I Can’t Do It All. So I Won’t.

Baby in stroller

I’m a stubborn woman. I ignore sleep when I’m exhausted. If it doesn’t work the first time, I keep trying. I overwhelm myself with promises and responsibilities and then get into mental clusters. Some would say, well…“Welcome to Motherhood”. But honestly, I was like this before my sweet girl graced my life. My Type A personality enjoys taking over and it wasn’t until a friend told me “You can do it all.” that I realized, well…that I CAN’T do it all.

Oh, but honey, I’ve tried. Attempting to raise a sweet toddler who understands English, Spanish, sign language and who gets enough exposure to nature, diversity, music and healthy food? Done. Work full-time at a job that sends me on trips and requires my undivided attention the entire time I am there? No problem. Maintain a 6-year old beauty blog by keeping up with new products and trends, draft posts, connect with the world on social media, take 1,000 pictures of a mascara and polish my nails 5 times in 20 minutes? Cool. Sign up and train for 4 races before April? Easy peasy. Be a loving and supportive wife to my workaholic husband, attend church regularly, volunteer at events on the weekend, plan and prepare healthy meals for my family, be active in social groups, keep up with friendships, find time for “me”. Um…how? How can I do all of that?

I’ve tried. And honestly? I’m failing at it. I want so badly to be MORE than “just a Mom”. I’m trying to be everything to everyone and…failing. I am beginning to scale back. Which is why you may notice sporadic posts on Clumps of Mascara. It’s the reason why sometimes I post on Instagram and sometimes I don’t. I stopped going to so many social meetings. Life can be simple. We complicate it. Oftentimes, WE are our own problems. My goal is to simplify as much as I can.

To spend time with my baby instead of rushing to post a picture of her.
To enjoy that date with my husband without snapping shots of food to upload to Instagram.
To enjoy training for my races without posting an update each time I put on my kicks.
To live disconnected.

And that’s tough considering my day job requires me to be connected aaaaand, my night job requires me to be connected. To share, to comment, to post, to snap. I don’t want to. I just want to be…

Being is easier and most times more gratifying than doing.

Thank you so much for understanding that I can’t do it all. And for supporting me through my faults.

Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 10 months old

Dear Elle,

I love that I’ve been writing you these letters. I love that when you’re older, you’ll get a chance to read my thoughts about what it was like to be your mama when you were just a wee babe. You’re growing up so quickly and it’s hard to remember everything. That’s why I make it my duty to document the basics each month.

10 month old

Look how pretty you are in your red Christmas dress! Unfortunately, you were more interested in eating leaves than smiling for the camera so we have to do a part II of attempting to get you to smile for your Christmas card photos.

You’re almost a year old and while in the past I’d get all weepy about this, I’ve decided to stop that. It is a blessing that you’re growing and developing the way that you are. There isn’t anything to be sad about. We’ve taken a few thousand pictures of you so we’ll always remember how teeny and small you were but to see you go from a tiny lil’ thang to this almost walking and talking little being…that’s sheer amazement! So no. Mama will not get choked up every time I think about how fast you’re growing. I will thank God that you ARE growing and that I get to enjoy this life journey with you.

Baby loves Christmas trees

Look at that. You’re not the only one growin’ up. Mama is too. Your 2 bottom teeth broke through this month and you didn’t cry one bit. In fact, your sore gums bothered me more than they bothered you. And it still surprises Daddy and me how quickly you went from scooting on the floor to crawling 30 miles per hour to now standing with no hands. Wow! You never cease to amaze us.

Oh…and you’re also talking. And A LOT! Some of your favorite words:

-Bob
-Butt
-Pop (you heard Daddy say this once and wouldn’t stop saying it!)
-Mum
-Dada
-Hiiiiiii
-Buh Buh (bye-bye)
-Pat, Pat, Pat
-Uh ooooohhhh
…and the unavoidable “NO”

I noticed you saying “No no no” a few weeks ago and I blamed myself because I got in the habit of telling YOU “no”. Daddy and me are trying to get in the habit of using words other than NO. It’s hard but we certainly don’t want you to go around saying NO! every minute of the day.

