getting sorted

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sometimes you just need moment to re-compose yourself, to reset and to remember who you are after all the chiming, twittering, buzzing and screaming dies down. It's really kind of nuts the world we live in, I mean I love it, I really do, but it's nuts. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep people are telling us what to do, what to like, what they like, that the car needs to be fixed, when the electrician is coming, what is right and what is wrong, tiny humans are always reminding you that they made a "beeeeeg poops" and that they are hungry, what to wear, buy, cook, love, hate... You catch my drift. It's kind of dizzying when you stop and think about it (which is rare) but if you don't you sort of just whiz along this never-ending road of information over-saturation.
This past weekend I found myself wanting to make it all stop. To have some real quite. So I tenderly kissed my iphone and hugged my laptop and told them they need a time-out because they've gotten a bit crazy - what with all the beeping and buzzing and yelling and such. Now this is not to say that my weekend turned into some yoga/spa retreat and I heard nothing but the gentle sound of trickling water. No sir, not in this house. There was laughing and crying and the sound of a dishwasher getting loaded and unloaded and more "poops" declarations and that dastardly garage door that is migrane inducing levels of loud. But in my head things were more or less quiet, or perhaps the word I'm looking for is actually - clear. Things that have seemed confusing for months seemed to all of a sudden make sense and a feeling of peace began to slowly seep back into my mind.
I learned a long, long time ago (goodness gracious I am old) in Psych 101 about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It's pretty simple really - a triangle composed of five levels beginning with physiological and ending with self-actualization, the pinnacle. Sadly for most people in this world they are in a constant battle to attain physiological needs. And just as many cannot say that their need for safety has been taken care of. Then we have what I suppose you can call "first world problems" such as the need for love and belonging (the third level) and esteem (the fourth level). For me personally, it seems as if I am forever stuck in the esteem level. All of my basic needs are met as is my need for love and belonging but my need for esteem seems to become sharpened every winter. When the weather gets cold and the sun rarely shines I start to question everything, but most importantly my worth. Is it me or is fomo the worst in the winter months? It seems as if everyone but me is doing something awesome. I find myself wishing I was in Paris or Mexico or the Caribbean. I wish I had a book deal, a "tour" for anything really, speaking at some cool event or designing something (clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc...). I wish this space was better (whatever that means, I really have no idea...), I got more comments (there I said it, the unspeakable truth of what we all think ALL the time, sorry) or more widely read. Gosh the "wishes" are never-ending until I just wear myself out and decide that it's all hopeless and crawl into a hole... So perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean.
But the thing is I don't really want any of those things. Even if I envy creatives that have carved out their own unique and incredible careers that doesn't mean it's for me. I know what my passion is and always will be (psychology) but in this milieu that I often find myself in (design creatives, mommy bloggers, shop owners) it seems passe to want or have a traditional career. It's almost as if you somehow haven't worked hard enough or just simply aren't interesting or creative enough. And for me that's very tough to swallow. Because I am a creative person and always have been. I've been painting and writing and dancing since I was a little child. But none of that has ever excited me as much as the human mind. And yet the fact that I will never turn my painting, writing or anything else into a career haunts me constantly. Am I not good enough? Not unique enough or talented? Why can't I just start a shop or business or what not? Why do I feel like school is the easy way out when I actually know that it's not?
The need for esteem I suppose. I've been wrangling these thoughts for some time in my mind until I started seeing this quote my Cheryl Strayed popping up everywhere:

“You don't have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don't have to explain what your plan to do with your life. You don't have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don't have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history of economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that's all." 

