May 16, 2011

Six Months Old, and Some Rambling

Say hello to Simon. He's six months old today and feeling quite jolly about it.

So my baby is half a year old and I'm still kind of crapping my pants about it. Time is a tricky, sneaky bastard.

Simon is Mr. Happy (except when he's not). He puts his soul into his smiles. He laughs from the depths of his belly. He's super chubby, and I adore all his rolls. He got his first real taste of solid food yesterday (avocado). He can sit up unassisted for longish periods of time (but there are still plenty of faceplants). Crawling is just around the corner. Right now he's really into plank pose. Fine by me; I'm really not in a rush to have two mobile children. (Yikes.)

And his hair. Oh my, I'm so in love with his red hair. It just suits him.

It's been a fun six months. The things I've learned! I've been stretched way past the limits of my heart and I'm feeling good, really good, about this motherhood thing.

Today also marks my six month anniversary of exclusive breastfeeding. I never expected to love it as much as I do, but I find it to be an almost spiritual experience. When Simon is nursing, and he turns his bright blue eyes up to my face, I become small in the face of something that is so much bigger than me - but that is me. It's the best mindfuck ever. I'm so happy to be able to do this, and so proud of myself for sticking with it.

I really wanted to post Simon's birth story today. I was working on it last night and had to stop. I've found that I have to write it a little at a time. I end up getting distracted or emotional or something other than focused. There's much I have to say regarding that whole experience. Much to say about many things, actually, but somehow two kids is 500 times more work. And 500 times more fun. It's true. Life has been good to me, even when it's being a shithead.

A little birdie told me, in not so many words, that I need to update more often. It's true, I do need (and want) to update more often. (See above about two kids being 500 times more work.) The past few days have been filled with epiphany and clarity. I love both things. I love sharing about both things. So it's a good time to write.

I posted at the end of April about my overwhelming feelings of being overwhelmed. I was seriously overwhelmed. Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Because that was me - totally overwhelmed.

It seemed like everywhere I looked, aside from my little family, things were completely out of control, in the worst state of chaos ever. I couldn't find anything. I had no place to put anything. In our house, not everything has a place. Just take a look at the top of our microwave:

Doesn't look so bad, but when you list everything out, like this:

(a bar of lavender soap wrapped in purple tissue paper, the case for a Donald Duck DVD, a body butter container filled with change (and it still smells like shea butter), a CD of white noise, a bobby pin, two receipts, two halves of two separate plastic Easter eggs, a blank greeting card, a pen, and a copy of this biography)

you realize the need for order. That's a lot of stuff crammed into a really small space. So imagine the stuff we could cram into a whole room. Like our home office.

Ugh. This poor room. We've treated it so terribly. It's gone from pristine to dumping ground several times in the two and a half years we've lived here, and I'm just done. I decided on Thursday that it was time to treat it with the respect it deserved, so on Friday I had my mother-in-law come over to watch the boys. I hauled every last piece of crap out of there, and Roy and I spent the weekend going through most of it. I listed 33 books on Paperbackswap and about 15 CDs on SwapACD. I filled up a box full of things to give or return to others and another box of things to donate.

But it still feels like we have too much. We live in a state of information overload, and there is often too much coming in and not enough going out. Too much emails, snail mail, blogs, websites, projects, to-do lists, and not enough time, space, or energy.

I finally made a big realization, one that I've been inching towards for quite some time now. This whole time I have been trying to do things the same way as I did before I had kids. And it's just not possible.

I can no longer write out long to-do lists for each day or even each week. It's a recipe for failure.

I can no longer come home from yard sales with a big stack of books. As much as I want to, I don't have time to read them all.

I can no longer collect fabric, yarn, old clothes, or art supplies in the hopes that I will be some crafty mama. At this stage it's just not happening. Well, just kidding about the art supplies. I do tend to use those sometimes.

I have this tendency to collect ideas and thoughts (in addition to things), write them down, bookmark them, star them in Google Reader, and then not do a damn thing with them. I like to collect because I like to have choices and because I want to do everything in the world. (This is why Pinterest is like crack to me.) But oh, then I got smacked in the face with another epiphany.

All my choices are really what's making me distracted.

