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The hectic life as a mom, wife, daughter, + writer equates a continuous and simultaneous running of all cylinders.

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motherhood

Caps for Sale

Whether new or seasoned, all moms can agree on one thing; motherhood requires that you wear many hats, simultaneously. And while the majority of us are used to the demanding pressures of juggling multiple projects or carrying a caseload of clients concurrently in our professional lives, the multi-tasking that motherhood requires is an entirely different beast.

I too had the severely naive notion that due to my competence in keeping several plates spinning in the air at one time, somehow prepared me for — and dare I even say — overqualified me for, the task of raising children. Yikes! That, quite possibly, could be one of my more grave miscalculations thus far in life.  There’s no easing into this transition either. Nope, no CLIFF-NOTES for this bad boy. We’re sucked into (no pun, intended) the dizzying world of multi-tasking from the moment we meet our little buddies of joy, when breastfeeding becomes the first order of importance and doing so comes with a laundry list of how to’s; hold the baby’s head like this, lean into them that way, offer them the breast from this angle, make sure they’re latching on from this way…

The list just grows from then on out. Think about it, when was the last time you actually went to the bathroom alone and weren’t asked to get something or do something or find something or make someone else stop doing something? Probably before you had kids, right? It’s almost as if the moment you enter into a possible scenario that glimmers with the hope of 30 seconds of alone time and the fleeting possibility of actually accomplishing one simple task of your own, your toddler decides he must have his shoes on that minute. I mean, the act of peeing while putting on a toddler’s shoes actually requires a lot of talent! So much so, that it’s occurred to me to add it to my list of skill sets on my LinkedIn profile.

Or let’s take the mere undertaking of leaving the house. We don’t actually just leave the house. We prepare to leave the house by grabbing tissues for one kid’s runny nose, by reminding another child to grab his book bag (including, but not limited to, his library book which needs to returned to school for library day), by making sure everyone has on matching shoes, has gone to the bathroom, and that your dog hasn’t also now gotten into the car given the fact that someone has left the door wide open. And then somehow, by an absolute miracle, we collectively make it out of said house. It’s really a good thing that we’re designed to function relatively well doing 12 things at one time, or things would get really messy. And in honor of all the moms who play so many roles, I’ve compiled a short list of those jobs or traits we also embody while being a mom (watch our hats grow taller and taller).

HIGHLY FUNCTIONING HYPER-VIGILANCE. This ain’t your run-of-the-mill, average watchful eye. That’s amateur hour. This is a highly honed skill by which all moms perfect as our children grow. I can spot a choking hazard disguised as a 2mm bead in the corner of a room faster than most people can say ‘no’. Again, adding to LinkedIn.

HERDER OF SHEEP. This requires neither explanation nor further description. Let’s gooooooo!

ANNOUNCER. Except for the fact that no one is listening, and therefore you find the need to repeat yourself way too many times than you’d like to admit. Are you listening to me?

REFEREE. Akin to that of any major league professional sports ref minus the whole respect thing and the end verdict doesn’t actually matter because they haven’t stopped bickering long enough to hear you. This may only apply to mom’s of multiple children, however, somehow I think that kids are so adept at creating quarrels, that even an only child might figure out a way. Stop pulling your brother’s eyelids!

TEACHER. It’s not enough that children have exceptional teachers ready and willing to educate our children 5 days a week, but we too must remember how to figure out the square root of 965. Awesome.

LIFE-COACH. Gone are the days of children just figuring certain things out on their own. No, we as parents must instill in them, the knowledge of how everything in life works and operates. Trial by fire died in the 80’s, guys. This Q and A session, by the way, is typically initiated at bedtime just as my exhausted finger is poised over the light switch.

COOK. Short-order, line-chef, sous chef, gourmet and pastry chef all-in-one. And some days it’s just broccoli and grilled cheese.

It’s a lot of hats, some of which on certain days, I’d very much like to sell off and delegate to someone else. However, at the end of the (long) day, knowing that you are their absolute world and that without us, theirs simply wouldn’t be as happy, is enough to make it all worthwhile. And while the task of being everything for someone else can be daunting and exhausting, it’s because of this deep love and support we that exhibit, that signifies our unwavering support. We are their safe place, their rock, and we wear it all. We’re Moms.

Grow, but stay this way forever.

