My end of 2016 Gratitude List

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a gratitude list of 50 things I’m grateful for. I remembered that post recently when I thought ahead to the New Year. I feel a lot of fear when I think about what is to come next year and beyond, but fear doesn’t do a lot of good unless it motivates some sort of positive action. I have been working to incorporate doing good every day (more on that later), but positive action can also include acknowledging all the things that are right with the world. After all, a perfect antidote to anxiety and uncertainty is reflecting on the many reasons to be thankful.

If you’re like me and you’re feeling anxious—whether that’s from the incoming president or post-Christmas bills—I invite you to make a gratitude list, too. It may just help you feel better about the end of 2016 and look forward to the New Year.

This New Year, instead of making resolutions, I'm writing a gratitude list. What are YOU thankful for? Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Some days

Some days I wake up and take in Kiwi’s wide-open eyes and marvel at how lucky I am to be her mama. Some days I get Peeper out of bed and ask her, “Is it going to be a good day?” And when she says, “Yes!” I am all-in.

Today is not one of those days.

I feel wrung out. I spent part of last night crying and all of it worrying about Kiwi. It’s probably regular newborn stuff, but I’m anxious that her inability to stay asleep, her grunting noises, even the spit bubbles that collect on her lips, reveal something deeper that is wrong.

I skated by in my second pregnancy without the worries of my first. “I got this,” I figured, and I did. I found the answers to the things I’d forgotten about without spiraling into a bout of anxiety.

I thought I’d ease into new motherhood again in the same way. Imagine my surprise, then, when breastfeeding was still hard. Really, really hard. And when I asked things like “Does her belly look distended to you?” And when I found myself paralyzed over whether to unwrap Kiwi’s swaddle or not.

Motherhood, like anything, is riding the ups and downs that come like a tide—if a tide changed every three minutes. It just so happens that I’m in an ebb, and that means not wanting to get out of bed. It means I don’t want to do today.

Probably in five minutes I’ll see Kiwi smile—a new development that lights up the entire house. I’ll eat some breakfast. Peeper will tell me all about the zoo train she is building and the animals she remembers seeing the last time we visited. Maybe I’ll even drink a cup of tea to counteract the zombie brain of waking I-can’t-remember-how-many-times last night.

Will it be a good day? I’m pretty sure it will be. But for the few moments I steal in bed, typing this on my phone, I’d rather go back to sleep and let the day enjoy itself.

Pregnancy whiplash

Toddler baby bump snugglesPregnancy is weird: It swings you from one extreme to the other fast enough to give you whiplash.

Take yesterday. I had just put Peeper down for a nap when I was overcome with energy and inspiration—a rare combo for this nearly 40-week-pregnant lady. I took the surge out on our Forester and cleaned the bejesus out of it. All of Peeper’s 87 books went into a bag; the car toys went into another bag; random things that accumulated but didn’t belong there (several sippy cups, silverware and—um—a ukulele) journeyed inside. And—get this—I vacuumed the eff out of that sucker. I had no idea how much dog hair, bunny crackers and sand (oh the sand!) had coated every surface.

Then I lay down in bed and ate cherries and read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please for a very long time while Peeper graciously continued to nap.

Another example: I’ll be so hungry that I can literally feel my body breaking down muscles and tissues and important organs to feed itself. Then I’ll look at a sandwich and want to cry because I’m suddenly so full that my stomach is crowding my lungs and I can’t breathe.

The swings can be a little overwhelming, even for onlookers. But somehow I’ve learned to ride the ins and outs like waves. Read more