Baby · Goals · Values

8 Months of Motherhood and Looking Ahead to 2014

I want to take a moment and say that motherhood is not easy! I read blogs that make me feel bad about everything I’m not doing as well as other people seemingly are, and I don’t want anyone to feel that way reading my blog. Well, I did take a great class on motivation in college and we learned that recognizing when you haven’t worked hard enough can be motivating and beneficial to a point – but we can work ourselves to death and never succeed at everything. This blog isn’t my diary so I’m not going to write about every time I’m having a really, really hard time with something, and I’m not going to talk about every detail of my personal life – even though I have truly benefited from other people’s very personal, confessional writing on the web. I kind of like to post when I’m feeling good, and then when I’m not feeling so good I can look back at my posts and think, “hey, maybe I’m doing alright!”

I think we have a pretty easy baby, and it’s still been hard to figure things out. If he were colicky, or had acid reflux, or a lot of ear infections or whatever, or if I had twins, or a toddler in addition to the baby, or if I were a single parent, or if I’d had to go back to work sooner…let’s just say I’m fortunate in many ways.

But it’s still hard! Someone told me that babies are always a step ahead of you with their development, and they were right, in my case anyway. Every time you figure out how to deal with one stage – and by that I usually mean how to take a shower and eat breakfast and brush your teeth in the morning without your baby screaming the whole time – whatever you just figured out won’t work anymore because now they’re flipping themselves out of the swing or crawling off their blanket or whatever. They just keep changing the rules of the game! Most of the time my days feel like disasters, whether I’m at home or at work. My life kind of feels like a train wreck in every aspect sometimes because I just can’t do EVERYTHING RIGHT. When I’m at home with Ari for a day, I put “shower,” “brush teeth,” and “get dressed” as three separate items on my to-do list so that when it’s 1pm and that’s all I’ve done besides baby stuff, at least I have three things to cross off my list. Unless I’m still in my pajamas. Usually Ari goes through about three outfits before I put my first one on.

Then on the days I work, maybe I was awake with him several times overnight and at 5:15 am he is finally asleep and cuddly and perfect in bed with us (because that’s the only way he’ll stay asleep now; I’m sure it’s my fault…), and that’s when my alarm goes off and I have to get up and start my 14-hour day taking care of other people while someone else takes care of my son. And then I’m on committees at work and have projects I should be doing and emails to send, but five hours into my day when I finally have no call lights to answer or medications to pass, I have to pump. And if I’m not in too big of a rush, I can eat with one hand at the same time. Which means at the end of my shift, my charting still has to be done and I certainly haven’t done anything more than that. Then I go home determined to get some work-related work done while I’m taking care of Ari and catching up on housework during my days off, but I don’t even get to the housework part of the equation. And I really would like to keep up with friends and family too!

But I realized the other day that any dissatisfaction I feel with my life right now is because I am excited about everything in it and want more time for all of it, even work. I have a good job with great coworkers, a loving husband, an adorable baby, an eager-to-please dog, a lovely house in a fantastic neighborhood, supportive family and friends, and a community with tons of fun mom and baby activities, and I want more time for all of it. I resent not being able to give all of my time and energy to each part of my life. But that’s a pretty good problem to have, so I’m going to try to feel good about it instead of bad about it.

That means having to decide that some things just don’t get my time at all. I just finally took Facebook out of the line of tabs I keep open in my browser window, which helps with another thing I try not to waste time on – people being wrong on the internet! (We used to have this excellent comic posted on our fridge. I remind myself of it constantly!) There are a lot of things I used to get angry and worked up about, because I do love to tell people when they’re wrong, but more and more I want to stick to things where I think I can actually make a difference, and things that are actually important. Someday I WOULD like to expand the category of things I think I can make a difference about, however. And I want Ari to care about important things and believe that he can make a difference in the world.

We’ll get there. Anyway, I finally used a nap time (Ari’s, not mine!) to make a vision board for 2014. A little late, I know, but here it is:

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I really want to spend more time creating a nice home and cooking at home. I want healthy eating and sleeping routines. And I want to go hiking, camping, and bicycle riding!

Here are some pictures of some recent nice moments. I’ve actually had two mornings in the past week or so when I’ve been able to do housework while Ari was awake. These have been what I consider PERFECT mornings: Andrew chewing a toy on his bed, Ari playing happily on the floor, and me folding laundry, with good music playing. So I had to photograph them!

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Happy baby:

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Happy dog:

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I love the mama baby yoga classes we get to do occasionally. Here’s Ari in the studio:

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One accomplishment of motherhood that took me a few months to figure out is walking the dog and the baby at once. But it totally works for us now, and THAT makes me happy!

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2 thoughts on “8 Months of Motherhood and Looking Ahead to 2014

  1. Jessica, I kept hearing my Dad’s voice while I was reading this, he was saying “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
    Yes, Ari is an “easy baby”, and a very happy boy. Please consider that it’s because of your parenting skills, and not in spite of them. A and you have had a lot of changes in the last year and a half, and you’re doing a terrific job adapting to those changes.
    Your vision board says Relax and Retreat, and Take Care of You. I concur. ❤

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