Was that ever just what I needed to hear. Once again it was the wake up call I desperately needed reminding me to stop trying to be everything to everyone. The internet has a wonderful way of really sucking you down that rabbit hole. The classic "You have as many hours a day as Beyonce" demon haunting your very idea and perception of yourself. A quick scan of instagram often confirms my fears that I really am not doing enough because there are mothers out there with five kids, who's hair looks phenomenal and bake delightful cakes and run and smashingly successful business and reply to every comment they ever get faster than you can say "what??" I mean really? How and why am I complaining about parenting two kids? That's nothing. Try six. Or twelve (I've seen that too and sister you are my HERO!!). And truly this is not to make those women feel bad about their awesomness because I believe that they are the Tom Bradys of our world and come on? We can't ALL be Tom Brady. Or Gisele for that matter. 
I'm saying that often, especially in these colder months, my mind becomes a negativity seeking missile and seems to always find plenty especially when we play the comparison game. Because it starts to feel like such a race. And there are so many labels to choose from and if you don't fit any of them it starts to feel like you don't belong. I'm not happy enough. I'm not sarcastic/sardonic/funny enough. I'm not chic enough. I care too much. I don't care enough. I share too much. I don't share enough. I post too often. I don't post often enough... So I ship myself off to the island of misfit toys looking for someone who is an introvert but also have a big mouth like me, who likes fashion but also sweatpants, who thinks her children are the biggest blessing and a gift from God but also locks herself in the bathroom with a bag of chocolate kisses and fantasizes about being childless in Vegas and reading a magazine front to back in one sitting (seriously though what kind of bliss would that be???), who loves Kazuo Ishiguro but also all the Real Housewives franchises (Orange County will always be my favorite) and who can never consistently use the same instagram filter and knows that's it's probably totally ruining her game. You know the line "if you don't have anything nice to say come sit by me" well my line should be "if you're a total weirdo and don't fit in come sit by me." Really please do join me, it's just me and... well nobody else but that means there's plenty of room!
This was all a very long and convoluted way of saying that sometimes we need to hit pause in order to realize "you know what I'm not really as ok as I thought I was." You run and run and run making everyone around you happy and smiling all the time and you don't even realize that you've started smiling as a reflex, not a genuine emotion. I don't want to do that anymore. Because not every day is perfect and some days are really hard. Some days I don't feel like smiling and I want to feel like that is ok. I suppose I want permission to just be me. I think I remember thinking that in college and here I am ten years later still feeling the same way. And perhaps I always will. Maybe that's life - never feeling like you fit in as a way of keeping you on your toes. But I think it's good every now and again to stop and remind yourself that "you've done good kiddo" and give yourself a pat on your back. Because it's gets tiring running and never feeling like you're catching up. 
So today I'm telling you to go tell yourself you've done good. You're a darn good mama and your kids love you to the moon and back. You're beautiful and hard working and funny, even if you're the only one who thinks you're funny (pssst - probably means your sense of humor is better than most). You try so hard and you mean well and the people that truly love you know that about you and everyone else? Well they're just not looking hard enough and that means that their opinion shouldn't matter. You have a huge heart and a brilliant mind and you are so very special. Remember if all you've ever done is make another person feel special you have done IT!! That's kind of the amazing thing about making others feel special - it makes you feel special too. Easy peasy right? 
And now, lastly, for a moment think about the way you feel about any one of your babies (here, in heaven or in your heart). Feeling all the warm and fuzzies? No matter what there is one person out there that feels EXACTLY the same feelings about YOU. Amazing right? Very Lion King circle of life. I like it. I like circles. And the Lion King. And this last quote I came across the other day (if you know the author let me know!!):

"You are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."

the perfect striped shirt

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

hat - stepcat of canada, coat & jeans - j.crew, top - gap, shoes - converse

I would give anything to go back to this day this past weekend when I was wearing CLOTHES. Sure was nice. I could wax poetic about the outfit here or even the weekend, which was so nice, but I'll just be honest instead. Because honestly, today sucks. Our nanny cancelled today and I have a gigantic pile of work that was supposed to be worked on. There are hampers strewn everywhere with clothes that need to be folded. Sheets need to be washed and oh, there's the business of me still being in my bathrobe... Papa bear works late today so I'm stuck here amongst this mess with a toddler dying to go "ousiddde" and a cranky baby. And it's freezing outside. 
Did I mention that mercury is in retrograde??? Until February 11??!! Lord help us all right? Sounds like even the "big blizzard" was a bust in most places. That's January for ya though - a giant disappointment. I suppose nothing beats Christmas so this downward slide was inevitable but still. So I'm just going to grit my teeth until oh say... Valentines Day? Should be better by then right? And if not we can all drown our sorrows in chocolaty confections. Speaking of which I love when the day after they're all 75 percent off and I just go and buy it ALL. 
So that's life right now. But before I sign off I have to tell you that this top really is the bomb. It's $10 but feels like it cost ten times more. It's the perfect length, thickness and hello - black and white stripes go with absolutely everything! I've been living in it all weekend and now I'm just waiting for it to come out of the dryer and I'll probably wear it all week.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

birdie: sometimes I look at her and I feel like she aged ten years on me.
teddy: wearing the hat his great grandmother knitted for him and a cardigan that used to be his sister's that was knit by a friend. 

