Category: Motherhood

The Sweet Spot

Creating Creative Small Business Family Motherhood

The Sweet Spot

How did this happen? This finding what I love as a stay-at-home-mom which evolved into a handmade, creative business owner which feels a little strange because I never thought any of this would happen. Run on sentence = intended…that’s how my brain works.

Not having a “9-5” felt incredibly strange for a bit, but now I’m used to it and loving it. The biggest struggle for me is continuing to relish in the gratitude I find deeply embedded in my heart while being frustrated beyond belief at feeling as if I have no “time” to do anything at all.

My brain is flooded with ideas on my business, soap creation, recipes, networking and essential oil scents yet I can only grab these thoughts in fleeting moments between screams of “Mommy!!!!” and daily dinner prep. I hurry to write an idea before it evaporates. Frequently the ideas do run away before I can grab a pen (or crayon) and I’m trying to trust that an evaporated idea may not have been a good one so I let it go.

The irony for me is that I feel frustrated at not having chunks of time to create and brainstorm and think and write because of my parenting responsibilities yet being a parent is what got me in this stay-at-home position which led to an abundance of awesome soul-searching and making space for things I actually love. It’s just so ironic.

Sometimes it’s hard to say just how content I feel in my role because the waters chop and I get mad and anxious and then I question things. Or I feel inauthentic because here I am claiming to be in a sweet spot yet I feel stuck on certain days. Am I really happy? How did this happen? But after many rounds of that, I always come back to center and realize it was just a bad day or week. My true nature is not that shaky ground. When the earth moves a little, I just need to stay put and the ground will become still again.

So, I find myself in the sweet spot, day after day, being a stay-at-home-parent and relishing in all that this role has to offer while dreaming and grabbing at whatever scraps of time I can wrap my fingers around to dream, write, think and create.

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Yoga/Mindfulness

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Sometimes, after a while, a part of us needs to move on. I said the following when I described my feeling to a friend:

It is difficult to step away from a role that I enjoy and has helped me grow so much but I’m certain there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give it space. I need to open up that room for my other passions that I love equally…it’s just their turn now!

This role is that of a breastfeeding support person in my community. I consider myself a peaceful breastfeeding advocate. What I mean when I say that is, I support all parents’ decisions in how they choose to feed their babies and I am educated and interested in offering technical and emotional support to women who choose to breastfeed. Having breastfed two children for 4+ years combined, I would not have met my personal breastfeeding goals without a supportive network. I found that support in La Leche League – a non-profit support group for breastfeeding mothers. I loved the group so much that I went on to study and later became a Leader within the organization. Leaders facilitate local discussion/support groups and are required to complete a training curriculum where you study technical aspects of breastfeeding as well as exercises in communication and group dynamic skills.

I was a leader for just under 2.5 years and just this month I resigned. Nothing happened, nothing was “wrong” but there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give that seed space.

It just feels a bit strange, this issue of identity always seems to be presenting opportunities for me to learn. Again. I’m guessing you may share these identity issues too, I think we all do. We think we are “someone” or “something” and then it goes away or moves to the left and we are like, hmmmm, now what?

So I take a page out of Justine’s book (my ALL TIME FAVORITE yoga teacher) and explore the idea of BEING OPEN. Again. One January, every week the theme of her yoga class was to be open. This can be particularly difficult in a time of hunkering down and dark, cold, winter days. I choose to be open and curious and excited about the space I’m creating.

We are not the roles we play but the whole of each of us is made up of the various pieces of our lives and activities and roles – big and small. They all add up to the complex, ever-changing person that we are.

Identity Inspiration Motherhood

Being Alone

Being alone feels indescribably unusual. I even bring my kids to doctor appointments if necessary. I have a supportive spouse and mom but they both work full time and sometimes I just need to bring my little adventure seekers everywhere.

Honestly, this was my top fear (tied with money) when Sean and I were contemplating my leaving the paid workforce – what would I do if I got sick? I already have personal difficulty calling in favors and now we’re essentially creating a life where I need to ask for help for everything ranging from long bathroom breaks to recovery from illness.

Before I came into the doctor’s office this afternoon I enjoyed a quiet Kind bar in the car in silence. I felt the urge to put the radio on or check my phone but I resisted. It was tricky. I watched a branch with no leaves blow in the wind – that is one of my favorite things.

I think to myself, “This is bad that it feels so strange to be alone.” And then I correct… “Isn’t it interesting that it feels unusual to be alone?” I’m always thrown back to my freshman year of college when I find myself alone and outside of my house these days. I loved wandering the Western Pennsylvania campus solo with a coffee and my textbooks. I’m immediately 18 again.

And then I smile and think how ironic a solo trip to the doctor turns into a mini vacation.

If You’d Asked Me Then

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

If You’d Asked Me Then

If you’d asked me then

Way back when

What motherhood might hold

My younger self may have told

Stories of hopes and dreams

And what I thought it might mean

To care for a small child.

