I often question myself when it comes to motherhood. I always think I could do better. But if I’m being honest, I think I’m a pretty awesome mom. This is my 2nd year being a mom to not one, but two kids. It’s hard to remember the days when there was only one. I’m so beyond lucky that my children love each other as much as they do, it makes my job easier. Motherhood is HARD. It’s tiring, frustrating. It’s all the nightmares and horror stories that you hear. But it’s worth it. Do I sometimes envy people who are childless? Oh god yes! I go to people’s houses that don’t have kids, and the first thing I do is swoon over all of their books and art and knickknacks that are actually appropriately shelved and displayed. Unlike my house where anything of value must be put away, out of the reach of destructive toddler hands. I envy their time to enjoy doing what they want to do, as opposed to what they have to do. I am longing for the days when I can reclaim some of MY hobbies and interests. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change it. I mean think about it – I made PEOPLE. It’s easy to overlook that when you just say “I have kids.” Many people do it, like it’s no big deal. It’s a HUGE fucking deal. They are a direct reflection of A. and I in every single way. In the hard times this year, that has given me comfort. We may be feeling like failures, like complete train-wrecks that can’t get anything right. But then I look at these kids, and I know it’s not true. They are so smart, so beautiful, and most importantly so kind. They are goodness and sweetness and everything that is right with the world personified. If I never do anything right again, if the rest of my life is a hopeless struggle, I will still have accomplished the most important thing – raising these kids.
|Mini & Monkey as a mime & Batman for Halloween this year.|
I have always enjoyed cooking, and think I’ve always been fairly good at it. I have a southern mama, who’s the best cook EVER, and an dad who grew up in Italian neighborhoods in New England. Needless to say, food was an important thing in our house. I started learning to cook when I was pretty young, and continued as I grew up, but never had much time to devote to it.
Well, this year I got my chance. I was home, without a job, and cooking became so important to me. It was comforting. When I was feeling overwhelmed and depressed, I went to the kitchen and I baked. Not because I really wanted to eat whatever it was, but because the process soothed me. Cooking is very meditative and ritualistic to me. I couldn’t survive without things like that. For example – I haven’t owned a coffee maker in over 10 years. I use a french press. Yes, it makes great coffee, but the reason I do it, is because I have gotten so accustomed to the habit, the morning ritual that involves filling the kettle and putting it on the stove, rinsing out and refilling the press, pouring the boiling water, stirring the whole mixture and waiting for it to steep. I have a lot of little rituals like that. They keep me sane in uncertain times.
Baking and cooking became like that for me this year. I could always escape to the kitchen when I didn’t know what else to do. Lucky for me, my other half is just as much of a foodie as I am, and my kids are becoming great eaters as well, so my hard work never goes without a huge helping of praise. In addition to the praise from my family and friends, becoming a better cook and baker have helped build confidence in me when I had very little, and it’s something I truly enjoy. In fact one of my goals for the new year is to start a cooking/baking blog in earnest. We’ll see how it goes.
This is an all new superpower for me this year. I started this journey back in the spring as an effort get in better shape, and lose some leftover baby weight. I lasted two weeks, had a bad run and quit. I started again this summer, more determined, and ready to take on the challenge. After two weeks in bad shoes, my severe shin splints sidelined me yet again. I was beyond bummed. I had really started to enjoy it and didn’t want to quit, but I had to recover (and get my hands on some new shoes.) After a month or so I did both, and on October 6, 2011 I started the journey for the final time. The third time was definitely the charm for me. It was still hard, but I pushed through. The new shoes didn’t magically cure my shin splints – time did. I was scared that once again, I wouldn’t make it past Week 2.
But here I am. Yesterday I finished my last Week 5 run. (Yes, it’s been longer than 5 weeks since I started, but in the early weeks I didn’t run 3x a week like the program suggested. I took it at my own pace, and did what I felt comfortable with to avoid injury.) 5 weeks ago I could barely run 1/8th of a mile without being winded and feeling like I was going to die. Yesterday I ran for 20 minutes straight – right around 2 miles. I did it, and I’m still amazed. My running friends told me the entire time to “trust the program” and “trust yourself.” As you can imagine and as I mentioned in the last post, these are hard things for me. I don’t trust anything easily. I’ve been screwed over far too many times for that. But it worked. Even when I believed in my head that I couldn’t do it, my body proved me wrong.
I have never been an athlete. I was a cheerleader in high school, in great shape, but I couldn’t even run in gym class. I was convinced it was just something my body was incapable of. I was wrong. And I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. This year running has taught me so much and I’m sure there are many more lessons to come.