My Mom whom always takes splendid, transcendentalist moments out of her day to absorb the beauty of her surroundings and to basque in the glory that is nature, always thought it important to instruct my sister and I to do the same growing up. In fact, we still have a running joke dating back to childhood when she would tell us to ‘Look at the sun!’ and then immediately follow that up with, ‘but don’t look at it!’ Meaning, take in the beauty, but don’t stare directly at it for fear you’ll burn your eyes. It never ceases to amaze me just how powerful a distant memory can be, imparting a lasting imprint on our lives. For me, the essence of this memory woefully sums up my feeling of parenthood.

“…the guttural instinct like that of a wave precipitating its former…”

I washed and worried for that little umbilical cord to finally fall off to showcase my son’s perfectly adorable belly-button.  I waited intently for him to master the skill set of lifting his head on his own. I couldn’t wait until sitting was a viable possibility. I eagerly awaited with much excitement, at the prospect of being able to finally introduce solids. When will he learn to walk?  Will he soon be running? I anxiously anticipated actually engaging my little human in real conversation. Is he ready for school yet? When will he be able to write his name? Read? You get the picture…

But what happens immediately following those thoughts is the guttural instinct like that of a wave precipitating its former; to immediately rescind and counteract the wishful propulsion. These milestones serve to signify his growing and maturing; his body transforming from baby to toddler and beyond, and I find myself most anxious about whether I’m truly ready to move with the same momentum. Am I ready to see the chubby infant days full of cuddles nearing to an end, as I witness with such bittersweetness, his growing confidence?

It’s an excruciating juxtaposition wanting them to become the best version of themselves, which includes celebrating newfound capabilities, while mourning the loss of their baby selves— and their inevitable need for mom. And this especially holds true with my second —and last— knowing full-well how quickly these first few years fly by. I won’t ever again experience these early celebratory milestones and so souring past them with such fervor becomes the double-edge sword.

So why then do I do it? Why do I perpetually wish for the next milestone to be reached? For the greater accomplishment to be conquered, or for the bigger milestone to be undertaken? Part of me thinks it’s due in large because once they exhibit a certain capability, I internally put my mind at ease regarding their ability to do so. I stamp the ubiquitous ‘check mark’ off my never-ending mental list of things they need to learn to do. In addition, I am well aware of societal pressure that’s bestowed upon parents. On a daily basis, I’m inundated with no less that 25 articles telling me where my child should be at this exact, finite moment in his development. And, of course, there’s always that parent at the park who swears her little gifted one has already master fractions at 2.5…’Um, your’s hasn’t?’ It’s everywhere and it makes it incredibly challenging to live in the moment, contented with where you child is at that moment in time. Not looking to the next, not worried about what’s coming, just being.

This notion to grow, but stay little, to conquer, yet still need me, will always plague me as a mom— to some degree. And I’m fairly certain I’ll never figure out that magical equation for how to accomplish this perfectly, however, for now, I’ll shift my focus to celebrating the milestones as they come, while relishing in the day-to-day life every day.

Epic Proportions.

You know what’s kind of amazing and slightly magical about parenthood? We have the power to make our children believe that even their smallest acts are something of epic proportions. Take yesterday when my son enthusiastically showed me no less than 900 times how well he was able to hop on either leg. ‘Amazing!’, ‘incredible!’ ‘so good, dude!’ I proclaimed over and over again along with a litany of other enthusiastic adjectives to showcase my happiness in seeing him relish in his own gratification of this skill set.

“We retain the power to help them —brick by brick— build their self-esteem”

Now, I know what you’re thinking… tell me again what the hudson on bikebig deal is about jumping on one leg? To which I’d reply, ‘absolutely nothing!’ But what I’ve learned as a parent, is that we retain the colossal, ever-important power to help them —brick by brick— build their self-esteem, solely based on how we react to the things that make them feel good. We can single-handedly instill in them, the message that what they have to say or do is worthwhile, and that their accomplishments are truly something to celebrate. And why wouldn’t I want to make him feel overjoyed at the fact that he can count to 50 or put on his own underwear or give me the lengthy discriptions for why each magnatile spaceship differs from one another?

It’s all important stuff if they think it is. It all matters if it matters to them. So even on those days when I can’t bare to watch yet another lap around the playground while he rides confidently on his bike, lap after lap after lap, what I need to keep in mind is that while it might be exhausting to give attention to all those things our children display, every time I do, I’m helping him stand a little taller and create a happier world in which he lives.

You Are Here.

