Adulting is hard.

Ice Cube, Memes, and 🤖: You know you're an adult when you  actually pick up the ice cube, instead of  just kicking it under the fridge

When I started back to work after maternity leave with my third baby, I practically ran out the door, eager to untether myself from a life of domesticity (at least for a few hours!). I eagerly embraced my newfound hours of independence, intellectual stimulation, and a break from the constant demands of young motherhood. I was excited to drink hot coffee at last!

But, the novelty quickly wore off: as quickly as the “#1 Mom – Love, Kid 1, 2, and 3!” custom painted mug turned stark white after one accidental run through the dishwasher. With all the glitter washed away, I was left with the reality that motherhood does not get left at the door when I walk out. The demands are virtually the same, crammed into less hours.

In a previous article, conflicted about leaving my last baby at home, I wrote, “I want ALL THE THINGS. I want to be supermom, fit mom, career mom, business woman, wife, and my own person”, thinking that going back to work would magically accomplish all of this. The truth is, doing #allthethings is fucking hard.

Do you ever just feel like you’re faking it? Fake it ‘til you make it, they say. I have an established family, career, home, I am almost done my graduate degree – I think I’ve made it? But, I can’t help but feel I am still faking it in all these roles. I read a meme on social media the other day: “You know you’re an adult when…you pick up the ice cube instead of kicking it under the fridge.” Well, shit. You do not want to look under my fridge. Or my oven. You better also steer clear of my bathroom.

I am a 33-year-old, successful woman by most accounts. I should be an expert at things by now! But, I gotta ask: when does adulthood kick in? I think I have done all the things I am supposed to do. Why does it feel like I am constantly dropping the balls? One kid is forever being neglected, I haven’t been to the gym in weeks, my husband is likely seriously questioning his choice of ‘roommate’, laundry is piled in every corner, I am surviving grad school on luck and good karma. Does reading statistics textbooks to my kids count toward their reading logs? Balls dropped. Some I can’t even find anymore. They’re likely under the fridge with the damn ice cubes!

Adulting is hard. Being a mom of 3 is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a nurse and an educator is hard. Being a student is hard. Dreaming big dreams, and wanting #allthethings is the easy part. But my dreams now are to make a happy life, for myself and my family. A happy life is not about tick-boxes of achievements and outwardly having your shit together. Maybe adulthood isn’t about trying to juggle all the balls in a half-assed attempt not to drop any, fumbling as you go, and chasing the little effer you kicked under the fridge. Maybe it’s about having the humility to say, ‘I can’t do all of this alone, if any of it is going to get done well’. Maybe it’s about setting your ego aside, so you can set down some of the balls. Here, can you carry this for me? I’ve got some heavy gonads to carry today.

Maybe adulting, and doing #allthethings, is more about acceptance and grace, than the relentless attempt to constantly be proving yourself worthy. Maybe this is the magic moment you become an adult, you’ve made it. When you accept life at face value and push on proudly.

Adulting is hard, and some days I am just exhausted and broken trying to hold it all together. On those days, kicking ice cubes under the fridge keeps me young! 😊

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To my littlest love, on your first birthday

Emme-Cake2To my littlest love, on your first birthday –

Tomorrow you turn one and my heart feels as though it could explode. In all honesty, I have dreaded this day. This year has flown by, each month faster than the last, each day a blur. I tried to stop or stall time repeatedly. Tomorrow is a milestone for us both, and one that I celebrate for you, but mourn for me. Tomorrow you will be considered a toddler, and my baby-days are over. You are my last baby.

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You have grown so much this year despite my best efforts to slow you down. I begged you to stay little, but you grew anyway. I pleaded with you to stay curled up on my chest, as you rolled off. I longed for you to stay still, as you crawled away and played with your toys instead. I was convinced I was all you’d ever need, but you found comfort and entertainment in your siblings, your daddy, the nanny…and #allthesnacks.

Tomorrow you are one. But, here I sit, in the shadows of your bedroom window nursing you to sleep. I stare at your cheek, the outline of your ear, your fine wisps of hair, your eyelashes. My heart aches knowing these days are numbered. “I will breastfeed until they are one” I said about each of my babies.  Tomorrow, you are one.  I am officially abandoning that idea – I am not ready; and neither are you. We have made up the rules as we go, changing them along the way!  You have given me grace, sweet baby. You have done everything slower than your brother and sister, and for that I am endlessly grateful.

