Teetering

To teeter, kind of an odd-sounding phrase, huh? Well, that’s the only phrase that I can think of at the moment to describe where I’m at.

You see, last week I successfully defended my dissertation which means that I am no longer a graduate student. This is a pretty significant deal – I spent the last 7 years in graduate school.

When I first started the graduate school track I had a pretty clear idea of how it would turn out. I would graduate with my M.S. and then start up my own private practice. I did do that but I also decided to go ahead and get my Ph.D. while I was at it. So, now that I have finished both my Master’s and Ph.D. you would think that I have a clear idea of what’s next…but I honestly don’t.

I have some ideas/goals…I want to pursue a private practice here in Louisville, work toward becoming an AAMFT approved supervisor, and teach. In my mind, the trifecta.

But there’s a complication…I fell in love with being a mom. I simply had no idea how much I would enjoy motherhood.

IMG_1320For the past 9 months I have been beyond blessed to be able to stay at home with Ezra while working a couple of days a week to finish my dissertation and work for UK through an assistantship. It’s not that I don’t have that option now…I could easily work a few days a week and be “mom” a few days a week. It’s more so that (for some crazy reason) I let what others may think of this decision creep into my decision-making. How messed up is that?!

I seem to have fallen into that weird spot that many moms find themselves in. I am highly educated and motivated. I am also a good therapist and have a lot to offer the world. But I’m also highly qualified to stay at home and raise my son. I, after all, am the person who can calm him in an instant, who is obsessed with watching his every discovery, who loves him so deeply that it amazes me sometimes.

I will figure it out. I’m not worried about that for a second. My future, at some point, will involve the trifecta that I mentioned above – it may just be that I ease into the trifecta rather than rushing into it for the moment.

My challenge now is to not feel guilty for saying that I love where I’m at.

At the end of the day, babies only stay little for so long. I’m grateful to have a husband who views me as both a highly-educated individual and a good mom, who has my back, and who realizes how hard it is to figure this whole thing out.

 

 

.

 

 

6 years later…

Here I am. The lights are dimmed down low, the Christmas tree is lit, I am rocking my sweet, sleeping baby boy in my arms, and, of course, I am thinking.

I am thinking about how I struggle with just this, blogging. It’s personal and it’s weird to feel so compelled to write.

I chose to write because I lost my mom way too early and this is the one way that I feel most connected to her. Let me explain.

I am now at a point in my life where I have so many questions. For instance, right now, in this moment, I want to know if she was as  excited as I am for my first Christmas as a mama. I can’t ask her directly but I can write and imagine the conversation. She would say…I was beyond excited, I was tired because you were not yet sleeping through the night, but I was feeling exactly what you are feeling with Ezra right now.

So, I continue to write because I want to continue these conversations and because I want Ezra to be able to look back at these posts to see what it was like for his mom to be a 27 year old without having to imagine.

I write, in particular today, because the Christmas season is so bittersweet for me. For the last 5 years, it has reminded me of loss. These were the final weeks leading up to my mom’s death. They were weeks full of laughter, love, uncertainty, fear, and a  very dark and dominating presence of despair that had such a forcible hold on me as I watched my mom  fight so hard against something so…I don’t even have the words…sucky (our family mantra during and after the fight was, “THIS SUCKS!”).

Now, approaching year 6, I’m holding a new life full of so much promise. A little boy who is so incredibly loved. My whole world. The reason why Christmas is, once again, so much more sweet than bitter…I’ve been given the gift of motherhood, I’m loved by an incredibly loving man, and I have the most amazing friends and family (really, I do!).

So, this upcoming year will be the year of sweetness, the letting go of the bitter, the remembrance of the most wonderful woman I have ever known through the eyes of Ezra, and the occasional post.

Xo

 

Balance.

08-1-9It’s out there. This pervasive idea of balance – we all suffer as a result of it. Men, women, and children. However, something that I have noticed over the last seven weeks is that this ideal of balance holds heavy over moms. Moms must strive for balance – being the perfect wife, mother, housekeeper, friend, and career woman (all while striving for a knock out, shrink back to your post pregnancy or beyond body).

Where did this idea come from?

It’s not coming from my husband, family, or friends and yet I struggle with it on a daily basis.

The reality of the situation is that I will never achieve balance (at least in the way that society has defined balance). If I decide to be the perfect wife/mom/housekeeper/career woman/friend…(gulp), I won’t be the perfect wife/mom/housekeeper/career woman/friend. Eek! That’s a big pill to swallow. Does that make sense? If I strive to be perfect at one of my designated roles, I won’t be perfect at every other role.

I can’t do it all. I can’t be balanced. What I can be is perfectly imbalanced.

I can make the most of my days. I can learn to accept and embrace that I will be a better wife/mom/housekeeper/career woman/friend on some days and that other days will not be so stellar.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken small steps to embracing this idea of perfectly imbalanced.  I have (tried to) stop apologizing to my husband when he comes home from work and the laundry is folded but sitting on the couch or when I haven’t thought about dinner yet – he always tells me that it’s okay and that I have no reason to apologize, proof that this idea of balance is externally situated . I have hired a nanny to watch our little guy a few days a week so that I can finish my dissertation – and swallowed the accompanying guilt of leaving our little guy. This morning, I looked into yoga/Pilates classes in my area and committed to attending these classes – even though it will mean that I’ll be away from my husband and baby for a few hours.