A few weeks ago we had a playdate with Sebastian and Cat. I’ve seen you interact with kids older than you but I’ve never seen you around kids smaller and younger than you. You were so sweet! It was as if you knew to be gentle wit him. You even gave him a kiss which just blew my mind!

DSC_1557

FOOD

Okay, mama will be honest. This food thing has me frustrated. Some days you’ll eat a ton of eggs and gluten-free toast. And other days, you’ll toss everything that we hand you. We offer you food multiple times a day but most days you just don’t want it. Mama has to practice patience because it’s a bit disheartening to give food for a baby that just won’t eat. You’re already petite and I want to get you on solids so that the breast milk train can stop a chuggin’ but it’s tough. You really are a picky eater. Daddy has been teaching me how to be patient and you keep developing beautifully so I’ve got to learn how to trust that one day, you’ll eat just fine. Can you believe that I’m still pumping? I’m so proud that I’ve been able to give you breast milk for this long!!

 

Duck face baby

SLEEP

I find solace in knowing I’m not the only mama with an older infant who won’t sleep through the night. It has become tougher since I have a grueling work schedule but I’m hoping that the end is near. Waking up every 3-4 hours at night is tough on your Mom and Dad. We’ve tried letting you cry it out but honestly, that just seems cruel and it’s heartbreaking to hear you scream “Mum” in dispair. Especially when a snuggle or milk is all that want. You sleeping through the night will change our lives for the better so help a family out, baby. Please?

Merry Christmas, baby
PERSONALITY

Girl. Your personality is so alive. You are hilarious. You do silly things (like go around screaming “butt”) that makes everyone chuckle. You also have your moments where you don’t want to smile. You don’t want to be bothered and you don’t want to be held. But then you have your needy days where you cry if someone puts you down. You’re so sweet. Sometimes when I carry you on my back, you rub and pat my arm. The most random things can make you giggle. We have learned to watch what we say because you repeat everythiiiiiing. And you want to get into everything too!

Happy baby

I’ve been learning to let go a little bit too. I’ve realized that I have become such a helicopter mama. I know hovering isn’t always a good thing so I’ve learned to let you play by yourself sometimes. And not always with baby toys. I stopped trying to block you from everything in the house and so you now have free range. That’s right, you’ve been known to dive right into mama’s stash of beauty products. I keep a close eye on you and let you play. Life is short. I don’t want to spend it limiting you to only playing with certain toys, in a certain room and at certain times.We started going to a new church and you’re not a fan of sitting still but you loooove the nursery. You’re such a social baby and I love that.

With every month there are different challenges, celebrations and I am just amazed at how much we are all growing. Daddy watched you for 3 days straight and he did such a good job! Some people call that just “parenting”, but hey…not every Daddy can go grocery shopping with a baby on their back. I am unbelievably proud of him and I love seeing how you can bring out the best of us. And I love the relationship that you have with your Daddy. It’s so beautiful to see you bonding with him.

Father and daughter

I love our little family so much. And we love you so much. You are the light of our lives and I thank God everyday for your health and happiness.

Untitled

Love you, baby.
Mama

 

A Month of Thanks 2013: Day 12 – Caretakers

Crawling baby

I am so grateful for Elle’s in-home daycare provider. I am thankful that she loves my baby as if she were her own grandchild. She cuddles her and knowing that my child is being watched by someone that I can trust makes being away from her so much easier.

It’s SO hard to find good caretakers. I get sad wishing that I had an Aunt or cousin nearby who could watch Elle. But we live in this big city by ourselves and I’m just ever so thankful that we have caretakers that we can trust.

A Month of Thanks 2013 Day 1 – Motherhood

Many moons ago I had a college friend that spent the entire month of November giving thanks. Each day she would write a personal note about people, things or experiences that she was grateful for. I thought it was a fantastic idea and have decided to give it a whirl this year. Why not? I’ve got SO much to be thankful for. So in no order of importance, I’m kicking this month of thanks by expressing how thankful I am for motherhood.

Loving Motherhood

When I was 24-ish my gynecologist told me that I would have a hard time conceiving. He said that my uterus was positioned funny and that I’d have a tough time getting a good ole’ egg fertilized. I believed him. Why wouldn’t I? I also freaked out. Because even though I wasn’t quite ready to have kids, I didn’t want to struggle with having them. No woman does. And I didn’t. The first time I tried getting pregnant, I got pregnant with my precious daughter.

