I haven’t written to you in a while. Not for any big reason, but rather for lots of little ones.
I took a break from social media, blogging and just sharing in general. Creating a cacoon for myself, keeping my world small and close. Quiet and slow. It was only going to be for a week or so, but it felt really good, so I continued.
It can be so easy for our energy, mine included, to be so focused on planning, sharing, and comparing our lives – that we forget to actually LIVE them. To simply enjoy our lives.
We’re living in a time where there’s so much input, everywhere, all around us. So much noise that it can be hard to hear our own thoughts. To see and feel what’s actually happening right in front of us.
And I personally was longing for a break. A big deep exhale to shut the world out for a moment and simply enjoy this season of life I find myself in.
Most of my days over the past few months have been spent organically doing things that I love, with no real plan other than to just stay present.
Filling my days with things that ground me. That make me feel whole. Time with my kids. Reading, writing, and more reading. Walks along the beach. Meditation. Yoga. Cooking. Simple things that at times I may have rushed through before.
Baking bread and cookies. Roasting chickens and making big pasta dinners. Long bike rides with the kids before sunset. Stopping along my walk to meander into a bookstore, or picking up a cup of tea and sitting and watching the waves. Watching the feather grass sway in the wind on our back patio as it shimmers with the rising sun. Laying in bed with the boys under the softest blanket talking about our days with nowhere to be.
Life has been overflowing with the most ordinary, yet sacred, beautiful moments. Moments I pause to drink it in because it’s going too fast. That this, right here, is it. Right now. Today. That tomorrow is not guaranteed. This life is not promised. And that there is nowhere more important I need to be.
But I’ve equally missed all of you. I’ve missed sharing and connecting with you. I love this community and what we’ve built. So I wanted to come out of hibernation, just for a moment, and share with all of you a little snippet of my life. Share what’s been on my mind and in my heart.
Planning what’s next for me and our family
We’re a few weeks shy of our one-year anniversary of our move to the West Coast. I have so many feelings about this year that I’ll share in another post, but what I’ll say now is that this year has completely changed me. I knew it would, but I don’t think I understood the gravity. I’m a totally different person now from the woman I see in photos from a year ago living in Chicago. I almost don’t recognize her.
There are days I morn our old life. The securities I had. The safety I felt. The routine of it all. Our home. My kitchen.
I’ve had a hard time putting it into words, but I’ve said to JP recently that since moving here I feel as though I’ve lost my barometer. My internal compass.
I think subconsciously I’ve always had feedback from my world, my environment, and my community, to help me to know where I stand. I could find my place in the world in relation to everything around me. I had a way to judge and feel what was good, real, and true versus what wasn’t.
Since moving out west I’ve lost that. That bounce back to tell me where I stand in relation to everything else. And I feel as though I’m floating. The boundaries aren’t as clear. And I find myself a little unsure as to where I fit in, where I belong, and in some ways, maybe even who I am.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I actually think it’s a good thing. Pushing yourself far past your comfort zone.
But it’s also really scary and uncomfortable. It’s a recalibration of a new barometer based on a new foundation. New values. New priorities.
One I’m just beginning to feel my way through.
I feel uncertain about a lot of things. Where we’re going to land long term as a family. What’s next for me personally and professionally.
And yet, I somehow feel more at peace within myself. A newfound faith that I’ve got us. That I’m ok. That this is the plan. And that although I can’t see it, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Changing the way I mother
When the kids were all little and I had four babies 6 and under, I remember life feeling so overwhelming. Everyone always needing more than I could possibly give. I remember those early years, and even in recent years showing up in motherhood with a sense of lack. That I wasn’t enough. Patient enough. Sweet enough. That there wasn’t enough time or energy for me to be the kind of mom I wanted to be.
I carried a lot of shame in those early years of motherhood. For the moments I snapped at the kids. The times I lost my temper. The times I said “not now” when someone wanted to read me a book or go to the park. Moments I yelled at Lillian for her attitude or grabbed Asher by the arm tighter than I would like to admit.
I carried so much hidden shame around myself as a mother, that I think deep down I had this story that I couldn’t do it. At least not alone.
So I got help. For as long as I can remember I’ve had someone in our home. Even just a few days a week for a few hours.
In many ways, I think it was my safety net. My reprieve where I could reset. So that I could show up as a better version of myself when I was with the kids.
But I think deep down there was also a part of me that was scared and overwhelmed with the thought of being the “only one” taking care of our kids day in and day out. I was scared of who I’d be, what I’d do. I always thought of myself as a “good” mom, but I think there was also this part of me that thought I wasn’t quite good enough. That other women were better at this. More nurturing. Loving. Patient. I think having those sitters in some ways was me compensating for where I felt lack or shame for not being the kind of mother I wanted to be.
Since moving to California we’ve struggled to find childcare that felt like the right fit for us. And after a lot of debate, a few months ago I made the decision to not have anyone in our home. That I no longer wanted the help. And that I would step back a little from blogging and writing so that I could be with the kids full time.
I was really scared. I hadn’t done the full-time mom thing in years. Since those early days when I wasn’t the mom I wanted to be. So I was nervous about how I’d be. And I think the kids were a little nervous too.
But to my surprise, it’s been amazing. It’s changed the entire dynamic of our home. I feel more connected to the kids than every before. Motherhood feels more rewarding. I feel relaxed and at ease in my parenting. And most importantly, I see a huge change in the kids.
