Our New Normal

Now that’s I’m home full time with A (at least for the time being) my day is completely different than it was a year ago. Ironically, last year around this time, I published this post. My life has done a complete 180 since then.

My day is now, obviously, structured around A. The last time I was home with her like this was my maternity leave (one thing about that time that is similar to now, she still wants to be on top of me almost 24/7, except then she wanted to be held and now she just wants to be able to drape herself all over me). A typical day with just me and A, i.e. a day that John is flying, looks kind of like this:

My day still starts early. My alarm goes off at 6:30am, because if I don’t get out of bed early, I will have zero time to myself. This is my time to shower, eat breakfast, and drink my coffee in peace. I also use this time to figure out what the hell I need to get done. Do I have a deadline? Are we almost out of milk? How the hell am I going to keep my child entertained all day?!

Once A is up around 8am, we have some snuggles. This only lasts until she starts demanding breakfast, which doesn’t take too long. Once she is fed, if the weather is nice, we’ll go for a walk. If it’s a grocery shopping day, we’ll go do that. Once either of those things are done, A will color or play for a little while.

I’m trying to keep A on a schedule similar to the one she was on at daycare (I am assuming she will be back in daycare at some point in the hopefully near future), which means she eats lunch early, around 10:30am. And then she naps.

I really, really, REALLY need that nap because it’s really my only time to work. This is when I write. It’s also when I apply to jobs. I feel like I am trying to fit an eight hour work day into this two hour window.

After nap time, I try to take her outside if it’s not too hot. She likes to pick up rocks, twigs, leaves, flowers, and bring them to me, or “blow” bubbles. If I’m feeling really brave, I’ll take her to the splash park or the regular park.

Once we are both too hot to endure being outside, we come in for a snack. At this point I have to admit I usually put a movie on for her, because I just need a few minutes to sit. She loves the Tinker Bell movies and Frozen, so I know if I put one of those on, I can buy myself 20-30 minutes of quiet.

We’ll spend the rest of the afternoon playing and reading until it’s dinnertime. Once dinnertime rolls around I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, because once dinner time is over, it’s bath time, and once bath time is over, it’s practically bed time. A is in bed between 7:00 and 7:30pm. (We had to put up blackout curtains in her room since it is still broad daylight at 7:00, and she was refusing to go down until it got dark. Which doesn’t happen until after 10pm now.)

Once she is in bed, I pick up the house. Then I make myself a cocktail, and if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll write some more. If I’m not, I veg out watching Netflix. My head hits the pillow around 10:30.

The days John is gone are extremely long. Last week he was gone for four days, and towards the end I was about to lose it. I now realize how much I took getting a break for granted before.I especially realize how much I miss having a support system to rely on. It was nice having so much family around when we lived in Louisiana.I could always find someone willing to take A for a little while so I could get things done or just have some time to relax.

I try not to dwell on hard it is, or how stressed out I am, or how lonely it is being all by myself with her, but sometimes it’s hard not to. Dwelling on it doesn’t help, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I’m trying to remember that this, like all things in life, is temporary. This too shall pass, and all that jazz. In the mean time, I know A is very thankful to have me all to herself for a while, so I’m going to try to focus on that.

19 things I gave up when I became a mom

There’s an article floating around my Facebook newsfeed entitled “27 Things You Must Say Goodbye to When You Turn 27.” I read it mostly for the LULZ, because, at 27, I was pretty certain most of the things on it I had said goodbye to long ago. I wasn’t wrong. I had a mostly “Eh” response to it (unlike other people, who were much more, errr, emphatic about it). It did, however, make me think about all the things I said goodbye to when I became a mom.

1. A clean house. Gone are the days where my living room is not coated in a layer of toys, board books, and all the pillows and throw blankets from the furniture. These days I’m happy if the mess is contained to one room and not spread through the whole house.

2. Being on top of my laundry. I was never very good at keeping up with my laundry before, but eventually it all got done/folded/put away. I am pretty sure, since A was born, I have not had ALL the laundry done at one time ever. In fact, and I’m a little ashamed to admit this, we have dubbed our guest room as the “laundry room” as all of the clean, out of the dryer laundry gets dumped there and stays there until it gets folded. I was sorting it the other day and was pulling 12 month clothes out of the piles. A hasn’t worn 12 months since December.

3. Or my dishes. Of all the chores, the one I must do compulsively is the dishes. I cannot stand dirty dishes in the sink. I was slightly more lax on this when we didn’t have a dishwasher. Since acquiring one, I am less forgiving. However, it seems there is always a dish to be done, or a dishwasher to be unloaded, even if I literally just washed all the dishes five minutes ago.

4. Spending more than 10 minutes getting ready for anything. I used to have a very long, involved, and detailed routine in the mornings for class (grad school, not undergrad) and work, which could be doubled if I was going out somewhere fun. My basic routine now is shower, debate whether I truly need to wear make up/dry my hair before deciding nah, I don’t, and throw on whatever is clean and not too wrinkled.

