put much effort into finding one that suits my needs so far. We even discussed me returning to a full time career, but concluded that it is not what either of us prefer for Bird.

I am never sorry I chose to stay at home with Bird. Never. But I do lament that it really doesn't seem possible for a mother to have it all without feeling some sort of role conflict.  I know many men face this as well, but it honestly seems that women have this inborn need to do all of the things and that it can very difficult to be personally fulfilled and the mother we want to be all at once - no matter what path you chose : working, working at home, or staying at home.

Anyway, my upcoming challenge for myself is to find some way to have a little adult interaction on a weekly basis and use my brain. The challenge will be to keep my anxiety from holding me back.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beautiful moments

From his room, at 4:22am, I hear him play, then start to cry and stop himself to chant Mama! Mama! Mama!. Then when I gather him in my arms, an excited, emphatic MAMA! before he latches and drinks milk. Then he is still, fitting perfectly in my arms.

His body weight against my body as he leans back and we become absorbed in a world of "I Already Know I Love You" and "Barnyard Dance". I read, "With a baa and a moo and a cockadoodledoo, everybody promenade two by two," and he pulls out his pacifier to parrot, "cockadoodledoo."

He nurses and rubs his eyes before his nap. We are still, and content, and sleepy. Suddenly he pops off to sing, "Mop, mop, mop!". I wonder what he is thinking about; what his thoughts and imagination consists of in the moment.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I miss blogging

I'm a dead beat blogger. I'm also a dead beat admin to a few facebook groups. We have had a busy, sometimes difficult few months and I've accepted that I'm probably not going to get my feet under me any time soon so I am just going to move on from 'normal' to 'day by day'.

Here are a few Baby Bird photos in the meantime. He is 17 months old, toddling like a pro and just said his first sentence: 'More dirt". He is an obvious goofball and an absolute delight.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Moment That Made It Worth Everything.

Toddler nursing is upon us, and it's been difficult. There are gymnurstics, public demands for nursing. There are periods of nursing frequently like a newborn, when my (perhaps unrealistic) expectations were that he would feed only every 3-4 hours by now. There is my perception that the world around me is judging me for nursing into toddlerhood. And, most recently, there are teeth. 

Yes, I swore that I would never nurse past teeth, especially if he bit me. Luckily we made it this far without a bite, at least one that injured me. Alas, last week, it happened. I think it was more a poor latch that an actual bite, but it was caused by teething. And it hurt. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that the pain of nursing through that injury was worse than labour. 

As a result of expectations vs. reality, I found myself considering whether it was time to impose a nursing schedule, or whether I wanted to wean him before he self-weans. At almost 15 months, there would be no shame in ending our nursing relationship. And to be honest, I haven't given much thought to mom-led weaning versus child-led weaning. I've totally avoiding thinking about the end of our nursing relationship. I just know that despite my frustration, it's not the right time. It makes my heart sad, and it would make Baby Bird's heart sad, too. Know how I know that?

Yesterday, my poor teething Bird woke up desperately sad from his nap. After much crying, I got him calmed down and we cuddled for 45 minutes. He was still pretty sad when he started to nurse. After getting his fill, he looked up, smiled and said, "Hap!" - his word for happy. My heart melted. 

This. This is exactly why I continue to nurse. When he is sad, it makes him happy. When he is sick, he still gets nutrition despite not eating. When he is overwhelmed, I am his safe haven.  Yes, it can be 'inconvenient' to always think about the right tops to wear, or how long we would have to be apart if I go out, and so on. But to stop for those reasons? That would be like breaking up with the love of my life because I don't like his jeans or his work schedule. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Speaking out against the pressure to be perfect

I am about to speak out against the pressure to be perfect.

My home has toys strewn throughout. I haven't cleaned up from breakfast yet, and I'm still in my pyjamas. It's 9am and we have been up for 3 hours. In all likelihood, the house will still look this way at 4pm when my husband gets home, and neither of us care.

Why? Because our son is happy. Because today I am taking him to visit his little pal to play while I hang out with another friend and mother. Because keeping my son stimulated and happy is important to both of us. Because keeping ME happy is important to both of us.