you do it, no you do it

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

When you have a baby you spend the entire first year running yourself ragged attending to their every need, whimper and grunt. They cry and you drop everything and run. It almost becomes a reflex, their cry always a faint echo in your head, your body clenched waiting for the volume to be turned up and then you run. If they're hungry you feed them, if they're sad you rock them, if their diaper is dirty you change it, if they're sleepy you lull them to dreamland and so on and so forth. For an entire year your baby is this cherubic, helpless creature that it is your sole responsibility to protect, love and nurture.
And then it happens, sometime after their first birthday, they do that "thing" where you know they know and they know that you know and they do it anyway. And then they smile or worse yet cackle. And you wonder "could it really be?" Is this tiny person really playing me already? And then the thing keeps happening and you're not imagining things anymore - they really do keep dropping their lovie in the car just so you have to turn around and pick it up fifty times. They really do know not to take their diaper off but they do it anyway, a mischievous smile on their face the whole time. You figure it's a phase and on the good days you say "no" sweetly and on the bad days there's a gruffness to your tone. And sometimes it does seem to be a phase as they morph back into the sweet angel baby that you brought home that snowy December. But then spring rolls into summer and before you know it the trees have shed their leaves and you realize you actually have a big problem on your hands.
The tantrums start to actually scare you - their fervor, length and toll on the family. But you keep going hoping that the next day will be better than the last. You talk about it late at night as your bodies melt into the bed and admit that you feel lost. You wonder if it's teething, a cold, poor sleep, etc. You are both too scared to admit to each other that she's just plain naughty. You're too scared because you don't know what the solution would be. And really discipline is just such an ugly word. You fear it, you fear what it means and how it would actually look.
And then one day you realize that you've simply been waiting for the other person to step up, to say - I'm the disciplinarian and this is what we're doing. But it turns out neither of you are. It turns out you were both hoping desperately that even if the other person didn't do it that there would be some lovely, magical, sweet solution. Some form of discipline that allowed for you to be the same parent you were to her when she was tiny - cloyingly sweet at all times. Unfortunately it doesn't exist. And once you realized that and realized just how badly she was craving some sort of boundaries and direction everything started to turn around. It was almost as if she had been begging for you to discipline her. She took to time outs with gusto, so proud of herself for patiently waiting out the time. The more she began to understand rules and consequences the more her little body and face relaxed. The tantrums? Those were gone. Her sleep was sound and restful. It was almost as if she was basking in the safety of the boundaries you had finally created for her.
The first few weeks were hard. Many tears were shed and you hated always saying "no," the sound of your own voice became foreign to you and you felt as if you had become someone you didn't know anymore. But as she found freedom in limits (ironic yes, but true) you found that you had to remind her of them less and less. And before you knew it your home became a place of peace again, of love and understanding and a place where just a simple raising of your eyebrows could serve as a gentle reminder when she would forget. And the family breathed a joint sigh of relief.
Having a baby around again is a daily reminder of the difference between parenting a newborn and a toddler. Where a baby rules you, you must rule the toddler. Sometimes shuffling between these two roles daily is exhausting and frustrating but at the same time I often find beauty in this awkward dance as well. A baby is utterly helpless and wholly dependent on you. A toddler on the other hand is learning about freedom and limits and where they stand in this family. They are gaining independence at a rapid pace and often it is incompatible with their ability. But the sole fact that we get a first row seat to this life is incredible. We are constantly walking the fine line between directing and guiding and letting go. Knowing when to tighten the reigns and when to loosen them is not at all instinctual and there is a lot of reading, advice seeking and listening going on around here. But then there are those moments, flashes if you will, of seeing their personality coming through and you just stop and marvel at this phenomenal little person who has taught you more in a span of two years than you feel you had learned over the course of your whole entire life.