The Fog

Ingrid and Louie

 

Over the holidays, my one of my girlfriends took me and the kids out to lunch. I was attempting to eat while holding Louie and had not perfected the “Mom juggle.” Moms who can effortlessly balance their forks, cocktail and children are like narwhals to me – unreal but they somehow still exist. She offered to take him off of my hands and pay for lunch. I politely declined. She insisted, took Louie and made an off-hand comment that I was “still in the fog.”

That comment stuck with me and provided me with perspective. Much-needed perspective. I have this unrealistic expectation I should be back to my normal weight, the house should be a certain way, my meals should be a certain way, my marriage should be a certain way. Self-induced pressures and anxiety, for no real reason.

As a new mom of two, the message from family, friends and society is clear: do not worry about the house, the laundry, meals or your weight. So-and-so and this-and-that will come naturally. Take it easy, let yourself get back to normal.

Lovely idea in theory but we need clothes, meals and a functioning home. That, and, societies expectations don’t align with the messaging.

Returning to work, by definition, gets you out of that new baby mode. There are positives, it’s good for getting out of yoga pants, routines are established. Things that would have fallen into place organically. Probably when my son started sleeping through the night, which happened a few short weeks ago.

So, what’s the fog? A compounding cycle of lack of sleep, long hours at work, quick meals, repeat. It’s tough.

To say it’s tough, is tough.

We’re forced back to work while we’re still in the fog. And that, not sleepless nights, is the real challenge.

We as a nation need to have kindness for new families. Everyone in the family needs to have kindness with each other, as a new baby is stressful for all. You need time as a family to become a new unit.

Think about how you welcome a new houseguest. Make sure they have fresh sheets, pick up their favorite cereal, they visit, pack up and head home. As a new parent you’re making room in the house and having hundreds of boring, necessary conversations. Conversations about where to store the bottles and “Do we have enough bouncers?” I still don’t know. All of that stuff becomes a conversation and everyone needs time to learn how to welcome this new house guest, permanently.

When Louie was born, he needed space we didn’t immediately have. We were a unit of three and enjoyed a flexible routine. We needed time to welcome this wonderful new being into our home wholeheartedly. This process takes time. It takes time to bond, takes time to understand his quirks, and until the ripe old age of twelve weeks, he’s a unpredictable, beautiful, needy mess. Right around the time the fog lifts, moms are forced back to work – awkward black pump bag in hand – and it’s downright laughable.

The fog needs to be recognized, realized, appreciated and valued. It does not magically drift away at six weeks, eight weeks or twelve weeks. It takes effort, time, and patience. A lot of patience and kindness.

So this is Christmas…

It’s officially Christmas day. The presents have been opened from Santa and from family (all but a few saved for when the rest of the family joins us at lunch). I’ve got my coffee cup in hand and am bracing myself for the bountiful energy and excitement to come as cousins and  second cousins (to Jackson) and aunts and uncles and grandparents and great grandma (shout out to grandma Nelson!) gather at my parent’s house to celebrate the festive occasion.

A moment to reflect

We are so grateful for so much. Grateful to spend time with loved ones. Grateful that our biggest problem right now is the spotty WiFi (gotta write this quick!). Grateful that we can wake up on Christmas morning in a warm house filled with love and glittery ornaments and overflowing presents and relatives from afar. Grateful that we can make memories. Grateful that we can snuggle on the couch together and watch our favorite Christmas movies (or Bubble Guppies….so much of the Bubble Guppies).

When I think of all I’m grateful for, I go back to a conversation I had with a couple coworkers last week. One of my coworkers was talking about her experience as she and her daughter visited a women’s shelter to deliver the presents they had bought for the family they “adopted” over Christmas. She knew it was important to show her daughter the harsh realities that others live on a day-to-day basis and she wanted her to realize how lucky they were to live the life they lived and how important it is to give back to others in need.

She stopped her daughter just before they got in the car on their way out and said, “You see? Our problems…you think they’re problems. They are not problems. They are nothing compared to what these families go through. Please remember that and be grateful.”

