What a difference a day makes

Standard

Our usual mornings go something like this:

Violet starts squirming around 5ish, I get up and pee, change her diaper and she nurses for a while, going back to sleep.  Jason gets up around 5:30 and around 6 or so I hear Emma, from her toddler bed at the foot of our bed, say, “Mom, nurse.”  She’ll usually crawl in bed with me and nurse for a while, falling back to sleep.  I usually do too. 

This whole thing happens in that half-asleep, dreamy place when you can still vividly remember your dreams and everything is all soft and fuzzy around the edges.  

This morning as all this was happening, my heart was happy.  I felt so grateful for my family, for the gentle mornings we get to have together.  I loved the feeling of Violet snuggled in on one side of me, Emma on the other.  I tell myself to remember these moments, they are fleeting – gone in an instant.  

Yesterday it was different.  As I tried to wake myself up out of a dream when Emma was crawling into bed with me, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be a mom today.  Do I have to?  Can’t I have ONE DAY where I don’t have to think about anyone but myself?”  Emma’s half-asleep pleadings to nurse, nurse, nurse were irritating and I felt worn out – spent.

There are things I could do to get a little more space.  I could wean Emma, but I don’t want that decision to be made out of frustration.  I have learned that it is okay to tell her no when she asks to nurse during the day and this has helped.  I didn’t in the couple of months after Violet was born and was surprised to find myself completely touched out and grumpy – like a dog that snarls at it’s pups when it doesn’t want them to nurse.  I could leave both of them and go out on a date with my hubby (this is probably a good idea, actually).  

I’ve always been a moody person, prone to depression and general blah-ness.  Every year when Jason goes back to teaching school, I go through about a month or so of feeling lonely and sad.  I genuinely adore my husband.  Of course, we do get on each other’s nerves and have an occasional spat or disagreement, but almost all the time, he’s the person I want to spend time with.  He’s the one who came along when I had decided that I wasn’t going to compromise anymore – myself or what I wanted.  I feel like we met and said to each other, “Oh, there you are…let’s get on with it, now, okay?”  We were married in less than a year and it is, other than our children, the best thing that has ever happened to me.  My love for him is strong – deep in my bones.

So, I knew that the funk I had been in lately was partially because of Jason being gone a lot.  But this year it was harder than ever before.  He reminded me one day, “Well, it might be because we have two kids this year rather than one.”  Oh yeah.  No kidding.

Being a mom is almost always my favorite job.  But on the days that it isn’t I really have to try hard to be gentle with myself.  To not get into the headspace of feeling guilty because I don’t like being a mom that day.  To get myself out of the house and go do something fun.  To talk about what I’m thinking and feeling without judging myself for having a bad day.  To spend time with other moms who understand what it’s like.

Everybody has bad days.  I’m grateful that today wasn’t one of them.

Focus

Standard

We are a bed sharing, extended breastfeeding family.  My two and 1/2 year old rarely goes to sleep for the night without nursing.  We sleep lined up in bed:  my husband, the toddler, me and the 3 month old (then a safety rail so she doesn’t fall out).  Just so you can understand my perspective on parenting choices. 

Anyway, I read a post on facebook where someone was asking help for some sleep issues with a three year old.  The child was not cooperating with what the parent wanted to have happen. 

Hmmm…I tend to think that if a child is emotionally ready for a big change in their world, then they will be okay with that change.  Does your child have a meltdown when you leave them with somebody new?  Maybe they are not ready to be left.  Do they cry and cry when you try to get them to sleep in their own room and sneak into your bed at night.  Maybe they are not ready to sleep alone. 

Perhaps I am wrong in this thinking.  Maybe some changes need to be pushed into happening.  But my gut and my heart don’t think so.  Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely think that children need discipline (of the loving kind) and direction; they need boundaries and structure.  I completely get that I am the adult and that it is my job, not to be my childs best friend, but to be a parent.  To guide and instruct and prepare my children the best I can to be functional and (hopefully) happy adults.  We do time out in our house.  We don’t allow rudeness.  We teach Emma to say please and thank you and yes sir and yes mam. 

But I also get that in many ways she is still a baby…she’s in that in between stage of baby and kid.  She wants to run, play and explore all day, but she still needs to know that I am there for her no matter what.  She needs that security and attachment.  She needs cuddles and love when she is upset, tired or worn down. 

We are happy to provide those things for her.  Her intense need for us will only be for such a relatively short time.  Soon enough she will be in elementary school, then high school and then gone from our daily lives.  I see people online often talking about how they don’t get enough time alone, or time with their husbands.  I completely understand and know that it is hard.  I give people my attention for a living as a midwife and sometimes feel like I want to come home and sit in the closet before I have to talk to anybody else, much less a demanding toddler who wants to hang all over me.  But I really try hard to remember that she doesn’t know that I’ve spent all day long talking to people or that I just got home from a birth.  She wants my attention now.  So, I take a deep breath and focus on my heart.  It usually works. 

