motherhood

MOTHERHOOD.

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myboy2

i chase tiny feet moving as quickly as they can possibly go across wide open fields of grass, i push one tiny body on the swing until he feels like he is flying, i whiz down the slide with a little boy in my lap, i hide behind walls and pop out unexpectedly to a child that dissolves into fits of giggles.

i putter around the house, attempting to vacuum cheerios and crushed crackers that now seem to be embedded in the sheepskin rug, folding laundry with the hopes that i'll eventually find the time to put it all away, tossing basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, bouncy balls, golf balls, whiffle balls (oh how this boy loves balls) into the toy bin knowing that they will remain in that spot only until holden awakes and rediscovers them.

i eat dinner at 5 and rarely leave the house after 8 pm in the evening.  i spend my every evenings bathing and reading and rocking.  there are books and toys constantly in my bed and a little boy that somehow manages to take up the majority of a california king mattress.  i often wake up to a small foot in my face, and i rarely sleep past 7:30 in the morning.

this is the life i have dreamed of.

from an outsiders life, it may not look especially exciting.  what do you do all day? my friends without kids probably wonder especially when i don't text them back for days at a time.

but this is it for me.  this is the life i have been waiting all of my life to live.

MORNINGS AROUND HERE.

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mornings

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mornings

mornings around our house these days

sometimes i wish i had a camera crew following my every move.  not to share with the world, but for my eyes only. so that years later i can sink into all of these moments, return to them, revisiting the sounds and the smells, experiencing the feeling and mood, reliving the moment in it's entirety instead of scrapping together the bits and pieces my memory has held onto.

it's so silly, but i already feel those early memories of holden slipping away. those moments when i took a few extra seconds to will my mind to etch them deep into my memory, store them in a special place where they would never be forgotten and yet, upon reaching for them i'm coming up empty-handed.

holden is such a little wild child, a constant ball of energy that has my attention and focus 99% of every day and i find that the continuous whirlwind of activity makes it hard to even remember what we did that morning or even the hour before.  time moves fast when you have a child, you brain and memory unable to keep up, not able to capture every second, every detail no matter how hard you wish.

my mom didn't see holden for a week (which is a long time for them to be apart) and after reuniting with him last night, she said "he looks different.  he's grown. he's all grown up."  he grew up in a week and i didn't even notice.

so i've decided the only logical thing to do is to invest in a camera crew (remember that guy in along came polly who hired his own camera crew) who will follow holden and i around on a daily basis so that after he goes to bed each night, i can sit on the couch and see what we really did that day.

ok, not really...but it would be kind of nice.

IS STAYING AT HOME AN OPTION ANYMORE?

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before holden, i worked part-time from home at a job.  despite the fact that i had always envisioned myself as a stay at home mom, we didn't think we would be able to survive comfortably on just one income and so we planned for me to continue working from home once holden arrived, fitting my work in between his naps (ha!).  once holden arrived, i could barely fathom taking any time away from him to go back to a job that i didn't enjoy in the least and i decided not to.  we made sacrifices and still struggle financially from time to time, but for us our top priority was for me to be home with him.

and unfortunately, this seems to be a growing anomaly to the norm.  in the past, it was easily possible for a family to survive off of one salary; however in today's world, despite even the best financial planning, it is sometimes impossible for a couple to survive on a single income.  the number of children under five who spend time in non-parental care has risen significantly in recent years and although most mothers who drop their kids off every morning will tell you that it's not an easy decision, for many there is no other option.

being the first of my friends to get pregnant, i didn't know anyone else in the area with children so once dustin's paternity leave was over i started attending a new parent group for babies 0-3 months.  we met twice a week and discussed all of the issues, both big and small, that come with having a newborn including sleep, feeding, adjusting to parenthood, adjusting as a couple, and a common source of discussion was mothers heading back to work.

although some of the mothers were looking forward to going back to their jobs, they were still heartbroken over the matter, the majority of women in the group just not quite ready to leave their little ones, a visible anxiousness and growing apprehension appearing in their faces as the their time grew shorter and shorter.  many wanted to go back to their jobs eventually, just not after a short three weeks.  as the months quickly passed, more and more mothers dropped out of the group and at the end of the three months, we were left with a small handful of women who were able to stay at home with their little ones.

some mothers happily stay at home, some mothers happily head back to work, some mothers begrudgingly head back to work, but at the very least shouldn't we have the ability to have more of a choice in the matter without feeling forced into the situation.

whether it's longer paid maternity leaves, jobs that offer salaries that allow families to live off of one income, or companies holding the position for women that wish to stay at home longer, i wish that as mothers we had more of a choice in the matter of heading back to work or not.

 

CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER.

