Friday, January 21, 2011
I am so grateful for the kind and strong words I received both in comments and in emails. I drove it home to me that everything I am feeling, is normal and exactly what I signed up for. Every single email and comment held a nugget of wisdom or comfort, but one email in particular came from a woman in Holland who has been reading my blog quietly until now and struck a deep chord with me. Her words were gentle yet firm and reminded me of the bigger picture. Here is a sample:
"...My best advice is to constantly connect to the gratitude of having these children that you wanted so much and that you love so much. That they are with you - safe and healthy, in your arms. To connect to the gratitude that you are able to stay home with them, when others sometimes are not able to afford that choice. To close your eyes and feel those blessings, even if only for a second or two. But do this constantly throughout the day..."
"...sometimes the only thing worth changing is your perspective..."
"...Finally, I would be gentle with your thoughts and your words. Instead of framing the question 'How do you keep from being swallowed by your children'?, frame it without the word 'swallow'. I'm a regular reader of your blog and your love for your children shines through all the way to Holland where I live, so I hope you know I'm trying to be helpful and not judgmental. Perhaps 'How do I replenish my energy levels while my children are so young?' If you reframe your thoughts without a word that could be construed negatively, it will make a difference..."
Perhaps it was her words in combination with the heartache and worry my brother in law and his girlfriend are facing as they wait to find out the fate of their third baby girl due in June. I feel so foolish to think I have anything to complain about. My children are perfect and healthy in every way. I have never once had to worry about their health. It is quite foolish of me to think a 23 month old would do anything other than spray kidney beans into every last nook and cranny of the house or for a 4.5 month old to want anything more than to be held and shown his world. I get to spend every waking moment of every day with their little arms around my neck or legs while other moms don't have the option. We're moving to the country when this house sells because we have amazing family willing to help us out financially. I get to dream about the crafty space and reading nooks I will create in our new home. I think about what we will name our chickens and what we'll plant in the garden. My husband is a wonderful provider, a gentle man, and an ever-present husband and father.
My goodness I am a fool to think my life is anything less than charmed.
Granted, I will still have my days, but lets move on shall we. There are crafts to be made, books to be read, husbands to be loved, kids to be played with, silly dances to be danced, shoes to be sewn, a house to be sold, weight to be lost, and bread to be baked.
Time to come out of the post-partum fog and move on.
enough is enough.
go gently + be wonderful
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I need to write.
Whether my words are quickly typed onto a flashing screen, hammered into pulpy white paper on my typewriter or sprawled out in my own messy script, writing holds sanity in its palm.
I miss a lot of things that tend to keep me sane...photography, baking, sewing, knitting, reading...
We had a lovely holiday filled with family and homemade peppermint bark; jammies and baking; late nights and eating with reckless abandon.
As cliche as new year resolutions can be, it always seems a fitting time for rebirth and renewal. I try to ignore the fact that everyone is looking at the nutritional info of every item on every shelf of every grocery store and that we, in fact, are not all that original in our healthy lifestyle goals. With toxic bellies and dull skin, we're hungover from the rich and the dense; the butter and the sugar.
With that comes my second resolution...
I am still struggling to find my breath as a mama of two.
Peace and joy are elusive creatures and I don't know how much longer I can stand it.
I hold myself to high ideals as a parent. Not because a book has told me to, but because I believe it to be right. Sometimes these ideals make me weary and weepy.
I have quickly learned that when I am anywhere but in the moment my day can crumble.
The days are long and as the inky night creeps into the house I am very aware of how little I have left to give. I take a deep breath and one look at the (finally) slumbering Gnome + Bird, recover quickly, and send up a little prayer to start again tomorrow with soft eyes and gentle words.
Begin again. Begin again. Begin again.
As mind-numbing as it is, my days are better spent rolling with the punches.
My hair is a tatty mess and I haven't slept 8 straight hours since sometime in 2008. I wear jogging pants 90 percent of the time.
Silas is happiest when constantly held and Poppy is happiest when making a mess or destructing something.
I have implemented a quiet time everyday after lunch, but Poppy has made it clear she has no interest in naps so she uses the time to tear apart the bedroom while I attempt to read and Silas squeals and hollers.
This morning alone, the dog ate my carefully crafted breakfast while I was changing a blowout diaper, dry kidney beans have been sprinkled around the entire house (I thought I would offer the textural experience of the beans, but like everything else, it turned into an awesome opportunity to make a giant mess), Poppy has played drums with two wooden spoons on Silas' head when I turned my back for 5 seconds and then proceeded to smack him again just as I got him settled from the drumming incident. Even as I write this Poppy slams the laptop lid down on my hands.
I don't even attempt an activity I love or need because it is too difficult for me to stop midway without feeling resentful or annoyed.
So I wait.
I have very little support throughout the week as our small extended family lives far away; it is all me, all day so I am learning to pace myself and forgive myself.
I realize that this parenting plan is in no way sustainable, but these days are about survival and surrender.
Until then I am one hundred percent available. I didn't have kids because I thought it would be easy or convenient and no one could talk me into letting go of my parenting ideals. I do realize that to be a good mama, I need to be good to myself as well. Doing it with resentment is not good for anyone. One of the ideals I hold is to teach my children how to foster the authentic self; how to set boundaries; the ebb and flow; when to give and when to take. When I figure that all out I will let you know.
Did I mention that we found our dream house in the country. On a bit of a whim we listed our house and will be putting a conditional offer in. Yet another daunting task that makes me feel powerless and frustrated (but so worth it if it all works out). I have that breathless feeling you have at the top of a rollercoaster or that quiet moment you are suspended on the swing just before you descend. That moment when time seems to slow or stop and you think about all the possible outcomes and all your fears surface. I seem to be waiting for something, but can't name it. Spring?
It is all about growth and flow.
And beginning again.
How do you do it?
How do you keep from being swallowed by your children?
I would like to hear your words.
go gently + be wonderful