I have most of my “serious” conversations over text these days. As a mom of a 2-year-old, I only have a handful of quiet pockets of time each day, most of which are usually spent catching up on work, answering emails, doing laundry (or at least thinking about doing laundry), and some form of self-care, which typically entails lying on the couch and staring into space for as long as possible. Gone are the days when I could spend an hour (or more) on the phone with my best friends, or G-chat into oblivion during a lazy afternoon.
Getting into it over text isn’t ideal, in part because I overthink everything, particularly when I’m talking about something serious — or revealing something raw. A few months ago, I found myself in one of those ~serious~ group texts with my two best friends from college, trying to form words and sentences to articulate thoughts that had only existed, up until that point, in a foggy loop inside my brain. In typical fashion, I followed up a giant blue brick of text with a few emojis and “Sorry to unleash on you guys LOL.”
As customary for true friends, they responded immediately with “Don’t apologize” / “You have nothing to be sorry for.” And then, one of them added: “We’ll always hold space for your feelings. You can talk to us about anything.”
While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.
My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.
I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.
For years growing up, I believed I could talk to ghosts.
I attribute some of that supernatural inclination to the fact that I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid; after reading The Baby-Sitters Club book when Dawn found a secret passageway in her house, I spent more time than I’ll ever admit knocking on walls in my childhood home, listening for a hollow sound on the other side. I was always the first to suggest the ouija board at sleepovers, even if we didn’t use it so much to summon spirits, but rather to ask if our crushes liked us back.
But mostly, I thought I could talk to ghosts because my best friend in third grade convinced me that I could. Or, more accurately, she could; I just listened.
Since I was a teenager, I started my day the exact same way: with a cup of coffee, usually in a cute mug, with a splash of something. That “something” has evolved over time; first, it was skim milk and sugar, then just skim milk, then soy milk, then nothing at all, then almond milk, and now, a blend of almond and coconut milk. But coffee has arguably been more than just a beverage, more than just a staple in my morning routine. For every significant chapter, every significant event in my life, coffee has somehow been involved. It’s more than a drink; it’s a moment, a marker in time, an olive branch, a vice, a grain of a memory.
I’ve had a lot of change lately. That’s an understatement, actually. In the last year, I’ve gotten pregnant, been promoted, had a baby, went back to work, quit my job, started freelancing full time, and dyed my hair blue.
Things have changed so much so fast, and I still feel like I am reeling.
Here’s what I know: I am happier than I have ever been, probably because I feel more like myself than I ever have. My life is finally a representation of my values, and that feels amazing and right and whole.
But I also feel like I’m floundering. Each time I start to find a rhythm, I am pummeled by change. The carpet is ripped out from under my feet, and I have to start all over again. Continue reading →
I never knew many things before becoming a mother. I had heard “stories” from other parents but like many people, I thought “surely those are myths.” And then I became a mom and boy did things change.
I never knew how scary it was caring for another tiny little human. How delicate I’d think she was. How afraid I’d be to make the wrong decision in even the simplest of situations. I never knew I wouldn’t leave the house on time ever again. Or that when I’d finally leave, I’d be toting around a giant bag of everything in the house. Continue reading →
This weekend Andrew and I were reminiscing about when our son was a baby. I mean, he is almost 13 months. But 13 months is a lot different than 3 months. I miss the early days with him, when he needed to be held all the time, when it was ok to snuggle him as much as we wanted, when there was no such thing as spoiling the baby. When I would wake up and see my husband in the nursery, asleep with him in his arms in our green glider. Getting up with him in the middle of the night, sharing the responsibility, getting bottles and diapers and swaddles ready.
I have fond memories at our little house with our new little baby. The house I bought on my own at 30, because after I took the trip of a lifetime and recognized I didn’t need anyone or anything to live my life, I finally felt empowered and I took the leap into home-ownership. It was an adorable 2 bedroom home with a 1 car garage, a pretty red door and the cutest bathrooms. It had a kitchen with exposed cabinets and that 60s charm. It had an oven in the wall that was so small hardly any of my dishes fit in it, but man did it cook fast. My girlfriend and I painted half the basement right away – a beautiful shade of light blue, with white trim. It felt beachy and relaxing. I broke my foot the day I moved, and she helped me set up the basement so we could watch Star Wars and eat pizza. As time went on, I made more changes to make it mine. I hung pictures from twine in the hallway. I painted the small wall in the dining room a dark purple, and hung an eclectic mix of artwork around the window. It was so decidedly me. I loved it. Continue reading →
Going out is fun. But it’s expensive. Food, drinks, movies, concerts. They add up quickly. Sometimes we’re asked to make the unfortunate choice between what we want to do and what we can afford to do. Where’s the fun in that?
While some things you can’t change – for example, concert ticket prices are out of your hands – there are ways you can cut back on the expense of going out so that you can get more for your money. In other words, you absolutely can have your cake and eat it too.