The Here and Now

When you’re pregnant, it’s one of the first things you hear.

“Oh, just wait!”

God forbid you complain about not being able to sleep (because, honestly, you show me one person who can sleep comfortably with a bowling ball on their bladder), because then it’s, “oh, just wait until baby’s here. Then you really won’t sleep!”

It’s common to wish pregnancy away. We spend 40+ weeks wishing it would end and that our baby would be here and then we could go on getting to know one another.

Don’t get me wrong. I hated being pregnant. I was so grateful and in love with the fact that I was pregnant, but ugh, I hated it. I couldn’t see my feet. Walking up the stairs made me out of breath. If I took too hot of a shower, I felt like passing out. Everyone said, “oh, just wait. You’ll miss being pregnant.”

I don’t. At all. The only thing I miss about being pregnant was the ability to wear whatever I wanted and not worry about the way it looked, because I was obviously pregnant and not fat.

I am appreciative of my body for doing so well this time, and I’m grateful that I got to carry my little human myself, but if I never had to be pregnant again, that’d be okay by me.

Then he got here.

And then the “oh, just wait”s started.

“Wait until he’s walking!”

“Just wait until he gets bigger.”

“Once he’s older…xyz.”

Then he got a little bigger.

“Don’t you miss when he was tiny?”

“It was easier when he was smaller, wasn’t it?”

“Do you wish you could go back?”

And it just got me thinking. I know everyone was well-meaning and meant nothing by any of the aforementioned comments other than to make conversation. It didn’t bother me. But it got me thinking about how much we look forward to something, or how much we miss something once it’s passed.

I want to live and enjoy the here and now.

I don’t want to get so caught up in missing that tiny newborn that I forget to enjoy the smily 4.5 month old I have now.

I don’t want to be squinting so far into the future that I miss the big moments of right now.

I think people as a whole have a tendency to mull over things after they’re done. We regret what we said, we wish we’d done things differently, we wonder what our lives would be like if we had made just one different choice. I think that’s part of human nature.

I’m guilty of it, too. Who isn’t? I mean, I married the boy I met at 14. What if I hadn’t? What would my life look like now?

But I did, and what does my life look like?

I’m a woman steeped in confidence, and a mother, and a wife, and I’m someone who is more capable of handling hard days than I was all those years before.

Do I have bad days? You know it, of course I do. There are days when I am not confident, when I do not feel capable of handling what life is throwing at me, when I do not feel like a good wife or mother. But the bad days don’t rule me. Because that’s all they are; a day. I wake up the next morning and it’s a new one to do with what I see fit.

The here and now is what’s important. What happened a week ago happened, and it’s over, and all that matters right now is right now.

Right now, I am 120 days into this second deployment and even though it’s hard, I am kicking it’s ass.

Right now, my child is down the hall asleep and I’m relishing the quiet of my house. (And also blogging instead of cleaning because I can’t stand the thought of cleaning atm.)

Right now, I am happy and healthy and so is my son.

Right now, I miss my husband. I miss everything he’s missed out on in the past 4 months, and I miss that he’s going to miss out on some more before he comes home.

Right now, I’m thinking that I probably shouldn’t have drank that 3rd cup of coffee at 4pm because even though I’ve done two loads of laundry and showered, I’m still wide awake and I should be asleep.

Sometimes, the here and now sucks, too. It’s not always grand. Sometimes, the list is more like:

Right now, I’m so tired I could cry, and I can’t fall asleep.

Right now, my brain won’t stop and I just can’t catch a break.

Right now, all I can think about are all the things that have gone wrong today.

Right now, I’m wondering how I’m going to even get through tomorrow.

I’ve been on both sides, and maybe on the suckish side more often than not lately. Getting stuck in a funk is usually a few days long affair for me, no matter how much “new day” I pour in my coffee in the morning.

I’m only human. I can repeat “it’s a new day; live in the here and now; don’t give up; you’re doing great; keep going; almost there,” a million times in a day, and sometimes it’s not enough. There are times where I find myself crying in the shower after spending an hour with a screaming baby who I know is about to wake up to scream some more. There are times when I wonder exactly how much longer I can have one more bad day before I really lose it. There are times where I’m just begging the day to be over so I can start over in twelve hours.

