This past weekend was riddled with three long nights of sleeplessness. I was exhausted and frustrated. I was mean to my family. I had just published a post on missing those newborn sleepless nights and here I was cursing myself for ever wishing for such a thing. I try so hard to enjoy my time with my little guy but sometimes it is hard. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Harder than I thought possible. There are some days when I don’t know how we survive. Like magic, we always do though.
Just when I started using phrases like “you’ll drive me to drink” (which happens to be one of my favorite sayings from my own childhood), I stumbled upon 100 happy days. Just a simple website designed to encourage noticing the small things in our day to day existence that make us happy because honestly everyday is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to find the happy.
The truth is I am never to busy to be happy. I am never to busy to play with my son or enjoy him. In fact, I am extremely blessed with a husband who reminds me often that my only job right now is my son. The house, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the dinner….none of that stuff matters. It will all get done eventually and in the meantime I should rock my son, nurse my son, go for a run, take a nap, take a shower or do whatever needs to be done to make me a better mom. I don’t always listen. I don’t always hear him in the the thick of it all but when calmness replaces the chaos, I can hear clearly. He wants us to be happy. I am fortunate.
I am doing the #100happydays challenge on Instagram right now. Just a snapshot of something in each day that brings a little sunshine to my life. You can follow me on my Instagram account at superfreshbabypants to see my happy place each day. Better yet, you can join me in the challenge to find your happy in each day.
I wish I had done things differently. I wish I had made different choices. Not the tough choices in how to parent my son. Those were natural. We did what was best for us and don’t regret any of it. No, I wish I had done things differently when it came to taking care of myself. I wish that I had listened to some of the advice given to me. I wish I had listened to myself. I wish I had listened to what it was that my body needed.
SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. Oh, how I wish I had listened to this one. I got this nugget of wisdom often. I scoffed each time I received it. Honestly, how could anyone expect me to sleep when the baby sleeps? Didn’t they know I had laundry to do? A shower to take? Dinner to make? A dishwasher to load? Rugs to vaccuum? Mail to open? The list went on. It was endless. There was so much to do. I was exhausted but I couldn’t stop. The truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I tried to keep up, I couldn’t. The house was never clean enough. The laundry was never done. The mail was never opened and sorted. It was an impossible task list to accomplish by someone that was exhausted.
I wish I had listened to this nugget. I think we would have all been better off if I did. I have the luxury of taking a nap when my baby sleeps. Not everyone has that luxury. I failed to take advantage of it when he was a newborn but you can bet your last dollar that on days that I am tired, I curl right up and nap away while he sleeps. We are all better off on the days that naps happen.
HYDRATE. My doula told me to stay hydrated when I was in labor. I drank a bottle of water. I considered myself hydrated. I am pretty sure that my difficult labor was really just a result of being dehydrated. I kid you not. One might surmise that I am bright enough to stay hydrated. I had just given birth and was nursing a baby. I needed rest (see above) and nutrition. I needed my strength to take care of my baby. I knew all of these things and yet did none of these things. For an entire year, I was lucky if water passed my lips more than a dozen times. This is coming from the woman that was pretty sure if it was possible to drown from water consumption, she was constantly drowning. I drank water like we were about to face a lifelong drought and may never see it again. That is until I gave birth. Then, I drank no water.
Lack of water reeked havoc on my body. I am not sure how I managed to survive the first year postpartum actually. The body is comprised mostly of water. It is essential for our body and mind to function. I wish I had listened to my body. I wish I had done what I had always done. I wish I had consumed water. I wish I had stayed hydrated.
MOISTURIZE. Lack of sleep and hydration reeked havoc on my skin. It is a cosmetic surgeon’s dream. A canvas of chaos just waiting to be graced by a physician’s gentle touch. Seriously, a little botox and collagen wouldn’t hurt at this point. My skin is in need of some TLC to combat the signs of aging and stress.
I wish I had been kinder to my skin. I wish I had taken the few minutes each morning and evening to properly moisturize it. To nourish, love and protect it. I am doing it now and hope that I can mend my broken relationship with my skin before mediation needs to be sought in the form of needles and injectables.
ENJOY. Another nugget of wisdom that slipped past me far too often than I care to admit. I did not enjoy the first year as much as I could have. There are far too many things to list that kept me distracted and not able to enjoy my baby as he blossomed. I look at him now in the stark light of day and realize that he is a toddler. The newborn days have long since passed. The days of infancy are only mere fleeting memories. We are in a different phase now. One where he is developing autonomy, exploring, growing and creating. This is an exciting stage. So exciting actually. I do love it but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I long for just a day or two to hold him as a newborn. To soothe and rock him. To spend one more night awake every hour and enjoy it this time. I missed those days. They were a blur. I wish I had only savored the moments a little longer and not wished for him to grow up so fast so that I may sleep an extra hour. For now, I wish I could slow the clock down and keep him little for just a bit longer.
Welcome to Ask Away Friday, friends.
What’s Ask Away Friday, you ask? It is just a simple way for bloggers to get to know one another better. It is like speed dating in the blogging world. Two bloggers exchange 10 questions to answer, write a post and link up to an Ask Away Friday “party”. It has hosts. That makes it a party right?? I thought so too. This week’s hosts are Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings.
