When Did I Become…?

As I was making the beds this morning and turning down the heat in the bedrooms for the day, I realized something.

I have been a stay-at-home mom for three years. I guess that the official date was about two weeks ago when school started back but yes. Three years. That was when I started my FML from my teaching position, deciding that I wanted to stay home and officially resigning later on that summer.

As I made the beds, folded blankets, and picked up clothes for the laundry, I came to realize that I have settled into a routine of being a SAHM, of caring for our daughter, my husband, our home, and myself (the last is still in process). I am learning to better ask for help and time when I need it (in fact, the grandparents are coming over to spend time with my girl while I run errands out in the snow today). I have settled into the joys of organization, my brand-new family calendar in its place of pride on the side of the fridge (Thank you, Mom! The old one was quite on its last legs.) with everyone’s activities for the month listed out as well as copied onto our family Google calendar, so we can keep track of each other. The bank’s new app is uploaded onto my phone (still need to do this to hubbie’s phone), so we can have access to accounts/amounts whenever we need it. My girl’s first dance class will start in two weeks so she needs to be outfitted for that, naturally.

I think I’ve really settled into this SAHM gig.

Having said that, though, it may end sooner than I anticipate. Elizabeth is three. Preschool looms on the horizon (as soon as we can deal with this potty training nonsense), which means that I will need to/be looking for a new position somewhere. Now that is a frightening thought if I am being completely honest. There are lots of frightening thoughts for me in being a SAHM.

  • Am I doing right by my daughter?
  • Am I spending enough time with her?
  • Am I teaching her the skills (educational and life) that she needs?
  • Am I teaching her to be independent?
  • Am I unconsciously doing for her what she needs to do for herself?
  • Am I teaching her that I am there for her?
  • Does she feel loved?
  • Does she feel heard?
  • Am I giving enough time to my husband?
  • Are he and I connecting enough?
  • Does he feel heard by me?
  • Does he feel loved and appreciated?
  • Am I giving enough time to myself?
  • Do I feel loved, heard, appreciated?
  • Am I connecting with my own heart, soul, and body enough?
  • Am I connecting to God’s heart enough?

The worries will abound, if I let them. The worries could drown me, if I let them. The worries could leave me paralyzed with fear, if I let them.

So I won’t.

I will take comfort in the truth that I know what I am doing, even when I don’t. That I am trying my best, even when I fall short. That I am doing much better than I think I am at this SAHM gig.


Sunday Share: Reading Time

Yesterday, as we were all in the living room, Elizabeth went to her book box and pulled out SkippyJon Jones, which she handed to me, and then she got The Bear Went Over the Mountain, which she handed to Ben, and then she pulled out her book of colors and sat down on the floor with it. So everyone in the family had a book and we had reading time together. It was rather sweet…and encouraging.

Mom Moment Monday: A Year Ago Today

Elizabeth’s first nap at home.

A year ago today was Elizabeth’s first full day home from the hospital. It had been a rough previous day and night of trying to breastfeed but, ultimately, she was a content baby and slept most of the time away, like newborns do.  I look at this picture and she’s so tiny, swaddled in her blanket. And then I look at her napping in her crib today and I can hardly believe it’s the same child; she’s grown and changed so much in the past year.

I was so out of it after coming home. Having had a c-section, I was still in a great deal of pain, my stomach still distended (which, incidentally, was a WEIRD experience), walking, getting up from sitting, all those normal things were difficult to do unassisted. And then there was nighttime. Elizabeth was content to sleep all day and then wake up on the dot every two hours. For the first week, we slept with a lamp on in the bedroom and I slept sitting upright in the bed with her bassinet beside me, because it hurt too much to get up and down from lying on my back whenever she needed me. Of course, that first week was very rough for both Ben and I between the failed breastfeeding and nighttime changes and feedings, as well as my healing and feelings of being overwhelmed and a failure at something so purportedly ‘natural’ as breastfeeding.

And yet, here we are, one year later. Elizabeth is hale, hearty, and healthy, coming upon her first active Christmas. I am constantly amazed by her and what she can do and continually learns to do. Her personality is wonderful and strong and we clash, as parents and children often do (doesn’t matter if she’s 1 or 16, it’ll happen), but then she toddles over and lays her head on my knee and my heart melts all over again.

Thank you, my darling girl, for being so wonderful and giving me such an amazing year.

Milestone: 1 Year

photo (1)

As my husband says, I look like I’ve been hit by a truck here. Yeah, I felt that way, too. But this moment, it’s the only moment that I allowed myself to be photographed, even requested it. Because I wanted to remember that first moment of ultimate joy with Elizabeth.

Tomorrow, my baby girl will be one year old. I don’t quite know how to put all of that into words. I don’t at all, actually. When I look back through all of the pictures, read through her baby book, look at the portraits on the wall, and see her toddling around or reaching her arms up to be picked up by Mum-mum or Dada, I just…marvel.