Have you ever noticed that there’s no sense of contentedness when you’re a parent? You barely make your way home from the hospital before people are already asking you when you’re planning to have your next one. I can distincly remember comprehending the ridiculousness of such a question, and the fact that I’d just dedicated the last 10 months to growing a child and more recently, at that point, the last 22 hours birthing said child, yet I too, still fall victim to the continuum model of motherhood. It’s this ever-present parental momentum that seems to plague me throughout each stage of kid’s childhood. And while I’d love to be focused on the truly astounding characteristics my children are currently exhibiting, basking in the gloriousness each stage brings, I feel this nagging pressure to be constantly looking forward to those things my child should be doing next, keeping me from being —and enjoying—the present.

Take for instance: crawling. A truly imperative milestone in and of itself and one with which has been proven to increase brain functionality, stimulating those areas which help with memory capabilities, better reading comprehension, and lifelong hand-eye coordination. Yet, instead of celebrating this crazy talent that my little one had so proficiently mastered, I set my sights to the next stage: walking. How insane is that? I mean, let us take stock of the fact that a mere 6 months ago, he were more a stationary object than anything else, akin to that of a decorative pillow over an actual human, and by all intents and purposes, he just sat there eating and pooping. But alas, he’s mastered a fundamental skill all by himself and I can’t even give him enough credit to let him just do that for minute? What a jerk he must think I am. I mean seriously, can you imagine such pressure? What if adults were expected to learn at such lightening speed? ‘Ohh, you just learned quantum physics? How cute! Now, teach yourself how to perform brain surgery.’

You Are Here.

Yet, I can’t take total credit for the complete and utter sabotage that I place unto myself. It’s also part and parcel to the fact that as parents these days, we’re inundated with milestone reminders that tell you exactly where and what your child should be doing at that exact, finite moment, similar to those mall directories that give you the ‘You are here’ coordinates. And so, if perhaps your child is not ‘right there‘ and say, ‘over here‘ instead, they give you this artificial cause for concern and so starts the cycle of constant trajectory thinking and your time for relishing in the beauty of today’s talents, are thrown swiftly out the window.

So, in an effort to satisfy the ubiquitous resolution in the new year and preserve a bit of sanity for myself and wonderment surrounding my children’s childhood, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to shut off the continual mile markers and establish my own coordinats for happiness. And so instead of measuring my child based on are you here?, I’m starting to think in terms of how happy are you here?

The glass half empty

I wish I could say that there weren’t any resolutions to be made this year due in large because I’d done such an amazing job sticking to those that I’d resolved to make last year. However, that just isn’t the case. So, as with most everyone I know, I too, find myself joining the ranks of trying to set a few resolutions for which to abide in the new year.

One of them has been to become more consistent with my water intake throughout the day. Now, let’s rewind to 5 years ago when my children count was zero and my biggest responsibility was to make sure my dog ate in the morning and my husband and I ate at night. Done and done, right? Back then, I drank water like it was my job and my skin was glowing and my energy was plentiful and my body was hydrated and happy. The key for me, was to always remember to have my waterbottle next to me, filled up. That way, it was a consistent reminder to constantly drink throughout the day. Now, fast forward to the present day and assess the current situation: dark circles have permenantly taken claim over my undereyes like that of a football player preparing for play on a sunny day (think black grease). My energy levels, while still high by most people’s estimation, I do feel like I coul on many days, in fact fall asleep standing up. And I wouldn’t even be picky about it, I mean, the grocery store? Sure. The preschool drop-off lane? You bet. The Target dressing room? Yessss please. And then that leads me to the last assessment: my body… Probably less ‘hydrated and happy’, and a little more similiar to ‘abused and adandoned’. Kind of like that of an old bike tire, deflated and left for another day.

So I’ve started putting together a game plan for how I would combat my less-than-stellar water intake in an effort to put my resolution to action and return to a good water regimn, and it occured to me why this has been such a challenging task to master. It’s actually not as a result of my lack of disipline in remembering to fill up my water bottles or to even keep them with me throughout the day, it’s because while my children both have their own multitude of drinking apperati, they for some reason, insist on drinking from mine! So, not only are they not left where I put them, they’re almost always empty, to boot. It’s like having two little water thieves that break into my house, daily. Two cute water thieves, but thieves, nevertheless. And while it’s true, they do rob me of my hopeful hydration and wishful vitality, they do provide me with quite a few other pretty amazing things, and maybe even sleep will be one of them, one day. So I’ll consider it a wash.