5. Leaving the house not covered in some sort of unidentified stain. You would think this pertains mostly to mothers of newborns, but it carries on to toddlerhood. Even with my child self-feeding, I’ll still take a grubby yogurt hand to the chest and not notice it till it’s too late. At least I hope it’s yogurt.

6. Using the bathroom alone. I had always hoped this one was something other people exaggerated about, but alas, it is not. I now have a peanut gallery, every. single. time.

7. Taking showers so long all the hot water is gone. I used to love taking long, hot showers. I considered it a good shower if my skin was slightly singed from how hot it was and all my digits were pruney because I had been in it for so long. I don’t even know what I did during these long showers. Draft grocery lists, ruminate on how so and so at work had slighted me, contemplate the universe? Who knows. Now I’m just lucky if I get to take a shower daily.

8. Buying clothes anyplace other than Target. I mean, it’s just convenient. I’m already there for everything else I need in life, I may as well buy my clothes there too. Plus, who can resist Target’s clearance section? Not me.

9. Watching whatever I want on TV. My Netflix queue, once filled with high quality movies and television like Clueless, Steel Magnolias, and How I Met Your Mother, is now filled with Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, and all of the Tinker Bell movies.

10. Eating whatever I want. And not because I am worried about being super healthy or not gaining weight, but rather because now there is a small creature who thinks everything is for sharing, and wants whatever it is I am having, no matter how many times I tell her “It’s yucky! You won’t like it. Yucky yuck yuck.” She’s just not buying it.

11. Sleeping past 8am. Even when given the opportunity to sleep in, my body just can’t physiologically do it anymore, thanks to countless early wake up calls. Plus, those hours before A wakes up are some of the only hours I have to myself. All of this depresses me, considering I used to sleep in past noon on the reg.

12. Having a clean car. My father and husband would argue I have never kept a clean car, and to some extent they are correct. It is not my number one priority in life. But adding a kid into the mix just made my already cluttered car 100x worse. My backseat is currently covered in daycare report cards and coloring sheets, even though she hasn’t been in daycare for two weeks.

13. Getting anywhere on time. I used to be so freaking punctual. I spent most of my high school days perpetually late, so I worked really hard to correct this in college and grad school. For several years I was even perpetually early. That’s over. Now I’m lucky if we are leaving the house at the time we were supposed to be somewhere.

14. Or staying anywhere until the event is over. I used to close any and all parties down. I was known to be at the bar till last call. Now I’m like “Oh sorry, but the baby’s bedtime was 10 minutes ago, gotta run!” at 7:40pm.

15. Day drinking. Unless it is a special occasion, or I have someone else to take care of A, this just doesn’t happen anymore. I actually did get to participate in some day drinking at my best friend Bailey’s wedding last month, and it was awesome, but John had to wrangle our toddler the whole time. You can’t have it all, can you.

16. Not making/getting dinner because “I just don’t feel like it,” and just eating Cheetos and chocolate chips straight out of the bag (with cheap wine as a chaser). I am now responsible for providing healthy, balanced meals for A. And because she gets hungry, like all the time, I have to either cook or pick up dinner daily even when “I just don’t feel like it.”

17. Having the “latest” anything. The MacBook Pro I am writing this on was purchased in 2009. Just yesterday, I bought a new charger for it since the original one died. That $84 was the first money I spent on this laptop since I bought it. And I am going to happily use it until the keys fall off. My iPhone is an iPhone 4, purchased in (brace yourself) 2010. Yes, I bought my iPhone four years ago. Here’s some context for you: I have only been married three years. But my kid? She has all the newest toys.

18. Leisurely drinking a pot of coffee while doing crossword puzzles on the weekends. This was something I used to do every weekend, without fail, since grad school. I’m not sure I know what leisure means anymore.

19. Actually, weekends in general. And Fridays for that matter. Friday-Sunday lost all meaning with A’s birth.

Of course, I gained a lot more than I lost when I had A. I learned what it means to love someone else unconditionally. I learned what it means to give yourself completely to another person’s well-being, and to be happy to do so. I gained a world full of smiles, snuggles, hugs, kisses, and giggles. And truthfully, I don’t really mind the mess. I save a lot of money on make up by not wearing it daily. A spoon left in the sink isn’t going to kill me.

I do kind of wish I was better about the laundry though.

In response to the original article, here at the age of 27, I still enjoy everything bagels with full fat cream cheese, because c’mon, I don’t have weekends anymore. Throw a girl a bone.

Thanks and things

Yesterday was a pretty great day for this blog, statistically speaking. It was best day for follows (hi guys!), and in terms of views, it was a higher traffic day than I’ve had in the past several months.

But those follows and likes and views are more than just numbers to me. I really, truly appreciate all the virtual support I got yesterday. Every time my phone dinged with a notification, my heart soared. Not because I felt popular or successful, but because I felt liberated. I’ve carried this sense of failure, bordering on guilt, in the corner of my mind since it happened. Even when taking the high road, and remaining optimistic about your possibilities, it’s hard to vanquish all of the negative feelings.

Knowing that I have everyone behind me, family, friends, and my virtual friends, helped quiet those lingering thoughts.