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i was watching tonight's episode of up all night which was all about sending out christmas newsletters.  feeling like they didn't have much to write about, raven kept attempting to exaggerate their events from the year which in turn made them both feel like losers.

and it got me thinking about what i would write if i sent out a christmas newsletter.  what would i write about our year as a family?  in 2010 we got married and then traveled around europe, in 2011 we had holden and moved out of the city, and this year we had ... ??

as i sat racking the deepest corners of my mind, i couldn't think of anything that would be newsletter worthy.  in what has proved to be the best and fastest moving year of my entire life, i feel unable to produce any evidence of it.

because despite not having any big events occur in our lives, i feel as though we have done so much and been so busy.

my every day is filled with big moments with holden, learning to crawl, first steps, new words, new imitations, and all of the little things he learns with each passing day, all blurring together in what was a whirlwind of a year.

in 2012 we didn't start prepping for a second baby, we didn't take any big trips, we didn't start a new business, we didn't move,

and part of me feels a little sad about it.  i kind of wish that we had taken holden on his first overseas adventure or we'd picked up and moved to the ocean because sometimes the pressures to show others just how wonderful your life is can be anxiety provoking.

but then i have to remind myself that we are completely happy with our non-baby-prepping, non-vacationing, non-moving, lives and that sometimes it's the little moments that make life big.

SLEEP HABITS.

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blurry photo from a blurry, sleep-deprived mind

as i do every night, i resisted the urge to spend the rest of my evening laying beside him, letting the unusual quiet settle into my bones my thoughts the loudest thing in the room.  a constant whirlwind of activity during the day, there is something beautiful about having my serenely peaceful baby sleep on me (something i miss from the newborn days when he'd sleep on me into the late hours).  these moments, closing my eyes in the hushed silence, our bodies rising and falling in unison, a harmonious synchrony between us, remind me of pregnancy.

but i need to eat, spend time with my husband, and get some things done for myself, so i only allow myself several minutes to relish in these moments before leaving holden for the night (or before we join him in bed).

and yet, i miss him when he's sleeping.  i miss that little tornado of destruction that can somehow manage to pull every single thing within reach onto the floor in a matter of seconds, that stops to give kisses to the ones he loves in between the consistent whacking of a golf ball across the room, that loves to scream ah! at the top of his lungs just to hear his voice echo in large rooms, that shouts baba! to get anyone and everyone's attention if it's not on him, that runs up and down the hallways at full speed with no regard for his own safety, and that fills our house with giggles and laughter.

when holden is asleep, there's a void in the house, an unsettling calmness and silence.

but on saturday night, he woke around 11:30, and we had a surprise meeting at the door of the bedroom, as he intersected my plans for an early night to bed.  i scooped him up and whisked him back into bed, smoothing his hair across his forehead and whispering i love yous into his ear in an effort to lull him back to sleep.  but instead of quickly drifting off per usual, he was restless.  his body flirting with the idea of sleep, but not quite able to surrender.  he was quiet, curling his body into different positions around and on top of me.  his eyes closing for a few minutes, but then he'd start wildly swinging his arms as if in a dance, and his eyes would pop open and he'd grin.

teething?  growth spurt?  a full moon?

after about ten minutes, i realized i wasn't getting anywhere so i brought him out into the living room to surprise daddy.  holden looked around in awe and amazement like he was getting a glimpse into the world of grown-ups after dark.  and i remember that feeling from when i was young, the feeling that you were special enough to be up past your bedtime with your parents during their time, feeling almost as though it were a magical place.

he was wild with excitement and glee, a smile plastered on his face.  he stumbled around the room like a drunken sailor, his eyes slightly puffy after emerging from a deep sleep and his hair astray on top of his head.  we played and laughed into the early hours of the morning (a bit longer than dustin and i would have liked) and we definitely all suffered for it the following day.

although sleep is important for all of us, sometimes life is too fun to miss out on.

 

WHAT TO FEED A ONE YEAR OLD.

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i think as mamas, we are always looking for new and fun ways to feed our little ones, so i thought i'd share what holden loves to eat right now.  although there is nothing super creative in this list, maybe you will get a few new ideas for meals in your household.

breakfast:

waffles, sliced fruit, cheerios, scrambled eggs, hardboiled eggs, toast with jam, earth's best oatmeal, whole wheat bagel with pesto

lunch:

smoothie (kale, spinach, banana, and pineapple), veggie burgers, sliced bread with cream cheese and avocado, sliced bread with hummus and cucumber, veggie wraps, apple chicken sausage, vegetarian chicken fingers, cous cous salad (cous cous, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil), fruit salad, or dinner leftovers.

snacks:

homemade fig barssnapea crips, cocoroons, go raw super cookies, kale chips, rice crackers, cheerios, fruit

dinner:  

crock pot black bean soup, japanese food (miso soup, rice, and teriyaki chicken), indian food (pureed chana masala with rice), chicken noodle soup, chicken burrito with rice and beans, meatballs and pasta, bbq'ed or rotisserie chicken with steamed vegetables, or whatever we are eating that night.

what do your little ones like to eat?