I sometimes wish I didn't have such a deep need for 'me time' and 'down time'. But I do. And when I don't get it, my positive attitude and energy can go down the tubes really fast. It's tempting to want to place myself in the same league as all the other mothers who go-go-go and whose houses are spotless and can talk about never getting even 20 minutes to themselves. If we're being honest, I feel like I should be that person a lot of the time. However, I am happiest when I let go of the need to be anybody but who I am, and I focus on taking care of myself so that I can take care of my son.

But back to the heart of the matter: am I a good mother if all the laundry isn't done? If the floors aren't vacuumed, and supper isn't on the table when my husband gets home? Yes. Because my child is happy and I am happy. Luckily for me, a happy child and wife makes my husband happy, too.

There are times when I hit all the points on my to-do list and end the day with a happy family all-around. There are days when I damn near kill myself trying and wind up with an upset child and mother. But you know what the best, no-fail path to a happy family is? Abandoning all my expectations for how things should be or what I should be able to do, and just throwing myself into the moment with my family. That always ends in smiles, or at very least, a sense of fulfilment. That, even if it didn't take away illness or teething pain or the grumps, I gave my son what he needed. Or that I gave myself what I needed to refill my tank.

Only you know what you need - whether that is more or less than society tells you that you should need.

You do not need to be perfect. You just need to be you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Evolution of Diet

I've spent a great deal of my adult life shaming myself for my food choices. The expression goes, "When you know better, you do better," and that may be true for many things, but where food is concerned, it has been a long, gruelling road.

I ate fairly healthy growing up. I was no stranger to a good treat of baked goods or potato chip, true, but over all my mother prepared good solid meals for our family. The one especially important nutritional thing she did for me was ensure I was a breakfast eater (unlike herself). None the less, I always had an affinity for junk food, especially the salty, crunchy wiles of the potato chip.  In high school, I would sit and scarf back a bag of Doritos with a chocolate milk at 7:30am for my breakfast.

Once I left the nest for University at 18 years old, I was FREE! Free to eat freezer junk food for supper because I didn't yet understand that cooking nutritious food was not actually any more expensive. On campus, I frequented the residences' food hall because they were the only spot on campus that served poutine. Vending machines provided a full belly when I had only a few dollars to spare or was running short on time. My first year was a whirl-wind of junk food because I had neither the time, energy, nor money to figure out food.

And, as you can expect, the pounds started to pack on. First it was the freshman five, and by third year, it was closer to thirty. And I couldn't *see* it.

Fast forward to graduation. I had stomach issues - bloating and discomfort - and I really wanted to make improvements. I had made some headway with a healthy lifestyle but it wasn't enough. I saw a naturopathic doctor who tested me for food sensitivities and gave me a brief education on nutrition and proper diet. The kind of drastic changes she gave me scared me, but I made an effort in earnest to change. Unfortunately, I didn't do much research to back up my changes which meant it was easier to back slide into bad habits.

Now, I am desperate to make some changes for good. Baby Bird is so new to this world and especially to food, and we have the opportunity to see that he never has to have the poor relationship with food that we (K. and I) do.  Maybe he won't have to crave junk food like it's calling his name.  We can make sure he leaves his nest knowing how to shop for and cook healthy choices.

My personal relationship with food is transforming. Recently, I watched Hungry for Change  (which you can watch on Netflix as well), and also listened to a radio program about how the food industry strives to addict us to their products (listen here). They synthesize tastes and textures formulaically to make sure that when we put their food in our mouthes, we can't stop. Truly, it has become 'Frankenfood'. This has begun to transform me in two very specific ways:

  1. I am more forgiving of myself when I just can't seem to stop eating this crap.
  2. I am able to turn off the cravings more easily because I think of exactly what is in the products I'm eating and how empty it is nutritively. An example of this is the bottle of Pepsi that has been in my fridge since the weekend. Typically, when pop comes into my house, it doesn't last more than a day or two. I grew up with pop in my house, and I drank it like water. Lately, though, I get the craving for pop. Then I think about how sickeningly sweet it is, how many empty calories and chemicals it contains, and I just can't bring myself to put it into my body (at least not as frequently as I once did).
So, welcome to the evolution of diet at The Bird's Nest.  It's not going to be easy, but I just can't live under the control of my food anymore. It's time to break free.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Sad, Sick Birthday

Today is the day after Baby Bird's first birthday.  Baby Bird felt the wrath of his very first stomach bug starting Monday morning.

