Aside from the walk, I’ve been feeling kind of stagnant in my life. I’m doing the same old work. This blog seems to have stalled out. I spend half my day dropping off and picking up children from various places. Even yoga was feeling stale. For nearly two years of a more-intense yoga practice, I was still excited to go to class and rejuvenated afterward…until I wasn’t. I started holding onto anxiety during my practice and feeling stuck. With life being busier, it seemed easier to just stay home and get a little work done or have that extra time to clean up or do whatever other task inevitably was left undone during the day.
This left me feeling depressed. Yoga had been my safe haven, my relaxation, my energy, my love for so long. Was it over? Would I have to search for some new passion? I didn’t want it to be the end. Plus, I have an annual membership to my studio that doesn’t end until August so I HAVE to go. That shit is expensive! So I continued to go and I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel passionate the way I used to.
Then last week I went to my usual class with one of my favorite instructors–the instructor who helped ignite my passion with an arm balance years ago. We had been working on astavakrasana or eight angle pose and this day I just GOT it. I held it so well that she tried to get me to transition into eka pada koundinayasana II, but that didn’t work out because of a sensitive shoulder (and it’s REALLY hard!). But that didn’t matter, in holding that pose I felt it again; that spark, that love, that excitement. When I got home I showed the pose to my husband and kids, who said it was a “cool trick.” Well, it IS a cool trick.
Holding that one pose brought me back into myself and into the moment. It helped me to remember why I love yoga in the first place. The answer is most definitely NOT advanced poses, although it was for me this time. The answer is finding something in yourself that you didn’t know was there. In the past it’s been exciting advanced poses, mantras that touched something inside of me, classes that made me feel like a part of something larger than myself, and even watching a fellow student discover a new pose for themselves. It seems that I am not done with yoga yet and yoga is most certainly not done with me. In the words of every yoga teacher ever, “it is a practice.”
Oh yeah! Astavakrasana baby!
Also, notice how my home practice inevitably involves children…
Tomorrow is the last day of summer. Brady is back to school the next day. My baby Declan starts preschool next Friday. Soon I will take a new freelance job and be back to work myself. It is the end of sleeping late and sipping coffee as the kids watch TV. While moms the Internet over rejoice in their children getting back to the books, I find myself sad. We spent a lot of time traveling this summer and it was nice and it was fun and it was also stressful. But the last two weeks the boys and I have been having a easy time on our own. We can do what we want when we want to. I’ve been very, um, liberal with screen time and so I’ve had some time to read and keep the apartment neat and not feel like I’m the perpetual hamster wheel.
As a mom, the school year feels much more difficult than the summer. Life becomes so much more complicated. There’s school dropoff and pickup and after-school activities and then getting dinner onto the table while helping with homework and hopefully still having time for a bath before bed sometimes. This year, in an attempt to make things easier, I’ve shifted a lot of the extras to the weekend, which means we can’t just take off as family on a Saturday afternoon.
The beginning of the school year makes me itchy with anxiety, picturing the coming days filled with obligations. The change in routine throws me. Plus, my kids will be away from me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them all day everyday. They need to learn and explore on their own and be a part of things away from me. But while Declan is home with me, I’m his sole source of outside entertainment a lot of the time. With him used to having a constant playmate that role becomes difficult to fill. Plus he’ll be in school three half-days a week. I’m so excited for him and for me. But it’s also a reminder that my baby is no longer my baby. When Brady went to preschool I was trying to get pregnant. I soon knew I’d have a new baby. This time there will be no more babies.
I’m trying to psych myself up for leaves and sweaters and football, but when it’s 93 degrees and unbearably humid, it’s kind of hard to picture. Tomorrow we’ll try to seize the last day of freedom. I’m hoping Brady’s excitement for school and for change will rub off on me. But tonight I’m mourning the end of lazy days.
How do you feel when the kids head back to school? Do you love fall? Remind me why.
I have been desperately wanting to write about the yoga mala (and I will) and I wanted to write a thanks to moms everywhere for Mother’s Day (this will have to do) and I’ve wanted to do a multitude of other things as well, but time, she has not been on my side. So for now, I have this.
At some point each day, Declan decides that he MUST change his clothes. Usually because what he’s wearing “doesn’t fit!!” Even though it desperately needed to be worn that morning. Ah, 2-year-old problems.
I’m trying to fill the last few days of April – National Poetry Month – with some poetry of my own. I’m hoping it will get my writing juices flowing again. I’m not sure about this one. I think maybe it’s not quite there yet.