I do sometimes miss my husband.  I miss being able to cuddle with him at night, I miss having him to myself.  I miss frequent sex.  But, I know we will have all these things again.  Our children are precious to us.  The shifts we have had to make in our interactions with each other to accomodate our children do not feel like sacrifices.  They feel like good and right adjustments.  For now, our children are the suns we rotate around.  It makes me love him even more that he intuitively understands this, that he has shifted his focus towards our children while their need for us is so great.  The fact that we go out on an occasional date, get cards and flowers for each other here and there, helps.  Our love for each other is growing stronger underground while our children are growing.  It’s not the first thing that you notice, but it is there, true and deep. 

I do not feel like I am giving anything up.  My children are the center of my world right now, as I am the center of theirs. 

 

 

What to do about “I’m sorry”

Standard

I say this way too much.  My mom does too.  One of the things I struggle with is feeling like I’m not enough..not ENOUGH to make the people around me happy.  That I am somehow deficient and defective on some kind of fundamental level.  So I apologize a lot.  For things that are not my fault, my responsibility or that I had no doing in.  I’ve known this for a long time about myself, but it hadn’t come into the forefront of my attention in quite a while.

Until I started noticing that Emma was saying “I’m sorry” a lot.

At totally unnecessary times, for things that she had no responsibility for, that were not her fault and that she had no doing in.

At first I was just kind of aware of it, and I realized that when she was saying “I’m sorry,” I would respond with, “You are sweet honey, but it’s okay, you don’t have to apologize.”  

When I realized that I was telling her that she was sweet when she was being overly apologetic and taking responsibility where she had none, I kinda felt sick to my stomach.  Good lord, this is how these kinds of messed up thought patterns get passed down, isn’t it!  Ugh.

When I realized that she was saying, “I’m sorry” a lot because I do and my mother does, it broke my heart a little bit.  I realized that on some level, I am apologizing that my existence isn’t good enough for whatever situation I’m apologizing for – a weird mix of a self-important and self-degrading ego trip.  Like I should have the power to make all situations okay, and if I can’t, then, well…I’m just not good enough.  Good gracious.

I stopped telling her she was sweet when she apologized.  And I’m starting to catch myself when I find myself apologizing for..whatever.  It’s a hard one, though.

In town

Standard

We are here!  We moved the 30th of July, I went to a birth the next day, and had my first week back at prenatals the following week – while covering for the midwife I work with while she is on vacation.  Geesh.  I do like to jump in with both feet, huh?  

It seems like everyone is adjusting well, better than I thought we would, actually.  Emma really likes her “new house” as she calls it.  We are all definitely sleeping better with the AC and it is wonderful to be able to participate in family and other activities without it being a day(s) long event.

There are things I didn’t anticipate though.  Just today I mentioned to Jason, that while it was a struggle to be without AC in this horrendous heat and it felt like a battle every day, I felt more connected to the natural rhythms than I do here in our little AC’ed apartment.  Some days I go most of the day before even stepping outside.  In Boxley, the inside and outside were blurred without clear definition.  This morning the power went out for just a little while, and Jason mentioned that he didn’t like the fact that the whole situation was completely out of his control.  There was no generator to fire up or solar system to trouble shoot.  Just the maintenance man to call.  

This is where we are now.  Perhaps sometime in the future we will be able to live in the country full-time again without the stressors that drove us to move to the city.  But I am grateful we have the choices that we do – there are millions in the world that don’t.

 

Changes and liquid time.

Standard

We are moving this Saturday.  From our handmade (with all the stress that entails) house, into a two bedroom, cookie cutter apartment.  

The pool right next door will be nice, the grocery store five minutes away will be glorious, and the fact that Emma is going to be 10 minutes away from cousins, swimming lessons and preschool is going to be wonderful.

But this is where we got married and had our babies.  I really thought we were going to be here longer.  I thought Emma would get to grow up a wild child in the woods.  I thought my dreams of big gardens and a milk goat would be coming true.

Sometimes things need to change though, and the changes are welcomed.  I AM looking forward to what is coming next for our family just as much as I cherish the time we have invested here.  It has been hard at times, harder than I expected or would have willingingly chosen.

So, I have been drinking in every moment.  Today we spent the afternoon at the creek, swimming and playing in the water.  Emma loves the water and is fearless with her water wings on.  I love to watch her open hearted enjoyment of the beauty here.  Stilling my mind and bringing as much of my attention into the now as I can muster, time stretches out and becomes liquid.  My heart opens to cherish this place, as it has been the birthplace of all that is precious to me in my life.

Moving on up…

Standard

I kinda can’t believe we are moving, in like less than two weeks.  We are leaving our off-the-grid handmade house in the woods for an apartment on the edge of Springdale.  Believe it or not, but what we are going to save in gas money from our budget will more than pay for the rent and utilities for our apartment.  Think living in the woods is cheap?  Think again.