Babies with colds are sad.

Babies who are teething are sad.

Babies who are throwing up and don't understand what is happening to them are VERY VERY sad. Like, the saddest thing I've ever had to deal with. We just got through 48 hours of stomach bug with Baby Bird, and although my fingers are crossed that he's over it, I am not optimistic.

Thank goodness I am still breastfeeding. Nothing solid stayed down so we gave up trying after he ate four tiny bites of toast and then puked them up ten minutes later. The next morning we tried banana, but it came back up seconds later. At least he has been keeping small, frequent nursing sessions down.

We've had laundry on the go all day because each time we put a load in, the poor little man throws up again.  Mama, Daddy, and Bird have each gone through several outfits, bedding, a series of receiving blankets, and various other little things. Luckily I had enough sense to cover our couch in sheets and towels - you never know exactly why you keep all those old blankets and sheets around until your child gets the stomach flu. Then it becomes crystal clear.

I am hovering over each diaper change to determine if and how much he has peed. I'm so afraid of dehydration. The first day was particularly rough in terms of pee-scoping, but yesterday was much better and so far today is even better.

The saddest part is that yesterday was his first birthday. K had taken Monday and Tuesday off to celebrate with the family, and we had planned some sweet fun for Bird such as playing at the local indoor play place and shopping for a new book. Instead we were at home surrounded by mountains of laundry, and our trip out was to the doctor. No special birthday meal, no treats, no fun trips out.  Not the kind of memories we were keen to make. I take some solace that Bird wouldn't remember his birthday this year, anyway,  and he didn't understand. Around 5pm yesterday, K said, "Oh! We haven't sung him Happy Birthday yet," to which I promptly burst into tears. The day wrapped up post-bedtime with me crying after realizing that I never again get to hold my sweet first baby during that first year.

His first birthday party is this weekend, and this stomach big is hanging on longer than I am comfortable with. I personally am still feeling nauseated and I have no appetite, so I'm not optimistic that we're completely out of the woods with Bird yet. I am going to be heartbroken if we have to cancel his birthday party. Please send some major get-well wishes that he recovers in time for me to disinfect the house for Saturday.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Year Passed Too Quickly

It's been so long since my last post! Turns out, as busy as I thought I was before Avery started being mobile, I'm about ten times more busy now.

So here goes.....my baby is a year old.

Officially, not until Tuesday. But soon enough. While the panicky edge is gone from his first birthday, it's still an extremely bittersweet occasion.

The only reason I'm not a bigger mess is because somehow, though he is more mobile and independent than ever before, he's also more and more affectionate each day. He gives hugs and kisses, and he brings favourite things to us to play with him or just to hug. I learned just the other day that when your tiny little boy finds and brings you a stuffed animal, you will never want to stop cuddling that stuffed animal. I cuddled Mr. Hooty the Owl all night after Baby Bird went to sleep.

I'm also learning that your baby is ALWAYS your baby, no matter if they are toddlers, children, teens or adults.
A year ago Tuesday
A few days old

Okay, so let's talk about Baby Bird:

  • He has a sparkling personality. He is so goofy and cheerful. He is affectionate. He is sensitive to the world around him (especially how mama and daddy are feeling). He walks around with either a big goofy grin or a little sly grin on his face at all times.
  • He is *almost* walking. He has taken 3-4 unassisted steps at a time, but he much prefers having some support in the form of a hand from Mama or Dad, or to push items around the house. He has a push toy, but he will push anything: laundry basket, file box, high chair, dining room chair.
  • He has three teeth (maybe four - I'll have to check the fourth to see if it cut this last day or two). He is not a gentle teether. It's been a rough three weeks, and my sympathy factor for how much it must hurt is through the roof.
  • He still nurses avidly, and he loves food, too.
  • He will steal your heart in an instant.
  • He loves to show off for people, but he is not a fan of loud, crowded rooms (as we discover frequently at a crowded playgroup we attend weekly).
  • He's very talkative. He's now starting to try to mimic words (he especially loves 'B' words: "Bump!" "Boom!" "Button"). And he chatters all the time.
11 months or so
First time on a swing last week