But eventually, I wake up and I have a good day. Ev takes good naps. He doesn’t cry because I stopped looking at him for five seconds. I get some housework done. Usually an amazon package gets delivered because, obviously a day is made better by that. I might get to talk to my husband for more than 5 minutes out of the day (a rare occurrence lately).

And on the good days, it just serves to remind me to enjoy the good day. I won’t dwell on how terrible yesterday was, or be anxious about how tomorrow will be.

I’m just going to enjoy today, the here and now, and I’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. Because who knows? Today could be the day Ev sits up by himself or takes a two hour nap. And what good will it have done if I was so focused on yesterday or tomorrow that I forgot to look up and enjoy the now?

Forget yesterday if remembering it is at the sake of experiencing today.

Stop looking forward if it’s causing you to miss the important things that are happening right this moment.

Wake up, and realize that you’re never going to get this day back.

Live in the here and now, and make every moment of it a day you won’t look back on wondering if you should’ve done something different.

XOXO,

Em.

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10 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

Nearly 5 months in on this adventure and I’d love to say it’s been the best, easiest, time of my life.

LOL.

It’s been hard, there’s been moments where I thought, “what have I done?? Why did I think having a baby was a good idea?“. I’ve cried, laughed, cried some more, gone longer than I’d like to admit between showers, and cherished every moment of it.

I think miscarrying, as terrible as it was and how I wish I’d never experienced it, has granted me the unique ability to enjoy even the painful moments of being a mother. Because even though he’s been crying for 2 hours and nothing can stop it, I’m running on 3 hours of sleep, and there’s baby vomit in my hair (that’s falling out in copious amounts, thanks PP hormones), I know that I might never have gotten to experience it at all.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster since giving birth and starting on deployment, but the ups and downs have taught me so much about being a mom, who I am, and what I want in life.

Here’s the top 10 things I’ve learned in the past 4.5 months.

1. Don’t Lose Yourself

I might still be struggling a little bit with this one, honestly. Maybe it’ll get better once Ev is bigger. But I have to remind myself everyday that I am someone besides Everett’s mom. I was really losing who I was in the day to day. I woke up with Ev, did everything with Ev, went to bed with Ev. Heck, I couldn’t even shower alone.

It’s hard to admit, but it was making me sad. I know that I was prepared to sacrifice lots of things when we decided to have a baby, but being alone and dealing with deployment really messes with your head sometimes.

I finally had to move Ev out of my room and into the nursery, where he sleeps for at least half the night (😂) everyday. Sure, it’s a little tiring getting up and walking down the hall every 2-3 hours at night to feed him, but he goes to bed and I can shower alone, lay in bed alone, watch TV alone, clean the kitchen alone.

It might not be the easiest choice since he’s not sleeping through the night currently, but it’s made me mentally feel more invested in myself, and that’s what’s important. I can’t take care of anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself.

2. Bad Days Are Normal

Not everyday is a good day, ever, whether you’re a mama or not.

Sometimes, the baby wakes up at 4 am and refuses to go back to sleep. There are days where he’s going to cry nonstop unless you’re holding him, and sometimes, even then.

There will be days where you feel like you’re drowning in baby clothes, baby toys, diapers, swings, bottles, whatever.

There might be a day where you just lose it. You just sit down and cry with the screaming baby because you don’t know what else to do. Those days suck.

But it’s okay to have one every now and then. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you’re human, and you need a minute to pull yourself together. And because you’re someone’s mom, you’re gonna do it. You’re an expert inherently at pulling yourself together and getting through the day.

So don’t beat yourself up for the bad day you had yesterday. One day, he’s not going to cry because he wants you to hold him. One day, he’s not going to want you to sing the same song for the fifty billionth time in a row.

Love all the days, even the bad ones.

3. Don’t Forget To Take Care of You

This one? Easier said than done. Especially when your husband is deployed and you’re home 24/7 with no actual need to get out of sweatpants. Or put any pants on, really.

Except, there is a need.

I am the absolute Queen of undone hair, no pants, and doing nothing.