I spent some time last night re-reading old posts, and this one stood out to me.

I’m not doing any fancy resolutions or goals this year. I’m keeping it pretty simple: Be healthy, be happy, write more (not just for this blog, but in general, going to try to get back into freelancing and maybe some short stories), read more, drink more tea, and enjoy my life. I think I can handle those.”

It’s like I predicted this or something.

Psychic tendencies or not, I am more sure now that this is the right place for me to be right now.

Anyway, thank you thank you thank you, for all the virtual love yesterday. You guys are the best :).

All great changes are preceded by chaos

Everyone knows that saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” (My personal favorite incarnation is “When life gives you lemons, find someone who was given vodka and have a party,” but you know, 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, right?)

Anyhoo, sometimes life gives you lemons. And sometimes life throws them at you as if to say, “See what you can do with these!”

Life threw some lemons at me a earlier this month when I was let go from my job. I do not completely understand all their decision making, and why they decided to lay off who they did and keep others, but the reasons behind it aren’t so important here. Suffice to say, no matter what happened, I am currently unemployed.

I was bitter about it for a couple days, but now I see it as a blessing in disguise. I hated that job. It made me a miserable person. It physically made me ill most days to be in the office, like it was toxic (and it probably actually was, if you could only see the conditions of the buildings). I feel like me again.

I’d been praying on this for some time now, looking for direction in what to do. I think God knew I was never going to quit, so He literally forced me out of the situation I was in, giving me a lot of free time to find something better. Not to mention some time to be a quasi SAHM to my sweet girl.

It’s also giving me time to focus on the one thing I have always loved to do, the one thing I really do want to make a career out of: Writing. I’m officially a freelance writer, getting paid to write articles about anything and everything. I have to say, it was one of the proudest moments of my life when I sold my first article. It made me realize I can do this.

I’m also focusing on my creative writing as well. I’ve written a couple short stories, and have some more in the works. It feels so good to just write again. All of the negative energy from my old job just completely stifled any creative flow I might have had. Being away from that atmosphere unclogged a pipe in me that had been completely blocked off.

Being unemployed does have it’s perks. Getting to change from PJs to yoga leggings for one, and not ever having to wear make up for another. Also, I can finally go grocery shopping at times when no one else is there. Not having to navigate your cart around other carts at Target might be a form of heaven on earth. Double points if I get to go alone

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. God would not put something on my plate if He didn’t know I could handle it. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be right now. I am confident that the right job will come along, something that works for my family and our circumstances. For right now, I’m enjoying the time with A and all the writing I get to do. I have to say, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

Ch-ch-changes (and Happy Father’s Day!)

You may have noticed I made a few changes to the blog yesterday. Nothing big, just a new background color and header, but still felt the need to acknowledge them. I know posts have been few and far between lately, but I will be back to my normal posting soon. I promise. We’ve had a lot of change over here in the past couple months, with A LOT happening in the past couple weeks, and it’s taken me a little while to get used to it all.

Honestly, I would probably just write about it all today, but it’s Sunday, and I’d rather bake a special dessert for my husband instead. John is flying back from Mexico today, and I have a few sweet surprises for him.

Speaking of, Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there! I hope each and every one of you have a great day, and maybe get a new necktie or some handmade pottery and/or other craft.

We will back to our regularly scheduled parenting stuff tomorrow.

For the love of lovies

When A was about 9 months old, I introduced her to a lovie. John had just moved to Indy, and for whatever reason, I just felt like she needed an attachment object and that it was the right time for one. I picked up a set of Aden & Anais muslin security blankets at Target on a whim, mostly because I thought they were adorable.

While she took to sleeping with a “blankie” immediately, it took her a few months to really attach to it. By the time we moved to Indy, she was up to “must have to sleep” level of lovie dependence. Now, three and a half short months away from two years old, we are at full on lovie love in our house.

We are up to four lovies in the rotation, and at any given point A will have anywhere from one to all four on her person. I tried to keep it down to two, but she is like a bloodhound with those things and finds them no matter where they’re hidden. When we get her out of her crib in the morning she gathers as many as she can (typically all four are in bed with her).

I let A dictate when she wants/needs a lovie, for the most part. If she has one in her hands when we leave for daycare, I let her take it in the car. If she wants to take it in with her, that’s okay, but if she chucks it across the backseat when it’s time to get out, I let that be okay too. I always try to keep one close though, because if we’re out in public and she starts to meltdown, the touch of her lovie can delay it, at least for a little while. If we don’t have a lovie when she wants it? Get ready for defcon 5, because She. Will. Lose. It.

I don’t know how long she’ll need/want her lovie. Just like her thumb sucking, it’s not something I plan on stopping just because she reaches a certain age. Both things help her self soothe, and I feel like she will phase herself out of it when she’s ready, which is definitely not now. She is so stinking cute with her lovie trailing behind her, like a little girl Linus (which we have taken to calling her; this child has so many nicknames).

Plus, I took my blanket to college with me and actually slept with it until A was born and we started co-sleeping, and I like to think I turned out kinda normal.