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Tomorrow you are one. Soon, you won’t need me to cuddle you to sleep. Soon, you won’t need me to comfort you in the night. Soon, you won’t need me to nourish you in a way only I can do. Soon, you will walk, and you will run. Baby girl, soon, you will fly! You will chase after your brother and sister, and then your dreams. Soon, you will be your own person, doing your own things. I will be your biggest cheerleader, your endless supporter.

Tomorrow you are one. Today, tomorrow, and every day as long as I live, I will love you and cherish you. You have added so much love and joy to our family. I never knew something was missing, until you filled the space. I never knew I had so much love to share until you and your brother and sister taught me the infinite ability of my heart to grow. When you were born, it grew, and it grew, and it grew! So today, filled with love to the point of explosion, I know it has the ability to grow a little more.

Tomorrow you are one.

Tomorrow. You. Are. One. I still don’t believe it.

But today, you are not yet one. Today, you are still my baby.

In the words of the subtly ingenious Robert Munsch, “As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be”.

Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Love always,

Mom.

Breastfeeding and Body-love

BFblog3WMDisclaimer: Images ahead are suitable for ALL audiences.

From the moment my third baby was born, we have been an expert breastfeeding duo – a blessing I do not take lightly. She is ALL about my milk-makers.  Imagine a rabid raccoon pawing desperately at covered trash cans; or a vulture swooping down at its prey…..CHOMP! But, the instant she latches on, her body relaxes and then so, too, do I. Her body curled around mine, my little busybody stops for a moment to need me. Safe. Satisfied. I need her just as fiercely. Grounded. Content. We get to slow down.

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I have teased her for her unwavering and exclusive demand to nurse, calling her The Boob-Leach time and again; adjusting my entire life around her sleep and feeds. The truth is, I love breastfeeding. I do. And I don’t love it because I’m “supposed to” – like organic homemade baby food, baby sign-language, or mommy-and-me yoga. I love it because it is the most pure and simple joy.

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With these photos, I am not on a crusade to normalize breastfeeding. I am not pushing a ‘Breast-is-Best’ agenda – you do you, girl. I am not staging “nurse-ins” to support public breastfeeding. I’m not defiantly breast feeding in restaurants and on park benches to make a point. Although I do breastfeed in restaurants, on park benches, at the beach, everywhere – it’s just not a big deal. Shit, a girl’s gotta eat! She gets her hunger patience from her momma!

Rather, I am on a crusade to celebrate the miraculous things a woman’s body can do! I want to celebrate what my body has done! I want to celebrate and love the human body in all forms.

In a culture of epidemic level body-shaming, self-hate, shame, and depreciation, I want to celebrate what this body has created (and what has created this body!). I want to love and appreciate it. I want to create a tangible reminder of these moments on my journey through womanhood. The journey is long and pregnancy and breast feeding are but a short (monumental) blip on the timeline. I want to celebrate that.

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On days when the negative self-talk gets too loud, I want to be able to look back at these photos and be proud of my body – a body that nourished and supported a child both inside and out. I want to remember this forever.

 

 

 

 

To My Son, My Middle Child:

To my son, my middle child:

As I come out of the blinding fog a year at home with three young kids has created, I can see how hard this year must have been for you. I can see you struggling to chisel your niche in this family; sandwiched between two sisters. I see you trying to navigate the world being both a “big” and a “little”; and also, neither a big nor a little. You’ve had the responsibility of a big kid, but the lack of choices of a little kid. You have been expected to keep yourself together, control your emotions, your free time, and your volume every day!kidsplay

You’ve followed your sister around for a year, learning to entertain yourselves, learning patience, and learning to forage in the pantry for snacks because my hands have been busy, my own patience worn thin.

You have fought for attention in the best of ways: helping your little sister, happily playing, eating your supper without complaint, and spreading your love around. You have stolen attention in the worst of ways: yelling, hitting, and slamming doors. You have tested our boundaries and created your own.

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You have developed SO MUCH INDEPENDENCE.

I am so sorry: I hardly noticed how much you have grown. Quietly existing in the middle, you are often shadowed by your older sister’s accomplishments, and by your baby sister’s endless needs and firsts. Your attempts at being noticed brushed off time and time again until you got loud enough to force everyone to notice you. I am sorry negative attention at times became our norm.