For a while, it’s great. And then you start to realize that you don’t really remember the last time you were actually dressed, and you kind of start to feel bleh, especially with the new and (un)improved postpartum body.

So yeah, 9 times out of 10, my hair is still undone and 10 times out of 10, I have no makeup on. I don’t have time to do those. But I do have time to get dressed. So I do. Maybe not everyday, but 5/7 days, I put real people pants on, and get out of my pajamas. It makes me feel like I at least did one productive thing, even if I really didn’t. But sometimes, getting dressed is the biggest thing I accomplish on a bad day.

It’s a small thing. Probably made smaller by the fact that I won’t put a bra on, but hey. Baby steps.

4. Ignore The Mess

Absolutely harder to do than it sounds. 100%. Especially for me.

For someone who hates clutter, my house is always full of it. It’s full of nonessential items that I could throw out and not think about it ever again. I won’t do it, but I probably should.

When you’ve got a baby and little help, sometimes you go a while between cleanings. I’ve been home for almost a month and I am just now starting to get on top of the mess that is my home. I dusted a ceiling fan last night and was like, uber proud of myself. That’s sad, and I know it. No need to point it out.

Even though my house is a mess and it’s hard to ignore, sometimes I just have to, because there’s a little person who needs me more than I need to vacuum. And sometimes, I need sleep more than I need to clean. And that’s okay.

There will come a day where I can clean my house top to bottom and Everett won’t even look up from his playing besides to get away from the noise of the vacuum. There will come a day where I’ll miss when he needed me so much, but instead I have a clean house.

So until that day gets here, I’m just going to try and pretend that I don’t see the mess.

5. Accept The Skin You’re in Now

Being pregnant sucked. Giving birth? I’d totally do it again. But being pregnant? No, thank you. I hated it.

And thanks to being pregnant for what felt like forty years, I’ve got a new body. It’s not my favorite, to be frank. There are stretch marks everywhere. I didn’t even know I could get stretch marks behind my knees, but they’re there.

I’ve struggled with my body for a while. I miss being 120 pounds, fitting into size six jeans, and not wondering if that dress would zip.

So postpartum body has me a little peeved, sure. I weigh almost 30 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant, so that’s great. Thank you, breastfeeding. But nothing will ever look exactly the way it did pre-baby.

When I say accept it, I don’t mean to stop working on yourself. I’m not. I’ve still got 25 pounds to go before I get to where I want to be. What I mean is, accept the fact that you’re never going to have that pre-pregnancy body back.

And while that might suck a little bit, remember: you carried life, dude. I literally grew a human inside my body. I don’t know about anyone else, but my kid wasn’t tiny either. So yeah, I’ve got stretch marks and the boobs that come with breastfeeding are more a nuisance than a blessing. But hey, it’s where I’m at now, and I’m just going to accept that.

6. Realize You’re Different Now

This is probably the biggest one. So many people I went to school with are like, “you got married? You had a baby? But we’re so young!”

Dude, we’re all in our twenties now. I’ve been married for more than two years.

Us settling down and starting a family is normal. We aren’t kids anymore. This is normal. This is what people do.

But very few of my friends are at this same point in their lives. And that’s okay, too, because we’re all different.

Being a parent propels you into a different kind of club. You’re no longer the person that gets late night calls to parties, or the person that drops everything to do whatever her friends are doing. You’ve got responsibilities and a little human that depends on you now.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the friends you’ve always had. It’s good. You just have to remember that you’re part of the parenthood club now, and this membership doesn’t really expire.

7. Take Pictures

This one seems pretty obvious. But for real, take pictures. Take videos.

It might not seem like a big deal in the moment, but one day, you’re going to wish you’d captured it. We live in a world full of technology; use it.

They grow literally so fast in just a month. Take pictures and that way, when they’re big and annoying teenagers, we can look back at those itty bitty newborns and reminisce on the good ol’ days. And then we can say, “okay, we’re going out, see you when we get home,” and we can enjoy that season of life, too.

8. Breastfeeding Is Hard

In case anyone was wondering, breastfeeding was a 3 person job in the beginning. Me, Ev and Rick we’re all trying to figure it out and more than once I thought, “wtf. This is hard. Why is this so hard?”

