Category Archives: Motherhood

Crusty Burrito Makes Gross Living Room Debut

Ever get a surprise burrito? Not so much in the good, “Oh my gawd thank you so much for this delicious, free burrito!” kind of way, but more in the, “Oh my gawd what is that random, crusty burrito doing there?” kind of way? I have. Not to brag or anything, but my family knows how to do surprises. They are so crafty they even surprise themselves sometimes. Like last week when I unpacked the week-old pool bag that had been sitting in my living room for, well, for an entire week, I got quite the surprise!

There I was, humming away to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl while pulling soggy, mildewed towels out of an orange, striped pool bag when my hands bumped into something that remarkably felt like tinfoil. Tinfoil? No way, man, couldn’t be, and yet, it was cold, metallic like, and shiny, but also kind of mushy like a stuffed doll leg with an aluminum foil cast on it. You never know at my house. My daughter dresses her dolls in toilet paper. Who am I to judge?

Crusty Burrito Makes Gross Debut
Girls in white, toilet paper dresses…

So I reached back into the bag with determined curiosity and pulled out an entire crusty, old, nasty, bean burrito with exactly one bite missing. One bite! Someone took one bite and buried it under flip flops and My Little Pony beach towels. It was rubbing up against a hot-pink flotation device and nestled next to a leaky bottle of 50 spf sunblock for babies. A real, actual burrito! This burrito had been sitting, without refrigeration, during a very hot New Mexican summer, in my living room for over a week. To say it was disgusting was an understatement. I contemplated throwing the entire contents of the bag into the trash.

The really traumatizing part? The pool party we attended did not serve any bean burritos. Oh no, this was a mystery burrito. A burrito from the outer limits. A burrito that magically appeared without warning. A burrito that should not exist, but did indeed exist. So, I did what any mom in my situation would do. I started asking questions. Who does this burrito belong to? How did it get in this bag? Why is it in this bag? Why wasn’t it thrown away? Nobody knew. All I got was a whole lot of, “It wasn’t me.” Lots of shrugging. Lots of frowning. Lots of I-don’t-knowing.

Then, as if on cue, my husband launched into a lecture on wasting food and how he was done buying burritos that someone eats one bite of and then throws away. He left the room mumbling about how much milk we go through and why the price of beef is so high. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to escape my detective-like questioning tactics regarding said burrito. He went on the offensive and high-tailed it away from my disgusted mom wrath.

The thing is nobody bought this burrito. It just appeared. It made it’s gross debut on a hot Monday morning in July. It had no special markings to explain where it had come from or why. It just appeared to mock my lazy cleaning skills and natural, God-given talent for procrastination. Maybe it is a blessed burrito. A message in disguise to remind me that I need to step it up around here. Or maybe someone put it in our bag by mistake. The mystery remains and who ever knows the secret of the crusty, old burrito obviously plans to take that secret to their grave.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

When Your Baby Turns Six Months

My new baby will be six months old on Wednesday. I’m kind of in shock, but that’s probably just the months of sleep deprivation, eating badly, and getting barely any exercise talking. Hey, I’m not complaining, but the first six months of baby are pretty exhausting, even when it’s mixed up with plenty of adorable moments. I’m typing this one-handed in between chugging coffee and bouncing my wiggly side-kick on one knee. There is no longer any opportunity to do just one thing at a time. I’m starting to fear there never will be.

I was thinking about my first go-round with motherhood. When Tiny-Small was a baby I thought I was going to die. I remember very clearly collapsing on the floor around four months and just sobbing out of sheer exhausting. I am sure I googled “Can a mother die from never sleeping?” and “How many days can a woman go without sleep before she drops dead?” My husband was working so I never asked him to help with night shifts. I never really asked him for help at all because I felt like this whole baby thing was my responsibility. I was a total idiot, obviously.

With baby number two I have changed my thinking. I ask for help. I demand it even. So, baby number two has been easier to care for. She’s also got a much more laid back approach to life in comparison to Tiny-Small. I mean, the lactation specialist from the hospital diagnosed our new addition as “content to starve.” I’m not sure one can be more laid back than that. Still, having a newborn baby always brings a set of challenges to a family. I didn’t cry this time when we reached the four month mark, but I did sigh with relief because I knew we had reached a turning point. Things were changing. This kid was no longer just sleeping and eating. She was actively engaged with the world around her. She was becoming a “real girl.”

When Baby Turns Six Months
Sisterly Love

As we approach six months I can feel some of the strain starting to lift. Not only is she starting to sleep longer stretches, but she’s eating real food. She’s strong and sturdy too so we’re not so afraid of accidentally breaking her. She’s got a personality and laughs and complains and wiggles. It’s pretty fun. It’s like witnessing the beginning of self-empowerment. It’s like watching the awakening of what it means to be human. It’s like a religious experience. And it’s still so freaking exhausting most of the time, but I am delirious with the kind of hope that a full, uninterrupted hour of asleep at night will give you.