I’ve taken these steps and I’m happy that I have but all along the way I have had to beat of the idea of balance in order to do so.

So, here’s to the idea of perfectly imbalanced.

In the thick of it.

I’m sitting on my couch. The same spot that I have been sitting in, hours on end, for the past four weeks. On my lap, lays Ezra, who is busy suckling away.

I just got home from a marathon trip to Target – my guilty pleasure shopping locale. However, this trip was different. Instead of leisurely strolling around the store, I practically ran. Why? Because I was terrified that my little guy would start to have a meltdown.

Ezra has this thing where he goes from 0 (happy, sleepy babe) to 10 (the shrillest cry that you can imagine) in the blink of an eye. It’s not that I mind the stares of fellow shoppers. It’s that the sound of his cry breaks my heart.

I already weathered a meltdown earlier this morning while I was in the shower. Those 5 minutes were tough. I struggled to wash the shampoo out of my hair in record time while debating whether or not I should go ahead and shave so that, on the off chance that my husband and I get to cuddle tonight for a minute in between diapers and nursing, I would have relatively smooth legs.

In case you were wondering, I shaved. But not without guilt which was evidenced by the fast sprint that I made to Ezra’s swing where I scooped him up in my arms and apologized over and over again until his cry subsided.

After I soothed Ezra to sleep, I managed to start a load of laundry, tidy up the house a bit, and squeeze into a pair of jeans that are slightly too small for my post pregnancy body but that will do – how many days can I wear leggings and feel human?

Then, the trip to Target happened where I bought diapers, baby socks, and diaper genie refills. Oh, and face wash which I have gone without for the past three weeks (it’s the small things that are now considered luxury).

Now, I sit here typing on my phone, nursing once more, and praying that my little boy is getting enough breast milk to satisfy his ping pong ball sized tummy. You see, when you are in the thick of it, you worry about everything – a trip to Target, a shower, a clean house, fitting into a pair of jeans, and, most importantly, that nothing bad happens to your baby, especially by fault of your own hands.

To put it simply, I’m in the thick of it. It’s hard. It’s tiring. It makes me question myself daily. But it’s worth it. It has taught me what it means to love without abandon. Most importantly, it has taught me that anything is possible.

Fallacy.

Have you ever had someone stop you mid-sentence to tell you that what you believe is a fallacy? In other words, that what you believe is void of reason, senseless, invalid.

I have. Maybe I should be thankful that my first encounter with the word fallacy was yesterday. Or, maybe I have every right to be as angered as I am.

I was mid-sentence, sharing a belief when the word was shot out to inform me that what I believe, what I embrace is void of reason, senseless, and invalid. In other words…You silly 25 year old girl, what do you know? When you’re my age and you magically sprout a penis, you’ll know how things really are. 

Don’t ask someone what they believe if you are not in a place to listen to their words. 

Don’t ask someone what they believe if you will meet their words with belittling words. 

Don’t ask someone what they believe if you do so with the sole purpose of asserting your own beliefs. 

When someone opens up to you, to share something personal (rather it be big or little), it is a privilege. An absolute privilege.

As a human being, that is something to take seriously. I disagree with people on a daily basis but I will never belittle someone for what they believe or who they are.

 

 

Wishing you were here.

I am now a woman of 25…much different than the young woman left behind at 21.  At that age, I thought that I had most of what I needed from you.

So, in those final moments when I had you within arm’s reach, I did not know what to ask.  I remember asking for your crepe recipe (I’ve used it several times), telling you that I love you (I still say it out loud with the hope that you can somehow hear it where you are), talking to you about babies (how desperately you regretted not being able to hold them), trying on your wedding dress (while watching you pull down the sleeves even though AB and I knew that it wasn’t the sleeves but the length of my arms), and wishing for your pain to end.

But now, at 25, there is so much more that I want to talk about…what it meant for you to be a woman, wife, and mother.  What it meant for you to be “Dee.” After all, you are the greatest role model I have ever known.

It is when I think about these things that I experience the sinking pit in my stomach because I know that I can’t ask you.

What I can do is to share who you were with the people who never got to meet you, reminisce with the people who loved you, cook your most memorable dishes, hug our family close, and be thankful for the time that I did have with you.

Content.

This page has been sitting here for months. Blank, empty, screaming out for my attention. I tried my best to pay it the attention that it craved but couldn’t connect with it. I would sit and try to write. Scanning my mind to figure out what I wanted to say. What I wanted to put out into the world in a very public way.

I figured out why I was unable to bring myself to do it. I wasn’t content. I felt scrambled inside. It’s hard to write coherently about your life and what you think/feel when you feel scrambled.

Content. I like that word. For me, content is an acknowledgement that while all may not be settled…it’s settled enough to be happy. What a relief to be able to say that I am here.

I’m not exactly sure of the direction that this blog will take. What I do know is that it will reflect me and challenge me to be authentic.

 kb.jpg