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.

Nostalgia

How was your weekend? This weekend I was able to spend time with family and a few dear friends who live out of state. I rarely talk or email with these friends but our friendship runs deep and we’re able to pick up where we last left off. After a few minutes of “status updates” we’re able to laugh and say things like “you know how it is.”

This morning, Ingrid, Dan and I watched a few old homemade videos before getting out of bed. We watched Ingrid’s first steps and a silly video of Ingrid at the zoo. Then, we hit play on a video called Playdough and I completely lost it.

While I was ugly crying, Dan explained to Ingrid that I had happy tears, tears of nostalgia. Sidebar – the ponytail wasn’t doing anything.

Tonight, I’m gearing up for the series finale of Mad Men. Over the winter I re-watched the series and fell in love with Don, Rodger, Peggy, Joan and even Pete all over again. I love everything about this show – the costumes, Draper’s facial expressions, Draper’s face, the characters and the ability to keep me – the audience – on its feet. Although I’m not weeping over the show’s end (yet) I do have a twinge of nostalgia and was reminded of this famous and classic scene.

Old friends, videos of Ingrid and the series finale of Mad Men. I’m itching to make a Jeopardy joke right about now (what are “things that make me cry uncontrollably for $600?”), but instead I’ll cut this post off early and leave you with these Top 10 Quotes from Mad Men(#4).

A Very Happy Mother’s Day

This morning, I woke up to the sound of Ingrid greeting our dog Harper. She hopped out of bed and squealed “Happy Mother’s Day, Harper!” then came into our bedroom and repeated the sentiment.

We enjoyed a lazy morning followed by a trip to our favorite doughnut shop and then went clothes shopping for Ingrid. She’s growing like a weed and is on the fence between toddler and big girl sizes. Honestly, she needs clothes because I couldn’t bring myself to visit this section of Target or any sites online weeks before. I’m savoring these moments:

Ingrid ran out of paper during her "nap."

Ingrid ran out of paper during her “nap.”

Instead of focusing the moment she danced around the fitting room cheering “I look like a teenager, I’m a big girl!” in her new clothes.

Then, the baby changes positions. A reminder that I’m 28 weeks pregnant and will be doing this all over again, far too soon. It’s scary, exciting and already feels bittersweet.

This pregnancy is so much different than the first – in almost every way. Sure, I was a nauseated mess for the first four months but now, it’s almost like I’m training for the baby’s arrival. With Ingrid, I didn’t know how exactly our life would change, it ultimately changed for the better. With the anticipation of a new baby, I know the first few months will be a blur. Perhaps it’s another form of nesting, but I want to be able to truly enjoy the first few weeks and months with our new little bundle. To do so, I’m preparing a lot of freezer meals and accepting help from our friends and grandparents. There are numerous spreadsheets involved. The Bump keeps reminding me to “relax and get pampered!” and I’m over here like “No! I need to label freezer bags so I can relax with my newborn and not worry about dinner in August.”

But, not today. Today, I’m going thank Mother Nature for the gloomy weather so I can watch the last Harry Potter movie and enjoy the rest of this magical day reserved for mothers. But not before giving out a whole lot of thanks to my mom or teaching me first-hand about the gift of motherhood.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Monday Motivation: This Girl Can

Good morning and happy Monday!

Over the weekend I read that we think we act a certain way because of how we feel but we really feel a certain way because of how we act. If our actions radiate happiness and joy then we’ll tend to feel a sense of happiness and joy. Do you agree? To me this makes sense but just in case, I’m brewing a strong pot of coffee to help kick this gloomy Monday into high gear.

I’m six month pregnant and feeling great. For me, pregnancy and high intensity workouts do not mix. Even so, these two videos make me smile and have been motivating me to slap on some shoes and get out the door for a walk or quick trip to the gym.

 

Cheers (with mugs of coffee, of course) to a great week!

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I guess when you're 34 an ideal morning is getting up early, working out, brewing coffee and looking at the tree. Let's get wild, Friday.

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