Yeah, it’s been a while. I know. I’ll explain that later, but today it’s Father’s Day. Dad’s, thank you. Thank you for setting a good example, being brave and strong, killing bugs, teaching how to dream, encouraging, supporting, loving, raising, disciplining, playing and being a little crazy with us. I hope you all got some extra love today.
We celebrated Dad’s day today with a little adventure, because that’s really the only way to do it for Luna’s Dad. First stop. The Treetop Adventure ropes course at Nashville Shores! While everyone else did ziplines, Tarzan swings, cargo nets and obstacles, Luna and I headed to the water park for some Mommy Toddler time. They climbed, sweated, swung and crawled while we splashed, sunbathes, snacked and swam. Not bad. (Although, I should add that spending the day with a baby by yourself at a waterpark can be a little challenging.)
After wearing ourselves out in the the very hot sun, we had a late lunch with friends at Panera and THEN a movie date with more friends and dads to see Inside Out!
So good, so emotional, so sweet and funny and so Pixar. I’m always in my head anyways, now I feel like I know my head slightly better, or at least have characters to refer to now. Peter and I both cried…which maybe had a little to do with the fact that we have a little girl of our own. That, and we are both saps.
The night ended with sugary bowls of cereal in bed, topped with video games and trash TV. Honestly, it was such a good day, it may as well have been Mother’s Day. The only thing that would have been better was getting to spend it with my own Dad. Thankfully, we at least got to video chat. Love you and miss you Daddy!
A couple of weeks ago, I had a mother daughter photo session with Dottie Beasley. A friend of mine told me about a “pay it forward” payment plan Dottie recently started offering, and after reading about it and Dottie’s bio on her site, I just had to reach out to her. I knew instantly that Dottie was someone I would want to be around, so I emailed her, asked her to be friends and booked a photo session.
Her “pay it forward” plan is simple. You book a session, do something nice for someone (anything!), take a picture of you and said person, send Dottie the pic with a few sentences describing your “pay it forward” experience and voila! Your photo session is paid in full! Isn’t that incredible? It’s Dottie’s way of spreading love around and making this crazy world we live in a happier place. It’s genius and beautiful.
For my “pay it forward” fee I decided to treat some new friends of mine. You can read about my story here, but to sum it up, I wanted to let my new “mom friends” in my life know I appreciate them. They have given me support, company, sanity and a lot of laughs over the last several months and I am oh so so thankful for them!!! New moms, trust me, you need a great group of Moms in your life.
And, NOW I can share the outcome of my photo session! I love them and I cannot thank Dottie enough for capturing such beautiful candid moments between me and Luna. We literally just danced, sang and played in one of Nashville’s coolest coffee shops, Atmalogy, while she snapped away. Here are some of my favs.
Dottie says she wants to take photos of us that hold up a mirror and say ‘Look! You’re awesome! You’re beautiful! And you are loved’. Well, Dottie, that is exactly how these photos make me feel. Thank you for doing what you do and spreading love around as you do it! People like you make this world a happier place.
For any of you locals looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Dottie and suggest you check out her work here and here and here!
P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who have mothered, longed to mother or helped mother others. You are heroes!
You may have noticed, that my blogging and social media updates have been sporadic and all over the place the last week or so. My life has been the same. 8 months ago, I would have predicted that at this point in my life I would be a super-organized stay-at-home Mom with a strict routine and an ability to get shit done. In reality, Luna is almost 8 months old and I have yet to get a grip on life and have not managed to stay on schedule for more than 2 consecutive days. I am a planner, always have been, and this new unpredictable life is a huge adjustment for me. I love my baby more than anything, truly I do. In fact, sometimes when I look at her I begin to cry because I am so overwhelmed with love for her, but sometimes (like right now) I need a break.
I stay home with Luna, although we don’t really stay home. We workout with friends at 6:30 every morning, we go to the park, the library, baby classes, shopping, Starbucks, her Grandparents, road trips, play dates, hiking, dinner out, downtown and a zillion other places. We are constantly on the go and we both love it. I love getting to see her every milestone, and I love that I’m her favorite person. It’s truly the greatest job and life decision I’ve ever made. BUT, maybe loving it doesn’t mean I never get tired, burnt out or frustrated. Maybe, I need a break from my “job” just like everyone else. Maybe Luna needs a break from me. Maybe we would both grow and refresh after a few hours of being separated.
