The Truth Is…

This time of year is hard. It’s great, it’s merry, it’s jam packed full of fun family festivities, but it’s often So SO BUSY. You may have noticed my posts have been few and far between lately. Well, between my inability to say “no” to anyone, Luna, regular life duties, holiday festivities, to-do lists, workouts, traveling, shopping, decorating and what not I have just lost track of how to get everything done. For years, I believed that I could do it all. In fact, I often did “it all”… I taught full time, got my Master’s full time, ran 2 extra-curricular activities and still managed to have a very busy social life. Students called me Super Woman, and to be honest, I felt like it. So, when I decided to be a “stay-at-home” Mom, I thought “piece of cake”. I clearly had no clue what I was signing up for when I quit working to work at home.

I imagined waking up early with my happy cooing baby, making breakfast for everyone, sipping my coffee while playing with something educational on the floor with Luna. Our day would consist of Pinterest projects, playdates, baby classes, nursery rhymes, story time, walks in the park and dancing in the living room. I’d cook, clean, blog and complete various DIY projects during naptime. During my free time, (ha. ha. ha.) I’d learn to garden and sew. I’d cloth diaper, breastfeed, make all my own baby food, cook organic healthy meals every day, volunteer, teach Luna sign language and have plenty of time to make my blog and social media improve ten-fold. I’d get so much during the day that I’d get to spend the evening enjoying Husband’s company. We’d have time to snuggle up, enjoy the delicious meal I made and watch our favorite TV shows after Luna’s bedtime.

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until the doorbell rings…

 

You’d think after a degree in childhood development and 6 years of working with children I wouldn’t be so delusional. It’s not like I don’t know other Moms. Most of my friends have kids and I know they are often overwhelmed, but I’m different, or so I thought. I’m superwoman. I know how to manage my time. I know how to get shit done and get it done well. How can I not “stay home” and get EVERYTHING done? Here’s how: a baby.

Babies consume every single second of every single day. I’m not complaining (well, maybe a little). But, mostly I want to inform. Why? Because all of you old parents, new parents, future parents, and never-gonna-be-parents are being lied to every single day on social media. ALL of those Moms (myself included) who make it appear as if they have it altogether all the time are big fat liars. (Or at least they better be.) There is no way, NO WAY, those Moms are cooking meals from the garden she grew, homeschooling her genius children, sewing clothes from cotton she sheared, living in her Pottery Barn perfect home, showing off her ripped abs, making cookies for her elderly neighbors, writing her “how to do-it-all” tell-all, all while wearing designer heels and perfect hair with no-roots.OR, doing all of this plus holding a full-time job. No way. It’s a sham!

You want the truth? Something is missing. Some things are getting put on the back burner, brushed under the couch, locked behind messy closet doors, cropped out of of photos, fixed in photoshop, forgotten and flat-out ignored. The truth is that if you see me post a picture of Luna and I dressed in cute matching outfits with fixed hair, make-up and shoes, then chances are, we ate pb and j out of the jar for lunch, left the clothes in the washer (again) and forgot to feed the pets. If you come over and my house is perfectly cleaned and organized then I guarantee you I have not showered, bathed Luna, or updated my blog in 2 days. If my blog is bumpin’, my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are updated then I either got to sit by myself while Husband watched Luna for a couple of hours, she napped for 3 hours, or my house looks like a bomb just went off.

ALL moms.
ALL moms.

The truth is I am able to do a lot as a stay-at-home Mom. I do cloth diaper, make baby food, breastfeed, take baby classes, go on playdates, volunteer, cook often, blog and even do a Pinterest project every once in a while. But, do I do it all everyday? Hell no. Luna is needy and she’s pretty obsessed with me. Most of my day is spent holding, changing, feeding, bathing, playing with, reading to, teaching and keeping Luna from killing herself.  Every night I wonder where the day went? How does every day go by so fast? How do I never manage to get it all done? Then, I sit down at the computer to write to you, and the second I do, the baby monitor lights up. Luna’s crying and needs me. Then, I remember…that’s why.

And, the truth is, I love it.

So, parents, next time you check you Facebook feed and see a slew of photos of Super Moms looking stunning with their smiling babies in their freshly dusted home, remember that they are most likely burning cookies, running late and skipping their daily runs. They’re not doing it all and neither are you. So, let’s stop beating ourselves up about it. The good news is, none of that matters. So, go ahead and like their status, give them a virtual high-five for getting a third of their to-do list done, take a deep breath, look around your messy house and remember, there’s always tomorrow! Now, go love on those babies!

Cheers!

A Quick Getaway

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for almost 7 months now, and I’ve got to say, it rocks! I absolutely love being able to do everything everyday with Luna. I do miss some aspects of having a paying job, and still think about going back to the classroom, but right now I love being busy raising, feeding, changing, playing with, bathing, teaching, reading to, cooking for, cleaning up after, singing to, dancing with, rocking, nursing, snuggling and entertaining my baby girl. I’ve told everyone for months, that I know it’s a perfect job for me because it doesn’t feel like a job at all. I look forward to my days and do not mind getting paid in kisses one bit. Having said all that, I’ve got to say, that sometimes I need a break. 