I’m going to miss our house and I have really mixed feelings about leaving it for an undetermined amount of time.  It is where we got married and had our babies.  The deck overlooking Cave Mountain is where Jason proposed.  There were times I thought the stress of building a house was going to tear us apart, but it never did. 

I’ll miss the quiet, the ability to be completely alone.  I will not miss the hour and a half to the grocery store, or the complete isolation when I need my extended family around me with two little kids.  I will miss the smell of the air after a rain, but not my inability to make any money as a midwife when all my profit is eaten up by travel expenses (have I been your midwife in the last five years?  Loved the work gals, and thanks for keeping me busy…but yeah, I pretty much paid to be your midwife). 

I am looking forward to having an air conditioner, being steps away from a swimming pool, and a full sized refridgerator.  I am looking forward to working out of a busy clinic and helping more families.

Most of all though, I am looking forward to this next phase of life with anticipation and an open heart.  I’m so grateful that I have the opportunities that I do and that I get to take these steps with my sweet family. 

Life is good!

Hormones, oh hormones!

Standard

I get hormone related migraines.  Yeah, fun for me, right?

Ugh

I remember getting migraines as a child – although I had no idea that’s what they were then.  I just remember being in elementary school and sitting at the edge of the playground with my head feeling like it was going to explode, the sunshine hurting my eyes, like I might throw up at any minute and the noise – egads, the noise was too much.

As an adult, I mainly get these headaches (although I hesitate to call them that because if you’ve ever had one, you know that the word doesn’t even come close to touching how bad they actually get) before my period – when my hormones are changing.

Since I gave birth to Violet a little over a month ago, I’ve had migraine related symptoms almost EVERY FRIGGIN DAY.  Sometimes a full-blown one, but at least the associated symptoms.

It’s starting to get depressing.

I’m ready for these hormones to settle down now, please.

Dreams and Maybes (probably nots) and what to do now

Standard

I had a dream once.  At the time, I was spending hours a day practicing spiritual disciplines – meditation, concentration exercises, inner level work of various kinds including dream work. 

In my dream, I was standing on a flat, featureless plane with a person – a fairly androgenous male, who was about five feet away from me.  He looked at me in the eyes, saying, “At first, you think it is outside of you.”

He then took a few steps towards me, and said, “Then, you realize it is inside of you.”

A few more steps brought him uncomfortably close and in my face, “Then you realize it has been you all along.”

It has been me all along.

I doubt the exsistence of a god of any sort – and I think religion is honestly one of the plagues of humankind, most often serving as a whipping boy for humans lack of personal responsibility for their ability to create their own lives with their minds.

It has been me all along.

I spent hours, days, months and years looking outside of myself for some kind of spiritual growth, dedicating myself to organizations and people who had motives that were not in my best interest.  My life was a mess – a series of bad decisions and bad relationships.

It has been me all along.

Today and now and in this moment, I realize more than ever that it has been me all along.  My prayers is my love for my family (my husband and children and our eternal moments together).  My meditation is to be present in this moment.  To love as well as I am able.  To create with the people around me that life that I want to live.  To be open to what may come that is outside of my awareness.

It has been me all along.

What would it be like?

Standard

If I wrote everyday?  I’ve wondered this for a long time.  Writing is not something I usually do regularly, unless I’m getting paid for it, a grade for it, or there is a deadline looming.  However, this reality of my inconsistentency does not jive with my desire to actually BE a writer.  

I’ve been told often in the past that I needed to write – a lot.  Maybe it would help me to learn about consistency, which is not something that I am usually very good at.  I wait for inspiration to hit me over the head with a hammer, when I should be chasing it down.  

I think I have to write a lot, if I’m going to write every day.  But maybe I just need to write – you know, words on the screen, come what may.  A few minutes a day for my own self, while the babies sleep.

Okay…let’s write!!

Our Multi-talented breasts…

Standard

I posted this on my facebook page earlier

http://bluemilk.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/breastfeeding-while-glamorous/

And it has resulted in an interesting conversation among my friends.  Some don’t like some of the images and think they are too provocative or sexualized.

I think that part of the problem with breastfeeding in our society is we have some kind of deep-seated hang ups about viewing breasts as sexual AND nurturing to our children.  My goodness, breasts couldn’t possibly be both, could they?

I think they are.  Men love boobs (generally).  ‘Tis a fact.  And babies do too, but for entirely different reasons.

Although, I think it is important to note that the hormone that makes women feel so good during sex, breastfeeding, cuddling, hugs, kisses etc.  is all the same hormone:  oxytocin.  It’s a “feel good” hormone that makes us feel all warm and cuddly and contributes to bonding.  So, for women, the physiology is not quite so black and white.

But I think that’s okay too.  What do you think??