Here is this little life that was lifted out of me almost a year ago, whom I fearfully bundled up and brought home through the snow several days later. Here is this babe whom I recorded with the hiccups on her week-old-day in the wee hours of the morning. Here is this baby girl who greets me with a smile and a bounce in the mornings, who sets up a wail when I tell her no or when her loved ones leave. Instead of a tiny baby cuddled in my arms, there is this fearless, energetic kid starting to walk quickly around my living room, squealing and laughing and playing. It’s amazing, beyond words amazing.

So, Elizabeth, on your first birthday, I want you to know how amazing your Mum-mum and Dada think you are, as do everyone P6else in your life and everyone you meet. Thank you for blessing and challenging us this year, and we are looking forward to many more wonderful years with you, my little love.

Thoughtful Thursday

To Serve and Protect

I have a small cold, had a bit of a sore throat yesterday and some congestion today. I live in mortal fear that Elizabeth will get sick and feel terrible, made all the more likely by the fact that I am primary care giver/stay-at-home mom. I have held off from kissing her at all today, though you cannot help holding a little one close at different times during the day (feeding, naptime, etc.). I already had to struggle with her to wipe a snotty nose, but those never seem to last long with her. I just don’t want her to feel poorly, ever.

I know, I know, she will get sick. She will get hurt. And all I can do is be there to take care of her and help the pain go away. But I am supposed to protect her from harm, aren’t I? I’m her mommy. I want her to always be my bouncing baby girl who loves to laugh and play, but, even just today, she’s been fussy and, at times, obviously not feeling too well. She rebounds quickly, my girl, but those times are still heartbreaking, however brief they may be.

A Change in Arena

**Edited for correct syntax**

A really big, change, actually. Starting on Monday, I am officially a stay-at-home mommy for the next year. I made the decision to stay home with Elizabeth, spend this formative time with my daughter, but also to save money on daycare and to not be quite as big a tax on my in-laws’ time. They had offered to take care of Elizabeth during the day if I chose to go back to work and I am beyond grateful for their generosity towards us and their granddaughter. not just them. My mother had also contemplated coming back up from the Cayman Islands to stay for a few months and help care for Elizabeth if I had gone back to work. I cannot thank you all enough for the offer, as well as for the support for my decision.

I have been teaching for six and a half years, ever since I got out of graduate school. This will be the first time that I haven’t been teaching since leaving college. It’s pretty big to me, along with the life changes that we will need to make as a family, adjustments to budgets, spending, saving, etc. I’m doing my best to be a frugal and wise steward of our finances, while making sure that our family has what they need, especially Elizabeth. Aside from that, I know that being home with Elizabeth won’t be easy all of the time. She’s a human being, too, and a child to boot. She has her bad days just like I do, and she cannot express the reasons for her bad days like I can, so it involves much more guesswork and reliance on gut instinct. I will try to keep to the things she likes (that we both like), like walks before her naps, as well as adding more reading time, music time, and perhaps some more different forms of gross motor play.

I am very glad and thankful to be able to do this, as I know many mothers who cannot afford to. I love my little girl and it makes my heart so warm to hear her babble “mama”, “dada”, “nana”, to watch her trying to crawl. I know that this year is going to be a type of amazing that I have never experienced before.


Do Babies Have Favorites?

Daddy's GirlWhen I was a pregnant (and I think I’ve told this story before), a friend of mine warned Ben that there would most like be a “mommy-only” period. He went through one where his son would scream whenever he tried to pick him up. His advice to Ben was, “Don’t take it personally. Just give your little one space and it’ll right itself.” Funnily enough, no one warned me, nor did I think, about Elizabeth being a Daddy’s girl. But, from what I can see right now, she definitely is. She adores her Daddy, always has a smile for him, laughs at his songs and tickles. It makes me smile to see her laugh and play with Ben, but I cannot deny the little twinge inside that reminds me that I hope that she and I will be close, too, as she grows. I want her to miss me when I’m gone and be glad when I return. I want her to tell me about her day when she gets home from daycare, preschool, or school. I want her to do all those same things with Ben, too.

Sometimes I wonder if she’s tired of me, seeing me day in and day out; if she gets bored of me. I know that she’s only five-and-a-half months old and babies do get bored at times; I just wish I knew if it was me, if there’s a new way of playing with, talking to, or reading to her that would make her happy when she is feeling fussy or displeased. I am still learning her and she’s still learning me.

I want Elizabeth to be comfortable with Ben. I want her to fall asleep in her Daddy’s arms, to cling to him when she’s scared, to smile at him when she’s happy. I want him to have the same physical closeness with her that I do and I would love an emotional closeness for all of us.