I could write an entire book about why I’m grateful for her and to her, but I’ll keep it short. I am thankful for each and every moment that I spend watching my baby grow and learn. I write this with tears in my eyes because it seems as if it was only moments ago when she was a wrinkly newborn who slept the day away. I look at her and I want so much for her. But mostly, I want her to be happy. And I want her to know how much she’s changed my life. Her sheer existence has made me a better woman. A stronger woman.

Motherhood

I believe motherhood comes in many different forms and that you don’t have to give birth to a baby to be considered a mother. I am thankful for the opportunity to be Elle’s mom. I am thankful that she picked me. I am thankful for the smiles she gives me when I’m giving her bottles at 3 a.m. I am thankful for the way she pats my shoulder while I carry her on my back. I am thankful for the brief seconds of snuggles she gives me even though I know she’d rather be crawling somewhere. Being a mother is hard. So hard. It’s tiring, it’s demanding and it’s a non-stop roller coaster of many twists and turns.

But I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for her. I am thankful for the good foster moms and the moms who have adopted babies. I am thankful for working moms who do what they have to do for their families. I am thankful for stay at home moms who hold down the fort and often put everyone’s needs before their own. I am thankful for mentoring mothers and grandmothers and teachers who mother children. I am thankful for being able to experience motherhood. And I am thankful for my sweet and precious baby.

Beauty in Mommyhood: Elle is 7 Months Old

Baby is 7 months old

Dear Elle,

Oh my big girl…you’ve been going through so much this past month. Between teething pain, learning how to get up on all 4’s and developing some attachment to Mommy and Daddy, you have taken us on quite a trip. And that’s okay. Every day we’re noticing how much you’re changing. It is painfully obvious how much our baby is growing. When you want something, you won’t hesitate to let us know by shrieking. You’re grabbing at everythiiiiing (including Daddy’s beard) and I love watching you inspect a toy thoroughly before jamming it in your mouth.

Happy baby

My favorite thing to do with you is take you outside to see the fountain in the neighborhood. You LOVE this fountain. You’re just like me in that regard because I love water too. You also love taking a bath. And you had your first trip to the pool this month!

Baby bathing suit

It’s so much fun watching you splash around in it. You skin is clearly up and it’s due to mama kicking gluten out of her diet. I feel terrible that the reason why your skin was going haywire was because of me consuming gluten. Your skin used to be itchy and red and you used to scratch it so hard that you would bleed. But not anymore!

Pretty baby

We went to our first playdate a few weeks ago and I got to see how excited you are around other kids. You are really a social butterfly. It’s amazing to watch you giggle and squirm when you’re around babies your own age. It was always hard sending you off to your sitter at 3 months but now I’m glad I did because it’s obvious that you need and love the social interactions. Oh…and you learned how to wave! Which, I think, is the cutest thing eeeeever. You can wave hello and bye bye.

And then there’s food…

Baby eats peas

We officially started you on food at 6 months but you weren’t really interested. Things have changed and now you are giving food a chance. But only if you can feed yourself. You want to be in control. You have no interest in purées so we offer you smaller versions of the fruit and veggies that we eat. It’s called “baby led weaning” and so far it has been working for us. You’ve eaten sweet potatoes, carrots, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas, peas apples, eggs, spinach and lots of other veggies. We’re staying away from grains (remember, you’ve got that gluten allergy), meat and dairy. Feeding you this way has allowed us to eat healthier so it’s working out for everyone. You are also drinking water or breast milk from a cup after you have food. You are surprisingly good at not spilling it everywhere.

Every time I take a picture of you I am noticing how you don’t look like my little bitty baby anymore. You’re growing up and ohmigoodness, I’m tearing up just typing this. Mama doesn’t know why. I adore watching you grow but but…I don’t know, I just loved the newborn period. As hard as it was, I loved it. I know each month and year will come with challenges and while I’m excited to see what cool thing you do next, I also get sad.