Sit down and think about that for a minute. Think about the internet (as an example) and how it's just this big black hole of options. Click here, here, here, and here, and next thing you know it's three hours past your bedtime and holy fuck, you're going to need a lot of coffee tomorrow, not to mention the fact that the kitchen is still a mess and you still need to take a shower and probably spend some time with the ol' ball and chain. Three hours doing absolutely nothing but fucking around in cyberspace.

But real life can be like that, too. Every Monday night Roy and I watch a movie together, usually something on Netflix instant view. We generally spend more time browsing through all the options than we do watching the actual movie. It's so completely frustrating and stupid.

I love options. But I'm also tired of them.

So I sat down and did some more cleaning. I unsubscribed (again) from Facebook notifications and a few other sites that were clogging up my inbox, and then I went into my Google Reader and mercilessly unsubscribed from 150+ blogs. I went from 284 feeds down to 131 in the space of five minutes. And it felt damn good.

(I still think 131 RSS feeds is fucking ridiculous, but give me time. I'm still learning.)

I know that I've talked a lot about purging and uncluttering and all that, but it's in my nature to be a packrat. I've always liked to hold onto things, particularly cards, photos, letters, and books. I am actually quite a sentimental person. But sometimes it gets to the point where all the stuff I have gets in the way of my life, and that's when I know things need to change. That I need to change.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm attempting to change, one box of crap at a time. I am not the same person who could read 15 books in a month, write for two hours every day, keep up with a shitload of blogs, and watch a movie every night. My life has changed.

I'm a mama. A mama! I still sometimes can't believe it. I've never felt quite so alive. But I can't do all I want to. In the middle of the day, I sometimes find myself glancing longingly at the bookshelf, or the bed, or the bathtub, wanting to take a nice hot bath with a good book, followed by a nap. I want a deep creative life, where I write and take photos and paint and do whatever else with wild abandon. I want to travel and eat good food and get massages and pedicures and eyebrow waxes on a regular basis. But when I chose to have kids, I said goodbye to some of that for awhile. Not all of it, but some of it. I've had to slow down and realize that I can have everything, but I can't have everything all at once. My brother told me that once, and I thought he was full of shit. But the older I get, the more I return to it.

I may not have everything, but I have more than I ever thought I'd get. I have my boys, I have my husband, I have love. It's all I ever wanted. And I've never felt so inspired. Happiness suits me.


Nanette said...

You and I are so much alike, mama. So very much alike.

Happy six months to your sweet Simon! He's a doll, and I ADORE his red hair!

Lynn said...

Love the pictures...thank you :-)


"the little birdie"

Eric's Mommy said...

And once again, this is why I read your blog. We are like the same person. I just have my 1 boy and he is 9, but we are a like in so many ways.

Kimberly said...

Simon is such a doll. That red hair is awesome!

I read this post twice. The first time, I read like I normally read blog posts, while watching tv, having a 1/2 conversation with Alan, trying to eat supper, and fend off the puppies all at the same time. Then, around the part of the internet paragraph (I'm so guilty of wasting time on the internet), I started feeling guilty. I wasn't really reading. 1/2 of me was really connecting with your words, but the other 1/2 was trying to do all of the above.

When I re read the post, I really heard you. Life is full of stuff. My blog reader has been "1000+" for way too long (again), yet I keep adding blogs to it. I'm only washing laundry because I need to wear it tomorrow, I collect books more than I read them and my dishes, well, they are not clean and put away.

I do not have the answers to how to move past this, however I believe you are on the right track. Go through extra stuff, get rid of blogs you don't really read, and sort like crazy. However, be sure to stay true to you as you go a long. There will always be who we really are deep at heart. You, possibly, are a collector, a learner, loving new information. There is a healthy way to live out out talents/natural tendencies and there are unhealthy ways. Find what truly works for you.

Leslie said...

Nanette - It's always nice to find out that others can relate to what you're saying. Thank you. :)

Lynn - So glad you are reading. So glad we've been friends for so long. I'll try to update more often. :)

Cindy - Thanks. I love those soul connections. :)

Kim - I totally agree with you. I am definitely a collector and a learner. I just want to DO something with the things I collect. I don't want them to sit around gathering dust. I'm searching for the healthy way. Thanks for helping me get there. :)