A little fun, a little wild.

If you’d asked me then

I’d never have known

About a love so deep

A heart to keep

Lessons that drive me mad

Feelings I didn’t even know I had

How it all comes rushing past

A love so strong, so fast.

If you’d asked me then

I’d be shocked at the grounding we felt through breastfeeding

A conversation with no words,

We found deep meaning.

A lesson in converting food into energy

A lesson in letting go, letting be.

If you’d asked me then

What this magical piece of the universe that we named Brady might become

I may have guessed some dreamy profession just for fun.

But if you ask me now what this child will “be”

I’ll tell you the truth:

He is the architect of the authentic me.

 

Tapping into the mystery

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Tapping into the mystery

Here I find myself in a cafe at the Himalayan Institute tucked in Pennsylvania mountains. I’ve never been away form my children for more than one night at a time and the separation is bittersweet. Having the privilege of mothering them 24/7 blurs the lines at times of where I end and they begin.

As I inch away, I find quiet space to fill but joy in my belly knowing they will be there awaiting my return tomorrow.

I used to use my free time watching tv and drinking way too much alcohol. Last night I used it to go to a camp fire after evening yoga practice and today I spent my precious time attending an early morning group meditation followed by a breathtaking yoga hike with some truly amazing people. Things are different now.

I have no great wisdom to share and no breakthrough insights to reveal but I feel deeper in love with myself, my husband & best friend, and with my children, my greatest teachers. I feel closer to the women with whom I’ve been chatting and laughing and downward dogging. I feel lighter. I feel grounded. That was my goal and I didn’t even realize it.

Books Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity

Gift From the Sea – my personal takeaway

A close friend recommended I read Gift From The Sea. I realized why it sounded so familiar, it was a book I’d seen for years on my mom’s bookshelf, completely unaware of what treasures filled its pages. I asked my mom if I could borrow it. We arrived on vacation and my mom brought me my own copy – one that she had purchased for her mom years ago. The bookmark still remained. It is one of those bookmarks with your name and the meaning. Being that I was named after my mom’s mom, it’s extra special that the bookmark says “Marjorie.”
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I started the little book on vacation and finished it soon after my return home. It seems appropriate to share my thoughts with other mothers at a similar stage in motherhood where I find myself and where I understand Anne Morrow Lindbergh found herself when she authored it.
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Written in 1955, 60 years ago, I was struck by her take on the world all those years ago. Much of it speaks to me as if it were written this morning. Modern amenities and endless distractions that make life busier and more challenging at times…I can relate! How we are fortunate enough to have the option to choose how complex or simple our lives are. That made me think about my choices and what do they say about me? How solitude and space are necessary for a woman to grow and be and think. How it felt as if she was losing an appendage when she said goodbye to her family for some time away but once she was gone, she knew it would all be ok.
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Morrow Lindbergh beautifully provided insights to the ebbs and flows of relationships – relationships between romantic partners, sisters, mother and child – using her treasured seashells as metaphors. Many of you may find yourself in what the author described as the “Oyster Bed.” Here is how she describes it:

“It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back…Sprawling and uneven…It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition…to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations.” (80, Morrow Lindbergh)

I know that sounds much like my oyster bed of a house. Amazingly awesome and full of life yet chaotic and almost crazy making at times when everyone including the dog beckons me for breakfast simultaneously. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like it. These are the days of my life.

She reminds us how therapeutic work can be when we are not rushed and how simple pleasures of earth and conversation are fulfilling. When she talks of “purposeful giving” she perfectly explains it as:

“Is not as apt to deplete one’s resources; it belongs to the natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give – like milk in the breast.”

And she further explains,

“Even purposeful giving must have some source that refills it. The milk in the breast must be replenished by food taken into the body. If it is the woman’s function to give, she must be replenished too. But how?” (47-48, Morrow Lindbergh)

 

I’m so grateful for the personal essays Anne shared with me and so many for the past 60 years. Her reflections answer her question of how to replenish and what those moments of solitude and intention did to refuel her soul.

Family Inspiration Motherhood Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

How Natural Birth Deepened My Yoga Practice

I’ve always been drawn to yoga, even before I “understood” it. Even when I was in high school I wanted to do it, but wasn’t sure what it was all about. I know I practiced yoga when I was younger, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I’ve felt connected to my practice. And it wasn’t until after I gave birth to my second child that I felt an even deeper connection.

Preparing for natural birth, I read many books and blogs and did a lot of work to prepare my mind. Breath work, and understanding that breathing is a tool to stay present and not fly and wander, was very helpful to me. I believed the tools would help, but it wasn’t until I was living the labor and doing what I’d been so prepared for, did I fully understand what it all meant. I felt like I was mindfulness embodied, for the first time in my life.

Natural labor and birth were both a challenge and a reward. Now when I am in a pose on the mat that I think I can’t tolerate for one more second, I go back to the breath and the patience that I know I have because I experienced it during labor and birth. I think, “Oh, right, I know how to do this, and this is easier than childbirth!”