Baby at table

I know it sounds strange but I think other parents can relate. I’m finding so many ways to continue to be close to you though. I know you want to be independent and not cuddle up on mama so much but between babywearing, taking walks and reading stories…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

…I manage to continue to baby you. And will do so for quite some time. Oh! And this crawling thing is starting to happen…

Baby crawling

I can’t believe it. I was all freaking out at how you didn’t show any interest in crawling and then one day you popped up on all 4’s and did that. Now I want you to take your time. Ha! I’ve finally managed to get you in cloth diapers 100% of the time

Sunbaby cloth diapers

My crunchy mom status has gone to new height. I always thought cloth diapering would be a good way to go but I never thought I’d actually do it. And yet, here we are. Saving a TON of money on not buying diapers.

Elle Stats:

First Word Was Said: DaDa!
Favorite Food: Eggs and stawberries
Favorite Toy: Sophie the Giraffe
Favorite Place To Be: On someone’s back
Most Hated Place To Be: Your car seat
Things That Make You Laugh: When Daddy takes you on flights, when Mama steals your neck sugar, playing peek-a-boo, having your tummy kissed and when FaceTime’ing with Gam.
A Sad Moment: You had your first fever this month. It lasted for 2 days and you were miserable. We figured it was due to teething and while we can see those 2 teeth at the bottom, they haven’t popped up just yet.

Oh, and guess what? You are starting to look more and more like me! This makes your Mama very happy. And Daddy is jealous. You’re so loved and adored that we both want you to look like us.

Keep making us proud, baby girl.

Love You,
Mama

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 6 months old

6 month old baby girl

Technically Elle is almost 7 months old but I’m mad late with getting this up. My bad!

Dear Elle,

You’ve been around for half of a year. Wow! I value each minute and each day with you because I know that I’ll blink and you’ll be a teenager trying to get your sticky fingers on my beauty stuffs. Please slow down. I love you just like this. You’re so perfect. You really are. How did we get such a cool and calm, baby? Everywhere we go people are amazed at how cool you are. You have never had a fit in public (not really at home either) and as long as you have access to your thumb and can snuggle against my chest, you’re good to go. I love this about you. You are far from a high maintenance baby.

Brown baby girl

Your bottle can be either hot or cold and you’ll drink it. You don’t have to be held 24/7. You enjoy playing by yourself. When you wake up, you sing and babble versus screaming your head off. On days when I’m just exhausted, you seem to notice and make things a little easier on me. You’re a dream baby.

Folx keep telling me that it’ll change and one day you’ll become this evil toddler but whatever – I’m enjoying the now. And speaking of the now, SCREAMING is your new thing. You love to scream and I’m almost positive that I heard you say “Mama”. The best thing about you? Everyone loves you. Everywhere you go people want to get a closer look at you because you’re just so sweet. You’ve got this kind and wonderful energy about you. It’s captivating and you never disappoint and always crack a smile or laugh.

Baby photography

You started you on solid foods this month. Your first food was sweet potatoes and even though you make these hilarious faces, you actually do a great job at putting the spoon to your mouth and eating your food. We only give you a good tablespoon a day but you seem to enjoy it. Daddy and I enjoy making fresh batches of food for you. We both think it’s great to provide you with fresh veggies over the canned baby food. We really want to give you a good start when it comes to nutrition. Mama is still pumping to give you breast milk and I won’t stop until you’re at least a year old.

Baby touches toes

And guess what? We are still using cloth diapers! People told me that I would give up on them by now but nope I love diapering you in your cute patterned cloth. And you’ve never had a diaper rash so hey…maybe this cloth stuff is right on!

Mama guilt struck me again and I was starting to think that you were still small but your pediatrician keeps telling me how perfect you are. You’re just petite. Just when I  started to doubt things, you began sitting up. And then getting on all fours with the attempts to crawl. Seriously? I’ve got a baby that is about to crawl? Ohmigoodness…please stop growing so quickly, baby.

Baby at 6 month old

Elle Bits:
-You’re a little under 14 lbs.
-You’ve tasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots.
-We sold your swing. You don’t use it anymore and it was taking up space.
-Your feet finally touch the bottom of your bouncer!
-You love your new highchair.
-Your skin has been super itchy so mama has gone gluten-free to see if that is the issue.
-If you see someone put it in their mouth, you want it too.
-Your appetite is through the roof…you’re eating a lot more.
-You can hold your bottle.
-You like putting your foot in your mouth. Literally.

