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.

Monday Motivation: Don’t get stuck in the in-between

Let it go

You had to know this was coming, right?

Let it go or do something about it.

That’s the mantra I’ve created for myself today.

Like many of you, I feel like I have a holiday hangover. It’s the start of the first full work week since I left for Christmas break (although I did work a couple days last week before the new year) and it feels like it’s time. It’s time to stop shoveling food into my gullet. It’s time to get focused and re-energized. And it’s time to tackle some monumental goals. Not new year’s goals, mind you (other than to face my fears, basically), but tangible, concrete goals. Goals related to work projects. Goals related to training for my next event. The goal to get our finances in order for tax season. The goal to do something with that book I won’t shut up about.

It’s a lot to take on for a Monday after a long holiday. And even just thinking about the not-so-pleasant parts of those goals had me really stressed out this weekend. Like there may have been a small episode in the grocery store parking lot where I mentally screamed “Fudge this!” (But my mind is a little more uncouth than that). And I just felt very not-present all weekend because of the things weighing on my mind.

I hate being in the “in between.” It’s the space between the “I’ve identified a problem” and whatever comes next…”I’m just going to ignore it.” or “I’m just going to get through it.” or “I’m just going to give it my all and tell off the nay sayers in my mind!”  (I wish the last one happened more often). It’s just a lot of dwelling and thinking on what I could do or should do or shouldn’t do or REALLY shouldn’t do. I try not to get stuck dwelling on these things which make me feel like “this sucks and it’s how my life is going to be forever and ever until I die!” but it happens.

And obviously, my life is not going to be terrible forever. But in the moment, it feels that way.

So going back to my mantra, today is about letting go or doing something about it. I’m pretty good at not holding grudges, mostly because my long term memory isn’t that great (I digress), so letting go is a strong suit of mine. But all too often I let too much go and then it’s a cycle where it comes back around multiple times until I decide to do something about it. So there may be some of that today, as well. For the most part though, I want to let it go and just put my head down and get through what I need to do this day and this week so that I can have a very clear mind and “presentness” (shhh, I’m making that word happen) for our trip to Florida next week.

So where others may be shouting at you to BE DETERMINED and GO ATTACK YOUR GOALS and MAKE THOSE UNICORN DREAMS HAPPEN today…to that I say. “Sure. Go do that.” But also, deal with your past so that you can move forward. Either let it go or do something about it.

Wise words from Rafiki

Wise words from Rafiki

Here’s to a blistery cold Monday!

 

p.s. this post was not in any way, shape or form sponsored by Disney, but I can’t lie, I’m MORE than a little pumped for our Disney trip next week. It may be a reoccurring theme for a bit. Just bear with me.

Past the point of “young and reckless” but I totally get what you’re saying

I’m in the middle of another hectic week. And I’m resorting to my best bad mood lifter – music.

Speaking of which, is anyone else a little embarrassed about how much they love Taylor Swift? Well, once again she comes out with a song that is catchy and honest and even pokes a little fun at herself.

I kind of feel like another Taylor when it comes to admitting this. Yes. Taylor Wolfe over at the Daily Tay says it best.

Alright, well before we move on, just go watch Taylor Swift’s new video, “Blank Space.”

 

Now for the dissection. Get your scalpels out, and put on those latex gloves because this is going to get messy.

First off – I know on the surface level this song is really a big disclaimer for all of her past and future relationships. DUH.

But let me lay this on you: This is also a metaphor for the success in her life. She’s going to be crazy and passionate and write about crappy breakups. She’ll bear her sole, she’ll rip herself and others to shreds. She’ll make enemies. She’ll be the media darling. She’ll be poetic and she’ll be basic. She’ll be all of those things and she’ll serve it up on a platter that makes it REALLY hard to turn your back on, because deep down you see sides of her that you are too scared to show, yourself. She speaks for the crazy in all of us.

There. I said it!

Second – Can we all just admit that she has a knack for storytelling. Yes, I consider what she does to be storytelling. Here’s my favorite part of the song:

But the worst is yet to come
Oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I could make all the tables turn
Rose garden filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like oh my god
Who is she? I get drunk on jealousy
But you’ll come back each time you leave
Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream

Oh the fire, in this one! I bolded the lines that were especially delicious. I mean, I’ve never been this kind of a girl, but I love imagining a character like this. So vicious when you cross her. This is definitely giving me some ideas for that book I’m working on (I swear this isn’t another post about NaNoWriMo).

Third – If ONLY I could react to bad news the way she does. This would be the week for it. Vases of roses flying. Lots of mascera-smeared tears while I cackle widely to no one in particular. I could really use some of that consequence-free, emotion-fueled rampage for just a bit.

But alas, I’m no longer young and reckless (as she claims she is in this song). I’m a grown, sort-of responsible adult. And I can’t lash out when things don’t go in my favor.

Coping mechanisms.

Okay, these past two weeks could have gone more smoothly, but I can get past this. I have my tried and true coping mechanisms.

  1. Running: A good run and some punk music usually do the trick. I think this evening is very deserving of one.
  2. Writing: Oh look! Here I am, blogging on HBD. Check and check.
  3. Music: We covered Taylor Swift extensively, above. Other good songs I’m into this week include: Pitbull’s “Fireball,” an interesting cover of “The One that I want” (ignore the video itself, it’s a weird Chanel video…just focus on the fact that it’s an amazing “Grease” cover), and an oldie but a goodie, Michael Jackson’s “Scream“.

