Night-Owl Blues.

…life is not about perfection or great leaps, but about practicing being a better version of ourselves at every opportunity we can.

Last night I made the responsible decision to get to sleep early. So about 9:30 I curled up in bed with my book. At 10 I put the book aside and switched off my reading light. The moon shone in my window. This is a rare occasion; I live in an urban place so these nights when the moon is positioned just so, so I can watch as it creeps across my window, I can’t help but track it’s voyage. As I did so, I thought about how amazing I was going to feel the next morning, all rested and ready for the week….HA, who am I kidding? As usual, my “night-time brain,” as I’ve come to think of it, kicks in. And suddenly, I’m awake. 

Whether by nature or by nurture, I am most definitely a “night person.” I love the feel that all the world is sleeping but me (I know this is not the case). I love the dark. I LOVE the quiet. As my clock flicked on past 10:33…11:11 (lucky, so I made a wish), 12:09…I thought about my ongoing battle with the nighttime…the clock…the dreaded morning. 

This is not a new experience for me. High school? Not a stellar attendance record. College? Nope. And while in the beginning of both of my girls’ lives, my husband and I managed through those bleary-eyed, caffeine and exhaustion buzzed months, as our lives eventually settled into something resembling a schedule, I again would find myself  back to pushing into the late hours of the night time and thoroughly pissed when my girls came bouncing in the morning.

I think part of my problem is that I am in awe of the 5am folks. I want to be one. Up! Exercised! Glowing and dressed! Pets? They’re already fed! Lunches? Packed! I WANT TO BE ONE! I have set out to accomplish this goal many times. BUT here’s the kicker, an important realization and ongoing struggle for me: I want to be a lot of things. There are an endless number of bits of myself and my life that I wish were better. I wish I ate more healthfully. I want to exercise more regularly. I’d love to shed about 20lb. I’d like to dress in the clothes I wore in college. I’d like to find more time for my hobbies. I think it’d be good to keep in better contact with friends and family. I should spend more time practicing Russian as it’s the only language my in-law speaks. Meditating would most definitely make me nicer. I have a pile of books by wise folks that I’m itching to read. I also need to groom more often (sorry, TMI).

When we’re choosing how to better ourselves, as I believe we all should, we must be decisive. Our willpower reserves and time are limited. Over the past several months, for example, I’ve quit Diet Coke. This has been quite a will-power challenge for me. Once a “venti red-eye several times a day” kinda gal, now my Starbucks order is generally decaffeinated and often not coffee at all. While I don’t know if I’d call it “regular,” I do drag myself to yoga class. I haven’t managed to squeeze into clothes from my school days, but I have managed to ditch the scale and buy some clothes that actually fit and I feel good in. I am not advancing in all areas of my life, but I am growing in some. And as I’m making small, manageable changes, I’m reminded repeatedly that life is not about perfection or great leaps, but about practicing being a better version of ourselves at every opportunity we can.

The last time I looked at the clock was 12:11. This morning, I did not feel happy when my 3.5 y.o. came prodding me with the remotes to turn on Scooby Doo. Eventually I would peel myself out of bed and get myself and my girls ready. Our day was largely the same as all of our Mondays, with the exception of my locking the keys in the car and my daughter’s newest obsession of applying lotion (really her own spit) in the car.

I see visions of myself, peaceful and meditated and up before the sun….in the future. For now, I will continue to drag myself to yoga class, practice putting good things in my body, love how I look now, and joyfully seek to grow into the best version of myself again tomorrow. Here’s to a new week!

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Motherhood.

“When we cling to the idea of motherhood as sacrifice, what we really sacrifice is our sense of self, as if it is the price we pay for having children.” -Karen Rinaldi

Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness. NYT. Karen Rinaldi.

I love both this article and the comments (make sure you check those out too). Rinaldi addresses what I believe are some vital and problematic social takes on parenting including: The view of motherhood as martyrdom. The view of motherhood as a priviledge. The muddy mixing of vocabulary like mother, parenthood and “job”. Deep biases in regard to a man’s place in parenting versus a woman’s.

As several commentators elucidate, Rinaldi skims over some important factors that make the call to end the victimizing rhetoric, recognize our privilege, and see that parenting is not a “job,” a challenging task.

First and foremost, not all women are entering the state of motherhood under the same circumstances. Not all woman choose it. And upon coming into parenthood, many women are faced with the challenges of being a single-parent, dealing with the “job” (or not) of mothering a new human, often with financial and other lacking social support. I imagine it’d be hard to feel very privileged in such a circumstance.

The “job” (or not) business. I work for myself. I do not recognize general parameters such as having an employer or even a set list of duties as fair measurements for what does or does not define a “job.”

I think that there tends to be a certain negativity around the word “job” for many people. This is understandable, as it often represents some thing we don’t feel like doing and wish we got more for doing it. Nonetheless, I do consider the rearing of my children a “job” of sorts. Perhaps not in the same way that I carve out time and sit here “working,” but in the way that I plan for their needs to be met day by day, the way I observe who they’re becoming in hopes that I’m not raising little assholes, and in the way that I study myself as an individual and parent. Like a “job,” I “show up,” go through the motions, whether I feel like it or not; Meal times, bedtimes, nap times, playtimes, and all those in-betweens where your child is seeking your presence. This is especially true with young children. Just because you’re not paid, because like a “normal job” it’s not always enjoyable, doesn’t mean it’s not your duty. For me, while it is one I do my best to approach with love and a healthy dose of kindness (to myself and my kids) it is a job.

SO. Upon reading Rinaldi’s words and many thought-provoking comments, I find myself searching for a grey area…is there something that we can all take from this? With societal biases that we will continue to push against, and wild injustice throughout the world in regard to women’s rights with their bodies, reproduction, and the lives they are then responsible for, I wonder if asking women, mothers, to see themselves as privileged is simply asking too much? There is a huge grey area between being a victim and being privileged. I imagine that all parents, whatever your circumstances, could benefit, as might our children, if we abandon views of ourselves as victims. This does not mean that we turn a blind eye to injustice or become stagnant in it’s wake. Rather, the call to unvictimization (nope, that’s not a real word) allows us the privilege of shedding burdens we’ve come to define ourselves by, burdens and self-perspectives we often pass on to our children, and instead pass on resilience and strength, giving the next generation tools to further fight the injustices and bias’ that us parenting folks won’t see end in our lives. That, while perhaps a doe-eyed, idealistic vision, is something that I can get behind. On that, I applaud Rinaldi.

Wishing I had some witty introduction…

…but I don’t so “welcome” will have to suffice. Welcome 🙂

With this blog, I have 4 goals:

  1. I will connect with all you parents out there. The touchy stuff, the funny stuff, the gross stuff, those heart-swelling moments, all these little tidbits that make our job as parents so wonderful and so frustrating.
  2. I will share my own wellness journey-mental, emotional, physical. The ongoing ways that I and all you other “over-stretched but desperately seeking solace” folks are dealing with our many roles in life.
  3. I will share the books, stories, writing that I’m loving on my own and with my kids.
  4. I will share my own work, my writing.

I’m happy to be here. Hope you stick around 🙂

 

Damon Ashworth Psychology

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