Thank you so much for being the light of our lives. Love you, sweet girl.

XOXO,

Your Mama

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 5 Months Old!

Brown Baby

Dear Elle Belle,

Yaaaaaaay!!! You crack up every time I say that. I mean, EVERY TIME. If if weren’t for your pictures, I would hardly remember you being a 5 lb little peanut. You are 13 lbs of chunk and I love it. I have gotten over feeling bad for your small weight. Mommy guilt is something else. I blamed myself for your being born early. I blamed myself for you being so little. And I blamed myself for you not breasteeding. I’ve let it all go. I am more focused on the now and making sure that you are happy and healthy.

My entire life is being blogged

And you’re both. You have the best personality, Muffin. I mean, seriously…I look forward to you waking up in the morning. You pop your head up and give me the biggest smile. And you laugh. A lot. You laugh, you talk, you babble, you sing…it is all so beautiful to me. You tend to be quieter around different surroundings and people but when you are at home and in your element, you can talk nonstop. You’ve started screaming too. Long gone is your sweet whimper. Now when there’s something you want, you SCREAM. And you growl too. Daddy and I think it’s hilarious. How can you be so cute by growling?

Easycare rainbow 1

And you want to touch everything. If it is anywhere near your reach, you’re grabbing it.

Baby hand

That includes Daddy’s beard and Mommy’s earrings. You know how to grab for your bottle to bring it to your mouth. You grab at any and everything. And the minute you get whatever it is you want, it’s going straight into your mouth. How your little mouth emits so much drool is beyond me. You go through at least 2-3 bibs a day.

Pretty baby

Eating

You are still eating nothing but breast milk. Mama’s milk supply has decreased significantly but I still have enough to feed you and to donate. I am going to start stashing away milk so that by the time you turn 1, you’ll have enough milk until you’re at least 14-16 months old. No solids yet. We’ll wait until you’re 6 months. You are definitely interested though. You stare at Daddy and I when we eat and you love grabbing at our plates.

Sleeping

You’ve got one wonky sleep schedule but I stopped complained about it. You HAVE to be in bed by 7pm. If we don’t get you there, you are beyond fussy. You’ll get up for a bottle around 10pm and then you get up again at 3am. Each time you wake up, you go back to sleep after having your bottle. You take nice long naps throughout the day (at least 2) and on the weekends when you don’t nap, you’re still in good spirits. When it’s time for night-night, you pop your thumb in your mouth and go right to sleep. It is usually that easy.

Clumps of Mascara baby

You got your ears pierced and I adore them! You look even sweeter and you handled the piercing like a champ. Your eczema is clearing up beautifully. You wear cloth diapers every night and if I can come across more affordably, I want to start clothing you when you go to your sitter. Cloth diapering is surprisingly easy and it feels great not having to buy diapers every week. Oh…and that stroller? We don’t touch it. Mama wears you everywhere!

Baby wearing

I never got why women were so passionate about baby wearing but I’ve seen the light. One day it was pouring down raining. I had to get you, groceries, my breast pump, your bottle bag and my purse out of the car. We waited for the rain to stop for 20 minutes. It didn’t stop. I popped you in a ring sling and grabbed the bags and an umbrella and made it to the door. I had never felt so powerful before. You? You just babbled the whole time mama dodged rain puddles.

Girasol Double Rainbow

Basically, you’re perfect. I know no one is perfect but you are, Muffin. You really are. You light up our lives and you give me purpose each and everyday. I work harder for you. I hate having to go to work and leave you but at the same time, I take pride in knowing that I am actively working hard to provide for our family. It’s not easy but I work long hours, come home to play and snuggle with you, clean the house, run a business and I do it everyday. It’s exhausting but so rewarding.

It is an honor being your mommy.

Elle Bits:
-You giggle uncontrollably when I try to clean your neck.
-You are now totally against your carseat. You cry every time we drive. You eventually soothe yourself.
-Your pediatrician says that you are healthy!
-You love nature.
-You are nosy. I mean, so nosy. You want to see EVERY thing.
-You love music. And you love being sung to.
-You smile. A lot! And at strangers too.

