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

*edit: Many of the pictures from this post have been removed. Mama just doesn’t feel comfortable sharing that many pictures of our beautiful children online. 

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.

 

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!

 

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!!

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?

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!

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.

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

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

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.

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!

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!

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…

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.

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…

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

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

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

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online. 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.

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.

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Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 5 Months Old!

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

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.

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?

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Beauty in Mommyhood – Elle is 4 Months Old!

*edit: We removed Elle’s pictures. I didn’t feel comfortable having so many online.

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.

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