Laughter From the Other Room
I was standing
In the kitchen,
Washing, cutting, cooking,
As mothers do.
I heard my children’s laughter from the other room
And peeked out to see their heads,
One dark, the other copper curls,
Bobbing over the back of our faded blue couch.
They were asking each other questions,
Erupting in laughter as response
Engrossed in a game
To which only they know the rules.
Two boys, together in their own world.
I was struck with the memory of children’s laughter,
two little girls’ heads,
One dark, the other golden curls,
Lying on a faded brown and black carpet.
We were asking each other questions,
Wildly giggling in response
Absorbed in a game
Entirely of our own making.
Two girls, together in that other world.
My mother must have peeked,
From time to time,
To see her children being children
On the living room floor.
How is it that I became mother?
Happy to be locked out of the game,
Loving the fun of it more
Than that dark-haired little girl could have imagined.
Let me preface this by saying that, overall, I am much happier as a freelancer than I was as full-time staff. I enjoy the control I have over the projects I take and how much time to give to them. I like being able to be home with my kids (most of the time) and still have a professional life. I will most likely continue to freelance once both boys are in school full-day.
That said, the emotional highs and lows associated with the beginnings and ends of projects as a freelancer can be intense. It goes like this.
My project is ending. Relief. Happiness. Wait, I have nothing lined up. Oooo, I have nothing lined up. Freedom. I can make doctors appointments and volunteer at school. Wait, I have nothing lined up. I have nothing lined up. No work! No money! PANIC!
Nearly every time this happens, it is followed by:
The project ends. Someone emails me and offers me a new project. Yay, a new project! Work! Money! Wait, a new project. Stress. No freedom. No doctor’s appointments or volunteering. PANIC!
I almost always take the new project. The fear of never getting another one fuels my need to take what is offered. I just started something new and am in the panicky, how will I fit it all in mode. One of my biggest problems is that I rely solely on my mother-in-law for childcare and lately it hasn’t been cutting it time-wise. I have no one to call if I need to see a doctor (which I’ve been putting off) or go in to Brady’s class (which I have lined up already). Having another source of childcare would probably make my work-life balance a lot more, well, balanced. I need to work on this. But the quizzes I need to edit are calling to me. I’ll work on it later, when this project ends…right? I also mostly work from home, while my mother-in-law is here with the kids. This is far from optimal. I think I may have to go back to working from Starbucks for the sake of my sanity.
Freelancer parents, or just freelancers in general, how do you handle the balance? Do you work from home or find another place? Do you hire someone to watch your kids while you work or work around them? Do you panic at the end or beginning of a new project? Share with me!
In an attempt to blog more I’ve decided to throw in some short little things here and there. Mostly about parenting I think.
This just happened:
Declan and I were playing with Play-Doh. I needed to pee.
Me: Deca, if I go to the bathroom will you eat the Play-Doh?
Me: Will you?
Me: If Mummy leaves to go to the bathroom will you eat the Play-Doh?
Me: Do we eat Play-Doh?
Me: If I leave will you eat it?
We did about 4 rounds of this before I decided that peeing would just have to wait until all of the Play-Doh containers were closed.
I should probably go pee now, huh?
No, not those days, THOSE days! Today was one of those days that made me feel like an awesome mom who enjoys time with her children and isn’t bogged down by everything. It’s mid-winter break (why do we have this again?) in these parts so Brady is off school all week. Since the husband was off Monday and my mother-in-law was here yesterday and will be tomorrow so I can finish up a project and Brady is going into the husband’s office on Friday, today is the only day of the break I had alone with the kids.
Anyway, I had plans to make today count, but then there was all this snow that caused me to miss a lot of working time and my trip to Pittsburgh for my niece’s birthday and I sort of forgot to make any specific plans. Last night I was searching the interwebs for ideas of what to do with these boys in this drippy weather. I finally just decided to take the bus over the American Museum of Natural History to JUST see the dinosaurs. Anything more than one area and I knew I would be done for. A specific, and brief, plan is needed for a visit to AMNH with two children.
Somehow we were out the door at exactly 9:45 with zero screaming (what?). Both boys were perfectly behaved. It was somehow not crowded at all. Brady was eager to read the plaque on each exhibit and share the information with his brother and I. We came across a little museum cafe just as the kids got hungry. We even got to spend some time in the Earth and Space Center. We took the bus back after lunch and Declan fell asleep as we walked back from the bus stop. It was perfection. I even managed to get Brady to martial arts this afternoon with no complaining. A minor miracle for sure.