I truly love being with my child. We rarely, and I mean rarely, get a sitter. Even at home, Husband is always offering to do whatever he can for Luna, but I do most everything because I really want to, even when he does take her I just sit next to the two of them and watch. Honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I realized I needed some time to myself. Luna has had a virus and been running a fever for the last few days. She is needy, grumpy, sleepy and not her happy-go-lucky-self. I have spent hours upon hours nursing, rocking, tickling and caring for her. At night, she only sleeps if I’m holding her, so I have had virtually no sleep. While, I do enjoy our time together in the wee hours of the morning, it is all taking a toll on me. 

Yesterday morning I had to go pick up a prescription. Normally, I would pack up Luna and head out to run a couple of errands together, but I decided at the last minute to let Husband watch her. After all, I was only running to Walgreens. After my very quiet 15 minute car ride to Walgreens I decided I might as well stop at the local coffee shop for an iced latte…it’s only 5 minutes out of the way. The coffee shop, The Good Cup, is so cozy with big comfy armchairs and local art hanging on the walls. The big oversized chair by the window was begging me, begging me, to occupy it. I may have taken a little 5 minute rest. 

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The Good Cup happens to be in a small shopping strip with some local boutiques. Can’t hurt to window shop a little, right? Then, my Mom called so I figured I may as well continue to roam around while talking to her. After all, it’s safer than driving home. Afterwards, I did finally go home. Luna was sleeping next to Husband when I arrived and all in the house was well without me.

I was only gone about an hour, but what a glorious hour it was. I didn’t realize how much I needed a little break until I took one. I forgot how nice it is to be alone, think and just enjoy my coffee. I guess I’ll have to let Husband watch her more often. I could get used to a Saturday morning to myself every once in a while.

Cheers!

 

My Dilemma

Lately, I feel pulled in a few different directions and sometimes not pulled at all. I’ve made several big life changes over the last few years…moving to Albania, moving to Manhattan, getting married, moving to Tennessee, buying a house, quitting my teaching career and having a baby. All of these decisions have felt right, but one. One is still troubling me.

I am having a difficult time being a stay-at-home. I shouldn’t. I have wanted to have kids and stay home with them for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have a big family, cook healthy meals, make lots of crafts, be a soccer/head of the PTO/volunteering kind of Mom. I used to dream of the days I could volunteer making costumes for my kids’ school plays…yes, I’m serious. That’s just the kind of Mom I’ve always wanted to be. I’m fortunate that I even have the option to do these things. However, lately, I’m not sure what I want at all.

The other day I saw a report about a teacher who was freaking amazing. She had raised thousands of dollars for her low-income students to travel and learn about their curriculum in a real hands-on environment. She was taking her students to places they have never been, bending over backwards to help them comprehend every skill and was so loved by her students. It made my heart hurt a little. I don’t want to boast on myself, but I know that I am a good teacher. In fact, I often feel it’s what I was meant to do. I’ve always been the sort of teacher to literally do whatever it takes for the good of my students. So, is it wrong to quit doing something I do so well? Or, will I be using all of my teaching skills to be one badass Mom?

I wonder…just how important is a job? I believe that we should all be using our God-given talents to better the Earth, people around us or just humanity in general. It’s such a waste for anyone to squander away something they could be using to help others. For some, I think they do this through their job. I know many people who love their jobs and consider it part of their identity. However, I know others who are forced to work 9-5 boring jobs and spend their time off doing what they truly love. Then, I have friends who are stay-at-home parents like myself and are raising beautiful children, helping their friends and family who work and working for no pay all the time. All of these people are doing the right thing for them, but what’s right for me?

Lately, spending so much time on the computer has brought around a new round of guilt. If I stayed home to spend more time with my baby, why am I spending so much of the time staring at my laptop? I am trying to run two blogs and desperately trying to learn wordpress.org (BTW, if anyone has any advice for learning how to manage that PLEASE share!). I have been breastfeeding as I type and even setting Luna in her jumper just so I can finish an article. What’s the point of staying home if I’m still working?

Would it be a better use of my time if I volunteered more? Learned to garden? Spent more time remodeling the house? Should I be in a classroom? Is my time spent writing and sharing my own life lessons with the world wide web valid?

I don’t know.

Yesterday, my sister and I had a conversation about this very topic. She is a working Mom and has a lot of guilt about not getting enough time with her son. However, she feels comforted knowing that she’s doing what she loves, using her talents wisely and helping her family financially. I, of course, have the opposite guilt. Maybe it’s just normal for Moms, or all parents, to feel guilty no matter what we decide.

Unfortunately, I have no answers for you today. Honestly, I think I am meant to stay home, at least for a little while, but who knows what the future holds. I may be running a new website on wordpress.org, I could be in a classroom or maybe digging up a garden and learning to paint with Luna. At this point, I think anything is possible!

Cheers!

Stay-at-home-not-a-mom-yet

Ever since I was very young I have enjoyed staying busy, working, studying, keeping active and doing anything except being still. I never would have imagined myself as a stay-at-home Mom. Staying home sounded awful…Cooking? Cleaning? Chores? No thank you! That is until I started working at a childcare center in college.