You rock. Thanks for being my baby.

Love,
Mommy

Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 4 Months Old!

Elle is 4 months old

Dear Elle,

Hey there, big girl! Technically you’re 20 weeks old which means you are almost 5 months old. I was all late with getting your doctor’s appointment squared away so you won’t be getting your 4 month checkup until like uh…this week. I am SO excited (and nervous) to see how much you weigh. I’m hoping that you’re at least 14 lbs or so. I see you getting bigger and you are officially in 6-9 months clothing but I always wonder if my breastmilk is enough for you. People keep telling me how small you are and it bugs me.

They don’t know how far you’ve come. Every baby isn’t super chubby and it’s a bit insensitive to say things like, “Wow…she’s so small.” to parents of preemies and small babies. But whatever. I’m learning how to let it go. We don’t plan on introducing food for awhile so you’ve still got some months being exclusively breastfed. You do have your own little raspberry shop though.

Blowing raspberries

You love blowing spit bubbles. It cracks your Grandma Clumps up. Speaking of her…she adores you. So so much. You’re so incredibly loved by so many people. Everyone is in love with your eyes. “They are so alert!” they say.

Pretty eyed girl

And it’s true. I’m not sure where you got your eyes from but I love looking in them. I’ll never forget the night I finished giving you a bottle and you stared right into my eyes. We looked eyes for a good 30 seconds and then you gave me the biggest smile ever. I love moments like that.

Traveling baby

Last night I asked your Daddy what if he thought you cried a lot. On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being A LOT, we both gave you a 3. You hardly ever cry. Your sitter says the same thing. I am so grateful we ended up with a cool and calm little girl. Your personality is so here and when you don’t have a constant smile on your face we know you’re sleepy or need some downtime. Your demeanor is so pleasant that this month we pushed it to the limits a bit by having adventures waaaay past your bedtime (success!) and taking a 4.5 hour road trip one day and returning the next (tragedy!). We’re trying to learn you and for the most part I think your Daddy and I  are becoming amazing parents. I’m so proud of your Daddy. He works a lot, yes, but when he’s here he wants a ton of Elle and Daddy time. He snuggles you and has you giggling up a storm when he kisses your tummy.

Baby and Daddy

You love when he does that. We both sing to you and we’re amazed at how you watch TV like a big girl. Doc McStuffins in your favorite. Every time you hear the theme song your face lights up. And when you’re fussy and nothing is helping soothe you, if I bust out in “Doe A Deer” from The Sound of Music, you calm down.

Baby and mommy

Cheesy, but it works. You’re a music lovin’ baby and we want nothing more than to keep you surrounded by tunes. We took our first family road trip this month and it was challenging but you were so sweet around dozens of new people. You flashed smiles and definitely played the part. And you are a drool machine. It’s hilarious. Looks like we’ll be seeing some teeth soon! Your ezcema is still around and mama is trying a new concoction every month. Nothing seems to work. While I have eliminated most dairy products I still eat a few items with milk in them and so maybe that’s the cause. I don’t know. I’m always blaming myself for something when it comes to you. I want you to have a perfect life. I want the best for you.

Happy baby

Because you deserve it. Don’t tell your Daddy but you’re my best friend. Yep, my almost 5 month old baby is my BFF.

I enjoy every moment with you. Even the 2am bottle feedings. I love our weekend cuddles and Saturday adventures. I love taking you out on walks and watching your face light up when you hear a dog bark. The world amazes you. I no longer feel Working Mommy Guilt. Our time apart isn’t horrible because it allows you to learn in a different environment with a qualified caretaker and it allows mommy to continually work on her craft. I never wanted to loose myself in Mommyhood and guess what? I haven’t! You are #1 in my life but I still have a social life and passions. I am in a great place. In the next month or so we’ll be moving and you’ll be getting your own room…officially. I don’t know though…I still think I want you sleeping in our room. I’m not ready to be so far away from you yet.

Yep, I’m an attached mama. But you…and this face…

Baby with thumb in mouth

It lights up my world.

Keep shinin’, baby. I love you,
Mommy