Let's talk about motherhood a year in. I'm definitely going to start crying part way through this:

  • It's been the fastest year of my life. I once heard someone say, "The days are long but the years are short" in reference to parenthood, and I couldn't agree more. Often, by bedtime, I am dying for some respite or a hot shower. But overall, the time flies by and it can be so very difficult to take it all in. On the whole, though, I think I'm doing an excellent job of living in the moment and being fully present with Bird.
  • I have not slept a full night since before Bird was born. People ask me why don't I sleep train. The short answer is that I just don't believe it's necessary for us. We are tired some days, but overall we believe babies have needs and that he will end up being a better sleeper who is more secure in the long run.
  • I still marvel at the change in myself. I went from not maternal, not sure about breastfeeding, *need* to be a working person, etc., to a complete mother hen. 
  • I am still about 20 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. I did not plan to be anything but fit and thin by now, but I'm finding the weight is not a priority. As for fitness, my best laid plans have been interrupted by a medical issue (nothing serious, but something that needs healing before I can so much as walk) and I'm hoping to have a resolution for that soon so I can run my 5km in June.
  • The amount of love in my life is immense. There are days (er, daily) that I just stare at Bird and my eyes well up with such pride and love that I just cannot put into words. My child, my husband, my family - they are perfect. And in that utter perfection (even in times of discord and chaos), I have found that I love myself more than ever, too. That doesn't mean I don't feel like I'm failing at the mom thing from time to time - I do have terrible-awful-not-very-good days sometimes, but they pass quickly.
Favourite Photo - 4 months old

So that's it - onto toddlerhood. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Purge it.

I've been rampaging through my house, purging unwanted things and trying to improve our household organization. It's such a great feeling, as Christmas seems to bloat a house with new belongings.

The idea of a minimalist wardrobe has always intrigued me, so I figured I would start working my way down to having such a wardrobe. I made a list of things I absolutely need to have and sat on it for a few days. Facing so many too-small items, many of which were brand-new shortly before pregnancy, was bound to be difficult.

I am a solid twenty pounds from fitting into most of those things. I didn't even bother to pack them away when I was pregnant or after Avery was born because I thought the weight would fall off. And I was surely going to get back to being very fitness- and nutrition-conscious after my 6-week post-partum check up. The unfortunate reality is that neither weight loss nor fitness has happened. The only time I can bring myself to care about my weight is when I see a photo of me, or when I am trying on pants and get size-shock. Otherwise, it doesn't gross me out when I look in the mirror, nor am I terribly self-conscious about it. I haven't had any of the "I'm too big" meltdowns that I had before pregnancy and motherhood.

It's okay to let go of the clothes that don't fit. It's also okay to let go of the clothes that fit but make me feel frumpy. Letting go of things sized smaller is not the same as admitting personal defeat on weight loss. It means that I don't need to face a daily reminder of what I am not, and that I deserve to have clothing that fits and makes me feel nice.

I signed up for a 5k fun run today. It's in June, so I have just over 5 months to go from couch potato to runner. I'm not promising myself weight loss because, frankly, I'm not ready to put in the work to make it happen. What I'm doing is promising myself I'll be healthy. That I will give myself the gift of more energy and less anxiety.  That I will be capable of running around with my child. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Being a Grown-Ass Woman

So it's Thursday of my first week as a homemaker, and my first week of getting my shit in gear. This week, I acted as a responsible adult (except for one small PMS-triggered mini-tantrum) and did stuff. Like, stuff other than/concurrent with mothering. And you know what? It's not half bad. The important thing to mention is that I still was responsive to Baby Bird, and since much of this was done with him in his carrier or in his high chair right next to me, I was probably actually more responsive than if we were just sitting around all day.