The answer rests largely on the fact that there was a tiny baby who didn’t know what he was doing and a first time mom who didn’t know what she was doing either.

We figured it out though, and you know what? It’s great. Yes, it’s sometimes frustrating to be used as a “pacifier”, and yes, sometimes (all the time) I wish I could have way smaller boobs. But I don’t have to drag around formula or bottles or anything.

You’d never think that nursing was empowering, but it kind of is. Especially in an age where people are okay with the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, but not okay with nursing babies.

So, just because I feel like listing my accomplishments because I’m proud of myself to making it 4.5 months of EBF, I’ve nursed:

  • In California
  • In Texas
  • In an airport
  • On a plane
  • In a car
  • At a college football game
  • In restaurants
  • At a soccer field
  • In Walmart
  • Covered
  • Uncovered

There’s probably a few more but hey, those are what I remember. I’m proud of myself for sticking with something that was hard at first, and being almost halfway to our goal of a year.

9. Days Can Get Really Long

A day is 24 hours. Everyday. All year long.

Except when you’re nursing or your baby is growing through growth spurts or you’re having a particularly bad day, it seems sooooo much longer.

You wake up looking forward to bed time. Trust me, I’m there. Hopefully that passes.

I’m currently running on coffee, dry shampoo, and leftovers like my life depends on it. Mostly because it does.

10. Take a Minute

Being a mom is tiring. Sometimes, the minute the baby falls asleep, you want to, too.

But take a minute. Take a shower, or sit down and eat with both hands (Lord knows how rarely that happens now), or just lay in bed for a second.

Maybe it was a good day, or maybe it was a bad one. Maybe he went to sleep in 10 minutes, or maybe it took 2 hours. Maybe you’re tired and want to cry, or maybe he rolled over for the first time and you’re sending that video to everyone you know.

Take a minute and look at your life.

Sure, you’d had 4 cups of coffee before 10 am, and sure, that might be spit up on your shirt.

But you’re blessed. Do you know how many people wish they could experience your worst days of motherhood?

Take a minute to take the day in. Commit to memory every laugh that baby had today, every thing he did new for the first time.

Then let it go.

Take a minute, and then know that tomorrow is a new day.

Good or bad, it’s a new day, and all you’ve got to do is take it one day at a time, and raise a good person. That’s in the day-to-day; it doesn’t happen overnight.

So those are my top ten.

It’s been 4.5 hard, long months. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I love it more than I can say.

I’ve got to get back to raising my good person now, though. Til next time.

XOXO,

Em.

Untitled.

It’s been awhile. Well, not really. I’ve written a lot since my last post, but 99% of the time, I’ve hit “delete” instead of “publish”.

I can’t exactly pinpoint why. All I can really say is that it’s really hard to publish your innermost thoughts and emotions when you’re having so many.

I write a lot. Always have. It used to be poems, stories, etc when I was younger. And then I found my voice and started putting it here. But lately, I’ve been stopping myself from sharing the things I write because I worry about having to talk about what I write with the people in my life. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to write it down, get it out, and leave it like that.

I have to preface everything by saying: this is hard. Deployment, parenting, day to day life, is just hard. And I knew it would be, and I promise I’m doing okay- really. So after you read this, don’t feel compelled to text me or call me asking “is there anything I can do?” Because no, there isn’t. I’m okay. I just need to put my words out there and also I really dislike social calls, so just leave a nice comment if you really feel the need to encourage me instead of calling or messaging.

Anyway.

This is hard. I’ve just got to be 100% real right now, because I need to be for my sanity’s sake. I feel like I’m floundering. I know deployment is more than halfway over. I know it’s got to end eventually. I know if I take it a day at a time I’m going to wake up one morning and go to bed with my husband that night. I know those things. I tell myself those things all the time.

Most of the time, they work. But right now, they don’t.

I’m tired. So bone-achingly tired. Not for sleep (though, honestly, I could use a good uninterrupted 8 hours). But just mind and soul tired. Reasons I’ve cried in the past week? I’ve still got some raging postpartum hormones and so I’ve cried over Netflix shows. I’ve cried because my child has cried all day for no reason, unless I was holding him. I’ve cried because my bed is really empty without my husband at home, and while I appreciate all the legroom, I’m dying for him to be back. I’ve cried because I just need to cry sometimes.