But as I come out of the fog and out of the baby trenches, I want you to know, I SEE YOU. I see how sweet your natural demeanor is. I see your love of cooking, and I know it is all because you want to be near me. I see how easy going you are despite your stubborn exterior. You are generous. You will give your last of anything to your sister (or your dad) every single time.

Baby boy (who you will always be), when you were born, I learned that my heart has the ability to love infinitely. You brought blue to our home, along with trucks, planes, and wrenches. You are the dad, the worker, the provider…or the dog…in our games of house. You made us a family, instead of a couple with a baby. You gave me confidence as a mother, and strength as a woman. You made everything seem possible.

You fill up my love bucket every day. “I love you to outer space”, “I love you to the moon and back”, “I love you as big as the whole world, the sky, and the universe”, and the latest, “I love you all the way to Norse Merica!!” Buddy, I love you even more. I really do.

Love Always, Love All ways,

XOXOX

Mom

Working Mom (Sorry, not sorry): Hot coffee at last.

Lady Gains & Life With Littles

Today I drank an extra-large coffee, warm to the last drop! Simple, yes, but it is no small feat for a mom of three young children. For a year straight, I have been a milk maid (dairy cow), snack b*tch, entertainment coordinator, referee, housekeeper, the list goes on…but today, I drank a hot coffee.

I went back to work this week after maternity leave with my third baby. While I am eternally grateful to live in a country that allows us a year off with our babies, a stay at home mom I am not. For a year I have had someone in my space – physically, mentally, and audibly! Yet, I have been so lonely, and isolated. I have to say, it is a breath of fresh air to sit in silence and reflect.

coffee blog photo

It is exciting to begin thinking about ME again! I got to get dressed without…

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Working Mom (Sorry, not sorry): Hot coffee at last.

Today I drank an extra-large coffee, warm to the last drop! Simple, yes, but it is no small feat for a mom of three young children. For a year straight, I have been a milk maid (dairy cow), snack b*tch, entertainment coordinator, referee, housekeeper, the list goes on…but today, I drank a hot coffee.

I went back to work this week after maternity leave with my third baby. While I am eternally grateful to live in a country that allows us a year off with our babies, a stay at home mom I am not. For a year I have had someone in my space – physically, mentally, and audibly! Yet, I have been so lonely, and isolated. I have to say, it is a breath of fresh air to sit in silence and reflect.

coffee blog photo

It is exciting to begin thinking about ME again! I got to get dressed without thinking about anyone else’s needs. No: ‘can I easily flop my boob out of this?’, ‘will this hide spit up and mushed cheerios?’, ‘can I lean over, kneel on the ground, and chase chaos in this?’.  Instead, I asked: ‘does this outfit make me feel fabulous?’, ‘can I tackle my dreams in this?’, and ‘do these glasses make me look like a bad 1950’s yearbook photo??”.

I spent some time considering my own needs and wants. I had my own thoughts. I had a day-date with myself, and I developed an instant girl-crush, love at long-last.

“I missed you”, I said to myself. i missed you self photo

#SorryNotSorryKids

I am not sorry I am a working mom. I am not sorry I do not get to spend 24/7 with you for 18 years. I am not sorry I get to go chase my dreams, nurture myself, and feed my own interests exclusive of you. I love you, and you are my greatest masterpieces! But there is so much in this world for us all to experience!

I know you can survive, and thrive, without me there every moment. I know you will learn things I cannot teach you, and have experiences I cannot give you. You will learn independence, resilience, and adaptation. I will share you and your gifts with others; and more people loving you and supporting you is never a bad thing! You will learn to communicate and bond with new people, be better judges of character, and be more open to the unknown.

You will see your mother setting goals and achieving them. You will learn that we are not bound by traditional gender roles: women can have corporate success, and men can change diapers. Women can be educated, lead companies, and have financial independence; and men can cheer them on every step of the way!

And when I get home, I will scoop you up in my arms and love you fiercely! I will ask you about your day, and tell you about mine. I will revel in the pictures you’ve drawn and the stories you have to tell – and there will be many! I will listen to you excitedly tell me about the dragonfly you found squished on the driveway and admire that you moved him to the grass to get better. I will comfort you and discipline you when I hear of your squabbles with your siblings. I will still do all the things I have always done, in smaller, more concentrated doses. We will value the quality of our time together, over quantity.

There will be many moments that I miss you, and moments that I miss. I will worry about you and cry in my car on the days you beg me not to leave, staring at the empty car seats behind me. But today, I am drinking hot coffee at last.