Her daughter, living the life of a new college freshman is old enough to understand the message her mother was imparting. But as someone who once lived that life, I can tell you it’s likely that that message won’t sink in for years to come. Still, it’s good to do your best and keep your little ones grounded to the truth at any age. And I applaud her for this.

 Moments of joy

I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the kids opening presents last night, so here are some of Jackson opening his presents from Santa, this morning. As a note, this is from my parent’s living room as we’re celebrating the holidays up here for the next couple days.

Starting to unwrap presents

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young…

A very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any tears.  -John Lennon-

Enjoy your time with loved ones, this holiday season.

Cheers!

Dropping the ball and picking it back up (metaphorically speaking)

Won't eat, won't do pictures, but yes, please put the crown on his head.

Won’t eat, won’t do pictures, but yes, please put the crown on his head.

Noooo!!! I forgot to post! Ugh, we were so close and I dropped the ball on yesterday’s #blogtober14 (which, I won’t lie, I was not really excited to write). I was supposed to tell you about the editing tools I use here and on Instagram. Spoiler alert: I use free apps…cause I’m cheap…that even a monkey could learn. So if you’d like to try your hand at creating some fun images, go  try out Canva for your website or download the InstaQuote app when you’re posting to Instagram.

There. Caught up. I still count it as a miss, but to be honest, this week has been very full and I truly could not find the space to fit this blog into my mind, yesterday. Especially not after that glass of wine…and the vomiting incident  that I couldn’t wrap my head around. Because really, what exactly would cause someone to puke up liquid that’s so insanely green you wonder if he might actually be a leprechaun?

Well, the daycare teachers weren’t very clear about the incident when I brought him in this morning (no vomitting since then) but I heard them say “Oh yeah…the blue dye. That’s it.” and then nod at each other and me like, “Well that’s to be expected.” If I didn’t have so much going on in my brain, it may have occured to me to stop and go, “Hey,uhh…that’s probably not normal. Can we disect this incident a little more? I’m still not clear.” But alas, I have family coming into town, I needed to get home and clean, run errands, pick up a costume, bake some things, and do all of that before I picked him up. So I shrugged and left, hoping that he wouldn’t vomit green all over the nice sweater I had him in for picture day, today.

And just like the rest of this week, all has not gone according to plan, but it’s fine. It’s fine. I got home, cleaned the kitchen and the living room, vacuumed the high traffic areas, prettied up the guest room, checked the clock and it was time to go pick up the costume from my coworker. He’s lending me their Elmo costume, so between that and Jake the pirate and Yoda, my god, one of these costumes needs to not elicit a shriek of terror from him. Pretty please?

Got the costume, got money out of the HSA account because I just got contacts (crazy!) and new frames last night …but I stupidly forgot the HSA card when I was paying, so I had to put it on our credit card (ouch). Then as I walked around with WAY too much money in my wallet, I went grocery shopping and then…got the call from daycare. The little man has a small fever, did not cooperate for pictures, hasn’t eaten a thing all day.

Awesome. On my way to pick him up I called my sister who was en route with her husband and two girls. “Ummm, Marie, we have a bit of a situation.” I explained everything because hey, with a two month old and almost three year old, you need to know what you’re walking into. It’s the least I could do. Well, they didn’t turn the car around, so I hoped for the best.

Picked up Jackson, was able to bake a couple things while he slept, and the fever went away.  My sister’s family arrived  and he played hard with his cousin while we caught up and they got settled. My parents arrived with their two chocolate labs in tow, we ordered pizza, we ate the pizza, we ate the apple crisp and brownies I baked, we watched the world series and now it’s time for bed.

I didn’t get the main bathroom cleaned until almost 8pm, we didn’t get Jackson’s semi-annual pictures so we’ll have to figure out another solution there, but it’s fine. Family is here. It was a good evening. Tomorrow will be a lot of fun with a Halloween event at the Zoo and then heading over to a brewfest for a couple of hours (no kids).

This is all just to say, something is better than nothing.

 

And word to the wise – when there are two toddlers in the room, there needs to be TWO OF EVERYTHING. You’ve been warned.

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Sunday runday + Sunday funday + meal prep and getting real with the laundry situation = pass me another beer. 🤗

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