When Your Baby Turns Six Months
Someone has some cleaning to do…

Six months is that moment in motherhood where we can catch our breath for a second or two and survey the damage. What does a year of doing the bare minimum in house cleaning look like? What exactly is all of that stuff under my daughters bed? How many emails have gone unanswered? How many new plies of clutter and unopened junk-mail have burst onto the scene? How many new love handles do I now possess? What can I do to regain a little bit of my old self back? Is the fog of babyhood lifting? Will I soon be able to remember things for longer than three minutes without writing them down?

It’s also a time for self-reflection. I have two children now. How am I doing? Am I surviving? Did I make the right decision? Are we happier as a family? Yes. All yes. I was thinking back to when I started writing this blog. I was pretty angry and frustrated with motherhood. It was such a huge change that I wasn’t prepared for. I was having an identity crisis and obsessed with what I had lost or was missing. I wrote things like Existential Panic Attack Brought On by the Green-Eyed Monster. I was struggling.

This time I am so much more relaxed and accepting of my “new” life as mom. I know how to go with the flow and what is necessary to worry about and what isn’t. I’m a better mother and now that I have two kids I’m also a happier mother. Experience makes a world of difference. That and I am not so afraid that being a mom means I can’t be anything else. I know I am capable of doing more than one thing at a time. I’ve been doing it for years now!

What happens when your baby turns six months? You breathe. You Open Your eyes wide. You suck up as much joy as possible. You reassess. You smile. Then you find someone to entertain the little rascal so you can go take a much needed nap!

And if you are really, really lucky you find someone willing to come in and clean up your house. I’m still hoping to be that lucky as I sit here sipping coffee and pretending I don’t see that giant, stuffed broccoli staring at me from the hallway floor. I have a feeling I’ll be sitting here hoping for a nice long while.

 

Save

Save

Mistakes Are How We Learn

I’m rushing around the house trying to serve breakfast, dress everyone, and get out the door. Things keep going wrong because I haven’t slept well in weeks. New baby on board. New lifestyle. Two kids are better than one. Two kids are more work than one. Two kids are crying at the same time. Two kids are happy. Two kids need something right now. Two kids! Two Kids! TWO KIDS! Oh, and the dog won’t stop barking. I fantasize about sending him to live on an imaginary farm and there goes two more minutes of time I do not have to spare on this fine, windy morning.

My husband is gone all week working out of town. Another adjustment to grapple with as I lose an extra set of hands to help carry the load. An extra set of eyes to keep everyone alive. An extra set of relief in the night when the baby is hungry and needs a diaper change. I’m missing an extra set of hands to fasten car seats and locate lost shoes before the school bell rings. I don’t want to be late again. Late, late, late.

I’m constantly late, behind, unorganized, confused, wondering where I put my coffee. I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth. Am I still in the clothes I wore yesterday? Why yes, yes I am. Everything inside of me is whirling. Everything keeps going wrong. I drop things. I lose things. I’m too slow and we have to get to school.

I’m making mistakes left and right. The voice in my head is beating me up. It’s relentless: Why aren’t I better at managing all of this? When am I going to adjust? When am I going to be a good mother, good wife, good home maker? I trip over toys, laundry, books, boxes of diapers…I’m so disappointed in myself. My sink is full of dirty dishes. Everything is a mess and I am so tired. I want to be like Donna Reed with a perfect, shiny home, but I also want to sit in the rocking chair and rock the baby because she’ll only be tiny for such a short time. It doesn’t matter anyway because I am tired and picking up only happens when both the baby sleeps and the kindergartner is occupied – which never happens at the same time. All morning I dream of a nap that never comes. I rock and rock and fight to keep my eyes open. I’m happy and irritated at the same time.

My mind is on all of these things as I start my day.

Mistakes Are How We Learn

Then I hear my daughter’s small voice as she whispers to herself, “It’s OK, mistakes are how we learn.” I peek around the corner and see her erasing her backward letter “B” and writing it correctly. Mistakes are how we learn. I’ve  been telling her that for weeks as we do homework in the evenings. I tell her the same thing when she pours too much water into the house plants. I remind her when she puts her shoes on the wrong feet. I sing it to her in a loud, silly voice when she reads the latest sight word incorrectly. It’s become a mantra in our house. Mistakes are how we learn. Perfection be damned. We won’t let our mistakes stop us from diving in.

Fail.

Fail again. Dust yourself off and fail some more. Just keep trying and keep going. It’s all we can do anyway. Mistakes are how we learn, my darling, mistakes are how we learn. Keep failing. Have faith. Be proud of yourself for showing up and trying. This is life. It’s messy and hard and beautiful and glorious all at the same time. Don’t let the weight of living get you down.

Hearing her gently remind herself about making mistakes calms me and slows me down. I’m learning to be a mom all over again. To two kids. To two people who need love and attention, to two people creating dirty dishes and dirty laundry (feels more like four). I’m learning to live without as much sleep. I’m learning how to delegate more efficiently. I’m learning how to fail and prioritize and be OK with mess and uncertainty. I’m learning how to sleep when the baby sleeps. Sleep anytime I can sleep.  Sleep, sleep, sleep.

It’s going to take a while to find my way. Parenthood is a long ride and I’m just getting strapped in.