This too shall pass

I’m not going to get really deep and talk about how “We’re only on this earth for so long and it’s pointless to waste so much energy on unpleasant events that are so fleeting” but I kind of believe that. So while I get lost in the music, pick out my running clothes and hit publish on this post, I’d be interested to hear what your coping mechanisms are.

Cheers, friends!

The sucky things that happen when you chase your dreams

He makes it look so easy.

He makes it look so easy.

I think it’s time to lay some things to rest. Mainly, when you take the time to work on your goals or your dreams, there are things that are going to suck along the way.

Was that too honest? Bear with me.

As you may know, I’m all about pumping up myself and others with a good motivational quote. I’ll continue to do this, but I just need to get a few things off my chest. Here, I’m going to take you down some of the sucky things I’ve experienced when I’ve actually taken the time to work on my goals.

First, there’s resistance.

This comes in the form of distractions, not feeling sure of yourself, writer’s block, walking the last quarter of a mile when you wish you could run, negativity towards your mission, not trusting your gut, etc. Resistance is what keeps you from finishing or keeps you from moving forward on something really important. Most of the rest of this list could be summed up under the header of “resistance” but I think it’s still worth while to call those other ones out.

Resentment towards “others”

I don’t mean  resentment towards your friends or family, because if you have resentment towards them, you should work that out. That’s not healthy. No, I’m talking about the resentment you feel towards the  real or perceived “others” who are doing the things you are trying to do, but seem to be doing them faster, more efficiently, and with more success. It’s hard to step back and put it all in perspective, but everyone has their own path. Just because you see something bright and shiny on the surface doesn’t mean they haven’t struggled for just as long as you have.

A feeling like you’re doing everything wrong

I used to feel this way with running and then I just accepted that I could go the same distance as others…it just might take me a bit longer. Now, I always feel this way with creative writing. Every single day I lay down some words and I feel like it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written. This post? It might be the worst post I’ve ever written. Hands down. And yet, every day I have to put something down on paper. I have to think about what I’m going to post next on Happy by Design and be okay with hitting the publish button. Yet, it hasn’t gotten any easier.

A weird competitiveness against others that they may not realize (which in turn makes you feel silly)

As much as you resent those “others,” there’s still a sense that you have to compete with them. Oh, you wrote 2,000 words today? I’m going to write 2,500! It’s not a competition. Seriously. It’s not. And then you feel like an even bigger idiot when the resistance kicks in and you only wrote 500 and it was way too much explanation about a piece of cheese (seriously, haven’t we all been there?). I don’t get competitive with running (see the “heart attack” explanation below), but I do get a sense of pride when I’ve had a good couple of weeks with running, strength training and eating like a normal human being (As opposed to a grizzly bear preparing for hibernation).

A slight (or significant) drop in personal appearances

You’re focused. You’re putting in the work. You’re taking the time to chase your dreams. After a couple weeks you notice that you now have stress acne, your hair has seen MUCH better days (seriously, get on that, Jamie!), and the jiggly bits are starting to come back with quite a vengeance (how long has it been since I stepped foot in a gym?). It just happens. And I don’t have the hours in a day to do all the things I want to do all the time.

A feeling like you might have a heart attack

The. Worst. Thing. EVER. I talk about this sensation in my recap of running Ragnar (Lindsay and I were part of a twelve person team running from Madison to Chicago over 24 hours). That was the last time it was in super full force. Now it arrives in the form of little anxiety attacks when I’m under a lot of pressure. None of it is good. Make sure your ticker checks out as this could be a serious health issue for you. Lord knows the amount of cheese I eat is not helping my ticker, but I’m going to roll the dice on cheese in this scenario.

Life doesn’t pause for you. Time is never on your side.

It’s your goal, not theirs. Their life continues. Your job is still waiting for you. So are those bills. Sometimes I get really angry when it seems like those “others” have found an extra eight hours to do stuff that I simply don’t have time to accomplish. The 2,000 words you wrote at Starbucks at 10am…after your morning Pilates class? I don’t get the logistics. I also think that would be my dream life if I had enough money, but there seem to be way too many people like this. How does it add up? What are you sacrificing in other areas? I wish I knew. For now, I’ll have to put up with 4:30 am wake up calls where I have to choose between writing or working out because once 6am hits, life is resuming at a rapid speed and I won’t have time to do anything else until 8pm that night. And by that time I’m so exhausted I just pass out so that I can make my 4:30am wake up call the next day. More hours in a day. PLEASE. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

——-

Okay, so I didn’t mean for this to turn into a really long post, but it did. And if you’re wondering how I was able to write this during peak toddler hours while the hubby is off to the Packers/Bears game? Well, I’m letting some pretty crazy stuff go down in my house right now. There are no less than 3 balls flying around my kitchen at any one time. Oh did I mention “terrible parenting” is also on the table? Well that was just assumed, I guess.

Anywho – I should get going so I can join in the craziness that is life, forever and always.

NaNoWriMo update: I’m on track, but half of the reason I wrote this post is because I was having a “woe is me” moment after seeing a LOT of other people flying through their word counts. Hitting the 50,000 word count is all I can focus on and that’s taking a LOT of energy that I currently do not have. Today I hit 15,000 words in nine days. Previously it took me 6 weeks to hit that count. This is hard!

NaNo_update_11.8.14

End rant.

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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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