I’m a walking zombie a lot of the time but I’m a happy one. As I get deeper into motherhood I see how one loses one’s self into it. I was fighting so hard at the beginning to “retain my identity” and now that isn’t so important in the same way. Now I see it as a temporary state, this full emersion as the mother of a baby.
My mother recently told me how she remembered my first full day of school. After dropping me off and returning home she thought, “Oh, I have a full day alone. I”ll listen to music now. Now, I’ll make something to eat. Well, what do I do now?”
I try to remember the things I would see her doing as I grew up. There were crafts, International Wive’s Clubs (charity organizations when we lived overseas), volunteering at my school, sewing costumes for us, making all of our lunches, taking us shopping for school supplies and driving us everywhere.
I never heard her say anything about, “What about me? I need my identity. I need my career.” It wasn’t for lack of ambition or intelligence. She quietly did all the house chores herself, never asked for recognition and laughed often, telling us that no one was going to make us happy, that it was up to ourselves.
I’m going to soak it all up, mothering my little one. These days will be gone someday. I’m still here.
My body was at the beach but I was in a cloud, chasing after a little waddling baby in the sand. There was no other choice than to be present except it felt like a dream.
There is something magical I’ve found in 5 hours of straight sleep. It was maybe a couple months after Grant was born that I first got that 5 hour stretch and I felt like a superhero. I think I baked a cake from scratch that day, called friends to make plans and cleaned the whole house.
Luckily there have been many 5 and 5+ hour stretches of sleep since then but the last week has given me no more than 4 hour segments and it has made me a mombie.
Oh it must be teething or having dreams or realizing he’s in his big room alone that wakes him often these past nights. Oh, maybe it’s the professional-level fireworks people in my neighborhood like to set off at 3 am and then sometimes at 2 am. Hopefully the gleam of fireworks is wearing off.
That mombie-ness does keep me in the present SO much. Making plans for the future or decisions about anything outside of what Grant has to eat next or how he is feeling or what he wants to do for fun is just not possible. HA!
What a gift amidst that dizzy, funny feeling of exhaustion.
If I had known then what I know now I would have taken the little baby away in a stroller for an hour so his parents could get some sleep.
We had some friends visiting us in Seattle with their one year old a few years ago. We had NO idea what that life was like. If I had known, I would have happily done the easiest little things to make their life SO much better during that visit!
I want to write this down so I can look back on it one day and remember what life was like these days as the mother of a one year old.
This is going to start out like I’m pretty spoiled and that’s probably right.
On the days Chris works from home my day starts with me waking up around 7-8 a.m. I hear Grant downstairs with Chris. Grant’s had breakfast and they are playing. There is often a drive through Starbucks coffee for me and sometimes even a little pastry.
OK, this sounds ridiculous. Do I do anything? Yes. I do.
Now Chris goes to shower while I nurse Grant and make us all breakfast. Chris gets started with work in his office while Grant and I play, go for a bike ride or a walk. Then bath time.
He gets sleepy after a couple of hours (he’s been up since 6:00 a.m.). Getting him to actually fall asleep could mean more nursing or carrying him in an Ergo (baby backpack) while I clean up breakfast.
Once he goes down to sleep, that is time to do laundry (something nearly impossible to do while Grant is awake). I do any little chore that involved up and downstairs etc.
Time for lunch! I make us all something to eat or once a week we go out for lunch-usually a hipster Vietnamese place that is SOOO good and feels healthy.
Go run an errand like diapers at Target or mail something at the post office. Walk IKEA with Grant in the Ergo while we share an ice cream. Meet a mom friend for a play date. Go to a swim lesson. Grocery shopping.
Nap time again. Hopefully I’ve timed this so that we are driving home from our afternoon activity and he falls asleep in the car on the way home. I take the carseat to his room when we get home.
I take a moment to do anything that takes my full attention like scheduling upcoming doctor appointments etc. Then I edit photos for work.
Grant wakes and it’s snack time!
We go to the park and he walks everywhere pointing at everything then scrunching his nose and stopping to dance.
Cook dinner then playtime.
Bedtime routine. We go to Grant’s room, read books, change clothes, brush teeth and then cuddle and nurse until he falls asleep.
He is usually asleep by this time. I clean up dinner while Chris picks up toys. We watch a show while I edit photos, write a blog post (been falling behind) and cruise social media. Chris looks at real estate and plays video games. We chit chat about news, make predictions about The Bachelorette. Then we go to sleep too late.
Adults go to sleep.
Grant wakes up and I go in to sooth and nurse him back to sleep. Hopefully this is the only wake-up. We have had many full nights of sleep but wake ups are pretty common. This process is now down to about 20 minutes. Then I go back to bed.
He has short spurts of self-play/entertainment throughout the day where I kind of check out and peruse Instagram or do some web window shopping. Every once in a while I will do a short phone call with someone to catch up.
I had no idea this is what toddler moms did during the day. There are a few hours in the day where I get to do stuff and I use most of that time to do chores or work.
So far this has been my favorite age for him because his personality is coming through and he is very interactive.
This is what people might have meant when they told me mom-life was isolating. Well, yes, compared to pre-mom life, there is less opportunity to feel connected to the world.
I get some anxiety about it sometimes-do people I love think I do not care about them because I haven’t called to check in on them? I wonder what they are doing? I will put it on my to-do list to call them tomorrow. Grant didn’t take any naps today so I didn’t get around to calling anyone… something came up and I had to to that during nap time instead of checking off my to-do list! HA!
I get to see everything through Grant’s eyes as he enjoys discovering. I also get to spend a lot of time with Chris. On weekends we see family and friends, making the rounds very slowly but surely. I get to work as a photographer at a pace that fits into all of this and it gives me the outlet I need.
Our next step is getting a routine baby sitter and start going on dates!
He licked the frosting off my finger and really thought about it for a minute. It was his first real taste of cake. My heart ached…oh to watch him enjoy a simple new pleasure, the guilt of giving him sugar, the end of a infant stage and seeing a little gentleman emerge from the little babe he recently was.
I know we picked the right name. We really knew him before we met him.
Grant loves to give hugs. He now fake-laughs when he hears people laughing. He LOVES his dad. He repeats things that I tell him I think are “so nice,” like when he once lay down as if taking a little break.
I relate to him by giving him his space and respecting his curiosity and then I indulge myself by smothering him with cuddles.
Vacation to Hawaii with 6 month old Grant was just like being home but better. A cruise followed by a week in Florida with 10 month old Grant (we live in California) was awesome and at times we wanted to die. HA!
At home, he was sleeping in his own room and only waking once if at all in the night. On the trip, we were in a mix of hotel rooms, the cruise ship, rental cars and my parents’ place. The new beds, temperatures and having us 6 inches away from him meant only 2 hour stints of sleep. Then we all got the flu.
There were many nights where Chris and I turned on each other during long crying bouts…”This is crazy…we’re never leaving the house…” HA! Then Grant goes to sleep and we kiss each other goodnight.
We haven’t been happier. Having our families around and getting to spend time with Grant has been one of the most wonderful feelings we’ve had. We also got to have a few dates!
We are back. He’s sleeping 10000% better and so are we. As soon as the sniffles subside I’m sure we’ll be planning our next trip.
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