Don’t get me wrong, we do have some time apart. I’ve been to shows to review without her, gotten my hair done, volunteered and a few other things without her. However, those times are few and far between. We do everything together. I had a minor surgery yesterday and she was literally in the room with me. I nursed her ten minutes after I was off the table. The angel child hasn’t slept through the night in over a week, she broke my phone, ripped out the cat’s fur and has learned how to get into EVERYTHING. I haven’t been able to post a blog because every time I begin to type I fall asleep on my keyboard. I don’t even remember what it feels like to not be tired.
At home, Husband is really helpful and willing to do anything, but the truth is I do most everything for Luna. I always have and she’s gotten used to me, so when Husband tries to lull her to sleep or feed her dinner it almost always ends in a major fit until I takeover. I kind of love that she is such a Mama’s girl and that I am always the one who can calm her, but sometimes it would be nice if Husband could put her back to sleep and I could get more than 3 straight hours of sleep.
As I type this, I can hear myself coming off whiney. “Woah is me, poor stay-at-home Mom, blah blah blah.” I don’t want to complain, I know I am fortunate. I have a healthy child that I get to spend every day with, which is more than many can say. It’s what I’ve always wanted and I am able to fulfill that dream and keep pursuing others. I am grateful for it everyday. I’m sharing my little daily Mom struggles because I have learned something over these last 8 months that is valuable to EVERYONE.
Not only is it okay to take a break, but it’s needed.
A mental health day. A stay-cation. A personal day. Time off. Mommy’s Day Out. Me time. Whatever you call it, whatever, you do, you need it at some point. I’m not talking about a weekend getaway or anything that involves a suitcase. I’m talking about a couple of hours to breathe, think, finish a to-do list, have coffee with a BFF, a date with your spouse, a chance to wash your hair, to write, read, but mostly to rejuvenate yourself.
For the past 8 months I have been terrified to ask someone to watch Luna, not because I’m afraid to leave her, but because I feel guilty. Every time I think about asking for help, I can’t help but think I’m being needy/bratty/whiney/useless/lazy. There are Moms out there who have to work full time and want to stay home. There are single Moms doing it all alone. There are Moms out there who cannot have children and would give everything to be in my shoes. Who am I to say I need a break?
I’ll to you who I am. I’m Hilarie. I’m human, and I need a break. I can no longer pretend like Mommyhood has not taken its toll on me.
I loved teaching, but every so often I needed a day off. You know what? I always came back to the classroom feeling refreshed and excited to work hard, be creative and see those kids who needed me. Luna deserves the best version of me, and I believe getting a little time to myself, or some time with my Husband, will help me to be the Mom I want to be. I may not have the strength to do it all, all the time, but I do have the strength to admit that I need help. Raising a child is hard work, and it’s supposed to take a village, right?
Whatever you are, Mom, Dad, teacher, writer, runner, cook, lawyer, nurse, student…do yourself a favor and take a break. Get some sleep and come back rested and ready to give it your all. You won’t regret it.
Before having Luna, I thought it would be incredibly difficult to get up in the middle of the night to feed a baby and put a baby back to sleep. Actually, while pregnant and visiting my family in Texas for Christmas, my baby nephew woke up crying in the middle of every night and I just remember thinking “OMG, I would die if I had to get up right now and take care of a baby!” I sat in my own bed feeling sorry for my sister and thinking “am I really ready for this?” Which is why I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that getting up a 4am to feed a baby would become the best part of my day.
There is something so special about being the only two people awake. At 4am it feels like Luna and I are the only 2 people awake in the world. Just the two of us spending time together. It’s so quiet…like the quietest ever. I can see the moon sinking lower and lower out of one window, and if we stay up long enough I can see the sun coming up through the same window. I love that just us two watch this together.
I rock her to sleep in the most comfortable chair I’ve ever owned. Duckie sneaks in, jumps onto the arm of the chair and attempts to snuggle us. A few minutes later, Belle sleepily wonders in and either curls up in my lap next to Luna or sleeps under my feet as if she’s guarding us. I almost feel bad that Husband is now completely alone, but I’m sure he enjoys all the extra room in the bed.