When Beth from Structure in an Unstructured Life approached me to participate in this week’s roundup, I immediately said yes. I’m convinced Beth is my long lost sister from another mister. Every time I read her blog, I find that she has recently posted exactly what I have been thinking! Coincidence? I think not. Not only is she an amazing mom to 4 and 7 year old little men but she is also the super lucky wife of a football coach. I fantasize that she is living out Eric and Tami Taylor’s lives from Friday Night Lights….just in Michigan not Texas. Visit her blog where you can find inspiring and heartwarming posts about parenting, clever tips on organization and a bounty of recipes too! You can also find her answer to my questions including just how closely her life resembles the Taylors.
Make sure to stop by Beth’s site to get the low down on all the questions I asked her and how she responded to my Friday Night Lights obsession!
I broke up with Facebook more than a month ago. At the time, I thought I would miss it. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to stay away from the lure of scrolling through a feed of other people’s lives. For so long, I was sure that Facebook kept me connected to the outside world. I genuinely enjoyed the banter between my friends, the support of some of the groups I belonged to and the pictures. Oh the pictures! It was my lifeline. It provided entertainment, inspiration and friendship, right? As a new mom, a stay at home mom, I needed to feel connected to others and Facebook was fitting the bill. At least that is what I told myself.
The truth is I don’t miss it. The truth is I find that I spend less time overall staring at my phone or buried in my laptop. Days go by and I don’t even fire up my laptop anymore. This blog should be your living proof and testament to that. It is sorely neglected. Less time engaged in the cyberworld has meant more time living in the real world.
In the real world, we do things. We have gone to the museum and the zoo. We have been to the aquarium. We take walks. Splash in the tub. Chase the dog around. Rake leaves. Play in the yard. Shop for new appliances. Make playdough. Cook dinner. We talk and laugh. Sometimes argue. We sleep in some mornings and some nights we still don’t sleep at all.
I am completely mesmerized watching my little one grow and develop each day. He is learning new skills and abilities every day and is so excited to share them with me. I don’t want to miss any of this. I want to drink every moment in and marinate in the sweetness of my little one’s joy. I want to make sure I hear all of his belly laughs. Whether it is 3 am or 3 pm, I want to be present and enjoy these sweet fleeting moments with him. I realize now that I was not connected on Facebook. I was distracted by Facebook.
I was missing this sweet little face looking up at me. I don’t want to miss these moments. Not now. Not ever.
The internet is saturated with super moms. Moms with pinterest worthy lives. Moms that are constantly reinventing the wheel. Moms that develop their own recipes, make their own clothes, have their kids engaged in elaborate arts and crafts projects. Moms with fancy wardrobes and glossy hair. Moms with beautiful homes. Moms that workout every day and develop recipes from scratch. Moms that babywear and home school.
I am none of these moms. I am just an average mom.
I’m the mom that is happy to shop at old navy and ikea. We don’t follow trends and we don’t set them either. I’m the mom you can always spot in sneakers and a pony tail with the kid that sometimes has some leftover lunch on his pants or in his hair. The one who doesn’t know what the newest cell phone is or the latest shoe trend. The mom who doesn’t step out of the house in high heels any more. The mom who, I am pretty sure, actually doesn’t own high heels anymore. The mom that no longer wears dry clean only. The mom who would rather cook dinner than eat out. The one who enjoys sitting down and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with her family. The mom that doesn’t own a dslr and instead relies on her cell phone to take candid shots of her toddler doing real things. Things that aren’t staged. I’m the mom that would almost always read a book than watch a movie. I’m the one with the toddler that doesn’t sit still. I am the mom that doesn’t have an itinerary of arts and crafts to do with her child. A mom that goes to bed early and wakes up even earlier. I’m the mom that needs to find a really good under eye concealer because despite my best efforts, I still don’t sleep through the night. I’m the mom with toys all over the floor and laundry spilling out of hampers. The one with fingerprints all over the stainless steel. I am the mom that doesn’t have date nights or vacations that don’t include my son. I am the mom that doesn’t have a pinterest worthy house or life.
I am just an average mom.
I am just an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things.
Just ask my family.
Recently I have found myself consumed with my phone. I have become that person. The phone constantly in the palm of my hand with my gaze downward distracted by whatever was on my screen. Most of the time it was Facebook. I found myself scrolling through my facebook feed in the morning while I poured coffee or made breakfast, in the middle of the night while I nursed my son, while the shower warmed up, waiting at a red light, in line at the supermarket or the bank, before the lights went out at night and more recently while I ate dinner.
Facebook was permeating every nook and cranny of my life. I was so busy reading status updates, scrolling through pictures and links to articles that I was missing moments in my own life. I didn’t even realize it was happening. I was invested more in what others were doing than what was happening around me. It became evident when my husband would ask me repeatedly if I saw my son do this or that in reference to some new milestone or newly learned behavior. The answer was inevitably almost always a resounding No. I was ashamed and embarrassed that someone else’s dinner plans, workouts, work drama, vacations, etc. was trumping my own life.
There were multiple ways to remedy this but I ultimately decided to deactivate my facebook account. Like so much else in life, I don’t miss what I don’t have. I don’t know how long this will last. Maybe a month. Maybe two. Maybe a year. Perhaps a lifetime. I’m not really sure and I’m okay with that.
In just the short time that I have been without the presence of facebook in my life, I have had the pleasure of reading books, taking walks in the snow, making blueberry pancakes from scratch and witnessing the miracle that is my family. The family that has been here this whole time while I was too busy watching someone else’s online.