I don’t know if it’s the kids getting older, me being older, or maybe just the fact that I no longer care about so much of the bullshit I used to care about. But parenting feels so much more enjoyable. We do half the things we used to. We skip practices a lot, we’re late to things, backpacks aren’t quite as cleaned out, and we say no to a LOT of extra social activities.
And it feels really really good. The whole house just feels calmer and happier and for the first time in a really long time I can say that I’m really proud of the who I am as a mom.
I’ve said to JP a lot lately that there are so many things I’m uncertain of, but the one thing I’m 100% certain of is that I’ll never look back and regret these days that I slowed down to be really present and patient with our kids.
Coming to terms with my aging body
This year, at 44, my body has changed more than it ever has. Especially since my hysterectomy.
I started taking bio-identical hormones, which up until now wasn’t something I had ever considered. The first month or so has been really challenging as I started on a dose that was too strong for my body. If you’ve ever had extreme/sudden changes in your hormones you know how debilitating it can be. I was having sleepless nights, hot flasses, weight gain, and intense mood swings.
I haven’t felt quite like myself for about a year, but post hysterectomy that feeling became more intense. My hope was that going on hormone replacement therapy would help. And I trust that it will. I know that I’m just still in those early stages of figuring out dosing.
I’m learning that it’s not an exact science. That it can take months for the body to respond and that this is a long game. Testing my patience with time, my body, and my ability to accept the aging process. To find grace in it.
As I started having hot sleepless nights, waking up sweating, feeling bloated tired, and wired I would sarcastically joke with JP about what a joy it was to get older.
But the truth is, it is. And not one every woman gets to experience. So while yes my changing hormones kind of stink. I know it sounds cliche, but in many ways I’m just grateful my body is here at all doing this.
I unexpectedly lost an old friend this spring who was my exact age. She had three kids, the same age as mine. Her passing was both unexpected, an unimaginable loss, and also a wake-up call to my own mortality and that none of this is guaranteed.
So in many ways, yes, I’m struggling hormonally to find balance. And yes, my weight is different. My skin is different. My nights feel long and sleepless. But I’m here. And there are answers. And it will balance out. And it’s not lost on me what a gift that is.
Looking back on recent years, I think when I entered my 40s I came in hot. My energy was masked in empowerment, but really it was me trying to conquer it, my age and my body. Wanting to feel in control.
Know I just laugh at those thoughts. Feeling almost silly.
Instead, I look at my body, my changing midline, and think “thank you”. For sticking with me through all that diets and exercise fads. For all the mental scrutiny and judgment and criticizing. For all the times I wanted you to “bounce back” instead of forward. Embracing change. Embracing aging. Embracing the gift of simply being alive in a body that is healthy, that is strong, and that is here.
Changing my relationship with social media
I used to believe that social media couldn’t be inherently good or bad. Instead, it was our own intention behind how we use these platforms and apps that really mattered. And while to an extent I still believe that to be true. I also see it from a new perspective.
There was a time I used to love going on Instagram. Not just sharing, but also consuming. Seeing what other people were doing. Learning from them, feeling inspired. It was a platform around connection and creativity.
Now, when I’m on there, I feel drained, uninspired.
I close the app feeling as though I need to lose 10 lbs, start intermittent fasting, buy all new supplements, redecorate my house, add in 2 new ab exercises, overhaul my wardrobe, oh and start new side hustle – all before school pick-up.
There’s just so much noise. And everyone feels like they’ve suddenly become an expert, on everything. What once felt like sharing creativity, now feels like one long loud ad.
And to be honest, it just doesn’t feel good. It leaves me feeling kind of icky. About the space, and at times about myself.
I’m at the stage in motherhood where my kids are dipping their toes into social media. They’re not on any platforms, yet. But I know they will be soon.
I see how these apps make me feel about myself, and I’m a confident 44-year-old woman. And it’s hard to imagine how it would make a 13 year old girl feel. What messages its sends to her. How it will affect her.
So it feels even more important now that I model boundaries. Make sure they recognize that who you are online, is NOT in fact who you actually are. That social media is NOT real life. That everything you do does not need to be shared. And that who you are, how valued, loved, or important you are can never be found or measured online, regardless of what you see around you.
I saw firsthand this year how just by simply seeing/being sent certain tick-tock videos made my daughter feel about herself. How her behavior changed. How what she thought was cool changed, in an instant.
And a lightbulb went off for me. They are so impressionable at this age, but so are we, even now as adults. And we need to do better.
I’m not sure what this means for me, and sharing much of my life on these platforms, but I know it has to change. It’s just not healthy. For me, for my kids, or really for any of us.
As far as the rest of my life, it all feels like a little bit of a whirlwind and I’m just doing my best to take it one day at a time. Trying to enjoy this time here in California and trust that our next “home” will present itself when it’s meant to. Tyring to soak up the days of living two blocks from the Pacific and having preteens who still enjoy spending time with me.
I know I’ve said this on here before, but I truly feel like I’m in the stage of life where I’m going to look back and miss. Recognizing that we’re living those moments that only a decade before I dreamed about. That “this is it”. One day life wont feel so full and overflowering. But for now, it is. And out of all the things that I do in my life – the most important one of all is to slow down, be present for it, and to actually enjoy some of it.