Excited to have twelve pounds of freshly picked strawberries sweetly packed away in the freezer.
Grateful for a couple of kid-free hours out with a friend and the opportunity to talk about all the ups and downs of relationships.
Humbled by a series of parenting mistakes.
Comforted by the many chances to reconnect in this parenting journey.
Captivated by this book, which in so many ways describes the spaciousness of the human heart.
Thinking a lot about this recent blog post at Hippie Housewife, how it so wonderfully describes so much of my own experience.
Loving how I often stumble upon the answer to a question I didn’t even realize I was desperately asking.
Wishing Boo would just go to sleep already so I could hang out with my husband!
I struggle with irritability. And I try hard not to take it out on my kids. I don’t want them to feel it or receive it. I don’t want them to feel that their mama has a hard edge that pushes them away and makes them feel alone. I know from experience that it takes a lot of self control to feel an intense negative emotion and to just hold a non-reactive space for that, to recognize that its source is not the behavior of others, and to still act with kindness and respect. Some days I feel that I’m losing that battle. But, still, I have found some things that help.
1. Go outside! This works well no matter who is in a bad mood. When either of the kids or I is in a bad mood, I move as much of life as possible outdoors. Sun is good for the mood, obviously, but so are the sounds of nature, the fresher air compelling one to breathe deeply, the stillness of the trees, and the sense of freedom that comes from a lack of walls.
2. Snuggle up and read. When I’m irritable I often feel that I need space and quiet and the last thing I want to do is snuggle….but taking space for myself in another room is just not always possible. I’ve found that if I grab a few books and head for the couch, everybody can get their needs met. The girls are happy to have mama sit and read with them and they will sit still and quiet, which gives me a chance to de-stimulate and breathe deeply.
3. Prevention! I know I need sleep, sunshine, on-time meals, and regular time with friends in order to keep my moods reasonably positive, so I do my best not to sacrifice those things. I also know that some other important-to-me things (exercise!) aren’t making it on the schedule these days, but self-care is a work in progress when you have young kids.
4. Forgiveness. Parenting gives us chance after chance. I give my children the time they need to learn and grow, and I try to allow myself the same grace.
I realized tonight that I had to write something, anything, before my blog became a distant memory, one of those hobbies that flares and fizzles. The truth is, this blog is important to me, even though I haven’t been present with it in months.
Once upon a time I thought it would be fun to start a blog. It would be a great way to capture the fleeting moments of our daily lives, a way to “back up” my evolving thoughts and feelings about motherhood and my favorite photos too. It would give me a chance to practice my writing. Eventually I would get an article published in Mothering (oops, missed that boat).
I found myself loving it, the way it brought a creative element to even my most regular days home with my children.
I found myself taking more photographs and enjoying that too, finding and recording special moments in the every day.
I found myself on the internet too often, trying to keep up with my RSS, feeling somehow obligated to read and comment on as many blogs as possible.
I found myself uncomfortable with the very publicness of it all.
I found myself in complicated and ever-evolving real life situations that took all my energy and left me with no space for such a time-consuming endeavor.
And I find myself missing this space, this opportunity to write instead of only reading, to focus on a sliver of life that can feel like such a blur at times. I didn’t imagine when I started this blog that I would have a whole category on “blogging,” but it turns out that the process of writing about your life becomes itself a distinct part of your life, and there is more to say than I have time for tonight.
We celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas, and this year it started early, on December 1st. We started our Advent calendar the same day, and I came down with the flu the next. This week it is still Hanukkah and Advent and we also have Aaron’s birthday. I’m happy to be a part of the lovely Handmade Holidays and a stocking stuffer swap. But this year I’ve taken the procrastination rather far even for me. Blogging will undoubtedly lag; let us hope other responsibilities do not.
This is the yarn that is meant to be for Aaron’s birthday present. I’m still working on untangling it. He has been forewarned that his gift may be late this year. He was neither upset nor surprised.
I’m trying to look at this as a puzzle, a fun project, a meditation of sorts. I’m trying not to see it as a metaphor of any sort.
Back up your photos!!!
We made a photo backup in the beginning of December 2009. Here’s the last one from that backup:
Our harddrive crashed in April 2010. Here’s one of the first photos from after that crash:
I lost four months of photos of my beautiful girls (SO grateful it wasn’t more!). I just went back to find pictures of last year’s (Bubbles’ first) Christmas tree and then I remembered that the photos aren’t there. A similar scenario has happened several times, and it makes me sad every time.
Back up your photos!!!
Boo has been asking and asking to learn how to sew. She got her hands on a bag of fabric scraps the other day and was determined to “make a bag with mama.” I was amazed how she stuck with this project, sometimes rolling on the floor, sometimes helping to put pins back in the cushion, and mostly just directing. She wanted to be involved and feel that she was really sewing, so as I put in a pin she would say, “Now put the pin there.” When the bag was done she was so proud of the work we had done together!
I realized that my almost-four-year-old is ready to learn some real skills. I love her self-assurance that she can make anything, and the way she will take felt and scotch tape and say she’s making a shirt or mix together flour and purple paint and tell me she’s making yarn. Imagination and confidence make lovely partners.
But hands-on skills are important too, and this girl is ready. We’re starting with some simple embroidery (I’ll share about that soon) and she may want to help papa with some upcoming woodworking projects. Any other ideas?