So, now that I’ve gotten to the bottom of why I’m always thirsty and longing for the water that I was sure I filled up in my waterbottle that I’m certain is somewhere around here, that leads me to my next resolution: no more little thieves. 🙂

Do you hear that?

take control iconI remember very distinctly back to the days when, upon getting into my car, no sooner did my door close, my hand was already on the volume button turning up whatever song happen to be a favorite at the time. The tune, melodically carrying me along, until I reached my desired destination and I went on with my day. And while I’m sure I daydreamed a bit, the music was front and center, the focal point of my rested mind.

This ancient memory came to me after driving yesterday because of its almost humorous nostalgia; the stark contrast it cast on my current life. Let’s set the scene:

After getting both kids dressed (Hudson out of his pajamas and into school clothes, Hawkins into his second set of clothes for the day after he spit up his oatmeal no shortage of 3 times — and all by 8:45), I navigated to our shoe cabinet (yes, we have to keep shoes on lock down like razor blades at a CVS, for fear our littlest one will devour their unsavory soles). Then it’s the overwhelming important decision of picking out Hudson’s hat choice of the day (Spiderman, Batman or 49ers, respectively). A reminder to grab his lunchbox on the way to the car, and we’re getting all strapped in the for car ride ahead. But wait– I forgot the sunscreen. Back into the garage to lather him with his daily dose of SPF’s and we’re once again, on our way. However, by this time, Hawkins has lost his shit with his hand-held mozart piano and is in hot pursuit to find the next toy of enticement.

Did I sent out my invoice for my newest client? Coastal is having their buy one, get one on glasses and it ends today- ehh, I’ve got to call my eye dr. and get my prescription so I can order them! I must remember to pick up the gift for our birthday party this weekend. Speaking of, it’s only 17 days until Hudson’s party…I really need to make a list of design ideas and apps for his party. I’ll go on Pinterest. I need to do some outreach for one of my clients on Pinterest today too. Damn Pinterest and your ridiculously cute and stupidly unattainable ideas for everything, I wish I were more creative like my Sister. God, I’ve got to call her back. Her little ones have birthdays coming up too! Add birthday cards to my list for Target. When should I go to target, before or after naps today? Hmm, if after, then traffic sucks — but then at least I’ll have a few minutes of modified solitude since I’ll be driving and unavailable to be climbed on like a jungle gym or play assistant to Hudson in the formation of farm animals made of play dough. Add wine to the list. I’d really love to take Hudson back to the Pumpkin Patch this weekend again- it was so much fun.

This was my monologue. Our car ride to school is 6 minutes. And while there was no radio on, the thoughts were so absolutely deafening, it was as if I were blasting AC/DC for the whole neighborhood to hear. In fact, I wonder if this is a slight humming sound that emits from my head like the adulation of a refrigerator cooling itself down. It amazes me how all-consuming our lives can be when our mind is on over-drive. How truly loud our thoughts are when there’s so many circulating at once.

So while most days I don’t have the luxury of pumping my favorite playlist, at least I’m melodically reminded that my life is full, and my heart even fuller.

Words

blog post #2I am a writer, therefore, my relationship with words has always been an intimate one. I make sense of life based on the words I use to describe it. They help me define and articulate my thoughts and have long since been my tool for healing and providing comfort. To me, words are the window to my world, and yet ironically on one of the most important days of my life, words were noticeably absent.

The inescapable loss for words on the day I first held my son was something I’d never experienced. His beautiful, rhythmic breathing left me mesmerized as I held him against my chest and found myself in a trance-like state of just staring. This perfect being, my perfect being. The cosmic union of sperm and egg stared up at me with almond eyes as I caressed his soft, buttery skin. His intrinsic understanding that I was his entire world, the lifeline to everything, and right then and there, him, mine.

And, it was in this moment I said nothing. No words. Not a single adjective could adequately convey my feelings because in that place, words were not enough. They couldn’t explain the majesty of what lay before me, the magnitude of love I had for him. The life I’d wanted, created, carried and fought to bring into this world now peacefully grasping my finger. He instinctively nourished his body from mine and all I could do was stare back. That which always provided comfort and afforded me the ability to express myself was now somehow completely and woefully inadequate. The typical flood of words, which pulse through me in clips and phrases like blood in my veins had left my body entirely, and in that moment I was simply one with him, words excluded.

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