I learned a lot while working at this daycare…through hands-on experience. My very first day I was thrown into a room with 26 school-aged children and was basically told to keep them safe and entertained until their parents picked them up. I swear I even heard the door lock behind me. I had recently decided to go to school for education, but had no idea what I was getting myself into. On that first day a little girl, named Michalya, jumped onto a table and started screaming and dancing while the rest of the kids followed suit on the floor. I was more concerned for my safety than any of theirs.

Before long, I learned to put on my “I mean business face” and use my teacher voice to control an entire gym full of little rascals.  More importantly, I learned to communicate with the parents. Dealing with parents is scary, but I learned that if I built relationships with them and got to know their families, they became much less scary. In fact, many of them became friends.

While getting to know so many different types of families I realized how difficult being a parent and raising children really is. I saw mothers cry as they dropped off their infants every single morning before going to work. There were parents who drove to the school on their lunch break to spend a half-hour with their babies. There were Dads who surprised their little ones by picking them up early. Of course, there were also parents who seemed to prefer their children stay at the school as much and as long as possible. I witnessed one Mother sitting in her car waiting for us to lock the daycare doors before deciding to pick up her children, and this was on her day off.

While observing all of these families, their relationships and lifestyles I learned what kind of Mother I would one day want to be. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom.

Husband knows that I want to stay home, raise kids, master every Pinterest project, grow a garden, be homeroom=Mom, soccer-Mom, make-all-the-costumes-for-the-school-play-Mom, learn to sew, learn to cook (maybe), and enjoy watching my kids grow up, learn and be there for every milestone. Husband is beyond cool with this plan.

So, two days before moving from NYC to Tennessee, I discovered I was pregnant. I had just quit my job, was moving into a big empty house in the woods and was in the process of applying for teaching jobs. Then came all the questions….Should I tell potential bosses in interview that I’m pregnant? Am I going to quit mid-year when the baby arrives? Is it worth it to set up a classroom all summer in a new school, build a curriculum, bond with 25 new students and then leave half-way through the year? Is it worth putting myself through all this stress while being pregnant?

I know I am fortunate enough to even have these options, but it has been the toughest decision I still haven’t really made. I always assumed I’d work up until I delivered a baby, but who knew I’d be in the middle of so many changes? Right now, I am working part-time, writing, building a new website and learning to put a house together, so I sound super busy, but the truth is that I suck at not working.

While working for the last 13 years, I dreamed of the day I could quit… I’d finally get to do all the things for which there’s never enough time. I imagined myself waking at 6am, working out, cleaning, writing, cooking, crafting, volunteering, reading and that is just before lunch! In reality, without schedules and time frames I can barely manage to force myself to get out of my pajamas at all. Turns out that I am much more productive when I am super busy. This girl needs structure.

Now that vacations are over, local schools have started and I’m still stuck in this weird in between phase. I feel guilty and wrong all the time. What am I doing? I should be working 12 hours a day in a classroom is all I can think. I’ve been drowning in guilt, and covered in shame. What was the point of even getting my Master’s? Is this really what I want?  Yesterday, I had a little meltdown and decided the only way to get out of my funk was to buy something.

I don’t know why shopping is the answer to meltdown’s, but I KNOW I’m not the only one. I drove to Home Goods and found the store full of women and babies.  Every single person in the store had to have been a stay-at-home Mom, and every single child was a terror. There was a little girl running down the aisle knocking everything off the shelves, a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the floor, a baby wailing and little people running around like maniacs. Moms were screaming “shut up!” “If you walk away from me one more time..” and “I cannot wait until nap time!”

OMG, this did not help. Now, I was thinking…What the hell have I gotten myself into? I don’t want this! I don’t want to scream at my kids as I drag them through Home Goods during my meltdown! I left quickly (after checking out of course) and sat in my car for a minute, scrolling through Pandora stations (because the right song is also known to quickly reduce a meltdown) and I remembered the one thing I needed to do. Vent.

One of my best friends, who is currently pregnant, not working and planning to be a stay-at-home Mom ended up being my saving grace. The fact that I finally released all the fears and worries I’d been holding back and had someone listen to each of them was exactly what I needed. However, she also reminded me that my decisions affect my family, and my family only. If I am happy, Husband is happy and life is good then I shouldn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. Then, I realized the real problem. I have been more worried about what other’s think of me than what I think of me.

She also reminded me that I should feel thankful for this time and opportunity. Soon, I will be a full-time Mom and will be full-time busy. I should be taking advantage of every moment right now, which I plan to do. And, now I plan on enjoying it. This is just one more change and one more challenge I will learn to master. I somehow forget that change and I do not mix. It’s not until after a meltdown, a shopping trip and a coming to Jesus that I remember this little fact.

I’m not so young anymore, but I still enjoying keeping busy. As I get a little (and I’d like emphasize little) older I am learning to let go little by little to slow down every once in a while and just enjoy life. Maybe one day I’ll learn to just roll with punches… hahaha yeah right.

Cheers!