While Luna eats I do one of three things. Most often I read from my Nook, but if I’m too sleepy to read I’ll play on my phone because it keeps me awake easier than reading. Other times I just look and appreciate the moment. I look at Luna, so beautiful and perfect. I look at her white nursery with touches of pink. I listen to the bugs and birds buzzing around outside the bay window. The cat tries desperately to lay on top of Luna, then Belle whines because there’s not enough room in the rocking chair and I am just so grateful.
One day I won’t breastfeed Luna anymore. She will sleep through the night and I won’t be as needed. One day she will not want me to rock her to sleep and her room will no longer be full of adorable baby décor. While I’m sure I’ll be enjoying a full night’s sleep in my own bed, I know I will also miss the special alone time with my girl. So, now, even when I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open (okay, fine, I often fall asleep) while I nurse Luna in the middle of the night, I am grateful. Who knew these middle of the night interruptions would become my favorite moment? It’s certainly not what I expected.
Husband has been in New Orleans celebrating at Mardi Gras for one of his best friend’s bachelor parties this weekend, which means Luna and I have been left to fend for ourselves for the first time. Before you start bashing Husband for leaving us this early on, I must say I basically forced him to go. He has been an ideal partner through all of this mess and miracle-ness since Luna’s birth, and he deserves to be able to go celebrate his with his friend for the weekend. Plus, I’m feeling better lately and was kind of looking forward to a weekend with Luna and the house all to myself.
We mostly had a fantastic weekend. We hung out with my in-laws, shopped at the mall, ate at Whole Foods, shopped at Target, made a couple trips to Starbucks (sadly, I’m still drinking decaf…) and even had a mani/pedi with a good friends this afternoon. At home we snuggled in bed with Belle and Duckie, watch too much Netflix, danced around the living room every morning and are now watching the Oscars as I type this paragraph. Even when I felt weak on Friday night (thanks a lot meds) we just chilled together in our pj’s. These moments made me look forward to many more Mommy Daughter Weekends.
Now, as you may expect, not everything was magical. Luna had two very long crying spells where nothing I did helped…this is a first for that and I did not like being alone and feeling so helpless. I also discovered just how hard it is to get anything done while also caring for a newborn. I will never know how single parents juggle everything…they clearly have super powers.
Saturday morning, while nursing, Belle managed to escape the backyard and run through the neighborhood barking like a mad dog. She barked (VERY loudly) the entire time I nursed, and was still barking when I went outside and walked through the yard searching for her. I most have looked quite ridiculous. See, Luna had just thrown up on me, but I was in such a hurry to get Belle inside that I did not care about the baby vomit that went from my tank top to the bottom of my yoga pants. I was also barefoot, braless and had not put a brush in my hair since sleeping on it. Eventually, I realized Belle’s bark was coming from across the street. We have an incredibly long and steep driveway so I hopped in the car to drive across the street and grab her.
When I reached the end of our driveway Belle immediately ran to my car and I noticed a little boy standing directly in front of me. He stared at me like I was some sort of monster brought to life (can’t imagine why) and asked if this was my dog. I assured him it was indeed my naughty dog. The poor scared boy then said “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve been holding her because she looks like the dog I saw on the ‘lost dog’ posters.” Turns out Belle was being held hostage by the neighbor trying to rescue her.
That’s not all Belle managed to do though… After my manicure today I came home to what will now be referred to Dog Apocalypse. Ever since we had Luna, Belle has had a hard time adjusting. She’s great with Luna, but I think she’s got separation anxiety. We were in the hospital for 10 days, we had a lot of different people staying at the house during that time and for the next few weeks and of course we came home with a baby. Now, every time we leave the house she finds something to tear up or eat…usually a candy wrapper or something else small. Until today.
Today, Belle tore open a tied up trash bag I left in the kitchen. She then proceeded to take out every dirty diaper and (sorry this is gross) sanitary napkin, tear them all to shreds and drag them ALL OVER THE HOUSE, but mostly on my large white rug in the living room. I love this dog, but I must say that at this moment, I do not like her. Nope, not a bit. I had not planned on spending the evening cleaning every floor in the house.
Of course, Husband has been fortunate enough to miss all of this excitement. Boy, does he owe me lots of diaper changes.