I cried because a friend told me, “you’re doing great.

Am I? I mean, am I really?

Sure, I tell myself I’m doing great all the time. I literally hype myself up 24/7.

I’m doing great.

I’d like to see other people handle this as well as I am.

If I can do this, I can do basically anything.

Hey, I cooked real food today. Go me. I am awesome.

You’ve got this. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Honestly, if you lived in my head, you’d be a pretty positive person all the time. I’m my own cheerleader.

But even though I know that I’m doing better than some, and I’m going to be okay- this is still hard.

I’m frustrated. I don’t think there can ever be anything as absolutely frustrating as being married and having a husband who’s a great dad, and not being able to depend on them. Not that it’s his fault, because it’s absolutely not. He’s doing his job, and I’m grateful for it. But it’s just knowing that he’d be such a help if he were here, and knowing that he can’t be that sucks. Being a single parent when you aren’t single is…unfair, for lack of a better word, though it makes me sound entitled and bratty.

The other side of that coin is trying to be patient with someone who doesn’t understand you in this stage of life at all. I love my husband. But he left when Ev was 3 weeks old, and now he’s going to be 5 months old before the end of February and my husband had no idea what day to day life is like for us. Again, not his fault. Not blaming him in the slightest, because I appreciate what he’s doing and know that if it were up to him, he’d be here. But he doesn’t understand why I’m frustrated at the end of the day when Ev has cried for most of it, or has refused to take a nap all day, or because dishes from last night are still in the sink or because I forgot there was a load of laundry in the washing machine for three days and was only reminded because I had to wash clothes covered in baby puke 🙃 He doesn’t understand that I’m 350% touched out and don’t want to be used as a human pillow for naptime even though it’s the only way Ev is going to stay asleep; if I hold him, which in turn makes me cry some more.

I feel like I’m just…sucking. I know if I looked at it objectively, I would see that I’m not. I know that if I were anyone else, whose husband wasn’t in the military, who didn’t live in a state she hated, I’d be like, “wow, she’s awesome. I can’t believe she’s doing so well, all on her own.” I know that. But just knowing that doesn’t change the fact that I just feel like I’m slacking. My house is a wreck. I’ve been back in California for almost a month and you want to know how many times I’ve vacuumed and mopped my floors? Once. There’s still a suitcase that needs unpacking. My bathrooms need cleaning, laundry is overflowing, and I just can’t seem to get on top of it all. And I’m trying so freaking hard. But my kid takes two 30 minute naps a day (if I’m lucky), and is his father’s child, meaning he requires 110% of my attention while awake or he acts as though he’s been abandoned. That’s just enough time for me to load/unload the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, and maybe start a load of laundry I’ll forget about for 3 days.

He sleeps pretty well at night, but by the time night gets here, I’m so tired and have zero motivation to do anything other than shower and crawl into bed until he wakes up, like he does every 2-3 hours.

And I know: just be positive. It gets better. It’ll be over before I know it.

I know, those are all the things people say. They’re all the things I tell myself on a daily basis. But you know what? They don’t mean anything lately other than to say “you’re being negative. It could be worse. You’ve gotten this far, suck it up.”

Having bad days during deployment is normal. It’d be weird if I didn’t have bad days. But I’m so sick and tired of bad days. I’m sick and tired of waking up and looking forward to nothing but nighttime again because that’s the only time everything is quiet and an hour can pass where I’m not needed by anyone.

Life doesn’t suck right now. I know that. I’m blessed beyond belief and I thank God for all He’s done in our lives.

I just feel so many things right now. I feel frustrated, angry, sad. It’s not all bad, either. I’ve been happy, in a good mood, conquering deployment, too. It’s just that the crappy feelings are the more prominent ones right now. It’s the kind of “so-much-feeling” that it keeps you awake at night, no matter how much you want to sleep.

I’m going to chalk it up to a bad month. I’ve had a bad month, this 4 month sleep regression is a beast, I just need a break, and tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow’s gotta be better, right?

The sun’ll come out tomorrow.

XOXO,

Em.