In addition, Ujjayi breath has helped me calm a fussy baby, sooth a little one to sleep and find my inner stillness. Also something that I don’t think I’d be so in tune with without my natural birth.

I’m simply fascinated! I had no idea that all the work I did to prepare for a natural birth would have rewarded me down the road into a deeper practice.

Namaste!

Community Inspiration Motherhood

Other Parents

One of the most surprising things about being a parent is how cool other parents can be. Like when you are at the mall and someone rushes to help you with the door with a smile while saying, “It seems like just yesterday.” Or they’ll say, “I remember when mine were that little, now they have babies!” It’s so sweet really.

One day when I was in Whole Foods, I think I was pregnant with Meadow, and Brady was being your typical two-year-old (adorable and energetic, running away from me while I tried to look like this was my plan all along… so everybody just keep making your salads and stop looking annoyed at my curly haired energy ball). I finally scooped him up as we ordered our 2 slices of pizza.

A guy next to me just looked and smiled and was clearly remembering his son when he shared, “Man those days are the best and they just go so fast.” The twinkle in his eye almost made me tear up. I am now as I write this actually. I always ask about other people’s kids when they mention them, because who doesn’t want to talk about their kids? So I did and he shared that he has two – and his son, the oldest, is about graduate from high school. Clearly an emotional benchmark for him and many parents, I could just see his face light up as he ran through the years with his son and I laughed and said that this is probably a really exciting time for his family right now. He laughed back and joked that it was but his son, being 17, was most interested in his friends and how he missed those days of always having his little buddy. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I love these stories.

And when I feel like I’m boiling over or embarrassed in Whole Foods, or wherever, and I see that helpful “other parent” or that twinkle in another parent’s eye when they share their memories, Trace Atkins starts playing, “You’re Gonna Miss This,” in the background of my mind. And the words go, “You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back, you’re gonna wish these days, hadn’t gone by so fast, these are some good times, so take a good look around…” A great song.

I love these days and I know for a fact that I will miss them. As crazy as things are right now with a beautiful 12 week-old daughter and my loving 2.5 year-old son, I still love when I reread previous journal entries where I mentioned that these are the best days of my life. It’s so exciting to be living them but so sad to know that they are always changing and like all things, change is the only constant. I know someday I’ll be the woman sharing the stories about my little buddies and it’s hard to wrap my head around that fact.

With love,
Marjorie

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

My Work

My adventure of a stay at home mom continues and it has been a whole year! It’s hard to believe that I worked outside the home from the time Brady was 3 months – 18 months but I did and it’s what makes me realize and always remember just how sweet these days at home are. Even when the dog is crazy and the kids are crazy and I’m crazy, I still love my job. I NEVER knew what it was like to love your job until very recently. People often talk about loving their job and over the years I thought maybe I loved my jobs too…I could not have been more wrong. That right there…the fact that I “thought” I loved my job is evidence that I SO DID NOT love my job. Ever date anyone you “thought” you loved…right.

So I’m pretty sure I loved my stay at home job since day one, however, the revelation of, “this is what it must feel like to love your job” didn’t hit me until about February. I remember it was a cold snowy day and me and Brady got up early to go babysit our friend, Samantha. I was driving down the road with my little guy in the back seat and I thought, “Wow, this is great – WOHA, I LOVE MY JOB!” Sounds kinda silly, but once I realized that was what was happening, my job got even more fun and I take it very seriously. I’m always volunteering for new projects like researching non-toxic products, how to make your own cleaning supplies, how to eat healthier, recipes, you name it. Being home affords me the time to look into these things more closely for my family and in turn I think it makes a huge difference in our physical and emotional health.

“Work” is a funny thing. I think about it often. It’s so many things. It’s not just a 9-5, or doing what you studied in college. It’s volunteering, it’s parenting, it’s also a 9-5 and doing what you studied in college. It’s how we feel productive. How we contribute to society, or even how we think we are contributing to society. It’s a major force in our lives, all of us, and whether it’s paid or unpaid, it’s part of our story and a huge part of each of our journeys. My “work” has been so many things but my recent work is so different than I ever thought work could be. It’s parenting, mothering, nurturing, cleaning, cooking, creating in countless ways, entertaining, researching, volunteering, consulting for my friend’s company, motivating, loving, living and being. It’s so much more than all of that but that’s what comes to mind presently. I love my work, even when I’m cranky and I seem like I hate my work, I’m fooling you.

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

Packing up the “Professional attire” …for now

I’ve officially been a stay at home mom for two months now and we just got around to packing up the “professional attire.” Felt kinda good, strange, cool and neat. I was remembering all the times I wore each fancy garment and wondered what it will be like the next time I unpack the box. Until then, me and the little man are living the good life, pajama filled mornings and afternoon dance parties all the way.