  • I meal-planned on Tuesday
  • I grocery-shopped avec Baby Bird Wednesday
  • We attended a story time at the library on Wednesday and our cloth-diapering playgroup today
  • I have done multiple loads of laundry, including stripping the diapers.
  • I strapped Baby Bird into his Beco carrier and vacuumed. I'd been afraid of doing this because I HATED the vacuum as a small child so I assumed he would wig out. Instead, he chatted to me and to the vacuum, enjoying himself thoroughly.
  • I cleaned the kitchen roughly 80,000 times. Between grabbing quick food for myself and feeding Baby Bird, I cannot keep my kitchen clean. It's a perpetual mess. I confess, it drives me crazy to have a messy kitchen.
  • I actually am cooking a meal right now.
  • I MADE MY HUSBAND'S LUNCH FOR WORK. I literally NEVER make him his lunch because I hate how it feels to make a man's lunch. He is a grown-ass man, he can pack his own damn lunch. But this morning, he got up super early to shovel and he was running later getting back in. I wanted to make sure he'd have enough time to get ready so I made his lunch and his tea in the travel mug.
  • I'm sure I've done more, and I could visit my weekly goals list to find out what the forgotten items are, but I don't feel like it.
So. It looks like after ten months of slovenliness and excuses, I am finally figuring out that I'm perfectly capable of running my household without neglecting my mothering duties. #Winning.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Unthinkable Has Happened

After months of heart ache, anxiety, and tears, we reached a decision. I am now officially a stay at home mom. Had you asked me before Baby Bird's birth what the chances of me doing the stay at home mom thing were, I'd have laughed and given you an emphatic ZERO! But, turns out these little tykes worm their way into your heart for the better.

We notified the daycare on Friday and my employer yesterday. It was freeing. I happy-cried my whole way home from giving my resignation. I could go on at length about how we arrived at our decision and how amazingly happy I am about it, but you get the picture.

Now that I am officially unemployed, it's time to give my life some structure. I've been living in a state of transition since Baby Bird was born. I seem to live two extremes - either extremely organized and structured or no structure at all. This is largely because I get stressed out when I make plans and they don't work out.  I've been relying heavily on K. to do things like meal planning and grocery shopping - this was necessary while I was doing full-time college on maternity leave or else I'd never have survived. But now homemaking and mothering IS my job, so it's time to make it work.

Here is how I'm giving life some structure for now:

  • Making a weekly goals list. I'm calling it a goals list because to-do list sounds very "must". If it's a goal, I'll be happy to meet it but not devastated if life has other things in store for me that week.
  • Take over the meal planning and grocery shopping. I will probably start participating in the cooking again, too. My circadian clock goes haywire from 4-6pm, and I have a difficult time acting like a grown up during those hours so we'll see about that one.
  • More exercise. This is a nebulous goal for now. I've been so lazy for so long that I'm starting slow - my goal is 4 x 30 minute walks by January 30th.
  • Playdates - I will make it my goal to have Avery attend at least two playgroups per week.
I know it is going to be a struggle for me to combat my all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to accomplishing things around the house. None the less, I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed and I think I have some learned helplessness going on at this point. It's time to step up to the plate and act like the adult that I am.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Mama Manifesto

  1. I believe first and foremost in trusting my motherly instincts to guide me, especially in difficult times.
  2. I respond to my child's needs to the best of my ability. I do not believe in letting my children cry without comfort.
  3. Silliness always has a place in my home.
  4. I believe in breastfeeding for my family, but I don't judge you on how you feed yours.
  5. I do what works for my family, regardless of how many times I may have said I would 'never' do something.
  6. I believe in being a confident mother who is passionate about mothering.
  7. I prefer to approach children's health from a holistic point of view and using natural solutions where possible.
  8. I will foster a sense of independence in my child by fulfilling his needs, allowing him to explore, and guiding his development. This does not mean allowing him to do as he pleases, as wants are different than needs.
  9. My house is filled with clutter because it is filled with love first and foremost - that is to say that I don't care too much for the housekeeping when I can be spending quality time with my little man.