Of course, I sat down to write this and they started fighting over the couch cushions, which ended with both of them screaming and crying. Can’t win em all. I’ll hold onto this.
Yep, with a little help from my friends. Two Saturdays ago I turned 35. The night before my friends took me out. We had a wonderful time, drinking wine and chatting for hours. We had so much fun, that I didn’t realize how late it was until I walked in my door to see the clock reading 12:28! What? I don’t stay out past midnight!
Although the conversation and the drinks were great, my favorite part of the night was the card that my friends gave me. Each of them had written a little note inside about our friendship and I was touched to tears. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people love you, even if you love them to bits yourself. When I re-read the card the next day I was reminded of two blog posts I made early on in my blogging (and mothering) career. First this one from early October 2008. I felt so incredibly lonely in my early days as a stay-at-home mom. I was completely unmoored and had no one to cling to. The friends I had contact with had no children and my friends with children lived far and, well, had children they needed to attend to.
Then I met these two women in a sandbox at a playground when Brady mooched snacks from them, just a few weeks before his first birthday. I liked them and was lucky enough that they liked me back and realized that I needed to be stalked via email and text in order to believe that someone actually wanted to spend time with me. Then I wrote this post in early November that same year. At the time I was just really happy not to be home all day, every day by myself with Brady. It had less to do with nursing than I thought back then. I was searching for any reason to connect with people. It’s so odd to think about not knowing them because now, in many ways, our lives are intertwined. They are my comfort zone.
I didn’t know that these women would become such an incredibly important part of my life. They introduced me to other moms and somehow four of us have stuck together, through preschool and kindergarten, through a second round of babies, through bad times, good times, jobs and staying home, whining and rejoicing. We became the moms hanging out in the park as our kids played on the lawn, taking classes together, and so much more.
Here we are, five years later, out drinking on my 35th birthday. Totally amazing. I really can’t explain what it means to me to have people in my life who support me and understand me and love me for me. My loneliness in those early months of Brady’s life is in such stark contrast to how I feel today. Sometimes I wonder how I could ever have survived it. I’m blessed, I’m lucky, however you want to put it. I am grateful to have these ladies in my life.
If you’ve got kids over the age of 4, you’ve probably heard of, or most likely have, Rainbow Loom. It’s the thing used to make those rubber-band bracelets/necklaces/rings that you see kids wearing. Rainbow Loom was one of the top items on Brady’s Christmas list and Grandma fulfilled his wish. He has been busily making bracelets ever since. He makes them for himself and he gives them to everyone we know. From what I hear, this is the usual course of events when a Rainbow Loom comes into your home. The novelty eventually wears off and the loom is set aside to be used more infrequently.
I love that Brady is into making things that are quiet and help with fine motor skills. I also love that both girls and boys are obsessed with something used to make jewelry. But most of all, I love to make things on the loom. Yes, me. During the cold and snow we had last weekend we were stuck inside quite a bit so Brady and I decided to attempt some more difficult designs on the loom. We went to the website and found the instructional videos and chose a bracelet we felt was cool and doable.
The first one we tried went fairly well. Brady helped me to place the bands part of the time and I followed along with the bored-sounding woman with mauve gel nails as she instructed me on how to make a lovely Rainbow Ladder Bracelet. Hooray! Of course, I may have gotten a bit exasperated, pausing and restarting the video several times. It’s possible that I told my children to “please be quiet while I concentrate” just a few times. It may have ended up being just me on the loom.
Yesterday was ridiculously cold so we were stuck in after school. I suggested to Brady that we try another bracelet. He got out the iPad and this time we chose a “beginner” level bracelet. Beginner my butt! This one involved a chart of colors used and patterns of how to place and loop the bands. Brady was out after the first time I restarted the video. He told me several times to “maybe give up Mommy.” I found myself yelling at that woman with the damned mauve nails several times. How was I supposed to follow her if she was going so fast?!?! But after re-placing and re-looping maybe half a dozen times or so I had a Single Rhombus Bracelet in the colors of the New York Knicks. I made that! Me! I conquered the patten and completed it!
Last night when the kids were in bed I had to stop myself from taking out the loom and trying a new design. I found myself fantasizing about tiny little gumbands. This morning when Brady was attempting a fishtail before school I jumped when he said he wouldn’t have enough time and that I could loop the bands for him.
I’m thinking that maybe I need a creative outlet! Do you have one?